May 04, 2012

Geek of the Week: Meet Wes

What's your name?
Wes, a.k.a. The Gentleman Gamer (or TGG for short)

Where are you from?
Austin, TX

What does it mean to you to be a geek/nerd?
Being a nerd/geek has meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people over the years. Describing yourself or someone else as a geek/nerd is a lot like trying to assign a genre designation to a band. There may be a general consensus, but a lot of people will disagree on bizarrely specific points. For me I prefer to think of nerds and geeks as people who have a passion for something beyond what is considered the mainstream norm. It's a pretty wide definition, but I think the important thing isn’t what you love, but how much you love it despite the funny looks you get. Note: This definition does not extend to people who "love" things ironically or specifically in order to illicit said funny looks. That shit is just annoying.

What are 2–5 things you're particularly passionate about?
I have a bit of an obsessive personality so I collect passions. Generally speaking and in no particular order I would say:

Video games
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Why are you passionate about these things?
Video games, like all entertainment, is another form of escapism except instead of watching a story unfold you get to actively participate in the creation of the story. I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid and I've been as moved by some of those experiences as I have by any movie or book. There are a lot of different kinds of games out there, but the ones I have always been drawn to are the story games. I don’t care much for polygon count and frame rate if there isn’t an engaging narrative. I've also never been very competitive so online multiplayer doesn’t really appeal to me as much as a solid single-player mode. That's why I don’t play sports games and I get bored with shooters pretty quickly. I love anything that provides an emotional experience and I’m always intrigued by new ideas on how to deliver that experience.

Music is something I have been deeply passionate about since I was little, but I don't talk about as much. Mostly this stems from the fact that I'm afraid of becoming one of those music hipsters who drones endlessly about their favorite band you’ve never heard of and how your favorite band isn't as good because it's just a watered-down, studio-created version of some other band from blah, blah, blah. I know people like that. Sometimes they give me good suggestions for new music, but that doesn't mean I want to be them. I would say that I have an eclectic taste, but I think with music being so accessible via the internet that's probably true of 99% of people that listen to music. If you searched through my iPod you'd find a heavy dose of ska, punk and alternative along with some hip-hop, J-pop, nerd-core, all sorts of metal and even a difficult to define band called Mr. Bungle (that my wife hates and I have only known one other person in real life that actually likes them). Most importantly I try to maintain a "no guilty pleasures" policy with my music. I have no problems owning up to the fact that sometimes (most of the time) Andrew W.K.’s brand of over-the-top positive party music is just what the doctor ordered. Also, I used to be a juggalo, for real, and there is quite a bit of ICP (and related acts) in my iTunes. How's that for honesty?

Spider-Man and Ninja Turtles go hand-in-hand, strangely enough. All nerds have their "thing." You know, that thing that other nerds identify them by; that pop-culture reference or series or whatever that they love more than all the rest? Well I have two "things." Spider-Man has always been my favorite super-hero. I've always been more enamored with the smart-guy heroes and like a lot of nerdy kids I identified a bit with Peter Parker. Plus with his awesome acrobatics he's always seemed like the coolest super-hero.

The Ninja Turtles have been in my life as long as I can remember. I never played with or watched G.I. Joes or Transformers growing up. As far as I was concerned those shows/toys were for losers. Ninja Turtles was where it was at. What's cooler than four roughly human-sized anthropomorphic turtles doing ninja stuff and fighting crime in New York? Nothing, that's what. I grew up on the super cheesy cartoon version, but as I got older I became more familiar with their darker comic book beginnings. To be honest I’m a fan of it all. Even The Next Mutation and the fifth Turtle they have desperately tried to forget about.

Do you have any special or hidden talents?
I’m not sure. I do play guitar a little and I played bass in several bands when I lived in Phoenix, but I'm not really amazing or anything. I guess one thing I can do that is apparently unusual because it freaks everyone out is I can close my eyes individually without moving any other muscles in my face, like the creepiest wink ever. My wife really hates it so I do it all the time.
Ed. note: I've seen this up close and personal. It really is creepy.

What was your favorite book/movie/TV show/other from 2011?
Hmm ... I assume you mean it had to be released in 2011 so I'll say:

Book: Damned by Chuck Palahniuk is the only book I read that I know was released last year and it was pretty good so I'll go with that.

Movie: Super 8, Troll Hunter, Harry Potter ... Too many movies to make up my mind on this one.

TV show: I am very hot and cold on TV shows generally, but Breaking Bad is the only one that I would insist on watching live or at least as soon as possible.

Video game: I would say Uncharted 3, but I didn’t actually play it until this year so it's a tie between Batman: Arkham City and Portal 2. I didn’t play Skyrim so it doesn't make the list.

What book/movie/TV show/other are you most looking forward to in 2012?
Book: I don’t know. Wise Man's Fear is coming out in paperback and I haven't bought it yet but I've wanted to read it ever since I finished Name of the Wind so probably that one.

Movie: As much as I love Spider-Man I feel it's too early for a reboot so it's hard to get really worked up about the new movie. I'll go with The Dark Knight Rises. I think Nolan can create the perfect trilogy that Spider-Man should have been. Or wait, maybe The Hobbit. I don't know. This is hard.

TV show: I’m gonna have to go with Breaking Bad again. It's so good and this is the last season.

Video game: Journey without a doubt. It's from the same company that made Flower (another amazing game) and I got the chance to play a demo at a PlayStation event. It was amazing.

Do you have a "go-to" karaoke/Rock Band song? What is it?
Karaoke I don’t do much of, but I have been known to do a pretty amazing duet of "Dick in a Box" with my brother. Rock Band is serious business. I love Rock Band (in a party game way, not a competitive way) and it's one of the few video games my wife plays with me (mine and my wife's band is called The Snowy Buttons). I’ve been playing with the same friends since the first one came out. Our Rock Band band, The Orphans of Mordor, went like quintuple platinum or something. We play just about anything and we all share singing duties. I’ve been told I do a pretty good Zack de la Rocha, but over the last year or so we've been ending our sets with "This is War" by 30 Seconds to Mars. It's a very anthemic song with really powerful vocals. Plus it's played during the finale of Dragon Age: Origins so I usually include a dedication to Duncan and all the other fallen Grey Wardens during one of the instrumental breaks.

What are three websites you like to visit every day?
Aside from social networking and email sites:
  1., where I get most of my gaming news.
  2. Dr. McNinja, Axe Cop, Bearmageddon and XKCD all get lumped into one because they're my favorite web comics and they don't update daily.

Do you have a blog/website/Twitter name/etc. that you'd like to share?
Turtle-A-Day—Where I draw stupid Ninja Turtle pictures.

Any additional comments or thoughts?
I’m sorry I’m so wordy and thanks for letting me be all up in your blog.

Wes's bonus questions:

If you HAD to choose, would you rather be bitten by a radioactive spider or covered in radioactive ooze?
That's easy. I love the Turtles, but I would love to BE Spider-Man. He's got way cooler powers and I don't really want to move into the sewers. Plus I already have a Spider-Man mask, so I'm halfway there. Only problem is I'm not as smart as Peter Parker so I wouldn't have web shooters unless I turned into the movie version of Spider-Man. Of course this is based on my extrapolating your question to really be, "Would you rather be Spider-Man or a Ninja Turtle?" Realistically radioactive spider vs. covered in ooze? I would probably suffer less radiation damage from a spider-bite. It's such a smaller dose than being covered in the stuff and I'm not expert but I would have to assume that it wasn't THAT radioactive if it's still alive enough to bite me.
Ed. note: Moving into the sewers would definitely turn me off Ninja Turtle-ism as well.

If funds were no object, where—on earth—would you most like to travel to?
This is a harder question. I was just talking to my wife about how I don't really have a dream vacation like a lot of people do. I think part of it stems from being kind of a homebody. There are places I would like to go, but nowhere that I dream about someday visiting before I die. I think it also comes from my idea of a good vacation being more event oriented than location oriented. Last year we drove to Florida with some friends to see and shuttle launch. Titusville has never been a dream destination for me, but it was one of the most fun vacations I've ever been on even though the launch was delayed and we didn't actually get to see it. The closest thing to a dream vacation I have is maybe making it to San Diego Comic Con one year, or maybe snowboarding again. I've been once and it was a lot of fun so I'd like to do it again. I also like that you specified that my destination had to be on Earth. You know me too well.

Ed. note: Definitely had to include this photo—That's Wes with Master Samwise the Brave!

Thanks, Wes, for being a Geek of the Week!

If you'd like to be a future GotW, please email me.

P.S.—May the Fourth be with you!


  1. oh wes- had i but known we were so alike in our gaming loves we would have had a lot more to talk about when walking down the aisle at samar and bens wedding. :)
    and hooray for the teenage MUTANT ninja turtles.

  2. Best quote ever --> "What's cooler than four roughly human-sized anthropomorphic turtles doing ninja stuff and fighting crime in New York? Nothing, that's what."

    Seriously, Mr. Bungle?? I knew you were cool, Wes.

  3. I like how I'm Geek of the Week the week I forget to send you gaming news. It was very nice of you to phrase it in such a way that made it sound like I was out of town on vacation and not just sitting on my couch for pretty much 5 days straight playing Mass Effect 2. I'm about to start number 3, but I promise to send you news this week.

    And of course Mr. Bungle! They are awesome and it makes me sad that I never saw them live. I guess I can always hope for a reunion tour if Mike Patton ever makes time amongst his five thousand other projects.

    1. You're welcome. And thank YOU for participating, TGG! :)

  4. He-he. I'm glad I'm not the wordiest geek around! :o)

    1. Haha, not at all! I like the longer posts as much as any of them; they're all so fun to read!