I became a gamer around 1980. People at my mom’s office were playing something called Dungeons & Dragons and raving about how much fun they were having. She soon bought the blue box set for my father at a local bookstore. He had about as much interest in the game as Stephen Hawking would have in a Karaoke machine. I quickly inherited the box and was instantly hooked.
A couple years later, I was babysitting for a couple down the street when I noticed Avalon Hill’s Squad Leader on the bookshelf. The husband, Steve, invited me over the following Saturday to play. Getting my head handed to me became a regular thing but I loved every minute of it.
I’ve been buildling models since about the age of ten and I’ve had a model workbench everywhere I’ve lived since 1989. I’m a huge military history buff and I used to build 1/35 scale armor models almost exclusively. However, in the years since my kids were born, I’d gotten bored with them, had less time and all but lost interest. They tended to be massive dust collectors and I had pretty much maxed out my skills on them.
In the years before our house fire, I’d started dabbling in Warhammer, 40K, Lord of the Rings miniatures, spacecraft and large scale figures. I actually had a pretty nice Warhammer Vampire Counts army progressing. Key word: had.
Maybe “home theater” is a bit of an overstatement. I’ve never been one of those guys who needs to have the surround sound speakers finely tuned to the acoustic profile of a room and the windows shaking. If I can understand the dialogue, I’m usually good.
I actually had contemplated NOT having a TV in the new nerd cave. But that feeling passed after about 10 seconds. Let’s face it, no self-respecting nerd would voluntarily exclude a TV from his or her den. My problem was that I had nowhere to put the TV. My wife suggested mounting it up high in the corner but that would’ve meant a pretty small screen and I’d have felt like I was sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room watching the Weather Channel.
It’s a cold rainy Monday afternoon in November and you’ve got the day off of work. You’ve spent the morning running errands or doing chores around the house. Now it’s time to chill. If you’re like me, the absolute number one way to spend the afternoon is to ensconce yourself in a comfy chair with a big fleece blanket and a pile of books, comics, magazines, or all of the above.
When designing my dream nerd cave, my first priority was a comfortable place to read. However, the room still needs to function as a guest bedroom. The queen-sized bed that we had, while comfortable, took up way too much room. Plus, I’ve had too many reading sessions in bed turn into nap sessions, so I’ve got to stay more or less vertical.
Please allow me to digress briefly from discussing the design of my ultimate nerd cave. This morning I was writing a post about setting up the room as my go-to-spot for reading when something occurred to me. I talk a bit about replacing my lost books by spending a lot of time and a fair amount of money on Amazon.com. If you didn’t know me, you might think I’m rolling in money and flaunting it on a blog like some kind of jerk. But that’s not the case.
And while I’m at it, let me say this—I don’t relish, enjoy, or in any way embrace the role of victim. At this point, if you’ve read my first few posts, you know my family lost our home, two much loved cats, and most of our possessions in a house fire in the summer of 2011. If you find me playing the “fire card” now and then, I promise you it’s only to provide a context to whatever I’m talking about. ‘Nuff said.
I’m a planner. Sometimes that can be a bad thing. I frequently succumb to what’s known as “paralysis by analysis.” G.I. Joe claims “knowing is half the battle.” For me, knowing I have this problem doesn’t always keep me from falling victim. But in the case of my new Nerd Cave, I made a conscious & disciplined effort to keep that side of me down. It’s not every day a guy’s wife tells him to take a whole room and do with it what he will (except, of course for hanging model airplanes) and I didn’t intend to squander the opportunity.
A couple of weeks after my wife gave me carte blanche, we sold the headboard and mattress. The room was empty. It was time to start making the “making it happen” part happen. I sat down with a pen and paper.
So, one day I was sitting on the bed watching TV and my beautiful wife walks in, glances at the overflowing bookshelf on her side of the bedroom and gets a thoughtful/perplexed look on her face. What’s important to know is that the bookcase in question was definitely NOT supposed to be overflowing with books.
When we moved into our new home after our fire, I’d agreed to finally give my wife the “big girl bedroom” that she’d wanted for years. For the last ten, our master bedroom had been a hot mess of wall-to-wall Late 20th Century Nerd style. I can admit now that it wasn’t pretty. Remember Mel Gibson’s apartment from Conspiracy Theory? Well, it was kinda like that on a hardcore nerd tip but without Mel’s roaches. And God love her, she never complained once.
The “blank slate”—sometimes it’s a good thing, and other times…well, not so much. Before I get down to the business of blogging about exactly what came from the Nerd Cave, I should explain something.
Not long ago, I was what you might call a “hoarder.” I have many nerdcentric interests and once I acquired something, I wasn’t likely to get rid of it. And when I use the past tense above, I should clarify. I didn’t get therapy or have an intervention by family & friends or some “reality” show. Although like an intervention, my “cure” wasn’t voluntary. And it certainly wasn’t painless.
Welcome to the first installment of It Came From the Nerd Cave. If Seinfeld was the “show about nothing,” then this will be the “blog about a whole bunch.” If it falls into the realm of nerd culture, then I’m likely heavily into it, have dabbled in it at some point, or have it sitting in my Amazon.com shopping cart ready to be dabbled in. I’m new to blogging but I’ve been living the nerd dream since the early 1980s when I discovered comics, Frank Frazetta, Dungeons & Dragons, and a ton of other really cool stuff.