The Blank Slate: Rebuilding My Empire

            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.

            In June of 2011, me, my wife, our 8 year-old daughter, and 6 year-old son suffered a near total-loss house fire. Thankfully, my family escaped alive but our two sweet cats died in the fire. I have another blog (  where I go into more detail if you’re interested.  I’m writing that blog in an effort to help other victims of house fires deal with the difficult process of recovery.

           Most of our belongings were burned, melted, soaked in water, or inundated with smoke and soot.  That included the 10,000+ comic book collection I’d been amassing since 1980, thousands of hardcover & paperback books, hundreds of games & models, and countless “collectibles” that I’d acquired over the years.  I was able to salvage a few things, but for the most part, all the hobbies on which I had devoted so much time and money were gone overnight.

            I don’t share this with you to garner sympathy.  The role of victim was not one I’d ever experienced and it certainly isn’t an enviable feeling.  But my family made it out of the house alive and my kids seem to have come through with no lasting damage. The support we’ve received from family, friends, and even strangers has been amazing and humbling.  It’s been a tough year but I think we’ve come back stronger than ever.

            Of course I didn’t feel that way at first.  Standing in the ruins of my home was utterly depressing.  But one thing (among many) I’ve learned is that there are very few material things in this world that can’t be replaced on eBay or  My son did have a really cool Spider-Man wall clock that I can’t even find on Google but everything else I’ve set out to replace has been easily found, if not always inexpensive.

           Do I miss my old stuff?  Sure. But I’ve had the opportunity to reassess my hobbies and focus in on the things that I really enjoy over the things I used to buy out of habit or impulse.  I’m rebuilding my empire from scratch, having a blast, and blogging about it with the hope that all you guys & girls with the same love of nerdy pursuits will enjoy what I have to say.

           The first step in this process has been the establishment of my very own, dedicated nerd cave.  I’ll be talking about the process in my next few posts.  Hopefully I can inspire you guys to carve out your own little space in your home because I gotta tell you, if I could, I’d quit my day job tomorrow and spend 12 hours a day in here.  Until next time…