Meet a GeekDad: Managing Editor, Z.

Reading Time: 4 minutes
z at pike place
Z. getting way too excited about the prospect of seafood at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. (photo: Brüx Callison)

There are a lot of rumors surrounding our single-letter-monikered GeekDad, Z. And we finally get to put some of those to rest in this edition of “Meet a GeekDad,” featuring our managing editor.

Rumor is that you were made in a lab. Were your kids too?

I’ve actually heard that rumor as well, but, given the rudimentary state of human genetic engineering in the 1970s, I don’t put a lot of stock in it. My kids were both born in the mid-2000s (2005 and 2008), so I reckon I could’ve made ’em designer babies if I’d really wanted to; but, no, they too are standard-issue humans.

What’s your most normal hobby? And how do you balance it with your geeky ones?

One of my biggest (and least nerdy) passions is clothes. Believe it or not, I’m a big fashion guy. Of course I temper that by collecting and modding Game Boys, reading comics, playing tabletop RPGs, and spending way too much time staring at LCD screens.

What do you do when you’re not writing and editing at GeekDad?

My day job is at a small local college where I do ed-tech stuff. It’s sort of like super-specialized IT; if you need some iPads deployed or your professional development attendance audited, I’m your man. Aside from that I’m also a single dad, so that’s where I try to put as much energy as I possibly can. I think, culturally, we have this weirdly stratified view of parenthood: it’s either something you just innately know how to do or it’s something that can only be mastered by reading the right books and subscribing to the right schlocky philosophies. For me, though, it’s just another big, weird, wild, constant learning experience–the kind of thing you really have to feel your way through and hope you don’t screw up too much.

How did you get involved in GeekDad?

Oh, you know, same old song: a niche music blogger working in relative obscurity gets a D20 tattoo, thus catching the eye of an expanding parenting/tech/culture blog at Wired. Pretty standard success story. I guess that was around 2008. I’ve been with the blog ever since. Started out as a stringer, then moved up to proper contributor. I got asked to be an Associate Editor when the editorial team was expanded in 2011, and then I got kicked up to Managing Editor shortly after GeekDad went independent. That likely implies that I moved up the ranks by working hard and paying my dues, but I simply prefer to think that our standards have just gotten progressively lower over the years.

Do you write anywhere else?

The bulk of my writing is confined to GeekDad, but I’ve recently resurrected hipsterplease.com, my old music blog. Mostly it just exists as another portal to the new iteration of the Radio Free Hipster podcast (a proud part of the GeekDad Podcast Network!), but I rather think of it as my digital home away from home.

Rumor is that you’ve won some pretty big awards. Did Kanye try to interrupt you as you accepted?

Man, the rumor mill is going crazy these days! But, yeah, RFH managed to pick up a pair of Parsec Awards during its original run for “Best Speculative Fiction Music Podcast.” Both of these occurred well after Kanye’s infamous 2009 MTV Video Music Awards run-on–in 2010 and 2012–but he never sweated me about either, so I figure we’re good. As a matter of fact, I’m gonna go ahead and consider that a tacit endorsement from Yeezy.

Desert Island list: Book. Movie. Comic. Television show. Video game. Tabletop game.

Oh wow. Lemme see… I’ll go The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor, Transformers: The Movie (1986), New Mutants (anything up until the Liefeld run), The Facts of Life (no surprise there), Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and that last one is tough–probably Palladium’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG. I’d draw faces on some coconuts and run ’em through a lengthy campaign. Also, why is there no desert island album on that list? This island has electricity and, I assume, Wi-Fi, but I can’t have a damn CD player?!

Do you have a favorite convention? Or is there one that you really want to attend?

I’m from the southeast, which puts me solidly in Dragon*Con country, but I actually still have a soft spot for its forerunner, the long-defunct Atlanta Fantasy Fair. That’s where my earliest, most formative con experiences took place. On the more contemporary end, I’ve still yet to attend a PAX or a Gen Con, which are both on the bucket list.

Star Wars, Star Trek, or The Last Starfighter?

I ain’t gonna lie to you, Dave; I can barely remember Starfighter. As for the big two, I was raised on Star Wars, but Star Trek has a more enduring quality. I sort of got burned out on Star Wars back during the initial Special Edition push, and my relationship with that franchise has been a little hit-or-miss ever since. My love of TOS and TNG, on the other hand, has never really waned. But, if pushed for a straight-up answer I’d probably say my space opera of choice is… Robotech?

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