He’s seemingly always on the road, schmoozing with geek icons and rubbing elbows with superheroes (or at least those that create and portray them), just to give you the latest scoops. He’s a trivia buff of the first order and, most importantly, he’s our editor-in-chief. He is Matt Blum.
What’s your origin story?
I’m 42 years old, and I’m married with two kids: a 12-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. For my day job I’m a software engineer–I first learned to program in BASIC on a TRS-80, and I’ve known I wanted to be a programer since I was eight, maybe younger. I grew up a huge fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek–I had toy lightsabers and SW action figures that I played with a lot, and I had Vulcan ear tips and a tricorder replica, too. It helped a lot that my older brother was (and still is) a geek as well–I borrowed a lot of his books, and we played a lot of games together. I read comic books voraciously growing up, and organized a group of my friends in Elementary School to play “X-Men” during recess every day (I was Professor X). I guess you could say my geeky interests are pretty spread out–I’m not truly obsessively into any one fandom, but I really enjoy many different ones all at the same time.
What do you do when you’re not writing and editing at GeekDad?
Beside what I mentioned above. I love to play games with my family, and to introduce my kids to all the things I love. They’re both geeks and proud of it, and are just as excited about the new Star Wars film as I am (possibly more, since they’ve never seen a first-run Star Wars film before). I play a fair number of video games, but I don’t (usually) get sucked into one to the point where I let other things slide so I have time to play it.
You’re one of the few remaining original GeekDads, how does it feel to have survived so long and do you have a favorite memory?
I love being a part of GeekDad. It’s changed my life in more ways than I can count, and all of them good. I’ve gotten the chance to do so many things I would never have imagined I’d get to do. I can’t imagine ever quitting the blog. As for favorite memories, two times come to mind immediately. The first time I was introduced to someone at a new job, and the person I was being introduced to recognized my name as a writer on GeekDad was pretty amazing to me–I had never felt like any kind of celebrity before. And the other time would be in 2008, when I wrote a piece for the blog about what was then a pretty new cartoon show called Phineas and Ferb, and I got an email from Dan Povenmire, one of the show’s creators, thanking me for my article and saying that it had made his day; since that time, I’ve talked with Povenmire and the show’s other creator Jeff “Swampy” Marsh many times, and have a great connection with them.
Once upon a time, I know you made an appearance on Jeopardy. Two part question here. First, what was harder–coming up with questions or ringing in? Second, which is your favorite Trebek–Alex with mustache or Alex without mustache?
Ringing in is by far the hardest thing about being on Jeopardy, no question. If you’re good enough to pass the test and get called to be on the show, the odds are you will know or be able to figure out the vast majority of the “questions.” So will your opponents, of course, so it all comes down to ringing in first. When I found out I was going to be on the show, I watched it on TV every day, standing up with a ballpoint pen in my hand, and practiced repeatedly pushing the button on it as soon as Alex was done reading the “answer.” I think Alex Trebek looks a bit younger without the mustache, but he had it when I was on the show, so I’ll always remember him like that.
Do you write anywhere else?
I occasionally write elsewhere, but only in a guest capacity. The only blog I regularly post to is GeekDad. Honestly, I just don’t have enough time and energy to write anywhere else at the moment anyway.
You have had the opportunity to go and meet some pretty big names in entertainment and geek icons. Did any of them leave you starstruck or at a loss for words?
I’ve been a bit starstruck a few times, but never to any great degree. Maybe it’s because I went to a lot of sci-fi, and in particular Star Trek, conventions when I was young, and got to meet a lot of big names then, but most of the time I’m OK talking with the big stars. It helps, I’ve found, when interviewing someone on the phone, that you have to say something, although I did get a little tongue-tied when I recently interviewed Stan Lee. A lot depends on the person I’m talking to, because some celebrities love to talk to press and some really don’t–I remember I expected to be a bit tongue-tied when I did a phone interview with Nathan Fillion some years ago, but he was so friendly and laid-back that I wasn’t at all. And I was recently incredibly flattered when I visited the set of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and Clark Gregg actually remembered talking with me three years earlier for the first Avengers movie. I’ve had some incredible opportunities to meet people I would never have dreamed I’d get to meet, and I know how lucky I am. Heck, on my very first movie-related media junket, I actually got kissed on the cheek by Russell Brand (so did all the other bloggers on the trip, most of whom were female). It’s pretty unlikely anything weirder than that is going to happen to me.
What’s your desert island list: Book. Movie. Comic. Television show. Video game. Tabletop game.
Hmm, that’s tough. Book: Maybe Lord of the Rings, because (assuming I can have all three books together) it’s really long. If not, maybe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Movie: If I were forced to make a choice, I think I might go with The Princess Bride, because I don’t think it’s possible to see it too many times. Some days I might’ve picked a Marx Brothers movie, or Star Trek IV, or Empire Strikes Back, or even Groundhog Day. I think it would largely depend on my mood when I had to make the choice. Comic: If I can have the whole series, I’d go with the Watchmen. Video Game: Portal 2, because it’s just a great, great game. Tabletop Game: I guess that would depend on how many other people there were for me to play with. If I’m by myself, I’d probably take Pandemic, because it’s a coop game so I could just play several players by myself. If there are other people there, I’d go with a deck of playing cards, because there are so many different games you can play with it.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars or Star Trek? Why do I have to pick one? I like them both, for very different reasons. I think of SW as a fantasy that happens to be set in space–I mean, “the Force” is basically a euphemism for “magic.” I think of ST as more sci-fi–I mean, yes, there are plenty of things that happen in ST that strain the bounds of credulity, but not quite as blatantly as the Force does.