Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wil Wheaton and Chris Hardwick are my best friends

Wil Wheaton and Chris Hardwick are my best friends.
Let me be very honest and clear here, I have never met either of the two gentlemen. I have never seen in person, spoken on the phone, or engaged on social media with either of them. However, I am an avid fan of their work. Their online presence exposes so much of their personality (seemingly) that I cannot help but feel as if I know them. I have often joked that while I am a man of faith I worship at two altars, the Altar of Christ at First Presbyterian Church in Downey, CA, and the Altar of Science in Neil Degrasse Tyson’s “StarTalk Radio” podcast. I await the arrival of Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman’s “Hollywood Babble-On” with the same anticipation that my Die-Hard Pro-RedSox family members look forward to a game against the Yankees (ok that might be hyperbole but not by much). I listen to Jay Mohr’s “Mohr Stories” regardless of who he has on as a guest because I know that, at the very least, he himself will be entertaining. My point is, that I am a verified podcast junkie.
I was first introduced to the world of podcasts in late 2012 by the host of my favorite podcast, Andrew from “ThereforeIGeek”, as a way of gaining information about the creative process behind writing, drawing, and publishing comic books. He pointed me towards the podcast helpfully titled “Make Comics”. I’ve known Andrew and Dude for years and this was before either of us had gotten behind the mic and put anything more than pictures of ourselves online. I was, at the time, a professional sailor and instantly fell in love with the ability to download as many episodes as I could while in port, and then binge listen with my earbuds inside my hearing protection as I walked around the engine room. I went around the world and across the equator with the voices of people I’d never met playing directly into my head. By the end of my six-month voyage, I was good and hooked.
I had never before understood the “cult of personality” effect. I laughed at the people who bought People Magazine. I openly teased my female co-workers who gossiped about the fashion choices of Kim Kardashian, Cameron Diaz, or the latest “celebutante”. No longer my friends, I had truly gone down the rabbit hole. “Wil Wheaton has his own beer? I need to find that and try it!” “Bill Nye has his own line of bow ties? I’ve always thought I’d look good in a bow tie.” And my obsession wasn’t limited to podcaster’s either. “Ewan McGreggor’s Uncle played Wedge Antillies in the Original Trilogy? Wow that’s amazing, I think I’ll go watch his motorcycle documentary on Netflix!” “Jason Momoa is the new Aquaman? That fits because he studied Marine Biology in College! (according to Wikipedia)”
In mid 2013 I stopped sailing and settled in to the Tacoma Washigton area working at the local Best Buy where a new group of friends got me involved with tabletop role-playing games for the first time. Why didn’t the afore-mentioned Andrew get me involved earlier? Well he probably tried but when my head wasn’t swimming in single malt, it was usually stuck too far up my, well, you know the metaphor, to pay attention to him. So when I did finally realize that tabletop games were fun? There was Wil Wheaton. “Old Faithful” with another digital program to enthrall and entertain me. From there on, “Geek & Sundry”, “seesmod”, and “Nerdist” became staples of my visual entertainment as well as my auditory.
In early 2016 I started my own podcast and blog. Check it out if you like but beware, I don’t update often and this might be the only article post on the whole site. I’ve enjoyed the process of recording and publishing the site, but, if I’m honest, I prefer listening. I like finding out that Dr. Tyson is from the Bronx (where I went to school). I take an almost perverse pleasure in listening to Lizzie Post debate etiquette with her cousin, Daniel Post Senning. I absolutely eat up hearing Marc Maron, Jay Mohr, Jason Mewes, and Chris Hardwick talk about their struggles with addiction (a few cousins on my father’s side of the family are in recovery so I’ve always been interested in people’s stories). I love hearing Andrew talk about his love of comics and movies with Tracy and Dude. Sometimes the best part of my day is putting my headphones on and hearing the voice of an old friend. Regardless of whether I know them, or not.
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