Employee Profile: HedgeWizard

HedgeWizard with his toys.

It's a tall order to write an introduction for HedgeWizard. And it's not helped by the fact that I'm drinking his scotch.

Nor is it helped by his wonderfully well-trained dogs currently sleeping at my feet, or the comfort of his guest bed, or any of the other amenities I'm using while house-sitting for him, right now. In fact, it'd be pretty easy to find bias in all the good things I could write about him. The bias might as well be written in blinking neon, and I'm fine with that.

Because it doesn't change the fact that Hedge is the kindest, most welcoming form of gamer you can encounter. His board gaming parties, hosted in his beautiful home or in other Bay Area venues, always leave smiles and stories (any who witnessed his James Brown Rock Band performance at HedgeCon can verify this). His commitment to encountering -- recruiting might be the better word -- geeks into the GWJ fold is impressive, driven not just by his absolute ease in any social situation, but also by a genuine urge to always have a blast.

Plus -- and this is true -- you'll never find a man with a more organized board game collection. It seriously borders on obsession.

When I moved to Berkeley in 2010, I had a feeling I'd get to hang out with an amazing crew of GWJ friends. But I didn't know one of them would become one of my best friends. I'm pretty happy about that.

Simply put, he's a living example of what the GWJ community is all about. Because, to paraphrase William Shatner, of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, HedgeWizard's is the most ... Goodjer.

1) Who the devil are you?

I'm a 36 year-old Rabbit-wanna-be who dreams of making the big time someday. Since I am not sure what the "big time" constitutes, I muddle my way through, consoling myself with my degree in philosophy. I used to live in San Francisco, and now I live near to San Francisco.

2) What are you supposed to be doing when you're reading GWJ?

I've been masquerading as a program manager for a large SVIC (Silicon Valley Internet Company) for the last 4.5 years. If someone can pass me a clue as to what program managers actually do, I'd be very appreciative. I've done a lot of things in my relatively short life; bartender, book seller, warehouse ape, tech support rep, non-profit grant write, USN medic with a USMC STA platoon, bon vivant. Mostly, I imagine what it would be like to wear the beard of Elysium, live the life of Rabbit, and possess the wealth of Larry Page.

3) When you're not working or gaming, what do you do with your time?

Once upon a time I was a pretty serious athlete (soccer & endurance/adventure racing), but age, critical hits, and children have really reduced my ability to train. Still, regular exercise is crucial for me to remain sane, so I stay active. Reading is also a huge part of my life, and thanks to the ubiquity of Kindle apps, I am never more than 5 seconds from a good book.

My family rounds out the rest of my time; I have a 4 year old daughter, and an almost 1 year old son. I LOVE being a dad (surprisingly so), so I very much enjoy my time with them. And yes, they're already being inculcated into the cult of the gamer!

4) When and/or how did you get into gaming?

I grew up in a gaming family. We used to play board games frequently after dinner; Chess, Clue, Dark Tower. We also picked up the Atari 2600 and Atari 800 early in their life cycles and we'd hand off the controller, cheer each other on, etc. My sister exposed me to D&D in 1982, and I've never looked back. Many of my touchstone experiences were born out of playing pencil and paper RPGs and the original Ultima series.

5) Why do you play games? Why haven't you outgrown them?

I think the question of whether games can be good for you has been answered far more eloquently by far smarter people than I, so I'll leave that argument to them. My personal anecdotes of those are: I do believe I hit advanced reading & comprehension milestones earlier as a result of my gaming. I got into computers because of gaming, which has directly translated into my current career. Playing pen & paper games reinforced simple math, drove creativity and taught real interpersonal conflict resolution skills. (Kill it with a sword!)

In addition, gaming for me has always included a heavy social component. Even when I sunk innumerable hours into playing a game by myself, that time would translate into conversations with others about the game, which framed many of my early friendships.

At this stage of my life, I find myself acting more of a tourist (please, no tour guides though!). I love those first sessions with a new game, particularly if I can explore the systems, themes, and stories with other friends. It's part of why the turnover in my board game collection is so high. But I've started to crave diving deeper into a couple of games lately, so we'll see if my behaviors change.

6) What is your favorite game that you’re playing right now? Why?

Skyrim. I'm very purposely trying to dive deep on this one, and it helps being focused on only one game at a time. I picked it up on the 360 so that my wife will have an excuse to knit.

I also run an infrequent Warhammer Fantasy Role Play group that consists of Demiurge, Toddland, 7inchsplit and dr2w. I love that world and I love the new Cadillac style chrome of the 3rd edition.

7) What first brought you to GWJ? Why do you stay?

Like many, I listened to the Conference Call and lurked before joining. I was burnt out on the endless arguments, ad hominem attacks and general assholery prevalent on virtually every other forum. As I contemplated the looming birth of my first, I found some really great, supportive threads on raising kids, passing on the gamer ethos, and so forth here on GWJ, so I decided to throw my lot in with you crazy people.

I guess it's community, community, community.

8) Do you have a notable rivalry and/or friendship with someone on GWJ?

I have been to (or arranged) a good number of slap & tickles on the West Coast, and I have yet to meet a Goodjer I didn't like. Except maybe Blanglestrades (Strangeblades' Hyde-like alter ego). He frightens me.

My daughter would suggest Cory "Demiurge" Banks as her favorite GWJ Cast Member, largely because he looks like a Hobbit.

9) What is the story behind your your forum name?

Once long ago, I used to go by the handle Dead Eye Dick. I pulled that moniker from a mash-up of Dead Eye (a name we used to poke each other with in the Scout/Sniper program) and the Dick & Jane comics. I had created a team poster riffing on those comics "See Dick Run. See Dick Shoot. Shoot, Dick! Shoot!" I used it for all of my online IDs (and still do on a few other online accounts where I can't change it).

That is until I invited a co-worker over to a LAN party I hosted. He said he liked my handle, which I thought nothing of... Until I logged in to our team server a day later to see another Dead Eye Dick logged in from our company IP range. Sucka was perpetrating me! Time to change!

I had been debating starting a small gaming company at the time, and had been planning on calling it Hedgewizard Games - a nod to the self-taught magicslinger career from WFRP. So I became HedgeWizard, and from thence I was known across the 'verse.

10) Thanks for taking the time to answer our hard-hitting questions! Any last words?

If you ever come to the Bay Area, there is a large, active, amazingly awesome contingent of Goodjers here. Ping one of us, say hi, and we'll make you feel at home during your stay. I guarantee it!

Comments

HedgeWizard wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

Welcome to the Upper Crust, HedgeWizard!

I feel so ennobled to sit in such esteemed company!

Now... what do I win? A special GWJ icon? A public shaming? Is there a skull n bones style initiation and hazing that I must endure?!

Certis promised we'd get editing ability.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
HedgeWizard wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

Welcome to the Upper Crust, HedgeWizard!

I feel so ennobled to sit in such esteemed company!

Now... what do I win? A special GWJ icon? A public shaming? Is there a skull n bones style initiation and hazing that I must endure?!

Certis promised we'd get editing ability.

He promised me the ban hammer.

KrazyTacoFO wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

Certis promised we'd get editing ability.

He promised me the ban hammer. :evil:

Duffman says a lot of things. OHHHHHHHH YEAH!

IMAGE(http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c210/FadedOfAshes/duffman.jpg)

GWJ front page is littered with the sorrow of broken promises.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

GWJ front page is littered with the sorrow of broken promises.

If you think that's bad, you should see the writers' forum.

Meh, don't care about that. Writers aren't real people.

I had a chance to meet more Goodjers in the flesh this weekend, and the trend continues: you are all good people.

HedgeWizard wrote:

I had a chance to meet more Goodjers in the flesh this weekend, and the trend continues: you are all good people.

Sucker.