Employee Profile: Tanglebones
Everyone be sure to jump into the GWJ IRC and harass Bobby.
When one thinks of the quintessential New Yorker, the image that comes to mind is probably quite close to Tanglebones. Whether it's the jaunty angle of his fedora or his encyclopedic knowledge of esoteric NYC cuisine, one cannot look at him without thinking, "Damn, not another hipster from Brooklyn."
Since I met him two years ago at PAX East I have come to know him quite well and I can say with one-hundred percent assuredness that he is definitely not from Brooklyn. At PAX he is a fixture in the tabletop area, where he can be seen with the rest of the goodjers playing the latest boardgame hotness. I'm told he is also an amateur cosplayer of some skill.
What is more intriguing about our resident pancake eater is his day job as vice president at Bridge Records. While I have not had the courage to dip my toe into his pool of modern classical music knowledge (now that's an image), I am told that his pool runs very deep.
But who really is Tanglebones? Restaurant savant? Musical executive? Boardgame aficionado? Let's find out.
1) Who the devil are you?
I'm 33, and devoutly devoted to, in no particular order: my home town of New York, my lovely and talented wife Alexis, great food, fantasy literature, ancient and medieval history, and gaming.
There are some who call me Rob, and others who call me Bob, and a rare few that call me Bobby, depending on when they first got to know me. (But seriously, call me Rob).
2) What are you supposed to be doing when you're reading GWJ?
I'm supposed to be on IRC, right? But other than that, I'm VP at Bridge Records, Inc., a classical music label and family business that I sometimes think of as my slightly younger, vastly needier sibling. We've put out several hundred titles, run two successful Kickstarters, and have won a fair number of Grammys, with 20+ nominations. I need to write a proper job description for myself, but I'm essentially a jack of all trades, focusing on grant writing and metadata.
3) When you're not working or gaming, what do you do with your time?
I'm a huge fan of genre literature and history. I'm pretty busy in the book recommendation threads, though my book pile is almost to the size of my video game pile. I've just started cosplaying, and it was a hell of a rush — I'm definitely looking forward to doing more of that. I also like to cook, particularly Indian food.
4) How about family? Kids? Pets? Particularly meaningful inanimate objects?
My wife of 7 years, Alexis (Kittylexy on GWJ), and my two cats, Ash and Maggie are the center of my life. Thanks to a kindly doctor and an outpatient procedure, I won't be having kids any time soon.
5) When and/or how did you get into gaming?
My grandmother was an elementary school teacher and a gadget nerd. She brought home an Apple IIe when I was 4 years old, along with some edutainment games (Rocky's Boots, Gertrude's Secrets, other ones that I've lost in the mists of memory), along with some guides to BASIC programming and Print Shop. I glommed onto it right away, and never let go. The first game that I remember playing on it that would be considered pure entertainment would have to be Zork, followed by my uncle's copy of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. A few years later, I discovered D&D at summer camp, and came back craving more of it; before I got a gaming group together, I picked up Ultima V and Bard's Tale II. After that, I was hooked on RPGs, more or less to the present day.
6) What is your fondest gaming memory?
I don't know that I've got a fondest memory specifically, but I've got a few fondest eras: 1992-1993 (Tie Fighter, Betrayal at Krondor, Ultima VII, Wing Commander III) and 1997-1999 (Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Planescape, Heroes of Might and Magic, System Shock 2). Today, I couldn't play about half of my favorites from the era, even with nostalgia-tinged glasses on, but at the time, they seemed like the most important things in the world to me.
7) What is your favorite game over the last year or so? Why?
Video game would be a tossup between Spectromancer and Crusader Kings II. I'm a sucker for history, particularly the Middle Ages, and Crusader Kings II is pretty much the game that I came up with in college, when I was doing wishcasting for an ideal game (though my version was turn-based). Spectromancer is just a fun little time sink that gets rid of a lot of the annoyances of M:tG (deck building, mainly), and is tuned for quick (3-5 minute) games.
I've also fallen deeply in love with Fiasco, thanks in part to the RabbitCon podcast devoted to it, and also to BNPederson bringing his copy to PAX East, where I got a chance to play an epic game involving penguin-urine-based aphrodisiacs, climate science, and an epically broken love triangle.
8) Which upcoming game are you looking forward to most? Why?
At the time I'm writing this, I'm a week away from getting my grimy mitts on a (digital) copy of Persona 4: Golden for my Vita. I played it briefly on the PS2, but never got very far, for a number of reasons. Playing Persona 3 Portable rekindled my love of the JRPG, and P4:G looks like it's going to take all of P3P's improvements on the PS2 original, and expand upon them significantly.
9) What first brought you to GWJ? What keeps you coming back?
World of Warcraft and the podcast were what first got me. Back in '08, I was working a job that allowed for significant podcast-listening time, and I was just getting back into WoW. I had an on-again, off-again relationship with the game, but no real guild. I believe Wrath of the Lich King had launched about at the time I found the Conference Call, and I decided to join the guild, and made my first forum posts. My WoW account may have expired pretty quickly, but I found a great community of people that I'm proud to call my friends (and Quintin Stone, too).
10) What is the story behind your handle?
Tanglebones is an incredibly minor character in Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone stories. I don't have any particular affinity for the character, but I always loved the sound of his name.
11) Do you have any notable rivalries and/or friendships with someone on GWJ?
These days I spend more time in IRC than on the forum, so I need to say hi to the IRC crowd - ClockworkHouse, Minarchist, SixteenBlue, Sally Nasty, Cube, NSMike, dimmerswitch, Captain Domano. I've also made a ton of GWJ friends in real life, thanks to S&Ts and PAX — Padriec in particular stands out. Doc Awkward and Missy have been kind enough to open up their house to us for their Slap & Tickle. Oilypenguin lived up to his tag, and got me to come out to Ohio *twice* to hang out with Goodjers! I combined my name with that of Strangeblades to form House Blanglestrades for PenCon, and, after meeting the man himself, know that he's a total sweetheart, despite his fearsome mien.
12) Thanks for taking the time to answer our hard-hitting questions! Any last words?
This community is a great place, and when I landed here, I found an online family. Every time I go to an S&T or con, this belief is reinforced, because nearly everyone I meet is so damn awesome. Even in the deepest depths of P&C, there's a decency and respect that I've not seen in other nerdy corners of the internet. I've had my urge to game ebb and flow during the years I've been on GWJ, but there's always other interesting ways to engage with GWJ that have been immensely rewarding.