Force Awakens
I stole Star Wars

My name is Michael Ford and I am an asshole.

I run a local social organization, Great Basin Geeks. GBG has been around for a little over two years and in that time has grown rapidly. Currently we sit just under 1,200 members. This is not some fancy corporate entity, we have a lot to learn and a long way to go before we are truly a professional organization. We do the best we can with the limited resources available. I personally don’t make a great deal of money, but what I work hard for tends to be spent on the group. Others have been generous enough to help where they can. We don’t sell anything, we don’t have membership dues, there is no revenue to speak of from the group. When we decided to do a small convention, we did it on a shoestring budget that I’ll be paying for into the foreseeable future.

To give a little background, I started GBG with my wife when she asked what I wanted for my 30th Birthday. Because it was also going to be the 30th Anniversary of Return of the Jedi, I asked for a Star Wars themed party. Only problem was, I didn’t know hardly anybody Geeky in the area, even though I had lived here for 10 years. So my wife and I took to the internet, posted in local Facebook groups and Craigslist, and miraculously had about 20 people or so show up. From that party we formed the Northern Nevada Science Fiction Club. We stayed small at about 25 people for a little over a year, getting together occasionally to see the latest Sci-Fi movies, with After Earth doing its best to put and end to it. Then in June of 2014, I had just quit a job that I hated and decided that I wanted to do more with the group. I changed the name to Great Basin Geeks and started sharing an open invitation online. Within a few months we were regularly meeting and having fun together. The group grew rapidly and more ideas were formed for activities.

Among these ideas was a personal one that meant a lot to me. What if I could see the new Star Wars with 100 of my closest friends? So I created a Facebook event for the group and plans slowly started to coalesce. About a month ago, rumors started to circulate that tickets were going on sale early, REALLY early. So we tried our best to figure out how we were going to see the movie as a group. I was firm in my belief that we should go the Galaxy Theatre in Sparks. It would offer the best experience for everyone going. So we tried to reach out to them. My wife sent out an event request form. We looked for a phone number to call for the local theater to no avail. All of us in the group have busy lives, so getting to the theater to ask about it in person proved difficult. In fact, I didn’t make it to the theater myself until the 16th of October. In the meantime, we tried to figure out how much the tickets would be and get the funds into the same pot to make the purchase.

This seems to be where a lot of the hate comes from, so I’ll break down my thinking as best as I can. Looking at other premieres that were coming to the Galaxy, I determined that tickets would be $12-13 each. On top of that, to make it easy to collect the funds, I made a Paypal button that people could click and pay. In hindsight, posting it on the website was a bad idea, but I honestly couldn’t figure out how to put it in the Facebook group. As you may know, Paypal charges for these types of transactions. At a flat $15, I figured I would be lucky to cover any other incidental costs, “convenience fees”, gas, etc. This was discussed with the group and I started to collect the money. When I did go to the theater, I got no firm answers, only that it was doubtful that we could simply rent out a screening. I did not get any other information on what pricing would be (“I don’t know”) or when tickets would go on sale exactly.

Rumors started to fly on the internet. Tickets would go on sale Monday, October 19th. At first it seemed a midnight ticket purchase would be in order. Then more info. Disney was dropping a new trailer. Disney was dropping a trailer on Monday Night Football. Ticket sales would be tied to the trailer dropping.

So instead of getting a day of rest after our first convention, because I had told everybody we were going to see and opening showing, I planned my Monday around buying Star Wars tickets. I got to the theater around 4. A few friends were already there and after checking with the theater about the time tickets would go on sale (“I don’t know”), we hung out and waited. The news crew showed up around 5 or so, looking for people waiting in line. There were about 10 of us at this point and they asked to interview me. Sure, why wouldn’t I get interviewed and share my passion for Star Wars? We finally got inside about 5:30. I ended up second in line. There were 4 cashiers, so I picked at random and started the process.

As I said, I don’t make a great deal of money. I don’t have a credit card. We had pre-sold about 60 tickets. I had a little money in the bank and some money we “made” at the Con (which didn’t cover all my personal expenses). A couple of Geeks had joined me and together we picked the largest opening standard showing we could afford. That ended up being a total of 172 tickets out of a screening that held 189 guests.

I was elated. We had done it! We had gotten tickets so that a large contingent of the Geeks would be able to see the new Star Wars together. We could share our passion with each other in yet another way. This was fantastic.

The news crew said they needed someone for the live broadcast at 6:30 and I agreed. Everything seemed to be going so well. We just made it up to O’Clearys in time to see the trailer and sat down to eat. When my wife posted that we had the tickets, people started clamoring to get them. I was still buzzing from the adrenaline, thinking I had accomplished something amazing and actually proud of the fact that I had purchased all those seats.

Then I got home and it was chaos. People were using the button I had created to pay for their seats non-stop, to the point that I tried shutting down the button while I caught up. There were some technical difficulties that caused me to shut down the page entirely. And while I was trying to get caught up on who had paid, the hate started to poor in.

Despite the fact that I thought I had been very transparent and open with my intentions and how things were going to work, apparently I was mistaken. Suddenly I went from the hero to the villain. I was an evil bastard that was scalping tickets. I was in shock. Scalping tickets? Yes, the cost of the tickets was lower than expected, but I still had to take the day off work, without pay, to secure them. And besides, any money leftover would probably end up going back to the Geeks, probably towards a holiday party. I mean, everyone knows me and how I operate, right?

The world can be a cruel place and everyone is looking for a villain. I couldn’t possibly have the best interest of Great Basin Geeks in mind. I must have been out to rip people off, to profit off the backs of my fellow Geeks. Never mind the fact that I have put countless blood, sweat, tears, money, time, and sanity into building the Geeks and trying to make it an accepting place for everyone.

I got angry. I did my best not to show it, but I made one heated post. I accept the opinions of others and know that what I wrote was counterproductive. I did not remove anyone from the group, I didn’t argue, I didn’t call anyone names or say that people were trolling. I am so sorry that things were unclear and that I made people feel like I was trying to harm them. That has never been my intention.

I know not everyone will believe me, there will be those that believe this was written for nefarious purposes. I can only ask those people to sit down with me face to face and ask what they want to know. I am a very open person, I just don’t always communicate perfectly. I try not to spout off online and some people took this as me hiding. I wanted to make sure that I was as calm and collected as possible when writing this, so I didn’t respond right away.

Maybe all this means that I’m an asshole. Who am I to claim otherwise? But I will continue to do my best to make Great Basin Geeks into the best organization it can be, and I’ll do so in the best way I can. I can’t do anything else.

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Great Basin Geek Con made the news!

Great Basin Geek Con was featured on KOLO 8 News in Reno!

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Lisa 2
Great Basin Geek Con

Get ready to get your Geek on!

Great Basin Geek Con is coming! October 17th and 18th at Reno Town Mall. FREE to attend!

Enjoy Cosplay, Live Music, Gaming, Artists, Vendors, and Panels galore!

Learn all about it right here: Great Basin Geek Con

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The Future of GBG – Part 1

If you haven’t read it, please check out this article that sums up how Great Basin Geeks got started.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to sum up what Great Basin Geeks is, what it does, what its goals are, or why it exists. It’s not because there is no vision behind Great Basin Geeks, it’s the exact opposite. I have a lot of ideas of just what GBG can and should do and be. It’s my goal with this article to sum up some of the current ideas that I would like to see accomplished by GBG.

In the short term, I want to see Great Basin Geeks continue to grow. Not just for the sake of growth, but for the sake of continuing to connect people. One of the first goals of GBG was to get people together. I had virtually no friends and I was tired of that being the case. When we decided that we were going to invite people from the local community to our home for my birthday, we took a risk and hoped that there were other people that would want to hang out at a Star Wars themed party. It turned out that there were a lot of people that wanted to connect.

So we want to continue to grow. The more members we have, the more likely every member can make strong connections with others that share their passions.

To make it easier to connect, we are working to make the GBG website easier to use for connection. Facebook has been a great tool, but it has its limitations and following the posts that we’re interested in can be problematic at best. I know most members can’t follow the Facebook group all day and keep up with all the posts that are made. Because of that, things get missed. Posts that might interest you get buried rapidly.

Along those lines, we want to slowly transition over to the GBG website, where we can create posts for general information that concerns the whole group, and forum threads for more in depth conversation on more specific topics.

Also, with the in depth options on individual profiles, you can easily find other people that share your interests. For an example, you can view my profile here. In this way, if you want to connect with other Star Wars fans, you can search for Star Wars. If you want Anime fans, search for Anime. And so on.

We will also continue to improve the Directory and the Calendar on With the Directory you can find local clubs, groups, and businesses that cater to Geeky interests. With the Calendar, you can find local events from one of the many game nights to local Cons.

This is just a summary of a few of the immediate plans for GBG. I will continue this in another article.

If you would like to get involved, help is always welcome! If you have ideas, please share them! My email is [email protected].

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GBG Shirts are available!



Tees, tanks, women’s cut, and even hoodies are now available! Tees start at just $15! The above colors are just a small sample. You can see more here. If you are interested in ordering anything, please email me at [email protected]

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Sign Up Today! Free!

We’ve been promising it and it’s finally here! Create your FREE membership account and start sharing your passions! Simply click the REGISTER button above to get started.

Take a look at my profile to get an example of how easy it is:

As you can see, I’m a Geek!

The profile is designed to be extremely flexible and let you express your passions and interests. Most of the fields are optional, but the more you fill out, the easier it is to connect! If you’re into Anime or Comic Books, RPGs or Zombies, share it!

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Hello, my name is Michael Ford. I am a life long geek that lives in Reno, NV. Back in early 2013, I grew fed up with having very few friends and nothing to do that interested me in my area. I decided to take action into my own hands and told my wife that I wanted to throw a big birthday party that would coincide with the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi. My wife was skeptical, but supportive. I posted ads online for the party. I annoyed a lot of people, posting in Facebook groups without asking permission. I also shared on Craigslist and in a few smaller forums. I contacted the 501st, the Rebel Legion, and the Jedi Assembly. My wife contacted Aikido of Reno to see about a live demo.
After several months of planning, the day finally arrived. The weather looked great that morning. We put out tables and tablecloths. I rolled out the R2-D2 cooler I had been lucky to find and filled him with Mountain Dew. We got the BBQ going and setup games.
Then something amazing happened, people showed up! I met people from the local area who I actually had common interests with!
Being Northern Nevada, the weather turned. It started to rain and we had to quickly pack up everything. One of my new friends helped me move the now monumentally heavy R2 under cover. And then the party moved inside. It was cramped, but no one seemed to mind. We talked for hours. We talked about Star Wars and Star Trek and Firefly and all the great geeky stuff that I loved. I got to show off a couple of my prized collectibles.
We all had a great time and I met some amazing people. I never wanted that night to end.
Out of that night was born the idea of a local group for like-minded people. A group was formed and a few meetups took place, mostly to go see the latest geeky movie. Life and money eventually got in the way and the group stopped meeting.
A recent change in jobs has finally given me the time and energy to dedicate to getting the group moving in the right direction.
This is an exciting time to be a geek in Northern Nevada. Every month there are events that celebrate geekdom. More and more groups are forming dedicated to special interests within geekdom. Northern Nevada is becoming a place where geeks can thrive.
Together we can help that process. Together we can make Northern Nevada a place for geeks of all kinds to come and share their love of all that is geeky.
I look forward to meeting all of you. May the Force be with you.

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Geekism: The Possibility of Finding Religion in the Things We Love

Disclaimer: This article in no way, claims that those who follow religions based on a deity are wrong, nor does it claim that those who don’t are better. This short essay is only a thoughtful procession of ideas.
Whether loud or quiet, all consuming or peripheral, for a large percentage of the population being a geek is an integral part of their lives. And for some, I postulate, being a geek is more than just a fandom, but a religion. Leaving aside faith in the Powers that Be and spirituality and focusing only on religion as man-made dogma (Buddy Christ just popped into your head, didn’t it?), being a geek is essentially following a religion with its own wise sages, moral principles, holy canons, diverse sects and probably most important, common community. All this combines under a large inclusive umbrella, that for lack of a better word, I’ll call: Geekism.
At the core of most religions, the wise sages whether teachers, guides or leaders, strived to better people and their world. In the case of Geekism, the list of inspirational women and men who have guided and motivated is almost innumerable. For the sake of time, and all its wibbly wobbliness, I’ll just list one: Gene Roddenberry. Not only a decorated war hero who more than once placed other lives above his own, Roddenberry could be said to have laid the foundation for Geekism. Sure there were hobbits, time machines and even aliens before he created Star Trek, but his hope for humanity is the world Geekism strives for. In his own words, “Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. […] If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”
To be a geek is to be different. Geekism embraces those differences and makes them special. It makes an unknown moisture farmer a galaxy hero. It takes a homebody and creates a warrior. And Geekism shows at every turn that the seemingly ordinary are truly extraordinary. As a fan, some may focus on one of these stories or embrace many, but the continuous affirmation that being different is important instills us with strength and a mental fortitude we might not otherwise have. Felicia Day, an actor, writer, director and fellow geek, has said the same, “At no point am I ever threatened by people who question who I am, or why I like the things I do, or my legitimacy. Because I know who I am very strongly, and I think that’s what geek culture can reinforce.”
That said, differences are inherently…well…different. Sometimes we can’t help our first reaction, but we can certainly control our behavior and our treatment of others. Geekism relies on one moral principle, a single commandment. As Wil Wheaton has succinctly put it, “Don’t be a dick.” And when you think about it, those words cover just about all situations. Who needs 10 commandments when one will do? If we are the best examples of humans we can be, our community only grows stronger.
And in the end, it’s community that most of us crave. It’s no coincidence that in small towns the church is the central hub. In most cases, we are social animals. We need the safety and support of like-minded individuals. It doesn’t matter if our interactions are face to face or screen to screen we find a way to reach out to those we can connect with.
The beauty of Geekism is how large the community actually is; the width and breadth of which crosses all cultures, all nationalities. Geeks are never alone and that is powerful.
Deity based religions have weathered centuries and are still here. They are important. But for those of us who have no such religious moorings; who are just a little bit different, I think allowing our geekiness to complete us is just as important. I am completely happy saying, “Hi, my name is Angela and I’m a Geekist.” Maybe you will to.

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Leadership is not Dictatorship

Recently a couple of the Geeks gave me a Harry Potter House Sorting Test. I was amazed, in just a few short questions they were able to determine a great deal about my personality. Their test revealed that while I can take a leadership role, I don’t do it because I want personal glory or accolades. I take on leadership roles because I see something that needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it, or I don’t see it being done properly. I was humbled that a test based on Harry Potter could cut right to the core of who I am. Don’t misunderstand me, I have great respect for Harry Potter. The world of Harry Potter is very well thought out and has extreme depth. But it always amazes me how the fictional worlds that we love so much can provide such deep insight about who we are as individuals.

All my life I have been unsure of where I fit in. The fact that I am the leader of Great Basin Geeks and recently became Captain of the local Star Trek club, the USS Oasis, are oftentimes strange to me. It’s not that I don’t want the positions or can’t handle them, but that I still often wonder if I’m the right person for the job.

My leadership style has never seemed to please most people, and this frustrates me. I have worked in many different jobs, in many different fields over the years. I’ve had horrible bosses and awesome bosses. I’ve been a subordinate and been a boss. In all my experience, the one thing that irritated me the most was being micro-managed. Because of this, I try my best to avoid doing it to others.

My philosophy for leading people has always been to lead by example, hold myself to a higher standard, and let people do what they do best. I try to avoid criticism and prefer to gently guide people when I think that they are off track. I do my best to avoid attacking anyone and hearing out people’s opinions, even when I vehemently disagree with them. I would rather play diplomat than shut anyone down. I try to lead with logic and reason, while acknowledging that we humans are emotional creatures and need to have our feelings validated.

I know that sometimes it seems like I am just allowing people to run over me and do whatever they like, but I will never let anyone go too far. I will steer discussions back to business when it gets out of hand, though most of the time, I let it go for a while, because relaxed people are more creative and productive in my experience. If someone steps over a line or says something offensive, I won’t call them out in public. I don’t seek to embarrass people, I seek to build them up. I will privately talk to those that need reminders about what is acceptable and what is not.

I think some people find my style disconcerting. Some of us have gotten so used to being under someone’s thumb constantly, that the moment we are allowed to do as we please, we don’t know what to do. When I don’t override people, when I don’t call for order, when I don’t tell people that they’re wrong or stupid, people don’t seem to know how to react.

Unfortunately for me, most of the time people mistake my style of leadership as weakness or laziness. I will be the first to admit that I am not the most assertive person around. Most of the time I find assertive people are swinging their egos around trying to validate themselves by belittling others. I don’t feel the need to show my dominance. I’m not an ape. I still hold on to the idealistic view that the best ideas will win out, whether they are mine or not, and I will simply guide those ideas.

Leadership doesn’t have to be about the strongest personality or the most domineering attitude. Leadership can be about bringing out the best in people, about helping people reach their pinnacle. I take great pride when I see people that had no inkling of being involved take up a mantle. When others that were too shy to volunteer for anything are suddenly taking the reins and making things happen, I feel accomplished.

Every one of us has talents. We may not always know where we belong or what we are supposed to be doing. But together we are making amazing things happen. We are seeing our community grow exponentially. We are creating and hosting new activities and events all the time. We are meeting to make plans, to discuss the future, and to plan our dreams. And we’re doing all of this without a dictator ruling over us.

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Me 1
Who am I?

I love to see people sharing their stories and realized I haven’t really shared mine.
I was born and raised in Sacramento, California. Sometimes I get nostalgic and think about moving back, then I visit and realize it’s changed and so have I. We moved around a few times when I was a kid, I’ve lived in good neighborhoods and rough neighborhoods.
I met my first best friend when I was in pre-school. Nick and I were inseparable. My older brother was too old for me to hang out with, but that was okay because Nick was like family. He and I never really had all that much in common, but I miss him and wish we still lived close enough to hang out.
When I was really young, I met my favorite teacher of all time, Mrs. Brown. She was my kindergarten teacher, but she taught me some of the most important lessons in life. Mrs. Brown taught me about compassion, about sharing, about patience. She made me love learning. She was one of the kindest women I have ever met, and when she passed away when I was 18, I cried at her funeral.
I went to several schools as a kid, and never really fit in at any of them. I don’t remember the name of the school I attended when I was in 4th Grade, but I was one of the very few white kids, and the other kids wouldn’t hardly let me forget it. In 5th Grade I was finally accepted to the Gifted And Talented Education program and went to Sutterville Elementary. All the other kids had been in class together for 4 years, and most of them were very well off. My thrift store clothes, that I liked just fine, made me an outcast, even among the Star Trek Geeks. I rebelled against school, and to this date, I’ve yet to meet someone else that had to take summer school to graduate 6th Grade.
While school may have been rough, home life was much better. I was very lucky. My father is a diehard Trekkie. My older brother, uncles, and cousin loved Star Wars more, but still loved Star Trek enough that I went with all of them, my father included, to my only Star Trek convention. I got to see William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley on stage together, and it was awesome. Back when CCGs were fairly new, I spent any money I earned on packs of Star Trek CCG cards and all of us guys would do marathon sessions of the game. We found ways to turn a game designed for2 into a game for 6. I have fond memories of racing to complete missions before anyone else and I still have a large portion of my cards.
In Middle School, I turned my grades around and carried that into High School. If you need more proof that I’m a Geek, here it is. When High School started I had two options, I could enroll in an ROTC Leadership program and try out for the Football team. Or…. I could join Choir. I was in Choir, Show Choir, and Jazz Choir most of High School. I was also in several Musicals, including Grease, in which I played Kenickie (I actually had hair back then). Did I mention my High School nickname was Opie?
I met a girl and foolishly threw away everything else for her. I won’t bore you with the details, but I stayed with her long enough to graduate, marry her, and have her leave 3 months later. Unfortunately, before she left, I quit my first semester of college to try and salvage the relationship. I try not to regret things, but that one I do.
Not too long after I moved back in with my parents, my father got laid off from the job he had been at since I was 4 years old. On the advice of a friend, my folks decided to move to Reno, where cost of living was lower and the job market was great. Having just gone through a nasty break up and having burned most of my bridges with friends, I decided to go with them.
During this time I came up with a lot of plans, and lots of ideas. I believe I still have my notes about how to colonize Mars. I also have notes and plans for starting a Jedi Academy of sorts, which I still haven’t completely given up on.
When I moved to Reno, I knew nobody, had very little money, had no real job prospects, and had my car totaled within the first month of living here, while on my way to apply for a job. So when some folks came to our door, asking if we had been Saved, we decided to try out their church. It was a Fundamental Baptist Church, and it was unlike any other church I had attended. Most of the people were nice enough, but I had never been to a Baptist church where you were screamed at every sermon because you were a sinner, and then told that you shouldn’t be watching TV or movies, listening to most music including Christian Rock, you shouldn’t dance, etc. I think the only thing that was allowed was eating, so that’s what most church functions revolved around. I tried really hard to be the perfect Christian, but I was the first of my family to give it up.
One of the final straws with the church was the way my then girlfriend, now wife, was treated by the pastor. I had finally convinced her to attend a service with me, after having not been in a church in probably ten years. We went after work and she was in casual clothes. She may as well have been the Devil. As we were walking to the car, she was furious and finally told me that the pastor’s greeting had essentially been “it’s been a long time, hasn’t it.” Not long enough.
The years since then were mostly uneventful, with both of us working various jobs and trying to find ways to make a living. I’ve worked banking, customer service, payday loans, I even tried truck driving. We also opened our own thrift store that lasted less than a year and left us with a lot of debt. Finally, I got a job at an insurance agency, and up until this point, I’ve been an insurance agent.
I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error, trying to act like a responsible adult and failing miserably. I tried getting involved in politics and got quickly frustrated with that. I’ve tried other churches and not been able to stick with it.
The one thing that has always remained constant is my Geekiness. I have always loved Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’ve always played video games and watched movies. I’ve read hundreds, if not thousands, of books. Star Wars and Star Trek have always been a refuge.
Most of you know how Great Basin Geeks got started, but I’ll give a brief summary. I had lived in Reno for about 10 years and had no real friends. So when my wife asked what I wanted for my birthday, I wanted a party with friends. Together we worked hard to get the word out and I made friends. You can read more about that here.
Who am I? I have searched for the place where I fit in, where I belonged, and realized that within me were the keys all along. I am me. I love the things I love and share my passions with anyone who will listen. I am a Geek.

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All in the Family

I am the kind of person that commits. When I say I’m going to do something, I do it. When I offer to help, I’m all in. My wife can tell you, when we started dating I told her exactly what I expected out of the relationship and I have kept true to those expectations to this day. So when I committed to starting a Sci-Fi club, I took it very seriously. I had never run a club of any kind, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me or slow me down. The first year for the club was fairly quiet. I learned a lot about what works, and a lot about what does not. I’m still learning to this day, but I am committed to making Great Basin Geeks the best Geek support network in existence.

The truth is, Great Basin Geeks is my family. Not my biological one, which I love dearly, but a family that I chose. And while some people would be horribly picky when picking their own family, I chose the path of acceptance. I chose to embrace Geeks of all flavors. I know next to nothing about Anime, but I embrace and welcome Anime fans. I am not a fan of My Little Pony, but I chose to embrace and welcome Bronies. I welcome and encourage Geeks from all walks to join the family.

Not only am I committed to the Geeks, but I am also very protective of my family. I stand up for them. When one of them hurts, I hurt. When one of them cries, I cry. And when people mistreat them, I get upset. When I hear that one of my family has been excluded, I seethe at the thought that some Muggle can’t see how wonderful our family is.

I don’t comment on most threads. Often times I keep myself in check when I have a reaction to something. I try to take a wait and see approach, letting my logic and reason time to sort out my feelings. And often the rest of the family steps up when there is injustice or inappropriateness.

I am sharing all of this because I want every single Geek to know that I am in their corner. I’ve got your back. If ever you need someone to talk to, or a shoulder to cry on, or somebody to laugh with, I’ll be there.

I am by no means perfect, but I am loyal to a fault, and you all have my loyalty.

I love my family of Geeks. They are my brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and my kids. Just like my biological family, I haven’t met every single one, nor do I have every name memorized. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I love all of you.

I want everyone to know that despite what the Muggles may do or say, you belong. You may not fit in at your place of work, but you fit in here. You may not fit in with your biological family, but you fit in here. There is a place where people embrace you for who you are, because of who you are.

We Geeks are wonderful, beautiful, unique, quirky people that frighten the Muggles. But we make the most wonderful, beautiful, unique, quirky family.

Michael Ford – Founder and President

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The Future of GBG – Part 2

In the previous article, I talked about how the website could be used to connect to others that share your passions. The website is a great tool that I hope more people will utilize more often to help them connect. But the website is just one of the tools that can be used to help us connect.

Great Basin Geeks is all about connecting Geeks and helping them grow. While the website is a great tool, it is not the ends, it is one of the means. In this article I want to go over some of the other ways we want to connect people and help them build strong relationships with their fellow Geeks.

Over the past couple of years, the Geeks have done a variety of things to try and connect people. We have gone to many events and talked to people about the work we’re doing. We have promoted local events that were of a Geeky nature or had Geeky ties. We started holding our own meetings. We’ve worked hard to get people out of the house and in front of one another.

But we can, and will, do so much more.

One of the earliest activities that the Geeks did was movie nights, where we would go to lunch or dinner and a movie. While “After Earth” tried to ruin this, it’s something that should return. While we may have missed a good number of the big Summer Blockbusters, there are always new movies coming. For the most part, we try to keep things on a budget, so at this point we’re thinking movies at Grand Sierra Cinema, which are $4 a ticket for all showings, and $5 Tuesdays at Cinemark. While most of us prefer the comfort of the Galaxy Theatre, to allow the most people to join in on the fun, we’ll only do movies there occasionally. Star Wars The Force Awakens will be one of those exceptions, as you’ve probably seen the event listed in which we are going to sell out one of the first showings.

Another thing that we want to do again are Game Nights. The Game Night at Comic Kingdom was a lot of fun and we would like to have nights like that again. Crowding was an issue that we will work on, and in the future we would like to have a few games picked out ahead of time so people can coordinate what they want to play. We would also like to see a Beginner’s option at each event for people to learn games that interest them, but might have a steep learning curve. I know Magic the Gathering was mentioned as a game that people would like to learn and I know we have members that could help people new to the game.

A fun idea that has come up is a GBG Book Club. GBG Member Matthew Hinkle has shown great passion in the idea that he submitted and we will support him to get this going. I know one of the books that has been mentioned, that I am excited to read, is Ready Player One. We’re still working out the details, where this will be held and such, but this will be a fun way to share our passions. Please contact Matthew or me if you are interested in participating.

Another great idea that many have discussed are Educational Day Trips. Our first such event will be on August 15th, with our Donner Party! On the day, we will carpool up to Donner Lake. We’ll start at the Visitor Center, take the tour, and learn about the Donner area and the infamous Donner Party. We will then find a spot near the lake to have a BBQ. We will have a themed meal, with things like Ribs being served out of a scarecrow type body. While our trips will have an educational element, we will always have fun with the subject. There are so many options for these trips. Some of the other options that have been mentioned include Hidden Cave, Lake Tahoe, The Discovery Museum, Fleischmann Planetarium, Virginia City, and several others.

One thing that we haven’t really done up to this point is Play Dates. We can do so many things as a group, from Bowling to Mini-Golf and so many other things. There are several places around town that offer Bowling, several more that offer Mini-Golf. We could also play Laser Tag, or drive Go Karts. We could go to Wild Island and do most all of these things and also enjoy the Water Park.

There are so many fun activities that we can do as a group here in Northern Nevada. And all of these activities will give us an opportunity to get to know our fellow Geeks, to make connections and build relationships.

Have ideas for more activities and events that we can do as a group? Please share! Comment here or email me at [email protected].

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Depression and the Geek

I should start out this article with a disclaimer. I am not a Mental Health professional, nor will I claim to have any special insight beyond my own personal experience.

I was going to write more about the future of the Geeks, and I will come back to that soon, but something else got brought up that is very near to my heart. A friend mentioned their family had ostracized them because they had attempted suicide in the past few years. Hearing that caused a tightening in my chest and welling in my eyes. While I try very hard to keep my emotions hidden and a pleasant mask on for the world, sometimes I can’t help it. I don’t typically talk about it in public, but I suffer from depression.

For those that don’t suffer from depression, it can be hard to describe what it is. Not everyone suffers the same way or to the same degree. Not everyone reacts the same way, nor do we all express it the same way. I can only tell you how it feels to me.

Some days I wake up and nothing feels right. Maybe it’s just a general gloomy feeling. Nothing in particular is wrong, but I don’t feel quite right. Sometimes that feeling goes away after a nice hot shower (sometimes singing along to some geeky tunes). Other times it lingers, like a shadow has been cast across the day. I try different things to cope, sometimes a distraction helps, so I’ll play a video game, or work on a project. Sometimes that does the trick, other times it just makes it worse. Sometimes talking about it helps, my wife is very understanding and listens very well. But sometimes talking about it just makes it worse.

See, when it’s really bad, it’s bad. I feel like a cinder block is sitting on my chest. Breathing is harder, as is just about any physical activity. But the worst part is the internal monologue. When I get into a really bad depression, I make myself worse. I tell myself how stupid I am, how worthless I am, how I should have made better decisions and choices. I tell myself that it’s my fault that we’re struggling, that I should be a better man, that I should take care of my responsibilities. I beat myself for every little thing that goes wrong, whether I have any measure of control or not. I should have been better, I should have seen it coming and done something to stop it. And then all that leads to me feeling like maybe I should give up. Maybe I should get out of the way, stop being a burden to those around me.

I’ve never had the guts to attempt suicide, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t crossed my mind many times. I wouldn’t say that it takes courage to attempt suicide, but when I get in that place of darkness and despair, it’s just one more thing that I can’t do. Inside my inner voice is saying, “you can’t even do that right.”

I’m not writing this for sympathy. I’ve done a pretty good job building a strong support network and I am able to push through most days.

I’m writing this because I want people to know that they’re not alone. Depression is easy for us Geeks. A lot of us tend to be loners and struggle to make friends. While a support network is not all we need to keep depression away, it certainly helps. Along those lines, I am going to start a private group for those Geeks that would like to connect with others that share similar issues and maybe meetup occasionally for support. If you would like to be a part of that group, please message me and I will add you.

As always, your comments and feedback are always welcome. You can comment here or email me at [email protected]

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What is a Geek?

Words can have different meanings to different people. Geek has typically been used as an insult, but we don’t see it that way. So, I thought it might be helpful to define what it is we are referring to when referring to a Geek.

First, we will use terms Geek, Nerd, and even Dork, interchangeably in this organization. While all came from a place of negativity, we are wearing these terms as a badge of honor. We have worked many years to earn these titles and we embrace them with pride.

But why are we called these things? Why should we embrace them and feel proud to do so?

Merriam-Webster defines Dork as: “a person who behaves awkwardly around other people and usually has unstylish clothes, hair, etc.” Nerd: “a person who behaves awkwardly around other people and usually has unstylish clothes, hair, etc.” Or, “a person who is very interested in technical subjects, computers, etc.” And finally, Geek: “a person who is socially awkward and unpopular” Or “a usually intelligent person who does not fit in with other people.” Or, “a person who is very interested in and knows a lot about a particular field or activity.”

Textbook definitions can be so cruel. We don’t have “unstylish clothers, hair, etc.” We have a style all our own. We each have our own unique style. Some are more imaginative than others, but this does not make them “unstylish,” this makes them unique.

Textbook definitions can be somewhat accurate. “A person who is very interested in technical subjects, computers, etc.” Sure, a lot of us fit that description, myself included. “A person who is very interested in and knows a lot about a particular field or activity.” Well, duh.

Textbook definitions can oversimplify. “A person who is socially awkward and unpopular.” Sometimes, okay, A LOT of times, this is true. “A usually intelligent person who does not fit in with other people.” Well, at least they said we’re usually intelligent.

The textbook definitions make a lot of generalizations about who we are. Yes, we have unique ideas about style. And yes, we are usually obsessed with certain areas of interest. And sure, we don’t fit in with “normal” people a lot of the time.

But what the textbook misses is us. We do fit in with other people, just fine, if they share our passion! Are we awkward sometimes? Sure, but what do we care if the people we’re talking to love Star Wars, or D&D, or Anime, or Zombies, or whatever it is that we’re passionate about.

In my book, Geeks are people who are passionate. We love with abandon. We take great pride in the things we love. And we love to share those things with people that we know are also passionate.

In my book, everyone is a Geek. Though most of us are passionate about Geeky things, there are many Sports Geeks, many Fashion Geeks, many Political Geeks, and many Religion Geeks.

In my book, being a Geek is who I am. I am passionate about Science Fiction. I love spaceships, both real and imagined. I love movies and video games. I love to read. I love my wife. I love Geeks. I am passionate about the things that matter to me.

This is how I define Geek: “an individual that is full of love and passion.”

How do you define Geek?

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