Geek Culture

Geek Culture
How To Bite The Head Off a Chicken

Colin Rowsell | 27 May 2008 12:05
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It was a rough few years. But I weathered the storm and backed off from fixation. The intensity faded, I got through college and even found gainful employment. Obsessions, when they surfaced, became smaller things, more controllable and less blinding. I got hooked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I ordered a canceled U.S. Sci-Fi series off Amazon.

Things moved on while I changed cities and jobs, until, through an old connection and odd coincidence, I found myself helping to run Armageddon.

Armageddon: The Return
When I was 10 (I think that year was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Aaron from Up The Road would come over to my place and we'd play basketball. He'd kick my ass at Nintendo. We'd both throw feijoa fruits at passing cars.

Aaron and school didn't mix; he sidestepped college and went to work. By the time I found Buffy the Vampire Slayer he was making good money in a job that would have been steady, comfortable and dull as all hell for the next 30 years.

"Fuck that," he thought to himself. So he sidestepped again, breathed deep, and made a three-quarter half-turn dive into the obsession trade.


For Aaron it was videogames: marketing studies in Wellington by day, building a gaming website nights and weekends. I came down and lived with him. He worked like a demon, on the edge, a frantic mix of drive and blind terror. He'd hog my laptop for days on end. Leave the house at all hours for phone calls, meetings, promises, hustle.

I watched from the sidelines. It was impressive and terrifying, but I didn't want to make the dive back in. I put on a shirt and tie and went to do the Other Thing 37.5 hours per week.

Armageddon came up. Bill Gerhardts didn't know videogames and didn't want to, but knew they were the thing for his show. Aaron grabbed it with both hands and flew us up to Auckland, where we invaded Bill's house. Bill has every comic, collectible, figurine and trading card known to man. Aaron charged into the cave and sold Bill on the spot.

"Of course we can run the gaming section. Leave it to us."

I still wouldn't commit, so we planned after hours. I went to work dreaming of Tekken 4 and Destroy all Humans!

It was as messy as these things always are. Make sure the big-screen TVs arrive on time. Cajole, massage and berate the sales reps. Floor plan after floor plan, power worries, backup bulbs for TV projectors, extension cords.

It all came together, and it worked. Aaron didn't pause; he was flying like a space rocket.

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