Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Way of the Geek #1 – Me!

So, with this post, I'm inaugurating the newest feature on Random Acts of Geekery, “The Way of the Geek!” The main purpose of this feature is to find out a bit more about our fellow geeks out there, particularly (at least, in the beginning), fellow geek bloggers!

The geek bloggers who agreed to participate in this answered a bunch of questions I tossed at them, beginning in the spring, so that I could take their answers and, rather than just post questions and answers, I could actually rewrite the interview into a proper journalistic style!

Since this is the first one, I figure that perhaps I should start by answering all these questions myself. Many of the answers I'll provide will likely be old news to you, but there you go! Read on after the jump!

Vital Statistics

I was born on November 9, 1962, in Rapid City, South Dakota. I'm the oldest of five kids. I'm married, as most of you know, to Jessi Knutson, and we have two adopted kids, Tristan (6) and Desi (3). We also have two dogs, Krypto and KO, both boxers We live in Olympia, Washington. As you know, I used to be a graphic designer for the local newspaper, but these days I'm going back to school to get a degree that's applicable to becoming a medical assistant.

Last spring, a new club was being formed on campus at South Puget Sound Community College (where I took my first year of college - I'm now at Olympic College) that was eventually named N.E.R.D. (for Needlessly Engaging in Random Dorkery – I couldn't come up with an acronym for G.E.E.K. Quickly enough). When we were introducing ourselves and what geekery we were into, I said I was a “polygeek” – I'm into comics, sci-fi, old toys, monster movies, oldies rock and roll, a lot of different American and British TV shows (mostly geek-related themselves), cartoons from the earliest Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies and Fleischer cartoons all the way through the 1970s stuff from Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, and other companies... and probably lots of other things I'm not thinking of right now.

So far as I know, I've been a geek pretty much my entire life. I have a photo from my sixth birthday party showing me and the birthday cake my mom made for me that was decorated with a Superman s-shield, and I know I was reading comics when I was pretty young. Of course, I was the perfect age when the superheroes temporarily invaded Saturday mornings, so I was avidly watching Space Ghost, the Herculoids, Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Shazzan, Superman/Batman/Aquaman, and so forth. By the time Super Friends came along, I was watching it, but decided for some reason it wasn't cool enough, so I missed a lot of it until the final series or two of that came out. I didn't get to see Star Trek until it went into syndication five days a week, but naturally, I fell in love with it immediately! Star Trek led me into reading science-fiction, particularly Robert A. Heinlein. I couldn't tell you for certain when I got into monster movies, but I'd imagine it was in the early 1970s.

My brothers and sisters tended to watch the same shows that I did, but for the most part, they never quite immersed themselves in geekery as I did, with the exception of my brother, Jeff – and even he didn't get quite as lost in it as I did! My friends while I was growing up were also into comics, Star Trek, and monster movies.

I suppose the geekiest thing I did as a child was making my own hand-made comics. Well, some of them were hand-made, anyway... others a bit less so. Gird your loins, my friends, for what I'm about to tell you. One of the ways I made my own comic books as a kid was... brace yourselves... by cutting out pictures from the comic books and pasting them onto my own pages to tell a new story. Yes, I know, who knows how many books were forever destroyed by that (well, probably a lot less than those books cut up to get the Marvel Value Stamps). The other comics I made as a kid were drawn entirely by me, featuring my own really stupid characters (like the kind all kids created), like Super Duper Man. I also created a few comics featuring the Shakes.

What's that? You don't know what I mean by the Shakes?

Well, back when Jack in the Box was first starting out in the Washington area (I don't know if they existed elsewhere prior to the late 1960s/early 1970s), there were animated commercials, featuring Jack (not quite the same character they're using today), a Secret Spy (who was forever after the recipie for the secret sauce), a few other characters, and the Shakes, who sort of resembled shaggy Muppet monsters, and performed as a rock and roll band. The members, naturally, were Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla. I think the only reason I chose to use them was because they were easy to draw!

A couple of other geeky things I did as a kid included making superhero costumes for my 12” GI Joe figures (influenced by the Mego superheroes, naturally, although I must've had some exposure to Captain Action that I didn't recall)... I also used to make “movies” (well, that's what I called them) by taking still photos of my Joes in costume to tell a story. Sadly, none of those still exist today. For that matter, none of the toys I had as a child are still in my possession!

That's not to say that I didn't re-buy them as an adult... as well as subsequently sold them off again. Back in the 1980s, I started collecting Megos, getting quite a decent collection (many more than I ever had as a kid), but sold them all in the 1990s. And there's a few comics I used to have as a kid I know I've bought and sold several times over (I think I've probably owned close to 10 copies of Nova #1 in my lifetime). At this time, the only non-comic book I own that I used to have as a kid is a Danny O'Day ventriloquist dummy. Oh, yes, I was into ventriloquism as a child (puppetry, too – that's how I developed the sewing skill that I used to make costumes for the Joes), although I was probably never any good at it, to be honest! The only reason I have a Danny O'Day these days is because this one used to be in my Aunt Georgia's doll collection, and when my mom was visiting her a few years back, apparently the topic came up of my having one of those, and Georgia graciously offered it to her (under the condition that I never put it up for sale). These days, Danny's sitting on the top of one of my bookcases next to a newer vintage Charlie McCarthy dummy, next to the two or three stacks of Give-A-Show Projector boxes.

Oh, yes, I can't forget to mention those... You've seen the videos on Give-A-Show Fridays, but sometimes you may be wondering what the heck is up with them? Kenner Toys introduced the Give-A-Show Projector (a battery powered slide projector of sorts) in 1960 (some sources say 1959, but I have never found anything dated 1959, only 1960 onwards), and when I was a child, they used to advertise them on Saturday mornings quite a bit (as well as their Easy-Show Projector, a battery-powered hand-cranked 8mm movie projector), and I wanted my parents to get me one of them so much, but they never did! Thinking about it now, I'm sure that one of the kids in my neighborhood must've had one, but neither me nor any of my siblings ever had one as a child. Back when I started the Random Acts of Geekery (but before it got that name), I discovered that it was pretty cheap to start collecting them, and so a couple of years back, I began the only real toy collection I have these days.

So far as things I used to have as a child that I'd like to re-purchase these days... well, getting the Megos again would be nice, but I don't quite feel the strong urge to re-collect those. There is some stuff from AHI I had as a kid, like the Batman paratrooper and the friction-powered stunt Batcycle that I have fond memories of, but honestly, these days, when I do decide to place a bid on something that was out in the 1960s or 1970s, it's usually things I never had!

My geek-related possessions, few as those are (compared to what I used to have at several points in my life) are limited to what I can fit into my home office. There are four bookshelves plus a banquet table and one built-in shelf along one wall that are pretty much filled to the gills (overflowing, even) with the stuff I do have! Probably the most prized of my geek possessions are two photocopies of original art that my first wife, Barbara, bought for me. They are photocopies of the original art to Fantastic Four #6 and a photocopy of a reproduction of the cover for Fantastic Four #4, both purchased from Dick Ayers. That she would've been so thoughtful to find her way to his table at the first Mid-Ohio Con we attended and bought them without my knowledge makes those very special to me. The Danny O'Day comes real close second, though!

Speaking of conventions, the first geek convention I ever attended was a Star Trek convention in Seattle, probably about 1978-1979 or so, held at the Olympic Hotel (I don't even know if that hotel still exists anymore). Walter Koenig was one of the guests, and I met him very briefly, got an autographed photo of him, and somewhere during the convention, I lost it! My mom took me there, along with the daughter of one of her co-workers that was also into Star Trek. I was suffering from what I thought was a cold (but in hindsight, I'm pretty sure it was a then-undiagnosed seasonal allergy) the whole day, but I still loved the hell out of it! It put me in touch with the Puget Sound Star Trekkers (who were in charge of the convention), and that put me into their Tacoma chapter, Outpost X, which I was a member of until it dissolved and was replaced with a different club (which itself ended up developing a splinter group that I was also a member of for a time).

Since that convention, I attended a number of other Seattle-area conventions while I was in high school that were all Trek or sci-fi oriented, with my first comic convention coming a few years after I graduated from high school, and was in the navy based out of San Diego. This was a Creation Convention, where I briefly met Chris Claremont and a few other genre people. It was probably that same year that I attended my one and only San Diego Comic-Con (back in the days when you could still wait until the day of the show to get in), where I met Jim Shooter, Marv Wolfman, Jack Kirby (way, way too briefly – just long enough to shake his hand), and Mark Evanier. It set the bar pretty high for me as far as comic book conventions went!

Oh, while I was in the navy, I was a member of YHAPA, the Young Heroes Amateur Press Association. I also contributed here and there to a Star Trek fanzine (the editors of which ended up writing a few Star Trek novels that were published).

After the Navy, I came back to Tacoma, and started attending conventions and shows in the Tacoma-Seattle area... but this time, I was often attending as a dealer! While in the Navy, I amassed a pretty good-size collection of comics – probably 30 long boxes at least – and to make some extra money here and there, I started selling those. This was a time when there were a lot of smaller shows in the area, and I found myself sometimes in the position of actually having people trade comics in order to get books I didn't think were anywhere near as cool (or valuable) as they were trading to me! Somehow, I also ended up selling at toy shows, too, with the stock for those shows being acquired at garage sales, second hand stores, swap meets, and liquidation stores. I probably did that for about four or five years.

The last convention I sold at was a Seattle Comic-Card show, and that's where most of my Mego collection ended up being sold off – but don't feel too bad for me, because I probably tripled my money when I sold them. This money financed my move from Tacoma to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where my first wife, Barbara, lived (obviously, this was before we had actually gotten married)! As I indicated before, while living in Milwaukee, Barbara and I attended two Mid-Ohio Cons, and we also attended a convention in Madison, as well as one Wizard World Chicago. After Barbara passed away, I also did one Mid-Ohio Con and one Wizard World solo before moving back to Washington.

Since returning back to Washington, I've attended probably half of the Emerald City Comic Cons, and a few Portland Comic Book shows, too, although I've had to miss the last two of each of those due to financial constraints.

Obviously, my favorite convention would have to be San Diego... kind of hard to top meeting Kirby, you know! I do like going to Emerald City, though – it's about the size San Diego was the one time I went there. In the early days of the convention, I had the pleasure of MC'ing the Fan/Pro trivia challenge, which apparently the convention has outgrown. That's okay, though, it's still a good convention – and by not having any involvement with running it, when I do get to go, my time is my own!

Of course, one of the great things about going to conventions is meeting the people who worked on stuff you like. One of the nicest people I could ever hope to meet was Tony Isabella. I started an email correspondence with Tony shortly after I moved to Wisconsin, and finally met him in person at the first Mid-Ohio Con I attended. Roy Thomas was one of the guests at an Emerald City show I had the trivia contest at, and I really wish I'd had more time to talk with him. I've run into Kurt Busiek at a number of different conventions and shows, although I'd imagine he probably doesn't remember me at all from one show to the next! But I'll tell you what, he and Mark Waid really know their comic book trivia!

Backtracking a bit to my Wisconsin days, for an aside... I was a regular buyer of The Jack Kirby Collector when I was living in Milwaukee, and one day, I cracked open the latest issue and saw that they were looking for a transcriber! I responded to their ad, and became for a number of years the head transcriber for interviews that ran in Comic Book Artist, as well as transcribing interviews for Alter Ego and other TwoMorrows publications. While I haven't done any work for them in some time, it was a real pleasure establishing that relationship with TwoMorrows. That transcription work helped get me the gig transcribing interviews for BCI Eclipse when they began doing DVD releases of much of the Filmation library – Andy Mangels, who produced the special features, had asked Michael Eury if he knew anyone who was available to do transcription work when the people he had working for him on the original features for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe weren't staying on schedule. I'd talked to Michael at the previous Portland Comic Show, and he recommended Andy contact me. So one day, as Jessi and I were walking around in downtown Olympia, I got a call on my cell from Andy, and was happy to take on the work! Thanks to my fast turnaround on the He-Man stuff, I was the go-to guy when it came to the other BCI releases, and that was a lot of fun, too!

Sadly, BCI cancelled that series of releases, and aside from some special feature work for Andy on the first Archie DVD set, I haven't done any more since then (probably because this blog takes up most of my spare geek time).

One of the disadvantages of living in Olympia and doing this blog is that I rarely get a chance to meet my fellow geeks in person, aside from conventions and comic shows. There is the N.E.R.D. Club I mentioned above, but none of the people in that group were readers of the Random Acts of Geekery. I really should make up a t-shirt or something to make me more recognizable at shows, eh?

Some people are amazed at how many blogs I do, and wonder just where I get the time to work on them. Honestly, there are some weeks when all I do is respond to comments, because I work so far ahead. I'm pretty fast at the keyboard, and I have a backlog of material, so it doesn't take me too long to get a month's worth of posts done for the Random Acts.

I'll give you an example: I'm writing this first article back in May. Just the day before this, I finished preparing all but two of the posts for the month of October (those two being the “Horror-Ble Humor Monster Cards” posts, because the blog where people got to submit their jokes for them didn't even start posting until June 1). I probably spent anywhere from half an hour to two hours every other day working on those posts, and it probably took me about two weeks at that rate to do the October posts. Other times, when I have more free time, I can probably spend four to six hours in a row working on my various blogs.

So far as the spin-off blogs are concerned, those are easy to get far ahead on, since most of them only have one photo a day... the main impediment there is the number of posts Blogger allows before they start throwing capchas at me! But most of those blogs I won't have to really worry about until sometime next year. The Give-A-Show Blog is the one spin-off blog that takes the most time for me to work on, since I have to scan the slides and prepare the videos, although that blog will probably be on a hiatus by the time this is posted, since I'll have run out of material for it!

Why did I start blogging in the first place is kind of an interesting story, or so I think! I suppose it really started with the DC-History Yahoo Group, which I used to be a very active member of. Despite the name, this group didn't just cover DC comics, but others as well. Various members of the group would post things on a regular basis, and my contributions were more or less random at the beginning. But one day, inspiration struck me, and I started spending hours and hours going through the galleries at the Grand Comics Database, looking for covers that fit a specific theme. The first theme I chose was “Here There Be Giants,” which involved covers featuring a giant of some kind. Many themes followed that one, and eventually, I added “Comics They Never Made,” which featured cover mock-ups of licensed comic books that weren't ever done, but I thought should have. The first of these were a series of Dell and Gold Key Godzilla movie adaptations.

Eventually, it occurred to me that perhaps there was a larger market for this stuff than DC-History, and so I sent Tony Isabella an email asking him if he thought that World Famous Comics might be interested in it. With his enthusiastic response, I prepared four sample columns for what I would call “Cover Stories” to Justin, the webmaster at WFC. And then I waited. And waited.

And while I waited, there was that first Emerald City Comic Con I attended and ran the trivia contest at. One of the pro panelists, Tom Peyer, gave me his card after the contest with the URL for his blog. Believe it or not, while I had heard about blogs, I'd never checked one out before (with the possible exception of Mark Evanier's News From ME), and so I decided to start a blog, inspired by Tom! It took a while for me to find the right voice for it, as well as the right name... it started as “Waffyjon's Random Thoughts” (“waffyjon” was the nickname I used in the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman online fan group that I met my first wife through), and then I changed it to “Jon's Random Thoughts,” until I found that there was a right-wing blog by that name already, and then finally came up with “Random Acts of Geekery!” Along the way, I started some recurring features here and there, dropped some things, added some others... it's been an evolution, and it's not done evolving yet!

But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. A month or two after starting this blog, I finally got an email from Justin telling me that he was going to start running “Cover Stories” on a weekly basis! So I was starting up this blog (in which I'd already posted some of what would appear in Cover Stories), plus had a weekly column to put together! Well, I did pretty good with the column for some time... I think it ran for a year or so... and I had no problem meeting deadlines (in fact, I usually was a few weeks ahead), but after that first year... I stopped having fun with Cover Stories, and was enjoying doing the blog more. So I dropped the column.

Back to this blog, the regular features were started for various reasons... the posts that are mostly photos of cool stuff started because I got tired of looking through “guides” to old toys and the like that didn't have photos of everything they listed, and I realized that eBay had this stuff for sale all the time, so why not save the pictures for reposting here? That way, they'll always be around for people to find. Give-A-Show Fridays began as my way of sharing my Give-A-Show collection, and of course, this led into my starting the Give-A-Show Blog. “Monster Mondays” spun out of my first participation in the Countdown to Halloween, when I was posting photos of monster toys and the like each day of that October, and realized that I had more than I needed for that month!

“Children's Book Theatre” started because I knew there were a lot of kids books and coloring books featuring characters we geeks appreciate, and it gave me an excuse to buy more of them (aside from the ones I was already getting for my kids anyway). “Puzzle Sunday” started because I'd run out of the “How to Draw” feature I was running on Sundays, but I'd picked up a Marvel Fun and Games issue, and decided to start using that instead! “Dog of the Geek” was inspired by Siskoid's “Cat of the Geek” feature, and I thank him for giving me the okay to start my own take. “Retro-Reviews” began because I wanted more comics content here, and I also wanted to actually do more writing. Similarly, this feature here began because I wanted to do even more writing!

The rewards from blogging have been many and varied... I've received a couple of nice surprise gifts in the mail from readers, made a little bit of coin here and there thanks to those of you who are ordering from the Amazon links or clicking on the AdSense ads... and I've even received some emails out of the blue from people I didn't expect would be reading these blogs!

I still find time to read a number of other blogs daily, and they're all to be found on the left-hand side under “Random Blogs of Geekery.”

Here at Chez Knutson, I am definitely the head geek, but my children are certainly displaying geek tendencies! I watch several of the superhero cartoons with them, especially Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Super Hero Squad. I've started introducing them to Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series as well. In addition, Tristan has watched my Speed Racer, Challenge of the Super Friends, Godzilla, and Gamera DVDs.

Wife Jessi doesn't enjoy the geekery nearly as much as I do, but she has gone with me to comic book shows both before and after we got our kids (the kids have come, too), and the entire family goes to our local comic book shop, Olympic Cards and Comics, for Free Comic Book Day. My brother, Jeff, is into geekery of his own, particularly some of the online games, like Champions Online. He doesn't read the Random Acts of Geekery too often.

I'm sure that the geekiest thing I've ever done as an adult would have to either be running the Fan/Pro Trivia Challenge at Emerald City, starting this blog... well, actually, the two geekiest things would undoubtedly be specifically getting a white boxer so I could name him Krypto (even going so far as to make him a collar and cape to dress up like his namesake) and hand-making my own Superman costume, which I've worn twice so far with Krypto in his own costume for “Bones and Treats,” the local event here that's like trick or treating for dogs (which we haven't participated in since getting kids). Or maybe it's setting Krypto up with his own Facebook page, where I have him writing about his latest adventures on the still-existing Earth-1!

Most of my geek purchases these days are made through eBay, although I do try to buy trade paperbacks from my local comic book shop whenever possible, and I do a fair amount of buying at comic book shows, too! A surprise source for monster and horror DVDs has been the local dollar stores, although none of them have had anything new to offer me for some time.

For anybody who's been buying stuff on eBay, I have a few basic rules to offer, especially for those who have felt themselves frustrated at being outbid. Here's the rules:

1.Set up a saved search for the item that you're interested in buying. This way, eBay will email you when someone offers it for sale.
2.Decide what condition you want to buy it in. For example, if you wanted to get, say, Action Comics #200 in near-mint, then don't even look at auctions that don't have it in that condition! If you want to get an AHI Batman paratrooper loose, don't look at auctions for one on the card.
3.Decide what the maximum cost is that you're willing to spend, including postage (if an auction doesn't specify the postage costs, run away and do not bid!).
4.When an auction comes up in the condition you want, you might consider watching the auction for a few days, just in case someone else offers the same thing (it can happen!).
5.Try to pick an auction where the seller specifies that they're offering some kind of tracking, such as Delivery Confirmation. If necessary, email the seller to ask them about this before placing a bid, and ask them if they'll provide you with the tracking number. Sellers who get their postage through PayPal will have the tracking information automatically added to the closed auction (as well as emailing you) so you can track it yourself.
6.Very important – check the seller's feedback, especially recent feedback! Some sellers look like they're good with customer service because they have 95% positive feedback, but if that last five percent happened in the last month or so, you may want to be careful! And just because someone doesn't have 100% positive feedback, it doesn't mean that they're a bad seller – some buyers can be really stupid in their demands, and will leave negative feedback because a seller wouldn't wait five weeks to get a payment. Look at the negative feedback and read what the seller had to say about it. Use your best judgement.
7.Look through the auction to see how long after the auction is paid for until the seller will ship, or if the seller only ships on certain days. Some sellers don't have time to get to the post office during the week (or so they say – I find that suspicious when you can pay for postage through PayPal and only have to drop it off at the post office, but I digress), so they only ship on Saturdays. If a seller doesn't specify, email them and ask!
8.Pick the auction you're going to bid on, and place your maximum bid (minus the postage cost) right away. For example, if you're willing to pay $20 for an item, and the shipping charge is $6, then bid a maximum of $14. Don't trick yourself into low-balling a bid below what you're willing to pay, because life happens, and it's annoying if someone outbids you with a winning bid that's still within your maximum amount. You may get outbid anyway, but at least you'll know it wasn't because you didn't bid your maximum right away.
9.Always pay via PayPal. All eBay sellers are supposed to be required to accept PayPal, but some try to get around it. Using PayPal gives you buyer protection, and that can be important, especially if a seller turns out not to be as good as planned.
10.Always pay for the auction within 24 hours after the auction ends. Some sellers may be okay with waiting three days from the end of the auction, but why wait? When I win an auction, I usually pay within an hour or two from closing.
11.Do not expect a seller to leave feedback until after you've left feedback yourself.
12.When you receive the item, look it over to make sure it's what was promised. If there's a problem, contact the seller before leaving negative feedback. If everything's okay, leave positive feedback right away, and don't harp on the seller to leave feedback in return!

Now, on the other side of things, I've sold lots of items on eBay. Most of the advice I would give to a potential seller can be gleaned from the above, but here's a few additional suggestions I would offer:

1.If you've never bought or sold on eBay before, your feedback rating starts at zero. It's very difficult to get bids if you have zero feedback. Try bidding and winning some auctions before selling, even if it's just for cheap little things. Some people won't buy from anyone with a rating below a certain number. Fortunately (unless this has changed), buyer and seller feedback aren't separated!
2.Before putting an item up for sale on eBay, do your research. Search for the same thing to see if someone's offering it right now, and check closed auctions to see what prices were realized. This will give you an idea if something's even worth listing.
3.Don't guess at the postage you'll need to charge. Buy a small scale if you're selling items less than six pounds (food scales work just fine, and are cheaper than postage scales). Make sure you not only weigh the item, but also what you're shipping it in! There are flat-rate boxes available from the US Postal Service that can be a real bargain when shipping smaller items that are heavy. Use the USPS website or the UPS website (depending on how you're shipping, or a different carrier's website entirely) to get an accurate price for shipping.
4.Decide if you want to charge a handling fee on top of shipping. If you need to go out and buy shipping supplies, this is one way to recoup that cost, but keep it reasonable! One dollar is probably enough of a handling fee. I also wouldn't go out and buy boxes or packing peanuts, but rather start saving them as you get them in your household, and then you're not paying anything! Some businesses actually get a lot of packing peanuts, and will be happy to give them to you free (I once had a local costume shop call me when they had a large black plastic garbage bag full of peanuts, and those lasted me for some time). Wadded up newspaper can be good padding when needed, too. You can raid cardboard recycling bins for boxes of various sizes if you're not using flat rate boxes from the USPS.
5.Make sure that you take very clear, sharp photos of the items you're selling. Rather than using eBay's photo hosting for multiple photos, I use Flickr to store my auction photos so I can paste the HTML for them into my auction descriptions, and then I can make the photos as large as I want, and can use as many photos as I want without paying more to eBay.
6.Be as complete and specific as possible in your item description. List all defects in condition, dates that are stamped on the item, etc. The more information you put in the auction description, the less time you'll spend answering questions.
7.Decide whether or not you're willing to ship outside of your country. For me, being able to track my shipments is important, so I don't accept bids from outside the USA. Being able to track shipments is very important!
8.Be concise with your auction descriptions, and avoid the annoying stuff some sellers use... things like LOOK! or variations of that, for example. Don't claim something is rare if there are 15 other people selling the same thing. Using “NR” or “No Reserve” in the title is a very good thing to have, because people don't tend to like reserve prices!
9.Don't use a reserve price, which is a set price higher than the minimum bid that the auction must meet before you are required to sell the item.
10.Make your starting bid the minimum you're willing to sell something for. Don't list a starting bid of $0.99 unless you're willing to sell at that price – it may attract some attention right away (especially if you think it should sell for, oh, $30 or more), but you may get unlucky and not get as many bids as you expect!
11.Make certain that your auction is following the guidelines I've listed for buyers to use!
12.Don't go overboard when you're first selling. It can be tempting to list 100+ auctions all at once, but believe me, you'll want to work up to it! I'd recommend no more than 10 items at a time to start, and you might want to give yourself some time between batches of auctions. As you get more comfortable with the process, you can increase the number of items you're selling at a time.
13.Similarly, try to avoid listing one group of items one day, and then another group of items the next day, and so forth. If you offer to combine items to save the buyer postage, you'll end up having to wait extra time because one buyer was the winning bidder on item A that just closed, but is also top bidder on item B that closes in two days, and item C that's closing two days after that.
14.It's always best to offer combined shipping – just remember that you'll need to recalculate the total shipping cost at the end of the auction, unless you use the seller's tools to add a set amount for each additional item (I don't use that myself). Sometimes it can work out to your and the buyer's advantage – especially in the case of comic books. You can fit a LOT of comics in a flat-rate Priority Mail box for one low price, that would be even cheaper than shipping them at media mail rates!
15.Always answer questions about the auction as soon as possible. The longer you wait to answer, the better the chances are that the buyer will give up on you and bid from someone else!

As a geek, I've had many inspirations, some of which aren't necessarily obvious. I suppose that it would have to go back as far as Siegel and Shuster, the creators of Superman, for creating the whole concept of the superhero, without which I wouldn't be the geek I am! I'd also have to give due credit to many of the other creators of comics that I love, such as (in no particular order) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Joe Simon, and many others. A particular creator who has been a huge inspiration to me is Tony Isabella, who's been very supportive of my efforts to put my geekery out there in the public, starting with Cover Stories, and leading to this blog itself. Robby Reed of “Dial B For Blog” was also a huge inspiration, though he knows it not. Actually, most of the blogs that are listed on the blogroll have inspired me, too! Pretty much anyone who had anything to do with what I'm into was an inspiration of some kind! They've been an inspiration because they created things that influenced me in my life, whether from childhood or more recently. They've showed me that you can create something that not only you like, but that other people enjoy as well, and of course, make good use out of your imagination!

To conclude this rather overly-long first installment, a few words of advice for my fellow geeks out there: Embrace your geekery. Don't try to hide it from the rest of the world. Now, that doesn't mean show up for work in an office environment wearing a Superman t-shirt... but unless there's some rule otherwise, why not have some kind of trinket on your desk that's emblematic of your interests? And when casual attire is appropriate, wear that superhero t-shirt! Feel free to browse the action figure aisles at Toys R Us looking for that last figure you need for your collection, and don't feel like you have to lie to the mom looking for something for her child that you're also shopping for your kid (especially if you don't have one!). If you want to share your geekery online, start a blog, figure out what your voice is going to be, and keep plugging away! Trust me, it's better to be yourself than to try to hide who you really are from the world – that might work for superheroes, but geeks don't need a secret identity!

2 comments:

  1. Awesome first 'interview!' Glad to get to know you better. And well summed up at the end - "Trust me, it's better to be yourself than to try to hide who you really are from the world – that might work for superheroes, but geeks don't need a secret identity! "

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  2. Glad you enjoyed it! I was concerned it was running extremely long... rest assured, the following entries won't be nearly this dense!

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