In this first installment in the series, we sit down with averagegatsby to talk life, love, music, podcasts, family, and wooden swing sets.
While we're all much more than just being Royals fans, it is the tie that binds us. What brought you to the Royals' front stoop knocking on the door to be let in?
One of my earliest memories was the Royals winning the World Series in '85. I guess I don't really remember them winning the World Series, but I remember my dad's reaction to them winning the World Series. It wasn't until much later that I actually realized why my dad went absolutely berserk. I had randomly thought about that memory for decades--"why would my dad absolutely lose his mind one winter night when I was less than 5 years old?"--then it hit me, my Dad was a massive Royals fan. It was the only thing it could be. I, on the other hand, grew up an A's fan who was absolutely in awe of the Bash Brothers and Rickey Henderson. But when those guys were no longer A's, I didn't care about that team anymore, so it just made sense to root for the team I could watch the most so fortunately I jumped on the Royals bandwagon just in time to see them be historically awful.
Perhaps more importantly, why did you stay?
I mainly stuck with them just to stick it in the face of those who made fun of me for sticking with them. Of course all that happened is people just assumed I jumped on the bandwagon instead of being there through the worst of it.
Standard dating profile questions: Age? Sex? Height? Hair color? Marital status? Kids?
I've got a bit of a salt and pepper look going
In a committed relationship... So not married, but not single.
I don't see what a baby goat has to do with this line of questions.
While many choose not to define themselves by their job, what do you do to make ends meet? For how long have you been plying that trade?
I hold the title of Design Engineer for a company that designs wooden swingsets. I do not do much designing and do even less engineering, but at least the pay sucks. I've been here going on three years now but have been looking for new places of employ.
It sounds like you're extremely happy with your job. If someone made you quit and do it all over again, what would you do? What is your dream job? Why should your dream employer hire you?
I actually like the company I work for. I just don't like what I do for them. But if I had to start from scratch, I'd probably stay in the engineering world but pick something along manufacturing or civil. I have not adjusted well to desk life, so something where I am in the field to help distract me from the ADD. I don't know if I have a dream job, but I would like to work for a company that makes a difference on a large scale. Maybe a company that builds water treatment plants for developing nations, or perhaps something in renewable energy--preferably in a city with a baseball team. As a child I really wanted to be a Disney Imagineer because of a special I saw on the inner workings of the Disney World theme park. I was fascinated about the hidden world and all it took to make Disney operate. It was also pretty amazing how well it was all hidden. To ring my own bell, I pick up stuff pretty quickly, and I care about making a change as well as taking pride in doing a good job. I think those are desirable qualities in an employee. I've never been a good salesman either when I worked in retail or when it comes to selling myself.
Where do you live now, and where did you grow up?
I was born in Josh Duggan's favorite city, Gillette, Wyoming. And then moved back to my father's home town right before my 5th birthday (which is how I deduced the World Series, because it happened before "the move") and have lived in all but 5 months of my life in Pittsburg, Kansas ever since. I am currently looking to move to the Kansas City area.
I do love Gillette. The other five months were spent in Germany. Having had a taste of the lifestyle of international man of mystery, do you have the desire to live abroad again or would you be happy staying stateside?
Oh, for sure. I very nearly joined the Peace Corps. I had the references completed, I had my two essays completed, I had the numerous paperwork filled out, all I had left to do was click submit. I even was receiving emails from the Peace Corps, and my background and experience would have gotten me first pick of location to go to. I ultimately chickened out because my body is falling apart faster than a 33 year old's (31 at the time) should. But for sure the desire is there to live abroad. The girlfriend used to teach Spanish at Wichita State before selling her soul to become a lawyer, and she also has a desire to live abroad again.
What is your educational background/area of study?
I went to the esteemed college of learning known as Pittsburg State University where I earned an undergraduate degree and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering (technology) as well as having a minor in Communications. Sometimes I wonder if I would have been better off going to clown school.
Pittsburg State has a football team, doesn't it?
That's what I hear, and apparently they are pretty good as far as Division II schools go. The winningest Division II college of all time, and something like 30th all time in wins across all divisions. Yeah, it's a pretty big deal, and I couldn't care much less about it.
With the understanding that obviously baseball and the Royals are an area of interest for you, what other hobbies and interests do you have?
I own a couple guitars, but I wouldn't say I can play them. I consider myself an entry level foodie and somewhat of a beer snob. I listen to way too much music. Oh and this is probably a good spot to plug that I have a couple podcasts. The Eureka Podcast (terrible name I know), it has nothing to do with the TV show Eureka and everything to do with two guys in Southeast Kansas bitching about their lives in Southeast Kansas. And another one that isn't good enough to plug on a baseball website being that it is a baseball podcast, but if you must I think its called Royal Blue Nation.
Let's talk more about your podcasts. Sell your audience on the poorly named but funny Eureka Podcast (on which I have appeared). Why does Jeremy keep saying shit that you end up needing to redact (or if it doesn't get redacted, it should)?
So the title is a really badly applied double entendre. We met working at a shitty pizza chain called Eureka Pizza based out of Eureka, Arkansas, and it came to us independently in kind of a eureka moment. We both share the ability of putting minimal effort into things. Jeremy is the life of the party type guy, and he has no problem oversharing. Like, for instance, did you know you can take ecstasy rectally or that if you are out of meth you can smoke your boogers? These are things I learned on my podcast. Of course, we don't just talk about Jeremy's sometimes insane drug past, sometimes he overshares stories about his wife that she gets mad about that I have to cut out.
Your Royals podcast is in its infancy. What do you hope it becomes?
In all honesty, it's just something to kill time with. I have a friend who wanted to do a podcast, and I was the only one he knew with any kind of experience doing one. I don't know how long I will do it, but I don't know, maybe in the long run it can just be something we do in which I get to occasionally talk to former Royals players and maybe share what little I know about sabermetrics. In the most recent episode, I stumble all over WAR and really don't do it any service.
On the music front, what have you been listening to that gets you off?
I'm kind of in a dry spell lately. I've been binging on early aughts angry music stuff like Rise Against and Thursday. But I have really been digging the new TV on the Radio album. I recently stumbled across a band that goes by Crystal Fighters, and they are listed as "folktronic" I may see how that hits me for a while. I recently listened to Pete Holmes's You Made It Weird podcast that had Henry Rollins on, and he was raving about this band Lorelle meets The Obsolete, and I can't decide if I love or hate it. I also think I like Catfish and the Bottlemen, but I haven't really given them enough time to fairly critique them. In today's era of music, I think it is really easy to find individual songs that are good or great, but I think it's harder to find really good albums that you can listen to start-to-finish unless it's something by someone you already like.
I think your sentiments regarding current music being single-driven and thus harder for our generation to draw a connection with ring true with a lot of us. For you, what albums do you consider your go-to desert island albums? What bands would you consider your favorites with or without regard to whether or not one of their albums makes that hallowed list?
Desert Island Albums:
Alt-J - A Beautiful Wave
Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane over the Sea
Manchester Orchestra - Cope
Weezer - The Blue Album
Ramones - Anthology (I realize that a greatest hits album is probably cheating but I don't care)
Neutral Milk Hotel (so stoked to see them again)
What's the best thing you've read in recent memory? Describe it as though you were trying to convince someone else that they should read it.
The last book I finished was The Fault in Our Stars. Kind of a huge fan of John Green, and I was able to kick that book out in about a day and a half. It's a young adult book probably more intended for the opposite gender of myself. It's a book about a pair of kids with cancer who fall in love, it's really well written, and I recommend it as a harmless piece of fiction. Haven't seen the movie though.
I saw the movie. I think you won't be upset. For a long time, you stated that you didn't really have the time or patience for movies. Is that still the case?
It wasn't that I didn't have the time. It's that my ADD makes it difficult to sit through one unless I am in a theater. This is made more difficult in a small town because the smaller indie type flicks rarely get shown. I don't think Birdman ever made its way here, but you bet your ass Heaven is Real did. I've probably seen more movies in the last six months than any other six-month stretch in my life, though. The girlfriend and I have been watching a lot of stuff. Recently I saw Birdman and The Theory of Everything. I really liked both.
We all have a long list of stupid shit that we've done. What's the dumbest thing you've done?
I'd say not leaving my hometown to go to college, but that resulted in having phenomenal friends both stateside and abroad. I'm pretty risk averse, so I'd say all of the dumb shit I have done is a result of just not taking more risks.
Judging by what you've shared on the message boards and on the Eureka Podcast, your family life has been, for lack of a better word, interesting. How would you describe your formative years at home?
Honestly my formative years were pretty boring. Just an underachieving C student who played baseball in the summer (horribly) and football in the fall (a little less horribly). My mom's family is pretty white trash which leads to some pretty entertaining podcast material. I've got a cousin on her side who reclaims scrap metal, but he doesn't have a car. So he pulls a wagon with his bicycle, and if the load is too heavy, he has his dog help pull it. On my dad's side, there is a cousin who used to hide in the bushes waiting for us to get home when I was really young. My father was working evenings at the time, so my mother had my grandfather take care of the issue, which resulted in him hiding in the bushes waiting for him to show up to hide in the bushes. Parents got divorced while I was in middle school, which was pretty scandalous being as I went to a Catholic school.
My family life got totes cray cray after I graduated high school. My dad really fell off the deep end for a while, and my brother either followed in his footsteps or may have been the person who dragged my dad back into a life of illegal means--just depends on who you talk to.
Describe yourself in three sentences or less.
Hmmm... I don't think there is much to me that hasn't already been covered or that you couldn't deduce from my previous answers.
What Royals Reviewer would you be most interested to meet in person? Why?
I've met a handful over the last couple of years but I have a feeling meeting Nighthawk at the Diner could be quite the chucklefest.
Is there anything you feel like I'm missing? What would you love to put out there?
I feel like I have probably overshared. The funny thing is, I am incredibly private and have social anxiety to a certain degree, yet I have TONS of personal information out on the interwebs about myself. Stuff I've never told people that are close to me. Now that I am hunting for a job its putting me into near panic attacks when I realize how much someone can find out about me by googling my name. I have really slacked on protecting my privacy, but kinda late to put the lid back on it now.
Well, then we'll just have to make sure no one out there reads this.
Everyone, don't read this edition of Better Know a Commenter.
Everybody should go check out his podcast. Do it.