Being a geek (for those who like to label people), my interests generally revolve around certain genres of movies and TV shows, gaming (both video and more recently tabletop) and reading a variety of published media. Recently, I have re-kindled my interest in drawing and have developed a love for designing various types of element. This page offers a brief introduction to my interests and hobbies. Please also check this site's links page for some information sites about my interests.
History, Myths and Legends
I have an interest in mythology and legends, particularly British, Norse and Greek. My main era of interest in British History spans from the Dark Ages through to the fifteenth century. From childhood, I have been intrigued by British legends such as King Arthur, Merlin and that great character from the ballads: Robin Hood. This latter, I have spent a fair bit of time studying (originally with the view of wirting an anthology of short stories of my own take on this hero) and I do feel somewhat ingrained with the various imaginings. Heck, I now live in Nottinghamshire and never feel more at home than when visiting the forests of the country. I even got married in Sherwood's Rufford Abbey. Though my reading of Greek and Norse mythology and history has waned over the years, they were my introduction to what many would call the Fantasy genre and I still love going back to these every once in a while.
Thanks to Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe novels, I have a little interest in the Napoleonic wars and I am also fascinated by secret services and special forces - particularly the best in the world: those of the United Kingdom. Hey, there are not many things us Brits can genuinely be proud of right now, so give me that one!
Cooking and Bushcraft
Despite being underweight, I have an appreciation for good food - particularly savoury dishes, though I never say no to a fine apple crumble! Until I was living independently while studying my Masters degree, I was not particularly adventurous in my eating. My mother was not the best cook and I was wary of new things while having a long list of foods I did not like. Many of which I really do like now. I enjoy the act of cooking and spend quite a lot of my telly time watching cookery shows. Rick Stein was the man who I hold responsible for this interest, as it was his showsthat inspired me to eat new things and cook myself. More recently, I have great admiration for the Hairy Bikers and James Martin. I am also a dabbler. It's not often I stick to a recipe, rather seeing them as starting points. Still, I have not killed anyone yet and my food does seem to go down well on the whole.
I also read about and watch a lot of programmes about bushcraft and survival. When not being generally lazy, I do enjoy getting out doors and at some point I will book myself on a survival course just because. Combined with the fact that I enjoy Archery (though to be honest I've not been down to the range for a longer time than I would like) and devouring game, cheese and so on in handfuls, it has been pointed out that I would have been happy living in the middle ages. This is true. Though I would miss my electric fan heater.
Television and Film
I do not watch a vast amount of television - preferring to catch up on series' in VD releases. Being a child of the 1980s, I have a particular fondness for The A-Team and Robin of Sherwood. Doctor Who has always been my favourite TV show, however and it's probably my main geek focus, not just on the television, but with audio adventures, comics and books too. I am a great enjoyer of Science-Fiction shows like Babylon 5 and recently have been watching the various Star Trek series and films in chronological order. Because that's the kind of guy I am.
I tend to like good action-drama and comedy - my favourite current shows are things like Strike Back, Person of Interest and Arrow and it's always good to go back and watch Spooks. On the humour front, I like watching stand-ups, Coupling (which is probably my favourite ever comedy) and Community get top billing. I enjoy animated shows too - from He-Man through Batman the Animated Series and the rest of the DC animated shows. Star Wars: Clone Wars grew from strength to strength in my eyes and it's a sham it was cancelled recently.
Movie-wise, I tend to lean towards action and comedy again. I tend to view Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan as being indicators of good mindless comedy and am always happy to watch Jim Carey do his thing. Serenity (and the series Firefly) are superb pieces of work and I would whole-heartedly recommend these to anyone. Stick on a Bond movie and I'm a happy man and I tend to enjoy "Comic Book Movies" - except for the attrocious Catwoman. Oh and don' forget the Star Wars. Ever.
Novels - Prose and Graphic (yes, I mean comics)
I used to be much more of a reader than I am now. I have phases where I will devour a book whole, but unfortunately other activities and commitments mean my book time is reduced. Having said that, I do enjoy a good read and although I have and use a Kindle, the librarian in me loves to have shelves packed with good-old printed books. I provide a link to some author sites in the links for this site, but briefly: Karen Traviss, Bernard Cornwell, Chris Ryan, Angus Donald and RA Salvatore are amongst my favourite authors right now. Throw in some Terry Pratchett and Ian Flemming and the majority of my prose reading matter is right there!
In my adulthood, I have become a reader of comics. Primarily, I like the superhero stuff published by DC Comics but I also enjoy some Marvel titles as well. Quite a lot of my comics are tie-ins to other media like Star Wars, Doctor Who and the various Bioware game franchises. I have become more diverse of late, picking up some of the translated European Comics put out by Cinebook and some smaller press books as well.
Gaming of all kinds
I find video games to be an excellent release and form of escape. Boo to you nay-sayers. I have several consoles, and game on my desktop PC. I have not really got into mobile games properly, having only recently (2013) got myself a proper smart phone! My main gaming focus is the Xbox 360 where I play action adventure and role playing games. I like sand-box games the most, though do sometimes find myself just playing the free-form modes rather than the main story. I used to play far more strategy games than I currently do (on the PC) and play / have played a number of Massively Multiplayer online games. In the olden days, I loved flight sims, and I have to say the forthcoming Star Citizen has me very excited (check it out for yourself).
Thanks mainly to Geek and Sundry's TableTop show and also to some of my wife's friends, I have developed a bit of a taste for table top gaming. I have for many years had an on and off relationship with Games Workshop wargames, but mainly on the collecting front. Now, I enjoy getting together with a group and playing various games. Fantasy Flight produce some fantastic quality games, including a Star Wars dogfighting game and the translated version of the "learn as you go" co-operative fantasy game, Legends of Andor. Bizarely, one of the most fun I had was playing Gryphon Games' property trading game, For Sale! I really would recomend table-top gaming as a social activity, despite ordinarily being a recluse.
As stated in the banner and elsewhere on this site, I have an interest in drawing and designing banners, logos and the like. A small selection of my art and design work can be found on this site, with a larger collection available over on Deviant Art. Most of my design work has been for the Geek Syndicate or Barry Nugent's Unseen Shadows transmedia project. My drawing tends to be mediocre pin-ups in a comic art style or portraits. Though this is not all I do.