Hanging Out with Sean Nittner, Founder of Big Bad Con & Project Manager at Evil Hat Productions

Hey fellow cooks and geeks. Time for one more interview, then it will be back to cooking for a stretch.

Last February I had a chat with Sean Nittner over Google Hangouts (yes this is very delayed post). Sean is the Founder of Big Bad Con and a Project Manager at Evil Hat Productions. I’ve been meaning to talk with Sean for some time now, having met him in 2012 at Big Bad Con, and I was struck by his confidence in running a convention, and his ease at joining into conversations and relating with new people.

sean nittner interview

Sean being embarrassed by an unexpected question!


For the interview, we spent a lot of time talking about an array of issues, but basically the four things we focused on were:

  • Conventions
  • Gaming
  • Food
  • Evil Hat

Not so coincidentally, the videos have been separated into four parts that match up pretty neatly on those lines.

Part 1: Introduction and Gaming Conventions

Highlight quote:

Brian: So When people hear the name Sean Nittner, What do you want them to think?

Sean: That is a very big vague question I’ve been looking at that and thinking about that and… my first thought was gaming evangelist but I realize that evangelist isn’t really the right word because I’m not reaching out to non gamers, at least not exclusively. [I’m not looking]to bring people into the fold, but what I want to do is make games accessible to other people.

I want more people playing more different games, and trying out new things. So I think gaming advocate is probably the best word, I don’t know if it completely captures it.

Whether … it is from writing an actual play report to recap our game and show people examples of play or whether its putting on conventions or working with Evil Hat, they all set around the idea.

…When I sit in a room of people all playing a game and having a good time, that’s like the best time of my life, that’s when I’m my happiest, I feel like I’ve reached Nirvana then, is when I’m sitting around and all of these people having a great time playing games together, and that’s great, and I want to make that happen as much as I can whether it’s through my personal interactions just gaming with people or by producing content, or putting on a con. or doing things online. Just whatever I can do to foster that in general.

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Geekonomic Stimulus: Kitsune Hoodie by Jamie Noguchi


Model: Zehra Fazal / Photographer: Johnny Shryock

For your consideration, you should back this awesome Kitsune Hoodie on Kickstarter, which is currently a bit over $5,500 of its $6,500 goal. There’s a week left as of this writing, and it’s very much a deserving project!

One of favorite webcomics is Yellow Peril, and described by the author as “an office romance comic that follows the humorous exploits of Kane, Bodie and Julie as they struggle on the path for creative and financial freedom.”

That author is Jamie Noguchi, is a Japanese/Chinese-American artist. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him once before, and we had a great talk about what it means to be Asian-American, the state of Western Media, and just really had a great free ranging conversation.

After having delivering on two previous Kickstarters, Jamie has turned towards the world of clothing. I was glad that I could get him to take a quick break to answer some questions about this new undertaking.

Brian: How long have you wanted to make a hoodie? How does one find a hoodie making company?

Jamie: I’ve wanted to do hoodies and just other types of apparel besides the typical screen printed shirt ever since I started making shirts with my art. But regular t-shirts are still the most economical apparel/canvas to work with so I hadn’t really done much research into it until now.
There are actually quite a few places that do hoodies. Any screen printing shop or print-on-demand service will have hoodie options. But for full sublimated printing, you have to go looking a bit harder. I actually found the company I’m working with on Alibaba so they’re in China.
Brian: I know you’ve already have a shirt with the Kitsune, and now you’re working on the hoodie, why a Kitsune exactly?
Jamie: There’s something about the trickster spirit that really appeals to me. Their sinister playfulness entraps you. You know it’s a bad idea, but you just can’t help falling into a kitsune scheme.
From a visual standpoint, using large swaths of red contrasted with a stark white make designing kitsune hard to ignore. They visually draw you in and you kind of get lost.
Brian: Is the world of clothing very different from the previous kickstarters you’ve gone through?
Jamie: The apparel space is completely different from what I’m used to. I know how to sell comics and I have a fanbase to draw from. But I’m not really known for clothing so it’s a whole new market. I think professional photography is an absolute must for fashion which is completely different than comics.
buy buy buy

Model: Zehra Fazal / Photographer: Johnny Shryock

Brian: If this goes through well, do you have any future plans for clothing focused kickstarters?
Jamie: I do have ideas for other hoodies or sublimated designs that I’d like to try, but I’ll have to take stock and see what might work. Since I’m not just printing funny phrases or mashups, there are many more unknowns to tackle. I’d like to do more in this space, I just have to do more research.
Brian: Last question here, any big projects or plans on the horizon that you want to boost the signal for?
Jamie: Not right now. Book 3 is in the works for later this year.
Brian: Well, you’ve certainly got a lot on your plate. Hope you get this Kickstarter banged out as successfully as the other two!
Jamie: Thanks!!
(end of interview)
And if it wasn’t clear already, in full disclosure I’m a backer.
Other links you may like:

Out on the Town: Marié Digby @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall

Cook Geek Marie Digby Brick Mortar Show 0 001

Last Thursday night, I made a point to go to Marié Digby’s show at Brick & Mortar Music Hall. I’ve been a huge fan of Marié’s work since her cover of Umbrella brought her to public attention. I actually stumbled upon it accidentally when I was trying to find the Mandy Moore cover of Umbrella, and I just fell in love with Marié’s take on it. So I was incredibly excited to see she was coming to San Francisco, since she doesn’t tour up this way that much.

She had two opening acts that night, Kate Lamont and Peter Chung, and it would be my first time hearing them perform.


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Cocktail Time: The Bacon Van Schmidt

A margarita with a couple twists

Bacon Van Schmidt 023

One night, I was browsing Facebook and noticed my friend Meagan Van Schmidt was celebrating the extremely adult decision to have margaritas and eat bacon for her dinner that evening. Inspiration struck almost immediately to develop a new cocktail, with a standard cocktail to base it on, a novel ingredient, and a name that rhymed with that ingredient.

I know that cocktails with bacon is not an entirely original thing, but still, the idea grasped me so firmly that I had to make it a reality. That and I’m not one to crush a friend’s dreams once I’ve uttered it aloud.

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Geekonomic Stimulus: Reviewing Fondue Cowboy, Sparse but Deep Thoughts on Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Cheesy Goodness, followed by more Cheesy Goodness

Bacon Van Schmidt 000

After far too long, I was able to hang out with good friend Renee. She’s also a fantastic editor, and we’ve collaborated on a few projects including my fantasy cookbook. When Nick Olivero, Founding Artistic Director of Boxcar Theatre as well as originator of The Speakeasy (see a brief review here), announced a limited run of Hedwig and the Angry Inch it seemed like an opportune time to hang out, especially considering I missed Nick’s first round of Hedwig.

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Coffee and Conversation with Hunny Bunny

Trigger warnings: Talking about music, dancing, some pictures of a 
scantily clad woman and some curse words. Fun things really, but 
you never know.

Chatting with Hunny Bunny, Head Bitch in Charge of Mischief at the Skylark, about music, dance, and a hodgepodge of other topics.

In addition to talking about food, I wanted to use this blog as a platform to share with you some of the great things going on in the SF Bay Area. One of the great things about this area is that some really cool people are readily accessible and willing to chat.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to sit down with a cup of joe at Tierra Mia Coffee with Hunny Bunny, the Head Bitch in Charge of Mischief at the Skylark bar as well as troupe leader of Hunny Bunny and her Hot Toddies, to talk about her work in burlesque as both producer and performer, the music she listens to, her connection to the Skylark, and a wide array of other fun topics.

(As this is primarily a food blog, I’d be remiss if I did not take a moment here to say caffeine offerings at Tierra Mia were quite good. I’d go so far as to say that of the coffee shops I’ve been to in the area, it is one of the top. And the Horchata latte I treated Hunny to was apparently excellent.)

Hunny Bunny by Ana Salomonis

Photo Credit: Ana Salomonis

I’ve known Hunny for a while now, meeting her through a mutual friend and I count myself fortunate to count among my friends such a driven, creative, and smart woman who has been making deep inroads into the San Francisco nightlife with passion and grit. It goes without saying that she’s pretty fantastic to watch perform too.

I mean, come on.

Hunny Bunny by Adam Parmalee

Photo Credit: Adam Parmalee @ http://www.adamparmalee.com/

For those who want to watch the videos, check them out right here! I should apologize for the rather awkward angle, and I know I need to find some better hardware solutions to fix this. That said, these videos are Hunny Bunny approved.

For those who don’t quite have 40 minutes and prefer text, check out my notes after the jump. Continue reading

Happy New Year!

I hope you are all enjoying yourself, in the fashion that suits you best.

May the troubles of 2014 be softened with the new year, and may your successes continue to drive you all to a better 2015.

For my own part tonight, I’ll be hanging out with the cat.


Geekonomic Stimulus–Music Edition: Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox Eviction Tour Show at Slim’s

A review of vintage take on modern music, and terrible phone quality photos

In spite of the ever increasing cost of living, I’m thankful to live and work in the SF Bay Area due to the fact that so many cool people come here to have awesome events.

One of these events that is very near the top of that list, and definitely the top of the list for, at the very least, this latter half of 2014 at least is the Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox Eviction Tour, and I was absolutely stoked to be there on hand for their San Francisco stop (@ Slim’s), ready to listen to their awesome covers of mostly modern pop music in a truly inspired vintage style. If you haven’t heard of them yet, I highly recommend you hop over to Scott’s YouTube channel and get ready to get hooked, because that channel is made of magic and amazingness.


On to the show itself. In a nutshell, it was everything I wanted in a live show:

  • The show was true enough to the original material that I never thought “What the heck are they doing?”
  • Yet enough added material that made attending in person worthwhile.
  • Fantastic style, great looking cuts on the handsome men and the ladies
  • A stylish and engaging MC to boot
  • Audience participation encouraged at the right times
  • A nice bit of storyline and great sense of immersion
  • Pointed recognition of the often forgotten instrumentalists (Adam Kubota on Bass, Chip Thomas on Drums for the west coast tour portion, and I could not hear the names of the sax player or trombones, if someone wants to chime in I’ll amend this)
  • And not in the least, a phenomenal opening act.

That opening act was Kate Davis, a brilliant bass player with a gentle, otherworldly voice. Possessed of fast, precisely placed fingers, and a keen insight of how to work a crowd by musical choice and personality, she won over the crowd in less than a song and thirty seconds, and she continued to win, harder and faster to the point that I almost didn’t want her to leave. Which she didn’t so yay! Really good job with sharing her original songs with us. I’m definitely going to be following her work in the future.

The killer finisher was her cover of Blister in the Sun. I’m not sure why it is on some other guy’s soundcloud, so if you’re reading this Kate, if you want me to take it down, I definitely will!

I will take this point to apologize for phone quality pictures not exactly close to the stage as well.


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Homemade Sriracha: Extra Garlic, Extra Hot Edition

sriracha cook geek etc 000

This isn’t the first time I’ve given homemade sriracha a go (it’s my second) but while I really like my first attempt, it ended up being more of more pourable and sour-tangy hot sauce than the thick pasty sriracha that people are more familiar with.

So, conveniently my dad was growing many big fat jalapeno and Fresno peppers growing in his garden that were getting red on the vine that he didn’t know how to consume, so I made it a win win and got his permission to try making some more sriracha.

peppertime 014

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Big Bad Con & Food Trucks Review 2014

Basically my first taste of Fate Core Accelerated, Tokyo Brain Pop, and a whole lot of Dungeon World

Last weekend I had the good fortune to attend Big Bad Con 2014, and it was a blast. A whole weekend of hanging out with gamers, trying out a few new things, and really getting a feel for Dungeon World, one of my favorite systems that I’ve had some reasonable success in running but felt I was missing out on.

It was especially nice to be back since I missed the 2013 con, which I hear was similarly awesome. No joke, I have not taken the 2012 badge from my trunk since I attended that year.

bigbadweekend 001

It is also definitely worth mentioning that not only is it fun, it’s for a good cause as a combination RPG Convention as well as a charity drive, this year collecting 485 pounds of food for the Alameda CC Food Bank.

Now for some reviews and summarizing!

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