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No one likes reading that bio info where people try to be funny while talking about themselves. It just comes off a little bit sad. Instead, we’re going talk about each other and hope no one gets too pissed off in the process.

CJ Ovalle

Mike says: Carlos might represent the most stunningly level-headed person I know. It’s almost painful to watch. He also knows his stuff. Active and involved in his field, he’s my first stop on anything involving digital archiving and production.

Sam says: Carlos is my first contact for weird Copyright Questions I occasionally have at 11p.m. after I couldn’t find my answer on He lives ridiculously far from where he works and makes more money than I do. Some of the things he’s mentioned in passing make me think that he has been memorizing college text books for the past 10 years.

Kurt says: Carlos confuses me, but in a good way.  He’s pure geek, with a sharp mind capable of pulling out the most relevant bits of info on a subject, especially when it relates to copyright or Internet law (if the Internet could be said to have any laws).  He is also a fantastic roleplayer, coming up with some of the most bizarre and outlandish concepts yet somehow making them work to the betterment of the party… as long as he’s there to run the character properly.  And yes, Carlos deserves huge kudos for getting this project off the ground.

Derek says: Carlos is the kind of geek that makes other geeks feel slightly ashamed for not doing things he does. Apparently he archives everything in the universe, or something like that.  Carlos is also the reason we’ve got this site.  He took my vague ramblings about a phrase I’d come up with that interested me, and the “someone should really do something to make that something” and turned it in to this.

Enrique G. says: If you could create a Wiki about digital rights, intellectual property disputes, and all the attendant issues therein, then give that Wiki a body and life, it would be Carlos.  What Mike said can’t be emphasized enough: he knows his shit.  He’s also a generally good guy to talk to and be around.  And of the people I know, when the zombie apocalypse comes, he’d be the first I’d ask to get my back.  Were it not for the fact that the zombies would be incredibly drawn to his tasty tasty brain.

BJ Krauter

Carlos says: I met BJ way back in the “lost year” when Holly was in Japan and I joined the RPGA. ^_^ I was happy when BJ returned from his own multi-year Japanese sojourn and we could continue gaming with our friends in-person. Korlac the barbarian lives! Plus, he was the impetus for making a podcast. Wooo! ;)


Mike says: Hell, he’s already cost me money by actually updating this page within a week of the Basement’s start. My first (and only) book signing was with Derek and we had lots of our friends (and almost no one else) show up. Since I talked him into doing that awesome life lesson in humility, I also give him a break for selling out. Especially because he makes so much cash and still comes up with great ideas like making this blog. That, and I think he still manages to game about ten times more than I do.

Sam says: Derek has enough cats and dogs and children to possibly start a farm. But the farm would need to be within range of a DSL connection. I’ve helped him move serveral times and after years of that, I’m a little glad he moved out of state to spare us all that nightmare. He has almost as much random crap as I have books. Back when Derek was first becoming all weirdly responsible, I once made a joke about slashing the tires on his house and his wife got pissed at me. I didn’t make a joke like that again. (But other jokes I’ve made have upset her without me being aware at the time.)

Carlos says: I met Derek through a Shadowrun game, and that was probably appropriate. I think I share one thing with Derek- I tend to make a lot more characters than I’ll ever play, off-line or online. He goes even further than I do, though- he’ll analyze seven different ways to set up stats to maximize their effectiveness. It really saves me a lot of trouble. ^_^

Enrique G. says: If I didn’t respect Derek’s geekery (Lady in the Water be damned), I’d still find a lot to respect and admire in Derek as a father.  It’s going to be entertaining as hell to see how he indoctrinates his brood into this basement world we dwell in.  If he weren’t in a frozen wasteland, I’d be trying to figure out how to get all of that indoctrination on film and then edit it to be released as a documentary film or TV series.  Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Geekdom.

Kurt says: I’ve known Derek longer than anyone else on this blog, and knew we were cut from the same cloth within the first few hours of meeting him.  It’s not every day you find someone who can totally get into the geekery of cheesey VCR games, or someone who understands that you just can’t leave behind your corpse in Diablo even if it is 2:30 in the morning and you really need to get to sleep.  He’s a pure powergamer, looking for the best combination of abilities possible while staying within the rules and having the absolutely best time he can.  At the same time, he wants everyone else to enjoy themselves, too, or he won’t play.

Jake says: Derek is the Hare to my Tortoise.  I have met few people who are as capable of managing to get as much gaming in as he does while maintaining a healthy work and family life.  He is also one of the more modern geeks I know.  He has adapted to suburban life and fits in even with his avid love of games and gaming.  Where he works he is respected and trusted rather than seen as an enigma like many of us have been over the years.

Michael Trice


Carlos says: Mike is intelligent, hard working, and likes to argue discuss things. It’s a dangerous combination, as Sam’s message board history can attest to. ^_^ He’s been involved with some really worthwhile things, in my opinion, such as his work with SafePlace. He also ran a wicked Arcana Unearthed/Evolved game. Plus I’ve heard him speak as a Litorian, so I expect great things from him. ^_^ I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of his doctoral work.

Sam says: I think Mike can only be truly happy when he’s about to pass out from the stress of 5 deadlines hitting at once. He is the only person I know who’s needed to go to the hospital after working too hard. He’s married now and has kids, but I secretly think that’s just his way of trying to compete with Ergonomic Cat. (Oh… shit. I guess that’s not a secret any more.) One of his writing idols wrote extensively about junkies and hookers, so I guess that explains his obsession with the BCS.

Kurt says: If there’s anyone on this board willing to argue and stick to his guns no matter what, it’s Mike.  He loves a good discussion, especially if there are conflicting viewpoints, but he’s always willing to listen to your side (even if he thinks you’re completely wrong).  I think I’ve gotten more red in the face discussing things with Mike than anyone else, but I also know I’ll learn something from the exchange.  And you better come prepared if you decide to throw down, because Mike does not enter into an argument unarmed.

Derek says: Mike is, at last check, about 97% ego. That being said, he sort of represents the guy that decided what exactly it was he wanted, sat down to figure out what he needed to do to make it happen, then, oddly, went out and did just that. It’s strange that it actually works for him. He’s also sort of a punk, and the guy I’m most likely to share deep meaningful conversations with, and also refuse to speak to for a week or so.

Enrique G says: Derek’s numbers are off, Mike is like Ivory Soap – 99 44/100% ego.  But it’s not like he hasn’t earned a fair bit of the attitude.  He will drop the knowledge on you like a ton of bricks.  I’ve had some of the most infuriating arguments and enlightening discussions with him about everything from politics to steroids in professional sports.  And I’m thankful for every argument and every discussion.  He’s pushed me to be a better writer and a better thinker.  Always a dangerous combination.

Jake says: Mike is quite likely the most fun person to argue with in my opinion.  Primarily because I am usually so outclassed that it is soon over and I can get on with other things.  He is very motivated and is likely one of the most “mainstream” of any of us here while being just as much a full-time geek.  He is passionate about whatever it is that interests him whether it be polishing off a night’s adventure material for gaming, being a model husband and father or getting his term paper to just where it needs to be.  All in all, he geeks on anything and everything that interests him which leaves me tired just trying to keep up with how far he dives in.


samCarlos says: Sam gave us the virtual place where I met all of these other people, which I appreciate. You will also see the terms “anger,” “rage,” and “cynicism” thrown about when discussing him, and there’s probably a good reason for that. Me, I actually tend to think of his giant wall of DVDs, filled with good and bad movies alike. I bought the zombie prom “Dance of the Dead” DVD on his mention. He runs some fascinating WoD games, and his Jedi… well, let’s not go there. ^_-

Mike says: Sam should have a bromance with Warren Ellis, except that I can already guess that they both “fucking hate the term bromance.” Have they ever told me this? No, but they don’t have to. I don’t know Warren, but Sam came from a den of brothers and studies journalism–so you know why he’s angry.

Kurt says: You know that saying of Yoda’s about anger, fear, and hate?  Well, it’s bubkis when it comes to Sam.  Screw fear, Sam went right to Anger and Hate, and it has made him STRONG.  He could give the Emperor a run for his money.  Yet, buried beneath that crusty cynical shell lies a guy who really cares about certain things, lending him a strength of purpose and passion.  Undirected anger is wasted energy; Sam is a model of efficiency.  Sam is also the guy most likely to stir up trouble just to see what happens.

Derek says: Sam purports to be a bundle of pure rage and hatred. And when I first him (on a mailing list for vampire RP, so you know that we both have our geek cred) he was. However, he’s now got friends and a sugar momma, so I think sometimes he has to look around for things to make him upset. Being fueled purely by coffee and books helps.  He also enjoys conflict far more than I think is healthy, and seems to be the one that’s most likely to fiddle with the site to make it actually do stuff.

Enrique G. says: Sam might be the only person on this planet that Chuck Palahniuk would call “a little out there on the edge with his anger.”  It simultaneously frightens me and makes me want more.  I can neither confirm or deny the rumors that Sam’s cynicism is a gateway drug the government is considering listing as a controlled substance.

Jake says: Easily the most bitter and cynical of us on here, Sam is a delight to watch rant.  I met him back when I was sucked into IRC back in the day.  He was the perpetrator of one of the most amazing meltdowns of a tech support person I had ever witnessed.  In true geek fashion he also introduced me to the joy of coffee brewed with Mtn. Dew, something I actually still like.


kurtCarlos says: Kurt seems to do some really interesting things with history and architecture, so I look forward to that bit of geekery here. Also, you know how it’s often the players that really determine whether or not a game works? Kurt’s really, really good to have in a game.

Mike says: Kurt’s like Indiana Jones, but taller and all his exotic adventures occur in rural Texas. Still, he’s from Cali, so he does run into issues with the natives. On the plus side, when it comes to embracing the sheer joy of geekery, no one beats this guy. Someone get him a whip!

Sam says: Kurt often gets very upset by life’s inconveniences. He tries to save spiders from the dangers of soapy water. When he role plays, he makes up some of the most hilarious and disturbing voices for his characters that you’ve ever heard. He likes to build little patterns with his houses and roads when we play Settlers of Catan.

Derek says: One game that I play (to my minor shame) along with a couple of people is “See how red Kurt can get.” Hint: It’s *really* red. Kurt, however, embraced his inner geek from the very first day I met him (with his “Wylie E. Coyote is my co-pilot” license plate wrapper). From day one, he had his “other friends” which I eventually learned were the people that I was more likely to hang out with. I’ve known Kurt longer than anyone here except Sam, and I’ve known Kurt *in person* for longer (Sam was just an imaginary person at the time). Kurt was the best man at my wedding, and yet I still think, deep in his heart, I confuse the hell out of him at times. ;) He also has an imaginary friend named “Tim.”

Enrique G. says: Kurt’s a scholar and a gentleman.  He is someone who it seems to me always wants to try and figure something out for how or why it works.  We seem to have developed a partnership to actually pay and see bad movies on occasion.  I think it’s my turn to inflict the punishment next.  Given that his last choice was Knowing, I hope he’s got his insurance paid up for whatever I pick next.

Jake says: Kurt is Kurt.  It seems that he and I can quite often be polar opposites as well as completely of the same mind within the same instant, or rather we reach the same conclusion by radically different thought processes.  He is one of the most fundamental and loyal people I know when it comes to games and gaming.  He is just as likely to put  a 15 year old Sierra game on his computer than he is to install the latest MMO.  What matters is the game, and not the bells and whistles which so many others go for (myself and usually Derek included).  He is also one of the most fun people to have in your gaming group hands down.


Mike says: I’m gonna wait until she posts something, but Dee’s awesome. Geekdom isn’t a past-time or hobby with her, it’s damn fine job and a great cause.

Sam says: I don’t know Dee, but apparently she’s the shit.

Carlos says: I don’t know her, either, but I know Google. From her blog and SxSW presentation, she gets a thumbs up! ^_^

Enrique G

Mike says: If he ever returned my calls and texts, I’d have a full-fledged bromance with Enrique. Sure, he’s a reformed Yankees fan and a Raiders devotee, but at least he went to the right college (hook ’em). Oh, and he might be the best writer we’ve got, especially in this format. Update: After reading Sam’s comments below, my wife also wanted it known that when I die, she wants permission to be able to pursue Henry. (Anyone know where I can find a food taster?)

Sam says: Henry has this strange ability to have multiple circles of friends running at the same time and he’s constantly bouncing between 2-3 parties at a time. Henry has a style that the rest of us sorely lack. Maybe he’ll make a few posts on how to dress well without looking like a metrosexual. He’s also the only one of my friends I think my girlfriend might leave me for when I inevitably piss her off.

Derek says: Enrique is the reason I’m a full-fledged Hold ‘Em addict, and has dubbed me an honorary coconut.  He’s probably also by far the traditionally coolest among us.  He can pull off a fedora and hawaiian shirt, he hangs out with people who make other people go “wow, dude, you met him?” and he’s had blue hair.  That last one may not fit the list.  He fulfills the elitist geek category amongst our group (in a good way), but has abysmal taste in films (Lady in the Water kicked ass, you fool!).

Carlos says: I run into Henry all over the place. The MC Frontalot concert. The Alamo Drafthouse. Left4Dead. His front lawn. Plus, somehow he knew my reclusive house guest before I did, which is really bizarre. I’m hoping he opines about movies and fights with Sam about them. ^_^

Kurt says: Henry is about as pure a movie geek as you can get, and I always get a kick out of hearing what he has to say.  Our movie tastes don’t always match up,  but he has taught me as much about film as my girlfriend, who is incredibly difficult to please when it comes to the cinema.  He’s also a true gentleman and one of the few people I know who can make wearing a fedora in this day and age look good. Also, I think he needs to start playing guitar or bass, as I think he would look awesome on stage.

Jake says: One of the more recent people I have met from this crowd.  His love of movies is not easily bested.  If I needed to find a movie not to watch I could likely just take a look at movies that did not have action, hot women or comedy and that he liked a lot.  This stems mostly from our near diametric viewpoints on what constitutes a “successful” movie.  Enirque G’s geek cred is indisputible if not more narrowed in focus than most others on this board.  However, I would likely choose him first to experience Alamo Drafthouse Threater’s Butt-numb-a-thon just for the pure entertainment of his misery and exuberance through the span of it.



Sam says: I met Jake almost a decade ago when he was sharing a house with Kurt and another of our friends. He has the most bizare collection of stories about stupid things he’s done when he was young that I have ever heard. He’s the “I’ll try anything once” geek, even if he knows it’s not a good thing for him to try – like eating very, very old chicken. He moved out of state a couple years ago, but semi-recently, he moved to Houston so we see more of him.

Enrique G. says: I don’t know Jake that well, but I don’t think there’s a person alive who knows both him and I that would disagree with this assessment: when it comes to film, he is to me as Khan was to Kirk or Gore is to Colbert.  If there is an afterlife, I imagine I will find myself there, escorted to a comfy chair with a bucket of popcorn only to find out Jake gets to program the film schedule.  And that will be quite the moment, because I really won’t know if I’m in heaven or hell.

Mike says: Jake serves as the foundation stone for all that is geekdom. He’s gamed with Wolfgang Bauer, he got me tickets to a Texas-Aggie game in the Aggie alum section back in 2001 (UT won and we ticked off some aggies that day), and he introduced me to most of the people on this blog in one way or another. That doesn’t even touch on his transformation from master of the telepathetic to Fortune 500 programmer (you don’t have to understand that, just accept it as awesome).

Kurt says: There is a mysterious power in the universe that, in the hands of the evil, is a terrible and horrible thing.  Luckily, Jake is probably the nicest guy in the world, so the fact that he has mastered the power of telepatheticism is not cause for alarm.  As Carlos is to geek knowledge, Jake is to pure geek cred.  He’s gamed and disc golfed with some of the biggest names in the business, and has more stories than a hot chick at an anime con.  He knows everyone any anyone, and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that half his time at cons is spent simply trying to walk from one side of the dealer’s room to the other as people stop him to say hi.