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Pacific NerdWest

Celebrating the geekier things in life

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Don’t be alarmed if you see a large group of people whacking each other with NERF bats in Maritime Heritage Park this weekend. Plus, you’ll want to remain calm if humans in costumes attempt to engage you on the sidewalk. It’s all part of Pacific NerdWest, a three-day celebration of the nerdier things in life. The event’s secretary, Joel O’Connor, filled us in on the particulars. 

Cascadia Weekly: Is there a difference between a geek and a nerd?
Joel O’Connor: There’s a lot of lighthearted debate on that issue, and everyone seems to have their own definitions.  Personally I think a nerd is someone with an unabashed passion, whereas a geek is a nerd who figured out a way to get paid for that passion. For example, I’m a comic book nerd, but a computer geek. But there will be people who disagree with me, and it’s all academic really.

CW: Can you still attend the event if you don’t consider yourself a nerd (or a geek)?
JO: Sure! But to be honest, I can’t think of many people who aren’t a nerd about something in their lives.

CW: What are some of the nerdy items that will be available at the Geek Auction?
JO: Well, we have a bunch of one-of-a-kind pieces of art and costume items like steampunk canes, a beautiful felt fez and a very cool multimedia recreation of a classic comic book cover. We also have some top-secret signed video-game memorabilia that we’re keeping close to our chest for now.

CW: There’s stuff happening all over Bellingham for Pacific NerdWest. Was it challenging to put it all together?
JO: Absolutely. But it was all the easier when we realized that we have such a great community at our disposal.

CW: What the heck is a “Live Action RPG?”
JO: With the help of some amazing people, we have created a two-day-long, town-wide Role Playing Game (RPG) where participants will be sent on quests, solve riddles, uncover treasures and battle monsters. We are stationing actors throughout town to be part of the game.

CW: What are you the most excited about for the event?
JO: What’s not to be excited about? We have some amazing vendors and artists at the Leopold Crystal Ballroom. I’m really looking forward to the RPG, and I know it’s going to be a great time. And finally, we have some great media guests—Neil Grayston, aka Fargo from the SyFy show Eureka!, as well as the people who created the web-series Hey Ash, Whacha Playin?—that I can’t wait to meet.

CW: What does the $20 entry fee get participants?
JO: It gets you entry into the vendor/artist area, the talks and panels, the retro-video game area, the foam sword fights, the NERF war, the town-wide RPG, the charity auction, tabletop gaming, and we’ve also arranged to have discounts at some after-hours clubs for all the over-21 crowd. That’s three days of fun for less than a movie, drink and popcorn.

CW: Why should people come to Pacific NerdWest?
JO: If you love comics, toys, sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, costumes, art, movies, music, gaming, computers or anime, what better way to spend a weekend that with a bunch of likeminded people in beautiful downtown Bellingham?

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