Mystery Geek Interview

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Yeah, hey. This is Marty. Marty? Marty, uh, Fugate. The writer from Sarasota Magazine. Oh, yeah. Pam told me about… It’s like a day-in-the-life. So if … Yeah, she was saying you want to "shadow me." Not today. Today is a bad day. This is just a preliminary. This is a very bad week. ‘K, […]


Yeah, hey. This is Marty.
Marty?

Marty, uh, Fugate. The writer from Sarasota Magazine.
Oh, yeah. Pam told me about…

It’s like a day-in-the-life. So if …
Yeah, she was saying you want to "shadow me." Not today. Today is a bad day.

This is just a preliminary.
This is a very bad week. ‘K, you want to set up a time. I can give you a day-in-the-life…some day, next week…not the whole day. Cool?

Cool.
‘K. I’ll look at my schedule, see what’s open, and send you an e-mail. Cool?

Cool. It’s…
She gave it to me.

OK.
Ground rules. Don’t use my real name or specify where I live. Use a pseudonym. Call me anything, just not Joe. You can do poetic license?

Yeah.
‘K. So change my name. Don’t use my girlfriend’s name. Cool?

Cool.
On the subject of what I do: You can mention any national publications, M.I.T. Technology Review, etc., work-for-hire product writing–obviously you can talk about the stuff they pay me to write about because they want publicity. Get the facts right. Don’t put words in my mouth. If I use the words "non-disclosure agreement," don’t disclose what I was talking about or I will hurt you.

Sarasota Magazine doesn’t burn its…
That was a joke. Ha-ha. ‘K, you’re going to say "send me a bio." I don’t know where it is–how ’bout I just tell you? Cool?

Cool.
‘K. So, my bio…Born in California–are you typing this?

Yeah.
Cool. You’re pretty fast. Anyway. California brat. My parents were marginal show-biz types, like hippie-freak intellectuals–they used to get high with Stewart Brand. We moved around a lot. Woodland Hills, Malibu, San Diego. I had a band in the ’80s. I was the drummer, we called ourselves "The Cyb3rPhunks5"–that’s kind of lame, don’t mention the band. Smart kid, I got scholarships, "future’s so bright I had to wear shades," etc. Cal-Tech, UC Berkeley. I kept changing my major–you’re still keeping up?

Yeah.
Cool. Musician, writer, engineer, graphic artist, computer geek, code monkey, writer. I couldn’t make up my mind, so I earned, like, the equivalent of six degrees without getting one. I’m not really sure if I graduated–but if I did, it was ’89, which makes me…I dunno. In college, I started writing about…stuff. After college, people started paying me to write. About stuff. I did tech writing, which is different than writing about tech. So at the time they were kinda pouring the concrete for the "Information super highway," I made various connections to various writing/editing/publishing types in the emerging geek community–Wired, Boingboing, etc. I, uh, wound up writing and editing this lifestyles thing in Silicon Valley, it was this totally online magazine about stuff, with no ads or subscription fee or other source of income except that people kept investing in it, and they, like, paid you in stock. So, anyway, I lived in this cube for, like, three years and I made a lot of ka-ching. Like, for me, the ’90s were like the new ’80s. Then I kept having nightmares about tulips, so I quit the magazine and the guy who owned it kept yelling at me like it’s this big personal betrayal and he’s my friend, but I cashed out right before, you know, the bubble. Went pop. Then I left and moved to Sarasota, ’cause I was sick of the West Coast. See, my uncle owned a Best Western motel that doesn’t exist anymore and we used to go there every summer, so that’s why. Anyway, after I moved here, I got back into writing for the various people I used to write for. They’re all over the country, but I’m doing it by remote control. So I’m doing OK. Then it’s Y2K, and I go to this con, Siggraph–like, this bleeding-edge graphic arts convention–in New Orleans. My friend is there, and he whips out his laptop and starts checking out the market, he’s like, "Ahh, the sky is falling!" I’m just keeping my mouth shut, y’know. "Gee, good thing I cashed out," like a C.H.U.D. I’m not gonna be that guy, so I kept my mouth shut. It’s just pure dumb luck I’m not living in a dumpster. Divorced, no kids, don’t ask.

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