Wednesday, October 1, 2008

cakelava Interviews: The Great White Snark, Pt. 1

All images courtesy of Great White Snark

It’s hip to be a geek these days. Whether it’s a computer geek, sci-fi geek, or music geek, it’s the mentality, this needing to dissect and analyze and discuss the minutia of some topic that not everyone understands or cares about. One reason I am so greatly drawn to the Great White Snark site is because I am a geek at heart, and so is Rick for that matter. He's a bit of a sci-fi geek (though he doesn't attend conventions). Having been a record dealer, and in the Bay Area no less, I had some pretty decent music geek credentials. These days, the only thing revolving on a turntable is cake but I’m still very much in touch with my inner geek, and regularly turn to Great White Snark to get my fix.

The humor of Great White Snark in part comes from being able to laugh at how seriously we take ourselves and our obsession with a given interest. The site is brilliantly written and the snarky commentary will entertain geeks and non-geeks alike. This past week I had the pleasure to interview The Great White Snark. In internet-y circles, he has quite a following. Given his ownership of two fantastic websites, a full-time job, and a very full DVR of programming to watch, The Great White Snark is one busy dude, and I'd like to thank him for the time and thought he devoted to our interview.

Sasha Reichart: How did you come up with the name, Great White Snark and what was your inspiration to start blogging about geek entertainment?

Great White Snark: I started Great White Snark in February of 2007. Originally I was going to call it “Snarky Fish,” but thankfully I have a friend who is much cleverer than I am who came up with “Great White Snark”. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with my writing on the blog instead of hers.

GWS began as a project to better understand bloggers, a target audience of my startup, Lootist. My first "understanding" had me realize that I enjoyed writing about geeky curiosities more than I enjoyed real work. Unfortunately, I still haven't been able to square that with my enjoyment of generously-sized paychecks.

Sasha Reichart: You make a distinction between a geek and a nerd and consider yourself a geek. Can you explain the difference?

Great White Snark: Nerds are easy to spot. They're socially awkward, wear their pants too high, and happen to be really smart. Bill Gates is a nerd.

(SR: and he's also a PC)

GWS: You can't recognize a geek so easily based on outward appearance. Geeks manifest themselves through their passions and interests.

My favorite definition of a geek comes from Fray magazine: "If you’ve ever been into something so much your friends wondered about your sanity, you’re a geek, too."

Think it's a little bit insane that I've got a tattoo of the Batman symbol? Well, you probably still think AOL is "the Internet," too, so your opinion doesn't concern me too much. But that does mean I've got a substantial bit of geek credibility. Not the kind of geek cred that would get me laid at Comic-Con, but... still. It's something.

SR: It’s no secret, we love the Great White Snark site. How would you describe your blog to the uninitiated?

GWS: I like to say that I’m “taking swipes at the soft, furry underbelly of geek culture.”

My goal is to regale my readers with hilarity and pithiness. And when that fails, I've got lots of profiles of really outlandish geeky cakes, tattoos, costumes, and other curiosities. So, at the very least, my readers won't get bored at work.

SR: Let’s talk cakes. The first cake profiled on Great White Snark, STAR WARS Max Rebo cake, was made by your mother, a cake designer, for your brother’s birthday. It was a retaliation of sorts over a sculpted Death Star cake posted on BoingBoing which you described as a “Large, pre-historic ball of turd with a dent in the side.” Can you tell us how you and your mother decided on Max Rebo, the keyboardist in Jabba the Hutt’s palace band?

GWS: It was quite an easy decision for her. I printed out some pictures of Max Rebo, pointed at them, and said, “Make that. Um... please.”

I selected Max Rebo for three reasons:
1) He and his keyboard presented a feasible form factor for a cake.
2) No one had ever made a Max Rebo cake, before. Not an awesome one that had blown up on the interwebs, anyway.
3) When in doubt, always go with the blue, piano-playing space elephant. That’s a rule. Look it up.

SR: The Jabba the Hutt cake you profiled has to be one of the strangest wedding cakes around. It’s not exactly appetizing but we are intrigued by it, and it certainly makes an impression. What are some of the most memorable geek wedding cakes you’ve encountered?

GWS: You know, I have the memory of a dead guppy, so the latest cake on the blog is usually the one I’m most excited about. That Jabba cake was definitely a landmark piece of confectionary artwork, though.

SR: I gotta ask. Where do you find your “Top Five Awful” Cakes (ie. Top Five Millennium Falcon Cakes, Top Five Awful R2-D2 Cakes, Top Five Scary Darth Vader Cakes). Have you offended anyone by posting their cakes?

GWS: You know, the internets are a wondrous place. It’s really not too tricky to find whatever you’re looking for.

Although I have been having trouble finding someone willing to trade an Aston Martin for a bag full of comic book convention swag and a notebook full of fart jokes. (Offer still stands…) So, it’s not like Google is perfect or anything.

Anyway, really awful cakes are pretty easy to find, if you’re looking. Shockingly, people have been pretty cool about my taking shots at their lame cakes. I don’t know if it’s because I’m hitting the right notes with my jokes, or if it’s because people are actually more self-deprecating than reality television programs would have us believe.

SR: What are your Top Five favorite cakes you’ve profiled on Great White Snark?

GWS: Great question. I’ll have to put some effort into ranking them at some point. There are quite a few classics that spring to mind, though.

The Alien chest-burster cake that some lady made for her baby shower. The incredibly-detailed, 1:1 scale Millennium Falcon cake. The Jabba groom’s cake. The perfect likeness of a Stormtrooper helmet cake. The epic Star Destroyer cake. And, of course, the R2-D2 cake that you and Rick made was phenomenal.

SR: Aww, we made your Top 5 list! Rick is actually making another R2-D2 this weekend. May the Force be with Him as he sculpts the droid. You revealed you have a Batman symbol Tattoo on your hip. Is this your only tattoo and were you drunk when you got it?

GWS: Getting tattooed while under the influence is actually frowned upon by the legal authorities of the state in which I had the ink done. So, no. I was not drunk. Although that might have dulled the pain.

That is my only tattoo. And it pales in comparison to some of the other work I’ve discovered through the blog. Like the guy who plastered a huge Dark Knight symbol across his back.

SR: Wow! That’s a pretty Bad-Ass tattoo. I like the profile you did of the Librarian who got a tattoo of the Harry Potter Dewey Decimal Number. Let’s talk about your giveaways. People love to get things for free, and I imagine the Giveaways you regularly offer on Great White Snark have been very successful. What is the most popular item you have given away, based on the readers responses?

GWS: People have been going coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs over the Iron Man special edition DVDs I’m giving away right now.

SR: Speaking of getting things for free, tell us about your other site, Lootist.

GWS: Lootist is my startup company. It’s a place where you can find people who share your interests to recommend and discover cool products. It fits nicely with the theme of my blog; there are definitely a bunch of geeks (e.g., toy collectors, comic book collectors, video gamers, etc.) on there who like talking about the latest stuff that they’re enjoying. In fact, I’ve collected quite a little collection of random Star Wars swag.

END, Pt. 1

Want more loot? Check out Part 2 of our interview tomorrow. In the meantime, visit Great White Snark to see today's "Geeky Cake of the Week", and give Mr. Snark some blog love by leaving your comments here.


Cynthia Badiey said...

Nice interview! It had me giggling (but on the inside, since I'm at work). Glad to see GWS getting the recognition he so richly deserves.

Esbat said...

Rock on!

GWS is a sexy beast, and he's got a natural cure for rugburns that makes you smell great!


*waits at the postie for his check*

cakelava said...


Uhhh. I wouldn't know about that, but I'll take your word for it. Glad you liked the interview!

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