Interview: Dan Abend of GeekDealHQ

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It’s not cheap being a geek. You know how it is, Quantum Mechanix announces the release of some cool new Firefly item and you have to have it. So I look for bargains wherever I can, and one of the places I like to look, is over at Geek Deal HQ where every day you can find the latest deals from Amazon, Think Geek and more. Today, we get to chat with the mind behind Geek Deal HQ, Dan Abend, find out his thoughts on being a geek and his geekiest bargain.

How long has Geek Deal HQ been around?
I officially founded Geek Deal HQ by registering the domain name on October 21, 2010. I was up on Twitter and Facebook the next day with the web site coming online the 23rd. I’ve been at it nearly every day since including during the Super Bowl, on my birthday, and while on vacation at Disney World.

What prompted you to create the Geek Deal HQ site?
Who doesn’t love getting a deal on something they’ve wanted? I’ve always been a bargain shopper but it became most obvious when I started collecting Kenner Star Wars figures and Lego as a kid. When you’re a collector and money is tight, bargain hunting is a must. One time in college, money was so scarce, I bought Ramen noodles on sale with a coupon. I’ve always been the friend who knows where to go for a deal. You’re thinking about a new  hard drive? I just saw a deal! Why pay full price when a shop down the street has it 20% off? The deals are sweeter when they’re shared with others. Finally, after considering various ideas for a web site, I was reading a blog post that reminded me nothing was going to happen until I took action. That’s how Geek Deal HQ was born.

I’m assuming you consider yourself a geek. Tell us about some of your geeky passions.
Was I the classic picked on nerd you see portrayed on television and the big screen? No. However, when the “cool kids” were at the Friday night football game, I was hanging with my friends playing Dungeons and Dragons or operating my BBS. As a kid, I collected baseball cards just like everyone else but when I got that first pack of Star Wars trading cards, that was the end of memorizing batting averages. I’ve been a non-sport card collector ever since. I’ve got a couple long boxes of comics too but while others were reading Batman and Spider-Man, I was collecting every issue of Groo. In my early teens, my family bought an Apple ][+ and I soon became a permanent resident at the keyboard. I’ve been a software developer for nearly 30 years.

What’s the geekiest thing you’ve ever done?
I once took a month to assemble a Lego Castle set because I set up the minifigs to actually build it brick by brick using their little wheel barrow and ladder. What good it is to be king if you can’t get your serfs to build a fortification?

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Tell us your favourite Movie/TV show/Book?
In 1977, I was in the theater for Star Wars but The Empire Strikes back is what made me a life long Star Wars fan. My favorite movie is Ghostbusters. This was Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis at the top of their game. There are so many great quotes from that film you can use and reuse. I don’t get the opportunity to see as many movies as I’d like any more. I’m looking forward to Iron Man 3, Stark Trek: Into Darkness, and the next installment of The Hobbit. More recently, on television, I’m a Castle fan. Nathan Fillion has created a character so uniquely different from his other roles, like Malcolm Reynolds or Captain Hammer, yet he still retains so much of himself. The mysterious murders aren’t always so mysterious but the character development has been great. The main character’s love story has depth but hasn’t swallowed the plot of the show. I also keep current with The Big Bang Theory although lately, I’m beginning to feel it’s jumped the shark.

Tell us about the most recent geek deal that you absolutely had to have, and couldn’t pass up on.
I don’t purchase for myself as many of the deals as you might think. I post a lot of deals on classically geeky things like Princess Bride or Firefly. Of course, I already have these things. The end of the year holiday sales always get me. The deals are too delicious to pass up. Of course I want The Avengers Blu-ray 3D for $19.99… and I want to tell all my friends. My last geeky deal purchase was a pair of 24″ LED-LCD monitors with a sweet rebate. Since I was having to smack the side of my ginormous CRT to get the picture to stay full screen, it was time for it to meet the recycler. This deal was timed just right, like it was specifically targeted at me.

The term “geek” has really slipped into the mainstream these past few years. What does it mean to you to be a geek?
I prefer the term geek (not the circus performing, chicken-head biting kind) to nerd although people often use them interchangeably. There was a time I was a nerd, sitting in the dark writing code so I could get the computer to roll me an advanced dungeons and dragon character. In this century, geek culture and mainstream culture are more closely intertwined than ever before. Maybe there is a little bit of geek in everyone who wants to believe in super heroes or magic. Geeks are intelligent, passionate, and creative. They have an ability to see the world not just as it is but as it could be. Humanity depends on geek skills and abilities to make our world run and to create our future — a future that’s better than any sci-fi film could portray and more beautiful than any fantasy matte painting. Sure, sometimes, they forget they can’t just catch the next teleporter to work or hop in the floo network. Geeks haven’t forgotten the wonderment of childhood. They remember details are important. Today, geeks form communities around their passions, sharing knowledge and enthusiasm. Each one is a little bit of an expert on something and that makes them the coolest people I know. I still remember the first time my son draped a pillowcase across his shoulders and took his Earth-protector stance. For a moment, I’m a kid again, believing in all the promises of tomorrow, believing someday we’ll travel in space and live on other planets. In the meantime, I’m still an adult, wondering, “Where are my flying cars? I was promised flying cars.”

You can keep up with Dan’s latest geeky deals by following him on Twitter or liking him on Facebook.