In Conversation with our own Captain Kickass
mirka Interviews Kirk
Many of you know Kirk as someone toiling behind the scenes as a long time coder and admin for The Cult... just popping in to post about a fix or answer a concern. Lately, he's been more active and posting more but he's still a mystery by forum standards. So it occurred to me that I'd snag an interview with him, which he kindly consented to.
I wanted to get to know Kirk, the person, more than ask a bunch of questions about his work on the site, and he was very forthcoming.
Oh, and Captain Kickass? That's a test account of his and none of us knows the secret powers behind it.
Mirka: Let’s start with a mini bio. This is anything that you care to share about where you were born, where you grew up, brothers/sisters, pets, skeletons in the closet etc.
Kirk: I'm a pretty typical dude from the suburbs of Chicago. I have no brothers or sisters and a few dead pets. I wouldn't mind getting a dog, but dogs for me, are creatures to laugh at and ridicule. Basically that means I need something that looks funny... Boston Terriers are certainly at the top of the list. I'm an atheist, and have been since a very young age, I'm one of those that writes to my congress people about things like removing "Under God" from the Pledge. I sleep in a Malm and wear glasses. I built RC cars and model rockets as a kid. I would like to get back into both of those hobbies, but current RC cars seem too fancy with gas burning engines and such. I greatly dislike writing about myself, so this is going to be hard.
Mirka: What brought you to our cult and what do you like best and least about it?
Kirk: My first encounter with the site was shortly after reading Survivor. I wanted to look up more about Chuck and ended up here. A few years later, by random luck, I found out that the site was looking for people to help out. I had some skills that Dennis needed and decided to see if I could pitch in. I love the challenge of working with a large site, though I'm not a big fan of cliques and all of the parenting that it leads too.
Mirka What does Kirk do for fun besides slaving away on improving and updating The Cult?
Kirk: I play video games, read comics, attend concerts and work on other websites, of course.
Mirka: What do you do for a living? What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about your job?
Kirk: I work for a small software company doing what is best described as "in-house design". Basically I do websites, training materials, marketing collateral, GUI design etc. It's a cool job because I get to listen to music all day long, and every day is different. The only down side is that we're a small company, something that doesn't play well with a bad economy.
Mirka: xBox, PS3, or Nintendo Wii? Please rant and rave as much as you like in answering this one.
Kirk: XBOX 360 all the way. All of my friends have a 360 and the bulk of games I'm interested in are on it. Not to mention Netflix, which helps support my constant craving for documentary films. I do own a PS3, but the only game I've played on it is Wipeout HD, it's essentially a Blu-Ray Player that also happens to play games.
Mirka: Which do you prefer: console gaming or computer gaming?
Kirk: I was a hardcore PC gamer for most of my life. I've always built my own PCs and they were always built for gaming. In recent years, I've become bored of the constant ass-pain that is involved in being a PC gamer. As a result, 99% of my gaming is on XBOX 360. When I want to play a game, I want to play it now. That said, I do squeeze in the occasional match of Defcon or Age of Empires 2 on my PC.
Mirka: Pimp Suit-Up Scene time! How the hell did you come up with the idea? It’s hysterical. Describe it for those that have been missing out.
Kirk:Suit-Up Scene is my baby. The concept is simple. When you're watching a movie and you see a quick scene in which a character is getting prepared for something (suiting-up, as I call it), you'll often notice the director uses a few specific techniques. Quick camera cuts, close-ups of weapons or gear, hopefully to a rocking soundtrack. If you can picture this in your head, you know what I'm talking about.
Anyhow, it started as most great things do... a joke while drinking with a friend. I like the idea of collecting needlessly large amounts of data on mundane topics and I love movies. After a long time of wanting to build the site, I finally did. The site is growing at a decent pace and we even have a YouTube channel with nothing but suit-up scenes. Now I just need to get it off the ground!
Mirka: What’s your personal favorite suit-up scene? What are some favorites others have contributed?
Kirk: My personal favorite is of course, Commando. It is without question the prototype suit-up scene. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time wearing fatigues and causing general trouble. Whenever I put on my gear, I always played back that scene in my head. Of course it doesn't hurt that Commando is one of the best action films of all time.
A few of the other contributing members of Suit-up Scene have come across some real gems too. I love the suit-up scenes that are not where you expect to find one. Action movies are kind of a given; but what about dramas? A Few Good Men? Check. Wilford Brimley in Ewoks: The Battle For Endor? Check. Michael Cera in Juno? Check. The list goes on and on.
Mirka: How would you describe your childhood and your child self?
Kirk: My child self was diabolically brilliant. I like to think that it was simply a case of "boys will be boys" but the more I think about my child-self the more I'm surprised I'm still alive. My friends and I did a lot of stuff that we thought was pretty normal, but as I get older and talk to other people they always have stunned looks on their faces when I get to my story.
For instance. Have you ever played a game where a group of kids split into two teams. Each team then go to opposite sides of a dirt hill, the large kind you see at construction sites. Upon reaching your side, you throw fist-sized rocks over the hill in an attempt to blindly hit the other team. If not, you're missing out.
Mirka: What’s your favorite Palahniuk novel?
Kirk: Depends on my mood but it's a toss-up between Survivor, Invisible Monsters and Choke.
Mirka: What is your all time favorite book, if you can narrow it down?
Kirk: I thought about this one for probably 30 minutes. I don't know that I can narrow it down.
Mirka: Spiderman or Batman? Also, what would be your super hero power if you could choose?
Kirk: Totally unfair question. This is like asking someone "Did you bring your lunch or walk to school?"
Both hold a place in my heart. Spider-Man is great because he is a character everyone can relate to, especially when in school. Peter Parker has all of the issues everyone deals with at some point in his life, then he puts on that suit and he's suddenly King Shit of Fuck Mountain.
Batman is fantastic because he doesn't have powers. He can fuck shit up, sure, but what he's really about is smarts. In fact, that is the one aspect that I feel Nolan has totally missed with his Batman talkies. There wasn't nearly enough sleuthing. Also, Batman fights from the shadows, not in night clubs.
Mirka: What are some of your recommendations for graphic novels? The ones that you consider essential to life on Earth as we know it.
Kirk: I despise the term "graphic novel". I feel like it only came into existence because certain people were insecure saying they like reading comics. The only time I'll grant you an exception is when talking about stuff like The Arrival by Shaun Tan. The Arrival is a story told only with artwork and no words. That is a "graphic novel". Check out his stuff if you haven't. His art is amazing.
The Maxx by Sam Kieth.
Easily my favorite series of all time. Sam Kieth's artwork is fucking brilliant in this series and the story is so messed up that you'll pick up hidden stuff every time you read it. Plus, at the risk of sounding like a girl, it has some of the most heartbreaking panels that I've ever read.
Sandman by Neil Gaiman.
Everyone loves Sandman, why should I be any different? Gaiman did a lot of great stuff with the series, and I respect him for choosing to end it when he did. Plus you're graced with beautiful covers by Dave McKean. What more could a boy ask for?
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware.
If you don't want to feel terrible for a week, you probably don't want to read this. With that disclaimer aside, this book is a wonderful piece of art that everyone should own. Chris Ware is easily one of my favorite people working in sequential story-telling. He can give you pages with no words and you know exactly what is happening. He can put panels in bizarre orders, ignoring the unwritten rule of "left-to-write, top-to-bottom". On top of all that, he does EVERYTHING by hand. Including all that bad ass lettering. If you don't know his work, also pick up an issue of Acme Novelty Library, full of comics, art, paper craft and all sorts of other neat stuff that has to be seen by everyone.
Batman: Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison.
No list is complete without at least one superhero book. Arkham Asylum always pops into my head as an awesome book. McKean's art is, as always, beautiful.
Mirka: Top five films and why? Just your personal favorites, not the top five ever made.
Kirk: I am purposely making this list low-brow. I like plenty of movies that are technically "better" but I prefer to talk about movies that are fun.
Point Break - Gary Busey as an FBI agent who isn't a total nutjob. Patrick Swayze as a character named "Bodhi". Keanu Reeves as a college football star named "Johnny Utah". Honestly, how can you not love that?
Army of Darkness - I feel cheap for choosing this, but everyone loves this movie for the same reason. It's damn fun.
Zombi - I could have filled this list with zombie movies, but I decided to pick only one and it's Zombi. There are so many great things about this movie, but the main reason it sticks out is the zombie vs. shark scene and the splinter in the eye shot. Ohh, and some decent 70's nudity.
Aliens - I saw this movie in the theater when I was seven years old. It scared the hell out of me, and is probably how I got so into horror movies. The scene where Bishop gets torn in half still weirds me out, though like Mom says "No use crying over spilled milk".
Commando - I could talk about this movie all day. It has more memorable scenes and lines per minute than any other movie I can think of.
Mirka: Sorry about this one, but you have to answer it. What would be your ideal last meal? (Everyone knows I am all about the food, food, food!)
Kirk: My Mom's breaded pork tenderloin with her home-made baked mac & cheese, or garlic mashed potatoes and gravy. Toss in some Newcastle Brown Ale and follow it up with my Mom's carrot cake.
Mirka: Baked mac and cheese. Yum. Will your mom share her recipe with me? Pretty, please? Also, since it's your last meal, you can have the mac & cheese AND the mashed potatoes with gravy, just so you know.
Kirk: Good to know I can have both... And I'll see what I can do for you.
Mirka, So... how do you feel about the current administration? Are you excited? (Not us, the U.S. one)
Kirk: I'm happy to have a new guy in there, but I suspect he's just a shill like all the rest of them.
Mirka: What is the very best present you ever received?
Kirk: I don't know if I can answer this. I've received plenty of gifts that I greatly enjoyed, but never anything that was done with great meaning or purpose. Plus, I'd feel like a douche for coming up with something lame, like my iPod.
Mirka: Okay, so what’s the best present you have ever given?
Kirk: I made a pretty bad ass coffee table out of clay, steel and glass. Plus a matching planter and flower pot that I gave to my mom. I spent a shit load of time on them, but they are really cool and easily the best stuff that came out of all the sculpture classes I took in college.
Mirka: Wow, sculpture, I had no idea. So what did you major in, anyway?
Kirk: I have a BFA. My area of study was some ridiculous title like "New Media Design" or something else that sounds clever. When I started school, I was really interested in sculpture and took a lot of 3D visual arts classes: stuff like sculpture and ceramics and various independent studies. Independent studies are great because you get to come up with some absurd mission statement, then you basically do whatever you want for a semester and get credit. After a while I decided I was more interested in working on the computer... I'm wondering if I regret that choice.
Mirka: If you were making a CD to take on a desert island, what bands would you have to include.
Kirk: My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Skinny Puppy, The Cure, Einsturzende Neubauten, Kraftwerk, Front 242, Melvins, Boom Boom Satellites, Haloblack, Holy Fuck, Massive Attack, Sheep On Drugs, Ministry, Tycho...
Mirka: What’s the meaning of life, Kirk?
Kirk: What is the meaning of a lion's life? How about a chimp or a platypus? I'd say our meaning is pretty much the same as theirs.
Mirka: Thanks, Kirk! I appreciate your time. Don't forget to get that recipe for your mom's baked mac and cheese!
Want to interview a fellow cultie?
If you want to interview a fellow cultie, the process is really simple.
Begin by sending Mirka a private message. Be sure to tell her who you want to interview. Once you have completed your interview, let her know and she'll give you the ability to enter your interview. Once it is approved we'll make it live!