Welcome to the Home Page of

Geoffrey J. Schaller

This page last updated on Tuesday January 06, 2004

You can visit Geoff's Xanga Journal for something that is updated more frequently.

Hello, and welcome to my little personal corner of the Web.  This page is my personal spot - I also run Psi-13.com, a Web Hosting service, that has a lot of my interests, hobbies, and other related stuff about me as clients I host.

I was born March 25th, 1972 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.  I grew up in the suburbs, mostly in the neighborhood of Jenkintown, PA.  I went to Highland Elementary School, followed by Abington High School, and eventually graduated to go on to Cornell University.

Cornell University was... an experience.  I started off majoring in Electrical Engineering, and did well my Freshman year.  Sophomore Year, things took a turn for the worse, and I wound up changing majors to Theater Arts.  I graduated with only one extra semester added on, move back to Philly, and promptly realized I would not enjoy a career in Theater (Mind you, I still love the subject, but the prospect of a career in Theater is much different than the art behind it).

I got a job working with Day and Zimmerman Information Solutions, where I worked for about 2 years as a contractor at FMC's offices in downtown Philly.  In the summer of 96, I went to visit my friend Jason Behnke in upstate NY, and mentioned how I liked the area.  A week later, I got a call from General Electric in NY about an interview.  Three weeks after that, I moved to Schenectady.

After 2 years as a contractor with GE, I was laid off, and I moved back to Philly.  There, I got a job with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where I still work today.  I work in Information Systems fixing computers - sometimes on the Help Desk taking support calls, sometimes at the desk side, and sometimes doing projects like upgrading a department's computers.

 


What makes Geoff tick?

Anyone who knows me will tell you I have too many hobbies.  I tend to dabble in a lot of different past times, and usually one will lead me into another.  Most of them are related to Gaming in one way or another, which is also where I met most of my friends, and center most of my social circles about.  I try to keep a foot in the "real world" and have a social life outside of games, but gaming always winds up being a major part of my life.

Some people feel that Gaming, notably Role-Playing Games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), are bad.  I have an opinion on this, too - you can read my rant here.
Below are some of my interests, in no particular order:


Games

Card Games: Mostly Legend of the Five Rings, although I've been known to dabble in 7th Sea, Magic, Legend of the Burning Sands, Doomtown, Heresy, Shadowrun, and a few others to boot.  It's through Jason Behnke that I got involved in L5R met up with Dark Edge Gaming, and got involved in a lot of these other games.

Wargames: I used to be a Warhammer Junkie.  I played Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40,000, Blood Bowl, and a few other games.  I wasn't happy with the way Games Workshop ran their business, and I slowly began to drop Warhammer, until I had a house fire and lost a lot of my gaming material.  Once I lost all my Warhammer stuff, I never went back to it again.  Since then, I've picked up on Clan War, the L5R Miniatures game.  I'm on the play-test team, as well as the Demo Team - I work to actively promote the game to new players, teach people how to play, etc.  In fact, the Official Clan War Web Site is on my server.
Role-Playing Games: Where it all started. A friend gave me a copy of the D&D blue boxed set in 1980, when I was 8, and I never looked back.  Since then, I've played a ton of other games, but I mostly play Shadowrun these days, along with some L5R RPG and 7th Sea.

LARPs: Live-Action Role Playing is a unique experience.  I guess you could call it a mix between Improvisational Acting and Storytelling, sometimes with a sport thrown in for good measure, depending on the game.  If you have ever played in a live "Murder Mystery" game, you've dome some LARPing.  I mostly play in the Avatar System and Knight Realms, both of which I am very involved in
Video Games: I've had some sort of video game system for as long as I can remember.  First it was an Atari 2600, then a Commodore 64 (Which got used for writing schoolwork as well), then my first PC - a Zeos 386 SX/16.  I held off on console games for a while, but I eventually broke down and bought a PlaySation for one game: Soul Edge.  I bought a few more games after that, and repeated the process when the Dreamcast came out a few years later with Soul Calibur.  The PS2 was next for Soul Calibur II, even though the game itself it not out yet...  I've also been known to play Quake III Arena, Diablo II, and a few other games, but I'm not much of an on-line gamer.  Dance Dance Revolution is another game I recently picked up.


Computers

Being that my job is fixing the things, I tend to like computers.  I usually tie them into my hobbies as well, and will dabble with web pages, databases, mailing lists, or other electronic supplements for whatever hobby I'm currently working on.  A good example of this is http://www.psi-13.com - my Web Hosting site.  It's not really a business (I don't make a profit), but is more for helping me and my friends with my hobbies and interests.  (I still find it amusing that I get mail addressed to the CEO of Psi-13 Web Hosting, and apparently I am the CFO, CIO, and several other important titles as well).


Movies and TV

I don't watch much TV.  In fact, I don't have cable or even an antenna hooked up to my TV.  I do have a very nice Home Theater setup, with a 35" Sony TV, Receiver, VCR, DVD player, and Bose surround-sound speakers, but no TV hookup.  Why pay $40 a month for cable when I barely watch it, and I don't like what's on?  In my opinion, most of what's on TV these days is crap, and I can get the news through the internet.

So why do I have this setup if I never watch TV?  For the Video Games, and for the DVD player.  I have a small, but growing, collection of DVDs, as does my roommate.  Between the two of us, we have plenty to keep us busy.  Most of my collection is Sci-Fi or Fantasy, with some other stuff thrown in, but my main favorites are the pieces that spark your imagination.

In particular, I'm beginning a small Animae collection.  Animae, sometimes known as "Japanamation," is a style of cartoon that originated in Japan and is slowly becoming more mainstream in the United States.  Even though it's animated, the subject is often very mature and thought-provoking, and it's not always for kids.  The Japanese treat animation as a valid medium just like traditional film, and for them it's not just a kid's thing.  In particular, I recommend Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Blue Submarine #6, and Cowboy Bebop.
I don't own any video tapes - what ones I had I lost in a fire, and when I rebuild my collection, I went with all DVD.  Why bother with VHS any more?

I'm a fan of the TV series Babylon 5 - one of the few things I thought was worthwhile to watch on TV.  It was a five year show, written with a definite beginning, middle, and end, and a continuous story arc throughout.  While it did suffer from some studio difficulties, they did not affect the story, and only had a minor affect  on the characters (when an actor would leave).  For a complete overview of the show, check out the Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5.


Home Brewing

While involved in the SCA, I learned about Mead, and how to make it.  I never was a beer person, or to much of a drinker, although I enjoy making the stuff.  Mead is a kind of drink similar to wine or beer, but it's made with honey instead of grapes or grains.  There is a recipe book on home-brewing meads you can download here - you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read it.  The document was originally written by Joyce Miller, but I've updated it and formatted it to look pretty.


Music

Music has been a large part of my life.  I've always been interested in it in one way or another, either playing or listening to it.  I played saxophone for 13 years (4th Grade thru College), and have been in various musicals and plays.  I was also active in the Marching Band in both High School and in College - the Big Red Marching Band was one of the best things about Cornell.

I've gotten away from playing as much as I used to, which I would like to change.  Currently, I listen to a lot of soundtracks and ballads - I'm a sucker for movie, TV, and musical scores, as well as bands that perform theme albums.  In particular, I am a huge fan of Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the soundtrack / theme albums for Cowboy Bebop.