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The Enlightened Nerd: Simon Keenan, Board Game Enthusiast

The Enlightened Nerd is a column designed to enlighten the inner nerd in all of us through local whimsical and intellectual events, people, and places.

The Enlightened Nerd is a column designed to enlighten the inner nerd in all of us through local whimsical and intellectual events, people, and places. Know a nerdy person, event, place, or thing in Vancouver? Send it in here or tweet it to @karolinathecat (#theenlightenednerd)!

 Simon Keenan by Philip MoussaviSimon Keenan by Philip Moussavi

Simon Keenan is one of the finest lads and coolest nerds I know. Originally from Ireland, he came to Vancouver last summer to work with cameras at a rental agency, having worked in film back home on projects like the successful mockumentary-style television show, Hardy Bucks. A friend of a friend, we had a mutual interest in Simpson’s Trivia Night at the Waldorf, comic book shows, Card Wars, Talent Time at the Rio Theatre, and the list only grew like happy fungi. Naturally, we met at the old Storm Crow Tavern to talk over Mega Baconator Caesars and a hefty brunch, and to play a few Adventure Time card battles.

Q: What brought you to Vancouver?

A: I was working at home doing film for five years pretty intensely when I realized I hadn’t had a holiday in awhile. Then I saw an ad for a two year Visa to Canada online and I applied for that, on the sly. The massive coincidence that my best friend also applied on the sly and was accepted, locked in the decision. Two best friends on an adventure – perfect!

Q: Would you say Dublin or Vancouver is nerdier?

A: Vancouver is better for wearing your heart on your sleeve. You can’t get away with as much in Ireland. People in Dublin are definitely as nerdy as Vancouverites but it’s a little more under the radar. The fact that Vancouver has two Storm Crows says it all.

Q: What are some nerdy things you enjoy doing in Vancouver?

A: We’re so well catered here in Vancouver that I kind of stopped thinking about them as being nerdy things, they’re just regular things to do, which is fantastic. Stuff like Simpsons Trivia Night is happening every month and getting people in the door every time.

Q: Your top nerdy things?

A: The thing is, I’m a nerd about everything – films, reading, podcasts. Long form interviews are my most favourite thing in the world. There’s one called “The Blacklist Table Reads” where the podcast hosts basically take unproduced scripts in Hollywood and turn them into audio plays.

 Simon's star by Philip MoussaviSimon’s tattoo by Philip Moussavi

Q: You just received your first badass tattoo, a beautifully done watercolor Super Mario Super Star. Tell me about the choices that led to it.

A: My friend and I went to a tattoo convention here in Vancouver and alcohol may have been consumed beforehand. We found a picture of the Mario Star and Mushroom and when I saw the star I knew it was the one for me and suddenly we were getting best friend tattoos. I always knew I wanted a nerdy tattoo, nothing too serious, and I wanted to get a tattoo while I was visiting Vancouver. I’ve had a great time here and I wanted something to keep the memory alive. So maybe I could have gotten something a little more related to Vancouver…

Q: Board games or video games?

A: Board games, no doubt. Don’t get me wrong, I love video games but the board games I like are very involved, highly strategy-based and take a few hours to play. There’s one in particular called The Last Night on Earth, it’s a zombie board game so it’s two of my favourite things together. It’s excellent when you can find another person who likes to play board games as well. That’s a friend for life.

Q: I heard you have a crazy collection of board games. What got you into board games? What’s your favourite one?

A: The collection started about four or five years ago. I always had bits and pieces around the house like Clue and Risk and all that jazz but then I bought The Last Night on Earth and Dominion and started buying expansion packs every two or three months. I have approximately twenty-five big board games and a lot of smaller ones scattered around.

 Card Wars by Philip MoussaviCard Wars by Philip Moussavi

Q: If you could be any animated character, who would you be?

A: I wouldn’t want to be any of my favourite cartoon characters because they’re all zany or have massive problems. The land I would most want to spend time in is Oo in Adventure Time. Maybe I would want to be Lumpy Space Princess. She says what she wants and does what she wants.

Q: PSA to enlightened nerds in Vancouver?

A: Be appreciative of how easy it is to be a nerd in Vancouver!