Geek of the Week: Andrea Letamendi

Being a fan of Andrea from Twitter, aka: @ArkhamAsylumDoc, I was thrilled to finally connect with her at WonderCon a few weeks ago. This psychologist, Star Wars geek, Con nerd, and social media butterfly has agreed to share with us what goes on within the dark recesses of her own psychosis. Let’s find out if Arkham Asylum is where she belongs…

How old were you when your mutant powers started manifesting (when did you become a nerd)?

I can’t recall a transformative period in my life during which I turned nerd—perhaps I’ve had my mutant powers since birth!  However, I do think that my upbringing played a big part in my nerdy development.  I don’t have any brothers, but because my father is a huge nerd, I was raised from very early on with near-constant exposure to science fiction and fantasy; during early childhood, my favorites included Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Twilight Zone Television Series, Alien, The Abyss, Clash of the Titans, and Planet of the Apes.  Sometime during adolescence I discovered Batman: The Animated Series.  That was it for me. That cartoon was the gateway drug to all things Batman. Around middle school, I immersed myself in comic books, fully actualizing my geeky lifestyle.

Growing up, were you more misfit or mainstream? If you were a nerd growingup, did it hurt or help you?

I’d like to say that I was a misfit, but that word implies at least some level of awesome. I was completely devoid of awesome.  Yep, I’m quite confident that being a nerd didn’t help me socially. I was obsessed with math, chess, comic books, and board games—if that wasn’t a big enough social handicap during high school, I’m sure that my aggressive mission to be the most competitive scholar in school pushed me even further into the geek abyss. Looking back, I wonder if I deliberately chose pathways that inevitably led to derision and ostracism.

Clearly there has been a shift in our culture, where nerds and geeks are more accepted. What/who do you think significantly contributed to that?

My guess is that the nerds who were raised in the 70’s and 80’s are now all grown up and in charge!  I know that’s an oversimplification, but it seems as though, finally, influential people in TV, film, art, and literature may be on our side.  It’s a great time to be a nerd.

Galacticus is nearing planet Earth and you can only take 3 items with you on your escape pod- what would they be?

Oh God. After the initial panic, I’d grab my Star Wars art collection (this counts as one item; Galactus has a few worlds to destroy before getting here), a Mighty Mouse comic book from 1960, and about 57 geeky t-shirts.  You’ve never traveled with me, have you?

Now to get political… Ninjas, Pirates, Zombies, or Vampires- which are better and why?

Ninjas all the way.  Their outfits are better, they have SKILLS, and their weapons are badass.

Star Trek villain, Q has decided to grant you love from your secret celebrity or fictional character nerd crush. Who do you ask for and why?

I’m not supposed to reveal this given my loyalty to the Empire—but my honest response is Han Solo. I really can’t get into the rest of this. But I will say that it involves Death Star garbage compactor 3263827 and repeated exclamations of “Rebel Scum.”

Doc Brown has traveled back from the future to tell you that you attained your dream job, what is it?

Doc Brown better re-calibrate, because I’d say I have my dream job right now 🙂

The nerdiest thing I ever did or owned or experienced (and no one knows about) was…

There are two answers to this. The most obvious nerdiest thing I’ve done is cosplay Darth Vader at Comic Con. But at this point, I think this is public knowledge and therefore not a surprise to most. The nerdiest thing about me that most people do NOT know is that I have publications in scientific journals (that no one reads).  One recent article I wrote, for instance, describes factor analysis as a statistical method for validating a measure that quantifies the severity of Selective Mutism, a psychological condition in which individuals do not speak in public settings. You’re still thinking about Vader, aren’t you? Yeah, me too.

After finding a Yellow Lantern Ring, you decide to use its powers to kidnap your favorite role model/hero to spend an evening of intellectually stimulating conversation. Who would you nab and what would you talk about? 

I’d be pretty stoked if I could kidnap Bruce Timm, artist and producer who co-created Batman: The Animated Series (BTAS).  In a time when cheery, slapstick cartoons like Tiny Toon Adventures was the norm, Timm advocated for a darker, grittier writing and animation style that made BTAS so groundbreaking and novel. I’d love to speak with him about the challenges he faced and the motivation to pursue his creation (grounded in what I believe is his fandom of Batman).  I’d persuade him to case-conceptualize each Gotham City villain with me, starting with Harley Quinn of course.

Clearly you blog and Twitter like the Borg, why do it and what has it meant to you? What advice would you give to someone interested in doing the same?

Twitter is an amazing social networking tool. It may seem that my twitter persona issues tweets that are primarily comedic, hyperbolized, and veiled. However, I am able to say a lot about myself that I may not be able to in my offline occupational or social life.  In that way, twitter is an outlet for me to fully express my geekery. My only advice for someone new to twitter is this: have a sense of humor.

The final question in which the fate of the multiverse hangs in the balance… San Diego Comic Con or New York Comic Con? Why, what, and how do you do it?

SDCC all the way.  Expect chaos, wardrobe malfunctions, and eye stabbings.

Thanks Andrea for taking the time to share with us. make sure to check out the other Geeks of the Week here. If you’ve become a fan of Andrea, then follow the her would be just what the doctor ordered:

Her affiliations:

2 thoughts on “Geek of the Week: Andrea Letamendi

  1. Okay, my favorite question was: “Now to get political… Ninjas, Pirates, Zombies, or Vampires- which are better and why?”! LOL!

    That’s a great way to start the question! “Now to get political”! ! ! ! LOL!

    I thought for a moment that ArkhamAsylumDoc was going to answer. . .ninja zombies!

    Great post!

    • It truly is a profound question that we all must answer someday. I would have to agree that Ninjas are the way to go. Thanks for commenting!

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