D&D’s Dragonlance, Vampire: the Masquerade
Andrew comes from the Midwest. To him, places with a population over 100,000 were “the big city.” An adoptee, he decided to look into his heritage as best he could, discovering the grandeur of his Welsh background. His adoptive grandparents all participated in World War II, going overseas as either soldiers or civilian specialists. Thus, Andrew was raised with a good number of stories at a very young age.
Politically, he is known less as a moderate (he leans very left), and more as someone proud to upset a range of bigots and anti-intellectuals. After all, he figures, that must mean he’s doing something right. He detests hypocrisy, religious fundamentalism, and unimaginative fan-fiction. As often as those three conflate or gestalt, despite his best Vulcan impressions, he may have an occasional “Romulan moment.”
Chief Administrative Officer.
Senior Editor. Senior Creative Staff.
“Being forced to write clearly means, first, you have to think clearly.” – Fareed Zakaria, In Defense of a Liberal Education
Andrew did his damnedest to inflict tabletop roleplaying games upon his small-town high school. Graduating from Mattoon High’s class of 1997, he had a passion for QBasic coding amidst marching band and other extracurriculars. It seemed certain to all around him that his future career would be in IT. Thus, he proceeded to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, taking courses in computer programming and engineering before settling on a major in technical writing with a minor in Japanese language and culture. He reasoned that combining said training with creative writing techniques would grant different perspectives to his fiction. While not exactly a hack of the Kobayashi Maru as an unprecedented Starfleet Cadet, Andrew did manage to flummox his entire English department with his initial Senior Thesis, a conversion of the entire RPG Vampire: the Masquerade into Dungeons and Dragons’ d20 System. While profoundly acknowledged for its technical excellence and acuity, said era’s academics could not make heads or tails of this. Thus, he was assigned a more traditional thesis, which he aced with style. As a result of returning to these more “practical” projects for a bit, he graduated in 2001.
Post-graduation, Andrew picked up work as a pizza delivery driver until acquiring a position at Pearson Educational Technologies as an Overnight Systems Administrator. The job’s nocturnal hours dovetailed nicely with his initial position at volunteer FM radio station 90.1 WEFT in Champaign, Illinois, where he hosted a radio show. Before long, his role evolved into Coordinator of Underwriting and member of the board. The SysAdmin position would eventually fall away amidst multiple travels carrying Andrew across the country, during which, he took a number of eclectic positions, adding to his wealth of experience and cosmopolitan exposure to most strata and walks of life. Returning to Illinois, Mr. Cardinal was offered his old position at Pearson, only to find the company had downsized. That provided ample opportunity to fine tune his editing skills by resuming his role at WEFT and to cultivate an audience of his own as a working DJ. His WEFT duties were supplemented with work in property management, taking on temporary roles in educational IT and freelance writing.
Andrew might be seen as a “typical fanboy.” He’s as into Star Trek and Star Wars as anyone (and never understood the old feud between them). He’s been going to conventions since GenCon 1997 and was on staff at Anime Central for about a decade. His moves have complicated logistics too much to keep current in those roles. However, he still has made time for recreation, and has played all sorts of LARPs, tabletop RPGs, and war-gaming. His persistent horrendous addiction to some MMORPGs fills gaps in his already busy schedule (“It’s for the social aspect! I swear!”). Andrew DJs at goth clubs periodically and hosted Over the Edge for nearly twenty years on WEFT under his nom du guerre of DJ Rasclin.
Andrew joined Steam-Funk Studios (SFS) in April of 2012, immediately beginning a long stint in writing and editing for the firm. Soon, as the de facto representative of SFS in the Midwest, he became the ambassador to other companies at conventions (when he’s been able to attend). Andrew has written much of the material for SFS’s in-house fiction The Living Multiverse, and anything you read in The Unconventional has likely crossed his editorial desk at some point. As the acting Director of Human Resources and the firm’s Chief Administrative Officer, he likes to keep busy – perhaps too busy. His claim to fame on Senior Creative meetings? We’re occasionally whimsical enough to let him run amok with his darkest, most ghoulish ideas. Evil, wonderful, horrible ideas. He never disappoints.
Outside of SFS, Andrew works an office job, occasionally taking on further repairs (the joys of a small-time landlord). He lives with his dog and cat, searching for that mythical work-life balance we’ve all heard so much about. “Dry land exists! I’ve SEEN it!” More likely he’ll just wind up making another radio program, at the expense of still more sleep.
“I hope, once I’m gone, I’m remembered for my time in media. My time as a radio presenter, writer, editor, and voice-over. Not as a Weird Al lookalike.” AJC