Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 And I'm still here!

So much for religious nuttery. At least Krispy Kreme has a coupon for free doughnuts.

I'm going in for surgery tomorrow, for the second time this year. I feel like I just got back to being myself a few weeks ago so this is pretty nerve wracking for me. This is most definitely not going to be my merriest Christmas. I'm still hoping against hope that I'll be up for some traditional rum balls by next week.

I update really irregularly as it is, and it's probably not going to get any better anytime soon. There's always the new year! Of course, by next year I have the next round of major surgery. Yay.

If I'm not up for posting again soon, Happy Holidays, eat something tasty and good luck dealing with your relatives.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's Looking Like Games-mas at my House

I've blogged about Geek&Sundry before (Subscribe, seriously, do it!) and I love almost everything, I have even enjoyed some of the motion comics although that's really not my thing but the shining stars are

The Flog:

Yay! Dragon*Con!
Could also be known as Felicia Day does awesome, funny things.


Amber Benson tells the most amazing story in this episode. I really want friends now so that I can play games with them.

Written by a Kid:
Which is my son's favorite show.

The best part of Geek & Sundry? It's the new home of The Guild:

It's so worth spending all your hours looking at the funny, amazing and fantastical things that are there.

I've been a gamer since forever, but mostly RPG's or video games, but now I've gotten into the joy of TableTop games and I blame Wil Wheaton. It's so much fun watching the groups of great people he gathers together play these games that I had to try a few. In the last six months my husband and I have gone on a table top game buying spree:

Ticket to Ride

To name a few from the show, but I've also been snapping up stuff that I normally wouldn't buy but they haven't played, yet (and may not ever). 

Munchkin Bites
Lost Puppies (this game is fantastic for small children, I love cooperative games)
Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame
Monty Python Fluxx

Family game night may be cliche by now but it's still so much fun. I'm putting lots of games on my wishlist for this end of year spending spree season. It's going to be a Happy Games-mas!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Season of Giving

And Receiving, we can't forget receiving.

I have a really soft spot in my heart for Christmas, it's a lot like a squishy rotten spot on a piece of fruit you were saving for a special treat. Don't get me wrong, it isn't that I hate Christmas or have joined up in some sort of ridiculous war against Christmas, I just have a fairly even mix of sweet and sour memories of the most expensive holiday season of the year.

I enjoy Christmas far more now than I did as a child. My brothers and I don't fight or tease each other anymore even if that does mean we only have a list of five subjects that we can talk about. My Mother is far less frazzled since she turned over the reigns of Christmas hosting over to other family members, so she has more time for making fudge instead of threatening to turn crying children into fudge. It's a wonderful time of the year, especially when you have children.

For more bang for your buck I personally recommend small children. You can get a paper towel tube and an old coffee can, wrap it in news paper and watch them go nuts with excitement. Once they get old enough to have preferences or just recognize stuff, that's when you're in trouble.

I have a toddler and a teenager.  Christmas day will be great, but every day leading up to that is going to be a flurry of toddler tears because I can't make toys appear magically and my daughter totally unable to settle on a single thing she wants which is almost more frustrating. That is if my projections from last year are correct.

Christmas day on the other hand, is one of the most special times of year.  We visit my Mother, I spend a fair amount of time making delicious things that I don't have to clean up after and I usually get at least one thing right for my kids that makes them ecstatically happy for at least the next 24 hours. That's really my goal, 24 blissful hours with the toy, game, book, etc. that makes them happy. After that it's pretty much back to the status quo.

My husband and I gave up on gift giving a few years ago, well, we say we gave up on it but there is almost always something for the other one to unwrap, even if it is fuzzy socks. We just get things when we can afford it and usually the other one is happy enough with this. Personally, I hate surprises. Specifically the surprises you get in little wrapped boxes. I hate it. There's too much tension, too much chance that you have to put on the pretend happy face and say "Oh, it's wonderful, thank you so much!" instead of "Have you met me? Hi, I'm the person who doesn't like neon blouses."

Surprises are for little kids. The choices really are just, toy, toy or another kind of toy with the occasional shirt or socks thrown in for good measure. If you put the shirt in a box? That counts as a toy. I'm a little worried about my daughter because there is no way I can afford even a quarter of the things she wants unless I can get myself adopted by Bill Gates, real quick. I'm not really worried about her getting expensive stuff because that isn't the point. I just don't want her to open a box or a bag full of things that she has no interest in and shows that the people that love her don't understand her at all.

I hated that growing up. I was nerdy and geeky to my core all through my life but back in the day, geeks were boys, nerds were boys and girls weren't. It took forever for my parents to catch on that I was stealing my brother's Star Wars figures for a reason. There were times that my parents got me, but for the most part my mother was just confused by my playing with "boy" toys and my father couldn't understand why I was playing with Gem and Holograms if I liked Star Wars. It's call diverse interests Dad! C'mon!

That's why I watch the occasional Anime, I read some of the books my daughter likes and play some of her games, I want to know what she likes and therefore, know more about her. So far my son is easy, if it's got wheels, pink, blue, green or purple, he loves it.  Someday, he'll grow up and I'll get to find out what sort of things he likes and I'll check those out too. I probably wouldn't have learned about several of the things I thoroughly enjoy now, without my daughter's influence.

I hope that everyone gets something that makes them ridiculously happy for a least one day this end of year Holiday Season.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It is 2012 not 1812, right?

I'm not going to pussy-foot around, I'm very pleased with the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election. I'm also very pleased that women and people of color were able to largely, vote unimpeded, because this is what the election map would have looked like if we only let white men vote:

Which is why at least one person is saying that women voting is a bad idea. I disagree. That women and people of color have had such an impact on the United States can only mean that things are getting better and that women are finally in a place where they will be treated with respect, no more virgin/whore dichotomies, no more being treated as though our appearances are more important than our ideas. I was about to start dancing in the streets:

Then this happens: Tony Harris Comic Artist Goes Off
Which comes directly on the heels of another comic book creator reposting a meme about women cosplayers. The Whole Shebang for anyone who might be interested. So my subculture just had to fly in the face of the idea that women are more than slabs of meat. It feels like this is coming up over and over again that somehow women have to be called out for not being 'real' fans of gaming, comic books, anime, science or even science fiction. Now they come for the cosplayers.

This is getting really fucking ridiculous.

1. The idea that a person would spend hundreds of dollars going to a convention and creating (most times) a custom costume to wear while there, isn't at the very least a fan of Cosplay, which is a legitimate geek/nerd interest, and should somehow be treated as unworthy because they haven't studied for their tests is just unreasonable.

2. That specifically women who dress up as characters from Comic Books are somehow being awful sluts for dressing in the exact way that comic book creators represent them. So either practically every woman character is a whore or there is some sort of serious disconnect going on.

3. That anyone would ever get to decide who is or is not a Poseur to Geekdom.

4. That anyone gets to be the gatekeeper to the sexuality of anyone other than themselves.  The slurs Slut and Whore are just a way to put women in their place of submissiveness to a man's sexual needs.
5. That attractiveness really is the key to everything. Hot women aren't counted in Tony Harris' rants only 'Con-hot,' whatever the hell that means. That somehow going into commentary on a group of people's breasts is the best way to prove a point on their validness as a group. That somehow being less than perfectly beautiful makes you less of a person, you know, if you're a woman.

Women are people. Not property, not objects or  an attractiveness rating, people who make up 50% of the population. You'd think after we got the vote, job having and education getting situations handled that we could be trusted to know how to watch a movie or read a book and enjoy it.   Might I suggest the the reasons any woman might not talk to a man outside of a convention might be less to do with assumed haughtiness and instead be related to not wanting to deal with some jerk hitting on her inappropriately, something that is all too common.

I personally would love to have a million delighted cosplayers who only know the names of the characters they dress up as, than have even a handful of hardcore members determined to keep the culture pure by sowing hatred and spewing slurs. What else was the point of Tony Harris' Facebook post or Dirk Manning's? Those posts were meant to encourage us to despise women who only 'claim' to be nerds or who dress up in costumes to get attention (because that's a more precious resource than  diamonds, oil or clean water). The posts were also very clear in naming women the perpetrators of the con artistry and men the poor dupes.  Both men also went on to explain that no, really, they aren't sexist. Apparently saying sexist shit doesn't count as being sexist.

Another point to throw out there, my husband is a dyed in the wool comic fan, I like them, he LOVES them. He owns what I consider to be a lot of them and used to spend at least $200.00 a month on them, and he doesn't have an encyclopedic knowledge of every character or even every comic book he owned. He has never been challenged on his knowledge, not one person has ever thrown down a comic book quiz and required him to get perfect scores to cross the bridge of death to enter the fandom.  He holds a comic book and he is automatically assumed to be a fan. I own a lot of comics (for me) but apparently I don't like the right ones as whenever I mention my comics, I hear "figures." As if no 'real' comic book fan would ever own The Guild, Sandman, smatterings of Thor, Spider Girl and a few others but instead would have a massive 200k+ library of every half dressed woman and spandex wearing dude since 1938 at least.

I'm probably not going to do fandom right according to these men, so to hell with 'em. I'm just so tired of this bullshit coming up all the time.

On the other hand watching Wil Wheaton go off on the subject for the fifth time this year was hilarious.

Fuck Yeah!

UPDATE: I updated and edited the hell outta this post. There were entire paragraphs I wrote with my mind that my fingers didn't get the memo for and I added extra Wil Wheaton, because everything needs extra Wil Wheaton. I should never be allowed to write past midnight sort of like a Mogwai shouldn't be fed. However, if water is spilled on me, I will not clone numerous ugly creatures from my back, I will in fact merely get wet.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ponies...Ponies everywhere.

 My sixteen year old daughter caught the wave of pony love just after it hit the airwaves. I was really skeptical as the My Little Pony animated series from my childhood was so bad, even 6 year old me couldn't watch it. I loved the toys, what little girl doesn't want a pony, I got over asking for one when I realized I couldn't get one in purple, so fairly early.

She watched it a few times on youtube, because we were staunch anti-advertisement entertainment people. Eventually it landed on Netflix and we all watched it. Soon the toddler was hooked. I admit it's a pretty good show, it's got a really good balance of music, adventure and funny. From and adult point of view it's totally watchable.

Netflix does have a few disadvantages and Hulu has numerous so we caved and got cable TV service, my only requirement a DVR so I couldn't be chained to a TV schedule. We wrestled with the set up but got things up in running in a day. We tested the recording and the TV schedule forced the little one to watch more learning shows than he would have normally wanted to and he started to get real benefit out of that. Even if his clearest words are now WORD GIRL and SUPER WHY PUPPY.

We all got to sit around the TV and watch the Season 3 Premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, my husband and son watched it twice as my daughter and I couldn't make ourselves get up before 10AM.  We all had a good time, talked about the ponies, Ali shouted out his favorites and zoomed around his little pink car that his tiny Pinkie Pie rides in.

It may seem silly but I'm really glad for shows like that. Mythbusters is another one for the whole family (no really, my toddler runs around yelling fire in the hole and setting up experiments) we all get into it, talk about science and make predictions. Watching a TV show or even a movie by yourself can be a good way to pass the time but I've always been happier sharing the experience with someone else.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Artists, They are My People

There is an awesome little coffeehouse a neighborhood away, name of Hodgepodge and it's absolutely FAN-tastic. It's more than just coffee and cafe food, it's a Gallery, a Zine Library and the lovely ladies who own this eclectic haven have created a home away from home for us artsy types.

I found out about the writing group a month ago but going out in public and meeting people is like trying to climb Everest without a rope or shoes for me.  I can do one on one conversations or even perform for huge massive crowds, but a group of people much more than one and not enough to get lost in, normally would require at least a glass of wine to stave off the shakes, three if I want to say anything. Hodgepodge is too good a place to pass up, though and when my daughter found out about the Knitting Group (her passion), I figured that I should take the nudge from the Universe and just go with it.

I talked to David Hernquist on a personal day out (it's pretty much like when they let the institutionalized people out on a day trip or it feels that way, at least) that landed me at Hodgepodge. I wonder if I come off as awkward and bumbling and tongue trippy (or just trippy) as I feel. He gave me the details about the group and I got excited.  I joined the meetup and started running scenarios in my head for small talk just in case and by Tuesday, forgot all of my plans to be socially perfect.

I came to the meeting on Tuesday and wrote in my notebook that was left over from my ill fated last days in College. All the while my Son who normally is quiet and reserved at his favorite Coffee Shop, ran around in wild abandon because he had found a friend. He got a lot of looks and there were lots of comments on how loud things were, I admitted it was my kid expecting a few dirty looks  but everyone was very kind. I internally resolved to make my husband stay home with him from now on. Maybe I can get away with it for as long as I can spell things and it go over his head but that probably won't be very long. In any case it was a productive hour and a half, I got a lot written and enjoyed the process, motivated by the need to have something for someone to read.

That Tuesday I found out about the event this Friday. I agreed to come and I even clicked the appropriate RSVP button on the Meetup site. I did not expect that it would be (in my terms) a HUGE deal. My husband and I got there early and hung out. I'm pretty good at that, my entire time in High School was spent hanging out, add a few years of College I'm practically an expert. I was getting pretty nervous about the whole thing, the toys normally laid out for any visiting child's enjoyment had been moved to make space and they still moved a few tables over just so that there would be enough seating. In the end it wasn't enough.

Sitting there playing with my smartphone trying to make sure that my butterflies didn't morph into rampaging elephants, a sparkling woman holding a guitar walked over to our side and asked if it was okay if she worked out a few songs. I said sure, no problem and went back to playing with my phone. She started playing and then she started singing. It was then I knew, I was going to be okay. Even if nothing else happened, I was going to listen to beautiful music that made me feel like I was home.

We talked and chatted until I felt bad for keeping Margo from her practice. Eventually, people filed in and the crowd started forming, most people knew each other and cliques found tables to gather around. People hugged and sat down, a few people even talked to me, I was terrible at holding the conversations though and they slid away to chat with other people. Eventually, it was crowded enough that someone had to sit at my table and I forced myself to be sociable to make sure that I was welcoming and didn't alienate people (I never mean too but introversion can also seem like coldness) and ended up having a lovely conversation about art with a gorgeous woman whose name I wish I could remember but my nervousness erased it from my brain. I told her I envied her boots and really I envied everything about her, I really hope I get to hear more about her poetry.

I made it through the night and made sure I told Margo that I wanted to see her play again and if she had a website I'd be happy to comb through it. She gave me her card and I gave her my email, I really really hope that I'm brave enough to send her the link to this blog tomorrow. I had a brilliant time talking to her and her friend about art and artists and our compulsions to be vulnerable and push back into the world. I was so excited to talk to her and to be around real people who were Artists that I think I started to blank out and repeat myself or just babble too much in general. One day I'll figure out how to be cool but that day was not today.

For all the artists in that room, other than the soulful Margo, in some ways I connected more with the lovely people behind the counter and joked with them through the night. I really hope that the beast of anxiety has taken a mortal blow and I won't be seeing it again. Alas, I'm too much of a pessimist to really believe it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fan Hate Always Throws Me

As a Nerd/Geek I know that Star Wars Fandom  is a huge indicator of nerdiness or geekiness. I very much understand why so many people identify with the movies and how much fun they are to watch. George Lucas created something so many people love, his Star Wars franchise is wildly popular, even the hated prequels have been box office successes, so I admit to just not understanding the tremendous hard on so many people have to just despise the man who created one of their favorite movies. What the hell people?

We kids of babyboomers seem to be way too attached to our childhoods. I don't know if we were all just very lucky to have been born right as or before all the really cool stuff happened or if somehow we are collectively trapped at 13 years old, but it is really odd just how enduring and vehement the attachment has been. I went back and watched the cartoons I loved as a kid and I can't even get past the animation screw ups and just straight up awful dialogue that nostalgia just won't gloss over. My three year old son, on the other hand, loves them. Those things were made for 5-13 year old me. After watching the old Rainbow Brite movie, I called my Mom to apologize for making her sit through it 6 times in a single weekend.

My parents liked Star Wars. Sometimes I think my Dad liked it more than I  did, if that was possible. As much as we loved it when special effects started getting really amazing in the late 90's we both wished and I'm sure a few other people did that the special effects could have been updated on our favorite movie, Star Wars. I was first in line for the first two Special Edition Star Wars installments. Some of the CGI scenes felt long and no CGI was and still isn't perfect, but it was a lot of fun to see what could have been.

I really think that George Lucas is probably just a great goofy guy who loves telling stories and making movies. That's what he shows in just about every single interview I've ever seen. He's a writer at heart and editing film is just his rewrite process.

Dislike things, criticize them if you want, but don't think that any fan has the right to dictate what a person creates or how they do it. And hate mail, threats and vile commentary should really be right out too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election done, on to Writing

The election went well. As usual my opinion didn't particularly matter in my state but hey, it was only an hour and half wait up four flights of stairs and I did get 10% off my latte at my writing group meeting. It's all a wash in the end.

I may have done something brilliant or really, really dumb. I signed up for NaNoWriMo and I'm hoping to finish a 50,000 word novel. So far I have an outline, six character sketches and about 4000 words, which means I either need to bust out a couple of 6000 word days or I'm not going to meet the deadline.

I'm also entering the Creative Loafing writing contest. The prize is actual money so it's worth a go.  It's a fiction contest with the theme as "The Meaning of Life is..." As usual I'm writing fantasy.

I love Kickstarter. Being a part of tons of awesome projects is really cool. If you're a gamer this project is pretty cool: Dice Rings 

My husband and I have decided to fly the geek flag high and make these our wedding rings.

Off to write until my ass falls off.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Remember, Remember...

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

I found out about Guy Fawkes day from V for Vendetta. Now for a confession, I liked the movie far, far better than the graphic novel.

Yeah, I know. Blasphemy.

It helps that Andy and Lana Wachowski wrote the screenplay. 
Tomorrow is the big day to me. Crossing my fingers and hoping against hope that maybe we'll get the candidate that terrify me with taking away my access to healthcare for my daughter's condition and make sure that I have to face constant rhetoric about what I should be allowed to do with my body because of the 50% chance or so I had for a birth gender happen to fall on the making babies side. 

For those curious, I am aware that a woman, artist, liberal is cliched.

 If I survive that heart being in my throat and my stomach gurgling acid into my abdomen, I'll be writing more.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Things Eating my Brains

I haven't been able to post in a while due to a few factors: being terribly sick and having my brains eaten by tons of awesome things.  I'm going to let you know what I've been on about so maybe you can have the pleasant brain eating that I've had.


First off, an awesome thing has happened to YouTube that has exponentially increased my viewing, Channels. It's just like a TV network only with fewer shows and you can watch whenever you want. My favorite channels:

Geek & Sundry: Headed up by Felicia Day and many of the awesome people behind The Guild, I got totally addicted to Felicia Day's Flog (her video blog) and TableTop with Wil Wheaton a show that is part instructional video part game tournament in a way that makes you want to break out every board game you own or pick up a few dozen and play, play, play! You can also watch Dark Horse motion comics, the video version of Sword and Laser (book review podcast) and a fun little show called Written by a Kid. Also, The Guild with annotations, auditions and tons of extra stuff.

The Jeff Lewis 5-minute Comedy Hour:   I found out about this online sketch comedy show through Geek and Sundry, it is hilarious but totally NSFW (you have been warned). Jeff Lewis plays Vork on the Guild and tons of the same people show up.

There are lots of other awesome channels but those are the two I have been devouring lately. The Nerdist is also a good one to check out if you are a little bit more generalized in your geeky fun.

Then there are the video games, I have an odd waxing and waning cycle with video games, I don't play all the time but when the mood strikes me I will sit and play for days. I do get up to pee though. Which I suppose only makes me sort of,  a gamer. Recently, I found Gamer's Gate which is a site dedicated to download only games. The prices are really reasonable and they keep a record of what games you have bought so if your computer decides to bite it, you still have your game. I found all of the Dragon Age games for a ridiculously low price. I've played through the PS3 versions of the games an insane amount of times but I had to recently get rid of my PS3 (seriously sad face), so I had to get those games again. This time I was able to afford for my husband and I to both get the games. No more fighting over play time, hooray!

Games I've been playing over the last two weeks:

World of Warcraft: I fell in love with this game back in 2004 and I've been playing it ever since. I've had a few breaks here and there because of real life considerations but I always come back.  I just got into the beta for Mists of Pandaria and it has been a blast so far.

Dragon Age: Origins:  So much more fun on the PC (or Mac) than on a console, I really prefer having a mouse and tons of keys to work from than a controller. The entire series is now available for PC&Mac, Xbox 360 and PS3, and it's usually pretty cheap, so go play it if you haven't already.

Star Wars the Old Republic: As I have previously mentioned, I am a massive Star Wars nerd and so I was really, really looking forward to this game. I played for about a month and a half and in the end I have decided that while it's a solid game, it's too time intensive and frustrating to play on a regular basis. However, if you don't have kids to take care of and really want more roleplay elements in your MMO gaming, I highly recommend you try it out.  It's a windows only game, though so if you're like me and have a Mac, it'll be a bit of a pain to play.

So, I'm a fan of Wil Wheaton, not that surprising considering my love of the internet and Star Trek. The fact that he is also a gateway drug to so many awesome things, if you aren't already following him on twitter, you really should be, while you're at it you can follow his brain and his dick, his dog and his cats. I think Wil Wheaton may have a twitter problem. Through him I found out about The Bloggess. Who is completely hilarious and her blog is totally worth wasting hours and hours learning all about her husband, her daughter and the various critters that hang about the place. Because they're dead. I am not kidding, y'all.  While you're at it buy her book "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" because it will make you laugh until you hurt in some really amusing places. It's available for Kindle as well as hardback.

Now go forth and enjoy the awesome! I'm off to laugh until I choke.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Attention Whore Conundrum

First, the definition of Attention Whore from Urban Dictionary because one of the definitions of nerdy is also pedantic.

Attention Whore:

Label given to any person who craves attention to such an extent that they will do anything to receive it. The type of attention (negative or positive) does not matter.
You're such a GD attention whore!

I really, really would love to see this terminology fall into disuse on the internet, if only because it seems to be completely overused.

Posted a picture that could be recognized a female: ATTENTION WHORE!
Posted a comment that indicates gender: ATTENTION WHORE!

We are human beings (that need attention) on the fucking internet (where it is easy to get attention). Why the hell can't people just accept that this is the function of the damn internet and get the fuck over it?  If you don't want to give someone attention, then just ignore it, don't turn into a shit flinging monkey.

*Deep Breath*

I just wonder if these are the same people who go to conventions to tell people they suck? Are these the same people who follow an artist or actor so that they can post their vitriolic distaste for their work or existence? 

Those people confuse me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Geeks are so Mainstream

Hey, you. Yeah, you there, no, you the person who is raging about there not being any "real" geeks or nerds anymore and who thinks that we should be trapped in a narrative that puts people into a permanent high school dynamic, that's right, I'm talking to you. Stop it.

Millions of people all over the world watched Star Wars. A huge number of those people loved it or at the very least enjoyed it. Star Wars is un-fucking-believably popular not because of people who make it a point to know about every detail of the world but because of everyone who saw the films and enjoyed them. Almost everyone I have ever known has seen this movie. It has entered pop culture and even people who have never seen this movie know the characters and are familiar with the basics about it. Star Trek, Babylon 5, Buffy all of these shows were on national television. Millions of people watched at least some if not all of these shows and many, many more.

Just because you call yourself a Geek or a Nerd, you aren't special. Lots of other people like what you like, too and even if they don't know as much as you or didn't watch as many episodes or didn't go to that convention last month, those people still have just as much right as you do to label themselves any way they want to. What people mean when when they say "You aren't a real, Geek/Gamer/Nerd" is "You aren't a Geek/Gamer/Nerd the way I am or I find acceptable." This is hardly a standard by which legitimacy can be determined.

If a cheerleader wants to put on a pair of thick black glasses and call herself a nerd, I say, more fucking power to her. If she wants to post pictures to the internet about it, so what, that's what the internet is for! If someone who is popular and accepted in her school is calling herself a Nerd/Geek or whatever, then that means that we won.

When I was in public school, being a nerd or a geek was a sure way to be bullied, tortured, harassed, assaulted or generally made miserable. Now it is becoming accepted, Nerd is a point of pride. Does it end bullying? Fuck no, but it takes one more tool away from the little shits who think that calling people names is funny. It doesn't matter that I was bullied or that you were bullied if what we are doing is turning around and bullying people because they aren't fitting into our stereotypes properly. Why the obsession with being an outcast? Accept that people don't think it's that weird to watch Sci-Fi shows or play video games and just be fucking happy.

I am.

Oh and by the way, Hipster is not synonymous with condescending, arrogant asshole. Just like Geek isn't synonymous with intelligent, tolerant, awesome person. Both are just references to what part of pop culture a person identifies with, that's it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Riding a Purple Magic Pony

Recently my husband got his dream job ruling over the data farms as a Linux Sysadmin. I get to hear all about what he does at work and as someone who was a former Apple employee and PC technician, I don't know a damn thing about Linux and this is largely an ignorance I have cultivated. I am a hardware person, I love the parts and the puzzle of putting them together and getting them to work. Learning Red Hat seems like choosing to learn an obscure foreign language I'll only ever speak with my husband, never mind that actually sounds kinda cool. Off to borrow his books on Fedora Core.

Ok, I'm back.  Red Hat also apparently is really awesome about spreading around the free marketing swag. One day, Colin was sick and lost his chance at a red felt fedora just like the one on the Red Hat Fedora logo. He didn't quite degrade to lip quivering but there was definite shoulder slumping. Today he came in with a ball cap, a pen and a mouse pad. I made sure to look appropriately impressed by his swag.

Colin: You know, Red Hat is really good about swag, we all got some really cool stuff.

Me: If you're into that sort of thing, yeah.

Colin: Yeah. You know what I never see? The Windows admins never get Microsoft swag. I find that odd.

Me: Yeah, well even if they got it, they probably wouldn't wear it.

Colin: Why not?

Me: Well, you wear that stuff and think it's cool because it's relatively uncommon for people to use linux. So, it's like showing off that you can do something awesome that not that many people can do.

Colin: And the logo is cool.

Me: Yeah, much better that multicolored geometrical shapes.

Colin: I suppose that's true.

Me: Linux geeks are all proud to show off their Linux flavor logo just like Mac geeks are all happy to show off the Apple. What has Windows got? Also, it's dead common. Very difficult to be proud that you can do something everyone can do. I mean it's as if Linux admin's ride a silver surfboard to work, Mac admin's ride a purple pony that can do magic and Windows Admin's drive a car.

Colin: So even if it's a Maserati, it isn't a purple magic pony or a silver surfboard that can go through time and space.

Me: Yep. I mean, would you wear a T-Shirt proclaiming by inference that while the rest of the world is filled with magic ponies and silver surfboards that the only thing you can make work is a car? That's pretty weak sauce.

Colin: Admittedly, getting those silver surfboards to work is a total bitch sometimes.

Me: When when you do, it's cool.

Colin: It can even be fucking awesome.

Me: My Point. Purple magic ponies on the other hand are dead easy.

Colin: I suppose that explains why you ride the Ponies.

Me: Too many years of driving a car.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When MMOs Collide with Geekery

This past week has been insane. Getting kids ready to go to Grandma's house and arranging the travel then getting my husband's new computer, which was an adventure. Then the shopping trip to try and get the kids out of the house for a while which turned into another adventure. This year seems like it's just going to be full of adventure. This does not bode well as my adventures tend to include missed potties and whinging teenagers and me having to build something. Somewhere in there I did get time to play video games, because if I didn't I would go insane.

As a long time World of Warcraft player, I have a pretty soft spot for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. As a longtime nerd I just like RPGs. So, after mentioning them in a prior post, I ventured out and played both the Star Trek Online MMO and the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. I have discussed my feelings about Star Trek and Star Wars, so as a hyoooge geek for both I had some really high hopes. STO was first up as it was free to play and as I was just coming off of two weeks of a full on Star Trek: TNG binge. The character creation was amazing, I had tons of fun going through the myriad options, I could spend all day just making characters. Unfortunately, as it has gone free to play there are lots of things that you have to buy Cryptic points for, having more than one character is one of those things.

I might like STO if it wasn't free to play, but somehow I doubt it. I am still contemplating going back as it was at least more fun than The Lord of The Rings Online. I may not though as I really hate it when a free to play game totally milks it and I mean milks it so hard the poor cow is chafing. The movement isn't as responsive as I've gotten used to in WoW and the ship play was slow and rather meandering (granted this probably gets better at higher levels, I didn't stick around too long). I could get over all of that though if it weren't for two things that just pissed me off so badly I logged out right then and there.

The first time I rage quit was when I had gotten to the planet Vulcan to complete a quest. I was playing a Vulcan and when I was faced with some serious allegations of wrong (or at least weird)-doing I was given NO option to try and find out what was going on without having to go through with letting the overly emotional VULCAN ambassador onto my ship and then take full responsibility for him. Every single bit of rpg and Star Trek nerdishness in me was screaming "IT'S A TRAP!" I did it anyway because I didn't have any other quests or ways to get experience other than this quest. Fine, okay, I can fudge this little storytelling thing and carry on. I get to the planet and three warbirds come out of cloak. They hail me rather than blowing my very small and insignificant ship out of space. Great! an opportunity to talk a problem out. NOPE!! I'm calmly asking questions (really, I was searching for the, I test the damn ambassador, because it's logical and turn him over, again, logical) and when there was no option but to attack, and my tiny insignificant ship blew the warbirds out of the sky. I logged out with a vengeance.

The second nerd rage incident was less story driven and more just my irritation on having to pay in game money to do a quest. I mean really, not having to pay credits for an item to complete a quest, no, I got the quest but to travel to where I would have to do the quest I had to pay energy credits, the same thing I use to buy gear. This felt like such an arbitrary way to reduce the amount of money I had so I would have to buy Cryptic Points, that I again nerd raged and logged off.

Ok, so STO is a bust. Maybe if I had more patience or wasn't as much a fan so I couldn't point out all the inconsistencies or, hell, maybe if they were just subtle. I left my illogical Vulcan and deleted the entire program. I do have thoughts that maybe if I don't play my favorite race or if I just spend a little money... nah.

On the other hand SW:TOR is a thing of beauty. The game play is responsive and I love that there is so much voice acting. Hearing my character talk is awesome, I just wish there were different voices per race as well as class. I really can't complain about much, the story is consistent, I love the social options and the conversations are incredibly immersive.  I don't like some of the choices that were made for the Jedi Consular, for instance, I hate Qyzen Fess. Consulars are supposed to be diplomatic, concerned for the welfare of others and generally trying to avoid combat (their spec lines bear this out at least) unless absolutely necessary. My Trandoshen companion on the other hand, hates it when I care about others and really can't stand it when I think of an option other than let's just kill 'em all and let the scorekeeper sort them out. Gah! I really just cannot wait until I can get another companion, but I think I'm going to be waiting a while. To make up for this, all of the Sith are British and I can't help finding this utterly hilarious.

SW:TOR just came out in December and it is most definitely not free and it's specification requirements are rather high if you want to be able to run the game at anything but low. The ongoing fee is $14.99 per account, per month just the same as WoW. So far though, I made it all the way to level 13 and I'm still having a blast.

Happy Hunting,
A Big Fat Nerd

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Tale of Two Nerds

Once there was this group of people, a fan club, if you will, who used to pretend to be vampires, werewolves, changelings and other such things, usually on the weekends and mostly as an excuse to dress up.
It was called:

There was this girl, a big fat nerd, who not only pretended to be these things, she made up the stories and did the dirty work so that people could have fun not being whatever they were on the weekdays. There was also this boy, another nerd, although maybe geek is a more accurate term, who also liked to run the games and sometimes pretend to have crazy powers and do insane things. After many years of friendship they finally got together. They got a little townhouse together and things were very happy. Then this came up:


Just one little problem, the poor girl didn't have a fucking clue what this meant. It took a while and a bouquet of roses for her Tauren Druid for the message to come through.

Will you marry me?

Of course.
Then what was going to be a short engagement turned into a long engagement. Lots of things happened and finally something like this went down.

Except I don't know any of those people so it was only similar in that it was a wedding. It was sort of nerdy. In a Scottish, everybody wore kilts and drank tea sort of way. Why?

The wedding was not crap and was indeed Scottish and featured a highland heather cake. Because history nerds are a thing, too.

A few months later a wee lassie belonging to the now married lady came to live with this nerdiest of couples.

Probably not an accurate representation. Probably.
A few more months after that and a geeklet was shoved in the oven and left to bake for nine months.

AAHH!! ALIEN! No, wait that's a baby. I get them confused.
Now the nerdy girl and the nerdy boy have been married for almost four years and after homeschooling a teenager and taking care of a toddler, they both look like this:

Now imagine them much, much less attractive.

Four years married and seven years together. I am so lucky to have my Geeky Nerd Boy.

I love you, darling.

A Big Fat Nerd

Friday, February 10, 2012

I Miss My Blaster

Not too long ago in a galaxy right here I had a shiny replica of Han Solo's blaster. It looked something like this one. It was the best toy I ever got.

Like most kids who grew up when I did, I had a few Star Wars toys. I had to share them with my brother and they stayed in his room and the only toy I could play with without an argument was Princess Leia, but I still held some claim to them. I loved Star Wars so much and I thought Princess Leia was pretty damn awesome, or radical, or heinous, possibly bitching, except at five years old I couldn't use that kind of language. Years I was shoved into the Princess role for the very unimaginative reason that I was a girl. To hell with that! I wanted to be Han Solo.

Han had a ship, he had an amazing best friend and he had the courage to chase down Stormtroopers. It was practically love at first sight. And seeing as I was a year old at the time, that's saying something. Han was in short a badass. I wanted a little piece of that badassery myself only I had a problem. I was a girl.

Gasp, horror, Oh say it ain't so! Yep, I was and still am of the female persuasion. I was weird enough in school for being really into Star Wars, but to be a girl and like Star Wars, I might have been a purple unicorn being ridden by a transformer that tossed bags of chocolate at children. It's far more common now and I'm pretty sure that there were lots of girls who liked Star Wars when I was a kid, more than enough of them had seen it, but it was such a boy thing that much like girls being gently directly away from the shop class (I took shop) most girls were gently reminded that Star Wars was for boys. Unless you wanted to play Princess Leia because that would give Tim a break from having to talk like a girl.

I grew up with three brothers and other than on occasion acquiescing to my Mom's request that I wear a dress, I was not cool with being told I shouldn't like things my brother liked. I wasn't anti-girl but I was very anti-anyone-telling-me-what-to-like. I liked Star Wars, I liked Han and I fell in fucking love with that blaster. I would beg, I go stare at it when we went to the toy store. I would fondle it and touch it, I imagined ways to make a holster for it and dress up like Han Solo, so I could travel the galaxy in my Millennium Falcon.

My Father, ever the forward thinker went against my Mother and my Grandmother's wishes and bought me the blaster for my 7th birthday. I remember a moment of acute and exquisite happiness when I ripped off the wrapping paper and there it was. I remember now the sour face my Grandmother made but in that moment it didn't matter. I finally had it. I had the one thing I wanted most. I could now move away from my typecasting and become HAN FUCKING SOLO!

This was to last for about an hour. Maybe a bit more. It's been awhile so the exact details are fuzzy but my Grandmother caught me pointing the blaster at my brother (what the hell else was I supposed to do, he was the most annoying Luke ever) and she totally freaked out on me and took the blaster away. She put it on top of her glass display cabinet, where no one could see it, and told me to sit on the couch for the rest of the afternoon.

I had to go home without my blaster and for the next few weeks when I asked about it she would tell me, "When you've been good enough, you can have it back."
I was good.
I was very good.
I was super amazingly totally fantastically good.

I was told to stop asking as I was making her insane. I to this day maintain that her insanity was not my fault and the fact that she already had kids should prove my innocence in this case.

Months went by and finally one day after a deep cleaning of her house (deep cleaning meaning bullying the single celled organisms to vacate as there was never a speck of anything resembling dirt) that my precious blaster was found. I was so happy, I think I started bouncing. Then I saw the look on her face.
"How did this get up here? A plastic gun?" My Grandmother's puzzlement as to the toy's origin was genuine and it worried me. "Who does this belong to?"
"Me Gramma, it's mine." I said quickly hoping to have it in my hot little hands.
"Stephanie, it couldn't be yours, it's a gun and little girls don't play with guns."She then handed the gun to my mortal enemy (my brother, we, uh, didn't get along) "There you are Alex, go have fun."
"NOOOOOOOO!!!" I shrieked, "It's mine, I got it for my birthday, please, please don't give it to him, it's my toy, my blaster!"
"Alex, go on out and play, it looks like Stephanie will be staying inside. It's boy's toy Stephanie, no one is going to give you a boy's toy, stop trying to take away your brother's things."

After I sat through a lecture, and a whipping for lying, I was finally sent out to play. I hunted all over until I found my brother and started begging for the blaster back. He laughed at me, mocked me for wanting to play with a boy's toy. I didn't care I just wanted my damn blaster. About that point I noticed that it was gone. He didn't have it.
"Where is it? What did you do with it?"
"It fell out of my pocket in the woods, no big deal anyway it was just a gun."
"Where? Where did you drop it?"
"I don't remember, gone now."
"I...I..."I balled up my fists, marched inside and cried on the couch all afternoon.

I never asked for a "boy" toy again. It wasn't worth the heartache.
I wish I had kept the toys we had in better condition.
But mostly...I miss my blaster.

A Big Fat Nerd

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sci-Fi turned upside down

It has been nearly seven years since the last Star Trek: Enterprise episode aired and the last Star Wars movie came out in theatres. In the intervening years I feel like I have fallen into some Sci-Fi fan bizarro world. Star Trek has now been rebooted as a movie franchise and what was the most popular Science Fiction movie franchise has been changed into a TV series. If you hear an earth-shattering ka-boom, no worries, it's just my brain.

Star Wars and Star Trek both have immersive MMO video games. Star Trek Online, which has just become free to play, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, which I had the privilege to beta test, look like equally fun games. In fact I'm probably going to download Star Trek Online and see what it's like to be a federation officer for a while.  Star Wars: The Old Republic (SW:TOR for short) just came out and while I am chomping at the bit to play it again, money isn't falling out of my nether regions, so wait I will have to.

I'm not so sure I like this flipped over world. I am a huge, huge fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek, I have owned (or currently own) lots of memorabilia from both franchises and have even gone so far as to be a member of the official fan clubs of both. Ok, you caught me. I really wanted to be, I made it to a few meetings of a local Star Trek "ship" and I filled out the Star Wars Official Fan paperwork, but fifteen dollars (or whatever, I don't really remember) is a hell of a lot of money to an eight year old. Probably wouldn't have accepted it anyway, my handwriting was awful.

Star Wars episodes IV through VI were my movies. I memorized the lines, pretended to be Princess Leia or Han Solo and recreated the movies with my brother. Put all together I could easily spend a day watching them all and still have time to try and get my hair into cinnamon buns. I had toys, books, records (did I mention I was old) and tried to convince my Mom to let me wear the costumes. I loved them. I think Star Wars is imprinted on my brain in some fashion as my Mom totally admits that she would pop the Beta tape in (see, old) and try to get a few minutes peace while my brother and I sat entranced by the sweeping music and glittery starscapes. To this day I honestly believe that massive buns are awesome and holding a blaster makes you the coolest fucking person ever. The best thing about them was that they were movies. I didn't have to wait until next week to find out if Luke was going to blow up the Death Star and there weren't any dramatic pauses in the action to show me a toothpaste commercial. It was self contained. The story started, swept you up, carried you along and then deposited you in a (mostly) triumphant place and then the credits rolled.

Star Trek was a stranger beast. At first there was Captain Kirk and his first officer Spock, traveling around the galaxy with their Star Ship full of scientists and engineers saving people and keeping the federation safe from Klingons and Romulans bent on conquest. I wanted to be as smart as these people. I would talk over theoretical science with my Dad and talk about the different technologies and how possible it was I would ever see a replicator or a warp engine in my lifetime. It didn't really end it went on and on. I wanted to live there, I wanted to be a federation officer, brilliant and noble, making life better for all good people no matter their shape or size. But, it didn't end, at least not quickly and a Star Trek marathon could take all weekend. You had to prepare for them. I would set up a sleeping bag in the living room, prop myself up on a pile of pillows and set up the air popper next to the TV. I would fall asleep to the sounds of the engine and Mr. Spock soothingly talking about a life form and wake up to the sounds of phaser fire. Then Star Trek: The Next Generation came about and it was like it could never end. I wasn't so sure about the show at first, but the uniforms and the ship (oh, that beautiful space ship, I used to have so many models of it) convinced me to keep watching and I fell in love. It really helped that there were kids on board and that one of them was a genius and I totally imagined that I could be just like him.

Star Wars was a thrill ride, the technology completely secondary and the same story could be told in any technological time. Star Trek needed the technology, you could tell the stories but they wouldn't make as much sense or be as exciting set in the middle ages. Now Star Trek is the thrill ride and Star Wars is the continuing story. I just don't know what to think.

The worst part of all of this? The absolute most terrible thing? I don't have cable so I can't watch the new Star Wars show to make any decisions about it and waiting for a new Star Trek movie to come out is killing me slowly. The answer? Star Trek marathon through the week and saving up to go see Star Wars 3D. It'll be just like old times.

A Big Fat Nerd

Monday, February 6, 2012

Too Advanced for Safety

I have recently been delving into my past and re-watching Star Trek from the beginning (hell yeah!, Netflix) and two nearly solid weeks (sleep happens on occasion) later and I have to say that I'm probably enjoying the show at least as much as I used to and I can certainly appreciate how the show was put together much better now than when I was a kid. I haven't gotten all the way through Star Trek the Next Generation yet and I have decided that through all the story holes and weird inconsistencies there are a couple of things that almost destroy my suspension of disbelief.

We are expected to invest in and believe that this ship is the culmination of 24th century Star Fleet technology. The flagship, the most advanced piece of single technology in all of the Federation, the Enterprise 1701-D, the latest in a long line of legendary ships crewed by legendary people and yet the startling geniuses who created this technological wonder couldn't seem to figure out fucking seat belts and Oxygen masks.

Think about it for a second. Seat belts, available in every car for decades, even when the damn original series was being made, some how got lost in time and didn't make it to the 24th century (or the 23rd for that matter). What do we have to replace them? Judging by the shows, flailing and being thrown around like rag dolls. Hell, you'd think after the sixth or seventh time of being jolted around on the nerd version of a bull ride that someone might have thought, "you know, I really think that maybe some sort of restraint a wide piece of synthleather or hell a cord around my damn waist tied to the fucking chair and maybe I won't have to deal with broken limbs and a bruised ass anymore." But no, in the Utopian future no matter how many times you're jerked around, using a seat belt would be like giving in and admitting that bad things happen to good people.

Oxygen masks something everyone who takes a commercial flight gets an introduction and demonstration of, seems to also be beyond the comprehension of our descendants.  The sheer ridiculousness of having vast unused space on the Enterprise and not devoting a few small pockets to the storage of a simple device that would save peoples lives in the all too damn common case of life support going out? Granted that would have destroyed the sense of danger in far too many episodes but you know what? I could have lived with that.

I still love the show and as of right now I still believe that Star Trek: the Next Generation is the best Star Trek. That could change as I watch the other shows a bit more continuously than before but I'm not gonna hold my breath. The lack of seat belts and oxygen (air) masks just means I pause the show, rant like a crazy person until my husband reminds me it's a TV show.

I really hate it when he does that.

I know it's a TV show. I am well aware. I just have a hard time understanding how people who write Science Fiction, you know, the people who come up with all the bad things that happen out in space, could just not think of all the bad things that happen out in space.

Maybe I'm looking at it wrong. Maybe I should just ooh and ahh at the special effects like a good girl, but it bothers me when a show overlooks the obvious. I don't know anything about astrophysics, and I haven't a fucking clue about how theoretical gravitational distortions would effect the surrounding space, but I know what a damn seat belt is and I know how to use an oxygen mask (thank you Delta Airlines flight attendants), maybe if they would just fucking listen for a second, I mean it's not like I don't shout, "Choking on an unknown gas? Try OXYGEN, IN A MASK! Landing on the floor uncomfortable? Try fucking SEAT BELTS!" I'm just not getting through. 

Of course, I don't have the appropriate time distortion to go back and time and gently remind the people who wrote and designed the show about these common life saving devices. Even if I did, I would probably use it in some other, much more fun way. Lottery numbers and pranking my exes comes to mind.

I can't really even trust myself to go to conventions it bothers me so badly. I would wind up going to see some of the amazing actors that brought the show to life and while in the middle of telling them how awesome they are, my voice would be taken over and in some sort of uncontrollable nerd rage I would shout, "WHERE THE FUCK ARE ALL THE SEAT BELTS AND AIR MASKS?" This would probably be a really bad idea. I don't know if I could live down being escorted from a Star Trek convention.  I can be unintentionally scary and don't dress like a Klingon, I would probably confuse people. As you can see, staying home is probably best.

Maybe I'm just too practical for the Star Trek universe. Back to watching more episodes.

A Big Fat Nerd