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Kiri Callaghan was born a ”3rd” on a station set in deep space where she was trained in the ways of the Jedi. Her training concluded when she joined a crew of smugglers piloting a Firefly class ship that tended to travel to new worlds and new civilizations. In her travels, she battled darkspawn, saved countless princesses, ruled kingdoms, acquired some phat lootz, and was pretty much in short, the ‘chosen one.’

She may also really just be a writer obsessed with sci-fi, fantasy, books, and gaming, an actor and director with a BFA in Theater from Cornish College of the Arts and an amateur clothing designer and seamstress. But that’s just a rumor, and you really shouldn’t listen to those.

"Bard" by name, she has dedicated her life to storytelling through multiple mediums, whether it be by stage, film, photography, song or written word.

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Dragon Age: Those Who Speak Comic Review

Story: David Gaider

Script: Alexander Freed

Art: Chad Hardin

If you’re familiar with the Dragon Age Cannon, you know Isabela. She’s that pirate queen who taught you how to duel, or you may have had a three or even foursome with her, or at the very least she royally screwed over Kirkwall by stealing a sacred Qunari text, thus bringing holy war down on of the major cities of the Free Marches.

So… that was awesome.

However, the blood of Kirkwall is not the price the Qunari saw to be paid. Isabela not only stole their sacred tome but in doing so, initiated a battle which ended in the death of their Arishok (leader). These are not crimes ever to be forgotten… or forgiven.

Dragon Age: Those Who Speak #2 is the second issue of a three-part story, but you could plausibly pick it up without reading the one that came before and not have too much trouble following along as they catch you up to the action rather well.

Isabela, along with Varric Tethras (swoon), was helping King Alistair track down a blood mage he suspects is responsible for the disappearance of his father, King Maric. While the hunt for the blood mage was dangerous task enough, an unexpected threat presented itself when the Qunari finally catch up to the pirate queen.

We begin in a prison.

Quickly we are introduced to Tamassran, a female Qunari and as with all Qunari, we know this is her title rather than her name. She is a kind of priestess and her name translates to “Those who speak”.

Isabela is surprised she speaks ‘The King’s Tongue’ to which Tamassran replies that it is her function to do so. It is likely safe to assume that Tamassrans are versed in all known languages and act as a bridge between the Qunari and those who cannot speak their native tongue. I was particularly excited to read a story that involved a female in the Qun that coincided with the original cannon.

While I loved Mark of the Assassin or Dragon Age: Redemption, the fact that they altered or ignored one of the seemingly core principles of the Qun bothered me. If you played a female Warden in the first game, Sten was utterly baffled by how you could be both a woman and a warrior as in Qunari culture women were priestesses or artisans or farmers and shop keepers. The entire experience with the Blight and the warden (or Leliana and Morrigan if you played a male) was completely shattering for the Sten and I feel that culture shock was sort of key. I also appreciated how this was handled in that his confusion was not spawned from misogyny. Women did not fight in the same way he could not chose not to fight. It made his respect of the Warden that much more important in the end. Something unknown that went completely against what he believed to be the natural order and yet by the end, he held the Warden in the highest of respects.

That’s huge, Bioware. That’s dabbling in issues rarely seen in video games. Please don’t just drop that.

Tamassran begins the interrogation, starting with Isabela’s name–her real name. Dragon Age: Those Who Speak gives us a deeper look into the pirate’s past, from her mother to her first ship. While Freed definitely has a different flavor than Gaider’s typical quick-witted banter back and forth, I enjoyed the dialogue and felt the story definitely belonged in the world it was written for. Hardin’s art is gritty but beautiful and seems to lend very well to the flashback-like nature of the entire issue.

This particular issue centers mostly around Isabela and we see very little of Varric and Alistair but they certainly make it memorable as when we briefly rejoin our King and merchant prince, they encounter an old friend. I may have quietly cheered while reading it… Just a little. For like a second, at least.

If you enjoy the Dragon Age cannon, you will likely love this comic–but be forewarned as it is the 2nd of 3, there is of course a cliffhanger ending.


Is the 3rd issue out yet? Please?

Show Review: NERDZ! A Seattle-based Nerd-themed Burlqesque Show

Violet Deville

Burlesque as we know it now has been around since the mid-1800s but in the past several years has been making a roaring comeback across the board. Over time multiple demographics have flocked to try their hand at adding their own style and flare to the art form. Maybe it’s because we live in Seattle, maybe it’s the rising public face of Nerd culture, but regardless the reason, this city has been the home of multiple nerdy burlesque shows.

NERDZ, aptly named and hosted by the lovely Violet Deville (@VioletDeVille ) at the Rendezvous’ Jewel Box Theatre, was one of these selfsame shows.

The Rendezvous is a familiar place, even if you’ve never been there. It has that glorious divey feel without making you worry about needing to sanitize your hands every time you touch anything. While perhaps not a ‘well-lighted place’, it’s clean and friendly and even Hemmingway would easily make himself comfortable.

Stella Vaughn

Just past the bar and to the right you’ll find the entrance to the Jewel Box Theatre. It’s a cozy space with a stage perfect for small cast performances. From the moment I gave my name at will-call, it was clear this was not your average show as I was asked to produce an appendage and ‘roll for stamp damage’ when my wrist was marked.

Violet Wilde (or @lilyorit as I know her), was not only the reason I found myself at that particular location that night, but was also our fantastic Mistress of Ceremonies. With a bubbly and endearing charm, she along with her two stage assistants, D and D, both provided entertaining introductions and ran a raffle to The performances were all tributes to various fandoms celebrated in nerd culture and spanned across multiple ranges of skill level and styles.

The audience fell into laughter at the delightfully campy rendition of Indiana Jones featuring the talented Scandal from Bohemia.

We were awed into silence at Stella Vaughn’s haunting depiction of Leeloo from the cult classic The Fifth Element when she performed an erotic ballet to the opera featured in the film.

We witnessed Morgue Anne’s slow motion take on Super Girl’s quick change inside the phone booth.


We had our childhood memories both resurface and oddly violated with Violet Deville’s performance set to the Muppet Show theme which ended in a quite the grand finale that showcased a replica of Gonzo’s nose right between… well you get the idea.

Some of my favorite moments included two performances by Tempest who showed a wide range of skill in dance, from a completely improvised piece which featured staccato movement and snake-like undulations to an elegant and articulate belly dance set perfectly to music.

Sailor St. Claire

Two other highlights for me included a breathtaking Firefly themed feather fan dance from Sailor St. Claire and a hilarious chipt-tunes rap tribute to 8-bit games by Bolt Action where every detail seemed covered in dedication to his theme–right down to the 8-bit “diamond” pasties glued to his nipples. Hands down the only man I’ve ever seen able to walk off the stage with that much dignity in only his converse, sunglasses and underoos.

However my favorite performance of the night was hands down the last. While they were all lovely and fabulous and worthy of an individual review themselves, Scarlet O’Hairdye’s Dr. Who themed performance won me over completely. From the skit that preceded her burlesque performance where she wandered in dressed remarkably like a female Tom Baker to how closely she kept to this theme not just by costume, but song, routine and props. There was never a moment where you could have not understood what she was parodying and I have to admit, using the 4th Doctor’s obscenely long scarf as a regular burlesque show might use a feather boa was charmingly clever.

Scarlet O’Hairdye and Violet Wilde

All in all, while every live show has its technical difficulties, or the performers nerves show through, I would highly recommend a nerdy burlesque show if you have the chance. Support these Confident nerdy women expressing their love for fandoms through the art of comedy, dance and erotica.

In short: I had a frakkin good time and would highly recommend it.

For more information about upcoming shows run by Violet Deville, visit her website


A Pirate’s Life For… Eh, no thanks.

This is late. No, I mean, this is very very late from when I first signed up to review this.

I’m sorry.

I’m a turd.

But I’m a turd who is actively trying to make more time for things she loves. Like writing. So, without any further disclaimers…


Karma reviews….

The majority of the story begins in 1720, though historical accuracy doesn’t seem to be goal of this comic (which is more than fine because I tend to love many things that dally with anachronism–Shakespeare being one of them).

We’re immediately pulled into a world of “Ye”s, “Yarr”s and every other piratical catch-phrase you can think of–admittedly, the language feels a bit forced. Writing in dialect is never easy and I usually recommend people avoid it all together unless absolutely necessary. Unless done very well, it can be pretty jarring. Especially if nearly every character speaks that way, as in She-Buccaneer. But you know, if you can just pretend that they’re all engaging in ‘Talk Like a Pirate’ Day, you’ll manage fine.

We meet She-Buccaneer on the day that her lover, Jack Calico, has been hung. Good inciting action, I think. Then, by strange “coincidence” (No spoilers, but you later discover this is rather by design) she encounters a stow-away in the hull: an Arab “boy” by the name of “Ajib Al Abbaba” or “Ajib the Wonderful”. He immediately and without reservation informs She-Buccaneer that he is searching for the treasure of eternal life. This launches both her and her crew on a series of adventures where they face monsters, ghosts and the devil himself in search for the key to bringing back dear ol’ Captain Jack back to life. Despite that every vision/ghostly encounter our heroine has with her late lover, he begs her not to try to revive him.

The basic concept, I think, is actually pretty intriguing, it’s the execution that I’m iffy on.

No, really, where did her shirt go all of a sudden?

The Pirate Queen (Who doesn’t seem to have a name as she’s only referred to as M’lady, Captain, and She-Buccaneer) is garbed in a rather modern-outfit. Honestly, it looks like it’d be a pretty fun cosplay. However… while I do appreciate the jolly-roger bra (It’d be a cute swimsuit, you can’t deny), I admit, I laughed when Ajib comments that she “[binds her] chest with the flags of death”. First, let’s not act like wearing a skull and cross-bones on your boobs is a legitimate form of mourning. Second, as someone who has had to play boys in certain theater productions, let me be very clear when I say, THAT IS ANYTHING BUT A BOUND CHEST.

The artwork would be enjoyable if it were consistent. I wonder if they were rushed to finish it? Some panels are gorgeous and detailed while others feel like they’re lacking in attention.

She-Buccaneer’s breasts seem to grow in every panel (they may be rivaling Power Girl’s at one point), which then causes them to also broaden her shoulders, but not the rest of her body so she looks more than a little top-heavy. I also noticed that they tend to just randomly have her lose clothing between frames. There are multiple instances where clothing has somehow vanished or changed when the shot is perhaps not quite as close or from a different angle. Sometimes her shirt has straps, sometimes it doesn’t (and I’m not talking in different scenes)

Her crew isn’t much better off as their faces mush together and stretched here and there. Ajib, for one, starts out looking like a middle-aged creeper (though they keep calling him ‘boy’–possibly because he’s wearing a diaper) and fluxes from that to looking like Aladdin, to (in one or two panels) looking white. So… that’s a bit awkward.

The writing is a bit over-the-top–which, being a pirate’s tale, I think is fitting, but at the same time, the story seems to have a side plot of seeing how many men can skeeze on She-Buccaneer and how many times can we get her in a skimpy harem outfit.

All-in-all, I have to admit, I was disappointed. I really wanted to like this comic. It had pirates, a female protagonist, mysticism and parlance with the netherworld…

But the dialogue was a little flat, the storyline was over the top and I feel like the the art just got sloppy. I can’t say I’d recommend it.

Conceited Independence

Disclaimer: The following is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily represent the opinions of Nerds in Babeland or any of it’s many fabulous contributors.

“It seems to me to show an abominable sort of conceited independence,a most country town indifference to decorum.”

-Jane Austen

If you’re a fan of Austen (or even just Colin Firth <3), you’ll recognize the above quote as a line from Pride and Prejudice, spoken by Caroline Bingley, a lady well-accustomed to looking down her nose at anyone she feels is beneath her. Basically Miss Bingley calls our lovely protagonist (Elizabeth Bennet) an ignorant hick for walking by herself “barely three miles” in dirt/mud to visit her beloved sick sister. Keep in mind that a lady walking alone anywhere was frowned upon, God forbid she get her petticoats dirty in the process!

Now I bring this up for a few reasons. First being that I love Pride and Prejudice so any chance I get to reference it makes me a giddy little school girl. The second is that I feel this kind of attitude–and Jane Austen herself, even–is extremely relevant towards the attitude and stigma towards self-published work.

“Oh,” you say with a touch of disdain. “It’s going to be one of those posts.”

Yes, it is.

There is a clear ‘status’ divide between many traditional and self-published authors and I think it’s time we tried to bring it to a stop, don’t you? Good. Now, let’s examine the major prejudice against ‘Self-Published’ work. The complaint I usually hear is that since anyone can self-publish and so there’s some real trash out there. Okay, fair point.

But can we agree that there is also some truly terrible traditionally published work?

Yeah. That’s what I thought. Regardless what your taste is, we’ve all read at least one book that made us go, “How the hell did that get published?”

A lot of people seem to think that you only self-publish after you’ve been rejected by multiple publishing houses–which is true for some authors, but again, this doesn’t mean that the story is bad or even poorly written.

Publishing houses aren’t really looking for a good story–they’re looking for a product they can sell. Did you happen to notice the boom of published vampire novels after Twilight gained popularity? Those manuscripts had been sitting untouched in publishing houses until it became clear that they were going to turn a profit because they were the ‘in’ at the time.

Yes, just like every other market, books follow trends and while possibly more discreet than the fashion industry, it can often be ten times more vicious.

It’s why we’ve seen certain repeating elements in books that may not have anything in common at all. Take ‘The love triangle’. It used to be a convention we only saw on an occasional sitcom and soap operas. Oh and in anime, but anime took the ‘love triangle’ and turned it into a polygon with much more sides (See ‘Harem’ Animes, Love Hina, Tenchi Muyo, etc etc). But ever since publishing houses discovered the marketing power of ‘Team Edward’ and ‘Team Jacob’–you’re seeing our heroines (and some heroes too, I guess) constantly at odds with who they’re going to get sugar from (or… y’know… love forever ‘n shit).

And before anyone starts on Pride and Prejudice–NO. Despite that romance is a major theme in the books, there was never a, “Oh, but I like them both, which shall I choose?” moment.

A friend of mine who has some beautiful traditionally published work even confided that the publishers MADE her make a character a second love interest so the love triangle marketing ploy could be employed.

Which brings me to why I decided self-publishing was the route I wanted to go.

The chief complaint I hear from any traditionally published author is fighting with the Publishing House over aspects of your story because at the end of the day they’re still looking to sell a product. Whatever that means. It could be adding sex scenes, it could be taking away some of that spicy talk that one of your character’s favors. It may be little things, it may be actual character or plot altering changes. Either way, it wasn’t a discussion I wanted to have. While being challenged about my work is fantastic and I encourage anyone who reads it to do so–I wanted that to come from a “What best suits this story?” stand point rather than “What bests suits our pocket book?”.

A publishing house tells you they don’t think they can sell your book? Fine, to me, that probably denotes a lack of courage and creativity that you don’t want supporting your work anyway.

I think self-publishing challenges authors in a way they may not have had to be challenged in the past. It’s not just uploading a file and pressing ‘publish’ through Amazon Kindle or Smashwords, it’s being your own marketing and pr team. It’s becoming less of an age where being that recluse on a mountain top is going to cut it. Now you have to network, now you need to cultivate some level of charm because ultimately, you’re promoting yourself. If someone likes you, they’re far more likely to give a damn when you mention you have a book out.

So maybe that’s where the disdain and hostility comes from; self-published authors try to do everything themselves and so they’re viewed as being self-important, or even possessing ‘a sort of conceited independence’.

But I would encourage you to look at it this way: Someone was passionate enough about something to go and create it without being directly sponsored. And does that piece of work discredit any other piece of work just by existing? No.

Self-published books are to the book industry as web-series are to television. Neither is ultimately better than the other, it’s just two different ways of going about getting your story to the world. Okay?

Can we play nice now?


New Years Resolutions for the Apocalypse

“Apocalypse? We’ve all been there. The same old trips, why should we care?”

-I’ve Got a Theory, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Once More with Feeling)

It’s here, guys. The big one. 2012. There hasn’t been so much stigma around a year since… Well? 2000. Which really wasn’t that long ago… Huh. Our Generation is really full of doom-sayers, aren’t we? I mean, when you think about it, we’re giving The Slayer a run for her money when it comes to encounters with the apocalypse. I’ve lost count of how many times the world was supposed to end but didn’t. Still, if I talked about how just because the Mayan Calendar ends in 2012, it doesn’t mean that the entire world will, it wouldn’t be a terribly fun article, now would it? No, I didn’t think so either.


It’s tradition to make resolutions come the New Year. It’s something we’ve sort of been conditioned to dally with since we could remember. It’s also that thing we usually never end up taking seriously and forget about sometime between Mid-February and March. But this year is different, my friend. This is your last chance. It’s ending. The world is going to be swallowed by the sun and you have exactly one year to do whatever it is you’ve been trying to do every year prior but lacked the motivation. The world ending is significant motivation, right? Maybe not.


The world of Style seems to be taking the Apocalypse head on as the Pantone Color Institute (Yep, it’s a real thing) announced that ‘Tangerine Tango’ would be the “encouraging” top color for the year. Their hope being that the orangey-red hue will give us optimism for the next 12-months. If you ask me it looks a wee bit more like the firey blaze of destruction than optimism, but whatever, to each their own.

It does seem almost violently appropriate though, doesn’t it? To celebrate the world ending, we’re going to adorn ourselves in hazard-sign orange. Don a hard hat. Watch out for falling buildings. Wear bright colors so cards can see you.

I know for one part of my new years resolution, I probably won’t be buying into the trend of this color and letting it infect my wardrobe. Maybe if it were more along the lines of the sweet Tangerine of Clementine Kruczynski’s (Kate Winslet) hair in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I’d be more inclined. Hey, that kinda rhymed. Totally not intentional.

So while my fellow fashion lovers will be entering the New Year like walking traffic cones, I’d like to propose a different approach. Let’s ditch caution for a little bit, not entirely, just give it the slip now and then. All those damn things we want to do but we’re scared to? The world is ending, isn’t it scarier that you might die having never done any of it? And hell, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the Mayans were wrong–they did die out long before their calendar said they would, after all. But even if I am, your life will continue on… Only now maybe you’ve got a little more courage.

Frankly, what can’t you do? You’ve survived countless world endings, what’s more epic than that? Take 2012 on, my friend. Beat back personal demons and conquer. Let the world try to end. It’s still gonna be our year.


In These Shoes? I don’t think so…

I once met a man with a sense of adventure

He was dressed to thrill wherever he went

He said “Let’s make love on a mountain top

Under the stars on a big hard rock”

I said “In these shoes?

I don’t think so”

-In These Shoes, Kirsty MacColl

Since ladies entered the ‘butt-kicking ring’ they’ve had some pretty interesting attire, I will grant you that. In an attempt to keep a heroine feminine and often ‘sexy’, costume designers and comic book artists alike have made some pretty impractical choices. There is one staple of these outrageous duds however that I will always defend: The heel.

I am absolutely sick of hearing the criticism, “You can’t do that in heels!”

To these people I say THIS!

Why am I so adamant that this view is wrong? Well let me explain. If you’re saying “running, jumping, climbing trees, putting on make-up while you’re up there” (Eddie Izzard, Dressed to Kill) isn’t possible in heels, you are probably suffering from one of the following: A) You don’t know how to move in heels, B) You’re buying the wrong heels.

If you don’t know how to move in heels, it’s all a matter of practice. Practice, practice, practice. Remember that it’s toe-to-heel, not heel-to-toe like how you would walk normally. It’s a completely gear shift when it comes to the locomotion of movement, so it’s okay if you haven’t quite perfected it yet. Most weight should be distributed to the balls of your feet. If you can feel your heel shake when you walk–you need to shift your weight distribution. If you have access to a full length mirror, as silly as it sounds, walking in front of it to keep an eye on your ankles is pretty helpful! Something to remember is when running you are usually completely on the balls of your feet anyway!

As for finding the right heels? I grew up with the philosophy of never buying a pair of shoes I can’t run in. So here are things I’ve learned to consider:

1. Height – This is pretty much a no-brainer. Heels come in all different heights and you should NEVER buy a pair that’s taller than what you’re comfortable with. Work your way up to those 6-inchers. Stand on the balls of your feet. It’s usually wise to stick to a shoe that doesn’t raise your foot higher than that–otherwise you’ll be thrown off balance. If you’re looking for more height but less strain on your arch, try looking into something with a bit of a platform to it. An extra inch without pitching your center of gravity quite as forward.

Go-Go Boots tend to be a good example of this rule. Heel height varies but even the lower of the spectrum engages the calf in a way that gives it that great shape you get with heels.

2. Width – Walking around on a pin-point is not only difficult, it’s uncomfortable–plus you run that fantastic risk of breaking the heel itself or worse, your ankle. So it’s always a good plan to consider the width of the heel. The more surface area of the shoe, the more balanced you’re likely to feel.
In this respect wedge heels are a rather handy weapon to have. You have height and elegance but still relatively the same surface area connecting to the ground as you would with a normal shoe.
Width is also important because it will add to the stability of the heel. When purchasing a pair of heels, always grip the heel and make sure it’s attached firmly to the shoe regardless of how thick it is.

3. Tread – Shoes need traction–and I don’t just mean those little rubber pads you can buy separately and stick on the bottom of your dress shoes, I mean actual treads. More and more I’ve been seeing women’s shoes that actually have traction and thus eliminate that worry of slipping on carpet and falling on your rear–or face, if you’re like me and prone to the least graceful of pratfalls. If you can’t visually tell if a shoe has good tread–and sometimes you can’t–put them on and try to slide your feet in them. If they don’t move easily–or at all–then they make a good grip with the floor–which means they won’t slide from beneath you when you’re taking down that gang of Two-Face’s Goons.

4. Security – By security, of course, I mean “How does this shoe secure to your feet?” Straps, laces, doesn’t matter–however it latches on, it needs to do so as firmly as possible. A shoe that slips off your heel or has an ankle strap with too much give means you run the risk of your foot contorting inside the shoe, or the shoe getting out of alignment with the bottom of your foot–which means injury, injury, injury! So be sure when you try them on to raise your foot and give them a shake. How much does the shoe move around? This is usually easiest to tell when sitting down.

5. Comfort – Of course this is a factor. Just because it’s a nice shoe doesn’t mean it should be uncomfortable! Will you be wearing socks/tights/nylons with it? Is it comfortable with that kind of attire–is it comfortable barefoot. Don’t ignore little pinches! Yes, all shoes need to be broken in a little but those little pinches won’t go away with time! You should never sacrifice your poor tootsies just because you think a shoe is pretty. We’ve all done it–let’s put a stop to it.

The key really just to make sure you try on the shoes before buying them–which yes, we all do–but when you try them on–actually try them! Can you jump? Do you feel like you’re going to slip? How do you have to adjust to stand comfortably? They’re simple enough rules but people tend to forget them. But if you keep them in mind and remember they aren’t just for looks, soon you too will have a shoe collection that one of our masked mademoiselles would envy!

Then I met an Englishman
“Oh” he said
“Won’t you walk up and down my spine,
It makes me feel strangely alive.”
I said “In these shoes?
I doubt you’d survive.”

-In These Shoes, Kirsty MacColl

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