Posts tagged Life

Review: Saga #11


Writing: Brian K. Vaughan

Art: Fiona Staples

Review by Melissa Megan

Boy does Brian K. Vaughan know how to open an issue and get your attention. In another of Hazel’s flashbacks to her parents’ beginnings, we get to be a fly on the wall to what I assume is her moment of being conceived. Every naughty detail revealed and oh boy, is Alana naughty! Of course it’s also a difficult realization of the kind of situation Hazel was brought in to: her parents fugitives, each of their respect homelands hunting them down. Alana and Marko aren’t even sure they can breed, being of two different species from different planets, but the method of baby making seems to work just fine.

Another great skill of Brian K. Vaughan is transitioning from one place in a story to another, seamlessly, without depleting the jarring effect of that jump. The ship containing Alana, Marko, Hazel, Marko’s parents and Hazel’s ghostly babysitter is spiraling towards a freshly born fetus planet that appears hungry. In another ship which has already been damaged and exposed to open space, The Will tries to save Lying Cat while Gwendolyn holds tight to the slave child they rescued from Sextillion. If you aren’t reading Saga already, you should be appropriately confused by now.

Every single issue of Saga contains so much. So very much that I often find myself re-reading an issue to make sure I didn’t miss something really important. Issue #11 is powerful and emotional. I’m not going to spoil this for anyone, but I will say that by the end of this issue you’ll feel some feelings that might not be happy. This issue also has many opportunities for Fiona Staples to show off her art skills with sweeping space landscapes and beautiful scenes of magic making. The creators of Saga are the power couple of 2013 and Saga is their glowing love child.

Read Saga and don’t stop. Well, if you read one issue you won’t want to stop.

Stress Done The Nerdy Way

As I sit here waiting for the inevitable power outage thanks to the high winds, (and for another tree to fall like before), I think back to the past year for me. It’s entering November, and I find myself busy, as per usual, and looking for more to do, (I’m a glutton for punishment in the month of November,) so now is the perfect time for reminiscing. I’ve been in and out of the hospital for almost the whole year with my family. My grandpa would go into the hospital, come out, and two days later go back in, and I would be the one that my entire family would turn to for information and a plan of attack. More recently my mother went into the hospital and just got off of a seven week short term disability leave. To give an example of what kind of stress this put me under, I was at my grandparents house more than my house to help them out, then at my house more than the outside world, and then anxiety attacks that drove me to my doctor. Stressful right? How did I cope? The nerdy way. Let me tell you how.

Update: Half way through that paragraph I heard sirens from the police, firefighters, and ambulance going off close to my street. Thank you wind.

Dry Vodka Martini, Mr Bond

In September I went to the wedding of my very first friend, and I took my other friend with me, cause I’m single and I don’t go to weddings alone. During the ceremony they had a planting of the sapling, it was sweet, it really was… to everyone else. All my friend and I heard was sapling, and we both looked at each other and knew we were thinking the same thing. He said it first. “You know if they use a little bonemeal on that, it’ll grow immediately.” Thank you Minecraft. Yes, that’s right, we turned a wedding into Minecraft, started making plans for the server that we play on with our friends. It gets nerdier, all before the reception. My friend, Shua, and I were talking about our own prospective weddings, and his won by far. Scottish wedding, kilts on the men, and at the cutting of the cake have someone run up and cut the cake with a sword whilst yelling; “They can take our wedding, but they’ll never take our cake!” That’s right, he went there.

The reception came, and we wanted our allotted booze. The party favors were adorable, and after 15 seconds of looking at them I took a picture, declaring that some Angry Birds had crashed the party. Another 10 seconds later and I was stealing the party favors from the empty seats next to us to create a Tri-Force. Yes, I went there. We skipped the Chicken Dance, and the Cha Cha Slide, but went up there for the YMCA. And we found out what exactly the Lady In Red is doing. Hint, she’s running away out the bathroom window because no one knows her name. We made a couple more parodies from the songs, one including some nice words for Minecraft, before we left to go watch the new episode of Doctor Who.

Even Henry Loves the Sailor Scouts

I make stuff like this, and sell it for Munnies

That’s just one day, how did I make it day to day otherwise? Well, I’m a creative type, I like making stuff, I like to sell this stuff. November 5th here in the city that I live in, we have an Art market, the Saginaw Art Market to be exact. It’s a free event where only handmade items will be sold, artists working in all different mediums will be there. I like to think that I represent the Fiber arts section, with my knitting and crocheting. I make popular culture themed goods. Like these lovely Sailor Scouts, and Tuxedo Mask. And what’s this? A Mega Man hat that I made? A Hatsune Miku hat? There’s even an Okami Ameterasu hat in the works, and a Jak (& Daxter) hat that I’m making for me. There are plans for some ‘Penny’ wristwarmers, (Dr Horrible anyone?) I’d also like to make some hats out of fleece, you know, anime style hats, cause I’m just that cool. I’m no stranger to making nerdy stuff, but I think that I got nerdier as a coping mechanism to all my stress, allowing me to make more awesome stuff.

My podcast now has a slight buffer of episodes because of my epic new nerdiness. “To Continue Press Start” has been getting a lot of attention, well-deserved attention, and I even participated in a 24 hours gaming event to raise money for the Children’s Miracle network. I made it for 21 hours before I had to crash. I blame my cats who wouldn’t let get me any sleep the night before. Now we just have to get back to playing Sonic the Hedgehog for his 25th birthday.

I had a moment when I walked into one of my favorite gaming stores and found out that I’m a regular to the staff now. I no longer have to show my ID when paying with a credit card, because I am a recognizable face. After pre-ordering my Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, I walked out of the store and proudly stated; “It’s so great being a nerd.” I think that my point is to say that being a nerd gives me unique ways of handling stress, and it’s just recently that I’ve found out how effective that it can actually be, and something that is very well needed. Now if you’ll excuse me I have arms to make for Sailor Scouts, and more Link hats to make.

Remembering an Amazing Few Weeks.

On July 2, 2003 the International Olympic Committee announced that Vancouver, British Columbia would be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.  It was down to PyeongChang, South Korea and Vancouver; Salzburg Austria knocked out in the first round.  I was working at an internet cafe at the time, and had the TV tuned into a local channel filming inside GM Place (now Rogers Arena) waiting for the winning city to be named.  When the IOC pronounced Vancouver as the winner everyone in GM Place burst into cheers.  As did I, jumping up and down, fist pumping away much to the amusement of customers watching as well.  I had always liked watching the Olympics, admittedly the winter games more than the summer – probably the Canadian thing.

February 12th, 2011 marked the one-year anniversary (celebration) of the games and almost a year since my last day at work with the Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver (OBSV).  A job that became 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, but an experience I wouldn’t change for anything.  Well… maybe a trip in the T.A.R.D.I.S., but even that would be a tough decision.

That picture above sums up my job, Accreditation and Uniform coordinator.  Basically – made sure the 2500+ staff working for OBSV had the correct information to pass a security check, and the proper clearance for venues.  There were a lot of bad photos that wouldn’t pass strict Canadian security laws, and poorly filled out personal information sheets.  OH!  And the database wasn’t working properly so all the letters containing each individuals work period, hotel contacts, etc had to be done offline.

Still wouldn’t change a thing.

Luckily the hard work brought some pretty awesome perks.  The picture above was taken before they put a second fence around the cauldron to keep everyone away.  I guess folks were jealous that we (broadcast media working from the Vancouver Convention Centre VCC) got to get all cozy with it and they were stuck behind a huge throng of people.  See below…

Most of the OBSV staff were able to go to at least one of the opening ceremonies dress rehearsal, and offered a ticket for the actual ceremony.  But being the good sister that I am stuck to my promise to watch it with her on her BF’s big screen TV.  It was fun adding a colourful commentary, at least for me it was.  Sorry no pictures, we weren’t allowed to take any so if I posted some…

Walking up the steps to the ballroom of the convention centre every morning we were met with six screens each broadcasting a different feed.

There was always a “Beauty Cam” of Whistler, the IBC (International Broadcast Center at VCC) and the cauldron.  You know when the broadcasts cut to a quick shot in between breaks?  That’s what they are called, Beauty Cam.  We once had coworkers who were in Whistler Village find the camera and wave.  It may have made it on TV, you never know!

The live feeds were fun.  TV’s spread out all across the offices, conference rooms, and ballrooms.  A listing of what was scheduled on each channel was emailed out every morning, and since a TV was right by my desk at the end of a long row, I got to watch what I wanted.  Most of the time, and I still had to work of course.  Starting a 7am shift was definitely made easier with a morning show airing beside me.

Of course no broadcasting centre would be complete without something to broadcast.  CTV, NBC, European stations and others were set-up in the VCC, filming their interviews, coverage and what I believe is called lead-ins.  That I’ll explain soon.  I myself didn’t see too many athletes, of course being just a tad biased I would be looking  out for the Canadian ones.  Especially the Canadian men’s Curling team, I developed a major crush on one of them.  Apparently missed them by about 20 minutes… after already waiting an hour after my 12 hour shift before giving up and going home.

There was days off and fun times after work as well.  Using our accreditation (security passes) to get past the line-up into a LiveCity show, one in pouring rain and the other abruptly stopped four seconds into Alexisonfire when the stage was rushed.  Still… NO LINES.  The streets were filled with people singing, laughing, displaying flags and colours.  The impromptu renditions of “Oh Canada” were always a blast.  Going to curling, figure skating, women’s hockey and a medal ceremony with my mom and sister.

I could keep going with pictures and everything that happened, that would be an incredibly long post, so I shall leave you with some Best-Of moments and a Flickr page of pictures.

Some Best of Moments

Introducing a star struck fan to the Skeleton gold medal winner, John Montgomery.  I was walking out of our daily meeting and this kid was visibly shaking from excitement and nervousness at the sight of him.  I nonchalantly told him to wait and I would get him a picture.  Waiting until Mr. Montgomery was finished with his conversation and asked if he minded taking a picture with the fan.  He obliged, of course.  it was really cute.

Going to Curling, my sister seeing for the first time ever.  The fans were so loud and we got to see the Norwegian’s awesome pants.  And yep Canada “swept” it.

Getting a call at 5pm with the offer of four free tickets to the Russia vs Slovakia women’s hockey game at 7pm.  Fifth row behind the bench.  Thanks Boss man!

Watching Billy Bush from “Access Hollywood” trying to film his intros and the floatplanes kept taking off in the background, over and over and over again.  On more than once occasion, never ceased to crack me up.

Noticing that ‘tobaganning’ was displayed on screen and letting the guy in charge of the captions know – they’re room was right behind my desk.  “Tobogganing” wasn’t displayed again but they still needed the correction – and I caught it!

The wrap party after the men’s Gold Medal hockey game filled with food, booze and dancing after an intense two weeks… for a couple thousand people.  There were folks crashed out on the VCC’s furniture and having to work in a few hours, talking to members of the Russian media about their upcoming turn at things and dancing.  Did I mention that already?  Everyone was feeling a little rough the next day, and most came in closer to noon…

Knowing how badly my mom wanted to see a Canadian flag at the gold medal during the Victory Ceremony we went to, and not telling her when I figured out we would be seeing it.  I initially said they would award the medal in Whistler and we could see the live feed, but I was mistaken – and decided to let her believe it for the surprise.  It totally worked, she was so happy.

So there’s a bit about my life during the games.  As I said before, an amazing experience.  Please check out my Flickr page if you want to see more of what those crazy few weeks were like. *forgive the camera quality, just a little point and shoot*

Editorial Piece: Pulling Threads and Spinning Yarns

While participating in the Dexter ARG, I was fortunate enough to meet Michael Andersen from ARGNet.  When I started this blog with all of the wonderful fellow Nerds in Babeland, I intended for this to be a place where female nerds can write about their passions (however nerdy or un-nerdy they may be).  Well, as has been made obvious, one of my new-found passions is Alternate Reality Gaming, and I asked Michael to talk about his own thoughts on ARGs.  I know, I know, he’s not a woman (shock!) but I think it’s okay for us to have our occasional male guest writer.  Thank you, Michael!


There’s a secret world out there, existing just outside the bounds of your perception. Most people go through their entire lives without realizing this fact. But if you’re smart enough, talented enough, or just plain lucky enough, you might join the select few who can recognize the signs and peel back a layer of reality to see what lies beneath.

This is a popular theme in science fiction and fantasy: you’ll find it in Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Matrix. There’s something eerily compelling about story worlds that could easily coexist with our own. Press a few bricks in the right order, walk down the wrong alley one night, or follow a few cryptic instructions on your computer screen, and your life will be forever changed. It’s also a recurring theme in alternate reality games (ARGs), a form of entertainment that superimposes a new set of rules over reality by peppering the real world with story fragments using a wide range of media and artifacts. I write about this kind of storytelling at ARGNet, and worked together with a handful of Nerds in Babeland contributors to explore the Dexter universe as we tried to hunt down a serial killer.

After a few years of following alternate reality games, I have become adept at recognizing loose threads in the fabric of reality. Pay enough attention, and you’ll discover the fantastic hiding in plain sight. You might even find yourself hiding clues to a secret world of your own. So what do I mean by loose threads in the fabric of reality? See for yourself, through a series of photographs I took in search of stories hidden in plain sight.

Sometimes, the underlying story is an enigma. Consider this fine fellow as an example: I found him in the middle of the road at the corner of Euclid and Mayfield, mere blocks from my law school in Cleveland. Intrigued, I kept my eyes peeled, and discovered he had compatriots scattered across the city: indeed, the Stickman is a national phenomenon, with sightings in locations from Portland to Washington DC. What secrets do these hidden men hide?

Other times, the secret is more straightforward, offering a chance at adventure. On a trip to Baltimore, I paid a visit to the Peabody Library, touchingly described by one visitor as the “closest I’ve seen to Hog-warts!” in the Institute’s guestbook. Just outside the building, a street map featured the following correspondence:

If I stayed in town for an additional day, what exciting adventure might have presented itself? Would I encounter the source of the message, or another curious soul like myself?

Nonchalance created The Jejune Institute to address these questions through an elaborate alternate reality game using San Francisco as a stage to hide puzzles in plain sight. Workers in the Business District likely pass a metal ring soldered to the sidewalk bearing the name “QUINCY” every day without giving it a second glance…but for those of us who entered the Jejune Institute lobby at 580 California Street, Suite #1607, it stands out in stark relief as an introduction into a world of cults and conspiracies.

It may seem a bit daft to obsessively seek out meaning in the countless unexplained curiosities you encounter and summarily discount on a daily basis. But those selfsame threads serve as portals into fantastic worlds that lie just beneath the surface of our own.

At the risk of coopting the expression of a Chicago-based graffiti artist with a knack for the comedic: if I ever start to lose this sense of wonder at these untold stories hidden in plain sight?

Geek Fashion Chic – Monetizing on Geek Culture

The past couple of days, I’ve been in a really sore spot. The whole controversy surrounding the Geek and Gamer Girls video has really left me quite upset and on the verge of many epic rants. It has caused me to feel as if I have to apologize for the fact that I an a nerd trapped in a cute petite figure, that my face is not bad to look at, that I’m proud of the way I look and don’t mind showing it off. I find it so very odd and disheartening that it is the women who I receive judgment from and not the men. I’ve even lost female Twitter followers for voicing my valid opinion on this whole matter.

The judgment comes from the same women who claim to be speaking up for all women, want to have a sense of belonging, do not want to be judged for how they look and yet here I am, being judged and given passive-aggressive messages that I cannot be proud of how I look. I’ve never had to fight for my place with fellow nerd men. They’ve always just accepted me without any explanations or my having to defend my nerdom. I cannot say the same for women. Once upon a time, I had to fight to show that I’m uber intelligent and that I’m not just a pretty face. Now, the opposite is happening. I’ve never had a man question my nerdhood but I’m constantly having to try and validate it to women, being told how I can and cannot behave and being told what it should mean to me to be a female nerd.

Then I am left to shake my head because I just don’t understand the venom I receive from people who claim to want inclusiveness. I don’t understand why we are fighting each other within the nerd/geek community for acceptance. I think it is safe to assume that we do accept each other. The issue is how the outside world perceives us. And how do you expect the outside world to accept who we are when we can’t even accept each other on an as is basis within our own community? I hate to say this, but the fighting I see withing the nerd community reminds me a lot of the fighting I see among different religious groups over what it means and what you have to do in order to call yourself a (insert religious label here).

And to make me even angrier about outsiders are those who think they can cash in on the nerd/geek culture. I was having a conversation last night with a fellow Nerd in Babeland because I was really upset. I had to defend myself and the way I look to fellow nerds on Twitter. And they could see that I needed someone to talk to, someone who would actually listen to how I feel and am made to feel (even if irrationally) over this whole topic. While we were talking, I was doing my nightly search for who has linked to Geeky Pleasures or where it has been mentioned when I came across the following article:

Are you a real geek? Are you proud of being a geek? You can be cute (or sexy), yet embrace your geeky style. Geek fashion refers to the embracing of stereotypically unpopular “geek” characteristics such as glasses. They dress almost identical to hipsters but verge more towards being into comic books, pop culture, technology, etc. rather than hipsters who are more into poetry, brooding, and generally being pretentious. The definition: Well, basically, you take key pieces of a typically geeky wardrobe and wear them with purpose and aplomb, to make a point. Not because you’re clueless and out of the fashion loop, not because you can’t afford Ralph Lauren — because you want to. Think thick black glasses, pinstriped suits with skinny ties, sweater vests, and pocket protectors — a hipster vibe with a nerdy edge. T-shirts with slogans like “There’s no place like” (the IP address of your home machine) make the cut. It’s about reclaiming the geek identity as something not only meaningful, but also stylish. This look is so wrong that it looks right. And it’s the whole purpose of the trend, really. Geek chic celebrities include people like Tina Fey and Andy Samberg. It is highly debatable whether this trend actually means that “real geeks” are more popular than they were previously, or if it merely represents a superficial addition of “nerdy” elements to current fashion trends. Many elements that arguably define “geekiness”, such as varying degrees of social awkwardness, mathematical ability, strong interest in science and/or science fiction and fantasy, and varying degrees of disinterest in one’s personal appearance, remain unfashionable. Similar trends have often occurred in the past; for example, French Orientalism and exoticism of the 19th century incorporated visual elements from Asian and African cultures, but did not necessarily imply that people from these cultures were themselves viewed as fashionable. Much of the geek chic image borrows from various alternative youth subcultures such as emo, preppy, goth, hippie, and bohemian amongst others. You can mix geek chick with many other styles. Don’t limit yourself!
This is what we should be fighting! The outside world telling us, not only what it means to dress in a geeky or nerdy way, but also trying to cash in on it! And to make it even worse, are the following lines:

Think thick black glasses, pinstriped suits with skinny ties, sweater vests, and pocket protectors — a hipster vibe with a nerdy edge. T-shirts with slogans like “There’s no place like” (the IP address of your home machine) make the cut. It’s about reclaiming the geek identity as something not only meaningful, but also stylish. This look is so wrong that it looks right.

And if you think that is bad:

Many elements that arguably define “geekiness”, such as varying degrees of social awkwardness, mathematical ability, strong interest in science and/or science fiction and fantasy, and varying degrees of disinterest in one’s personal appearance, remain unfashionable.

I’m all for fighting for acceptance from the outside world. But not if it is at the loss of our identity or having people attempt to cash in on it. And as overall, I have no issue with people wanting to dress like “us”, I have huge issue with being told that being intelligent and liking the things that cause me to squee and become stupid with giddy is not “fashionable”. If the “cool” kids want to play with us, fabulous. Don’t mock us in the process. Because it leaves me to want to take our toys (you know all those great advancement in technology that you “cool” people take for granted on a daily basis, which we nerds built) and go home!

Let’s stop fighting with each other. Let’s stop dictating to each other how we should behave in order to call ourselves geeks and nerds. Let’s actually unite and accept each other. Let’s combat the real issues here such as the outside world, that despite saying we are becoming more accepted as a subculture/group of people, still preys upon us, using us as the next cash cow to exploit.

One Word Nerdiness

So–I posted this on Node, but thought that I would share it here as well…

If you could only give one word to summarize the totality of your Nerdiness–what would it be and why?

Mine would be “Slick“.

I like gadgets that are slick–gadgets make my life slick–and I’d like to think that when I Nerd Out, I still remain a “slick customer“.

Slick” can also be used to describe the way I navigate through the IT world, my composure in/during tough situations, remaining ingenious and clever.

I’m a Slick Nerd–what kind of Nerd are you?


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