Posts tagged nerd
Book review: Jackrabbit by Ian Healy
Review by Prof. Jenn
Ian Healy has delivered again in this next installment of superhero novels in the Just Cause universe. As I have written before, I have and continue to enjoy Healy’s ability to embody the coming-of-age voice, as well as the voice of the “regular Joe,” whether they are superpowered or not. (Sorry, “parahuman” is the correct term in his universe.) In Jackrabbit, though, we run into a new kind of parahuman–that of the Herald. The cheeky rabbit god and his buddy the frog god run into a new, insectile god in God’s Land–and it is revealed that this new god isn’t one invented by humans. This is a big deal, and not a good thing, at all. So (as it so often is) it’s up to our trickster god Leporidus to save the day. He begins his rescue plan by choosing a Herald–that is, a human who will embody the god on Earth. He selects hapless nerdy teenager Jay and, as it turns out, he has made an excellent choice.
Since I know Ian personally (we grew up together through Talented and Gifted programs in junior and senior high school as well as the theatre programs in said schools), I can slap him a virtual yet hearty high five in glorifying the nerd in this world. Even with today’s “geek chic,” nerds are still the victims of bullying today, and actually the nasty insect takeover of Earth event in this novel is connected directly to the theme of bullying. What Healy does very well is illustrate real human beings, whether it’s the coming of age type of Jay/Jackrabbit here or Mustang Sally in his earlier works, or “normal” folks trying to deal with the extraordinary, as in yet other novels in the Just Cause universe. And I love that the female hero is adorably annoying–it’s so great that she’s not flawless, but we still love her. Thanks for the realism and the joy amid the tense action. Also, thank Heaven for an African-American protagonist hero.
Usually I adore Healy’s Just Cause books without question, but I had a couple minor reservations about this one: a) why does Jay have to get all buff and huge when he transforms? Isn’t he a better Rabbit god herald by staying slight and quick? b) Bunny, Jay’s best friend, smacks of the stereotypical Gay Best Friend. In fact, he reminds me of the gay dancer friend in the 1984 movie Breakin’. maybe it’s the dance studio thing. Anyway… c) Jay turns real cheeky once he becomes Jackrabbit. he was pretty meek before. I’m not quite buying his snarky transformation. Maybe if he were already getting in trouble because of his wit and cheek, before he transformed? That way we can see exactly why Leporidus chose him, and his personality later would fit, etc. d) I hate to say it, as I love the ending, but I think it was a little too easily achieved. All of you, go out and read it and come back and tell me what you think.
Bottom Line: Jackrabbit is a fantastic novel and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Espionage Cosmetics launches premier
Nail-Art Line via Kickstarter
You’ve seen the Espionage Cosmetics team at every con you’ve attended in the last 3 years. You’ve played with the tiny Jayne hats that top the Browncoats collection, and you’ve squeed over the facebook pics of Bonnie Burton and Felicia Day with the shadows as you sign up for giveaways hosted by your favorite bloggers. Here’s what’s next from your favorite purveyors of geek-chic cosmetics…
NAILED IT! On August 5, 2013, Espionage Cosmetics—the makers of hugely popular mineral make-up by and for nerds—launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign (www.EspionageCosmetics.com/Kickstarter) for their latest product line, “NAILED IT!,” the world’s first nail-art line designed exclusively for nerds and lovers of all things glitter. 8 nerd-inspired designs are printed on high-quality, self-adhesive nail wraps that can be filed to a custom fit, with the potential to unlock up to 24 nerd-tastic designs. According to Espionage Cosmetics representatives, NAILED IT! is designed for “those of us who don’t have the time or talent to make our nails look like a Pinterest board.”
NAILED IT! is designed with you and your crazy eclectic, nerdy interests in mind. How about these gems: Cthulhu-inspired glitter tentacle wraps; turtle nails with glitter masks and googly eyes (googly eyes!); zombie nails dripping with glitter blood… and that’s just the first level of products available for pre-order on the Kickstarter.
Not just another Kickstarter. Espionage representatives say, “We know everyone is so tired of hearing about Kickstarter. That’s why we’re using this like a pre-order. Instead of rewards, you get the actual product, and help to fund the line for other customers.” Espionage Cosmetics is aiming for a goal of $20,000 in pre-orders with an “unlock achievement” feature, where sales past the goal unlock bigger rewards for all subscribers. As soon as the first achievement is unlocked, everyone who has ordered product at or above $100 automatically gets more nail-art—for free!—in their cart.
After the Kickstarter, for those who can’t make it to Espionage Cosmetics table at a convention, your best bet is to head over to ThinkGeek.com… they’ll be carrying the entire line in fall 2013.
The NAILED IT! Kickstarter includes products and rewards at every price point, from $15 to $10,000 and several points in-between. What does that get you? Some examples: $15 for a single nail-art set; $200 for a grab bag of Espionage Cosmetics products valued at $300; at $10,000 you can “Get Espionage’d.” At that level, you’re invited into Espionage Cosmetics design studios where the creative team (whose work has been published in Rolling Stone and other big-name publications) will design and shoot a photo concept for you, including professional wardrobe, hair, make-up, and graphic design. “This offer is ideal for people who are rebranding an existing product, getting started with a new business, or for anyone who just wants to live out an ultimate cosplay or fantasy photo-shoot experience.
Nerd-inspired designs, you say? Other NAILED IT! designs to look forward to include: Cats (“the Internet on your nails,” in high-quality photo format), chain mail, circuit boards, and full sets of glitter nails in versatile colors specifically designed for cosplayers (Black Widow? Wonder Woman? Covered). Espionage reps say they’re especially excited about the Nebula Nails set: wraps bursting with neon cloud
swirls and black holes. “You can find galaxy designs all over Pinterest and the Internet, but none of them are real, existing nebulas. We’re nerds and we like accuracy, so we scoured the night sky for the prettiest, coolest nebulas.”
Espionage Cosmetics: All girl, all nerd, all amazing. Espionage Cosmetics is a small, woman-owned business based in Tacoma, Washington, creating make-up for nerds, by nerds. “We’re a niche make-up company,” say Espionage representatives. “We have other things going on besides the perfect eyeliner. You’ll see us where we hang out, where our customers hang out. We’re at comic book stores and conventions.” …with the perfect glitter eyeliner, of course. Like you have to ask.
Founded in 2011, the company has seen enormous growth in their niche nerd market. In the last year alone, Espionage Cosmetics has expanded from a living-room operation to a Tacoma-based studio space with 3 fulltime women employees. Bi-monthly product launches and fully produced ad campaigns pour out of the studio manned by a full-time wardrobe master/cosplay expert, an interns and conventions coordinator, and the CEO/artistic director/marketing coordinator (her business card says Glitter Jedi).
NAILED IT! nail art is the latest Espionage Cosmetics product line, joining the newly released lip-gloss lines and the Espionage staple, “Everything Shadow,” a large range of mineral make-up colors that can all be used for 17 different cosmetic uses and counting. Everything Shadow has been featured on the Geeky Hostess, Fashionably Geek, and by popular youtube stars. Espionage also continues to draw clientele from high-profile Nerd Celebrities, including Bonnie Burton, Felicia Day, Chloe Dykstra from Heroes of Cosplay on Sci-Fi
network, and Ashly Burch (the voice of Tiny Tina on Borderlands 2).
Last words? Kickstarter pre-orders will be delivered in December 2013.
Planning on hitting up Stan Lee’s Comikaze this year? You should be. This year looks like it’s going to be spectacular. Just the comic, scifi, gaming, fantasy, anime, and horror expo you’d expect to see from Stan Lee. Take a look into what’s in store for this year:
I love that Dot Com will be there. I hope he gets plenty of “No one can hear you, Dot Com!” jokes.
All in all, it looks like a fantastic lineup, and tickets are now on sale. Beyond that, we have some insider info that they’re having a 72-hour sale on tickets right now. So if you’re planning on going, now’s the time to check out your options – weekend passes, in particular, are a great deal today.
This is absolutely glorious.
Have any Whovian trolling ideas of your own?
These clever little capsules from Greg Guillemin will certainly keep us geek-folk amused for probably a little too long:
And while I’d probably make flash cards out of them, they seem to be available in some finely printed forms.
Oh Hai Internets! I have been spending a lot of time in my own head as of late (what with my jaw trying to kill me. Long story) and I finally feel well enough to dropkick the moon!
During the time that I have been immersed in a spiral of hate, I have backed away from websites so as to not angrily type something. Instead, I focused all of my energy on something that I love beyond measure – MUSIC!
To give this the nerdy twist it deserves, I have been infatuated as of late with two new types of rap that are quickly growing near and dear to my heart. No, it’s not Jonathan Coulton’s cover of “Baby Got Back”, even though that cuddles me with the gentle caress of a Peter Gabriel song (shut up). What I’m referring to are the completely different but totally palatable nerd rap forms of nerdcore and chap-hop.
But Ali, what are these two that you speak of?
First, I will start with Nerdcore. On the Netflix, I took a gander at the documentary “Nerdcore Rising” and found that it’s… well… nerdy rap. I wish I could describe it more definitively, but if you have read anything by me you know that I type faster than I think (and you get a bunch of internal dialogue in the process). These artists rhyme about anything from politics to science fiction and the name seems to have been coined by self described Nerdcore Musician MC Frontalot in the 2000 song “Nerdcore Hiphop”.
Here’s one of my favorites from MC Frontalot
From what I can tell the majority of this genre is self-published online and it is so full of DIY possibilities I bet Jackie’s brain is exploding somewhere. In fact, I want Jackie to do a nerdcore rap under the guise MC Cephalopod.
There isn’t a specific sound to this genre of hip hop, but a common theme is sampling from the most random places imaginable. Classical Music, movies, video games, and if it hasn’t been done yet, I would imagine samples from beakers and test tubes filled with various elements.
If you have any interest in checking out some artists, please have a listen to MCFrontalot, Optimus Rhyme (raddest name EVER!), MC Plus+, and Monzy. Or, if you need a gateway into this subgenre, listen to Weird Al Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” parody as it steeps your ear canal in a three minute nerdgasm.
Chap-Hop: The Gentleman’s Rap.
Chap-Hop is infinitely harder to explain as there is no dedicated wiki page to it and that is just rotten.
I do not know the origin of Chap-Hop, only how I was introduced to it. I had just finished podcasting with a bunch of friends and we were playing the “Have you seen it?” game with the YouTubes. This game is basically showing people something that you like that they have never seen. Enter Professor Elemental’s “Fighting Trousers”.
I cannot stop listening to his CD “The Indifference Engine”. As you listen through the tracks, you find that there are traditional rap themes tackled in each song. There is the dis song, the song about the ladies, the song about imbibing copious amounts of mind altering substances, the song about money, the song about living conditions.
I could probably sum this up by saying that Professor Elemental is a Steampunk inspired character that burst forth from the mind of rapper Paul Alborough. I would love to talk to this man, but I’m afeared that I might daze out as I’m a sucker for the English accent.
He is currently in a feud with another Chap-Hop artist named Mr. B. As this is a very obscure art form, I have no other recommendations for you. I do, however, want him to come to the US for a lengthier tour than the three day stint at the Steampunk World’s Fair this May. I know this isn’t a platform to beg for money, but if someone wants to get me a ticket and hotel room I will go to the Steampunk World’s Fair and do video recaps. It’s a sacrifice I would be willing to make.
Have you nerdy babes heard about the local versions of the TED talks that take place in universities everywhere? Well I recently had the opportunity to apply to speak at TEDxDU (University of Denver), one of the schools where I teach. I didn’t make the roster this year, but I thought you might get an intellectual kick out of seeing my proposal–this is what I would have talked about had I been chosen. Let me know what you think of these ideas. 🙂 ~Prof. Jenn
The following is an email interview I conducted with a nerd rock band “Ghost This“. The band had a lot of amusing and interesting things to say, which made the interview a lot of fun to work on. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. When you finish, be sure to check them out on Facebook or Twitter and get more acquainted with their music. And now, I present to you: Ghost This.
1) How did you all meet?
Alex, Claude, and Sam grew up together in small suburban village quite similar to those found in the beginning of many Japanese RPGs. They spent their days frolicking in the sunflower fields, watching Toonami and judging their peers. After their high school graduation the three decided to do what every group of high school friends do when they are on a long standing television show: go to the same college. It was there that the three encountered a wild Jeremy, a fearsome yet majestic creature. After observing it in its native habitat, they promptly subdued and captured it. Having tamed the mighty beast, the trio trained Jeremy to be a fantastic drummer, but neglected to teach him some skills which some would deem necessary in a civilized world (such as language and bowel control.) From there they become a mighty foursome – bound by music and contractual obligations, [ghost this] was created; and God, for the first time in all of eternity, felt the emotion known as fear.
The lamer, yet more truthful version:
Alex, Claude and Sam grew up together in Mt. Kisco, NY then went to college together at SUNY Binghamton. There we met Alex’s roommate Jeremy, who we found out could play the drums. From there [ghost this] was officially started and has since progressed to where we are now.
2) What made you want to specifically focus on nerd music?
Its not so much that we chose to focus on nerd music as we chose to write about what we know and like. We all love Batman, so songs about him come easy. As for songs like Twilight Sucks, Green lantern is better, the Twilight portion took… research. A huge portion of why me make music is because its fun, so we write about things that we think are fun.
3)What things did you nerd out over growing up? And what do you nerd over today?
Today we all nerd out over music, movies, Adult Swim, Batman, stuff like that.
As for specifics:
Alex: growing up – Batman, music, Ninja Turtles, Darkwing Duck, Biology, Orchestra
today – social media, the music industry, and how they relate
Claude: growing up – Power Rangers, Goosebumps, Animorphs
today – Comics in general but specifically Green Lantern (and its greatness relative to Twilight), One Piece
Jeremy: growing up – Band geek, Pokemon, video games, Power Rangers, gaming magazines
today – Sports, being in a band
Sam: growing up – LEGO, Star Wars (I wanted to be a Jedi when I grew up), science (just in general), ReBoot and eventually computers.
today – Minecraft, technology in general, Firefly
4) I noticed that some of your songs are stylistically very different from each other (ex: Cape & Cowl is much rougher than Chemical Dreams). Do different members write different song styles, or do you all contribute and that creates the wide range?
Some of the differences come from how we recorded the songs. Our first attempts at recording came before we picked up any actual recording equipment. Cape & Cowl was originally recorded with the built-in microphone in one of our computers while it was sitting on top of a washing machine. As for the overall song styles, we just sort of write whatever kind of music we’re feeling at the moment. Since we didn’t go into this saying, “this is how we’re going to sound,” we have plenty of options for exploring different sounds and styles of music. We’ll write music ranging from rap to rock and from blues to metal.
5) What are your plans for the immediate future? And where do you see the band heading down the road?
Right now we’re working on writing new music, recording said music, and trying to get people to listen to it. Now that we’ve made progress on more new material, we’re going to start playing more shows, which should be a lot of fun. We’ll take the band as far as it’ll go. As long as we can keep coming up with new music and people seem to like it, we’ll keep it going.
6) Do you see nerd music becoming more mainstream someday? Is that something that you would even want?
Nerd music lyrically appeals to a certain audience, and while the nerd population seems to be growing at an astounding rate, the direction in which mainstream music is heading doesn’t seem to point towards nerd music. But who knows? As Alex once sad “When 80s music got too poppy, grunge came along as a reaction. When music got too trippy and complex, punk music came along to bring it back to basics.” So could nerd music be the gross afterbirth of today’s club-centric music? We can certainly hope so. As for us wanting it becoming mainstream, if it means we end up making enough money to do this full time without starving to death, then maybe nerd music becoming mainstream wouldn’t be so bad.
We’re really just in this to have fun and make good music for people to enjoy. We’re also having a blast on twitter; interacting with fans and getting real feedback from fellow nerds with excellent ears for music. We love that music fans aren’t passive observers anymore in the music experience – they’re a part of the experience, even a part of the creative process. We try to respond to every fan who talks to us, and look forward to interacting with more of the awesome people who like our music.
The holidays have passed us by and now our thoughts turn to “whoa, that’s a lot of bills I have to pay!” Being a nerd doesn’t make it any easier because we constantly have more and more things that we don’t just want, but need. Top among that list is books and our push to read often sends our costs up. However, there are many free avenues that we can explore to get our reading fix!
Library: This should be at the top of everyone’s list, but many times it is not. I’ve heard from many fellow nerds who rush out to buy the latest book just to read it once and then cast it aside. Instead, head out to your local library where you can read both the latest best-sellers and long-forgotten classics for free. It’s the power of your library card. And with the integration of most library systems today, anything that your local library does not have can be ordered from surrounding libraries, so you’ll never miss out.
E-Books: If you simply do a search for “free e-books” on the web you’ll turn up many sites that provide books for free, from classics to modern fiction. Project Gutenberg was the first to embark on the free e-book trend and many have followed, including Google, Amazon, and Many Books. Whether you have an e-reader or not, there are free e-books out there waiting for you. Visit to Books First blog you will get the all type books information.
Book Swaps: This is the avenue I tend to turn to most often because of my success rate in acquiring books. If you are one of those individuals who has a pile of books taking up space, book swaps are a great way to not only get rid of them, but turn them into new reads. The two I frequent the most are BookMooch and PaperbackSwap. From these two sites I’ve managed to get the latest books, as well as many books from my wishlist that have been out of print for a while. We can all benefit from the exchange of literature. [Additionally, the PaperbackSwap site is partnered with SwapaCD and SwapaDVD, so you can apply the same principle to CDs and DVDs.]
There are definitely more areas to explore for free books and I encourage you to seek them out. Some publishers send out review copies in exchange for a review written on their site or your blog. Other avenues include free audiobooks so that you can listen on the go. And the list goes on. So, the next time you’re wondering if you have to sacrifice your reading habit for the holiday bills, remember that being a thrifty book nerd is never a bad thing.
According to “Brainy History”, they share this day with:
1992 Miley Ray Cyrus, pop-rock singer, actress, 100 Most Influential People in the World list, Time magazine, 2008, star of Disney’s ‘Hannah Montana’, debut album, ‘Meet Miley Cyrus’ had first top ten single, ‘See You Again’
1970 Oded Fehr, born in Tel Aviv, Israel, actor, television, appeared in NBC series, UC: Undercover, films include, ‘The Mummy’, ‘The Mummy Returns’
1948 Bruce Vilanch, born in New York City, New York, comedy writer, appeared regularly with Whoopi Goldberg on Hollywood Squares, appeared in Bosom Buddies, Law & Order, wrote for show Billy Crystal, Academy Awards host
1888 Harpo Marx, Adolph, New York City, actor/comedian, Marx brothers
1887 Boris Karloff, William H Pratt, Dulwich England, actor, Frankenstein
1887 Paul Malengreau, composer
1859 Billy the Kid, William H Bonney, New York City, criminal
Plus a lot more… You can find that info on their site.*
I know all the Nerds in Babeland wish you two the very best of birthdays! May today be filled with everything you want and nothing you don’t! I got a bit verbose in wishing them the best so I did two posts explaining how I was introduced to these two spectaculous** people and why you should be as enamored with them!
For Molly: Today is Molly’s 21st birthday. I am probably not the only person letting out a sigh and muttering “FINALLY!” Molly is an extremely talented musician who had some pretty rough experiences this year when asked to join in on the w00tstock fun (among other appearances). Even though she was a performer, she was not able to chill inside the venue when w00tstock held hands with SDCC the weekend of July 23-25, 2010. So, being the adventurous (and most likely bored) girl that she is… NINJA GIG outside! She took requests and hung out with people until she was able to go in to perform, then I believe she returned and chilled some more. I didn’t get to go. I was stuck on the East Coast. If anyone has vid of the NINJA GIG I would love to see it! (I keep going at this point. Too much for this double birthday post.)
For Chris: Besides his time as “Hard” (of Hard’N’Phirm), Chris also has his hands in many other pots. So many, I’m thinking he’s part octopus. An octopus with pots of something. Chris writes for Wired, hops into reviews for G4′s AOTS most recently sporting an admirable lipwarmer (That’s a mustache, ya’ll), hosts Web Soup on the G4, rocks the stand-up stage, tweets like a maniac, live-actions (Yep. I just made that a verb.) in some stuff and lets Rob Zombie kill him, does a lot of voiceworks, hosts his own podcast, blogs for his own website, and co-birthed a nerdsourcing website that he provides bandwidth for. (Once again.. I keep going.)
* By the way Jules… I’m so happy you introduced us to this Curate thing. It’s wicked friggin shiny. I’m going to abuse the heck out of it.
** I use made up words. But… If you watch BSG, you should be used to that already.