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2013 Nerd Year’s Resolutions

Holy crap, this blog is a ghost town. I’m not gonna ride in with promises like every other time I’ve restarted this venture. But I’m gonna post an entry today. And see how it goes from there. How does that sound?

HERE WE GO FOLKS:

1. Enter the Rose City Comic Con Costume Contest with a Mass Effect related costume. 

This should be pretty obvs but I really want to build N7 armor this year and yeah…this needs to happen. Hopefully a second job will mean reasonable income and I CAN DO THIS.

2. Join the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club. 

BECAUSE IT’S CALLED VAGINAL FANTASY BOOK CLUB. And I watched one of their video-chat-meetups and they are hilarious ladies whom I aspire to be. Which is sad because they’re my age (or younger) and they’re rich and famous and smart and motivated. I am sad and humbled. So I’m joining their book club to be more awesome like them.

3. Read at least three comic book titles a month. 

I’m not usually into odd numbers but three is better than one and more reasonable than five. My problem with comics has always been TOO MUCH. I get amped up and overwhelm myself with titles and then I can’t afford them or can’t afford the time.

4. Play a new video game series. 

I’m in love with several franchises, but I need to expand my horizon a bit. I’d like to find at least one new game that really moves or inspires me this year and add it to the collection. I’m sure muh spouse and my good friend will help in achieving this goal.

5. Make another tattoo appointment. 

It’s time. My poor Phoenix has been patiently awaiting new ink for the entirety of the 2012 year and received nothing in return. In fact, I think 2011-2012 were pretty barren years for her in general. I’d like to change that. At some point this year – I would like to get back in the hot seat and finish up my ink.

6. Purchase and start having artists create pieces for a sketch book. 

It would be cool to have my own personal book, one for Dan, and then another that we both share. I was thinking Phoenix, at first, because of the tattoo but now I’m really drawn to drawerings of Thor. Mass Effect is probably a bit too obscure for most artists. Dan would probably choose Hellboy. MAN, I really want to do this now. ECCC is coming up in March and kicks off the convention season in the Pacific Northwest. We’d need to get on the ball with this one.

7. Take the comic writing class from Brian Michael Bendis.

Finally. Put my mouth and money where my heart is. Or my heart where my mouth is. Either way, it’s gonna cost money.

8. Join up with a writing group/workshop. 

This sounds much less nerdy than the others, but is blog and comic book and author related, so I’ll let it remain. It would be nice to have a group of people I don’t know helping me improve my writing. YES PLEASE.

Done. Even if more are floating around in my brain…eight is enough. This entry is enough. I hope to be around a lot more this year. I hope to be better at life this year. 2012 was kind of weird and shitty.

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Emerald City Comic Con 2012: The Costumes

My apologies for the Mindy overload here, had to jump in a few pictures with these awesome folks.

Slideshow of the great costumes at Emerald City Comic Con 2012:

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Emerald City Comic Con 2012: Top 5 Highlights

Emerald City Comic Con poster

We booked our hotel and registered our tickets for Emerald City Comic Con 2012 months ago. I was especially excited about the prospect of meeting Katee Sackhoff AND Edward James Olmos, so I didn’t spend much time prior to the convention planning or even reviewing the comic book guests. Decided to use this as my pop culture/media frenzy event for the year. A few weeks ago when Sackhoff cancelled her appearance due to acting engagements, I was more than a little bummed. Still excited to meet Edward James Olmos, but was *this* close to having both those items crossed off my nerd bucket list.

With considerably less enthusiasm, I downloaded the Guidebook App and went through their schedule of events, plotting out a handful of interesting looking panels. I think we averaged about one panel a day, but again – they were mostly for media guests so you won’t find any breaking news items here.

Top 5 Highlights from Emerald City Comic Con 2012:

5. Ready Player One Panel. For me was the most interesting panel we attended because the author of the book series, Ernest Cline, not only discussed his enduring love for Star Wars but the Hollywood process behind the making of his original screenplay Fanboys and the years long journey to publish “Ready Player One” which has now been optioned for the big screen. We didn’t stay for the Q&A session, but he delivered an inspiring few sentences on the writing process which have given me a long, hard look at my novel.

Ernest Cline, Author of Ready Player One

Ernest Cline, Author of Ready Player One

4. Meeting Wil Wheaton and Witnessing his Awesome Hour. In which he plugged his table-top gaming series on Felicia Day‘s recently released Geek and Sundry YouTube Channel. I’m certain Dan and I will check it out. He also wrote a book Memories From The Future, Volume 1 about his experience with the first season of Star Trek The Next Generation we will hunt down as well. He was very gracious when we snapped pictures and was super complimentary about my tattoo.

Mindy, Wil Wheaton, and Dan

Mindy, Wil Wheaton, and Dan

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Thursdays with Mindy: Meeting Celebrities

Out of all my personal pitfalls and life embarrassments – meeting celebrities tops the charts. This happened way early in my convention days, my first convention point of fact when one of the artists of the X-Men books was signing and we were standing in line to meet him. 

Meeting Felicia Day

Notice the dazed, slightly confused but elated look on my face. I've been touched by Captain Hammer, Codex, and Helo in my lifetime. *swoon*

I was superbly horrified that I had nothing to say to him aside from the usual “I really like your art.” It didn’t help that at the time I thought his art was crap – some of my least favorite since I’d started reading the series. My brother and best friend were there to also get their books signed and were totally ecstatic and completely cool about it. I felt like I was sweating buckets and dying little small deaths as we were inching closer and closer to him.

And then – I totally bolted from the line. I refused to hand him my book. My mother, being the kind soul she was, stuck it out. I still have that book and I still wince every time I look at it. Not just cause the art is crap (it is) but also because it’s been the standard, basic formula for meeting famous people from then on out.

My mind goes blank, my hands sweat profusely, a high, giddy octave emerges from my vocal chords.

This isn’t always the case. During my brush with Bruce Campbell I was completely zoned out and he was the one to initiate conversation. He even made some comment to the point of, “you don’t even care who I am do you?” To which I quickly assured him I did – but was here to support my husband who was the bigger fan. Sorry people, I just never caught Evil Dead fever. So yes, I can be cool and casual when it comes to people I am not over-the-moon for.

But when I meet people whom I admire, especially writers and actors, my ability to communicate properly shuts down. It’s frustrating. My latest travesty was with Charlaine Harris, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Yeah. I vaguely remember muttering some comment which sounded in my mind like “thanks for writing a strong female character” but what I said made her give me the side eye and then I was rushed away, clutching at my hard bound book with a death grip, pulse racing.

At age 29, I should be able to not dork up my shining moments with the actor and actress who played two of my favorite characters of all time, Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) and Kara Starbuck Thrace (Katee Sackhoff). But I just know I will. It will be a travesty. Or will it?

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San Diego Comic Con 2012: A Nerd’s Perspective

I’ve only been to San Diego Comic Con once. In 2010. At the time I remember how insane it seemed to purchase tickets in September 2009 for an event taking place in July 2010. But it was an exciting life goal to cross off my list. My spouse and two closest friends were in attendance. We booked hotel rooms together and spent the weeks before planning out itineraries and scouting out the convention center. Or maybe just I did. Yeah, I think it was just me.

San Diego Comic Con LogoIt’s a great experience. Not only is there a chance of spotting or chatting with your favorite writer, artist or celebrity, but you end up meeting all kinds of cool people in epic hours-long lines with the same kinds of passions and enthusiasms as you. Magic happens when people with like interests meet. I’m still Facebook friends with a couple we met in line for The Avengers panel, wherein we hugged random strangers afterwards because there was so much joy and love in the room.

Once in a lifetime was enough for me. Especially since topping The Avengers panel is pretty much impossible.

There was a moment in 2010 when we were standing in line to register and looking at the booth set-up for purchasing 2011 tickets. I almost dashed over and bought a ticket a year in advance. I thought better of it.

I don’t regret the decision. As much as I loved my San Diego Comic Con experience, there were parts of it that never jived well for me. The near-crushing at the WB booth, standing in line for hours to get some crappy trinket I wouldn’t buy with my own money (SWAG!), and the cattle like approach to meeting people you’d admire where the seconds-long interaction is a blur.

ALSO: The relentless product whoring and Hollywood inundation was stifling and frustrating. Everywhere you turned some movie or television show was jammed in your face. You essentially pay money and wait in long lines to be advertised to, all for the promise of exclusive content with leaks to the internet within days or hours anyway. You pay for the privilege of being a test market audience, radiating the promise of future box office profits to pleased investors. There is a seedy element to the manufactured fun at SDCC I never enjoyed.

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Five Favorite Nerd Moments of 2011

It’s the last week of 2011, and therefore a time to look back at the year and make lists. And who doesn’t love a Top 5 Countdown? This particular list is going to focus on those amazing nerdy moments which transpired in my 2011 world.

NERD MOMENT #5: 

Game of Thrones

Although technically my introduction to this series took place in 2010 at around 6am in a Portland airport, I didn’t really fall in love until the television series came out. And then again when my spouse got hooked into it. And then again when I discovered the bromance of sorts between Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister. And while I’m currently stuck at the mid-point in Book 3, I know I’ll get through all the rest of the material probably before the next book comes out.

Yes – the series is problematic in terms of race and gender. The violence against women in the book and the ridiculous sexploits on the show are a bit off-putting. But I’m hopelessly in love with A Song of Ice and Fire. Hopeless.

Read Game of Thrones related content here. And here.

Game of Thrones Costumes

NERD MOMENT #4: 

Captain America

The movie and the costume it took me a year to put together. I was very skeptical about the film and remember having arguments with several people because of all the CGI and how much it tried to cram into two hours (don’t they all?) but by the time I finished the costume and re-watched the film, I was pretty much in love. It’s sappy and romantic and hits just the right tone.

Read Captain America related content here. And here.

Captain America Costume

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Wonder Northwest 2011: Recap

Sad to say – even with no expectations, Wonder Northwest did not live up to them. The DH and I each bought a weekend pass but only ended up attending Day One. It was advertised as a Comics and Pop Culture expo, but was severely lacking in the comics department.

Zombie fun at Wonder Northwest

The show floor was anemic compared to either Stumptown or the Portland Comic Book Show. The only publisher there was Dark Horse Comics. TFAW and Cosmic Monkey were representing with some books and a few artists/creators were sprinkled about…but mostly it was Toys and Collectibles. Those are the elements I usually steer clear of at cons. Did pick up two hardcover collections of The Stand and The Dark Tower series however. Digging on the Stephen King adaptations.

I did appreciate the live DJ (lots of great soul songs) but the volume made it difficult to chat so I’m kinda glad there weren’t artists or writers I wanted to see. We wouldn’t have been able to talk anyway. The booths in the registration area were cool – lots of great Portland organizations like PDXYar, The Alter Egos Society and PDX Browncoats representing.

All of the panel offerings were enticing, if not heavily attended. We were bummed to miss the Boilerplate, Zombie Epidemiology and Geeking Back to the Community panels due a series of unfortunate events (late arrival, leaving to put on zombie makeup, forgetting ID and having to drive home and back). I’m sure the costume contest on Sunday was awesome too, but we opted for dinner with my fam instead.

I guess what really threw me was the average age of the attendee. At least 50% of those in attendance were teens or early 20s. Loads of anime kids in costumes. It just made me feel so incredibly old! Didn’t really start enjoying myself until we hit up the hotel bar for a Zombie (the alcoholic beverage) and watched some nerdy Rock Band. Sadly cut short for zombie evening exploits.

The Zombie Walk itself was lackluster compared to previous outings and getting all dressed up didn’t seem worth it by the time we got to the Bossanova Ballroom for the Zombie Prom. We arrived 30 minutes early to stand outside in the evening drizzle. Eventually many of the other folks split off and filtered on over to the Lovecraft for the official after party.

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Wonder Northwest 2011: Preview

Blocked out the weekend to attend the Wonder Northwest Portland Comics and Pop Culture Expo. This will be the first time, so I’m not really sure what to expect. Judging from their website however, there is lots to do – panels from 11-6pm, the exhibit hall from 10am-5pm and a Gaming Room from 10am-6pm.  Also features Rock Band, a costume contest and Cosplay karaoke. And the after parties seem pretty kick-ass as well. 

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SATURDAY
Portland Geek Council of Commerce and Culture — 11am – 11:45
Did you know that there’s an organization here in Portland that plans all the nerdy events you all love to attend so much? Well, there is, and here they are! Think of them as the Justice League, but without awesome super powers! The geek Mafia without all that messy mafia stuff! A real life organization that represents you! Come find out what they are doing and what you can do to help.

Boilerplate: Behind the Scenes — 12noon – 12:45
Meet the real Boilerplate! Creator Paul Guinan and his co-author/wife, Anina Bennett, will reveal the origin of everyone’s favorite steampunk robot, discuss plans for a Boilerplate movie produced by J.J. Abrams, perform excerpts from Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel, and give you a sneak peek at their next book. Featuring an extremely rare appearance by Paul’s handmade Boilerplate model.

Gays In Comics: Portland Edition! –1pm – 1:45
Industry insider Andy Mangels will host a panel of comics professionals and their experiences in the industry.

Star Wars Filming Locations — 2pm – 2:45
Gus Lopez will present an overview of the Star Wars filming locations used for both Original and Prequel Trilogies. From the deserts of Tunisia to the glaciers of Norway, from the redwoods of California to palaces in Italy, Gus has been hunting Star Wars locations for 15 years. In this panel, he will show photos of the actual locations used to shoot these films, how the sites have changed over time, and some of the cool “souvenirs” he found on location. Learn about traveling on your own to a galaxy far, far away…

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Nerdy Ladies and Geek Credibility

There’s been a lot of speculation on teh internets in the last week on what it means to be a Geek Girl and whether or not it’s appropriate or needed to reference your gender when describing yourself thusly. There’s also been talk about whether or not “attractive womenz” can be geeks without being seen as pandering to a target demographic. Also some rumblings about geek cred in general. What is geek? Who is geeky? DEFINE PLEASE.

Dire questions for the ages. Like trying to define cool or hip or…it’s a labyrinthine process that only ends in tears. Since that way = madness, I will not even attempt.

So should ladies have to describe themselves as “Geek Girls” rather than just geeks?

At first I was like: Hell No!

But now I’m like: Why not?

This is how Geek Girls fight on the internet!

What does it say about a person if they are uncomfortable with peeps referencing their own gender? It goes back to this whole thang that pops up every now and then when it comes to blogs written by women: I want your perspective, but not as a woman, as a person.

Inevitably (not hatin’, just sayin’) it’s a guy because being a white male entitles you to not ever think about being a white male. The entire existence of the world is crafted around submerging you into a comfortable bubble which echoes back everything you love and hold dear as being “normal and cool” while everything else is foreign, bewildering, and frustrating. You simply tolerate it because when you express this frustration/bewilderment, the other beings around you with less comfortable bubble lives get fucking pissed.

The truth of the matter is: Experiencing popular culture/nerd and geek culture is different for everyone (I’m throwing my weight behind this being true for a lot of men/women specifically). Not because we say so, just cause IT IS WHAT IT IS. And there is value in naming your experience. Am I right? I think I’m right…

At times my experience as a woman seems irrelevant, but at times it seems very relevant. As is any bias or lens with which you view the world. Owning up to it and being honest about it is totally cool.

What’s all the fuss about then? Apparently if you are pleasantly shaped and easy on the eyes – you have to work harder to be seen as legit. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU SERIOUS? This is especially true for Geekdom, in which the entrance is closely guarded by cave trolls and a bull with a nose-ring that wants you to memorize, recite and argue geek trivia as if he were your 8th grade history teacher.

Which is fucking stupid. I should not have to pass a fucking quiz to be a geek. I geek, therefore I am. Simple as that.

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Stumptown Comics Fest 2011: Day Two

Got to the Fest late (AGAIN). Handed off the Peter From Boston mix CDs to Mike and Natalie Nourigat. In the process nabbed the prints we’d looked at the previous day – it was an extremely grueling task to pick between the two excellent selections she had available for Olivia Dunham. Bad Ass Olivia or Quiet, Contemplative Olivia.

We chose Bad-Ass Olivia:

Bad Ass Olivia - look at that flaring coat!

Also picked up another print for a friend. But it’s a surprise.

We had some time before the only panel of the day we ended up attending, so we hit up Paige Braddock for the sequel to Martian Confederacy and a signature. I missed Jason McNamara this year – he was one of the Stumptown highlights in 2010. 😦 Ah well, maybe he will make it up to the Pacific Northwest in the near future.

Paige was awesome to chat with – it’s the first real person interaction I’ve had with her and hopefully both of them will be around at a convention soon so I can get all the books signed and all my questions answered! Looking forward to reading From Mars With Love:

The long anticipated sequel

Another happy surprise was picking up a book from Gia Bao (GB) Tran. His booth was one of the first one would spot when entering the Fest floor, but we’d passed it by several times. His brightly colored blue, red and yellow prints caught our eye so we moved in closer and discovered a fantastic book – Vietnamerica – which was literally bursting at the seams with glorious art. His website describes it as:  “The graphic memoir of my family’s survival and escape during the Vietnam War, and reinvention in its aftermath as refugees in the United States.”

Its been hailed as the "Maus" of Vietnam. Excited to read it, but taking some time to mentally prepare for an emotionally draining story.

GB Tran sketched in it, personalized the signature AND even did a cool embossing stamp thing to the bottom. PLUS we got a print as a special cover jacket. It’s a convention exclusive. So – all kinds of woot on this purchase!!

Lovely lovely sketch - Thank You!

Vietnamerica is another thick book (288 pages!) which I’m going to delve into over the next couple of weeks. Look forward to a future review!

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