Geek Girls Rule!!!

We're all just one annoying encounter from sociopathy here in Nerdville

Archive for April, 2009

Sad News

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 24, 2009

Particularly right on the heels of having to put our 16 year old kitty to sleep two weekends ago.

Wash, who many of you will know as the only male creature to ever cohost the podcast with me, passed away today.  The cancer meds were still working and the tumor had not grown.  We’re not sure what the cause was.

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Stargate’s New Franchise

Posted by Danielle Ni Dhighe on April 22, 2009

It’s about time.

Stargate Universe, the upcoming third installment in the long-running Stargate television franchise, will feature two gay or lesbian characters. The first to be revealed by creators Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright is the character Camille Wray, to be played by Ming-Na.

Wray’s partner Sharon will also appear in an episode, but it’s not clear if she’s the second character referred to or if Cooper and Wright intend for a regularly appearing character to be the second. We’ll see.

Cooper said, “This goes towards our goal to make the characters on Universe as complex and complicated and realistic and identifiable as we can, to as many people as we can…That’s the desire to portray humanity and make a show that is saying something about who we are.”

American genre shows, with a few notable exceptions, have been a wasteland for LGBT characters. This is a positive step. It’s not quite another Torchwood, a British show that’s defiantly and cheerfully bisexual, but it’s still a positive step.

Hopefully, the writing of the characters on Stargate Universe will live up to the promise of Cooper’s words. Time will tell. For now, though, I’m pleased by this news.

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Geek Girls Rule! #83.5 – On a Closer Look…

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 21, 2009

Looking at the cover for Marvel Divas, I suppose I should just be grateful they’re all wearing flats, even if at least one of them is posed as though wearing heels. 

Sigh.

Progress?

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Geek Girls Rule#83 – Why does Joe Quesada hate my blood pressure?

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 18, 2009

This article was brought to my attention by blogger Catwoman over at Hardcore Nerdity.  It’s a brief interview with Joe Quesada about the new Marvel title, “Marvel Divas” which Mr. Quesada is touting as a title for women.

Does this…

Yeah, this is target marketed to women.  Sure.

Yeah, this is target marketed to women. Sure.

look like it’s the cover for a title aimed at women?  Seriously?

The Geek Husband What Rules’s response on seeing it was, “Wow, pornalicious.”

Ahem…

Dear Mr. Quesada,
Marketing to women, UR DOIN IT RONG!!!!!!!
Please to be stopping.
Sincerely,
Every Female Comic Fan in the Universe

He describes it as “Sex and the City in the Marvel Universe.”

Personally, I think Mr. Quesada never got past Samantha’s tits to understand exactly why women actually liked the show.  I admit to an unhealthy fascination with the first two seasons on HBO, only partially because Chris (OMG, DREAMY) Noth played Carrie’s boyfriend, Mr. Big.  These were four women who were strong, independent, had jobs I would KILL for, and owned their sexuality.  They didn’t sleep with men to please men, they slept with men to please themselves.  Even Charlotte, the most timid and puritanical of the four, realized that owning her own sexuality and pleasure was neccessary to her mental health and happiness.

So I look at that image above and compare it to this shot from the intro titles to “Sex and the City,”sex-and-the-city-mainwhere the four women are engaged with each other, not posing pornaliciously, and I find Mr. Quesada’s vision sorely lacking, as well as his comprehension of what made women, even nerdy women like me, enjoy “Sex and the City.”  These women have agency and friendship.  They aren’t all posing sexily in their own little world, completely separate from one another.  Even in the promo shots for the movie that were more posed, they still look more powerful than those superheroines above.

After the “Sex and the City” comment, he adds:  “I also think the series is going to a deeper place, asking questions about what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns. (And I mean both the super hero industry and the comic book industry.)”  You’ll forgive me a sardonic laugh at this point, because he immediately follows it up with this gem:  “But mostly it’s just a lot of hot fun.”

I think I’m about to give myself a concussion from all the “headdesking” about to occur.

Seriously, Joe, hire some women and let them write.  It’s the only way you can come out of this without looking like a complete sexist pig.  Ok, it’s too late for that.  But seriously, women like comics, women like superhero comics, women WANT to like superhero comics, and women want to not cringe every time they buy an X-title and think “Wow, I feel dirty that any of my money is going to support someone who doesn’t think I’m a real person.”

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Review: CSI: Las Vegas, Episode 9.20, “A Space Oddity”

Posted by Danielle Ni Dhighe on April 18, 2009

The beloved science fiction show Astro Quest (a thinly disguised Star Trek: The Original Series) is being remade as a dark, violent show called Astro Quest Redux (a thinly veiled New Battlestar Galatica). At an Astro Quest convention, the producer of Astro Quest Redux is found murdered. Could he have been killed by an angry fan of the original show?

This funny episode is written by former New BGS staff writers David Weddle & Bradley Thompson and former Star Trek: The Next Generation and Farscape staff writer Naren Shankar, all of whom are now on the writing staff of this show, and directed by New BSG veteran Michael Nankin. It’s an affectionate satire of science fiction shows and fans wrapped up in a murder mystery. It’s also more of a CSI Lite episode in that it focuses on two of the lab techs rather than the CSIs, allowing cast members Wallace Langham (Hodges) and Liz Vassey (Wendy) a chance to shine.

New BSG creator Ron Moore has a cameo, and he’s given the honor of playing a fan of Astro Quest who upon seeing a promo for the dark remake Astro Quest Redux stands up and shouts at the producer, “you suck!” That’s such an awesome and funny moment, considering how many fans of the original BSG are vocal in their dislike of his remake. New BSG actresses Grace Park and Rekha Sharma have non-speaking cameos, and Kate Vernon has an important speaking role.

This episode is completely made of win, especially if you’re a fan of what it’s satirizing.

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Posted by Danielle Ni Dhighe on April 13, 2009

“Planet of the Dead,” the one hour Doctor Who Easter special, aired on Saturday. Then there are only three specials left until star David Tennant and showrunner Russell T Davies both take their leave of the show, making way for new star Matt Smith and new showrunner Steven Moffat to take over for the 2010 season.

The original plan was to air the next special (“The Waters of Mars”) at Christmas and the final two early in 2010, but now it looks like “The Waters of Mars” will air in November and the final two at Christmas instead.

“The Water of Mars” may feature the return of the Ice Warriors, who were first introduced in the 1967 Second Doctor serial, “The Ice Warriors,” and last seen in the 1974 Third Doctor serial, “The Monster of Peladon.” Their return in a special was rumored in the tabloids, and it fits with the Ice Warriors being from Mars and being some of Davies’ favorite monsters he hasn’t yet brought back.

As for the final special, which will end with a regeneration (not a spoiler in this case), Tennant said in a recent interview that he cried when he read his final scene, and Davies said there shouldn’t be a dry eye at the end.

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Review: Doctor Who, Episode 4.15, “Planet of the Dead”

Posted by Danielle Ni Dhighe on April 13, 2009

The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and professional thief Lady Christina de Souza (Michelle Ryan) are both passengers on a London double decker bus that gets re-routed to a barren alien world. Can they work together to get the bus and its other passengers safely back to Earth? Meanwhile, back on Earth, UNIT is called in to deal with the sudden disappearance of the bus.

As written by outgoing showrunner Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts (“The Shakespeare Code”, “The Unicorn and the Wasp”), this one hour Easter special is a lighthearted romp with action, comedy, and even some romantic sparks. Director James Strong, a Doctor Who and Torchwood veteran, brings all the elements together into a shiny package of fun. I greatly enjoyed watching it.

Some hints emerge toward the end that darker days are coming for the Doctor. Davies has stated that Tennant’s final three specials, set to air in November and December, will grow increasingly darker, leading to the death of the Tenth Doctor and his regeneration into the Eleventh.

Despite six months away acting on stage, Tennant effortlessly steps back into his most famous role. Ryan, most recently the star of the Bionic Woman remake and the sorceress Nimueh on Merlin, is perfect as a sophisticated and charming adrenaline junkie in the manner of Lara Croft. Lady Christina would make a great ongoing companion. Also good are Noma Dumezweni as UNIT Captain Erisa Magambo, Lee Evans as current UNIT scientific advisor Professor Malcolm Taylor (humorously played as the ultimate fanboy), and Adam James as a police officer pursuing Lady Christina.

Other notes: this episode was filmed on location in Dubai; the bus was damaged in transport to Dubai, but only minor script changes were needed to account for that; it’s the first episode of Doctor Who to be shot on high definition video; by some counting methods it’s the 200th complete story (spread out over 753 individual episodes since 1963); I loved the references to Quatermass and the 1974-75 Fourth Doctor serial, “Robot.”

Next up, “The Waters of Mars” in November.

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Geek Girls Rule! #82 – R.I.P. Dave Arneson 1947-2009

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 10, 2009

Mr. Dave Arneson created Dungeons and Dragons with Gary Gygax, yet many geeks do not know his name.  Mr. Gygax was by far the more, ahem, vocal of the two.  Yet, according to sources, the whole idea of playing a single character instead of, say, an army or unit, was Mr. Arneson’s.  I am sad to say that I really don’t know a whole lot about Mr. Arneson, mostly just that, unlike Mr. Gygax, he hasn’t been credited with saying anything egregiously sexist. 

However, I do thank Mr. Arneson for his contribution to creating my favorite hobby.  Thank you, Sir.  You will be missed. 

For those of you in the Pacific Northwest, I am doing an absurd amount of panelling at NorWesCon this weekend in SeaTac.  I’m primarily on the Goth and Alternate Lifestyles panelling, so if you’ve ever wanted to hear me say “Dildo” in person, track me down.  I will also be doing a panel on getting tween girls interested in gaming.  Hopefully I’ll have a chance to run into a few of you as I race between panels.

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Geek Girls Rule! #81 – Why is it hard to be a girl gamer?

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 7, 2009

Edit:  It has come to my attention that due to my life being made of pure stress, that I may have been too hard on Mr. Ryan.  I, however, think that if the article is indeed tongue in cheek, he needs to take it further instead of just sounding like the assholes that I keep deleting from this blog. 

Assholes like Paul Ryan, Associate Editor for Cheatplanet.   That’s why. 

I’m gonna regret this.  http://www.gamesradar.com/f/why-its-hard-being-a-girl-gamer-explained-by-a-dude-/a-20090403103444111050  If you really want your head to explode, you just go ahead and click.  I’m sitting here waiting for the throbbing vein over my left eye to calm down before I tackle his points. 

Breathing.  In…  Out… In…  Out…

Ok, I think I’m ready. 

Point one:  Videogame girls are hot and girl gamers are not.  Do we really have to discuss this AGAIN? Seriously, I… Sorry, got to go visit my happy place.  You know, the world full of articulate, confident male videogamers who don’t get all butthurt if you kick their ass at Soulcaliber or Halo. 

Point two:  I don’t even GET his thing about the controller.  Apparently women are built differently on planet Paul Ryan… Oh, wait, they ARE.  They’re all built like videogame girls. Right.  As a girl who plays and has played all three incarnations of the Playstation, both incarnations of Xbox, the Wii, the DS (yes, it’s pink), and a plethora of game systems older than this junior troglodyte, I can safely say that I have never had any difficulties reaching the Y button, or any other button for that matter. 

Point three:  He actually sort of has a point here, and that’s dealing with the stupid bullshit women have to put up with on network gaming or Xbox live or any net gaming.  However, dating you guys is probably the last thing on our minds if you act like this.  Next.

Point four:  And let’s hear it for his second actual point that doesn’t make me want to stab him repeatedly in the ear.  Most games marketed at girls and women blow goats.  Completely and utterly.  Babysitting, pet grooming, shopping?  Ugh, thanks no.  I don’t like doing those things in real life, why on earth would I pay money to do them digitally. 

Point five:  And he’s lost me again.  Ok, no gamer girl worth her salt is going to date anyone who can’t hold their own against her in Halo, Soulcaliber, or anything else.  If he’s going to get his pretty pink princess panties in a wad because you fragged him, what else is he going to make your life hell over?  Dump his ass.   Better yet, don’t date him in the first place.  I know several awesome guys who would worship the ground you walked on if you repeatedly fragged them in Halo. 

Point six:  Crying?  Women are going to cry because they can’t balance on the Wii Fit?  Really?  You think this is…
Breathing.  In… Out…  In… Out…
I can’t really…  I’m trying to restrain the profanity.  I think I may be in danger of rupturing something.   Next.

Point seven:  Game shopping.  Again, he has a point.  It’s annoying as fuck when game store guys either rush over because they assume I don’t know what I’m doing in their store, or when they completely ignore me because I’m in there with the Geek Husband What Rules.  Which is funny, because I do the most varied gaming.  He’s pretty happy with his shooting Nazis games.  I’m the one looking for interesting new stuff.  And now that I have new glasses, I might be able to play first person shooters without getting nauseated again. 

Point eight:  Half a point.  Yes, we hate the “armor” they give female videogame characters.  I’ve covered this before.  But it certainly isn’t because we find the armor male characters get to wear “intimidating.”  I mean, seriously, the games still act like two postage stamps and some dental floss give you the same protection as full plate, so it’s not like the guys’ armor does any more.  So, yes, half right, half completely stupid.

Point nine:  The Pink DS.  I have a pink DS.  Not only do I have a pink DS on which I play my current games, and am desperately looking forward to playing Blood Bowl on, but the Mister frequently plays with my pink DS IN PUBLIC.  His testicles don’t shrink up or fall off or anything.  No one gives him shit either.  Granted, he’s also 6’2″, 275lbs and has a shaved head, so that might have something to do with it.  I specifically requested my pink DS because it goes with a bunch of my other stuff, like my pink dice, my pink GM-ing folder, my pink calculator and my pink mechanical pencils. 

So out of nine points, he only looks like a complete assclown on 5.5 of them.  Still, that’s an awful lot of misogynistic bullshit to wade through for three and a half paragraphs of actual content.  

Seriously, guys, what makes it hard to be a girl gamer of any stripe (video, rpg, LARP) is the fact that guys like Mr. Ryan are out there telling us why we’re annoyed instead of listening to us when we tell them they’re being annoying gits.

Posted in by The Geek Girl What Rules | 9 Comments »

Geek Girls Rule! #80 – Little Big Planet

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 2, 2009

Yeah, yeah, I know I’m a little late with this, but I don’t have a PS3 and have to rely on the kindness of strangers, well, friends.  But you don’t get much stranger than my friends.

I went over to my friends Alex and Kate’s place, and proceeded to play between three and four hours of Little Big Planet.  It’s a simple platformer, with a really amazing physics engine.  The game play is pretty straightforward and I only got irretrievably hung up on one part of the game.  Considering it then took Alex, who plays the game obsessively, several tries to get past that one spot as well, I didn’t feel so bad about asking for help.  As a platformer you jump, run and swing your way through the levels, sometimes racing a clock.  You also collect costumes, stickers and other items to customize your sack person and your “pod,” the location from where you start each session.

The gameplay, while nice, is not the real star of Little Big Planet.  As far as I’m concerned, the star is the pancreas rupturing cuteness of the little sack guy you play, and all the costumes you can dress it up in.  By the time I got done, my little dude had been dressed as a pirate, a zebra-kitty, and a Mexican Senorita.

I made it through three levels with three stages each.  The first is the Garden level, which is fairly easy and is kind of your tutorial level.  The second is the Savannah level.  And then you get to play the Dia des los Muertas levels.  The backgrounds and worlds are lovingly and intricately detailed.  Playing it on an HD television, as I was, made them amazing.  The soundtrack is also really good, particularly the song during the Meerkat Bounce sidegame.

The other big selling point of the game is user generated content.  The fact that players can create their own levels and upload them to share with other players throughout the world.  Some have criticized this, saying that it is just going to result in world upon world of derivative dross.  And while I think that a lot of it is probably going to be just that, I do know of at least one very talented friend who is currently creating a Cthulhu-inspired world, and another who is working on a Steampunk world.  Will these worlds be the most awesome-est of awesome?  Probably not.  Will they be fun?  By virtue of being part of the Little Big Planet, I’m going to say, yes.

Apart from the occasional sticking point, the game is not particularly difficult, so it isn’t going to appeal to the power-gaming demographic.  But it will appeal to a fairly broad fanbase. It’s simple enough for most young kids, and casual gamers, as well as being cute  as all hell.  Honestly, I hadn’t even realized I’d been playing it as long as I had until my friends snapped me out of my game trance for dinner.  And I can’t wait to go back over and play some more.

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