Geek Girls Rule!!!

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

Archive for August, 2010

Geek Girls Rule! #136 – PAX 2010

Posted by geekgirlsrule on August 31, 2010

Yes, my dearest, darling ones, it’s that time of year again.  The time of year when a young geek’s heart turns towards thoughts of “Oh sweet Jesus, I need a flu shot!  PAX is this weekend!”

I, the Geek Girl What Rules, and Ogre, the Geek Husband What Rules, will both be running games at PAX.  In fact, GGR is sponsoring a day of female GMs  on Saturday at the gaming tables sponsored by the Dreaming.  We’ll be sharing the great big huge gaming space with Wizards of the Coast.  We’ll be at the back of the hall.

Gaming starts at 10 AM.  Melissa Kocher will be running the Mist-Robed Gate, Dawn Vogel will run a roller-derby girl hack of Best Friends, and if we can get her away from her Enforcer duties, Leslie McKeever will run Dogs in the Vineyard.   I’ll be around to run pick-up games as necessary, probably Little Fears, The Keep (Bridge System) or something else where char-gen takes little to no time, and there are minimal dice involved.  I’ll be around all day Saturday.

The Geek Husband What Rules will be running the Dresden Files rpg all weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  He’s got pre-gen-ed characters, and has built Seattle for the game.  His big complaint is that Seattle’s just too nice.  If our homeless people started to go missing, we’d notice.  Seriously, we noticed the Green River Killer real early on, even if we couldn’t catch him for a couple decades.

If I’m not completely overwhelmed by Saturday, I may come back on Sunday for awhile.  Alas, I have no buttons to hand out, the budget’s a little lean in the Household What Rules, maybe next year.

So, swing by the second Dreaming booth in the gaming hall, and look for the short, round redhead with the cats tattooed on her chest.

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Geek Girls Rule! #135 – Nerds and Punk Rock

Posted by geekgirlsrule on August 28, 2010

Two great tastes that taste great together!

So, for a while, the Geek Husband What Rules has been going to a local venue where bands play in someone’s living room.  Seriously, when he says “House shows” they really are in someone’s house, jam-packed with sweaty punk rockers singing, drinking and dancing.  Through this venue and our buddy Lukas, the GHWR has met a lot of the local punk rock scene, and quite frankly, a lot of them are nerds.

Ok, maybe not  a lot, but one in particular stands out in all his nerdish glory:  Ryan of the Damage Done.  Ok, maybe more than just him, because if you mention comic books at one of these shows you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by sweaty punk rock boys who are all over telling you their favorite X-men line-up.

I met Ryan at the second to the last GRN STRP show, and in introduction, I walked up and said, “Yeah, I wanted to meet the person with the tattoo second nerdiest to mine.”  Ryan has the Millenium Falcon tattooed across his chest.
“Oh, yeah. What’s yours?”
“Nightcrawler from the X-men.”
“That is sooo awesome!  Look, I have Wolverine on this bicep!”

The Damage Done’s first ep was named Tusken Hater, and Ryan has theTusken Hater cartoon tattooed on his hand and wrist.  After the tattoo displaying, we talked about Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis and Alan Moore.

Come to think of it, most of the punk rockers I know are nerds.  Let’s see, both groups are outcast, non-standard personality types.  They dress funny and know a lot of shit you don’t.  Yeah, I can’t see any reason why nerds and punks mesh so well.

So, tonight, the GHWR and I and some friends are walking up to a local coffeeshop to see Ryan’s solo project, Jefferson Death Star.  It’s accousti-punk, which is becoming more prevalent with bands like Andrew Jackson JihadDestruction Island and Wingnut Dishwashers Union.

ETA:  Just got back from the show.  Ol’ Doris and Goddammit Boy Howdy from Missoula, MT  also played, and were awesome!  Picked up their EP and Demo.  Cannot, however, find them on Myspace.  Rrrrrr.

ETA 2:  Thanks to Lukas, Here’ s GoddammitBoyHowdy’s Myspace.

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Arts and Crafts with the Geek Girl What Rules!

Posted by geekgirlsrule on August 23, 2010

So, Sunday is ordinarily a blogging-free zone at my house, because I do need one declared day off a week.  But this Sunday, I spent several hours geekifying one of my favorite bags.

It wound up in the lost and found at the nightclub where I worked, with no ID, a faded almost legible name on the front in sharpie, and a hand made notebook made of binder paper and twist-ties.  No one claimed it for six months, and as was our policy, the club employees got first pick before we took the lost and found items to a local thrift store run by a charity.

I love this bag, but it needed something.  And today it got it.

My bag with it's new Nightcrawler patches.

I bled for this.  Jammed the needle under my right index fingernail, and my left thumbnail, and bent one needle beyond recognition.  But it’s worth it.  The shiny thing in the upper right hand corner is a Nightcrawler button.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got one more patch that will balance this out, somewhere.  But I’m waiting until my fingers have healed for that.

Nightcrawler bag on the Geek Husband What Rules.

Ok, that’s it for now.  Have a good week everybody.

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Geek Girls Rule! #134 – Game Review VOC!

Posted by geekgirlsrule on August 21, 2010

On its face, VOC!  Founding the Dutch East Indies Company by Jerouen Doumen for Splotter Spellen Games, is not a game I’d have chosen to play on my own.  In fact, when we got to our friends’ place last night, and they started pulling it out and reading the rules (helpfully translated from Dutch to Dutch-lish), I pulled out my knitting and prepared myself for an evening of desultorily pushing cardboard chits around the board and making a pathetic attempt at “game face.”

Then we got to the part about HOW turns work, and suddenly this sounded like a whole lot more fun.

Let me start at the beginning.

VOC! is a game for 3-5 players, but we played with four, which felt pretty optimal, even though the game totally kicked our ass.  We played the basic game, as none of us had ever played it before.  Each player is a merchant.  There are four ships, each staffed with a row of sailors and a row of merchants, that are a combination of two players’ guys (with four players).  The player who has the left-most sailor is captain of the ship, and gets to plot the course.  Your goal is to reach ports that have certain commodities, and make it back to your home port, in order to fulfill the conditions of contract cards.  Every contract card you can’t fill goes to Amsterdam, and if, in the end, Amsterdam has more money from contracts than any of the players, you all lose.

First round, you already have three contract cards out, you flip over a fourth, and then decide which ports you’re going to make for.  Each ship has a corresponding dry-erase map with the ports they’re allowed to make for, and here is where the fun comes in.

In order to approximate 16th century navigation, you study your map, put your dry erase marker on your home port, close your eyes, and try to draw from memory to the ports, while not running aground (this is the best part).  The other player who has sailors on your ship, can give you “calls.”  They may either say “East,” “West,” “North,” “South,” “Stop,” or “Land Ho!” if you run aground, and that’s it.  And you may only make as many calls as you currently have sailors on the ship.  If you make more than the allowed number of calls, or say any other words, then you are fined five Daalders (the unit of currency in the game).

If you run aground, you lose the leftmost sailor on the ship, which usually means the other player has to take over drawing, while you navigate for them.  Also, every third round is the scurvy round, and if you are not in your home port, you lose a sailor.  If you lose all your sailors, your ship sinks.

After you make it to ports to pick up stuff, you still have to make it back to your home port without sinking before that stuff does you any good.

Like I said above, I fully expected to at the very least not like this game, if not actively despise it.  But the navigation mechanics make this so much fun, even if you suck at drawing, you’ll have a good time.  There were a few tense moments when we discovered that the Geek Husband What Rules is no better at remembering which direction East and West are, than he is with Left and Right, and with the other couple having a few, “I said ‘West!’”  “I did go west.”  “Yeah, about a third of a degree, then you steered right into the island!” moments.  But it was really, really fun.

Some folks do have some advantages.  If you’ve done a lot of sketching or drafting, and know how to draw controlled arcs, or if you have really good muscle memory, you’re going to be better at navigating than a lot of people.  There are a few other things you can do to increase your odds, but I’ll let you figure those out yourselves.  Although, when heading across the bottom of the map for your home port, I will let you in on the “Go until you think you’ve hit open ocean, then wiggle” strategy.

I think the GHWR and I will be picking up a copy of this fairly soon.  It’s a blast, fairly easy to learn quickly, and after we get better at it, I can totally see turning this into a drinking game.  If for no other reason than to handicap some of the better navigators.

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Geek Girls Rule! #133 – Penny Arcade and the Dickwolves

Posted by geekgirlsrule on August 18, 2010

EDITED TO ADD:  GUYS, THE NEW SITE IS AT GEEKGIRLSRULE.NET
I appreciate the feedback, but I don’t get here very often, so your comments don’t get approved that quickly.  And there’s a new Dickwolves post there.

 

Yeah, I wasn’t going to get into this, but a lot of the debate around it is really starting to get on my nerves.

So, last week the Penny Arcade guys posted this comic.  Quick synopsis, a slave comes up to an MMORPG “Hero” asking to be saved, telling the “Hero” about the abuses he suffers which include “being raped to sleep by dickwolves” every night.  The “Hero” says that he’s already saved the five slaves required by the quest, and tells the sixth slave to “not make this awkward.”

Shortly thereafter a guest poster at Shakesville posts this response.  With which I do not agree in the least, and I will explain after I finish linking you to innumerable posts.  I am a history major, this is what we do.  We cite things.

The guys at Penny Arcade then post this response.  Which is ok, until the last panel when they go for the Straw Man argument about how if their comic made you rape, stop it.  Which as much as I disliked and disagree with the Shakesville response(s), they did not actually accuse the strip of doing.  And really just makes the Penny Arcade guys look like jerks.

Ok.  Those are the players.  Other folks have also commented atPandagon and Geek Feminism (and this one), but the first three links up there are what’s important.

Thing the first:  Gabe and Tycho were not making a “rape” joke, but were instead making a joke about the “morality” of computer games, MMORPG or otherwise, wherein you are, as the hero, only expected to be moral to the point that the quest requires.  The use of rape in the line “raped to sleep by dickwolves” is pretty obviously supposed to the most horrible thing ever, something anyone with a soul would want to save a slave from, yet, here is the “Hero” saying, “Yeah, tough.  I already saved the five slaves I needed to.”

And as someone who has been raped, I can concur, that yes, rape is pretty much one of the most horrible things ever.

Thing the second:  Why don’t I agree with Milli A and Shakesville that Gabe and Tycho suck?  Trust me, I’ve seen Gabe and Tycho screw up, in the final panel of their response to this, for example.  But I don’t feel that this is a rape joke, as in rape is the punchline.  Rape isn’t the punchline, rape is a horrible thing people should be saved from.  The fact that the “Hero” won’t save the slave because he’s made his quota is the punchline. It’s like if a Red Cross volunteer quit pulling survivors from the wreckage because they’d saved all the people they were supposed to.  Or if an ER doc quit in the middle of a life-saving procedure because he’d stitched all the stitches he was supposed to.

Granted, your mileage may vary, and this is something that I have blogged about on my more serious blogs:  Sexual Assault survivors are not a monolith.  Some of us enjoy gallows humor, and definitely feel it serves it’s purpose in the grand scheme of healing.  Some of us don’t.  However, as a rape survivor I am fucking sick to death of people, some of whom are also survivors, but many who are not, decreeing that as a survivor I need to be treated as if I’m made of spun glass and merely seeing the word “rape” will shatter me into a bazillion pieces, or, conversely that because I’m NOT made of spun glass surrounding the topic, that I’m doing it wrong.

Look, heroes are supposed to save people.  And the fact that in many games your “Hero’s” morality is solely dependent on a fixed number of “good deeds” runs counter to what most of us would classify as heroic in the real world.  That is the punchline of the joke.

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“Stephen, I didn’t sell out, son. I bought in.”*

Posted by geekgirlsrule on August 15, 2010

Over the next week or so, I’ll be moving the site to new servers where we can accept advertising, because I’m buying in, baby.  Actually, because it would be nice if this were a self-sustaining hobby.  I’ll be porting over all of the old content in thee next week or so.

I’ll link to the new site once it’s functional, and I’ve got at least some of the content up.  Thank you guys for all your support! 

Back soon!

*SLC Punk is a great movie, and it’s a really accurate depiction of being at all “alternative” in  a religiously oppressive shithole like that in the 1980s.

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Geek Girls Rule! – 132.5 NewsFlash

Posted by geekgirlsrule on August 9, 2010

Dear Marvel,

There are more characters in the X-men franchise than just Wolverine.  * 

Just thought you might need a reminder.

Kthnxbye,

The Geek Girl What Rules

*Click on all the sidebar links.  Trust me.  I know of whence I speak.

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Geek Girls Rule! #132 – Gail Carriger’s Soulless

Posted by geekgirlsrule on August 5, 2010

You know how frequently when you pick up a fiction book, especially genre, especially the hot new genre, and you start reading, you find yourself thinking, “Hell, who do I have to blow to get a book contract?” 

You will think nothing of the sort about Gail Carriger’s Soulless

Soulless by Gail Carriger

I borrowed the first book from the Headmistress of Gothic Charm School, because I was curious, but wasn’t sure I wanted to make the monetary or space investment in a book I wasn’t sure about.  As I started reading, all I could think was, “Damn, I totally know why they gave her a book contract!”  Carriger blew me away almost immediately.  She writes well, descriptively without burdensome walls of text, her characters are engaging, they make sense within the world they inhabit.  The dialogue is believable and flows well, it is stiff when the situation would require a stiff formality, and casual where it should be.  

Miss Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster.  The child of a proper English mother, and Italian father, her father died when she was young, and her mother remarried.  Alexia is too Italian looking for the style of beauty favored in her world, English roses with peaches and cream complexions and heads full of fashion and fluff.  She’s smart, sarcastic, and very capable of taking care of herself.  She also has no soul, which makes her a danger and curiousity to London’s vampires, werewolves and other supernatural creatures.  Carriger is brilliant at conveying Alexia’s personality, straining at the bonds of the rigidly polite society in which she has been raised.

I highly recommend Soulless to anyone interested in Victorian, Steampunky horror fiction.

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