Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm a Wer-Fangirl, the sound you hear is me squeeing at the Moon!

Hello and Happy Halloween from all of us here at The Geekiest Girls You Know!

As a "grown-up" with no children or younger siblings to make use of as a "candy beard", I often find myself standing in the aisles around this time of year, staring at the heaps and heaps of purple, orange and black packaging that traditionally encases a delicious sugary death warrant for my teeth and waistline.

The struggle to give in to my inner six year-old is often a futile one...six year olds are mean...but this year I was a good "grown-up" and only had a couple of Reese's cups out of the ridiculous sixteen pound bag of treats that I bought to keep the little ankle-biting terrorists at bay. I AM SO GLAD I DID because Space Buddah decided to reward me....WITH THIS:

I like it too!
I wish they sold that man in Fun-Size...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I present, for your consideration: The Hunks of Comic-Con.

     Yes, we all knew this was bound to happen eventually.

That looks so much like Hugh Jackman! I am taken aback by this!
(Photo Credit: Cinematical 2009. Used for non-profit, informational purposes only.)

     Golden State Comic Book Convention, founded and then named San Diego Comic Book Convention in 1970, used to only draw around 300 attendees a year. It was a niche group of people who liked to sit around and, go figure, read comics! "Originally showcasing comic books, science fiction/fantasy and film/television (as was evident by the three circled figures appearing in Comic-Con's original logo), and related popular arts, the convention has expanded over the years to include a larger range of pop culture elements, such as horror, anime, manga, animation, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels."(Wiki NP)

The newest Comic-Con logo.

     Comic-con grew and grew until finally, this year, it turned into such a media marketing event that it had grown beyond anyone's expectations. Over 190,000 people crammed into the convention center this year (up from 125,000 in 2007 and showing a HUGE growth). If you're going to learn about what's coming up in the next year about anything media-related, and of course comic books, you should be keeping tabs on Comic-Con. It is home to the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (given for creative achievements in comic books) and the Comic-Con Inkpot Awards (given to professionals in comic book, comic strip, animation, science fiction, and related pop-culture fields). Early award winners of the Inkpot Award include (to nobody's surprise): Stan Lee (Genius of Marvel Comics), Jack Kirby (Marvel Co-Genius), Frank Capra (American Film Director), Bob Clampett (Loony Tunes Animator), Russell Manning (Comic Book Artist), Charles M Schulz (Peanuts creator), and Roy Thomas (Marvel writer/editor).
     Now if youre like us here at the Geekiest Girls You Know, then you obviously are jumping up and down going, "Ooo me! Pick me! I want to go to Comic-Con!" Understandably so, because it sounds like nine million levels of awesome. Listen to any podcast, read some articles, or ask some attendees of this year's Comic-Con, and you might just change your mind before sinking all that money into plane tickets, hotel fees, and the convention pass (now hovering around $100 for a four-day, non-press, general admission pass). The Preview Night passes for 2010 are already completely sold out and general passes are expected to follow in the next couple of weeks.

This is just silly, but still kinda funny.

     "But why?" you say. What fool in their right mind WOULDN'T want to go to Comic-Con. Well, I can actually tell you I've been hearing from multiple podcasts, critics, and writers that attending is not worth it if you don't have a press pass. This is due to mis-management of lines, overcrowding, and an overwhelming problem with scheduling. This year, Twilight fans caused such a clog-up of other panels that many people said they never even got to see one panel that they wanted to. Comic-con is so crowded, in fact, that the convention committee is searching for a more suitable place to hold the con. It's contract for San Diego runs out in 2012 meaning they could re-locate to a much bigger venue. So San Diego Comic Con may be no more after 2012. Rumor has it that they might even change the name because it's not just about comics anymore.

     The guys at "Geek Show Podcast" said they waited in line hours upon hours to just get a toy they wanted or see a panel, and they didn't necessarily get either (and those folks, for the most part, had Press Passes!). I have been reading EVERYWHERE this year that the only reason to go to Comic-con now is if you are going to the lesser-known and lesser-traveled venues like the Comic Book Artists Alley or the Art Show. If you're going for this stuff, then party on! There are also myriads of parties held at geeky venues in the area after the festivities of the day are over, so if you feel like checking out a themed release party, this is also an option. I really agree with Geek Show on this one though, if you're going for movies, don't bother. You will wait in line nine or more agonizing hours to find that you have been duped and will see nothing. My friend K has press passes every year and she even said that she has never been silly enough to try to get into movie panels and trailers (and she probably could considering what major animation studio she works for).

Look at all those Indy's! (Photo courtesy of Google Images. Author unknown.)    

     So, getting to what this article is really about. Last night, I saw this photo album on Cinematical, "The Hunks of Comic-Con." I was actually on the site to read about the new Boondock Saints movie, because, as I am currently living in Maine, I will not be able to see it unless I drive all the way to Boston. On the right of the page, much like a "red carpet fashion album" was, "The Hunks of Comic-Con" and, "The Hottest of Comic-Con." My first reaction was, "Dear god, no. They have turned Comic-Con into every other red carpet stupidity fest."
     But then I clicked on the album and I realized these were, for the most part, just pictures of good-looking fans who put a lot of time into some sweet costumes. I instantly turned my opinion. This, to me, marked the turning of an era. For the first time ever, a super mainstream website focused on Hollywood Pomp and Circumstance was showcasing some sweet Geeks with talent. Cosplayers, even!!! I spent the next hour of my evening gazing at these photos and thinking about how cool it was, how significant it was to geek culture around the world. In Japan, geek culture is already mainstream in many rights, but in the United States it is just breaching the surface of ultra-popular media and shifting into something it never would have been twenty years ago.

Yup. That is walking hotness right there.
(Photo Credit: Cinematical 2009. Used for non-profit, informational purposes only.)

    We are possibly reaching Geek Mecca, and that scares and excites me more than you could ever know. And without further ado, some more "Hunks of Comic Con!" Thanks to Cinematical for making my day. 

Another fantastic Wolverine and a great Sabertooth.
(Photo Credit: Cinematical 2009. Used for non-profit, informational purposes only.)

 This one's for Darci.
Thank goodness this (Tim Burton version) Batman got rid of those stupid nipples.
(At least, I hope he did. It's hard to say in this picture.)
(Photo Credit: Cinematical 2009. Used for non-profit, informational purposes only.)

If this Scorpion shouted, "Get over here!" at me I would most likely comply.
(Photo Credit: Cinematical 2009. Used for non-profit, informational purposes only.)

I don't even like New Republic and this is just awesome. So well done that I have to give props.
(Photo Credit: Cinematical 2009. Used for non-profit, informational purposes only.)

Klingons are totally awesome and classic.
(Photo Credit: Cinematical 2009. Used for non-profit, informational purposes only.)

I think I speak for Brown Coats everywhere when I say, "OOO! Shiny, Captain!"
(Photo Credit: Cinematical 2009. Used for non-profit, informational purposes only.)

~ Lady Jones ~

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Its mortal enemy...THE VATICAN

The Dan Brown Plot Generator

An ancient labyrinth beneath the streets of Chicago.
A ruthless cult determined to protect it.
A race to uncover the Daughters of the American Revolution's darkest secret

The Last Rune

When world-famous Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to the Sears Tower to analyze a mysterious ancient script--drawn on a calling card next to the mangled body of the head docent--he discovers evidence of the unthinkable: the resurgence of the ancient cult of the Destifori, the secret branch of the Daughters of the American Revolution that has surfaced from the shadows to carry out is legendary vendetta against it's mortal enemy, the Vatican.

Langdon's worst fears are confirmed when a messenger from the Destifori appears at Lake Michigan to deliver a deadly ultimatum: Deposits $1 billion in the Daughters of the American Revolution's off-shore bank accounts or the exclusive clothier of the Swiss Guards will be bankrupted. Racing against the clock, Langdon joins forces with the ambidextrous and charming daughter of the murdered docent in a desperate bid to crack the code that will reveal the cult's secret plan.

Embarking on a frantic hunt, Langon and his companion will follow a 800-year-old trail through Chicago's most exalted monuments and venerable buildings, pursued by a hypoglycemic assassin the cult has sent to thwart them. What they discover threatens to expose a conspiracy that goes all the way back to Susan B. Anthony and the very founding of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

I am so going to write this for my Detective Fiction class. Seriously.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I am both excited and apphrensive about this

So Routledge is starting an academic journal about graphic novels and comics. My inner lit nerd is torn between squeeing for this (and wistfully considering submitting a paper for it) and lapsing into a "hmm" state of mind.

Let's start with the squeeing, shall we? While I have spent a lot of time here making fun of comics--mainly in the guise of Alan Your Tears Are Like Wine To Me Moore and Aquaman I Live in a Cardboard Box Under the Sea)--I have championed graphic novels as literature in their own right. The most obvious examples of this would be Watchmen and basically anything Alan Moore has written and Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

As for the more monthly titles, while it would be hard to argue that some of them (coughTarotcough) construe literature, they are undeniably markers of popular culture, and you can certainly track social/political trends through them. Hell, just look at the evolution of Lois Lane's character, paying particular attention to her 1950s incarnation compared to her contemporary characterization.

The description of the journal as "covering all aspects of the graphic novel, comic strip and comic book, with the emphasis on comics in their cultural, institutional and creative contexts" makes me cautiously optimistic. Since comics have become so twined with American popular culture to the point where even non-comic readers recognize the shorthand used to portray certain personality types, like "man of steel, Wonder Woman" and so on, it's very important to examine comics in an academical and cultural context.

It has only been relatively recently that comics have been viewed in an academic light, since comics have historically been marked as "for children" and by "children" I mean boys. It has only been in the past twenty or so years that papers and books have been published (off the top of my head I think of Wonder Women: Feminisms and Superheroes by Lillian Robinson--if you are at interested in Wonder Woman and female superheroes you need to read this book like yesterday-- and Comic Book Nation by Bradford Wright). There has been studies on horror comics and the war comics of the 40s, but overall comics books have been dismissed as cheap genre escapism for boys (girls, as both Didio and Quesada are quick to assure you, don't read comics).

The journal also wants to include articles about comic book fandom and international comics. I'm happy that they are trying for a wider scope than just the US and maybe Britain. I, for one, would love to see if there's a comic book fandom/culture in, say, Iraq or South America or anywhere that's not predominately white and English speaking.

I really would like to read a journal that explores gender, race, sexual orientation, just among a few topics, in comics. I would love to read about Russian comic book fans, or writers and artists in Mexico creating their own superheroes, and god knows I would kill for a study of Internet based fandom and how much it's dominated by heterosexual Caucasian male fans, and the ramifications of that and the backlashes of criticisms posed by women and fans of color.

So there's the squee, and now we get to my "hmm" part of my reaction.

I'm going to be honest and say this part of my reaction is a bit harder to pin down, and some of you will probably disagree with my reasons, which in that case you need to debate me in the comments, because like I've said many, many times before I love a good argument.

First of all, I'm not entirely certain how successful this journal will be. I know that I'll be buying it, but others? Especially since a majority of average comic books fans aren't exactly inclined to do in depth analysis beyond debating who would win in a fight, Superman or Batman? This journal may very well put out one issue and then fold completely.

Second of all, I'm afraid that this journal, like in most areas of academia, the field will be dominated by, again, heterosexual white males, and that would probably, but not definitely, limit the topics explored (like gender and race and even sexual orientation).

Thirdly, how exactly to you tackle some of the monthly titles? It's one thing to write about Sandman or Watchmen, but what the hell do you do with, for example, Tarot (as godawful as it is) or Spiderman or Batman and his eight spin-off titles or the eight bajillion continuities in DC and Marvel? I'm not saying that no one could analyze this, but how do you handle that in a way that non-comic reading people will understand?

Fourthly, the fanboys. Oh god, the fanboys. Can you just imagine all the wank that will come out of this? Granted, most of them will probably never read the journal, but that's unlikely to stop them probably from complaining about how unfair everyone is to them and their comics and how, seriously, it's just not women objectified and there's, like, non-white heroes, dude.

Lastly, I'm afraid that in the end this will be less a serious studying of comics as culturally and literately important and more regulating comics to the ghettoized genre, which is still viewed as being for children and therefore has no literary or cultural value.

That all said, I am cautiously optimistic for this journal and will definitely be picking up the first volume. I am, first and foremost, a geek at heart.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

These Alpacas are filled with Dooooooom!

To get you in the mood for Halloween, here is a video with doom-filled alpacas. Enjoy!

"Doom Doom doom doom doom doom...
Doomy doomy doomy doomy!
Ooo! Wazzat!"

Lady Jones

Well, we think we're hilarious

So how many of you out there have thought to yourself, "You know, self, I wonder what the geek girls do when they're not here making fun of Alan Moore or spending money they don't have on Star Wars Force trainers?"

Well, wonder no more, my friends! While I cannot speak for my lovely co-mods, I can assure you that my day is spent consuming roughly my body weight in sweet life sustaining coffee, resisting the urge to kill undergrads, and exchanging awesomely geeky texts with my hetero lifemate.

To further strip away the aura of mystery, I'll even let you in on one such exchange (hetero lifemate texts in bold, mine in italics):

Batman: the Bold and the Brave. Attempting to make Aquaman useful since the 2st Century.
There is nothing I do not love about you or this.

His [Aquaman's] beard speaks volumes: he hasn't had a job in months and he's living out of a whiskey bottle.

Instead of tossing him some change, Batman was all, "Fine. You can help me save the world. Just don't do that talking to your fish friends thing. It's weird and makes everyone uncomfortable."

In case you're wondering, yes, this exchange is representative of our normal, daily conversation. Also, yes, we clearly are awesome.

Think Geek is trying to steal my wallet again!

Seriously people, Think Geek needs to consider how much awesome they have on their site. I only spent around an hour on there the other day and had amassed something like $5,000 in possible spending. Problem here being, I'm really poor, so I won't actually be buying 95% of what's on that list. As a geek girl I felt obligated to share some of the more awesome finds Think Geek had to offer.

 1. Sushi Plush's and Sushi Pillows: sure, it seems like a pretty cheesy thing to market, but I think they're really cute and secretly want a whole set!

Sushi Plush's: Soooo Kawaiiiii!

Sushi Pillows are actually pretty big! I think that one on the right is
supposed to be a wasabi pillow as opposed to green poopy. lol.

2. Ninja Star Push Pins: Ummm...yeah! Who doesn't want these? You could arrange them in your office as though you are a total bad-ass that hung all your posters with ninja stars!

I'm sorry, you said you wanted that form copied RIGHT NOW?
Could I just have a few more minutes, I mean, I'm VERY BUSY hanging my posters
*shows boss ninja stars as he/she faints*

3. LED Jellyfish mood lamp: Not really geeky necessarily...just really cool to look at!

Sweeeeeet. The jellies are totally chillin.' (I heart Finding Nemo *cough* *cough*)

4. Mana potions: Super geeky. Super caffeinated.
  • Each tiny shot is loaded with 160mg of caffeine and tons of other energy boosters.
  • As much caffeine as two cans of Red Bull®
  • Provides 5-8 hours of smooth energy. 
  • No crash you say? I call shenanigans sir.

"I need mana!" - Diablo II.

5. Grow Your Own 1 UP Mushroom: well, not really, but it looks cute! I especially like how the warning has to read, "DO NOT EAT!" because some idiot totally would try to even though it's plastic.


6. The Star Was Force Trainer: Yeah. It's that f*cking awesome. Just read the description I pulled from the site...

Develop your powers of concentration, you will.

"The Force is all around us. It flows around and through us. It is between us and that tree and the rock, around our sunken X-Wing, going through our wallet, tickling our armpits, and flowing between our ears. You think we're joking, but the only way to guide the Force outside your body is to guide the Force inside your head. Yoda told us that once when we had stew over at his house. The stew was ok (if you like licking swamp creatures), but the advice was invaluable.

And now Yoda is ready (in electronic form) to help guide you through 15 levels of mind mastery. The Star Wars Force Trainer is a fantastic leap forward in technology. The headset actually measures your brainwaves - brainwaves you will learn how to control. Seriously, your brainwaves will lift the ball in the Star Wars Force Trainer device (well, technically air will, but the strength of your brainwaves will control the power of the air). This is a toy you will buy for your kid, and then take to your own room and never give back. Your geekling may cry, but you will master the Force. And that's all that matters. With Yoda and the Star Wars Force Trainer, fail you will not.
But Seriously ThinkGeek, How Does It Really Work?
It's quite simple. depending on the amount of Midichlorians you have in your cells, each of you possess differing abilities to control your brainwaves. Using dry sensor technology, the Force Trainer can determine the differences between the alpha, beta, gamma and delta waves present in your brain. You can control these different brain 'states' by using your ability to focus and to concentrate. A micro-chip inside the Force Trainer then uses an algorithm to figure out which brain state you are in and then decides how to raise or lower the ball based on that state. It's kind of like magic, except the kind from a Galaxy far far away."

  Wow. I want very very badly.

There you have it! A list of awesome geeky-ness that I totally cannot afford but definitely wish I could!
 Happy geeking!
 Lady Lara Jones

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The internet tries to scare the crap out of you

Halloween is coming up in a week and a half (holy crap, it's almost November! I just paid rent, I swear!), so I'm going to take this opportunity to post some links, because if I have to be scared, so do you.

The SCP Foundation Can be rather hit or miss, but I spend a lot of time here procrastinating (mainly when I have grading to do--nothing is as scary as undergrad papers). It's rather creepy, but it can be rather nifty, too, especially if you know your urban legends and fairy tales and can identify what the things are before they tell you. My favorites are the ones dealing with artifacts, because those are the ones that are really freaking creepy.

Creepypasta Very hit or miss. It's little bite-sized pieces of terror, and when it hits, oh god, it hits.

Candle Cove Related to Creepypasta, but something completely on its own. Also, creepy, because puppets, like clowns, are inherently fucking terrifying. Something a girl in one of my classes disagreed with, and was talking about how she makes puppets and paints them and I just sat there shuddering, because PUPPETS. Ech!
ETA: Oh god, someone made a video of it.

Ichor Falls Origin of Candle Cove (gah puppets!). Haven't really looked at it, but supposed to have creepy things there.

Bad, Scary Place Not so much creepy as it is just bizarre. Sort of feels like you're stuck in an acid trip for hours. Be prepared to get lost by clicking on things.

SFPA Halloween Reading Horror Poetry! Awesome!

Pesudopod and Wormwood Audio horror stories! Hello nightmares!

Sf_drama's latest OTT on creepy shit. I found a bunch of links through this. Well worth it to read through the comments and pick up on things that creep people out, like mirrors at night. My favorite comment is "Wyoming. No one has ever convinced me it isn't really a government conspiracy." I can believe that.


Ted's Caving Page This is definitely not real--was taken from a short story--but it still manages to be claustrophobic and creepy. Vaguely reminiscent of Lovecraft.
ETA: Original short story here

Indian Lake Project I am reading my way through that now. Definitely has that creepy "government conspiracy cover up" feel to it. Plus, there's something about old photographs that freak me out.

The Dionea House A story told through e-mail and chat logs. Have not started to read this, but heard it's really creepy. After you finish with that, go here (oh god, that "found you" makes me want to hide under the bed) and here and here and here


The girl or the weapon A Firefly, River-centric vid. First of all, Firefly is awesome, as is River. Second, fantastically made vid that is, like I keep saying in this post, creepy.

Also, scary clowns:

While this video is amazing, I have to go with OMG SCARY BLANK CLOWN MASK IS GOING TO EAT YOUR FACE. There is nothing not terrifying about clowns. Even worse, I watched this late last night before going to bed. I live in an old building, with creaking floors and whatnot. That meant every time the person who lives above me moves around and makes the floor creak in tortured ways, I was convinced the clown was coming to eat my face.

Since this post has a surplus of things designed to scare the crap out of you, wanna buy a ghost?

In conclusion, sweet, sweet dreams, everyone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I can has my daily interwebs?

     If you're like us here at the Geekiest Girls You Know, then you probably have many blogs, web-comics, and web sites that you check up on daily or weekly. Personally, I've become addicted to RSS Feeds because it means all my fun stuff is conveniently delivered to me in a shiny email so I don't have to check the site for updates myself (If you haven't tried RSS then I highly recommend it). I decided that now might be a good time to talk about all the places on the web that I just can't live without, or at least would be sad if they suddenly vanished from the web. Can you imagine if all your favorite sites were suddenly gone? Think about it. Ten years ago they probably didn't even exist (or were fledgling versions of themselves).  As a media anthropologist I could go all nerd-out, nerd-speak on you for at least the length of a term paper on this topic, but currently I just feel like sharing! So here are all my daily check-stuff-out sites around the web!

1. Youtube
 Well, this seems pretty obvious, but if you haven't gotten really good at search filtering or finding recommended videos that rock then you are missing out on the world my friends. Just saying is all. I have around 30 subscriptions and have somehow found videos in other languages without searching in those languages and therefore unlocking a whole new world of youtube awesome.

2. Danny Choo's "Your Portal to Japan"
 I've already talked about this blog so I'll be brief here. The Tokyo Stormtrooper and CEO of Mirai is really very good at what he does: post quality content on the interwebs for all to see/learn/and feel as though they are immersed in Japan. He is an expert on internet phenomenon as far as I'm concerned and groups like CNN realize this and interview him quite frequently.

If I see him this January when I move to Japan, I've decided I have to tell him how awesome he is...just in case he hasn't heard it a thousand times already. I'll be sure to be

3. Facebook
 This is officially a cop-out answer, but it has to be on here because I spend A LOT of time on that site. It's social networking, so I can't help it. It's a part of my job, my aspirations to spread Geek Girls FTW to others, my life really. You probably share a similar aspect of facebook in your own life.

4. LOL Catz: aka 
  Many of you know about the LOL Catz and their silly photograph antics. This website has fast turned into a social networking site to those who love their cats and want to post photos of them with funny text captions. This site can cheer me up when I'm in the worst of moods, because really, who can't smile at a silly cat who loves cheeseburgers? As a side note, there are some other sites linked to this that are really great, like Engrish Funny, which shows you uses of English that have gone somewhat, awry...(a warning: Engrish Funny sometimes contains mature content like swear words and jokes of a sexual by all means enjoy!).

The photo that started it all...

5. The Geek Show Podcast:
 Although this podcast is located in Utah and I cannot attend their fun social gatherings, this is my number one podcast for all news geek-related. Seriously. I can not speak highly enough of these guys. They really are a quality show. My only complaint is they sometimes make bland jokes about girls that could be interpreted as though they think girls can't be geeks. But meh, they obviously don't really mean it and I just ignore it really. Podcast uploads are every Monday afternoon (when Zack, the Super Producer, gets to uploading them). Check out their fun T Shirts for sale which includes this hilarious one about Star Trek The Next Generation.

"Make it Mother F*ckin So!"...Awesome

6. LOTS of other random ones that are checked randomly....including:
 ThinkGeek, New Egg, Kotaku, Gaijin Smash, Wikipedia, VG Cats, Penny Arcade, and I would still check Newgrounds if it wasn't a virus ridden ride to infection town for my computer....Seriously, dude who runs Newgrounds, you are dumb for letting that happen to your site.

 So go out and enjoy your daily interwebs! You deserve it!!!
 Lady Jones

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Left 4 Dead plus Fallout 3 plus Twelve Monkeys = my dreams are crazyland.

So here's how I know that I'm playing too many video games and am watching too many horror/zombie/thriller movies. The other night I had this super-vivid, realistic, and a little bit disturbing/crazy dream in which there was both a (Left 4 Dead) zombie apocalypse and (Fallout 3-Style) nuclear holocaust in the same series of events. Yeah. I know... This is probably where the line should be drawn. I should shut off the internet, dump all my movies into a basement, and unplug the PS3, but then I think to myself, "maybe I could just use these crazy dreams to write video games of my own someday?"

So here's what happened:
Where I think these references/influences came from are in Parenthesis.

(Fallout 3)
    I was alone in the woods and suddenly came across a clearing with tons of people headed into a very large shelter (Fallout 3). For some reason I was in a panic and knew that I had to get to this shelter or I was quite doomed. In a frantic sprint I barely made it to the dank looking entrance that led below ground. Apparently, they were running out of space in this below-ground stronghold, and soon started rejecting people. Riot police stood in a line at the entrance and kept people out. Upset and confused, I started asking why we weren't letting them in. "We're out of room," I was told, and promptly pushed away from the opening and told to shut the hell up and sit down. Far off in my field of vision I suddenly see a large horde of zombies approaching (Left 4 Dead, running psychotic-style zombies) towards those left outside the shelter. As the large, metal doors closed, some desperate souls were caught in their mechanics and literally torn apart. (Oh, Jessie, no more Saw movies for you).

(Resident Evil 4: Maybe this is why my dreams are graphic?)

(Left 4 Dead: zombie horde)

     The doors close and I turn to look upon some television monitors that are for some reason recording what is happening right outside the facility. I feel hot tears streaming from my eyes as the zombies approach the people who were left outside, and turn away just as the mob of zombies rips into those left to their doom. Merely seconds later, I hear an announcement that "deployment has begun," and look back up to the monitors to see a bright flash of light overtake the screen.

(Nuclear Light-wave Effect simulated photo: an awesome person's Flickr Account)

Then, there is nothing. The screens go dark, and all the lighting and electricity in the facility goes dead. Panic flies through the underground space. People scream and run into each other like a flock of confused birds in a cave. Some just collapse to their knees and cry. Personally, I am in shock and don't really know what to think. My dream goes fuzzy here for a bit, and I can't really remember the next series of events, but for some reason I end up waking up in a room with like fifty people. I believe my dream has decided it has been a few years at this point because I look older when I glance in a mirror (Fallout 3).

I haven't seen anyone I know throughout the duration of this dream up until now. A random smattering of my friends have collected together to form a group that decides to steal the radiation suits from the soldiers and use them to get the hell out of this nightmare and go above ground. Apparently we decide this is the best course of action because the facility is running out of food and people are saying that those in charge will let some people die off to let others survive (12 Monkeys). We have gathered information that only America is blanketed in serious fallout (Fallout 3), and that we can go south and somehow climb the "Wall of Mexico" to live somewhat normal lives where the zombies and fallout did not extend.

We succeed in taking a few radiation suits, and somehow succeed in escaping through a series of de-contamination chambers to get outside (12 Monkeys).

(12 Monkeys: radiation protection suit)
Outside is somewhat covered in nuclear winter, but the most shocking bit of imagery is that there are a crap load of frozen, super decaying zombies (or what used to be zombies) all over the place.

(12 Monkeys: nuclear winter)
I mean, there must have been one hell of an outbreak, which is probably what prompted the "let's launch some nukes" decision. We then spend what is only a few minutes in "dream time" walking to Mexico. On the way we kill a few zombies that have survived in pocket areas of a "sort-of-not-complete radiation blanket." Don't ask me where we got shotguns, but we have them. Yeah, dreams. Whatever.

(Resident Evil: He found that shotgun somewhere.)
We get to the "Wall of Mexico" and note that it is covered in turrets to keep people out (Doomsday). I find this a little ironic because now everyone wants so desperately to get over this wall into Mexico to survive when we built the wall to keep Mexican people from jumping the border to the U.S. in the first place. Yay irony. In my dream it does not escape me.

(Doomsday: in which there is a wall around Scotland to keep zombies in.)
After managing to take out the turrets using a sniper rifle (we somehow acquired this as well, I'm now thinking I've played too much Resident Evil now) we climb the wall. We then see some zombies run out from the woods and one of my friends loses his grip and falls into a snarling pile of them. He is torn to bits and I somehow manage to look away and continue climbing over the wall. We make it to the other side and suddenly fallout disappears (because obviously my dream doesn't understand that environmental impact would gradually decrease as we walked south rather than suddenly vanish as though it was never there). 

We make it to South America, where we discover that the U.S. Government was behind the whole zombie apocalypse and subsequent nuking to cover their tracks. The general who gave the order had escaped to some remote corner of South America, and my dream ends with us setting out to kill him, because obviously, he sucks and is turbo evil.

(U.S. Government Testing of the Atomic Bomb: Operation Cue 1955)

So what have I gotten out of this dream? Is my subconscious slowly sinking into insanity? Nah. I think it's just the fault of media. Media is melting our fabulous brain bits into goo. MMM melty. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go to the kitchen and hang some garlic crosses above the sink to ward off vampires and load some silver bullets into my shotgun to stop werewolf attacks.

Signing out in terrifying awkwardness,
Lady Lara Jones

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Friday, October 02, 2009

My new theory is I just hate myself

I was going to use this time to post a review of Terry Pratchett's The Nation, or talk about the animated adaption of Weird Sisters, or possibly get back to making fun of comics, but all that takes energy that I frankly do not have, what with grading some undergrad papers (I am going to staple Strunker and White to their foreheads I swear to god). Instead I am taking the time to do something like a public service announcement, which is not a selfless act in that I'm hoping that it will in the future help keep my eyes from bleeding.

So you all know that I read some truly horrifically bad books, right? Look, we've all picked up a book that was less than stellar quality and end up reading the entire thing out of morbid fascination, or in my case I read it for something to feel snarkily superior to. But, and this is a big but, I sometimes find myself actively seeking out horrible things to read of my own free will. There are days when I could either read a extremely tight paced story with beautiful language and fantastic dialogue and wonderful, insightful characterization or I could read something retarded about angel babies being hatched from eggs, and I am all over the egg hatched angels (I truly wish I was making the angel thing up, but I'm not. Don't ask. Seriously, don't.)

It's like being given a choice between the finest of Swiss chocolates made by a chocolatier that has spent his entire life working and training and preparing to make this one perfect batch of chocolates, one taste of which would make you weep in joy and gratitude that something like this could exist in the word, and a Twinkie and you choose the Twinkie. Worse still, this is not an either/an choice: you can have both the Twinkie and the transcendent chocolate, and yet you reply that, no, thanks, it looks good but the Twinkie filled you up and you feel no need to eat the chocolates.

That might have gotten away from me for a bit, but the point I was trying to make (before I made myself crave truffles) is that I have read some really awful things in my life and I feel it is my duty to offer advice to those young writers out there. And when I offer this advice you better take it because otherwise I may be forced to kill you. Just so you know.

1. For god's sake, keep your tenses consistent.

Seriously, if I have to read one more goddamn piece of fiction where the writer cannot keep the tenses straight for more than two sentence then I'm going to harness Alan Moore levels of bitter and blow something up.

Look, young and impressionable writers, most fiction is written in the past tense (commonly seen in words ending in -ed for those who are unsure), but you can also employ present if the fancy takes you, but don't switch between them. If you're having trouble keeping tenses straight find someone to look over your work and point out where you mix them up or I will find out where you sleep and come for you. Trust me when I say you do not want that.

2. There are point of views other than first

Try investing in some third omniscient or third limited. Please, I am begging you. If I have to read one more story with a whiny, self-indulgent narrator I'm going to snap and voluntarily search out plots involving magical angel babies being hatched from eggs. OH WAIT THAT'S ALREADY HAPPENED SEE WHAT YOU'VE DRIVEN ME TO.

In all seriousness, though, I understand that most new writers employ first because it seems the safer choice, but be aware of what you're trying to achieve in your narrative and what pov might suit it better, which leads me to:

3. Stick with one pov

This is mainly for those working in third person limited. I think there is some confusion between the difference between third person omniscient and third person limited. In third omniscient, the narrator knows everything that's going on, all the characters' thoughts, motivation, actions, ect. In third limited, the narrative is filtered through one specific character, meaning the reader has access to his/her motivation and thoughts, but not to other characters'.

A mistake a lot of young writers making, including me when I was but a wee lass, is that mid-scene you'll switch from third limited focused on character A to third limited focused on character B. Do not do that. It's true that some authors employ that switch, but they are considerably better at their craft than you. Many young writers make the switch clumsy and that throws the reader out of the narrative. If you're not sure if you switched povs then once again get a reader for your work for the love of Space Buddha.

4. It's okay to use the word "said"

It is. You can trust your Aunty Jayne on this. Yes, yes, I know what you've learned in school, that you don't want overuse the word and that you should employ synonyms. But here's the thing in fiction: said is one of those words that become invisible to the reader. They'll just gloss over it. What they won't gloss over is exclaims, demands, argues, and whatever else your thesauruses vomits up. Just stick with said.

5. The use of epithets

I can write an entire goddamn book on this, but in short, if the characters have names, which I'm assuming they do, use their goddamn names. If the reader knows them as John then there is no reason why you refer to him as "the blond" or "the surfer" or "the baker" or what-the-fuck-ever in the narrative when he has a fucking name.

Don't worry about being repetitive. Like the word said, character names become invisible pretty quickly and the reader won't suddenly stop and go, "You know what? I wish the writer would stop calling John by his name. I am so sick of reading it."

There are exceptions to this, like if you introduce character X and character A doesn't know his name and refers to him as "blond boy" or "thug one" or whatever. But as soon as the character has a name use it.

Sometimes in the text, it is okay to refer to a character by, for example, their profession. That will signify them pulling rank on another character or thatthey know what the hell they're doing. But only do that once or twice, not every other sentence. In short, USE THEIR GODDAMN NAME OR I WILL COME FOR YOU.

6. It's "come," not "cum."

Cum is not a word and you are not twelve. Grow up.

7. Cocks should never be weeping.

And no, I am not talking about the bird. Look, I am not about to step in and tell you if you should or should not use a sex scene in your story. What I am saying is that you damn well need to be aware of your language and description in sex scenes or you're going to end up with something that's not erotic but a giant messy ball of hilarious mess.

If you want your sex scene to be awkward then by all means make your narrative and descriptions as awkward as possible to get that across. But if you want your scene to be sexy and erotic then "his weeping cock" is not going to achieve that.

Yes, yes, I am aware that the phrase is referring to the pre-come and all that, but it just makes me think the penis is sad, and no penis should be sad when it's about to be laid. Also, you use "weeping cock" and I will make fun of you forever. Even more than the person with the magically hatching angel babies.

6. Be really aware of your descriptions

This is related to the above, in that you don't want your reader to suddenly start laughing during a dramatic scene because you whipped out a weeping cock.

For example, I was perfectly invested in one story until I came upon "his rock hard abs." Instead of responding with, "My, he is most definitely a ripped and sexy individual," I IMed my Hetero Lifemate this: "ROCK HARD ABS, HL. HE WAS HEWN FROM ROCK."

That led to this exchange:

HL: They made him from the finest granite.
Jayne: He has to be careful if he lays out on the sun, otherwise lizards come to soak up the heat from his granite abs.
HL: He is like geiko-nip.
Jayne: Though he does have to watch out for erosion, because god knows that in twenty, thirty years, his abs aren't going to be rock hard so much as mudslide.

So unless that's what you're aiming for, get someone to read your work over and point out anything that is ridiculous.

7. Learn what the word "literally" actually means.

You know what, let me help you with that. Literally is defined as: "adv. in the literal or strict sense; word for word; actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy; in effect; in substance; very nearly; virtually."

That means when you say something literally happens it actually happened just like you said. This is not a hard concept, people.

Let's look at some ways to use the word in the most inaccurate way possible:

"His eyes literally burned with an emotion."

Unless he is Superman or Cyclops then his eyes were not actually burning with an emotion. If his eyes were smoldering from an emotion (although god only knows which one it is, since the author doesn't specify. Possibly he is bored) then this story would have been far more exciting then it was.

"They literally devoured each other's mouths."

If that was what was actually happening then this is not a sexy kiss scene but cannibalism and drastically different then what the writer was going for. However, if the writer wanted to properly use literally here then just make the two characters zombies and you're good to go.

An example of the proper use of literally: "People who misuse the word 'literal' make me literally want to concuss them with a volume of the Oxford English Dictionary."

I am fully aware that this list will not cure me of my self-loathing quest to consume my body weight in the literary equivalent of Twinkies, but hopefully some of you young writers out there will take this advice and save me the effort of finding you and beating you to death with the OED. Because I will do it. As soon as I finish reading about the baby angel breaking forth from its shell. Aw, it's so fluffy like a little chick!

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And Now for Some Addictive PS3 Games! Woo Shiny!

So, for all of you who have a Playstation 3, you need to acquire two games that will absorb you into their awesome. These games are Fat Princess and Katamari (damacy) Forever. If you don't have a Playstation 3, then I will also use this opportunity to ask you why you haven't gotten on the bandwagon yet. 360 has a 70% hardware failure rate, PS3 has blu-ray and a growing catalog of games, and their online network play is free vs. 360's $50 a year subscription fee. Yeah. soo....Halo isn't really worth all that crap, is it people? Anyways, moving on...

 Fat Princess cannot seem to get enough acclaim on the web and in my podcasts, so I'm going to promote it yet again. In this game, you choose one of five classes and become a part of a team that is attempting to capture another team's princess from their castle and bring it back to you own. Although this seemingly simple, capture-the-flag concept could seem boring and repetitive, it is far from that in many ways. The classes each have their own responsibilities, from hack-and-slash to collecting steel and wood to upgrade your defenses and class abilities. The real kicker of this game, making it awesome and different from other capture-the-flag and castle-defense games, is that you can make your princess really difficult to pick up. By difficult to pick up, I mean that you can feed that bitch cake until she explodes from the seams of her dress and weighs a literal ton. Watch another team player try to pick her up and he'll walk about 2 inches an hour and sweat his face off trying to carry his obese monarch away from your dungeon. It's hilarious. It's epic. The achievements include, "Cake or Death," "Chubby Chaser," and "This is caketown!"
Trust me, you want to download that game. And while you're at it, go burninate, cursify, healy-mc-heal, and freeze enough people to get that damn achievement. It's taking me forever and I challenge all of you to beat me to it.

"Cake me please!!!" - the princess.

 The other game you need to check out, especially if you love Katamari, is the new Katamari Forever. Katamari Damaci is a series of games where you take your sticky little katamari ball and roll things up around town. As you get bigger, you can roll up bigger stuff. It seems simple and boring, but again, it's not. It's really awesome and pretty soon you'll find yourself shouting things like, "What do you mean I can't pick up that school bus of children and the gigantic onigiri! That is so unfair! WTF!" or "Cowbear, I hope you burn in an explosively flamey fire."

~ And yes, the game sometimes looks like a giant acid trip, but it's really not a bad thing I promise. The ridiculousness and over-the-top silly in this game will have you laughing and playing for hours. ~

 Katamari Forever is everything you love about classic katamari, plus four game play modes, a new jumping feature, and other neat additions that make it a must-play for all types of gamers. I could go on forever about how cool the graphics are, and how in depth the environments are and how the upgrades are cool, but seriously it would take forever, so just trust me on this one. MY ONLY COMPLAINT about this game is that the levels from We Heart Katamari that got brought into this game have the same annoying achievements/completion difficulty that they did in the last one, plus they got yeah....if you spent forever on We Heart Katamari trying to roll up that damned CowBear then you will be a very, very sad person like I was when I realized I had to replicate that phenomenon again.

 So yeah.  Addictive. Lovely. Challenging. Mind-bending. Acid Trip? Yeah. These games are a crazy blend of awesome that will suck you deep in to their chasm of un-reality.
 Signing out for now,
 Lady Lara Jones

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