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The September 11th Attacks in Geek Fiction

Many of us remember where we were and what we were doing when the September 11th attacks happened.

I was a lowly freshman in college, and I was in Radio Fundamentals, my first class of the day on that Tuesday morning. My teacher walked into the room, and while  I don’t remember what was said, I’ll always remember the look on her face when she informed us of what was happening. Since we were in what amounted to a functional news studio, I was able to watch things unfold in mostly real time. I remember seeing the second plane as it hit the South Tower.

I don’t really remember that day very well beyond a profound sense of sadness. And of shock. For some reason, when I think of that day, I think of the color gray. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the metal of the buildings. Or the dust as the buildings crashed down.

Obviously, I was not the only one affected by the attacks; writers, artists, and actors were all deeply affected as well. I’m going to talk today specifically how geek culture dealt with attacks–dealing with every instance would take years to write, so this is a small sampling.

Comic Books

Comic companies love New York; Marvel and DC are headquartered there, after all, so it came as no surprise that they wanted to reference the attacks. These are just a few of those stories.

Spider-Man Volume 2 #36 — Also called “The Black Issue” due to its completely black cover. A lot of people took this issue the wrong way, I think. Many people pointed out that Doctor Doom probably wouldn’t actually be crying over an attack, or that there was no way that the other supervillains would care all that much (especially with all the destruction they bring about themselves!), but I think those critics probably missed the point. Those beloved characters (yes, even the villains) were surrogates for the writers and artists at Marvel Comics, and they were expressing themselves through the medium that they were a part of.

Altogether, it’s a little goofy, but it’s also genuine.

9-11 – There were two volumes of this, and both parts contained work by superstar comics writers and artists: Joe Kubert, Stan Lee, Neil Gaiman, Will Eisner, Dave Gibbons, etc. Some of the stories are simple (a woman reaching over and touching the empty side of her bed), some of the stories are overt (Stan Lee’s fable about mice wearing 666 shirts waking up a giant), but all of them deal with the real issues of revenge, justice, hope, and despair.

Big props to the creators of this, because ALL the proceeds went to charities.

Big props as well to Joe Kubert, who gives these last words of hope: “I’ve lived long enough to see the worst turn into something better.”

Ex Machina – While not a 9/11 story, it is affected by the events of that day. Ex Machina takes place in an alternate reality where a superhero called The Great Machine manages to stop only one of the planes. While his actions get him elected mayor of New York, he still lives with the guilt of being indirectly responsible for the death of thousands.

Books 

There weren’t really all that many books in the geek realm that dealt with 9/11 (that I remember anyway), but I would be remiss not to mention Stephen King’s short story The Things They Left Behind.

It’s the tale of a man whose inner voice tells him to call off work and enjoy the day. Yep, that that day is Sept. 11, 2001. After the attacks, he begins having problems with his survivor’s guilt, and objects that belonged to his co-workers begin appearing in his apartment. If he throws them away, they always return. If he gives them to someone else, they give the person nightmares.

Eventually, he begins returning these items to the families of the people they belong to and starts to finally deal with his guilt.

Television 

TV has a lot of references to 9/11. Law & Order, CSI: New York, The West Wing, and Rescue Me all have characters that have to deal with the aftermath of the attacks.

In geek TV, Fringe deals with the 9/11 attacks, including glimpses into an alternate universe where the WTC attacks were averted, only to bring other types of terrorism into the country. The money shot is at the end of season one, where Olivia and William Bell (played by Leonard Nimoy) are standing inside the World Trade Center south tower.

 

Conclusion 

I think the further we get away from the events, the more they will be referenced a little more dispassionately… and maybe with more clarity. For us that remember the day, it seems that the sight of the towers in fiction elicits certain types of responses: shock, sadness, anger, numbness.

How do you feel when you see the towers in movies or TV? Have your feelings changed at all with time? I’d be interested to know. As for me, I feel a certain amount of melancholy and numbness, not just thinking about the attacks, but the consequences of them as well.

Generally on 9/11, I try to remember the unity, the camaraderie.  I remember how everyone suddenly seemed ready to help everyone else out. Strangers were nicer to each other. It only last a couple of weeks, but that kind of unity was pretty nice. I’d love to see that again.

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The Best Time to be a Dork

I’m pushing 30, and I can’t think of a better time than now to be a geek, a nerd, a dork, or whatever you want to call it.

Seriously, right now, the dorks are winning.

NERDS!!!

I remember a time, around 15 years ago, where I couldn’t really proclaim my love for Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, or comic books. Of course, I went to a Christian school where things like that (magic, wizards, etc.) were frowned upon. I actually got in trouble once for having the manual to Civilization II in my backpack.

But really, I only had a couple of friends that would admit that they were into geeky things.

Fast forward to today.

Batman and a collection of Marvel superheroes are sitting at the top of the box office.  The San Diego Comic Convention is bigger than ever. Gen Con drew in over 41,000 people. You can’t go out without seeing someone wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt. Comic book characters on are TV. Major networks are taking chances of fantasy and sci-fi shows. Game of Thrones is one of the best shows on TV. Doctor Who is back and more popular than ever!

When I read a comic book in public, I RARELY get scoffed at. In fact, more often I get asked  if it is any good. People generally aren’t afraid to try roleplaying games. Video games are a booming medium. Everyone plays Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, or World of Warcraft.

This is a far cry from when I had to huddle in friends’ basements, rolling dice in the lonely, dreary shadows. Now, someone can put a good idea for a tabletop RPG on Kickstarter, and it can make 12 times its funding goal. There are so many cool geeky things out there, and there’s no way I have the disposable income to buy even a quarter of their awesome-ness. And that doesn’t even include the different geeky events around the country that I want to attend!

Viva la Dorka!

There are some even greater things that are coming out of this dork boom. People in general are getting more interested in science and math. Going to space is cool again. Comic book and video game art are inspiring younger  generations to create awesome things. Movie and video game music has never been better, and I bet you’ll see kids picking up instruments because of Halo, Skyrim, or Rock Band.

So, enjoy this geek boom while it lasts! It’s a good time to dork out.

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Ego Of A Time Lord

It’s a bold new season of Doctor Who. While I’m not excited, per se, I’m looking forward to #11’s adventures with the Ponds. I caught up with the new series over the summer and found myself in the great debate about which Doctor is the best. I heard all the usual stuff about Baker and Tennant, but for me it all came down to ego.

He sure isn’t encumbered by humility. You can find video after video of speeches about how unstoppably perfect he tells his enemies he is.

At some point I just got sick of #10 talking about how no one can beat him, and how he is so clever. The various Doctors play it differently, with #9 having the least ego, but it’s almost a universal constant that he does grandiose bravado. It’s so much the case that it got me thinking about why the Doctor has to be soooooo amazing. Why does a white guy in sensible dress, speaking the queens English, need to be better than everyone?

And then it occurred to me that maybe it has to do with the context of The Doctor. Is it possible that he’s some kind of avatar for the once mighty British Empire?

The Doctor Knows Better Than You

At the end of the 2005 series with Christopher Eccleston, The Doctor mentions that he experiences all points in time at once… or some junk. He knows everything. He’s better than all of us combined. HE BEAT SATAN! Donna Noble accidentally took his knowledge and it almost melted her brain!

He is the smartest thing to have ever lived by virtue of the fact that he always finds a clever solution to the problem while remaining (largely) moral and generally non-violent. He is the ultimate non-savage.

He is simply better than the rest of us. He rarely ever does anything wrong and when it is “wrong,” it’s to prevent a greater wrong. Granted, he may have committed genocide offscreen (though I have yet to see a season without a Dalek), but it was for the greater good.

Photo by Michelle Woolnough
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Doctor_Who_signing_HMV.jpg

In The Doctor’s wake lie a host of broken people that used to be companions. Remember the time he broke up Rose Tyler and her boyfriend and then accidentally locked her in an alternate dimension? Granted, she came back… and then he locked her back over there with a shitty version of himself, and that’s pretty much the happiest ending among companions.

Donna Noble got a lobotomy. Martha Jones gave up on waiting for him and married Roses’ ex… because the only two brown people in the show would marry. And let’s not forget the short run of Astrid Peth.

The companions find themselves unable to live in a mundane world after travelling with The Doctor… if they live at all.

And it’s not like he actually needs a companion. He goes out on his own all the time and wrecks strangers lives just fine. The last episode of season six was like 400 years of him running around without the Ponds. He picks these strangers because he gets lonely. If he was really a good guy, he would stop throwing people that are clearly dumber than him into danger to fill that void.

The Doctor Will Make You Do The Right Thing

The man that’s smarter than you and knows better than you has an obligation to make his inferiors do the right thing. At least that used to be the line of thinking for colonial powers. You could even characterize it as a kind of burden that has to be carried out.

At the end of every season the universe almost falls apart. Thankfully, The Doctor is there to restore order. EVERY FLIPPING SEASON! There was an episode where Donna Noble accidentally let him die in an alternate timeline and the Earth became a fascist wasteland like 20 minutes later. And then all the stars went out.

Because we can’t survive without him and his impeccable British wit.

Why is it we haven’t had a black Doctor yet? Or Hispanic? Or a woman? The only other Time Lords that actually do anything are also white males of, apparently, British stock. So why is The Doctor always a white Anglo? It’s because he wouldn’t be ideally British otherwise. He/She would no longer represent that British Mandate to tell other people they are doing it wrong and to teach them to be civil.

Is it so far fetched? Has The Doctor not been knighted by at least one queen of England? Did he not save the 2012 London Olympic games? Hasn’t he saved London over and over again? He’s pretty much British stoicism given human form.

This doesn’t ruin the show for me any more than the Avengers overabundance of white folks ruined Marvel for me, but it does make me remember that culture informs our entertainment.

 

Also, does anyone remember that time he had a daughter and then never looked for her or anything? WTF?

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The (Late) Week in Geek: Aug. 24, 2012

Ok, so this is really “Last Week in Geek.”

Believe Wonder Woman by Kerrith Johnson

Artist Kerrith Johnson has a series of these “Believe” posters on his DeviantArt page. They’re quite worth the looksie. Image courtesy of Kerrith Johnson.

It’s late mostly because I’ve been in the process of moving Kiphart World Headquarters across the state. I’m sorry I left you without conversation topics all weekend, but I’m here to make sure you’re twice as interesting this week!

The world mourned astronaut Neil Armstrong. He voyaged further than any of his predecessors, set foot on the shores of the moon, but still returned to his homeport.

Comic artist, writer, letterer, and inker Karl Kesel is selling his personal collection to help cover adoption fees and medical bills for his new son, Isaac. I’m not tearing up; it’s just really dusty. I told you, I’ve been moving.

The new “Borderlands” game will feature a “Best Friends Forever” skill tree, or as the lead designer calls it, “Girlfriend Mode.” Causal Girl Gamer Gabrielle wonders if it’s really worth all the hubbub.

Only days away from seeing the good Doctor, the BBC gives us a look at “Pond Life.”

Nic Cage and his hairline are starring in a taken ripoff called….wait for it….oh crap, you already guessed it! Stolen. Thank you, gods of the Internet and cocaine-fueled movie executives for this gift.

superman_x_wonderwoman_by_zuthell-d42r1xc

Do not think he saw that coming. Image courtesy of Zuthell on DeviantArt.

Want to know what happened in the season five finale of “True Blood?” Here you go.

Rob can barely contain his excitement for anything Quentin Tatantino touches.

Because at their core comics are sort of like high school, the quarterback is totally taking the head cheerleader to Make Out Point. Superman and Wonder Woman are all up in each other’s business.

Speaking of doing personal things in public (They’re up in the sky! Anyone can see them! Get an ice cave, you two!), today is Read Comics in Public Day.

No big secret or surprise, I am both liberal and in possession of lady parts. Which is why I just fawn over the President’s response to Sen. Todd Atkins’ insanity.

TJ has found neat stuff lurking on Kickstarter, behind the motivational tapes for cats.

Seth Green’s long-promised “Star Wars” comedy show may turn out to be the least-disappointing “Star Wars”-related production since the “Clone Wars” cartoon.

Felicity wonders when the presidential election went from a campaign to a competition in stupidity.

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Missed Adventures: GenCon Day 4

So concludes our 4 days of GenCon coverage. Day 1  Day 2  Day 3

Coming up on the last day of GenCon, TJ and I decided to sleep in. We skipped our first scheduled event, Zombie Dice, and arrived a little too late for Munchkin. While I’ve never heard about Munchkin before, Zombie Dice is something TJ tells me is kind of a big deal. Wil Wheaton covered it on one of his shows for Geek & Sundry, so I’ll let the video speak my peace.

While the game does look pretty cool, I’ve come to terms with sleeping in until 8:30am on a Sunday.

Yeah, that’s Robert Baratheon about to murder Rhaegar Targaryen at the battle of the Trident.

We did, however, find some time to play the the Song of Ice And Fire Roleplaying Game, and I have to say that Green Ronin really has its shit together. While Artemis was the single most fun I’ve had at GenCon… ever, both DC Adventures and SoIaF are produced by Green Ronin Publishing. Hands down DC Adventures is my favorite genre/system, and this game was just as much fun.

We started the demo by selecting characters. I chose to be the bastard son of a minor noble beholden to a lord that was, himself, beholden to the Tullys. Seeing my decision, TJ chose to be the young heir of the house. Upon selecting our characters, we decided to christen ourselves members of House Johnston. Our banner was a great ape, arms outstretched, falling from the sky. Our family oath: “Ours is the banana.”

Our first assignment, my half-brother and I were sent to Lord Wisend to appear on behalf of our lord father and discuss some issue. As it turns out, Lord Wisend was seeking our father to explain why a large cart of grain and gold hadn’t arrived at his hold. Upon seeing our father’s decision to send us in his stead, Lord Wisend decided to… entertain my brother as a guest while I went back to our father to explain the situation.

Engaging the intrigue system, we argued with the lord until his Maester got nervous and sided with us. At that point we asked for a handful of men so that we could seek out the cart and get to the bottom of the situation. From there we had at it with some bandits in the name of the great ape of our house.

Truly this was a fun game. Combat was pretty standard, but the intrigue system is far more than rolling a bluff check or doing an opposed insight contest. It was very engaging, and I suspect our DM was dumbing it down for us. Actually, I haven’t played a single game based on George R. R. Martin’s book series that I haven’t enjoyed. I proceeded to buy all the books. Our DM for the encounter, who happened to work on the game, Joe Carriker, was kind enough to sign my books.

We also played a little Castle Panic and Bears! Both games were pretty fun, although I preferred Castle Panic. They had the kind of artwork and game mechanic that would be pretty friendly to children learning to game, and both enjoyed a cooperative element that I really like in multiplayer challenges.

After that we wandered The Con and made our way back to the car. The convention ran until 7pm or later, but we decided we had enough. Most of the events were winding down and that feeling you get the day after Christmas was settling in.

Observing The Madness

I had a pretty great time at the convention. There were some ups and downs, but overall it was another great year. Observed a few interesting trends during our weekend.

1. Are You Hot Or Am I A Pedophile?

I’m of an age where the difference between 15, 20, and all the numbers in between is getting harder to distinguish. Luckily, I don’t date 15 or 20 year-olds so it’s not much of a factor in my day-to-day life. However, throw hundreds of cosplayers into a gaming convention and it quickly becomes a Where’s Waldo of appropriate dress.

2. Sweat Pants Cancel Corsets

Pretty much any convention is an excuse for ladies to whip out corsets for their costumes. That makes sense, given the popularity of steam punk and Victorian-age settings. What doesn’t make as much sense is seeing someone wearing a corset with sweat pants and sneakers. Or a corset with shorts and a t-shirt. I could take a couple stabs at why this happens, but I’ll leave it to the readers to decide.

3. Disproportionate Hotness

For whatever reason, normal, plain, or fugly looking guys can and do end up with beautiful women… if they are gamers. We saw dozens of instances where a beautiful girl was hanging on the arm of someone we’re pretty sure hadn’t bathed for the entire weekend. Maybe it’s personality, true love or that gender equality is especially lagging in the gaming community, but, however you slice it, it’s proof anything is possible.

Wrapping Up

What happens at The Con stays at The Con

This was a great weekend, but we have to make it better next year. TJ and I realize that just two of us isn’t cutting it anymore. We need to engage The Con with a sizable force. With that in mind, we will be inviting all of our friends while excommunicating everyone that turns us down. You’ve been warned.

We will also be looking for housing closer to the event. Expensive – yes. Worth it – hell yes.

Finally, we’ll be arriving earlier. Some events begin as early as the Wednesday before and we’re ready to make almost a week of it.

Are these goals realistic? Given the hours I work and the number of children TJ has, probably not, but GenCon is a magical place where dreams come true; if you’re smart enough, brave enough, and lucky enough anything is possible (see: Disproportionate Hotness). While we’re sad to go, we’re already scheming for next year.

 

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Con Men: GenCon Day 3

I’m just going to get this out there and say it.

If you knew about Gen Con, and you didn’t go, you lose. Plain and simple. You lose.

Know what I did today? I hung out with Green Lantern. I sang my way into battle alongside a warhammer-swinging Paladin. I served with Captain Malcolm Reynolds and a sexy assassin aboard the mighty starship Artemis.
The day started early. John and I got up around 7 o’clock (after about 4 hours of sleep), and headed out to the Con. We walked nearly the entire length of the Indiana Convention Center to get to the JW Marriott hotel, where our first event was being held. Let me say that every gaming session that happens should be in a meeting room of a fancy hotel: comfortable seating, hard candy, ice water, big tables, pens/paper provided.

Anywho, the game was called “Dead End” and was built using Mutants & Masterminds/ DC Adventures. We got the opportunity to play as many of the members of the Justice League, but mostly all the players picked B and C-list heroes. Our team consisted of Green Lantern, Batman (played by John), Dr. Light, Plastic Man, and our only D-list hero, Booster Gold (played by me, because I think he’s hilarious).

The team had their work cut out for them. Lex Luthor, Clayface, Sinestro, Deathstroke, and Gorilla Grod had all teamed up to build a dimensional portal… but our terrible Justice League team managed to fight them and send them to jail… except for that slippery Lex Luthor… he jumped through the portal. On the other side… we found Marvel Zombies.

Hands down a great game. I wish I could remember the DM’s name because he did an amazing job. He was part of North Coast Gamers from Ohio. If you’re reading this, DM, email me. I would love to ask you some questions about your DMing style or just chat. And I will definitely look for your event next year.

Next up came some Pathfinder Society action. This one… was a little disappointing, I have to say. The DM was really, really tired. And we had a really loud, jerky power-gamer incarnate sitting at our table. The guy couldn’t relinquish control of anything.

Other than that awful, harassing person, the other people at the table seemed legitimately cool, and I mostly had a good time. I felt bad for the DM, though. He looked like he needed a nap. I wonder how many games he had to run that day.

Pathfinder Society is a lot of fun. I’m going to be looking for ways to play nearer to home. I’m pretty sure there is a group in Columbus that plays. I need to start leveling up my character!

Next came the movieMisfit Heights.It’s a zombie puppet musical that we went to see because we liked that Vampire Puppet show fromForgetting Sarah Marshall.I don’t consider myself much a film critic… but I was a little disappointed. It’s ultra-low budget, and you can really tell. The picture was OFTEN too dark to see. The singing wasn’t really great. The sound editing seemed a little off. It also seemed a little overly long. However, I did laugh out loud more than a few times, so I suppose it was certainly worth seeing. And it was free, so the price was hard to beat.

Finally, the highlight of my day. Artemis, a starship bridge simulator. I’m going to try my best to adequately describe to you how amazing I think this game is.

How it works: Artemis is basically a program that runs using a LAN or internet connection. 6 displays are linked together, and each display represents a different station on a starship: Helm, Tactical (John got to shoot the bad guys), Communications, Science, Engineering (this was my specialty for the evening), and the Captain.

The Captain has the job of overseeing all the stations and giving orders. He’s the macro-organizer of the ship, and you mostly have to depend on him to organize all the stations to work together. The guy who volunteered to be our Captain was pretty amazing. He seriously took to it instantly, and by the end, we were all calling him “sir” or “captain.” Pretty impressive.

The Helm steers the ship by controlling the maneuvering engines, the impulse engines, and the warp engines. Our Helmsman started off a little shaky, but by the end was controlling the ship like a pro.

The Comm officer monitors communications throughout the star system and relays them to the Captain. Our comm officer was played by a cosplayer dressed as Malcolm Reynolds. It was weird to have the Browncoat hero sitting in the comm, but he did a great job. Comm officers are also able to get enemies to surrender and can also taunt the baddies into attacking us rather than one of our allied ships or space stations.

The Science Officer is responsible for keeping tabs on approaching ships and scanning the many anomalies in the darkness of space. Our Science Officer was played by the girl hanging out with Malcolm Reynolds (wife, girlfriend?) who was dressed as a sexy assassin. She did a good job keeping tabs on the bad guys.

The Tactical Officer is responsible for shooting bad guys and defending the starship. John was our guy, and he was the king of setting off nukes in such a way as to kill 3-5 ships in one fell swoop. After learning how to manually control the lasers, he basically became the boss of killing bad guys. Seriously.

Represent.

Finally, my part the Engineer. I was the guy responsible for shunting power into various systems, making sure those same systems don’t overheat, and sending engineering teams to fix any damage to the ship. I don’t want to toot my own horn too much, but I think I did a pretty excellent job of Scotty-ing (I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!!) my way through the game. By the end, I was a master of repairing shield damage and shunting enough power into John’s lasers to cut enemy warships into ribbons.

Basically, everyone should play Artemis. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to turn my shed into a starship bridge. I was so impressed with the game, I’m even considering getting an Engineer’s badge to show off my love for both the good ship Artemis and the lonely Engineering station.

After that, we headed to BW3s for some chicken wings, and we got to watch this woman at the bar have a terrible date.

All-in all, a pretty awesome day at the con.

Editor’s Note: John ended up remembering the DM’s name.

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We Live For The Con, We Die For The Con: GenCon Day 2

After yesterday’s complications, I woke up ready to engage GenCon like a man takes to water after any day in Phoenix. My job keeps me very, very busy, and it’s hard to get out and play any kind of game. So we got up oh so early to join the masses in all the games.

At least I thought we were early. As it turns out, when you’re in any city leaving less than 2 hours early for anything is asking to be late. We pulled it together and got my pass and like that (BOOM!) we were playing Settlers of Catan. Even though I’ve played the game a bunch–TJ owns the game–so I don’t really need to buy a $2 ticket to play it, I had a lot of fun.

Part of being at THE CON is meeting people and playing games you both enjoy. There’s room for new goodies, but just settling in with some strangers and SCHOOLING THEM in iron age resource management is fantastic. Incidentally, I did win with a friend’s favored strategy – longest road!

We then made the rounds of the vendor area. I have to say that I love the vendors because they always have soooooo much cool crap. Star Trek was really pulling down the cross merchandizing. We saw a featured card game, board game, and a minis game. Actually, Nichelle Nichols and hil Wheaton were there signing autographs. No doubt Nichols was there for Star Trek, but Wheaton has a prominent gaming channel on Geek & Sundry and has become a kind of icon in the geek community.

We came out with some swag. Chief among the goodies for me was a new edition of the Game Of Thrones board game. The game, based on the series of novels by George R.R. Martin, is one of the best tabletop games I’ve played in years. I actually owned the first edition, but various expansions and changes were made to fix balancing issues and better replicate the intrigue and strategy found in the novels.

We also walked out with some World Of Warcraft trading cards, some RPG books, and some miscellaneous swag. Tomorrow, time allowing, we’ll be able to jump into some of our favorite goodies.

We did, however, take a couple hours to try the Battle of Westeros board game. This was an enjoyable, co-op field strategy game. The kit comes with different forces and scenarios based on battles from the history of the setting of George R.R. Martin’s most treasured novels. We fielded our troops (House Lannister) and set out to make the “false king” (Stannis Baratheon) pay. As it turns out, charging my own general directly into battle proved a critical folly, costing my team the game.

Oops.

After that we found word that there was a speed dating event happening at a local bar attached to the convention, so I decided to sign up. I thought it would be a good way to meet some folks to play games and, heaven forbid, maybe engage in some romance. Unfortunately I accidentally purchased a ticket gendered for ladies. Unless I wanted to interview all the guys, which could have actually been interesting in its own right, I was gonna have to sit out.

So instead we made our way to Ruth’s Chris Steak House and had what was, hands down, the best steak I’ve eaten ever. It was amazing. The sweet potato casserole was also amazing.

While setbacks were minimized today, I’m realizing that going to a convention is a lot of work. More often than not my instincts about when and how to deal with mundane issues like parking or purchasing are wrong. Still, I give the day a 7/10 and tomorrow should be stellar.

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The Week in Geek: Aug. 17, 2012

Comic artist, writer, creator, and educator Joe Kubert died Sunday. The creator of Sgt. Rock was 85. In his memory pull up a corner of sofa and try your hand at a sketch or two.

Einstein a la potatoes

A portrait of Albert Einstein made out of potatoes. This makes me hungry…for knowledge of physics! Image courtesy of Quorkey on DeviantArt.

PBS brings us the little known collaboration between Julie Child and T-Pain in honor of Child’s 100th birthday.

TJ and John are at GenCon, and their first day did not go too well.

Marvel announced that “Avengers 2″ will be released in 2015. In other news, I have reminders on my phone for the release dates of all Phase 2 Marvel movies. Is that awesome or a cry for help?

This spoon art isn’t geeky, I just wanted to let you guys know what I want for my birthday.

Laura saw “The Campaign” and used the only election-related pun I know in her title.

Alex Alva has given us the Iron Man/Boba Fett mashup you never knew you needed to see. Click this link or, one day, fifty years from now, you’ll be aware of a nagging emptiness. Emptiness could only have been filled by looking at this helmet all those years ago.

Nikola Tesla > Thomas Edison. All geeks know this, and now The Oatmeal is raising funds for a (legitimate) Tesla museum. Give and know that you’re striking a blow against Cult of the Direct Current.

Einstein Yoda

Insert something technical related to relativity said backwards. Image courtesy of Rabbittooth on DeviantArt

Helen Gurley Brown, author of “Sex and the Single Girl,” longtime editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine (aka: Cosmo), and confusing figure for feminists everywhere, died Monday at age 90.

Disney Imagineers in Pittsburgh have created a technology that makes real plants expressive and interactive. I predict this is going to cause a crisis for more than one vegetarian.

Baby, what’s your sign? Just because I’m a Year of the Robot doesn’t mean we can’t still snuggle as we tackle the original MegaMan. Find out your Geek Zodiac here.

Lego’s 80 and looks back on its life in the most adorable Pixar-ish way possible. Gosh, I look forward to the day when I have kids, and I can give them Legos. And then I can spend the next ten years watching to make sure I never step on one.

The full trailer for WoW’s expansion, Mists of Pandaria was released. I didn’t realize there was so much generalized anger in the WoW community against Kung Fu Panda.

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Gen Con Adventures: GenCon Day 1

None of this bad stuff would have happened if Peyton was still here.

Well, today has been… pretty weird/terrible.

It started out pretty well. I was packed and out the door by 6 AM. John and I were on the road and discussing life, politics, etc.

Finally, after what seemed like an extremely short drive, we were in Indianapolis. Gen Con was just within my reach. All the games were going to be played.

But I suddenly realized that I forgot the tickets. They were sitting on top of my microwave in my kitchen in my house. I called my wife, John and I turned around, and away we went. We met at an A&W somewhere between Albany, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana. We decided to have lunch at said A&W, and the service was absolutely atrocious. The food wasn’t spectacular either, but John declared that the root beer was delicious.

Back to Indy we went. All the games were before us. Nothing could stop us.

Except the insane amount of road construction. We literally spent nearly an hour and a half within sight of our hotel… but we couldn’t get to it. A bridge was out for road construction… and there were no signs for a detour. An insane amount of driving ensued, but we got checked in. The room is really nice!

So, off to the convention center we went! All the games were again before us. But…

John couldn’t get his press badge. I actually watched as the press coordinators left the room, but I was too far away to do anything about it or say anything to them.  John thought about buying a day pass… but at $50, it was a little too steep a price to pay.

So, I played some Pathfinder… Which was fun. But, John went back to hotel and slept.

A super late dinner at Scotty’s Brewhouse after that, and now I’m writing this piece; I can barely keep my eyes open. So I’m going to sign off. Hopefully, things are better tomorrow.

 

 

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The Week in Geek: August 10, 2012

I’ve slogged through all the cats on the Internet to find you the best, cat-free stuff around. Here’s what happened this week. You’re welcome.

Doctor Pepper

It’s Doctor Pepper’s Lonely Time Lord Band! It was more clever in my head. Image courtesy of raisegrate.

Like a flipping boss in a bad action movie, Mars rover Curiosity emerged from the 7 minutes of terror (that it only had a 30 percent chance of surviving) and made a cheeky quip. Bill Nye was right, science rules.

People take themselves too seriously and it is hilarious. Gabrielle shows us “The Drama of Yelp.”

The real-life inspiration for the film-version of Tony Stark, Elon Musk, wants to put humans on Mars in 15 years. Total Recall really chose the wrong week to not be set on Mars.

Joss Whedon will return to write and direct Avengers 2 and shall helm that live-action Marvel TV series everyone’s chattering about. I’m too happy to make a joke, so just imagine I wrote something snarky about Firefly’s cancellation here.

Julie wants you to know that no matter how empowered Whedon or Christopher Nolan’s superladies are, their clothing is hella impractical.

Is my skirt too short?

Speaking of impractical clothing, this answers the ago-old question of, “What would the Doctors look like in their companion’s clothes?” Image courtesy of Bestiolina.

Sure, she said she was happy to win silver, but American gymnast Mckayla Maroney’s expression on the podium told a different story. What’s a world to do? Meme it, of course!

Here is a painting of a pug as a Jedi with a lightsaber. Your argument is invalid. (Note: I love that the artist went with the realism of tying the lightsaber to the pug’s paw because they don’t have thumbs. Duh!)

Speaking of high art, this guy nibbled highlights of Britain out of Jaffa Cakes. So, it’s not the end of the Internet, but you can see it from here (Joke made with credit to Jon Stewart).

Though millions of World of Warcraft fans might disagree, Tim argues that the MMO bubble has burst.

Last art one, I swear! DC has released prints reimagining classic titles and characters. Minimalist and noir to Victorian and beaux arts, there’s a lot of variety.

Doctor Companions

Everyone should be drawn as beaux arts poster people. It’s a fact. Image courtesy of strawberrygina.

Love the cult comic Love and Rockets? Of course you do because if you don’t you won’t seem cool and hip. In honor of their hipster fans, the cartoonists will be going on a tour of the the Northeast. Shimmy on your skinny jeans and hop the bus to Brooklyn.

Darker than a slice of blackberry pie during a power outage, animated short The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete is a nice way to waste five minutes at work.

Comic writer extraordinaire (and lover of frosted Pop Tarts), Gail Simone is Kickstartering to fund her graphic novel Leaving Megaopolis. It sounds like Irredeemable meets The Walking Dead in the best way.

Emily points out that not only has London declared that they’re going to put on the greenest games ever, it looks like they’re going to pull it off.

Kelly Sue DeConnick, who has been in comics for more than a decade, sat on a panel with Matt Fraction. A news website introduced Fraction by all is work. They introduced DeConnick as the wife of Matt Fraction. Fortunately for my faith in humanity, other creators, illustrators, and tastemakers good naturedly chimed in.

Superman is a more than a jerk. He’s a super-loser at the Interplanetary Olympics.

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The Week in Geek: Aug. 3, 2012

One thing I’ve learned watching the Olympics this week is that it’s all about techn-geek (technique, get it?). That doesn’t really work, but I’m bad with puns. Here’s what you need to know to sound fascinating this weekend!

Avengers Babies! We make our dreams come true! Avengers babies! We'll do the same for you!

This is probably the only way to make AvX interesting – make it adorable. Image courtesy of Scottie Young on Deviant Art.

British gymnast Jennifer Pinches flashed the Nerdfighter sign before her routine, but that wasn’t the only nerdtastic moment from the ladies in leotards.  Mexican gymnast Elsa Garcia Rodriguez Blancas did her floor exercise to a Zelda medley.

Some tremendously disturbed and wonderful person created Goodnight Dune.

TJ is filling his custom world in Mutants and Masterminds with superheroes and intrigue and he wants to fill you in.

Some guy who has only ever seen the first 30 minutes of Jurassic Park wants to build his own. With live dinosaurs. Before you say it, no, Mike, we will not honeymoon there. 

Oh, Coulson!

Oh, Coulson, you old stalker, you! Image courtesy of krusca on Deviant Art.

Proving that sometimes stereotypes exist for a reason, a team of Russian scientists is working on the more than slightly unethical mission of making us immortal. What’s better is that they’re supposed to have it by 2045, comrade.

Proof that not only am a geek, I’m kind of a jerk.

Someone get a squeegee because the trailer for the 7th season of Doctor Who is out, and it’s making Whovian heads explode.

Making the joke that everyone else has made because I love me a bandwagon – the title for the X-Men: First Class sequel has been released, and it is not X-Men: Second Class.

Speaking of film developments and Dr. Who, ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston has been tapped to play the villain in Thor 2. Before you get your panties in a twist, Loki will be there, and Rose will not.

They just ordered in schwarma.

Black Widow isn’t there because she’s out being a spy, not slacking like these Aven-jerks here. Image courtesy of Hallpen on Deviant Art.

Everyone needs an inspiration. J. Fortune’s was none other than the manliest man of mystery, James Bond.

Proving the nerds are more successful than normies, Todd McFarlane’s cover art of Amazing Spider-Man #328, featuring Spidey gut-busting the Hulk, sold at auction for a record $675,250.

Even though Bane sounded like he was narrating a particularly violent episode of Masterpiece Theater, I presume starring Dame Maggie Smith as the Tomb Raider (Armed only with withering comebacks no less! Admit it, you’d watch it.), it could have sounded much worse.

Felicity took a long look at Mitt Romney, and the longer she looked the more she found wrong.

J.K. Rowling has said the wizarding gene it dominant, but how to you explain wizards born to muggles or squibs? Biology student has it all figured out.

In a theme near and dear to my journo heart, Topless Robot, in addition to having a wonderful name, has a list of the 10 best journalists from comics.

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