Friday, June 28, 2013

Nerds go Mainstream - GoT, the Matrix, LotR, TBBT and comic book movies

Look out world!  The nerds are no longer huddled in dark corners like Morlocks.

Increasingly we're seeing pillars of nerd culture encroaching into the mainstream.  You know what it says to me, when office workers cluster around to discuss the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones?  This is so acceptable even 'cool' people admit to it in public.  Wow!

Yes, nerds are everywhere.  We first saw nerds making stealthy inroads in to normal society with The Matrix.  What could be more nerdy than Buddhist philosophy, comic book style fights, trench coats and leather outfits and a dystopian future ruled by machines?

Next up, Aragron, Legolas, Frodo, Gandalf, Eowyn and the rest of our friends from Middle Earth took the normal world by storm.

Then there's the Big Bang Theory.  Here I have some doubts about who's side this show is really on.  I recommend you read this The Problem with TBBT .  Some excellent points and I discovered the awesome show Community.

Of course, many normals are lured into Nerdvana through the simple, yet effective trap of summer block buster movies - X-men, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Avengers and of course the TV rip of X-men, Heroes (first season rocked - after that don't waste your time).

I leave you with this clip of people reacting to the Red Wedding.

Reaction to Red Wedding - Game of Thrones

For us true nerds who have read the books, or for the beginner nerds, testing the waters with floating things on their arms who watched all of Season 3 - Please don't spoil it by explaining why everyone's so upset.  Let this be a recruiting tool for the great nerd army :)

Have I missed any cherished bastions of the brainy and socially disinterested?

Friday, June 21, 2013

5 Reasons Why It's Good To Nerd Out

I love being a nerd!

I didn't always.  No, high school was a cruel place, even college was skewed toward the normies.  I imagined, "When I grow up, none of this popularity BS will matter.  We'll all be mature and appreciate each other for who we are, our diversity of viewpoints and life experiences.  It won't matter who's cool and who's not; who has the most toys/cars/clothes.  We'll be beyond all nonsense."

And then I grew up...and guess what?  We're not.  We still climb the social ladder and gossip about our co-workers, just like study hall.

But here's the difference - Me.  I'm no longer that nervous kid, trying to figure out who I want to be.  I know myself and I love being a nerd.  I proudly quote lines from Monty Python.  I have a favorite bacteria, favorite genes and favorite virus.  I think anime is neat and comics should be a serious storytelling medium.  I love sci-fi and fantasy books and I read Game of Thrones before the TV series!

My top 5 reasons why it's good to be a nerd (special thanks to my FB friends for your suggestions):

5 - Nerd clothes are way cheaper and more comfy.  Jeans and a T-shirt with an ironic saying or Dr. Who reference is haute couture.

4 - Adventure!  Books, movies, places, people, hobbies, food, careers.  Nerds try new things.  We have more interests and are less bored.  We're early adopters and trailblazers, quietly trend setting.

3 - Accepting others, no matter how strange.  Nerds are always a little out of step, a bit out of sync.  We know what it's like to be weird, different, other.  We're ok with people being not normal.

2 - I'm smarter than everyone else.  Nerds are expected to be witty, clever, sarcastic/sardonic.  No more pretending not to know the answer so I won't get labeled 'Teacher's Pet'.

1 - The huge relief of not having to try to be cool, hip, groovy, superswank, in, boss, etc.   I can be myself and love what I love without it ruining all my carefully hoarded social points.

What are your favorite aspects of being a nerd?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Songs To Game By

We all know music is an important component of setting the right vibe for role-playing.

Here are some of the factors I consider when compiling a playlist:

1.  Fit the story - no rock'n'roll music in a high fantasy setting, folk music is not ideal for ShadowRun, etc.
2.  I prefer not to have lyrics, but if there are lyrics they should support the themes of your story.  I have several songs I've added to playlist because they match a character's situation or mindset perfectly.
3.  No sudden loud, jarring changes - avoid music with trumpet blasts, drum fanfares and heavy metal ballads where the lead singer screams incomprehensibly for 30 seconds

I recommend the following:

For traditional DnD / medieval settings - Lord of the Rings soundtracks, the Fountain soundtrack, the Road soundtrack, Pan's Labyrinth soundtrack, Enya, Loreena McKennitt

For adventurous settings - Gladiator soundtrack, Last Samuri soundtrack, Battlestar Galactic soundtracks, Children of Dune soundtrack, Last of the Mohicans soundtrack

For horror/creepy settings - Nox Arcana

Light/Fun settings - Chocolat soundtrack

Future/ShadowRun settings - Transformers:  Rise of the Fallen soundtrack, NIN, Paul Oakenfold (DJ), Break of Reality, Kopas, The XX

Random settings - Putumayo has various world music that can fit a lot of different settings

What are your favorite soundtracks/playlists to game by?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Orpheelin - Amazing comic and she's a SHE!

I've been to a NYC ComicCon a couple of times.  My honey is a fantastic artist.  Here's a picture he did of Marius, a character who re-iterates a lot in our RPs and in my writing -

Hotkins aside, in Western comics there's a consistent lack of female influence. Considering the fastest growing readership is girls and women, this seems like a marketing no brainer.

So why aren't Marvel, DC, TopCow, BOOM!  IDW, Image, Zenescope and the rest running out to find female writers, editors and artists?  Well there a few, but most of them are colorists, like Nei Ruffino, who while she does an amazing job bringing life, light and color to her work, isn't creating the content.  The boobies and crotch shots she colors were drawn by guys.

Recently DC decided to restart their universe.  They put Wonderwoman back in her undies and did an opener of Catwoman where you never see her face!  Just TnA, as if women wander around their lairs in tiny outfits as a hobby.  Don't get me started on how "empowering" Witchblade's teeny bikini outfit must be.  Imagine trying to walk, let alone fight in that - Ouch!

Then there's Red Hood.  In a feeble, juvenile attempt to show she's a "strong, liberated" woman, the writers made her into a joyless nympho.  I'm fine with females having and liking sex, but making it a compulsion says a lot about the content creators and their target market:  Boys.

Turning now to our ray of hope.  The talented Orpheelin, whose work is sooo amazing I would buy the French books just to see more of Faust and Cendre.  The art is stunning and while there's boobies aplenty, there's also plenty of pics of Faust and other male characters and their naughty bits.  The story never treats the females as afterthoughts.  They are important and even when they're having a rocking time bouncy-bouncy on some Norse half-elf, they're treated with dignity and respect.

Check out Orpheelin at