5 Fandom Friday: Geeks Who Inspire Me

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There are a lot of geeks out there doing a lot of good, so this week’s fandom 5 prompt of “5 Geeks Who Inspire Me” was kinda tough. There are a LOT of geeks out there who inspire me for very different reasons. So while my list is incredibly long and complicated (complicated as in: this person is a geek because they are on this geek show, this person inspires me not because of how they live, but because of how they reacted that one time, and this geek is just flawless so their mere existence inspires me…). Still, I’ve managed to whittle down my neuroses and came to my top 5 geeks:

Felicia Day

felicia day panda

Felicia Day is so awesome. She create, wrote, directed, starred, and produced her own webshow, she started her own business, and she’s starred in some of my faves like Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog and Supernatural. All the while she manages to be hilarious, positive, and is always super kind and encouraging to all of her fans. I want to be Felicia Day when I grow up, y’all.

Chris Hardwick

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Chris Hardwick is another geek who essentially made a spot for himself. He’s a stand up comic, he runs Nerdist.com, he has his crazy successful Nerdist Podcast, and he hosts shows like Talking Dead and @Midnight. Not only do I admire this guy’s motivation and what he’s achieved, but I love his positive attitude. He’s another that just is genuinely nice to his fans–and humans in general.

Hilly and Hannah Hindi

hillywood

Hannah and Hilly, who you may know better as the brains behind the Hillywood Show, are amazing. They’ve created something so incredibly unique with Hillywood, and the amount of creativity that goes into each of their parodies is astounding. As someone who’s always secretly wanted to do parodies, I respect–and am in awe of–what these women have created.

Jared Padalecki

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I’ve talked about how much I respect Jared for his Always Keep Fighting campaign. I think it’s so great that he’s raised so much awareness for depression, anxiety, suicide, and self harm while also being open about his own struggles. He’s a guy that clearly has a huge heart, loves his fans, and genuinely wants to help people–and he uses his celebrity to do just that. I respect that so very much.

Stephen Amell

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My work buddy and I always talk about how Stephen Amell has been able to get us to care about stuff we would never encounter were it not for our membership in the Arrow fandom–baseball and WWE? Who am I? Stephen is not only nice and funny, but he uses his celebrity to do good in the world (his F Cancer campaign was CRAZY successful). Beyond that, he shares his personal goals, even if they’re a bit nutty like being in the WWE, and he achieves those goals. I think that’s so awesome, and I really admire him for it.

Who are some of the geeks who inspire you? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to check out my other Fandom 5 posts, and follow the #Fandom5 hashtag to see what everyone else is talking about today!

Book Review: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

I’ve been excited about Felicia Day’s memoir since the moment it was announced. When it was first available for pre-order, by some magical act of providence, I had recently been given a Barnes & Noble gift card. If you know me, B&N gift cards make it maaayyybeee 1 hour before I buy ALL THE BOOKS with it. So the fact that I had the card–fully loaded–and found a book I wanted available to pre-order was nothing short of fate. I ordered the book immediately, subsequently zapping my gift card of most of its funds–like I said, B&N gift cards don’t last long with me.

Of course the bad thing about pre-orders is you must wait for what seems like ETERNITY for your book to come off-press. If you want an example of how early I pre-ordered Felicia Day’s book, I’ll just tell you that the book was going by nothing beyond #FeliciaDayBook, and the cover looked like this:

FeliciaDayBook

Yeah, I had a while to wait for this sucker to come out. Happily, the wait is over, and I was able to zip through the book in a matter of a couple of days. And let me tell you, the book was FANTASTIC. While I’m sure you’ve now seen the actual book cover for Felicia Day’s now-titled memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), but in case you haven’t here it is again:

never weird

You guys, this book was fantastic. I’m a sucker for a good memoir, but even if I wasn’t a memoir fan I would have eaten this book up. Felicia not only shares stories from her unique childhood (being home-schooled–for, as she says, hippie reasons, not religious–becoming a violin prodigy, and going to college at 16 years old, just to name a few oddities), but she also talks about chasing her dreams and carving out a space for herself online while fighting some pretty intense anxiety–also removing any doubt that Codex from The Guild is essentially Felicia.

felicia-day-rabbit-o

Felicia’s story is an inspiring one, and it’s one that I related to (at least, at the front end of her story–the latter part where she becomes the internet-deemed “queen of the geeks” and launches her super successful web series and website landed more in the “inspirational” rather than “relatable” camp for me). She’s got a crazy drive to succeed, and pushes herself–often to her detriment–to do her very best and reach her goals. Driving yourself literally crazy to do your very best to achieve your goals? Oh yes, the meltdown I had at my kitchen table two nights ago will tell you that I most definitely relate to that.

adult

My meltdown looked startlingly similar to this…

But what I loved about the book was that it wasn’t just the story of one woman disregarding her personal health and social life to achieve her dreams–and you can, too! Instead, Felicia gave us her formula for success, but she also explains how it nearly destroyed her. I really appreciated that honesty of, “Hey, I had a dream, I went after it and I definitely did not take care of myself. It worked, but I put myself through unneeded hell. Don’t do that.”

I’ll be honest, I really struggle with that desire to do everything, having dreams, but not knowing exactly how to achieve them. Most of the time, I either feel completely swamped and overwhelmed with good things happening or I feel completely ill-equipped and like a GIANT impostor. I often convince myself that if I’m not running myself ragged, I’m not doing a good enough job

Success is work, right? So why the heck do you think it’s okay to be going to bed before midnight on a work night? 

Sure, you could spend a little time turning your brain off, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the successful people are working and brainstorming right now!

I realize you haven’t seen your bestie in several months, but if you want to be successful, you’ll stay home and work on your blog today. 

My brain is a mess, you guys. So I really appreciated and resonated with someone talking about chasing their dreams and working to build something for themselves while trying to work against Jerk Brain telling them that success = no sleep, fun, family, self-care, and friends. The book ends with her talking about the healthy place she’s in now, and her excitement for Geek & Sundry and its future–as a Geek & Sundry writer, I was kinda got some warm and fuzzies at that part.

felicia day

I don’t think I can recommend Felicia’s book highly enough. She can spin a good yarn, she makes you laugh (even when she’s talking about some of the darker periods of her life), AND she includes plenty of pictures of baby Felicia in the book. That alone makes it worth the buy, but the amount of inspiration and motivation it left me with to work to make my dreams a reality made it one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. It’s impossible to close her book and not feel a bit like you should do the Xena yell and conquer the world.

girl power

If you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of Felicia’s book BUY YOUR COPY NOW! It’s a fun, fast, inspiring, and quick read that I couldn’t recommend highly enough.

Have you read Felicia’s memoir? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments! 

Everyday Cosplay: Katniss Everdeen

We’re all getting excited as we get closer to the date The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II releases in theaters. Yesterday, the film released this AMAZING banner of a fallen statue of President Snow. BEHOLD!

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SO FLIPPIN AMAZING. Right???

Since seeing this, I’ve been SUPER amped about Mockingjay Part II, but we still have to wait a bit before the film hits theaters (November 20, to be exact). So to help pass the time, I thought I’d pull together a Katniss everyday cosplay look. After recently getting a chance to try out the AMAZING Superfit Hero Leggings (body positive, adorable, and made for the many different sizes of women out there–seriously, they’re amazing and I’m gonna talk more about these guys later so stay tuned!), I decided to create a couple looks based on her Catching Fire style, specifically her District 12 look with that ADORABLE shawl and her look in the Quarter Quell arena. Check it out:

Katniss Everdeen: Catching Fire Everyday Cosplay

What are some of your favorite Katniss and Hunger Games-inspired looks? Can you master the infamous Katniss braid (and if so, CAN YOU TEACH ME?!??) Will you be watching Mockingjay Part II when it hits theaters on November 20? Let me know what you think in the comments!

The Mary Sue Post: Fear the Walking Dead Pilot Review

Well, it’s a new season of walkers, so I’m back at it at The Mary Sue, recapping! While we still have to wait until October 11 to catch up with Rick and the gang at Alexandria, we got our first introduction to our new group of survivors–or whatever we’re calling them–last night in Fear the Walking Dead‘s pilot episode.

I’ll be honest, I was kinda underwhelmed, but I do see a boatload of potential simmering just under the surface. I’m hoping they kick up the walker action in the coming episodes, and play with humanity’s evolution when society begins to break down–those tough moral dilemmas TWD has forced us to ponder that make the Walking Dead franchise more than just a zombie show.

Here’s an excerpt from my spoiler-filled review:

FTWD

We finally got our first look into the world of AMC’s hotly anticipated spin-off of The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead. A spin-off of such a successful, unique television show is a daring adventure, and the expectations from the TWD fandom was HUGE. So did the show actually live up to expectations? Do we have another classic in the walker-run universe of Robert Kirkman?
Well, maybe.

Before we jump in, read ahead at your own risk if you haven’t watched the pilot of Fear the Walking Dead yet. There WILL be spoilers ahead!

The big difference between The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead is that while we were immediately thrust into the walker-run world in Walking Dead, and the show went from 0-100 straight out the gate, Fear the Walking Dead is a much slower burn. In FTWD, we’re teetering right on the precipice of the zombie outbreak—which means that the storyline is very … normal.

In the pilot, we meet Maddie and her family—a perfect daughter, addict son, Maddie’s loving and supportive partner. The meat of the episode is dealing with her son, Nick’s, severe heroin addiction. Nick sees a walker in the first three minutes of the episode, but isn’t sure if he actually saw a girl chowing down on the insides of another human, or if the drugs he took were laced with something funny…

Head over to The Mary Sue to read the whole recap, and let me know what you thought about Fear the Walking Dead in the comments! 

Easy Changes American Ultra Could Have Made To Become ULTRA Awesome

I’ve been weirdly excited for American Ultra ever since I first saw the trailer for the flick.

I have an awkward spot in my heart for Jesse Eisenberg, and I loved watching him and Kristen Stewart together in Adventureland (which you should totally see if you haven’t). I love the idea of stoner comedy/Jason Bourne-ish spy movie mashup (I believe Screen Junkies likened the film to “if Jason Bourne and Pineapple Express had a baby”) , so this one was high on my to-watch list. I saw it this weekend, and don’t get me wrong: I liked it. It was a fun ride, and I’m glad I’m saw it. But I left the movie with the feeling of That was good, but I expected a lot more. I know, that’s a crappy critique to offer a movie, so let me explain.

Before I do though, I should say that the movie did one thing very right, and that was casting Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in the lead roles.

jesse and kristen

I love watching these two together, and I find their brand of quirky, quiet, awkward, yet lovable chemistry so fun to watch. As someone who is quite quirky, quiet, awkward, and (hopefully) lovable herself, I appreciate seeing those types of relationships onscreen. They are what made the movie for me, and they gave the crazy plot line some much-needed and very believable heart. I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for these two, I don’t know if I would have liked the movie nearly as much. Despite the things I wasn’t crazy about in this one, Eisenberg and Stewart’s chemistry made the movie worth the watch.

…Buuuut like I said, there were some things I wish they did a bit differently [WARNING: major spoilers ahead!!!!]

More Kristen Stewart

kristen stewart

I know the “cool” thing to do since Twilight is to hate Kristen Stewart. She’s a bad actor, she doesn’t smile, she doesn’t wash her hair, blah, blah, blah. The fact was, I loved her in this movie–and I’ve loved her in other films I’ve seen her in as well. I just wish we got a bit more of her story in the movie. [FINAL SPOILER WARNING] I was able to call her character’s–Phoebe–CIA affiliation pretty early on in the film, which was a bummer. While I never once doubted Phoebe’s devotion to Jesse Eisenberg’s character, Mike, I kind of wish we spent a bit more time getting to know her on the front end so her big reveal as Mike’s “handler” would have been more of a surprise. Besides, Phoebe was just a great character, and I would have liked to have seen more of her.

More Freaked Out Mike

awkward jesse

Mike’s character is a recently activated CIA super-soldier, right? Though his programming was largely successful, the program was slowly driving him insane–hence his deactivation and entrance into the stoner world. Because of the anxiety and slower processing speed Mike deals with thanks to his CIA programming, the way he works through the entire “activation” isn’t as much of a raucous, barrel of laughs like you’d expect. There are funny parts, sure, but because of the speed his brain processes, a lot of times he simply accepts the situation and moves forward.

jesse eisenberg

He’s largely scared, confused, and ultimately hurt by the entire situation, so Mike’s dealings with his past are largely very human moments rather than funny. While the more human moments are important, and great–like the scene where Connie Britton’s character explains the entire Ultra program to Mike–I wish they balanced it out with a few more funny ones. After all, no one plays awkward and confused like Jesse Eisenberg…

…well, maybe Michael Cera. I digress.

Tone Topher Grace Down a Bit

topher grace surrender

I love Topher Grace, I really do, but he was a cartoon villain in this movie. Seriously, he was so outlandish that I’m surprised they didn’t give him a mustache to twirl. Topher Grace is great at sarcasm and speaks fluent smart-ass, yet I felt like they kept pushing his character to be bigger and louder, which just made him seem ridiculous. In scenes where he was a bit more chill (for instance, the phone call between him and Mike, giffed above, was one of my favorites) showed Grace’s sarcastic smart-ass persona much better than the scenes where he’s trying to be the most evil, vest-wearing man in the CIA. I get that they were trying to make Grace’s character evil and ridiculous, but it felt like it was a bit too much.

Slow Down!

phoebe

Whenever Mike would have any sort of flashback, we’d see a rapid fire of images. I felt like that was how they wrapped up the entire movie. I think this one is really the heart of my entire issue with the movie. I felt like they rushed through everything. They rushed through introducing you to Phoebe and then telling us that she’s actually CIA. They rushed through Mike’s processing of his newfound skills and reality. They rushed through the characterization of their main villain, making him cartoonish, and they rushed into the ending. American Ultra had SO MANY great things in it, and so many great foundations that, had they just pushed a bit more, could have made this movie a million times more wonderful–or ultra–than it was.

american ultra poster

So should you see American Ultra? If you like stoner comedies, you’ll love this. If you like Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart together, you’ll like this. If you like true-to-genre spy movies, this one isn’t for you. If you’re thinking this will be similar to Zombieland, mixing funny in with a normally un-funny genre, you’ll enjoy the movie, but you’ll be disappointed. American Ultra is a fun, funny, heartfelt movie, but ultimately they fall just short of making this as awesome of a movie experience as it could have been.

Did you see American Ultra this weekend? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Geek & Sundry Post: MOAR COSPLAY!!!

I do a lot of writing on cosplay over at Geek & Sundry, and I love it (mainly because I am so very bad at it–I like to talk to and feature those who are super talented at it). So here are a few of my most recent cosplay posts over at the Sundry, an interview with the amazingly talented Emily Kelley, and two outstanding cosplay gallerys. Please to enjoy!

Interview with a Cosplayer: Emily Kelley

Emily-Kelley-Cosplay

What has been one of the coolest things to come from cosplaying?

At WonderCon 2014, when I debuted my Red Sonja cosplay, Gail Simone was a guest at the convention and I got to meet her at a signing. I was hanging out by the Dark Horse booth before her signing and someone asked to take my picture. Afterwards, he said he was Gail’s husband and she always liked to see the cosplays of her characters. When I got to her, she signed my Red Sonja #1 and took some pictures with me. Later on, she tweeted the picture her husband took of me and called me “gorgeous and fierce.” Life made!

Speaking of cool things you’ve gotten to do, I see you were recently on Geeks Who Drink! Tell us about that experience!

Oh goodness, it was amazing. From the moment I arrived on set, everyone — from my fellow contestants and the crew to Zachary Levi and the celebrity captains — were nothing but nice and inclusive. I’m a huge LOST and Supernatural fan, so when they told me I’d be on a team with Mark Pellegrino, I had a fangirl moment. He was incredibly nice and genuine and chatted with us the whole time, as did Zach. It was definitely nerve wracking being on camera and having to answer the questions, but I couldn’t have asked for a better team to be with. You can see my face when it was over and I couldn’t stop smiling…

Read the rest of the interview at Geek & Sundry!

Spider-Gwen Cosplay Gallery

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Marvel has been doing some awesome stuff lately, offering us up some truly amazing female superheroes. One such hero is none other than Ms. Gwen Stacy herself, drummer of the band the Mary Janes and the costumed hero known affectionately as Spider-Gwen. Spider-Gwen’s popularity took off like a wildfire, and her issue of Edge of the Spiderverse sold like hotcakes—and led to her own series, and clothing line on We Love Fine. With such a rabid fandom and crazy-fast popularity growth, it’s no wonder that cosplayers everywhere couldn’t wait to try out their own Spider-Gwen cosplay, and I’ve compiled a gallery of some of my faves…

See the gallery on Geek & Sundry! 

Supergirl Cosplay Gallery

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This is an awesome time for female characters in comic books. With a woman taking the role of Thor, Captain Marvel getting her own movie, and the introduction to everyone’s favorite teenage Avenger, Kamala Khan; there are more and more amazing women getting the spotlight in the comic book world.

This fall, DC Comics will be launching a new television show featuring another amazing female superhero–Supergirl. While the trailers for CBS’ new Supergirl show have been mixed, there’s no doubt that everyone’s buzzing about finally meeting Melissa Benoist’s version of Kara Zor-El. While we’ll have to wait until October for the show to officially launch, we can pass the time by checking out some amazing cosplayinterpretations of Supergirl’s signature look. I’ve pulled together some of the coolest examples of Supergirl cosplay, from the cute to badass, all bringing exciting interpretations to Supergirl…

Check out the gallery on Geek & Sundry!

Check out the articles, and tell me about some of your favorite cosplayers in the comments! 

5 Fandom Friday: Crossover That Would Make My Heart Explode (Out of Nervousness)

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I’ll be honest, crossovers make me super nervous. While it can be really cool to imagine and create crossover stories in fanfiction, I get really nervous about making crossovers canonical. If you’re reading a crossover fanfic, you can suspend your disbelief quite a bit–after all, it’s fan fiction and nothing more. However, I feel like our critical lense as fans gets a bit more intense when some crazy, world-altering stuff like crossover stories happens in an official sense. For a crossover to happen successfully, it has to be perfect. The interaction of characters can’t feel forced, and their connection has to make logical sense–like Flash/Arrow crossover events. It makes perfect sense for those two worlds to come together, and their interactions seem totally natural. They’re also always a TON of fun.

flash and arrow

So I’m this week I’m taking a bit of a different road for our Fandom 5 prompt. I’m going to talk about those crossovers that I’d love to see, but these are also the crossovers that would make me CRAZY nervous because they would have to be nothing short of flawless.

WhoLock

By now, you’ve all probably seen this Youtube WhoLock video:

While the faces get a bit wonky at times, the video does a great job at capturing the moods you’d expect of Sherlock and the Doctor, should they ever meet–and it’s pretty fantastic. Canonically speaking, since Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffatt are both so heavily involved in both shows, a crossover should probably be great. So why am I so hesitant to be fully on board seeing WhoLock become canon? Because while you can totally explain why Sherlock would become interested in the Doctor–after all, spotting Time Lords IRL is something most Whovians try.

DoctorWhoBeatles

Still, Sherlock is a man of science, logic, and reason. He’s severe, he’s serious, and he’s in no mood for “wibbly, wobbly, timey-wimey” antics. I just don’t see how that kind of a man could have an interesting–or fun to watch–adventure with the Doctor. Of course, now with Twelve helming the TARDIS, they may get a long better, but still, the heart of Doctor Who is fun, alien adventures, while Sherlock is based on logical, deductive reasoning from a high-functioning sociopath. Sure, the two worlds could meet, but it would be so easy to make their meeting a canonical disaster rather than a fun crossover episode.

SuperWhoLock

If WhoLock worries, me, SuperWhoLock scares the ever-loving daylights out of me. Seeing three of my favorite shows work together? Awesome. But if there would be obviously conflicts in tone between Sherlock and Doctor Who, think about the huge conflicts between those two worlds and the craziness of the Supernatural universe. As with any good crossover, there are TONS of fanfics, gifsets, and videos online suggesting possible storylines. This one is one of my favorites, using the “crack in the wall” from Amy Pond’s room to suggesting why the three worlds are colliding.

I really love this trailer, but of course they’re using pre-existing footage. Still, it does show how you can intertwine the shows. I just feel like there is SO much room for error, that I’d spend the entire episode being nervous. Of course, I felt the same way about the Supernatural musical, and it turned out being amazing. So you never know, I guess.

Supernatural/X-Files

This one has a few more legs to stand on, I think–mainly because both shows delve into the supernatural.

mulder demon fetal harvets
demon!dean

…and they both have dealt with this troublemaker.

mark sheppard
crowley whine

Of course, with any crossover there are concerns, but the biggest here would be bringing back an older, well-loved TV show. I’m nervous enough about the X-Files revival, having them crossover with Supernatural–however awesome it may be–would make me even more nervous.

Supernatural/American Horror Story

sam in the pit AHS Coven

This is another no-brainer, especially since they’ve both dabbled in demon deals (except for that awkward moment when Jessica Lange’s character turned out to not have a soul to deal with), and they even featured a brand of hunter on American Horror Story: Coven. Even better, with the nature of American Horror Story, the Winchesters could easily make a brief, one-episode appearance on the show for a crossover episode and leave. AHS already does stuff like this, bringing on characters briefly and taking them away (like the was she/wasn’t she Anne Frank in AHS: Asylum). The only thing is that AHS is so very dark and twisted. Even though Supernatural can be a gutting show, they really don’t dive too deep into the utter awful depravity that AHS does. So while both shows play with supernatural stuff, I’m not sure I’d like the blending of those two.

The Walking Dead/ Left 4 Dead

This one is kind of goofy, but I would love if the survivors on Left 4 Dead 3 (a game which will probably never happen, but whatevs) were Walking Dead characters…or even if Left 4 Dead zombies showed up on The Walking Dead. I mean, Daryl’s tough…

The Walking Dead Daryl

…but could he handle THIS:

L4D Witch Mod

Of course, as cool as it would be to watch the gang deal with witches, boomers, jockeys, hunters, and the like on Walking Dead, I can’t help but think it would be a bit goofy to watch the gang deal with highly evolved, super-zombies like a tank after several seasons of dealing with walkers that only vary in their gross-out level, not their special skills. But still you can’t deny this is kind of great…

What are some crossovers you’d like to see? What crossovers would you definitely NOT like to see happen? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to check out my other Fandom 5 posts, and follow the #Fandom5 hashtag to see what everyone else is talking about today!

Geeky Travel: Austin Edition Part I

One of my favorite things to do is travel. While I can’t zip around the world as often as I’d like, not having kids means Hubster and I can be relatively free to travel whenever we can spare the cash and the time off from work. Very soon, we’ll be embarking on our next journey and will be visiting the weirdest city in Texas: Austin.

You guys. I cannot wait.

While I’m heading down their for a family wedding, we’ve worked a few extra days in there to enjoy the city. I’ll be honest, there is a TON that I want to experience in this city, but since Austin’s unofficial motto is “keep Austin weird”, I was really interested to see what the geek culture was like in their neck of the woods. So I decided to do a bit of research and find a few geeky and/or weird spots in Austin that I’m hoping to visit.

EMERALD TAVERN GAMES & CAFE

emerald_tavern

These kind of geek-themed cafes are just not a thing where I live. We’ve got two that have been under construction and “opening soon” for about as long as I can remember, but there really isn’t anything in existence. This is why I can’t wait to check out Emerald Tavern. It basically offers you a place where you can play tabletop games, sip coffee or alcohol, and munch on some of their food items. All with English Tudor decor.

Uncommon Objects

uncommon objects

Uncommon Objects is a quirky little antique shop filled with random bits and bobs from years past. I’m a sucker for an antique store, and I love looking at things that are so old you can practically feel the history vibrating off of them. It may be kitschy, but I think I’ll have a blast looking around this store. Plus, I heard they sometimes have old photographs for sale, and those are some of my favorite things to stumble upon in an antique shop.

Game Over VideoGames

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Game Over Videogames is basically a ginormous video game store. They carry classic games and consoles right along with modern games and consoles. I’ll have to check the calendar to see if they’re hosting any fun events while I’m there, but even if they aren’t this sounds like a fantastically amazing video game store to visit.

DRAGON’S LAIR COMICS & FANTASY

dragons lair

This place is an awesome blend of comic shop, collectible store, and cosplay resource center–or so I’ve heard. Not only do they carry a wide range of geeky goods, but they also host special events and concerts at the store. This is another one that I’ll have to see if they’re hosting a special event when I’ll be in town. This store really seems like a geeky destination shop, carrying anything and everything a geek gal could want. I’m so excited to see what they’re all about.

AUSTIN BOOKS & COMICS and THE GUZU GALLERY

Austin-Books-and-Comics-Logo

guzu-gallery

I put these two together because, apparently, they are next door to one another. I feel like I almost HAVE to check out Austin Books & Comics because it is the largest comic book shop in the area. Still, they apparently have a giant Hulk statue in the shop, and I kinda NEED to take a pic with it. However, the Guzu Gallery next door seems so wonderfully weird that I just HAVE to visit. It’s part collectible store, part art gallery, but all about geeky goodness and creative expression. Count me in.

What are some other must-see geeky or weird things I need to see while I’m in Austin? Let me know your favorite weird Austin locales in the comments! 

Convention Season: Attending an Out of State Convention (Plus a Contest!)

I love convention season. There is nothing more fun than buying passes, planning your schedule, your outfits, and setting off to head to a totally amazing convention. Last year I had a pretty fun con schedule (for me, anyway), heading to Denver Comic Con, GeekGirlCon, and Rocky Mountain Con. This year, I kept things toned down and only headed out to Denver Comic Con. I had a great time, and got to hang out with new and old friends, like my buddy the Raptor Evangelist:

Velocirapture

But the thing about going to conventions is they are all learning experiences. Conventions are NUTS, and if you’re travelling out of state for them, they can get even nuttier. So while con season is starting to draw to a close, we still have conventions like GeekGirlCon and New York Comic Con on the horizon. While I know some of my readers are located in Seattle and New York and can easily make the jump to GeekGirlCon or New York Comic Con, I know a lot of you are like me, and attending either of those conventions means a cross-country trip.

Well, since AnimeVendor.com is running a contest, giving away two four-day passes to New York Comic Con, I thought I’d offer a few tips that seems simple, but can really help enhance the experience of attending a convention that is out-of-state:

Prioritize

Ron Swanson Wisdom

You’re going to a new, exciting city to a new, exciting convention. Not only are there tons of things you probably want to do at the con, there are probably even more things you want to see in the city itself. You’ve got to face the facts: you can’t do it all. Decide what is most important to you, and prioritize those first. Make yourself a schedule that won’t drive you crazy (only you know what that looks like). For any con I attend, local or otherwise, I always plan for a few panels in case my first choice doesn’t work out for some reason. If you want to work in some sightseeing time, do that, too. Any convention is a wonderfully exhausting experience, just make sure you plan a trip that stays wonderfully exhausting and doesn’t meander into the realm of “emotionally and physically draining” or “unpleasant and exhausting”.

Make Sure You’re Comfortable With Your Hotel

hotel

The temptation will be to book yourself a sketchy hotel because “I’ll be at the con all day, anyway”. DON’T DO THIS! You don’t have to go super fancy, but make sure you’re booking yourself a room in a hotel in which you feel safe and comfortable. You’ll be exhausted after a long day at the con, so you want to come back to a place where you truly feel you can relax. Whether that means a nicer hotel, rooming with a buddy, rooming by yourself, or making sure your hotel has a pool, don’t ignore those things that make you feel safe and cozy. I can’t tell you how many people I talked to at GeekGirlCon who dreaded going back to their rooms–one even checked out early to sleep on the floor of another friend’s hotel room–because their hotel was atrocious. Find that happy place between a crazy fancy hotel room and the hotel from Vacancy.

Figure Out Food Options Ahead of Time

food here

When I attended GeekGirlCon last year, I didn’t rent a car. I took a shuttle from the airport to and from my hotel, and walked anywhere else I needed to go. Here’s the thing though: I’m a hardcore introvert. So once the end of the day came, I didn’t want to have to sit in a crowded restaurant. I wanted to be alone, in my hotel room, where I didn’t have to talk to anyone. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure out the nearby food situation ahead of time, so I found that a lot of places I figured would deliver, didn’t deliver to my hotel. One particular sad night I got a big migraine, and I decided the only cure was hot wings–but they didn’t deliver. So I found myself tromping boldly down and back up Pike Street with a half-crazed look of migraine madness, a shabby looking hoodie, yoga pants, and purple Uggs just to pick myself up some hot wings. It wasn’t my best moment of the convention. Of course, even if you’re more social and less migraine prone than I am, it’s still good to at least scout out your food options before you sit down in a restaurant. You’ll definitely want to know–before you order–which restaurants are expensive, which ones have big waits, and which ones aren’t worth your time.

Drink Water

jesse water

When I’m at home, I drink a TON of water. I live in Colorado, so our tap water is amazingly refreshing. When I travel out of state, I often forget how gross other state’s water can be, so I get a nasty gulp of tap water and opt to lay off the water…and then I get migraines and go on half-crazed walks for hot wings. I’m just sayin’, drink that water, kids. Conventions are tiring, they’re hot, and there can be a lot of walking. Keeping some water on you at all times can help keep you upright and enjoying the entire convention.

What are some of your tips for attending an out-of-state con? Got any con horror stories or cautionary tales to share? Let me know in the comments! And if you to attend New York Comic Con and don’t have a pass, head to AnimeVendor.com to enter their contest for two free, four-day passes! 

Guest Post by April Genevieve Tucholke: Inspiration for “The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh”

I pushed myself last month to read a novel, a collection of short stories, and a novella to break myself out of a months-long reading slump. While finishing the books took a bit over a month, I read each of them, loved them, and have since waved that pesky reading desert wasteland goodbye. Yesterday, I talked about my thoughts on Armada (TL;DR: it was fun, but Ready Player One was soooo much better–if you’ve never read Ernest Cline, go for Ready Player One and just watch The Last Starfighter), and today I’m doing something a bit different to talk about the collection of short stories I read: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. The book is a collection of short stories collected by April Genevieve Tucholke (who writes a short story herself), but each story has a bit of a twist. I’m so excited to get to be a part of the official blog tour for the book, and bring you a guest post from April herself!

Slasher Girls

When I first heard about this book, I saw that the publisher was lauding it as “A powerhouse anthology featuring some of the best thriller and horror writers in YA— for fans of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, American Horror Story, and The Walking Dead.”  I’ll be honest, that alone hooked me. I didn’t look any further into the book, and I requested a review copy. It wasn’t until after I received my copy of the book and started reading that I noticed that each story had an air of familiarity to it. If this collection was simply an anthology of short, scary stories, that would be great, but not entirely unique. What makes Slasher Girls & Monster Boys not only a great book, but a unique one is that each story was inspired by an existing work of literature, film, television–and the occasional Nirvana song (seriously). Even better, the author’s inspirations are revealed at the end of each story (at the bottom of the page and upside down to discourage cheating), so you can guess the work the author is referencing. Honestly, I loved this book. It was a fun, quick read, and the stories range from unsettling, to creepy, to downright scary. This book is DEFINITELY a must-have for any horror fan. 

But enough of me talking.

I’m so happy to welcome April to my blog today for the official Slasher Girls & Monster Boys Blog Tour. She’s written a post–and peppered it with gifs since we’re all about the gifs up in here–talking about the inspiration behind her AMAZING short story in the collection, “The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh”. Please welcome April to the blog, and be sure to pick up your copy of Slasher Girls & Monster Boys–it hits stores TODAY!

I drew from two inspirations for my Slasher Girls & Monster Boys short story—one iconic, and one not-so-iconic:

Inspiration 1:

carrie

It was inevitable that someone in this anthology would be inspired by Stephen King’s Carrie. I relate to the shy main character of this book/film, and I’ve always had a sympathetic twitch for the underdog, for the girl who is just a little bit different, for the girl who takes revenge.

carrie2

Inspiration 2:

IKWYDLS

It’s not a classic, like Carrie, but I have a soft spot for I Know What You Did Last Summer—I absolutely love the scene with the four kids in the rain, screaming at each other, frantically trying to figure out what the hell they are going to do. I always try to put myself in their shoes–-seriously, what would you do if you were a senior in high school and you crashed into somebody on the side of the road? What if you’d been drinking? What if there was a good chance you could hide the body and get away with it?

Last Summer

I love pondering questions like these, so it was fun to force my characters to go through this kind of experience.

What are some of your favorite horror stories? Have they inspired you to write your own stories, make your own movies, or create your own art? Tell me about it in the comments. And grab yourself a copy of Slasher Girls & Monster Boys today!