Geek Fuel June Box Review

At this year’s Denver Comic Con, I got the opportunity to talk with some of the fine folks from the geeky subscription box, Geek Fuel.

geek-fuel-bw-logoGeek Fuel is a Denver-based company, that despite being ALL OVER THE PLACE, these guys haven’t even been around for a full calendar year. Now, I’ll be honest, the market is getting a bit saturated with geeky subscription boxes, and the folks at Geek Fuel know this. So instead of stuffing a box full of geeky swag, they’ve tried to make their boxes a bit different.

When you get a Geek Fuel subscription box, you’re not only going to get fun, geeky swag, but you’ll also get “usable” items that can range from anything to a mug to a book or even an energy drink. They also include a Geek Fuel magazine and video game magazine. The heart behind Geek Fuel is not to send you a subscription box each month that just gives you more stuff to crowd your desk at work or your shelves at home. Instead, they want to give you a bit of swag, a bit of usable stuff, and they want to feature indie artist. Basically, Geek Fuel boxes are subscription boxes for the whole geek, not just their collectible-loving side.

Geek Fuel was nice enough to send me the June box to review here, and I have to say that I was pretty stoked about what I received:

past-box-june

First of all, the book had TWO books in it. TWO. You want to win my heart? Give me books. For real. I was also really excited that the books were the two Jurassic Park novels by Michael Crichton. I had just watched Jurassic World shortly prior to getting my box, so it was perfect timing.

They also included a fantastic Mortal Kombat bookmark. Just the motivation I need to continue my summer reading!

Book Collage

Of course there were tons of other great things in the box. I got the Red Ranger magnet (he’s currently guarding my cubicle at work), a literal keychain and code to a game, some Ooze that sent me RIGHT back to my childhood, and a GREAT X-Files-inspired alien tee.

Geek Fuel Box Collage

I was particularly excited about the tee for a few reasons. First, I’ve started watching X-Files for the first time IN MY LIFE (I know, I know), and I’ve fallen instantly in love with that show. So I was stoked to get a bit of fandom gear for my newest TV obsession so soon into my fandom-lationship with X-Files. Secondly, I’ve gotten other subscription boxes where the shirt is not the cutest thing in the world, and the sizes are weird so I end up with an ugly shirt-dress. For Geek Fuel, they had a pretty broad scope of shirt sizes (even specifying men’s and women’s sizes since we all know a large in men’s and women’s are often two VERY different sizes). So I was able to get a size that worked perfectly for my body and my style, and it was pretty cute, too. I’ve worn it LOADS of times since it came in the mail.

I couldn’t recommend Geek Fuel highly enough (but if you want a second opinion, Megan at The Nerdy Girlie is also a subscriber, and she loves it). They also gives away a free box every month. To see if the odds are in your favor, head to the site to enter the monthly contest.

If you’re ready to subscribe, take a peek at Geek Fuel’s TwitterInstagram and Facebook, but most importantly go to their website to subscribe. Because Geek Fuel and I love you so much, anyone who subscribes through my website link above will get a free bonus item!

Have you subscribed to Geek Fuel before? What do you think of them? Do you subscribe to any monthly boxes? Tell me about it in the comments!

5 Fandom Friday: 5 Characters I’d Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner

fandom.5.friday

It’s time for another Fandom 5 post, the awesome, weekly linkup started by the lovely Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick. If you haven’t checked out my other Fandom 5 posts, be sure to do that; they’re a ton of fun! This week’s post is all about Thanksgiving, specifically characters I’d love to have over for Thanksgiving dinner. Here are my five, but let me just warn you about the folks on my list:

stone cold weirdos

1. Thor

I mean, who wouldn’t want Thor at their Thanksgiving feast? He’s charming, he’s dashing, he won’t just leave his stuff lying around your house…

polite thor…and if he likes the food, you’ll know instantly.

thorJust maybe don’t bust out the good china when you have him over.

2. Luna Lovegood

luna

Luna is one of my favorite characters from Harry Potter. Luna is genuinely sweet and caring, knows how to keep pesky nargles away like no one else, and girlfriend knows how to party.

lovegood danceReally, I just kind of want to be best friends with Luna…

3. Shane Walsh

I dunno why, but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Shane. I know he’s nuts, but still, I couldn’t help but like this guy. Besides, it’s always nice to have a wildcard at any Thanksgiving get together, amirite? Though I will ask everyone to check their weapons at the door. No one is allowed to go full Shane at my house. At least not until after dessert.

shane4. Richmond 

Because I want my Thanksgiving feast to be a giant bucket of crazy, I’d be fully remiss if I didn’t invite my favorite Goth and former executive, Richmond. Though his appearance might trouble some (I’ll have to make sure Shane knows he’s not a walker)…richmond

…he’s an absolute sweetheart. Besides that, no one else has his skill at starting interesting and engaging conversations.

richmond spider5. Donna Noble

Donna is one of my favorite companions on Doctor Who, and her sass knows no bounds. Besides, since I’ll be having the God of Thunder and a psycho zombie killer at my Thanksgiving feast, I’ll need someone to help me keep order.

donna noble sass

What characters would you invite to your Thanksgiving dinner? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to check out the other Fandom 5 posts by following the hashtag, #Fandom5! 

5 Fandom Friday: Geeky Clothing Items I Need Immediately

fandom.5.friday

I’m back with my newest post in The Nerdy Girlie‘s and SuperSpaceChick‘s 5 Fandom Friday linkup. If you didn’t see my last Fandom 5 post about “gateway fandoms”, you can find that here. This week’s 5 Fandom Friday is all about geeky clothes. Here are 5 geeky clothing items I need in my closet right away!

1. Black Widow Jacket 

blackwidowhoodie

This Her Universe original has also been sold on Think Geek and Hot Topic, but sadly, it’s sold out. Still, I’m obsessed with this jacket. It is incredibly cute and unique. I also love the S.H.I.E.L.D. logos on the shoulders. I’m hoping this one comes back in stock soon, because I LOVE this jacket.

2. Hydra Takeover Tank

hydra tank

Another great one from Her Universe. This tank has the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo in the light, but a glow-in-the-dark Hydra logo shines over the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo in the dark. Plus, the tank’s cut is too cute. Also, hail Hydra.

3. Handbag of Holding 

handbag of holdingOkay, so this isn’t technically “clothing”, but I still think it counts. This one comes from Think Geek. I’ve got a serious weakness for a good, roomy purse, and this one is quite exceptional. The Handbag of Holding has tons of pockets and compartments that make it perfect for a chick like me who loves to carry books, notebooks, and an e-reader in her purse at any given time.

4. Geek & Sundry Hoodie

geek and sundryI love Geek & Sundry, and I think they have an incredibly cool logo. I’m also a big fan of comfy hoodies. Living in Colorado, a hearty supply of good hoodies is kind of a necessity.

5. Star Wars Hope Hoodie

hope

Speaking of hoodies, here’s another cute one from Her Universe. This is a lighter hoodie, so it’s perfect for wearing with leggings or wearing into ballet during the winter.

What are some of the geeky clothes that are on your wishlist? Where are your favorite places to get your geeky gear? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to check out the other 5 Fandom Friday posts by following the hashtag, #Fandom5. 

5 Fandom Friday: Gateway Fandoms

fandom.5.friday

SuperSpaceChick and The Nerdy Girlie are hosting a weekly link-up of sorts, 5 Fandom Friday. It’s a weekly list of 5 things about various aspects of geekery, fandom, and our own blogging personality. If you want to follow other bloggers venture into 5 Fandom Friday, be sure to follow the hashtag #Fandom5, and follow SuperSpaceChick and The Nerdy Girlie on Twitter.

To kick off 5 Fandom Friday, we’re talking about the 5 fandoms that were my gateway into geekery. So let’s kick it off with a gif from one of my current favorite fandoms. Dean?

dean

1. Star Wars

R2D2-Talking-1A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, my  mother sat my younger brother and I down in front of the television. She popped Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope into the VCR, saying it was important that we saw the Star Wars movies. It was one of my first real tastes of sci-fi, and it’s also worth noting that Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford were my first real Hollywood crushes that were not either JTT or a member of Hanson. While I certainly knew, even in my kid brain, that the movies were dated, I was completely captivated. For some reason, I had it in my head that girls couldn’t be Jedi (not sure where I got that), even though I secretly really wanted to be a member of the Jedi, or at least a kick-ass rebel like Princess Leia (when I was a teacher, I had to try really hard to not freak out when I had a student in my study hall named Leia). For a while, my screen name was even jedigirl88. The obsession was strong with this one.

2. Star Trek

KHAAAAAANMy parents’ love for Star Wars is nothing compared to their love of Star Trek. The only thing that is keeping them from full-on stereotypical Trekkie nerddom is a firm grasp of Klingon and a trip or two to a Star Trek convention. Just like my mother made sure my brother and I watched Star Wars, she also made sure we watched every Star Trek movie, as well as episodes of the original Star Trek series. Say what you will about Star Trek VI: A Voyage Home, but “colorful metaphors” and “nuclear wessles” are still a very large part of my family’s vocabulary to this very day.

3. The Lord of the Rings

no friendsI had the very rare opportunity to go to a tiny school that was FILLED with LOTR freaks. Once the movies came out, it became tradition that the sophomore class would actually go on school field trips to see the movie, and read whatever book was being released in English class. When the first movie came out, however, our school was small enough that we all (my school only had 7th-10th graders at the time) went to see the movie in theaters. A couple of weeks before our field trip, I got the bright idea that I wanted to read Fellowship before I saw the first movie.

As it would turn out, those books are pretty darn big and pretty dense. So that didn’t happen. However, I was completely captivated by the movie, and I went on to read every single book and see every single movie (extended versions, too), several times over.

There was a time in my life that closed captioning taught me to say “under the armpit” in Elvish. I would say it as often as I could. Tolkein’s books and the corresponding movies brought me into a world I’d never experienced before–one where I could get completely swept away in a book, and then see everything come to life.

It also introduced me to the righteous indignation that “I read the book first” folk can have when movie makers do something bizarre with their beloved books. Case in point, Legolas stair-surfing:

legolas surf

4. The Scarlet Pimpernel

anthony andrews

This movie, you guys. I know there are other versions made, even a black-and-white version that is deemed a classic, but this version (with a pre-knighthood Sir Ian McKellan and Jane Seymour) completely changed my life. I’m not even sure how or why my parents got their hands on a copy of this movie. I’m not sure how it came about that they wanted us to watch the movie (I can’t imagine my little brother and I asking to watch this–especially when none of our friends knew who Sir Percival Blankeny was). However, this was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and it got me hooked on stories of vigilante justice, disguises, and, of course, dashing, well-dress swashbuckling heroes who I now realize have a startling resemblance to Tom Hiddleston. We also had the book The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (there are several books in the Pimpernel series, but I’ve only read the one), and I’ve read it more times than I can count. This? This movie and book right here? This is what started my love for British movies and British TV.

5. Wishbone

wishbone

I love literature, and I attribute that largely to my upbringing. My parents put a big emphasis on reading, and they were always quick to take me on trips to the library to stock up on books. While we really didn’t have cable growing up, we did get PBS. So I watched a TON of Wishbone as a kid. This was the show that introduced me to good literature. It showed me the awesome worlds I could discover in a book, and how exciting it could be to get totally lost in the world of fiction. This more than anything else was the “gateway fandom” (there was a Wishbone fandom, right?) that led me into the world of geekery and literary nerddom.

What are your gateway fandoms? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to check out the other #Fandom5 posts! I’ll be back next week with another 5 Fandom Friday!

Gearing Up for GeekGirlCon 2014

In a couple weeks I’ll be heading out to Seattle to attend the fourth annual GeekGirlCon. I’m a teensy bit excited.

charliedayI’ll be going and covering the con extensively here on my blog and, barring any technical difficulties, I’ll be tweeting about the con a lot as well. Be sure you’re following me on Twitter as well as following the hashtags #GeekGirlCon and #KenAtGGC to be kept up-to-date on all of the con happenings!

If you will recall when I attended Denver Comic Con, I had high aspirations to attend the con in cosplay. It didn’t work out, to say the least. I still have pretty, shiny dreams that one day I’ll be a marvelous cosplayer, but I certainly won’t hone any magical cosplay skills by October 10. Besides, I’m attending the con with the intention to see as much as I can and cover as much as I can on my blog, so cosplay could make my time at the con a bit too complicated.

However, I still want to wear something special for the con, so I’ve decided I’m going to be attending the con in everyday cosplay, as inspired by The Nerdy Girlie blog–she’s kind of a master of everyday cosplay.

I’ve not decided on my final outfit for the two days of the con, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few characters.

1. Sam Winchester

The moment I decided I was attending GGC in everyday cosplay, I decided I had to devote one day to the Winchesters. After some deliberation, I’ve found myself leaning more towards Sam everyday cosplay–especially since my hair is almost the same length as Jared Padalecki’s.

jar pad hair

So this one is pretty much a done deal, I just have to settle on an outfit. There are tons of awesome ideas out there for Sam Winchester casual cosplay. Here’s one of my favorites that I found on Polyvore:

sam winchester everyday cosplay

I mean, there will obviously be no knife or gun-toting at the con, and the necklace is Dean’s. HOWEVER, I really like the shirt and jacket combo–I especially like that anti-possession sigil patch. Besides, I’ll be in Seattle in October, so I think pants, jackets, and some cozy flannel will be just perfect to keep me warm.

2. Green Arrow

Keeping with the CW theme, I also love the idea of going as the Green Arrow. Here’s a cool everyday cosplay I found at Locket of Ember:

arrow cosplay

I love this, but I think if I was going to do Arrow casual cosplay, I’d probably incorporate a hood in some way.

3. Jenny Flint

I love Jenny and Vastra on Doctor Who. They are such a cute, unlikely couple, and I especially love Jenny Flint. She’s funny, caring, brash, and most importantly, she’s pretty darn stylish. I’ve been wanting to do Jenny everyday cosplay for a while now, and this might be the perfect time. Here’s an awesome outfit I found on Polyvore:

jenny flint cosplay

Honestly, that coat alone made me fall in love with this outfit.

4. Helena

Helena is probably my favorite clone on Orphan Black. She’s completely insane, but at the exact same time, you can’t help but love her.  I think going to GGC in Helena casual cosplay would be a blast–plus, wearing a beanie like Helena often does makes the outfit more fit for chilly Seattle. Here’s a fun everyday cosplay option from Princess Vs. Peril:

helena cosplay

5. Superwholock

I’m a fan of Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Sherlock, so the idea of doing a mashup costume is kind of interesting to me. This is another costume that will most certainly keep me warm, but it gets some extra points because it doesn’t make me pick just one show or character to highlight. Here’s a Superwholock cosplay outfit I found on Polyvore:

superwholock cosplay

I haven’t made my final decision on what I’m going to wear just yet. I’ll probably go shopping for outfit pieces this weekend, and I’ll be continuing to pin ideas on my everyday cosplay pin board probably right up until the con, which you can follow here. Do you have any ideas of casual cosplay I should try for the con? Let me know in the comments!

Women in Geek: Catrina Dennis

Women in Geek CD

For the past month, I’ve been featuring women working in various geeky professions here on my blog. If you’ve missed any, you can find them all here. It’s been an awesome month, and I’ve loved getting to talk to so many amazing women doing cool things in their corner of geekery. Alas, I’m going to be giving the series a break. I’m probably not done with it forever, but I wanted to give it a rest for now. I couldn’t think of anyone better to close out our month of geeky ladies than Catrina Dennis (who gets extra credit points for sending me several pics and gifs of her).

catrina iron throne

I “Twitter-met” (that’s a thing, right?) Catrina back when she was working for Geek & Sundry. When I decided to start up this blog series, she was one of the first women I approached. I’m so excited to get to have her as a part of the series, so let’s get to it!

What do you do in geek culture (on your own time and professionally)?

I work as a geek culture journalist and host, primarily covering comics-related media. Outside of that, I’m a blogger, vlogger, a huge comic fan, and an angry gamer. I’m also a pretty outspoken activist for inclusiveness in geek culture, and every once in a while, I like to cosplay.

catrina khaleesi

 

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

I’m the Channel Manager of all things Superhero over at Moviepilot! It’s a great mix of managing editor and community manager, which is right up my alley. Before this, I worked with the team over at Geek & Sundry as their Social Media and Community Manager.

How did you get started in your geeky line of work, and what got you interested in it?

I honestly fell into this by accident: I answered a craigslist ad for an on-camera personality to conduct interviews at E3, then ended up staying with that outlet for a while. I eventually started writing for them and other gaming outlets, while holding a day job in social media. After a while, I ended up with Geek & Sundry, which gave me more of an opportunity to do journalism based around comics thanks to a new show that had launched (Amy Dallen’s Talkin’ Comics Weekly check out Amy here! She’s awesome). I met my bosses-to-be thanks to my work with Geek & Sundry, and now I’m at Moviepilot! 🙂

catrina movie pilot

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

Gail Simone is the first person that comes to mind thanks to her vocal and at the same time completely charming activism when it comes to making comics more inclusive. She’s also one of my favorite comic writers of all time and has an incredibly inspiring tenacity in her work that I hope to someday possess, as I’m currently working on my first title.  Other names that come to mind are (of course) Felicia Day (one of the most passionate creators I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing), Janelle Asselin, Amy Dallen, Kelly Sue DeConnick, G. Willow Wilson, comicbookgirl19, and Ashly Burch.

You work (and have worked) in some cool places like MoviePilot and Geek and Sundry. What is that like? Do you get sick of asking questions about working with people like Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton?

I love what I do because every new day is very different from the last: there are always new problems to solve, or new pieces of information to put out. Since the core of my work is within journalism, I essentially get paid to geek out over new bits of news that come out in regards to comics. In regards to getting questions about the people I’ve worked for/with, I actually don’t often get bombarded with them! When I do, it’s rarely too probing or weird. I get to work with some extremely inspiring people and I count my lucky stars every day because I’ve gotten to learn from many whom I consider the best in their fields.

Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance, and do you find that your readers are more critical of your opinions because you’re a woman?

For me, luckily, the negativity I receive is the least painful and the easiest to combat: fact-checkers. Often, I’ll have commenters who doubt certain aspects of my articles, but a quick citation usually clears things up. What’s funny is that sources and facts are things i always make sure to include, but often end up repeating — because, you’ll find, most people who throw shade at you just skimmed your work before forming an educated opinion. On-camera, though, people can get a little vicious — I’ve been called fat, or boyish, ugly; sometimes, an actual threat to my life or body will make it’s way into the comments section. So, I’d definitely say that women and those of us who don’t fit the norm are given a much, much harder time when we out ourselves out there.

What is the best thing about your line of work?

Oh, this is a tough one. I think the coolest thing about what I do is that a chunk of my job just involves geeking out with other people like me. The sheer excitement you get when it comes to sharing a fandom with another person is one of the best feelings ever. I think my MOST favorite thing about what I do is when someone who’s seen my work decides to read a new comic that I had suggested. Their reactions are a total thrill for me to see.

What is the coolest/most meaningful thing you’ve experienced since working with G&S, Moviepilot, and starting your own vlog?

Really, it’s just that I’ve met so many people who are as passionate about their fandoms as I am. I’ve made some incredible friends, gotten advice from people I’ve looked up to since childhood, and have honestly had my career molded by the way geek culture is progressing. If you told me that I’d be doing what I’m doing years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you at all.

catrina mario

What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

Getting younger people into comics and crafting a world where everyone is welcome to geek out is my overall goal when it comes to what I do. Being a geek (for comics, video games, movies, and music) has not only provided me with the makings of a great career path, but also helped me lead a positive, goal-driven life working in a field I am so completely in love with. Everyone deserves to find joy in their hobbies and passions — especially if it means they can create something and lead a life that coincides with them — so that’s what I want to help provide for all geeks everywhere.

How do you handle, if you’ve encountered it at all, the negativity against women in geek?

I’m not a very confrontational person, nor am I nearly clever enough to come up with witty/hilarious Gail Simone-essque comebacks to trolls. A lot of times, my initial reaction is just to talk to the person that’s throwing shade my way, but more often than not people aren’t around for the sake of debate — they’re around to make you feel like crap for no reason outside of the fact that they don’t like to see someone that they don’t feel belongs. It’s mind-blowing that anyone would want to exclude another fan based on their gender, looks, skin color, or sexuality. I mean, why does it matter? But it happens often, and it can get scary. It’s ridiculous that I have to report people for physically threatening me just because of my gender or body type. It’s fandom, guys. Chill out.

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

Be tenacious. Be open to advice and critique, but don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something — especially if they’re saying it because you’re a woman. Get every idea on paper or in some kind of physical form before you consider quitting it — seeing it comes to life in some form or another helps you make educated decisions and learn for the future. Put yourself out there and use the incredible tools we’ve been given as a generation to do it with. Most importantly, be supportive of your colleagues. It’s a huge challenge for women of all sorts to break this industry, so encourage other lady creators and help promote their work as well if you enjoy it.

catrina sdcc

 

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

I’m honestly unsure of what could be a common misconception about my line of work, but what I do hope is that others know that this work isn’t just hanging out and reading comics all day: it’s being awake when a story breaks, cranking out content at 4 am, and having a deep-rooted knowledge of your passions. When you’re in a position like mine, your responsibility is to create content that fans like you want; entertaining, engaging and informative. You’re both the voice of your community and the central point of information for them, so being able to keep up and deliver your best to them can be both exciting and extremely tough. I love what I do, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, because challenges like these are a thrill for me.

A big thank you to Catrina for talking with me, and thank you to the other amazing women that I’ve gotten to chat with: Sarah Rodriguez (who, incidentally does a podcast, the Rebel Base Podcast, with Catrina), Lindsay Cummings, Christina Janke, Megan Gotch, Kat Miller, Marissa Reynolds, Vicky Connolly, and Tiffany Wangerin. You can read the entire Women in Geek series here! 

Women in Geek: Kat Miller

Women in Geek KM

 

I’m talking with Kat Miller the Creative and Marketing Director at MuggleNet today! I’m so excited to feature her on the blog and give a glimpse into the life of someone who gets to actually have a paying job that is dedicated to Harry Potter. Ah-mazing. Remember to go here to check out the other Women in Geek interviews I’ve done with Sarah Rodriguez, Christina Janke, Megan Gotch, Vicky Connolly, Tiffany Wangerin, Lindsay Cummings, and Marissa Reynolds. Now let’s chat with Kat!

 

kat miller

What do you do with MuggleNet, and what does that mean?
I am the Creative & Marketing Director, which means, well, I do a lot! Basically, it comes down to publicity, giveaways, media, and staff. I handle the majority of giveaways on the site, from setting them up, securing the prizes, executing the giveaway, and contacting the winners. I am the media contact for all of the major outlets. So, when a press release comes through from Bloomsbury, Pottermore, the Studio Tour, etc., they come to me. It’s my job to make sure that they are acted upon in an appropriate manner (we have the BEST news team on this planet, BTW). This also means that if there is a major public event, I will most likely be the one to attend and represent the site. We do try to spread the love between our volunteer staff, but we also need to be sure there is someone there who knows the parties attending, for maximum benefit. Speaking of our awesome volunteer staff, more often than not, I am the one who handles and sorts out issues not only amongst them, but with any issue they have with their jobs. I’ve hired or recruited all except about six people that are on staff now (out of around 45) with our Managing Editor Keith. So, really, it’s a very varied job – but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

I do have a day job, but this does help to pay the bills! I am a photographer, graphic designer, and soon to be publicist (just landed my first few clients!). It’s a very exciting time in my life, and if you ask me this question in another 3 months, the answer will be very different I imagine.

How did you get started at MuggleNet? Were you a part of starting MuggleNet, or did you join in after it had been created? 

I got started with MuggleNet back in October of 2006 as a gallery coder, 7 years into the site’s life. My job was to update the gallery to the latest and greatest software. That’s it. It took around 10 minutes once a month. Easiest job I have ever had! From there, I took over small jobs on the site, and eventually ended up taking over and revitalizing Fan of the Week. That’s how most of the staff has moved up, small, odd jobs, wherever needed. Being a self starter is a big deal in a volunteer organization like this!

 Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

She’s not a geek, but my mother. She is the strongest, hardest working woman I have ever met, and I would not have the resolve, tenacity, or strength that I have today without her. Her struggles and bravery has taught me what is means to be a strong woman. I really respond to woman who are honest about who they are, what they like, and where they want to go. Life is WAY too short to be cagey, dishonest, or sheltered. I learned that young, and have my mother to thank for that. Also, Jennifer Lawrence because “Where’s the pizza?!”

 What is the best thing about working with MuggleNet?

There are so many amazing things, but I think my favorite is making people happy. We are in a unique position at MuggleNet. Having been around for so long and having a reputation as the World’s #1 Harry Potter Website allows us to do things that other sites don’t have the capacity to do. We recently gave away a package retailing over $1000, and that’s not even counting the intrinsic items like autographs. Nothing makes me happier than making someone else’s dream come true.

 What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

I am the co-creator of MuggleNet’s global re-read podcast, Alohomora!. We are reading one chapter of the series every week, and taking Potter fans around the world on the journey with us. It has been an unparalleled experience. I’ve always been lucky to have friends to chat Potter with, but not everyone has that. Hearing from listeners that we are their friends, the light of their week, or the only people they have to discuss Potter with is so inspiring. Discussing new theories and crazy ideas is a highlight of my week, and I’ve never been happier to be a part of this fandom!

 You are now a full-grown adult working on creating original content within a community based on a series of children’s books. Why? What made Harry Potter so impactful for you that you’ve continued to be so incredibly active in the fandom?

It’s hard for me to put my finger on why Potter has made such an impact on me. When I first started the series, back in 2000 (Goblet of Fire was my first midnight release), I had just graduated high school and was setting out on a new path. Most of my friends were going off to college, moving away, and I was staying at home to go to community college. I was perfectly happy with my decision, as back then, I wasn’t the independent person I am today. However, Harry allowed me to get out of my small world, to live a life that I didn’t yet know that I wanted. It sparked my imagination, presented ideas that were bolder and bigger than I could ever dream. I still find it funny that people continue to call them children’s books. The themes in Harry Potter aren’t children’s themes – they’re life themes. Bravery, Love, Friendship. These are traits that all people should strive to have and acquire. I’m thankful to have found Harry, and have grown into the loving, selfless, brave person that I am today, partially in thanks to him.

 Do you encounter any negativity in your fandom based on your gender?

None whatsoever. Potter fans, I’ve found, are among the most tolerant, caring, thoughtful individuals that I’ve ever met. Equality, FTW.

 There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, podcasting, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them? 

Don’t focus on your gender, or make it an excuse. When I started at MuggleNet, there was ONE other woman working for the site. The boys ran the show, but just I did my work, sent in my ideas, and kicked ass along the way. Gender isn’t what is going to get you recognized for being awesome – your work ethic, enthusiasm, and creativity will. So, do what you do, what you love, and never, ever stop. I have a card that was given to me at the college graduation. I never save cards, but I took the front of it and stuck it to my bulletin board. I’ve had it for 11 years now. It reads, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” – Maya Angelou. I look at that every. single. morning, and live my life by this philosophy.

 Have you gained friends since working with MuggleNet, or did you go into this already knowing the individuals you work with?

Some of my favorite people on this planet are friends that I have made through MuggleNet. They live all over the world, and I don’t get to see them often, but we make magic together quite literally every day. I’ve taken road trips with them, laughed (and cried) at all hours of the day, and danced the night away. These people are my family, and will always be a major part of my everyday. I’ve never felt more lucky to have people I care about so much in my life.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

I think that sometimes people don’t understand exactly how much hard work has gone into getting to where I am today. They see my tweets or my Instagram photos from some great place, at a special event, or with a cast member and say, “OMG. I am so jealous. I want your job!” – but really, those moments are few and far between. Usually, it’s phone calls at 2AM, around 300 emails every day (90% of them are legit, too), and working around 50 hours a week – and that’s just for MuggleNet. I also have a full time job PLUS am self employed, go to school, and at some point have to eat, sleep, and exercise. My job may be fun and sometimes glamorous, but it’s hard – in the best, most challenging, fulfilling ways possible, but still, it’s hard. Blood, sweat, and enough tears to fill a swimming pool have gone into my years thus far at MuggleNet, but I would happily live it all over again, to end up right where I am today.

Thanks so much to Kat for taking the time to talk with us! Remember to check out the other Women in Geek interviews, and be sure to check out MuggleNet and Alohomora!  

Women in Geek: Tiffany Wangerin

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I’ve not been shy around here about my desire to cosplay, and I’ve also not been shy about my complete inability to do so. So I am so incredibly excited to be able to bring an actual, real, amazing cosplayer here to the site for my Women in Geek series, since, apparently, obtaining a red dress for a shoddy attempt at cosplay is too much for yours truly (I am still bitter about this). I met Tiffany at Denver Comic Con. Like Vicky, Tiffany was also on the Women in the Geek Industry panel that inspired this series. Tiffany, or Evil Mech Meru, is an AMAZING cosplayer, and and you should absolutely check out her facebook page to get to know her better (and check out her steampunk fairy–the wings are AMAZING). You can also shoot her an email at em2cosplay@gmail.com. So, without further ado, let’s get to chatting with Tiffany.

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What do you do in geek culture?

 I am a Cosplayer under the name Evil Mech Meru Cosplay and I am also a host for the nerd themed podcast Anorak’s OASIS.

What does that mean?

Being a Cosplayer means that I design and create costumes based on works of pop culture, anime, video games, movies, etc. I attend conventions, so far based in Colorado only. I also love to teach others cosplay fabrication skills that I have learned and I often host crafting nights/workshops. Later this month I will be starting video tutorials cosplay projects people can do quickly and inexpensively. As far as the podcast goes, every week I sit on Skype with a few close nerdy friends and we discuss all things geek!

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

Cosplay does not currently pay my bills. I do commissions from time to time that help fund my cosplay passion. As far as my day job I am a part of the team that is working towards opening 8bit Video Game Bar & Grill here in Colorado Springs.

How did you get started in this?

 In 2011 I went to my first convention ever, Nan Desu Kan, and spent the entire time just in awe of all the costumes. I went home after that I decided I was going to make a cosplay of my own.

What got you interested in cosplay?

 I have always been artistic ever since I was young and loved to paint and do any kind of crafts. Once I found out about cosplay and people making their own costumes to go to conventions I was just completely hooked on the idea.

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

Felicia Day, Yaya Han and Svetlana Quindt are 3 geeky ladies that I really admire. They are so amazingly hard working and just create incredible works. They have turned passions into careers and I find that completely inspiring.

Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance? How do you handle that?

 I don’t encounter very much negativity based on my gender in the cosplay world as it is currently populated largely by women but I have had people make mean comments on my appearance whether it be about my body size or the fact that I am cosplaying as a guy and some not liking that. I tend to not let it bother me too much. To be honest I have encountered way more positivity then anything else.

 What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

  I have always struggled with low self esteem and confidence issues so cosplay has really helped me feel better about myself and has allowed me a way to express myself and who I truly am. Through cosplay I have met some of the most amazing people and has opened the door to be a part of some great future projects.

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, cosplay, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

 The best advice I can give anyone that wants to do anything is to just do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. When it comes to cosplay, your skin color, height, weight, age, gender should never, ever be a factor. You can cosplay whatever you want! Follow your dreams, follow your passions and have fun. Seek out like minded people and create a support system. People that lift you up, not tear you down. I will say to that if there is anyone out there that needs a boost or has a questions I am always willing to help however I can.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

  A big misconception I think with cosplay is that we are all just hungry for attention or we make costumes and know nothing about the character, i.e. we are fake geek girls/guys. That is just not true. Yes all cosplayers love to get recognized for our hard work and artistry but rarely do we put so much blood, sweat, time and tears into our costumes just because we want to be adored. We do it because we are passionate about the characters we portray. We are passionate about creating things and expressing ourselves through wearable works of art.

Thanks again to Tiffany, and remember, if you haven’t already, check out my other Women in Geek posts with Vicky Connolly, Megan Gotch, Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Christina Janke, and Marissa Reynolds! 

Women in Geek: Vicky Connolly

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In today’s Women in Geek interview, I’m talking with Vicky Connolly! Vicky works at Escape Velocity Comics, and she’s actually one of the women on the Denver Comic Con panel that inspired this series. I’ve been interviewing women in a ton of different geeky lines of work, so if you’ve missed out on my interviews with Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Megan Gotch, Christina Janke, or Marissa Reynolds go here to check them all out. Now here’s Vicky!

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What do you do in geek culture?

I work at a comic book store, Escape Velocity Comics, and I’m also working on starting up a website called ComicShopChick.com

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

Working at Escape Velocity is my day job; the website is just something I’m doing for fun.

How did you get started in this?

I worked at a video game store first. The store had a comic book section, and I managed that. Working there didn’t really work out for me, so I quit. I ended up applying to Escape Velocity, and several  months after applying I got a call asking if I wanted to work for them.

What got you interested in this field?

I love sci-fi, so that’s always been something I’m drawn to. I also played lots of video games as a kid.

What is your ultimate goal with this? Go with the flow. start the blog, dream to work with Image Comics.

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?  Bonnie Burton and Felicia Day, definitely. I also really love Gail Simone and how she’s always so in touch with people and issues.

Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance?

A lot of times customers will ask me stuff like, “Do you actually read comics or do you just work here?” Sometimes customers will flat-out ignore me and go to my co-workers, even the guys who just started, simply because he’s a guy. Most people just genuinely don’t understand how sexist they’re being. I really have a ton of supportive customers that just like to hang. I’ve also found that the energy you put off can also be helpful. I try to not make people feel dumb, and put out positive energy. People usually respond pretty well to that. Ultimately, people will be people, but you have to find the good parts.

What is the best thing about your line of work?

The people and conversations I have. If I was working in any other retail job, I’d just be another peon, but here I really feel like I matter. If you’re not there, it’s noticed. Escape Velocity is really a welcome and loving community.

What’s a big misconception about comic book stores? One of the biggest misconception I encounter is that people assuming comics are only for kids, and while we love kids, 90% of stuff in my store is not meant for kids. It’s a lot of collectibles and valuables.

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

People skills! You need to be able to not always fire back when people says something you disagree with, and learn to get along with people. It’s a close knit crowd, so it’s all about people getting to know you. At the end of the day, people to like you. Networking is important, so stuff like attending cons is a huge thing. You also can’t care what other people think about you. Some people just aren’t going to like you, no matter what you do, and you just have to move on.

Since entering in this line of geeky work, have you met friends or found any new communities to be a part of?

Absolutely. I’ve gotten to know 50+ local artists and I had the opportunity to do that Women in the Geek Industry panel at Denver Comic Con. Really, my  whole community is made up of nerds!

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

I have interests outside of nerdy things. I love comics, ironic tees, and all that but I also love stuff like learning about history and western civilizations, gangster novels, and trail running. I’ve got a lot of interests outside of nerdy stuff.

Any parting thoughts?

Nerds need to stick together! There are a lot of changes out there with the cosplay community and stuff, but there’s a reason we go to cons. We love the same stuff. Let’s stick up for each other and not get caught in the drama.

Women in Geek: Megan Gotch

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I’m a part of a great Google+ group called Female Geek Bloggers, and through that group I was able to meet the amazing Megan Gotch, aka The Nerdy Girlie. Megan’s a great geek blogger, and her top-notch SDCC coverage can almost make it better for those who couldn’t be there…almost.  Check out Megan’s interview, and if you’ve missed my interviews with Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Christina Janke, and Marissa Reynolds, go here!

megan gotch

 

What do you do in geek culture?

I am a geek girl blogger. In 2012 I created The Nerdy Girlie blog!

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

I do have a day job. I would love for my blog to pay the bills, as of yet it does not. I guess that could be a good thing, because I do it out of LOVE not necessity!

How did you get started in this?

I began my blog The Nerdy Girlie after my 4th San Diego Comic Con in 2012. I started off as wanting to help fellow con-­goers and now have made some lasting relationships that I am so happy to have.

What got you interested in this field?

I have always loved writing, from an early age. It was SDCC that helped me figure out WHAT I wanted and loved to write about!

Do you have a big goal for The Nerdy Girlie?

I really don’t have any BIG goals for my site, other than to continue to help and bring people together. As long as I am happy doing it, I will keep doing it!

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

When I first started my blog some of my influences were Being Geek Chic and Girl Gone Geek. As I began to grow and develop my own site, I began to find MANY awesome geek girls out there and that is why I began the Female Geek Bloggers G+ Community. I wanted to bring all the lovely nerdy sites together in one place where we could grow and learn from each other!

Do you find that your readers are more critical of your opinions because you’re a woman? How do you handle, if you’ve encountered it at all, the negativity against women in geek?

I’ve been super lucky to have only support from the readers of my blog. I love what I’m doing and I am so happy that just one person would want to read it.

What is the best thing about working in your area of geekery?

The best thing of working in the world of geek is the relationships you make with other nerds. This past San Diego Comic Con I spent the majority of my time talking with friends and building our relationships. It is so fun to nerd out with people who understand!

What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

What I find meaningful about what I do is that people comment on my blog, come up to me at cons and tell me that some thing I wrote helped them. I love what I’m doing and am so happy to be of help to anyone!

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

My advice would be just make sure that you love what you do. If you have a passion for it, it won’t feel like a job!

What is the coolest thing you’ve experienced since starting The Nerdy Girlie?

I’ve gotten to do a lot of neat things before and after the blog began. All involve discovering nerds who love the same things that I do. I have made a lot of lasting relationships that mean so much to me.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

Blogging is a lot of alone time! So when I go to conventions it is so nice to be able to TALK to people. I love it and if you ever see me at a con I am always happy to talk nerd with anyone!

Be sure to check out The Nerdy Girlie, as well as my other Women in Geek posts–and stay tuned here to see what woman in geek I feature next!