Friday, August 28, 2015

#Fandom5: Five geeks who inspire me, August 28th, 2015

Happy Friday!

Today's 5 Fandom Friday topic is: Five geeks who inspire me.

#Fandom5, or 5 Fandom Friday is a weekly blog link-up and the creation of Kristin at Super Space Chick and Megan at The Nerdy Girlie.  It's a lot of fun and a great way to find new blogs! Go here to learn more about it or follow #Fandom5 on Twitter!

1. Deidre, Geek Pilgrimage
I've never met Deidre, but I know her through Twitter and I hope to meet her (and Barb!) someday. Maybe at SDCC in 2016! Deidre inspires me because she's been making some healthy changes in her life, and sharing them on Twitter and her blog. Seeing her blog posts motivates me to make my own healthier choices - and I'm looking forward to her future posts about running in the Avengers 5k!

2. Megan Gotch, The Nerdy Girlie
One of the founders of 5 Fandom Friday, Megan inspires me with her bravery and positivity. If you've been following her Figuring Out My Place in Time and Space posts, you'll know that she has made some big changes in her life over the past few months. I've been feeling lost in my own life for a long time now, and Megan's story resonates with me... and reassures me that change is possible. I was lucky to meet Megan (and several other awesome geeks!) at the Geeks Go Glam SDCC party she organized.

3. The Wheatons
Wil Wheaton, Geek & Sundry and
I've never met Wil at a convention, though I did get to see the Geek & Sundry panel at SDCC this year. I find Wil inspiring because of his advocacy for mental health - Wil has depression and anxiety, and he has used his story to help destigmatize mental health issues. He also hosts Tabletop on the Geek & Sundry Youtube channel and homebrews, and I love learning about new games and recipes from him, since these are two of my own hobbies.

Anne Wheaton,
Anne is Wil's wife, and she is amazing in her own right. She's a lot of fun to follow on Twitter, and her work with rescue animals is inspiring. She's always posting "pupdates" about a little doggy named Lucy that she rescued and sharing photos of her own pets. She's also helped coordinate and participate in various events and fundraisers for the Pasadena Humane Society. Her work making the world a more googly-eyed place by "vandaleyes"-ing things at conventions and in the wild is also really amusing!

4. Hayley Atwell, @HayleyAtwell
She's amazing. I feel like she has a very strong sense of her self-worth and what she wants from life. She's kind, she's funny, and she plays one of my favorite characters. Both Hayley and her character, Peggy Carter, inspire me and remind me that who I am and what I want is valid, that I should work hard and stand up for myself, that I should know my own value and I have a right to be here.

I didn't get to meet her or get her autograph at SDCC, but being part of the flash mob was a wonderful experience! Hayley seemed very touched by how popular Peggy Carter was at the convention, and it was great to meet and share this with so many other fans.

5. My Twitter Buddies
Whether it's how much you all love and share your interests (Marvel, US history, Star Wars, YA lit), or if you're going back to school, going to lots of conventions, or pursuing a dream career, all of you are inspiring. It's so neat to see how everyone's blogs have changed over the last year, and I really enjoy geeking out about new fandom announcements with all of you on Twitter.

And the list of September Fandom5 topics is up on The Nerdy Girlie blog!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tabletop Tuesday! DMing for the first time

Hello! Sorry I missed last week's post, we were so busy that I didn't have a chance to sit down and write anything about tabletop RPGs (the only thing we've been playing lately)! This is the post I meant to write last week, and I really want to get back to playing our collection of board games so I can write about those. Unfortunately, tabletop RPGs, bagpipe lessons, and working on my PhD are taking up all of my time...

Last Sunday I DM'd a D&D game for the first time. The DM, or Dungeon Master, leads the game for the players, taking on the role of the non-player characters (NPCs), describing actions and locations to the players, and trying to make their experience fun.

image via Amazon

My regular DM wanted to play, and asked if anyone was interested in leading a game for him and some of our regular players. Because no one was available to DM on the weekend he suggested, I offered. Hit the jump if you're interested in hearing about my first experience running a game!

Friday, August 14, 2015

#Fandom5: Five Favorite Fandom Quotes, August 14th, 2015

Happy Friday! It's almost the weekend!!!  The Boyfriend is going out of town this weekend, and I am staying home with my "shmoopy" dog - we're going to sleep in and play D&D and do yardwork and work on my dissertation.

Today's 5 Fandom Friday topic is: Five Favorite Fandom Quotes!

And this topic is so hard! Choose only five? But I love so many!

"It's a trap!"  "Out me way! Me want snoo-snoo!"  "Punch it, Chewie!"  "Run away! Run away!"  "You stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!"  "Did you see that ludicrous display last night?"  "It's in my raccoon wounds!"  "Leeloo Dallas multipass!"  "He chose... poorly."  "Would you like to know more?"  "Accio <insert object>!"  "Yub nub!"  "I love you, Andy!" ("I love you, Ollie!")  "You're tacky and I hate you."  "I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you."  "Top. Men."  "You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!"  "What do we say to the god of death? Not today!"  "I like being weird! Weird's all I've got! That, and my sweet style."  "Uhhhhhhhhh..."  "I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it." (bonus points if you know that last one)

That barely scratches the surface...

Instead of choosing quotes I say frequently or find amusing, I have decided to select quotes that help me refocus and stay motivated. My dissertation (and whatever the heck I'm going to do after it's done) has been weighing on me lately, and my depression and anxiety have been fighting for control. Remembering these quotes (and playing a lot of fetch with Stormageddon) helps me "stay on target."

1.  "I'm a smart, strong, sensual woman."
-   Tina Belcher, Bob's Burgers

I made this image and have it taped to my desk lamp.

2.  "And we will be the stars we were always meant to be."
-   Helen Cobb, Captain Marvel #1

This is the last line of Helen Cobb's letter to Carol Danvers. If you want to read the whole thing, it's posted on Kelly Sue DeConnick's tumblr.

3.  "I know my value. Everyone else's opinion doesn't really matter."
-  Peggy Carter, Agent Carter

Oh Peggy, I adore you. And Haley Atwell. Both strong, amazing women, living up to their own expectations. This is a great quote when impostor syndrome is gnawing at my brain, or when other people are questioning my choice of field or trying to take credit for my accomplishments. I'm doing this for myself, no one else, and I am capable and deserve my place!

4. "Archaeology is the search for fact, not truth." and "Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library. Reading. Research."
-   Indiana Jones, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Add "lab" to the second quote and it's even more accurate. Even though digging is only a small part of the job, it's what archaeology is known for. But once the artifacts are out of the ground and the site is documented with maps, charts, and photos, someone has to sit in the lab or library and analyze the data. Then comes the writing.

It's been a couple of years since I was in the field. Now I spend my days writing and researching, or measuring and photographing artifacts - and I am usually doing this in my home office, where I am surrounded by images and action figures of Indy. Future archaeologists will think my office was a shrine to Harrison Ford... so many Han and Indy figures...

5.  "Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."
-   Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Jedi Master Yoda, one of the oldest and wisest of the Jedi, member of the Jedi Council, told this to Luke when they were training on Dagobah. Luke expresses self-doubt and makes excuses - the X-Wing is too big to lift with the Force! He's trying, isn't that enough?! And Yoda shuts that down with this quote.

I like this quote because I know how easy it is to fall into a pattern of making excuses or feeling too scared or anxious to get things done.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tabletop Tuesday! May the Dice Be With You!

Welcome back to Tabletop Tuesday, my weekly post about tabletop games! Today's post is about a new tabletop RPG I've started playing: the Star Wars RPG by Fantasy Flight Games (FFG). FFG is the same company that makes the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game and Warhammer.

I LOVE Star Wars. Like, squealing fangirl, collapsed pile on the floor, cry every time I see the Episode VII trailer, spend too much time on Wookieepedia, probably going to give myself a stroke-kind of love. So as soon as it was suggested that we play this game, I was in.

My character sheet

Like Dungeons & Dragons, this Star Wars RPG (SWRPG) is a tabletop role-playing game that uses combinations of dice and character stats to determine successful actions and outcomes. However, the dice system/game mechanics used to play the SWRPG is very different from D&D.

Because this post got kind of long, I have divided it into three sections: the game materials available from FFG, an overview of the game expansions and my play experience so far, and my thoughts on some of the game mechanics (character creation and the dice system, specifically).

Read on to learn more!