Nerd Girl Book Club

If there’s anything that the past two and a half months have made me grateful for it’s my friends.

I miss them like crazy but that’s only because they are some of the greatest people to ever live. I had a huge breakthrough in therapy last year when I realized that unlike most people my intimacy issues do NOT come from my family, but from a series of terrible falling outs with long term friends.

I have trouble trusting people because a good chunk of the people I trusted left me behind. A few didn’t, but most left either when things got tough (more understandable) or it was convenient to move along (less understandable). I won’t get into specifics because those are not my stories to tell for the most part.

But, they’re relevant here because of Aless, who introduced me to her friends and reopened my heart.

Anyway, that’s all old news. I’ve written about them. About my love for them. I’ve also written about the friends that held on to me in the hard transition time. (Juli, Chrissy, Maggie, Katie)

But a month ago, when Jess, Sara and I got on a Zoom call to discuss a book we all read (Bonds Of Brass by Emily Skrutskie) and when we realized we’d come across something special. Our dynamic of intelligent, nerdy, interesting women was worth investigating.

So we put the call out to those who we thought would be interested. And so many answered. I brought Maggie and Kristi into the conversation. Other people brought others. We read All The Stars And Teeth by Adalyn Grace, and we got on a Zoom call and I was reminded all over again of how lucky I was to have never felt the seductive sting of “not like other girls/women”

Because how much I would have missed. I’d have certainly missed this call, where we talked about the book. (Great world building, reasonably interesting characters, lame plot!) And where we got to know each other. Learning our tolerance for love triangles, and Rape As Character Development and our Hogwarts Houses and top fandoms.

We’re going at least one more month and I’m SO PSYCHED to move onto our next one.

After my sister’s bachelorette party, our friend Meghan said to Mary, “Thank you for curating a wonderful group of women.” and Mary and I took it as the greatest compliment.

I was honored to be a part of a curated a wonderful group of women yet again with this book club.

Also, we’ve all pledged to meet in person when we’re allowed, and while I also can’t wait for that, I also was so grateful for our call on Saturday, when I realized, OMG Jess and Maggie could talk about video games together, and Sara and Kristi had kids around the same age and so many other things.

What have we been robbed of by society keeping women apart and in competition with one another?

Not quite the point, but a little bit the point.

Anyway, I’ve been lucky in my life to drift into the orbit of exceptional women, and then to form real bonds with them, and to introduce them to each other.

Nerd Girl Book Club is everything I was hoping it would be. I miss talking about books from college and I miss women talking together, without outside interference from men, something I had growing up with my mom, sister and aunts, and in high school with IHA.

It’s hard to value something you’ve never known so I get why other people don’t value and miss this thing that was a part of my life for so long. But I’m so glad to have it back.

New York Comic Con: Of Friendship And Becoming Who You Are

There’s a quote from the final season of Sex And The City that I often come back to. Carrie is sitting with her friends, having a final Cosmopolitan before leaving to move to Paris with The Russian, and she says simply and with quiet emotions, “Today, I had a thought, what if I’d never met you?”

Six years ago, I had a work buddy who talked  me into going to New York Comic Con, and Sunday night I sat in a food court in Koreatown, eating condensed milk ice cream laughing and planning another adventure with an incredible group of people, and I realized how lucky I was to find Aless, and by extension, Jess, Lora, Melvin, and Alex.

“What if I’d never met you?” I thought to myself as Lora, excitedly rattled off group cosplay ideas and chatted about road trips and Melvin suggested animes I should watch and Aless picked the wilted leaves off her Poison Ivy corset and Kal-El lead us all in a song he’d learned at school.

I’ve had a hundred  moments like that over the past few years, knowing these people, who have taught me to be open about the things I love, to not apologize for it. I always feel full after I’ve hung out with them. (And not just because we’ve usually eaten a bunch of really good Asian food.) And to explain, this was a new feeling for me, or at least, one I hadn’t had in a while, when I started hanging with this group.

Anyway, I’d wanted to write a newsy, silly snarky write up of New York Comic Con (CROWDED! Costumes! Zach Levi made me cry!) but I couldn’t help just feeling grateful to have these people.

Costume Season 2018: September Part 3: HUZZAH! To the days of Yore…

There are few things I love like the New York Renaissance Faire. (The PA Renaissance Faire, is one of them, but I don’t think I’ll make it down there this year…sadly…)

But, New York this year was one of the best outings I’ve ever had at the Faire, which was largely about the company.

Wenches

Why yes, we are 70% Disney Princesses…

I started the Disney cascade, because I decided I wanted to dress up as Ariel in her “Kiss The Girl,” getup.

It’s a white underdress, a black corset and a blue maxi skirt.

There was a lot of fun having, dancing, shouting of “huzzah,” and making of puns.

Also Katie making me take pictures next to water.

“Smile! Stop looking like you’re annoyed at me!” – Katie

So that was September in costumes! This weekend in New York Comic Con.

I’m only going to the con one day, but I may be going out both tonight and Saturday, so I’ll be dressed! See y’all around

Meet Me Tonight In Atlantic City

If you’re a comic con person, I can’t recommend getting your butt to a con in Atlantic City hard enough, FOR THE PARTIES ALONE these weekends are worth it.

This past weekend Aless, Kristi and I hit up Garden State Comic Fest: Atlantic City. While it will never ever live up to my gone to soon ACBC, it was a good substitute.

Also, frankly, I just love that town. Every time I go I have a massively awesome time. My first trip to Atlantic City was when I was ten, and we stayed at the Trump Taj Mahal with some family friends, and it was a weekend of bowling, and swimming in an indoor pool and singing Spice Girls songs. It’s a deeply fond memory for me.

The next time I went I was 18 because my friend Constantine was in the touring production of Hairspray and it was playing at Harrah’s. There’s even less for an incoming college freshman to do in the city than a 10 year old kid, but we went to the spa and saw the show and generally enjoyed the ambiance.

My first I can actually participate in it trip came about five years ago (Jeeeeeezzzz) when Juli, Chrissy and I did a quick overnight at the Showboat, which also featured dinner at Margaritaville, dancing our faces off at Boogie Nights at the Trop and a late night room service meal of cheese fries and milkshakes.

Then I found ACBC and well, there have been a few other trips in between as well. This trip, I was back at the Showboat (also the scene of an epic Coheed concert with the sibs!)

Anyway, this is not meant to be a tourism ad for Atlantic City, though seriously, I would do that too. I love that town. Anyway, the con itself was really fun, pretty standard small con, with light cosplay, a few big name guests, and lots of independent press. There was one of the best post con parties we’ve ever been to (This time with 0 sexual harassment! WEEE!) and some pretty epic hangovers.

But it was after the drive home, while Aless and I sat at my apartment eating Chinese food and rewatching Young Justice and planning our next con adventure (Terrificon, in Connecticut in August!) that I realized how really lucky I am to have my friends. Fandom was so lonely for me for so long, and now there’s this epic group of women around me who enthusiastically go to a Johnny Rockets to take pictures while in Riverdale Cosplay (More on that tomorrow!), and sing along loudly to [title of show] on a roadtrip, and say snarky things about teen superheroes who we love with all our hearts. (Except Young Justice!Roy Harper, we don’t love him, because UGH!)

I found my people, and it’s so deeply rewarding.

Single Girl Stories: NYCC Post Party Grossness

One of the things I’ve been trying to do lately is put myself out there more dude-wise. As in, I am trying to go out and talk to dudes, which might lead to dating. It is…not always super fun, but can lead to fun stories. This story is less “fun” and “awful” and “not the worst thing that could have happened, but seriously this is the shit we deal with on the regular.”

So, two weeks removed from this story, I feel OK telling it. While at one of the post parties for NYCC, a pair of men began engaging in conversation with Kristi and I. Since we had the attention of the bartender already, they asked if we could please order for them, and they’d cover our already ordered beers.
This seemed a fair trade, so we said sure, and started chatting. One of said men sort of managed to isolate me. Not completely, Kristi was still right next to me, but we had our backs to one another. This will come into play later because it became WAYYYY harder to signal to her.
About, let’s say 5 minutes, into our interaction, this man stated (I want it clear that it was a STATEMENT, not a question) that we were going to go back to his hotel room. I laughed and shook my head, assuring him that it would not be happening, as one night stands and casual sex are not my thing. He asked why, I shrugged saying just not my scene. Seriously I gave him every chance to get out of this situation without being a creep. Cue ten minutes of crap about how a one night stand doesn’t have to “casual,” because of intense feelings or something. Once again, I said I wasn’t interested.
I managed to open up the stance so that i was now talking to both him and his friend and Kristi. This conversation went way better, was more Comic Con and fandom focused. The only thing that tarred it was that the guy kept trying to touch me and I kept stepping away. Eventually, I suggested checking out one of the other spaces (this was a big midtown club, with multiple bar areas). Kristi, bless her, took the hint, took my hand and we sprinted upstairs. Unfortunately, the guys followed us, but Kristi was now clued in to the grossness. The nice one (as we called him) had to excuse himself to get on a train back to Jersey (his kid had a football game the next morning that he wanted to get back to, the sketchy dude then mocked him for this, seriously.) and as such we all walked back downstairs.
I had resigned myself to this being my night, dodging this guy who wouldn’t stop touching me and pressuring me to go home with him, and I was really REALLY bummed out about it, because aside from GROSS, post comic con parties are among my favorite things about going to comic cons. When we got downstairs, I announced that I needed to pee, and we ran to the bathroom. We then went to yet a third bar area, where we were for the rest of the night. Finally, an hour after he’d propositioned me and I’d said I wasn’t interested, I’d managed to shake the guy.
Once there, we really enjoyed ourselves. Oh, AND we wound up dancing with two guys for most of the night, one of whom, when Kristi said she was married, respectfully backed off, saying he’d had fun dancing with her, but had come out looking to meet girls, so he was going to move on. Understandable.
So, the moral of this story? Be like the cool dudes we danced with, not like the sketchy one who bought me a beer. Also, everything, even getting hit on by a dude you’ve repeatedly said no to, is better when you’ve got a friend who’s just going to drag to the dance floor eventually anyway.

Wintercon 2015: The Legend of The Red Bus

Aless and I went to Wintercon this weekend and it was really pretty fun, but tiny and a pain in the ass to get to.

Here’s what we did.

Saturday morning I got on a train in New Jersey at 8:20, which got me to New York City by 9:30. The shuttle to Resorts World Casino  New York, which is all the way out in Queens, was at Grand Central Station and leaves on the hour every 2 hours.

This would be great, and perfect if trains from New Jersey went to Grand Central, but they don’t, they go to Penn Station, which is about a 20 minute subway ride from Grand Central.

So, the 10 AM shuttle was out, but we were staying in a hotel near Grand Central that was able to get us into our room at 10:30 in the morning. (Thank you, The Lexington Hotel on 48th Street and Lexington, you were nice and accommodating, and very comfy!) And we got on the bus at noon, (Dressed as Princess Leia and Rey, SO MUCH FUN!)

Aless

Aless as Rey!

 

We walked around and shopped and chatted with people (so much Star Wars, but I’m sure that’s mostly a timing thing.) Then we spent like four hours just gambling and hanging out at the bar, because there just wasn’t a lot happening at this convention.

Rather than go out, we got back to the hotel around 9, and passed out watching Bridesmaids.

Yesterday, we once again climbed on the shuttle, this time at 10, me dressed as Wonder Girl, Aless as normal human.

Wonder Girl

Me as Wonder Girl!

Again, small convention, not a lot going on but there as a Nichelle Nichols solo panel and that was really cool! Did you know that she was going to leave Star Trek but Martin Luther King Jr. told her not to? I did not know that, and it’s awesome.

Then we went out to dinner (back in the city, make 4 rides on the big red bus.)

The lesson here? Small Cons, mayyybbee just 1 day, because otherwise I end up spending too much money on ciders.

Aless’s Justice League Dream

Apparently my best friend dreams in cartoons. I’m publishing this because

  1. It’s one of the best Justice League Stories I’ve ever seen.
  2. Everyone should get a glimpse of what a conversation between Aless and I actually is.
  3. I’m lazy and didn’t feel like writing last night (again, sorry!)

So here it is, in her own words:

First thing you should know is that my dream was animated and it was in the same style as the Justice League cartoon show, which makes sense because my dream included the Justice League. I was Wonder Woman obviously haha.

Really, they look EXACTLTY the same.

Really, they look EXACTLTY the same.

So here’s how the story goes…

An evil magician transports the entire Justice League to Germany 1944 and takes away their powers hoping they die in the war and can’t interfere with his world domination plans in the present. Since all the JL members are scattered, first thing to do is to find them in the battlefield. Superman and Batman find Flash (Barry) and Martian Manhunter, I (Wonder Woman) find Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and Wally and slowly but surely we all find each other, there’s only about 12-15 of the members, I don’t remember all of them. Only the ones who where fighting against the magician where sent back aka the main ones. We steal uniforms to infiltrate a convoy headed to Berlin. We do this because as you know the Justice League was already sent back to WWII once and we have to avoid running into our old selves and altering that timeline because that would be bad So we head to Berlin, once we get there and start investigating we realize that Hitler isn’t real. He is a puppet controlled by the same evil magician because he needed to create chaos and needed people to experiment on without drawing too much attention to himself. He needs to create 2 points of chaos in history in order for his plan to work. Don’t know why? He’s evil, that’s what they do.

We manage to get in Hitler’s inner circle because we figured if he’s a puppet there must be some way to get to the magician through him. Someone was helping us get to him and it turned out to be Stauffenberg (I think that’s how is spelled, he’s the man who tried and failed to assassinate Hitler in July 1944). His attempt to help us is just that, he tries to uncover Hitler as a puppet but fails. Anyway, we don’t get caught and somehow we gain access to Hitler’s bunker and find a secret door leading down to the evil magician’s lair. While the rest of the league searches for the magician, Batman and I fight some of his puppets (btw we’re the only ones with strength. Batman doesn’t have superpowers so there was nothing to take from him and the magician only took my weapons not my amazon strength haha!) and capture the magician , but turns out he was also a puppet. He takes his face off like a mask, which is kind of disturbing and sets off an alarm that traps all of us in a maze-like structure and we only have an hour or less to escape before it heats up and microwaves us. Most of the doors close but with the help of the Flash, who somehow got his powers back, and my amazon strength we jam the last door which gives us time to get everyone out of there.

So that’s what happened there. She wanted to clean it up more. But I insist that it was perfect.

Hopefully I actually want to blog tonight…but I’m not making promises anymore. Thinking of scaling back my schedule. I don’t know. I’ll keep you updated

Time To Get Personal: Careful The Things You Say

Into The Woods

One of the things that was nice about not having a lot of comics to read last week, aside from it giving me a chance to get through two volumes of Sailor Moon manga, is that I got to do some theatre work and thinking.

Theatre is my first love, which is why I spell it with that pretentious re ending, despite that I’m not even slightly British. Aside from the fact that I helped build the set for the production of Little Shop Of Horrors that I’m producing, which was something I hadn’t done in a while and reminded me of all the stuff I like about being involved in this art form, I went to go see a production of Into The Woods at the theatre company I worked with all through high school and most of college.

Couple this with the release of the trailer for Into The Woods, and I was wistfully thinking about that show, it’s music and the lessons it imparts.

You’re all going to have to put up with me talking about Into The Woods a lot for the next few months. As more details about the film leak out I’m going to start whipping up into a bigger and bigger frenzy about this.

Of course the trailer was fabulous. I was talking about it with people all weekend. (Mostly because the people I was with this weekend hadn’t seen Guardians yet and according to my friend Greg I have “spoiler face” so I wasn’t allowed to talk about that.) The orchestral version of “Stay With Me,” was absolutely perfect. It looks dark and creepy and really, really cool.

But Into The Woods is such a cool show for a lot of reasons, but the second act is probably one of the most exceptionally good in the history of musical theatre. I remember the first time that I saw the show, a high school production when I was in middle school. I was blown away, I cried, I fell in love. When I was in it in college as Jack’s Mother, it was a dream come true.

I love this show and it’s message of being careful what you wish for. I love it’s strange universe where fairytales and archetypes are also just everyday people. I love it’s flawed heroes and of course it’s beautiful music.

And I’m trying to keep it’s core lesson in my heart as I try to move forward with my life. Actions matter, there are consequences. Wishes matter, thoughts mater, words matter. I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to cleanse my life of a lot of negativity lately, and meditating on Into The Woods has reaffirmed this desire in me. I’ve been whining a lot lately, and then I had this wonderful weekend, starting with Thursday, spending the evening with Aless, peaking with a great set build and a night sitting by the fire with my friend Lauren making “super s’mores,” and ending with a night out on Monday with some new and old friends and realizing how wonderful my life and the people in it are.

One of the other main themes of Into The Woods is “No One Is Alone” which also works for what I’m thinking about. My life, like everyone’s doesn’t exist in a vacuum, “you move just a finger, say the slightest word,” it will change things, effect people. I can do that, anyone can do that, for good or for ill. So try to do it for good. But also remember that “witches can be right, giants can be good…no one acts alone.” Everyone matters, you, I, everyone is the most important person in someone’s life at any given moment.

I’m going to try to carry that with me as I go forward through the world.

Because in the end, “everything you learn there will help when you return there.”

I wish.

The Souffle Girls: A New Fangirl Dream Team

Monday night, I had what was probably one of the best fangirl night’s ever. I’ve been in my new job for a whole week now, and I’m completely exhausted, so a night out wasn’t really in my best interest. (A night in cleaning out my DVR would have been a much better move) but also, a night hanging out with two of the best friends I’ve ever had, talking about Doctor Who, was obviously a good second.

Yes, that’s right friends, Aless has met Crystan, there was Doctor Who trivia and fried food and now, I can sleep soundly, knowing that at least two aspects of my life have been peacefully integrated and there’s just a whole lot less to compartmentalize now.

But also, we just had a great night. I’m exhausted now though, so I’m just going to refer you to Trivia AD, the company that ran the night. (and the West Wing Trivia that Crystan and I did a few months ago) Also, congrats to The Souffle Girls, our team. We came in Second, this was largely thanks to Aless, although we all helped out.

Not the most flattering picture, but this is us.

Not the most flattering picture, but this is us.

Trivia nights can be intense, but this one was really fun, and as the host of the night (Lauren Millberger, she’s awesome too,) put it “Doctor Who is such an optimistic show, that of course Whovians are super nice and such a welcoming fandom.”

This is so incredibly true. Who fandom, in spite of it’s age and depth is a very welcoming one. Compare it to any comic fandom, of Trek fandom, which have similar histories and it’s like an open door. No one cares if you’re NuWho only, or know your classics, if you don’t know the difference between a companion or an assistant. Oh, sure, they’ll point you towards answers, but no one’s going to mock you.

Crystan is still in the midst of her first watching and everyone at trivia was just really excited for her, and glad to have someone new in the Tardis for a ride. The only other fandom I’ve seen that’s as open is Harry Potter, yes, we prefer if you’ve read the books, but if you’ve only watched the movies, cool, we’re glad you’re here. Whovians, similarly, yeah, we like it if you’ve seen the whole show, we dig it if you’re into Torchwood, only because it opens up more to talk about, but for the most part, we’re just glad that you’ve shown up at all.

I’m lucky to have friends who I’m connected with in real ways who share my love of these things, and I’m really glad that they get along with each other. I’m lucky to have people I love to sit around for two hours and talk Who with. (And jump up and down at the non-death of Dick Grayson, or chat about Veronica Mars, and any number of other things that happened last night.)

So thanks ladies, it was exactly what I needed. Here’s to many more such nights!

Of The TARDIS and Old Friends

Last night I had dinner with my college roommate Jen. I’ve talked about my relationship with Jen before, and last night she summed it up even better, “There was just no filter in that room. We just talked about whatever ridiculous things came into our heads.”

Usually, it was about this.

Usually, it was about this.

Dinner was about twenty minutes of us catching up, (Jen is working for the New York Public Library, I’m at the hotel. We both live at home. We both kind of can’t stand it, but can’t afford to change the situation at the moment. Hooray!) and then five minutes of reminiscing about a trip to Florida we took sophomore year, and then an hour and a half of talking about Star Trek and Doctor Who.

Jen was not happy with the way Star Trek Into Darkness turned out. “But I did go to see it…twice.” We chatted about the things that annoyed me, and she agreed with most of them, (She also thinks that bring Spock Prime in was pandering. HOORAY! I had a correct Trekkie response to this. To me this is like when “The Rain in Spain,” minus the dancing.)

There might have been some dancing

There might have been some dancing

Then we moved into Doctor Who. I always love talking to people about Doctor Who, because even among geeky people, it’s like having a secret password into a club. And that club is bigger on the inside.

We talked about Davies VS Moffat. (We prefer Moffat episodes, but Davies story archs.) Why 10 is better than 11. (He just is.) And God almighty, was there ever some Rose Tyler love being passed around that table, our distaste for River Song, and how weird it is that even though we don’t really care either which way for Martha Jones, all of her episodes are great. This may just be because of Captain Jack.

Always being on the same page with Jen about so many things has been what keeps the fact that we’re not on the same page about so many others from getting in the way of being friends. (I won’t get into those other things, I love her so much, that’s the important part.)

What strange about my friendship with Jen is that she doesn’t have a facebook. So when we see each other, the catch up time isn’t nominal. I actually had no idea what was going on in her life for the past year, because except for the occasional text or email we didn’t have much contact. So these dinners, lunches and quick attempt to reconnect are actually amazing.

And being around people you can just pick up with is always great.

Like, always, always.