Author: Tara M. Clapper

5 Things Bloggers Should Avoid: Tips from the Geek

Blogging used to be a geeky thing;now everyone seems to do it!Photo: Petr Kratochvil,publicdomainpictures.net Blogging is a super fun pastime and part-time job. Since I make money doing this, I try to keep up on blogging trends. I know that the best way to become an excellent writer is to read according to my interests and hopefully develop positive writing habits. While I’ve learned a great deal through exploring others’ blogs, I keep running into the same annoying habits from bloggers. I admittedly used to do some of these, but I’m putting this advice out there to help other bloggers. Yep, it’s time to delve right into the topic of blogging–which used to be a geek-only thing, but is now trendy and part of mainstream movies. As a reader, here are five things I can’t stand in some blog posts: Song or Movie Titles as Posts I recently encountered a blog post with the name of a comedy as the post title. While I thought it was a little trite to begin with, I read on because the blog was cute. The blog talked about the death of the writer’s dear friend, but the title had set me up for laughs. Before you publish, make sure your title accurately reflects your blog post. Even if your post is about falling in love, you can probably come up with something more original...

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Women and Leadership Roles in LARPs and Other RPGs

Stereotype of a woman at a LARP.Photo: Petr Kratochvilpublicdomainpictures.net Lizzie Stark posted an excellent article about women and their leadership roles (or lack thereof) in LARPs (live action role playing games). She observes that many women do have roles in LARPs, but that women are usually relegated to roles in logistics or prop management rather than formative game development positions. As the one in charge of marketing at Seventh Kingdom IGE, I definitely have more responsibilities out of game than in. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with my gender, but I’m decent at organizing things and motivating myself. This skill set is also required in my day job, and honestly it’s one I find lacking in many (but not all!) males. When I think about the role in the game and the feedback I’ve received, I’ve noticed that I’m good at entertaining and keeping the attention of about one to seven people at a time. Whether I’m role playing at a LARP or in an online text-based game, I write small and large plots best for that size group. That said, I’ve seen some masterful female storytellers who can cast a wider net as far as audience attention. At Seventh Kingdom, our logistics director Kori is heavily involved in plot and usually invents the most psychologically intriguing points. Lizzie’s point is generally true, however, especially...

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Eco-friendly Ideas for Geeks

When it’s time for a convention, LARP event, or a Dungeons and Dragons game, even the most eco-friendly geek can forget the rules of being environmentally friendly. Whether costuming or preparing food on the go, simple shortcuts can help you remain considerate of the...

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Food for Geeks: Yoda Cake and Unicorn Poop Cookies

Get thee to a kitchen! A geek mandate.Photo: Petr Kratochvil, publicdomainpictures.net Geek birthday parties rock! I’m pretty jazzed about hosting a geek theme birthday party for my friend next month. I started looking around online for some awesome geeky foods beyond the standard Star Wars cookbook and I found a few challenging options. Geeky DrinksAs much as I’d love some coffee roasted by Stormtroopers, I don’t want to limit the geekiness to one fandom. Star Trek is also full of awesome when it comes to beverages. People also drink synthehol on The Next Generation, which makes parties with non-drinkers and underage guests feel more inclusive. Now, who can figure out how to make that Samarian sunset? Another classic is mudder’s milk, a substance featured on Firefly. It’s alcoholic, inexpensive, and nourishing–and it’s really  not supposed to taste good. If you’re not sure about tasting it, just remember: it contains Guinness, so it’s gotta be worth a go. Star Wars Burgers Main courses are often the most difficult when it comes to cooking geek. I really love recipes that take simple foods and make them themed, like these awesome burgers which look like Jawas and Wookiees. If we lived in France, I could just head over to the local fast food joint to grab some Jedi burgers, but for now, homemade will have to do. Dessert Options I lack the artistic skill...

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Female Geeks Are Not Always Healers

“I can have fun now that I’m not playing a healer!”Photo: Petr Kratochvil, publicdomainpictures.net Time to tackle another stereotype: female geeks always like to play healers in RPGs (role playing games). There is truth to it: many women like to play healers, and both males and females aren’t always comfortable asking directly for such care. To role play this in a general way (or even in a sexual way, like a woman wearing a nurse’s outfit) recognizes that role, which is generally accepted by society. I admit there is a part of me that likes taking care of everyone. I really like hosting friends and having people over for game nights. However, there are some standard healer duties I don’t like: MMORPG Bar Game: Playing the bar game frankly sucks. In Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) I decided early on that I wanted to play a Consular Sage, primary DPS, secondary healer. However, because the guild needed a healer, I found myself going into a healer spec, and SWTOR does not currently allow for dual spec. I missed seeing about 12 levels of quest content (including some flashpoints) because I was busy just watching hit points bars. Boring! While a healer has an impact on the success of the group and is appreciated by the group, I feel ineffective if I’m only healing. I’m not playing the game...

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Anime Convention Observations

Costumes abound at KotoriCon. Photo: Talia Felix, publicdomainpictures.net I was never into anime, but being a LARPer and a general geek leads to crossover fandoms. I have many friends who enjoy anime, but I just can’t seem to understand the appeal of it, especially hentai and cat-people stuff. However, I respect it as an art form and as an expressive genre, and it encourages cross-cultural interaction and engagement between American and Japanese cultures. This past weekend I attended the a small convention: KotoriCon as a panelist with Seventh Kingdom IGE. Even though I was completely clueless about the anime stuff, I quickly noted that this con was a little convention with a great deal of community support. Almost everyone I met there had something positive to say to others. I also learned that it was okay to say “hey, what’s your costume from?” People are okay with that–in fact, they’re more than happy to explain it. While I haven’t been to Dragon*Con, I have been to conventions of varying sizes. At some conventions, vendors and guests adopt a competitive, snippy attitude towards each other. At once such convention, I found some people to be downright rude, while the celebrity guests were extremely polite. The tone of a convention varies depending on attendees and how things are handled. KotoriCon, however, got it right: Friendly staff, including volunteers that asked organizers what...

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Geeky New Years Resolutions

Jonathan Frakes. Photo: Dapete,Public Domain Image, WikimediaCommons. With 2012 approaching soon, I’ve been thinking about my goals for the new year. Unsurprisingly, most of them fall into geek territory. Tech Workout: I’m already hitting the gym, so I don’t have to deal with that pesky “get fit” resolution right now. However, I do need to find new ways to keep myself entertained at the gym when I’m not there with my husband or my personal trainer. Music helps me keep a good pace on the treadmill. I resolve to make and use ten or more different workout playlists for the gym. With digital music, there’s no excuse to avoid this motivational tool. Stop Hating Apple: Right. It is actually possible to be a geek but love PCs more than Macs; I’m one of those people. That said, I’m really getting used to my new iPhone. Aside from having a sassy Siri sidekick that can dish out sarcasm, the iPhone has an awesome camera with a reversible camera (kind of like the CoolPix). My next step? Attach an Apple keyboard to my PC. I’ve noticed that my typing speed increases by about 20% on a Mac keyboard–and time is money for a full-time writer. Maybe in a few years I’ll even switch over to the Mac platform entirely, though the interface really takes some adjustment. I won’t let myself use...

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30 Rock, Jack Donaghy, and Geek References

Now I know what I’ve been missing. For some reason, I thought “30 Rock” was a reference to drugs, and not an address in New York City. Well, crap. I should have been watching this show all along. Over the last week, I’ve managed to watch the first 32 episodes, and I’m thrilled by the number of snarky geek (and general culture) references ever-present in the show. This show could have helped me cope with the unavoidable omnipresence of the Bush Administration! I’m also not going to lie about my budding crush on Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin). He has that Sue Sylvester-esque personality…one minute he does something only a jerk would do, and the next minute he’s rather admirable and borderline honorable. And while I feel like a perv geek girl for having a thing for Chris Hemsworth (he’s 28, I’m 30), it seems that it’s acceptable for women of all ages to appreciate Alec Baldwin. I have to admit, he’s hotter than Harrison Ford (but NOT necessarily hotter than Indiana Jones…it’s the hat). Donaghy is so awesome, I can almost forgive him for being Republican. I was glad to see Baldwin on the People’s 2011 Sexist Man Alive list. But really? He was listed after Bradley Cooper, a fellow Germantown Academy alum. I’m not saying Bradley’s an ugly dude, but how can he compete? Anyway, back...

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