Author: Tara M. Clapper

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, 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, 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, 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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Geeks and Exercise

“This would be more interesting ifI got an Xbox achievement for it.”Photo: Vera Kratochvil, I’m a geek and I exercise. I’ve had an on and off relationship with the gym for a few years now. I’ve had one with my Xbox, too. I put at least a hundred percent into my career, school, and marriage, but for some reason I can’t commit fully to my gaming system and the gym. What’s with that? Part of it is that most of the time, results aren’t immediate. In gaming, achievements don’t appear instantly. You have to work for them. In the gym, muscle building and weight loss takes time. However, when I write an article, I usually get paid the next day. Instant gratification. I should feel fortunate that work is more gratifying for me than hobbies like gaming and exercising, but it can get annoying, too. Three cups of coffee and eight hours later, I haven’t relaxed, and that doesn’t help my work habits. I know geeks of all different types. Some pride themselves on fitness while others fit the WoW stereotype of living in the parents’ basement. I fall somewhere in between, probably because of my age (it’s a lot easier to keep the weight off at 20 versus 30) and due to previous dietary habits. So I found a gym down the street. It’s cheap and bare bones....

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Escapism: Is It Healthy?

Like Warcraft? Non-geeks will tell youto power down immediately.Photo: Petr Kratochvil, Escapism is the cornerstone of a geek’s life–or a writer’s, for that matter. Even though I focus on writing nonfiction, I still constantly rely on the creative part of my mind to generate article ideas. It makes sense that most of my editing work at the moment involves fiction; most of my writing assignments are about TV. I feel like I’m getting away with something because even my work centers around escaping from reality. Is that bad? I don’t think it is. I think it’s the secret to my success. Could I sit down and write for eight hours about a boring topic? Probably not. Can I write about dog Halloween costumes while in IMRP (instant message role play – it’s text-based) with my BFF who lives across the country (shoutout to you, Shannon the fabulous)? Yes. Let’s get things straight. I’m the one who recently posted about how I don’t believe in faeries, even though I like them. Sure, some people take their fantasies to new levels. In attempts to live fantasies, they destroy their lives. There are multiple instances of divorce caused by the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft (AKA WoW, World of Warcrack). Sure, people have lost jobs and marriages because they’ve been addicted to video games, but the real issue here is escapism in...

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