As some of you already know, I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. I had been eagerly awaiting the GGC’17 Looking for Leia panel since I first read about it while helping edit the con’s program booklet. The panel highlighted filmmaker Annalise Ophelian’s six-episode docu-series Looking for Leia about women of the Star Wars fandom. The panelists included Annalise herself, along with droid-builder Christina Cato, Rebel Legion member Pat M. Yulo, physician and starwars.com writer Linda Hansen-Raj, fanfiction author and cosplayer Maggie Nowakowska, and KUOW reporter Jamala Henderson.
Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Representation of Asians in Film, TV, and Gaming was the first con panel I ever attended, so when I heard they were bringing it back for a fourth edition, I was thrilled.
This year’s #GGCPandas included archeologist-turned-illustrator-and-costume-designer Meris Mullaley, former Japan-based sports journalist and current writer, baker, and cosplayer Tony Loiseleur, GGC Twitter Administrator and self-proclaimed media binger Kristine Hassell, blogger and gamer Sonja Marcus, and former Virginia Tech professor and current video game creator and GGC Manager of Editorial Services JC Lau.
It’s been a bit over a week since the events in Parkland, Florida. To be honest, I’m struggling with the thought that the bad in our society outweighs the good and there’s nothing we can do about it. Grief and mourning are both completely appropriate reactions to tragedy, and I don’t mean to downplay the importance of acknowledging and experiencing those emotions. I often fixate on disasters and miss victories, though, which is often more painful than productive.
As Fred Rogers, one of my heroes, said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.” Taking his advice, I’ve made a list of some current helpers. Check it out:
One of my favorite things about GeekGirlCon is the way provides a space to critique the media we love and discuss how it could be made better. The Do Black Heroes Matter? panel was a perfect example of this. The panelists included writer, filmmaker, performer, and self-described hater on twitter Isabella L. Price, writer and GeekGirlCon twitter administrator Kristine Hassell, and tech professional and self-described Superpowered Diva of Dopeness Risha K.
Isabella set the panel’s tone in her introduction when she explained that this was the panelists’ third time doing this panel and said, tongue-in-cheek, that, “this is old hat. We’ve already solved racism; this is just a refresher course.” Once the introductions were done, she went on to dedicate the panel to Darrien Hunt, a twenty-two year old black man who was shot and killed by police in 2014 while cosplaying as Mugen from Samurai Champloo. Police saw him as a threat, she explained, which is one of the reasons why the fight for representation is so important.
Happy New Year, fellow geeks! I’ll admit that I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions or spend much time considering the opportunity that a fresh new year brings, but 2017 was a year of embracing what worked for me and letting go of what didn’t, and I don’t want to lose that momentum in the coming year.
Source: Giphy. Description: a gif of colorful fireworks exploding in the night sky.
I’ve been thinking about what I want to focus on in 2018, and I’ve realized that one of the places I still have plenty of room to grow in is making choices based on my hopes and not my fears. I have a tendency to sabotage my own happiness by either saying no to or bailing on good things out of fear that they won’t work out, and I’m making 2018 the year of not letting the panicky voice in my brain run the show. That’s a big ambiguous mission, so I’ve come up with a more concrete challenge to start with, and I’m extending it to all of you, because if I’m going to do something hard, I want to drag as many people along for the ride as I can.
Source: Giphy. Description: the 10th Doctor from Doctor Who holding out his hand to the camera and saying, “Come with me.”
So here’s my 2018 challenge for us all: do one thing you’ve been putting off because of fear.
Sign up for that 5K, put together that cosplay, start that career change, have that hard conversation—whatever it is you’ve been meaning to do but have been avoiding because it’s big and terrifying, let 2018 be the year that you acknowledge the fear and do the hard thing anyway.
For me, this means finally getting back into the world of fiction writing. In college, I wrote two novels and landed a literary agent who got me a contract offer from editor at a major publishing house. I was ecstatic. My agent was working on securing a movie deal now that we had a publisher, and my future was looking bright. Part way through the contract negotiations with the publishing house, my agent called to say that the editor had rescinded the offer without any explanation. She reached out to a few other editors, but the whole process got pretty quiet after that. I took what was supposed to be a short break from writing things for myself to recover from the disappointment of having my plans axed and the fear that maybe the contract had been pulled because I wasn’t a competent writer.
Source: Giphy. Description: George Michael Bluth from Arrested Development walking sadly with his head down.
Six years later, I am ready to end that break. In 2018 I’m committing to write some sort of fiction. I don’t care about length and I don’t care if it’s good enough to share—I’m tired of letting the fear that I will never write anything worthy of publishing stop me from doing something I once loved.
Now it’s your turn. What scary thing are you going to take on in 2018? Share your resolution in the comments or keep it to yourself—either way, may we all own our hopes and tackle our fears in this new year.
Are you, like me, missing the excitement and camaraderie of GeekGirlCon ‘17? I’ve got good news—the dates for GGC ‘18 are here!
Source: GeekGirlCon Dropbox. Image description: Two girls in cosplay sit at a table playing video games at GeekGirlCon ‘17.
Join us October 27 and 28, 2018, at the Conference Center at the Washington State Convention Center for a weekend of geeky adventure, learning, and community. Passes will be available soon; join our mailing list or keep an eye here on the blog for updates. We’ve got great things in store and we can’t wait to share them with you. We’ll see you there!
Source: GeekGirlCon Dropbox. Image description: Two GeekGirlCon ‘17 panelists laugh while sitting on stage during their panel.
One of the best moments of my life was when, while sitting in my psychiatrist’s office after having filled out a series of questionnaires, she looked up at me and said, “Well, you have ADHD.”
I was 26. I had graduated from college with honors, was working a full-time job, and led an outwardly stable life. At the same time, I was experiencing debilitating anxiety and depression and struggling to cope. I saw myself as lazy, incompetent, and immature—I had incredibly poor self-discipline, was always forgetting things, and constantly ping-ponged between excitedly volunteering for roles and feeling completely overwhelmed. It seemed like I had to work twice as hard for twice as long to keep up with my peers.
Not going to lie, when I first read the description for Refill Your Hearts: Fandom Librarians Recommend Stories to Get You Through the Bad Times, I was a little skeptical. The panel was meant to be a group of fannish librarians providing personalized reading and viewing recommendations for the audience. According to the description, they would focus on uplifting fanfiction, online and self-published fiction, webcomics, tv shows, movies, and other media created by and centered on women; queer, trans-, and nonbinary people; people of color; neurodiverse people; and other marginalized groups. As someone who has read fanfiction for over sixteen years, I was specifically doubtful that the panelists would have read enough fanfiction in enough fandoms to make useful recommendations to the audience. I did love the idea that they might have a couple story suggestions that would fit my preferences, though, and I wanted to see how the panel would play out, so I gave it a try.
As a pop-culture geek, I’m all about the suspension of disbelief. Give me mythical creatures, interdimensional travel, and fireball explosions in the vacuum of space—I prefer creativity to realism. But I also enjoy digging into whether or not fictional realities play by their own rules, and GeekGirlCon ‘17’s “The Science of Wonder Woman” panel did not disappoint.
“The Science of Wonder Woman” was a fantastic discussion of the Wonder Woman film from a scientific perspective. The panelists included astronomer and physics professor Dr. Nicole Gugliucci, forensic chemist and GGC DIY Science Zone project manager Dr. Raychelle Burke, and science writer R.K. Pendergrass.