Oh (Pokémon) Snap!

Image Description: Pokémon Snap box art featuring an assortment of generation 1 Pokémon emerging from a camera lens. Text: Pokémon Snap: Catching Pokémon is a Snap!

Trainers! Today is the day! After a 22-year wait (yes, you read that right) we are finally getting a new Pokémon Snap. As I have waited not-so-patiently for this long-desired sequel, this week I thought I would fire up my Nintendo 64 and play through the original Pokémon Snap for a trip down memory lane. I was not disappointed.

Originally released in 1999, Pokémon Snap was a delight to fans of the franchise. Up until this point, the Pokémon games had only been available for the Gameboy. Pre-dating the wildly successful Pokémon Stadium, this was the first time that many Pokémon had been rendered in 3D (and it kinda shows. I mean, look at that low-poly Eevee). This could be a big reason why only 63 of the original 151 Pokémon were available in the game.

Image Description: A screenshot from Pokemon Snap featuring Eevee frolicking in some rocks.

After a little (okay, a LOT) of dusting and some fiddling with cables, I was able to hook up my N64 and boot up the game. Oh my, it was like a literal time machine! The instant wave of nostalgia that flowed over me as I heard the familiar theme music was intense. All of a sudden, I was a 12-year-old girl again, giggling with my siblings about the silly pictures we would take and begging my parents to take me to Blockbuster so I could have those images printed out as stickers so I could share them with my friends.

Professor Oak greeted me like an old friend and explained the rules of the game. But I was in for a little bit of shock on that first run though the beach level of the game. I was having a hell of a time aiming my camera and it took me a minute to figure out why—I have been so used to modern gyroscopic controls for aiming that I have totally forgotten how to aim with a joystick! Yep, I was trying to aim the camera by moving my whole transparent purple N64 controller. Needless to say, I didn’t get many good pictures on that round.

Even once I came to my 1999 era senses, this game was still challenging. In every level there is so much going on! In this rail shooter style game, once the level starts you are on a set path and pace, with a limited time to capture any given scene. Trying to get just the right pose at just the right angle as you are continuously moving through the environment is hard, but so satisfying when you get it right.

Though there is a limited number of Pokémon available in this game, one thing that still impresses me about it is the replay value. You will play through the first few levels, then Professor Oak will give you the apples. Apples can lure out Pokémon and make them exhibit different behaviors, and you play through the levels over and over again to find how they react to the treat. Then later you get the pester ball which can bother a Pokémon out of hiding or encourage it to spontaneously evolve, and the Pokéflute which will wake up sleeping ‘mon and make some others dance.

On top of that, there is so much happening in the environment around you that you would be hard pressed to get everything in a single run through a level. Pokémon are appearing on all sides of you, sometimes only offering a good shot for just a moment before disappearing off screen. I found that it was easier to do several runs of a single level and only focus on getting shots of a few Pokémon each time so that I would have a maximum chance of catching Pokémon in a rare pose and get the highest score possible.

Even now, I’m still finding new things in this very old game. For some reason, it never occurred to me to look behind me while on the track. I decided to do so while playing through the cavern level. Nearing the end of the course, you can free a Pikachu from a Zubat with a well timed pester ball, which will result in Pikachu flying past you tied to a bunch of balloons. It took a few tries, but I managed to get it, and I thought this was the extent of the interaction. I proceeded to play through the level, playing the Pokéflute to make the Articuno egg hatch. Now, Articuno is my favorite legendary bird, and I was hoping to get one last chance at a good shot of it, so I turned around behind me to see if it would come up again. I was almost too shocked to take a picture when I saw the Pikachu riding Articuno!

Image Description: A screenshot from Pokemon Snap featuring Pikachu riding on the back of Articuno in a cave.

It is interactions like this that made the original Pokémon Snap so popular. There was always something new, a hidden Pokémon, a new pose. As the Pokémon franchise has grown over the years, fans have continuously asked for a new Pokémon Snap so they could have that same fun again with all new Pokémon. Well trainers, that day is finally here!

As I fidget through the rest of my workday until I can rush home to open my mailbox and start a whole new Pokémon Snap journey, I’m curious. What will this new game be? Will all 932 Pokémon be available? What new features can we look forward to? I suppose I will just have to find out. 

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon Gift Giving Guide: 2020 Edition

Description: Friends scene where Ross dresses up as the Holiday Armadillo as Monica and Ben look skeptically at each other.

Happy holidays you fabulous geeks! It is a bit of an understatement to say that this year has been a little rough, so we thought we would try to ease a little of the holiday stress by giving you a few gift giving (or asking) ideas selected from our favorite exhibitors from GeekGirlCONLINE. 

This super cute washable Shiba Inu patterned face mask from WinkWare– $17

Description: a teal cotton facemask featuring multiple colors of Shiba Inu faces.

Face masks are the new socks, y’all! They are an incredibly practical gift because everyone needs at least one right now and it shows how much you care about the recipients health and wellbeing. Plus, washable masks have the added benefit of being eco friendly, so this one is really a win-win. This particular face mask from WinkWare’s Etsy shop is made of 100 percent cotton and is machine washable. Check out the many other offerings WinkWear has here, including bags, hats, enamel pins, and more!

A set of fun vinyl cat stickers from TheVintagePostbox- $8

Description: Three stickers of cats. From left to right: a white and grey striped cat holding four kittens of varying colors, an orange striped cat playing a Switch, and a tuxedo cat wearing an apron and making a latte.

This sticker set would make the purr-fect stocking stuffer for the cat lover in your life! What better way to show your love of cats than by slapping one (or all) of these on your favorite water bottle or on your laptop? I don’t know about you, but I definitely identify with Switch Cat up there (Animal Crossing, anyone?). Seriously though, TheVintagePostbox also has a ton of great original art on their Etsy page you can check out here.

A print of Baby Yoda to brighten up your home from The SomethingPrettie Gallery– $20

Description: a stylized art print of The Child in a desert landscape of yellows, oranges, and pinks.

The Child (aka Baby Yoda) has been a bright light of adorable joy for all of us this year. What better way to keep that cute rage alive than to hang this 8×8 inch print in your very own home? Maybe in your bathroom as an accent piece, or even right in your living room. If Baby Yoda isn’t your thing, check out some of the other fantastic prints from The SomethingPrettie Gallery. You are certain to find something to suit your (or a friend’s) home.

A chic zipper bag to hold all your little treasures (featuring Link and a Korok) from Rin’s Art Shop– $15

Description: A blue floral print bag with a gold zipper featuring Link and a Korok on the right hand side.

Yahaha! You found this crazy useful and cute zipper bag! Measuring at about 8.5×6 inches, this bag is perfect to store your collection of enamel pins, change, makeup, or korok seeds. While you’re there, be sure to check out the impressive selection of charms Rin’s Art Shop creates to go along with it!

This cool crow branch wooden charm necklace from theGorgonist– $20

Description: A necklace featuring a crow sitting on a branch giving some epic side-eye.

This side-eyed, shade throwing crow necklace is everything! It is snarky, dark, and super cool. If you are looking for some truly unique pieces of jewelry to give or get, look no further than theGorgonist on Etsy!

So there you have it! The GGC 2020 gift giving guide! We hope that this list offers some inspiration in your hunt for the perfect gift. We always encourage you to support the causes that are near and dear to your heart this time of year, whether that be shopping small business, locally, female and/or black owned business, or with businesses that give back to their communities (or all the above).

And whatever you may celebrate this season, we wish you all the happiest (and safest) of holidays!

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCONLINE Week 4: Gaming

[Image Description: Two young girls having a ton of fun playing console video games.]

We’ve made it to our penultimate weekend of GeekGirlCONLINE, but we’re not slowing down yet. Our fourth weekend of GeekGirlCONLINE is all about GAMING, so tune in on the GeekGirlCONLINE Twitch channel for a ton of amazing panels, workshops, and livestreams sponsored by our awesome gamemaker friends at Valve!

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

GGC Virtual Expo Hall and Merch Shop are Open!

A young lady in a purple dress wistfully says, "Because when I go shopping, the whole world gets better."
We know the feeling.

GeekGirlCONLINE is officially live, and so are our virtual expo hall and official merch shop! All. Month. Long!

Even though we can’t be together in person, that doesn’t mean that we can’t peruse the amazing exhibitors that have gathered together in our virtual expo hall. We have even categorized the exhibitors for your shopping convenience. Want to support a POC owned business? We got that. Is your favorite thing to buy at a con some cool original art? We got that too! Click here to shop our incredible list of virtual exhibitors.

We also have some crazy cool GeekGirlCon 2020 merch available, designed by none other than Ragon Dickard! Guys, this merch is so amazingly perfect for all that is GGC, so be sure to check it out here.

Happy shopping!

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCONLINE is Coming!

Colorful logo for GeekGrilCONLINE, October 2020

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, summer is officially over. Fall is fast approaching, and with it comes the awesome virtual party that we are calling GeekGirlCONLINE!

For anyone who didn’t hear, we are moving GGC to a totally virtual experience for 2020. We are so excited to explore this new way to bring content to our community and we are committed to making GGC as accessible as it can possibly be.

GeekGirlCONLINE is a totally new experience, and we are planning to bring you content through the entire month of October. We will be bringing you panels, workshops, and livestreams focused on a weekly theme.

We will be announcing programming in the coming weeks, so check back often to see what we have planned! Stay in the know by subscribing to our blog or following us on social media.

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

Written All Over My Geeky Face

A woman Frames her face with her hands to showcase her storm trooper face mask.
Work it sister!
Image courtesy of Giphy

In the world we currently find ourselves in, masks and other face coverings have quickly become an essential item to bring with you when leaving your home. Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Mask? Check! This is especially important now that face coverings are mandatory in Washington state.

Let’s be honest though. Like bras, masks are often hot and uncomfortable to wear. No one really likes wearing them, but we do it in the name of social decency and for the sake of public safety during a pandemic. But are masks a necessary evil, or can they be a potential fashion statement? Instead of looking at face masks as an imposition, maybe we can view them from a more positive angle. This is really an opportunity to let your geek flag fly!

I know you geeks out there love to express yourselves. You are smart and crafty! Think of your mask as a blank canvas. What kind of geekdoms can you proclaim to the world through your mask?

There is a plethora of geeky cotton fabric available from just about every corner of the internet. Or, if you are anything like me, you have a ton of leftover fabric scraps from other projects long finished that were just a smidgen too big for you to toss in the garbage without feeling immense guilt (I knew that fifteen inch square of leftover fabric would come in handy someday! Take that Marie Kondo.). 

Once I realized that COVID wasn’t going anywhere, I started researching some basic face mask patterns and found a great video tutorial. I gathered some fabric I had laying around, and made some fun masks that have turned out to be some great conversation starters at work. Plus, I like the added bonus of having a reusable mask. It feels less wasteful, and cotton is a very durable fabric.

Three face masks. One Star Wars, on Dr. Who, one Disney's Arisotcats.
Just a few of the masks I’ve made at home.

I was having so much fun with different fabrics, I decided to buy some more geeky fabric online. There were so many different patterns that it was truly a challenge to choose what to purchase while staying inside a reasonable budget. I ended up with enough fabric to make nearly sixty  face coverings! I know that sounds a bit excessive, but I’m glad I ended up getting so much. 

Since masks have been made mandatory in public, I’ve started making them to give to family and friends who are not able to make them for themselves. I can’t control much in my life right now, but I can do this. I can look out for the people I love. I can help to keep my community safe by providing this small service. I can make an unpleasant situation a little more colorful. And if that’s all I can do for now, then that is okay.

So, what have you been choosing for your coverings? Let us know how you have been showing some love for your favorite fandoms on your face!

A white cartoon dog wearing a face covering wags its tail. There is a pink heart above his head and the caption reads "Be safe."
As always, stay safe out there geeks!
Image courtesy of Giphy

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

Finding Diversity in the Content I Consume: Romance Novels

A young woman, Elizabeth Bennett, reads a book as she is walking outside on a sunny day. She is clearly enjoying the book.
Lizzy Bennett knows a good romance novel when she’s in one, I mean, reads one!
Image Courtesy of Giphy

One of the best pleasures in life is curling up with a good book. I love to read just about anything, but some of my favorite reading content comes in the form of mass market romance novels. I know what you’re thinking. You mean those cheezy paperbacks from the grocery store that have a shirtless muscle-head and a fawning woman on them? Well, essentially yes, and I can tell you why. They are fun and easy to read and they offer an amusing escape from reality for a little while. Who doesn’t love to be swept away by a good love story?

With all the changes going on in the world, it has prompted me to take a closer look at the content I consume and who is generating that content. When I look at romance novels, I see a traditionally white female cisgender space, which is no accident. These books have always been marketed to that specific audience, and the statistics can prove it. Eighty-four percent of romance readers identify as female, mostly between the ages of eighteen to fifty-four. Eighty-one percent of readers are white. 

The romance novel industry is a billion dollar industry, making up twenty-nine percent of the fiction market. People may laugh off romance novels as trashy or worthless, but there is serious money to be made in the genre. 

With the popularity of self publishing, consumers have more agency than ever in deciding what types of content they wish to see. It has never been easier for authors of all kinds to put their work out in the world to be found by like-minded people craving the types of content they are creating. This is the time that we need to make room for other points of view. The content is out there, and we need to find it and support it.

With this idea in mind, and a nudge in the right direction from one of my current favorite romance authors, I decided to indulge in something new and different.

Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

Cover art for Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley.  A young woman with dark hair stands in Regency Era clothing, holding a white domino mask.
Cover art for Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley
Image pulled from Amazon

I’m a person who likes to start at the beginning, Unmasked Heart was a natural starting point for me. Riley self-published the book in 2015, and it is the first novel in her Challenge of the Souls series. Like many people, I’m usually strapped for time, so I chose to purchase this book from Audible so I could listen to it while doing chores.

Synopsis (with only a few spoilers)

Gaia Telfair is a quiet, unassuming young lady who has always felt like an outsider in her family. She is treated differently by her father and feels that she looks nothing like her siblings. One day, her father reveals to her, in a rather cruel way, that Gaia is the product of an affair her mother had with a African man who was getting an education in England. Having been raised to fit in with “good English society,” Gaia is shocked by the revelation. She struggles with her new identity, and is desperate to find a place where she can be happy and really belong.

William St. Landon, The Duke of Cheshire and a widower with a young special needs daughter, runs to his family’s country estate to escape a looming scandal. He is being blackmailed over his late wife’s infidelity, and he is being pressured back into marriage by his annoyingly persistent cousin. All William wants is what is best for his mute daughter. He hears through the locals that Miss Telfair is gifted with special needs children, having instructed her autistic little brother with great success, and he is determined to have her teach his daughter.

William begins an unlikely friendship with Gaia, and eventually proposes a marriage of convenience. Will Gaia tell William about the circumstances of her birth? Can William uncover his blackmailer? I’m not gonna ruin it for you! You’ll need to read the book yourself!

My Take on the Book

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Riley does a great job of painting a Brontë-esque portrait of Regency Era British society, and she doesn’t shy away from topics such as slavery, racism, and how special needs children were treated at the time. I found the take refreshing and honest, which is something we need right now. I’m tired of books that don’t paint an accurate picture of the past, and this one gets a big thumbs up from me.

The characters are endearing and believable in their motivations. The pacing was decent and the plot was full of action. Honestly, I think that the biggest thing I disliked about the book didn’t even have anything to do with the actual content. I got the audiobook, and I have to say that the narrator was awful. I kept getting hung up on the fact that she constantly pronounced the word mulatto as mew-LAtto, and it was distracting. The audio quality was also sub-par. This is currently Riley’s only work to be available on audiobook, and I sincerely hope that any other works made into audiobooks can get a little more love.

I will definitely be reading more of Riley’s books. Much of her content is available on Amazon Kindle, either for free or for less than a dollar. I find that a small price to pay to support a BIPOC author that I enjoy. These stories deserve to be told. I’m willing to put my money where my mouth (or keyboard) is and show the romance novel industry that there is a desire for diverse content. 

A young cartoon Muslim girl is avidly reading a book.
She can’t wait to share this one with the book club!
Image courtesy of Giphy

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

Sub vs. Dub: How Do You Watch Your Anime?

Kirishima fights Tetsutetsu in a My Hero Academia school festival match!
Kirishima and Tetsutetsu, both with similar quirks, fight each other in an evenly powered match!
Image courtesy of Giphy

To lovers of all things Japanese, it is the age old question: Is subtitled anime better than its English dubbed counterpart? Or vice versa? In the past, many audiences had little choice but to watch whatever form was available to them, but as the internet improved and streaming services have begun to offer a veritable buffet of media choices, we are essentially able to pick whatever form of media consumption we choose. Each form has its pros and cons, and it is only fair to explore them both.

Subtitles Offer a More Authentic Experience

Subs, or subtitled anime with the original Japanese voice acting, would definitely be the best choice if you are looking for a pure anime experience. Even when the story is set in fantasy or non-Japanese contexts, anime is rife with Japanese social norms, body language, and cultural references. Watching the anime in the original Japanese helps to connect some of these small yet significant nuances, which allows for a well-rounded cultural experience.

Often, when watching the dub (where English or another language is superimposed on the animation instead of the Japanese), it becomes clear that there are just some things that don’t translate well out of Japanese to other languages. For example, the use of honorifics. Anime gets much of its charm from emotional connections between characters, which can be initially gleaned from the honorifics used between them. Terms such as san, chan, and sama all signal different relationships and levels of familiarity, or lack thereof.

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

Why You Should GiveBIG!

A young child stands next to the GeekGirlCon Main Stage watching a music performance.
Image courtesy of GGC

Hi everyone! We are quickly coming upon one of GeekGirlCon’s biggest fundraisers of the year: GiveBIG, hosted by 501 Commons on May 5-6. We are so excited to be able to offer a con that promotes underrepresented communities in science, art, comics, and so much more, but we are only able to do so with the generous donations and support of our community.

So why should you support GeekGirlCon? GGC is an organization made up of a community of passionate people who come together to promote the belief that everyone deserves a safe space to express themselves. The 100% volunteer staff of GGC works year-round to bring the best possible programming, vendors, and activities to GGC for people of all genders, ethnicities, and sexualities to enjoy and to help spread the spirit of our labor of love throughout our community. If that sounds like a cool thing that you want to support, then you should GiveBIG! If you want to learn more, check out our Mission Statement.

Our mission is only possibly with your support, and every contribution counts (and is also tax deductible). You can even schedule your donation early if you just don’t want to wait. Be sure to check back in with us on May 5-6 to see how we are doing!

And from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your continued support of GeekGrilCon. It truly means the world to us! 

A blue heart with the logo for GiveBIG, and a yellow banner that says “10 Years of Giving.” GiveBIG is powered by 501 Commons and will take place on May 5-6.

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

Practicing Self-Care in Isolation

Description: A white cartoon cat meditates as it levitates and reaches rainbow-colored nirvana.
Image courtesy of Giphy

When we think of self-care, the first image that comes to our minds is a bubble bath, candles, and a glass of wine. But the idea of self-care is much more than that. Don’t get me wrong—if a bubble bath, candles, and a glass of wine are things that help relax you and make you feel good, by all means do those things! However, there are also a lot of other ways that you can practice self-care in these stressful times that you may not have thought about while you are in isolation.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

The situation the world is in right now is scary and stressful and maddening, so it is okay to feel scared and stressed and angry! If you allow yourself to feel your feelings, you are better able to identify what is making you feel that way so you are able to cope with the situation. I know this sounds a bit obvious, but just let it out!

Limit your News Intake

While you absolutely should stay informed about what is happening in the world right now, try to limit your news intake to one reputable news source. If there are important developments, a reputable source will surely be reporting on it. The problem with seeking out multiple sources is that you will often see the same stories over and over and over again (as well as sensationalist stories to get clicks), adding to your stress and anxiety about the situation. As tempting as it is, try not to stay glued to your newsfeed. Just to take a look at it a couple of times a day to stay well informed.

This can also equate to limiting your time on social media in general. While it is easy to sit and scroll on your phone for hours because there isn’t much else to do (I’m guilty of this as well), you will often come across a lot of people posting about how bored/stressed/angry they are, as well as possible misinformation about COVID-19, which can feed your own boredom/stress/anger.

Control What You Can

A lot of negative feelings in this time are related to a perceived lack of control, so instead of focusing on what you can’t control, try focusing on things that you can control. Clean your closet, organize the bookcase, weed the garden, bake something, etc…. Controlling the heck out of this small stuff will help you feel grounded.

Keep to a Regular Schedule

I have come to find that my time in isolation has felt a bit like that week between Christmas and New Years. Time seems irrelevant and it is easy to get sucked into a nonexistent schedule of sleeping, eating, and sleeping again. To maintain a sense of normalcy, it helps to keep a regular schedule. Wake up at about the same time, eat your meals at normal times—you get it. Then, when this crisis is over and we are able to emerge from our homes, it won’t be such a shock getting back to our normal routines.

Help Others

Helping others is one of the biggest mood boosters there is. While it seems difficult to help people when we are supposed to be staying away from people, there are a few ways you can help out that take little to no contact. If you are going to venture out to the grocery store, check in with elderly neighbors to see if they need anything. Getting necessities was already difficult for our elderly population, and the current crisis has made it even more so. It only takes a minute to call or drop a note in their mailbox offering help, and they will surely appreciate it. Check in on your extrovert friends over FaceTime or Skype, because I can guarantee you that they are craving social contact. This could also be a great time to take in a foster pet, as adoption rates have gone down dramatically. Look around in your neighborhood for these little ways you can contribute to the cause, because we are all in this together.

Moisturize!

This one is small, but very important. We all have a heightened awareness about washing our hands, and all that extra contact with hot water, soap, and alcohol based sanitizers can quicklyy take a toll on the skin on your hands. Use a hand cream or body moisturizer a few times a day to keep the skin from getting cracked and itchy. Over-dry hands are not pleasant.

Escape Reality for a Bit

In times like this, we need a bit of escapism more than ever, and it is okay to duck out of reality for a little bit. Read a book, play a video game, or binge watch your favorite television show without guilt! You deserve to be able to relieve your mind with a bit of distraction.

Meditate

Even if it just for five minutes in a day, it is good to sit down and clear your mind for a moment. If you aren’t well practiced in meditation, try finding a guided meditation on YouTube. Trust me, it really helps.

Self-care is possibly the most important thing you can do for yourself during this time. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t care for others effectively, so don’t feel guilty about taking a few minutes for yourself during the day. 

And, as always, GGC is here to help support our community through hope, love, and acceptance. Tell us what kind of things you do to practice self-care at home!

Description: A small yellow cartoon chick sleeps and is surrounded by the phrase, “It is absolutely okay to take time for self care. You can’t do things well if you don’t feel well.
Image courtesy of Giphy

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

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