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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Here at GeekGirlCon, we care about the health and safety of everyone in our community. Currently, The greater Seattle area (and many other places in the world) is facing a battle with COVID-19, popularly referred to as Coronavirus. Now is a good time to review a few ways to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community as safe as you can. When it comes to germs, sharing is not caring.
Wash Your Hands
This cannot be stressed enough, folks! WASH. YOUR. HANDS. Hand washing is the simplest and most effective way to stop the spread of disease. Follow these simple rules while washing your hands to give yourself the best shot at killing as many germs as possible:
Use hot running water and wet your hands.
Scrub your hands for 15-20 seconds. Yeah, it seems like a long time, but that’s just how long it takes to kill the germies. A good rule is to sing Happy Birthday twice. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and around your finger nails.
Rinse well. Don’t touch the faucet when you are done! This can re-contaminate your hands.
Get a disposable paper towel and dry your hands. Use the towel to turn off the water without touching the faucet directly.
If you can’t wash your hands, you can use hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol base, but nothing beats a good ol’ wash.
Check out this funny old video about washing your hands from the Washington Department of Health:
Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes
Believe it or not, there is actually a right way and a wrong way to cover a cough or sneeze. The best method is to cover your mouth with a tissue and throw it away. If you, like me, often find coughs and sneezes sneaking up on you and you don’t have time to get a tissue, then you should turn your head into the crook of your elbow. This will direct the germs away from your hands while also not spreading germy spittle across the room. Try not to cough and sneeze directly in your hands unless you have no other choice, and please wash your hands immediately.
Don’t Touch Your Face
This is a really, really hard one. We touch our faces all the time, every day. When your eye itches, you scratch it. If you have dry lips, you put on lip balm. Do you see where this is going? Your fingers are the parts of your body that will undoubtedly come into the most contact with germy surfaces, and your face houses the mucous membranes that give germs the easiest access into your body (eyes, nose, and mouth). It is like granting bacteria VIP access to your body. I know it is hard, but please try to not touch your face.
If You Feel Sick, Please Stay Home
Through most cold and flu seasons, we are told to stay home when sick, but are kind of pressured to go about our lives as usual. It is difficult to make the decision to stay home from work or school when there is so much to be done and people who depend on you. But please, please, please stay home if you are feeling unwell. Please keep your children home from school if they are feeling sick. Trust me, no one wants them there and they don’t want to be there.
Currently, the King County Public Health Department has put out a list of Public Health Recommendations to help combat the spread of Coronavirus. They recommend trying to work from home if you can, and to avoid large gatherings of people. We should all stay calm, but be mindful of our habits and surroundings to keep ourselves and everyone else safe.
It is important to point out that, while many people get the cold and flu every year and come out of it perfectly fine, there are also many who don’t. COVID-19 is proving to be similar. While you, a reasonably healthy adult, may just have mild symptoms and will recover on your own, there are those in our society who would not. The elderly, the very young, those who are pregnant, and the immunocompromised react much more severely to common illnesses. If we have it within our power to stop the spread of diseases that may prove fatal to the most vulnerable members of our society, then we have a moral and ethical obligation to do so. So please, protect other peoples loved ones and wash your hands.
Want a little more info? Check out our previous blog post How to Conquer Con Crud for some more tips from GeekGirlCon on how to stay happy and healthy!
Of all the amazing panels offered at GGC 2019, I was most looking forward to Knotty Geeks: Fiber Arts and Fandom. Crafting is having a bit of a renaissance in the geek world, and I am all here for it! I am an avid geek crafter, and I really wanted to see what other crafty geeks have been up to while possibly getting some new inspiration for myself. I waited patiently (not really) for 4 p.m. to roll around on Sunday and I headed down to the room with high expectations. I was not disappointed!
First off, the room was pretty full, which was encouraging to see for a late Sunday panel. As I looked around the room, I saw folks of many different ages waiting patiently for the panel to begin. Some of them were even working on knitted projects as they waited. I was actually a bit jealous, since I hadn’t brought any current projects of my own.
The panelist really didn’t waste any time once things got started. She kicked off the panel with one of the biggest and most important issues facing people who like to craft with ideas derived from pop culture—copyright infringement of trademark and licensed properties. Basically, what it boils down to is don’t sell this stuff. You can make patterns for things, knit a sweater depicting your favorite anime character, and even give them away as amazing one of a kind gifts, but the key is not to exchange money for said goods. It is really the safest practice. Now, you can absolutely jump through the hoops to create patterns in collaboration with license holders, but it is a lengthy and difficult process. Many times, it is simply easier to find licensed patterns that already exist and purchase those.
Another aspect of this issue that was mentioned is something known as “The 30% Rule.” This rule states that if a product that derives its design from another idea is not infringing on copyrights if the new product differs from the original by at least 30%. This can be tricky though, as it is largely subjective. Personally, I find it much easier to just find a fun pattern online and run with it.
When the necessary legal stuff was out of the way, we got to see some really fun and cool examples of fiber arts in the geek world. We were treated to a brief history of knitting, crocheting, and cross stitch, and were shown some cool and fun work that other geeks are doing out in the world. We had a discussion about how much math is involved in the art and the panelist showed us how some people are crocheting hyperbolic planes. She also passed around pieces that we could feel and look at in-depth, which was really fun. You could just feel the air in the panel room change with different levels of interest and awe with every project that was passed around.
The last portion of the panel was dedicated to a show and tell, and the attendees really delivered! It was wonderful to see geeks of many ages and skill levels get up in front of the room to show off work that they were so proud of, and to be supported by a community of like-minded people. The one I remember most was someone who showed their double-knitted Star Wars scarf that was readable from both sides! It was one of the most fantastic pieces I have ever seen! Even after the panel ended, there were groups of people in the room who stayed to talk about their crafts. Information was exchanged and connections were made. To me, this is what GeekGirlCon is all about—connecting you to your people. I was so, so glad that I attended this panel, especially since it has special significance to me.
I have been a crafter all my life. As an adult, I have taught myself how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew when I was very young, and it has proven to be a valuable skill. When I was 10-years-old, my father taught me how to cross-stitch. Yeah, my macho dad who worked in construction taught me how to cross-stitch because I was in love with the stitched Christmas ornaments he had made before I was born. No matter what goes on between my dad and me, I will always be grateful to him for giving me this gift.
Like many people, I have struggled with anxiety and depression for a very long time. And, also like many people, I was mis-diagnosed as a teen and didn’t receive the proper treatment for my mental illness. When things got hectic or hard, or when there would be too many thoughts running through my head, I would use cross-stitch as a type of therapy. It was something I could do that would calm my spirit and order my mind. I spent so many hours sitting in a really comfortable (and ugly) pink recliner, watching movies, and just having a great time creating beautiful things. Even now, over twenty years later, it is my favorite hobby.
There is also a timely and important issue that this panel brought up that I feel very strongly about, which is the gendering of crafting. We tend to think of knitting, crocheting, and other fiber-based arts as being a purely feminine pursuit, but that just isn’t true. I learned from this panel that, historically speaking, fiber arts have been practiced by people of all genders. If you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, everyone probably needed to have some kind of sewing and knitting skills just to keep their clothes in decent shape before they were mass manufactured. It wasn’t until fairly recently in human history that these skills were branded as being “womanly” and were relegated to the lowly position of being a housewifely, old lady hobby. I was taught to cross-stitch by a man. My boyfriend and I like to spend quiet nights crocheting together. Young people can make amazing things. Fiber arts are for everyone. Period.
I also love the idea of crafting for a cause. Sometimes you have an important message to get out there, or sometimes you get the itch to knit something, but you already have a million hats and aren’t sure what to do. Margaret and Christine Wertheim created a crocheted coral reef that has traveled to museums around the world to bring attention to the plight of coral in the Great Barrier Reef. My boyfriend and I have been knitting marsupial pouches to send to Australia to care for animals orphaned by the devastating wildfires. Premature babies, cancer patients, shelter animals… there is no end to the possible good that crafters can do, and have done, in this world. I am proud to be a part of a community that cares.
It doesn’t even have to be about knitting or crocheting. I want to take the opportunity to open this up. Sewing, quilting, sculpting, jewelry making, weaving, and any type of crafty outlet belongs here. In fact, I want to see what you have made! Share your projects! Stand up and be proud of the things that you have made! Inspire and be inspired by others! There is a place for you here.
Want to find some more inspiration and fun patterns online? Try heading over to ravelry.com to find another great community of knitters and crocheters. Want to learn? YouTube has so many great tutorials available for any skill level. Or you could do what I did and pick up a copy of Knitting for Dummies. There are a ton of resources out there for eager students. Don’t be afraid to try things. You may make something amazing!
I can’t wait to see if this panel will be back at GGC 2020!
Con season is about to kick off here in the Pacific Northwest, and we couldn’t be more excited! We at GeekGirlCon love nothing more than to get out and support other local Cons, and we want to invite you to come hang out with us at the second annual NerdFaire.
What is NerdFaire, you ask? Well, it is a mini convention in Lynnwood that celebrates all things nerdy and geeky! They love to showcase local shops and businesses and they hope to build an inclusive space for everyone (yes, EVERYONE) in geekdom. Here are the hard details:
When: February 1, 2020 from 10 am to 8 pm
Where: Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th Street Southwest , Lynnwood, WA 98036
What: The con will feature a cosplay contest, panels, a showfloor where you can purchase handmade goods (and also a GGC table where you can chat with us about this years GGC), and more
Tickets: $5-$25, kids under 12 free. See the options and find more info here
Do you hear what I hear? Could it be the dulcet tones of the approaching holidays, sneaking up to ambush us with last minute shopping panic? Why yes, I think it just may be!
No matter what holiday you celebrate, it is always enjoyable to give to others. Seeing their faces light up as they open a gift chosen with care an affection is undoubtedly one of the best parts of the season. To help you spread the love, I’ve put together this list of gifts that may just put you on the nice list with the geeks in your life.
Note: we are not getting any type of compensation from retailers to feature any of these products. These are simply items that I have found fun and useful.
Amazon Kindle: $49.99-$299.99
For the bookworm, I would recommend a Kindle. There are a lot of perks of having a Kindle, and one of the biggest ones I have found is that I always have something to read because I can carry thousands of books with me wherever I go. There are multiple models to fit just about any budget. You can get a full blown ten inch tablet or a simple book reader. Whatever your lover of books desires, you are sure to find something that suits them just right.
Williams Sonoma Harry Potter Ultimate Silicone Spatula Set: $31.96-$39.95
Do you know someone who whips up absolute magic in the kitchen? Make their holidays extra enchanting with this handy set of four Hogwarts House themed silicone spatulas! The set includes two mini spatulas, one medium spatula, and a flat flexible nylon spatula emblazoned with your favorite house crest. The spatulas are heat resistant and dishwasher safe. If you don’t think you will use all four, you can also purchase individuals.
Yes, socks! Hear me out—socks are inexpensive, useful, and fun! Gone are the days when socks were possibly the most boring gift ever. You can find all kinds of silly socks in a variety of styles, from no show, to crew, to fuzzy, to knee high, in fun designs. When your friends don their fun and funky socks, they will think fondly of the friend who is keeping their tootsies toasty.
My Personal Pick: Kitty Cat No-Show Socks 5 Pair, $14.90 from Hot Topic
Channel your inner Holiday Armadillo and gift your friends with the gift of Friends! How many categories of towels does Monica have? What does Chandler do for a living? Test your knowledge of this iconic show with your own gang for a good time this holiday.
Sometimes you really want to give someone a gift, but they insist that they really don’t want anything. Maybe they feel like they have a lot of stuff already, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t give them a heartfelt and meaningful gift—you can donate to a charity in their name. Find a cause that is meaningful to them and reach out to local organizations to find out how you can help.