The first time I read A Wrinkle in Time, it was part of a 4th grade reading assignment, where each student had to choose a book that all the other students would then take turns reading. I’ll be honest. A Wrinkle in Time, chosen by the only kid in class who could spell Czechoslovakia (which was both still a country at that time and quite the feat of spelling), fell somewhere between the books Soup on Wheels and Freckle Juice, both of which resonated with my 9-year-old bookish self a bit more than A Wrinkle in Time.
With its more complex character development and themes of love and individuality that seemed beyond my years or at least beyond Soup on Wheels, that initial reading didn’t leave me feeling all that inspired. That said, I fortunately returned to the book just a few short years later and have since read it at least half a dozen times. With each new reading, more of the book’s magic and wisdom is revealed to me, largely through its oh-so-relatable 13-year-old protagonist and my personal geek girl hero, the plucky Meg Murry.
On the weekend of November 13 and 14, we’re bringing you this year’s celebration of all things geeky in the form of GeekGirlCONLINE ‘21. This is a free, digital event streamed on GeekGirlCon’s Twitch channel. Follow and turn on notifications now!
Programming content for this year’s event is being curated by our glorious Programming Team. Some of the sessions will be pre-recorded, but most will be live. We’ll be announcing the schedule in early August, so stay tuned.
Below we’ve answered some FAQs about GeekGirlCONLINE ‘21. If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to email@example.com.
Happy World UFO Day! Today is an opportunity for people to gather together and watch the skies for unidentified flying objects or ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ as they are now more commonly called. So what is the history of UFOs and the likelihood that these phenomena are actually evidence of extraterrestrial life?
Allegedly there have been sightings of unexplained aerial phenomena since ancient times, although the number and nature of reports have significantly increased since the second world war. The so-called ‘Modern UFO era’ was established with a sighting near Mount Rainier in 1947 that popularised the name ‘flying saucers’ and began an obsession with flying saucers that lasted a decade. The term ‘Unidentified Flying Objects’ was adopted to better describe more common later sightings of different shapes such as cigars and triangles.
Yesterday was World Bicycle Day and therefore an excellent time to celebrate bicycles and cycling. It’s also a perfect time to introduce eRacing – a hobby that has kept me both fit and sane during these strange pandemic times!
There are lots of good reasons to celebrate bicycles. They are a fun way to travel and enjoy the outside but also have big benefits for our health and the environment. For millions across the planet, the bicycle is a vitally important form of transport – their simplicity makes them both affordable and easy to keep working. Bicycles are especially important in rural areas of developing countries enabling healthcare workers to reach their patients, students to safely reach their schools, and businesses to reach their customers or new markets.
When Colorado expanded their COVID vaccine eligibility to include all adults, I was thrilled. I spent hours that first day chasing leads for anywhere that still had appointments available, before a coworker hooked me up with a drive-up vaccination clinic he’d learned about through a FB group created specifically to connect people trying to get the vaccine with clinics and pharmacies that still had doses in stock.
Four weeks later, I was fully vaccinated and eager to start living a slightly safer, slightly freer life. My fiancé and I moved to Denver last summer in the midst of the pandemic, and I couldn’t wait to actually get to know this city I’d been living in for almost a year. And that’s when my mental health started to take a turn.
I didn’t know I could be so excited for New Pokémon Snap to come out until Becca posted about replaying the original Pokémon Snap from 22 years ago. Her post immediately transported me to my childhood TV room, trying to capture all 63 featured Pokémon on film. Would the New Pokémon Snap scratch the nostalgia itch and be worth the full price? Would I still get excited about taking pictures of Pokémon I didn’t know? I found out soon after I started playing—the answer is YES!
Here are three little ways New Pokémon Snap captured my heart, and one way it did not:
For the past several years I’ve been setting myself a goal of reading 50 books per year. Somehow, I always feel certain I’ll easily accomplish it and reliably come out five to ten books short.
Last year was the first time I’ve ever officially succeeded. In the final few days of December 2020, I forced myself to rush through a forgotten stack of graphic novels I’d already decided I didn’t want to read. I guess this was the way my particular brain compromised between the incessant call to be “productive” above all else and my absolute rejection of that value in general.
It’s halfway through 2021 now—both months after last year’s “triumph” and months into this year’s challenge. (Again, 50 books. Again, I’m behind and feeling guilty about it.) It’s an odd time to be thinking about this, I guess, but the charge to write about something interesting for this blog post forced me to confront just how depleted my capacity to fully engage with media has been during the pandemic. The bleak truth is that though I might have finally met a goal I’d been striving for, I don’t really remember anything meaningful about any of the books I read last year. In some ways, that claim might be an oversimplification, but it’s also an accurate description of the emotional toll the past year and a half took on me and, consequently, my media habits. So, in other words, when it came down to it, I placed more value on the quantity of books I read than the effect that media had on my life.
When I was growing up, I often observed that there was a distinct lack of good women role models in film and TV. Women characters always seemed to fit into a limited set of stereotypes: the damsel-in-distress, the leading man’s beautiful-but-personality-free love interest, the femme fatale, and the Cruella de Vil-style villain. The first good woman character I remember as a small child was Wonder Woman from the 1970s TV series. I adored her; not only did she beat up the bad guys with ease and always came back from adversity to save the day, but she had some fantastic moves! The twirling transition from Diana Prince to Amazon Goddess, the iconic crossed bracelets stance to defend against gun attacks, and best of all her boomerang tiara! Dressed in my Wonder Woman pyjamas, I would proudly strike a pose with my arms crossed. Usually indignantly whilst being given a ticking off for leaving my toys on the floor!
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 downmemory 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.
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!
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.
Yesterday marked the 51st Earth Day! I’m sure that there are many sites that will list tips to reduce your carbon footprint and be a better steward of the Earth. This is not that kind of post.
Did you know that the first Earth Day was a massive protest? What started as a nationwide environmental teach-in became a 20 million person protest, demanding the US government do more for the environment. The Earth Day protest proved successful; over the next few years, the US enacted a slew of environmental agencies and standards. Here’s a sample of what happened within the next three years after the first Earth Day:
The Environmental Protection Agency (1970)
Clean Air Act (1970)
Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970)
Banning of DDT (1972)
Clean Water Act (1972)
Endangered Species Act (1973)
Leaded Gasoline Phase-Out (1973)
While we have many environmental protections in place, we have a lot of work to do to ensure everyone has access to clean water, pollution-free air, and opportunities to recreate in beautiful parks. Most often, it is underserved and underrepresented communities that suffer environmental catastrophes. We don’t have to look far back in history for examples: the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Flint water crisis from 2014-2019, and the ongoing battles against the Dakota Access Pipeline clearly show how environmental issues intersect with racism and poverty.
While it’s too early to truly celebrate any recent victories in social and environmental justice, I find this spring more hopeful than the last. Where is the hope I speak of? Hope is found in every piece of trash we compost, in every company we hold accountable, and every environmental act our governments pass. Hope is found in standing in solidarity with protestors, donating to bail funds, and fighting white supremacy. Hope is found whenever we view environmentalism with an intersectional lens; it’s all connected, as they say, in a loop that never ends.