Well, folks… it’s that time of year again! Time for planning barbeques, buying fireworks, and trying not to be maimed or seriously injured by said fireworks. That’s right y’all! It’s Independence Day!
For many people, and in latter years I think particularly, the Fourth of July is a mixed bag of emotions. Everyone loves an excuse to have friends and family gather around to gorge themselves on Costco hot dogs, vats of potato salad, and luscious summer watermelon. The weather is (generally) pretty good in most places of the US, and it is a day off work for many to celebrate the bravery of the founding fathers.
But with the good can also come the bad… Political tensions are running high. Fireworks can often be seen as a nuisance. Perhaps you are a person suffering from PTSD, a small child scared of loud noises, or a pet fearing the apocalypse. Or maybe you are just a person who enjoys peace and quiet, which is okay too. No one likes being taken off-guard by the random whims of the neighbor down the street who only get the kind of fireworks that are so loud they rattle your windows. Beyond that, fireworks are expensive and are also a safety hazard when handled improperly.
When asked, most people will proclaim Thanksgiving or Halloween as their favorite holiday, but I would have to say that the Fourth of July is one of mine for a very special reason.
When I was little, we were pretty poor. My dad worked a crummy construction job for a slum lord and my mom was a bookkeeper for a few small businesses. While my parents always made sure that we always had everything we needed, with three kids there wasn’t a lot of room in the budget for luxuries.
As an adult, I now kind of see fireworks as a symbol of literally burning money, so it is surprising to me that my father would insist that we buy fireworks every year, even if it was just a few. My town was small and there wasn’t a community fireworks show until I was older, so if you wanted fireworks you had to buy them yourself. I remember getting positively giddy when I would see the small Lion’s Club stand being erected in the grocery store parking lot at the end of every June. I would scour the couch for coins, saving up to buy my favorite firework, The Climbing Panda. As the calendar flipped from June to July, I could barely contain my enthusiasm, and sure enough, the time came to purchase our fireworks to celebrate America’s birthday.
I was the middle child of three. My older sister was a strong willed wild-child, and my younger brother always needed more attention as the baby. With young kids and working full time, it is hard to find one-on-one time with any of your children, but my dad made it happen for me every Fourth of July. A few days before the big day, my dad would scoop me up and whisk me away to the store to pick out the fireworks, just the two of us.
I would hold his hand as we walked up to the red shack, savoring the scent of gunpowder. It was so unlike any smells that I would encounter normally and it acted like a stimulant to my excitable mind. I would stand on the little wooden steps that the proprietors placed before the stand so that the smaller patrons (ie, me) could see over the counter. I remember emptying the coins from my pocket, carefully counting them out, and asking politely for a Climbing Panda. Looking back on it now, it is slightly laughable that the Lion’s Club would sell a small explosive to a six-year-old, even if I was accompanied by an adult.
My dad and I would look over the wares of the stand carefully, calculating out how many sparklers we would need. Ten in a box, three kids (plus some of the neighborhood kids), two adults, and at least one box of each color. We would pick up a few Roman Candles, some smoke bombs and ground flowers. Then my dad would point to a twenty dollar pack of bigger fireworks, and I would goggle at the fortune he was spending on something that would only last for a night. Twenty dollars seemed like quite a lot compared to my ninety-nine cent panda.
Once the sun went down on the evening of the Fourth, we would get to show off our selections to my family and the neighbors. We would pretend to be fairy queens with sparklers, and army commandos with the multi-colored smoke bombs. Pop-its littered the sidewalk as ground flowers glowed in their short, whirlwind blooms. Dad would be the lead technician, always stressing safety when enjoying fireworks. I would snuggle in a blanket near my mom as we watched the glow and pop of the mostly fountain-style fireworks, and most of all, my Climbing Panda. And in a whiff of sulfur, it was over and it was time for bed.
Now I am an adult, and my dad and I aren’t on speaking terms. Life happens, and the years go by, and all that other cliche stuff. Oddly though, even after all these years and everything that went down with my dad, I still get excited about the Fourth of July. I will walk into a fireworks tent, smell the gunpowder, and I am instantly transported back to being a little girl counting out sticky pennies to buy a tiny firework. And I remember how much fun I had with my dad.
Fireworks are kinda like life, yeah? An expensive and inconvenient nuisance that might burn you, but beautiful to behold, best shared with friends and family, and over far too quickly. So, things might not be great now–like my relationship with my dad, or the state of our country–but that doesn’t stop me from looking forward to better times. And when those better times come, I will appreciate them all the more for knowing that the moment is fleeting.
That is why I love the Fourth of July.
Happy Independence Day everyone! If you are planning on enjoying fireworks, always practice proper fireworks safety! And please remember to be courteous to your neighbors.
While a lot of our content covers the queer and LGBTQIA+ topics at play within our larger community, we thought we’d take a moment, here at the end of June, to do a little Pride round-up with our staff. The work of queer safety, equity, representation, and celebration is ongoing, both a part of our history and our future. We’re committed to those values here at GeekGirlCon, and wanted to share a little bit about how we personally view the intersection of these communities.
Hanna, Copywriter | @hupptwothree on Twitter and Instagram
Your identity? Bisexual, queer
What does being part of this community mean to you? Being part of the queer community means everything to me. From my relationship with my girlfriend, to my incredibly supportive group of queer friends, to the immediate connections I can make with queer coworkers, to queer media of all kinds, being part of queer communities is a constant source of support, strength, love, joy, and resistance.
Favorite pieces of queer media? Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (gay First Son + gay Prince of England = the best romance novel I’ve ever read?!), The Handmaiden (the most incredible Korean historical lesbian psychological thriller, with gorgeous visuals and true romance), Schitt’s Creek (feel good small town vibes, a sweet slow-burn gay love story and “The Best” by Tina Turner—what more could you ask for?), Steven Universe (just watch it, I promise you won’t be disappointed).
Welcome to Geek Girl Talk, a (biased, subjective, opinionated) conversation about the pop culture we’re currently loving, hating, and obsessing over. This month, we’re discussing romance novels and what the genre has to offer in terms of queer representation and complex, autonomous women characters. In other words, we’re fangirling about Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue and Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient.
Who We Are Vaguely and in Terms Only of the Media We Seek Out Most Often:
Teal (roman type!) Literally any teen TV show, YA, women’s and feminist media, everything Star Trek
Hanna (italics, baby!) Reality TV, memoirs, romance novels, anything British, any podcast ever
Spoiler disclaimer: We kept it spoiler free, so read on!
I’ll start by saying that this whole conversation could just be one long line of exclamation points as far as I’m concerned, because that’s how passionately I feel about our topic of conversation: romance novels in general, and Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang in particular. But since that won’t get us very far, I’ll actually begin with the fact that I love romance novels. My whole childhood basically consisted of flipping through slightly-age-inappropriate books to get to the smutty and/or romantic parts. Of course, my relationship with the genre—and especially with certain tropes (namely heterocentric ones)—has changed over the years. For a long time, especially as I was coming to understand more about my own sexuality and navigating real-life romantic and sexual dynamics for the first time, romance novels stopped being satisfying for me. Reading them was fun, but it wasn’t full of that giddy, half-in-love-yourself feeling that used to be there. I wasn’t connecting with the same dynamics and tropes that used to feel so all-consuming to me. That is, until I read RWRB this past month. I read it three times, and basically forced you to read it too, Teal, because my love for this book (and for you—you’re welcome for introducing you to this brilliance!) knows no bounds. I’m so curious about whether you had the same reaction—did reading this book feel different to you too? And, if so, why are we feeling this way?
There’s just something about libraries. No matter the time of day, I always see people browsing the shelves or picking up items on hold. Surprisingly, it’s never too loud or too quiet in the building. There’s just enough clacking of keyboards and soft conversations to remind me that there are people in the library with me, all using the space in their own way. For me, the library is an integral part of my life as a geek.
My love of libraries came from my father. He frequented the public library to use the computers, and to feed my never satiated hunger for something to read. Under the dim fluorescent lights I read classics like Black Beauty and The Black Stallion, and found great fantasy novels such as Tamara Pierce’s Wild Magic (surprise, I had a thing for horses). Most of these books were brought back quite late, and I have memories of paying my late fees in change. No matter how inconvenient, the library workers would take my change with a smile, and always encouraged me to come back for more books.
In middle school, I found something else to read—manga. My local library didn’t carry any comics, so I stopped visiting. I started saving leftover lunch money and used it to buy a new manga every week. I ended up with my own library of manga that my friends would borrow from, and even had a notebook to keep track of my books! After I graduated from high school, my money situation changed. I could no longer afford to buy shiny new manga every week for myself. I stopped looking for new series because I could not legally access them. The geekiness inside of me faded into the background as I struggled to figure out other parts of my life.
I don’t remember too many details from my first visit to my local King County library. I think I had just moved to Washington State, was bored, and wanted to sit somewhere with air conditioning. I didn’t know what to expect when I entered the building. Would I be there only person there? Would it be like the dimly lit library of my youth? I stepped in, and was shocked—the place was packed! Every corner of the building was in use, from study rooms to public computers. Some people were just sitting in a comfy chair and enjoying the view from the large windows. Others browsed the shelves, looking for a book cover to inspire them.
And you know what I found? Manga! The library had a whole section of beautiful manga! I stood in front of the shelves, a big grin on my face. I could finally read all the manga and comics I wanted without going broke. At last, I could feed my inner geek again.
I now visit the library several times a month to borrow all sorts of media. Through the library I watched Westworld and Star Trek: Discovery, two TV series that are only available through a subscription service. When I need a new crafting project, I’ll browse the crafting section in nonfiction. Manga-wise, I finished Fruits Basket, and am now tackling all of CLAMP’s works.
No matter your fandom, you’ll find something for your inner geek at your local library.
When I came out to my mom, I did so in a Mexican restaurant. I figured picking a public place to tell my Evangelical Christian mother that I was queer would 1) keep the conversation from getting two heated and 2) prevent her from just leaving the room.
In recent years, the quality and standards of cosplaying have reached incredible heights. Artists are focusing more and more on bringing characters to life with careful attention to detail, set design, and facial features. They now combine various skills in costume development, makeup, graphic design, modeling, and even acting.
With the rise of Instagram’s popularity in the last few years, more and more Asian cosplayers are displaying their passion for their craft. They capture the attention of dedicated casual and dedicated fans alike amassing influence all over the world. Some even welcome viewers behind-the-scenes and showcase their talent on YouTube.
Among the thousands of cosplayers around, we list the most create Asian cosplayers you can follow.
AniMia started modeling back in 2001 and caught the cosplaying bug in 2008. She is a regular across many conventions in the United States, typically as a judge in cosplay contests. The Asian-American is also a columnist in Otaku USA Magazine. You can also find her hosting PREVIEWSworld channel on YouTube featuring comic books, toys, and more.
Alodia Gosiengfiao is an internationally known cosplayer, model, actress, singer, and presenter. The Filipina discovered cosplaying in an Internet forum called Anime Club at the age of 15. Since then, she joined various competition gaining popularity in 2003. Her creativity and achievements in the community have led to various endorsements both in the Philippines and abroad. She’s now known as a VJ for Animax-Asia. UNO Magazine names her one of the Most Influential Women in the Philippines. Alodia was also featured as one of the local FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in 2009, 2010, and 2012. Aside from Instagram, you can find her on YouTube featuring anything and everything geek.
If you read this blog, you’re probably familiar with A Very Potter Musical, or, as I like to think of it, the funniest, smartest, most heartwarming piece of fan art of all time. What you might not realize, though, is that since the show premiered on YouTube in July of 2009, Starkid has grown into a fully-fledged theatre company that’s produced eleven full-length comedy musicals (all of which are available on YouTube) and is currently working on its twelth, which is due to open this October.
Being the tenth anniversary of A Very Potter Musical and Starkid’s inception, this year marks a huge milestone for them, but also for us, their fans. I’ve been following Starkid since the beginning. I watch the shows the moment they come out, I buy the soundtracks and listen religiously, and I have been known to launch into convoluted but exuberant explanations of the chronology of their works to anyone who loves me enough to pretend to listen. I even follow their careers outside of Starkid, everything from sketch comedy groups to planetariums to Buzzfeed.
Over the years we’ve highlighted our favorite characters in the running series “Strong Female Characters.” We wanted the name of the series to reflect how passionate we are about these characters, and came up with the name “Fantastic Femmes and Where to Find Them.” We hope you like the new name as much as we do 🙂
To kick off this series reboot, our newest copywriter Rebecca Anglesey wrote about her favorite fantastic femme, Anne Shirley. Enjoy! – GGC Copy Team
Anne Shirley, the indomitable main character of the beloved Anne of Green Gables books, has been inspiring girls everywhere for over a hundred years. Written by L.M. Montgomery in 1908, Anne’s passion, intelligence, and quirkiness endeared her to audiences of all ages. Anne blazed a trail for geek girls everywhere by being herself and wearing her heart on her sleeve, regardless of what others around her had to say.
As a child of the early 90s, I was first introduced to Anne in the Sullivan Entertainment movie adaptations of the book that were frequently aired on PBS fundraising telethons. I used to love sitting on my living room floor to watch Anne’s antics, and I quickly devoured every Anne book I could find at the library. As an adult, I think I appreciate the story even more.
Here’s the thing about Anne Shirley: she is a total geek girl! Anne had a passionate love of literature from the very beginning, and she was never shy about that fact. She loved to use big words, and she never hid her intelligence, even though people were constantly putting her down.
Anne had some hard knocks in her early life. Being an orphan, she was shuffled through the system and was frequently abused. No one cared enough about her to nurture her obvious academic talent until her eventual adoption by the Cuthbert siblings of Avonlea. With a little bit of encouragement and advocacy from people who loved her, Anne flourished and became a model student and high academic achiever.
One thing that I loved about Anne was that she never listened to the haters (I’m looking at you, Josie Pye). Anne was surrounded by people who could only be described as basic, but she never felt pressure to conform to what was considered “socially acceptable” because she was happy being herself. This lesson is relevant to everyone everywhere, which is another reason Anne’s story is so near and dear to my heart.
Remember the time Anne cracked her school slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head because he made fun of her hair?
Or when she told Rachel Lynde to stick it for calling her skinny and ugly?
Anne never took any crap from anybody, and she always demanded respect from the people around her. Anne knew her self-worth, and she refused to associate with people who didn’t respect her.
Even when met with adversity, Anne would adapt her plans. When Matthew died suddenly, she didn’t give up on her dream of going to college. She adjusted her plans so that she could help Marilla with Green Gables, but she still pursued her education while holding down a teaching position to boot. It is even more impressive when you think about the fact that women weren’t encouraged to go to college in Anne’s world. Most women were expected to get married and have kids and keep house, but that was never the goal for Anne.
All this isn’t to say that Anne didn’t have her flaws… Anne was terribly vain, and she had a quick temper, both traits that landed her in more than one embarrassing situation. She constantly bemoaned her red hair, but accidentally dying it green taught Anne that having red hair wasn’t so bad after all (I personally think redheads rock, but I may be biased). She even sold her cow, Dolly, in a fit of temper with the bovine troublemaker for getting out of her pen only to find that she had accidentally sold her new neighbors’ cow instead! Anne was able to use honesty and charm to turn that potentially alienating act around and make good friends with the man, showing that you should own up to your mistakes and take responsibility, and that you can make friends anywhere if you have an open heart and mind. I feel that these things make Anne a more relatable person, and she always learned from her mistakes.
Even after all these years, I still get as much enjoyment as I ever have from experiencing Anne’s trials and tribulations. She has always been one of my top role models. She was a loyal friend, she always tried to make herself better than she was, and she let her imagination run wild. Anne Shirley taught me that it was okay to be a girl who was smart and passionate and a total geek!
Do you have an idea for a panel, performance, event, or workshop for GeekGirlCon’19? Are you interested in being a panelist, moderator, or tabletop game host? If so, now’s the time to get cracking on your form, because submissions close on Friday, May 31st at 11:59pm PST!
Whether you’ve never tabled a panel before or taking center stage is old hat for you, if you’ve got an idea or want to be part of the programming, we would love your input. We can’t wait to read what you’ve got!