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!
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.
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
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.
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!
This month is the month, people! GeekGirlCon has arrived (basically)!
Throughout October, look to our blog for everything you need to know about the weekend, from Panel Highlights to Cosplay Contest announcements, we’ve got you covered.
Though our epic panels are what attract a lot of folks to GeekGirlCon (me included), they don’t comprise the whole of the weekend’s festivities. Today, I’m going to walk you through some of the other kinds of activities we have in store.
First up, meetups, the perfect event for meeting like-minded attendees to share the weekend with. To name a few of our offerings this year, we have meetups for first timers, Black Panther fans, Star Wars/Star Trek enthusiasts, and more! Meetups will take place throughout the duration and venue of the con, so check out the schedule for specifics.
[Image Description: Data from Star Trek saying to Worf, “You have friends here.”] Source: MRWGIFS
One especially exciting meetup we have slated for this con is Meet & Geek: A Networking Event for Mavens-in-the-Making. This is the event for folks who are looking for mentors and advice to assist with anything geeky-career related. Bring your questions and look forward to discussions of everything from writing to digital media to game design. In addition to the meetup, GeekGirlCon will be hosting a Mentor Booth in the Connections area of the Exhibitor Hall where you can sign up for one-on-one sessions with a mentor who can look at your resume and give you tips for breaking into the geeky career of your dreams!
[Image Description: Winston from New Girl at a job interview saying, “I know Word. I can open a document, Save, Save As, Print, Print Preview.] Source: Rockwood Search
Also in the Exhibitor Hall will be VAIN’s booth for impromptu hairstyle sessions. Need a touch up on your cosplay look? Need a general spruce? VAIN, a longtime supporter of GeekGirlCon, will be there to save the day.
[Image Description: River Song fluffing her hair and mouthing, “The hair!”] Source: Giphy
And last but far from least is the QUEST, our con-wide scavenger hunt. We set up this event each year to help folks touch base with everything GeekGirlCon has to offer, and this year is no different. To play, you’ll need just your program and sense of enthusiasm. There are six checkpoints: attend a panel, play a game on the gaming floor, attend a workshop/meetup, post on social media using #GGC18, do an experiment in the DIY Science Zone, and complete the con survey. You’ll receive one stamp per activity you complete, and each stamp gains you an entry into a raffle for a bag of the sweetest goodies from our vendors. It’s up to you whether you collect one stamp or six! If you do complete every step, you’re rewarded with a pin of the GeekGirlCon avatar of your choice. And if you fill out the con survey at the GGC QUEST table, you can receive a second avatar pin of your choice!
More details about the checkpoints and how to get your stamps will be included in the program, but until then, get your game face on!
[Image Description: Sherlock walking out of a door saying, “The game, Mrs. Hudson, is on.”] Source: SteemKR
GeekGirlCon Costume Contest at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA, on Saturday, September 30, 2017.
This year I started dabbling in cosplay, and very quickly came to learn that making a costume is not only an expression of love for a fandom, but it’s also a great opportunity to show off your creative side and your design skills! A LOT of hard work goes into creating outfits, weapons, gear, and props, and it’s only right that if you’ve put in the time for that, that you be recognized for it.
That’s why we’re bringing back the Costume Contest to GeekGirlCon this year! Register in one of the two age categories: adults (13+, holding an adult GeekGirlCon pass), and kids (12 and under, with child passes). Adults can also register as a group of no more than five, if you have a squad effort happening.
Show us what you’ve sewn, hot glued, welded, knitted, or otherwise put together to celebrate your favorite geeky characters.
Image description: a cosplayer holds a R2-D2 parasol while in a ballet-themed R2-D2 costume. Photo by Danny Ngan.
After you register for the category that best suits you, you’ll also be given the option to meet our amazing panel of judges backstage. They’ll be to ask questions about your costume and look up close at it. (This is optional and you can chose not to participate in pre-event judging.) Then, all you need to do is show up on the day for the contest and strut your stuff.
Plus, there are fabulous prizes to be won for your efforts!
A participant in the kids’ costume celebration is asked about their Child of Light cosplay. Photo by Danny Ngan.
Registration is NOW OPEN and will close when all of the spots are filled, or at the time of the convention, whichever comes first. Spots are limited, so make sure you get in quick to snag yours.