One word can sum up the reason why I got into podcasts: traffic. It was summer 2014, and I was living near Baltimore, Maryland. My commute would range from 40 minutes to over an hour of bumper to bumper traffic, and I was bored listening to the same four songs on the radio. The time spent in traffic felt wasted. Wasn’t there any way to utilize this time to learn something?
One day, as I was listening to NPR, I heard a promo for one of their podcasts. I didn’t know what a podcast was, but soon enough I downloaded a few episodes for my commute to work. By the end of the year I was hooked to podcasts such as 99% Invisible and This American Life. Thursday mornings became my most anticipated commutes, as that’s when Serial would post episodes.
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.
I am my most geeky when I’m thinking about Harry Potter; this is an objective truth about me. And so, when I saw that there was going to be a panel entirely about Harry Potter and critical approaches to considering it, I planned my entire con weekend around attending it.
Robyn began the conversation by proposing that the blood status metaphor—one of the key themes in Harry Potter—is not quite as overt as we all may like to think. While the allusion JK Rowling draws to race in our world via blood status in the Wizarding World is obvious to many PoC readers, it’s not necessarily clear to everyone. This affects how race is discussed throughout the fandom and how readers, especially those of marginalized identities, are able (and allowed) to engage with the story.
The last Harry Potter book came out eight years and a day ago—July 21, 2007—which I can’t really believe. I clearly remember waiting in line at Borders with my friends, getting the book just after midnight, and then rushing home to sit on my couch all night long and devour it. I read it in a single sitting and am still not quite over it.
Nor is the rest of the world, thank goodness. The influence of Harry Potter doesn’t seem likely to fade anytime soon, even if we as fans and followers grow up and discover a few flaws in the original canon. One of the most regularly discussed and fought about topics is the fact of Hogwarts Houses and how impossibly, simultaneously rigid and malleable Sorting can be.
What do you get when you cross Harry Potter fandom and the fastest-growing women’s sport in the world? The Hitditch Cup, hosted by Rat City Rollergirls, of course!
As far as sports and fandom crossovers go, the Hitditch Cup is an apt and often hilarious way of combining roller derby with the Harry Potter fandom. Rat City skater Sher Nobyl filled me in on some of its history: “The original inspiration for the Hitditch Cup was after realizing the personalities of current four home teams of Rat City loosely corresponded with the four houses of Hogwarts,” she said. “So we decided to do a themed fundraiser bout because Harry Potter has so much to draw from: food, costumes, props, spells, and so on.”
Hey everyone, Shubz here and back from a fun-filled weekend of sleeping in, sun, and LEGOS! That’s right, this past Saturday, I got an opportunity to check out BrickCon with my husband and a few of our friends. Feast your eyes on some of these impressive structures!
This pyramid is no joke! Check out all the detail in the layers to give it that unfinished look.
You can’t go wrong with Ron Swanson.
There was a booth with blacklight and light up lego structures, and my favorite was this beautiful chessboard.
Now this was definitely another favorite! BEHOLD THE BATCAVE! This was complete with a rotating panel that held Batman’s other suits and all the vehicles the Caped Crusader cannot go without.
I never knew the Justice League decorated so minimally.
Folks, this is only a fraction of the Hogwarts structure.
Another view of Hogwart’s. How awesome is that?
Please check out BrickCon’s site to catch more of the fun and building that happened this past weekend.
If you are a builder of any of the structures I have added, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can properly give you props on your hard work and creativity.
What’s on your Lego builder bucket list?
Shubz K. Blalack
PR Content Producer
GeekGirlCon ‘12 is nearly a month away. It is going to be a rocking, amazing, empowering, inspiring convention.
Don’t believe us? Well, perhaps a preview of some of the awesome panels will persuade you. Today marks the start of a series of GeekGirlCon ‘12 panel previews that will come out in the coming weeks.
Join us on Saturday, August 11, for Sporty Geek: How Roller Derby and Quidditch Are Changing the Game for Women.
Roller derby and Quidditch don’t seem to have much in common on the surface. But they share something very important. They are both thriving, grassroots sporting efforts that provide a new range of athletic opportunities for women. Geek girls are kicking ass … on skates and brooms!
Panelists Sara Weisenbach, Chelsea Hougan, and Tammy Oler will lead this moderated discussion. They will explore the intersections of geek and jock culture with two sports that challenge convention and have the power to change women’s lives.
Here’s a little more background on these sporty geeks:
Sara Weisenbach is the Alaska and Washington state representative for the International Quidditch Association. She is currently studying design illustration at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where she is also co-captain from the college’s quidditch team.
Chelsea Hougan is the other co-captain from the Cornish Quidditch Team. She’s currently attending the college to pursue a degree in motion design.
Tammy Oler co-founded the Denver Roller Dolls in 2005, a nonprofit roller derby league that has not only trained hundreds of female athletes, but also contributed thousands of hours of community service. She also co-produced Talk Derby to Me, a documentary about the roller derby revival.
We don’t talk about sports a lot in geek culture, but a number of GeekGirlCon staff can be seen attending Seattle Sounders games or roller derby bouts, losing their voice at Seattle Seahawks events, running marathons, or kicking butt in fantasy football.
Are you a geek and a jock? Or are you simply interested in learning more about women and sports? This is the panel for you.
With the Summer Olympics only weeks away and ending during GeekGirlCon ‘12, we thought this was the perfect panel to highlight. So what are you waiting for? Get your passes for GeekGirlCon ‘12 before we sell out.
In the meantime, let us know your favorite sport in the comments below.
A geek girl’s gotta eat. Niki Casselberry proves that gamers can not only eat, but eat delicious meals inspired by games. Her blog, The Gamer’s Fridge, includes meal inspired from a variety of games. Featuring recipes from Pac-Man to World of Warcraft, Casselberry creates recipes that appeal to food lovers, geeks, and gamers. She took some time to give GeekGirlCon the inside scoop about blogging, cooking, and gaming.
Stephanie Little: When did you start playing games?
Niki Casselberry: I’ve always played PC games like real time strategy or adventure games, but Warcraft was my first MMO. The first computer game I remember spending hours playing was The Sands of Egypt. It was in 1983 on our family’s TRS-80. I was 8 and gaming.
SL: WoW influences a lot of your recipes. How long have you been playing WoW?
NC: I started playing WoW a few months before “Burning Crusade” (BC) was released. I can claim to have played in vanilla, but truthfully I didn’t start end game content until BC.
SL: Do you consider yourself a gamer?
NC: I do, and I am proud of that. There is a stigma on adults who game that we’re jobless and living in basements and I want to change that. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I hadn’t developed a fondness for games. I am happy that I can turn gaming and baking, my two favorite things, into a full time job.
SL: What are you currently geeking out about?
NC: SWTOR! I am very excited about Star Wars: The Old Republic being released. There is currently a non-disclosure agreement covering anyone on the beta right now, and my trustworthy guildies (I’m in Outer Rim Division, it’s a sister guild of Old Republic Dads) won’t tell me a thing about vendors or food in game. I have been trying out recipes for food from the movies that I hope turn up in game.