My Top 5 Favorite Geek Wedding Themes

I’m currently engaged to the most fabulous of guys, Mark. We met at our local LARP, Wyvern Rising, role-playing as our respective characters. Two and a half years later, he proposed to me at our local Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire… which basically means we’re a match made in geek heaven.   We’ve settled on a theme for our wedding: Renaissance! Think Tudors meets Game of Thrones, without all that Red Wedding stuff. But, if we hadn’t settled on that theme already, these were my top 5 all-time favorite geek wedding themes.

Halloween Wedding

halloween-wedding4
via Ryan + Beth
Imagine pumpkins on every table, a cauldron brewing a delicious punch at the bar, and creepy music playing a somber tune. I’d love a Halloween wedding where everyone wears costumes! A spooky candy bar would totally complete this Trick Or Treatish occasion.

Comic Book Wedding


via Rock & Roll Bride
Oh dare I dream? A day of wedded bliss with Captain America? *cough* I mean, Mark? What a fantastic wedding idea, and of course, what could be geekier than superheroes, a comic book inspired font, and bright fun primary colors everywhere?

Harry Potter Wedding


via Bridal Guide
One of my favorite series of books, (and movies!) Harry Potter encompasses enchanting magic and fun. Picture this: The candlesticks overhead the Great Hall, the delicious candy from Honeydukes in a candy bar, wedding cocktails like Butter Beer and Polyjuice Potion, and magic wand favors. A good time for muggles and magic folk alike!

Steampunk/Victorian Wedding


via Ruffled Blog
Just a few hundred years ahead and you enter a fun period of time, the Victorian era. Add a steam-powered element and you’ve got the power of bustles and brass cogs. It’s geek meets history. I love it!

Doctor Who Wedding


via When Geeks Wed
The love of the Doctor and his companion… it’s like a modern day fairy tale. We did get engaged during Time Traveler’s weekend at the Renn Faire, and I was dressed as a Victorian TARDIS. Just sayin’.

That awkward moment when George Takei’s Duela Dent Facebook post turned into a geek girl gender war

George Takei posts Duela Dent cosplay

So I accidentally (and I think subconsciously) participated in a not-so-obvious gender battle yesterday. Or perhaps it was never a gender battle to begin with. Let’s discuss. It involved a mistaken cosplay shame meme. An Internet troll posted a meme, shaming a cosplayer’s Duela Dent costume, unaware that she was actually a legit comic book character, but instead believing that she had just put together 3 different ideas into a (very good) mash-up cosplay.

Let’s talk about the language on the meme. “Trying to hard” connotes shaming for effort. Why would we ever shame someone for putting in too much effort? Even if this was, as the meme maker falsely believes, a gender swapped steampunk Joker…. so? If someone tries to do something, and they put hours and hours into it, and it’s obvious they’ve put a lot of hard work into it, why would we try to shame them for it? This raises the question – if it was a male cosplayer with a similar 3 way mash-up, would he be “shamed” for extra effort? Even if the cosplay was executed terribly, if the effort was there, how could we shame someone in the cosplay community for partaking in a hobby we all love so much? But sadly, shaming exists. It isn’t something I ever expected to find so predominant in the geek community, but here we are.

It’s obvious the quality of her costume is incredible. But the meme maker’s issue seems to be with the quality – as well as diversity. It sounds to me like this person doesn’t like cosplay in general, with a statement like that. If they were a true cosplayer, I would doubt they would shame a member of their own community, no matter what they wore! I personally would give a 3-way well executed mash-up costume 5 stars! Mash-ups are hard! I did a “Dalek Princess” at New York Comic Con last year, and I don’t think most people got it. And anyway, if you’re going to be taking issue with any mash up cosplayer, it’s gotta be this guy first and foremost. *shudder*

I’m not sure exactly why I commented the way I did. Oh yeah, that’s right, because I’m an Internet pixie. I make stupid jokes. And I think I did immediately think, “Oh it’s because she’s a woman!” Looking back, yeah, it’s not blatantly about the fact that she is a girl, and a geek. But I think it might be, and even subconsciously, I was wondering, if this sort of thing is related to her gender. Is it that the meme maker (who obviously never heard of Duela Dent) assumed she was doing this for attention? For sexual glances? For something we’d stereotype the “Idiot nerd girl” for doing? What exactly makes the meme maker so mad? Is the meme maker a man?

I put my feelers out to the Geek Girl Pen Pals Facebook community and got some fantastic responses.

Post a comment to let me know what you think about my comment, this meme, and gender roles in the geek community in general. Did this thread get turned into a gender war for no reason? Or is it secretly about the fact that she’s a woman all along? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Other cool articles on the topic
Blogpost # 3: Discrimination in Cosplay
Misogyny and Size Discrimination in Cosplay
The Negative Side of Cosplaying
I’m a Black Female Cosplayer And Some People Hate It

10 things every beginner blogger should know. (And things I wish I’d known)

1. Don’t bother settling on a niche up front. You’ll probably change it.
Oh I had goals, so many goals. My dream blog was one focused on graphic design and art, but once I started blogging, I found there was a huge market and lots of space to grow in the geek and kawaii niche. Plus I was way more passionate about it. I ended up flip flopping a bunch and then finding my home after about 6 months of blogging.

2. Blog. Your. Passion.
This will seriously make your blogging life so much easier. People can see through phony enthusiasm with astonishing superhero X Ray vision. Blog the thing you find yourself rambling about. Blog the things you are constantly looking up online. Check your last 10 Google searches for inspiration.

3. Learn to use PhotoShop, or find a decent photo editor to make cute and custom blog graphics.
Each post needs a picture. Pictures bring a blog to life. Hell, buy a decent camera and take original photographs for your blog. Even a newer iPhone or Droid takes pretty decent pictures. I use the Samsung Galaxy S4, and its 13MP camera is astounding.

4. Make blog buddies.
No one should sit alone in the cafeteria,  and no one should blog alone. Find a blogger you admire, particularly on your blogging level, in your niche, and pal up. Blog friends inspire you, and encourage you to post. And hell, maybe you can get those rad BFF necklaces.

5. Not everyone is going to love your blog, or even know it exists.
Be prepared for apathy, or worse: trolls and bitches. Your blog is like your baby, and it can be hard to believe someone doesn’t know about it, even after all your tweets. And chances are,  someone doesn’t really like it! Remember: Blog for you first, and the people who love your blog second. And just remember…


Haters gonna hate.

6. Go to blogging events.
Even if the people are not in your niche,  they are all familiar with, or experts in this medium.  Blogging is a fine art that balances writing for the Web, time management, social networking, and quality digital image use. You could learn a lot at a blogging event, and you’ll be surprised how buzzed up you become afterwards, itching to post again.

7. Er mah gerd. Hershtergs. Take advantage of them for every post you make.
Well… hashtags, anyway. Using hashtag friendly social networks like Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, can score you relevant traffic, simply by posting a fab looking image with relevant hashtags.

8. Don’t sell out.
Thinking of throwing ads and affiliate links all over your site?  Calm your tits. Respect your audience, your readers, your life blood! There is a good chance spammy links will scare away your best reader. Instead, offer minimal and tactfully placed, relevant ads. And make sure you alert your readers to them. I hate accidentally clicking on deceptive ads cloaked as content.

9. Have a giveaway!
It feels so great to win something, doesn’t it? Don’t be afraid to give away something relevant to your site… and that you yourself love. It’s a great way to get a new blog some traffic, and show a product that might clue people in to what your blog will be about.

10. Don’t be discouraged by low traffic and low interaction.
It took me nearly a year or two of building up my brand and content, before I started slowly building a steady audience. Don’t be discouraged by low numbers: remember, you’re blogging for you first. If you post it, they will come.


Featured image from mfpost.com

What Role-Playing Has Taught Me About My Identity

You Are Who You Pretend To Be - Kurt Vonnegut
Image Source: Tom Banwell on Etsy

Have you ever watched a movie, and fell so in love with a character that you wished you could be them, even for a day? Have you ever been entranced by a comic book and imagined the life you’d lead if you took on the identity of one of its superheroes? Or maybe you know someone in your life who positively enchants you, with a super high Charisma score, and you just need to be around them.

I was cripplingly shy as a kid. I was terrified to approach other people for the simplest things, like asking for directions. I had mild low self esteem, and was intimidated by everyone. I mimicked any character I liked on TV, or in a movie, due to a lack of any sort of self identity. And iconic literary characters like Anastasia Krupnik and Harriet the Spy, who kept thorough identity journals, would help me to start my own, and write list after list of who I wanted to be, and who I ultimately became.

At the confusing age of 12, I ended up being thrown under the bus by my mother, who approached a girl and asked her where she bought her shirt. She then told the girl that I was actually the one who liked it, but that I was too shy to ask her where she bought it. The girl then walked up to me, very nonchalant, and said “I used to be shy, but then I decided to overcome it.” This opened a door in my mind that taught me that being shy was something I could not only overcome, but something I could control.

In high school, as many of us do, I struggled with my identity. I found myself, along with my friends, mimicking the trends of the day, wearing what our friends wore, and assembling entire outfits based off of mannequins at the mall. I was swimming in a pool of styles and identities that were a Frankenstein of things I’d seen my friends and role models do. We all struggled to find ourselves in high school, so I don’t imagine anyone has trouble relating to this idea. What I would soon learn would help me to build the character concept I’d always wanted to play.

triplets

I began to LARP when I was 17 years old. For those of you who don’t know, LARPing stands for Live Action Role-Playing. It’s sort of like this, and this, but mostly like this. You create a persona, and become them, in an improvisational fashion, in an immersive fantasy world. It’s a real life role-playing and acting experience, mixing the mechanics of a tabletop dice game with the reality of an entire world full of costumed characters, all interacting with you in real time. It’s pretty dorky cool.

In addition to LARPing, I’ve played tabletop role-playing games and online games throughout my teenage and adult life. Classics like Dungeons & Dragons, Serenity, and Star Wars. All of these games require you to design and role-play a character, at a table with other people who are also role-playing, while you play the actual game.

In college, I heard a quote that solidified for me what would soon become me crafting my own identity “You are who you pretend to be,” a quote from author Kurt Vonnegut. This is what our identity is. We decide who we admire, who we strive to be like, who are favorite characters are, and we craft an identity that we role-play throughout our lives. I began developing a personal brand and identity that would give my life a sense of purpose and self validation.

When you role-play, you become absorbed in an idea that you create. I could craft the persona I wanted, devise a perfect character, and become that person. Role-playing is an experience of complete and total mental immersion. It’s a little bit like this.

And the end result is a character we play every day who becomes our own. The campaign setting is your life, and you get to control your stats. I myself knew my character would have a high Charisma score, higher than average Wisdom and Intelligence, a low Strength score, average Dexterity and average Constitution scores. So that’s me. How about you?

Writing about writing: A fiction of sorts.

She grabbed her pen. No, wait. Okay. She snatched her pen. Quickly, yes quickly. She practically stabbed herself on the other freshly sharpened pencils in her cup trying to get it. She was a writer, bold and true. Bold and true? Fuck, that sounds pretentious. Let’s try this again. She was a writer, unabashed and unashamed. Unabashed, that’s good. That’s real good. Wait, what does that word mean? Hold on.

UNABASHED ˌənəˈbaSHt
adjective
1.
not embarrassed, disconcerted, or ashamed.

Oh, hell yeah, that’s me. Wait a second, disconcerted? Man. The Dictionary is always defining words with other words that you in turn have to go back and look up. Nevermind, back to it.

She dreamt of writing for one of those really awesome blogs. Like Mashable or Hello Giggles or some crap like that. No, don’t say crap. Sounds too casual, too unprofessional. She had always dreamed of guest blogging for someone like Mashable or Hello Giggles. Better. She thought about it. She wrinkled her nose. No, no, I don’t do that. Should I start wrinkling my nose? I’m going to see if I can do it for like, a week straight, whenever I’m thinking. Then, if someone asks me, “Are you thinking?” …then. Then it’ll be a thing that I do.

Back to writing. Words. Words. Wooords. Oh crap, this must be what writer’s block feels like. Maybe I need some wine. Wine is like, what Van Gogh drank when he was painting and stuff, right? Write? Oh man, that’s gold. Okay, please hold.

I’m back. I’ve got the wine. It’s the end of a bottle from last year, and I only got half a glass out of it, but I did find a bottle of clear rum in the freezer to top myself off. Am I supposed to end a sentence with off? It’s one of those words, what do you call them. Prepositions? And anyway, I’m not quite sure this was the same idea Van Gogh had. I’m also pretty sure I Googled Van Gogh last year, and he drank Absinthe, not wine. He also cut his ear off. What a nutter. Nevermind that, back to writing.

In college, I won an award for creative writing. It’s one of those things that you can always rub in other writer’s faces, and then they have to take you seriously. I think. Or maybe they just get pissed off, and correct your grammar or something. I always make grammatical errors. Ugh. I forget commas like it’s no ones business. I should really use them more. But my thoughts are always so…

I’m getting off track. I am writing about writing. The words flow out of my pen like an inky… river of truth. Wow! Sounds like a cool superpower. Inky river of truth! Like no one could lie with this enchanted pen, and then they would have to tell the truth. Maybe I should have given myself a word limit. Maybe I shouldn’t have mixed rum and wine.

I need to go practice wrinkling my nose.


Featured image from christabanister.com