Podcasting, Reluctantly: Nerdblisspod.com


What happens when a negligent blogger and an aspiring voice over artist marry? It’s only a matter of time before a podcast develops…

Chris asked for the loan of the Nerdbliss name and I, after some contemplation, I agreed. The podcast lives at nerdblisspod.com. Our 7th is up, posting every Friday. Chris and I are joined by our co-hosts Eric, Alex, and Dave as well as guests. I say I’m the reluctant on-air talent, but I seem to be doing just fine.

The goal of the show is to talk about both traditionally nerd and geek topics as well as branching out into topics we or our guests might geek out over. I’m excited to see how the show evolves.

Feel free to check out the show! Leave a comment on the show and let us know you are listening.

Masterpiece Theater: Victoria


British historical costume drama featuring not one but two Doctor Who related actors? I am powerless to resist.

Recently departed Doctor Who companion and Impossible Girl Clara played by Jenna Louise Coleman is Queen Victoria. I can’t help but love this as Clara is known to have been deposited all over time and space for the purpose of assisting the Doctor. No reason she can’t be Victoria. My headcanon has no problem mixing history and science fiction.

Eve Myles is the Queen’s senior dresser Mrs. Jenkins. Have you have seen a more disapproving expression?

photo: radiotimes

She played Gwen Cooper in Torchwood, of course, but also played a maid named Gwyneth in the Charles Dickens’ episode of Doctor Who. It does make one wonder.

Three episodes of the series have aired so far on PBS Masterpiece Theater of sixteen total listed as two seasons on IMDB. I am loving the cast and rich details in the set design and costumes. The Britishness of it all! The conversations consisting entirely of what is between the lines.

So far, I have resisted the temptation to read up on the Queen and her court as curious as I am. Better, I think, to wait until I’ve watched the series to enjoy the narrative to sort fact from fiction.

I’ll dig for more information at some point because it’s me. I will try to wait to scratch the itch because I prefer not to have spoilers. I’ll want to know historical details and how many of the household staff are real historical figures. I’m aware of Victoria as a general figure but not the details. I often come to an interest in a period or person in history based on a fictional account or a docudrama.

Forget the dates and facts; Give me the story.

As it happens, the series which has me making appointment TV arrangements over the digital antenna rather than catching a show later on the internet has a companion novel as well as a beautiful companion book. The pictures in the “look inside” sample alone make me want a physical copy rather than a Kindle edition. Something to set in your lap with a cup of tea on the table beside you on a rainy day and dream of velvet dresses and lace collars.

How I Broke My Blog
(Or Didn’t Appreciate It
Til It Was Gone)

Long story short, I updated by WordPress version over the New Years weekend and *poof* the whole site was gone. I didn’t get a fix from GoDaddy until today, mostly due to my lack of follow up. It involved upgrading the type of hosting I was using which meant transferring servers. My famous last words, always: How hard can it be?

I learned a few things in the process but all from not succeeding in transferring my backup files, so I’m rebuilding from spare parts. For the second time as a blogger, I’ve used the Wayback Machine to rescue content. From my previous blog, I pulled the reading lists from before 2010. I had knowingly pulled the plug on the domain but realized later even with the posts I’d had sent to my email over the years, I wanted a few other things. I should make a donation to this wonderful resource.

Today, I wasn’t even planning to change the theme. Now, anything dated before today is transferred. I was terribly upset at the idea of loosing everything. Maybe my blog isn’t anything to anyone else, but it’s something to me.

Sure, I only posted a handful of times in 2016, but I renewed my domain and paid hosting. Money talks, right? I’ve never blogged consistently like I did years ago when it was possible for a humble personal blogger to make a couple hundred dollars a month with a modest amount of traffic and semi-ethical paid links targeted at SEO optimization and some sponsored content.

It was partly the cash, but partly the community. Both dried up. Blogging used to be the way to make and maintain online friendships. I was never great or a run away success, but I still can’t bring myself to let my domain and hosting go. I always say how allowing social media to hold all our content is foolish, but I don’t take the time to post. It’s so convenient to use Facebook or Twitter.

I do tend to write blog posts around my birthday as well as around the first of the year. Despite myself, I get reflective. It was my New Years post that had me logging to break the darn thing.

Since I’ve made so many life changes in the last few months – dietary, obviously – I am thinking about writing here more regularly. Not because I have everything figured out, because I don’t, and since I was a kid writing is how I figure things out.

As I always say, we’ll see what happens on my little corner of the web, but if you are feeling nostalgic yourself, take a trip to the Wayback Machine for yourself.

Retro Robots

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We leave for Dragon*Con in the morning. I’m so excited to get away for four geek-tastic days in downtown Atlanta. In many ways, con-going feels like I’ve finally found my natural habitat.

I find there are two kinds of reactions when you tell someone you are going to a convention. A typical reaction along the lines of “what is it?” Upon answering, the follow up questions run to “why?” and “what do you do there?” There’s little use in explaining to most of these folks. They won’t understand.

The second group says, “What costume are you wearing?”

It is little use to explain not everyone cosplays.

I have before and I surely will again. This year, rather than make costumes I’ve planned a couple outfits befitting the occasion.

The new creation is a bit of serendipity, really. First, a picture and then explanation.

Several years ago when I was working at Target, a pair of men’s pajamas were returned. As an online only item, they were heavily discounted. Who was I to pass up the opportunity?

I hung onto the pajamas with the intention to make something to wear in more visible situations. Turning pants into skirts is one of my favorite modifications. As is my usual creative process, I hung onto the material and idea for a long time. I picked up the red fabric to fill in the gaps several months back, but didn’t get started on the project until Teefury offered the Asimov University tee.

How much do I love Asimov’s Robot novels?

Enough to make darn sure I completed my whimsical robot shirt and matching peter pan collar before DragonCon. I’d been saving this Burda pattern for an appropriate occasion for a while.

 

I rather like how it turned out. It was no small task to line up the robots so their little heads didn’t get cut off.

MONDAY PINKIE PIE GIF (AND, YES, I’M A BRONY)

I’ve mentioned Ponies in passing here and there on the blog, but today is a day for excited Pinkie Pie. A bit redundant, one could argue, but I would say one should differentiate from scary Pinkie with the straight hair throwing a party for turnips and rocks or Pinkie chasing a pony down for breaking a Pinkie Promise. I never want to experience those first-hand. This GIF makes me smile, smile, smile just like Pinkie wants all her friends to do.

Feel free to bookmark this post, as I plan to do, and come back whenever you need a pink-party-pony-pick-me-up.

KLINGON WEDDING

After many months preparing, Chris and I finally got Klingon-married at Trek Trax Atlanta. It was an unforgettable experience. I do not know how to express how much fun we had and how meaningful, though not our legal and binding Earth wedding, it was to have so many people work so hard to make our wedding an exciting event for everyone in attendance.

A few important people must be thanked before I get on to the pictures and descriptions for those who did not attend. If the content of the ceremony is unfamiliar, please see Worf and Dax’s wedding from Deep Space Nine. For more pictures of our wedding and Trek Trax in general, see the galleries on the House Koloth website.

Thank you to everyone who came out for the wedding and the reception, but especially the following:

Trek Trax founder Eric Watts and his staff without whom there would be no convention.

Our Tawi’yan Alex who is an ever faithful friend. My lovely human parents-in-law Marion & Sandi – not Trek fans – and brother-in-law Eric for making the trip to be with us on our big day.

Theresa Parker aka Mistress Koloth, Klingon wedding planner.

Our convention guests who participated in the ceremony: Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen officiated, David Orange aka “The Sleepy Klingon” from Star Trek VI gave a toast in Klingon, il Troubadore played blood-stirring Klingon music, Jillanna Babb and her belly dancers done up in their best Orion slave girl green.

All those warriors who made up the bat’leth arch, and those who vouched for our honor. Connie and Illya Allman for the Romulan Ale. It was much enjoyed. All those who enjoyed the Romulan Ale and other refreshments at the reception.

If I have failed to mention anyone who played a role in the event, I apologize. It was all a blur of utter happiness to have so many people involved. I love our fandom friends and family so very much. While this wedding is only legal in the Empire, nothing we could plan for our Earth wedding and reception will compare.

Now, a selection of photos:

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EMERALD CITY COMICON & BEST CON SOUVENIR EVER

 

 

On March 28th, Chris and I flew to Seattle to visit my family and go to Emerald City Comicon. It was a great trip and, like all vacations, it was too short yet wonderful to get home at the end.

I didn’t take nearly enough pictures, so I swiped a few from Chris for this post.

First, Chris at the Con with my folks. This was, remember, the meet-the-parents, plus my brother and sis-in-law, trip. Being well over a year into our relationship, it’s a little different than me meeting his parents a few weeks after we started dating. Not less scary, I don’t think, but different. The family, of course, loved him, because he’s awesome.


Celebrity guests are an important part of the convention experience and being a short hop from L.A. helps ECCC get really great guests for a midsized convention. We decided to go – hell or high water – when George Takei was announced as a guest. His autograph was priority number one for the convention. We roped Mom & Dad into going through the line to get one since we were tasked with getting one for Alex who wanted his signed “I love sweaty basketball players” referencing this video. Chris was the only one of our party brave enough to ask Mr. Takei for the unusual personalization. And it was awesome. Mr. Takei laughed, his beautiful deep belly laugh. It was the kind of moment getting autographs is all about for as much as the signed 8×10 is a treasure, the story the interaction is the real reason we’ll wait in line for a couple hours and call it all fun.

Our other celebrity encounters were Adam Baldwin, Christopher Judge, Jason Momoa, Summer Glau, Jhonen Vasquez, and Tara Strong.

Tara Strong was out of things to sign, so she allowed fans to take pictures. If you don’t recognize her name, you wouldn’t recognize her face. She’s the voice talent extraordinaire behind tons of iconic cartoons. The Power Puff Girls’ Bubbles and Twilight Sparkle of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic are the two characters which make me a Tara fan-girl forever. She was genuinely nice to the little group of Bronies in front of us. Not that I’m a Brony or anything.

Chris could have spent the entire three day convention down in the gaming area where they’d set up a handful of vintage arcade games on free play.

One of the things ECCC does better than any con I’ve attended so far is vendor space and variety. I picked up several items including this fellow.

 

Any Harry Potter fan loves Hagrid. He has special meaning for me as we’re working on a Hagrid costume for Chris. I’ve wanted the Lego minifig for a while, but I couldn’t justify buying the whole playset. He’s adorable, ain’t he?

Oh, and the best souvenir:

Pretty much everyone knows by know Chris proposed at the convention. More than a few knew before it happened. It was perfect; my home city with my folks there and at a convention. I was surprised, at the timing not the question, which meant a lot to Chris and made the experience a lot more special than I could have imagined. I’m ridiculously happy and, truth be told, getting a little choked up and butterflies inside thinking about it.

GEEKS AND TOYS

What separates typical fans of certain media properties from the fanatics and geeks?

Toys, of course.

If you click on the above imagine, you’ll get a pretty good idea what kind of geeks live here. The “geek display” as we call it, is home to most, but not all, of the toys.

Most of them came with Chris, although I assure him I don’t just love him for his toys. Sure, I’d always go press the button on the Enterprise model that lights up and talks every single time I was over at his place before we moved in together, but what red blooded (not to be confused with red shirted) Trekkie girl wouldn’t?

An astute observer might notice one item seems a tad out of place.

Don’t see it?

Her name is Honeybuzz and she’s not mine.

While she’s not My Little Pony, she is all my fault.

At Dragon*Con, Chris and I saw something strange while waiting in line for William Shatner’s autograph. I remember it was then because it was an extremely long wait in an open area with a good vantage point for costume watching. Picture it: Six or eight pastel pony costumes with heads removed to reveal each and every one of them was worn by a guy. As it happened, I’d seen a piece on the phenomenon of teenaged boys and twenty-something men into the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon. Brony culture, in the flesh, was much stranger than simply an entry at memebase. Naturally, I looked up the video I’d seen for Chris when we got back to our hotel room.

For whatever reason, the Brony thing has stuck around as a joke all these months. Maybe simply because it’s a fandom more silly than any to which we actually belong. Maybe because the fine line between cartoons it’s acceptable for a grown man to love (check out Gir from Invader Zim on the top shelf, front and center) and those it would be strange to enjoy without a child of appropriate age and gender to excuse the viewing is amusing from a sociological standpoint. Maybe I love a running joke far more than is natural.

Whatever the reason, the joke morphed with our friend Alex being accused of being a disgruntled Brony thanks to his colorblindness. The majority of the ponies are gray to him as are the majority of the backgrounds on the show. Poor guy. What torture, we joke, when his young daughter watches the show, that he can’t see his beloved ponies.

As Christmas rolled around, of course, Chris and I planned to get Alex a pink pony. What Chris didn’t know, I had a Little Pony surprise for him, too. Funny gifts make such wonderful memories. I managed to surprise them both. I was tasked with picking up Alex’s pony – any of them as long as she’s pink – and I showed Alex the pony I got for Chris. Neither of them suspected a thing. We set Alex’s up in a big box with his real gift – a pith helmet – well hidden beneath. I wrapped Chris’ before putting the obvious shaped package in a larger box for a second coat of wrapping paper. Along with the dollar store back scratchier wrapped in two Costco sized cereal boxes pushed together at the ends, his pile of gifts from me looked impressive while being 2/3rds silly.

The joke continues. Honeybuzz gets an occasional greeting, pat on the head, or hair brushing to go with her place of honor on the geek display in front of Optimus Prime. As I love a running gag, my delight is as much to blame as Chris’ silliness.

Chris pointed out, per the packaging, Honeybuzz is an industrious pony, always busy. Typically, we are not, preferring an evening on the sofa streaming Netflix to most anything else. Coincidence or no, since Christmas, it seems we’ve accomplished more around the house; cleaning, organizing and crafting more than we usually do. I wouldn’t say we’ve been influenced by little Honeybuzz, but having noticed the connection, she’s been dubbed the Patron Saint of Productivity in our home.

EARLY THOUGHTS ON STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE

Since Netflix added four of five Star Trek series on streaming over the summer, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the addition of the fifth series, Deep Space Nine. Of all the shows, I’ve seen the fewest episodes of DS9 and heard about several sure to make my geek heart flutter in excitement.

Tribbles! Vulcans playing baseball! Worf’s wedding!

I’d been working my way through the first season on DVDs from Netflix when Chris and I moved in together and we went to a shared, streaming only account. I’m pretty sure the announcement had already been made about the shows going on streaming. I do hate waiting for disks by mail as much as I love instant gratification.

As promised, October first, Sisko, Odo and Quark were added to the streaming Trek lineup. No surprise, Chris and I both dug right in. We skipped ahead to the gems mentioned above, plus a beauty of an episode called “Far Beyond the Stars” which places Captain Sisko in 1950s New York City living the life of a science fiction writer for pulp magazine Incredible Tales. Much like Dorothy in Oz meeting people from the farm, the crew of Deep Space Nine populates this world. Could easily stand among my top ten favorite Star Trek episodes of all time.

After skipping ahead to the must-see episodes, I went back to where I’d left off in the disks. As of today, I’m around five episodes into season two. Two or three of them, I’d seen before.

So far, I have mixed reaction to the show.

I do like the characters. Even my least favorite of them, Dr. Julian Bashir, is growing on me after a rough start. I adore Quark and Odo. Jake Sisko and Nog are handled better than Wesley Crusher was in The Next Generation, written like teenagers and not used as a plot device to save the day with stunning technobabble.

The episodes I love, I really love. Not just those later season ones I watched out of sequence. The Forsaken might be my favorite Lwaxana appearance. Move Along Home is stellar and If Wishes Were Horses echoes the classic Trek theme of thoughts becoming disturbing reality. I am mesmerized by these stories and a few others which excite my imagination and reinforce exactly why I’m a dedicated Trekkie.

Where I’m not yet sold is the tales dealing with the day to day operations of the station, Bajoran politics and fall out from the Cardassian occupation. I don’t find those stories particularly compelling in part because they don’t tend to feel like Star Trek to me. Like my best friend Kate says about her dislike of Deep Space Nine, it’s like Star Trek without the trek. Conceptually, Star Trek was always about going out into uncharted territory, encountering the unknown and moving on. It seems funny to live on a space station and deal with shop keepers and trading ships bickering over cargo. Sometimes the action seems drawn out as if to allow the story arc to last. I am not saying it’s bad. It’s not. I am saying I don’t connect to the story telling style as Star Trek.

Having been assured, both by watching episodes from later in the series and by Chris who counts DS9 as his favorite Trek series, that the show continues to get better as it progresses, I have no intention of giving up on the show. I’m interested enough to keep going for my own sake even if only to see what happens to the characters. Bottom line, as I always say, when it comes to a choice between experiencing more stories in the Star Trek universe or not, I’m always going to take the story.

DRAGON*CON

Wil Wheaton and I both attended our first Dragon*Con this year. As you can see from my big excited smile above, meeting Wil was the highlight of my con experience. It was that freaking awesome to top four days of total immersion in total geek culture. He was personable and gracious. Chris and I talked to him about Memories of the Future. I thanked him for introducing me to John Scalzi and Wil told me Scalzi had announced his latest book that very day. He’d read it, he said, and it is “amaze-balls.” I managed to hold down my fan-girl squeal long enough to walk away from the autograph table.

We geeks are a people without a homeland, but for the length of the con a few blocks of Downtown Atlanta are transformed into a habitat suitable for geeks of all types and affiliations.

It has been a week since we came home. The real world is a bit surreal. No one is dressed as a super hero. I haven’t seen two Doctors pass each other in the hall, nodding in acknowledgement with a greeting of “Doctor.” Even after 10 P.M., body paint is not appropriate attire. Ridges exist on potato chips, not foreheads.

Nothing about the other conventions I’ve attended prepared me for Dragon*Con. It’s bigger – five hotels, a downtown mall, a parade and over 45,000 people. Dragon*Con TV in our hotel room. I went to one actual panel the whole weekend – corset making – and didn’t feel like I missed out. It would, in fact, be possible to go without a membership and have a perfectly good time just people watching and sharing the adventure stories of our roommates. Of course, Chris and I have already preregistered for next year.

It is so difficult to sum up the events of the weekend as the formal events are only half the story. I admit the main reason I’m writing about it at all is to relive it for myself. Maybe next year I’ll blog from the event.

Our trip began Wednesday afternoon. Chris and I stayed at his cousin’s place in Alpharetta, Georgia in an effort to get into the registration line early Thursday. We were joined by Chris’ brother Eric. I was happy simply to get out of dodge. Anticipation was killing me. We had dinner with cousin Jeff and Eric a really, really yummy Indian restaurant. My first real moment of the convention happened hanging out in Jeff’s living room while I sat chatting with Kate about her current obsession with Supernatural. While she hasn’t ever been to a con, she’s my original geek friend. She’d explained about the fan-fiction surrounding the series, specifically the slash involving the Winchester brothers. They, apparently, call it Wincest and Kate, like myself, doesn’t really understand the appeal. What I said, however, was “It’s better for incest to be same-sex because you don’t have to worry about children.” Silence in the room and all three of the boys – the boyfriend, the boyfriend’s brother and their cousin – staring at me like I’m insane. What? In the context of the conversation, it was a perfectly reasonable statement.

Standing in the registration line Thursday, you would think, wouldn’t be very exciting. I was surprised, however, how excited I was to see all the people. Most were in their geekiest shirts, but a few dedicated souls were costumed up. One dude behind us in line was already drinking cheap beer. Way to get a head start on both counts.

Not much goes on Thursday night. We and the roommates got settled in. It was Chris and I, Eric, Teresa, Alex and his sister Lucy. Teresa invented a drink we’ll call a Tereka – Diet Mountain Dew and Tequila. I had a couple and Lucy was a little too buzzed to head out to the Celtic concert she wanted to attend. Not having anything better to do and not wanting to sit around, Chris and I went with Lucy to see Pandora Celtica and Emerald Rose. Very different sounds, but both awesome.

Daytime Friday was line day for Chris and I. We got the required autographs. Wil Wheaton (*Squee*) was first, then Gates McFadden and William Shatner. We stopped to talk to Brent Spiner about his web series Fresh Hell. Gates was nice, but we didn’t have anything specific to talk to her about. Shatner looked tired, but smiled and nodded. Best you can expect from a star of his age. Autographs are a cool memento, but I definably think the interaction is the important part. I wouldn’t, for example, buy an autograph or send someone to get one. I will, of course, have to be satisfied with the autograph from Leonard Nimoy Chris got two years ago.

There was Klingon Karaoke. Chris sang Bust A Move. The audience loved it.

As I alluded to in my mention of body paint, late night at Dragon*Con is pretty wild. We went to the Hyatt, closed to all but Dragon*Con attendees, to walk around and enjoy the costumes. Chris was still in his TOS Klingon and had far more photo requests than he expected. Was awesome.

The only problem with a late and eventful night on Friday was getting up early Saturday for the parade. Chris marched in full Imperial Klingon and ridges. So sexy, but hot and tiring. Still, he made CNN’s coverage of the con for the second year in a row. Later, we attended the Klingon restaurant invasion to hang with our various Klingon friends but especially those of House Koloth and the Nemesis.

I saw so many cool costumes and interactions between people in those costumes. Waldo and Carmen San Diego running around doesn’t fail to tickle me. I took lots of pictures both with my camera and Chris’ – feel free to look me up on Facebook and take a look. My favorite missed photo opp moment was a beautiful, Disney quality Snow White taking pictures of a You-Know-Who and a couple dozen Death Eaters.

Only at Dragon*Con. Only 353 days…