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V is for Vampires

25 Apr

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U is for Urban Dictionary

24 Apr

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I was originally going to do this post about unicorns, because that was the only U word I could think of. But truthfully, I don’t get all worked up over unicorns. That was my mom’s thing. Plus, how stereotypical. So I was trying to come up with something, ANYTHING, that I could use for U (I’m also on the hunt for V as well because I guess I’ve already done vampires…), and I thought “Hmmmm, let’s look at Urban Dictionary and see what they have for U words.”

Then the lightbulb went on and I thought, “Hmmmmm, let’s USE Urban Dictionary for my U entry!”

If you haven’t been to Urban Dictionary and you want to know what all the kids are saying, it’s pretty easy. Just urbandictionary.com, and BOOM! You are a slang and pop culture knowledge master! Kids talking in code? Look it up and figure that shit out! Not sure what ffs or lol or omgwtfbbq stand for? Urban Dictionary can help.

It’s a wiki, so it’s built by people like you and me. That means that sometimes you may have to read a couple different entries for the same word to know what it really is. Usually the first one is correct, but occasionally there are discrepancies, or how a word is used one place is different than how it’s used elsewhere, so you can read a couple definitions to see which one fits your particular situation. Case in point: bae. When people started talking about “she’s my bae” and “this is my bae” I had to look it up because I had no clue what they were getting at.

First definition?

bae 1

So, while this is the top definition (as chosen by upvotes) it doesn’t quite tell me what it means, I am now amused that people are calling each other the Danish word for poop.

Next entry?

bae 2

Well, okay then. There’s your warning for Urban Dictionary- if you thought my blog was R rated, some of the definitions and posts can get a little vulgar. Not for the faint of heart or easily offended. So I know more about how it’s used and who uses it, but I still don’t know the etymology of the term. How did it come to be? What are the origins and meanings? Can the third entry help us out a little?

bae 3

Aha! So with three entries, we have the basic idea of how it’s used, where it started, with whom it is popular, and alternate uses. Very helpful.

I can’t tell you how often it has helped me keep hip with the kids. It’s also an eye/brain saver, because sometimes you hear about something on the internet (particularly things related to 4chan) and you’re not sure you actually want to explore it without knowing what you’re getting into. Urban Dictionary can help with that too. While you may still get disgusted by what you’re reading, it’s a whole different ballgame than if you had actually seen it with your own eyes. Urban Dictionary has saved me from actually looking (and seriously, don’t go here unless you’re really ready to be disgusted/disturbed) at Two Girls One Cup, lemonparty dot org, goatse, blue waffles, alabama hot pocket, and any other number of nasty things that would have required brain bleach had I viewed them myself.

They do have a couple of books, but if you want to keep up with the memes and slang as it happens, the website is your best resource. I can honestly say, it has saved me multiple times. If nothing else, just by avoiding things nobody should have to see.

T is for Trivia Crack

23 Apr

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OMG, I love Trivia Crack. The only downside to playing it is that it makes me wish Grandma and mom were still alive, because I would force them to get smart phones so they could play with me.

We used to have EPIC Trivial Pursuit games. Not even kidding. We were ruthless.

This little guy wouldn't be smiling if he'd been playing with us.

This little guy wouldn’t be smiling if he’d been playing with us.

If you don’t have a smart phone, really Trivia Crack is just Trivial Pursuit for the digital age. And you play against your friends. If your friends will play with you, that is. I’ve already had three people tell me they won’t play me anymore because I fuck up their wins record.

Cowards.

So how do you play? You spin the wheel to see which category you get.

Wheeeeeeee!

Wheeeeeeee!

And then answer the question based on the category.

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When you get the answer correct, it tells you…

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…and then you get to spin again.

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And so it goes until you either answer three in a row correctly or land on a crown, in which case you get to play for the virtual equivalent to a piece of pie.

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You can either answer the question outright, or (if it’s a category you’re spectacularly bad at) you can challenge your opponent and the one who gets the answer correct gets to steal the token of your choosing from their stash.

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When you get the answer correct on the pie (ehrm, I mean Crown), you get a color version in your tally so you can see what you still need.

This is one of those “I have no problem spending hours playing this game” games for me. And I usually do well, although I hate sports questions. And I hate the fact that it tells you every time you get a question in that category that it is your worst category.

 

Of COURSE the one time I want to hit sports so I can take a screen cap of it taunting me, I can't land on it to save my life. I'll just let the stats speak for themselves.

Of COURSE the one time I want to hit sports so I can take a screen cap of it taunting me, I can’t land on it to save my life. I’ll just let the stats speak for themselves.

I still say 73% ain’t bad, and you definitely don’t have to tell me EVERY TIME I LAND ON IT that it’s my worst category. Seriously. Salt in the wound.

One of my favorite parts of Trivia Crack (aside from the winning) is that the questions are created by the community, so while most are legit, serious questions, every once in a while you come across a gem like this one.

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How can you NOT love this game?

 

S is for Star Trek and Shingeki No Kyojin

22 Apr

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I know. Y’all are shocked my S post isn’t Star Wars. It’s been done.

Just kidding. I always want to talk about Star Wars, but since I already did that with my E entry, I thought I’d talk about the other Star show that everyone gets confused over.

I can’t tell you how often someone will say, “You love Star Trek, right?”

*Sigh*

In fairness, I do like Trek. Not to the extreme that I love Star Wars, but I dig it. It’s cool. I personally prefer The Next Generation over any of the other shows, but the movies are good too. My mom was a big original series fan, but beyond the movies and the Tribble episode, I just couldn’t get into it. I did love Next Gen though. Q is my favorite morally ambiguous guy (is he good? is he bad? yes), and I LOVE Captain Picard. Love. Him.

Yup. This.

The other S today is an anime that EVERYONE is into right now. For the purists, the name is Shingeki No Kyokin, but most people will recognize it as Attack on Titan. How do I explain the premise? Humanity lives behind walls because of a threatening outside force. After a long period of peace, the Titans, a humanoid creature that stands 3-6 meters tall (10-20 feet, for you Imperial measurement folks like me) break through the first wall and start eating people. They like to eat humans, so the majority of the show is spent watching the humans try to figure out how to kill the Titans and save humanity.

 

So many Titan cosplays

So many Titan cosplays. This one included the 3D maneuvering gear, which is pretty wicked.

If you’re not into horror or gore, you may want to skip this one. Even though it’s cartoon blood, it’s still blood. And a lot of it. And lots and lots of feels. Like, don’t get too attached to any character, because they die off quickly and with great frequency. I’m a weeper, so it doesn’t take much to make me cry, but Andrea is not. She’s the stone cold stoic when we’re watching stuff. This show makes her cry.

 

so many

so many

so, so many

so, so many

 

And even when they're not with other Titan fans, they always do the salute. Always.

And even when they’re not with other Titan fans, they always do the salute. Always.

If you like horror or emotionally draining shows (think Walking Dead) you should give it a try. It’s really good, but I know I personally can’t watch more than two or three episodes in one sitting. Not exactly a binge fest kinda show, but if you’re into that kind of thing, it’s worth a look.

If nothing else, take a gander at the opening credits. It’s enough to give you a preview of the level of intensity of the show, plus you get to see the 3D maneuvering gear in action.

R is for Ravenclaw and RenFest

21 Apr

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Yay! I’m caught up. *whew*

 

So like every good nerd, I know to which Hogwarts house I would belong. And that, my friends, would be Ravenclaw. Now I know that a part of me would love to be in Hufflepuff, but between the corvid theme and the nerdy smartness of the Ravenclaw tribe, I’m pretty sure that’s where the sorting hat would put me.

This is the perfect example of the Hogwarts houses. I could very easily go Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff.

 

 

I’m not a super huge fan, but I do dig Harry Potter. I read all the books in the course of one summer, and I love the characters, especially Luna and Hermione. While I’m not a superfan, I do like it enough that I purchased this when I saw it.

I'm not even that good of a knitter (yet).

I’m not even that good of a knitter (yet).

They have lots of cool projects, like scarves…

First and second year scarves

First and second year scarves

…more scarves…

Third and fourth year scarves

Third and fourth year scarves

…hats…

Love the thick stripe beret

Love the thick stripe beret

…and sweaters. Some day (when I actually know whatthefuck I’m doing) I want to make the Ravenclaw house sweater, because it’s subtle enough to wear to work, but nerdy enough that fans would recognize.

And if you noticed from the other pages, they do give you colors for the other houses, even though all the examples are in Gryffindor colors.

And if you noticed from the other pages, they do give you colors for the other houses, even though all the examples are in Gryffindor colors.

Although truth be told, I’ve never been one for subtle, so I’m really gunning to learn crochet so I can make and wear the Molly Weasley sweater.

Seriously, how gorgeous is this? But seriously, how hard is this pattern? Oy.

Seriously, how gorgeous is this? But seriously, how hard is this pattern? Oy.

My other R is RenFest, or the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Andrea and I make our annual trek out there every fall to submerse ourselves in the history and culture. Because we’re nerds. It really is a highlight though. Andrea has taken the opportunity to dress up, but I haven’t gotten to that yet. One of these years, I’ll make a cool period dress and wear it, but for now I just enjoy going and taking everything in.

Andrea dressed as a fairy, watching a huge game of chess. I want to say 2012?

 

This was 2013, she was dressed as a warrior fairy. I love that she has no fear in combining themes.

 

Last year she went water fairy, and hung out with the mermaids.

Last year she went water fairy, and hung out with the mermaids.

It’s a super fun time, and there’s so much to see and do. Yes, it can get expensive if you’re buying a bunch of stuff, but there’s enough free stuff to look at and shows to see that you don’t have to spend a lot. Except for food. The food will kill you.

One of our favorite features is Twig the Fairy. We look for her every year. When Andrea was little, she had an absolute obsession with fairies. When she hit the magic age when kids stop believing in magic, she tried desperately to hold on to the hope that fairies were real, despite (ruthless and incessant) teasing from her peers. One of the things I appreciate most about RenFest (and Twig in particular) is that they help bring that magic back, even if only for a few hours.

Twig and Andrea at age 9.

 

Twig and Andrea at age 13

 

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Andrea (16) and Twig. Know why I believe in fairies? Because this one NEVER AGES. She truly is magical. And adorable.

If you ever get a chance to get to a RenFest, you need to check one out. Of course the Minnesota one is the best (I will freely admit my bias) but I imagine others are just as cool. It’s basically a con for history nerds, which just proves there’s something for everyone.

 

Q is for Quagmire

20 Apr

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I will admit, this one is kind of a stretch, because technically it’s not Quagmire that gets me all nerdgasmy. But he is a character on Family Guy, which is a show that I really like, primarily because I have a great amount of respect for its creator and main voice actor, Seth MacFarlane.

I know his style of humor isn’t for everyone. He pushes the envelope a lot, but there’s no group or issue he doesn’t lampoon, so he’s an equal opportunity offender. But he’s amazingly talented. Whether he’s producing animated tv shows (Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and American Dad), movies (Ted and Million Ways to Die in the West), or making music (he has two albums of amazing jazz and American standards), there is no end to his creativity, talent, and energy.On top of all of that, he’s the executive producer for the updated version of Cosmos, and he donated $1 million to bring Reading Rainbow back on the air.

My daughter has a mad crush on him, but I’m totally okay with that. If he sets the standard by which she judges future boyfriends, I think she’ll be okay. Smart, funny, talented, philanthropic, an obscenely good singer, and a deep love of science and education? She could do worse.

 

Oh yeah, and he voices Quagmire, one of the characters on Family Guy. I knew I’d figure out a way to tie it all together.

P is for Poe

18 Apr

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Ohmigod, I am so far behind and super apologetic. Argh!

I remember absolutely loving Edgar Allan Poe as a kid. I’m not sure how old I was when I started reading his works, but I know I had already read most of his stories BEFORE I started watching the Vincent Price film festival on PBS. I was probably between the ages of ten and twelve when our local PBS channel ran a twelve week series of Price introducing his collection of horror films, and a vast majority of them were retellings of Poe tales with director Roger Corman. But even before, I had loved “The Raven”, and I remember one of my Halloween albums having a version of “The Tell Tale Heart” that creeped me out. Still, there was something about scaring myself that was exciting, and I loved the gothic dramas that his stories inspired.

I still love reading Poe from time to time. I’m not as obsessed as my friend who has a tattoo of him, but I love his works just the same. There are lots of great versions of people reading “The Raven” but one of my favorites in recent memory is John De Lancie (of Star Trek and My Little Pony fame).

If you ever get a chance to check out the classic Corman/Price/Poe movies, do so. I’m not sure how well they’ve aged, and I’m sure compared to what now counts as horror they’re pretty tame, but to a ten year old Iowa girl in the early 80s, they were pretty damn freaky.

O is for Octopus

17 Apr

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(I know- I’m behind. I had some computer issues this weekend. I’ll try to get caught up quickly)

So how are octopuses nerdy? Well, first off, it’s science. My love for octopuses (which is the correct plural, btw. Although octopi is an “acceptable variant”, grammar nerds will get all in your grill about how it’s wrong) once again stems back from my childhood love of all things ocean. As a wannabe ichthyologist, the octopus was among the creatures I found most fascinating.

Why? Because they’re smart. Stupid, scary smart. There are articles that say if it wasn’t for the ridiculously short life span of the creature, it’s possible that they (along with the crows) would be ruling the world by now. Google that shit. Octopuses are notorious for breaking out of tanks, cages, even screw cap bottles.

Not exactly something you want as a pet.

And with the resurgence of the popularity of the Cthulhu mythos and the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the octopus is once again having its day. Octopuses are even frequently featured in a lot of steampunk motifs. I, myself, have succumbed to wearing an octopus on my head from time to time.

This is one of my favorite hair clips. It's gorgeous and always works as a conversation starter. ("Is...is that an octopus?")

This is one of my favorite hair clips. It’s gorgeous and always works as a conversation starter. (“Is…is that an octopus?”)

The octopus has a lot of nerd cred going for it, and I love watching them. They’re smart, social, like to play, know how to use tools, and get to swim in the ocean all day. Plus they’re a little dangerous and beautiful. What’s not to love?

Besides, if nothing else, if it were not for the octopus, we wouldn’t have Nopetopus, the best (and most frequently used, at least for me) animated gif on the internet.

Admit it. You’ve felt like this.

 

 

N is for Ninjas and NASA

16 Apr

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Day late and a dollar short. C’mon Nagzilla, get yo shit together!

 

NINJAS

Do I really need to say why Ninjas are awesome? I mean, anything martial art related is pretty cool, but of all the bad asses, ninjas are the bad ass-iest. I mean, they’re spies, assassins, they operate by stealth, and you don’t know what’s hit you until it’s too late. And they have cool weapons. And they travel in the dark, shrouded in mystery, and…and…

Ninjas are cool. I wish I had mad ninja skills. Maybe someday I’ll take a martial arts class again. I have no delusions that I would ever make ninja status, but just being able to do some cool kicks and handle nunchuks or stars or a bo would make me feel like one.
(True confession- the bulk of my ninja knowledge comes from the badly dubbed kung fu movies of my youth and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So if my analysis is less than accurate, blame pop culture.)

 

NASA

Part of my Star Wars obsession of course led to a fascination with space travel. I mean, duh, right? NASA’s probably the closest thing we have to legit Imperial Cruisers and shit. I still remain secretly obsessed with the idea of visiting the moon or other planets. I think traveling in space would be a great adventure. I’m sure it’s deadly and not at all as interesting as our media makes it out to be, but who wouldn’t want to explore the great beyond?

I hope that we will, someday soon, be able to travel into space. I know there have been talks about building space station hotels, or colonizing Mars, but truthfully I’d love to even just take a vacation to the moon and back. I’d love to see the Earth from beyond our own atmosphere (cue Big Blue Marble theme song). I imagine its humbling. And we all know Nagzilla could use a little humbling, amirite?

 

Besides, once I hone my mad ninja skills, I could totally fight off the Martians when they attack while we’re trying to colonize Mars.

M is for Munchkin

15 Apr

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I’m sure a lot of people would have expected me to do Magic: The Gathering for my M word.

You would be wrong.

My personal favorite table top game is Munchkin.

I may have a little bit of a problem.

I may have a little bit of a problem.

I learned how to play it in a game room at a con, and it’s been love ever since. So what is Munchkin? Think of it as Dungeons and Dragons Lite. Similar features, but you can finish a game in a couple of hours. And there’s a lot more cheating.

The original set is just the cards, but you can get game boards. I have a regular board and another that has zombies on one side...

The original set is just the cards, but you can get game boards. I have a regular board and another that has zombies on one side…

..and Cthulu on the other.

..and Cthulhu on the other.

So basically you have two decks of cards, one set is doors, the other is treasures. The doors have things like classes and races that enhance your character, curses that may hurt you (or allow you to hurt others), and monsters you have to fight.

Examples of races and classes. Each one gives you special abilities when you're either fighting a monster or running away from it.

Examples of races and classes. Each one gives you special abilities when you’re either fighting a monster or running away from it.

You can also get things like steeds and hirelings, which can help you in battle or carry stuff for you.

You can also get things like steeds and hirelings, which can help you in battle or carry stuff for you.

On your turn, you kick in the door and if you get a monster you have to fight it. Each monster has a value, and you have to match or be higher than their value to beat it. Your value is based on your level on the board and any enhancements you have.

Examples of some enhancement items.

Examples of some enhancement items.

So if you’re just starting the game, you’re at level one, but if you have the Magnificent Hat, Really Impressive Title, and Glass Sneakers, you’re value is eight. Then you can beat a monster that’s level seven or lower (unless you’re one of the types of characters- I don’t remember which one but there’s one that will beat a monster with a tie).

So with your enhancements, you beat the Ghost of Christmas Presents, but not Peter Cottonmouth.

So with your enhancements, you beat the Ghost of Christmas Presents, but not Peter Cottonmouth.

If you beat a monster, you get the number of treasures shown on the card and go up a level. If you can’t beat it, you can either ask for help (which may involve giving up some of your rewards) or trying to run away by rolling the die. If you lose, you have take whatever penalty the Bad Stuff gives you.

Where the fun comes in is when people try to prevent you from beating monsters. Some of the things you get behind the doors are monster enhancers, so you can screw your enemies and prevent them from winning.

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So for example, you may be up against a level 15 Oxymoron, but your fellow players are dicks, so they make it a Blasphemous, Magic-Resistant, Pumped-Up, Undead Oxymoron. And now, instead of needing 16 to beat it, you need 39 to beat it. Good luck with that.

The closer you get to level ten, the more ruthless the competition.

It’s a super fun game, and I admit I’m a little addicted. I have several of the expansions (zombies, cthulhu, vampire, and kung fu), and you can combine all the sets to make the game much more interesting. I still have to get the super powers, spy, cowboy, and pirate sets, but they’re in queue. Someday, I will have ALL THE MUNCHKIN!

And I have an example of the nerdgasm I exhibit when confronted with Munchkin. We went to a Sinning Day Party the day before Easter and someone said they brought Munchkin. I responded, “OH MY GOD I LOVE MUNCHKIN!!!” And the guy standing by me said, “Wow. You even had the Kermit arms going on that one.”

OMG MUNCHKIN!

If you ever get a chance to play, it’s super fun. Or give me a call and I’ll bring my decks over. Yes, plural. I have a problem.

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