Making It (In Under 12 Parsecs)

(Comes racing in, arms full of pop culture, dropping things left and right)

Sorry! Sorry, I’m late, everyone! But, hey, it’s still Friday, so technically I’ve met my deadline!

Hi there, hope everyone is doing well.

Not too much to report this week, except, you know, a GIANT FRICKING ROCK EXPLODED over Russia,

the “Blade Runner” (Oscar Pistorius) probably killed his girlfriend and is apparently (refreshingly) sad about it,

Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius, shown here on a much better day

Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius, shown here on a much better day

the Walking Dead returned on Sunday and Rick has lost his EVER-LOVING MIND,

Nucking Futs and Armed. Uh-Oh.

Nucking Futs and Armed. Uh-Oh.

and finally, perhaps most importantly, journalist El Mayimbe used his saucy Latino swagger to squeak out this awesome piece of information about the upcoming  Star Wars: Episode VII….HARRISON FORD IS GOING TO APPEAR AS HAN “KESSEL RUN” SOLO!!!

Han Solo

So, yeah… you know… pretty dead week.

Hopefully next week will be a little more interesting.

What Brains Through Yonder Skullcap Leak?

This past weekend the wife and I decided to jump in the spontaneous-lane and visit our local multiplex to take in the new zombie Romeo & Juliet flick Warm Bodies starring BBC “Skins” and About A Boy alum Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer  of Take Me Home Tonight (who here looks alarmingly like a blonde Kristen Stewart).

Teresa Palmer, Left. Blonde Kristen Stewart, Right.

Teresa Palmer, Left. Blonde Kristen Stewart, Right.

Also present is John Malkovich known best for being John Malkovich (and also Being John Malkovich).

Nicholas plays a zombie whose name (he thinks) may have started with an “R”. So he simply goes by “Rrrr”. Teresa Palmer plays an uninfected human named Julie. R and Julie. We get it.

For fans of the original Shakespearean text, the writers throw in a few additional touchstones here and there. Such as, Julie’s boyfriend at the start of the film is called Perry. Juliet’s almost-betrothed (prior to meeting Romeo) in the original text was a fellow called Paris. Paris. Perry. Nice. We get it. Julie’s best friend Nora  as the equivalent to Juliet’s confidante the Nurse. Nurse. Nora. Nice. We get it. Rob Cordry plays R’s zombie friend “M”, which is M for…. well, you get the idea. And of course there is a balcony scene. Nice. We get it.

I got your back, dead-bro

I got your back, dead-bro

Despite my seeming to sniff dubiously at the crossover of characters and basic plot-lines, I actually really enjoyed this movie. It has some decent old-school zombie violence as well as a, shall we call it, “heart-warming” love story.

I love you for more than your brrraaaaiiinnnsss

I love you for more than your brrraaaaiiinnnsss

The best part of the flick was R’s ongoing internal monologue which is largely self-deprecating humor. I also must admit that the way R and Julie meet is perhaps the WORST possible way to meet someone (e.g., eating your future love interest’s boyfriend’s brains).  I doubt that we’ll see anything like that in a film again. But it was also kind of awesome.

Overall, I recommend this fun, comedic, zombie-fied riff on R&J. Get thee to a cinema and BRRRAAAAINNSSS.

And this week’s addition to the Testimonial Gallery is:

Alan Shearman of Bullshot Crummond

Alan Shearman of Bullshot Crummond!

Chris Hardwick’s Comedy Jokes

My face still hurts from laughing. That is how awesome Chris Hardwick’s set was at the Tacoma Comedy Club last Saturday night.

Equally brazen and apologetic, Mr. Hardwick spent his 45 minutes on stage trying out new material on a willing, receptive and energetic crowd.

The theme of his set appeared to be “Times I’ve Been Embarrassed Sexually”; I never imagined that I’d find myself rooting for an encounter with a cheap blow-up doll to turn out well, but I did.


Mr. Hardwick held the audience in the palm of his hand and worked the room with expert ease. For moments where his material wasn’t as tight as he would have liked, he switched to audience interaction bits, showcasing his well-honed improv skills and keeping the pace moving at a perfect clip.


I forgot to take pics while he was actually performing… so this is from a past stand-up gig. Thanks Google Images! If you know who took this photo, please let me know so I can credit them.

Afterward, he spent time meeting,taking photos with and hugging audience members who smartly chose to linger behind.

Note how Chris knew where to look, and I didn't. True photo-op pro.

Note how Chris knew where to look, and I didn’t. True photo-op pro.

The one “hiccup” during Chris’s set occurred when he looked up and discovered a patron videoing his set. He called them out on it and handled it as nicely as he could, pointing out that his material is copyrighted (as well as a work in progess) and that the venue should have put a stop to the videotaping immediately. He spent a couple of moments explaining (not the legal) but the moral and ethical “wrongness” of filming an artist’s work without their permission. The guilty party seemed embarrassed yet indignant. I hope for Chris’s sake that they kept their promise to him not to post what they had filmed on Youtube… even though his set was pretty much flawless.

I spent a couple of moments chatting with Mr. Hardwick after the set, and let me tell ya, the guy is the nicest, most unassuming, celebrity I have ever met. Not a trace of ego and genuinely nice.

You can find out more about Chris Hardwick’s “workshop” stand-up tour on the Nerdist site HERE. If he’s coming to your neck of the woods I highly recommend you make the effort to see him!

And this week’s addition to the Testimonial Gallery is (naturally):


Chris Hardwick – Nerdist

Chris Hardwick! YAY! [kermitflail.gif]


Hi, ya’ll! I’m sorry I’ve been largely absent and , to be frank, I don’t have a good reason for it. Call it writer’s block, poor time-management or just plain laziness, I’ve got nothing to blame but myself for not keeping to my previously tidy schedule.

Therefore, I made a decision this week. Beginning right….NOW… I’m re-committing to my blog-a-week Friday deadline. I may post more frequently than once a week, but I will definitely not post less.

2013 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for yours truly – starting tomorrow night with my tickets to see Chris Hardwick perform live here in Tacoma, WA. I am super excited about this event and cannot wait to fill you in on the details next week.

Chris Hardwick - Nerd About Town

Chris Hardwick – Nerd About Town

In February I hope to attend a performance of Warhorse, the award-winning stage play utilizing AMAZING full-size puppets of horses. Those of you familiar with me and this site know that I’m a bit obsessed with puppetry in all its forms and I have been chomping at the bit (pun intended) to see this show since I first heard about its workshop beginnings at the Nat’l Theatre in London, UK. Fingers-crossed I can score tix!

warhorse poster

March will bring the return of me returning to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle and let me tell ya, the media list this year is bonkers it’s so good – more on that as the date approaches….

eccc logo

April showers will bring both Mayflowers and Weird Al Yankovic to my neck of the woods. Plans so far are to attend this concert for his Al-pocalypse album. I will also be taking hi-decibel ear plugs because I know from experience that his concerts are the LOUDEST ever. Having been a rock show lighting tech for Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, I know from loud and Weird Al is ludicrous-loud and proud of it.

Weird Al

Weird Al

May doesn’t have anything on the schedule so far, but it’s still early yet.

June takes me back to the Oregon Shakespeare festival to see my best friend return to the boards, this time as Hermia in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Stoked. So stoked.


Speaking of Shakespeare – in July I will be working with quiet Productions out of Seattle as Assistant Director on their production of The Merchant ofVenice. quiet is the company that produced the production of Pippin I appeared in at the end of 2012. Merchant… will open in Seattle in August.

quiet Productions - click image for more info

quiet Productions – click image for more info

Also happening in August – PAX Prime!!! Hell, yeah, I’m going and, hell, yeah, it’s going to ROCK.


September will be spent in preparation for Halloween. I’m planning on building a new effect for my display this year and I will do my best to document the process from design to completion here on the blog.

Hint of things to come....

Hint of things to come….

October brings Halloween (of course), but prior to the holiday is GeekGirlCon in Seattle. Plans are to attend, we’ll see how things line up as the date approaches.

ggc logo

November takes me to Las Vegas (my old hometown) for LDI, the annual entertainment technology show.

LDI 2013

December doesn’t have any “special events” planned beyond the standard holiday stuff – but we’ll see what the season brings.

So as you can I see I have quite the busy year a head of me – which means plenty of fodder for the ol’ blog. I hope you have fun following me on my many adventures.

Also, don’t forget, I’m still collecting proof that I DO EXIST! Send me your testimonial photo and I’ll add it to the GALLERY!

OK, 2013, let’s do this!!

Just in Time!!

Just in time for the end of the world – I’m BACK!!

Instead of a wrap-up of the year’s events in the life of Jen, I’ve decided to list a few of my favorite geeky things so that if you’re still struggling to holiday shop for your favorite geek – or just looking to procrastinate with some fun online distractions – this could serve as your one stop shop (until you move on to the next geeky blog).

First of all – THINGS!!

I LOVE to play games. Tabletop games to be precise. Here are some of my favorites:

Cards Against Humanity. (this is a very adult game that is very wrong and very awesome… and – if you want to print it out yourself – it’s free!!)





Dixit (I LOOOOOOVE this game!! Just sayin’)

Moving on… other things I really enjoy – Books!:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (technically YA, but it starts with the gruesome murder of a boy’s family from the POV of the murderer… so that’s pretty intense for a teen book…).

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Dropped Names by Frank Langella (Contains some sexual reminiscences bordering on TMI from a guy almost old enough to be my grandfather…but still a FASCINATING read).
Next up are excellent time-wasters:

Realm of the Mad God

Cat Scientists!!

Rune Raiders

Fashionably Geek

The End
And finally some of my favorite things that cannot be found on the internet…

My amazingly patient and loving wife, Jen (yes, we have the same first name… we’ve been over this).
My hugely talented and adorable godson, Jesse.
My parents. (My Dad can be found on the web HERE)
This piece of fudge (om nom….)
My cats – Brighid, Freya, Chloe and Gillian.
My dog – Erin.

I’ve got plenty more, but I’d better save them for future posts, otherwise I’ll run out of things to write about.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!! Hope yours is awesome and full of wonderful geeky things!

I Can Haz A Blog Post?

Hi, yall! I *do* exist!

Ok, so this is a quickly cobbled together post wherein I rattle off the stuff I’ve been up to recently.

As you know I am currently in rehearsals for PIPPIN (I’m not yelling at you, the title is literally all caps). Here is an image of one of the promotional postcards for the show wherein I look particularly badass with my juggling pins.

That’s right, ya’ll, I juggle things other than my schedule…

We open on Nov 29th and run through Dec 8. Short run, but still very exciting.

TV things –I’m having to catch-up on shows a day or more after they originally air, so apologies for being behind on the latest and greatest…

Once Upon a Time is back for season 2 – so yay for that. I’m enjoying the nice twist they threw in to the end of the first ep of the season. I am seriously loving Ginnifer Goodwin’s take on “kick-ass Snow White” in this series – so much more believable and awesome than Kristen Stewart in that… thing… that was in theatres this past summer, amiright?

Yes. No.

The Walking Dead season 3 has been impressively good so far. They’ve really done an excellent job of upping the ante yet again. I am particularly impressed with Chandler Riggs, the young actor who plays Carl, as he portrays an increasingly hardened 12 year-old in the post-apocalyptic reality of the series. I am both sad for and a little frightened of the man Carl will ultimately become.

When I was a child I played as a child… But when there was a zombie apocalypse I became a sociopath.

Doctor Who Series 7  is already over and we have to wait for the Christmas ep for another new episode, which will launch us into Series 7.5 (those wacky Brits and their loopy schedules). Those of you folks who were/are both Whovians and Pondians(?) are likely just as sad as I was to see Amy and Rory go. This is not a spoiler because Steven Moffat (the writer/show-runner) of Doctor Who told us back in APRIL that they were coming to the end of their storyline and that it was not going to be the most happy of endings. However, for folks who haven’t seen it yet I won’t spoil it and say what happened… but I WILL say that I will never look at the Statue of Liberty the same way again… ever. {shudder}

Farewell Ponds!

Internet things that are like TV things – Felicia Day’s fantastic web series The Guild boasted it’s season 6 (wow!) premiere a couple of weeks ago. I was worried that the series might have jumped the shark with last season’s finale, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that show is still fresh and creative. This time around we get to see the characters move out of their allegorical (or sometimes literal) basements and into the “real world” often with hilarious and sometimes poignant results. They post new episodes every Tuesday, and you can find them on Felicia’s website Geek and Sundry, or by clicking HERE.

Cast of The Guild! Web Series’d!

Book things – I am going back and re-reading the entire Discworld series by English author Terry Pratchett. I had forgotten just how wonderfully irreverent these books are. If you’re unfamiliar with Discworld, but are a fan of things like Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, run – don’t walk – to the nearest bookstore or library and buy or check out this book series. The Discworld is a flat, circular, planetary disc that rests on the backs of four elephants who are standing on the shell of the Great A’Tuin – a giant space turtle. My most favorite book in the series is “Equal Rites” which centers around Eskarina “Esk” Smith a young girl destined (by mistake) to become a wizard. Only problem? Unlike the world of Harry Potter, girls can’t be wizards. Only boys can. Girls can be witches, of course, but never wizards. Strictly a boys club. Esk isn’t too keen on this and sets out to change the world so that she can become a wizard after all – hence the clever play on words in the title. Anyway, check’em out…  I guarantee fun.

The Great A’Tuin… this turtle really moves

Well that about wraps it up for now, ya’ll. But I did still manage to get a new addition to the Testimonial Gallery!

Paul and Storm!!

Paul and Storm of Paul and Storm!!

I Can’t, I Have Rehearsal

Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past couple of weeks, ya’ll. The truth is that I have been both busy and lazy.

I decided that I’d had enough of NOT being on-stage. So, after a seven-year hiatus from treading the boards, I went to an audition. I fully expected to not be cast. I’m older and fatter than I was 7 years ago, as well as terribly out of practice. But I went, because I needed to get the tippy-toes wet again with the experience of the audition process.

Then something bizarre happened.

I got cast.

It took two rounds of callbacks, but still, I got cast. In my first show in seven years. After my first audition in even longer than that.


I need to be honest here and tell you that the two things that popped into my mind immediately after receiving the “we’d love to have you” phone call were the following: A) I must be better than I thought and B) Or maybe this is a low-quality company.

After two weeks of rehearsal I can happily report that this is definitely NOT a low-quality company. This is a very good company, with a very clear vision and an excellent team of creative professionals behind it all.


This makes me doubly happy because if the company doesn’t suck, it must mean that I ALSO don’t suck.


So I hope you’ll forgive me if my postings are a little sparse as I get re-used to the rehearsal routine again, which also includes figuring out and adjusting my writing schedule.

If you’re going to be in the Seattle area in late-November, early December, please come see me on-stage for the first time in seven years in the Quiet production of PIPPIN!

Magic to Do! (Just for You!)

And this week’s addition to the Testimonial Gallery is:



Pax was AWESOME.

I could seriously make this the shortest post-con wrap-up EVER with just that sentence and a slew of pictures. But I like you more than that, so I will endeavor to describe in greater detail just how awesome the awesomeness was.

Friday we arrived at the Washington State Convention Center in the early afternoon. The plan was to simply get a lay of the land and figure out where we ultimately wanted to spend the majority of our time throughout the con.

First of all the crowd-size was NUTS. It reminded me of San Diego Comic Con back in 2004, when it was still crazy packed but not mind-meltingly ridiculous. My wife and I were forced to adopt the “Dodge-Duck-Dip-Dive&Dodge” method of perambulation. It was bordering on the overwhelming; I think our eyeballs literally WERE bigger than our heads as we struggled to take everything in.

photo credit – Kiko Villasenor

photo credit – Olin Olmstead

As we attempted to navigate the Expo Hall an “Enforcer” (PAX volunteer) leapt out in front of us and gleefully announced, “Hi! We’re about to start an autograph signing with G4’s Kristin Adams! Would you like to get in line?” Now, here is where I have to admit… neither of us had any IDEA who Kristin Adams was. We don’t watch G4. Not that it isn’t a cool network with lots of nifty, gamer-y, tech-y shows, we just seem to spend most of our time on SyFy and BBC America – because that’s where we can find Face-Off and Doctor Who. Anyway, we shrugged amiably and hopped in to line to meet someone we had never heard of before. Kristin Adams is super nice! Super-duper nice! I have a (newish) rule that at cons I won’t shake hands with anyone (even celebs) in an effort to avoid the dreaded Con Crud. Instead, I fist-bump or “daps” with folks. Kristin had been shaking everyone’s hand, but when I offered her a daps instead she smiled hugely and shared that she had just taught her little girl (who I believe she said was two) to daps and now she fist-bumps everyone and it’s adorable. I’d have to agree. It was a nice little diversion and even though we didn’t become instant G4 watchers, I can definitely say that I’m now a fan of Kristin.

This is Kristin Adams. And now we know.

After the Expo Hall has closed, we ambled over the Paramount for the Friday night concerts, featuring the Video Game Orchestra. We ended up right at the front of the line because we thought that the show started an hour earlier than it actually did… and for a solid 90 minutes I was seriously confused as to why there were only about 200 of us in line for a 1200 seat venue, but, sure enough, about an hour before the concert (actually) started a herd of happily-fed and rested con-goers began to gather. Because we were accidentally at the front of the line, we got a couple of the most awesome seats in the house in that they were actually seats.

The Paramount theatre is a really nifty venue because they can actually sink the seats in the “orchestra” section of the auditorium into the floor, and then cover the space with large floor boards… so a normally seats only location can become a “standing-room” venue for rock or pop concerts. So, while this is awesome for increasing capacity, it can suck a little for weary-legged folks who just want to effing sit for a while and enjoy the tune-age. Once the doors opened, the wife and I bee-lined to house-left (stage right) where we knew “box” seats would have remained in place (because those can’t sink down) and happily nabbed the seats closest to the stage. Our feet, butts, eyes and ears were overjoyed.

The opening act was newcomer Sam Hart. Sam has a gentle tenor, a masterful command of the acoustic guitar and a small stack of “geek-folk” original songs that are at once funny and adorably sweet. He’s been gaining a lot of traction in the world of gamer-music with his track “Mario Cart Love Song” which you can check out HERE. While you’re at it, tune your earholes to my favorite of his songs so far “The Kitty Song”. If you like what you hear you can buy his ENTIRE album for $1(!) at

The Video Game Orchestra was awesome, but the sound guy for the Paramount needs to take a lesson is setting levels because we seriously could not even HEAR the electric clarinet (which is a seriously important instrument for a large number of video game suites). Super cool thing, though. The VGO is running a Kickstarter Campaign to raise money to film and distribute DVD’s of their upcoming concert in Boston. You should totally check it out and donate a couple of bucks.

Saturday morning we hauled our butts out of bed and managed to get to the con about 40 minutes after opening. We chose to dedicate most of this day to table top gaming, which is our favorite. We took part in a Pajaggle demo and seriously impressed the game developer with one of the most intense games of “Block’n’Bridge” (one of the 8 games you can play with a Pajaggle set) he’d ever seen. He provided color-commentary throughout the 30+ minute game and we invited him to come to our house and do the same for all of our table games because it was both motivating and hysterical.

We ended up buying a Pajaggle set… we’ve played it at least 10 times in the last 4 days, it is seriously fun and I highly recommend it.

Wandering around the lower levels of the convention center, we found ourselves in the hand held gaming area. Seeing an Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion for 3DS demo stand, we sidled up and proceeded to give it a whirl. Dude. This is not a “DS’d” version of EM. This is its own game and it. Is. FANTASTIC. It’s a retro-style side-scrolling adventure with touchscreen elements. Remember the Sega Genesis?? Well, back in the day Disney came out with a game called “Castle of Illusion”. This new game is basically a follow-up to that one and it is fun, fun, FUN! We don’t own a 3DS, but now we might have to start a savings fund for one… and for this game. We had so much fun playing it, and interacting with the Disney employee who was talking us through the finer points, that in the end he snuck us each an exclusive Mickey and Oswald which I guess he wasn’t supposed to be handing out willy-nilly because he whispered ,”don’t tell anyone, k?” as he palmed them to us. The wife and I casually collect Disney trading pins when we go to the parks, so we were grinning ear-to-ear as we conspired to add them to our Disney lanyards at home and to never EVER trade them. Ever.

On a Disney-high, we headed up to the main Expo floor and the large Epic Mickey 2 booth and hopped in line to see if we could get our own personally-drawn-by-an-actual-Disney-artist picture. I’ll save you the suspense and sadly report that after standing in-line for TWO+ HOURS, we did not succeed in getting a picture. However, we did get Oswald ears. Which was awesome. And which now reside on top of our entertainment center like a couple of felt, floppy-eared, sentinels.

Now, ya’ll have heard of Con Crud… but are you familiar with Con Stink? It’s a known fact that B.O. is a problem at fan conventions. Whether it’s a comic con, a game con or any other pop culture-y con, smelliness is a fact of life. I, personally, don’t get it. What is going on that certain attendees are seemingly forgetting basic hygiene? Deodorant is not expensive, some hotels even offer it for free if you’ve forgotten to pack your own. Also not difficult? Wearing clean clothes. But you wouldn’t know this at a con. Even on day one of PAX there were some pretty stinky people on the Expo floor. We joke that the guilty parties are folks who’ve never left their mom’s basement and thus have never had to worry about their lack of daily ablutions, but seriously, ya’ll, what the heck?

The one place where Con Stink is not an issue? The Queers in Gaming panel. Why? Because gay men are neat and clean (in general) and they usually have some sort of nice, not overwhelming, cologne on. And us lesbians (being girls) would never be caught without deodorant and clean clothes. Walking into the – appropriately chosen – Unicorn theatre for this panel was a literal breath of fresh air. The focus of the session was homophobia in gaming and whether or not it’s getting better and whether game design companies are improving games (particularly RPG-style) by offering more queer-friendly content. The conclusion: yes, it’s getting better (slowly) and we are starting to see more LGBT content in games. But there could always be more acceptance and more inclusiveness in game design. So it’s a work in progress. I can deal with that.

After the panel we decided to call it a day and not attend the Saturday Night Concerts even though Jonathan Coulton was the main act because we’d already seen him on tour in June and more importantly the DOCTOR WHO SEASON PREMIERE was on BBC America that night. Sorry, JoCo, the Doctor and the Ponds won this round.

Sunday we got to the convention center early so that we could get in line for Wil Wheaton’s AWESOME HOUR panel. The panel was at 11:30… the line started forming at 9am. Yep… popular fellow, that Wil. The Awesome Hour stayed true to its name as it was both awesome and an hour. Guests of the Hour included Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers as well as Paul and Storm of Paul and Storm. Fun was had. Gifts were bestowed at Wil’s feet (including a new and improved “Cape of Dicks”; and I gave him a D20 for his collection).

Hank Green

Paul and Storm
NOTE: Not a photo. 😉

Afterwards we raced back to the Epic Mickey 2 booth to try (again) to get in line to get a picture… still no joy. Ah well. It was really the only bummer of the con. Nothing more exciting happened this final day of the convention. We moseyed around the D&D and Magic: The Gathering booths, then back down to the table top area and finally decided to call it day.

It had been a successful con and I can’t wait to attend again next year. W00t!


It’s here, ya’ll. PAX Prime! Wooooo!

I am seriously stoked about attending this convention! Sure, it’s going to be huge and ungainly and loaded down with gamer-y goodness, and I have no idea what to expect beyond that, but I know it’s going to be AWESOME.


Games, man. Games. Lots of ‘em. And not all in one category, either. Not all video, not all tabletop, not all RPG, just ALL. ALL, Ya’ll!!

To paraphrase Ally Brosh from Hyperbole and a Half:


Even Flaninja is excited, and he hasn’t been around the blog in ages. He’s a stoic dude (think Oz from Buffy, but in pastry-form) and the fact that he’s even shown up shows a level of enthusiasm not to be ignored.


I’ve prepared for this con-adventure using the tools of any modern geeky, nerd-type. I downloaded the Guidebook app, and set my schedule after perusing the daily panel and event lists. I’ve actually left most of the three days wide open for shenanigans, because this is my first time attending this con and I don’t want to bog myself down too much and inadvertently prevent fun-having and exploration.

I’ll report next week on all the happenings I happen to happen upon!