Too Early for Streaming – “Dominated by Dominaria”

Better later than never, I say, and so shall you when you watch the this episode in our vidcast wherein I recap my Magic: the Gathering Dominaria prerelease experience and ask the question: When is a troll actually a troll?


And here are the show notes!


Continue reading “Too Early for Streaming – “Dominated by Dominaria””

Road to the Hugo Awards: Selected Fancasts, part 1

Road to Hugo Award Header_Part 1Finding the time to listen to hour-long episodes of podcasts which are eligible for the 2016 Hugo Awards wasn’t easy for me, but that’s what today’s article is about. The eligibility requirements state that the podcast must be a “non-professional” production—that is, no other company paid the podcaster(s) to make it—and at least one episode has to have been produced during the calendar year in question.

As such, then, I decided to pick one episode from a currently eligible podcast whose description interested me the most and I’ll be basing my recommendations on just the one episode. Unlike the “three episode rule” which I’m borrowing from former GOA contributor Kara Dennison, I think that I’d be able to tell what’s going to be on my nomination and/or platform lists before March 31 from just one episode.

Once again, in no particular order, here are my impressions of podcasts which are currently eligible for the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Fancast:

Continue reading “Road to the Hugo Awards: Selected Fancasts, part 1”

Trisha’s Take: How to depict female characters in webcomics

Who says feminism and genre works can't be fun and forward-thinking? © Danielle Henderson
Who says feminism and genre works can’t be fun and forward-thinking? © Danielle Henderson

At this most recent CONvergence Con (a sci-fi/fantasy-based convention in Minneapolis, Minn.), I was one of the panelists on two different panels that sought to speak about where and how women can exist in formerly male-dominated genres and spaces.

In The Smurfette Principle in Marketing panel, we tackled the idea that there isn’t often a lot of merchandise available for girls and women because there is often only one woman or girl in a group of men or boys in any given genre show, book, or movie. In the Genre Feminism panel, we spoke about why it was important to increase the visibility of women or girls in a genre show, book, or movie (along with other visible minorities as well) and how people as creators and consumers can promote these ideas.

Specifically to creators, I talked about Geena Davis (whose name I couldn’t remember at the time; apologies, Ms. Davis!) and how back in December 2013, she wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter about how easy it can be for screenwriters to increase the number of roles in film and on TV for women and girls:

Step 1: Go through the projects you’re already working on and change a bunch of the characters’ first names to women’s names. With one stroke you’ve created some colorful unstereotypical female characters that might turn out to be even more interesting now that they’ve had a gender switch. What if the plumber or pilot or construction foreman is a woman? What if the taxi driver or the scheming politician is a woman? What if both police officers that arrive on the scene are women — and it’s not a big deal?

Step 2: When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, “A crowd gathers, which is half female.” That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise. Maybe first ADs think women don’t gather, I don’t know.

It’s not often that I get to see the fruits of efforts like these so soon after I talk about them, and from a formerly problematic source as well. Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: How to depict female characters in webcomics”

Trisha’s Take: How to properly issue and respond to a DMCA takedown notice (SFWA edition)

Click to enlarge © Geeking Out About
Click to enlarge © Geeking Out About

When I checked my email Monday morning, I was expecting to see the usual: job search referrals, ThinkGeek newsletters, Facebook notifications, maybe a notice from my local library telling me that my copy of Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance was ready for pick-up.

I did not expect to see a notice from claiming that I had violated a copyright.

What followed was a flurry of emails, some conversations with my webhost, another with my attorney, a lot of waiting—and finally, a sensible resolution.

But most importantly, I got to experience how a lot of “good intention” can almost be turned into a road leading into hell. Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: How to properly issue and respond to a DMCA takedown notice (SFWA edition)”

Trisha’s Take: Four ways I would fix the second season of “Heroes of Cosplay”

Anime/Star Wars mash-up cosplay before it was cool © Geeking Out About
Anime/Star Wars mash-up cosplay before it was cool © Geeking Out About

See that picture up there? The girl in the purple cheongsam wielding the double-bladed lightsaber? That’s me as Darth Shampoo—an irreverent take on a character from the Ranma 1/2 franchise—the first cosplay costume I would ever do. That picture was taken during the second Anime Expo I ever attended back in 2000; since then, while I’ve worn outlandish outfits to conventions, I’ve only cosplayed one other time at an anime or other genre convention.

However, I’ve always appreciated the art and artistry of people who do choose to go to conventions and dress up as their favorite characters for an entire weekend. In the several years since I started going to genre conventions, I’ve watched the fandom cosplay community grow and change in part due to the Internet and rise of dedicated forums and social media as well as the change in conventions themselves.

Nowadays, instead of waking up and hoping to see your picture in the galleries of the now defunct A Fan’s View website run by Kevin Lillard, a cosplayer attending a convention can hope that their picture made it into cosplay galleries of national media outlets like Business Insider, websites for internationally funded cable channels like BBC America, or even your local Fox affiliate station such as this one in Salt Lake City, Utah.

And then, of course, there’s the reality TV series called “Heroes of Cosplay.” Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: Four ways I would fix the second season of “Heroes of Cosplay””

Trisha’s Take: How Jean Rabe screwed the pooch for the SFWA Bulletin and how the SFWA can make things better going forward

[Editor’s Note: This article has been partially revised from its original form at the request of the SFWA to remove material which may have infringed on a copyright.]

ETA: For some links and commentary on this issue, check out this list which Jim Hines compiled.

Considering that I’m not a member of the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), anyone reading this article can take it with so much salt that they go into a self-induced hypertensive shock. But rather than add my name to the list of voices condemning writer-members Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg for their ill-written rebuttal to critiques of their anti-feminism in the organization’s most recent quarterly newsletter, I’m going to instead talk about how the entire mess could have been avoided in the first place. And to do that, I have to throw Bulletin writer/editor Jean Rabe under a bus.

Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: How Jean Rabe screwed the pooch for the SFWA Bulletin and how the SFWA can make things better going forward”

Trisha’s Take: The “Big Bang” problem

The beginning of this blog post and this review has been very difficult for me to write, so I’m just going to come out and say it:

I think that Wil Wheaton is wrong about “The Big Bang Theory,” aka TBBT.

As people who admire Wil Wheaton’s work know, he’s had several very fun guest appearances on the show as “Evil Wil Wheaton,” the alternate universe version of himself who for several years was main character Sheldon’s nemesis, helped further along the initial break-up between Penny and Leonard, used his fame to line-jump during a midnight screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark that had 21 extra seconds of footage, and then finally get off the “shit-list” by giving to Sheldon a mint-in-box Wesley Crusher action figure, and that’s just the first iteration of the guest character’s story arc.

When he threw open the comments on a blog entry about the show to people who had questions about his first guest appearance, the following exchange took place:

Q: I think TBBT has really made geek chic in some respects, which I’m all for! Do you think the show’s had an impact making geeks more mainstream and funny?

Wheaton: I think it’s part of the general uncloseting of geeks, if that makes sense.

It’s no secret that I originally thought BBT was making fun of us, and I couldn’t get into it. It wasn’t until late in the first season that I gave it a real chance and ended up seeing that it was laughing *with* us and not *at* us. I love that the show embraces its geekiness, refuses to dumb down its humor, and manages to find a balance between mainstream and nerd humor. That’s a lot harder than it seems, and is sort of like playing Comedy Operation. If you touch the sides, the audience’s red nose lights up and instead of laughing, there’s a loud buzzing noise. It isn’t pretty.

Based on those words alone, I put “The Big Bang Theory” on my list of shows that were kind to geeks and science; however, some opinion pieces I saw earlier this year had me questioning his words. Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: The “Big Bang” problem”

Geekly Speaking About… “Top Gear USA” Episode 3

Adam Ferrara attempts to jump a $1,000 used Cadillac over a ramp

Thanks to a recent bout of insomnia, I finally finished leveling out and editing the second of the two audio podcasts that Kara Dennison and I recorded while we reviewed the first three episodes of “Top Gear USA.”

The reason why I had to do a lot of editing work on this one is that while the audio tracks for Kara and myself were just fine, the one for our our special guest amateur autocross racer Rob Lantz was considerably quieter, and so I had to splice out and amplify almost every part where he was speaking.

Originally recorded live on December 5, 2010, I hope you enjoy this blast from the “Geekly Speaking About…” past:

Luckily, “Top Gear USA” has been renewed for a second season, so there’s a chance we could do another podcast like this again to see how it has improved over the first episodes of its inaugural season. If you’d like to download the audio, you can do so by going to our page at TalkShoe. And despite all the audio problems, it really was fun doing this, and I hope to be able to do more live podcasts soon.