Two Books Enter: Lord of Scoundrels versus Your Scandalous Ways

One of my favorite blogs to dip into from time to time is Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Originated by writers Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell, the blog seeks to showcase what’s good, fun, informative, sexy, and surprisingly intelligent about the romance novel industry through their irreverent and occasionally deep book reviews.

Growing up, I loved romance novels. In my parents’ bedroom, half of a shelf was dedicated to Danielle Steel books. These were “forbidden” books so naturally as a teen, I devoured all of them. Once I graduated from college, reading romance novels became something my mom, my sister, and I could talk about—just as long as we didn’t talk too long about the sex scenes, that is.

About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to get back into reading some romance and especially finding a new author to follow as I’d phased out of my Danielle Steele, Fern Michaels, Catherine Coulter, LaVyrle Spencer, Maeve Binchy, Jennifer Crusie phase of reading. And before you ask, even Nora Roberts’ romance novels had been wearing a bit thin. Thankfully, Candy and Sarah have a section on their website devoted to their “best” blog entries, which is how I learned about Loretta Chase. Armed with a new name, some credit, and a visit to the bookstore, I was ready to read. Continue reading “Two Books Enter: Lord of Scoundrels versus Your Scandalous Ways

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”

Trisha’s Take: When feminism and male webcomics artists collide

When it comes to reading webcomics, I have a set list of nine “dailies” I read and a few that I read which update less frequently. And while I’ve definitely settled on these few, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t read other webcomics or aren’t familiar with their work. Also, my love of comics and comics strips isn’t exactly a casual one; hell, my high school Extended Essay was about the role of women in comic books from the 1940s to the 1990s.

So when I saw a friend’s Facebook update decrying how Sinfest has become a den of “ludicrous feminist mediocrity,” I had to check out today’s strip:

Click to embiggen! (c) Tatusya Ishida
Click to embiggen! (c) Tatusya Ishida

Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: When feminism and male webcomics artists collide”

Geekly Speaking About… “The Resonance of Commander Shepard”

He was the best of commanders, she was the worst of commanders...
Meet my Commanders Shepard! (c) Bioware

Thanks to a confluence of events, I finally finished playing the original Mass Effect as both a male and female Commander Shepard in July… which means it’s podcast time! After a bit of juggling and some technical difficulties, I sat down to check in with co-editor Jill Pullara, and writers Jonathan Cherlin and Lowell Greenblatt on how their summer has been going, to do a review of an indie game called Resonance, and to answer a very important question which we asked previously: Does the gender of your Commander Shepard really have an influence on how you play the game? Show notes after the jump.

Continue reading “Geekly Speaking About… “The Resonance of Commander Shepard””

Trisha’s Take: How to apologize on the Internet

(c) Someecards

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written in this blog, and quite a lot has happened since the last time I was able to work on it. A few more responsibilities were added to my day job and while having the increased responsibility is awesome because it means my new employers trust me, it also means that I don’t have a lot of time to geek out over anything.

Saturdays are one of my days to relax, recuperate, and psych myself up for the work week to come. After wiping my FemShep original Mass Effect character in order to start a DudeShep run for the Commander Shepherd challenge, I got to Feros after surveying all the surveyable planets (and leveling up again) and decided that I’d take a break and perhaps pick it up tomorrow.

I also wanted to check and see if my friend Harris “Dr. Nerdlove” O’Malley had posted the article to which I contributed a bit of writing, and knowing how way leads on to way on the Internet, a review of his very popular article on why Twilight is a horrible example to draw upon for pictures of healthy relationships lead me down the rabbit hole onto a commenter’s blog entries about how she lost her faith in God…

…and reminded me of the Victoria Bitter/Jordan Wood fiasco. Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: How to apologize on the Internet”

Geekly Speaking About… “The Star Wars Blu-Ray Conundrum”

It’s time once again for another edition of “Geekly Speaking About,” which we recorded on September 14, 2011. Joining myself and co-editor Jill Pullara are two of our newest contributors, Lowell Greenblatt and Jonathan Cherlin. We really do hope to get these going on a more frequent basis, and your feedback is always helpful. Show notes are right after the jump:

Continue reading “Geekly Speaking About… “The Star Wars Blu-Ray Conundrum””

Geekly Speaking About… “The Geek Chick Backlash”

Behind the scenes, co-editor Jill Pullara and I have been recording podcasts while we work on something fun for our upcoming vidcast series, the first installment of which will be up in an hour. This particular one was recorded on May 7, 2011, and thanks to us finally getting some technical details worked out, it’s ready for public consumption. After the jump, I’ll give you the show notes:

Continue reading “Geekly Speaking About… “The Geek Chick Backlash””

Trisha’s Take: Using the Force as a force of good

Katie poses with her very own custom Star Wars drawing by Scott Zirkel (c) Carrie Goldman

When Carrie Goldman wrote about her daughter Katie who was teased when she brought her Star Wars-themed water bottle to school because “Star Wars is for boys, and not girls,” and the Internet and cast and crew members from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” proved that was most definitely not the case, I kept a close eye on the story.

Even though I’m not specifically a Star Wars fan, I do know what it’s like to be bullied or teased for looking and sounding or just being different from the other kids I grew up with. When I was younger, I lived in a pretty suburban area in Orange County, California. From when I was in kindergarten to when I was in the sixth grade, I had quite a few strikes against me: a) I’m Asian, b) I was smart, and c) I had (and still do have) a bit of a speech impediment.

Even now, as a grown woman working in a somewhat posh office in downtown Manhattan, I often feel awkward because I don’t dress like the other women who work in the office, and almost all of my geeky pop culture references go completely over the heads of the other people I work with. To throw in some more pop culture references, in an office full of Joan Holloways, I am a Peggy Olsen.

Having said that, I think even adult geeks can take heart from Goldman’s most recent update about Katie: Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: Using the Force as a force of good”

Geekly Speaking About… “Top Gear USA” Episode 1

From l to r: Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Rutledge Wood hope you'll enjoy the U.S. version of "Top Gear"

Thanks to some technical difficulties which were not present when we conducted our tech test about 1.5 hours before its premiere last night at 10:00 pm, we were unable to produce the audio for the live commentary between myself and Kara Dennison as we watched the first episode of the U.S. version of “Top Gear.”

Thankfully, there was nothing wrong with our fingers, and so just in the nick of time, we hied ourselves over to Google Chat to record our thoughts about the first episode of “Top Gear U.S.A.” on the History Channel: Continue reading “Geekly Speaking About… “Top Gear USA” Episode 1″

Geekly Speaking About… the Original Saw movie

In a wonderful bit of synergy, the last movie in the Saw franchise was released in 3D right before Halloween. Having never seen any of the movies before, Lyssa Spero and I decided to watch the first one a while ago and recorded the results for all of you to hear.

I must warn you that the audio in this is terribly NSFW if you don’t have headphones on because there were just that many moments of WTF going on. Also, it goes without saying that this commentary is full of spoilers for not only the first Saw, but a few of the others, and has casting spoilers for Saw 3D.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as we enjoyed recording it.