“Nothing to Prove” – the Newest Best Thing

The Doubleclicks‘ new song “Nothing to Prove” is out!

I have been a fan of The Doubleclicks for many years now.  I feel almost proprietary about them sometimes because I live in the same town, go to their small local shows and feel like I can say “I knew them back when they FIRST opened for Paul and Storm!”  There is nothing not to love about them and their music.  My favorite for several years running was “Velociraptor” — until a few months ago, when they released the brilliant “Impostor,” about Curiosity, the Mars Rover.  That moment when we all watched him land on Mars together –with the NASA/JPL guys just as anxious as we were– was like this bonding moment for space geeks worldwide.  The DoubleClicks brought all that together in their amazing song about the rover – because really, we’re all faking it.

But TODAY, they released their newest song – “Nothing to Prove.”  We knew it was in the works because they’d sent out an appeal for Geek Girls to send in videos of themselves.  But the final product is just …beautiful.  “Nothing to Prove” is the ultimate anthem for girls and women who face censure because they dare to work and play in a male dominated world… and they are good at what they do.  Just like the Female Athlete, the Female Geek has long been sidelined with comments about not being a “real” Trekkie, or that she can’t “really” be a gamer because… vagina!  This video is the voice for the whole community – male and female geeks and nerds alike.  

The video is a stream of messages from women of all ages and backgrounds declaring their pride in what they love and who they are.  Some also testify to how they have been shunned just because they “wear a pink skirt.”  Fantastic cameos by some of our favorite geeks: John Scalzi, Paul and Storm, Amy Berg, Adam Savage, and Wil Wheaton add to the message that this isn’t only about girls — this is about all of us.  Declaring that any world is off limits to anyone is not cool.  But somehow, this has become okay in many corners of geekdom.  The video is an excellent chaser to Aisha Tyler’s new book Self-Inflicted Wounds.  Her Nerdist interview with Chris Hardwick a couple years ago was one of my favorites because she talked about the open letter she wrote where she did NOT apologize for being a female gamer.  It is about time girls get to stop having to defend themselves.  Like the Doubleclicks sing: we have nothing to prove.

doubleclicks

Aubrey and Angela Webber – The Doubleclicks

I was six years old when my dad took me to the theater to see “Star Wars” in 1977.  It is one of the clearest memories of my childhood. I remember so few girls in the audience, but my dad was awesome, and I was brave – it was my first Big Person movie (not a cartoon).  And from the first moment those words scrolled across that giant screen, I was found.  My world exploded with possibility.  In some ways, I was lucky because my dad was in the Air Force and I grew up on bases where I could ride my bike to the flight line and watch super cool jets take off.  In fact, we were stationed in Hawaii back when astronauts still fell out of the sky into the ocean and were scooped up by the Navy and brought to the Air Force base to fly home.  Yes, I was the only third grader who brought for show and tell my most prized possession: an autographed picture of the earth from space – a picture taken and autographed by Jim Lovell himself:

The Earth - from the Moon's orbit, Christmas 1968, by Jim Lovell

The Earth – from the Moon’s orbit, Christmas 1968, by Jim Lovell

But I grew up in the 70s, and despite it being the first full decade of actualized feminism, I still lived in a world where my interest in space and adventure and science fiction was discouraged in favor of growing up to be a good wife and mother.  I idolized Dorothy Hamill, not because of her pretty ice skating outfits, but because she could fly through the air and she didn’t need anyone to help her.  I religiously watched Linda Carter in Wonder Woman and I thought about what it would be like to jump over buildings. But I considered Space Camp out of my league.  I let those other voices creep in, and slowly I became more intimidated by math and science.   I read scifi in private and didn’t join in with my brother be to learn to write in elvish or speak random lines of Klingon.  I watched the stars through my telescope as a hobby but never thought I was smart enough to take a college class in astronomy.  Why?

I know not all GenX Geek Girls let society stop them – there are some incredible women my age who have forged the path for nerdy women and girls.  I was a full grown adult before I started to not care anymore and let my internal geek once again blossom.  I’d channeled my geeky tendencies into the social scientists and became a huge history and political geek until I became a teacher and earned 2 masters degrees in the stuff.  I grew through my experiences as a human rights worker, and when I became a mother.  Now as a single Geek Mom, my son and I spend hours with Zelda and we play Settlers of Cataan together religiously.  Our book shelves overflow with random Magic cards and Lego spaceships.  I’m proud to be a Geek Mom and whatever my kid geeks out about is awesome.

Even when I hid who I was because it just wasn’t the “girl thing,” through it all, Yoda was on my back.  There is a reason I take my personal motto from him (and why it is tattooed on my leg in Gallifreyan): There Is No Try.  It is no longer a world where girls should feel ashamed OR afraid of the multitudes of universes available to them.  There is no reason not to jump into the fray of whatever you love and love it well, no matter what close-minded people think.  And it’s also okay to be just a little over 40 and still proud that when you were 15, you got to sit in the actual Batmobile when your dad took you to the car show.

I’ve already procrastinated doing my research work this morning by watching this new video a dozen times. I’m really hoping they’ll be in Seattle this October at Geek Girl Con.  “Nothing to Prove” from The Doubleclicks is awesome, because it says it all: there is no reason why any of the women and girls featured in it should ever feel censure or silenced – nor should any of us.  It’s time we not only said it but believed it: We have Nothing To Prove.

 

 

 

Why I’m a Trekkie (and LOVE the new movie)

I’m waxing Trekkie:  SPOILERS ahead if you haven’t seen Star Trek: Into Darkness yet.

It is incredible to think about, but the original Star Trek series had already been off the air for 2 years by the time I was born – it had lasted only 3 years (of its 5 year mission). As a kid in the 70’s, I watched what must have been reruns of it… though in my kid mind it was a regular show.

StarTrekCast1

Then the first movie came out when I was 8 years old, and The Wrath of Khan when I was 11. We had to wait two entire years after that to find out what happened to Spock (Khaaaaaannn!!!!).

Khan (1)

I have heard and read all the naysayers about the new Trek film generation, but I just don’t buy any of it.  I don’t judge what makes a Trekkie a Trekkie, but one reason I am one is because I absolutely love EVERY incarnation of Trek.  Each one is true to the vision of the original Trek, and yet each one is unique and awesome.  

StarTrek2I think the reason I love these NEW Trek movies is because there is such a clear choice (and it was the case from the beginning) that this series is not meant to relive those original adventures or decisions – but rather, because the timeline got shifted, in this new universe we can explore the characters knowing that they are not repeating but rather re-encountering all the wonders of the first time around, but in a new, unique way.  So STID Castwe don’t have to compare them, just appreciate the homage.  By giving them this new timeline, nothing is taken from the original, but the same amazing characters can now be explored in new ways… which is why Into Darkness does such a great job of combining elements of the Khan legacy with the new timeline.

I actually think the actors chosen for the roles are fantastic for them.  Karl Urban seemed to be channeling Deforest Kelly, and Simon Pegg is irrationally perfect for Scotty.  But I also like Chris Pine’s version of Kirk: a rash, emotion-based being, but one who is clearly in the process of maturing.  For me, the uncanny ability Zach Quinto has to morph into Spock made this movie for me — especially because of the way the entire film built on the last film in terms of Spock’s willingness to also learn and grow.  I like the bolder role for Uhura, and I loved the alien diversity on the bridge.  All of this combined to make a great ride on the Enterprise for me, including the way the Khan story was reworked for this new timeline.  

SpockDeathScene

I never thought there could be  a way to top what I have always considered the most poignant, wonderful scene in all of Star Trek.  It was dreadful and terrible and beautiful all at once – and, of course we all memorized it.  Because who wouldn’t want Spock to tell you that YOU have been, and always shall be, his friend?

But, incredibly, Star Trek: Into Darkness did it.  And in an entirely new way that made the scene just as meaningful, but gave it new life.

SpockScene2

THIS scene is the evidence of what really makes this particular Trek crew (the characters, not the actors) from the original incarnation so unique amidst all the universes that I love: there is not one hero, but rather a complete and total dependency on a deep and abiding friendship between two very different men. There can never be victory without both of them. Star Wars, Marvel, any of those (and I love them all) – they do not have this incredibly righteous dynamic that makes the re-imagination of the best scene in the entirety of the Star Trek expanded universe so amazing (and, yes, I think even better than the first version).  It is the one scene that depicts the true genius of Gene Roddenberry: it is not technology, or weapons, or even ingenuity, but rather, an unlikely but supremely powerful friendship that will always save the universe.

THAT is why I’m a Trekkie.

….and yes, I’ve already seen it twice.

An Open Letter to the President on the Occasion of his Mixed Metaphors

Today:

“I can’t do a Jedi mind meld on the Congressional Republicans” — President Barack Obama

no, no, no...

no, no, no…

Dear President Obama:

You can either do a VULCAN mind meld or a JEDI mind trick.  They are not the same thing.

SW-v-ST

Either way, you might as well not waste energy with the Dark Side.  You have violated the Prime Directive so many times by now anyway with no results.

… and by this point what you ACTUALLY need is just one good Space Cowboy to deal with those dumbasses.  Captain Mal to Congress:

captnmal

In conclusion – Mind Meld, Mind Trick – whichever.  You were re-elected in a landslide for a reason. Be the Jedi you were meant to be.

obama-lightsaber-02Sincerely,

Teachacari

 

Crushing Disappointment at the Cruel Hands of ComicCon

Image

This is how I felt today when I tried to get a badge to the San Diego ComicCon 2013:

The Doctor Must Not Have Gotten a Badge Either

The Doctor Must Not Have Gotten a Badge Either

I signed up in August and waited anxiously for today.  It is something I’ve wanted to do for years, and I finally committed to myself to really go — but the ComicCon corporation has evidently decided to create a system that will inevitably lead to heartache and disappointment.

They open registration to EVERY registrant (estimated at 2 million people around the world) at the same moment — 9:00 AM, PST — expecting them all to click a button on the internet simultaneously, and by chance, some will be directed into a “waiting room.”  From there they hopefully get to the ticket buying before they are sold out.

I was set up and ready, with TWO computers poised to register – I began clicking a minute before the designated time and I was READY.  Both computers began entrance into the queue, but at 9:02, the message came up that the waiting room was full and all badges were taken.  NINE OH TWO.

Two minutes to go from excitement and hope to CRUSHing disappointment.

The other side of this excellent plan by ComicCon was that at the LAST SDCC, everyone with a 2012 badge had the opportunity to pre-buy badges for 2013!  That means that thousands of badges were already taken by people who’ve ALREADY BEEN TO SDCC!!  So new fans who wanted to experience the SDCC had even LESS chance to get badges today.

yep.

yep.

I was really excited – it is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who this year.  The new Star Trek: Into Darkness comes out this year.  Iron Man 3 comes out this year.  My son would be 11 and the perfect fun age to go.  I was so hopeful that I would have something to finally look forward to.  But like tens of thousands of others, I didn’t even get a chance.

If they had run it as a lottery, I feel like I might have had a better chance.  If they had divided it into sections based on when people originally registered as members, everyone might have had a better chance.  If they limited the number of 2012 attendees who could buy early, that might have given first timers a better chance.  Overall, there are TONS of ways that fans, and especially first time hopefuls, could have had more access to attending the Con of their dreams.

In the grand scheme of things, this is obviously not a major world crisis.  It just was really, REALLY disappointing.  But even though I’ll miss that coveted 50th Anniversary of the Doctor, I will try again next year.  Because I’m a fangirl with the #1 item on my bucket list yet to be fulfilled.

After losing out on SDCC this morning, I went to drown my sorrows in a giant bin of popcorn because it was a GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD.  Next time SDCC, Next Time:

I'll get you next time, dammit.

In Which I Try to Write About Writing

I have been writing a lot lately.  A LOT.  (not alot…that would be this).  I have a new respect and empathy for professional writers.  It is really hard for me to stay disciplined and focused, especially in this era of twitter, constant political junkie news on the teevee, and my nemesis: reddit.  I am in the process of writing and editing (and writing and editing….) my masters thesis on civic education and state constitutions’ right to an education.  I am also a columnist and regular writer at The Educator’s Room.  I am also editing a column there as well.  I am writing job applications and resumes – not only for msyelf, but also helping my former students edit theirs.  I will soon be writing in response to students via a contract teaching job I just attained (yay!).  …And I started this blog to write even MORE!

This month is National Novel Writing Month (“NaNoWriMo”).  One of my writing idols, John Scalzi, doesn’t need to participate because his prolific writing knows no monthly boundaries.  But for the rest of us, this is a fun opportunity to challenge our creative writing juices.  One thing I have always started and never finished: a fiction story.  I usually end up spending most of my time with academic, political, or educational writing.  Personal writing is something a bit new to me, so this blog is stretching my comfort zone on that.  But I’d LOVE to write some quality fiction some day.

focus!  focus!

For my column writing, I have the pressure of a weekly deadline.  This and the various deadlines for my thesis writing have shown me that I have not outgrown my habit of producing most of my work with little time left on the clock.  But I’d rather be a paced writer.  Someone who gets up in the morning and writes.  Take a break.  Write some more.  Take a break, play with the Kid, write some more. A laid-off teacher and at home most of the time, I have no excuses – if I don’t focus now, I’ll end up like my Lil’ Wil Wheaton and his blank, empty pages:

Lil’ Wil Collates paper all day long

Time to write.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Tuesday! I STILL watch “Revolution” so you don’t have to!!

Alert: the power is still out.

In the Future, you better know how to sword fight & shoot a crossbow.

In this week’s exciting episode:

  • Charlie Katniss and Uncle Miles and Rhoda (Ronda? Reba? Renee?) are still on the search for Asthma Kid.  But there is tension.
  • Oh yay – rabid dogs roam the overgrown suburbs! And they bite Neckbeard Guy!
  • Evidently, when all electricity fails on earth, this speeds up extreme weather events (rain is coming and this appears to be soul-shattering scary to the Civil War re-enactors holding Asthma Kid captive)
  • Irrelevant flashback about British Lady, about whom none of us really care except that she carries killer whiskey.  Literally.
  • Katniss Mom – still alive!  Evil Monroe keeps her captive, insisting that she knows how to turn the lights back on.
  • We learn that Dead Dad Ben was an ALGEBRA TEACHER!!  JUST LIKE SECRET-COMPUTER-MAKER-ALGEBRA-TEACHER-GRACE!!!  O.M.G. (WHERE is Grace?!?)

Note to self: Algebra Teachers control the secrets of the universe;
review algebra sometime within next 15 years.

  • So. Many. Flashbacks.  {{{Little Charlie Katniss begs Katniss Mom not to leave.  She is ordered once again to protect Asthma kid. (She really has fallen down on this job).}}}
  • Run away from rabid dogs!  Into an abandoned amusement park! (things ALWAYS go well in abandoned amusement parks)
  • The Menudo Kid who’s been following them shows up, and they make him their prisoner.
  • British Lady Flashback again: Now we know what happened to the steam boats: they were destroyed in “The Wars” — evidently, no one was able to, oh I don’t know, REDO the steam concept.
  • Back at Civil War camp, Massive Tornado! Wow, that really IS extreme weather!  Or….they are in Kansas, and it’s just Tuesday.
  • Tearful British Lady recounts meeting up with Dead Dad Ben just as she was about to partake of her killer whiskey.  Still boring.
  • Running from rabid dogs, British Lady is stabbed by Crazy as Shit Dog Owner and announces her artery has been split.  She’s bleeding out. I’m trying hard to care.
  • While British Lady bleeds out, Charlie Katniss tearfully confesses to being an ungrateful annoying kid, so now to make up for it, she’ll hold the cloth on the artery till British Lady dies.
  • Suddenly, Charlie Katniss is attacked and pulled into the kitchen and no one is able to run after her! Oh Noes!
  • Uncle Miles and Menudo Kid go after Charlie Katniss while we learn that the massive tornado has dropped a beam on Evil Captain who begs Asthma Kid for mercy.  Asthma Kid helps Evil Captain and of course gets imprisoned again.
  • Meanwhile, Crazy as Shit Dog Owner ties Charlie Katniss up with a crossbow aimed at her and tied to the door, and proceeds to cook beans while chatting about how his wife died.  NOBODY CARES.
  • Suddenly, Uncle Miles and Menudo Kid fight Crazy as Shit Dog Owner, and we wait tensely for them to open the door which will shoot off the crossbow right at her (oh please, oh please…) The suspense is terrible!!!
  • Arrow misses her by THAT MUCH.
  • British Lady fades from loss of blood and stares at the blank screen of her iPhone. And….SHE DIES.  Charlie Katniss cries.  Neckbeard Guy cries.  Everyone cries. Except me.  Still don’t care.
  • Don’t forget to grab her poison whiskey on your way out!!
  • The episode ends with the mysterious Katniss Mom being told Asthma Kid will be tortured to get her to talk.  We learn that she originally left them to turn herself over to Uncle Miles back when he was evil.  UNCLE MILES KNOWS SHE’S ALIVE!!!

Next week: power is STILL out!

In Which I Watch “Revolution” So You Don’t Have To! (Episode 3)

(Sorry this week’s summary was delayed a bit!)

We still don’t know why the power went out, but we’re hopeful someone will come along and light the way (because, seriously, we can’t remember how).

Reminder, as River Song always warns us: SPOILERS!!

What we learned this week:

(Personal Note: My greatest worry is for Grace, the mysterious Algebra Teacher Turned Secret Computer Spy – when we left off, she was about to be attacked! What happened?)

  • Flashback to 8 weeks after blackout and the military is evidently just sitting around “waiting for orders.” They’re not, you know, stopping chaotic looting and keeping order and peace or anything.
  • Whoa!!  Now we know where all the people of color in America have gone — they are the rebels going to bring back the US! (Oh, the irony).
  • If I’m seeing correctly, the militia guys dress like Civil War Reenactors.  This may explain why they are all white.
  • Evil militia guy reads Lee Iaccoca’s book – They DO read books!  Just not good ones.
  • They also camp in civil war tents  — so evidently within 15 years of a Blackout, we will plunge ourselves back 200 years.  Because nylon tents and military surplus suddenly doesn’t exist…?
  • Neckbeard Guy and British Woman find Grace’s house.  No Grace. Computer smashed.  Neckbeard Guy marvels that Grace built a computer
  • Wait… why would you need to BUILD a computer?  Weren’t there thousands just sitting around, not doing anything?
  • I figured out why they all act like reenactors – they only use muzzle loading rifles.  Because regular rifles use…electricity?  What?
  • Another flashback tells us that the military was completely unable to maintain any semblance of order, code, structure or discipline within 8 weeks of the blackout.  Well, that was money well spent on the Defense Department.
  • Swordfighting!
  • Uncle Miles -Oh Noes!  He was with Monroe and helped form the Militia!  How COULD HE?!?!?!
  • Brother Asthma Katniss has remained strong in captivity despite the… Asthma.
  • Uncle Miles is turned over and taken back as a prisoner by the militia… but WAIT!
  • EXPLOSIONS!!
  • Charley Katniss and Rita (or Ronda?  Rhoda?) explode a bridge and stop a whole battalion of militia and save Uncle Miles.
  • Charley Katniss and Uncle Miles verbally spar and we discover that Uncle Miles is playing the role of Han Solo in our epic adventure
  • Neckbeard Computer Guy and Blonde British Woman are hanging out in Grace’s house, talkin’ ’bout the good ol’ days when computer geeks RULED THE WORLD!!! (sniff)
  • SUDDENLY!  Neckbeard’s pendant turns on Marvin Gaye music!  (thank the great spaghetti monster because if it had been some sort of stupid pop song I MIGHT have had to stop watching)…. and British Woman’s iPhone works!
  • The pendant sends out some sort of magical physics waves …or something.
  • But still, no Grace.

Next week:  Swordfighting!