Sunday, September 29, 2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s "Explosive" First Episode

     The premiere episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aired last Tuesday night on ABC, and I think it's safe to say it was "the bomb." Twitter, Facebook, and other social media was "blowing up" with conversations about the show. (Okay, I think I'm done with the bomb puns now. XD)

     Seriously, though, before the episode ended, #AgentsofSHIELD and #Coulson were both trending worldwide on Twitter. I myself was live-tweeting as I watched the show, and checking out the tweets coming from several cast members as well as thousands of fans. I also engaged several friends in a dialogue about the premiere on Facebook. And there was no shortage of things to talk about...

     Set shortly after The Avengers, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series takes place in a world beginning to be aware of superheroes. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s role in this, according to one of their agents, is: "We protect people from news they aren't ready to hear. And when we can't do that, we keep 'em safe." The pilot episode had the big job of showing us that role while simultaneously introducing us to several key characters, as well as some opposing organizations.

     If you didn't happen to catch the premiere on ABC, I highly recommend you go watch it on their website here before reading any further.


Agent Phil Coulson
     We all know him from The Avengers, plus appearances on the other Marvel movies leading up to it. In those, though, he seemed kind of a middle-management type guy, not necessarily a high-ranking agent. The only time I remember him being outstandingly awesome in the movies was when he tried to take on Loki, and that still seemed like a heroically brave but ultimately doomed and desperate attempt. However, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., he comes across as pretty hardcore, and fairly high up in the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D., with Level 7 clearance and seeming to be in charge of a lot of people on that level.

     Remember how he died in The Avengers? Apparently he didn't... or did he? He's seemingly alive and well in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but there's something fishy going on. He claims he's been in Tahiti, recovering, but this story doesn't sound quite right. There's clearly a secret he doesn't know (which Agent Maria Hill says "he can never know"). And he seems, like I said, a little more hardcore than before... For example, in one scene, he does a Matrix-style dodge to avoid a van door flying towards him. Could an ordinary human being do that? Could Coulson do that before The Avengers?

     Theories about Coulson's secret abound, but the most popular seems to be that the Coulson who died in The Avengers was an LMD, or Life Model Decoy - a kind of android invented by S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics. Another guess is that Coulson was injected with some of the super-soldier serum at some point, giving him powers that could be similar to Captain America's. It would be great to see something straight from the comic books, as a type of homage, but at the same time, I sort of hope the show surprises everybody with something completely different. Given who's writing it, I find that quite likely. (More on that later.)

Agent Melinda May
     This femme fatale is one character who actually seems like a bit of a stereotype so far. "The beautiful Asian chick who knows martial arts." Not that that doesn't make for an awesome and fun-to-watch character, but I am hoping they'll add more depth to Agent May soon. I'd love to hear more about her backstory. For example, she's working a desk job when Coulson calls on her for this episode's mission, but when Agent Ward meets her, he's obviously impressed and a little intimidated by her presence. I'd love to find out what she did in her past career at S.H.I.E.L.D. that was so impressive, and what changed and led to her ending up filing papers. She and Coulson also seem to be fairly close friends, so I'm curious if there's more to that story as well. 

Agent Grant Ward
     Another seeming stereotype, Agent Ward is the good-looking, arrogant, slick super-spy. When we first see him, he's riding a motorcycle, using cool spy gadgets, and slugging it out with bad guys. But that just makes it a little ironic when he ends up as basically the "rookie" of Coulson's team. Initially Ward doesn't want to work with a team, and it may take a while for them to crack his tough exterior and get close to him, but Skye seems to have a head start on that, considering the chemistry already brewing between the pair.
     Initially a member of the organization called "The Rising Tide," this blogger/hacker can hold her own in conversations and meetings with the Level 7 S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. By the end of the episode this earns her an invitation to join S.H.I.E.L.D. herself, which she will certainly accept. This character too could have an interesting past, considering her statement that she has experience erasing someone's identity, presumably her own. And could she be secretly still working for The Rising Tide?

     Two characters, one description. Seems fitting, considering the way they're introduced with a hyphenated name and appear to be practically joined at the hip. Leo Fitz specializes in technology, while he describes his partner, Jemma Simmons, as "biochem" with a tone of disgust that makes it sound like a disease. Between the constant togetherness, the private conversations ignoring everyone else in the room, and the quick shoulder-squeeze Simmons gives Fitz in one scene, you might wonder if there's romance brewing between these two. However, I got more of a brother/sister vibe off the pair. I'll be interested to see how their relationship plays out throughout the series.

Mike Peterson
     Though he seems to be a one-shot character, I wouldn't be surprised (or disappointed, for that matter) to see the "Hooded Hero" return later in the series. Gifted with super-strength by his use of a product called Centipede, Mike's struggle to become a true hero and his perspective on the issues faced by the less privileged quickly brought depth to this episode. I've heard some theorize that he might take on a new identity as Luke Cage (a Marvel comics character with superstrength), and I honestly hope this is the case, because I would definitely like to see more of this character.

The Baddies

     Though Peterson is set up as a sort of episodic villain, his desire to be a hero allowed the S.H.I.E.L.D. team to prevent him hurting anyone, without hurting him. He was "defeated," if you can call it that, but it seems that the true villains remain: the other organizations.

The Rising Tide
     We know very little about this organization that Skye so quickly turned her back on. My husband Billy likened them to Anonymous - a nameless, faceless group of hackers, but a formidable force not to be trifled with. Their goals seem to be in diametrical opposition to those of S.H.I.E.L.D.; they claim they want people to know the truth about superheroes. I'm not sure this is entirely a bad idea, but the Rising Tide does seem to have been set up as a villain, a force opposing S.H.I.E.L.D. So maybe their actions and motives will grow more sinister as we learn more about them. For now, I'm just wondering what they will do when they find out Skye has joined their enemies. It seemed to me that she was a low-ranking member, a newbie (if a promising one), but she surely has still drawn their ire for her betrayal.

Project Centipede
     A group of scientists working in a secret lab created the Centipede device that gave Mike Peterson his powers - and almost caused him to explode like a bomb. We've met one member of the team, a female doctor whose name was never given, and seen her send henchmen to kill Peterson before S.H.I.E.L.D. could get ahold of him. The group seems to have no remorse for what happens to their test subjects when the experiment goes wrong. What are their motives? And how far will they go to get S.H.I.E.L.D. out of their way?

The Creators/Writers
     Last but certainly not least, let's talk for a moment about the team that created Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Joss Whedon
     If you've considered yourself a geek for long, you've no doubt heard of Joss Whedon, and I would venture so far as to say you're probably already a fan. Joss's rise to geek-cult popularity began with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel, deepened through the prematurely cancelled Firefly series and its accompanying movie Serenity, endured the writers' strike of 2008 with the webseries Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and persisted through the cancellation of another genius TV series, Dollhouse. His most recent work, as you probably know, is The Avengers. After having such negative experiences with his shows being cancelled, though, he surprised many by agreeing to work in television again to create and write Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

     Joss has a very distinctive style, known and loved by his fans (Whedonites). Many of his trademarks are already showing up in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. For example Joss himself said in a recent interview that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is "basically a TV series of “The Zeppo” [an episode of Buffy]," which is an example of Whedon's tendency to focus on minor, seemingly unimportant characters. And he's stuck to his habit of recasting actors he worked with in previous projects, with J. August Richards (a.k.a. Charles Gunn, Angel) playing Mike Peterson, and a cameo from Ron Glass (Shepherd Derrial Book, Firefly/Serenity) as a S.H.I.E.L.D. doctor.

Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen
     Jed and his wife Maurissa have helped Joss (Jed's brother) on projects like Dr. Horrible and Dollhouse in the past. Beyond that, I don't really know much about them. But I'm looking forward to finding out with this new series. I think I'm going to like them.

What Do You Think?

     Did you watch the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? What did you think? Whether you agree with my opinions on the show or disagree, drop me a line in the comments box below and let me know!

     And make sure to catch the next new episode Tuesday night at 8/7 Central!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Japan Series! - Food of Japan (Part 1)

            As expected, the food was one of the most amazing parts of the experience of visiting Japan! I guess I had a lot to say about the food, so this topic is going to be split into two separate posts. Today I’ll be talking about the unique qualities of Japanese restaurants themselves, and about some traditional Japanese foods.

Japanese restaurants
            I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that we ate with chopsticks the entire time we were in Japan. I don’t think I saw a single fork for the whole two weeks. But there were some other interesting (and more surprising) things about the restaurants in Japan.

Matt and Trent workin' the chopsticks.

            One major difference from American restaurants was that instead of a glass of cold water, the waiter or waitress automatically brings tea – usually hot, and usually green. This was true of almost every restaurant we visited, regardless of the price range or what type of food was being served. (The only exception I can think of is McDonalds!) In fact, most servers looked surprised if I asked for a glass of water instead. (I can’t drink green tea due to the way caffeine affects bipolar disorder symptoms.)

That little glass is tea, not alcohol, I swear. XD

            Another really interesting feature of some Japanese restaurants is the window display. This features life-size plastic replicas of some or all of the dishes offered there, each labeled with a name and price. The window is located in the front of the restaurant, facing out. This is really handy because it allows you to judge how appetizing the food looks, whether the portion sizes are big enough to satisfy, and whether you can afford it, all before even entering the restaurant. It’s very convenient if you’re trying to decide between multiple restaurants, and I liked being able to choose what I would order before going in.

An example of a restaurant window display. I hope you appreciate this picture, because I got scolded for taking it. -_-' (We were told we weren't supposed to take photos of/in stores, but I forgot. XD)

           At a few of the restaurants, we also encountered a ticket machine with pictures and prices of food on buttons. You simply press the button for the food you want to order, insert your money, and take the ticket that comes out. Then you give the ticket to the waiter, eliminating the need to verbally communicate your order. Anyone who has ever had to order food in a foreign country by pointing at the menu and shrugging apologetically will certainly appreciate the convenience of such a device. It definitely made things easier for those in our group who could not speak or read Japanese.

Billy operating the ticket machine.

Traditional Japanese food
             Billy and I agreed that by far our favorite food that we tried in Japan was tonkatsu. It’s essentially a breaded, fried pork chop. We had learned about tonkatsu from one of our Japanese textbooks, but never had the chance to try it in the States, so of course it was the number one goal on my list of foods to try on the trip. I think Billy would probably eat tonkatsu any way it was served to him, but I preferred it as katsudon – tonkatsu served over rice and topped with egg. It was amazing. We ate it every chance we got while we were there, and we’re trying to perfect the recipe at home. (Look for a post on that someday!)

Katsudon. Oishii! (Delicious!)

            If I had to choose my second favorite traditional Japanese food, it would have to be tempura. Tempura is breaded and deep-fried veggies and shrimp. The lotus pod slices were surprisingly delicious. (Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of my tempura. XD)
            If you are ever in Japan, there are a few other foods I suggest you try. These were good, just not good enough to make it on my “favorites” list. Udon, soba, and ramen are very popular noodle dishes. Don’t let the “noodle” part fool you into thinking they’re bland; all three are served in a flavorful broth with vegetables. (And nothing like the cheap “Ramen” noodles from WalMart!) Although a bit hard to eat with chopsticks, these noodles are worth the effort.

Udon. Wish you could see Billy trying to eat these with chopsticks! LOL

            Another dish I recommend trying is what Peek-sensei called “Japanese pizza” (although I never found out whether that was the official name or just her way of explaining the dish to us). All day she kept telling us that we were going to eat Japanese pizza for lunch. I think we were all looking forward to something similar to American-style pizza, but maybe with different toppings. What we got was this:

The alleged "pizza."

            As far as I could tell it was noodles topped with ham, shrimp, fried egg, and some kind of sauce. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but it was still reasonably good.
            And of course, how could I review the food of Japan without mentioning sushi? Surprisingly, I only ate sushi once while in Japan. I think that was partially because I can eat it in America and was eager to try other foods that weren’t normally available to me, but also partially because Billy doesn’t like sushi, so we usually ended up choosing something else. To be honest, the sushi I tried didn’t taste noticeably better than good sushi in Arkansas. There was more variety, but the flavor was about the same.

     However, the method of delivery at this particular sushi restaurant was unique and interesting. The sushi was delivered on a conveyor belt which ran all the way around the restaurant, surrounding the sushi chefs in the middle. Customers sat at a bar on the opposite side of the conveyor belt and chose their sushi as it passed. When we finished eating, we took our empty plates to the cashier so she would know what to charge us. I wish I had taken pictures, but you’ll just have to use your imagination (or Google image XD).
            I would also like to tell you about a couple of food experiences that I did not really enjoy. One was yakitori. I had heard about yakitori in the book Hachiko Waits, and it sounded delicious. I had been told it was basically “chicken on a stick.” However, the yakitori I tried seemed to be chicken liver. I am not a liver person. If you are, you would probably like it, but I am not.


            The other food that I didn’t find particularly yummy was my bento box. A bento is basically a cold packed lunch, which many Japanese people either buy or prepare themselves. It usually contains a variety of foods, artfully arranged in small compartments in a box.

My bento lunch, plus orange juice.

We bought bento one evening for dinner on a long train ride. There were a few things in the box that I did like, but overall it wasn’t something I would get again. I might try a different type, but I would prefer to know what was in it first. Anyway, the most interesting part of my bento was this little guy:

My little friend. Sorry for the blurriness; it's a bit difficult to take
 a proper picture with the camera in your left hand while holding
 a baby octopus with chopsticks in your right. XD

            At first I wasn’t going to eat him, but then as I was looking at him the others from our group noticed. After that I knew I had to eat him or look like a wimp. (I know… peer pressure… It’s horrible. XD) The flavor was actually okay, although I didn’t like the texture. Still, I was kinda proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and trying something I wasn’t sure about.
That’s it for today! Come back next time to read about foods from other countries as prepared in Japan, as well as what we ate for breakfasts and snacks while in Japan! (Or click here for a list of all posts in my Japan series!)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

7 Things I'm Geeking Out About in Autumn 2013

     Happy first day of autumn! The season of television premieres is upon us! I thought now would be a good time to talk about some upcoming TV, movies, and other events of the geek persuasion that I'm really excited about. And so, in chronological order, I present to you... 7 things I'm currently geeking out about.

      (P.S. - If you haven't watched the predecessors of some of these, watch for SPOILERS ahead! You've been warned!)

#1 - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Series Premiere)
  • When: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
  • Why: Joss Whedon's return to TV. Do we need any other reasons? The man is like King Midas - everything he touches turns to geek gold. If that's not enough to convince you to tune in, how about this: Coulson lives. That's right, the endearingly dorky but still hardcore S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (and Captain America fanboy), whose death at the hands of Loki finally spurred the Avengers to put aside their differences and kick some god-of-mischief tail. Except he's still alive. And I'm dying to find out how.

#2 - Once Upon a Time (Season 3 Premiere)
  • When: Sunday, September 29th, 2013
  • Why: In case you didn't catch the first two seasons, this show is like a soap opera starring all your favorite Disney characters. Seriously... it's a little hard to keep up with who's in love with who, who's trying to kill who, who's good/evil, etc. And there's no "Happily Ever After" for this bunch; they're forever being separated/cursed/nearly killed by the forces of evil. I actually don't care all that much about the main couple of the show, Snow White and Charming. I'm more of a Rumbelle (read: Rumplestiltskin and Belle) shipper. And Rumplestiltskin is Billy's absolute favorite character. So with Rumple and Belle separated in different worlds, his son near death in a third, and his grandson kidnapped and taken to Neverland, we're both anxious to see where the next season takes us.

#3 - Thor: The Dark World
  • When: Friday, November 8th, 2013
  • Why: According to the Hiddlestoners (a.k.a. Tom Hiddleston fangirls/fanboys), the movie should have been called Loki and His Brother. You have to admit, the guy plays a great villain. (Have you seen the video of him at San Diego Comic Con?) I think he's the reason most people are looking forward to this movie. Plus, Christopher Eccelston (a.k.a. the 9th Doctor) plays another villain, Malekith, in this movie. And besides... it's Marvel. 'Nuff said.

#4 - Comicon-Way
  • When: Saturday & Sunday, November 9th-10th, 2013
  • Why: If you're not from somewhere in or near Conway, Arkansas, you may not care about Comicon-Way. It's a relatively small local con, only in its second year. But for Billy and I, who live within driving distance and have always dreamed of going to a con but never had a chance, it's a really exciting prospect. It will be our first con ever! I'm so pumped about cosplaying, taking photos, shopping, and generally hanging out with other people who love the same stuff I do. ^_^ And I'll be sure to write a blog post about it when we get back!
     No video for this one, but check out the official site if you'd like more information about Comicon-Way.

#5 - Catching Fire
  • When: Friday, November 22nd, 2013
  • Why: If you've been living under a rock and therefore haven't read the Hunger Games book or watched the first movie, you don't know what you're missing. I love that the heroine in this series isn't some nondescript Mary-Sue, but a very realistic three-dimensional character with some flaws that make her a little less likable and therefore much more relatable. Some people knock it for the love story, but I think that just makes the dystopian society, the horrors of the Games, and the revolution all that much more personal and relatable. It makes it easy to suspend disbelief and imagine that these things are happening to real people. No matter how many times I watch this trailer for Catching Fire,  I always tear up, especially at the end when Haymitch says "Remember who the real enemy is."

#6 - Doctor Who (50th Anniversary Special)
  • When: Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
  • Why: I wish I could say I've been a Whovian from the beginning, but alas, I wasn't even alive then. XD I actually didn't even start with the Christopher Eccleston reboot in 2005. Billy got me into the show pretty much as soon as I met him, a little over two years ago. Since then we've caught up with all the episodes (of the newer series, anyway...) and we're just as on-edge as anyone else to find out what's the deal with this older-looking, John-Hurt Doctor. And whether they will ever tell us the Doctor's name. (Although I kinda hope they don't. A little mystery makes it more exciting.) A lot of the fans like to theorize and speculate, but that doesn't satisfy me, because I know nothing we come up with could possibly rival what Steven Moffat has planned.

#7 - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • When: Friday, December 13th, 2013
  • Why: Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Benedict Cumberbatch as the dragon Smaug. What could be more perfect? After seeing the screen chemistry these two actors had in the first two seasons of the BBC's Sherlock, it'll be interesting to see them in these new roles together. And while it's not LoTR, The Hobbit still represents some of Tolkien's best and most popular work. (It was actually the first Tolkien I read, back in high school English class! Ah, nostalgia.) Also, Smaug looks awesome in the trailer.

Is that it?

     There's more, of course. Sherlock season 3, the Firefly MMO, and so on. But those come later. Perhaps I'll have another geek-out-fest when winter comes!

     In the meantime, leave me a comment and let me know... Are you as excited as I am for these upcoming events? What are you "geeking out" about this autumn?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Announcing a Series on Japan!

                If your geekdom extends to Japanese culture and/or anime (or if you’re just interested in traveling to Japan someday), you’re in luck! Coming soon, I’ll be posting a series of entries all about my trip to Japan! It’s going to be a fairly long series, with at least 10 entries (I guess I had a lot to say.), so to break it up I’ll alternate between Japan posts and a regular, random, unrelated posts.

But first, a little background…

                I went to Japan in May of 2012. Yes, it’s been a while. But between the 2000+ pictures I took and the journal I kept as a requirement for the class, I remember it pretty well.

                Let me back up a bit. As I’ve mentioned before, I attended Lyon College for 3 years and minored in Japanese language, taking one Japanese class per semester. Every summer, Lyon College offers what it calls “Nichols Trips.” The college pays for groups of students to visit foreign countries that are somehow related to their areas of study, and sends a professor or two along as a guide/supervisor. After two years’ worth of Japanese classes, I got the opportunity to go to Japan on a Nichols Trip, with my Japanese teacher Mieko Peek. Since I wasn’t sure if I could ever afford to go on my own, I jumped at the once-in-a-lifetime chance.

                Billy was attending UACCB (a nearby community college) at the time and taking Japanese classes as a transfer student, so he qualified to go on the trip as well, but had to pay his own way. Now, this trip was about 2 ½ months before we got married, so we figured we’d skip having a honeymoon later in order to afford his trip plus food and shopping money for both of us. I think we’d both say it was worth it. ^_^

Billy and I standing in front of Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion).

                We stayed in Japan for two weeks. We left America on May 8th and arrived in Kyoto , Japan on May 9th local time. We spent about a week each in Kyoto and Tokyo, sometimes taking day trips to other nearby cities and towns. We saw Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, ancient castles, modern art, and lots more. We went shopping for electronics and anime in Akihabara and for cute lolita clothes in Harajuku. (Well, maybe that last one was mostly me…) Then we returned to America on May 22nd.

                It was amazing, and I can’t wait to go back. Billy and I had decided by the third day there that it would not be our first and last trip. And ever since we got back, I’ve been missing Japan… almost like I’m homesick...

List of Japan series posts
                For your perusing convenience, I shall make a list as I go along. The up-to-date listing of every post in the series will stay right here:
Keep an eye out for new posts to be added, and thanks for watching! ^_~

Sunday, September 15, 2013

For the Organized DM: Highlighers Are Your Friends.

     As I mentioned in my last post, one of my favorite past-times is playing tabletop RPGs -  particularly Dungeons & Dragons. I'm a 3rd/3.5 girl at heart, but I've also given 2nd and 4th eds. a try.

Just recently bought these shiny new 3.5 core rulebooks. <3

     I've DM'ed before, with my own campaign that I created, but it's very time-consuming to come up with all the adventures myself. I'm the kind of DM who wants to flesh out every NPC, have every detail nailed down, and be prepared for anything. Which of course is impossible, because the party will always do something unexpected. That's like the number one rule of DMing.

     So anyway, I finally realized it's actually much easier for me to simply run premade adventure modules. If I had all the time I wanted I might try creating my own again, but for now the modules are working really well for me. There's still a lot of room for creativity, playing with the unspecified details, and thinking on your feet. The only problem is that most experienced gamers have either played, read, or heard about a lot of the modules published for 3.5. Luckily for me, my current gaming group had never played 3.5 before we started this campaign. ^_^

The youngest player in our group... Just kidding. ^_~
But he does seem to want to play. Always stealing his mom's dice and dice tower.

     Right now, the party is working their way through the Sunless Citadel. I figured out early on that one of the problems that modules presented for me was the difficulty of finding specific information I'm looking for when it's given in such a compressed format. There are large blocks of text which contain information on everything from the layout of the room to the tactics of the monsters to the types of treasures to be found there. I realized I had to have some way of making it easier to home in on the exact information I need each time.

      Enter the highlighters.

      The color-coding system is fairly simple:

  • Orange = Headings (helpful for separating each area)
  • Blue = Descriptions (stuff I need to read out loud or paraphrase to the players)
  • Green = Monsters' stats and tactics
  • Pink = Treasure
  • Yellow = Skill checks I need to ask the players to roll

     Since I can't bring myself to deface a book (even a module), I made copies, hole-punched them, and stuck them in my D&D binder.

     Of course I read through the entire adventure at least once before I even began highlighting it. Then I went through a second time with the highlighters. At first I didn't use the orange, but then with all the other colors jumping out at me, I felt that the entries for different areas needed something to separate them more definitely.

     It might take a session or two to get used to, but once you remember which color is which, you'll know just what to look for. Actually, I got used to it quickly while I was doing the initial highlighting.

     All of the information in the module might be useful at some point, but I only highlight what I'm sure I'll need - the basics. Stuff that I'm going to need to find quickly in order to keep the game flowing smoothly. I hate it when we're in the middle of combat and I have to stop and look something up. This system allows me to cut out as much of that as possible.

     As you can see from the pictures, I also like to make a few side notes, like which characters have certain skills or can speak a certain language, so I don't have to ask when they encounter it. It's much more suspenseful to say, "You can't read the letter. But you can," than to say "Who can speak Goblin?" and wait for everyone to shuffle their character sheets and check. It just flows better and makes the game more realistic and more enjoyable, in my opinion.

     I also try to check off each enemy as it is defeated, and each treasure as it is gathered, so we don't have repeats. No good giving the characters deja vu. ^_~

     That's all for today! Check back another time to see how I use index cards to organize both combat and information for the characters. In the meantime, chime in yourselves through the comment box! What's your favorite DMing organization tip?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Indroducing... Geeky Ginger Girl!

          Every blog needs a post introducing the blog and the author, right?

So what’s with the name?

          I’m a huge geek, and have been for most of my life. I’ve loved video games since the NES days of my childhood, and I’ve been reading sci-fi and fantasy novels for almost as long. I started watching anime in high school and playing tabletop RPGs in college.
          It’s tempting to launch into an exhaustive list of my geeky interests in an attempt to rack up some “geek cred,” but I’ll spare you. Besides, I’m not into the geek elite point of view. I think being a geek is not about what you like, how long you’ve liked it, or how much money or time you’ve spent on it. Simply put, it’s about enthusiasm. And as my husband will tell you, I’ve got that in spades. ^_^

          At the same time, though, part of the fun of being a geek is discussing things you like with other people who like them as much as you do! So don’t worry, there will definitely be posts in the future where I will talk more about my interests, and I would love to hear from people who share the same passions!

          Pretty self-explanatory. I’m a redhead. As a child I used to see that as a bad thing, but as I got older I got used to it and eventually I guess I came to see it as just a part of who I am. Now, thanks to the Doctor, I’ve realized how awesome it is. ^_~

          Yes, I’m a girl. In some ways, I’m the stereotypical “girly-girl.” For example, my favorite color is pink, I hate bugs, and I love shopping, especially for clothes and shoes. But I hope you won’t judge me based on that. Like most people, I have many sides, which sometimes might even seem contradictory.
          Like being a geek. I know; geek girls aren’t as rare as we used to be. In a way, that makes me feel less “special,” I’ll admit. But I think the awesome geek girl community and the fact that more geeky things are being geared towards girls these days more than makes up for that.

Actually this picture sums me up pretty accurately... Wish I could figure out the original source...

What else?
         As much as I wish I could’ve come up with the perfect blog name that completely describes me (and is catchy and easy to remember), I’m pretty sure that’s impossible. There are some other important things about me that you might want to know. My name is Kristy. I’m 30 years old. I live in Arkansas with my husband, Billy, who is 22. We don’t have any children yet, but we’ve only been married about a year now, so give us time. ;)
          I’m a Christian. I know that’s not necessarily common in the geek community. I’m not one to shove my beliefs down others’ throats, but I won’t censor myself in fear of offending, either. As most people do, I may want to talk about my beliefs and values occasionally. If you disagree with me, feel free to say so. I’m fine with having dialogue about controversial topics, as long as everyone involved is mature and respectful to everyone else. And that includes me.
           I also have Bipolar Disorder. It’s difficult at times, but it’s another one of those things that’s just part of who I am. In the past I have let my symptoms get so bad that it caused some major damage to my life (which I may write more about later), but I have learned a lot about how to keep the symptoms to a minimum. God is the most important part of that for me, and my husband has been a great help too.
          I just graduated from college in May. I double-majored in Early Childhood Education and Psychology, with a minor in Japanese Language. My intention was to get a job as an elementary school teacher, but since for a while it looked like that wasn't going to work out, I thought I would try my hand at blogging. (Now I just got a job as a teacher at a daycare, but I was already so excited about the idea of blogging, that I decided to go ahead and still do it!)

What will I write about on this blog?
          Anything mentioned above and more. I may write about my personal life, religious beliefs, marriage, Bipolar Disorder, etc. I will probably write a lot about my geeky interests – anything from reports on cons I went to, to tips for running a D&D game. I intend to write about some of my forays into the world of crafting – probably about lot about making jewelry, a particular interest of mine. I also have a series of posts planned about the two-week trip to Japan that Billy and I made last summer with the college.
          Beyond that, we’ll just have to wait and see where this goes!