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Geek Chic Hoplite

Culture, Lifestyle

March 23, 2017

Our CEO recently posted a picture of his new table to his facebook feed and got a general response of “yup, that’s a table.”

But it’s not just a table. It’s a Geek Chic branded Hoplite, and he wants to talk to you about what makes that special.

Our CEO needs more caffeine, clearly. The actual URL is www.geekchichq.com. The play he’s going to on Friday is Songs for a New World, which is playing at the PAL Studio Theater in Coal Harbour, Vancouver, and you can find out more about it by clicking here. We’ll have a review of it up on Saturday morning.

Aaron’s got a book out, which you can find learn more about by clicking here or purchase by clicking here. If you’d like to read a sample of his work, here’s a link to the last Love is War chapter, the next part of which goes live tomorrow.

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950

The Fictionals – Five Year Anniversary

Culture, Lifestyle

November 11, 2015

Ladies and Germs… for those of you living in Vancouver who have never been to see Improv Against Humanity, you’re missing out on one of the joys of life.

Improv Against Humanity, or IAH for those in the know, was created by the improv group the Fictionals. The Fictionals started out with Show Us Your Wits, which was an improv and burlesque mashup hosted by the former Mermaid Cafe. Since then they have expanded to a cast of 12 players, and perform regularly at Cafe Deux Soleils and, of course, at the Rio Theatre. IAH is by no means for the faint of heart – if you are easily offended by, well, *anything*, you will definitely want to give this show a pass. But if you’re the type to experience a hearty belly laugh at the idea of watching a scene inspired by two midgets $#!^ing in a bucket, then this is the show for you!

The Fictionals Comedy Co.

And who can believe that the Fictionals have been around for FIVE YEARS? Happy Birthday, Fictionals! To celebrate, you should join us at their 5th Anniversary celebration – they’re bringing cake! Mmmm… cake.

IAH Five Year Anniversary Poster

If you plan to attend, I highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance. It is almost always a sell-out show, so those who buy tickets the night of are often left disappointed. And remember that if you arrange for will-call tickets, you MUST be there by 7:30 or else the tickets are released back into the wild.

See you there…

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1005

Proving Grounds

Culture, Lifestyle, Showcase

October 26, 2015

Winter is coming.

I know that’s a tag line of a popular series of novels and a television series on top of that, but the Starks are inevitably right. Winter is coming. It can be hard to get out of bed, hard to go to work, hard to go out and do anything. Hard to go to the gym, to stay limber, to do much of anything but wait for the world to thaw.

The simple reason is that the gym is boring. Admit it – if you force yourself to go, you go out of a sense of obligation. There’s no other way to get your exercise in and be an adult.

… and be an adult.

Huh.

Okay, let’s start there. We’re all adults now, right? We get to decide what that means. And, yes, pumping iron is all well and good. It’s something you should do, but it’s repetitive and dull. If you dig it, cool, but if you’re looking for something to get your blood pumping and your body moving, maybe you should consider something a little more adventurous.

Maybe, if you live in Vancouver, you should step to the Proving Grounds.

Proving Grounds is an unassuming place huddled out among the edges of New Westminister, a secret tucked in along the borderlands of Coquitlam, Burnaby, and Surrey. It’s right beside the Columbia Skytrain Station, maybe a block east of that strange place. And what it offers? Stranger still.

So many cool weapons to try.

So many cool weapons to try.

Full contact melee weapon fighting.

Swords. Warhammers. Daggers and axes and maces. Hard foam weapons that can take your full strength while giving whoever is being struck nothing more serious than a light bruise, and that’s on a very good hit. The weapons are all weighted and cut like their real-life counterparts, too.

Quoth one of the people we brought with us to check Proving Grounds out, “I thought a sword was just a hunk of metal. I didn’t expect them to handle differently.” And yet, a rapier is different from a katana is different from a bastard sword, and Proving Grounds has a host of different blades to try, to say nothing of those aforementioned axes, warhammers, staffs, daggers, and a host of other weapons.

Never used any of those weapons before? That’s not surprising. The modern world has distressingly few moments in which one’s skill with a sword are called upon. Thankfully, techniques honed on a thousand battlefields over the centuries have been preserved, and Proving Grounds offers instruction in quite a few different disciplines in between testing those lessons in a practical setting.

Wanna know what it’s like to engage in a katana duel without the loss of limbs or blood? Proving Grounds is your hook up.

For the horde!

For the horde!

Looking for classes on Kenjutsu – the art of Japanese sword fighting? Knife fighting? How about hand-to-hand self defense – BJJ and MMA? Proving Grounds does all of this. Drop-ins are welcome. The instructors are friendly, professional, and willing to work to enhance what strengths you have naturally.

That last bit is an important tack. Too often, instructors in self defense will demand certain things be done a certain way, whether or not such techniques work with your body or not. Proving Grounds will cater to you, and help you develop a style that works for you while giving you a safe space in which to test and refine it.

All by itself, that one quality puts them in the running for one of Vancouver’s best dojos.

They’ve also got combat archery. Bows and arrows. The writer of this article got an arrow to the face – it was like being attacked by an itinerant pillow. It took me a few moments to understand what had happened, and it didn’t even hurt. I wear glasses and they were fine, too.

Proving Grounds 001

This dude. Hit me in the face.

Archery, as it turns out, is a lot of fun and much more involved when you’re running about, avoiding zombies, while attempting to line up a shot.

Oh, yes, Proving Grounds also does games. You can book sessions for games which run from shurikan tossing to zombie hunting to king-of-the-mountain style challenges. They’ve got full day programs, partial day programs, whatever works for you. They’re accommodating people. You can even set up group rates for your friends and go out in groups of six or more, having a blast and hacking at one another without blood loss.

And you want a work out? There’s nothing quite like maintaining balance while swinging a sword around, trying to keep up your own defenses while hacking through those of your opponent. There’s nothing like the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat – the knowledge that you’re testing your might and skill against someone else in an equal place.

Those muscles you’ve honed? The cardio you’ve done? The iron you’ve pumped? Even the stretches, the running, the everything is put to the test at Proving Grounds.

Safety is a concern, of course. The instructors are first aid certified, but of the eight hours we spent hacking at one another, the only injury we suffered was when one of us tripped – after the game was over. Both instructors present were still quick to jump to the aid of our fallen friend, and we were back up and playing with all due haste.

You can find the Proving Grounds website by clicking here, and find their pricing by clicking here. Clicking here will not physically take you to them, but will show you where they are on Google Maps. That’s nearly as good.

This is a place we would recommend checking out. Come for the novelty of it, but stick around because they’re awesome and one of the best work-outs you’re going to find in all of Vancouver. Boys and girls welcome, the space is friendly and the game intense.

Step on up. Proving Grounds. Tell your friends.

Yeah. How awesome is this?

Yeah. How awesome is this?

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1301

Canadian Politics – Education

Culture, Lifestyle, Projects

September 23, 2015

This is a bit of a weird one. It shouldn’t be – you’d think education would be an important talking point for all of the political parties heading into the October 19th Election that the Conservative party doesn’t want you to vote in. It’s overlooked by most, though, because in Canada education is handled on a Provincial level. Given the importance of education to the future of the country as a whole, though, and the lasting damage being wrought on the future because of policies adopted from our southern neighbor, education can, must, and should be spoken of during this election cycle. It’s time for a larger perspective, and that means Federal politics. Here’s a brief history on education as we understand it, where and why it’s failing, and where the various political parties stand on this impossibly important issue. 

 

Schools, as we understand them, were initially created to craft a literate work force. That’s it. That’s all that they were meant to produce. The merchant class, with the blessing of the nobility, put together a system of learning that would allow people to work in factories, but with greater education comes curiosity and a need to seek out answers. The founding fathers of the United States changed that, creating the common schools that would be the precursor to modern public schools.

That’s why a good deal of the scientists and philosophers that have moved our world forward haven’t come from the noble or merchant classes, excepting those instances where those people have wanted change. Happy people don’t move, don’t grow, don’t seek out answers – and if there’s one thing that early education system did, it was give people just enough of an understanding to see how miserable they actually were.

From this we got some serious changes so far as civil rights went, which also saw an overhaul of the education system. Both Canada and the United States recognized the importance of educating the populace in an ever more complex world, because of either country was going to maintain its edge education was going to be paramount.

Public education became the by-word, and was one of the most important advantages that both countries offered future generations. By paying teachers a good salary and making certain that the curriculum was flexible by the standards of the time, they were able to make sure that no child was left behind. Public schools were the standard, an investment in the future, and the rest of the world hurried to follow suite.

It’s amazing to think that the America education system was once heralded as one of the best on the planet, and is now one of the worst among first world nations. Canada isn’t anywhere near there yet, but the potential is there.

Why? How did this happen down south, and how can we avoid it up here?

Well, the introduction of standardized testing plays a big roll in that – instead of measuring comprehension, standardized testing only measures the memorization of abstract information. Further, by using the results of standardized testing to dole out the budget of any given school, we’ve encouraged schools to cheat and compete with one another rather than encouraging them to actually teach children.

Worse, as we’ve cut funding for public schools, we’ve also seen the rise of private schools that also get government funding, and often get more government funding than their public counterparts. This has led to the re-creation of a caste-based education system, neither of which treats their teachers fairly.

Teachers make barely enough money to keep them out of poverty, but are expected to work overtime unpaid and are required purchase their own materials from out of pocket so that they can actually do their jobs. Further, the government’s consistent disdain for public education has seen less and less people become interested in becoming teachers, and the fact that parents blame teachers for the shortcomings of government and government blames teachers for wanting to be paid fairly leaves those that do become teachers questioning their decisions.

In the United States, we’re seeing the Conservatives of that country push for propaganda over information, and the Conservatives of our own country are, as ever, following their lead. They also want to double down on tactics that we know do not work, murdering the natural curiosity of children in the hopes of engendering a compliant apathy.

This, despite the fact that we now know more about how to go about teaching people and are unable to take advantage of it due to budget restrictions endorsed by government and resistance from parents, an ever decreasing group of teachers and ever increasing group of students, to the point where classroom sizes are getting so large as to be unmanageable. Also, the world has sort of moved on from the Industrial Age – mayhap the curriculum and means of teaching should move on as well?

Many curriculums are entirely frozen to a bygone age or push for changes that do not work, teachers unable to get the resources they need to make their lessons relevant and classrooms liveable. As our government and parents debate the validity and value of sex education, we still have high school graduates that do not know how to be adults in our modern worldhow to balance a check book, do taxes, or pay bills. We need our schools to cover the practical and the abstract, and they can do neither with the budgets and restrictions that they’re currently given.

None of this even takes into account post-secondary education. Believe it or not, there was a time when one could get a summer job flipping burgers and pay for college, but the changing economy has made that reality a distant memory. The reality is that now post-secondary education is necessary to get any sort of career, and yet doing so will saddle those that seek it with a debt they will likely never escape, even if you can find a job that will pay for work.

Like, you know, teaching should.

These are the grim meathook realities of the modern world. We have some protection because Provincial, rather than Federal, governments are responsible for education in Canada, but the Federal government still has some say in policies and how things are managed. To say that the system is broken on a fundamental level is an understatement; so, given these truths, what do our politicians plan to do about fixing it?

 

Just a reminder – we’ve already covered who these people are, their stance on the environment, and what they’d like to do to the economy. We also noted a rather disturbing completion of a certain political checklist. Remember, inform yourself and vote accordingly:

 

Canada Politics 001 - 005The Grits

Alright, the Grits might be onto something here. First and foremost, they’ve promised to increase the budget of Early Childhood Education and Care to 1% of the Gross National Product of the country, which is a pretty good start. This means that single parent families, or families where both parents work, will have access to places they can leave those children to be cared for and educated. They’ve even promised that no one will be excluded for reasons of “disability, access, or the cost of service” and that the curriculum will enable “cognitive, linguistic, emotional, social and physical development” and even include things like “hearing and vision care, parental support and mental health.” The lack of an Oxford comma in that last sentence is their error, not mine, and one need only look at the Provincial Grits for an idea of how well the federal Grits might do. On the other hand, they’re also promising $2.6 Billion for First Nations education, so maybe the general public can go learn with them? There’s precious little the Grits have announced for post-secondary education, so maybe they’re holding off for a big reveal later? There’s talk of a “Canadian Learning Passport,” which would offer $4k in tax-free grants who choose to go to post-secondary, and maybe even more to those with low-income families or for veterans. That’d be cool.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 002The Tories

So, Canada has this RESP thing that parents of low-income and mid-income families can buy into. Basically, you put some money away for education later on, with a $0.10 per dollar buy in for mid-income families and a $0.20 per dollar buy in for low-come families. The Harper Government is promising to double that up to the first $500 per year, meaning that families could see an extra $100 per year if they do a full buy in. Beyond that promise, the Tories have been mum on the subject of education save for their snubbing of First Nations’ education and their quiet study of the propaganda-in-place-of-history being pushed by the Conservatives in the United States, and listening to the suggestions of the oil and gas companies that offer them most of their bribes. So, you know, that’s all pretty horrifying. Also, they really like the idea of student debt, because debt is good for stock exchange prosperity. So that’s a thing.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 006The NDP

Tom would like to create quality care centers for kids, engendering education and allowing parents to further their own education or join the workforce for no more than $15/day. That’s cool. He’s also pushing to open 40, 000 apprenticeships in the trade sector, which would allow kids to find paid work and eventually settle into a career. As for the specifics of education and student debt, well, the provincial NDP is moving to freeze post-secondary education costs, which is a step in the right direction. Tom has also noted that the average student walks out of post-secondary with $28k of debt, and 14% of them can’t find work – and of those that do, many are unpaid interns. Acknowledging that there’s a problem is the first step to fixing it. They also want more education grants, with a planned increase of $200 million going to scholarships and an increased tax credit for education, from $4,800 to $5,760 per year. As to overhauling the broken curriculum, well, Tom’s been pretty vocal about how much he doesn’t like oil and gas companies overhauling the system, and he might have some ideas on how to make things better. In point of fact, the NDP has been the voice of reason in recent debates involving education, probably because the Greens still haven’t been invited by the mainstream press.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 004The Greens

Wow. Front and center: the Greens want to abolish tuition fees going forward, forgive all student debt over $10k, and create a guaranteed livable income so that no Canadian lives in poverty. Right away, this would allow graduates to seek out jobs that are worth working at, and to actually survive interning for no pay, or to pass on interning to find work that will actually pay. Either option is better than what we have going right now. The Greens are also interested in working with teachers to create a better curriculum, and maybe even making sure teachers have the resources and budget that they need to make their jobs possible. Further, they’re interested in fostering the same sort of apprenticeships that the NDP are promising, with a focus on research, development, and application of green energies and technologies. Also, those child care services the Liberals are all excited about? The Greens want to do those, too, but better and cheaper, and they have a budget that would allow them to do so.There’s a sense of hope when the Greens talk about investing in future generations that is lacking in the other political parties, but we encourage you, as always, to double check our findings.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 003The Bloc

Shockingly, the Bloc is not all-Quebec here. This is important, because Quebec only functions because of the threat they pose to Canada by leaving it – and if they cut off the future of the country, they know that they’ll lose long term. To that end, the Bloc would like to restore the budget we used to give to education to mid-nineties levels, which is much higher than what the current Tory government is offering. They also want to increase the number of tax-exempt scholarships for post-doctoral students, so for those of us that get that far, woo.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 007Wyatt Scott

We know he believes that education is too damn expensive, so he plans on lowering costs. Presumably, the hordes of treasure can be claimed when he kills dragons will be invested on schools so that engineers can be trained to figure out what technologies can be harvested and put towards the good of all Canadians from the giant robots that he destroys with his eye lasers. We can also presume that he will free the scientists that the Conservatives had kidnapped to build those giant robots, thus allowing them to teach the secrets of their craft for the glory of Science~! and all Canadians.

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Canadian Politics – A Primer

Lifestyle, Opinion, The Truth

September 2, 2015

Every now and again, we’ll publish an article on politics. We try to keep our thoughts north of the border unless it’s something that’s going to effect the world stage, and even then it’s only a once in a while thing. We talk comics and video games and movies because we enjoy those things. We publish original fiction because fiction is important and culture defining.

We talk politics because we have to.

The federal election that’s coming up down south is happening, yes, but there’s another one coming up in Canada that our friends down south don’t know about, and, if we’re going to be fair, our government is much more interesting than theirs. And usually saner, though that’s slipping away.

So, the election is on October 19th, and we’re going to take a look at the politics of the parties and what they claim to represent – and what they actually do. While we usually are able to argue the subjective merits of one thing or another, there’s a lot of objective information we can look at with our politicians and see who they are and hypothesize where they’re going.

Now, while we are objective, we are not neutral. When someone comes to a debate and starts arguing with information that has nothing to do with what’s being discussed, their argument becomes invalid. If we want to talk about, say, climate change, and someone starts talking about their death cult, we’re going to call them on their bullshit.

And, in the name of Scott Wyatt, we’re going to have a little bit of fun with this.

The Federal Canadian Political Parties Include:

Canada Politics 001 - 005The Grits

Also called the Liberals, they used to fall on the center-left of the political spectrum but now sit more center-right, having been dragged their by the attempted fascism of the Tories (see below). Traditionally, their leaders were charismatic individuals who stood by cautiously progressive policies with a common sense approach. More recently, they’ve employed a number of charisma-less leaders who have had no solid grounding on any particular subject. Their greatest champion was Justin Trudeau, a former Prime Minister (like the President, but Canadian), and his son recently entered the political scene and totally kow-towed to Torie Fascism, which may have killed the party.

Canada Politics 001 - 002The Tories

A long time ago, they were center-right and the counter balance of the Grits. Back then, they were the Progressive Conservatives, but then there were some things that happened and the party imploded. Some people stayed behind, but their more extreme members formed the Reform Party, and their competent and sane people went and joined the Greens. The people left behind flailed about, eventually conning the Reform Party into rejoining, and then they decided they wanted to be the GOP and have been pushing an agenda of greed, fear, corruption, and fascism under the leadershit of Stephen Harper. Expect us to talk a lot about Harper and the Tories over the next few weeks.

Canada Politics 001 - 006The NDP

Once upon a time, the NDP were a socialist party that pushed a lot of far left ideas and never had a chance of getting in. Stephen Harper’s fascist policies have driven the whole political spectrum right, however, making the NDP a solid choice for the left and progressives alike. Generally speaking, the NDP wants to tax the rich with the idea of making education, healthcare, and opportunity available for all, which they believe will lead to a greater degree of economic growth and stability. They seem like good people on the Federal level, but when they achieve power on a provincial level they tend to bungle things horribly. Their leader, Tom Muclair, makes a lot of sense and has some interesting ideas. Most likely to win the next federal election simply because people hate Harper and Trudeau let everyone down.

Canada Politics 001 - 004The Greens

The Greens were a useless bunch of nothings for a good long time, but then the Tories exploded and a bunch of them ended up here. They studied up on the party’s policies but applied Torie thinking to them, and we all ended up with Red Greens – an organized core of leadership that pushes forward cautious progression and an environmental platform that is grounded in economic growth. Their leader, Elizabeth May, is the most well-spoken and informed of the various candidates, and she’d make a great Prime Minister. The problem is that most people still think of the Greens as a useless bunch of nothings, or don’t believe the Greens can win and thus cast their vote for anyone that isn’t Harper. This is called strategic voting, and it only works because Canada has multiple parties.

Canada Politics 001 - 003The Bloc

More properly called the Bloc Quebecois, this party is centered in Quebec and only cares about Quebec. They are determined to argue that Quebec is a distinct society from the rest of Canada – which anyone could argue in favor of – and that they are better than everyone else and deserve special compensation because of it – which no one but them can argue in favor of. Think of them as a villain from a James Bond movie; they frequently threaten to leave Canada with no clearly defined goal as to what that would look like, but their constant whining and threats basically allows them to hold the rest of the country hostage so that they can get stuff. They then do nothing with this stuff.

Canada Politics 001 - 007Wyatt Scott

A recent addition, he is an independent that has no party and doesn’t need one. Instead, he slays dragons, makes friends with aliens, and protects the country from giant robot invasions with his laser eyes. His political goals fall in somewhere between the Greens and the NDP, and while he most likely will not become Prime Minister, there’s a good chance that he will make it to Parliment (sort of the American version of Congress). His presence there has a good chance of mixing things up, which is good: we need a legitimate superhero after suffering more than a decade of Harper fascism.

Those are our parties and their leaders, the hopeful that think that they could run the country. We’ll go into more depth as to where they stand on various issues presently, but we want to help people understand what it is they’re hoping to be in charge of. Canada is a massive country with not so many people, just a lot of trees and snow and things. That said, there’s a massive divide in the cultures that abound here, with only a love of the environment, hockey, and beer holding us together as one people.

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San Diego – Day the First

Lifestyle

July 9, 2015

First of all, thank you to the weather gods so far! The weather at home has been so ridiculously warm that Southern California feels positively temperate. I mean, sure, I’m still sweating like a pig, but I don’t notice as much, you know? And it’s a con… at some point you just have to stop caring about being gross and disgusting and just go with it.

20150709_152756Where to start? Thursday is probably the quietest day of the con, but with the seemingly endless sea of humanity everywhere, you wouldn’t know it. I shake my fist at everyone who thinks it is a good idea to try and drive a car anywhere near the convention centre. Seriously people, what *are* you thinking?

So, a brief recap…

SDCC wouldn’t be complete without protesters. I’m not exactly sure how enjoying comics / television/ movies / anime means that we’re going to burn in a pit of eternal torment, but I’m not about to poke the bear and ask the question. I’ve got better things to do with my time. But the presence of protesters means that there will be people there to counter the protesters, and they’re pretty much guaranteed to be full of win. Like this dude.

20150709_115607And how awesome is NerdHQ this year? The answer of course, is full of awesome. Especially the nerdunteers. Shout out to all the NerdHQrew! I was lucky enough to attend the William Shatner panel, which I have a feeling might end up being the highlight of my convention. I mean, come on, you can’t top lap sitting! I don’t think that is what this guy was expecting when he got to ask the first question.

20150709_142327

Overall, the venue this year is a little smaller, which returns things to a slightly more intimate feeling. It is more reminiscent of the first two years, before they took over Petco. There are some gaming areas, and Star Wars Battlefront has a pretty big presence. And come on, where else can you happen to capture a picture of Batman on a snow speeder? 20150709_152425The dance area is pretty small, so I’m going to have to turn up early to get my groove on. The Nerd Machine dance parties are always the place to be. Just remember to stay hydrated folks! And the presence of food trucks outside means snacks aren’t far away.

20150709_123814I wanted to check out Nerdist’s Conival, but MTV has a thing going on in Petco as well, and there was a massive line trying to get in. Hoping to get over there tomorrow morning.

Until then, I’m resting my dancing feet!

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NerdHQ 2015 – Why is it awesome?

Lifestyle

July 2, 2015

NERD_HQ_LOGO_050815-1024x806Let’s face it – SDCC has become a frenzy. From trying to get passes, to crossing every possible appendage for luck in the hotel lottery, to then waiting in seemingly endless lines once you get in  – SDCC has probably caused more than a few stress ulcers. And this is what worries me about the state of SDCC… it is becoming all too much. As the years creep on, the idea of camping out on the pavement for hours seems entirely unappealing. Getting into a popular panel at SDCC is becoming the domain of the young, and perhaps a few older folks who don’t have bad backs or creaky knees. Having started going to SDCC at a time when you could still walk up to the door to buy a ticket, the sense of family I used to feel when attending just doesn’t seem to be there anymore; it’s now just a sea of humanity, which is probably part of the reason why so many off site events have been popping up. Nerdist and Geek & Sundry have expanded their presence this year, and I’m definitely looking forward to checking them out… but the place to be remains the Nerd Machine’s NerdHQ.

For those of you who don’t follow all the events around SDCC, NerdHQ is not affiliated with SDCC and remains a separate event. This year, it is being held at the New Children’s Museum, and features “exclusive gaming and tech activations”, as well as the ever popular dance parties. But the best part of NerdHQ are the panels. NerdHQ boasts the “Conversations for a Cause”; intimate celeb panels, where all the money raised goes towards supporting Operation Smile. So why go wait in line for hours to see the cast of Orphan Black or Supernatural, when you can buy a ticket for a reserved seat and see them in a room with less than 300 other people? It’s a win win all around.

Now, I’m not going to pretend that getting into a panel at NerdHQ is an easy, stress free task. Announced panels went on sale this morning, every 15 minutes. Demand far, FAR exceeded supply. Gone are the days when 6 minutes was considered a fast sellout. Now, if you don’t refresh at just the right millisecond, you’re SOL. And as everyone who had a ticket in their cart that then disappeared can attest to – it can be a bit of a gut wrenching experience. But for those lucky enough to get a panel ticket (or 2, or 8), you’re in for a helluva ride. And for those not able to get a panel ticket, this year, IGN is streaming all the panels live!

nerdhq2

The one thing that is especially present at NerdHQ is the sense of community that permeates the entire event. We’re one big giant nerd family – and I don’t think anything demonstrates it more than those who pay it forward. At the second NerdHQ, I was at the first Nathan Fillion panel where he started to auction things off. One girl was desperate for an item, but kept being outbid and didn’t have the funds to go higher. The entire audience banded together to raise money for her to buy a T-shirt – a true act of fellow nerd love. And last year… she paid it forward. At one of the Nathan panels, she used the exact same amount she had received previously to purchase an item for someone else in the audience. I may have gotten a few sniffles in that moment. And I don’t think any other event could dream of getting such awesome and dedicated volunteers as those who run NerdHQ, as the event would NOT happen without them. Last year, not only were many volunteers treated to a round of drinks afterwards by attendees who just wanted express their appreciation, but many were stopped on the street or in elevators by people who just wanted to say “thank you”. And THAT is one of the purest expressions of nerd love that I’ll think you’ll find.

20140727_133742

Will I be there with bells on again this year? Absolutely. Ok, so not *literally*… bells are noisy. But I got a ticket to see William Shatner, so my convention is pretty much made. I mean really, WILLIAM. Freaking. SHATNER. In a room that seats around 200 folks. I don’t think it gets better than that!

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2151

Anne Honeycutt discusses Northwest Fan Fest

Interviews, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

May 17, 2015

Anne Honeycutt is one of the most outspoken and wise members of the Vancouver Geek Community, a frequent debater for West Coast Geeks vs. Nerds, and one of those people that loves Northwest Fan Fest so much that she’s involved (secretly) behind the scenes. Here’s what she’s got to say about that… 
 
Anne Honeycutt 02
LMM: What does fandom mean to you?
Anne Honeycutt: Fandom means Family. I spent most of my life being “weird”. I am not weird anymore. I have found an amazing community of people that love the things I love. I can sit anywhere at Northwest FanFest and be able to tell someone I love their Harley Quinn cosplay and be able to talk about the intricacies of large mallet construnction and then after that I can bump into someone at a panel about geek girl culture and have a conversation about how important Arya and Sansa Stark are.
  
LMM: How has being apart of the fandom affected your life?
Anne Honeycutt: I was raised in geek culture. I went to conventions as a child. Grew up with parents who played DnD and Klingon was my first language. Fandom is my life. It is how I was raised. Find something you are into and obsess. Life is nothing if you don’t have passion.
  
LMM: What kind of impact do events like Northwest Fan Fest have for the fandom?
Anne Honeycutt: Well, it shows that you are a) not alone. b) that you can find your “tribe” and that no matter what you are into you are going to at least find one other person who likes what you like and the level you like it. c) It strengthens community. The panels at FanFest are diverse and community driven. The shows at FanFest are diverse and community driven.
  
LMM: What’s your favorite part of Fan Fest?
Anne Honeycutt: Last year, my favourite part of it was just hanging out in line for things. I was cosplaying as DJ Hello Kitty and my bestie was cosplaying as a member of DaftPunk and we started line raves. This year, I am excited for the chance to do panels myself and then also the VIP afterparty.
  
LMM: Who are you excited to see at Northwest Fan Fest?
Anne Honeycutt: Improv Against Humanity, Westcoast Geeks vs. Nerds, MissingNo, Reboot Musical, Tom Cook, Andy Rae Cosplay, and Kayla Rose Cosplay. AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BE ATTENDING!
  
LMM: How would you get somebody who has never heard of it to come out?
Anne Honeycutt: Little kids cosplay contest will prove to be the most adorable thing ever. If you don’t like children in cosplay.. then think of all of the adults in cosplay. And if you don’t like cosplay. we have gaming! and we have ALL THE THINGS! Just come, if you don’t like it.. you can tell me about it and I will give you a hug.

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1944

Robert V discusses Northwest Fan Fest

Interviews, Lifestyle

May 16, 2015

Robert VRobert V is a local cosplay icon who has used the craft and art to keep a strong relationship with his son. Northwest Fan Fest is proud to have him as a guest and we got a chance to speak with him leading up to the event. 
LMM: What does fandom mean to you?
Robert V: (it) Means looking at all the kids’ faces when they see their favorite action hero or artist in front of them.
LMM: How do you explain that to people not in the know?
Robert V:You get to see all these artists and their art all come together and enjoy a weekend of fun, art, and knowledge.
LMM: How has being a part of the fandom affected your life?
Robert V: It brings me and my kid together to do something we both enjoy.
LMM: What kind of impact do events like Northwest Fan Fest have for the fandom?
Robert V:It has a big impact because it keeps kids interested in it art instead of being out in the streets getting in trouble.
LMM: What’s your favorite part of Fan Fest?
Robert V:It’s the full experience of the artist, cosplay characters, and art.
LMM: Who are you excited to see at NWFF?
Robert V:Desu Dolls, Ghostbusters and new cosplay friends.
LMM: How would you get somebody who has never heard of it to come out?
Robert V: I would explain to them how much fun I have with my son looking at all the art and talent of everyone and how (much) they would enjoy it with their kids.

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Hellboy and Rouge’s Red Right Hand – Pop Culture and Hops

Lifestyle, Opinion

February 20, 2015

This month represents the 21st anniversary of Mike Mignola’s introduction of Hellboy to the world. Since it was created, it has branched in to a series of ongoing comics – including several spin-offs, two pretty damned awesome movies featuring the directorial talent of Guillermo Del Toro, and a whole whack of branded items from toys to cigarette lighters. To celebrate “Big Red” becoming legal drinking age, the lovely people at Rouge have created a signature label which is currently available for pre-order.

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