Nerds At A Table

My friend Jake volunteers at Shaw TV and they were looking for a fun new local program to pick up. He pitched an idea and they liked it! And so, he enlisted myself and a few other geeks to come together for a show called Nerds At A Table (where we, some nerds, play tabletop games- get this- at a table!)

Local business Tactical Magic Games is letting us film on location in their store. We’ve filmed 3 episodes with Shaw so far, and I can’t wait until they air (they’ll also be available online!)- for now, here is our intro teaser!

Somehow I was bestowed the title “Punny Mastermind” (ok yeah, I love puns and use them liberally, but I wouldn’t say i’m a mastermind of any sort XD)

Each episode we will have a guest player from the local nerd community joining us.

No matter what ultimately happens with our show (local legend? public access cringe compilation?) I’ve really enjoyed filming it so far!

 

Advertisements

Canadian Library Month!

The month has flown by, but before it’s over I really want to acknowledge on my blog that October is library month in Canada! This month we celebrate our libraries and raise awareness of the vital roles they play in Canadian lives each day.

“More than just a place to find books, libraries promote cultural awareness, engage in the community, provide educational programs, support freedom of expression and so much more.”

CFLA

Libraries have been evolving and keeping pace with the changing needs of communities today- when oblivious people (usually non-library-users) try to claim that libraries are becoming obsolete, they are met with fierce library defenders who realize the true value libraries continue to provide to their communities (despite recently enduring closures and/or huge cuts to their budgets).

This library of nothing but books and silence is a lie. It’s a myth of a previous time, and that myth gets in the way of us realizing an important truth: that our world needs libraries more than ever… in an age of technology and information, in growing inequality and social isolation, our world needs libraries. They’re essential.

Laurinda Thomas

Libraries, both here in Canada and worldwide, are thriving and doing more with their communities than ever before. They are reinventing their collections, their strategies, their programs, their services, and their physical spaces. Check out this slideshow article from Matthew Hague of Chatelaine, “15 Of the Absolute Coolest Libraries in Canada” , and also Brian Bethune of Maclean’s: “How Public Libraries are Reinventing Themselves for the 21st Century“.

Libraries are not just places to consume- they are places to create, and places that engage with their communities.

“Librarians no longer have all of the answers. We no longer expect that we do the talking and you do the listening. We are building a world… where we share in these experiences, and we are co-creators in the experience that people are going to have in libraries.”

Ellen Humphrey

 

Here are some titles to check out for Library Month!:

These are just a few I’ve come across, and there are so many more awesome resources out there! Please let me know if you have any other favourite recommendations 🙂

 

This is What a Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries, Communities, and Access to Information for All by Kyle Cassidy

“In 2014, author and photographer Kyle Cassidy published a photo essay on Slate.com called “This is What A Librarian Looks Like,” a montage of portraits and a tribute to librarians. Since then, Cassidy has made it his mission to remind us of how essential librarians and libraries are to our communities. His subjects are men and women of all ages, backgrounds, and personal style-from pink hair and leather jackets to button-downs and blazers. In short, not necessarily what one thinks a librarian looks like.”

 

Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind by Cynthia Grady and Amiko Hirau

51e7Hv+2D5L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

“A touching story about Japanese American children who corresponded with their beloved librarian while they were imprisoned in World War II internment camps.”

 

Americus by MK Reed and Jonathan Hill

“Neal Barton just wants to read in peace. Unluckily for him, some local Christian activists are trying to get his favorite fantasy series banned from the Americus public library on grounds of immoral content and heresy. Something has to be done, and it looks like quiet, shy Neal is going to have to do it. With youth services librarian Charlotte Murphy at his back, Neal finds himself leading the charge to defend the mega-bestselling fantasy series that makes his life worth living.

This is a funny, gripping, and relatable tale of life and local politics in middle America”

 

BIBLIOCraft: The Modern Crafter’s Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects by Jessica Pigza

“There is untold wealth in library collections, and, like every good librarian, Jessica Pigza loves to share. In BiblioCraft, Pigza hones her literary hunting-and-gathering skills to help creatives of all types, from DIY hobbyists to fine artists, develop projects based on library resources. ”

Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes

Image result for property of the rebel librarian

“When twelve-year-old June Harper’s parents discover what they deem an inappropriate library book, they take strict parenting to a whole new level. And everything June loves about Dogwood Middle School unravels: librarian Ms. Bradshaw is suspended, an author appearance is canceled, the library is gutted, and all books on the premises must have administrative approval.

But June can’t give up books . . .”

 

Library Wars: Love and War by Kiiro Yumi and Hiro Arikawa

“In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves—the Library Forces! Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she’s finally a recruit, she’s finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it out for her!”

Why We Don’t Need “Straight Pride” Flags

Chipman, a small village in my home province of New Brunswick, is in the headlines today because officials approved the raising of a “straight pride” flag next to a main road.

“Chipman resident Glenn Bishop and 11 others met over the past few months to find ways to show support for straight people.” –Global News

Interesting, I didn’t know that people in New Brunswick were in need of support for …being straight?

The flag was swiftly taken down amidst backlash, and although the town claims that the flag was intended to show support for “all groups in the community” I fail to understand how that is possible, unless it was a decision made from ignorance.

Pride for what?

“Straight pride” flags are at best completely unnecessary and at worst incredibly offensive symbols of hatred towards LGBTQ+ people.

LGBTQ+ communities have pride parades and raise pride flags because they are coming together, not only as a positive celebration of who they are, but also to take a stand against the discrimination, prejudice, unequal rights, and violence that they are subjected to just for being themselves.

If your response to seeing a pride flag is to feel excluded and think “where’s my straight pride flag?” you are totally missing the point of the pride flag. Pride flags are used worldwide as a bold visual symbol that says “we’re not ashamed of who we are” in a world that still positions straight, cisgender people as the apparent default way to exist.

If, like the man behind the aforementioned flag,  you don’t get why “straight pride” flags are unnecessary and offensive, here are some reasons:

Straight, cisgendered people are not shamed for being straight.

Neither their sexuality nor their gender are perceived by the public as remarkable traits of their identity.

They aren’t screamed at in the street for holding their girlfriend’s hand.

They aren’t denied the opportunity to take their boyfriend to prom.

They aren’t approached at the bar and told “you’re a waste of a perfectly fine girl”.

Nor are they targeted, profiled, denied rights and privileges, attacked or murdered because of their sexuality or gender.

When “straight pride” flags are flown, they carry a toxic message: “I don’t care/believe that these things happen to you, I’m important too, look at MY flag!”.

“Straight pride”  flags are arrogant, as they were created in direct response to pride flags as a way to claim “it’s just equality!” while simultaneously overlooking the reason why we need pride flags in the first place- people (not straight people!) are being attacked solely because of who they love and who they are.

While the mayor of Chipman recently said that no formal apology was forthcoming,  I think that further shows that the people behind this flag, and those who claim not to understand why it is controversial, are in need of education on this matter.

Note: Making threats, hurling insults, and jumping on an internet hate train are NOT effective or ethical ways to educate people. Please don’t do that. Rather, consider sharing information and statistics about LGBTQ+ realities , contacting officials in Chipman, and showing support to your local LGBTQ+ group(s).

I hope that the village of Chipman will learn from this experience and grow together as a community. I agree with recommendations that were shared by the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP), a sibling to Moncton’s River of Pride:

“NSRAP strongly encourages the town council and mayor of Chipman to seek training on diversity and inclusion and sensitivity training to attempt to understand the lives of their marginalized constituents. Additionally, a formal apology, beyond the previously released statement, should be made.”

 

 

 

 

 

Super Septic Lobster Award

Thanks very much to Matthew of Normal Happenings for tagging myself as well as all of the other contributors of The Games that Defined Us in this Super Septic Lobster Award! Or… OK, apparently it’s called the (Super Specific) Liebster Award -I can’t keep all these cool, fancy award names straight XD

 

3and3quarters.net_

Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blog posting:

I love blogging because I can share my thoughts and ideas on things I am passionate about with the world! I’ve only been blogging on here for a few months, but I’ve already met some super cool people and joined some awesome collaborative projects. I truly enjoy writing, so it’s a good fit for me. My blog is also a time capsule I can look back on for the memories, as well as something I can share with people when they ask things like “why do you like cosplay”, “why do you love vampires so much”, or “how long have you been a SHINee fan?”

Provide 10 random facts about yourself.

  1. I just ate some butter chicken!
  2. My Dad calls me “scrawney” but I don’t think I’ve ever been what you could call scrawney…
  3. My left eye has really poor vision but apparently my right eye is 20/20 (last I checked, anyway) so it compensates for my bad eye.
  4. I considered getting laser eye surgery for my bad eye but decided against it when I found out that it would make it a lot harder to wear costume contact lenses (because cosplay>ocular health…)
  5. I have a small piece of New Brunswick rock embedded above my left cheekbone from a bad bike accident when I was 11 years old.
  6. My family “smuggled” our pet rats across the country when we moved because rats aren’t allowed in Alberta. We told the Air Canada security people that they were hamsters or something, and they didn’t really investigate. (We would have been a hysterical mess if they took our rats away, so i’m glad it worked out…)
  7. Last year I went to Japan and I still think lovingly about Japan every single day.
  8. I’ve been slowly but steadily working on learning basic conversational Japanese for several years.
  9. I’ve never eaten a food that I wouldn’t try again.
  10. I can’t help myself when it comes to sweets, so I don’t buy them often- when they’re in the house I devour them way too quickly!

Super Specific Questions

  1. Ask your best friend/significant other to make an annoying animal sound. How did they react, and what animal did they imitate?I don’t even have to ask, because I can already hear the beleaguered goat sound Dustin would make. I know it to be so. I will test this later…*I tested it later*.:
    Dustin, driving home, on bluetooth: Hello?
    Shauna: Hun, make an annoying animal sound.
    Dustin: *prolongued silence* uh…
    Shauna: Just do it. Any animal.
    Dustin: …. “HOOOOOUUUNNAAANNNNKK”
    Shauna: What… what IS that?
    Dustin: It’s a cow!

    Ok, so I was close.
    I then told him I thought he would make a goat sound.
    At first he said “I don’t know how to make a goat sound?”
    Then I made a goat sound, and he blurted “BAAEEEHEHHHEHHE” as if remembering a long-lost bovidae secret.


  2. *POOF* I am your barista. Order your favorite coffee shop beverage exactly as you would in real life.

    “Hi um… can I please get a chai tea latte? Oh err, the one that means medium heh, I can’t remember what it’s called. Great, thanks. OH, and this peanut butter cup thing too please. No that’s ok, I will eat it right now. Great. Thanks!”


  3. Do numbers have personalities in your mind? If so, tell me about the personality of the number 6. What’s it’s story? What kind of disposition does it have?
    Six isn’t afraid of seven. She’s so tired of people making that joke. In fact, she’s about to snap! She has a secret room in her basement that the other numbers have started rumors about. “It’s a torture chamber!” they whisper, “no, I heard it’s a kinky bdsm dungeon, you know they call her Sadistic Six right?” Meanwhile Six bides her time, musing “They think i’m afraid? Heh, I’ll show them what it means to be afraid…”


  4. What is your favorite movie title? Not your favorite movie, just the title, irrespective of the quality of the film. 

    “Malkovich’s Hole” (Coincidentally though, I do love that movie)


  5. Story time! Your best friend suddenly finds themselves in the body of your least favorite animal. Craft a story of five sentences or less with this unfortunate predicament as a central plot mechanic. Bonus points if it’s the same animal they chose to imitate.
    I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking and I honestly can’t think of a least favorite animal!
    I just… I love all animals T-T
    Well, since he makes goat sounds, let’s go with goat.S: Honey, you’re a goat!
    D: Baeeaaaahhh
    S: You know that goats are sometimes associated with the devil, right. Are you a Satan worshiper?
    D: BEEAAAHHHEEHHHH
    S: I challenge you to a rock off!!! Give me one chance to rock your socks off!!! 

    Image result for tenacious d beelzeboss


  6. Tell me. Do Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo?
    If you give credence to lexical ambiguity, they sure do!(Thanks for getting me to curiously google buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo and find this interesting ted-ed!)


  7. Tell us about the most boring game show you could ever imagine.
    A game called “Truth Or Trump?!” where Trump’s tweets and video clips are shown: contestants raise a sign up to show their guess of if what Donald Trump is saying is TRUTH or a LIE, and whoever gets the most right wins a small loan of a million dollars.It would be extremely boring because there would be no contest; everything that man says is a lie!


  8. Useless Superpower Bedbug: The Return!
    Which of the following useless superpowers would choose and why?
    – The ability to randomly add cat meows to every song on the radio
    – The ability to randomly add the Pizza Planet truck from Toy Story to even the most intense of any movie scene
    – The ability to randomly add Owen Wilson saying “WOW” to any line of dialog in a video game

    WOW, these are all solid options. However, I’m definitely going with the ability to randomly add cat meows to every song on the radio. It would really entertain me and tickle my funny bone endlessly. There would have to be a wide range of meow sound selections so that I could tailor my choices to the specific song. I’m already obsessed with Corgi Maybe, so this isn’t a far stretch for me.


  9. What is the hexadecimal color code for your favorite color?

    #88d8c0 Color Information. In a RGB color space, hex #88d8c0 (also known as Pearl Aqua) is composed of 53.3% red, 84.7% green and 75.3% blue. Whereas in a CMYK color space, it is composed of 37% cyan, 0% magenta, 11.1% yellow and 15.3% black.

    18034355_10158579540990261_56020776913630207_n


  10. On a scale of one to 15,742.58, how do you feel about these super specific questions?
    The scale doesn’t even go high enough- I rate them a fifillion out of a million!

    OK! So, I tag these awesome peeps:
    Milliebot
    Simpleek
    FangirlFury
    A Nerdy Perspective
    The Spellbound Librarian

    My questions for you are below!

    Please don’t feel pressured to do this if you don’t want to, this is all for fun ^_^ And if anyone else reading this wants to do it too, GO FOR IT!

    Here are the official Liebster Award rules.

    And, here are my 11 questions!:

    1. You wake up tomorrow to the Breaking News that alien ships had been discovered in our atmosphere. How do you feel? What do you do?

    2. What was your favorite toy when you were a kid? Do you still have it?

    3. What fictional character would you love to be besties with? What would a typical hang-out session be?

    4. Share a random, obscure YouTube video that you are fond of and explain why you like it. If you don’t have one, explore until you do!

    5. Share a memorable story from your past involving a teacher you had.

    6. What is your opinion on the “YOLO” mindset?

    7. Describe your dark alter-ego. Give them a name, explain their style, their hopes and dreams.

    8. Open up Paint or a similar program. Create something just for the act of creating it- no judgement, no expectations, no worries, just go with it. Take a screenshot and post it here! (Alternately, draw with old fashioned paper and pen/pencil/marker/paint and take a picture).

    9. Explain your true feelings towards circus clowns. You may wish to do this in the form of poetry.

    10. Speaking of poetry, what is your interpretation of the following verse from Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky? What is being described?

    ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves 
          Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: 
    All mimsy were the borogoves, 
          And the mome raths outgrabe. 

    11. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen happen in person- something that  might have gone viral if it was caught on camera?

 

Yet another open letter to Joel Tucker…

I am shocked and very upset at the news that Joel Tucker, director of Washington County Libraries, has not only stood by his initial decision to censor Hurricane library staff from making LGBTQ+ displays or wearing LGBTQ+ pins, but is now also banning LGBTQ+ displays in ALL Washington County Libraries.

He claims he wants to keep the libraries welcoming and be a neutral ground, but it seems he doesn’t understand what either of those concepts mean.

When he first censored Hurricane staff, I wrote an open letter, which I never got a reply to.

In response to the saddening progression of events, here is my second open letter (as submitted through the Washington County Library System website’s contact page):

Mr Tucker,

As I have received no reply to my initial email or open letter, I write to you once again regarding your censorship of LGBTQ+ materials in Washington County Libraries.

I am an educator,LGBTQ+ ally, and MLIS candidate. When I wrote to you a few weeks ago I thought it likely that, once you fully understood the implications of your decision regarding the Hurricane library system, and listened to valid concerns from LGBTQ+ advocates, librarians, and other communities, you’d reconsider your harmful decision. Unfortunately I see that is not the case, and that you are effectively banning ALL Washington County Libraries from displaying LGBTQ+ materials.

This is a very sad day for your libraries and communities. You say you want to “remain neutral” and “don’t want to advocate for one position over another” but there are no positions involved here- just human lives. Your decision is not neutral in the slightest- it is an act that shames, isolates, and aims to erase LGBTQ+ people’s voices and rights by pretending they don’t exist.

LGBTQ+ people exist. Displays featuring LGBTQ+ content do not show any sort of position or stance- they only show real people who exist in the real world and are not going away.

When questioned you said that you do allow displays such as Black History Month because they are “not controversial”- some day LGBTQ+ displays won’t be controversial either. Do you want to be on the wrong side of history, censoring your community from access to important resources to appease the homophobic?

If LGBTQ+ content is controversial in your communities, that shows that there are people who would benefit greatly from accessing those materials- both in the LGBTQ+ community and otherwise. Banning LGBTQ+ displays severely reduces the amount of patrons who will come into contact with those materials, and so is a form of censorship.

Are complaints of controversy more important to attend to than the lives of LGBTQ+ people? Those who don’t want to see those books can walk away, put down the book. Those who need the book may never have the chance to access it because that display never went up.

Suicide rates are disproportionately high for LGBTQ+ people because of knee-jerk decisions like this one you are making- you are making these people feel like they are not fit to be out in society.

I am seriously disheartened with your current decisions and urge you to reconsider. Libraries are not a place for censorship. Hiding your materials in the stacks to avoid controversy should be the complete opposite of your mandate.
Your current vision of a “welcoming” library is not one I ever wish to visit- I hope you will think hard about the implications of your recent decisions and reconsider them.

Thanks again for your time,
-Shauna

Note: I am once again posting this as an open letter on my blog, hidengoshauna.wordpress.com

Why Cosplay?

Yesturday I came across this post by TheGamersJourney which is a response to a challenge by TheCosplayingBrooke and it inspired me to share my own thoughts on cosplay and why I enjoy it!

Cosplay is a total mystery to some people- why do we dress up as these characters, painstakingly crafting elaborate costumes, weapons and accessories? It’s expensive, it’s a lot of work, and some people look down upon it as being childish or cringey.

What’s with cosplay?

A little on my cosplay history…

My first time cosplaying was at Edmonton Expo in 2015. It was my first con ever, and I went as InuYasha. While my costume was designed by the amazing SkyCreation on Etsy, everything else was of my own making- the Tetsusaiga sword was my first weapon build, and it got tons of stares and photos- it was almost too long to fit in our truck!


A lot of my blood and sweat went into that Tetsusaiga… cutting glued industrial foam with an xacto knife is a dangerous business o.o

img_20150715_154513.jpg
InuYasha’s long haired wig was a pain in the butt, but luckily the ears I made worked well when sewn into it. I tried creating my own Beads of Subjugation with clay but they ended up being ridiculously heavy, so strung together some store-bought beads instead. I learned the trick of making realistic fangs out of acrylic nails and I’ve never looked back!


After cosplaying as InuYasha I was hooked, and I have since cosplayed Rin Matsuoka, Laito Sakamaki, Tsukimi Kurashita, and soon Krul Tepes (in progress)!


What inspires you to cosplay?

Usually I choose a cosplay project because I absolutely love the character- whether that’s a character that I am attracted to (my initial cross-plays of InuYasha, Rin, Laito) or a character that I admire or feel an affinity towards, like Tsukimi from Princess Jellyfish.


I have also started looking more at the aesthetics and style of a character- it’s especially fun to portray a character that has a unique and eye-grabbing style. For example, I cosplayed as Laito because he is my favorite character from Diabolik Lovers, but I almost chose to cosplay Kanato because he has awesome purple hair, his plushie Teddy, dark facial features that would be fun to replicate with makeup, and a really cool outfit.

Image result for laito and kanato
On the flipside of this, after having lots of struggles with long wigs, I might reconsider any future cosplay choices if they have crazy long hair!

I also consider the feasability of creating the costume- i’m still a beginner at sewing and crafting, and although in the beginning I purchased some of my pieces from online sellers, my goal is to create all of my costumes and accessories myself going forward.

What got you interested in cosplay?

Cosplay was on my radar ever since I was a young kid, I think. I’m sure I didn’t know “cosplay” was a word back then, but I used to dream about dressing up as the blue Power Ranger or Sailor Mercury. I used to pretend to be these characters when I was playing with my friends, but there was always this yearning to wear the costumes and take on the role of someone else.

Halloween was thrilling for me, and I’ve loved getting into costume for school plays and things like that- cosplay was a natural progression, I guess.


What does cosplay mean to you and what does it bring to your life?

Cosplay does lots of things for me. It gives me a new way to be creative and learn new skills- I’ve designed my own accessories and weapons, learned how to use a sewing machine, dabbled with costume and sfx makeup, and improvised materials and costume fixes.


It also gives me an immediate sense of community. As soon as I stepped into the expo hall as InuYasha, strangers began approaching and complimenting my handicraft, expressing their love of the series, and so on. I call conventions “being with my people” because it’s so fun to feel completely free to dork out and celebrate that dorkiness with others.


I love seeing diverse people of all different backgrounds and abilities, from all walks of life, young and old, coming together in celebration and shenanigans because of their shared geekiness. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of!


Who do you cosplay for?

I cosplay for myself, because I truly enjoy it, and also for the geeky community that I meet at things like conventions. Just as I feel excitement approaching someone who is playing one of my favorite characters, I love it when I see and hear excitement from others about my cosplay. When people ask to get a picture with me, it makes my day. There is something so special and magical about being tapped on the back by Miroku when I am browsing anime dvds at a giant nerdy tradeshow, and getting a picture together!

Is cosplaying freeing for you, either to be more yourself or explore different parts of yourself?

Being around like-minded people certainly does make me feel freer to be my squeeful fangirl self without restraint. Since starting my cosplay journey I feel more confident being bold and sharing my individuality even when i’m not surrounded by other geeks. It’s empowering!

Cosplay also allows me to bring a bit of the theatrical into my life. On the one hand, I get a chance to play with my own look and take on aspects of characters I find similar to myself. On the other hand, cosplaying a character like Laito, who has a personality much stronger than mine, is a lot of fun.


Participating in cosplay competitions is very rewarding even when you don’t win anything, and I am planning to continue signing up for them in the future! It’s not often I get to be on stage with hundreds of people watching me. It’s a crazy experience.

screenshot_2017-09-24-21-07-31-1.png

^Awkward Tsukimi shuffle off the staaaggeeee! (Picture rights belong to Edmonton Expo)

An Open Letter to Joel Tucker

( I have also emailed this letter to Mr. Tucker through the Washington County Library System )

Hello Mr. Tucker,

I am a library worker and future librarian, and I am writing to ask you to please reconsider your censorship of LGBTQ+ displays and buttons in Washington County libraries.

I understand that Southern Utah is a place where LGBTQ+ materials cause controversy.
However, that is all the MORE reason why it is important to have these materials visibly available.

Having displays on a theme or topic facilitates learning and discussion. Having a display on something doesn’t mean you “promote” that sort of book- but even if it did, the only thing you’d be “promoting” in this case is the acceptance, inclusion, respect, and understanding of LGBTQ people and communities. It shouldn’t be a “point of view” that LGBTQ people should be respected and treated as people rather than as controversial topics that should be hidden away in the stacks away from public view.

The mission statement for Washington County Libraries explicitly states that censorship is not tolerated and that you provide open, non-judgmental access to materials, but asking staff to take down a display is a form of censorship as it is a conscious act that will reduce the number of patrons who come into contact with those materials.

I respectfully ask that you please reflect on your policies and procedures and consider reaching out to LGBTQ+ groups for information and support in building a more welcoming and inclusive library system.