Words, words, words, art.

The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Women Gatekeepers of Nerdery


I don’t remember a time when I hadn’t seen “Star Wars.” I grew up with it. The original trilogy is one of my mom’s favorite films, and she took Baby Me into the theater to see “The Empire Strikes Back,” nursing me to keep me quiet. We used to check out the television magazine in the Sunday Tribune and highlight the showings of “Star Wars” movies, and she’d let me stay up late to watch them. She started reading me “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” as a bedtime story when I was so young that it just sank into my conscious. I don’t remember hearing it for the first time, I don’t remember a time without those stories in my blood, although I do remember lying on an inflatable pool float on the floor one hot and sticky summer listening to her reading to me and my brothers. Something was going on with our bedrooms, I don’t remember what, and we weren’t able to sleep in them. So we camped out on the floor upstairs and she read to us by candle light.

My mom introduced me to a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and encouraged me to read and enjoy the genre. She scoured used book stores for out of print books back in the day when out of print books could be very hard to find (no internet!). She took it as given that I could and should love these books, these movies, these tv shows. She shared them with me, shared her love and adoration, her visions of the future and endless possibilities.

I know a huge amount of women who are really deeply invested in science fiction and fantasy books, movies, and tv shows. Most of them were introduced to it by other women, by their moms and aunts and older sisters and cousins and best friends. Paperbacks are circulated, pages worn fabric-smooth, binding creased and bent and chipping away, covers held on with yellowing tape. Read this. Try this. What do you think of this? Have you read this one yet? We induct each other into little worlds, usher each other in, introduce each other to our favorite books and characters and authors and worlds.

More and more the recommendations involve “there’s a female central character!” or “nobody gets raped in this one!”

Science Fiction and Fantasy, like Gaming, has a reputation as being male-dominated, a genre ruled by men: written by men, about men, for men. Women interested in these areas are treated as trespassers, foreigners, creatures suspect and false. This despite the fact that there’s a very long history of women writing Science Fiction and Fantasy… that one could easily argue that the novel in general and Science Fiction specifically were founded/originated by women authors. Women have always been involved with Science Fiction, with Fantasy, with Gaming, with Horror, with Pulp, with all the little islands men set themselves up as absolute rulers of despite all evidence to the contrary.

So let’s have a toast to the women in our lives who introduce us to our favorite nerd things, our geeky tv shows and movies and books and games. Let’s think of our lady friends and their recommendations and our history. Let’s remember each other with fondness and kindness and keep sharing our passion and love.

Women have been a part of every aspect of nerd culture since the very beginning. We aren’t going anywhere. But we’re bringing others with us.

posted under gaming, NerdLife, stuff | Comments Off on Women Gatekeepers of Nerdery

ah mah glob! happy lumpin new year brah!


I was going to invite a bunch of people over for New Year’s Eve but then I started feeling sick so only invited one person, then spent New Year’s Eve Day huddled under a blanket on the couch shivering and coughing and watching an “Adventure Time” marathon on tv instead of cleaning up. I briefly considered canceling with the one friend I invited, but I’m glad I didn’t.

My fever ultimately broke, due to the power of rum or friendship or because the virus was running its course, WHO CAN SAY. I made glorious pizza and said friend brought over clearance chocolates and cookies, and we sat around and had fun with Niko and then Nesko put him to bed and she read him 2 stories, and then the three of us adults sat around and talked a bit more and then put on the “Highlander” movie, which friend had never seen although she’s a fan of the TV show.

So basically, I rung in the New Year in the perfect way: with my family and a good, fun friend; with great pizza and rum and coke; with the Highlander. 17 year old me would be pleased with how my life turned out.

One of my resolutions for the upcoming year is to invite people over more often. Since this year we managed to put a ceiling in the bathroom, paint the bathroom, and paint most of the kitchen (still need to paint the trim in the kitchen and some other rooms and paint the built-in china cabinet in the kitchen hall), our place looks less like a hellhole. I really like having people over to watch movies or play games (or both). So I resolve to have people over once a month for movies OR for board games, and maybe try to also have people over once a month for RPG purposes. This will involve 1) keeping on top of household chores/cleaning and 2) not getting sick all the time.

Another resolution is to NAIL bread making, other than Challah. For whatever reason I can make a KICK ASS Challah loaf but non-enriched bread (where “enriched” means “eggs and milk” not “vitamins and fiber”) is still extremely meh. Since there’s a lot of people in my life who don’t/can’t eat eggs or milk, and since breads made without them are also cheaper, I’m going to keep working at it. Once I get a white bread down I’ll work on whole wheat, and then rye. One of my biggest challenges here is a cold kitchen affecting rise time, I think. So I need to just go ahead and let the dough proof for literally 2-3 times what the recipe calls for. Oh, and I’m also going to perfect caramel sauce and fudge sauce.

How was YOUR New Year’s festivities? Are you making any resolutions? How likely are you to stick to them? My dad routinely rotates 2 resolutions: 1) to eat more pie 2) to eat less pie. It seems to work well for him. I’m making a bunch of smaller resolutions on a tiny scale, weekly and monthly things that are more about establishing good habits than changing my entire life.

posted under cooking, food, gaming, holidays, life, movies, pizza | Comments Off on ah mah glob! happy lumpin new year brah!

If you drink the wine, turn to page 85!


I was born in 1979 which means “choose your own adventure” books were very available and a pretty big part of my youthful reading1. I totally used to cheat while reading them. I’d stick my finger in the choice page and look ahead to the other options, keeping track of what led where, and skim until I got to the good ending. Or I’d find the good ending, back track, and read that way. I hated the “bad” endings, I always felt like I’d lost or failed or something. And I really enjoyed those books! I’ve kicked around the idea of writing a CYOA web page with friends, which should be easy to do with HTML, you know? Just a bunch of links and pages etc. But I’m pretty lazy so nothing ever came of that (although I did do a few madlibs style things once upon a time).

So really, it should come as no surprise that I’m currently really really into Echo Bazaar, a turn-based browser RPG in which you advance through both “storylets” (various story lines that have different actions and outcomes) and cards (which, again, have different actions and outcomes). When you start the game, you’re a newcomer to a Victorian London of nightmares, one that has been snatched away from the surface world and now resides someplace close to Hell. You start out as a newcomer to this strange land and have to bust out of prison. Once free, you have to clothe yourself, find lodgings, and explore the new world you’re in. And there is a lot to explore.

I’m really in love with world building, and this game has it in spades. There’s different areas/neighborhoods of the city, different social classes, history and mythology, non-human denizens. Players can be driven mad by Lovecraftian nightmares, be so outre and scandalous they’re exiled, get so hurt they almost die and have to drag themselves back from the River Styx, and get arrested and land back in jail. The “wrong” choices aren’t really failures– they’re different avenues for adventure and exploration, different ways of seeing the creativity and rich storytelling that imbue the game.

If you play Echo Bazaar using twitter, please follow me– I’m brigidkeely on there. It’s fun!

  1. Ellen Kushner wrote CYOA books, several of which I read, so my love for her goes back decades apparently.

Great Old Spice Body Wash


posted under books, gaming, youtube | Comments Off on Great Old Spice Body Wash

Dear Steam: Fuck You


So, yeah, no. I won’t be signing up with Steam so I can purchase and download Civ V when it comes out.


Because I just spent 5 real minutes, not 5 exaggerated for effect minutes, but 5 real actual minutes, grappling with their damn captcha. Here’s a hint: when your captcha seems to be composed primarily of graphite smears that make your 3s, 8s, Bs, and &s indistinguishable from each other? It’s neither useful nor usable. I couldn’t tell Ks from Ys. There were random smudges, squiggles, and just… visual junk… completely obscuring what I was supposed to be typing. There was no audio option, no “contact a person for help” option, no “instead, just answer a question” answer. Only failed captcha after failed captcha.

Totally awesome, and completely professional!

I don’t really identify as visually impaired because although I use what one might call an assistive device (glasses) that’s pretty expensive ($300 a pop, and my eyes degrade so quickly I really need new glasses every 9 months or so, although I can’t afford that), I’m far from legally blind. I slap my glasses on and go about my day and don’t really worry about my eyesight unless I need new glasses, I can’t find my glasses, or… I’m dealing with captchas.

It’s the rare captcha that doesn’t give me trouble. Even if there isn’t detritus littering the visual field, I’m still dyslexic enough that it’s hard to type random letters in the same order I see them, and it’s hard to tell upper and lower case letters apart in some fonts.

Steam doesn’t seem remotely interested in working with customers unable to use standard captcha devices– which is a HUGE fucking group of people. Which is sad. But, you know. I can obtain my games from other, less convenient sources.

posted under computer games, gaming | Comments Off on Dear Steam: Fuck You



I’ve been playing Civ for… gosh… a decade now? I love the games so much. I’ve been goofing around with Civ IV quite a bit lately (although I didn’t care for Civ IV: Colonization very much; just not my kind of game) and enjoying the heck out of it.

Then I saw that Sid Meier’s Civilization V is coming out September 22!

I have about four million other places I need to put my money, but dang if I don’t want this game. Maybe I’ll ask for it for Christmas.

Anyone out there interested in playing multiplayer? I dislike playing the computer because it cheats. :O Actually, my preferred game is a culture race.

posted under computer games, gaming, life, stuff | Comments Off on Want.