Sunday, July 29, 2007

Geeky Moms and Comics

There is some unwritten rule that Moms are not allowed to buy comics, unless they're buying them For Their Kids or are 'Serious Collectors'. It's OK to buy comics until you get out of college, or maybe turn 25 or something, but definitely not after after age 29 and/or birthing children. I'm not sure what it is about comics that oozes immaturity. Granted, the writing isn't Pulitzer-prize level, but they're fun to read. What's not to love about an Elfquest graphic novel or a Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (aka KotOR) comic? I get more of the universes I love in a fun package.

Of course, this leads to some interesting conversations like this--on Skype chat, of course, because that's appropriately geeky.

Me: I gotta run. The kids and I are going to Rockheads to pick up the latest KotOR comic.

Trusty Friend Rogue Nine: You are such a geek. :D

The smiley, naturally, is very important to avoid misconstruing 'geek' as a pejorative. :) Of course, Niner's an admin at LucasForums and showed me how to Skype and set up my IRC in the first place. People who live online should not throw virtual stones. :D

Anyway, I have to be one of the few moms who goes into the store to, get this, buy my own comics. I go to Rockheads about every 2 to 3 weeks or so to see if the latest issue of the KotOR comic is out yet or to browse the racks to see if there's a new D&D adventure module or book.

There is a particular group of guys who are somewhere around late high school to college age who are usually there when I stop by. I almost wonder if they live there--the owner has a soda and snack machine, so all they need are some sleeping bags and they're set for life. When you're in college, you can live on banana Twinkies and Coke, you know. Real food isn't required. They're typically playing Warhammer or Magic, arguing over which Pokemon is better, painting miniatures, or running some wargame with said miniatures on one of the big tables set up for just that purpose.

I've been there often enough now that they're starting to recognize me (although granted, I'm not exactly a forgettable character). After the kids and I leave with our purchases, I can just imagine their conversation goes like this:

1st guy: Dude! Check out that mom! She just bought a comic!

2nd guy: So? She's got kids. They always get comics.

1st guy: No, man, the kids had their own. She's holding a KotOR comic, you know, the newest one that just came in today. She's getting it for herself!

2nd guy: You're whacked. No moms read those things. It's gotta be for the kids. Or maybe she's a collector.

1st guy: I'm telling you, she was really checking it out while they were waiting to check out, dude. I mean, she was actually reading it.

2nd guy: Man, if she's that geeky, her kids are doomed.

Wait til they find out that we play D&D as a family to help the kids improve their math skills.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


I have a love-hate relationship with mosquitoes. I hate them and they, unfortunately, love me. Apparently I have the kind of blood that is the equivalent of a fine mosquito Beaujolais. For some reason, they ignore my husband and home in on me. It's not just the nearby mosquitoes that stick me, either. They apparently have little mosquito cell phones and contact their buddies to come munch, too.

"Hey, Bobbie?"
"Yeah, Janice. Whaddya want?"
"Listen, Bobbie--Jae's outside! PAAAAARRRRRTTTTTYYYYY!!!!!111one11one!!!oneone!!!"
"Same house?"
"Yeah--the one with the 'meat here' sign that we painted in IR above the door"
"Cool. We are soooo going to feast. I'll bring the carbon dioxide and we'll really make it a party!"
"Awesome. I'm going to go call Marcia, Jan, Cindy, Dixie.... Hey, bring some friends, too, Bobbie!"
"Will do! Laterz!"

Then they proceed to descend down upon me. I can have on 4 cans of Deet, have 18 bug zappers humming, one of those new-fangled mosquito bait kind of things, and enough citronella torches burning to bring out the fire department, and they'd still find me. It's just not fair.

It's really sad that on the 4th of July when we were setting off our complement of fireworks, I actually wanted to go sit in the smoke to get rid of the darn things. No, don't ask if those were legal fireworks. I have not investigated the state code on fireworks here. Nor do I want to. Ignorance is sometimes bliss. Suffice it to say that a. ours were not as big as the guy's down the street, (his required a cannon to launch), and b. no police came to visit. Since the fireworks were out in the middle of the street, we could all have plausible deniability, not unlike politicians. "Who, us, officer? Oh, no, we found them in the street like that....Why are we all sitting at the edge of the street in lawn chairs?....We're watching our neighbors' fireworks...Oh, no, we'd never dream of lighting illegal fireworks....Oh, these are too big? Well I'm sure whoever put them in the middle of the street will be very grateful for that piece of education. We'll make sure to tell them."

After getting bit like 12 times, I figured out where the wind was blowing and would have moved my lawn chair to that spot had it not been in the middle of the street. I didn't want to become squashed by a car as effectively as I squash mosquitoes, so I lived with not being able to sit in the smoke.

What we need is for some great geeky mind to come up with a mosquito vacuum that sucks them out of the universe. However, I'll settle for something that sucks them out of my small corner of this world.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Accidental Novel

Honest, I never intended to write an entire novel. I certainly never intended to write an entire novel about a character in a video game. It was just supposed to be a 30-ish page little story about Jolee Bindo training a Padawan, and it kind of went a little nuts from there.

The Adventures of Jolee Bindo sprang to life one night when I got a sudden picture of Jolee grousing about having to train a stupid apprentice Jedi who insisted on using a lightsaber and blaster at the same time. I'd posted about the intelligence of wielding a lightsaber and a gun and using both at the same time in a LucasForums thread. Should you be unconvinced of the wisdom (or lack thereof) of such a thing, try waving a broomstick around while shooting a water pistol at a picture of Nancy Pelosi or George Bush (your choice) nailed to a tree. It doesn't work very well, no matter how motivated you are to make a bulls eye.

Anyway, I posted another reply in that thread and included a little vignette on the trusty LucasForums of Jolee that I'd just written on the spur of the moment, thinking that if the image made me chuckle, others hopefully might also be amused. Well, they were. If Trusty Friend RedHawke knew he'd end up creating a monster by putting a laughing smiley in his reply, however, he might not have been so quick with that complimentary post. :D

Thus inspired by the fact that someone might find a Jolee story entertaining, I started writing 'a little story', thinking I might be able to make something fun in the fanfic section. Fanfics, for those of you who do not share my Geekiness, is fan-made fiction. There's an entire forum devoted to fanfics (, and for those of you who love the Knights of the Old Republic games as much as I do and run out of fics to read on LucasForums, there's another forum just for Kotor fanfics called Kotor Fan Media. Imagine--entire forums devoted to fanfics about a Star Wars game. Here was not one, or two, but an entire flock of tech-silver sheep creating stories for this game, and I was right at home.

I finally willed up the courage to create a thread for my little story. I had no small amount of angst at posting my writing for a bunch of strangers to read and comment on. You don't know what 'intimidating' means until you post a story and hope no one rips it to shreds. However, Jolee grabbed me by the throat and was quite insistent on having his story told. I _had_ to write it--the words and pictures came out whether I wanted to or not. In fact, I was rather consumed by the whole process for close to five months, which reminded me a bit of college courses, except they're a good month shorter. I think I was married to the laptop for that whole time, and Jimbo probably would have wondered where his wife had disappeared to had it not been for me muttering in frustration when I got writer's block.

To be honest, I thought the whole story would be 20 or 30 pages, maybe 40 tops. I'd never written anything longer than 23 pages prior to that, and that was my senior seminar paper in college. That was _supposed_ to be a long project. It didn't take me long to work through a series of vignettes and then decide, "Hey, Jolee's a Jedi, and so are the other main characters. I should send them on a quest!" Quests being something that all good Jedi should do regularly, particularly if it improves the LucasArts bottom line and/or the entertainment of other Star Wars fans. Before long, I'd gotten to 50 pages, and made the stunning realization--I was nowhere remotely close to being finished with the story. This was rather frightening, daunting, and exciting all at the same time. I soldiered on, buoyed by the comments by Trusty LF Friends Emperor Devon, Char Ell, Hallucination, Pazaak Princess, Pottsie, Renegade Puma, JediMaster12, and a long list of others. By the time I finished the story, I'd ended up writing some 200 pages and close to 100,000 words--an honest-to-God novel. About Star Wars. About a Star Wars game. About a character in a Star Wars game. It was all very geeky and wonderful at the same time.

I'm off to write up some comments on some other people's fanfics that got entered in a little contest. Feel free to come join the rest of us tech-silver sheep. :)