Tag Archives: geek

For Geeks Sake Train of Thought

 

 

As you may (or may not) know, I talk too much. This is not a news flash to anyone who knows me, most especially not to me. My brain starts at a subject, and before my mouth can illustrate where my thoughts are, the train left that station and is five miles down the track.

So, the biggest problem with talking too much, is you tend to lose track of where you started. Which is what left me squirming while listening to the podcast recording made with For Geek’s Sake titled, Nazi Sympathizers or Unreliable Narrator?. I know where I was going with a particular thought when I started, but no one else will, because I never finished the damn thought!

Perhaps through this medium (my blog), I might be able to explain myself. While writing, I might complete one single train of thought at a time.

The subject at hand (at least the one I want to explain) is the Power Rangers segment. The train of thought began with the female ranger being portrayed as gay. I’m afraid I got lost from where the train of thought began, and then ended up in someone’s bedroom. (If you don’t know, you didn’t listen.) The original point I wanted to make was that people should be accepted at face value. Not be judged for their sexual preferences. It is NONE of my business with whom you choose to sleep.

If the person standing next to you is introduced to me as your significant other, I will offer a smile and a handshake. No matter the gender/color/creed/religious affiliation of that person. I repeat, “It is NONE of my business with whom you choose to sleep.” However, I might judge you based on how well you play dominos. Just sayin.

Thanks for letting me clarify. If you’re still shaking your head about any other topic I went a little south on, drop me a line and I’ll (try) to explain myself. It might be easy to explain, though. I mean, that second “Capri-Sun” was uncalled for.

 

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JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

For Geek’s Sake Podcast II

 

What a blast I had sitting in on a recording session with the crew (minus Al) at For Geek’s Sake. As a writer, I’ll take every opportunity to promote the current work. As I recall, should you choose to listen in, you might hear me make mention of that fact once. Okay, maybe twice. Fine. I’m pretty sure I maxed out at three. Well. Pretty sure.

The actual reason I was invited to come on was to discuss the philosophy of art ownership. Once a beloved character has been released into the world, who owns it? There are a few schools of thought on this one. Let’s use  Superman  as an example.

One, Superman belongs to the fans. He’s been around since 1933, and so has his fan fiction.

Two, Superman still belongs to the creators (the estate, in this case) Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster.

Three, Superman belongs to the corporate entities that last purchased the rights.

I won’t give any spoilers on what each opinion was, but I don’t think Producer Dan and my fellow guest Eddie hated me by the end of it. (Well, here’s hoping.)

And, if they didn’t know before hand, they now know I’m writing a mystery series titled McShane Mini-Mystery  and the first four ebooks are available on Amazon.

 

 

(Insert shameless self-promotion below:)

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

 

Video Game History (Pt 2)

As a geek from way back, I enjoy being challenged on my knowledge base. The post “How well do you know your video game history?” challenged readers to test their own level of geekdom.

A website has been brought to my attention that offers some really cool information, in a retro-cool format.

Check it out here: History of Online Games

On a side note, the site referenced above has been a pleasant diversion, because eight days ago a surgeon took a bone from my left hand. I think my hand just realized it was missing.

JCHFGDMFOMG!!! It HURTS!!

Thanks to Brianna and her team at InternetProviders.com for making me forget that for a while.

 

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her

Amazon Author Page.

 

Geek Street Station

Hey Everyone!

If you haven’t heard, I’m writing under a new pseudonym, “Grandma Geek” and loving it! I’ve been a geek for most of my life, so it seemed a natural.

There will be a launch party for the website I’m joining. The site will be called Geek Street Station, and it’s where you can get your geek on no matter what category geek you fall under.

If you’re in the Orlando area, please come by and say hi to JL Mo a/k/a Grandma Geek at the Geek Street Station Launch Party. There’s a ton of prizes to be won, and Epic Events will be on hand to keep the party going.

 

Powerless

 

My dad used to joke, “What do I need with a TV that has remote control? I’ve got five of them now.” My four siblings and I always appreciated his attempt at humor.

I tell you this to remind you of how old I am, and to put in mind all of the television programming that has paraded past in my lifetime. Andy Griffith was just a tad before my time, but have you heard of the TV show Star Trek, starring William Shatner? I was privileged enough to watch the first episode on its first airing. Let me tell you, that was cutting edge television in 1966. Oh, and another show from my past… I ran all the way home from school to catch the new show called Dark Shadows. The show paved the way for others like The Walking Dead. That it was broadcast in the afternoons is the only reason I could watch it. If my mom had known her little girl was watching that smut, she’d have had a fit.

Ah, times were golden.

I’m not saying today’s TV doesn’t stack up. It does. But there is a show which has just been announced that I am totally stoked about.
DC comics is unveiling their first made-for-TV sitcom, starring Alan Tudyk. You read that right. (Yes, yes, there are other actors in it, but, so what?) The story surrounds an insurance office which employs ‘normal’ people who process claims in a world where superheroes are a thing. And it’s called… Powerless.

As in, “I’m powerless to make this project move any faster to get to me.”

Here’s a link so you can get in on the fun. (Thanks, Nerdist)
NBC announces DC sitcom POWERLESS

How well do you know your video game history?

 

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been invited to be a guest writer for a new site for nerds called Geek Street Station. Grandma Geek will be my pseudonym. I’ll let you know when the site goes live. I’m rather excited that I get to school some young’uns on the fact that they did not invent the term ‘geek.’

 

Anyway, I wrote one article for them in a quiz form. It was so much fun, I thought I’d make another for my website. I learned a lot while doing the research, and found it pretty cool. Hope you like it too. I would LOVE to hear if you got them all right.

 

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How well do you know your video game history? Take this quiz to find out. You won’t need pen and paper. Just keep a mental tally (you can only reach six). No worries about data mining. The test is fully contained here. So, don’t look at the paragraph following each question, until you’re ready for the answer.

 

Here we go…

 

Question 1)

What was the first two player video game?

  1. Pong
  2. Computer Space
  3. Spacewar!

You’re thinking to yourself, this is so easy. Who doesn’t know this one? Well, you’d be right if you chose 3) Spacewar! Give yourself a point if you knew a group of MIT students were bored and programmed a game so they could play the earliest digital version of “Bang! You’re dead!” Extra point if you knew it was in 1961.

 

Question 2)

What was the first coin-operated video game?

  1. Galaxy Game
  2. Computer Space
  3. Spacewar!

Well, of course, that has to Spacewar! Right? Wrong. Give yourself a point if you knew that 1) Galaxy Game was the first. But only by three months. In September of 1971 the first coin-operated video game was installed at Stanford University, California. Three months later, in November 1971, 1500 (one thousand five hundred) units of the second coin-operated game, Computer Space had been manufactured and was available for commercial use. Which leads us to Q3.

 

Question 3)

Two guys get the credit for the creation of Computer Space. They were…

  1. Nolan and Dabney
  2. Jobs and Wozniak
  3. Gates and Jobs

 

A trick question if ever there was one. If you said 1) Nolan and Dabney you get your point. Since Nolan went on to become Atari, you might also be asking yourself, “What happened to Dabney?” A lot of people my age wonder that same thing about Roebuck.

 

Question 4)

Which firm released the first computer hardware system that went on to support the first two player video game?

  1. Apple
  2. DEC
  3. Magnavox

One really wants to say Apple. If for no other reason than to honor Jobs. Unfortunately, one would be wrong. Give yourself a point if you said 2) DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation). Their Programmed Data Processor-1 (PDP-1) was first sold in 1960. Yeah, the year your grandma was born. The platform went on to be used to build the first two player video game. Which brings us to the final question.

 

Question 5)

In what year was the first online game played?

  1. 1963
  2. 1983
  3. 1993

 

Quick background. The internet, even in its archaic form, was actually around in 1963. It didn’t offer today’s Google or anything, but one could still exchange information while at UCLA with someone at Stanford. But, ’63 is the wrong answer. Give yourself a point if you chose 2) 1983. SuperSet a software firm, created a text-based game called Snipes, which featured the first true network play. The rest, as they say…

 

Tally up the points, boys and girls. Here’s the final scorecard.

POINTS     TITLE

0          Baby Geek. Aww… Ain’t you cute?

1          Wannabe Geek. Well, at least you know what a geek is. Sorta.

2          Geek in Training. Keep going. The world needs more geeks.

3          Second Class Geek. You go ahead and hold your head high.

4          Impressive Geek. Tell me true. Did Google help?

5          General Geek. Sir! Pleasure to have you read my little quiz. Sir!

And if you got that extra point you are, officially…

5          Geek Extraordinaire. The rest of the geek world bows to your knowledge.

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If you’ve enjoyed this article, check out “History of Online Games”

 

Attributes

List Verse – 15 Firsts In Video Game History

 

 

 

 

 

DC Haters Gonna Hate

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

No worries. No spoilers ahead.

 

This is an intense, action filled movie that was completely worth the fifteen bucks I dropped to see it in 3D. The action was fast-paced. The quotes from this script are going to be numerous. The actors are serious, but that’s how the movie demands they be. It’s a lie that there isn’t any humor in it. I laughed out loud a couple of times.

 

I did not walk into the theater expecting Shakespeare. Nor did I go in with the expectation of seeing Tony Stark and friends. I went to see if Affleck could pull off being Batman (ck), to be entertained (ck), and to see more of what the DC universe will look like (dbl ck).

 

The film’s violence, though extensive, is rather cartoonish. There’s even a scene (straight outta comics) where someone gets thrown through a wall and the only thing missing from the drywall cutout is a profile of the face. That got a chuckle out of me. There is no doubt that the bad guys are bad, the good guys are good, and Lois Lane is insipid.

 

It will help you to understand things better (nope, still not a spoiler) if I explain to you that Metropolis and Gotham are actually across a bay from one another. Apparently, if you’re on a loading dock in Metropolis, you can see the Bat Signal in Gotham. That was news to me. But once established, I was okay with it.

 

This incarnation has Batman pushed to the edge, to the point of obsession, over Superman. The only way to justify his maniacal behavior is to allow the writers to give his savior complex a step sideways. Batman has to put on blinders to his own sins to rant on the wrong doings of Superman. If you watch this with your hypocrite monitor turned on, I think you’ll understand the magic moment of Martha as mom even more.

 

The only reason I didn’t give it the fifth star is because the movie used too many dream sequences, which as a writer drives me crazy (no, it’s not that long a drive). If they’re telling us that the Batman now has the ‘gift of prophesy’, okay. Would you believe I could accept that? But that’s not the case (OMG, please no). The original storyline tells us that the Bat’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, is “The World’s Greatest Detective” so why not detect? Inserting these dreams into the movie is a lazy device used to move the story forward rather than showing ‘boring’ sequences of the use of intellect. There certainly was no dearth of sequences showing the use of muscle. So, that cost it a star.

 

Yes. Wonder Woman rocks. The females of DC don’t need armor (or any covering) on their shoulders like the wimpy men do. We’re tough like that.

 

I’ll post a piece (once the dust settles) on the quotable quotes that are peppered throughout this installment. And there are so many! Lex is buffoonish, but he has some of the best. Here’s one of my faves from Laurence Fishburne as an example.

“…The American conscience died with Martin, John, and Bobby…”

A cynical, but surprisingly poignant, observation.

 

This movie is definitely getting some bad press. I took notes while watching, and there are several points where I wrote “Seriously?” There are plot holes big enough to drive the revamped Batmobile through. So, I get the negative vibe. But, those moments only serve to remind the viewer this is comic book stuff. We’re not here to see Schindler’s List. Or even Civil War. I do believe there are way more haters of DC (and Affleck, unfortunately) that are not going to allow a voice of dissent for a while to come.

 

But, that time will come. Then you won’t be embarrassed to agree with me in public. Forget the haters. Give this movie its deserved four out of five stars.

The Grandma Geek

Hey everyone!

Another one of Life’s short stories is beginning…

I’ve been asked to be a contributor on an upcoming website to be called, “Geek Street Station.” My posts will be under Grandma Geek. Here’s the opening to my first post.

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The Grandma Geek

Yeah, Grandma Geek. So what? I was a geek when you were learning to walk!

Alright, alright. Sorry. Let’s start over.

*ahem* Hi there. I’m Grandma Geek. Welcome to Geek Street Station.

I tend to get a little defensive these days. The things people say about geeks drives me crazy. Once upon a time we were perceived as awkward, socially inept outcasts. Today we’re supposed to be über intelligent, sophisticated, and even sexy. Where was all this adulation of geekdom when I was young?

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This is going to be so much fun. I’ll post a link here for anyone who might like to check out the site once it goes live.

 

Nana likes Dungeons and Dragons

The Adventure Begins

 

Welcome. My name is Menelin. I am a Wood Elf. If you’ll take the time to speak with me, you will know that I possess a caring heart. I’ll commiserate with you and your current plight. You’ll open up to me, and feel a comfortable connection between us.

And that’s what I want you to feel. I will say what you need to hear, be the listening ear you need, and steal your coin purse while doing so. That’s what a Rogue does.

Truly, I don’t care if you trust me or not, or if you like me or not, or even if you care or not. All I care about is me. Well, mostly.

The only person I do quasi-care about is my friend, the human cleric Ailsa. I call Ailsa ‘A’, because human names are so odd. She once saved me when I needed saving, and that isn’t very often. My weapons are quite reliable, thank you very much. But, there are times. So, I’ll stick close to her when I feel like it. A has another fan that sticks closer to her than I do. Elspeth, a half-orc with a pleasant enough outlook on life. But don’t piss her off. I picked her pocket once and the other half of her lineage, the barbarian half, let me know that she’s not as easy-going as she appears. I’ve been made to swear to never do that again. It wasn’t that difficult an oath to take, as I’ve grown fond of my head and didn’t want it caved in.

A hangs out with a gnome wizard by the name of Nyx. Not sure why. The little thing wants to test for magic in everything! If we pass a rock that catches her eye, she wants to stop and test it. So frustrating. But, like most things, there are benefits. On occasion those rocks do hold a magic trap, and I have to admit she was right. Not out loud, of course.

Then there’s Nimue. I try not to stare when she’s around, but she is one sexy beast. A full elf, she’s chosen the path of Ranger. She can shoot a fly off of an orc’s claw, and leave the finger intact. It’s part of the reason I don’t carry the bow. Why should I? When she’s around, I look like a child playing with an oversize toy. Even my hand cross bow, which I’m quite proficient at, seems ludicrous. I only use it when Nimue’s not around. She encourages me to continue my practice with it, but I’ll stick to my daggers. Only then, if my rapier won’t do the trick, I’ll use the cross bow. But that’s rare.

The five of us have gathered for a festival in this small town. They’re to dedicate a church that had been built to replace the last one, which had burned to the ground. That’s why we find ourselves in this little hole in the wall bar, enjoying one other’s company.

Then we heard the screams…

 

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IRL, I am 55 years old with two grown sons. Each of them have married, and now have children of their own, who know me as Nana. It’s a great life, but Dungeons and Dragons may become my new obsession.

My original introduction to the game was three decades ago. My young boys would gather around a table with a varying group of friends once a weekend. Being a busy mom, I couldn’t give too much attention to the details (busy with laundry, dishes, sweeping, mopping, the norm), but every so often I’d stop my weekend chores to listen as my sons played D&D with their friends. It sounded like childish make believe to me, and I got back to work. I let the whole phenom go by, with the belief that it was only for the kiddies.

Flash forward thirty years. My eldest, Al, now runs a podcast called For Geek’s Sake, and he wanted to play 5th Edition (the current vernacular of D&D) with a group of newbies for an upcoming show. I volunteered, partially certain that I was not the demographic he was looking for. But, I figured, what the hell?

To my astonishment, he did ask me to join four other ladies (more in his age group, but diverse none-the-less) for a one time adventure.

Al was the Dungeon Master (DM) for the game. He counselled each of the noobs individually as to their class, race, background, alignment; he helped us to develop our personality traits, ideals, flaws, all of the information one would need to enter into this realm.

Everything except how to play the damn game.

As a writer, I’ve created many characters. I’ve been complimented on the dialog I’ve written between each one, in that they are so well defined you could ‘hear’ them speak. I pride myself on that point. However, I’ve never gotten so into a character as to allow it to become me. That is where this type of game is different. You become the character. I now understand that an RPG is a player taking on a persona as an actor does on a stage. When I write, I get into all the characters heads. When I play D&D, I only get mine. What I’m saying is that the loss of control isn’t lost on me.

The night to play finally arrived, and we gathered at the designated place, slated to play from 6pm to 10pm. A few were running late, so the start time got pushed back. Who cares with a glass of wine in one hand and a group of ladies all looking forward to something we’ve never done before?

Our DM had an assistant, which is purportedly unusual. But, we had been told that an average adventure could run for weeks and weeks, and this was to be a one night undertaking. It would help move things along if he had a backup DM. Daniel would be the ‘Assistant DM’.

As it turns out, Al was an accommodating DM, trying to assist the noobs along the way. He took the time to explain things that, in a regular game, a DM would not do. Daniel, on the opposite end of the table (and spectrum), made our characters work for the progress made. We even believe he might have changed things mid-game to make the paths harder. I think it was to balance Al’s more giving nature. Either way, it worked.

By the time the adventure had drawn to a reasonable conclusion, the time was closer to midnight than ten. Everyone had a blast, and we all wanted to play again. The adventure had left a few loose ends, and we wanted them tied up.

 

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The five of us race from the bar. Goblins are attacking this peaceful celebration. But why? And how? This small town is actually a fortress, surrounded by a wall twenty feet high, with only two access gates. How did this many goblins get in? Irrelevant, for the moment. They’re here, and the townspeople are terrorized. Since there’s no easy way out, I draw my short swords.

My first thought turns to A. The human is next to the gnome, and they seem to be doing well enough with their magic on the two goblins they face. I glance toward Nimue. She holds a hatred for goblins beyond the pale, and that disdain shines through her eyes as she draws her bow. As an afterthought, I glance toward the orc-barbarian, deciding that being behind Elspeth may be the safest place. While I do well with my weapons in a flash and fly, I am not terribly good in open combat. However, I can hide almost in plain sight.

My decision proves worthwhile. While Elspeth crushes the goblin before her, I dispatch the one trying to sneak up behind, who never knew I was there. Until my blade protruded from his gut.

The entire battle took less than ten seconds. We find ourselves standing alone in the now-empty town square, breathing heavy, and nodding to one another our good fortune.

Then the sheriff approached us…

 

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The proceeding scene took forty-five minutes to orchestrate. The ladies and I took our turn rolling dice to determine how close we could get to the goblins, if our blows landed, or even if they managed to hit, and to what degree, hurt us. Everything came down to the roll of the dice.

That, my friends, is the beauty, the allure, and the addiction of Dungeons and Dragons.