Humpday Links for May 30

May comes to an end and we slide into June, just in time for the weekend.  Have some links to get you through, and then get ready for summer!

– If you’re like me and you spend a lot of time contemplating the coming zombie apocalypse, you might want to check out these homes.

Jonathan Coulton has a new song, Redshirt, the theme for the upcoming John Scalzi novel of the same name.

– This is a touching little tale of how R2D2 allowed a dad deployed overseas to still have dinner with his family.

– I have to believe this 10-year-old is being raised up right.

– I happen to think the character of Hawkeye makes total sense in the Avengers universe.  But the Avengers don’t seem to agree.

– So apparently there are some things they won’t let you talk about at TED. So…what’s the point of TED, then?

– Are you someone who loves supporting RPG projects on Kickstarter?  Hate hunting for them?  This site has your back.

– If Heroclix is your bag, then you need to get some HeroSnapZ.  I think @Doctor_Teeth might get a Christmas surprise…unless he reads this blog.

– If you are in the market for a tattoo, you’re tattoo artist has some helpful tips.

– Maybe we don’t want the Singularity, if lawyers/corporations will be involved.

– This Joan of Arc armour is made from bicycle tubes and cardboard.  I know, right!?

– Have you ever thought, “Man, I wish John Hughes and George Lucas had made a movie together.”  If you did, it might look a lot like Hughes the Force.  If not, what is wrong with you!?

– Ever wondered why the Doctor’s companions are generally young, attractive females?  Steven Moffat has your answer.

– Why just have tea, when you can have EPIC TEA!

Want to turn your living room into the bridge of a starship?  If you answer no, good day sir.  I SAID GOOD DAY!

– And finally, This a great treat from the Nerdist Channel: an interview with Leonard Nimoy.

Have anything you want to share from the web?  Drop it in the comments below.

5 Blogs I Read for Fun

I suppose it should go without saying that, since I write a blog, I must also read other blogs.  While that is weirdly not always so (I do know of one blogger who doesn’t read other blogs because “they generally all suck”… *sniff* But not mine, right?) in my case it is certainly true.  Besides the information they provide, reading other people’s blogs gives me insight into different writing styles, and most importantly different viewpoints.  And since I follow several blogs on similar topics, I can also get a sense of the prevailing winds of opinion on certain nerd topics.  And, contrarian that I am, allows me to write the occasional piece tacking against that wind if I think it’s warranted.

I’m not sure how many blogs would constitute normal reading.  I currently have about 75+ blogs that update through my Google Reader; add to that the ten or so that I read from webcomic sites I visit (guilty confession time: I like the Penny Arcade comic.  But I LOVE the blog updates that go along with them.  Something about his writing style speaks to me.) , and maybe a further 5-10 I read from links on social media oh god I forgot Tumblr, more like 15-20…okay, maybe that’s a lot.  In my defence not all of them update daily, though Wired and Geek Dad appear to have me covered by updating a bajillion times a day.  So let’s say that, daily, I read somewhere in the neighbourhood of 40-50 blogs.  Your mileage may vary, but I find that a comfortable number.

Out of all that, I’m going to suggest 5 blogs to you that I think you might get a kick out of.  They aren’t in any particular order.  They aren’t necessarily my top five blogs either; rather, a representative spread of the things that amuse me.

Slushpile Hell – I stumbled across this one a little while back, and it immediately spoke to my editor’s soul (how my editor’s soul could hear it through all that stone…).  For non-editors, the slushpile is the sometimes mountain of unsolicited manuscripts received by publishers.  Reading through it can be…a challenge.  Slushpile Hell is one literary agent’s journey through the slushpile, one mind-bogglingly bad query at a time.  Each post is delightfully concise and offers up just the right amount of weary snark I need in my blog diet.

The Chapel Perilous – Okay, my nerd-crush on Monte Cook is fairly well known in certain circles (and now this one), so my reading his blog should come as no surprise.  Interestingly, it was reading his blog that led to him coming to Edmonton as a GoH at Pure Speculation; of the names that then Gaming Coordinator Scott C. Bourgeois suggested, Monte’s was the only one I “knew” through his blog, as well as recognized.  So I suggested he be moved to the top of the list, which of course Scott had already done (his nerd-crush being as strong as mine).  I love reading The Chapel Perilous for its blend of gaming and personal posts.  Monte posts about the things that matter to him, first and foremost.  So when I read something about gaming posted amongst more personal material, I know the opinion he is giving is sincere.  And sincere passion in the nerd hobbies these days is like gold…if gold were still valuable.  Platinum, then.  At least electrum.

Total Fan Girl – I read other nerdy blogs for a variety of reasons: inspiration, information, entertainment.  Total Fan Girl gives me a healthy dose of all three, plus a perspective on the hobby that I find valuable as an Old Male Geek worried about inclusiveness.  Like me, she is a general-purpose nerd with a variety of interests, and her posts reflect that.  She is also a gateway into another of my media addictions, as she posts updates for the GeekMoms podcast.  Mostly I like her blog because she always brings me the really cool stuff.  And that challenges me to do the same.

Awesome Dice Blog – Okay, I’ve actually only been reading this blog for a few weeks now.  But in that time I’ve gone back through and read EVERYTHING! (putting the OCD back into OCD…five times!)  It first came to my attention through the Twitters because of a link to a very cool little time-line of dice throughout history.  Then in one of those internet happen-stances I received an email from Brian at Awesome Dice, asking if I would link to their site.  So I checked their site out, thoroughly (see above EVERYTHING), and said yes, of course I would.  Yes, they talk a lot about dice; if that isn’t in your wheelhouse then you might want to give a pass.  But the blog also covers a wide variety of gamer nerd topics, and includes video posts from Balthazar (yes, THE Balthazar) on…well, just about anything.  Here’s a sample:

So I highly recommend these guys for your daily dose of game nerdery.  Oh, and they also sell dice.  Awesome dice, so I’m told.

The Unknown Studio – Better known for the podcast of the same name, The Unknown Studio also has a snazzy and interesting blog.  While there are a number of sources I follow to keep up on what’s going on in Edmonton, this blog is probably the most fun I have doing it.  It’s worth reading for FML Fridays alone, but Adam Rozenhart also posts some really sincere and insightful pieces on my city and the people in it.  And he also posts some flat-out goofy shit.  The combination works, and like the podcast, keeps me coming back.

Okay, that’s me.  What are you reading in the blogosphere?  Share in the comments below, and maybe we’ll all read something new today!

Nerd Goings On in #YEG

Summer, I think it is safe to say, is finally here.  I know nothing is official until June, but the blue skies, blazing sun and my totally coincidental bright red sunburn (you win this time, Daystar!) lead me to accept certain things as fact.  Lucky for me or any other nerd seeking relief from solar radiation, there are plenty of geeky events in the next while that will keep us safely indoors.

“Movie” Nite – The Guild Season 4

As a lead up to the local Can’t Stop the Serenity event, Sheelagh Semper and the Alberta Browncoats have teamed up with Happy Harbor Comics to present weekly viewings of The Guild.  This Wednesday features Season 4, starting at 7pm.; Season 5 will run at the same time next Wednesday, June 6.  Admission is free, and you can pick up your tickets to the CSTS screening while you’re there!

Brass n Brew: Rose n Crown Style

Join the local Steampunk crew for rollicking good times at a brand new venue, the Rose & Crown Pub.  These are great social events for people new to steampunk, or would perhaps like to see what it’s all about in a friendly setting.  And what could be friendlier than a pub? As always, costumes are not required for Brass n Brew events, but are of course encouraged.  The important thing is to come out, relax, and have a great time.  Bully!

Monthly Pure Speculation Organizing Meeting

Want to have a say in how Edmonton’s Pure Speculation Festival runs?  Then join them for their monthly organizer’s meetings.  There is no better way to get involved with one of Edmonton’s top nerd events, plus you’ll get to meet some really great people.  If you’ve ever wondered what goes in to organizing a weekend-long nerdstravaganza, you need to attend at least one of these.

Apocalypse Kow Spring Fling

While not a nerd event per se, it definitely features a bunch of nerds I know and like.  Apocalypse Kow is a tremendously popular a cappella group here in Edmonton, and you will love them whether you are nerd or nerd-adjacent.  How do I know?  Because how could you not love five guys performing the Super Mario theme?  Or their cover of Fat Bottomed Girls?  Trust me: go to the concert and awesomeness will ensue.  Also, partial proceeds go to support The Food Bank and that is always a good thing.

Okay, that should be enough nerdery to hold you for a while.  Next week we’ll touch on a few other things coming up, like Can’t Stop the Serenity and Free RPG Day.  And as always, if you think I missed a crucial geek-oriented event, drop me a note in the comments.

And hey, let’s geek safely out there.

Humpday Links for May 2

May already!  If, like me, you are not only trying to get to the weekend but anticipating celebrating Cinco de Mayo, you deserve this extra large helping of links to occupy your mind.  I’m a giver.  You’re welcome.

– Anyone who knows me knows about my thralldom to the Dark Mistress Coffee.  I want one of these, so I can make my coffee with science!

Planetary Resources plans to mine asteroids.  I’d dismiss this as another pie-in-the-sky tech story, except that Phil Plait thinks they can do it.  Good enough for me!

– We need a word in English to describe something simultaneously cool and sweet.  Because that word would describe Tweenbots.

– I can be a bit of a grammar nut, I’ll admit.  But I love this article, if for no other reason than I can maybe let some stuff slide…

Fox is set to turn Axe Cop into an animated series.  Fox has a better track record with animated content, so I am more hopeful than I probably should be.

– In a bold and welcome step, Tor/Forge are going DRM free for their digital content.  This right here, this is what I was waiting for before getting an e-reader.

– While we are on the topic of trends I’d like to see, Valve is looking at ways to charge people based on how fun they are to play with.  I’m not sure how they’d pull it off, but if it happens it would get me gaming online more often.  Which may not be a good thing…

– And on that topic, here is an excellent Extra Credits episode about harassment. They reference an incident during the episode; this is that incident.

– Last week Monte Cook announced he was no longer working on the new D&D.  I’d be lying if I said this takes away some of the hope I had for the new version; a lot of what I heard and liked came from Monte.  But I’m staying positive, and can’t wait to see what he comes out with next.

– Speaking of D&D, here is a pretty intricate flow chart of the effects of early D&D exposure.  Or lack thereof…

– On Earth 2, this is the movie they are anticipating instead of The Avengers…

– Good news for Fringe fans, Fox has green-lit a 13-episode final season so they can wrap things up.  SyFy could learn a thing or two

– Courtesy of sonofamortician and Deviant Art, I present a Cthonian Elephant:

– In case you missed it when it came out this past weekend, I give you the international trailer for Prometheus.  I have chills, people.  Chills!

– If I had any artistic talent, this is the sort of stuff I’d be doing.  But I don’t, so I’ll settle for buying one at the earliest opportunity.

– And finally, in a bold move to time warp their users back to the 1990s, Hulu will require their users to have cable.  Let me explain progress, Hulu…no, it will take too long.  Let me sum up…

That’s it until next week!  Enjoy your festivities and remember: friends don’t let friends drink Romulan Ale and pilot a starship.

The State of Renaissance Dork

Things are afoot here in the world of the Renaissance Dork, so I thought I’d take a moment and catch everybody up on a few things.  Never fear, we are a long way from the dreaded “it’s been fun, peace out” post.  If that ever happens; everyone knows it is more likely updates will simply stop after I’ve disappeared exploring an ancient tomb.  (FYI: Come rescue me!)

But there are a few new things coming, some I’ve talked about before and some genuinely new.  So in no particular order:

– The podcast is still happening.  I had some brief technical difficulties (I loved that microphone!) and then a dissatisfaction with how I was presenting the podcast.  But I’ve sorted both those things out, lined up some pretty snazzy interviews (though I say it myself) and found a guest contributor that I think will entertain and delight.  So look for the Prairie Geek Report to begin airing in June.  Links and etcetera will be posted here when it goes live.

YEGGEEK is also still a go, though we have been a bit slow off the jump.  But Brandon, Dana and myself et al are still dedicated to getting this up and running.  When it does, it will hopefully become a digital hub for geekiness in Edmonton.  Besides hosting a calendar of local nerd events to which any group can post, YEGGEEK will also publish articles for and about our local nerds and nerdly topics.  Look for it soon!

– As I said earlier, Renaissance Dork isn’t going anywhere either.  Despite an SAD-induced scarcity to my updates, I do really love writing for this blog.  So I see no reason to stop, and in fact there are some additions and changes coming that I hope people will enjoy.  One of those is a format change;  the site is looking a bit “meh” to me, and while that could just be a strong spring cleaning vibe I am looking at other site designs.  So the nerdiness will continue, for as long as you guys are willing to put up with it (and likely a bit longer).

– My freelancing work is picking up again, and White Collar Mercenary is going to get a little more official.  I’m putting together a website for it right now, so I can point potential clients towards…something.  This will be the year I explore how far I can take my little home business, and I’m looking forward to it.  I’m also going to continue working at my freelance writing, develop some new contacts in both the literary and RPG fields.  I have at least one contact with whom, because of an SAD-related meltdown, I have a lot to make up for, so fixing things with him will be top priority.  Otherwise, the work marches on!

That’s about it!  There is a lot more I could touch on (Pathfinder Society and Wizard’s Comics, for instance) but I think that is enough for now.  If you have any questions, suggestions or amusing anecdotes please share them in the comments…