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Geeky Girl Self Care: Love Yourself by…Loving Yourself (Yes I’m Talking About Masturbation)

Editor here: This isn't a kiddie entry, so you may want to get prying eyes away from the screen. Also, we were not sponsored for this review, nor were we given any sex toys. Though none of us would turn them down amirite?!

 

Here's the thing. We all know self care is important. And I'll be frank, you always know the best way to get yourself off. So have no shame in lighting some candles, turning on some music, and making yourself feel good.

Now, for some of us Geeky Girls, the world of sex toys can be overwhelming, and a little racist at that. Not gonna lie, its kinda weird to see the Fat Chocolate Cock dildo with Realistic Black Balls and not feel a little odd about it.

So, whats a geeky girl to do to get her groove on. Luckily, I stole my internet browser's innocence so you didnt have to.

I came across Geeky Sex Toys and honestly, I just thought it was one of those products that were available for cheesy puns and giggles, but actually the materials used to create the toys are of the highest quality.

They have toys for all kinks and all fandoms. Actually the latest line is based on the Avenger: Infinity War movie. There's toys for anal play, strapping on, and yes, an Incredible Hulk dildo that is just as girthy as it is punny.

So yeah, for some good old fashioned self care, take care of yourself and head over to Geeky Sex Toys.

Did you see anything that you want to buy? What do you think of their products? Leave us a comment and tell us if you notice the Iron Man butt plug lights up (yes, girl, yes).

Entering From Stage Left, Guest Writer Quinzel Lee Takes The Stage

Leslie here. I would like to introduce you to my buddy Quinzel Lee. She is here to fill your life with nerdy weirdness. I love her. You should too. Take it away Quinzel!

 

Hi there, I’m Quinzel Lee, ready to rock your mix-matched socks off with some geekery. I also enjoy romantic dinners and long walks to the bank.

The ladies of Geeky Girls Guide to Life have allowed me to drop in from time to time as a guest writer. They felt it was best that I warn you about what you’re getting into.

A little about me, I currently write for DontHateTheGeek.Com with geeky news, reviews, and op eds. However, if you want me to be a little more…me…stay tuned for my guest articles here. You can also catch me on the Twitter-verse @quinzelee . Give me a shout, a hashtag, or even just a hashbrown from McDonalds, I'm not picky

What kind of music do I like? All. Yes, my answer is all. Yes, including country. Yes, also including rap. Do you need a definition of all?

My current obsessions include Jessica Jones, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Read podcast, and analyzing every bit of pop culture. I love coming across weird statistics like how many pounds of catfish do people in America consume daily on average (seriously, I want to know). I listen to Sword and Scale podcast, which I DO NOT recommend if you sleep alone. And my Snuggie is prepped and ready for a Hulu or Netflix marathon at any moment.

Did you follow all that? See why I needed to warn you? So look out for content from me, Quinzel Lee. I can guarantee that it will be a wang dang doodle of a good time.

Hello

Greetings my new friends! I am excited to join the team here as a contributor and I hope to entertain each and every one of you with my shouting. There are so many books, movies, and television shows that I plan to talk about individually, but it was too difficult to choose only one to kick off my contributions here. So I didn’t! Instead I made a list of 35 television episodes that I think are worth talking about. This list is in no way comprehensive but it should definitely give you an idea of the things I will be writing about, and in what way I will be writing about them (for instance I am more than a wee bit sweary so apologies in advance if that is not your jam). I am saving discussion of the problematic elements of some of these shows for individual posts or this list would be a novel. In the future I will be ranting a-plenty, but I’ve decided to kick things off on a positive note. These are not necessarily my favorite episodes, but rather the first ones that popped into my brain when I thought about the show in question. I've listed them in no particular order really, but the last two are my favorite shows of all time so there's that.

Let's do this.

30 Rock: Sandwich Day

30 Rock is a great show, but it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that the episode I relate to more than any other is the one that revolves around sandwiches. There are so many shows I watch where the protagonists never seem to eat, or if they do they are coolly disinterested in the entire process. They often have to be reminded to eat by concerned family and friends to illustrate how tortured they are. That might be someone's experience but it sure as hell isn't mine. Liz Lemon loves food. Food is her therapy, her friend, and her father confessor. Liz kept repeatedly taking her ex-boyfriend Dennis back because despite all of his douchebaggery, every time she came home exhausted from work he had food waiting for her. Liz eats cheese at night and sings about it. She doesn't understand why men offer to buy her drinks in bars and not mozzarella sticks. And when faced with the choice between chasing the man she loves through an airport and enjoying the delicious, perfect sandwich she only gets once a year from a mystery location, she refuses to choose. Because food is important. Because goddamn it, we can have it all.

Honorable Mention:  Emanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land because there's only one Wesley Snipes in the world.

Sex and the City: The Post-It Always Sticks Twice

Sex and the City was not a particularly consistent show, and it wasn't even a show that I loved. I liked it a lot. There were bits of it I disliked and bits of it I thought were absolutely brilliant. But this episode is classic. Things had been shaky between Carrie and her sullen writer boyfriend (played so wonderfully by Ron Livingston it was hard for me not to dislike his face forever afterwards), and he-of-the-fragile-masculinity finally decides to end it for good one morning. She wakes up after a night together to find him gone, and a post-it note on the table that says simply, "I'm sorry. I can't. Don't hate me".  Carrie is furious and decides that all four of the close friends are hitting the town and having an epic night because "This can’t be the day that I was broken up with by a post-it. This has to be the day that something else happened". Hijinks ensue, obviously. The episode is clever and heartfelt and was for me, the funniest the show has ever been.

Honorable Mention:  Coulda Woulda Shoulda because the end makes me cry every time.

Parks & Recreation: The Fight

Parks & Rec is everything a television comedy should be. Funny, poignant, smart, silly, and frequently inspiring. But I didn't even have to think about this one because for me there will never be anything funnier than these characters when they are drunk and/or hungover. Here Tom talks all of them into coming out to his nightclub where he and the always hysterical Jean-Ralphio are promoting their new alcoholic beverage- Snake Juice- which is, as Donna points out, "basically rat poison". Everyone who drinks it becomes wasted almost instantly. Leslie and Ann have their very first fight and it's every bit as ridiculous as you could imagine. From nonsensical insults to angry dancing, it is a fight that only two of the nicest people on Earth could have. Meanwhile this episode also blesses us with April & Andy's alter-egos (Janet Snakehole and FBI agent Burt Macklin) and Ron Swanson dancing around manically in a tiny hat. What more could I ask for.

Honorable Mention:  Ron and Tammys because Paula Pell is a treasure and again- drunk Leslie.

Scrubs: My Way Home

I've worked in hospitals since 1997 so I can tell you that Scrubs is the most accurate medical show that has ever been on television. If you want to know what the life of a resident physician is like, look no further. J.D. has a single, precious day off, and the episode begins with him in a bubble bath listening to Toto (I'm sorry, how do YOU spend your days off??). Then he gets paged in to the hospital for something inane that could have been handled over the phone (real). Then while trying to leave he gets waylaid over and over by nurses, patients, and friends all needing his help (REAL). He just wants to leave but at the same time, he has no real personal life to get back to anymore. The hospital has become his home and his family, and he can't desert anyone in it or say no. That's why Scrubs can do something fantastical, like pattern an entire episode after The Wizard of Oz, and still be so realistic. Because that show understood the way your life gets absorbed into residency until there is literally nothing else left. There is a reason most doctors marry nurses, drug reps, or other doctors- because no one on the outside really understands what the life entails. It's not a job, it's an existence. And everything else will always, always come second. Even your own sanity.

Honorable Mention:  My Fallen Idol because there is no physician alive with more of a conscience than Perry Cox, and this episode showed the tragic downside of that.

The Wire: Cleaning Up

The Wire is brilliant and everyone knows this. For me this episode choice is not about "favorite", or even best, episodes or seasons. This is about my heart breaking in half hearing D'Angelo say "Where's Wallace? Where's Wallace, String?" That scene will follow me always. It hurts. The whole thing hurts. Instead of clear-cut villains, I hurt for Bodie right along with Wallace. That was the moment I sat up and went holy shit, this show is going to ruin me. And I was right.

Honorable Mention:  -30- because everything comes full circle.

The 100:  Spacewalker

The 100 is relentless. It is a chaotic mix of warfare, politics, and above all survival. I originally had no real feelings about Clarke in either direction. At first glance she seemed to be a standard-issue, spunky blonde white girl. I didn't dislike her but I didn't see anything special to get excited about. But as the second season came around she more than earned her leadership role, and this episode proved she was capable of making the most horrible, difficult decisions a leader has to make. Finn lost his shit and massacred almost twenty Grounders in a village as revenge for something he could not be sure they had done. Clarke had a choice- try to save him even though it would mean the end of the shaky treaty she had forged with the Grounders on behalf of the Sky People and possibly start a war, or let him be slowly tortured to death as punishment for his crimes by the tribe he had wronged. Instead of doing either she went to the Grounder Chieftess and requested to say goodbye to her friend- then she herself slid a knife into the pretty white boy the show had set up to be both a main character and her romantic interest. I was fully shocked, because this never happens. He deserved to face the consequences of his actions, but pretty white boys on the good side don't ever face consequences- they get away with things! They are saved at the last moment! They are redeemed. Decades of television had taught me this. I had not yet realized that, with very few exceptions, this incredible show was going to center entirely around the female characters. Clarke gave him the gift of a swift death. She knew that some of her own people would be mutinous, but would eventually understand she had saved him from a worse fate. She also knew that although the Grounders would resent their prisoner being spared torture, they would ultimately respect the fact that she killed one of her own for his crimes against them. From that moment on, Clarke was my everything.

Honorable Mention:  The Culling, because Jesus Fucking Christ.

Bob's Burgers: Mother Daughter Laser Razor

Bob's Burgers is the funniest, sweetest show. We need shows like this to balance out the awfulness in our world. This episode holds a special place in my heart because the kind of dad that Bob is makes me wish that I had a dad like that. I wish that everyone had a dad who would get his legs waxed just to support his awkward daughter. I loved Linda and Louise's forced mother-daughter-date-turned-lazer-tag-battle, but in the end watching Bob quietly make sure that Tina knows that she is loved for who she is no matter what she decides to do with her body is what made this episode so goddamn special.

Honorable Mention:  Boyz 4 Now because that first time you become hormonally obsessed with a boy... the struggle is real.

Roseanne: Halloween IV

There hasn't been anything like Roseanne since it went off the air (we shall not speak of the re-boot as of yet). Seeing a working class, fat woman on TV with a loving husband and a family mirrored everything I saw in real life and absolutely nothing I saw on TV. The Halloween episodes were always special because as a kid I LOVED how much she loved Halloween. I was raised by people who thought Halloween was the Devil's birthday, so I envied the Connors of their cool mom. I recognized myself in Darlene, and I recognized my life in the cheap linoleum, the yard sale furniture, and the non-trendy clothes. Watching Roseanne lose her Halloween spirit bummed me out- watching her get it back was epic. Yes the show took a complete nosedive in the end, but the first few seasons were important in so many ways that they still do not get credit for.

Honorable Mention:  Crime and Punishment because Roseanne started talking about the reality of domestic violence way before we started listening.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus: The Spanish Inquisition

What can I possibly say about Monty Python that hasn’t already been said by someone smarter and more British than I. They really were The Beatles of comedy. The show was ridiculous, absurd, surreal, and frequently brilliant. The Spanish Inquisition sketch was a simple concept but that didn't stop it being hilarious.

Honorable Mention:  Face the Press because the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch will never not kill me dead.

Archer: Lo Scandalo

No matter how many times I watch this episode, I laugh out loud all the way through it. Lo Scandalo is a masterpiece and it has everything I love about Archer. Malory's sociopathy, the gang all working together, Kriegar being a sick weirdo, hilariously clever rapid-fire dialogue... the manipulation by Malory that takes place here is utterly bananas and as usual she is ten steps ahead of everyone. But for me, Sterling provides the funniest, most relatable content upon learning of his mother's kinky (or in his words: "dildo-ey") S&M sex with the Italian Prime Minister ("Doesn't Italy use a king?"). Malory, "Look!" Sterling, "You, look! I bet I'll never be able to have sex again without thinking about this! I bet I won't even be able to eat spaghetti and meatballs. -Oh God!" Malory, "What!" Sterling, "...I could eat! I mean not necessarily spaghetti and meatballs... but, you know, not necessarily NOT spaghetti and meatballs... I mean I really like spaghetti and meatballs. Man, if I don't get some spaghetti and meatballs I may literally die."

Food is important.

Honorable Mention:  The Limited, because fighting mounties on top of a train... and more importantly, BABOU.

Breaking Bad: Phoenix

I feel like this is along the same lines as my pick for The Wire. It's not that it's the best episode, or even my favorite episode. But again it's the episode when I first realized that this was a show that was not fucking around. For me Walter White's character development can be separated into two parts: before Phoenix and after Phoenix. When Walter watched Jane choke to death on her own vomit when he easily could have saved her, you knew a line had been crossed that couldn't be un-crossed. He made an inhuman decision rooted in pure selfishness, and its only end was to better manipulate Jesse. That was the moment Heisenberg was born.

Honorable Mention:  Felina because this show died as amazingly as it lived.

Psych: American Duos

Psych is so much fun. It's one of those shows you can always watch. Overall it’s fairly hit and miss but watching the friendship between Shawn and Gus is like a soothing salve for your brain. Tim Curry pretty much steals this particular episode away from James and Dulé and the American Idol parody ep becomes a vehicle for his brilliance. But the boys shine in their hilarious dance sequence and it's one of the funniest episodes they have ever done. Come on, Son.

Honorable Mention:  Last Night Gus because it is nonstop fun and probably my overall favorite.

X-Files: The Ghosts That Stole Christmas

How much more fun could this show possibly have??  A haunted house. A classic ghost story. Scully and Mulder in the role of a loving but murderous couple. This episode can't be written off as purely fan service because it is too fucking clever. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are both massively comedically talented and neither one of them hardly ever gets to show it off- especially Gillian who seems to go from darkly brilliant, somber murder show to darkly brilliant, somber murder show. Anytime the X-Files let them cut loose and be funny I was all in. Hysterical and genuinely creepy in equal amounts, this episode is a classic and I watch it at every year at Christmas.

Honorable Mention:  Quagmire because RIP Queequeg.

Cougar Town:  Lost Children

Yes, you heard that right. Cougar Town. The show with a name so stupid it was doomed to be underestimated forever. Courtney Cox dates a young guy in the first few episodes then the title never holds any relevance, ever again. Eventually the show leans into it and just starts relentlessly mocking the stupidity of its own name in the title credits. Jules' life consists of wine, her (age-appropriate) neighbor boyfriend, her hilarious circle of friends, her ex-husband, her son, and a LOT more wine. Did I mention wine? This show revolves around wine. This episode popped into my mind because it's ridiculous and silly and I loved watching the crew run around the neighborhood playing sardines. It reminds me of when we were kids and we would just... go outside and play? When did we stop doing that? Adults should still do that. Saying that Cougar Town doesn't ever challenge you sounds like an insult, and maybe it sort of is but also it isn't. Some days instead of watching people lie, kill, and scheme, you just want to watch a show where you know the writers will never break up your favorite couples. They will never try too hard to be cool. They will instead make up awesome games like Penny Can and have the gang make ridiculous bets with each other, all while drinking buckets of wine. They create small issues here and there that are easily resolvable, usually in one episode. This show pats your bottom and tells you everything is going to be okay. It looks good and it feels good. It makes you want your very own cul-de-sac crew.

Honorable Mention:  Little Girl Blues because I am all in favor of having actual funerals for your favorite wine glasses when they break. #RIPBigJoe

Star Trek TNG: Déjà Q

I love almost all of The Star Treks, but I grew up with TNG. The very first episode had featured Q and he was immediately my favorite. I recorded all of his episodes on VHS tapes. His god-like powers, his sass, and his flair for the dramatic made him the most fun the show ever had with a villain. No being in the universe got under Jean-Luc's skin like Q. I loved the way he effortlessly exasperated Picard. I loved it when Guinan stabbed him with a fork. I loved the way he said "Mon Cap-it-an". I. love. Q. This was my favorite Q episode because it was the first one that showed the cracks in his armor. This was Q's "human" episode.

Honorable Mention:  Elementary, Dear Data. I love every Data-centric episode and I'm obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, so this was inevitable.

Bojack Horseman: That's Too Much, Man

The Bojack Horseman episode "Stupid Piece of Shit" has been heralded as a brilliant look into the depressed mind. It's is a fairly normal Bojack ep, but with the addition of his inner monologue berating him mercilessly the entire time. It's truly great, but so much has been written about it that I thought I'd choose another one that stuck with me. This episode finds Bojack painfully lonely at rock-bottom. He calls up Sarah Lynn, his one-time TV daughter turned drug-addicted pop star and frequent partner in crime ("That's too much, man." was Sarah Lynn's catchphrase on the show 'Horsin' Around' when she was a kid). She is in a sober phase at the moment but the second the chance for a bender presents itself she is all in. Sarah Lynn always represented Bojack's failure to be a good person. At one time he could have chosen to make her childhood a little less terrible by being there for her, but he never did. He wasn't cruel, just self-absorbed, and Sarah Lynn (now in her 30’s) has always paid the price for the adults around her being self-absorbed. Bojack tries to go on a therapeutic journey of making amends, but he keeps blacking out and forgetting the conversations he has when he visits the people he has wronged, so then he has to go back and do it again. It's hilarious and awful. Both of them stoned and wasted, Sarah Lynn drives Bojack from place to place as he keeps fucking up even more with every stop... until the end when he finally notices she's been asking to go to the planetarium all day and takes her there, realizing he is not the only person alive on the planet who matters.  Sarah Lynn is obsessed with the planetarium simply because it is a dome. Sarah Lynn, who never got to choose what she wanted to be, quietly says "I want to be an architect." Then she dies of a drug overdose with her head on Bojack's shoulder. It's one of the most brutal things I've ever seen a show do. But it was brilliant.

Honorable Mention:  Time's Arrow because it is definitely the most well-crafted episode of the whole show.

Veronica Mars: Pilot

Veronica Mars was ahead of its time and the first season was truly perfect. I chose the pilot because unlike most shows that take a while to hit their stride, Veronica Mars comes out swinging and shows you exactly what the show is going to be. It's great from literally the very first frame. Even with The Good Place (which is phenomenal) this remains my favorite Kristen Bell role of all time. Veronica is constantly underestimated- this tiny blonde with a chip on her shoulder and more brains than is good for her. Armed only with her sharp mind, a Blackberry, a pit bull named Backup, and the best Dad in the entire history of television, she fights for people who can't fight for themselves. One thing is absolutely certain- when shit goes down, you want Veronica in your corner.

Honorable Mention:  Leave it to Beaver because it's rare that a show sets up the amount of mystery and intrigue that S1 of VM did and then manages to pay everything off.

The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

Over the past 8 seasons The Walking Dead has changed a lot, and not for the better. But for my money, there are also hardly any zombie shows or movies that can compete with the first season of that show. I am obsessed with zombies and I'll watch any movie or tv show with zombies in it, no matter how awful. But from the first moment of Days Gone Bye to the last, you feel like you are watching a movie. A really good movie. The acting, the production value, even the music of the opening sequence. You are right there with Rick, experiencing his bewilderment and fear alongside him. It's a shame it has dragged on for so long because TWD was really something special once.

Honorable Mention:  Tell It to the Frogs because when Rick found his family everything changed, and Shane started down the dark path that would ultimately lead to violence, shirtless head-shaving (thank you for that), and utter tragedy.

Penny Dreadful: Possession

Penny Dreadful is a beautiful, violent, twisted fairy tale. The first two seasons are worlds better than the third, in my opinion. Vanessa Ives has a dark power, but she also has an honesty and a vulnerability about her that seems to draw everyone to her, and through the course of the first season you see Ethan Chandler, Victor Frankenstein, and even the mysterious Dorian Gray come to trust her and care for her deeply. But Sir Malcolm continues to blame Vanessa for the loss of his daughter and is pitiless in his regard for her. This episode is disturbing, terrifying, and heartbreaking. Eva Green is incredible here. When she becomes possessed and everyone rushes to her side without hesitation, you can finally see Sir Malcolm realizing that he might have lost a daughter, but he found one too.

Honorable Mention:  Demimonde because Ethan and Dorian Gray. BLESS THIS SHOW FOREVER FOR THAT SCENE.

Jessica Jones: WWJD

I enjoy all of the Netflix Marvel shows, but the first season of Jessica Jones outshines them all. Instead of starting out in the usual way- person gets powers, person decides to use them for good, etc., JJ starts out in the middle of her story. She has already done the superhero thing. It didn't work out. A mind-controlling sociopath used her powers for his own destructive purposes, and even though she broke free of his control she remains haunted by what she has done, and what was done to her. She is trying to do some small amount of good by being a private detective, while at the same time drinking away her PTSD and alienating herself from anyone who cares about her. Then the man who ruined her life shows back up- obsessed with Jessica now that he can no longer control her. David Tennant is brilliant here and if you had told me he had this performance in him before I saw it, I never would have believed you. Not because he isn't good because he very much is, but because he is just too goddamn lovable. But he blew me away by legitimately creeping the entire fuck out of the place. This is the episode with his grand gesture- he BUYS HER CHILDHOOD HOME and restores it to exactly the way it was before she lost her parents and younger brother in a car accident and had to go away. Watching the psychological cat-and-mouse between these two characters under the same roof is thrilling and to be honest I didn't want it to end.

Honorable Mention:  Top Shelf Perverts because bringing a severed head into a police station is always a great plan.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: 100 Dollar Baby

Always Sunny is my favorite television comedy of all time and no matter how many times I watch my favorite episodes it never seems to be enough. It's original, abrasive, addictive, and much smarter than it should be. It's self-aware (unlike the characters) and the perfect amount of Wrong. These people are so awful but so goddamn fun to watch. It was difficult to pick one episode but 100 Dollar Baby might be the funniest Charlie Day and Kaitlin Olson have ever been. I love any time these two team up, whether they are ruling a virtual video game world (THIS GAYME HAS GOWNE ON LOUNG ENOUF) or beating the shit out of a random dude while hopped up on steroids. The "training" sequences with the three guys make me laugh out loud and the ending is fucked up in every way that makes Always Sunny awesome. This episode is also responsible for the greatest gif to ever come out of the show.

Honorable Mention:  Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack because THERE IS NO PEPE SILVIA.

Les Revenants (The Returned):  Camille

The American version never happened. As long as you remember that, you will love The Returned. The acting, the writing and the tone in the French version is such that you wish they would give every other horror show lessons. The American attempt to copy it was hot garbage. Camille is the name of both the first episode and the name of a girl who calmly shows up at her family home 4 years after being killed in a bus crash, thinking it's just a regular day. She is the first but eventually people all over the village start coming back from the dead. But they are not groaning, decomposing monsters. They are in fact completely themselves, having no memory of dying or the time that has passed since- in most cases, years. They return to their families on pure instinct, and the shock and joy felt by their friends and relatives slowly crumbles into horror as it becomes clear this isn't as simple as it seems. It is an incredible show about love, family, grief, and retribution. Zombie show? Kind of. But so much more than that.

Honorable Mention:Simon, because I am a complete sucker for a good quality, doomed love story.

Space Ghost: Coast to Coast: Snatch

Space Ghost Coast to Coast seems like a show you have to be high to enjoy, and since I've never watched it high I have no excuse for how much I love it. It makes me laugh harder than any other animated show, ever. I’ve spent what is frankly an embarrassing number of hours watching it in my lifetime. I find it strangely soothing. It's packed with in-jokes, bizarre storylines, minor celebrities, and weird rivalries. It contains long stretches of silence that are funny, then go on so long they stop being funny, then keep going until finally they are funny again. It's fucking weird. Snatch is a body-snatching pod-aliens episode, which is enough of a reason for it to be my favorite. I can put on the DVDs of SGCTC and watch it continuously for like a day straight.

Honorable Mention:  Banjo because why do we hurt the ones we love? WHY BANJO, WHY! BANJOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Sense8: All I Want Right Now Is One More Bullet

Sense8 is a brilliant antidote to the million-and-one boring-ass, heteronormative shows floating around out there. As far as representation goes it is the fresh air you never thought you would live long enough to breathe. It is beautiful, compelling, and sexy as all hell (Three words: Psychic. Bisexual. Orgies.). And if you can get through even half of the first season without longing to have a cluster of your own, then I can't relate to you at all. The psychic connection between these characters is such a joy. Every single character is fully fleshed-out, fascinating, and given their own personal journey, relationships, and backstory- no one is neglected by the writers. But I chose this episode because every time they drop everything and come together to help one of their own it makes my heart soar. This show- every second of it- is better than we deserve.

Honorable Mention:  What Is Human? because of two scenes- the one where Lito steps in to help Wolfgang by doing what he can't ("Lying is easy. It's what I do."), and then Wolfgang returning the favor by showing up to beat the entire living shit out of the domestic abuser Lito is trying to save his friend from ("Fighting is easy. It's what I do."). Those two scenes together might be my favorite interaction between any of the Sense8s in all of season one.

Dexter: Surprise, Motherfucker

Most people who loved Dexter agree that the first 4 seasons are the only good ones and the rest was downhill. Aside from the god-awful series finale, I beg to differ. My choice of the season 7 finale would not be a popular one among Dexter fans but I am a sucker for pain and I will die on this hill. When Deborah discovers that her adopted brother is the Bay Harbor Butcher, she starts to crack. You can see her mental state deteriorating slowly through the course of the season as she continues doing her job as a detective while trying to grapple with the fact that she is unable to turn Dexter in. He has always been her foundation, her only family, and she loves him desperately in a way that confuses her. Her entire universe has been shattered. Dexter tries to help her cope, tries to help her come to terms with it. Not having much in the way of emotions himself, it gets to the point where he genuinely doesn't understand why it's so hard for her. Then it all falls apart in the season finale when a suspicious Maria LaGuerta finally discovers Dexter's secret. Deborah is faced with a choice- and even as Dexter encourages her to choose LaGuerta's side for her own sake- rather than lose the person she loves most in the world Deb shoots and kills her own Captain. You know in that moment that everything Deborah Morgan was before has been lost. The final part of the episode, with Dexter protectively leading his dazed sister through a celebrating crowd, is a perfect scene.

Honorable Mention:  The Getaway, for the ending that shocked us all.

Sherlock: His Last Vow

It would be difficult for any villain to follow Moriarty. The consulting criminal with his hands in everything was Sherlock Holmes' perfect counterpart and an utter delight to watch. Trying to compete with Andrew Scott's strange charm would have been pointless, so instead they went in the complete opposite direction and gave us the most repellent villain of the entire show. Nothing about Charles Magnussen (played brilliantly by Lars Mikkelsen) is intriguing, charming, or fun. He is a smug, dead-eyed bastard who "collects" people by discovering their secrets. Unfortunately Mary Watson has a dark and extremely illegal past that she's managed to keep even from Sherlock. Sherlock makes a promise to protect Mary and he keeps it- by blowing Magnussen's head off in a shocking ending once it became clear that he couldn't beat him any other way. This episode revolves around the thing I've always loved most about Sherlock as a show: loyalty. The show began with John Watson shooting someone in the head to protect Sherlock, who he had only just met, and with His Last Vow it all comes full circle.

Honorable Mention:  The Reichenbach Fall because Honey, you should see me in a crown.

The Fall: What Is in Me Dark Illumine

The police finally have Paul Spector in custody, but he refuses to cooperate with anyone but Stella Gibson. The interrogation room scene between the two of them is one of the best scenes of television I've seen in my entire life. I've watched a million of these types of scenes- a criminal fixated on one particular cop, two people trying to get as personal as possible to get under the other's skin, trying to get information out of a pure psychopath to save someone who is in danger. But somehow, using dialogue and acting that deserves every single award that exists, this show elevated an old trope to something else entirely. One of the most amazing things about The Fall is that every time you think you see what's coming next, you don't. If you want to see real, honest-to-goodness skill, these two actors volleying the ball back and forth is on another level.

Honorable Mention:  Beauty Hath Strange Power, for being a masterclass in rape culture.

House: Birthmarks

House is a good show, if pretty formulaic, but the character of Gregory House is certainly nothing new. In fact, the character and the show are both pretty obviously inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Here we have yet another funny, cynical genius/bastard who treats people around him like crap, yet everyone still seems to care about him and everything revolves around him, etc. etc. But even though there were plenty of great characters and interesting arcs throughout its eight seasons, the reason the show mattered to me from the beginning was the relationship between House and Wilson. Maybe less than a romance but definitely more than a bromance, this relationship was consistently the most devoted and interesting one of the show. Arguably the only person House truly loves (although an argument could certainly be made for Lisa Cuddy as well), James Wilson is generous, terrible at romantic relationships, and thrives on fixing people. But House is unfixable so it was inevitable Wilson would become just as addicted to him as House was to Vicodin. Birthmarks was a perfect encapsulation of their relationship and it was also sad, funny, and poignant. Wilson decides that House needs to attend his father's funeral and House wants nothing to do with it. Wilson tries everything to try to talk House into going, until finally he gets Cuddy to help him literally DRUG AND KIDNAP HIM. House and Wilson have trouble with boundaries. Naturally it ends with House verbally ripping his father to shreds in front of the mourners and Wilson throwing a vase through the stained glass window of a funeral home. Their relationship is ridiculously unhealthy and co-dependent and yet it is the most fun relationship ever. The pranks, the adventures, the monster truck shows... House and Wilson, forever.

Honorable Mention:  Last Temptation mostly because House and Wilson having a pointless bet to see who can keep a live chicken in the hospital the longest without security catching on is possibly the funniest fucking thing they have ever done.

Angel: Hole in the World

This is a perfect episode of television, from beginning to end. Joss Whedon can get predictable at times, so I feel like every once in a while he sets you up to think you know what kind of story you are about to get then purposely turns it on its head. At the start of the episode he subtly guides you into thinking you are going to be cheering the team on as they save the day, then he rips the rug out from under you in the most gut-wrenching and epic way imaginable. This episode is everything- hilarious and sweet at first, exciting, and then utterly heartbreaking. It sets up a huge shift in the direction of the season and if you thought Wesley Wyndam-Pryce couldn't possibly catch any more bad breaks, you would be very wrong. Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker knocked those final scenes so far out of the park. This episode took Fred from us, but it also brought Illyria into the show and our lives were all the better for it.

Honorable Mention:  Not Fade Away might be my favorite Whedon finale of them all. If Buffy's finale was about finding your strength, Angel's was about those who keep fighting even after they have none left.

The Thick Of It: Season 3, Episode 3 (episodes are not titled)

British politics, bleakness, humor, and a whole, WHOLE lot of swearing. The Thick Of It often leaves American viewers confused because they are generally used to tidiness. If not a hero, an anti-hero. If not a happy ending, a meaningful or tragic one. If not a point, then artistry in pointlessness. The problem is that none of that exists in British politics. It's a messy, frantic, never-ending clusterfuck. Power grabs, secrets, alliances... the tide can turn against you so fast that in under a day you can go from a Minister of the Crown to sludge on a tabloid reporter's shoe. It's brutal. If you count the two brilliant hour-long specials ("Rise of the Nutters" and "Spinners and Losers") it gets too hard to pick because you can do much more with an hour than 30 minutes, so I chose my favorite of the regular episodes. This is easily the funniest one of the series and it also shows you exactly who Malcolm Tucker is. Up until that point he is portrayed as a bit of a bogeyman, but the truth is he that he simply does what needs to be done- granted in an extremely sweary and bullying way. In fact, people beg for his help in a panic every bit as often as they curse his name, because when shit hits the fan they know he is the one who will know exactly what to do. Malcolm is the one pulling the strings- right up until the second he isn't. He has always understood the game they are all in and he spends his days waiting for everyone else to catch up. He frequently prods them there with strings of creative expletives that would make an 80 year-old sailor cry for his mother. But eventually even he is brought down by the poisonous system that has taken over his life and ruled his existence for decades. He sees it coming, tries to get in front of it, then goes down quietly, knowing better than anyone that this is it for him. The Thick Of It is one of those shows that is, at its heart, so bleak that you will never understand why you want to watch it over and over again. But you will. Because it is goddamn clever, and hilarious as all fuck.

Honorable Mention:  Season 4, Episode 7 because it has Malcolm's final speech- the one he gives to the young unscrupulous fuck who decided he wanted to be his protégé from almost day one. I can't summarize it, so here it is.

"You know fuck all about me! I am totally beyond the realms of your fuckin tousle-haired fuckin dim-witted compre-fucking-hension. I don't just take this fucking job home, you know. I take this job home, it fucking ties me to the bed, and it fuckin fucks me from arsehole to breakfast. Then it wakes me up in the morning with a cup full of piss slammed in my face, slaps me about the chops to make sure I'm awake enough so it can kick me in the fucking bollocks! This job has taken me in every hole in my fucking body. Malcolm is gone- you can't know Malcolm because Malcolm is not here! Malcolm fucking left the building fucking years ago! This is a fucking husk, I am a fucking host for this fucking job. Do you want this job? Yes? You do fucking want this job? Then you're gonna have to swallow this whole fucking life and let it grow inside you like a parasite, getting bigger and bigger and bigger until it fucking eats your insides alive and it stares out of your eyes and tells you what to do. I'm gonna leave the stage with my head held fucking high. What you're gonna see is a master class in fucking dignity, son. The audience will be on their feet. "There he goes!", they'll say. No friends - no *real* friends. No children, no glory, no memoirs. Well, fuck them."

Doctor Who: Midnight

Midnight is not a "representative" episode of Doctor Who but in my defense there aren't many of those in existence. It is the very nature of this show that it can be a tragedy, a comedy, a drama, a sci-fi, a fantasy, an action-adventure, or a horror show depending on its mood. This episode shoots for creepy and it doesn't miss. It's reminiscent of The Twilight Zone as the horror is mainly psychological. Being trapped in space with strangers, all of whom slowly turn on each other as they realize they are not alone... that something alien has gotten in. Ten is at his most clever and most desperate here- clever as he tries to solve the mystery of what's possessing them and desperate as he races to do so before any of the passengers hurt each other. There are many episodes of DW that restore the Doctor's faith in human beings and many that make him think they might not be worth it after all. Midnight ends up being a combination of both.

As an aside, this is the only show that consistently breaks down my cynicism and leaves me optimistic and hopeful for the human race. No pressure, Doctor Who.

Honorable Mention:  The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances because it introduced us to our dashing pansexual hero Captain Jack Harkness, because it was the first genuinely creepy episode of Doctor Who, and because I love Nine so, so hard.

Supernatural: Swan Song

"So what does it all add up to? It's hard to say. But me, I'd say this was a test... for Sam and Dean. And I think they did all right. Up against good, evil, angels, devils, destiny, and God himself, they made their own choice. They chose family. And, well, isn't that kinda the whole point?"

Let's be honest, Supernatural should have ended with Swan Song. No, I don’t begrudge my boys their now THIRTEEN seasons (just renewed for fourteen!) and yes, we would have missed out on incredible episodes like Death's Door, The Man Who Would Be King (which is actually my 3rd favorite ep), and The French Mistake. We would never have met Kevin, Charlie, Soulless Sam or Demon Dean. It would be sad to not have all of the great things about the subsequent seasons (although we also would never have had to meet Amelia or suffer through the despicable way they killed off Charlie, sooooo...) but if they had gone out with Eric Kripke's planned series finale, it would have been perfect storytelling. The story of the Winchester boys and the destiny that had been forced upon them came full-circle. Sam and Dean threw middle fingers up to every mystical force in the universe and refused to be used- not even by all of the hosts of Heaven. And honestly, where does a show even go after it manages to beat both God and the Devil? In its subsequent 8 seasons it has never come remotely close to matching this episode. Swan Song has everything that makes Supernatural special. It was a perfect episode and a perfect finale.

Honorable Mention:  Lazarus Rising for having the most badass character entrance in the history of television.

Black Mirror: San Junipero

Almost every episode of Black Mirror has something to do with a disturbing dystopian future based on our over-reliance on technology. Not this one. It takes place in the future and technology certainly comes into it, but for once it isn't bad or the cause of the downfall of society. It's just part of the story. San Junipero is a love story and also a story about love. The sacrifices we make for those we love versus the choices we make for ourselves. It's a beautifully crafted episode- the music, the wardrobe, the casting, everything is spot-on amazing and nothing is overdone. This is one of the only episodes of Black Mirror that bears repeated watchings, and the end never gets any less affecting. Also, if you're going to watch this be prepared to cry every time Heaven Is A Place On Earth comes on the radio for the rest of your life.

Honorable Mention:  The U.S.S. Callister because it's creative, funny, and disturbing as fuck. For any respectable Star Trek fan there could be no other choice.

Hannibal: Wrath of the Lamb

There has never been a show quite like Hannibal. How this orgy of blood and gore was ever allowed to air on network television I will never know. Thomas Harris's novels have always been favorites of mine, but Bryan Fuller has a knack of knowing exactly what to throw out and what to keep when it comes to material that is dated. When creating his version of Hannibal he kept the essence of the characters intact but added much-needed diversity to a cast that would have otherwise been painfully dull. Far from taking away from the story the changes he made added layers upon layers to the material. Hannibal is, in my opinion, the most visually beautiful television show ever made. I defy you to get through the entire thing without accidentally finding at least one of the cooking scenes appetizing, and considering Hannibal’s favorite ingredient that is no small feat. This show is over-the-top and the characters talk like nobody on Earth speaks in real life, but every word is carefully chosen and the scripts are practically poetry. It's dramatic and bloody and wildly unrealistic- and definitely not for everybody. The series finale was everything I needed and considering the time constraints (the show was prematurely cancelled), nearly impossible to pull off this flawlessly. Instead of shrinking from the story it had created or pulling it back at the end, the show followed through on what it had been setting up since the very first episode: Will Graham becoming everything Hannibal wanted him to be.

Honorable Mention:  Mizumono because a true friend doesn't stab you in the back, he stabs you in the front.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Body

This is the most brilliant episode of my favorite show. Joss lost his own mother suddenly, which comes as no surprise because nobody could make an episode of television like this unless they themselves had experienced sudden loss. Death is everywhere on television in countless forms, yet this episode is singular. If you've ever experienced grief you will absolutely recognize your feelings or reactions in at least one of the characters. The Body captures the empty space around death- the silence, the boredom... in Joss's own words, "the monotony of grief". It's such an accurate depiction of the hours that pass immediately following a sudden death that, having suffered horrifically through those hours myself, I can barely talk about it. I have watched every season of Buffy over and over throughout the years, but I only re-watch The Body when I feel the need to sob until I almost barf, which is usually once every year or so. It's simultaneously the best and most painful episode of television I have ever seen.

Honorable Mention:  Once More With Feeling because it reigns supreme over every other musical episode of television ever made. And because also, it's important to remember that it could be bunnies.

Do you have any particular episodes or scenes of television that have stayed with you? Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Why We Get Post Convention Blues and How to Beat Them

The post-convention blues are real, my friends. They can range from the blah’s, to the blues, to full-on depression. There are some very good reasons for that. In our everyday lives, we may feel marginalized or isolated. There are few people we can connect with about the things that light our fires. We may even live in places hostile to our skin color, gender expression, or sexual orientation. When we go to conventions we find Our People.

I will illustrate why it matters to find Your People in a series of Stock Photo Comics. (I can’t draw so this is my solution).  Your People do not side eye you for:

Unrestrained feels..

Sexual orientation/gender identity...Particular combo of ethnicity and interests...Or we just found people we could bond with over the stuff that matters to us...Not saying conventions are perfect places where every human being is a rainbow farting unicorn. NOPE NO WAY NOT EVEN A LITTLE. But we do find Our People there. We go from isolated minority to a sea of people who GET us. It makes sense that coming back to our own realities at home can be a jarring experience.  So the important questions is: how can you minimize the impact of that loss? Because I want you to be happy, my fangirl/boy/non binary darling!

Integrate your passions into your everyday life.  First things first.  Are you filling your everyday life with reminders of your passion and joy?  If you are, DO IT EVEN MORE.

Think of how you played in your childhood.

The things that matter to us in our fandoms today, flow from the imagination, play, and whimsy of our childhoods. Whether our childhoods were lovely, traumatic, or all points in between, we just got on with doing what we loved. We connected without shame to the things that filled our spirits with joy. That could have been faeries, dragons, spaceships, robots, quests, magic, monsters, it could have been anything. But to a one, our worlds of imagination offered us comfort, solace, hope, inspiration, and freedom. Then we grew up, and became disconnected. FUCK THAT. It’s time to reconnect. Think back to when you were a kid. What did you play? What did you imagine? What did you read? What do you love now that fills you with those same feelings?

Then make a list of those things. That’s your to do list of life, my friends. Take the items on that list and let them inspire you to:

  • Start a creative project.  That could be designing a cosplay, writing a fanfic, making a piece of art, shooting a video, or recreating props. Some Supernatural fans have literally spent months fixing up Impalas to look like Dean Winchester’s Baby, and then they get to drive around in them every day! Bottom line, be the originator of your own badass life content. It creates a consistent thread in your life of imagination and creation.
  • Don’t assume that no one near you can relate. Maybe not in your town or school or home. But check meetup.com, check social media, ask on your own profiles to be connected to folks who live in your vicinity. Visit your local comic book shop and look at the flyers they have up. You never know.
  • Organize a local meetup for your community with a theme. Even if they live a few hours away, you might be surprised. They could be feeling the way you are and would welcome a day trip out to you. It can be as simple as a TV-watch party for Buffy with vampire themed drinks. It could be meeting at a local diner in Winchester and bringing your con photo op binders to swap stories.  It can be a Wynonna Earp cosplay photoshoot near a dive bar that kinda looks like Shorty’s. I know it can be intimidating to plan events. What if no one shows up? But here’s the thing. What they do and it is fucking amazing? Plus, having it on the calendar will make you feel like you haven’t been dropped off into the deep end.
  • Stay connected with your con family through binge watching together on Skype or rabb.it. Lots of folks have remote watch parties. I have not used rabb.it. but I have used Skype and google hangouts. You just say one, two, three, HIT PLAY and then watch together.
  • Put fan art or merch everywhere at work or home. Looking at it will reconnect you with the things that matter to you. Whether it’s the love and acceptance of Sense8 or the optimism and sense of possibility in Star Trek, you will always have reminders. You can get mugs, candles, art prints, cutting boards, calendars, the fandom options are endless.
  • Be creative with your style. Represent your fandom wherever you go. You can find low key fandom items to wear at work. You can also play with your hairstyle. Hell, tattoos are always an option. Rock it.
  • Start planning your next convention. Buying those tickets, planning your photo op poses, or deciding what you want your fave to autograph will give you something to look forward to.
  • Bring headphones to work or school if possible. Listen to fandom podcasts, audiobooks, or music associated with the things you love. Even if you are only listening on your commute, that is something.
  • Start projects online with your fandom. In fact you can choose a fandom based on its level of activity and creative energy. For example, if you are a Misha Collins fan, you ALWAYS have a project to work on, whether it is doing a bizarre scavenger hunt, raising money for a refugee family, or creating a piece of art with a group.
  • Make time for yourself to enjoy your favorite shows/books/movies. Don’t feel guilty for scheduling in time to do that stuff, even if you are a parent. (I’m talking to myself now.)
  • Write fan letters or art and send them to the people who are making a difference to you. The time and love you put into that will be time you spend thinking positive thoughts of gratitude.

Make your life better in general.

Sometimes it is MORE jarring to return home because we hate our jobs, our partners are not supportive, or our families look down on us. Tackle those issues according to your level of emotional energy and your financial situation.  

  • If someone is being actively homophobic or racist at work, report it if possible.
  • Start building the groundwork to leave your job, or to move somewhere better.
  • If your partner or family belittles your interests, it’s time to have some come to Jesus talks and good healthy boundary setting sessions.

I know this is a whole lot easier said than done because I’ve had to do a whole shitton of it. I have had good therapists help me through it. And the impact on my level of happiness was incredibly positive.

Look ahead to next time.

Prevention is worth a whole lot more than cure. Being exhausted and actually sick with con crud when you get back just compounds the misery.

  • Make sure you bring hand sanitizer to the con and wash your hands often while you are there.
  • Make sure you eat and take care of yourself at the con.
  • If you have anything you swear by like vitamin C or emergen-c, bring it to the con.
  • If you DO have the option, make sure you ask for a recovery day off work ahead of time. You will need to rest, and you will thank yourself for the brilliant planning.

Lean into it.

 Will having a cry make you feel better? It’s ok to do that! Share your pain with other fans. Let yourself feel it. As long as you are taking care of yourself and you try not to wallow toooooo long, honoring your feelings is a good thing.

Make sure that if you actually have full blown depression that you get treatment from a health care professional.

Know the symptoms of depression. Here is a handy reference list from the Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007

If things seem like they are slipping deeper from blue to depressed, get professional medical treatment. When in doubt, get professional medical treatment. (sensing a pattern?) Again, I know this is easier said than done. I say this as someone who has survived 25 years of major depressive disorder, PTSD, and anxiety disorders that have resulted in no fewer than five hospitalizations. Many of those years were spent with no health insurance, which, as an American, sucks donkey balls. I say this only so you know that I get it. I have called upon many different resources in my life – teaching hospitals, local universities, public health departments, free support groups at local nonprofits, I have tried and used it all. When I couldn’t afford it I’d call and tell them. They often came up with ways to help me.  The important thing is that you don’t wait for it to get better on its own. I’ve done that and I’ve suffered for it. So I know for a fact that depression compounds upon itself. Depression is terrifying and traumatic, and having a full blown episode itself causes damage. The longer you wait, the worse the long term impact will be on your health.

So. Ask for help. If someone says no they can’t or won’t help, ask someone else. If a treatment doesn’t work, try another one. Keep doing that until you get the treatment that works. It is horrible and unjust that that you have to fight so hard for your own life, but your life is worth fighting for. I have been happy and symptom free for several years and I rate being non depressed a 15/10. I highly recommend.

And keep doing what you love.

In the end, attending conventions is worth the pain of coming back home, especially if you are taking good care of yourself in between cons, making space for joy, and if your life is nice to come home to! If you have any other advice for weathering the post-convention blues, please put it below in the comments!

And as a bonus for reading the entire article, enjoy a picture of babby 19 year old Rebekah after her first fan convention. It was the 1995 Star Trek Grand Slam convention in Pasadena and I was just a tad excited for the first female star ship captain. Can you tell? Once a nerdy feminist, always a nerdy feminist. At the convention, besides asking Kate Mulgrew to sign everything but my face, I got a 'Q' poster (you can see part of it in my hand) signed by the man himself, John de Lancie for my uberfan younger sister Michele. I also remember swooning over Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes in person. (Troi and Riker, my first 'ship).  Great memories! I can't wait to go out and make some more. See you at the con!

 

Laptop Search Begins – Gigabyte

To understand what is going on with all the laptop information, please go back to this post where I speak all about it here.

My current gaming laptop is a Gigabyte, so it made sense (to me at least) to start looking there for my Ultrabook purchase. I bopped over to their site, and what do I see under products?

 

They even have an Ultrabook category! I was excited. So, I started to peruse further. The Ultrabook series for Gigabyte is called AERO. They have a ton of different options. I am opting to look at the 14-inch models because as I said in my previous entry, I am looking for something slightly smaller. The model I am looking at specifically is AERO 14 (GTX 1050 Ti).

Right off the bat, the first thing I am noticing when it comes to these specs is that it feels as if these are gaming specs. I’ve not been in the room with many Ultrabooks that could take on gaming, but these are looking as if they might be able to. They have the SSD that I am looking for, storage is 512GB, comes with Windows 10 Home. It has a 14-inch display. I have no perception of measurement in my head, so I busted out a tape measure and measured my display on my work laptop. From corner to corner it is about 15 inches or so (always remember that displays are measured diagonally) and my work laptop is a full-size laptop. The laptop is gorgeous and comes in three different colors.


However, I have a history of seeing something pretty in technology and blindly purchasing and dooming myself. See: My HP Garden Dreams laptop purchase from back in the day.

In other interesting facts, it is only 4 lbs, 1.9cm slim (whatever that means), the charging adapter is light, and has an additional USB charging port on it, so you can charge additional equipment. It has an intel core i7 processor. It has something called Thunderbolt 3 port technology which I had to look up. Thunderbolt is the hardware interface for ports. Thunderbolt 3 is the newest and has USB- C. I can go further in depth, but all you really need to know is that it seems like most of the USB ports on this laptop are USB- C. It also one of the things that allows this Ultrabook the ability to Output its display at 4K on 3 external displays. It allows you to tweak the fans, which I think is kind of awesome. It goes quiet, normal, gaming, or you can customize it. If you are a game streamer, it lets you adjust the background of your streaming without a green screen.
All of these things sound amazing. It is a gorgeous laptop. I have spent hours on the site looking at it. But does it meet the qualifications that I need? Let’s see:
1. It must be small. No full sized laptops This is a little smaller than my work laptop, which leads me to think it is a full size laptop. I think it gets away with being called an ultrabook because it is so light.
2. No HP Laptops. √
3. No Lenovo laptops√
4. I need a solid state hard drive√
5. No less than 128GB of drive space√
6. I would prefer a Windows machine, but would do Linux if everything else was there√
7. My price point is $500 dollars. So we need to talk about this one for a minute. Gigabyte only sells refurbished items on their website, so I had to Google to see a price. That is when it became clearly evident that this was an Ultrabook in weight only (UIWO?). This is a gaming laptop, and as such it has a gaming laptop price. It is about 1100 dollars over my budget. I may be able to fudge my numbers a bit and get a little more money for the right laptop, but I cannot fudge 1100 for a laptop that has a lot of bells and whistles that I do not need. No matter how pretty it may be.

So there you have it. Gigabyte has amazing laptops. I know, I own one, I’ve had it for a good little while and the product is good. It stands up over time. I’m able to play my games on it and have not seen a degradation of the quality. While I would love for my newest laptop to be with them, and they met a lot of what I need, they did not meet the two most important factors. So, the hunt is still on. As always, if you have any notebooks you want to recommend, or any thoughts on laptops in general, feel free to reach out. Leslie@geekygirlguide.com


Update: I was back on Gigabyte’s website when I noticed something:

They have an Ultrabook series, but if you look a little bit lower, they have a mainstream series. I clicked over to there:

And what do we have here?

Gigabyte does have some smaller less powerful computers! Let’s check it out.
*Starts Reading*
*Tries to find a price*
*Reads how old these are*
*Throws everything away*
So, after doing some reading, these laptops are from 4 years ago. Why are they still on your site Gigabyte!? We will not be diving in to the other laptops. My original opinion still stands. Gigabyte is too powerful and too expensive for what I need it to do.
On to the Next one!

Laptops, Netbooks, Ultrabooks, and You.

I am a big believer in using what you have. I am one of those people that is resourceful with the tools around me. My husband is frequently amazed by the meals I make with whatever we have in the kitchen. To me, it is like a puzzle. Use what you have and be as frugal as possible. That way you have money to splurge on other things. That is why I have been trying to use this Kindle Fire tablet and keyboard for the longest.

This is not working for me.

The keyboard is way too small for my chubby fingers. I can’t properly admin from it. The touch screen thing drives me batty. Also, I don’t care what you say, SILK IS NOT A BROWSER (#BrowserBias2018).
While I do own a lovely laptop, my laptop is a behemoth. I hate lugging it anywhere. It is a proper gaming laptop. I need to be able to write and admin the site from my living room, or the break room at work, or wherever I am at. I think it would be conducive to me trying to write more in 2018. Not just for the blog, but in writing prompts and the like. I could be wrong though and it would just devolve into another way for me to read more fan fiction. We shall see.

Intel has trademarked the term Ultrabook. For them it means a line of high-end sub notebook computers that are smaller (think old school Net Book) but has a decent battery life. This is exactly what I am looking for. I need something small and compact. I don’t need to game on it. I need to be able to admin the site, surf the web and write my short butt off. Also, and this is a pure vanity situation, but I need it to fit into my new Kate Spade backpack. There is a small list of older models of Ultrabooks listed on Wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ultrabook_models. That will give you some examples on what I am looking at.
I have some other rules for this new piece of equipment coming into my life:
1. It must be small. No full sized laptops
2. No HP Laptops. I had an incredibly bad experience with HP that nearly caused me to fail a college course several years ago. Ever since then I have been put off HP. HP if by some chance you see this blog, and want to talk to me and prove me wrong about your products, feel free to reach out. Leslie@geekygirlguide.com
3. No Lenovo laptops. Want to know why? Read here: http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/19/technology/security/lenovo-superfish/index.html
4. I need a solid state hard drive
5. No less than 128GB of drive space
6. I would prefer a Windows machine, but would do Linux if everything else was there
7. My price point is $500 dollars. Ideally it would be under $400, but I am not holding my breath on that one. For all of you scoffing at the price, saying I will not find what I want for that price, you better watch out. I love a challenge. Also, one thing I love more than reading? PROVING PEOPLE WRONG!

So that is it as far as my requirements. I must tell you, when I first started writing this, I scoffed because I thought I only had one or two requirements. Turns out I am slightly picky. Picky is good though. It will ensure I get what I need and what I want. I’ll be taking you along on #UltrabookWatch2k18 with me. I’ll be researching Ultrabooks and writing about what I find here, using the requirements up above to see if what I find is a good fit for me. I hope you will come along with me on this journey. Maybe you will find something you didn’t know you were looking for as well.

Year in Review

2017. What can you say about it? In 2016 we saw the death of huge icons, of people we have admired for years. 2017 continued the theme of death. Not of people per se, but of ideals. People that we thought were kind, courageous, and brave ended up being total trash heaps. Our country is in the middle of one of the biggest dumpster fires I have ever seen. That is what 2017 meant to me.

2018 is here and it is full of the optimism, hope, and joy we once wished 2017 would hold for us. Please let that be true. I am not sure I can handle too many more dumpster fires.

It is a new year. It is the same old me. I don’t believe in resolutions. I never keep them. I am however working on being a better person. Here is the list of things I plan on doing for the new year (But I had also been working on them in 2017 as well)

1) Organization

If 2017 was a dumpster fire, my brain is part of the trash heap that had lighter fluid sprayed liberally upon it. I am an organizational nightmare. I worked on this a lot by obtaining a paper planner and started to use that. I did not use it as well as I could have and that is what I want to work on this year. I actually have two planners this year. One for my job, and one for my personal life. Maybe if I organize a little bit better I could have the time and energy to do the things I want to do when I have down time. It might make it easier for me to craft more or organize more activities for geeky baby. To see some of the fun creative stuff I have been doing with my planner, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram.

2) Werqin on my fitness

2017 saw me change my eating habits a lot. I eat (most of the time) like I have some damn sense. I drink more water than I do diet soda. Though I do still enjoy an icy cold Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper. I make somewhat of an attempt  to bring a healthy lunch and snacks to work that work well with a diabetic.

There_was_an_attempt

I am the most sedentary person you will ever meet in your life. Like I am a total slug. It amazes my husband that he can find me in one spot and 5 hours later I will be in that same spot huddled up with a blanket on doing absolutely nothing. He doesn’t understand it at all. I feel like if I exercised more, maybe I would get some energy back? Isn’t that how it is supposed to work? We shall see. I found some free videos on YouTube and will be using those to start. If I feel like it is something I could go gung ho on, I may get a gym membership.

3) Do Your Homework!

I have been talking about this one or a while. My goal this year is to do every single bit of homework Nerdette assigns throughout the year. You may be asking yourself “Why in the hell would she want to do homework?” In addition to being a nerd, I am an absolute geek. I live for homework. Plus, I have done several of the homework assignments from Nerdette, and I always come away with some knowledge, or at least a good book recommendation.

So yes. These are the major things I have in store for 2018. Do you have anything that you want to grow or develop? Did you have a great 2017? Let us know!

Blackwelder 2164: Must Read Rollicking Sci-Fi for 2018

Blackwelder 2164

By Christopher D.J.

NineStar Press

Blackwelder 2164 is a rollicking, sci-fi adventure, with a brilliantly drawn, lovable (and reprehensible) cast of characters. It is set in a time where warring countries on Earth have been forced to unite in the face of an alien threat. Blackwelder refers to Spencer Blackwelder, a disciplined, sharp shooting sergeant in the Allied Earth Forces.

The book starts off with a bang and keeps up a steady pace throughout. In the first chapter, the reader is dropped right in the middle of action, as Blackwelder’s squadron from the warship AES Barack has been sent to check out an abandoned alien craft. The mission does not go as planned and the stakes are life or death. In the second chapter, the reader learns that Blackwelder’s personal life has not gone to plan either, and he is grappling with a painful decision with no easy solution in sight.

By the end of the second chapter, I was already rooting for Blackwelder. He is clearly a good man and a great soldier. However, he has made choices in his personal life that have led to heartbreak and put his cherished friendships in jeopardy. He has fallen in love with one of his best friends. Due to the small detail of his friend being engaged, paired with the homophobia of his commanding officer, he feels completely trapped and miserably guilty. He decides to essentially run from his problems and requests to be transferred to a remote planet called Triton. Triton is a planet likely to be the target of a first wave of alien attacks, and the soldiers there are woefully unprepared.

Blackwelder’s request is granted and he takes up the responsibility of training soldiers on Triton.  He quickly finds out there are many more layers to this war than he had imagined.  As a top soldier on a prized warship, he was shielded from most rumors and secrets. But on Triton, he begins to see complexity to the war.  Perhaps earth wasn’t so blameless and perhaps an insurgent terrorist group posed more of a threat than he previously thought.  Moreover, a suspicious sabotage leads to a terrifying malfunction in the training arena. As the mysteries pile on, and the stakes rise and rise in the face of an alien invasion, Blackwelder meets a man (a badass, gorgeous, well-connected ambassador with a heart of gold) who helps him move on much more quickly than he thought possible. Triton is just full of surprises.

Blackwelder 2164 delivers heart stopping sci-fi space battles, government intrigue, spies, action, humor, and feels. Also, bonus sexy scenes and romance! I also appreciated that this is a story about a gay man of color, written by a gay man of color. When people write protagonists that reflect themselves, there is an easy authenticity that makes the story more absorbing. In fact, all the characters reflect respect for a diverse spectrum of cultures. And I was delighted as I kept meeting women characters who were written with love and style. A book set in the military with a male protagonist could easily fall into the trap of forgetting women soldiers exist or tokenizing them. But this book has women soldiers and they are written with character, personality, and depth. It is sad how refreshing it is to read a genre book that actually acknowledges that earth is a diverse place.

I highly recommend Blackwelder 2164 for your 2018 reading list. It's a fast, fun, intriguing read. In fact, I hope it gets a sequel. Blackwelder 2164 does end with a resolution to the first battle, so thankfully no cliff-hanger. But earth’s scheming and secrets that Blackwelder uncovered would make a fantastic act 2.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a (Spoiler Free) Geeky Girl Review

You will have more fun in Star Wars: The Last Jedi than you knew was humanly possible. There are scenes so striking, innovative, and flat out magical that you will nearly fall out of your seat. You will gape. You will cheer. You just might cry.

Megafans will debate for years about character arcs, continuity, and whether porgs are adorable or nah.  But what cannot be denied is that The Last Jedi is visually stunning, massively entertaining, and almost never takes the predictable route.

This crop of Star Wars movies has the unenviable task of pulling off the near impossible: honor the past while creating the future. Change is hard. Launching the next generation of heroes and making space for them is crucial, but honoring the deep love that fans have for the original heroes is equally as important. The Last Jedi did both.

Our beloved heroes, Luke and Leia, are still leading the rebellion and bringing hope to the galaxy. They still know how to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Our iconic villain, Darth Vader, still casts a looming shadow even in his absence.  Yet it is clear that the power of the force is not owned by anyone or anything.  The Jedi religion is not shackled to any physical place.  Good and evil are choices, not destiny, and we all get to make choices, no matter our family tree.

The Last Jedi also succeeds making the Star Wars universe more nuanced and complex, even while delivering crowd-pleasing scene after crowd-pleasing scene.  In The Last Jedi, heroes can make mistakes. Legends can have crises of faith. Things that are shiny can be grotesque upon closer inspection. And the girl who fixes the pipes can have a hero inside of her you just haven’t met yet.

The plotlines are equally innovative. There are numerous times I thought I knew what was coming, and The Last Jedi surprised me.

A forty year old franchise that can still surprise you is pulling off something special.

At its heart, Star Wars is an epic, timeless story. Truly valuable stories are living, breathing things that we pass down to our children and grandchildren. When we hoard them and encase them in carbonite, they become more suited for museum display. The surprises and innovations of The Last Jedi ensured that Star Wars is a story that will inspire generations to come.

Still dubious? Stand in my sensible-yet-attractive middle-aged pumps for a second. Let’s go on a journey to 1999. Picture being an overjoyed young adult camping out for a Star Wars prequel--the first in fifteen years. Imagine squeezing into a movie theater with breathless anticipation. The projector turns on and The Phantom Menace appears on the screen. Imagine a void where the soul and charm of Star Wars was supposed to be. Picture acting so wooden you want to feel something but you just don’t. Then you see Jar-Jar Binks. Yikes. What you are picturing is the experience of being fed an aggressively mediocre sci-fi movie dressed in a Star Wars suit. If you didn’t experience that, count your blessings.

I was born the year before Star Wars premiered. I have lived long enough to see great Star Wars movies being made again. These movies have introduced wildly endearing new heroes like Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose. They are movies packed with talented people acting their asses off, and with chemistry that sparks off of the screen.

You don’t even have to imagine that last part. Just go see The Last Jedi, and experience it for yourself.

 

Wynonna Earp Fans are Keeping Buffy Alive in Surprising Ways

Art By: Raven of London

When you fall in love with a television show, you cannot predict its longevity in the pop culture consciousness.  Its lifespan depends on the next generation. What parts of your pop culture will resonate with them and thus persevere? That matters to nerds like me. But no one can predict what the next generation holds on to.

As I enter my forties, I’m starting to see answers in the teenagers around me. My son’s friend showed up for a party wearing a Nirvana shirt. I made a mental note. Nirvana made the cut. One day last June, I picked up my nephew from high school. He got into my car and realized Biggie’s Juicy was playing.

“Auntie, how are you gonna be playing Biggie on Tupac’s birthday?”

Touché, young man. Touché. But for every Biggie and Tupac, a hundred more artists I love have been relegated to the dustbin of pop culture history. The same is true of TV shows. My love of Star Trek has been richly rewarded. Star Trek is a juggernaut of merchandise, spinoffs, movies, and documentaries. That means the fandom regenerates like a time traveling alien with two hearts. I get to connect with others who understand what that show and those characters mean to me. Other shows I am devoted to haven't endured in the same way.  But one incredibly pleasant surprise has been the staying power of the little cult show that could: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I could fill a novel with the reasons I love Buffy.  

Buffy was a hero. She had a heart as big as a the Rocky Mountains. Sometimes she suffered. Sometimes she gave up. She even fucked up. It didn’t diminish her or her value. It didn’t change what she was capable of. And she always found a reserve of hope. The humanist values, the family you choose, it all hit me where I lived. And guess what? The people who understood and loved Buffy, understood me. Buffy ended, but has remained an important part of my life.

Twenty years later, I watch Buffy. I read Buffy. I buy Buffy fanart. I make friends because of Buffy. Buffy still determines what new shows I will watch. I follow writers from Buffy-and its spinoff Angel-throughout their careers, because I know they tell stories that resonate with me. That is how I found Supernatural, which is where I continue to connect with people around Buffy.  In my Supernatural fan group on Facebook, we maintain photo albums of every Buffy alum that has appeared on Supernatural. We have a files section that lists Buffy/Supernatural crossover fan fiction. Buffy fans created our own subculture within the Supernatural fandom where we connect with people who love the same stories and characters that we do.

Then I discovered Wynonna Earp, and the ante was upped. I watched Wynonna Earp because of an article where the creator of the television show, Emily Andras, talked about her Buffy influences. So I gave the show a try.  I immediately saw Buffy’s –and Supernatural's’--fingerprints everywhere. But Wynonna Earp progresses beyond Buffy and Supernatural in a few important aspects. One is LGBT representation. A main character (not a dead side character) is in a same sex relationship. That relationship is complex, three dimensional, and fully recognized. The cast embraces their opportunity to represent LGBT characters in a positive light, and attends LGBT fan conventions. (Raises eyebrows across the room at my SPNFamily) Secondly, Wynonna Earp reflects a more modern and evolved understanding of feminism. Wynonna is not shamed or punished for her sexual choices by anyone. The men in her life fully understand that they do not own her, even when they are attracted to her. (Sit down, Xander) The male characters--such as the love of my life, Deputy Marshall Xavier Dolls--are fully formed, secure badasses in their own rights and are not threatened by her strength and fire. In fact they thrive on it. So hey, add in all the kicking demon ass, rollicking fight scenes, hilarious one liners, and fabulous cast, and I was all in on Wynonna Earp. I followed/joined/signed up for everything Wynonna Earp fan related. I found a creative, inclusive, welcoming community.

I had to post a picture of Deputy Marshall Dolls. For science.

WYNONNA EARP -- "House of Memories" Episode 112 -- Pictured: (l-r) Shamier Anderson as Agent Dolls, Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp -- (Photo by: Michelle Faye/Syfy/Wynonna Earp Productions)

But it got even better, and even Buffy-ier. A few Wynonna Earp fans (called Earpers) launched a #BuffyEarpers initiative.  I assumed it was just a hashtag with some clever, adorable accompanying fan art. But #BuffyEarpers is an initiative by Buffy fans within the Earper community where they share their love of Buffy with each other, and with the uninitiated. It has art, merchandise, watch parties, social media accounts, live tweets, and a podcast. Throw all of those ingredients into a bowl and pour in a heaping helping of pure fangirl (and boy and nonbinary) love and devotion.  I listened to the premiere episode of the BuffyEarper podcast last week. The episode opened with the Buffy theme song and I found myself in tears. It dawned on me that some part of this initiative involved Buffy fans in my generation sharing the show with a younger generation.  I find that touching. I have zero time or energy for people who slag off the younger generation. Secondly, that means my show offers something of value to the next generation, who will bring even more creative energy and connection to the community. I don’t  ever have to say goodbye to my fandom. 

Just to put this in perspective to the younger ones, in the 80’s and early 90’s, when something was over, it was over.  Did your family move to a different state? You aren’t ever seeing those friends again. I hope you said goodbye. Did you lose a phone number? A recipe? Google doesn’t exist, bitch, it’s over. That set of encyclopedias isn’t gonna help you. The same with shows. When your shows were over. They were OVER. And you didn’t have a fandom to sustain you because you didn’t have the internet. If your siblings or hometown friends didn’t like a show, tough titties. If they thought drawing blueprints of the Starship Enterprise and learning Klingon was fucking weird, or that wanting to be called Galadriel was childish, well you were up shit creek without a paddle. You got to be the social leper reading dragon books in the back of the bus. (Ahem.) So it wasn’t just that your show that was gone. Your point of connection was gone. Your validation that you were not alone disappeared. Buffy was just on that cusp where the fans and creators were pioneering online communities and fan meetups. But I didn’t have a computer. How was I gonna afford that? I wasn’t Scrooge McDuck.

But of course, things changed.  Remember those long lost childhood friends? THEY. ALL. FOUND. YOU. ON. FACEBOOK.  Oh, hey Devin from 2nd grade, you still exist. Laptops became common. Starbucks, your local library, and maybe your entire city got Wi-Fi. We used the internet to build entire communities along fandoms instead of along geography. Frankly, the latter leaves much to be desired when you are a kid that doesn't quite fit in the box. New generations of fans were born and found each other. Comic Con became a worldwide sensation. And the best part? Some of the things you loved the most, but thought you had to say goodbye to, just. Kept. Coming back. And in that moment, listening to the #BuffyEarper podcast, I realized that even though Buffy may not be the massive phenomenon of a Star Trek or Star Wars, she isn’t going anywhere. Not only is my generation of fans still devoted to the little show that could, we are sharing it with the next generation of fans, who are falling in love too. And they are breathing new life into the fandom. We are going to be here, regardless of whether there are remakes, reboots, and regardless of whether they turn out to be any good. Given the uncommon resilience of Buffy herself, I suppose it is fitting. 

Buffy Lives, indeed.

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