Words on the Internet #2–Wonder Woman Review with Destiny

So my sister and I talk about movies, TV shows and basically any media we can consume a LOT. Recently we went to see Wonder Woman and had a whole lot of feels about it. She doesn’t realize this, but this process of talking through plotlines of movies has helped me improve as a writer, and I thought it would be fun to record one of those conversations.

Warning: This is a SUPER SPOILER FILLED review, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet wait before you listen. Also, because of the nature of siblings talking to each other about anything this episode is extremely goofy.

So please enjoy, and let me know what you thought about the movie!

Music Credits
Harvest (Intro) by a friend
Air on the Piano (Outro) by a friend

WisCon 41 Wrap Up

I’m home, finally. Well I’m at least in my home state, after a weekend of traveling, paneling and getting to hang out with friends that I only get to see a few times a year. That’s right friends, for the 4th(?) year in a row I spent Memorial Day weekend at WisCon.

I was especially excited this year, because along with meeting friends and doing panels, I got to guest DJ at The Floomp VII: Fairy Tales. I was nervous beforehand, because I’d only ever disc jockeyed smaller parties so I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to entertain the folks at the big dance party of WisCon. Turns out I did a pretty good job, and I’m glad I got to share music I like with a bunch of people who just wanted to dance! To the folks who organized the party, I am truly thankful for being able to DJ, and to the folks who had so many nice things to say afterwards, thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad so many people had so much fun.

Another exciting thing that happened at this years WisCon was the expansion of the POC Dinner Party. What used to be a small party on the 6th floor of the Madison has now gotten so big that it no longer fits in the room. It warms my heart to see how much it’s grown since the few years I’ve been going to WisCon, and I’m excited about all the new people I met there. I’m hoping to see a lot of them as the years go on.

Lastly I want to thank everyone who feverishly live tweeted the panels they attended. There were a lot of panels and unfortunately I don’t have a working DeLorean nor a Flux Capacitor to help me see every panel I could ever be interested in. The people who live tweet, whether a lot or a little, share the panel experience with those of us that aren’t able to attend and I’m grateful for it. Honestly, I could do a whole post just thanking them, but I’m exhausted.

All in all, while not totally devoid of fuckery, this years WisCon was good. I’m excited about next year.

Words on the Internet #1–Melissa from Nerdgasm Noire

What is this?

This is the very first episode of Words on the Internet! A podcast where I get to talk with creators about why they create. In this episode I speak with Melissa from my other podcast Nerdgasm Noire. Melissa is a podcaster, writer, geek, blogger and internet smartass. You can find her on her blog The Life of a Bookworm and make sure you pick up a copy of her book Dispatches from a Fake Geek Girl on Amazon.

Music Credits
Swift Protocol (Intro) by ALBM Productions
Smooth Sessions (Insignificant Things You Hate theme) by a friend
Air on the Piano (Outro) by a friend

For Your Consideration

Huh…..

So I love to write stories. I’ve been writing them since I was a kid and while they aren’t always good (that’s what rough drafts are for), they’re always fun to write. I never really expected to do anything with them other than share them with my friends, or keep them to myself in their digital storage space after I couldn’t keep them in my headspace any longer.

Then the year before last a call for submissions went out for an anthology of short stories that featured main characters who were kids from marginalized groups. I wrote a story called “Fear of the Dark” about a girl who’s scared of a monster that travels in the shadows and last year that story was published in the anthology Hidden Youth.

I felt proud of myself for maybe being good enough to share a story on a broader scale. To me, it was all I could ask for, especially since I was able to share it alongside other amazing stories. Funny, all these years writing and I can’t even come up with the appropriate words to explain just how excited I was (and still am, really) to have a story included in this book. I didn’t think I could be happier.

Then yesterday I was informed that Hidden Youth could be nominated for awards – like the Nebula Awards or the Hugo Awards – and in the midst of peacocking about potentially being in a(n) [insert LITERALLY any] nominated award anthology, I was told that “Fear of the Dark” could also be nominated for an award individually.

(Please excuse this next line of me forgetting how to use words again)

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahem.

After a lot of jumping and screaming and thanking my momma and whatever deity would listen to me for just being eligible to be nominated, I finally looked up how a person actually gets nominated for different awards. I found that for the Nebula and the Hugo awards, members of SFWA and World Science Fiction Convention (respectively) are the ones who nominate and vote on them. I don’t know anyone (at least I don’t think) who is a member of either, so in order to get actually nominated, my best bet to to get the word out.

So, if you are a SFWA or Worldcon member, please consider nominating Hidden Youth and/or “Fear of the Dark” for Best Novel and Short Story categories. SFWA members can find nomination info for the Nebula here, and for Worldcon members can find info for the Hugo here.

I’ll also be making more posts with other awards that Hidden Youth and “Fear of the Dark” can be nominated for as well.

Thanks!

Pokémon Go

The whole world goes crazy for something almost every year. Things have always been that way for as long as I can even remember. From Teddy Ruxbin to Beanie Babies. Tamagotchi to Furbies. Tickle-me-Elmo. Cabbage Patch Kids. The list of crazes is long and grows constantly. Now with new technology crazes can come on your phone and before you know it everyone you know is becoming a fake celebrity with Kim Kardashian or trying to keep a seemingly drunk bird from crashing into the pipes from Mario Bros.

It’s hard to tell what’s going to be a fad when it comes to casual Smartphone games but Niantic seems to have stumbled into the formula with the release of Pokémon Go, the glitchy app that reignites your 10 year old desire to be a Pokémon Trainer.

On paper the idea seems ridiculous, but the more you think about it the more it makes sense. You play it like you would any other Pokémon game; starting off as a trainer with the desire to catch ‘em all, you get hired by Professor Willow to go out in the world to live your dream of being the very best while gathering scientific information on the Pokémon you catch. Unlike the previous games, instead of laying in your room with your Gameboy dangled precariously over your face, you actually have to go outside to catch these.

(Also unlike the previous games, Professor Willow makes you catch your first Pokémon instead of gifting it to you, which works as a gameplay tutorial but makes Professor Willow seem like kind of a jerk.)

The games Augmented Reality (AR) elements quickly became a meme on the internet with people sharing photos of Pokémon they’ve caught at the grocery store, in actual gyms or even in very creepy abandoned buildings. While those memes are fun, I think I’ve found my joy from the game elsewhere.

IMG_20160717_125301IMG_20160717_125353

Apparently my love of puns and hip-hop music have caused me to carve my own niche in these games. Aside from the regular game mechanics, I’m having way too much fun naming these little guys.

So if you haven’t already, go out and catch Pokémon and have fun!

You Should Love Your Faces

Since the rise of the Smartphone and almost the invention of Social Media, people have been concern trolling the absolute fuck out of the use of either. There was a point between 2011 and 2015 where it seemed like almost weekly there was an article from some newspaper or magazine lamenting about how young people, Millennials, The Youths or whatever they called us, were spending too much time with our noses in our phones. They chided us for tweets and selfies and said that we knew nothing of the real world, only of the carefully curated digital ones we made for ourselves, yet didn’t see the irony of expressing these thoughts on their blogs.

Within the past few years (at least) there has been a pushback against this idea that Smartphones and Social Media are the End of Humanity. Many marginalized people have been able to use outlets like Twitter and Facebook to get the word out on Social (whodathunk?) issues that impact them. They’ve also been able to use it to build a broader community with people around the world and create a space where the intersections of race, gender identity, ability, sexuality, class et al can be heard. And the dreaded selfie? Has become a tool to highlight the beauty outside of the same Eurocentric standard.

And holy shit do I love the selfies.

I thirst follow people on Instagram constantly, because I genuinely love looking at people’s pictures of what they think is their best self. Instagram tends to be a very crafted photo space, where people get dressed up to look good in front of the camera. For me though, it doesn’t work that well. I’m a goofball who likes to take goofy pictures, so I would tend to take 100 photos intended for Instagram then delete them in short order because I thought they were awful. My selfies weren’t really meant for the Instagram world. At least not until I re-downloaded Snapchat.

For a long time I didn’t understand Snapchat. I’d downloaded it when it first came out, and used it to send pictures I’d doodled over my selfies to a few friends. Then they were hacked and  to be safe rather than sorry I deleted my old account. Then, a few months ago one of my friends was sharing posts on Instagram of herself with a puppy face. About a week later all of my friends were sharing posts on Instagram with puppy faces.

When it finally dawned on me that people were using Snapchat I wrestled back and forth with the idea of downloading it again and when I finally gave in, I was amazed at all the new things Snapchat had added, and quickly fell in love with everyone’s My Story, specifically the videos people post when they’re just playing around with the filters and their faces. It’s like watching a baby learn something new, the way people look at themselves from one angle, then shift to another then another trying to find out what looks good to them as opposed to what looks good to someone else.

People talk a lot about how Social Media is exhibitionism in a negative way, and while yes some people and places on the internet are downright terrible, I like the fact with all of the perfectly curated accounts that exist, there are also people who are being candid. Eyes are the windows to the soul, a picture is worth a thousand words, so why isn’t a Snapchat potentially the greatest movie ever made? Why isn’t a twitter account the best novel ever written?

If nobody else will tell you this I will, keep taking pictures of yourself. Keep taking video of yourself looking adorable in Snapchat pictures. Keep using social media to make yourself feel beautiful because you are!

When To Expect Perfection

I have a confession to make: I’m a season behind on Orange is the New Black. Not as in I haven’t had a chance to sit down and binge watch season 4 yet, I mean it was a spoiler to me that Poussey and Soso are a couple.

Now I’m not upset by the spoilers. In fact like with most shows I tend to use spoilers to find out whether or not to continue to spend time on a series and while perusing Tumblr I found some folks talking about Daya’s character.

The gist of the spoiler is that Daya has some very nasty say about Afrolatinxs, which upset a lot of people since the actress Dascha Polanco identifies as Afrolatina.

Now ever since season one I’ve been confused by how the Latinas have been characterized on the show. To be honest, I’ve been confused about how almost all of the women of color on the show are characterized. The show seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to even acknowledge Blackness in some of them and when it did, the references seemed half-assed. In season two, they talk about how slaves in the Caribbean hid their magic in Catholicism as if it were an answer on TriviaCrack. So I’m not exactly shocked that the show may or may not portray race among Latinxs well.

I expressed my concern, hoping some folks would let me know if it was worth continuing the show or if I should let my memory of the show stay preserved in season two. I got a response from someone who posed a question: If we expected Women of Color to be perfect in every representation, would we have no Women of Color in media?

I know, this seems facetious, but it’s a valid question. There are plenty of things that I’ve passed on because of how terrible their representation of Black women was. And while there are plenty of shows that I watch that are problematic, just because I can enjoy them doesn’t mean they’re above critique.

So while I’m not sure yet if I’m going to keep watching OITNB I do hope that even if I don’t the show keeps being critiqued, because that’s how the representation gets better.

Gone For A Minute Now I’m Back

This might be the 5th time I’ve dusted off this site and decided to write again. I want to blame business for it, but honestly my desire to participate in the overall Black nerd debates has waned a bit. That along with my already short attention span has made keeping up with blogging hard.

However I’m back (again) on the scene and for the most part still have some pretty strong feels about being Black, femme and nerdy in a world that likes to deny my existence.

I also have some wonderful news.

While it may be hard to tell based on the frequency of which I update here, I love to write. It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve had the courage to submit anything anywhere but last year at the behest of both the Nerdgasm girls and Inda Lauryn of Black Girl Squee, I submitted a short story to Crossed Genres for the Hidden Youth anthology. I honestly wasn’t expecting more than a polite rejection letter. Instead my story was accepted.

For those of you who might not know, Hidden Youth is the second Hidden anthology book from Crossed Genres. The first is Long Hidden which was released in 2014. The theme of the anthology is stories told from The Margins of History, meaning stories from the point of view of marginalized people of a certain era. Hidden Youth added an extra criteria, requiring the stories to have marginalized main characters under the age of 18.

Right now they have a Kickstarter active to raise money for the production of the book. The incentives for backers are not only ebook and/or print copies of Hidden Youth, but also ebook and/or print copies of Long Hidden as well. If you want to know just how good Long Hidden is make sure you check out Nerdgasm Noire’s review of the book.

It’s #SayHerName For A Reason

Last Friday I woke up to a message from a friend. In the message the friend raved about a new song from Wondaland. Being that I’m a huge fan of Janelle Monae, I immediately opened SoundCloud and was unprepared for what Hell You Talmbout was. From the very first drum beat the song is so beautifully Black. Harkening back to message songs from the 60s and 70s, Janelle and the rest of the Wondaland crew recite the names of so many Black people who have lost their lives because of police brutality and lynching. The song is equal parts a demand for justice as it is an expression of mourning for lives lost. By the end of the song I found myself crying, not from the weight of the subject, but as a release, because with every passing of the chorus I was reminded I am not alone in this feeling of danger in my own home.

But with everything that is beautiful, powerful and moving about the song it wasn’t until a friend of mine on twitter expressed her concerns that I realized that it gets one important detail wrong. Behind each name, the Wondaland crew demands that the listener Say His/Her Name, but loses track of where Say Her Name actually comes from. The hashtag was started to highlight the nearly forgotten Black women who were also killed due to Police and Vigilante violence. These names often don’t get as much attention as their Black male counterparts because of the false belief that Black women are not harassed by the Police like men are.

It isn’t until the third verse in the song that a woman’s name is even mentioned, and oddly enough the female victims are only mentioned by female members of Wondaland. In fact, of the 18 names that are chanted in the song, only 4 of them are women. This runs counter to the point of the  hashtag, and unknowingly does what the tag was trying to prevent. It drowns out the names of Black women and does so using a phrase/hashtag/space that was meant to be specifically for acknowledging Black women’s deaths.

I don’t want to take away from the beauty of the song, nor do I want to call out Janelle or the rest of Wondaland as being careless when they clearly were trying to do good with a song. However I also believe that an offense is an offense no matter the intent. The song is flawed, but I think it’s a flaw that the song’s creators can fix and learn from. Unfortunately there is a long list of both cis and trans women who have been murdered by police and vigilantes in just the past year. The song can be rewritten, the names spoken and Black women can still be honored and the song would still be just as powerful.

American Horror Story: Hotel

I’m not a fan of the American Horror Story television series. It’s not that I don’t like horror in general, or that the AHS series is particularly scary, I just don’t think the show is particularly good. I was only able to watch a few episodes of the Murder House and Asylum seasons of the show before I lost interest completely, and only stuck out the Coven season because of my love for Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe. Sadly my love for the two of them wasn’t enough for me to forgive how terrible their characters were treated on the show so by the time Freak Show came around I didn’t catch a single episode.

Don’t get me wrong, while I’m not a fan of Ryan Murphy (Is it cool now to admit that Glee was a train wreck, and I’m STILL holding a grudge for how bad the second season of Poplar was), I think he’s definitely hit his sweet spot with this show. Murphy has issues with continuity, and having a show that resets every season means not having to worry about a plot point or character trait you established in the beginning getting in the way of a scene you just HAVE to include in later seasons. It works for him, and people love it. It’s just not for me.

That is, it wasn’t for me until they announced that Naomi Campbell would be part of the cast of American Horror Story: Hotel.


(Photo courtesy of Georges Biard [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

As reluctant as I am to do so, I’m going to watch this season of AHS, because it seems that since the Coven season, the show is making strides to increase the number of Black women characters on it. Granted the characters aren’t as fully developed as I would like, but to be honest none of the characters in the show are. Also unlike other shows like Sleepy Hollow, with every Black character that AHS loses it manages to replace them with another Black character. If we’re lucky, the return of Angela Basset will give the show an opportunity to pass the Racial Bechdel Test, but at the very least it will give us two amazing, Black female characters to watch.

Whether this season will make strides in storylines, character development or any of the other wonderful things that make a television show good will be revealed during the season. Until then, I’ll sit back and enjoy, at least until they’re both written off the show.