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Friday Five – July 5th

July 5, 2013 1 comment

Hah! I remembered to post my Friday Five “Ask Me Anything”! The questions are coming in, so I’ll just get this started.

What do you think is the most misunderstood notion about Community work in the games industry?

That all we do is moderate forums & social media. While Community does these things, there is also so much more to the gig. There’s writing articles & content for the website, collecting community sentiments and reporting to Dev. You also work with fan sites, press, in-game and in-person events. You work closely with Brand, Legal, PR, Production, and a lot of time working with CS. And you definitely spend a lot of time in meetings. There are many layers of Community, with moderators, coordinators, assistant CM, and all, who corral different aspects of all the above. Your job in Community is to support both the player-base and the company’s best interests. You are a very public face, and while you get some amazing interactions, you are also on the receiving end of a lot of complaints, no matter who’s “fault” something might be.

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One of my pet peeves is that people think Community is easy. And that people don’t take it seriously as a career path. Oh, and that many companies themselves don’t understand the value of community building. The worst? People who want to be Community Managers because they think they can be a rock star. Your job is to help your TEAM and your players be rock stars.

What is with this Hobbit thing?

As I said in my previous blog post, I knew I’d be addressing this. It goes back to when I was working on Pirates of the Burning Sea. I was dating a lovely gent who lives in Australia. I flew over to visit him, and for my birthday, he booked us a trip to New Zealand. One of the stops on our drive around the north island was at Matamata so we could go on the Hobbiton movie set tour.

So beautiful, green, and rainy like Seattle!

So beautiful, green, and rainy like Seattle!

I posted pictures from the tour, including the one in my last blog, with me standing in a Hobbit hole doorway. The player remarked about my height, and that clearly, I was a Hobbit. That was in 2006 and I’ve been stuck with people making Hobbit comments about me all these years. I mean, I love good food, good beer, and I’m short. It kinda goes with the territory when yer a nerd.  So carry on, you dirty trolls. I don’t mind. BUT, I MUST CONTINUE TO INFORM YOU THAT I AM NOT A HOBBIT.

Do you prefer making up a new character using real paper rulebooks or electronic copies? The followup is: Real dice or electronic rollers/apps?\

I’m old school. I love hardcover rule books and I make characters with real dice.  When I was trying to understand D&D 4E, I used the D&D Insider char developer for my Swordmage. Mostly because I could have my spells in a easy to manage form. This was before the Power cards came out. But yeah, I never use .pdfs or other electronic versions. I never use dice rollers. I like pen, paper, pencils, & dice.

Which of your characters has been the most fun to role-play?

That’s a tough one, as I’ve had some great characters in Star Wars Galaxies and in my various tabletop RPG games. I think I’ll go with my main SWG character, Sti-fi Osp-ro. I created her on launch day, June 26, 2003. I spent the next many years creating the character behind the avatar. Like many of us playing, we were happy to be building our own stories in the SW world. Sti-fi changed professions as the battles with the Empire required a variety of skill sets. I started first as a Doctor, who enjoyed dancing in various Cantinas, helping those fighting the good fight feel relaxed so they could start healing properly. Later, “Stiffy” as her city-mates started calling her, became proficient with combat. She excelled in both wielding flamethrowers, and the Gaderiffi Baton. She enjoyed being outside so much, that she decided to take up hunting, as a way to support herself. She picked up some excellent rifle skills, and gained some tracking abilities. She’d spend weeks away from cities and towns, tracking creatures. Sometimes, she helped to camouflage merchants who needed to get to their harvesting machines in dangerous territory.

stiffy1

Sti-fi dancing with The Kreetles. Note the spiffy band outfits made by yours truly.

After being caught up in the war for a very long time, a huge change exploded throughout the Galaxy. It was so horrifying that she gave up any sort of combat at all. She decided to be a merchant & trader instead. She spent a lot of time with fabrics and notions, becoming a known Tailor. Her specialty was creating fashionable uniforms for pilots, musical groups, and dance troupes. When SWG shut down, she was in a great place. She was always considered a great friend, a leader of people, and loyal to the Rebellion. She was happily married to the scoundrel, Agis, and had forged many spiritual bonds with her compatriots from Ryloth.

Would you say that the culture of blogging as a whole has changed since the decline of Livejournal?

I’m not sure, really. I’ve never been hip to a culture of blogging. I’ve always felt that LJ = private (or public) journal and blog = specific topics, whether hobbies or theme. At least, that’s pretty much how I’ve used them. I’ve had an LJ since 2002, I think. I’ve had various blogs through the years; my original one was really just updates to my website. I didn’t think much about writing, other than having a place to document my renfaire travels.  I rarely post in my LJ any longer, as I’ve gone back to living in my head all the time. I really should post there more to get my more personal thoughts down. My blog is to mostly talk about what is important to me, gaming and community building. It’s mostly my experiences and thoughts, but it has more of a focus.

I don’t know if other people see it this way. I don’t actually read many blogs or journals.

Friday Five – Questions from Social Media

June 28, 2013 5 comments

You know, we all do our best thinking in the shower. Okay, maybe that’s just me. Seriously, I suppose because I’m not distracted by the internets, the cats, or anything else. Just shampoo & soap, under a glorious shower of hot water. Damn. Now I want one right now. Anyway, I was trying to think of ways to kickstart my brain and make a new habit of blogging. I used to be quite prolific on LiveJournal, back in the days before Social Media. I really enjoyed writing and being part of a journaling community. While I still keep that old journal around, I never actually write in it. The only writing I do is for work, which doesn’t keep your personal writing on task. How could I start a new habit? Of course, it’s making lists. Lists and outlines about all the things I want to say.

Of course, my brain then hit an ADHD bump (as it is wont to do) and I started thinking about gaming. Making and playing games is fun! So how can I tie this together? Well, I can set personal achievements for myself and have rewards for hitting them. And how do I start? Because I love myself and I love to interact with people who love me AND who don’t, I just put it out there on Twitter & Facebook.

‘I am going to write a blog post tomorrow based on 5 questions I receive today. So, ask me anything!”

There. No way to talk myself out of it. On Twitter, I had a couple questions, but Facebook I had a lot. And a good amount of friendly trolling. Just to clear things up ahead of time, I AM NOT A HOBBIT. And that being said, it’s a good idea for a future blog. Why I am teased near and far about being a Hobbit.

It might have something to do with this picture.

It might have something to do with this picture.

At any rate, I picked out five questions between Twitter & Facebook. I’ll do a shout out for more questions again next week!

What advice would you give to someone who is hoping to move to the Seattle area to work in game development?

This is a tough one really, because “game development” is such a broad term. Since I know the person who asked it, I know it’s about video game development. I actually wouldn’t recommend people move to Seattle to work in game development. I recommend moving to Seattle because you want to live in Seattle. It’s expensive to live here, and there’s not as much opportunity as you might think. The locals pretty much LOVE LOVE LOVE their jobs here, so it takes a major layoff to have any openings at all. The few you do see around a lot are for contract work. While this may not seem bad to younger, single folk, being a contractor pretty much comes with zero benefits. This isn’t something specific to the games industry; it’s been that way in tech fields for the longest time. That being said, I love Seattle and I’m happy to be back. It wouldn’t have been as easy to move back here without the support network my husband and I have.

My advise? Make games. Make video games with your friends. Make them on your own. Attend game jams. Make board games. Make card games. JUST MAKE GAMES. It’s much easier to find other people to develop with in cities with a higher level of tech companies, sure. Seattle, Austin, Boston, and the like. But I’d never recommend moving to a city to /find/ work. If you’re good, and you get yourself out there, a company will MOVE YOU if they want you. However, not if you’re junior. Not if you’re QA or other entry level gigs. There are hundreds and hundreds of local people competing with you for those gigs. If you’re making and *launching*  your own games, no matter what kind, you’re gaining experience. And that’s what you need to do before you think about moving to a city for a job. If you’ve made the connections, if you turn your love of making games into an indie career, you’ll be able to transition. But don’t count on it. It might be more viable for you to just stay where you are and go indie.

This helps, too.

This helps, too.

Best and worst about the many places you have lived?

This one is difficult and I’m sure I’ll get many “But Donna, so-and-so is awesome! You just didn’t get to experience the awesome part!”. Really, best and worst is subjective and yes, I like & dislike places based on whatever I was doing in my life at the time. Maybe not fair to those cities, but hey. It’s all about me, right?

Favorite places:

  • Seattle – I love the gloomy weather. Seriously. When the sun is out, I would much rather stay indoors. Overcast? LET’S GO CAMPING OR SIT OUTSIDE AND DRINK BEER. Might be that it’s just a part of me, since I was born on the Oregon coast. I spent the first 9 years of my life living in Oregon & Washington. I moved back here, finally, in 2006. Went to Austin again for a year, and San Diego for a year and a half. I’m so very happy to be back here. As someone who has lived all over the place, I’ve always been of the mindset that “home is where the heart is” kinda crap. Well, until I moved here and felt perfectly welcome and at ease. I love being taken seriously as a gamer, as a beer geek, and have experienced less misogyny here than other places. Seattle still has a long way to go regarding race; I can only hope it’s getting better for everyone.
  • St. Croix – I lived briefly on the island of St. Croix in the mid-80s. I was a club DJ at the time, and I was sent down there to work a dance club called Hondo’s. I was there 4 months the first time and 2 months the second time. I really wish I had stayed; I kinda liked being away from the hustle & bustle of mainland life. It was easy to get away from the tourists, as the island isn’t the cruise ship stop like St. Thomas is. Sure there was a little, and the Navy dropped by every so often. Still, I could walk a couple of blocks away and have amazing food cooked by the Crucians. I could actually go for a genip and some roti right about now. 
  • Austin – Oh you quirky little town. I moved to Austin after spending a brief 8 months living in Alaska. I arrived and started working as a bartender/waiter (which is what I had been doing for years), and ended up getting work at Dell. That pretty much changed my life, as I hadn’t known a thing about technology. I discovered I was an excellent diagnostic tech, and LOVED working on hardware. I transitioned to Escalations, Facilities, internal web design, and worked on numerous projects (lol y2k). It kicked off my 14 years working in IT. But that’s not what I love about Austin. I loved that music, good music, was everywhere (mind you, there was a lot of shitty music, too). The food is amazing, the culture is sublime. The town is full of geeks, and is a liberal haven in a sea of conservative leanings. When Heatwave Interactive offered me a job, I was happy to go back to Austin. I was happy to see that a really large sustainable foodie culture had crown since I had last lived in Texas, along with a craft beer culture.

Least favorite places:

  • NoVA/MD/DC Metro – I have a lot of people I absolutely ADORE living out in that area. And the Maryland Renaissance Festival is the best fest, hands down. There are lots of place to game, to eat GREAT food. But I swear, there’s something about living that close to the nation’s Capital that makes for an interesting breed of people. Interesting in the not-so-exciting kind of way. I never seemed to really fit in, and I had some really hard times there. Some of it was my fault because I was a horrible person back then. Well, half horrible and half awesome. Moving away, however, helped me regain my awesomeness fully. I made a lot of bad decisions when I lived out there, and it seemed so stifling. It doesn’t take much to get out of the cities, however, to see some gorgeous land. I wish I had seen more of it.
  • Alaska – First, I’ll tell you the best. The Aurora Borealis in winter. After getting off work, joining coworkers outdoors, beers shoved into the snowbanks. We’d start a fire and huddle around, just looking up into the sky. It was magical. The downside? There’s not much else to do in winter but drink. Or do drugs. At least, if you’re poor like me, and all the other people who worked around me. I didn’t fit in very well, because well, I looked weird. And I had all these ideas about equality and not hating on the local Native population. The sheer amount of racism, sexism, and well, just…*hate* for everyone not like them? It was difficult. I realized I was drinking to deal with my pain (and sexual assaults). I scrapped up enough money for a bus ticket to Texas, and mom bought me an airline ticket to Seattle. I traveled to Austin on Greyhound from Seattle, stopping along the way to visit family. It was great to sober up.
  • I can’t think of a third. I’ve had ups and downs wherever I lived, but those two places were full of tragedy and terribleness.

What was the game that made you the tabletop dice roller you are today? I recently got into them so I’m curious to know.

Yay! This one came from my nephew, so I’m quite happy to go on an on about it. Btw, what are you playing? Want me to send you some stuff? I know, first one is free. Then you are HOOKED.

My story starts all the way back in high school (Grand Prairie, Texas), about 1981. I hung around with the other misfits, nerds, and drama people for the most part. And I never felt left out of anything until some of them picked up Dungeons & Dragons. I wanted to play, but was told “girls don’t play D&D”. Well, I knew nothing of game stores, or even how to find anything like this. I just stewed on it for a few years. Fast forward to 1989. I was living in San Antonio, bartending at Tony Roma’s. I was hanging out with my friend Ted, at a place called Ernie’s. It was the place where all the “river rats” (people who worked in the bars/restaurants who worked the river) hung out after work. ‘Hey, I’ve got some openings in my D&D group. Wanna play?”. I said, “Girls don’t play D&D”. He laughed and told me he had two other women in the group! He handed me The Crystal Shard, and said, “If you like this story, this is the world we’re playing in”. Of course, it was wonderful and I was hooked on the Forgotten Realms.

My first gaming book.

My first gaming book.

I came over to meet folks, make a character, and started to learn how to play. It was AMAZEBALLS. I created Aubrey Bloodmane, Ranger & follower of Sune. And we had a major campaign. I was in LOOOOOOVE. We later transitioned to 2nd Ed AD&D, but we ended up using a mishmash of the rules, because the STORY was the most important part. And, there was a lot of great lore coming out for the Forgotten Realms. I tried to get the gang to play Spelljammer, Dark Sun, and Maztica, but we always stayed in Faerun, playing in the various cities and settings. My favorite source book was Forgotten Realms Adventures, and not because there was a WOMAN IN FULL PLATE ON A WARHORSE on front.

Since then, I’ve played all sorts of games, from Shadowrun to Deadlands (OMG I LOVE DEADLANDS SO MUCH BLING BLING). I’ve played homespun adventures & worlds, but I’ve not ever had the same experience as I did on my very first campaign. Ted was a most excellent DM and I loved our games. We even had other “River rats” who would come by his house after work and *watch* us play, because we all got into character and built an amazing story.

This is why I love tabletop.

My 9 year old son wants to be a professional gamer. Advice?

First, we need to narrow down the question. Does this mean, someone that plays games competitively like in tournaments? Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, or video games like Call of Duty and Starcraft? Or, do you mean /work/ in the games industry. These are two very very different things, making games and playing games. If it’s the former, I’d say, just don’t. It’s hard. It’s a very very hard life at times. Thousands of people try to be professional competitors. It’s no different from being a pro musician, pro chef, a pro golfer, or chess master. Very few people actually have the skill or mindset to do it. It takes a LOT of time. Here’s a quick look at some steps to think about for pro gaming.  The 10 Steps to Becoming a Professional Gamer.

If you’re talking about someone who makes games, all you need to do to become a professional game maker is…make games and then sell them. But really, you need to back up. Do you want to be an artist? Designer? Programmer? Engineer? Animator? Producer? There are so many jobs that fall under “game developer”. My advice? Be the best whatever it is you want to be. Because if you decide to be a game designer and hate writing and spreadsheets? You’ll *hate* it. Want to be a games programmer? Love programming. These skills will take you to all kinds of industries more stable, and that pay better. Sure, you get to make games, but you also have the same issues that anyone with a job will have. Working in games is no different, really, when working at a major publisher. You still have rules and corporate policies. And you are there for a job, not to play games all day. I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways for people who say they want to make games. You have to remember that this is a business.

All that being said, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There are some amazing creative people I get to interact with every day, and as a Community Manager, I get to meet lots of people with a passion for the games we make.

What made you a beer connoisseur?

Good beer! Okay, I’ll take a step back. Just like I keep doing with everything else. When I was in high school, the drinking age was 18. And for the record, I’m not advocating underage drinking. It’s one of the stupidest thing I ever did when I was young. That said, I started drinking beer but I really hated it. I more enjoyed wine and hard liquor. I drank plenty of the top “American” beers* for years, but because it was all ‘WHOOOO DRINKING”. I figured that I’d never enjoy beer, but it was a cheap way to get a buzz back in the day. And then…I had my very first Anchor Steam. I realized beer didn’t have to taste like the stuff I had been drinking. I started drinking a lot of imports such as St. Pauli Girl Dark, Fuller’s London Pride, and Watney’s Red Barrel.

I later started working in the bar business when I was a DJ. I started learning more about imports and drank them when I could afford them. It wasn’t until I moved to Alaska and discovered Alaskan Brewing, that I realized that Americans were making great beer. That was 1991 and I was pretty much an Amber drinker. When I moved to Austin in 1992, I started hanging out with my now ex-husband at a place called JW Rovers in Round Rock. We decided to join the Beers Around the World club, which meant you had to drink 99 different beers on their extensive beer list. With over 200 different beers available and all the seasonal rotations, it was quite easy to do.

And I haven’t bought a regular “American” beer from the “Top 3” brands since then. My favourite styles are Imperial Stouts, Chocolate Porters, English Bitters, Belgian Quads, and I like to be smacked in the face with a SUPER SUPER HOPPY IPA. I don’t like sweet beers, and I’m fond of German Rauchbiers.

Hands down, my favorite beer, Ten Fidy

Hands down, my favorite beer, Ten Fidy.

So there you go. My first Friday Five. I’ll be asking for another round of questions next week.

*I use air quotes around “American” beers a lot, because the top three so-called “American Beers” are no longer American owned. Coors is Molson Coors, so it’s really half-American and half-Canadian. And that varies based on who you talk to. Miller is owned by British-owned SABMiller. “Bud and other AB beers are now owned by InBev in Belgium.

G is for Geeky Attire – #AtoZChallenge

April 11, 2013 12 comments

I’ve always dressed a little different from other folks. Half is that I have no sense of fashion and the other is that I really like to wear things which make me happy. I’ve only been half aware that I might be dressing oddly, and have continued to simply ZOMG SHINY through my wardrobe through the years. My family has always kinda followed their own weird piper, so to speak.

Ahoy, matey!

I’ve had freaky hair, freaky clothes and have never been embarrassed or felt odd about it.


Oh yes, the 80s


I word the oddest things and was happy with it. Very happy. Most of the time, I had my picture taken in my oddest clothes. And I have the happiest smile.


Working on the San Antonio Riverwalk


I never quite wore appropriate clothing for my activities. Seriously. Just doing my own thing.

Yeeehaww!

I had been attending renfaires since 1982, but didn’t dress up until the late 90s. My attire was pretty crappy at first, but after hanging out on Usenet (Yah, I’m old), I kinda hit my niche with hot pink attire. And eventually added neon green, as more people started getting wacky in their renfaire get ups. I’m the furthest you can be from being girly; the hot pink thing was a huge inside joke. My mom thought it was humorous; I think she was happy just to see color in my wardrobe after the YEARS of nothing but black clothing.

Who needs coffee when you can look at THIS?

I had a bit of a change happen to my wardrobe, once online shopping hit. I was happily buying from ThinkGeek shortly after I moved out to Virginia in 1999. Since they were local to VA, I was familiar with them as I worked with Fraize at Dell and had met Regan through renfaire. My shopping really kicked in somewhere in 2003. Tshirts & toys for myself. Tshirts for friends & boyfriends. I still do so. Hah! I have a couple of photos up there on the ThinkGeek site, but I always forget to send them in. I still owe them the lightsaber chopsticks picture, where I use them for hairsticks.

I was tweeting this while wearing "i'm tweeting this" tshirt.

Fast Forward. So, I had joined a social network site which has some blogging in it. I found that when I used the blog, I met more people. I met a TON of great people in Seattle from the site; some who are close friends today and even attended my wedding! I’m used to people slagging on me for being weird, fat, having a big bumpy Italian nose and whatnot. But a gal named “Computer Barbie” posted the following:

I know a group of women who commiserate for hours that men will not commit, but they will not spend 13 minutes putting on make up. They wear nerd clothes too. One of them wears a boys student coat, androgenous moccasins, androgenous pants. She looks like she has long grey side burns. She pushes her hair behind her ears. 1 lock falls in front of each ear. That is the only part that is grey. Another wears Circus Socks [multicolored socks]. These women are Fashion Casualties. These women are middle aged but successful. These women claim to have boyfriends. JMO

As someone who LOVES awesome socks, I was kinda butthurt in a humorous way. So I blogged about it. Turns out a bunch of other women, from their 20s – 50s (and younger/older) also love their nerd clothes, their stripey socks. So a silly sock club was born. Many of us started buying MORE socks, because we wanted to day, You know, we dress for OURSELVES, not for you. Just because you think we’re too old to dress for happiness, doesn’t mean it is wrong.”. We all started posting pictures of our socks as we bought them, and the term “Sock Prawn” was born. You know. Wait. This is the internet. I don’t have to tell you.

I discovered Sock Dreams and Sock It To Me Socks, both in Portland, Oregon. I started shopping from SITMS because Holly, proprietor of Monster Art & Clothing sold her socks.

Sock wall at Monster Art & Clothing

We started having Stripey Sock Meetups. We bought each other socks. Friends & family started buying us socks; it became the thing to do.

Mine are the pink & turquoise

Not all socks we love are stripey. They can have all kinds of textures and patterns.

We love our socks. We love our geekiness of all kinds. Not everyone who’s a sock person is a gamer. Not every sock person is into fandom. However, we are all pretty geeky about a good many things. We’re made up of food geeks, history geeks, tech geeks, gamer geeks, glitter geeks, renfaire geeks, music geeks. No matter what your geeky stripes (hah!), when you run into a sock geek, you have an instant bond; something to talk about and share.

SPARKLY

I LOVE MY SOCKS! GO OUT AND LOVE YOUR SOCKS, TOO!

Gen Con Socks!

C is for Cantina Crawl – #AtoZChallenge

April 3, 2013 9 comments

So, yes. Star Wars Galaxies. Love it or hate it (I loved it), there was one part of of this game which really set it apart from others. And that was the Entertainer Classes. You could be a Dancer, Musician, Image Designer, or all the above. The best parts are when we had “Cantina Nights” on various servers and worlds. The epitome of the Entertainer experience, though, was the Cantina Crawl. It is really hard to explain what a Cantina Crawl is about, so I’ve included my favorite Cantina Crawl video, from Javier. He’s the master at these, I swear.

These started on the Bria Server, and the invite was out to all people who wanted to drop by from their on server and from other servers. There would always be a color theme and tone, plus there would be a schedule of Cantina visits spread through the event.

Gorath's First Cantina Crawl, planned out with the help of the German SWG players.

Gorath’s First Cantina Crawl, planned out with the help of the German SWG players.

My home server was Gorath, and I also found a home on Kettemoor. I spent my time between both servers, but mostly on my home server. I was part of an in-game band, called The Kreetles. We were busy almost every night of the week, performing music and dance for roleplaying events and other gatherings.

Rinna in a beautiful light

Rinna in a beautiful light

The more artful of Entertainers planned out elaborate routines, wrote “songs” to go with all the Star Wars music songs they gave us. Like for my Blue Rodian, Honeewoo, I “wrote” lyrics to go with Eiffel’s “I’m Blue”. Sure, that song wasn’t in the game, but you suspended disbelief. Whatever “song” went with the tune/lyrics/dance moves was good.

Bria Crawl - Attack of the Hawtpants

Bria Crawl – Attack of the Hawtpants. Yes, I’m the Blue Rodian.

The Cantina Crawls were a great bonding experience in-game and allowed non-roleplayers to hang out and just pretend to be “bar patrons”. Many didn’t know how to roleplay, but would be the “bartender” or “bouncer”. Didn’t have to say much, but felt part of the whole roleplay/entertainer experience. Heck, we’d even have patrols of Stormtroopers show up to “disturb the peace” and grief everyone who was an alien species.

Nurian, watching over the Gorath Crawl, on the planet Lok.

Nurian, watching over the Gorath Crawl, on the planet Lok.

The success of the Cantina Crawl also led to more silly persuits. If virtual dance/song bar hopping wasn’t silly enough, there were the “Wookiee Crawl” and “Rodian Invasion”. I missed out on the first Wookiee Crawl, where it was literally, Wookiees crawling on the ground, all over the place. I did, however, create the Rodian Invasion! I cannot remember the server we invaded, off the top of my head. But we sure had a blast. No rules in clothing or theme, other than we were smelly Rodians, invading various planets. We danced, we told jokes. Played music and talked in Huttese when we could. Thanks to The Complete Wermo’s Guide to Huttese, we did so brilliantly. All the while, yelling “RODIAN POWER” everywhere we traveled. Many folks on the server couldn’t just instantly change over to a Rodian, but many of them followed us around for the fun.

RODIAN POWER!

RODIAN POWER!

I will treasure my Entertainer friends out here in the Real World(TM) now, with SWG shut down. We still laugh and giggle about the good times we had in the SWG Cantinas. We remember the new friendships and community bonding as we danced and sang across each other’s servers. And I still sometimes “talk” in Huttese. I sure do miss my Entertainer pals, and those who supported our very very sandbox gameplay style.

Zyre & Iago, the wonderful pair who managed The Kreetles. Love you jerks. <3

Zyre & Iago, the wonderful pair who managed The Kreetles. Love you jerks. ❤

B is for Beer – #AtoZChallenge

April 2, 2013 5 comments

This is a post from 2011. Not much has changed for me in regards to beer. Okay, I take that back. I now officially a hop head after living in San Diego. My big love is still Imperial Stouts and nutty Porters. Enjoy!

I was watching a discussion happening on Twitter which I saw tweeted by @LadiesOCB. The topic? QUESTION: Do we need women targeted beer marketing campaigns? What is the right way to target women, if at all?

My first answer? Nope, we just need good beer to market to real beer drinkers, not pandering the same sexist ways.

A wee light bulb went off in my head and I realized I’m having the same argument about women and games. You don’t need to do anything special for women to play your games. JUST MAKE GOOD GAMES. If you make good games and respect your playerbase, women will play them. There’s nothing magical about attracting girls and women to your games.

The game goes for beer. IF you make GOOD beer, break out of your sexist adverts and don’t “dumb down” beer, women will drink it. Period. Respect your product, respect your audience, no matter who they are, and you will be successful. Sure, you won’t make as much money as the top three “American” beers. Craft brewers and indie game developers have a lot in common. They have passion for their product and they want to bring as many people into their world.


I think that products like Chick Beer, are sexist and stereotyping. Women do not need pink packaging and yet another dig about how we should all watch our weight. It’s sexist and insulting to women and to men. If your beer is good, then ALL people will drink it. This beer isn’t a beer for women /made/ by women. It’s a marketing idea that someone created. I mean, “Chick has Beer Cred. We are brewed in Wisconsin by the second-oldest, tenth-largest brewery in the United States.” As a beer geek, I know exactly who’s brewing it and why.

I admit, I am saying this without trying the beer. And I could tear the website claims up over and over because none of it is factual. That really isn’t my point. My original point was to write about how I felt about this sort of marketing and how it is damaging to women. It reminds me of all the times I’ve been told “Girls don’t play hardcore games”, “Women don’t get strategy” “Are you shopping for (insert man of your choice)?”.

Beer Tasting at work, along with MEGAFORCE

Instead of ranting more about all this, I’ll get back to my point. I’d love to interview and write about women who are gamers and beer drinkers. The women who play what they want because they like it. The women who drink Ryes, IPAs, Stouts, Porters…beer across the entire spectrum. There are many women homebrewers, too. I’d love to hear from them.

Negra Modelo and Poo, the card game

The Dani goes to Germany

December 10, 2012 1 comment

Unless you’re following me on the Facebooks or the Twitters, you have no idea that I just visited Germany. For that matter, a brief visit to France, and traveling in Switzerland. There’s a whole bunch of things happening in my life which have me lower than I’ve been in *years*. So, my good friend and colleague, Iain, brought me over for a visit!

You can see some of the photos I updated on  my public Flickr account. Apparently, I’ve hit my monthly upload limit so the rest will have to wait until January.

I had visions of writing a most excellent travel diary, but I have failed. I’ve got a cold right now, so I find that I don’t care. 🙂 I suppose I could share a bit of my favorite bits of the trip. First, Swiss Air is quite delightful. Such polite people, plus I had an empty seat next to me on the trip over. SCORE!

I arrived in Zurich, and waited for Iain to show up, so we could catch the 3 different trains we’d need to get to Villingen, where he lives. Coincidently, it is also where the game I work on, Bullet Run, is developed. Yes, I’m working on a First-Person Shooter game. I’ve found that even tho I’m crap at it, I have a lot of fun playing with the community. And they think I’m just as much of a dork as they are. Heck, my main leader in my community is a very funny Brony. At any rate, I’m digressing like a sick person. *WACHOOO*

I was happy that I had picked up a HYOOOOGE puffy down warm coat for the trip, because it was cold as cold balls. I was actually okay wandering about in a hoodie with layers of tights/socks. Until it RAINED AND SNOWED. Fuck it; it was big awkward bulky way-too large coat for the rest of the trip.

We pretty much spent the first couple of days just hanging out, listening to music, enjoying good beers (‘natch!) and foods. We played some board games; I gave him a copy of Flame Wars: The Card Game of Extreme Moderation, which I had backed on Kickstarter. I also left him my copy of Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre since I can easily get another copy here. He introduced me to Kamisado, which I immediately loved. He helped me order it at the LGS. He also helped me order Mord im Arosa, which I had played in Austin at my game meetup. One of the women brought it to the event; she picked it up at some sort of board game swap. And the person who had it originally, picked it up when they were in Essen for the big huge board game show.

Anyway, we also wandered around town looking at neat buildings/art. We went to the Franciscan Museum Villingen, specifically for the Magdalenenberg, the Iron Age chieftain’s grave. IT WAS SOOOO COOOL.

We also wandered over to the Acony office, where I could say hello to the devs I had already met, and meet the rest of the team developing Bullet Run.

Some of our other travels:

Stuttgart for the Die Wel der Kelten aka The World of the Celts. Centres of power – Treasures of art exhibit. It was AMAZING. Too bad we were not allowed to take photographs, as there were some stunning pieces. We also continued on looking at the rest of the museum, featuring the history of Baden-Württemberg. I also had my first tasty Glühwein. In the pouring rain. Whilst freezing.

Which lead to MORE Glühwein drinking after we missed our train back home.

Alsace, France. My goal was to see many more awesome Medieval buildings and check out the Christmas market. Oh, and drink some tasty, tasty Alsatian Beer.

You could say I found both. Okay, so Leffe is Belgian, but I did have a tasty Croque Monsieur sandwich!

Esslingen: We went here specifically to catch the Esslingen Medieval Christmas Market. It’s side by side with the regular Christmas Market, but much more interesting! Well, the most interesting is that it is actual Medieval reenactment, which is awesome. Music, shows, foods, and games. It was fantastic. Of course, more Glühwein and Schwartzbier!

I think I enjoyed this Market the most, being the history dork that I am. I captured lots of photos of the same buildings, because they were so beautiful. Rugged handsome men stoking fires was pretty awesome, too. 🙂 Rawr. The great part about doing all this with Iain is that he’s a reenactor history nerd, too, so I don’t have to explain /why/ I loved it so much.

After a heap load of touristing, it was nice to chill back at his place for the rest of the trip. There were so many fantastic moments, and I’ll treasure this trip forever. It was good to leave my stresses behind (which are many; some I’ll share this coming week) and get inspired and invigorated. Right now, I’m ill with a cold and drank way too much beer at game day. I’ll just leave you with one of my fave sights from Stuttgart.

Categories: Beer, Geek Culture, Main

C is for Concentration #AtoZChallenge

April 5, 2012 Comments off

Last night I attempted to have a board game night, but instead it was spent driving around and not getting to play games at all. Not that this is particularly interesting, but it did keep me from playing catch up in the Blog Through A to Z Challenge. This means THREE blogs tonight!

My first catch up blog is “C”. Concentration. I have a very hard time with it.

Tonight, I was pretty happy to be cuddling up to some delish chicken & garlic pizza and some tasty chocolate stout. I was all set to write my blogs, when I was distracted by a friend’s comment on Twitter about Draw Something A bunch of my co-workers and, well, everyone I know practically…is playing it. I quickly abandoned my blog and installed the free client.

2 hours later, I’m back at my blog, waiting for friends to respond to my games & challenges. I might have said on Twitter, “I has a delicious beer. I just downloaded “Draw Something”. I think I’m just going to draw penii (penises?).”

So here I sit, distracted by the game and my friends are sending me wacky drawings. I completely forgot what my original “C” topic was going to be and I’ve got no clue what I’m going to write for “D” and “E”.

Pardon me whilst I draw a monkey with a banana for Ken.

Categories: Geek Culture, Video Games

I’m Participating in the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge

April 3, 2012 3 comments

I am so late to the party! I had seen something about this challenge float by on the Twitter feed for my co-worker, Margaret Krohn. She and I feel very similar about communities, gaming, and fostering an inclusive environment. It’s been awesome getting to know her; we don’t get to chat as much since we work in different buildings.

At any rate, I was intrigued. I went into this new blog with great intentions of posting regularly. In this, I have failed. I had a few great posts (I hope?) around PAX East last year; it is fitting that I’m kickstarting the blog again right in time for this year’s PAX East.

I’m kinda behind on the blogging, so I’ve missed getting on the sign up list for the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge. No matter. I am still going to participate!

My “A” blog is going to be about…acceptance!

For many, it is very hard to accept things about yourself. On the outside, I accept that I am overweight. I accept that I am older than many of my peers in the gaming industry. I accept that I have a pain disorder and am not as mobile as I once was. I accept that I talk too much, and I also accept that for a good much of the time, I’m an extremely quiet person. I can be obnoxious and very rigid in my ideas of justice. I hate playing with rules lawyers, but sometimes, I am one myself. I accept that my sexiness is from within. I accept that people won’t think I’m sexy. I accept that my tattoos are off-putting to many people. I accept that I have been a big jerk to people in my life.

And that is okay. It all makes up who I am. There is no room for regrets or not accepting these things, because it means denying who you are…and that who you are is a-okay.

I meet a lot of people in gaming & geek culture who are always talking about how they’ve been afraid to accept their “geekiness” and let “their geek flag fly”. They say, “you are so comfortable with yourself.”. I teasingly say, ‘That’s because I don’t give a flying fig what people think about me.”.

Really, this is only partly true. I care deeply about what my mother thinks of me. I care very much about the opinions of my peers, friends, and loved ones.

What I am really saying is…All those people who want to tell me I’m to fat/old/stupid/ugly to be sexy/smart/caring/worthy of love? They can kiss my big fat butt. I accept my flaws. I accept my passions. I accept I may be wrong from time to time. None of this makes me less of a person or not worth love.

EVERYONE is worth love. Accept that you are weird. Accept that you are just a bit different from those around you. It’s not bad to be different. Sometimes it just takes time to figure out that the only person who truly matters is you. If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect wonderful loving people to find you?

I accept myself for who I am and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Danicia at Gen Con

Categories: Geek Culture

Speak Out With Your Geek Out – Stripey Socks & Geek Attire

September 15, 2011 6 comments

I’ve always dressed a little different from other folks. Half is that I have no sense of fashion and the other is that I really like to wear things which make me happy. I’ve only been half aware that I might be dressing oddly, and have continued to simply ZOMG SHINY through my wardrobe through the years. My family has always kinda followed their own weird piper, so to speak.

Ahoy, matey!

I’ve had freaky hair, freaky clothes and have never been embarrassed or felt odd about it.


Oh yes, the 80s


I word the oddest things and was happy with it. Very happy. Most of the times I had my picture taken in my oddest close, I have the happiest smile.


Working on the San Antonio Riverwalk


I never quite wore appropriate clothing for my activities. Seriously. Just doing my own thing.

Yeeehaww!

I had been attending renfaires since 1982, but didn’t dress up until the late 90s. My attire was pretty crappy at first, but after hanging out on Usenet (Yah, I’m old), I kinda hit my niche with hot pink attire. And eventually added neon green, as more people started getting wacky in their renfaire get ups. I’m the furthest you can be from being girly; the hot pink thing was a huge inside joke. My mom thought it was humorous; I think she was happy just to see color in my wardrobe after the YEARS of nothing but black clothing.

Who needs coffee when you can look at THIS?

I had a bit of a change happen to my wardrobe, once online shopping hit. I was happily buying from ThinkGeek shortly after I moved out to Virginia in 1999. Since they were local to VA, I was familiar with them as I worked with Fraize at Dell and had met Regan through renfaire. My shopping really kicked in somewhere in 2003. Tshirts & toys for myself. Tshirts for friends & boyfriends. I still do so. Hah! I have a couple of photos up there on the site. I always forget to send them in. I still owe them the lightsaber chopsticks picture.

I was tweeting this while wearing "i'm tweeting this" tshirt.

Fast Forward. So, I had joined a social network site which has some blogging in it. I found that when I used the blog, I met more people. I met a TON of great people in Seattle from the site; some who are close friends today and even attended my wedding! I’m used to people slagging on me for being weird, fat, having a big bumpy Italian nose and whatnot. But a gal named “Computer Barbie” posted the following:

I know a group of women who commiserate for hours that men will not commit, but they will not spend 13 minutes putting on make up. They wear nerd clothes too. One of them wears a boys student coat, androgenous moccasins, androgenous pants. She looks like she has long grey side burns. She pushes her hair behind her ears. 1 lock falls in front of each ear. That is the only part that is grey. Another wears Circus Socks [multicolored socks]. These women are Fashion Casualties. These women are middle aged but successful. These women claim to have boyfriends. JMO

As someone who LOVES awesome socks, I was kinda butthurt in a humorous way. So I blogged about it. Turns out a bunch of other women, from their 20s – 50s (and younger/older) also love their nerd clothes, their stripey socks. So a silly sock club was born. Many of us started buying MORE socks, because we wanted to day, You know, we dress for OURSELVES, not for you. Just because you think we’re too old to dress for happiness, doesn’t mean it is wrong.”. We all started posting pictures of our socks as we bought them, and the term “Sock Prawn” was born. You know. Wait. This is the internet. I don’t have to tell you.

I discovered Sock Dreams and Sock It To Me Socks, both in Portland, Oregon. I started shopping from SITMS because Holly, proprietor of Monster Art & Clothing sold her socks.

Sock wall at Monster Art & Clothing

We started having Stripey Sock Meetups. We bought each other socks. Friends & family started buying us socks; it became the thing to do.

Mine are the pink & turquoise

Not all socks we love are stripey. They can have all kinds of textures and patterns.

We love our socks. We love our geekiness of all kinds. Not everyone who’s a sock person is a gamer. Not every sock person is into fandom. However, we are all pretty geeky about a good many things. We’re made up of food geeks, history geeks, tech geeks, gamer geeks, glitter geeks, renfaire geeks, music geeks. No matter what your geeky stripes (hah!), when you run into a sock geek, you have an instant bond; something to talk about and share.

SPARKLY

I LOVE MY SOCKS! GO OUT AND LOVE YOUR SOCKS, TOO!

Gen Con Socks!

Categories: Geek Culture, Main
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