Monday, December 10, 2012

Semantics: You say "tomato", I say "nonpoisonous member of the nightshade family"

A woman I follow on Twitter (@honestlynina) asked
Anyone: Whats the difference between a geek and a nerd to you? 
I replied in two parts, because 140 characters just wouldn't cut it.
Geek = *serious* fan of pretty much anything; music geek, comics geek, science geek [con't]

Nerd = bookish, awkward, excessively knowledgeable (about anything). I am geeky about some things, & nerdy abt others 
I want to expand on that, though. There's more to it than just being a fan, or excessively knowledgeable.

These days, people use the phrase "geek out" pretty casually. (I don't have to get into the whole history of geeks/carnies, right? That's been done to death.) I think it's awesome that what was once reserved for gamers and Star Wars/Trek fanatics is now crossing into other fields of interest... and that's really what it amounts to for me. YMMV* I love comics, comic book movies, World of Warcraft, Star Trek and Star Wars, etc. etc. I cannot quote chapter and verse, issue and volume, episode and season. I haven't memorized the canon or the lore. And I'm not saying that people who do are bad or weird. They are the nerds, those people who have encyclopedic knowledge about their favorite things. But just because I can't quote Cassandra Cain from page 10 in issue 4, volume 2 doesn't mean I don't have sincere passion and appreciation for comics. It's what makes idiotic rants from people like Tony Harris so hurtful and baffling.

I am a casual gamer. True, I can spend hours and hours playing in a single sitting, playing until I can barely get out of my chair, but I have not memorized the loot tables. I hate raiding, and I don't like dungeons. I enjoy questing. Most of my toons have leveled almost exclusively through questing, so my gear ain't so great. I nearly made a guildmate cry because all my gear on a max-level character was green level from quest rewards, not blue or purple from dungeons. He decided that I needed better gear and started dragging me through dungeons. He is a WoW nerd, I am a WoW geek. I love the game, love the stories (seriously loved Golden's novel The Shattering), hoard various things in the bank because I might want them later... I can discuss story lines, but not mechanics of boss fights. I have all the soundtracks, and that is my preferred background music for long-distance driving, and think Cranius is a freakin' genius. (Oxhorn's good for comedy, but doesn't have the level of artistry that Cranius has, in my opinion.)

I suppose that's sort of where I draw the line between geek and nerd; nerds aren't casual. They are driven in their passion to know everything they can learn about something.

My nerdiness usually comes out as weird bits of stored scientific knowledge. The "classic" nerd, if you will; the studious and socially awkward kid who was the teacher's pet and got straight As. (I was a solid B student; studying was too much work.) I think that was how I was perceived, in part, by a lot of my classmates. One of my biggest hurdles, so to speak, to becoming a true nerd is my inability to devote the time to gaining that encyclopedia head. I bounce from interest to interest and back again, because there are a lot of things that interest me. It's hard to focus on one thing for a long time, because there's just so much more in the world to know and learn and try. A less kind person would call me (and I have done) a dilettante, a person of casual interests, without commitment to the subject(s). Oh, what a hateful, insulting and mean word... worse, because it's accurate. We should all be grateful that the Fake Geek Girl proponents haven't used the word, not that I've seen anyway. Perhaps it's because they're ignorant, sophomoric twits who have a less than stellar grasp of wordsmithing, hmm?

Anyway, that's how I look at the nuances between geeks and nerds. How do you use the words? Are they interchangeable?

*Your Mileage May Vary, or what is true for me, may not be true for someone else. My experience is mine; yours is yours.

Gathering of Geek Grrls

This year, I was unable to attend Geek Girl Con, in Seattle, Washington. It happened the weekend before my daughter started high school as an incoming freshman, and though I desperately wanted to attend, I just couldn't. The 2013 con is scheduled in October, and when I mentioned it to my husband, he asked if I wanted to go. (DUH!) Then he said something surprising -- he asked if I wanted to go alone, or if I wanted my daughter and him to go with me. I didn't have to consider that for long; of course, I'd love them to go with me!

The con's motto is "The Celebration of the Female Geek." He and I have had some spirited discussions about male/female relations, roles, and women in pop culture. He probably sees me as being a little rabid about some things, and I see him as a bit clueless (but it's not his fault, because as a non-female, he can't truly understand my POV). That he is willing, in fact kinda volunteering, to go to this particular con with me shows me that I really married a great guy.

The Kid won't be as excited, probably. Cons are noisy and crowded, and she's autistic. But the hotel will likely have a pool (don't they all?) and if she can't take it anymore (or if he can't), they can always go hang out in the pool. And she loves to fly, so at least she'll get to do that.

So I'm jazzed on a couple of levels. Getting to attend a con with like-minded people, with minimal BS about being a fake, is awesome. Plus I hope that he can gain some insight into some of the things I'm all ranty about. And it'll be a family vacation like I wanted to take this summer that never materialized... *sigh* ANYway, there's all kinds of excellent reasons to attend, and the biggest drawbacks I see are that we'll have to board the pup and The Kid will miss a day of school.

I just have to wait 10 months and 9 days... :(

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Advertising Intolerance

Please note: This is a rant. As such it contains salty language unsuitable for young children (who shouldn't be surfing the internet unsupervised, anyway) and prudes (likewise).

We all know that advertising wants to sell us stuff, right? Companies sell ad space and advertisers try to entice us to buy their stuff. So what does this sell?

It sells out, that's what it does! This is an ad for the website College Humor, which appeared on the back page of DC's Sword of Sorcery (featuring Amethyst) #1 -- arguably a book aimed at females, since the main protagonist, Amethyst (a reboot of the 80s comic character), is female. It's also written and edited by women (Christy Marx and Rachel Gluckstern, respectively). I'm not a fan of College Humor; I find the fratboy-level intellect just a little too grating. Fine, whatever, it's not for me. I don't have to look at it.

But then DC Comics sold them ad space. A lot of ad space. Like nearly every DC and Vertigo title ran the ad. What. The. Fuck.

There's been so much attention given to the whole Fake Geek Girl meme and the challenging reactions to it. John Scalzi, bestselling author and president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, blogged about who gets to be a geek. The Mary Sue blogged about it. Probably lots of other people did, too, but I don't spend every waking moment online. I really can't believe people at DC are so damned stupid that they wouldn't realize that nerd grrls are on the verge of starting a bloody revolution. Starting in their offices.

I first caught wind of the ad last week, at The Mary Sue. I was pretty annoyed, and sent DC a tweet about it. Today I picked up SoS #1, got to the back page, and damned if it wasn't there, too. A little digging, and I learned that it's pretty much publisher-wide. Really, DC? Are you so hurting for money that you sell that much ad space for an ad that alienates any female readers you have left?? Or are you rolling in so much cash that you don't care if all women quit buying your books?

DC is apparently aware of what they're doing, and they don't care. Here's a great article by Georgia Ball about it, written in February ('12): "Women Do Not Read Comics Says DC and Kevin Smith."
DC will also conclude that as female readers don’t exist, content offerings don’t need to change. As long as mainstream comics continues to ignore and offend female audiences, the more they will see that audience shrink, leaving plenty of opportunity for independent titles made available digitally to take their place.
So I undoubtedly wasted my breath when I sent them a message this evening via their contact form, questioning their judgement on that particular transaction with College Humor. Maybe, just maybe, if enough women let them know that We Are Not Amused by this, and want them to stop, it will make a difference. Or maybe it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy, and all women will stop buying their titles and tell them to go to hell. Contact form is here -- so if you buy comics and think this ad is bullshit, let 'em know.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

International Day of the Girl

October 11, 2012 is the first International Day of the Girl. Like with Woman's History Month in March, there may be some detractors who want to know why it's necessary to have a day (or a month) set aside for females. We have a Children's Day, so why do we need a day just for girls? Because so long as girls are marginalized, devalued, sold, sexualized or denied education, we need to honor them and be aware of the plight of girls around the globe. Why, because things like a girl being shot because she wanted an education happen.

When I read about Malala Yousafzai, I was horrified, angry, and depressed. Fourteen years old, shot by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school and had the audacity to blog about it. A teenaged girl, targeted for assassination, because she wanted an education. Some extremist bastard shot a child because she wanted to go to school. No matter how many ways I phrase that, it's still awful. And honestly, I'm not "angry," I'm fucking mad as hell. But it's not just Pakistan. It's not just Muslim countries. This evil-mindedness toward girls happens everywhere.


What you can do to help today, and affect real change:

Rescue a girl from indentured servitude in Nepal.
In western Nepal, many indigenous families from the Tharu ethnic group subsist as farm laborers. Unable to make ends meet, they have been forced into a desperate trade – selling their daughters to work far from home as bonded servants in private homes or as dishwashers in tea houses. Some of these children are as young as six. Alone and far from home, these "indentured daughters" have no knowledge of the ways of city people or of other cultures, and most speak only the local dialect. Their living conditions are entirely at the discretion of their employers. The bonded girls seldom attend school and have no prospects for a decent future. Some are ultimately forced into prostitution.
Send a girl to school in Afghanistan.
The Zabuli Education Center was founded by Afghan native Razia Jan through the Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation. Razia’s dream of a school for girls became reality through the collaboration of several extraordinary women — as well as the vital support from generous organizations and the hard work of staff and volunteers.
Sponsor the education of a Maasai girl in Kenya.
The Maasai Girls Education Fund was created to improve the literacy, health and economic well-being of Maasai women in Kenya and their families through education of girls and their communities. MGEF provides scholarships from primary school through university to girls who have never enrolled in school, or who would be forced to drop out of school for cultural or economic reasons, and we are committed to each student until they have the knowledge and skills needed to enter the workforce in Kenya.  With economic empowerment, this new generation of Maasai women will end early marriages and circumcision of girls and bring greater literacy, health, and economic well being to future generations.

Want something closer to home, or think this is only a Third World problem?

Donate to Children of the Night in the United States.
Children of the Night is a privately funded non-profit organization established in 1979 and dedicated to rescuing America's children from the ravages of prostitution.
Note: I looked for something similar in Canada, and didn't find it. Prostitution is legal there, but child prostitution is not, nor is child trafficking. If you know of an organization that helps Canadian girls escape prostitution, or helps Canadian girls generally, let me know!

If you know of an organization that seeks to raise up girls and give them equal status to boys, post it in the comments!

If you don't have the cash to donate to an organization, you can donate your time. Mentor, raise awareness, make your voice heard. Find more ways to affect change here:, (United Nations Girls' Education Initiative), and of course

Girls matter. And if you need an explanation why, you're part of the problem.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Science Is My Religion!

I am not a religious person. I do not consider myself among the faithful of any organized religion (or disorganized one). I have been, at varying times in my life, a Christian, a Pagan, an Atheist, an Agnostic*... and now, mostly I believe in Truth. I believe in the Scientific Method. Once I even said to some door-to-door god-botherers, "Science is my religion." (As an aside, I no longer find it necessary to be polite to people who bother me in my home, taking my time, when there's a sign next to the doorbell they just used that says "No Soliciting".)

So since I am not religious, I find it somewhat baffling that saints and icons are so fascinating to me. I once digitally altered a saint card, and presented it to my belly dance teacher. I was a little apprehensive; she is Catholic. Not only did she love it, but she showed it to her ma, who also loved it. No higher complement.

The only part of the original card I kept is the gold
border and halo medallion thing. The background photo
is one I took in Istanbul, played with in Photoshop.
So when The Mary Sue featured artists who work in the same genre as my St. Magda card, I was just tickled.

"Trinity" by Jska Priebe, "Super Marie" by French artist Soasig Chamaillard
Prieb's "Trinity" is part of a gallery showing, STELLAR: The Women of Science Fiction. Chamaillard's "Super Marie" is part of a series that appears to be called "Apparitions." She was blasted by Catholic faithful for her "sacrilege," but she responded with grace:
"Faith should be strong enough to remain unshaken by simple objects. I think they need to step back from the object and not forget that it's an artistic work."
It makes me want to find a bunch of cheap plaster Mary statuettes and go nuts... but I already have a project in mind for Wonder Woman. I just need to lay my hands on a bunch of old comics that I don't object to destroying.

*Either all of them are capitalized, or none of them are.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wonder Woman Shadow Box

Cross-posted on Creative Miscellany.

The other day, I saw a small shadow box at Homegoods. It was about 8 inches square (they had larger sizes, too, but the smallest one suited my purposes) and came in two finishes -- crackle white, and distressed grey. I didn't care for the crackle, and it would have left a texture to paint over without extensive sanding; the grey would be immediately paintable.

I brought it home and dug out a 12x12" sheet of Wonder Woman scrapbook paper I bought years ago and never knew what I was going to do with it. Apparently, I bought it for this.  :) The somewhat subdued colors of the paper look great with the grey frame... which I promptly decided not to paint, since they looked so good together.

The tricky part was getting the back off. It was nailed on with tiny tacks, down too deep in the fiberboard to pull, so I ended up carefully pushing the back off. This left the tacks above the surface of the lip of the frame and I knew getting them to line up would be a pain. Instead, I used a screwdriver as a nail sink, and tapped them down with a hammer.

I had to sand the back a little, because in addition to the tacks, there was also some glue. The backing board is 8" square; I cut my paper 7 3/4" square after I made sure that would cover all the backing visible from the front. I used a permanent glue stick (not too wet, but plenty sticky!) and smoothed the paper down with a credit card. I hit some of the dried glue inside the lip of the frame with sandpaper, dusted it off, and put a thin bead of Tacky Glue all around the lip. The backing board went on next, pressing firmly to seat it in places, and to ensure good contact with the glue.

And here's what it looks like finished:

front view

looking down into the shadow box; it's about 1 1/2" deep

Sorry; I forgot to take pics "in progress," but I hope you can follow along with my process. This was super simple, and a really quick project.

Some of you might be looking at that and thinking, "wow, that's a really busy background, the figure sort of gets lost." And you may be right. Even though the colors of the frame and background are not really bright, it's a patterned background for a small object. I am considering going through some of the old comics and finding a suitable speech bubble to cut out and put near her head, and mat it on white to give it some definition. Others of you might be thinking, "of all the action figures, you chose that one?" Yep! Because she was my first. Plus, she gets totally lost on the shelf with the other Wonder Woman figures (she's only 5" tall with her arm raised)

This idea would work for maybe a trio of small figures (GI Joe-sized) or a pair of larger ones, assuming they don't need more than 1 1/2" deep to stand in. You could showcase some of your favorite smaller figures this way. I say "favorite" because the shadow box was $15 -- expensive if you plan to put all your figs on display this way. And you don't have to go all out like I did and change the backing, you could leave it plain, paint it a different color, or paint an actual background if you're artistic.

If you try it for yourself, I'd love to see the results!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

And now I has a sad...

So I see a link from Think Geek in my Twitter feed. And it is awesome. A Batman lunch box. With. A. CAPE!
Such fabulosity can hardly be limited to Bats, so I dig around on the TG site. Nada. OK, no big, they don't carry everything in the world. I found it on Amazon, and see that it's made my Thermos, and head to their site... where I discover that they have totally bought into the whole action heroes are for boys bullshit.

Barbie, Hello Kitty, Dora the Explorer,  iCarly and various cute purse-style lunch bags
OR Iron Man, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Darth Vader. Honestly, I may vomit.

Girls get cutesy purses... Boys get severed heads!

I sent the following letter to Thermos, via their contact form:
I was excited to see the Batman caped lunchbox, until I discovered there was no similar one for superHEROINES. Unfortunately, Thermos seems to have decided that girls only want pink and dolls. This is not the case. There are a lot of young girls and adult women who very much want to be part of the superhero scene, but manufacturers have forgotten about us. I see you have both DC and Marvel licenses. There are any number of appropriate heroines that you could use for your products. Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Storm, She-Hulk (one of my all-time faves), Jean Grey... There are lots of us out here in geekland who love our heroines, and buy officially licensed merchandise. Give us a chance! Girls can be heroic too!
If you also think this is total crap, let them know! Use the convenient form on their website (linked above) and TELL them.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


In the basement are boxes of comic books, 19 in all. I knew their contents were a mess, and I knew I wanted to get an inventory of them, like the one I did for our library using LibraryThing (I highly recommend that, by the way, it's so easy to use). I ended up buying Comic Collector, by Collectorz and am satisfied with it. There are a few holes in their database, but adding manually isn't a big deal. (There's a trial version you can download if you need to kick the tires first.)

I hauled the boxes upstairs to my computer, more or less one by one, and started entering them into the database, bagging any loose books, sorting by publisher, consolidating boxes. Presently, I have 2 empty boxes. I don't think I'll be able to consolidate much more than that, but we'll see...

Now I am down to the last box of comics... well, two, because one series is screwy in their database (as well as being somewhat screwy from the publisher), so I need to figure out where the people who entered it initially screwed up and try to fix it for my database. Well, and a box of magazines that sort of fit in with the comics. AT ANY RATE, I'm nearly done, as soon as I get another pack of bags. Presently, the inventory is at 1408, my estimate is that by time I'm done, I'll be at about 1600. (Not so many; that guy on Collection Intervention had 30,000!)

Once that's finished, I need to go back through and alpha/sequence the boxes, and sort the non-Marvel/DC boxes so that publishers are grouped together. Because if you're going to do it, you should do it all.

Then have to go through the database and make a list of the missing issues and start filling in holes, because having a series that's missing a title or two makes me nuts. And I'm still trying to figure out where my issue #32 of Lee's Action Figure News & Toy Review went (it's sentimental - the tipping point into starting my female figures collection).

"Deadliest of the Species - Collecting Female Figures"

Some of the boxes I inventoried contained trades and hardcovers. They belong with the comic collection, but not in with the comic books. I think I need one more of those Ikea "Kilby" bookcases to replace a smaller bookcase I have down there already, so I can put the graphic novels there, next to the figures and the comic book boxes. Plus it will look better integrated, if all the cases on that wall match. (It's going to bug me until I fix it.)

I'd like to continue to working on finding first appearance issues for some of my figures, but some of those are pricey and not a priority. What I would really love to do is print out miniature versions of the 1st App covers and display those with the figures... because I so needed another project.

At any rate, getting this finished is a large part of my basement overhaul. OK, you may be thinking that an inventory and general maintenance of the comic books doesn't really make the basement less free of clutter and stuff. But it is part of the basement, it is something that needed to be done, and when I'm down there working on getting the piles eliminated, the chaos in those white boxes nags me. Soon, there will be order. Soon there will be finished grownup space. (Hey! they may be toys, but they belong to an adult and they're displayed as a collection.) Soon I will have my girlfriends out to party down there. Of course, "soon" is relative -- if I can make it happen within the next 4-5 months, I'll be thrilled.

And dammit... if the comic book shop didn't open until bloody noon today, I could have been done with the comics by now...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fashion Fail

If you read comics or play video games, and you're female, you have probably wondered why the female characters are so... briefly... clad. If the male characters were similarly dressed, what might that look like?

Some artists have imagined just that very thing, and some of their imaginative illustrations have been collected in this post over at Comic Book Resources. Here's a preview of some of the Fashion Fails in that post:
The artist for this one is Michael Magtanong. His illustration (used here with permission)
of Hal Jordan in Star Sapphire's getup was part of a challenge directed at artists.
You can find Mic?'s blog here: (and here's his original post).
Honestly, the more I look at this, the more ridiculous it gets. Bravo, Mic?!

Wow. Serious fashion fail, there. And so is it when the ladies have to wear that crap too! When fighting crime, or monsters, or wreaking havoc, why do we have to do it half-naked or in skin-tight outfits?? And haven't these illustrators ever taken an anatomy for artists class? They do realize that women have spines, too, right? Do they not know what spandex does to flesh? (Here's a hint: it flattens.)

Tight costumes, such as the sort of things the women (and men!) are often seen wearing, would mash down soft tissue (AKA boobs). It would not look like the woman was naked with the costume painted on. I'm pretty sure those heroines and villainesses are not wearing painted-on liquid latex, so therefore boobs are gonna get smashed down in those costumes.

High heels? Really? Women who are accustomed to wearing them can run in them if they need to. But I can't imagine a woman who knows she's probably going to encounter a fight at some point in her evening, would choose to wear heels when there are far more practical options. Not to mention the risk of snapping the stiletto off somewhere...

Long hair is glamorous and sexy. I love having long hair, but I rarely wear it loose because it's hotter than hell, tangles, and gives an attacker another way to grab and control me. (I know this from personal experience, y'all: you do not want to give a mugger something to grab hold of and control any part of your body, especially your head.)

Look, I know that men and boys read comics, and are the majority demographic, but you do not have to have the costumes be so brief, that readers are holding their breath, wondering how many panels before the thing falls off. Sexy does not equal nearly-nekkid. No, really! And if that's all you're looking for in a comic, I think you should consider some of the adult titles. Those at least are up front with what they're doing. Emma Frost should not model for Frederick's of Hollywood, Catwoman should not be posing for Hustler. Or if they do it should be some weird plot point, not just they way they look all the time.

I like looking at attractive women. I like looking at attractive men. The human form can be very appealing, but I don't think that the sexed-up women in comics today are showcasing the best of what those artists can do, or how sexy and powerful and strong a woman can look, and still be fully dressed.

Clearly, I am not alone in how I view this. A lot of the other rants are also coming from women who are all like, WTF? Some men seem to agree with us. If you read any of these other articles, be sure to read the comments, too.

Fashion Rants, select links to other articles about the State of Dress in comics
She has no head! - No it's not equal by Kelly Thompson
The big sexy problem with superheroines and their 'liberated sexuality' by Laura Hudson
Art can make a difference: responding to the "just don't read it" defense by Kate Leth
Dear DC Comics [a writer's 7 year-old daughter responds to the new Starfire], by Michele Lee
DC Comics: bad at math, David Willis' Shortpacked! cartoon about the Starfire problem
No more mutants: 52 problems by Andrew Wheeler
A response from a female comic book fan by Ms Snarky
Ker-Pow! Women kick back against comic-book sexism by Ben Quinn
It's not the pants by DC Women Kicking Ass
The myth of sexy superman and the search for superhero beefcake by Andrew Wheeler

For more artistic Don'ts, check out Escher Girls!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

D' Fence

I was thinking of ways to keep the action figure dominoes off the floor, where they might get broken... or eaten...
Who, me??
Glass doors were not an option -- those kind of shelving units were just not in the budget. I briefly considered clear packing tape, just across the bottom, but dismissed the idea as both bad (would ruin the finish on the shelves) and ugly (shiny/distracting, plus dust would collect on the sticky side). Then it hit me: dowels, as a "fence" across the front of the shelves, fitting into the holes that were already there for the adjusting shelves! I grabbed a scrap piece of 1/4" dowel, but it was too wide to fit in the hole. No prob! I shaved it down in the electric pencil sharpener, and that worked beautifully. To the hardware store, Robin!

I bought 48" dowels that are 1/4" in diameter. I needed a bunch of them, because the shelves are 26" wide, which left me with a lot of "waste" (more on that shortly). I measured one, tapered it, fit it into place, then measured all the others against that.

For each dowel, I scored around the circumference with an X-acto knife, then with my thumbnails on either side of the scored line, broke the dowel to length -- very quick work. Then, each end was tapered in the pencil sharpener. Because the dowels are thin, they bend nicely to be fit in place.

Scored dowel
Broken to length
Tapered with the pencil sharpener
Fit into the pre-drilled holes
Worked perfectly!
And it doesn't look bad, either
The third shelves down don't have fences, because that is a fixed shelf, and had no pre-drilled holes. So I'll have to drill holes for those, or use glue, but I think drilling is the more sensible option. The nice thing about the dowels is that if they're just a little bit too long, they can be cut down a little with the pencil sharpener. If I glue them up, the width has to be perfect.

The "waste" pieces, I am going to experiment with finding a good (inexpensive) way to keep the figures from falling over in the first place. (Doll stands, even the small ones, run about $1.50-$2, and if I can make my own from scrap, yay me.)

UPDATE: The balsa wood and scrap dowel does indeed work to make a doll stand.

Princess Gwenevere can barely stand on her own with her teeny feet in those high heeled boots.

That's 1/4" balsa, a piece of the 1/4" dowel, some floral wire (heavy) and a little wood glue. It's very light weight, and the wire makes it a little top-heavy since the balsa is so light. BUT, the balsa cuts with an X-acto knife, "drills" easily with the tip of the blade, and sands quickly with an emery board.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Collection Curation

I've been working my tail off on the basement, trying to get the basement unpacked from the move (2 years ago) and ready to be used in total instead of just a few cleared out areas. The mess is largely mine. I am horribad at putting things away, but I'm really trying to get better about that. It's so much easier to work on anything if you can easily find all the things you need!

So the weekend my husband was at WorldCon, I worked in the basement. It was a long weekend (a very long weekend...) but I had few distractions and got a ton done. This Saturday, I was back at it, but getting really discouraged. It seemed like no matter how much I got done, there was still so much to do; I wasn't ever going to get done.

We'd talked about getting some inexpensive bookcases at Ikea to house the figure collection. The shelves we put up are awesome, but there just aren't enough of them. I was out of room and still had a ton of figures yet to unbox. These unboxed toys were part of the issue in the basement -- those boxes of action figures take up a lot of room, and were in the way. So Saturday afternoon, while I was feeling pretty limp and discouraged, Marc asked if getting those shelves up would help. "Maybe?" I told him. I really wasn't sure just how much difference it was going to make. We went to Ikea, ate there, wrestled with the crowds of people who apparently have all the spacial and situational awareness of your average dandelion. (Sadly, punching people in the back of the head is illegal. *grumble*) We had to unpackage one of the boxes just to get all five of them in the car.

Even though I was tired, I started putting them together. By the time I got to the fifth case, I was so sore from all the bending, my husband had to build it. I think it was one in the morning before we went to bed. (And I had to drag my butt up two flights, then try to get into a bed that sits on risers -- that was challenging.) When the pup woke us at 6:30, he got up with her; I went back to sleep and didn't get up til 8. (I married a great guy.)

After getting to sleep in, I was reasonably energetic and eager to start on moving the collection. Had some coffee, took some ibuprofen, and headed downstairs to get started. I worked on it until around 4 in the afternoon. I unboxed a bunch. I arranged and rearranged and played action figure dominoes, and generally had a marvelous time. He asked me, "Are you happy?" Yes, yes I am. They look awesome. They're out of the packaging, because they're toys that are meant to be played with. They are not my retirement fund.

So, as a reminder, here's what they looked like on the shelves before I moved them:

4" shelves worked fine, for a while, and they did fit the space nicely
without sticking out too far into the walkway.

The Star Trek/Star Wars (really, "Science Fiction") display has to stay where it was, and that's fine, really, since the wall they occupy isn't good for much else, anyway.

There's a few more figures on these shelves now, but I'm too tired to run back down and take a current photo.
And here is what they look like now:

In case you don't recognize the boxes on the bottom shelf, those are full of comic books.

This is the center: Wonder Woman is at (my) eye level, and Sailor Moon above.

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Barbie. On the one hand, I feel the unrealistic image she
brainwashes little girls with is evil, but on the other, Hallowe'en!

Hopefully, the Fisher-Price Wonder Woman in her invisible jet negates the evil Barbieness.

The bookcases we used were Ikea's Kilby. They are 6'3" tall, 2'2" wide and 9.5" deep. It's hard to see from the photos, but the finish is "birch", so it fades into the beige paint that's on the walls. The backing is a very neutral grey, good for displaying figures against. What I ought to do now is get a 2x4 and cut it to width, so I can raise up the figures in the back row (or maybe check the garage and see if we have some scrap I can scavenge). Enclosed units would be swell, but those are very expensive, and way out of our budget.

The end result of this, other than making my geeky heart very happy, was the emptying of a few more boxes, getting the comic boxes out of random stacks on the floor (well, most of them), and allowing me to move the DVD collection from a couple of shelving units on the other end of the basement to the shelves that I had the figures on before.

The comics are one of my next near-future projects. I need to do an inventory of them and consolidate boxes (they aren't all full). And since my back is still aching, that might be a better task for today than the endless bending and sorting of the piles of "misc" that fill up the space. Or maybe, since I only got 5 hours of sleep, I'll go back to bed...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thrill of the Hunt

Today I did something I hadn't done in a long, long time: I went hunting.

I wasn't looking for any particular figure(s), I just wanted to see what I could find. I started way early in the morning, because, hey! Walmart is 24 hours! At Walmart, I discovered Rita Repulsa. (I also bought my pup a rawhide bone for leaving her all alone.) Then I went to Target (nada), then to KMart, where I picked up a Star Sapphire Wonder Woman (and some glitter nail polish). I was all set to hit a Toys R Us, but I was too early for them yet, so I went to another Target store (nada). Finally, TRU was open so I went to one of those (a different one than before) and found a Princess Nuala for $1.50. No, that's not a misplaced decimal -- I paid with paper for plastic for the first time in I don't even know how long. And it's a pretty fantastic sculpt, too.

YAY! She's a great villainess, and it's about time she got a figure.
Someone else did a video review of her: watch it here.
So naturally now I have to get the Blackest Night WW, or this one makes no sense...
Mezco did a fine job on this sculpt, in my opinion, but she doesn't appear to have a lot of action.
We'll see, once I get her out of the box.

I had forgotten how fun and how frustrating it could be to search for toys in the wild, instead of getting them on ebay. Back in the day, when I was really kinda rabid about the figures, it would be nothing for me to spend an entire day driving from one store to the next, one town to the next, searching for a figure. But then, I also read the magazines and knew when they were due out on the shelves, and could plan accordingly. I usually had a friend along for the ride too, which makes it even more fun.

I am quite satisfied with my haul, given the state action figures are in right now. And I had fun, and that's what collecting should be.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Who knows? A number of outspoken female bloggers know! Here's the latest. (Trigger warning)

Honestly, I don't know how much more of this I can stand to read, and it's not even happening to me. Why does any man think this is ok? The hateful harassing, the nasty comments about rape. It makes me sick to my stomach. These trolls, they're never going to stop, not so long as women continue to fight back because that's part of their game. But they don't stop if they're ignored, either.

They just



The women who are facing this, you're amazing. I salute you and I support you. The visions in my head of what I'd like to do to your tormentors is pretty graphic; I have an excellent imagination. But that won't fix the problem.

This is so deeply disturbing.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Raising Geeky Daughters

Because this is something that has been on my mind a great deal lately, I started thinking that it might also be on other parents' minds as well. The situation doesn't really apply much to me and my family, because my teenage daughter is autistic. I do have friends with daughters, and the current climate of geek-girl bashing has me worried about what they might be facing now, or in the future.

In an attempt to get some idea of what other parents are thinking, and hopefully begin a discussion for solutions, I have a quick 10-question survey that I hope you'll consider putting in your own 2¢. Yes, this is primarily focused on daughters.

Where you have the option of writing a response, please do. Without your opinions and input, this won't mean much.

Please note: Even though the words mean different things to different people, I am using "geek" and "nerd" interchangeably, for the sake of simplicity.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thanks for your input! When I make the results known will depend on the level of response I receive.

If there's an issue with the embedded survey, here's a link directly to the Survey Monkey website:


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This Just In: WoW MegaBloks

Just got home from an errand-run that I completed with a trip to Toys R Us. Out of curiosity, I checked to see if they had the MegaBlok's World of Warcraft sets in yet...

I didn't see any of the larger sets, only the 4 vehicles and 4 different faction dudes (2 Horde and 2 Alliance for each). They look pretty damned cool. :D

Very cool, but... this blog is about plastic heroines... and this set is sorely lacking in females, unless you count Sindragosa. Of the 19 characters that are available (according to their website) not one is female!

I'm completely unsurprised. You shouldn't be, either, if you've been reading this blog at all. *sigh*

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Discouraged and Disheartened

Please note: Bad things are ahead. Sexual harassment and worse are mentioned and discussed. 

First, I was amazed and horrified with the attacks that Anita Sarkeesian was taking for her (wildly successfully funded) Kickstarted project, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. Just the idea that she might be forming an opinion on the subject was enough to enrage the trolls with less maturity than most 13 year olds; she hadn't even done anything yet, and she was receive vile and disgusting threats.

Then, I was disgusted to read that the Skepchicks were under attack, and it went so far as for someone to ask the question "is it immoral to rape a Skepchick?" Because, the questioner says, "they're so annoying." Rape as punishment for women who annoy you. Wow.

Today I read on John Scalzi's blog that more harassment at ReaderCon had raised still more controversy. Apparently, the con has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment, and someone was in fact booted from the conference. However, he was not booted for life, as their own policy states, but only for 2 years.


I am so tired and so depressed and saddened to hear about all this, within the space of a couple months. And while I don't want to muddy the waters with politics, too, it does seem to be a common theme. Women are under attack. Why? No, really. Why?

When I've had this conversation with my husband, he's offered the suggestion that (particularly in the political arena) that this is the last violent, gasping attack from a mindset that is out-moded and out of touch with the 21st century. With regards to the nerds and the geeks and the skeptics, women are "invading" their territories in increasing numbers. Women read comics, we play video games, we're atheists and scientists and philosophers. We no longer accept the "No Gurlz Alowd" signs on the doors of their clubhouses, and they feel threatened.

I can't really argue with his idea. He is a guy, and I'm not. Just like he can't truly understand what it's like to know that sexual harassment, abuse, and rape are a fact of life for me - simply because I'm female. I can't speak for all women, I am not all women, I am not even representative of all white 40something women. I can only speak for myself when I say, I don't want to take over your space, hang lacy curtains on the windows and make you drink tea, I just want to hang out, play some games and eat pizza out of the box.

Here's the thing: I like nerdy guys. I like your weird obsessions, your utter disregard for fashion and your sometimes bizarre non sequiturs that make me laugh. I like your intelligence and your ability and willingness to imagine anything under the sun. Here's what I don't like: the 13-year-old mentality where Tits or GTFO! in response to anything, or the behavior where it seems normal to plaster obscene images on someone's blog or website, simply because they have an opposing opinion.

Whenever we shrug off someone's bad behavior, refuse to call them on their shit, we're giving them permission to do it again, and we're showing their fellows that we're not going to call anyone out, so they can do similar things. If you see something, say something. If it happens to you, report it. Stand up for what's right and decent.

Unfortunately, I know it's not going to change, at least not in the immediate future. I feel reasonably brave posting this little rant, because this blog of mine hasn't gained a following yet, so I don't have to deal with trolls. I would like to think I'd still have the courage to speak my mind even if there were trolls to handle, but the hate and the vitriol can be a lot to take... Honestly, I am exhausted from all the second-hand hate. I'm not being colorful, I'm serious: all this stuff I've been reading has made me exhausted. "So quit reading it!" Because that will make it go away? No. No, if I go offline to recover from all this, I'd miss stories like Star Wars Katie's mom's new book. Or the zombie walk that counter-protested the Westboro Baptist Church's protest of a military funeral. Not only would I miss stories like that, but denying the problem, ignoring it, helps no one, especially not the women who are in the cross-hairs, when I could just as easily be the next target. Why me? "Female" seems to be excuse enough for the attackers...

Update: An article about the harassment in gaming is in the New York Times.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Index for the Heroines/Villainesses Pages

Character Index by Letter

Notes on my naming indexing:
  • Characters are named under their surname if I could find it. Helen Bennett of Bionic Six is under B, not H.
  • Titles like "Queen" or "Doctor" or "Captain" are not part of the name (with exceptions), so Dr. Blight is under B, Princess Gwenevere is under G, and Captain Janeway is under J. 
  • If the title is not a true one but part of a codename, I have included them under their full handle/codename. Lady Jaye is under L; Doctor Cyber is under D.
  • Some Star Trek races have unusual naming conventions. Kira Nerys is under K, as "Kira" is her family name (not Nerys). 
  • I tried to err on the side of whatever seemed the most reasonable. Some names were a little ambiguous.
I included the same basic information with each character: name, franchise, creators, first appearance, whether or not she has super powers, known alter ego(s), and whether or not there is an action figure (or doll). With first appearance, I am using the first appearance of the heroine (not her mundane alter ego).

The goal is to cross-reference names, alter egos and aliases in one long list, as soon as I get this done. I'll also list all the versions of a figure, eventually.

Heroines and Villainesses: W

This is a very cursory list of good girls and bad girls, some that fall in between, and others who got immortalized in plastic for whatever reason. The photos I've included are from figures in my personal collection; the photos are mine. When I can, the list will be expanded; this is just the basic first go of the Ws.

Heroines and Villainesses:
An Incomplete List, Including Other Characters with Action Figures

Jakita Wagner (DC/Wlidstorm)
• Created by: Warren Ellis and John Cassaday
• First appearance: Planetary #1, April 1999
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: no
• Action figure: yes, by DC Direct (2001)

Col. Wai Lin (Tomorrow Never Dies motion picture)
• Created by: Bruce Feirstein
• Portrayed by: Michelle Yeoh
• First appearance: Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Exclusive Premiere (1997)

Wallflower (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, and Keron Grant
• First appearance: New Mutants vol. 2 #2, August 2003
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: Laurie Collins
• Action figure: no

Vanessa Warfield (M.A.S.K. animated series)
• Created by:
• Voiced by: Sharon Noble
• First appearance: “The Star Chariot,” 1982
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Kenner (1985)

Martha Washington (Dark Horse Comics)
• Created by: Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons
• First appearance: Give Me Liberty #1, June 1990
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Dark Horse (1998)

Wasp (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
• First appearance: Tales to Astonish #44, June 1963
• Super powers: yes, meta-human (induced)
• Alter ego: Janet Van Dyne
• Action figure: yes, more than one, the first by Toy Biz (1994)

Water Witch (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Mark Gruenwald and Herb Trimpe
• First appearance: Fantastic Four Annual #13, December 1978
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: 
• Action figure: no

Mary Jane Watson (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Stan Lee, John Romita Jr. and Steve Ditko
• First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #25, June 1965
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, more than one, the first in a 2-pack with Spider-Man, by Toy Biz (1997)

Taun We (Star Wars franchise)
• Created by: George Lucas
• Voiced by: Rena Owen
• First appearance:
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Hasbro (2002)

Webwitch (Avatar Press)
• Created by: Tim Vigil
• First appearance:
• Super powers:
• Alter ego: Nina Hoffman
• Action figure: yes, with color variants, by Rendition (1998)

Werra (Galaxy Adventure Girl)
• Created by: Sungold
• First appearance: 1985
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Sungold (1985)

Zam Wesell (Star Wars franchise)
• Created by: George Lucas
• Portrayed by: Leeanna Walsman
• First appearance:
• Super powers: no, alien (shapeshifter)
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Hasbro (2002) 

Honey West (Honey West tv series)
• Created by: Gloria and Forrest E. Fickling
• Portrayed by: Anne Francis
• First appearance: Burke’s Law “Who Killed the Jackpot?” 1965
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes (doll), by Marx (1964)

Jane West (Best of the West)
• Created by: Louis Marx and Company
• First appearance: Best of the West toy line
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Marx (1966)
• Notable: The Best of the West toy line was introduced to compete with the GI Joe line from Hasbro.

Janice West (Best of the West)
• Created by: Louis Marx and Company
• First appearance: Best of the West toy line
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Marx (1967)

Josie West (Best of the West)
• Created by: Louis Marx and Company
• First appearance: Best of the West toy line
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Marx (1967)

Lt. Maggie Weston (Exo-Squad animated series)
• Created by: Jeff Segal
• Voiced by: Teryl Rothery
• First appearance: 1993
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Playmates (1994)

Princess What’s Her Name (Earthworm Jim franchise)
• Created by: Doug TenNapel
• Voiced by: Kath Soucie
• First appearance: Earthworm Jim, 1994
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Playmates (1994)
• Notable: Her twin sister, Queen Slug-for-a-Butt, despite being the final boss of the video game, was not made into an action figure.

Whiplash (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Erik Larsen
• First appearance: Marvel Comics Presents #49, May 1990
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: Leann Foreman
• Action figure: no

White Witch (DC Comics)
• Created by: E. Nelson Bridwell and Curt Swan
• First appearance: Adventure Comics #350, November 1966
• Super powers: yes, (not human)
• Alter ego: Mysa Nal
• Action figure: no

Whiteout (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri
• First appearance: X-Men #249, October 1989
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: no

Wicked Lady (Kodansha)
• Created by: Naoko Takeuchi
• First appearance: Pretty Soldier Sailormoon 1992
• Super powers: yes, magic
• Alter ego: Chibiusa (English: Rini) Tsukino (corrupted)
• Action figure: yes, (ok, it’s a doll) by Irwin (1995)

Widow (Avatar Press)
• Created by: Mike Wolfer
• First appearance: 1991
• Super powers:
• Alter ego:
• Action figure: yes, with variants, by Rendition (1998)

Widow Maker ()
• Created by: Todd McFarlane
• First appearance:
• Super powers: yes, angel
• Alter ego:
• Action figure: yes, by McFarlane Toys (1996)

Princess Wild Flower (Best of the West)
• Created by: Louis Marx and Company
• First appearance: Best of the West toy line
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Marx (1974)

Wild One (Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstones)
• Created by: Galoob
• First appearance: 1984
• Super powers: yes, magic
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Galoob (1984)

Wild Thing (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Tom DeFalco and Ron Lim
• First appearance: J2 #5, February 1999
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: Rina Logan
• Action figure: yes, by Toy Biz (1999)

Nina Williams (Tekken video game franchise)
• Created by: Namco
• First appearance: Tekken, 1994
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Epoch (1998)

Wilykit (Thundercats animated series)
• Created by: Ted Wolf
• First appearance: 1985
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, the first by LJN (1986) packed with Cheetara

Wind Dancer (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weid and Keron Grant
• First appearance: New Mutants vol. 2 #1, July 2003
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: Sofia Mantega, aka Renascence
• Action figure: no

Windfall (DC Comics)
• Created by: Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo
• First appearance: Batman and the Outsiders #9, April 1984
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: Wendy Jones
• Action figure: no

Colleen Wing (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Doug Moench and Larry Hama
• First appearance: Marvel Premiere #19, November 1974
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: no

The Wink (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Electronic Arts
• First appearance: Marvel Nemesis: The Imperfects #1, November 2005
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: Benedetta Gaetani
• Action figure: no

Witchblade (Top Cow Productions)
• Created by: Marc Silvestri, David Wohl, Brian Haberlin, Christina Z and Michael Turner
• First appearance: Cyblade/Shi #1, January1995
• Super powers: yes, through the Witchblade armor
• Alter ego: Sara Pezzini
• Action figure: yes, more than one, by Moore Action Collectibles (1999)

Witchfire (DC Comics)
• Created by: Kurt Busiek and Tom Grummett
• First appearance:JLA #61, February 2002
• Super powers: yes, magic
• Alter ego: Rebecca Carstairs
• Action figure: no

Witchfire (Marvel Comics)
• Created by:
• First appearance: Alpha Flight #79, December 1989
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: Ananym
• Action figure: no

Howling Wolfinica (Resurrection of Monstress)
• Created by: Yasushi Nirasawa
• First appearance: 1998
• Super powers:
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, with color variants, by Yellow Submarine (1998)

Wolfsbane (Marvel Comics)
• Created by: Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod
• First appearance: Marvel Graphic Novel #4, 1982
• Super powers: yes, meta-human
• Alter ego: Rahne Sinclair
• Action figure: yes, more than one, the first in the She-Force line by Toy Biz (1997)

Wonder Girl (DC Comics)
• Created by: William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter (Diana), Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani (Donna), John Byrne (Cassandra)
• First appearance: Wonder Woman #23 (May/June 1947), The Brave and the Bold #60 (June/July 1965), Wonder Woman vol. 2 # 105 (January 1996)
• Super powers:
• Alter ego: young Diana, Donna Troy, Cassandra Sandsmark
• Action figure: yes, several, the first by Mego (1978)

Wonder Woman (DC Comics)
• Created by: William Moulton Marston
• First appearance: All Star Comics #8, December 1941
• Super powers: yes, meta-human (not human)
• Alter ego: Diana of Themyscira, Diana Prince
• Action figure: yes, several, the first by Mego (1975)

Want more Wonder Woman figures and stuff? Check out Antony Coukos' site: Experience the Wonder.

Jessica Wray (Ghostbusters animated series)
• Created by: Marc Richards, Robby London and Barry O’Brien
• Voiced by: Susan Blu
• First appearance: 1986
• Super powers: no
• Alter ego: none
• Action figure: yes, by Schaper (1986)