Things That We Are

While attending PAX I had a chance to become more familiar with the “gaming media scandal” that has been going on over the past few weeks.  After listening to the PAX attendees and Enforcers I realized that I was really angry about the whole thing.  One of my “labels” is gamer.  That is not going to change because media says so.

We are all a conglomeration of labels.  We all choose the labels that we put to the front.  I am a wife, artist, painter, reader, gamer, nerd, woman, military….  The list goes ones.  You can see I listed wife and artist first.  Those are what I focus on.  Gamer and nerd are in there, but not at the front.  They are a part of me, but not all of me.  They impact how  I see the world and how I interact with it, but they are not the largest or most influential parts.

As a general rule I do my best to avoid media.  The news is all skewed to fit into someones agenda.  I am not interested in that agenda.  I just want to know what is happening.  When something interesting happens, I research it.  I go to four or five sources to ensure that I have a good view of what is happening.  A smart way to research.  I like to research. 

Not everyone is like me, or has time or will power to do that much research.  Media should be clear and unbiased.  Giving all the information so the reviewer can make up their mind.  That is not what is happening.  Media has chosen what we are going to think, see and understand.  We will all believe that cops are bad, gamers are losers, and the only way to solve problems is to give it money.

I am angry that the gamer media has chosen to be just like the rest of the media.  Sneaky, snide and bias.  The bit that makes me really angry is how they reacted when they were caught.  They denounced their readers, the whole reason they even get business.  Gamers are being labeled as evil, bad, stupid and worse.

Gamers are many things, oblivious to social pressures is a good one.  Gamers do not always see gender, race, creed, nationality, sexual orientation or any of the other labels that we put on ourselves.  Gamers are passionate.  If you have ever been to a gaming event or spoken to a gamer about their game, it is easy to see.  We love our games and can speak about them all day.  We will debate strategies, preferences and all the minutia that make us enjoy the game.  Gamers want to share the love of the game.  New to the game?  They will teach you.  Had a bad experience?  They will listen and try to repair the wrong.  The game not your thing?  They will recommend other games that might be better suited for you.

Gamers are lovers, not fighters.

Im-a-lover

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Freak OUT!

PAX Prime 2014 has descended upon Seattle, and I am working it.  (Table Top if you want to stop by and say ‘Hi.’)

freakoutEvery time I work an event I get REALLY nervous.  It does not matter if I am an enforcer (PAX,) minon (ECCC) or as a photographer for a gig. 

People freak me out, and not always in a good way.  Yes, nerds and geeks are still people.  Even though I have more in common with the type of people that attend PAX and ECCC they still freak me out.

I hate small talk, and therefore suck at it.  I constantly say inappropriate things, or have no clue how to respond, and it only gets worse if I do not know what to expect or “something” is not going to plan.  This year my unplanned “something” is that I was not able to go up the day before and get my enforcer badge and shirts.  This sucks!!!

All I can hope is that my spouse remembered to ask where to get them tomorrow.  Yeah, I do not like relying on people either.  People mess up perfectly good plans on a regular basis.

So, why do I keep doing this to myself?

Well, I enjoy it once everything starts.  Even the guys who will not look at me because I am a “girl with boobs” (this is way stranger to me than getting hit on.)  I like to see what people wear, who they bring, and listening to what they talk about.  It is really neat.

I also never got to do this kind of stuff as a kid.  I kind of missed out on the crazy parties and general weirdness that people experience in their late teens and early twenties.  I get to snatch bits of fun in my thirties instead.  Not a bad trade, I am old enough to value the experiences.

How do I get through it?

I have a lot of experience with customer service.  Once things get rolling I can become what the attendees expect in an Enforcer at PAX. 

Little+girl+make-upThe big and best tool I have is MAKEUP! 

It is about to get girly for a bit.

I do not usually wear makeup.  I dislike how it feels and it takes a bit of time and maintenance, which I find annoying.  I am also super sensitive to mascara and eye liner and can only use a few types (more work.)  The bonus of makeup is that it is a mask, you can look like and become someone else.  We do not call it “war paint” for nothing.

I like to dress up for events and allow other sides of my personality out, though it can be tiring. This year at PAX I will have purple hair with blue stripes (well the front 1/4 will.)   I will also be busting out the colorful eye shadows and lip gloss (ooo lala.)  Stuff I do not get to do on a daily basis.

Once my warpaint is on and I am caffeinated (Chai latte please,) you will never know that I was nervous and that people freak me out. 

Have fun this weekend!

Some of me will.

FYI, I use Espionage Cosmetics.  They are a local company and have a great product.  I will be wearing the Gamer Girl color set and circuit board nail wraps (ran out of the d20’s.)  If any of you people out there are looking for some good stuff.  It is very vibrant and hangs out for a really long time.  I am pretty sure they have a booth.

 

I dub thee…

NERD!

What!

Wait, when did that happen?

Knighting_Ceremony_by_SlvrStrykerMy spouse recently dubbed me a Nerd.

What is a Nerd?  Well, since I married a Geek, I have a pretty good definition, supplied by said geek. Nerds are passionate about a small group of things and are quite often introverted.  Geeks are passionate about lots of things and are often extroverted.

There is such a bad stigma on the word, Nerd.  It is almost as bad as calling someone a jock, slut, jerk or loser.  This is a case of stereotyping and judging a large group of people on a smaller, but more prominent, subgroup.  I am not a “pale kid,” dungeon dweller, egg head or anything like that.  Not many people are. Yet that is what we envision when we hear the words nerd or geek.

I did not really consider myself a nerd or geek until recently.  It is my spouses fault really.  He is a huge geek, self admitted.  Dungeon’s and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, console games, PC games, history, cars, guns and law; they all seem to fascinate him and he knows a lot about a lot.  I think that my narrower scope of interests, art, RPG style computer/console games, web design, books and, the coup-de-gras, I like to be at home, has let him dub me a nerd.  Much of these were not even a huge interest until I met him and let him get me involved in things like PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) or ECCC(Emerald City Comic Con.)

I was not always a “nerd” though, I think I have always been a bit on the geeky side. I like books, so sue me.  I think the nerdy trend happened in my teen years.  I live in the middle of nowhere.  No TV, no radio, nothing but fish, books, and video games.  Isolation in those important years altered my personality and kept me from being a cheerleader (for which I am happy about.)

I ran through the small local library first.  I even read the self-help and how-to books. Then I got to work on some video games.  The first one I remember liking (enough to remember its name even) was Crusaders of the Dark Savant.  It was hard and had pretty good graphics.  The first video game I purchased (almost all on my own) was Final Fantasy VII ($90 CAN.)  I had loved FFIV so much I wanted to buy one of the games (both are on my top 5 list of fave video games.)

You will notice that there is no mention of board games or card games.  I am not that lucky or skilled to play these and win a fraction of the time.  I avoid these due to the low chance of wining, losing all the time is not fun, nor is it educational.  I remember I once won Monopoly,  that was over 15 years ago.  I gloated for a whole day.

googlieNails, Espionage cosmetics

The Googlie Eye Minion Nail Wraps from Espionage Cosmetics. They have some super cool designs, literature, circuit boards, nebula and comic book sounds, to name a few.

I have to say that I love the Nerd/Geek culture.  The intelligent and inside jokes, silly actives and the wide variety of skills members have.  There is even a really significant female subculture within.  I get to be a geek girl and do the things that I wanted to do as a teenager.  Colors in my hair and googlie eyes on my nails.  Being a Nerd is not all bad 😉

 

All my weekend are belong to PAX

I have been trying very hard to keep to a Thursday blog post schedule.  This week has been very crazy.  I have hardly had time to sleep let alone post anything worth while.  I am rather happy with how my earlier post went, a little winding, but okay over all.

Tonight I prep my gear for PAX.  I have my enforcer shirts, camera batteries are charging, water is in the fridge, the kettle is full and the teapot is prepped with a very potent Super Irish Breakfast (2x as much caffeine as coffee.)  Rinse and Repeat for an additional 3 days and you have my PAX plan.

PAXTTGames

Here are a few of the games that were available at PAX12 (or is it 12PAX?) Anyway this is a great place to play an old favorite game or try a new one before you buy it. They will even show you how to play.

During PAX I will be posting various photos, mostly to the Table Top Twitter feed, with the every popular PAX hashtag among a few others.  I am going to launch my personal twitter during PAX with photos that are cool but not related to the dept I am working in.  I almost forgot about FaceBook.  I will try to upload photos there too.

Sometimes it pays to leave a decent paying job, to work a minimum wage job for the awesome privileges such as, behind the scenes pics, first in line, and first parking spots.

I hope to see some of you awesome people at PAX.  Make sure you stop by the Table Top section.  If you are not really interested in the new table top games, feel free to relive some fond memories with your favorite, they will be in the lending library.

Constraints

If any have taken (or take) a Project Management course you will be introduced to a new way to think about some of the simplest activities.  Your morning routine turns into a daily project with tasks that have lead times, schedules, order, resources and constraints.  Wait, a constraint in your morning routine? How is that possible?Constraint

Well a constraint is anything that limits or restricts your project (in this case a morning routine.)  The bathroom may only hold one person (size constraint), so task sharing is out of the question.  There may be only a little tooth paste or shampoo left (quantity constraint) and you choose to make it last one more day, until payday (money constraint.)  There are tons of things that can restrict the simplest activities.

Most of these things you can plan for.  You know when you are getting low on tooth paste and when you are getting paid next.  You know that the bathroom holds one, or that the hot water disappears when the other bathroom is in use.  You adjust your schedule and activities to account for these things.  Get up earlier, stop by the store on the way to work, plan for revenge…

What happens when you don’t foresee a constraint?  Or maybe you chose not to plan for something that you did foresee.  Well, you break promises and fall behind, basically messing up your day, and possibly the day of a few others.

This month I had a plan to create a WordPress template and have it up and functional by September 1st.  Well, I failed.  Here is why;

  1. I did not anticipate how hot my office was going to get this summer. It got so hot that the computer would shut down!  I don’t know about you, but I cannot work when it is that hot in an enclosed space.  I would get an hour of work in and everything would get weird.  I was dehydrated and the computer overheating.  This does not make for a good day.   Anyway that took me from 12-20 hours a week to  7 -10 hours (late nights mostly.)  That right there is enough to derail any project.
  2. I did not anticipate how hard it was going to be for me to learn and understand the WordPress system, as a developer.  WP is easy enough as a user, it is VERY different on the developer side.  I counted on my past as a quick study to move this project along.  Well I did not do so well on that respect.  Maybe the heat and short study times were part of the problem.  Either way, I did not succeed.  I spent a lot of time researching the smallest things and doing tests that would fail, because of the smallest things.
  3. I did not account for other projects.  Even though I budgeted a lot of time for this project (well over 30 days.)  I did not take into account the other projects that I ended up doing.  I did a lot of other stuff during this time.  2-3 days were devoted to events, and many hours to graphics for each event.  I was happy to be out of the office most of the time, since it was so hot, but that still took away from the project time.

There were other things that caused problems.  I had personal things (updating my site, creating business cards, blogging, family time etc) that I needed to do.  Events that I had scheduled months in advance (RenFaire, Family visiting, house hunting, and PAX(is so close!!)) took precedents over the project at hand.  And I LET IT!

That is the big thing.  I let other things become more important than my WP project.  Now I am paying for it.  I have to tell the team that I do not have the product I was sure would be ready next week.  Now I have to beg for another month to get the product done (the basic product,) and more time to get the improved version done.

It sucks.  It really sucks, that we (everyone does it a some point) let things distract us from what needs to be done.  Things like this is why people with great ideas get no where.  We let ourselves be distracted by the small things. 

Well it is time to get back in gear.  I have already broken down my project into small manageable tasks, and those into sub-tasks.  I have set up a schedule that includes all of the expected (and some improbable) constraints.  I am going to finish my project.Done!

I invite everyone to join me.  Get a project DONE in September.