Saturday 30 September 2017


You'll likely notice that this blog-zine is dormant. We've headed back to using Facebook as our primary communication method with geek women and their allies. Be sure to keep in touch there, and remember that all our 2 years of articles remain up here for your reading!

Monday 5 January 2015

Mobilizing a Fan Base: The Campaign to Renew Forever

By Courtney Lockhart

It’s an all too common tale these days: The unique, entertaining program that got cancelled before it’s time.  Search “Best Cancelled TV Shows” and you will retrieve dozens of lists and comment sections full of fans still grieving.   One fandom isn’t taking any chances. Even though their show is still currently in production they want to make sure things stay that way and so they are taking to social media with a single message #renewforever. 
Cast L-R: Joel David Moore as Lucas, Judd Hirsch as Abe, Ioan Gruffudd as Henry, Alana De La Garza as Detective Jo Martinez, Donnie Keshawarz as Detective Hanson and Lorraine Touissant as Lt. Joanne Reece. (ABC/Bob D'Amico)
Forever is a procedural crime drama with a twist. Dr Henry Morgan works in the New York City Medical Examiner’s office. He has an uncanny ability to read the bodies that come into his morgue and as such has struck up a partnership with Detective Jo Martinez of the 11th precinct homicide division. There is one mystery Henry can’t figure out however- his immortality.  I reviewed the first four episodes  for this site back in October and since then, my enthusiasm has only grown. 

However, despite a wonderful supporting cast, great writing and a People’s Choice Award nomination for Favourite New TV Drama, the show is a common target for cancel/renew scorecards and has been listed by sites such as TVLine as unlikely to reach the second season. Forever regularly draws over 5 million viewers live. It has always increased, and occasionally doubled, those numbers by the time DVR figures are available.  However, the critics believe that for a show on a major network those numbers aren't promising even though they surpass those of other freshman hits. 

This is where our intrepid fans comes in. A group of Foreverists have decided to let the network know exactly how loud 5 million voices can be. An old fashioned letter writing campaign has been organized with the goal of flooding the ABC mailroom with notes and calendars telling the network it’s time to renew.  
Photo Credit: Emma Reed
Deb Survey and Lin Blank co-admin both The Official Ioan Gruffudd Group on Facebook as well as a second group specifically dedicated to the show called Foreverist Group for Forever Fans. “We’re doing our best to keep Forever around for a long time,” they said. “We find the writing clever and spot on, and the characters are drawn in a rich and human way. Seeing the fans unite in support of this show is amazing.”  

On top of the letter writing campaign the fan community around Forever is extremely active. There is a weekly live tweet event during the show’s Tuesday night airings where cast and crew have been known to pop in as schedules allow. Tumblr is full of fan art prompt games, discussions and gif builders highlighting some of the quintessential moments of the first half of the season. If you pop on the Facebook pages, you are greeted with reminders to vote for Forever in the People’s Choice Awards as well as lists of all the ways you can get in contact with ABC to show your support.  They are a loyal and vocal team. Hopefully by showing exactly how much they love their show, they will be able to help secure it’s future and keep it off the “Best Cancelled Shows” list for… a very long time. 

Forever airs Monday night at 9pm on CTV, Tuesdays at 10pm on ABC and is available to stream at on Wednesdays. 

Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat.  She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy

Tuesday 30 December 2014

New Year's Party Food

By Sandi Moser

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching. If you’re planning a party, you may be starting to think of the food and drinks you want to serve. If you’re like my husband and me, you’re also starting to plan how best to present those tasty treats to partygoers. Taste is certainly the most import consideration, but presentation comes in at a very close second.
Whether you’re planning a themed party or a mishmash of things you love, there is great inspiration to be found through a few quick internet searches. Here are a few ideas and recipes that may come in handy at your next party:
  • If you want your New Year’s Eve party to be “magical”, you could consider a few items with a Harry Potter theme. I started with a search for a butterbeer recipe and was surprised at how many were available. Obedient Ingredients does a good job researching some of the recipes for you. To round out the theme, liquor bottles can be relabeled for potions class and veggie trays can be themed from herbology class. Of course, a Harry Potter theme is not complete without a big bowl of jelly beans.
  • One of my favourite video games growing up was the Legend of Zelda. If I could throw any kind of nostalgic themed party for myself, this would be it. Heart-shaped red cookies, punch bowls filled with red, green and blue potions, and bowls of deku nuts (pistachios) would be scattered through the house. If you sing me the right song, I may also be convinced to get you a carafe of milk.
  • Settlers of Catan fans can easily make a party setting simply by display foods in hexagonal shaped dishes. By artfully arranging said dishes and filling with a variety of foods (i.e., veggies, chips, pretzels and dips), it’s easy to recreate a Settlers board. Alternatively, for a sweet treat, a similar effect can be achieved with cupcakes (taking care to shape the icing as hexagonally as possible) or hexagonal cookies decorated with coloured icings. 
  • If you’ll have a lot of kids in attendance, Minecraft seems to offer some of the easiest ideas for food presentation. It takes a bit of imagination, but it can be fun thinking of food ideas that can be used to represent various resources: pretzels for sticks, red licorice for TNT, blueberries for diamonds, honeydew melon balls as slime balls. You can also use food colouring with rice cereal squares to make blocks of sand, dirt, coal, etc.

In searching for your next party favour food, here are a few other websites beyond Pinterest you may find helpful:
Wishing you and yours a safe and Happy New Year!

Sandi is a 30-something environmental engineer and mother of two from the metropolis of Stittsville, Ontario. Writing for Capital Geek Girls is a new adventure for her, with previous writing experience limited to technical documents, briefing notes and Facebook updates. In her spare time, Sandi enjoys playing board games and video games, reading books, watching movies, and crocheting. She looks forward to sharing her geeky endeavours with you, as well as reporting on the next generation’s response to those endeavours.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Geek Christmas Crafts

by Sandi Moser
For as much as I like to craft, my d├ęcor at home is not really conducive to showing it off 11 months of the year. At Christmas, however, decorating ideals go out the door and my house fills with a variety of homemade items. One of our pieces of modern art is replaced by a reindeer painting by my daughter. Our mantle is adorned with a snow globe featuring my son’s toddler fingers as snowmen.
One of my favourite places for homemade crafts is the Christmas tree. My usual clean line, modern (but homey) living room features a tree adorned with handmade ornaments that go as far back as my own childhood. For as much as I like the look of a themed Christmas tree, nothing gets me more excited for the holidays as a popsicle stick snowman with an uneven smile (hanging near the back of the tree so the people outside can appreciate it). 
In preparation for the season, and to find something to do with the kids leading into Christmas vacation, I went hunting for ideas to make a few new ornaments. Here are some of my favourite finds:
  • Ninja Turtles: This one is first, because it gave me the idea to write this article in the first place. In the kid-friendly (read: easy) version, glue an appropriately coloured ribbon around a green Christmas ball and add googly eyes. Voila, the ninja turtle of your choice. Those with more artistic flair can get out the paint and hand draw bandanas and eyes. Either way, you have a turtle for your tree.
  • Minions: As a variation of the Ninja Turtle ornament, use a yellow Christmas ball with black ribbon and one or two eyeballs (again, googly eyes, or maybe felt). Feel free to add a mouth and hair with a black marker or paint.
  • The Golden Snitch: What I liked about this one is that it’s not overtly “geeky”. It’s actually quite a pretty ornament, using a gold Christmas ball and attaching some wings. Harry Potter fans may recognize it, but it could likely hide in a tree without much notice.
  • Lego Death Star: With a 5-year-old in ‘da house, we have more than our share of Star Wars-themed Lego. What do I like most about this craft? We can put it together and take it apart every Christmas!
  • Dalek: OK, here is where I have to admit my pop culture blind spot – Dr. Who. I’ve never watched an episode, but I know there are a lot of fans out there. I came across this ornament for the more advanced crafters. The instructions are pretty involved, but the result is pretty cool, even for someone who doesn’t know a Dalek from a cylon.
I hope you’ve found some inspiration for bringing a bit of homemade to your own Christmas tree. Happy Holidays!

Sandi is a 30-something environmental engineer and mother of two from the metropolis of Stittsville, Ontario. Writing for Capital Geek Girls is a new adventure for her, with previous writing experience limited to technical documents, briefing notes and Facebook updates. In her spare time, Sandi enjoys playing board games and video games, reading books, watching movies, and crocheting. She looks forward to sharing her geeky endeavours with you, as well as reporting on the next generation’s response to those endeavours.

Monday 8 December 2014

Five Webcomics from Female Creators You Should Totally Be Reading

By Marie Victoria Robertson

I often sigh about how I wish I could draw. Thing is, I have an intense respect for comic artists, and webcomic artists in particular; using the versatility of a visual medium to tell a good story seems like a beautiful challenge to me. The comic book industry seems like a tough market to get into, particularly for female artists, and the big-name companies are often stuck catering to fanbases. On the flip side, webcomic artists strike out on their own, with the power to write, draw, and produce their own content on their terms. There is often little to no money involved in webcomics, meaning artists are putting their work out there, for free, for people to read and share and enjoy, purely for the love of their art.  

So, respect. Lots of it. 

Some amazing and talented women are responsible for some of the best webcomics out there and they deserve all the attention they can get. Below is a short list of webcomics I love, and you probably will too. 

1. Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton

Chances are you’re already reading this one. If you’re not, I strongly advise you to sit down with a cup of tea and go through the archive. Kate Beaton is a master at crafting jokes based on history, literature, and occasionally pop culture. Her “strong female characters” are not to be missed. 

2. Oglaf (WARNING: Not Safe For Work) by Trudy Cooper (co-authored by Doug Bayne)

DO NOT click on that link if you are at work. Or if dear old aunt Gertrude is reading over your shoulder. From the same author as Platinum Grit, Oglaf tends to bounce between being a medieval fantasy-parody strip with liberal sex and nudity, and being an outright pornographic comic with token fantasy elements. It can be incredibly funny, however, and scathing in its deconstruction of fantasy tropes. Be warned that it can be VERY Not Safe For Work as sex is a huge element of this webcomic, though readers will enjoy seeing same-sex and interracial couplings, and women (of varying shapes and sizes) in interesting positions of power. 

3. Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler

This comic is about the titular speakeasy struggling to stay in business in prohibition-era Missouri, amid shifting loyalties, secrets from the past, and rum-running adventures. The story is so intricately written and the art is so exquisite that you almost stop noticing how the entire cast is comprised of anthropomorphic cats. While updates are not frequent, it’s worth going through the archives and bonus gallery over and over again, especially for history geeks. To say that the artist has done her research on the 1920’s is an understatement.  

4. Girls with Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto

GWS is another strip you’re probably reading already, but I couldn’t create a list of my favourite webcomics without including this one, especially since I may or may not have a crush on the character Jamie. For the uninitiated, GWS is a long-running series about a group of friends dealing with life events such as relationships, unemployment, and sexuality. And there might be a talking cactus involved too. It’s been running since 2004 so if you’re new to GWS, there is a lot to catch up on, but it’s a wonderfully funny ride. 

5. Junior Scientist Power Hour by Abby Howard

The first JSPH strip I read was this one and I was hooked. The once-a-week gags cover everything from Abby’s personal life to elements of pop culture to (of course) cats, with a healthy and hilarious dose of surrealism and a cool art style likely inspired by Jhonen Vasquez. Also be sure to check out Abby’s ongoing story, “The Last Halloween”, a comedy-horror story.

Which favourites would you have put on the list?

Marie Victoria Robertson is a published speculative fiction writer and playwright, as well as the board president of Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative ( When all the other girls wanted to marry Johnny Depp, she wanted to run away with Worf on the Enterprise. She enjoys giant robots, time-travel paradoxes, and dressing up her kids like Ninja Turtles.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Defining Age Appropriateness in Television and Films For Your Geekling


Most people are familiar with the Canadian rating system of G, PG, 14A, 18A and R, if only from knowing which movie theatre rooms they’d be permitted to enter as teenagers. What kids watch on television though is for the most part only regulated by parental supervision. Being as how geeks deeply love their particular brand of pop culture, it’s natural to want to share everything with your geeklings. I’m here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t let your children watch.

Just kidding; to each their own. I would like to share some related experiences though, and also promote the bejesus out of an insightful website called Common Sense Media.


There are two instances as a kid that I knew I was watching something I shouldn’t be. The first was Tim Burton’s Batman, rated PG-13. I was six or seven and watched only parts of the film with some older cousins. The storyline was lost on me and, well, I ended up terrified of Batman, like afraid to fall asleep at night because Batman. Batman was sulky, serious, overpowering and hid behind a mask while Jack Nicholson as the Joker just looked goofy. Sometime afterwards YTV aired reruns of the 1960s Batman series and that was an instant cure the my Batmanaphobia. 

The other time I knew I was watching something I shouldn’t be I was 11 or 12 and it was Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, rated R. The location where I watched it and the sequence made the experience memorable. It was a Christmas party at my aunt’s house with my Portuguese family (comparable to Toula Portokalosk’s family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding). My Christmas wish list that year included Fast Times because I was eagerly awaiting the release of Clueless and thought to check out the only other film directed by Sterling in the meantime. My parents bought it for me and I brought it to watch at the gathering. I watched it in the living room side of an open concept dining area - I picked up on the mature subject matter and swearing but no one seemed to notice so I kept watching. The moment 15 year old Stacy’s breasts appeared on the screen in her devirginization scene I knew I was in trouble. I froze and watched as 20 Portuguese adults went from talking over each other at deafening volumes (their normal) and children running around playing with toys all fell into a stunned still silence all heads turned to the television set. My mom got up, nervously fidgeted with the VCR (the scene was over by then), yelled at me, and confiscated the movie for a few weeks while my dad reviewed it (in retrospect, yes, that is weird).

These experiences didn’t cause me to overly helicopter what my children watch. I still take max flexibility on the rating system when determining what I allow my kids to watch. They did however emphasize the importance of talking about storylines during or after a viewing, emphasize positive messages, and try to either watch or read up on films before the kids watch them. My main grievances as a parent usually relate to content that reinforces stereotypes and misogyny, and the inclusion of product placement, factors that amazingly are considered in ratings by Common Sense Media.


Common Sense Media is a non-profit organization that takes seemingly everything under consideration to review television shows (among other media). They individually rate a show’s educational value, positive messages, positive role models, violence/scariness, sexy stuff, language, consumerism, and drinking/drugs/smoking on a scale of one to five. Age appropriateness is colour coded, with green meaning age-appropriate, yellow meaning it depends on the kid, and red meaning there are serious issues to consider. The reviews themselves involve a one paragraph synopsis of the rating and elaboration of four straightforward categories: “what’s the story?”, “is it any good?”, “families can talk about…” and “movie details”. In addition, user reviews include a most appropriate age so everyone has a chance to make a pitch for a younger/older audience. 

Let’s have a look at the high-level details of some geeky favourites to see how they fare.

Kiki’s Delivery Service, a Hayao Miyazaki classic that makes a great introduction to anime, gets a fairly positive review. Common Sense Media judges the minimum age for which the content is relevant as 5.

The synopsis for the original Ghostbusters on the other hand may cause some parents to think twice, or at least click on the green factors for more information. A lot of popular 80s films score surprisingly high in sex, language, consumerism, and drinking/drugs/smoking (see also: The Goonies, Indiana Jones, and Short Circuit). 

I watched Michael Bay’s Transformers with my son when he was five and it was a great disappointment. I was excited to introduce him to the world of Autobots and Decepticons and while I expected violence I was caught off guard with the racism, stereotypes and explicit swearing.

I appreciate the insights provided by Common Sense Media but in the end think it comes down to knowing your kids and what value/harm viewing something will have on them. As part of that, we need to respect other parents’ decisions as well when their kids are over. We used to host an annual Halloween-themed night for my daughter’s entire class and as a part of it they watched Arachnophobia in grade 6 and Poltergeist in grade 7. The films were noted on the invitation and their rating and genre were mentioned to parents when they dropped off their kids. We piled the tweens in the basement for the viewing and the ensuing screams and hugs really (kids who didn’t want to watch hung around the snacks upstairs). They still talk about it to this day and to my knowledge no chronic nightmares ensued.


Last Sunday my 14 year old daughter and I rushed to Pop Expo to get James Marsters’ autograph, who to us is none other than Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and to our fangirl delight he was pretty chatty with us (!). He talked about be genuinely angry during the photoshoot in which the photograph we were having signed was taken. Marsters recalled that the photographer had asked him to twirl in order to lift his cape, and he replied that if he’d heard of the character he was shooting he’d know that he sucks people’s blood and kills them, and wasn’t about to dance or twirl. Marsters planned to reject all photos taken that day, but when he saw his genuinely pissed off face in the proofs it turned out to be his all-time favourite Spike photo.

{TRIGGER WARNING} My daughter had been in Marsters’ Q&A the previous day and thanked him for the way he handled the bathroom scene question from the episode Seeing Red of season 6. The scene deals with attempted rape and at the time that it aired was the only episode in the series to have to air at a later time of night on YTV. This led into me sharing with Marsters having first watched Buffy starting in high school and the experience of watching it last year with my daughter, despite a few uneasy moments in the storyline like the bathroom scene, and really appreciating him having spoken to it. Marsters LOVED that I shared the show with her. He high fived me for it and told my kid that his parents have never watched a single episode of Buffy as it isn’t their genre (gasp!). He was all smiles and said Buffy makes a great show to grow up with because it conveys the message that you can do anything. He grew up watching Planet of the Apes which preached humanity being doomed and hopeless, and so how amazing it would be to grow up on such a positive message. 

Marsters also told us about how he’s only ever met one person who confessed to not liking Buffy, and giving Sarah Michelle Gellar’s size as the reason, saying it just isn’t believable that a small framed girl would be that strong. Marsters said he put that guy in his place, stating he’s worked with similarly sized female stunt devils that are triple black belts and they can kick anyone’s butt. But also didn’t he catch the part about the Chosen One’s super strength?? We told him about how when we started kickboxing we pretended we were Slayers and that our instructor was our Watcher. We were quite giddy by this point at how personable he was being and as a result started talking too much.

Overall the conversation brought home to me how much series can change over time, and how this era of marathon series watching means kids don’t grow older at the same pace as the characters do. Season 1 of Buffy was okay for say, a 10 year old, but seasons 6 and 7 not so much, and that 10 year old isn’t 17 by the end of the series but still only 10. It’s just one more thing to consider when judging when to share our favourite fandoms with our geeklings. 

Angela is a 30-something year old mom of three kids - a baby, a school-aged kid and a teenager – and a furbaby, living in Orleans with her geek soul mate husband. She studied English Literature and Social Work but took an unexpected turn somewhere and ended up working as a policy analyst for the feds. Hobbies include reading, playing boardgames and Magic: the Gathering, cooking healthy foods, blogging, and discussing favourite tv shows and movies. She is the proud organizer of the Ottawa Geek Social Club, which strives to provide meetup opportunities that reflect the many facets of geekdom and beyond!

Tuesday 25 November 2014

John Barrowman Live at Ottawa Pop Expo


Source: Ottawa Pop Expo facebook
Credit:Petra Hudakova
There are three things you can expect from every John Barrowman panel: insanity, innuendo and inspiration.  It was no different this past Saturday when he took the stage in Hall 4 at Ottawa Pop Expo as this year’s Guest of Honour.  After shooing away the moderator and making sure he had plenty of room to wander around the stage, the Scottish-born actor best known as Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, led the crowd in a Q&A that touched all aspects of his career on stage, screen and page. 

Starting with his current role as principled villain Malcolm Merlyn on The CW’s Arrow, John expressed his gratitude for “whatever you put in the water up here” that resulted in Stephen Amell.  While Amell has often stated that he asks Barrowman for advice on how to be the leading man on a popular TV show, he may be picking up some of John’s bad habits as well.  During the previous week’s filming, he explained that Stephen began to use a comedic limp  when the camera was strictly on John in an effort to make him crack up.  He also explained that if you are in the make-up trailer when Amell is getting Oliver’s extensive scarring and tattoos applied, the special chair he has to sit in leaves little to the imagination- and he’s not complaining. 

When asked about what he thought of both Captain Jack’s immortality and his future as The Face of Boe, Barrowman told a charming pair of stories that both involved John not reading his scripts soon or carefully enough.  When he received the scripts for the end of series one of Doctor Who, he was so devastated at Jack’s death that he didn’t bother finishing reading the episode. It wasn’t until the table read that he finished the script and was elated to find out the good Captain didn’t stay dead. By series three, he left poor David Tennant  practically bursting to tell him about the Face of Boe when the good Doctor finished reading the script two days ahead of John.  Both stories were accompanied by impersonations and theatrics that had the audience howling with laughter. John said he loves that omni-sexual Jack had inspired people and made them comfortable in their own skin. He said he didn’t know if being open about his own sexuality had lost him any roles or garnered any negative feedback, and that if it had he really didn’t care. 
Source: Ottawa Pop Expo facebook
Credit:Petra Hudakova

As for whether he would be back on Doctor Who anytime soon John answered that he honestly didn’t know. He would love to return but it was in the hands of the current show runners. In the meantime, on top of his work with Arrow, John and his sister Carole Barrowman have been commissioned to continue their popular children’s fantasy series Hollow Earth. The next series will take place several years after the end of Book of Beasts and be more grown up to accommodate the aged characters.  

After running over time to make sure that several children who had patiently waited in line got to ask their questions, John thanked the crowd for not only their attention during the panel, but for their ongoing love and support which provides him with the life he always dreamed of.  He then went back to his autographs booth for an impromptu signing session just because he was having too much fun. 

Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat.  She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy.
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