Tuesday 28 January 2014


by Geek Girl Sandi


A couple of weeks ago, as Christmas vacation was winding down, my daughter saw something that I had previously "recorded" on our PVR for my own nostalgic viewing pleasure. At eleven years old, I renamed myself Buttercup and imagined Cary Elwes coming to save me from some Rodents of Unusual Size (or ROUS for short). That movie was, of course, The Princess Bride. 

My daughter is eight years old, and despite all efforts to raise her in a gender-neutral environment, we have raised a real girly-girl, who one day made a little piece of my heart die when she declared that "Star Wars is for boys!" (Inconceivable!) When she expressed an interest in watching The Princess Bride, I was excited to share this piece of my childhood, which I thought would probably be a bit more to her liking. My son, a four year old who is relatively easy to please, shied away at first (like little Fred Savage, he was worried there would be too much kissing), but he was in as soon as he learned there were pirates involved. 

As we sat down to watch the movie, I was a mix of excitement for sharing one of my young loves with my children, and trepidation that they wouldn't appreciate the movie, or even worse, think it "stupid" (being eight, and you can never be sure what's 'not cool' with my daughter any more), and feared I would never have their company while watching it again.

To my great pleasure, The Princess Bride was a hit. As soon as Andre the Giant came on the screen, my son had a new all-time favourite character. He randomly quotes “No more rhymes now, I mean it. Anybody want a peanut?”, then howls with laughter. My daughter was caught up right from the beginning, her eight year old heart as smitten with Westley as my eleven-year-old heart had been. I had forgotten just how well the movie balanced romance, humour and adventure, appealing to both children. There was enough slap-stick comedy for the kids to enjoy, while the quick exchanges between characters provided adult entertainment. And I can't help but laugh just looking at Billy Crystal and Carol Kane, whom I have grown to appreciate more with age. 

I am now a proud mother of two children who know that the appropriate response to “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya…” is “You killed my father. Prepare to die!” in a Spanish accent.

Now, if only I could find a copy of Willow...

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.

Sunday 26 January 2014

The Cable Free Life: Best tips for the new world of TV

by Courtney Lockhart


I haven’t had broadcast television in my home in over a year.  It wasn’t a philosophical decision, strictly financial.   In order to get the genre-friendly stations like Space and BBC Canada, digital or wireless television packages are around $70 a month not counting box rentals or taxes.   When I explain this to people they understand the math, but get a little fuzzy on the method.  So here are the basics of my cable free existence.

HARDWARE:   For the price of one month of traditional television, we invested in a digital media player for the living room.  Our device of choice was the Apple TV. We own several other Apple products and the ‘airplay’ function meant we could stream any video stored on any device to our TV.  Every brand has it’s pros and cons so o your research to find out which box will suit your needs.  If you have a newer game system you might be able to skip this step and simply download apps from your favorite content providers.

CONTENT:  There are more options every day for free or cheap television and movies online.  The gold standard still seems to be Netflix for its $8 a month all you can watch visual buffet.  Recently the website Crackle came to my attention.  It essentially picks up what Netflix chooses not to and supports itself with ad revenue.  If you love older movies and don’t mind commercials, I recommend checking it out.  Most of the major networks have mobile apps and online video libraries that allow people to keep up with their current programming. The major downsides to these apps are repetitive commercials and a limited time to view each episode before they are taken away.  In other words, not much different from the channels they spawn from.  In my home YouTube has become our number one source of content.  Our subscription list easily delivers an hour or two of completely original programming daily.  Cruising the related videos lists is our new version of channel surfing.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:  When it comes to getting the shows you want, the key word is patience. If you absolutely must watch shows live with the rest of the world, this may not be the right decision for you.  Netflix usually likes to keep a one season buffer for shows meaning that if season six is currently on the air, they’ll only have to the end of season four available to stream. Even the most up to date TV network websites won’t post episodes until the show has aired in all time zones.  If you are a fan of your local morning show you most likely won’t have access to it or other regional programming.  Live sports also become a bit tricky.  Lastly, you will want to check you bandwidth cap if you have one, otherwise all your savings may be heading right back to the telecom company you cancelled your cable with in the first place.

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.

Thursday 23 January 2014

Geek Girl Review: The New Harley Quinn Comic

By Thea Nikolic 

The New Harley Quinn Comic by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
So a few months ago there was an announcement about a new Harley comic that would be coming out, and there was a contest associated with the comic for finding some artists to be a part of the project. That contest consisted of drawing some comic panels. Now the subject of those panels was not up the artist's choice, they had guidelines that they had to follow. And this is where the internet uproar began. The panel ideas that the artists had to draw were for different ways that Harley would kill herself. There were other aspects that people were displeased about and you can read about the apology that was issued by DC here (http://www.themarysue.com/dc-apologizes-harley-quinn/
I have to admit that I was one of the people up in arms about this. Being a hard core Harley fan, an avid Harley cosplayer and lover of the original Bruce Timm depiction of her, I was unhappy with where the character was going. I am not a fan of the New 52 costume that they gave her in The Suicide Squad comics (hate actually) and to see the request for her to kill herself in one panel "naked in a bathtub with toasters, hair dryers etc and she has the cord to release them all", I was upset. This was not MY Harley.
People were not convinced that the pair of writers Amanda Conner and her husband Jimmy Palmiotti who wrote a very successful run of Powergirl, would be able to pull this around.
Fast forward several months to HARLEY QUINN Issue 0 coming out. My husband bought it for me to read, given that the writers are known for good storytelling and that I should give it a chance. So I did. And you know what? I really enjoyed that first one. Now keep in mind that Issue 0 is completely different from how the rest of the series will continue, but it certainly caught my attention. First off, the cover is beautiful. Done by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts, it shows Harley, still in a revealing outfit but revamped to look like a Roller Derby one, which is super cute and I kind of want to cosplay that too. The issue itself shows Harley talking to a stuffed animal, who incidentally talks back, when the writers start interjecting and breaking the 4th wall of the comic. Then Harley gets to experience a different artist on each page and what they would make her look like, including a page by the great Jim Lee and my favourite, Bruce Timm. Now think back to the contest for artists, well there is a panel that indicates that the writers while speaking to Harley misconstrue what the Suicide Squad was all about, and what followed was several panels showing her in different ridiculous possible suicides, i.e holding a chicken over a swamp full of alligators. The panel made complete sense to me and I understand what the writers and DC were going for. The contest was just not explained properly in my opinion.  What was really exciting about this comic was the discovery of artists of whom I was unaware like Darwyn Cooke whose super cute 60's graphic style really caught my eye, among others. By the end of the comic, they finish with Chad Hardin and a clue leading into the next issue.
Super fun read (especially if you read it out loud like I did to my husband in classic Arleen Sorkin style), beautiful to look at and left me excited for the next comic. Can't wait to follow up with that.

Thea Nikolic is a lover of all things geek. You can follow her cosplay and cabaret exploits on facebook on her page https://www.facebook.com/criticalmissandretrojoad. She is also one of the Geeks at http://www.geekxgirls.com/ where she has various photoshoots and other articles. She is looking forward to writing more for CGG.

Monday 20 January 2014

Media Release: The CGG Launch Party!

January 20 2014

Ottawa – On February 2nd 2014, locally-initiated group Capital Geek Girls is officially launching its online blogazine with a kick-off party hosted by FutureShop Merivale. Videogames played on the big screen TVs after hours will be the main activity, and guests can meet the editor, authors, and other Capital Geek Girls supporters.

CapitalGeekGirls.com is a fanclub that works to further the inclusion of girls and women in geeky pursuits (eg videogames, comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, Magic the Gathering, boardgaming, etc). CGG began after numerous reports of harassment, bullying, and exclusion of women in the geek world. The club began one year ago, run entirely via its Facebook page, by local author and geek Jordan Danger. The group grew quickly in popularity and will now offer its own online blog/magazine (blogazine). The launch party, hosted by FutureShop on Merivale road, kicks off the blogazine’s inception.

WHEN: Sunday Feb 2nd, 2014 6pm-9pm
              Welcome address at 7pm by Jordan Danger, Editor of CapitalGeekGirls.com
WHERE: FutureShop, 1695 Merivale Rd, Ottawa
WHAT: Free launch party with after hours videogaming on the big screens, door prizes,
mingling, treats, and more.
WHO: The editor and writers of the CapitalGeekGirls.com blogazine, girls and guys who support women in geeky pursuits. (All genders welcome.)

For more information, go to:
e: capitalgeekgirls@gmail.com
Editor’s blog: www.GirlCrafted.com


Friday 17 January 2014

You're Invited to the Launch Party!

Unofficially, you've found us because you're here reading this, so you already know about the new CGG site; but officially, we launch February 2nd, and we want you to come out and play with us!!!

To read more about how this all came to be, head over to our mother blog, Girl, Crafted. There's a post up talking about how this came to be.

And RSVP on the Facebook event! We wanna know who's coming!

Thursday 16 January 2014

Classic Flicks and Guilty Pleasure Movies for Winter Blues

by Emily Plunkett


Polar vortex. Two words striking fear across North America. But don’t fear! Just sit in and break out your DVDs!

No two geeks are created equal and making sure that as many genres and styles are represented, this list includes something for the Brit-pop fan, sci-fi fan and more; but most important, this list of blues-busting films for the geek heart follow the same theme of fun, warm and light entertainment for a cold and wintery afternoon.

A Hard Day’s Night 

Long before Harry Potter and Doctor Who made their introduction to American audiences, the Beatles were the first kings of Brit pop culture. This film is akin to a nice warm cup of tea after a bubble bath and the worst day at work possible. This movie offers comedy, music, unapologetically British dialogue and cinematography – all of which is just so good, you forget that in the end, this was a hastily put together rock flick with the sole purpose to cash in on the first wave of Beatlemania.

Independence Day

Back in 1997, Independence Day ruled the summer. Action-packed, adrenaline pumping, alien ass-kicking big name actors, you name it, ID4 has it. Fifteen years later, the visual effects have aged, the dialogue is corny and there are so many clich├ęs that creating a drinking game from them would prove fatal to your liver - but it sucks you right in. By the time you realize that every actor is playing their typecast (Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie, Jeff Goldblum as Jeff Goldblum, etc), the movie is over. It’s just fun, pure and simple. So what if they absolutely had to make you cry when the family dog jumped out of the way of the massive city destroying fireball, you had a good time watching it and you regret nothing.

Dumb & Dumber

Dumb & Dumber makes people without an ounce of humour in their bones laugh their ass off. The pairing of Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey proved to be golden as they flawlessly bounce joke after practical joke off of one another without skipping a beat and 20 years later, we’re still quoting Harry and Lloyd…and shaking in excitement for the sequel scheduled for release later this year. Perfect for those afternoons that you just need something to make you cry laughing!

The Emperor’s New Groove

Disney animated feature films are always a good bet on a slow Sunday afternoon, but instead of reaching for those Disney Renaissance classics (Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Lion King), go for the relentless laughs of The Emperor’s New Groove. Featuring the voices of David Space, John Goodman and Eartha Kitt, the film departed from the 90’s slew of musicals and artistic masterpieces and treated the Disney faithful to a fast paced family comedy.

The Tick

Alright, so The Tick isn’t a movie, but in this day of binge TV, the forgotten, but lovingly rediscovered series needs to be mentioned. This live-action series based on the satirical 90’s comic and animated series of the same name is exactly what you want from The Tick franchise, right down to the realization that the roll of the Tick was made for star Patrick Warburton. The entire show can be streamed on Netflix.

Got other favourites? Comment below!

Emily Plunkett is a recent graduate of the journalism diploma program at Algonquin College. As a freelancer, she’s written for the Ottawa Star and the Sarnia Observer. Notorious for being a Beatlemaniac, a record collector and something nobody can really put a finger on, she enjoys a good Sunday afternoon with CBC Radio chatting away, her knitting in hand and her cat, Levon, snoozing at the end of the bed.  

Wednesday 15 January 2014

A Steampunk Primer by the Canadian Queen of Steam

by Lee A Farruga
Members of Steampunk Ottawa and the Toronto Steampunk Society.

The term “steampunk” has been around since it was first coined by author K.W. Jeter in the 1980s. Before it had a name, at least to me, it meant Victorian era science fiction starting with the stories of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and other authors from that period. Their tales incorporated technology advanced far beyond what they had at that time. Today the steampunk movement has outgrown the original stories and fantastical journeys and has created its own inspired by theVictorian era, but incorporating today's technology and that of our possible future.

And whereas Victorian era science fiction was based in jolly old England, steampunk today is international. There are artists, musicians, movies, makers, groups and more to be found in every country. The internet and social media have helped it grow by leaps and bounds, in particluar over the last 5 years.

Steampunk really took hold here in Canada in 2009. In 2010 Steampunk Canada was created. It exists as a hub for all the groups across Canada. This community space supports them with ideas, promotion and information, it is also a place for the individual steampunk seeker to find groups, events, and others with the same love for this genre/community. It promotes and supports our home grown steampunk artists, writers, makers and costumers, and works to educate the general public about steampunk in Canada.

Currently I am preparing something for a huge worldwide online event with steampunks from Japan, Europe, South America, the US, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and many more stops on the map. We are a supportive community that loves to welcome newcomers.

If you want to get involved it's quite simple. There is no wrong or right. It's about using your imagination and having fun. Go to Steampunk Canada for more information. Cheers!

Lee A. Farruga is known locally as everyone's Geeky Godmother. She has many talents, lots of energy and she loves to help people achieve their goals, whether it's organizing a home or business, editing a book for publication, promoting someone's pet project, planning an event, or reviewing books, games, movies and more. She is also known internationally as the Canadian Queen of Steampunk. She created and runs Steampunk Canada. In her spare time she does background acting for television and movies, and finds time to spend with family and friends enjoying geeky activities.

Geeky Winter Reads: Classics to Catch Up On

by April Laramey

With winter now officially upon the capital, many of us may be spending more of our time indoors.  When we’re curled up keeping warm, what better way is there to entertain ourselves than with a good book? If you’re looking for something new to read, particularly if you’re a Science-Fiction fan, check out the books below.

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro 

The story of three friends, Kathy, Ruth & Tommy, Never Let Me Go starts out as somewhat of a mystery.  The three main characters as well as the reader are continually given messages about how significant they are, how important their wellness is, how they are destined for special things.  You will spend quite a few pages wondering “But *why* are they important?!”  As you follow the lives of the three through the eyes of Kathy, you will learn what their destiny is, what they feel about it, and where their lives take them. And it will astound you. Never Let Me Go asks us how far the future will take us, whether we, as humanity, will approve of where we end up, and reminds us not to forget what it means to be alive.

Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut

I first picked up Slaughterhouse Five in 2007 shortly after Vonnegut’s death, when I shamefully realized that I had not read any of the man’s books. In the book, Billy Pilgrim, the main character, was a chaplain’s assistant in World War II when he was captured by the Germans and sent to a prisoner of war camp.  Generally Billy is an unremarkable fellow, except for one fact.  He has found himself unstuck in time. Each desperate or significant event in his life sends Billy travelling through time, and thus leaves the reader with a novel that does not follow chronological order.  From one page to the next you could end up anywhere, just like Billy.  Even, apparently, kidnapped by aliens.  There’s certainly nothing dull about a war veteran, time travelling, optometrist who knows how and when he’ll die. If you want to know too, curl up with Slaughterhouse Five.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Perhaps the original ‘geek girl’ herself, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein as part of a competition between friends to see who could write the better horror story.  Suffice it to say, I think she won. What began as a dream about a scientist who created life and then was horrified by what he made, the famous story follows Victor Frankenstein (which is not, as many assume, the name of the monster).  Victor spends his years at university obsessed with the idea of finding the source of life.  Eventually convinced that he has found it, the arrogant doctor proceeds to build a ‘man’ out of body parts of the deceased, an undertaking many of us know cannot end well.  But one thing is certain; Frankenstein will make you wonder which is the monster – creature or creator?

Despite her day job as a bureaucrat, April Laramey is a writer, dabbles in photography, spends too much time on the internet, and occasionally gets some exercise. Her favourite colour is green, she wants to work in a bookstore when she grows up, and when she dies she wants her tombstone to read "To Be Continued..." You can find out more about her and her writing at her webpage, facebook or twitter.

Prequels vs. Originals: What makes a good Prequel?

by Christina Marie

Why does the movie industry insist on bring out prequels? I have been introduced to new characters such as JarJar Binks, taken my view of Darth Vader, the awesomely bad, and discovered what a whiny brat he was in Star Wars Episodes I-III, but has any prequel ever really held up to the original? You might say, what about the Hobbit? Yes, the Hobbit was good, the LoTR trilogy was and still remains one of my favorite movies, broken into three parts of course, but I don’t really consider the Hobbit as being a prequel. Most prequels that come to the big screen have been written after the original has come out. The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954) were written in order, and even with Peter Jacksons adds, they still maintain a fluid sequence of events and quality that we expect.

Aliens vs Predator (AvP) promised us aliens fighting predators. While entertaining, there is no way it is anywhere near the entertainment and excitement that the Alien franchise produced. Perhaps it was lacking a more dominate hero/heroine such as Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), and intense action scenes and the horror quality. Predator/Predator 2 had more graphic fight scenes than we were shown in AvP. On the other hand Prometheus was very well done and enjoyable to watch and directed by Ridley Scott. Not as intense as the Aliens were but it was a great prequel explaining how aliens came to be.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, blah but Wolverine was good. Why do so few prequels hold up to the original? If we compare directors, as good example being X-Men vs. X-Men First Class vs. X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it seems the ones that don’t seem to hold up to the original are done by directors who have yet to have many great movies in their credit. The only good action, close to superhero movie Gavin Hood has directed was Ender’s Game, based on a novel and with a great cast. X-Men, etc. had a great group of directors, such as Bryan Singer. In the Star Wars franchise, George Lucas had a bigger crew with him the first time around. 

 Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t dislike Star Wars Episodes I through III. I was extremely disappointed that I didn’t hear Darth Vader’s theme song in Episode III, but they don’t compare to IV to VI. I have high hopes on Episode VII, even being owned by Disney, I have not missed opening day to any of the Avengers franchise movies and I believe that a good prequel/sequel is based on a director’s credits.

Christina Marie is a re-student at Carleton University, working on her Bachelor of Computer Science. She has been fascinated with Sci-fi since watching the original Star Wars movies when she was younger and spent a few Halloweens as Darth Vader. Currently, her extra time is spent on being a mommy, web programming, playing hockey and gaming from MMO`s to DayZ.

We Are Sher-locked...and They Know It

Credit: Morgan Dunbar, Geek Charming
by Courtney Lockhart

We live in a world where a television show can be doomed simply by changing what day of the week it is broadcast.  For a popular show to take an extended hiatus and hope that the audience will return is a gamble.  To extend that hiatus for two years is bordering on the insane. 

No one has ever said Steven Moffat lacks confidence.

The gamble paid off.  Sherlock’s third season opener The Empty Hearse hit a series high of 9.2 million viewers on average when it premiered on BBC One on New Year’s Day.   That’s not even including the eventual North American audiences since PBS will not start showing the new episodes until Jan 19th. 

Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ decision to put the show on hold while its stars took over Hollywood and Middle Earth gave Sherlock the time it needed to become a word of mouth sensation. 

Personal example time:  I started noticing references to Sherlock creeping into my feeds early in 2013.  I didn’t really pay much attention to it other than to laugh at the “Otters who look like Benedict Cumberbatch”meme. Then, on a family trip to the movies to see Star Trek: Into Darkness I was introduced to that voice.  This lead to some—ok, hours of--Youtube and IMDB research.  I discovered that not only had this tall drink of tea been in several other movies I enjoyed, a repetitive phenomenon in this home called “Wait, that was him?” But, he was also a really cool guy.  On our next Netflix date night, I suggested to my husband that we “try that Sherlock thing everyone is talking about.”   Before the end of the first episode I knew I was going to be one of those fans waiting with baited breath for any news of season three.

The Empty Hearse is a great re-entry into Sherlock’s London.  The characters’ lives have moved forward at the same pace as our own.  John and company have been without their favorite high functioning sociopath for two years. Everyone has made efforts to move on, to varying degrees of success.   Mark Gatiss’ script walks a fine line.  It bounces between delivering the payoffs fans have been waiting for since The Reichenbach Fall , offering exposition to anyone tuning in for the first time, and keeping the action going so that neither party gets bored enough to shoot at the walls.  The subplot explaining Sherlock’s survival turns into a wonderful fandom allegory. You begin to suspect that maybe the show runners have spent as much time on Tumblras the rest of us.  

Keep an eye out for the easter eggs sprinkled in for Doctor Who/ cumber-collective super fans.  I won’t spoil them, but be warned you are liable to burst out laughing and have a bit of trouble explaining why.
Then again, I’m sure that’s not a rare feeling for most of us.

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.

Wonderful Wonder Woman: can they bring her to life on screen?

by Jenn Kelly

So. Word on the street is that they've cast Wonder Woman for the new Superman/Batman movie. It seems to be all the rage now, creating movies about superheroes (of which I'm very glad we've left the vampire/demons/wolf phase). Which makes me wonder, why aren't they making a Wonder Woman movie? Because if they can find an auspicious plot for a man who controls bugs, I'm sure they can perfect our gorgeous Amazonian.

Back in 2011, they attempted a Wonder Woman series. Which bombed and never even made it past the pilot. Maybe it was because they tried to make it a series. Maybe it's because it was 'created' by David E Kelley. Yes, the same Kelley who created all those law shows, including Ally McBeal. What could he possibly know about superheroes? Easy! Make Diana Prince a lawyer! Who chases criminals through crowded shopping malls on the side.

In 1943, Wonder Woman's creator, William Moulton Marston, (who also invented the polygraph y'all)
explained it perfectly - "Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman"

I grew up in the 70's. A-hem. Every week I'd turn up the TV, let it warm a few minutes, wrap my orange crocheted quilt around my neck, jump off the couch and become Wonder Woman. Not only could she run fast, her lasso could stop any explosion, catch any thief. She was graceful and she had class. Sure she wore a tiny costume, but she was never blatantly sexual, you know? She was kind, sweet, compassionate. She stood up against injustice and inequality. She was a Warrior Princess! And I grew up with the powerful realization that I could be a 'tough' princess, a 'fighting for injustice' princess ... just like Wonder Woman! She gave us permission to be more than little girls.

Wonder Woman has been labelled an icon. And rightly so. I still look up to her. Because I can be tough and sweet, a warrior and a snuggler. I can wear my husband's old jeans with a pink, frilly t-shirt. I can go hunting, ride a BMX and plant red geraniums. Wonder Woman encourages a girl to be who she is. A girl. No labels. No expectations. Because not only does Wonder Woman kick ass, she can also cry. And still be Wonder Woman.

Why do we have to trivialize her?

So, here it is. They create a Wonder Woman movie. A simple plot that covers her beginnings as an Amazon Warrior, and her reasons for coming to earth. And while she's saving that hunk of a supporting-actor, make him strong. Make him independent. Make him easy to respect. Because Wonder Woman is worthy of a well-respected man. And then make her choose fighting justice over settling for love. Because no one wants Wonder Woman to get married and fight crime after tucking the kids into bed. It's too exhausting. 

Jenn Kelly is a published author who is learning the girl geek-dom.  You can visit her webpage that she is supposed to update, but never does. http://www.jennkelly.com/ Um...that's all.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

The CGG List of Modern Offbeat Heartthrobs

by Jordan Danger

I’ve been a bit fascinated with The Blacklist lately, which is James Spader’s newest show. It’s fantastic, if you haven’t seen it yet. Anyway, I had posted on Facebook about being excited for the new season, and someone else commented that Spader has ‘really let himself go’, and because I’m currently a bit fascinated (okay, obsessed) with this show, I was absolutely appalled with that comment. It got me thinking, though, about who are offbeat heartthrobs are these days; so I made a list.




Lead actor in the hit BBC series, Sherlock, Benedict may be better known now as the villian Khan in the hit movie Star Trek: Into Darkness. Benny and I have been imaginary lovers for a couple years, as I caught onto Sherlock quite early, and even some of his roles before that. When you first look at Cumberbatch, you may wonder why so many of us are drooling over him: he’s kinda skinny, and has a bit of a horse face, and his hair somehow always looks awkward. But give him a few minutes: soon you’ll see there’s just something about the way he walks, talks, and stares at you with those indescribable eyes…oh, yes, Benedict’s attraction is defintely a cerebral thing.


Diehard fans of the (long over) series, Gilmore Girls, were already familiar with McCarthy from her days as Sookie St James, the loveable chef at the Dragonfly Inn. But Melissa disappeared after Gilmores, as did most of that awesome cast, and I kinda thought we’d seen the last of her; after all, Hollywood is obsessed with skinniness, and Melissa wasn’t likely to ever lose enough weight to appeal to the movie execs. But she did make a comeback, starring in a moderately funny sitcom called Mike & Molly, then knocking it out of the park with her roles in Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, and The Heat. Melissa is gorgeous, but even more importantly, she’s hilarious. And she’s also not afraid to take a role where she looks like a hot mess, which nice. Though she does tend to have a lot of ‘magic makeover’ scenes, which annoy me a bit, the cool thing here is that she’s making a name for herself as a Hollywood sweetheart without fitting into the normal view of ‘beauty’.


Many of us love James Spader, and some have loved him for decades. Yes, he’s older and yes, he’s paunchy, but there’s something about the way he talks; you know he’s every bit as intelligent as the mensa-level characters he so often gets to play, and he’ll reel you in with just a few well-delivered lines. Despite being the polar opposite of the stereotypical ‘hot guy’, Spader makes it to our ‘hit list’—again, it’s a brain thing.


I include Jennifer Lawrence even though she’s pretty Hollywood-pretty because somehow at the same time, she’s not. Despite being a bit awkward, self-professedly not overly bright, and often unpolished, Lawrence is just plain likeable. Maybe it’s her very human qualities that make this particular girl so universally loveable, despite the fact she doesn’t fit the Hollywood mold.

Washed up drug addict-turned-Iron Man. I don’t think I need to say much more here. Again, though he sports some wild hair and a goatee that belongs on some villian from the days of silent film, Robert steals our hearts with his quick wit and fast tongue.


Emma would be considered gorgeous by most Hollywood-prescribed standards, it’s true; but those that truly love her know that it’s her cheeky wit, her sardonic smile, and her teasing tones that melt our hearts. Emma is pretty enough to play the vapid roles that Hollywood typically doles out to doe-eyed young starlets, but Emma’s staying power—and her true appeal—comes from her other qualities. Making a comeback in the last Spiderman movie, I hope we see much more of her to come.


Chris is on here in an honorary position. Yes, Chris is obviously the Greek god-like beauty that Hollywood always brings us…but he’s more than that, and I’ll tell you why. Chris Hemsworth is one of the most universally appealing humans I think we have ever seen. I know straight men who mention Hemsworth with a blush in their cheeks. I know one particularly boy-phobic lesbian who publicly admits she’d bring him home with her. Chris Hemsworth is the great equalizer, and I’ve never seen anything like it. Next time the United Nations is working on a peace treaty and they can’t find common ground between the warring parties, they should bring up Chris Hemsworth; guaranteed, everyone can agree on him, and that’s a good starting point.

Sandra makes the list because she’s a lifetime achiever. Sandra rarely gets to play the traditional Hollywood engenue, and the roles she’s best known for (Speed, Miss Congeniality, The Heat) portray her as sort of awkward and dorky. So first gold star goes to Sandra for playing a different role than the usual giggling girl. But at forty years old she took our breath away when she sported cropped hair and a lot of guts in Gravity, and so Sandra makes the list because she’s been a Hollywood starlet on her terms, in atypical roles, and now she’s a kickass astronaut to boot.

I think Tom Hiddleton (aka Loki from Thor movies) looks like a creepy lawyer or accountant. But Tom has garnered a following that cannot be denied. Again, many find him sexy but not in that typical Hollywood way: he`s got kinda weird hair, and not much of a build, and a strange sort of face. But get him talking and conniving and conspiring, and put him in a pair of leather gauntlets, and BAM: you`ve got a superstar hearththrob.

Anyone we`ve left off the list? Comment below and tell us who!

Jordan Danger is a veteran blogger, writer, and marketing consultant based in Ottawa, Ontario. She is also President and Editor of CapitalGeekGirls.com. Jordan blogs at GirlCrafted.com, a lifestyle blog about crafting life both literally and figuratively. She loves DIY projects, her dog, and Oxford commas.

The Hawkeye Initiative: Origins and Legacy

by Emily Towsley

As a little girl running around the school yard pretending to be Sailor Mercury - the short haired one always got to be Sailor Mercury - I dreamed that one day I could look just like the lean, leggy and well-endowed sailor scout. 
artist: http://deimos-remus.deviantart.com/

Fortunately, I grew into a normal sized adult woman, with both a spine and internal organs, though the way that women are drawn in comics you could be forgiven for thinking that neither spines nor organs are essential for the female figure.

Women in comic books are frequently posed in sexual ways, or drawn in a manner that suggests weakness, even when they are supposed to be the “strong” character. How much force can be behind the punch they’re dealing the villain, if she’s contorted in such a way as to show both her breasts and her ass?

This is where the Hawkeye Initiative came from. 

“How to fix every Strong Female Character pose in superhero comics: Replace the character with Hawkeye doing the same thing” was the statement Gingerhaze shook the tumblr universe with, and soon images and drawings came pouring in. Artists, who were also sick of the way women are portrayed in comics, were putting the manly Hawkeye character from Marvel’s Avengers in some of the more ridiculous poses female superheroes endure.

The twisting, contorting, pouting, and posing that had become normalized in the female image looked weird and wrong, now that we were seeing them in the male figure. This gave the audience a reason to take a step back and think, why is this the way women are posed?

The Hawkeye Initiative seems to be a step in the right direction - we need dialogue and debate in order to make changes happen in comic book art. However we need to be careful that this discussion doesn’t just fade into tumblr history as something that gave us a laugh in 2013, and nothing more. 
artist: Chris Thorne - christhorneart.tumblr.com

It’s not that women aren’t supposed to look alluring, or sexy, however the costumes and poses given to ladies by comic book artists are impractical, anatomically impossible, and severely limit the abilities of these female superheroes in their respective worlds. Lady superheroes also need to protect themselves, fight the bad guys, and camouflage, just like the men, and something as useless as Power Girl’s “boob window” is completely unnecessary for anything practical, or even sensual. 

Many artists have taken the Hawkeye Initiative as inspiration to re-imagine and redraw some of the famous book super heroines in poses and costumes that make sense, and do not demean women for their sexuality. *

I hope that if I have a daughter in the distant future, she can also run around the playground pretending to be the superhero that inspires her the most, and feel like she can one day grow up to be just like her. Finally, she doesn’t have to be just sexy, to be a super heroine.

Emily Towsley, can be found either teasing her cat, or philosophizing with a customer over coffee in her second-life as a barista. Messages of support regarding her addiction to Netflix, and news of vintage teacup sales can be left on her twitter. (https://twitter.com/emtowsley) Her spare time is spent reading copious amounts of books, (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7246432-milie) or working on her latest blog. (http://spineonline.ca/emily-towsley/)

Board Games to Beat Cabin Fever

by Capital Geek Girl Sandi


It's a frigid Sunday afternoon, and my children, aged 7 and 4, are finally old enough to keep themselves occupied for about an hour. This may seem like an odd thing to be excited about, but since my husband and I were first introduced to the board game Carcassonne, this is the first winter where we've been able to find time during the daylight hours to peacefully play a game together. This newfound freedom and the onslaught of cold weather have given us time to delve into our modest board game collection. Here are our favourite games to while away a cold, winter afternoon:

1. AGRICOLA (by Uwe Rosenberg) 

The object of Agricola is to build a family and develop a well-balanced farmyard over 14 rounds of game play. The level of strategy required in this game is quite high – you must think many rounds in advance to balance achieving goals and nourish your family – and it probably hits the limit of my strategic abilities (I was never a chess player). If you can get past the complicated instruction manual (I recommend searching online for an instructional video instead), you’ll find a challenging game to keep your brain stimulated while the snow blows outside.

2. DOMINION by Donald X. Vaccarino
Dominion is one of our favourite games to introduce to friends. The game play is simple, and most people pick it up within a couple of rounds. It is a card-based game, where each player builds their deck to get the most Victory Points. The base game comes with 24 action cards, of which ten are used per game. At the beginning of each game, players can either pick a recommended set of action cards from the instruction manual, or randomly choose a set. Expansion games are also available that add new action cards to the mix. With eight expansion games, adding anywhere from 12 to 35 new action cards each, no two games are alike, and strategies constantly change to adapt to the new cards.

3. CARCASSONE by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede  

Carcassonne remains one of our go-to games to beat the winter blues. If you've ever played dominoes, you can play Carcassonne! Carcassonne is a tile-based game, where players add tiles to the board in a way that will extend the features already present – field can be placed next to field, city can be placed next to city, and road can be placed next to road. Points are generally awarded when features are completed. What I like most about this game is that it can be easily adjusted to remove complexity if needed. Our 7-year-old daughter has indicated interest in learning the game, so that will be our next challenge (and a future topic to write about).

I'd like to stay and chat, but it's cold outside, my kids are busy, and I have a game to play!

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.

Thursday 2 January 2014

Geeky Craft Tutorial: Lilo & Stitch Frame

This post was originally shared on our sister site, GirlCrafted.com
by Jordan Danger

I’m live-blogging some of my Christmas crafting this year, so I’m going to have disclaimers: WARNING: if you spoil the surprise for a receiver of one of these gifts, bad Christmas karma WILL get you. Be sure of it. And if you are my roommate, this post is about YOU and DON'T PEEK.

So my roommate is a big nerd, and I love him for it. We bonded early on over Lilo & Stitch for reasons that are deep and meaningful and complex...and cute and fuzzy. In the movie, they talk a lot about 'ohana'--family. Because Bruce came in and became a part of my hodgepodge family, I felt the message was suiting. 


Plain wood photo frame
Printer (optional)
Paints and brushes
Permanent fine point marker
Water based varnish (eg Delta Ceramcoat gloss interior/exterior varnish...available at the craft store)


1. Decide on your image. Here, my image is Stitch, and some skateboards. Draw these on paper or print them off the computer.

2. Scribble onto the back with a graphic pencil so that the entire image is covered (on the backside) with graphite. This will cause your piece of paper to basically work as carbon paper.

3. Place your paper onto the frame so the image is where you're going to want it to be when it's finished. Trace the image with a ballpoint pen. Be firm. The graphite will now transfer, fairly lightly, onto the frame where you have traced.

4. Paint your background. I used acrylics for this frame because they're versatile and I can use them thick or thin. For the background, I watered down some yellow simply by adding some plain ol' water to some yellow acrylic on a plate. Then I 'washed' the whole frame with the yellow. Don't worry, the pencil markings will show through.

5. Paint your character. I can't give you a whole lesson on how to paint here. But if you're nervous, choose something that doesn't have shading. For example, many cartoon characters don't have shading (look at The Simpsons, generally speaking...other TV cartoons, too.) Or stick to more abstract shapes, like flowers and stars and so forth. I'm a long-time painter, so my Stitch looks pretty accurate. Don't worry if yours doesn't; it's still going to be super thoughtful!

7. Let it dry, then outline the character's lines with permanent fine tip pen. Let that dry at LEAST three days. It needs to off-gas or it could smudge.

8. Varnish the whole thing with a soft-bristled brush and your water-based varnish.



Freehand your art...I freehanded my lettering. Just remember: if you mess up your pencil lines, you'll have to paint with a thicker paint to make them disappear. So at least try to get your pencil lines right the first time.
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