The Ickiness of Mistaking Obsession for Love Oct30

The Ickiness of Mistaking Obsession for Love

“I love Professor Snape,” my friend gushed. “He’s the real hero of Harry Potter. And his devotion to Lily Potter is so moving.” I simply nodded along, not understanding her fictional crush but unable to deny Snape’s good intentions; he does protect Harry throughout the series, albeit while mentally torturing the boy for being the child of a man he hated. But then again, maybe I could have denied it. In fact, maybe I could have pointed out that Snape is an obsessive, cruel stalker and not a romantic hero at all. For some reason, obsessive love is sentimentalized in books and media. And this is not a new trend. From Romeo and Juliet, Heathcliff and Catherine, to Bella and Edward, doing anything (and I mean anything) for your lover is portrayed as a desirable feat. I raise an eyebrow when I see the image of a glowing doe accompanied by a cloaked, crooked-nosed figure and the word “Always,” Snape’s key phrase. It’s plastered on memes, throw pillows, and iPhone cases as a testament to devotion, but that’s not what it really represents. Snape is a fascinating and well-developed character, but to use him as a model for romance is a disturbing sentiment of a narcissist culture. In Snape’s eyes, Lily might as well be the doe his patronus represents: voiceless, a helpless animal to tame and protect. “He makes no effort to grow as a person,” says Hannah McGregor, one of two feminist scholars who host the podcast Witch, Please. “He ultimately supports the regime that directly leads to [Lily’s] death, and in the wake of it, doesn’t meaningfully become a better person, just remains fanatically devoted to her as an object he wanted to own and never got to have.” Though many fans’ hearts were warmed by the reveal of Snape’s history with Harry’s parents in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a childhood feud with Harry’s dad and unrequited love for his mom doesn’t make the Hogwarts teacher a hero. It’s incredibly creepy that Snape continues to have feelings for Lily years after they stop being friends. Though he shouts something cruel at her as a teenager, which is what causes the rift in their relationship, he never tries to make amends. Instead, he holds on to his childhood feelings into adulthood—including his hatred for James—feeding the flames of his obsession with the desire to effectively own her. It’s not until her life is threatened that he rethinks giving up her family to Lord Voldemort. He doesn’t have a problem with Voldemort killing her husband or her son, just with killing her. Dismissing what is important to the other person is not a testament of true love, however; it’s the opposite. In Snape’s eyes, Lily might as well be the doe his patronus represents: voiceless, a helpless animal to tame and protect. “Severus Snape” by Ludmila-Cera-Foce (ludmila-cera-foce.deviantart.com). When someone tweeted to J.K. Rowling, commenting that “Snape held no malice against Harry (which Harry came to know, eventually),” Rowling replied, “That’s not true, I’m afraid. Snape projected his hatred and jealousy of James onto Harry.” Even after Lily’s gone, Snape isn’t moved to real love; the ways in which he mentally tortures Harry and belittles Hermione for being Muggle-born, just like Lily was, demonstrate his bitterness and lack of understanding what real love is. By treating her as an object and holding on to childlike memories of her, Snape has made Lily into something she isn’t—“When we find what we think to be a suitable ‘object’ for our idealistic affections . . . we invest more of ourselves than is appropriate—to the extent of worship. Rarely do we really know the other person well, but imagination and desire make up the difference,” writes Bruce Atkinson PhD. We’re attracted to these romances because we think it takes a special kind of person—a strong woman—to love a...

Our Top 10 Redeemed Villains Oct13

Our Top 10 Redeemed Villains...

There’s something special about a villain’s heel-face turn—whether it comes about because they start listening to their conscience, become friends with a hero, have a supernatural encounter, or realize the dark side doesn’t have cookies—some of our favourite characters used to be scoundrels. Here are our top 10 picks, and why they impacted us. 1. Prince Zuko, Avatar: The Last Airbender Part of why I love Zuko’s story is because it’s not a perfect heel-face turn. Even though he changes his mind about what’s right and decides to fight against oppression, he struggles with his decision. His personality doesn’t magically change to humble/likeable, either; he’s still prone to angry outbursts and frustration. His redemption is messy, and I like the honesty because we live in a messy world. —Allison 2. Darth Vader, Revenge of the Jedi Vader’s redemption is triggered by his son’s belief in him. Vader doesn’t believe there’s hope for himself or that he has the capacity for good, but Luke just won’t give up. If Luke had agreed with Kenobi that his father was no longer in there, he would have died or become a Sith. Vader’s change of heart due to his son’s faith reminds me that my belief in someone else isn’t wasted—maybe I can believe in them when they don’t believe in themselves, and it will make a difference. —Kevin 3. Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer I like Spike’s redemption story because it is messy, difficult, and slightly ambiguous. To me, Spike becomes a redeemed villain when he chooses to fight to get his soul back and, as a result, lives with the weight of the evil acts he’s committed during his time as a vampire. While the catalyst for his decision is his desire for Buffy, ultimately it comes...

6 Times Fandoms Respected Christianity Oct11

6 Times Fandoms Respected Christianity...

While Christianity does not figure prominently in many fandoms, here are six occasions when faith is alluded to with surprising accuracy. “There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that.” – Captain America, The Avengers When Natasha Romanoff describes Thor and Loki as “basically gods,” Cap responds with this famous statement. Odin himself echoes the sentiment in Thor: The Dark World when he tells Loki, “We are not gods. We live, we die, just as humans do.” Both Cap and Odin realize that power doesn’t equal divinity. The Avengers may be able to save lives, but only God can save souls. “Mankind has no need for gods. We find the One quite adequate.” – Captain Kirk, Star Trek (S2E2, “Who Mourns for Adonais?”) The crew of the Enterprise is faced with a dilemma similar to Cap’s when they meet a superior being called Apollo, who interacted with the human race thousands of years ago and was considered a god. Apollo demands that the humans of the Enterprise worship him, but Captain Kirk and the others refuse. “It’s easy to do nothing, but it’s hard to forgive.” – Aang, Avatar: The Last Airbender (S3E16, “The Southern Raiders”) In this episode, Katara wants to take revenge on the man who killed her mother, but Aang urges her to forgive him instead. While Aang doesn’t mention God directly, his words are reminiscent of Jesus’s command to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44, ESV). “‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” – Mr. Beaver, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis Generations of readers have found truths about God hidden in Aslan, C.S. Lewis’s metaphor for Jesus Christ. Mr. Beaver’s explanation of...

Comic Con, Cosplay, and Consent Oct09

Comic Con, Cosplay, and Consent

Geek culture provides safe spaces for a lot of people; friends and fans alike can get together and enjoy similar interests. I have personally enjoyed many board game nights, trying out tabletop role playing games, watching superhero movies, and talking about favourite books with others. I have never felt unwelcome or unsafe. Geek culture has become mainstream enough to the point where many geeks and nerds who previously felt maligned by greater society have now found a place for themselves within it. Unfortunately, many women haven’t had the same experiences. I like to think of Comic Con as the ultimate fan experience and it is a dream of mine to visit San Diego’s one day. But sexual harassment is a huge problem at cons. A 2014 survey of con attendees reported that 13 percent of respondents said they received comments of a sexual nature at a con and eight percent said that they had been groped, assaulted, or raped. If 130,000 people attend a con (which is the average number of attendees at SDCC), 13 percent is 17,000 people. A woman’s revealing costume is not an invitation to grope her or take pictures of her. One of the main reasons for the large amount of sexual harassment at cons is our society’s general acceptance of rape culture. Rape culture blames rape victims rather than their attackers and teaches women that they are responsible for the abuse that men visit upon them. It also teaches men that they are entitled to women’s bodies. Nowadays, when we hear of a woman being raped, the first questions often asked are, “what was she wearing?” and “was she drinking?” When a boy pushes a girl on the playground and it gets passed off as “boys will be boys,” it teaches him that his violent actions don’t have consequences. A push on the playground may seem insignificant, but a lifetime of passes builds up. “Cosplay is not consent sign, Javitts Center, New York City, New York, USA” by flickr/Cory Doctorow. It’s been difficult to make any headway in addressing this issue because many are quick to dismiss it. In 2014, a group called Geeks for CONsent began a petition calling for SDCC to create a formal, visible, anti-harassment policy, including on-site support for people who report harassment and signs throughout the convention publicizing the policy. In an interview for Comic Book Resources, [http://www.cbr.com/comic-con-responds-to-anti-harassment-petition-safety-and-security-is-a-major-concern/] Marketing and Public Relations Director David Glanzer responded that such a policy was already included in con pamphlets. But, he also said that their policy was deliberately broad and that, if they drew attention to sexual harassment, the media might think that there is a problem: “I think the news media, might look at this as, ‘Why would you, if this wasn’t such a bad issue, why do you feel the need to single out this one issue and put signs up about it?’ I think that’s a concern.” Others who dismiss the problem of sexual harassment at Comic Con often blame revealing costumes as the reason for comments and groping. This has led to a new movement called “Cosplay is not consent,” which endeavors to teach con attendees about appropriate contact—a woman’s revealing costume is not an invitation to grope her or take pictures of her without asking first. New York Comic Con started putting up signs displaying “Cosplay is not consent” in 2014. Rape culture blames victims rather than their attackers. SDCC took a small step forward by sending out its anti-harassment policy in an email to ticket holders in 2014 (though, the policy is not available on SDCC’s website). But until more is done to curb harassment and assault still present in geek culture, women will continue to feel unsafe at Comic Con. Education about consent is vital to combating rape culture. Someone I know once said, “there is always one jerk who you just have to ignore,”...

Indiana Jones and the Hunt for the Sacred Oct02

Indiana Jones and the Hunt for the Sacred...

Though Indiana Jones often hunts objects of religious significance and experiences supernatural events, he is skeptical of faith. Instead of believing in a higher power, he sees God as a fabled being. The Ark of the Covenant, which Indiana pursues in Raiders of the Lost Ark, is sacred to him not because of its connection to God, but because of its archaeological significance. As he tells his friend Marcus, “I don’t believe in magic, a lot of superstitious hocus-pocus. I’m going after a find of incredible historical significance; you’re talking about the bogeyman.” Like Indiana, we all have entities we hold sacred—possessions, individuals, memories, places. For me, that includes my faith. For Indiana Jones, it’s academic pursuits, studying history, and knowledge. There’s no room for “fanciful” stories of faith. And judging by the broken relationships he leaves behind—Marion, Marion’s father, and his own father—there’s little room for anything else either. I don’t want to spend my whole life waiting. But as he matures, Indiana’s actions demonstrate there’s far more to him than he would like others to believe, than perhaps he would like to believe about himself. He disputes the existence of God, but begs Marion to close her eyes when the Ark is opened, believing in its powers in the moment of most danger. He has an estranged relationship with his father, but goes to the ends of the earth to rescue him, risking his life many times through challenges related to faith. He’s a solitary man, only concerned with his own needs, but liberates a village of children, along with Willie and Short-Round, instead of placing his own safety first. Indiana’s deeds betray him—he’s not the selfish image he projects. I’m similar to Indiana in some ways, opposite in others. In my...

2017 Fall TV Shows Recommended by Geeks Sep29

2017 Fall TV Shows Recommended by Geeks...

The Tick, Season 1 — Premiered on August 25, 2017 (Recommended by Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry) A major departure from the 1990’s cartoon, but including some of the comic book storylines, Arthur’s original character has been replaced with an even more nervous young man who’s battling mental illness after watching his father die at the hands of The Terror. The Tick has randomly shown up in The City, and doesn’t remember who he is—he just knows he’s a superhero destined to defeat villains with Arthur at his side. Star Trek: Discovery, Season 1 — Premiered on September 24, 2017 (Recommended by Sheela Cox) Discovery hits all the necessary points for a Star Trek story with a shiny new ship, re-designed Klingons, a diverse cast, and cool special effects. The setting takes place ten years before the original Star Trek series and is set up to unpack the legendary Klingon War. I was hooked the moment I saw the new ship glide overhead and heard that wonderfully nostalgic music swell in the background. The cast has impressed me as they present well-rounded characters that I care about. The two female protagonists come across as strong role models with human weaknesses. Sarek (Spock’s father) makes an appearance that draws a nice connection for fans of the original series. The Gifted, Season 1 — Premieres October 2, 2017 (Recommended by Kyle Rudge) An upcoming series based on Marvel’s X-Men, I’m excited that both Blink and Polaris show up in the trailers. Two parents take their family on the run when their children develop mutant abilities. [Insert a witty pun about The Gifted being a gift for me.] Supergirl, Season 3 – Premiers October 9, 2017 (Recommended by Kyla Neufeld) It looks like Kara Danvers is fully embracing her role as...

Discerning Your Threshold for Violence and Sexuality in Media Sep27

Discerning Your Threshold for Violence and Sexuality in Media...

I thought I would love Game of Thrones because I’m all about high fantasy with serious themes. When Ned Stark died in Season One, I realized just how serious the show was going to be. The stories of vengeance, frustration, hopefulness, and ruthlessness all captured my attention. But by the end of Season Three, I noticed something troubling me after I watched each episode. I’ve always taken sexual abuse very seriously. The rape scene in Show Girls left me shaking and furious. I could not finish watching A Clockwork Orange because the scenes of rape filled me with so much rage that I was ready to destroy something. This fury is partly why I stopped watching Game of Thrones, but has also extended to all media that I participate in. I watched The Magicians until the end of Season One, where a graphic rape scene is played out. I don’t like feeling that angry and media that continually returns to scenes of sexual violence leaves me in a state of constant agitation, which bleeds into my life and causes discord in all my relationships. The more I pack into my mind, the harder it is on me and the more I suffer. To add to that, I have friends who have been sexually assaulted. I’ve spent time with them listening to their pain and anguish. As an empathetic person, I feel their stress, fear, and suffering when they talk about it. My wife has experienced significant sexual trauma and a big part of our relationship has been filled with sorting that out and trying to find peace amidst that sorrow. The specter of sexual abuse haunts the victim for many years, sometimes never fully leaving and manifesting in all sorts of ways at inconvenient...

College Classes Taught by Your Heroes Sep15

College Classes Taught by Your Heroes

If you’re not looking forward to going back to school, here are some classes you may want to add to your timetables. 1. Steve Rogers – American History Not only is Steve passionate about his homeland, but living through much of its history is one of the perks of being 95. 2. The Tenth Doctor – Physics “Physicsphysicsphysicsphysics physics! I hope one of you is getting all this down.” 3. Galadriel – Astronomy She’s so good, she can put starlight in a bottle. 4. Yoda – Communication Difficult, it can be. 5. Hermione Granger – Literature The type of literature is irrelevant. Hermione knows it all—or if she doesn’t, she’ll stay in the library until she does. 6. Spock – Statistics Nothing illogical will be tolerated in this classroom. 7. Sherlock Holmes – Criminal Justice It’s elementary, my dear students. 8. Rumpelstiltskin – Legal Studies No one’s better at making a deal than the Dark One—just make sure your homework doesn’t include signing one of his contracts. 9. J.A.R.V.I.S. – Computer Science He knows computers inside and out. 10. Wonder Woman – Classical Studies She’s straight outta Greek...

In Case You Missed Your Hogwarts’ Acceptance Letter Sep08

In Case You Missed Your Hogwarts’ Acceptance Letter...

Maybe you’re not heading to Hogwarts or Starfleet Academy, but good news, everyone! There are some other amazing options out there. Jack Sparrow’s Colloquy of Sailing and Diplomacy Students at this prestigious institution will learn the basics of sailing in an authentic haunted vessel. Navigation is covered with special emphasis on using magic tools to find your heart’s desire. The basics of Caribbean diplomacy—including misdirection, bait-and-switch, and general skullduggery—are at the heart of our instruction. Whether you want to serve on a pirate crew or master your own vessel, Jack Sparrow’s school is for you! And, best of all, you can pay your tuition in rum! The Guy-in-the-Chair College Want to be part of the superhero scene without all the spandex, physical exertion, and danger? The Guy-in-the-Chair Academy is the place for you! You’ll learn valuable skills such as “looking things up on the internet” and “looking other things up on the internet, but on a different computer.” With particular emphasis on “finding the answer just in the nick of time,” our esteemed faculty include Wade Load, Chloe O’Brien, and Ned Leeds. Cypher, the founder of the college, is sadly no longer available to teach. The Hoban Washburne Memorial Flight School Tired of being stuck just watching all of those cool space maneuvers on screen? Want to get in on the action? Transmit your application today! Study the art and science of “On Time Delivery” and “Flying with Instruments” with Turanga Leela. Or spend some time on “Improvised Piloting” with co-instructors Poe and Finn. Gain real skills in “Evasion and Exposition” with Hikaru Sulu. The Winchester Institute of Monster Hunting Founded by the Winchester family, all courses at the institute are taught by Sam and Dean. Class sessions are held approximately whenever they are...

5 Characters Who Made Bad First Impressions Sep01

5 Characters Who Made Bad First Impressions...

When I tell people I was homeschooled, they often ask if I was shy or antisocial as a child. When I tell people I’m a geek, they ask if I have a job and still live in my parents’ basement. When I tell them I’m Southern, they ask why I don’t have a strong accent. When people assume things about me, they often get a first impression that isn’t accurate. It frustrates me because they’ve attributed characteristics to me within the first few minutes, and I have to fight to counter a negative first impression when I shouldn’t have to. I feel hurt when people think they know me from a few stereotypes they heard through the grapevine. But I’m guilty of doing this too, with people I meet and with fictional characters. Sometimes I make up my mind about them before I give them a chance. Here are five characters I didn’t like at first, but changed my mind about later. For some of them, I grew to like them as they changed and adapted; for others, I started to like them because I understood them better. What characters would you add to this list? “GOLLUM =D” by speedportraits (speedportraits.deviantart.com). 1. Gollum (The Lord of the Rings) When I first saw Gollum in the movies as a child, I was terrified of him. I wasn’t sure of what to make of this “gangly creature.” He was an odd schizophrenic who seemed bent on doing anything, including murder, to get back the Ring. But as I learned more about his character and understood his addiction, watched his development I realized, like Frodo did, that he really is a creature to be pitied, not feared. “Cactus Love…” by Moni (moni158.deviantart.com). 2. Sokka (Avatar: The Last...

Introducing Non-Geeks to Your Fandom Aug04

Introducing Non-Geeks to Your Fandom...

One of the best parts of having a fandom is introducing new people to your favourite characters and worlds. Having someone to share your enthusiasm is great, but take the wrong approach and you’ll ruin it for them. Here are a few things to avoid when recruiting new fans. Never introduce them to the wrong point in the story—especially if it’s a series. You’re not a Harry Potter fan? Oh! Here, let me read you the best scene in book six. You’ll cry buckets! You’re going to love Doctor Who! We’ll start with the first Doctor—William Hartnell—and his granddaughter Susan. The show doesn’t really pick up until the third Doctor, but if you don’t watch the later episodes first you’ll never get all the nuances. Pro-tip: Any episode of The Starlost is the wrong episode to start with—that’s why you’ve never heard of it. Never assume that they’ll love a fandom just because it features actors they like in other properties. You like Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone, right? You’re going to love Demolition Man! If you think Han Solo was a great character, wait until you meet Rick Deckard. Yeah, John de Lancie was great in Next Gen, but he was completely awesome as Discord. Pro-tip: Don’t try to sell someone on Interstellar just because Elyes Gable from Scorpion has a bit part in it. Never use their non-geek interests to introduce them to your fandom. You like weddings? You’re going to love season three of Game of Thrones. Politics is your thing? You’ve got to see the senate scenes in Attack of the Clones. Pro-Tip: Don’t try to sell them on the Saw movies based on their interest in anatomy. Never tell them they’ll like a fandom because they remind you of...

Why Hollywood is Whitewashing Characters of Minority Aug02

Why Hollywood is Whitewashing Characters of Minority...

Two movies that came out fairly recently—Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell—did so amid allegations of whitewashing after both cast a white actor in the role of an Asian character: Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One and Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi. One response to whitewashing I’ve seen goes something like this: “Well, if you’re upset about [white actor] being cast as [person of colour character], then you should be equally upset about [person of colour actor] being cast as [white character].” And they bring up Heimdall, played by Idris Elba in the Thor movies, as an example. But this isn’t a tit-for-tat issue. Whitewashing is more than just a matter of choosing an actor for a role; money and politics often influence casting decisions. And, when we look at the complexities around whitewashing, we have to keep privilege and cultural context in mind. It’s all about the money Take, for example, Tilda Swinton’s casting as the Ancient One, a traditionally Tibetan character. Currently, the second largest movie market in the world is China, which also has volatile relations with Tibet; the Chinese Communist party and its army occupied Tibet in 1951 and, since 2009, there have been 148 confirmed self-immolations by Tibetans in protest of China’s occupancy. Acknowledging the Ancient One’s Tibetan ancestry would have caused China to reject the movie, which means Doctor Strange would have lost out on that audience and, therefore, the money. The “safe” move for Doctor Strange‘s producers, both politically and monetarily, was to change the Ancient One’s ancestry from Tibetan to Celtic to ensure that the movie was picked up in China. It’s important that those of us who have white skin remember that we have a certain amount of privilege. An actor’s monetary-drawing power can...

Alien: Covenant and the Significance of Sacrificial Love May24

Alien: Covenant and the Significance of Sacrificial Love...

The Alien films are all about the coldness of space with an emphasis on mechanics ahead of humans, the quietness in the vastness of the universe, and the xenomorphs that hunt humans without relent. So it feels strange, at first, that in Alien: Covenant the vessel is led by a crew consisting largely of married couples, carrying in the warmth of love to this callous environment. Unlike in many horror films, the couples don’t turn on each other. Their love is real and deep; they are strong, solid, and supportive. It’s no wonder these pairs were specifically selected for the Covenant’s colonization mission, as they have the responsibility of guiding a ship carrying thousands of humans and additional embryos to a new planet. The crew is also friendly, and despite arguments and missteps, genuinely want the best for one another. And yet, despite its promising beginning, lots of people die. The crew of the Covenant fights against the furious predators, the coldness of space, and evils of sin and humanity. This is no touchy-feely universe. Love doesn’t stand a chance. Living a life separated in every way from the frightening fiction of the Aliens franchise, I’m much more optimistic about love. I believe that my friends will reach out to me when I’m hurting. I believe that I’ll be gracious to those who injure me. I believe that my church community will love the downtrodden and the cast aside. Many times, my expectations are met; but more than I’d like to admit to myself, they are not. It doesn’t take a monster to destroy love; humans can do that just fine on their own. In the midst of Alien: Covenant’s chaotic action, the film manages to stress that dilemma. Battles take place within the...

Surprised by Moms May05

Surprised by Moms

My wife made our youngest son a Companion Cube cake for this seventeenth birthday. Instead of singing the usual “Happy Birthday,” she delivered it to the table with a pitch-perfect rendition of “Still Alive.” Nearly a decade later, that moment still stands out in his memory. He was surprised by—and delighted with—his mom’s unexpected geek cred. Moms can surprise us if we let them. In Sing!, a movie about talking animals and a singing competition, Rosita doesn’t necessarily want to surprise her family, but she wishes she had a little more of their support. When we first meet her, she’s working in the kitchen trying to get her brood of piglets ready for school. Katy Perry’s “Firework” is playing on the radio and Rosita sings along. She even manages a couple of dance steps between the sink and the table. The mood is broken when one her piglets jumps up on the table and entertains his siblings by making fun of her singing. She appeals to her husband, asking him to tell their brood what a good singer she is. You would think that after fifty-two years, I’d know my mother pretty well. “Oh yeah you were great, honey,” he says. Then adds, “by the way the bathroom sink is blocked again.” It’s a shame Rosita didn’t sing a bit more. Maybe her family would have heard the lyrics and realized they were missing something important. Do you ever feel Already buried deep Six feet under Screams but no one seems to hear a thing Do you know that there’s Still a chance for you ‘Cause there’s a spark in you Rosita has a spark—a genuine and surprising talent—but no one in the family can see it. I wonder how often I’ve been blind...

Meet the Geekdom House Staff: Kyle Rudge May03

Meet the Geekdom House Staff: Kyle Rudge...

Who are the people behind Geekdom House and what do they do? You well might ask, but question no longer, because Casey Covel has gone deep into the trenches to determine who we are and what you need to know. Today’s biography and nerd-cred heavy questions are all about our Admiral and Founder, Kyle Rudge. As though by prophetic destiny, Kyle always knew it was his mission to minister to the often-misunderstood and belittled geek culture. Geekdom House and its special features are largely inspired by key events that took place in Kyle’s backstory. An impromptu sing-along of “Hero of Canton” during a pre-screening of Serenity opened Kyle’s eyes to how geek culture is used to create community, as small pockets of chatting friends dissolved and the entire theater evolved into one large friend group. This “eureka moment” led to the establishment of Geekdom House’s Wandering Minstrels choir. With community at the forefront of his legendary quest, Kyle wields the power of facilitation—the ability to create conversation involving all walks of life, bringing out others’ beliefs, values, and personal stories for discussion and growth. “The medium is the message” is the mantra on Kyle’s proverbial standard, and it’s most apparent during Geekdom House Live! nights, where what is said is never as important as how it is said. With the Deity of all Creativity behind him, Kyle sees no reason why he and others who practice the Christian faith can’t step up their creativity game and contribute something meaningful and unique to the geek culture. Kyle is a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades. His resume is littered with more details than the Marauder’s Map—collaborating with music artists, owning a web and media company, hosting a radio station, acting as an air traffic controller, working with national non-profits…...

7 Female Roles that were Written for Men Apr28

7 Female Roles that were Written for Men...

Men might be the harbingers of action and combat in many sci-fi movies, action shows, and video games, but some writers are stepping up to challenge these notions. Taking over a role that was originally intended for a man is one way to break the mold, and make us wonder why we need molds in the first place, since so many are lying about in pieces at these women’s feet. Here are seven roles originally written for men, but portrayed by women instead. 1. Samus Aran, Metroid The plot twist at the end of the first Metroid game reveals that the person in the armour (who you’ve been kicking ass with so far) is, in fact, a woman. But a lesser known fact is that the game developers hadn’t planned this surprise from the start and decided to add it in halfway through development, creating one of the most iconic women characters in video games today. “It is true that in developing the original Metroid, we were partway through the development processes when one of the staff members said, “Hey, wouldn’t that be kind of cool if it turned out that this person inside the suit was a woman?” So that’s how we decided on that. We’ve tried to express her femininity a little more without trying to turn her into a sex object.” —Yoshio Sakamoto 2. Toph Beifong, Avatar, the Last Airbender Known as the tiny blind girl who can throw boulders around with her earthbending prowess, this Avatar: The Last Airbender star was originally intended to be a large, muscled jerk. They even elude to this in the episode “The Ember Island Players,” where Team Avatar attend a play about their journey so far, and Toph is portrayed as a buff man. She was...

Meet the Geekdom House Staff: Allison Barron Apr26

Meet the Geekdom House Staff: Allison Barron...

Who are the people behind Geekdom House and what do they do? You well might ask, but question no longer, because Casey Covel has gone deep into the trenches to determine who we are and what you need to know. Today’s biography and nerd-cred heavy questions are all about our General Manager and Executive Editor, Allison Barron. Like many unassuming heroines, Allison was born in a tiny town (in Ontario) as the youngest of four siblings. She grew up gaining HP and MP from her loving parents and a steady diet of Terry Brooks, C.S. Lewis, Robert Jordan, Myst, Warcraft, and those The Lord of the Rings cartoons from the 1970s. Allison lived life as a “closet geek” during most of her backstory, but only because her friends weren’t interested in video games. Then, in an epic plot twist, her best friend married a nerd, and the LAN parties began… With all 20 of her Heart Containers filled with love for the arts and its practitioners, Allison expresses her passionate creativity though as many artistic mediums as possible, though she ultimately chose to pursue writing as a career. She was first recruited into Geekdom House by Admiral Kyle Rudge, who was looking for someone to share in an adventure that he was arranging. Hooked from the moment she heard the words “Firefly Bible study” and “geeky nonprofit that supports the arts,” Allison soon found herself running a magazine, co-hosting a podcast about The Lord of the Rings, meeting artists, singing alto in a geeky choir, attending comic conventions, speaking at churches, and painting miniatures for RPGs. For Allison, though, the real dropped loot is found in supporting, rewarding, and appreciating her fellow artists—writers, painters, podcasters, singers, dancers, and actors. As the wielder of the Triforce of...

A Response to Time Loops Apr24

A Response to Time Loops...

In All You Need is Kill, a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka turned into a manga (and the source material for the movie Edge of Tomorrow), the earth has been overrun with aliens known as Mimics. New recruit Keiji Kiriya is stuck in a time loop that starts the morning before his first battle and ends mid battle the next day, if he hasn’t died before then. When Keiji realizes he is trapped in the loop, he tries several times to escape, but there is nowhere for him to run to. So on the fifth loop, he commits himself to fight against the loop—to train and learn until he overcomes it. And he does. He pushes himself, trains his mind, and learns how to fight effectively, because every time he fails and dies, he can start again, having learned from his mistakes. It’s slow work. Every day he has to go through the same conversations, the same basic training, before he can focus on becoming a better soldier to escape the loop. Every time he wakes up, his progress is erased, except for the little piece he learned that he carries in his mind. I admire Keiji’s dedication. It only takes him four failures, four loops, before he vows to fight the loop, and he doesn’t break that vow. Some days he gets through his mundane tasks only to break his back minutes into training. The loop starts again, and he goes through another three hours of push-ups before he can begin his true work. I can relate to the feeling of being in a time loop. Sometimes it feels like the world gets reset when I go to bed. Every morning I make my bed, make breakfast, do the dishes, walk to work, come...

Only at a Convention Apr21

Only at a Convention

San Diego ComicCon, MegaCon, and DragonCon are just around the corner, a long with many other conventions spread across the country. For a weekend, geeks flock from all over for unadulterated fictional fun at these events. And while attending them, I’ve found my mindset changes. I act in ways at conventions that I wouldn’t elsewhere. It’s weird and wonderful. Here are some things you might find yourself saying when you’re at one of these fan-centered events. 1. Elsewhere: “I’m not parking in the back forty to get into the supermarket. I’ll just do my shopping somewhere else.” At a Convention: “I don’t care how far I have to park, nor how far I have to walk. I’m going to see Nathan Fillion if it’s the last thing I do!” 2. Elsewhere: “If I’m not comfortable in it, I’m not wearing it.” At a Convention: “This costume may take two hours to get on and cause me to overheat… it may be hard to walk in and wearing these coloured contacts hurt my eyes, but I look epic and that’s all that matters.” 3. Elsewhere: “I never spend more than ten minutes on my makeup, except for maybe weddings… Maybe…” At a Convention: *Spends almost three hours doing elaborate contouring and erasing eyebrows to look like L from Death Note.* 4. Elsewhere: *Passes by stranger. Says nothing.* At a Convention: “Oh my gosh! That costume is amazing! Can I take a selfie with you?” 5. Elsewhere: “I maybe take two pictures a day and they’re usually of my cat.” At a Convention: *Fills up memory card within the first two hours, frantically deletes bad photos while waiting in line to free up space for more because there’s an awesome Obi-Wan Kenobi cosplayer over there and must get 30 photos of him.* 6. Elsewhere: “I’m not waiting in this line...

Meet the Geekdom House Staff: Jason Dueck Apr19

Meet the Geekdom House Staff: Jason Dueck...

Who are the people behind Geekdom House and what do they do? You well might ask, but question no longer, because Casey Covel has gone deep into the trenches to determine who we are and what you need to know. Today’s biography and nerd-cred heavy questions are all about our Infinity +1 Producer, Jason Dueck. A Muggleborn of sorts, Jason was born a geek into a non-geeky family and grew up in a small town with a population level of over four thousaaaaaaand—! A fan of Star Wars, Redwall, and other geekery before it was cool, Jason’s experiences led him to connect the once-persecuted geek culture with his Christian faith and realize that the two groups had much more in common than just an ability to embrace the fantastical and supernatural. The rest, as they say, is history. Jason began his hero’s journey in the Creative Communications Program at Red River College, where he pursued Journalism. In order to complete an independent professional project for his degree, Jason interned at Geekdom House as a staff writer, only to discover that his passion for discourse could be more fully realized through audio. Thus did Jason pitch the Infinity +1 Podcast to Geekdom House and fulfill a lifelong dream to host his own podcast, all in one fell swoop. Legend says that Jason consumes no less than ten different podcasts per week to fuel his next brainchild. As a part of Geekdom House’s Triforce, Jason wields the power of Conversation, driven by a passion to reexamine what he believes about faith and fiction through deep discussions with others. We have, from a respected source, that the closest Jason has ever come to fangirling is when James Arnold Taylor recorded an intro for the Infinity +1 Podcast...