Thursday, September 20, 2012

Buchstabieren Sie, bitte

Ja, ich studiere Deutsch an meine Schule!

And that, friends, was done entirely without Google Translate! Yup, I am taking a course in German this year (FINALLY!) and I have to say, it is definitely one of the more entaining classes I have ever undertaken. Having spent 5 years singing songs in German and finally being able to understand what they mean is definitely funtimes. Especially since I get to laugh along with everyone when we hear atrociously bad accents! It's the best.

So, German aside,it has been one rather fantastic weekend...aside from the fact that I am sick. Yup, it's official. It's not from a lack of sleep: I am certifiably ill. The perils of playing Ticket to Ride, Munchkin, Chrononauts and Fluxx until 2 in the morning with an ill host...and then not getting enough sleep and eating too much pizza.

I will bet you that you haven't heard of a single one of these games (unless of course you're a friend of mine reading this and I've blabbed about them to you). 

But now that I am better, I am pleased to announce that I fully enjoyed myself at comic con this year! In fact, here's an article that I wrote about it!

Montreal Comic Con 2012

I stood in line with hundreds of other geeks on a Friday afternoon after four hours of non-stop classes earlier in the day. My bag was heavy, my feet hurt, my head was sweating from the hand-knit hat I was wearing as part of my costume and I was so excited I could barely contain myself. It didn’t matter that the line wasn’t moving, didn’t matter that I had homework piling up at home. This was the 6th annual Montreal Comic Con and I wasn’t going to miss it for anything. My experience last year had been one of supreme fandom joy, while my inner geek sang and danced with glee. And this year was no different. Not only were there twice as many people (32 000 from last year’s 15 000) but the exhibition hall itself was a sight to behold. Because of the unexpected turnout at last year’s convention at Place Bonaventure (with a turnout of over 15,000 people) the venue had changed to the main exhibition hall at Palais des Congres with almost every single conference room occupied during the convention’s busy schedule. This was also the first time that the convention ran a whole three days.

When the line finally started moving, we made our way surprisingly quickly to the first set of escalators that would bring us to the main hall. We mounted the stairs, suspense building (unfortunately no Star Wars music this year) but the wait was worth every second.

Not only was the main exhibition hall at Palais des Congres enormous, but it contained everything to appease geeks of all shapes and sizes. You’re a Whovian? Say hello to the dozens of artisans selling prints and jewelry, and exhibitors with models of every single Sonic Screwdriver ever made. Portal fan? They had their own table. With plushie Companion Cubes. You spend all your time on ThinkGeek or Jinx? Everything sold on the Internet could be found at Comic Con, including ALL of the t-shirts. Booths selling posters, every single comic book imaginable and hundreds of accessories bedecked with superhero insignias.

And maybe, just maybe, you happen to be a Trekkie? This year’s guests of honor were Captains James Tiberius Kirk and Jean-Luc Piacard, in the flesh. Present at this year’s Comic Con were William Shatner and Sir Patrick Stewart. It was truly a historic moment in Montreal Geekdom, when “Star Trek: Generations” came to life onstage with Shatner, Stewart and a guest appearance by Malcolm McDowell. While I was unable to attend (the panel required an extra ticket), I managed to catch 20 minutes of William Shatner’s panel…before falling asleep listening to him drone about how difficult it is to navigate the Montreal highways.   

Other speakers included about half the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, including Brent Spiner, John De Lancie and Wesley Crusher-turned-internet-sensation Will Wheaton, Eddie McClinktock of Bones and Warehouse 13, Laura Vandervoort, Aaron Ashmore and, the reasons I shlepped all my stuff from school on a Friday afternoon, Adam Baldwin and James Marsters.

Adam Baldwin had established his cult following as the gruff and unwashed Jayne Cobb from Joss Whedon’s one-season wonder Firefly and then more recently starred as Colonel John Casey on Chuck, iconicized by his grunt and arsenal of weaponry. However, despite revealing some of the more ridiculous shenanigans on the set of Firefly and Chuck, he refused to sing “The Ballad of Jayne” (The Hero of Canton) for us.

But as hilarious as Adam Baldwin was, the cherry on the proverbial cake was the concert given by James Marsters at the end of the night. He crooned into the microphone, strumming songs about nothing but love, the weather and sex, finishing up with a piece about Michelle Trachtenberg, one of his co-stars in season 5 of Buffy. “One baby, two, maybe three more years, You’ll be a full hot baby, have all your curves, And here’s a little taste of irony, You’ll be a too-hot baby, too good for me” It was a terrible concert and I loved every minute of it.

Comic Con was more than just a science fiction/fantasy convention. It brought people together in a high energy, yet friendly atmosphere. Nowhere else would you feel comfortable stopping a couple dressed as Link and Zelda and begging for a picture; nowhere else would it be permissible for dozens of men to take photos of a girl dressed as a USO girl circa 1940 Captain America style; and nowhere else would you find such a gathering of geeks, gamers, Trekkies, gleeks, gamers, Steampunkers, artists and artisans.

Except at Comic Con. 

And I found the rest of my crew:

Crew of Serenity, from left to right: Kaylee, Simon, Jayne, Jayne, Captain Mal Reynolds and Inara
Firefly cosplay FTW at Montreal Comic Con 2012
So there you have it! Comic Con was a wonderful experience full of all things nerd! 

And did I tell you about the GIANT version of Settlers of Catan?

Oh yeah ;)

Shakespeare and Pseudonyms

I read this article in The Bear and Bull (McGill's student newspaper) yesterday and found it absolutely brilliant. No, I didn't write it, but it's absolutely brilliant anyway.

Credit to the author at the bottom.

Backstory: we received an anonymous article for our school paper (of which I am editor) about being "stuck in the friend zone". A few of us found it mildly ridiculous and thus decided to write a response from "Juliet" as the anonymous writer wanted to be called "Romeo" (which I found to be pretentious and annoying). So there I was, writing my response when my sister showed me this article. I tried to write mine similarly to this one but then decided, to hell with it, I'll just ask the author if I can re-print it in the Papercut (our college paper).

He and his editor said yes! Booyeah!

so, without further ado, here it is:

Misogyny in the Friend Zone

It’s easy to be a feminist on paper, yet the day-to-day actions of many well-meaning men contradict their feminist principles and point to an underlying misogyny. One of the sources of this unconscious misogyny is the infamous “friend zone” and the reaction it sparks in some men, demeaning women in the process.

The main problem with men in the friend zone is their tendency to act as if they’re the victim of some horrible crime. This belief is encapsulated perfectly in one of the many BroTips—cheesy pieces of advice for men lacking common sense— floating around my News Feed: “Ladies, guys are sick of hearing you ask where all of the ‘nice guys’ are. They’re in the friend zone, where you left them.”
Men who buy into the nice guy-asshole binary usually do so based on an experience where they, as seemingly nice guys, were passed over for an asshole, leading them to believe that all women like assholes.

Upholding this narrative demeans women by looking condescendingly upon their choice of sexual partners simply because they aren’t you. By failing to respect the choices women make in their lives, you belittle their intelligence and freewill. It’s bad enough when you do this to one woman, but when you extend this attitude towards all of the women in your life and beyond, the problem becomes far worse. This type of attitude can foster hate towards women, and in our patriarchal society this is the last thing we need. Yet unfortunately, it seems that a major source of violence against women comes exactly from these types of private day-to-day relationships.

In light of this, I’m going to offer some advice to help men escape the nice guy vs. asshole binary, and the hatred it often brings about. First, stop looking at yourselves as nice guys. If your entire friendship with a girl is based upon potentially sleeping with her, you went into the friendship with ulterior motives and thus aren’t nice at all. This is also why I choose to refer to the “friend zone” as the “no sex zone”; she may look at you as a friend, but you certainly don’t look at her like that. So when she inevitably rejects you and tells you she just wants to be friends, I can promise you won’t be.
Second, stop believing you’re perfect. Too many guys have a hard time recognizing the reason(s) why a girl doesn’t like them. Instead of looking at themselves and wondering why they didn’t get the girl, they just blame it on assholes and the girls who love them. Maybe you and her just didn’t click, maybe you weren’t being the best version of you, or maybe you just said the wrong things. Whatever the reason, something did go wrong, and you should figure out why, instead of blaming the girl or the entire female population.

Finally, be honest with yourself. If you can’t be just friends with her, remove yourself. If you want to sleep with her, don’t try to bullshit being “friends” with her. This will help you develop more authentic friendships and save yourself the bitterness and hate you may experience in the “no sex zone.” Guys, stop complaining and start thinking. The women in your life will appreciate it and you may also find yourself in the “no sex zone” a lot less often.

Written by: Davide Mastracci

As you can tell, that's a much higher level of writing than I will attain in my journalism career but it's okay. Because it's awesome!

I will save my rants about friend-zoning for a later date.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Nerf guns and Ballads

Like I said, two blog posts in one day! This hasn't been seen since last year! Holy moly!

Alright, that's quite enough exclamation points. Down to business:

My latest blog post proclaims that I finally have a job. Unfortunately, I was fired last week. Call it insubordination, call it being friendly with hapless American tourists (I love American tourists. They're funny. French tourists are snobs. I do not like them. It's not 'un p'tit bol' it's UN COUPE EN PLASTIQUE OSTI.)
But yes, I was fired. Still not 100% sure why, but I know it had something to do with the fact that it was very difficult for me to arrive on time... At least my boss was nice about it.


SCHOOL: has started...finally. Despite this being the BEST SUMMER EVER (yes, Anthony you had something to do with that) I had been sitting around (well, standing around behind a counter) counting the days until I made my triumphant return to college. And triumphant it has been! Not only do I have my own office (Editor in chief of our school's newspaper WUUUT) that is always occupied by awesome people, but I'm taking classes that I want to take (wie geht es dir? <---that's supposed to be said like Joey from Friends) but I actually know people now! It's wonderful! I'm also feeling much more motivated (she writes as she realizes that she hasn't done her math homework...oh yeah, math. The only course I am forced to take...) but I think this is going to be a fantastic year.

DOCTOR WHO: season 7 episode 1 premiered last night. Go watch it. It was awesome. I have been successfully Moffucked. Moving right along to the main point of this post:

My very first Jayne Cobb hat!!

As you haven't been aware, a friend of mine got me on a Firefly kick. For those of you who don't know what Firefly is, I shall explain it to you in her words: "A spaghetti western set in space"


Think Clint Eastwood movies but funnier and set in space. The show stars Nathan Fillion of Castle (I know, he's supremely amazing) and other people who's names don't matter right now because I want to talk about Adam Baldwin!!!

You know, Casey from Chuck? Jayne from Firefly? The guy with a lot of guns.

Yeah, him.

The Hero of Canton (they wrote a song about him too. Look it up on youtube).

This is my portrayal of him:

The Hero of Canton, biches
This is half of my comic con costume this year. And guess what? ADAM BALDWIN IS GOING TO BE THERE!!!!

Anways, so I'm going to brag a bit about the fact that I made both of those hats (they are indeed two different hats on two different people). I hate knitting very much, but these hats were surprisingly painless.

Here's the pattern if you want it:

Yarn: Bernat Softee Chunky (red, orange, yellow-orange)
Needle size: size 8 or 5mm

Cast on 70st with Orange.
Row 1: K2, P2 across
Row 2: P2, K2 across
Repeat for rows 3-6

Row 7: Knit across
Row 8: Purl across

Repeate rows 7 and 8 until your hat measures four inches from the beginning. Switch to Yellow yarn. Continue in stockinette stitch until your piece measures 6 inches from the beginning.

Decrease rows:

1. On Knit side ONLY: k8, k2tog, repeat across row.
2. Purl across
3. K7, k2tog, repeat across
4. Purl
5. K6, k2tog, repeat across
6. Purl

Continue in this way until you reach:

K2tog, repeat across. Cut your yarn (DO NOT BIND OFF), leaving a 6 inch tail. Thread through a yarn needle and thread yarn needle through remaining loops, pull off the knitting needle and pull it tight. Weave in ends.

Starting at the bottom of the piece, using YELLOW yarn, mattress stitch the sides together (google it).


Cast on 14 stitches in RED. stockinette stitch until your ear flaps are an inch and a half shorter than you want them. Decrease starting at K4 then continuing with your decrease rows. Decrease until there are 1-3 stitches left on your needle and bind off. sew flaps on either side of hat and wear with pride!

For a tried and true jayne hat, feel free to add tassels to the bottom of the ear flaps and an orange and yellow pompom!

Great, for some reason my spell check is in french so everything is highlighted in red and I don't know if I'm making any spelling errors...Anyways.

So yes, Adam Baldwin is coming to Montreal for comic con this year but unfortunately I will not be there on the day he is coming :'( But there's going to be a double panel with William Shatner and Patrick Stewart that's going to be awesome! But now that I think about it, can reality handle two generations of Star Trek captains in the same room?

Star Trek: Generations.

Obviously it can.

So Firefly is a great show, Jayne tends to shoot and grunt a lot and Joss Whedon is godly. Though I wanted to hate him when I saw the ending to Serenity (the movie based off the TV show when it got cancelled after one season. CURSE YOU FOX!!)

So, now I'm just waiting for my parents to come home...though I have a suspicion that they're not even coming home tonight and I'm waiting for no particular reason.

Hm... Well then.

"We had to go the crappy planet where I'M  a hero!"

Crunch Time and Tourist Traps

This is literally crunch time. Like, crunching things and all that. Yum yum!

I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about.

It's 11:44 at night over here, I just worked a 9 hour shift at Les Glaceurs (cupcakes and ice cream) and I'm dead tired, futilely awaiting a phone call that probably won't come (given that I told this person to call after work and they are notorious for not answering texts within the alotted time...not the point).

I wanted that paragraph to sound like something out of "The Lizzie Bennett Diaries" but that didn't work so well.

For all of you wondering what I'm talking about, you can watch the full playlist here:

I highly suggest you watch it. It is derived from the Vlogbrother's genius and is utterly wonderful. Not to spoil too much but it's a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice told in vlogs and it's quite brilliant. That's a funny looking word...vlogs...hehehe...

Despite the fact that I am currently rambling like an idiot, I do have some news!


Yes, that is right. One month of  summer school, 46 applications, three interviews and 44 NO's later, I am working at Les Glaceurs in the Old Port. I probably need to give you some background information here.

Alright, I live in a wonderful bustling city called Montreal which is in Quebec which is STILL PART OF CANADA. I live in Canada! Yay Canadians! The Old Port is...just that. It's a port. That is still in use today! But it was founded some time in 1611 as a trading post for the french explorateurs and sort of...stayed. 2 km along the old port, come by with your family and enjoy an ice cream or cookie or trapeze swing along the quay!

Yeah, they have trapeze lessons when the circus come to down. Montreal is kind of awesome? But mostly the old port is a huge tourist trap, full of little cafes and biftheques (steak houses. Wow, we really have our own language here...) and touristy souvenir shops and people dressing up as pirates and explorators.


I meant explorers. This is what happens when you work in french! Your french is bad and your english gets worse!

Anyways, Les Glaceurs (The Icers/The Frosters/The Something-ers. It's french. Deal with it) is a little cupcake and ice cream boutique that not only has wonderful cupcakes that I witnessed being made on location but it also sells Bilboquet Ice cream. YAAYYYYYYY! For those of you who have never had bilboquet ice cream, fine yes it's overrated...BUT THE SORBET IS SO GOOD.

Oh, and the reason that I had 44 No's instead of 45 was because I actually was going to be hired at College Pro painters (better use of my time no doubt. Painting houses instead of selling ice cream and cupcakes to people...) and found out on the day that I discovered that I had to go to summer school for failing calculus...(and french, but that's a different story). So 44 no's, two yesses, one job. Awesome.

2) I HAVE A-

Hah, never mind. It's none of your business internet ;)


So, I was on the computer and suddenly realized that a draft of this blog had been sitting around for a while so I'm going to post it now, without further ado. I'm also going to post a new blog post immediately after! yay!