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Some Nerd Girl

Some Like It Nerdy

Month

August 2015

Battling The Dark Lord of Illnesses

This is a story about how my nerdom got me through one of the roughest times in my life. To me, being a nerd isn’t trendy – it’s a way of life that has served me well! With that said, there are all kinds of words I would use to describe myself – mom, wife, the 4-H Lady, Geek, runner, yogi.

But even with having a mother and grandmother with a history of colon cancer, I never thought I would have to add “cancer survivor” to my list.

Don’t get me wrong – I am very thankful that ‘survivor’ is included in the description! So since both my mother and grandmother had colon cancer, while unpleasant, I had to begin my screenings at age 25 (much earlier than the recommended 50). For my first checkup, everything came back fine. I got the referral from Dr. Fricker to come back in 5 years and went on my way.

In July 2014, my 30th birthday rolled around and I remembered it was that time again. I finally got around to making the appointment for my colonoscopy in September. After the procedure my doctor said he found a thickened fold and that it could be irritation from the prep for the procedure or it could be cancer. I honestly didn’t give it another thought as my husband, A.J., rolled me out of the office. All that was on my mind was how hungry I was!

Editor's note: the struggle is real.
Editor’s note: the struggle is real.

That was September 19th. My follow up was a rainy Monday morning on September 29th. I remember telling A.J. before we went to bed that night that I didn’t think they found anything because it had been a week and a half. When my mama was diagnosed she went for her colonoscopy on Monday and found out she had cancer on Wednesday.

That rainy Monday, Dr. Fricker walked into the office and just said it; “I don’t have good news for you. It is cancer.”

I was in total shock.

He said I would have to have surgery. I asked, “Surgery like Mama had?” I was there with her and knew all she went through. All I could think over the next days and weeks was ‘I don’t have time for this. I don’t want to stop my life for this.’

For some reason, my mind went to the scene in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring where Frodo and Gandalf are talking in the mines of Moria. Frodo says,

“I wish the Ring had never had come to me. I wish none of this had ever happened to me.”

Frodo
Source @ http://myelvenkingdom.tumblr.com

Gandalf’s reply is one that I clung to as I went through my cancer/chemo journey.

“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

I felt like Frodo sitting in that deep dark mine. I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t want to have to face what was ahead. I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t want to have surgery and put my busy important life on hold (insert sarcasm here). I had to have the surgery. I had to take the chemo. I wanted to live. To see my little boy grow up. To grow old and grey with my husband.

And when I would get to feeling bad about my situation my mind would also go to the quote from Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban when Dumbledore is addressing the students of Hogwarts on the dangers dementors.

“A word of caution: dementors are vicious creatures. They will not distinguish between the one they hunt and the one who gets in their way. Therefore I must warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. It’s not in the nature of a dementor to be forgiving. But you know happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Not much ever got Luna down!
Not much ever got Luna down!

Good things have come from having cancer. My parents who divorced when I was 2 finally speak to each other instead of the awkward silence and stares from before. I have renewed my friendship with my childhood best friend. We had drifted apart our Senior year of high school, but our friendship is stronger now than it ever was. There can be happiness in even the darkest of times – you just have to find the light!

I had my surgery on October 13th. Everything went well but even though the cancer was only in one lymph node out of 57, I would still be facing chemo. I was in the hospital with instructions not to pick up anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Brody, my son, was 9 months old at the time and was much heavier than a gallon of milk! Luckily, we have a wonderful nanny named Ms. Mary that keeps him in our home. But in the meantime, I was still around Brody 24/7 and unable to do anything with him. I could feed him when someone put him in his high chair and give him a bath but that was it.

No rocking at night, no playing on the floor, no changing diapers. I could not even sit and hold him because of my incision. He not being able to understand why I couldn’t pick him up upset both of us. So most days I would stay in my bedroom so I could stay out of his sight. This was the first time in 9 months that I had idle time on my hands. Working full time and having a family doesn’t allow for much downtime!

The show Warehouse 13 had been on my Netflix queue for some time but I had just never gotten around to watching it. I decided now was as good a time as any. I can honestly say that show got me through one of the hardest times of my life.   Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I was transported to a world of science fiction and history sprinkled with humor and topped off with a great mix of characters. Being able to escape into the world of Warehouse 13 helped me get through those hard days.

Serious warehouse-type things about to go down. Really, though, these people got me through rough times!
Serious warehouse-type things about to go down. Really, though, these people got me through rough times!

In May of 2015 I was declared cancer free! Which is great news, but every year for the next five years I have a date with my surgeon and gastroenterologist just to be sure.

Being a nerd and the wealth of content, story and enduring themes of bravery and hardship within nerd culture gave me strength to get through some of the hardest days of my life. Yay for bring a nerd!


JuliaJulia is a curious mix of southern belle and nerd. She resides in South Georgia with her non-nerd husband , nerd in progress 19 month old son  and two spoiled rotten Australian Cattle Dogs.  A lover of Harry Potter, Star Wars, Dr.Who, Lost Girl, Warehouse 13 and all things Tolkien. She has a been a nerd for most of her 31 years, and somehow seems to be getting nerdier the older she gets!

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7 Webcomics That You Need In Your Life [Some Adult Content]

Okay, let me start by saying that I read a lot. And by that I mean… A LOT. I read a metric f*ck ton of stuff. Blogs, novels, comics, books, graphic novels, webcomics, tumblrs, twitter. A lot!

Like this is a normal day for me.

I read a shocking amount of online comics. And if you want more recommendations than what I am listing here just let me know. I am just going to specifically talk about some feminist and nerdy ones right here and now.

Maybe you have already heard of some of these online comics. And if you haven’t; then I hope you give them a chance and grow to love them as much as I do.

1. XKCD: I honestly feel like I HAVE to include XKCD in any mention of nerd webcomics. It is probably the most well known and poorly drawn. [https://xkcd.com/385/]

Here’s why you should love it: What it lacks in artistic skill it makes up for in general nerdiness. This is created by a guy who gets it right about women in geek culture pretty often. He’s what I call hard nerdery. Math jokes abound.

Here’s a favorite of mine:

Wait a minute...
Wait a minute…

2. Questionable Content: This one is outwardly just a great comic about relationships and dating. However, the creator of this (a guy) has recently done a great job of including all sorts of relationships, genders, ethnicities. [http://questionablecontent.net/]

Here’s why you should love it: The thing that puts it on my list for sci-fi is the development of artificial intelligence in this world. The AI are some of my favorite recurring characters. It’s also very interesting to watch the progress of his artistic skills as time has gone by.

My favorite quote from the comic:

Insert food into mouth to avoid the hangry state.
Insert food into mouth to avoid the hangry state.

3. Hark! A Vagrant!: This is another comic that is hard nerdery and generally super dorky. The creator is a Canadian and a woman. [http://www.harkavagrant.com/]

Here’s why you should love it: She makes jokes about historical stuff and I really can’t even explain what is going on with her except that she’s hilarious. I own a print and t-shirt of hers and I want more. She is a f*cking genius!

A favorite drawing of hers (and the glow in the dark shirt I own!):

You can never be sure...
You can never be sure…

4. The Hues: Okay, this comic is the sh*t! It is created by a very sweet woman I follow on Twitter. [http://thehues.alexheberling.com/]

Here’s why you should love it: Besides having a mostly female cast, multiple genders and sexualities presented and a POC main character. How about women with superpowers fighting robot alien invaders? I feel like this creator basically took that advice that if you want something to exist you should make it yourself.

Shiny!
Shiny!

BEWARE! (Or be excited), thar be adult content ahead!

5. Oglaf: This one is 100% NSFW. Seriously. It starts out pretty slow with an ongoing storyline that I don’t really like. But it soon becomes one of the funniest webcomics I have ever read. [http://oglaf.com/sextiles/]

Here’s why you should love it: It is smutty fantasy, and not like sex fantasy (though it has a lot of sex). More like dragons and magic and shapeshifter fantasy. It is created by a woman. Lots of homoerotica too. The below image is one of the better ones that was not ridiculously indecent. It was tough to find one.

Here’s a favorite of mine:

I'll be in my bunk...
I’ll be in my bunk…

6. Starfighter: This one does not do so well with the feminist aspect as it appears to take place in some all male dystopian future in space. [http://starfightercomic.com/comic.php]

Here’s why you should love it: There is a ton of homosexual relationships and encounters depicted in this one. Which I excitedly endorse. I can’t really tell where this comic is going. It is fascinating and interesting and I wish it updated more often. I also have no clue who created it. The whole thing is very mysterious and beautiful. A LOT of graphic adult content, yada yada.

Sh*t is about to go down...
Sh*t is about to go down…

7. Chester 5000XYV: Have I spoken about the art of any of the other comics yet? No? I guess I was saving it for this one. This is a NSFW romantic comic set in Victorian times about a woman and a robot. It is created by a woman. [http://jessfink.com/Chester5000XYV/?p=34]

Here’s why you should love it: It is beautifully drawn. There are no words, only gorgeous art. It has a compelling story. I love her use of borders and perspective in her storytelling. And in case you missed it, robot sex!

We all knew this day would come...
We all knew this day would come…

So there you have it. Yes, I do read more online comics than this. Think I am missing out on something good? Let me know in the comments! I definitely don’t have enough to read in my life.


MaurnasMaurnas is the barely anonymous alias of a reclusive Floridian fangirl. She has an alleged humor blog at cursitivity.WordPress.com and can also be found at maurnas@cursitivity on Twitter. She writes almost as much as she reads but has done nothing with her debatable talents thus far other than all the blogging and tweeting and writing.

True story…

After writing on all day Sunday, I can confirm.

Enjoy this little bit of levity on a Monday – I hope it makes this Monday suck less!

Vampires – Love ’em or Leave ’em?

We here at Some Nerd Girl like to tackle the real problems of the day… like vampires – love ’em or leave ’em?

The world is losing its monsters, and it may not be a bad thing. The vampires that I grew up with- brooding, sexual, and tormented; they are truly a thing of the past. The modern era has no room for them. These days, the vampires we see may be tortured, but they’re tortured by petty pursuits and many are borne of their own machinations. “Vampire Politics” is a term seen in every new book these days. But why did vampires become boring? At the very base of the folklore, vampires have always served as cautionary tales. Folklorists have some pretty solid theories that vampirism is based on rabies breakouts. Unusual sightings of bats, a transition period before death, hypersexuality, and of course rabies is transmitted by being bitten. The tale of vampires told people the signs of a very dangerous disease. (Here’s a source if you’re on of those ‘fact checkers’: http://www.theverge.com/2013/4/18/4201878/sick-idea-how-rabies-spawned-vampires-and-zombies)

I am pretty sure Bella would not let THIS bite her.
I am pretty sure Bella would not let THIS bite her.

Even Stoker’s Dracula is a cautionary tale warning of the danger of foreigners. While that side of the story is maybe a little politically incorrect, if you consider the social and economic factors of the time the book was written, it makes sense. The fact that technology helps fight the danger is actually pretty neat. Mina’s typewriter and the use of a phonograph may not be cutting edge today, but the technology of the time was used to counter the darkest forces of evil. Let’s consider that for a moment, the fact that technology and logic beat out superstition and mythical creatures. We’ll come back to it later.

Hipsters may have the edge if Dracula ever makes a comeback.
Hipsters may have the edge if Dracula ever makes a comeback.

The most important part of the “old school” vampire stories, of course, is the temptation. The trade-off. What would you give for immortality? Would you flee from your friends and family as they try to introduce you to the pointy side of a stake? You’re a blood-hungry monster, after all. How will you stay sane for a millennia while seeing those around you wither and die; except for the ones you kill yourself? Would you trade in bacon for blood? Could you forsake the sun and a life in the light, for immortality in the dark? Even if you did, would it be worth it? Vampirism has always been a deal with the devil, and the devil always got his due.

Is now a bad time to mention humans are called the long pig..?
Is now a bad time to mention humans are called the long pig..?

In modern media, there are no cautionary tales to scare us in the night. We know all about bloodborne diseases, and sun allergies, and even the fact that skin shrinks in certain earths, making nails and hair look longer. In modern works, technology helps vampires. Who cares about sunlight when the only thing it will do is make you sparkle?! Even if you are one of those “bursts into flames when the sun rises” kind of vampires, well, these days you just need a witch to make you a fancy ring. Or get yourself some broad-spectrum 100spf. Why lurk in the dark worrying over the life you’re taking to feed on, when instead you could open up bottle of Bacon-flavored TrueBlood™?

Supposedly
Supposedly

Even the society of the undead has changed. With little exception, vampires have been outcasts and lone wolves. Dracula may have had a harem, but they’re barely mentioned and barely used. Lestat, the devil, tries endlessly to create bonds with other vampires, only to be spurned and betrayed again and again. Even when Rice’s vampires do manage to get along, eventually someone realizes what a terrible idea it is and sets the whole business up in flames. Even the maker of vampires in Rice’s books spends a lot of time setting them on fire.

“Not _again!_” he seemed to say….

On the other side of the fang, modern vampires own night clubs, they work as covens, they boss each other around and swear fealty to each other. Some get married, some work in gas stations. The vampires of today have integrated. Modernity, it seems, has finally made us the DietVampire.

Although... I'm pretty sure you have to diet to get a body like that.
Although… I’m pretty sure you have to diet to get a body like that.

All the eternity, but none of the torment or loneliness. Gone is the struggle to survive and not hate yourself. The modernization of vampires has been a massive tradeoff. These DietVampires really don’t have struggles very different from the ones that normal folk have. They own businesses, they call in to radio shows, they have creepy half-vampire children. All the hardship of olden days has been replaced with modern convenience, and authors have recognized that. To try to give us something to care about and make vampires scarier, the writers have turned to something different – politics and chess games. Usually there’s some sort of “let’s turn humans into livestock” angle to it, of course.

Modern vampires could learn from Supernatural's Leviathan, who are genuinely creepy.
Modern vampires could learn from Supernatural’s Leviathan, who are genuinely creepy.

There isn’t anything tantalizing to the plot lines of modern vampire stories, because even if they’re after our blood, they’re really not after our way of life. They’re not asking us to make a choice. While being livestock that may be scary to society, it isn’t very scary to a single reader. What makes vampires scary to people aren’t plans and games, it’s the temptation that they offer; the temptation to make that deal with the devil… unfortunately for horror fans, now the deal with the devil comes with 0% financing.

The verdict? You decide! Leave your thoughts in the comments!


Barb2Barbie O’Havoc has been considered a nerd since the first time she pissed someone off for having a weird opinion. Since then, she’s been spending her time indulging in the surprisingly expensive habits of reading trashy vampire novels and hitting people while playing roller derby. Both of her main hobbies have led to a love of terrible puns, much to everyone’s dismay.

Barbie O’ also loves coffee and local restaurants, and occasionally rambles about both on the Johnstown Food Blog.

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