Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Newest paper sculpt project!

Sonic Screwdriver trio for my friend's birthday.

An interview with Adam Harum of Transolar Galactica.

They achieved their Kickstarter goal, and now the world gets more of their award winning sci-fi comedy!

Doctor Who themed lip balm!

Brought to you from Earthtastic! and A Bit of Geek.

Minecraft paper sculpt!

My submission to the Mojang community art contest. Watch the video!

A TARDIS desk lamp!

Instructions and babbling on how to make a TARDIS lamp from foam core!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sculpt Video - Toejam & Earl!

Time to get down and funky with the hipest aliens in the solar system!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

We have moved to

This is a friendly reminder that A Bit of Geek is alive and well, but now thrives on its own domain! Be sure to head to to keep up on all of our awesome projects, articles, videos, and more!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Day in the Life of Blooper

I wrote a vignette about my favorite character, Blooper, and I want to share it with you.


The morning dawns bright and sunny. A lone blooper wiggles itself awake. Amongst the slowly waving reeds and seaweed, it blinks tiredly. Near and far, bloopers across the sea are rising to meet the day. Did you know that squid sleep at night? Well, they do.

The blooper stretches out its tentacles, lazily floating and moving back and forth. It brushes against a piece of seaweed; its home and hiding place.

Peace under water is broken suddenly; a determined, mustachioed man swims erratically amongst the cheep cheeps and eep cheeps. The deep cheeps begin to look around, agitated and suspicious.

Blooper settles itself more comfortably against the solid floor of the ocean. The mustache man is of no concern. Deep cheeps are swimming for him, driving him away from the bed of relaxed bloopers, safe and happy amongst their fluid, grassy nests.

A strange sound cuts through the water, and blooper looks warily in its direction. The mustache man is coming back, and the deep cheeps are gone. Bright orange and red balls are whizzing away from the man, striking through the protective cheeps. Even cheep cheeps, and the gentlest eep cheeps, are falling.

With an imperceptible shift, blooper readies itself. The fellow bloopers follow suit. Lying in wait amongst the seaweed, what were once peaceful, undulating homes, become instruments of invisibility.

The swimming mustache draws nearer with slow, easy strokes; a languid attitude dripping along his legs as he glides in the water. Cheeps of all kind lay in still piles amongst the hidden bloopers. The man loops around once, twice, three times, slowing his approach to the seemingly empty and safe expanse of seaweed covered ground.

And then, he swims into the open. Confidently, quickly, his mustache flowing and twisting with the force of the moving water. Blooper braces for a moment, before propelling itself up and into the wavering shape above it; all thought and focus aimed at the man, and the image of the lifeless bodies of the cheeps that litter the once peaceful home of the bloopers.



*banner images: blooper, mario.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Reaction Diaries - "Oh, God."

Things are shocking as all hell in this week's episode.

-MJ and Rachel

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Gift that Shaped my Life.

The scene is Christmas. The year is 1991. A 5 and 7 year old dance excitedly around a small tree as their mom hands them a large, grey wrapped present. Warmly clad in 90s attire, they tear at the wrapping to reveal a brand new Nintendo Entertainment System complete with Mario Bros./Duck Hunt. The two children screech with delight. They had played a Nintendo at daycare, you see, so they knew the depth of this treasure. The mom hands out two smaller gifts, one to each squealing girl, who then rip them open in unison. Both packages contain NES games; one is revealed to be the The Little Mermaid, the other is Barbie. They stand proud on that cold December night, armed with games and a thirst to play. For that 5 year old, the thirst has never been quenched.

christmas 1991  
My sister and me about to open a bomb shell.

As you might have guessed, that 5 year old was me. Is me! I am still that 5 year old. Sort of. You know what I mean. Nintendo has been my jam, my one true love, for nearly my entire life. I still have that NES! It even still works since I replaced the PIN connector inside of it. It sits proudly on display along with my SNES, GameCube, N64, Wii, Wii U, Gameboy, Gameboy SP, and my variety of DS systems.

opening a nintendo system

When I tell people that we had Mario, Barbie, and The Little Mermaid for our NES they usually laugh and remark on the "girlie" games. The truth is that The Little Mermaid was a solid adventure title with plenty of challenges and level diversity. The day that we finally defeated Ursula was a proud one, and I honestly think it's the first game that I ever finished. Barbie, on the other hand, is the game of demons and monsters. Whoever designed it didn't like children and wanted to watch them suffer. It was a platformer with timed puzzles and was hard. as hell. We never did beat that one! I'll never forget the shopping mall level with its random bits of flying clothing that would pelt you to death. Sometimes I think about going back and giving it one last chance, and then I think, "Not today."

Barbie and The Little Mermaid for Nintendo 
I wish we still had the original boxes.

I remember playing a lot of Duck Hunt. Somewhere, somehow, we acquired two additional Zappers. Two of them sit on my shelf and the third is in a box. I can still hear the twangy clack of the trigger pull and see the dog giggling. I also have fond memories of my grandma playing it with us. She'd sit very still on the couch, hike her glasses up to her forehead and press the butt of the Zapper up to her eye and take careful aim. She was no slouch!

When we got our hands on Super Mario Bros. 3 we abandoned all other games. My sister and I played it straight into the ground but never actually beat it. I know the first three worlds well, and if we were having a particularly good day then we would grace worlds 4 and 5 with our presence! But, those were rare occurrences. Being the younger child I always had to be Luigi. I hated that for the longest time, but eventually grew to develop a kindred connection with the green dressed brother. Nowadays whenever I play Mario games with other people I'm player 1 because I own the console, and consequently I'm Mario. I like him just fine, but I do miss being Player 2.

super mario bros 3  
My sister on her 8th birthday.

With the release of virtual consoles for the Wii, Wii U, 3DS, and the re-releases of NES games on the GBA, it's certainly not difficult to get old school kicks fulfilled and satisfied. I have all of the NES/SNES Mario games on GBA and a few of them on my Wii and it's great. Really! But, nothing beats the fuzzy *ponk* of turning on an old tube TV, sitting on the floor, blowing hard into a cartridge, and holding my breath in hopes that the little red power button on the Nintendo won't simply flash on and off. Even the hard, angular controller digging into my palms is comforting, combined with the squeaking twist of indestructible plastic as I push harder in an attempt to jump higher and go faster. Excuse me, I have some games to go and play.

What are your NES stories?


This article is inspired by the NEStalgia prompt from Gamerwife!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sharing My Winnings!

A few weeks ago Amanda at Krystelle's Miss Tells (she writes a lot about World of Warcraft, book reviews, nerdy crafts, and TV shows! She updates her blog regularly :)) hosted a giveaway to win a copy of 'Find It In Everything', which is a photo book by Drew Barrymore. At first I went, "Photos by Drew Barrymore?" but then I read the description and found myself a little interested. Over the years she has snapped a photo every time she's found a heart shape. The photos range from light reflections, to leaves, to tears in clothing. They're not technical masterpieces and probably wouldn't win any awards, but they're charming, unique, and surprisingly heart warming.

I've never had strong feelings about Drew Barrymore either way, but Amanda went through the trouble to host a giveaway and I like photography, so I figured why not? I'll enter! Imagine my delight when I actually won! I never win anything!!

Picard investigating the package and assisting with opening.

Some super cute stickers and a card as well!

Not only did Amanda send me a book, but she sent me a handwritten note and some Valentines! I haven't had a Valentine in years :D

Getting mail is awesome, and she provided quite the presentation.

No one sends hand written Thank You cards anymore! Just lovely.

I was all smiles the whole time getting all of this open. It was thrilling to see those cute little Valentines fall out of the envelope, and has me thinking about how much I'd like to get a pen pal! I love hand written notes and letters, as well as sending and receiving mail!

Thanks again to Amanda over at Krystelle's Miss Tells! 'Find It In Everything' is a lovely little collection that will put a smile on pretty much anyone's face. It would make a wonderful Valentine's Day gift, birthday present, or just something to say "I love you" to someone special in your life. I'm so pleased that I won this giveaway!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Final Fantasy 8 Diary - Entry 6

Dear Diary,

Today is our first SeeD mission, and I've decided to shake off some nerves by playing cards. I headed to the cafeteria because I heard a guy there had the Quistis card. I played one guy about ten times before realizing that he wasn't the right person! At least I won a few good new cards in the process. I finally talked to his buddy who was hiding behind a plant, who actually had the Quistis card. Got my ass handed to me a few times before graduating to drawing. Spoiler alert, I finally got it! *fist pump*

And TRIUMPH! I finally beat that punk ass kid! The Mini Mog card is mine. I swear, winning at cards is the only thing that makes me happy. After that we got our official orders to go to Timber, but I wasn't done playing cards. We found headmaster Cid, and eventually I won his Seifer card. He also gave me a magic lamp, which apparently contained Diablos. It proved difficult to conquer. I was foolish to think I was ready for it. Must have been all of those card winning streaks giving me an inflated head. During battle it used Curaga on Selphie after she used Demi on it. We were so stunned that we lost. After some practice along the beach, and a bad run in with a T-rexasaur, we were feeling pumped for another chance at Diablos. Oh yeah! (that was us feeling totally ready to fight) And we did it! Although it, again, cast Curaga on Selphie after she used a demi on it. We continue to be mystified.

diablos ff8 
He's a badass, but not very smart in battle. via finalfantasy wikia



[This is part of a series of diary entries chronicling my first play through of Final Fantasy 8. I write from the perspective of Squall, but with the twist of a person putting thoughts rambling and unedited into a diary. Join me on my journey of love, loss, and intense angst. first post here!]

*header image source

Friday, February 14, 2014

Old, New, Borrowed... Rented? The Lowdown on ALBW.

I am enjoying the hell out of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The first whiffs of the game seemed promising and fun, and after playing a demo at PAX Prime 2013 I was hooked and anticipatory for its release. I received it as a Christmas gift and jumped into the game shortly after the new year. As I've been playing I've been jotting down my first impressions and my overall feelings about the game. I'm happy to say that it's a handheld Zelda that I actually like. I loved Minish Cap, as well as Oracle of Ages and Seasons, and I'm still stumbling and struggling to get through the tough-as-nails Link's Awakening, but Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks were just bleah to me. There's no bleah over here though! Here are my thoughts on the newest addition to the Legend of Zelda series. This will contain some spoilers!

a link between world's starting screen It's the same startup music as A Link to the Past. You can hear it, can't you?

So, A Link Between Worlds (here on out referred to as ALBW) is the story of our constant Hero of Time being called up in Hyrule's time of need. This time a strange man (at least I think it's a man) named  Yuga is turning important, and sometimes (seemingly) random, people into portraits with his magic powers. Sahasrahla begs for your help because you happen to be nearby with a sword.

albw hyrule castle What started as a bummer errand soon became the adventure of a lifetime.

Your chase leads you to Hyrule castle where you're too late! Zelda has been turned into a painting. After following Yuga through a strange, colorful crack in a wall you pop out into Lorule, the Dark World equivalent in ALBW. Yuga is harnessing Ganon's Triforce of Power to be... beautiful? It was a weird scene. This is when Hilda, ruler of Lorule, shows up and begs for your help in fixing the devastatingly horrible world that is hers to reign over. And with that, the Hero of Time sets out to recover all of the paintings that turn out to be descendants of the Seven Sages from Ocarina of Time (here on out referred to as OoT) in an effort to help Hilda and save Lorule, while also restoring those descendants to their rightful living place in Hyrule.

albw link gets the master sword No matter how many times I acquire the Master Sword it doesn't get old.

It's really exciting that ALBW is set in the same universe as A Link to the Past (here on out referred to as ALttP). I knew this going in, of course, but getting to explore the same map with new goals in mind just feels... cool. Familiar but different at the same time. It instilled a sense of confidence in where to go and how to get to certain places. ALttP ties for my favorite Zelda game along with OoT, so any opportunity to explore the area is fine by me!

When meeting Zelda for the first time I got a real kick out of the fact that it's the same music that plays in OoT (when meeting Zelda for the first time). I felt a good little shiver at the bone-deep memories that it conjured. In a way it felt like I really was the Hero of Time and past lives/parallel lives were reverberating through me with hearing that music and seeing that girl. It was also pretty neat that Nintendo reused the plot device of both Link and Zelda having evil premonition dreams.

albw meeting princess zelda At least she's not commenting on my crazy green garb.

I stayed pretty far away from preview videos and teasers before the game was released because I like to be surprised as the story unfolds. I also hate those "First 20 minutes of gameplay!" videos. Objectively I understand their purpose and appeal, but if I watch them then the beginning of the game will be boring! With that in mind, I had no idea that ALBW would circulate around the Seven Sages! A swish and a win for more OoT references! It further instilled my Hero of Time feelings.

The first thing that I really didn't like about ALBW was the fact that you have to rent your weapons. I scoffed and pouted and wondered why on earth Nintendo would take from me the great joy of finding new weapons in each dungeon. How could they do this? Don't they understand how great an experience it is?! I have to *pay* for weapons, and if I get a Game Over then I lose the weapons and have to pay to rent them again? What's with all the rupee grubbing?

albw rental shop This weirdo sets up shop in your old house because you "aren't using it". So presumptuous.

If you don't like the sound of what I'm saying, keep reading! I have good news for you. It turns out that Nintendo had an excellent reason for this rental system: for the first time since the NES days players can explore the dungeons in ANY order they want! Whaaaaat?! Yeah. Big news. Of course, I'm terrible at following in-game prompts (especially the ones that are in bold letters and are highlighted in red giving clear instructions on what to do next) so I missed the repeated hint to go to the fissure behind Sahasrahla's house (which would have lent a semi-sense of order to the dungeons) and merrily wandered off to the Thieves Hideout and the Swamp Palace first.

The sense of freedom was inordinately intoxicating. I'd look at the map, review the Xs indicating dungeons, and just... decide on a whim which one I would go to! It was refreshing! I think precisely the perfect balance of old and new, familiar yet innovative. Also, eventually the rented weapons become purchasable and so you don't have to worry about re-paying for them if you fall in battle. Another thing that Nintendo finally did right was to give you an infinite (or nearly infinite) wallet from the very start. There's actually a reason to chase all of the rupees and even conquer the random treasure hunting locations that you'll find. Thanks Nintendo!

Another aspect of the game that I dislike, yet understand, are the save points. I despise when games don't have a 'save anywhere' feature. As a very busy and important adult I may have to shut my 3DS at the drop of a hat. I don't want to worry about losing my progress! This is a very minor gripe though because in reality there are a lot lot lot of save points and they also serve as a way to integrate fast travel into the game. Near the beginning you're given a bell by a young witch who is trying to be more charitable and from that point on if you ring the bell she'll swoop by on her broom and take you to any save locations that you've activated. Pretty sweet!

albw seven sages painting hyrule castle A little history lesson in Hyrule castle.

When a dungeon has been conquered and a Sage has been saved you're taken to the Chamber of Sages where they'll talk to you, and in this chamber you can actually walk around! I always wanted to be able to walk around in the chamber while playing OoT, so it really is the little things that make the world go 'round.

I feel it's important to note that the wall merging is pretty damn slick. I think a lot of people were afraid it was just a super gimmick, but I feel that Nintendo incorporated it very well. It's really not that different from the mirror/warp points in ALttP, except there are more of them! Plus the wall merge is used for more than just going into fissures to get from Hyrule to Lorule and back again. Many of the dungeon puzzles are based off the merging and some places on the map are only accessible via merge. The only real downside to this aspect of the game is that the "regular" view is bird's eye view. As in completely top down. I prefer to be more over the shoulder angle and so at first this really bothered me. I realize that it's because seeing more of the surroundings would make the merging puzzles useless. I got used to it after a while, so ultimately it wasn't a deal breaker.

As of this writing I'm still attempting to beat the game. I made a huge push toward completion while hanging out with my nephew during the Super Bowl. He sat with me as I worked my way through the last two dungeons as well as Lorule Castle. He whooped and hollered and said things like "I'm too nervous I can't watch!" as I attempted to defeat Yuga-Ganon thing. Unfortunately I failed spectacularly because I only had two faeries and no potions. I recently read on a walk through that 3000 rupees tossed into a special faerie pond will grant Link another bottle, so I'll be going after that before I try to beat the game again.

A Link Between Worlds has been getting rewards and outstanding reviews all over the place and is definitely worth at least one run through. When I'm finished with it I can't wait to lend it to my friends! Have you played it yet?


*All images property of A Bit of Geek! I took them with my phone, they are masterpieces.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Diablo: The Series (Part Three)

Diablo III, as mentioned before, sparked quite the change in my life when it was announced. My good friend Andy to move halfway across the state just to live with me so we could play Diablo II constantly until the III was released. There's a cruel irony in the fact that III was not released for quite some time (YEARS) after the announcement, and the fact that not once did we play Diablo II. Damn. The things you do when you're impassioned.

For more information on the ominous release date, see here. Source! 
For more information on the ominous release date, see here. Source!

Nevertheless, I was excited about the new entry in the series. The first two adventures were glorious and I couldn't wait to see what the next would bring. Since I was consciously paying attention to the gaming market at this point, my excitement grew at every new announcement of a character, every tiny hint at what you would encounter, and seeing what the gameplay would look like, along with how the game would function.

"This isn't where I parked my car."  Source! 
"This isn't where I parked my car." Source!

I was extremely happy when I got beta access and got to experience the look and feel of the game itself. The first impression was as good as it could have been. The game looked beautiful, felt solid, and scratched that itch to go demon hunting. Sadly, my personal computer did not have what it took to run the game (according to Blizzard, anyway) so I could only experience the beta on Rachel's laptop, leaving me frantically devising how I would build up my computer by the anticipated release date.  It was around this time that I discovered Blizzard was considering a console release, something which was done for the first Diablo, but not with much success. There was a lot of confusion and cautious attitude surrounding the idea, but I was quite optimistic. If they could pull off a solid console release, it would save me the trouble of having to deal with 'roiding out my PC. Call me what you will, I still prefer my consoles to a mouse and keyboard, save for a few select titles.

What would a preorder be without a perk?  Source! 
What would a preorder be without a perk?

Release day came, and I picked my copy up for my PS3 on my way to work. I could practically feel the fires of Hell emanating from the case, which was locked in the console of my truck at work, in a parking lot about 500 feet away from me. I was burning (heh) to play this game, and I couldn't wait til I was off work to slap it in my PS3, wait an hour for it to install, and eventually give it a shot. Once all of the waiting was over, boy, did it pay off. Funnily enough, the console release was actually better-received than the PC release because it was apparently much more polished. The game was essentially rebuilt to accommodate for a controller instead of a keyboard, and the play experience was drastically different. Certainly a change-up from the PC being the master race in every shape and form. Hell, I would have enjoyed it anyway, but knowing I made a good choice by picking it up for my console made it much sweeter.

Welcome back, couch co-op.  Source! Welcome back, couch co-op. Source!

I got to play co-op online with my friend TJ, who also picked it up that day. We stayed up pretty late roaming the lands and leveling our characters, preparing ourselves for whatever onslaught the future would hold. Over the next few days, however, I was busy with other things, leaving TJ to play by himself and complete the game almost twice. This left me in the dust and with almost no hope of catching up, but it certainly didn't deter me from logging in and playing whenever I could.

Here's what TJ was doing while I was stuck at work.  Source!
Here's what TJ was doing while I was stuck at work. Source!

It's a toss-up between fortunate and unfortunate circumstance that I haven't been able to delve into Diablo III nearly as much as I desire to. On the one hand, I have limited experience and love what I have played so far. A lot of people were displeased with Diablo III because they felt it was too short and didn't have enough content. I feel like taking the game at a snail's pace gives more opportunity to really soak in the experience; to appreciate the game and all it has to offer. On the other hand, I'm left behind. I don't know many people who play on the PS3 in the first place, and at this point, most people have already moved on to other titles. Maybe I'll get a bit of a play bump when the expansion comes out later on. Still looking forward!

At least I don't have to keep starting over like the guys on Hardcore.  Source! 
At least I don't have to keep starting over like the guys on Hardcore. Source!

My bottom line about the game is that it is straight up lovely, and I can tell even if I haven't finished it. The graphics are gorgeous, the gameplay is smooth and fun, and the story is fantastic. I wouldn't expect anything else from the brilliant minds at Blizzard. If you have to take something away from here, let it be this: not every game needs to be a speed run. Slow down. Enjoy it more. Take some time to appreciate what you are playing. Quit beating everything before me so I actually have a chance to play with someone.

That game came out months ago, loser. 
That game came out months ago, loser.

And so, the trio of articles revolving around the dark lord Diablo comes to a close. Hopefully, my writings have been informative or entertaining in some capacity. Have something in particular you liked or didn't like? Something you can relate to? Leave a comment!


Monday, February 10, 2014

The Reaction Diaries - Miranda has questions.

In this week's video of Rachel and Miranda watching The Vampire Diaries, a few things need to be cleared up.

-MJ and Rachel

Friday, February 7, 2014

Why Everyone Should Be on Tumblr

In the beginning I was resistant to tumblr. I was convinced that it was filled with pretentious users participating in nonsensical rebloggings, incoherent ramblings, and a basic holier than thou attitude. In short, I didn't understand the platform.

 liz lemon 30 rock  
An accurate recreation of my feelings.

It wasn't until I wanted to expand the A Bit of Geek presence that I made an account and slowly fell down the rabbit hole. At first, I was confused as all hell. The site seems very stupid, and pointless, because you don't have anyone to follow. Or rather, you don't know who  to follow if you, like me, didn't have tumblr friends to give you some great starting suggestions. That will change though! Plus the latter half of this article will give you some tips on how to get going :D Nowadays tumblr is one of my favorites places to go for artistic inspiration, entertainment, social justice awareness, and a general interest in learning new things.

It's an easy way to find people who don't think like you do. If you're intrigued by this foreign notion, then you can bounce around and find other users who share this new idea, this unfamiliar point of view. Maybe you just want to explore theories that are contrary to yours in an effort to better understand or solidify your own opinions. Perhaps you'll learn new things about yourself in the process and discover that you're a feminist, an idealist, a dreamer, an ally, obsessed with vintage photos, intrigued by 1920s suitcase designs, fascinated by movies with a certain theme, a spinning wheel enthusiast, desperate to start homesteading, and on and on. Perhaps you never realized what it was like to truly be in a fandom and, after accidentally stumbling across someone's Sherlock devoted tumblr, you can now see the appeal of the show.

doctor who fandom meme 
Or you'll get sucked into a show and end up quoting references to yourself.

So, my advice for starting out on tumblr! Pick a person that you admire and then see if they have a tumblr, or see if there's a tumblr about them. Take Wil Wheaton, for example. He is magnificent at tumblr. From him I get so much more than geek references and the occasional Star Trek: TNG reblog. I receive exceptional political and economic commentary that, as a result, has made me much more informed on the current state of the US government than I've ever been before. Many times I am presented with a small and powerful quote accompanied by a link to a larger article. These citations of a good tumblr user help to perpetuate being informed, and I can get the full "experience" and not just the (sometimes) shocking quote.

The diversity of my tumblr feed also prevents me from being exposed to just news or just serene photos. I would like to stay informed and also not feel like garbage after reading depressing news report after depressing news report. Having that kind of information interspersed with the occasional hilarious Chief O'Brien comic makes the world feel a little better.

chief o'brien at work comic 
The loneliest being on the Enterprise.

At its core it's a fun and easy way to create a collection of things that you love, like, find interesting, or fascinating. If you want to be organized about it then go to Pinterest, but if you simply like to ingest and then move on then tumblr is the place for you! Just be sure to find the good users: the ones who quote and cite sources, so that you're able to, as an adult with a thirst for knowledge and proof, can move from intrigued and curious to informed and opinionated.

And that is why I think everyone should be on tumblr. In my experience you'd be hard pressed to find a place as entertaining and informative. The knowledge that tumblr has randomly and suddenly shoved in front of me has been life changing, even though that sounds a tad dramatic. I've also found so many new artists that inspire me to push harder at my craft. I love tumblr!

You can follow my personal account mirandajabog for a catch-all of things I like and abitofgeek for general geek goodness! Do you have a tumblr?


*header image source. Kind of.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

10 Badass Female Characters to Take Lessons From

Amongst many pop culture icons, I feel there are a few that stick out more than the others. Batman, Iron Man, The Doctor, Captain Malcolm Reynolds...the list goes on and on. But compared to the men, there are a very small number of women in that list. They are no less influential, however, and I want to take a moment to focus on these ten particular femme fatales that have influenced me personally.

1. Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Just a regular Californian teenage girl, Buffy Summers was living out her glory days as a popular high school cheerleader, until a strange man approached her and told her she was destined to hunt and kill vampires and demons until the day she died. Needless to say, getting Buffy from cheering to staking was an arduous process. Nonetheless, she trained and fought and patrolled tirelessly, day after day. She died (and came back to life) twice. She had her heart broken countless times. She has had friends and family members die as a direct result of her own destiny as a Slayer. This girl has been through quite a lot. She is a saint, a badass, and a wonderful person to boot.

#1 Badass Moment:

2. Leeloominaï “LeeLoo” Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat (The Fifth Element)

The “fare” that fell into Korben Dallas’s lap: 5’9”, blue eyes, long legs, great skin. You know, perfect. Korben had no idea that what fell into his cab that day was literally the perfect being: The Fifth Element, to be exact. LeeLoo is a being thousands of years old, whose main purpose is to maintain peace in the universe. She is fragile, yet tough as nails; beautiful, yet terrifying. As old as she is, she is never jaded. Brushing up on Earth’s history, she weeps at all the pain and terror humans have endured. At the end, the love of one man is enough to convince her that life is worth saving.

#1 Badass Moment:

3. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

One of the smartest students to ever roam the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hermione Granger had humble beginnings as a part of a very normal, very non-magic British family. When she was accepted to Hogwarts her parents were proud, and knew that their brilliant daughter would succeed in the world of magic. And succeed she did. Hermione’s staple move is eagerly throwing her arm into the air, ready to spit out the exact answer to whatever question is asked. SHE LITERALLY TRAVELED IN TIME TO TAKE MORE CLASSES. Constantly reading, learning, and loving her magical education (what smart muggle wouldn’t?!) is Hermione’s absolute joy. Other than her obvious intelligence, Hermione is brave. That is a quality that stuck out from the beginning, and most likely the main reason the Sorting Hat placed her in Gryffindor. From her first year as a Hogwarts student and the years beyond that, she helped Harry defeat the Dark Lord, amongst many other brave and selfless tasks.

#1 Badass Moment:

4. Donna Noble (Doctor Who)

Donna always knew she was smart; smarter than most, actually. She is an in-charge woman with a holler that can make a wild dog heel. She became the Doctor’s very best friend, and ultimately, his savior. She always knew when to make the Doctor stop, pay attention to his surroundings, and re-evaluate his decisions. She never hesitates to speak her mind; she is passionate, kind, brave, and loyal. As brought to our attention in the episode “Turn Left”, Donna Noble is the most important woman in the universe.

#1 Badass Moment:

5. River Tam (Firefly, Serenity)

River is a fugitive on the run, protected by her brother, Simon, and eventually the crew of Serenity. Little did they know, River would end up protecting them. This young woman, through no fault of her own, was brainwashed into becoming a super-assassin. She was chosen by a prestigious academy for her exceptional mind, and instead, she endured endless torture at the hands of greedy Alliance scientists, ultimately leading to Simon arranging an elaborate rescue mission. With the exception of a subliminally triggered attack on a crowd of innocents (and some well-deserved slices at a less-than-charming crew member), River is not a violent being. She is tortured by the pain and screams of the dead, and has no concept of weaponry--only the turmoil it can cause in the hands of the wrong person. She is selfless; constantly afraid, but rushing to the aid of those in need.

#1 Badass Moment:

6. Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Oracle (Batman)

-Because there are many, many universes in which Barbara/Batgirl/Oracle exist, and each one has slightly different story lines, I will save us the trouble of being specific and just tell you about the reasons each one of her identities is collaboratively badass.-

Barbara Gordon is the daughter of Police Commissioner Jim Gordon, and is too smart for her own good. She seems to constantly get into tiffs with her father, who wishes she could keep out of public affairs, for fear of her safety. Her intelligence and curiosity drive her to become an assistant to the world’s greatest detective, Batman. For a while, she goes as far as becoming Batgirl, a female counterpart to Batman, patrolling the streets of Gotham and cracking cases with the Dark Knight. When she is brutally shot by the Joker, she becomes paralyzed from the waist down; but that doesn’t stop her. She may not be able to fly across rooftops and beat down the baddies, but she will remain stationed in front of her computer, helping Batman solve crime using the best tool at hand: her brain.

#1 Badass Moment:

7. Caroline Forbes (The Vampire Diaries)

Caroline started out as a control-freak teenager, focused on conquering high school and eventually the world beyond; so far, she was succeeding, because there’s nothing she isn’t good at. However, she was not anticipating becoming a vampire before she even got the chance to graduate. But, just like I said, Caroline is good at everything, even being one of the undead. She’s pretty much a perfect vampire. She is admired by everyone around her because of her perseverance, her selflessness, her love, her enduring faith in the importance of life and friendship. Not to mention, she is a force to be reckoned with. She will go to no end to defend the ones she loves and defeat those who may hurt them.

#1 Badass Moment:

8. Martha Jones (Doctor Who)

Martha Jones remains one of the most loyal and dedicated companions in Doctor Who history. Martha literally cared for the Doctor during the most vulnerable months of his life, traveled all over the Earth, by herself, just to tell his story, and continued to help defend Earth against whatever might harm it, all in the name of the Doctor. She is the epitome of a brave, loyal soldier, with a heart of gold and a brilliant mind. After everything she’s been through, she will still weep at the death of even the most seemingly unimportant being, because she will always have love and compassion for others.

#1 Badass Moment:

9. Éowyn, House of Eorl (Lord of the Rings)

A shieldmaiden of Rohan, Éowyn is a noble woman in a war-torn world. Her land, her family, and her people are infinitely loved by her, and she would fight to the death for them. Although her uncle, King Théoden, does not want her to join the battle against the Nazgûl, she dresses as a man and rides anyway, taking Merry Brandybuck (also denied the glory of battle because of his small Hobbit size) with her. Éowyn speaks her mind whenever she feels the need; passionately defends those who need defending; fights just as hard as she loves.

#1 Badass Moment:

10. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

An archeologist/vigilante/treasure hunter will always have my vote; especially one as classy as Lara Croft. The daughter of a Lord, she had all the wealth and opportunity at hand to become a very prominent member of aristocratic society. Instead, she chose to explore the world, fight the bad guys, make historic discoveries, learn every language she could, keep in touch with her spiritual side, and write all about it in the meantime. She’s what every tough, free-spirited female might aspire to be, a feminist counterpart to Indiana Jones. Not only that, she still gets to come home to the manor she inherited from her father, complete with loyal staff and a kick-ass wardrobe.

#1 Badass Moment:

What are some of your favorite characters (female or male...or neither)?


header/teaser image via

Monday, February 3, 2014

Final Fantasy 8 Diary - Entry 5

Dear Diary,

I was so nervous at the celebration party that I accidentally dumped my drink on my face. Maybe that's why I also agreed to help Selphie with the garden group... nerves, I mean, not as a result of me having a wet face. The night took an interesting turn when a girl demanded that I dance with her. I tried to tell her that I was no good, but she dragged me out anyway. It was actually kind of nice. Um. Yeah. Afterward she disappeared, and I brooded outside, thinking about her and our dance. Quistis came out and harassed me to join her at the secret area. Needless to say, I am suspicious. That's where students go after hours, and I’m not interested in busting kids who want to be left alone.

Well, it turned out she wanted to teach me about how dangerous the T-rexasaur is. She also launched into another lengthy tutorial about attack junctioning. I almost wished to be attacked by a T-rexasaur, just to save me from the boredom. Oh, and by the way, with all of these lessons you'd think she would have taught me about limit breaks and how to use them! But no, fending for myself over here, fumbling through it.

Anyway, eventually we made it to the secret spot. People really like to make out in there. Quistis told me that she's now a member of SeeD and she won’t be an instructor anymore. Something about poor leadership skills. I said nothing pretty much, because I am the most emo jerk I know, and I don’t have time for other people’s problems. I just stood with my back to her while she poured her heart out about being a bad instructor in the eyes of the academy. No matter how mean I am to her, she still wants to share her feelings with me. She didn't even get mad when I walked away from her. Maybe she did fail as a leader, it’s not like she's very assertive. Should I feel bad?

quistis from final fantasy 8 
The face of a woman who wants empathy and isn't going to get it.

We started our awkward walk back to the garden, but it was waylaid by a screaming woman. She was being attacked by a giant flying bug, one that I definitely hadn't seen before. Quistis and I took care of it (a SeeD needs to be responsible after all). But, um, not before she and I both attacked me accidentally… I don't know if she was upset after me telling her I didn't care about her problems and it was an accident or hell, on purpose, but either way I don't know why *I* hit myself. To make matters worse, I had 100% sleep junctioned to my attack. That fight had a rocky start. After the freaky deaky bug was dead, we didn't even have a chance to talk to the woman, because she was taken away by two mysterious and spiky haired men. The strangest part though, is that when she saw us she shouted our names, but we have no idea who she was.



[This is part of a series of diary entries chronicling my first play through of Final Fantasy 8. I write from the perspective of Squall, but with the twist of a person putting thoughts rambling and unedited into a diary. Join me on my journey of love, loss, and intense angst.]

*header image source

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