One Geekified Interview: Steve (Gaming Careers Podcast)

Well this feels weird its been such a long time since I have actually sat down and posted on my blog and I’m sure it will be a while until I do it again. However I think that I have sat on this interview for way too long. So sorry Steve!!

This year has been a fun filled crazy ride and lifes only going to get crazier!!!

Tell us about yourself. Anything you’d like to share!
This is me in a nutshell:  I grew up as an only child and used gaming as one of my only social outlets.  I have been nerdy and game dependent since then:)  I found my true love in LARPing and tabletop RPGs.  It turns out that I even got my first Masters Degree in it- Opera Performance.  Thats right, dressing up in period clothing can actually be a profession.
From there I decided to get a “real job”- Ok so I married someone with the same interest in nerdy profession (she also has a Masters in Music) so one of us had to make some money:)
I went and got my Masters of Business Administration so I could “pretend” to be an adult.  I discovered something really cool; business is actually one of the best games.  It’s like an awesome deck builder and worker placement game where you have to balance your resources and keep your meeples happy, all the time trying to rack up the highest score.
 
How has social media impacted or improved your life? if in a bad way please share as well
Social Media is basically having a social group of friends, ready-made for your interests, without having to be a social person.  I love this!  Because I am naturally an introvert (though you would never be able to tell from my podcast interviews…lol), I like being able to use social media to connect with like-minded people and build a relationship.  After I build up some trust online, I feel more comfortable interacting in more “real life” ways.
Who inspired you to be the geek you are today?
I think possibly Ray Muzyka, one of the founders of Bioware gaming studio. He and is parter were medical doctors that decided that they would rather make video games for a living.  I like Ray’s story because it is an example where someone made the choice to leave a prestigious and profitable career to pursue something much more nerdy.  Bioware’s huge success has really helped legitimize for me that Geek Culture is really where it’s at.
 
If you could give a geek from this generation advice what would you say?
I think the main thing I would say is that Geek Culture really is much more mainstream than you think. I know some people like to embrace their respective sub-niches and isolate themselves there.  I would encourage geeks, aspiring geeks, or struggling geeks to really reach out into their communities and get involved and cross-pollinate with each other.  One of the coolest “games” for me is making connections in life and seeing how those connection can leverage into exciting new “real life” opportunities.  Whatever professional interest you have, there are geeks that DO that think… connect with those geeks and unlock new opportunities for yourself.
If there was one thing you could change about geek culture what would you change and why?
Hmm…this is a really tough one.  Ok, can I be real here??? <hears crickets> <steps out on a limb anyway>  I would really like to combat the smelly dirty gamer stereotype.
I am a gaming career and project coach and this is something that I actually have to address fairly frequently either to help someone land an interview they are trying to get, or to sell a project/product to potential publisher.  We all need to take a shower, brush our teeth, comb/tie back hair, and wear clothes that fit. </ends limb rant> Feel free to send me hate mail 🙂
For those of you that are still reading… Let me tell you why Geeks are some of the smartest, most creative, and most resourceful people in the world.  PERIOD.  We love people throwing up obstacles which we can work around (gaming the system)and get what we want.
Since that’s the case, why would we make it more difficult on ourselves by potentially offending a boss or publisher by having a sloppy come-across.  I want us to play the game a bit more so that we move into more positions of power and get more our ideas out into the world. It’s worth it, I promise.
If you had to give up one geeky hobby what would it be and how would you replace it?
Oh… So many to choose from!  I suppose, I wouldn’t still be a gamer if I gave up playing games and that’s just not ok.  I do binge watch superhero/sci-fi/fantasy content online and Netflix and that can be many hours a day.  I think that would be the thing I would sacrifice if I had to.  I’m a big fan of proactively getting stuff done in my business… So I think I’d replace it with “Real Life” gaming and time optimization.
 
Where can my readers find out more about you and the projects you work on?
You can find out about me on my website: www.thecompanybard.com and get the low down on me and the stuff I’m up to.
 
As geeks we have all be ridiculed at some point in our lives. How did you cope and how has it effected you as an adult?
I’m sure people generally have long stories that they could share in this section 🙂 I was ridiculed A LOT (how did you know:) What I learned from it was to be super talkie- so I could either talk myself out of a beating or so I could get around authority figures that were stopping me from doing something.
That really has impacted my life a lot.  There is ALWAYS a way to get something done.  You just have to ask the right person, or to ask enough times to get attention, or to
 
Do you have any hobbies that aren’t considered to be in the geek realm?
Hmmm.  I well, I am still an opera singer… Not sure if that counts 🙂  I’ve always felt that it was just a geek of a different type.  We have a very active music community here in Austin, TX so it doesn’t feel so Geeky to do that.
 
Tell us about your show The Gaming Careers Podcast. How did it start? How long has it been operational? Who is your target Audience?
The Idea behind TGC was to find out the main ways people can start careers in the gaming industry.  I had a hypothesis that there were 3 ways- Join a studio/publisher, Start your own company, or do it part-time on the side.  It turns out that I was completely WRONG!  There are so many different variations on that it is hard to really peg it down to those three.  Almost everyone I have talked to have kind of “fallen in” to the industry rather that specifically pursued it.
Its been going over a year now and has had steadily increasing listenership.  I have been very surprised at the level of success the show as I started having these conversations because I was just curious about how people did it.  It’s cool to see that other people have liked those conversations also.
My target audience is for people who are looking to start a new career in the games industry or people who want to start their own game company. There are a lot of moving parts to sort out and hearing real life examples about how others have succeeded is really helpful.  It’s also cool to know that you aren’t going through it all alone.
Lets hear about your RPG obsession! Why is this your favorite genre? What started your love for all things RPG?
“A PALADIN REALLY!?!?!”  One of my all time favorite quotes from an old dragon magazine cartoon.  3 things that don’t exist: Dragons, Unicorns, and a Girlfriend who cares about your RPG character 🙂 “A PALADIN REALLY!?!”
So my Jam is Fantasy RPGs.  I got started with Dungeons and Dragons way back in the day.. and haven’t really stopped.  I have NO idea why I like swords and spells a lot more than technology or superpowers… but I definitely have the bug.
I actually think I started as a LARPer in middle school.  It was like an awesome game of pretend… with matching outfits and weapons.  I discovered RPGs AFTER that…”what… I can still play like this… even when we aren’t at the park?”.  Yeah, so I’ve been dragging people over to my house with funions and mountain dew to do dungeon crawls ever since.
What are some of your favorite RPGs to play? Are you currently playing one?
DnD tops the list for sure.  I used to have ALL the books. I can’t imagine how many thousands of dollars I’ve spent on them.  I used to love cramming over them all and memorizing gear tables and monster stats.  Later I burned out on that really.  I discovered that I really liked the roleplaying a lot more that maximizing the stats (powergaming)
Thats why I think my favorite system is FATE at the moment.  Almost no rules needed or books.  Just pure RPing.  Very cool.  Honorable mention to Dungeon World RPG system for the same reason.
How was it working for BioWare?
Dude! It was AWESOME!!! Tons of great food, nerf wars, and hard work.  I really loved “crunch” times because everyone pulled together to get the job done.  It felt really cool working with such talented people.
What did you enjoy about being the QA lead on Star Wars The Old Republic? What all did your job entail?
So one of the best things about being a QA lead getting to be really picky about all the little micro-bugs that exist in the system.  You get to go hunt them all out and send them off to be destroyed!  The worst thing about being a QA lead is that you have to find all those really annoying and picky little bugs that most people wont see.
I also really liked working with my team. I had a team of 16 in-house testers and about 100 outsourced testers.  It was amazing to set them to task, remove blocks, and watch them wrack up the “bug count” for your devision.  When everyone is pulling together it really makes light work of very detailed and tedious work.
My job entailed delivering different work assignments to the team (critical path testing, pvp or raid content, border testing, or open testing), making sure everyone completed their assignments on time, worked well with one another, and weren’t blocked by technical problems.
Like a non-gaming job, it was a lot of handling logistics and hitting deadlines.  I was just that we got to do it while “playing games”.
Could you offer advice to someone looking to make their passion into a profession?
Hmmm-Tough one.  Passion will keep you going when things get really tough at the same time, it can also lead us into making poor decisions.
My advice would be to sit down and write down the following things on ONE SIDE of a piece of paper.
1.  What kind of STUFF do you want to have in your life?  (Big House, Expensive Car, Pool)
2.  WHO do you want in your life? (Lots of friends, Spouse, Big family with kids)
3.  What do you want to EXPERIENCE in your life? (Travel, lots of training, mastering a skill)
Next write down what your PASSIONS are and what you want to do with them on the other piece of paper.
Now, here is the exercise.  Figure out what you would be willing to sacrifice from your Stuff, Who, Experience list in order to something on your passions list.  This will determine what priorities are if you were forced to choose.  And sometimes a passion will require that from you–> Then decide to live with the consequences of your decision Good or bad 🙂
Here is the other thing: Understand that passions and priorities change over time.  Know that its ok for you to change your mind later on and follow different passions and priorities as life takes you down different paths.
How are you liking being apart of The United Geeks Network? I know when we first started this interview process you were just new to the group! 
Dude, I LOVE UGN!  I have found closer connections and interaction with this group than I have found in a lot of other societies.  Jeff King does an awesome job curating content and supporting the community.
How did you start your gaming career? Do you have any tips for someone looking to start their own career? 
It’s funny that you ask that!:) I actually just launched a free video training course that addresses this exact thing. It’s over an hour-long and gives you more than 25 action items you can do right now to launch your gaming career without prior experience.  You can find it HERE if you are interested in checking it out.
So here is the quick and dirty version Get busy DOING something. Interact with developers, start learning how to code/design, start going to conventions, etc…  The main advice I have for people who want a career in the gaming industry is to START before they have ANY IDEA what they are doing 🙂  The reason for this is that most of the stuff you study will be out of date or not applicable by the time you are ready to do them anyway.  It’s best to get started and figure it out while you go.
If anyone wants to email me with questions at Steve@thecompanybard.com I am happy to help and continue the conversation.
 
What do you like the most about gaming? Was there a game that started the obsession!
My favorite thing about games is that they are a microcosm of reality.  They contain assets, rules, consequences for actions…. I love systems and figuring out how to break them or “power game” them. Thats why I loved doing QA at Bioware so much.  I think my favorite game that got me started was the original Zelda on Nintendo.  It was my RPG of choice and I got to explore a strange new world with awesome gadgets.
That turned into my professional passion of gaming business systems to help people launch their own projects and start their own gaming companies.  One of the best games I’ve come across for people to play to teach themselves these rules is – Cashflow 101 by Robert Kiyosaki. Anyway, that will get me off on a huge tangent about talking about that… so lets end it there, lol 😉

Reading Challenge 2016!!

IMG_1397This post was meant to be done at the beginning of the year but I have been behind on all the things I wanted to accomplish so I am playing catch up once again it seems this is my pattern I can’t break. Oh well least I am sitting down now and getting it done! Procrastination is my middle name…obviously.

This challenge was brought to my attention on Facebook and on Instagram through my old cast mates of the podcast “Chickcast.” I already do a GoodReads goal and my goal from 2016 was a total of 30 books or more if possible, since last year I had to cut back down to 25 because I was way off track. Its been helpful though because it gives me some ideas of what books to read. Plus I am a sucker for any kind of challenges, if I could find any good writing ones I would do those as well! Maybe I’ll create my own one of these days.

So far I have only knocked one-off this list: A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child or Bff. I read Dragon Age : The Last Flight  written by Liane Merciel and it was chosen for me by my brother. It was such a great book and I loved finding out what happened to the legends that were the Griffons and the end of the Fourth blight by Garahel and the Grey Wardens. IF you love the video games pick up all the books they are well written and amazing my favorite will always be Asunder!

IMG_1501Here are the books I have read so far for my GoodReads Goal:

  • Star Wars : Dark Disciple by Christie Golden. If you love Asajj Ventress then this books for you. The cool thing about this novel is that it was actually supposed to be an episode on Star Wars: The Clone Wars but was never made. I have always been intrigued by her character as a whole and I am glad that I read this book. Then again I haven’t read a star wars book I didn’t love. I gave this one a five star rating.
  • Then I read Hellblazer Volume #1 aka Constantine. It was really good but to be honest I actually started it last year but kept getting distracted by other things. A lot of the issues in this volume made me miss the show Constantine.  Actually they took a lot from this book to make the show and I think it’s still a travesty that the TV show was cancelled. I love you Matt Ryan!!
  • Right now I am currently knocking another book off the list: A book You have been meaning to read. I read all the other mass effect books and was blown away by them, I love getting more out of a series than just a video game, this also applies to the Dragon Age books.
    51blMUx+kAL._SX298_BO1,204,203,200_Now with that being said once I heard that Mass Effect:  Deception was written by William C Dietz and not by Drew Karpyshyn, he wrote all the previous books, I was a little worried. There was a rumor going around that Dietz totally went off base on this one that it was horrible and people should stay away until they revised it (which never happened to my knowledge.)
    Then the other week my brother and I went to the library and I decided “Hey I know this book is supposed to be flawed but hey let’s see for myself.” So far I am kind of regretting that decision but I will persevere and finish it, the biggest problem with it is the lore is not used to its fullest potential it almost feels like the guy just decided I’m not going to do research and just write a book. I also do not like the setup of this book the flow is so choppy that I feel like my brain is jumping around in my head trying to grasp at straws. I feel like the chapters could have been broken up differently and the different characters should have been broken up into their own chapters like so many other great books. We shall see what I think once I hit the end of the book but right now I’m not sold and it takes a lot for me to dislike a book and give it a negative review.

That’s where I am so far in this reading challenge. I am excited to get more knocked off the list and I’ve already been trying to think of what books to read for certain challenges. Please feel free to join me in this challenge I would love to know what books you chose. Happy Reading everyone!

Back to the Comics! 

I can’t even recall the last time I read a single issue of a comic book I have been mostly reading Graphic novels that I borrow from my older brother. 

Thankfully Kris gave me a couple new codes to start with! Although I am sure I have plenty of Marvel ones to read on the app.  But then again I have so many I wouldn’t even know where to begin so the codes he was kind enough to give me will suffice it for now!! 

Part of the reason I stopped was I got my new iPhone and I didn’t want to have a whole bunch of stuff take over my phone as first. Then I just sort of drifted farther and farther away from the single issue comic books. Hopefully now I’ll get back into them even if it is just a few select titles here and there. 

Spidey #1   
Spidey #2   
 I really enjoyed the first two issues of this Spidey comic! It was nice to have how he became Spider-Man wrapped up in just a few short bubbles. I mean I love Spider-Man as much as the next guy/girl but I also tire of hearing the same ole backstory over and over! Let’s see where  Spidey takes us this go-a-round! 

One Geekified Interview: Cogan

Hello everyone! I’m back again and I have another awesome interview for your eyes to read I hope that you enjoy these interviews as much as I do. I really  enjoy getting to know our world full of geeks and nerds, and gamers a like! I would like to introduce you to Cogan! We really never had too much interaction but he still volunteered to come on this journey with me. Really quick if your interested in joining in on the fun follow me on Twitter: @GeekyGamerChick, I am on Facebook The Game Huntress, or send me an email today to thegamehuntress@gmail.com! So now that the house keeping is done lets give Cogan a special welcome and let’s get straight into the interview!
Q. Tell us about yourself. Anything you’d like to share!
A. Well to start off I am a sophomore in College who just turned 20. I’m going to school to be an accounting major. I spent the last semester of school abroad in London and I’m from your stereotypical small town Midwest upbringing.
coganQ. How has social media impacted/improved your life?
A. Social media has impacted my life by providing me with an open forum to talk to and meet others who share my interests.  Due to my background of where I have lived it has at times proven challenging to openly find incredibly nerdy people as it was looked down upon in these small judging towns I have lived in.
Q. Who inspired you to be the geek you are today?
A. The man who raised me for the first 13 or so years of my life, Tim.  He kind of inspired me to many of my geek pursuits and we shared a lot of my favorite geek memories together.  We saw Lord of the Rings together, spent many a night gaming into the early hours of the morning, he taught me to play Magic the Gathering, and recently him my half-sister and I went and saw Star Wars the Force Awakens together which was special as my half-sister had never seen star wars.
Q. If you could give a geek from this generation advice what would you say?
A. I would say do not fight your geekiness as that was my problem.  I struggled in school to be a geek as people didn’t want me to be so I floated between being a jock and a geek.  Just go out there meet some geeky people and have fun with it.  It’s finally cool to be a geek so embrace it and enjoy because when I was growing up it was not.
Q. If you had to give up one geeky hobby what would it be and how would you replace it ?
A. If I had to give up on Geeky hobby it would probably be video games as it can get expensive at times and is somewhat anti-social.  If I had to replace it I would play more dungeons and dragons due to the social nature, the wide open options, and the immense amount of fun I have playing as compared to video games.
Q.If there was one thing you could change about geek culture what would it be and why?
A. My biggest issue with geek culture is a general feeling of dissatisfaction that I get from most geeks.  My example of this is the New Star wars movie and while I wont divulge for later questions it felt to me like everyone was waiting to just start trashing it as much as they good.  Geeks (myself included) tend to complain about our hobbies a lot.  The other aspect is people who get mad that “uh well I liked that before they did so they aren’t allowed to like it as much as me”.  I’m the opposite the more people who like my geeky things the better in my opinion.
Q. Where all can my readers find you?
A. Your readers can find me on Facebook at Cogan Wilson James Bishop
I’m on twitter username @TheRealCogan
I also have an Instagram which is Cogan Bishop
Q. As geeks we have all been ridiculed at some point in our lives. How did you cope with that? How has it effected you as an adult?
A. I will admit I was made fun of a lot for my geekiness in elementary and middle school and I coped by trying to become a jock and usually spending all my free time alone at home reading or playing video games.  As an adult I tend to be distrusting and at times introverted as I don’t trust people’s intentions at times.
Q. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t considered to be in the geek realm, if so what?
A. I am a bit of a fitness nut and I run and lift six or so days a week.  Running is my true passion and I love nothing more than to spend a Saturday morning pounding the pavement with my headphones in and music blaring.
Q. What are your thoughts on Star Wars The Force Awakens?
imagesUK9YX8JWA. I LOVED The Force Awakens.  It was great in my opinion.  While I may agree that it mirrored A New Hope that didn’t stop me from seeing it three times in one week.  The actions, the villains, the hero’s all made it worth it to me.  I especially love Kylo Ren, unlike a lot of people I know.  I loved the movie to death, have ordered it already, and can’t wait to see Episode 8.
Q. Which Lord of the Rings movies is your favorite?
A. My favorite has to be the two towers.  The atmosphere of uncertainty at the beginning and the stress that builds in the film and culminates in one of my favorite battles of Cinema, the Battle of Helms Deep, makes this my clear favorite of the trilogy.   The character development in the second movie is also superb and I have spent many a weekend just watching these movies.
Q. Which movies do you prefer more DC or Marvel?
A. This is tough for me as there is a greater amount of Marvel movies, however I prefer dark and gritty movies closer to the Dark Knight and Man of steel.  However the Marvel TV shows on Netflix are that dark and gritty.  I would have to say I prefer DC movies and Marvel Tv Shows.
Q. What movie are you looking forward to in the upcoming year?
A. Oh boy.  This is quite the list but we have Deadpool, Captain America, Rouge One is my personal favorite to come out, Xmen, Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad, Star Trek Beyond, and my guilty pleasure of Kung Fu panda 3 ( I love the first 2)
Q. What did you think of Jessica Jones? How about it getting a second season?
A. I Adored Jessica Jones.  It was similar to daredevil but different enough that it was great.  The dark and gritty nature of Hell’s kitchen as well as the very adult content of the show as perfect for me.  The main character not wanting to be a hero dragged me in as well as the always talented David Tennent who excelled in his role as a villain.  I am anxiously waiting for the 2nd season of Jessica Jones to see where she goes from here.
Q. Which version of Sherlock is your favorite?
Its Benedict Cumberbatch.  No question he far superior to Robert Downy Jr’s Sherlcok in my opinion.  He is much more arrogant, condensing, and handles and shows the Drug abuse by the character in a much more interesting way.
Q. Which Doctor on Dr Who is your favorite? How long have you been watching?
A. My favorite Doctor has to be Peter Capaldi.  I just love the different style of doctor he brings as compared to the two previous incarnations of Matt Smith and David Tennant.  His sarcasm as well as dry humor especially.  Sad to say I have only been watching Doctor Who for 3 years as I discovered it during two a days of football my Senior year of high school.
Q. You also enjoy Politics and debate. Have you ever gotten heated during a debate, you either had with someone or watched someone, and why?
A. I have got heated plenty of times during a debate, more than I would wish to recount.  In both instances of watching and participating I got heated as I use to be quite the hot head and very opinionated.  My time in college has taught me to listen to all opinions as valid, but to question them nonstop.
Q. What board games do you own? Do you have any that you have yet to play?
A. The “board” games I won though I don’t know if they count are DnD, Magic the Gathering, Cards against humanity, and call of Cthulhu. I want to play Shadownrun, Star wars saga and edge of the empire as well as the superheroes table top game Mutants and Masterminds.
Q. Tell us a little about some of your favorite Anime’s? 1) Psycho Pass 2) Tokyo Ghoul 3) Attack on Titan.
A. I just very recently got into anime and I am sure the community would define me as a newbie or the equivalent term I found myself drawn to this storytelling medium over the past year for the fresh ideas to me at least they are able to tell.  Each of these tell not a wholly original tale but different enough combined with great visuals that each has its own flavor that I can enjoy.  Tokyo ghoul in particular drew me in with its violent visuals and dark story.
Q. Who are some of your favorite metal/rock bands? What draws you to this kind of music most?
A. While I won’t go one to list the 50 or so bands I enjoy immensely I will instead note some of my current favorites.
Rise Against has been my favorite band since middle school the punk instrumentals with the voice of Tim Mcilrath and the inspiring lyrics have drawn me in for the past 8 years and having seen them twice they are easily my favorite live show. (I love Rise against I forgot all about them until I played Sleeping Dogs and they were in the game and on the album!!)
Ghost is my favorite “new discover” the soft groove rock sounds with Papa Emeritus the 3rds voice combined with the doomlike lyrics on top of a satanic image combines for one of the most unique sounds in rock today in my opinion.  I look forward immensely to their live show I will be attending in May.
slipknot_logo.jpg~c200The final band I will highlight that I enjoy listening to is Slipknot.  I was never a really big fan fo Slipknot I just casually knew some of their top hits thanks to guitar hero and how popular songs like psychosocial are.  Then I saw them live at ROTR 2015 and it changed my opinion of the band.  While the band has evolved over the years I love their sound and especially the lyrics.  I will have to admit that the image draws me too as I love the jumpsuit / mask get up (may explain my love for other bands like Ghost, Gwar, etc.)
I am drawn to this music for the instrumentals as well as lyrics.  Lyrics in music are a big deal to me and that is my main draw.  Rock and metal lyrics are always so deep and varied between each band and song.  Every band sings about its own unique things and it is just refreshing to hear.
 
Q. You mentioned you were a former football player. What was your position, team, and how come you no longer play?
A. I played football for 6 years in middle school and high school.  I mainly played in High School for the Marietta Tigers.  During my time there I played every O-Line position but my real passion was as the team’s 3-4 noseguard.  I no longer play due to when I reached the Division 3 level the time input was too great when weighed against my desire for good grades.
Q. Why do you consider movies such as American Psycho, Friday the 13th, Clockwork Orange to be non-nerd movies?
A. I would classify these as non-nerd movies simply due to my classification of nerd things.  Nerd and geek things usually to me involved things like fantasy, science fiction, medieval settings, and futuristic settings.  American psycho to me is a drama, Friday the 13th is horror, and Clockwork Orange is just the pure genius of Stanley Kubrick at work.
Q.How far is your longest run you’ve ever been on?
A. My longest run I accomplished in August of this year when I completed my first half-marathon with a time of 2 hours and 40 minutes.  While some may see it as a slow time which it is I was just happy to have finished and look forward to running my next half marathon at a faster pace.
Q.Tell us about all of your favorite sports teams and why you enjoy them over other teams.
My favorite Sports are as follows:
College Football: The Ohio State University.  I live in Ohio.  I go to college in Columbus Ohio. I was born in Ohio.  I have been rooting for The Ohio State since I was old enough to watch football and have always loved the culture and tradition around the program.  Last year’s National Championship run was special as I got to be in Columbus during the year.
NFL Football: The Pittsburgh Steelers are by far my favorite team.  I am a diehard Steelers fans and it goes back to James Harrison.  When I started playing football James Harrison was my favorite NFL player.  Going on as I got more and more into the team the history of hardnosed smash mouth defense is what draws me to the team as my football philosophy mirrors the old style of Pittsburgh where you establish a run game and force the opponent to fight your Defenses.
MLB Baseball:  I have always somewhat rooted for the pirates as a general Pittsburgh fan but it was the season before their first winning season in 23 years that I got deeply involved.  The players and the game of baseball are relatively new to me but I have been learning to enjoy them nonetheless.

The Force Awakens

If one is going to write about Star Wars anything, let alone a movie, one has to do it right. Plain and Simple.

AHT_star_wars_force_awakens_trailer_02_jef_150416_4x3_992 long time ago in a galaxy far, far away
there was a nerdy girl named Courtney, who was anticipating the release of Star Wars Episode Seven, The Force Awakens. The week before it debuted on the big screen the girl and her husband decided that it would be a great idea  to sit and watch the Prequel Trilogy and the Original Trilogy before going to see the new episode on the Sunday of its release. Courtney desperately wanted to see it but her fear of being in large crowds kept her from wanting to go on the first day, but honestly who could blame her. It was still pretty insane on that Sunday. She was so ecstatic on Sunday morning, so much so that she ended up injuring herself on black ice while she was at work.  ( I had a pretty gnarly bruise on my arm and some pain in my shoulder, the real reason I fell is because me and walking don’t agree 95 percent of the time.  It was not the first encounter of falling at work on the ice.) Despite the pain from her accident, all she could do to keep her mind off it was thinking about going to see the movie.

12341047_10153482819128052_9083975300707915661_nAll she had to do was go home, meet up with her older brother and husband, and change into her Kylo Ren shirt she bought months in advanced. After all this occurred they finally made their way to the movie theater and redeemed their seats that were booked a few days in advance. The three of them headed to find their spots up at the top of the theater. Courtney found it very hard to contain her excitement and anticipation. Finally that fateful moment began once the previews rolled through and the music began, she was mesmerized by the Title screen and couldn’t think of anything other than the moment that took so long to get there. Once the end credits rolled through her life was now complete. For Now…Until episode eight!

I am very pleased on how well The Force Awakens was I knew that it would be in good hands, Abrams did really well on the Star Trek movies, which led me to having faith that his hands were capable of producing something extraordinary in the realm that is Star Wars. One simply must not screw up a beloved phenomenon.

I loved absolutely every minute of it and to those who haven’t seen it yet I must tell you put away imagesUK9YX8JWyour doubts and go see it. You will be impressed. Now I’m sure someone, somewhere is going to point out its flaws but I am not that person. One of the constant things I have been hearing out in the airwaves is that it was too close to A New Hope. I mean sure I can see why you’d come up with that but honestly it’s so much more than that. Just give it a chance. Heck it was so good I immediately wanted to go back and see it again, which I actually did on my last week of Vacation, and boy it was even better the second go around!

tumblr_o03m8vEOBk1uatgcgo1_500I really enjoyed seeing the old cast back. I think I am in love with Harrison Ford even more than I already was. It was great getting to see Han and Chewbacca on-screen as a duo once more, they still had that chemistry we loved back in the original trilogy. I also loved the new characters that were introduced as well, one being a little droid named BB-8 he was just so damn loveable, watch out R2 you have your work cut out for you. There may be some new competition for ya. Scavenger Rey is the biggest mystery of the plot, who is she? Where does she come from? What is her connection to it all? And will we get the answers that we so desperately need?  I guess we shall wait and see. Kylo Ren is not quite the badass I had hoped he would’ve been BUT I see his potential of being one like Darth Vader before him. Something inside me tells me that I am going to love to hate him just as I did with Anakin/Darth Vader. What is his end game and what does Kylo Ren hope to achieve? The possibilities are endless.
rey-est-capable-de-tenir-tete-a-kylo-renI laughed, and I cried what more could one ask for.  I really have very high hopes that this generation will love Star Wars, just as my generation has and the generation before. I cannot wait to see The Force Awakens for the third time, maybe when it’s at the cheaper theater!
Please tell me you thought it was phenomenal as well!

One Geekified Interview: Annaleis

Its 2016, that means a new year! And boy do I have something in store for you! I am pretty excited about this year and to start it off right I am bringing back One-Geekified Interviews! I actually have been sitting on this interview since last month (roughly) and just a bit of fair warning some of the questions were asked a long time ago but due to our busy everyday lives we got distracted by other things and especially the holidays. If your interested in knowing how my holidays were I will be posting about that over on my Introverted Wallflower Chronicles page link provided.

Lets meet my Twitter Friend and Co-Host of Dark Angels and Pretty Freaks Annaleis you might remember back when I interviewed her husband Neil! If you haven’t read his interview I suggest you head on over there and read it!

Q. Tell us about yourself. Anything you’d like to share!

imagecoupleI’m married, live in California and have fur babies!  I have worked at Skywalker Sound at Skywalker Ranch for the better part of the last 17 years! I have also lived in Portland, Or., owned a coffee shop and worked at a comic book store. (sounds like you have a pretty epic life) I do a podcast with my amazing husband Neil.

Q. How has social media impacted or improved your life? If in a bad way please share as well

A: It’s actually changed my life a lot, especially after starting the Podcast.  I’m a lot busier!  I’m on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram for the podcast and for me personally, way more than before and probably more than I should be!  It’s hard to juggle it all sometimes.

Q. Who inspired you to be the geek you are today?

A:  My geeky-ness really evolved over time and I didn’t really blossom into the nerd I am today until my mid 20’s.  I have many people to thanks for that!  And getting my job at Skywalker really gave me even more access to all things geeky!

Q. If you could give a geek from this generation advice what would you say?

A: Be loud and proud!  Never hide your geek side!  I love when someone is excited to tell me about something geeky they’re into!

Q. If there was one thing you could change about geek culture what would you change and why?

A: I wish there would be less labels and rules. Meaning, nerds can be athletic and athletes can be nerds and a girl can be awesome at video games!  We should be more supportive of each other.

Q. If you had to give up one geeky hobby what would it be and how would you replace it?

A:  Well… I kind of have already given up reading comic books.  I still want too!!  But it’s somewhat time-consuming and can get expensive.  I hope to get back into it someday!  I spend a lot of time at home with my husband and our pets.  I would say our dogs and our podcast are my main hobbies now.

Q. Where can my readers find out more about you and the projects you work on?
A:  You can of course find me and DAPFPodast at darkangelsandprettyfreaks.com and I am @wiretechgirl on Twitter.

Q. As geeks we have all be ridiculed at some point in our lives. How did you cope and how has it effected you as an adult?

A: I was very lucky and haven’t experienced very much ridicule about being geeky.  I think maybe since I came into my geekiness later, as an adult we are better at dealing with such things.  Having worked at a comic book shop and working at Skywalker, I was lucky to be in an environment that usually embraces it.

Q. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t considered to be in the geek realm?

A:  Our pets and photography.  = Taking pics of my pets! Hahaha!   But I think you can totally geek out about whatever you’re into!!

Q. What did you like about Avengers Age of Ultron? Was there anything you disliked about the movie?

A:  I haven’t seen it, yet.  I know, I know… I’m losing geek-cred! Hahaha!!

Q. What were your thoughts on Jurassic World?

A:  I really enjoyed it!  It was big and fun and there are dinosaurs!  What’s not to love?! Seriously, I thought the CG & action was great!   And of course it sounded great!!  😉

Q. Which movie is your all time favorite out of the series?

A:  The first Jurassic Park is totally my fav!  I still goosebumps when the cup of water starts to rattle…  Oooooo!!

Q. What can you tell us about your job at Skywalker Ranch? (Be as specific as you’d like)

A: Sure!  Officially my job title is “Wire Tech”  I’ve also been called an Installer or Jr. Engineer. Even “Cable Wrangler” Hahaha!  I work with the team of Skywalker Sound Engineers.  I install new cabling and help maintain the existing infrastructure, such as the mix rooms, edit rooms, Foley stages, a theater and a scoring stage.  I do everything from making simple headphone cables to installing sound baffles to wiring a video machine from the ground up. Everyday is different.

Q. Out of all the Star Wars movies that are currently out, which is your favorite movies?

A:  Ooooo that’s tough.  I think the original Star Wars and Empire have to be my favs.  Don’t we all still get the chills when we hear that intro music!

Q. It has been confirmed that there will be a Han Solo movie in the future, in your opinion who would be perfect for the role of young Solo and why?

A: Oh gosh, I don’t know… No one immediately springs to mind.  I’d have to do some serious research!  I’m sure the director of the young Solo movie will too!

Q. Tell us about your podcast Dark Angels and Pretty Freaks? What’s it like working with your husband on this project?2811547

A:  Our podcast is basically about us and our daily crazy lives.  We talk about almost everything from family dinners, seeing movies, crazy work stories and even the passing of our beloved dog… We like to think of it as hanging out and talking with friends. It’s how we are and what we would talk about, we hope the listener feels like they’re hanging out with us. It’s really cool to be able to do this together and of course its easier because we live together! It’s an hour that we as a couple  can sit across from each other and talk. It means a lot to both of us.

Q. What are some of your top podcasts to listen to?

A:  Oh… is it okay to not answer that one?  I would hate to leave any out!!  But I am very good about letting the podcasts know that I’m listening.  You’ll see that if you follow me on Twitter.

Q. If you could be a special guest on any podcast which would you choose?

A:  Oh I don’t know I get nervous when I’m a guest.  Especially if it’s a more professional podcast.  I’d love to nerd-out with Kevin Smith for sure!  But that’s another one I’d have to think about.

Q. Who would you love to get on your podcast that hasn’t been on yet?

A:  For me, I would love to podcast with the 2 couples from Couple Things Podcast.  Molls, Ben, Ray & Von!  I think the 3 couples together would be an amazing “couples podcast”!!  And that is in the works!!  So stay tuned!!

Q. Show and Tell. We wanna see your lovable fur babies!
puppy snuggleA:  Yay!  You know we love to share pics of our fur kids! Meet Zero and Nine!

Q. You mentioned that you liked audio books and that you prefer Mysteries. What book are you currently listening to?
A:  I’d say my favs are Victorian murder mysteries and I re-listen to my favorites all the time!  I’m currently listening to a lighter food based mystery book.  (a cozy mystery) called “Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke. And I am proud to say I got it from the library!

Q. Do you have a favorite author?

A:  I have a couple.  Caleb Carr, he wrote The Alienist (one of my favs) and Anne Perry (writes Victorian mysteries)

Q. Do you like to sit and read books or is it just easier to listen to them. (for me I prefer to read them myself and have the book in my hands)

A:  I would love to sit and read a real book that I could hold in my hands!!  But I just don’t have the time…  So right now I do all of my reading by listening to audio books.  I do when we are on vacation and it’s awesome!

Q. Tell us what you love about Sherlock? Any thoughts on the TV shows or movies?

A:  Sherlock is brilliant, observant and methodical.  But he is also flawed.  I find the detection fascinating.  My favorite is still the Jeremy Brett TV series!  It was amazing and he was amazing in it!  Over acted?  Maybe… But amazing!!

“When you open your mind to the impossible, sometimes you find the truth”. ~Dr. Bishop (Fringe)

Shinedown #Threat2Survival

ShinedownWoah I have to say that this album I have chosen for the month of December was pretty easy to pick however what has caused me some grief is actually picking a damn song as my favorite! Shinedown I blame you for making too good of music!

I would go “this is it” then later “now this is it!”  AHHHH it was so hard! I actually still haven’t narrowed it down to one song yet so I’ll just share two of my favorites from this album. Hopefully you haven’t heard them on the radio. I rarely if ever listen to music on the radio, it’s either the CD, Pandora or more recently Spotify. I really hope that you enjoy the songs I have picked just as much as I do. You should really pick up their latest album called Threat to Survival!

Shinedown will forever be one of my favorite bands their music never disappoints, they are the real deal! They have gotten me through some pretty rough moments in my life, I really just love how they speak to my soul. I will always be thankful I was lucky enough to see Shinedown in concert a while back, can’t recall when due to my old agedness. It was my second concert I have been to, and I got to see it with my husband it was our first concert together! We need to go to more, we’ve only been together for two concerts.(Been to 3 my whole life) They are spectacular in concert. Come back to Idaho!!!! Please! That concert was really fun and I also remember staying out late even though my work had fired two people at the same time and I had to work a fourteen hour day the next day. Worth every minute!

I honestly don’t know why it took us so long to pick up this album, our heads weren’t on straight most likely. I’m guessing. But hey we got it in the end. l probably will have all the songs memorized in no time, plus I just like singing along and rocking out that’s just what their music does to me! (Sorry Joe)

Please enjoy the songs and if your interested in the words the lyrics are under the YouTube videos or you can just click on the title of the song and it will take you to the link. Don’t know if I will post again before Christmas but I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to those that celebrate other holidays! I have some high hopes for the year of 2016!

Dangerous”

I could stand behind my barricade
Do what I’m told and be afraid to change
While isolated by the mainstream
With the current up against meWell maybe if my arms were ten feet tall
I could finally reach that crystal ball

‘Cause I still find inside
There’s something braver
And I, I won’t be, I won’t be
The silent damnation

I will never be voiceless
My weapon of choice is
I’d rather be dangerous
I won’t be left defenseless
As God as my witness
I’d rather be dangerous
Dangerous

I’m not making conversation
But I’ll state my observations

Well I could buy my faith like a plot in the ground
But I was never lost and I never had a doubt

‘Cause I still find
It’s not my imagination
And I, I won’t be, I won’t be
The silent damnation

I will never be voiceless
My weapon of choice is
I’d rather be dangerous
I won’t be left defenseless
As God as my witness
I’d rather be dangerous
Dangerous

Everybody
Is somebody
And anybody is you
I own my story
I won’t say sorry
And neither should you

I will never be
I will never be voiceless
My weapon of choice is
I’d rather be dangerous
I won’t be left defenseless
As God as my witness
I’d rather be dangerous

Everybody
Is somebody
And anybody is you
I will never be voiceless
As God as my witness
I won’t be left defenseless
As God as my witness
I’d rather be dangerous
Dangerous

It All Adds Up”

Lookie here got ’em all lined up
Same bitchy girls and boys
On their hands, on their knees
Slither through the streets
Programmed to seek and destroy
And it all adds up
And it all adds upOh my my, no one’s on my side
Too paranoid to listen to me
You can cast me out, you can tape my mouth
But you can’t get a stone to bleed
And it all adds up
And it all adds upYou know I love it when you say you’re afraid
But you hate it when I’m making you shake
Hang the truth from a noose
Put a hitman on the loose
Now you’re countin’ on him making your day

There ain’t no magic bullet
There’s no cure for the weak
There’s no sympathetic shoulder here to put you to sleep
You’re a long, long way from where you thought you would be
Ever murder has a motive, but you ain’t killin’ me
And it all adds up (Got something to say?)
It all adds up (Say it!)

Riddle me this before I take it all back
Been stealin’ my shit for years
So kiss my choir but bad man’s fire
Cause you know I’m gonna bring you to tears
And it all adds up
And it all adds up

Shake shake shake
Callin’ all the snakes
Been itching for the new payroll
Bang bang bang
Blow down the new slang
You can’t keep all the money you stole
And it all adds up
And it all adds up

You know I love it when you say you’re afraid
But you hate it when I’m making you shake
Hang the truth from a noose
Put a hit man on the loose
Now you’re countin’ on him makin’ your day

There ain’t no magic bullet
There’s no cure for the weak
There’s no sympathetic shoulder here to put you to sleep
You’re a long, long way from where you thought you would be
Every murder has a motive but you ain’t killin’ me
And it all adds up [x4]

There ain’t no magic bullet
There’s no cure for the weak
There’s no sympathetic shoulder here to put you to sleep
You’re a long, long way from where you thought you would be
Every murder has a motive but you ain’t killin’ me
And it all adds up [x11]

GODZIllA

Its time for another Movie Adventures of Courtney *that’s me in case you forgot* and Robyn! Unfortunately these movies were supposed to be up before Halloween but well I sort of goofed and totally spaced watching my movie, forgetting all about it until right before Thanksgiving when my movie was being played on television. Oopsies my bad.  I really need someone to help me keep track of all my plans because I obviously have too much going on and can’t keep my head on straight. So ya if your interested comment down below! Now I please ask that you pretend its still October and Halloween is just right around the corner.

Okay thank you so much! What a good group of people I have following me. Now that the mood is set lets get to the movies! Obviously being “October” one must watch  Monster movies and what can beat Godzilla? Nothing I say. NOTHING!!!!

Courtney’s Pick
Godzilla (1998)
1998
What can I say about this version of Godzilla? Now firstly I’m not a really a huge Matthew Broderick fan other than Ferris Buellers day off, but I must admit that he is pretty dang good in Godzilla! This was what probably started my love for the crème del la crème of all Kaiju’s!  I really enjoyed watching Godzilla smash his way throughout the city while the puny humans I mean the military try and find a way to take him down.

My favorite part has to be *spoiler alert* when M.B’s character discovers that Godzilla can reproduce offspring asexually with no female presence and is able to figure out that he is storing fish for his unborn Godzilla babies. D’aww. I was sad when they get destroyed. I’m sorry human race I must always root for that adorable fella to win I mean just look at his face, what’s not to love!
If for some insane reason you have never watched this movie I say get on with it what are you waiting for? The end of the world?

Okay I’m getting a tad bit overzealous here. I humbly apologize. Ahem.

Robyn’s Pick
Godzilla 2014
godzilla

There’s just something about watching Godzilla and getting a full-body chill when you finally see that massive creature break free of the water. You can never be disappointed when watching any movie featuring Godzilla. Just like the movie with Matthew Broderick, it was very well done. In this movie version, however, they added even greater actors and took us all the way back to Japan for some background information. I liked that they used Godzilla to help track down M.U.T.O. (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). Even though Godzilla helps them, the military still feels the need to try and kill him (or her, that was never decided). It’s hard not to cheer when Godzilla makes a getaway. I can watch this movie over and over and I wouldn’t get sick of it

All Hail the Inquisition!!

I am proud to announce I finally have a game review to publish! I can’t remember the last one I even wrote, probably was Watch Dogs which was quite a long time ago. I started playing Dragon Age Inquisition on November 18 , 2014 (its official release date) on my Xbox 360. For those that don’t know my gaming style when it comes to Role-Playing games, just let me tell you that it takes me forever to customize my characters look, they have to be just right in-game or I wont continue. I honestly probably started over half a dozen times, once I got momentum however there was no stopping me! Well that was until we got our Xbox One with all of my vacation I had saved over seven years of being at my job. My work stopped accumulating time and now if you don’t use it by the end of the year it just disappears. Rather lame. Once we finally purchased the bundle that had the Kinect, and two Assassin’s Creeds games Black Flag and Unity, I was dead set on upgrading my copy. After convincing myself to do it I finally took the plunge and got the better version. Boy am I glad that I did trade in my copy. It was well worth it considering I heard that no downloadable content will be available to that version. I’d be beyond pissed! Plus there was so much more visually I was missing out on.

As far as gameplay is concerned for Dragon Age Inquisition I found it very easy to get things done. I played as a Rogue, Dalish Elf (In Dragon Age Origins I beat it as a Female, Rogue, City Elf) so I thought it fitting to play as an elf once more. I named my character Cressida and she romanced the sexy commander Cullen it was love at first sight. For me I loved him ever since Origins and into Dragon Age 2. I am a Cullenite and damn proud! My next go around will be my mage Tobias who will romance the lovely Josephine. I actually started him at the same time I did Cressida. Actually before moving systems I was playing as a human female Rogue originally. Once I got to about level 12 that was when things started to pick up pace, holy cow there is a lot of content in Dragon Age Inquisition. I still have the DLCs to do but my main focus for now is getting money to buy Trespasser since I hear it answers a bunch of questions. My favorite party members were of course Dorian he’s a riot, Iron Bull, Blackwall even though he makes me angry, and Cassandra!
11100809_10152945562663052_2489466937780956106_n

My final thoughts I loved Inquisition, even though at times it left me feeling like there was too much to explore unlike in DA2 where areas were overused but overall I had a great gaming experience. Some of those damn dragons were tough I still had like three more to destroy.

I laughed. I cried. I killed some demons along the way and closed the breach. Thedas is saved once more thanks to the Inquisition!! Whew I made my goal to beat this game before its one year anniversary/Birthday. I completed it last night, one day before failing! I cannot wait to see what Bioware has up its sleeves for Dragon Age Four.

My next gaming adventure is Rise of the Tomb Raider!
IMG_1215

Modding Noob.

Good afternoon everyone on this lovely Sunday. I am beyond happy that I was able to stay in my pajamas all day! I worked the last six Sundays and finally got one off! If only it was a whole weekend then I would have had a happy dance but I kind of still have a weekend off, Sunday and Monday and at least tomorrow I get to spend all day with my husband. Hope all is well with everyone. Halloween is fast approaching and I’m not quite ready for it to be here yet, but a week from today I will have been married to my husband for seven years! Holy Cow sometimes it seems like I just met him yesterday. But that’s pretty much whats happening in my neck of the woods, with that being said lets jump to what I really would love to talk about….and I have realized since I started this blog I have talked about many other things and have really slacked on the video game side of things. Which was the supposed to be my main focus. Unfortunately life gets in the way and it takes me some time to complete games. But today marks change!

When we lived with our friends last year I downloaded Dragon Age Origins for free off of Origins but I thought I had lost the game because we had changed the hard drive to a bigger one and honestly I even forgot I had downloaded the game until finally getting our PC back up and running this early summer. The problem that I am having is that I have too many damn EA/Origin accounts I cannot keep them all straight and I find myself still having trouble getting it all sorted out. My Origins game on the Xbox 360 is a different account as is my inquisition and DA2 I really need to get a hold of EA and see if there’s someway to delete all other accounts from my profile and begin anew with the one I have right now on my computer. It has just been one big mess and its been giving me a headache.

I have always wanted to play games on a pc and I never knew how exciting mods could make a game. Thankfully on Twitter I asked for help finding a starting point on modding Dragon Age Origins and now its taking over my life. Get with it Microsoft 😀

I have pretty much spent most of my time thinking of what else to mod in my first play through. So far I added more hair, eye colors, changed the undergarments *the in-game ones look dirty eww,* Also changed the look of Alistair, he is still good-looking only he has darker hair *Sorry Not sorry I prefer my men to have facial hair and darker hair.* Added a new Armor although I haven’t figured out where the stupid thing has gone. Also I found one where I could kiss and say goodbye to Ser Gilmore in Human Noble origin story, oh and I gave him a makeover, more rough around the edges! Holy cow I have gone mod crazy! I think I have an illness. If you would like to know how I got all these things just simply go to  www.dragonagenexus.com. To do all these mods I just went to the website downloaded the Nexus Mod Manager and went on a mod spree! Thank the maker they are free!!!

Here is the character I have created for my first time with mods, you may have seen her on my Instagram/twitter/Tumblr already if you follow me, all links added! I also added a bit of back story to her as well, please give me your thoughts and feedback. I have had a lot of great comments over in the THE Dragon Age Universe Facebook page as well as the Gamer Goddesses page.

12122439_10153394955508052_4379531859689465986_n
Meet my Warden Laykn Cousland. She was the best daughter she could be even though she wanted to know what the world outside the castle walls was like. Knowing how her parents wanted to protect her she held her own feelings hidden but at the same time she wished for a greater role in life. She is forced to be conscripted because she couldn’t imagine life without her parents in it. She is going to fall for Alistair and become his queen.