about-iwd

Happy International Women’s Day! I’m actually more fond of what they refer to it elsewhere: International Women’s Rights Day, but regardless of what it’s called, this is a wonderful day to celebrate the amazing women in our lives that have inspired and motivated us. I have a lot of personal female heroes. So many that it was really hard to narrow it down so I limited myself to women who are currently still on Earth making it a better place while they live and breathe.

Mae Jemison

maejemison

How could I not choose Mae Jemison? She (along with Sally Ride) has been such a guiding star in my love of and yearning for space travel. Mae Jemison was the first African American to ever travel to space PLUS she’s been on Star Trek so she has most definitely boldy gone where no man has gone before (it’s extra cool because she was first inspired to join NASA because of Nichelle Nichols’ character Uhura). Not only is she an intelligent scientists, she’s also a talented dancer, and has founded numerous companies and foundations to advance technology in every day human life. Learn more about Mae Jemison.

Michelle Obama

michelleobama

As First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama has been pretty much everywhere in the past eight years. Her dedication to improving the health of our nation’s children and passion for community gardens have been inspirational. She is one of the few First Ladies to ever directly address the issue of childhood obesity and her “Let’s Move” movement has been a huge success in schools. The Obamas even built the first garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt AND had beehives installed on the South Lawn. Her motivation is astounding and I am constantly floored by all of the projects this woman has going. I am so sad that her time in the White House is coming to an end, but I know that no matter where she lives, she will continue her good work. Learn more about Michelle Obama.

Jane Goodall

janegoodall

When I was in sixth grade, we had to do an oral book report. Most kids just stood up front and read from a piece of paper. But me? I was already a little ham (and a nerd) – I dressed up as Jane Goodall and did a report on Through A Window, complete with a stuffed Gorilla at my side and lots of crouched over antics impersonating Jane impersonating the gorillas. Jane Goodall isn’t just someone I admire now, she had a very large impact on me growing up. I even ended up going to college to become and outdoor educator like her. Jane Goodall’s books and teachings have opened our eyes to the animals around us and have been instrumental in how we perceive the natural world. Her work is deeply inspiring to me and her words continue to remind that there is still a sense of wonder to be found in our planet Earth. Learn more about Jane Goodall.

Commander Shepard

shepard

Okay so she’s not a real person but I am not limiting this list to just reality. Commander Shepard means a lot to me. Her courage and her commitment to getting things done no matter how hard and long the battle is are an inspiration to me over and over again (no matter how many times I play these games). She’s a reminder to keep going when the going gets tough. She’s a leader and a friend and a hero to not just humanity – but to the whole galaxy. She is fearsome and snarky and always willing to get the job done. She’s there for her friends when they need her and she knows just what to say to piss the right people off. My Shepard might be just who I want her to be, but she’s who I want myself to be too and through her I can model my own action and remind myself of the path that I want to follow through life. She is a survivor and a reminder that I am too. Learn more about my love for Commander Shepard.

Nellie Jeninga

nelliejeninga

Now this is a name that most people probably won’t know. Nellie Jeninga was born and raised in Heerlen, Holland in 1935. Growing up, she and her sister loved to perform and sing and eventually became quite good at it – they were even recorded and had a very promising future. But Nellie was headstrong and in love. In 1958, she threw away her fears and followed her heart to Toronto, Canada to be with the man she loved. She left behind her country, her home, her family and everything she knew for a new continent with people who didn’t speak her language. It wasn’t the last time her stubborn nature would lead her on adventure. In 1961, Nellie, her husband, and their two children moved to the United States, to Wisconsin, in the middle of a severe snowstorm. Settling down in Wisconsin didn’t stop her tenacious thirst for travel though and over the years, they would often pack up the kids and roadtrip around the country. She passed down that wanderlust and bravery to her oldest daughter (another of my personal heroines) who then passed it down to her daughter. Which would be me. Nellie Jeninga is my Oma and my favorite person in the world (that’s us in that picture). She has never let fear stop her from following her heart and she has been the steadfast rock in my life that I can always come home to. I am proud to say I have her bravery to travel and experience the unknown and I most definitely have her stubborness and headstrong nature. Because of this, I have to add her to my list of inspirational women because she has made my life better over and over again. I love her dearly.

Happy International Women’s Day!

These are only five of a very long list of women who are important to me. Others include Sally Ride, Madeleine L’Engle, Amelia Earhart, Annie Oakley, J.K. Rowling, Laverne Cox, Grace Murray Hopper, George Sand, Audrey Hepburn, Ada Lovelace, and so many many more. Thank you for paving the way and making it known that women can do anything they absolutely want! We are strong and empowered and we have a voice. You can find out more about Internation Women’s Day here.

Who are you celebrating today?

Rest In Peace Harper Lee

Harper Lee

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

It is a very sad today. Harper Lee has passed away.

I, like many many people, cherished my first reading of To Kill A Mockingbird. It was a turning point in how I saw other people and empathized with them – you’re told these things as a kid but you can’t really know what it means until you experience it. This is a book that I’m happy to see on many required reading lists and it’s a book that I feel many people in seats of authority should read (and re-read). Despite being written in the 60s, this book resonates hard with today’s society. It is still (sadly) relevant with morals that are often forgotten now.

I am sad that Harper Lee has left this world, but she lived a full and good life surrounded by books and a powerful legacy that we should never let fade. In celebration of her life, read your kids her book. Teach them that kindness and fairness are important and that’s it the character of a man that is essential, not what he owns or how much money and status he has or what the color of his skin is. “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

I truly hope you rest in peace, Harper Lee, knowing that your positive impact on the world will last for a very long time. Your name and your work will never be forgotten.

staple-banner

I have lived in Austin, Texas for almost seven years now. Six of those years I have been going to my favorite local convention Staple: The Independent Media Expo. I love is so much that for the third year in a row, I’ll be volunteering at the show. If you haven’t heard of it and you’ll be in town on March 5th and 6th, come join us!

What is STAPLE?

STAPLE! is a quickly growing convention located in Austin, Texas that has been bringing the best of independently produced comics, zines, art, crafts, and games and more to local fans. This year, there will be over 150+ exhibitors of comics, zines, art, crafts, games and more! There are events and workshops and live podcast recordings throughout the day and live screen-printing of the annual STAPLE t-shirt.

staple-hlights

Some of my past highlights: meeting Kevin Eastman, mastermind behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and interviewing Sean Wang, the creator of Runners. I’ve also met some other amazing artists like Kate Leth, E.K. Weaver, Jamie Kinosian, and so many more. Last year there was also a really stellar panel about queer diversity in the gaming industry with folks from my favorite Bioware. There is always great things happening at STAPLE! and this year is no different.

Who are the Guests this year?

There are some fantastic and talented creators coming out for this year’s STAPLE! Four time Eisner Award winner Gene Ha is the artist of books like Fables, Justice League, Cyclops & Phoenix, and Oktane. Emily Carroll is probably best known for her short stories collection Through the Woods and her gorgeous illustrations. C. Spike Trotman runs Iron Circus Comics, Chicago’s largest comics publisher, and puts out some pretty awesome Kickstarters. Danielle Corsetto is the creator of Girls With Slingshots and has written three Adventure Time graphic novels. These are just a few of the guests that will be showcasing at STAPLE! You can read up on who else will be there on STAPLE’s Guests page.

There will also be TONS of exhibitors showing off their work. You can find the whole list on STAPLE’s Exhibitors page.

staple-hall

STAPLE! Details

STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo
When: March 5-6, 2016
Where: Marchesa Hall and Theater, 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, TX
Tickets: Sold at the Door

Interested in attending? Great! Here’s the scoop. On Friday (the 4th), there will be a pre-party out at Austin Books and Comics starting at 8pm. On Saturday, the expo officially opens at 11am and there will be workshops, tutorials, panels, interviews and more until they close down at 6pm. On Sunday, the show starts at 12pm and goes to 6 as well. And throughout the whole thing there are two rooms full of vendors for your to peruse to your heart’s content. The complete STAPLE! schedule can be found on their site.

Tickets aren’t sold online, so just head out and purchase them at the door. $10 for a day pass, $15 for both days. On Saturday only there is a Student/Military discount: two-day pass for $10 with valid student or military ID.

staple-stickers

Join Us!

Can’t wait to see you there!

indiezine01

Okay so when I saw this Kickstarter flash through my feed on Twitter, I jumped at it. Some of my favorite platformers are on this list and even more that I’ve been interested in. I love indie games and I love when awesome artists draw fanart of their favorite works, so this is a kickstarter I can get behind.

indiezine02

So what is it? Simply put, “It is an illustration anthology dedicated to some of the best indie games released or upcoming. It is our way to celebrate both cool art and cool indie games.” Thirty talented artists have come together to draw illustrations celebrating their favorite indie games which means thirty (and maybe more) gorgeous pieces of art in one game-packed zine. What do they plan to all include in this project? Here’s their list:

  • +20-90 artists/games more (depending on stretch goals)
  • An extra page per piece with some info on the game and the artist
  • A small interview to some of the gamedevs
  • Extra pages where the current artists will be able of including a smaller illustration to present another extra game they love

indiezine03

A slew of talented artists that have jumped on board with this project. You can find work from Emmett Rose, Bonnie Mier, Dani Kruse, Guille Garcia, and so many more. You can find the whole list and more updates about the project on their Kickstarter page. There are some pretty awesome reward tiers and some enticing stretch goals (and they’ve already reached one of them)!

Currently, The Indie G Zine is attempting to add a few more games to their line-up, including Cave Story and the incredibly popular (and beautiful) Undertale game. If anyone knows folks from either of those games and can give them a nudge towards this kickstarter, that would be awesome. I know I would love to see both of those games included in the zine. The man behind the Indie G Zine kickstarter is Julián Quijano and he is super passionate about this project and bringing it to the fans. I can’t wait to see the zine in production.

indiezine04

Go pledge now to The Indie G Zine Kickstarter now and follow them on twitter and tumblr for more updates. Supporting this project doesn’t just mean support for the zine – the zine itself will be promoting and marketing some pretty awesome artists AND the games they love. So what are you waiting for? Let’s go!