Stephanie Goes to ValorCon 2016


    This past weekend, I checked out ValorCon, a convention in Chicago geared towards the gaming community: tabletop gaming, video and computer gaming, and live action gaming. It was located inside the giant Macy’s building on State Street, which was a very strange venue for a convention, but the convention made good use of its space.

    One floor was dedicated to video/computer gaming with kids gathered around screens to watch people face off in Super Smash Bros. and Overwatch tournaments. On another floor, people sparred with foam swords and shields, while others tried virtual reality. And, of course, there were many tables dedicated to various tabletop games, along with many vendors and exhibitors showing off their little-known products.

    I was looking forward to checking this convention out in general, but even more excited when a few of my fellow geek ladies of Chicago suggested doing a panel together. We’ve been kicking around the idea of joining our blogging/art/etc. forces together to really support each other and support the geek community in Chicago. And we wanted to get this message out to the people most important in Chicago: the geeks. We thought, ‘What better way to do this than getting real feedback at a convention?’

    So, myself, Monica of Geeks A Gogo, Mary-Kate of The Fantasy Realm of Chicago, and Scout, a blogger for Geeks A Gogo, hosted a panel under our collective name of The Geek Femspective: What’s Missing in Your Geek Community?

    Honestly, we weren’t sure what to expect from our discussion or from our audience. But I want to extend a huge thanks to those who stopped by and more importantly, to those who actually participated in our discussion. We were all very nervous, but I think getting this kind of live feedback from real people in the community who truly care about it was invaluable. We will hopefully try to incorporate the thoughts, suggestions, and ideas into future events we want to plan. It was great speaking with you guys who care so passionately about the Chicago geek community!

    And, of course, thanks to ValorCon for giving us a platform to have such an important discussion. We hope to have a video of the panel up soon!

    Stephanie Watches Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4×01 “The Ghost”


    Our beloved SHIELD team is back, but very fragmented. Daisy is on the run (with Yoyo giving her intel behind SHIELD’s back), Coulson and Mack were trying to find Daisy but kicked off the mission so they’re flying around in their quinjet, FitzSimmons are adorable and being sciencey at the base, and May is training new agents at the base.

    Dealing with the new director (who we will meet next episode) isn’t SHIELD’s only trouble. A new vigilante/possible serial killer is on the loose with a scary, fiery car leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. Not only that, but a certain Quakey lady was also spotted on his trail. This gets the team riled up. May (secretly) sends Coulson and Mack to track Daisy since they have a new lead, while Daisy tries to track down this murderey dude.


    “There’s only one thing I want: Nothing left to lose.”

    That was the most telling line for why Daisy is doing what she’s doing. Why she’s far away from everyone she cares about and who care about her. She feels responsible for Lincoln’s death and likely for the countless others they’ve lost along the way (especially Tripp). If she separates herself from them, she won’t be a danger to them, and she won’t put them in danger anymore. And it also makes me super sad for her.

    But she’s trying to right these wrongs by serving up her own justice. If she can find this guy who’s killing people and stop him, she’s evening out the balance again. Maybe she’ll never even it out for herself, but she can at least do the world a favor. I think she should move to Hell’s Kitchen and help Jessica, Luke, and Matt. They seem to all be on a similar path, with their internalized pain leading their efforts.

    The only problem is the guy she’s chasing is doing the same thing. He’s trying to right wrongs by killing people who deserve it: murderers, pedophiles, etc. This doesn’t jibe with Daisy’s plan to stop him (especially after she sees him helping his brother into a wheelchair and being a nice, normal guy), so they fight it out and he reveals his fiery skull visage to her. Marvel fans will obviously know him as the classic character Ghost Rider.

    Turns out GR was chasing after some people who wanted some thing in a box, likely to unleash upon the world. SHIELD was targeting the sale of the box (and hoped they’d run into Daisy along the way but Yoyo warned her that was the plan), so Coulson, Mack, and May + team show up after these guys open it. Some sort of ghostly smoke comes out and soon all the crime businessmen are trying to kill each other because their faces are all droopy, decaying messes. After some are killed and others are iced, May comes into the room, but the ghostly smoke lady brushes past her. She gets a chill but shakes it off. Later on the quinjet, however, as she’s playing a game with Coulson, she looks up and sees his face all creepy and decaying. Ruh-roh!

    Meanwhile, Fitz is bonding with Holden Radcliffe — the ‘mad’ scientist from the tail end of season 3 — with some brews, some football, and, oh yeah, a naked robot chick! Holden’s robot, who he spoke to but had not developed a body for in season 3’s epilogue, is named AIDA. He is very excited about her, but Fitz is wigging out. After the Ultron incident, he thinks people should know better than to mess with artificial intelligence. But Holden promises she’s not an AI, she simply mimics humans. But we know she’s a life model decoy, like Patton’s character. When Fitz officially meets AIDA and she explains her purpose as a literal “shield” to keep SHIELD team members from dying, he seems intrigued. But he tells Holden to keep it a secret, especially from Simmons. She answers to the new Director and if she found out about Ada, she would have to tell the Director and much shit would hit the fan.

    Robots are generally a sign of not-so-great things, so we’ll see where this takes off. Ultimately, I think Holden has good intentions, but like Tony Stark found out, science can easily take on a life of its own and get out of control. And, of course, all I can think of it Ex Machina.

    Bonus: Joss Whedon came back to Twitter today and released this hilarious, but important video featuring many Avengers and other Whedon alums. Check it out.

    Stephanie Recommends 6 Spoopy Podcasts


    This is kind of a combination of spoopy (a.k.a. spooky) podcasts and true crime in honor of Halloween approaching — my favorite season (Halloween is an entire season, dammit!) and holiday. I like to mix the fact with the fiction to give myself a good balance. I’ve been a fan of the increasingly spookier Black Tapes & TANIS since their inception, but thanks to a coworker’s recommendation, I gave My Favorite Murder a try — and immediately loved it. But it sent me spiraling into an obsession with true crime that I’d buried deep down. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but The X-Files has been my favorite show since I was 5, so that makes me a pretty weird kid already. I also used to watch Forensic Files, Unsolved Mysteries, Rescue 911 all throughout childhood. I remember children started disappearing in St. Louis in the early 90s and every evening the TV would ask: “It’s 5 o’clock, do you know where your children are?” The JonBenet Ramsey murder and OJ Simpson madness was on in the background of my early childhood, as well. I could go on and on. Anyway, I flippin’ love true crime, horror, and devouring as much creepy/horrifying media I can get my hands on — from documentaries to TV series to movies, and of course, podcasts.

    So, fall down the spoopy/true crime hole with me this fall. Here are 6 podcasts to get you started on your journey: Continue reading