5 Blogs I Read for Fun

I suppose it should go without saying that, since I write a blog, I must also read other blogs.  While that is weirdly not always so (I do know of one blogger who doesn’t read other blogs because “they generally all suck”… *sniff* But not mine, right?) in my case it is certainly true.  Besides the information they provide, reading other people’s blogs gives me insight into different writing styles, and most importantly different viewpoints.  And since I follow several blogs on similar topics, I can also get a sense of the prevailing winds of opinion on certain nerd topics.  And, contrarian that I am, allows me to write the occasional piece tacking against that wind if I think it’s warranted.

I’m not sure how many blogs would constitute normal reading.  I currently have about 75+ blogs that update through my Google Reader; add to that the ten or so that I read from webcomic sites I visit (guilty confession time: I like the Penny Arcade comic.  But I LOVE the blog updates that go along with them.  Something about his writing style speaks to me.) , and maybe a further 5-10 I read from links on social media oh god I forgot Tumblr, more like 15-20…okay, maybe that’s a lot.  In my defence not all of them update daily, though Wired and Geek Dad appear to have me covered by updating a bajillion times a day.  So let’s say that, daily, I read somewhere in the neighbourhood of 40-50 blogs.  Your mileage may vary, but I find that a comfortable number.

Out of all that, I’m going to suggest 5 blogs to you that I think you might get a kick out of.  They aren’t in any particular order.  They aren’t necessarily my top five blogs either; rather, a representative spread of the things that amuse me.

Slushpile Hell – I stumbled across this one a little while back, and it immediately spoke to my editor’s soul (how my editor’s soul could hear it through all that stone…).  For non-editors, the slushpile is the sometimes mountain of unsolicited manuscripts received by publishers.  Reading through it can be…a challenge.  Slushpile Hell is one literary agent’s journey through the slushpile, one mind-bogglingly bad query at a time.  Each post is delightfully concise and offers up just the right amount of weary snark I need in my blog diet.

The Chapel Perilous – Okay, my nerd-crush on Monte Cook is fairly well known in certain circles (and now this one), so my reading his blog should come as no surprise.  Interestingly, it was reading his blog that led to him coming to Edmonton as a GoH at Pure Speculation; of the names that then Gaming Coordinator Scott C. Bourgeois suggested, Monte’s was the only one I “knew” through his blog, as well as recognized.  So I suggested he be moved to the top of the list, which of course Scott had already done (his nerd-crush being as strong as mine).  I love reading The Chapel Perilous for its blend of gaming and personal posts.  Monte posts about the things that matter to him, first and foremost.  So when I read something about gaming posted amongst more personal material, I know the opinion he is giving is sincere.  And sincere passion in the nerd hobbies these days is like gold…if gold were still valuable.  Platinum, then.  At least electrum.

Total Fan Girl – I read other nerdy blogs for a variety of reasons: inspiration, information, entertainment.  Total Fan Girl gives me a healthy dose of all three, plus a perspective on the hobby that I find valuable as an Old Male Geek worried about inclusiveness.  Like me, she is a general-purpose nerd with a variety of interests, and her posts reflect that.  She is also a gateway into another of my media addictions, as she posts updates for the GeekMoms podcast.  Mostly I like her blog because she always brings me the really cool stuff.  And that challenges me to do the same.

Awesome Dice Blog – Okay, I’ve actually only been reading this blog for a few weeks now.  But in that time I’ve gone back through and read EVERYTHING! (putting the OCD back into OCD…five times!)  It first came to my attention through the Twitters because of a link to a very cool little time-line of dice throughout history.  Then in one of those internet happen-stances I received an email from Brian at Awesome Dice, asking if I would link to their site.  So I checked their site out, thoroughly (see above EVERYTHING), and said yes, of course I would.  Yes, they talk a lot about dice; if that isn’t in your wheelhouse then you might want to give a pass.  But the blog also covers a wide variety of gamer nerd topics, and includes video posts from Balthazar (yes, THE Balthazar) on…well, just about anything.  Here’s a sample:

So I highly recommend these guys for your daily dose of game nerdery.  Oh, and they also sell dice.  Awesome dice, so I’m told.

The Unknown Studio – Better known for the podcast of the same name, The Unknown Studio also has a snazzy and interesting blog.  While there are a number of sources I follow to keep up on what’s going on in Edmonton, this blog is probably the most fun I have doing it.  It’s worth reading for FML Fridays alone, but Adam Rozenhart also posts some really sincere and insightful pieces on my city and the people in it.  And he also posts some flat-out goofy shit.  The combination works, and like the podcast, keeps me coming back.

Okay, that’s me.  What are you reading in the blogosphere?  Share in the comments below, and maybe we’ll all read something new today!

Public Displays of Nerdery (and where to find them)

There is nerdery afoot and aflight in the city of Edmonton!  And you need to get out there and take part, lest your nerd cred atrophy over these long winter months.  To forestall any nerd-cred shrinkage, why not take in some of these fine events:

An Epic Valentine’s Day of Epic Epicness

Join the Graphic Content folks, along with Comics! The Blog as they host a special Valentine’s Day screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, tonight at the Metro Cinema.  Starting at 9:00pm, there will be drinks provided by Metro’s official supplier Alley Kat Brewing CompanyAnd, you can have your drink – in a fancy red party cup, just like in the movie! – inside the theatre itself!  Screening starts at 9:30pm.  Tickets are $10 adults, $8 students/senoirs, and Metro Passes will be accepted. The film is 112 minutes long, rated PG, and we’ll be showing it in glorious 35mm.

Chapters Mini-Comicon — Author Appearances

Saturday, February 18 at 11am, join Edmonton literary and comic celebs Andrew Foley (Done to Death, Cowboys & Aliens), Dave Gross (Pathfinder, Forgotten Realms), and Robert Burke Richardson (Old School, The Matriarch) for readings, signings and a Q&A.  Where else are you going to talk to these three together in one place, outside of a fancy-schmancy convention? Well, at the 170st Chapters, in this case.  But besides that, nowhere!  You would be the most foolish of fools to miss out on this opportunity, so make your way there this Saturday!

GEEKS UNITE! “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

Friday February 24th at 11pm at the Metro Cinema!  At Last! Another film completely different from some of the other films which aren’t quite the same as this one is. King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his knights Sir Galahad the Pure (Michael Palin) , Sir Lancelot the Brave (John Cleese), the quiet Sir Bedevere (Terry Jones), and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot (Eric Idle) embark on a low-budget search for the Grail, encountering many very silly obstacles. Classic 35mm film comedy on the big screen…costumes & coconuts encouraged! Join the Knights Who Say Ni!, Tim the Enchanter, Roger the Shrubber, the Black Knight, the oppressed Dennis, Prince Herbert & his father the King of Swamp Castle & many more!

Happy Harbor’s Movie Nite! U-Decide!

Happy Harbor is having a movie night, Saturday, February 25th, and you get to pick the movie!  Choose between TUCKER & DALE vs EVIL or VAMPIRE GIRL vs FRANKENSTEIN GIRL; you can cast your vote on the Facebook event page (follow the heading link)  Whichever gets the most votes is what you will watch.  HH now has a snack bar (chips & chocolate bars) with coffee to go along with our pop so all you need is a donation to the Edmonton Food Bank and it’s extra crazy, geeky movie action time.  And if you haven’t seen the new HH theater in action, it’s pretty awesome!  Movie starts at 7pm, so cast your vote and don’t be late!

Okay nerds!  There are four events to get your nerd juices (ew!) flowing!  As always, if you know of any nerdly events going on in Edmonton drop a link in the comments below and I’ll post them on the blog.  Now get out there and have fun!

Edmonton Nerd Events

The nerdiness rolls ever on, my Yeggers!  Just when you thought, “No, we couldn’t possibly have more nerd events happening around the Greater Edmonton Area.”…BAMF!  More nerd events!  Just remember the advice of this Renaissance Dork: Pace yourself, geekiness is a marathon, not a sprint.  Just let those words of wisdom sink in as you read these upcoming events:

Turkey Shoot presents: Barbarella

An ongoing event at Metro Cinema, Turkey Shoot mixes everything you love about MST3K with audience participation, and the result is movie viewing hilarity!  Their latest victim, er, film is that Jane Fonda “classic”, Barbarella.  Join your hosts Dave Clarke, Jeff Paige and Morgan Smith on Thursday, October 13 at 9:30pm as they show their appreciation for this notorious bit of ’60s Sci-Fi cinema.  As always, there will be trivia quizzes and great prize giveaways!

Edmonton Pop Culture Fair

This Sunday, “Pop” on down to the Alberta Aviation Museum (11410 Kingsway Ave) for the Edmonton Pop Culture Fair!  For over a decade the Fair has brought together pop-culture vendors from all over Western Canada for your browsing and buying pleasure.  Books, t-shirts, toys, records, comics, posters; you can find anything and everything pop culture related.  Doors open at 10am and admission is just $5, so come spend a day in pop-culture Nirvana!

Pure Spec Board Game Pub Night Fundraiser

Join the Pure Spec crew at Elephant & Castle (10200 102 Ave NW) for a night of good food, good friends and games, all in support of the Pure Spec Festival!  They’ll be eating from 7-8pm, and then gaming until exhausted.  This is casual gaming, so don’t worry if you don’t know how to play something; someone will teach you.  Better yet, bring a game of your own to teach others! Cost is $3 for gaming only, or $15 for your choice of a beef or veggie burger, fries, a pop, and gaming (cash only, please).  Get your game on and support Edmonton’s premiere nerd event, Pure Spec!

Graphic Content Presents: Superman

Graphic Content is an ongoing film series done in cooperation between Metro Cinema and Warp One Comics and Games.  Curated by Matt Bowes and Erin Fraser, the series explores the link between film and sequential art.  Their latest instalment, a 35mm print of the classic Richard Donner Superman (1978), will screen on Tuesday, October 18th; box office opens at 6pm, with screening at 6:45pm.  Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students/seniors and $6 for children under thirteen.  Don’t miss this classic piece of comic book cinema!

Online Marketing Meetup

Join the Online Marketing Meetup group for their monthly meetup, and get in the know about online marketing!  Hosted the third Wednesday of every month at D’Lish Urban Kitchen & Wine Bar, this is your chance to talk with other folks interested in the internets and online marketing.  Starts at 5:30pm, Wednesday, October 19 and the first round is on SEMPO Canada!

Symphonic Sorcery

Join the Edmonton Harry Potter Club for their outing to Symphonic Sorcery at the Winspear Centre.  The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra will present the highly entertaining music of “Harry Potter” as part of their Esso Symphony for Kids series, and the EHPC would like you to come along!  The concert begins at 2pm on Saturday, October 29th, with pre-concert activities for the kids beginning at 1pm.  Shrug off your muggle disguise, and join the wizards of the Harry Potter Club for a fun-filled afternoon!

As always, if you have a nerdy event you’d like me to post, drop me a link in the comments section or email me at brent.jans(at)gmail.com.  I post these weekly, usually Thur/Fri, so the earlier you get it to me the better!