Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Monster-Con Happened, and I Was There

Unlike San Diego, Atlanta, or even New York, New Orleans isn't known for a particular convention, but the Gulf Coast is home to several conventions held throughout the year. It's my goal, here at She-Geeks, to showcase those smaller (but no less enthusiastic) conventions. If there is a convention in or around the Gulf Coast that you'd like to see me cover, please send the convention details to

Last weekend I drove for I don't even know how many hours to visit Monster-Con in San Antonio. Not only was this my first time at Monster-Con, it was my first time visiting Texas! I'm not ashamed to say that my expectations for the Lone Star State were a wee bit skewed, and that I was more than a little disappointed that I wasn't immediately met with dancing cowboys and tumbleweeds when I crossed the Louisiana/Texas border. Thankfully, the unconventional convention I was there for more than made up for the lack of stereotypical Texas landscaping. In addition to being a free event, Monster-Con takes place not in hotel conference rooms or a convention center or even a warehouse, but in a shopping mall. Yep, you read that right. The Wonderland of the Americas apparently hosts several events throughout the year in addition to the horror convention, and while it was a bit weird, they managed to make it work much better than I expected.

The Waters of Mars and Philosophy

By now, everyone (I hope) has heard that NASA has confirmed the discovery of flowing, liquid water on Mars. These are exciting times, people! Why? We are one step closer to potentially discovering LIFE on another planet! As Bill Nye the Science Guy put it on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, "Wherever we find water on Earth, we find living things," so it stands to reason that finding water on Mars could very well lead to finding life on the Red Planet. Unfortunately, that same panel discussed how few people seem to really care about this ground-breaking discovery despite all of its amazing implications. Ricky Valez perhaps summed up the thoughts of those who are less than impressed with the discovery of water on Mars:
"Why would I be excited about Mars? I'm barely excited about Earth! [...] Trump is first in polls right now! Are you kidding me? Let's defeat ISIS! How about that?"
This struck a cord with me on several levels. Nye did his best to explain how important an interest in space is by pointing out how we would not be as technologically advanced as we are without the space program to no avail. (Use the interwebs via a computer, or a cell phone, or velcro? Thank the space program for ALL of that.) As a nerd, and a space enthusiast, it hurts my soul to hear people say that they don't care about space exploration. Especially when their reasons are so terrestrial. Here's the thing, stay with me here cause I'm about to get philosophical, one of the main reasons for conflict in our world today (outside of a fight for resources) is the very basic idea of "you're different from me, and I don't like that." At its very base, that's the underlying feeling behind nearly every major conflict we have. From religious differences, to racial differences, to simple language barriers, the issue is our resistance to accept our differences. Which is so trivial and petty considering that we're actually all the same down to molecular level. Nearly all of our differences are a matter of geography. The language you speak is determined by where you were born. The color of your skin is determined by the geographic location of your ancestors (did they live in the sunny Sahara, or the perpetually overcast UK, or a mix of both?). Even the religion you practice is (most often, but of course not always) determined by where you were born and/or where your family hails from.

So, what does this have to do with an interest in space? I'm getting there, I promise.

I live in New Orleans, a city known for the tendency of its inhabitants to spend their entire lives in the neighborhood in which they grew up. It's a beautiful thing to have such a deep love for your city, but it's also easy to fall into the trappings of living in a bubble. When you live in a bubble, it's much too easy to think of your world in terms of the confines of that bubble; to not care about things outside of said bubble. We defend our bubble fiercely, because in many ways it's all we know. We make huge decisions based on the parameters of our bubble, often with little to no regard for the impact those decisions may have on the world outside our bubble. That is why it is so very important for us to work on expanding our bubble. If you think about what's best only for your neighborhood, then the ones around it may start to suffer. That suffering leads to resentment and anger from the surrounding neighborhoods, which in turn leads to resentment and anger from your neighborhood towards those railing against it. Now, even if your bubble expands to cover your city, or state, or even the Country as a whole, there are still billions of people living outside your bubble who also matter and are making decisions that WILL effect you. Whether those decisions are on a human level such as the atrocious conditions in Syria leading to thousands of refugees fleeing into other Countries, or on an environmental level like the amount of carbon in our atmosphere destroying the polar ice caps and raising the sea levels globally, we are all (at some point) going to be affected by the actions of those outside our bubbles. It's not until our bubble encompasses the entire planet that we will be able to truly see how connected we all are, and will be able as a species to make decisions that will benefit us all. Having an interest in space exploration breeds that kind of global thinking. When we look to the stars, we begin to realize how tiny our world is in the grand scheme of things, and how connected we all are as its inhabitants. We all live on this one, tiny, watery rock together. The arbitrary lines we've drawn around our Countries and cities are as meaningless as they are imaginary when we look at the Earth as a whole.

Space exploration is important to our technological advancement, yes. More than that, though, space exploration is exceedingly important to our species' advancement.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Doctor Who 'The Witch's Familiar' Review

*This review is cross-posted to the Krewe du Who blog*

As always, DO NOT READ unless you're caught up on Series 9 of Doctor Who! As River would say: *spoilers*

Monday, September 21, 2015

Doctor Who 'The Magician's Apprentice' Review

*This review is cross-posted to the Krewe du Who blog*

As always, DO NOT READ unless you're caught up on Series 9 of Doctor Who! As River would say: *spoilers*

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dragon Con Happened, and I Was There

Ah, Dragon Con... Spanning four days, five hotels (plus the AmericasMart), and boasting attendance numbers over 70,000, it's one of the World's largest geek conventions. It's also the convention I cut my teeth on way back in the *coughcough1990scoughcough*. Though it's changed a lot over the years, Dragon Con will always hold a special place in my heart. There are tons of people who will never miss a year, and tons more who have Dragon Con on their geeky bucket list (and for good reason). This was the 29th year for Dragon Con, and it did not disappoint.