August 01, 2012

Geek of the Week: Meet Beth

What's your name?

Where are you from?
Originally New Jersey, currently in Pittsburgh.

What does it mean to you to be a geek/nerd?
Being a nerd doesn't just mean *liking* something, it means having that love tattooed on your body. It means spending your entire weekend to hang out with other people that love the same thing. It means posting your favorite gifs, writing tweets, marking release dates on the calendar.

But it also means having that love unconditionally. That thing might upset you from time to time, and you might need to take a break, but it is part of your DNA and you will be back.

Since I was little, I can see reflections on the nerd I am today. I can see wanting to talk to the boys in class about the X-Files, even if none of the girls did. It meant sharing inside jokes with the creators (authors, musicians, artists) that were as close as friends to me. All of that has given me a strong ability to be proud to share an overeager, hyperbolic geekiness over the things I love with no shame or concern of judgment.

It also means being the place for the secret nerds of the world to come and confess their secrets.

Once you admit your summer vacation is Comic-Con, everyone seems more willing to discuss their nerdy side.
Ed. note: This is a superb definition!

What are 2–5 things you're particularly passionate about?
1. Being self-sufficient
2. Sci-Fi/Fantasy as commentary on society
3. Women in Games
4. Tabletop Role-Playing
5. Crafting/Supporting Small Artists

Why are you passionate about these things?
1. Finding a hobby outside of normal nerdy pursuits seems to really test your overall geekiness. For me, this was discovering a general love of being self-sufficient, eco-concious, and aware of my impact on the world. I didn't want to just start composting, I wanted to read books about the best ways to build the perfect compost. I didn't want the small plot at the garden, I wanted the biggest one I could get.

However, a lot of this stemmed from my nerdiness as you start to see how preoccupied the genre can be in "saving the world." I may not be a space captain fighting back an alien race, but I can definitely recycle.

2. One thing that I still get upset about is anyone who views genre fiction and nerd culture as wasteful, disconnected, or "in a fantasy world." Our choices in hobbies shows us to be thoughtful people that are concerned with large issues. When we read the X-Men, the social commentary is clear but also, we are able to see them for the human stories that they are are. Also, when I look at organizations like Games for Change or Occupy Comics, I see a culture that is willing to look critically at our culture and use their talents for good.

3. I've been playing video games since I was 6 years old and would beg to play my cousin's Nintendo. In that time, I've really become aware of what it is like for a woman to be a gamer. That passion is two-fold, both the experience of being a woman who games as well as the depiction of women in the games themselves.

4. When you have a hobby that is even nerdy to other nerds, you have to become a cheerleader for it. Tabletop role-playing is one of the most fun hobbies you can have, and give me 3 hours, I will make you a convert.

5. If I'm buying new art for my walls, it is going to be from etsy or redbubble where I can get something unique and awesome. If I'm making something for myself, I love to have my love affair with all things nerdy reflected.
Ed. note: The more I read about Beth, the more I think we were separated at birth—or just destined to become BFFs.

Do you have any special or hidden talents?
I have an offical nerd Masters—a Masters in Library and Information Studies. I wrote a final paper on a proposal for a comic book search engine.

However, I have more nerd skeletons in my closet than hidden talents. I wrote a Buffy the Vampire Slayer newsletter for seasons 1–3 via my AOL account. My first themed website was around Kevin Smith films. I have written more fanfic than I would like to admit (and still continue to). My memory for odd facts and weird trivia is astounding and mostly just weird to people.

Ed. note: That's Beth with Anthony Stewart Head—Buffy's Giles. Check back next week for Beth's Fictional Fancy on the awesome librarian/Watcher.

What was your favorite book/movie/TV show/other from 2011?
The Vampire Diaries—It was new to me and has all of the camp I need from a TV series.

What book/movie/TV show/other are you most looking forward to in 2012?
Pacific Rim—because I <3 Idris Elba.

Do you have a "go-to" karaoke/Rock Band song? What is it?
"Renegade"—Styx --> Always for the Winchesters.
Ed. note: Yes.

What are three websites you like to visit every day?—I love blogs; some of my favorite are: Gadchick, NotMartha, Unplugged

Do you have a blog/website/Twitter name/etc. that you'd like to share?

Beth's bonus questions:

What are two of your favorite pieces of "weird" trivia?
  • Dungeons and Dragons was invented in Lake Geneva, WI. This is why the largest gaming convention in the country is called GenCon, even if it is now held in Indianapolis.
  • The movie She's All That was filmed in the same high school that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was. This is why Sarah Michele Gellar appears in a cafeteria scene.
Ed. note: I had no idea!

What kind of advice would you give a first-time con-goer?
  • Pace yourself. You aren't going to be able to accomplish everything on your list, and if you are always in a rush, you'll miss out on really awesome opportunities.
  • Research, research, and research. Follow news on Twitter, read the blogs, and keep your eyes open for great events. It's how you'll see a tweet from your favorite celeb on a mini-meetup, or find an air conditioned lounge with video games, free drinks, and snacks.
  • Comfortable shoes are your friend. Two pairs to rotate, and while your Toms are super comfortable at the grocery store, they'll be extremely comfortable after mile 3. My personal tip is also blister-proof socks and insoles, you'll be thankful after hour 3 of standing on line.

Thanks, Beth, for being a Geek of the Week!

It's still aliiiiiive! If you'd like to be a future GotW, please email me.

P.S.—Happy August!


  1. Oh, hell yes for a Giles fictional fancy. That's going to be a good one.

    Also, I'm intrigued by the comic book search engine she mentioned. I had one of those "wouldn't it be great if this existed" moments last night, thinking about how I wish there was some way to search for individual comic panels based on what was being said, which characters appeared in the panel, etc. I would database the entire freaking world if I could.

    1. It does sound super cool! I'll have to ask her more about it.