The Ladies Podcast – Kristen Gudsnuk Interview

Smalerie interviews LadiesCon guest Kristen Gudsnuk right before the convention. Listen as they discuss Kristen’s comics, magical girls, and upcoming comics.

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My Growth with Kpop

It all started in the fall of 2010, my last year of high school. I was bored and browsing a pre-Facebook social media site when I came across a picture of a group of very attractive Asian men. I learned the band’s name, went onto YouTube looking for more, and got my first taste of Kpop. I really can’t say for sure why I liked it so quickly, or why I was willing to give up all the songs in my iPod and start all over again from scratch. My music tastes before Kpop were American pop acts such as Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, and Pink, as well as rock groups like Skillet, Paramore, and Linkin Park. It felt like there was a big shift in the music scene happening, at the time. There were so many pop songs on the radio and then hip hop came back. The music was good, but I just was not impressed with it anymore. I wanted something more.

When I watched my first Kpop video, “Bad Girl” by B2ST (pronounced Beast, now known as Highlight), it was an instant love connection.

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Thankful Post of Thankfulness

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Fall is Here! 

 We know it is Halloween, but we won’t be posting before Thanksgiving and our hearts are just bursting with thankfulness. In celebration of this, we are going to share some of the things that we are thankful for. So here we go…. things we (Lady Diceacorn and Meepline) are thankful for this year in no particular order.

Our Family and Friends

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We love our boys!

We both have big families and we are thankful for them. We are super thankful for our husbands who do the solo parent thing one weekend day a month so that we can go hang out with awesome women and play games. We know how hard solo parenting can be, so we want you to know we appreciate it and we love you tons. We are thankful for our kids, who are cool but also can show us that we have a ton of patience (especially when it comes to hearing about Fortnight dances and Minecraft). We love you guys too.

We are thankful to our friends who fill our lives with happiness whenever the world feels like a dumpster fire. Even just a “how are you?” on a bad day means the world.  

First Responders

We are grateful to those who are trained to run in when everyone else runs out. You are brave beyond measure and we are grateful to you for everything that you do. We also recognize that you sacrifice holidays with your family because emergencies do not take a holiday. Thank you for that sacrifice.

 

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Mr. Meepline and his partner.

   Mr. Meepline is a paramedic, so first responders hold a special place in Meepline’s heart. She’s also thankful to some of his single co-workers who have offered to work a swap for him so he could be home on Christmas with the Meepleteenies.

The Ladies of Comicazi

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     When our game day didn’t have a home and someone suggested Comicazi, we had no idea we would be meeting so many new friends. Tiny Doom, Red Menace, Smalerie and Cartoon Sara were so welcoming and helped us sort everything out. We were so honored when we were asked to be official Ladies. We are thankful for the caring and wonderful women you are. In creating inclusive events like LadiesCon, you are creating a community of caring people. It is a community we are so proud to be a part of.

Game Companies

     There are so many board, video and RPG companies out there and we don’t really have the word count to list them all, so we are just going to say thank you to the collective. Thank you for creating games that capture our imaginations, make us think, make us laugh and bring us together. Thank you for helping us tell a story, be braver than we thought we could and go on adventures that exceed expectations. Thank you for giving kids the environment to do things that they were told they wouldn’t be able to do. This year we learned that some therapists were using role-playing games to work on speech and social skills with kids who needed a place to open up. Games are magic and you are the magic makers.  Keep doing awesome things. We cannot wait to see what is next.

Kickstarter

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We played this deluxe Kickstarter game at our last ELS Day!

     We are grateful to Kickstarter for allowing us to fund a game before it is made. Is the system perfect? Not at all. Lady Diceacorn is still waiting on a game from 2013. It didn’t stop her from kicking in for the new edition of Savage Worlds though. Things that may not have been made otherwise can be made with crowdfunding. We had new Mystery Science Theater because of Kickstarter.

Our Foremothers

    It took a while for women to be recognized for their contributions in history. We are grateful to all the women who took a stand and did something great. We see you and we appreciate you.  Women have been at the forefront of many great things throughout history; from Mary Shelley publishing Frankenstein anonymously 200 years ago, Helen Keller being one of the founders of the ACLU and Nichelle Nichols working with NASA to recruit women astronauts. We walk in the shadows of great women and for that, we are truly thankful.

Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds on Twitter  

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     Twitter can be a hot mess, but one of the best things about the social media platform is whenever a new tweet appears from Chris Evans or Ryan Reynolds. First, Chris Evans, who is a hometown boy, loves his dog, his fake Civil War feud with Robert Downey Jr., fall and (as Lady Diceacorn excitedly found out the other day) Christmas. He is also not shy about being diagnosed with anxiety, something that makes him a hero in our eyes. Second, Ryan Reynolds. Well, there’s a reason he was cast as Deadpool. His tweets are irreverent and with a dry humor that makes Meepline chuckle, especially when he’s talking about his wife and girls. There have been several times where they have interacted with each other and it has been magic. It is a smile that we all need right now.

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Bingeable TV Shows

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You can watch TV anywhere now!

     Remember when we were kids and had to wait a week or a long time to find out what happened next on our favorite TV show? Not anymore! DVR’s, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and countless other streaming services allow us to decide what we want to watch, when we want to watch it and where. While waiting at the doctor’s office, watching a show on our phone is something we can do. If the commute home was bad, we can watch our favorite comedy to help us laugh. (Lady Diceacorn loves the fact that Monty Python is now on Netflix, as is Mystery Science Theater 3000.) Kids can watch what they want when they can now too. Most cartoons and shows are available on one of the big three streaming services. We cannot say enough great things about Netflix’s children’s programming. The Who Was show is a staple at both houses and Lady Diceacorn’s house loves Beat Bugs. Beat Bugs tells the story of a group of bugs living in a backyard and each story is told to a specific Beatles song.  (Lady Diceacorn suggests the Eleanor Rigby episode. It is her personal favorite.) At the Meepline House, all of the Meepleteenies have been bingeing some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Netflix has the whole series, all of the Equestria Girls movies, AND the motion picture!

Dice    

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So pretty!

    We love dice. They are pretty and sometimes they roll well for us. We have a lot too. Sometimes we use poor rolling as an excuse to buy more dice. This is why Meepline is going broke. She loooves dice, but the dice hate her.

Podcasts

     Lady Diceacorn is a huge fan of podcasts. They get her through her new much longer commute. Did you know The Ladies have a podcast? We are grateful for the really talented people who display their talents out there on the internet for free. We have a lot of podcasts we love. Lady Diceacorn suggests Thrilling Adventure Hour Treasury, Welcome to Nightvale, History Chicks and Unspooled.  

Comicazi

     Our home away from home! We love you. Thank you for taking us in and embracing our little game day.

ELS Game Day

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     Our beloved game day grew a little bit this year. We are thankful to everyone who has come to our game day and played games. We can’t wait to see what next year brings. Happy Third Birthday ELS!

Finally – Each Other

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Wearing our tiaras at LadiesCon!

Lady Diceacorn: I can’t even begin to count the reasons that I am lucky to have Meepline as my platonic life partner. We met because we needed something different from our everyday life of chaos and ended up finding a true blue friendship. You are always there to hear my grumbles about commuting or share the joy of a new house. You give me pep talks before important stuff and remind me that I always have a friend in you. When I needed a partner in running the game day, you didn’t hesitate and jumped in beside me. May we have many more years that we get to be thankful for each other.

Meepline: Oh, man. So, I never thought I’d ever find a kindred female spirit outside of my family. And yet, here she is. Not only does she share my love of games and all things geeky, but she understands my frustrations as a boy mom. We share all of our annoyances, bolster each other up when we’re down, and gush over how adorable each others’ kids are. (Seriously, we have some cute kids.) I’m glad that you’re the Ethel to my Lucy, the Twilight Sparkle to my Pinkie Pie, basically the sane character to my insane character. May we grow old and be able to pass this torch to ladies younger than us. ❤

Featured Game: Trash Panda By  Gamewright Games

     We are excited to be having Gamewright Games demoing their wonderful games at our game day on November 10th. This Newton based company has been making hit games for as long as we can remember. We love their games because they are engaging from the boxes to the pieces and card artwork.  Some of their games that we have played in the past are Sushi Go , Trash Panda and Outfoxed.

We have picked one of these games, Trash Panda, as our featured game. You play raccoons trying to collect the most trash (like feesh, which is the actual title of the card) by the end of the game. At the beginning of your game you roll the dice to determine what you can do in a round, but if you roll the same thing twice your turn is over. It is fun, fast and great for families and the occasional grown-up game night.

    Come play some amazing games with us at our last game day of 2018 on November 10th from 12-6 p.m. at Comicazi. Our 2019 dates, including another Try an RPG Day will be announced as soon as we have the dates!

From us to you, we hope you had a great Halloween and that your Thanksgiving is filled with lots of tasty food. We will see you at the end of November when we talk great gifts for all ages!

Until next time…. May all your hits be crits!

3 Things to get you in the Halloween Spirit

As the Ladies resident (but not only) lover of spooky things, I wanted to share three things I am doing to get in the spirit for what is my highest holiday – Halloween!

Podcast – Darkest Night

I’ve only recently started listening to Darkest Night having learning about it via Deadly Manners. We’ve mentioned some spooky podcasts before and there are lots of them out there, but this one really distinguishes itself though the sound design. As you are told in the intro, this podcast really is best experienced with headphones, but beware…the experience can become quite immersive. No joke, the other morning I was listening to an episode while walking to work and I literally leapt across the sidewalk because I forgot the sounds were only in my ears.

Darkest Night is a story based podcast that follows Project Cyclops, an experiment where severed heads are sent to a lab for a process that draws the blood from a victim’s optic nerve so the moments before their death can be experienced and documented….but is that all that’s really going on here?

Rating: 4 out of 5 severed heads

 

Show – Haunting of Hill House

Whooo boy, we finished this over the weekend and what an emotional roller coaster. This Netflix show whips you from fear, to sorrow, to anger as it pairs terrifying images with the equally terrifying human condition. The Haunting of Hill House is a modern adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel and a love-letter to the 1963 film The Haunting (also based on Shirley Jackson’s novel). Like all good horror, it’s not just about ghosts or murder. HoHH looks at trauma, obsession, and grief and how the lasting impacts can follow you through life, even if you think you have locked them away.

Don’t get me wrong – this is real deal spooky. As you watch, pay attention to everything, because things happen in the background and in your periphery to keep you as off balance as the characters are. Episode 6 is particularly masterful is how it pulls you reluctantly through long shots that become more and more dizzying to reflect the downward spirals of the characters.

Too late in the series I really started to key in on the color symbolism used in the filming, and now I want to watch it all over again to follow that thread. Seriously, if you haven’t watched this yet, I’m a little jealous of you getting to experience it for the first time.

Rating: 5 our of 5 red doors

Snack – Eyeball cookies

Hopefully some of you were able to make it to the Comicazi Cookie Clash this year. It’s an amazing dessert filled event for a great cause, Boston Partners in Education. While I am not someone who loves or thoroughly enjoys baking (I’m not great at the exactness of it since I tend to like to experiment – not a good idea  in baking unless you are really down with the science), I have competed in the cookie clash every year since its inception. Fun fact: The Cookie Clash started originally as competition between The Red Menace’s cookies made with love (she LOVES baking and is quite good at it), and my Cookies made with Hate™ (recall: I don’t love baking).

But I digress…this year I decided I wanted to go for flash rather than substance and made these gooey eyeball cookies for my baker’s choice entry. While these cookies taste good – sort of a cheesecake sugar cookie, they aren’t super exciting or nuanced. But then again, you aren’t making them for nuance, you are making them because they fun, colorful, and involve so many candy eyeballs.

The best advice I can give it to follow the recipe directly, and that getting the neon food coloring colors is totally worth it if you want that bright popping color. I also got 3 different sizes of candy eyes and found that the mixing of different sizes really adds a lot to the aesthetic. Otherwise, these cookies are pretty easy and a lot of bang for your buck.

Rating: 4 out 5 Beholder eyes

Sparking Joy – Suggestions for Decompression

Today is the last day to register to vote in Massachusetts. Are you registered? Up to date? Good!
With an important mid-term election looming, and the news cycle, well, all the time really, but particularly in the last few months, many folks I know and particularly folks who identify as women have been feeling pretty stressed out of late. The Kavanaugh hearings were difficult for a lot of folks and the results were even more so. It’s important to allow ourselves to feel those feelings and, if possible, use them constructively. But sometimes you just need to take a break and feel some positivity. Here are a few things that have been working for me, lately.

Tussetroll and Tingeling: Fun fact, I am not particularly an animal person. I’m not afraid of them – I’m just…not that interested. However, once in a while there comes a pet Instagram that I can’t help but fall for, and this is the latest. The animals I like have a lot of personality and are usually a little different from the norm, and huge, flat-faced Persian Tussetrolle and his pitch-black, Scottish Fold flat-eared sister Tingeling hit all of the right notes for me.

The Little House, ready for Honk!


Little Allejandro: Another Instagram feed, but this one’s closer to home. The Giant Party should have made it obvious that I am in love with tiny things. I also really love inanimate objects having grand adventures – it’s a little bit of magic in a world that is often far too mundane. Little Allejandro is a doll who lives in a house quite nearby to my own – and the house has a little dollhouse BUILT INTO THE FRONT OF IT. Child-Me would have been obsessed with it – and frankly, adult me is, too. The homeowners change up the scenery of the dollhouse frequently to match the seasons, holidays, and events in the neighborhood, but they also run this Instagram feed for their most iconic resident, Little Allejandro. He accompanies them on trips and occasionally runs into trouble. It’s a brilliant, soothing bit of everyday magic.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Fancy Sprinkles!


Making Ice Cream: I’d never suggest eating your feelings, per se, but this summer I finally broke down and bought my own ice cream freezer and I’m having a lot of fun figuring out how to get the most out of it. So far I’ve mostly made very traditional, custard-based ice creams, largely inspired by http://bravetart.com/, but there’s a whole world of sorbet, ice milk, and other delights waiting to be explored.

Hilda: I don’t want to step on the toes of any other Ladies who might want to do a more comprehensive review of this Netflix gem, but if you’re looking for something comforting to watch, you couldn’t do better than Hilda. Based on the popular graphic novels by Luke Pearson, Hilda is the story of a little Scandinavian girl who has adventures meeting the magical creatures who live in the woods and city around her. The animation is beautiful, the voice acting is top-notch, and the whole show is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket with a cup of cocoa. (Hilda herself is voiced by Bella Ramsey, better known as the amazing, scene-stealing Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones.)

Work with the Rage: Finally, sometimes you just have acknowledge your anger to let it go. The Believer published this excellent long read by Megan Stielstra about women’s rage and why we have so much trouble acknowledging and processing it. She’s been dealing with her own anger in part by throwing axes, which you can now do here in the Boston area, if that appeals. However, you can also use those strong feelings to make a donation or volunteer for a nonprofit in your area (here’s my personal favorite), campaign for a politician or cause you believe in, or start a Meetup for folks to come together to share other ideas for engagement, learn more about candidates, or just talk about how they’re feeling.

So that’s how I’m dealing with my anxiety about November 6th. ON November 6th, of course, I’m going to do the only thing I can do – I’m going to vote! What are all of you doing to deal with your hopes and fears? Tell me all about it in the comments.

Doctor Who Season 11 Premiere: A Quick Review

After much anticipation, the world was finally introduced to the first female Doctor. And, to the credit of the writers, the Doctor accepts the change and immediately moves on to the action. However, being part of a group that always has an eye on how women are portrayed in the world of popular culture, I couldn’t help but want to add my voice to those discussing this “first” for the Doctor Who franchise.

So, I give you a mini review of the first episode of Season 11’s “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.” Buckle up and consider this your spoiler warning.

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The LadiesCon 2018 Wrap-Up

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LadiesCon 2018 has come and gone. And if you were among the many people to be there as an attendee, volunteer, vendor, panelist, or guest, you know what an amazing day it was. We put a lot of work into planning LadiesCon every year to make sure it’s a great time for everyone involved, but even we couldn’t anticipate just how wonderful this year’s convention would be. Continue reading

On The Move: Building Your Game Room

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Meepline shows off our booth at LadiesCon!

        Before we begin this month’s post, we want to thank all the people who worked hard to make LadiesCon a success. It was such a wonderful time and we were happy to see so many people visiting. For those who came to see us at our table or at our panel, thank you for taking the time to speak with us and learn about our game day. We hope you attend our October 28th game day from 12-6 at Comicazi. Everyone is encouraged to dress in costume, but not too scary please! (This is just in case children come to the game day. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.)

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The Before….

       The conclusion to our “On the Move” post from July is all about building your new game space. We have a brand new game room that is technically still in the works. It needs a few more shelves (more on that later) and frames for artwork. Lady Diceacorn is picking up with setting up your game room.

Step 1: Layout

     When you start with your game space the best way to begin is laying out the shelves and storage for your gaming supplies. This includes building new shelving or rebuilding any shelves that had to be disassembled in the move. This can take more time than you are thinking. Once you have the shelves assembled it is time for step 2.

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The Right Supervisor is Important!

Step 2: Figure Out Your Game Organization Plan

    If you are like us, you want a game room that has things easily accessible and organized. Sit down with everyone who will be using the game room and figure out what is important to have readily available and where other books should go. This can take about a half an hour to do, but saves time in the end and allows the game room to come together without much difficulty. If your children game, get them involved. Allowing them to figure out where their games go will help make the room theirs too.

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Lady Diceacorn’s son was very excited about his shelf in the RPG library!

Step 3: Unpacking Your Games

      Unpacking your game materials will take a lot of time. However, if you have made a plan, it can be easy to do.  As you unpack, use the game organization plan to create piles of games or game books that will be shelved together. This will create several piles and take up lots of floor space, but it is a really important time saver. Once all the boxes have been opened and sorted, all that is left is to place the games on their shelves.

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Broken Token’s Gloom Tomb

     As you unpack, take a look at all of your games and make sure they survived the move. This is also a great time to make reorganize any games that became unorganized in the move. If you have a little disposable income, maybe consider purchasing some great organizers from Broken Token. (Meepline swears by this company. They have a Gloom Tomb!)  

     We unpacked the board games first and once they were on the shelves we unpacked our RPG library. This cut back on the space needed for the piles and actually allowed the creation of more space because we were getting rid of boxes.

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Meepline has plenty of room for new games!

     We need more shelves in the Lady Diceacorn game room, but for now the remainder of the unshelved games and materials are confined to a fold out table and a corner of the game room. You think you may have enough shelves, but you don’t. When we get more shelving we will make sure to have extra room for new games and new game books.

      By the end of two days, our game room was functional and ready to welcome gamers. Sure, there is still work to do, but it has been wonderful gaming in our game room.

Featured Game: Mysterium

     The best way to explain Mysterium is that it is a cross between Clue and Dixit. You’re all mediums at a seance, trying to figure out who killed the ghost, where, and how (Clue). The ghost can only communicate through visions represented by beautifully artistic cards (Dixit). You only have a few hours to figure it out. Can you all do it in time? Or will the ghost be doomed to walk the earth forever tormented by their murderer’s escape?

Until next time, may all your hits be crits!

LadiesCon 2018 – Plan Your Day

Ladiescon logoIn just a few days it will be time for LadiesCon 2018. If you are reading this we hope to see you there. If you aren’t familiar with LadiesCon, here’s the main scoop.

LadiesCon is a one-day celebration of women of all kinds and their work in comic books, science fiction, fantasy, cosplay, and many other realms of pop culture. This Con is for everyone, with a focus on creators who identify as women, non-binary, LGBTQ, and people of color, plus local artists. Our goal is to shift the ratios that you usually see at comic cons.  And perhaps the most important thing, admission is free!

We work hard all year fundraising to make LC free because 1. we don’t want admission cost to be a deterrent, and 2. we want you to come spend your hard earned money on our amazing vendors and guests. We also couldn’t do this without help from our sponsors, Rockland Trust, Candlewick Press, and of course, Comicazi.

So – planning your day. The Con is located at The Armory in Somerville MA, and starts at 11am. That is, unless you go for an early access VIP entry ticket. Early Access starts at 10am. You get some breakfast, a swag bag, and less crowded access to vendors, guests, and the ’66 Batmobile. It also is a helpful part of our fundraising efforts, with 100% of the ticket price going right into LadiesCon 2019.

OK – you have arrived at the Con. Stop at the Welcome table in the lobby and say hi, then continue on to the Con floor. Pause a moment and take it in, there is a lot to see both upstairs and down (there is both an elevator and stairs to get to the balcony area). Visit creators at their tables and enjoy their work, chat with them if you are comfortable doing so, and if something really strikes your fancy, make a purchase. Supporting creators is the best way to make your voice heard about what you want in the industry. Pro-tip: not all vendors take cards so bring some cash if you are able. There are ATMs down the road.

Our special guests are easy to find (everything is pretty easy to find since we are a one room con). Stop by and see Marjorie Liu – Eisner and Hugo award winner and author of Monstress, winner of two Einser awards and artist on Squirrel Girl Erica Henderson, Kristen Gudsnuk – creator of Henchgirl and the graphic novel Making Friends, Ming Doylewriter and artist on Constantine and artist for DC Comics upcoming Anatomy of a Metahuman. Just added: Jason Badower. His covers for DC Comics include: The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Captain Atom, Gotham City Garage and Krypton. Jason also wrote a Wonder Woman story that featured her officiating a gay wedding.

As if all that wasn’t enough, we also have panels happening both  upstairs and down. Info can be found on the LC website panel page, and here’s a schedule to help you plan:

We hope to see you in LadiesCon 2018. We do this for you and need your support to keep doing it. Let’s make an amazing day for each other!

Red Menace Reading Recommendations – Spooky Fall Fairytales

Before I dive into this topic, I just need to ask – who’s excited for LadiesCon 2018? It’s just a week and a half away and we are so excited for the show we’ve put together for you this year. Besides the incredible guests and talented vendors, I’m particularly excited for the panel line up that we have this year. We’ve got some fascinating people talking about a wide variety of topics at the intersections of feminism, body positivity, and fandom, and I just hope I get a chance to hear some of them! We also still have a few tickets for our early access breakfast left! While the con itself is free, we sell these tickets as an opportunity for those who can afford it to help KEEP it free for those who can’t, and the benefits are great – a chance to meet our guests with only a few other folks in the room, first crack at all of the vendors, a bag full of awesome gifts, and breakfast!
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