Exploring Brave New Worlds: Discovering The Joy Of New Comic Book Day

Lately, I've been reading a ton of graphic novels and collected volumes of comics.

Part of that was due to working on The Geek's Guide To Dating (insert obligatory and utterly shameless "pre-order now!" link here). While fussing over the book, I spent a lot of time talking to my comic book loving friends on gchat and via email, as well as hanging around with the guys at Brave New Worlds. All this time spent doing research did a curious thing. It made me want to get into reading comics.

bnw

Fast forward a few months and now, every single week, I pop out of the office on Wednesdays before lunch, to pick up a new book at my favorite local shop. I'm joined by a couple of friends at Indy Hall, a coworking space here in Philadelphia. I've even managed to drag a few coworkers out now and again. Sup Blair.

blair and adam

Even though I'm not the sort of comic book fan that picks up weeklys (like Adam, Johnny, and Eric from Indy Hall), there's something about getting together on that one particular day to buy something new that's exciting. Maybe I'm lucky, getting into comics without knowing all that much, because just about every book I pickup is something entirely new to me. So that enthusiasm that they experience, that rush I see when they run over to the new release shelves, it definitely still rubs off on me a bit.

In recent weeks, I've picked up quite a few awesome reads. Highlights include Paying For It by Chester BrownHark A Vagrant by Kate Beaton, Double Fine's Action Comics, and this hilarious Simpsons / Futurama book, The Simpsons & Futurama Crossover Crisis. I also started reading Joe Hill's excellent Locke & Key series, thanks to a recommendation.

So yeah, even though I'm not picking up weeklys (though that might start happening any day now), New Book Day is quickly becoming one of my favorite days of the week. Its been a fun practice in forcing myself to get a new book every single week. Something I haven't heard of, something entirely new. And I kinda love it.

Philly.com: 9 Springtime Events Every Local Geek Should Attend

The Joys of Making Your Own Magic the Gathering Counters

Yes, they just look like rocks. Shut up.

Those of you who know me, know that when I travel, I'm not big on souvenirs. I take lots of pictures (an obnoxious amount sometimes, sorry Jess), and that's all I really need. Though sometimes I bring horribly kitschy things home for coworkers.

However, when I went to visit my buddy Dario out in Colorado at the end of the Summer, I wanted to bring home a little something to commemorate our epic mountain climbing adventure. Because seriously, as we endured the Incline, I thought we were going to die. Death was upon us.

That was the thought going through my head as we sat at the top of the trail snapping photos. But what would be appropriate? I didn't want a snowglobe or a "I survived The Incline" t-shirt. I picked at some of the rocks, and Dario made a quip about how we should save some for our Magic game later.

For counters.

And that's when I started stuffing them into my satchel.

As we walked down the winding trail back to the bottom of the mountain, I picked up small rocks that looked about the right size, while Dario and his girlfriend told me not to fall far behind, as I might get eaten by a cougar. I responded to these threats of nature by ordering a rock tumbler on Amazon on my iPhone.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I've got these.

It took about two months in a rock tumbler to get them to be smooth and shiny, and in the end, they really just look like any old rocks you could pick up at your local aquarium for your fish tank. But whatever.

Now whenever I play Magic with my friends here in Philly, I have tiny little reminders about that time in Colorado with one of my best friends, and the many games we played. And that mountain we conquered together.

Best souvenir ever.  (more…)

Five Years of Geekadelphia, Five Reasons to Start a Blog

Has it really been five years since a silly gchat between Tim Quirino and I resulted in starting Geekadelphia?

The earliest email I could find about Geekadelphia happened on Halloween in 2007, when Tim and I registered the Gmail account. That's right, on Halloween. Night. Sadly, we weren't up to much back then. These days, Halloween doesn't pass us by without a massive party with our friends Indy Hall. Seriously, check out the photos from this year, thanks to Mikey.

Since those early days, the blog has gone on to see over four million total hits in five years. We've thrown a ton of events, launched an awards show that's been sold out twice, and we've been featured in just about every bit of local Philly media.

It's a simple website that, quite simply, changed both our lives.

And all we wanted to do was ramble about the nerdy things that made us happy.

When friends, family, or colleagues are considering launching a blog, starting some sort of online identity... they always ask me the same thing. Why? What can I possibly get from having a blog? What's in it for me?

Well, to celebrate the five year anniversary, here's what Geekadelphia has done for me and what starting a blog could do for you. From a job to new friends to professional contacts, the site has given me a lot.

And feel free to copy these tips are start your own blog.  You wouldn't be the first to rip off us.

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Disorganized And Efficient FTW: Cory Doctorow @ Indy Hall

The other day, we hosted Cory Doctorow at Indy Hall.

Yes, the New York Times bestselling author / editor of Boing Boing / occasional star in XKCD / hero of the Internet. That Cory Doctorow. One of my main dudes on Geekadelphia, Dan Tabor, had spotted Cory tweeting about needing a place to stop on his Philadelphia tour promoting Pirate Cinema, his latest YA novel. His publicist over at Tor, Patty Garcia, reached out, I emailed Alex Hillman at Indy Hall, and soon, we found ourselves with an event on our hands in about ten days.

As all of this spiraled out, I asked Alex if he'd ever thrown an author event at his space. He hadn't. Had I? Despite working at a publishing house, I'd never set up one up. All of my work is online, for the most part, with the exception of going to conventions like BEA and Comic Con.

Where most people would have panicked, Alex (in true JFDI fashion), said not to worry and that things would, as they always do, work themselves out.

Sure enough, after a handful of emails, when the event rolled around we had an awesome (handmade!) speaker system from Hive 76, a gorgeous livestream built up by Jarv.us, hilarious meme cookies from Whipped Bakeshop, and the downstairs of Indy Hall had been transformed, sporting a cosy nook for a speaker (with enough room for a panel of them), complete with pillows, water, coffee, and an Indy Hall hoodie. This was all organized through casual emails and text messages, the way most of our events are.

During Cory's lecture about organizations and governments, he spoke about how they are often divided up into four quadrants. "Organized/efficient, organized/inefficient, disorganized/efficient, and disorganized/inefficient." It was during this talk that I glanced over at Alex, who was manning the projector at the front of the room, and we swapped knowing glances.

We knew that disorganized /efficient quadrant all too well. That's how we live our lives.

All in all, the event was a massive success. Indy Hall was packed, a lot of books were sold, and Cory had himself a good time.

When Tim and I launched Geekadelphia, one of the biggest influences behind the site were websites like Boing Boing, Neatorama, etc. Geek culture hubs. We just wanted to do it locally, on a smaller scale. We owe a lot to Cory and the path he paved for us, and it was a real honor to help him out with this awesome event.

Huge thanks all around, especially to Dan, Alex, Adam, Patty, and the whole crew at Hive 76, Jarv.us, Whipped Bakeshop, and Indy Hall. And of course, Cory! Thanks for coming out and making it a great night for everyone. Photo highlights below! (more…)