Aug 26 2011

My life is weird

As I was mulling around some indie games at PAX, a very familiar face approached me. Very familiar, because I was certain it was Jerry Holkins, the writer of Penny Arcade (“Tycho”) and half of the duo putting on the very awesome convention I was currently enjoying.

“Don’t I know you?” he asked.

“Uhhhhh.” I glanced down at his name tag. Yep, Jerry Holkins. “I know you, but I’m pretty sure you don’t know me.”

Keep in mind the expo hall was super loud with the various bells and whistles of video games going off in the background, so it was hard to hear what he was saying. Plus I was very confused. And a little fangirly.

He asked me if I had a game there, and I said no. Now I was convinced he was mistaking me for someone. But then he seemed to remember something and said something about seeing me holding up a sign, but that just confused me more. I don’t remember holding up a sign anywhere.

Then he said “I followed all of Elevatorgate!”


I then realized the “sign” he was referring to was my profile photo here. I was a little dumbstruck, and bumbled out something along the lines “You read my blog?” Yep.

We then babbled about the atheist movement for a good while and giggled about how stupid the internet can be sometimes. And how happy he was to run into me. And how happy I was to run into him.

I’ve oddly gotten very used to strangers approaching me (which also happened a couple of times today). Within the last year I’ve gotten used to famous people within the atheist or skeptical movement approaching me. But I’m definitely not used to someone from a totally different corner of the internet I appreciate approaching me.

Yeah, my life is really freaking weird.

And as an unrelated PAX update – I collected six gym badges today. Though to be honest, one was because I came up with a Pokemon haiku, another was because the IR connection kept glitching, and the third was because I was a “good sport” as I got my ass kicked. I’m going for the Ash Ketchum route to the Elite Four. I have no shame.


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  1. 1
    Hemant Mehta

    About 50% of this post makes no sense to me.  And I think I’m ok with that :)

  2. 2

    I wasn’t aware Jerry/Tycho is an atheist, if only for the sporadic call to God or whatever in his memorable rants.Also, I envy you sooooo much. :))

  3. 3

    I’m kind of curious which parts actually made sense to you, haha.

  4. 4
    Melissa E

    You don’t remember the comic where Tycho tells Gabriel that God is just Santa Claus for adults?”Merry Christmas, I got you the truth.”

  5. 5

    Ah, true. I loved that one. :)

  6. 6
    Anna Jobsis

    Awesome! *fangirl squees*

  7. 7

    I like his glasses.

  8. 8

    That is all kinds of awesome!

  9. 9

    Keep this in mind for those impossible days, Jen. You and others like you, do make a difference :)

  10. 10
    Izzy Leonard


  11. 11

    On the one hand I’m happy for you because it’s fantastic that you met Jerry Holkins and he was a nice guy. On the other hand you’re at PAX and I’m obligated by jealousy to secretly wish you misfortune.But still, awesome.

  12. 12
    Sam Barnett-Cormack

    I really like these fascinating glimpses into the experience of ‘burgeoning celebrity’ we see here. Some might say it’s internet celebrity rather than ‘real’ celebrity, but I generally have far more respect for internet celebs. Plus you then don’t get Heat magazine (or whatever the American equivalent is) publishing random photos and wild rumours…Hey, maybe someone should start an e-zine doing the same for internet celebs! ;)

  13. 13
    Andrew Hall

    I’m too much of a misanthrope to be a fanboy, though I respect other people’s nerdy/geeky fanaticism.

  14. 14

    Next: Milholland.

  15. 15

    although it would have been more interesting if you were wearing a Dickwolves Survivors Guild t-shirt(what? it’s only been a year)

  16. 16

    Wait…he followed Elevatorgate and was presumably rooting for you.  The same guy who co-signed on the Dickwolves T-shirts and didn’t bother to tell anyone on his side to knock off the insults and death and rape threats until it was his family getting targeted?  The same guy who thought rape culture was a ridiculous concept that those strident feminists were making up?  And the perfect opportunity to either point out the similarities to Elevatorgate and this or find out if he’s actually learned anything from that mess just slipped by?This was a very disappointing post.

  17. 17

    No, its the same guy who said “the very concept of a dickwolf is ludicrous and silly and that people who took it seriously need to get take a deep breath”.The entire comic was about the idea that MMORPG players are more interested in the mission than the actual people being “saved”. It’s silly and honestly a lot of people had a big fuss over nothing. What he has learnt (and indeed what I learnt from elevator gate) is that there are people who will take offence to whatever you say and you cannot please everyone. Just remember that during the debates about elevatorgate a few feminists said things that a black person would have found incredibly insulting and that I found insulting as someone who is seen as a “threat” inherently and who has had to accommodate the people who saw me as a threat. Just remember, not everyone finds the same things as you important or as a threat or as an insult.

  18. 18

    “What he has learnt (and indeed what I learnt from elevator gate) is that there are people who will take offence to whatever you say and you cannot please everyone. “So what you learned had nothing to do with what people (like Jen for instance) were trying to teach.  Huh.

  19. 19
    Ben Crockett

    Kick ass!!!

  20. 20

    I can’t tell you relieved I am to hear someone else say that.

  21. 21

    Because feminism isn’t a hivemind and not everyone took the same side during the stupid dickwolves kerfuffle. I thought the dickwolves comic was funny. I read every feminist critique of the dickwolves comic, and I still thought it was funny. Rape jokes in which the punchline is “haha, isn’t rape a hoot?” are bad. That’s not what the comic was. The joke was “Rape is bad, isn’t it funny how people in MMORPGs really don’t have in game ethics and just care about achievements?” I hate the concept that everyone everywhere should be banned from using the word “rape” anywhere near something humorous just because people can’t identify context. It’s Orwellian to me.Yes, I agree that Penny Arcade handled it poorly – but I think they’ve learned from it, and it’s time to move on. Just like I think Dawkins learned from Elevatorgate, and it’s time to move on. I don’t think there’s any point in boycotting or continuously hating people who are otherwise our allies and made one mistake.And that’s all I’m going to say about it, because this was fucking eons ago in Internet Time. Let’s move on, people.

  22. 22
    Steve Pehrson

    all nerd/geekdom flows through the nexus that is Wil Wheaton. The degrees of separation between you and Tycho are probably very small.

  23. 23

    …Randy and I have actually been friends for about a year now. Chat with him occasionally. That was definitely a WTF moment as well for me, haha.

  24. 24

    He looks nothing like Tycho.

  25. 25
    Simon Coudé

    That’s really cool Jen! Now you know you are famous on the internet.

  26. 26
    Luke Edwards

    I bet with the right wig and mustache he might make a passable astronomer though (different shaped head I know).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T

  27. 27
    Luke Edwards

    For the uninitiated:http://www.penny-arcade.com/co

  28. 28
    Nathan Hevenstone

    Yeah, I feel much the same.On top of that, I’ve been reading Jen’s tweets about the Pokemon COSPlay or whatever, and all I can think is…Um…Pokemon?…*Really*?But then I remember that I still fiendishly play and collect Pogs, so…

  29. 29
    Luke Edwards

    I am very jealous. This would have been my 6th PAX but I have an organic chemistry and a biochemistry midterm on Monday. The lesson I have learned is chemistry is the bane of all that is fun and interesting.I always thought Jerry was an ally from his writings.

  30. 30
    Luke Edwards

    Maybe they already knew and agreed with what Jen was trying to teach and are just stating they learned other lessons from the experience.

  31. 31
    Luke Edwards

    So jealous. This would be my 6th PAX but I have an organic chemistry and a biochemistry midterm on Monday. Lesson learned? That chemistry is responsible for more boredom and pain than any other science. Also I always figured Jerry was an ally from his writings.

  32. 32
    Luke Edwards

    Also I appreciate him for things like this.http://penny-arcade.com/comic/

  33. 33
    Joseph Simko

    Wow, I think I’m insanely jealous.

  34. 34

    Nope! Not at all. You see I was actually on Jen’s side for that albeit a lot more moderate. To me it was a case of poorly thought out chat up attempt and a abject lack of style, panache and wit. Nothing more and nothing less. However a lot of people went beyond that. Now I am not anyone who studied feminist theory or what have you. I have my own course and field to worry about and frankly when I have the time I would rather be out down the pub than reading theory… But quite honestly a lot of people were reading a bit too much into the silly little event. Again like the whole dickwolves thing. Blown out of proportion by people who really need to take a calm breath. The rule of “count to 10 before you post” is vital in cases like this.

  35. 35

    Yeah, the real nose was a giveaway.

  36. 36

    I thought I’d seen him mentioned Boobquake.But I actually *read* S*P, so of course this BFF of yours makes me more impressed.(What is it with you and beardies?)

  37. 37

    Nah, it’s the lack of a pet moose (drunk or not).

  38. 38
    Kris Preusker

    We could just paint some craters on his moon-like head…

  39. 39

    I can’t respect you as a feminist. Sorry.

  40. 40

    I wish I could be at PAX.  My boss at MCF is there interviewing Notch while I’m stuck here at home. :(

  41. 41
    Svlad Cjelli

    I’m surprised there isn’t one. E-tabloids would be expected of some ironic hipster, somewhere.

  42. 42

    Not to mention that my favorite blogger is there. XD

  43. 43
    Svlad Cjelli

    For the part about saying rape is “a hoot” being bad, or for the part about saying rape is bad being OK?(Yes, I’m totally facetious.)

  44. 44
    Mark Entel

    I have to say it, the only thing keeping this from being a #humblebrag is that it exceeds 140 characters. Seriosuly though, nothing weird abou tbeing recognized for doing something well, enjoy the success

  45. 45

    I actually got the point of the original strip and didn’t mind it, in fact I did feel it was somewhat accurate.  I did mind them putting out ‘Team Rape’ T-shirts, though, and having one of the creators say that if you objected to him wearing a ‘Team Rape’ T-shirt then you shouldn’t even come to a PAX event again and, if you wrote to object the current situation or get a refund for the year that they’d specifically keep your name so that you couldn’t register.  Not to mention the way they didn’t care what kind of filth was being spewed on Twitter (on all sides, which is a problem) until it hit them.  Nor have I seen anything to indicate that they did ‘learn from it’, it just seems to have been swept under the rug.  Of course, I’d be glad to be wrong.  DO you have any evidence they did learn anything since then?

  46. 46

    I didn’t bring up Elevatorgate because it wasn’t relevant to this post at all, you did.  I just outlined why I felt that this account was a little disappointing.  I didn’t call her a bad feminist or say she’s an insult to them everywhere for not roasting him over the coals (such tactics and namecallings are worse than useless and almost always untrue, I don’t indulge in them).  I was thinking it would have been a good time to ask one or two questions, especially to see what his thoughts are on it a year later.  That’s what I was hoping, and didn’t happen. Hence, personally disappointing.  Nor does that have anything to do with Elevatorgate or what ‘everyone’ should do or think, so I find your reply a little silly.

  47. 47

    Oh, and can you please reply to what I said rather than what you think the ‘feminist hivemind’ means?  I didn’t say anything about the original strip specifically because I understood what they were trying to say and felt it had a valid place, but I did mind their follow-up responses to other parts of the situation.   Assuming a blanket set of thoughts about the strip on my part just because I felt they did some things worthy of criticism in the situation taken as a whole is really patronizing.

  48. 48

    Ack, I did bring up Elevator gate in my original comment.  Sorry about that.  Since the original comment my thinking has changed a bit and I don’t feel that Elevatorgate is relevant at all, but that isn’t what I originally said and you were perfectly right to address it.  My apologies for my hasty reply.

  49. 49
    Aaron Harmon

    You look trim in that photo. Still following the workout routine? OT, I know.

  50. 50
    Snack Cake

    Context matters.  Try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes for a second.  Imagine:You’re a husband and father and a son, and you love the women in your life very dearly.  You’re also a shy, artistic nerd, who would never consider raping anyone and is appalled that anybody would.You write a comic that uses rape as a standard by which appalling behavior is measured.  Suddenly you find your self accused of “promoting rape” or of “contributing to rape”.  You are on the receiving end of a frontal assault by a mob that is either too dim or intolerant to understand your comic.Do you respond calmly and civilly to the accusation of being an awful human being?  Maybe if you have a lot of self control.  On the other hand, maybe you are absolutely enraged and fly off the handle.  Maybe you respond to the uncivil stupidity of your accusers with a  little uncivil stupidity of your own.If you can honestly say that after being accused of promoting rape, you would just “turn the other cheek”, then good for you.  That might be the ideal response.  However, in what kind of bizarro universe is the person who fights back after being unjustly attacked the villain?

  51. 51

    I e-mailed that guy about the dickwolves thing pretending to be on his ‘side’ and commiserated that ‘they’ were awful and he actually e-mailed me back. He said that ‘they all should be raped’. It made shudder. He may have seemed like he was on your side but he sure as he’ll was not. I am surprised that females still attend since I thought it got pretty ugly at PAX the last few years for women due to the Team Rape groups. Shrug. I am absolutely certain that he was not a friendly.

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