Female scientists: They’re super effective!

Exciting breaking news, everybody! This is a monumental step for female scientists everywhere. I just found out that we have the first female professor in a scientific field long dominated by men. I’d like to introduce Professor Araragi…the new Pokemon Professor!

Yes, I’m excited for Pokemon Black & White to be released. Don’t judge me for hanging on to a piece of my childhood – the games are addictive and fun! I did geek out about the Professor being a woman, though. Hey, when popular culture starts recognizing that scientists can be female – especially an attractive female instead of a frumpy stereotype – that’s a step in the right direction.

I literally screamed with nerdy glee

A SHIRT COMBINING DARWIN AND POKEMON?! HELLZ YES!

*ahem*

Seriously, this is freaking amazing. I just had biggest nerdgasm since I found out Dumbledore was gay or that Alan Rickman was doing the Voice for Marvin, the Paranoid Android. This is a thousand times better than my Darwin/Pokemon mash up. I’m just sad I didn’t think of it first.

There goes eighteen more dollars from my wallet.

Darwin finds the best evidence against his theory

Like always, click for larger.Disclaimer: This is not supposed to mean evolutionary biologists are hostile to any contrary evidence. It’s a joke. I hate to have to include this, but I know if I don’t this comic will get picked up by some creationist site as proof that we’re all dogmatic Darwinists. Actually, that’s probably going to happen anyway, so oh well.

Novel writing and dream crushing

I just received an update email from NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month.

Sigh.

You may have possibly noticed, or at least guessed, that I enjoy writing. I think you sort of have to enjoy writing to have a blog, unless it’s entirely made up of videos or photos of lolcats. I don’t claim that my blog posts are novel quality or anything – to be perfectly honest, I only give them a cursory proofreading before posting, which is why you see the occasional typo or nonsensical statement (heaven forbid). Here I write very stream of conscious-like, more like how I would talk to you then how I’d write formally.

I’ve always loved writing fiction stories. When I was in second grade I wrote a story about a kid who made a time machine out of a cardboard box and befriended a talking brontosaurus (based on a giant paper mache dinosaur we made…I should really find the picture of me standing with it!). In third grade I was writing my own variety of Goosebump books. In 5th and 6th, the story of me and my friends’ Pokemon journey (a fanfic writer at an early age, I guess). Then in 7th grade I concocted The Story.

Why does this particular story get the infamous title of The Story? Because it started a trend that still annoys me to this day – starting to write a great story and then never finishing it. These stories aren’t just a couple paragraphs scribbled on scrap paper as an idea – with my stories, I’ll get 10,000 words in and emotionally invested in my characters. And then I stop, with my chapters just sitting on my computer, waiting for me to add something to them. Occasionally I’ll feel a spark of creativity, or maybe just pity for neglecting my literary children, or maybe guilt for not being able to complete a project, and I’ll go work on them for a while. Even The Story, which started as stereotypical ideas from a 13 year old girl, is still around today (granted, with many many face lifts). Why have I created so many abandoned stories?

I blame NaNoWriMo.

Okay, blame isn’t entirely the best word. I know there are probably maybe reasons why I don’t finish them. I don’t have the time, I don’t think they’re good enough, I don’t think anyone would want to read them, etc etc. But NaNoWriMo definitely has encouraged part of it. NaNoWriMo is an event where you attempt to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. The catch is you have to start from scratch – no adding to preexisting work. If you thought I was insane for doing Blogathon, then you have to be absolutely out of your mind to do this. Which is why I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo five times.

The reason why I have so many stories is that I’ve failed five times.

I had my classic fantasy adventure (The Story)(2004), a second failed attempt at the same fantasy (2005), the dystopian future of cloning and organ harvesting (2006), the Greek Gods humorously causing havoc on a modern day pagan and atheist (my favorite story so far)(2007), the corrupt religious scientists infecting a population with the “God gene” (2008).* All of them patiently sit at 5,000 to 10,000 words, waiting to be finished.**

And even with all my failures, I know I’m probably going to do it again this year.

It’s absolutely insane for me to even consider attempting it. I’ll be a senior with hard classes, a class to teach, research to do, grad schools to apply to, a club to run, a blog to update (don’t worry, I won’t abandon you guys) – and I still want to write a novel? NaNoWriMo is like an abusive husband that I can’t will myself to leave. I don’t know why I keep going back and getting slapped around. Maybe it’s the hope that one year I’ll actually have the motivation to finish. One year I’ll plan ahead so when November rolls around, I’ll have a helpful outline and solidified ideas. But really I think it’s because I don’t know when I’ll ever have this sort of time again. College is hard, but the “real world” is harder. This is my chance to instill good novel writing habits, or I’ll never do it. It’s always been a dream to get a book published, but I kind of need to actually finish a book before I do that.

And now that I’ve typed all that, I’m really not sure why I did. Maybe for someone to tell me how crazy I am and dissuade me. Maybe for someone to wave the pom poms and tell me to do it. Or maybe I have a reader who has also been repeated raped by NaNoWriMo and can sympathize. All I know is if I do decide to do this crazy shit again, I need to start planning now, or I’m just going to be whining again come December.

*Dear lord these all sound horrendous typed out in uber-summarized form. I promise you they’re better than they look. Really.
**And it’s not that I’m unhappy with them – I like all of them, and I’m super proud of how the Greek God one started. I think I’m just too afraid to ruin it at this point.

Q&A – Why Blag Hag?

“Query – Why ‘Blag Hag’? It is not the most flattering of pseudonyms. It does have tremendous rememberability (is that a word?) value though.

- Jeff”

I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me this! Like other internet nicknames I’ve chosen for myself, this just kind of sprung to life out of a joke. I had wanted to start a blog for a while, but I was agonizing over what to call it. I hate giving things titles. Whenever I had to name a piece of art or short story, I’d generally go with something minimalistic and obvious like “Cat” or “Bowl of Fruit” just because otherwise I’d suffer over it for days. But I think a name can make or break a blog, so I was fretting over it more than usual. I started brainstorming with a good friend of mine who happens to be gay (I promise this is relevant), hoping something would pop up.

Him: Hmm, well how about a pun?
Me: Ehh, I dunno, like what?
Him: Well my [now very defunct] blog is called “Honest to Blog.”
Me: Hmmm…
Him: How about “In Blog We Trust?”
Me: What am I, your blag hag? … *lightbulb goes on*

So yes, the name of this blog is based on a random joke about being another blog’s fag hag. For those of you who don’t think “blag” is a legitimate synonym for “blog”, I direct you to this and this. xkcd knows all. As for not being flattering, I’ve always used the term fag hag with a bit of pride rather than as an insult. And you know what? Recent research has shown that “fag hags” (aka women who associate with gay men) actually have higher body esteem and feel more attractive! So there!

And anyway, “Blag Hag” is better than the nickname I use on most sites, “Jennifurret.” That’s from a friend pointing out that Jennifer and Furret made Jennifurret. Yes, my internet nickname is based on a Pokemon. For shame. Hey, I was 13 and it stuck. At least it’s a cute one.

Harry Potter and the Horrible Video Games

There’s a new interview over at IGN about the 6th Harry Potter game for Wii. It looks like the new game will be just as craptacular as the 5th on. Yes, I bought the 5th Harry Potter game for Wii, but let me take a moment to explain myself. I’ve been a rabid Harry Potter fan since I first started reading the books when I was 11. Upon buying my Wii, there were practically no other games out other than Wii Sports and Barbie Ice Princess or whatever other junk they’re trying to sell to broaden the Wii’s target audience (to include 5 year old girls, apparently). While desperately scanning Gamestop’s selection, my eyes paused on Harry Potter. The conversation in my head went something like this:

“Don’t do it,” said Logical Jen. “It’s a mass marked piece of crap meant to have 12 year olds waste their mommy’s money.”

“But, but,” pouted Fangril Jen, “it’s Harry Potter. And for Wii! I can wave my Wiimote around like a wand and be magical!”

“It’s fifty dollars-”

“I WANT TO BE MAGICAL!”

And so I wasted 50 dollars. I amused myself for about an hour by flying a table around the Gryffindor common room and into the faces of my classmates. After that I was seriously disappointed that I couldn’t set everything on fire. If you give me a wand and the ability to make things spontaneously ignite, I don’t want to just light a fireplace. I want a Slytherin first year running around in fear. And honestly, would that be all that different than the chaos that goes on in the books? I’ll even settle for Filch chasing me around for being bad – as long as it’s realistic!

After the initial glee of foolish wand waving, however, I realized the game had absolutely no plot. It was an endless list of pointless mini games sending you from one end of the castle to the other. Not only that, but the Wiimote controls were so shoddy that you couldn’t even perform the spell you wanted half the time. I can go on and on about how horrible the game was, but I’ll sum it up in saying it is the only video game I’ve ever sold back to a store. Even Super Monkey Ball has somehow managed to stay on my shelf (it’s a great dust collector).

So why am I ranting about a game I gave up on over a year ago? Because it looks like EA Games is doing absolutely nothing to make the new Harry Potter game any better. I know I shouldn’t be surprised. I know this is just an easy cash machine for them, and making real gamers happy isn’t their goal. But it’s the principle of the matter.

They can potentially use the Wii Motion Plus to get great control for spell movements…but do they? No.

They can have endless amounts of interesting things to include from the book…but do they? No, they’re “true to the movie,” which is like saying it’s Harry Potter filtered through yet another level of shittiness.

They’ve had extra time to work on the game since the movie was pushed back…but do they? Of course not (Though it may have been beyond that point, I’m cranky, so I don’t want to give them the benefit of the doubt). Why try to make a game excellent when mediocre still makes you money?

I know my whining isn’t going to do anything about it, but it still annoys the hell out of me how games (and movies, and books, etc) will sacrifice quality for money. It’s the same reason why we’ll never see an full story Pokemon game for Wii. While it would be piss-your-pants amazing, Nintendo can make just as much money pumping out simpler sequels for their hand held systems. I just ask that someone stops me from buying Harry Potter 6 for Wii before the rabid fangirl in me takes over.

Naming a Blog

This is why I haven’t come up with a good name yet:

Me: What would you name my blog?
Ben: Name it Pikachu rapes Charmander while licking Bolbasaur when he eats Jigglypuff in her ass, in which she is pooping Squirtel, who is squirting (you know what) Dido, who is cross dressed as Alakazam, who is peeing on Meowth; MEOW!
Me: What the FUCKKKK XD
Ben: No?
Me: Is it bad that I find the most disturbing part of that description to be the fact that Dido is with Pokemon?
Ben: Isn’t Dido a Pokemon, why is it disturbing?
Me: Dido is a singer?
Ben: No, Dido is the Pokemon that changes into other Pokemon
Me: You mean Ditto? Aahahhahahahaaa
Ben: What? I don’t know Pokemon

In retrospect, the blatant mispelling of Pokemon names upsets me the most. What does this say about me? Hmm…