Thursday, July 25, 2013

YAY Stuff: "Nothing to Prove"

"Nothing to Prove" by The Doubleclicks


A million times this.

Earlier this week, the Doubleclicks released a music video for their song “Nothing to Prove” off of their new album Lasers and Feelings. Directly responding to the seemingly inescapable controversy about “fake geek girls”, the video features women and men from around the internet holding up signs declaring solidarity in geekdom regardless of gender. And it’s delightful.

So many people contributed, in fact, that it broke their computer while compiling the video and they decided to start a Tumblr page for the project (#nothingtoprove) to make sure that everyone who wants to share their stories can be seen.

While the “fake geek girl” issue has been an ongoing point of discussion and annoyance for us here at the Team (and something that will come up again in the future), we’d rather share this video in the spirit of positivity and celebrating the idea that geekery comes in many forms. As they say in the song:

I've got cred but honestly, I shouldn't need it
This world needs all kinds of folks to complete it


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bioshock Infinite's Elizabeth, and How to Make a Disney Princess Work

Kae's take on Elizabeth with Disney Princesses

***Everything that follows is a potential spoiler. Would you kindly finish the game and come back?***

There are approximately a hundred ways to get a female character wrong. Add another zero or two if that female character is a quest item, and another five or so if she's locked in a guarded tower and has at least one dead parent.

BioShock: Infinite's Elizabeth might check the majority of Disney Princess Trope boxes. She has no mother. She lives apart from the outside world. She has a giant (sort of) animal (sort of) friend in Songbird. She folk dances with strangers on sunlit beaches. She fusses and flits through the world with naive joy, remarking about things she'd only seen in books. She is undeniably special.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Injustice: Let the Button-Mashing Resume

Via Wikipedia
I gave up console gaming years ago, for all sorts of practical reasons starting with moving out and not having a console and ending with having a perfectly good gaming laptop. PC gaming had already won my heart years before, with pitiable addictions to The Sims and any MMORPG with good graphics and snarky teammates. Somehow, after guiding Nightwing to a victory over Shazam by the very last blinking sliver of a health bar, I remembered how much fun it was to kick your friend's butt in a fighting game.

Do not be fooled, Injustice: Gods Among Us is an unrepentant button-masher. It's a genre I've had some good times with, pinning opponents in the corner of the screen in Street Fighter and using Chun-Li's Lightning Kick ten times a match, throwing Scorpion's spear in Mortal Kombat, and so on. There was a tipping point in the genre somewhere that lost me - somewhere when button-mashing would always lose to those who studied combo moves and intricate play patterns. I would much rather enjoy playing the game than wait for the right moment to pull off that kind of event.

When invited over for Injustice and wine, I thought I'd watch instead of play. I've loved watching video games my whole life, the benefit of having an older brother who was not big on two-player mode. I took my turn with Injustice and I was hooked. Forget complicated button moves to make a simple combo and horror-film gore for shock value. Welcome back to good old fashioned button-mashing fun.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

#15minfanart Roundup - Week 3

Week 3! An unintended consequence of taking on a challenge is the temptation to constantly one-up yourself. It certainly keeps the project interesting and fun, but it also adds pressure! Knowing that the Flying Toasters that closed out Week 2 would be hard to top, I approached this week with a bit of trepidation.


Since wordplay and goofy juxtaposition seemed to work so well previously, I decided to ease into the week by having a some fun with a little overly-literal interpretation.

What if the disarming spell didn't work quite the way that we think it does?

"It's only a flesh wound..."

Krang-nam Style

By this point, my brother had discovered that this project was underway and he started to offer a number of ideas of his own. He was most insistent about this one.

This is arguably one of the strangest things I've ever drawn, which in the context of this project is probably saying something.

Earlier in the week, a friend on Twitter suggested that I draw something to do with Thor.

This was a very broad request and it took a couple of days to come up with something. Even so, this was done rather on-the-fly. In free-associating, there seemed to be something of a connection with Rapunzel, particularly the one from Tangled, what with the flowing blond hair, the fondness for blunt instruments...

I'm still not entirely sure if it makes any sense, but I'm pretty pleased with how it came out!

"I wear a cunning hat now. Cunning hats are cool."

Since the beginning, I've wanted to draw the Doctor going hat shopping and to have him wind up with Jayne's hat.

What I hadn't considered was how many hats and pieces of headgear I would have to leave out because they just wouldn't fit.

Post-its are small, you guys.

I miss including the Sorting Hat most of all.


In my mind, Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas both exist in the same world (the Selick-verse?) and it's such a shame that they're so rarely brought together.

I should think Coraline's skepticism of Sally is well-justified.

Also, it was fun to draw a bit of background scenery!

In honor of the Iron Man 3 premiere a few days earlier: The Iron (Man) Giant.

(Hooray for more scenery!)

Men in Black and The Princess Bride are two of my favorite movies. I will watch them pretty much whenever they're on. I just had to have the Men in Black meet the Man in Black.

"From now on, you will be referred to only as 'R'."

"No one would surrender to the 'Dread Pirate R'"

"Sure they would! Arr!"

Perhaps not.

(There was also temptation to include The Woman in Black, but that just seemed...silly?)

 Working on Week 3, the fun of trying to outdo each previous entry, or at least make them different, definitely outweighed any "stress" (and really, how stressful could drawing goofy pictures be?). However, it also required much more time. As the ideas have become more elaborate, so have the drawings and more time is needed to to plan and think and draw. This has been a tricky aspect of the challenge since Week 1 and, by now, the 15 minute guideline is pretty much gone in favor of ensuring something (hopefully) decent is posted every day. Increasingly, though, there has been the risk that the drawings won't be done in time! There were a couple of close calls this week and it's definitely something to keep in mind as I approach Week 4.

The final stretch approaches. So many ideas still to do and so many more yet to discover! (Perhaps this project might even be extended?) As always, suggestions and feedback are welcome here or on Twitter (@TeamStripeySock)!

Monday, May 6, 2013

#15minfanart Roundup - Week 2

One of the biggest fears in working on the #15minfanart challenge has been the possibility of running out of ideas...which, of course, is ridiculous when you consider the sheer number of fandoms and combinations of fandoms possible! In beginning the project, I did have a few ideas in mind, but on the most part I've been winging it day-to-day. And thinking up what to draw is hard.

So, I'm happy to recruit other people to help come up with ideas whenever I can! Beyond this, suggestions from others often pose additional challenges which prompt more fun and interesting results than what I would've dreamed up alone.

HULK SMASH! Next time, we play Candyland

Coming off the high of completing the first week and fully in the grip of no-idea terror, I asked Kitty if she had any requests. She suggested something in the superhero genre...and perhaps they could be playing board games. Or making sandwiches.

Seeing as how Team Stripey Socks has actually played Jenga with Hulk Hands, this doodle seemed to be the only natural response. Sandwiches, sadly, did not make the final result. That idea is safely tucked away for the future.

Looking to who else might offer interesting suggestions, I reached out to a friend's awesome preschool-age son who has delightful taste in geekery. Surely he would have some interesting ideas!

 ....He just may have been a tad too young to understand the concept.

One of us?

 However, a request is a request and it must be honored.

This was tricky for various reasons. Firstly, while I do enjoy Star Wars, I have yet to explore the world of The Clone Wars. Secondly, I've never attempted to draw a Transformer before and they're full of fiddly little mechanical bits.

All things considered, I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. And so, I hope, was the little guy who came up with the idea.

His response: "The Clone looks confused...I made that up!"

He also offered more inspiration than he realized. Thanks to the delightful combination of his Angry Birds robe and Spider-Man pajamas, Day 10 happened.

You Killed My Father/ Stick Them With the Pointy End

After a few days of silliness, I decided to take a stab (ha!) at a more serious crossover.

Surely I couldn't have been the only person to imagine Arya's "dancing instructor" to really be Inigo Montoya trying to earn a buck while searching for the six-fingered man...
Original this is not.

Day 12 came on May 4th.

What to draw was fairly obvious.

Sometimes, I didn't get much say in how the doodles ended up - in being drawn, they took on a life of their own.

It wasn't too much of a stretch to take the "sing along" aspect of Dr. Horrible and apply it to karaoke. I originally wanted to have him singing with Dexter of Dexter's Lab, but it seems the good doctor wanted the stage all to himself. Dexter will have to wait his turn.

Flying Toasters
An unofficial guideline of this experiment was that, if I were to include something, I really ought to be a fan of whatever it is...or at least have some passing familiarity with it.

With Battlestar Galactica, however...I'm somewhat of a novice. More than a novice, really - I know next to nothing about the show. A total n00b. In fact, my introduction to the show is going to be part of an upcoming series for this very blog.

What I do know, however, is that there are robot-like things called Cylons that are sometimes referred to as "toasters". And they're in space. Flying around.

How this piece came about, then, should be pretty straightforward...

And that's week two! Onward to week three! As always, day-to-day progress on this challenge can be tracked and suggestions can be made by following us on Twitter at @TeamStripeySock!

Monday, April 29, 2013

#15minfanart Roundup - Week 1

We are one week into the #15minfanart challenge and, so far, I have yet to miss a day and (more importantly) I'm still having fun!

As with most things, one of the hardest parts of this challenge was knowing where to start.

I decided to start with Chell, a companion cube, and a turret from Portal  - something fairly straightforward and (I hoped) recognizable.

It was fun adding little details like the bird and the potato, but I wasn't really sure where this project was going...

From the start, it was important that there be some interactivity to this project and suggestions were (and are) more than welcome!

One of the first suggestions was from my pal Z. (@hipsterplease), associate editor for the GeekDad blog, all-around cool guy, and fellow fan of BBC's Being Human and Cartoon Network's Adventure Time.

His suggestion: "BMO & Alex go on a date".

Lesson learned? Crossovers are fun!

Given how much I'd enjoyed drawing the crossover on the previous day, I hadn't planned on going back to "straight" fan art all too soon. However, you can't plan your enthusiasm...and right around starting this project, I got sucked into Bioshock Infinite.

So, of course, I had to draw Elizabeth and the Luteces.

I just had to.

Plus, it seemed like a nice companion/parallel to the Portal doodle from Day 1.

Some days, I knew exactly what I wanted to draw.

For instance, Day 4: Pinky and Pinkie Pie.

This is something I've wanted to draw since Animaniacs became part of the Hub's regular rotation alongside My Little Pony.

I simply could not think of a more perfect friendship waiting to happen.

Other days, inspiration was simply a matter of sheer dumb luck. Stumbling across this tweet...

 ...Led to this.

I am a sucker for meta-fandom.

Somewhere along the way, in dreaming up goofy crossovers, it occurred to me that Snape and Sherlock have a lot in common --  the dark hair, the cello-like voice, the superior attitude and fondness for chemistry... it was fun to imagine how they'd work as lab partners.

...poor Watson.

Having successfully reached Day 7, I wanted something silly and celebratory to close out the week.

For reasons I can't fully explain, Jake's wandering through the Nightosphere with a banana in hand and his earnest inquiries as to "their deal" has been a source of constant entertainment.

Naturally, the Doctor would see it as a sign of a party. "Always bring a banana to a party! Bananas are good!"

A couple of thoughts moving forward:
  • While the challenge was originally set up such that each drawing would take no more than 15 minutes, this is a surprisingly difficult rule to stick to! Some drawings took less time; most took more. Often, I wouldn't notice that time was up - 15 minutes was frequently just enough time to get started! In the spirit of the project, it seems like it should matter less how much time is spent on the drawings, so long as there is a new piece of art each day.
  • Crossovers make this project much more interesting and entertaining for me (and I hope to anyone following it). That said, it also means that I'm burning through fandoms very quickly! A revision to the "no more than twice" rule may be in order... or more suggestions from followers!

Monday, April 22, 2013

15-Minute Fan Art Challenge

Jonathan Coulton recorded a song a week for a year.
Surely I can do a piece of fan art every day for a month...?

The challenge:
  • One new Post-it-sized piece of fan art every day, for 30 days.
  • 15 minutes to draw and ink.
  • No fandom should be represented more than twice.
    (Suggestions for fandoms to include are welcome!)

Follow my day-to-day progress on the Team Stripey Socks twitter or come back here for a weekly round-up and commentary.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Just What the Doctor Ordered

It seems that the Internet and the Bird’s Eye company have declared April 3rd to be “Fish Fingers and Custard Day,” in honor of the 2010 premiere date of the Doctor Who episode “The Eleventh Hour”. What better an opportunity to give it a try?

While there have been lots of great recipes online downplaying the sweet/savory aspect that makes this combination so “weird,” (ex: Alton Brown’s fish fingers and savory custard), for the sake of sheer nerdy authenticity, I wanted to try to get as close as possible to what little Amelia would’ve had in her fridge.

How convenient, then, to have access to a UK-import grocery!

Seeing as how everything was prepackaged, the preparation required was minimal -- Probably all for the best, if you’re trying to feed a newly-regenerated Time Lord who’s just destroyed a kitchen to satisfy an unspecified craving. 

Heat, pour, serve.

And then, taste.

With tea to wash it all down, naturally.



All in all, it wasn’t bad! While definitely an unusual flavor (certainly like nothing else I’ve eaten before), it was actually a pretty satisfying experience in balanced contrast: mild, smooth creamy sweetness against crumbly crispy saltiness. Who knew vanilla and white fish could actually work well together? At the risk of over-analyzing, it makes sense that this was the food of choice while the new regeneration was "still cooking". The flavor was very transitional - the tastes didn't blend together so much as bounce back and forth, highlighting one another. One moment, eggy vanilla; the next, bready, flaky fish, slightly briny with a bit of a metallic tinge...and back again with the next bite.

Unsurprisingly, I could only make my way through about four sticks of fish custard before my stomach began to object. However, I blame the heaviness of the meal more than the combination!

Would I eat it again? Sure, if I had the (unlikely) craving. Or, perhaps, next April 3rd.

Reviews of the Jelly Babies and Jammie Dodgers to come!

Additional Links:
'Fish Fingers and Custard Day' launched with Doctor Who tie-in”:

Birds Eye celebrate National Fish Fingers & Custard Day”:

Facebook: “Official Fish Fingers and Custard Day

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


The sentence “we need to write something” or some similar sentiment is something we have said every day since this blog went live on Jan 26th.

There are so many reasons not to write: real life, commitments, other projects, no ideas, writer’s games...

Our reason to not-write is a little different. Our reason is research. And planning.

The first documents for Team Stripey Socks actually started in July, after months of brainstorming. Seven months of earnest planning amounted to a five thousand word development document, a seven-page checklist, Pinterest boards, near-daily Gchat sessions, and many, many texts.

What didn’t happen during that time?

A single post.

Writing about not-writing is a cop out, but this is writing about writing things that are not the thing to write. We have topic lists, half-started posts and endless research. To break the inertia, we will begin with a brief overview of some of the awesome to come:

  • First Impressions posts for Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who
  • A practical guide to speed dating at Conventions
  • A Doctor Who-themed food review
  • The first post in a series on Cosplay

In short, some writing!