Friday, June 12, 2009

Nerd News in Brief

Hey, you know what's happening this weekend, right? You don't?! For shame!

Tonight, funky49, MC Wreckshin and Krondor Krew will perform live at the Hot Topic in Tampa's University Mall. Show up. Hear music. Buy ironic t-shirts.

Tomorrow night is a eastern seaboard double-header, as infernal fiend Schaffer the Darklord premieres a newly retooled set featuring his backing band the Darklords at Arlene's Grocery. Meanwhile, in my own Clemson, SC, int eighty of Dual Core will play the SouthEast|LinuxFest after party at Rockhoppers.

Suffice it to say, this weekend the east coast is bringing the noise.
  • Contest of Champions: Summer means contests, and this one's a veritable beast. OverClocked ReMix in association with 8 Bit Weapon and Nokia have put together a remix challenge that can only be called epic. In short, the artist who best remixes/reinterprets the music from 8BW's Reset Generation soundtrack will win, among other wicked-awesome stuff, a brand new Nokia N81 with 8GB of memory and Reset Generation pre-installed. Hit up OCR for full details, and then get to work!
  • All the Way Live: And speaking of 8 Bit Weapon, here are some pics from their recent E3 after party. It was hosted by Girl Gamer and Digital LA at The Conga Room. And it was obviously awesome.
  • Sale of the Century: Harry and the Potters have a trio of WRock shows lined up in the coming weeks. On June 19th they'll be at Oldham Elementary in Norwood, MA, on the 20th they're at Brooklyn's the Bell House and on the 21st you can catch them at Philadelphia's First Unitarian Church. The band is also having a $5 CD sale through their Web store, so you'll definitely wanna check that out!
  • 100% USDA Grain-fed Geek: MadHatter and our friends from the Heartland have a lot going on at the Scrub Club stronghold. New models, new music and new plans are the order of the day. See the Scrub Club hub for more details.
  • He's Our Beyonce: Random has recently released a track about Halo from the (apparently) abandoned Cartridge Family project. Peep the hotness at Ran's board.
  • The Power Within: For years fellow fans have been asking me what became of former Optimus Rhyme collaborator Broken English. At long last, I have an answer. If you still use the MySpace, be sure to give these guys a friend request.
  • Free to Be: Thanks to Kyle of Nitro Game Injection for hipping me to this piece from GameSetWatch. It contains a translated version of the "Falcom Music Free Declaration" from the site of Japanese game developer/publisher Falcom. It essentially invites "both commercial and non-commercial groups to use songs from its remarkable catalog without any charge or prior permission for television shows, radio programs, commercials, web sites, concert performances, and more, so long as a copyright notice is included."
  • Hip to be Square: Laura Klotz posted an interested piece to the Geek Girls Network blog earlier this week about the reclamation of the term geek. She also discusses several instances of lady geeks in popular culture including one Liz Lemon, who's been, as Church points out, getting ample props of late.
  • You Don't Say!: Jason from Geek Studies passes on news of another geek outing. This time Energy Secretary Steven Chu admits he's a nerd. Really? You don't say, Steve!
  • Ye Olde Sourcebook: Matt is a good friend. Knowing my love obscure manuscripts and also realizing that I don't typically follow XKCD too closely, he sent me a link to this little jewel. It all makes sense now.
  • Guthurt: My (occasionally) Charleston-based brother ProjektZero is currently selling beats for $5 a pop. More specifically, he's selling said beats to try and earn a little scratch to cover some whopping medical bills. Give this a read and give some thought to picking up an instrumental from PZ for your next project.
  • Firaga!: At 33, I have officially crossed that line where buying toys for myself is completely unsettling to all involved. Still, I can't help but want one of these Black Mage figures. They are made of plastic and win.
  • Blockhead: funky49 knows the children are our future. Teach them well, and let them create giant robot exosuits.
  • Across the Pond: Anthony points out that UK geek rocker DanPlusAdd has put a new face on his recently resurrected homepage. Give it a look-see for all pertinent information concerning the folksy Brit, and be sure to join his mailing list.
  • Clothe Thyself: Also from the shores of the honky motherland comes news of sexy new Superpowerless shirts. Mommy, why is that teddy bear so sad?
  • Tetrominosexual: Mike Damanskis is a sick, sick man. So much so that he elected to celebrate 25 years of Tetris by concocting the Hardcore Tetris Orgy. And I love him for it. This one's not safe for work and will likely dismantle your childhood. But it's kinda worth it.
  • All My Little Handhelds: Matt also wanted to share this find by the great Neil Gaiman. It's a Magnetic Fields cover as performed via LSDJ.
  • 75% Awesome: Sadly, it appears as if our friends at PBC Productions have decided they will not, in fact, favor us with another season of The New Adventures of Captain S. So take a moment and reflect on how a straight-D student became a hero to us all. Now tip the bottle.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Traditionalists

The misconception about traditions is that we've always observed them. Though it may certainly seem like it, your family hasn't always gone directly for their stockings first thing on Christmas morning. Your dad hasn't always taken your mom dancing for their anniversary. Your grandpa hasn't always gotten drunk and went on a lengthy tirade about immigrants at Thanksgiving dinner. (Okay, maybe he has, but that's just because he's an ill-tempered and indisputably racist old drunk.)

That I'm saying here is that every tradition starts out as just some crazy idea. These customs become more accepted and widely observed over time until their eventual mass adoption, but each germinates from a modest or otherwise unremarkable proposal. These rituals that so strengthen our bonds and further foster community cohesion all begin their lives as idle suggestions. And I'd like to make one of my own.

Nerdapalooza is fast on its way to becoming a true geek institution. Each year we gather in Orlando for a weekend of music, fun, fellowship and beer. While that may be enough for some, I think it's time we take it to the next level.

With each new iteration, Nerdapalooza's players and participants and attendees change. The venue shifts. But that's all well and good because the all-important spirit stays the same. But what if we supplement this spirit with a dose of tradition?

I'm not calling for anything drastic, mind you, just something easy and fun. Another little touchstone to get excited about amid the larger hallmark of geekdom that is the festival itself.

My idea is to encourage participating artists to work a cover song into their set. Sure, it's not the most earth-shattering of proposals, but it's simple and it has a certain charm.

Keep in mind that this is just a suggestion; I am in no way, shape or form the governing body of nerd music. This is just a silly idea from a silly old man. Just something to add a little more palpable level of consistency to an event that is purposefully malleable.

Hell, I'm not even married to this idea myself! In fact, I'd love to hear each of your suggestions for potential Nerdapalooza traditions. I love the event and I'm thrilled for the opportunity to simply attend, but I can't help but think it's time we add another layer to the Nerdapalooza soufflé.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Pay it Forward

Let me start off this missive by saying that, in case you've somehow missed it, Nerdapalooza is a good time. Moreover, it's a good time for a good cause. While I don't have an exact figure handy, I know the sum of money thus far raised by the event for Penny Arcade's Child's Play to be an impressive amount.

But beneath the fun and the camaraderie and the music and the aforementioned charity, there lies a dark underside. I am referring, of course, to the dreaded logistics.

As much as Orlando, Florida is a hub for geeky music and culture, it is not the sum total of our empire. Thusly, to make this annual event truly epic we must fly in our best and brightest from the farthest reaches of nerdom. From the Heartland, the Pacific Northwest, even the Old World. And that shit ain't cheap.

With the economy in shambles, independent artists are finding it harder than ever to cover the out-of-pocket expenses inherent in taking the proverbial show on the road, and Nerdapalooza is no exception. While the festival has secured financial support from fine, nerd-friendly establishments like A Comic Shop, these sponsors alone aren't enough to keep the project completely afloat. To supplement this funding, Nerdapalooza turns to the community itself.

There are a variety of ways to help sustain this blessed machine, and, believe it or not, not all of them involve cash money. For folks looking to throw their support behind this yearly charitable celebration of nerd life, there is a trio of possible options.
  • Spread the Word:
    The easiest thing a fan or fellow scenester can do to support Nerdapalooza is to simply talk about the event. Mention it to your gaming group, at your comic shop, on your blog, through your social networking site of choice or in your favorite BBS. Link to the official event blog or the Nerdapalooza Twitter account. Remember what Bob Geldof taught us, raising awareness is sometimes as important as raising money.
  • Spread the Love:
    You can also help lessen Nerdapalooza' s financial burden by volunteering at the event. In exchange for pledging 3 hours of your time each day selling merch, corralling bands and helping set up the stage, you get free access into the event. You also get the chance to interact directly with the featured acts, and Hex and company are more than willing to make sure your volunteer time doesn't interfere with you catching your favorites as they perform. For more info on the volunteer program, email
  • Spread the Green:
    The most obvious way to help Nerdapalooza is, of course, to hit them with some dough. The event has its own donations page ready to accept Paypal contributions of any size. Those looking for a potential return on their investment should also check out Game Music 4 All's "Get to Nerdapalooza" fundraiser. This raffle contest offers you a chance to win CDs, specialty swag and even a dinner date with the lovely Lo Tech (of "Dungeons & Dragons Rap: Part One" fame.) And if you're looking for an even more unorthodox approach to financially supporting Nerdapalooza 2009, I'd even suggest hitting up your favorite act from the confirmed artists roster and asking if you can donate directly to their travel fund.
In the end, there's no wrong way to support Nerdapalooza. Whether with time, money or goodwill, whatever you give will surely be greatly appreciated. And, most importantly, it will ultimately help our community continue to support children in need.