Thursday, August 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury!

This entry is slightly hard for me to write. It is my father's birthday. I pulled the entry where I talk about the loss of my father, but I still miss him frequently and the horrible events that couple his death as still incredibly raw. Every year I try to do something extra special around his birthday to keep his memory alive in a positive way. Right now I put out a trackable through my hobby of geocaching that is in honor of him and is meant to keep his spirit going. It just recently came to rest in Mississippi after having left from the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI.

As I thought about my father, I also remembered that another inspirational person was born on this day in Waukegan, IL and I want to take a few moments to recognize him. Not only does this person connect to my own love of film (Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451), but he's written work that has influenced generations! Heck, Fahrenheit 451 is even on my bookcart at school for one of our units on Human Rights!

I'm not going to say much about it, but I just wanted to have a little moment where I could recognize an author that I love and enjoy. I am currently reading The October Country and The Halloween Tree. Another funny moment was when I first started dating my now husband, he would always talk down the Martian Chronicles and talk up the Martian Tales by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The joke is that the Martian Chronicles was sometimes known as "the OTHER Martian Tales." Ray (the husband, not the author... yet) always made sure to point that out to me. I love Bradbury's dark spirit and haunting imagery. My students had their first encounter with his work when I read to them All Summer in a Day at the end of the school year. Intense stuff.

So happy birthday, Mr. Bradbury!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

T-shirts, T-shirts Everywhere, but Which One to Wear!

I am a huge t-shirt nerd. I love t-shirts that say geeky things. I love t-shirts that show I've been to a concert or an event. I do not, though, love Hard Rock t-shirts. I prefer their pins. We were unpacking some of our clothes bins and I was even finding t-shirts from when I was in high school! X-Files, No Doubt, and, of course, my skater shirts that say things like HOAX!

My husband reintroduced my teacher passions one Christmas when he purchased me a LOST t-shirt and a shirt that had nuns on it which said "All the Single Ladies." I mean, I was known as the nun girl because of my dissertation work, so it was perfect! Since then I have only very slowly added t-shirts to my wardrobe again. This time, they've been more teacher-orientated t-shirts. T-shirts are considered taboo professional wardrobe choices, but as a literacy teacher, I find them to be a fascinating and overlooked teaching tool!

This year, I spent my time browsing SnorgTees and I developed a meaningful t-shirt oriented teacher wardrobe that is a great hook for some of the lessons or mini-lessons that I teach. If I were still teaching Science, I would have so many more listed, but I'm only teaching Literacy this year. I would just like to note that these would be worn with dress pants and/or a little jackety-type-adult thing.

1. Do Not Read the Next Sentence
I wanted to wear this the first day of school, but I'm already wearing my Star Trek Red Shirt (our school colors are red, black, and white and we're supposed to wear a red shirt on the first day). But I wanted to wear this to give the kids a laugh and feel a little special. I also wanted to give the hint that I appreciate thinking outside the box. I honestly do. This is more of a classroom management shirt for the first week of school to encourage students to be themselves and feel comfortable with my sense of humor. I'm a little weird.

2. Misuse of Literally Makes Me Figuratively Insane
This shirt is for my days when I am introducing or working with Figurative language. We do work with idioms in sixth grade and we have a small unit at the end of the year on Figurative language. I try to make the point that figurative doesn't mean what is says directly, so it's not literal. This is especially important for English Language Learners and English as a Second Language learners. To recognize these pieces of the language as having another meaning is incredibly beneficial to them. 

3. Thesaurus
What kind of a Literacy teacher would I be if I didn't encourage my students and teach them how to use a Thesaurus to improve their writing! Last year, when I worked with my kids, it was like they had never heard of one before. This t-shirt would function as a hook and, eventually, become a running gag in the room for the kids to feel just a little more special about using a Thesaurus when editing and revising. Plus, several of my students are still really into dinosaurs and that's always a bonus!

4. Cool Story Bro, Needs More Dragons
This is another hook shirt that I can use when we are writing our stories early in the year or when I do some writing activities throughout the year. Students sometimes forget that it's not a personal attack when a teacher reads their writing. Don't get me wrong, there are teachers who do make it a personal attack, but for me, I'm not here to criticize your STORY. I'm here to help you package your story better. Sometimes, your story is right there. . . it's amazing, but it needs a little something extra. I thought this t-shirt was a great way to create a funny catchphrase for the kids when there's just a little something extra needed. For me, humor takes the edge away from making the kids feel like they are being attacked. It doesn't work for everyone, but it worked for most of them last year. I wanted to wear this on revising or teacher writing conference days.

5. Most Intelligent Person in the World Citation Needed
This t-shirt is a must for any teacher trying to teach kids to use citations. This is a huge deal in Middle School and I worked with my kids relentlessly to improve their justification of their information when we moved into all our research-based writing. As someone who had a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill sit her down and say he doesn't care about anything she wrote, because it's arrogant that I made no citations indicating research or the work of others, I get the importance of citations. Plus, I do a 2 day lesson on plagiarism. This year, I have a little Volturi picture that I'm going to hang on the board with all the "plagiarized" papers hanging under it, to remind students that they need to cite their work. More on that when I get there.  So, clearly, this is a learning tool and a great hook to bring the kids in.

6. Free Contradictions
I think sometimes kids don't pay close attention to what they write or say. Sometimes they need a reminder about what it means to contradict. This one I'd actually need to stretch a little on, I think.

7. Inconceivable Definition
This would be used to break down dictionary definitions. Or at least, I could wear it on that day to help
reinforce what they are learning with a funny joke! It's all about the dictionary! This can also be used for the idea of a character having a catch-phrase.

8. One Smart Cookie
What is that cookie doing that is making it smart? Oh. . . reading. Well, would you look at that! Cookies that are smart read, what are YOU doing? A potential subliminal message associating smart and reading with the need for a cookie!

9. Allow Myself to Introduce... Myself
I actually want to use this one for an introduction project I have the students working. During the first week of school they are making their own QR Avatar, which will link to a PREZI they created that shares information about themselves. This was just a geeky connection to the activity and not really a necessity, but a funny one, at least.

10. Friends Don't Let Friends Use Comic Sans
My students are OBSESSED with fonts. Heck, I think I was even a font-fanatic back in the day when fonts were actually NEW! I typically ask my students to follow a common professional rule about Times New Roman. My kids get all frustrated that I request this of them, but when it's a paper that I have to read and it's research, I need you to be sensible in your font choices. If you give them an inch, they take a foot. So I thought this shirt was funny, because it might be a good way to remember than you're supposed to use TNR instead of CS.

11. Bono Can't Live Here
I. . . LOVE. . . VENN DIAGRAMS!!! Sure the reference might be a bit over their heads, but the message is still the same. And let me tell you. . . Venn Diagrams are in constant use. Love it! Live IT!! With or Without you!

12. I Hate Rhyming
When I am teaching poetry, I try to teach my kids that it's not always about rhyming. They are still stuck in that mindset of cat/mat and frog/bog. NO NO NO Dear child! During some of your most developmentally profound expressive years, you must understand that poetry is not about rhyme ONLY, it's about the form! The form could mean you have to rhyme or it could be the rhythm or the syllables or any number of things! So don't be scared to break away from the rhyme!

13. Pirate Crossword
I like to take the time to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day! This occurs on September 19th. I let the kids have fun sounding out how to spell pirate words and using their background knowledge to help create their own pirate dialogue. This year I want to have them use the story dice to create a suspenseful pirate story! This shirt highlights the hilarity of pirate speak.

14. Support Recycling
We celebrate all that hippy stuff about taking care of the Earth. What better way to help save the Earth than the conserve water by recycling what you wear? Just a fun shirt to wear on those days when we're supposed to think about how our behaviors affect the world around us. I mean, seriously. . . do we ALWAYS have to wash a shirt after only one wear?

15. Save the Clocktower
Okay, this one is just silly, but I thought it would be fun to wear at fundraiser events. We do a lot of them at school and, well. . . sometimes it's good just to have fun.

16. Always Give 100%, Unless You're Donating Blood
Just a reminder shirt that you should make sure to always give 100% in all areas. Sometimes a good reminder shirt to wear after the winter break when students start to fade a bit. I like the message and it's funny. Again, something that could be used for various things in the classroom. Maybe even WKCE testing (or whatever standardized test those poor kids are being subjected to). We all need a good smile on those days.

17. Haiku T-Shirt
A prize to any student who figures out I'm wearing a haiku on my shirt on the day I'm teaching them how to write a haiku! This one is self-explanatory.

18. Alliteration is Alarmingly Addictive
I am an alliteration geek through and through. I've used alliteration in names and labels and all sorts of things. I overuse alliteration in such a bad way, I could hardly pass up a t-shirt about it! Plus it's something we use in the poetry unit that I teach and I could always wear it then.

19. Hold Your Horses
IDIOMS!!! See above about the importance of figurative and literal understandings of phrases. This is one of the ones we use for idioms. Brilliant!

20. Classic Blunders
I liked this one when we're working on comprehension strategies. We have to pull out the importance information and understand the meaning behind what is being said. Clearly there are two classic blunders, but what does Vizzini mean when he says these things? Just an example of a teaching tool.

21. One Brick, Two Brick, Red Brick, Blue Brick
We celebrate Dr. Seuss Week and, ultimately, his birthday. What better way to celebrate geek and Seuss than to wear this shirt? Enough said.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft!

I am a lover of Lit and most things horror. I'm not all in on the "killing for killing's sake" kind of movies like Saw, but I really enjoy supernatural horror movies and stories and sometimes those really intelligent crazy death movies like the first couple Final Destination movies. Even though, I will admit, I had to watch the first one a few times before I could even handle the crazy deaths.

I guess what I am getting at here is that I like the unseen and the psychological. Even Jaws is more of an unseen and psychological thriller than something like, oh, gee... the umpteen million sequels to Saw. Maybe that's why I prefer Criminal Minds to NCIS or CSI (granted, I used to love the original CSI until a bunch of changes made it meh and then it went off the air).

Digression? Why yes! I excel at them. The point is. . . today is H.P. Lovecraft's birthday! The man. . . the mythos. . . the occultist? Sure! This is a man who has contributed to the shaping of the modern horror and even, to an extent, modern fantasy and Sci-Fi. I don't want to make this a long biography of someone I studied in college, but fell in love with as a reader. So let's shorten this up a big with my homage to his birthday.

Today, on  his 123rd birthday, I chose to reread a work his that I haven't read in such a very long time. It quotes one of my favorite romantic poets and harkens back to my days as a lover of all things romantic and gothic. "The Outsider" by H.P. Lovecraft. A tale so reflectively strange and so near to my heart as one who is trying to find their place. Beautifully crafted with haunting images. A amazing piece of literature and a worthy piece to sharpen the literary mind.

If you're hardup for a way to celebrate, make sure to check out Unspeakable Words, designed by James Ernest and Mike Selinker, with art by Tony Steele.  You have cards with letters and images on them. You try to play words and, depending on angles on the cards, you have to make a sanity roll. In true Lovecraftian style, your either go insane or die. . . err... lose. There are adorable little purple Cthulu like pieces as part of the game. Enjoy! I'm hoping to get a round in with Ray after Isabelle goes to bed. So celebrate!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lovecraft.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Teaching = Super Power!

I was looking for unique acrylic tumblers. I have a bit of an obsession with them. Mostly for work purposes. I make a really cheap and "healthier" version of a Starbucks favorite and the tumbler has been the perfect travel glass for me.

I remember a while ago, I was browsing through tumblers and I really liked the teacher ones. I'm beyond proud to be a teacher, so I was tempted to buy myself one. Somewhere deep down, though, I have hopes that someday a student will buy me a tumbler. For some reason, middle school teachers are completely ignored by parents when it comes to donating supplies and recognizing them with gifts of appreciation. Not that I'm fishing, I'm just saying. . . I'm a little blown away by the complete lack of donations I had to my classroom. I did have two students who did give Christmas and end-of-year gifts. I cherish those gifts with all my heart. I also was given lots of artwork from students and those I also cherish. The smiles and that moment you hear them repeating something you taught them. . . is all the appreciation I need. Well, . . . that and hearing from students in the incoming class that they've heard about me and are totally bummed not to have me as a teacher. Yeah. . . that feels pretty darn good.

Ok. . . I got a little off track. What I wanted to talk about was the fact that apparently educators have Super Powers! I mean, seriously. . . think about it. It might be a stretch, but think about the basics that are applicable to the basic human. Do the conversion. It is pretty impressive. These, of course, aren't all the powers, but there are just so many to keep track of and different teachers have different talents. Some are Science teachers and might have all those Science powers. The same with Math teachers. I tried to put them into context. Stay with the more positive side of the superpower and not so much the villain aspect. That's if. . . you know what's good for ya'! Enjoy!

  • How many people can say they can run a room of 20-30+ kids/preteens (Persuasion)? 
  • Where. . . the room actually isn't in constant chaos and learning is occurring (Yin & Yang Manipulation)? 
  • To be able to see all things at all times in your room, especially when your back is turned (Circular Vision)? 
  • To know everything that is happening at all times in the room (environmental awareness)? 
  • Where students are having FUN learning (Empathy & Temporal Manipulation - Slowing Down or Speeding Up Time)? 
  • Where we have the power to influence future generations (Knowledge Replication/Knowledge Projection)? 
  • Encourage trends or expose children to the wonders of culture (Telepathy)? 
  • To be all the multiple roles that teachers are for these children (Shape-Shifting)? 
  • Knowing when someone is lying or telling the truth and the ability to judge situations with a judicial hand (Claircognizance & Mendacity Detection).
  • Creating a classroom with next to nothing to start with and very limited money. Time for creativity to reign (Psychic Constructs)?
  • To somehow have everything you need, when it even becomes an obscure request. . . like. . . a parachute guy, as well as a magical supply of loose-leaf paper and pencils (Dimensional Storage)?
  • Adapting the classroom to fit all the needs of all the creative ideas you need to teach in the most engaging way possible (Spatial Manipulation)!
  • Helping students learn to channel their inner writers and embrace a love of the English language (Literary Manipulation). 
  • Working those long hours without always having the food or coffee to get you through the day (Self-Sustenance).
  • To literally be consumed by your job, but still have something of a small life outside of it (Self-Transcendence).

Teachers have these powers!

Way back, I ran a tabletop incentive for the kids and the fact that I had 6 different tabletop games running in my room with 30+ kids and it was organized and running smoothly. . . that's a power in and of itself! You have to channel that power. And you do have to regenerate it. Look at the list above. . . those are all used on a daily basis. Try regenerating that with only 6-8 hours of sleep. I think that's one of the biggest problems. . . for all these incredible "powers" teachers have. . . there isn't enough time to regenerate so that the power is at full strength. A summer off sets you at 100% for the start of the school year, but  there is a minimum of 3-7 days to fully regenerate to 100% depending on the teacher. Think about how exhausted super heroes get when they're using their super powers! Even Ironman can't be in constant use of his energy.

Talk about a bit of motivation and power-boost to be able to remember you're special for being able to do what you do in the classroom. It also explains why, at the end of the day, I sometimes couldn't get off the couch once I had sat down. I mean, couple all that with then all the parent superpowers! So if you know a geek teacher somewhere out there, appreciate their combined superpowers and chuck them something to help with sustenance.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Julia Child!

I have always considered Julia Child to be the first REAL Gastro-Geek ("Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.")! Anyone who knows her story knows that she didn't even start cooking until she was 32-years-old. Until then, she had just been eating and taking in all that food had to offer. Then she felt like she could start to really share her passion.
I am a lover of cooking. I absolutely fell in love with cooking when I moved overseas to Scotland. The quality of food I was working with, within my budget, was incredible ("You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients."). We also, at times, had such a limited budget that we had to improvise. As I so often do, though, I jumped in and started to teach myself to cook. For some reason, I could just sit and watch a cooking show and all of a sudden, I remembered all the techniques I had seen. I was absorbing knowledge about cooking. I am by no means a master chef or the best cook out there, but I'm good enough and growing every day ("You'll never know everything about anything, especially something you love."). If you want to see what I've been working on, you can look at my food blog. It's small, but I keep trying to add as often as I can.

When I was a little girl, I remember watching Julia Child on television. She was crazy awesome! She was fearless! I never forgot her, but when Julie & Julia was released, my passion for her was renewed. I have her books on my to-read shelf. Julia Child has such an amazingly profound life. She is an absolute inspiration and whenever I put on a string of pearls, I feel the compulsion to cook something French and have a huge glass of wine.

Happy Birthday Mrs. Child! You are truly an inspiration to chefs and woman (and everyone) everywhere! I have a feeling, I too might be "thirty-seven-years-old and still discovering who I [am]." Thank you for helping the wanderers feel they have a purpose.

“The more you know, the more you can create. There's no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
― Julia Child, Particular Passions: Talks With Women Who Have Shaped Our Times

Thursday, August 8, 2013

YouTube's Geek Week (A Reflection)

The commercials are making their rounds and YouTube's front page is plastered with geekism. I know Geek Week on YouTube started on Sunday, but let me just rehash the constant excuse of "I'm on VACATION!" Not that I'm concerned that my few fans are waiting with bated breath for me to comment. I mean, who is this for? Me and maybe others who are going through this? Or maybe someone looking for a laugh. I like laughs.

I've found, though, that I've become incredibly reflective about the different definitions of geek and nerd out there. I think my number one issue has been this requirement that Math and Science are immediately part of these stereotypes.

Posted by George Takai, now available as a T-Shirt.
From the bottom of my heart, I can say with all certainty that Math and Me are not on the best of terms. I can comprehend through per-Calculus, but I struggled the whole way. I put in a lot of effort and really worked hard. Due to it being the bane of my academic existence, I try to stay as far away from Math when I can, unless it's part of a funny joke that is linked to something I like or something I can link to reading or writing. For example, Pi (Apple-Pi, etc.).

On the other hand, I was kind of into Science. I wasn't very good at Chemistry, but at Biology I was a wiz. I was the kid who actually dissected the fetal pig in my group and went for the extra credit of a perfect brain extraction. I was granted with the ultimate prize of having the best brain extraction in all the sections and I was honored by having it added to the teacher's jar of perfect brains! But once again, thanks to Math, I couldn't pursue my passion for Marine Biology. I had an overly difficult Calculus teacher and all the Math involved in college level Chemistry did me in. I would, though, just like to add that I took the Marine Ecology class offered by my college and I aced it with flying colors. Even yesterday, at the beach, I had to handle all the hook extractions from the things that were caught from the sea. Like a baby eel and this froggish mudfish. I did, though, fall out a great deal with Science due to the teachers involved and I fell smack-dab in the middle of Philosophy.

So I don't really consider myself a Math/Science geek or nerd. I have found I might still have a high interest in Science, but it's not my passion. That always throws me off with these definitions. So when I saw the commercial, I couldn't not take a moment to reflect on my own status. The journey I have been on this summer has been incredible and I'm working on a reflective entry as I write this RIGHT NOW!!! Yes. . . double-wielding keyboards! On to the commercial:

The voiceover in the video says: "What does it mean to be a geek? We're the biggest fans, that's true. And we're curious about the world. We like to make things, invent things, share things. We question what's possible. And when we find people who care as much as we do, well, that's when things get interesting."

"What does it mean to be a geek?" The first line in and of itself is a loaded question. And the strange thing is, it assumes that they have answered it succinctly. What does it mean? For my review of this, see my very first entry explaining my journey.

Then the commercial goes on to say that geeks are the "biggest fans." I can't argue that, except what about the geeks who never feel like they're the biggest fans? I mean, I don't know if I can label myself as the biggest fan of any one specific thing. Does it mean generically? Like. . .I am a big fan of books? Or I am a big fan of tabletop games? And what about my husband? I mean, he is probably the biggest fan of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 I've ever met, but is he considered the biggest fan? He doesn't build his own robots. He doesn't go to the conventions. So where does he land? Granted, he does have a blog and has been working on a project with it for over 10 years, but he's not a FanBoy, he's just an incredibly huge and well-immersed fan of MST3K. Take it a step further and ask yourself, "Are sports fans geeks?" Because, in all honesty, I have seen sports fans that can top the biggest geeks as Comic-Con (granted I am from Wisconsin, home of the Packers. . .). Weren't the jocks always the enemies of the nerds in the movies? Already, sweeping generalizations to make everyone feel included are occurring in this rally to embrace Geek Week on YouTube.

I'll accept that geeks are curious about the world. I think right here is where I fit in the strongest.  I am looking for the connections that will make my web of interconnectedness ever stronger. I love to travel to learn about how the world works and the only reason I ever turn on a reality TV show is to try to understand the human condition as viewed through the lens of a corrupt social view. I go geocaching because I want to see the world around me and embrace all of it. Ah, but there is the rub again. I thought geeks didn't like being outdoors unless they were reveling in a Renaissance Faire? I mean, my husband and Friend Jim would rather never leave the comfort of their computer chairs. Either way, this line about being curious is perfectly valid and I'm just talking in circles.

"We like to make things, invent things, share things." This is where I think it gets pretty dicey. There is no conjunction. Does it mean we have to do all three of these things? Do we just do at least one, but potentially all three? Sure, I like to make things. I like to make blogs and write and develop lessons. I like to cook and develop RPG characters that I never get to play with. I like to create my little personalized characters on Sims and WoW. Do I invent things? Well. . . hmmm. . . no. . . do all nerds invent things? Well. . . what do you mean by invent? Does it have to be like Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory? Little robots or space toilets? Or can it be as simple as a recipe? Here is where it falls too heavily back on the origins of the term geek and nerd. What I cannot debate, though, is that geeks and nerds do love the share things. But, hey, don't non-geek/nerds, too? Not something specific to geek-nerddom, but its at least true.

"We question what's possible." Can't debate this, either. It's true. No matter what type of geek you are, it is true. But is this something specific only to geeks? If so, then all 55 of my students are geeks, because they question the hell outta me! I think this falls into the category of just another sweeping generalization.

When we do get together, though, crazy things do happen. When I'm just gaming with my kids at school, it's awesome and neat. But when I get together with Friend Jim and Ray. . . it is AWESOME! It takes things to a whole new level. When I'm into my film or television focus or any of that, it is crazy awesome when Ray is on board and we just spend hours discussing the finer points of yadda yadda yadda. So yeah. . . the point of Geek Week on YouTube does invite that idea that we're just a bunch of geeks getting together online and sharing all these things to have the most ultimate of geekgasms!

Yet, the entire commercial is so sweeping in its generalizations, it's meant to be inviting to everyone. That's why it was aired on television instead of simply moving through the geek cultural outlets. The point of the whole thing was to get everyone over to YouTube to watch these things, whether they are someone who subscribes to geekdom or not. Like I've said above, how do you define geek? Are we not all geeks in some way or another? My husband argues absolutely not, but is maybe that what geek culture is doing? Spreading through all the channels of all the different cultural lifestyles, but the origins of geekdom are still holding fast and almost rebelling against this modern need to embrace all who do these things? Or are these things that are only truly understood by those who are really geeks?

I have to reflect and reflect I did. The commercial, while a rally cry of sorts, is really just another attempt to commercialize geekdom. Sure the images reinforce certain things, but they also attempt to negate things that maybe don't need to be negated. I'll leave you with a final thought. . . is a Ninja Warrior really just a jock geek? The Starbursts of the geek world!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

"LOST" for Words

My daughter really wanted to watch a little TV this morning. So as we flipped through the guide, we saw Blue's Clues on Nick Jr.! So we watched it. It was actually a fairly awkward episode about sounds and they all sat under a blanket listening to the rain. I think I almost fell asleep listening to all the sounds.

Since we were getting ready to leave, we weren't going to channel surf and we left Nick Jr. on. The Yo Gabba Gabba show came on and it was about farms. I don't usually watch this show. Something about it is a little too weird for me. It feels. . . off. . .And as I was tuning out and my daughter was staring blankly at the screen. . . Farmer Josh appeared. . . and it was Josh Holloway (Sawyer) from LOST. {INSERT MIND EXPLOSION GESTURE HERE!}

And that is how my geekable day begins. Not with a mellow whisper, but with a gut-wrenching GUFFAW! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My First P&P!!! (or... RPG? or... uh... P2P or... oh goodness....)

I've talked a lot about it here, but we're on vacation in North Carolina. My husband, who has the time, laboriously plans gaming for every second or every minute of the day that he is awake. He has also been cleaning out our garage and going through our bins and bins and bins of possessions that we packed up in 2007. Now that we're settled, for all intents and purposes, he wants to get things organized. While organizing, he found his Marvel Heroes pen and paper game!

Now, I've had a tremendous desire to play an RPG or P&P or something along the lines of Dungeons and Dragons. We played HeroQuest a very long time ago. . . I want to say almost 10 years ago. Ray was the dungeon master and made an advanced custom module for the game based on the campaign booklet. You can check out his module here. And that was a mess and a half. We suffered from lack of commitment from members of the campaign. We then were hit with an ultimatum from a bitter, controlling wife. And while I was thrilled with the campaign and my created character and everything we had been through. . . I was denied playing the very last mission. . . I have always felt a lack of fulfillment because of it. Silly, I know, but I was really invested in my character and it was the first time I had ever done something like that! It was so awesome!

(This is just a video that shows you the game and everything and if you bought it and wanted to play it. 
I thought it was pretty good, so I shared it. I'm about visuals.)

Then, over Christmas, The Big Bang Theory gang played Dungeons & Dragons and I almost died. So badly did I want to play. Yet, my husband was being weird about it. He didn't want to play. Oh, there aren't any people to play with. Do you understand how intensive it is? I even tried to look online for places to learn how to play where I could still play but it just might not be in person.  I was being denied at every turn.

(These are just some of the funnier bits, but it's E6:23 - The Love Spell Potential, if you want to find and watch it.)

What a surprise it was when he was developing a campaign for us and his friend with his Marvel Heroes P&P RPG. It was something he used to play as a kid and I was beyond excited to finally be able to play one. Last night was the first night. We had to make our characters so that we could start playing Thursday and continue playing for Friday and Saturday, mixed with other games, of course.

We're using the Players Handbook, Judges Handbook, Ultimate Powers Book, and the Marvel Super Heroes Revised Rule Book.

Ray was very particular. Some things could be rolled for, others we could choose. So I actually used my trusty dice and rolled to choose between an Altered Human and a Mutant. I ended up with Altered Human. Then we rolled for our fighting, agility, strength, endurance, reason, initiative, psyche. My character's health was pretty good and the karma not bad. Then I rolled what Ray wanted to call absurd. I rolled monstrous resources! Oh... my... goodness!!! Now we're in business. And a story started to unfold!

I'll post my backstory when I have it all written up. I've even gone through some name changes. I was Psyberia and I had all these connections, but then a trail of links led me to change her (yes her) name to Psymera. I have a whole explanation for it, but I'll leave it there for now. She has two powers. One I rolled for the category and then was allowed to pick. The other was assigned by the Judge. I have 2, technically 3, talents. The Judge approved the Heir to a Fortune talent. I was then assigned Cybernetic/Bionic and Parapsychology based on the already extensive backstory I had developed while our friend Jim had to muddle through all his mutant ultimate powers. He had alot more rolling and things to do than I did, so I had time. I even have my backstory sketched out on the back of the character paper.

Before the night was over, we also purchased materials, locations, etc. I can't wait for tonight where my character will come to life. I have an incredibly detailed, plausible, and pretty awesome origin and I really can't even begin to explain how absolutely psyched I am.

And so it begins. . . my journey into P&P RPG! YES!!! THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!