EDITOR’S NOTE: Fun fact, I’m going to my very first San Diego Comic Con this years. Like a Chihuahua who just accidentally drank a bottle of Gatorade, I’ve been squealing, squawking and shaking with excitement. I asked my friend Megan of the blog, The Nerdy Girlie, to give me her five best tips on how NOT to be a NEWB at my first SDCC and I thought they’d come in handy for anyone else who might be heading to the Cali coast too.
Everyone has a first time at San Diego Comic Con. Here’s five easy ways to be one step closer to official pro status.
1. They show up for a line an hour before a panel expecting to get in. Every year San Diego Comic Con grows in popularity. EVERYTHING has a line. Ticket sales, hotel sales, even parking permit sales. ALWAYS anticipate lining up EARLY for EVERYTHING! Last year for the 10th anniversary Firefly reunion we lined up at 2 a.m. and got pretty good seats. This year for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who we plan on at LEAST midnight. If it something you really want to do plan to wait a long time to do it.
2. They NEVER leave the convention center. I was guilty of this the first two years I attended Comic Con, now it is my most favorite thing to do. There are SO many awesome things going on outside Comic Con. Nerd HQ is a blast. Last year in front of the Hilton Bayfront, WB set up a stage, and had special guest appearances during the con. One year while walking through the Gaslamp, I stumbled upon a Robert Kirkman signing with only ten people in line with about an hour or two to wait. Inside the convention center, stuff like that has tickets and you are lucky if you get one. Venture out into the Gaslamp. You never know who you are going to bump into.
O’Neil’s even been a professional TV creep for MTV. (I’m sorry – what?) Straight from the press release, O’Neil and two other creeper hosts scrutinized “the posts, pictures, and ultimately, the virtual lives of three, different social media addicts. Once each profile has been critiqued, the ‘creepers’ decide whether to add, ignore or recommend their friends to remove them.” Yikes! Be careful what you tweet, Lady Geeks! O’Neil’s on the prowl.
Before you run to delete various college photos from Instagram and maybe a few less than ladylike remarks on your Facebook, check out O’Neil’s interview with BGC!
Q: What has led you to your passion?
A: I’ve got many different passions, each of them shaped by different experiences and influencers (mostly school and pop culture.)
Some (fashion, animals, making people laugh) I feel as though I was born with.
My passion for writing comes out if reading, as it does for most writers. I’m forever grateful to my parents for reading to me constantly as a kid and encouraging me to write my own stories.
My early childhood experiences playing with toy robots and my parents’ stereo equipment led me into a lifelong passion for gadgets.
My passion for computers and the web itself likely comes from all of the computer time I got as a kid. I was fortunate to go to a school that really emphasized digital literacy, even at a young age, and my parents supported the heck out of that. I used to fall asleep and dream about building things with the computer. I’d wake up and run to it. I freaking love computers more than everything - from my first Apple Macintosh (circa 1993!) to the 7 computers I own now.
My passion for media was helped by the cameras and video cameras my parents had around too.
Comedy comes from so much TV. Just… So much TV.
My passion for performing? Narcissism. Pure and simple :)
I have not been jazzed about 2013.
All the glitter and streamers and kazoos in the world couldn’t break me from my funk this week. In part, I blame the mild illness brewing in my body. But the other part… the pervasive, nagging pessimist in my head is the one really causing all this negativity to fester. I need a good kick in the ass.
I need a new way of thinking. A way of seeing my life and my dreams that makes them feel possible, tangible, real, attainable and worthy of my each and every breath. I hope this line of thinking can help you this year as well…
In 2013 and for the rest of your life, I hope you remember:
5. Always ask. So you really, really want to write for that super cool hipster magazine with the provocative name? Research the other writers. Find the right editor. Craft the perfect pitch. Send the email. Follow up. Hope it works out. But remember: the worst you can hear is No. And that’s OK, because you will eventually hear Yes.
4. Rejection is opportunity for refinement. I hate rejection. Who doesn’t? I have a hard time seeing the “silver lining” sometimes, but in the moment it happens I need to remember to ask: what could I have done better? Or different? Sometimes, there’s no good answer. See #5 and repeat.
3. Be your own cheerleader. No one will work harder for your success than you. Tweet. Share. Email. Print Biz Cards. Write press release. And if you don’t know how to do it - ask someone else for help. If you can’t cheer for yourself, then it’s time to take a step back and give yourself a pep talk.
2. If you dreamed it - it’s important. Never, never discount your dreams. Unless it’s a pair of expensive Prada shoes, then I hope they’re on sale. I’m kidding of course… not really.
Sometimes I feel my dreams are so big, so outrageous, so narcissistic that I shouldn’t even say them out loud for fear that others will find them so categorically insane that they’ll immediately bound me in the loony jacket and send me to egomaniac prison. A lot of things will make dreams seem impossible. See rejection. See fear. See finances. See lack of cheerleaders. But that doesn’t mean your dream shouldn’t take priority in life. If it’s important - treat it that way.
1. Be the youest “you” you can be. The Doctor really said it best with that whole 900 years of space and time bit… BUT! Quit saying, “I want to be the next JK Rowling or the next Matt Smith or the next Stan Lee.” They’ve got that shit down-pat. Be you. Be you with every ounce of meat and fiber on your skeleton. Get to know yourself and then really hone in on what only you can offer. That’s the youest you.
Our Lady Geek of the Week, Iris Classon (@IrisClasson), is such an inspiration. Have you ever been on the wrong path in life, but didn’t feel like you had the guts to start again? Well, read on. Iris may just give you the courage.
She got her undergrad in nutrition, and worked as a nutritionist, registered dietitian, and international licensed personal trainer and instructor for five years. A great career, but it wasn’t a fit for this chic geek.
A year ago, she made a drastic career change. She started studying programming, and “never looked back.”
She’s become a sassy, red-haired, passionate programmer with an itch for logic and the audacity to dream. You can read her blog, In Love With Code to learn more about this Swedish gal, but before you do read her interview with Being Geek Chic!
Q: What has led you to your passion?
A: Hitting rock bottom after making the wrong choice career wise. After being so depressed for so long my body and mind was literally craving happiness. Once I found what made me happy I just let lose all that I had saved and just completely indulged in that euphoric feeling. The more I gave in, the more I got back. I forced myself to ignore any doubts others had about the likelihood of me succeeding, and just followed my heart instead this time around. I promised myself to give it 100% for at least two years, ignoring doubts- but just a few days in knew that there was nothing to ignore, I had no doubts. I surrounded myself quickly with people that inspired me, and adopted mentors that could guide me. With such a great safety net it was easy to focus on just enjoying the journey and these people that were, and are, involved are major contributors to my passion.
Q: What inspires you in the world?
A: People, animals and nature. There hasn’t been a single day when I haven’t been blown away by one of those three things. I do my very best to expose myself to those three things as much and as best as I can.
Q: Got a 5-year plan?
A: I want to become a really good programmer, and be able to give back to the community twice as much as it has given me. I do have a concrete plan for this, and it involves learning several programming languages, travel the world and meet programmers worldwide and learn from them. I want to create everything from small apps to take part of a larger team on a distributed system, to becoming a good writer and speaker and an excellent communicator, and come up with an awesome idea for an open source project.
The list is too long to share here, but bits of my plan in regards to programming can be found on the codeproject interview I did earlier this year. I keep a list of things I want to learn, do and improve on, with me at all times. As I add items to the list I rate them in importance, urgency and personal worth. Afterwards I set some time estimates, ‘deadlines’, and a concrete plan for each and one of them based on the scores. I tend to focus on one to three things at a time. I record success, and failures, and evaluate and analyze how it went. For me it is a personal challenge, and I enjoy very much to learn new things and improve skills and as a person. If I stand still it feels like I’m dying a little. My 5-year plan is a dynamic life plan, and can be summed up as: do and learn as much crazy stuff as possible.
Q: What would you tell you 13-year-old self?
A: “Iris, I know things are pretty crazy right now and everything is happening 100 miles an hour. But while the world spins around you at an amazing speed and sucks you in telling you what to do and how to do it, what you can do and how you should do it, I want to ask something of you for me (future you). Please question everything. Challenge yourself and those around you, in a respectful manner of course, but question and find your own answers. At the end of the road this life will be yours and yours only to own and you can really do whatever you set your heart to. And never ever waste any time on small petty stuff that brings you down, it is amazing how quickly those little bruises disappear, but how good moments stay forever and make you grow.”
“And a final thing, I love you very much, even with all the trouble and all the tears, I just wished I had loved you earlier. So please dear Iris, love yourself for who you are. Do it now, you might not have the chance to do it later.”
Q: What would be the title of your memoir?
A: Life is a party – And you are invited
Post by Emma Bauer, who works as BGC’s official intern. Clearly, she’s got great taste. She is a PR enthusiast, history scholar, tea drinker, fashion devotee, and of course, aspires to Be Geek Chic.
Follow her on twitter: @emmalynnbauer
A few months ago I was sitting in a bar in downtown Minneapolis with Being Geek Chic intern Emma Bauer, brainstorming questions to ask potential Lady Geeks of the Week. The question that stood out for me that evening:
It’s widely acknowledged in education and psychology circles that 12 is the age that girls lives go to pot. Among the reasons:
1. Their self-esteem plummets
2. Hormones, periods, bodily fluids
3. Eating disorders begin to develop
4. Increased peer pressure
5. New academic challenges (ahem, junior high)
Some of this is applicable to both sexes, but for 12 year old girls, it’s different.
There’s undeniable, statistical proof that before puberty, girls and boys experience depression and other psychological issues at the same rates. Then puberty hits. Girls experience certain, distinct biological and hormonal changes that ultimately raise their risk or contribute to depression.
Twelve is hard.
And that’s why 13 is so important. By the time you’re 13, you’ve probably experienced a few awkward issues, whether it’s peer pressure or periods. RL Stine’s books start to collect dust and Poe becomes a literary form of acid. Everyone around you is transforming and you can’t even ignore it, because looking at all your friends just makes you realize that you too are getting tits and zits. Perhaps even more aggressively.
I never appreciated how important it was to go through that transition. The “It Gets Better” campaign was meant to help gay kids get through those awkward teenage years, but really, it’s like 3% of people who actually enjoy those years. Really, we all should have been told it would get better. That we’d find a bra that actually fits and someone to have sex with.
Those years of awkward change led me to writing. First, short stories and poetry and eventually journalism. By the time I got to college, I was making documentaries about aliens, but it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t turn inward and fight hard to maintain my sense of self when so many other influences were heckling my soul. Most baffling of all: I didn’t know I was discovering “me;” I just thought I was protecting myself. Turns out, they were the same thing.
Even though I know my junior high ass would have scoffed at the notion, I wish I could have told myself a few things…
Everyone is still calling you that. And Dolly. A few years from now, you’ll lose the E and abeth and go by Liz. It’s hipper. And tougher.
You’re doing an incredible job. Really. You’re smart and you aren’t afraid of that intelligence. Soon, others are going to treat you poorly for that very reason, but hold onto that stubborn sense of right. It will be the thing that propels you forward even as you approach 30.
Keep writing. Someday someone is going to pay you for it and unlike athletics, which are of incredible importance right now, it will actually BE the ticket to your future.
Believe in yourself. If you won’t fight for you, who will?
And don’t worry, you’ll get better jeans in your 20s.
Are you leveraging your geek status as an asset to potential employers?
Think of it this way: being a geek comes with certain general character traits, which can be positioned to your advantage when looking for a job. For example, being a geek goes hand in hand with being knowledgeable and people often rely on other geeks as a resource for information. Every office needs a go-to person and very often, the go-to problem solver is the geek sitting in the cubicle to your left.
So here are two big questions: does your resume reflect your geek cred? And are you promoting your geekiness in your cover letters and interviews?