People aren't perfect…

A twitter exchange this morning reminded me of the conflation of things that we often deal with. You see… often when it comes out that there are people doing particularly negative things, they aren't talked about as being bad people, rather they are talked about being bad ______ people (in the blank is a different characteristic of said people), as if they wouldn't be bad folks if they weren't this other characteristic as well. And you know what? We shouldn't be making excuses for bad behaviour, even if they happen to have whatever other characteristics.

Recent examples include:
– baseball fans making gay-bashing comments on twitter (but at least they're baseball fans!)
– atheists (or skeptics) making misogynist comments (or doing misogynist things) (but at least they're atheists or skeptics)
– rich successful business folks doing racist things (but at least they're rich and successful!)
– geek culture fans making women feel uncomfortable (or worse) (but at least they're geek culture fans!)
– website supporters who drive traffic and growth by potentially morally reprehensible actions (but at least they've helped the site!)
– political party supporters who happen to be (non-) religious making statements slamming someone's personal choices (but at least… *sighs*)

These excuses don't actually hold water people. Really. I believe they fall in the realm of folks who apologize saying 'no offense' before saying something potentially incredibly inflammatory. Honestly, the offense is often still felt regardless of prefacing an insult with an apology, just the same as gay-bashing, misogyny, racism etc. should be seen as negative no matter whether the perpetrator has his/her heart in the right place or not. We shouldn't be making excuses for one thing based on some other characteristic of a person.

That said, I do believe that even people who have the above character flaws may be good people. Indeed they may even be great folks on a whole! But we should see them as a whole rather than just taking into account one awesome thing that hypothetically nullifies that which they've done wrong. Sure, we all do make mistakes… but really they are mistakes! Treat them as such! Don't just absolve someone of guilt or whatever because they're awesome in another area.

Because really these character flaws are character flaws regardless of what other awesomeness one might happen to have. Good things are not excuses for bad behaviours.

I hope this was clear (it seemed more clear in my head than in my typed sentences)…

Jewel Staite and other Geeky Musings

So given the time that has elapsed since my last posting, there is a lot that I could write about… but given that I attended my first Geek Con of sorts this past weekend (you know not an academic, Kiwanis, or Professional convention, but a primarily fun one!), the Edmonton Expo, I figured I'd type a bit about the fun and educative nature of Saturday.

I only attended the Saturday, as I was quite busy working on Sunday. But I prepared in advance: looking up the updated panel schedule that morning, budgeting money to spend on souvenirs etc. ([un?]fortunately I didn't find too too much to purchase this time, there being a lack of particularly Ali-esque take away items… but I believe with next year's doubling of exhibition space, there very well may be more to purchase/take away. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if my next geek con of sorts isn't in Edmonton, but even if it is these are things that I would love to see more of in the vendor area:
-handmade items (there were some but not enough!)
-non-t-shirt apparel items (again there was some but not precisely what I was looking for… but more socks [only ones I saw were Saskatchewan Roughriders socks for toddlers], fun apparel items, accessories like jewelry and so on would be great!)
-board games (I only saw like 5 non-Monopoly or Yatzee games with themes added)
-items that have use value as well as being nifty
-more trade paperbacks and hardcovers
-More Doctor Who stuff (most booths carried the same stuff for Doctor Who rather than a full range of items)
-More Firefly merch (well there was a bunch but more is welcome!)
-etc.

What I did come away with from the Con was a couple packages of Jean Luc Chocolates (Earl Grey Hot!) and a wonderful photo of myself with the awesomely well-spoken, kind and genuine Jewel Staite (I splurged for the digital copy too which is visible in my FB and I think I tweeted it too). I attended two panels (both featuring Jewel Staite) and I totally enjoyed them — I think panels will be one of my favorite aspects of geek cons (as expected). Probably the only downside of panels is waiting for them (made more fun when with awesome friends!), and possibly occasional bad acoustics (Clarissa Carpenter's voice was rather too soft for example due to not enough microphones and people talking behind us in the audience).

Other highlights include everyone's costumes! I saw several Doctor Whos, an adorable stroller done up like a TARDIS, many video game characters, many folks I didn't recognize, an insane Hello Kitty Samurai dude, many Dead Pools, a great Thor, lots of Batman characters, an amazing Kaylee from Firefly, a fantastic Spider-man, many Jedi and much much much more! While I didn't dress up as a character (though I debated dressing as Death from Sandman, I did see at least one at the Con, so that was cool), I did wear my TARDIS skirt, a Doctor Who t-shirt and D20 knee socks, so I felt adequately geeky — in fact I was constantly getting compliments from women regarding my skirt and telling them how to get one themselves (it's from a FABULOUS Etsy designer, Go Chase Rabbits).

Probably the biggest downside of the Con was the fact that I received a number of misogynist comments regarding my TARDIS skirt (and me in general). Now, don't get me wrong, the majority of the geeks in attendance were wonderful — and the gender ratio seemed relatively even, there being many women, men, children, babies and more in and out of costume, and the most scantily clad person I saw was a man… but the comments I actually overheard were very much not welcome, and the fact that some of my friends heard others made me sad, and well… this is why I'm unlikely to want to go to another geek con without accompaniment if it is much larger — particularly not in a costume… but I do have a number of friends who would be willing to join me in future times, so this isn't an unreasonable plan for the future to avoid dealing with stupid people alone.

All in all it was a very positive experience, and I'm rather pleased that the event was a rousing success! I know that next year will be even better — I totally look forward to it!

Games, productivity and other things…

So other than my short review of Influenster (which looks potentially awesome but it's going to take a while for it to prove itself) I haven't really blogged here in a long while. I've been retweeting a lot more though (thanks to my new iPad) and even contemplating caving to Sarah's demands and getting Tumblr if ONLY to share awesome things I see on Flipboard…

Because you see when I received my new iPad in the mail it got me a bit distracted. Which is, in effect fine, though it has meant I've done a bunch of odd things like spending a bunch o' iTunes gift cards on apps and music (yes I motored through the remaining gift cards at my disposal… I'll have to win/acquire more), visiting the Apple Store repetitively, getting Ghost Armor (which is really awesome and useful fyi!), enjoying my new Hand Stylus (which has my name on it, so No Stealing!), and squeeing when my BookBook case arrived in the mail (which I promptly treated with leather lube [this makes it feel much nicer in my hands since the outside of the leather was rather dry at first]). I do love the aesthetics and feel of the iPad in my hands in its new case. And sure the case was expensive and whatnot, but totally worth it given the use I've had out of the iPad as of yet.

I don't know how much I'll use it for non-gaming or social media applications (though Dropbox means I can have some of my files with me etc.), but I look forward to exploring those options! I've mostly been playing board games (Elder Signs: Omens, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carcassonne, Small World, and Ticket to Ride have been installed) and using Flipboard as well as Facebook and Twitter, but there are some cool music games, some of which using my songs from my collection!

And my die rolling productivity continues…

Influenster Review

So I've been a member of this community online at http://www.influenster.com/ for several years but it has never really been that active until recently. And lo and behold they updated their site with all sorts of new features. The design is much more user friendly than it used to be, which I'm pretty pleased with. That said it is a bit of a pain to have to re-fill out my profile and all that jazz, which I'm working at rather slowly. In addition it had my location listed incorrectly up until a few days ago so I had a bunch to correct! That said I'm tentatively excited about this online community

*disclaimer the online community asked us to write blog reviews of itself which is precisely what I'm typing out here. I am not typing a very long review as I have yet to explore all the features and it is getting late tonight, but still!

*it's an invite only community so if you want an invite, just ask and I can send you one! 🙂 I don't like sending them out indiscriminately.

Read In Week! :)

So this morning was my annual fun of participating in Read In Week! And this time I went to Brander Garden Elementary School and met with a French Immersion grade three class and an English grade one class. In total I read three books (all of which I brought — I gave the kids a choice between 4 books and so it was nice to read three of them!).

And it was amusing overall. One kid didn't want to have a job when he grew up. One girl wanted to go to high school when she grew up! Several kids were FASCINATED by my socks (some even figured out that they were a video game)! Lots of kids loved the concept of reading pictures! And a teacher wrote down one of the titles of one of the books with the desire to buy it for her classroom and family! We also heard the morning announcements and stood to sing O Canada (in English and French mixed) along with the kids.

I could gush all day, but I do love reading to kids. I really do! 🙂 Read In Week was most excellent! So I thank Curtis (who I only met today) who provided me a ride, Hermina for directing me to the appropriate classrooms, and all the teachers and kids who made this part of my morning awesome! 🙂

October: a new month and a new Kiwanis year! etc.

So it's October 1st. Which I guess means I'm a Kiwanis club director now (none of my other Kiwanis roles change). Woo! It also means of course that my Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with references to this new Kiwanis year and beyond that that given that it's Monday there's a ton of new Internet content to consume.

But really that's not the big deal. It's also October 1st which means that the new RedditGifts exchanges have been assigned (woohoo!), that it's less than a month until Halloween (no I do not have a plan for a costume or anything at this point, though I'm sure I could come up with something if need be), and there's only three months left in the year.

It also means that I've slightly altered my already pretty successful (at getting me to do thesis work and other productive tasks!) gamification formula to do even more thesis work (I think this will be changed each month until the thesis is done, really!).

And yesterday I did take a slight break from productivity following a successful board game afternoon on Saturday (it was very delicious — thanks folks for bringing yumminess!). The seasons are changing, but it's still reasonable outside and I'm pretty pleased with things. Life is good this October 1st.

Yes, life is!