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2013 Philly Geek Awards: Recap! mst3k, alligators, chess superstars! [Aug. 21st, 2013|07:15 am]
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tl;dr summary

I presented at the 2013 Philly Geek Awards. I did a good job and you should watch the video. Trillian was performing in a sold-out show elsewhere, so I went with a famous chess player. I got to hang out with Joel Hodgson from Mystery Science Theater 3000 who was also one of the presenters.

Here's the video of my speech, you should watch it.




Long story not really that long, with lots of photos.

I had so much fun at last years Philly Geek Awards presenting the Best Comic Book Artist & Best Comic Book Writer awards that I got invited back this year to present Best Visual Artist. (You can read about last year's Philly Geek Awards here on mah blog.)

trillian_stars couldn't make it as she was starring as freaking Nora in A Doll's House (which, I might add, sold out every single performance in advance, even with extra seating installed), so I went with Two-time U.S. Women's chess champion & author of Chess Bitch, Jennifer Shahade (her most recent book is Play Like a Girl!) Jennifer is one of Those People who's always making things great wherever she goes so it was a marvelous opportunity to hang out and spend some time with her.




Being on the cover of Chess Life is about as awesome as a person can get in my book. Srsly.
You may clickenzee to embiggen!



The Philadelphia Geek Awards are currently in their third year, they highlight & showcase the best tech & creative people & projects in Philadelphia, from mobile applications to viral projects to feature length films. The awards are held at the Academy of Natural Sciences which opens just for the awards. You get to spend some time wandering around the museum where staff members walk around with all sorts of interesting animals. Like this.




Walking around with a giant bug.
Clickenzee to Embiggen it even further!



(That's Chris Urie in the background, contemplating our new insect overlords.)

There's currently an exhibit called "glow" which features animals that luminesce, like fireflies, and like these scorpions which glow under UV light.

I was once on an airplane to Arizona and sitting in front of two people who were talking about the scorpion infestations in their houses. Specifically they were talking about walking around their houses at night with UV lights watching all the scorpions light up. Which is one reason that I was very curious to see these guys light up.




Scorpions glowing under UV light.
Clickenzee to Embiggen them!



The Academy also has a butterfly room where you walk around and dozens of butterflies flit about and land on you and things. It's hot and muggy and wonderful in the butterfly room, and there's a cocoon room where dozens of butterflies-in-waiting are hanging from racks and we got to watch one emerging and spreading its wings for the first time. There was also an alligator who I'd also seen last year at the awards and he was a lot smaller then.




Jenn petting an alligator.
Clickenzee to Embiggen them!



It's a black tie affair, which is fun for me since I don't get to wear my tuxedo all that often. Lots of people in formal wear and some people in some very creative variants, like this battery powered light up space dress.




Jenn and someone with a lightup space dress.
Clickenzee to Embiggen them!



And a giant walking stick. The staffer who was holding it said the males get more easily annoyed and will attack with thorn-like spurs on their back legs. This female walking stick was a bit more chill.




You could pet a giant walking stick!
Clickenzee to Embiggen them!



Another photo of that giant walking stick right here.


The Photobot 3000 was there -- it's sort of a robot that takes your photo, but it's actually just a photo booth with no walls. You sit in front of it and press a button and wingo! It takes a photo of you that then gets projected on a big screen. Fun for parties.




The Photobot 3000 is a robot that takes your photo.
Clickenzee to Embiggen!



dh00dz -- we are geektastic. Note: I tied that bow-tie myself. Which is why it looks like a dying bat. Don't ever wear a clip on tie.

I specifically told Geekadelphia that I wanted to be seated in front of Joel Hodgson so that I could partially block his view of the screen and talk the entire time.




What? What!
Clickenzee to Embiggen!



I went up, I did my thing, presented people laughed. I gave the award for Best Visual Artist to Austin Seraphin and Sonia Petruse of Braille Street Art (they later gave me a piece of Braille Street Art that said "rescue cats"). I went back to my seat Joel shook my hand and said I was funny and I beamed privately for a bit and thought "wow, I'm sitting in this row of chairs between two people I really admire and I just did something that made people clap and I feel really good." I felt like I was part of the awesome, like the Mathmos churning under Barbarella's city -- part of the thing boiling Philadelphia in good. And I wondered if I felt that way because I was sitting with famous people. I slowly came to the realization that the up-side of being in a room with famous people is that you can ask them questions about specific events that you've been curious about, but the up-side of life is the ability to recognize that in everyone and the desire to create those not-yet-famous moments with whoever you happen to be around.... Anyway, that said I also met the already famous Leah Kauffman the ... what is she? Marketing genius? Songwriter? I dunno. But she invented the Obama Girl and the Box in a Box video. We now have Top Sekrit Plans to do something vague and awesome. Which may or may not involve viruses. Over the years I've heard so many marketing pitches that begin with "we're going to make a viral video" or "we're going to design a viral ad campaign" -- Leah is the only person I've met who actually goes to stage two of that plan "make viral video". (Okay, a lot of people start out with a crappy video and phase two of their plan is "wait for video to go viral" -- which is a bit sadder because they've already wasted their time making a crappy video.)




Dh00dz, it's Tom Servo's dad!!



After the awards ceremony everyone was invited to a private party in a Northern Liberties bowling alley. There's some step on the road to success which is labeled "throwing your own private party" especially with a bunch of people in ball gowns and tuxedos.




Eric Smith and his private party!
Clickenzee to Embiggen!



At the party I got to spend some quality time with Joel, talking about Things We Were Working on, but also a bit about MST3K -- one thing I was particularly interested in was "How many robots were there?" and "Did they go into a panic after they got signed that they'd run out of Tom Servo heads?" -- (Answer: One of the first things Joel bought with the signing check was a fabrication machine that allowed him to mold and replicate robot parts so that things breaking would be less of a problem.)

I also got to hang out with Darlene Cavalier, who runs Science Cheerleader, a group of 250+ current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders (real ones, with pom pom's) pursuing science and technology careers. As much as I thought my presentation was pretty good, Darlene's was better. She set the pie higher. Hopefully there will be video of it up soon -- she was like ... a real presenter. Then she kicked my ass at Ms. Pacman.

I went home finally around 2:00 am and caught up with Trillian about her two sold out performances. And plans for the next plays. The sofa seemed about the happiest place on earth at that moment and it was good to get back to things.

The next day I saw that Philadelphia Magazine said I was hilarious and sprawling and the 5th best moment of the event. 5th best I thought, really? But you know, I'll take it. I was in tough company.




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Comments:
[User Picture]From: girlguitarist
2013-08-21 02:58 pm (UTC)

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What a fun night! Your presenter speech was super funny; you earned that laughter :)
[User Picture]From: vnend
2013-08-21 03:00 pm (UTC)

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Sounds like you had a great time, and congratulations to Trillian on the play.

Where the scorpions really the blue that it appears in the image posted? I ask because when I have seen scorpions fluorescing they were green, but all the ones I have seen were in AZ.

It may be a difference in the species or the wavelength of UV used. Most of the images that show up in a Google Images search glow a similar blue, but wrbu.si.edu flatly states that they glow green.

And, as always, thanks for posting the pictures!
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-08-21 03:51 pm (UTC)

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hmmmm now i don't know if they were green or blue.it could certainly be the sensor freaking out and not knowing what color to make things. i don't actually remember what color they were when they lit up.
[User Picture]From: yagathai
2013-08-22 02:02 pm (UTC)

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I've seen some glow purple and some glow blue and some glow green.
[User Picture]From: ms_violet
2013-08-21 04:02 pm (UTC)

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OH.
Hawk Krall.

I thought you said his name was Haute Crull, like some extremely fashionable variation on a cruller.
[User Picture]From: howlokitty
2013-08-21 05:49 pm (UTC)

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I'm going to start working on adding more awesome people to my life locally and to make more things with awesome people. I might be going to Tampa Comic Con this weekend and hanging out with friends from Florida who are indie comic people, so maybe I can start this up soon!

Their site is here if people are interested in that sort of thing:

http://www.comicconartists.net/
[User Picture]From: e4q
2013-08-27 08:52 am (UTC)

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That sounds like the best day ever.

As you know I've been ill and housebound for whatever, a decade, and so it's been a long time since I stood up in front of people. Recently I agreed to do a 15 minute spot at a spoken word event. I'm really looking forward to it, you can't beat that feeling.