Loving your geeky beau

I asked earlier today on Twitter, "You've got a geeky male love interest, how would you sweeten his day?" I was surprised by the responses, not the suggestions but more of the people who reached out to me privately saying, "Let me know what people say, I'm curious!" With stories of their geeky beau they want to make happy.

Without getting into the multitudes of types of geeky men, I can break this down in one answer: Show interest and curiosity in what he does. 

If you're beau is a programmer, you don't need to know how cache invalidation works, Big O notation or the finer points of functional programming, you just need to listen.  You're not going to understand everything, but I promise if you take a moment to ask him about his work he'll tell you.  If you have a programmer love interest, try asking them if they've "solved any cool problems this week," in regards to their job.  Chances are, you'll have them asking you if you seriously care (and do show interest) and then going on to tell you what they did. Perhaps they work at a webby startup and has been fighting some bug all week and after finally vanquishing it, discovered that they were able to speed up request times on the site they work for by a couple of milliseconds.  

It's not hard to talk to a programmer, even if you don't think you're not smart enough to hold a conversation with them.  I've only had good experiences talking with programmers, most of the ones I know are very opinionated and passionate about their specialties. Communication isn't a one way thing.  
I've known many a geeky male to be more than happy to sit back and let me talk about myself, my interests and my work.  That's not a conversation though, don't let them get away with being listeners.  You also don't have to pretend to understand what they are talking about to get them to converse and potentially respect you.  

Which brings me to my next point, there is no shame in telling some one "I don't know." Repeat that phrase, learn it and embrace it.  You'll gain far more appreciation and respect if you own up to things you don't know and seem willing to learn.  Learning doesn't mean being a master of something, it just means knowing more about a subject than you knew five minutes prior.

The above suggestions can go for whatever genre of geekery your interest is into, be it video games, physics, medicine, programming or math (and all the other genres of geekery).  It really doesn't matter, just show interest.  Nine times out of ten, you'll not only get an explanation of what your interest did at work, but they will also try their best to explain what it means to you in laymen terms so that you can better follow the conversation.

I'm sure you probably were thinking I'd have a list of things you could buy your geek instead of something as simple as "listen." So, I've put together a list of nice things that I know some geeks appreciate:

  • Composition Book - This is half line paper and half graph paper, if you have yourself a programmer or an electronics aficionado this composition book is great for mathematical proofs and circuit diagrams with notation.
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War –  Check to see if they don't own this already!  Not only is this book a great read, it's about zombies too!
  • IM Me Device – If it's a hardware hacker you've got on your hands, this little device is a really great way to have a hackable radio on the cheap. 
  • Cling-on whiteboard sheets – Whiteboards are the vitae of many a geek's life.  These are static cling on whiteboard sheets that one can plop up on their wall for some giant sized whiteboard awesomeness.
  • Dr. Who USB Hub – There is never enough USB ports for all of your devices, why not let him celebrate it with geekery.
  • Battlestar Galactica, the boardgame – YES It exists, surprise your geek with it and enjoy this "semi-cooperative" game with them.
  • Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers – Chances are, if they are a boardgame geek they already have the original Carcassonne.  Do they have this version yet?  Also, why aren't you playing Carcassonne with your boardgame geek yet?
  • Cowboy Bebop CD Box Set – I've yet to meet an anime geek who didn't absolutely love the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack and cheaper than the entire DVD set.
  • The Black Mages: Final Fantasy – If you have a gamer geek on your hands, they might appreciate this collection of final fantasy music. 

If you have any suggestions or additions leave me a comment or tweet me to: @tia_marie

The Birth of a Gamer


I wish to share a very personal story with all of you.  This is the story of how I became a gamer and I write it because I want you my friends to know how gaming came to be with me.

The year was 1987, I was a young child of five and we didn't have a great deal of money.  I don't know how my mother convinced my father to buy a Nintendo in the first place, but she did.

Her favourite game was "The Legend of Zelda." The first installment in Miyamoto's dynasty of the Zelda universe.  My mother was in love with the game.  Despite being so young, I can clearly recall the time my mom spent at the NES.  She had her pencil and graph paper out, carefully marking every hidden item in the game.  Each and every bush, rock, wall or secret place in the game that you could burn, bomb, push or play a recorder at, that woman had it marked (on the 1st and 2nd quest). Then she helped me through it. It was another one of our reading bonding exercises.  She'd help me read the clues and the speech boxes and give me gentle nudges in the directions of the clues. I fell in love with gaming.  It was even better since my mother had such a direct impact in my life as a gamer.


My last memory of my mother was the night before she died. I was sixteen years old, it was a Sunday night over the summer.  We were playing the original Diablo over battlenet.  I had introduced her to "hacked" characters and showing her that you could PlayerKill with these. She was laughing herself in tears telling me how horrible I was as she controlled the mouse to kill unsuspecting players as I trolled them over chat.  I'd never seen my mother laugh so hard. Nor had I remembered having so much fun playing a video game before in my life.


I'm all grown up now and I'll never forget where I got my start as a gamer.  My mother's influence in my gaming origins will never be forgotten.  Legend of Zelda had such an impact on my life and my memories of my mother that I had forever etched the tribute of the game that first tied me to gaming on my right forearm.

In closing, I had the most awesome mom ever. <3

My friend will be Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for Charity

Clipped from: itstheclimb.co.uk by clp.ly

My friend Mitu and her sister, have started a charitable organization they call Arohon. They hope to raise £5000 in sponsorship for their Mt. Kilimanjaro climb to improve the resources of Nikrail Gonokendra Pathagar in Bangladesh.  

I've been friends with Mitu for well over a year now and she has never ceased to amaze me.  She's an incredibly kind, caring and strong woman who always goes through with what she puts her mind to.  

That's why I'm asking you to consider giving them some of your support in the form of a donation for their climb. If you can't support financially then please tell your friends, share this clip (http://clp.ly/ATo_+) through your blog, email, facebook, twitter or posterous account to help spread the word about Mitu's cause!  If my words are convincing enough, then perhaps it might be more enticing to know Mitu is a PhD candidate for video game research (how cool is that?)

Check out their mission below, they speak better than I about their goals and what they are doing!

Our aim is to empower poor people by providing them with the basic resources needed to climb out of poverty. We believe that by implementing improved sanitation, housing, healthcare and education, the world’s most vulnerable people can finally lift themselves out of poverty. Indeed, our name, ‘Arohon’, is the Bengali word for ‘climb’.

Primarily we shall be working to combat poverty in Bangladesh, where, after visiting the area where our dad grew up, we found many people struggling to access basic necessities, including safe drinking water. Bangladesh is fighting to become a middle income country, but with such a fast growing population and limited resources, millions of Bangladeshis remain trapped in poverty. With the help of Arohon, we want to open up opportunities for these people to build better lives for themselves.

Of course, as a new charitable organisation, we aim to tackle these issues one step at a time, with our first target areas being education and women’s empowerment.  Though Bangladesh has achieved gender parity in primary school enrolment, far fewer girls complete their education in comparison to their male counterparts. Of the 67 million adults that are illiterate in Bangladesh, 42 million are women (Source: DFID) – our aim is to break down the barriers to girls’ education. Our vision is to shift gender perceptions in Bangladesh so women are openly offered the same education and career opportunities as men. Arohon will be opening a women’s education centre teaching basic numeracy and literacy skills; we believe this is one of the first steps to help local women realise their full potential.

As a result of poverty around three million children (half of which are girls), miss out on state primary education (Source: UNGEI).  Arohon will also be supporting the extension of a currently struggling public library, so that local citizens have free educational resources available to them.

From itstheclimb.co.uk via clp.ly


Gaming for Charity take two!

  It’s very early to announce this, but I wanted to get this up.  As you remember from last year, I participated in Sarcastic Gamer‘s Extra Life charity. It’s a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for children’s cancer research.  I want to thank last year’s sponsors heavily and everyone who supported me last year during the 24-hour run through!

 I had an absolute blast last year and while I was working at Justin.tv I helped promote the gamers who took part in the charity marathon and participated with them.  Together we raised nearly $20,000 for Extra Life.

I wanted to take a moment to highlight two of my favourite moments from last year.  I broadcasted the entire event and these two video clips come from hour 23, when I was totally starting to lose steam and getting very sleepy and everything devolved into “That’s what she said” jokes and sex humour.

This year I’ll be doing it again and you can help me!  I’ll be joining up with team WNOHGB with my good friend @otaking to try to raise money for the Children’s Hospital & Research Center of Oakland, CA.  I have a personal goal of $1,000 this year, but I know that with your help, we can do this together!  I’m also dedicating my participation in this year’s event to my friend Drew Olanoff who has been kicking Cancer’s Ass and has gotten thousands to #blamecancer in the hopes to raise awareness and funding to cancer research. I’ve always adored Drew and he’s been an inspiration to me both as a Community Manager and a person. 

Now, the question remains. How can you help? Below is a clip of my donation page, you can choose to sponsor me as I play for 24 hours straight on October 16th 2010, spread the word to your friends or sign up with me!  Join me and team WNOHGB and help raise money for cancer research!  Together we can help kick cancer’s ass! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or contact me on twitter: @tia_marie, I’ll be happy to answer your questions!

Clipped from: https://www.hospitalshelpingkids.org/ExtraLife/m.aspxi176117A819CE77DDA by clp.ly


30 Things to do Before I’m 30

I've talked about this today on Twitter about having a list of things to do before I'm 30. I've thankfully gotten to do some of them already!  I figured I'd share my list with you, they are in no particular order.

  1. Dye my hair some non conservative colour
  2. Get a nerdy tattoo for my left forearm
  3. Learn to play the cello
  4. Wear a slinky dress out in public, with pride
  5. Wear a cosplay outfit out in public, with pride
  6. Meet my nephews
  7. Do some voice acting
  8. Go to Burning Man (Update: Not going to happen)
  9. See Don Giovanni
  10. Have a giant birthday party and invite all my friends
  11. Meet Eddie Vedder
  12. Make a difference in someone's life (I've been informed I've done this)
  13. Be "female" for a day (Hair, nails, makeup, girly outfit) and spend the night out in the town.
  14. Volunteer for a children's hospice program
  15. Swim with dolphins
  16. Do something awesome and dedicate it to my mom.
  17. Write a short story entirely in Esperanto
  18. Try my hand at a webcomic
  19. Join the bone marrow donor registry
  20. Surprise a friend with something awesome
  21. Forgive someone I thought I'd never forgive
  22. Meet Wil Wheaton
  23. See a singing Tesla Coil
  24. Play video games for 24 hours straight
  25. Sing (badly) in public
  26. Do standup.
  27. Change careers
  28. Save a life
  29. Get a nerdy tattoo
  30. Be interviewed, just because I'm me. 

That sums it up, 30 things I want to do before I'm 30.  I've got just under two years and 21 things left on the list. Anyone know Eddie Vedder's contact? Also if there is something on the list that you think I've done or want to drag me to do, give me a shout out about it on twitter: @tia_marie.

What is all this Privacy Stuff Anyway?

Electronic Frontier FoundationImage via Wikipedia

Privacy is a word that has been on the mouths of people like: Bruce Schneier (cryptographer and security specialist), Phil Zimmermann (creator of Pretty Good Privacy) and non-profit groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for decades. However, thanks to Facebook, privacy has been a topic of much debate in the world of Social Media as well.  Most notably, Robert Scoble has been speaking up a great deal about his views on privacy

I like Scoble, I think he's a smart man who is passionate about the web and Social Media, but I don't want anyone who's voice is heard more than mine helping to share and dictate the direction of online privacy.  Many battles have been fought in the name of privacy way before Facebook's recent debacle with recent privacy changes.

So what is this privacy stuff anyway and why is it important? Privacy is about control.  It is about how in control you are over your information.  Who gets to see your medical records? Where can people use the information I've given them about me? Who can read my emails? Privacy is the expectation that information you disclose will not be disclosed to third parties without your knowledge or consent.  

Every day we share things online, the things we buy, where we are, what browser we use, what sites we visit, who we talk to and many many many more things.  Privacy goes beyond people other than our friends to see what we like on Facebook. 

Remember when Google released buzz?  All of a sudden the people you email the most privately where made public if you followed them. In other words, before you change any settings in Google Buzz, someone
could go into your profile and see the people you email and chat with

Commonly people who speak out against privacy advocacy say, "If you aren't doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to hide."  First off, privacy isn't wrong.  It isn't about hiding things you are doing wrong from the public.  Privacy and having secrets is a right and as Bruce Schneier best says:

Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

via: www.schneier.com 

I don't believe there is anything wrong with people wanting to share every iota of their personal lives, feelings, friendships, purchase history, where they hang out or other information. However, I believe it is dangerously incorrect that this is the direction that every individual on the internet wishes their privacy should be going.  Don't let anyone take away your ability to choose where and how you use your information.  Make informed decisions about how you share your information with social networking sites.  Take a moment to actually read their privacy policies, then you can make informed consensual sharing relationships with the websites you use.

Being open and public is great, but nobody should take away your ability to control how and with who your share your privacy with.

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