A few weeks back, I hosted a panel titled Black, Latina, Girl and Geek: A Tale of Acceptance that was, literally, one of the highlights of my entire freaking life.

It took me awhile to get around to this because I’m so freaking busy and I lack writing discipline.  I’m working on that.  Here are some of the highlights and our review of GeekGirlCon 2013 and tidbits on our panel!

– GeekGirlCon keeps getting bigger and better.  I remember when this Con first started and I am utterly amazed and impressed with how far they’ve come.   You can tell the men and women who are behind this organization are 100% dedicated to their brand, but even more, to the people who come to see GeekGirlCon as a really progressive space.

– The place was PACKED!  GeekGirlCon went down at the Washington State Convention Center, the same place that hosts Emerald City Comicon.  Here’s what my early predictions are.  If done right, the right marketers will pay real close attention to this Con and start building a partnership.  Personally, if the Wonder Woman movie EVER comes out (and I’m about two seconds away from not holding my breath), Geek Girl Con would be the PERFECT place to pour a ton of money into marketing.  I have high hopes for them.  Oh, and get your tickets now.  It sold out online by Friday, October 18th and by Saturday afternoon, my people who didn’t buy tickets were almost hosed.

Sidenote:  Massive shout out to the GeekGirlCon staff for giving my family some passes for free so they could see our panel (and leave of course lol).  Thanks a million!

– There was some bloody awesome cosplay this year.  As more and more people go and the word spreads, the cosplayers are showing up and showing out in a good way.  I saw a freakin’ badass Dalek moving around the place.  Full disclosure, even my mini-Geekstress showed up as Captain America… And not the girl version.  This went over really well with people.  Her Brother-Goons showed up as Spider-Man and Iron Man and totally hammed it up as members of The Avengers.  Yeah, I’m a proud “Motherian Unit”.

– GeekGirlCon is for boys (too)!  I saw a lot of guys.  Lucky for them, I’m married.  No, I’m kidding.  Seriously, there were tons of guys there either as media, contributors, vendors, cosplayers, or just taking in the geekery.  GGC may have an emphasis on women in geekdom, but they never said men weren’t welcome.  In fact, they are very welcome and they totally showed up and showed love.

– There are tons of things to buy there.  Unfortunately, we suck so we forgot the freakin memory card for the DSLR AGAIN (for the second freaking year in a row, I might add… Damn it!), but luckily some Friends in Geekdom have some really cool pics of what was there.  Wonder and Risk has some awesome photos:

– If you’re into it, I think GeekGirlCon has you covered, or will have you covered.  Tabletop gaming, conversations about different groups, media, making your way throughout the business… It’s one of the more well-rounded Cons and I felt like this year, they really stepped it up with the panels.  I had so many panels I wanted to see… I would’ve missed my own panel.

Black, Latina, Girl, and Geek Panel:

So, one of the best things about this year for me was doing the panel at GGC.  I want to thank them again for giving us the opportunity: Thank you!

If you’re a geek and you’re dying to hear meaningful conversations about inclusion and bettering geekdom in general through the fresh ideas that diversity brings, then you would have been right at home at GGC.  This is why we were so grateful that they gave us the opportunity.  I hosted the panel along with two friends of mine, Emily Berrios and Aquala Lloyd, who are some of the most serious, dedicated (girl) geeks I’ve ever known.  We were so amazed when people streamed into our little panel with their daughters, in their cosplay, wearing afropuffs, or facepaint… We were just so stoked.  I had–for the first time in a long time–stage fright.  You’re talking about an accomplished Mistress of Ceremonies here… Yeah, I was totally freaked out.  They came to see US talk.  I couldn’t believe it.  Hell, I would’ve been happy with five people.  After our panel, which even got a little emotional (it was awesome guys!), we had so many women come up to us thanking us for having a panel like this.

The recurring theme of the comments was gratitude for having the panel and for giving geek girls of color a voice.  Unfortunately, most often times we are neither seen or heard, and that’s frustrating when you are as entrenched as some of us are into this culture.  Overall, geek girls of color are tired of being overlooked.  They want to be counted as well.  What I hope those women realize is just how much they’ve touched us, me in particular.

We talked about our experiences and about how media can severely “color” someone’s views about people of color and the lack of media representation in geekdom is distressing, if not a bit stifling.  Everybody knows that the more diverse the experiences, the better the storytelling will be.  Variety, after all, is the spice of life.  Unfortunately, comics, video games, books, etc. are still focused on and tailored to a small demographic.  That’s not always good for geeks, especially geeks of color.

I grew up on comics.  I learned to read at five using Archie Comics.  I was obsessed with comics in general.  In the panel I mentioned that I was firmly #TeamBetty, fuck Veronica.  I didn’t say the F word by the way.  Still, I watched anime and Batman (The Original Series) almost daily.  When I got to the States, the lack of inclusion, and the overall freaking ball-busting for being geeky, nerdy, eclectic, Panamanian, and female was enough to put a broad in hiding.  I traded comics for books, cars, and boys… Whereas my old man just kept on reading his comics, and collected them over the years.  The guy still has a shit ton of comics.

We also talked about how liking certain things didn’t automatically make you a geek in Panama and Puerto Rico, considering that we had to import a lot of our media at the time.  Aquala also touched on gaming, being a “gamer chick”, and people underestimating her skills until she handed out cans of whoop ass on Xbox or PlayStation.

In years past, GGC had gotten some flack for lacking diversity and lack of organization, but it’s definitely taken steps in the right direction, and it’s definitely on my geeky “to do list” for the year.

My only critique, and it’s not so much something that can be laid on the feet of GGC’s organizers and the like, is that more word needs to spread about this convention to PoC communities.  Geeks of all races, genders, and sexual orientations were there showing geeky love and support, but more awareness needs to be raised.  We can say what we want about lower income communities, but there is incredible potential in those communities if they could just find a place to call “home” away from home, where they can exercise their interests; interests that might not be affordable, possible, and/or “cool”.  That’s my only critique, and again, it’s not necessarily their fault, but I think we need a collective effort to reach out to those communities.  I have every belief that GeekGirlCon could be a life-changing event for a kid out there.  I know it would’ve been for me.

Until next year!

Was it just us, or was Halloween 2013 the most exhaustive All Hallow’s Eve ever?  Between the hot, walking garbage dressed as a mortally wounded Trayvon Martin to asshole neighbors opting to fat shame kids into anorexia or bulimia, it sucked this year.  We’re so glad it’s over!  Still, we wanted to say farewell to the dicks who messed up Halloween for the rest of us.  Here are the top ten biggest jerks of Halloween 2013.  God have mercy on their wretched souls…

10. Lindsay Lohan

Why Lindsay Lohan keeps getting work is beyond me… I’m not sure why anyone continues to give her a chance, but they do and they keep failing for it.  The “actress” was scheduled to host a party at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut on Halloween, but showed up 90 minutes late.  Now, the casino wants a cut of that money back.  Like Rihanna would say, #poordat.  Lohan’s career is seriously nothing more than Saran… It’s been a wrap for years.

9. People with Decorations Designed to Traumatize

It’s one thing to do a really good job decorating for Halloween, using those awesome dolls and lights… It’s good times.  However, when your costume is sure to send a child or an adult into catatonic depression, then you’ve pretty much sucked the fun out of Halloween like a big ass, fun-killing vampire.  How can anyone go trick or treating if they are at the local mental hospital, or holed up in their happy place, trying to get over the horror of seeing two mangled corpses?  Don’t be mad when they hit you up for therapy money.   I do give the Mullins (the auteurs of the horror that made the news above) credit for expert level trolling.

8. The Neighbor Handing Out Fat Shaming Notes to Chubby Kids

This woman really tried it… Instead of minding her own business and not being a sanctimonious twonk, one woman named “Cheryl” from Fargo, North Dakota opted to hand out a fat shaming letter (above) to any trick-or-treaters she saw fit to designate as a Chubby Wubbums.  Yes!  Because, you know, you can TOTALLY tell who’s unhealthy by looking at them… Amirite?  I’m sure her unique medical gifts will lead to all the awards next year.  Someone give this lady a Nobel Peace Prize for the attempted murder of kids’ self-esteem.

7. The Ranting Racist Music Teacher

When will people learn to either get right or don’t post on social media?  Jackhole David Spondike, a music teacher from Akron, Ohio, found himself in serious hot water after his racist rant (above) became public (screenshots FTW!).  Look, those kids are true assholes for doing what they did, but racial slurs?  Tell them to piss off and keep it moving, or call the cops.  Racist rants on Facebook probably won’t accomplish a lot.  In other news, he used to work for Jerry Springer back when it was good in the day.  Go figure…

6. Ireland Baldwin

A few days before Halloween, Ireland Baldwin–known best for being the daughter of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basingertweeted a photo of herself in a crappy “Indian” costume.  You know, those costumes only douches wear when they are hellbent on appropriating other people’s cultures poorly?  Of course, all hell broke loose on Twitter, but she was not having it.  To defend herself, she told people that she was Cherokee, implying that she should be given a pass.  Well, honey, that clearly wasn’t that important to you, considering you’re a female wearing a toy war bonnet.  Have a Ferris wheel full of seats, Ireland.

5. Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj clearly decided Halloween was too much work, dug into her sexy times drawer, and put on whatever she found and called it a costume.  Hell, even Rihanna tried and you know she hates clothes.

4. Rihanna

Rihanna is incredibly pretty (on the outside), but she tries so hard.  Indicating that she might be stalking her troubled ex-boyfriend’s current girlfriend, Karrueche Tran, Rihanna dressed up as a “chola” for Halloween… Several days after Tran did.  She looks pretty, but then again, hanging out with cholas and cholos, they always had a certain “je ne sais quois” about them.   Still, Rih-Rih has way too much going on to be “swaggerjacking” another girl’s Halloween costume.  It’s not a coincidence.

3. @DopeBieber and @KinkyStyles

me & @kinkystyles are niggers this Halloween

— عقثلتهى (@DopeBieber) October 29, 2013

There really are no words… Despite the fact that I am pretty sure these two troll level 10, mega-morons aren’t the lames in the actual photo, they still represent the worst of what Halloween has come to mean for a bunch of people.

2. The Douche From Larchmont-Edgewater

Going from sort of bitchy and whiny, to racist and angry, the letter from one Larchmont-Edgewater resident on Craigslist’s Rants and Raves section is pathetically dramatic and over-the-top.  The letter warned kids of a certain race to stay away from trick-or-treating in their neighborhood.  Was this person ever familiar with the Constitution?  I’m pretty sure you can’t go about calling the cops on minority kids who come to your neighborhood, ignoramus.

1. Caitlin Cimeno, Greg Cimeno, and William Filene

What can be said about Caitlin Cimeno, William Filene, and Greg Cimeno that hasn’t already been said about animal feces?  Very little, if anything at all.  Last weekend, Caitlin posted the photos on her Instagram page and Facebook page or herself standing between her brother and friend dressed as murdering George Zimmerman and a dead Trayvon Martin (RIP) in blackface.  These folks were the very picture of class, right?  As the internet went in on their asses, more info was discovered about Cimeno–unsurprisingly, she really is a racist piece of crap–from her Facebook page.  In the end, karma struck quickly and she was fired.  Her brother and his friend are probably facing the same fate.

Thank you Based Internet Gawds for handing out iJustice.

(Dis)honorable mentions go out to the people who dressed as the Asiana pilots, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the people out causing mayhem on Halloween in New York (or any other city for that matter).

Whooo!  Last night’s episode of Scandal was the bomb… Well, in Olivia’s case it was literally a bomb when one client decides to get to the truth of her son’s death by any means necessary.  Even if that means, taking a few people hostage at the Capitol… Liv included!  Let’s get the party started!  I’m as excited as Mama June in a tub of Hidden Valley Ranch!

“Mrs. Smith Goes to Washingon” begins with Liv sitting on the floor watching the fine, yet bruised, specimen that is Jake “Your Body is Ready For Me” Ballard (Scott Foley) lying naked, save for a strategically placed sheet covering his goodies, on her bed.   In one of the most awkward moments on Scandal, and there are many, Fitz calls Liv only to have her tell him, “Boy, bye!” Eventually, Liv gets a hold of Huck and asks him where he is so they can talk.  Unfortunately, Huck (Guillermo Diaz) is NOT here for the bullshit, and he tells her he’ll holler at her later.  He just needs some time.  What he actually needs time for is stalking Liv’s dad, Rowan (Joe Morton).  Huck is pissed.

Fast forward to Liv coming into the office, only to be met with a new client she know’s nothing about.  Apparently the gang took on a Mary Nesbitt to help with a private family matter.  Liv looks absolutely surprised, and a little annoyed with the team’s boldness, but she’s goes along with the ruse.  Nesbitt tells her that she would love to stay and talk, but she has a meeting on The Hill.  So, toodles!  It’s safe to say that meeting will be explosive… *chortle*

Back at the White House, Fitz and Mellie do their best to debase and insult each other in front of their little son, while Cyrus goes on and on about Fitz’s approval ratings.  They are just setting up their kid for success, right?  He’ll make a great Tea Party candidate 20 years from now.  They are not particularly paying attention to anything Miss Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) is saying (Miss because he’s nasty, honey!), instead opting to air some dirty laundry about their dismal (past) sex life.  Instead of listening to Cyrus, Fitz is nagging Mellie over how she’s feeding the baby.  Mellie finally snaps and tells him to “quit yer bitchin’” over a child he could hardly get it hard enough to conceive.

Cyrus is NOT feeling their shenanigans, however, and he snaps at Mellz and Fizzle, telling them that they will get it together, present a united front to the public or else… Cyrus is the master of the Art of Reading.  Don’t you ever forget it.

Later on, Olivia heads up to The Hill to handle some business just as a madman tears away from his White House tour, demanding and screaming his lungs out about Operation Remington and wanting to speak to the President.

Meanwhile, Olivia arrives at the Capitol just as everyone runs out of Congressman Struthers’ office, but instead of doing what any sane black woman would do any sane person would do, she goes in to the office everyone ran out of, finding Mary Nesbitt strapped to the teeth with explosives, and she’s ready to blow!

Mary Nesbitt is like Cindy Sheehan, but on a grander scale of pissed-ivity.  She is a mother who is grieving for her son Chris, who was gunned down by the FBI a year and a half ago.  She believes that the circumstances surrounding his death are sketchy at best, and she wants his file declassified pronto!  They told her that her son was a terrorist, but all of the info surrounding his case was sealed under the Patriot Act.  Olivia gets on the horn with the FBI’s  Commander Randolph Bowles (Ernie Hudson) , being the professional spokeswoman that she is, and tells them Mary’s terms.  Eventually, Mary lets some of the other hostages go thanks to Olivia’s bargaining.  Now it’s just Mary, Liv and Congressman Struthers.

Meanwhile, Mellie and Fitz are under guard in a panic room somewhere as the events play out.  Cyrus is informed that the person who stormed the White House was a lone wolf and is not working in connection with Mary.  The minute Cyrus finds out who it is, he tells the Secret Service Agent to let the man go, much to the other man’s incredulity.  Of course, Cyrus wastes NO time getting on the phone with Rowan to inform him that they have an Operation Remington problem.  Welp, Cyrus is officially stressed out now…  Fortunately for Rowan, stopping to take the call saved his life because Huck was right behind him with a hammer fitted with a suppressor.

We all knew the FBI had no intention of getting that woman the files.  It’s clear they’ve been hiding something.  That’s why she’s at the Capitol building with the bomb.  Harrison (Columbus Short) goes to the scene where the FBI command post is set up, and informs Olivia that the FBI is setting up a team to storm the building and/or snipe Nesbitt.  Olivia pulls Mary from the window just as about four red dots find their mark.  It is by the grace of God that she’s not killed.

Commander Bowles is livid because he thinks Olivia screwed everything up.  He goes in on her when he calls and brands her a terrorist for saving Mary’s life.  Olivia demands to speak to Fitz, but Bowles tells her that’s not going to happen.

Whatever… You know Olivia can call Fitz on the mainline whenever she wants, and she does… through Jake.  So her current cut buddy and her other current cut buddy have a curt little conversation when Jake calls Fitz on Liv’s behalf to ask about the files.  Fitz shuts him down immediately and tells him that no matter what they personally feel for Olivia, it’s not happening.

Meanwhile, Rowan meets with the crazy who tried to get at the President in the White House.  He gives him a stack in an envelope, but Mr. Whacko is feeling a certain way about things.  He doesn’t want the money anymore.  Apparently he and Rowan had a deal, but he’s no longer willing to play by the rules.  Rowan tells him to cool it for now, he’ll get to talk to the President in time.  As Rowan leaves he’s met with Huck’s gun straight to his dome, but he doesn’t even flinch.  Matter of fact, he knew Huck was trailing him the whole time.

Back at Pope HQ, the team is trying to hack into systems and networks via Quinn’s attempt at being Baby Quinn.  Except it’s not working.  The young Paduan is not ready.  Instead she opts to snoop around on Huck’s machine to see what he’s been up to in an effort to find him.  Abby (Darby Stanchfield) goes to visit David (Josh Malina) hoping to get those sealed files, but he doesn’t care to help.  In the “That’s Cold” quote of the episode, Rosen tells Abby, “Let me know the funeral arrangements.  It should be good people watching.”

Harrison is still at the scene pitching a fit and yelling at Bowles when FBI agent Laura Kenney approaches him.  She pulls him aside to tell him that Mary really doesn’t want to know what’s in that file.  According to the file that she has, Chris was an Al-Qaeda terrorist who joined the terrorist organization after becoming a Muslim.  Harrison and Kenney both agree that Mary really shouldn’t be told the truth about her son’s terrorist dealings, and he says as much to Olivia.

It seems to be a dead end until Harrison sees this Kenney drive off like it’s nothing.  He tells Abby to head back to Rosen with info about this, and though he’s reluctant, he finds out that there never has been a Laura Kenney in the records online.  Rosen smells something is up and he heads over to meet Cyrus.  At first, Cyrus pulls rank on David, but it’s ineffective because Rosen did his homework.  Rosen let’s Cyrus know that he’s uncovered some strange inconsistencies hinting at a cover up in Chris’ death.  Cyrus knows the jig is up and goes into damage control.

Cyrus, Fitz, David and the Director of Counterintelligence all gather round to call Olivia.  In a tragic twist, Fitz explains that Chris was killed by accident because of a screw up by the FBI.  Chris was in deep cover and had infiltrated Al-Qaeda successfully.  From that position, he was able to recruit 57 other covert operatives to infiltrate the terrorist organization.  Thinking he was a actually a terrorist, he was killed, but his death was covered up to avoid a backlash.  The FBI agent responsible was fired and the rest of the agents involved were given promotions and hush money.  Fitz tells Olivia that Mary absolutely cannot be told the truth, because it puts the current operatives in action in harm’s way.  To be more specific, the bad guys will kill them if they find them.  It appears that Olivia will go against Fitz when she hangs up on him, but Olivia knows that while it’s not right, she can’t add another 50+ names to the list.  I felt for her right there.

Mary loses it and crumbles down to the floor sobbing.  Olivia consoles her while Struthers exists looking like he needs a stiff drink.  As Olivia exits with Mary in her arms, Mary pushes her out of the office to the waiting SWAT team and locks herself in.  Olivia pleads with her to come out, but SWAT drags her back just in time to miss Mary detonating the explosives.  Fitz watches as all hell breaks loose and panics when connection is lost.  Olivia is a little rattled, but she survived.  I think her heart hurts a lot for Mary.  All the lies…

While Olivia sits in the ambulance looking like she wants to just drown herself in a whole tub of fine red wine, Quinn tells her that Huck is obsessed with her dad and has been tracking is whereabouts.  She must clearly still love her dad in some way, because this news snaps Olivia right out of shock.

Back at the White House, Mellie is getting plastered in the dark… Well, more plastered than she already is.  Drunk Mellie (who stole the show at this point) tells Fitz that she’s glad Olivia wasn’t killed because that would have meant that an inconsolable, obsessed Fitz until the end of his or her days.  No, she wants Olivia to live because while she lives, he’s not completely lost forever to dedicate his life to worshiping at the altar of “Saint Olivia Pope”.  The only thing that would have made my life better would have been Mellie looking like this:

Olivia finally catches up with Huck who is also sitting in the dark (is this a thing?).  She’s worried that he may have killed her dad, but after demanding to know if she’s now an “orphan”, Huck lets her know that her dad is very much alive.  He did, however, kill the whack job who tore through the White House thanks to some coaxing from Rowan.  Huck tells Olivia that he should have known better.  B-613 will always be in control of him.  They never let go.  Once you get in bed with them, you’re stuck.

When Olivia finally gets home, Jake is still there and he’s happy to see her.  He’s bruised up, but he’s happy.  Olivia asks how he managed to make it out, demanding to know what his mission is.  She tells him that there is no way he was released out of the kindness of the hearts of Rowan and B-613.  Jake tells her he doesn’t know, he hasn’t been told specifically, but I have a feeling he’s Rowan’s ace in the deck for the future.  Olivia finally gives up the 20 questions and sits next to Jake resignedly, telling him that it doesn’t matter.  Rowan owns her, Jake, Huck… They’re all at his beck and call.

Overall a good episode, but I still miss my sexy Scandal full of drama and sexy times.