Let's Talk Nerd Culture

Let's talk and explore nerd culture with stories every month about music, fan-fiction, musicals, cooking, books, opinions, and TV shows!

Goodbye

By: Mustapha Khamissa

Last December I thought of a nerdy tumblr magazine where, mostly, teenagers would write about nerd culture. I sent a message to my friend Isabel asking her if she wanted to help me out with it, she said yes of course, and so I asked some of my best friends if they want to write for it. We brainstormed on exactly how this would work and who else would write for us for almost a month. Until we had a solid roster of 7 writers. Originally I wanted to name it The Monthly Nerd, but I was voted against 6-1 in favour of Let’s Talk Nerd Culture (personally I still like the The Monthly Nerd more).

Through the months we’ve seen writers come and writers go, but we’ve continued on for an entire year. A really great year, honestly. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. So this is the last issue of LTNC ever. Hopefully the finale was everything I wanted it to be. This decision was mine alone, and I’m both sad and happy that I made it. Let’s Talk Nerd Culture has been an amazing learning experience, but I feel like tumblr isn’t the right place for this kind of content.

Okay so now thank you’s:

So before I go I’d like to thank you all for reading our articles. I’d especially like to thank the ones that have been here since pre-launch. Thank you to Isabel who is the mother bear of the magazine. And thank you to all of the writers who always freak me out by missing deadlines. Without any of these people my ideas would have went to waste.

By: Heather Honig

Ingredients:

  • french fries
  • gravy
  • cheese curds

Materials:

  • baking tray
  • pot
  • bowl

For those who aren’t familiar, poutine is a popular Canadian dish, which happens to be delicious and easy to make.

First you start with french fries. If you really want to get elaborate, you can make homemade fries, but frozen ones will do.  Bake those in the oven until golden brown.  While the fries are cooking, make the gravy.  Again, whether it is homemade or store bought, make sure it is warm so it can melt the cheese curds.  Put the fries in a bowl and then top with cheese curds and gravy.

This will make plain poutine, but you can add toppings to it as well.  Meat, mushrooms, peppers, bacon, and onions are popular options.

Enjoy and thank you all for reading!

Books to Look Forward to in 2014

By: Isabel Rae

As I write this, I see a pile of at least 15 books just waiting for me to read them. And even though I have so many great books already in my possession that I’m hoping to devour sometime soon, that doesn’t stop me from looking ahead and getting excited about the yet unreleased books by my favourite authors. And since I’ve been adding books upon books to the list of one’s I need to read this year, here’s five that I’m looking forward to that are coming out in 2014.

The first book I’m looking forward to is The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, which is the 3rd book in the Shades of London series.  The Madness Underneath left us with a huge cliffhanger that made me desperate for the next book perhaps even before I finished the last page. From the first book about teenager Rory Deveaux dealing with ghosts as she moves to London just as “Rippermania” starts, this series has developed into so much more than I was ever expecting, and that makes it so much harder to wait for The Shadow Cabinet.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, is also a highly anticipated book of 2014. The first book- a mystery about a home on an island in which peculiar children, one of which being our protagonist’s grandfather, used to live (and perhaps still do)- captivated me with it’s twisting plot, unique characters, and beautiful layout, complete with photographs and all.  After such an amazing and well received first book, I’m curious and excited to see what Riggs will bring to the table as he continues this story.

Another book I’m looking forward to is Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. Much like the first two books in this sort-of-series, this one is a love story. It’s about two teens, Isla and Josh, who are beginning their senior year in France. The great part about these books is that while you can read one without reading the others, when you read them like a series, it becomes intertwined and the couples make appearances. Isla is the last book in the series, and it promises a wonderful conclusion to the stories of all three couples.

To come fall of 2014, I’m very excited to read Rooms by Lauren Oliver. A much beloved young adult author, Oliver is coming out with a book that’s marketed for adults about two ghosts who inhabit the walls of a house. While there isn’t much detail about the story yet, Oliver is a truly talented author and I find the transition between genres to be an interesting one to witness. So I’ll be picking up this book when it comes out, because it sounds like a story that is truly unique told by an author who I very much enjoy the works of.

To round off my list, we have Landline by Rainbow Rowell. The story sounds very intriguing, being about a woman, Georgie, who is in a marriage that is falling apart. But then she discovers a way to communicate with her husband in the past , which gives her the ability to perhaps fix her marriage, or maybe she could stop it from happening in the fist place. With her three other books, Rowell has constantly impressed me with how she’s able to write such different scenarios so that her characters are easily empathized. I can’t wait to read Landlines and fall in love with a whole new set of characters.

So those are five books that I just can’t wait to read this year. I hope one of these has peaked your interest and you have an amazing year of reading in 2014!

The Best Albums of 2013

By: Josh

2013 is officially done with! Man, it was a great year for music. I’m going to present my lists of the best albums of 2013 (with a short blurb explaining why I loved each album) to end of this year, and LTNC. If you’ve read my articles over the last year, thanks! Hopefully you enjoyed them, Now, on with the show!

Top 50 Albums of 2013

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50. Altar Of Plagues - Teethed Glory and Injury (Black Metal)

Starting of my list this year, this now final album from Altar of Plagues was a rough black metal journey full of guttural screams, harmonies and some pretty interesting sounds. Interesting and one of the best black metal releases of the year.

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49. CHVRCHES - The Bones of What You Believe (Indie Pop)

This debut from CHVRCHES was predicable, but who can fault them when it’s so catchy and fun? Tracks full of catchy hooks and rhythm made it a really fun album to sing a long to with friends. 

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48. Anamanaguchi - Endless Fantasy (Chiptune)

Chiptune titans, Anamanaguchi released there most fleshed out, interesting, and fun album this year. Fun creative chiptune songs that just make you want to go to an arcade with some friends and have one hell of a fun afternoon.

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47. Beyonce - Beyonce (Pop)

Beyonce’s last minute surprise album was one of the biggest events in music this year. The buzz wasn’t just a cloud. After a couple listens, this became my favorite release ever from the queen of pop music.

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Meta Leblanc: Why Episodes is the Best Show You’ve Never Heard of That You Should Be Watching

By: Leeza

Let’s be frank: I have beef with cable television. More specifically, my wrath falls on a little channel called HBO, the behemoth in the world of premium cable. Accessible only to those willing to shell out thirty bucks a month, HBO programming is quite limited in scope; primarily intended for adults, HBO shows feature high amounts of foul language, violence, and nudity. The HBO shows that gain wider fanbases, such as Game of Thrones; Girls; Boardwalk Empire and True Blood are not syndicated or sold to any third-party broadcasters, meaning that HBO forces viewers to purchase subscriptions in order to enjoy a rather limited range of entertainment.

But, as the age old adage goes, when one door closes another opens. A wonderful alternative to HBO’s lavishly excessive high-budget productions is the programming offered by Showtime. The latter tends to broadcast more down-to-earth, gritty, real-life type stuff (a personal favourite of mine is Shameless, starring Emmy Rossum and William H.Macy; Jeremy Allen White’s handsome looks and killer arms don’t hurt either). The real diamond in the rough, however, is Episodes, an extremely tongue-in-cheek look at the Hollywood industry from the point of view of two naïve television writers.

Doubly produced by both Showtime and the BBC, Episodes tells the story of Sean and Beverly Lincoln, a British husband-and-wife comedy writing team who travel to Hollywood to remake their successful British TV series Lyman’s Boys with disastrous results. Brilliantly played by Stephen Mangan (Billy Elliot; Rush and Tamsin Greig (Shaun of the Dead, Doctor Who) the couple finds their creative control slipping away as Episodes progresses.

The final, fantastic selling point is the presence of Matt LeBlanc, who starts as … Matt LeBlanc (albeit a hilariously over-the-top, satirical version of himself). Upon recasting Lyman’s Boys the American producers not only cast Matt LeBlanc in the starring role, but Matt takes the lead in deviously twisting their beloved series into the worst kind of cliché sitcom. Constant references are made to LeBlanc’s most famous alter ego of Joey Tribbiani; indeed, the Episodes tagline (who needs friends’) is a comedic masterpiece in and of itself.

Episodes has recently been renewed for a fourth season; the first two seasons are currently available to stream on Netflix and on the Showtime website. Extremely funny and very British, the series is a definite must for any lover of television and well-written, sarcastic comedy.

Wonderful Women on TV in 2013

By: Maddie

2013 was, among other things, a truly great year for female characters on TV. I did not manage to watch nearly as many shows this year as I wanted to, so there are definitely some names missing from this list. But all of these fictional women have absolutely blown me away over the past twelve months, and praise is due to both writers and actresses. Feel free to let me know who I left out, and which wonderful women I should look for on TV in 2014.

1.      Sophia Burset (Orange is the New Black, played by Laverne Cox)

This show is filled with so many kickass women, it was hard to pick just one. Sophia, a trans character played by a trans woman of colour, is ground-breaking in so many ways, and the fact that she exists on a popular show is definitely cause for celebration. But what makes her truly great is not what she represents. It’s who she is. Like all the women on the show, she has been badly hurt. By people, by society, by the system – but she continues to care. She cares about her fellow inmates and her family, and she definitely cares about her rights. It’s impossible to watch this character and not immediately take her into your heart.

2.      Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation, played by Amy Poehler)

Where do I even begin with Leslie Knope? She’s an outspoken feminist who works tirelessly to improve the representation of women in government. She is a shameless idealist, and even though viewers might easily dismiss her lofty presidential goals, she never once takes her eyes off the eventual prize. This past year, she married possibly the most adorable husband on television, and she has shown over and over and over again that she can balance work, friends and her new family, no sweat. A true Gryffindor, she never backs down from a challenge, especially when someone she cares about is being threatened. I think she inspires all of us to want to be the Leslie Knope of our own lives.

 3.      Abbie Mills (Sleepy Hollow, played by Nicole Beharie)

Lieutenant Mills, a police detective in the town of Sleepy Hollow, gives up her place in an elite FBI program in order to help solve the supernatural mysteries around her. She asserts herself as a confident, capable woman in a male-dominated field, and doesn’t hesitate to take risks and challenge the authority of her superiors. At the start of the show, she has lost almost everyone she ever cared about, and is understandably reserved.  Although we see her open up as she befriends Ichabod Crane, she remains an independent, well-rounded character without a romantic subplot – all she wants to do is save the world. Although the male and female crime-fighting pair is not revolutionary in television, Abbie Mills takes charge in a way that none of her predecessors ever have.

 4.      Joan Watson (Elementary, played by Lucy Liu)

I’ll admit, I was the first one to shoot it down when the idea of a female Dr. Watson began to circulate in the rumor mill. I feared romance and tired tropes would bog down the perfect partnership that had been created on BBC’s Sherlock. Besides, obviously, realizing that the two shows could, and should, coexist in separate realms, it turns out I had no reason to worry. Joan Watson is very much her own character. Unlike her male predecessors, she is not content to simply tag along admiringly after Sherlock - she becomes a competent detective in her own right, putting her medical training to good use at the same time. Like Abbie Mills, Joan doesn’t let her partnership (even if it’s with a man) get in the way of getting shit done. She’s thoughtful and super intelligent, and she makes me wonder when we’ll get to see an all-female Sherlock and Watson duo.

by: Carrie

2013 was a year of many video games. Injustice: Gods Among Us stood out as a game of great fun and hours of replay value. This Mortal Kombat-esque game was actually made by the creators of Mortal Kombat. 

The story starts with the DC comics universe, full of well-known characters such as Batman and Superman. In an alternate reality, chaos runs amok and you play as almost every famous DC character to fix it. The fun part of this game is that you also get the chance to play as the villains as well. There are 30 playable characters, including the DLC characters, which can be bought from the shop in-game. While this game seems simple, the storyline becomes very complicated and interesting so that only playing the game would appropriately express it.  

The gameplay involves one-on-one combat within a two-dimensional plane, although characters and backgrounds are rendered in a three-dimensional fashion. As you can imagine, pushing a lot of buttons is a big deal in this game. Whenever I play, I win simply by button mashing, but there’s also strategy you can use. Certain button combinations gets you to do special moves that, in turn, deal more damage and usually last longer than fighting with the simpler moves. 

Injustice: Gods Among Us came out in April, 2013 and was the highest selling game of that month. It sold 424,000 copies within the first month, while all other video games sold in April didn’t make it past 250,000 copies.

In my experience with the game, there’s never a dull moment. I suggest this game to anyone who loved the Mortal Kombat series or the DC series. This game probably isn’t for you if you find fighting games boring. My rating of this game would be 4 out of 5 stars. The game would’ve been better had they added more characters and perhaps a three-dimensional fighting plane.  

By: Sophie Schneider

About 11 hours after seeing Les Mis for the second time
Post New Years celebrations

There’s something about Les Misérables that makes it my favourite musical of all time. Am I a sadist? To be honest, the musical is full of death, defeat, suffering and well, misery. These are things that people typically don’t associate with, yet Les Misérables originally written by Victor Hugo started as a book, then a movie, then a musical and so on. Despite the title, it’s the themes within the story are what keep people so vividly passionate and attached to it, and the reason the story lives on.

Les Mis looks life in the eye, and understands. It understands love like no other story I’ve seen. It illustrates this love with Fontine and her child, how she will giver her life, sacrifice her humility for her own daughters sake. How young love isn’t always between two people, and how Marius can truly love Eponine as a friend. I’ve always found that loving as a friend is so profound, so fortified. Love is how Jean Valjean takes a child in as if it were his own, and does all he can do to protect her. Besides love, there is also exploration into understanding what is the meaning of “good”? Javert believes he is righteous because he follows the law, but he eventually commits suicide because he realized that even though Jean Valjean broke the law, he is a Good Samaritan. This conflict, is whittled deep within Javert, and us, but is untangled and clear in the story. Furthermore, I have always been fascinated with sacrifice. There is so much sacrifice in the musical, but the kind of sacrifice that is altruistic, raw, and powerfully moving. It teaches you many things, about yourself, about others, and about the world.

A story lives on, because it touched people. I am reduced to the verge of tears when I see Les Mis because I am in awe of the passion. The music, the characters, the themes, are all ruled by intense fervidness that will leave a legacy. When things end, that is how you leave a legacy, by affecting the lives of others.

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