Enjoy the Moment

Did I ever tell you guys I lived in China? I was there hanging out and teaching English for almost a year. It was an awesome experience and looking back I wish I could have been a little more mature so that I could have truly enjoyed the adventure. It wasn’t the foreignness or my inability to speak the language, but the voice in my head that said I should finish my degree and do something responsible that ended up pushing me to leave.

I hate that voice. Don’t get me wrong. I am very glad I went to school and got my degree. I think education is important, if that is the right path for you. I hate the voice because I have always had a difficult time just enjoying living in the moment. I am the worst about putting too much pressure on myself (just ask my friends), I am always looking to the next thing and how I can do better. Well, that’s the constructive way of saying it. In its not-so-constructive form, I am not happy with the successes I have accomplished; I should always be better, “oh and remember when things were awesome in the past? That was a fun time. Yes”. See that is what is so very, well, dumb. Things were awesome in the past, but I was too busy putting pressure on myself to improve or focusing on what small aspect of things that were not so awesome that I didn’t enjoy the moment. I didn’t enjoy the awesome. It was not until later when I was wishing I had enjoyed it, and spending my time thinking about the past and not enjoying that moment. It’s a little confusing and it took me a few years to figure it out.

So now I know. I have to consciously enjoy the moment. There are awesome memories behind me and future adventures ahead of me. But what’s fantastic is this moment, right now.

So take a slow deep breath. Let it out. Take in the moment and all that’s around you. Life is awesome, and sometimes it’s even awesome-sauce.

You’re welcome.

What happens at Geek Girl Con…

I found a TARDIS, complete with Amy companion. Surprisingly small on the inside.


Sorry this is a week late, I was sick last week. Better late than never, right?

Two weekends ago I went to Geek Girl Con. A celebration of women and fandom, geek girls (and women) from all around came to cosplay, speak and participate in this first year convention.  I have to admit, at first I was a little wary. Whenever any group is highlighted by race, gender or religion there can be an “us vs them” mentality.

As I prepared for the con I wondered, was this going to be a negative anti-male fest? Was this going to be a poorly attended and disorganized first year con that will die out in the first year? I wasn’t alone in my concerns. Folks I talked echoed my concerns. However, I am happy to report that this convention was well-organized with a positive presence celebrating women and pop culture. This convention was just what I would want it to be.

Rather than segregate and stratify women from men in this community of fans, the convention celebrated strong female characters that women and girls can look up to. Looking around in the geeky world of pop culture, women are often portrayed as over-sexed, stripper clad  ‘heroes’ or weak damsels in distress. This convention highlighted the characters that represent real women, strong women, and not just strong in the sense of caring a gun, kicking butt and taking names, but strong in character, strong in sense of mind, ability, with control over their surroundings and emotions. These are the characters that I love.

Picking out a necklace made by Surly Amy. I went with the Angry Birds pendant. Photo by Molly Lewis.

Since we are recognizing strong characters, the guests and panelists were not just women. There were men!  Male panelists included authors and writers who have contributed to the new female presence with their creation of strong female characters. This was well discussed in the panel Character Studies: Geek Girls in Popular Culture. Panelist Javier Grillo-Marxuach described it well, he creates interesting characters, the gender is not the key component. It doesn’t matter to him if the characters are male or female. What he wants to create is a character that he finds interesting and has an interesting story to tell.  What makes a character strong? Panelist Amy Berg talked about the characters she creates, characters that are empowered rather than have powers. She wants to emphasize their smarts and ability to solve problems with their brains and intellect. These are the type of characters that we can relate to.

Sarah Kuhn, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Amy Berg at the Character Studies: Geek Girls in Popular Culture panel.

I had fantastic time at the convention. After panels and browsing the show floor, I got to hang out with friends and make new friends over dinner and epic karaoke. I discovered that Javier Grillo-Marxuach is spectacular performer and rock a mean “Faith of Heart” (the Star Trek Enterprise theme song).

There was such a wonderfully positive atmosphere at Geek Girl Con. By the end of the convention folks were talking about 2012 and saying, “see you next year.” I for one plan to be there next year. This was a great celebration of women and pop culture, but this was also just a hell of a lot of fun.

For more photos see my flickr gallery

The Geek Girl Con interview on CNN GeekOut!

CNN.com has this great need section call CNN GeekOut! It covers all the pop culture nerdiness we love. Shortly after I attended Geek Girl Con I did a phone interview to talk about my experience. Check it out:



If you’re a fan of w00tstock, you know about Liz Smith. She’s their “Dungeon Master,” (that’s “Dammit Liz” to you) clearly the strong, organized, feminine presence wrangling the show’s producers Paul & Storm, Adam Savage and Wil Wheaton.

JourneyQuest Season 2

A few weeks before I was named “Dammit Liz”, I worked on a web series called JourneyQuest. This was so much fun to be a part of and I love the people I got to work with.


On set for JourneyQuest season one with Samantha Collins and Elizabeth Heile

The series was a lot of fun to make and it turned out fantastic. Check out the episodes on www.Journey-Quest.com or HULU or YouTube.


Now it’s time to bring on season 2. How do you fund a project that is completely fan supported? Why, Kickstarter of course! If you like the series, check out the Kickstarter page and see what they have planned for season 2!

Geek Girl Con this weekend!




This weekend is GeekGirlCon. I am so very excited because it means I will get to be at a con, which I love, and see so many friends (which I also love). This convention is very unique with it’s “geek girl” theme. The Geek Girl in general has had a growing presence over the past few years. We are on the rise. The success of the Geek Girls Exist panel at SDCC, the overwhelming support of The Force is with Katie, and the wildly funded Womanthology have demonstrated this growing presence of lady geeks. We have a desire for representation in this pop culture, geeky community.


GGC has a mix of programming, a sort of cross section between hardcore geek and feminist psychology. I am specifically interested in a few panels:

Feminism, Race, and Geek Culture: Perspectives from Women of Color

Oral History Live! With Jane Espenson

Character Studies: Geek Girls in Popular Culture

Killing Cattiness and Creating Community

There is also a great line up of guests representing the influence that women have in our geeky pop culture. Guests include:

Bonnie Burton (of StarWars.com and Star Wars crafting fame)

Marian Call (musician and a kick ass geeky lady)

Jane Espenson (writer and producer for such shows as Battlestar Galatica, Caprica, Firefly and many others)

Carrie and Katie Goldman (of the previously mentioned The Force is with Katie)

Gail Simone (comics writer for many titles including Wonder Woman and Birds of Prey)

The list goes on. The panelist line up is especially exciting (including my friend and w00tstock alum Amy Berg).

I’ll be taking notes, asking questions and snapping some photos. Check back to see what happened. (I’m kinda curious to see what happens when the feminists meet up with the Power Girl cosplayers)

For more info on the convention check out www.geekgirlcon.com

Change of plans…

Life is funny sometimes. Last week I was totally sure I was moving to Los Angeles on October 2nd. As of yesterday, that has changed. I am still planning on moving to Los Angeles, but in spring. I have work in January through April that puts me on the road and I don’t really need a home base during that time. With that in mind, moving to LA was only going to be for three months and then I’d be back in April. As it turns out, the awesome gig that was bringing me to LA in October has been pushed to spring.

I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this move over the past few days. There are logistics, finances, people, jobs…so much involved to make this happen for just three months. I began to wonder if it made more sense to wait until April anyway. I could ship my stuff to the west coast, hang with my family, get my car fixed (did I mention my sister works at a car fixer place?) and then go on the road in January and move to LA in April. There are many variables, but it boiled down to one thing. Would the opportunities in LA still be there in April? Am I gaining a huge advantage by going now that I won’t have in April?

As the decision weighed on me and friends and family offered their input, I got a little crazy in the mess. Seriously, how hard is it to pick a city, a state, –hell, a coast? Then I got the news I needed. The big opportunities were pushed to spring. There is no huge advantage to moving now.


So, I guess I have my answer. And there it is. Just like that, I’m on Plan B (not that birth control thing, but my back up plan). I am headed back to Seattle to regroup, work on some projects and fix up my (stupid) car. I have a crazy 2012 ahead of me and with it comes Los Angeles. I still wish I could go now. On the inside I am pouting that I want to move to LA now… I want to go NOOOOW. (Pouty face foot stomp)

Sometimes being a grown up is stupid.


And the lesson is….

Life can change very quickly. Saturday I was blogging about how I am moving to LA, now I’m moving to Seattle. Maybe I’ll be moving to Costa Rica next week. Who knows? This is the joy of the unknown world of being a freelance Dammit Liz.  I guess the way to look at it is this: My projects and future are full of uncertainty and surprises, so I am choosing to create some stability to prepare for the coming insanity. Or does that just sound crazy?

For my east coast friends, I’ll miss you all!
For my Los Angeles friends, sorry I can’t make it now, but I’ll see you in a few months!
For my Seattle friends, watch out here I come! Also, if you know of anyone needing an event manager in the next month or so let me know.

I am still following my dream, with a slight road bump, if you would like to donate to the cause, I have a link for that.


LA here I come

I was going to write a post about my time in Seattle and PAX, or the adventures I had at Dragon*Con. But in the past few days I have officially decided to move from sleepy Connecticut to Los Angeles, so that is what’s on my mind.

I moved out here to Connecticut from Seattle in January. Despite having done a cross country move before, rather recently, I am feeling a little overwhelmed. (Pardon me while I work through my emotions on my blog). The scary part is that I’m going into the unknown. I am fortunate enough to have some work lined up for the next six months or so, but after that who knows. I have given up on the corporate office world and ventured out into the unknown and unpredictable world of freelance. There are many of us out there, hacking through the dense vegetation of instability, extra work, inconsistent paychecks and lack of health insurance (don’t worry Mom, I’m getting an individual plan).  It’s comforting to know I’m not out there alone, and I guess that’s sort of the point. Projects don’t come randomly from the sky (well, I guess once in a while they do), they come from friends, contacts, recommendations, twitter.

An aside on twitter, I would probably not be where I am today if it weren’t for social media, especially twitter. Social media is an amazing thing; I have meet new friends, keep in touch with others, and feel a sense of community with those who share common interests. This has given me the ability to stay in touch with friends that ended up recommending me for work. I have a whole theory about networking that I should write about later.

So here I am, ready to embark on a journey into the world without that comforting steady paycheck and consistent work. When this opportunity in LA came up I was hesitant, then I realized if I had a reliable car and a significant savings I would hop in my car and drive across country no problem. So it wasn’t the work, the inconsistency, the unknown that scared me, it was money. That means the only thing holding me back from my dream, a new lifestyle that seems to be meant for me, is financial. This is something I can overcome, and it is worth it. I hate to talk about money, but it has been on my mind and held me back at first, so I want to let you know. I want to encourage anyone out there that is afraid to make the leap and let them know that there are ways around it. Once you have that attitude you can do anything. (With that in mind, I have added a PayPal donations page to my website if you would like to help me pursue my dreams. The link is HERE).

As for what I’m working on? Well there’s [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], then the cruise and 3 weeks of [REDACTED], also FarkCon. Plus I’m in talks for potential work on a couple of projects with [REDACTED]. So there’s a lot going on.

I will be updating my website more often and keep you all in the loop. Thanks to everyone who has been encouraging and supportive, it’s what I’ve needed to take on this next chapter of my life.




“The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be…because of all I may become I will close my eyes and leap!”

–Mary Anne Radmacher


Summer Plans…

What are your plans for the summer?

I will be hitting up a few cons and working my butt off to help create a fantastic New York Comic Con in October.


I will be at San Diego Comic Con in July. The main reason I am there? w00tstock. Oh, how I miss w00tstock. This is guaranteed to be an epic show. Not that I get to choose who will be in the show, but there have been some amazingly talented folks talking to ME to put in a good for them. I can only imagine what the P&S+A+W are dealing with. Actually, I can imagine, cause I know…. mmwwahahaha

After w00tstock on Thursday I will hit up the rest of the con and absorb that comic con world that I love. Well, less on the absorbing, more on the experiencing and partaking.


Gen Con-

Early August I’m off to Gen Con! I’m very excited to see the show, meet with friends and play some games. If you are going to be there, let me know! I’d love to meet up. I have a feeling there will be a few tweet ups that week.


PAX Prime-

In a perfect world I would be at PAX in August. I still hope to go, but it is dangerously close to the insanely busy season for New York Comic Con. There’s a lot to do to put on an amazing show. If I do make it to PAX you will know and we will hang out.


Somewhere in there I hope to see family and hit the Oregon coast.


JoCo Cruise Crazy-

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a cruise….a Jonathan Coulton (Cult-0n) Cruise. I will be reprising my role as “Goddess of the Seas.” After last year’s success we are going to make this bigger and better and awesome..er.  Last year was a first time out, experiment type thing. This year we are going in with a better understanding of what we are doing and a track record to show what works. Many cool things planned.  WE ARE SO EXCITED!

Coincidence or Destiny?

Norwescon is this weekend. It takes me back to what happened a year ago. I was at a Starbucks that weekend, grabbing a coffee after buying a pair jeans. I ran into my friend Rennie Aruacto. He was on his way to Norwescon and invited me to go along. I debated and eventually decided to go. I’m glad I did.

At the convention I ran into Mike Selinker of Loneshark Games. We ended up going out to lunch with a big group. When we talked about work and different projects, he got a text from none other than Wil Wheaton (who I had only met briefly at PAX East). Mike explained that Wil had asked him if he would create a puzzle for this show called w00tstock. I was familiar with the show, I had tickets to see it in Seattle in May. Being the eager volunteer, I offered my help to Mike for this puzzle project. He said he might have something I could do.

As the weeks passed I spoke with Mike briefly about how I could be involved. The weekend before the show, the puzzle performance changed and they no longer needed my help. My desire to participate prevailed. I asked if I could come early anyway. Maybe I could hang out, or find some place to help out. Mike asked Paul (of Paul and Storm). Paul said they would love to have me. So I went.

When I walked in I was greeted by a busy and slightly crazed Paul trying to run everything, coordinating sound check, his own rehearsal with Storm and Wil, an Adam Savage who was MIA and all the content on his laptop. I was surprised at the friendly greeting I got from Vic-20 and Sturgenis of MC Frontalot’s band. They were excited to see me having met me at PAX East.

I remember standing awkwardly on the side of the stage with nothing to do. Sturgenis walked up to me. “I feel awkward with nothing to do. I want to help but it’s not really my show,” I said. Sturgenis looked at me and said, “They obviously need your help. You’ll be running the whole show by the end of this.” I laughed.

But then, I did. Paul was on his phone and seemed concerned. Adam Savage had been dropped at the wrong theater. I recalled that google maps listed the wrong location for the Moore Theater, and unfortunately it showed the location as in Pike Place Market. I asked Paul, “Is Adam in Pike’s Place Market?” Paul asked Adam. Yes, he was. This was a problem. Adam Savage, recognizable celebrity, was right smack in the middle of touristville. He must be surrounded by people trying to get a picture. As it happened, yes he was. With the market about six blocks away, I offered to go get him and walk him to the theater. And that’s when I met Adam Savage for the first time.

As an aside, every time I have meet a celebrity or famous individual I am usually able to keep my cool and not fan girl out. This is because I usually meet these folks while I am working. I have a job to do, there is a set dynamic. I know what to say and I don’t have to come up with silly chit chat or talk about the weather. When I meet folks outside of that dynamic… Well let’s just say it usually leads to funny story.

Having worked at the Moore before, I knew the backstage entrance. Avoiding the crowds out front, we used the back alley to the stage door.

Once inside there was another fire to put out. And then another. It is what I do, what I’m good at and what I love doing. I ran the show. When I was younger, being bossy wasn’t always received with such appreciation. 🙂

Later, before the show I was up front dealing with a ticket issue and ran into Sturgenis and Mike Selinker. While I had been running around putting out fires I had missed the big speech Paul gave to the performers.

“Hey Liz,” Mike said. “Paul just described you as being ‘in charge’ and what you say goes.”

“Told ya.” Sturgenis said with a smile.

And the rest is history.


It’s silly to think, but if I hadn’t run into Rennie at that Starbucks, I may not have ended up with w00tstock. Life has these little moments and seemingly small decisions that can direct the course of our lives. I had worked hard the years before to gain the skills and reputation to allow me to step in at w00tstock with such success. The opportunities may arrive due to luck and chance, but you have to be prepared when those opportunities present themselves. And for w00tstock, I was ready.