Month: May 2015

June 1st – June 7th

IMG_20150531_175601059The Valley Nerd Watch!


Oh gosh oh gosh oh gosh a lot of people are coming to see James at Nerd Nite. Oooooh goodness.

He kind of forgot the creeping terror that accompanies public speaking! He kind of forgot that this was one of the nice bits about no longer being in academia! Well, we’re pretty sure he’ll manage. It’s a pretty good presentation, we think! Hopefully he’s not the only person in the room who’s interested in how many times Jean Grey has risen from the dead.

It might help, if you don’t mind, to just sort of all remain perfectly still and perfectly quiet, maybe hidden under some manner of tarp? Oh, or if anyone has a dog James could hold, that would definitely help! It’s impossible to be nervous while snuggling a pup.

The big news this week is that Hack for Western Mass is happening in Springfield over the weekend! It’s an opportunity to help out your friends and neighbors in the Valley via the use of whatever specialized skill you bring to the table! And we do mean whatever!

While most of the projects are in some way related to technology or web development, they desperately need people to help manage, promote, and guide projects in the right directions. You can be a big help whether you’re a dedicated coder or someone who feels more comfortable keeping a team coordinated and excited!

We’re going to be there, probably mostly contributing our skill at Twittering and taking photos of things and being very optimistic about the ability of other people to tackle important challenges!

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week!

THIS WEEK


Books:

Tuesday, June 2nd
Jones Library [43 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club
Introduce yourself to the good people at the Science Fiction and Fantasy book club! They welcome new members, regardless of whether you’ve read the book. And for the record we know we keep telling you to go to book clubs on a two-day notice and you don’t have time to read the books! We’re working on it! The book you don’t have time to read this week is A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab!
Wednesday, June 3rd
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Group: Small Gods
Introduce yourself to the good people at the Science Fiction and Fantasy book GROUP! They too welcome new members, regardless of whether you’ve read the book. The book you don’t have time to read this week is Small Gods by Terry Pratchett!

Computers:

Tuesday, June 2nd
The Foundry [24 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
Hang out with some real nice people who like to develop things for the internet. The Foundry is a really nice joint to hang out in as well! It’s got a great selection of the sort of interesting beer that fancy drinkers in the Valley demand, and it’s really comfortable! Have fun and introduce yourself to some fellow web developer people!
Saturday, June 6th – Sunday, June 7th
UMass Center at Springfield [1500 Main St, Springfield, MA 01115] at 8:30am
Like we said up top! It’s a big deal thing that you should check out. See how you can get ready for the event here, and plan out which of the challenges seem most interesting to you! You can also pre-register! 

Entertainment:

Monday, June 1st
Eastworks [116 Pleasant St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Nerd Nite NoHo
Nerd Nite! We’re presenting! Or James is presenting, anyway! It’ll be a pretty great time! Thomas Schieffer will also be presenting a talk about stress. But, we’re pretty certain that we can say without a hint of bias that the most cool part of the evening will be seeing James talk about comic books and continuity! Learn what a “retcon” is, and why they’re so often deployed!
Wednesday, June 3rd
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Jeff Lord: Swords Through the Ages
Come see the man, the myth, the legend, the LORD of Jeffs! Watch in awe as he and Jeff Goodhind (arch-duke of Jeffs) of the Association for Renaissance and Medieval Swordsmanship demonstrate Western European Swordery of various ages! The truly brave amongst you can even challenge them to combat! Victor, as is custom, will take the throne of Britain. Sponsored by the Friends of Greenfield Public Library with the World Eye Book Shop!

Movies:

Saturday, June 6th
Amherst Cinema [28 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 10:00am
Willow
This weekend, head to Amherst Cinema to see a really strange family-friendly fantasy movie! Starring Warwick Davis, it’s about a little person who finds a magic baby, and is protected by a brave swordsman played by Val Kilmer. It’s… it’s not exactly a good film. But it’s an interesting, strange film. Plus, Warwick is charming! Also it was produced by George Lucas after Star Wars, beginning him on the path to realizing Star Wars was pretty much going to be his only hit.

RPGs:

Thursday, June 4th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Indie RPG Night
Hang out with the kind folks at Modern Myths and give some weird RPG a shot! They’ve got great taste, so you can rest assured that whatever you wind up playing will have you duly entertained for a couple of hours! Last time I played, setup only took a few minutes, and we got a good couple hours of play in with a system I would never have taken a second look at otherwise. A real worthwhile experience for people who love RPGs, and who might want to branch out from the old standards. A $5 day pass is required to attend, but it is as always converted immediately to store credit.

Video Games:

Sunday, June 7th
The Quarters [8 Railroad St, Hadley, MA 01035] at 7:00pm
MAKETALKPLAY
Hang out and grab a drink at The Quarters while talking to fellow developers from around the Valley and beyond! This month the event is pretty much just hanging out and networking, no presenter. Last time we attended the crowd was extremely personable, and we highly recommend that anyone interested in game development attend, so as to meet people with a shared interest and a willingness to lend a helping hand!

May 25th – May 31st

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The Valley Nerd Watch!


Hey remember how you’ve always loved Nerd Nite? Well do we have news for you! We’re going to be at Nerd Nite! Excellent! We’ll be giving a talk about comic books, continuity, and why YOU are the final arbiter of what matters!  It’ll be Monday, June 1st at Eastworks! We do request you read this prior to attendance.

Bonus: You will get to see a simply gigantic number of excellent/silly early comic covers and interiors because we have a bunch of them and they are wall-to-wall excellent.

This week we’d like to take a second to direct you to something really neat about the Valley: local creators!

Hannah Shaffer runs the site Make Big Things, and is also a community organizer and game designer who’s currently working on a very neat game called 14 Days about living with migraines that we can unfortunately confirm is really accurate! It’s really impressive that the game is simultaneously a great way to role-play your way to sympathy and understanding with people in your life who might be suffering in relative silence, and it’s just an interesting schedule-game with an easy to learn system!

Hannah worked with fellow Valley-area creator Evan Rowland on the extremely neat RPG Questlandia! Questlandia is a game for 3-5 players about getting small personal victories against a backdrop of a collapsing empire. And the neat part is that you and the other players get to construct what sort of empire that is! You build the world as well as your characters collaboratively, and try to make your stories work out as happily and interestingly as possible while dealing with the random hand of fate! It’s available either as a PDF for only $10, or in print locally at Modern Myths at only $20!

In addition to creating great games, Hannah has done the hard work for you gathering together nice lists of games for varying types of person or group! For example, she has a list of RPGs you can play with just two players as well as a list of excellent all-ages RPGs! Hannah’s site is a really solid resource for anyone who wants to start playing interesting RPGs, but feels a bit put off by the seeming complexity or prior knowledge required! Thanks, Hannah!

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week!

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Saturday, May 30th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Women’s Game Night
Like the normal Board Game Night, only exclusively open to women! All women of all stripes, specifically including trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary women, are welcome to come hang out with the excellent store manager Melissa while she helps everyone try out fun new games. The event will feature games designed by women, too! Also! Special door prizes by Coventry Decor! A $5 Day Pass is needed to attend, which is instantly converted into store credit!
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at Mystery Time
X-Wing 125-pt Tournament: The Academy
So this is a super neat idea. Rather than being a straight-up build-your-fleet and fight experience, this tournament involves several clever conceits that encourage exciting maneuvering, aggressive flying, and guts! For instance, in “The Circuit” each player chooses one ship to run through the enemy gate and then get back to their own, while other ships try to protect them. Check out the 131 for more information!
Sunday, May 31st
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 3:00pm – 6:00pm
D&D Attack Wing: Tyranny of Dragons Month Four Tournament
The sun rises on a windswept field. Two deadly armies have assembled. Humans, Dragons, Elves, Stenographers, Wizards, Giants, The Hilltowns, X-Men, all here to prove they’re the toughest! This big organized play event uses D&D Attack Wing to tell an epic story! Battle friends! Win neat prizes! Someone’s getting a giant dragon statue! It costs $20 to participate!

Books:

Thursday, May 28th
Packards [14 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA, 01060] at 6:30pm
The Player of Games Book Discussion & Dinner
Join fellow sci-fi nerds to discuss the excellent second novel of Iain M. Bank’s Culture series! The meeting will take place in the Library Room of Packards, and people attending will be expected to order a meal, which is cool because Packards is alright! There’s a limit of 12 attendees, and only 4 spots are left! Check out the meetup page to sign up!

Comics:

Thursday, May 28th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Graphic Novel Book Club
Join the staff at Modern Myths to discuss the finest in literature that also has pictures and probably some punches. This month, the discussion will center on the comic Strong Female Protagonist, Vol 1. A $5 Day Pass is needed to participate, which is instantly converted to store credit. Free participation with proof of purchase of the book from Modern Myths!

Entertainment:

Friday, May 29th
The Platinum Pony [30 Cottage Street, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 10:00pm
Serenity is proud to bring you a night of Pokemon drag and cosplay! Not only will you have an opportunity to see what we can only imagine are either loosely interpreted or distressingly accurate Pokemon, it’s also Serenity Lockhart’s birthday! Cosplay contest at 11pm, Drag Show at 12:15am! It’s a 21+ show!

Movies:

Wednesday, May 27th
Forbes Library Grounds [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 8:30pm – 10:30pm
A free outdoor screening of a classic pulpy action flick! Bring blankets, a picnic basket, a set of tools, spare lumber, a portable generator, and really build your own tiny house on the lawn while preparing to watch the film! Come by at 8:30, pick a spot, and the movie will start when it’s dark enough! Fun times!
Saturday, May 30th
A Person’s House [Near the Post Office, Northampton, MA 01060] at 5:30pm
Outdoor BBQ Followed by The Dark Crystal
The Dark Crystal is such a strange film. Actually there’s a director’s cut available online that is even odder. Finding out Jim Henson was originally an art cinema director makes so much sense! Bring $5 to help defray food costs, and if you’re going to bring any food of your own make sure it is basically just a fruit or a vegetable! To find out where this event takes place, join up with the Meetup group or talk to people on Facebook! Sounds like a great place to meet neat new people!

RPGs:

Monday, May 25th
Comics N’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Public RPG: Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons! Come play 5th edition D&D with GM Neal Robinson! While D&D is a pretty stock system, 5th edition does seem to have reinvigorated people, with a system that’s a bit more amenable to mixing combat and role-playing without making everyone into a pseudo-wizard like 4th edition did. Worried about coming in mid-campaign? Don’t be! There are pre-rolled characters available, so you can hop right in as “that cousin no one talked about who happened to turn up at an inn unexpectedly”!
Saturday, May 30th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Star Wars RPG
The Star Wars universe is pretty weird, right? Technology appears to have been stagnant for literal thousands of years, for one. Also, the Republic apparently lasted thousands of years, and then in the course of at maximum 20 years it completely collapsed and was entirely replaced by a hostile Empire that then almost instantly collapsed. What a weird period that must have been to live through! Anyway! Star Wars RPG, it’s a bit far along now, but we’re certain they could write you in as someone neat!
Comics N’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Public RPG: Pathfinder Pirates
Pathfinder! We’ve never actually used the system but people seem to dig it a lot! Seems like something you should give a shot if you’re interested in RPGs, and why not give it a shot when you can play as a sweet pirate! We recommend patterning yourself after Ching Shih, a real awesome female pirate captain who terrorized the South China Sea with a fleet of over 300 junks manned by over 20,000 pirates! She might be kind of difficult to balance for combat…

Science:

Thursday, May 28th
Springfield Museums [21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA 01103] at 12:15pm
Springfield’s Immigrants: Then & Now
Frances Gagnon, Historian, will present a talk covering the great immigration waves into Springfield. From the earlier settlers to the Great Migration of the 19th century, to the modern newcomers. The issue of “us” versus “them” will be explored throughout the centuries.
Saturday, May 30th
Mass Audobon Connecticut River Valley Wildlife Sanctuaries [127 Combs Road Easthampton, MA 01027] at 10:00am – 2:30pm
A fun filled day of learning about birds! There are live birds of prey, presentations about birds, games about birds, bird walks about dogs, lots of things! Live birds of prey are guaranteed not to carry off your pets or children!

ALERT: Hack for Western Mass Needs YOU!

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Hello all you lovely people! Hack for Western Mass is happening the weekend of June 6-7, and they need your help!

You know how we know you’re lovely? Because like all denizens of the Happy Valley, you’re civic-minded as all get out. Spend your mornings filling potholes and painting mailboxes and your evenings promoting the arts. Really, it’s impressive that you can fit in forty-five different Magic: the Gathering tournaments a day when your schedule is so packed with community-building.

It’s because of this community spirit that we want to offer you a chance to come together with other nerds who love the Valley and who can put your enthusiasm to work on useful projects! Hack for Western Mass is a part of the Hack for Change project, a national civic hacking event that brings together people from all over the community to invent and implement solutions to local problems!

Are you not a computer-style nerd? That’s fine! Hack for Western Mass needs volunteers, project managers, scribes, presenters, designers, just generally smart people who’ll help solve a problem without being too deeply invested in their idiosyncratic Frankenstein code to think straight, and people to promote stuff on social media so as to ensure the Eye of Sauron that is public acclaim is firmly fixed on Western Mass! Eye of Sauron in a good and not scary way.

Are you a computer-style nerd? Then you’re already convinced that everyone needs your skill-set for everything but yes that is accurate in this case, there are a ton of projects that could use your expertise! Current projects are primarily web-based, and range from creating a website for the Permaculture Institute of the Northeast to helping Smith College develop a web app for conducting studies of racial bias in police shootings to developing a cell-phone app that saves time for people looking to park in downtown Springfield!

But the point is that there’s something for everyone at Hack for Western Mass, whatever your skill-set or skill-level. YOU can help make Western Mass a better place to live, and you can do it while meeting great new people! The Nerd Watch will be on hand to help out, and we really hope to meet up with some Watchers while we’re there! So don’t wait, go sign up!

May 18th – May 24th

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The Valley Nerd Watch!


Once again we’re hogging the top spot by talking about our Nerd Nite talk BECAUSE WE CAN! Nerd Nite Noho is a very fun time that we highly recommend seeing under normal circumstances and extremely highly recommend seeing on June 1st at 7:00pm at Eastworks, because we’ll be presenting!

The topic will be comic book continuity, and how YOU help to shape it! And what a time to present, what with both DC and Marvel doing a major series of continuity shake-ups! We only hope that Earth-1218 makes it through unscathed!

Are you looking for awesome new adventure and fantasy fiction? Are you looking for unique and interesting games? Well you’re in luck! Local nerd notable and person with a cool name Epidiah Ravachol has been putting together a spectacular magazine called Worlds Without Master since last year and has already produced seven beautiful issues! You can pick up back issues on the site, or you can join the Patron Horde and receive new issues as they come out!

The current issue features “A game of wondrous and horrifying geography”, “a tale with a monstrous protagonist”, a whole bunch of beautiful artwork, the comic Barbarian Lord, and “a miscellany of ill-fates”. We cannot imagine the human being for whom this is not an enticing offer!

Are you interested in becoming a Game Master? Modern Myths is looking for new volunteer GMs! You’ll get $5 in store credit every time you run a game that has at least 4 players in attendance. Plus, you’ll have a fun time! Apply here!

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week!

THIS WEEK


Books:

Monday, May 18th
Odyssey Books [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00pm
Open Fiction Group
The Open Fiction Group reads one paperback novel a month and then has discussions led by local author Ellen Meeropol. The group typically meets the third Monday of the month! This week is the frankly incredibly harrowing-sounding book “An Untamed State
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm-8:30pm
Great Books Discussion: Orlando
Come discuss the weirdest novel by Virginia Woolf! It’s the one about a maybe-immortal who seems pretty cool. This group is facilitated by Hilary Caws-Elwitt, who has some impressive qualifications but mostly just really loves reading and discussing books!
Tuesday, May 19th
Odyssey Books [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00pm
Patrick Robbins, “To Make Others” Happy Signing
Come see Patrick Robbins and get a copy of his strange novel of happiness facilitation services signed! You will be asked to purchase a copy from Odyssey in order to join the signing line!
Wednesday, May 20th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Author Talk: James Cambias
Local sci-fi writer James Cambias will discuss and sign copies of his most recent book, Corsair! It sounds kind of extremely cool, too! It’s about space piracy in the near-future, where the game is trying to get orbital shipments redirected into international water so you can claim it as salvage.
Wednesday, May 20th
Jones Library [43 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Mystery Lovers Book Club Author Event
Meet Kate Flora, author of the Joe Burgess mystery series! Attendees who leave their email will be entered into a raffle to have their name in the next Joe Burgess mystery! We’re not certain you want to be in a mystery novel, though! It’s a harsh place to be!
Thursday, May 21st
Odyssey Books [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00pm
Sara Nović, “Girl at War” Signing
Odyssey Books will be hosting a signing of the brilliant and powerful debut novel of Sara Nović. Follow Ana Jurić as her life is torn apart by the civil war that broke out across Yugoslavia in the early 90’s and she learns how to survive in a dangerous world! Attendees will be asked to purchase a copy of Girl at War in order to join the book signing line!

Card Games:

Friday, May 22nd
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 11:00pm
Modern Masters Draft
Another Magic release! We swear if they were happening any more often we’d have to move them to the Weekly Events page. For this release there’s a special draft of Friday Night Magic! You’ll draft with 3 boosters of Modern Masters, win a fourth for competing, and if you do well you’ll win more plus some promo cards! It’s a $50 admission, including tax. That of course includes the price of the four packs!
Saturday, May 23rd
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Modern Masters Draft
The same event as above! A special Saturday Modern Masters release draft. Again, it’s a $50 admission, including tax, which of course includes the price of the four packs!

Comics:

Thursday, May 21st
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Queers in Comics and Games Discussion Group
A wonderful discussion group moderated by the store manager at Modern Myths, Melissa. It’s a great, low-pressure way to discuss whatever interesting topic related to queers in comics and games you feel like exploring! This can range from in-depth discussion of a particularly significant work to a whole bunch of interesting recommendations! There’s a $5 day pass required to attend that is immediately converted to store credit!

Computers:

Thursday, May 21st
Amherst Media [246 College Street, Amherst, MA 01002] at 6:00pm
Come learn more about Drupal in a positive and supportive environment, or come to share skills and tips! All are welcome, regardless of skill level or experience. Usually there are drinks afterward at somewhere TBD at the event!

Entertainment:

Wednesday, May 20th – Sunday, May 24 *New Weekly Event*
Downtown Northampton [Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:30 – 9:00pm
Valley Ghost Tours
Ghost tours have just started up again! We’re not saying you should use these tours as a fact-finding mission for future proton-pack equipped excursions into the paranormal underbelly of Northampton but you totally COULD. Check out their website to book tickets!

Science:

Thursday, May 21st
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 4:00pm
Fun With Science
Elementary teacher Corissa Tripp welcomes your kids aged 6-10 each month for a fun and free STEM-based activity! Corissa will read a neat book and have kids make a fun science-related craft!
Saturday, May 23rd
Connecticut River Valley Wildlife Sanctuaries [127 Combs Road Easthampton, MA 01027] at 10:00am – 1:00pm
Turtle and Pond Day
Turtles! They’re cute as heck and we all agree that they’re wonderful. Well this Saturday is World Turtle Day! Join the Mass Audubon Society and learn about our ten native turtle species! Visit a vernal pool! And for the older audience, learn how to protect turtles! As the birthplace of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we really should work to keep turtles around! NOTE: GPS directions may be inaccurate, so use the directions from their website!
Saturday, May 23rd – Sunday, September 6th
Springfield Museums [21 Edwards St., Springfield, MA 01108] at All Day
Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!
Museum patrons will be cordially introduced to the world of Curious George the lovable monkey, and then led on interactive math, science, and engineering-related adventures! Primarily for kids aged 3-7 and their caregivers!

May 11th – May 17th

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The Valley Nerd Watch!


Hey everyone! You know how you like Nerd Nite? You know how you like us even more than you like Nerd Nite because we’re so wonderful? Well good news, you’ll have an opportunity to combine your two loves in a way that you previously could not have dreamed!

That right, we’re giving an Nerd Nite talk about comic book continuity and it will be as informative as it will be funny. And we’re VERY funny! It’ll be Monday, June 1st at Eastworks! We do request you read this prior to attendance.

Hey also have you been looking for an exceptionally dedicated group of local tabletop role-players to hang out with? Are you in luck or what! The Pioneer Valley Gaming Guild have just put up a new website and a new call for gamers! Note: you must be 21 or over, because sometimes there is alcohol at the table.

You should check them out if you’re interested in playing with a dedicated group every month or so. And we do mean dedicated! They’ve just completed a 7 year long 2nd edition AD&D campaign that was played over multiple tables and GMs for one extremely epic arc! They’re thinking about doing a Star Wars one next, which might finish up by the time the new trilogy is complete!

The PVGG is rules-light and roleplaying-heavy. It’s a group to hang out with if you’re interested in relaxing and playing rather than min-maxing. Everyone is invited to their Annual Cookout, Saturday June 6th! It seems like a great time to get to know them, email them if you’re interested!

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week!

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Saturday, May 16th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell St Hadley, MA 01035] at All Day
Armed Forces Day Wounded Warrior Fundraiser
Help out wounded veterans while also getting a bunch of interesting bits of tabletop gaming! The mysterious 131 Gaming Club is hosting the annual Bitz Bazaar and Club Auction, with 10% of the sales going to the Wounded Warrior Project, a noble cause!

Books:

Friday, May 15th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Afternoon Book Discussion: Gentlemen of the Road
Michael Chabon has written some books we like a lot, notably the comic-book centric novel “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”. Gentlemen of the Road is a bit more of a lighthearted if action-packed adventure romp, and we recommend reading it this week and then talking about it with other intelligent folks!
Saturday, May 16th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Experience the Book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This seems like it might be the best thing possible for a child of a certain age and a certain obsession with Harry Potter. There will be an interactive play with a bunch of the Hogwarts faculty, and some magical creatures. There are also refreshments and a costume contest. Sign up is required, so you’ll need to see the staff at the children’s desk to get a ticket!

Card Games:

Saturday, May 16th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm
Magic Booster Drafts!
Magic booster drafts! This week is GATECRASH! We’re going to be entirely honest with you: the next sentence they used in their description reads like something out of the Necronomicon to us. We’re assuming that they’re saying that you get some prize rares and promo cards after the event. The entry fee is $9!

Computers:

Wednesday, May 13th
Forbes Library – Community Room [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Do you manage projects? Do you basically just have to juggle a lot of stuff and make sure it all gets down in an effective manner and a concrete time-frame? Come talk with other people who are skilled at managing things! Learn from them! It’s a heck of a time.
Friday, May 15th
Packards Bar – Library Room [14 Masonic St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 8:00pm
Are you tied to a computer most days? Do you make basically any web-based thing? Maybe you design things? Look, here’s an opportunity to get out of the house and chat with people who share your interests. You should go! It’s Friday night, you need to get out of the house sometimes!

Entertainment:

Friday, May 15th
The Platinum Pony [30 Cottage St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 10:00pm
How to Train Your Drag Queen
A dance party full of friends and fun and drag and also probably costumes, and we’re assuming dragons? It’ll be a blast! The drag show starts at midnight, but the doors open at 10, with an $8 cover!

Movies:

Sunday, May 17th
The Platinum Pony [30 Cottage St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 4:00pm
Big Hero 6 Free Screening
How delightful! A free screening of Big Hero 6! And somehow concurrent, a barbecue? Whatever it should be a fun time, Big Hero 6 seemed like a fun film to us and everyone loves barbecue.

RPGs:

Monday, May 11th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Public RPG: Dungeons and Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons! It’s really putting it out there right on the tin. It’s not the most innovative system anymore, and you will almost certainly wind up hitting either stock Orcs or stock Gerblins with stock fantasy weapons. But man, it certainly is a touchstone. And like any RPG, playing with a friendly group is a blast! Hang out with host Neal Robinson as he guides you into worlds of ADVENTURE!
Saturday, May 16th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Fear the Living RPG Demo!
This is so cool! Last year Local Hero John Thomas Jessop successfully Kickstarted an extremely interesting RPG called Fear the Living, a zombie apocalypse RPG! This weekend you’ll be able to play the game with him! Sounds like a completely cool time! Possibly our favorite bit about the system is that the more ostensibly useless a talent is, the bigger a bonus you get when the bonus applies. Always a fun time making a toaster repairman that winds up coming in real handy!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Public RPG: Pathfinder Pirates
Join host Tim Shields for a pirate adventure RPG! All are welcome, there are pre-rolled characters if you need one! Or you could find out whether or not you can make your character a gigantic sentient parrot with a tiny pirate that sits on their shoulder and asks for grog. There’s nothing in the rulebook that says we can’t do that, Tim! We don’t care if it fits your campaign setting, Tim!

Science:

Monday, May 11th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Ethics of Fracking
So, fracking. How about it? It’s a huge new fixture in energy production, yet it’s also possible that it’s a literal super-villain earthquake machine. See a free screening of the film “The Ethics of Fracking” which will likely make you think wow, it is not wonderful that science lags 40 years behind industry most of the time!

May 4th – May 10th

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The Valley Nerd Watch!


This week the trivia theme at The Quarters is, predictably, Star Wars! May the 4th, and all that? Still, if you happen to be a walking wookiepedia, you could clean up!

We hope you had an excellent Free Comic Book Day this weekend! Don’t forget that your local comic retailers are open even on days when they are not handing out free books and also that comic books are super cool.

In case you missed it, check out our interview with local hero Jesse Bemben of Pioneer Valley Games!

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week!

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Saturday, May 10th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
D&D Attack Wing: Tyranny of Dragons Month Three Tournament
The sun rises on a windswept field. Two deadly armies have assembled and prepared for battle. Humans, Elves, Chemists, Orcs, Napoleon, the Avengers, Dragons, Wizards, A Painting of a Wizard on the Side of a Van and more are here to prove they’re the strongest! D&D Attack Wing, a miniatures game about making every fantasy creature imaginable fight, sounds like a fun time. Greenfield Games is holding the middle event of a six-month Story Line Organized Play, come join the fight and win fun prizes! Entry fee is $5!

Books:

Wednesday, May 6th
Forbes Library [20 West Street, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm
Local History/Local Novelists Series
Four local authors will come to Forbes to read to you from their latest works! Ellen Meeropol, John Clayton, MB Caschetta, and Alex Myers will be in attendance. Insist that they do silly voices!
Forbes Library [20 West Street, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Group: Hydrogen Sonata
Have you read the epic Hydrogen Sonata by legendary science fiction author Iain M. Banks? Can you read it by Wednesday? Then come talk about it with friendly people!

Computers:

Tuesday, May 5th
The Foundry [24 Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
Northampton Webdive – After Work
Ah, nothing like a cool dip into the refreshing waters of the web after work, are we right? Come hang out with local web designers, coders, and generally the sort of folks who might go to a webdive. RSVP on their meetup page!
Saturday, May 9th
Owl and Raven [2 Conz St Unit #42, Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Code-In
Hey, if you like Joshua Yearsley’s talk at Nerd Nite, why not attend a code-in at the cooperative he helps run? We’ve been to a couple of these, and it’s a nice way to get an introduction to the co-working space and to meet other interesting people!

RPGs:

Thursday, May 7th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 10:30pm
Indie RPG Night
Getting a bit tired of having played Dungeons & Dragons exclusively for an incredibly long time? Kind of hate Elves now, in a way that makes you feel weird because you didn’t think it was possible to develop this kind of malice toward something fictional? Try something, ANYTHING different at Indie RPG Night! Last time the Nerd Watch attended, we played a game about being pro wrestlers and it was a lot of fun!
Saturday, May 9th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Star Wars RPG
Star Wars! The thing we hope you weren’t planning on attending last weekend because that was a clerical error on the part of the Nerd Watch staff. Sorry about that! THIS is the weekend for Star Wars. We’re sure last weekend was also a weekend for Star Wars somewhere, but this weekend is the weekend you can actually get together with a pre-established group of people and play the Star Wars RPG at Modern Myths!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Mutants and Masterminds
So you saw Age of Ultron this past week and had one overwhelming thought: you could totally do better. Well here’s your chance! Create a blockbuster superhero spectacle using the power of your imagination! Rip the veil between worlds and wrench into existence beings possessed of power no mortal mind can comprehend! Witness the apocalyptic destruction of this reality as it is supplanted by a higher plane! Do this primarily by rolling dice and consulting a rulebook. It should be a fun time! It’s hosted by either Crispy AND Nola, or by Crispy who also goes by Nola. Either way they’re probably a great GM.
Friday, May 8th – Sunday, May 10th
Chesterfield Scout Reservation [22 Sugar Hill Road, Williamsburg, MA 01096] at All Day Every Day
LARPing! It seems like one of the more fun ways to spend a weekend. Though we’re still not actually veterans of any particular LARP, it’s certainly a style of roleplaying with a heck of a lot more potential and range than either computer or pen-and-paper RPGs! Give it a shot this weekend!

Science:

Monday, May 4th
Eastworks [116 Pleasant St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 7:00pm
Nerd Nite
Two exciting talks this week! First of all, Ph.D. candidate Kristina Curro will go into the extremely fun concept of reality as a biologically constrained illusion! Like how you always perceive your visual field as whole even though you have testable blind spots! It’s super cool, and we’re excited. Then, Joshua Yearsley of the wonderful Owl and Raven will discuss how tabletop games can make us better people. Given their track record, we expect this talk will be snowed out. As always, admission is $5.
Wednesday, May 6th
Amherst Cinema [28 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:00pm
Science on Screen: Blade Runner
See a classic science-fiction film, preceded by some discussion of science fact! Lee Spector, professor of Cognitive Science at Hampshire College will speak about the possibility of developing an artificial brain and what that might mean for humanity. Then we’ll watch Blade Runner and think super deep thoughts about sentience!