Month: August 2015

August 31st – September 6th

XMen131CoverThe Valley Nerd Watch!


OH GOSH OH GOLLY IT’S ALMOST TIME

TOPATOCON! THE BIG EVENT! SEPTEMBER 26th – 27th

For real though we’re incredibly jazzed about TopatoCon, what fun it will be! Lots of nice artists and writers and designers and other creative types will be there hanging out with their wares. You can contribute directly to art you find enjoyable!

You can have that pleasant but kind of awkward conversation you have with a person you feel you know via their artistic output but who does not feel the same way about you! You might not be able to become fast friends with your idols, but it is still thrilling to have an opportunity to speak with them!

Also, guess what? Nerd Nite is the middle of the month this month! September 14th, put it in your calendar! It will be about cool artwork and implicit biases, you’ll like it. It will also have a shocking announcement! Your minds will collectively blow! If you only go to one Nerd Nite… please don’t do that, go to all the Nerd Nites they’re all fun.

Finally, if you are currently playing Rocket League – the excellent game about cars in hats with rocket engines playing soccer with a giant bomb – let us know! We’d love to play on a team with our wonderful readers.

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week! And don’t forget to check out the updated Book Clubs List!

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Sunday, September 6th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Sunday Heroclix!
Heroes that click! Heroes that fight! Also villains! Also just like, background characters at this point. BUT the point is here’s a miniatures game where you can make Wolvering team up with Venom to fight Shatterstar and Spiral, it’s awesome and you should give it a shot… bub! Hosted by Jaimie!

Books:

Friday, September 4th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Crafternoon: Book Bags!
Hey, you. Yeah, that’s right. Come over here. We here you like…. <__>… booooks. Yeaaaah. Yeah, you’re into books, we could tell. Well if you love books so danged much you sometimes have trouble carrying them home, head to forbes to get a library bag and then decorate it!

Card Games:

Tuesday, September 1st
Greenwood Park Senior Center [231 Maple Rd, Longmeadow, MA 01060] at 6:45pm
Longmeadow Cribbage Club
Some people at a senior center are looking for cribbage players! Cribbage is sort of like Magic the Gathering or Netrunner except it is considered classier because the pictures on the cards are more boring. And you don’t tap anything. Co-ed, 21+, call (413)848-2147!
Sunday, September 6th
Worlds Apart Games [48 North Pleasant Street B2, Amherst, MA 01002] at 12:00pm – 5:00pm
GPT Pittsburg – Modern
Alright we’re going to play Event Detective here. The only thing in this event description is a little gerblin with a lamp made of thorn vines. We assume this is Pittsburg, the Modern Gerblin. Your task is to play enough Magic the Gathering to make him happy again! Try to help out good old Pittsburg this Sunday!

Computers:

Tuesday, September 1st
The Foundry [24 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
Northampton Webdive – After Work
Do you web-code? Do you gleam the cube? Hack the matrix? Are you Zero Cool? Well come meet up with other super cool um… phone phreakers? We’ve been putting up a false front everyone we got no clue about computers. If you do, meet up with fellow coders for a drink!

Entertainment:

Thursday, September 3rd
Jones Library [43 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Jones Library TRIVIA!
Mark “Harpo” Power has offered to host trivia on Thursdays now! Lovely! Do the Art Walk and then join everyone for a Trivia Night. Bring your friends and family if and ONLY if they will contribute to your team. If they aren’t trivia buffs, force them to wait in the car. Five people per team, $5-$10 suggested donation!
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Anime Club
Teens! Young adults! Anime fans! But we repeat ourselves. All cool teens and youngsters are anime fanatics. Meet to discuss and watch and read and enjoy anime and manga! It will be delightful.

Movies:

Wednesday, September 2nd
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:45 – 9:45
Beetlejuice on the Lawn
Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice is playing on the lawn! And beforehand, a band that plays unplugged movie soundtrack songs, the Super 8 Players, will be playing a short set. Bring snacks and a blanket and friends! We either accidentally put this in last week’s Nerd Watch or it got moved, we forget!

RPGs:

Thursday, September 3rd
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00pm – 6:00pm
RPG Club
Come hang out at the Palmer Library and play some sort of a Role-Playing Game with people who are nice! Create your own character or even characters! Describe their adventures until someone says “wait wait no roll a die first… okay yes continue”!
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Indie RPG Night: Night Witches
Indie RPG Night is a great way to play interesting games with wonderful people. And what an interesting game this time! Players take on the role of a member of the brave Night Witches, Russian female aviators in WW2 who flew 1920’s-era prop planes in some of the most daring missions of the war!
Friday, September 4th
Chesterfield Scout Reservation [22 Sugar Hill Road, Chesterfield, MA 01096]
The Market of the Moons
Two days of fun for the whole family inspired by fairies! Don’t worry, bring your kids to this fun LARP! It isn’t like fairies are know for child-theivery! They assure us they’re just going to have a fun camp, vend interesting materials, and lead people on a fun dungeon advenutre! Ten dollars gets you access for the entire weekend. Bring your own tent or sleep in a group cabin! Come dressed in costume! Definitely don’t worry about fae folk robbing you of your little lones!
Saturday, September 5th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Pathfinder Society
The brave and mysterious Pathfinder Society has come to Comics N’ More! They all work toward a single goal… for now! Who knows what plots the people pulling their strings have cooked up? Join up now to find out over the course of a long and eventful official adventuring season!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Public RPG: D&D 5th Ed
Join the dark and mysterious Master of the Dungeon LEX MANDRAKE as he weaves his spell of mystery and adventure around and about the crenelations of your brains! This is a single-session spectacular hand crafted by the Comics N’ More staff! New players are welcome and pre-made characters are provided!
Sunday, September 6th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 10:30pm
Saga of the Icelanders RPG
Based on the popular, extensible, fun, and LOCAL Apocalypse World system by Vincent Baker, this game is all about managing to settle the harsh environs of Iceland in 874! Play a Norse settler dealing with honor, blood feuds, and harsh winters! Build a new society from scratch and write your own Saga this Sunday!

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August 24th – August 30th

XMen42CoverThe Valley Nerd Watch!


Remember, if you don’t see your favorite local shop in the Valley Nerd Watch newsletter there are a couple possible ways forward. First, alert us to the absence! Via Twitter, Facebook, or just plain-old reliable email. We’re only [?] people, and can’t find every neat local place on our own! That’s why we need rubes to extend our reach. Second, check the WEEKLY EVENTS page! It’s possible the store you like is just not doing any special events this week, only their regular weekly stuff. Which is on the Weekly Events page. As always, thank you for reading!

Hey, any of you out there into Netrunner? You know, the card game? Because we’re kind of big fans of Netrunner and we don’t get to play it as often as we’d like. And it seems like local stores are not so into doing anything but Magic when it comes to card game stuff. Let the Nerd Watch know if you too bemoan the lack of running nets around town and maybe if enough people are interested we can talk some shops into making a… Thursday Night Netrunner or something. Just spit-balling, it could even be a Tuesday Night Netrunner. The possibilities are literally seven.

Finally this week we would like to point you to a local artist! Aaron Wood has been creating really solid propaganda/retro-travel/art deco designs about a lot of geeky topics for a while now and you should definitely check out his work.

We feel like he does a solid job of creating pieces that are effective in their own right, rather than just being interesting because they’re done in a retro minimalist style. The planets series in particular is spectacular use of the mythical sense of what planets might have been, before we found out that Venus wasn’t hiding a rainforest and Mars didn’t have watery canal systems. Our favorite is Mercury, though.

Look at that! Lovely.Anyway the point is, if you need posters to brighten up your living space, support a nice local person by giving him money in exchange for interesting artwork! The best deal is definitely the big pack of all the retro planetary travel posters. Save $25, and give some to your friends if you can’t quite support eight planets and one dwarf planet’s worth of posters.

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week! And don’t forget to check out the updated Book Clubs List!

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Monday, August 24th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School Street, Sunderland, MA 01375]at 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Board Game Night
Come play board games with friends! Bring your own or play some of the provided games. There’s also popcorn for snacking! Grades 5th – 8th only, no sign up necessary!
Thursday, August 27th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Game Night
Join the fine friendly folks at Palmer Public Library for a chance to learn new games and enjoy old classics! The featured game will be revered classic sheep-trading simulator Settlers of Catan, but others from the library’s collection will also be available!

Card Games:

Friday, August 28th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm
August Friday Night Magic
Every Friday in August, Greenfield Games is hosting Friday Night Magic! Two tournaments in two formats: Standard and Modern. There are three to four rounds of Swiss pairings. There’s also a $5 entry fee BUT fabulous prizes like booster packs and a cool promo card.

Entertainment:

Tuesday, August 25th
Haven at Divas [492 Pleasant St #3, Northampton, MA 01060]at 9:00pm – 2:00am
Haven Faire
Okay so this is a thing? How’d we miss this. Let’s see Medieval merriment, goth/industrial dance, a midnight costume contest… turkey legs oh gosh no don’t eat turkey legs while clubbing PLEASE no one do that. Dress up in costume, dance and have fun, do not eat any turkey legs! There’s an $8 cover and it’s 21+.
Friday, August 28th
The Platinum Pony [0 Cottage St, Easthampton, Massachusetts 01027] at 10:00pm
Serenity’s Chibi-Con Drag Show: Darkstalkers
Darkstalkers has never really been the king of fighting games, and certainly never the the King of Fighters of fighting games. But it certainly does have colorful characters. Here’s your chance to dress up as them! Doors open at 9:30pm, dancing starts at 10:00pm, there’s a costume contest at 11:00pm, and there’s a big drag show at midnight! Come in character, win prizes! There’s a $10 cover, and it’s 21+.
Friday, August 28th – Sunday, August 30th
Clarion Hotel & Conference Center [1 Atwood Dr., Northampton, MA 01060]
Wow! So many conventions nearby in such a short space of time. This one in particular seems like a fun, low-key con with a focus on science fiction and cosplay.

Movies:

Monday, August 24th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060]at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
The Heist
The Northampton Committee to Stop War presents a free screening of The Heist followed by a discussion of the film. It seems like a reasonably wide-ranging film focusing on the idea that there’s a significant and purposeful subsuming of the democratic process by business interests in the US. The discussion should be interesting!
Wednesday, August 26th
Forbes Library Lawn [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:45pm
Beetlejuice on the Lawn
Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice is playing on the lawn! And beforehand, a band that plays unplugged movie soundtrack songs, the Super 8 Players, will be playing a short set. Bring snacks and a blanket and friends!

RPGs:

Monday, August 24th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Public RPG: Dungeons & Dragons
Dragons get a bad rap. Sure, they’re enormous and they hog resources and they eat people and also they see humans as no better than ants, but they’re important apex predators! And besides, you’re more likely to get killed by a snack machine falling on you. Well, unless you’re an adventurer. It’s 5th Ed., hosted by Neal Robinson!
Thursday, August 27th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Public RPG: Mutants & Masterminds
Play as a superhero and beat up villains in what they’re calling a comic cook themed RPG on the Comics N’ More calendar. We think that’s a typo, but why not run with that? Make yourself a cooking-themed superhero! We suppose The Iron Chef is a gimme, but yeah that’d be fun. Join at any session, new players welcome, pre-made characters and dice are provided, hosted by Christopher Paton and Nola Leigh!
Friday, August 28th – Sunday, August 30th
Chesterfield Scout Reservation [22 Sugar Hill Road, Chesterfield, MA 01096] at 7:00pm
Dreams are forcing their way into reality! The menace of the Gatekeeper looms! The darkness of the Evernight hides powerful enemies! Magestry is now a lot more welcoming to new players, so sign up now! The fee is just $30 for first time players, including Saturday Dinner. It’s FREE for volunteer staff, plus meals! Email info@magestry.com to get a free account for the online character generator.
Saturday, August 29th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Public RPG: Edge of the Empire
Star Wars! Only in a different, slightly worse universe. Basically Luke got killed by Vader during A New Hope, and now things are cruddy as they are wont to be when a Death Star is something that’s actually being factored into governmental policy. Play as mysterious mercenaries making your way in a harsh world! Pre-made characters available, join any time, hosted by Tim Shields!

Science:

Thursday, August 27th
The Platinum Pony [0 Cottage St, Easthampton, Massachusetts 01027] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
SEXperts
Whoa, racy, saucy, educational! SEXperts is your chance to see a panel of some of the Happy Valley’s best and brightest sex experts and educators. They’ll cover the gamut of basically sex things, which a lot of people consider quite interesting and important. They’ll provide informative demonstrations, and there’s a chance for a Q&A. Come at 7:00pm to submit an anonymous question and grab a drink!
Forbes Library, Coolidge Museum [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:00pm
Cookies with a Curator
Learn about the mysterious Charles Forbes himself with Local History & Genealogy Librarian Elise Benier-Feeley! You’ll get to see historic documents, diaries, and learn about the benefactor of our wonderful local library.

August 17th – August 23rd

XMen24BackThe Valley Nerd Watch!


So we’re still not completely certain if any of our readers have Steam accounts, but we’re pretty excited to recommend you play a computer game! Invisible, Inc. is a really fun game about stealthily robbing places around the world in order to save your super-secret spy organization. It’s kind of like playing a much more serious version of Archer. Part of the fun is that you tend to triumph against odds that seem impossible, even on the beginner difficulty!

Let us know on the Facebook page or on our Twitter account whether or not you actually play video games! If you do, we might be thinking of putting together something fun like a Towerfall or a Nidhogg get-together!

So are you all as excited about TopatoCon as we are? Because we’re REALLY EXCITED! There are a huge number of really neat exhibitors! You’ll definitely find something of interest to you! Including, of course, a lot of locals who are doing various cool things.

Read the TopatoCon code of conduct to know how to conduct yourself at the con! It boils down to: be cool, please.

And finally, we think they’re still looking for volunteers! If you want to pitch in, just use this form.

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

THIS WEEK


Art:

Wednesday, August 19th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Teen Creative Writing
Are you a budding novelist? A poet who DOES know it? Also a teen? The creative writing group meets to work on a variety of writing activities and share their work together as they feel comfortable. Facilitated by Bridget, and snacks are provided!
Friday, August 21st
Platinum Pony [0 Cottage St, Easthampton, Massachusetts 01027] at 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Dr Sketchy’s
A body-positive cabaret figure-drawing session! Hone your craft while hanging out and having fun! Bring your own supplies, get some drinks and delicious foods, sketch some cool models, and even enter for a chance to win prizes from FOE, Topatoco, and Oh My Sensuality Shop!

Board Games:

Saturday, August 22nd
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at All Day
Cook Out With the 131
There will be miniature game demos, there will be some open play, and there will be a chance to meet and greet with the community! What fun. Good place to be if you’re looking for people with whom to play miniatures battling games!
Sunday, August 23rd
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Sunday Heroclix
Hosted by Jaimie! You can hang out and play this cute miniatures battling game where you bash all the various heroes and villains of Marvel and DC and Dark Horse and WIldstorm and… comic people just in general! Try a team of alternate versions of a single character! Maybe Captain Marvel.
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday Board Games
Stop by the store and play some board games! Games provided, or you can bring your own! We recommend Pandemic, that’s a fun time. Oh, or we’ve been looking forward to trying out the XCOM board game, it seems neat! Don’t bring Diplomacy.

Books:

Wednesday, August 19th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 4:00pm – 4:45pm
Teen Advisory Board
Teens! Take as much control as possible of your local institutions as early as possible. We hate to break this to you, but things aren’t looking great and older people are all pretty much just banking on having croaked right as it gets really bad. The TAB meets regularly to discuss books, plan library events, and improve programming at the library!
Thursday, August 20th
Jones Library [43 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Discussion of Go Set a Watchman with Prof. Barry O’Connell
Join the nice folks at Jones for a lively discussion of Harper Lee’s new book, the sequel to that one book you probably read oh it’s just a little thing called… TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD? The conversation will be led by Barry O’Connell, James E. Ostendarp Professor of English, Emeritus, at Amherst College. Oh those weren’t three people that was a title that makes more sense. Refreshments will be served.

Card Games:

Thursday, August 20th
Worlds Apart Games [48 North Pleasant Street B2, Amherst, MA 01002] at All Day
From the Vault Angels Pre-Order
We’re going to straight-up admit we do not know what this is. What vault? Why angels? What even are the particulars of the afterlife in Magic: The Gathering? When you play the game is the implication that everyone dies when you put a card in the Graveyard? Still, buy some new cards for $67.50 – $75.00!
Friday, August 21st
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00pm
Magic the Gathering August Friday Night Magic
All month long at Greenfield Games, you can play Friday Night Magic! Two tournaments with two fun formats: Standard and Modern. There are Swiss pairings of 3 to 4 rounds, and a $5 entry fee. There are lots of prizes!

Comics:

Thursday, August 20th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Queers in Comics and Games Discussion
This is a really great discussion group! Fun times with kind people who talk about interesting things. You can always count on an interesting recommendation and a lot of very thoughtful discussion of LGBTQIA+ representation in comics and games. Admission is a $5 day pass that becomes store credit immediately.

Computers:

Thursday, August 20th
Amherst Media [246 College St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Western MA Drupal Meetup
Meet fellow Drupal developers and trade secrets! Develop handshakes! Join together, bound by unknowable, gossamer threads. Thrumming, potent, sing new worlds into existence. Drinks generally to follow at a place TBD at the meetup!
Friday, August 21st
Packard’s Bar – Library Room [14 Masonic St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 8:00pm
Northampton Webdive – After Dark
A regular meetup of coders, web designers, web… just web-type people. It’s a great time to meet up with other developers and get some advice, or just hang out and develop friendships with people who understand your frustrations and triumphs!

Entertainment:

Tuesday, August 18th
Divas [492 Pleasant St #3, Northampton, MA 01060] at 10:00pm – 1:00am
Games Geeks and Cosplay
You heard them! It’s a fun time with some DJs spinning chip tunes dance hits because when you’re nerdy you actually cannot process music that doesn’t sound like an old video game we think. There’s going to be some vendors with neat stuff, video games, and it’s a Game of Thrones theme! Dress in costume! IT’s 21+ and there’s an $8 cover.
Thursday, August 20th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School Street, Sunderland, MA 01375] at 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Laser Tag in the Library!
Kids grades 5th – 8th should sign up and come to the library to play laser tag in the library! Act out zombie-apocalypse fantasies in a fun setting! With ray guns.
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Anime Club
Anime and manga are fun times that a lot of people enjoy. Hang out with these people and watch, read, discuss, and enjoy these art forms! Open to teens and young adults ages 14 and up. Though the Young Adults part suggests a ceiling? We’ll say 14-24? We’re not really certain when Young Adult ends. If it feels weird, pull the ripcord!

Movies:

Wednesday, August 19th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Ex Machina in the Community Room
A cool movie! Or so we’ve heard. We haven’t actually seen it, and we’d like to! This is a chance to see it, so we’re excited about that. We’ve heard good things about Ex Machina, even heard it compared favorably to Blade Runner!
Saturday, August 22nd
MYSTERY LOCATION [Must join the meetup to find out!] at 6:00pm
Akira
Akira! A real awesome incredibly influential anime that people are big into for good reasons. It’s a beautiful cyberpunk vision of the future, one of the best animated movies of all time. Please bring $5 to defray the cost of food! Join the meetup to find out where this neat event is happening!

RPGs:

Thursday, August 20th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00pm – 6:00pm
RPG Club
Create a character! Explore their adventures! Explore their mind! Really get in there deep and think about what it would be like to be that person! No! No wait, too far! You’re all the way in! You’re tumbling through the Space Between and being reborn in the world of the RPG you were playing! All ages welcome, no experience necessary.
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Public RPG: Pathfinder Pirates
Stop by the shop to adventure on the high seas! This is a 5th-level game, but new players are totally welcome! You can join at any time and you’ll get tossed a pre-made character and some dice! It’s hosted by Tim Shields, a very nice person. You’ll like it! Play as a Parrot Elemental if you can. That’s just a swarm of parrots in the form of a person.
Saturday, August 22nd
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Pathfinder Society
Play in an official Pathfinder Society game! If you get to a high enough level in the game, the Last Starfighter clause kicks in and you’re drawn into a mystical world of adventure! That’s how it is at all official RPG events, it’s why you see people disappear in a twinkle of mystical light so often!
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Star Wars RPG
Star Wars! Wars in the Stars! Technically, we suppose all wars take place in the stars. We’re pretty excited about the Rogue One announcement, it seems like it might be a pretty cool film. If you are the sort of person who also gets excited about Star Wars, play the RPG at Modern Myths!

Science:

Wednesday, August 19th
River Valley Market [330 North King St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Free Picnic Presentation/Stealth Science Cafe?
So there’s a free picnic presentation series at River Valley Market, it seems fun! The current week looks like it’s in the general Nerd Watch sphere of interest because it has Skye Long and Laura Doubleday presenting, two of the people who organize the OEB Science Cafes! Though it doesn’t say what they’ll be presenting.
Friday, August 21st
Emily Dickinson Museum [280 Main St, Amherst, MA 01002] at All Day
Free Fun Friday
Learn about an interesting local celebrity at a museum! Become more historically literate, and all at no cost to yourself.
Saturday, August 22nd
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:00pm
Caleb Cooley Dickinson: Eccentric, Lunatic, or Something Else?
W. Michael Ryan will speak at Historic Northampton about Caleb Cooley Dickinson! Kind of always assumed that the hospital was named after two people! He was a Hatfield farmer who left his $100,000 estate to build a hospital in Northampton. His kids tried to prove he was mentally unfit so they could get the money! Sounds like a heck of a story.

August 10th – August 16th

XMen44CoverThe Valley Nerd Watch!


We have a big announcement this week! So you all love Nerd Nite Northampton because it’s a good time where you drink and socialize and get to hear about interesting things, right? Right, agreed. Well done, we’re starting off on solid footing.

Well, Mo is leaving. Mo, the person who does Nerd Nite! That’s terrible! Yes! It’s the worst, weeping and gnashing your teeth is the appropriate reaction to this news. Let it all out. But wait! There’s great news that will turn around your mood!

Ebru, the person who has brilliantly and selflessly assisted with Nerd Nite, and is responsible for all the really nice pictures of the event, is going to step up and take the reins of Nerd Nite! She’s great, and this is great. But there’s EVEN BETTER news!

Our lovely founder James is going to partner up with Ebru to make Nerd Nite even better! James is super into talking to a captive audience, so he’s going to MC the events from now on. He’s also going to be helping out Ebru with things like putting up flyers and finding speakers! It will be pretty wonderful!

So what we’re saying is that if you haven’t already gone to Nerd Nite a bunch, you should start! It’s only going to get better with two nerds at the helm!

Come see Nerd Nite at Eastworks tomorrow at 7:00pm! It’s going to be a chat about prison populations and the dangers of overuse of technology. It will be an excellent, interesting time!

This is the last day you’ve got left to get a discount on the very excellent RPG Questlandia! Developed by local notables Hannah Shaffer and Evan Rowland, you definitely will enjoy it! It’s a good time with friends, a cooperative GM-less RPG that’s simple to pick up and play.

Remember, the ~*Weekly Events*~ page exists and it was recently updated! It loves you and it misses you! Also look at the Book Club list!

THIS WEEK


Art:

Tuesday, August 11th
Edwards Public Library [30 East St, Southampton, MA 01073] at 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Fairy Houses
Build houses for the wee people of the forest! Trap them in a maze of the familiar in order to extract their mysterious power! Warp their wills to your own, constructing an army fit to bring the mundane world to heel! Bring a small box as a base.

Board Games:

Sunday, August 16th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Star Trek Attack Wing OP Event: “Peak Performance”
We love games in fictional settings because they’re inevitably just real silly seeming. Strategema, 3D chess, Quidditch, they’re all just poorly designed and boring. Because obviously the writers are writing adventures, not designing board games. Anyway! Go to Greenfield Games and try to prove your crew is operating at “peak performance” by defeating the Federation’s most powerful flagship with a salvaged Constellation class that doesn’t have a functional warp drive! Should be fun! Read the rules for this game here!

Card Games:

Saturday, August 15th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at Mystery Time
Magic The Gathering PPTQ
Hang out and play Magic the Gathering at Off the Wall Games! Should be a fun time. More details are coming according to the website, but we’re pretty certain that we can figure it out. Pretty Princess Training Quest? Pleasantly Plump Time Quakes? Private Prowling Triplet Queens? It’s gotta be one of them, right? There are probably prizes!

Movies:

Monday, August 10th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Land of the Free Movie Screening
The Northampton Committee to Stop War presents a free screening of Land of the Free followed by a discussion of the film with Lois Ahrens from the Real Cost of Prison project! Learn new, probably quite depressing things! Maybe work toward positive change after you learn sad things!
Sunday, August 16th
The Platinum Pony [30 Cottage St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Movie Night: The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games universe is really kind of a surprise hit. If you’d asked us “Nerd Watch: what are teens all about?” a few years ago we’d have definitely said malls, kisses, and cell phones. We would not have said terrifying moral quandries, forced murder, and the horrific aftereffects of total war. Teens are darker than we realized!

RPGs:

Monday, August 10th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Public RPG: Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons! Hosted by Neal Robinson. It’s the 5th Edition, which seems to be striking a bit of a sweet spot in terms of balancing role-play and decent combat mechanics. Though we really recommend focusing on the role-playing regardless. It’s easy to get sucked into 10 hours of D&D combat, but role-playing makes for much more entertaining stories!
Thursday, August 13th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Public RPG: Edge of the Empire
WAIT how did we not know the PREMISE here? This is an alternate-universe setting! Set just after A New Hope, in a universe where Vader just cracked Luke’s X-Wing cockpit with the Force, killing him and saving the Death Star. Delightful. Tim Shields hosts as players enter this dark universe as mercenaries working for a Hutt on the planet Gavos. Pre-made characters are available and new players are welcome!
Saturday, August 15th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Public RPG: D&D 5th Edition
Stop by Comics N’ More to play N’ More D&D on the weekend! This one sounds fun, it’s a one-session module hand-crafted by the hard working and extremely nerdy staff at Comics N’ More and hosted by Lex Mandrake. Justify their writing off creating a D&D module as “work” by attending! New players are welcome, pre-made characters are provided!
Sunday, August 16th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Sagas of the Icelanders
An exciting new game! This sounds really neat. It’s a game about the first Norse Settlers of Iceland, a country that still has about 17 people total, which should give you an idea of how difficult it was to colonize. Challenge social norms! Get into bloody feuds! Survive a winter that puts Game of Thrones to shame! Tell your saga! Powered by the Apocalypse, a system developed in our Happy Valley! Admission is a $5 day pass that immediately becomes store credit. Pre-made characters are provided!

Science:

Monday, August 10th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School Street, Sunderland, MA 01375] at 2:00pm – 3:00pm and 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Blizzards: Outwit the Elements
There’s only one defense we have against the elements: our wits! Without or sharp senses of humor and elegant comedic timing we’d be defenseless. Luckily, cold is a sucker for a well-constructed bon mot. Visit the Sunderland Public Library to check out a neat presentation about engineering a house to withstand harsh weather! It’s appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Sunderland Public Library [20 School Street, Sunderland, MA 01375] at 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Teens and Tweens Board Game Night
Are you the sort of Indoor Kid who likes board games? Meet fellow nerds at this event in the library! Make pals, play games, have a whale of a time with fellow tweens. Look, we don’t know what tweens get up to these days, but can we recommend Pandemic? It’s fun. This event is for grades 5th – 8th!
Eastworks [116 Pleasant St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Nerd Nite Northampton
Nerd Nite! Our founder James is going to MC this one! It’ll be really neat! First, Locked Up, but Not Locked Out: Juvenile Offenders Building Better Lives by Gwynne Morriessey, who has a Ph.D. in Education Policy. Then, the Real Killer App: How Today’s Tech Diminishes Our Lives. How Gadgets are messing with your social life! By Mo Lotman of The Technoskeptic.
Wedneday, August 12th
Earth in General [Anywhere dark, really!] at Very Late Night/Early Morning if it is Clear
The Perseid Meteor Shower
Experience the mystery and wonder of visible evidence that we are on a rock and that rock is moving through space! It’s wonderful and beautiful and we really can’t recommend it enough. Stay up, be a bit woozy at work tomorrow. How often do you get to witness dozens of shooting stars?

Video Games:

Wednesday, August 12th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Minecraft Club
Play Minecraft with other kids! Learn how to do really neat things, like how to make complex electrical devices with Redstone. Good times all around. The fine people at Northampton Community Television will be visiting the Club this week to film a short promo video and talk to people about the club! Participation in the filming is optional.

August 3rd – August 9th!

XMen57CoverThe Valley Nerd Watch!


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

Two things defined this weekend for us: playing the Game of Game of Thrones with friends and getting to check out the lovely cookout at the top of Mount Sugarloaf that the Pioneer Valley Game Developers put on to celebrate their successful first year!

The Game of Game of Thrones was an interesting time. We’d had a chance to play at one of the previous Board Game Day at the Deuce events, and found it an interesting hidden-orders game with a setting that got a charge out of people. Playing it with only three players this weekend definitely introduces some cracks to it. For instance entire areas of the game are cut off from play in an attempt to make things fair for the Starks if you’re only playing with three people.

Still, it’s a good time for you Game of Thrones fans. We also found out while playing that the Lannisters could not be considered “the good guys”, even if we were playing them!

The PVGD cookout was amazing! Sugarloaf is surprisingly beautiful and the food was plentiful and delicious. The people were also real excellent! We spoke at length with a lot of wonderful folks who we will definitely bug for interviews in the future! We can’t recommend the PVGD events enough if you’re the sort of person interested in designing any sort of game. They put you in touch with a great community.

Remember that the Nerd Nite for this month is NEXT Monday, the 10th! It’s going to focus on jailing and rehabilitation and the danger of insidious technological creep. Should be neat!

Remember, the ~*Weekly Events*~ page exists! It loves you and it misses you! Also look at the Book Club list!

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Saturday, August 8th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at Mystery Time
Star Trek Attack Wing Event
??????? It is a Mystery ???????? but presumably you will in some way play Star Trek Attack Wing, a miniatures game where you boldy go destroy people with laser beams in order to further the Federation quest for peace in the galaxy.
Burger King Community Room [344 King St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 12:00pm
Tabletop Gaming Day
Join the lovely people in the Pioneer Valley Geeks and Gamers/Western Mass Sci-Fi Meetup Group for a day of tabletop games! Bring a game that you’re interested in playing if you’d like! We recommend Cosmic Encounter, it’s amazing. Also, we’ve had fun with Roll for the Galaxy. Space!
Sunday, August 9th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Sunday Heroclix!
Heroclix, the fun miniatures game about that moment in comics when all the dialogue is focused exclusively on explaining to other people in the fight what various characters can do and why. Play at Comics N’ More with host Jaimie!

Books:

Wednesday, August 5th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00pm
First Wednesday Speaker Series: Barry Dietz
Join the fine folks at the Greenfield Public Library and presenter Barry Dietz for an interesting discussion of Lewis Carroll and the writing of the classic weird-fiction horror story for children, Alice in Wonderland!

Card Games:

Friday, August 7th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00pm
Magic The Gathering August Friday Night Magic
Every Friday at 6pm in August, there will be two tournaments with two formats! Standard and Modern, Swiss pairing, three or four rounds. There’s a $5 entry fee and a lot of prizes! Booster packs plus a promo card! Fun times with magical magic cards!
Saturday, August 8th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Magic Origins Game Day
Magic! The game with those cards that have pictures and sometimes quotes on them! It’s fun, say a lot of people. Come to Modern Myths to play Standard Constructed Deck, each participant gets a full-art promo card, and each player in the top 8 receives a premium full-art promo card. Winner gets a playmat! There’s a $10 entry fee!
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at 12:00pm
Magic Origins Game Day
Magic! The game we probably bought about 14 decks worth of cards for without playing more than twice. Dang, what silly kids we were. Anyway! This is a free event, standard format!
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm
Magic Origins Game Day
Magic! A game that you probably either play obsessively or not at all! Standard format, Swiss pairings followed by top player elimination rounds. Conclave Naturalist extended art promo card just for participating! Languish extended art promo card for the top 8, and a special champion playmat for the ultimate winner!
Sunday, August 9th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm
Magic Origins Game Day
See above! It’s basically the same. BUT this game day will take place in the future of that previous event! If you go to this event before the Saturday one, you’ve time-traveled and you need help.

Comics:

Thursday, August 6th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Anime Club
Watch, read, discuss, and enjoy anime and manga! Open to Teens and young adults ages 14 and up!
Sunday, August 3rd
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Comic Creator’s Jam
Monthly discussion with a group of both veteran and aspiring comic creators! Talk about the process of creation, talk about writing, talk about art, talk about lettering, talk about kerning, talk about fonts, talk about serifs! Woah no wait, probably focus less on typography we got off track there. Anyway, it is hosted by Kat Cahill and also it is a nice time!

Computers:

Tuesday, August 4th
The Foundry [24 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
Northampton Webdive – After Work
Are you a cool sort who likes to make web related stuff? You should talk to more people in your line of work! We don’t really know precisely how freelance work works but we’re almost certain that the more people you know the better! Meet with nice fellow coders of NoHo WebDev and have a drink!

Entertainment:

Thursday, August 6th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Talking Hands Theatre Company Puppet Show
Celebrate the end of Summer Reading with a special puppet superhero story presentation! Watch Ruby Raccoon and Benny Bunny go from being little superheroes in training to little superheroes in action! They will need to prove they’re super helpful, super fearless, and want to save the world! Spoiler it pretty much will likely go well? Though if this winds up being Little Watchmen we would kind of respect that.

RPGs:

Thursday, August 6th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 10:30pm
Indie RPG Night
Come play interesting RPGs at Modern Myths! Are you tired of the same-old? Are you not remotely familiar with RPGs? In either case, this is your time to try out interesting new games in a low pressure environment! It was at one of these events that the Nerd Watch fell in love with the Apocalypse system! Which is less sinister than it sounds. There’s a $5 fee for entry, immediately converted to store credit!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Pathfinder Pirates
Pirates! Scourge of the Seven Seas! Or however many your GM chooses to put in we suppose. Consult with your GM about the number of seas! This is a 5th level game of Pathfinder, but feel free to join in at any session! Pre-made characters and dice are provided! You don’t have to make your own dice! Hosted by Time Shields!
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00pm – 6:00pm
RPG Club
Join lovely people at Palmer Public Library to play role-playing games! What type? Who knows! It could be a lot of things! Maybe they’re playing something you don’t like? Use rhetoric to change their opinions! You have the power! All ages are welcome, no experience necessary!
Saturday, August 8th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Public RPG: D&D Planescape
Planescape! Essentially the fanfic universe of the D&D cosmos. It’s a fun place to be. Christian Haining will host this game for 5th level characters. Feel welcome to drop in at any point, there are pre-made characters provided! You will need to chisel your own dice out of stone, unfortunately.