Month: December 2015

December 21st – December 28th

The Valley Nerd Watch!

The shortest Nerd Watch on record! For Mystery Reasons, this week is real light on the ground when it comes to events. It’s as though there’s some sort of ur-event, an event that eclipses all others and leaves a wake that can be described as nothing so much as a sickening void.

Whatever this strange power is, you can rest assured we will fight it! We will with our dying breath strike back at whatever prevents people from putting on a ton of interesting events on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of December in the Valley!

But for real have a great time with this weekend. Regardless of whether or not you’re specifically celebrating Christmas, we hope you have the capacity to go see people you dig and have a good time with one of the few days of the year most people get off. You deserve some time off! You’re great, and we can’t wait to spend another year with you, telling you about stuff that is fun.

If you want to do us a favor this holiday weekend, just ask us “Explain in detail your opinions about the new Star Wars movie. Include all possible detail.” and then nod politely for approximately 5 hours.

Want to make someone’s holiday better? Check out the Valley Creators page and purchase something from one of our many local creators!

Might we suggest in particular that you partake of Epimas? We may! We just tested it out, and it worked!

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


Art:

Monday, December 21st
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 8:15pm
The Well-Tempered Ukes
Ukuleles! They’re one of the cutest methods of producing music, everyone agrees. Come see some masters of the cutest instrument play for you! For free! They’re quite kind to do so, what lovely folks.

Board Games:

Sunday, December 27th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Star Trek Attack Wing: Year of Hell Tournament
Zahl. Krenim. Fliongip. One of those is a fake word… well all of those are fake words. What are words, anyway? Two of those are races in Star Trek Voyager! Fight not only your enemies, and the enemies of your enemies, but also temporal distortion waves! Kick the universe itself in the teeth! Entry fee is $5, it’s a constructed format with a 120 SP Fleet Build using some special rules. Everyone gets a participation prize, and some lucky winners will get even better prizes!

Comics:

Monday, December 21st
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm
Queers in Comics & Games Discussion Group
Do you love comic books? Well, talk to other people who love comic books! It’s a great time. This particular discussion group is mostly focused on queer characters in comics and games. It’s moderated by store manager Melissa, who’s great at starting dicussion! Come for fine friendly folks freely… frig there is not an F word for conversing that I can remember. Stay for recommendations and laughter!

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December 14th – 20th

The Valley Nerd Watch!


Happy December! We hope it’s a good month for you, despite the fact that you’re likely dealing with a bunch of holiday-related stress. Or finals, maybe? Man, we’re so frigging happy we don’t have finals any more. Wow, like the working world has its own problems obviously, but finals were the wooorst. Speaking of the worst, today’s Nerd Watch is a bit later than we’d like it to be thanks to the magic of *migraines*.

Speaking of how migraines are the pits, have you checked out Hannah Shaffer’s brand-new Kickstarted game “14 Days“? It’s about migraines and how people deal with them. Speaking of Hannah Shaffer, have you heard the news? She’s presenting tonight at Nerd Nite NoHo, the most important and entertaining event in all the month of December! She’s going to talk about RPGs, which are good times and also slightly intimidating. Also presenting: Pat King! Pat King is a game designer, and he’s going to talk about his experience creating a VR music video thing called “The Vanishing Point” that is super nifty.

This holiday season, don’t be a danged fool! Check the Valley Creators list to find out which local notable nerds you can support via capitalism! You can also send them a kind card or something, but we’re almost certain they’d appreciate your hard-earned cash as well. There are a ton of people on that list! You’ll find gifts appropriate for friends and family of all ages and interests. You’re welcome.

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


Art:

Wednesday, December 16th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 8:30pm
NaNoWriMo Reading
Finally! A chance for the Saga of the Ice Masters to reach a wider audience! The 45-volume series you wrote over the month of November is brilliant, we all know that. But it still hasn’t received the recognition it deserves. Take your brilliance to the masses by reading selections at this event coordinated by Forbes Writer in Residence Naila Moreira!
Friday, December 18th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Art Journal Study Group
Hey are you into Runes? Well, who isn’t nowadays? The only way to become more powerful in the art of Rune Casting is, as we all know, developing a unique artistic style to allow for more complex Rune Combos! Learn to use the power of art journals to lay waste to your enemies in this unique course hosted by a talented and experienced artist!

Board Games:

Wednesday, December 16th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at All Day
Christmas Party
Delightful! A lovely party for a dark time of the year. This particular party features all day open gaming, as well as demos of Kings of War and a raffle from the venerable 131!
Sunday, December 20th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at 12:00 – ???
BattleTech Alpha Strike Demos
We played the BattleTech RPG two times. We made characters the first time, we fought once out and once in mechs the second time. It still sticks in our head for how intense it was. Our favorite part? The fact that our character lost all four of their limbs over the course of their career in accountancy, thanks to some bad dice rolls in character creation. Anyway! Alpha Strike seems cool, learn to play Sunday afternoon!
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Star Trek Attack Wing: Temporal Cold War Tournament Month One
So hey Enterprise was a pretty terrible show, right? But people generally seem to have positive feelings toward some of the later Temporal Cold War stuff! This Attack Wing tournament will see you trying to keep a raging battle away from the surface of an… EXPLOSIVE PLANET? There’s a $15 entry fee, which gets you a booster and a chance for prizes! Bring a 90sp starting build, to which you will add the booster pack!

Computers:

Tuesday, December 15th
MYSTERY LOCATION SHOWN TO MEMBERS
Getting Started With Docker – Monthly Full Stack Meetup
Michael Klatsky (VP – Systems at Esperdyne Technologies, LLC in Hadley voted “name most indicative of likely contribution to some sort of sinister alien takeover of Earth: five years running) is going to join to talk to people about how to use Docker effectively! Join up at the Meetup to find the location!
Thursday, December 17th
Amherst Media [246 College St., Amherst, MA] at 6:00pm
Western MA Drupal Meetup
Drupal! A useful web design framework that you probably are using or interested in using. Come talk to a bunch of people who also work with Drupal about your own work and how to solve problems and all that jazz! Fun and useful.
Friday, December 18th
Last Call Media [136 West St., Suite 01, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
LCM 2015 Holiday Party!
Ah, the Holidays. A time for togetherness in the face of the darkness and dreariness of our Temperate Zone winter. The Last Call Media team invites one and all to a nice party the… same day the new Star Wars movie comes out. Hm. Might be low attendance.

Entertainment:

Wednesday, December 16th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Meet a Lego Star Wars Animator
So hey one cool thing about the area is that Doodle Studios in Connecticut does a metric crud-ton of LEGO animation work! It’s pretty cool! You’ll get a chance to meet Elizabeth Popolo, an animator for Doodle who’s going to show off some of her work on LEGO Star Wars animation! She’ll also have a Q+A afterward! And there are trivia questions and prizes! The best night to prep for The Force Awakens!
Saturday, December 19th
Jones Library [43 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 11:00am – 1:00pm
Jedi Training
Jedi training! Children ages 7 and up can come test their mettle! First, you make your own Light Saber and Star Wars crafts, then test your skills against the Jedi obstacle course! Costumes are welcomed and encouraged, registration for the craft portion is required!

Movies:

Wednesday, December 16th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30pm – 8:00pm
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Ahhh, the coolest of the Tim Burton filmography. Also, the one that struck some inexplicably strong chord with that one friend of yours and caused you to watch this 43 times in high school. But it’s been a bit since High School! Watch it again at the beautiful Forbes Library!

RPGs:

DAY, December DATE
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027]  at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
D&D 5th Edition
Dungeons? Basically like basements, only with a lot more stuff and sometimes cults. Dragons? Ever had a pet lizard? That’s the basic scope of it, but they like gold instead of heat lamps and rocks. This is a 5th level adventure that you can join at any session! The GM, Neal Robinson, will show you a great time.

Science:

Monday, December 14th
Union Station [125 Pleasant 125, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Nerd Nite: VR and RPGs
Beyond having the most charming host in the universe, Nerd Nite this month will be a really neat time with two charming presenters. First we’ve got Hannah Shaffer, talking about coming to RPGs as an adult player and designer, and then we’ve got Pat King, talking about an awesome VR music extravaganza he made! There’s a $5 ticket, but in exchange you get a great rocket stamp.

December 7th – December 13th

 The Valley Nerd Watch!


We’re pretty excited this week about some soon-to-arrive changes in the structure and functioning of the Nerd Watch! It’s a bit early to talk specifics, but basically everything should remain the same for all of you, and get a lot easier for us! That means more time for us to hunt down more obscure events and interesting local folks. It also means more time for us to play computer games, which is a goal we’re pretty certain is universally recognized as the highest good. It’s in Kant somewhere?

Speaking of games, you all should check out Nerd Nite next Monday! It’s going to be a great time. The two presenters – Pat King and Hannah Shaffer – are both prior interviewees at the Valley Nerd Watch, and genuinely lovely people to boot. Pat will be talking about his experiences creating an awesome VR music app, and Hannah will talk about the joys of Role-Playing Games!

We always have a wonderful time doing Nerd Nite, no matter the fact that we’re intensely nervous the whole night every time. Come one, come all, bring your friends. Also maybe say hi to the host and tell him it’s going well and he did a good job and his jokes are funny.

Finally, this week we had the pleasure of speaking with a local artisan who makes awesome rings with the help of a friend who lives in North Carolina! Mostly they’re based on DC comics, being that they’re oddly into superheroes having rings at DC. They look wonderful and they’re reasonably priced. Take a look at the Etsy shop! Seriously, check these out:

We’re also happy to announce that we’re going to be promoting stuff at the Goodwin Memorial Library! Did you know that there are approximately an infinite number of libraries in the area? This one is the one we drive past literally all the time and somehow never actually looked up for the dang newsletter. Luckily, the Extremely Cool Librarian Katy got in touch with us and told us about how they’re going to be doing a lot of neat things at Goodwin! It’s all starting with Magic: the Gathering weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm starting December 9th!

Also just in general we’ve started to get more people getting in touch with us, and we want to be clear that that is completely awesome! We’re here to help, so talk to us at valleynerdwatch [at] gmail.com, via our Facebook page, or via Twitter whenever you like!

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! And the Valley Creators page! Do your holiday shopping in a way that benefits local creators!

THIS WEEK


Art:

Tuesday, December 8th
Woodbury Room [Jones Library, 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:00pm – 8:00pm
The Power of Water/The Power of Words: 1,000 Stories to Make a Better Connecticut River
Do you care about your rivers? You for real should! It’s easy to imagine they’re fine, but dang do they have a direct impact on your life whether you realize it or not and they’re quite fragile. This event is designed to gather stories for a community art project to bring attention to the necessity of improving the health of our Connecticut River! It’s ours, Connecticut, we only named it after you to placate you.
Saturday, December 12th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Art Walk at Comics N’ More
We admit it. We kind of though the anteroom to Comics N’ More was a bit silly. Not many shops have that sort of thing! But dang if they haven’t turned it into something special. A neat little art gallery to display the wonderful work of local talents. Well done, Comics N’ More!

Board Games:

Saturday, December 12th
Burger King Community Room [344 King St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 12:30pm
Tabletop Gaming Day with the PVGG
Hang out with some delightful geeks as they play some board games. Mostly they do Euro-style strong mechanics stuff, but they’re open to whatever. Might we recommend you bring a copy of Cuba Libre? It’s fun and interesting!
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 10:00am – 12:00pm
Palmer Scholastic Chess Tournament
Chess! The bivouac of baronies, the blossom of Madrid, the keening gull of dawn! Round one at 10am, then a 4-round Swiss system, and trophies for 1st/2nd/3rd in each section. Free entry! But bring a bagged lunch and a chess set/clock if you’ve got one!
Sunday, December 13th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Star Trek Attack Wing: Balance of Terror Tournament
Do the words “Romulan Neutral Zone” fill you with a sense of dread and anticipation? Then this event is for you! Figure out how to take advantage of a tense conflict in the Neutral Zone in this super neat Star Trek miniatures game with the friendly folks at Greenfield Games! You’ve got a 120 SP Fleet Build, and it’s a $5 entry fee with prizes!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Sunday Heroclix!
Play a game where you make superheroes fight! Sort of like the upcoming Captain America movie. Or the upcoming Superman V. Batman movie. Hm. Make the movies fight! Batman & Captain America V. Superman & Iron Man! Brilliant. Hosted by Jaime “undoubtedly a cool friendly person” Nolastname.

Books:

Wednesday, December 9th
Springfield Symphony Hall [34 Court St., Springfield, MA 01103] at 7:30pm
Springfield Public Forum: Wes Moore
Wes Moore is a youth advocate and veteran plus hosts Beyond Belief on the Oprah Network which means he might know Oprah which means he’s already achieved most of our dreams. He’s going to be speaking about his book ‘The Other Wes Moore’!
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Letters from Erastus: Field Notes on Grace
Erastus Hopkins was a founder of the Free Soil Party in Massachusetts and was a Presbyterian minister in a place that was pretty heavily Congregationalist. He also wrote a bunch, so his great-great granddaughter gathered a bunc hof his correspondence and made a really interesting book out of it! Writer Anne D. Emerson is going to be reading from it and answering questions afterward.
Thursday, December 10th
New York Room, Mary E. Wooley Hall [Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00pm
Ruth Ozeki in Conversation
Ruth Ozeki is going to be reading from both of her celebrated novels ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ and ‘My Year of Meats’! She’ll also sign copies. We had a year of meats once, it go weird. Ruth Ozeki worked for more than a decade in film and television and her documentaries and dramatic films have been shown on PBS!

Card Games:

Wednesday, December 9th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
Goodwin Memorial Library [50 Middle St, Hadley, MA 01035]
Weekly Magic: the Gathering
A new weekly event! Play and learn Magic: the Gathering at the library! Comfortable and friendly, it’s the perfect place to come hang out and duel with other denizens of the planes!

Comics:

Sunday, December 13th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060]
Comic Creator’s Jam
Comics! They’re fun and attractive, not unlike every person reading this text. But how are they made, and by whom? We’ve found scant clues, but they point to a mysterious and powerful cabal of smiths who meet each month at this time! Go an gripe about difficulties and crow about successes with people who will appreciate talking to you about comic-making!

Entertainment:

Thursday, December 10th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School Street, Sunderland, MA 01375] at 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Come Play Laser Tag in the Library!
Laser tag! The sport of earls, the pastime of time-lords, the game of thrones. It’ll be a fun time! We’ve only played laser tag a few times but it’s kind of delightful. Please sign up in advance, grades 5th-8th only!
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Anime Club
We remember watching Ghost in the Shell and Princess Mononoke as kids and being completely blown away. We never did become an Anime Kid, but we got why people would do that. There’s some great anime out there. And if you’ve never really gotten into it, you can skip to the best stuff!
Saturday, December 12th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Forbes Library Doctor Who Club!
Doctor Alfred “Doctor Who” Whom is known throughout the galaxy as just some guy, you know? All are welcome to hang out and watch the show with folks!

RPGs:

Thursday, December 10th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00pm – 6:00pm
RPG Club
Role-playing games! Basically skeletons of mechanics that allow you to more comfortably hang out and play-act with pals. We always love seeing numbers and gauges go up in games, but a good RPG always becomes improv class once you get comfy.
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060]
Ongoing RPG Campaigns
Are you a D&D-ster? A FATE-head? A person who likes to play RPGs and would like to find a good group? Today’s the day to hang out! Admission is a $5 day pass, though GMs play free! Go find some adventure!

Science:

Monday, December 7th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Lyme Disease Lecture
Kerry Ann Lang, Researcher at the Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness will discuss Lyme disease care and prevention! It’s kind of terrifying actually. You know it was only really connected to ticks a few decades ago? And it’s spreading very fast, way more cases now than there used to be! Agh. Ticks. The grossest and worst of the bugs. There’s a Q+A after the presentation!
Union Station [125A Pleasant Street, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
Scitech Cafe: Bringing Light to the World Through LEDs
Science! Learn how LED(Light-Emitting Demon) lights work! With the help of Evelyn L. Hu, the Tarr-Coyne Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard Univeristy, you’ll ken the dark rituals needed to bind and control these useful little monsters. Open to all curious folks for free, with snacks and some mystery prizes maybe!
Tuesday, December 8th
Nacul Center [592 Main St, Amherst, MA] at 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Fact or Fiction: Scientific Literacy in the Digital Age
A diverse panel of scientists talks about how to broadcast information to the public and make certain people have the ability to make informed decisions! This is important, it’s hard to make complex ideas understood.

Video Games:

Friday, December 11th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Minecraft Club
Minecraft is the weirdest success story we’ve experienced. We’re so used to finding little cast-off oddities buried online in some little itch.io or whatnot, this is the only time we’ve played something cute and obscure and then watched it become a worldwide sensation that 100% of children love. Anyway! There are 15 spots and you’ll need to register at the desk. There will be free play, group games, lots of fun stuff!