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Big Changes ahead at BlerdyMomma.com!!

blerdy momma boutique fabrics coming soon

Hey guys! I know it’s been a while. I picked up some new clients with my VA business and they definitely keep me busy, but I haven’t stopped being Blerdy Momma. Never gonna happen!

Soooo…. maybe you’ve noticed some changes happening around the website. Like a lot of changes. Surprise!! I’m turning Blerdy Momma into a custom fabric shop. Isn’t that cool?

I love sewing. I wish I had more time for it because I just love putting together a new cosplay or piece of clothing and being able to see progress as it happens. Sewing is one skill I can say I learned entirely on my own, just me and the manual for my first sewing machine.

It is now several years later and I’ve been introduced to the world of custom digital print fabrics. YOU GUYS!!!!!! This is what I’ve been looking for every time I walk into a big chain fabric store and don’t see options for my favorite fandoms. I’m so glad a friend put me on to these awesome sites.

But you know what? Something was still missing. There are a million options if you want fabric inspired by some of the more “mainstream” fandoms. You can find Harry Potter, Dr. Who, or Game of Thrones fabric anywhere. Outside of Mario, I really didn’t see much video game-themed fabric.

So here I am. Because I want Mortal Kombat and Final Fantasy inspired fabric just that bad haha. My goal here is to offer high-quality fabric with unique designs. I want those of us with less popular fandoms to have some options too. If you’re into that, bookmark the site and join my Facebook group.

What’s your favorite fandom? I’m keeping a list of games and shows to inspire my future fanart designs. Come back soon to see what’s available in Round 1!

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6 Nerdcore Artists I Hope You’ve Already Heard Of

nerdcore music haul

I could’ve just named this post “Classic Game Fest: Music Haul”,  but this title sounded more fun. One of My favorite things about Classic Game Fest is the fact that there are musical acts on the sound stage all day long. With the convention being hosted all in one large room, this means I get to blerd out to a soundtrack. As a musician, I love the moments when everyone hears a familiar game tune and there’s just a collective, nostalgic happiness.

Nerdcore is a genre of hip hop music characterized by themes and subject matter considered to be of general interest to nerds.”~ Wikipedia

For the record, I don’t consider the term “nerdcore” to be limited to hip-hop style, but that’s just my interpretation. At Classic Game Fest, we got to meet and listen to a great line up of artists. We made it a point to support our favorites by visiting their booths and buying their music. All of them were super cool and down to earth. We’re all nerds, after all! If you are looking for something new to listen to when you get tired of *insert craptastic pop song here*, check these guys out.

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Bitforce– This rock trio always puts on a high energy show. This was my second or third time seeing them live and they have a great sound.

Aramis– Game Fest was my first encounter with this rapper, but he was absolutely hilarious and chill. Check out his song “RageQuit” on the Sleight of Hand album.

1-UP Creative Mindframe–  This guy (real name: Emmanuel) was pretty cool and we talked to him at length about music. He had a little listening station set up at his booth which DJ008 enjoyed and it turns out he plays saxophone too. We picked up a cd after his set.

Tekforce– Funny story: Tekforce had his laptop hooked up to the sound system playing his background tracks and it died halfway through a song. Two of the other nerdcore artists present hopped up on stage and beatboxed so he could finish the song. It was hilarious and also impressive! Easily the second coolest moment on the sound stage. (Yes, Tekforce, I’m telling everybody.)

Doug Funnie– We missed part of his set, but his song about Psycho Mantis was what stuck with me most. I’ve spent many hours watching DJ008 play through most of the Metal Gear Solid series.

Megaran– So the coolest thing we saw happen on the sound stage was when Megaran did a freestyle using random fan-presented objects for his lyrical inspiration. If you only have 10 minutes, listen to “Infinite Lives” and “Cry of the Planet”. They’re definitely my favorites.

Honorable mention: Victim Cache– Ok. I don’t think we actually saw this band’s performance. But their booth was along with all the other artists and what caught my attention was the tapes stacked on their table. As in those things that music came on after 8-tracks but before CDs. Yes. They had them. And they had adorable cover art on them. They also had EPs (the little LPs)! Fret not, they include digital downloads so you can still listen to the music like a modern human being. But Victim Cache gets an honorable mention just for being creative, and I will at least give these a listen. DJ008 does actually have a set of turntables.

So there you have it. We spent a lot of time hanging out in front of the sound stage at Classic Game Fest. And if you saw my post about my Games Haul, you know that we are still within the $200 budget that we set for the weekend. Impressed? I sure was! Now go check out all these amazing artists and tell me your favorite songs!

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Five Tips for Con Vendors from an Attendee

I’ve been going to conventions since 2011, which isn’t long; but being in a major metropolitan area means I still get a pretty awesome rotation of local cons to attend each year. I’ve been to enough to start noticing things I do and don’t like about con vendors. I love my nerd interests, but I hate to see a vendor cut corners thinking they’ll get my money or attention just based on how much I love Mortal Kombat (and that’s a LOT). So let’s talk about what it takes to separate me from my money/time/attention, shall we?

  1. Have an online presence!- I can’t believe I have to say this in the age of toddlers owning iPads, but seriously, get a website! A Facebook page! An Etsy shop! An Instagram! Get something!! I go to cons knowing I can’t afford EVERYTHING that I want that weekend, but if you have a means to connect online, I can order something later. If I like your product, I can order again. Why would you not have some sort of online presence in this era?
  2. Look up when I approach your booth- I can’t tell you how many times somebody’s work has attracted my attention, and then their lack of interaction sent me right on my way. All I want is a hello. Acknowledge my presence! I don’t need your entire sales pitch right when I walk up but let me know that you’re aware I’m there. I see this problem most in the Artists Alley.
  3. sword replicas final fantasy kingdom heartsBe unique- The fastest way to get me to buy something is to make me believe you’re the only place I can find it. I’m a big fan of finding a good deal, and if you’re selling nerdy t-shirts, I’m going to look around at the 6 other vendors also selling t-shirts and probably not buy from any of you. However, my Mortal Kombat nightlight was definitely a unique item which I had to have right then and there.
  4. Be pro level- We are not all crafty people. That is why some of us are willing to pay others for their custom made work. In this age of Pinterest and Youtube tutorials, it is very easy for me to convince myself that I can do most things on my own. Your wares need to look like I can’t do that at home for cheaper. I once saw a vendor selling custom onesies. They were adorable, except the part where they looked like simple cut felt hand-sewn onto the blank onesies. I sew all my own cosplays. I think I could manage a felt applique on a onesie. Impress me, please.
  5. do you even gameBe geeky- This doesn’t happen often, but there have been occasions when I encounter a vendor who actually knows zero about geek culture and the products they’re selling. That bugs me. Maybe that’s exclusionary, but if you aren’t at least a little bit into geek life, I feel like you’re just here to profit off of my nostalgia.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, be accessible. I mean, how far did you come and drag all your wares to just stare at your phone while thousands of people walk by? I know the world tries to act like geeks aren’t a social people; but if that were true, why are conventions a thing? Yes, as a con-goer I am thrilled to see a vendor selling wall clocks made out of classic consoles. You still have to give me a reason to buy it, though. I’m curious to hear what some vendors and other con attendees have to say on this subject. Tell Blerdy Momma what you think!

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Free Comic Book Day Family Haul

free comic book day haul

Last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day! You knew that right? I had a countdown going over in the corner just in case.  The family and I got up that morning and rushed on over to Alien Worlds comic book store to browse this year’s selection. Check out our spoils!

  • free comic book day haulCivil War II #0 (Marvel)
  • Suicide Squad #1 (DC)
  • Valiant 4001 A.D.
  • Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft/Titan)
  • Steve Rogers Captain America (Marvel)
  • The Legend of Korra (Dark Horse)
  • Sonic Sampler (Sega)
  • Street Fighter V #1 (Capcom)
  • One Punch Man (Viz Media)
  • Batman: Earth One preview (DC)*
  • The All New, All Different Avengers (Marvel)*

*Those last two were in the store’s old Free Comic Book Day inventory.

We always try to support businesses during events like FCBD, so we bought a few things while we were there too.fcbd loot

  • Comic book box with organizers
  • Guardians of the Galaxy playing card deck
  • Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spiderman #1
  • DC Comics Essential Graphic Novels #1

Can I just take a moment to be proud of my 3-year-old? He comes with us every year to Free Comic Book Day but this was the first year that he really participated. He picked out his very first comic, the Sonic Sampler.

fcbd trip haulHonestly, I’ve never been heavy into comics like my husband was growing up. Of course, with all the best characters and franchises crossing over different media platforms; you can’t really avoid any one corner of geek culture. Not that I’m trying to avoid comics, but it’s certainly hard for any geek to not dip a toe in every sub-culture when you really love a character or franchise. That sounds like a topic worthy of further discussion…

So what did you get at Free Comic Book Day this year? Let’s compare notes!

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Tutorial #3: Melodic Dictation

Ahh… melodic dictation, the crux of what we’re doing here today. Have no fear. If you can sing it, you can dictate it. It’s time to discern the pitch of that rhythm you counted out in the last tutorial. There are tools and apps that can help you out here, but I think training your ear is key. Therefore, we’re going to use our ears and a handy dandy keyboard (or keyboard app). If you’re using notation software, it most likely plays the note through your speaker when you click on the staff. This can easily work as your keyboard.

  1. Sing the first note of your melodic line. Now play a note on your keyboard. Is it higher or lower than the note you’re singing? This gives you an indication of which direction to move (unless you hit your note dead on, in which case GO YOU!).
  2. Move higher or lower until you are matching pitch with the keyboard. Ta-da! You’ve found your first note! The hard part is officially over! Move your notation to indicate the correct pitch.
  3. Now that you have a starting point, it should get easier to find each subsequent note. Is it higher or lower than the note that came before? Maybe a short sequence of notes repeats itself. You can always default to singing each individual note and finding it on the keyboard.
  4. It goes without saying, but listen to your source recording often. Every few measures, listen to your notation and gauge your progress. Is the rhythm still accurate? Are the notes right? Did you get that accidental?
  5. Tackle your one melodic line chunk by chunk until it is complete. Congratulations! In my opinion, it only gets easier from here.

melodic 1

 

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MuseScoreTips- Extremely helpful website!!

time signature tutorial

So I’ve had a bit of a break away from MuseScore, and when I opened it tonight I needed a refresher course in how to get around the program. Enter Google. I came across this incredible website called MuseScoreTips!!!

Whether you just need a refresher, like myself, or you’re learning the program for the first time, this site is definitely worth a bookmark! I was able to find step by step tutorials with screenshots for every function in MuseScore.

I understand that her ebook is also incredibly helpful, but honestly, I haven’t read it myself to verify that. Link below!:

MuseScoreTips – Easy-to-follow MuseScore music notation how-to articles, tips and tutorials.

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Tutorial: Determining Time Signature

time signature tutorial

*** For the purposes of this tutorial series, I will be arranging Casino Night Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. ***

Time signature is usually the first thing you need to determine about a song you want to transcribe. The time signature answers two questions: 1. How many beats are in each measure? and 2. What kind of beats are they? Luckily, this is rarely a difficult thing to find.

Determining Key Signature

  1. Listen to the song. Tap your feet as if you’re walking along with the steady beat of the music. Make sure you’re finding the BEAT (steady and consistent) and not the Rhythm.
  2. Narrow it down and focus on one voice/instrument, preferably one that is doing something repetitive. Some good examples would be drums, piano, or bass. Count how many beats it takes before the rhythm repeats itself. You will most likely come up with a number between 3 and 8. Congratulations! You have now answered question number 1.
  3. Now zero in on the individual beats (the space between each toe tap). How are they split up? Commonly, you will hear 1-4 individual notes inside each beat. This helps you answer question 2. If you counted 1, 2, or 4; then your music probably uses quarter notes as the base. If you counted 3; it uses eighth notes.
  4. At the beginning of your music staff, the time signature will look like 2 numbers stacked on top of each other. The top number should be whatever you got in step 2. The bottom number is either a 4 or an 8 depending on your base note value (step 3). Quarter note base means use a 4, eighth note base means to use an 8. For Casino Night Zone, the time signature is 4/4.

time signature tutorial

Other Considerations

As a reference note, the 3 most common time signatures are 4/4, 6/8, and 3/4. If you come up with something like 8/4, you probably mean 4/4 and the rhythm was just 2 measures long. There are always exceptions to these guidelines, but the process outlined above will still work. If you’re getting into more complex and uneven metered works, you probably don’t need my tutorial. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you leave in the comments section below.

Good Luck!!

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Where was MuseScore when I was in College?

I was a music major in college. (Go Chants!) I spent a lot of time crossing my inner band nerd with my inner gaming blerd to create sheet music on my computer. At the time, everybody used either Cakewalk or Finale to do our arrangements. Both are incredible programs and are well worth the investment if you work with music on a daily basis, like a band director or a composer.

I am no longer a band director, so it’s honestly not worth my money to stay up-to-date with the latest in notation software. BUT I still like to dabble from time to time. I’m 2 or 3 laptops removed from college, so I no longer have access to a legit copy of Finale.

Notation Software

Below, you will find a link to MuseScore, the FREE notation software that I now use to make my arrangements. The learning curve may be a little steep at first, but that won’t last long. Give it a try! Maybe soon I’ll start sharing my arrangements!

MuseScore | Free music composition and notation software

Update: I have now found an awesome website full of tutorials for using MuseScore. Whenever I have a question I go right over there and it’s answered. Bookmark it!