No.2 Inc Story Survey

Hello friends. Annalisa and I are expanding the media project we began at New England Comic Con and your input would be very valuable to us. Here’s what the story is about: 

What if superheroes were real? What if personas like Superman, Spiderman, Black Widow, and Wonder Woman really existed but kept a low, low profile? It’s a lot of work to operate as an incognito vigilante. If there was an agency that provided assistance to this select clientele… would you want to work there?We’re planning a media project called No.2 Inc about just such an agency. We have a few questions to ask first to see what you think. If you could spare a few minutes of your time, that would be awesome and truly appreciated.

If you could spare a couple minutes of your time and take this quick survey, I would be most grateful. I’m just looking for your thoughts, not your contact info. Thanks in advance.

Obscure Vermont: Of Mountains and Men

The Ledges of Deer Leap in Bristol

One of our favorite new blogs about strange things in Vermont is Obscure Vermont. Written by Chad Abramovich, it’s full of all types of urban adventures, and he does an incredible job of writing up the stories behind a lot of really neat places in our state.

His latest post is about several places in Bristol:

Traveling to a friend’s place in Lincoln, it was hard not to notice the cliffs of Deer Leap mountain soaring far above the narrow valley along Route 116, the damp Spring mists burning away like a soul of vapor. At 1,825-feet, Deer Leap is considered a larger elevation for Vermont, i’s cold craggy ledges thawed by the sun setting over the Champlain Valley to the west.  

At the foot of the mountain is the tiny town of Bristol, a cool little stop in rural Addison County. Bristol is classic small town Vermont, and not surprisingly, the lofty heights of Deer Leap are a popular hangout for locals alike, and according to local lore, there are a few interesting stories behind its dramatic moniker.


Read here for stories of ghosts, treasure and more!

Quick Lit: Seven Days Covers Cold Mountain State & Other Geek News

Aimee Picchi

Many thanks to Seven Days: in this week’s issue, they’ve covered our upcoming reading:

Meanwhile, Geek Mountain State is gearing up for another of its popular readings, this one devoted to fantasy. Among the six writers at “Cold Mountain Stories: A Night of the Fantastic” will be Brian Staveley of Marlboro, whose novel The Emperor’s Blades was published in January by Tor Books. Already getting enthusiastic reviews from genre fans, it’s the first in an epic fantasy series called Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne.

Read the full article here.


The Vermont Convention Scene

Gen Con 2003. Photo by  Alan De Smet. CC-BY-2.5; CC-BY-3.0.

Gen Con 2003. Photo by Alan De Smet. CC-BY-2.5; CC-BY-3.0.

Word’s getting around that Vermont’s getting its own comic convention in the fall: Vermont Comiccon. Information is sketchy at the moment, beyond the date and place: October 25th and 26th at the Sheraton hotel in South Burlington. The convention’s Facebook page is doling out guest announcements as they come. The prospect of a new convention in Vermont is pretty exciting, so we’re all keeping our eyes peeled for more information as it appears.

Addition: Throughout the 1980s, Greg Giordano ran four instances of Greeen Mountain Comicon, which included guests such as Vermont’s own Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, Eastman & Laird and several other Mirage Studios guys, Mark Shainblum(Northstar) and Bernie Meirault(The Jam) and others.

Geek conventions in Vermont go back to at least the 90s, from my own personal experience. They’ve never approached the scale of mega-conventions like San Diego Comic Con or Gen Con, owing to Vermont’s population density and the facilities available to host such gatherings. Instead, Vermont conventions tend to be more about catching up with friends you don’t normally get to see, and discovering you share an interest with near-by neighbors.

Crisis Comics hosted comic shows in the Burlington area, which for me, in an age before the ubiquity of online sales, was a bonanza of picking up back issues that local dealers didn’t have. Quarterstaff Games hosted seven occasions of Northeast Wars, all about tabletop gaming. After Northeast Wars became dormant, Carnage picked up the tabletop convention torch and carries to this day in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. The Society for Creative Anachronism’s shire of Panther Vale — comprising the northeast quadrant of Vermont — began hosting Pantheria, a weekend-long outdoor gathering, in 1996.

In 2002, Bakuretsucon kicked off as a combination anime and gaming convention in the Burlington area. After a couple years, gaming spun off as Lore Con, while Bakuretsu focused on anime and moved to the fall, steadily growing in vibrancy every year as they descend upon Colchester. Northeast Wars briefly revived for a couple years, before returning to dormancy. The oft-missed Langdon Street Cafe in Montpelier hosted Geek Week annually until its final closing, dedicating each night of a whole week to a different area of geekiness. Green Mountain Gamers formed in 2010 to host mini-convention style game days throughout the state all year round.

Of course, those are only the conventions and convention-like events of which I’m aware. There are few works on the subject, none of which focus on Vermont in particular. If you have memories of conventions past, or information of conventions to come, share in the comments below.

Help Northland Adventure!


A view from the Long Trail.

A view from the Long Trail. Photo by charliebay.

Northland Adventure is a non-profit organization facilitating “the growth of individuals and organizations through adventure-based programming. It is our belief that the future of our world hinges upon the successful instruction of youth and adults in community involvement, global awareness, environmental sustainability, educational opportunity, and somatic healing.”

This year, that experiential education takes the form of a number of overnight camps and expeditions, such as a twenty-two day trek on Vermont’s Long Trail. Unfortunately, funding that Northland Adventure relied on fell through, putting future programs in jeopardy.

Now a fundraising campaign on has launched to solicit donations to make up the shortfall. It’ll take $3580 “to keep the organization running at it’s current level,” but a minimum of $1660 for the summer 2012 slate of programs to go off as planned.

People wanting to contribute have two main options: a direct donation via Gofundme, which helps build Northland Adventure’s operating funds, or signing up for a program. There are still spaces available in various programs to be held this year.

The Book Garden Cash Mobbed

Cash mob

This in from Rick at the Book Garden:

Thank you Montpelier Cash Mobbers!

Whew! What a rush that was!

On Saturday afternoon, a group of enthusiastic cash mobbers “mobbed” The Book Garden.

“What a great way to support local businesses,” said Rick Powell, owner of The Book Garden. “I hope they’ll do it again and hit other stores so everyone gets a turn to be mobbed.”

It was a record day for The Book Garden according to Powell.

Special thanks go to Scott Pellegrini for taking the time to organize the event. And of course, thank you to customers who spent money at The Book Garden and with other Montpelier retailers on Saturday. It’s inspiring to see what is possible when small groups get together for one goal.

Keep buying local, Montpelier cash mobbers. You make Montpelier a beautiful place to work and live.

Cash Mobbing is a tactic used to drum up support for local businesses, akin to a flash mob. People are told to gather at a certain time and place, and to bring along $20 in cash. They then proceed to a store, and find something to purchase, paying cash at the list price, over any sales that might be going on. Several other bookstores in the central Vermont area have been hit, including Bridge Street Books in Waterbury and Next Chapter in Barre.

Looking Back – Andrew’s Version

This year has been a fun one for geek things in Vermont, and as the end of the year comes to a close, I wanted to take a couple of minutes to think back on 2011. Here’s a couple of points that stand out in my mind:

Star Wars Day at the Flying Pig Bookshop

The Flying Pig Bookshop and the 501st Legion teamed up for a literacy event back in June of this year for the release of a Star Wars book. People gathered in the local town gym, and were greeted with Storm, Scout, Clone and Snow troopers and the iconic Darth Vader. The reactions from everyone when the troopers entered the room were perfect: a mix of shock and awe that we strive for in the 501st Legion.

Jurassic Park at Essex Cinemas 10

The Essex Cinemas began a recurring film event, Throwback Thursday, when they bring in a film that’s been out of theaters for ages. To kick the event off, they brought back Jurassic Park. Having missed it in the theaters the first time around, I have to say, it was stunning to see the movie on the big screen, and that it held up so well. Hopefully, they will be bringing back some more science fiction and fantasy classics. (Alien, anyone, now that Prometheus is coming out?)

Jonathan Coulton / They Might Be Giants

We don’t get a lot of geek musicians in the state, but when an act like They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Coulton comes in? You jump on that, because it’s a recipe for a fantastic evening. Coulton was awesome in person, as were the Giants, but together, they had one of the more entertaining concerts that I’ve seen in years. Hopefully, we’ll see one or both of them back in the near future.

Poli-SciFi Radio

I came across Bill Simmons’ podcast earlier this year, one of those awesome discoveries that I was looking for when I put together the site. It’s a fantastic listen every week, and it’s great for the political content, but also the weekly round up of all the important geek happenings over the course of a week. I was thrilled to have been asked to join them as a guest earlier this summer.

Hurricane Irene

Finally, the big event of the year that dominated the headlines and devastated the state, Irene did a number on us. At one point, a potent reminder of nature’s fury, another of just how fragile we’re perched on the landscape, it’s something that’s had a long-lasting effect on the state, something that will always be in the back of our minds as we go into the future.

Thanks for a great 2011, everyone: we’ll see you in 2012.

Flooding & Disaster

We’ve been pretty quiet the past couple of days here on the blog: it’s a busy time of the year for me, and what with the flooding, road closures and general upheaval in the state, we’ve dropped some of our usual features in the interests of road and traveller safety. If you’re interested in seeing what is going on in the meantime, check back on one of our earlier posts about where we look: colleges, game stores, and so forth are still holding events: just be careful out there, especially as we face a second round of rain storms.

The flooding has put into perspective a number of things that are both speculative and non-fictional. Over the past couple of days, I’ve seen a lot of talk about how this is a portent of things to come: that climate change is a certain factor in the flooding. I don’t think that this is the case. Statistically, we can expect floods of certain magnitudes to hit every century, half-century, decade and yearly. This flood certainly falls into that category, and even fits with what we saw back in 1927: a tropical storm that wandered up to the state and dumped quite a bit of rain on our fair state.

That being said, is global climate change a factor? Most likely, if anything, in the increased potential for stronger hurricane seasons as the planet’s oceans warm up: however, these are trends that are hard to predict, realtime, and like the determination of recession in the country, we can likely make that determination with more certainty. However, it does make for very good evidence of the damage that storms can bring as a result of warmer temperatures, and the entire range of consequences that that has on our lives.

If this is a signal for things to come, it’s a strong demonstration that our state, despite the longer winters, will be affected, and that the effects will have larger consequences: roads and towns wiped off the maps, our agriculture drowned under rapidly rising and shifting rivers, and a financial burden that will make life harder for everyone.

But, it also brought out the best in our state: the outpouring of relief aid from fellow Vermonters, the help and assistance that people provided for their neighbors and the strength that Vermont has shown brings me much hope for the future. The roads and towns of Vermont might be broken, but not the people.

Gamers Host Charity Auction to Benefit Flood Victims

In the wake of the disastrous flooding that hit so much of southern Vermont, isolating whole towns from the outside world, it can be paralyzing to try to figure out how to help.

Matt Golec of the Upper Valley hit on the idea of holding a game auction to supplement the usual fundraising efforts. This way we can engage people who want to support the recovery effort in Vermont from outside the surrounding area.

Matt has a geeklist set up on Boardgamegeek. He’s asking only people invited to list items do so. Bidders can be from anywhere in the world. Members listing items will collect the fees and donate them to the Vermont/New Hampshire Valley Red Cross agency to aid immediate short term relief efforts. I plan to go through my game library for auction candidates when I get home tonight.

If you’d like to read more about flood recovery efforts in Vermont, I recommend the following sources:

Further, if you have a moment, please help spread the word about initiatives to aid flood recovery like Matt Golec’s. Every little bit helps and that it’s a locally-born endeavor makes it even more powerful.

[Reposted in part from Held Action.]