Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Story on the Hartford Homepage

During my senior year at the University of Hartford I was approached to share my story with prospective and current students by means of  featuring my career journey on the college website. I was honored to be a part of this and I truly hope that it inspires you to chase after your own ambitions as well! Click the image above for the full write up along with video interview or just head straight to for all the goodness.

In case you missed it, I also uploaded two new videos this week to my You Tube Channel:

You may also notice I've added a Facebook Page and Tumblr link to the sidebar..

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lollipop Pilgrim, Gaga Edition

On this episode of Ali's Got Game I talk about my recent rendezvous with Lollipop Chainsaw, the upcoming Wallace Wells DLC for The Scott Pilgrim Xbox live game and THE GAGA. Have you subscribed yet? You might wanna do that.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New Video Every Thursday.

So after months of traveling, I have found the peace to sit at home for awhile and catch up on some Lollipop Chainsaw and Halo Reach. However, that's not the only thing I've accomplished in the past few days, aside from another Borderlands play through.

I have finally managed to cut the footage from my Google Android Campus Tour from my San Fransisco trip, and so I bring to you a new video on this day. How do you feel about Christmas in the summer?.. Do you like it, love it, need it even? Because as it turns out, my backlog of video footage is looking pretty endless, and there is much I want to do before I relocate and start work, so I figure, why don't we make this our little thing internet? New Video Every Thursday. Yes. Yes I like this idea indeed. *maniacal laugh*

You may also notice that my channel has a theme song now. Bazinga! Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas or recommendations for future videos, why not tell me in the comments below? EXCELLENT.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Add 7 Minutes to Your Life

It's surreal when a female you respect and researched in college approaches you regarding a collaboration. I feel extremely proud to have been a part of this TED Talk given by game designer Jane McGonigal about SuperBetter, and the idea that games build resilience.

Living the majority of my life jacked up on misdiagnosed medication, as well as being in a particularly dark place for a good portion of it, much of Jane's work has resonated with my being. From the moment I read her dissertation, published in a scholarly journal during my sophomore year of college, and later made into the book "Reality is Broken", I immediately felt a strong connection with the evidence provided in conjunction with my own story (you can search back to the post "I Was Made For This" for a more extensive back log). Thank you Jane for making this possible; at the end of the day if I can inspire just one of you by sharing this video, I'll know I've taken a step in the right direction. I only hope that I may make such an impact with my personal work in the near future.
You can follow Jane (@avantgame), as well as Super Better (@SuperBetter) along on Twitter. Get active and keep pushing forward!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

West Coast Title Track; Podcast Love

I was in SF this week; working on perfecting my fast traveling techniques no less. Vacation, research.. it's whatever you want to call it. However, with the majority of my industry family out here, I had to come visit before I made any solid decisions on where my career quest line takes me.

This past Sunday was the San Franciscan Gay Pride Parade. I picked a good time to come and hang. You guys really know how to have a good time. Burritos and Persian food? Sign me up. I also got a chance to check out the Google Campus Friday. There are no words. I want to live there for all eternity and stuff and things... and then I want to eat this giant froyo shine.

Within the past month and since graduating college I've had the pleasure of stopping by and chatting with some stellar podcasts. The first of the three I think you'll know holds a special place in my heart. I'm talking, of course, about The Indoor Kids. This is one of the most entertaining gaming shows out there, and it was great to be back and catch up while I was in Los Angeles for E3. This past week, Kumail and Emily welcomed move-maker, and girl shaped guy enthusiast Keith Apicary. Give it a listen and put that in your ears STAT. Much love!

Post E3, I stopped by on The Geek Generation cast with Rob and Mike to gab about the games that graced the LA Convention center. THESE DUDES ARE GREAT. A great reminder that there are people in this industry who manage to keep the passion alive. All the best - Let's play some B-Lands soon kay?

Last but certainly not least comes The Pop Cultivation Podcast. If you're a fan of the up and coming I strongly suggest you give this show a listen. Giancarlo Dittamo is hands down one of the most talented individuals I know. Episode 8 "Goals" catches me off guard, as we talk about the things that motivate us and fuel our creative fires. You won't be disappointed.

So I figure, if you like me and all, you may want to stay up to date on the adventures of ever-talented, fellow red-haired vixen, Rachel Lara. Give her some love, follow her on Twitter and go check out Killer Holiday, her upcoming movie. Don't tell me I didn't warn you, this girl is going places. DON'T BE STUPID.

Though I'd love to stay and chat with you internet, I have some Futurama with my name on it to watch, as well as a trip to plan. Leaving for Austin in a few days. More real life adventures await me at RTX. OH and if you haven't subscribed to my YouTube Channel yet you may want to do that so you don't miss out on my Fast Travel Video Log, Forever Alone Dance Parties and upcoming Google / YouTube / Android Campus Tour. It's all happening pretty fast and I would hate for you to fall behind. ;D

BAM SHAZAM, I love you and n shit. BAKES.

Friday, June 1, 2012

New Beginnings - E3 Approaching.

Long distance relationships can be really difficult, especially when you almost never get to see the other person. These last few years of college were especially taxing because of such loves, but now that I'm home we have finally been reunited. I'm talking of course, about my PC.

I originally turned to MMOs in high school as an escape, but also as a form of interaction when things weren't going so great for me socially. Recently I've had the option to return to my routes. It's been liberating, and especially fun now that I have real life friends to play with. Truth be told I was particularly amped the days leading up to graduation thinking about getting home to play Diablo 3. However realizing just how dated the hardware was on my PC, which I custom built over 6 years ago, I've only been able to play a few titles until my new graphics card arrives. Now, seeing as I will be looking into building an entirely new PC in the next year or so I decided best not to break the bank. I mean, until I find a full time position somewhere, my GameStop lootpile is going to have to last me. Still, a 9800 card is far superior to my old style NVIDIA GeForce 7300 LE - let's get real. Awaiting it's arrival eagerly while I anticipate being able to play D3, SWTOR, and perhaps even Tera. In the meanwhile, I've been partaking in some throwback gaming: Guild Wars, WoW and Day of Defeat. I also decided to replay Half Life 2 this month (never underestimate the power of a crowbar). GO GO GADGET GRAVITY GUN.

So I guess now that I'm home and I have free time I no longer have excuses to not be making videos. This week I welcome you to the Bat Cave. I like collecting toys. No shame here - just full on pride. You can pretty much expect a new video post every week this summer. And seeing as I'll be job hunting throughout the games industry, you can bet your behind things have the potential to get interesting. Not to mention the fact I finally set up all of my retro systems, which I cannot wait to share with all of you. Stay frosty and don't miss the next one by subscribing to my channel here. I may even upload a few videos from the E3 show floor. EXCITEBIKE!

You may be aware that E-Thrizzle is next week. Well, I am le excite, and happy to share that I already have some really swank projects on the horizon. I'm headed to LA in a few days to scope out projected titles, taking care of business (EVERY DAY) and working over time - hunting down all the best food trucks. I've also invested in some fantastic collaborations over the course of the last month - one of which involves the awesome Jane MacGonigal, as well as my recent alma mater, the University of Hartford, to bring for some newly projected content sometime in the next few months. Patience; it's a virtue.

Stay in school, cause it's the besssss. BOMBS AWAY WEST COAST.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I've Gotta Work On My Dance Moves...

Looks like I unintentionally ended up on Kotaku this past week. Life achievement unlocked? I have no complaints. I do love me some Keith Apicary... team up in the future? *maniacal laugh*

This week only - in celebration of my new found collegiate freedom, and current Half Life 2 marathon, save 15% on all 'Head First' Photography orders by using the coupon code "HEADCRABS" at checkout: Only 3 self portraits left!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Now the Real Life Questing Begins..

I've waited for this moment my whole life it seems. As of the end of this week I will be completely finished with my collegiate undergraduate program at the University of Hartford.

Now, to say that everything went according to plan would be an outright lie. As you may know, I lost my car in a flash flood at the beginning of my second to last semester. But despite the immediate heartbreak, it was a rewarding experience because it reminded me that the things that matter the most in life are often the those we tend to take for granted. As a result, I gained a better appreciation for the people and hobbies that truly define me as an individual. Here's a picture of my last Spring Fling with co-talent and on-camera personality of STN Channel 2 Ben Wilcox.

Above all, this year has been a bout of tremendous emotional growth for me in terms of channeling my inner most fears through my artwork. Looking back, it had been really difficult for me to reflect on my childhood as well as the affect that video games and the internet have had on my existence. Getting an 'extra life' was the best thing that ever happened to me - I'm glad I stuck around. Hell, I'm not perfect, nor will I ever be, but what spawns my drive is something much more powerful and bigger than myself - it's a message. So if I get a chance at something; at making a difference, speaking out, doing something with my life, I want to be damn sure I'm ready to talk about it.

"Head First" was the series that allowed me to do this. Living the majority of my life on as much medication as I was prescribed was something I used to be ashamed of. It was something I kept secret from my friends, coworkers, even some family members. But everything changed April 28th, at "The Object Strikes Back"Senior BFA Photography exhibition. I came out, so to speak. It was one of the scariest most stressful things I've ever dealt with - but with my parents and friends there to support me, I can say I've never felt so proud. Read my artist statement, or buy a print here.

This past Sunday was also my last day at GameStop. I don't know if I'll ever go back to working retail, but I will always love the constant discussions, and banter that was evoked on a daily basis by my coworkers. I LOVE YOU 206. Perhaps this was why podcasting came off as so natural to me. Ultimately it's something that I would love to get back into.. invite me on your show sometime. We'll talk games.

With my birthday, having just passed May 10th, I think it's pretty safe to say that graduation, along with the booming of my new business, has and will be the greatest gift of all. That, and spending the day with my parents, singing karoake with my friends and ending the event with some Minecraft on XBL. Mission accomplsished. Thanks for the amazing DeadPool themed birthday card Shaun Callahan! You rule with the power of a thousand suns.

So that's that. Who knows where the road leads from here; but I like to think the phrase "when one door closes, another one opens" holds some power. Cheers to all the new opportunities and life achievements I have yet to unlock!

Love and bullets, Bakes

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Going Through the Motions

Working at a certain video game retail outlet within the course of my college career could be described as a bittersweet symphony. I met some amazing friends and coworkers over the years. This video serves tribute to all of the car rides, scrounged gas money and Anamanguchi tracked life XP that I have gained within the last 6 semesters of my life..

Monday, April 30, 2012

"Head First": New Series, New Business.

Harrowing Hue White Door Fallout Green Decay Saturated Hallway Worm Hole Corridor

Make my dreams a reality: Buy a print!
Head First is more than just a mindset; it is also the name of which my photography bares. You may now view my current photographic portfolio here.

Glow from Outside
Artist Statement

As an only daughter, heavily medicated since the age of six, I saw, experienced, but never felt much of anything. The cold comfort of New Jersey offered little condolence in the place of siblings I never had. Itinerary consumed my being: taking up to seven different uppers and downers each morning upon waking for the various conditions I was told I possessed. My nature, as I knew it to be for most of my life, was completely devoid of all meaning.

A meek reflection of my former self, I was cast into the world deprived of the very things that made me a person. Mechanisms that some would describe as elation and joy, were absent, almost always followed with an uncomfortable tingling sensation. In conjunction with this, I had been written off as the resident ‘problem’ child; disconnected from those who surrounded me. My biggest confidants, as it seemed, were the same therapists and psychiatrists that wanted no more than to maintain a client for the years to come in accordance with their own personal incomes.

I was a burden to my elders, the quintessential ‘weird kid’ of school, and relied on technology, namely the internet, for much of my social interaction. Offering a form of escape, video games became a coping medium, a way for me to create an alternate universe for myself, in hopes to avoid the physical realities that I could not bear with. It was at this point that I fell into oblivion, and became enamored with color. The radiant hues which presented themselves to me in game communicated that there was optimism for my real life situation. This saturation grew more apparent each time I logged off my computer - seen by all but often unappreciated by the anthropological eye.

Taking control, photography served as a vessel of expression. In recollection of my past, a memorial to the asylums, doctor’s offices, psychiatric wards and therapy sessions that unintentionally littered my upbringing, Head First is my color project. This reference is deliberate; not only as a way to make my account of this experience visual and visceral, but to celebrate the clarity of my newfound freedom of thought. Absent of medication for the first time in fifteen years, I have begun to feel and understand what it truly means to be alive.

Though these mental institutions had been abandoned for decades, something strange happened when I photographed them for my series. I found warmth, security, in the deserted and harrowing hallways. Amongst the decay there was a familiarity present, and as it grew dark I felt little opposition to leave. By choosing long exposures, exaggerated colors were created, reflecting the interior life of my soul, existent then and now echoed in my pictures.

Despite times of absolute bleakness there was a light at the end of the tunnel; a constant reminder of destiny. I found beauty amongst the chaos and confusion of growing up alone; color seen at the end of a forbidding maze of an institutional portal, just as it had beckoned to me. Commotion, a constant premature focus of what was in my head, and not my heart; this is head first. 

Ali Baker

The Crossover

Self Portrait

Bed of Wheels

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PAX East 2012 Video Recap

As promised, here's a follow up video to PAX East 2012. I share with you a few of my favorite games on the show floor as well as some much needed rambles:

Glad to be back internet. Glad to be back.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Photography is Up!

You may have noticed that I recently posted some of my photography work from earlier this year, including my Homes at Night series, Los Angeles Nightscapes and Sunrise on my Flickr page. We are now in the process of hanging for the Senior Photography Show, so pretty soon I will unleash my thesis on the world. Looking forward to sharing with you all!

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Critiques, opinions and comments on my work are always greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Going the Distance.. for Cake - My First Competitive Race!

Monday, 8am. I rise to the sound of Sonic’s Green Hill Zone. Disabling my iPhone on the collapsible table beside me I throw on a tee shirt, tights, grab earbuds and I’m out the door. Just before exiting the apartment, I slip my bare feet into a tattered pair of pink Nike’s. This is the best I’ve felt in my life.

With Pandora enabled, wubwubs full speed ahead, I sprint down the staircase leading to the street as I select a new run using my Nike Plus app. Busting through the doors, I hit the start button; for the next 40 minutes, I am Player 1...   [Read the full blog with pics here!]

Monday, April 16, 2012

PAX East 2012 Recap

Penny Arcade Expo East was this past week; and, as a part for the Frag Doll Cadette Academy, I had the honor of making the attendance list. Home to the creative minds and development team of BioShock, Irrational Games, Boston is one of my favorite American cities, particularly at this time of year. Despite having attended last year as press in accordance of providing on-camera content for Major League Gaming, this year I actually worked on the show floor.

There are a lot of reasons as to why, ever since my first Penny Arcade Expo Prime in Seattle circa 2010, I've fallen in love with event. If you'd read my previous blog posts it's quite certain that you already know, but I'm going to reiterate it for those of you who have just recently stumbled upon my daily musings. PAX is a fantastic gathering; not just in terms of the celebration of the games that are revealed, but rather, the culture that seeps out of every hotel room inhabited by the masses of fans, hopefuls and industry moguls alike. People just 'get it'. There's really no other way to describe it. I cannot tell you the countless times I found myself balls deep into conversation outside the Assassin's Creed booth, talking about everything ranging from 'Step Brothers' to 'Rugrats', the secret joy of obtaining carrots and celery from a barrels in Skyrim, or perhaps just the ridiculousness of memes that engross the internet.

Atop of this feeling of wholeness and joy that radiates through every inch of my being - just from talking to complete and utter strangers no less - these events have become a blast, especially recently, due to the anticipation I feel the weeks before I know I will get to see my good friends. These events have shaped my perspective in terms of what 'true' friendship is. Up until just recently and for the majority of my life I've factored that around 90% of my closest friends were those whom I had only been in contact with over the glorious span of tubes known as the internet. These moments leading up to my first events and encounters with such people, social networking, especially in terms of Twitter and in game meetups, has only confirmed this as fact - you guys are awesome. I met a few of you during this particular PAX East: there were so many hugs. Thank you for being YOU, and saying hi!

Now, despite bidding the majority of my time in Boston working and spending time with the lovely sisters of the Frag Doll community as seen above, I did manage to get enough of a chance to preview and play a few games. I'd be lying if I said cutting the line to play Borderlands 2 co op wasn't the highlights of my trip. I also found myself very pleasantly surprised with Lollipop Chainsaw, which proved to be a learning experience in itself. In anticipation of these games, as well as select titles I am also looking forward to this year, I am planning on posting a follow up video in the somewhat near future reviewing my experience with both games as well as my pinnacle event experiences. That being said, please subscribe: here, and if you have tips or particular quarries regarding said video in advance, please do not hesitate to post them here and I will be sure to cover them!

Stay classy internet. XO

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Movin' Like Berney: My Birthday Wish

I said something really dumb a few days ago, clearly out of sheer inspiration due to this video..

Of course, when I first tweeted this, I was only joking.. however, due to the amount of banter that followed as a result, I have vowed to follow through with such a task. I will not fail you internet. 5k by May 10th. Think it can be done? I've got some funky dance moves that say it's possible. Click on my tweet to retweet the original post.

Given the amount of variations that Berney beholds. I shall do the Bernie, or Burnie, in accordance with your feedback. Comment on the above YouTube video and subscribe to my channel and I will select 5 locations at random to get crunk nasty at. LET THE ASSHATTERY BEGIN!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Don't Waste Another Minute:

Shine On.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Photographic Influence of Todd Hido

The imagery captured by Todd Hido is highly thought provoking, not just in terms of subject matter, composition and design, but also on a physiological level. Whether he’s using the window of a car as a filter, warping the perspective or overall surrounding landscape of a focal subject, exposing a photograph for a long period time for increased saturation and living color, or picking just the right angle to capture a dimly lit street light at the end of a long and eerie street; there is intention behind these choices. Perhaps he is commenting on the subconscious, or maybe the warped perspective that this world has a tendency to take on at times. Regardless of these visual cues, the idea of such gestures to psychedelic drugs or even medication, the imagery can be appreciated on a base level by just about anyone. This, is especially so for those who appreciate the use of color in a medium, but not to discredit his formulaic and well placed compositions, which range from night landscapes, to long exposures indoors.

As an enthusiast of such night photography, shooting dimly lit rooms and nightscapes at the violet hour, I can recognize the value of the processes that come into play with these works. As one of my biggest photographic inspirations, there is something to be said about the moments in waiting that take place during such shooting: the small window of opportunity you often have to get the proper exposure you’re seeking, the search for just the right house with the blue colored yard lights. Not only are these elements that influence such works, but also, especially of “Untitled” spawning from the Fragmented Narratives series, the idea of capturing something that cannot otherwise be seen with the human eye.

This new perception that Hido offers to the viewer brings on an entirely new element of design. To the viewer, these images are often perceived as crystal clear. A vision sought out by the artist and captured just as it was seen. However, for those who understand the planning that goes into long exposure photography, one can only assume that these locations were visited time and time again, studied both in day light, and at night, materials tests and bracketing a must. That being said, Todd Hido’s imagery is likely not only representational simply because the images themselves are filled with such hue, and beauty, but because the artist had a personal connection, if not just for a moment, with each of these locations.

The first of the three images I chose to focus on, though Untitled like the majority of his prints, spawns from Hido’s Homes At Night series, also known as 2424-A. This set of photography focuses in on nightscapes, primarily that of suburbia, in low light situations. Long exposures, ranging anywhere from 30 seconds to ten minutes, are what make these photographs so breathtaking. I found this work particularly moving in terms of my own photography because of the methods behind the magic. Hido would drive around at night looking for just the right light, colors and scenery for his images. What came about from the process, was not only a variety of images that ranged in plethora of color, but compositions that spoke in unison with the eeriness captured by the subjects and time of day. Despite the fact that 2424-A is dissimilar to that of the other photographs in the series, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the depth of field used. The purple and white glow of the snow in the foreground creates a pictorialistic feel; the idea that time stands still. This gives image a dream like quality that cannot be ignored. Such a long exposure on a foggy night would make it appear as though the sky has been painted purple. This creates an abstraction from afar that can be compared to that of a surrealist painting.

It’s easy to read into various stylistic concepts here, although as the viewer we won’t know artist’s true intentions for certain, symbolism aside. We may only go off of what we know, both, by looking at the image apart from speaking to the artist himself. Of course, the vantage point, as well as the imagery alludes to a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ scenario; perhaps the romanticism emanating from the light at the horizon line where the roadway stops serves as some sort of a reference to a more personal memory. It’s no wonder that the very questions that arise from the image are the same ones that perplex and shift perspective onto those who see it.

Despite the fact that none of the images I sought to zero in on are particularly famous of Hido’s body of work, the second image, also Untitled, in my opinion is the most striking of his series, Fragmented Narratives. Another long exposure is likely the cause of such vivid and vibrant colors, although in this case, it’s the composition of objects in the room that resonates a certain feeling of disconnect. No doubt the white phantom glow displaying outward from the television on the wall is peculiar enough in itself. However, frame placement is key. The amount of actual darkness in the room is evident in spite of the exposure used: I’m guessing the time only lies somewhere between 20 seconds to 2 minutes here. Shadows that encompass the wall create a ghostly reminder of something that once was. Adding to this is the wraithlike bedsheets, ruffled and left as is; a cue that someone is or was just in the room. This picture tells a story that varies depending on the user. This is a narrative that speaks to me in terms of technology and the affects on human connectivity: a glow of what once was a human presence in an empty room of clutter and white noise. The deep blue hue of the wall offers a hint of sadness to the overall feeling of the environment.

Last of the images I was particularly drawn to, comes from Hido’s ‘Landscapes’ series. One of the things that really sets this image apart from the rest of the photography we see in this technological era is the artist’s knack for using natural filters. This idea is abhorrently relevant to the current social norm that has taken over the internet as well as the way we know and use social networking today: perhaps you may know it as ‘Instagram’. A beautiful exposure taken through the glass of a car window, rain settling all around, time appears to stand still. A color palette than ranges from cool purples to deep yellows, mutters a sense of warmth, hope. And though I cannot tell whether the sun is rising or setting, I cannot help feel, like it’s rays are pulling me in, engulfing me with the beautiful depth of field and blurred focal framing that Todd has so brilliantly created.

I feel something when I look at this work. It’s powerful, and it reminds me that we as humans live and dream in color. Todd Hido isn’t afraid to push the envelope, to question what is real from imaginary. He does this by utilizing photographic techniques, living in the moment; and his relationships with his subject matter shows throughout his imagemaking. With my senior show opening April 28th, I couldn't help but pay homage to the body of work that has been so influential in my own life. Keep an eye out internet, there's a storm coming.

Who inspires you to push forward in the things that you do? Why?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy April Fools!

Faked out half of my twitter followers, AND trolled my parents...


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Do you have any gaming traditions or games that you play with your family?

Just about the only game I found myself playing with my parents, who are much older than I, growing up was Monopoly, along with Scrabble and other board based games. Although I must say, after gifting my parents a Wii this Christmas we finally got down on some Mario Kartage, which, to my dismay, ended only 20 minutes after I finished, and watched them drive backwards on the map for 15 as such.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Our culture, it's evolving.. into a Magikarp.

Growing up in this day and age, with the endless series of tubes that is the internet, there's no doubt that the things that could've easily been considered niche: a meme, underground band perhaps, have the power to spread like a wildfire. On the subject of double rainbows I feel fairly confident that we are covered.. however, what does this mean for the self proclaimed 'nerds, geeks and gamers'?

What is it that defines us as people? I would imagine most would consider the answer to that question as the hobbies that consume their daily lives, the people they spend it with and maybe even for some, the objects that they behold.

I remember when I was in high school and I was enthralled at the idea of defining myself. I spent hours upon hours listing hundreds of both likes, and dislikes on my LiveJournal profile page, flipping back and forth between tabs as I checked the current status of my Neopets.

A lot has changed since then. For one, I have come to realize that you cannot define a person with a sentence, a series of likes, dislikes.. or 140 characters for that matter. The truth is, there is no way to define a person, or, even gather enough evidence to formulate a solid opinion without getting to know them. I like to think that on the subject of nature versus nurture, growing up in town where I felt I was constantly being sized up could have been what led to me to my love affair with technology: the internet, video games. But it's more than just that.

There is no way to simply define a person in the same way that there is no way to physical shit out of your mouth. We can surely try, and we do. Social media has made it easy to throw around terms like geek, gamer, nerd.. the list goes on and on. For many, the internet offered an escape from stereotypes, but now this idea as we very know it is being threatened.

I read a particularly interesting and thought provoking article by games journalist Leigh Alexander this past week. I really hope you read it. She's awesome. It hits the nail on the head in terms of confronting the scary world in which we are now living, the way our culture has evolved as a whole, and the direction that the internet is pushing us on a social level.

Atop of this, Maxim Magazine just posted a casting call for all of you 'gamer girls' out there, which is actually proof, that it is, in fact, possible to shit out of your mouth, so you can retract my previous statement. It's not that I have a problem with the girls who are applying, just the way the situation was handled by the casting agency - don't forget to "wear your hottest outfit", and "bring a headshot".. I'll give you a headshot Maxim.

Sigh. This new 'acceptance' of nerd/geek culture is both relieving and frightening to me. And, despite my urge kick my feet up while petting a hairless cat and laughing maniacally, I really do wonder sometimes.. I'm good for it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You know it's true.

..I want that.

Monday, March 26, 2012

EPIC LOOT: Replica Gears Snub Pistol Obtained.

Within the span of the last few months I've been partaking in a series of what I like to call 'Photographic Adventures'. They're kinda like ghost adventures, but better. And despite being awfully tempted to describe such adventures in great detail, I dare not ruin the surprise of my senior thesis photography work (you'll have to wait a few weeks for that my pretties - yes I said that).

Two weeks ago as I arrived at my parents house in New Jersey for Spring Break I was greeted with a tangible object that brought me sheer joy. Might I remind you this 'thing' is not my boyfriend, nor, is it an item of monumental power, however such a trinket brought me endless happiness, because not only was this item a replica of one of my favorite weapons of Gears of War, but there were only 500 made. Hot damn. Headshots.

Yes, that's a Gears of War 3 replica COG Snub Pistol. And yes, that is me, doing what I do, in my mind, every night as a close my eyes and fall to rest. These images, though unrelated to my most recent photography, are both a sneak peek of what is coming up in my senior show April 28th, as well as a personal shrine to my newly adopted toy.. not mention a great excuse to run around in a field like a giddy schoolgirl.

So, I guess what I'm really saying here is that if my current state of financial distress ever comes into question, blame Project Triforce.. those bastards took all my money (my M-8 Assault Rifle hasn't arrived yet).

Oh and by the way, remember that 5k I ran on the 24th? Keep your eyes peeled on the Frag Dolls website this next week...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

5k Race Coming Up!

Shout out to @avantgame (Jane McGonigal) for momentous inspiration & workout plan.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Was Made For This.

This post has been a long time coming. It's not very often I get a chance to talk about my past. It was easy for me this last year of school to get wrapped up in moment and forget my purpose, what motivates my ambitions and how far I've come in the last 3 years of my life. That being said I think I've made a lot of self reflection.

My social life in particular has blossomed since my first foray into the gaming industry two years ago with the Frag Doll Cadette Academy. It's an experience that really changed my perception of human interaction. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who truly understood me; not online, not the neighbors that inhabited my Animal Crossing play through, but in real life.

At the age of six I was diagnosed with ADHD, and up until my second year of college I had been heavily medicated. I won't go into too much detail, but for the majority of my life I felt betrayed by much of the people surrounding me; I relied on technology: my PC, Gamegear, Xbox 360, DS. These were the brothers and sisters I never had growing up as an only child. Despite being an easy target to land on by the crosshairs of the bullies at my school, I found a distinct love for role playing games, social media, internet, and the online communities that I became a part of in games such as Guild Wars, and using clients like Ventrilo. It was easy to feel like no one understood me in a small but affluently driven hometown in New Jersey, but I sought comfort, release, in such games and mediums. I poured my soul into my my artwork, and let out much of my aggression and anger through my soccer playing, but ultimately it was my experiences exploring the lands of RPGs, as well as the opportunities in which I could come home from a long day and serve a cold dose of headshot to those I played Day of Defeat and Gears of War with that gave me the most satisfaction. However, to say that I felt much of anything at all during this dark portion of my life would've been inaccurate. Come middle school into high school I was on a combination of six different emotional numbing medications. I was insecure about myself, unsure of my own feelings, and completely lost.

Three years ago, after almost completely failing out of college and on the cusp of giving up all together, I made the decision, on my own, against the better judgement of my therapists and psychiatrists to stop taking my medications. For the first time in my life, I truly felt alive. It was apparent to me that I had been given a second chance, both spiritually, and quite literally, after a near overdose in high school had left me with permanent circulatory system damage.

Sitting at home, paints all over the floor, with an xbox 360 controller to the left of me, I found G4TV, Spike, and other television stations that had shows devoted to the purpose of gaming entertainment. I couldn't help but feel like it was my calling. If I was going to do something with my life, it was going to be now. The next step was the most logical of all steps, I would take to the internet, and enroll back in school. It was this way that I stumbled across Twitter, the "Blog Your Way to E3" 1 Up Contest, as well as the Frag Doll Internship that change my life and introduced me to an industry: a community of people that I now consider my home. <3

Since then everything's been such a blur. There isn't a day that goes by I'm not grateful for the opportunities I've been given. This summer, working as an intern for the G4TV Show X-Play was a dream come true. I worked hard for it - I even had a series of bake sales for months so I could get to LA - but in the end it was you: the gaming community, the people who read my blog, or follow my real life questing on Twitter: you make my dreams a reality.

Working on The Indoors Kid's podcast with Kumail for Nerdist Industries this July was one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life. I got to work with and meet some really incredible (and funny) people. It was really difficult saying goodbye to that, to Los Angeles, to having everything I've ever wanted right there in front of me. But, out of respect for myself, my parents, the future, and the idea that I will one day get to share my story with the world - and trust me when I say I will - I had to finish my last year of school.

Two months away from graduation, it has become evident to me of how completely uncertain life can be - remember that time I lost my car in that flash flood? But I know I am lucky to be here. I am thankful I was given a second chance, at life, and my education. Slowly but surely it's all beginning to make sense. I know I want to work in the gaming and entertainment industry. I know where my skills lie; journalism, social media, comedy, photography. And I know for god damn sure what I've know my whole life: video games and technology have had nothing but positive influence on me and I can't wait to spend the rest of my existence relaying that message.

/// SIGNAL INCOMING: Never give up.

xoxo Ali Baker

Relevant to your interests: @FragDolls, @G4TV, @Xplay, @IndoorKids, @Nerdist

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This car rules.

Can you imagine if you were rolling down the street and saw a chick with pink hair riding a Crusin' Across America-mobile? I'm adding this vehicle to my dream car list; no joke. It's going to be one of the must have toys of the millennium, if not solely for myself alone. Calling it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

These Pokemon Valentines will ThunderBolt your heart.

Happy Schmallentine's Day guys. These e-valentine's are my favorite. Enjoy! 143.

Credit to artmansteve! Check out his tumblr, Ice Cream and Irony.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shit Gamers Guys Say

I know what you're thinking, and yes, that's me, with the pink mustache.. Within the past few months, a meme known as Shit Girls Say has taken the web by storm. This has snowballed into a recent trend of Shit ___s Say videos.

This got many of us in the Frag Doll's Sisterhood thinking.. Why don't we make a video? Most of us are more than familiar with being smack talked over XBL by now - this typically by that of young pubescent boys - so we figured we'd have our fun in muse of this.

So without further adieu, Shit Gamer Guys Say:

I like to think of myself as the pink haired Doctor Zhivago. Check out the Frag Doll's Website for more videos and news regarding the sisterhood. Also, relevant to your interests if you enjoyed this video, is the website "Fat, Ugly, or Slutty", which was founded by several of the girls in my class, and plays off of the idea that according to 75% of the men encountered while gaming, if you're a gamer chick, chances are you're either fat, ugly or slutty. Some of the posts there are grade A hilarious. Definitely worth checking out for more laughs if you get a chance.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Setting goals; my half year, half marathon plan.

Over the course of the past year I've really taken a liking to running. This has inspired me to set some pretty hefty goals for 2012, including one next September that will push my limits beyond what I would have imagined possible a few years ago.

My quest into a series of marathon runs begins with the Finally Spring 5k Manchester Run on March 24th of this year. Continuing training up through April, and depending on my school schedule I'll be looking to take a stab at the Hartford 10k Marathon April 14th.

This, all leading up to my graduation in May, should have me up to speed and ready to address my final and most exciting goal, the Los Angeles Half Marathon, which, I figure, by October 28th, I'll be within a good radius of given plethora of jobs I'm interested in located nearby.

So excited to get started with this. Here's to wishful thinking, making moves, and a happy and healthy 2012. Bring it on baby!