June 8th – June 14th

XMen112Int1The Valley Nerd Watch!

Goodness! Hack for Western Mass was a really fun time! Not only fun, but extremely useful! We plan on doing a more complete breakdown, and speaking with some of the challengers and developers about their experiences, but for now we can give you a general idea of the weekend!

We began Saturday with an excellent breakfast, an auspicious start. After milling about for a little getting to know each other, we were treated to presentations of the challenges. There were nine total challengers: Gardening the Community, Full Moon Girls, Girls Inc, Smith College, the Springfield Parking Authority, the Permaculture Institute of the Northeast, DIAL/SELF, Pioneer Valley Local First, and Square One. After they presented what they needed and what skills they thought could help, people got to work sorting themselves into teams!

Then everyone went to their respective rooms to brainstorm for a bit and decide how to implement what with whom. It was a little bit of an exercise getting people from reasonably diverse skill and experience backgrounds on the same page, but in the end most teams figured out a solid division of labor and a plan for the weekend in about an hour!

The rest of the day was a haze of working and – for your friendly neighborhood Nerd Watch – live-tweeting. And bugging people for photos! People were sociable and excited for the most part! Non-profits were excited for an opportunity to have their needs met and coders were excited for more confirmation that their long hours learning how to do what they do were not ill-spent. There was also a brief yoga break. Today, it was mostly cleaning up projects and presenting what was accomplished!

It was… hectic. Very hectic. In fact, we’re kind of shocked it worked out so well! People split off according to what needs they thought they could fulfill and what projects interested them and it was all pretty anarchic. And yet everyone got something useful out of the event! Whether that was a 100% complete product that could immediately be put into circulation, a start on a path toward a permanent solution, or just advice that would allow them to fill their needs with off-the-shelf products.

More specific thoughts to come over the course of the month, but basically: wow this was a good, useful time.

Remember! Check out the Weekly Events page and the Events Calendar! A lot of really fun stuff is hiding on those pages! Bookmark them!


Board Games:

Saturday, June 13th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell St, Hadley MA, 01035] at 12:00pm
Board Game Day
Off the Wall Games will be hosting a fun day of board games for all you dice-rolling and cardboard-… … pushing? Arranging? Anyway for those of you who are into board games! They’re going to be running demos and giving 25% off select games, including King of Tokyo, Tsuro, and The Resistance!
Forbes Library, Community Room [20 West Street, Northampton, MA 01060] at 12:30pm – 4:45pm
Tabletop Gaming Day
Join the Pioneer Valley Geeks and Gamers for some board gaming fun! Bring your own to share or rely on their own collection of excellent Euro-style (read: Settlers of Catan-ish) strategy games!
Sunday, June 14th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Heroclix is a fun miniatures game about making heroes and villains and people of indeterminate moral character fight! Shatter reality to pieces as you make the Green Hulk fight the Grey Hulk! Make Deadpool fight Deadpool! Make Batman team up with six other Batmen and fight fourteen Spider-Men! The sky is the limit!

Comic Books:

Sunday, June 14th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Comic Creator’s Jam
A new monthly discussion group at Modern Myths for comic creators! Whether you’re an aspiring creator or a seasoned veteran, you can come discuss the process of getting a book created. Writers and artists welcome! Hosted by Kat Cahill, a local comic writer!


Saturday, June 13th
Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center [100 Bigelow St, Holyoke, MA 01040] at 10:00am – 3:00pm
Workshop/Bootcamp: Design Thinking: The Fundamentals of Human-Centered Design
A half day workshop focused on designing things via a process of rapid prototyping and focusing on trying to maintain some empathy with the people actually using the end product. It costs $35 to attend, but lunch is provided!


Wednedsay, June 10th
Forbes Library Lawn [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 8:30pm – 10:30pm
Raiders of the Lost Ark on the Lawn!
Be exceptionally uncomfortable but somehow much more excited while watching a classic film! Sit out on the lawn with a nice picnic basket and watch Harrison Ford at his best!
The Quarters [8 Railroad St, Hadley, MA 01035] at 7:00pm
Mad Max Night
Mad Max movies on the projector, with a bunch of drink and food specials! Also they promise to throw sand in your face. Have you already seen Fury Road? See Fury Road! It’s excellent!
Friday, June 12th
Mystery Location [THE MYSTERY ZONE] at 6:00pm
Unbreakable + Dinner
Join the Pioneer Valley Geeks and Gamers to watch an understated, underrated classic of the low-fantasy superhero genre: Unbreakable! As always the location is a mystery secret to all but the people actually in the meetup group, but it’s close to downtown Northampton. Join this lovely group of people on their Meetup page so you can attend!


Thursday, June 11th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Public RPG: Mutants and Masterminds
A chance to have a lot of fun pretending to be a superhero! There are pre-rolled characters available so you don’t need to worry about whether or not there will be a seat at the table for you! We recommend playing a DC Editorial theme game: every ten minutes decide you don’t like the direction things are going and start from scratch!
Saturday, June 13th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027]at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Public RPG: Pathfinder Pirates
Pirates! Scourge of the Seven Seas, and multiple lakes! A few rivers, barely any puddles. But if you DO see a puddle pirate, you’d better believe they’re nastier for not having any room to move around. Point is: play a fun RPG system in a neat pirate setting, with pre-rolled characters so you don’t have to worry about jumping in! Hm. There’s a plank joke somewhere in there.

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