Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Coming soon...

An upcoming re-imagining of my website is in the works. For now, feel free to browse the post archives and catch up on whatever strikes your fancy!






Monday, May 4, 2015

Reflections on April's A - Z Challenge

When I decided to start blogging again this past December, I had high hopes for maintaining a regular schedule and planning out my content in advance. Then, of course, I fell into a rut.

I heard about the A to Z challenge and thought that it would be the perfect exercise to "jump start" my writing and be held accountable for consistency. I started off really well, planning out post ideas and skeleton drafts, and kept up every day for a couple weeks. Then I got sick, and life got busy, and I found myself behind by a day...then two days...then a week...it was starting to look like I wouldn't follow through for the month.

And I was quite embarrassed when I got a "you're behind and we need to know if you intend to finish" email.

But I didn't want to quit. I had those bare bones drafts and outlines, and just needed to sit down and force myself to write. And I made it! As a first timer doing this challenge, it would have been easy to start to feel intimidated by all of the other bloggers who were on point with their theme and their daily posts; but I instead focused on how I can improve myself and my blog -- because I'm pretty sure there's no other blog out there with the same juxtaposed niche as I have!

What I learned from the A - Z challenge:
  • I am capable of writing a wide variety of posts. Some were more serious in tone, some were communicating scientific concepts, some were creative poems, some were collective lists, etc. I need to learn how to put the same amount of research and enthusiasm into all of those different writing styles (i.e. don't think of a "list" post as "phoning it in," but make it just as engaging as longer posts).
  • I am capable of writing many posts in a short amount of time. When it came down to the wire, I had to write multiple posts in one day to get them posted in a timely manner. I need to learn how to manage my time wisely, schedule posts ahead of time, and be consistent with a schedule so I don't fall into the trap of "cramming" the night before.
  • I am capable of interacting with a community of writers. I discovered many great blogs, some of which I would have never sought out on my own. I need to learn how to comment more and show my appreciation for good content when I read it.
Future plans:
  • Write consistently with a post on Monday and Thursday every week (with additional posts as they come up!)
  • Make every post well researched and engaging, regardless of content or length. Put a focus on quality content.
  • Schedule posts ahead of time and schedule time dedicated to writing/researching.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to play along this past month, and look forward to challenging myself again next year! Hopefully I will have learned from my mistakes this year, and will likely have a whole new list of challenges to face!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Zenith

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Here we are. The peak of 26 days of blogging. An alphabetical zenith. A challenge conquered -- though there were many hurdles in the way -- I learned a lot about what I am capable of, how I can work under pressure, and what topics I love to write about most. Here's to continuing momentum and more blogging discoveries to be made.

And here's to all the A to Z challenge participants. We made it!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

YouTube Channels...For SCIENCE!

Even thought it is incredibly easy for me to get caught in the YouTube black hole of puppies and babies laughing, I actually spend most of my YouTube time watching several different channels geared toward science education. I'm a firm believer that learning isn't just something you do with a textbook, and science isn't just boring old men in lab coats. One of these days, I intend to actually start a science communication YouTube channel of my own, but for now, here are some of my favorite science-y YouTube channels that you should check out!

asapSCIENCE - Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown tackle quirky and interesting science questions with the powers of whiteboard doodles. (check out their new book, too!)


Bite Sci-zed - Although Alex Dainis doesn't post very regularly anymore (she's busy working on her PhD!), I've always loved her enthusiastic personality and her great science communication skills!


The Brain Scoop - Emily Graslie is the world's only Chief Curiosity Correspondent, where she makes videos about science and natural history for The Field Museum of Chicago. It's awesome to get a peek into the inner workings of a museum (...ok, mostly awesome to see them prepare and taxidermy specimens).


It's OK To Be Smart - I first started following Joe Hanson on Twitter and related to him for his love of science and his geeky tendencies. It was a no brainer to start watching his channel, hosted by PBS Digital!


SciShow - If you spend even just a little bit of time on the internet, you are probably familiar with John and Hank Green of vlogbrothers fame. They dominate the internet with their video-producing prowess, and science is no exception to that.


Smarter Every Day - Destin Sandlin is an engineer armed with a high speed camera and a curiosity for the science of every day life. In addition to being education, his videos are just plain cool to watch.


Veritasium - Derek Muller's videos tackle "an element of truth," challenging what we know and don't know about the world around us through science.


Bonus: Melody Sheep - John Boswell uses the "autotune" trend to create remix videos titled Symphony of Science, using clips from science programs and scientist interviews.




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X-Wing Love

Since watching the original Star Wars trilogy as a kid, I fantasized about being an X-Wing pilot. When the video game, Rogue Squadron, was released for N64 in 1998, that dream became a reality.

Image via Wikipedia
For you fashionistas who love the starfighter as much as I do, show off your X-Wing pride with style.
Image via HerUniverse

Or if you are more of an engineering type, why don't you build your own?

Image via LEGO

If the Force is strong with you in the kitchen (unlike me), you can be well prepared for any slicing and dicing needs with this knife set.

Image via ThinkGeek
But the reality is, you're probably sitting at your desk at work, pushing paper around and checking emails. So use those office supplies wisely!

Image via instructables




Monday, April 27, 2015

The Wilderness

I was first introduced to the music of KS Rhoads about two years ago. He was the opening act for one of my favorite bands, Gungor, and his set involved a guitar, a loop pedal, and his voice. This bare bones set-up allowed him to showcase his amazing songwriting talent.

I was impressed, and bought his album, The Wilderness, when I returned home after seeing the show. But admittedly, I didn't really come back and give it a good listen until recently. The theme of the record is that there hope and light despite living in a wilderness of darkness where loss, abandonment, fear, and sadness exist. His creative eclectic musical style and his lyrical profundity make this album a timely listen this spring (despite being a couple years old!).









Saturday, April 25, 2015

A History of Vaccination

Active acquired immunity from disease dates back to the 15th century in China. The Chinese developed a method of inoculation called "nasal insufflation" which involved blowing a powder created from dried smallpox scabs into the nostrils. This caused a mild sickness, less severe than naturally acquired smallpox. This method would come to be known as variolation, named for the scientific name of smallpox (Variola).

Once exposed to a pathogen (a disease causing agent), the body develops an adaptive immunity which results in protection from future infection. Variolation was a well established practice through the 1700s, spreading to Western Europe and the Americas. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was the first to promote variolation as a medical treatment, and had her children treated to protect them from smallpox.

At this time, the variolation method had advanced to a minimally invasive application of the powdered smallpox scabs on a small scratch at the skins surface. During the late 1700s, it was speculated that people who suffered from cowpox, a less severe disease, were immune to smallpox. In 1796, Edward Jenner decided to perform an experiment based on these tales. He found a milkmaid, named Sarah Nelms, who had cowpox lesions on her hands and arms. He sampled some material from one of the pox lesions, and transferred it to an 8-year old boy named James Phipps. A couple months later, Jenner again treated the boy with infectious material, though this time from a smallpox lesion. The boy did not get sick. Immune protection was established.

Edward Jenner's discovery was the dawn of the age of vaccines. In the 19th century, Louis Pasteur further developed the technological development of the modern vaccine. He created vaccines for anthrax and rabies by developing weakened viruses to be used as the vaccination agent. Like the cowpox scabs, these weakened viruses would not develop into full-blown disease, but merely stimulate the body's immune system for protection from infection.

"The Cow Pock - or - the Wonder Effects of the New Innoculation!"
image via Wikimedia Commons
The anti-vaccination movement is nothing new. Even Jenner faced scrutiny from the community; there were people who feared that the cowpox inoculations would cause them to grow cow-like appendages. While fraudulent attempts to discredit vaccinations have occurred, the science is overwhelmingly supportive that vaccines are effective, and they save lives. Today, vaccines are available for many different diseases, and yearly immunizations prevent an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths globally. Smallpox, the once prevalent and devastating disease, was officially declared eradicated in 1980. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for fear mongering, but a knowledge and understanding of the history and pioneering work of vaccination is infectiously inspiring.




Friday, April 24, 2015

What's up with the uvula?

You know it as that dangly thing in the back of your throat. The palatine uvula is an anatomical mystery. Scientists have theorized that it plays a role in guiding food and water down the esophagus, that it is implicated in sleep apnea, and that it is the instigator of the gag reflex.


The uvula is anatomically exclusive to humans, and consequently plays a role in speech. Some European languages involve a uvular trill as a consonant sound. Additionally, the uvula excretes some saliva which helps prevent a dry throat while talking.

So go ahead and try saying "your unique uvula" 10-times fast -- your unique uvula may just be the reason why you can do it!





Thursday, April 23, 2015

Talkin' About Tardigrades

They are tiny. They are tenacious. They are tardigrades.

Even as a biology major in college, I didn't learn about these fascinating creatures until a couple years ago. Also known as the water bear or the moss piglet, tardigrades are microscopic eight-legged animals that make up the phylum Tardigrada, from the latin for "slow walker." There are more than 1,000 species of tardigrades currently known. They are roughly the size of the tip of a pen or pencil, and are commonly found living on lichens or mosses in freshwater habitats.

GIF of footage from Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Tardigrades have been around a long time, with fossils dating from the Cambrian, a period about 500 million years ago that contained a rapid diversification of lifeforms known as the Cambrian explosion. They have survived every mass extinction event in the history of the Earth.

Image via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.5
Image via Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.5
Tardigrades are extremophiles, meaning they can survive in extreme environments. They have been found living in hot springs and also under layers of polar ice. They can tolerate 1,000 times more radiation than any other animal. They even survived the vacuum of outer space for research performed during space missions in 2007 and 2011.

They are extremely adaptable to these varying environments because of cryptobiosis -- essentially stopping all metabolic processes for a period of time. When conditions stabilize, tardigrades will return to it's normal metabolism.  This makes the water bear a wonderfully unique model organism to study evolutionary biology and the survival of life in extreme situations.




Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Style Your Universe

Last month, my friend Emily mentioned that the ladies behind Geek Fashion Week were hosting an online styling contest in conjunction with the HerUniverse brand. While I've never considered myself "fashionable," I really love my Star Wars Empire sheath dress that I bought from HU a couple years ago. So on a whim, I entered the "Style Your Universe" contest.

The challenge was to style the HU dress of your choosing in three different looks: a casual look for brunch with friends, an evening look for a night on the town, and a business look for an important work meeting.


Seeing that I wear the same things over and over, I really had to stretch my imagination to figure out how to accessorize and diversify my three styles...but I ended up being chosen as a finalist and eventually winning the contest!

It was an honor to just participate, and I will definitely be stealing borrowing some of the fashion tips off of the other contestants.




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Reddit Love

A few years ago, my brother texted me a link to www.reddit.com/r/aww and I found myself clicking through page after page of adorable puppies and kitties and more. It was my first taste of what reddit has to offer, but I found myself annoyed by the "ugly" barebones user interface and went on with my life.

Somehow, I found myself back on reddit, and made an account a couple years later. I found various subreddits that centered around topics of interest, and I began upvoting content I enjoyed to help it rise to the "front page." I became an active redditor, a person who frequently uses the site to share and support good content.

Most people thing reddit is just a breeding ground for memes, snark, and trolls, but I've found that there are some really great communities that try to promote civil discussion and spark new ideas. And some subreddits are just plain FUN!

Here are my current favorites:

/r/AnimalsBeingDerps and /r/aww - For cute things :)

/r/Christianity - Do you ever want to read some civil and thoughtful discussion between atheists and Christians? This is the sub for you!

/r/GuessTheMovie - Guess the movie based on the posted screenshot. This fun game will guaranteed increase you googling and IMDb searching skills.

/r/IAmA - Q&A with personalities both famous and mundane.

/r/LearnDota2 - Great helpful discussion on how to improve while playing this difficult computer video game.

/r/Science - The latest in scientific research, and often Q&A posts with scientists.

/r/ShowerThoughts - For sharing all those philosophical and brilliant thoughts that come to you while you are in the shower.




Monday, April 20, 2015

Quiet: The Power of Introverts

One of these days I need to write a detailed blog post about my love of the MBTI and how it helped me understand my introversion. I mentioned it a bit in this post a couple years ago.

I have always felt like a social outlier. I never understood why people saw me as aloof or "shy," when I was crazy and exuberant at home with my family. Or why people didn't get that I wasn't a "party person" and would rather hang out and watch Star Wars with just one or two of my best friends. I never understood why I didn't like big crowds, despite a love for visiting busy cities like Chicago or New York City.

It wasn't until well after my college years -- the period when all the stress and confusion about how I fit into society led to episodes of depression and anxiety -- when I finally discovered what it meant to be an INTROVERT. I learned that introversion didn't mean shy or socially inept, but rather it meant that I prefer to internalize my thoughts as a way to "recharge" after periods of socialization. It meant that I am be better at communicating through writing rather than on the spot discussion...and that I much prefer talking about topics I'm passionate about rather than participating in "small talk."


Shortly after I learned the true definition of introversion vs. extroversion, I came across a TED talk by Susan Cain entitled, "The Power of Introverts." Her talk introduces the concepts she thoroughly researched for her book, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking -- concepts that hit me over the head like a lightbulb, or more like a giant lighthouse:

"Oh, that makes *so* much sense! There are other people that think that way, too?! I had no idea that's why I acted that way..."

It's been about three years since discovering I am an introvert and since finding that TED talk. But I've only just started reading Cain's book. I have read and researched a lot about introversion in the past three years, and having that knowledge base already makes reading QUIET feel like revisiting an old friend. I was hoping to finish the book before today so that I could write a reflective review, but I'm going to just savor my time reading and relating to what Susan Cain writes.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How does that affect the way you experience the world?






Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pine Lake Photography

We're spending this weekend in a cabin up at Pine Like Camp, a small camp in Westfield, WI owned by the United Methodist Church. Matt's family has been coming here for years, so naturally I embraced the tradition of visiting the camp regularly, enjoying the outdoors, canoeing on the lake, and spending time with family.

While I grew up tent camping with my family at state parks, I never really saw the appeal of staying in a cabin at a private camp -- and I definitely did not grow up going to summer camp (I was too anti-social for that...I guess I still am!). But even though I didn't experience those things in my past, I still truly enjoy spending time at PLC and observing what camp life is like for those who participate in the programs and activities.










Friday, April 17, 2015

One for Broadway

I love broadway musicals. I was that crazy theatre nerd in high school who only listened to showtunes and didn't recognize any of the pop hits on the radio. I frequently burst into song and dance in my everyday life.

While most shows are happy-go-lucky, with all the glitz and glamour and tap dance numbers, some of my favorite musicals are the dark, heavy, emotional and thought-provoking stories.

I put together a playlist of some of my favorite showtunes that start with the letter "O" for today's post. Enjoy!






Thursday, April 16, 2015

Neurocomic: A review

I mentioned in an earlier post this month about how I was looking forward to reading Neurocomic. Just looking at the cover and I knew I was in for a visual treat.


Written by two neuroscientists, Dr. Hana Roลก and Dr. Matteo Farinella, Neurocomic is a primer in the biological workings of the brain -- how information is transmitted between cells, how memory works, and the complexity perception, deception, emotion, and existence.


Being passionate about communicating science in creative ways, I really enjoyed this piece of work. Set up like an Alice in Wonderland-esque journey, a man finds himself literally inside his own brain -- and along the way meets pioneers of the neuroscience research field who explain the science in beautiful metaphors. While at moments I wished they would have gone deeper into the details, the ending left me with a giant smile on my face and a yearning to adventure into the world and let my brain take in all the experiences.

Head to your local library and check out this graphic novel!



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Me, Myself, and Microbes

Many people associate bacteria with disease -- those microscopic "bugs" and "germs" that make us sick. However, only a small number of bacterial species (called pathogenic bacteria) can make you sick. A great example is E. coli, known to contaminate food and water and cause diarrhea. But most E. coli strains are harmless, and some are natural residents of your intestinal biology, helping to regulate digestion. E. coli is also a model organism used in biotech laboratories to develop proteins for pharmaceutical use, such as insulin for diabetic patients.

Image via NIH/NIAID under CC BY 2.0
The microbial world shapes how we humans biologically interact with the environment around us. The past several years have seen a boom in the study of the human microbiome -- he collection of natural microorganisms that inhabit our human bodies. There are about 10 TRILLION microbial cells that live in or on our bodies, outnumbering our human cells 10 to 1. If we were to sample and collect all of the microbes from a 200-pound adult into a jar, the bacteria would weigh an average of 4 pounds.

Organizations like the Human Microbiome Project are at the forefront of research to understand exactly how bacteria influence our immune systems, our digestion, and our genetics. Microbes are a prime example that there is much to understand about the natural world, and that irrational fear of the unknown inhibits discovery.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Liturgists

When I ask what you think about "church," a variety of ideas, emotions, and cultural coding will pop into your head based on your experience (or lack of experience) with religion. 

As a Christian who is also a rational thinker, science lover, and feminist minded, I've never exactly felt like I fit in to the "cookie cutter" mold of what a typical woman looks like within the Christian subculture of the church. I have questions and doubts about my faith, I'm career driven rather than a homemaker, and I don't think that evolution and my belief in a creator God are mutually exclusive. 

Yet I still have faith in the beauty of the Gospel, and believe that the Christian community, despite our individual differences, can truly work together to do good.

These ideas are something that The Liturgists tackle in their creative works. The Liturgists is a collective of artists, musicians, speakers, and other creators who have come together to create liturgical work that is thought-provoking, challenging, and worshipful.
Resurrection says that this is our home and that our home is good
Resurrection says that not only is our home good
but everything about our home that is wrong, twisted, broken,
destructive, flawed, and failed
everything about it
whether it may hurt and whether it may be something like cancer that is real
and however big the bruise is
and however much blood there is on the floor
whatever it is
however real it is
and however much it broke your heart
it is, in the end, in some really, really hard to describe way
temporary
That in fact, there is a new creation bursting forth
right here in the middle of this one
and there is a new heaven and a new earth coming together
and that this Jesus, in his resurrection insists that in the conquering of death
he has brought about something new
something you can trust
that whatever is holding you down
whatever feels like it's drowning you
whatever feels like it's a weight chained to your ankle
does not have the last word
That is resurrection 
- An excerpt from "Sunday" on the Garden liturgy -

A lot (not all) of the "Christian branding" that is out on the market now is watered down theology, emotionally manipulative, and frankly, not creative. The Liturgists are just a group of people trying to break this mold and set a new standard of artistry that is reflective of a powerful Creator.



In addition to the liturgical work, The Liturgists also put out a podcast where they discuss various topics through the lenses of science, art, and faith. I especially enjoy these podcasts, as someone who lives in the intersection of those areas. I like the idea that everything is connected, and that science, art, and faith are not isolated aspects of life.

So I'll ask...what do you think about faith and the church?




Monday, April 13, 2015

A Haiku Ode to Kimmy Schmidt

An unbreakable,
strong, and passionate woman -
free to live, laugh, love.

-----

Like many, I binge watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in one day after it was released on Netlix last month. And like many, I fell in love with the quirky characters and over-the-top yet relatable situations that they experience throughout the season. Even though it's a comedy, it is extremely heart-warming with an empowering feminist message.


If you haven't seen it yet, stop being a mole-person, crawl out of your hole, and watch this amazing series ASAP!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jack of all trades...

I have always identified as a "renaissance woman" -- I've adopted many hobbies and skills and interests over the years, and have no shame in saying that I have talent in those areas. But the saying goes, being a jack-of-all-trades often means that one's interest is spread so thin that the result is being a master-of-none.

image via wikimedia commons
I take great pride in the things I'm interested in and passionate about, while at the same time I show great contempt toward myself because I don't excel at what I started, or don't finish a project. Because of my natural tendency to think about everything, my brain is really good at formulating ideas. But I rarely accomplish the task of brining those ideas to fruition.

I do think the many facets of my personality and my interests make me unique, and also make me capable of achieving a lot of interesting things. I love art, science, faith, geekery, gaming, music, crafts, etc. I want to be able to share my passion for these things in a way that is accessible for others so that they might learn something about themselves that they haven't thought of before. I think being a jack-of-all-trades can be an inspiring way to live life. We don't need to be perfect masters at anything. We just need to love who we are and love what we do.



Friday, April 10, 2015

Ingress

The world around you is not what it seems.
It's happening all around you.
They aren't coming.
They're already here.

A couple months ago I was recruited as an agent for the Resistance, a faction fighting for humanity's freedom from the Shapers, a mysterious alien race that aims to control the minds of those who are oblivious to their presence.



Ingress is an augmented reality game developed by Niantic Labs, a startup company within Google. Players (known in game as agents) download a scanner app which reveals that the world is teeming with "exotic matter," aka XM, which according to game lore was discovered alongside the Higgs Boson by CERN scientists. Some people believed that XM and the Shapers will guide us toward a new evolutionary age, and they formed the faction known as the Enlightened. Those of us who are wiser and more suspicious of the Shapers' activity have banded together in the Resistance.

We've discovered that dense XM clusters have formed around areas of importance -- landmarks, government buildings and schools, natural parks, and public art -- areas which are known to agents as "portals." Each faction is fighting to control portals and link them together to create triangular fields to score points (and save minds!). The game is GPS-based, and therefore gameplay is much like geocaching, while the battle for portals and fields simulates like a virtual game of capture-the-flag.


I've been enjoying Ingress for several reasons:

  1. The science fiction plot surrounding the game is so nerdy and fun to explain to people. What if there really is a mysterious alien race trying to control our thoughts?! Which side would you choose?!
  2. Since the game is GPS-based, it often requires you to get out of your car and physically walk around to access certain portals. This results in discovering new and interesting locations in town, while also doubling as a great exercise tool.
  3. Achievement badges. I'm a sucker for those things. The game awards you with several levels of badges for different tasks in game: hacking for gear, destroying and capturing enemy portals, walking a certain distance, discovering new portals, etc. Gotta collect em all!
  4. While the game can be played solo, the most rewarding part is socializing with other agents. By working together as a team, you can create larger fields for more points, help newer agents level up faster, and generally build camaraderie in a local community. At first I thought it was weird to meet up with some "strangers," but discovered that I now have several new friends who love gaming and are just as nerdy as I am! Now, I look forward to any opportunity to meet up and play with my fellow Resistance agents.
Are you ready to move?




Thursday, April 9, 2015

Home

I've blogged about Josh Garrels before, and I'm here to share his inspiring music once again. This week, Garrels released his latest album, Home -- a lyrical and harmonic journey about relationships, forgiveness, faith, and love. While Garrels lyrical content is explicitly about the Christian faith, his music is written with a sincerity and rawness that transcends above the "family-friendly" light pop rock you find on contemporary Christian radio. He's not afraid to wrestle with doubt or challenge the listener with introspective philosophy a la Sufjan Stevens.

Also similar to Bon Iver and Ray Lamontagne, his orchestral folk sound blends perfectly with his soothing and soulful melodies.


I've been reflecting a lot lately on my relationships with my family and friends, and this album speaks to all of the moments of fear and doubt that I have about myself and how I relate to others. I have a tendency to harbor a cynical attitude about life, isolate myself from others, and let negativity cloud my rational judgement. Choosing joy and focusing on the positive is challenging for me, but always rewarding -- and when I take the time to reflect, I am constantly reminded of the wonderful support network I have in my relationship with Christ and with others.
and joy, it is severe
when the way is rough and steep
love will make your days complete
Garrels' new album can be found on all the typical digital media outlets, but is also currently offering the release for free on noisetrade.com (with the option to tip). I highly recommend this moving piece of work, and urge you to support indie musicians and quality music.





Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Geekin' Out Over Garrus

Mass Effect is a video game series near and dear to my heart. A third-person shooter/RPG hybrid, the sci-fi action is dependent on the choices you make in the game, allowing you to become a part of the world and experience the narrative in a personal way. Because of this, the characters in the Mass Effect universe are all wonderfully developed -- my favorite being Garrus Vakarian.

Image via masseffect.wikia.com
Garrus is a Turian (a militaristic alien race) who is a skilled fighter and former security officer who joins Shepard's (your character) team. He is a master tactician, a stealthy sniper, and an all around badass. He has that snarky confidence of a lovable rogue character, but is also a tortured soul who struggles with his identity and how to make a difference in the galactic battle with the enemy Reapers.

One of the role-playing aspects of the game allows you to romance one of the characters, and clearly Garrus is the best choice. He's tough and lethal, but tender and loyal. Not to mention he's a handy man who is always ready to take care of some calibrations on your ship.

Image via myself-resigned.tumblr.com
I happen to meet awesome people on the internet, and one of those people is John Rodriguez, aka JAR of Comics. When I found out that he was going to have an Artist Alley table at C2E2 this year AND was offering commissions, I jumped at the chance to get some awesome art and support a friend. I requested a drawing of Garrus, and JAR posted a sneak preview of my commission on Twitter. I can't wait to see it in person in a couple of weeks!

Image via @jarofcomics