Gather ‘Round Padawans (Part 4): Star Wars: Princess Leia Gets the Shaft

There is no question of Leia Organa’s importance to the Star Wars saga.  She’s the heart of the rebellion, uniter of farm boys and scoundrels, a brilliant tactician, a brave soldier, and a survivor.

She is, at age nineteen, when her brother is still moisture farming and whining incessantly on Tatooine, already a senator and spy.  She faces Darth Vader down when the majority of others (mostly grown men) are quaking and mewling and scraping.  She retains the ability to quip under torture.

And somehow, she still ends up with the most boring comic of the bunch, and that’s a cautionary tale for women in comics, and for all of us.

Continue reading Gather ‘Round Padawans (Part 4): Star Wars: Princess Leia Gets the Shaft

Good Constellations to You!

Mazel tov! It’s probably the most well-known Jewish phrase. You’ve heard the Black Eyed Peas sing it, you’ve watched Tevye dream it, you’ve seen little Drake say it in HYFR. Translated as congratulations, it actually has a different meaning.

What does it mean? Let’s break it down. Continue reading Good Constellations to You!

Cyber Monday Deals Roundup

Image credit: Ruth Suehle

You don’t really want to work today, do you? So even though it sounds like something out of a 1995 issue of Yahoo! Internet Life magazine, let’s work this Cyber Monday and get some deals.


  • Loot Crate is offering $5 off one month or $5 off the longer plans and a free month of the new apparel/accessories crate called Level Up! December’s theme is Galaxy and includes Star Wars, Halo, Galaxy Quest, and an exclusive Star Wars Funko Pop! Use code CYBERMONDAY15.
  • ThinkGeek, in addition to its sales deals, has free shipping with no minimum order with code FREESHIP.


  • The Kindles have been on sale all week, so now the books are on sale. Kindle books are up to 85% off, or if you’ve been thinking about subscribing to Kindle Unlimited, you can do so for 25-40% off.Many of the Kindles are also still on sale, including the 6″ with wi-fi for $49.99 and the latest Paperwhite (my favorite) with light and wi-fi for $99.99.
  • The Amazon Echo is still $149, but I suspect this deal will end soon, possibly today.
  • Mimoco is having 50% off sitewide on their adorable USB sticks and more.
  • B and H, always my favorite camera store, has assorted Cyber Monday deals, depending on what you’re looking for.
  • And my favorite for used camera gear, KEH, has 25% off used digital gear, 35% off used film gear, and 50% off used accessories. Used doesn’t mean bad!


  • If Friday’s 5-quart wasn’t what you want, Amazon has the 6-quart Professional 6000 HD KitchenAid mixer 40% off for $249.99 today. (For comparison, Bed Bath and Beyond’s ad today features the 5-quart for the same price!)
  • If you missed the 7-in-1 pressure cooker or want a more traditional version, this T-fal 6.3-quart pressure cooker is $59.99, down from list price of $129.99.
  • Williams-Sonoma gets slightly more affordable with 10% off $50, 15% off $100, 20% off $200, or 25% off $500 with code SAVEMORE.


  • Up to 50% off Hasbro toys, including Nerf guns, My Little Pony, Transformers, and more. If you’ve got Play-Doh fiends, check out this 36-pack of Play-Doh for $12.49.
  • The Disney Store has assorted sales with bonus percentages off starting at 15% off $50 with free shipping on $75, code CYBER.

Fashion and beauty

In Defense of Santa Claus

I’m a Christmas geek. I won’t listen to the music or put up decorations until the first day of Advent or the first of December (whichever comes first), but it haunts my subconscious all year long, popping up in dreams and doodles in the middle of May or the heat of August.

To me, it is more than a holiday. It’s even more than a holy day. It is mythic and universal and deeper than either the shopping malls or my Catholic religion can make it. I want to share it with everyone, whatever their own beliefs or traditions or financial status: Christmas is about hope! It’s about humanity gathering together to keep each other warm as they cheer on the arrival of the sun! It’s about light coming to burn away darkness, both literally and figuratively! It speaks to the deepest longings of our souls.

I say you can celebrate or not celebrate this time of year however much or little you want to, in whatever way you like, as long as you’re happy and you’re not purposely making anyone else unhappy (there are of course people who won’t be happy no matter what you do: they don’t count). And yet I still get up in arms about people who do it wrong.

Continue reading In Defense of Santa Claus

Ways to Encourage Your Space Geek Child

If you asked my daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up for the first few years of her life, she would have said she wanted to “sew the material,” which was her way of saying she wanted to make clothes and be a crafter like her mom.

Around the age of 4, that began to change. I don’t remember exactly what happened that got her interested in space, but it’s an obsession that started strong and continued to build as we bought her lots of books about space and, eventually, a small telescope.

Now if you ask her she’ll say she wants to be an astronomer during the day and a mom at night.

That sounds good to us, so we’re trying to do all we can to encourage her love of space, and these ideas might help anyone trying to encourage a geeky passion in their kids. Continue reading Ways to Encourage Your Space Geek Child

A New NEW Generation of ‘Care Bears & Cousins’ From Netflix

“I wanna watch cousins!”

That was the strain this week with my three-year-old daughter who, after contracting a nasty case of strep, has been absolutely smitten with the Care Bears and Cousins show on Netflix.

While many parents might not find this exclamation to be anything other than another chime in the background, it’s meant a lot to me. As a child of the ’80s, the Care Bears—that greeting-card-turned-TV-series—was a huge part of my childhood. I watched all the movies, had my own Funshine and Brave Heart Lion, and stopped everything when my favorite, The Care Bears Movie II, came on TV.

Why The Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation? Well, it was full of something that, even at a tender age (perhaps a tender-hearted age, too), I absolutely adored: mythology. It was the origin story, not only of the Care Bears, but the cousins, too. I could even argue it was the Empire Strike Back of the franchise. Yes, marketing ploy aside, I was hopelessly in love with the Care Bear cousins, and getting to see them grow up as babies and sing my favorite Care Bears song, “Growing Up.”

And that’s not to mention the seriously dark backstory with Dark Heart, the evil spirit who helps camper Christy make a pack to become “camp champ” and resulting in an honestly tear-jerking final, where friendship and caring triumphs over evil.

Remember it now? I thought so.

No, I wasn’t expecting the new Netflix series Care Bears & Cousins—which is a branch from the Care Bears 3-D animated series rebootto be so hard-hitting. Something about ’80s kids shows had a certain dark tinge to them in ways that we just don’t see these days, save maybe occasionally in shows like the My Little Pony reboot. (Remember the My Little Pony: the Movie and the unstoppable purple ooze? Talk about nightmare material.)

But I was pleasantly surprised that, while the origin story is firmly tossed to the reboot rubbish heap and the cousins are much fewer in number (so far, we’ve got just four: Brave Heart Lion, Bright Heart Raccoon (my favorite!), Lotsa Heart Elephant, and Cozy Heart Penguin), their personalities and voices are done really well. Especially Braeden Fox’s Brave Heart who sounds so very much like Dan Hennessey’s original. Once I got over their new look and the fact that Funshine was now a dude, I really enjoyed time cuddling up with my daughter and just enjoying the little stories. A cool ship for the Cousins and Bright Heart’s steampunk inventions didn’t hurt, either.

For my three-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son (who pretends not to like it, but really loves it) the series is a great homage to the original. There are only six episodes so far, but it’s full of adventure, nostalgia, and positivity. Hoping they order more episodes soon and build up to a big, epic movie.

Natania is a member of the Netflix Stream Team.

Top image via Netflix.

Holiday Sanity Guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With shopping and baking and lots of work making with kids screaming near! It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Except when it’s not. When everyone is rushing trying to do ten million different things in order to savor the season, it’s easy to feel like an over-baked cookie: burnt out and totally wasted. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. This more or less defines my holiday season.

Every year, we over book, over work, and over everything. So this year, I’m going to work harder on keeping myself sane. In the interest of that, I’ve come up with a Holiday Sanity Guide.

Continue reading Holiday Sanity Guide

54,600 Un-Birthday Wishes for Alice in Wonderland

November 26th, 2015, marked the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The origin of the Alice stories were conceived by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Oxford mathematics don, whom the world knows as Lewis Carroll.

In 1862, Dodgson constructed the basis of the Alice stories while on a boating trip with the daughters of Henry Liddell: Lorina Charlotte, Alice, and Edith. Henry Liddell’s middle daughter, Alice, requested Dodgson write the Alice stories down.

In 1864 Dodgson presented Alice Liddell with a handwritten, self-illustrated manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground on November 26th.

ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND Illustration by Sir John Tenniel.

“It was all very well to say ‘Drink me,’ but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. ‘No, I’ll look first,’ she said, ‘and see whether it’s marked poison or not’; for she had read several nice little stories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts, and other unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that, if you cut your finger very deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked ‘poison,’ it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.”

(Alice’s Adventures…  20-21)

Continue reading 54,600 Un-Birthday Wishes for Alice in Wonderland

DIY: Winter Cat Shelter for Outdoor, Feral, and Free-Roaming Cats

My daughter and I are cat people. We have four at home and every Wednesday we volunteer at our local cat shelter, Cat Tales. We spend up to ninety minutes feeding, grooming, and socializing the approximately 100 cats who live there, including the two in the image above.

On the right is Sundance who strongly resembles Captain Marvel’s flerken cat, Chewie, and on the left is Bruce, named after the Batman. The shelter is made up of four rooms, all with access to the fenced-in outdoors. In the last month more and more cats have come indoors due to the colder weather. But what about the cats who live outside the fences?

Aeris and I decided to build a cat shelter for feral or free roaming cats to take refuge in this winter. It’s what Catwoman would do.


  • A large plastic bin, with a lid
  • A foam cooler, with a lid
  • Straw, shredded newspaper, or batting for insulation
  • Measuring tape or ruler and an X-acto knife or like cutting tool
  • Duct tape
a photo of supplies required to make a cat shelter
Photo by the author

Continue reading DIY: Winter Cat Shelter for Outdoor, Feral, and Free-Roaming Cats

Four Creative Ways To Give Lego Gifts

Image credit: LEGO City Advent Calendar 2010 – Day 21/24 by Kenny Louie

Given that there are more than five million Lego bricks being made every hour (yes, really!), there’s a good chance there will be a box of them under your Christmas tree this year. But why just wrap them up in paper when you can get more creative with your Lego gifting? Here are four ideas to try:

Lego Advent calendar

Lego sells ready-to-go Advent calendars. Each day you open a panel and get a minifig or tiny set. They come in a variety of themes, including Star Wars, City, and Friends. This year there’s also a Minions-themed Mega Blocks calendar. But I’m more of a DIY-er.

There are two ways you could go to build one on your own. You could get small sets, like minifigs, Mixels, and the small polybag sets. It won’t be a cheap Advent calendar, but it’s an option! Or you could split up a set and dole out a few pieces each day. The most straightforward way would be with the Creative Supplement (which also comes in the bright Friends-set colors). It’s a box of 303 basic bricks. You could either put a dozen or so in the calendar each day, or you could use it as a countdown or count-up. With 303 bricks, you could give 1 on December 1, 2 on December 2, and so forth all the way to Christmas Eve (or vice-versa with 24 on December 1 counting down).

If you’d like to build anticipation a little more, you could do the same with an actual set. To reduce the torture, be sure to give out the pieces in the order it takes to build the set! A few sets with just about the right number of pieces for the countdown method are: Continue reading Four Creative Ways To Give Lego Gifts

Best Deals of the Day, Black Friday 2015


***Evening update: The stores here are cleared out! That just means it’s time to move online. I’ve updated the list below with a few more goodies.

If you’ve never shopped from the Amazon app before, you can get a $5 off with this link. Full disclosure, that’s my referral link, and I’ll get a coupon too. But after you’ve started with the app, you can generate your own code to share with friends. $5 for everyone!

Target both in-store and online today is offering a 20% off coupon for a Target shopping trip between 12/4 and 12/13 if you spend $75 today. Continue reading Best Deals of the Day, Black Friday 2015

Same Geek Channel: Supergirl 1.5: How Does She Do It?

Spoilers ahead, as we dive into “How Does She Do It?”

This week Supergirl figures out just how difficult working parents actually have it as she tries to balance being a superhero and taking care of Cat’s son.

We find our heroine flying through the air, monologuing about how happy she is, when she discovers she’s being followed by a drone. She destroys the drone, grabs a piece of it, heads to the DEO and promptly accuses Henshaw of spying on her. Because this episode actually aired after Mama Danvers bombshell, we know we can’t trust him, but Alex, after looking at the, very advanced, tech declares that they can trust him.

Once at CatCo, Kara discovers that Cat has beat out Lois Lane for an award, and needs to go to Metropolis to collect it. What’s the problem there you ask? There is no one to watch her son, Carter. Kara volunteers. Cat grudgingly agrees, but insists that Carter is gifted and shy so he needs special attention.

We find Lucy Lane and James having the previously discussed meal hashing out what went wrong with their relationship. She’s in town on business for JAG. Lucy misses him, he’s not having it and dismisses her. Kara, who’s picking up food again, sees all this and checks on James after Lucy leaves. Before then can say much a bomb goes off in National City, so Kara has to go and do that hero thing.

At the site of the explosion, Supergirl uses her super breath to blow out the fire and her super strength to hold up the building while she secures the building with her heat vision. All of this is observed by another drone.   

As Henshaw is about to hand off the bombing investigation to the FBI, Alex discovers that the tech from the original drone and the bomb both originated at Maxwell Lord’s company. Hmm…let’s go pay him a visit! Continue reading Same Geek Channel: Supergirl 1.5: How Does She Do It?

We’re Thankful for ‘Lois & Clark’, Bat-kids & ‘The Omega Men’ This Week

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comics’ latest releases. Ray Goldfield is the proto-typical DC reader, while I’m the lapsed DC reader who needs to be pulled back in.

This week, when the stories were good, they were excellent but when they were bad, they were awful. The Batman line, of course, remains strong, but The Omega Men and DC Bombshells pull their weight. And we split on book of the week, with Ray going for Robin, Son of Batman while Superman: Lois & Clark is my favorite.

As for the worst, it’s good that Superman has the book mentioned above and that Wonder Woman has DC Bombshells because and the less said about their regular weekly books, the better.

Oh, and yet another sequel to the great Dark Night Returns came out. How doe sit stack up to the original? See below.

Robin, Son of Batman #6 – Patrick Gleason, script and pencils, Mick Gray and Tom Nguyen, inks,

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Not Book of the Week For Me But I Still Recommend It for the ‘Aww..”

Ray: The end of the first arc, before Damian heads back to Gotham to take part in the upcoming Robin War (which gets teased in another book this week as well). Surprisingly, the arrival of new Big Bad Den Darga actually takes a backseat this issue, with the villain fleeing to put his plan into motion, and the focus being on Damian and his odd supporting cast.

The opening segment shows one of Damian’s missions in the Year of Blood, which leads to him slaughtering a colony of Man-Bats. However, one young Man-Bat (who is sure to get all the fan art on Tumblr) survives, and Damian can’t bring himself to kill it. So he takes it back to his mother and gets approval to keep it as a warrior companion. It grows up into Goliath, natch. The powerful heart of the issue, though, is in Damian’s reunion with his mother now that they actually have time to talk. Continue reading We’re Thankful for ‘Lois & Clark’, Bat-kids & ‘The Omega Men’ This Week

Best Sales of the Day, November 26


Target has a lot of deals starting tonight, but you can get them online now. You can also use code TGTGQJV7 for an extra $5 off.

If you’ve never shopped from the Amazon app before, you can get a $5 off with this link. Full disclosure, that’s my referral link, and I’ll get a coupon too. But after you’ve started with the app, you can generate your own code to share with friends. $5 for everyone!


  • If you travel frequently and miss your Netflix and Hulu queues, or just get tired of hotels with 47 channels of ESPN and nothing you want to watch, a Fire TV stick is the solution. They’re $25 today.
  • The other Fire devices are on sale as well.


  • Family Game Night board games are on sale on Amazon.
  • 1500-piece Lego Large Creative Box set for $30 at Wal Mart starting at 6 pm.

Continue reading Best Sales of the Day, November 26

Same Geek Channel: Supergirl 1.4 Livewire: Mothers & Daughters

Thanksgiving came early to National City this year. To avoid portraying bombs going off in National City so close to the attacks in Paris, the Thanksgiving episode aired on November 16th.

Spoilers ahead friends! 

We find ourselves at the DEO watching an alien prisoner transport gone wrong. While nothing important happens here, there is a fight scene between Supergirl and said alien that looks to be well choreographed, but it’s hard to say that for sure as the camera never settles for long.

Supergirl subdues the alien, takes the rest of the day off, and flies home to find Alex freaking out about the pending arrival of their Mom, Eliza Danvers. Mama Danvers is none other than Helen Slater, who is visiting for Thanksgiving, and says she approves of Kara’s “coming out” as Supergirl. Not sure I believe her but let’s move on and meet the villain of the week.

Leslie Willis, CatCo’s own shock jock, disapproves of Supergirl and denounces everything from her “adorkable thing” to her wardrobe and her sex life. Leslie’s rant is yet another way the producers bash us over the head, but this time they vocalize a lot of our concerns about the Girl of Steel. So, they’ve got my attention. And Cat’s. She is not happy with Leslie’s “going after a young girl, insulting her body, how she dresses, her sexuality.”

And yes, that was Cat Grant seemingly standing up for Supergirl. Leslie counters that Cat is just as hard on Supergirl as she is, so what makes Supergirl special?  “Supergirl is changing the conversation of National City.” Cat tells her. “People don’t want your brand of negativity anymore Leslie. They want optimism, hope, positivity.”  Leslie calls Cat, rightly, a hypocrite, and Cat demotes Leslie to traffic reporter.

To the CatCopter! (Seriously, that’s what it’s called.)  Continue reading Same Geek Channel: Supergirl 1.4 Livewire: Mothers & Daughters

Best Sales of the Day, November 25

Photo credit: CC-BY Olin Gilbert

For the last few years, I’ve brought you the best of the Black Friday sales for geeks, moms, and their families. But since increasingly the sales are stretching through the week, I’m going to be bringing you a daily list of sales for the next few days! Keep checking in–I’ll update the posts throughout the day as things change, and there will be a new post each day. Let me know in the comments if there are deals you want to know about, and I’ll keep an eye out for them!


  • First-time HSN customers can use enter code 150136 at checkout to get $20 off your $40+ purchases.


  • Silhouette Cameo Starter Bundle for $179.99. I bought this on Amazon’s deals of the day last year, and it has become one of the most used items in my craft room.

Toys and games

  • Tons of board games are buy two, get one free at Amazon, including a lot of geek favorites, like Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Small World, and 7 Wonders (any of which I’d recommend!).
  • Just Dance 2016 is $25 at Amazon.
  • The Target Cartwheel app has 35% off of Lego Dimensions through today. This is cheaper than the set comes in any of the Black Friday ads I’ve found so far.
  • The Nintendo Shop has used Zelda games for Wii for $15. Appears to no longer be available.
  • Entertainment Earth, the land of much expensive geekdom, has some things in their 5-day Black Friday sale marked down 95%. You can get the Doctor Who 500-Year Mini Diary for $1.90 and Pop! figures as low as $6.

Continue reading Best Sales of the Day, November 25

Helmet Heads Can Be Cool

As the mother of four children, three of them extreme sport-loving boys, I am very familiar with the dangerous side of having fun. This is why I was thrilled to see GeekMom Ariane’s recent post about the importance of wearing helmets while ice skating. Fortunately, many people are finally realizing that flying down the hill on skis requires a good helmet, but it’s taken a bit longer to get the skating crowd on board.

I blame part of this trend on the movies and television shows. When you think about the life moments that might find you sliding around a rink, you usually envision the cute stocking cap on your head, or scarf around your neck. The skating outfit is usually a part of the winter fun scene that television and movie directors are looking for. Adding a rigid dome to the actors’ heads isn’t an option.

There is a reason life doesn’t really look like the movies. From wardrobe to relationships, most of us are smart enough to realize that the real world life is a bit messier.

It’s time for winter sports season once again. Whether you live near a scenic frozen lake or have a rink tucked conveniently in your local shopping mall or town square, a lot of people have access to skating once the winter months hit. So it’s time to talk about helmets. Continue reading Helmet Heads Can Be Cool

Why I Owe My Successes to Anxiety

“Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Obsessive Compulsive Tendencies is great for work but not so great for life.” –Dr. LaFrennier

Two years ago, I walked through the door of my psychiatrist’s office, sat on the familiar couch, stared at the familiar rug, and answered the familiar questions. Bear was getting ready to start his pre-school 4’s class and already I was getting anxious about how life would change when he started Kindergarten in a year. Being kept awake at night worrying about not being around him as much in a year meant that my anxiety was kicking into a ridiculous overdrive, and I needed medication again. Fair enough. I’ve never been one to hate being on meds, they make me a better me.

When the doctor asked me about work, I said that things were going well. I was consulting and teaching. I was working through audits fairly quickly. Working with my dad was great in that it brought us closer together, but our working styles were very different. I was highly organized while my dad was not. My dad’s lack of consistent planning, something that had plagued our working relationship for nine years at that point, was nothing new.

That’s when Dr. LaFrennier told me that GAD with OCD tendencies was great for work but not for life. I laughed, but this hit home.

Continue reading Why I Owe My Successes to Anxiety

‘Art of the Brick: DC Comics’ (plus Giveaway)

There are only a handful of themes which truly stand the test of time. The kind of things shared between generations; dancing across language barriers; appreciated by any child, anywhere, anytime. Lego is definitely one. DC characters are absolutely there. Art is certainly there.

And then whoa! You have someone like Nathan Sawaya combining all three?!? Welcome to the Art of the Brick: DC Comics. Prepare to be joyfully stunned.

Also below is our giveaway but one big caveat: it’s for Australia residents only.

Continue reading ‘Art of the Brick: DC Comics’ (plus Giveaway)

GeekMom Holiday Gift Guide #4: Toys and Lego!

Now that we’re in the second half of November, I know I’m not the only one starting to really flesh out my holiday shopping lists. Toys are almost always on kids’ wish lists (and many adults’ lists, as well!), so here are some of our favorite toys that we (or our kids) are wanting this year.

Continue reading GeekMom Holiday Gift Guide #4: Toys and Lego!

Lessons From a First-Time Mini Maker Faire Exhibitor

The excitement in our household was barely containable. Anticipation, joy, and dreams of what could be all radiated from the two geeks who live with me.

What caused such enthusiasm, you ask? Was it Christmas? Someone’s birthday? An anniversary, perhaps? The new Star Wars movie?

No, my friends. It was the announcement that Barnes & Noble, in partnership with Make Magazine, was going to be hosting a Mini Maker Faire at every single store location in the U.S. Continue reading Lessons From a First-Time Mini Maker Faire Exhibitor

Forget Pepe. #ifoundmurky at BlizzCon 2015

Throughout October, leading up to BlizzCon 2015, one hashtag ruled them all as far as Blizzard games were concerned. The tag #ifoundpepe took off as players tweeted images of their characters with the beloved bird on their head.

When the Blizzard Gear store released a plush Pepe, the frenzy around him reached a fevered pace. But while there were dozens of Pepes to be seen throughout BlizzCon, another character also seemed to have caught the eye of crafters throughout the fandom. So I would like to propose a new hashtag, #ifoundmurky.

Murky is a murloc, a small creature that most World of Warcraft players would recognize as one of the many mobs that characters plow through in their quest for experience and gear. Heroes of the Storm players might recognize him as a niche character that shocks everyone when a player selects him.

No one really gives the poor creature much of a thought, outside of being a humorous addition to any game. But he has found love among a small group of crafters and I caught up with a few of them at BlizzCon. Continue reading Forget Pepe. #ifoundmurky at BlizzCon 2015

Why I Let My Kids Play Fantasy Sports

First, there were Pokemon cards strewn all over the carpet. Then came Magic. These days, their game of choice is fantasy football. I’ve set up accounts for each of them online (I am aware of the age limit of the site, and am responsible for—and have access to—each of their accounts). For the second year in a row, my three sons are in two fantasy football leagues—one with their friends, and one with extended family.

So now, well into the season, I have to ask myself (as I do with every parenting decision) whether I made the right choice. Whether kids participating in fantasy sports is a good thing or if I’m being too indulgent. Because frankly, if I have to listen to another conversation about how many points so-and-so got, or whether player A for player B would be a fair trade, I will go bald from yanking my hair out, one painful chunk at a time.

Continue reading Why I Let My Kids Play Fantasy Sports

GeekMom Deal of the Day: Kindle Under Fifty

I’ve been keeping an eye on Amazon for special deals, particularly on cool but not-too-expensive gifts for the four minions and spotted this one today.

Amazon Kindle 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers.

Not bad. For that price, I could get a couple for the younger minions and keep the iPad we’ve been fighting over to myself.

Keeping Teen Brains Safe

Image by Luke Maxwell

I have a disconcerting memory from when I was in my early twenties: I was reading an article in a magazine about how the adolescent brain is still changing and developing longer than most people realize. The article had an example which showed a photo of a woman. According to the article, adolescents saw anger while adults saw fear. I stared and stared at the photo but could not see fear instead of anger—even knowing what it was!

I was startled into realizing that no matter what stage of life I was in at the moment, my brain was not done yet. Was that a relief that any mistakes were the fault of not-full-adulthood? Or should I second guess all my decisions now? I decided not to worry about it, shrugged and put it out of my still-developing mind. Continue reading Keeping Teen Brains Safe

Screenshot Photography: Where Does it Fit in the Art World?

Screenshot photography is a newcomer to the art world. Screenshots have been around since the beginning of computer video games. PC gamers would use screen captures to document moments in games and capture vast virtual landscapes and character customizations.

With the introduction of screen capturing on new generation consoles, this new art form has made way into casual gaming.

In most instances, screenshots are basically candid snapshots. However, screenshot photography is gaining popularity with artists who are looking for an additional medium to explore. This new attention is due to the growing demand for video games. Games are worlds to experience, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that artists have begun to embrace screenshots as a new medium.

Continue reading Screenshot Photography: Where Does it Fit in the Art World?

What Beer Should You Pair With Turkey?

After writing my post Everything You Need to be a Craft Beer Geek – Except the Beard, I was inundated with questions concerning the foods that were best to try with these new found libations. Okay, maybe not inundated, exactly. But at least three people were curious. So even if you were not one of the three, perhaps you too would like something a little different with your Thanksgiving meal.

Why Beer?

Traditionally when someone starts discussing pairings, we think of wine. That is, after all, the standard go-to beverage for the sit-down meal. However, with the rise of the mixologist, cocktails have been working to carve out a place at the table, and right next to them should be a glass of beer from your favorite craft brewer. And with good reason.

While wine making is a true art in the hands of the right master, the basic process is simple. Wine comes from grapes. While sometimes yeast may be added, it isn’t always needed as grapes are naturally fermenting. Red wine ferments with the skins intact, hence the color, and white with just the juice. While there are many variations on this, and, of course, some wines are then aged, the basic taste is the grapes. A good sommelier will be able to tell you the flavors of the earth from which the grapes originated. These flavors work to create the pairings. Continue reading What Beer Should You Pair With Turkey?

The Davis Instruments Weather Box Fills My Need for Data

While I wouldn’t call myself a “weather geek” per se, meteorology and weather have interested me since at least high school. I love looking at weather maps, learning about low and high pressures, knowing what the marks on wind direction maps mean, and parsing the extensive data tables that come out of weather records.

Seeing how weather changes over a year for a particular spot really helps me get a feel of a place. Is it a wet winter or a rainy summer? Does it get above freezing during the winter? Is there a monsoon season? How likely are there to be mosquitoes (see: rainfall, among other things)? I’ve especially enjoyed how much more accurate weather forecasting has gotten over my (42 year) lifetime.

Before I got to try out the Davis Instruments Weather Box recently, the closest I ever got to a weather station was an outdoor temperature probe that was connected to an indoor wall clock. I loved weather data but had never had my own data to play with. So when the Weather Box arrived in the mail, I was excited to set it up. My 14-year-old daughter, equally excited, made me wait until she was available before getting started. She’s the type of weather geek who keeps a cloud journal.

Continue reading The Davis Instruments Weather Box Fills My Need for Data

To the Parents of High School Seniors

Dear Parents of High School Seniors,

You don’t know me. In about nine months, your child will walk into a classroom on a college campus. Most likely, I, or someone just like me, will be standing in front of your wide-eyed, excited child explaining what a syllabus is.

Unless your child isn’t excited. Unless your child doesn’t want to be in college. Unless your child is feeling societal and parental pressure to make the most expensive mistake of his/her life.

Are you listening to your child? Are you really? Continue reading To the Parents of High School Seniors