Cinderella 2015: A Princess in the Golden Age of Hollywood

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Kenneth Branagh has reinterpreted this live-action Cinderella to feel like a golden age of Hollywood classic (with English accents). Cate Blanchett’s wicked stepmother wanders around in 1940’s inspired hats with veils, pin-curled updos, bright red lips, and “mode de Paris.” The stepsisters don peter pan collars, loud prints, big curly hair, and pink, fuzzy 1950’s inspired sweater shrugs. Cinderella’s ball dress looks as if it mixed the original cartoon dress with a little Scarlett O’Hara and a lot of Swarovski crystals.

8 Weird Observations About Portland

Portlandia - Image courtesy IFC

This year, Marziah took the leap and moved all the way across the country to a city she mostly knew from a comedy TV show. Crazy, right? Hey, better than saying she mostly knew it from Grimm.

Happy Chinese and a Movie

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There was no Christmas tree in our house. There were no stockings, and Santa never came down the chimney. This is how I grew up. 7% of Americans do not celebrate Christmas. That includes members of many religions (including some Christians) and other Americans for whom, for whatever reason, it’s just not a holiday.

Just Shut Up About Jenny McCarthy Already

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While all of those recycled articles about Jenny McCarthy’s son not having autism are amusing, they are probably inaccurate. At least, according to her. I really wish people would stop, because it only serves to make her look sympathetic.

EV3 Review: The Lego Robot

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This is a toy that teaches kids (age 10+) programming and engineering skills. It allows exploration of robotics concepts without needing to understand electrical engineering or advanced programming, but it isn’t dumbed down to the point that it becomes boring for older kids or even adults. In fact, the GeekMoms and GeekDads can’t resist a good Lego robot building challenge.

Lego Mindstorm EV3 Available September 1

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We finally, finally have a date. The retail version of the EV3 will ship on September 1 for a price of $349, but if you shop around online, you may be able to pre-order sometime this month.

Sometimes It’s Not the Legos

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My son and I built our first Lego kit together. We’ve got tons of Lego bricks around the house. At one point, I even bought them off of eBay by the pound. My daughter and I assemble them together all the time, but adding my son to the activity was more accommodation than it was true participation. Until now.

Review: Fujitsu Scansnap iX500

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If you find yourself in the need for a high speed scanner, the ScanSnap iX500 is a very solid if slightly expensive choice.

Don’t Miss Maker Faire Kansas City

Kansas City is actually a pretty cool place to be a maker. It’s one of a few locations of the larger “featured” Maker Faires. The other locations are Detroit, Newcastle (UK), Rome, and Tokyo. It’s still about one tenth the size of the World Maker Faire in New York, but over 10,000 attendees is still not bad. If you’re in the midwest, it’s worth the drive.

My Daughter the Mermaid

Photo illustration by Marziah Karch

Last summer, my then ten-year-old daughter made a mermaid tail. She’s got a bit of an obsession with mermaids.

Chemistry and Cupcakes

Photo by Harold Agnew

Baking can teach you a lot of things. Following directions, measuring, fractions, and even chemistry. This is a simple experiment using a basic cake/cupcake recipe that I’ve cut in half for smaller batches. We’ll make eight batches total, and in seven of them we’ll take away an ingredient. You’ll learn how all the ingredients work together to make a delicious cupcake.

April Block of the Month: Airship

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It’s time for April’s block of the month in our steampunk quilt. This month we’re sailing on an airship. No worries about physics or how much weight must be at the bottom of that massive thing. I’m sure there’s a gear-driven anti-grav device powering the ship behind the scenes. And flapping those wing-fins for no apparent reason. The finished block will be 12×12 inches. That

Give Kids Arduino Adventures

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Arduino Adventures: Escape from Gemini Station is a great introduction to Arduino robotics projects for kids (and adults who want an easy starting point.) The book was written by James Floyd Kelly and Harold Timmis and published by Apress.

No Starch Press Manga Guides Make Science Fun

Have you ever read a textbook cover to cover? I’m in grad school. I’ve had to do it more than once. It usually requires massive amounts of caffeine and re-reading a lot of pages. Well, there’s some good news. No Starch Press has The Manga Guide series on textbook topics, such as statistics, electricity, and molecular biology. The manga books are written by Japanese subject matter experts. They have been translated to English and (thankfully) rearranged to read from left to right.

Can Your Fridge Make Hot Water? The GE Café Fridge Does

Remember when I told you about Samsung’s new soda making fridge? Well, GE wrote me to tell me that their Café fridge makes hot water. I now have a fantasy of Patrick Stewart standing in front of one demanding some tea. Earl Grey, hot.

Review: Python for Kids

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Python for Kids is a book from No Starch Press that aims to teach kids ages 10 and up and their parents about the Python programming language. I happen to have an 11 year old daughter for convenient review purposes, so we’ve been working through the book together.

Does Your Fridge Make Soda? Samsung’s RF31FMESBSR Does.

I have enough Android tablets in my house that I could probably glue them to every appliance I own. I’m also a seltzer addict. Those two sentences are why I thought the refrigerator that Samsung didn’t announce at CES was far more impressive than the one it did. This one makes soda.

February Block of the Month Quilt: Steampunk Goggles

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It’s time for February’s block of the month in our GeekMom steampunk-themed quilt. t’s never too late to get started, and it’s never too late to get caught up. This month, the pattern is a steampunk staple – the hat with goggles. Whether you’re using them to go racing in experimental vehicles or weld together mad science inventions, you really can never have enough goggles.

CES: The Future So Far

CES is one of my favorite conferences to attend, because it offers a small glimpse into the future. Sometimes it’s an alternate future where crazy and impractical products are funded and introduced, but it’s a great way to see trends.