‘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)

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

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?

Gather ‘Round Padawans: Lessons From Star Wars (Part Three): Darth Vader

All I need to know in life I learned from Star Wars. Well, okay, not everything, but a lot of stuff, most of which I didn’t consciously realize had penetrated my cortex until the hubs and I launched Operation: Engeekify Spawn.

Darth Vader by Kieran Gillen, Salvador Larroca, Lenil Yu, Joe Caramagna, and Jordan D. White is a phenomenal book.

It is definitely not aimed at kids and you may want to pre-screen before sharing it with yours to decide if they’ll be comfortable with some of the tougher subject matter. There is a lot of killing, though very little blood, and a couple of seriously sadistic droids, lying, cheating, stealing, bounty hunting, and many other unsavory and potentially upsetting things.

But there are things we can learn from the Dark Side.

Continue reading Gather ‘Round Padawans: Lessons From Star Wars (Part Three): Darth Vader

Should Parents Sign Those Sports Media Permission Waivers?

It was time to sign up my kid for futsal, so I followed the link in the email from the team manager to sign him up. Only, in addition to digitally signing a waiver recognizing the health risks and holding the organization free from blame, I was also expected to sign a media release waiver:

“I, the parent/guardian of the above named Registrant, in consideration for accepting the Registrant for their Futsal programs and activities (collectively the “Programs”) hereby grants to [The Organization] and its member clubs and organizations, the right and permission, free from approval, review or cost, to photograph, record or otherwise capture the Registrants likeness in participating in the Programs for use in media, now or hereafter known, including, but not limited to pictures and video, to copyright the same in its own name, and which may be included in whole or in part for commercial or promotional use”

A quick perusal of the organization’s website shows that they pretty much just show group pictures of winning teams, maybe a couple action shots of groups, and that the likelihood of my child being singled out for ridicule or being the subject of a “what not to do” article is low.

But that’s not the point, is it?

I’m talking about digital images of my child that will live on to perpetuity and granting the rights to that picture to someone else forever. In whatever way they choose. Without my approval or review.

Do I sign?

Continue reading Should Parents Sign Those Sports Media Permission Waivers?

GeekMom Holiday Gift Guide #3: Tabletop Games

Many geeks sure love their tabletop games. From family game night to weekend-long game fests to gaming conventions, tabletop games play a pretty big role in our lives. We’ve come a long way since the days of Monopoly and Sorry (though those games still have their uses). What are GeekMom’s favorite games this year? Check them out!

Continue reading GeekMom Holiday Gift Guide #3: Tabletop Games

Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty

The Hello Kitty craze is global, from breathtaking fashion statements to almost any piece of merchandise you can think of. And it all started in March 1975 with a simple coin purse that cost less than a dollar.

At the new Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty now at the EMP Museum in Seattle, you can get a look at one of those rare coin purses, along with more than 500 unique pieces from Sanrio on display. The traveling exhibit is fascinating for anyone who has ever owned their own piece of Hello Kitty merchandise or been intrigued by her rise to pop culture stardom over the past 40 years.

Continue reading Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty

Between the Bookends: Tea, Vampires, Fantasy CSI &…Cheese-Mites?

In this month’s bumper edition of Between the Bookends, the GeekMoms have been reading about vampires (of both the sparkly and non-sparkly kind), tea, horror in New Zealand, cheese-mite cosmology, CSI meets The Brothers Grimm, and much more. Dive in to check out our recommendations for the month.

Continue reading Between the Bookends: Tea, Vampires, Fantasy CSI &…Cheese-Mites?

Why You and Your Children Should Read a Book With No Words

Since becoming a children’s librarian, I’ve found a new appreciation for picture books. The good ones (not the cheesy ones thrown together to cash in on a popular character or make grandparents go “awwww” that show up in the discount bin at the grocery store) are true works of art. Picture books are one kind of story you need to have in paper form, to open up and spread out in front of you, to experience as a whole. The words are chosen carefully, to say a lot with a little, like poetry (even when they don’t rhyme). The pictures don’t just illustrate the story, they enhance it, adding detail and humor that words can’t do alone. Even the page turns are considered to get the pacing right.


November is Picture Book Month, part of an international literacy initiative to raise awareness of and celebrate picture books as an art form that can and should be appreciated by people of all ages.

But in today’s score-driven educational environment, too many people see picture books as something to be outgrown. A year after learning to read, children are being pushed into chapter books, sometimes by teachers, but more often by parents. The more words, the better. Accelerated Reader, a program used by thousands of school districts in the U.S. to track student reading, awards students more points based not on the difficulty of the book, but on the length. Picture books, being almost all just 32 pages long, are worth exactly one-half of a point on Accelerated Reader. Kids trying to rack up points will almost always go for one longer book over several half-point books, even if the total number of words is the same.

And if there are no words at all, what’s the point? Continue reading Why You and Your Children Should Read a Book With No Words

PAX Australia 2015 (Part 3): Tabletop Review

If you are new to the PAX Phenomenon, you could easily mistake it for a big computer game nerd hub. But no matter how many flashy-lights and big badda-booms you saw, almost everybody there spent some time recharging with cards, miniatures, or boards.

And it was good.

Continue reading PAX Australia 2015 (Part 3): Tabletop Review

Get a Head Start on the Holidays Thanks to Nintendo [Giveaway!]

My six-year-old and I recently attended an event at Nintendo to get a firsthand look at some of their best offerings for the holiday season. Not only did my daughter make her own Nintendo-themed holiday wish list, we are ecstatic to share an incredible prize back with Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival and her other top picks with one lucky reader!

Continue reading Get a Head Start on the Holidays Thanks to Nintendo [Giveaway!]

How GishWhes Changed My Life. Sorta.

You’re probably wondering why I’m sitting here at a four-star restaurant having wine with a stuffed beaver.



No, it’s not a sneeze. Or a sneeze blessing.

Let’s travel back to this past summer, shall we?

To be extremely clear, I honestly did not know what GishWhes was, nor had I even heard the term, until this past summer. A chance encounter with a kindred spirit at a Halloween party led me to an invitation to be a part of the largest global scavenger hunt in the world. Continue reading How GishWhes Changed My Life. Sorta.

In Defense of Silver Age Lois Lane

I love Lois Lane. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t. When I was little I’d go with my dad to the drug store and he’d buy the Sunday paper for himself and a Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane comic for me.

When I had my kids I thought I could share my comics and my favorite character. Well. The joke was on me. They were not interested beyond the animated and live action.

The young adult novel Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond was an unexpected meeting point.

My daughter read Fallout and said to me “About that Lois Lane book?” I braced myself to hear what would break my heart. Then? “I loved it.” I can’t even tell you how excited I was. However, I remained outwardly calm as we talked about the book and the character in general. Continue reading In Defense of Silver Age Lois Lane

The Rogue Is Dead. Long Live The Rogue.

While I have enjoyed decent sized swaths of the CW’s Arrow, it has, since the very beginning, been missing one key component: the roguish Green Arrow who was my second comic book crush. Gambit was the first, in case you were wondering. It’s possible I have a type.

I was beginning to think we were going to be forever bereft of any rogue on what has recently become the most dour of superhero shows until this past week when, much to my delight, and that of Hellblazers everywhere, along came John Constantine. Continue reading The Rogue Is Dead. Long Live The Rogue.

Supergirl 1.3 Flight of Fight – Cat Grant & How Not to Portray Feminism

Hi, Friends. I am so sorry for the delay in this week’s Supergirl post. Sometimes even Superheroes get sick.  So without further ado, let’s dive into Fight or Flight.

Spoilers ahead!!

This week, we pick up right where we left off, with Cat, car and all, on a roof and Supergirl ready for her close up. Well not quite close up. She flies around Cat while they talk, presumably to avoid being identified. Although I have to say, it seemed to me that the producers were just looking for a reason to have her fly or float as the case may be.

To kick off the interview Cat asks, “Who are you?” In response, Kara begins to tell her origin story, which bores Cat who has heard it before. “This is my story!” Kara asserts. Cat begins to pose deeper questions that are just dripping with disdain as if she’s bored and annoyed by Supergirl.

This incarnation of Cat Grant has been set up to be a role model for Kara/Supergirl and frankly her portrayal is far from that of a role model.

She does not have Supergirl’s best interests at heart, as any good role model should. She is only interested in Supergirl as a story that can enhance her career. Supergirl’s failure will serve Cat better, far better, than any of her successes. In fact, Cat seems to be rooting for Supergirl’s failure, as it will clearly provide a more enthralling story.
Continue reading Supergirl 1.3 Flight of Fight – Cat Grant & How Not to Portray Feminism

DC This Week: Definitive Green Lantern, New Superman Origin & Constantine Gets Naked

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC comics’ new releases. Ray is the protoypical DC reader, while I’m always searching for that comic that will appeal to new readers and might make them a comic fan for life.

This week has a strong candidate in that vein in the Darkseid War Green Lantern book, with a story that Ray and I loved unequivocally. There’s also the debut of a Hollywood-connected origin story for Superman, American Alien, which focuses on Clark’s childhood and struggle to control his new abilities. Ray feels it treads familiar ground but I loved the optimism in the book. Too bad Max Landis’ take on Jonathan Kent wasn’t on the big screen.

Also, more fun with DC Bombshells, the Bat-kids, and Starfire, while Gordon Batman looks to be in over his head again, and we take a walk with Constantine through his daily life, which is as weird as you might guess.

Justice League Darkseid War: Green Lantern #1 – script by Tom King, art by Doc Shaner

Ray: 10/10

Corrina: Buy It. Brilliant Hal Jordan story.

Ray: King is riding an incredible hot streak right now, with a popular run on Grayson, Omega Men being critically acclaimed, and Vision getting the best reviews of the Marvel relaunch.

Now he can add the best Green Lantern comic since Geoff Johns bid his farewell to that list. This one-shot focuses on Hal Jordan as he prepares to take on the mantle of the former New God of Light, Lightray. However, where it even outdoes the excellent Batman issue is in its compelling portrayal of the psychological toll that this kind of power would take on a man – especially a man, like Hal Jordan, who has been tempted by unlimited power before. It’s not mentioned explicitly in the book, but it’s impossible to read without remembering Hal’s fall from grace with Parallax. Continue reading DC This Week: Definitive Green Lantern, New Superman Origin & Constantine Gets Naked

Why I Gave My Nephew Spider-Man

In our house, we limit screen time, maybe an hour a day. For the first two years, we capped TV watching at an hour a week.

We also tend away from the licensed products.

You know the ones I am talking about, the Elsa socks, Batman toothbrushes, or Elmo dolls. So imagine my husband’s surprise when I announced we were giving our two-year-old nephew Spider-Man for Christmas.

It all started with a sentence:

“I’m going to lose!”

Continue reading Why I Gave My Nephew Spider-Man

Comikaze Expo Panel: Pop Culture and Parenting 2015

Comikaze Expo took place over Halloween weekend. Partnering with comic legend Stan Lee himself and Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Comikaze is the only pop-culture convention owned and operated by true pop-culture icons.

After spending time researching both local and national conventions in the United States, Regina Carpinelli, the co-founder and CCO of Comikaze Entertainment Inc., and the rest of the Comikaze team have crafted an event that will thrill and excite even the most casual comic fan.

It is the fourth year that we attending as a family. This is also the second year of being a part of the Pop Culture and Parenting panel hosted by the Geekling and Parental Units. Kendra Moras, who submitted and championed our group took on the nuts and bolts of creating this year’s experience and led with enthusiasm and charm. I, too, had the pleasure of being involved with the behind the scenes selections of the parenting panel. Helping chose the members and questions. Gathering giveaways and even recruiting my husband, Mark Cronan, to step in as the moderator. Continue reading Comikaze Expo Panel: Pop Culture and Parenting 2015

‘Star Wars’ Lessons Part 2: ‘Kanan: The Last Padawan’

All I need to know in life I learned from Star Wars.

Well, okay, not everything, but a lot of stuff, most of which I didn’t consciously realize had penetrated my cortex until the hubs and I launched Operation: Engeekify Spawn

Now at the ages of nearly six and three, they’re experiencing a great many things for the first time, some geeky, some just life-related. Many of them good, some of them less positive, and all parts of the human experience: friendship, independence, moral ambiguity, conscious motivation, exclusion, uncertainty, and even death. Hubs’ grandmother, with whom the boy was very close, passed a couple years ago. And the son really did love (absolutely no sarcasm intended) his first fish, George Bluefin.

I wish I could protect both of them from the difficult bits, but I can’t. That breaks my heart but it doesn’t change the reality of the thing and, reaching the ripe old age of thirty-seven, I can see how those bits, both the positive and painful (you’ll note I’m not using the terms negative or bad, though it certainly does feel that way sometimes) shaped me. Though it took thirty-six of those thirty-seven years, I’m generally pretty happy with who I am.

I’d like that to happen for both of my children a little earlier in their lifespan. But these are huge, complicated topics and are difficult for many adults to verbalize to themselves and one another.

How do I explain them to beings who have, in the grand scheme, barely been evicted from the womb?

Star Wars helps.

Continue reading ‘Star Wars’ Lessons Part 2: ‘Kanan: The Last Padawan’

It’s Alive! Geeking Out About Inhuman, Yet Sentient, Beings

I’ve always been fascinated with things that have a mind of their own. I’m not sure why, and never quite understood it, but I’m always happy to find someone else who shares that passion. This week on Geek Speaks…Fiction! I welcome guest Karina Sumner-Smith, speculative fiction author and fellow lover of sentient beings.

Image: Talos/Skyhorse
Image: Talos/Skyhorse

I’ve never been a geek for architecture. Don’t get me wrong; I love ancient monuments and urban skylines, interesting libraries and houses that feel like home from the moment you walk inside. But it’s never been the buildings themselves that catch my attention so much as the thought of the stories that might happen inside them.

Yet, of everything, it was the Towers of the title that made me geek out while writing Towers Fall. Continue reading It’s Alive! Geeking Out About Inhuman, Yet Sentient, Beings

So Your Kids Want to Be YouTube Stars: How One Family Made It Happen

Today’s kid celebrities aren’t just found acting on TV or movies anymore—they’re being themselves on YouTube. You might not know who EvanTubeHDkittiesmama, or Kid President are, but chances are your kids do, thanks to how easy the YouTube Kids app has made it to find kid-friendly content with the tap of a finger.

Do your kids dream of being the next big YouTube sensation? There’s no one right way to do it, but Jillian and Addie of the channel babyteeth4 have made it happen with the hard work and support of their parents Bob and Tommie. Bob turned his family’s home movie hobby into his profession, and his unique story might even inspire you and your kids to do the same.

Continue reading So Your Kids Want to Be YouTube Stars: How One Family Made It Happen

Flummoxed by a Phone Booth at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Despite the countless times we have made the trek to Florida, we have never taken the time to head over to Universal Studios. Our days in the Sunshine State are reserved for one place and one place only—Walt Disney World. It isn’t so much that we hate on Universal, but that we love Disney so much we don’t want to spend time elsewhere. That finally changed when we made a trip several weeks back, unexpectedly, and for just a few days.

It wasn’t a full-on family vacation, but a spur-of-the-moment adventure. My husband had to travel to Orlando for work and we decided to make the best of it by meeting up with him halfway through the week for a little getaway. The thing is, we usually do Disney for 10 days at a time so there was no way we could do our normal vacation in just 5 days.

This had us rethinking our entire strategy and we decided to check out some places outside of the Mouse House. Now, don’t get me wrong, we spent a fair amount of time at our favorite haunts in Walt Disney World, but we ventured forth and tried a few new places, too. On the list was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.

Universal Studios as a whole doesn’t hold much appeal for my 13- and 11-year-old daughters. They simply have no interest in most of the park and are Disney fans through and through. The only thing that changed their minds was my youngest daughter’s current fascination with Harry Potter. Continue reading Flummoxed by a Phone Booth at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

In Search of ‘Ten Pieces II’: My Battle With CBBC Envy

“Classical music is a little bit like having a spaceship. It can take you anywhere you want.”
— Dominic Wood (of CBBC’s Dick and Dom) in Ten Pieces.

We listen to a ton of music of all genres in our home. I’m proud to say my 6-year-old, who enjoys Yo-Yo Ma, can identify Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for Solo Cello, BWV 1007, as quickly as she can The Ramone’s “Pet Sematery,” the latter of which she just recently quit referring to as “Don’t Put Me in the Berry.”

Over the past month leading up to Halloween, we had been playing several “dark classics,” including, among other pieces, Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” and especially the goose bump-inducing Bach masterpiece Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

Therefore, I tapped into the wonders of world-connecting Internet, as well as my insatiable journey for all things educational, and spiraled myself into a corner of frustration, as I tried to access the video content of BBC’s young people’s programming branch, CBBC’s, classical music film and outreach program for secondary schools, Ten Pieces II. Continue reading In Search of ‘Ten Pieces II’: My Battle With CBBC Envy

Accio Literatia! Information Literacy and the Illustrated Harry Potter

Several years ago, I swooned with pride over a series of student blogs discussing the story ownership through the active process of reading compared to the passive process of movie watching.

My teacher’s heart swelled ten sizes as the group of first-year students debated the difference between reading Lord of the Rings and watching the movies because one student complained that comic book movies were never as good as the books.

Watching the group of engineering first-year students debate how imagining the written word leads to ownership of literature, I smugly sat back thinking that they had learned an important lesson.

Earlier this week, we started reading the new illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with our son.

I began questioning the viability of reading an illustrated book. Continue reading Accio Literatia! Information Literacy and the Illustrated Harry Potter

‘Voyagers:’ Join the Crew, Save the World

New York Times best-selling author Patrick Carman recently launched a six book series aimed at middle school kids.

The series is part sci-fi, part eco-mystery, and is filled with plenty of action adventure. The series also includes a companion website, VoyagersHQ.com, and app.

Below, you’ll have a chance to enter our giveaway for a $50 gift card, the Voyagers books, an app, and an iPhone Case.  Continue reading ‘Voyagers:’ Join the Crew, Save the World

PAX Australia 2015 (Part 2): Indie Video Games Steal the Show

PAX – where Gamers go to Loot.

Walk the exhibition hall and the first thing thrown at you is every big name in the video game industry, and more. The hype is about new and upcoming games; the atmosphere is about promoting the most unreal gaming experience.

In between all the glitz and glory are the indie developers, stealing all the tweets. Part 2 of my PAX review is aimed squarely at the video games: the games planning to conquer the world… and the ones I predict will succeed.

Continue reading PAX Australia 2015 (Part 2): Indie Video Games Steal the Show

Exclusive Preview: Scooby-Doo and the Prehistoric Ghost

The Scooby Gang has faced any number of ghosts but being chased by a phantom dinosaur is a unique situation. In this exclusive preview of Scooby-Doo! Where Are You #63, due out Wednesday, they have to go digging (literally) for the clues.

From the official blurb:

Rinosaur!! When an archaeological dig site is haunted by a phantom dinosaur, Mystery Inc. is called in to debunk it. But can they exorcise this prehistoric poltergeist, or will they go extinct in the process? Continue reading Exclusive Preview: Scooby-Doo and the Prehistoric Ghost

Myth, Busted! How ‘Mythbusters’ Helped Me Embrace Science Again

It was late 2004.

In November, I’d given birth to my firstborn son. By December, it was often cold and snowy, Western New York being what it is, and we’d been cautioned to keep the baby indoors and away from people for his first few months. Worried first-time parents with an infant with a heart defect, we took this advice to heart.

My husband had his job. Me? I was off work for the first time in more than a decade. I had Jim to care for, of course, but he was a remarkably laid-back baby. I was used to noisy newsrooms, constant activity, people all around me.

I was bored out of my mind.

I read everything I could get my hands on. I picked up a scrapbooking habit. I even started watching more TV than usual and I am not a TV person. I devoured odd stuff: cartoons, documentaries, cooking shows. (My love for Good Eats also dates from this time.)

Then, aimlessly channel-surfing while my son slept in my arms, I came across a show on the Discovery Channel.

“Huh,” I thought. (I actually remember thinking this.) “I like urban legends. Could be interesting.

What are they doing to that elevator?”

Years later, that baby is about to turn 11 years old. And that TV show is ending.

Continue reading Myth, Busted! How ‘Mythbusters’ Helped Me Embrace Science Again

6 Things You Should Know About ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes’

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes knows it’s dangerous to go alone, so the game invites your friends and family to go along with you.

The new Nintendo 3DS release takes place in the kingdom of Hytopia, where a witch has replaced the princess’s stylish clothes with a drab unitard that she can’t remove. (The horror!) It’s up to the heroes of the land to save the princess…’s awesome fashion style.

This lighthearted take on Zelda is a one-of-a-kind co-op title that takes teamwork between friends and family to save the day. Here are six things you should know before you pick up the game.

Continue reading 6 Things You Should Know About ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes’