Zero Day! Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Premieres Tonight

AgentsShieldCast
The cast of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. image courtesy ABC Television/Disney

They’re here!

We started the Countdown to the premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on September 1st and have spent the month talking about all things S.H.I.E.L.D.-related, with the past week focused on profiles of the agents on the show, including speculation on how Coulson survived his supposed death in The Avengers.

Tomorrow, we can finally talk about the show itself, which premieres at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

To recap, check out the posts on the origins of S.H.I.E.L.D.; recommended reads; a look at the spy agency’s creators, Jack “King” Kirby and Stan Lee,; the evolution of Nick Fury’s role in the Marvel Universe; S.H.I.E.L.D.’s enemy Hydra and its techtech created for S.H.I.E.L.D., including Life Model Decoys; various agents from the comics, including Maria Hill, Sharon Carter, Jimmy Woo, and Valentina Allegra De Fontaine; a look at the Howling Commandos from World War II; and the research facility that’s seemingly destroyed at the beginning of The Avengers, Project Pegasus.

And read our review of the pilot, which has only slight spoilers.

Excelsior!

Countdown to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Day 18: Maria Hill

maria_hill_1
Maria Hill in the comics, copyright Marvel Comics

We at GeekMom are eagerly counting down the days to the premiere of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD on September 24. To see all the previous posts, check out the Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tag.

We’ve talked previously about elements and characters that date back to the origins of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 1965 but today we’re tackling a character that appeared first in this century and quickly rose to prominence in the Marvel universe: Maria Hill.

Hill was created in 2005 by Brian M. Bendis and David Finch.

I never liked her.

My reaction to the reports of her presence in The Avengers was “Hill? Why can’t they use Sharon Carter/Agent 13?” But, as I watched the movie, I changed my mind, at least a little bit.

Part of my dislike is because comic universe Hill was immediately in conflict with Nick Fury and a number of Marvel heroes. The first comic I read that contained Hill featured her trying to arrest Captain America. Needless to say, it didn’t go well for her and her character made a very negative impression on me. (This may have been the point.) But she’s been more of an ally of late so it’s possible she could get on my good side, especially with Cobie Smulders playing the part.

So, some fun facts:

  • Maria Hill has destroyed a helicarrier. (Well, neither Fury nor HYDRA were around that day. Someone had to do it.)
  • She once had an affair with Tony Stark/Iron Man.
  • She used a LMD (as one does) to avoid being killed by Skrulls. (The Skrulls having taken over the helicarrier, hence the reason she destroyed it.)
  • She replaced Nick Fury as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Tony Stark then replaced Hill as Director.
  • Smulders was Whedon’s choice to play Wonder Woman in the movie project that Warner Bros. scrapped. Smulders is currently voicing Wonder Woman in The Lego Movie. No official word yet on whether she’ll become a regular on the S.H.I.E.L.D. show once How I Met Your Mother wraps their last season.
Marial Hill
Maria Hill destroys a helicarrier full of Skrulls, art by Leinil Francis Yu, copyright Marvel Comics

In other words, Hill’s been pretty busy for being only 13 years old.

Preview: Birds of Prey #23

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I started reading the Birds of Prey new52 relaunch but admit, dropped the title when it was clear this was a complete rewriting of the Black Canary I’d come to know. Gone was her history and she was a reworked version of the original Black Canary, a possible interloper from a parallel Earth.

But Christy Marx (Jem) came on-board the title with issue #18 and the title caught my interest again.  Canary still isn’t the same but she seems like a character I might follow again. In this preview of issue #23 provided by DC Comics,  the Birds are locked in combat with the villains collectively known as Basilisk and the issue also promises the return of Canary’s thought-dead husband, Kurt Lance.

Art is by  Romano Molenaar and Jonathan Glapion.

The issue goes on sale Wednesday, August 21st.

Turbo: Speed-based Film A Bit Predictable

Turbo, Dreamworks Animation, Ryan Reynolds
A still from Turbo, by Dreamwork Animation

For a movie about a snail who dreams of winning the Indianapolis 500, Turbo isn’t quite strange enough to be brilliant.

Theo (Ryan Reynolds) is a snail who works with a crew harvesting a home garden in California.  He spends his nights watching  VHS tapes of his favorite Indy Car driver, Guy Gagne, whose catchphrase is “no dream is too big and no dreamer is too small.”

But being a snail who takes over twenty minutes to cross a room is a bit of an obstacle to Theo’s dream, as is his work in the garden, where dangers include ever-present crows and a toddler who likes smashing snails with his tricycle. And then there’s his brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti), who doesn’t believe in Theo’s dream at all.

Cue the requisite secret origin, as Theo gets caught inside a turbo-charged street racing car one night and gains super-speed. This gets Theo and Chet fired and, eventually, they’re captured by a taco-truck employee who plans to use the snails in the nightly snail races organized by others in the strip mall where the taco restaurant is located.

This is all fun to watch but it’s easy to see what pieces are going to fall into place even at the beginning of the story. I was somewhat surprised that the movie went for the literal interpretation of Theo/Turbo’s dream but the big race at the end turned out to be the highlight of the movie, gripping and intense, and drew cheers from the three pre-teens who accompanied me to the theater.

I imagine that ending race looks even better in 3D but we saw the 2D version.

Other good aspects included the crew of regular snails led by Samuel L. Jackson who refuse to let, well, being snails, stand in the way of living their dreams. They have one great sequence but I was hoping that they would be more of them.

I also loved the strip mall store owners, from the female mechanic to the old-school hobby store owner.

Still, the movie basically hit all the notes of the hero’s journey on the nose: the need to prove himself, the call to adventure, the mentorship, and, finally, the big test at the end. This is a story many viewers have seen before. It’s still entertaining, and has some nice touches, like the use of viral videos, and the diverse and entertaining voice cast. Giamatti in particular is great fun as Chet. Yet it falls short of greatness. The ending sequence definitely saves Turbo from being forgettable.

I’d recommend the movie more for younger children who will love the speed aspect of it all. (Who hasn’t dreamed of having super-speed?)

I hope the upcoming Netflix series will allow the snail crew to shine and I can’t help wondering if it will be weirder and more goofy fun than the movie.

Science Pin-Ups!

Rebecca Angel. Photo taken by First Impressions Pinup Makeovers
Rebecca Angel. Photo taken by First Impressions Pinup Makeovers

So…I, um…got dolled up. I rarely wear make-up, and if clothing styles range from potato to sex kitten, then my closet is on the spud side. But, my friend is getting married and her bachelorette party involved doing vintage pin-up makeovers. We all had a blast, but now I have dozens of photos and what to do with them? How many calendars does my husband really need?

I thought I’d share them with this community, but with a geeky twist. To cover up some skin, I put thought bubbles of science that you know I was thinking while the shots were taken. Right?

Rebecca Angel. Photo taken by First Impressions Pinup Makeovers
Rebecca Angel. Photo taken by First Impressions Pinup Makeovers

Are You My Asteroid-Busting Hero? …Sign in Friday Morning

ARKYD crowdsourced space telescope team hosts hangout Friday morning and recruits gamer skills to protect Earth against asteroids and other PHAs.

GeekMom Rachel’s Fund This column recently featured the Kickstarter project ARKYD, a project that will both mine asteroids for resources and make space telescopes that are accessible to the public, including schoolchildren. As the project achieves extra funding goals, they are adding some irresistible components. Read fast, because you don’t want to miss:

Hangout at 10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time: ARKYD hosts a Gamer Hangout today, Friday, June 28th at 10:00 a.m.PT with Richard Garriott (Lord British) and Jon Mavor (co-founder of Uber Entertainment). They’re combining multiplayer gaming and crowd-controlled space telescopes– sounds intriguing! Live viewers will learn how to get game keys and avatars free.

This link will become available at their G+ just prior to 10:00 a.m.: http://bit.ly/14qPfay

•Additionally, if ARKYD reaches $1.7 million by the end of their Kickstarter fundraising on June 30, their stretch goal is to partner with Zooniverse to create Asteroid Zoo, a program that will allow students, citizen scientists, or space enthusiasts–all of us–to work on our own computers at home to find potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs), such as the one that affected Russia in February, simultaneously also helping to train computers to better find them in the future.

Jolene Purdy Gets Trapped Under the Dome

Stephen King, Under the Dome
Jolene Purdy, photo copyright Vince Truspin.

Jolene Purdy first came into public consciousness in a now iconic role in the classic cult film, Donnie Darko. Since then, she’s worked on the series Ten Things I Hate About You and the TeenNick series Gigantic. Now she’s part of the cast of the upcoming CBC miniseries, Under the Dome, based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel in which an entire community is placed under a dome of mysterious origin.

The show is executive produced by Brian K. Vaughn and King himself, along with producers Neal Baer (also serving as show-runner), Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Stacey Snider.

With Under the Dome set to premiere on Monday, June 24, at 10 p.m., Purdy talked to GeekMom about her role as Dome’s Dodee, an engineer and geek who lasts far longer in the series than the book, about her life in Hollywood as an actor who doesn’t quite fit the stereotypical image of a leading lady, and about what she wants to do next.

GeekMom: This is a unique project for you, a straight-up dramatic role in a science fiction series. How did you come to be involved?

Jolene Purdy: I was sent the script to read and really loved the tone of the project and how grounded it was written, despite the supernatural elements and circumstances. I went in to read for Dodee and got to really play with the character and give the casting directors several different variations— it was fantastic!

GM: What’s your character like? How do her tech skills help sort out what’s going on?

JP: Dodee is this brilliant radio engineer who has a collection of gadgets that she uses to recreate better versions of the latest tech inventions. I really love playing her because she is a bit edgy but quirky, loyal and loving, and totally geeks out but is proud of it. Of course her tech skills come in handy, but she has other hidden talents that will be revealed throughout the season.

GM: Have you read the Stephen King book? Any worries your character would die horribly?

JP: I started to read Under the Dome and my character did die, horribly. As soon as I got to the scene I called my manager and was like “…. how long am I going to be working?? Dodee dies 50 pages in!”

Since then I have learned that the book and the show are pretty different.

GM: This is a large production with a huge cast of characters. Who did you interact with most?

JP: On the show and in life, Phil Bushy (played by Nicholas Strong). In the series, Phil is the radio station DJ and I’m his right hand…woman. And in life I just can’t get enough of Nick’s positivity. He’s like a big brother. From the first table read we fit like a glove!

GM: What was the favorite thing you did on set? Least favorite?

JP: Favorite thing… I’m not sure if I can give it away… It has to do with my hands… Least favorite… probably waiting around until it’s time to play Dodee.

GM: You’ve been involved in television and movies at a relatively young age. What’s been the most interesting thing about all that? Any advice for other young actors, particularly those who might not look like the perfect Hollywood idea of a teenager/young adult?

JP: It’s interesting to see everyone’s journey. It is really easy to lose yourself in this industry, especially when you spend so much time trying to be someone else.

My biggest advice is to know yourself well and accept yourself so that you can be open to getting to know the character you are studying without compromising who you are at home. Avoid getting caught up in what everyone else is doing, or what they look like, or how they are packaged. Embrace your uniqueness and in that you will truly create a place for yourself that is meant only for you!

“Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland

GM: Do you have any role models you’ve patterned your career after?

JP: I feel like I spent so much of my younger life trying to pattern my career after certain people. But the truth is, I am different and the more I focus on sharing myself and the exact talents that I have been given, the happier and more productive I am. That being said, I remember seeing Amy Hill on TV and relating to her.

GM: What experience/lesson as an actor has really impacted you?

JP: Jake Gyllenhaal, after Donnie Darko, said to me “This thing is so much more than just some movie. There may be kids who have been picked on relating to your character and finding comfort in the fact that they are not alone. There may be a bully who sees how your character felt after being bullied and he might think twice next time.”

So I always try and see how my work may affect the audience. It’s a really good way to stay grounded as a person in this wacky entertainment industry.

GM: What would you like to do next?

JP: A musical! No an indie film! Actually, a play!

I’m not quite sure. I’ve done a little of everything already and I always love challenging myself and taking on projects I’ve never done before, so I’m excited for whatever comes next.

The GeekMom Game of Thrones Tea Party: Season 3, Episode 9: “The Rains of Castamere”

Yes, this one was a heartbreaker, on all levels. Natania, Andrea and Corrina talk about the events that sent viewers spinning, even more so that Ned Stark’s fate in Season One.

Ouch. 

Google Glass Demands Attention Even Though Hands-Free

Google Glass in action. (Photo by flickr user EricaJoy via cc by sa 2.0)
Google Glass in action. (Photo by flickr user EricaJoy via cc by sa 2.0)

Mitigating the high hopes some have for Google Glass and other wearable interactive media, new research indicates that the attention we direct to the information in a projected display (such as Google Glass) is sufficient distraction to endanger the person’s navigating or other activities.

Google Glass is intended to reduce problems such as trying to walk safely while also glancing down at a smartphone, and does so by putting the display in the corner of the lens of a pair of glasses. Similar thinking goes into designs for hands-free controls for phones in cars, and heads-up displays for pilots in planes.

However, research indicates that people can be so focused on thoughts or communication that they fail to notice obvious objects in their field of view.

Furthermore, we also tend to stretch our normal safe threshold for taking our eyes off the path ahead when we are involved in a communication task such as texting. To read about this research and more details on its implications for Google Glass and related technologies, see this New York Times article, “Is Google Glass Dangerous?”.

About Time: Can You Make Your Life Perfect?

It was the “from the creators of Love Actually that caught my attention in the advertisements for the new movie, About Time.

That Bill Nighy is in the movie helped. But, mostly, it was that this movie is directed and written by Richard Curtis. From the trailer, the movie is what we in the romance genre would call “light paranormal,” in that something unexplainable happens, time travel in this case, but that’s only a jumping-off point for a romance. Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson seem to have some chemistry in their scenes in the trailer and I was reminded a bit of the premise of Groundhog Day, where time travel provides the chance to get something right with the person you love. (And not at all reminded of the not-good-at-all The Time Traveler’s Wife, in which McAdams also starred.) Continue reading About Time: Can You Make Your Life Perfect?

Just in Time for Memorial Day*: Enjoy the 2013 Doodle4Google Winner

Doodle4Google
Image: Google

*I understand that Memorial Day technically isn’t meant for those servicemembers still living. But we all know that a lot of attention is given to our currently-serving military members around Memorial Day and I’m merely pointing out the proximity on the calendar between the release of this doodle and Memorial Day. Per Wikipedia, “Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, living or dead.”

A Wisconsin 12th grader is singlehandedly bringing millions of people — especially military spouses, military children and servicemembers — to tears. For her winning 2013 Doodle4Google contest entry, Sabrina Brady wholeheartedly deserves the $30,000 scholarship, new Chromebook and $50,000 technology grant to her school that come with winning the 2013 Doodle4Google competition.

I’ve been in both of those characters’ shoes and this art brought me to tears. Many times I’ve stood pier-side waiting as my father returned from 6- to 9-month Navy deployments. In 2009, I got to enjoy my sons’ hugs after many months away in the Middle East for my own deployment.

I’m in tears now as I copy and paste the image into this post.

In addition to the moving message, Miss Brady’s art is wonderful. I love the shadows of each of the characters.

For the Doodle4Google contest, students in grades K-12 submitted Google Doodle art that applies to an annual theme. This year’s theme was “My Best Day Ever…” and Miss Brady’s entry commemorated the day her father returned from Iraq after 18 months away from home. She was 10 years old at the time.

The other four national finalists earned $5,000 scholarships. One winner was chosen from each state. Read more about the winning entry and see the finalists’ pieces here.

Are you interested in entering? Stay tuned, in January the new competition and theme will be announced.

Confessions of a Lonely Geek

I'm a lonely geek in an office of non-geeks \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
I’m a lonely geek in an office of non-geeks \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Most of my life I’ve been the only geek among those I see everyday. As a child, I was usually the only girl in boy-dominated courses and as an adult I’m the only female in my department. I’m also the only geek at my workplace. All of this can make for some lonely days.

The only daughter of three kids (and the middle child at that), I’m the only geek in our family of five. Before I was in high school, I received my first laptop for Christmas and I took it everywhere (even the grocery store). I saved up my allowance for a printer and scanner and eventually my parents bought me a tower PC with a flat screen monitor. When something computer-like broke in my house, I was the one they called to fix it.

At school I was one of two girls in my HTML and PC troubleshooting courses. The guys never seemed to mind and I really enjoyed learning. I experienced the same thing in college when I was going for my Associates of Science in Computer Engineering degree. In my three years in college, I only had another female in my class three times. Continue reading Confessions of a Lonely Geek

GeekMom Puzzle of the Week – #48

GeekMom Puzzle Logo

Welcome to the GeekMom puzzle of the week!

Each Sunday, a new quiz will be posted and you will have until 11:59 pm GMT the following Friday to submit your answer. The kind folks over at ThinkGeek will be providing a $50 gift certificate for each week’s winner. In order to be in with a chance of winning, you simply need to send your puzzle answer to the email address below. The winner will be chosen at random from all correct answers.

We’ll announce the winner’s name on Saturday, along with the solution to the previous week’s puzzle. Then we’ll start the process all over again the next day. Sound like a good thing? Then let’s get right on with this week’s puzzle.

GEEKMOM PUZZLE WEEK #48:

Identify the movie from the following track titles taken from its soundtrack:

  • Doors Open from Both Sides
  • Don’t Take My Stuff
  • They Called It

Send your answers to geekmompuzzle@gmail.com with the subject line “GeekMom Puzzle #48” and please include the name you would like announced if you are the winner. Good luck!

Five Ways To Feel Like A Beach Geek

Image by Lush
Image by Lush

It’s summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and just as we’re starting to see the possibility of beach days approaching, those of you down under are wishing they’d last a bit longer. Either way, here are a few retail-therapy goodies to help you pretend you’re basking in the sun and playing in the sand–or defeating a kraken. Up to you.

The Mermaid by Lush

Lush sells fresh, handmade soaps and body care products made with only vegetarian ingredients and minimal packaging. I love stumbling across a Lush store when I’m travelling–and it’s easy since you can smell them coming (in a good way!). Their latest product is The Mermaid (pictured at the top of this post), a limited edition bath bomb with the sales being donated to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. When you buy one, you also get a download of “The Mermaid Song,” the first release from “The Coldwater Project.” Continue reading Five Ways To Feel Like A Beach Geek

Tallest!

Copyright P&T Group
Copyright P&T Group

My son was researching wonders of the modern world for an essay. He decided that Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, should be a modern wonder, saying it would stand tallest for a long, long time. Here is a list of the tallest buildings in the world. And a cool graph to show the buildings lined up by height order.

I asked him to back that last statement up. What buildings were in construction that could top it soon?

He started researching and we both had a great time exclaiming over the architecture, engineering, and incredible amount of money being spent all over the world to create enormous buildings. Continue reading Tallest!

The Mother’s Day List

Image: Nicole Wakelin
Image: Nicole Wakelin

There’s a ritual to Mother’s Day that unfolds somewhat predictably each year. While I sleep in, or at least lounge peacefully in bed, my family cooks breakfast. The hustle and bustle in the kitchen eventually gives way to the patter of footsteps headed for the bedroom door and a delicious breakfast, along with presents and handmade cards, is delivered to my bed. The cards are always cute, but this year there was one that I just might frame.

I don’t think I’m unusual in feeling overworked at times. This isn’t a bad thing, not even a complaint, more like a statement of fact. It doesn’t matter if you work at home, in an office, or if you don’t have a “real job” outside of raising your kids. Moms are busy. We juggle a lot and sometimes all that juggling can make your head explode.

Continue reading The Mother’s Day List

Why GeekMoms Rock!

Geek Mom Book, Natania Barron, Jenny Williams, Corrina Lawson

When you’re a woman you’re supposed to be
grateful for crumbs.
I don’t want crumbs anymore
I want the whole cake and the icing too.

—Billie Jean King 2005

Every now and then, I like to revisit why I love being with GeekMom and what I want for all geek moms going forward.

While we strive for equality in parenting, moms and dads still tend to parent differently. Moms still, statistically, take on parenting full-time more often than Dads, and even moms who keep an outside job tend to do a higher share of the day-to-day parenting (though it is changing).

In most cases, the challenges of parenting tend to be different for men and women, which is why we have both GeekMom and GeekDad websites.

For example, in the first GeekDad book by our publisher, Ken Denmead, there were a number of awesome projects that I would likely never attempt simply because the day-to-day stuff with the kids keeps me too busy. When the editors of GeekMom put together GeekMom: Projects, Tips and Aventures for Moms and Their 21st Century Families, we wanted to include not only more involved projects but also day-to-day and spur of the moment activities that don’t require a lot of pre-planning.

Being a geek mom is also complicated by the fact that being geeky is seen differently in women, so we encounter some unique challenges.

How differently?
To use an example, there’s this post about an incident at PAX East involving cosplayers. This is part of the reason GeekMom exists and why it rocks to have female voices in the geeky world.

Another great example is the gender-flipped cover, like taking George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones covers and changing it to reflect what would happen if it’d been written by Georgette Martin.

This is not the kind of issue men deal with as part of their daily geekiness. Read John Scalzi’s post on “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.”

There are also the comments over on an article wrote about an Audi commercial on GeekDad when we were still with Wired. The point of my post was that it contained inherent and not-so-good assumptions about women as “the prize” and we should think about those assumptions.

The comments affected me very little, except I shook my head at those who called me a sad, lonely woman, etc.  But it did bother me in the sense that it’s definitely part of a pattern of sexually-tinged insults  that are directed at female bloggers.

I’m more of the “let’s keep pointing it out so we can get the problem out there” camp rather than the “ignore them because the jerks will never go away” camp, though the latter view certainly has some good points and, yes, dealing with the problem is never going to eliminate the bad pennies altogether. I simply don’t like them going unchallenged.

Things will never change if we don’t speak up.

There’s lots of us, even if some still believe we’re like the mythical unicorn: rare and almost non-existent, but recognition of that is changing. Look at the success of Ms. Marvel in comics and the force TheMarySue website has become for women.

Despite the success of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, there are no plans for a Black Widow movie. As Scarlett Johansson famously said in Entertainment Weekly, she’d have to wear pasties to get one approved. Since her comment, there has been a Captain Marvel movie announced but still no Black Widow and we’ll have to sit through Ant-Man and one more Spider-Man reboot before that every happens.

There has been, of course, the amazing Agent Carter. That’s a start. But I’m not going to be happy with just a start. See the Billie Jean King quote above.

We have a unique geek experience, and that’s why we’re here, and that’s why I think we rock.

 

GeekMom Puzzle of the Week #47 – Solution and Winner

GeekMom Puzzle Logo

As usual on Saturdays I get to announce our Puzzle of The Week winner who was selected at random from all the correct entries. Many congratulations to:

Emily C

Here is last week’s puzzle.

Using the sound clues, identify the video game:

  • Combining form meaning “twice,” “two,” used in the formation of compound words
  • Under obligation to pay or repay
  • Joint in a horses hind leg that corresponds to the human ankle
  • Collective term for a person’s relatives
  • Used by fish for propulsion, steering and balance
  • Noun suffix often used for minerals, fossils and explosives

So the solution we needed was:

  • Bi
  • Owes
  • Hock
  • Kin
  • Fin
  • -ite

Bioshock Infinite

Look out for a new puzzle starting tomorrow.

Slactivism vs Support

My variation of a popular Facebook meme \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
My variation of a popular Facebook meme \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

The internet is starting to become a breeding ground for causes to gain support. According to the Urban Dictionary, there’s a word for this new trend: it’s called slactivism. If you can’t tell, it’s a mix of the two words slacker and activism.

Online petitions and social media are two ways slactivism is gaining ground. Now, instead of actually having to show up to a protest or send donations in to support a cause, you can do it from your computer without any effort.

One example of the latest slactivism trend can be seen on Facebook.

The most recent (and still major) political issue has been the Human Rights Act, specifically referring to marriage equality for gay couples. More than two-million people changed their Facebook profile pic to show their support for equality.

After seeing so many of my friends change their profile pictures, I started to wonder if it was really making a difference. I mean, how many people saw that profile pic and changed their stance on the subject?

Sure, everyone could see in a quick glance where they stood on the issue, but did it make a difference in Washington where the real debate was happening? After a few days, it was turned into a joke, with some people putting their own spin on the red logo (my favorite was the Waldo version hopping around).

Continue reading Slactivism vs Support

This Week With the GeekMoms

GeekMom News

This week, the GeekMoms are relaxing before a Star Wars weekend, buying new cars, stage managing, and back from vacation!

Dakster Sullivan will be enjoying her last Saturday free before the Star Wars Weekends season. This means resting up, drinking lots of water, and making sure all of her costumes are good to go. She hopes to debut a new costume this year, so stay tuned to see what she has planned.

Rachel Cericola just got herself a new car. Continue reading This Week With the GeekMoms

Meteor Shower Sunday Night: View Live or via NASA Webcast

An image of Halley's Comet from 1986. (NASA)
An image of Halley’s Comet from 1986. (NASA)

The night of Sunday, May 5, shortly before (Monday’s) sunrise, is your chance to view a dramatic meteor shower as Earth passes through the belt of debris in the Halley’s comet orbit. NASA will livestream the meteor shower (with chat) from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, from 11pm Sunday to 3am Monday Eastern Daylight Time. The webcast will also be available from space.com.

This annual spring-time orbit through the trail of Halley’s debris is known as the Eta Aquarid meteor shower because to an observer, these meteors appear to radiate from an origin near the constellation Aquarius. The planet passes through the comet’s debris twice a year, creating these meteor viewing opportunities, but since Halley’s comet orbits the sun every 76 years, it will not be near the Earth again until 2061.

For viewing tips, links to videos and images, and further details, go to NASA or space.com. EarthSky has a great meteor shower guide for 2013.

GeekMom Puzzle of the Week – #47

GeekMom Puzzle Logo

Welcome to the Geek Mom Puzzle of the Week!

Each Sunday, a new quiz will be posted and you will have until 11:59 pm GMT the following Friday to submit your answer. The kind folks over at ThinkGeek will be providing a $50 gift certificate for each week’s winner. In order to be in with a chance of winning, you simply need to send your puzzle answer to the email address below. The winner will be chosen at random from all correct answers.

We’ll announce the winner’s name on Saturday, along with the solution to the previous week’s puzzle. Then we’ll start the process all over again the next day. Sound like a good thing? Then let’s get right on with this week’s puzzle.

EXAMPLE:

From the sound clues, identify the famous novel:

  • The sound a dog makes
  • The only thing to be afraid of
  • Where skaters skate
  • Flown on strings

EXAMPLE SOLUTION:

  • Woof
  • Fear
  • Rink
  • Kites

= Wuthering Heights

GEEKMOM PUZZLE WEEK #47:

Using the sound clues, identify the video game:

  • Combining form meaning “twice,” “two,” used in the formation of compound words
  • Under obligation to pay or repay
  • Joint in a horses hind leg that corresponds to the human ankle
  • Collective term for a person’s relatives
  • Used by fish for propulsion, steering and balance
  • Noun suffix often used for minerals, fossils and explosives

Send your answers to geekmompuzzle@gmail.com with the subject line “GeekMom Puzzle #47” and please include the name you would like announced if you are the winner. Good luck!

GeekMom Puzzle of the Week #46 – Solution and Winner

GeekMom Puzzle Logo

As usual on Saturdays I get to announce our Puzzle of the Week winner who was selected at random from all the correct entries. Many congratulations to:

Cathy Willey

Here is last week’s puzzle.

From the sound clues, identify the television character:

Farewell To Our Sponsor, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Aboard a Dirigible

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It’s been such a fun week exploring the fragrance artistry of our sponsor, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. If, like me, you are lucky enough to own their most magical brews you’ll understand why I get so giddy over them. I’m constantly asked what perfume I’m wearing (often with very expensive guesses) and I always get to reply, “Oh, neutral rogue. You know.”

That said, our final highlight is a particular thrill for me to share because it has to do with one of my favorite things in the world: steampunk. The Steamworks collection puts its own spin on the genre du jour, offering a wide array of swoon-worthy scents. The illustrations in this collection come courtesy of Mlle. Julie Dillon, who captures the mad science and beautiful machinery of this imagined future past.

Steampunk has served as an inspiration for countless artists, authors, and creatives, but I admit I’d never considered just exactly what it’d smell like. Of course, BPAL has, and the result is spellbinding as usual. Continue reading Farewell To Our Sponsor, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Aboard a Dirigible

This Week With the GeekMoms

GeekMom News

Amy is gearing up for her son’s third birthday party this weekend, which coincides with Cinco de Mayo. He only wants big kids at the party and he wants the theme to be pink. Pinko de Mayo, here we come!

Rebecca is coming off of a lovely birthday week. At first she didn’t really care much because so many other things were going on, most notably, her daughter was in a big play, and Rebecca is coming to the end of directing her own musical. It is a crazy season. However, her family and friends did not forget her birthday. On the actual day, her good friend Amy brought gluten-free cupcakes into their homeschooling group and everyone sang. It is good to be mothered by friends. The next day, her husband took her to see Jake Shimibukuro. AMAZING. And the next day, her niece pulled off a surprise party. Much happiness :)

After two years of trying, Sophie is finally going to attend a Free Comic Book Day event, even if it means having to catch a train to another city because nowhere in hers is participating. She is obscenely excited about getting her hands on the first mini issue of The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys. In other news she is incredibly proud of her son who has finally mastered riding his scooter and is now happily riding to pre-school and back, even if there have been a few injuries along the way.

She’s been meaning to get to it for, oh, years, but Kris Bordessa has finally — mostly — updated her professional website. She still needs to add a page featuring Great Medieval Projects You Can Build Yourself but keeps getting sidetracked with other writing projects. Cobblers shoes and all that.

Be a Superhero! Join the We Can Be Heroes Fundraising Campaign

© DC Comics
© DC Comics

Have you ever wanted to be a real hero? Only a few days are left in DC Comics’ We Can Be Heroes fundraising campaign, which has already raised over $120,000 to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa. Donate now to be a superhero to thousands of people in Africa, where your money will go toward medicine, care, food, and even a mobile health unit to provide support.

Continue reading Be a Superhero! Join the We Can Be Heroes Fundraising Campaign

Scents Inspired by Neil Gaiman by Our Sponsor Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

newmainOn the off chance that you haven’t figured it out by now, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab makes some eccentric and unusual stuff. Perfumes inspired by comics and roleplaying games are just the start, though. To prove that they understand their audience and know we require the very best, most magical and delightful, they have a series of lines inspired by the work of none other than Neil Gaiman.

Which flavor of Gaiman do you prefer? There’s the American Gods collection, which beautifully evokes the curious gods and goddesses of the novel, while telling a story at the same time. For the younger set (but no less mysterious) there’s the Coraline series, which has our heroine described in “dry grass, clean skin, and a little bit of mossy berry.”

Neverwhere art by Enrique Alcatena
Neverwhere art by Enrique Alcatena

If you’re looking for something with a bit more whimsy, there’s the Stardust series, which features Tristran, Victoria, Lady Una, and others like The East (“the scent of the winds beyond the wall: bluebonnet, passion flower, freesia, jasmine tea, mint, thyme, and redcurrant”) or Fairy Wine (“an ethereal vintage, steeped with dandelion, honey, and red currants”).

Want mystery? Look no further than the Neverwhere collection. There’s a whole cast of colorful characters to turn to, including the Marquis the Carabas (“A splash of bay rum, leather, dusty black wool, massoia bark, and opium residue”), Door (“Golden honey, nicotiana, blue chamomile, and cistus”) and Hunter (“Leonine amber, tanned hides, clove, and clary sage”).

For all the Gaiman fans out there, truly these are scents you can’t miss. For the full line of Neil Gaiman inspired fragrances, visit Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s page, and stay tuned for more!

Saga: The Book Club

By Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
By Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

This week I attended a book club where my friend Karen and I recommended a comic series for our “book.” We are both fans of Saga by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples. For the seven women there, Karen and I were the only ones who read comics or graphic novels on a regular basis. Our previous book was The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love. This month’s selection of a science fiction comic book rated Game of Thrones level NC-17, was a bit of a departure from the norm.

I was surprised that everyone enjoyed it. Continue reading Saga: The Book Club

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — May 1st, 2013

Rainbow Dash Micro Series \ Image: IDW Publishing
Rainbow Dash Micro Series \ Image: IDW Publishing

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Kelly Knox – My Little Pony Micro-Series #2 (IDW)
This week while I hunted in vain for the variant cover of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1, my daughter grabbed a comic from the kids’ rack: the Rainbow Dash one-shot from IDW. It turned out to be a great pick and one we both enjoyed. Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — May 1st, 2013

Our Sponsor Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Goes Boom!

boom-bpal
Art from the Boom! Studios line inspired by Irredeemable; Images Boom@ Studios

Our first two featured scents from our sponsor, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, had a certain old-timey quality to them. Or at least, the RPG scents represent the old school and Hellboy has a certain ancientness about him, if you know what I mean. Well, if you’re looking for something a little more noir and modern (or if you’re a comic fan), look no further than the line of scents from BPAL and Boom! Studios.

Inspired by the comic, Irredeemable, by Mark Waid and Peter Krause, it’s an exercise in contrasts. In Mark Waid’s words:

What if you go from, you know, Captain America to Doctor Doom? What if you go from Superman to Lex Luthor? How do you go from being the greatest hero in the world – someone that everybody knows, and everybody loves, and everyone recognizes – to the greatest villain in the world? What is that path? It’s not a light switch, it’s not an on-off switch, it’s not something that you wake up one day and just become evil.

The scents in this series vary as much as the characters, yet stand unique on their own. And not to mention, they’re unexpected.

Take Plutonian, the fallen superhero: Soapy cleanliness sullied by blood and ashes.

And in contrast, Alana Patel, his one true love (who broke his heart, of course): Faded perfume, cigarette smoke, and gin.

Of personal curiosity is the Yurei scent, which sounds like something I’d like to roll around in: White tea, hibiscus, Arabian sandalwood, white amber, ho leaf, pale Japanese flowers, and vetiver.

There’s plenty more to check out at Black Phoenix, and we’ll be featuring more of their unique products as the week progresses. Just remember, Father’s and Mother’s Days are closing in fast, and these are wonderful and geeky gifts for the gamers in your life. We thank Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab for sponsoring the blog this week!