The air cools; fall begins, and out come the sweaters! I love knitting and crocheting, but as a mother of three small children I don’t have the time for large projects like sweaters.
This year I thought I’d spend my autumn months knitting and crocheting some geeky holiday ornaments! Here is a list of both knitted and crocheted ornaments you can make. Keep them for yourself or gift a bit of geek to any nerd on your list! Some of these are actual ornaments and some are amigurumi that you can add a simple yarn loop or a hook to for hanging. Continue reading Geeky Ornaments to Knit and Crochet
As a group, us geeks can be a little, well, snobbish about the games we play. Why would we play Clue when we could play Catan? Why choose Scrabble over Stone Age? As much as we might think that way, a quick Amazon search for “board games” reveals that classic titles such as Monopoly, Clue, Sorry!, and The Game of Life are still the top results. My husband and I returned to two popular games—Yahtzee and Clue—both of which had recently been given a Firefly-themed makeover, to see if they could win us over.
MegaCon will be taking over the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, on April 10th thru April 12th this year. Complete with celebs, a one-mile indoor walk benefiting the Hero Initiative, gaming, cosplay, and vendors to make you drool.
This year’s MegaCon is a little more special to me because I’ll be celebrating my 30th birthday (okay, so I’m celebrating a week early…so sue me) and I’m going to make it count. I have plans for a Stan Lee photo op, a picture and autograph from Michael Rooker, and hitting up some of my favorite artists and vendors for some presents to myself.
The celebrity line-up includes Stan Lee (Mr. Marvel himself), Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy/The Walking Dead), Robbie Amell and Danielle Panabaker (The Flash), Adam Baldwin and Alan Tudyk (Firefly), David Ramsey (Arrow), Karen Gillan (Doctor Who/Guardians of the Galaxy), and many more.
Also in attendance will be the cast of the Animaniacs—Rob Paulson (Yakko), Tress MacNeille (Dot), and Jess Harnell (Wakko)—which should make for a great “Voice Actors Gone Wild” panel.
In addition to the contests, gaming, and speed dating, MegaCon will also be hosting the first MegaWalk benefiting the Hero Initiative. For $40 you can participate in a one-mile walk lead by Superman legend, George Perez. The best part, other than the really cool medal and swag, is that the walk is indoors and goes right into the main convention hall.
The Crafty Dork makes adorable amigurumi dolls based on anime, comics, and video games. Sons of Sandlar is the spot to stop at if you want super comfy real leather boots for cosplay or day-to-day wear. I tried them on at a Ren Faire a few weeks ago and fell in love with them.
If you have plans to be in Orlando from April 10th thru the 12th, make sure you stop by and check out the convention. Tickets start at $30.00 for a day or $75 for the weekend. Children 10 and under get in free with a paying adult. MegaCon is an all-ages convention and strollers are welcome.
Today, Firefly favorites Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion announced their new project, Con Man, now open for funding on Indiegogo. What is Con Man? Well, the description from the Indiegogo says:
“Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk-Me!) was a costar on Spectrum, a sci-fi series which was canceled -Too Soon- yet became a cult classic. Wray’s good friend, Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) starred in the series and has gone on to become a major movie star. While Jack enjoys the life of an A-lister, Wray tours the sci-fi circuit as a guest of conventions, comic book stores, and lots of pop culture events. The show will feature all the weird and crazy things that happen to Wray along the way to at these events these events.”
That sounds… oddly familiar… Wait, where was I again? Yes! You can support this project, because the guys want you (and everyone else) to be the producers of their fine endeavor. You can check out the Indiegogo page for all the various awesome you could get for helping to support this project. But most important of all, Firefly fans, we get to see two of our guys together again. On a spaceship.
“I wanted to make a show that featured all of my favorite convention artists and friends together,” Tudyk says. “Not only that, I wanted to celebrate the world where heroes, villains, zombie hunters, and space pirates all overlap. I especially wanted to work with my friend Nathan Fillion again.”
It’s a celebration of why we are geeks in the first place, and I for one cannot wait to see this happen!
Do you remember catching fireflies on hot summer nights, putting them in a jar as the prettiest present for your mom, and then releasing them again before bed? I do. The image of so, so many little lights all around my yard is a fond memory. For my kids, they have collected and enjoyed fireflies too, but I don’t see as many around. Are these beautiful insects disappearing?
The Clemson Vanishing Firefly Project wants to answer that question, and has started a firefly census. The goal is “to promote environmental sustainability and stewardship through the participation of local communities in environmental science research.” That means you! Your family can take part in real science that is important to our world. How? There is a mobile app (or an online version) that is easy to use for the census. Check out these videos:
One for kids:
There is also a Firefly Facebook page to continue the conversation. Our world needs your help, so do some science with your kids that’s meaningful, fun, and gets you outside on those hot summer nights.
Joss Whedon. If I had to make a shortlist of people who could become the Patron Saint of Geek, he would be at the top of it. These days, his body of work is so broad that you’ll struggle to find a geek who doesn’t love at least some parts of it. From The Avengers to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, through Firefly and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the sheer range of genres within the Whedonverse is astonishing, although each one features a certain something in their dialogue and overall attitude that make them distinctly Whedon.
Reading Joss Whedon collects together articles that cover all types of Whedon’s work, although there is naturally something of a focus on his television productions. It is arranged into collections, beginning with a set of essays on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, moving through Angel, Firefly/Serenity, and finally, Dollhouse. Collection/part five, “Beyond the Box,” covers Whedon’s non-TV work with four essays on Dr. Horrible (webseries), Buffy’s Season Eight (comic series), The Cabin in the Woods, and The Avengers (films). Each TV series is also given a brief introduction for readers less familiar with them. The final part of the book covers “Overarching Topics” and covers subjects that stretch across multiple Whedon works with essays including “Technology and Magic: Joss Whedon’s Explorations of The Mind” (Jeffrey Bussolini) and “Hot Chicks with Superpowers: The Contested Feminism of Joss Whedon” (Lauren Schultz).
A second table of contents is also provided that groups the essays by subject. This is especially useful to those of us looking to use the book as a reference tome. The subjects used include Human Identity, Gender, Narrative & Writing, and Myth & Intertext. Together, they do an impressive job of summing up what the Whedonverse does best and the questions it repeatedly raises.
One of the things I took away from early in the book was a comparison between Whedon and Shakespeare. The comparison wasn’t discussing talent or output, simply their working practises. Whedon is known for working with a small group of actors repeatedly (Nathan Fillion, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, etc.) in much the same way that Shakespeare’s plays were usually performed by the same group, The Lord Chamberlain’s/King’s Men. It’s a point hammered home by Whedon’s adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, a production he has himself referred to as “a love letter—to the cast.”
Another point I found especially interesting was a discussion on the way Whedon’s work often focuses on the concept of “chosen” family rather than family as defined by blood. It’s a recurring theme I hadn’t ever really thought of. The Scoobies in Buffy, the crew of the Serenity, even The Avengers. All are groups who have found their “families,” rather than being born into them. It’s far from being an idea unique to Whedon; the TV shows Supernatural and Warehouse 13, for example, address the concept regularly and somewhat more explicitly, but it’s certainly a recurrent Whedon theme. Even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which premiered too late to have essays included in the book, has drawn on similar themes.
I am not a die-hard Whedonite; rather I have remained on the fringes of his Verse, dipping my toes into almost every one of his creations (to date the only Whedonverse show I haven’t watched is Angel). However, despite not being familiar with every last nuance of the Whedonverse, I found Reading Joss Whedon a deeply insightful collection that not only made me look at the Whedonverse with different eyes, but at other media as well. I especially loved “All Those Apocalypses: Disaster Studies and Community in BTVS and Angel” (Linda J. Jencson), which looked at the ways disaster and survival was presented throughout Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The essay has me thinking in new ways about not only my own fiction, both written and viewed, but the way these subjects are presented by the real-world news media as well. Not being a huge fan, I occasionally had to do a little googling when episode titles were casually thrown in as references (it’s been a few years since I last watched Buffy), but this didn’t detract from my overall understanding or enjoyment.
Reading Joss Whedon is a great book both for Whedonites looking to read more about their favorite verses and for those interested in storytelling and media as a whole. If you’re after something to really stimulate the mind as you lie on a beach this summer, this might just be the book you’re looking for.
Valentine’s Day can make anyone not in a couple feel somewhat left out. If much popular media is to be believed then romantic relationships are the pinnacle of the connections we can share with other human beings. Forging a romantic pairing is often shown as one of the most important goals we can strive for in life; however for most of us these relationships form only a tiny fraction of the meaningful connections we will enjoy throughout our lives.
We form deep, meaningful bonds with our parents, siblings, teachers, colleagues, and friends that are every bit as powerful and rewarding as those we share with our partners—sometimes more so. We are starting to see more varied relationships on screen lately such as Frozen’s Anna and Elsa so I wanted to look at a variety of different relationships and how they are portrayed.
Sisters: Anna & Elsa (Frozen) Without going too far into spoiler territory for those who haven’t yet seen Frozen, the relationship between royal sisters Elsa and Anna is something truly special. As young children they were as close as sisters could be, but after a near-tragic accident forces Elsa to pull away for reasons Anna can’t know, they must grow up estranged. Anna never stops hoping for reconciliation though, and even after she finds romantic love she seeks Elsa’s approval. What happens next sets off a series of catastrophic events, but sisterly love trumps all in this story and turns out to be the key to saving an entire kingdom. Important Quote: “Do you want to build a snowman? Come on, let’s go and play. I never see you anymore. Come out the door. It’s like you’ve gone away.”
Brothers: Sam & Dean Winchester (Supernatural) They say that blood is thicker than water and we’ve certainly seen enough of it spilled from Sam and Dean Winchester. The pair are so utterly committed to one another that they risk everything to save each other, including casting themselves into the fiery pits of Hell for all eternity. While I’m not advocating making deals with crossroads demons to keep your siblings safe, it’s a strong reminder of just how strong family ties can really be. Important Quote: “All I’m saying, Sammy, all I’m saying, is that you’re my weak spot. You are, and I’m yours.”
Father/Daughter: Richard and Alexis Castle (Castle)
Watching your kids grow up is hard for every parent, but there’s something especially difficult about the single father/daughter dynamic. Alexis was 14 when Castle first began airing and since that day we’ve all watched her grow up as she progressed through high school, found and lost love, graduated, and moved on to college. Castle himself has watched these events too, often unsure of exactly how to help out whilst still allowing her to navigate her own path—especially difficult when his daughter was frequently the more mature one of the pair. However the two have always been there for one another to offer support and advice. Important Quote: Alexis: “How come we never had a nanny?” Castle: “Well, your mother and I decided if someone was going to screw you up, we wanted it to be me.”
Friendship: Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne (Firefly)
Friendships formed in the armed forces can be some of the most long-lasting and powerful bonds you will form. There’s nothing like suffering a harrowing experience to really bring people together. Mal Reynolds served with Zoe Washburne (then Alleyne) during the Unification War and together they survived the devastating Battle of Serenity Valley, the only two in their platoon to make it out. After a brief stint with a “terrorist” group, Zoe joined up with Mal to serve aboard his new ship Serenity where the pair worked together so well that it caused occasional jealousy between Mal and Zoe’s eventual husband Wash. Important Quote: “I wouldn’t stand for it anyway, Captain, jealous man like me.”
Bromance: Tony Stark and Bruce Banner (Marvel Universe) Iron Man and The Hulk are two of the most layered characters in the Marvel universe; both have an outward image that masks the flawed, even damaged, men underneath it. By the beginning of The Avengers Bruce Banner has become so disenchanted with people’s reactions to him that he has effectively hidden himself away from the world. He instantly senses the fears of everyone involved when he is finally ousted from his private world. Tony Stark is the only person who doesn’t react that way and is simply delighted to meet him, even thrilled at Banner’s reputation, a reaction that genuinely surprises Bruce and sparks their friendship. Important Quote: It’s good to meet you, Dr. Banner. Your work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled. And I’m a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.
Womance: Dana Scully & Monica Reyes (The X-Files) A lot is made of the so-called “bromance” but little is ever said about its female counterpart. According to Urban Dictionary the word for this relationship is a “womance” but it is certainly not as commonplace. Monica Reyes’ character wasn’t introduced on The X-Files until season eight and didn’t become recurrent until season nine but this does not diminish the importance of her relationship with Agent Scully.
The relationship is best understood when considered within the context of the death of Scully’s only sister Melissa at the end of season three. Melissa was the polar opposite of her sister, a flighty spiritualist prone to taking off suddenly on journeys of self-discovery. However, the few scenes we saw of the pair together showed how close they were. Melissa’s death was a huge blow to Scully and left her with seemingly no close female friends excluding her mother for the several years until Monica’s appearance. Despite her initial wariness (trust no one after all) Scully became close friends with Monica who clearly began to fill the hole left by Melissa. As the show’s ninth and final season drew to a close they were clearly portrayed as close female friends, one of the relationships the show had yet to explore with Scully. Important Quote: “I was thinking that you reminded me of someone that I was close to—my sister.”
Mentor/Student: Buffy Summers and Rupert Giles (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) The mentor/student relationship is most commonly seen between characters where the younger individual is lacking a parent and the older individual ends up filling that role to a greater or lesser extent. Giles took on a fatherly role to the entire Scooby Gang but mostly to Buffy, a relationship that far surpassed even the often intense bond between Watcher and Slayer. He not only supported her through her progression as a Slayer but personally too, a role that increased over the years especially after the sudden death of Buffy’s mother. Important Quote: “If it’s guilt you’re looking for, Buffy, I’m not your man. All you will get from me is my support. And my respect.”
Colleagues: Dale Cooper and Harry Truman (Twin Peaks)
Dale Cooper’s approach to solving a case couldn’t really be more different from Harry Truman’s but together the pair began a partnership that was every bit as complimentary as Holmes and Watson. The relationship between the two is deeply rooted in respect and despite Truman having countless opportunities to ridicule Cooper, he never takes them up. Cooper and Truman are the perfect example of a yin and yang relationship where two wildly different types of people can work together perfectly to solve impossibly difficult problems. Important Quote: “Agent Cooper is the finest lawman I’ve ever known. I’ve had nothing but respect for him since he arrived in Twin Peaks.”
This list is by no means comprehensive, I had to cut out more than I left in, so I’d love to hear about the relationships you love that have nothing to do with romance. Let me know your favorites.
I stumbled across Life Geekery’s shop a few months ago when I was searching Etsy for Harry Potter goodies (as one does). I wasn’t even looking for a Kindle/iPad/iPhone cover at the time, but when I found this shop Ihad to have one. The heart wants what the heart wants, so Harry and my iPad Mini have been together for three months now.
Life Geekery is run by the husband and wife team of Matt and Nikki Mason, and their handmade designs are witty, made with Eco Felt, and priced around $30. I contacted Nikki to find out what inspired them and how they got started.
We’re a super nerdy husband and wife team that love to craft! The whole geeky cozy business started simply because I wanted a fun little case to store my own Kindle and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. After coming up with a few different ideas we decided to make them and put them up on Etsy just to see if other people would like them as much as we did…and they did! Now we get to spread the joy to nerds everywhere and we couldn’t be more happy about that!
So, basically, the couple behind this business is just as much fun as their product. With more than 700 sales in less than two years, the shop is definitely popular. In addition to the awesome Firefly, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Dr.Who cases pictured above, designs also include Chewbacca, Frodo Baggins, and several others (Sherlock cover, stop flirting with me!). I’ve seen a Ron Weasley cover on their site, and I could swear I saw a TARDIS flash by on their website banner.
I asked Nikki who comes up with the designs, and she told me, “My husband and I collaborate on the designs, but he’s more of the designer and I’m more of the sewer.” Nikki and Matt are based in Hawaii, and each case is handmade to order—you can specify the tablet or phone it’s meant to fit. This means your case will not arrive right away. I waited a good few weeks to get mine, but I’ve had it since early March and thought it was well worth the wait.
I had to get used to having the opening at the bottom since these are sleeves and not cases (my typical cover preference). I’ve never used a sleeve for a Kindle or iPad before, so for the first few days I nearly dropped my Mini a few times because I kept carrying Harry right side up. And felt is slippery. I think I would slightly prefer to have the opening at the top of the sleeve, but I’m torn because I like the instant access when plugging it in to charge. Cases are fiddly on that point. And, honestly, once I got used to carrying Harry upside down it was no longer a problem. My Mini is protected, and it looks very cool. It’s also very easy to find in my giant, bottomless bag of stuff, and it makes me happy every time I see it. This has been one of my favorite purchases of 2013.
Tonight sees the return of SyFy original series Warehouse 13 for the second half of its fourth season after the show left viewers on a cliff hanger with a plague unleashed and threatening to wipe out half the world’s population.
Although not as popular as many current shows on air, Warehouse 13, is now one of my favourites after having spent the last few months catching up with the show on Netflix. Here are seven reasons why I’ve fallen in love with it and why you should give it a try.
By now, if you’re a Firefly fan, you’ve probably heard the outrage heard across the ‘verse. The story goes something like this. The Firefly character Jayne Cobb’s silly orange hat, lovingly knitted by his mother, has become an iconic symbol of the cancelled-too-soon series. People have knitted their own hats for years. You see them on college campuses. You see them at comic conventions. People love their Jayne hats, and when you see one, you give a nod to your fellow Browncoat. Occasionally people put their hand-knit caps up on Etsy or other sites to sell them to other fans. No mass production. Just a few fans making pizza money.
ThinkGeek, one of my very favoritest sites of all time, decided that since there was a lot of demand and very little actual product, maybe they should do something about that. They worked with an officially licensed producer to get an officially licensed Jayne’s Hat in their store. It’s not an exclusive item to ThinkGeek, but ThinkGeek had a hand in designing the perfect silly orange hat for fans. It’s suitable for both head warmth and finding all the cool people who recognize it. Shiny!
One problem. Now that it’s an instant money-making item, Fox has started issuing cease and desist letters to those little Etsy shops that have been selling the product for years. Etsy chose the path of most butt coverage and has been reportedly shutting down stores, not just issuing warnings or delisting the offending items. Stores that sold non-hat related Firefly fan merchandise have also been reportedly shuttered – just in case.
Yes, it completely sucks to have your Etsy store shut down for an activity you thought was fine for years and years, but the truth is that those stores were making money off of someone else’s intellectual property, no matter how rich they weren’t getting in the process.
It was always a legally gray area, and as soon as you call it “Jayne’s Hat” or mention the series from whence it came, you’re riding on the coattails of a show you didn’t make. Sure, Fox makes everyone mad for having cancelled the show in the first place, but it was their show to cancel, and it’s their show to license even after it was cancelled. Yes, the optics of closing down mom and pop stores is bad, but if they don’t defend their license, even against the small stores, they could lose the ability to defend it against the big ones. Update: an actual IP lawyer explains how a lowly hat can become a trademarked item.
The way I see it, this whole Jayne’s Hat issue actually has a silver lining for Firefly fans. How, you say? You know what you get when you take a cancelled science fiction show with a loyal fan base that likes to spend a lot of money on licensed products? Maybe you get Star Trek the Motion Picture. Maybe you get the eventual resurrection and re-imagining of your universe into a vast series of books, comic books, cartoons, TV shows, games, rides, products, and movies. Yes, it could happen. Some of it already has. Spend your money on licensed products, kiddies. It’s a story that is too pretty to die.
Furthermore, ThinkGeek has taken a lot of unfair flak over something that totally wasn’t their fault. They had nothing to do with Etsy stores being shut down. They just wanted a cool hat, and they played by the rules to get one legitimately — just like they did when they made the coolest Tauntaun sleeping bag, ever after overwhelming fan demand. I want to see them bring more super cool, super creative fan products to the market. It would be the best targeted weight loss plan ever (if the target of all that weight loss was my wallet.)
After all the kerfluffle over the hats, ThinkGeek has issued the following statement:
Browncoats, we hear your concerns about the cease and desist on Etsy Jayne Hat sellers!
Honestly, they didn’t have to do this, but it does make them big damn heroes. Speaking of ThinkGeek charity and big damn heroes, be sure to pick up a Neurodiversity shirt from ThinkGeek to go with your hat. It’s not Firefly, but the profits from the shirts sold in April will go to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.
Jayne’s yellow and orange hat is one of the big symbols of the Firefly fandom. I, like many other Browncoats, was disappointed to hear of cease and desist orders sent out to crafters of this unique hat by 20th Century Fox, who own the rights to the show.
Etsy stores often sell items from various fandoms that cannot be obtained anywhere else. Several years ago, I was in the market for a rainbow parasol for a Kaylee costume. I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I started painting them myself. I even sold them for a while in my now defunct Etsy store. I imagine that a lot of Jayne’s hat knitters got a similar start. Buying Jayne’s hat on Etsy and other sites was great for fans who couldn’t knit.
But now ThinkGeek has started selling the licensed version of Jayne’s hat. Several of my Browncoat friends speculated that this may be the end of fan made hats, and it seems that’s exactly what Fox would like to happen.
In addition to cease and desist orders, several Browncoats have found that their Etsy stores have been shut down. I know of at least one person who had their store shut down for selling other Firefly inspired items, but not Jayne’s hat.
The Browncoat fandom is in an uproar over this. It gives us another reason to dislike Fox. While I know that Fox owns the copyright, it is more than a little frustrating to be faced with this after many of these knitters have been making these hats for over eight years. I also believe Etsy went overboard shutting down shops that weren’t even selling the hats.
ThinkGeek has been getting flak even though they weren’t really involved. In response they have announced this week that all of the proceeds from the sales of Jayne’s hat will go to Can’t Stop The Serenity. This makes me tempted to get another hat because I love supporting this Browncoat charity drive. It also makes me love ThinkGeek even more!
I’m sure this won’t stop Browncoat knitters from making Jayne’s hat, but they will have to be more careful when listing the hat for sale to avoid copyright issues.