Who Made the Cut For This GeekMom T-Shirt and Why

Mom. Mom is a loaded word. Just as recipes for things like tomato sauce vary from family to family, so does the definition of mother. Every family, for example, prides itself in its recipe being The Right One. In the same way, every family believes its definition of “mom” is The Right One. Why? Because the ingredients in the recipe create a sense of family taste profile, in the same way, the definition of mom, based on the nuances of the family dynamics, make up family relationships.

Thus, a “mom” is more like an emotional comfort food than a person.

When GeekMom put out the merch design call, I figured that I had nothing to offer. I mean, I teach writing, not design. Then I started thinking about all the moms I love in fandom. I realized that a GeekMom Ampersand shirt and print would have precisely the kind of inside geeky reference I love, but I couldn’t discriminate against fandoms.

My first pass had only the fandoms that I knew geeks loved best online (Marvel, DC, LotR, Harry Potter). These caused a bit of a stir, not only for the choices of fandom but the choices within the fandom. The more I delved into the lack of mothers in various geek fandoms, the more I learned that we have a wide array of mothers represented in our fandoms.

Continue reading Who Made the Cut For This GeekMom T-Shirt and Why

How to Make a Dancing Baby Groot Costume With Only a Few Failed Attempts

Chef, Honey-Where-Are-My-Pants Guy, Dancing Baby Groot, and Rocket Raccoon.

When my husband and I got married, we were warned that we would fight about money or sex. Not us. We fight about the direction a costume is taking during construction. It has happened every time we have made costumes. After the second design failure on Groot, we just let it go (great, now that song is stuck in my head). Neither of our ideas were working, and we weren’t doing so well.

What you will need for your Dancing Baby Groot costume. Image: Cathe Post

For this Dancing Baby Groot tutorial you will need:

A Flower Pot (Ours was about 14″ in diameter, choose your accordingly)

Leggings (Brown)

Sweatshirt (Brown)

Close-cell foam 1″ thick

Gorilla Glue

Cheap Sunglasses

Cheap Plastic Foliage

Brown Painter’s Paper  Brown Paint

Green Painter’s Paper Green Paint

Brown Gloves?



Old Tennis Shoes

More Gorilla Glue


A sense of humor

Instead of a tutorial, I plan to drink wine. Acceptable? While drinking, I will share what my husband did for the other three members of our household.

Let it be known that gender roles do not apply in my house. Not only does my husband cook, he also busted his butt to sew and paint our costumes in time for GeekGirlCon in mid-October. He is the most awesome guy in the world.

First we tried gluing, then we tried sewing, finally we said a few choice curse words and painted the grain on. All images: Cathe Post

We first tried twisting and crumpling painter’s paper and using Gorilla Glue to adhere it to the sweatshirt. This worked, but was a big mess and hard to keep positioned while the glue dried. There were many colorful metaphors uttered…

Next, the twisted pieces of paper were hand-sewn onto the sweatshirt. This made our daughter look like a brown box instead of a long treeling. Plus the paper was stiff and LOUD. More cursing ensued.

Groot’s pot was constructed by cutting a flower pot in half, adding cardboard, and using copious amounts of Gorilla Glue to attach old sneakers to the bottoms. For grip, a collectible card game playing mat (basically a giant mousepad) was cut and adhered. There was no cursing involved in the making of the flower pot. Now, wearing the flower pot did cause my daughter to utter a few choice phrases (to be fair, that thing had to be a pain in the arse to walk in).

As a finishing touch, I loaded I Want You Back onto my phone and connected the iFrogz Tadpole speaker GeekMom Jenny previously talked about to the inside of the flower pot. When we get around a bunch of people, my daughter could dance like Baby Groot.

Rocket Raccoon and Groot

The Rocket costume went much more smoothly, though my costume had the most materials and items to purchase of our three costumes. Thankfully, with the announcement of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 being a definite, I know I will get future use out of my costume—and have time to make a sweet gun!

“Honey, where are my paaaaaants?”

My son’s costume (only to be worn for our Halloween commitments) went the smoothest of the three costumes, was the cheapest, and took the least amount of time to make. My son, quite specifically, asked to be the guy from “Honey, Were Are My Pants?,” the silly fictional sitcom from The Lego Movie. Honestly, when you are four, isn’t that the best part of the movie? Thanks to having a cardboard supply that multiplies like tribbles, having yellow rain pants (needed in the Pacific Northwest), and a pajama top the same color as the guy’s shirt, we only had to purchase blue spray paint and World Market Cheesy Snowballs (because the container looks like a Lego mini-figure head with a bit of modification). We had a selection of acrylic craft paints and a few different spray paints, so we didn’t even have to purchase those either. My son, needless to say, thinks that the costume is awesome—because, “Everything is awesome!”

Great. Now I have that song stuck in my head…

Thankfully, we got most of our arguing and Vulcan-Death-Match fighting out of the way on Groot’s costume. By the time the Lego guy’s costume was finished, we didn’t care where our pants were.

If you want to tell my husband that he did a geek-tastic job on our costumes, tag @timsmartini on Twitter. After making costumes for everyone else, he was too tired to make one for himself, so we dug out an old chef’s jacket and hat we’d ordered from a uniform supply. Instant costume!

Happy Halloween from Rocket, Groot, Honey-Where-Are-My-Pants guy, and Chef!

GeekMom To Be Featured on NickMom Television This Sunday!

NickMom, Forbidden Planet, GeekMom
My minions at Forbidden Planet before the filming in November. Photo by Corrina Lawson.

GeekMom is coming to your television on Sunday night. Myself and my crew of minions will be featured in a episode of Take Me To Your Mother, which will air on NickMom this Sunday, March 23 at 10:00 p.m. The show features comic Andrea Rosen.

“She just had a baby and dove head first into motherhood. Only problem? She did zero prep work to get there. Now… she’s on a mission to seek real advice from moms everywhere and from different cultures, backgrounds and interests on how to raise her only son. Because, in her own words, she doesn’t “want to raise a jerk.” — From the NickMom website.

Here’s the link to find the channel on your TV: http://www.nickmom.com/channel-finder/

We filmed the show last November, taking the MetroNorth train into Grand Central Station, and then walking down to the Forbidden Planet store.  The filming took over four hours, as the crew stopped and started filming to get just the right shots.  Our “geek” setup was a book signing, with us standing in line, with other geeks. Cthulhu Mom was absolutely wonderful and I’d recommend this episode just for her, even if we weren’t being featured.

Here’s hoping we were all ready for our close-ups!

My “Bad Boy” Valentines

wolverine 2
Image By Lilianna Maxwell

This drawing was a present from my daughter: me having tea with Wolverine. But she made me old because it was more “appropriate” since I’m married to her father. I found that hilarious because he’s a fictional character so what’s to be worried about? Only just my total obsession with Wolverine.

And other “bad boy” fictional characters.

Photo on 2-4-14 at 1.37 PM
Image By Rebecca Angel

You are quite sexy
Yet so two-dimensional
Abarai Renji

This would be followed “xoxoxoxoxo” and then I’d be too embarrassed to sign my name—assuming Renji and I would be in the same junior high classroom, forced to exchange valentines. Considering he doesn’t really exist, I suppose I shouldn’t feel any shame admitting that there was a time when I would spend free moments rummaging on deviantart for any and all renditions of my favorite Bleach character, that I became obsessed enough to write a haiku, then a song called “Two-Dimensional Love.” The lyrics are about falling in love with someone fictional, being aware of it, knowing it’s ridiculous, but you just can’t help yourself.

Renji is loud, quick to anger, and jealous. So why do I love him? He’s also fiercely loyal, first to defend others, and when he is gentle—it is a beautiful moment. Renji, Wolverine, Zuko

Lately, my crush is Loki. I remember the first Thor movie; I never mentioned to anyone that I found Loki attractive because his helmet was so silly, his hair was kinda floofy—but I was only trying to talk myself out of yet one more dive into bad-boy fandom. I want to kiss that smirk off his face! I thought I must be the only one.

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World Loki (Tom Hiddleston) © 2013 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2013 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Oh, was I wrong.

What’s up with the bad boys, you wonder? When I was chatting with a fellow geekmom, we both admitted to being attracted to fictional characters that we would never want in real life. She married a computer programmer, I married a molecular biologist—both are sweet, soft-spoken men that bake cookies with their children. My husband has never gotten into a physical fight in his entire life, and I don’t see him starting now. The only arguments he gets into are verbal, and never gets above a tolerable volume—he mostly just points out logic and facts. The one time I was majorly insulted in his presence, I defended myself while he silently put a hand on my shoulder.

Sometimes I want to imagine what it would be like to have a hot-tempered manly man. But in my bed, not daily life. Fiction is great that way. Whether it’s a TV show or comic book, I’m introduced to lots of sexy men that would piss me off in the real world. In the second X-Men movie, Wolverine says to Jean Grey, “I could be the ‘good guy’.”

No, you can’t.
And I love you that way.
(from the geeky girl in the corner)

So, ladies, what are your favorite bad boys of geeky fiction?

GeekMom Jenny Williams Talks Parenting and What It Means to Be a Geek

“Imagine the possibilities.”

That statement pretty much sums up the parental journey for a lot of us. Those are also words that inspire GeekMom Jenny Williams, our fearless co-founder/editor and one of the core contributors over at GeekDad.

Jenny recently sat down for a chat with The Parentalist, where she touched on her family’s 40-day road trip (which included a stop at NASA!), homeschooling, her passion for mental health, and much more. The interview covers a ton of topics and, of course, all of the possibilities that come with being a GeekMom.

“The reason ‘imagine the possibilities’ works well for me is it reminds me that almost all of the options in the world are available to me. I can do anything I want. I can achieve anything I want. You just have to be open to sometimes unconventional ways of doing things.”

The entire interview is available as a podcast or you can watch it in the video above.

11th Annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair 2013: Play is Magical

11th Annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier
11th Annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier – November 23, 2013

“Wow! That’s so cool!”
“Can we take this home?”
“So much better than last year!”

Words I heard most during my first visit to the Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTAG) at Chicago’s Navy Pier on Saturday, November 23. ChiTAG is over two days—15 hours of magical play including demonstrations, board games, card games, outdoor and indoor toys, lovable plushies, puzzles, game tournaments, building events, and even characters walking around. Maybe you’re a veteran to toy and game fairs, but talk about overwhelming and sensory overload! Everywhere you turn there is something to see, touch, play, and learn.

Illinois State Yo-yo contest at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier
Illinois State Yo-yo contest at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier
Ben's Bubble Show at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier
Ben’s Bubble Show at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier

While my high-school teacher husband attended the Games for Educators Conference, my children and I walked over 120 booths checking out familiar companies, new inventors, and fun products. With toys and games for every age, it was hard to figure out where to even start walking. There were some seriously excited and passionate first-timers sharing their dreams, and professionals from around the world.

Plush toys at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier
Brobo, Planet Sock Monkey, and a giant “Zero” (@NumbersAlive) plush

Tenkai Knights by Ionix was a big hit with my son. Lego-compatible, they are the transformers of the building block world and geared towards ages 8+. We tried out board games, too.


Games at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier
Wordsearch by Goliath, Daytrader, Schmovie, Fastrack by Blue Orange, Settlers of Catan, King of Tokyo, Indigo by Ravensburger, and Spontuneous

Plenty of outdoor toys, too. Like Ring Swings, Crazy Cart by Razor, and NEOS by Playworld Systems.


I wish we had a chance to ride the Crazy Cart.

Building toys are always popular, whether they light up or end up demolished in a heap of sticks.

Building toys at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier

Building toys at Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier
Building toys like Laser Pegs, TomTecT by Kapla, Ogo Bild (http://bits.ogosport.com/), and Stick Storm are always popular

And here’s Stick Storm in motion

One game, Karoman, incorporated assembling the character with which you play. After you build your collectible character from dense paper board, you use it in battle against other characters. Karoman is making its way from Indonesia to the United States.

Karoman at Chicago Toy and Game Fair
Karoman Revelation 2 collectible characters

The best part of the whole experience wasn’t so much being able to play with toys, but meeting Young Inventors with their games. There were over 100 participants in the Young Inventors Challenge this year… the twinkling eyes and jumpy, excited kids, so much fun!

Young Inventors Challenge at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair 2013
Young Inventors Challenge at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair 2013

I wasn’t able to attend the second day of ChiTAG. It would have been interesting to participate in the World’s Largest Playdate and the Worldwide Champion USA Pre-qualifier for Settlers of Catan. (No doubt I am way out of my league with those players.) I admit I’ve underestimated the importance of playing games—there’s discovery, strategy-building, and social benefits. It comes down to this: Toys and games are for every age. It’s magical.

I can’t wait to share my follow-up reviews and even introduce some newcomers to the field of toys and games. The Chicago Toy and Game Fair is a must-visit next fall.

Win Your Own Copy of the Geek Mom Book!

© Potter Craft

If you haven’t already picked up the book penned by our very own talented founding editors, this is your chance to win one of five copies of Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st-Century Families.

The Geek Mom book contains a wealth of project ideas, recipes, and other suggestions to turn a rainy afternoon into an unforgettable time with the entire family.

The contest runs today through October 21, and five lucky winners will receive a copy of the book. To enter our giveaway, just log in to the Rafflecopter widget below with your Facebook account or email address (use a valid email so we can let you know if you win). You can then like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for up to two entries! If you already like/follow us, it will still enter you in the giveaway. Five winners will be chosen at random at the end of the contest and their names will be posted right in the Rafflecopter widget, so you can check back to see who won.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join GeekMom and GeekDad at PAX Prime 2013!

GeekDad and GeekMom Panel at PAX 2012 / Photo: Tim Post

Labor Day weekend is almost upon us, which means it’s almost time for the Penny Arcade Expo! Gamers gather in Seattle, WA every year to celebrate games of all kinds and socialize with their fellow geeks. GeekDad and GeekMom are back again this year to bring you “Raising the Next Generation of Geeks” on Saturday, August 31, at 11:30 AM in the Serpent Theater.

Curious what’s on deck for this year’s panel? We’ll be back with the same great discussions with geeky moms and dads on the panel and in the theater. This year you’ll also hear not just from the parents, but from the parented — our kids who have their own take on what it’s like to be the next generation of geeks.

GeekDad/GeekMom Scavenger Hunt

This year at PAX Prime we thought it would be fun to encourage participation in the con and mix it up a little bit with our prize giveaways. Here is a list of people to find, games to play, and activities to do at PAX. The idea is simple. Use your phone or your camera to take a picture of yourself doing each of the things on the list and bring the phone or the camera to the PAX Prime GeekDad/GeekMom panel on Saturday. We will score your entry to see how many points you have earned. You may even get to pick from our fantastic pile of prizes!

The Rules:

1. The GeekMom/GeekDad scavenger hunt is to be played for fun. If you won’t be happy unless you win a certain prize or get the highest score, please put down your camera and find something else to do at PAX.

2. Get a picture of yourself doing the activity or with the person listed in the scavenger hunt. This is a photo scavenger hunt—no picture, it didn’t happen. If you are taking a picture of a person, it must be clear that they are taking the picture with you. Walking by in the background doesn’t count.

3. GeekDad/GeekMom staff are the final word in scoring. Arguing could lead to disqualification.

4. Prize distribution:
There will be three brackets in this contest: 4-12, 13-17, and Adult (including kids ages 0-3). At all GeekMom/GeekDad panels, prizes are distributed at the discretion of the panel. Scoring well in the scavenger hunt will be taken into consideration but will not be the only consideration when giving out prizes. Adults and teens should expect that preferential treatment may be given to children in the audience. Participation is not a guarantee of any prize.

In the case of ties:
For the kids and teens bracket, ties will be broken by age, youngest first. In the case of the adult bracket, ties will be broken by a friendly game Agricola or—if time does not allow—rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.

5. Grumbling, complaining, or any other form of breaking Wheaton’s law may get you disqualified from the contest. (See rule number 1.)

Thanks to our Donors!

As always, we’re incredibly grateful for all the fantastic folks who donated prizes for our PAX panel giveaways. Here’s a list of our prize donors—click on the links to find out more! (We have a few more potential donors that we’re still finalizing details with, but we’ll update this list as soon as we know.)

Calliope Games
Catalyst Game Labs
Cleaner Science
Days of Wonder
The Doubleclicks
First Second Books
Flying Frog Productions
Floodgate Games
Greater Than Games
Gunnar Optics
Indie Boards & Cards
Little, Brown
Looney Labs
Minimalist Parenting
No Starch Press
Paizo Publishing
Playroom Entertainment
Shout! Factory
Spin Master
Stronghold Games
Tasty Minstrel Games
VEX Robotics
Viz Media

As you can see, there’s quite a list of goodies. We have a few more potential sponsors that we’re still working out details, but we’ll update this post as we go. Don’t forget, though—to have the best chance at winning some prizes, you’ll want to keep the photo scavenger hunt list handy on Friday!

I’ll be there along with fellow GeekMom Kay Moore. We hope to see you this weekend at PAX Prime!

Do You Want to Write for GeekMom?

Not now, Vadar, I am VERY BUSY searching for like-minded GeekMoms
Not now, Vader, I am VERY BUSY searching for like-minded GeekMoms

Well, do you?

We’re looking to add to our fine roster of writers here on GeekMom, and would love to hear from YOU, if you’re interested!

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • Someone who is super crafty! The nerdier your ninja crafting skills, the better!
  • Someone who has a knack for coming up with cool activities geek parents can do with their kids – toddlers to teens.
  • Someone who is a Maker, anything from robotics to geeking up traditional DIY.
  • Someone who is super tech oriented. Do you love gadgets? Do your palms itch to try out new devices? If Mashable and Gizmodo were sentient beings, would you have them on speed dial?
  • Science! Are you involved in the field of science in some way? Maybe as a teacher, professor, or researcher? (Or MAD SCIENTIST who lives in a spooky castle with a neon light that says “boo!”)
  • CosPlay! Are you the kind of person who thinks Halloween is a high holy day – but once a year isn’t enough for you? Do you know where the fabric district is in not only your town, but the towns that host major conventions? Are there random sequins all over your house? We’d love to hear from someone who will share their love for dressing up, and teach folks how to do it themselves!

or finally

  • Are you a GeekMom who lives in the Los Angeles area? There’s so much cool geeky stuff that goes on here in Hollywood, we just can’t cover it all. And by “we,” I mean, “me,” since I’m the only GeekMom that’s in LaLa Land. I’m just ONE PERSON FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY. Please help me do and cover all the cool events and stuff that happen here on a regular basis.

If you are a mom-writer with a flair for the geek, and if any of those descriptions fit you perfectly, then here’s what I want you to do: I want you to send me a nice email at geekmomkristen@gmail.com introducing yourself. Tell me what your specialty is, and what you could bring to the table. If you have a blog, by all means, please send me the URL so I can internet stalk you. If you have articles you’ve written for other websites, I want to read them, so go ahead and include links to those too!

Looking at Life Through Facebook

I love TMNT. Can you tell? \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
I love TMNT. Can you tell? \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Many parents start baby books for their children. Looking at my son’s book, I realized he won’t learn as much about his early years through his baby book as he will through my Facebook page and the posts I’ve written for GeekMom.

The other day at my mom’s house, I discovered my baby book. I’ve never seen it before and she warned me not to be disappointed that it wasn’t filled out completely. Having a son of my own, I completely understand that she only filled it in up to my third year of life.

Continue reading Looking at Life Through Facebook

Welcome to the New GeekMom!

GM-Logo copy

The Editors and Contributors of GeekMom are very excited (and not a little bit nervous) to announce today that we’re flying solo once again!

What we mean is that we’re back doing this blogging thing all on our own now, as we did before we moved over to Wired last May. We are no longer affiliated with Wired.com.

Six years ago, our founder and patron Chris Anderson started the current incarnation of GeekDad as a personal blog to share online the projects he was doing with his kids. At the time, in his position as Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of Wired magazine, he arranged to host the blog on Wired.com, and started a partnership that saw the blog grow exponentially and bring a new demographic of readers to the Wired universe.

In September of 2010, the four women writing for GeekDad–Natania Barron, Kathy Ceceri, Corrina Lawson and Jenny Williams–founded GeekMom with a batch of intrepid contributors. We were proud to join the GeekDad on Wired.com last year.

But time moves on. Chris, as well as Wired.com EIC Evan Hansen who was a great champion of the partnerships with GeekDad and GeekMom, have departed Wired. Now seems the right time to take a bold step forward, and away from our comfort zone.

As such, we’ve re-launched on our own server with a whole new look. But underneath it’s the same team of Editors and Contributors who have brought you the best, geekiest news, projects, humor, and great personal stories for the last six years. In the coming months, you’ll see us start to stretch our (again, metaphorical) wings as we broaden our content offerings and even expanded our membership. But at its heart, GeekMom will continue in its core mission: to write about whatever interests us as geeks and parents.

You can continue to connect with us at the following places:

But you will need to update your RSS to catch all our new content.
Our new RSS newsfeed address.

Change is scary, but the timing is right to make this move. Our time partnering with Wired was wonderful, and we leave wishing our friends there continued success as the best tech magazine and best online news organization in the world.

Now it’s time to reverse the polarity, run a bypass, get up to 88mph, and shake the pillars of heaven!

[Oh, and while the timing may be suspect, no, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke. This is for real.]

Welcome to GeekMom’s Music Week!

Hello. My name is Cathé, and I’m a music geek. I admit to studying all sorts of instruments including (but not limited to!) piano, flute, bagpipes, and trombone. Three years as a music education major pushed me into broadcast production and ultimately into writing for GeekMom.

With this in mind, you will understand that it is an honor to welcome our readers to Music Week here on GeekMom. Since it’s GeekMom, you can expect more than just your average “here’s some music” articles. We are bringing you personal stories, interviews – with both geek musicians and GeekMom musicians, reviews, and AWARDS!

Put on your fancy gown, or your favorite geek rock shirt, settle down in front of the computer, turn up the tunes and help us celebrate music week!

I Want To Be A GeekMom When I Grow Up

IMG_5194-227x300Last night my husband (Tim) and daughter (VIP) went to her Spring program which was the grand finale to her last day in pre-school. They brought home a huge keepsake packet to let me peruse through which included everything from a “report card”  to art projects.

When I had finally reached the bottom of the never-ending stack of finger-painted animals and seasonal decorations, I came to several sheets of paper that brought me pretty close to tears…

First, a paper asked the question “What makes you smile?” Her response: being with her dad. My first thought was that Tim and I are doing something right as parents that she is happy with her family (at least her dad). Second, I found a paper that highlighted her favorite things. Among the listed items were Lego Star Wars (which she has played a grand total of 6 times) and basketball.

The paper I found that prompted the biggest reaction was the one reflecting what she wants to be when she grows up – A GeekMom! I must say, she is on the right track. Her report card reflected that she has mastered all points that were taught this year. She wants to “go to work at the same place as dad because he takes stuff apart,” and she wants to eat lunch with him. He works at UL, so her view of what he does for a job is actually pretty close to accurate.

This morning I asked her why she wants to be a GeekMom when she grows up. Her response was simple, “I want to have a kid someday and do projects out of a GeekMom book.” Considering how much time we have spent working out of the GeekDad books recently, that is sound logic.

Today I am faced with where to put all of our new fabulous art. I already had a drawing of Perry the Platypus that I want to display in some manner that is a higher status than the refrigerator.

I think “I want to be a GeekMom” is going to be framed.

I am so proud of my GeekKid.

Juggling And Balancing On The Tightrope


We all know them. The moms who seem to be always doing. Whether they are balancing a chequebook in one hand whilst nursing a babe in the same arm, simultaneously talking on the telephone with the other hand to schedule a playdate for the other sibling, all the while going through the grocery list in their mind. Or the mom who is busy jumping from soccer practice to dance classes to Parent Advisory Committee meetings whilst preparing the agenda for tomorrow’s big meeting. We look at them and think, “Dear FSM, woman! How do you find the time for it all!?” I have a confession to make. I am one of those women. I’ll admit, I often find that I’m asking myself the exact same question.

I’m new here. I suppose that is pretty obvious. Let me give you a very brief snapshot into all that I do. First, I’m a mom of two wonderful boys. My oldest will be sixteen in September. My youngest will be twelve on April 16. I would describe my oldest as a nerd and I would describe my youngest as a geek/gamer. Our home consists of a 24 hour nerdfest.

My educational background is in Psychology. I had planned to eventually get my PhD, specializing in abnormal psychology of children and adolescence, but then life threw me a huge curve-ball which goes by the name of Lupus, causing me to have a hysterectomy at 29 and a full-blown left-sided stroke at 30. I had to build my career doing things that I could do from home.

Roughly three years ago, a job opportunity crossed my eyes. I saw an advert for internet radio personalities. The job was remote with no previous experience necessary. Having acted and danced on stage for many years and with a passion for entertaining, I knew I would be perfect for the job. Despite the fear that my application would never see another person’s eyes, I applied. Within five hours of sending my application, I received an interview request. The rest is, as they say, history. But what is this history?

Shortly after being hired as an on-air personality, I was promoted to programming director. Eventually, I would also hold the title of assistant general manager. Among my various radio shows, I began a radio show known as the Geeky Pleasures Radio Show. After she launched, I had the awesome opportunity to interview Wil Wheaton, Bad Astronomer Phil Plait PhD, Shane Nickerson (MTV executive producer), Jonathan Coulton, Runic Games and musician Mike Lombardo. I had a personal blog on Blogspot, however my radio show became so popular that I had to launch my Geeky Pleasures website and a separate personal blog. Eventually, I had to step away from my position at that radio station. However, my Geeky Pleasures website and personal blog continued on.

I had it in my mind that running a website that requires updating at least three times a day, Monday – Friday, plus a personal blog, plus raising two children on my own, was not enough to keep me busy. So I launched the Lupus Awareness Virtual Art Gallery. Because of my work to raise lupus awareness, I was asked to interview Patrizia Hernandez, the lead actress in Love Simple, and John Casey, producer of Love Simple. I was later asked if I would write for The Lupus Magazine and I accepted.

But still in my mind, I was not busy enough. I would later be asked to contribute to Star Wars vs Star Trek and NerdsInBabeland. Still not enough to do, I volunteered my time as the layout and design editor of The Vaccine Times. One would think that would be enough, right? Wrong. Late last year, I was asked to help build another internet radio station and I agreed. That radio station would become The Force 925, where all my old radio shows, including the Geeky Pleasures Radio Show and frequent co-host of a political talk-show, would find a new home.

Since launching at the beginning of his year, I’ve had the opportunity to interview: musician Jeff MacDougall; Paul and Storm; GeekDad and musician John Anealio; Len Peralta of GeekAWeek fame; Lauren Crace and Sylvester McCoy; and New York Times best selling author Steve Hockensmith. Scheduled to appear in the coming weeks are 101010 Productions and Richard Hatch of The Apollo Awards, plus Maurissa Tancharoen-Whedon. You’d think that would be enough, but here I am at GeekMom.

In my spare time, I do a lot of crafting and creating in more ways than I think I can currently list. I also found time to write two books whilst doing all of the above.

It is no wonder that many, including myself, ask me how do I manage it all, whilst raising two boys on my own and dealing with a disease that likes to attempt to royally kick my behind. I think the easy and lazy answer is to say: It is just like having children. The more that you have, they tend to keep each other busy and occupied. It is nothing for me to be updating one website while I have the dashboard of another open, editing and updating them simultaneously. Plus with Twitter, it is easy to find material as most of my content inspiration comes from there. However, a great deal of it comes down to planning, organizational skills and scheduling. The first four hours of my day are busy spent receiving press releases, deciding what I’ll post, making a list of updates which need to be made to other sites and taking a break whenever my body demands it. I also remember to take a lot of time to breathe. Many of us forget to do that.

If I did not have the luxury to work from home, none of this would be possible. Once my posts are scheduled on any given day, then I am free to fart around for the rest of it, surfing the internet for inspiration, chatting with my tweeps, interviewing new personalities for the station and training them, doing my radio shows, thinking about the articles I will write for projects that I am not personally responsible to maintain, nerding out with my children whilst they are busy playing WoW, watching Doctor Who, or asking me some question about astrophysics and what would happen if they jimmied open the microwave in such a fashion that it is fooled into thinking it is closed and turning it on. It also helps that the Geeky Pleasures website and the radio station are the only things that must be done daily. The Vaccine Times is a quarterly print publication, NiB and SWvsST is when I have time, The Lupus Magazine is once a month, health and life willing. Writing here is also casual for the time being.

In the end it is a careful juggling act whilst balancing and walking a tightrope. The smallest misstep and I drop my balls. Thankfully, they are picked up easily enough and the world will not end if I have to stop for a day or two or ten. However, being an extreme overachiever, it is difficult to stop.

If you think I’m busy, I know many other moms who do far more than I. Maybe we are all a wee bit insane in some way. Perhaps this comes with the territory when one is a geek, especially if one is creative.

So let me ask you, how do you mange to juggle family and career? What are some of your tips?

Why Today’s Women Need Dana Scully

Image courtesy Fox

Something very strange is happening in the cinemas around the world. Whilst in our reality we constantly hear about equal opportunities, gender equality and the removal of the glass ceiling; the female role models we see on the big screen seem to be turning a blind eye to it all and living in a world of pink Cosmopolitans and Jimmy Choos.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am just as partial to a nice handbag or a manicure as the next woman, but looking around at the media landscape, I can’t help but feel somewhat scared. My eight year old niece is surrounded by a marketing machine fueled by Hannah Montana and High School Musical and I worry about how that will impact her future decisions. We are living in a world where celebrities are there often for celebrity’s sake, famous simply for being famous. Out shopping in my local city I see pre-schoolers wearing t-shirts bearing the slogan “Future WAG” and I am concerned that this is what some parent’s aspirations are for their daughters, to be nothing more than the eye-candy on the arm of a successful man.

The question remains, where are the positive role models for the next generation? I don’t doubt that they are there somewhere; The Harry Potter series’ Hermione Granger alone is as positive a role model as one could hope for, a girl who is not afraid to be cleverer than the rest and who uses her brains rather than her looks to get her through life and save the world. But when we look around at other hit movies, I begin to feel that fear all over again. Twilight’s Bella Swan is the worst example of a role model I’ve yet seen, seemingly unable to function without at least one male crutch to keep her upright. Other films such as “Scott Pilgrim Vs the World” feature women that stand on the sidelines, allowing men to fight their battles for them or, in the case of Knives Chau, seemingly living their whole lives in pursuit of a man.

The Huffington Post ran an article discussing how television has been “a gold mine for three-dimensional female characters for the last twenty years” and they have a lot of valid points. Whilst women on the big screen simper and fawn over men and the need for another pair of shoes, their small screen counterparts are busy solving crimes, saving the world and generally fighting the good fight. Characters like Dr. Temperance Brennan (Bones) and Catherine Willows (CSI) are intelligent women capable of existing in their own rights, not just as sidekicks or pretty faces to brighten up the office. However for me, they will always pale in comparison to the original small screen heroine, FBI Special Agent Dr Dana Katherine Scully.

I grew up with The X-Files and whilst I will happily accept that allowing a seven year old to watch the show may not have been my mother’s best parenting move (although it is one I will be eternally grateful for), I cannot imagine having had a better role model to grow up with. Scully was intelligent, feisty and unendingly capable. She had the patience of a Saint, able to put up with her seemingly crazy partner “Spooky” Fox Mulder; and the scientific skills to make sure no one ever looked at her as just the pretty face – not to mention the physical stamina to keep up with the men out in the field. Here was a woman who re-wrote Einstein for her senior thesis, now that’s an accomplishment worth aiming for. Growing up watching her weekly antics made me want to become a scientist, no aspirations to be a WAG here – I wanted to be a forensic pathologist thanks.

As an adult, I look back on myself as a child and will forever grateful to Dr Scully and the X-Files; she was the impetus for me to set out on the long road into science. I still find myself looking up to her, seeing her personality as the ultimate goal for myself; able to maintain her pose and calm exterior in the face of overwhelming adversity, the likes of which we all hope we will never have to face. Capable of standing shoulder to shoulder with anyone, male or female (even if she did need six-inch heels to help out a bit), to make the best decisions for her children when it would hurt her beyond what any woman should experience and able to consistently preserve her femininity without resorting to sipping pink cocktails and giggling over handbags. She wasn’t perfect, not by any standards. Her taste in men was pretty woeful (married college professor, newly divorced psychopath, local sheriff who turned out to be a vampire, the list goes on) but at least it made her real, attainable. Sure she needed rescuing from the hands of more than a few crazies but she did a fair proportion of rescuing herself when Mulder would get into his own scrapes – this show was nothing if not gender equal.

I hope that my niece’s generation find their Dana Scully, the positive role model who makes it into the mainstream and stands there defiantly with her shoulders back and head held high. Hermione Granger is doing well, valiantly fighting for the virtues of intelligence and hard-work but she is constantly overshadowed by Harry “The Chosen One” Potter. I want to end with an except from an article on Salon.com by Rebecca Traister, which has recently been endlessly re-blogged by X-Files fans on Tumblr; having been originally written just prior to the 2008 release of The X-Files: I Want to Believe:

“In an entertainment world where women are disappearing from multiplexes, where men bulk up as superheroes while women don’t eat but sip pink drinks, we need to remember that there was once a very short heroine who hunted monsters and talked about Einstein, who kicked ass and questioned her faith, who went to work with a man she loved but didn’t rip his shirt off over lunch, who didn’t want to believe, but opened herself nonetheless to possibility. We need Scully back, even for a moment.”

What we need are more women who can stand on their own two feet, women who have studied long, worked hard, and never got by simply on their looks. What we need, is the upcoming return of Dana Scully.

Repeats of The X-Files are currently airing in the USA on BBC America, weekdays at 11am/10c & 4pm/3c.
In the UK they are airing on Sky Atlantic (HD) weekdays at 6am, 11am and 4pm.

Ten Things My Geek-Brain Makes Me Do

brainGeek-brains are wired differently than non-geek brains. We hyper-obsess over strange things, we remember obscure details of inconsequential events, we have little to no shame when it comes to the things we geek out over. We might be firmly opposed to going in public in just our bra and panties, but paint them gold and call it a Leia Slave-Girl Outfit and we are game.

This same geek-brain, so gifted in its own way, has trouble with things that non-geek brains breeze through. Things like remembering daily tasks without needing six alarms and a post-it stuck to the steering wheel, the ability to determine the difference between a pink sock and a black sock in the dark, and the desire to control public outbursts of obsessive behavior all come naturally to the non-geeks.

At one point, before I understood what it was to be a geek, I thought I was going insane. At least a little bit. My geek-wired brain operated on a whole different wavelength, I just couldn’t figure out why. When combined with mom-brain I was pretty sure I’d spend my retirement (and early 30s) in the sanitarium. My salvation was granted by a certain book-loving friend of mine who seemed to suffer from many of the same afflictions I did. She was a self-proclaimed geek and loved being so.

Perhaps many of you have a few geek-brain moments. For me, knowing that others had the same problem helped me reconcile my own. I offer you the same chance my book-geek friend unknowingly offered me. My list of ten things my geek-brain makes me do is as follows:

  1. While driving on the interstate I’m prone to panicking because I cannot find my car keys. (Don’t get it? Think harder.)
  2. I often have an uncontrollable urge to crouch and whisper while reading an email I know I’ve been blind-copied (BCC’d) on.
  3. I’ll get my phone out to check the time, do seventeen other things on it, silence it, and put it away before remembering that I wanted to check the time.
  4. It seemed a perfectly healthy trade to endure two weeks of ramen noodle lunches because EA Games was having an App sale over Christmas. Blood pressure and sodium be damned, Boggle is only $0.99!
  5. My mind goes entirely numb at 2:30 every afternoon and I can never remember if it is 2:30AM or PM.
  6. I repeatedly light and then blow out candles just to watch the whispy smoke curl from the wick.
  7. As part of a chemistry demonstration, I blow things up in frighteningly close proximity to my body on a daily basis. I light huge columns of flame within inches of my hair, eyebrows, and skin to explain the science behind explosions. But I’m scared to pull baking dishes out of the oven.
  8. Although I know it’s wrong and I should be a bigger person than this, I lose a little respect for people who confuse “your” and “you’re” and “to,” “two,” and “too” in professional emails.
  9. Spending three hours re-organizing my digital filing system on my laptop is fine with me. Getting caught at an intersection for more than one red light cycle makes me want to curse.
  10. I tend to get carried away in subtle ways.
  11. When I encounter a stranger in some brief way such as the check-out line or in traffic, I assign them names in my head and then create backstories at will. These are often integrated into my writing. I do this simply so I can say all of my characters are based in reality and only be partially fabricating.

May this be a comfort and boon to you in your geekiest geek-brain moments.

GeekMom T-shirts, Now Available at ThinkGeek!

me-GeekMom-shirt-475x509We here at GeekMom are proud and excited to announce that GeekMom T-shirts are now available for purchase at ThinkGeek! The shirts have our zippy space-age car logo, in slightly less varied colors (due to printing restrictions), and our URL on the back. The shirts come in black, cut for women but still generous in fit. (ThinkGeek notes on the website that the cut is the same as for their “Huge Tracts of Land” T-shirt, if that’s any indication.)

Demonstrate your geek pride and show your solidarity with other GeekMoms out there. Get your own GeekMom T-shirt! (And while you’re there, get the GeekDad in your life his own GeekDad T-shirt, which is currently on sale.)

Kari Byron – From MythBuster to Mom


GeekMom is thrilled to welcome Kari Byron, the female face on the hit Discovery Channel show MythBusters and host of the Science Channel’s new Head Rush, to our site. Kari will be sending us regular updates on life as a MythBuster Mom.

“Holy crap. I am a mom!”

That is seriously what I was thinking as the dust settled around me from shooting a .50 caliber rifle. On my first experiment back from maternity leave, I found myself perched on a hill in a rock quarry aiming a huge firearm at a remote-controlled SUV covered in phone books. But how come I still felt like me? I figured once you become a mom, you settled down and let the waistline of your jeans slowly creep north.

I guess a lot of people thought the same. The first reaction I usually got to the news of my impending little one was, “Your life is about to change. You won’t be jumping out of any more planes.” Or, “Are you still going to work at MythBusters?”

In one respect they were right. My life was about to change. Pregnancy is a hard state of being on its own; but add the aroma of rotting meat, the sounds of gunfire and the haze of a working metal shop and you have a rough sea ahead.

In the beginning, a little nausea and napping under my desk was all I expected. When I really took a look at what I do on a daily basis, however, I realized being a pregnant MythBuster was going to be hard. Welding smoke, paint fumes, mold-making gases are all toxic. Turns out, there is no such thing as fetal earphones for shooting a gun or blasting a bomb. Skydiving, hang gliding, bungee jumping were all out.

None of this seemed like a sacrifice compared to the health of my mini, of course, but 10 months of data collecting was the worst! (That’s right; I said 10 months. Let’s bust that nine-month myth right now.)

Then Stella Ruby arrived. All the exciting experiences that I watched from a safe distance were completely dwarfed by the adventure I was just about to begin. Everything did change, but not the way I expected.

“You will take less risks as a mom,” everyone told me. What?! I am still me. I don’t hold back from doing daring things. Of course I still jump out of planes! What really changed was that my everyday life has become a profoundly blissful experience. I get just as excited about peek-a-boo as I do about counting down an explosion.

Even though I will have to eat live bugs this season and possibly handle poop, I am not fazed. I still do exciting, daredevil, and wild things — but now I do them so that my little girl will know that a mommy can distinguish between a C4 and an ANFO explosion.

If I want my daughter to be an adventurous independent woman who doesn’t shy away from new experiences, I will have to be that woman too.

Kari Byron is a born tinkerer and explorer. By the age of 5, she was experimenting on her sister and using dolls as crash test dummies. Luckily for her parents, they always caught her right before her little sister took a ride down a laundry chute or was the subject of an “around-the-world” attempt on the playground swings. Kari began her career as a sculptor and painter before finding her dream jobs on MythBusters and Head Rush, where she gets to explore and experiment to her heart’s content. Kari lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and one-year-old daughter.

And remember: the all-new season of MythBusters starts this Wednesday, October 6th at 9pm et/pt on the Discovery Channel.

Welcome to GeekMom!

Binary Welcome Mat From ThinkGeek

Hello, world! Welcome to the new GeekMom blog. We consist of four active geek mom editors—Natania Barron, Kathy Ceceri, Corrina Lawson, and Jenny Williams—and a gaggle of geek mom contributors, led by the publisher of the popular GeekDad blog, Ken Denmead. We have a vision of what this site will be: a source of geeky news, opinion, and information; a safe place to be yourself; and a community of geeky people with both similar and varied experiences. September 1st is our soft launch while we work out the kinks and streamline our processes. We’re also looking for input from you, our readers, about what you’d like to see here. Take a look around our beta site and let us know what you think. Our formal launch date is October 1, so stay tuned for exciting features, surprise guests, and lots of giveaways and contests!

In the meantime, please comment on posts and have discussions in our Living Room (forums). We want to hear about your own experiences regarding the topics and products we cover. Again, welcome. We hope you’ll feel at home here.

Here are our introductions, in mostly alphabetic order.

Hey all. I’m Natania. I’m a mom, a writer, and an unrepentant geek. I grew up in the 80s, playing video games on Atari and Nintendo, immersing myself in science fiction and fantasy books, and generally learning to make any food I could think of from scratch. In 2000, my freshman year of college, I met my husband on a MUSH, a text-based role playing game. In 2006, we had our son. And while I planned to be a professor all my life, our son’s mere presence changed the way I ordered my aspirations, and I decided to leave traditional employment and stay home and write speculative fiction. In the last three years I’ve been a write-at-home mom, I’ve written six novels, a dozen short stories, and hundreds of blog posts (including those in places like GeekDad, Geeks Are Sexy, and Amazon)—not to mention that I’ve spent precious time with with my son, getting to know him and teach him. I can honestly say, as busy and hectic and unpredictable as life is these days, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

Hi, I’m Kathy. I’ve been a work-at-home mom for nearly 20 years, writing about the ins and outs of family life and ways to have fun with your kids. I joined the GeekDad team in 2007 as their first regular GeekMom contributor, so I’m thrilled to finally have a website to call our own! I’m currently finishing up my third educational book for kids, and getting ready for another season of school and library programs combining science, history and art. Together with my husband I also homeschool our two teenage boys. I look forward to getting to know all the great new GeekMom writers and you, our readers!

Hi! I’m Corrina and I’ve been a geek before I knew what it was. I grew up in rural Vermont and superhero comics, the Science Fiction Book Club and Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine were my windows to the rest of the world. Inspired by Lois Lane, I grew up to be a reporter if not for a major metropolitan newspaper, at least a daily newspaper. I also worked as a store manager for Barnes & Noble. But all that outside the house work ended when I gave birth to the twin minions, kids number three and four. With four kids, I decided to stay at home and I’ve been working at building a fiction writing career. Much to my surprise, I write romance novels, though calling them genre fiction with romantic elements is a little closer to the truth. I don’t think I’d know how to write a book without explosions or sword fights or gun battles. I’m also a huge Red Sox fan—I drank champagne when they finally won—and a big NFL fan, with my favorite teams being the Patriots and the Titans.

Hi! I’m Jenny. I’ve dabbled in writing most of my life, but I really started writing in earnest a couple of years ago when the local newspaper took me on to write my own Geek Mom blog. That soon led to writing for GeekDad, which has been one of the highlights of my life. I’m a lifelong geek. I’ve always loved such things as science fiction, logic games, board games, and things that make you think. I’m married and have two awesome and wickedly smart kids: a daughter, born in 2001, and a son, born in 2004. I stay at home to homeschool them, which I love doing. I homeschool for dozens of reasons, not the least of which is that I love to learn, and I learn as much as they do. I also love doing crafts, planning and taking trips, reading books, playing games, and researching just about anything on the internet.

Hey everyone, I’m Ken. I’m a geek, and a proud dad, and have been editor of the popular Wired blog GeekDad for the last three years. While running GeekDad, I’ve tried hard to make it more of a “parenting” site than just a “dad” site, and made sure to include geeky mom writers as well. But for all that time, the one question that I kept being asked was “what about Geek MOM?!” Well, it wasn’t until recently that I had a good answer. I’m really hoping GeekMom will be the perfect companion site to GeekDad, and become the destination and voice for all the geeky moms out there (of which I know there are many). We have a fantastic editorial team here, amazing contributors, and hopefully soon a wonderful community of geeky moms sharing the experience. Enjoy!

Enhanced by Zemanta