Why I Don’t Throw a Vulcan Salute

I remember standing there, my eyes pressed closed, my face buried in my mother’s hip. As I got older I would instead look down and softly recite a prayer with everything in my heart, soul, and mind. Above me, around me, engulfing us all was the sound of the chazzan (cantor) and the priestly chorus.

By יעקב [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Priestly Blessing in a synagogue in Ofra. By יעקב [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Continue reading Why I Don’t Throw a Vulcan Salute

First Day of School: Are You Spock or Troi?

First day drop-off feelings for parents. Photo: Melody Mooney/Spock and Troi via Wikipedia.

Today, I am sitting here in a Starbucks, surrounded by other coffee drinkers and Wi-Fi surfers. It seems impossible but true that it’s been over three years since I joined other adults in going out to be together alone.

Yesterday was the first day of preschool for my daughter. My husband and I stood prepared for this big day. We did all of the tours. We read her all of the right “going to preschool” books. We practiced walking with a backpack and saying goodbye. We met her teaching team the week before. We even did a dry run to her school to get the feel of traffic and parking. The emotional landscape was covered as well. I was prepared for tears or transitional meltdowns from her.

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical… But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical. Photo: Melody Mooney.

What I wasn’t prepared for was my own fallout while saying goodbye. Confused and disappointed, I did the tearful parental walk of shame back to my car. It shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did.

I have always been more of a Deanna Troi then a Mr. Spock when it came to emotions.

Curious about how others managed their first day, I did a Google search for why parents cry when dropping kids off. The first page of results were all articles on separation anxiety in children. I scrolled through more and finally found an article on the topic in TheDailyMail.com. It featured a back-to-school  survey by Fairy Non Bio, (a UK baby detergent brand). The questions for parents yielded some familiar sounding answers.

It was revealed that parents were five times more likely to cry than their children on the first day. The study also found that the pain of letting go has even provoked some to try for another baby. Half of the surveyed parents pined for their children’s company and a third missed the background noise.

Now, I won’t go that far, this being the first break in my SAHM constant care since 2011. Instead, I, like many moms, pine for the solitude to read and take a bathroom break uninterrupted. The findings also showed that many of the parents expressed that seeing their children dressed for school marked an end of an era. My reaction seemed to be falling to a normal area, but I wanted to dig deeper.

Still concerned that we were doing the right thing, the words to Supertramp’s “Logical” song rang in my head all day. My mind told me what Mr. Spock would say, but I was feeling Deanna more.

First day of kindergarten, first day of pooping alone again! Photo: Karen Alpert, BabySideburns.com.

Sharing from my own pre-parental life experience, I can recall another time when I felt this pain of letting go. As a stage actor, there is this lovely time right before a play opens; a bittersweet limbo that lies between creation and observation. It was always a perfect place for art to live. The gift we as performers were sharing was safe from criticism and judgement there in the Neverland.

The last three-and-a-half years of being a parent felt somewhat similar. The gift I was sharing now with the world was my daughter. Would she be welcomed, understood, and respected for all of her amazingness? Would she be accepted and embraced?  Was I being overprotective or greedy, wanting to keep her safely unschooled and keep her to myself?

I was over-thinking this. I mean, it was just the first day of preschool. My anticipation was probably no different from the thousands of parents posting backpack pictures on Facebook.

Looking just a bit more online,  I found a post by Karen Alpert on the hilarious Baby Sideburns Blog. Karen is a fellow mommy blogger and the author of I Heart my Little **sholes.

This amazingly funny picture of Karen and her own daughter brought my deeper musings into perspective. It provided the laugh I needed to get over myself.

Today is the second day of school. Already, it seems much less loaded. Somewhere between tears and laughter, I realized something important. I needed to give myself a bit of a break. I had practiced understanding when my daughter was feeling overwhelmed. I encouraged her to cry and to get out her feelings. If it was good advice for her, it was good advice for me and for you readers, too.

It is okay to feel these big milestones. Go easy on yourself. Get yourself an iced Earl Grey. Accept a Troi-like virtual hug and a Mr. Spock “live long a prosper” from this GeekMom.

Star Trek Into Darkness: Enjoyable But….

Star Trek: Into Darkness © Paramount
Star Trek Into Darkness © Paramount

Almost four years after its first outing, J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot returned to cinemas last week (for most of Europe anyway) to continue the story. Star Trek Into Darkness was always going to be a much bleaker film than its predecessor. Even the title gives that away.

But how would that change in tone fit into the usually shiny, happy Star Trek universe of bright primary colors and happy endings?

Warning: Spoilers after the cut! Continue reading Star Trek Into Darkness: Enjoyable But….

Your Weekly, GeekMom Approved, YouTube Playlist


Here at GeekMom we do like our YouTube videos. We know it can be frustrating and time consuming to search through all of the fodder on YouTube to find the channels worth subscribing to, and the videos that are funny, engaging, or educational. You don’t have to be frustrated anymore! Now you have your own GeekMom approved YouTube playlist for your weekend viewing pleasure. Not all of the videos are appropriate for all viewing audiences.

This week, Seattle kids’ rock band Recess Monkey released their first video from their newest CD, Tambourine Submarine. Kelly and her daughter have both been enjoying it; Kelly can’t help but be reminded of the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou every time she watches it.

Jenny shared CGPGrey’s latest video on countries within countries. This is part one of his explanation of countries totally within other countries, and those with only one country bordering them (not including the ocean). Check out all of his videos, but this is the latest. Continue reading Your Weekly, GeekMom Approved, YouTube Playlist

Essential Geek Quotes: “We’re All Fine Here…”

"Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?" Photo: Nicole Wakelin

If you don’t know how to fill in the rest of that quote, shame on you. Yes, I’m being horribly judgmental but I am an avowed Star Wars fan and that quote is one of the biggies. It’s right up there with “Use the Force, Luke!” and “I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.” I think it’s fair to say that having at least a few Star Wars quotes in your repertoire of witty comebacks is a geek essential.

I could write this whole post about Star Wars quotes alone, but that would mean ignoring some of my favorites from elsewhere in the geekverse. There’s Star Trek, and Firefly, and The Terminator, and Monty Python, and, and, and…. actually I could probably write a book. I don’t have the time today, though, given Christmas presents like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Lego Mindstorms demanding my attention. So instead, here are just a few of my favorites. Not afraid you won’t know them all? You will be, you WILL be….

“Use the Force, Luke!”

Really, if you don’t know this one, then how on earth did you even find this blog? I should not need to tell you this but it’s from Star Wars: A New Hope because it’s the biggest, most important quote in all of geek history with endless potential for use in daily conversation. Co-worker can’t get his file cabinet open? Struggling to get the lid of a jar of pickles? Can’t quite reach the genuine replica lightsaber on your mantle? All these moments are perfect opportunities to break out this quote.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

No one could forget Spock uttering this phrase as he was overcome by radiation after saving the Enterprise in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Then there’s the slow slide down the glass as he collapses to the floor and dies. Wait, I need a minute. This quote encompasses the essence of all that is Star Trek. The Federation is not about power and privilege, but about making the galaxy a better place and sacrificing for the common good. Use this one to con your friends into doing anything, from seeing a movie they don’t want to see to giving you the last piece of pizza because you need it more. Try it, you’ll see.

“I aim to misbehave.”

A bit newer on the scene, but still an essential geek quote spoken by Captain Malcolm Reynolds on the short-lived Firefly television series. Unlike Spock or Obi-Wan’s lines, there’s no depth of meaning behind this one. It’s a simple statement of the intent to have fun, cause trouble, and wreak a certain amount of gleeful havoc. Hey, New Year’s Eve is just a few days away, a moment designed for this quote if ever there was one.

“My precious!”

If you ask Gollum, this line refers to The One Ring in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, but you can use it to refer to just about anything. It might be something amazing like a shiny new car or something you intend to take before your friends get the chance–like the last piece of pizza. If you want it, then it’s your precious. The key here is that you not only can but must use a creepy, scratchy Gollum-like voice to deliver this line.

“Have fun storming the castle!”

This is one of those movies that, if you watch it once, you can’t help but find yourself quoting forever. The Princess Bride is chock full of memorable quotes, but this is one easy to sneak into conversations. Send your kids off to school or your husband off to work with this cheery wish. Or, your co-workers on their way to what is sure to be a long, boring meeting or evening commute home.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list, like I said, that would require a book, but these are certainly my favorite and easiest-to-use quotes. If you know them all, 10 Geek Points to you! (And if you’re still wondering about that first one, watch the clip below.)

More importantly, what would you add as essential quotes for every geek to master?

(Editor’s Note: For inspiration, you might want to check out GeekDad’s “100 Quotes Every Geek Should Know.”)

Spock’s Last Convention: LLAP

2011 Phoenix Comicon, Photo by Gage Skidmore

I love Spock. He is my favorite Star Trek character ever. Across every series, every movie, every everything, he is my favorite. I had a ridiculous crush on Wesley Crusher and swoon every time I see Wil Wheaton at a con, but it’s not the same thing because, well, Wesley was a bit annoying. Even the cuteness of Wheaton could not overcome that hurdle. Spock, on the other hand, was wonderful. The one raised eyebrow. The pointy ears. The Vulcan greeting. And of course, the words that belong to him more than any other Vulcan, “Live long and prosper.” Sadly, Leonard Nimoy is retiring and made his final convention appearance last weekend in Rosemont, Illinois.

He has been attending conventions for nearly fifty years, so he is more than entitled to take a break.  Nimoy has always embraced and respected Spock rather than looking back and cringing at the character that made him famous. It always saddens me when actors write off the characters that made them, treating them with disdain as they reflect on their thriving careers, but not Nimoy. He has always had an appreciation for Star Trek, for Spock, and for his fans.

I never had the chance to meet him in person despite how frequently Star Trek conventions came my way at one time.  They were constantly advertised on TV and although I had the best intentions, I never made it to the convention floor. I guess I always thought there would be a next time.  Even though it’s likely that next time will never come now, I am happily falling in love with Spock all over again thanks to my kids and Netflix.

We’ve been making our way through from the beginning, just like I made my way through reruns of the original series with my Dad. We’d just gotten into The Next Generation and I asked my daughters how they liked it compared to the original series. They said it was fine, but I could tell they weren’t as excited. I mentioned this, and the littlest asked “Where’s Spock?” so I told her he wasn’t in this one.  She gave me a little pouty face and said “Oh, I wanted Spock.”  I couldn’t agree with her more. Even the youngest among us know a good thing when they see it.  Thank you for bringing Spock to life, Mr. Nimoy, and enjoy your much deserved retirement. LLAP

Beam Me Up Scotty! Star Trek Cookies

Star Trek Cookies by Bakingdom.com

Yesterday was the 45th Anniversary of Star Trek, so all sorts of Trekkie goodness was floating around the web.  Our own Julia Sherred wrote up a wonderful post complete with video that would make even a green-blooded Vulcan cry.  If you happened to have been on Twitter then you might have seen the folks at NASA (the real boldly go people)  wishing the original castmembers a happy anniversary and thanking them for the inspiration.  Geeks everywhere were greeting each other with “Live Long and Prosper” and spouting their favorite lines at every opportunity.  But if you happened to be a baker with geeky tendencies named Darla, like the woman behind www.Bakingdom.com, then you celebrated by making the most amazing batch of Star Trek cookies in Federation territory.  I only wish I had the talent and patience to make cookies this cute.  If you think you’re up for the challenge, you can see exactly how she did it and then try to create your own adorable and tasty crew.  Engage!

Knit Some Spocks for Someone You Love

I may be the last person to find out Ravelry, a great social network for knitters and crocheters. My sister-in-law told me about it recently and now I’m hooked. Quick searches revealed the most wonderful of geeky crafts, none better than Spocks.

Photo copyright and courtesy of gurmanfravor

Ravelry user gurmanfravor took the free Star Trek charts from another user, Jean Dale of Knitting-and.com, and made the most marvelous pair of socks. I don’t think you even need to be a fan of Star Trek to appreciate the awesomeness of these Spocks. Live warm and prosper!