Towel Day: 42 Occurrences of The Number 42 in Pop Culture

42 © Lincolnian via Flickr
42 © Lincolnian via Flickr

Any good geek knows that the answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything is 42. But were you aware just how often that number has crept up in pop culture? From apartment numbers to Hurley numbers, dates to car registrations, the number 42 is everywhere when you start looking hard enough. Here are 42 examples of the number turning up in pop culture.

1. The first reference that Douglas Adams made to 42 was during a sketch called “The Hole in the Wall Club” in which Griff Rhys Jones mentions the 42nd meeting of the Crawley and District Paranoid Society.

2. In Star Trek, the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) has 42 decks.

3. In The X-Files, Agent Mulder lives at apartment 42.

4.In Caprica the license plate of Starbuck’s truck is “FB 42 E3.

5. In Spore, the Staff of Life is limited to 42 uses.

Continue reading Towel Day: 42 Occurrences of The Number 42 in Pop Culture

Star Trek: The Middle School Musical

My husband and I just came home from the movies where we chose to watch Tony Stark ask J.A.R.V.I.S to “drop a needle” instead of watching the Star Trek crew go all dark and broody. However, all was not lost! When I checked Facebook, a friend had linked to Star Trek: The Middle School Musical, which filled my Star Trek void just fine.

The Star Trek: The Middle School Musical video is from the Rhett & Link channel on YouTube. They have other musicals and many videos focusing on the comedy of the geek culture. The channel is worth checking out.


Xbox SmartGlass Has Extra Goodies for Star Trek Fans

A peek at the "Star Trek" Xbox SmartGlass home page. Image: © Paramount Pictures.
A peek at the “Star Trek” Xbox SmartGlass home page. Image: © Paramount Pictures.

Can’t seem to get enough of Star Trek? If you were one of the many lined up at the theater this weekend for Star Trek Into Darkness, you may want to revisit J.J. Abrams’ last installment. And if you’ve got the Xbox 360 and a SmartGlass-enabled tablet or phone, the viewing session may take a little while.

Paramount just unleashed a bunch of behind-the-scenes content and other extras, as an exclusive for users with Xbox SmartGlass. Basically, you just need the Xbox 360 and a SmartGlass-enabled smartphone or tablet. The new perk turns that portable into a second screen, allowing viewers to boldly go where other viewers haven’t gone before.

Users can get the aforementioned behind-the-scenes goodies, as well as deleted scenes, concept art of the U.S.S. Enterprise and more, all time-synched with the film. There’s also a sneak peek at Star Trek Into Darkness, just in case you’re waiting for theater crowds to die down.

The Star Trek SmartGlass experience is available now, as an exclusive to the Xbox 360.

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….

New Star Trek: Into Darkness Trailer: What Is That Ship?!

Today, Paramount Pictures released the newest official Star Trek: Into Darkness movie trailer. Your brain may start to explode once you reach the 1:17 mark.

What is that ship? To me, it looks like an Abrams-fied version of the Enterprise-D. It could even be an Abrams-fied version of Ambassador class — Enterprise-C — or the Sovereign class — Enterprise-E.

Continue reading New Star Trek: Into Darkness Trailer: What Is That Ship?!

Half-Way Through Next Generation

Image By Jeanne Masar
Image By Jeanne Masar

Star Trek With Kids Update…

We are about to begin Season Five of The Next Generation and it’s been good, real good. The journey began with an idea to share Voyager with my kids. It’s a series that means a lot to me. But then I realized they should have some background before we got into that part of the timeline. But to begin at the beginning would take soooo long. So I asked for help from readers like you. I compiled the suggestions into a big list, and we began our Star Trek watching adventure.

Half-way through the Original Series, I was surprised at the quality. We finished the series and I even wrote some bad poetry about it. We took a month off from starting the next series because…well, we really liked the old one. It was hard to say good-bye. We watched The Wrath of Khan just to linger more in that world. They got so old! But we finally started The Next Generation.

It was great to see their reaction to the line, “…to boldly go where no one has gone before.” They were both thrilled with the change.

It took a few episodes to warm up to the new cast, but we are in deep now. We just watched “The Host” and were impressed with Jonathan_Frakes‘ acting. Soon we’ll go back and forth between TNG and Deep Space Nine since they aired at the same times.

The kids like Data (of course.) Troi is completely underutilized. Picard is awesome. And they think it’s so weird to see Wesley as the kid from Stand By Me, and the “old” guy that is part of their mom’s geeky online culture stuff.

We continue…

What It Means to Be Geeky

Photo: Judy Berna
Photo: Judy Berna

I have to be perfectly honest with you. When my writer’s group friend approached me after one of our monthly meetings, and asked me if I’d ever be interested in writing for the GeekMom blog, I immediately had my doubts. GeekMom? Wouldn’t a Geek Mom be someone who understood a whole lot more about electronics, computer programming, and , um…math, than I ever would? I was an English person in high school and college. Math and the sciences were not my strengths.

But my friend, who is an editor for the blog, wouldn’t let me off so easily. She was on a mission to gather a group of women who were passionate about a lot of topics. I quickly came to see that the term ‘geek’ in the world of GeekMom actually stood for more than just a love of science. Now that I’ve been around the block a few times as a core writer for GeekMom, I’ve fallen in love with the concept.

GeekMom Laura Grace introduced us, as we branched away from the GeekDad forum, in this way – “Every day demonstrates that fostering our own passions requires us to value them. Give them a little space. Hoist up our geek flags and let them fly.”

Here at GeekMom, when we say you ‘geek out’ about something, it doesn’t matter the topic. Anything that makes you happy, keeps you engaged, makes you squeal when you get to participate in it, can be considered geeky. Some of us geek out about science related topics. But beyond that, many of us geek out about so many other things.

Through this adventure I’ve met some of the most amazing people. Well, I use the word ‘met’ quite loosely. Most of the smart, funny women I’ve learned from and grown with, as we’ve discussed a huge variety of topics on this blog, I’ve only met online. We’ve had long email exchanges and encouraged each other in our individual passions. I’ve learned about conventions and hobbies I’d never known about before. I have come to understand huge areas of interest that were always foreign to me before. That’s not to say I adopted their hobbies. But I’ve loved learning about them, and understanding in a much deeper way, how we are all amazing women because we are all made up of a unique variety of passions.

I decided it might be time to show our readers just how diverse our group is. If you think you can’t relate to a website called GeekMom, read on. I almost guarantee that somewhere on this list you’ll see yourself. When I put the question out to our GeekMom writers, “what makes you geek out”, these were some of the answers I got back. Who do you relate to the most?

GeekMom Jules –

Academia and learning (specially STEM, some history)


World religions

Star Trek

WordPress Design (seriously, if I can find an excuse to buy another domain and design another website, I’ll do it)

GeekMom Rebecca –

Tea. Check out her tea blog!  

Science literacy and creative arts


Making a labyrinth for a history camp for kids

Sexy fictional men

FONTS! I am a total geek about fonts!

GeekMom Dakster – 

Comic books – I read pretty much anything that doesn’t involve sex or drugs. Batman and Booster Gold are my favorite characters in DC and the X-Men and Avengers are my favorite in the Marvel Universe.

Cosplay – I already own three professional grade costumes and hope to make some more.

Photo: Dakster Sullivan
Photo: Dakster Sullivan

Retelling’s of classic stories such as Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella.

Music – I love all types of music. Soundtracks and Taylor Swift are my current favorites.

Dancing – I allow myself one hour a night to pop on my headphones and dance to my hearts content

Justice League, Batman and Superman animated series

IBC Root Beer – My happy hour drink of choice
Computers – I’m a notwork admin after all
New Tech
Shiny objects
Writing – I love to write stories, especially comic book stories.

GeekMom Ariane –




Casual gaming

DIY/Crafts (though I’m terrible at them!)


Playing music (saxophone)


New experiences (I am easily bored, so I tend to obsess over a topic and then move on. You should have seen me in my saltwater aquarium days! Ah, back in the good ol’ days when I had no kids and unlimited time and money to pour into random hobbies! I also love seeing new sights, trying new foods, and making an adventure out of everything.)

GeekMom Laura  –

Subversive cooking,

Open source and collaborative solutions to social ills

Small scale sustainable farming

DIY, particularly pushing myself to learn new things

Mediation, peace-making, history and current application of non-violence

Neuroscience and other research as it pertains to learning

Natural learning and homeschooling

Body-mind health, lately focused on healing from/preventing trauma

Anthropology, particularly relating to hunter-gatherer lifestyles

Foreign films

All things pertaining to reading including libraries, book-related art, writing, and most of all, reading itself

Outsider art

Strange maps

All things bookish

GeekMom Brigid –

Music (indie,punk and Yann Tiersen)


Food – husband and I are gourmands of the local and sustainable but wholly decadent variety

Wine – wait thats also food

Cheese – oh wait thats food too

Art – nouveau, pre-raphaelite and some contemporary



Books – both for their contents and their value as artful objects

Mythic & Magic

Squirrels! (Yes, you read that right. Some day I’ll get her to write a post about why she loves squirrels)


 GeekMom Corrina –

Also a tea geek. Loose tea all the way.

Comic books, especially superheroes.

English royal history. Yes, I have the entire royal line of English Kings from William the Conquerer to Prince William memorized.
Sherlock Holmes

GeekMom Patricia

College sports

Star Wars

Books, books and more books (which is why I got my knickers in a knot about my oldest son not loving books as much as the rest of our family, but that seems to have resolved itself now, phew!)

Military: history and current affairs

Running, fitness

STEM, especially when it comes to seeing youngsters develop a love for STEM

Gadgets and gizmos <– this is part of what I LOVE about GM!

Gardening geekery

GeekMom Andrea

Scifi (not so much fantasy, though I’ll read anything with a dragon or King Arthur on the cover).

Emotional health/mental health/how the brain works/what drives behavior.

Special education/how we learn.

Contemporary music–anything recorded since the 40’s. Classical: not so much.


How things work. Especially things with knobs or screws or wires.

Learning new stuff.

 GeekMom Natania –

Rock music

Ukuleles, guitars, amps, gear

Romantic poetry

Middle English romances


Thrift stores/antique stores/old stuff/vintage stuff

Pre-Raphaelite art/William Morris/furniture

Cooking (especially making complicated things, like beer)


Social media/the web/analytics/data

GeekMom Kriss –

Growing things. You should see my collection of seeds.

A beautiful bounty. Photo: Kris Bordessa
A beautiful bounty. Photo: Kris Bordessa

Real food.

Vintage fabric.

Treasure hunting (thrifting/garage sales)

Hawaiiana/‘ukulele music.


GeekMom Mandy

Fantasy and Sci-Fi (I like fantasy a little better)


Disney (just found out that my in-laws might start being snowbirds in Orlando, which means more Disney trips for us)

Movies in general – my husband and I see a lot of movies in the theater and have a huge collection of Blu-Rays. We rank our favorite movies throughout the year.

 GeekMom Rachel –


Cooking (baking and making bread)

Gadgets (tech and cooking gadgets)

Home Entertainment (movies and TV)

circuits with without soldering)

GeekMom Melissa

Books, books, books, especially children’s books, and especially especially the work of L.M. Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Noel Streatfeild, and Maud Hart Lovelace. I’m a card-carrying member (literally, it’s in my wallet) of the Betsy-Tacy Society.

Bee-and-butterfly gardening. We’ve planted milkweed everywhere we’ve lived.

Gardening literature, especially the work of Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence. And Allen Lacy. I could read nothing but horticultural lit and be happy.

Japanese candy. Fortunately I have Kristen in my life to keep me supplied. :)

Fiber and fabric, all the fiber arts. I haven’t *made* much since my kids came along–my old loom is gathering dust in the garage–but anything to do with yarn makes my heart go pitty-pat.

British period dramas. Helloooo, Downton Abbey. And Lark Rise, Cranford, Garrow’s Law, Berkeley Square, all that stuff.

Education & homeschooling philosophy. Charlotte Mason, John Holt, the works.

I get very excited when I have a new social media platform to figure out.

GeekMom Amy –

– Kids’ books, especially the picture book variety

– Kids’ games and apps

– Kids’ TV

– Animated films

I guess I have a few grown-up things, too:

– Design

– Movies (particularly the libraries of directors like Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and the Coen Brothers)

– Violent or otherwise adult TV (play really well in contrast to the kids’ stuff: The Wire, Lost, Breaking Bad, etc.)


GeekMom Sarah – I’ve really learned a lot from reading the posts on GeekMoms and I now get excited about things that I wouldn’t have before, like the space program, STEM and Firefly which I just started to watch last week.

I geek out over amigugrumi and knitted goods. For example, I just created a Jayne Cobb hat for a friend and am working on some Amigurumi patterns of the Octonauts for my son. I avidly follow several amigurumi blogs and am constantly trying to come up with my own. I will spend a fortune on Red Heart Yarn and get high looking at the colors!

I also geek out over books. Old books, new books, vintage books, paperback books, hard cover books, pre-release editions, first editions, foreign language editions. I love to judge a book by it’s cover, as long as I can savor it for a while!

I geek out over Disney, that is my life long passion. I wrote my Bachelors thesis about how Disney represents foreign cultures to America.

I’m a big TV geek, some sci-fi, some not. X-files, Star Trek (TNG), Buffy and the life. I am currently devouring Heroes, having missed it the first time around. But I also have an obsession with Mash, The Good Life (Good Neighbors in the US) and anything from old school British comedians. Old cartoons, new cartoons. Okay this list could be endless!

GeekMom Sophie

Well obviously X-Files is my number one geek out, I can literally talk for hours about even the tiniest detail of the show. I cosplay Scully, have two shelves of books, another shelf of the VHS tapes, the complete DVD collection plus other DVDs and random collectibles. I’m now building a collection of art pieces based on the show, got a private commission and a limited edition show piece in there already along with an original sketch drawn by the actor who played Langley. A friend’s old boyfriend did some graphic design and made her and some friends (including myself) these adorable cartoon badge sets, they’re like XF for kids so Mulder’s shooting an alien with a water pistol and the Cigarette Smoking Man has a lollipop instead. So freaking cute and there’s only three or four sets in the world.

As you might be able to tell, geek art is another huge geek out of mine. I wish I’d had time to keep Geek Art going but I couldn’t manage it alone alongside GeekMom and life.

Disney theme parks is a biggie, I’m not especially bothered about the films although I own most of the classics, for me it’s the parks. I have a whole shelf of books on the architecture, conceptual history and behind the scenes information. It’s why I was so thrilled to interview Len Testa last year, he’s an idol of mine for really getting into the nitty gritty of how the parks run. I’m hoping to get the Poster Art of the Disney Theme Parks book at some point.

Scores/sountracks from film/TV. I have dozens of them and look forward to their releases almost as much as the film itself. I’m so excited at the prospect of Volume 2 of The X-Files scores, more Hobbit and Hunger Games this year. I’m also hoping that the Room on The Broom score by Rene Aubry will be released and dream of a Castle score one day. The first X-Files autograph I collected was Mark Snow, I have a limited edition signed CD sleeves from the Vol one box set, the demand was so high the site crashed minutes after I got through!

GeekMom Kelly –

Video games, in particular the creation/development and game soundtracks

Comic books

Star Wars

Harry Potter


A long time ago I used to geek out about anime big time. I wrote something like 100 reviews for an anime review site, and I watched every series completely before I reviewed them. I shudder to think how much time that adds up to. It later turned into love for Japanese dramas, which I still enjoy.

Oh this is a weird one, dancing shows. I love So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Best Dance Crew. I even figured out the choreographer for a random commercial and geeked out that I got it right. Dancing With the Stars isn’t my thing because I don’t think it’s fair to the stars to be judged.

 GeekMom Helene  –


New advances in science

Science education




Doctor Who

BBC shows

My Little Pony

Cake decorating


Girl Scouts

GLBTQ equality activism

Breast and Ovarian Cancer Info

And that leaves me, GeekMom Judy –

Reading/books (I have a library card from the NYC Public Library System, because I couldn’t resist, even though we lived in Upstate and just visited New York City 3 or 4 times a year)

More specifically, Memoirs. (after having written my own, and having spent decades reading others, I am still fascinated to see how a person goes from childhood to adulthood and becomes who she’s supposed to be. It’s twice as fascinating to me as a story someone made up)

My newest 'baby'.
My newest ‘baby’. Photo: Judy Berna

Prosthetics and Amputees (I love telling you about the amazing products and professionals that have blessed my life, and the athletes who have inspired me)

The new Revolimb
The new Revolimb. Photo: Joe Mahon

Lego anything, including learning about the behind the scenes action. (with three sons, and having collected sets for almost 20 years,at each holiday and birthday, we have about as many bricks as Legoland)

Travel/Exploring new places (with an archaeologist husband, we’ve seen some pretty amazing places, following his job around the country)

Winter Sports, including skiing, snowboarding, sledding and snowman creating. It was a huge treat for us to attend the Winter X Games, just up the road from our house, for the past two years. Those athletes are our rock stars.

Super Pipe Practice. Photo: Judy Berna

And speaking of rock stars, in the past few decades I’ve come to really appreciate and love small indie bands. You know, the chicks and dudes who play because they love to? Check out this amazing song, “Not Born to Beauty” that says it so well (track 8).  We have a fantastic local venue in my hometown, and I have an old artificial leg that has the whole Bacon Brothers Band’s signatures on it. I’ve met the most amazing people, who also happen to be talented musicians.

The whole band signed it!
The whole band signed it! Photo: Judy Berna

So that’s our list. What would be on your list? What topics would you like us to write about more, or cover less? We’d love to hear what you love to read about. Welcome to the new, independent GeekMom. Welcome to your






How To Teleport From Your Android Phone

I mentioned the Teleport Transporter-Beta app in yesterday’s April Fool’s roundup, and I couldn’t resist downloading it and giving it a shot. For all you iOS users (or party poopers who won’t bother to download it), here’s what you missed.

The app’s description tells us:

The Teleport Transporter, as seen on Star Trek™, finally, beaming available on mobile!
Based on lost original blue prints from the Series. After 4 years of extensive research and development, finally, free and instant transportation in the palm of your hands. Android only (due to Apple limitations on iOS 6).

How handy would that be? How can you not want to try it? Just… in… case.

At first use, it warns you–this is still in beta. Things might go wrong. But hey. All that you’re doing is letting your phone dematerialize you. No big. I do wonder what’s going to happen to the phone. I hope it comes with me so that I can get back.

Screencaps by Ruth Suehle

Now it’s time to go! OK. Middle of the room. Got it. Stand still. I can handle that.


On the next screen, all you have to do is choose where you’d like to go from a predetermined list of destinations and click “Teleport.” Easy peasy science squeezy!




I totally took a shower this morning. Look, people, I’m a busy mom. So I might have missed the ears. But it’s spring break, and the kids are home, and… fine. I’m going to take another shower and try again.


Beta. It’s in beta. Must keep reminding myself.


Aw, thanks! I love me some Shat, too.




Yes, yes, I did! I told you, busy mom, but seriously. This thing is a mess. I’m going to try One. More Time.

And eventually, you’re taken to your destination… in Google Street View. But at least you didn’t end up with transporter psychosis or crossing with an evil alternate universe. Enjoy!


The April Fool’s Roundup: Jokes Around The Web

April Fool's Day, Google prank
Google Nose!

There are a few you always know to expect, starting with Google and ThinkGeek. Here are those, along with a few others we’ve seen this morning. Happy Don’t Believe The Internet Day! (Except the GeekMoms–we really have moved to this new site. What do you think?)

This Week With the GeekMoms

GeekMom News

United Federation of Planets
United Federation of Planets

Jules Sherred has been busy designing and launching another website: United Federation of Planets. It is a website all about Star Trek, curated by members of Jules’ G+ Star Trek community. Jules is also still busy planning for yet another trip, a child’s graduation, and a wedding in just over three short months.

Brigid is reveling in a clean studio this week and a fresh shiny new website. She’s looking forward to getting her hands dirty with some special projects in April.

Laura’s toe is a lovely bluish purple, thanks to intersecting with furniture while ambulating Ministry of Silly Walks style. Despite her giant multi-hued toe she’s going full speed in her campaign to help out a neighboring eco-friendly farmer. He is trying to hang on to his cows and his land despite some difficulties.

Rachel is trying to nurse her family back to health in time for Easter Sunday. She’s going to spend the weekend using natural dyes on her eggs and stuffing the plastic ones with toxic candy. Does that seem wrong at all?

This week Patricia has been in Biloxi, Mississippi, where her husband has just received photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) laser eye surgery at Keesler Air Force Base. It’s been a trip down memory lane, seeing the base where she did her initial Air Force weather officer training in summer 1996, and it’s also been very educational learning about the devastation that the base and community experienced from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. It was heartbreaking to visit Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis’s home, this week and learn that over 40% of the property’s presidential library and museum collection were lost during Katrina. She looks forward to being back home this weekend to celebrate Easter with her kids and mother-in-law, who have been holding down the fort back home.

Rebecca Angel is busy getting ready for a gig on Friday with her daughter who plays drumset and steel drums. It is really fun having a kid that not only has the talent, but the joy of music, AND wants to perform with her mom!

This weekend, Dakster Sullivan is going to be creating colored eggs with Kool-Aid with her husband and son. They don’t have any troops lined up, so maybe they will take some time and just hang out and enjoy the weekend. Brandon’s been begging to go bowling again, so they might hit up the alleys for some family fun.

Mega Con 2013 or Bust!

Mega Con is my favorite convention in Central Florida. This year, the convention welcomes the bridge crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation including Captain Picard himself, Sir Patrick Stewart. Also in attendance to represent the comic book world will be Neil Adams, Gail Simone, and George Perez along with many others!

One of the things I’m looking forward to doing most is walking the various comic book artists tables and vendors.

I’ve purchased some really cool and inexpensive artwork at Mega Con in the past that is now showcased in my office at work. This year I hope to get something signed by Gail Simone and maybe a comic book or two signed by George Perez.

I’m also excited to walk around the autograph area and maybe say hi to some of the celebrities at their tables. Knowing the line for Levar Burton is going to be horrific, I’ve already given up hopes of getting his autograph, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still try. I’m also looking forward to meeting voice actress Tara Strong, best known for her role as Twilight Sparkle on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Raven on Teen Titans.

My husband is looking forward to meeting Dean Cain (Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman). Last year, he was star struck when talking with Paul Bradford and Scott Tepperman from Ghost Hunters International, so maybe this year he won’t be so shy when he goes over to say hi to them again.

One of the things I really like about how Mega Con is organized is you get to see a little bit of everything in terms of celebrities. This year we have the Weasley twins from Harry Potter, cast members from Battlestar Galactica (Michael Hogan), NCIS-LA (Arne Starr), the Walking Dead (Michael Koske) as well as stars from shows not long forgotten (The Incredible Hulk, Teen Wolf, and Farescape).

For those of you who are fans of the light and dark side of the force, have no fear! The 501st and Rebel Legion costuming groups will have plenty to amuse you including sets, costumes, and droids on display. This year, the 501st Legion will also be hosting Roxy the Rancor, last seen at Star Wars Celebration VI. Roxy is a star all her own and will be available for photo ops in the 501st Legion area. In addition to Roxy, the 501st Legion will also have helmets, props, and costumes on display. They also hope to raise money for charity with “Shoot a Stormtrooper,” where guests can shoot Nerf guns at willing stormtroopers and other 501st Legion costumers.

The Rebel Legion will have a host of helmets and props on display as well as a Cantina Band set display for guests to take pictures with. They also plan on having a friendly bean bag toss game to help raise money for a special charity.

For those of you coming for the first time here are some tips to help you make it through.

  • Pre-purchase your tickets to avoid the long lines at the convention.
  • If you don’t want to bother with the crowds, come early on Friday morning. Advanced ticket holders get in an hour early, so this is the best day to avoid the crowds.
  • If you want to see the best costumes the con has to offer, wait and come on Saturday.
  • Plan your attack for autographs and take note who will not be there on certain days (some of the talent will only be there on Saturday or Sunday).
  • The best artwork goes fast, so hit this first on Friday and don’t delay in getting something because you think it will be there later, because it probably won’t be.
  • Regardless, if you are coming in costume or not…Don’t forget to hydrate!

As always, make sure your camera is charged and ready to go the night before. You don’t want to miss any of the action at this convention.

But wait! There’s more!!

This year, I will be coming armed with free GeekMom patches! To get one, all you have to do is find me and say “GeekMom Rocks!” To help you out, I’ll give you a hint about what I will be wearing on Saturday as well as tweeting my heart out about everything I see. Make sure you follow me on Twitter to see the latest updates on all the exciting things happening at the convention.

So, if you are heading out to Mega Con this year, keep your eyes peeled for me. If you’re not going, keep an eye on Twitter for updates on what it’s all about!

Can Your Fridge Make Hot Water? The GE Café Fridge Does

GE Cafe Fridge
Image courtesy GE

That settles it. I definitely need a new fridge. Not because my old fridge is broken, but because there are now way too many cool fridges out there. Remember when I told you about Samsung’s new soda making fridge? Well, GE wrote me to tell me that their Café fridge makes hot water. I now have a fantasy of Patrick Stewart standing in front of one demanding some tea. Earl Grey, hot. 

Just how much power is it going to suck out of your kitchen to have a fridge dispensing hot water where it also dispenses ice? Well, they managed to solve the engineering problem well enough to earn the fridge Energy Star status.

This is a French door style fridge with separate evaporators to keep your frozen foods frozen and your chilled foods chilled. (If  you don’t have separate evaporators, opening the fridge door actually lowers the temp in the whole fridge just a bit, leading to freezer burn and melty ice cream.) It’s also got a multi-purpose drawer, with color coded LED indicators to let you know if you’ve got it set to store meat, soda, citrus, or cheese.

I asked them to walk me through the hot water process. I can’t get my Earl Grey as fast as Jean-Luc Picard, but I can get it within a few minutes. I could also get oatmeal or hot cocoa that isn’t scalding.

First step is to tell the fridge dispenser that you want hot water and just how hot you want it. You can pick any temp from 90-185 degrees Fahrenheit.  (It does not make boiling water.) Or, you can choose from one of four pre-set temp settings, so you can have hot tea or warm baby formula. Sadly, you have to use buttons instead of your voice.

Once your water is the correct temperature, you’ll hear an alert. You then have to turn a knob and then push to dispense (so nobody gets a hot water surprise when they wanted ice water), and you’ll get up to 10 ounces of heated water (about a mug’s worth). I’m told that the process should take somewhere between one and six minutes, depending on the temperature setting and how cold your source water is, and that most of the time it would be in the one-two minute range.

If you’re ready to get out your Bodum cups and replicate yourself a cup of Earl Grey, the GE Café fridge will sell for a suggested retail of $3,199 sometime this spring.

Top 9 Things That Happen With J.J. Abrams Behind Star Wars

Oh, the unavoidable lens flare jokes that happen when J.J. Abrams directs a Disney-owned Star Wars. (Image: Ruth Suehle)

When the news broke that J. J. Abrams will be directing the next Star Wars movie, some jokes were inevitable. Here are our top nine:

  1. The non-geeks will have even more trouble telling the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek.
  2. It will turn out that Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes are just the next evolution of the Observers.
  3. So many lens flares, you can’t see the destruction of Death Star III.
  4. Based on his production company’s name, we have to assume C-3P0 and R2-D2 will become… well, bad.
  5. Star Wars Episode VII will be a personal documentary filmed by Chewbacca on Super 8.
  6. Star Wars Episode VIII: Darth Vader vs. The Smoke Monster
  7. In Episode IX, the biggest argument will not be over who shot first or which was the best of the now nine films. It will be over star Keri Russell’s hair. (That’s right, you forgot that Abrams co-created Felicity, didn’t you?)
  8. All the creepy things on the Island were really because it’s the original home of all the midi-chlorians.
  9. We’ll learn that the “J. J.” in his name is short for Jar Jar.

But let’s be honest. Jokes aside, you love Star Wars. And you probably love J. J. Abrams, a few extra lens flares and giant floating location titles aside. And you would still see this movie if it were subtitled The Love Story of Jar Jar Binks, because it’s Star Wars, and it’s not like you’re not going to see it. In fact, you’re looking forward to it just as much as I am. I’ll see you in the theater.

How You Can Help Peter David

Photo CC-BY-SA Derek Hofmann

Geekdoms of many colors have spread the word by now about Peter David’s stroke in the final days of 2012. His wife Kathleen has been posting updates on Peter’s site about his status. Today she writes to explain how we as fans can help Peter and his family:

Even though we have health insurance we have co-pays and the like. And since this stroke fell at the end of the year, we have all the new co-pays to deal with (I can honestly see those of you who have had to deal with this nodding your heads). And there are things that the insurance company just won’t cover (more head nodding). So we are at the beginning of what is going to be a very expensive year even though we are only 4 days in.

The most direct way is to buy his books from Crazy 8 Press or from Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites. These are books that he gets the money from directly and the most per book.

Because of their higher returns to the author, she specifically directs supporters to:

  • Pulling Up Stakes Part 1 and Pulling Up Stakes Part 2 — These are ebooks available for as little as 99 cents. Crazy 8 Press seems to be getting slammed right now, presumably with supportive fans, so here are the Amazon and Barnes and Noble links to them as well.
    Sick of vampire books? Movies? TV shows? Yeah. So are we. Sick of the entire unlife of vampires? Yeah. So is Vince Hammond. Unfortunately, Vince is in it up to his (wait for it) neck. Because Vince is a young vampire hunter who lives with his vampire hunter mother in an entire community of vampire hunters, who in turn are part of a cult of vampire hunters going back all the way to the French Revolution, which many believe to be an uprising of the poor against the rich but was actually a massive purging of vampires from the French nobility (hence the guillotine).
  • The Camelot Papers — Available in ebook or print-on-demand paperback. If that link doesn’t work, here it is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
    A powerful ruler who’s considered by many to be simple-minded and vacuous and has serious father issues. A no-nonsense, polarizing woman who favors pants suits and pursues dubious agendas involving social needs. A remarkably magnetic leader of men with a reputation as a skirt-chaser. A scheming, manipulative adviser who is constantly trying to control public perceptions. A man seen as the next, great hope for the people, except there are disputes over his background and many contend he’s not what he appears to be.
  • The currently released Hidden Earth Saga (a third is in process): Darkness of the Light and Heights of the Depths
    Crazy8 lists only the Nook version, but Darkness of the Light is also available in print and Kindle versions on Amazon, as is Heights of the Depths.

Whether you love comics, Star Trek, Babylon 5, or sci-fi novels, there’s almost certainly something in his prolific bibliography to touch your geek interests. Peter David was one of the first geek authors I fell in love with. At my first con, I sat in a huge ballroom for some popular guest I no longer recall behind a family with two small children. When the panel ended, the wife asked the husband if he knew where his panel was. I didn’t think much of it until I went to the next panel I wanted to see, which was Peter David. Lo and behold, I’d been sitting behind him for the last hour and had no idea.

I still laugh when I remember asking him to sign a book afterwards. I said I’d bought a new copy because I was embarrassed to show how tattered the original was. He said, “I’d rather see that one, since it means you love the book and aren’t just going to sell it on eBay!” (The next year I brought the tattered one.) He ended his panel by encouraging those who had come to see him to stay for a young, new writer with the undesirable spot of the last session on the last day of Dragon*Con.

His wife Kathleen I’ve mostly encountered from costuming and puppetry panels at Dragon*Con. I haven’t sewn a costume seam in years without hearing her in my head complaining about costumers who create something beautiful and then don’t clip the threads at the end. (I’m clipping, I’m clipping, I promise!) They’re both tireless contributors to so many facets of geekdom. If you’re a longtime fan, this is a chance to support someone who has influenced your fandom(s). If you’d never heard of Peter David until a few paragraphs ago, this is a chance to discover a writer you won’t regret meeting and to help a fellow human in the process.

Can 2013 Beat The Amazing Year of Movies That Was 2012?


I can’t remember a better year to be a geek and a movie lover than 2012. The Avengers crammed a pile of our favorite superheroes together onto one screen, and the summer iced that cake with The Dark Knight Rises. Love or hate the high frame rate, we got The Hobbit. Musical lovers got Les Mis while the friends they dragged along got Wolverine, Catwoman, and General Maximus (who next year turns into Jor-El) singing with a side dish of Borat and Bellatrix Lestrange. Talk about a strange dinner party. There were Nazis on the moon, time-traveling blunderbusses, Mandingoes, and for the love of John Carter, a vampire throwing a horse at Abraham Lincoln.

That’s a tough act to follow.

I’ve seen more movies this year–and in theaters!–than maybe any other year of my life, certainly any other year since I had children. I’ve been steeling myself for a while to accept that it was a special year and that 2013 just won’t be the same. It couldn’t be. Could it? There’s only one way to find out. Let’s look at what’s coming. It’s time for a movie year throwdown.





Sci-fi and futuristic Looper, John Carter, The Hunger Games, Prometheus, Men in Black 3, Resident Evil: Retribution, Chronicle, Cloud Atlas, Iron Sky Star Trek: Into Darkness, Elysium, Ender’s Game, World War Z, After Earth, Dark Skies, The Host, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Pacific Rim, Riddick, The World’s End 2012 was a pretty good year, even if we’d had nothing but Looper, The Hunger Games, and Cloud Atlas. But 2013 is ready for the sci-fi smackdown with our next entry in the Star Trek franchise, the next Hunger Games, Pacific Rim, Ender’s Game, and the long-awaited World War Z. Edge: 2013
Fantasy The Hobbit, Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Jack the Giant Slayer, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones You either loved or hated The Hobbit, and despite having two of the most amazing costume designers ever to put their work in front of a camera, neither of 2012’s Snow White stories was much to rave about. But they looked promising a year ago, and 2013 could tank just as hard. Tentative edge: 2013
True story/history-based (however loosely) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Argo 300: Rise of an Empire Is 2013 the year that forgot history, or have I just not found those films yet? And I had to take one that really should be in the next category just to give one to 2013! Clear edge: 2012
Comics-based, graphic novels, and superheroes The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Dredd Iron Man 3, The Wolverine, VS (All Superheroes Must Die), Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World, Oblivion, I Frankenstein, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Kick-Ass 2 The summer of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises was a huge contribution to this great year for movie geeks. But by sheer numbers and the return of Hit Girl, it’s edge: 2013.
Animation Wreck-It Ralph, Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Lorax, The Secret World of Arrietty Escape from Planet Earth, Planes, Monsters University, Frozen, From Up on Poppy Hill, Despicable Me 2, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Epic There were the good times. The times of Brave and Wreck-It Ralph. And then there were the lesser times. There was Frankenweenie, which was like a very, very, very long version of its trailer. I’m not dying of anticipation from much of the upcoming list, but I’ll give it tentative edge: 2013 for optimism and a big-screen Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
Documentary Indie Game: The Movie, We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, Jiro Dreams of Sushi $ellebrity, Unity, Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony We Are Legion was both a moving story for those who already knew it and a solid introduction for those who didn’t, and I’ve heard great things about Jiro. But it’s hard to compete with the words “John de Lancie goes to BronyCon.” Edge: 2013
Toy-based Battleship G.I. Joe: Retaliation Game-peg-shaped torpedoes or round two of something that wasn’t any good the first time? Draw. And a request to stop making movies based on toys, unless it’s Jenga.
Remakes, re-releases, and “haven’t we seen this?” Total Recall, Dark Shadows, Finding Nemo 3D, Monsters Inc. 3D The Evil Dead, Carrie, Jurassic Park 3D, Top Gun 3D, The Little Mermaid 3D, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones 3D, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 3D I’m tenuously interested in The Evil Dead remake, but is the new movie motto, “If you can’t make something good, make something old 3D”? Edge: 2012 for Johnny Depp in excessive makeup over 100-foot-high Anakin nostrils. (Possible reconsideration after Top Gun volleyball scene in 3D.)
Other interesting bits not covered above but worthy of note Skyfall, The Cabin in the Woods, Django Unchained, Safety Not Guaranteed John Dies at the End, Noobz, Much Ado About Nothing, RED 2, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Horror Whedon or Shakespeare Whedon? Bond or RED? Edge: 2012, due to a lack of Tarantino in 2013.
And the winner is… Giving half points for a “tentative edge” and none for the draw, it’s 2012 with 3 points and 2013 with 4 points. Anticipated winner: 2013

I’m sorry, 2012. You were great, but it looks like you just might get taken down by 2013. Your obituary will tell how you were the Year of the Whedon, giving us both The Cabin in the Woods, dripping with Whedonosity in a commentary on classic horror tropes, as well as The Avengers, the third highest-grossing film ever. (In 2013, we’ll get his take on Much Ado About Nothing, with a lineup of the Whedon favorites, from Nathan Fillion and Amy Acker to Alexis Denisof and Tom Lenk.) You were the year of too-fast-to-count video-game cameos. Of the 50th anniversary of Bond. Of what may be Quentin Tarantino’s most controversial work–and that’s saying something when it’s a guy whose last film was about Nazis and had a title with two intentional misspellings that he preferred not to explain.

2013, you’re looking pretty. Captain-Chris-Pine-Kirk kind of pretty. And Pacific Rim kind of stunning. (Don’t let me down, Pacific Rim.) We’re going to be dropping in on Oz and going on a quest for the Golden Fleece with a bunch of half-bloods. You want superheroes? Like IronManWolverineSupermanThor? We won’t be able to recover from that many abs on display until Arrow gets cancelled. We’ll try not to get the vapors, because there are Jacks to keep straight. Tom Cruise will be playing a guy named Jack, but not Jack Reacher (that was 2012), and not Jack Ryan, which is 2013, but a whole other movie, which also has Chris Pine. The Girl on Fire will be on her Victory Tour, and it looks like the whole of Hollywood is coming along. (Did I mention Q goes to BronyCon?)

Once that’s through, I’m not holding my breath for two years of greatness to stretch into a three-year run of awesome, but we can hope. May the odds be ever in our favor.

GeekMom Gift Guide: Books, Books, and More Books!

You’ve likely started your holiday shopping, or at least feel guilty about not starting your shopping. But the whole process is a lot less work since the advent of internet commerce. Books are perfect for purchasing through this conduit, since one size fits all and they aren’t that fragile. Here are the GeekMom writers’ recommendations for books to buy your loved ones this holiday season. There are a very  large number of them, so be sure to click to see them all!

Image: Potter Craft

Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st-Century Families by Natania Barron, Kathy Ceceri, Corrina Lawson, and Jenny Williams
First on our list of recommendations is the brand new Geek Mom book, written by GeekMom’s four editors! A great gift for any geeky mom (or, let’s face it, dad) on your list, this book is chock full of projects, activities, essays, history, and factoids about the world in which geeky moms reside.

Image: Candlewick

Around the World: Three Remarkable Journeys by Matt Phelan
A graphic novel representation of the true story of three incredible journeys around the world, Around the World is a delight for history buffs, adventuresome souls, and those who appreciate fine illustration. This book is a great read for kids and adults.

Continue reading GeekMom Gift Guide: Books, Books, and More Books!

Vulcan Events — Away Mission Orlando 2012: Mission Complete

I met Tom Paris!! Whoohoo!!  Image: Tye Bourdony
I met Tom Paris!! Whoohoo!! (I’m the one on the far right in the white and blue armor) Image: Tye Bourdony

Vulcan Events — Away Mission Orlando 2012 was another great time spent with friends and spreading the good word of the dark and light sides of the force. Avery Brooks was the headliner for the event and while I’m a fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, my excitement was in getting to meet Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris, Star Trek: Voyager) and getting a picture of Dirk Benedict (Starbuck, Battlestar Galactica) for my mom.

The convention spanned three days in October at the Hilton at Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. My husband and I split up “Brandon watch” duty so we could each troop a day. He suited up as Jango Fett on Saturday and I armored up in my animated clone trooper on Sunday.

Even though I wasn’t suited up on Saturday, I still had fun watching my son (who set up his own booth this year) while also attending to the 501st and Rebel Legion joint booth. Part of the fun was walking around the small but humble convention and the other fun part was seeing everyone’s reactions to us being there. More than a few Star Trek fans came up and inquired how they could join up and become part of the Empire or Rebel Alliance, and we were more than happy to help them.

Dirk Benedict and my bucket  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Dirk Benedict and my bucket Image: Dakster Sullivan

This convention had the usual assortment of panels, photo opportunities, vendors and celebrities. The vendors and celebrities were in one room this year and it was a nice change.

My favorite celebrity in attendance was Robert Duncan McNeill. I was too tight on cash to get my picture taken with him, or his autograph, but that problem was solved on Sunday when I was in costume with a few other troopers and he asked to take a picture with us.

Another highlight of the weekend was meeting a high school crush of my mother’s, Dirk Benedict. Since he was under contract with Froggy Photos and not allowed to take a picture with me, I compromised and asked him to hold my bucket for my mom. At least that way she knew I was there and not making the whole thing up. As soon as I broke my own rule and removed my bucket in front of him, he was taken back at the fact that I’m a woman (most people are) and took a great picture for my mom.

She was super excited to get the picture and Dirk was equally excited to hear the reaction she sent me back in a text.

My armor was giving me a hard time that day so I only managed to stay suited up for around four hours. At the end of the day I accomplished what I set out to do: neet Robert Duncan McNeill and get a picture of Dirk Benedict.

If you are ever in Orlando while Away Mission Orlando is going on, stop on by. For dedicated Star Trek fans, this is a must see event. Don’t worry about bringing the kids. This convention is family friendly.

“In exchange for my time and efforts in reporting my opinion within this blog, I received a free weekend pass to the event. Even though I receive this benefit, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.” 

T-Shirt Halloween Costume Ideas

Clark Kent is a great inexpensive costume option for men, women and children!  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Clark Kent is a great inexpensive costume option for men, women, and children! Image: Dakster Sullivan

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and not because of the candy. I love to dress up in costumes. And even though I have two professional grade costumes in my arsenal of attire, I don’t wear either one of them on All Hallows Eve. Instead, I like to find cheap and creative ways to dress up as whatever floats my boat at the time.

This year, I’m going to be taking advantage of the t-shirt costumes out there and sporting a character from my childhood.

For those of you who love to dress up, but are on a budget, here are some great t-shirt costume ideas for you to consider.

For the Ladies

Phoenix Costume T-Shirt   Image: ThinkGeek
Phoenix Costume T-Shirt Image: ThinkGeek

Nothing says hot like the Phoenix power. With this t-shirt from ThinkGeek and some leggings, you are all set to take on the universe. Just try not to go all Dark Phoenix on us will you?

For the DC Comic fans, Batgirl and Wonder Woman are both great looking options. Just add some black or red leggings and you are all set to go kick some tail. For Batgirl’s look, you can add an inexpensive black mask to complete the costume.

If you prefer the sci-fi hotness of Star Trek over superheroes, check out this Star Trek uniform dress. To complete the look all you need are some black boots and you are all set to go.

You could also wield a sword and command the power of Greyskull as She-Ra

For the Guys

Walking Dead Costume Shirt   Image: Amazon
Walking Dead Costume Shirt Image: Amazon

How about going as a Ghostbuster? With some khaki pants and this costume t-shirt, you are all set to chase after some ghosts. If you want to spend some extra money, you can grab this Ghostbusters Proton Pack backpack to complete the look. Think of it as a wearable candy sack.

If you prefer a little more Star Wars in your attire, you could always grab this Stormtrooper costume t-shirtWith the right helmet, you might even fool a rebel.

Then again, who could say no to being “expendable”? This Star Trek shirt pretty much says it all and the best part? No extra accessories required. Just put on the shirt, grab your candy bag and head out the door.

For the superhero fans, check out the Spider-Man costume t-shirt. Grab some jeans and a Spider-Man mask and you are all set to be the famous webslinger.

While I don’t understand the whole Zombie thing, I’m sure those of you that do would appreciate this Walking Dead costume t-shirt. Just make sure you dead up your face before you head out for the night.

For the Kids

Batman Raincoat  Image: ThinkGeek
Batman Raincoat Image: ThinkGeek

Not sure about where you live, but here in Florida, mother nature likes to throw little rain storms in when they are least wanted. If your little one wants to be a superhero and you want them to stay dry, check out this awesome little raincoat. They get to have fun of dressing up as a superhero and you get some piece of mind that it’s okay for their costume to get wet.

Captain America is another easy option. All you need is a Captain America shirt, a cool shield, and a mask and you can let them loose.

My son loves anything that has a cape on the back, and that’s why this Superman t-shirt makes the list. No matter what they wear with it, they will look cool. Why? Because it has a cape. Duh!

For the toddlers who just want to hang out on the high seas all day, this pirate costume shirt comes in various colors to fit any pirates favorite color.

For a cute take on Kermit the frog, pick up a plain green t-shirt, some green face paint and a Kermit the Frog beanie hat for a cute variation on the famous Muppet. If your little one is not a big Muppet fan, check out these Angry Birds hats instead. With a plain color t-shirt and some jeans, they are all set to go after those piggies. This is also a neat idea for parents.

Unisex and All Ages Costumes

Harry Potter is fun for everyone which is why everyone can wear this Tri-wizard Tournament jersey. If the ladies want a little more form fitting shirt, check out this one. To complete the look, get yourself a wand and call it a night. The kids might need a smaller size so try this one out.

Superman can be handsome, sexy, or cute. Pick up a Superman logo shirt, a pair of black rimmed glasses, and a white button up shirt and you to can be Clark Kent/Superman!

The best part about t-shirt costumes is that you can wear them year round! That means you are definitely getting your money’s worth out of them.

Do you have an inexpensive costume idea? Share them with us in the comments. We’d love to hear them.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 10th, 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men Round 12  Image: Copyright Marvel Comics
Avengers vs. X-Men Round 12 Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week as well give you some of the latest in comic book news.

Dakster Sullivan –Avengers vs. X-Men Round 12

The conclusion to Avengers vs. X-Men mini-series (writer: Jason Aaron, pencils: Adam Kubert, inks:John Dell, Adam Kubert, Mark Morales) has finally arrived and I don’t think I could have hoped for more from this final issue. The writers did a great job going back and explaining a few things that were left out in other rounds and the artists did an amazing job showing the details of the final fight between two of the biggest teams in the Marvel universe.

This is the first mini-series I’ve read and it has me wanting more of both teams.

A few of the characters surprised me in this issue, but none more than Tony Stark with his discovery of faith. Tony has been about science and facts since the beginning (even going as far as creating a computer to use Wanda’s mind and powers to search out every possible ending to the final battle), but it appears his stay at K’un L’un has changed him. He now believes that Hope and Scarlet Witch are like Yin and Yang and when the final battle comes, together they will balance each other out and together, defeat the Phoenix force.

He was right.

In short…the Avengers won, thanks to Nova showing up to bring Cyclops back down to Earth and Hope and the Scarlet Witch hitting him with everything they had. I was happy to see that even with all the fire and fighting going on around the characters, the creative team found time in a couple of panels for a touching moment between Jean Grey’s spirit and Cyclops.

After Cyclops was beaten, the Phoenix power finally took over Hope and with the help of Scarlet Witch, realized her true destiny in regards to the Phoenix force. The moments that Scarlet and Hope share after Hope takes on the Phoenix power are some of my favorites in this issue.

Marvel did an awesome job taking the story full circle and figuring out a believable way for Hope and the Scarlet Witch to handle the Phoenix power and undo the damage from the events leading up to the fight between the Avengers and the X-Men.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 10th, 2012

Star Trek Week: Away Mission Orlando – May the Force Be With Me

Away Mission Orlando  Image: Away Vulcan Events
Away Mission Orlando Image: Away Vulcan Events

Beam me down Scotty! It’s time for Vulcan Events: Away Mission Orlando. Happening in Orlando on October 5th thru the 7th, this is an interesting convention to say the least. Unlike at Megacon, where you fight your way through the halls and into panels, Away Mission Orlando is more casual. With mostly Star Trek celebrities in attendance, this convention is a must see for Trek fans in the Orlando area.

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Sir. Patrick Stewart. This year, the headlining guest is Avery Brooks of Star Trek: DS9.

Other special guests include Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Dwight Schultz (Reginald Barclay, Star Trek TNG), Dirk Benedict (Starbuck, Battlestar Galactica Original Series), Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris, Star Trek: Voyager), Robin Curtis (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock), Eric Menyuk (Traveler, Star Trek: TNG) and Herbert Jefferson Jr. (Boomer, Battlestar Galactica Original Series)

Continue reading Star Trek Week: Away Mission Orlando – May the Force Be With Me

Twelve Fictional Characters With Officially Registered Tartans

Kilted from birth. Photo by Ruth Suehle

The National Archives of Scotland maintains the official register of plaid patterns known as “tartan” and their associated clans or groups in The Scottish Register of Tartans. Their mission is both to preserve history as well as to register newly designed tartans. This registry was formed as the official one in 2008, merging two unofficial registries, the Scottish Tartans World Register and the Scottish Tartans Authority. There are many tartans that are designated not for a clan, as commonly thought, but also for organizations, areas of land, and even companies. In that last category are an assortment of tartans that have been registered for fictional characters. Click on the character’s name in bold to see the picture of the fabric at The Scottish Register of Tartans.

Brave‘s DunBroch clan. For this year’s animated film Brave, Disney/Pixar registered the royal family’s tartan, which uses “the ocean blue of the North Sea” and “deep scarlet [that] represents the family’s reverence for its own history and the blood shed during battles between the clans. Deep green shows a love for Scotland’s majestic highlands.” The navy blue represents the forging of the clans, and the grey “imbues a sense of respect for the inner soul of the strong Scottish people.”

K-9 from Doctor Who. This pre-1977 design’s notes state that K-9’s dog collar from the Tom Baker years (!977-1981) was sent to the Scottish Tartans Authority for identification, but they were unable to do so and call it “possibly a fashion tartan of the period.” Continue reading Twelve Fictional Characters With Officially Registered Tartans

Backyard Blockbusters Tells the History and Art of Fan Films

Nestled among costumes, gamers, robots, and 35,000 (or so) attendees at Dragon*Con is a film festival that has seen a few changes over the years but is as old as the conference itself. This weekend the Dragon*Con Independent Short Film Festival will kick off its 11th year with Backyard Blockbusters, a documentary about fan films written, directed, and produced by fan-film creator John Hudgens.

The film features interviews with fan-filmmakers from a breadth of properties as well as the creators of some of the original content. Viewers get to hear from people like Timothy Zahn, Paul Dini, and Walter Koenig, as well as an assortment of well-known pop culture commenters. Fan films represented include:

Backyard Blockbusters creator John Hudgens is known for his own award-winning work in fan films, including The Jedi Hunter and Sith Apprentice, both Audience Choice winners at the Lucas/Atom Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards. In 2005, Lucasfilm selected his short film Crazy Watto to run at the Cannes Film Festival.

“I got started in fan films kind of by accident,” Hudgens said. “I’d already made something of a name for myself in fan circles because of the music video trailers that J. Michael Straczynski commissioned me to do for Babylon 5, which were an extension of similar things he’d seen of mine that I’d done on my own, syncing clips from various movies and TV shows to appropriate popular songs for music-video dance parties at various conventions in the southeast.” For example, Hudgens combined Jeff Lynne’s “Let it Run” with footage from The Wizard of Speed and Time and Weird Al’s “Yoda” with footage from the Star Wars trilogy. “It’s the same thing the vidders are doing now on YouTube, but I was doing this as far back as 1985,” he said.

Fan films in general have a long history that well-predates the YouTube generation and even the home movies you made with your friends, plastic light sabers, and your dad’s clunky VHS camcorder in the 80s. In the book Homemade Hollywood, Clive Young writes that the earliest fan film he found dates from the 1920s, when two itinerant filmmakers would go from city to city claiming to be from the Hal Roach studio and making fake “Our Gang” shorts with local children–part of one version of these from Anderson, SC appears in Backyard Blockbusters. Robbins Barstow (who is also interviewed in the documentary but has since passed away) created his own Tarzan fan film in 1936. He was also known for perhaps one of the most famous home movies ever, Disneyland Dream.

Hudgens added of his own history, “I was involved in a Doctor Who parody back in the mid-80s, and through tape-trading and APAs I was aware of other similar projects, like Ryan K. Johnson’s Star Trek: The Pepsi Generation. The word “fan film” didn’t exist back then, and wouldn’t come into widespread usage until after Kevin Rubio’s Troops in 1997.

Backyard Blockbusters includes discussion of the issues fan creators face with copyright, especially in the context of the increasingly impressive quality of “amateur” work. Some original content owners are more litigious than others, and some welcome fan work as an extension of their popularity. Hudgens said that Lucasfilm has been the best of the studios for their approach. “They’ve been incredibly supportive of the fan-film community,” he said, “establishing the official contest with AtomFilms in 2002, offering cash prizes, a really cool trophy, and the fact that George Lucas himself was picking the grand prize each year.” In the documentary, Steve Sansweet talks about how after the release of Revenge of the Sith, Lucasfilm relaxed a requirement that entries in the contest be only parody, mockumentary, or documentary. Unfortunately, the films from this competition were all removed from Atom in 2011, and there was no contest held this year.

In contrast, MGM sent a cease-and-desist letter in 2005 to the creators of Call It A Stargate five episodes into the fan series. (That production had also begun by charging people £10 for the DVD of the series, which many fan films do not do.) Planned fan films based on Lost in Space and Max Payne have also been shut down by the copyright holders.

Some viewers find that the continuing improvements in quality make fan films equally or more interesting than the original works. But those improvements certainly don’t make the hobby a less expensive undertaking, and it’s not a cheap one to begin with. In an extended interview from the documentary, James Cawley of New Voyages says that although they didn’t start filming until 2003, he actually started building the sets and costumes in 1996. “I stopped counting money at a hundred thousand,” he says. And that doesn’t even count distribution. Hudgens said, “Many of the bigger modern fan films, such as Batman: Dead End, Doom Raiders, Grayson, or George Lucas in Love, pre-date YouTube, since it didn’t arrive on the scene until 2005 or so, which is why sites like were so important to the growth of the movement–they offered a place where they would host films for free, and shoulder the cost of the bandwidth–which could be massive.” He notes that Will Carlough self-hosted his creation, Robin’s Big Date, and the overage fees on bandwidth cost ten times more than the entire film.

Creating the films is not without reward, though. And while it may not often be monetary reward, it can be stunning geek-reward. Part of Pink Five‘s prize for winning the 2003 George Lucas Selects Award was to have the film remixed at Skywalker Ranch. “Here’s this goofball little movie that I made, and I get to mix it at Skywalker! It was the most amazing thing,” said Pink Five director Trey Stokes in his extended interview.

Those attending Dragon*Con can see Backyard Blockbusters at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 31. Those who aren’t so lucky can see it at the Secret City Film Festival in Knoxville, TN in September or keep up with future showings and the DVD release on the movie’s Facebook page.

An Interview With Dragon*ConTV and Sneak Peek at This Year's Videos

There are just three days left to Dragon*Con, which means only five days left until the premiere of this year’s new Dragon*ConTV videos–except the first, which you can get a sneak peak at right now.

Last year I posted a few of my favorite Dragon*ConTV clips. This year I asked two of the DCTV staff, Brian Richardson and Stephen Granade, to tell GeekMom readers a little about the history (10 years!) of DCTV, how the videos get put together, and how the parodiers became the parodied.

First, tell us a little bit about the history of DCTV (keeping in mind that, sadly, many readers have never been to Dragon*Con). How did it get started, and what was the first year like?

Brian: Dragon*Con TV first came to life in 2002 when we had the idea to make a video. I was working as a volunteer for the technical operations (TechOps), and two other staffers (Patrick Freeman and Lucas Leverett) wanted to make an intro for the guys from MST3K, who were hosting the Masquerade. It was Thursday, the contest was on Sunday… and somehow we managed to put a good intro together.

The head of the convention was impressed. Then he asked the dreaded question: “What are you going to do next year?”


So 2003 was the first “real” year of Dragon*ConTV. We made some still images for fake sci-fi products and bogus TV shows to run before the Masquerade. We also made three videos, including the now infamous Stormtroopers Gone Wild (our longest-running video).

It turns out Stormtroopers Gone Wild set the formula for Dragon*ConTV, the blend of what happens when sci-fi and fantasy meet today’s pop culture. We’ve tuned the formula a bit over the years, but that mash-up culture still drives our comedy.

Stephen: We also replaced the still images with the bumpers in 2004. We, er, borrowed the idea from Adult Swim. The bumpers are white text on a black background over music and typically make a joke about geek culture (like why Doctor Who keeps getting younger with every regeneration) or about the convention (like how it really would be nice if people showered more often). It lets us do jokes that we otherwise couldn’t film for budgetary or time reasons and widens the kind of comedy we provide.

How did the bumpers start? Were you just big Adult Swim fans?

Brian: Yes, we are huge Adult Swim fans. Amy Qualls-McClure had the original idea for (as she put it) “cheap and easy content.” Stephen took over bumper creation years later and remains the bumper master.

What I love about the bumpers is how they have become “the voiceless voice” of Dragon*Con. It’s not any one person talking to the audience, it’s some nameless entity. This gives us a lot of comedic freedom, since “the voiceless voice” can say things that would seem cruel coming from a “real” person’s mouth. The bumper “voice” can be a voice of reason or ridicule.

Stephen: We can also vary that voice a lot, which again lets us do different kinds of jokes and comedy. We’ve got a small crew of actors, so people have gotten used to what we’re like when we’re on camera and what to expect from us. Like, on camera I’m usually Guy Who Dies or Guy Who Gets Comically Upset. But the bumpers don’t have that limitation. In one bumper the voice will be painfully earnest, while in another it’ll be more sardonic.

How many people work on DCTV now and in what roles?

Brian: We have a core team of about 20, but we’ll get a lot more than that who help out on weekend shoots or submit ideas on our message board.

Stephen: Yeah, the message board has let us draw a lot of ideas from people and actually plan ahead of time. We used to get together and say, “Okay, what ideas do we have? Can we film that today?” Now we get a pile of ideas and then we get together and say, “Okay, here are the ideas we already had. Can we film any of them today?”

So it’s totally different now.

Brian: I’m the executive producer along with director, video editor, writer, on-camera personality and catering (it’s a small crew). Patrick Freeman is still a key part of the crew, along with running his Sci-Fi Janitors project.

Stephen: I’m in charge of the bumpers and write about two-thirds of them. I also act in a lot of our videos because I have an acting background and thus no sense of shame. I’m one of our bald guys who dies a lot as a red-shirt. I also write and direct some things, though not nearly as many as Brian does. He’s crazy.

How many videos get submitted as opposed to created by your team? What percentage of the submissions do you show?

Brian: We get a few dozen submissions each year, and we’ll run several. Not all of them make the cut. Some just aren’t our brand of comedy. Surprisingly, some of them don’t meet our production standards (we’re all up in the HD now). What we get every year keeps getting better and better, sometimes way better than what we’re making (we try to recruit those people).

What are each of your favorite DCTV spots?

Brian: Oh, that’s a tough one. Stephen, you go first while I roll some dice.

Stephen: Right, make me pick. Can I choose which of my children is my favorite instead?

I always point to Stormtroopers Gone Wild because it’s so canonically Dragon*ConTV. But I have to give the nod to our Re: Your Brains music video. It was the first music video we tried, and it let us get Jonathan Coulton’s music more exposure before he became the nerd colossus that he is now. Plus it was just a lot of fun to make.

Brian: OK, I gotta choose something …

For bumpers, I love The Rainbow Connection. This is where Stephen ties the famous Muppet song to Lovecraft’s Cthulhu. It’s such a popular bumper that we got yelled at after the latest Muppet movie came out because people couldn’t get Stephen’s interpretation out of their heads during a very moving part of the film (same thing happened to me). We’re issuing an apology bumper in 2012.

For the live-action bits … boy that’s hard. I’d say Jenga or Pon Farr because they ride that fine line between “Nobody would really make that,” and “Oh no, they actually made that!” But I’ll always have a soft spot for Stormtroopers Gone Wild (my first little video love).

And what are our chances of getting DCTV added to the DirecTV lineup soon so it’s there year-round? No? … How about a Boxee channel?

Brian: We have so many requests for becoming a real TV channel, much like everyone roots for Pinocchio to become a real boy. Unfortunately, we’re not the TV executive type. Also, Pinocchio lived in a bad neighborhood, so he didn’t go to the best school after becoming a real boy. The closest we’ll get to basic cable is our YouTube channel and podcast feed.

Last, if there’s anything else about The Great Wonder that is DCTV you’d like to tell everybody, shout it out!

Brian: There are so many wonderful things about the last 10 years of Dragon*ConTV, it’s hard to remember which ones are worthy of a mention on Wired. Having folks like Chris Gore from G4TV and the cast of The Guild tell me they were fans was pretty awesome.

It’s been a great creative outlet and a way to make some lasting friendships. We’ve built a community out of a crazy idea for a single video. We’ve unintentionally woven ourselves into the fabric of one of the world’s largest sci-fi conventions, which just shows how fan-driven Dragon*Con really is.

Stephen: Ditto what Brian said, especially about getting to make videos with people who’ve become some of my best friends. And I’ve had con-goers tell me how they’ll spend a good portion of Dragon*Con watching Dragon*ConTV bits in their room and how excited they are to see the new stuff. For anyone doing creative work, that’s a thrill to hear.

Oh, and it led to me being cosplayed, which is simultaneously in the “awesome!” and “weird” categories.

Brian: Ah, now I have one … remember how I said we’ve unintentionally become part of Dragon*Con? Dad’s Garage, an Atlanta theater company, recently did an original play called “Wrath of Con”. It’s a hilarious look at life at a sci-fi convention, and it bears more than a passing resemblance to Dragon*Con.

The play’s pre-show is a send-up of Dragon*ConTV. They made their own bumpers. We’ve been so well embraced by Dragon*Con that people have to make fun of us to make fun of Dragon*Con — and we’re the people that make fun of Dragon*Con at Dragon*Con. That’s just cool and weird all at the same time.

Stephen: Talk about nested levels of meta. It’s like con-Inception. Conception! … Wait, that’s already a word.

Watch a clip from this year’s videos below, then get more of Brian, Stephen, and all their great work at, @dragoncontv on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and of course, YouTube.

9 Fictional Beverages You Can't Have (And Recipes for Them)

Image credit: Ruth Suehle

In part one of this post, I covered fourteen fictional foods and their recipes. Now it’s time to turn to the potent (and not so potent) potables of our favorite far-off places.

Mudder’s Milk

On Higgins’ Moon in Firefly, there’s a lil’ ol’ city called Canton where the biggest export is mud, and to keep the mudders moving, this drink, far from “mother’s milk,” provides “all the protein, vitamins and carbs of your grandma’s best turkey dinner, plus 15% alcohol.” Our beloved knitted-hat-wearing big damn hero likes it too. Here’s one Mudder’s Milk recipe for you to try.

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

It takes a two-headed guy to invent a drink that has an effect “like having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick,” and that’s just what Zaphod Beeblebrox did for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy universe. Not only are you likely to have trouble finding the real ingredients (Ol’ Janx Spirit, water from the seas of Santraginus V, Fallian marsh gas, and other delights, plus the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger to finish it off), Douglas Adams said in an interview that “there are a number of environmental and weapons treaties and laws of physics which prevent one being mixed on Earth.” That means you’ll have to choose one of the many Earth-bound imitations.


At one time you could buy Fry’s favorite beverage in Futurama, as Slurm was sold as an energy drink, but if you still want it, you’ll have to turn to eBay. It probably wasn’t squirted out of a real Slurm Queen anyway. This imitation recipe calls for rum, sour apple schnapps, pineapple juice, and 7-Up. Good luck with that. You might end up wishing for the Slurm Queen.

Continue reading 9 Fictional Beverages You Can't Have (And Recipes for Them)

Fourteen Fictional Foods You Can't Have (And Recipes For Them)

This picture is a lie. Image credit: qwrrty

Our favorite fictional worlds are often fantastically full of fantasy flavors–some better than others. It’s hard to resist creating Earthly versions of them, so why fight it? Here are fourteen foods from fiction and ways to make them yourself, along with three you can find without much invention.


Of the myriad Middle Earth munchies, lembas seems to be the most popular to recreate. (Maybe because “cram” is a less appealing name, especially when eating it is described as “a chewing exercise.”) Lembas, on the other hand, has a description similar to hard tack, a cracker sort of thing we don’t see much of in the US. Here’s a lembas recipe based on what we know about it. At the end of the experiment, you will be baked andthentherewillbe cake.

Fruity Oaty Bars

I wouldn’t fault you for printing Fruity Oaty Bar wrappers and putting them on your Clif bars. That seems reasonable, and less likely to have any ill effects from consuming Blue Sun products. But if you want to make your own, they tell us right there in the name that they likely contain something resembling fruit, something resembling oats, and are bar-shaped. How convenient! Even more convenient–a recipe using oats and the fruit puree of your choice. I invited your best friend, the Companion Cube. Of course, he couldn’t come because you murdered him.


Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the post. This is your fault. I’m going to kill you. And all the cake is gone. You don’t even care, do you?


Leave it to the Klingons to name a delicacy with the sound a human is likely to make when eating it. Short of actually eating live worms (which I really don’t recommend, despite enjoying How to Eat Fried Worms), you can recreate the look with Jell-o Blood Worms. If your tongue is brave, try this recipe made with ginger and cocoa. And if you’re really yearning for the sensation, I think you could get close with casu marzu.Momentum, a function of mass and velocity, is conserved between portals. In layman’s terms, speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out.


Really? Really? You want to eat spoo? Babylon 5 fans are so weird. (I love you anyway.) How about some gnocchi spoo? It’s not worms, but we covered that particular taste with the gagh. Did you know you can donate one or all of your vital organs to the Aperture Science Self Esteem Fund for Girls? It’s true!

Food cubes

Dear Future,

Nutrition is important, but food is supposed to look good as well as taste good. Please remember this.

The present

I’m all about space travel, but you won’t see me spending long on any planet that thinks food cubes are a good idea. Claudia Black, who played Aeryn Sun on Farscape, says they used “hawanalis.” A poster on the RPF suggests that what she really meant was haw flake candy.That thing you burnt up isn’t important to me. It’s the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit; it makes shoes for orphans. Nice job breaking it, hero.


The problems with popplers are plentiful, and not limited to MEAT protests. There’s the lack of transportation to Omicron Persei 8, the difficulty of eating animated food, and the fact that I can’t stop thinking about my fond 80s feelings for Popples. Searching for imitation recipes of this Futurama universe delicacy will yield you everything from seafood bites to hush puppies to chicken nuggets, so choose your favorite deep-fried, ball-shaped treat and sing along. You can pick ’em, you can lick ’em, you can chew ’em, you can stick ’em. If you promise not to sue us, you can shove one up your nose!” The Enrichment Center is required to remind you that the Weighted Companion Cube cannot talk. In the event that it does, ignore its advice.

Ice planets

Your food is problematic? Let us solve your problem! Make your own Firefly ice planets to torture your kids all afternoon. Anyway, this cake is great. It’s so delicious and moist. Look at me still talking when there’s science to do.

Continue reading Fourteen Fictional Foods You Can't Have (And Recipes For Them)

Geek Burlesque is Like Nothing You've Seen Before

“Rated R for Violence” Epic Win Burlesque
Image via Ben Trivett Photography

Have you ever been to a burlesque show? There are two different types of burlesque, traditional and neo-burlesque. Traditional burlesque integrates striptease with a bit of Vaudville, comedy sketches, acrobatics, juggling, live vintage music, and singing. This is the burlesque that most people are familiar with. During the mid-1990’s neo-burlesque emerged. While neo-burlesque still focuses on striptease and dance, it integrates popular music, performance art and exploration of gender identity. Both versions of burlesque embrace all body types in a deliberate attempt to debunk the traditional definitions of beauty. Burlesque isn’t about demeaning women, quite the opposite in fact:  it is about empowering them.

If you have never been to a burlesque show, maybe now is the time to go. Still not convinced? How about if it incorporated a Ghostbusters parody, a Star Wars vs. Star Trek battle, steampunk, or maybe a zombie hunt? Burlesque dance troupes around the country have begun catering directly to the geek culture by bringing beloved geek themes and striptease together in a very memorable way. While you may be wary of attending a striptease act, consider for a moment if you would like to attend ComicCon or other cons where cos-play is prevalent. The burlesque costuming is rarely more risqué then some of the more memorable cos-play costumes.

Continue reading Geek Burlesque is Like Nothing You've Seen Before

GeekMom Comic Book Corner — August 1st, 2012

Green Lantern: New Guardians / Image: Copyright DC Comics
Green Lantern: New Guardians / Image: Copyright DC Comics

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

Dakster Sullivan – Green Lantern: New Guardians #11
In this month’s issue, our heroes are ticked off and ready to kick some tail. After coming to their own conclusion that Larfleeze stole the lantern rings, they headed back to The Hall of Orange Lanterns to deal with him. The battle that ensues is intense, but really easy to follow. Without spoiling too much, we lose a member of the team who I have to admit has grown on me.

Continue reading GeekMom Comic Book Corner — August 1st, 2012

31 Places to Visit That Will Give You Movie Déjà Vu

Some places are famous for showing up in movies. Some places never seem to stop showing up in them. Understandably, there are locations around California, and particularly Los Angeles, that we see over and over in TV and movies. But here are 31 places that you’ll recognize not just from one movie or TV show, but from two, three, or even dozens.

Ferris Bueller’s house. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Los Cerritos (Long Beach, California)
There are around 700 houses in this neighborhood, but its Country Club Drive is a popular choice if you live in movies. One house on that street served as Wyatt’s house in Weird Science, Jim Cunningham’s (Patrick Swayze’s) house in Donnie Darko, and Jake’s house in Not Another Teen Movie. Up the street, you’ll find Ferris Bueller’s house, which is also in Not Another Teen Movie, as well as in Red Dragon and a Cheerios commercial. Jim’s and Michelle’s houses from American Pie are also in this neighborhood.

Organic Panificio Restaurant & Cafe (Marina del Rey, California)
This diner has been in Spider-Man (the Tobey Maguire one), as well as in Dexter and Matchstick Men. (I’d like to say you can visit the Royal Diner from Bones, but it’s on a Fox backlot. You can, however, see it in an episode of How I Met Your Mother.) Continue reading 31 Places to Visit That Will Give You Movie Déjà Vu

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner – June 6th, 2012

X-Men Season 1 Image: Copyright Marvel Comics
X-Men Season 1 Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

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

Dakster Sullivan — What I’m reading this week: X-Men Season 1
This past week I decided to pick up X-Men Season 1. I wasn’t to sure at first how I would like seeing only five X-Men and all in yellow and navy spandex, but I figured I could work around that. At first glance of the cover, I thought Beast looked naked without his signature blue fur. On the upside, at least they gave him a cute face.  Something else I noticed was that some of the characters I would usually put on the back burner, took center stage this time.

The story follows the original five X-Men through their first year as a team. It was nice to see that the writers didn’t focus the entire story on only one member of the team and instead shared the spotlight with each of them. Their fight was one quarter defending a world that hates them, one quarter fighting the Brotherhood, and one half dealing with hormones and uncontrollable super powers.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner – June 6th, 2012

On Explaining Wheaton’s Law

PAX East 2010 with Wil Wheaton, Image: Nicole Wakelin

The day you have kids, you have to change your language. I don’t mean you have to learn a new one, but that you have to start eliminating all the words you don’t want them to use once they’re old enough to talk. This is not an easy task. Once you try to stop saying the words that got you in trouble back in grade school, you’ll suddenly become very aware of just how much they sneak into your vocabulary. It may be okay for adults, but not when it’s your toddler who has latched onto a word and is gleefully saying “Sh*t! Sh*t! Sh*t!” as you do your grocery shopping. It’s awful. Trust me.

Thankfully, my kids are now old enough to know better, and they know that if they say something they shouldn’t, then there are going to be consequences. This doesn’t mean I don’t slip up, particularly when I’m driving. It’s hard to spontaneously say “Oh, sugar!” when someone cuts you off because what comes to mind is considerably more colorful. Like most kids, mine surely know a few choice words but don’t dare use them, yet.

Of all the places not to swear, the worst one, the one where you have to be the most careful, is at a school. I accidentally said damn in my daughter’s first grade class and I felt lucky that I wasn’t reported and escorted from the building. They take this stuff seriously. The worst part is that you’re likely to get that look from the teacher, the one that made you want to hide under your desk when you were a kid. The only problem is that those desks are small and if you hide under one as an adult you risk flipping it over and that would probably be worse.

I am very, very careful to use only proper English anytime I’m at the school. I’m kinda proud, truthfully, and a little amazed that I haven’t slipped since that one time in first grade. You try to keep your cool when a kid accidentally squirts you with grape juice, or gets paint on your new shoes. I’m telling you, it is not easy.

One day last week I started chatting with a bunch of moms as we waited for our kids in the foyer at the end of the schoolday. The conversation turned to someone who was being a pain in the butt. (See, I said butt, not something more colorful. I can do this.) We were all in agreement that this person was being awful, and annoying and making things difficult for the rest of us. I shook my head and said the first thing that came to mind, Wheaton’s Law, and the minute that those two little words left my lips I knew I was in trouble.

These moms were not geeks. Not even close. They didn’t know Star Trek from Star Wars, Hobbits from Ewoks, or that Han shot at all, much less first. And they most definitely didn’t know Wheaton’s Law. It became one of those moments when the whole world slowed as they turned to look at me with that unmistakable expression of utter confusion and suspicion.

I tried to explain. Wil Wheaton? The guy who played Wesley on Star Trek? Sheldon’s nemesis on The Big Bang Theory? Nothing. They looked at me like I had a few screws loose. I tried to save myself by explaining that he’s this big-time geek and he has a blog and he has this idea that people should be nice to each other and not nasty and he summed it all up with Wheaton’s Law. I desperately tried to avoid saying the actual law.

So, of course, one mom asked what it actually was and I wanted to go hide under a desk again. Saying it meant saying a word that was clearly not acceptable in a grade school. The kind of word that will make kids giggle, and parents cast disapproving looks, but I was out of options. “Don’t be a dick.”, I said, and at that moment two girls exited the bathroom not three feet away, heard me, and giggled and whispered their way back to class. I am not even kidding.

What went through my head was a string of words that I didn’t say. I smiled and laughed it off as the other moms mostly smiled back. Although I did get a few shocked and disapproving looks. I couldn’t help but feel that it wasn’t my fault this time. I tried not to say it, I really, really did, and it’s not my fault those little girls walked out of the bathroom at exactly that moment. I didn’t even know they were in there and, ugh. Darn you, Wil Wheaton, you’re gonna get me in trouble!

EDITOR’S NOTE: For geeky alternatives to bad words, see Brigid Ashwood’s post on “creative cursing!”