Father’s Day Gift Guide 2015

Image: Dakster Sullivan
Image: Dakster Sullivan

Welcome to the Father’s Day Gift Guide 2015! We have a great line-up of suggestions from all of us here at GeekMom. Whether your dad is into books, movies, clothes, or tech gear, we have something for everyone.

Books and Movies

Inside The SideShow Studio – $18.50
Inside The SideShow Studio gives you an insider’s look behind the doors of one of the best makers of collectibles out there. After flipping through the book myself, I’m a bit jealous of the offices and freedom the employees have in their workspace. Along the tour, readers get to see the offices of some of the influential and the creative minds behind their favorite collectibles.

Find Momo Coast to Coast \ Image Amazon
Find Momo Coast to Coast \ Image Amazon

Find Momo Coast to Coast – $10.49
Find Momo Coast to Coast is an adult version of Where’s Waldo but Waldo is a real dog and he’s hiding in real pictures his owner took of him on their road trips. It’s a fun and challenging book that will give dad a run for his money while looking at some great photography.

Ghost Hunters Season 9 on DVD Part 1 and Part 2– $24.99
Ghost Hunters is a fun show that my husband and I enjoy watching together. In fact, it’s the only paranormal show I can handle. Maybe it’s the geek in me that loves watching Steve and Tango set up the equipment. My husband enjoys watching them try to disprove before deciding if something is really paranormal or just normal. Jason and the team hit up well known haunts like Sowden House (The Black Dahlia Murder), Jennie Wade House in Gettysburg, and the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum which features a guest appearance by Grant Wilson (co-founder of TAPS).

D-BOX Tickets for Jurassic World – Pricing varies, depending on theater
What could make your dad’s Jurassic World experience that much more enjoyable? If he could feel every stomp of that Stegosaurus, the Triceratops, and even the mighty T-Rex. The blockbuster action flick will be shown at several theaters that are equipped with D-BOX motion-enhanced seating, which can deliver vibrations that are in sync with the on-screen action. There are currently D-130 BOX-enhanced theaters in the U.S. and 350 locations nationwide.

The Royal Imperial Boxed Set: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Trilogy – $24.92
Short blurb: This beautifully illustrated retelling of George Lucas’ Star Wars in the style of William Shakespeare contains Verily, A New Hope; The Empire Striketh Back; and The Jedi Doth Return. Han shooteth first? Forsooth! Also included is a full-color poster.

 Image Folio Society
Image Folio Society

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes Box Set (paperback)– $59.45
It’s possible dad’s got one or two of these, dog-eared and much-loved. A new set to share with the next generation of snowball-throwers and lovers of stuffed tigers everywhere may be just the ticket.

The Folio Society’s Dune by Frank Herbert (pre-order) – $125
This exquisite reprint of a beloved classic will arrive in the summer, Shai-halud willing. But knowing that it, like the waters of a distant homeworld, will someday come, will be a gift of its own. Illustrated by award-winning artist Sam Webber, the book is a standout of epic proportions. (GeekMom Fran swears this is a present for dad. She’s totally not stealing it the first chance she gets.)

Bags and Accessories

Humvee TacPacks – Transport Gear Pack – $49.99
Give dad the gift of an awesome backpack with the Humvee Gear TacPack. It has more pockets and straps than even he might not know what to do with.

X-Train 2 by OGIO – $80
This is the ultimate sports bag for dad (or mom). It has a separate compartment for shoes, clothes, and small items as well as a means of carrying around a workout mat.

Geeky Jerseys – Average price is $99 to $105, depending on design
These really nicely made hockey jerseys with geeky themes range from popular television and movie designs from Star Wars to Walking Dead, as well as some more lesser-known references like the “Roughnecks,” and “Zebes Hunters.” There is also an occasional baseball jersey design available as well.

Casual Vader Shirt \  Image: SuperHeroStuff
Casual Vader Shirt \ Image: SuperHeroStuff

The one big set-back is not all designs are in stock at all times. There are many very cool designs “on demand,” which means “wait and see until they come back in stock.” If only that TARDIS would come back in stock. Sports lovers should check back often to see what’s available, and don’t hesitate to get any available designs they like. They might be not be available for long.
Image: Geeky Jerseys

Casual Vader Shirt by SuperHeroStuff.com – $21.99
I picked up this shirt for my husband at MegaCon this year and he loves it. It’s the perfect lazy day shirt for any dad.

Toys, Games and Geek Swag

SuperHeroStuff.com Hero Boxes – $49.00
Subscription boxes are all the rage right now, but most have a theme that changes from month to month. SuperHeroStuff.com HeroBoxes work a bit different from that. You can choose to buy dad the specially themed box of the month or choose from a variety of character mystery boxes for him. And for $49.00 he is guaranteed to get at least $70 worth of goodies!

Star Wars Dagobah Shower Curtain – $24.99
When I put the Deagobah shower curtain by ThinkGeek up in our bathroom, my son declared that “Finally! This bathroom has some style!” And my husband wholeheartedly agrees with him. Now to add in some fake snakes and a Yoda statue to make it complete.

Cards Against Humanity Science Pack \ Image: Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity Science Pack \ Image: Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity Science Pack – $10 per pack.
The much-respected field of science is about to get a little more immature, as the hit Cards Against Humanity game’s latest expansion product to the popular party game. Each pack comes with 23 random white and 7 black cards on scientific theories. They also promise an appearance by Uranus. It does require the basic Cards Against Humanity set, so they won’t work on their own. The best thing about these, however, proceeds from each sale benefit the Cards Against Humanity and SMBC Science Ambassador Scholarship, a full-ride scholarship for women seeking undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Bondi Band Solid Moisture Wicking Headband, Black – $9.00
Keep dad comfortable while working out with the Bondi Band moisture wicking headband.

Customized Photo Story Book – Price: as low as $8.00 with coupon (google to the rescue!), $25.00 without
This is a typical gift idea. But you can do much more than just populate some photos and print. I made it a story about my favorite two guys, the things they have in common, and how much they love each other. A year later it’s still a favorite bedtime story in our house!

Nerf Mega BigShock Blaster – $7.99
Short blurb: The Mega BigShock blaster is a perfect “small gift” for Dad, perhaps from a younger child. Dad will love the small size, but the large darts featured here. Dad can play blasters in the yard with the kids, or take this one to work to hide in his desk, coffee table, or workbench for some fun in the off-hours.

Nerf FireVision Ignite light-up flying disc – $14.99
Does Dad enjoy playing Frisbee with the kids, the dog, or with friends? The FireVision Ignite is a battery-powered flying disc that lets his game go on for hours, right into the nighttime hours! The disc takes three “A76” batteries: not the most popular ones, but at least your first set of batteries will be included for you!

NERF Zombie Strike FlipFury \ Image: Amazon
NERF Zombie Strike FlipFury \ Image: Amazon

Nerf Zombie Strike FlipFury Blaster – $19.99
Nerf has outdone themselves with this double chamber Nerf gun that has an impressive two chambers for a combined total of 14 ammo. This is my favorite of all the NERF I’ve ever tested and my husband loves using this in battles against our son.

Blast-off Espresso Cups – $23.98
Never enough rocket fuel in his rocket fuel? Try these espresso cups out. In the Wilde Household, GeekMom Fran says they’re tried and true.

Super Soaker FlashFlood water gun – $19.99
The Super Soaker FlashFlood offers victims a double-whammy of water: the 23 oz. reservoir feeds into either a traditional 40+ foot water stream, or into the “flood” section which blasts your opponents with a “whole mess of water”, in the words of my 12-year old. Dad will enjoy this in the backyard with the kids…or maybe even with the neighbors?

Electronics

Leef Magnet USB 3.0 Drive – $26.24 to $52.49
In the words of Master Yoda, “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not.” That is the case with the Leef Magnet USB 3.0 drive. It’s small and slender in design but packs a quick fist full of power for dad to store up to 64GB of information on.

Vader 3D Light FX \ Image: 3D Light FX
Vader 3D Light FX \ Image: 3D Light FX

Star Wars 3D Deco Lights – $39.99
I’ve raved about the 3D Deco Lights in the past and now they have added Star Wars to their arsenal of decor options. 3D Deco Lights make a fun addition to any room in the house.

Refuel InVIctus – $99.95
Do you remember the time dad let you play on his phone and you drained the battery over Candy Crush? Yea. That’s what I thought. Help him keep his phone charged with the Reful InVIctus case. It has a built-in battery to recharge dad’s phone when you’re done playing with it.

SOUL Electronics: Run Free Pro – $129.99
Does dad need a pair of comfy and wireless running headphones? Pick him up a pair of the SOUL Electronics: Run Free Pro. The price may seem a bit steep for headphones, but they are comfy to wear and actually stay in your ears while running.

Griffin Technology: MOTO TC Rally – $32.99
Pick dad up a remote control car of his own and watch him go back to being a kid again. My husband agrees that this is the smoothest and fastest of the RC cars I’ve ever tested.

PEAR Sports: Mobile Training Intelligence System – $78.48
For the athletic dad, grab him the PEAR Sports: Mobile Training Intelligence System. With the free app, they can sync up the included heart rate monitor and watch their progress. The app also gives advice while he’s running. I’ll go ahead and tell you right off the back that the headphones that come with this system are not the greatest, so pick him up some skull candy ones while you’re out.

Boom Box Touch Speaker \ Image: ThumbsUpUK
Boom Box Touch Speaker \ Image: ThumbsUpUK

Boom Box Touch Speaker from ThumbsUpUk.com – $38.39
This speaker is really cool in the fact that you don’t have to hook it up or sync it up with anything before using it. All you have to do is place your device on top of the speaker and it will automatically pick it up and play. I tested this speaker with my iPod (out of a case) and my iPhone 6 plus (in a case) and both worked fine.

Martian Red Notifier – $129.99
I’ve bragged about this watch before and I’ll do it again now. The Martian Red Notifier is the ideal smartwatch for someone who wants the convenience of notifications on their wrist, without all the bells and whistles. The glass on the watch is also super durable and so far has withstood me walking into dressers, walls, and other sharp corners (and not a scratch on it).

SmartThings Smart Home Starter Kit – $199
The promise of home automation has finally arrived! SmartThings will jump-start your adventure on the Internet of Things.

Fitbit Charge Activity Tracking Wristband – $124.99
Whether dad loves gaming a workout or the comfort of data-loging every move (and sleep too), the fitbit tracker is an excellent choice.

JBL Charge 2+ Splashproof Bluetooth Speaker by Harman – $149.99
JBL’s immensely popular Flip and Charge series of Bluetooth speakers has now been taken to the next level with their splashproof versions! Dad would love a JBL Charge 2+, which takes the Bluetooth speaker complete with device charging and speakerphone capability and adds the ability to take the speaker to the beach, poolside, or out in the rain with confidence. The manual even claims you can wash the speaker off under running water! With JBL’s “social mode” up to three different users can connect with one Charge 2+ to take turns streaming their favorite tunes. The rechargeable battery is capable of providing over 12 hours of music and speakerphone support, and bass fans will love to watch the “Bass Radiator” in action at the two ends of the soda-can-shaped speaker unit. The Charge 2+ is available in 8 colors…be sure to get Dad’s favorite!

The Grillbox \ Image: Grillbot
The Grillbox \ Image: Grillbot

Grillbot – $119
Dad may love grilling, but cleaning up the aftermath is a whole other story. Forget getting him one of those floor-cleaning robots. This gadget is willing to take a funky ride on that BBQ grill–and clean it! Just push one button and watch Grillbot go. It also has a CPU chip, an LCD alarm and timer, and cleaning brushes that can pop off and go right into the dishwasher.

Striker Light Mine – $19.99
If your dad is into working on his car, he could always use a little help–and we’re not talking about an extra set of hands. Available in two sizes, this light can easily fit into tight spaces and even attaches via a magnet. More importantly, it packs in a powerful LED light, so dear old dad can actually see what he’s doing under the hood.

BioLite Camp Stove – $125.95
Dad doesn’t need to be outdoorsy to appreciate this handy camping gadget. In fact, this thing would get even the biggest hermit to come out of his (or her) shell. It’s got some patent-pending thermoelectric technology, which means that the stove doesn’t need sticks or fuel. Once you get a nice fire going, the CampStove can convert that heat into usable electricity to power up phones, lights, and other gadgets, all while Dad is rustling up some vittles.

littleBits Smart Home Kit – $249.99
This little package will allow Dad’s inner-DIYer to turn that home into a smart home. It includes something called the cloudBit, which lets you “snap the internet to anything.” That anything can be everything, from the coffee maker to the curtains to the refrigerator. The kit comes with a total of 14 Bits, which also includes the MP3 player, the Threshold, the Number, the Temperature Sensor, and the IR transmitter. And just in case Dad needs a little inspiration, the package has 14 project ideas and 11 accessories.

The Modlet \ Image: ThinkEco
The Modlet \ Image: ThinkEco

ThinkEco modlet – $50
Whether it tackles the TV, the DVD player, or toys, most dads love remote controls. Imagine being able to add that same type of control to almost any electronic device? The modlet (or modern outlet) is a magical device that makes remote control over anything electronic possible. Just plug the modlet into an outlet and plug your device of choice into either receptacle. Once connected, you can monitor and cut power to those devices using the modlet’s iOS and Android apps. It can even track usage, savings, and your schedule, so it can “recommend” ways to cut back on energy waste. Other features include built-in surge protection, schedule templates for common applications, an override function, and the option to download energy use data for further analysis.

Spire – $149.95
Spire is a little device that clips onto your belt and monitors your breathing. When it senses stress or tension, it sends a signal reminding you to take a deep breath or do a short exercise to relax. Give this one to Dad to help him keep his blood pressure in check and stay focused throughout the day.

HP Pavilion x360: A Holiday Gift To Myself

HP Pavlion x360 \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
HP Pavlion x360. Image: Dakster Sullivan.

Coming in at 13.12 inches wide, 9 inches in diameter, and 3.7 pounds, the HP Pavilion x360 was designed to be a tablet in disguise. The power button and volume buttons are on the side to make sure you have easy access to them, no matter if you have it in laptop, stand, or tablet mode. The specs are pretty basic for a laptop computer, but it gets high markings in the memory and processor departments.

The AMD A8-6410 APU with AMD Radeon R5 Graphics, 2.00GHz is a 64-bit processor and will run your normal everyday office/internet tasks without issue. I’ve read that it can handle a few older PC games, but not being a gamer myself, this isn’t something I can confirm. I can tell you that with the 8GB of memory, I can run my favorite programs like Manga Studio 5, Office, WordPress, and several others without issues. In terms of ports, the HP Pavilion x360 includes: (2) USB 3.0, (1) USB 2.0, (1) HDMI, Ethernet, and an SD card reader. There is no CD/DVD player in this model, but I’m not really missing it.

The WLED-backlit touchscreen display has a resolution of 1366 x 768 and is crispy clear. Even though it’s a touchscreen, I prefer not to use that feature when it’s in laptop mode. It just makes more sense for me to use my mouse.

Left side ports \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Left side ports. Image: Dakster Sullivan.

One of the cool features of this laptop is the ability to flip the screen 360 degrees. That means you can use it in “stand mode,” most commonly preferred for watching movies, or in “tablet” mode. I haven’t used the stand mode and quite frankly, find it to be rather pointless. I have played with the tablet mode and found it to be a bit bulky in terms of use, but useful for when I need to carry it around my office at work.

Right side ports \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Right side ports. Image: Dakster Sullivan.

This laptop has a major downside for me and that is in the physical design. In my experience, computer designers have this bad tendency to design something that even they wouldn’t want to work on if it breaks. For some reason, the designers of this model decided that it would be a good idea to put everything, including the hard drive, battery, and memory, under the keyboard. That means to get to any of those components, you have to pop off the keyboard to get to them.

The battery being on the inside is the biggest downside, in my opinion. For the average user, that means if you ever call someone for tech support and they ask you to pull the battery and let it sit for a minute, you can’t do it. For me, this is a real pain because if the battery dies, there is that much more work involved to replace it. For the everyday consumer who doesn’t have the skills I have, this will mean more money to pay out for someone to repair it. Something else I’ve realized about the battery is that it doesn’t stay charged as long as the HP Envy that I reviewed this year. I can leave that puppy on for days and it won’t die on me. This one, on the other hand, if you don’t use it or charge it, it won’t stay alive in hibernation for more than a day or so. The way to work around this is to take care of the laptop a little better. If you know your child has a football practice or dance class and you want to be able to work, charge it up a few hours ahead of time.

The memory is not upgradable, but since it already has 8GB to start, I’m okay with not being able to add more.

Look mom! No battery! \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Look mom! No battery! Image: Dakster Sullivan.

The 500GB hard drive is nice, but for the most part, I don’t store any files on my laptop. Instead, I save them to one of my many cloud accounts and work from that. With me not saving any of my files to the hard drive, that space will get put to good use with installing my favorite programs like Manga Studio 5 and Office Professional (two programs I practically live in). I work wirelessly 99 percent of the time and have had no problems connecting to the internet at home or at work. In fact, I think this laptop works better than my previous ones, because it finds the wireless network quicker and without me having to turn Wi-Fi on and off to get it to see something.

Since the Pavilion x360 is so small in comparison to my other laptops, I like to use this one as my “go with me everywhere” laptop. I carry it to work, my mom’s house, and pretty much everywhere but the grocery store (and that’s only because I’m not allowed in there…something about buying too much junk food one time).

My bag of choice to carry my Pavilion in is my ThinkGeek Flash diaper bag that I received from a friend for Christmas. I use the changing pad as a makeshift laptop sleeve, the terrycloth burp cloth (AKA “cape”) for a screen cleaner, the insulated bottle holder to keep my cables organized, and the zipper pouch to keep my pens and small change. Even with all that, there is still room for diapers, a change of clothes, and snacks.

IMG_6987[1]
Image: Daxster Sullivan.
I’ve let my son hold this laptop a few times and he didn’t seem to have an opinion on it. He prefers larger screens for playing Minecraft and watching videos. In his mind, once you go big, you don’t go back. For me though, the smaller size works because it’s easier to transport than a 15-inch brick. Even if he doesn’t like the size of the screen to compared to other laptops I’ve let him play with, this one sits nicely in his lap without too much overage on his legs and isn’t too heavy for him to carry by himself (of course, I’m right behind him with a pillow in case he trips…to catch the laptop).

IMG_6986[1]
Image: Daxster Sullivan.
In summary, the HP Pavlion x360 is a great laptop for parents on the go. The size is perfect for anyone who doesn’t want a brick to lug around and weighs enough to know it’s in your bag—but not enough to make you need a back brace when carrying it around. Of the three modes—stand, laptop, and tablet—I find myself using it in laptop mode the most, but appreciate the ability to switch it around, if I ever want to. I didn’t notice any special software on this laptop and that’s okay, because it means there is less for me to uninstall before I get my feet wet with using it.

The HP x360 line is available at select retailers and starts at around $549.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

ThinkGeek Backpack of Holding Giveaway!

The stuff inside my bag. \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
The stuff inside my bag. \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

When I first saw the Backpack of Holding on ThinkGeek’s site, I was more attracted to the name and reputation of the other Bags of Holding than its looks. I have the conventional Bag of Holding and I’m very happy with it. I expected that despite the unfortunate appearance of the Backpack of Holding, that this would be just as awesome as its cousin.

And when it arrived and I pulled it out of its box, I had to remind myself not to judge a book by its cover.

Here’s a list of items I have since carried around in what some are calling my “Mary Poppins bag”:

A small bag of crochet tools with three things of yarn and five needles
Pride and Prejudice (both Manga and Jane Austen original versions)
Bluetooth headphones
Apple headphones
A Disney folder stuffed with vacation plans
iPod mini with keyboard attachment
Rainbow Dash Wig and Tail set
LEGO Neighborhood book
Tylenol
Wallet
Journal
Two pads of paper (and yet, no pens…go figure)
My lunch box
Rainbow Dash wings (folded)

Image: Dakster Sullivan
Image: Dakster Sullivan

And 90% of that was all in the bag at one time.

Despite having all of that in the bag, it wasn’t nearly as heavy as what you would expect it to be. It felt evenly balanced on my back and the padded straps added to the comfort.

I’ve been using the Backpack of Holding for three weeks now and I’ve seen two downsides to it so far.

The first is the lack of lighting inside the bag. That’s right. Lighting. It’s so big inside you need a small lantern to see what you have inside. And don’t get me started on how hard it is to find your keys without a light in there to guide you.

Speaking of keys, this brings me to my second issue with the Backpack of Holding: the lack of clips for keys to hang from. With a bag this big, I would have expected something that would keep you from digging for 20 minutes looking for your house keys. Granted there are the three outside pockets, but that’s where I keep my Tylenol, headphones, and books.

Come to think of it, there’s actually three problems with this bag. The lack of zipper pockets inside. It would have been nice to have at least one for spare change.

Even with the three minor issues I’ve found with the Backpack of Holding, it’s still an awesome bag and well worth the $50.00 price tag (not including shipping or tax).

Now, who’s ready for a giveaway!!

To kick the holiday season off right, ThinkGeek has given us one Backpack of Holding to giveaway to our readers.

If you or someone in your household would like to get your hands on your own Backpack of Holding, leave us a comment telling us what must-have-items you will carry inside it, and then log in to the Rafflecopter widget below with your Facebook account or email address (use a valid email so we can let you know if you win).

You can then like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for up to two entries! If you already like/follow us it will still enter you in the giveaway.

A winner will be chosen at random at the end of the contest and their name will be posted right in the Rafflecopter widget so you can check back to see who won.

This contest is only open to our readers in the USA and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Story of How the Creeper Backpack Joined Our Family

IMG_4490
One day, while taking a trip through the woods, I heard a hissing sound. (All images by: Post Family)
Hiss1
I stopped and listened. “What could that be?” I pondered.
IMG_4498
When I turned around, I saw a little green creature staring at me.
Hiss2
“Hiss?” it asked.
IMG_4506
As I looked at the little creature I wondered what all he could do. He seemed like such a talented little guy!

 

IMG_4494
My daydreaming was cut short when a black creature I hadn’t seen at first made eye contact with me and started hitting me.
IMG_4497
“Ouch!” I said, and quickly grabbed my new green friend and hurried home.
IMG_4485
Once I got home, I realized that my new green friend wasn’t alive, but was in fact, a backpack named Creeper. “Silly me,” I said as I tried to figure out what uses the little guy could have.
IMG_4483
The backpack seemed to be sturdy. It would take a spontaneous combustion to damage the bag.
IMG_4457
The seams are sturdy and reinforced with additional fabric over the top.
IMG_4480
Creeper is also very well padded. The back has multiple layers of padding (I’m guessing around a half inch), and the layer in between the back and middle portions is padded, too. Plus, the “feet” add some cushion on the bottom (at first I thought all of those animals in the forest were feeding him too much, but no).
IMG_4470
As it turns out, all of that padding does a pretty darn good job of protecting school books. Also, with more schools assigning tablet devices to students, this backpack does a great job of protecting the devices from breaking quite so easily if the bag is dropped instead of being set down. Though my 17″ laptop didn’t fit in the bag, a 10″ device and a 7″ device both fit as seen in the image.
IMG_4454
It has three zipper compartments.
Foam Feet
The middle one holds a covered foam-ish block that holds the form of the Creeper’s feet.
Full backpack
The bag holds a lot. As you can see, several games could fit in the backpack. I was able to fit: Get Bit, Dixit Jinx, Happy Birthday, 2 Story Cubes sets, 2 Munchkin sets, Zombie Dice, Family Flux, and my favorite Geek Mom and Geek Dad project books all in this bag. There was still room for more!
IMG_4477
The kids were going to fight over him.
IMG_4471
But eventually, my son ended up earning his companionship.
IMG_4454(1)
If you want to adopt a Creeper backpack for the coming school year, visit ThinkGeek.

(Adoption cost through ThinkGeek is $39.99)

GeekMom received a review sample for the purpose of this review.

May the Party Be With You—How to Throw an Epic Star Wars Party!

As a Star Wars geek and 501st Legion costumer, I know how to throw a Star Wars party. You could say the Force is strong in me. This summer, with a little help from ThinkGeek, I’m going to throw my son’s friends a party to remember.

My Star Wars party consists of three elements:

  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Games

First things first, we need to pick out the entertainment.

There are six Star Wars movies and six season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars to choose from. It would take over 44 hours to watch all of the animated series, seven hours to watch the prequels, and just over six hours to watch the original trilogy. If you’re planning your party on a weekend and to make sure you don’t behave like a Sith on Monday, I would stick to just watching either the prequels or the original trilogy.

Once that has been decided, on to the second most important part of any party… the food!

The menu for this shindig consists of:

Yoda Soda (this can be a bit strong for some people, so a Tatooine Sunset is a nice alternative)
TIE Fighter Ties
Lightsaber Ice Pops
Clone Trooper Cakes
Death Star Popcorn
R2-D2 Treats

Yoda soda has a bit of a kick to it, so if you feel yourself fading into the force during the movie, a sip of Yoda soda will wake you back up. Pick up the R2-D2 measuring cups to make sure you add just the right amount of force to your dishes. If you have adults at your party, be extra careful when making your TIE Fighter Ties to avoid any dark side jokes. For the lightsaber ice pops, I prefer red or green colored juices (red and green Powerade works great).

Lightsaber Popsicle duel \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Lightsaber ice pop duel \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Now that the kitchen has been taken over by the Rebels, it’s time to decide on the games!

No party would be complete without some lightsabers. You can pick up the cheap ones at Target or the nicer ones on ThinkGeek. When the sun goes down, host a lightsaber battle outside. If you want your fight to have fewer bruises, grab some pool noodles and make your own lightsabers.

Once everyone calms down from dueling, hang up your hilts and get to work on your own 3D metal model of the Millennium Falcon or R2-D2. Due its complexity, this activity is more for adults than kids. My husband was challenged when putting his R2 together and I heard a few “beeps” that weren’t PG-13 while he was building it.

Other fun games you can play are “Vader Says,” a variation on Simon Says, but instead, the lead player wears a Darth Vader helmet and commands his clones.

If you want your guests to have a good laugh, take out a copy of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars and let everyone pick a character to read. I had several adult friends in stitches when reading my copy at home one day.

Once everyone has exhausted their energy with games and filled their tummies with Star Wars treats, it’s time to get them nestled in for the movie.

Of course, no Star Wars movie night would be complete without proper sleeping accommodations. The Tauntaun sleeping bag is so popular in our house, my husband and son have to fight for the right to sleep in it.

Makes you want to cuddle up with a Taun Taun doesn't it? \ Image: Dakster Sulliva
Makes you want to cuddle up with a Tauntaun doesn’t it? \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

For your guests who need something special to cuddle, pick up one of the Star Wars cuddle critters in either Tauntaun, Bantha, Rancor, or Wampa.

With that, the movie begins and the house goes quiet with only the sounds of star destroyers, machine-like breath, and an R2-D2, the most offensive droid in the galaxy (they beep out every word he says for crying out loud…ba dum dum!).

I hope I have encouraged you to pick a side in the battle of the Empire and Rebellion and have a Star Wars party of your own. May the Force be with you.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received review samples. 

Our DIY Adventure Time Birthday Party

My most-awesome birthday boy as Finn. He asked for an Adventure Time birthday party and I did my best to offer a practical, affordable party experience. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.
My most-awesome birthday boy as Finn. He asked for an Adventure Time birthday party and I did my best to offer a practical, affordable party experience. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Just like last year, my youngest son came to me with a somewhat-obscure birthday party idea. Now, if you’re a loyal GeekMom reader, you’re probably thinking, “Wait a second, who hasn’t heard of Adventure Time?” We’re definitely fans here, and we’ve been privileged to review some of the DVD collections for GeekMom.

But to mainstream America, apparently it’s obscure.

Last year my son requested a Nyan-cat themed birthday party, which (with the help of the GeekMoms) I was able to put together with lots of DIY ideas. I had used Pinterest to collect and share the party tips.

This year I did the same thing. I set up a Pinterest board and began collecting ideas. Allow me to share with you three of the things I did.

Invitations

In years past I would simply print half-sheets of paper into invitations by pulling clip art of the boys’ favorite characters. But this around I opted for something a little more elegant. I found Novel Concept Designs, who markets custom party invitations and thank you note cards. For $7.00 (I had a coupon) I received a custom-designed JPG image of the party invitation, which I was able to print on photo paper. Amanda turned around the cards quickly—in one morning I had placed the order, provided the party details, and had something ready to print. The company also features other party themes.

Party Favors

After GeekMom Kelly expressed disdain for party favors a couple years back, I’ve been trying to be more conscious about “goodie bags.” I attempt to keep it to consumables, crafts, or toys that are more useful than dollar- and dime-store trinkets. This year I like to think I came up with a great idea: Homemade Finn hats!

My youngest son got a ThinkGeek/Cartoon Network Finn hat for Christmas (see the photo at the top). He wears it all the time, even to bed on particularly cold nights. He has recruited many of his friends to be Adventure Time fans with him, and I was pondering how much it would cost to get all the party guests Finn hats. Considering the ThinkGeek version is $16.99 (as of this writing), I decided to think outside the box.

I began to browse for hat patterns. I could make the hats! I found a few patterns (on my Pinterest board) but the Instructable.com one seemed the most reasonable. This pattern allowed me to make the equivalent of two hats, then sew them both together such that there are no exposed outward seams. Here in Colorado, this was a perfect party favor for a wintertime birthday party. This week I even saw a couple of the party guests wearing their hats on the school yard. Practical Party Favor Success!

DSC_0400
This is the Fionna hat I ad-libbed from the original Finn hat pattern from Instructables.com. You simply print the multiple-page patterns and then cut/tape together the parts for the side of the hat. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

I picked up about 5 yards of white fleece for about $20. I only needed 2 1/2 yards of the fabric, and I made 7 hats. Wow—that’s less than $2 per hat, which is less than I’d ever spent on goody bags in the past.

Six Finn and one Fionna hat for my youngest son's party guests. They are sized for adult heads, but seemed to fit the kids just fine.
Six Finn hats and one Fionna hat for my youngest son’s party guests. They are sized for adult heads, but seemed to fit the kids just fine. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.
We had the party at a family fun center in Colorado Springs. The kids wearing the hats made them easy to spot in the crowded game area. Photo: Patricia Vollmer
We had the party at a family fun center in Colorado Springs. The kids wearing the hats made them easy to spot in the crowded game area. My son had enough tickets earned to win a stuffed Finn doll, how cute is that? Photo: Patricia Vollmer

The Cake

Finally, let’s talk about the cake. After last September’s incredible Minecraft Creeper cake disaster, I was extremely nervous about how to do the cake. I decreed early on that the cake would be left in the pan (for stability) so I would only decorate the top surface.

I wanted to keep it simple, similar to last year’s Nyan Cat cake. I had looked at fancier cake ideas at Cake Central, but instead decided to simply put Finn and Jake’s faces on it. I found a simple image that I could replicate on Deviant Art, and went from there.

The cake. I realized I could have made the faces much bigger. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.
The cake. Definitely amateur hour, but my son doesn’t mind. All butter buttercream FTW! I realized I could have made the faces much bigger. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Feel free to visit my Pinterest board if your child is interested in an Adventure Time birthday party of his/her very own! It’s a good time and it can certainly be done easily and cost-effectively.

ThinkGeek’s Soft Kitty Hoodie Is Perfect For You And Your Kids

ThinkGeek Soft Kitty Hoodie, Image: ThinkGeek

Who would have thought that the ThinkGeek Soft Kitty Hoodie would be the absolute most loved thing my daughter found under the Christmas tree this year?

We occasionally watch The Big Bang Theory with the kids and when my youngest first became aware of Soft Kitty she fell in love. I’d hear her humming it from time to time, sometimes singing the words, and I have even sung it to her to cheer her up. It works every time.

When I saw the Soft Kitty hoodie on ThinkGeek, my first thought was that I wanted it for myself because it’s so darn cute. It’s actually a costume hoodie that turns you into Soft Kitty with a little tail, paw covers for you hands, and a hood with ears. It’s adorable.

It was about this time that the Mom part of my brain kicked in and I knew it would be the perfect thing for my daughter. In fact, there was no way that I alone could have one because it would make her cry. And then I would end up giving it to her anyway, so, losing scenario.

ThinkGeek Soft Kitty Hoodie, Image: ThinkGeek

It runs in adult sizes, but she’s ten so a ladies small fit her with some room to grow. There is a unisex version too that’s cut a little wider and has a grey-lined hood instead of pink. If you’re looking for a looser fit, go with the unisex. Either way, it does run a little on the small side so I’d go up a size if you’re in doubt.

The hoodie is just as cute as it looked online and was of a better quality than expected. It’s a 60/40 polyester/cotton blend which can sometimes feel a little cheesy but not this time. It’s very soft and I’d swear that it’s got more cotton than anything. Soft hoodie, warm hoodie, indeed.

The little paws button back so you can warm your cold fingers and then fold them back out of the way when you need to send your next text message. The tail doesn’t come off, so you’ll have that all of the time, although it’s short enough that it doesn’t really get in the way. Yes, I did test this before I gave it to my daughter because it was too cute to not try on when it arrived.

The Soft Kitty Hoodie ($49.99) is now available at ThinkGeek.

GeekMom received this product for review purposes.

ThinkGeek Handbag of Holding Giveaway And Review!

Handbag of Holding, Image: ThinkGeek
Handbag of Holding, Image: ThinkGeek

This ThinkGeek exclusive is the follow-up to their Bag of Holding messenger bag which is a bit larger and bulkier than this one. Don’t go thinking this is a little handbag, though, because it’s still pretty large and might be better described as a tote. It’s got 15 pockets, and yes I counted to make sure there really were that many. Here’s how it all breaks down.

  • 1 Padded tablet sleeve with zipper closure: 13″ wide x 9.5″ tall
  • 2 Large compartments: 14: wide x 9.5″ tall x 2″ deep
  • 2 Outer front pockets with magnetic flap closures: 4″ wide x 5″ tall x 1.5″ deep
  • 2 Document pockets, front and back,, with magnetic snap closures: 14″ wide x 8″ high
  • 2 Zippered compartments,1 inside each document pocket:: 5″ square
  • 2 Water bottle pockets: 4″ wide x 6″ high x 2″ deep
  • 3 Slip pockets, front inside lining: 5″ wide x 6″ tall, 3.5″ wide x 6″ tall, 2″ wide x 6″ tall
  • 1 Zippered compartment, back inside lining: 6″ wide x 6″ tall

I was impressed not just with the utility of the Handbag of Holding, but with the quality of its components. It’s made of sturdy, 12 gauge grey canvas that feels like it’ll take a beating without coming apart at the seams. There’s a baseboard set into the bottom to help it stay square and four little metal feet so you don’t have to worry about setting it down and ruining the bottom.

Add to that metal closures and connectors including the loops that hold the 1.5″ wide top handles to the bag. Those handles are even 10″ long so they’ll work as easily holding the bag with your hands as they will looped over your shoulder, even over a bulky coat. An adjustable detachable shoulder strap turns the handbag into a messenger style bag that you can sling across your body.

Handbag of Holding, Image: ThinKGeek
Handbag of Holding, Image: ThinkGeek

There are also some nice accents that make the bag fun and dare I say pretty. The interior is lined in light lavender and “Handbag of Holding” is embroidered on the front in silver thread right beneath a chrome d20 logo. And you know how expensive bags have a tag with their name dangling from one strap? This bag has one, too. It’s about the size of a business card with a leather back and a chrome front with an engraved logo.

The tag, which is removable, screams geek if you really look at it, but otherwise it’s going to fly under the radar of the less observant. It’s a good-looking, sturdy, and very utilitarian bag that will as easily hold all of the stuff you take with you every day as it will all of your gaming stuff on a Saturday night with your friends.

Now that you know how cool the Handbag of Holding is, I bet you want one of your own. You can pick a Handbag of Holding from ThinkGeek for $49.99 or head over to my Total Fan Girl blog to enter to win your very own Handbag of Holding so you can carry your stuff in geektastic style. Good luck!

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?)

ThinkGeek Does Star Wars Right!

AT-AT bag attack on Hoth  Image: Dakster Sullivan
AT-AT bag attack on Hoth Image: Dakster Sullivan

Several vendors debuted some really cool stuff last year at Star Wars Celebration VI and as always, ThinkGeek brought their game face and blew them all away. I’m only just now starting to get to play with these new toys, so here is the list of my favorites!

First up on my list, is the AT-AT Plush Utility Bag. This was love at first sight for me and I happily carried one around the convention. My son found a new use for it as a puppet. More than one child stopped to play with him as he walked “AT-ATY” the AT-AT around the convention floor. The inside is spacious enough to hold your wallet, phone, and a few other things. The head of the bag comfortably fits my credit cards and change.

Something else that fits in my AT-AT bag is my Han Solo Business Card Holder. This little guy packs a wallop and in my opinion could be used as a weapon. With a push of the creatively hidden button on the side, the bottom pops out to expose your business cards. It doesn’t hold that many cards, but the impression you leave after using it, makes it worth it. The edges are a little sharp, so this is not something you want to hand over to a child, but it makes a great little display piece or fully functioning business card holder.

Han Solo in Carbonite business card holder  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Han Solo in Carbonite business card holder Image: Dakster Sullivan

If you want to take a trip back to your childhood, check out the Scalextric Star Wars Race Track. I’ve checked out the Death Star Attack set and it was pretty fun. If you’re a fan of the old-school slot cars, then I highly recommend this one. The interesting part about it is you don’t race the cars. The point of the game is to knock the other car off the track. In fact, the X-Wing (Death Star Attack set) is too wide to pass Vader’s TIE Fighter. The first person to knock the other player of the track wins.

My Inflatable R2-D2 R/C Droid is about as close as I’m going to get to the real thing for awhile. This little guy inflates to around 25 inches tall and is pretty easy to get up and running. On top of that, he can go down stairs and not topple over, something the real thing can’t even do. My only complaint about this product is that it’s extremely noisy when you play with it on a tile floor. I don’t have much carpet in my place so I can’t tell you how well it work on a different surface. The remote only has about a 25 foot range, which is just enough for my little guy to play with him.

In addition to checking out some of their newest products, I also had the chance to fall in love with some older ones.

The Boba Fett bathrobe is the perfect accessory for any fan of the famous bounty hunter. It’s just as comfy as it looks too! The armor pieces are a nice touch (literally) and are silky smooth. My son thinks it looks really cool and loves the hood on the back.

Of everything I’ve been able to check out, my favorite has to be the AT-AT bag. It’s a neat way to show your love of Star Wars and it’s comfy to carry around. It could almost double as a pillow (if you don’t put anything too hard in it).

For more awesome Star Wars and otherwise cool geeky stuff, check out ThinkGeek’s website.

In exchange for my time and efforts in reporting my opinion within this blog, I received a free review sample. Even though I receive this benefit, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine. Let’s face it. Star Wars is cool. Would you expect me to give anything other than a positive review?

My First 200 Posts and Here’s to 200 More!

Dakster Sullivan / Image: Dave Liew
Dakster Sullivan / Image: Dave Liew

While writing up Comic Book Corner last week, I noticed I was only three posts away from 200 on GeekMom. Wow! It feels like only yesterday when I checked my spam folder to find an email from a GeekMom editor asking me if I wanted to join up with them. I was floored that 1.) if I hadn’t checked my spam folder that day I would have missed out on one heck of an opportunity and 2.) I had been selected out of what I can only assume, was a ton of letters asking to join up.

Since then, I’ve had some amazing experiences and opportunities to write about everything I’m passionate about, from comics to products to life experiences. I’ve also had the chance to interview celebrities and alike.

I’ve been thinking back about my favorite experiences so far, and just in case you missed any of them, I’d like to present to you with my favorite posts that I’ve had the pleasure of writing this past year and a half.

The first post I think of when I think back to the past year in a half is my first successful post, DC Comics New 52: A Newbies Point Of View. Before we moved to Wired, there were some really cool comments from encouraging to trolls on this one. The trolls made me realize that jerks occur in all walks of life, and geeks are not immune to having to deal with them. The friendlier comments encouraged my new love of comic books and some of them even backed me up against the trolls.

A few days after it was up on the site, one of my fellow GeekMoms realized that DC Comics was sharing it on their social networking sites. I had a total geekgasm (is that a word?). This write-up led to me looking DC Comics up at Megcon in 2012, where I talked with both Tony Bedard and Dan Didio about my experiences as being a newbie reading comic books.

Another post I’m rather proud of is more recent. Women in Technology: Get With the Picture was inspired by a post I saw on CNET about women in the technology field. I guess you can say I disagreed with the author to the point that I decided to point out what I thought the problem was in terms of the lack of women in STEM related fields.

I had no idea how well it would take off until I woke up to find that, after only being live for an hour, it had already been tweeted over 80 times. Later, I saw it take its place on Wired’s main page (a huge honor). Comments continued to come in months after the post went live and we had a mix of loud dissenters, as well as men and women who politely either agreed or disagreed with each other. If my memory serves me correctly, this post took me the longest, at over three months, to put together the way I wanted it.

Interviews are always fun, but for a while, I was a bit too intimidated to talk to anyone, so I conducted them all through email. This is probably one of my biggest regrets, because after speaking with Cort Lane this past January, I realized doing interviews over the phone wasn’t so bad. It was my interview with Hoon Lee and Kelly Hu that finally put me at ease when it came to talking to actors on the phone (Hoon Lee did his Splinter voice for me and I made it one of my phone alerts!).

After shooting the breeze with both of them, I realized that they were people just like me and I was able to show that in both of my interviews with them. Looking back, I would love to have a chance to redo some of the other interviews I’ve done including Yuri Lowenthal and Axel Alonso. I’ve also been on the lookout for other people I’d like to interview, and now I jump at the chance to talk to people who help bring my favorite characters to life.

Of all the interviews I’ve done, I would have to say the deepest interview I’ve done is with Pat Shand, the writer for Zenescope’s Robyn Hood comic book series. The most “interesting” would be a tie between Chubbs the Wampug and R2-KT.

I’m also a fan of using my GeekMom powers for good causes, and I did just that with Ian Keisacker. I first learned about Ian through the 501st forums after his father posted up asking members to help his son make his goal of $500 for a St. Baldricks fundraiser. I wasn’t sure how much a post would help Ian raise his goal, but I figured it was worth a shot. I reached out to his dad on the boards and after some research on Ian’s online diary, and after some emails back and forth with his dad, I had a post I was proud of.

This was the hardest post I’d written at this point and I had to stop more than once due to my keyboard getting wet from my tears.  It was hard, but in the end, it was worth it. Thanks to the readers and the 501st Legion for sharing the post on social networking sites, Ian not only raised his goal, he destroyed it and raised over $1,100 for cancer research!

My most personal post is definitely my Anxiety and the Geek post. Before GeekMom, I didn’t have the strength to talk about my personal battles, but I felt this one needed to be told. Through writing it and posting it, I learned I’m not alone in this battle and I have people in my life fighting it as well that are there to help me when I need them.

Comic Book Corner is something I’ve very proud of. For those of you who are not familar with it, Comic Book Corner is a weekly comic book segment that I put together, along with my fellow GeekMoms. Complete with a list of the weeks new releases, this is my baby and I use it to help spread my love of comic books. The idea came to me after seeing the book club posts on the site and I wanted something for those of us who preferred their comic book heroes over the classics. It’s taken off, and every week we have contributions from different writers and who give insight into what they are reading. This is a great place to find new comic book suggestions–and I’ve taken more than a few of them myself. Comic Book Corner’s Comic Books for Kids post was a very popular, and I highly recommend anyone with children to check it out.

New Fantasyland was my first major press event and I couldn’t have been more excited to attend. Being a member of the press for this event made it and an adventure all its own. It was an amazing, memorable experience. The post itself took me some time because I wanted to make sure I included everything I could to give you all a great picture of what happened for the three days I was there.

Another post that comes to mind right now is my write up on Reading Rainbow because it’s one of the first “Twitter fires” I’d seen. Searching for this post on Twitter, I found dozens of people had tweeted the post and included the last line of my post in their tweet, “But you don’t have to take my word for it…” This was really cool for me because it meant my last line did exactly what I wanted it to do–it got people’s attention (and being retweeted by Levar Burton was really cool, too).

Star Wars Weekends is one of the biggest troops that we do in the Florida Garrison (501st Legion), and this past year, I took the time out to give some amazing costumers a shout out with my Star Wars Weekends 2012: Awesome Costume Firsts post. It takes a lot of work and dedication to build these costumes, so I felt it only fitting that I show them off to everyone I could. I also wanted to give a special thanks to everyone that helped me pull off my own weekends first costume and felt there was no better place than on GeekMom.

The Deedpool Corps is nothing to special except for the fact that it let me learn about Squirrelpool–the deadly squirrel assassin member of the Deadpool Corps. I first saw this little guy in an advertisement for a collectors series that included him as a bonus figure. I reached out to Sideshow Collectibles to find out more about the character and what made him so special. In the process I learned a little bit more about this furry little guy who was cute, but deadly. Why does this make the list? Because I did it for pure fun. The pageviews were next to nothing compared to the other posts on this list, but that doesn’t really matter to me as much as how much fun I had writing it.

On top of of my favorite posts, I’ve also had some great experiences that I could never have had if I wasn’t a GeekMom writer. This past year alone I had the privilege to go to Megacon and Star Wars Celebration VI as a member of the press. I also had the chance to meet Mythbusters Adam and Jamie. I was also given an amazing Mother’s Day weekend at Gaylord Palms (my husband is still trying to find a way to top it this year) and I’ve reviewed some great products from ThinkGeek, Lego and Hasbro (to name a few). I’ve also taken a stand against bullying when some of my friends and fellow 501st Legion/Rebel Legion friends were attacked in a slideshow on a local news station’s website.

As you can see, I get to have a lot of fun here on GeekMom.

Some of the posts I write might not always take off, but that doesn’t take away the fun I have in writing them or the pleasure I get from the positive or thought provoking comments you leave for me to read. As sad as it sounds, I feel like I’m waiting by the phone for a date after every post goes live. Why? Because I love hearing from our readers and I love that you take the time to write a comment or shoot me an email to tell me your thoughts.

So, thank you for taking time out of your day to read what we have to say here. It means a lot to us all to know you care enough to check the site, even if you don’t always agree with what we have to say.

I have some awesome things planned for this year, some of them coming up very soon after this post goes live, so please check back often. You never know what fun and amazing things myself and the other GeekMoms have in store for you. Cheers to my first 200 posts and all the things I’ve learned since starting. Here’s to another 200 more to come! 

A One-Stop List for Geek-Friendly Cyber Monday Deals

There are a lot of deals to sift through today–who has the time? So we’ve done a little sorting for you to make your Cyber Monday shopping go a little more smoothly. Find another great deal? Leave it for everyone in the comments!

Electronics

The Kindle Fire is only $129 today, the lowest it’s been. Use code FIREDEAL at checkout. If you’re looking for more, they have quite a few tablet deals as well.

Nabi, the Android tablet for kids, is the kids.woot special today, which means it also probably won’t be there long. Regularly $199, you can score it today for $129.

SparkFun is offering free shipping today. Pick up a new kit and get tinkering on your holiday lights display!

Everything at Mimoco is 30% off with code CYBERBLOOH30, including their new line of Star Trek flash drives.

Books

Comixology is have a 99 cent sale on Avengers, 50% of select comics from IDW, and up to 80% off collections.

Amazon’s lightning deals in books include The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury and The Complete Vader: Star Wars. Check to see when the books you want will be available so you know when to buy. Kindle books are on sale as well, many for around $2.

All books from tech publisher Apress are $15 today.

O’Reilly is offering 50% off all of their ebooks and videos or 60% off orders more than $100 with code CYBERDAY. O’Reilly digital content is DRM-free with free updates in multiple formats.

Adafruit is offering 50% off the early release version of Getting Started With Raspberry Pi.

If there’s a maker, hacker, or tinkerer on your gift list, the recently released Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by former Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson is $13.98 on Amazon.

Toys

Wal-Mart has some good deals on Lego sets, among other things. Encourage imagination instead of instructions-following with 1300-piece basic brick boxes for $30, which comes out well below the average price per brick!

Toys R Us often runs “buy one, get one 50% off” specials, but several action figures and toys, including Green Lantern and Pirates of the Caribbean, are just plain 50% off or more today.

V-Tech is running discounts on bundles of its new InnoTab 2, MobiGo 2, and V.reader devices with free shipping.

Video games

Get the PC download version of Batman Arkham City for only $7.50 or Batman Arkham Asylum for $5.

If you’re ready to start your kids on Skylanders, Wal-Mart has glow-in-the-dark starter packs for $39 for Wii, PS3, and Xbox. If you missed all the Xbox specials on Black Friday, they also have a bundle for $159 with Skylanders Starter Kit and Exclusive Gill Grunt Character and free shipping.

Wal-Mart has several good Wii games for $15, including Super Mario Galaxy, Super Paper Mario, and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

The Steam sale is still on, but harder to gift, so consider it a present to yourself. Today’s deals includ Sonic Generations and Batman: Arkham City. Yesterday’s still available deals include Borderlands 2 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

DVD

Seasons 1, 2, and 4 of Heroes on Amazon are only $8.99 each. (Season 3 is inexplicably twice as much.) The search turns up a lot, though, so to make it easy, just use these links: season one, season two, season four.

Amazon also has some great DVD lightning deals throughout the day, but like with the books, you’ll have to check to see what’s available and make sure you’re ready to click when they’re ready to sell. The best deals go within seconds. Today’s deals include Battlestar Galactica, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Brave.

Other general geekery

ThinkGeek is offering free shipping with no minimum order in the US or $10 off $60 anywhere outside the US (including Middle Earth, according to their newsletter).

X-Treme Geek is having a 70% off sale with 99-cent shipping.

SnorgTees has free shipping over $60 today only.

Toys R Us packs of batteries are buy one, get one free. You’ll no doubt need them for all of the other stuff you’ve bought!

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.

TMNT Backpack Review and Giveaway!

TMNT on Nickelodeon  Image Courtesy of Nickelodeon
TMNT on Nickelodeon Image Courtesy of Nickelodeon

ThinkGeek has some amazing stuff. One item I’ve had my eye on for a while now, is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle backpack. It’s 16″ x 18″ of pure half-shell awesomeness. Perfect for everyday use, it also doubles as the perfect halloween (or cosplay) accessory.

TMNT Backpack  Image: ThinkGeek
TMNT Backpack Image: ThinkGeek

The main shell compartment is big enough to comfortably fit the average size laptop and still have some room to spare. One of the pockets in the main (and only compartment) also has some zippered organizing pockets designed into it. The TMNT’s signature logo is sewn into the padded mesh back.

The backpack also comes with one of each of the turtles masks, so you can go all turtle crazy while sporting it around town.

While I might have claimed this backpack for myself, my son is excited to try it out himself. Maybe he will trade me back my ThinkGeek AT-AT messenger bag for this one. Ummm….

Nice and roomy inside!  Image: ThinkGeek
Nice and roomy inside! Image: ThinkGeek

Are you a Turtle fan and ready to rock this new school year? Well, here’s your chance. We are giving away an awesome prize pack to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave us your favorite turtles quote before midnight on Saturday, October 6th. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Monday, October 8th.

Important stuff: Please make sure you use a valid and frequently checked e-mail address when leaving your quote in the comments.

Now, you don’t think we would send you an empty backpack do you?

Nope. It will also include some other great back to school products including:

ThinkGeek: Pi by Numbers Tee for Kids, Available in sizes S-L (6-16)
Valued at: $12.99 Continue reading TMNT Backpack Review and Giveaway!

Star Wars Celebration VI — Mission Complete

Time for some Wookie love! / Image: Wookie Workshop
Time for some Wookiee love! / Image: Wookiee Workshop

Last week, I had the privilege of attending Star Wars Celebration VI, in Orlando, Florida. Star Wars fans came from all over the world to see the sites and experience all that the convention had to offer. As a parent, GeekMom reporter, and 501st Legion member/Kid Bash Coordinator, my Celebration VI experience was a little different from that of most convention attendees.

Me and Dave Filoni, Director of the Clone Wars the Animated Series  Image: April Izzo
Me and Dave Filoni, Director of the Clone Wars the Animated Series Image: April Izzo

As a parent, I was able to see the convention the way many people get to see it as well as through the eyes of my child.

As a GeekMom reporter, I was given access to some really cool events that I would not have had the privilege of attending otherwise.

As the Kid Bash Coordinator for the 501st Legion, I got to experience a little bit of the stress that that the event coordinators have to go through to make some of the events happen (thankfully, my stress was nowhere near what theirs was).

For at least one day, I decided to just be a normal convention attendee (well, normal with a media badge anyway) and walked the convention floor.

Walking through the main convention floor, I saw a ton of stuff including Rancho Obi-WanRoxy the Rancor, the As You Wish Project, and some amazing artwork on artist alley. Some of my personal highlights were meeting the ThinkGeek team and getting a hug from my favorite wookiees. I also purchased my first piece of convention artwork from DC Comics artist, Mark McKenna.

Me and Commander Bly (CC-8499)/ Image: AJ Lugo
Me and Commander Bly (CC-8499) in the 501st Legion Room/ Image: AJ Lugo

For the toy collector, there were plenty of things to choose from. For the most part, I saw a lot of action figures.  Because many of the toys were older than me and several of the vendors were not child friendly, I had to forgo looking at a lot of them. This really bugged me at first, but after I realized that what they had didn’t really interest me, I decided my money was best spent elsewhere (like say…the DK Publishing booth).

Of course, no Celebration experience would be complete without the 501st Legion. Our room at Celebration V was nothing to sneeze at, but at Celebration VI, we raised the bar! With costumes on display by some of the best costumers in the Florida Garrison, as well as some very unique picture locations, the members of the Florida Garrison showed everyone at CVI exactly how we roll. There was much more going on in there than I have room to write here, so stay tuned for my CVI: 501st Legion Experience post.

After my son was out of school, I had to slip into parent mode. Once he arrived at the convention, he had his own set of priorities.

First and foremost, he really enjoyed Lego’s setup. The cartoon shorts they showed above their booth were enough to keep him occupied for quite a while. Another one of his favorite spots was the pool of Legos on the convention floor. This was a very popular place with the kids and the carpet was nice and soft for the parents to sit down and relax a little.

Having my son with me gave me some insight into taking children to conventions. I realized that just because a convention is geared towards the family, that doesn’t necessarily mean the whole convention is for the family. Family friendly areas were set up throughout the convention, but things like panels and vendors were more for those without young children.

Friday and Saturday I was in full GeekMom reporter mode.

Temuera Morrison and Brian Sullivan / Image: Dakster Sullivan
Celebrities were at every corner. Here is my husbands favorite CVI moment: Himself with Temuera Morrison / Image: Dakster Sullivan

My connections with GeekMom got me invited to a couple of really neat events. Due to my anxiety being a little out of control on Saturday, I had to bow out of one of them. It was one of those days where I was grateful for my husband and my legion brothers and sisters, who had my back the entire time that I needed them. I did manage to make it to one of the special events, but I can’t discuss here because I signed a waiver saying that I wouldn’t. Once they give me the all clear to discuss it, though, you will be the first to hear about it.

Friday was also the big day for the 50s1t Legion Imperial Bash and the Kid Bash.

As the Kid Bash coordinator, I was in charge of the “babysitting room” for the largest party in the galaxy, the Imperial Bash. I’ve only been in the legion for a little over a year and taking on a responsibility like this was pretty big. My part involved researching and contracting a sitting service, communicating with the parents for sign up, payment, and, of course, getting the kids some swag of their own to go home with. There were days I wondered what I was thinking at the time I volunteered for this position and looking back at it now, I’m happy I did it. It was a learning experience to say the least and it gave me the right to say I helped with the Imperial Bash (even if it was such a small role).

Brandon enjoying some Blue Milk with his new friends  Image: Dakster Sullivan
The sets were amazing. Here’s Brandon enjoying some Blue Milk with his new friends of the Belgian Garrison. Image: Dakster Sullivan

Of everything I experienced, I have two favorites. The first is getting hug from my favorite wookiees. After having panic attacks all morning, it made me feel really good. The other was getting the chance to have a one on one conversation with Dave Filoni, and him handing me one of his Wolf Pack buttons. Those are memories I plan on framing up in my office one day.

Overall, I would have to say that my Celebration VI experience was okay. I had some great experiences and I took some really nice pictures to remember it by. I’m hoping that Celebration VII will be in Orlando in 2014, so I can have another run at it. I didn’t get to do as much as I had planned, but I still some experiences I wouldn’t change for anything.

Where's Dakster? at Star Wars Celebration VI

Image: Dave Liew
Image: Dave Liew

Star Wars Celebration VI, the biggest Star Wars party in the galaxy, will be in Orlando, Florida this week and I’ve been planning and scheming for it since it was announced last year. The 501st Legion has been hard at work getting everything ready for this event and we can’t wait to show you all what we’ve done. To add to the fun, I have a special surprise for those attending…

Anyone who can find me and says “GeekMom rocks!” will receive a special GeekMom emblem patch! The patches were made specifically for Celebration VI, so you won’t find them anywhere else right now.

I’m really excited about everything happening at Celebration VI. From panels to parties, to red carpet premieres, you never know where I’ll show up next. One thing’s for sure, I’ll be there all four days and geeking out at all the Star Wars celebrities, collectibles and costumes. Did I mention that ThinkGeek has a booth this year? I’ve only ever seen them online, so you know I’ll be hitting them up like a Twi’lek at a dance off!

The patches are limited to 100 so if you want one, you better keep an eye out for me. Bonus points if you can find me in one of my 501st Legion or Rebel Legion costumes. To make it a little easier for you, I’ll be tweeting some hints on where you can find me. Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@Dak903) to stay updated.

So, if you see me and you want a patch, make sure you come up and say hi!

ThinkGeek is Coming to Star Wars Celebration VI

Image: ThinkGeek
Image: ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek is by far one of my favorite vendors on the Internet and this year at Star Wars Celebration VI, I will finally have a chance to see them up close and in person. With an online store full of everything the quintessential geek needs, it’s the ultimate geek store. I’ve had a few opportunities in the past to review some of their Star Wars items and in honor of their Star Wars Celebration debut, I would like to give you a list of some of my favorites.

Death Star Planetarium / Image: ThinkGeek
Death Star Planetarium / Image: ThinkGeek

First up is the Death Star Planetarium, This little ball of light is a great accessory for anyone’s room. My son loves that it has two layers. The first is a black covering, that shows stars on the ceiling. The second layer is much brighter and shows you the entire Star Wars galaxy. The only downside to this toy is that it only runs on batteries and if you leave it on overnight, the batteries will be dead by the morning.

Next up, is the R2-D2 USB hub. This little guy is the perfect little bleeping accessory for anyone’s home or office. I have mine on my desk at work and not many realize that it actually has a purpose. To top it off, you can get some Star Wars Minobot drives to use with it. It looks a little weird sticking my little r2 drive in r2, but hey, who cares. It’s still cool. Continue reading ThinkGeek is Coming to Star Wars Celebration VI

Behind the Monkey — Timmy's Story

Timmy's Wastelander Costume  / Image: ThinkGeek
Timmy’s Wastelander Costume / Image: ThinkGeek

In Orlando, it’s a mouse who runs all the shots. At ThinkGeek’s headquarters in Virginia, it’s a monkey named Timmy. Since August 13th, 1999, he’s been the resident codemonkey and pretty much calls the shots around the office. Anyone who dares disobey him better be prepared to take a shower, because poo will be flung. And as the company mascot and overlord, Timmy is a monkey of many faces, most of them, as you’d imagine, quite geeky.

Timmy and Matt Smith / Image: ThinkGeek
Timmy and Matt Smith / Image: ThinkGeek

Now, like any geek, Timmy enjoys going to cons, hanging out with fellow geeks, meeting celebri-geek heroes, and of course, indulging in cosplay. With first class plane tickets to any con he wishes, Timmy is a virtuoso of cosplay. But how does he do it?

To help get him ready, Timmy’s Volunteer Costuming Corps are there to make sure he never goes out in the same costume twice. Every costume Timmy is photographed in is the handy work of a member of the Volunteer Costume Corps. The program started three years ago and since then, Timmy’s closet has been bursting at the seams with over 100 costumes.

The skill and detail of these outfits are amazing!

Timmy and Mega Man / Image: ThinkGeek
Timmy and Mega Man / Image: ThinkGeek

The costumes in Timmy’s closet range from the 10th Doctor’s scarf to Chell’s jumpsuit and Portal Gun to a mind-blowing detailed Fallout ensemble with a working Pip Boy. No matter the occasion, Timmy has a costume that will fit the bill.

Timmy’s next major con appearance will be at Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando, Fl (August 23rd – August 26th). In true Star Wars form, Timmy will be sporting his Stormtrooper costume! This will also be Timmy’s first appearance at a Star Wars Celebration, so don’t miss it.

For more information on Timmy and how you can bring your own little guy home, check out ThinkGeek’s website.

Have you ever met Timmy? Let us know your stories in the comments. We would love to hear them!

Geeky Gifts for Your Geek Dad!

My husbands very first Father's Day gift. Its very hard to top that each year, but I keep trying!

If you are anything like me, shopping for a man might just be the hardest thing to do in life. I never want to get them gifts that they won’t use or that are too practical. Ever since I got him an AWESOME first Father’s Day gift, I feel I am resorting to the same gift certificate to iTunes or some electronics store, instead of something unique. Ever since becoming a writer for GeekMom, I’ve found that there are geeky gifts lurking around every corner that are perfect for my geeky husband, in order to find them, you just have to know YOUR geek.

ThinkGeek Bacon Jam

For the Bacon Lover – Bacon Jam

Think Geek has found another undeniably AMAZING bacon concoction to make your mouth water. Dad will likely want to eat this sweet and savory treat right out of the jar, but my husband thinks that it would be awesome in an omelet or on pancakes. I think it tastes a little like teriyaki beef jerky (which is a good thing in my mind). Trust me this will likely become as much a staple in your home as ketchup. I should mention that you will be supporting a small business as well!

For the Star Wars Bibliophile – Star Wars Bookends

ThinkGeek Star Wars Bookends

For the avid Star Wars fan, check out these great bookends by ThinkGeek. Its as if the iconic Star Wars logo was severed by a light saber and stuck on a shelf. Even if your dad is not an avid reader, when pushed together, they still make a great decoration for the home or office. These bookends are great for holding books, DVDs, CDs, Cookbooks, kids bedtime books, bathroom reading material, or pretty much anything you imagine!

Image from Amazon.com

The Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The Art of Star Wars the Clone Wars takes you behind the scenes of one of the most popular TV series on air today. Included in the back of the book are lithographs worthy of a nice frame.

For the Sock Enthusiast – Geek Socks 

ThinkGeek Statement Socks

If your geek guy never really cares whether people look at him funny, because he is proud of his collection of  thousands of brightly colored socks, then this is the gift for you. I love the bright colors and bold, print that is impossible to miss in passing. Make a statement, with your legs!

ThinkGeek Doctor Who Embroidered Polo Shirt

For the Whovian – Doctor Who Polo Shirt

Some geeks just want to be able to express their geekiness at work. Graphic t-shirts usually don’t count as work approved attire (in most work places), so these high quality polo shirts with embroidered Doctor Who symbols are awesome. These shirts look classy and yet still scream geek.

Portal Turrets from ThinkGeek

For the Portal Fan – Inflatable Turrets

Sometimes the only way to protect your lawn from your neighbors dog is to take matters into your own hands. A friendly Portal turret is the perfect way to keep pesky dogs off your lawn. So maybe it doesn’t really shoot bullets, but consider these inflatable friends as the modern scarecrow.

Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker

For the Chef – Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme Breadmaker

So bread machines might seem a bit cliche, but when they are done right, the bread you make can save your family money and really taste delicious! GeekMom Arianne says, “My brother received one of these for Christmas from my parents a couple of years ago, and we’ve enjoyed all the breads he’s made for us. My husband wants one of these now too! I’m worried about all the delicious carbs he’ll be making, but there’s something to be said about making all your own homemade bread!”

LEGO Limited Edition Moleskine Notebooks

For the Lego Lover – Limited Edition Lego Moleskine Notebook

Its good to have a place to jot down your ideas for that next new Lego CUUSOO model, or even what size screws you need to get for your latest robotic project. Moleskine notebooks are known for their quality and durability, add to that the iconic lego bricks and you have a winning combination.

Biscotti TV Phone

For the World Traveller – Biscotti TV Phone

My husband travels a lot and phone calls are enough for me, but for my kids its tough not to be able to see the person on the other side of the conversation. The Biscotti Phone is a tiny device that ca easily be packed into a suitcase that will turn any TV with an HDMI port into a TV phone. You can can call via a Biscotti account or connect with a Google Talk account, both completely free. The camera is particularly nice, because even though it is the size of a biscotti cookie, it can focus an entire room into view, pan, zoom via a very small remote control.

Image from Amazon.com

For the Jokster – I Am Better Than Your Kids – by Maddox

Based on the website that went viral in the early 2000’s, the book features more kids drawing and hilarious commentary from the author. The destructive criticism will have you laughing out loud, if you enjoy a good swear word that is. Crude humor at its best, this book embodies everything a church book club would disapprove of.

*Note: Many items for this review were provided by the manufacturers for review, but opinions expressed are my own or those of other GeekMom’s as stated.

Fathers Day Gift Guide – For the Kid at Heart

Stormtrooper and Son
Image: Copyright Kristina Alexanderson

I’m lucky to have a husband who is a kid at heart because it makes shopping for him easy and fun. Most of the time, I can get his presents at my local toy store or comic book shop. It was this unique trait that inspired me to put together the ultimate Father’s Day gift guide for the kid at heart.  So, without further ado, I give you the gift guide for the dad who prefers Transformers over ties and Lego bricks over soap on a rope.

Optimus Prime Image: Hasbro
Optimus Prime Image: Hasbro

Hasbro Transformers Prime Line
If there’s one thing that is always on the top of my husbands list, it’s Transformers. The latest addition to the Transformers toy line is based off the latest animated series, Transformers Prime. If your children like them as well, I would suggest you get them the new Bot Shots so that dad can have his transformer all to himself on Father’s Day.

Hasbro Battleship / Hasbro Game of Life zAPPED
Give dad the gift of family time with Hasbro Battleship and Game of Life zAPPED Edition. These games are sure to get the family together again and again.

LEGO Deathstar
For the Star Wars dad, check out the Lego Deathstar. A fellow 501st Legionnaire and Father requested that I put this on the guide as a hint to his own children.

The Infinity Gauntlet Image Copyright Marvel Comics
The Infinity Gauntlet Image Copyright Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics Infinity Gauntlet Graphic Novel
Considered to be one of the Marvel’s best sagas, The Infinity Gauntlet holds its place in Marvel history. Most recently the main villain, Thanos, was seen during the end credits of The Avengers. If you paid attention in Thor, you might have also caught a glimpse of his famous gauntlet. For the Dad that’s fan of the Avengers, make sure you pick this up for him. He wont be disappointed.

Continue reading Fathers Day Gift Guide – For the Kid at Heart

Star Wars Week: Force FX Removable Blade Lightsaber

Force FX Lightsaber with Removable Blade Photo By: Dakster
Force FX Lightsaber with Removable Blade Photo By: Dakster

Every good Jedi knows that the lightsaber is a weapon of a more civilized age. The Force FX Lightsaber with removable blade, have become a standard accessory for every Jedi and Sith in the galaxy. My favorite feature of these lightsabers is the ability to remove the blade when not engaged in battle.

Sometimes a Jedi Knight might not feel the need to walk around with their blade lit up and ready to go. On the more relaxed outings, they would rather just clip it to their belt as a warning to the Empire, “I have a lightsaber and I know how to use it.” The ease of reattaching the blade makes them ready if a fight does emerge between themselves and any Imperial pigs.

Force FX removable blade variations.
Force FX removable blade variations.

My husband, Jedi Bri K Sul, prefers the one modeled after Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, while I prefer the style of Master Kit Fisto. Our son Brandon doesn’t care, as long as it isn’t red. He prefers to be the good guy in every situation.

As cool as it would be to use these in a real battle, the Force FX lightsabers are not recommended for dueling. The electronics in the blade are not strong enough to handle a full on battle with the Sith. If you feel the urge to fight with your blade, suppress it and find a more peaceful solution, with say…Nerf blasters.

No Ewoks, Jawa or Sith were harmed while reviewing this product.

In exchange for my time and efforts in reporting my opinion within this blog, I received a free review sample. Even though I receive this benefit, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.

Support Neurodiversity at ThinkGeek

Neurodiversity
Image Courtesy ThinkGeek

April is Autism Awareness Month, but if you’re like our house, autism awareness happens every month. That’s one of the reasons I love this shirt on ThinkGeek.

Neurodiversity is a movement centered around the philosophy that autism isn’t a disease. It’s a difference in development. Sure, it’s also a disability, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate the child we have instead of longing for the child who will never be. For more information on how this plays out for us parents, I recommend watching Loving Lampposts or reading Unstrange Minds.

If you buy a Neurodiversity shirt from ThinkGeek this month, all the proceeds will go toward neurodiversity advocates, ASAN.

ASAN, or the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed by autistic individuals for self advocacy and public outreach. Through my work organizing a regional autism conference in Kansas City, I’ve met both of the co-founders, Ari Ne’eman and Scott Michael Robertson. (Point of trivia: Ari Ne’eman is the first openly autistic White House appointee. ) I’m happy to support them in their advocacy efforts, and I’m proud to think that someday my son may join ASAN himself.

The shirt comes in adult and kid sizes, so you can find one to fit yourself or your loved one of any age. If you’re going to buy a shirt, there’s less than a week to do so. Buy it during Autism Awareness Month, or as ASAN better puts it, Autism Acceptance Month. 

 

Would Bacon By Any Other Name Smell As Sweet?

ThinkGeek Bacon-Palooza, Image: Nicole Wakelin

It’s sort of a universally accepted fact that bacon is one of the best foods known to mankind. No other food garners quite the same level of fanatic devotion and adoration. As a result, it’s been incorporated into all sorts of recipes in an effort to create the ultimate bacon experience. I am guilty of adding more bacon than required whenever it’s called for because, it’s bacon, why not? I thought I was really living on the edge when I bought a bacon chocolate bar. This was at a little specialty shop in Boston and I walked out clutching my treasure, ready to fend off the masses who would obviously kill to have this for themselves.

I sat down on a bench and unwrapped my treasure thinking of all those shows you see on TV with people savoring weird foods. I decided to follow their lead and started with the aroma. It smelled like chocolate, which, although a wonderful smell, did not hold the promise of bacon. Then I cracked a piece off and looked at what I was about to eat. I saw teeny tiny little bits of bacon. Teeny. Tiny. This did not make me happy but I popped a piece into my mouth anyway. The chocolate was as good as it smelled, but the bacon was barely noticeable. I had just paid nearly $10 for a chocolate bar that did not live up to my expecations. The bacon was a lie.

Months later, I purchased a Talking Bacon plush from ThinkGeek. You press his side and he says “I’m bacon.” It was what my daughter wanted for her birthday more than anything. Yes, I was equal parts thrilled and scared. Bacon plush has been a big hit with every child in our neighborhood. He went in for show and tell and I had half a dozen parents contact me to find out where they could get him. Talking Bacon is the man!

One afternoon, my daughter’s friend, James, was marveling at the wonder of  Talking Bacon and asked where I’d gotten this amazing creation. I told him and then loaded up the site so he could see it for himself. It’s fair to say that his eyes bugged out of his head when he saw the assortment of geeky goods on the screen. Bacon popcorn! Bacon gumballs! Bacon jelly beans! I don’t think he could have been more excited if I’d told him school was cancelled for the rest of the year.

When his Mom came to pick him up, I told her that he might be asking for a bunch of bacon stuff, and then did the obligatory “Oops, sorry, I kinda set you up there. My bad.” apology.  She rolled her eyes, looked at her son, and told him she was not buying him a bunch of bacon stuff. He looked sullen. He gave her a masterful pout. He even made his lip quiver. No luck. So, James turned his charms on me. Me. Keeper of all things geeky. Writer of geeky stuff. Player of video games. I was his only hope.

I put this off for months, thinking he’d forget, but every single time I saw him, he asked if I’d gotten the goods. My answer was always “Not yet.” Then he showed up for a playdate with my daughters in an Angry Birds shirt which he proudly wore and, I thought, I just had to help this burgeoning little geek in the making. I contacted ThinkGeek.

And because ThinkGeek is so cool, they sent me a whole box full of bacon goodness. I was excited to try these bacony treats, but a little nervous. Unlike the bacon chocolate bar with barely discernible bacon, the whole box smelled like bacon when I opened it. Popcorn, gumballs, jelly beans, lollipop. Where to start?

I opened the tin of  Bacon Gumballs. They sure smelled like bacon. And they were a brick red color that looked like bacon. I decided it was best to have something to drink handy, like when my kids are forced to try something new, just in case the flavor killed me. I put it in my mouth and it was bacony. I chewed it and holy overwhelming bacon flavor! I didn’t think it was possible but it was actually too much bacon. I made it through maybe half a dozen chews before I had to spit it out and chug half a glass of milk.

My kids found this hysterical.

I moved on to the Bacon Beans. I’d learned from the gumballs and had a glass of milk actually in my hand as I popped a jelly bean in my mouth. I chewed, and chewed and, bacon explosion! Out with the jelly bean, down with the milk.  This left the lollipop and the popcorn. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but, I persevered and went for the Bacon Lollipop. Again, milk in hand, I gave the lollipop a few licks. It was tasty! It was sweet and had just a hint of bacon and, I liked it, I really liked it. My kids now wanted to try it but I told them they had to have a jelly bean and a gumball first. They declined.

Once the husband was home, I decided it was time to pop the popcorn. You know how, in an office, someone can pop popcorn on the other side of the building and you can smell it? Yeah, well I think my neighbors may have smelled the Bacon Pop right through the walls of my house. It smelled like the gumballs tasted and I was, um, terrified. I held my nose, grabbed a new glass of milk, and tried a few pieces. And then a few more. Another bacony success! If you can get past the overwhelming aroma, the darn stuff actually tastes really good.

So, in my quest for bacon I found two tasty treats in the lollipop and popcorn, and two that didn’t quite cut it in the gumballs and jelly beans. They are, however, the perfect thing to keep at your desk, luring in unsuspecting co-workers. Trust me, it’ll be good for a laugh. I even conned the kids over for a playdate yesterday into giving them a try and the looks on their faces, absolutely priceless. They did not like, except for one girl who liked the gumballs. She’s either exceptionally brave or crazy. I’ve yet to decide.

Ah, but what about the boy that started it all? What did James think? Well, oddly his Mom, who is a good friend, hasn’t responded to the texts I sent her about the bacon stuff. She must be really busy because she couldn’t possibly be ignoring me. I’m going to continue testing this on the neighborhood kids, but not to worry. Next time I see James I’ve saved a whole pile of bacon flavored tastiness for his geeky little heart.

Thanks to ThinkGeek for sending me (and James) all this bacon goodness!

The iCade Makes Retro Gaming Portable

Photo: ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek is well-known for their awesome but often unfeasible or ridiculous April Fool’s Day ad products. They have gotten so much positive feedback on some of them, however, that a few of them are actually in production for real. Case in point, the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, My First Bacon, and Canned Unicorn Meat.

Significantly cheaper than the $149.99 price in 2010’s April Fool’s Day ad, the iCade is also now real. I recently obtained one for review. Verdict: Pretty darn awesome.

Photo: ThinkGeek

When I was a kid, I didn’t have the money to hit the arcade like other geeks out there. But we did have an Atari 5200, and I had friends who had the 2600 (early adopters!). I got plenty of video game time on those, but I don’t have the same arcade memories as a lot of you out there. But the few times when I did get to play video games on an actual arcade machine, in an actual arcade, it was a fantastic experience. The iCade duplicates that feeling pretty well, on a slightly smaller scale.

My initial impressions when I unboxed the iCade were these: “Wow, these pieces are really nice! And I get to assemble it myself! Win-win: Not only do I get to put something together, but I don’t have to feel like I have to keep the box around to store it in, since it won’t fit once assembled!” Yes, those are my unedited unboxing notes. The iCade is also very well packaged for shipping. When I received it, it was double boxed with plenty of custom styrofoam, and plastic and foamy sheathing. It also came with the required two AA batteries, and all the hardware required for assembly, including an Allen wrench, ala IKEA. (And if you’re like me, you already have a dazzlingly huge collection of Allen wrenches.) You can also purchase an AC adapter from www.ionaudio.com, if you find yourself running through batteries too quickly.

The iCade cabinet is made of material with real heft. Knowing IKEA furniture as I do, I’m guessing it is laminated particle board. And when you assemble the pieces (which takes about 10 minutes, tops), it is pretty solid. The assembly was fun and simple, and you get to keep the Allen wrench!

The buttons and joystick feel like those from an actual arcade. They’re a little squeaky, but will loosen up as you play. There is plenty of room in the back of the cabinet behind where you set your iPad to store the key mapping diagrams for the various Atari games, along with the instruction manual. You could technically store your Allen wrench in there as well.

Once you have the iCade assembled, you will want to make sure you have the Atari’s Greatest Hits app installed on your iPad. If not, it’s a free download from the iTunes store. One game will be free, the others can be purchased in-app, either in packs of four, or the whole set of 99 games for $14.99. I’m seriously contemplating that one.

Make sure to have your iPad’s Bluetooth turned on (information on how to link your iPad to the iCade via Bluetooth are included in the printed instructions). If you take too long while you are linking them up, like I did, it may take a couple of tries. Then insert your iPad into the iCade, and begin! If you have a cover on your iPad, be it leather and bulky, or even the thin iPad 2 cover, you’ll need to remove it before setting the iPad in the iCade.

I got everything up and running quickly, and started playing my one included free game, Missile Command. I’m just as bad at it now as I was 30 years ago. My 10 year old daughter tried it, and was similarly frustrated. But her frustration turned to addiction as she tried and tried to improve. Her scores increased each time, especially once we adjusted the joystick sensitivity.

One thing I noticed is that your experience will be affected by where you put the iCade. Make sure it is at a good height for sitting, if you want to sit, or a good height for standing, if you want to stand. The cabinet is pretty heavy and likely won’t shift around with even the most vigorous joystick action, though.

In short, for a decently authentic arcade experience, try iCade. The cabinet is smaller than those in an arcade, but how else can you bring up to 99 vintage Atari games, playable with a joystick and plastic buttons, with you somewhere? The iCade is completely portable. And a lot of the games have two player modes.

I’ll likely be purchasing Super Breakout and Asteroids, at the very least, which I spent hours playing in my youth. If this was my sister’s device, however, she’d get Centipede. That was always her favorite.

Note: Purchasing the iCade gets you the arcade cabinet, complete with walls, a roof, buttons, a joystick, directions, screws, hinge hardware, and that all-important Allen wrench. You will also need an iPad along with the Atari app to make it work. I haven’t tried it with an iPod Touch, but since it also has Bluetooth, it might work as well.

The iCade is available from ThinkGeek for $99.99. It would make an excellent holiday gift for any retro game lover on your list.

Note: I received an iCade for the purposes of this review.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Maker Faire 2011, San Mateo: Wrap-Up

This was my third year attending Maker Faire and helping at the GeekDad booth (this year, the GeekDad/GeekMom booth!). Every year is different. Our booth and the Faire have only grown each year, but the experience has also been fundamentally different each time.

The first year I attended (2009), we had a lot of things to hand out and to give away as prizes, and had a very Lego-centric booth. We did a lot of explaining about what GeekDad was, and handed out neat Wired items. It was the first time I ever worked a booth, and it was an incredibly positive experience.

My second year (2010) had more things to give away as prizes, but fewer to just hand out. It was still an amazing time since even more GeekDads made the trip out. But people kept asking, “But what about GeekMom?”

This year, the Faire experience was different. I spent most of my time safely ensconced in the booth, away from the intense crowds. I had the great company of even more GeekDads and GeekMoms (including our own Natania Barron and Cathe Post), plus great GeekDad families that came along for the fun. Bonnie Burton even stopped by to say hello. But the highlight for me was meeting and getting to know our special guests, John Kovalic and Bob Boyle. Both spent much time at the booth drawing cartoons for visitors and being generally charming.

From left, sitting at the table: Jonathan Liu, Bob Boyle, and John Kovalic. Photo: Jenny Williams

In addition to their cartooning prowess, we also had GeekDad Jonathan Liu dazzling everyone (including the aforementioned cartoonists) with his Etch-a-Sketch artwork. At other booth stations, we had Lego building, game playing, ThinkGeek music toys, Hexbugs, electronics (courtesy of DigiKey), and plenty of GeekMom and GeekDad merchandise for sale. We also shared the booth area with Chris Anderson and his UAV group.

Maker Faire is always an exhausting but exhilarating experience. The people we met were all either interested in learning about our GeekParenting empire, or were showering us with praise for the work we do. At least those who could get through to our booth. The crowd at the Faire has grown to a size where it is a bit of a detriment to enjoyment, but with some patience, it is still worth going.

I know my fellow GeekMoms and GeekDads will echo my sentiments: Maker Faire is a great time. There is something for everyone, and it is fun, educational, and exciting. If you couldn’t make it out to the annual “flagship” event in San Mateo, California, this year there will be a GeekMom/GeekDad booth at Maker Faire NY in September! Visit the Maker Faire website for details!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Get Physics Now!

Web Superstar Professor Walter Lewin

I didn’t get physics in high school. All I remember was Mr. Cleaves rubbing a wand and the rude comments the demonstration sparked (no pun intended). But I loved calculus and photography. Now I know why. It ‘s always the teacher. Finally, I get physics and it’s all because of Walter Lewin, Professor of Physics, Emeritus at MIT.

It seems I’m not the only one. A note to Professor Lewin from a florist was reprinted in The New York Times:

“I walk with a new spring in my step and I look at life through physics-colored eyes,” wrote 62-year old Steve Boigon. “Thank you with all my heart.”

I’ve been watching Course 8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics. Lectures for wider audiences are also available. Check out the “Wonders of Electricity and Magnetism” Lewin gave at the MIT Museum for the Family Adventures in Science and Technology Program.

I promise, you will fall in love with Professor Lewin. If you don’t, you’re not a geek.

Transform Your Mind Through New Eyes

Photo by Alexandra Siy

Looking for something larger than life that will thrill the entire family this holiday? A tool that is a gateway for magnifying thought, an inspirational device used by poet laureates and Ivy League professors, preschoolers and Ph.D.s, not to mention geek Grinches and Whos?

It fits in the palm of your hand, but has infinite power in its ability to engage. (And it doesn’t have an on-off switch.) It’s a loupe, pronounced LOOP, and it will never cease to amaze you as long as you’re willing to look.

A 5X magnifying loupe and a series of simple questions are at the heart of the The Private Eye Project–a hands-on program that helps develop the essential habits of mind used by successful scientists, writers, artists, inventors, and mathematicians.

Children's drawings of fingerprints made into fine art.

I discovered The Private Eye several years ago when I was researching and writing my first books illustrated with electron micrographs. It was thrilling to discover hidden worlds literally at my fingertips (check out the FingerPrint Galleries) without an expensive or complicated microscope. Now, when I visit schools and libraries to introduce the microscopic world through my books, I often hand each kid a loupe. My classroom set has travelled all over the country, and countless kids have begged to keep a loupe for their very own. So, rather than give mine away, I say get one (or two—they’re stackable) of your own.

The World-in-a-Bag is a fabulous gift for all ages. It contains two loupes, seven specimens (natural, such as a starfish leg and a sea urchin, as well as synthetic samples such as orange mesh), and a colorful 14-page spiral bound booklet that outlines the five steps of “looking and thinking by analogy.”

Once you (or your little geek) start looking you won’t be able to stop. That’s when the Collect-it-Yourself Museum comes in handy. This very cool kit contains six large magnifier boxes that can hold all kinds of specimens and treasures (think bugs, crystals, seeds, and Legos), along with a loupe-on-a-lanyard, and a microfiber loupe cleaning cloth.

If you really want to inspire your child, treat yourself, or impress your boss, give the Mini World-in-a-Box. This is a lovely collection of specimens that will please your eyes and excite your mind, especially during the dark days of winter when much of the natural world is asleep under a blanket of snow. I know I will be studying the treacherous slides on the steep sides of ash-gray volcanic mountains (a.k.a. barnacles) the next time writer’s block sets in.

Besides offering loupes and specimens, The Private Eye Project publishes a 200+ page guide by Kerry Ruef, creator and founder of the project, which is filled with activities that cover everything from science, to writing, to math, to multicultural studies. Colorful activity sheets designed for every grade level are great for homeschoolers and teachers who are looking to inject creativity into their lessons.

According to David Melody, Associate Director of the Private Eye Project, teachers and parents consistently report that their children develop creative and critical thinking skills and produce exceptional work while engaged in the Private Eye process. I’m not surprised—through personal experience I have found that the loupe has the power to break cliché thinking and transform my writing. What more could anyone want?

Geeklings Now Have Nighttime Companions With ThinkGeek’s Geek Kids Bed Sheets!

Photo: ThinkGeek

I knew I would love the ThinkGeek Geek Kids Bed Sheets, but wow, they have blown me away. You’d expect robots and aliens and such, but these sheets go beyond expectations and include such things as (and this is just a sampling): Timmy (of course!), dinosaurs, astronauts, geeky girls (!), zombies, unicorns, ninjas, pirates, and even bacon! Yes, bacon. All of these creatures (yes, even the bacon) say something in a little speech bubble. Also, surrounding the creatures (and bacon) are plenty of geeky symbols, such as gears, test tubes, planets, bunnies, and treasure maps. Everything is quite colorful, so your geeklings will really enjoy spending time studying the creatures, and perhaps planning pretend battles and alliances among them.

Image: ThinkGeek

Now, if they’d only make them in king size. I’d totally have these on my bed. Include a duvet cover, too!

The sheets are pretty standard construction for children’s sheets. They are 200 thread count, 60% cotton, 40% polyester, and are made in Karachi, Pakistan. In the package you get one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and two standard pillowcases. This is especially nice and unusual, because in my experience twin sheet sets come with only one pillowcase. The second one is perfect for a second pillow or for a jealous sibling (or parent).

The sheets wash up really nicely and the fitted sheet has plenty of elastic to hold it in place. My kids will be fighting over these sheets for many years to come.

I can only imagine how much fun ThinkGeek had while putting these sheets together. Wish I’d been able to be a part of it!

ThinkGeek Geek Kids Bed Sheets retail for $29.99 but are currently on sale for $22.99! Get them while you can!

Note: ThinkGeek provided a sheet set for review purposes.

Enhanced by Zemanta

GeekMom Holiday Gift Guide #6: Grown-Ups

HolidayLogoIIRegardless of what holidays you celebrate, the end-of-year festivities are right around the corner. If you choose to purchase gifts online, you need to order then in advance to allow for shipping time, backorders, and comparison shopping. We at GeekMom are here to help you with ideas for anyone on your gift list, from babies to grownups. This is the final post in our series of gift guides for 2010. Many of our writers have contributed to our series of gift guides, so the ideas run the gamut from popular bestsellers to more obscure, interesting gifts with which you may not be familiar. Chances are there will be something that appeals to you. Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments below.

This week’s guide is targeted at the grownups out there. And remember to visit our other gift guides that have already run: Week #1: Books, Week #2: Games, Week #3: Small Kids, Week #4: Larger Kids, and Week #5: Toys For Most Any Age, Including Grown-Ups. Happy Holidays to all!

GeekParent Wear
Show off your parental geek pride by sporting a GeekMom Tshirt from ThinkGeek, or a GeekDad Tshirt for any geeky fathers you know. There is also a GeekDad mug and GeekDad ornament available!

Shades of Milk and Honey
Mix Jane Austen with a generous helping of magic and fantasy, and you get Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. Ms. Kowal is an accomplished writer as well as amazing puppeteer, and was one of the puppeteers on the show LazyTown.

Damp Squid and How to Read a Word
If you’re interested in words, their history, and their usage, these two books will fascinate you. From the Oxford University Press, both of these books will take you on a journey of where our words come from, what constitutes a word, and how to learn more about words that fascinate you. (Photos: Oxford University Press)

Pajaggle
This puzzle/game activity isn’t strictly for grownups, but it had to be included. Play by yourself, or in a group, and finding where all the pieces go can get as fun or as difficult as you let it.

Asus Eee PC
If you’re looking for a netbook to tote around, the Asus Eee PC is a very good option. With Windows 7, an excellent keyboard, and a very light weight, it is as useful as it is attractive. Read GeekMom’s reviews of the Asus Eee PC: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Apple App Magnets
Know someone who’s crazy about iPad and iPhone aps? These clever fridge magnets are the perfect gift. They look just like the ones on your iPhone or iPod and are just as functional, holding up scrap notes and grocery lists in style. Order a set for every app lover on your list. Eighteen magnets retail for $12.99.

Fracture: Photos Printed on Glass
Custom framing can be a drag. Literally. You drag your family portrait to the frame shop, pick out mat and frame styles, then wait for weeks, hoping the frame shop doesn’t lose your photo in the back room. After you lug the finished product home, you need to indulge in some cleansing breaths just to forget about the cost before you can hang and enjoy your portrait. Couldn’t technology save us from this fate? As a matter of fact, it can. A startup company called Fracture has figured out how to print your precious portraits – up to 11 x 14 – right onto shatter-resistant glass. Upload your jpg image to Fractureme.com, choose any border design you like (including none), and they ship it to your home, fasteners included. Brilliant! Prints start at $8.

iPod Touch (4th generation)
The newest iPod Touch version has two built-in cameras allowing you to use FaceTime and record HD video. And it has a retina display. These are improvements over the 3rd generation version. If you can’t afford the monthly fee of an iPhone, and iPod Touch is an excellent option. Now you can have everything you can have on an iPhone, without the actual phone part (or the 3G connectivity, or the contract headaches).

iPod nano
The stylish, new iPod nanos are square instead of oblong, and they’ll clip right on to wherever you need them. Wear them on your wrist and they’ll double as a watch! But mostly, they’ll play your music for you, including FM radio. Sensitive to movement, you can shake them to shuffle to the next song.

iPad
An excellent gift idea for this year, the iPad is more than just a large iPhone or iPod Touch. Because of its generous size, it is much easier to use to play certain things, such as chess or checkers, or to do work, such as editing documents or writing email. Use it for play, for work, or for education.

Marian Call CDs
Marian Call, geek musician lady extraordinaire, is extremely talented with a beautiful voice. Her 49>50 Tour has taken her to 49 out of the 50 states so far, with just Hawaii left to conquer. If you love music about geeks, Firefly, Alaska, or Battlestar Galactica, give Marian a listen.

Ultimate Geek Pen
There’s really no such thing as “ultimate” to a geek, since the next best gadget is sure to be more appealing. But the Ultimate Geek Pen is pretty handy. It’s a ballpoint pen, a stylus tip, and a laser pointer. But wait, there’s more. It’s also a flexible flashlight and UV light.

Have a great holiday season!

Enhanced by Zemanta

ThinkGeek Kids Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt: This One Goes to 11!

Photo: ThinkGeek

One of the more popular shirts for adults at ThinkGeek, their Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt, is now available for kids! The shirts are short sleeved, but don’t let that stop you from rocking out this winter. (You can always wear a long sleeved shirt underneath, preferably white, black, red, yellow, or orange, to match the shirt.)

A guitar in a shirt? you ask, quizzically. Why yes. It’s all very ingenious. Your first thought may be, as mine was, how do you wash the thing? No worries there. The guitar neck is attached to the shirt with hook and loop closures. The amp is connected by a cable, which is also removable. Then hand wash or machine wash cold on gentle cycle. Hang dry or tumble dry low. Then reconnect everything, and rock out some more!

The itty bitty amp runs on four AAA batteries (not included). It has an on/off switch, an output jack, and tone and volume dials. It can fit into a sewn-in pocket inside the shirt, or there is also a clip on the amp for clipping to your belt or pocket.

To play, press down on certain parts of the neck and then strum. No just touching the thing, you need to actually firmly press down. It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but of course I was playing the thing without wearing it, since the shirt is for kids. There are two magnetic guitar “picks” that you use to strum while you use your left hand to make power chords on the neck of the guitar. They conveniently store magnetically stuck to the amp speaker.

Photo: ThinkGeek

The shirt will play 15 different chords, which should be enough to play your favorite songs. These chords are mapped out for you on the shirt’s packaging. I don’t know how to play guitar, but the ease with which you can play chords on this shirt might just have me figure out a few songs. Of course, it’ll be easier for my kids, who can actually wear the shirt. For reference, we received a kids’ size L, which is a good fit for my lean but muscular 9 1/2 year old daughter.

And lest you worry, yes, the volume knob does actually go to 11. But the shirt is not just hip and cool. It was also awarded 2010’s Good Housekeeping Best Toy Award!

The Kids Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt costs $29.99 and is available at ThinkGeek. Their Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt for adults also costs $29.99. Either one would make an excellent last minute holiday gift purchase!

If you want to get a whole band together, you can do that, too! ThinkGeek also has an adult Electronic Music Synthesizer Shirt, and both kid and adult Electronic Drum Kit Shirts!

Note: ThinkGeek was kind enough to send me a shirt (and batteries) for review purposes.

Enhanced by Zemanta