Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Elmo will live on.

If you read this blog you probably know that I am HUGE Sesame Street fan.  One of the highlights of my "Life List" (instead of a morbid "Bucket List" I prefer to keep track of the cool things I've already had a chance to do) is meeting Kevin Clash, Elmo's puppeteer

The news today that Clash has resigned his post has left me heartbroken.  Not because of Elmo, as Sesame Workshop said in a statement: 
"Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of 'Sesame Street' to engage, educate and inspire children around the world," 
We all adjusted to "new" Kermit, and after a few episodes and some time, kids won't notice a difference with Elmo either.  Clash has created a legacy with Elmo that will survive his leaving.  Though, I'm sure giving up performing Elmo will cause him some grief.  I'm pretty sure Elmo has a life of his own, and I
m pretty sure Clash loves him.

I'm more upset because Clash was a huge part of the Sesame Workshop team.  He co-executive produced Sesame Street, and was the Muppet Captain on the show.  Footage from the documentary Being Elmo  shows Clash traveling around the world to teach international versions of his signature Muppet how to, well...Be Elmo.

Sesame Workshop is one of my favorite organizations.  They offer free early-childhood education to kids around the world.  They teach kids internationally about social issues that matter to them.  In the United States they have recently launched initiatives to help military families deal with Iraq-War related injuries, with learning to save money and ending childhood obesity.  In Israel, Pakistan and Jordan they teach children about cultural diversity, in Africa they teach kids about AIDS.  They are a fantastic organization, and losing Clash is a sad moment for them and the children they serve.

I don't know if the accusations made against Clash are true or not. I met Clash last year, and I didn't get a single sinister vibe from the guy. On the contrary, he was one of the nicest and most gracious people I've ever met.  Regardless, it's a real loss for kids everywhere.

As Super-Dad said of the situation:  "It sucks when stuff like this happens."

To read about when I met Elmo click here.
To donate to Sesame Workshop click here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Best Buy tells us what we already know, women are gamers, too!

I watching Hulu this morning, and this Best Buy ad came on.  The guy buys his lady friend a copy of Black Ops 2 and then they play together.  The fact that she's a female is not the point of the ad, they seem to be genuinely be marketing video games (a shooter, even!) as gifts for women, which is AWESOME.

It was 15 seconds that made my morning.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hey there, it's been awhile!

I got a job, and as soon as I settled in and resolved to get back to the blog I got really sick and have been recovering from emergency surgery since.  I'm better now, and I've missed you all so much!

So to get back in the swing of things read about this awesome dad who hacked his daughter's video gaame to make Link a girl.  Go Dad!

From nbcnews.com
Meet Super Dad. His name is Mike Hoye. By day he is a tech entrepreneur in Toronto. By night (and, well, sometimes during the day too) he is a video game-hacking Super Dad who transforms famed game heroes into game heroines ... all for the sake of his young daughter.

Read more here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

PAX wrap-up to come!

It's been a ca-razy week around here!  Kitty started Kindergarten and Nate is now officially a middle-schooler! 

I also started a new position, which allows me to work the same hours the kids are in school and still work on the blog.  And, despite my best efforts I seem to have caught a bug at PAX.

Needless to say, I've been so busy since PAX that I haven't had a chance to write a wrap up.  I'm hoping to do that this weekend, because I saw some serious cool stuff.  I got to try out Epic MIckey 2, Scribblenauts for WiiU and a new game called Defiance hat crosses over with an upcoming show on SyFy.   


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Taking Kids to PAX Prime?

It's time for my annual list of dos and don'ts when bringing your kids to PAX Prime (or any other large convention).  For the fourth year I'm standing by my own advice and NOT bringing five year old Kitty.

You still have time go out and get yourself some easily-portable hand sanitizer.  I still recommend the fun ones from Bath and Body works, which you can find at 5 for $5 at almost any mall.  They are alcohol based, opposed to Triclosan, which may be safer for littles.


Click on this link for the rest of my PAX tips:  Surviving PAX Prime with Kids.


Do you have any tips?  Leave them in the comments below or on Parenting Geekly's Facebook page, and we'll add them to next year's list.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Lego Story

In celebration of their 80th birthday, Lego has produced an adorable short film showcasing their history.

It's a charming and interesting story of a family business built from the ground up into a giant world-renowned brand.  The animated short runs about 17 minutes and showcases Ole Kirk Kristiansen and his family as they encounter both tragedy and triumph, spanning from the early 1930's to today.

Check it out with your kids:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What's wrong with this picture?

Kitty starts Kindergarten this year.  This is the backpack she picked:





Notice anything/one missing?  I'll give you a hint, it's the only female member of the Avengers.  Black Widow....where is she?  Every single other Avenger is on there, even the other "minor" character of Hawkeye.

I wasn't surprised when every single store we went to had the super-hero merchandise in the "boy" section.  I *was* surprised that not a SINGLE Avengers backpack we saw (and we looked at at least 5) had Black Widow on it. The first time I thought it was an anomoly, the second time I got mad.  By the fifth backpack I had given up.  If she wanted an Avengers backpack, she was going to have to get one without Black Widow on it.  Even a Google image search for "Avengers Backpack" reveals only ONE pack  on a page of at least 10 different designs that includes her.

This baffles my mind.  I understand that the target market for these bags is boys.  I just don't understand the logic that it would somehow be less appealing to a boy if one of the movie's most kick-ass characters was included because she's female.  It's really  hard for me to continue to tell her that backpacks aren't "for boys" or "for girls"  when marketing departments try so hard to make that the case.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Written by a Kid Creativity Camp

Have you checked out Written by a Kid on Geek &Sundry's YouTube Channel?  It's exactly what it sounds like - a story, written by a kid and brought to life by funny adults.  They are running a virtual "Creativity Camp" for the next 8 weeks, and your kids can participate!

From the Written by a Kid Blog:
WHO: Kids 0-18, and their parents, guardians, and/or friends and family!
WHAT: 8 weeks of fun activities to do with a parent, a friend or on your own, inspired by episodes of Written By A Kid!
WHY: A little bird (OK, it was the internet) told us that you are LOVING Written By A Kid and you want to know how you can participate and tell your own stories. So we came up with WBAK Creativity Camp to satisfy the longings of your inner storytellers. We can’t wait to hear what your imaginations have in store, no matter how big a kid you are!
WHERE: Creativity Camp is wherever you are! All you need is some paper, a pen or pencil and crayons or markers.
Both of my kids are going to participate (thanks to the very inclusive age range) and I'm excited to see the different takes they bring to each project.

For more info: http://geekandsundry.com/creativity-camp/

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tie a bow tie with Bill Nye!

I have a certificate in Fashion Merchandising and the first thing we learned in our very first class was how to tie menswear neckties. The knowledge has since escaped me, and Super-Dad is relegated to tie duties in our house. Nate loves all manner of things fancy. Monocles, fancy moustaches, wool fedoras and bow ties. Seriously, I have never met another 12 year old who enjoys wearing a suit and tie as much as Nate does. I can't wait to show him this adorable video in which a charming and funny (as usual) Bill Nye the Science Guy teaches Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist) how to tie a bowtie.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Seven minutes of terror

Landing a Mars Rover is no easy feat.  It involves detaching landing gear, high-strength parachutes, on-the-fly course corrections, rockets and cables.  And it all has to be done autonomously by the onboard systems, as the rover makes its descent in just seven minutes, and communication back to earth takes about 14.

The last two rovers landed using balloons to cushion the blow.  Curiosity, which is scheduled to land at 10:31 PM PDT on Sunday, August 5th, weighs a lot more and therefore this crazy sequence of events had to be conceived to ensure a soft landing.

Check out this video that NASA's Jet Propulsion Labrotory put together to explain the process:


And for more information on the Mars Rovers check out the JPL's Mars Rovers website:

Monday, July 30, 2012

DIY Plush Dice Pillow with Bonnie and Wil

After watching this on Friday (my birthday!) I was inspired to go out and buy all the materials to make this awesome dice pillow.  I haven't had a chance to whip it up yet, but it looks easy for someone with even my rudimentary sewing skills.   I'll keep you posted...


You can also check out the rest of the awesome Bonnie Burton's Geek DIY on the World of Heroes YouTube Channel.

Friday, July 27, 2012

33 (mostly geeky) facts about me for my 33rd birthday


It's my birthday! Yay! I have been doing some reflecting back on my past 33 years (as one is wont to do on their birthday) and seeing as how my vacation-addled brain isn't quite ready to produce a more substantial post I've written them down to share with you:

1.    I’ve played Rock Band with Wil Wheaton
2.    I’ve used the shuttle simulator used to train astronauts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
3.    My first comic book was Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that my mom picked up because it looked like it was “up my alley”.
4.    My Sweet 16 birthday party was Batman Themed.
5.    I was Spider-Woman for my second Halloween
6.    My 5th birthday party was PacMan themed.
7.    My dad used to use me as a ringer in Tetris tournaments he’d set up with my uncles.
8.    When I was in kindergarten my dad came to career day and showed my class how to program in LOGO, I was super excited to show my classmates how to draw a triangle.
9.    My paternal grandfather was an early computer science graduate and helped create the network for Master Charge.  It’s now Master Card, and it was one of the first national (not store based) credit cards.
10.    The only video game I’ve ever been able to beat is Mortal Kombat 3, using Sonya.
11.    I was able to read at age 2, thanks to parents who indulged my love of books by reading to me all the time.
12.    My favorite Star Trek Captain is Picard.  My favorite Doctor is the EMH.
13.    I collect vintage and antique buttons (the kind to fasten clothes).
14.    I used to have a huge crush on Jerry O’Connell from “My Secret Identity”
15.    In 8th grade I won 3rd place in a state oratory competition on the topic of “The Voyages of Columbus” I wrote about how Columbus was just lucky to land on North America and then subjugated the native peoples.  According to my coach I probably would have done better if I would have better considered the audience…the competition was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus
16.    My kids’ both have comic book connections to their names.  It wasn’t the first priority in choosing their names, but we made sure they had some connection.
17.    I still see the same ophthalmologist I’ve seen since birth.  At 3,000 miles away I’m his most far-flung patient.
18.    For our fifth anniversary Super-Dad bought me Uncanny X-Men  #100 and #101, the first appearance of the Phoenix.
19.    I have an original drawing of Hellboy by Mike Mignola.  It’s pink.  I asked him to do it as part of a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Walk I was doing.  I loved it so much that I bought it myself.
20.    I never had a teddy bear as a small child, opting instead for the stuffed Phillie Phanatic my dad bought me shortly after my birth.
21.    Felicia Day once complimented my bee necklace, which is comprised of a pewter sculptural button from the Victorian Era.
22.    I have worn glasses since I was 18 months old.  Glasses for babies weren’t common in the late 70’d/early 80’s so mine were custom constructed by Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.
23.    I am a huge fan of Sesame Street and own a real Big Bird Feather.
24.    I have a custom recorded ringtone of Mr. T telling me he is disappointed in me.
25.     I have just completed my first year of piano lessons.
26.    I didn’t get a driver’s license until I was 29 years old.
27.    My first concert ever was New Kids on the Block opening for Tiffany.  My most recent concert was Jonathan Coulton opening for They Might Be Giants.
28.    I love the Olympics and consider it a highlight of my life that I got to sit outside in the rain in 33 degree weather to stare at a fog covered mountain  for the 2010 Winter Games in BC.
29.    I am the oldest of six children, my youngest sibling is 18 years younger than I am, only 3 years older than my son, her nephew.
30.    Super-Dad and I met while working at RKCNDY an iconic (though now defunct) all-ages Seattle concert venue. It was a Modest Mouse show.
31.    I almost died at age 19 from a Kidney Stone.
32.    Having lived in Seattle for 15 years,  I still can’t say “water” without a heavy Philadelphia accent (“wooder”).
33.    I will have smores instead of a birthday cake tonight.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Greetings from Philadelphia!

Greetings from beautiful Philadelphia!  I am on vacation for most of this month, and posting will be down to once (maybe twice if I have a guest post) a week.  Regular daily-ish posting will resume August 1.


 If you need a geeky parenting fix follow me on Twitter (@ParentingGeekly) or like PG on Facebook.   I'll be updating those more frequently with vacation pics, tips and my random musings.  You can also get in touch with me via email at sharon(at)ParentingGeekly(dot)com

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dad presents daughter with graduation present 13 years in the making, makes the rest of us look bad

Last week MSNBC published the story of Bryan Martin's gift to his daughter Brenna for her high school graduation.

For 13 years, Bryan Martin kept the book hidden from his daughter, dutifully taking it to her teachers, coaches and school principals every year to have them append it with positive comments and messages.
Finally, on June 8 — the day of her graduation from North Johnston High School in Kenly, N.C. — Brenna Martin received a special copy of the Dr. Seuss classic “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’’
At first Brenna thought she was getting an ordinary copy of the book, which is a common graduation gift.  It was only after her dad told her to open it up that she discovered notes from her teachers going back to when she was five years old.  As the days after the graduation went by she learned that most everyone in her life knew about the book, helping her dad guard the secret for 13 years.

To read more visit MSNBC.com

What do you think of Bryan's gift to his daughter? Have you ever received such a thoughtful gift?  Let me know in the comments below, on ParentingGeekly's Facebook page or on twitter.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Star Wars family decals are way cooler than the stick figure ones most families have.

At this point I think I just need to sign my paychecks right over to Think Geek.

I am not a fan of car window family decals.  I just don't get the point of wanting weird stick figure representations of the members of your family (really only identifying their gender) on the back of your car.


I am however, seriously considering buying some of these Officially Licensed Star Wars Decals.  for $14.99 you get 50 decals, with 19 separate characters to choose from.  So Mom's truck can have Han+Leia= Yoda and R2-D2  and Dad's car can have Darth Vader + Padme = Kid Luke and Leia.   The set comes with 12 Stormtrooper Kid decals, so even the largest geek families can represent!

Star Wars Family Car Decals $14.99 at Think Geek.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Superhero kid prints, perfect for a geeky nursery

These charming illustrations of kids using the power of imagination to become their favorite superheroes would be fantastic in a nursery or kid's room.  I am actually going to order a few to hang in Nate and Kitty's shared bedroom.  It's been a challenge to find artwork that would appeal to both them with their different styles and large age difference.  These are just perfect.



They can be found on deviantART user Andy Fairhurst's shop by clicking here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sponsored Post: T-Mobile's tools for summer safety

11 year old Nate has a cell phone.  Are you aghast? Some people are when they hear that he's had his own phone since age nine, and that he was upgraded to a smartphone late last year.  I'm guessing that many of the readers of this particular blog are not as shocked.

As geeks, technology plays a huge role in daily life for many of us and that extends to our geeklings. I am a firm believer in educating my children in the role technology should (and shouldn't) play in their lives.  I'm trying to raise savvy, educated citizens here and cutting them off from the technology they'll soon use every day isn't practical.

Photo courtesy of T-Mobile. Nate wouldn't be caught dead with that haircut.
I'm a T-Mobile customer, and one of the ways they have continued to keep me impressed is with their tools for families.  They seem to be one of the few technology companies out there that really "gets" it. They understand that many of our kids have access to technology and provide their users with tools to manage that.

I personally love that I can use features on the Family Allowances dashboard to prevent my insomniac 11 year old from texting his friends after a certain hour at night.  The ability to cut off paid downloads after a certain dollar amount teaches him how to manage his allowance, while offering me (and my bank account) peace of mind.

T-Mobile also offers FamilyWhere which allows you to locate a phone (and potentially a child) precisely on a map.  I was a bit creeped out by the potential for misuse here, but when I went to pick up Nate from school the other day and we had a misunderstanding about where on the campus we were to meet, I sure wished I would have had it. This program also allows kids to quickly an discreetly check in via text message, and can automatically send you a text a message if a kid isn't where they're supposed to be at a certain time. This is great peace of mind for the parents of kids who come home from school to an empty house.  You can know that they got there when they were supposed to.


Even with all the cool technology available to T-Mobile customers, there are additional steps that all families should take regardless of their carrier. Anyone can follow these tips from T-Mobile:

ICE: Save important contact numbers into your child’s phone; add ICE (In Case of Emergency) so responders or others can reach you if your child is in trouble, e.g. ICE Daddy Cell; ICE Home.

Check-in Text: Encourage kids to send a quick, discreet text as an alternative to an “embarrassing” check-in call when they arrive or leave somewhere.

911: Teach your child how to call 911 on a cell phone in case of emergency, including how to place the call if the phone is locked.

Memorize: Though numbers may be programmed into a child’s phone, teach them to memorize family/emergency contact phone numbers in case they get separated from their phone.

Current Photos: Keep current photos of your kids on your cell phone, updating each family member’s photo every six months.

Charge It: Ensure your child understands cell phones must be turned on while away from home. Make sure the phone is charged at night and buy a spare charger for his/her backpack.

Cell Phone-Ready? Giving your child a cell phone can help increase safety. If your child walks home alone, babysits, or participates in afterschool activities, it may be the right time. Summer is a great time for parents and children to practice having this new responsibility.

Family Contract: Discuss the rules your child must obey to have a cell phone and create a family contract for responsible use with must-dos like answering your calls/texts, keeping the phone on when away from home, not using it during school, not responding to unknown numbers, and more.
Another favorite feature that is available to all cell phone users, but has extras for T-Mobile customers is the Lookout App, which is available on Google Play and the iTunes store.  I use this app almost daily because I am constantly putting my phone down and forgetting where I left it.  Because of the button placement on my phone I almost always set it on silent mode...Lookout can make it beep anyway!  Lookout also backups your files and checks your phone for malicious files/viruses.  Premium features even allow you to lock your phone and wipe it clear of all data if it's lost or stolen.

For more information about these services and the other family-friendly products that T-Mobile offers visit family.t-mobile.com


Monday, June 18, 2012

Reminder: Take the Parenting Geekly Reader Survey!

I'd love to know your thoughts on how I can make Parenting Geekly the best it can possibly be.  I'd also like to get some independent advertising on the site, as opposed to the generic stuff Google serves up.  To do that I need some demographic info. 


Click here to take the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ParentingGeekly
The survey is less than 20 questions and should only take a few minutes.  After you fill it out head to this page for a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card.


Happy Father's Day to all the hardcore dads out there

A Twitter follower shared this with me, and it made me chuckle.  Happy belated Father's Day to all dad's with "dozens of dollaz" out there

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

EMP ICONS of Science Fiction

On Friday night I had the opportunity to preview the new ICONS of Science Fiction exhibit at the EMP Museum here in Seattle.

The new exhibit was celebrated with an fantastic opening party.  Brooks Peck, the curator opened the party by telling the geeks in attendance that they were letting him down.  "When is the last time you told the bus driver to live long and prosper?"  And suggested that the watered down vampire stories and romance novels were turning SciFi readers into...well, romance readers. He suggested that we get back to our Science Fiction roots and that checking out the new exhibit was a good first step.

The party was great.  Geek Girl Con was in attendance playing "Dr. Guess Who", the folks from Star Trek: Phoenix were enlisting guests into Starfleet, Geeks who Drink ran trivia, BJ Shea's Geek Nation podcast was sketching bacon and DABooth had a fantastic Dr. Who themed photo booth set up.

I think I'd make a good Companion.



Are you a fan of both Dr. Who and Star Trek?  Well, then you need to get a giant screen like the one set up in the EMP's Sky Church.  It showed all of the tweets coming in with the hashtag #EMPIcons while playing  a show on each side.  If you look carefully you can see that I tweeted "Shatner's head looks almost life sized over there ---->" because I'm hilarious like that.


How many parties do you go to where you are harassed by Klingons?

"Okay, Sharon, you got to go to an awesome party, we get it.  What's in the actual exhibit? Can I bring my kids?"  That's what I'm imagining you're saying right now, so...

The exhibit was broken up into a series of questions.  Each had corresponding books, props and information that tied into the question being asked.

"What if you were the chosen one?" 
This showcases props and info from Dune, The Matrix (Neo's coat), Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica  

"What if you had superpowers?"
This part of the exhibit explores what it would be like to be super-human.  Here you can see Christopher Reeve's Superman IV costume, info about The Watchmen, and (adorably) an animation cell from The Powerpuff Girls

"What if we fought a war with aliens?"
This part of the exhibit showcases guns from Men in Black, the Anubis headdress from the Stargate film, and a toy spaceship used as a model in Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space.

"What if we were enslaved by our machines?"
Featured two of my favorite artifacts, the T-800 skull used in Terminator 2 and a Dalek from the Dr. Who episode "Rememberance of the Daleks".


"What if we could design our own children?"
Here, you can see the creepy teddy bear from A.I. and Data's uniform from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Because of the way the exhibit is grouped by question and not chronology or subject, the exhibit is really engaging, and would be interesting to those who are not necessarily fans of the genre.

It's worth mentioning that Peck mentioned that one of his "dream items" for the exhibit would be a screen-used prop or costume from Joss Whedon's Firefly because he feels that with it's limited run and cult-following it really embodies sci-fi culture.  So if you have such an item, or know where to get one and would like to display it for the world to see contact the EMP.

It's a really, really fun exhibit.  I think most older kids (10+) who are fans of science fiction would enjoy it.  While you're at EMP you can also check out the very interactive exhibit based on James Cameron's Avatar, and the rest of the EMP which is dedicated to rock memorabilia.


One caveat: The EMP is currently hosting an exhibit called "Can't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film"  There is a small section of crossover with a small gallery between the two exhibits showcasing artifacts that span both the horror and science fiction genres.  Here you can see a facehugger and Alien from Aliens, Buffy's stake "Mr. Pointy", and the axe from The Shining.  The items in this space border on scary (the Alien model pictured at right is taller than I am.  I was convinced it was going to burst out of it's metal cage at any moment), and the adjacent "Can't Look Away" is definitely a PG-13 experience.  If you go, look for a picture of me on the "scream wall".  I posed for one, but didn't see it in the short time I was there.  The first reader to spot it and snap a photo will get a prize!

For more information and to buy tickets: http://www.empmuseum.org


Monday, June 11, 2012

Parent's Guide: Brave

Last night we had the chance to see Disney Pixar's Brave as part of the Seattle International Film Festival.  I sit on the SIFF Parent Committee and we were so thrilled a few months ago when SIFF programmers told us that they would be screening it a full twelve days before its release.

Brave tells the story of Scottish Princess Merida as she fights her mother's wish to marry her off to a member of an allied clan.  Obsessed with destiny, Merida turns to the supernatural to try and change hers with disastrous effect.  To fix what went wrong, she must take her mother on an adventure where they learn the importance of listening and compromise.

There's been a lot of talk about what a strong character Merida is.  And indeed, seeing a princess who is not only proficient in combat arts but actively fights against being paired up with "Prince Charming" was refreshing.  The only love story in the film was the one between Merida and her mother.  The mother/daughter relationship was so well written and some of the aforementioned tears were the result of being reminded of my own teenage interactions with my mother.  Teenagers can be cruel, parents can be angry and unyielding. 

At times it was laugh out loud funny, other times it was scary, and I spent about 25 of the 90 minute running time sobbing.  It had adventure, suspense, and sentimentality.  It was Pixar's doing its best at everything Pixar does best.

So..."Can I take my five year old to see Brave?"  I'd say "yes", with a few caveats.  There are some scary scenes with vicious bears (there are also plenty of cute scenes with bears).  Kitty was scared and grabbed my arm, but didn't get so upset that we had to leave.  There was a younger child in the theater who cried during some of the more intense scenes. There are a few a lot of animated bottoms shown. There is a scene involving a cleavage joke.  There was a real fear at the end (even for me) that the main conflict was not going to be resolved in a tidy way.  It's pretty typically Pixar in that there is genuine suspense.  I'd say it's fine for most kids 5 and up.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Facebook now charging to show you posts.

If you "like" Parenting Geekly on Facebook  you may have noticed that you aren't seeing as many posts from me lately.  Facebook has recently changed the way that posts from your "liked" pages show up.  They only show the posts to those of you that recently (or often) interact with the page by "liking" the posts, posting on the wall, etc. For Parenting Geekly that is 13 of you right now.  That's understandable, I don't interact with most of the Facebook pages I like, but I sure do enjoy seeing them in my feed.  It's why I "liked" them in the first place. They have recently given me the option of paying per post so that you can all see the stuff you already thought you were seeing, but paying for each post isn't really an option for me, most small businesses, other blogs, non-profits and grassroots organizations.

I believe that Facebook should make money, and I understand that as a publicly traded company they have investors to keep happy.  I have paid money to advertise the blog, but paying per post is just cost prohibitive.  Unfortunately it's also going to make Facebook pointless for many small organizations.

In my day job I am PR/social media consultant (plug: you can learn more/hire me here).  I specialize in helping small businesses and non-profits learn how to utilize social media.  Facebook was such a great tool for them because it was a free, easy way for them to interact with their supporters and customers.  My two-person dog walker client can't afford to pay $15 each time they want their customers to see a post.  I do all the social media for the Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms, a non-profit dedicated to preserving family farms and farmland.  It's a worthy cause, and Facebook was our cost-effective way of letting people know about our event and how they can help throughout the year.  We operate on a teeny-tiny budget, there's no way we can afford to promote our posts, not even once.

I don't usually go into a ton of "behind the scenes" stuff, but I wanted you to know why Parenting Geekly's Facebook feed may seem a bit more quiet.  I also wanted to share this article with you that explains how you can fix this in your feed.  It's a bit of a pain in the butt, but I encourage you to go through the pages you like and at least make sure you are seeing posts from non-profits/causes you support.  Alternatively you can interact more with the pages you like by finding them and "liking" their most recent post or otherwise interacting with them.

Thanks to super-cool Geeky Songstress Marian Call for sharing the article on Twitter.

If you're reading this, you should take the Parenting Geekly reader survey!

Be prepared for an emergency.

Nate just completed his fifth grade project.  He goes to an alternative school and this project has been part of the 5th grade promotion requirements since before the school was part of the school district, when it was *really* alternative.  There is no structure, no guidelines, no grading rubric; the teacher told them "pick a subject and make a project". 

Nate originally wanted to do his project on wilderness survival, but figured that with the amount of time he had (and with his camping-phobic mother) he wouldn't be able to do anything that people would want to learn about.  So then it morphed into survival kits for camping trips kids his age would take - survival for kids.  That was pretty narrow in scope so I suggested that he work on family emergency kits.  He liked the idea and got started researching on the web and making lists.

The sites he referenced were 3days3ways.org which is a resource from the King County (where Seattle is) office of Emergency Management.  He recommends this one because it has a calculator.  You can plug in the number of family members you have and the number of days you'd like to be prepared for and it will give you the specific amounts of food and water you should have.  When developing our family's kit, he used the list at redcross.org for non-food emergency items like first aid items.

When he was done we were left with a pretty complete kit.  Nate's advice to the parents at the presentation night was "an imperfect kit is better than no kit".  If you have some of the stuff gather it up in a box or back pack, keep a copy of your list with you and add and item to it each time you shop.  It's also suggested that you keep at least $200 in small bills with your kit.  This is easy to accumulate if you put aside a few dollars a week.  Thanks to his advice, I empty all of the singles from my wallet each night and put them with the emergency supplies.  It may not be the full amount that is recommended, but if there were an emergency tomorrow I'm better off than I was yesterday.

As part of the project Nate and I wrote a survey.  We wanted to know who had a kit, and what types of disasters people had survived.  It was really, really interesting to read the responses and they really emphasized that being prepared for an emergency is important.

The survey was more popular than we thought, and due to the large number of responses we wound up having to pay to access them.  So, since I have access to that account for a month, I created a Parenting Geekly reader survey.  I'd love to know what you think about the site so that I can tailor the posts to things that interest my audience the most.  I'd also like to start handling my own advertising soon (to hopefully ditch the giant Google ads) and some of the demographic info I ask for will help me secure quality, independent advertisers who fit the interests of this group. 

More info and a link to the survey is on the Survey! tab at the top of the site.  You can also click here to get to it.

And since I'm not above bribery...two respondents will each win an Amazon gift card.  Once you fill out the survey return to the Survey! page and enter using the Rafflecopter widget.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

First look at Disney's Wreck-It Ralph

The internet is abuzz over the first trailer for Disney's Wreck-It Ralph.  The first preview debuted online yesterday.

Check it out:




I love the concept of a vintage video game baddie wanting to try his hand at being the hero.  The voice cast (John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch) is A-list, and the preview shows cameos from Bowser, Dr. Robotnik from Sonic. and other vintage video game bad guys.  I just don't see how this could be bad.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

In Memoriam: Ray Bradbury

Ray and his wife Maggie in 1970. (Los Angeles Times / June 6, 2012)
The world lost science fiction luminary Ray Bradbury today. At 91 years old, Bradbury had a career that spanned over 70 years and included over 500 stories, 40 plus books and many TV and movie screenplays and adaptations.

Bradbury was one of my first exposures to Science Fiction and Fantasy.  When I was in elementary school, my mother managed a college bookstore.  I was a voracious reader and she would frequently bring in books students had returned that were in no condition to resell and the store's overstock.  The books were frequently science fiction yearbooks/anthologies and Bradbury was almost always included.  While he was known primarily for the dystopian Fahrenheit 451 (Nerd shame: I haven't read it) I devoured his short stories, some of which had been adapted in to episodes of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock presents.  I always felt such a sense of pride while, when watching a Bradbury inspired story, I recognized the source material.

Bradbury didn't really consider himself a sci-fi writer. If you look at the breadth of his work you will see that he actually wrote a lot of Americana and fantasy.

First of all, I don't write science fiction. I've only done one science fiction book and that's Fahrenheit 451, based on reality. It was named so to represent the temperature at which paper ignites. Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. So Martian Chronicles is not science fiction, it's fantasy. It couldn't happen, you see? That's the reason it's going to be around a long time—because it's a Greek myth, and myths have staying power

-Ray Bradbury
Regardless of how he thought he should be classified, Bradbury was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle in 2004, and is considered an icon in the genre.

Thank you Ray Bradbury, for introducing so many of us to other worlds, other times, other frames of mind.  The world is a better place for having had you in it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Beach towels for Geeks

We are preparing for our annual trip to Ocean City, NJ.  Since we fly cross country to get there we pack as lightly as possible.  The kids get to bring one towel for the beach, which we hang out every night.  Because they only get one, we let them pick out a new one every year.  The ones from previous years live in a closet where they come out for pool parties and Seattle-based beach picnics.  It's pretty neat because we can see how the interests of the kids have changed over the years.  Nate's set includes Bob the Builder and Blue's Clues towels from his preschool years (both of which were actually hand-me-downs from my young siblings). His collection also includes The Incredibles and several Sipderman towels, though last year he went for a polka dot design (boring!).  Kitty's collection just began two years ago and she chose a Tinkerbell towel both times.  Hopefully she will get a little more creative this go around.

Super-dad and I haven't had a need for new towels with all of the previous year's towels around.  This year though, with the plethora of geeky towel options it may be time for us to get some new ones.


This Spider-Man towel from the Disney store is personalizable. When we hit the beach we have about 40 (no exaggeration) family members with us, a name on the towel is a good way to make sure it gets back with its rightful owner.

 Spider-man towel: 11.99 from the Disney Store

Got a Trekkie in your life?  They'd love one of these Star Trek towels from ThinkGeek.  Available in Command, Security or Sciences.

Star Trek Towels $29.99 from ThinkGeek.

This Dalek towel is pretty sweet:

Dr. Who Dalek towel $24.99 available at Amazon.com

I love this Star Wars towel from Pottery Barn Kids because of it's cool vintage graphics.  So often things designed for kids are super bright and overly stylized.  I have had to say "no" to so many superhero shirts for my kids because the designs were just too gaudy.  This towel, while on the PB Kids website would work just as well for an adult.
Star Wars Towel $26.00 from Pottery Barn Kids.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Team USA Qudditch Jerseys, just in time for the Summer Olympics

People really do (kinda) play Quidditch, the flying-broomstick sport of Harry Potter.  It was adapted in 2005 by students at Middlebury College and according to the International Quidditch Association (IQA) it is now played by over 300 Universities and High Schools worldwide.

The IQA is hosting a World Quidditch Exposition to coincide with the London Summer Olympics and is offering official Team USA Jerseys. You can show your support of  your home country Qudditch Team, use it for cosplay, or just wear it for fun. 

Team USA Quidditch Jersey $49.99 ($74.99 for a personalized version) from the International Quidditch Association.  Also available for France, UK and Australia.

Via FashionablyGeek.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy times.

After the upsetting day those of us in Seattle experienced yesterday (you can read about the shootings here if you are unaware).  I spent the evening looking through photos from the last few months.  I realized that I have SO MANY pictures on my computer, but I never look through them.  I decided to make a photo book with the ones I had taken recently.  I looked over a ton of options and decided to go with good old standby Shutterfly.  They definitely aren't the least expensive option (I think that went to Walmart's online photo shop) but they have the nicest selection of themes and I've always found that they have the best balance of ease and customization.  I made the book exactly how I wanted it in less than two hours.

I didn't realize that they had a Blogger compatible widget until after I ordered, but when I saw they did I decided to share the book with you, dear readers.  Enjoy!



Click here to create your own Shutterfly photo book.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Delightful Lip-dub proposal will leave you smiling...or possibly crying.

This video has (almost) everything the internet goes nuts for, a good love story, sentimentality and a cutely choreographed lip-dub.

Issac Lamb of Portland, Oregon (of course!)  got 60 + of his and his girlfriend's friends and family together, had them dance to Bruno Mars' "Marry You" live, and then proposed.  Even distant friends and family got in on the act, appearing on video carried on laptops.

The delight that bride-to-be Amy Frankel shows as each new set of friends and family pops up made me so happy I may have cried a little gotten something in my eye.




For more background information there's an article and interview with the couple from the Today Show here.

Did you have a creative proposal?  Tell us in the comments below, on the Parenting Geekly Facebook Page or on Twitter!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank you to those who serve.

On this Memorial Day we here at Parenting Geekly would like to thank those who have served and those who currently serve our country.  It is through the sacrifice of you and your families that we are able to live in freedom.

We ask that you take a moment today to think of/pray for/send good energy to the friends and families of those soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice and given their lives in the name of service to the United States.  For so many of us this long weekend is a time to get together with our loved ones, and yet the reason we have this holiday is to honor those who are no longer with their families.

To learn more (or to donate to) about the Gold Star Mothers, a charity for mothers who have a lost a son or daughter in service to our country click here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Parent's Guide: Can I take my kids to see Men In Black: 3

The MIB franchise is fourteen years old. I swore we took Nate to see it one rainy weekend on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk, but Super-Dad reminded me that that was actually MIB:II, which itself was released in 2002.  So yeah, this is newest installment is part of franchise in which the last film came out over 10 years ago. Due to the seemingly endless playing of both films on cable it seems like even kids too young to remember the movies are aware and interested in the franchise, but should you take them?

This installment got back to the feel of the first MIB film.  It does its best to move on from the mostly panned second movie in the series, though the heavy handed "celebrities are aliens" theme plays a major part in this one as well.  Will Smith is at his best playing the mouthy Agent J, and Josh Brolin was absolutely uncanny playing a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K.

I took 5 year old Kitty this morning, and she had never seen a MIB film.  I was afraid that she'd be bored, that the time-travel storyline would fly over her head, or that she would find the alien special-effects as you can see from her (slightly rambling - she's five) review below she mostly followed along.



There is a fair amount of mild swearing (and one "shit").  Jemaine Clemant (channeling Tim Curry) as baddie Boris the Animal  has some parasitic creatures that move in and out of his body, the special effects are convincing and may make more sensitive viewers queasy.  The violence is prevalent but very cartoony.  No human people bleed, though they do get smacked around.

The story line involves time-travel and there are a lot of jokes about the cultural climate of the 60's will go over the heads of the pre-teen audience.  There is big scene involving race relations, which could be great talking point, though it's dealt with humorously.  I was worried that the time-travel aspect would be confusing, but I think that Kitty got the gist of it.  I heard a kid leaving the theater declare it "awesome" while their adult companion just kinda nodded in agreement; which about sums it up from an adult point It was entertaining, but mostly forgettable.

So.... "Can I take my 5 year old to see Men in Black 3?": I'd say this one is fine for ages 8 and up, but that if your child is easily scared by monsters/aliens you may want to wait and watch this one at home in the daylight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Batpool!

Alright, this Batman "pool" from Pottery Barn Kids only fits one kid, costs as much as some real car payments, and you'd be lucky to get more than one season of play out of it, but I would have loved this as kid.
 Batman Pool, $119 Pottery Barn Kids

Monday, May 21, 2012

Homemade sidewalk chalk

Photo from Hipster's Tea Party
It's finally nice out here in Seattle, and when the sun comes out my kids love sidewalk chalk.  It never ceases to amaze me to see the kids of our block (who range in age from 5 to 15) all drawing with chalk together in my triplex's huge driveway.   The problem with sidewalk chalk is that it's relatively expensive.  Sure, you can buy a tub of it for $6, but with 9 kids making masterpieces those big buckets can last less than one afternoon.

I've seen recipes floating around the internet for homemade sidewalk chalk.  It's great because you can make big ol' sticks of chalk in a endless array of colors and the materials are cheap and easy to find at any craft store.

The recipe we're going to try out is from Hipster's Tea Party and can be found here.  I'll update with the results as soon as I gather up the supplies.



Have you make sidewalk chalk?  How did it turn out?  Let us know in  comments on the Parenting Geekly Facebook Page or on Twitter.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Creative Geeks: check out the contests at Welovefine

Are you an artist with a great idea for a rad T-shirt design?  The folks over at welovefine.com want to see your work!  The purveyors of awesome, geeky shirts are running several contests right now that carry a $2,500 prize and a chance to see your design sold at welovefine.com.

Jenn from welovefine writes:
Right now we have three ongoing contests, one for Dungeons & Dragons, one
for Star Wars and an 8-bit design one. The top prize for each is $2500 and
we would love to have more people contribute their design skills!

http://www.welovefine.com/contest.php

You can also check out some of the more recent contests to see some awesome crowd-sourced designs for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and a favorite from my own childhood, Jem!

Even if your not artistically-inclined you can get in on the action by voting for your favorite designs; go check it out!




Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hello from the SIFF Opening Gala

A rare night out with no kids.  My best friend Aunt Karen and I sip champagne while we people watch.  Check out SIFF.net for more upcoming gala celebrations and the films4families schedule.  See you there!


A teether for the baby who has everything.

Maybe your baby is a big fan of m83, or Ron Swanson, or their facial-hair-sporting-dad...either way any baby boy or girl would look especially dapper sporting this safe-for-teething moustache shaped toy. This would also be awesome tied on top of a baby shower present as a practical decoration.

Moustache Teething Toy $12 from Little Alouette

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ever wonder how your email gets from here to there?

It's mind boggling to think about how big and complicated the internet really is, even for adults.  Google has put together a really cool animation called "The Story of Send" that explains what happens to your Gmail once you send it on its way, and it's a great tool to help explain to your kids how email gets from your computer to a recipient across the country or around the world.

A complex site with animation, videos and pop ups, it's pretty in depth look at how Google handles security, creates hardware, and their efforts to be environmentally efficient.

It's a neat look behind the scenes at how email moves in general and how Google specifically handles the huge amounts of data that passes through their servers.  Click here to watch The Story of Send.  Watching all of the videos takes about 30 minutes, but you can get the gist of it by following the animation in about 10.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I wish I could say I looked this cool when I woke up.

A Norwegian brother and sister taped themselves waking up their 3 year old half-brother with Nirvana's Breed.  The kid goes from half-asleep to kick-ass air drum playing in half a second.  So cute!


And yes, the seat belt situation drives me nuts.  Many YouTube comments made mention of this and the brother and sister take culpability.  A cool video of a cool family AND they learned something.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Smell like the Avengers!

Once again Think Geek has showed us product we never knew we needed. This set of six colognes will have you smelling like your favorite Avenger.

I have warm, fuzzy memories of my Dad's Old Spice aftershave.  To this day the smell of Old Spice reminds me of good times with my dad.  How BA would it be if you could evoke those types of memories while smelling like Thor or Captain America?
Avengers Cologne Set
  • Smell like four of the Avengers - Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and The Incredible Hulk.
  • Four unique colognes in one heroic boxed set.
  • Avengers Assemble:
    • Patriot - Captain America - Green lime, white pepper, dry oak wood, sandalwood, and tequila.
    • Mark VII - Iron Man - Mandarin, neroli, nasturtium, and jasmine - layered with light patchouli.
    • SMASH! - Hulk - Yuzu, bergamot, tarragon, water lily, and nutmeg.
    • Worthy - Thor - Bergamot, frozen ginger, wheatgrass, fresh natural grapefruit, and aromatic cypress.
  • Net Wt.: 60ml (2.0 fl. oz) each.
  • Dimensions: approx. 2.25" x 4.25" x 1".

$59.99 from Think Geek
I haven't smelled any of these yet, but the major notes look like these may be pretty unisex.  Has anyone bought them?  What do you think?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day fromDisney/Pixar's Brave

Just try not to get choked up watching this new featurette from the folks over at Pixar.  Their video Mother's Day greeting gives us the first look at toddler Merida and a touching scene with her and her mother.



Disney/Pixar's Brave is in wide release on June 22.  If you happen to live in the Seattle area you can be one of the first audiences to see it during the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). The showing is on June 10th and tickets can be purchased here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Joss Whedon thanks his peeps for Avengers success

Photo credit: 
Gage Skidmore, flickr, Creative Commons
Proving once again that he's an all around nice guy, Joss Whedon has posted a letter of thanks to his supporters over at Whedonesque (many sources online claim Whedonesque is his personal site, it is not.  It's a fan-created site that he occasionally posts to).  He talks about his non-rivavlry with Christopher Nolan, about his upcoming projects and about the flawed nature of The Avengers.  It's pretty great and you should head over to Whedonesque and read it.

The popularity of the letter seems to have temporarily exploded Whedonesque.  Here is the letter in its entirety:

Dear Friends,

Well, it's been quite a weekend. Someday, long from now, I will even have an emotional reaction to it, like a person would. I can't wait! But before I become blinded by this "emotion" experience, there's a few things I'd like to say. Well, type.

People have told me that this matters, that my life is about to change. I am sure that is true. And change is good -- change is exciting. I think -- not to jinx it -- that I may finally be recognized at Comiccon. Imagine! Also, with my percentage of "the Avengers" gross, I can afford to buy... [gets call from agent. Weeps manfully. Resumes typing.] ...a fine meal. But REALLY fine, with truffles and s#!+. And I can get a studio to finance my dream project, the reboot of "Air Bud" that we all feel is so long overdue. (He could play Jai Alai! Think of the emotional ramifications of JAI ALAI!!!!)

What doesn't change is anything that matters. What doesn't change is that I've had the smartest, most loyal, most passionate, most articulate group of -- I'm not even gonna say fans. I'm going with "peeps" -- that any cult oddity such as my bad self could have dreamt of. When almost no one was watching, when people probably should have STOPPED watching, I've had three constants: my family and friends, my collaborators (often the same), and y'all. A lot of stories have come out about my "dark years", and how I'm "unrecognized"... I love these stories, because they make me seem super-important, but I have never felt the darkness (and I'm ALL about my darkness) that they described. Because I have so much. I have people, in my life, on this site, in places I've yet to discover, that always made me feel the truth of success: an artist and an audience communicating. Communicating to the point of collaborating. I've thought, "maybe I'm over; maybe I've said my piece". But never with fear. Never with rancor. Because of y'all. Because you knew me when. If you think topping a box office record compares with someone telling you your work helped them through a rough time, you're probably new here. (For the record, and despite my inhuman distance from the joy-joy of it: topping a box office record is super-dope. I'm an alien, not a robot.) So this is me, saying thank you. All of you. You've taken as much guff for loving my work as I have for over-writing it, and you deserve, in this our time of streaming into the main, to crow. To glow. To crow and go "I told you so", to those Joe Blows not in the know. (LAST time I hire Dr. Seuss to punch my posts up. Yeesh!) Point being, you deserve some honor, AND you deserves some FAQs answered. So please welcome my old friend and certainly not-on-my-payroll reporter/flunky, Rutherford D. Actualperson!

RDA: So good to see you, young Joss! is it possible you've gotten more attractive since we last spoke, and less fungal in odor?

JW: Thanks for noticing. Let's talk.

RDA: "the Scavengers" is a huge success! Does this mean you have changed the very fabric of existence?

JW: Dude, it's just a movie. Also, yes.

RTA: I've seen a lot of a talk about "the Availers" vs "the Dark Knight Rises". How will you feel if you're eclipsed by Nolan?

JW: I'm glad I made you ask that. I will feel sad. But let's look at the bigger picture, and I can't say this enough: THIS IS NOT A ZERO SUM GAME. Our successes, whoever has the mostest, are a boon to each other. We're in the business of proving that superhero movies aren't just eye-candy (they're eye-TRUFFLES!). People seem intent on setting us against each other, and though I'm proud to be Woody Strode to Nolan's Kirk Douglas, I think they're missing the point. Whatever TDKR does on its first weekend, the only stat that matters to me is the ticket I'M definitely buying. Nolan and Raimi INVENTED the true superhero flick, yo. (Special mention to Jon Favreau and James Gunn.) Happy to be in the mix.

RTA: What does this mean for your upcoming slate of tiny independent films/Internet shenanigans? Will they fall by the wayside?

JW: There may be new ideas realized -- I always leave myself open to that -- but my commitment to Wastelanders and Dr H.2 does not waver. Those stories bubble on my stove.

RTA: And TV?

JW: TV is my great love. To tell stories with that alacrity, intensity, and immediacy... Nothing quite like it. I imagine it's not dissimilar to the feeling great poker players have: "Here's what I got, here's where I'm going... How to trick everybody into thinking I know what I'm doing?" [Full disclosure : Joss hates poker. He is probably talking about bridge. But it should apply nonetheless.].

RTA: What message would you give fans of "the Lavenders" who are not so familiar with your previous work?

JW: "Cabin In the Woods": still in (some) theaters!

RTA: Is 'the Ravengers" a perfect movie? It did get an A+ cinemascore...

JW: There are very few perfect movies. "The Court Jester", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Godfather" I & II... The list does not go on and on. "The Avengers" is notably IMperfect, which makes its success mean so much more to me -- because it's striking a chord that matters MORE than its obvious flaws. Like the team, it appears to be more than the sun of its parts. Boo-yah!

RTA: What do you feel is the greatest achievement of "the Avoiders"?

JW: Getting "mewling quim" out there to the masses. Also, Hulk.

RTA: Anyone in particular you'd like to thank?

JW: [Reads from notecard]. I couldn't have done this myself. Part of this Saturn Award belongs to Jeremy Latcham, Kevin Feige, and the fine Marvel folk... But the secret ingredient is my closest peeps: J-Mo, who did uncredited punch-up work (carrier battle, yo!), Z-bro, Drew "I am Loki only taller and foppier" Goddard, and Kai, all of whom worked the story with me. Without them (and Jeremy), I'd still be figuring out how the Wasp fits in to this, and where to put Red Hulk.

RTA: What's next for Joss "finally got it right for a change" Whedon?

JW: Can we not call me that?

RTA: Just deal. Whut up?

JW: I really think we should discuss that nickname, but I'm finishing "Much Ado About Nothing" this month. If you liked "the Avengers", you'll love... I can't. It's Shakespeare. And not in the park. I hope it gets watched.

RTA: Any message to your precious "Whedonesk?"

JW: Whedonettes?

RTA: Weeble-eque?

JW: I'm not aware of that group.

RTA: Didn't they know you when?

JW: I'm not sure who you mean. I'm discarding my old fans so I can concentrate on fame, Euro-trash guy-jewelry and my precious "Air Bud" reboot. But, dude, don't print that!

RTA: You have my word.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pentagon confused by their place in world with S.H.E.I.L.D.

“We couldn’t reconcile the unreality of this international organization and our place in it,” Phil Strub, the Defense Department’s Hollywood liaison, tells [Wired's] Danger Room. “To whom did S.H.I.E.L.D. answer? Did we work for S.H.I.E.L.D.? We hit that roadblock and decided we couldn’t do anything” with the film.

That is a real quote, from a real person in U.S. Government.  The Avengers was too out there for them, the people who have provided personnel for such realistic films as Transformers.

Click on over to Wired to read more, and then head over to Parenting Geekly's Facebook page and let us know what you think about this story.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Need an easy homemade Mother's Day gift?

It's down to the wire, people.  If you haven't ordered something for mom, you had better do it now and two day ship it.  If you need ideas you can check out Parenting Geekly's Mother's Day post over on The Geeky Hostess.

If you can't decide on the perfect gift to buy (or if you've run out of time) I don't know a single mom that wouldn't appreciate a heartfelt homemade gift for Mother's Day.  In an effort to simplify your lives, I've scoured the web for the best easy Mother's Day crafts.  These are all kid-friendly (with a bit of adult guidance of course) and most make use out of items that you already have around the house or that are very easy to source. 

Body Scrub
I've made body scrubs before and they are easy and the ingredient list is very flexible.  I'm basing this recipe on the one over at Martha Stewart's website.  If you head over there you can also download some templates for making labels for your homemade spa concoction.

2 cups Epsom salts or organic cane sugar (I've also used large grain Sea Salt)
1 cup carrier oil (carrier oils are good for the skin and make a base for "carrying" the essential oils to the skin you can use olive oil which is probably already in your cabinet)
8 drops essential oil(s) (lavender is a perennial favorite and can be found in most drugstores and in a pinch vanilla extract works just fine).

Mix it all together, stick it in mason/canning jar or a Tupperware container and then give mom an hour to have a nice, long shower all by herself.


Tissue Paper Bouquet
By taking the preschool craft time favorite, scaling it down and getting a bit more creative with the edging, you and the kids can make mom a beautiful, long lasting bouquet.  This tutorial from OurLakeLife.com includes instructions for making several different types of flowers.  Arrange a bunch of these in a nice new coffee mug or travel tumbler to add a practical touch to a largely decorative gift.



Chocolate Covered Strawberries
These sweet treats which are super expensive to order are pretty easy (and much more cost effective) to make at home with just a bit of time and patience.  This is messy fun for the geeklings, so I'd recommend covering work surfaces with some wax paper. Pair the berries with a mimosa for a Mother's Day brunch treat mom will love.  This recipe from Food Network Kitchens calls for strawberries with the stem on.  If those are too hard to get a hold of, the regular clamshell packed berries from the mega-mart will do just fine. 



There you go, three easy craft projects that can be made with minimal time and planning.  Now you have no excuse not to give mom a small symbol of your love and appreciation.

Moms, what's the best Mother's Day gift you've gotten?  Tell us about it over on the Parenting Geekly Facebook page.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mothers Day Gifts for (or from) Geeks!

This year's Parenting Geekly Mother's Day Gift Guide is over on The Geeky Hostess as part of her excellent series on etiquette.  You can read the post here.

I'd like to add that when curating this year's list I purposely included a few items that a geekling (grown up or otherwise) could give to a mom who isn't necessarily a geek.  I think it's important when giving gifts to honor the recipient by giving a gift that also has a bit of the givers personality.  So you could give a gift like the molecular gastronomy kits as a science/culinary fan to a mom who may not be a geek but would appreciate doing that sort of project with you.

Anyway, head over to The Geeky Hostess and check it out!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Parent's Guide: Can I take my kids to see The Avengers?

Looking for a Parent's Guide to Avengers: Age of Ultron:You can find it here: www.ParentingGeekly.com/Avengers2


ParentingGeekly has moved! You can find the redesigned site at http://www.Parenting Geekly.com.

This post can be found over on the new site at: http://www.parentinggeekly.com/parents-guide-can-i-take-my-kids-to-see-the-avengers/


Update:  I saw The Avengers a second time during daylight hours and stayed awake for the whole show, I stand by the following review as written.  The only thing I'd add is that the 155 minute running time is a long time for a little one to sit still (and to hold their bladder).

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Full disclosure:  I went to a midnight showing of The Avengers and dozed off a few times.  We also brought 5 year old Kitty, but she fell asleep during the previews.  I am going to see a matinee this afternoon and may supplement my recommendation then. Since "Can I take my kids to the Avengers" has been a FAQ on our Twitter feed, and many of you will want to go after school today I thought I'd give you my first impressions.

The movie was excellent.  The story of the Avengers was skillfully worked.  I was a bit concerned that with such a large cast of characters the storytelling would be muddied and difficult to follow.  This wasn't the case at all.  Director Joss Whedon (Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is experienced with working with ensemble casts in complicated stories. His experience and talent showed in the fantastic storytelling as well as the slick cinematography which followed each character in an epic battle without getting jumbled.  

The plot was easy to follow, which is a plus for younger viewers.  I dozed at several points in the film (due to it being a midnight showing, and me being exhausted - the movie was plenty exciting) and was still able to follow along.

Violence may be a concern here, more than it was on the previous origin story films. But, like those other films, it's all "comic book violence".  Most of the more intense violence occurs against obviously non-human alien/robot beings, but human characters we are attached to get hurt and even die (I cried).  There are tons of advanced weapons from Hawkeye's tech-assisted arrows to big guns.  The fighting starts within the first few minutes and doesn't let up until the end. It's very, very exciting but the fast-paced, non-stop fighting may be too intense for younger moviegoers.

Whedon knows his source material and his Hulk is the most faithful to the comic character we've seen on screen so far.  In a nod to a notable comic book scene Bruce Banner describes a suicide attempt. Ironically, later in the film Hulk becomes the primary source of comic relief, albeit with his rather violent antics.  Robert Downey, Jr. again shows why he was the perfect casting choice for Tony Stark by delivering pithy one-liners that while sometimes risque, will mostly go over the heads of the under 13 crowd. Besides a bit of double entendre, the sexual content is minimal.  There is a lot of mild (damn, ass, son of a bitch) swearing.  Tony Stark drinks (duh).

There is a fair amount of talk about why the heroes choose to fight crime and the camaraderie and loyalty of the Avengers to each other is evident. There are many examples of teamwork and of acknowledging each other's strengths and weaknesses. Watching the Avengers fight as a team was delightful, during the climactic battle I was grinning from ear to ear.  On another positive note, this is the first superhero flick that really gives us female characters to root for.  Black Widow (in an expanded role from her part in Iron Man 2) and Agent Maria Hill are both highly capable, likeable female characters who kick butt right along with the rest of the team. Refreshingly there wasn't a "damsel in distress" in the film.

My personal little complaints: There is an off-hand joke about being adopted that I was bit sensitive to as I have adopted siblings, and I was annoyed that they showed Steve Rogers riding a motorcycle with no helmet.

I'd say this movie is perfectly fine for a kid over the age of 8 who has seen the other films in the franchise and isn't sensitive to comic book violence and who has a parent with them. After watching it last night, we are taking Kitty (who was super disappointed this morning) back this afternoon, clearly for our kids we think it's fine. If you are a stricter parent whose child hasn't been exposed to big Hollywood action flicks its PG-13 rating is pretty spot on.

Did you take your kids to The Avengers?  Did you decide NOT to take your kids to The Avengers?  Join the discussion on Parenting Geekly's Facebook page.
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