Monday, April 30, 2012

Celebrate Parenting Geekly's 2nd Birthday and SIFF's Films 4 Families

Saturday is a big day for us here at Parenting Geekly.  For starters it's Free Comic Book Day, the best day of the whole year!  And this year it's even better because Parenting Geekly is going to be celebrating our 2nd Birthday on Free Comic Book Day.  We will at Arcane Comics and More from 2pm until the shop closes at 8pm on Saturday.  Bring the kids for free comics, giveaways, kids' activities, and of course...birthday cake! There are plenty of choices for grown-up geeks and wannabe geeks as well.  Spread the word and check out the event page on Facebook here.  If you are a non-local fan, never fear!  We will be doing a fun contest to celebrate this milestone online as well.

Right before that I'll be at SIFF Cinema @ Uptown as part of the SIFF Parent Committee.  We will be showing (my favorite movie ever) The Wizard of Oz and previewing the upcoming SIFF Films4Families selections.  If you are in the Seattle area, you don't want to miss this.  The festival is going to be showing some AMAZING family films this year, and this is your chance to get the first peak.  Besides showing the greatest movie ever on the big screen, the event will also have pre-show fun and a costume contest for the kids, all for $4!  It's going to be a ton of fun and I hope to see you there.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Feeding the penguins

When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do was ride the elephants at the Philadelphia Zoo.  They no longer allow elephant rides, but zoos across the country are trying to incorporate more interactive educational and behind the scenes experiences into the typical day at the zoo. At Sea World in Florida I was able to feed a dolphin, and at Ontario's Marine World I pet a beluga whale (their heads feel like hard boiled eggs!).   Kit got her first taste of an up close animal interaction last year when she was able to feed the giraffes at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.   She was looking forward to doing it again today when we visited, but we missed feeding time.  Fortunately on the way out they opened up their relatively new Humboldt Penguin exhibit to allow visitors to feed the cute little birds some fish.



You can click on the video above to go to (and subscribe to!) Parenting Geekly's new You Tube Channel.

You can learn more about these desert penguins here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_Penguin

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This stroller gives new meaning to Power Wheels

When Nate was born almost 12 years ago the most expensive stroller that a normal, non-rich person bought was like, $100.  When Kit came along 7 years after that it wasn't uncommon for parents to spend $300 on a stroller.  The stroller system I got was a Laura Ashley branded one by Graco and it was in that range.  I picked it because I liked the colors without much thought to function, because at that point all strollers were pretty much the same. When our friends started having babies a couple of years ago the newest, coolest strollers were in the $500 range, but were uber sleek and functional.  They were worth the spendy price tag if you could swing it.

But this years hottest new stroller takes the cake.  This $850 beauty from Oragami is available from ThinkGeek and has power folding capabilities and will charge your cell phone.  Sweet!  Check this thing out and click here for more info.





Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This teeny tiny microscope is a hit.

We were recently one of our frequent visits to Pacific Science Center  and as usual the last stop we made was the gift shop.  Nate and his friend found these tiny little microscopes and begged for them.  How could I say no to such a cool little science toy? It sure beats the heck out of the chintzy souvenirs they usually want.

They have been put to great use.  The kids have examined everything from rocks to a small wound on my arm.  It's only about an inch long with a half-inch lens, but has a respectable 45x magnification. It has both a white and a UV LED light on board. The manufacturer recommends it for looking at gems (indeed, PacSci had it with the geology stuff) and for identifying fake IDs.  As a toy it's been fascinating for the kids to look at everything from the shells of their pet snails to the murals painted on local bus shelters.

You can currently get this teeny-tiny wonder for about six dollars (a third of the price I paid) at Amazon.com:


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

'Axe Cop' coming to TV this fall

Comic Book Resources just reported that Fox has ordered 6 15-minute episodes of an 'Axe Cop' adaptation for its new Animation Domination block that is debuting Saturday nights this fall.

From Comic Book Resources:
The current plan is for Fox to order six 15-minute installments of the series to air early 2013 on the network's new Animation Domination HD Saturday evening companion block. The acquisition was spearheaded by Animation Domination HD head Nick Weidenfeld, a former Adult Swim executive, who had been eying "Axe Cop" since he began scouting potential properties for Animation Domination.

For those not in the know, Axe Cop started as a web comic in 2009, when Ethan Nicolle (an adult) began illustrating the adventures of a police officer armed with an axe and his pet T-Rex as imagined by his then 5 year old brother, Malachi Nicolle.  The web comic is published in collected form by Dark Horse. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What was the deal with Hologram Tupac?

So I hate to be a total geek here and ruin it for you - but that's kinda my deal.  While impressive, the realistic image of Tupac performing along side Snoop and Dre was not a hologram.  Holograms are 3D, Tupac was a 2D image that was projected using technology first developed in the 1800's. That's right, the technology that impressed so many of us this week has been around for almost two hundred years.

 From The Wall Street Journal:
The effect was first used in an 1862 dramatization of Charles Dickens' novella "The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain," staged at the Royal Polytechnic Institute in London, according to Jim Steinmeyer, an illusion designer who has written extensively about the history of his craft, including Pepper's Ghost.
The effect relies on an angled piece of glass in which a "ghostly" image is reflected. "A piece of glass can be both transparent and reflective at the same time, depending on how it's situated relative to the audience," said Mr. Steinmeyer, pointing out the secret.
In the Victorian version of the trick, the glass reflected an actual actor, situated out of sight in near the orchestra. On Sunday night, the image was projected on a piece of Mylar—a highly reflective, lightweight plastic—stretched on a clear frame.


Originally the "Pepper's Ghost" trick used a real, live actor or object  that was reflected from off stage.  The big 21st century difference here is that Tupac's performance was completely fabricated.  Digital Domain Media Group, the people responsible for the differently aged appearances of Brad Pitt's  character in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button created this Tupac from scratch. It wasn't old performance film that they projected, but a completely "new" animated Tupac. That's definitely 21st century tech.

You can watch the performance here.  Warning:  NSFW or kids.


Now there's talk of Dre and Snoop Dogg taking virtual Tupac on tour.  It seems the future of music is dead.

What do you think?  Was it cool? Creepy?  Both?  Let us know in the comments.

Comb your moustache like Ron Swanson

Did you know that TV's Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) is an accomplished woodworker?

One of the signature items at his online shop - Offerman Woodshop - is a hand crafted  out of exotic and local woods, and has a "non-toxic & 'stache friendly finish".


It's $75, can be monogrammed for and additional $25 and will be available in May.  To order visit Offerman Woodshop.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Man fights traffic ticket with an academic paper, is my new hero

Dimitri Krioukov was recently cited for failing to come to a full stop at a stop sign.  He decided to fight the ticket in court.  As a physics professor at The University of California, San Diego he put his science skills to use and wrote a 4 page academic paper which he presented to the court as evidence.   Most of the articles I've read about this don't do much to explain the contents of the paper, and many have the feeling of "Oh that silly nerd!", but here is a very vague summary from MSNBC:
The paper explained how what the officer “thought” he saw, he didn’t really see, according to the laws of physics. “Therefore my argument in the court went as follows: that what he saw would be easily confused by the angle of speed of this hypothetical object that failed to stop at the stop sign. And therefore, what he saw did not properly reflect reality, which was completely different," Krioukov said.

When asked by a reporter if he actually stopped?  Krioukov smiles and said "Of course I did"

Friday, April 13, 2012

Freemasons, French Socialites, and Flying: Why Friday the 13th freaks us out.

An elevator with no 13th floor button
We all know someone who is superstitious about Friday the 13th.  But did you know that businesses lose an estimated $800 million on Friday the 13th because those superstitious folks don't do things like ride airplanes or make large purchases (like a house or a new car), and stock trading slows down?

How did Friday the 13th get its bad rap?  Turns out it's all the fault of the Norse Gods, Jesus and the Ancient Romans.  The only thing missing is the Freemasons* for a powerful recipe for superstition gone wild.
From National Geographic:
[Donald] Dossey... a folklore historian and author of Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun, said fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in ancient, separate bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. The two unlucky entities ultimately combined to make one super unlucky day.
Dossey traces the fear of 13 to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.
"Balder died and the whole Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. It was a bad, unlucky day," said Dossey. From that moment on, the number 13 has been considered ominous and foreboding.

As for Friday, it is well known among Christians as the day Jesus was crucified. Some biblical scholars believe Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit on Friday. Perhaps most significant is a belief that Abel was slain by Cain on Friday the 13th. 

There is also a biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper. Meanwhile, in ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the dev

Triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13) is more rampant in our everyday life than you'd think.  Most (more than 80%)  hotels and high-rise buildings "skip" a 13th floor, with the numbering going straight from 12 to 14.   Many hotels also omit a room numbered 13, and many hospitals follow suit.  A lot of airports don't have a gate 13.  In Florence, Italy the house between number 12 and number 14 is number 12 1/2.  And long ago in France you used to be able to invite a socialite from a group called "The Fourteeners" to make your party of 13 a much less unlucky 14.

Not everyone bought into the 13 madness, though. At one point "Thirteen Clubs" were popular.

According to Wikipedia (citing Nathaniel Lachenmayer's Thirteen: The World's Most Popular Superstition, Weekend Australian, 8–9 January 2005):
In 1881 an influential group of New Yorkers led by U.S. Civil War veteran Captain William Fowler came together to put an end to this and other superstitions. They formed a dinner cabaret club, which they called the Thirteen Club. At the first meeting, on Friday 13 January 1881 at 8:13 p.m., 13 people sat down to dine in room 13 of the venue. The guests walked under a ladder to enter the room and were seated among piles of spilled salt. Many Thirteen Clubs sprang up all over North America for the next 40 years. Their activities were regularly reported in leading newspapers, and their numbers included five future U.S. presidents, from Chester A. Arthur to Theodore Roosevelt. Thirteen Clubs had various imitators, but they all gradually faded from interest


For more information check out:
National Geographic's  Friday the 13th Phobia Rooted in Ancient History
Wikipedia's article on Triskaidekaphobia
*No kidding, the Wikipedia article actually does include a legend about Freemasons.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cain's Arcade

In case you still haven't seen the story of 9 year old Caine Monroy, check out this video and then head over Geek.com where you can read more.



The story in a nutshell: Caine loves the arcade games at the neighborhood pizza parlor.  When he asked his dad to buy him a claw machine, his dad (a mechanic) encourages him to build one instead.  He did, as well as a soccer game, a basketball game and several others.  Out of cardboard.  Cute, huh?  Also, THEY ALL WORK.

He set up the arcade in dad's mechanic shop.  Because the shop is in an industrial location it didn't get any foot traffic.  Filmaker and animator Nirvan Mullick stopped by the shop to pick up a spare part for his car.  When he saw Caine's creation he asked Caine's dad if he could shoot and post a video.  He did, and then the people started coming.

You can read more Cain's Arcade here:  Caine’s Arcade blog, via Nirvan Mullick’s Vimeo page.  There is a link on the blog to donate to Caine's college fund.


Via geek.com
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