Monday, April 13, 2015
ParentingGeekly 2.0 now lives at:
(the url was just redirected here up until now).
You can follow me on twitter here: http://www.twitter.com/ParentingGeekly
And on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ParentingGeekly
This is the last update I'll be making over here on the Blogger site!
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Last week I had a chance to participate in a Seattle AntiFreeze Event at the Museum of History and Industry. This fun monthly event features people from different Seattle communities sharing some of the things that makes Seattle special. I am on the Board of GeekGirlCon and I presented with Board President, Kristine Hassell. We talked about what makes GGC special and how Seattle, with it's plethora of conventions, is a great place to be a geek!
What to WearDeodorant - It may be a cliche that cons can get stinky, but with a lot of people crammed into relatively small spaces it’s bound to happen. Do your part by wearing deodorant! Conversely, many people are sensitive to strong smells, skip the body sprays and perfumes.
Comfortable shoes - This is not the time to try out your sweet new stilettos. You will be on your feet for hours, take care of them! Even if your cosplay requires fancy feet, bring something comfy to change into.
Layers - Going from a stuffy a exhibition hall to an overly air conditioned auditorium can make staying comfortable tricky. Dress in layers so you are prepared for any situation.
Sun Protection - At bigger cons like San Diego ComicCon and PAX, you will be traveling between multiple buildings and may even have to stand in line outside. Even at ECCC, which is mostly in one building, you may wish to venture out to a nearby restaurant or sit in the attached park. Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses can be a lifesaver.
What to Bring:Hand sanitizer/Disinfectant Wipes - Cons are germy places. Hand sanitizer can be used before and after shaking hands, though it isn't a substitute for frequent hand washing. Wipes can be used on communal game controllers, pens, etc.
Snacks and Water - Con food is expensive and sometimes hard to come by. Tidy snacks like jerky, granola bars, and trail mix can stave off low blood sugar. You can refill water bottles in sinks and water fountains for free.
Sharpies - Always good to have your own supply for signings.
Folder, backing board, poster tube - For keeping new purchases from getting rumpled.
Patience - Lines are long, sometimes even moving through the crowd in the expo halls can take a long time. Be patient and kind, even when everyone else isn’t.
Line Entertainment - Especially important if you have kids. Books, tablets, a Gameboy all help lines go faster.
WiFi Hotspot - If you have one, bring it. Con wifi is notoriously slow, if it’s even available. Even 4G data can get pretty clogged with so many users in one place, so keep expectations low and download entertainment before hand rather than counting on streaming while there.
Money (and a budget) - Cons are expensive! Make a loop around the whole vendor area before you spend. Otherwise you might blow your whole budget before you've even seen everything.
A backpack, but not a BACKPACK - I appreciate the convenience of toting my stuff around in a backpack, but can’t tell you how many times I've been hit in face by a tall person who swings around suddenly with a huge, fully extended pack on them. Try to take up as small a footprint as you can, and be mindful of the people around you.
How to approach guests, speakers, creators, etc.Those you know and admire -
If you bump into them in a con area restaurant, shop or a bathroom, or roaming the con as an attendee: A simple smile and nod is appropriate. Notables need some downtime to recharge, be polite and let them have it.
People you are unfamiliar with: Ask them what they are working on! Most people are there to share their passion or a current project and will be happy to tell you all about it. No need to be shy! A simple “I’m unfamiliar with your work, what is your current project” will get the ball rolling!
As a parent who frequently has my geeklings in tow, I also wrote a guide to bringing them to conventions: http://bit.ly/kidsatcons
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Monday, March 16, 2015
Monday, March 9, 2015
If you’re interested in buying this game go to this link http://store.steampowered.com/app/346010/
Besiege is a game where you build medieval siege machines to complete a given objective. I recomend this game for people ages 10 and up because it has cartoon violence and minor gore (you can burn or run over people, though it’s not realistic).
Overall, my final rating for this game is 8/10 and I definitely think it’s worth your allowance.
Have an idea for an inexpensive, teen friendly game Nate should review? Email him here.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
I have been ruined. After the amazing anniversary dinner we had at John Howie Steak, I don't know if I'll ever want to eat "normal" food again. I dream of the delicious food we served that night, and I am a little hesitant to even share it with you, lest you suffer my fate. But, it's kind of my job to share with you, so I will.
When we first started thinking about where to celebrate our 15th Anniversary, many friends suggested iconic Seattle restaurant Canlis. We loved the idea of eating at a premier high-end restaurant, but Canlis is a pretty dressy-uppy place (they actually won't seat you near a window if you aren't wearing a jacket) and while I love to get dolled up, it's not Super-Dad's thing. One of our favorite parts of dining at John Howie was its "come as you are" attitude. I was wearing a causal dress, and SD had on dark jeans and a sweater. We were totally comfortable and didn't feel at all out of place. Looking around we saw many other couples dressed like us, a party really dressed to the nines and one couple who was very casual with the lady in a tank top. Everyone was treated with the same fantastic service. It is hard to enjoy yourself if you feel like everyone is judging you, so John Howie Steak's welcoming atmosphere was definitely a highlight
We were comfortable at John Howie, and it just added to the magnificent experience, but don't get me wrong, John Howie is FANCY. White table cloths, the waiters wear white coats and bow ties. In between courses they cleared the table with a crumb scraper; I didn't even think those were real things any more. When we arrived our awesome waiter brought us a great selection of bread and crackers and an amuse bouche of soup. I had a taste of the creamy crab and smoked salmon chowder, Super-Dad is gluten free, and they accommodated him with a taste of tomato soup. We were each a little jealous, salmon chowder is one of his favorites, and I love tomato soup. I was able to taste his, but thanks to his Celiac Disease, I couldn't share the chowder (Darn, more for me!).
Then it was time for my favorite thing to eat: meat. Look, we know beef. Super-Dad's parents own a cattle ranch in Washington's Skagit Valley. We're not talking a giant, commercial farm here. Hemlock Highlands is a boutique ranch that raises a small herd of Scottish Highland Cattle for beef. Their beef is aged for 21 days, an artisanal process that most big farms that supply restaurants don't have time to devote to. This is why seeing that John Howie offers steaks aged for 28, 35 or an astonishing 42 days blew our minds. Most restaurants are more concerned about getting their product to the customer as quickly as possible, John Howie cares about quality, and it shows.
We left with a few truffles, very full bellies, a wonderful Anniversary memory and plans to return (they have a Sunday Family Dinner that I bet my geeklings would love)! The service was impeccable, we especially appreciated the care with which they accommodated Super-Dad's dietary restriction. The atmosphere was elegant but comfortable, and the food was some of the best we've enjoyed. Thanks, John Howie Steak for hosting our Anniversary dinner!
For more information and reservations: https://www.johnhowiesteak.com/
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Hey Seattle Area geeks! I am jazzed to be one of Seattle Art Museum's guest tweeters for their SAM Remix party on March 13th, in celebration of their Indigenous Beauty exhibit. I will be taking over the @iheartsam twitter handle for an hour (Exact time TBA) and will be live tweeting the rest of the event from my twitter handle - @ParentingGeekly.
Choose your own adventure from this fabulous late night of performances, activities, dancing, and more with Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection and SAM’s fantastic collection. No two #SAMRemix events are the same!Tickets and more info can be found here: http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/calendar/events?EventId=30724
This is a fun way to experience the museum in a non-museum like setting (DJs! Irreverent tours! Rube Goldberg machine making!) and I would love to see some blog readers there. ParentingGeekly readers can get $5 off the ticket price by using the code twitterremix0313 during checkout.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
|An anniversary card signed by the hotel staff!|
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Okay, so she's still a princess for whatever reason, but I feel about this much like I feel about pink Lego. If this is what gets an otherwise uninterested kid into super heroes (especially female ones!) I'm down. My own daughter likes Barbie AND superheroes, so it's great to see the folks at Barbie embrace that you can be a girly girl and like to take down the villains too!
Here is the synopsis from Universal Home Entertainment:
SYNOPSIS Barbie Princess Power: Barbie™ stars as Kara™, a modern-day princess with an everyday life. One day, after being kissed by a magical butterfly, Kara™ soon discovers she has super powers allowing her to transform into Super Sparkle™, her secret, crime-fighting alter ego who flies around the kingdom ready to save the day! But it’s not long before her jealous cousin catches the butterfly and also transforms – this time into Dark Sparkle™, her nemesis. Their rivalry takes to the skies, but when they discover the kingdom’s true enemy, can they put aside their differences to form one super team? Soar to new heights and discover that there’s no greater power than the power of friendship!
The movie is released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3rd. Want a copy? Universal Studios Home Entertainment has offered me FIVE(!) copies of the blu-ray to give to ParentingGeekly readers. Enter for your chance below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Recently AT&T Seattle loaned me some watch style wearables to try. For the past month or so we have been giving the Martian Notifier and LG G Watch R a go. Here’s what we thought:
LG G Watch R
This is a sexy watch. I loved the way it looked, especially it’s circular face with a true circular display (the Moto 360, a watch with a similar look and round face, still had a weirdly rectangular display that showed its bottom edge). It looks, for the most part, like a watch. Unlike every other smart watch we’ve tried, this one has a real leather band, which can be swapped with any appropriately sized watch band of your choosing. This is a neat feature that not only allows you to personalize the watch, but helps extend the life. The drawback here is that the watch face is pretty darn big. This is definitely sized like a men’s watch. I have very petite wrists and It was pretty uncomfortable for me to wear. Nate, at age 14, has wrists a bit bigger than me, found it to be just fine. After I deemed the watch too uncomfortable, he wore it for the most of the month.
The G Watch R is also a “Pure” Android device. it runs Google’s Android Wear, as opposed to a watch like the Samsung Gear, which runs proprietary software over the Android framework. This seemed to make the watch a bit more zippy, with virtually no lag. Coming off the Samsung experience, there was a bit of a learning curve with the interface. Not surprisingly, Nate was the first to really get it, and once he did he found it very easy to navigate.
Nate’s favorite features were the pedometer and the heart rate monitor. He really liked that there are many watch faces to choose from, and his favorite looked like a regular watch that had subtle dials for steps taken and current heart rate. We have offered him wearables that were simply for step tracking, but he has never really been interested. I think that the fact that the G Watch R looks like a cool watch, but has the ability to show steps discreetly makes this a health tracking device that even an image conscious teenager can get behind.
The charging situation with smart watches has been a problem since their introduction, and I don’t think that any of the ones we have tried have really solved that yet, and this is no exception. The charging cradle has the benefit of a magnet, which only slightly mitigates the awkward cradle fit.
It has a nice, crisp OLED display. The battery conserving properties of the OLED allows the G Watch R to have an “always on” mode that always shows the time, just another step towards smart watches actually working like a traditional watch.
Nate got about 3 - 4 days of battery life when the watch wasn’t connected to his phone (to honestly use it as a watch and not a “device” at school, it was better for him to sync it at home). When it was constantly connected via bluetooth, the battery life was about 2 days, which is pretty respectable, and a small improvement over other smart watches we’ve tried.
Nate was upset when I told him our review period was over and he’d have to give the watch back. This is the first piece of tech that I’ve brought home that has really gotten him excited. WIth a $300 price tag, I’m not sure that it’s in the budget as a gift for a teen. This is totally a contender for me to buy for myself once my current smart watch bites the dust, though.
Martian Notifier Smartwatch
We took this one out, and Kitty summarized all of our feelings about it pretty well. “PopPop would like that”. This is a smartwatch that is first and foremost a watch. It, once again, was too big for my tiny wrists (c’mon smartwatch designers, ladies like gadgets, too!). The face was a bit more comfortable for me than the G Watch R, but the rather large rubbery watch band once again made this look more like a man’s watch than a unisex time piece. The face size shouldn't be too much of an issue on this one, a majority of the face is an actual, analog watch with just a small sliver along the bottom for the screen. Hopefully Martian will be able to offer a Ladies’ Notifier in the future. Currently the Notifier comes in red, white or black. AS with the G Watch R, the straps are interchangeable with any watch band, and the Martian also offers “quick change” watchbands in nine colors ($20) that can be swapped out without using tools.
If subtlety is your game, this is the smart watch for you. I can imagine this being used by anyone who wants to discreetly stay connected without the flash of a OLED, touch screen, and speaker equipped mini-computer. It syncs with both Android and iOS devices, making it one of the few options out there for Apple devotees. It will sync with almost any app that can push notifications to your phone. You can change the watch’s settings to vibrate differently for each app, a helpful feature for knowing which of your notifications need your immediate attention (waiting for an important text or email?) and allowing you to ignore notifications that can be saved for later (SportsCenter, Facebook, and Clash of Clans, all apps that can be set up to send notifications).
I love that you can set up the Notifier as a “leash”, it will tell you when your phone is out of range; and you can have the Notifier make your phone ring if you've ever misplaced it. It’s one of the valuable features for me, as I seem to misplace my phone multiple times a day.
There are a few detractors here, even when taking it’s purposely limited scope into consideration.
The Martian Notifier is *this* close to having the charging system I want to see in wearables. It has a port right on the side of the watch, and you just plug it in, which is awesome. The downside? The micro USB port is set really deeply into the side of the watch, meaning it needs a ridiculously long proprietary USB connector that seems really delicate to me. I didn’t have any problems when I used it, but being in an active household with two kids, I was constantly concerned that it would snap off the cord. The charging port on the watch requires a cover to be snapped into place to keep the splash resistant qualities intact. Yes, it’s splash resistant and not water proof, which seems a step in the wrong direction considering all of the other current smart watches are water proof. You could wear the Notifier while washing your hands, but you’ll have to take it off if you’re going to take a shower. It doesn’t have an onboard speaker, which is probably fine as I would imagine anyone opting for this aesthetic would feel pretty silly talking into their wrist anyway.
Two other points in the Martian Notifier’s favor? This is an affordable piece of tech at $130 MSRP. I also loved the five day battery life and the fact that when that battery does die it still works as...a watch.
Both of these devices are available from AT&T retail stores, your carrier or online.
Sunday, February 8, 2015
I suppose you could also play some sweet, sexy tunes and run your Valentine a bath with, like, flowers or whatever, but if you're a reader of this blog you're just as likely to want to watch Game of Thrones during that bath. Either way, AT&T has your back. Their “Sweet Heart Sale” happening Feb. 6-19: Get 2 Boom Swimmer speakers (any color - though the red is especially Valentines-y) for $99. (save $31).
The Boom Swimmer Speakers are especially cool because they have a little bendable "tail" that allows you to hang it in a bunch of ways, and attach it to multiple things or coil it into a stand. It also has a suction cup, for sticking to the shower wall.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Hey Geeky Parents! Thought I'd do an quick a post to let you know what you can expect here soon!
My lovely Grandmom Theresa died a few weeks ago. I traveled back to the mother land (Philadelphia) to attend her services and spend some time with my parents. While there my dad and I did a bit of genealogy research, and found some very cool ephemera from my family's history. I hope to wrap that project up and share some of that info (and how we found it) soon.
My obsession with wearables continues. We've been testing out the LG G watch R and the Martian Notifier, and will have those reviews up at the end of this week.
Super-Dad and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary on Thursday! I will have a feature on our anniversary "staycation" on the blog soon!
Finally, I am reading "Orbital Perspective" by Astronaut Ron Garand. I got to speak with Garand while he was orbiting the earth on the ISS a few years ago (how lucky am I!?) so I'm excited to read his insights!
In my personal life we are getting ready to celebrate Kitty's eighth birthday tomorrow (Eight! She was just a tiny little five pound baby yesterday, I swear!) and Nate tours our neighborhood high school and alternative school this week in preparation for next year! High school! What? I'm so old.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
We get a good look at Scott Lang and Hank Pym, and a brief glance of Hope Van Dyne. I'm not super duper familiar with the Scott Lang story line, when I think of Ant-Man I think of foul tempered domestic abuser Hank. No doubt the affable Paul Rudd as Lang will be a bit more sympathetic. I do know that in the Scott Lang storyline in the comics Lang steals the suit (or Pym Particles or something) and that in this trailer he seems to be gifted them by Hank, which again was probably to make the character more likeable.
The screenplay was written by Adam McKay, who is known for Anchorman, Talladega Nights and The Other Guys. So this should be pretty funny, though you wouldn't really know it from this teaser.
Are you excited for Ant-Man? It'll be released right around my birthday in July, so I'm pretty pysched!
Monday, January 5, 2015
For the first time in years I procrastinated in getting our family flu shots. Guess what? For the first time in years, we got the flu. It was a bad one. Kitty and I were the first to go down with fevers and sore throats. That happened on December 18th. The next time we were able to leave the house for anything other than a doctor's appointment was January 3rd. We were really sick. We had to cancel all of our holiday plans. We didn't get to go to Grandma's, we didn't get to see Aunt Karen visiting from Alaska, we barely got the kids' presents wrapped. We sat wrapped in blankets, watching Netflix.
It sounds pretty terrible, huh? It was. It sucked. I have to say, though that I am thankful for our Christmas flu.
No, the fever did not affect my brain (though it did reach a kinda scary 104.2!), I'm not glad we were sick, but I can find the silver lining. It made us stop. Any shopping that wasn't done by December 18th didn't get done. You know what? There were still plenty of gifts. All of the last minute things that I usually worry about getting were unnecessary and definitely not missed. I think the kids appreciated the gifts more; not because there were fewer things, but because the gifts that were there were all the good stuff. There were no filler gifts for the sake of having even piles or just having more to open. The most thoughtful gifts were there and it was totally enough!
I wasn't able to stand in line at the post office to ensure timely delivery of gifts for nieces and nephews. Those boxes are still in my bedroom. They will go out this week, and my niblings will have new gifts to open during that rough first week back to school, which will be a treat! No one missed our gifts during the onslaught of stuff on Christmas Day, and now they will be able to really appreciate the gifts we send.
We couldn't go anywhere on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It made me realize that while I love seeing our extended family, there was something magical about just the four of us cuddling and taking care of each other. We didn't have to worry about rushing through our family time in order to be dressed and ready to get somewhere in time for a 4 o'clock dinner (seriously, why do we eat so early on holidays?). I managed enough strength to put a pork shoulder in the crock pot, which no one ate, but made the house smell nice. We all had popsicles and watched Die Hard. It was a very Feliciano Christmas, and it was kind of awesome.
I had to ask for help. It's always hard to ask for help, but I did it. When we were totally out of Gatorade and popsicles (the only thing we were eating) I took friends up on their offers of grocery delivery. It made us feel so loved and cared for, and so appreciative of the family we have created through friendships here in Seattle.
We are better now (well, I have some lingering complications from a ruptured ear drum, but we are mostly better) and I've learned from this flu. I've learned that it's okay to slow down, that what you have is usually enough and that nothing is better than being with the people you love the most. All that learned, and I only had to clean up a little puke.
Also: Get your flu shot. It's not too late. All this silver-lining stuff is nice, but the flu can kill you.