Hello everyone; welcome to my little column:
My name is Lisa. I’m 42, a mother of two, loyal wife, a freelance writer and associate editor for a tasteful local arts and culture publication in El Paso, I love books, hot tea and the outdoors when I can get out — and I am a geek.
I admit it. I’m coming out. I’m a proud fangirl with an unrelenting appetite for that sci-fi, fantasy-encrusted world of graphic novels and the culture surrounding it…and I know I’m not alone.
Okay, half the books I read include the title “inker” in their author credits, and my hot tea preference is Earl Grey (if you get this, sorry to say, you are a geek and there is no turning back).
First and foremost, you have to admit you DON’T have a problem. Despite what the social norm of school and church groups, neighborhood networks and coffee circles dictate, there is nothing unacceptable about being both a responsible Mom while holding onto your inner child.
Hopefully, these handy monthly columns will help release that child in a fun and effective way. Think “Lord of the Rings,” as opposed to “Lord of the Flies.”
Okay, session over, now for homework.
Since you are obviously surfin’ the www now (yeah, I know, you only look at it when you are checking emails or working, you don’t really have time to surf, you’re perfect and so am I…let’s move on) you might want to take some time to check out a couple of my favorite side trips for the giddy geekiness, which is my Geek Mom life:
• Thinkgeek.com — Honestly, I could stop here. This stupid, wonderful catalog gets more of my Christmas shopping budget — not to mention birthday, V-Day, wedding and baby gift bucks — than any other place. From techie gadgets to pop culture tributes, they have it all. My most recent purchase: Singing Big Bang Theory “soft kitty” plush and matching t-shirt for my girls.
• Perpetualkid.com — A little more “domestic” than Think Geek, this site is still a fun way to stock the kitchen and bathroom (Artoo Detoo and Han in Carbonite ice trays!!!). For no other reason, the fact that they group “cupcakes and robots” together in the same category is worth a tumble.
• Disneystore.com — I know I should hate them for monopolizing Marvel, The Muppets and Star Wars, as well as for being just a little toooooo big, but my “Nightmare Before Christmas” jacket and 24-inch (incredibly lifelike) Jack Sparrow statue tell me otherwise.
For Education (aka fun with your geek kids):
• Blueman.com — Every musical, movie and cartoon seems to have a site with some sort of “teacher’s resource” or activities, but frankly most of them are pretty lame. Blue Man Group makes it really fun by adding their own brand or colorful weirdness to their site. They not only have clips of how they create their awesome show, they have a “booty shaker” song maker where you can add your voice to their music and a create-your-own Blue Man style performance art. Especially fun is “Operation: Blue Takeover” where you can unleash the royal blue trio on a friend’s Facebook or other web page.
• Picassohead.com — Create, print and save work in the style of Pablo Picasso. Nuff’ said (except you should check out my eldest offspring’s creation “Eating Cheese With Kites” and its follow up “Eating Cheese With Kites in Paris” proudly featured since 2008).
• Sesamestreet.org — My two-year-old isn’t exactly old enough for the other two sites, and I’m kind of a jerk about making sure the television is NEVER on during the day, but we will take some down time to watch a couple of classic “Word on the Street” video clips, especially with Sesame Street’s decades old knack for getting great celebrity appearances. The Frenzy Girl and I have enjoyed learning new words with both Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki), hearing Patrick Stewart say “Make it So, Number One” to an actual Number One, see Spike Lee try to direct the emotion sad to a Snuffleupagus and watch Liam Neeson (in full costume) try to fill in for Count von Count. Here’s a secret…you don’t even have to have kids to watch and laugh. Go ahead, no one is looking….
• Instructables.com — Pretty much anything you want to make, bake or build or do, this site (which I hope you already use) is great for ideas. I know my own Geek Hubby is dreading my summer project based on how to create your own Haunted Mansion singing bust quartet. Best part: They have a steampunk section…be still my heart.
• wired.com/geekdad — Where can a Geekmom go to get great ideas for geeky family fun. Sadly, to a geek dad. Geek Dad Ken Denmead, author of his popular “Geek Dad” books, has a tidy little blog he keeps with Wired magazine that gives tips on games, movies, toys and everything for geek parents (including us long-suffering geekmoms). You can also purchase his nifty bumper stickers to show your geeky parental pride with phrases like “Episode IV Comes First: It’ Just Good Parenting.”
• offbeatbride and offbeatmama.com — All geek moms know we are first and foremost moms, and throwing parties that outdo our buds’ (hopefully inexpensively) is an unspoken rule. What some of these brides and moms do is so clever (think punk-zombie wedding) and some of the ideas can be easily begged, borrowed and toned-down a bit if necessary. Disclaimer: I don’t agree with every bit of child-rearing advice on these pages, but the DIY sections rock (safe Ninja battle gear, the Jedi Quiet book, etc.)
For Chillax-ing (I promise I won’t ever use that phrase again):
• Comingsoon.net — Every time I want to see a movie trailer, poster or clip, they seem to be the first to have them amidst the bucket-load of movie sites out there. Also it talks more about the movies themselves and not the celebrities (because really who cares about them without their Iron Man or Thor suit). As a bonus — they have the offshoot sites “shocktilyoudrop” for horror buffs (admittedly not my thing) and “superherohype” for comic-related projects (very, very, much my thing).
• Timburtoncollective.com — There’s a little bit of that puppy-dog goth in all of us Geek Moms, admit it. And, no one does it better than Helena’s old man, Tim. However, his official site, even with its great art gallery, isn’t that great for up-to-date news. This fan-based site does a really good job of letting you know what’s happening with Burton’s latest projects and it has links to some awesome fonts, to boot.
• Facebook: What?? Really??? The over-hyped social network where we can post how much cuter our kids are (how much better our Halloween costumes and Christmas displays) than our friends? Well, yeah. What better way to connect and meet others just like you and give you a little hope that you aren’t alone out there in your interest? Also, where else can I tell people I’m “friends” with David Mack and Brian Michael Bendis?
Until February, wishing you a safe 2012. Tread lightly out there…you never know when a tribble is under foot.
Got a question on achieving geeky domestic bliss? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to answer one at the end of each column!