Author: Put Me In The Story
Release Date: Available Now
In a galaxy far, far away, everyone must decide where their true allegiance lies.
We all imagine ourselves as the hero of our favorite stories, and with Put Me In The Story, you (or the person you gift this to) can become the star character.
When you order a book from Put Me In The Story, as a gift or for yourself like I did, you upload a photo of the recipient and include personal information like their name and a message (I chose “Fortune favors the bold.”). By doing this, you get immersed in the universe and it helps you feel as if you’re being asked the questions by these classic characters. It’s done to great effect!
The book itself is meant to help you on your path. First Yoda, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia ask questions to guide you and help you become a Jedi Master. Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him. Then the dark side of the Force will try to sway you – flip the book over and meet General Grievous, Darth Vader, Count Dooku, Darth Maul and Darth Sidious. Each side reveals your rank among the Jedi and Sith with a personalized certificate and poster with your picture, which is uploaded at checkout!
It’s a fun twist on the “Choose Your Adventure” style of books, and one that is definitely a memorable keepsake, especially as The Force Awakens release looms ever closer.
While the age range for the books is from 4-10, as a grown woman nearing 30, it’s just as enjoyable to read up on how my personality aligns with the Force. Plus, it’s always cool to learn more about your favorite characters. Now, I just need to hope I don’t let Princess Leia down!
The thing about the Christmas season that I enjoy the most is that out of any other time of the year it is the most backwards looking. There is no other time of the year (at least for Americans) outside of extremely regional cultural heritage festivals and perhaps Easter that things from yesteryear are brought back into the public consciousness and it actually be paid attention to in such a big mainstream manner. Classic film, swing jazz and big band, Old Hollywood glamor, ballet and all things “antique” or vintage and Victorian frilled are suddenly very important for 5 or so weeks and onto New Years. Suburban homogeneity is punctured with yesterday or even the ghosts of suburbia past come to visit just the same.
The sheer paganism of the traditional customs, decorations and foods of the season is enough to send my heart a flutter but the season’s various “styles” of nostalgia; Colonial, Victorian, 1920’s and 30’s Christmas and 50’s-60’s Christmas and now 80’s and 90’s era “Age of Nintendo” type nostalgia provide a “pick your yesteryear” type of holiday.
One of my favorite types of Christmas, which is common in Britain and the UK but not so prevalent in the warm and fuzzy “Santa Claused” (since the 1930s) USA, is the “Gothic” side of Victorian Christmas traditions. A Christmas Carol ring a bell? Unlike the US where Halloween is the season for ghosts and spirits and telling spooky tales; Christmas is actually the “time to scare” and Victorian Christmasases with their obsession with the supernatural often had lots of fortune telling parties (pouring hot lead into kettles of water to tell fortunes) and ghost stories among other little things amidst their Christmas party frivolity.
In the spirit of all things “sort of” creepy and the macabre and charming I will be offering three great “antique” reads still published by NYRB in case you have some hankering for things a bit less sweet;
A Schoolboy’s Diary by Robert Walser
That quirky, aloof and contemplative charm and degree of weaves in and out through most of the works; particularly the opening pieces “Fritz Kocher’s Essays”; a collected handful of essays written by a fictional and unfortunately deceased school-boy named Fritz Kocher. A personal favorite from Fritz; “From The Imagination” hits all of my personal buttons when it comes to good fiction. A very unique writer and while not “scary” his prose is beautiful quirky and contemplative enough to warrant a reading by the Christmas tree with a cup of tea.
The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf
His story delves into a tale of the area where long ago poor and desperate villagers, tormented and tortured by their local baron, a former Teutonic Knight, are tempted by the Devil to help complete the impossible tasks the baron has ordered of them. There is, of course, a catch; a unbaptized baby (what else?). The villagers; including all the men flee and run from the offer. All but one, a farmer’s wife named Christine stands up to the Devil and considers the offer if only to save them all. She makes the deal with a kiss upon her cheek; but as the villagers have babies and instantly baptize them; a a mark in the shape of a spider starts to appear where the kiss was planted upon her cheek. Then come the spiders. Forewarning; heavy Christian symbolism and it’s not terribly feminist though I do think this story and the actions of the main character, Christine could again with a bit of a revisionist feminist stance and re-write could really transform this old parable. But it’s still worth reading if you enjoy some creepy crawly action.
Autobiography of A Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Russian short stories. If that doesn’t prepare you in knowing it’s going to be strange then I’m not sure I can adequately prepare you. Magical realism meets surrealism dunked in the special Eastern European sensibility and aesthetic and a heavy dollop of “SCIENCE! PHILOSOPHY! MATH!” sour cream; the fingers of an acclaimed pianist’s hand decides to bolt and spend the night roaming the city, a story about a man whose lifelong dream is to bite his own elbow, stories about eccentric mathematicians and fairytales about cracks, The Land of Nots. The whole kitchen sink (well not really but that’s what it feels like)
What makes these gleefully macabre and matter-of-fact is the precise delivery of Sigizmund’s prose. It’s eccentricity and sense of self really shines through. I can’t say recommend it enough for a fun, but in a very literate manner.
Short, sweet, wonderful prose for stockings that like a little bit of bite. Check them out!
Have a GREAT holiday!
Valentine’s Day is coming and unimaginative (I mean, ~romantic~) fools everywhere are busting out the movie love quotes
“You had me at Hello.” No thanks. That’s not necessary.
“I wish I knew how to quit you…” Really? Grow up, cowboy!
“I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go.” As she pries his cold, dead hands off hers and watches him sink to the bottom of the ocean.
Those same pleas of helpless, undying, unconditional saccharine dribble we hear from the pretty people each year are meant to bring out the innocent flirt or unbridled passion in all of us, but honestly? They’re so overused that sometimes they make even the best of us throw up in our mouth a little.
Settle down, now, don’t brand me as cynical and unromantic. Okay, I’ll admit to the first but I’m certainly not unromantic. I just know we literate and loyal geek culture inhabitants can do better.
Why go to those rom-coms or tear jerkers for love quotes, when we have a world of comic books, super heroes, video games and sci-fi movies, television shows and books to provide us with a much larger pool of romantic, encouraging and inspiring commentary tailor made for your fangirl or boy paramour or pal?
Since money is getting tighter than Black Widow’s suit this year, a simple paper heart with a well-suited quote printed out or hand-written (oooh, better yet) with that perfect phrase or inside joke that says “You and I are the same kind of weird” can mean so much more than any expensive or impersonal gift. You don’t have to completely cheap out, however, attach one of these to a single rose, candy bar or action figure.
I’ll even give you some starting points. Here are some of my picks for quote-heavy sources, from the bleeding obvious to the more obscure.
Feel free to venture into the extended universe for more:
“Scoundrel? I like the sound of that.”
— Han Solo
“I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee. “
“When I’m around you, my mind is no longer my own.”
— Crazy Anakin
“ My love for you is a puzzle…for which I have no answers.
— Padmé Amidala
And, let’s say the last one together:
“I love you. “
(You can flip this “Empire Strikes Back” quote around with Leia responding “I know” as she did in “Return of the Jedi.”)
“Love should never be a secret.”
— Dr. Otto Octavius
“I cannot preach hate and warfare when I am a disciple of peace and love!”
— Wonder Woman
“I’d rather not rule the earth. I just want to marry the girl next door and live in the suburbs.”
— Captain Dynamo (This one is a great inside joke because this Image Comics character was a habitual womanizing pig)
“Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot.”
— Mary Jane Watson
“Waves are but water. Wind but air. And though lightning be fire…yet it must answer thunder’s call.”
— Thor Odinson (Not technically a “love quote” but who wouldn’t want to hear this from him?)
“…love is not a constantly stable factor, it’s (a decision you’ll) have to make again and again.”
— Black Panther (great for long-term relationships)
“They were young. They were in love. They were heroes.”
— Narration about Jean Grey and Cyclops in The Uncanny X-Men #137
“Paradise unearned is but a land of shadows!”
— The Silver Surfer
“In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight.”
— Green Lantern
“I should break your face for that, but that would not teach you of love.”
“When you look in her eyes and she’s looking back in yours… everything… feels… not quite normal.”
— Peter Parker (about Mary Jane)
“I’ve been bitten.”
— Peter Parker
“So have I.”
— Gwen Stacey
“Let’s face it, this is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.”
— Tony Stark (to Pepper Potts)
“Why did you marry her?”
“It seemed the logical thing to do at the time.”
— Sarek (Star Trek)
“You are like an angel with no wings.”
— Andy Dwyer (Parks and Recreation)
“If you prick me, do I not… leak?”
— Data (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
“Nice Legs… for a human”
— Worf (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
“You have that face on again… The one when you’re thinking ‘he’s hot when he’s clever.’”
— The 11th Doctor (Doctor Who)
“I love you and I like you.”
— Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt (Parks and Recreation)
“I’m going to pull time apart for you.”
—Amy Pond (Doctor Who)
“I married me a powerful ugly creature.”
— Jayne Cobb (Firefly)
“Love is Poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same.”
—Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones)
“Brainy is the new sexy.”
— Irene Adler (Sherlock)
“I may be on the side of angels, but don’t think for one second I’m one of them.”
—Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)
“Have you ever been told you’re beautiful in flawless Russian? Get used to it.”
— Howard Wolowitz (The Big Bang Theory)
Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Trilogy
“I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world.”
“Love or an act of kindness that are the things that keep darkness age bay.”
“Loyalty, honor, a willing heart, I can ask no more than that.”
— Thorin Oakenshield
“I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure.”
“The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.”
— Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
“Wakka wakka wakka!”
— The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
“Remember when the platform was sliding into the fire pit and I said ‘Goodbye’ and you were like ‘NO WAY!’ and then I was all ‘We pretended we were going to murder you’? That was great.”
— GladDOS from Portal 2
“It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum…and I’m all out of gum.”
And some other random geeky treasures:
“As You Wish.”
— (Westley) The Princess Bride
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
— Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (interesting enough this is also Matthew 6:21)
“Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love.”
— Albert Einstein
“Say ‘Kiss me’.”
— Deckard (Blade Runner)
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
— Dr. Seuss
“…sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”
— Neil Gaiman (The Sandman: Fables and Reflections)
“Every lover is, in his heart, a madman, and, in his head, a minstrel.”
— Neil Gaiman (Stardust)
— The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
“Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
— Douglas Adams
Hope these little snippets of nerdy love help you win your true love’s heart, share a laugh with a good friend, or keep Mom off her “you never call me” kick for another month.
Consider this my gift to you, because as George McFly said, “You are my density.”
This may or may not just be a list of awesome things I’ve found that I want to keep for myself, but no matter! I scoured the interwebs to find the ten best items to bestow upon your geekiest of fam/pals/lurve that are easily concealable inside of a stocking this Holiday season! Check them out below, and don’t forget to stop by the small shops mentioned to peruse to your heart’s content!
Game Of Thrones Pop! Vinyl Figurines
Obligatory “Winter is coming.” remark. The easiest place to get these sets would probably be Amazon. They’ve got other characters, like poor dead Ned, Drogo, plus different varaitions of your faves and more obscure characters. All vinyls are incredibly screen accurate for being only 6 inches tall and lacking a mouth. But come on. Baby Drogon trumps the rest. He’s too damn cute!
Star Wars Earrings
Created by the spunky Ashley Eckstein over at HerUniverse.com, these geek chic earrings will add a nice subtle touch to any outfit you can think to pair them with!
As much as I hate snuggies and fleece in general, I couldn’t help but add this to the list. Initially found at Hot Topic of all places, this cuddly robe will have your favorite fanboy/girl Petrificus Totalus’d with a mug of hot cocoa and a good book in their hands. (Note: Who would’ve thought that this would be a hot ticket item? Most stores are out of stock and have no estimated time on the return of this product, however a few can be found at Amazon.com.)
PlayStation Dpad Necklace
ResetButtons is a fantastic Etsy store that makes jewelry strictly from recycled video game components for those who love to subtly display their geekitude without the use of “NERDZ RAWK” neon t-shirts. Not a ps3 person? You can find a bunch of other great pieces directly at her shop!
Infectious Disease Ball
A squishy ball thing. From ThinkGeek.com. Because they’re awesome. And probably make a fun farting noise when you squeeze them. Literally the only reason included was for potential fart noises. I r adult.
DC Women Thermal PJs
The more jammies included, the better. Found at Spencers, DC’s thermal pj sets are totally what superheroes sleep in.
Her Universe TARDIS Tunic Tank
Seriously, try saying that out loud. I did and it doesn’t work at all. Here is another great piece from Her Universe, because I just can’t help myself, that you can dress down with leggings and boots, or sky high with heels and a clutch. I for one would love to see the Whovian that can pull this off IRL. Pics or it didn’t happen. You can get this directly from Her Universe.com or see if you can score a deal during their partner site’s Christmas sales.
Final Fantasy VII Tee
As someone who already owns three Megan Lara prints on the comfiest shirts you can imagine, this Final Fantasy VII inspired tee featuring Tifa Lockhart looking super scrumptious really just needs to get into my collection right now. Check out RedBubble.com for different colors, sizes, and styles.
Firefly Les Femmes/Hommes Prints!
Well. Once you’re on Megan Lara’s website, you really just don’t want to leave until you have everything. I mean, this easily could’ve just turned into a list of “10 Things I Want From Megan Lara’s Website.” But I have self control. Sort of. You can find the Firefly Femmes set @ThinkGeek, and the Hommes @QMXOnline.
The Last Airbender Scarf Set
From Oh Sugarfoot’s Etsy store comes a cozy crochet Air Nomad scarf and beanie set to save you from the harsh air you’re about to be bending. Yip yip!
See anything that I’ve missed? Have an awesome item that should be included next time? Drop me a line in the comments below!
Ah crap, Valentine’s Day is coming up.
Some of these ideas (the ones that fall into the PG and below category, of course) are great for the fangirl or boy in your life, and could even be a family effort that Dad and the kids can work on together, helping to rack up some extra brownie points for everyone!
Here are some thoughts to get you going:
Star Wars is perfect for every day in general, so it’s an obvious choice on Valentine’s Day!
Number one pick: the chocolate Han Solo in carbonite. It’s a Think Geek exclusive, but you can also purchase some ice molds of the same image that work well as chocolate molds (another fun handmade project, hint, hint) from various sources (Sears even had ‘em online for under $10).
These should, and I stress should for optimum impact, include a pair of handcrafted “I love you” (for her) and “I know” (for him) aluminum rings. They’re around $25 for the pair, or you could opt for cuff bracelet versions of the same.
Do I even need to mention the “cosplay” possibilities, here? I will give one piece of advice, be creative and avoid the Slave Girl outfit… (unless you get your hands on that Wampa-skin rug) There are lots of ways to get the scoundrel on without having to worry too much about keeping a metal bra in place.
For the Bat-Fan:
Get a simple Batman-logo pendant necklace. You can get these anywhere, ranging in price from pocket change to high end. Give it with a yellow and dark purple bouquet of roses or other Dark Knight-colored blooms, and you’re golden.
It also wouldn’t hurt to get a heart-shaped cookie cutter and draw some bat logo them as well, as a way to send a deliberately corny “Bat Signal” of love someone’s way.
As for cosplay, if you want to steer clear of the clichéd Catwoman-Batman on again/off again (although I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t), go with Bruce’s Baby Mama, Talia al Ghul. Careful, a possibly evil love-child future Robin might result from this liaison.
Deep down inside the blood baths (literally) and profane, potty-mouthed mess of Miami culture that is Dexter, there is something incredibly romantic about the idea of a serial killer who only kills bad guys, struggling with his own humanity as a single parent.
Check out the recipe for Dexter’s “biohazard” blood slides candies at forkables.com that can be given in a paper slide box you can get in the science fair area at any craft or educational items store. Not expensive (how expensive is sugar, water, corn syrup and food coloring?), but also comes with a learning curve! This one is for the patient, but if you can do it right, they are incredibly authentic-looking.
This is also a great gift for guys, if you accompany it with a nice-fitting Hurley-style thermal “kill shirt,” often found, appropriately enough, in “hunting” sections of sporting good stores. You don’t have to spend the bucks on an official version of this shirt; they are everywhere.
Game of Thrones:
This graphic and exciting fantasy book and television series also has a soft side, and what queen in the making would want to be bestowed the gift of dragons’ eggs?
If you don’t want to spring for the brass-and-silver Dragon’s Egg necklace — a little pricey at around $70 from the HBO shop — there’s a cheaper, but just as cool-looking paperweight.
Another idea is to pick up a “Game of Thrones” themed pint glass or stein, and fill it with chocolate eggs. You can also make your own with recipes found anywhere from Martha Stewart to Better Homes and Garden…then dragon them up. It shows you were thinking creatively (or a least you heeded well from someone who thought creatively for you).
Lord of the Rings:
Of course, you can always tone it down a bit by opting for the “Lord of the Rings” themed gift. (There are dwarves, sword battles, dragons and Sean Bean in that series as well, only without the yak-inducing brother-sister action and tongue-ripping-out).
Evenstar pendants from Noble Collection, Warner Brothers shop, Amazon and other sites start at around $40, and are beautiful. But, technically, shouldn’t we be giving it to him to wear if we want to stay true to the story?
As far as any private Renaissance Faire for two, all a fangirl has to do is emerge Daenerys Targayen-style from a steamy bathroom with a stuffed dragon on her shoulder (for those brave enough) and she could have her man cleaning the house, doing dishes and detailing the car for months.
Big Bang Theory:
One of the biggest sellers on many geek-friendly sites was the singing “Soft Kitty” plush toy that can found for anywhere from $29 to $35. It’s actually cheaper if you don’t get it from the official CBS store. Yes, it includes Penny’s poorly pitched voice, but much less annoying than the “teddy-bear-holding-a-heart” V-Day gift fallback.
If you want to class it up, give it with a costume “Tiiii-aaarrr-aaa” and make your fangirl or boy feel like a royal for a day.
Want to bring it over the top, try your hand at a preserved snowflake. Here’s where the family can really have fun together, since this is a super cool (no pun intended) project. Do this for any Big Bang fan and they will, unlike the snowflake, melt. Even if it is too late for this year, you can plan ahead for next year’s first snow,