Geek Mentor

Profiles in Geek Mentors: Cousin Danny

Geek Mentor

Cousin Danny: Portrait of the Geek Mentor as a Young Man.

I grew up geeky: comic books, sci-fi movies and television, the works. It led me to a career marketing comics and enjoying conventions of all stripes. However! While it is good to be a geek these days–with mighty Marvel movies making mucho moolah at the multiplexes and darker DC dramas dominating the (television) dial–back in my day (the halcyon ’80s) we had it tougher. I mean, I had to walk five feet across shag carpeting both ways to turn the channel to catch reruns of The Incredible Hulk!

But in all seriousness, geek culture was not as prevalent or accessible when I was growing up, so as a mature adult, I feel the need to thank and recognize the geek mentors who nurtured my nascent nerdiness along the way, and I’m starting with one who is significant to both my brother and me: Cousin Danny.

Uncle Bruce is my mother’s older brother, and six years after we relocated from California to Oregon (stow it, haters), he moved himself and Aunt Judy to nearby Gladstone with sons Danny and Bryan. At the time, I was six and Danny was nine–impressively older, but not terrifying like 13-year-old Bryan (I’ll be writing a separate tribute to Bryan in a future installment). So when we got together for holidays and whatnot, Danny was leader and playmate to me and my little brother BJ–young enough to enjoy a game that included spinning around his dad’s pool table while listening to “Beep Beep” by the Playmates on the record player, but old enough to transfix us with his genius.

Mild mannered and round cheeked, Danny was perhaps an improbable genius. I have to admit that he played the accordion. But! In his room (where we loved to hang out), he had all of the books to solve all of the different Rubix cubes–extremely cool to us–and even more impressive, he had a Commodore 64, a futuristic device that allowed him to type to other people across the country, in real time! It was like having a pen pal–without having to wait for the mailman!

It was Danny who showed us movies like Gremlins, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and War Games, all on VHS tapes copied by Aunt Judy super-long-play style from cable (they had HBO!). But even better: Cousin Danny was the person who showed us Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back for the first time.

Now, would I have watched Star Wars and Empire without Cousin Danny? Of course. Would I have watched them repeatedly until I actually paid attention? Perhaps not. You see, as a young girl (around seven or eight), I initially dismissed them as “boy movies.” It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth time that I suddenly realized, “Hey! I like these movies. These aren’t boy movies at all!” And I was ready to see Return of the Jedi in the theaters. When I saw The Force Awakens this year (with my brother), I thought of Danny and smiled.

Danny also gave us our first taste of freedom: I vividly remember my brother and I being allowed to go see a double feature of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and The NeverEnding Story with just Danny–no grownups. I was nine, with money in my pocket to go buy a second round of refreshments during intermission. Truly a heady experience.

Unfortunately, Bruce and Judy moved to upstate New York in 1988, with both cousins eventually joining them, before the whole clan settled near Atlanta, Georgia. However! I was reunited with Dan (Danny no more) a few years ago at–where else–Dragon Con, one of the biggest, craziest geek conventions on the planet.

DanFrame

Cousin Dan today: geek mentor and Dragon Con master!

While Dan has grown up to work in software development (of course), he still books a room at the Dragon Con host hotel every year, and he’s an integral part of The Outworlders, Atlanta, a “science fiction, fantasy and horror fan group that supports and promotes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender themes within these genres.”

So I salute and thank you, Cousin Dan: hero, genius, geek mentor, and master of my old Speak N’ Spell. I hope you know you’ve made our lives much more interesting and entertaining, and may the Force be with you!

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Archie #1 Reboot

Happy Monday! Links to Make Your Day Brighter

Archie #1 Reboot

Archie #1, by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. Wonderful!

Happy Monday! I survived a bittersweet weekend, as I missed San Diego Comic-Con for the second year in a row–it’s not a place for babies. While it was nice to not stand in a booth for 8+ hours per day, I do regret not being in the thick of things and seeing my friends. Boo.

Comics

However, my husband (Dark Horse Comics’ Editor-in-Chief) kept me up to date, and even a little ahead of the loop–I knew to watch for the eruption of excitement when Joss Whedon announced his new comic book series, Twist, about a steampunk female superhero! I even have a vote in for who the artist should be–I’ll let you know if my choice wins out. So while I didn’t get to see my husband on stage in Hall H, I did have a little insider info to keep me warm. Sigh.

The other big release from SDCC was the Star Wars behind-the-scenes reel. It. Is. AWESOME. The practical effects are going to be WONDERFUL. I’m going against AP Style and using all caps, people!

Something I’m going to write a full post on is the much-anticipated (and a little feared, by me), reboot of Archie. That’s right, after 70+ years, Archie Andrews got a major makeover. After the full-body cringes inspired by the Archie New Look Series (shudder), I was worried the new series would be like when your Mom starts saying things like, “Raise the roof!” But it was wonderful. I’ll write more soon.

Survival

Well this is a new section for this blog! NPR told us that the Pacific Northwest is due for a major earthquake and created an app so that Oregonians can get an idea of when services and power would be restored after a 9.0 quake. But even if you’re not in Oregon, there’s a lot of good advice on disaster prep here.

Fashion

I’ve been trying to buy fewer clothes and stick to my 10-Item Wardrobe, but I’ve been dealing with one problem: I’m actually 10 pounds below my pre-baby weight due to breastfeeding, and my shorts are falling off my body. I look like I have baggy elephant butt. So I bought this pair of chino shorts in navy at (of course) J. Crew Factory this weekend!

Books

So we started to go to the library for Book Babies for Sarah, but I have been loving it for myself! I used to spend hours in the library every week when I was growing up, but it’s been years since I’ve gone regularly. I just finished As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes (the actor who played Westley) and it was wonderful. Now, The Princess Bride was my favorite movie in junior high and high school (I made a pirate shirt for my boyfriend–for prom), but I admit I had seen it so many times, I was a little sick of it. No more! This was a delightful read that reignited my love for the movie, and even stranger–there was no bitterness! No scandal! It was as sweet and lovely as the movie–and still interesting!

In other news, we’re going camping in about two weeks. Anyone have any camping food tips?

All-New All-Different Marvel

Happy Monday! Links to Make Your Day Brighter

Good morning, readers! Hope your weekends were fun and refreshing. I spent mine watering my pots. And watering my hydrangeas. And then watering my tomatoes and zucchini. And then starting again with the pots. Repeat. It is hot here in Portland, my friend–90 degrees yesterday, 93 degrees today. I feel like I could use some water myself!

This is the time of year when I wrack my brain for dinner recipes that are either no-cook, require minimal cooking, or can be made outside on the grill. I swear I will write a more involved post on this soon (for my own benefit, if nothing else), but one of my favorites is the Chilled Cucumber-Yogurt Soup from the New Moosewood Cookbook. Creamy, garlicky, tangy, and above all else: cold.

Special Edition NYC was this weekend! This is Reed’s completely comics-focused convention, and there were some interesting updates from Marvel: news that there will be no reboot, and a first look at interior pages of their upcoming Star Wars comic, Lando!

All-New All-Different Marvel

That’s clearly X-23 as the new Wolverine, right? Art by the fabulous David Marquez.

Speaking of Marvel, have you seen the incredible Marvel teaser images by Portland artist David Marquez (who will be the artist on Invincible Iron Man, with Brian Michael Bendis writing)? They look incredible, and CBR has a list of five upcoming All-New, All-Different Marvel series they need to read.

In other news, I have been invited by Ma’at Crook and Kel McDonald to guest on their live Google hangout/YouTube show, Ask Me About My Draculas, on June 21! Each episode, two people discuss something vampire or horror related that they’ve seen, while the third person, who hasn’t seen it, asks questions. I’m the asker. Past topics have been Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost Boys, Dead Like Me, and lots of other fun movies and shows, so it should be a blast!

Finally, as you probably already know, The X-Files has joined Twin Peaks and Coach (?!?) and will be returning for six more episodes! Empire has a list of the 20 Greatest X-Files Episodes. We’re rewatching episodes on Netflix and damn–I forgot how creepy and good it is, and also how pretty Gillian Anderson was (and is).

Okay, this is kind of skimpy–my apologies. It’s either a slow entertainment week for me, or my brain is fried from the heat–or both.

I have so many blog posts in my head, but I’ve only managed to type a couple each week. I’m going to try to remedy that this week, but perhaps I’ll list some ideas here:

  • How to Decorate a Baby Nursery, Even if You Suck at It
  • 5 Baby Things I Should Have Added to My Registry
  • Hot Weather Cooking
  • 10-Item Wardrobe: My Summer Items (to be mocked by my friend Caroline)
  • Comics That Changed My Life: Excalibur Special Edition
  • Why I Love Jessica Fletcher

If any are of particular interest, let me know in the comments below!

Twin Peaks Party

Happy Monday! Links (and Videos) to Make Your Day Brighter

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope your weekends were lots of fun. Mine was jam packed: not only did we have two brunches (one at our house, one at Sid’s Mom’s), but we hosted our epic Twin Peaks Dinner on Saturday, and it was awesome!

I’ll post a pic here, but I’ll do a full Twin Peaks party post later this week. Cobbling together the decorations and the food was fun, but the best part is how my friends ran with it–the costuming was superb.

Twin Peaks Party

Shelly the waitress, Audrey Horne, and Nadine at our Twin Peaks Dinner. Photo by Jewel Mlnarik.

Now, without further ado: links!

Are you currently living under a rock? Do you (wrongly) feel you’re too cool for Star Wars? Just go watch the new teaser already.

I’m also loving this Star Wars comic strip by Dan Hipp–it shows exactly how I felt watching the video.

If you’re a regular reader, you know how much I love Jennifer L. Scott’s 10-Item Wardrobe videos. Here she does a talk through of her Spring/Summer wardrobe.

I’m currently putting together my own Spring/Summer wardrobe (because I’m a fancy lady, and I also like having clean drawers and being able to get dressed in five minutes), so I’m tempted to check out Boden.

Need a laugh (especially if you, like me, used to work in the service industry)? Kitchenette’s Behind Closed Ovens column this week is titled Misfires and Meltdowns of Terrible Restaurant Employees.

And, to end on a somber note, I was truly saddened to hear that Jonathan Crombie, Gilbert Blythe from the classic Anne of Green Gables television movies, passed away at the age of 48. The books and movies were a huge part of my childhood and adolescence, and my thoughts are with his family. Time to watch Anne again this week.

Gonna finally wrap up my 10-Item Wardrobe posts from my vacation, and I swear I’ll post some recipes, too. Now I gotta play with my baby!