UW Geek Week is Upon Us!

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The University of Washington, my alma mater, is hosting an incredibly fun “Geek Week” this week. Although most events are for students only, the end of the week concert is open to all. Jonathan Coulton will be headlining the show, with the always lovely Doubleclicks and Fighter X. Tickets are $25. I’ll be there–will I see you?

UW’s continuing the geeky activities this spring when Neil Gaiman comes on Friday, April 17th. Tickets are $35 and are going to sell out–get yours asap!

I’m loving that UW is embracing the geek community, and I can’t wait to attend these events. I hope to see you there!

Girl Scout Samoa Icebox Cake

Samoa Icebox Cake

It’s that time of year again. Time for angels to descend down to earth and give us ambrosia from the heavens girls to sell Girl Scout Cookies. And, as is tradition, I’m participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest. We take Girl Scout cookies and attempt to not eat them all straight from the box, and instead use them as ingredients in recipes.

This year is the Samoa’s 40th birthday, so we’re all celebrating by making recipes for this cookie. I chose to make an icebox cake: it turns these cookies into a sweet, messy, delicious dessert. And it’s easy! Read more

Fireball Cupcakes

Fireball Cupcake

Like Fireball whiskey? Atomic Fireball candy? Dungeons and Dragons? Mario? An excuse to make cupcakes? Then these are for you.

Warning: They’re potent. They’re boozy and they’ve got a spicy cinnamon kick. You’re gonna love them.

Fireball Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • Ingredients needs for box spice cake mix, minus the water (mine needed 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 3 eggs)
  • 1 cup + 1 TBS Fireball (or another spicy cinnamon flavored whiskey)
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash salt
  • red and yellow food coloring (optional)
  • cinnamon candies (optional)

Directions:

Prepare the spice cake mix as is directed on the back of the box, but instead of water, use Fireball. (My cake mix called for 1 cup of water, so I put in 1 cup of Fireball instead.) Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 of the way with the batter, and bake as directed on the back of the box.

Remove cupcakes from the oven once a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Mix the butter in a mixer until fully smooth, then slowly add the powdered sugar in, one cup at a time, until it is all mixed. Add a TBS of Fireball, and the vanilla and salt. Mix for about 5 minutes or until the frosting has a beautiful, whipped consistency.

Fireball Cupcake Frosting
Want to make the fire frosting you see above? Divide the frosting up in 3 bowls. Set aside one. In one bowl, place yellow food coloring, and in the other, red food coloring. (I use AmeriColor gel food coloring.) Mix the frostings with the food coloring until the color you’d like is reached. Place each color side by side in a pastry bag. (It’s ok if they end up getting a bit mixed up, it makes a more realistic fire color!) Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes and top with a cinnamon candy. Enjoy!

 

Geeky Workouts For Every Fandom

mockingjay-workout

When you want to work out just like your favorite character, Neila Rey has your back. They’ve created hundreds of visual workouts based on kick-ass characters from movies, tv shows, and video games. You can punch like Starbuck, get abs like Batman, or even button-mash fight like someone from Street Fighter. The workouts all have great flavor text to get you motivated, as well as tips on how to perform the exercises, ways to level up the workout, and some even have suggested soundtracks. Love the images and want to frame them and do them often? The workouts also link you to a high resolution .pdf poster.

Neilarey.com also has workouts for every day life. I love this Movie Night workout, which gives you exercises to do while on the couch. Check out all of the workouts here. I guarantee you’ll find one you love! (And once you do, give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments!)

The Cones of Dunshire Is Going To Be An Actual Game You Can Play


If you’re a Parks and Rec fan and a lover of board games, your day has come. Ben Wyatt’s “gaming experience,” The Cones of Dunshire, is currently on Kickstarter to be made into a pricey Deluxe version. While the Kickstarter cheekily looks as if it’s from the accounting firm Ben worked at, it’s actually by Mayfair games, who created the game for Parks and Recreation.

The Kickstarter will stay up throughout the run of the last season of Parks and Rec, and hints at the fact that we’ll see The Cones of Dunshire on the show again. By pledging, you can get some Cones of Dunshire-branded swag, tickets to GenCon to see a jumbo-size charity game of The Cones of Dunshire played, or for $500+, you can get your own deluxe version to play whenever you’d like. Mayfair claims they have no plans to make an affordable commercial version: instead they want to appeal to super fans of the show and game that will be wiling to spend the money for an exclusive item. It will only be available through this Kickstarter. Which brings me to the question: Who do I know that will be purchasing a copy? I’d be happy to provide snacks if I can play. I call Ledgerman.

Check it out at Kickstarter.com.

Puzzled Pint (Or: Where You’ll Be Each Month)

Puzzled Pint

 

On Tuesday, Mr. Geek and I ventured out to our very first Puzzled Pint: a monthly activity held in multiple cities where you gather and solve puzzles at bars. Obviously, it was ridiculously fun.

The first Tuesday of each month, puzzle-lovers gather at a bar and are given puzzles to work on in their own groups. Everyone has the same set of puzzles, and your solving times are posted in the “standings” section of the site, but overall it’s a “work at your own pace and have fun” kind of experience. To find out where Puzzled Pint will be, you must solve a puzzle on PuzzledPint.com, which is placed up the Friday before each event. The puzzle sets you up for the theme of the night–this month’s was X-Men.

The puzzles were extremely well-crafted and difficult for the two of us to do ourselves. We completed the puzzles, but had to ask for a couple hints. Next month, we’re definitely bringing more people!

Puzzled Pint is currently in the following cities:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Bay Area, California
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • London, England (UK)
  • Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Seattle, Washington (two locations: City and Eastside)
  • Washington, DC

If you enjoy solving puzzles, hanging out with friends, and exploring bars in your city, then you’ll LOVE Puzzled Pint. Check it out here and mark your calendar for next month! Will I see you there?

Harry Potter vs. Ghostbusters: Help Me Pick My New Decor

What should decorate this wall?

What should decorate this wall?

Happy January! I’ve been a bit MIA for two reasons: I wanted to spend as much time with family as I could over the holidays, and I moved! I’m still in the same city, but am now in a super cute townhouse close to a bunch of my friends. Moving has been quite the process over the last week or so, but now I’m in the unpacking, reorganizing, and decorating stage, which is the most fun ever. (Mr. Geek may disagree.) This brings me to today’s post: I need your help.

See, we have this cute little bathroom on our main floor. It’s right next to the living room and kitchen, which means it will see the most traffic from guests. The bathroom has a black marble countertop and yellow walls. I instantly had an idea of how I would decorate it: I would keep it simple with black accessories (hand towel, soap dispenser, trash can, etc.) and put up a nice print of a badger on the wall above the toilet. To non-geeks, the bathroom will just look “nice,” and the rest of us will instantly recognize it as a Hufflepuff room. (I mean, come on, it’s right next to the kitchen.) It’s non-threatening, could look grown-up when family or guests visit, and still shows off our geek pride for those in the know.

When I told my idea to Mr. Geek, he just looked at me and said “Vigo.” Yes, he was referring to Vigo the Carpathian, the villain from Ghostbusters 2. A quick Google Search showed us that the painting of Vigo would indeed look nice in a yellow room with black accents. I would say it could even seem unassuming to a non-geek if it wasn’t for the pile of skulls at his feet. And of course, if Mr. Geek doesn’t go through with his (already vetoed) idea of making the eyes follow people around and also light up.

Vigo

(sigh)

So: Do we go the subtle Hufflepuff route? Or go with a print of the Vigo the Carpathian painting? Let me know your pick (and why) in the comments below. Have a better idea? Leave a comment with that! Once the room is finished, I’ll post pics. Mr. Geek and I both anxiously await your votes. We’re leaving this room in your hands. Don’t mess this up.

The Ultimate Geeky Holiday Calendar

Need an excuse to party? This list will help you find a reason to celebrate every day of the year! This list will continue to be updated, so check back often! Know of a special geeky day we missed? Let us know in the comments!

January

Isaac Asimov’s Birthday

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Birthday

17 Ben Franklin’s Birthday

25 Macintosh Computer Day

February

2 Opposite Day

11 National Inventors’ Day

12 Darwin Day

March

4 National Grammar Day

8 Ralph Baer’s Birthday

11 Douglas Adam’s Birthday

14 Pi Day, Albert Einstein’s Birthday

25 Tolkien Reading Day

26 Leonard Nemoy’s Birthday

31 World Backup Day

April

11 International TableTop Day

12 Yuri’s Night

23 William Shakespeare’s Birthday

25 DNA Day

27 Morse Code Day

May

2 Free Comic Book Day

4 Star Wars Day

11 Twilight Zone Day

13 Stephen Colbert’s Birthday

14 George Lucas’s Birthday

23 Alan Turing’s Birthday

25 Geek Pride Day, Towel Day

June

10 Ballpoint Pen Day

16 Captain Picard Day

July

2 World UFO Day

5 Newton’s Principal Day

6 Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day

11 Laser Day

13 Embrace Your Geekness Day

20 Moon Day

22 Pi Approximation Day

26 SysAdmin Day

27 Gary Gygax’s Birthday

29 Wil Wheaton’s Birthday

August

12 IBM PC Day

22 Ray Bradbury‘s Birthday

September

7 Google Commemoration Day

13 Programmer Day

17 Optimus Prime Day

19 Talk Like a Pirate Day

22 Hobbit Day

October

3 Techie Appreciation Day

14 Ada Lovelace Day

16 Steve Jobs Day

23 Mole Day

26 Back To The Future Day

November

7 Marie Curie‘s Birthday

24 Evolution Day

30 Computer Security Day

December

5 Day of the Ninja, Walt Disney’s Birthday

23 Festivus

28 Stan Lee’s Birthday

What To Eat With Miracle Berries

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Yesterday, 250,000 people received a gift of “miracle berries” from Cards Against Humanity during their 10 Days or Whatever of Kwanzaa. Being a miracle berry fan for a good amount of years (yes, I’m pulling the Hipster card on miracle berries), I’m thrilled that others are being introduced to this fun activity.

First of all: What are miracle berries? Miracle berries (Synsepalum dulcificum) are a berry native to Africa. The berries coat your taste buds, blocking certain taste receptors (like sour and bitter), making anything you consume taste sweeter than it would without the berry. The effect lasts up to an hour. (I find it lasts around 30 minutes on average.) What you received in the mail is not the berry itself–it’s the berry plus cornstarch, made into a tablet.

While the people who manufacture/sell the berry tablets may tell you this can serve as a daily supplement and a way to live a healthier lifestyle (your vegetables taste sweet and you don’t want to eat as much candy!), I think these are best used for tasting parties. Invite your friends over and have everyone bring a sour or bitter item that they’d like to try on the berries. Then, pop the pill (this sounds way worse than it is), and get tasting! We’ve found that as soon as people try one thing, they start to ravage the spread, wanting to know what everything tastes like. Once the spread is gone, they’ll move onto your pantry and fridge. You’ve been warned.

Below are some of my favorite items to try with miracle berries. These have been tested and approved–they’re musts at your party! But a word of warning: A lot of these foods are acidic or harsh on the stomach, but they won’t taste that way. Although it will be tasty, you’ll still be consuming larger amounts of lemons, limes, vinegar, and other sour/bitter items than you’re used to. Use moderation and keep some Tums/Alka Seltzer nearby!

  • Limes and Lemons (These are just amazing, Particularly limes. It’s my go-to favorite with miracle berries.)
  • Balsamic Vinegar (It’s sweet and not harsh at all. But that doesn’t mean you should chug large amounts! Read the disclaimer in the paragraph above!)
  • Guinness (Tastes like a chocolate shake. Any Porter/Stout will be ridiculously good.)
  • Cream Cheese (Tastes like cheesecake.)
  • Strawberries (It’s like you dipped them in sugar, but you DIDN’T! Magic.)

The following is a list of other suggested foods to try from various sources, including Cards Against Humanity, Amazon, and blogs/forum posts. I can’t vouch for the deliciousness of all of these, but it’s at least a starting off point for your tasting party!

  • BBQ sauce
  • Bitter chocolate
  • Blackberries
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cranberries
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Ketchup
  • Kiwi
  • Mustard
  • Oranges
  • Pickles (or anything pickled)
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Salt and Vinegar chips
  • Sour Candies (warheads, sour patch kids)
  • Sour Cream
  • Stinky cheese (bleu cheese and goat cheese, specifically)
  • Tabasco (or other hot sauces)
  • Tea
  • Tequila
  • Tomatoes
  • Tonic water
  • Vinegar
  • Watermelon

What are your fave foods to have with miracle berries? Let me know in the comments! Didn’t receive the berries from Cards Against Humanity, but still want to try it? You can find them on Amazon!