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BLURGH! The ThinkGeek Blog... Grok It!

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Yay! School is back in session!

We love learning, and teachers love teaching, so it should come as no surprise that ThinkGeek would want to donate to DonorsChoose.org to celebrate school being back in full swing!

We're donating a total of $1,000 to classrooms in need of materials and supplies. Your votes will determine which classrooms we give to, in order of popularity, until we hit the $1,000 mark.

BONUS! Your vote will enter you to win a $100 gift certificate. Not that it matters, though, right? You're in it to support the geeklings and their desire to learn! We must help nurture and empower the next generation! Right? ...Right?!

How to vote (and enter to win):

  1. 1. Go to DonorsChoose.org and find a classroom you think needs some geek <3ing. Make a note of the classroom ID. For example, if the classroom's url is 
    http://www.donorschoose.org/project/take-a-look/897561/
    the ID is #897561. If you need a good starting point, there's always the Math & Sciences section, Music and the Arts, and Literacy and Language.
  2. 2. Register your vote on our form-o-matic below by 5pm ET Thursday, September 25, 2014. On September 26, we'll tally up the votes, make the donations, and post the results and our $100 gift certificate winner here on our blog later that day.

Alright, you've got your mission; go on and pick your favorite classroom and spread the love of learning!

Monopoly

In our experiences, top ten lists normally have two flaws: they're poorly formatted for quick reading and they are normally wrong. Just check all the comments of any top ten list, and you'll see lots of other folks think the list is wrong, too.

With our TL;DR Top Ten Lists, we're going to fix both problems... with your help. We're just gonna give you a couple of things on our top ten list (to make it faster to read), and you fill out the rest in the comments below (to make sure the list is accurate). Add to the list, argue with us, argue with each other, but most importantly be nice and have fun.

Today's TL;DR Top Ten List topic is:

Top 10 Board Game Jailbreaks!

Free Parking Lottery

Board Game Jailbreak [bohrd geym jeyl-breyk] n. 1. A rule not included in the official rules of the game, but used because it makes the game more fun. 2. House rule. Note: This differs from a "hack," because that word is overused and doesn't mean what many people think it means.

  1. Monopoly

    Free Parking Lottery: This one is the gold standard of house rules. All taxes and fees go into the center of the board (many times, after being seeded with $500 or some other agreed-upon amount of currency). The pot slowly builds and builds and the first person to land on "Free Parking" wins it all! We've read that Hasbro will begin including this one in a special "house rules" edition this fall, but they'll be optional rules and not official ones.

  2. Omnibus Rules
  3. Hearts

    Omnibus Rules: This little tweak gives the 10 of Diamonds a lot of power. It now has a score of -10 points (holder of the card at the end gets to subtract 10 points from their score). That's good as it is, but it's even better if you collect all the hearts, the Queen of Spades, and the 10 of Diamonds. Then you get to subtract 36 points (sometimes, 26 points) from your score or add 36 points (sometimes, 26 points) to everyone else's score. As with many house rules, the actual point value or monetary reward/penalty varies from house to house.

  4. Dungeons & Dragons

    Extra Saving Throw: (We're including D&D on this list because it's a table-top game, whether or not it has a board. So there.) Omnibus Rules Is this a really good house rule? No. Is it born of laziness and greed? Yes. Here's how it works: in each gaming session, every player has a token (anything the DM imbues with the power) which will allow them one extra saving throw sometime during the game. The catch? In order to redeem the extra saving throw, the player has to refresh all beverages and snacks for the entire gaming party. And we don't mean just a trip to the kitchen; sometimes multiple drive-throughs are involved (at the player's expense, of course).

And now it's your turn. What do you think numbers 4-10 are? Do you agree with our numbers 1-3?

Take to the comments and help us find the Top 10 Board Game Jailbreaks!


Written by Mindel, a certified Master of Disguise (so long as the disguise looks just like him).

We're at PAX Prime! Find us on the SkyBridge.

We're ready to take over PAX Prime! Find us on the SkyBridge.

PAX Prime, here we come!

Hey West Coasters! Who's going to be in Seattle this weekend?! That's right--we are! It's our second PAX Prime and we hope we'll be seeing all your lovely faces again! Find our PAX Prime Away Team at SkyBridge 9 to purchase your favorite TG goodies and hang out with Timmy!

But that's not all!

We've got a lot in store for all you con-goers this weekend, including cookies, raffles, and free swag!


The Official Guide to Stalking ThinkGeek at PAX Prime

R2-D9 USB Car Charger

Where to Find Us:

  • For most of the con, you can find us on the SkyBridge . Along with our newest and most popular items, we'll be carrying con exclusives as well. Pick 'em up before we run out! You don't want to miss out on (Sorry! Due to their exclusivity, these pages won't be live until Friday, 8/29.This is the last time you'll see of our con tour exclusives!):

  • We've teamed up with Razer to make an epic photo booth! Stop by our booth and have your picture taken in a Portal Test Chamber, on the fields of Minecraft, or in a post card from Seattle. Use our provided props to level up your photo game, and then email the memory to yourself!

  • We're at PAX Prime! Find us on the Sky Bridge.

Freebies:

  • If you're looking to score some freebies, don't think it'll be so easy -- you'll have to know how and when to get them. Come by our booth anytime to earn yourself a lil' somethin' somethin' as long as you say the magic words:
    • Friday: "Prepare for trouble!"
    • Saturday: "I choose you, Pikachu!"
    • Sunday: "I wanna battle the Pewter City Gym Leader!"
    • Monday: "They call me the Pokemon Prof!"

Raffles & Prizes:

Cookie Brigade
  • If you're a fan of delicious treats and Child's Play, then we're sure you're familiar with the famous Cookie Brigade. We've partnered up with them again this year, so if you make a Child's Play donation to a brigadier, you may also earn a raffle ticket and a chance to win one of three $100 ThinkGeek gift certificates! Just drop it off at the box at our booth on the SkyBridge to be eligible to win.

  • Hyperkin RetroN 5 Gaming System
  • Over the con weekend, we'll be giving away a Hyperkin RetroN 5 Gaming System every day! Yep, that's right. Just stop by our SkyBridge booth and mention this contest, and we'll give you a raffle ticket. Beware: there's a limited amount of tickets! The drawing for the winner will occur at our booth near the end of the day at 4:30pm. You must get a new ticket every day in order to be eligible to win!

International Cosplay Day:

See you all there!

ThinkGeek Trivia Night

Look at all those geeky minds!

Yep, it's that time again.

SUPER GEEK TRIVIA NIGHT FUN TIME!


UPDATE: Sorry for the wait, everyone! We ran into some issues, unfortunately, but tickets are up now! You can purchase your Geek Trivia Night tickets from Brown Paper Tickets. Thanks so much for your patience & can't wait to see you all on the 17th!


Come join us for another geek trivia night! (Pleeeeaasseee. We miss you!)

Join us on Wednesday, September 17th for Geek Trivia Night at Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA. Once again, compete against your fellow geeks for the title of Geek Trivia Champions & carry that title proudly (until the next GTN rolls around).

Tickets are on sale now on Brown Paper Tickets. There is a limited amount, so if it's anything like the previous Trivia Nights, tickets will sell out FAST. We suggest you start recruiting and forming your team of 6-8 people now! Choose your teammates wisely because we'll ask about anything. (You past trivia-goers are aware, but for the newcomers--seriously, we'll ask about anything!)

The Details:

  • Geek Trivia Night will be held on Wednesday, September 17th Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA. The venue serves food and drink (purchased separately) for you to indulge on while participating in the trivia fun.
  • Doors open at 7pm ET, with the festivities running until 10:30pm. There will be 4 rounds of questions, 10 questions per round.
  • Tickets are $15 each and are on sale now on Brown Paper Tickets; they will be sold at a first come, first serve basis. We recommend teams purchase their tickets together.
  • If you're thinking about bringing your geekling, please be aware that everyone must have a ticket, including children. We suggest geeklings be age 13+ and/or huge trivia buffs.
  • Teams must be composed of 6-8 people. We will be contacting the ticket purchasers later regarding your team name, members, and leader. If you have less than 6 but still want to play, we can match you up, but you must agree to leave your fate up to the almighty Timmy! There will be time at the beginning of the night for you to meet your new team & form new friendships.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask us in the comments below.

Think your team has what it takes?! Come out and prove it in September!

The Dresden Files

We're interviewing Jim Butcher!

Dresden Files Skin Game Autographed Edition Limited to 200

Yep, that's right. The creator of the book series The Dresden Files. We'll be conducting an interview with this New York Times best selling author soon & need your help!

What questions would you like us to ask him?

Fill out the form below & be automagically entered to win an autographed edition of Skin Game, the latest novel of the Dresden Files. The form will close on Monday, 8/25 at 12pm ET, and then RandomBot will choose a winner who will be contacted via email. When we interview with Jim, we'll try our best to ask your questions, but sorry if we can't use them all!

Guardians of the Galaxy

Agent M in the hoooouse.

When the fine folks at ThinkGeek asked me to write a guest blog for them, I had a few immediate ideas for the piece:

  • Make it nothing but animated gifs.
  • Write 4,000 words on why M.O.D.O.K. is the greatest character in all of fiction.
  • Devise a series of haiku based on the Infinity Gauntlet comics.
  • Talk about some of my experiences visiting the set of Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" film.

While the first three options were pretty great, I'm going with the giving the ThinkGeek Nation (is that a thing? If not, I declare it a thing!) some of my patented #seeeekrits.

First, you all saw Guardians of the Galaxy already, right? It's the number one movie in the galaxy, and everyone has a favorite character, moment, and song. Rocket, Ronan's turn against Thanos, and Cherry Bomb, respectfully for me. If you haven't seen it yet, sorry for spoiling things, and go get your tickets!

Time for me to dig into my trusty Twitter notebook, and pull some details I scribbled down while on the set in September of 2013. I had to steal some tape from the set to keep said notebook in one piece, so that's authentic Guardians of the Galaxy tape right there.

trusty Twitter notebook

As soon as I got to the set, I spent some time with Guardians producer Jonathan Schwartz, who walked me through the war room--a room filled with concept art and models and other planning info that breaks the film down from beginning to end. You can hear my podcast with Jonathan here, but suffice to say it was pretty cool. I even learned that Cosmo, the awesome Russian canine cosmonaut, made it into the film.

I walked around the Dark Aster set, which was still being built. It's Ronan's massive ship in the film, and super cool and creepy. And then, I got to see some of the Milano--Star-Lord's sleek ship. Both were impressive in the level of detail and attention given to their construction.

The Collector's lab was elsewhere, and I arrived on set just a few days before Benicio Del Toro. Bummed I didn't get to see him in full garb. But I did get to walk around the lab, as the crew finished construction. We only catch a few quick glimpses of Taneleer's collection in the film, but I spotted: some slithery slug creatures; a weird fin with a skeleton; a giant butterfly; a cocoon; lots of digital screens; a live dark elf; the pink girl; a 2-headed raccoon; some sort of dissected creature; and much more.

In the film, The Collector's base of operations is on Knowhere, the enormous severed head of an ancient Celestial being, and I got to walk around the dirty streets of the mining colony a bit. The outdoor set was very industrial, with big structures and a general layer of grit and grime. There were many signs posted across Knowhere, in what seemed to be a variety of alien languages. I also have a note here about looking inside a really cool junk shop vendor, and seeing some skulls and pyramids. So many small details!

The establishment in which Drax, Groot and Rocket do some gambling, some drinking, and some fighting was a very cool club set. It had a sort of metal/industrial vibe, but with a bit of a Middle Eastern feel. There are numerous rooms and alcoves in that set that you don't even get to see in Guardians.

I also got to chat with cast and crew while there. You can listen to my interviews with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and James Gunn on the This Week in Marvel podcast. I will say that all four of them were super friendly and obviously having fun. Long days, lots of makeup and things to do--but they were all having a blast.

Ryan Penagos

I need to sign off and do some Marvel work, but maybe next May you'll read something like this when I recount my time visiting the Avengers: Age of Ultron set.

Your Spy Inside the House of Ideas,
Agent M aka Ryan Penagos


Ryan Penagos is Marvel's Executive Editorial Director for digital media. That's a silly title which basically means he has the coolest job. Seriously. He (and his desk) were in the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes video game. He gets to tweet about Marvel all day long and get paid for it. He knows all the secrets about Marvel's upcoming movies and TV and comics, and won't tell you anything even if you offer him all the tacos in the world. He also does actual work, but that's no fun to talk about in a bio. Find him on Twitter--@AgentM!

Lasso of Truth (

In our experiences, top ten lists normally have two flaws: they're poorly formatted for quick reading and they are normally wrong. Just check all the comments of any top ten list, and you'll see lots of other folks think the list is wrong, too.

With our TL;DR Top Ten Lists, we're going to fix both problems... with your help. We're just gonna give you a couple of things on our top ten list (to make it faster to read), and you fill out the rest in the comments below (to make sure the list is accurate). Add to the list, argue with us, argue with each other, but most importantly be nice and have fun.

Today's TL;DR Top Ten List topic is:

Top 10 Favorite Sci-Fi Weapons!

Identity Disc from Tron

Note: We're leaving off Phasers and Lightsabers because those two are just a given. And we're sticking to hand weapons (so no Photon Torpedoes or the Death Star's superlaser).

  1. Identity Disc ("Tron")

    Imagine having something you carry with you at all times that holds all your personal information: your ID, your insurance info, your calendar, and so on. Oh, you mean you already have one of those and it's called your smartphone, wallet, and/or purse? Now imagine using those things to defend yourself and attack your opponents. That's really what the Identity Disc is in "Tron," if you think about it. We still love it though, and the amount of time spent trying to get a Frisbee to stay on our backs when we were children is incalculable.

  2. Weirding Module ("Dune")

    Weirding Module from Dune Ok, so we're talking the David Lynch movie version here, obviously. It's a love it or hate it sort of film, but there sure were some interesting things in it. Our favorite was the Weirding Module: a weapon that converts words into sonic blasts. That's a pretty sweet idea, especially when the hero's name creates the most powerful blast! Again, this led to some obsessive childhood behavior, but somehow yelling our names at people to destroy them with our LEGOs only made mom mad. Our second favorite interesting thing was, of course, Sting's weirdo underwear.

  3. Lawgiver ("2000 AD")

    The Lawgiver is the precursor to almost every shooting-type video game we play, in a way. It lets the Judge owning it select from a variety of different ammo options, just like video games let you switch between different weapons on the fly. And because such a powerful weapon would be dangerous to fall into the hands of someone other than the Judge it was issued to, all Lawgivers are programmed to recognize the hand print of said Judge. Anyone else tries to fire it and it explodes! Awesome.

  4. Lirpa ("Star Trek: The Original Series")

    Lirpa from Star Trek: TOS A traditional Vulcan weapon, the Lirpa has the not-unique feature of being able to remove parts of William Shatner's uniform top. It's got a curved blade on one end (for circular slicing) and a weighted club on the other (for smashing). So, you can cut and stab and bash anyone you want during the kal-if-fee. It's also a great tool in the kitchen. Pon farr-tacular!

  5. Lasso of Truth ("Wonder Woman")

    We picked the Lasso of Truth to be on this list because it is a non-lethal weapon, which is nice for a change. It holds people tight, sure, but it also makes them tell the truth (which is sort of fitting because of Wonder Woman creator's role in the popularity of the polygraph). It's like a big ol' hug of justice. And hugs, really, are the best weapons of all.

And now it's your turn. What do you think numbers 6-10 are? Do you agree with our numbers 1-5?

Take to the comments and help us find the Top 10 Favorite Sci-Fi Weapons!


Written by Mindel, a certified Master of Disguise (so long as the disguise looks just like him).

Aug
12
2014

Join in. #GeekOut!

Happy 15th anniversabirthday to us!

Happy 15th anniversabirthday to us!

ThinkGeek's 15th Anniversary Epic Tee

1999. It's hard to believe we started all this craziness back in 1999. Back then, ThinkGeek was some folks running an ISP with a pile of t-shirts and an idea. And now? Less ISP. More t-shirts. Many, many more.

YOU KNOW, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT.

Without you, our awesome, geeky, passionate customers, ThinkGeek would not be possible. It is because of you that we exist. It is because of you that we come to work every day. It is because of you that we get to be full-time geeks. Thank YOU for that!

So today, we celebrate the geek in all of us!

What are you geeking out about right NOW?

Let us know! Tell us what your biggest passion is at the moment by tweeting using the hashtag #GeekOut and mention us @thinkgeek to be entered to win a mystery prize pack of EPIC proportions (seriously, you want this). Or, feel free to enter via the form below!

Your fellow geeks from San Diego Comic-Con will help get ya started:

And juuust in case you aren't familiar with the term, we asked our TG monkeys to explain "geek out" in their own words, and here's what they had to say:

Join in. Geek out.
  • Finding a kindred spirit and having an enthusiastic conversation with them. Sharing a moment with complete strangers doing something you love.

  • Being overly passionate about something.

  • Thoroughly enjoying something without any reservations or fear that someone will judge you. And not caring if they do.

  • Being super excited about something, to the point of being considered passionate about it.

  • To "geek out" is to have an overwhelming excitement for something that you love or have dedicated yourself to. It could be a tv series, a comic book, even some people "geek out" over cars or sports.

  • Anytime you have an uncontrollable amount of passion that it makes you wanna implode on yourself. But, instead of doing that you vomit up all of Geeklove in your brain in one split second. Only other geeks will be able to decode and appreciate your babble.

  • Super excited about something and wanting share that excitement with others.

  • Geek out to me means being totally into something you care about and don't care if anyone else is into to it or not... giving it your all no matter how you look doing it!

  • When you "geek out" you go into a state of reverie about something where the world around you fades away and all that's left is your passion for this one thing, whatever that is.

  • An uncontrollable excitement that is rarely paralleled and extremely difficult to explain. The topic that cause this reaction often harkens back to childhood.

  • It's being passionate about an interest, so passionate that when you find someone else who feels the same... it's all you'll talk about, rave over and go "THAT WAS AWESOME!

So, go forth! Tell us what you geek out about!

Aug
11
2014

Manifesto Destiny

SideQuest

Winning the game is not always the only goal.

Have you seen our manifesto yet?

It's a list of things we live for that we shared as part of our shiny new site refresh a couple weeks ago. Here it is again:

OUR MANIFESTO

We believe...

  1. You should live long and prosper, with the Force.
  2. That pi never ends at 3.14.
  3. That it's perfectly ok to have crushes on comic book characters.
  4. In never quitting until you level up.
  5. That "Star Wars or Star Trek" is a meaningful first date question.
  6. Somebody else is totally into that, too.
  7. Humanity will colonize other worlds.
  8. That you will "make it so".
  9. In doing unto others as R2-D2.
  10. Telepathy is awesome, but not reliable, so we use open communication.
  11. Every room should have a "ninja-only" exit.
  12. That we are not alone.
  13. Life is more fun when you're wearing a cape.
  14. That everyone is a superhero to someone.

Pretty sweet, right? But, since we're having a birthday this week, we started thinking about adding one more to match our age and we wanted to know what you thought our 15th should be.

So we asked people for suggestions and then asked them to vote on their favorites to help us come up with a potential new addition. With almost 700 submissions, there were many references to monkeys, and 42, and generally being awesome, but the top vote-getter was this gem from Micah:

15.  Sometimes the side quest is its own reward

And there you go. Job well done! Thanks to all who entered & voted.

We completely agree with the above, but what do you think? Does it make the cut?

Aug
08
2014

*Beep beep beep*