FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS $75+

US ECONOMY ONLY • NO CODE • DOESN'T COMBINE WITH OTHER OFFERS
BLURGH! The ThinkGeek Blog... Grok It!

About the Blurgh

ThinkGeek spews random stuff! Got questions, comments or suggestions?

Drop us a line at blog@thinkgeek.com

More ThinkGeek

June 2010 Archives

Please take your seats, ladies and gentlebots. It's time for Mystery Product Theater 3000.

In this first part of a one part series, we examine an impassioned letter about a product the world desperately needs.

We assume Sami's shaky handwriting is a symptom of fervor rather than being "only 9 years old" as he or she asserts. Only a shrewd business person would stipulate approval of our draft before sending $5. Nice try, Sami, but we're on to you.

Thus is the letter in its entirety:

Presented in text for SEO and spambot optimization:

"Dear ThinkGeek Inc,

This is not an order but a suggestion for a product. I was reading your new catalog, (nice work, by the way!) when I saw the bacon section. Well, I was reading it, thinking about a suggestion, when I noticed my watch! So, I got the idea for a bacon watch! The arms are decorated to look like bacon, the circle on the inside looks like timmy, with his tounge [sic, for authenticity] hanging out, and the strap looks like bacon. If you are reading, please consider. If you do, send a picture to Sami@emailhere.com. I will send it back with approval and $5.

Thx,
Your biggest fan, Sami.

P.S. Please exuse [sic, once more to be sure we believe it] my handwriting. I am only 9 years old.

And our first Bacon Watch draft, submitted* for Sami's (and your) approval:

*No, we're not planning on making this watch, but we sure enjoyed the letter. Thanks, Sami, and please continue with your writing!

If Domo's going to wear a dress, he'd want something with some slink.

We weren't sure what to do about Timmy's clothing for Comic-Con at the end of July. He just couldn't go in his normal t-shirt. We're talking Comic-Con here, people.

So we created a little Google form and innocently tweeted a request for costume submissions. A few hours later, 80 crafty geeks had signed up to contribute to his wardrobe. And then we shut the form down because Timmy didn't want to have to check a bag.

A few costumes have come in early--greeted by much squeeing and excitement--and we couldn't keep them to ourselves. Below is a slideshow of Timmy's growing trousseau:

Want to see these costumes on a Timmy? Stay tuned. We'll post photos of costumes as they arrive, and maybe Timmy will do more modeling later.

Meanwhile, we have to share some close-ups of the outfits by @nonnymouse_ (aka Laurie): Jedi with saber and (zomg is this really happening) Kaylee's foofaraw ball gown as seen above in the shop window. And no, Wash, you may not borrow any money to purchase Domo a dress.

Yes, Timmy's gonna try crossdressing. What happens at Comic-Con... gets tweeted and Flickred? Ah well.

Sewing nerds, gaze ye upon Laurie's hems, gathers, pleating, linings, tucks, tapes, and handmade tassels!

What other costumes are we expecting by mid-July? Here's just a sampling of the staggeringly awesome list:

11th Doctor by @spiritmuse
Another Doctor Who outfit by @gojirama
Arthur Dent in pjs, David Tennant by @queen_catriona
Birdo by @studioelle
Borg by @SchoolmarmDE
Buster by @sewdotcoe
Chainmaille by @ChainedtotheStrange
Chewie or R2? by @angelaattorney
Cornelius by @webmonkees
Crow by @jenbeau
Dalek or Mal by @bookjunky0616
Darth Vader by @Krista_Kat
Dr. Horrible? by @juniorvindahl
Ewok by @RaDragon
Facehugger attack by @Breckismyname
Fat Bastard by @Orivia
Freakazoid by @b0de
Ghostbusters by @kunikodarkangel
Iron Man by @darthlaura
Iron Man, Doc Brown (white hair?) by @chanpai
Jamie Hyneman by @jp197012
Jedi Robe and lightsaber by @nonnymouse_
Katamari by @Daniora
Kick Ass or Luchador by @sinrider
King Arthur from Holy Grail by @siouxsiequeue
Kratos (with accessories?) by @Indranyx
Mario Tanooki suit by @chicgeek
NASA cleanroom suit by @SpacePlumr
none by @brittina
Octorok? by @zombietrudy
Pikachu by @ravenstarwind
Red shirt + tribble, Hurley by @BooMeringue
Robot by @angelanoel
Roller derby by @mspixieriot
Scorpius from Farscape, Heston from Planet of the Apes by @tehnakki
Sheldon by @saltwater425
Smoke Monster, Sonic by @Michelelk
Some other Doctor Who character? by @RegencyDrama
Something else Trek? by @lizzybees
Squall from FF8 by @krissylin
Star Trek shirt by @trekfleets
The Monarch by @apocengine
TRON suit by @Wills42
Yoda by @Sweeneybird
Zaphod by @Carriness
Zapp Brannigan by @Sekelsky
Zombie @readysteadystop

If we were in touch and you don't see yourself in that list, that just means that you were arbitrarily cut out for length reasons. Timmy is still looking forward to wearing your creation!

Recently we got the best-ever cease and desist letter. We're no stranger to the genre, so what could possibly make this one stand out from the rest?

First, it's 12 pages long and very well-researched (except on one point); it even includes screengrabs of the offending item from our site. And we know they're not messing around because they invested in the best and brightest legal minds.

But what makes this cease and desist so very, very special is that it's for a fake product we launched for April Fool's day.

It wasn't the iCade, or the Dharma Initiative Clock, or even the Tribbles 'n' Bits Breakfast Cereal.

No, it was the Canned Unicorn Meat.

The very special but also very real letter is from the National Pork Board, who claims we're infringing on the slogan "The Other White Meat," a slogan they're apparently thinking about phasing out anyways. A screengrab of the product page is below.

Canned Unicorn Meat

Luckily, the Sisters at Radiant Farms, where the unicorns are nursed through old age before being slaughtered, canned, and brought to market at ThinkGeek, have nothing to worry about--this kind of use is protected as a parody. (We're hoping the NPB doesn't tell the Sisters that unicorns don't actually exist; it'd break their little sparkly hearts.)

Here, in all its porky glory, is the first page of the letter:

Best-ever cease and desist letter scan goes here

We'd like to publicly apologize to the NPB for the confusion over unicorn and pork--and for their awkward extended pause on the phone after we had explained our unicorn meat doesn't actually exist. From our press release [PDF or text]:

"It was never our intention to cause a national crisis and misguide American citizens regarding the differences between the pig and the unicorn," said Scott Kauffman, President and CEO of Geeknet. "In fact, ThinkGeek's canned unicorn meat is sparkly, a bit red, and not approved by any government entity."

We'd also like to extend a special discount to everyone we offended with our portrayal of Unicorn Meat as "the new white meat." For a limited time, take $10 off any order of $40 or more by using the code PORKBOARD at checkout, good until 6/30/2010 at 11:59PM ET.

The PORKBOARD discount is good on any ThinkGeek product, but you might want to check out shirts like Periodic BaCoN or Prime Cuts of Unicorn. There's also the popular Tactical Bacon or really anything from our entire line of pork-inspired products. Note: Please excuse the Zombies in the Bacon special interest section, we like to mix our meats.

Finally, thanks, National Pork Board, for giving us yet another reason to keep the April Fool's Day tradition alive. We'll always wonder if our Canned Unicorn Meat played some small, magical part in your rethinking of your brand.

UPDATE 6/21 2:50p ET: Due to popular request, and after some interest on the intarwebz, you can now download our original press release [PDF or text]. It was unfortunately rejected by the newswires so you won't find it elsewhere--kinda like unicorn meat.

We did not expect to require tissues while completing this geek dad mini-essay contest.

So here's a compilation of voter comments that say it better than we could. Please excuse us while we blow our noses. (You'll find winner information below the comments which should be and indeed are required reading.)


Eponaraven: "They were all such beautiful submissions, I really wanted them all to win ..."

Nicky: "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! These are the cutest! <3 Happy Father's Day to all of you geek dads!"

David: "I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old, both boys. I hope to someday live up to the examples of these incredible geek dads."

Nick: "This is an awesome contest! I am a geek dad myself, and some of these stories brought tears to my eyes. My daughter is only two years old, but she already loves robots and dragons. I know how amazing it feels to see your child embrace technology and fantasy, and to just imagine their potential. Parents have a lot of competition these days, and raising a kid in this world of harsh realities is a daunting task. Seeing these stories gives me hope. Hope that one day my daughter will look back fondly on her dad with the big Zelda tattoo and goofy ideas, and have no regrets. If one day my daughter writes something about me that is as heartfelt and appreciative as any of these stories, I will be the luckiest geek in the world. Thank you for doing this, and thank you to everyone who submitted their stories. You've made geek dads everywhere hold their heads up a little higher."

Josh: "I truly love seeing how the geek gets spread from generation to generation. They're all wonderful stories, and I only hope my own kids can tell a similar tale when the time comes."

Mooncity: "A true Dad, in every sense of the word, is one who supports his child's goals, hopes, ambitions and dreams, geek-related or not. If only we could all be so lucky!"

Ken: "I think it's awesome how many of these submissions come from the geeky daughters of Geek Dads!"

Enlupkes: "I just want to say that while reading these entries, I was forced to think about my dad, which is still pretty painful for me. He was an old school geek who wore striped suspenders with witty buttons pinned all over them and he had a pocket protector. He loved pens and collected them for no apparent reason, even if they were just a generic cheapo pen. He died when I was 8 years old and I am 25 now and still miss him so much. I have a son now who is 19 months old and I can only hope that I will be as good of a geekdad to him as my dad was to me. As it is I am sitting on the floor typing this because my son kicked me out of the chair so that he could see the computer screen better, so I hope that means I am on the right track."

Kane: "what is katie b.'s email address? I want to marry her." [Ed. We don't give that kinda info out, but if Katie B. emails replybot at thinkgeek dot com and would like to get in touch with Kane, we'd be happy to help.]

Motopro9: "Nicole M from California: You and your dad sound like you have an awesome bond, especially in the geek world...hope you both continue to experience learning from each other."

G.Ysunza: "Wonderful stories. I'm calling my geeky Dad RIGHT NOW, damn all the international calling fees! May the geeks rule the Earth."



Well said, guys, as usual.

And now, the voters' top 5 geek dad stories, and winners of a $100 gift certificate each:


Rebecca from Texas on her husband:
"When my son was born, he only had a geek mom. For 6 years, I was the only geek in his life. Then, we met his Dad. From the start, his Dad was a great geek role model! He taught him about DNA using a molecular model kit; he introduced him to a Linux distribution for kids; and he got him started playing D & D. In March 2010, my son's geek Dad legally adopted him. This is his first Father's Day as a "legal Dad." My son's geek Dad has earned the title. Our life would be nearly as geeky without him."

Shannon from Rhode Island on her... mother:
"My widowed Mom is fun, geeky & the best "Dad" a kid could have! My 1st movie was Empire Strikes Back. She cheered in the theater! I later fell asleep under Glow in the Dark stars she stuck on my ceiling. My 1st concert was Weird Al! She cooked spaghetti "aliens" & hot dog "octopi" for dinner. We didn't just play with Playdoh, we made it! Python quotes were mandatory. My 5th birthday was ET themed with Reece's Pieces cake! That night we assembled a Visible Man, made him attack Care Bears & she hogged "our new Atari! These days we love having Munchkin battles or watching Firefly marathons together!"

Sara M. from Maryland on her father:
"I was adopted by my geek dad, and I'm not sure I'd be the geeky girl I am today if he hadn't! I grew up on puns, plane-spotting, and Piers Anthony. My dad is an astrophysicist, which means he is paid to be geeky - he builds scientific balloons and flies them in Antarctica (so jealous!). He's always supported me in my own geeky endeavors, and understands my love of sci-fi, stargazing, and Stargate SG-1. He's a true GeekDad, with his heart on his sleeve and a grounding strap on his wrist."

Ellen from Ohio on her father:
"My dad is an unlikely geek. The kind of geek you don't see coming. He's built like a Mafia hitman (we joke he dresses like Tony Soprano), but he's always ready with a story that tells like a M*A*S*H episode or a terrible pun. He worked for IBM in the 80s and 90s and is call #1 when I need anything with moving parts fixed. Several years ago, during a truly awful Saturnalia, he sent me the DVDs for Joss Whedon's Firefly. The note read: "This looked like something you'd love. Hope it cheers you up." Boy was he right. He gave me the best present possible when I needed it. Help me give back!"

Bengt F. from Washington state on his father:
"Dad, when I look back, I have to realize how you've always been involved with my life. And not just in typical "dad" ways; remember when you helped turn out apartment into a a series of levers and pulleys? And how you completely supported me when I wanted to attach an electric motor to our couch, so we could ride it around? Remember how you used to bring home washing machines and dryers for me to take apart on the living room floor? I love you, Dad."



The other 15 dads (whose stories are listed here) will receive a $20 gift certificate because they deserve honors, too. And our random voter and winner of a $20 gift certificate is Quietstorm13. Winners, we'll be in touch via email shortly.

To the rest of you geek dads (and moms!) out there, keep up the good work. You have a special job training the young padawans of geek generation v2.0, and we'd prefer you didn't go to the Dark Side. Even if they have cookies.

A very happy, very geeky Father's Day to you all!

Timmy & BigTrak Jr How high did Timmy go?

The moment of rocketry truth is here: Just how high did Timmy go this week?

His altimeter logged a whopping 5,297 feet, it turns out, which means he was only 322,787 feet from space! Still a long way to go, of course, but not a bad first step, and perhaps a keeper for his resume to NASA.

We got a lot of guesses, and as you can see from the infographic, a lot of delightfully wrong guesses. (Josi guessed "0 inches: failure to launch." Eep.)

The winner of the $150 gift certificate who came closest to a guess of 5,297 was Joshua with his estimation of--this is actually pretty incredible--5,296 feet. That's only 1 foot off. Moral of this story: don't mess with Joshua's giant pulsating brain.

Our second place winners (whose brains are still large, surely) and winners of $100 gift certficiates, are Megajazzer (5,287 feet) and Schubba (5,250 feet).

Sadly, the video camera on Timmy's rocket didn't work as planned, but we did get a series of stills we've stitched into a video. See if you can spot where he started peeing his pants.

There's more pics of his exploits in the Flickr album!

*Not even close. But he likes to pretend.

You guys did not make this easy.

There were waaay more than 20 insightful, funny, heart-wrenching, and deserving entries, so we've resorted to choosing essays that represent different kinds of geek dads. And some of the choosing was a little bit random, frankly, because ranking one above another just didn't seem right.

So if you don't see your entry below, it's not that we didn't read it--we did, all of them. Thank you all so much for taking the time to tell us a story about the awesomesauce father in your life. They deserve more than just a gift certificate from us.

Without further ado, here are 20 submissions we think you'll enjoy. Below that is the voting form where you can choose up to 3 of your favorites, and we'll post our 5 winners of $100 gift certificates tonight--so please vote before 4pm EDT today! Also, we'll just say this up front: everyone who has a story below is winning something.


1. Allegra H. from Oregon on her father:
"I blame my father. It's his fault, really. All of it. He handed me Neuromancer and Dune, took me to see Starship Troopers and, regretting that, took me to The Matrix. His roots go deep- he played D&D in the late 70s and was Gollum in a teen play. The rest of my family just doesn't share our interests. Now I'm older, and wiser, and hand him American Gods, and stream Color of Magic, and we geek out together. It's his fault I am the geekling that I am, and I love him for it. Love you, dad."


2. Bengt F. from Washington state on his father:
"Dad, when I look back, I have to realize how you've always been involved with my life. And not just in typical "dad" ways; remember when you helped turn out apartment into a a series of levers and pulleys? And how you completely supported me when I wanted to attach an electric motor to our couch, so we could ride it around? Remember how you used to bring home washing machines and dryers for me to take apart on the living room floor? I love you, Dad."


3. Keri S. from Ohio on her father:
"I have the geekiest and greatest dad in the world. His wardrobe is comprised of countless "No, I will not fix your computer" t-shirts which he wears while shooting smoke rings with his smoke ring gun. In the fall of 2003, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He has since made a full recovery and has been cancer-free for 6 years! When he was diagnosed, I was worried my biggest geek-fluence was no longer going to be with me; but in a resurgence of geekdom we performed the ULTIMATE geek dance at my wedding 5 years later...here's the link."


4. Travis T. from Delaware on his father:
"/\/\'/ d4D 5|-|0ULD \/\/1|\| 7|-|3 933|<3 7|-|15 3554'/ /\/\0R3 933|<. |-|3 7|-|3|\| 5U993573D 7|-|@ 1 d0 7|-|3 3|\|71R3 L3773R 1|\| L337 5P34|<."
[TRANSLATION: My dad should win the geekdad giveaway for one simple reason, while writing this up i had to call him and try to make this essay more geek. He then suggested that I do the entire letter in L337 speak.]


5. Rebecca from Texas on her husband:
"When my son was born, he only had a geek mom. For 6 years, I was the only geek in his life. Then, we met his Dad. From the start, his Dad was a great geek role model! He taught him about DNA using a molecular model kit; he introduced him to a Linux distribution for kids; and he got him started playing D & D. In March 2010, my son's geek Dad legally adopted him. This is his first Father's Day as a "legal Dad." My son's geek Dad has earned the title. Our life would be nearly as geeky without him."


6. Sara M. from Maryland on her father:
"I was adopted by my geek dad, and I'm not sure I'd be the geeky girl I am today if he hadn't! I grew up on puns, plane-spotting, and Piers Anthony. My dad is an astrophysicist, which means he is paid to be geeky - he builds scientific balloons and flies them in Antarctica (so jealous!). He's always supported me in my own geeky endeavors, and understands my love of sci-fi, stargazing, and Stargate SG-1. He's a true GeekDad, with his heart on his sleeve and a grounding strap on his wrist."


7. Erin from Colorado on her father:
"My dad is... interesting. He's an IT guy, so he's constantly playing with routers and fiddling with the guts of the family computers. That is, when he's not at work. Though he may be thoroughly geek, the true geek in him has become dormant through work. Halo and Call of Duty remain in solitude, unsees for months. Dungeons and Dragons maps lay incomplete, monster manuals and fiend folios collecting dust. I want to bring back the FUN geek in my dad, the one who's been hiding behing little green lights and yellow cables. I want this gift to remind him how much fun geekdom is. Dread Gazebo forever!"


8. Michelle from Australia, a "long-suffering wife of geek," on her husband:
"Laser-beam activated water bowl for my cat. Computer-controlled watering system for the plants and all that. 500TB and a tape drive in the shed. Complex equations all done in his head. Server rack in the garage, fans keep me up all night. But my children's geeky father is a bit of all right!"


9. Katie B. from Florida on her father:
"I'm a geek thanks to my dad. When I was barely old enough to read, he got me a Vic-20 and spent hours helping me play Adventureland. I was probably 7 when he sat me down and said "This is DOS. You'll need to understand it." Once, he made me a geodesic dome playhouse out of drinking straws and masking tape. We spent all day sitting in it, building elaborate Lego sets until it collapsed. The endless showings of Krull should qualify him for sainthood! Every little girl should be so lucky."


10. Martin from London on his father:
"My dad used to make me the craziest presents when I was a kid. One year I got an amazing black-lacquered DEVICE. It had a stepper motor with a piece of Lego attached to it so I could click on any of my Lego creations and give them a whirl. It also had a sound modulation dial, flashing switches and cool LED memory games. Best of all he kept the back exposed and showed me how each bit worked. Dad inspired the geek in me and to this day we both still share crazy tech moments."


11. Zachary from California on his father:
"My Dad is the ultimate Star Wars Geek. He's not only a HUGE star wars fan but he likes to volunteer. He's helped the Make a Wish Foundation, several childrens hospitals, Women/childrens shelters. When we were younger took us camping and made sure it was a memorable one. We even won best young fan in the San Diego comic con masquerade one year. I think it's on youtube."


12. Andrea from North Carolina on her husband:
"My husband is a great dad sitting side by side with his kids as he teaches them how to open up their computer, upgrade memory, and even install their own operating systems. Sharing nights of Dr. Who and Stargate is how we spend family night. Fun nights consist of Nerf fights and getting elbow deep into a computer as they repair them together. Our kids were thrilled when dad gave them his authentic looking Tom Baker Dr. Who scarf. We all speak geek in this house."


13. Sarah from Ontario on her father:
"My dad is a geek, and raised me to be a proud geek too. My geekucation began with watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with him when I was just a toddler and later, helping him install a new hardware in his gigantic computer tower, such as a new processor (OMG 128mhz!), and reading The Belgariad to me. Then there's the evenings spent debating politics, discussing the latest in green innovations and the nuances of C++, and DMing AD&D games for me and my friends. He's awesome :)"


14. Andrea from Arizona on her father:
"When I was 5, my Pop taught me how to take apart a Commodore 64, showed me how it worked, and how to program in DOS. He did this while wearing my fuzzy pink slippers on his toes so i'd be amused and 'be smarter than my brother'. He's the one person I know that can yell at a external HD and make it magically come back from death. He's now at that age that his eyebrows are long and flutter when he's mad. They are only extensions of his brain. My Pop = awesome in a old, angry, Italian male."


15. Chris S. from Wisconsin on his father:
"My dad is a geek who taught me things I still use today. He taught me about chemistry by freezing and blowing things up. He taught me about gravity by letting me climb up on the roof of the house. He taught me about physics and electricity by letting me turn mom's vacum into a home-made rocket launcher. and... He showed me it was ok to be a geek when he gave me my first pocket protector."


16. Shannon from Rhode Island on her... mother:
"My widowed Mom is fun, geeky & the best "Dad" a kid could have! My 1st movie was Empire Strikes Back. She cheered in the theater! I later fell asleep under Glow in the Dark stars she stuck on my ceiling. My 1st concert was Weird Al! She cooked spaghetti "aliens" & hot dog "octopi" for dinner. We didn't just play with Playdoh, we made it! Python quotes were mandatory. My 5th birthday was ET themed with Reece's Pieces cake! That night we assembled a Visible Man, made him attack Care Bears & she hogged "our" new Atari! These days we love having Munchkin battles or watching Firefly marathons together!"


17. Jeff D. from Texas on his father:
"My dad is such a geektastic dad I never had a chance to be anything other. He worked for Rockwell who made the Intellivison chips for the Atari 2600, so when I was a kid he modded our Adventure cartridge to have an eProm quick release adapter on the top and we would change games by adding the eProms that he brought home, He made additional adapters to handle the 16 and 32 bit games that came later. I was the hit of the block for having Berzerk a year before release. I <3 my Geek Dad."


18. Nicole M. from California on her father:
"RTFM. Figure it out. Improvise and adapt. These were the formative mantras my geek dad indoctrinated me with at a young age. Whether it was learning to use my first computer (an Apple IIe) or building my first PC, he provided minimal guidance and sent me on my way. This had two crucial results. One, I am now a geek girl for life. Two, I am a self-sufficient geek girl. Debug JavaScript? Done. Build a system? Yawn. Disable the bomb before the federal building explodes? Eh, I'll figure it out."


19. Max from Missouri on his father:
"My Dad is so Awesome and Geeky that I was 1 day old in the Hospital and he had me in a Jedi outfit for my 1st picture, complete with Lightsaber - and he made it all! He has a toy room and he lets me play in it. He made me a Mario Kart Halloween costume last year out of cardboard. He always plays Legos with me too. He bought us both Titanium Sporks to use from Thinkgeek! He is teaching me how to play his old Nintendo and Atari. I am also named after a character from Robotech :)"


20. Ellen from Ohio on her father:
"My dad is an unlikely geek. The kind of geek you don't see coming. He's built like a Mafia hitman (we joke he dresses like Tony Soprano), but he's always ready with a story that tells like a M*A*S*H episode or a terrible pun. He worked for IBM in the 80s and 90s and is call #1 when I need anything with moving parts fixed. Several years ago, during a truly awful Saturnalia, he sent me the DVDs for Joss Whedon's Firefly. The note read: "This looked like something you'd love. Hope it cheers you up." Boy was he right. He gave me the best present possible when I needed it. Help me give back!"


Pretty incredible, right? Now here's the hard part: Please pick your favorite 3 entries before 4pm EDT this evening. We'll announce the top picks around 5pm tonight.

UPDATE 6/18: Thanks for your votes! The winners and some of your thoughtful, supercute comments have been published.

Have a dad in your life that deserves some honoring but you didn't hit the jackpot with our GeekDad Giveaway last week? Or maybe you just forgot Father's Day is right around the corner and now you're feeling like a shameful chestbursting spawn?

We want to help you commemorate your patriarch and save us all from from a Father's Day disaster on June 20th.

Tell us all about the geek dad in your life in 500 characters (~100 words) or less between now and midnight EDT on Thursday, June 17. On Friday, June 18 we'll post our favorite 20 entries and let the geek horde vote on their favorites. That night, we'll announce 5 geek dad winners, who will each receive a $100 ThinkGeek gift certificate--and maybe some runners up, too.

UPDATE 6/18: The submission form is closed, and we've published a new post with 20 entries ready for your votes!

Just in time for Father's Day, saving you from the horrifying specter of man-baby hybridization as seen above. The danger is real!

Kids these days, with their cellular talky-boxes and iNewton doodimahickeys. They don't seem to know how to live without the internet or latest gadget--and that's fine, 'cause neither do we, but the real problem is how goshdanged smug they are about it.

So, you insufferable tweens, think we didn't grow up with super awesome shiny beepy-time toys, too?

BEHOLD, THE BIG TRAK.

Released in 1979, the Big Trak could remember 16 commands such as: go forward 10 lengths, annoy the family dog with a phaser (see video for example), drop a payload, and start it all over again. Much more practical than an iPad.

Not too long ago us nostalgic adult-types at ThinkGeek carried the BigTrak Jr, a desktop version of Big Trak, which remembered 32 commands and also had a camera and a rocket launcher--and then they stopped making them. Sad panda.

However, we bring glad tidings! The BigTrak Jr is coming back this summer (sign up here for an email update when it comes back in stock!), and we're so excited we decided to send Timmy up in a rocket. (Yes, this is normal.)

This week Timmy will be strapped into a rocket somewhere in the Arizona desert, to be launched along with (but not in this) special edition commemorative ThinkGeek BigTrak Jr rocket over there to the right.

We've told Timmy this is all part of his training to be an astronaut (NASA hasn't actually returned our calls yet) so he seems to think he's going to at least orbit Earth once--but he won't actually go that far, and we'll know 'cause there will be an altimeter on board as well.

Which is where you (and the prizes) come in: Guess how high Timmy will go in his rocket by Thursday, June 17 at 12 noon EDT and if you're the closest without going over, you'll win a $150 ThinkGeek gift certificate. And because these things are always close, we'll throw in two $100 runners-up gift certificates. We should know our winner by Friday, June 18, at which time we will have video (omg) from Timmy who will (zomg) parachute out of the rocket.

UPDATE THURSDAY 6/17 12 noon ET: Entry form is closed! We're tallying results and editing pics of Timmy's epic flight right now. Keep your feed readers or whatever tuned--we'll post the winners tomorrow afternoon!

ROCKET SCIENTISTS, here are your clues: Timmy's rocket is 6" in diameter, 9 feet long, and will weigh about 20 pounds at launch. It will be powered by one K class and two I class rocket engines.

Please don't leave your guess in the comments! It will not count in the contest! But you can comment there with other predictions, like if Timmy will pee his pants on the way down.

Peter Sagal, Bill Corbett (aka Crow T. Robot), Wil, & Storm

A w00tstock is, in the simplest terms, a bunch of geeks on stage entertaining a room full of the same.

Examples of w00tstockage include, but are not limited to:

1. Adam Savage doing an eerie Jamie Hyneman impression (there's a little Doctor Zoidberg in his floppy-finger mock mustache) and then finishing off as Gollum singing "I Will Survive." (See Vid. 1 by @erin_m_perry below)

2. Geeks are very polite while waiting in line for the bathroom, but get a little grumpy waiting outside a venue in the pouring rain.

3. The "Captain's Wife's Lament" takes about 30 minutes to get through when the esteemed hosts cannot stop one-upping each other with cover band jokes. Three attributed to Storm: "The Oprah Mafia is my Sarah McLachlan cover band," "Miss Shouty Pants is my Cyndi Lauper tribute band," and "Paul's Fan Dance is our Right Said Fred tribute band." (You can listen to the whole thing here, as captured by @jernst)

4. Bill Amend's collection of he-could-maybe-get-sued-for parody comics includes a Cathy who screams, "AACK! This Tier-10 Armor makes my Paladin look fat!" And the others aren't kid-safe.

5. Peter Sagal owns a blue jumpsuit that says "henchman" on the lapel, and it is awesome.

6. When two Crow T. Robots fight, only Tom Servo wins.

At least, that's what a small ThinkGeek contingent experienced at Chicago w00tstock on June 6, at which time the cast included (in no particular order):

  • Paul & Storm, Wil Wheaton, & Adam Savage: The original w00tstock founders who hopefully require no further introduction. If you're into twittering, you should be following them, like, last week.
  • Bill Amend: of Foxtrot fame and (not surprisingly) a big ol' nerd
  • Trace Beaulieu: Voice of Crow T. Robot and Dr. Forrester from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and wicked children's book author
  • Molly Lewis: YouTube superstar, ukulele ninja, and a very brave woman
  • Tim Cavanaugh: funny time music man who got his start on Dr. Demento
  • Bill Corbett: Also voice of Crow T. Robot from Mystery Science Theater 3000
  • Jason Finn: drummer for The Presidents of the United States of America and good friend of the rimshot
  • Kevin Murphy: Voice of Tom Servo and leader of songs which include marching (and quick commenting on blog posts!)
  • Len Peralta: super prolific illustrator who has vowed to draw one geek trading card a week for a whole year for his Geek A Week collection
  • Peter Sagal: Host of NPR's Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and a very compelling henchman

If you haven't been lucky enough to attend a w00tstock on the west coast, Chicago, or Minneapolis just yet, Mr. Wheaton says there are more in the works. Of course, we're selfishly hoping for a show on our home turf, in the northern Virginia/DC area, and word is they know we're whiny little whiny pants out here on the east coast, so maybe we'll get our wish.

In case you'd rather request a w00tstock in your area politely, you can cast your vote on Eventful, then follow @wilw or @paulandstorm or reload the w00tstock site every five minutes (with a script, of course) to find out when the next dates are announced.

While you wait, you can flip through every Flickr photo tagged w00tstock:

There's this place called Crystal City near ThinkGeek headquarters, and they run a summer outdoor film festival. Instead of showing Jaws or the latest kid-safe Jim Carrey flick, this year they've chosen a theme near and dear to our little geeky hearts: all the Star Trek films, start to finish, every Monday through August 16th!

This Monday, June 7, is the first of the series (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 1979) and a few of us will be out there, ninja-style, but the main event will be the next Monday, and we hope our VA/DC/MD pals can come:

Monday, June 14, sunset
Crystal City, Virginia
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Storm (of Paul and Storm, of course) is planning on coming out, and we have a few friends from NASA Goddard who are likewise down with Khan.

UPDATE O' ICE CREAM CAKE DOOM! Storm has promised to eat an entire Cookie Puss Carvel cake at the screening if @paulandstorm make it to 20,000 followers on Friday. This would be about three time as gross as Fudgiethon, for those counting. So please, help Storm meet his disgusting goal.

Hope you can make it out, too, 'cause the first 5 people to find us will have $25 gift certificates thrown at them, and we've heard talk of some Star Trek-themed costumes, so maybe we'll bring some other prize items as well. We'll see what we can unearth from the Tribble pile.

If the weather ruins the night and we have to postpone our away mission, we'll pick another night. Don't want any red shirts to die unnecessarily! Oh, wait.


ThinkGeeks Ultimate GeekDad Giveaway

UPDATE: This contest has ended!

Congratulations to our GeekDad winner, Tim from Blountville, TN, and our surprise runner up, Alex from Jersey City, NJ! They've been contacted about their winningness, and we're sorry, but if you are not one of those two, you are still a winnar in our books--just not one with prizes.


It's a major award!*

Geek Dads are awesome, but don't just take our word for it--read what Ken Denmead, editor of GeekDad, had to say about it:

Dads in general want their kids to enjoy the things they do, and Geek Dads are no different. But kids tend to react badly to being overtly maneuvered into their passions. The challenge lies in taking an almost Zen-like approach ("Use the Force, Luke!"). Tell them they can't watch Evil Dead until they're older. Leave your D&D books lying around the house. Buy and build that giant LEGO set for yourself, and then see who comes around begging to join the fun. When they ask you to share your geeky passions with them, it's like beating the boss and leveling up. It's made of win.

After reading that we figured it was time to do something special: The Ultimate GeekDad giveaway.

Coming up with the right prize package was tough. We asked our resident Geek Dads what they'd like for Father's Day and heard the usual grumbling about rocket launchers, a desktop DARPA BigDog, or just a simple way to handle Facebook privacy.

The first two were no problem, but that last one was going to be a pretty tall order so we settled for this Grand Prize:

  • Signed copy of Ken Denmead's Geek Dad book
  • GeekDad t-shirt
  • Choice of game system (Xbox, PS3 slim, or Wii)
  • $100 Gift card from Gamestop to load up on games
  • 16GB iPad with wi-fi
  • $100 iTunes gift card for appage
  • $500 ThinkGeek gift certificate (you know, just in case)
  • TiVo Premiere

All of this loot goes to the grand prize winner. Yep. We're not calling it the Ultimate GeekDad Giveaway for nothing. Winner takes all. Geek Dads ftw!

6/8 Update of Awesomeness

TiVo DVR FTW!! You might have noticed that we added a new product to the stack! Our friends at TiVo heard about the contest and wanted to show their appreciation for Geek Dads everywhere by offering up a new TiVo Premiere. It doesn't include the additional service, just the box but said box is pretty sweet. Check out the specs here: TiVo Premiere

CANADA! (almost) We've been working to expand the contest to peoples of distant lands (at least distant to us). Currently, we've got Canada (excluding Quebec--sorry!). As it states in the legalese, you'll be responsible for the taxes and duties on the prize, if customs decides to charge you. We're trying our best to add more, but we can't promise anything just yet. It's fun learning lots of new rules and tape jumping or whatever it is you call this tangle of stuff...

Nitty gritty FAQ:

Q. Do you have to be a dad to enter? What are the rules?
A. No. However, handing over a prize package like this to your dear old dad is a sure way to secure your spot in the will. Go ahead and sign up.  You can even use your own name.  If you win, send along the loot!  Still, while you're asking, you might want to check out the legalese [PDF].

Q. I've already got a Wii, a PS3, and an Xbox (not to mention every other game console since 1981). Can I pick something else?
A. No, but can we come live with you!? Seriously though, these are the prizes. You can't get cash equivalents or a stack of NEO-GEOs a mile high spliced together to form a small render farm.

Q. When does the contest end?
A. The contest closes on Friday, June 11th, 2010 at 11:59pm ET. The winner will be announced on Monday, June 14th.

* Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian.