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BLURGH! The ThinkGeek Blog... Grok It!

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January 2010 Archives

The ThinkGeek Electronic Guitar Shirt Contest!!

Update 3/16/10: We're determining the finalists to send to Neversoft and will let the top rockers know who they are by 3/19!

If you received (or gifted yourself) a ThinkGeek Electronic Guitar Shirt this holiday season, you've had enough time to master the art of rocking your face off--and that means you should enter your rock video into our contest!

Check out the competition so far:

Think you could do better and win a $500 ThinkGeek gift certificate, a Super Bundle of Band Hero gear from the folks at Neversoft, and a spot on our homepage? Set up the ol' webcam and get recording by 2/28/10 'cause we're ready to rock!

The ThinkGeek Brick Construction Shirt Contest!!

Update 3/16/10: We've picked the finalists and just let them know who they are via email, so check your inboxes if you entered! Mr. Sawaya will make the final 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place picks by April 1, 2010.

We're still looking for the best brick art to fit on at 14x20 stud plate! The baron of brick himself, Nathan Sawaya, will be judging the entrants and augmenting a $500 gift certificate prize with a custom brick sculpture. No pressure, though.

Some of the best submissions to date:

Want the chance to impress Mr. Sawaya? Enter your brick art by 2/28/10!

One of the joys of being a geek is converting friends and loved ones. It starts innocently enough--listening to "Particle Man" offhandedly in the car, watching the extended LOTR trilogy back to back at a party--but your goal is to swap lines from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and get tickets to ComicCon together.

Which is why we were delighted to learn that Guillaume, our newest codemonkey who happens to be French, was largely ignorant of our favorite American movie and television memes.

He represents the best kind of conversion opportunity: he's already a bonafied geek (a Perl programmer, even), but he's a blank slate. He's Johnny 5 before he discovered televison.

And if we do our jobs right, one day soon Guillaume will get that reference.

So we came up with a long list of our favorite movies, and we need your help, smart masses! Please take a moment and help us plan the screening schedule by picking your five most favoritest movies below:

(Starred items mean he's seen them already but we're keeping them on the list, dangit.)

UPDATE 02/05 11:26am: Top 20 so far

Our Operation Guillaume curators note that they were a little bit ashamed to leave off Real Genius, Heavy Metal, Goonies, 12 Monkeys, Galaxy Quest, Dark City, Shaolin Soccer, Sneakers, UHF, Men In Black, The Wizard, Westworld, Omega Man, Solaris, V For Vendetta, Terminator 2, Fifth Element, and Andromeda Strain, so thanks for your attacks helpful comments!

We also questioned our dear test subject Guillaume, who has been watching this poll with interest, and he answered thusly below (in occasional third person tense):

Q: Are you excited yet?

"I didn't think I had that much to catch up on, so it's a little scary. I guess I'll temporarily have to give up my plans for world domination until I'm up to date on all the geekness I've missed. Otherwise, "curious" best describes my feelings about the whole movie operation, as I like to learn about new things in general."

Q: What movies have you seen suggested that you don't want to watch?

"I'm lukewarm on zombie movies--I'm more of a sci-fi geek than a 'bloody and eaten alive' one. But really I'll watch anything provided that there's pizza handy."

Q: When do we start?

"As soon as we can find the movies? The test subject is usually sitting in the codemonkey treehouse from 10:30am to 8:00pm or so, so finding him should be the easiest part."

NOTE: We're not including TV series in the movie list above, but we may show an episode before each movie screening from this list: Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica*, Big Bang Theory, Buck Rogers, Dexter, Dr Who, Farscape, Firefly*, Fringe, Invader Zim, IT Crowd, Lex, LOST, Mythbusters, Quantum Leap, Red Dwarf, School House Rock: Conjunction Junction, Space 1999, Stargate, Star Trek: TNG, Star Trek: TOS, Venture Brothers, X-Files.

Did we miss any dead ringers? Leave a comment and maybe we'll add it into the queue!

Once we start screening, Guillaume has promised to write reviews and post them here so we can all bask in his nooby glow. Wish us luck!

We embrace technology. If it's shiny and lights up and beeps, we want it. If it's got a jillion pixels and wifi and looks a little bit like a sonic screwdriver, even better. 

So when the outpouring of help for Haiti had a lot to do with new-fangled things like donating via text--text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross--it made us clutch our small qwerty devices even more than usual. Red Cross has raised $22 million so far just from texts. 

That's kind of amazing, but it's not the geekiest thing you could do.

Donate your l33t skillz


If you have a few moments between TPS reports and tweeting about your lunch plans (or the disastrous after effects), you could spend it tagging photos and spotting missing person matches in the Haiti Earthquake Support Center, developed by The Extraordinaries. And it doesn't look like Facebook so your boss is less likely to bust you.

Or maybe you're a codemonkey with some hackery time to spare. Please consider donating your l33t skillz to Crisis Camps, a herd of geeks dedicated to leveraging tech for good in Haiti. Current projects include a Creole to English translator, a "Craiglist"-like request center, and an updated map of Haiti. You can of course work remotely, but cities with IRL Crisis Camps scheduled for the weekend of January 23-24 include Atlanta, Portland, Chicago, DC, Brooklyn, LA, Miami, Boston, and Boulder.

Donate directly to the cause

There's no shortage of charities looking for donations to support their work in Haiti, but here are a few organized by some of our geeky pals:

ontd_startrek: Help for Haiti has stepped up and created a Unicef group. They've raised $16,360.00 from 616 awesomesauce donors so far.

Geek Girls Network and Geeky Clean joined forces to create Geeks With Heart, a fundraising page hosted by Mercy Corp, who has response teams on the ground in Port-au-Prince. Help them meet their $1,000 goal! [UPDATE: Geeks With Heart are giving away prizes as well.]

And @fitzwillie and crew over at Geek Dad have set a $15,000 goal through FirstGiving, with every $15 you donate entering you into their prize giveaway. (And yes, we've kicked in some goodies towards their cause.)

If those don't suit your taste, check CharityNavigator.org to be sure the charity you choose is both legitimate and efficient. They've even set up a handy page with 4-star charities that benefit Haiti.

A geek in need

And as a reminder that bad things happen everywhere, a fire took Linux Journal editor Shawn Power's home in Michigan this weekend. His friends set up a special Chip-In charity group to help him keep his family warm while they deal with the aftermath. They're very close to their $10,000 goal, but don't let that stop you from pitching in.

If you're still in a give-ful mood, there's plenty more causes out there. From classrooms in need of basic materials (try DonorsChoose.org), to the fluffy and anerable (ASPCA, Best Friends), you'll find them all on CharityNavigator.org--it's a great starting place for doing good.


Our customer service monkeys work very hard this time of year. Every day they scale the dizzying heights of Mt. Returnage, pick up the phones, and man Live Chat on our site.

More often than not it's 'cause grandma bought the wrong size t-shirt or, more annoying, UPS totally shattered a #include <beer.h> mug during shipment. But sometimes, it's a special kind of problem.

Here's a Live Chat transcript from earlier today:

ThinkGeek: Hello
Customer: hi i got a dingoo A320 from this website
Customer: do u know what that is?
ThinkGeek: It is a handheld video game.
Customer: yea and its broken
ThinkGeek: Okay. I am very sorry about that. What is your order number please? I will set up a return for you
Customer: will i get my money back
ThinkGeek: If that is what you want
Customer: i threw it on the floor and now it wont work so i wanna return it and buy a new one thanks
ThinkGeek: You threw it on the floor?
Customer: yea
ThinkGeek: Why?
Customer: i got mad
Customer: will i get a full refund
Customer Crazy Person: well actually my son cursed at me so i threw this at his head as hard as i can and he god mad and threw it on the floor
Crazy Person: his nose got bloody
Crazy Person: so my order number is
Crazy Person: wait
Crazy Person: i lost it
Crazy Person: F***
ThinkGeek: Okay. Give me one minute to talk to my boss real quick.
Crazy Person: ok
Crazy Person: why do u need to talk to ur boss
Crazy Person: so will i get my money back
Crazy Obnoxious Person: type faser
ThinkGeek: Because we don't normally do refunds for items that were broken after being used for purposes other than they were intended to be used. Yes, you will still get a refund. We ask that you please not use the new one as a projectile.
Obnoxious Person: seriously
Obnoxious Person: lol
Obnoxious Person: dont u lose money then
Obnoxious Person Teenager: hshshshhshahahah i made that up

Hshshshhshahahah indeed, Obnoxious Teenager. Glad we could help.