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June 2011 Archives

Marian in silhouette

Marian Call in silhouette, photographed by the immensely talented Brian G.

So one day we got a really nice tweet from Joe Peacock complimenting us on our Akira-inspired catalog cover, which made sense as he's the owner and curator of the Art of Akira Exhibition. He mentioned how awesome it would be to come to ThinkGeek HQ to do a show and offhandedly said that it would be extra-great if Singer-Songwriter-Amazing-Performer Marian Call performed at the same time. She replied, there was plotting, and suddenly we had the Marian Call Outdoor Concert and Art of Akira Exhibit Show-geekout planned for late June.

ThinkGeek HQ buzzed with excitement as we started actively planning, first to have a food truck serve the show, then for the rest of the little details. We dusted the Mutant Jello, strung ethernet cables, and generally set things up to look extra perfect for the event itself.

The first to land at ThinkGeek HQ was Joe Peacock. He brought a posse who soon began running hither and yon carrying picture frames and smartphones and slices of pizza. After the dust of setup settled, framed artwork was hung on once-bare walls, tables were full of invitingly open portfolios containing actual animation cels from Akira, and Kaneda's jacket hung from the open door with calculated nonchalance.

Marian Call showed up not that long after, later than she'd planned due to the joys of D.C. traffic. She started setting up at the tent we'd gotten for her, going right into sound checks and tweeting the details. Around sunset she officially went on stage to sing the songs we know and love, interspersing verse and chorus with quips about Firefly, large guns and assault with woodwind instruments. The crowd of geeks that we'd summoned watched with Jayne hats upon their heads, calling out for braaains when Marian requested and generally having what appeared to be a rollicking good time.

The only pauses in the bawdy jokes, singing, and art-gazing were to eat. When we called Stix with the hope that they'd be willing to drive their truck of deliciously grilled food-on-sticks down to us for the event we had no idea of what we were in for until the smells of jerked chicken, lemon-pepper shrimp and red potatoes wafted on the wind. Everything was so delicious that many of us went back for seconds and thirds and stuffed their tip jar, which actually had to be emptied at least once because it was too full. Good job, everyone!

Local geek Dave from Maphook also showed up with a grin on his face and a car full of sodas and hydrating water, all given out freely. He handed out stickers graced by the art of Mary Varn of NPC comic fame, entertained us with quips of his own and stuck around to hang out and help clean up, too.

Spending time with over a hundred amazing geeks here in meatspace and online honestly felt like we were hanging out with a large group of friends. We had so much fun that we'd like to do this again. However in the wake of such an amazing show we're flummoxed about how to top it. Please help us out with suggestions!

Huge thanks to everyone who came and helped out, but especially to Marian Call, Joe Peacock, Stix, and Dave from Maphook! You all made the night awesome!

P.S. If you missed the show during the live cast on UStream, you can watch it here.

Twin warglaives. Never a good way to go.

Twin warglaives. Never a good way to go.

This week's link roundup is EXTRA long due to it actually being a two week roundup! (Miss us?) So sit back, relax and please try to not sprain a finger with all of the clicking.

Links from The Twitter and Facebook 'Verse:

Cosplayers get special effects thanks to Epic Anime Time! (YouTube)

We'd like to imagine that the Doctor simply came back for his TARDIS, which he had briefly loaned out. (kfor.com)

What are these weird-looking fro...ALL HAIL THE HYPNOTOAD. (National Geographic Daily)

Nyan TARDIS! (YouTube)

AFK Tavern has the geekiest drink references on the planet! We must go! Road trip anyone? (Buzzfeed)

They even created a boozy and caffinated Timmy dessert! Doesn't it look delicious? (AFKTavern.com)

Robin Williams, Zelda fan since 1987. (YouTube)

Sauron's starry night. (Dorkly)

Cave Johnson here with a list of my own quotes. You may catch on fire while reading them, as we have decided that you will be our first test subjects for a spontaneous human combustion visual trigger prototype. Enjoy! (CaveJohnsonHere.com)

The real Captain Picard day was June 16th, but it is every day in our hearts. (YouTube)

Ken would like a Dalek for his birthday. Help him out? (asitecalledfred.com)

Harley, the ThinkGeek office pibble goes mad for bubbles! (YouTube)

A Spongebob Squarepants mushroom? Yeah, actually, it kind of fits! (Physorg)

Rory Williams is the new Chuck Norris. Discuss. (Reddit)

Deep Fried Kool Aid. This has ignited our curiosity. (SignOnSanDiego)

An entire elephant consisting of duct tape. This is relephant to our interests. (wtam)

This Gorilla has better moves than anyone at ThinkGeek HQ (edmontonjournal)

NPR wants you to nominate the best sci-fi and fantasy books. You know you want to do this! (NPR.org)

Ten things you probably didn't know about Star Wars. (i09)

The Geek's ABCs! (DeviantArt)

Weird Al Yankovic wanders into the uncanny valley. (YouTube)

Mr. Meme! (The Daily What)

Nibble the duckling just cannot seem to stay awake! (YouTube)

Naiko has four prosthetic paws, plays fetch, is adorable. (YouTube)

Japan develops a swimming, remote controlled endoscope. Fascinating and slightly disconcerting, all at the same time! (Yahoo news)

Hope you enjoyed our little journey around the internets! Remember to stay cool, stay geeky, and to always tip your waitress on the way out.

Sined yes!

On Tuesday, among the daily load of letters, packages and sundry mail was a small white envelope with our address written across the front in a geekling's careful scrawl. It was from Simon in Oregon, asking after our GP2X Wiz hand-held game emulator in an adorable classroom note form. We posted it to Twitter and Facebook like this:

The letter itself

We did indeed consider it, but in the time it took us to ponder (we also paused for dinner and sleeping) our Facebook fans rallied together for Simon's gaming cause. Under the leadership of the great and inspiring Dawn Connelly who created a ChipIn page, they gathered the funds in record time!

So on Wednesday morning, we tracked down Simon's mom's account with us and emailed her about the saga that had played out overnight, and we contacted Dawn about the $142 she had raised. We explained that we'd like to send Simon a Wiz, and to use the $142 Dawn had raised towards our $1,000 charity donation for June. The replies speak for themselves.

Dawn thoughtfully wrote back:

I had so much fun yesterday. I kept thinking about one of my all time favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quotations; "Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give." I think yesterday was an excellent example of how true that statement is. Not just some kid getting a toy, but seeing how happy it made everyone else to feel like a part of something larger than themselves. I started it as an experiment but learned more about the kindness we all share than I ever thought I would.

You may want some tissues nearby for Simon's mom Sara's reply:

I was amazed beyond words to read your email yesterday afternoon. I started crying when I read it and when I showed my daughter what the tears were for she got teary-eyed too. We were both crying and laughing at the same time while reading all those Facebook posts. What a lovely group of people you all are. Thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts. Simon is going to be thrilled beyond words when he gets his gift in the mail. My husband and I decided to not say anything just yet--to let it be a surprise for him and then we'll show him all the nice things people said about him and explain how so many of you pitched in to do this wonderful thing for him.

I would like to explain a little of where the idea for the letter came from so you and your Thinkgeek customers can rest easy knowing that this truly did come from a little boy who just turned 7 a couple of months ago. My husband is the geek in our family. He is an IT guy and loves all things Star Trek and whatever else you can think of. I am the exact opposite. Most of the time I don't even know what he is talking about when it comes to that stuff, but I like to indulge him in the things he loves for his birthday and whatnot and our boys have taken to loving all things geek as well. They love looking through the catalogue when it comes in the mail and circling the things they would someday like to have, especially Simon.

That is how the Wiz came up a few weeks ago. Simon just finished 1st grade and they were starting to learn about money and so he kept bringing the catalogue to me and asking how much such and such is. He spent days looking through it trying to find something that he could afford himself as he has saved 13 dollars from doing chores and leftover birthday money. He finally came and asked me if he could write a letter to Thinkgeek asking if they could please lower the price down to 13 dollars since that's how much money he had. I told him to go for it, that it never hurts to ask.

It never occurred to me in a million years that it would go this far. My husband and I are amazed at the kindness and generosity that has been extended to Simon and again, we thank you so much. I don't even have the words. Thank you, thank you.

Dawn and Sara say it best. We couldn't be more humbled to be part of such a kind and creative geek community.

Because of Dawn's quick-thinking and generosity of spirit--as well as the time, attention and donations of many caring geeks--Simon is getting his GP2X Wiz. And not for $100, or $20 or even $13. We wish we could be there to see his face when he opens the box to find a letter, the Facebook posts all printed out, a Timmy clone, and the Wiz he was saving for. We'll just have to wait for the photo Sara promised us.

Bon voyage, Timmy! Make a Wish Foundation

And which charity will receive an extra-special $1,000 donation this month? Because of Simon's adorable letter, and the generosity of Dawn and our Facebook fans that made his wish come true, this month's charity is the Make a Wish Foundation with a total donation of $1,142. That last 42 seems appropriate.

Many geeky, monkey thanks to Dawn Connelly and the named geeks who donated: Richard, Jeffrey, Erika, Christina, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Jennifer, Lori, Kristi, Michael, Sharon, Brenda, Jessica, Peter, Johnny, Mike, and John! You are all wonderful human-type bipeds and if we could hug you all, we would.

Sining off...


The Wiz, our letter, and the Facebook comments have landed! We heard back from Simon's mom Sara and she definitely came through on the photos:

OMG ARE YOU SERIOUS!? Time to play! Reading our letter (and the Facebook posts)

What a face! He wrote in the email:

"Thank you for the wiz itmademe happy.my favorite game is maryd.i read all of the messages. Thank you. It freaked meout. From, Simon"

The last little bit is hilarious--and true, because it is a little weird, right, when the internet pitches in to get you a present? The very best kind of weird, of course.

Sara closed the email with the promise of another note from Simon:

"Thank you again from all of us. A written letter from Simon will follow. He gets a little frustrated typing on the computer. Please let everyone know, especially Dawn, how grateful we are for her act of kindness. This has been so amazing. We are truly grateful."

We'll keep you posted on updates. In the meantime, rest easy knowing that Simon is doing very well in school and will not play video games until after his homework is done. He wanted to send this photo of him and his report card to answer some of the more the concerned commenters:




As promised, we received a letter from Simon today! Our favorite part: "Thank you to all the people. The Wiz is great. I have beat every level on Maryid. I am fames now becuse of you. And I have a 1000 friends! Dawn is the best one!" Agreed.

New letter from Simon
Awesomeasaurus wall art!

Friends, artists, dorky craftspeople, lend us your ears hands!

Recently we heard a call for artistic assistance over the internets from our friends the Karpiuks who dearly desired dinosaur art to adorn the bedroom of their soon-to-be-born geekling, Liam. We boosted that signal via Twitter and Facebook and the response was staggering. Awesome dinosaur art began rolling in almost immediately and now little Liam's room is completely decked out and ready for his imminent arrival.

A C17 Carrier, Just like the ones Christina and her coworkers work on. How Majestic!

Well, we need your help again, friends. We've heard another call.

Christina is a geek stationed overseas with the Air Force working hard in a completely undecorated room. Every day she sees the same, boring, unadorned walls staring back at her, slowly wearing away at her morale as she does her part to keep the world in working order. In a bid to retain her sanity she emailed us for help, asking us to cover her walls with awesomeness.

She needs us. She needs you. She needs monkeys.

In her own words:

Monkeys would actually be a good theme, maybe working on planes or turning wrenches. That is primarily what our guys do over here is work on the bigger planes that we have like the C17s, C5s and the KC-135.

Did you just feel that tiny spark of inspiration?

You don't have to be a fancypants artist or even really know how to draw. All monkeys will be appreciated and equally sanity-saving.

Please to be sending your (non-naughty, sfw) monkeys to:

Christina Nemeth
APO AE 09353

As soon as she starts getting submissions she'll send us pictures so we're eagerly awaiting this too, because honestly, who doesn't like pictures of awesome art?

So that's about it! If you have any questions or think we need to add more details please comment below and we'll find an answer for you.

May the art (and the monkeys) be with you!

*Jedi hand wave*

This door is not an actual public entrance to ThinkGeek HQ or anywhere else in our office complex. It is locked and signed, but as soon as we moved in, strangers would try to open it. So we plastered it with "This is not the door you're looking for. You can go about your business." and "DO NOT ENTER".

The signs do not work.

Then we realized that many of the would-be infiltrators are looking for the Social Security office (located around the corner) and might not be English-speaking. And if we wanted to account for all languages, we should just translate the sign a bazillion times. But that would be a lot of work. Hey, let's crowdsource this thing!

So you can be a chucklehead and give us a maliciously mistranslated phrase. But if enough people participate, we can weed those out. So please, take a moment and submit a translation, keeping in mind we don't want to offend our visitors. Unless they're wermos and then they deserve it.

UPDATE 6/10/11 5:40pm: Wow, you guys don't mess around. We received over 800 translations in 251 languages, including all the major ones you'd expect and: 1337, Anagram, Astromech Droid, Base 64, Binary, Elvish, Hexidecimal, Huttese, Judoon, Klingon, LOLcats, Morse Code, Na'vi, Pikachu, Pirate, R'lyehian, Rick Astley-ese, robots.txt, Samuel L. Jackson, Shriiwook, Squirrel, Swedish Chef, Undead, and Yodese.

We're working on updating the signage now, and we'll post our PDF and a photo of the freshly bedecked door soon. For now, here's a handy infographic illustrating the top ten translated languages:

Just as we suspected.