Virus on Orbis 1 Guest Book Review by Katie Kaminski

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A Book Review by Katie Kaminski

Katiekaylee

 

Virus on Orbis1 is the first in a scifi young adult series written by, PJ Haarsma. The other books in this series are, Betrayal on Orbis2, Wormhole Pirates on Orbis3, and Awakening on Orbis4. PJ Haarsma is also the founder of Kids Need To Read program. He works with Nathan Fillion to encourage children to read. They accept donations of books to give to underfunded schools, Libraries, and other organizations. If you want to learn more about this program here is a link to their website. pjharsmaphoto(1)http://www.kidsneedtoread.org/

 

Good young adult books are hard to find, let alone science fiction, it was exciting for me to find this great novel. So many young adult books tend to feature trivial problems such as having a new baby in the family, and the ones that have a more complex story line, I tend not to care much for the characters because they don’t have depth.

 

Orbis is a series of rings that surround a wormhole. Varieties of alien species come to Orbis hoping for a better life. A ship called Renaissance carries groups of human children whose parents died mysteriously. One of these children carries a special ability, the first Softwire recorded in the human species, Johnny Turnbull. He is able to enter any computer. This ability gets him into loads of trouble on his new home, and I wouldn’t miss a second of it!

412px-Virus_on_Orbis_1_book_cover

My favorite character is Max. Max is Johnny’s best friend. She is smart and creative. She enjoys taking technology apart and putting it back together.

 

The only criticism I have about this book is that there wasn’t enough description of the setting. I want to know what Orbus1 looks like. What is new and different about the place that the Renaissance kids have never seen before (besides the aliens that live there)?

 

This book is brilliantly written with a great plot. It’s a great adventure for everyone of all ages. This Science Fiction book is definitely going in my list of favorites. I had fun following Johnny as he explored orbis1 and his powers.  I got so involved, when Johnny was falsely accused of something I started to yell at the book! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I recommend this book to all ages. I had fun following Johnny as he explored orbis1 and his powers.  I got so involved, when Johnny was falsely accused of something I started to yell at the book! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I recommend this book to all!

Just another day in Geek Homeschool

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Howard Wolowitz

Howard Wolowitz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh I do love having these conversations with my awesomely geeky daughter! I think we’re going to have to work on a script!

Me: Don’t you think it would be cool if Howard dressed up as “Moist” for Halloween?

K: That would be so cool ! They could ALL go to the comic book store dressed as Dr. Horrible characters!

Me: Ya, ’cause you know they’ve already done the Justice League stuff. Who would be Dr Horrible? Sheldon probably!

K: YA! And Penny could be …. Penny!  Who would be Captain Hammer?

Penny (The Big Bang Theory)

Penny (The Big Bang Theory) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Me: Penny’s ex-boyfriend, what’s his name?

K: Zack! Ya that would be good. But who could the others be?

Me: Well, Raj could be Bad Horse!

K: LOL! Ya! He’d be all “I don’t wanna be Bad Horse! That’s as bad as Aquaman!”

K: Then Amy and Bernadette and Leonard can be the fan club!

Leonard Hofstadter

Me: You know Leonard is going to want to be Captain Hammer!

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (Photo credit: stevegarfield)

K: Ya! I know right! That would be so funny! And then! Then they can all go to the comic book store! And Nathan Fillion can be the guest star and he can be gaming at the Comic Book store! That would be so cool!

 

Geek Homeschool really rocks!

Nathan Fillion at the 2005 Serenity "flan...

Nathan Fillion at the 2005 Serenity “flanvention”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Adventures in Geek Home School

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So after years of begging, because she just “doesn’t fit in”, I have decided to home school my 11-year-old geeky Whovian daughter. One of the positive things about home schooling her is that she can have conversations with someone who actually speaks the same language.   Today in the car our conversation went something like this:

K: I don’t see how Captain Hammer can wear the same shirt for rescuing people all the time.

Me: Why not? Superman does it.

K: Ya, well Captain Hammer has to wear his regular clothes over top of his shirt so he’s wearing two shirts, don’t you think he’d get all sweaty and smelly?

Me: Superman does too, and he’s even got a cape on!

K: But he’s an alien, he doesn’t sweat the same.

Me: How do you know that?

K: They actually talked about it once on Myth Busters. They did tests on how fast you could get undressed and if you could undress in time and be there to rescue someone.

Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters PICT8943

Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters PICT8943 (Photo credit: Erik.Nielsen.Photos)

Me: And what did they find?

K: That you couldn’t do it.

Me: Well, I don’t see how they can do that. Superman is an alien, you can’t put him on the same scale as humans. He’s got super speed, so their test isn’t valid.

K: I know, right?….(pause) …. Don’t you think this is a conversation that Sheldon and Leonard would have?

 

Me: Yup.   It’s so great having someone to talk “Geek” with!

 

Leonard Hofstadter

 

Adventures in Geek Home Schooling

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So after years of begging, because she just “doesn’t fit in”, I have decided to home school my 11-year-old geeky Whovian daughter. One of the positive things about home schooling her is that she can have conversations with someone who actually speaks the same language.

 

Today in the car our conversation went something like this:

 

K: I don’t see how Captain Hammer can wear the same shirt for rescuing people all the time.

 

Me: Why not? Superman does it.

 

K: Ya, well Captain Hammer has to wear his regular clothes over top of his shirt so he’s wearing two shirts, don’t you think he’d get all sweaty and smelly?

 

Me: Superman does too, and he’s even got a cape on!

 

K: But he’s an alien, he doesn’t sweat the same.

 

Me: How do you know that?

 

K: They actually talked about it once on Myth Busters. They did tests on how fast you could get undressed and if you could undress in time and be there to rescue someone.

 

Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters PICT8943

Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters PICT8943 (Photo credit: Erik.Nielsen.Photos)

 

Me: And what did they find?

 

K: That you couldn’t do it.

 

Me: Well, I don’t see how they can do that. Superman is an alien, you can’t put him on the same scale as humans. He’s got super speed, so their test isn’t valid.

 

K: I know, right?….(pause) …. Don’t you think this is a conversation that Sheldon and Leonard would have?

 

 

 

Leonard Hofstadter

Leonard Hofstadter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me: Yup.

 

It’s so great having someone to talk “Geek” with!

 

 

 

Entertainment Weekly Article: Behind Every Superhero, There’s a Woman Without Much to Do

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It’s not a long,  in-depth expose’ but it’s an article that strikes a chord because it’s true. Entertainment Weekly writers Adam Carlson, Samantha Highfill, and Grady Smith hit the nail square on the head. “… most actresses in comic-book movies are still stuck with flimsy parts while the dudes save the world.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that thought myself.EW2

The article goes on to examine eight leading ladies. They report what their roles are, how much time they clock in for each film, whether they fall in love with the hero, whether they need  saving by the hero, and asks the question “do they scream and cry a lot”? (I loved that one! Course I think Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale in “Batman”, 1989 holds the record for most number of minutes screamed by a damsel in distress….) The average screen time for these eight actresses is paltry 25 minutes, all eight of them fall for the hero, five out of the eight screamed and cried a lot, and they ALL were saved by the hero.

We need a HEROINE!

Where’s Buffy? Apparently that project’s  on permanent hold and rightly so without Joss Whedon there to lead it!

What about Batwoman? Now that might be interesting! Is the world ready for an openly gay superhero on the Big Screen? Hm.

Here’s an idea… How about Catwoman? Anne Hathaway‘s version of the slinky feline was pretty darn cool! I didn’t hear any screaming and crying, and she even had time for some thrilling heroics! According to this Huffington Post article Ms Hathaway would be more than willing to return in the role. Maybe if we said “pretty please” Christopher Nolan would change his mind.

It seems that if we want strong female characters we have to turn to the small screen. Since they’ve done away with Laurie, The Walking Dead  ROCKS with great writing for female characters! Michonne played by  Danai Gurira kicks some serious zombie butt, Maggie played by Lauren Cohan is one of the strongest women on T.V right now, and Andrea, played by Laurie Holden just might end up saving the whole Grimey Gang from the evil Governor! (I DO hope that the writers choose to have her save HERSELF from her current situation. After everything Andrea has been through I’d be VERY upset if they chose to have her “rescued” by a male character, especially …. Milton?!)

Pixar‘s “Brave”, a story of  firey haired Celtic Heroine, Merica, earned worldwide total of $535,383,207, and was thirteenth highest grossing film in 2012! It was pretty evenly matched between both male and female movie goers too.

Even though she’s been called a “Smurfette” (ie token female), Scarlett Johansson was pretty awesome as Black Widow in “The Avengers” . For a female character WITHOUT superpowers she was pretty damn dangerous with that … tiny…little… … ….gun…. (really, I know I blogged about this before, but taking out those HUGE aliens with that miniscule gun was just a  bit ridiculous, Joss! ) Anyway, Black Widow was SMOKIN and The Avengers is THE THIRD HIGHEST GROSSING MOVIE OF ALL TIME! Not ALL  of that  $1,511,757,910 came from a guy’s “Green Lantern” wallet you know! I can’t find any actual statistics, but I’m willing to bet that pretty darn close to half that revenue came from Tardis shaped purses!   Geeky women like myself  love action movies and love even more to see leading women represented in the movie as being just as awesome as leading men! Not only that, but anyone who watches “Big Bang Theory” knows that geeky men like watching strong female characters too. A whole lot.

So, HEEEELLLLOOOOOOOO HOLLYWOOD! WAKEY, WAKEY! Women heros are COOL! AND we want more of them!

So “King of the Nerds” Crowns a Queen!

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King-of-the-Nerds-contestants

 

Really TBS?

Granted I didn’t watch all of this first season of “King of the Nerds”, but when my daughter saw that yes, girls can play too, (which of course is a PLUS for the show)… she did ask me why the show is called KING of the Nerds.  When a girl actually WON the show, she again asked me why they didn’t call  her QUEEN. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a QUEEN crowned KING since the Egyptians crowned Hatshepsut  Pharaoh somewhere around 1479 BC.

 

As far as “reality” shows go, this one’s not TOO bad. The TBS show hosted  by Revenge of the Nerd  celebs Robert Carradine

 

Toronto ComiCon 2012 - Robert Carradine

Toronto ComiCon 2012 – Robert Carradine (Photo credit: TonyFelgueiras)

 

and Curtis Armstrong and the competitors varied from NASA employees to comic book experts and video game fanatics. What I liked about the show is that I thought  these contestants are genuine, real, likable PEOPLE. I’m more than a little tired of seeing plumped up lips, inflated boobs and small dogs being carried in designer purses. I also liked the fact that it was pretty evenly matched between men and women. I’m not sure about the ending though. It seemed to come down ultimately to a “prom queen” popularity contest which seems somewhat ironic. Granted I DID think Celeste was a kinder person and if she is serious about  getting out there and being a spokesperson with kids then she may be a better choice. HOWEVER Genevieve DID work her butt off and she pulled through in many a challenge. A really bright girl, but just not as personable. (At least that is how the situation is painted for us viewers. Who knows the “reality” behind the “reality” show.

 

Toronto ComiCon 2012 - Curtis Armstrong

Toronto ComiCon 2012 – Curtis Armstrong (Photo credit: TonyFelgueiras)

 

So anyway, it’s a cute enough show that actually seems to celebrate nerdom I don’t mind tuning into for the fun of it and I think with a second season in the works it’ll really take off.  I just think if the competition involves both men and women they should have called it something else. Maybe next year they’ll turn the tables and call the show “Queen of the Nerds” and it’ll be won by a guy?

 

Second Annual Northwoods UU “Firefly” Shindig!

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And so in preparation for our second annual Northwoods UU “Firefly” Shindig / fundraiser I’m  posting the video of the service that Rev Ellen Cooper Davis prepared last year.

Just a quick explanation. Every year Northwoods UU holds a Service Auction raising money for the church. As part of the auction, Rev Ellen puts a “service of your topic of choice” up for bid. In 2012 Northwoods Browncoats unified to purchase this service. Also at the service auction a Firefly Shindig is offered with each Browncoats offering benefiting our wonderful community. This year we are asking that new books be also brought to the Shindig in support of Captn Mal’s own charity “Kids Need to Read” program benefitting kids all over the US.

The service is over an hour long. Shepard Ellen gives the best sermon in the ‘verse so grab yourself a mug of Mudder‘s milk and enjoy.

(unfortunately it appears Word Press doesn’t support imbeded videos from Google drive… but here’s the link.)

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzAlR5OrM00AVXdwRHVWZnVmV2s/edit

 

Watch for this “Put Christ back into Christmas” email … This one isn’t just absurd, it’s Intolerant and Prejudiced

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Life gets busy, and work, kids, kid’s activities, projects, and volunteer jobs all have a tendency to pile up on one another, so lately I have found that unless something REALLY catches my attention, blog posting goes to the bottom of the very long “to do” list. Today however, I received an email that you know must be something special because I’ve decided to take time out to actually sit down and write about it.

Over the last few Christmas seasons, I have observed increasing complaint about the “Christ” being taken out of Christmas. This is the first of those emails I have received this year and I expect I will receive more. While I do not consider myself a Christian, I do have many friends who are. Most of the time I rant a bit about these messages, then I  move on with my life. This one however, I found  most offensive. The “poem” you will see is in the same rhythm and meter as “The Night Before Christmas.” I will post my rebuttal comments to each line in a different color.

Here it is:

YOUR FIRST CHRISTMAS CARD

Cleverly done!!!

Twas the month before Christmas

When all through our land,

Not a Christian was praying

Nor taking a stand.

(Really? ‘Cause Christianity would NOT be at the top of my list of quiet religions. Where were you during the 2012 presidential election?)

Why the PC Police had taken away

The reason for Christmas – no one could say.

The children were told by their schools not to sing

About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say

December 25th is just a ‘ Holiday ‘.

(Religion has NO place in PUBLIC education. The PUBLIC is a diverse amalgamation of people from MANY cultures and religions. Migration, Immigration, and the internet are making this a smaller world all the time. If you want your children to have a religious education, choose the appropriate private school, homeschool, take them to church.)

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit

Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!

CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod

Something was changing, something quite odd!

Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa

In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.

(How DARE they commercialize OTHER religious holidays besides Christian holidays?)

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down

(Is this kind of like hanging crosses upside down? I suppose as a tree hugging Pagan, this should really bother me….)

At Lowe’s the word Christmas – was no where to be found.

At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears

You won’t hear the word Christmas; it won’t touch your ears.

(“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”)

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-is-ty

Are words that were used to intimidate me.

(I think the person who wrote this is so afraid to move over a little bit to allow the beliefs of others to have a place that he / she feels genuinely threatened. This line speaks volumes, it smacks of fear and hate mongering. Tolerance for this person is a bad thing and that’s what’s so frightening.)

Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen

On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter

To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.

(Five words… SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE… have to admit however, that the way the author worked in all those names is quite clever.)

And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith

Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace

(The great thing about freedom of religion is that no one is forbidden to worship the way they want, and freedom of speech allows you to talk about it as much as you want. It’s when your rights infringe upon the rights of others that it becomes a problem. This is why we have… SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.)

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded

The reason for the season, stopped before it started.

(“The reason for the season.”  This particular phrase, gets my hackles up every year. What we know as “Christmas” is a combination of Christianity’s birth of Jesus and the more ancient pagan celebration of Yule. Jesus was thought to have been born in April, the celebration of his birth was moved to December 25 by the council of Nicaea to coincide with the already preëxisting celebrations of Saturnalia and Yule. Trees, Santa, wreaths, gifts, mistletoe, feasting… the whole shebang is… PAGAN!)

So as you celebrate ‘Winter Break’ under your ‘Dream Tree’

(Christmas trees… Pagan! (and do that in a singsong voice) )

Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.

Choose your words carefully, choose what you say

Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS ,

not Happy Holiday!

(Most of the world’s many religions have celebrations of light during this dark time of year. Even Christianity and the birth of Jesus is a metaphorical expression of the victory of light over darkness. This is part of the reason that the Council of Nicaea chose December 25.)

Please, all Christians join together and

wish everyone you meet

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

(and happy Hannukah, and happy Yule, and happy Diwali, and happy Ramadan and happy Kwanzaa… The spirit of the greeting is what matters! You can rest assured that at least I won’t take out my AK 47 and gun you down for saying any of them to me!)

If you agree please forward, if not, simply delete.

Yes, this actually was the last line.

 Most of the time I DO just press delete however, not this time. This particular “Put  Christ back into Christmas” jargonny, wargonny email actively promotes bigotry and intolerance. This time, it needs more than a simple tap of the delete button, it needs an answer, and my answer is this;

how about we just get back to Good ‘ol fashioned “Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward men”.

Who Would Like to See a Modern Version of “The Muppet Show”? I Know I Would!

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The Muppets

The Muppet Show

The Muppet Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last weekend my family sat down for some good ‘ol fashioned wholesome entertainment, we watched “The Muppets”. “The Muppets” was released in 2011 and was the first Muppet release in 12 years. As a huge fan of the Muppets and growing up waiting weekly for the “The Muppet Show” I loved this film! Not only did it bring back a lot of warm memories, but the humor and music was updated very successfully by Bret McKenzie with his very distinctive “Flight of the Conchords” sound. (My husband recognized his style immediately!) Mr. McKenzie won an academy award for his song “Man or Muppet”, which is a first for any Muppet film.

The story, written by and starring Jason Segal, centers around reuniting the gang for a telethon in order to save the old Muppet Theatre from oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) who wants to tear it down to drill for oil underneath. The most engaging part of the story for me however, is the idea that no matter how different things are today, Jim Henson’s wonderful creations still have a place in our hearts and COULD still have a very relevant place in the modern entertainment industry. This got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if Disney ACTUALLY DID bring back the Muppet Show in weekly installment? What would it look like? I actually started compiling a list of modern celebrities who would be engaging guests in a modern version of the classic. These are my 10 top favorites.

 

10. Mary Murphy (Telling Sam the Eagle that he’s a “Hot Tomale”?

 

9.  Lady Gaga (Singing with Wayne and Wanda?)

 

8.  Bret and Jermaine (Flight of the Conchords) (Jamming with Dr. Teeth )

Flight of the Conchords

Flight of the Conchords (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  Jane Lynch (insulting Miss Piggy?)

 

6. Julia Louis Dreyfus(Doing an “Elaine” dance in the ballroom?)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5.  Jerry Seinfeld (Heckled by Waldorf and Statler?)

 

4.  Neil Patrick Harris (Giving Kermit a run for his money as host?)

 

3. Simon Cowell (Heckling from the Balcony?)

 

2.  Steve Tyler

Tyler,_Steven

(…..do I really NEED to say more?)

 

Come on Disney! You’d have celebrities lining up outside Muppet Theatre doors waiting to get their turn! In a disenchanted, cynical world like we have today, maybe we NEED more Muppets!

 

… And I bet there isn’t a Browncoat alive who wouldn’t LOVE to see:

 

1. Nathan Fillion as “Captain Tight Pants” in “Pigs in Space”!

 

An example of the Wild West influenced clothin...

An example of the Wild West influenced clothing and weaponry in Firefly and Serenity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now I am curious…. Any more celebrity suggestions out there?

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geekyg1rl:

I will be volunteering on Saturday at the Kids Need to Read booth at Space City Con in Houston. I’m reblogging this post to confirm how much I beleive in the importance of the work this organization does! See you at the Con!

Originally posted on Bohemian Geeky Girl:

When my daughter was three she could sing the entire “Red Dwarf” theme song. She quotes “Monty Python” skits on a regular basis, she dressed as “Firefly’s” Kaylee at our “Firefly Fundraiser” party and she thinks Abed on “Community” is the coolest guy on TV. When she was six, she didn’t want to dress as a princess for Halloween, she went as Count Olaf as played by Jim Carry in “A Series of Unfortunate Events“… eye tattoo on the ankle, side burns and everything! At ten, she has serious conversations about God and the sanctity of all life. Her social studies project this year is “How Hunger Games Could Become a Reality”. Other kids are doing their projects on dolphins and lions. Pretty cool huh? We think so. Apparently however, the kids at school do not.

My little K is ostracized, excluded and bullied because…

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