Tuesday, June 28, 2011

American Geek Mom's Recipe Box #1

As a fan of all things culinary, I have been collecting and creating recipes for as long as I can remember.  My love for food began with my mother and grandmother.  I can recall many occasions in the kitchen, cracking eggs, mixing batter, and of course licking the bowl! Yes, I am a Food Geek!

We all need to eat.  So in an attempt to make meal times a little more tasty and fun, I present you with American Geek Mom's Recipes .  Every now and then I will share a new recipe; everything from quick and easy family dinners to geeky themed comestibles. These are my personal recipes, all tested by me, my family and my friends.  I invite you to try them, and if you feel so inclined, leave your constructive feedback in the comments.  Think of this as my family sharing the recipes in our recipe box with you.  Thanks for tasting and I hope you enjoy!

It's camping season.  So my first recipe is perfect for the great outdoors.  

Campfire Potatoes:

You will need:
  • 2 strips thick cut bacon (chopped)
  • 1 medium vidalia onion (chopped)
  • 3 large potatoes (thinly sliced into rounds)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Salt + Pepper to taste

Brown bacon in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook until onions begin to caramelize.  Add potatoes and reduce heat (You can add a little olive oil if needed).  Continue cooking until potatoes are crisp and brown.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  This is a fabulous breakfast for a cool morning in the woods. Simple and delicious!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

American Geek Mom's Great Summer Games List

Summer is the season for firefly-catching, trips to the zoo and picnics, but what do you do on those inevitably rainy days?  
Take this scenario: It has been raining for days.  The kids are chasing each other through the house and you are feeling hopeless. You have tried everything in your rainy day arsenal but the kids are still antsy and bored.  They want to play a game, but you don't want to sit through another game of Uno, Monopoly, or Candy Land.  Hope is not lost.  I present to you American Geek Mom's Great Summer Games List!  These games are guaranteed to be fun and engaging for both adults and kids alike.  
Secrets of the Sea features the innovative Mystery Light Technology that reveals hidden clues as you play.  Kids are sure to get excited as they explore the deep blue sea for treasures, but watch out!  There are monsters hidden down below.  This is one of my personal favorites.
Another favorite of mine is Abandon Ship.  It has easy rules, colorful components, and strategic gameplay. You are all rats on the ship, Nvrsnks, and the ship is sinking!  Race to get your group of rats to safety.     
Eleminis is a fast and fun card game where players race to collect all 5 mini elements - Fire, Plant, Air, Water, and Rock.  The whole family will enjoy the cute artwork and friendly competition provided by this quick and easy party game. Best of all, it has minimal text making it a great game for kids as young as six! 
Word on the Street is a fantastic little word game the whole family can enjoy.  Pull the letters to your side of the street by spelling words associated with category cards.  A great game to keep minds sharp during those hot Summer months.  Word on the Street Jr. is also available for younger families.
Shake-n-Take is a new game from Out of the Box.  It's great for days when you have a rowdy bunch.  Your mission is to capture as many aliens as you can before the next player snatches the capture marker from your hand.   
Carcassonne may not look thrilling from the outside, but inside is a clever tile-laying game sure to please.  Both kids and adults will enjoy the strategy in this simple game of connecting castles, roads, and cloisters.  And for very young children, try Kids of Carcassone, an even simpler version of the award winning classic edition.  
Castle Panic is the perfect opportunity to work together.  You are knights in a castle, defending it from a horde of monsters intent on knocking it down.  This game is packed with fantasy and is easily adjusted to meet the need of your family.
Meet the Dweebies! These uniquely colorful characters are out to capture your heart, but you must capture them first!  Match your dweebies and collect the most cards to win!
Dixit is a beautifully illustrated game of storytelling.  Fill your home with fantastic tales as you try to give the best descriptions. 
Say Anything Family and Wits and Wagers Family are two excellent titles from North Star Games.  These great editions provide everyone with family-friendly questions that combine laughter and learning in a way that all ages can enjoy together! Due to the amount of writing involved, these are best for children ages 8+.
And finally, Forbidden Island. This 2011 Spiel des Jahres (German Board Game of the Year) nominee will give you hours of fun as you try to find the treasures and escape the island before it sinks!  Another great cooperative board game with multiple difficulty levels that make it fun for everyone! 
This is only a small sampling of the great family games you can find these days, but it is a good start.  Add some of them to your collection, and those rainy days might just become a little more sunny!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Summer of Blockbusters

Comic book movies have taken a prominent place in this Summer's movie line up and the movie scene in general.  So far this Summer, Marvel has graced the screen with Thor and the highly anticipated X-Men: First Class.  This past Friday DC joined in the fun with the first of what is bound to be several Green Lantern films.  What else can we expect from this Summer's line up?  Coming this July, we find a spattering of movie sequels including the 3rd in the Transformers series and the conclusion to the Harry Potter series.   I have high hopes that Michael Bay will redeem himself after the wreckage which was transformers 2, and fully expect packed theaters for the epic conclusion of Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part 2.  Rounding out the rest of the month is Captain America and Cowboys and Aliens, two more great comic titles.  Both look solid from the previews, and I hope they don't disappoint.  As we reach August, we will encounter a group of interesting reboots, the Prequel to Planet of the Apes, Rise of the Apes, and the Return of Conan the Barbarian.  What a Summer we have in store!

Not only do we have a fantastic Summer movie scene, but the Summer gaming scene is ripe with exciting new titles too.  As most gamers know, Summer is Con season and many of us are busily working away to get prepared for our favorite Con.  Whether you are prepping a new costume, brushing up your magic skills, coordinating play time with your favorite long distance gaming friends, or getting characters ready for an epic role-playing session, we all look forward to seeing the shiny new games that premier at these shows.  Here are some of the exciting new titles you can look forward to testing out this Summer.

  • Dixit, the winner of the 2010 Spiel des Jahres, is at it again with their beautiful new edition, Dixit Odyssey.  Now you and your friends can continue your story-telling with a new set of beautiful cards.
  • Small World is back with a new stand alone edition.  Now you can venture below the surface in Small World: Underground.  Meet new races with exciting new special abilities.  Play it on its own or combine it with the original for an epic Small World experience.
  •  Well the zombie apocalypse hasn't happened yet, but preparation is key.  Hunters Books brings us a new way to prepare in Outbreak: Undead.  This zombie survival simulation RPG provides players with a realistic simulation of a zombie uprising.  What are your chances of survival? 
  • If that isn't enough zombie action for you, then you will be happy to learn that Twilight Creations is still feeding your zombie addiction with Zombies!!! X.  And that is just what you will have to do in this fun new expansion, feed your addiction!  

  • Food Fight from Cryptozoic Entertainment will pit 2-6 players against each other in a glorious battle of the bulge. 
  • If you are a fan of Atlas games innovative Gloom card game, or just a fan of all things Lovecraft, then you should check out Cthulhu Gloom.  Play it by itself or combine it with the whole Gloom family.
  • Burning Wheel Fans can now get a sleeker version of the beloved roleplaying game.  Burning Wheel Gold Edition will combine the original two book format into one clearer and more organized volume!
  • Fan of the hit TV show Big Bang Theory?  Then Cryptozoic Entertainment has the party game for you!  Bazinga! takes Sheldon's signature catch phrase and turns it into a pop-culture party game of hypothetical social situations.  
  • Steam Punk Pirates?  Yes Please!  Cubicle 7 is releasing the Airship Pirates RPG.  You've got an airship.  You've got a crew.  Turn up your Abney Park and sail away into a world of plundering and adventure.
  • Here's another one for all you Lord of the Rings fans.  Cubicle 7 is introducing The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild, a new roleplaying game set in the J.R.R. Tolkien Universe.  Establish trade routes, renew bonds, and bring prosperity back to Mirkwood.
  • Fantasy Flight brings us another game in the world of Terrinoth.  Rune Age is an exciting new twist on the traditional deck building game.  With four modes of play, you are bound to find the scenario that is right for you.  Competitive and Cooperative players alike will enjoy the dozens of configurations and strategic possibilities found in this innovative game.    

These are just a small sampling of the myriad of new titles coming to your Friendly Professional Game Store this Summer.  Be sure to check them out!  And to all those attending Gen Con, I'll see you there!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Coming this Saturday to a Game Store Near You!

Free RPG Day is this Saturday!!!!  Stop by your Friendly Professional Game Store to get inspired by a wide array of role-playing genres.  Regardless of your role-playing style, there is bound to be something fun for you.  Gaming events will be happening all over the country and you might just find a new and exciting system to play!  You might even be able to pick up something for the Geek Dad in your life :-)
 Below is a list of this year's Sponsors:
  • Amarillo Design Bureau
  • BlackWyrm Games
  • Blue Panther
  • Chessex
  • Eden Studios
  • Exile Game Studios
  • Fantasy Flight Games
  • Flying Buffalo
  • Goodman Games
  • Green Ronin
  • Paizo
  • Paradigm Concepts
  • Pinnacle
  • Q-Workshop
  • Stone Tablet Games
  • Troll Lord Games
  • Valkyrie Games
  • White Wolf Publishing
  • Wizards of the Coast
  • Mayfair
 To find a participating FLGS near you, click the link here!

So, show your favorite game store some love and join them this Saturday, June 18th.  Get out there and GAME! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Go the F**K to Sleep: A Parent's Bedtime Story

It's a known fact that part of being a parent involves helping your child go to sleep.  This can be a tedious and painful experience at times, sometimes leaving parents wishing they could spout expletives at their young children.  Well, now you can listen to all those words that you have been thinking as you put your sweet, sweet children to bed.

Looking at the cover art you might be fooled into thinking this is a sweet and innocent children's story.  Do not be fooled.  Inside is a humorous “children's book for adults” based on Adam Mansbach's own frustration of putting his 2-year-old daughter to bed.

The concept began as a joke on Facebook when he posted one evening, “Look out for my forthcoming children's book, ‘Go the F--- to sleep.” The response he got from friends was so strong that he wrote it and now a big Hollywood name has chosen to narrate it.  You can watch and listen to Samuel L. Jackson narrate this tale dedicated to childhood insomnia and the parental frustration involved on You Tube and Audible.com.

Samuel L. Jackson states in his introduction:   "I was anxious to do the audio read of this book because my agent has twins and he gave me the book and I read it and I fell out laughing. I remember all those times when I did read to my daughter when she was that age. Everybody tells you reading stories will put kids to sleep, but it never works. It didn’t in my house."

So, if you have little ones like me, download this amusing tale and save it for those nights when your child just won't go the F--K to sleep! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Very Geeky Father's Day

We know them, we love them, and they are the fathers of our children.  How do we say Happy Fathers Day to our very own Geek Dad?

If your hubby is like mine, then he probably spends more time in front of a computer than he does outside in the sun.  He is content to stay home and play games or watch old episodes of Star Trek.  He stays up trying to beat an impossible "Secret" level in Donkey Kong, using up all of his extra lives, because he "has to beat it!"  His vacations include the yearly pilgrimages to Gen Con and PAX, and he is willing to dress the part.  Know anyone like that?  If so, then you also probably know a man who is smart, thoughtful, and devoted.  This Sunday we say Thanks!

Whether your hubby is a Comic Book Geek, Computer Geek, Science Geek, Gamer Geek, or a Computer Gadget, Star Wars, Zelda, D&D Playing, Science, Sci-fi, Super Geek, he's yours and you Love Him!  Here are some suggestions to say Thank you on June 19th. 

1. Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share:
If you are looking for a fresh way to share your hubby's love of science and technology, and help your kids develop a passion for learning and discovery, then supergeek Ken Denmead's book is just the thing.  Some of the amazingly fun activities you will find include: flying a night-time kite ablaze with lights, launching a video camera with balloons, constructing the "Best Slip n' Slide Ever," a guaranteed thrill ride, building a working lamp with LEGO bricks and CDs, creating a customized comic strip or your own board game, and much, much more! 

2. Geek Soap:
Keep your hubby fresh and clean with these geek themed soaps.  Your kids will love helping you pick out their favorites and they can use them too!  What a great way to keep everyone "shiny" and clean. 

3. Make a Star Wars Breakfast!
Have your kids mix the batter and fill these fun little molds with dad's favorite pancake mix.  Blueberry Yodas?  How about a chocolate chip Millenium Falcon ™?  Your husband will love the Jedi Kitchen Master you have become when you bring these to the breakfast table.

4.  And Finally, this one's for Dad himself.  Disconnect to Reconnect:
Author Phil Cooke is challenging dads everywhere to, "disconnect your digital device for 24 hours and reconnect with your family."  That's right, no computers. No cell phones.  No TV.  No email.  Dads, it probably won't be easy, but isn't it worth it to prove to your family that they come first.  And hey, you might even sneak in a nap or too in the process!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Star Trek Expedition

I've never really been a Star Trek fan.  There, I said it.  Let the stone throwing commence.  Not sure entirely why, but I just could never really get into it.  The 2009 movie was the first version to spark even a tiny bit of enthusiasm in me.  So, when my husband decided he wanted to go back and watch all of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I was hesitant to watch.  At first I was just going to let him watch it on his own, but he wore me down, and I gave it a go.  Turns out it's not as bad as I remembered and I am actually kind of enjoying it.  It's still hokey, but what wasn't in the late 80's?  I had forgotten that Wil Wheaton played Wesley Crusher, and it made me smile to see him so much younger on screen.  I am also a fan of Patrick Stewart, so perhaps that played into some of my new found enjoyment.  In any case, I will continue to watch and perhaps even grow to like it enough to watch another one in the series. 

Despite my Bleh! attitude towards the TV series, I am excited that Wizkids' Star Trek Expeditions will be arriving in stores on June 15th!  This is a cooperative board game designed by Reiner Knizia and themed around the 2009 Star Trek movie.  It includes 6 beautifully detailed Heroclix miniatures: James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. Leonard McCoy, Nyota Uhura, a Klingon Battle Cruiser, and the U.S.S. Enterprise.  Also included: a game board, 14 Stardate cards, 42 Energize Cards, 21 Captain’s Log Cards, 25 Captain’s Log Supplemental Cards, 15 Regular and five Major Discovery Tokens, A Score Tracker, Four away team cards, Four turn order cards, and Three Custom dice. 

Here is what you can look forward to during a game:

Up to four players can work together to play through an "episode" of Star Trek.  The Enterprise has been assigned to Nibia, a new planet that has petitioned for Federation membership. However, when the ship arrives, they find three things wrong:
  1. A Klingon battle cruiser is in orbit of the planet;
  2. The planet is on the verge of a civil war; and
  3. The planetary government is reconsidering its petition for membership.
Your mission, should you choose to accept, is:
  1. Deal with the Klingon ship in orbit;
  2. Stop the Klingon interference to stop the civil war; and
  3. Convince the planet to join the Federation.
You have thirty turns (days) to complete all three aspects of the mission before the battle cruiser is joined by the rest of its battle fleet, forcing the Enterprise to withdraw and losing the planet to the Klingon Empire.  The unique co-op play of this game allows for sixteen different mission outcomes, so each time the game is played, the players' decisions will lead to a different end. The more successful your play, the more plot options will be available.

So, If you are a fan of Star Trek, games by Reiner Knizia, and/or Heroclix, this new board game is bound to be a winner for you!