Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Books: January 2013

If you recall, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to read more.  I believe in that post I stated that the goal was one (new) book per month, but I'm going to fudge that rule slightly to be 12 (new) books this year- same outcome, different parameters.  The reason I'm giving myself this sort of leeway is because there are a few rather heavy books on my reading list for this year, each of which may take more than a month to trudge through...but we'll see.

So here's what I read this month.

Paper Towns by John Green // image via Amazon
 After avidly watching vlogbrothers videos for the past couple of years, I finally got around to reading John Green's novels so that I can officially call myself a Nerdfighter.  His books came highly recommended by my baby sister, with the exception of this one- she said she found the main character annoying.  I can kind of see where she's coming from, but he seems to sort of realize this about himself before the books is over and learn from it.  As always, Green's grasp of the teenage brain is so accurate it's scary, and his dialogue is oftentimes hilarious.  This is a book about empathy, and about seeing people for who they really are, not who we want them to be.  While we, along with the main character, are set up to believe that something incredible is happening, or has happened, or is about to happen, we're almost disappointed to find out we are wrong, and people are people, nothing more.  But maybe you're not disappointed- maybe you're relieved.  I think the way you react to the climax of this book probably tells you a lot about yourself- but then, that can be said for all books worth reading.  I definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of not only YA (Young Adult) fiction, but any fiction in general.

Internet Spy by Ian Probert // image via Amazon
Mr. Geek recommended this book to me- a fictionalized re-telling of the first ever CNE attack.  It's a very thin paperback, written at a middle school level, with a kid as the main character.  It is pretty fascinating in a nostalgic sort of way to read about the early days of the internet and personal computers and hackers, and the underlying story actually is true.  I recommend this to middle school-aged students who like computers or a good spy story.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray // image via Amazon
I read Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle Trilogy in high school, so I already had an appreciation for her ability to construct a fantasy world complete with love interests and scary monsters, but this one is set in the real world, for the most part, so that was hard to reconcile.  Going Bovine tells of the mad adventures of a teenage boy who has been diagnosed with mad cow disease- a terrifying disease which is slowly turning his brain to mush and causing vivid hallucinations.  It's a little disorienting to not know what is a hallucination and what is really happening, as you're not sure if this is one of Bray's fantasy worlds or our own world, and therefore you don't know which set of rules applies- but I think that's the point.  I'm not sure if I like this book, to be honest with you.  I enjoyed reading it, and I can appreciate the message, but at times the narrative becomes a bit didactic under the guise of a whirlwind adventure, and Bray finishes with a rather cowardly ending, hiding behind her everything's-going-to-be-okay theme.  Perhaps that's what bothers me so much- the ending.  Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that I really enjoyed how we arrive at that end, and I understand that, in order to tell the story that she's telling, it's necessary, but were this "real life" and not a story, I would not condone it (the ending) in the slightest.  Anyway.  I do actually recommend this book if you like weird mind games and crazy adventure stories and jazz music.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky // image via Amazon
I finished Going Bovine on a business trip and needed something to read on the flight back, so I picked this up in an airport bookstore and read almost all of it in a little under 3 hours.  Obviously this book has received praise for years for being absolutely genius and beautifully expressing the universal themes of high school, but it was nothing like what I'd expected.  Maybe I'm too much of an old fart, but I find lately that when I read about teenagers, I relate to them more like they're my children than my peers- so my heart hurts for Charlie, not so much in an "I know those feels, bro," sort of way, but more of a, "Somebody give that kid a hug," sort of way.  I can't help but want to protect the characters from the circumstances they're in, screaming at the parents of these kids to just talk to them for Heaven's sake, but I realize that the point of this story is that nobody can protect you from heartbreak, and had Charlie been saved from the terrible things that happened to him, we wouldn't have a story.  I'm really very interested in seeing the movie now, though I have a sinking suspicion that it just won't be the same story.  I mean, I imagine that the same events that happen in the book will happen in the movie, and the characters will have the same names, and certain iconic lines will be repeated, but I just don't think the Charlie in the movie will be the Charlie in the books.  I do recommend this book to fans of YA literature, but I think this, like the movie Mean Girls, is better appreciated as a nostalgic look back on high school, not while one is still experiencing it.

What books did you read this month?  Have you read any of these books?  Did you like them?  I'd love to talk to you about your opinions on any of these books in the comments!

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lifescouts: Sydney Opera House

Time for another Lifescouts badge!

image via Lifescouts
How Mrs. Geek Earned the Sydney Opera House Badge

Back when we were planning the wedding, I told you all about Father Ninja, and how he earned that nickname while we attended World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia.  While we were in Sydney, we did as much site-seeing as we could, in addition to the WYD activities, scripture studies, prayer services, and Masses.  Obviously Sydney Opera House was one of the photo-ops we went for.

my fabulous sister and me- and yes, that's a Hokie Bird on my head // {personal photo}
We poked around the gift shop, walked through the inside, and watched a praise concert from the steps after the sun went down.

I loved Sydney- it's really a nice city, kind of reminds me of New York, but with more kangaroo steaks- and I'd love to go back with Mr. Geek, maybe see an actual show in the opera house.

Have you earned the Sydney Opera House Lifescouts Badge?  Have you ever been to Australia?  Have you ever been to a World Youth Day celebration?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, January 25, 2013

Oh, Internet...{4}

The internet is a pretty crazy place.  Here are some pretty crazy things that happened on the internet this week:

A Totoro bed!  Awesome! // image via Make
This kitchen! // photo by Jeremy Swanson / image via House of Turquoise
I want to make these cookie dough whoopie pies // photo by Tracey's Culinary Adventures
So jealous that Miss Emma has been to New Fantasyland! // picture by A Pinch of Pixie Dust

 I am soooo NOT a runner, but a laid-back Fun Run might be something fun to train for as a way to get healthy.  And a Fun Run in Disney?  That would be the perfect motivation!  Check out Runner Leana's recap!

Atari has filed for bankruptcy :( 

Maple. Bacon. Chocolate. Sauce.  Enough said.

What crazy things happened in your corner of the internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Oh, Internet is inspired by Kaelah Bee's Things I Love Thursday

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lifescouts: French Language

So Monday I showed you the video explaining the concept of Lifescouts.  Mr. Geek and I are going to periodically show you which badges we've earned as a way of sharing more about ourselves with you; if you've earned the same badges, feel free to share your story in the comments!

image via Lifescouts
How Mrs. Geek Earned the French Language Badge

I took 5 years of French in school, and was really rather good at it- straight A's, and all that.  My ever-disappearing Southern accent always meant that my pronunciation was rubbish, but I could read and write with the best of them, and, if the speaker would condescend to go slowly enough, could carry on a decent conversation.  Harry Potter had turned me on to the idea of learning Latin, so I had considered switching to that in the 9th grade, but I believe our school only offered 3 years of Latin, and I was advised by various teachers that many years spent studying one language was more attractive on a college application- the ultimate goal of high school- than hopping from one language to the next.  I contented myself with researching the origins and definitions of all the Latin spells introduced in the Potter-verse and allowing that to help me better understand French.  By senior year, I could pick up a children's book in Spanish or Italian and understand most of it, and when we read The Little Prince in French class, I was proficient enough to actually engage in a literary discussion of the book- in English, though, not French, as my vocabulary wasn't quite expansive enough to delve into such philosophical issues.  I took the AP exam for French my senior year- an exhausting all-day academic marathon of reading comprehension, essay writing, listening comprehension, speaking, and conversing.  I scored a 3 out of 5- a "passing" score, worth the minimum amount of college transfer credits for a foreign language class.  Of course, I didn't need the AP score to earn those transfer credits, as Virginia Tech's College of Engineering required only 2 years of a foreign language in high school to satisfy that requirement, but it was nice to have those credits anyway, and taking the exam meant I would receive weighted credit towards my high school GPA.  (The agony was totally worth it for my little over-achieving self.)

I have not taken a French class since 2006, nor have I had any need to speak French since then, aside from the occasional ballet class.  When I get really bored, I'll check out the website for Le Monde, a French newspaper, and read through the article summaries just to see what I can understand, with varying levels of success.  Perhaps if I ever get a chance to visit France, I'll try brushing up on my conversational skills.

Have you earned the French Language Lifescouts Badge?  Did you take French in school?  Have you ever been to France?  Do you speak French fluently?  Have you ever had a funny or awkward experience in which understanding French may have been beneficial?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, January 21, 2013


Alex Day sometimes has bad ideas.  But sometimes...sometimes he has good ideas.

This is one of them.

So...I'm going to participate in this.  This is really awesome.  And maybe this will be the motivation to finally go bungee jumping.  I've already "earned" quite a few of these badges, actually, so keep an eye out for some Lifescouts posts in the near future.  (As in Wednesday.)  I'm super excited about this.

Are you a competitive person?  Do you like swapping adventurous stories with your friends?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, January 18, 2013

Oh, Internet...{3}

The internet can be a pretty inspiring place sometimes.  (And sometimes, it can be a little scary.)  Here's a quick round-up of what caught my eye this week.

This laundry room re-do from View Along The Way is INCREDIBLE
This pillow made from an old t-shirt is also incredible! // picture by Tea Rose Home / image via Curbly
I know that feel, bro // via Cheezburger
why hello there, leopard-print tights... // photo by Kristen Nichols at All Things Lovely
I mean seriously, what's not to love about Delightfully Tacky?
image via The Cinderella Project
This Engadget editorial raises some really good questions about whether or not it's important for new gadgets to meet current needs...and also whether TV's need to be smart or just be able to connect to a box that does all the thinking.  (My vote is on the latter.)

Maybe Mr. Geek's memory would improve if he followed the advice of one Sherlock Holmes...

I just...I just love Radical Possibility.  Seriously just read this.

What has inspired you on the internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Oh, Internet... is inspired by Kaelah Bee's Things I Love Thursday posts

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Terribly Funny Jokes

I am absolutely blanking on what to write about for today so I leave you with the brilliance of Hank Green:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Crafty Aspirations

So our apartment is now (basically) tidy and ready for visitors and dinner parties and maybe even overnight guests (little sisters, are you reading this?) so we've arrived at the fun part of nesting: decorating.  I've been subscribed to various DIY and interior design blogs for ages now, but it's time I actually do the things I've bookmarked.

I don't know if I'm setting any sort of deadline for myself to complete these projects, but here are some little things I want to do for our little apartment:

photo by Angus McRitchie / image via Apartment Therapy
I've got a couple of glass bottles on hand now, but I'm also going to hit up some thrift stores for tall, thin vases.  I'm going to do mine in reds and purples and let them decorate the shelf that hangs above our gas fireplace, acting as a mantle.

image via Berry Red
Again with the super simple: wooden letters via Michaels + red paint = awesome!  And I just picked up a couple of super cheap shelves to hang in the kitchen, a perfect place for the word EAT.

image via View Along the Way
I'm going to sew curtains for the master bedroom in a nice grey.  I'm hoping a vertical stripe- I haven't gone fabric shopping yet.

image via Nike at Choose to Thrive
I need some sort of mail organizer that includes a place to hang keys, in an effort to clear the clutter off our kitchen counters.  While I've found a cute purchase-able option, I kind of feel the need to make one.  The one pictured above is cardboard covered in fabric which is super clever and also rather easy.

photo by She's No Martha / image via Apartment Therapy
I want a little bar cart / liquor cabinet for the dining room...something smallish with preferably a door or two where we can store things like glasses and spirits.  I'd been considering what Ikea has to offer, but now I'm thinking I can go the Craigslist / thrift store route and rescue some ugly, old furniture.

What are your favorite blogs to read for DIY and decorating inspiration?  Do you have any home decor crafts lined up on your to-do list?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, January 11, 2013

Oh, Internet... {2}

Here's what the internet has done for me this week:

via Hypable's series of "honest movie posters" from 2012, all of which are rather hilarious
a still from "the sugar cube scene"!!  // from Entertainment Weekly, via
a teenage Pioneer Woman
photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography, via Mrs Unicycle on Weddingbee
image via This is Glamorous
methinks I might try this...// photo by Carmel from Our Fifth House via Infarrantly Creative

If a fellow StarKid actor makes an appearance on Glee, I might actually watch it again.

There are lots and lots of reasons I wish I were at CES this week.  This is one of them.

Adobe almost revolutionized software licensing...except it was a mistake.  Damn.

What are your favorite things that happened on the internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

*Oh, Internet is inspired by Kaelah Bee's "Things I Love Thursdays"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Unexpected Treats

personal photo
Tonight, The Mister popped into the grocery store after work to pick up some Pop-Tarts- we normally grab them on our way out the door as a shoddy excuse for breakfast but hey, it's better than nothing.  I had already started dinner- a dish I'm currently labeling "an experiment" will be tweaked (probably a few times) and then maybe blogged about when I've gotten it right- when someone knocked on the door.  There he stood, a grocery bag in one hand and a bouquet of white roses in the other, with a big sappy grin on his face.

They're a little worse for the wear, these grocery store roses, but they smell just lovely, and I'm a sucker for surprises, especially of the romantic variety.

What's your favorite "just because" gift?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Short Skirt and a Loooooong Jacket

I'm in the market for a trench coat.  (Okay, fine, I've been in the market for a trench coat for at least a year now, but my thriftyness is sometimes detrimental, and I balk at the idea of spending a heavy chunk of change on a single item of clothing, even if said single item is a wardrobe staple that will be utilized often and for many years to come.)

Not just any trench coat, though- I want one that is some bright, obnoxious color.  I don't know why we tend to gravitate towards neutrals in outerwear- black or brown for pea coats, khaki for trench coats- but I'd really like a "grown-up rain coat" that isn't shy.

via ModCloth
via Target
Vince Camuto, via Zappos
via Burberry
What I'm really after is a bright emerald green, but I can't seem to find one anywhere.  Guess I'll keep looking.

So what about you- do you prefer your outerwear loud and bright or quiet and unassuming?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, January 4, 2013

Oh, Internet...

Many a blogger will end the week with a "things I saw on the internet this week" post (or something similar), so I figured I'd try my hand at one.  For now, the format will be inspired by Kaelah Bee's "Things I Love Thursday" posts.  Here goes!

-My baby sister shared this with me on Facebook.  I'm pretty sure it was a sketch from Jimmy Kimmel, and I'm pretty sure I've seen it before...but it's hilarious.  Oh LOST, how I miss you!

image via Hypable // I'm not normally an award show person, but with these two hosting, I might actually watch the Golden Globes!

-I think the marketing campaign for Monsters University is absolutely brilliant- advertising the school as a real place instead of focusing on the plot of the movie (although obviously there have been trailers involving the plot, too). 

photo by Joanna Henderson, via Apartment Therapy
photo by Mustard Seed Photography, via Mrs. Wallaby on Weddingbee
this delicious recipe from Skinny Taste was dinner last night!

-I agree with BoingBoing's assessment of this situation- if the Oscars can't make e-voting work on such a small scale, how on earth could we make it work for a national presidential election?

-Pakistan decided to lift their block of YouTube.  Three minutes later, they were offended again and re-blocked it.

-It appears that Newspapers in Ireland are hell-bent on driving themselves out of business- they are demanding that people pay them hundreds of euros to link to articles from their websites in the form of a licensing fee. 

-Mr. Geek recently convinced me that milk is actually drinkable a day or two past its sell-by date, and according to this article, that may be true of most foods.  Makes sense, really, as it's a sell-by date and not an eat-by date.

What has the internet done for you this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Short People

A month or so ago, whilst trolling through the mall, just after having Mr. Geek fitted for his tux for his friend's wedding, we stumbled into Charlotte Russe and headed for the shoe section- they're pretty much always running some sort of sale back there and I'm a sucker for cheap shoes.  (I'm also a sucker for expensive shoes but it takes much longer to talk myself into buying them, if I do at all.)  We saw these things sitting on the shelf:

via Charlotte Russe

I like the old-school look of high top sneakers so I picked one up off the shelf to take a closer look.  The first thing I noticed was how narrow the sole was- and how there was absolutely no give.  Definitely not athletic sneakers (not that high tops usually are).  Mr. Geek was fiddling with his phone but I brought them to his attention and asked why he thought they had such solid, hard soles.

He's the one that actually noticed the wedge inside.  It seems I'm a little slow.

"They're like...high heels, only covered up."

OH, okay, that makes sense.  Well, the unforgiving soles make sense, but wedge-sneakers?  I feel like these have been done before- in the 90s, maybe?- and I don't remember them going over all that well back then.

But then I saw another pair at Forever 21, at a different mall, on a mission to find shoes for me for said wedding.  (Spoiler alert: I decided to just wear some gold heels I already owned.)

via Forever 21
Maybe they're not as corny as I thought?  Maybe I could pull these off?  (Or put them on, as it were.)

I took to the internet to see if these were A Thing or not (because The Mighty Internet knows all) and here's what I found:

Sole la Vie via PLNDR
PUMA via Zappos
Steve Madden via Zappos
Skechers via Zappos
via ModCloth
Oh, hey, wow, even ModCloth has a pair!  And I saw a TV commercial the other day, I believe for the Skechers- a commercial aimed at short girls, apparently, as they kept emphasizing that "they give you 3 inches of height!"

I could always use another 3 inches...

What do you think?  Are sneaker-wedges (wedge-sneakers?) pretty cool or completely ridiculous?  Which of these would you try on?  I'm partial to the flavor offered by Steve Madden myself, but I never could resist a good pyramid stud.

Much (shoe) love,
The Geeks