Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Dream Kitchen is Star Wars Themed

I love cooking. I love baking. I love throwing dinner parties (though the general consensus is that they will, in fact, be the death of me one day). I am a big 'ole fan of Dance Cooking in particular.

Yep, that's me and my favorite spatula.
Basically, the kitchen is where I largely find what little zen I can. It should come as no surprise then, that my kitchen is the room I most often dream about giving a badass makeover. I have a lovely vision of a posh, clean-lined oasis with a country sink, subway tile accent wall, simple but spacious cabinetry, and hammered copper fixtures. Truly, it's going to be glorious when I win the lottery and can finally afford to remodel the room where the cookies come from.* 

Just because my vision would put the studio kitchens on The Food Network to shame, however, doesn't mean it wouldn't also be a geek haven. Oh, no! One of the best things about being an adult (aside from eating dessert for breakfast or breakfast for dinner), is being able to express your geek love however much or little you may want. So, in addition to being classy as hell, my dream kitchen is also Star Wars themed, because I can. Here are my top 10 items to keep your geek kitchen chic whether you're on the Death Star or a Rebel Base:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Why I Didn't Attend the New Orleans Comic Expo

Unlike San Diego, Atlanta, or even New York, New Orleans isn't known for a particular convention, but the Gulf Coast is home to several conventions held throughout the year. It's my goal, here at She-Geeks, to showcase those smaller (but no less enthusiastic) conventions. If there is a convention in or around the Gulf Coast that you'd like to see me cover, please send the convention details to

I adore local conventions. They're more intimate, and are often more focused on celebrating their fandoms than turning a huge profit. Don't get me wrong, wanting to turn a profit is not only acceptable, but necessary if your convention is expected to survive and grow, but most small conventions aren't going to make their organizers rich. These small cons are usually done for the love of the fans, and are organized by people who are fans themselves. Not all small conventions are created equal though, and it looks like this one might have used some pretty shady tricks to increase their attendance numbers.

I learned about the New Orleans Comic Expo in late September. I found their website, and was immediately drawn to the impressive list of guests they were advertising. Names like Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sylvester McCoy, Luke Perry, and Jason Priestly are not usual for a what appeared to be a relatively small convention. While looking into the Expo, however, I noticed some things that felt just a bit off, not the least of which was that it had originally been scheduled for this past June.

What geek wouldn't swoon to see that lineup at a small, local convention?!
Looking back through their Facebook page, I noticed that there have been quite a few instances of radio silence lasting months at a time. Now, that by itself might not be suspicious, but take this little timeline into account:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Get Your Nerd Groove On

I adore music. All kinds of music, from Tchaikovsky to Bad Religion and from Kate Miller-Heidke to Tech N9ne. What I also love is when people get super clever, and super nerdy, with their music (be it an original or a parody). So, here are just a few of my favorite nerdy songs from my music library:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

She Blinded Me with Science: Special Print-Only Edition

This is a print-only, special edition of She Blinded Me with Science (usually these posts are supplemental to my science segment on local radio show, The Week in Geek). Enjoy!

An amazing thing happened yesterday. Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) landed a probe on a comet for the first time ever in the history of humans.

First image from Philae of the surface of Comet 67P/C-G
After hitching a 10 year ride to reach Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on the Rosetta satellite, and a 7 hour descent to the surface, Philae bounced twice (due to the comet's weak gravitational pull), but was able to use it's thrusters to force itself back down to the surface. Despite some issues firing the harpoons intended to anchor the probe to the surface of the comet as it spins through space, Philae is currently nestled near a cliff on the comet's surface, about a kilometer from its target landing spot. Though it is currently stable on the surface, Philae is still not properly anchored. Due to its final landing location, there are some concerns about the ability for Philae's solar panels to gather enough sunlight to properly power the probe.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
It wasn't a perfect landing, but it was a success nonetheless. Very rarely do complicated maneuvers like these go perfectly their first go-round, and this mission was nearly impossible to properly train for. Comet 67P/C-G is oddly shaped, a fact no one knew until July 2014, which gave project scientists an incredibly short window to calculate an appropriate landing site in a Goldilocks scenario (not too cold, not too hot, close to a scientifically active area to gather good data, but not so close as to risk damage, good timing to ensure enough surface sunlight will be available throughout the mission, etc.). Additionally, despite an imperfect landing and potential stability and power issues, the mission has been providing scientists with valuable data throughout Rosetta's 10 year flight to reach Comet 67P/C-G, and Philae has been successfully transmitting valuable and historic data images since its landing. This is an amazing thing that has occurred during our lifetime, and I feel privileged to bear witness to scientific feats such as this.

Monika Jones and Dr. Matt Taylor. Photograph: European Space Agency/PA
It is unfortunate, however, that in 2014, during a time of great scientific achievement, we are still struggling with issues of social privilege and misogyny. British scientist Dr. Matt Taylor is the ESA Project Scientist on the Rosetta Mission, and has been a recognizable and much talked about personality for the project. Much like Curiosity Rover engineer, Bobak Ferdowsi, Taylor has been lauded by the media for not being the stereotypical stuffed-shirt, lab coat wearing, old man scientist spokesperson. Unlike Ferdowsi, Taylor was not thrust into the limelight by the media. He has been at the forefront of the mission for awhile; giving news briefs and speaking publicly about the mission was an established aspect of his role in the project prior to the landing. Nevertheless, he chose to don a shirt covered in half-naked women on the day that he knew the world would be watching. Achievements like the Philae Landing are a big deal, not just for the advancement of scientific achievement, but for inspiring a younger generation to pursue study and a career in the sciences. How many young minds were opened to the fantastic world of space exploration when Neil Armstrong's foot famously touched the surface of the moon? That was in 1969, when entire families gathered together around the one, tiny television set they had between them to witness history. In 2014, when many own several TVs, computers with instant internet access, and have the ability to watch live television on their smart phones, it is mind-boggling to imaging the number of young, impressionable eyes that were fixed on bright screens to witness history, and consequently this shirt:

Now, I don't know why Dr. Taylor chose to wear that shirt. Perhaps that is simply the shirt that he wears on Wednesdays, and no thought went into his wardrobe selection whatsoever. I cannot presume to know what his motivation was when he buttoned up that brightly colored shirt covered in half naked women wearing latex and lingerie. I cannot even presume that he had a specific motivation other than to simply put on a shirt. What I can say, is that as the Project Scientist and an established spokesperson for the Rosetta Mission, that neither he nor any of the many people around him thought that perhaps wearing a shirt that sexually objectifies women on the day that Philae landed and the whole world would be watching might not be the best choice is indicative of the much larger, systemic issue of sexism in the STEM community. Now I am not, by any means, claiming that Taylor himself is sexist. I don't know him. What I am saying is that by wearing that shirt while acting as a representative of the scientific community and of the ESA, a message (intentional or not) was sent that the sexual objectification of women in the workplace is acceptable.

To be clear: I do not believe that there was any malicious intent involved here, but I do feel that it is important to draw attention to these instances when they occur. We, as a society, have collectively determined that sexual harassment is unacceptable, especially in the workplace, and this was no less an example of sexual harassment than slapping the rear end of a coworker. (Before anyone brings up that I'm projecting my American expectations onto a European society, I assure you, it's not acceptable there either.) In my opinion, ignoring this situation as a harmless, albeit unfortunate, fashion faux pas is just as dangerous as claiming "boys will be boys" when an office worker slaps the rear end of a coworker as she walks by.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Doctor Who 'Death in Heaven' Review

*This review is cross-posted to the Krewe du Who blog*

As always, DO NOT READ unless you're caught up on Series 8 of Doctor Who! As River would say: *spoilers*

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Sober Halloween in New Orleans? Is that Even Possible??

Halloween is a big deal all over the United States, but there are a few cities that have a special association with the holiday, and New Orleans is certainly one of them. Those familiar with New Orleans know that we don't relegate our partying to specific days of the week, but when Halloween falls on a weekend, the city has a tendency to essentially explode with events and pulse with an undercurrent of potential and excitement. With Halloween falling on a Friday, this year was no exception. The question is: In a city so synonymous with professional revelry, lax open container laws, and unabashed alcoholism, how hard is it to find things to do that don't involve drinking? Follow along as my friend and I find out how much fun Halloween in New Orleans can possibly be without a single drink...


Monday, November 3, 2014

Doctor Who 'Dark Water' Review

*This review is cross-posted to the Krewe du Who blog*

As always, DO NOT READ unless you're caught up on Series 8 of Doctor Who! As River would say: *spoilers*