So things got in the way of this review and for that, I apologize. You know, nerdy things, Sherlock things. 221B Con was a big success and I am better you’ll all love the live podcast from the Con in the weeks to come. Then there were the Shorty Awards, which we didn’t win, but were honored to be nominated for. Somewhere in there, Jonny Lee Miller attempted to understand how the same teeth could co-exist in many mouths at once.
When a pair of murders show eery similarities to what police thought was a previously solved case involving bite marks on victims, the entire history gets re-examined. And it also causes Joan to do some re-examining of her own. The man who had previously confessed to the bite mark murders, Aaron Colville, ended up on Joan’s operating table while she was still working as a surgeon. In the heated moments after he was stabbed, her residing surgeon let the man die, in Joan’s assessment, which causes her to feel slightly haunted by the concept of justice. Had he been innocent after all, he died for no reason. Ah, but Joan needn’t worry, because other moral quandaries of even greater confusion are about to wrap around her.
Allow us to introduce Abby Stewart. She’s a blogger, writing consultant, world-traveler, educator, and certified lady geek. You can find her working social media like a pro on Twitter (@abby_cake), Instagram, and Pinterest.
The biggest thing to know about Stewart is that she’s got guts. She’s written and self-published two books (a mature YA novel titled Menthol Kisses and a book of poetry titled Unsent Letters), she lived in South Korea for a year, and she’s got a super ambitious and vibrant life list - full of lifetime goals, 50% of which are already checked off.
Before you examine your own life list, check our Stewart’s interview with Being Geek Chic. You’ll discover the story of her globetrotting tattoos, how she launched an early passion for HTML, and which Star Trek favorite she would share tea and red wine with. Read on!
Q: How did you discover your passion?
A: The greatest passion in my life is teaching. I’m not sure that I ever really discovered it, it more or less discovered me. I can’t recall a time that I didn’t want to be a teacher. I still get the most thrilling high when I assist a student in understanding some aspect of language or literature that they may not have previously understood. Sharing my love for reading and writing is such a rewarding experience, despite the fact that my students call me a “nerd” on a daily basis — I am just really excited about Beowulf! And I know they mean it as a term of endearment. :)
Q: When did you discover you were “geeky?”
A: When I was 11 or 12, my parents got the Internet. And I am talking straight dial-up that took hours to load each individual pixel of an image and tended toward disconnection rather than expediency. I’d had a computer previously (which I’d primarily used to play Oregon Trail) but this new Internet gig seemed pretty interesting. Over time, I discovered message boards, adoptable html pets and personal websites. Once I realized that I could own my own little piece of the Internet for the generous price of simply knowing how to develop a Tripod or Angelfire username, I was hooked. I went to the public library and checked out every single book I could find on HTML, read them, and proceeded to build and develop my own website. I think I called it “Abby’s Lair” and gave it a dragon-related theme, complete with dungeon midi and burning torch .gifs. I was really too young to ascribe “geeky” to what I’d done — it was really more of an obsessive interest in a new topic, which I think tends to be the broadest definition of geekiness.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your tattoos?
A: I love tattoos!! When I travel I tend to get tattoos rather than a snow globe, or something. My first tattoo was a “less than three” heart on my ankle, I now have an accompanying “hashtag” on the opposite ankle that I recently acquired during a blogger trip to Virginia. My entire right thigh is tattooed, I sat for a total of twelve hours to get that one done. I got my wrist tattoo in Fukuoka, Japan and I almost got arrested getting my arm tattoo in South Korea. My boyfriend and I have matching tomato tattoos (inside joke). And I have a few others that probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone but me. I’d love to get a really large chest piece, but keeping in line with my desire to continue a career in education, I think chest and neck are out of the picture.
Q: If you could take any fictional character out for a drink, whom would you choose and what would you drink?
A: Jean-Luc Picard — for sure. We would, obviously, drink Earl Grey (hot) followed by some fabulous vintage of red wine that I would ask him to recommend. I’d love to spend an evening discussing literature, classical music and archaeological discoveries. I think Jean-Luc is a fabulous model for future leaders and could provide essential advice for me, as an educator. He is constantly challenging his crew to aspire to greatness and his awareness of cultural differences (for example, he speaks to the Klingons in their native language) make him an inspirational figure who I’d like to spend an evening with. And what happens on the Enterprise, stays on the Enterprise [insert suggestive eyebrow waggle].
Q: What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
A: Girls are mean, the Internet is awesome, you will (eventually) make it to Japan, keep drawing, dress however makes you happy (wear ALL the plastic bracelets, girlfriend!) because style is totally a valid form of self-expression.
Emma Bauer is a Being Geek Chic Contributor. Clearly, she’s got great taste. She is a PR enthusiast, history scholar, tea drinker, fashion devotee, and of course, aspires to Be Geek Chic. Follow her on Twitter: @emmalynnbauer
Comics are truly great. But they can be a little intimidating, there’s no denying. Issue numbers in the hundreds and beyond. Comic book stores with wall-to-wall selection staring down at you. What’s an average Joe or Jane to do? “Like This/Read That!” is your semi-recurring comic book breakdown here at Being Geek Chic, sending out fresh reading recommendations that are simple, sensible, and positively super.
Like Captain America himself, frozen away for years in cold, suspended animation, I’ve been missing-in-action from my comic recommending duties over these past few months. But there’s nothing like a new movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to wake me from my blogging slumber!
Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters in just a matter of days, and in honor of that exciting occasion, I’m back in action with some comic book recommendations, focused squarely on the First Avenger’s return to the screen. Whether you’re building your excitement before heading to the cinema, or you want to dive deeper after the credits roll, these recommendations have got you covered.
You want to explore the original inspirations for the movie
Captain America’s newest film doesn’t just borrow its name from this mid-2000s story arc; in the pages of these issues, you’ll find much of the direct inspiration for the story being told in the Captain America sequel. So it only makes sense to start your reading list here. Written by Ed Brubaker, this is amongst the most well regarded modern Captain America stories. Give it a look to explore the roots that inspired the filmmakers.
You’re searching for a topical, modern Captain America story
I’ve always found the “man out of time” hook to be the most compelling thing about Captain America. How does a soldier birthed in an era of national unity, when lines between ally and enemy were apparent and clear, adjust suddenly to a world of complex geo-political tensions, compromises and ever-present shades of gray? How does an icon of patriotism rally and reflect the people’s will in an age of cynicism, hyper-partisanship and bitter political divides? I’ve yet to find the story that completely satisfies on these fronts, but here’s one that scratches the surface. Imagining the actions of Steve Rogers in the wake of the September 11 attacks and the ensuing War on Terror, this series treads sensitive ground, but is filled with strong art and some thought-provoking moments.
You enjoy Black Widow’s increasing role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
The marketing and promotion campaign leading up to the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier has put a large focus on the Black Widow and her relationship with Steve Rogers. If this and some recent rumors of a standalone Black Widow film are to your liking, you’ve got to check out the brand new Marvel NOW! series starring Black Widow. It just kicked off with issue #1 in January 2014, and early buzz is strong. Get in on the ground floor with these early issues to explore the life of Natasha Romanoff and her past as a KGB assassin.
You’d like to see more of Cap’s newest partner-in-heroics, the Falcon
While Captain America isn’t known for his sidekicks to the same extent that some other heroes are (cough, Batman, cough), he has definitely had a few. There’s been Bucky Barnes, Sub-Mariner and the Invaders, and perhaps most prominently, the Falcon. Falcon has been a mainstay in the pages of Captain America comics over the years (including a couple of the ones I’ve recommended above), and now he’s set to make his cinematic debut. Want an intro to the Falcon? I recommend these two comics as a start. The one-off Captain American and Falcon issue provides a more classic look at the character, while Ultimate Nightmare sees the character’s first appearance in the more contemporary Ultimate Marvel universe – where you can expect to see a Falcon that more closely reflects the film’s take on the character.
You’re pondering the possibilities for Captain America 3 and beyond
It has been unclear to me whether the identity and role of the Winter Soldier falls into movie spoiler territory for non-comic book readers, but ever mindful, I’m offering this final recommendation as something to be read only after seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier may or may not have a further role to play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (a la our friend Loki), but in either case, this series bearing his name will give you an outlet to explore more of his background, and to join along in his continuing misadventures, whatever may come of his on-screen counterpart.
So there you have it friends, there are five fresh comic book recommendations that should pair quite nicely with the latest slice of Marvel cinematic goodness, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Enjoy the movie, enjoy the comics, and as always, be sure to share your own thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.
Guest post by Adam Giorgi, who also happens to be my brother. He’s a writer, gamer, reader and Potter head. He also makes cool comics from time to time. Check out his blog: Geek-Attack. Follow him on twitter: @adamgiorgi
Does your hairstylist design wickedly cool cosplay costumes in her free time?
Is your professor redefining the world of cosmetic chemistry?
Is your sister a filmmaker on the cusp of winning an Oscar?
Are you just simply amazing and the world needs to know?
Let’s get to know these ladies on Being Geek Chic! Send us your nominations for Lady Geek of the Week to emma(at)beinggeekchic(dot)com.
Make sure to put “Lady Geek Nom” in the subject line and in the body give us the following information:
- Twitter handle
- Why you’re nominating this particular Lady Geek
- Any links to more information about this gal or her projects, i.e. blog/website/whatever
If you are worried that the person you want to nominate has already gotten the Lady Geek of the Week crown, check out this page in the archives to see all our past Lady Geeks.
Sans all the be-headings, prostitution and murdering… you know, just enjoy the cool part where you live in a castle and wear inappropriately fancy clothing. I’ve always wanted to know how one rented a castle, because well it just seems like a great idea to go on a large trip with friends to a castle. Turns out there are a few sites out there.
If you want to stay in a castle similar to that of…
House Tyrell of Highgarden – Try Château de Challain
Located in France, the Château de Challain is all about luxury and romance - and with a family obsessed with who is marrying who, this castle seems like an appropriate venue with massive gardens and plenty of party space. You can rent it here.
House Stark of Winterfell – Try the Giant’s Ridge Lakefront
The idea of spending time in a castle in the middle of the winter might seem unfun, but one of my favorite family memories is spending a ton of time in this property in Biwabik, Minnesota. It’s a giant home, which feels like a rustic castle on the inside and presents you with so many beautiful views of winter mountains, it’s hard to imagine the Starks being more comfortable anywhere besides the harsh cold of Minnesota.
House Greyjoy of Pyke – Try the Castle of Aragon
There’s not much Greyjoy love to be found here, but their geographic perks make them worth considering for a future geek inspired vacation. Unlike the other Houses of Westeros, the Greyjoys sit atop their castle of Pyke ruling over the Iron Islands, which means their property is both hard to reach and difficult to navigate. That’s why the ancient Castle of Aragon is perfect. On an island near Ischia, Italy, the castle is so remote, you must use an ancient bridge built in 1438 by Alfonso of Aragon to access it.
House Lannister of Casterly Rock – Try the Ballyhannon Castle
If the Lannisters have one thing going for them, it’s their taste in real estate. The Lannister fortress is well protected, largely due to its location in Westeros, where it has been carved into a rock wall. Similarly, the Celtic Ballyhannon Castle is a 15th century dwelling which utilizes massive stone walls and honestly strikes you as impenetrable on first glance. You can rent it here.
Now if only I had planned a Game of Thrones premiere party far enough in advance to rent one of these castles… alas.
Welcome to the last installment of our Divergent recipe series! Hopefully by now you’ve seen the film — would love to hear your (non-spoilery) thoughts in the comments. Now you’ve got everything you need to host a Divergent-themed book club or film viewing party — including a chocolate cake!
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead!
In the Divergent series, future Chicago has divided the population into five factions, each with the emphasis on a personality trait: caring, honesty, intelligence, courage and kindness.
In the first book, during the “Choosing Ceremony” the main character Beatrice decides to defect from the faction she was raised in, selfless Abnegation, to join the brave Dauntless. Two weeks into her Dauntless initiation, her mother comes on family visiting day (this entire scene is quite a bit different in the film).
After a somewhat confusing conversation, Mrs. Prior stops before leaving. Here’s what we learn:
“‘Have a piece of cake for me, all right? The chocolate. It’s delicious.; … I stand alone in the blue light coming from the lamp above me, and I understand: She had been to the compound before. She remembered this hallway. She knows about the initiation process.
My mother was Dauntless.”
The deliciousness of Dauntless’ cake is mentioned a few more times throughout the series, so it only seemed fitting to serve up a rich chocolate cake with decadent chocolate frosting.
DAUNTLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE (Adapted from Ina Garten)
Note: You can split the batter into either two or three 8-inch cake pans. For two fatter layers, cook slightly longer (35-40 mins), for three skinnier layers, bake for about 30-32 mins. You do not need a stand mixer for this recipe (though, it makes things a bit quicker).
Let’s Make Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare two or three 8-inch cake pans. Spray with oil, then press a circle of parchment into the bottom, spray again, then dust each with flour. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl), sift together the dry ingredients.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and oil. Slowly pour into the dry ingredients with the mixer on low.
5. Stir in the vanilla and coffee until just combined, then split evenly among the prepared cake pans.
6. Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes (on the lower end for three layers, up to 40 mins. for two layers).
7. Cool 10 minutes in the cake pans, then turn out onto wire racks. Let sit for at least 2 hours but up to overnight to cool completely.
Let’s Make that Rich Chocolate Frosting:
1. Stir the cocoa into the melted butter to make a fudgey base.
2. Mix in the vanilla and milk until completely combined.
3. With stand mixer on low, whisk in powdered sugar one cup at a time.
4. Turn mixer up to medium high and whisk for 3-4 minutes until ingredients are fully incorporated. You may need to add the additional milk one TBS at a time. The final consistency should be fluffy and spreadable.
5. Place a cake board on your cake stand (or use a spinning cake pedestal). Drop a dollop of frosting in the center of the cake board. This will help the cake adhere to the board.
6. Carefully remove the parchment from the bottom of the first layer. This cake is very moist and it will try to fall apart on you. For best results, wrap the cake in plastic and freeze slightly. Otherwise just be gentle.
7. Place the first layer flat side up in the center of the cake board. Use an offset spatula to cover the top of the layer with frosting, then add the next layer (also flat side up). Repeat and add the third layer.
8. Switch to a flat spatula, and begin frosting the sides gently. Be careful not to pick up crumbs that will get stuck in the icing. You can also start with a very thin layer, freeze for 30-45 mins, then add a second coat.
9. Smooth the icing on the top of the third layer with the offset spatula and remove any excess.
10. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe by Emma Carew Grovum. She is the web and social media editor for Foreign Policy magazine and uses her newsroom colleagues as taste testers. Emma has previously worked for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Webbmedia Group, The Cooking Club of America and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She loves Star Wars, pandas and all things Joss Whedon. Find her on twitter at @emmacarew.