Monthly Archives: April 2012

GUEST POST: Coty Chanley – The 5 Hottest Beefcakes in Star Trek

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I am supposed to be starting a new series today, but thanks to a lovely weekend of being bedridden with strep throat I haven’t even figured out what my next series is going to be about. Thankfully, I have a wonderful friend who volunteered to write something up for me when he heard that I did not have anything prepared. I must admit, I was a little nervous about turning my blog over to the very colorful Coty, but he managed to keep things at a PG-13 level for me, which if you have ever listened to Glee Chat or Smash Chat, you know is quite the feat of self-control for him. I hope you enjoy his post, it certainly had me laughing!

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I feel like I need to justify this post by informing everyone that there are two things I have weird tastes in: dessert, and men. Jessica can attest to both. [Jess here: It’s true. We rarely ever agree on these two things, especially dessert.]

Now, I am not your typical Trekkie. That said, I love Star Trek. My favorite series is Voyager (I know, I know, I just love a strong woman), but I fell in love with The Next Generation. As much as I love Trek though, I also love men.

You see, my love of Trek and my love of men has often collided. Star Trek series have wonderful actors, but sometimes they don’t hire the hottest of hotties to play the male roles. You know why? Because Star Trek’s main demographic is straight men who have never seen a woman naked and still dream of owning their own Orion Slave Girl. Instead, Star Trek goes for hot ladies.

That being said, there are some attractive men on Star Trek, at least, I think they are. Now, we all know Kirk and Picard are hotties, but I think the real beefcakes are hidden in the secondary characters. The glistening abs of Kirk can only get you so far, my friends. So, in times of boredom (or, when the internet is out if you know what I mean), I get out my collection of Star Trek DVDs and go for the hotties.

In no particular order, I present to you:

The 5 Beefcakes of Star Trek

#5 – Sulu (played by George Takei

While George Takei is almost as well-known as William Shatner, let us assume for a moment that George Takei had his moment of fame and drifted into the background. This glistening man stunned us all with his fencing skills in TOS (for you non-trekkies that means The Original Series). Now, not only was Mr. Takei good looking then, he’s aged very well. And he’s hilarious. If you aren’t a fan of him on Facebook, well, oh my.

#4 – Trip (as played by Connor Trineer)

Look, I’ve never really watched Enterprise (because it sucks), but I think we can agree that Connor Trineer is a babe. Like, look at that hair. And those eyes. And mmmmmmmhhhhmmmmmm. You know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout, right ladies? He gets my britches all WARP SPEED. I don’t really know a lot about his accomplishments other than the fact he got me to watch that stupid show for 5 minutes, which is a miracle in and of itself.

#3 – Data (as played by Brent Spiner)

So, I know we’re not quite ready for Man/Robot relationships yet, but Commander Data was fully functional. And I know he was all into Tasha Yarr and stuff, but I’m not afraid to put on a wig and parade around like a lady if it gets me a night with Data. He has all the qualities I like in a man: tall, pasty, strong, unaware of social norms, and selfless. I mean…that scene…in Nemesis…I cried. I cried a lot.

#2 – Dr. Bashir (as played by Alexander Siddig)

I watched a lot of DS9 (Deep Space 9) one summer when I didn’t do anything. I never got the arcs, but since I have Netflix, I plan to watch all of DS9 during the summer. One of my favorite things about Dr. Bashir was that he wasn’t afraid to use the holodeck for what normal people would use it for: hot sex with celebrities who are way out of your league. (I’M LOOKIN’ AT YOU, BRAD PITT)

–Actually, side note, I’m way out of Brad Pitt’s league. Have you seen that man recently? What happened to Fight Club Brad Pitt? Oh yeah, HE GOT MARRIED. Just one more reason I don’t believe in women.—

#1 The Doctor (as played by Robert Picardo)

I am a little biased on this one. Let me first tell you why I think The Doctor is cool. First, he doesn’t even need a name. Second, he has the biting sarcasm I love in a man. Third, he’s a hologram. You know what I’d do if I were a hologram? Make myself invisible and spy on all the hot Ensigns. You know what he did? HE SAVED LIVES. Now, for my bias, I actually got to meet Robert Picardo at a signing in St. Louis a few months ago. I got his autograph and he said “Have a nice day,” and I said “Mtmrmemamathanksyou” because I’m socially awkward AND HE WAS ON STAR TREK.

So there you have it, the beefcakes of Star Trek. Do you have any Star Trek hotties you fancy?

GUEST POST: Debra Kristi – An Asperger Geek Link

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As you should all know by now, April is Autism Awareness Month. Having spent three years working closely with children with autism, this is a subject very near to my heart. But I am not a parent of one of these wonderful children. So, no matter how much time I spent with them or how much I love them, I can’t speak to what it is like to be the parent of one and live with it 24/7. Thankfully, the wonderful Debra Kristi, who is the parent of an ASD child, agreed to share with us. I will now hand it over to her.

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Wow! It’s a pleasure to be here at Jessica’s castle of the Sexy Nerd again. I must admit to feeling rather nervous when Jessica first asked me to be a guest for her autism month. You see, my son was diagnosed as a high functioning Asperger late this last year, so the subject is still fairly new to me.

It’s easy for parent’s emotions to get clouded at the time of a new diagnosis such as this, but to be honest, it was a relief to finally make sense of all the outbursts, and uncharacteristic behaviors. For a child of ten it was troubling that he was still having a hard time making friends and becoming extremely anxious over change. By change, I mean things such as a new sports coach, for example. He also wouldn’t hold eye contact for more than thirty seconds nor stay in a conversation that wasn’t one of his choosing. His monologue would go on without ceasing even when the world appeared to be ending for others around him, he’d simply talk right over the crazy. It was maddening. But finally, having something to work with made approaching each situation somehow more doable and less frightening.

We can now better help direct him, as we are more appropriately prepared to help him be a more productive member of society. It takes time and effort, but he can learn to pick up on those social queues that come so naturally to so many of us. People with Aspergers live in a different world than you and me. They see things in their own kind of light. In many ways, it’s rather brilliant and amazing. When the little kids around him were singing “Wheels on the Bus” my son was humming the full orchestration theme to Star Wars or Indiana Jones. When talking to an adult, he will almost always say things that sound years ahead of his age, and come across as considerate and bright. But in dealing with children his own age, that’s where his social skills are lacking and where much of our challenge lies. This last year we saw some vast improvements because we addressed them in new ways.

It used to be that autism cases were 1 in 10,000. But those numbers are rapidly growing. In the 1990’s they had already tripled in California. Aspergers is one of the disorders on the autistic spectrum. It’s a milder form of the condition. While a large percentage of those with other autistic disorders may suffer from mild to severe mental subnormality, Aspergers generally have average – or even very high IQs.

One area where the rates are especially elevated are Santa Clara County. What do you think of when you hear that? Silicon Valley, right? Geek central. Aspergers is becoming known as the engineers disorder. One of the single minded.

As the increase of children born with Aspergers in these areas continues, a reverse diagnosis is taking place. Parents are finding out that they have a milder version of the syndrome. Areas such as Silicon Valley bring together people of like minds that are more likely to already be on the autistic spectrum and are therefore more likely to produce autistic, or Asperger children. Some economic and business areas are prepared for this and have schooling systems in place to meet the families’ needs.

This increase in the autistic and Asperger syndrome is a more recent development with the education of women and their entrance into the computer, educational and programming fields where we see many of these developments taking place as a result of these like types pairing up and starting families. But they are not contained to just these areas. It is wide spread as techie minded and artistic types are in many fields.

Of course environmental factors have not been ruled out and are still being looked into, but it is believed by scientist that genetics does play a part. As to how much, it’s hard to say.

When my son was diagnosed, my family started sending me articles. I jumped on the internet and borrowed books to do my own research. You can imagine how this new knowledge overwhelmed me. But, as it settled in, it started to make sense. Looking back through my family line and what I know of my husband’s, I can see the syndrome playing a part in our bloodlines, mild as it may be, and undiagnosed through all these years. It’s rather fascinating to think about, really.

My son is smart and he is coming along fine. He will do alright in life. His hardest challenge will always be on the social end of things, but he has a support group now to help him see his way. Who knows, he may be one of tomorrow’s brilliant minds. Personally, I hope he develops his amazing art talent. But it’s all up to him. The future is wide open.

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I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Debra for writing this post and sharing this part of her life with us. If you are curious about the subject that Debra brought up and would like to read more, you can check out The Geek Syndrome, published in Wired Magazine.

Debra Kristi lives with her husband, two active children, and one White’s Tree Frog. She is currently working on her first Young Adult Fantasy novel, but has many more stories to share. She holds a degree in Operations Management and a Professional Designation in Visual Display and Spatial Design. When not writing or trapped in homework hell, she is usually building puzzles or Legos with her kids in her free time.

Not All Screaming Children Are Dudley Dursley

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At the beginning of the month I mentioned that April is Autism Awareness Month and wrote a little about what autism actually is. Last week I wrote another post related to autism, but as you may have noticed, I did not post it. For whatever reason, it didn’t sit right with me and I didn’t have the time to come up with something else.

I have spent a good deal of time trying to figure out why it is that I am having such difficulty getting another post on this topic together and I believe I have figured out the problem. Last week I really wanted to put a face to autism, to show what it looks like in reality. I want to show how wonderful these children are and how the extra challenges they present are part of what makes them so wonderful. I want people to have patience with them and not judge them when they are having a difficult time. I want people to understand that in order to improve the behavior the parent or therapist may have to let it play out some.

The problem is, I can’t think of a way to do this without sharing specific stories of the kids I have worked with and, even with changing names and identifying information, this is not something I am comfortable with. I am going to try to talk about my experiences in a more general way, hopefully it works this time.

I have had the good fortune to work closely and develop special relationships with 7 different children with autism. All 7 children were incredibly different from each other and all 7 children were incredibly incredible. Each and every day one of them would do something to make me laugh or make me smile or melt my heart. Each and every day one of them would also do something to make me want to pull my hair out or scream. But I still loved them and all I wanted to do was find a way to help them.

Most of the children I worked with veered towards the middle or low functioning end of the spectrum. Communication was really difficult for them. This resulted in a lot of frustration on both sides as they tried to figure out ways to express what they wanted and needed while I tried desperately to figure it out. Sometimes we could figure it out together and sometimes the frustration would boil over into a tantrum. Sometimes these tantrums would happen in public.

One of the big things I worked on with my kids was being able to go out in public and behave appropriately. I would take them to places like the movie theater, out to eat in restaurants, to the store, etc. More times than not these outings went well, but sometimes they did not. In a way, this was good. I wanted the kids to have whatever challenges they were going to have with me so that I could shape their behavior and help them be able to tolerate and, hopefully, enjoy the outings so that they could participate with their families. This meant that I had to deal with the behaviors head on rather than escaping from the public environment as fast as I could. That was not always easy.

When you have a child screaming and thrashing about, people tend to stare and, on occasion, say something rude. As I am sure you can imagine, this does not help. As a therapist, not a parent, it was easier for me to ignore rude people, but all I could think during these situations was how hard it must be for the parents when the looks and murmurs are directed at them and their child. Those people passing judgement don’t know or understand the truth of the situation. To them, you are a bad parent and your kid is a brat. That is a hard pill to swallow, especially when you know that nothing could be further from the truth.

This may seem like a strange thing to talk about, but it is something that I think about a lot. I just love these kids so much and to see people look on them with judgement hurts. They are so much more than their behavior difficulties and I want people to see that. I want people to stop before passing judgement on a parent struggling with a child and acknowledge that they do not know the circumstances surrounding the behavior. I want people to give these kids and their parents the benefit of the doubt. I can’t tell you how many times one of my kids would pitch a royal fit the first time we tried a new activity only to grow to love it after being able to work through the behavior on several tries. So many kids miss out on this because of judgement they and their parents receive. This breaks my heart.

I hope that I haven’t come across as too soapboxy. I think it is obvious that this is an issue close to my heart. Now, I do understand that there is a limit to how much you allow a child to act out inside a restaurant, a movie theater, a library, etc. Sometimes it is necessary to take the child outside and help them calm down before returning and discretion must be used to determine what that threshold is. But the fact remains, a little tolerance and understanding from the bystanders around you can go a long way. You just never know if the child screaming a few tables over is a Dudley Dursley or a child doing the best he knows how with the toolset he possesses.

What do you think? Have you ever had an experience like this out in public? How did people react and how did those reactions affect you? If you haven’t experienced this personally, do you know someone who has? Or have you ever witnessed someone going through this? Let me know in the comments. Also, be sure to check back Friday for a very special guest post.

The Infernal Devices

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I first discovered Cassandra Clare when a friend of mine gave me one of the books in The Mortal Instruments series. I devoured this (at the time) trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed the world that Clare had created. It is a world that exists within our own, but demons and supernatural creatures, such as faeries, also exist in the shadows outside the knowledge of mundanes (normal humans). In this world there is a race of people called Shadowhunters who have been tasked with sending the demons back to hell.

Clare was able to give a fresh twist on the supernatural genre that has oversaturated the market recently, especially within the Young Adult (YA) genre. So when I happened upon a new series she has written, set in the same world, but back in the 1800’s, I was thrilled. So far there have been two books in The Infernal Devices series: Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince.

Tessa Gray leaves America to join her brother in England. When she arrives in England she is held captive by two women she knows as the Dark Sisters and she discovers that she has the ability to shapeshift into other people. Once Tessa seems to have mastered her new ability, the Dark Sisters tell Tessa that she is to marry a man known only as the Magister. Tessa attempts to escape and, with the aid of two young Shadowhunters, she is able to do so. It does not take long for them to realize that there is much more going on than they are aware of and that the Magister is behind it all.

This new series has a lot of similarities to its predecessor. The female lead finds herself suddenly thrust into the world of Shadowhunters and the supernatural; one of the male leads is a dark, brooding character with a mysterious past and a sarcastic tongue; there is another male character that has a softer personality than the dark one and begins a friendship with the female; a love triangle develops between the three….there are more, but these are the most glaringly obvious. In spite of the similarities, though, there are enough differences in character and plot that my interest was maintained.

One of the really neat things for people who have read Clare’s earlier series is that there are a few familiar faces. Many of the supernatural beings that exist in this world are immortal, so even though a couple hundred years separate the two series these characters are able to exist in both. It is a nice treat, an added bonus, but certainly not necessary to ones understanding, so people who have not read the other series miss out on nothing that is happening.

The Infernal Devices is a really fun, YA series to escape into. It is not overly complicated or literary (in otherwords, it’s an easy read), but sometimes that is exactly what you need. For me, Clockwork Prince was the perfect book to read between books 3 & 4 in George R.R. Martin’s incredibly complex A Song of Ice and Fire series. I really do care about the characters and want to know what is going to happen to them. There is much we have learned by the end of Clockwork Prince, but there is still so much more we do not yet know. I can’t wait to learn the answers to all of my questions. It is with eager anticipation that I await the next and, I believe, final installment.

Have you read either of the books in The Infernal Devices series? What about The Mortal Instruments? What do you like or dislike about them? Let me know in the comments.

Let’s Play! Can You Guess That Theme Song?

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You may or may not have noticed that my blog remained rather silent this week. I actually did write a post for Wednesday, but I didn’t like it and didn’t feel comfortable posting it, so I didn’t. It was actually quite liberating to make that decision and be okay with it. I considered coming up with something else, but I simply did not have the time or the motivation. It has just been one of those weeks. Hopefully all of you understand and can forgive me.

So, for today I only have two mash-up links (can I still call it a mash-up with only two links?), but they are well worth checking out.

Elves March on Immortal Monday – Tolkein Style by Debra Kristi: Love, love, love this post. It is incredibly interesting, looking into the history of elves as well as some of the differences between Elves and the Fae.

Cinderella Strong by August McLaughlin: The multi-talented August takes a look at the Cinderella story from the perspective that it is actually a metaphor. It is a neat take on the story and at the end she shares the music video for her song, “Cinderella.”

I also have what, I hope, is a really fun vlog. This week I decided to try to play a game with you guys through my vlog. If you were a child of the 80’s (or had a child in the 80’s), then you should appreciate the throw back to a time when cartoons were awesome. Be warned, though, in this video I do not hold my natural dorkiness back. This is me in all my dork glory.

Alright, let’s see how many of you know your 80’s cartoons. Leave your answers in the comments. No cheating!

Avengers Assemble: Iron Man

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For the past several weeks I have been looking at the characters that make up the Avengers. So far I have looked at Thor, the Hulk, and Captain America. Today brings me to the final post of my series and the most well known character of the bunch (at least for people who only know these guys from the movies).

Iron Man

Tony Stark is an insanely wealthy genius who has a very high opinion of himself. When he was captured and injured by terrorists he came up with the first prototype of the Iron Man suit in order to escape. He returned home greatly shaken and changed from the months he spent in captivity. He decided that he wanted to erect change in the world around him, so he took the time to perfect his idea and came up with the suit that would dub him Iron Man.

Before I get into the psyche of Tony Stark and how he will interact with the others, there are several other important components to the Avengers that were introduced in his movies, especially Iron Man 2. Between the two movies we are introduced to S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury, and Black Widow. I gotta be honest, I am not a Scarlett Johansson fan. I don’t know what it is about her, but I just don’t care for her. It’s not like a film is ruined for me just because she is in it, but I will certainly never go see anything just because of her name. Having said that, Black Widow is pretty kick ass. She did not have a very big role in Iron Man 2 (which suited me just fine), but whenever we got to see her in action my jaw dropped. My hope is that her character will have a similar supporting role in The Avengers.

Okay, back to Tony Stark. I think it is pretty clear that Tony is going to be the biggest wild card of the group (Thor comes in at a close second). He is extremely narcissistic and does not like to be told what to do by others at all. I do believe that the events of the two previous films have taught him a lot and stretched him, but they have not changed the fundamental core of who he is. There is really no predicting what he will do. He acts on whim and emotion.

We have already seen from trailers that there will be friction between Tony and the other members of the Avengers team, particularly Captain America. I imagine that he is going to arrive at S.H.I.E.L.D. and instantly try to take over the planning of everything. He will think that his ideas and plans are better than everyone else’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in time he tries to go off and execute something on his own only to have it blow up in his face and force him to acknowledge his need to work with the others.

The only thing I can think of that might cause Tony to be somewhat calmer this time around is that his health issues are now resolved. A large majority of his erratic and immature behavior in Iron Man 2 was due to his belief that he would soon be dead. That belief was a huge driving force behind his behavior. With the discovery and synthesization of the new element that would solve the blood poisoning issues caused by the element previously keeping him alive, he was able to stop moping and focus on what needed to be done. With that motivator gone he should, hopefully, be better able to focus from the get go.

With Tony Stark’s character in The Avengers only one thing is certain – he will be an agent of conflict as well as a vital component in the fight. I am interested to see how he even manages to manipulate Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. into letting him be a part of the team. Where things stand at the end of Iron Man 2, he was told that he was not considered a suitable candidate for the Avengers initiative due to all of the very things that I have discussed. He was instead asked to only join the team as a consultant, which he agreed to do. It appears he is going to figure out a way to assert his ability to get what he wants from early on.

I hope that you have enjoyed this series looking into the characters of The Avengers. I have certainly enjoyed writing it while I eagerly await the call that will go out on May 4: Avengers assemble.

Have you seen either of the Iron Man films? What did you think about them and the character of Tony Stark? How do you think his character will interact with the other members of the Avengers team? Let me know in the comments.

MASH-UP: Men, TV, Odd Fashion, and More

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I have lots to share with you guys today. First, in case you missed it, on Monday I did a guest post over at the always fabulous Natalie Hartford’s blog. I discuss the rather severe culture shock I faced when I was suddenly thrust into the realm of male sex after I started dating my husband. My innocent little self didn’t know how to handle the truth about boys.

Okay, and now I have a short little mash-up of awesome blogs for you to check out.

Meet Little Miss Took by Myndi Shafer: Myndi shares pictures of the newest addition to her family. Her little miss took is adorable. :)

Word Wisdom: Phrases I’ve Misinterpreted by Karen Rought: This post had me laughing so much as Karen shares five common phrases that never made sense to her because she was hearing them incorrectly. Something I am sure we can all relate to.

Farewell, Firefly: 5 TV shows gone too soon by Fabio Bueno: This post had me sold when I saw that the first show Fabio listed was Pushing Daises. I adored that show and was so sad when it went away.

The 6 Strangest Fashion Trends in History by Colin Falconer: This post is from last week, but I just saw it so it is getting included now. Colin found some hilarious fashion trends from the past, including a codpiece. Yep, you read that correctly.

And finally, here is my latest vlog. This week I give my reaction to the synopsis that was just released for JK Rowling’s new book, The Casual Vacancy, which will be released on September 27, 2012.

http://www.hypable.com/2012/04/12/j-k-rowling-announces-title-release-date-for-new-book/