Tag: Wheel of Time

Word of the Nerd Podcast – Episode 21

The passion of Lauren Zurchin episode! On this week’s show JP and Dieter speak with photographer Lauren Zurchin about her Kickstarter campaign to make a fantasy author calendar. With a host of big names, they discuss not only the interesting shots she has in mind, but her passion for the project, and her love of [...]

JP’s Christmas Shopping Guide 2012

Hello Nerdites! As Christmas approaches I find that probably the greatest gift I could receive is the break I am getting from my Master’s program. Go Noles! Wonderfully the time allows me to actually sit down and type something out and so here I am. With a week to go before the big day, many of us are scrounging around to find last-minute gifts, or more importantly the gift that is going to wow the special nerd in our life. Since many of us are bad at expressing what we want, I thought I would put out my Christmas list as a few last-minute ideas for our worried shoppers.

“Since time is the one immaterial object which we cannot influence–neither speed up nor slow down, add to nor diminish–it is an imponderably valuable gift.” Maya Angelou

Gifts are great, but I have always found that the best part of any holiday is spending it with the ones that you care about. With that in mind, I am a big fan of giving the gift of time and activity. Whether you are volunteering at a shelter, or going to a theme park, the important thing is to match the experience to the person and commit yourself to that time. You are your own greatest gift.

Your family is not the only show in town:

I love going to the movies. I love being wrapped in a story particularly as a vacation from all the stress of the holidays. This Christmas we will be treated to both the theatrical version of Les Misérables and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Either would make a great choice though both would be better.

There is a theatre near me called CinéBistro that has a 21 and up only upstairs (Mmmm alcohol and the holidays). With large leather seats and gourmet dining, this is no slacker gift and you can enjoy it too. If you get a chance to actually visit a CinéBistro, try their gourmet popcorn, served with chopsticks and mixed with calamari and popcorn chicken. DELICIOUS!

Game time is family time:

My wife and I bought our kids a Wii U for Christmas, and after going on strike, the kids and I convinced her to let us open it early. We now play NintendoLand every night as a family. It is probably my favorite time of day and I am itching to open Super Mario on Christmas so we can attack the game as a group. Many things will get blamed for ruining our children, TV and video games not least among them, but remember that they are tools and it is how you use that time that makes an amazing gift. I am also always down for a game of Monopoly if anyone is interested!


“I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer.” Neil Armstrong

We nerds love to dress the part. There was a time when we are kids where our dress was ridiculed and we desperately tried to fit in. Those days are long gone, and I now proudly wear my bow ties nearly everyday. So what better way to tell your nerd how much you care than helping them spruce up their nerd attire.

Bow ties are cool:

There are a ton of great accessories, but outside of the pocket protector, few scream nerd like a bow tie. The 11th Doctor’s favorite accessory is mine as well and thanks to Amazon it is not an expensive gift. I have been wanting this one with the skulls for some time now!

T-Shirts are timeless:

We nerdy types hold on to our t-shirts like they are made of gold, then once they become too holey to be suitable for public, we frame them in some weird collection. While I am on a Doctor kick here, I love Threadless and this design makes me giddy all over!

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso

While we are often considered analytical and schooly, we nerds love our art and collectibles. My one year old bought his first piece of art this year, a wonderfully stylized Mickey Mouse, that months later he carries around the house so everyone knows it is his. He of course got it at a convention, which if you preplanned (too late for this year) is a great place to acquire the gifts all year-long. Countless artists make the trek to conventions both large and small  and sell their wares. It is a great place to get fan gifts as well as many of the other things on this list.

Etsy should adorn my house:

Currently my walls are barren and white where I do not have con art gracing them. I can only wish to someday be able to go all interior designer with the countless products that Etsy has to offer. Two of my favorite artists sell their wares there, and I would love to unwrap something from their collection. Check out these Christmas ornaments by the wonderful Janet Lee, and wonderful wall pieces by the terrific Mike Maydak!












They’re not dolls, they’re action figures:

No Nerd is complete without a toy in a box, and Funko’s POP figurines have cornered the market on cute collectibles. Whether you are a comic fan, TV fan, or movie fan they have you covered. I love the DC ones but I have to admit I would be just as happy with the Disney ones.

“I liked to work in a shop down in the basement and invent things and build gadgets.” Francis Ford Coppola

While you may be surprised how many nerds and geeks actually do not get into the gadget craze, you would still be safe in assuming that any Best Buy purchase is going to be a win. The trick with electronics is knowing when to buy so as not to break the bank. Luckily we nerds are collector fanatics of even less expensive things. Movie and TV seasons will go a long way with this crowd and you can often get some great deals on Amazon and other sites.

To tablet or to ultrabook that is the question:

I already have an Acer Android tablet that I love very much, but I have recently been looking to upgrade. The question then becomes do I get another Android tablet, or do I make the move to Windows 8. In addition there is the question of tablet v ultrabook, though admittedly this is probably the biggest pipe dream due to price.








Collector’s editions are pretty:

We have talked about going to the movies and playing games as an activity, but sometimes you just want to give a gift not live it. That is why multimedia’s greatest accomplishment is the collectors edition of anything. My wife has now owned about 5 different versions of Dirty Dancing and Pretty Woman, but I am sure we will be buying the 50th anniversary editions at some point or another. For your nerd, Amazon has you covered with things like Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, or every season of Lost.









“Without music, life would be a mistake.” Friedrich Nietzsche

In the digital age music has become a bit of a novelty, but there is always a moment when you hear the right song and your body begins to get goosebumps. Those are the times when you remember the ones you have loved, lost and mourned. I am currently rocking out to Imagine Dragons and the sophomore offering of Mumford & Sons, but might I suggest giving your kids a Beatles’ album, it might just change their life.

Music and comedy make two gifts in one:

While I may have been all sentimental and touchy-feely before, I am also a fan of humor as a gift. As far as funny nerd music goes, few are as successful as the adorable ladies of Garfunkel and Oates. Send your BFF a copy of Slippery When Moist and they will be laughing until long after the new year.

Why listen when you can play it:

I have on many an occasion in my life attempted to learn to play the guitar and it is a dream I still hold on to. Whenever I do finally have the time, I will turn to Etsy again and the wonderful shop by Celentano Woodworks, who make custom guitars of the nerdiest kind. If you are willing to spend some money, $3,000 for the Steampunk Ukulele, these amazing instruments will bring some definite musical joy.









“We read to know we are not alone.” C.S. Lewis

Books can not only be a great gift, but they can be incredibly sentimental. The written word can not only be a friend when you are alone, but also a reminder of all the wonderful people you associate with it. Whether you are buying for a fan of whimsy and fantasy, or dystopian futures and heroic epics, books are always a phenomenal gift.

Comics are great stories too:

Comics are always on my Christmas list and they can be spectacularly great gifts. One of the best books of 2011 was Craig Thompson’s Blankets, an off beat coming of age/love story that is both beautiful and honest. That along with the quintessential Dark Knight Christmas story, Lee Bermejo’s  Batman: Noel, and your stockings will be ready to go!












Did I mention Collector’s Editions are Awesome:

Books are amazing and some of them even define a childhood. Few do it in the way that the fantasy genre has. With The Hobbit in theatres and Memory of Light set to end the Wheel of Time series in February, now would be a great time to spruce up the book collection with some nice new collectors sets. Just keep in mind that your Wheel of Time fan may also start crying uncontrollably.










“Even the simplest wicker basket can become priceless when it is loved and cared for through the generations of a family.” Sister Parish

Many of the gifts on this list are not cheap, but that does not mean you cannot satisfy your nerd on a budget. As with many things it is all in the packaging. Baskets allow you to both wow your audience and give a little bit of yourself. Buying candles with their favorite sent, or knickknacks for their shelves is always cute and fun. Additionally it is a great excuse to get into the kitchen and experiment. Everyone’s sweet tooth is in hyperactive mode during the holiday, so bringing the sugar will make you a hero.

Anything with caramel is yummy:

Making anything is great, but making anything with caramel is AWESOME! A holiday staple and everyone favorite is caramel popcorn. Now I know we are not all cooks, but admittedly popping some popcorn in the microwave is something we all do anyways. and caramel is not as hard as it seems. Get some pretty cellophane and some ribbon and you have a great basket stuffer.


Cookies are fun to decorate too:

Cookies are fun to cook because they not only let you customize your recipe but also to really let your artistic side out. Something we will be doing this year is setting up a decoration station and letting the kids make gifts for all our family members. Check out this sugar cookie recipe and then let your creative flag fly!

“Stuff for Smart Masses.” ThinkGeek

There are countless sites with nerdy themes, but few embrace it the way that ThinkGeek does. Whether it is accessories, clothing, or even tools to cook your sweets, ThinkGeek has everything you need to be the ultimate Santa. They run specials all the time and have always had wonderful purchasing with them. Just be wary of the Canned Unicorn Meat, it will get some odd looks.

The Doctor controls my tv:

Clearly I love Doctor Who, but there are few things more amazing than this next gift. The Sonic Screwdriver had until now simply been a novelty accessory, but now you can get one that controls your TV. With a wave of your wand you can slide your TV to BBC America and never miss your favorite time lord.

Jewelry for your physicist:

Jewelry is often a Christmas gift staple, but nerdy jewelry is not going to be found at your local department store. Luckily ThinkGeek has you covered. This atom pendant necklace will not only make you a hero, but will have you feeling like Einstein in your favorite reindeer sweater.

“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.” Dr. Seuss

In parting remember that it truly is the thought that counts. I always try to remember that a five dollar gift that actually has the person in mind goes a lot farther than a 100 dollar gift they will never use. When it comes to Christmas shopping “Keep Calm!” there is always a great gift out there, and the internet puts most of them at your finger tips. Services like Wish actually help you find them, and you can always stay tuned to the site for more gift ideas. Let us know what is on your list in the comments section, and no matter what your celebration have a happy holiday!

Podcast – Word Of The Nerd Podcast: Episode 2

WOTN Podcast Logo


Just in case you weren’t fully recovered from the last episode, JP & The Nerd are back with another Word of the Nerd Podcast.  This week the guys welcome Word of the Nerd staff writer and all-around “nerd of all trades” Kirsten Thompson.  The sharp wit and quips are non-stop as the gang talk about Wheel of Time and the upcoming promotion with Word of the Nerd and audiobook publisher Macmillan Audio.  Kirsten talks about her upcoming review of Womanthology and the subsequent Kickstarter project.  They also manage to talk a little about comic books and a lot about the non-sparkly versions of vampires, so strap yourselves in for a bumpy ride this week.


Preview: Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World #20

Can Egwene, Perrin and Elyes excape the Dark One's Eyes?Hello Nerdites! I have either read or listened to Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World at least a half dozen times, and that is only the first book in the Wheel of Time series. Rand al’Thor is not only the Dragon Reborn and Car’a’carn, but my friend that I have grown up with for more than decade. Matrim Cauthon is not only the Son of Battles and Prince of the Ravens, but my mischievous partner in crime. And Perrin Aybara is not only the Lord of the Two Rivers and Young Bull of the wolves, but he is the moral guide in all of us. The list goes on and on and I can talk to someone about it for days, but you get the idea. I grew up with Robert Jordan’s epic and there are few pieces of literature that have had a greater impact on me.

When I saw that Dynamite had a comic series based on the first book of the fifteen book masterpiece, I was immediately excited. Scripted by Chuck Dixon, yeah the Chuck Dixon that helped create Bane and all those wonderful Batman books, and drawn by Andie Tong there certainly was reason for my excitement. However, I did not jump right into the series. As with all books that are converted into other media, I knew that the pictures on the page would not match the pictures in my mind. I knew that the depth and length of the book would be hard to convey in a comic, and that ultimately my perception would be skewed by reading it. So I decided to hold off. Then Dynamite offered us a preview of issue #20 and I decided to give it a shot.

The current issue chronicles Perrin’s intial time with Elyas, immediately following their meeting with the Tuatha’an. He and Egwene have been separated from Will he accept his role as Young Bull?the rest of the Two Rivers folk and are now being guided by the former Warder. As I read the issue, I could not help but feel the excitement of the time. I do not want to give away too much, but if you are a fan of the series, you know that they are being hunted by the Eyes of the Dark One. I found the comic to be much more aggressive in feel than the book. Even Elyas was much more angry and forceful in comic form than he ever seemed to be in the book. Having said that, it works. Comics are much shorter and there are month long breaks in between issues. You need the reader to be compelled and this does that.

The art in the book is pretty if not my cup of tea. It is almost cartoony in feel and while that is OK,  I do not know that it matches the series. That being said, Tong does a decent job and for the casual reader you will enjoy the stylistic feel he provides. The panels move quickly and as with all well drawn comics you soon forget that you are reading panels all together. Again I know that I am jaded as I already know what these characters look like in my head, but I would not say that Tong’s interpretation is that far off.

I will always suggest that you read James Oliver Rigney (Robert Jordan) directly from the book, but that is not to say this is not a good alternative. His books are long and his series is colossal, so I understand it is not for everyone. Dixon and Dynamite appear to want to stay true to the original content and for that alone I cheer this book. If you are not already a fan of the series or the books, you may not understand everything going on in this issue, but you do not need to, the action will carry it for you. So I say pick it up and enjoy, because at the end of the day it is still one of the greatest stories ever told.