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Nerd Love: V Day Gifts for the Geek in Your Life

geekvdayAh, Valentine’s Day. It’s a day dreaded by some and obnoxiously over-adored by others. New couples and those who have just begun dating may find it awkward and have no idea exactly what to do. Then there are those who have celebrated Valentine’s Day with the same person every day for several years, and they may have run out of material. In addition to not knowing how to spend V Day or what to get our mates, we are hit with a barrage of corny suggestions about how we should observe the Feast of St. Valentine from melodramatic women’s magazines, the greeting card industry, and pretty much anyone trying to sell anything. Not only does this put unnecessary pressure on all of us, it also takes away from the significance of the day.

For us geeks, however, Valentine’s Day can be a fun way to use our nerdy craftiness and creativity to show those we love just how special they are. So what geeky goodies can you concoct for the tech-loving, graphic-novel reading, cosplaying nerd in your life? Here are a few gift ideas that even the most discerning geek in your life (paging Dr. Sheldon Cooper) will adore.

Craft an Action-Packed Geek Gift Basket

Who doesn’t go nuts for a nice gift basket, especially when it’s themed and filled with all of your favorite things? Gift baskets are perfect on a variety of levels as they’re easy to put together, can be customized, and can be given to anyone. In love with a gamer? Pop in your local GameStop, and pick up some of the latest video games, or go old school and track down a few older games for that throwback game console he still uses.

Besides games, include other video-game theme swag like T-shirts, character figurines, or movies based on your partner’s favorite games. Remember to add some edible treats like gummies shaped like popular Nintendo characters or bake your own treats like cupcakes that look like small versions of the mushrooms of Mushroom Kingdom. No matter what you throw in your basket, make sure that it follows along with your theme.cosplayvday

Put on a Cosplay Burlesque Show

Valentine’s Day presents the perfect opportunity to showcase your creativity through costume play. If your guy or girl is into cosplay, this is a great way to take part in his or her favorite hobby, or it can be an ideal introduction if they’ve never ventured into any sort of role play. Don’t just throw on any ordinary costume and chill around your house, however. Spice things up by adding sexy embellishments like fishnets to that Sailor Moon getup or bright red patent leather boots that creep up your thighs for your Wonder Woman outfit and put on a show for your lover.

You can then study up on some hot burlesque moves and put on a saucy cosplay striptease for him. Perform your private show live for him in the boudoir or surprise him (and appeal to his techie side) by sending him a “confidential” file containing a video of your spicy burlesque number. By doing it securely via Sharefile, which offers safe and secure file hosting and transferring, you’ll make sure that your gift won’t get into the wrong hands. I think I speak for everyone when I say you don’t want that to happen! Regardless of your delivery method, with the right cosplay gear and stellar burlesque routine, your Valentine’s Day will surely be memorable.

geekyvday2Try Something New

While your nerdy partner may be in to exploring new tech gadgets or unknown galaxies that are far, far away, getting him or her to try something new may present a major challenge. Use this Valentine’s Day as an excuse to be spontaneous and participate in an activity that the two of you have never taken on alone or as a couple. Take the day off and go on a road trip or spend the day at the beach learning to surf. Try learning a hands-on skill or trade such as pottery or wine making. Not only is this a unique break from the traditional V day festivities, it’s also a wonderful way to make your relationship stronger, your bond tighter, and, of course, expand your mind.

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Are We Brainwashed By Beauty?

Dustin Hoffman

A recently unearthed video clip of Dustin Hoffman talking about what it was like making his 1982 Academy Award nominated film Tootsie, and also what it was like to see himself as a woman is causing a stir. The distinguished actor has to struggle to keep himself composed as he relays the epiphany he had that as a man he had been brainwashed by our society’s concepts of beauty, attraction, respect for women.

The video was uploaded to the American Film Institute’s Youtube channel last year, but it is making the viral rounds due to coverage on tumblr, The Mary SueUpworthy, and even the Today show website. It has begun to open up an interesting dialog all over the internet about preconceived notions surrounding beauty and its weight as a deciding factor of a woman’s worthiness as a potential romantic interest. Laws of attraction aside, Hoffman’s touching recollection gives us all something to ponder and seriously consider when we think about how we interact on a personal level with others.

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Interview: Joanne Arnett, Creator Of Secret Admirer Handmade Cards

47dce2b4896924dc6cdc5bbf8c20867e_largeJoanne Arnett is an artist on a mission to spread love this Valentine’s Day. Her Kickstarter project, Secret Admirer, has already received a huge response with over 500 backers supporting her efforts to bring a little joy from Loveland, OH to their loved ones and secret crushes. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Joanne about art and romance in general.

Ari: When did you first start crafting and making art?

Joanne: I’m one of those kids who always wanted to be an artist. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something

Ari: Do you think handmade papercrafting is becoming a dying art?

Joanne: I visited the SOFA expo in Chicago this fall and there were some great paper/craft based pieces exhibited. Artists are working with the paper in books and maps and making something completely new. The Hansel & Gretel: a shadow theater note book project  currently running on Kickstarter is a beautiful example of contemporary paper craft. I think craft in general is experiencing resurgence and paper is certainly a part of that. So no, I don’t think it’s dying.

Ari: Where do you normally get inspiration from for your art or crafting ideas?

Joanne: I take a lot of inspiration from photography. The process of developing an image is sort of magic, and that experience of seeing an image appear is important to my work. I’m drawn toward awkward and imperfect images, bad yearbook portraits, mug shots, folk and outsider art.

Ari: What advice do you have for others, particularly women, who are interested in art and crafting as more than just a hobby?

Joanne: Get your work out there! You can make the best quilts, sketches, letterpress cards, whatever. But if you don’t get your work out there no one will know and others can’t enjoy it.

Ari: Did you ever expect such a huge response to your Kickstarter idea?

Joanne: Nope. I hoped there would be fifty people who wanted a $5 postcard so the project would be funded, and if things went really crazy well I might be 200% funded. Surprise! The response has been wonderful. I’ve started writing messages and each one makes me smile.  I feel so lucky to be sending out so many lovely notes.

Ari: What do you love most about Valentine’s Day?

Joanne: We should probably all tell those we love that we care about them more often than we do, so I think it’s nice that there is one day of year designated as a time to do just that.

RogueGalleryDetail
Rogue Gallery Detail

Ari: What would be your idea of the most romantic Valentine’s Day surprise?

Joanne: A bottle of champagne and a handmade card.

Ari: Are you inspired by any romantic movies and what are your favorites?

Joanne: I don’t know if this is really considered a romantic movie, but that moment when Johnny Depp swings past Mary Stewart Masterson’s window in Benny & Joon is just perfect. And I think Lost in Translation is a beautiful love story, although it’s about a different kind of love.

SelfPortrait
Self Portrait

Ari: What are some other art pieces you are working on?

Joanne: I am currently creating thesis work for a master of fine arts degree at Kent State University. I break apart the materials used in traditional photography, paper becomes cotton yarn and the metals used in light sensitive emulsions become silver wire, and I build portraits by weaving the new materials together. The image is visible when light bounces off the shiny wire, and it disappears as the viewer’s perspective changes. It’s exciting to create art in a way I’ve never seen before.

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