The White House Responds to the Death Star Petition

The White House’s response to the Death Star petition hit over the weekend. If you missed it, go read it. It includes this line:

Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

Pancakes just got about 83% better

From Jim’s Pancakes comes the AT-AT Pancake.

Would you pay $400 to recreate Darth Vader’s Super Star Destroyer Executor

First of all, it’s called the Super Star Destroyer Executor? For real? Anyway, on September 1st LEGO is releasing a 3,152 brick, 50-inch, $400 set that lets you create Darth Vader’s personal spaceship in your own home.

So, would you pay $400 for a LEGO set? I paid $100 for the Harry Potter castle and that seemed a little ridiculous. However, it was a lot of fun putting it together with my nephews.

Also, of interesting Minneapolis Lego note: The Guthrie Theater made out of LEGOs.

There’s still time to add these to your holiday wishlist

We’re just gonna offer this up without comment. You can get more details at Wired.

I kissed a nerd

The only way to follow up that CONvergence post is with this.

Great Moments in Nerdery: Carleton students turn observatory into R2-D2

via Julio Ojeda-Zapata who has links to more pictures for your perusal.

Now there really is no need to actually watch Star Wars

If I’d been more eagle-eyed I’d have posted this yesterday on “May the 4th be with you” day. But, well, I wasn’t. As someone whose never actually watched Star Wars (yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before), I found this pretty enlightening and entertaining. Plus, it’s made with Legos. Best of all, it’s only 2 minute and 13 seconds. Full of win, it is.

Great Moments in Nerdery: The name’s Jankov. Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov

Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov

Said Norwegian bus driver Andreas Jankov, who legally lengthened his name to Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov (seen here displaying new drivers license): “I wanted to show that it is possible to be serious and at the same time take the name you like. I wanted to see how far I could take it with respect to the number of names.”

Mr. Jankov, we salute you. See you at a Vikings game?

CONvergence: Army of nerds hold Twin Cities hotel for four days

While others were picnicking and watching fireworks over the long Fourth of July weekend, two embedded reporters from The Nerdery instead enjoyed the great indoors at CONvergence, a four-day nerdathon attended last weekend by hundreds of sci-fi/fantasy fanatics. Following is a secondhand account based on interviews with Kai Esbensen, our manager of quality assurance, and Kris Szafranski, our director of software development.

Kai and Kris at CON (not pictured: Kai and Kris)
Kai and Kris at CON (not pictured: Kai and Kris)

CONvergence (CON for short) is run by its parent organization, the Minnesota Society for Interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Misfits). A four-day pass was $45 in advance and $70 at the door, plus room fees for outstate nerds – but the Sheraton in Bloomington is just a couple miles from the Nerdery – stumbling distance.
SPACE BALLS!  who let THEM in here.....Oh geez, there goes the planet
Both Kai and Kris found CONvergence to be excellent people-watching at almost every turn, particularly poolside, where people would gather to eat and have sword (or light saber) fights. Also, both found it hard to look away from the kissing booth – 30 seconds for a buck. The Anti-Klingon Room was filled with hearts, muffins and the kind of pleasantries most Klingons list as turnoffs. Down the hall there was Klingon belly dancing and an Agony Booth (acting!). The Romulan pub had four primary colored mystery beverages in unmarked decanters. Dr. Horrible’s sing-along room was packed with people belting out nerdy tunes as if their lives depended on it.

“There was a lot of pent-up dorkdom being released at CON,” said Kris. “It’s a time and place for people to completely geek out. They can just be themselves, or whoever they want to be – whether it’s a zombie, a Steampunk or that “this is Sparta!” guy from “300.”

I nodded as if I got I the reference. As an intrigued outsider, I get how Tom Wolf must have felt when he met the Merry Pranksters and set out to write The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test; I’m not fully “on the bus” with sci-fi culture but I do enjoy it vicariously. But my enjoyment pales in comparison to Kai’s.

“There’s so much positive energy at CON,” Kai said. “Everyone’s approachable, there’s no attitude or hostility – just disarmed sweethearts being adorable, happy, free … it’s like a nerdy Woodstock with tech hippies.”

Summer of Love revisited
Summer of Love revisited

This was Kai’s sixth year at CONvergence and the first (but not last) time for Kris. By day, conference rooms have film screenings, theatrical performances, speakers, art shows, collectable dealing, and panel discussions. Kai gave high marks to a panel he went to on critical thinking. Kris came away from a panel on sci-fi-movies-that-are-so-bad-that-they’re-good with a long Netflix wish list.

Paul Stanley and Spidey - together at last
Paul Stanley and Spidey - together at last

During the evening and wee hours, attendees roam the hallways room to room, hitting variously themed parties. Some were duds. “You couldn’t just put out a bowl of candy corn and expect people to hang around,” said Kai.

But there was nearly always a line for The House of Toast, where you could pick up to three toppings (about a hundred were listed). Kris and a friend decided to order for each other (and had they made a puke pact only one of them would have held up their end of the bargain). Kris ordered Nutella, Tabasco, and turkey gizzards for his friend, who countered with chocolate frosting, salsa and peaches. Other foodies took leaps of blind-faith at The Glory Hole of Snack Food – literally a who-knows-what-you’ll-get-hole-in-the-wall where bold patrons press their mouth in anticipation/apprehension.
Food and beverage is always available to CON attendees (50 pizzas are delivered every hour). Kai remarked that the constant techno music in the grand ballroom and at food stands was maybe too cool/not nerdy enough. “I’d have preferred some DEVO or maybe They Might Be Giants (the band that once begged the question from David Letterman: “When will we know?”)
Other costumes: A three-year old kid dressed as Han Solo. A women in her 70’s dressed as a sort of mystic. Godzilla. Tron and a slew of other video game characters. Knights. A molecule of zinc. King Kong. Kris did not dress up and said it made him feel a bit out of place, while Kai wore a lab coat (a company man; he puts the “lab” in Nerdery Interactive Labs). Many others were dressed as their ancestors did a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Next year’s theme: The bad guys of sci-fi. Will you give in to the dark side?

The Captain gets the last word.

How Many Nerds Does It Take…

Q: How many nerds does it take to assemble a 3D puzzle of the Millennium Falcon?

A: All of them evidently.

When I found a 3D puzzle of the Millennium Falcon in a batch of my childhood stuff my parents refused to store for me any longer, I knew it belonged at The Nerdery. Puzzles and Chess are two of the constants of the break room here. I don’t want to ruin the ending of the video, but this “fully dimensional” puzzle was no match combined talents of Dave, Matt and Jessica. [Editor’s note: everybody was off the clock]

Star Wars Millennium Falcon Puzzle from The Nerdery on Vimeo.

And, in honor of the Millennium Falcon: