Parental Acts of Nerdery: And the Winners Are….


?If you’re interested in the entries from last weekend’s contest — and if you’re reading this, I assume you are — you’ve got quite a bit of text ahead of you, so let’s get right to it. All I’ll say is if you have nerdy parents, or at least parents who didn’t actively try to curb your nerdery, make sure you give them a hug next time you see them. Also, the picture is of Doc’s niece Rayden, dressed as Raiden from Mortal Kombat. No one on Earth has been happier about being dressed as a MK character, and no one on Earth looks more adorable doing so. Now, on with the show.

First, the HMs:


My son is autistic, high functioning but he still had problems with speech for the longest time. A few years ago I was training for a Super Smash Brother’s tournament and so I spent a couple hours every single day training against several high level computer opponents at once. It became a kind of afternoon ritual where after I would pick him up from school we would sit around and play SSBM for an hour or 2 while he ate his afternoon snack. One day I was off my game a bit and kept getting my ass handed to me and after my third or fourth “Gosh darn it” He just looks at me and says “Dad, why are you sucking so much?” I realized then and there that this was actually the first full sentence I had heard him say pretty much ever. I paused the game, gave him a hug and told him “I don’t know but I think I need a break”.

To this day I barely remember the tournament, but I remember his voice as clearly as if he were sitting next to me on the couch right now.


YAY! I have greatly wanted to laud about the man who introduced me to my geekdom. My father, Kurt. He is a scifi enthusiast like me. Because of him, I was weened on Star Wars. I watched Star Trek (TOS) with him on Sunday Afternoons and continue to watch my favorite shows with him to this day. Anyway, many people lamented about their parents trying to change them…and worse for Nerd Girls, being told that the stuff they like “was for boys.” But not mine! I was a lucky little geek.

Anyway, I’m not sure if this is really a nerd moment but it was awesome.. I was at my first convention ever at age 17. A trek convention with William Shatner doing a Q/A and then signing. Anyway, I was looking at some t-shirts as Dad said he’d buy me one. I was thoroughly focused on trying to choose ‘just one’ and then I hear my dad say, very loudly, “STOP STARING AT MY DAUGHTER’S BREASTS, YOU PERVERT.” I look up and some 30-40 year old geek was turning bright red. There were 30 people around us. Dad sprung to the defense of his little girl against evil nerd perverts. I should have been mortified as I was a teenager but surprisingly I was just glad to have such a scary protector.

Postscript: I got the t-shirt with the Klingon Empire Emblem on the front with Klingon writing below it in an adult size large (Dad insisted) and was made to put it on immediately because he didn’t want to deal with anyone else leering at me.

Rachel Campbell:

Good: When I was very little and first learning about the sounds that animals make, I refused to accept that turtles did not make any sound. My mother then took it upon herself to teach me that, in the spirit of TMNT, turtles said “COWABUNGA!”

Bad: My mother has always had a thing for vampires. She ADORES Dracula lore, and has even toyed with writing her own vampire novel. That’s not the embarrassing part, though. What’s awful is that she has often stated, out loud, to me AND my friends, that if Dad ever purchased a dark cape and plastic fangs, it would do wonders for their marriage. Note that she informed me of this when I was a teenager. Things I NEVER needed to know about my parents’ intimate life.

Brad Cavanagh:

We’ve taught our daughter (2 and a half) the following:
Me: What do you do when you see a zombie?
Her: Grab a shovel!
Me: What do you do with the shovel?
Her: Hit the zombie’s head!

Al H:

Since he was a baby, I’ve tried to get my son interested in Science by having the Discovery Channel etc… on in the background. I wasn’t present for this, but a bemused nursery worker gave me the details. One day, when he was 3, he made a construction using Duplo bricks and was flying it around nursery making various space noises. The nursery worker asked him “Is that your rocket?”. In her words, he stopped on the spot, turned to her with a look of disgust and said “It is not a rocket. It is a shuttle. It is fixing a satellite”, shook his head and continued on his mission.
So proud.

Worst example is about my father in law. In order to convince his daughters, 10 and 8, that Aliens was an okay film to watch, he fast forwarded to the ending to show them it ended okay, but somehow managed to hit Play just as Bishop got ripped to milky pieces. No-one in the house got any sleep that night.

Jessica Storton:

When my son was 8 months old, for his first Halloween I dressed him up as infant Harry Potter. Hand sewn robe, since no one made them in that size. The problem was he was a lovely green eyed…blond. So I used mascara to darken his hair, and since he kept ripping the little plastic glasses on…..I….taped them to his head. He’s ten now, and there seems to be no lasting damage…physically.


This may not count because it’s not me nor my parents, but it’s awesome. I have a friend who married his high school sweetheart. His last name is West. He told her when they started dating that if they got married, and had a little boy, his name would be Adam. What did they do this summer? Have a little boy. Little Adam West went home from the hospital in a tiny Batman outfit.


I’m a third generation nerd who spent her childhood playing MMORPGs and Arkham Horror with my entire family (including my grandparents. They hit max level before I was even close….), so it’s hard to pick just one moment. I think for sheer size it would have to be the release night for the final Harry Potter book. Like a lot of people my age, I grew up reading the books, and I had begome a huge fangirl. So the final one was a huge freaking deal. My mother, knowing how much of milestone this would be for me, planned and orchestrated a release night party. She invited all of my friends, and my siblings’ friends. She put together a trivia competition. She bought pins with things like “Dumbledore’s Army”, and “S.P.E.W”, and “Weasley is our King”, and passed them out. She (and a few other moms) drove us to the bookstore to wait for our midnight release copies. And she drove us back to my house where HOMEMADE BUTTERBEER, pumpkin pasties, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and stacks of energy drinks awaited us, so we could stay up all night and read. It was amazing, and I will never, ever forget it.


My dad in general. First, to put this out of the way: He’s referenced everything from Dr. WHo (4th doctor) to Lord of the Rings to Watchmen in sermons. He also wrote a 100+page Star Trek fanfic and tried to get it published. It had dinosaurs.
But for this? Every time he had me watch a movie when I was a li’l kid (same with my sister).

King Kong? He’d start stomping and roaring and chasing us.
The Mummy? Turn out the lights and shuffle, dragging his foot.
The Wolfman? Turn out the lights, and start growling.
Alien? Grab us with one of those plastic grabber hands.
Lord of the Rings (Ralph Bakshi version)? Grab us, and drag us away while growling, “TO MORDER WE WILL TAKE YOU!”
The Blob? Cover his hand with vaseline, scream, and fall over.
I owe him so many of my childhood nightmares. I LOVE YOU, DAD!


My sister was taking a guy that my parents had never met to her senior prom, and she only knew him through cosplay so they were a little worried and not sure if they were okay with him staying with us for the few days surrounding prom (he lived about two hours away). Dad dropped her off at a convention just before prom, and hung around for a little bit to check out the cosplays. As soon as he got back, he was raving about a guy cosplaying as Duffman all day, saying it was the best costume he’d ever seen. That night my sister gets back and the following conversation happens:

Sister: (convention name) was fantastic! There were so many great cosplayers and everyone loved my Toadette costume!
Dad: Did you see the guy cosplaying as Duffman?
Sister: … That’s Matt, the guy I’m taking to prom.
Dad: …..I instantly approve of your date.

He didn’t need any more convincing. The simple fact that he cosplayed as Duffman convinced my dad that he was an acceptable date.


I’m not sure what category to put this in. My dad died in a car accident when I was twenty. I was helping Mom sort his old stuff when she was moving and I found his stash of books. Turns out his was huge Tolkien nut. His copy of the Hobbit was so well read pages would fall out if we touched it. And he had this Tolkien quizbook filled with the most face meltingly hard questions I’ve ever read. It dealt with Hobbiton genealogy, or bits from the Similarion (which was the first I’d ever heard of that book). Anyway, that’s when I ended up reading them because it was clearly something he enjoyed, and I wish I got a chance to talk to him about them. Best because it turns out my rural Virginian former Marine hardass of a father turned out to be a Tolkien nerd or worst because I never knew in time.

My second story is easier to categorize. I have four kids, three of which have the capacity to recognize the Doctor Who theme and will ALWAYS coming running if they hear it because watching The Doctor is one of our favorite things to do together.


I honestly don’t know how to categorize this one:
My mother was an older parent, and was in her forties when I was three or four–the time Star Blazers was on the air. I don’t know how she got into it, but she became very emotionally invested in the story. Once, when the show went into repeats before resolving a cliffhanger, she actually called the station and ranted at them.

So she remained dedicated all through both seasons, and when Desslok threw down his gun and told them how to defeat the Comet Empire, she was nearly in tears (she still talks about that episode, sometimes to people who have no idea what anime is). Then came the final episode with the last battle–just when her best friend at the time showed up at the house with her kids so we could have a play date and they could go for coffee.

“I’m sorry,” my mother said. “I’ve waited months for this episode.” And proceeded to watch Star Blazers and ignore everyone else until it was over. She’s pulled similar things with Star Trek and Doctor Who, but that’s the one that stands out for me: everyone kind of just sitting there waiting while she watched Treleina blow the hell out of the Comet Empire.


Best: When I was born my Dad wanted to give me a good name. He went through the bible but decided that none of those names were good enough. “Then I thought, hmm, who do I admire. I admire Batman.” In Mexico, Bruce Wayne is Bruno Diaz, thus my Dad named me after Batman.

David R S:

His mother has no idea, so let’s keep this a secret, okay?
My son’s name is Max. His mom needed some convincing on this name since she was particularly hormonal and stressed about every little detail while carrying the little guy, I did quite a bit of research to convince her that Max has some meaning, explaining that it can symbolize strength or a king or some other nonsense that I don’t remember.

I am not a huge Mad Max fan, nor do I recall Max Headroom much beyond the New Coke ads.
My son is named after the largest and most awesome Transformer toy ever made, Fotress Maximus. And, to a lesser extent, Max Rebo. This has nothing to do with any stories I loved, he is strictly names after the toys.

I’m fucking serious.

I thought it was would be a hilarious geeky joke to keep to myself. It’s been a few years and I’ve realized that although I was smart enough to use a normal sounding name, babies are unlike pets in that they tend to grow up and outlive you, so this joke won’t go away and there is no punchline. I’ll never tell his mom that his name comes from a pair of action figures, so I’ll just have to wait until he’s 18 and he’ll either laugh with me or I’ll allow him to punch me in the mouth.


My mom sewed Star Trek: The Next Generation uniforms for my sister and me. I was in the fifth grade and sister was in 8th. My sister painted my face and neck with Trill spots (it was a crossover with DS9, I guess; I really loved Dax when I was 10) and then my mom sat down with me and we carefully went over the origin and story of the Trill species, so that I could explain my spots in case anyone asked. So I guess my mom is where I get my need for nerd ACCURACY.


The worst: My mum named my childhood rabbits Honey Bunny and Pumpkin, as a kid I couldn’t understand why she thought it was funny that when our neighbours big black dog escaped he didn’t kill them, but just ripped their cage open letting them go.


Story #1: As part of a Ghostbusters fan group, I watch the films and cartoon series fairly often. Now, Ghostbusters 1 and 2 are pretty much the only films my 2 year old son will actually sit through. Encouraged by my wife, I decided to build him his own proton pack to wear so he could look just like his daddy, his daddy’s friends, and their heroes from the film while we set up at Comicpalooza in Houston, Texas earlier this year. The pack was styled to look more like the cartoon design and made to weigh less than a pound, fitting him perfectly and as adorably as humanly possible. Upon arrival at the convention, we strapped his proton pack on him and he did something we didn’t expect. He went right up to people with proton gun in hand, leaned back and took aim. He then proceeded to shake the gun and strain the way the actors did in the films when firing at ghosts. He even did this to celebrity guest Sam Trammel from True Blood. Nobody taught him this, it just sort of happened. Thousands of dollars in hand made props, costumes, and even a Chevy HHR converted into an Ecto-1… and my son upstaged our entire Ghostbusters gathering. The only problem… he throws the biggest fit you’ve ever seen if you try to take his pack away from him.


This week has been rough for me as I’m preparing to move to a new city to start a new job with very little vacation time. So I’m an emotional wreck and just freaking out about all sorts of stuff. So I’m complaining to my mom about something menial on the phone, like how our washing machine is flipping out and I start crying. Sensing why I’m flipping out, she calms me down and tells me to just relax. After we hang up, I set out to do just that when I receive this text:
“First rule of the Hitchhiker’s Guide: DON’T PANIC.”

To which I reply, “I really must be having a rough week if you’re quoting nerdery to me.”
Which receives a resounding, “LOLOLOLOLOL” in reply.

I haven’t decided if this is my best or worse moment of parental nerdery, because clearly my mom comforting me in nerd-speak is awesome, but I don’t know how I feel about that last text. All the same, I feel better and my mom is a super-hero. And she makes sure I have my towel.


Best: My son is 2, and already Batman is his favorite comic hero, thanks to me, his nerdy Mama. I let him watch Batman: TAS with me one day, and he LOVED it. Often, he’ll request it over Spongebob and Toy Story.

One time, he was watching the episode “Heart of Ice” for the first time with me. At the end, when Mr. Freeze is in his cell, lamenting the loss of his beloved Nora, and he starts to cry, my son pointed to the screen and said, “Mama…he’s sad.”
He said this with such compassion that I cried a little myself.


Best: Naming our son “Hal” after Prince Hal from Henry IV.

Worst: Naming our son “Hal” right as the Green Lantern movie came out causing 50% of our nerdy friends to think we named him after Jordan, the second dickiest corpsman. (The other 50% think he’s named for a homicidal computer, which we’re OK with.)

Merideth Benjamin:

I have two —
When my daughter was about 5, she was asking me questions about Easter. Not being a Christian family, I told her that it was celebrated by some people as the day that Jesus rose from his tomb.
I could see the cogs turning in her little five year old head. She then said ” So, Jesus is a zombie!” in her best ‘Eureka!’ voice.
I then proceeded to clear up her theology by explaining “No sweetie, it was more like Gandalf after he fought the balrog.” This satisfied her, but to this day, Easter Sunday is Happy Zombie Day in our house.

My other story takes place a few years later. Last year was my daughter’s (now age 8) first Comic-Con San Diego. She hit the jackpot in the signing lotteries, getting to meet all 4 Mythbusters and Rick Riordan (the author of the Percy Jackson series). While waiting to meet Mr. Riordan, my little geeklet was asking me questions about the gigantic True Blood banner in the autograph area.

I gave her the PG Cliff Notes on True Blood (“See, the blonde girl is a psychic, but she likes to date vampires because she can’t hear what they’re thinking. The creepy brown haired guy and the creepy blond haired guy both want to date her because her blood is so tasty.”) This conversation was heard by an Overly Enthusiastic True Blood fan also in line. She and my daughter had the following exchange:

Little Geeklet: “That sounds like Twilight, except for the tasty blood part.”
OETBF: “Oh! I LOVE Twilight! I LOVE IT! Are you Team Jacob or Team Edward?”
Little Geeklet: “I’m Team Bella Go to College, and Team Jacob Put a Damn Shirt On.”

Sniff! One of my proudest moments as a parent.


I guess this could be considered best or worst…being a lifelong fan of movies, I have a tendency of naming my kids after characters who inspire me. Well, with my first son was born essentially dead and had to be resuscitated, I named him Connor after my favorite immortal, Connor McCloud. Well, when my current wife an I were getting ready to have our first kid together, I suggested I stay with the “Celtic” theme, and give him the middle name Flynn, not because it is Celtic, but because my favorite character of all time is Kevin Flynn from Tron. Well, she doesn’t like it, but she buys my story, and needless to say, my youngest sons name is Flynn. No one the wiser, right? Then they announced the Tron sequel, and of course, my kids (me included) just had to see it. 5 minutes into the movie when the news casters are talking about Flynn’s disappearance, and say his name easily 50 times, I can just feel her eyes start throwing daggers at me. We leave the theater, and all she can say is “Celtic huh?” then gives her best Ogre impression from Revenge of the Nerds by yelling out as loud as she can in public “NERDSSSSSS!!!!”


Both of my stories center on my wife, Michelle, and the mother of my two kids. Everyone who knows us will agree that I am the nerd standard-bearer for the family and Michelle is generally just along for the ride on a lot of our dorkiness. But there have been times where she has really (and inexplicably) stretched herself above and beyond her non-nerd comfort zone, for better or for worse, in the name of parental nerdery.

When my daughter first entered kindergarten she was seriously into Spider-Man, so much so that even on the days she wasn’t wearing Spider-Man t-shirts, her clothing choices fell along a strict red-and-blue motif. Knowing that kindergarten can require a little bit of an adjustment for a child, my wife Michelle one day decided to improvise a Spider-Man costume from stuff laying around the house (including my awesome luchadore Spidey mask), put it all on, and showed up completely unannounced at my daughter’s class pretending to be the webhead. The teacher, something of a stiff, was less than amused and after ten minutes or so of cosplay-based disruption to her class, sternly asked my wife to leave school grounds. Any time afterwards that Michelle showed up for various legitimate school functions she was always endearingly referred to as “Spider-Mom” by our daugter’s classmates.

A family weekend trip to trip to Carlsbad Caverns in southern New Mexico coincided with the pending release date of the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. One of my wife’s genuine concessions to nerdery is that she is a huge Harry Potter fan (for the record, I am indifferent to the franchise). Our self-guided tour of these amazing natural wonders was somewhat dampened by Michelle’s frequent fretting over not being able to get her hands on a copy of the book until we got back home to Albuquerque, a couple hundred miles away. After dinner and returning to the motel it occurred to Michelle that there might be some bookstore in the nearby small town of Carlsbad which would be hosting a midnight release party, so she called around and actually found one. The only problem was that, after a day of spelunking, she knew that our kids would not have to fortitude to stay awake that late. On the other hand my wife really, really, wanted the book, and wanted it now. So, upon tucking our kids, then-aged 9 and 6, into their motel bed, and assuring they were fully asleep, we snuck out of the room (parental neglect statues be damned) and drove 20 miles away to the town of Carlsbad and spent three hours or so in the middle of the night queuing for this book, pariticipating in trvia contests, mingling with Muggles and otherwise not being very good parents.

Bradley Hall:

When my brothers and I were extremely young, my dad let us watch the film version of Stephen King’s IT. It scared the hell out of all of us and I never picked up a Stephen King book again for nearly 20 years because of that horrid mess.

Somehow that film affected my older brother far worse than I and he became scared of clowns. Now whenever he talks to our father on the phone, my dad will sometimes, in the middle of conversation slip in the line “You’ll float too” and my brother will stop and quiver for a second and reply, “Wh-what did you say?”
Of course dad feigns ignorance at what my brother claims to have heard.


Good- Mom buys my first USS Enterprise model for me at age 5. Bad- Mom drunk sends same USS Enterprise model on it’s maiden voyage into my dad’s face for him staying out too late playing poker. I swear I could hear the TOS intro music play when it flew past me.

Lisa Grimm:

Our son just finished going to camp at the Academy of Natural Sciences
(the natural history museum here in Philly, for the uninitiated),
something he loved so much he was slightly tearful about the prospect of
having to go back to actual school. While trying to placate him, I
offered, ‘you can go to the Academy next year.’ He gave me a withering
look and responded, ‘Mommy, you aren’t a good Uncle Owen.’


When I was about 9, my Girl Scout troop went to a science-themed event (the kind where the girls go around to different stations and do little experiments to earn a bunch of merit badges at once). We found out there would be a costume contest, and that in the past the girls mostly dressed up in adorable white lab coats, or planets of the solar system and such–like, things that have to do with SCIENCE, not sci-fi. My mom suggested, however, that my troop go as the cast of TNG. She stayed up late for several nights making TNG uniform shirts (I believe I was a science officer), and the whole troop made communicator badges out of Sculpey clay. We won the contest.


For Christmas one year, my younger brother and I woke up and ran downstairs to find a massive He-Man and the Masters of the Universe battlefield set up in our living room. The glorious centerpiece was our Christmas present that year: an awesome, hand-made wooden Castle Grayskull with working drawbridge, secret trap door hiding spots for He-Man and the heroic warriors, and pitfalls for Skeletor and his henchmen. My dad spent 6 months building it for us in his workshop and then solidified his status as best dad ever by going the extra mile and setting up an epic battle sequence in front of our Christmas tree.

Today happens to be my dad’s birthday…Happy Birthday, Dad! Thanks for making me the nerd I am today!

And now for the winners. Let’s start with Best…


My four month old daughter has one confirmed kill in Bad Company 2. I had her on my lap and was reaching for my drink, and she happened to grab the controller just in time to shoot a medic that was coming to revive his buddy. I think we both pooped a little once I realized what happened.

This might be an accidental act of nerdery as much as it is a parental act of nerdery, but holy hell this is awesome. The pooping is just icing on the cake. So to speak. Now for Worst:

The Amazing Rando:

Me and my wife’s Anniversary is on November first, and in order to
celebrate we like to go out at midnight to see The Rocky Horror Picture
Show midnight show. Both me and my wife Jamie are part of the reenacting
crew, so we get to go on stage and perform the scenes of the movie for
the audience. Now why is this a bad moment, well this last year we were
performing our show as usual only we didn’t know that our daughter
Gypsie had snuck out that night to see it too. Gypsie went to see it
with her four best friends, and in doing so had discovered our secret
anniversary activities. I was dressed as Frank N Furter and Jamie was
acting out Janet Weiss, Gypsie figured out who I was about midway
through my rendition of “Sweet Transvestite”, all I saw was a twelve
year old girl stand and shout “Dad!” Gypsie ran out, and I was told that
she was crying all the way home, she was dying of humiliation, and was
afraid that someone from her school saw our performance too, luckily for
her no one did. Both me and Jamie still want to go to see the show,
only this year we won’t be on stage, but we will be taking our daughter
to the show this year, so maybe its not all bad…

If I were Rando’s kid, I’d have instantly become a hobo. Right there. A sports-loving, nerd-hating hobo, riding the rails, and drinking constantly to try to get the image of my fishnetted father out of my brain. Oh, and while I do feel confident The Amazing Rando here does have the genuinely worst tale of parental nerdery in this contest, I’d like to point out that he has named all his kids after Mystery Science Theater 3000 characters — Tom Servo Smith, Gypsie Marie Lyne Smith, and the upcoming Michael Crow Nelson Smith — and that wasn’t either of his entries. He named all his kids after one nerdy TV show, is having kids to use more of the names, AND HE STILL HAD PARENTAL ACTS OF NERDERY THAT WERE NERDIER THAN THAT. Amazing. Rando was getting a shirt either way.

And that’s that! Thanks to everyone who entered, and — what’s that? We have a new challenger?

Coco N:

Best? (Depending on whose perspective you’re looking at it): When I was about 3 or so, my father would play Tomb Raider, Doom games and other violent video games while I was in the room, much to my mom’s disapproval. One particular instance, I sat on the arm of his chair while I watched my dad dismember enemies with a chainsaw in Doom 2 while I shouted, “Chop chop, Daddy! Go chop chop!” sealing forever my future as a geek (and loving it). As a side note, my dad also bought me my first console (A N64) and a collection of games, including Mortal Kombat, in Kindergarten.

Worst? (Yet also funny and including my dad): My family was on vacation out in the mid-west when Jurassic Park came out. My parents, believing that this would be an educating film, took my two older sisters to see it, who were about 8 and 9. When they came out of the movie theater, it was dark out and pouring rain. One of my sisters, Dana, was particularly shaken from the movie and so to tease her, my dad, while driving the car with a coffee cup beside him, pounded the dashboard. “Daaanaaa” *Thump thump* “The T-Rex is coming after you!” Thus prompting my sister to scream in terror.

Huh. While those stories are cute, there were a few other entries like it, so —

Bad-Dad N:

One quibble Coco Re: Jurassic Park: We were parked at the time and all I had to do was mimic the “thump-tump” of the T-Rex strides in the movie to terrify your sister Dana.

OH SHIT YOUR DAD JUST CORRECTED YOUR TOPLESS ROBOT CONTEST ENTRY ON TOPLESS ROBOT. Best parental act of nerdery, or worst parental act of nerdery? I don’t know, but Pop N and Lil’ N are getting matching TR shirts to wear while they argue about it. Congrats to the winners, and thanks again to everyone who entered!