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Epbot Exemplars: Like Son, Like Mom

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I started the Exemplars series to highlight fellow geeks proudly showcasing their passions. I figured I'd feature mostly younger geek girls, both because Epbot is kind of a girl-centric place and because I think kids and teens are the ones who most need positive role models their own age. However, since I'm the one who made those "rules," I also get to break them. :) So today's Exemplar is a mom who's actually still pretty new to the geek community. Her name is Shawna, and I'll let her take it from here:


"I live in a small(ish) community in Iowa, where being geeky isn't cool (think corn, mudding & country music). For years I hid my geeky-ness, & what's worse, I tried (really hard at times, to my immense regret now) to suppress the geeky-ness in my son, Hunter. Hunter loves Power Rangers, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Dr. Who & other things I've still never heard of. When he was younger I would try to steer him to Tonka trucks, sports, & tools in an attempt to purge the geeky out so he'd be 'like the other boys.'

"It was to save face for myself & also to get the other boys to not make fun of him so much. Those actions, plus many other mistakes, haven't earned me the Mother of the Year award, I'm sure.

"However, I wanted you to know that since finding Epbot a few years ago, I finally saw that the geek world was immense (and awesome), and that being a card-carrying member was OK. In August my son & I attended the Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago after reading about your con adventures, & I had one of the best times of my life.

"Anyway, I just wanted to say 'Thanks.' Now that I'm not trying to change my son & have embraced his geeky-ness (and my own!) we've gotten much closer, and I'll always credit you & your blog for that."

Wow. It's not an easy thing to put yourself out there like this online, much less admit when you've done something as a parent you're less than proud of, but when I asked Shawna if she'd be comfortable with my sharing her e-mail here she was amazingly positive about it. "Hopefully it will help other kids or adults embrace who they are," she told me, "or maybe help another parent in a similar situation."

She also sent me a few photos of herself and Hunter geeking it up at Wizard World, which gave me a huge grin:




 Shawna's note: "My very own domesticated zombies!"


I love Shawna's story so much I could pop, you guys, and not just because it's a reminder of how vital the internet geek community can be. The bond we have with our parents when we're younger stays with us for life, for better or worse, so there's something amazing about seeing kids get the chance to share these kinds of outsider experiences with their parents, especially before the age when it's no longer "cool" to do so. (And Hunter is 14 now, so the fact that he's happily hanging out with his mom also makes me want to get up and cheer.)

My own parents were pretty geeky, raising me on a diet of Doctor Who, Star Trek, Monty Python, and sci-fi and fantasy books that sparked interests and passions that still rage to this day. They even brought me to my first con, where John Pertwee (Doctor #3) patted my head. Without all those influences, I just wouldn't be the same person I am today. 

So, parents? If you're letting your kids lead the way, and drag you to conventions, or weasel another $5 out of you for just one more comic book, or maybe even convince you to wear some crazy costume so you can be a matched set of Jedis or zombies or some characters you've never even heard of, good on you. 

And if you find you actually ENJOY that stuff, like Shawna here, so that you and your kids can be big ol' proud, happy geeks together?

Well, now, THAT'S Exemplary.


So tell me, guys, did your parents help spark your geeky interests? If so, how? (My mom first got me hooked on Star Trek books, and today I have nearly three hundred of them.) Tell me in the comments!

Posted by Jen at 12:00 PM Labels:

116 comments:

  1. I got into geekdom with the help of my older sibling, but a few years ago, when my dad found out I was starting to read DC comics, he became SO excited. He started talking to me about comic books when he was a kid, showed me some rare titles from his collection, and gave some of the more common ones to me. Nice to know he would have encouraged this right from the start!

    My parents also love my cosplays and seeing my progress as a costumer, so that's another bonus. :)

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  2. Although this was a little later in my life, I believe its never too late... When I was in college I started playing a text based MUD (hello, geek.). I also lived 3000 miles from my dad at the time. After patiently listening to me explain what a MUD was, he who entered the world of online role playing and joined it simply to wander around and kill dragons with his geeky college-aged daughter.

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  3. My twin brother and I were raised by a single mother. She is pretty cool. My first memory of being at a movie theatre at the age of 3 was to see the Star Wars: A New Hope. Mom bought special stuff so I could have my hair up in buns just like Princess Leah. We loved watching Star Trek together as a family. When I was twelve we joined a Sherlock Holmes Society and dressed up in Victorian clothing once a month and went with the club around downtown Eureka, CA to solve mysteries. The list goes on. I loved and still love it all. I was raised by a geektastic mom and I am passing it on to my daughter. My sweet girl dressed up as Harry Potter this past Halloween. She is 6years old and carries her wand around with her A LOT. She often claims she is a witch and proclaims she feels sorry for muggles. Heehee. We went to watch the annual Zombie walk this last fall and she was delighted by it. I don't like Zombies but she wants us to dress up for it next year. Fine with me. It's all for fun. When I was growing up, it didn't occur to me that liking all this stuff was not what was considered 'normal' because my mom taught us that life is to be enjoyed and everyone may have a different definition of what enjoyment means. I hope to pass on this open and loving attitude to my daughter and future children. Thank you for your blog. I appreciate you're openness, especially that it provides a way for us geeks to hang together.

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    1. OMG! Another humbloldt Geek!

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  4. I definitely owe my geekiness to my parents, especially my mom - and honestly, my feminism and my belief in the awesomeness of female geeks.

    When I was very little, she used to watch sci-fi and fantasy movies with me. I watched the first Star Wars (which came out the year I was born) when I was probably four or five years old with my mom's guidance. My earliest Christmas memory was of getting a Millenium Falcon toy and a bunch of Star Wars action figures. Return of the Jedi was the first film I ever saw in the movie theater.

    She also had bought an Atari computer for our home, which she used it to learn about computers for her career (she was in IT, which was 'weird' in and of itself in the early 80s!) She'd practice by writing little BASIC programs to quiz me on math and spelling even before I started school. And then she'd show me how the programs worked and encourage me to write my own.

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  5. My mom also got me started with Star Trek books, and Piers Anthony, Anne McAffery, and many many others. We shared books back and forth even after I moved out over twenty years ago. I would bring sacks of books when I went home every month or so, and bring back different sacks. She went with me to my first convention, and others too. She was the coolest mom, and I will allways be grateful that she embraced our geekiness. She encouraged us by taking us to museums, and record shops, and metal concerts. My brother could read heiroglyphics by the age of 9, and would pull out the encyclopedia and look up whatever interested him, and she would help him find out as much as she could. This was before the internet answered all questions. I just lost her last year, and I still pick up the phone to call her, and think that I have to save this or that book for her.

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  6. I was much like Shawna. Growing up, I made some regrettable choices to avoid being labeled a "geek." Unfortunately, this continued through college and all the was into even my early adulthood. Then I changed careers right about the time I got married and started a family. I decided that it was high time to embrace what I have always enjoyed. Besides, my husband has no interest in geeky things and I had to have someone to watch Star Wars with! I am now the proud mother of a 13-year-old and 11 year-old who will both freely use the term "geek" to describe themselves. I'll even brag and say that my daughter is one of the more popular kids in her class! She plays sports but isn't afraid to be on tech team and wear her Star Wars shirts to school, even though we live in an extremely rural area. I always make sure to tell my kids how proud I am that they are choosing to be themselves. I did get some odd looks at parent teacher conferences when my then fourth grade son proclaimed "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" to be the best movie ever!

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  7. I used to sit and watch old Flash Gordon serials with my dad, and we'd point out where George Lucas got all his ideas :) He lucked out, my sister was all about the sports, so would watch football and basketball with him, and I was the one he'd take to the midnight releases of the new Star Wars toys when the prequels came out.

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  8. I feel Shawna's pain. I grew up in a very small town where I had the nerve to be a Girl and play Video Games and read Sci-Fi!! *gasp* I never felt like I fit in anywhere and even joined the cheerleading squad in an attempt to be more "normal" for my Mom and friends.

    Luckily once I was older I found that there were a lot of girls like me, especially in online circles, and I felt less like I had to compromise myself to squeeze in the little box other people felt I should fit into. Long live the geeks!

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  9. This is awesome. Shawna, you totally rock, as does your son!

    My Mum is way geekier than my Dad so she introduced me to science fiction and fantasy and let me watch Dark Crystal and Star Wars a million times. My Dad still has a tough time getting it but thankfully he was willing to let it blend. So I could play with Star Wars toys, play with my Cabbage Patch Dolls, play soccer, be in the band, and read books. I still kinda hid the geekier aspects in high school but I hope I too can (one day when we have kids) learn to be the kind of parent who can geek out and share that with my kids without trying to change them. I just hope my kids are into geeky stuff too!

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  10. It is completely my mom's fault I'm a geek. She took me to see Star Wars (36 times in the theatre, I might add. In the 70s, before megaplexes and VCRs and such) primarily because she had the hots for Harrison Ford, but I was a willing hostage and it ignited a love for geek culture that thrives to this day. Grandma further indulged my obsession by buying me all the toys and books and what not. And going with the theme, this was all in rural Iowa as well.

    And for Shawna, if your son is into anime at all, Iowa has an AMAZING anime con. AnimeIowa is the last weekend in July in Coralville and they always have greats guests and fun panels. There's also a sci-fi/fantasy con in Cedar Rapids in November. Check them out a little closer to home. Added bonus, he can meet other Iowans who share his interests!

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  11. It all started for me when my dad started reading the Redwall books to me as my bedtime stories, followed by the Star Wars Jedi Academy series. He used to even take them on his business trips with him so he could call home and read to me at bedtime! (He's the best, ever. Period.) Mama and I watched Star Trek TNG together, when her shifts at the hospital had her home during the day. (And she ran the science room at my elementary school, and got me into the gifted programs in my district, where it was okay to be smart....) And, just to prove it was a whole family affair, my big sister used to put on Star Wars IV-VI when she got stuck babysitting me, and we would stomp around the house to the Imperial March! (I really didn't stand a chance, in the best of ways!)

    And, twenty odd years later, they still love the geek side of me. Mama helped me make my steampunk costume of awesomeness, my sister and I swapped steampunk craft idea books, and my parents printed a set of Anthony Herrara and Matters of Gray's Star Wars snowflakes, and bought me new tools to cut them! (They're now all over my office at work, and I get two or three people stopping by every day to comment or admire them!)

    Power to the geek parents, I love mine, and hope to be one to my own kids.... whenever they may appear.

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  12. When I was a baby my dad used to watch doctor who with me. One of my first phrases was doctor who - dada who - which I'd ask *all* the time cos I loved to watch it with him. He also had a collection of sci-fi novels (which I've absorbed into my own collection) that got me started on my path to being a geek. It took a while to embrace it fully but I can't deny my geekiness; star trek, doctor who, books, comics, cons and all
    ~linzi

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  13. Definitely! One of my first memories is of watching Star Trek with my mom, and my parents took me to the Empire Strikes Back when it first came out in the theater. I think my dad still listens to his Star Wars soundtrack.

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  14. My entire family, immediate and extended, is geeky. Even the "jocks" are still into Star Wars, Harry Potter, comics, Disney, and more (two of my cousins, both former wrestlers, have matching Batman and Robin tattoos). Star Trek: TNG was part of my early years (as TOS had been for my parents), and my parents fed my and my brother's Pokemon addiction (which more or less continues, even though we're now in our 20s). Thankfully, my boyfriend's parents raised him the same way :)

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  15. My family is not near as geeky as me, but my dad is still responsible for my self-claimed geekiness. He got me to watch Star Wars, which launched me into accepting an entire genre I used to hate! Now I adore science fiction!

    But I am also lucky to have a family who thinks geeky things are super cool. Wanna go to a convention dressed as Princess Leia? They think it's awesome and want to do the same! Wanna quote Doctor Who at random? Wanna collect a bookcase-full of Star Wars books? "So awesome!"

    In a way, it's brought our family closer together. And for that, I'm truly thankful. I look forward to creating many more geeky memories in the years to come!

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  16. OH YEAH. My dad and I had a standing date to watch "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" when it was being broadcast on network TV (NOT syndication). Then when "V" (the original) came out, we had a standing date for that, too.

    When I was older, my parents let me stay up late to watch ST:TOS and I was hooked. Capt. Kirk is my first tv "crush". I've met a bunch of celebrities (mostly through work) and I was totally "meh" about meeting them. It's totally unsexy to run telempromper for Hank Aaron & Evander Holyfield. ;)

    But if I ever had the chance to meet Bill Shatner? I'd be on cloud 9. SRSLY. Even as a mature gentleman, he's totally sexy. He's my Sean Connery, if you know what I mean.

    My kids are growing up as Otaku Trekkies. Anime? Check! They've been watching anime since they were toddlers and couldn't even read the subtitles. Gundam models? Heck yeah. We're a Gundam modelling family.

    My oldest daughter? She's the biggest Gundam modeling/light saber weilding geek of us all. It's rough in school. But she made it into the Engineering Magnet Program here in Seminole County for middle school so we are STOKED.

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  17. Mine did, especially since I'm named after Andre Norton. I grew up watching Star Trek, the Avengers (with Mrs. Peel) and Lost In Space.

    I love the geek community, it's always nice to get to "talk" to like-minded folks, and the creativity in the geek community is just amazing!

    Andrea

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  18. Jen, you have made such a difference for so many of us in flying our geek flags! I know that since I started reading Epbot, I have been much more willing to let people know that I'm a geek. In fact, my office is covered in geeky posters now (retro posters for Battlestar, Star Trek, and Dr Who) and I get comments regularly from the other lawyers in my office. I don't think that I ever would have done that before I saw how many other awesome geek women there are, and Epbot was a big part of that!

    So thank you. You have helped me be myself and not be afraid to let other people see that.

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  19. My mom had (has) the most amazing Andre Norton book collection. That started me out right.

    Also? We watched the Muppet Show every evening after dinner. This totally warped my sense of humor in every GOOD WAY!

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  20. I'm lucky I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where nerds are cool (and RICH!). My 9 yo twins have no problem with liking Star Wars, Superman, Beyblades, Power Rangers, Harry Potter and the Apollo Space Program. Oh, did I mention that one of the twins is a girl!

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  21. My parents were about as un-geeky as they could be, but my Dad did watch the original Star Treks and Battlestar Galacticas, so I'll give him the credit for introducing me to the world of sci-fi. As I got older, I found my way into books, and Dr Who, and everything else on my own, but I think Dad unknowingly helped sow the seeds :)

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  22. I have a 7 year old son. I am helping him bring out his geek-ness. We made a C3P0 *hula* girl for the dashboard of our car from a McDonald's toy. He loves history, science, star wars, legos
    and we are starting on Monty Python and Dr. Who.

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  23. Books, we love books and my parents would let us read pretty much anything (pg-13ish anyways). It kinda spiraled from there. Although now they are kind of surprised at how geeky I am. But I've started my boys 6 and 5 on Doctor who, and cosplay and comics things like that. So they think being a geek is pretty darn awesome, and they're trying to get their friends in on it too now!

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  24. My Mother introduced me to Doctor Who. We watched Tom Baker and Elizabeth as 4th and Sarah Jane on PBS for years.
    Now I've shown my girls Dr Who as well. They know larping, table top rpg, star trek, star wars, lotr & more.
    I'm happy to encourage any "normal" activities too, but I admit I get a swell of geek Mom pride when it's something on the nerdy end.

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  25. I grew up watching Star Trek DS9 and Voyager, Hercules and Xena and Highlander with my parents. I even named my cat Duncan MacKitty. My mom got me started on fantasy and sci-fi novels. My parents even footed the bill when I went to see The Fellowship of the Ring 18 times in theaters (I was 14 at the time). Today, my brother and I have definitely out-geeked them (sometimes I'm pretty sure we embarass my mom), but they're still supportive. Just last weekend they joined us for a 6-hour game marathon.

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  26. Where do I start? My parents were reading Lord Of The Rings and Narnia books to me before I was even born. OK Dad was reading together with Mom, but it started a family tradition and a lifelong PASSION for books.

    We used to huddle around a tiny TV screen and watch Doctor Who back when nobody in the US besides a few uber geeks even knew what Doctor Who was. Mom taught me to knit and helped me develop our own pattern for The Scarf. Yes, I knit my own ginormous scarf.

    One time, for school, we held a medieval feast and invited friends over to be the King, Queen, and Duchess, while we served them weird historical foods dressed as peasants. Group Cosplay!

    When Doctor Who was no longer available in our area, we switched to Star Trek: TNG. And thus began my decades long celeb crush on Wil Wheaton. I related to his "child prodigy" character on the show SO MUCH. Too bookish and brainy to get along with my peers, but too young to really join the adults at the grown-up's table.

    My dad introduced me to Ray Bradbury and George Orwell, among other sci-fi authors.

    When I was a teen, I used to ride my bike to the public library, check out a stack of Star Wars and Star Trek books, maybe an Anne McCaffrey "Dragonriders" book or two, and ride back home. I would read til I passed out, wake up the next morning and read some more.

    My hubby doesn't look like much of a geek at first glance, but he loves Star Wars, Comic Books, Farscape, Firefly, World of Warcraft, and he has had epic lightsaber battles with the kids. We're plotting some way to make Dragon*Con possible this year.

    Yay for geek families!

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  27. My mother is a HUGE geek and she is in her early 70s. She loves a lot of sci-fi/fantasy shows, movies and books.

    I can remember, back in my younger days, she took me to see a movie, and when it was over I got up to leave. She said "Sit down. we are going to see the movie showing afterwards." It's funny, I don't remember what that first movie was but I remember the movie we stayed to watch. It was Star Trek IV! ("Take me to your nuclear wessels!)

    I also remember she would watch Doctor Who on Saturday nights (I'm ashamed to admit now that back then I thought is was lame!). Tom Baker was her doctor. We now watch the new episodes together. :)

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  28. This made me cry. And I was at work on my lunch break. Such a great story.

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  29. I am so glad you posted this. We struggle in the exact opposite way. My husband, son and I are SO geeky, and my daughter, not so much. She is - I believe she is an engineer in the making - some geeky, but the rest of us are content to read and play video games and board games. She wants to go and play and do gymnastics and explore. I am touched by this mom who stepped out of her non-geeky comfort zone for her son, and am encouraged to step out of my geeky comfort zone to better relate to my less geeky child.

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  30. My parents weren't too geeky, but they did introduce me to Star Wars and Star Trek. I found geekdom on my own. My daughter, who is nine and has asperger's, is now on her path to geekdom. She loves Doctor Who, goes on Reddit (Reddit has a setting for kids under thirteen so that they can play there safely), writes rage comics, writes my little pony and Mario fan fiction, reads up on her favorite video games, LOVES reading Cake Wrecks, and hasgotten her entire gifted class into Doctor Who. Last year we took her to dragoncon, where she cosplayed as a my little pony and went to the steam punk balls in her own little steam punk outfit. She is already proud of being a geek and loves science. My kid rocks.

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  31. My dad is a Geek - a Chemist, 3D chess player, and Star Wars fan - and he would bring me to the Lab with him on Saturday mornings, and then we would go to the American Museum of Science and Energy and spend the afternoon eating freeze-dried icecream (which i still love)and checking out the Van De Graaff generator. When I was a kid he helped me try to build a robot that would clean my room (I really should have finished that project), and when I was a teenager he helped me build carbon-fiber fairy wings.

    Now I'm an adult (30, homeowner, married), and my dad still does chemistry with me (kitchen chemistry, that involves fermented drinkable grain), helps my husband with soldering projects, and kills aliens (in Halo) with my mom.

    Greatest. Dad. Ever. Ok, I'm going to go cry about how much my dad means to me now.

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  32. My parents are *NOT* geeks in any way, shape, or form. But it's my mom's fault I became one, and am trying to encourage the same in my three sons and my daughter. My first "geek" encounter came with me seeing Star Wars on opening night in 1977. My dad was working the late shift, and my mom wanted to take me to see this new movie, because Harrison Ford was in it (she was a BIG FAN of Mr. Ford in those days). I wasn't all that interested, but I went with her. I walked away a full-on geek, and she walked away a bit disenchanted with Han Solo. My parents still think I'm weird, but... I'm 42 now. I don't really care.

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  33. They are absolutely precious. It's never too late to embrace the geek.

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  34. Small-town Iowa geeks, unite! Shawna, if you're not already familiar with it, check out Demicon--the Des Moines science fiction convention!
    My grandparents were fan guests of honor once upon a time. That's right, I'm a third generation geek. There was never any hope for me ! I'm now proudly raising the fourth generation!

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  35. My dad was a D&D player and when I was little I would "play" with him and his friends (mostly that meant I was some sort of princess character and I got to move figurines around). As I got older, we would watch everything from Princess Bride to MST3K together. My bedtime stories were The Hobbit and LOTR and The Chronicles of Narnia.

    As a family, we had Disneyland passports and would go every Sunday after church (we only lived about 20 minutes from the park). We would watch Star Wars and The Muppet Show together.

    Unfortunately, in high school, I rebelled against my geekiness in an attempt to be "cool." Even so, my friends and I were still closet HP geeks, dressing up for the midnight releases of the books and movies. When my mom remarried, my stepdad was the biggest trekker I had ever met, and reinstilled in me a love of all things geeky, including getting me really INTO Star Trek for the first time. Now, I wouldn't trade my geeky childhood for anything!!!

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  36. What a great story! Thank you for sharing!

    I am happy to report my parents were very supportive of me even when being a 'Star Wars freak' made me tape the entire set of the Star Wars trading cards (in ORDER mind you!) to my closet doors! (Hindsight being what it is, maybe they should have stopped me....=))

    I still have the 'Art Of' books stashed in my cedar chest, falling apart and worn through. When I wanted them I know my parents went to great lengths, and expense, to get them for me.

    I have to credit my dad with my love of geeky things. Early on he encouraged me to be interested in science fiction, which grew into my love for Star Wars, Frank Herbert's Dune series, Monte Python (not so sure my mom was pleased with THAT one!), and of course my Star Wars addiction.

    I was also heavy into competitive horseback riding, and we turned several of my mounts into Ewoks while I rode dressed as Luke Skywalker. She even designed the ears on the hood so that the horse's ears would fit inside and make them move. =)

    They also fed my book habit, and kept me well stocked with lots of science based books. To the point I even considered studying to be an astronaut until I learned how much MATH was involved!

    Your blog frequently takes me back to so many of those great memories, and has given me lots of good inspiration for my 'grown up' geekiness to show.

    Keep up the great work!
    Michelle

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  37. My dad has always been a science/logic based person, so sci-fi was right up his alley. Because of Star Trek TOS, he wanted to be a spaceship captain, but discovered that being a fighter pilot would be just as cool. He forced me to read The Hobbit and watch Star Wars, Star Trek, and Indiana Jones...and I'm glad he did. We were also very much into fantasy when we were kids, loving The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Last Unicorn, and tons of other 80s sci-fi and fantasy films. My mom was "turned" by my dad as well when he forced her to go see Star Wars with him when it was first released. So she would take us to all kinds of fantasy/sci-fi/Disney films when we were kids. My parents were fascinated by Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, and we watched Star Trek TNG together every week as a family. So yes, I had somewhat geeky parents who encouraged us to learn and explore the unknown and unexpected.

    Congrats to Sandra and Hunter for their new-found time together and all of the fun they are going to have.

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  38. My parents jump-started my geekiness the moment I was born: they named me after Tegan Jovanka. One of my first memories is of watching Doctor Who with my dad; my mom let us kids watch Monty Python on a regular basis. Even now, as a university student, I'm going into software engineering with a minor in math; exactly what my geeky dad got his degree in.

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  39. My life with my parents literally started out with my dad watching Star Trek while my mom was in labor. As a family, we watched Next Gen and Voyager together and later Firefly, SG-1 and A (I had moved out before U started). I introduced them to Fringe and Doctor Who. They were so happy that my brother and I liked to read so had no problem buying Piers Anthony, Tamora Pierce, Patricia Werde, and R.A. Salvatore. And they were quite happy to allow brother and I do marching band, community band, and so on. While they aren't sure what to do with cosplay (my senior week after high school was a con) they humor me. They loved the little touches at the wedding even if they didn't understand them all (one of our groomsmen's cufflinks was a zip drive with ubuntu loaded on it).

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  40. I've always been into anime and manga, and at first my parents didnt like it at all. They couldnt understand how a teenager (i'm 18 now) could be so interested in cartoons. But when I was 15, they actually bought me a manga! And they've given me money for the past 4 years to go to anime conventions! They still dont understand it, but i'm happy they're accepting it :)

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  41. I was a closet geek. I wouldn't even admit to liking Star Wars, or if I did...I was quick to say that I wasn't one of "those" Star Wars fans...but, I was.
    Now, I am a proud geek girl, married to a freakish genius man, raising little geeklings!

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  42. I think my mother was geeky at one time, but it was before I remember. She had collections of Piers Anthony, ST: TNG novels, and Mercedes Lackey in the house, all of which I ended up reading. She also did insist on buying and reading all the HP novels, but she would also get into moods and go on book purges and throw away large chunks of her non-religious books. A good part of my book collection came from books I stole from her shelf before a purge.

    And she actively discouraged most other kinds of geekery in me. I wasn't really allowed on the computer or the internet and she didn't like me playing video games. The only reason that even persisted was a love of Mario and my grandma got me a Gameboy when I was 12.

    I watched all the ST and SW movies that were in the house, other people fed my habits, but I think by the time I was old enough to be geeky, her religion was conflicting with her geek-ness so I never got to know my geek mother. I wish I'd had someone to share it with.

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  43. as an only child, i've always been around the grown ups. when mom and dad would go to dinner with friends, chances were that i went along with them. when we would go eat with my "uncle dan" (dad's best friend from high school, but no genetic link.) we would always go pick him up, and ride together. uncle dan always would play around with the radio in the car after supper, surfing the AM radio stations. if he couldnt find anything worthwile, he would shut it off and tell me stories of what he and dad used to listen to as kids. inevitably, they wound up quoting monty python skits and dr. demento songs from memory. when i became a tween and discovered that they were now selling cd's of the songs that i had only come from the warbly barritones of dad and uncle dan, sung from the front seat of the car; i was hooked. that blossomed into a love of british humour, and then into british tv. from there the geekery just merged in with the other geeky proclivities that i had, literature, art, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. my parents always supported me, even if it left them shaking their heads :) nowdays, i pride myself in raising two little geeklings. considering the geek levels of myself and my husband, our kids would need to be "normal" in order to rebel!

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  44. I LOVE EngineersFalcon's comment. It's easy for any 'alternative' community to send the message "It's great to be weird... so long as you're weird like us." What we all need to be saying is "However you are is cool with me." :)

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  45. My mom is the geeky goddess of my life. :) She introduced me to so much that I'm not even sure that my geekiness is native anymore :P

    You name it, Star Trek, Farscape, Fantasy (Patricia C. Wrede ) H.P. (as a third grade girl I was certain that H.P. wasn't really fantasy because her dragons weren't right...I was a specific 8 yr old?), Doctor Who, Firefly, Stargate, Quantum Leap, even recently she got me hooked on Supernatural. All of these are thanks to my mom.

    About the only thing she didn't introduce me to was Star Wars (my dad's only geeky love, so I was still covered), comics, and web comics (now I'm sharing that back to her).

    Thanks to her I've gotten to know and love all these awesome things--and so much more! And we're closer because of it! We can talk through episodes--we both came to Steampunk around the same time so we like to share that with each other. I am so grateful to her for introducing me to geekdom, and glad that I am now a partner in it :D

    Thanks Mom!

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  46. My Mom raised me on Star Trek (original and Next Generation, then Voyager, DS 9...) and encouraged me to be enamored with the world around me.

    I have fond memories of getting overly excited about geeky subjects (from space travel to other dimensions and ridiculous movies with giant bugs) with her. It never even occurred to me until recently (and I'm 30) that anyone would think that it's weird. I think maybe I've been pretty lucky.

    I love that I never developed the self consciousness about that that so many people seem to.

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  47. My parents started my geekery. Watching Star Trek together every week when I was younger, mass sharing of sci-fi and fantasy books... its a family tradition.

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  48. For certain I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for my mom. When I was 5, my invisible friend was Darth Vader, when I was in middle school I drew Nazgul on my binder margins, and in high school I drew dinosaurs.
    Now I know many parents who would've never tolerated such abnormal behaviour from their daughter, but my mom didn't give one hoot. She loved it in fact. I only got have her for a very short 23 years, but those were some awesome years. Thanks mom.

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  49. My Dad first introduced my Sister and me to Geekdom with Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Anime, and a dozen cult classic movies like "Young Frankenstein" and "Princes Bride". I can never thank him enough for teaching me to be proud of the things I love even if other people think they're weird. I grew up in a very small town too and can understand the pressure to just be normal, but I never would have met my husband if I hadn't embraced who I really was. We met at a Steam Punk table top game, got engaged at a Ren Fair, and were married in top hats and Victorian-esque dress, and loved every geeky second of it. There in nothing better then being able to share all your loves and passions with the person that means the most to you.

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  50. While I've always been hesitant to refer to myself as a 'geek' (mostly down to not being a gamer or programmer despite all sorts of other interests that would qualify me for the term) my parents, and honestly my family in general, really gave me the freedom to explore that world. I grew up with Star Trek and Star Wars, and later on LotR, which my Dad is always re-watching. My Mom read The Hobbit, Harry Potter and The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy to my brothers and I and many other books in between. Our aunts took us to museums, bought us all sorts of books, and loaded us up with craft supplies. They've never had an issue with our mix of interests and raised 3 geeky and artistic kids who've dabbled in D&D, MMOs, programming, robotics, writing, acting... and the list goes on. One of my brothers and I used to spend hours playing make-believe or taking turns telling our own bedtime stories. :)

    Both my parents are very artistic as well, across several mediums, and it's not unusual for us all to end up pitching in suggestions or aid on each other's projects at times. Of course, there have been lots of other people that have helped us continue to explore that world, but as far as the seeds go... Yes, I'd say I owe my parents a lot for letting us be creative and explore so many things that could've been written off as useless or unimportant. These days I'm really proud of the work my Mom does to help other children get to do the same,often going beyond her job requirements to do so.

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  51. I think it is all my fault that my family is completely geeky. I tend to get obsessive with things like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Supernatural etc., and who better to share that with than your kids. Last year, we went to our local Comicon as Loki, Suaron, Stan from American Dad (with Klaus in a bowl) and "Victorian" Wonder Woman. Again, I'm obsessing, but we started our costumes for this years Comicon as soon as the last one ended :)

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  52. As a fellow geekette in small town Iowa, I can really relate to this.

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  53. I feel like the opposite of this mom. My 9 year old son, my husband and myself are all huge geeks but my 4 year old just doesn't fit in. He likes dirt, cars, trains and (gasp) sports. I'm lost. I hope I will be able to give him what he needs. He does love watching Doctor Who with us and as a result wears a lot of bowties so I hope we can learn from each other.

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  54. My mom is geeky. I grew up watching Dr Who, Red Dwarf, Star Trek, brit comedy shows (that prolly explains my dry sense of humor lol). My mom loves reading and she'll read a lot of different genres. We're a lot alike personality and looks wise. I love her very much and would never trade her for anyone else. My hubby enjoys scifi as well which makes watching tv easy, lol.

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  55. Star Wars vs. Star Trek: I could never choose a side.

    When I got home from school, TNG would be on at the perfect time for me and my mom to watch it together.

    When I stayed over at my grandma's, I got to sleep on the Star Wars sheets.

    And stare at my aunt's paintings of unicorns and pegasus flying over fantasy mountains.

    And after grandma and grandpa went to bed, me and my cousin would sneak out and watch Red Dwarf and Doctor Who.

    And that doesn't even touch on my mom's second hand fantasy and sci fi novels that I read after she was done while my classmates were reading Babysitter's Club.

    And I actually never got picked on for it.

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  56. My dad had a nice library of Sci Fi books that I was allowed to devour. We would also watch Star Trek: TNG together as a family and that was my geeky foundation. I also have a nice collection of books for my kids to peruse when they want and I actively encourage interest in all geekery. They have action figures from TNG that they play with, they enjoy watching Dr. Who with my husband and I. It is fun sharing those thing I love with my kids.

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  57. Sadly, I don't have any awesome mom and me stories, or dad and me stories (mom and I don't get along much and I didn't meet my dad til I was 24).

    However, I have my own son, he turns 4 in March. He loves Star Wars, the Marvel movies, Hobbit, Pirates, Spiderman, zombies, etc. When he gets a little older I plan on taking him out to cons, free comic book day, etc. I love the fact my son is a geek and hope he stays one. I can't wait to get into a playful yelling match over our favorite Doctor (David Tennat thank you very much!) or the implications of quantum mechanics on the Xmen universe!

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  58. Faves of my Mom: Dr. Who, Sherlock Holmes, Red Dwarf, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, macrame, and cross-stitch. I got her into Redwall, the Enchanted Forest, Watership Down, Midnight Louie, and the Chocoholic Mysteries.
    It's fun to see how much we influenced each other. I miss her.

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  59. My parents very much allowed me to be a geek. They are both huge sci-fi fans and one of my favourite moments as a kid was sitting back and watching Star Trek TNG with them. I even got to watch it with my mom a few weeks ago and still loved it.
    My dad got me into the whole pc movement with games like Counter Strike.
    Also, when Diablo 3 came out, my parents, sister and myself all got the game and we played together. One big geeky family!
    My parents are very supportive of my geek art that I do and share my page with everyone.
    I know I am pretty lucky to have my geek loving parents and for raising me as such.

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  60. My mom is a huge Star Trek fan and I grew up watching the original series with her. When "Then Next Generation" came out, we were in front of the TV every week together. She introduced me to Star Wars and other sci-fi titles as a teenager and we have really enjoyed reading Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings together and seeing all the movies. I love my geeky mom!

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  61. I was definitely raised by geeks. When my sister and I were little, they would play the original Final Fantasy after putting us to bed. My dad read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter to us at night. When we got older, our whole family watched all of Star Trek: Next Generation together. The list goes on, but it makes me proud to be a geek when I've got such a rich heritage behind me.

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  62. In my case it was almost entirely my fathers fault! (: He had piles of scifi books on his bookshelves, and was always reading. I grew up on Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, and Jeopardy. When I turned 13 my Aunt introduced me to Piers Anthony, and my best friend introduced me to The Hitchhikers Guide series. For years I saved my allowance to buy the next P.A. Xanth book each spring. Terry Brooks, P.A., Douglas Adams, Anne McCaffrey, and Mercedes Lackey adorn my shelves to this day.

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  63. We actually played DnD type bored games growing up. My brother was a dwarf who would frustrate my sister and I, and sometimes my Dad would allow us to beat on him. My sister was Barbie the Barbarian. I was a thief who would walk into any room and demand to know if there was treasure inside!

    My Dad and Mom also read us comic books as bedtime stories (notably The Spirit by Will Eisner).

    We had a total geekcentric house. My Mom is turning 60 this year and has more characters on WoW then we did, and she can kick any of our butts in Diablo or Age of Empire.

    My Dad is busy spending his evening building old Si-Fi movie models in the basement.

    Us three kids meet up all the time to do board game nights, we even just finished doing our own DnD type game. It's made us a really close family.

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  64. Psh, you're all late bloomers. My mom was watching Dr. Who while I was in the womb! Lol!

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  65. We watched Star Trek TNG every night at dinner. According to my mom, I used to dance to the theme song, but I was so little at the time I don't remember doing so. My dad and brother were really into Star Wars too, but I didn't really start liking it myself until I was a teenager. My mom and I were the more bookish types; I read a LOT of classic literature in elementary school, from Jules Verne to Shakespeare to Homer to Tolkein. And on that note, we did a lot of traveling for my parents' work, and we had an audiobook of The Hobbit that we listened to in the car. Many, many, many times.

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  66. I didn't get as lucky in the parent department. My father, who I inherited the geek gene from passed away when I was six, and my mother didn't expose me to the geekier side of life. In her defense, she was huge into video games, so we had that going for us. However, I never saw anything sci-fi, fantasy, or British until I found Douglas Adams' writing in the 8th grade and became a voracious reader and movie goer thereafter. It was funny how many things I would bring home and be informed on how much my father had loved them, proving nature beats nurture once again. :) I never saw any of the Star Wars movies until they were re-released in theatres in the late 90s...Sadly, the only reason I know that Han shot first is because I was instructed that it was so; I've never seen the scene as it was originally filmed. :( I never saw any Monty Python until a few years ago. Those are just some of the most shocking gaps in my geek girl knowledge.

    The happy ending: now I have two little geeklings of my own and we are all a family of weird. Right now, we are in the midst of planning my son's Doctor Who themed Bar Mitzvah party, and it's going to be legendary! We are part owners in a retro arcade, and every year we do an awesome group halloween costume! (I'll send pictures of the Dalek we built if your interested)

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  67. My dad was an original computer geek. He started programming when it was still punch cards and HUGE discs. But beside that., he was never into much of anything geeky.

    I hung out with the geeks in high school. The guys who drew their own comics and loved Star Wars; me, one other girl and 6 geek guys, and we weren't ostracized, which was great.


    As an adult, I became an even bigger geek when I had a boy who loved TMNT, Power Rangers and then we moved to anime, I moved on to Buffy when it aired cause I wanted to see how that gal who played Kendall on "All My Children" was going to do as Buffy, and have pretty much been super-geek mom since.

    My kids are huge Joss Whedon fans, Dr. Who fans, Adventure Time, Monty Python (well, my son. My gal's too young) fan, video games, Harry Potter, Disney. You name it, we geek to it.

    Since high school, I never thought Geek was a bad word. My school was a public H.S. in S. Florida but never once was my group made to feel less because of our brains and love of geekery. We were lucky.

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  68. I was definitely a mis-fit in the small Texas town where I grew up. My father watched Star Trek and had some really crazy Trekkie friends. He also liked astronomy and took us to the local university observatory some Saturdays to look through the telescope. My parents *must* have done something different with me and my brother, though.
    My passion was in classical music, and in a town where the high school football team is the most important, encompassing thing, I really felt out of place and never had good friends my teenage years (I often ate lunch alone :/).
    It was a huge relief when I went to university and met others who loved classical music, but it took some time to, well, develop social skills, you could say.
    Eventually, I left the states, went to study in Germany for 5 years(where people aren't half as cliquish as in the states!), then lived in London, and am now in Hong Kong working for a university! It's been great breaking away from the small town I grew up in. When I go back to visit, I often hear stories of the "popular" kids or the highest-grades kids not going anywhere with their lives. People I used to "admire" -- they just work in restaurants and haven't even gone to university!
    Incidentally, another geek from my high school years has gone on to do a PhD in immunology!
    So don't worry -- the joke is definitely on them in life and life just gets more fun when you get older. :)

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  69. My mom would always teach us life lessons through Star Trek (OS). She would always say something profound then relate it to "That one Star Trek episode" and then if we mentioned that we hadn't seen it she would sit us down and make us watch it. At first I thought it was weird and rolled my eyes when my mom brought it up, but eventually I ended up spending a summer watching every single episode.

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  70. My parents encouraged me to watch as much Star Wars as I wanted and my Grandma introduced me to Doctor Who and Star Trek. To this day, I call my Grandma (who's 85) the day after new episodes of Doctor Who air to discuss them. And if we happen to be visiting her at Christmas when the Christmas episode airs? It's the best thing ever.

    Sara

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  71. My parents are a huge influence on my geekyness- but I'm also one on them! Being a 17 year old girl, they were the ones to introduce me to Star Trek and Buffy, though I suggested we then start on Doctor Who. Mom blames dad; he's a natural geek! She is responsable for my love of steampunk though, which she blames on you, and we both attended last year's Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo in steampunk costumes. This year? We're hoping to coerce my dad into doing a tenth doctor costume, and I've already roped my boyfriend into being the eleventh :)

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  72. My parents were not geeky in the traditional sense. They were more Hippy then Geeky. I was a little hippy but more artsy when I met my geeky husband in college. I am proud and honored to say that he has brought a ton of geekiness into my life. I have now read a huge number of Star Wars books, have become a Star Wars fan even quoting the movie in everyday life... I know Star Trek and we go together for the midnight showings. My kids, a boy and a girl both are little geeks, loving fantasy and Sci Fi and growing up loving things that I never knew about. It is awesome and wonderful and I am so glad I embraced all the geekiness and have grown in the knowledge of the Force. It has all been tremendously fun and we all have so much fun enjoying it together. Maybe we will go to a con some day. My husband and I are both wearing Star Trek uniforms for Halloween next year. I never would have seen that coming before I met my man. He has opened up a whole different world for me. One that I never made fun of, just one that I had no idea about. Now... my sisters? They think my family is a little crazy and that is OK. I will bring them over to the Dark Side someday. Thanks for sharing these great stories and for sharing you.

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  73. My parents have been very accepting of my geekiness, though they haven't gotten into it much themselves. My husband was the one who got me into going to cons, shortly after we first started dating. We plan on being geeky parents one day and taking our kids to conventions.

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  74. Sadly my parents did not foster such a love in me I had to do that for myself. But my son is a HUGE geek and we love all geek stuff together along with my husband (my son's stepfather and mostly idol). We have taken him to expensive cons, dressed him in odd costumes, bought a ton of comics for him and go to all sorts of geeky stuff together. And the best thing is he is 18 and LOVES to hang out with us. It makes being a geeky family so much fun. Next stop for this Canada based Geek Family is Chicago Comicon!

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  75. Hey, I was *at* that Comic Con all four days. I had a press pass. I got to meet and ask questions of Jeremy Bulloch and Peter Mayhew (aka Boba Fett and Chewbacca). Alas, my interviews didn't record, so I couldn't use it, but I got a sweet autographed Star Wars tee out of the deal. And one that has Pinkie Pie jumping through Portals. I'm planning next year to attend that same con in costume, although I'm not sure what costume yet.

    So Shawna, maybe we could hook up and be geeky moms together! :)

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  76. Cheers to Shawna and Hunter!
    My parents started my sci fi love early on with sci fi movies, most of which were forgetable. UNTIL 1977! We stood in a true blockbuster line for hours to see Star Wars. I watched it wide-eyed as a 7-year-old and remember thinking "Space movies will never be the same after this." The next week we did it again. And 2 more times during the theater run. My brother and I wore out our Star Wars T-shirts! My gave my hair the cinnamon bun treatment for Halloween that year and even died my blond hair for that costume.
    BTW, the Star Wars snowflakes you featured last year...I just hung up my own set in my classroom today ('cause that's the kind of cool teacher I am)!;-) The kids are begging me to email the site with the template to their parents. I have one little girl in my class that is a Dr. Who fan. She got a DW lunchbox and sonic screwdriver for Christmas. Next I'm going to try a Tardis snowflake for her.

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  77. I'm not really sure if I can give my parents credit for the geek in me. I was so much of a loner, that I didn't really even like talking to my parents much.
    I think what secured my geekdom for me, was the fact that my grandmother (the lovely lady who actually raised me) never held me back from doing the things I loved, or being interested in the things that I loved.
    She might not have participated, but she still supported.

    On another note.
    I too can remember trying to hide that part of me. After making the "mistake" of admitting to my friends just how much I loved Star Trek and hearing the non-stop laughter, I decided to just keep it to myself. But it's lonely being a geek in a small town, so eventually I just hid it completely, even from me.
    It wasn't until I became an adult that I really let me freak flag fly.

    So kudos to Shawna for being able to figure out a way to let her son be himself, and for joining him in journey to geekdom.

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  78. So many of these comments have made me tear up and realize how lucky I was to have a geeky upbringing. I didn't know it was geeky then because watching TNG and the later Star Treks every night during dinner was just a fact of life. Now I am re-watching TNG and Voyages with my husband and there is so much nostalgia. My dad got an N64 for himself and my sister and I loved to watch him play (and attempt to play ourselves). One of our favorite games was to talk to each other on walkie talkies, repeating all the lines from Star Fox. Dad now buys anything cool he sees on thinkgeek so every time I visit there is a new tribble or model of serenity! The sword of Aragorn is mounted on the wall of their living room. My mom majored in computer science in the 80s when there were hardly any women in the field and is an IT networking director. Even though I have always been more liberal arts oriented, they have always encouraged me and I love them so darn much!

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  79. My parents did raise me with many geeky things, but like her, I denied them for a long time. It wasn't until recently that I started recognizing that I'm a geek!

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  80. I remember my dad reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea aloud to me before I could really understand what the story was about - except that I wanted to hear more. I remember bringing a massive hardcover book about the sun (WITH PICTURES OF SOLAR FLARES!!) to after school care with me... I seemed to be the only one interested. My dad had me watching Star Trek and Star Wars, woke me up at some ungodly hour to don a snowsuit and go watch a lunar eclipse, and took me out of town to view comets and aurora borealis with the naked eye (and occasionally binoculars.)

    Since my parents were divorced and I lived with my mom, my dad prepared a bookshelf in the room I stayed in every second weekend... by loading it with as many sci-fi and fantasy books as it could hold. Douglas Adams, David Eddings, Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, and so many many more.

    I'd say that I'm maybe just a little bit of a geek now, maybe. (Thanks Dad!)

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  81. I think my parents would have considered the word "geek" a pejorative, but they certainly always supported my interests, no matter what they were (as long as I wasn't hurting anyone or myself). When I showed an interest in fantasy novels, my mother started exploring the genre and giving me new books on my birthday. We watched "Battlestar Galactica" together as a family, my parents read the Harry Potter series aloud to us whenever a new book came out, and they never objected to me and my brother playing "Baldur's Gate" and "Starcraft" for hours on end if we'd done our homework. I think they were just glad to see that we had serious interests, but I don't think they saw us as geeky. I don't mind identifying as a geek, but I think that until recently it was not considered a desirable label.

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  82. My Dad is all about computers and science fiction books, and when I was little he read to me things like The Hobbit, and the Pern books, and later loaned computer games to me and got me forever hooked on dungeon crawlers :). My mom read fantasy books to me about brave girls having adventures, and you know, didn't go crazy from my watching Jurassic Park almost every day for years.

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  83. I don't know how geeky this is but my dad used to buy me non-superhero comics. I grew up on Tin Tin and Calvin and Hobbes. I think he thought Superman and Batman were too violent for me. That's my parental geek story. :)

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  84. I couldn't have asked for better parents. I was basically raised to be a geek. My dad taught me how to play magic when I was about 4 and the best memories of my childhood was playing video games with him. My mom is just as nerdy as my dad. The only one who doesn't reach the normal levels of nerd in my family is my little sister, but she still sits down and plays with us during our family game nights.

    I honestly can't thank my parents enough for being the "cool" parents that they are and putting up with me going to conventions growing up (although they didn't have to actually go to any of them).

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  85. If you want a book, any book, the answer is NEVER "no".

    My husband and I now have 10 bookshelves that are all full of (mostly) fantasy/sci fi books.

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  86. I usually just quietly read your blog, but HAD to comment today. My Dad passed away 1 1/2 years ago at the age of 58, and I am forever grateful for all the ways he inspired me to be "geeky." I received the Tales of Narnia for my 7th birthday and shortly after devoured J.R.R. Tolkien. Not many kids under age 10 can say that! My Dad was an amateur astronomer and LOVED sci-fi. I grew up on Star-Trek and Star Wars, H.G. Wells, all the old sci-fi classic movies and books. I married a geek and we are raising 5 geeks who insist on every sci-fi or fantasy costume, game, and book out there. I don't know why we use the word "geek", to me, it's just FUN. Who wants to be a boring, same-old?

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  87. Growing up I don't think my parents knew how geeky they were. We watched all the best old bbc shows, like red dwarf,and every doctor. They knew they loved startrek, and passed that on to us kids, mom made all 4 of us girls uniforms and dad made badges. Now that we've all gown up I've been showing them a few things, sadly my mom sad she didn't think she'd enjoy going to a con, the lines seem to long.

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  88. My parents are pretty geeky and more than one person has commented that my dad reminds them of Leonard from TBBT. My favorite memory was when I was 14 and SW: Episode 1 came out. I volunteered at Space Camp at the the local Air & Space Museum and the premiere week, we did a Star Wars camp. My mom and I spent all week modififing a Princess Leila costume I already owned to be a Queen Amidala costume. I wore it with pride as we took the 20+ kids we had in camp to see the movie. My best friend went as a jedi that day. Fast forward 13 years and that young jedi is now my husband. I can't wait to get geeky with kids of my own.

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  89. My Dad loved the classic Star Trek - when I was little I remember watching episodes with him. I was introduced to Monty Python in Grade 7/8 along with Tolkien. The first movie I remember going to vividly was Return of the Jedi ( I dressed up as an Ewok for the premier). I have passed my geekdom down to my boys. They dressed up as full on dwarves (beards and all) to go see the Hobbit. They also have a great love for comics, video games, and actually reintroduce me to Dr. Who. Our family goal is to make it to Comic Con one day.

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  90. I was a young child of 8. We were without a place to live, so my Grandpa let us live in the upstairs of his house. It was the 1970's, the recession was very bad, and we lived in the mountains of North Carolina, which meant work was nonexistent. My dad had just had a nervous breakdown and spent most of his time in bed. I used to go in and sit on the bed with him and watch a tiny black and white TV. One day he let me look for something to watch and I discovered a new channel, it was a low signal PBS station that just came in. There was a tall, wild haired man wearing a way to long scarf that had a magic box that took him anywhere in space and time. We both sat there watching him completely enjoying ourselves. It was the first time in a very long time. Ever since that day I have been a huge Dr. Who fan and have watched it with my Dad ever since then. He never questioned or gave a second thought to why we did it.

    Much Love,
    Paul

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  91. I can remember Star Wars marathons with my siblings and I curled up in sleeping bags on the living room floor (trying desperately to stay awake for all of them) and watching Star Trek (TNG) as a family faithfully every week. And we continued on with weekly DS9 viewings and (for most of us) Voyager after that. (Dad was on his own for Enterprise. ;) But he and I watched Battlestar Galactica together.) We also indulged in "Sci-fi Friday", gathering each week to watch Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, and now my friends and I get together every week to watch them on DVD. :) We actually started getting together to watch Voyager on DVD (some 6-7 years ago), then we continued on to DS9, and now we're on Stargate: SG-1. :)

    And I'm extremely proud of how my siblings are continuing the geekiness with my nieces and nephews. My 2-year-old nephew loves Stargate: Atlantis. Recently he's been climbing into his "puddlejumper" (laundry basket) with a pair of goggles on, pretending to fly around while yelling "John Sheppard!" (the way Todd says it ;) ). :)

    My fiancé is a happy geek, too, so I look forward to creating many more happy geeks with him. :) While we were at Disney World last fall, he purchased a build-your-own lightsaber SET. ("That way I can switch out the parts, like a Lego set only with lightsabers." ...I completely encouraged this idea. :) ) When we got home, he took them over to my sister's house, and he and the three oldest kids (one girl and two boys) battled in the backyard for over an hour well after the sun went down. My mom, sister, and I watched the flashes of light from the window and heard the squeals and laughter... and smiled. :)

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  92. My inner-geek was influenced mostly by my Grandmother!! My folks were a large influence as well, but my Grandmother was the driving force. When I was young, my folks were remodeling our house, and we lived with my Grandmother through the process. On Friday nights, channel 2 ran reruns of the original Star Trek series at 11 pm. It was a treat to stay up late and be able to watch the old shows. With the invention of VHS, she began taping all of the old episodes. She did the same thing with The Next Generation. She would buy episodes of the original series that never ran on TV. Her collection was vast, and I would watch them for hours. She was always reading a book about dragons, other planets, the Dune series, or anything sci-fi she could get her hands on. Her library card never got a rest. She helped my perfect my Vulcan hand sign! I was the only teenager in high school who had Star Fleet pins on her work hat and ear cuffs (for the life on me I can't remember the species that wore them on the show)that she would buy me. She convinced my folks to take us all to the Star Trek Convention in town to meet Nichelle Nichols. However, she never considered herself a "Trekkie" or a geek. She just liked the fantasy. My folks took me to all of the Star Wars movies at the drive-in. My mother fostered my love for the original Twilight Zone Series. (I still to this day can hear the train conductor calling for Willoughby!)

    I had a friend mention to me the other day, while I was talking a Dr. Who episode, that she didn't realize how much I was into sci-fi. I don't think I did either until she said it. I'm glad someone else pointed it out to me!!

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  93. My dad has every single episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation on VHS. They take up three whole giant drawers in one of our many entertainment storage areas. He also introduced me to Monty Python and many of the older (read: 80s and 90s) movies that I love today.

    Even my sister, who is decidedly a "cool" and "popular" girl, loves to watch him do his memorized Monty Python routines (like "The Dead Parrot Sketch" and "The Brain Doctor" and "The Penguin on the Television Set").

    "Penguins don't come from next door. They come from the Antarctic!"

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  94. My mom is a geek (Even though I don't think she would admit to it) so I grew up with Red Dwarf, Star Trek, Star wars, Monty Python, Princess bride, and the labyrinth. My brother was big into video games and wouldn't let me play with him because I always won. :) My parents were divorced but my dad was a huge geek and gave me a love for Tolkien, comics, and much more. I am happy to be a geek and am glad to say that one of my kids favorite movies is the Labyrinth. :)

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  95. I am thankful for my dad who consistently picked Star Wars and Star Trek movies for family movie nights so that I had them all memorized before I was an adult. And still he gave me a funny look when I considered naming one of my kids Leia... Anyway, now that I have kids of my own (though none of them named Leia) they have made their own Star Wars fan film (I shot the video), they all had Star Wars costumes last Halloween (my youngest was even here on Epbot as R2D2) and my older two asked almost exclusively for Doctor Who toys and accessories this Christmas. Growing up, I was never really one of the "cool" kids (and I'm still not) so I developed the attitude that I was going to enjoy what I wanted to and not worry too much whether it was the "popular" thing or not. My kids tell me that no one at their school has any idea who Doctor Who is but that doesn't stop them from doodling Daleks on the edges of their papers or using their sonic screwdriver pen. I hope they can continue to be themselves and not be pressured by what others would try to tell them is "cool".

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  96. This year? Me and my daughter - at a Steampunk convention. Making our costumes together and the cost of that plus the convention trip will be her 13th birthday present. I never thought of my own parents as contributing to my geekiness, but come to think of it my Mum did love Star Trek and especially Blake's 7 (UK) - and our kids really didn't have a choice BUT to be geeky LOL :) Props to Shawna and Hunter, though - it's hard to be yourself in a world which can judge so harshly. And to admit you're wrong as a parent is HUGELY important to your kids - you ARE a good Mum Shawna, 'cos you cared enough to change for Hunter.

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  97. I've never thought I was a geek, but I guess I am - I remember watching the very early Dr.Who in the 1960's when I was about 3, and my mum's favourite programme was Star Trek (circa William Shatner). The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings were on the bookshelf amongst many & varied other titles. We made all kinds of fun things like knitted Clangers and fairytale castles from kitchen rolls - never got teased for it though, perhaps in the UK it's not seen as so weird. My own kids (now grown) were/are into Star Wars, Dr.Who,comic books, all kinds of similar stuff. I've been to sci-fi exhibitions with them, made costumes, done zombie make-up, bought all kinds of related crap. My son is now a freelance illustrator and his style is definitely a product of his upbringing.I'm currently knitting props for an animated film; people laugh but who cares? I'd rather be a geek than boring....

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  98. We have totally allowed our kids to embrace their geekdom...we have dubbed my son (he's 14) and his friends "the Big Bang group" My daugher (she's 11) and I watch Dr. Who together. My son is as frustrated with the "Firefly" cancellation as the rest of us. Both my children are proficient in D&D lingo. we've taked them to 2 GenCons. Yes....my family lets out geek flag fly!

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  99. i grew up on star trek and blame patrick stewart for my love of bald man (captain picard is THE MAN) and me and my cousins played star wars all the time, i was a geek without even realizing it i thought everyone watched star trek (TNG, DS9, and VOY) and babylon 5, i was pretty young still when DS9 ended and am still angry at my mom because she said there would be a movie! unfortunetly i hide my geekiness, but have recently came back into it and love it! one of my fav things to do is yell out STAR TREK when ever I notice an alumni in another tv show

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  100. This was a very nice story - especially hanging out with your Mom as a teenager, I know how awkward that can be!
    I absolutely LOVE that my parents, especially my Mom encouraged my geeky interests. My parents are immigrants from Mexico, so they definitely are not aware of a lot in American pop culture - but they have their kids to teach them. :) I was and am such an incredible Mozart Geek. My dad would make recordings of Mostly Mozart concerts on tv, and give me stuff from clients who went to Europe because of my classical music obsession. My Mom even went with me to Europe on a "Mozart Mecca." I completely and totally geeked out about Mozart museums and statues and books. My Mom could care less - she was like (in cute Mexican accent) "I don't care about el Mozart - I just go because of you." I love that my Mom encouraged me in my nerdosity when it was definitely not considered cool! For many years - she was the only one who came to my Mozart birthday parties(because my peers thought that was weird).

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  101. My dad was the one to really get me involved in sci-fi/fantasy. We would watch Star Trek and eat pizza together when I was a toddler and my mom was at work on the weekends. He got me hooked on Dr. Who and the Dresden Files, shares my love of Harry Potter (it was his idea to send my husband and I to Universal Studios for our honeymoon to see the new Harry Potter World!), and even bought me a pet snake when I was 4 (yeah, he's pretty awesome). He's always encouraged me to be me, however weird and nonconventional (what 4 year old girl has a pet snake?!) that me may be. :)

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  102. I commend Shawna and her son for their love and curage! some of my very earliest memories are of lying on the floor under the end table sneeking a view of Star Wars (the original TV broadcast)while my dad watched it on the couch unaware of my presence =]. I was like 3-4 years old. I got totally scared by the trash compactor monster but I was completely hooked! I spent my adolescence reading Mercedes Lackey and watching Dr. Who and Red Dwarf on PBS late at night with no one to really talk to about it. I think it's so amazing that budding geeks these days have an online community no matter where they live. I had to move to San Francisco to find my people! Go Geeks! We make up the new "normal"!

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  103. My older son is not quite 3, but I am so excited to take him to his first Con some day. He's already been to a CW Book Signing (the one in Allen, TX, on your 2nd tour).

    I do have many fond memories of watching Star Trek with my mom and stepdad as a kid. In fact, the first time I met him, he took my mom and me out to see a Star Trek movie! I did, however, develop my deep love for Back to the Future all on my own as a kid.

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  104. Jenn and Shawna,

    Thank you both for sharing. I was touched by the story.

    I grew up on a non-geek home. Star Trek was mocked and so was sci-fi in general. I remember clearly walking out of seeing the Matrix for the first time and thinking,"That is the coolest, most interesting thing I have ever seen. I don't care anymore. I am out of the closet. I LOVE sci-fi."

    A few years later I went off to college where I got exposed to manga, anime, graphic novels. I started reading Sci-fi. No one had ever told me about Azimov, orson scott card, etc. I read Ursual L'Guin for the first time because of Grigg's list in "Jane Austin Boook Club". I had no cred, but I have been working to educate my self, and it has been a blast.

    But I still have been hiding. This new world is my own and few share it. I have been known to say, "I just speek geek, but I am not one". Fearing ridicule.

    Epbot has shown me that there is a huge community who love what I love and has inspired me to pursue it openly.

    Shawna, It never occurred to me that I could share this part of me with my family. I can't wait to have a geek kid one day. You rock!

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  105. My parents met at the board game store that my mom was working at. That should give you a small picture of the geekiness with which I was raised. I grew up watching my parents play Magic: the Gathering, watch sci-fi, and hold D&D nights on the weekends.

    My mom, especially, supported me as I explored my own geekiness growing up. She was my first GM for tabletop roleplaying, and helped me invite my friends to join in. When I started playing Pokemon, she got one of the games for herself so she could play with me. When I found a card game I liked, she learned how to play so I'd have a partner. She encouraged me to be exactly who I was, and was willing to try new things with me.

    These days, she's still geeking it up, holding weekly game nights with the teens in her neighborhood. We share geeky loves for numerous shows and series, and I love getting to introduce her to new things. My parents are my nerdy heroes, and I wouldn't be who I am without them.

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  106. My mom totally is the reason my brother and I are both as geeky as we are. When she was in college she went to the first Star Trek convention ever, and I grew up watching original Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. We both teased Mom on occasion to just embrace her geekyness.

    Now I'm a proud geeky adult (with an equally geeky husband) making part of my living selling jewelry at sci-fi conventions. This year my mom and my brother are both joining us at Dragon*Con - Mom's 3rd time, my brother's 2nd time, husband's 7th (I think) and my 12th - wow! We may all be geeky in slightly different ways, but I love when we get to be geeky together.

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  107. I just wanted to point out that having not geeky parents isn't a bad thing as a geek either. While neither of my parents (especially my mom) were geeks or got the geek thing, they've always been supportive.
    Like I said above, my mom especially supported me. She always was willing to buy me video games, manga and art books when money allowed. She supported me when I got into alternative fashion in high school and college. She supports me now as a cosplayer and costume-maker.
    But in all of this, I've been given the awesome chance to expose my parents to geekdom, which they really enjoy.

    So, while my parents didn't expose me to geeky things, they definitely gave me the confidence to shine as a geek!

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  108. its awesome to hear about geeks my age it seams like there aren't many

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  109. Sorry. Brain short circuited a bit at the thought of meeting John Pertwee.

    While my parents are not "geeks", it was my Mom's love of Star Trek that was my first exposure to geekery. Dad's love of gadgetry led to my being exposed to computers at an early age back when home computers were very rare.

    Above all, they loved and supported me through all of my explorations and interests.

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  110. I spent my childhood watching a lot of Disney Channel, a lot of Power Rangers, a lot of Star Trek, and a lot of Star Wars. (Also, huge crush on Indiana Jones. Just sayin'.) My mom used to make all my Halloween costumes! I had awesome Halloween costumes, every year! Power Rangers, Disney Princesses, so awesome! But it wasn't until high school that I truly found my geek self. I went to my first convention when I was 15, in a costume I made myself, and I think it my level of enthusiasm freaked my parents out a bit. They spent all of high school, and a bit after, trying to push me away from my tomboy nerd self, and it was extremely disheartening. It didn't take me long to stop talking about my nerdness to them and to find my support elsewhere...

    But a weird thing happened the other day. I'm 26 now, and an adult. Over the holidays I was helping my mom cook and we were talking about my brothers (complaining about them, actually. I mean really -- BROTHERS. What even are they??) and I made some comment about how it's fine to be different, I mean, I'd never watch her football and she'd never watch my Doctor Who, and there isn't anything wrong with that-- to which she responded "How do you know I wouldn't watch Doctor Who?" And proceeded to tell me about how, every single day when she was a kid, she would RUN HOME so as not to miss a SINGLE EPISODE OF STAR TREK TOS. And then when she got older, she wouldn't miss a single TV marathon of reruns. Whaaaaaat??? I had no idea! Ever! In my entire life! Why did this stop before I could have enjoyed it??? I would have loved watching Star Trek with her as a child!

    So guess who's about to get a marathon of old episodes of Doctor Who. I'm coming for you, Mother. (moohoowahahahaaaaa.)

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  111. My dad showed me to love all things geek without knowing it would be a great part of my life. I grew up watching Star Wars and Star Trek original series. I read Jurassic Park and Contact when I was 13 and I loved them. I know almost every sci fi story/book ever made thanks to him...

    The cool thing about it is that this label doesn't exist for him. He just love all of this stuff and taught me it was cool to love it too! I am so grateful for that. I grew up with all that confidence thanks to him.

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  112. My parents are not geeky at all, but they always let my sister and me do our own things. My mom would buy video games for us when we were younger. I remember on a few occasions she came home with a game because she thought I might like it. I wanted a N64 when it first came out, but I didn't bother asking for it for Christmas because I didn't think my parents would buy it for me. They surprised me with it though. I had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mini golf set, which I have never come across anyone else who had that. Then I got into DragonBall Z and anime. I would tell my mom I wanted some DBZ shirts, and she would buy them online for me. I had over a dozen shirts, sheets, an afghan, throw pillow, posters, wall scrolls, dvds, and of course action figures. I met my husband because of DBZ.
    I'm so thankful that my parents always let us like whatever it was we liked, and they supported it.
    I am the person I am today because of that.

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  113. Neither of my parents looked much like geeks to the outside world but their interests totally turned me into the geek I am.

    Until after I was grown and out of the house they only had what they could pick up from the area broadcast stations so we had 3 - 5 stations depending on weather conditions and you had to rotate the antenna to get a couple of those but one of the local stations ran old SF movies every weekend and my father loved them. We saw King Kong, The Day the Earth Stood Still, When Worlds Collide, The Fly, The Blob, and more.

    He was a regular viewer of pretty much every SF themed show he could get. The most important to me though was Star Trek. I was a toddler when Star Trek started its original run and watched it every week with him. Then watched the animated cartoon on my own. We went to the movies when they came out and we watched Next Gen together when I was home. He never took the attitude that SF wasn’t appropriate for girls and I don’t think I ran into that attitude until I was grown and set in my ways.

    Both loved comics when they were kids. He would buy me DC Comics (his favorite was Batman) and Mama would get me Little Lulu, Hot Stuff, and comics like that and read to me from her collected Pogo. Later they never fussed about how much of my allowance I spent on comics and I got my mother hooked on ElfQuest.

    Mama introduced me to Narnia, Middle Earth, Madeline L’Engle, and the idea that you will never be bored or lonely as long as you have a good book to hand. She helped me sew my first con costume and even went with me to a couple and loved it.

    They’re both gone now and one thing I miss the most is sharing my excitement about a movie, TV Show, comic, etc with them.

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  114. One of my first memories is my dad sitting us down because he wanted to share with us a new version of a show that he loved as a young person. This was the premier of Encounter at Farpoint. I would not be the person I am today without my dad's insistence of sharing the thing he loved. Not all of them took but enough...

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  115. I think my parents just about take the cake for encouraging my geek-ery. I was named after a Dr. Who companion.

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