Nerd Culture

Geek Beat: 5 Geeky Freebies for This Week

We don't have to tell you that the event listings for Phoenix shrivel in the summer heat. As the calendar rolls from May to June to July and the thermometer raises from hot to hotter to "oh, crap, the mercury exploded," locals literally head for the hills. Of course, the upside to being geeks is that nerdy activities are not necessarily outdoorsy, so we can always move indoors with our gaming or cosplaying or reading or whatnot.

And despite the fact that our chosen King of Geeks (Bill Gates, natch) is insanely wealthy, we respect that many dedicated members of our geek culture aren't exactly rolling in it these days. Maybe it's because they're still Level I Tech Support, or maybe it's because they blow their Graphic Design Director wad on Magic cards and Warhammer toys, er, miniatures. Either way, we respect our thrifty geek brethren enough to offer up this list of 5 geeky (and free!) ways to occupy your time in the days ahead.

Photo by janetmck via Flickr

1. Mooch a Book
Some clever book geek realized that most of our species (Geekianus Intelligenticus) reads as often as a high school cheerleader pads her bra, and books can get kind of pricey. We frequent libraries, of course, but let's face it -- who wants to read a Truman Capote novel with the pages stuck together by some unknown ectoplasm-like substance? 

That's why there's BookMooch, a site by which you can donate L. Ron Hubbard stinkers to others who want them, and earn a copy of Tolkien or Terry Brooks in return. Technically it's not FREE, since you do have to pay the shipping charges on books you send. But forking over $2 for media mail and getting a $20 hardcover in return -- we like that math.

2. Play Games 

You could stick in a solo computer game on Friday night, but that's the geek equivalent of staying home with your hand. So, get out there with actual real live people and play some games. Join the Dungeons & Dragons meetup group (totally free!), or head to Pop Culture Comics in Tempe on Friday night for the only DCI sanctioned Magic: The Gathering game in town. The latter's also technically free, if you already own the cards. If you don't, best borrow some or you'll be ponying up enough cash in the long run to pay for your future geeky offspring's college education.

3. Communicate with the Dead

Break the old Ouija board out of the closet and have a sleepover -- don't forget the equally free and classic "light as a feather, stiff as a board." Or, let psychic James Van Praagh take you through the basics of mentalism, um, we mean "communication with the dead" as he signs his latest book Unfinished Business tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Changing Hands Bookstore. If you're too scientific to believe in all that "woo-woo" stuff, pop in Ghostbusters (which all self-respecting geeks own) or The X-Files DVD box set and kick back with some microwave popcorn.

4. Take the Superhero Test

In between kicking ass in multiplayer WoW -- that's World of Warcraft to you "mundanes" --and reading about the dude who flew across the English Channel on a jetpack, see which superhero you're most like by taking this superhero test. Score Superman, Batman or any of the X-men and you're golden. Get Aquaman, Green Lantern or Batgirl and you're destined to be a loser. Sorry, we don't make the rules.    

5.  Dress Up for Fun

Cosplayers and LARPers, we know you've already got this one down with some unadvertised dress-up event somewhere in Phoenix. But we're addressing the other faction of geekdom, specifically the girl geek who likes to dress up and pretend she's a pretty, pretty princess without the creepy old-man stares that can accompany Lolita-style cosplay.

For you, dear girl geeks, Glendale's last That Thursday Thing of the season is a Girls' Night Out PJ and Tiara Party. Grab a sparkly wand and your best (public-friendly) sleepwear and listen to free music while taking free carriage rides through the streets. It's FREE! It's FUN! And it allows you to wear a tiara around town without looking like a weird Miss America wannabe freak.

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Wynter Holden
Contact: Wynter Holden