Friday, December 29, 2023

Final Post of 2023

This year might have presented its challenges for many, but for me, it brought forth a plethora of positive moments. As this marks the final post of 2023, I wanted to make it special by recounting the nerdy highlights that I am grateful for. While I might have overlooked some events, the essence of this post is to emphasize that this year has been remarkable, notwithstanding the trials, and that amidst adversity, there were still moments of joy. 

1. The Year of Sanderson:

   One of the standout nerdy moments of the year was the "Year of Sanderson," during which Brandon Sanderson not only published four secret project books, and Defiant, but also surprised us with a novella he had written in college. You can read about the Secret Projects on our blog posts from throughout the year.

  1. "Tress of the Emerald Sea" blog post by Michael
  2. "The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England" blog post by Rob
  3. "Yumi and the Nightmare Painter" blog post by Michael
  4. "The Sunlit Man" blog post by Michael

2. The Boy and the Heron:

   Another unexpected delight was Hayao Miyazaki's release of a new film, The Boy and the Heron. Known for animated masterpieces like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl's moving Castle. Miyazaki had previously declared retirement. The announcement of The Boy and The Heron was a pleasant surprise, and the movie lived up to expectations. The dub cast featuring Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, Willem Dafoe, and Mark Hamill added to the enjoyment.

3. David Tennant's Return for the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary:

   In a unique turn of events, David Tennant reprised his role as the Doctor and assumed the role of the Fourteenth Doctor. Notably, Catherine Tate also returned as Donna for these three Doctor Who specials, creating excitement among fans. The specials are available for streaming on Disney+. 

4. The Super Mario Bros. Movie:

   Personally experiencing this movie in theaters left a positive experience. Surprisingly well-made, the film boasted a great dub cast, an enjoyable Bowser's Peach song, and a decent plot. If you haven't watched it yet, you're missing out—it's a highlight of 2023. 

5. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom:

   Shifting focus from books and movies, let's not forget the highly anticipated game release of the year: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Serving as a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this game merges the mechanics of its predecessor with elements of Minecraft, offering an open-world experience where players can construct anything they desire. It's a brilliant fusion and well worth the wait.


Looking back, what nerdy highlights from this year brought you excitement, and what are you eagerly anticipating in the coming year?

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Pokemon Teams for the Soul Squad

I finished rewatching The Good Place last month. During this rewatch, I had the plan in mind to do a Pokémon mash-up with Team Cockroach. In previous Pokémon posts of this format, I posed silly hypotheticals like “What if Eleanor had a Pokemon battle with Shawn instead of doing their experiments?” We could definitely still have those conversations, but after seeing the Soul Squad arrive in the real Good Place I had a thought: at some point in the Bearimys that followed saving humanity, you can bet that Jason use the Good Place’s powers to have Pokémon battles with his friends. So here are the teams I imagined for them.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Which Jesus Do You Seek?

(Guest Post by Spencer's Dad)

Which of these four Jesus do you seek?

Sometimes Christmas season gets to busy that we don’t have time for Jesus.  Based on ideas from John Bytheway and Willaim Smart  (see note at the end) I have concluded there are four different Jesus we could seek at Christmas and throughout the years.

1. Santa Claus Jesus

Many in our world see these three wonderful stories as fairy tales.   To Level #1 people Jesus is as good a story as Santa Claus.   Once the world has enjoyed hearing and singing about these classic tales, we are ready for the Boxing Day sales and New Year’s celebration. 

Smart said that with Level #1 Jesus we eat too much, spend too much in the Christmas season.  John Bytheway added “I do all that and love it.”

2. Baby in Bethlehem

Jesus the Son of God being born in a manger is a unique story.   The Angels telling the wise men of the joy Christ will bring is a one sentence summary of the gospel. 

However, if Christians leave Jesus in the stable, we are missing the rest of this life changing story.  Don’t leave Jesus in the manger. Smart stated that “The man who leaves Jesus in the manger will be empty and unfilled.” 

The full effect of that first Christmas are incomplete if we leave Baby Jesus in the manger. We worship the Jesus in the manger for what he was going to do…because in the manger He didn’t do anything (yet) to help us.

Smart and Bytheway describe our need to find the adult Christ.  I have divided this into two distinct ways we could see that adult Jesus.

3. Jesus on the Cross

Jesus on the Cross – and then the empty tomb give us the promise that we will all be resurrected.   This promise keeps us going when we lose a loved one.  The world wants to hope this is true.  Our faith in the risen Christ assures us that families are forever.  

His promise that we will live again after we die does change how the after life will be. That promise is far ahead in our future (we hope).  Knowing I will see my deceased grandson who died in a motor cycle accident, is helpful, but I still have a life here to get through.

The Empty Tomb can have even more power than just hoping to see loved ones again.

4. Jesus in Gethsemane

When we remember Jesus in Gethsemane, there can be practical applications in our personal lives.   In mortality we will have days and seasons in our lives when we need God’s help to get through the day (or hour).  

The Jesus in the manger, at the empty tomb, will seem academic when the storms of life are tearing me apart.  The Jesus from Gethsemane can come to each of us in this stormy chapter of your life; today; this hour.

To the Nephites the resurrected Christ said "O all ye that are spared …will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" (3 Nephi 9:13)

The Savior who heals us in our trials is the hardest Jesus to find. It takes patience, faith and struggle.  Through him comes healing, peace and inspiration as we meet the challenges of today and the future.

Finding the Jesus who can heal you and me takes a different effort.   It involves patience, faith, listening, serving, asking, healing and more.  After He has helped us through one storm, we know He can help us through the next (different) storm.  

Once we are healed by the Christ in Gethsemane, then the Empty Tomb, the Cross and the Manger come alive to us in ways we could not have imagined.

*These ideas were sparked by two sources

John Bytheway in "Finding Joy this Holiday Season " LDS Living All in Podcast November 25m 2020

John got the ideas from an editorial by William B. Smart “Three Levels of Christmas.”  This and other William Smart editorials were included in a book Messages for a Happy Life 1989.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Friday Creature Feature - Clara's Snowmen

After doing my creature feature about Calvin’s snowmen, it only made sense to do a post about the snowmen from Doctor Who. However, as much as I enjoy Clara’s snowmen, this post will probably spend more time exploring the intelligence behind the snowmen, instead of the creatures themselves. But first to the snowmen:

The Snowmen

So once upon a time in Victorian England, a non-sentient snow-like alien substance fell to Earth and its telepathetic field latched onto a lonely (and possibly disturbed) boy. With the telepathic “snow” mirroring his thoughts over the ensuing fifty years, the alien substance started taking on a mind of its own. By the time the Eleventh Doctor and Clara took on this “intelligence” it’s able to create carnivorous snowmen just at a thought. End goal: the “snow” wanted to become the ultimate combination of human and ice (sounds like a Power Rangers villain, to be honest). This all culminated with an ice lady chasing after the Doctor and Clara. After Clara fell to her death (again), her family’s grief over her loss spilled into the telepathetic field, melting the snowmen and the Intelligence. 

But the Doctor rightly theorized the Intelligence didn’t stop there. It’s hard to say where things went next though…

Miss Kizlet and the Wi-Fi

In 21st Century England, the wi-fi started absorbing people’s minds. The person seemingly behind it, Miss Kizlet, said she was feeding those minds to her “client” who was later revealed to be the Great Intelligence. Again, the Great Intelligence was acting like a parasite, feeding off the mind of a child; when Kizlet’s mind was “reset” she was mentally a kid again, after facing the Eleventh Doctor. No idea what happened to the Great Intelligence at that point.

Whispermen on Trenzalore

The next time the Eleventh Doctor saw the Great Intelligence was “The Day of the Doctor” when lured to Trenzalore with Clara. After the Great Intelligence got into the Doctor’s time stream (possibly explaining the Second Doctor’s encounters with the Great Intelligence), Clara jumped in to resolve the interference. So yay? No sign of the Great Intelligence since the Eleventh Doctor era though.

The Abominable Snowmen in Tibet

Way back when, an expedition in Tibet led by Professor Travers hunted down a supposed yeti. Turns out, the Yeti was a robot controlled by the Great Intelligence. The Second Doctor, his companions, and Travers take the yeti and the Intelligence out of commission. And as the Doctor and the TARDIS team departed, Travers started hunting down a real yeti.

Webs in the London Underground

Decades after Travers explored Tibet, his souvenir Yeti robot got activated again and the Great Intelligence (somehow reawakened–not entirely clear on how this happened). By the time the Second Doctor and his friends arrived on the scene, the London Underground was covered in massive cobwebs. Eventually the Doctor was able to trick the Intelligence and stop its plans. Oh and we also got the introduction of a longstanding ally to the Doctor: Allistair Lethbridge-Stewart (before he was Brigadier).

Other than the obvious progression of Trenzalore happening after the snowmen and the London Underground happening after Tibet, these incidents with the Great Intelligence are very timey-wimey. Difficult to place their order. But there’s every chance the Intelligence could return again. Especially with the wibbly-wobbly nature of its stories. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Christ in Christmas


Christmas time is a magical celebration where people are trying to be more charitable, and it is fun to witness. People go out of their way to care for those in need, give gifts to those they love, and try to be more like Jesus. I have been a recipient of receiving anonymous gifts for my family while being in graduate school and I am grateful for it. I believe that they are blessed for their charity. One day I will be able to do the same to other families that have a tight budget. Recently us geeks shared our favorite Christmas traditions. I would like to share another tradition we do on Christmas Eve.


We celebrate Jesus’ birth on Christmas, but He more than a baby born in a manger. I loved Elder Gary E. Stevenson talk in April 2023 “The Greatest Easter Story Ever Told” he quoted a “New Testament scholar N. T. Wright suggested: ‘Take Christmas away, and in biblical terms you lose two chapters at the front of Matthew and Luke, nothing else. Take Easter away, and you don’t have a New Testament; you don’t have a Christianity.’” So, on Christmas Eve we have a Passover dinner to remind us of Christ’s loving sacrifice. 


We sit on the ground with blankets spread around the floor in dim light and we eat plain foods that could have been in a Passover meal. “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ” – 2 Nephi 25:26

After the meal is over, we all take turns reading Luke 2 because this is what this holiday represents, his birth. This is not my family tradition, but my in-laws and I like it and will continue this tradition in the future. 

Image: Nancy Lee Moran

I am grateful that our Savior was born and that we can learn about his teachings. I believe in Jesus Christ. I know that he cares for each of us and wants to help us return to live with our Heavenly Father again. As we pray and read His words we can learn of His love.  

Monday, December 18, 2023

LDS Geeks Podcast #8: New Digimon 02 Movie

In November, a new Digimon movie was in theaters for only a couple days (one day dubbed and one day subbed). I was blessed to discover a couple of closet Digimon fans among my friends, so three of us went to see it. A sequel or follow-up to Digimon Adventure Last Evolution Kizuna, this movie followed the kids from Digimon Adventure 02. Since it left me with so much to think about, I invited a guest geek Patrick (one of the friends I went with) to discuss it with me on our podcast. Enjoy!


Friday, December 15, 2023

Character Spotlight: Teen Girl Squad

One of my favorite tropes in any kind of media or storytelling medium is the story within the story. A character is a writer and as you stay with the story you eventually become familiar with the work of that character. It creates a whole new facet of the book. The world feels deeper as a result of seeing this person through the lens of the works they choose.

That’s Teen Girl Squad, within Strongbad’s world. Teen Girl Squad is zany, totally random and surreal. It happens on the pages of a college ruled, spiral bound notebook, as if Strongbad was passing the time during a boring junior high biology class by drawing the girls in his class suffering their ends by dinosaurs, robots, a middle-age balding, pocket-protector wearing man breathing a swarm of arrows, the list goes on and does not get less weird.

And it’s hilarious. Anybody who knows a male under the age of, oh, sixty-five will probably attest that he has a significant portion of his brain devoted to this kind of humor. The jokes don’t make sense, the humor is definitely childish and wildly aggressive.

The bonus is that Strongbad does all the voices, and occasionally makes cameos in his own comic. Despite inflicting numerous battle scars, he still has the idea that he would be a great date for Cheerleader, or The Ugly One (following her sweet-someteen birthday party glow-up).

So, if you’ve never heard of Teen Girl Squad, it will probably be hard to get into unless you can put yourself in the mind of a thirteen or fourteen year-old boy. If you can’t do that, imagine if Mean Girls was piloted as a cartoon with a budget of approximately eight dollars, but still managed to become an internet classic because they assigned the Brothers Chaps to direct and produce it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

What to Know About Daredevil

One month until Disney Plus releases all episodes of Echo. The titular character Maya Lopez was introduced in Hawkeye, but never under her comic book alias. Since she has a history with Wilson Fisk/Kingpin and both Kingpin and his nemesis Daredevil/Matt Murdock are set to appear in Echo, I wanted to do a little run down on Daredevil’s MCU history. At Dallas Fan Expo 2023, Charlie Cox said you don't need to watch Netflix's Daredevil for the new stuff, but still it's sorta canon. But instead of doing a binge list for this hero, I’m just going to highlight his history, since plenty of our readers won’t want to watch Netflix’s TV-MA Daredevil series. Without further ado, here’s the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.

The Origin Story (Pre-2015)

As a young boy, Matt Murdock was blinded and given enhanced senses due to a chemical spill. He grew up a devout Catholic, even after his father died. A blind man named Stick taught him to fight in preparation for the war with the Hand… but Matt wasn’t into a war.

In college, he became friends with Foggy and later they started a pro bono practice. Near the beginning of the series, Karen begins working for them after they save her. And that’s the beginning of their law firm: Nelson and Murdock. And the beginning of our story. 

Daredevil Season 1 (early 2015)

In secret, Matt chased down criminals (child/sex trafficking-type criminals to be exact) until he chanced upon Fisk’s name. Over the course of the first season, Matt keeps taking down parts of Fisk’s criminal empire. Even once Fisk is in the open, he can’t be taken down. With the help of a crooked cop saved from Fisk’s kill list, they’re able to put Fisk away legally… until Fisk escapes. But the newly armored Daredevil is able to take him down and send him to jail!

Daredevil Season 2 (late 2015)

When the second season opened, Nelson and Murdock took on a client from the Irish mob. But that’s just the beginning. After being set up the DA, their client is killed by Frank Castle (aka The Punisher). In turn, Castle becomes their next client (despite Foggy’s protests) and he almost cooperated… until Fisk’s men got to him. But I’ll talk more about the Punisher’s story at a future time. Meanwhile Matt’s college girlfriend Elektra joined his vigilante crusade against “the Hand”… until she was killed by their ninjas. And then the Hand brings her back. What?!

The Defenders (Spring 2016)

So, as Matt is trying to leave Daredevil behind him, he’s practicing all by himself and trying to do that every day good guy thing. But the Hand makes its move and the earth starts to shake. He’s thrown together with the likes of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand, trying to stop the Hand and a resurrected Elektra. As the Hand’s plans literally blow up in their faces, Daredevil dies in the rubble… oh so we’re led to believe. 

Daredevil Season 3 (Late 2017)

Just as Matt’s friends finish mourning his death, he shows up, having been nursed back to health by nuns (one in particular who turns out to be his mother). In his soul-searching, he tries to leave Matt Murdock behind and only be a vigilante. Take a wild guess how that worked out. Especially with Fisk working his way out of prison and a copy-cat Daredevil on his payroll. In the end, using evidence collected by Matt Murdock and friends, Daredevil gets Fisk to agree to go back to prison, to keep his new wife safe. (And yet he’s at large in Hawkeye, so maybe he changed his mind after the Snap?)

Spider-Man: No Way Home (Late 2024)

It’s left unclear, as of yet, whether Matt Murdock/Daredevil survived the Snap. But after the Blip, he’s able to get working again obviously. By the time Spider-Man’s identity was revealed to be Peter Parker, Matt has enough success to be the Parkers’ lawyer (unless that’s part of his pro bono work?). He only appears for one scene in No Way Home (two scenes in the extended version) just long enough to demonstrate his abilities. Just enough to raise some eyebrows if you never watched Daredevil.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (Summer 2025)

By this point, business is apparently pretty good. While still doing pro bono work, Matt admits to having some higher profile clients, including Luke Jacobson who, by that time, had made Matt a new superhero suit. In defending Luke in court (and subsequently from kidnapping) Matt meets and hooks up with Jen Walters/She-Hulk. He was headed back to New York, but that was before Jen did her little fourth-wall break. 

So that’s where that leaves us leading into Echo. There’s a distinct chance this Disney Plus series will show once and for all if the Netflix series are in continuity with the rest of the MCU. But even if this Matt Murdock isn’t the same as the Netflix Matt, that just puts the Netflix/Hulu series in a separate branch of the multiverse (I wonder what their nexus event was). For more about the multiverse, you can check out episode 5 of the LDS Geeks Podcast. Or you can just stay tuned for Echo in January. Between her being deaf and Native American, it should be an interesting story.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Get to Know Your Geeks: Christmas Traditions

Taking a break from the geeking and ranting, I wanted to take a moment and focus in on the holiday season. Every year I tell myself that I want to follow the Church's Light the World campaign, but every year the season seems to get away from me before I realize it. Despite my forgetfulness, I love that the Christmas season seems to bring out the Light of Christ in our souls. Whether it's service, gifting, or something else entirely, a mature understanding of Christmas gives us the opportunity to look outward and towards Jesus Christ. As such, I wanted to share some Christmas traditions our team practices (and/or practiced growing up) that have pointed us towards the Savior at this time of year.

I can't say I enjoyed this growing up in Canada, but for years my family participated in our stake Nativity Pageant. Underneath my shepherd's costume was my thick winter coat and gloves. Impossible to keep warm with so many layers. After our stake stopped doing our live nativity, another local stake still had theirs. And being able to come inside quickly after the performance made it so much more enjoyable. I'm glad the live nativity has a feeling of nostalgia now. Despite the cold, the repeated story engrained the Christ child's story in my brain and into my soul. Last year, a local stake here in Dallas had a live nativity. What a wonderful experience to share with my daughter and wife! And bonus points that we didn't have to triple-layer in winter clothes to go, just a light jacket (almost makes up for the dreadful Texas summer heat). Now I just need to find one we can go to this year. I hope to make it an annual tradition!


As a family that is forming Christmas traditions we wanted to do something different than what we were raised with. In 2016 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints started a program called Light the World and everyday there is something you can do. Like Spencer, I too am forgetful, but one tradition we do as a family is save enough money for the Light the World giving machines and buy a something that can help another family throughout the world. One of our favorite purchases is buying a goat. This year though I might persuade my children to buy S.T.E.M. Experience because I am part of S.T.E.M.

Another family tradition that my wife and I do is give our children three gifts. Each present represents a gift that Jesus Christ received from the wise men (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). Gold is valuable and can represents wealth and desire, so we give our kids something they want. Frankincense was used for perfume or incense that covers smell, so we interpret that as something the child needs (like socks! Haha JK). Lastly, myrrh was used for the temple where we can go to seek knowledge. Reading is great for our education, so we give our children a book.


Growing up, my favorite tradition was updating the advent calendar every morning. My brother and I would race to be the one to move us closer to Christmas Day.

After I came home from my mission it became a tradition to listen to or watch the Grammy-Nominated Christmas concert MOTAB put on with Sissel Kyrkjebø. I had become obsessed with that soundtrack. Then found out that Chad had again, beaten me to it. He had heard Sissel perform live.

These days we have a few Christmas movies we watch every year, like Muppet Christmas Carol, and Home Alone. There are too many to list them all.


While Christ is to be the center of Christmas, we focus on placing him at Christmas in how we speak to our kids about it. We make sure they understand the miracle of our Savior's birth. We remind them how our Heavenly Father gave us the Savior. That Jesus gave us his life and the atonement. No gift we can give will ever top those. But we also want our kids to see that the spirit of Christmas is giving. To put thought into what we do. And that doesn't mean the biggest, newest, or most expensive gift. There should be no contest at Christmas. We aren't competing. These are the things we try to get our children to understand about Christmas.