My Brother The Trekkie

This is the story of how my brother taught me to be true to myself. Thank you to The Story Collider for giving me the chance to tell it. Video above, audio below.

Best of the Psychology of Star Trek VS. Star Wars

It's San Diego Comic Con week! THE PSYCH SHOW celebrates by looking back at the best moments from the Psychology of Star Trek VS. Star Wars Comic Con panel series. Watch Dr. Andrea Letamendi and I debate Data VS. C3PO, explore failure and regret, discuss love in the final frontier and a galaxy far far away, and breakdown the psychology of the Federation and Galactic Empire.

Thank you to Brian Ward for moderating and our panelists for being so awesome:

Be sure to check out Episode V of our panel later this week at Comic Con!

Our Geeky New York City Bookstore Wedding

On September 27th 2014, Nhu-An and I got married. We've been together for a long time, ever since we were seniors in high school. Despite a lot of obstacles like living on opposite sides of the country for much of our relationship and the glacial pace at which I completed grad school, we've stayed together and continue to be in love.

How did our relationship last so long? We realized that we're both really big geeks, just with totally different interests. Loving something passionately and wanting to share it became the glue that kept us together year after year.

After we got engaged, we wanted to create a wedding that celebrated how important geeking out has been in our relationship. That’s why we got married in a New York City bookstore. This is how we made it so.

The Blanket Fort

For our engagement photo, we wanted to recreate a scene from one of our favorite childhood stories. But we couldn’t agree on a book. I wanted Where the Wild Things Are and Nhu-An wanted The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We got lost talking about how much fun it would have been to hang out as kids and share our favorite books and toys with each other. That’s how the idea for our epic blanket fort was born.

The blanket fort became the theme of our wedding. We created library book card save the dates because that’s where we spent most of our time as kids (Nhu-An read The Baby-Sitters Club while I read Electronic Gaming Monthly). Our RSVPs asked guests what they would put in their blanket forts so we could weave in their geeky interests into our wedding (more on that later).

NYC’s High Line

Our wedding day started at The High Line. It’s our favorite place in the city and is where we got engaged. The High Line represents everything we love about New York — it’s a place where people of all backgrounds come together and celebrate the wonderful mishmash of old and new ideas that make up this city.

Nhu-An had a custom bouquet made out of vintage brooches. Each one was hand-selected and represented the geeky things we love about each other.

My cufflinks were a nod to my love of science fiction (I was going for an Isaac Asimov vibe).

I also asked my groomsmen to sneak in some superhero socks.

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

We were drawn to Housing Works because they’re a cool non-profit that helps old books find new homes (a pretty nerdy endeavor). When we learned that proceeds from a wedding at their flagship bookstore would go toward fighting homelessness and AIDS, we knew this was the right venue for us.

Escort cards were in a library card catalog and featured our guests’ geeky interests. Yes, that’s a heroes and villains themed gift box.

Ceremony

Our ceremony was officiated by Ayesha Mattu. If her last name is familiar, that’s because she’s my cousin. But that’s not why we asked her to officiate — Ayesha is an eloquent speaker, a compelling writer, and the co-editor of two books about love. She’s always been a big supporter of our relationship and helped us get to this point. She was the only person we wanted beside us during our ceremony.

Our ring-bearer was my nephew (and Ayesha’s son). Yup, he’s wearing Max’s crown from Where the Wild Things Are, one of his favorite books.

Nhu-An’s bridesmaids and my groomsmen were wrapped around on the stairs that lead up to the mezzanine level of the bookstore. Guests had the option of sitting in front of the ceremony or viewing from above.

A Blanket Fort Reception

We wanted the wedding to be a blanket fort for our guests. That’s why everyone had an individualized place card with a page from their favorite book and little notes and messages scribbled in the margins from Nhu-An and me. We also seated guests based on their interests and left conversation starters for each person. We heard afterwards that some guests exchanged contact info so they could stay in touch, which was extra heart-warming.

A photo booth was set up where guests could create their own blanket fort photo. Nhu-An and I selected each and every prop based on our guests’ RSVPs so that everyone had at least one item to play with.

My nephew spent the entire evening at the photo booth, rummaging through props and mashing up characters and genres for the camera.

All the Dessert

Anyone who knows us knows we REALLY like dessert. That’s why we had all of our favorite New York City cakes and pastries at the wedding.

Nhu-An surprised me with a Star Trek and Lord of the Rings cake topper! Both stories have shaped who we’ve become, as individuals and a couple, so this meant a lot to me. Each of our avatars had little personalized touches — my favorite beverage in a lavender teacup and Nhu-An with her blue reading glasses tucked in her pocket.

To Boldly Go…

The rest of the night was spent hanging out with our closest friends and family while a beautiful jazz band played our favorite standards.

Our wedding was a bit unconventional, but the whole day ended up being exactly what we wanted — something that was true to who we are.

Vendors

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Psychology of Comic-Con

San Diego Comic Con Logo 

When non-geeks find out I'm a geeky psychologist, we always end up talking about comic-cons.

"What's the deal with all those weird people who dress up?"

"You mean cosplay?" I reply. "It's a cool way to celebrate a character you love, kinda like Halloween. I cosplay as Captain Kirk all the time." 

"X-Men and the Avengers are cool but I'm not one of those loners who can't separate fiction from reality."

It always bums me to hear that, people discounting something they haven't tried.

"Comic-con people are actually really friendly. Some of the coolest people I know I randomly met at a convention."

And then there’s my favorite...

"There's got to be something wrong with people who go to comic-cons! Why would anyone stand in line for hours just to see a glimpse of a new movie?"

"People stand in line for all kinds of things they're excited about like a special sale, a new amusement park ride, their favorite band, or a big sports game."

Since this conversation keeps coming up, I wanted to set the record straight and share my guide to geek conventions. I present to you now the good, bad, and ugly psychology of comic-cons. 

What’s comic-con?

Comic book conventions are just one type of fan gathering. There are others – Star Trek conventions, Star Wars celebrations, video game and tabletop gaming expos, anime conventions, and many more. Regardless of the focus, they're all organized the same way. You can attend panels to learn about a topic, see celebrities, talk to artists and writers, shop at huge exhibit halls, and meet people who like the same stuff you do. 

Some of my favorite memories from past comic-cons:

What separates comic-cons from other fan gatherings is how popular they've become. Take San Diego Comic-Con for example. It started as a small meeting of 300 people in 1971 and grew to fit into the San Diego Convention Center in the 1990s. Everything changed in the early 2000s when X-Men and Spider-Man launched the superhero film genre. Soon after, Hollywood moved into San Diego Comic Con to promote their films directly to fans. As a result, San Diego Comic-Con has grown to become the largest fan gathering in the United States with over 130,000 attendees. It’s also expanded beyond comic books and focuses on all aspects of pop culture.

A beginner's guide to comic-cons:

San Diego Comic-Con's formula is being replicated across the world. While they vary in size and quality, chances are there's a comic-con happening near you sometime soon. For better or worse, we're in the middle of a comic-con explosion right now (read more about that at the SDCC Unofficial Blog).

The good: It’s all about people

The main reason most people go to a comic-con is to meet people.

Surprised? Don’t be. The stereotype that geeks are loners who don’t care about social interaction is completely false. Geeks love making new friends and comic-cons make it easy to find other people who love the same things you do. It’s like baseball fans going to a sports bar on game day.

Hanging out with my friends is always the best part of comic-con. San Diego Comic Con 2013.

Hanging out with my friends is always the best part of comic-con. San Diego Comic Con 2013.

Wanting to connect with people is hard-wired into our psychology. It might even be our most important evolutionary advantage as a species. The brain prioritizes social relationships so much that when it’s doing nothing, the brain’s default setting is to keep itself prepared for social situations. That’s why it’s so easy to strike up a conversation at a comic-con – our brains are always ready to talk about our geeky interests. 

That’s one of the coolest things about conventions – they lead to new friendships. From Geek Therapist Josué Cardona to Larry “Dr. Trek” Nemecek and film journalist Aaron Neuwirth, I’ve met a ton of cool people at comic-cons. We know friendships improve immune system functioning, increase lifespan, and are the most important part of recovery from traumatic experiences. I can personally attest to this because comic-cons helped me grow as a person.

Our social brains are also the reason why so many people are interested in seeing celebrities at comic-cons. We’ve evolved to stay up to date on what our friends and acquaintances are up to. Because we see celebrities on TV, films, and websites all the time, our brains think of them as being part of our social network. Sitting in on a panel with Robert Downey Jr. or getting an autograph from Zoe Saldana is just another way of connecting with people you care about.

But there’s more to the celebrity stuff. Comic-cons give you the opportunity to talk directly to content creators. If you sit in on enough panels, you’ll notice a pattern – fans talk about how much a particular story means to them. Battlestar Galactica, next to being one of the best scifi shows of all time, means a lot to me. It helped me cope with a stressful period of my life. I also use it in my lectures to talk about the psychology of gender, politics, war, and peace. That’s why I go out of my way to meet actors from Battlestar Galactica at comic-cons. I want to thank them for their part in creating a story that has brought me so much joy. 

Gratitude has been described as a “super emotion” that not only helps the person expressing it but also lifts up the mood of all those who witness it. In experimental studies gratitude has been shown to undo negative emotions, make positive emotions last longer, improve resilience to stress, increase helping behavior, and improve physical health. It’s not just attendees who experience gratitude at comic-cons, but celebrities too. Here’s what Joss Whedon had to say about attending San Diego Comic-Con:

Someone will say, “You helped me through a hard time in my life with this show.” For a long time I thought, “That’s so sweet and lovely they’re responding to the work.” And then I realized, “Oh, I was helping me through a hard time with that show, too.” I was a different version of them. We’re almost like a support group.

Part of collecting and cosplaying is also about expressing who you are in social situations. People buy stuff for 3 main reasons – to get tools, increase safety, or build an identity. Buying toys, t-shirts, posters, and collectibles communicates to the world who we are and what we care about (though sometimes we can get carried away). That’s also why people cosplay – it’s a public celebration of a character that means something to you. For more on that, check out Andrea Letamendi and Robin Rosenberg’s research on the psychology of cosplay

The Bad: Comic-cons exhaust your body, mind, and wallet

Comic-cons are exhausting experiences.

People are on their feet all day, walk miles across a convention center floor, and eat bad (and overpriced) convention center food. Lots of attendees get dehydrated because they just don’t get enough water. All of this makes people feel weak, dizzy, and confused.

Combine physical exhaustion with massive crowds and it makes sense why so many people feel stressed at comic-cons. Anxiety at comic-cons can be triggered by thinking that you have no where to escape to, feeling like it’s hard to breath, being stuck in a crowded space, and hot flashes or cold chills. People with an anxiety disorder, especially panic disorder or agoraphobia, might have an especially hard time (for a good discussions about this, check out Wil Wheaton’s blog).

The overall convention experience can wear you down. New York Comic Con 2010.

The overall convention experience can wear you down. New York Comic Con 2010.

Most of the time, if you stick with the situation long enough the anxious feeling will disappear. Sometimes all you need is a break, some water, or a snack. If the convention offers it (like PAX East did this year), take advantage of the wellness rooms for a break from the crowds. If the feelings don’t disappear and these types of situations are always hard for you, then you might want to consider additional help before your next comic-con adventure.

There’s also the horror of waiting in a lot of very long lines. Research has shown being bored while in line, not knowing how long you’re going to be in a line, and not knowing if you’re going to make it into the thing you’re waiting for makes people agitated. This stuff happens ALL THE TIME at comic-cons. I waited 2 hours at New York Comic Con to see a Walking Dead panel. I didn’t get in, was really upset, and felt like I wasted my afternoon.

Everything at a comic-con has a long wait. WonderCon 2013.

Everything at a comic-con has a long wait. WonderCon 2013.

Turns out how you feel at the very end of a line is very important – if the line speeds up or it took less time than anticipated, you feel really good about the experience no matter how long you waited. If the line ends badly, you’re going to be very upset at the people responsible. Disney has mastered this kind of stuff – they advertise longer wait times than reality so you think the line went by faster than it did, their queues are full of entertaining stuff so you’re not bored, and the length of a line is always hidden so people aren’t turned off by the sight of an enormous slow moving line. Comic-cons could benefit from copying Disney’s tactics.

Want to avoid the drain of lines? Find something to occupy yourself (like comic books). Or better yet, make a friend by talking to the person next to you. Not only does is that person also excited about whatever you are waiting for, but lines feel like they’re moving faster when you’re with a buddy.

I cope with long lines by getting to know the people around me. San Diego Comic Con 2013.

I cope with long lines by getting to know the people around me. San Diego Comic Con 2013.

Some of the longest lines at comic-cons are to purchase exclusive products. These are usually collectibles that are in limited supply and only available at the convention. These situations make you feel scarcity, like you don’t have as much of something you need. Scarcity of anything, whether it’s a ticket to the convention, an exclusive action figure or a variant cover, literally gives us FOMO (fear of missing out). We believe exclusive items are very important, we constantly think about them, and our willpower drops when we are around them. Scarcity is part of our brain’s basic software – if something near us is important and rare, we’ve learned to take advantage of it now because this opportunity might not come again. It’s the same stuff that goes into the psychology of Black Friday (the biggest shopping day in America).

How do you attend comic-con without draining your wallet? Do you research and check out comic-con exclusives way before the convention. Make a list of what you really want and then set aside some extra money for impulse buys. If you want to stick to your budget, keep cash in your wallet and hide your credit card for emergency use only. When you’ve got everything on your list and you’re out of cash, leave the exhibit hall. 

The Ugly: People can do horrible things in large groups

It's easy to feel lost in a crowd at comic-cons. New York Comic Con 2012.

It's easy to feel lost in a crowd at comic-cons. New York Comic Con 2012.

People are capable of doing very ugly things when they feel anonymous in a large group.

Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of discussion about harassment at comic-cons. At 2013’s New York Comic-Con, a TV crew harassed a series of mostly female cosplayers. Just a few months ago, a sexist t-shirt labeled “I like fangirls how I like my coffee – I hate coffee” was found at WonderCon. Then there’s the constant unwanted physical contact and verbal harassment that makes it unsafe for many women to cosplay. None of this is specific to comic-cons, it’s part of a larger sexism problem in the geek community (and it’s a lot worse online).

Check out Jennifer Landa’s awesome “fake geek girl” satire:

Why does this kind of stuff happen at comic-cons? Very large gatherings like the big comic-cons (San Diego & New York Comic-Con), concerts (Coachella), parades (Mardi Gras), and sporting events (World Cup) can lead to deindividuation. People feel anonymous, like they’re a part of a crowd and not an individual person. This makes it easier for people to do stupid things because they’re not worried about what other people will think of them. It also makes people very emotional and easily influenced by what others are doing. Deindividuation is a lot worse when drugs or alcohol are involved (which is a problem at concerts, parades, and sports, not comic-cons). Lack of sleep can also increase the risk of deindividuation (that is a problem at conventions).

Deindividuation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on what’s happening around you. If someone is in danger, a few people standing up to help could lead to a surge of support from a crowd. But if no one stands up against harassment, others will join in and the problem continues. For us to remove this ugly behavior from conventions, we have to engage the whole geek community and make it clear that harassment won’t be tolerated. The science here is definitive – all it takes is one person to speak up against harassment in a crowd to change the entire dynamics of the group. 

When it's good, it's great! When it's bad, it's still pretty good. 

Yes, bad things can happen and the whole experience of comic-con is exhausting. But when you read what people remember most about comic-con, they’re powerful examples of gratitude, altruism, and comradely. Comic-cons help people connect, be true to themselves, and grow. The best cons, like San Diego Comic-Con or DragonCon, expand to citywide celebrations. But even the small neighborhood conventions give you a chance to meet cool people. That’s why I love the current explosion of comic-con culture – they’re making the world a better place. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said:

“If Comic-Con people ruled the world, the future would be invented daily and warfare would be nothing more than bar fights with toy lightsabers. That is the world I want.”


For more on the psychology of comic-con, check out my live discussion with the Unofficial SDCC Blogdownload their audio podcast, or watch THE PSYCH SHOW below.

The Most Epic Blanket Fort and the Nerdy Love Story That Made It So

Click for full image.

This fall, Nhu-An and I are getting married.

We've been together since November 18, 2000, back when we were seniors in high school. Despite a lot of obstacles like living on opposite sides of the country for much of our relationship and the glacial pace at which I completed grad school, we've stayed together and continue to be in love. To celebrate our engagement, we made this epic blanket fort.

Here’s the nerdy story that made all of this possible.

San Jose, California, June 2001

A nerdy love story

Nhu-An and I were very different people when we met. She worked hard, wanted to make a big difference in the world, and kept thinking about the next big thing. I only cared about enjoying the present moment with my friends and family. That's why our senior class voted me "most likely to be out of class" while Nhu-An was "most likely to succeed".

We seemed to be complete opposites. She was prudent. I was careless. She was anxious. I was laid-back. She knew exactly what she wanted out of life while I had no idea where I was headed but was confident things would work themselves out. People wondered why we were together, especially our parents.

I started dating Nhu-An because I thought she was cute and she was super nice to me. One day in English class I was sick and she handed me tissues so I could blow my nose. I was anxious about girls and didn’t think they noticed me, so this was a pretty big deal. Then there was the day I got my braces off—Nhu-An was the only one who noticed and I couldn't stop smiling the rest of the day.

Nhu-An says that when we started dating, she could forget about the serious stuff—school, recitals, extracurriculars. Hanging out together was fun. Our relationship was a break from her structured life. It gave her a chance to go to the movies, eat fast food, and hang out at the mall.

Corny stuff like that brought us together.

Los Angeles, California July 2004 

With a foundation like that, we shouldn’t have lasted too long. But things changed after I came out to Nhu-An about being a geek. The more I told her about my love of Star Trek, my collection of X-Men comics, and how I built computers for fun, the more she talked about the silly musicals and plays she put on as a kid for her family, her collection of Baby Sitters Club books, and how much she loved school. We realized that we're both really big geeks, just with totally different interests. Loving something passionately and wanting to share it became the glue that kept us together throughout the next decade.

It wasn't just about sticking together. Being geeks helped us grow. She told me all of her secrets to academic success and gave me hope that I could transfer out of community college. When I was clueless about what to major in, Nhu-An was the one who helped me realize that I loved psychology. When Nhu-An starting doubting the decisions she was making in life and questioned her "master plan", I helped her to live a life more true to who she is. That's why she left biomedical engineering and pursued media production.

Asheville, North Carolina, July 2007

We've even helped each other become better geeks. I used to hate musicals as a kid because I couldn't stand the 6-hour Bollywood movies my parents used to watch. I didn't realize it at the time, but Nhu-An used an old sales technique to ease me into the genre. She first made me watch Moulin Rouge, which was awesome because it had Obi-Wan Kenobi and Nirvana’s "Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Then she took me to see The Lion King (my favorite Disney animated movie) on Broadway. Nhu-An later talked about the social commentary of Rent, using the same language I spoke when describing a great episode of Star Trek. I was hooked and spent most of 2006 singing "Seasons of Love".

I wasn't as successful at getting Nhu-An into Star Trek. She's always supported my love of the final frontier and understood why it meant so much to me, but she couldn’t make it through an episode without falling asleep. She loves the new J.J. Abrams films, but I think that has more to do with Chris Pine than the U.S.S. Enterprise. But I knew Nhu-An loved politics. She devours every issue of The Economist and it takes her hours to watch Meet the Press because she pauses every minute to fact-check the politicians. After I described Battlestar Galactica as "The West Wing in space", she gave it a shot and ended up binge watching the whole series. Now she wants us to cosplay as Athena and Helo at the next Comic Con. 

Our his and hers scifi iPhone cases.

New York City, November 2013

After we got engaged, we wanted to plan a wedding that celebrated how important geeking out has been in our relationship. That’s why we were drawn to the Housing Works bookstore. It’s a cool non-profit that helps old books find new homes (a pretty nerdy endeavor). When we learned that all the proceeds would go towards fighting homelessness and AIDS in New York City, we knew this was right for us.

Since books will be a theme in our wedding, we wanted to recreate a scene from one of our favorite childhood stories for our engagement photo. But we couldn’t agree on a book. I wanted Where the Wild Things Are and Nhu-An wanted The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. That’s when we got lost talking about how much fun it would have been to hang out as kids and share our favorite books and toys with each other. That’s how the idea for our epic blanket fort was born.

An epic blanket fort

Nhu-An's original vision of our blanket fort.

Nhu-An and I searched the internet for blanket fort inspiration. Tumblr was a good place to start. The Community episode “Pillows and Blankets” was fun to rewatch, but didn’t reveal any blanket fort secrets. Things clicked when we saw The Holiday. The movie is really bad, but it features an awesome blanket fort. We loved how whimsical and cozy it was.

Nhu-An designed an elaborate pulley system of embroidery hoops and S-rings held up by jute twine crisscrossing the ceiling of the apartment (check out her nerdy engineering diagrams below). We spent a weekend gathering materials from arts and crafts stores and picked up some extra blankets and bed sheets. 

Construction started on February 1st, 2014. Everything was going well until we tried to install hooks into the wall. We needed to secure the twine to the hooks to hold the pulley in place. Unfortunately, the brick wall didn’t make for a straightforward installation. Everything collapsed.

In a panicked state, Nhu-An tried sketching alternate designs that didn’t require embroidery hoops. That’s when I got the idea to just start throwing around blankets and sheets and seeing what we came up with. When I told Nhu-An, she confessed that she never made a blanket fort before. I showed her how I used to make blanket forts when I was a kid and she quickly caught on. We had a ton of fun putting it together. It felt like we were coming full circle to the start of our relationship.

After 6 hours of construction in this tiny Manhattan apartment, it was ready.

A surreal photographer

Bill Wadman photographing our epic blanket fort.

We knew from the start that we wanted Bill Wadman to photograph our blanket fort. Bill creates portraits that look like paintings. His conceptual work blends in with some of our favorite surrealist art (check out his awesome homage to Caravaggio's The Calling of Saint Matthew which features both me and Nhu-An). Not only has Bill become a close friend of mine, but his imaginative approach to photography was exactly what we needed to bring our concept to life.  

Our favorite things

Nhu-An and I made a list of the most important influences on our childhood and selected items that were symbolic of these things. A lot of the stuff we’ve had since we were kids (our parents were kind enough to ship them to us) and others we’ve picked over the years as adults. A few key items were found at flea markets, eBay, Amazon, or the library, specifically for our blanket fort.

Here’s a rundown of everything that went into our blanket fort:

  • Lego Back to the Future DeLorean time machine
  • Star Wars Boba Fett action figure.
  • Welch's Fruit Snacks
  • Tab soda
  • Curious George lunchbox
  • Apple and Eve apple juice box
  • Kidrobot Street Fighter Ken (hidden behind juice box)
  • NASA patch (hidden behind DeLorean)
  • Space Invaders stress toy
  • Bowl of grapes
  • Kellogg’s Fruit Loops cereal
  • Ruffles potato chips

  • Doctor Who talking TARDIS plush toy

  • Nhu-An’s 1996 California Music Education Association honors award

  • Flag of the state of California
  • 1980s snap bracelet
  • Violin
  • Homemade crown
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Tuck Everlasting
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Baby-Sitters Club #11, #12, #14, #15, #17, #19, #28, #35, #36, #37, #39, #42, #46
  • Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #1, #2, #3, #4 #5, #6, #7, #8
  • Ramona Forever
  • Little Women
  • Matilda
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Madeline and the Bad Hat
  • American Girls Collection: Meet Kirsten, Molly’s Surprise, Meet Josefina, Meet Felicity, Changes for Felicity, Happy Birthday Felicity, Samantha's Winter Party 

  • Stuart Little
  • Peter Pan
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Slumber Party
  • Treasure Island
  • American Girls Collection: Felicity’s Surprise, Felicity Learns a Lesson
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Art Asylum Star Trek: The Next Generation USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D
  • Coca-Cola
  • The Dark Knight Rises Batman vinyl figure
  • Toy Story Rex figure

  • Think Geek Star Trek USS Enterprise plush toy
  • Art Asylum Star Trek communicator
  • Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories, Vol. 1
  • We
  • Jurassic Park
  • Skittles
  • Life Savers
  • Nestlé Crunch
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) cassette tape soundtrack
  • E.T. VHS
  • Blade Runner VHS
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade VHS
  • Jurassic Park VHS
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day VHS
  • Independence Day VHS
  • The Magic School Bus Out of This World VHS
  • The Rocketeer VHS
  • Top Gun VHS
  • Toy Story VHS
  • Aladdin VHS
  • The Baby-Sitters Club VHS
  • Stargate VHS
  • Star Wars Han Solo in carbonite
  • Pressman Toy Saved By The Bell board game

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual
  • The Official Star Trek 30th Anniversary Magazine
  • Haribo gummi bears
  • Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation tricorder
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System controller
  • Sega Genesis controller
  • Kudos granola bar
  • Micro Machines Star Trek: The Next Generation Borg Cube
  • Micro Machines Star Trek: The Next Generation Klingon Bird of Prey
  • Underground Toys Star Wars Anakin Skywalker lightsaber flashlight
  • Donkey Kong Jenga
  • Wolverine #67 - Valley O' Death!
  • Star Trek X-MEN
  • Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 #300
  • Web of Spider-Man Vol 1 #100
  • Superman #78 Reign of the Supermen
  • Superman: Man of Steel Vol 1 #22
  • Adventures of Superman Vol 1 #501
  • The Maxx #1
  • Spiderman Unlimited #1
  • X-Men Unlimited #1
  • Madeline
  • The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Vacation
  • The Baby-Sitters Club #2, #6, #7, #10, #19
  • Matilda
  • Of Mice and Men
  • I Am Spock
  • Falling Up
  • Goosebumps: Monster Blood
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • American Girls Collection: Changes for Molly: A Winter Story, Molly Saves the Day
  • Strega Nona
  • Moon

  • Batman cape
  • Batman patch
  • Underground Toys Star Wars Anakin Skywalker lightsaber flashlight
  • Nintendo Entertainment System controller
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System controller
  • Sega Genesis controller
  • Atari 2600 joystick
  • Kudos granola bar
  • Micro Machines Star Trek: The Next Generation Borg Cube
  • Micro Machines Star Trek: The Next Generation Klingon Bird of Prey
  • Micro Machines Star Trek: The Next Generation Klingon Negh'Var ship
  • Micro Machines Star Wars Star Destroyer
  • Simon game
  • Eaglemoss Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile
  • Crayola crayons
  • Star Wars Darth Vader action figure
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Star Trek Leonardo James T. Kirk

  • Rachmaninoff 6 Etudes Tableau for piano solo sheet music
  • Anne's House of Dreams
  • Anne of Ingleside
  • Charlotte's Web
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • Corduroy
  • Madeline
  • Pitt #1
  • Action Comics #687 (Superman)
  • Adventures of Superman Vol 1 #505
  • Adventures of Superman #500
  • Superman: Man of Steel Vol 1 #25
  • Spawn #10
  • Bloodstrike #1
  • Wildcats Trilogy Vol 1 #1
  • XO Manowar #1
  • Sabretooth Vol 1 #1
  • Spider-Man 2099 Vol 1 #6
  • Sesame Street Big Bird stuffed animal

To learn more about our nerdy love story, check out the Valentine's Day episode of the Super Fantastic Nerd Hour.