Geek of the Week: Maria Palafox

Prepare yourself for an amazing Geek of the Week- Maria Palafox aka: @TeenyGeek. She flew in from her home Amazon island of Themyscira, to share her story of geekdom, her secrets, and passions:

How old were you when bit by the radioactive spider (when did you become a nerd)?

I’m pretty certain that my parents carry the geek/nerd gene in their DNA. So, I’m not sure if this makes me a metamutant or a superhuman. I remember being the LEGO queen when I was in first grade, playing video games even before my fine motor skills where fully developed, and knowing every word to the TMNT soundtrack. One of my earliest memories is my parents taking me and my siblings to the museum of science & industry on the weekends and fighting with my sister over who got to play with the giant eyeball first. I think it was pretty inevitable for my parents to spawn non-geeks.

Growing up, were you more misfit or mainstream? Describe.

I stood somewhere in the middle. Or perhaps I just didn’t know I was a misfit. This was probably because of two reasons, the first, because I’m a twin and was born with an insta-friend, so I didn’t feel the need to make friends, and wasn’t aware that people weren’t as weird as the two of us were. The other reason, because in school I was in the gifted program and we were a bunch of awesomely nerdy kids that thought that WE were all too cool for the mainstream kids.

Clearly there has been a shift in our culture, where nerds and geeks are more accepted. What/who do you think significantly contributed to that?

I think the boom of the internet has opened everyone’s eyes to see that geeks are not that cookie-cutter character that has been portrayed so negatively in the past. People have become more aware of all the awesome things that nerds and geeks have contributed to film, technology, music, etc. (etc.^∞). The more people learn about this culture, the more they realize how awesome it really is.

If you were sentenced to prison on the Klingon moon of Rura Pente and could only take one book, DVD, and video game with you, what would they be?

I would take Mist (Niebla in Spanish), by Miguel de Unamuno. It’s a story about love and existentialism. My DVD of choice would be Spaceballs, it’s been my favorite movie since I was a kid and hadn’t figured out how awesomely filthy it was. The toughest choice out of these three categories is the video game… I have SO many to choose from, but in the end Super Mario Bros. 3 comes with me.

Superman’s villain, Mr Mxylzptlk has decided to grant you love from your secret celebrity or fictional character nerd crush. Who do you ask for and why?

Hands down it would be Gambit. Who can resist that sexy Cajun accent??

The Legion of Superheroes has traveled back in time to tell you that you attained your dream job, what is it?

I’m the owner of my own restaurant! There are a lot of things I’m passionate about and cooking is one of them. My parents owned a restaurant when I was in high school and I would go in and help out every day after soccer practice. I started picking up on some of my mom’s recipes and soon enough took her place as cook while she took breaks. Since then, cooking has been my one true love and I dream of opening my own restaurant one day.

The nerdiest thing I ever did (and no one knows about) was…

The nerdiest thing I’ve ever done was make up my own math. It was really elaborate and it was all about symbols that I gave weird values and meanings to. I then taught it to my dolls. It made perfect sense to me and they couldn’t dispute it!

After finding a Yellow Lantern Ring, you decide to use its powers to kidnap your favorite role model/hero to spend an evening of intellectually stimulating conversation. Who would you nab and what would you talk about?

Felicia Day! Everything she touches is gold. She’s incredibly beautiful, intelligent, and a great role model for women. I want to know what kind of pact she made with the devil to be so damned perfect!  Plus, she plays World of Warcraft, and I can talk about that all day long.

You are an avid blogger and Twitterer, why do it and what has it meant to you? What advice would you give to someone interested in doing the same?

Plain and simple, it’s a lot of fun. Twitter is like a virtual comic con that lasts all day, every day. I can’t think of anything more awesome than that.  Not a day goes by that I don’t click on a link and learn something new. The group of people that I follow are some of the sweetest, most intelligent people I have ever come across. The most important thing to me about twitter is that it has helped me come out of my shell. I have terrible social anxiety that prevented me from doing anything that was out of my comfort zone. This included public speaking, meeting strangers, and getting in front of a camera/microphone.  Thanks to twitter, I met the dynamic duo Tony and Producer Mike of the ActionRoom.com who asked me to come on their podcast as a guest co-host. I was incredibly terrified to do it and hesitated until the very last second, but I forced myself, took the plunge, and had a blast doing it. Since then, I’ve been able to take more risks and have learned how to control my anxiety whenever I’m not entirely confident or scared of trying something new. Now I host my own podcast about World of Warcraft with Teal Sherer of The Guild, and the British charmer, Russ Clarke. I think this type of story is common amongst twitter-ers. Twitter has become an important platform for people to express themselves more freely. My advice to someone who would like to join twitter would be to look up people who share your same interests, follow them, take some risks, and be active. But most importantly, be kind to others, it’ll get you far.

The final question in which the fate of the multiverse hangs in the balance… San Diego Comic Con or New York Comic Con? Why, what, and how do you do it?

I’m originally from California and moved to New York three years ago, so I’ve had the pleasure of going to both Cons. The size and popularity of SDCC makes it something really special, but in the end I’m gonna have to go with NYCC. My first and only NYCC was last year’s and I had a blast. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about the people that come to NYCC. I felt like I had known them for years. My plan for NYCC ‘10 was to go in my Batgirl costume that I’d been working on for a few months. But alas, I was defeated by the evil cold virus and didn’t get to finish it.  So I had to go as a simple humanoid. This year, however, I will not allow anything to stand in the way of my cosplay! I’ve never been to a con in costume, so I’m really looking forward to doing that this year!

Thank you Maria for sharing your geekyness with us! If you’ve become a fan, follow Maria at @TeenyGeek or at IHearthGeeks.com

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