Friday, April 30, 2010

Lights (Think Burning Man)

Pointed to a new geek gadget site via Twitter, Lots of good stuff over there, for fun if nothing else.

There are two LED light features that I can easily imagine being appropriated for a cool Burning Man (or similar) art project. Too bad I'm not more of a creative type...

This one is called an Easter Egg light, but I think they look like little pods more than eggs.

The Lego light appears to be part of a larger Lego product trend (another post!). Imagine a wall of these controlled by music. Wah wah.

Iron Man 2 Gets Monitized

I'm looking forward to Iron Man 2, I really am. But in the last 2 weeks, I cannot seem to escape Iron Man 2 movie tie-ins with, I swear, every kind of product imaginable.

Audi Spyder:

LG Ally:

Burger King:

Dr. Pepper (w/Stan Lee even!):

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups -- couldn't find a link to the commercial for this one.

Norton Antivirus from Symantec -- saw this one as an embedded video link on a comic-related website. This one might be the most...far reaching commercial of the set.

I'm sure there will be more ads and tie-ins as this week unfolds and the movie release on Friday gears up. If I see them, I'll be sure to include them here. In case you were looking to buy something with Iron Man on it. Or just buy something.

Friends with Kids? How About Bacon!

Bacon is big. I mean BIG. I don't eat the pork products, and I can't get away from bacon. Especially in NW cuisine -- I swear, they shove bacon into most everything here. Macaroni, waffles, mashed potatoes, salad, doughnuts, chicken, soup. You get my drift.

But I can appreciate the devotion to bacon. There is an almost cult-like status to finding the "new" bacon product totop your friends. There are whole websites dedicated to bacon in all its forms and functions.

Well, here's a little gift suggestion (via ThinkGeek) for those bacon-loving friends with kids. Let's get them started while their young, shall we?

My First Bacon

Isn't he cute and/or silly? Not only is he a fuzzy plushie toy, but when you squeeze him, apparently he says "I'm bacon!" Hey, could even be a fun dog toy, if you don't have small children hovering around!

PS - while you are at it, why not throw in the PVC action figures "Bacon Vs. Tofu." A fun gift for your hipster friends. They can put it in their cube with the rest of their toys! (Btw, I can't cast stones on that one...)

Zatanna's Back Too!

Alright, now I'm in a roll...

In that same io9 gallery, I neglected to note the OTHER comic I'm excited to see. Also a female superhero(ish) character, but from the DC universe. I followed those characters much more closely back in the day, so I have a special place in my heart for...drum roll...ZATANNA!

Zatanna is getting her own ongoing series, which is kinda cool. I'm into supernatural stories right now, and I could see her as a Dresden-like, wizarding detective type. This genre is pretty big right now in fiction (see Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Karen Chance, Jim Butcher, and so on), so I could see it translating well to graphic stories.

The one-line takeaway of the story is described as "a new ongoing about her foibles fighting supernatural crime in San Francisco." I especially love that it will be set in SF. It would've been cooler if it was in the NW, but I get it, SF has more cache.

Zatanna has a much longer history than Dazzler; she was first seen in Hawkman back in 1964 (wow, really? Weird). Over the years, Zatanna's shown up in a lot of the DCU storylines, with "special" relations to Batman and the Vertigo character, John Constantine (aka Hellblazer). And her incantations are spoken backwards, so get your mirror's ready!

So, now I have at least 2 reasons to get back into comics again! Hopefully there will be some cool Zatanna promo stuff at Con this year...One of my favorite costumes too, probably because she wears a top hat and fishnet. Hot.

Dazzler's Back!

I'll admit it, I'm a slacker. Some days I'm more motivated than others. And right now, work is dominating any part of motivation I might have. But I'm hoping as summer approaches, and we get closer to Comic-Con that I will be inspired by new geeky products/movies/tidbits/etc.

So in that vein, I present to you this amazing "tidbit" (I like that word -- it reminds me of "Timbit" the small doughnut holes from Canada's Tim Horton's. Yummm.)

A few weeks back, io9 posted a gallery of "25 Reasons to Get Excited about Comics this Spring." Most of the gallery focuses on upcoming superhero comic titles and their summer push. But there was one thing that really jumped out at me: Dazzler #1!!! What the hell?! And the description is even more intriguing:

A parental-advisory Dazzler one-shot in which she battles Dr. Doom (among other supervillains).

You had me at "parental advisory" which is close to a rated R in comics. Boo-ya.

In case you don't know Dazzler, or have somehow forgotten, Wikipedia reminds us that Dazzler was created WAY back in 1980 as part of the X-men universe, as part of a partnership between Marvel and Casablanca Records. Described as "a mutant with the ability to convert sound vibrations into light and energy beams" who "was originally commissioned as a disco singer, the character shifted to other musical genres, including rock and adult contemporary."

How could the kids not love a comic book character like Dazzler? If I'd known about Dazzler as a young girl, I would've been inspired -- a female superhero who's power originates through her singing and dancing? Fantastic!

I might need to go to my local Comic Book Guy and take a peek at this one...

Monday, April 19, 2010


One line summary: This movie is the highlight of my movie-viewing year thus far.

Fun+funny+good pacing+good characters = a roaring good time. I am behind on reading the comic series this movie is based on, but it has great geek references/Easter eggs, and evokes a very comic booky vibe (clearly Mark Millar was involved in the story's adaptation). It's fun to see a super hero movie that is based on a non-mainstream character (so, NOT Batman, Superman, Wolverine, Hulk) -- it's not mired in decades of continuity, various artistic visions, ravenous fan boys/girls who will rip it apart for being too far from the original story, and prior Hollywood incarnations of the characters. There must be freedom in making a geek movie like that.

Nic Cage's character, Big Daddy, has a great "Batman-ish" voice that I thought was hilarious. And Chloe Moretz -- who I confused with the kid from Little Miss Sunshine, my bad -- and who was born in 1997, for God's sake -- is my favorite character of all, Hit Girl. She is a pint-sized killing machine. She also has some of the best dialogue.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse (better known as McLovin') is Red Mist and reminds me a bit of Harry Osborn in Spider Man. If anything, he should've gotten more screen time. Probably in the 2nd installment.

Finally, British actor Aaron Johnson is Dave Lizewski (SO not a super hero name! No alliteration?! WTF?) and Kick-Ass. Ruled by hormones, barely out of puberty, and still pretty much a nerd, he's a great, if unlikely, hero. He and his friends could be the kids that ride my bus in the morning. Except I think those kids are cooler than Kick-Ass.

Anyway, he chooses to become a hero -- and why not? Ah, youth and that nigh invulnerability. How I miss thee. But he has no special powers, nothing really extra. Just a warm heat and good intentions.

My favorite line that I'm quoting around is a play on Spiderman's edict "With great power..." Kick-Ass tweaked this as his own version and I love it: With no power, comes no responsibility. I want that t-shirt and/or coffee mug.

I can't remember if I came up with a rating system for movies yet. Let's work on that. For now, I'll say 4 out of 5 stars (boring, I know -- creativity is for the weekend).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Microsoft Makes a Budget Game for the White House?

Not sure why, but this post about the Obama administration asking for Microsoft to help them develop a computer game about managing the United States federal budget and deficit via Mashable struck me as weird:
Each player will be tasked with balancing the federal budget. The game obviously won’t be a completely realistic simulation of that task — if it was, no one would want to play — but it might give some citizens a sense of how difficult the task is.

The commission likely hopes that players will become more sympathetic to the difficult and controversial decisions it will have to make after the game demonstrates that there are no ideal options. Those decisions could include higher taxes and cuts to medicare, social security and other programs.

Questions: Would anyone actually want to play this game? What is the reward or the "pay-off" if you balance the budget? What would a player consider to be fun about such a game? Also, why is Microsoft the one being asked to make this game? (All I can imagine is a giant Excel file with simulation formulas that would make my eyes bleed.) There are lots of other game makers out there and I would guess they are cheaper/faster. Finally, who is this being "sold" to? A particular market segment, such as graduate school econ students?

Am I missing something?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kevin Smith at Crystal Ballroom

I got a surprise ticket to see Kevin Smith, geekdom's crown prince, at the Crystal Ballroom (thanks Nick!). I'm at that age where going out on a school night is a huge effort, and it took some convincing to get me out of the house to the show. But I'm glad I did, even if I only made it through 2.5 hours -- don't judge; some of us need our beauty sleep.

I've seen a couple of Kevin's DVDs (not sure what to call his stage show - it's not an act, or a show, or a reading, or really even spoken word. Dude just tells stories about whatever is on his mind, chasing topic to topic) and this show was about what I expected.

Kevin came out in his standard bathrobe, and launched into his first story. I was worried when I saw the microphones out in the audience; based on many comic-con's you earn to cringe at the sight of those microphones on the floor. I wish I had a smartphone so I could've posted some of the best quotes of the night. I was thankful that there was little discussion about the Southwest incident--felt like Twitter & the mass media coverage were enough for that one.

Some highlights:
--Story about the "prom bus" and using a rock star tour bus to get around instead of flying
--Bears & cubs
--Working with Bruce Willis
--The birth of his child, Harley
--Fame or notoriety
--Comic books, and writing them while high (must find the Batman mid-life crisis story referenced)
--His future in film making, and upcoming movie "Red State"
--George Carlin

Too bad I had to leave before he was finished. Oh, and I saw the tour bus outside Crystal Ballroom -- it looks pretty awesome!

Hot Tub Time Machine

I admit, I was suspicious of this movie. The title had me worried it would get the hype of "Snakes on a Plane" and similarly not live up to said hype. And I adore John Cusack and Rob Corddry, so I didn't want it to be embarrassing. Thankfully, I am happy to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

Briefly, the movie has a ridiculous premise -- 4 guys go to a ski resort, get in a hot tub, and travel back through time to 1986 where 3 of the 4 are teenagers again (4th dude is a young guy, nephew to John Cusack's character). And, of course, shenanigans ensue as they try to get back to the present day.

I don't want to spoil it for folks, so I'll turn to the fine cast. John Cusack - a favorite of mine since I was a kid - stars as Adam, a guy who probably didn't become the adult he thought he would (on an aside, did any of us think we would become THIS adult?). Craig Robinson (Darryl from "The Office") is his friend, Nick, a guy so p-whipped that he's taken his wife's last name. Rob Corddry of The Daily Show is their loser friend, Lou. Finally, Clark Duke (will be in Kick Ass coming out this weekend) is Adam's nephew, Jacob, who gets dragged along for the ride.

In addition to the main cast, there are some great supporting characters including Chevy Chase, Crispin Glover (George McFly! Yay "Back the Future" call back!), and Lizzy Caplan (who's name you may not know, but would wonder where you've seen her before: Cloverfield, True Blood, Mean Girls, Freaks & Geeks, etc).

Anyway, it's a funny movie and reminds me of some 80's comedies. Good times.

Here's a (NSFW) preview:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

For My New House...

This might need to be an ongoing series... Let's see what else I can find for my new place!

Submission #1: Spice Invaders salt and pepper shakers! (via Laughing Squid)

Love. Want.

There is also a STNG "Earl Grey Tea. Hot." coffee mug that I really want, but now can't find. Will post when I re-locate the image.

Update: Thank Interwebs! Found it on Wil Wheaton's Cafe Press site: