Saturday, May 14, 2011


When I was a kid my dad took a course in stained glass, and then taught my mom and my brother and me. For a while we all really got into it: our kitchen was set up with the electric grinder, and the table was where we did all the cutting and foiling and soldering. We made lots of gifts for family, and even sold a few things at the local flea market that summer. The combination of creativity, power tools, and danger made it pretty darn cool for a middle-schooler like me.

Anyway, I just saw this on @thinkgeek's Twitter feed:

Made by MclanesMemories
Heck. Yeah.
And suddenly I'm feeling the itch again.

Plus, it reminded me of these other cool things I saw not too long ago:

"Stained Glass Sith" by Suzanne Rosema, found by Cara C.
(Sadly I couldn't find a website for Suzanne)

Also found by Cara C.; found on Free Stained Glass Patterns, where - you guessed it - you can download the pattern for free. Suh-weet!

As a kid I made flowers and butterflies and other rather boring whatnots, so realizing all the geeky possibilities is making me see the art in a whole new light. I mean, think about it: How perfect would a Mario-themed Tiffany lamp be? Or a Ghostbuster's sun-catcher?

Anyway, I'm still recovering from our two days of scavenger hunting at Disney World (can't....move...) and just thought I'd share. Assuming Blogger is working at the moment, of course. Heh. Stay tuned for a report on the hunt. (Again, assuming Blogger is working.)

Oh, and gimmie some more geeky ideas for stained glass, peeps: what symbols/characters would you want to see? Just, you know, for conversation's sake? ;)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What's My Age Again?

Hey, it's my birthday!

And I got TOYS!!

These adorable little RC 'bots are from Number1, aka "the other Jen" from CW. I used to think *I* was a great gift-giver, but the fact that Jen went to Toys R Us for my present shows I've met my match.

Naturally I've been attempting to terrorize the cats with them, but so far they're thoroughly unimpressed. Still, I'll keep trying. ;)

Today also marks the one-year anniversary of this blog. Wahoo!! Hard to believe, huh? It seems like only yesterday I was sketching out the Epbot 'bot and griping about Bioshock. I guess time really does fly when you're having fun - so thank you all for reading and giving me an excuse to goof off in the name of "work."

Speaking of goofing off, by the time you read this I'll be at Disney World with John, embarking on a two-day, four-park scavenger hunt!! Woot woot!

Random prettiness from the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

I signed us up months and months ago, and the fact that the hunt started on my birthday was the pixie-dust sprinkled cherry on top. You can bet I'll be taking plenty of pictures, of course, so cross your fingers that John and I won't place dead last, and stay tuned for a full report.

And finally, while you might not know it from this post, [smirk] I'm 33 today. I can honestly say that being in my thirties beats being in my twenties six ways to Sunday, so I don't mind admitting it. Heck, I look forward to being in my forties (and beyond!) celebrating with toy robots and trips to Disney.

Here's to geekdom keeping us young, my friends! Even if only at heart.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Procrastination Station 5/11/11

Do that other stuff later. This is more fun!

75 Abandoned Theaters - this photo roundup contains mostly exterior shots (which are still fascinating) but there are also some breathtaking (not to mention heartbreaking) interiors like this:

Absolutely swoon-worthy urban decay. Hit the link to see the rest.
(Thanks to Laura for the link!)

Worth a Thousand Words...A Photo Blog

This is a parody page, and if you've ever wandered through Tumblr or other hipster-ish, pretentious photoblogs you'll get plenty of LOLs out of it. From the overly dramatic descriptions to the post apologizing for not posting to the insanely ridiculous "share" buttons (which made me laugh so hard I scared the cats), it's well worth a read. (Found via @urlesque)

This is a fascinating collection of inspiration & final result pin-ups. Kind of like Photoshop, before there was Photoshop! I found it interesting to compare the things the artists changed, like adding longer hair, versus the things they didn't - no stick-figure arms or whittling off another two dress sizes here! Maybe some of today's beauty magazines would benefit from a look. (Some pics are NSFW - although there's no nudity.) (Found via @limecrime)

Reader Vita X. found this free online game sure to delight you literature geeks. Playing as Nick Carraway, you throw your hat to defeat waiters, jugglers, and party-goers in search of Gatsby himself. Here's a screen-shot:

Did I mention this is a Nintendo game from 1990? :D The guy who converted it for online play found it a garage sale for fifty cents, and it's apparently quite popular now. You can even buy t-shirts at his site. Heh. Anyway, it's well worth playing for a minute or five or ten.

So tell me, guys, what's got you wasting time this week?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Geeks Rule, and Here's Why

" exclusion as a teenager can be one of the best indicators of future success."

Can I get an "amen?!"

That quote is by Alexandra Robbins, a self-described "dork," talking about her new book, The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School.

She goes on to say, "Popular students are more likely to be involved in aggression (whether physical or alternative - gossip, rumors, backstabbing, etc.), both as targets and aggressors," and actually encourages parents to discourage their children from joining the "popular crowd." Kids should instead be encouraged to do the things they love - especially outside of school - so that they can meet others with similar interests. Because, hey, get this! It turns out the very personality traits that get you ridiculed in school are the ones that will make you extremely successful out of it.

Now, while I doubt this surprises any of us grown-up geeks, it's still nice to offer the next generation [smirk] a new hope. [double smirk] It also may help comfort and inspire parents raising little geeklings of their own to know that theirs are the kids who really will be coming out on top.

Read the rest of the article (which I highly recommend) here. (found via @kiala and Jezebel) I'll be putting Robbin's book on my to-read list.

So tell me, fellow grown-up geeks: have you found that you and your outsider friends from school are more successful now than the "popular" kids? Personally, I've never made much effort to check in on my former classmates (I avoid reunions and have only a handful of FB friends from school), but I firmly believe my outsider experiences led directly to my career successes. How about you?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

When Flamingos Attack

I'm happy to report that last week's Caribbean cruise was, in a word, lovely. We splurged on a balcony cabin, and I spent every spare second outside, breathing in the ocean air and just watching the waves go by. Ahhhh.

This was our view leaving Miami:

I spent hours just watching the sea foam wash along below me:

It's really mesmerizing. Plus, the wake from the ship would send up little sprays, which flashed quick little rainbows in the sunlight. You can just see one in this shot:

Our first port was in Freeport, the Bahamas, but we were too busy relaxing to even think of leaving the ship. We had a nice view from the balcony, though:

See those trees with the orange flowers? Those are Royal Poncianas, my all-time favorite tree. (Is it weird to have a favorite tree?) You'll find them all over the Caribbean and south Florida, and they have the most delicate, fern-like leaves. Super pretty.

Now, I know what you're thinking: GET TO THE GOOD PART, ALREADY!!

Ok, ok. Let's move on to our stop in Nassau, the Bahamas, where I inadvertently made my own remake of Hitchcock's The Birds.

In Nassau there is a sweet little park called the Ardastra Gardens. It's technically a zoo, but the main attractions are all birds.

You'll have to humor me a bit longer, though, because I have some beauty shots to share:

There were lots of parrots on open air stands stationed around the park, but this guy in particular demanded our attention. He'd squawk out increasingly desperate "hello!"s and do all manner of tricks and tumbles to get us to watch him. Here he's hanging by his feet:

...but he also flipped upside down and hung by one leg - and then, when we turned to leave, performed his pièce de résistance:

Such a ham.
(While hanging, he continued squawking - I'm guessing the parrot equivalent of "Look, Ma! No hands!")

Having escaped this first avian encounter relatively unscathed (unless you count our eardrums), we then thought it'd be a great idea to go feed the lorikeets.

Here our friends Ray and Julianne (along with Ninja Baby Isaiah) and John are being swarmed by the horde:

Now, lorikeets are beautiful birds. However, being birds, they are, naturally, from the devil. (I say this as the daughter of a bird-lover, and having grown up with everything from cockatiels to african grays.) So, naturally, once I acquired my own apple slice to feed the little flying hell hounds, one immediately nipped me on the finger while another busied himself pooping on my shirt.

Good times.

When we tried to leave, this little bully decided to claim John's sneaker for all Hell-kind:

He wouldn't relinquish his hold for anything, and it took over a dozen steps and some rather exuberant hokey-pokeying to get him to flap off. Heh.

Next we went to see the flamingos.

(Ah, you perked up there, didn't you? I thought so, you blood-thirsty lot, you.)

Ardastra is famous for their marching flamingos. They have a show/demonstration where the flock is paraded around a circular open-air theater, responding to a drill sergeant trainer's commands.

Before the show, the birds roam freely outside the theater, eating, sleeping, and honking at each other:

You can even walk right up to them and take shots like this:

That beady little eye popped open the second my shutter clicked. Creeeepy.

(In case the suspense is killing you: this is not when I was attacked.)

(That came during the show.)

Heeere they coooome!

It was neat watching the flock parade around and about-face on command. They'd stop mere inches from our seats, too:

During which this guy was clearly sizing me up for later:

To quote Pete Venkman, "That's the one that got me."

The final part of the show involved victims volunteers being brought into the arena for a photo op. The trainer brought the whole flock around each individual, which was when that beady-eyed specimen there took a particularly keen interest in me.

Fun fact: flamingos can reach five feet in height with their necks extended. Being five foot tall myself, I can now personally verify this fact after being nose-to-beak with Mr. Beady Eyes. He got closer, and closer, and closer, and then started going for my head.

For my dignity's sake, I tried to simultaneously laugh off being attacked by a giant lawn ornament while attempting to keep my shoulder up to shield my face.

It...was not a pretty sight.

But, for your amusement, I'll show you anyway:

I have other shots of me leaning waaaay back, stark terror in my madly grinning "no, really, I'm not scared!!" face, but I'll be leaving those visuals to your imagination.

But wait, there's more!

After the flamingo show, we spied these pretty black swans in a nearby pond:

We stopped to ooh and aah, and after a few moments, one of them heaved himself out of the water and started waddling towards us.

"Oooh, he's coming to say hello!" I squealed, forgetting, again, the whole demon-spawn thing.

Sure enough, the swan came right up to the little hip-high wall separating us, and lunged. At the last possible second, I realized he was going for my water bottle, which I'd set on the wall to take a photo:

John snatched it out of the way just in time, but the bird made a few more desperate grabs for it, shooting his head forward snake-like. I guess he really doesn't like plastic bottles.

Despite the bird attacks, we still had a fantastic day at Ardastra - and in all seriousness, I'd highly recommend it to anyone visiting Nassau. In fact, I'll leave you with a little more eye candy:

This gorgeous guy paraded around for us for a full five minutes with his tail extended, showing off his feathers.

And finally, the eighth wonder of the world:

The backside of peacock!!

Heh. Aheh. Heh.

(Hey, once a JC skipper, ALWAYS a JC skipper.)