Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday Steam 5/12/12

I know I just mentioned this not too long ago, but if you're not already watching Felicia Day's Flog then you should at least give this week's show a try. In it Felicia visits the famous Clockwork Couture and does a hilarious fashion shoot - meaning you get LOLs *and* steamy fashion eye candy. Great stuff!

Guess why I've been searching ebay for an old bicycle horn?

By Flickr user lowtechatmo, found via Craft:

This iPhone speaker uses nothing more than a pvc pipe and old brass bike horn to naturally amplify the sound - no cords needed!

But believe it or not, that's not the only non-powered iPhone amplifier I saw this week. Check out this 3D printed version I found via Mashable:

The iVictrola Gramophone comes in two pieces (the horn and the base) in your choice of colored plastic, which you can then paint to match the scheme above or leave a solid color for a neat modern look. Pricing starts around $95 for both pieces. (Isn't 3D printing cool?!)

Caitlin W. spotted these bookends with gears that actually move:

Yep - the hand crank works! Awesome. They'll be available in August for about $50 here.

And speaking of cranky things, check out this adorable "Hootch-Owl" bottle opener:

 $50 from Red Envelope

Oh! For those of you who live within driving distance of Waltham, MA, get yourselves over to the Watch City Festival, the city-wide steampunk celebration, STAT! It's going on now through tomorrow. And I want pictures!

And finally, check out my new steamy side table!

John and I stumbled across this on sale at Hobby Lobby for $90 - not bad, considering it's all heavy wood and metal. The legs especially have some neat screw and hinge detailing.

Here's a view looking out towards the dining room:

And here's a closeup of all my goodies on it:

I love how steampunk is slowly but surely creeping outward from the dining room into the rest of our house. I still try to keep a lot of color with it, but the aged pieces and leathers and metallics add so much warmth and character to the place. It's all quite cozy, really.

And now, if you'll excuse me... IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!! So I'm off to be spoiled rotten by John and then have dinner at Boma, my all-time favorite restaurant (which just happens to be at Disney). I hope you guys have a great weekend, too!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Going to a Con...By Yourself?

Many of you often mention in your e-mails that while you'd like to go to a convention some time, you just don't have any geek friends to go with. I can totally sympathize; John and I can count our local geek friends on one hand, and I'm not sure either of us would be brave enough to go to a con alone.

But then I got this e-mail from Catherine, and no lie: I was so inspired I actually got a little weepy. Fortunately she's given me permission to share it with the rest of you, so without further ado, here 'tis:


Hi Jen (and John),

I just wanted to write to let you know how awesome I think your blogs are and how you encourage everyone to let their geek flags fly.

Like so many nerds, I am quite shy and hate large crowds. I also don't have any friends that share my love for all things sci-fi, so I never thought I would attend a con. Then I saw all your cool posts and pics about all the ones that you attend but still wasn't sure if I was brave enough to go alone.

I finally decided to take the plunge when I heard about the Calgary Comic Con and the fact that the entire cast of Star Trek:TNG would be there!

I had the most amazing time and met so many really great people who love all the same kind of stuff I do! Plus I got to meet Sir Patrick Stewart and listen to him speak in that AMAZING voice of his, as well as hug Wil Wheaton ( girly sigh! ). 

(I just had to include a couple of photos cause I have no one else to show them off too.)

So thanks for pushing me to try something new, now I want to go to as many Cons as I possibly can.  Maybe someday I'll meet you at one.



SHE HUGGED WIL WHEATON, you guys. (Sooooo jealous.) 

And you know what's even more awesome than the fact that Catherine went to her very first convention by herself?

The fact that she went IN COSTUME:

Oh yeah, she just crossed the Star streams - and I love it.

Now THAT is a magical moment. (Sorry, Disney.)

You know, having been to my fair share of cons I know just how friendly the people are - heck, at Dragon*Con if you don't make a new friend in every line it's because you're actively trying NOT to - and yet I still have this lingering fear of ever venturing out by myself. Seeing Catherine overcome that fear, though, and how happy she is that she did, makes me want to jump out of my comfort zone and try to get out there more. The fact is, cons are where "our people" are - so if ever there was a place to make new friends, it's at a con!

Also, if you're a bit shy like Catherine and me, then I really can't recommend going in costume enough. I know it seems scary, but costumes are instant conversations starters. Not to mention they'll attract fans of the same flavor, so you'll already have something in common to talk about! 

If a costume feels too ambitious, then at least go with a geeky t-shirt, bag, or accessory - the more obscure, the better. I've had people cross a crowded room just to talk to me about my t-shirt at conventions before - and I've done the same for an especially nice ray gun or piece of jewelry. It's all about breaking the ice, so don your finest geekery, and get out there!  

Thanks again to Catherine, my newest hero, and here's hoping her story helps inspire some of you out there, too!

So tell me, peeps, have you ever been to a con by yourself? How was it? Any tips for newbies?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We're Trekkies And We Know It

Though people often mistake me for a bigger Star Wars fan, the truth is my first sci-fi love has always been Star Trek. There just aren't as many awesome Trek goodies out there for me to post about, so 'Wars tends to get a lot more love here on Epbot.

But today, thanks to a link from Jennifer P. on the Epbot FB page, I get to even the score a little.

Yes, it's ridiculously cheesy. Yes, you're probably not going to want anyone around you to see or overhear what you're watching. And yes, I realize I'm reaching new heights (depths?) of extreme geekdom by posting this.


(Personally, I lost it at "C-Captain Kirk out," and "Tribbletribbletribbleyeah." And the non-stop pelvic thrusts/dancing, of course. Hee!)

LL&P, y'all.  J-Jen out.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

And That's Why I Answer E-Mails 3 Weeks Late

John and I always keep an iChat window open with each other while we're working. This is so John can send me various funny and/or cute pictures he finds on Reddit to distract me from my serious work of pinning my latest craft aspirations and catching up on Twitter.

Anyway, this is how one of our exchanges went yesterday:

IM window: *ping!*

Me: "D'AWWWWW!! So cute! And they totally look like they're skydiving! Someone should photoshop them onto a sky. Right? Right?!"



Me: "BWA-HA-HAA! Except now they look like they're plummeting to their deaths. They need parachutes."



 Me: "Ok, now they really need some goggles."

John: *sigh*

Me: "Oh, come on. You've come THIS far."



Me: "YES! I love it. Now it just needs a big LOL cats-type caption with, 'DON'T LET GO,' or 'I'VE GOT YOU' on it, right? Something cute like that.




Now if you'll excuse me, I have some very serious work to BWAHHAHAAA!! Sorry, I couldn't even get that out TYPING. Heh. Aheh. Heh.

(Hey John, now how about some double rainbows? And glitter? And little top hats? And a little squirrel in a rocket pack? [Too much?])



I'd like to thank Epbot reader Orcrist for this vital service to humanity:

Especially since John wouldn't do it. (The spoilsport.) :D

Jen's Truffles 5-8-12

Before you ask, "Jen's Truffles" is the result of an impromptu brain-storming session with John. After compiling a list of boring generic terms like "cool stuff" and "favorite finds" and getting pretty frustrated, I finally blurted, "They're like truffles. You know, 'cuz I had to dig through a lot of crap to find them." Which made John laugh so hard that he insisted I use it. So there you have it. My favorite finds of the week are now comparable to "a strong-smelling underground fungus." Which, you must admit, is pretty memorable.

Now, on to the fungus among us!

I know I'm supposed to save my favorite for last, but I can't wait that long -  so LOOK AT THIS AMAZING LABYRINTH BOX:


I found this hand-painted beauty over on my favorite Labyrinth fan site, and I'm head over heels for the whole thing. The stylized jewelry and hair piece, the spindly lettering on the side ("I was looking for something..."), and of course Sarah herself is just gorgeous.

And as if that weren't enough, check out the inside:

It's the helping hands!

This was painted by artist Darcy Ripley, and sadly it's already sold (CURSES!) from her etsy shop. If you hit that link you can see a few more close-ups of it, though - and maybe we can petition Darcy to paint more Labyrinth-inspired boxes. After all, wouldn't this be perfect for an engagement ring?

Next up, this Doctor Horrible Plush has a Ph.D. in adorableness:

I'd want a Bad Horse plush to go with him. 

If you love Fantasyland as much as I do, then you're going to really love this children's playhouse:

I found this while following the links from a whimsical wooden fairy house over on Boing Boing. The site it's on has lots of storybook playhouses like this one - and yes, that's an actual kids' playhouse, complete with real landscaping. AND I WANT ONE. Hit the storybook link to see over a dozen more guaranteed to make your inner 6-year-old squeal with delight.

Via Fashionably Geek: check out a princess Leia hoodie, complete with bunned hood:

Now that's adorkable.

(And they sell them at Hot Topic!)

And finally, in case you haven't seen it yet, behold the awesome lineup of Avengers-inspired eye makeup that went viral last week:


These are by a Finnish makeup blogger named Jangsara, and her site is chock full of gorgeous shots like these, often along with full step-by-step tutorials. (She also did an amazing R2D2 look for Star Wars Day on Friday.) Whether you'd ever wear these yourself or not, you can't deny that this is the ultimate geek girl eye candy. Me likey.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Comic Books for Newbies?

One of the cool things about being a geek is that there's always something new to try, read, or watch - and whatever you choose, there's sure to be tons of other geeks out there ready to cheer you on and give advice. Case in point: I've never really read comic books. It's not that I've never had the interest, exactly, it's just that I've never known where to start.

Well, Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, and thanks to the urging of nearly every geek I follow on Twitter, I decided to go check it out. Plus I'd heard there was a special give-away book being released from Archaia that included a new Labyrinth short story. Aww yeeeah.

John and I headed out to our local comic book shop around 3, and when we got there we found the parking lot mobbed with people. OUR people. A few were in costume, a lot had their kids with them (awww), and pretty much everyone looked to be in a good mood.

Then again, how could you NOT be in a good mood when you pass this on the way in?

Once we got inside the madhouse, John and I realized that we had no idea how Free Comic Book Day worked. So we wandered around the aisles, trying to look like we knew what we were doing and talking out of the corners of our mouths.

" it a buy-one-get-one kind of thing?"

"I dunno. Will we look stupid if we ask?"

"Yes. So you should do it."

"Maybe the guy driving R2D2 knows." 

"Ok. Go ask him. I'll be over here pretending I don't know you." 

R2 never judges us on our lack of Free Comic Book Day knowledge.

In addition to scoring some fun tidbits on droid-building, John eventually learned there were specific titles at the front counter that you could choose from for your free comic. And another lady passing by told us they still had the Archaia book! WOOT!!

After collecting our freebies John and I tried to find something to actually buy, which is when we remembered we know nothing about comics. And they're not really something you can browse through easily, are they? The only series I've read are the online comic Girl Genius (so addicting) and Lady Mechanika, which I also really like, but sadly they didn't have any of those at the shop. (We asked.)

I need to track down the latest issues of this; I've only read the first two!

Oh, and last week I read Return to Labyrinth, a graphic novel, but I didn't like it well enough to read the sequels. Actually, I didn't like it at all. Heh. Good thing it was a library read...

Anyway, after wandering around a while longer, John and I admitted defeat and left with just our free comics, feeling guilty.

The Archaia anthology has short stories from six different children's comics, which acts as a nice sampler of different writing and art styles. The Labyrinth one is about Hoggle and the Worm, and is funny with a slightly sad ending:

My other favorite was Return of the Dapper Men. The writing was utterly confusing - which I think was intentional -  but the art is nothing short of magical:

I've since learned The Return of the Dapper Man is a graphic novel, not a comic book. You can browse through some of the pages here on Amazon - and it's definitely going on my wish list.

So here's where I need your help, comic book geeks: where should a noob geek girl start? I don't have any particular favorites in the super hero world, so I'm open to most anything. I also love sci-fi, steampunk (obviously), kids' books, and old cartoons with reboots like TMNT and ThunderCats. Oh, and I know there's a Ghostbusters comic out there - is that any good? Please, leave your recommendations in the comments!