Saturday, June 8, 2013
Let's start with this week's most popular steamy snippet:
Now, I'm not saying the alcohol is what makes this handcrafted, wood-and-brass AT-AT by Colin Rhino so appealing, but I don't think I'm the only one imagining whistling the Imperial March to get it to deliver couch-side. JUST SAYING.
Seriously, though, would you LOOK at this detail??
- I think I posted one of Andrea Masse-Tognetti's airship ornaments last Christmas, but Allison P. just linked me to this one, Andrea's third, and it's even more impressive than her first two!
Check out the tiny bead "lanterns", and the brass angel figurehead!
While the hull may look like carved wood, it's actually sculpted leather. (The interior floor and cabin are balsa wood, though.) Some of you may recall that Andrea - better known as Merimask - is most famous for her leather masks, so these little ships are just a side hobby for her. I really hope she makes more, though; they're fantastic in every sense of the word.
- Some of you might recall many eons ago (ie about two years) when I reviewed the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and then linked to the astounding - and very real - automaton that inspired the book (and later the movie, Hugo.) The source I found for the automaton wasn't great, though, and the video of it in action was just so-so.
That's why I was delighted this week when my friend Steampunk Boba Fett posted a video feature CBS did on the Maillardet Automaton last year, plus a few other fascinating examples. I'm not sure how I missed this when they first released it, but better late than never, right? Check it out:
If this doesn't get you excited about history, lost knowledge, and old stuff in general, I'm not sure WHAT will. (I've come to love almost any kind of mechanical antiques: forget the doilies and glassware, and lead me to the old hardware, tools, and glorious, rusty "junk!" Ha!)
- And finally, Vivienne V. found this sweet octopus lamp by mixed-media artist Karl Dupere Richer:
Head over to Richer's portfolio to see lots more. (Note that the site is in French, I believe, so you may want to have Chrome translate it for you.)
Friday, June 7, 2013
I'm sure you've all seen this by now, but just in case:
Here it is with the lights off:
DO WANT. Sounds like they were a pain and a half to make, but wow. Looks like they were worth it!
For my fellow Ghostbuster geeks, check out the Ghostbusters ride that never was:
Reminds me of the MIB ride at Universal, only spookier.
Oh, and a commenter mentioned this ride is very similar to Ghost Blasters, a ride that still exists in several amusement parks around the US and Canada. Any of you know it?
- Would you believe this gorgeous wolf sculpture is made entirely of pipe cleaners?
Yep, you read that right: Lauren Ryan makes her sculptures out of 100% chenille stems (aka pipe cleaners). I can't get over how perfect that face is!
I'm also partial to her Fennec Fox:
- Frank of Post Secret tweeted one of the most inspirational things I've seen all week: Duct Tape Surfing. It's kind of like what John did for our friend Ken, only way, WAY harder. Hehehe.
Confused? Just watch:
Pascale (the woman) is a paraplegic, and is the mother of one of Tyrone's friends. The two have a Facebook page where they post pics and links to interviews and such, since they're starting to get lots of media coverage now. You can also donate duct tape there!
And while we're talking feel-good stories, have you heard about the Brazilian hospital that re-themed its children's cancer treatments into "superhero formulas?"
Plus the entire children's cancer ward there (located at A.C. Camargo Cancer Center in São Paulo) has been themed into the Hall of Justice! Head over to NerdApproved to see more pictures and video of the ward. (And in related news: are you totally crying right now, or is that just me? GAH.)
- While we're talking superheros, Target is really pulling out all the stops with their new Avengers line. Check out this fun LED Thor hammer night light:
It's battery powered, so you just stick it to the wall - easy-peasy. There's also a Hulk fist version and this Captain America shield:
And finally, I've had several of you ask me before if I "Disney Bound." I never have, but after seeing this roundup of 39 examples over on BuzzFeed, I am seriously tempted! In a nutshell, Disney Bounding is like the world's most subtle form of cosplay: you dress in everyday clothes that still manage to evoke your favorite Disney character. Here are a few examples:
(I'm in love with Daisy's tights and shoes. IN LOVE, I say!)
The Disney Bound Tumblr mostly posts outfit inspirations, but there are also plenty of pics like these, with Bounders sending in photos of themselves - often with the characters they're dressed as! In fact, I met a reader out at DHS last week wearing the most PERFECT Perry-the-Platypus outfit. Here's Elizabeth (check out her orange converse!) with her sisters Taylor (as Phineas) and Kelsey (as Ferb):
Hope these made you smile! Have a great weekend, everyone!
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Since John and I don't have cable, most of what we watch is on Netflix - supplemented by occasional online shows and Redbox. We tend to binge on series we like, though, which means I'm always on the look out for new shows.
So several months back I decided to try one that kept coming up in my recommended queue: Nikita.
(In a nutshell, Nikita is a former secret agent for a corrupt "black ops" division of the U.S. government. She escaped, and is now working to bring that organization down.)
I was afraid the show was going to be all busty bubbleheads prancing around in G-strings and gun harnesses - and frankly some of the promotional photos kind of reinforce that impression - but I'm happy to report that Nikita has SO much more depth than that - and nary a G-string in site. In fact, after watching the first two seasons and now starting on the third, I'm not sure I can say enough good things about this show - but I'm about to try. :)
First and foremost, I love Nikita for the characters. The writers could have made Nikita just another revenge-driven bombshell, but instead they fleshed out a woman who is driven not so much by revenge as by a strong sense of justice and concern for others. She cares. She cries. And - oh yes - she kicks some SERIOUS booty. If you were a fan of Alias back in the day - particularly in the first few seasons when it was still amazing - then you're pretty much guaranteed to love this show. (And can I just say how much I love it that Nikita wears realistic footwear on missions? And when she DOES wear heels, she'll kick them off to run? [Yeah, I'm looking at you, Kate Beckett on Castle.])
Nikita is the main focus of the show, of course, but in the first season she also has a younger female partner, Alex. (Pictured above.) Again, the character writing here goes above and beyond, as these two women start out with almost a mother/daughter dynamic, but then grow to respect each other more and more as equals. Plus all the women on this show (of which there are several key players) consistently pass the Bechdel test with flying colors.
The third main character is Micheal:
He works for the bad guys, and first trained Nikita years ago. Now that she's "gone rogue," he's also the one in charge of hunting her down - despite the fact that he may have feelings for her.
The romantic tension is handled really well, as they lead a merry dance of cat-and-mouse without ever getting too heavy-handed. Back stories are woven in to explain Micheal's choices, and before you know it you're rooting for both of them.
In addition to its brilliant, believable characters, I love that Nikita respects our intelligence as viewers. For example, you know all those times when you're yelling at Primeval because - once again - the characters have done something so mind-bogglingly stupid that there's no way they could have gotten their pants on properly that morning, much less operate heavy machinery?* That never happens with Nikita. And the two or three times I *thought* it was happening, it turned out that the characters and writers were way ahead of me all along, planning a double-cross or a fake-out that soon had me cheering.
[*As you may have guessed, we're still watching Privemal. Can't they just give Lester & Connor their own show and be done with it?]
In season two the show keeps all the same characters, but everything about the story changes drastically - to the point that for the first few episodes I thought Nikita had jumped the shark and was a lost cause. (Plus Alex gets really, REALLY annoying.) Stick with it, though, because after a while Nikita hits its stride again, and the last half of season two is so perfect it actually surpasses the first. (John and I marathoned most of it over the course of a week, as we couldn't wait to find out what happened next!)
In season two many of the minor characters take on a larger role, so that Nikita becomes less just Nikita and more of an ensemble cast. I found I liked nearly all of them, though - especially Birkhoff - so rather than messing with a good thing, this actually just made the show that much better. They also started introducing more humor to the show, so you get some good laughs mixed in with all the non-stop action.
In season three the show once again re-invents itself, as Nikita's mission changes yet again. It's neat to see completely new story arcs introduced each season, though, instead of just re-hashing the same old "revenge" plot lines.
Nikita obviously has plenty of violence and killing, plus some torture scenes that get pretty intense, but nothing worse than your average network TV action/thriller. Ditto for language and sex scenes, although there are surprisingly few of those. It's heavier than, say, White Collar (another show I love), but since the good guys almost always win, it's still very much a feel-good kind of show. (Although it has made me cry a few times.)
Netflix only has the first two seasons of Nikita available for online streaming right now, so I've only seen a few episodes of season three so far. (You can buy them individually on iTunes, but at $3 a pop it really adds up!) The season finale of Season 3 just aired about two weeks ago, though, so I'm hoping Netflix gets it soon.
Oh, and I also just learned that there will be a fourth and final season of Nikita, but with only 6 episodes. Kind of a shame, but here's hoping that allows the writers to wrap the storyline up neatly.
So, to sum up, if you like shows with plenty of action, great writing, and strong female characters who seriously kick butt, give Nikita a try! And most importantly, don't tell me what happens in season three yet. I have to catch up!
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Exemplars are geeks who know what they love, and show it with pride. I keep it mostly girl-centric here at Epbot, but I always reserve the right to feature anyone who helps inspire me to be a better me.
Oh, and for Free Comic Book Day Allie picked - of course - a Star Wars comic, and her mom Maxine snapped this shot later at home:
Emma's mom, Jane, tells me Emma is also a geology buff - "a real rockhound/ lapidarist" - who spends her birthday money on rocks and gems. So in keeping with that theme she dressed as an Enderman from Minecraft for her "school disco" - which I suspect must be an Australian thing. :)
AnnaMay is 7, and as you can see, she loves superheroes - specifically Wonder Woman and Super Girl. Trouble is, another girl at Anna May's school has been making fun of her for it, to the point that Anna May won't wear her favorite t-shirts (like this one!) anymore.
AnnaMay's mom, Andrea, writes,
When Andrea mentioned this on a Disney forum she follows, someone there sent her here to Epbot. She wrote to me almost immediately after just to say thanks, but John quickly asked if we could feature AnnaMay. He also asked for a picture, which I'm happy to say is what convinced this little Wonder Girl to put on one of her favorite outfits again, just for us:
Btw, is anyone else DYING to see AnnaMay in a superhero costume now? Whaddaya think, Anna May? Would you rather be Wonder Woman or Super Girl? Let me know, and we'll see what we can make happen by this Halloween and/or your next local convention. (I may not know much about getting a kid's costume together, but I bet I could find some people 'round these parts who do!)
Update from AnnaMay's mom, Andrea: "Thank you so much for all of your comments! AnnaMay has been smiling so big. I am reading them all to her as they are posted. AnnaMay says she would love to be Wonder Woman for Halloween if she could. You all are making me cry happy tears! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!"
[Wow, I think we've found all the help we need for AnnaMay's costume now, guys! Thank you! And don't worry; of COURSE I'll post a photo once we have one!]
Monday, June 3, 2013
This may be the best cure for Monday yet: a hilarious, mesmerizing, toe-tapping tribute that you'll tell yourself you'll just watch for a minute or two, but then you'll end up watching two or three times on repeat. :D
(John tells me we should watch this every morning before work, just to start the day off right. I think he's on to something there.)
(Closely followed by Venkman dancing, of course.)
Happy Monday, everyone! Now, put on your red shoes, and let's DANCE THE BLUES.
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