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Saturday Steam 6/15/13

Saturday, June 15, 2013

You'll think this minute-long vid is a fine art project, it's so beautiful -  plus the music feels right out of the Lord of the Rings! - but it turns out it's actually a commercial for Omega watches. Well played, Omega.

(Thanks for the link, Kathleen L.!)

Gina H. found this adorable goggled and winged bunny brooch:


There are lots of "bunnyfly" variations at the Rustwoods etsy shop, too, with all different colors and metal tones and accessories. (Plus the pink bunnies totally look like steampunk Peeps. Which is kind of awesome.)


They're only about an inch high, too, which makes 'em EXTRA cute.


- Amanda of The Steampunk Ledger combined a dollar store water pistol with a blue "finger light" (a small LED, I believe) to make this stunning garter pistol:


She also made a garter belt holster for it from leather and lace. Lovely!


- You guys already know I am not versed in the wizardly art of sewing, but for those of you who are, these embroidery design patterns over at Urban Threads are pretty dang sweet:


 (SEAHORSE!!)


For $9 you get all six designs included in the "Mechanica Aquatica" machine embroidery pack, or for $3 you can get the hand-embroidery patterns, which I'm guessing would take just a few days short of forever to do. ;)


- And finally, here's a fun little number by The Spine of Steam Powered Giraffe that I can't seem to stop re-playing. (Um, if you're not familiar with SPG, then this is going to be pretty bizarre - so I'd suggest checking out their original songs, which are a lot more steampunky. This Rihanna cover is oddly mesmerizing, though - plus the giraffe cracked me up.)

Oh, and 1:35 is when the magic happens. Gotta love The Spine's range!


Have a great weekend, everyone! And as always, please share your steamy finds in the comments or over on the Epbot Facebook page!

Posted by Jen at 11:00 AM   |  17 comments  |   Labels: , ,

Week's Best 6/14/13

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rachel and her boyfriend Trevor cosplayed as Hermione and Ron going to the Yule ball... for their own prom!

BRILLIANT! Haha! (And thanks for the link, Heather N.!)


- Do you like historical conspiracy theories? Then read this. It's fascinating. (I can't wait to see Hollywood's version hit theaters - because you know it will.) via SuperPunch


- It's been pouring pretty much all week here, but we headed out to Epcot on Tuesday anyway to meet up with some readers, and....


We found it!!
(Not sure what I'm talking about? Click here.)

Took a fair amount of searching, too, since it's hidden behind/inside a partition pretty much backstage, though just barely. If you go looking for it yourself, follow the path between the Imagination Pavilion and The Land, and hope the wooden gate is open!


- In other news, Patrick Stewart continues to be a delight on Twitter:


Oh captain, our captain! ALWAYS. :)


- And speaking of Twitter, this happened on Wednesday:



Now, Felicia Day is a personal hero of mine, and probably the one person I most aspire to be like (with a healthy dollop of Jenny Lawson, of course). This was the first time she's ever directly mentioned me, but I think I handled it pretty well:

 
 


If you caught the fact that I unconsciously made both a Phineas and Ferb AND a Grinch reference, then you may now award yourself ten thousand Geek Points.

I'll be sure to let you guys know when Felicia invites me over for a girls' night out, or, more likely, admits she mixed me up with someone else. ;)

Moving along...

- Jessica Angus is a costume designer and supplier who's created the most jaw-dropping, uber-realistic Toothless (from How To Train Your Dragon) quad costume I've ever seen:
 

You're really got to watch the video of her in motion to get the full effect, though:


Jessica's site DreamVision Creations sells all kinds of supplies for creating your own creature and furry suits, but it looks like she stopped taking costume commissions in 2011. Oh, and if you check out Jessica's DevianArt gallery, you'll find several of her adorable Toothless plushies - including one that's five-feet tall! This two-foot version is my favorite, though:

D'awwww.  DO WANT.

Jessica stresses that these are not for sale, though, and she also doesn't sell any patterns. I can understand why with the copyright concerns, of course, but that doesn't stop me wanting one!

- Here's some adorable geeky goodness we CAN buy, though: 3D Marvel phone cases from Disney:

 photo by TouringPlans

Not the most practical, sure, but now you can turn your phone into an action figure!

These are being sold at the Disney parks, but when I went hunting for a place to buy them online I also found these designs, and oh. my. CUTE:

DYING.

I found all of them over on Amazon for about $30 apiece. Now you just have to decide between Batgirl, Joker, Wonder Woman, and Harley. And maybe Superman. Ok, basically I want them all except Batman. Because he looks grumpy. Which is totally in character, but still.


Happy Weekend, everyone!

Posted by Jen at 1:30 PM   |  28 comments  |   Labels: , , , ,

There And Back Again: A Hobbit's Party

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Epbot reader and crafty mom extraordinaire Nikki recently gave her four-year-old daughter Niamh the birthday party to end all birthday parties, and I just about flipped when she sent me all the photos and details. Seriously, prepare to be very, very jealous of a four-year-old.

Here, let's start with the invitations:


What better way to kick off an epic Hobbit party than with Bilbo's famous round door?

(Funnily enough, little Niamh actually wanted a Gollum-themed party, but her mom was afraid of terrifying all the other kids. Ha! Good call, Nikki!)

The kids got to wear flip-flop Hobbit feet:
 
 Hee!

And they were given bubble wand "Sting" swords and bubble pipes to blow on:





The party was held in a back yard decorated with pennants, maps of Middle Earth, and hanging lanterns:



Check out the cake: Smaug sitting on a pile of gold!

And thanks to a sparkler, Smaug even breathed fire!

Also on the dessert table: branches hung with the captured Dwarves of Mirkwood Forest (remember the giant spiders?):

Of course, THIS spider silk was actually cotton candy.
(Admit it: you wish you were at this party as much as I do.)

Dinner was served in the Green Dragon, of course, where the kids drank (Ginger) Ale and (Root) Beer and feasted on a whole smorgasbord of Hobbit-themed treats - each carefully prepared and labeled by Nikki herself.



Then for activities, Nikki handed out kid-friendly replicas of Thror's map:



Each location had special "moon rune" instructions that only showed under a black light(!!):



In this case, it was "Defeat Smaug" - the pinata, that is!


The birthday girl wore a sweet rhinestone-edged Hobbit door on her birthday dress - also handcrafted by her mom Nikki:
(She's holding one of the bubble wand swords.)

Believe it or not, I've only scratched the surface on this party, though: there were also glowing "Light of Earendil" necklaces to find and giant spider webs made of tape to conquer and One Ring napkin rings and Ring Pops and lots and LOTS more food and... phew! You really should just head over to Nikki's blog, tikkido, to check it all out. (That link goes to part one, so don't miss part two!)

Oooh, PLUS, Nikki has been busy posting tutorials for just about everything she did and made for the party, from the Smaug pinata to the Hobbit door ice cream sandwiches. So basically her blog is a DIY dream right now. (And I think I need an excuse to make some of those invitations!)

Thanks so much for sharing the fun, Nikki! Oh, and be sure to let us know what you do for Niamh's FIFTH birthday, k? (May I suggest...The Fifth Element? PRETTY PLEASE?!)

Posted by Jen at 1:36 PM   |  34 comments  |   Labels: , , ,

Book Review: Bitten, But Not Smitten

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sometimes I like picking up reader-recommended books without reading the synopsis, so I go in to the story blind. It adds a little more suspense, and hopefully makes me approach the book without any preconceived opinions on the genre.

That was the case with Bitten, which - since I got the Kindle copy from my library and so didn't see the cover art - I assumed was a vampire story. Instead I was pleasantly surprised to find a story about the only female werewolf in the world, Elena, trying to make a life for herself away from her kind in modern society.



That doesn't last long, though, as Elena is soon called away from her devoted live-in boyfriend and city life to return to her Pack's home and help hunt down another werewolf-turned-murderer.

Elena's pack has plenty of obvious parallels to Twilight's Cullen family: a supernatural "family" living together in a remote-yet-lavish backwoods estate, a benevolent Alpha father figure who is obeyed without question, and their self-imposed obligation to police others of their kind, "mutts" who have less compunction about killing humans.

It was at this point, though - roughly 50 pages in - that the story started to fall apart for me. Up 'til then Elena seemed like a pretty relatable main character, but by the second night she's hopping into bed with two of her fellow pack mates, without so much as a passing thought to her boyfriend back home. It was really bizarre, with no lead-up, and seemed drastically out of character for her.

Anyway, before much happens, the three play a game of poker to determine which guy gets to sleep with her. (To be fair, Elena seems pretty on board with this.) When one wins, Elena obediently follows him out to the woods, but then starts to have second thoughts. So the guy overpowers her, ties her up, and forces her. (Again, this whole section was like the Twilight Zone invading - I couldn't believe it was the same story!) We're supposed to believe it's not quite rape, though, because after a while the guy says he'll stop if she really, really wants him to, and Elena finds she just can't say no anymore. So hey, SCORE ONE FOR ROMANCE.

I can't decide if the author was trying to emphasize the animalistic nature of werewolves, or if she was honestly trying to write a hot sex scene. I will say that it was so awkwardly written that I was still trying to figure out the mechanics - "wait, wasn't she hanging from her arms a second ago? So how is she lying on the ground now?" - by the time I realized it was over. In fact, it was so rushed and robotic in nature that I think the author just wanted the whole sordid ordeal over with as quickly as I did.

Anyway, I put the book down at this point to look it up, and learned that not only is Bitten primarily a romance (?!?), it also has five stars across the board from the vast majority of readers. 

  (From Amazon's review page. Clay is the-not-quite-rapist. How's that for terrifying?)

So, thoroughly confused, I decided to keep going and see if it got any better - or at least made any more sense.

Having finished all 540 pages now (yep, I WORKED for this review, guys), I can say that the "romance" angle does get better - if only because it couldn't possibly have gotten worse, and also because Elena doesn't get tied up and not-quite-raped again. In fact, Bitten is a pretty decent werewolf story that could have been quite good, if only it wasn't afflicted with lots of awkward rushed sex and a protagonist more self-absorbed than your average three-year-old.

It goes like this: Elena has sex with Clay, the-not-quite-rapist. Then Elena spends the next day(s) sulking and hating Clay for being so gosh-darned irresistible. They fight a lot. Then they have sex again - and it's always the super-rushed, mindless, literally-ripping-clothing-off kind of sex. About halfway through the book I started wondering how they had any clothes left, and if maybe Clay wouldn't benefit from some kind of performance aid. (WHAT.) Oh, and then Elena goes back to hating him again - all while rationalizing that her cheating isn't really her fault, it's Clay's for being so gosh-darned irresistible, and ooooh, does she hate him for it. And so on.

If you're starting to think that maybe Elena is a terrible person, then you'll understand why I had a hard time rooting for her. She IS a terrible person, only rarely realizes it, and never does anything to try and change her inherent terribleness.

However, like I said, things get a little better as the story goes on. And it does go on. And on. Let's call it the literary equivalent of a leisurely stroll - with occasional showers of dangling intestines. The more tedious sections are the ones where everyone's just running through the woods as wolves: killing rabbits, licking blood off each other's fur - you know, werewolfy things - but doing absolutely nothing to move the story along. I found myself skimming some of those.

Then, for no other reason than because it would be really, REALLY awkward, the author makes Elena live with her two guys in the same tiny apartment for a while. Elena ramps up the annoyance factor as she continues to waffle between the two men, lashing out at Clay all day while going to bed each night with her clueless-yet-saintly boyfriend. I may have started hoping for a few more dangling intestines at that point.

It would be one thing if Elena knew her own mind and was intentionally playing both men - not something I'd approve of, but at least she'd be acting from a place of strength and independence, as opposed to just being a fickle child with daddy issues (which get SUPER creepy, btw) and a bad case of narcissism. In the end she doesn't so much make a choice as have it made for her, which was, again, kind of disappointing. But at least it finally broke the snipe/sex/sulk cycle, so let's call that a win. (Heck, by that point anything that stopped her whining would have counted as a happy ending in my book.)

There are more books in The Otherworld Series, but since the next one, Stolen, also features Elena, I think it's safe to say I won't be reading it.

So, in conclusion, if you're looking for an edgy shape-shifters' romance filled with adventure, fascinating animal-based cultures, and gripping suspense, then I highly recommend Hawksong, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.


In fact, the whole Kiesha'ra series is pretty flippin' fantastic. Enjoy!



For more of my reviews, check out this handy-dandy list. I've even starred some of my favorites there, in case you're just looking for other titles I'd recommend!

Posted by Jen at 2:30 PM   |  150 comments  |   Labels:

OW.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Have you ever had an injury so mildly horrific in an extremely sensitive bodily region that you just had to tell the whole internet about it?

No?

Whatever. I'm telling you my nipple story anyway.


See, I was hugging my cat Lily goodnight last night, per usual (DON'T JUDGE), when John accidentally startled his cat, Tonks, who in turn startled Lily, who then attempted to kick off of my chest, and in the process hooked a back claw into the aforementioned extremely sensitive bodily region.

A couple of thing go through your mind when a cat's claw is hooked in your nipple. Things like, "gosh, I wish I hadn't taken my bra off already," and, "wow, I should really trim Lily's back nails." But mostly it's just "AAAAUUGGHHH!!"

Next came inspecting the damage.

Now, you might recall that John tends to faint at the sight of other people's blood, so because he was standing nearby, and also because I am a thoughtful, self-sacrificing kind of wife, I thoughtfully and self-sacrificially popped my boob out of my shirt and screamed, "OH MY GOSH IT'S BLEEDING RIGHT FROM THE TIP! LOOK AT THIS! LOOK AT THIS!! AAAAUUUGGHHH!!"

After leaving John to his breathing exercises, I next discovered that it's surprisingly difficult to stick a band aid to an injured nipple. Without getting too graphic, let's just say the architecture of an ever-changing landscape poses unique challenges to the bandage-adhering process. Picture a really floppy teeter-totter. Or, on second thought, don't. You're better off that way.

Still, even the most painful situation can have a silver lining. In this case, I think I've finally figured out the purpose of all that impractical boob armor out there:


These chicks totally have cats.

Posted by Jen at 11:30 AM   |  139 comments  |   Labels: ,

DIY Interactive Tetris Card for Dad's Day

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jennifer R. just sent me the COOLEST Father's Day card for a geeky/gamer dad! Check it out:


At first I didn't realize there was anything more to it, so I literally gasped when I watched Jen's video and realized that D-pad handle slides down, revealing...

Ta-daa! Awesome, right?

Go see process pics and a video of the card in action over at Jen's blog. She's also got a full tutorial there, which means you now have all week to make one of your own! (Plus you could modify it for other occasions, too; though ideally for friends with three-letter names. Heh.)

Posted by Jen at 3:26 PM   |  5 comments  |   Labels: , ,

A Date With Dreamfinder

Sunday, June 9, 2013

This morning John and I headed out to Polk City, Florida, to attend a tiny little convention of sorts - only this one centered on Disneyana and vintage Florida collectibles.

We parked in the grass:

 ...crossed a parking lot with two vintage planes on it:
 ... and entered the side door to this hangar:

Inside were two large rooms housing an assortment of vendor tables filled with goodies like these:

 That Nautilus model was two grand, if you're interested. ;)



I was mostly interested in the old theme park memorabilia, like that sign there, but there were also TONS of pins and vinylmations, not to mention a fair amount of cast costume pieces - though no one seemed to know how that was possible/legal. Heh.

Here's the back room:


At the far wall was a small stage where they held trivia contests, and later a charity auction.

We were there because our friends Kevin and Michelle Yee had mentioned it (Kevin has written a ton of Disney books, so you uber Dizgeeks might recognize his name), and also because Ron Schnieder was there.

Here's Ron hosting one of the trivia sessions:
 
[The final question, for you trivia buffs: The woman who voiced Snow White also said a single line of dialogue in The Wizard Of Oz. What was that line?]

Ron is the original Dreamfinder, and though John dressed as him for Halloween last year (plus Ron  left a lovely comment on my post about it), we'd never actually met him.

While brainstorming things we might get Ron to sign for us last night, it occurred to me that the most unique option was John's costume. So, we brought along his Dreamfinder jacket.

We had to wait a bit for an opportune moment to interrupt Ron, but when we did I only had to mention that John was the one who dressed as him last year for Ron's face to light up. Beaming, he told us he'd be delighted to sign John's jacket (we'd left it in the car, so we could ask first), and that while he'd seen many DF costumes, he was simply "blown away" by John's.

So John hurried out to retrieve the jacket, and then we made our way through the crowd again to Ron's table. I could see several people perk up at the sight of a blue jacket being brought by, some excitedly asking Ron if that was one HIS old jackets. :) (In response, Ron said so many nice things about John's costume, John was positively blushing.)

Here's Ron signing the underside of the lapel:


We bought Ron's book, since I've been meaning to grab a copy of that for ages, and then John and he talked shop about the costume for a bit, followed by Ron regaling us with a few quick stories. He told us one of the Jelly Belly flavors was the exact same color as Figment, so he'd give little jars of them - "dragon eggs" - to the Wish Kids he'd see. Or, if the crowd was right, he'd drop one from Figment's butt, pick it up, and eat it. :D

He also told us how he was walking into Epcot about two weeks before the park opened - preparing to film something for the ride, I believe - and came across a patch of wet cement. Unable to resist, he found a stick and scratched out "FIGMENT" with a backwards E. He later told everyone that was where he and Figment first met.

(I did a quick search, and found a photo of that concrete patch here. You can bet I'm going to hunt it down in person when we're there later this week, though!)

Before we left I asked Ron if I could have a photo of him holding up John's jacket. He offered to come around table for that, so I suggested John jump in, too. I expected Ron to just hold the jacket in front of them, but he immediately told John, "Here, put your arm in the sleeve." And then I took this shot:

John and I walked away giggling and grinning like little kids - and for once I think John was the more excited one. He kept saying how awesome that was, and how happy he was we'd gone.

It wasn't until later, though, as John and I looked over my shots in the car, that the full impact of that last picture really hit us. "Oh, wow," I said, "Dreamfinder himself is putting his coat on you." And then it got really, really dusty in there.  

Darn allergies. 

:)


Thanks, Dreamfinder.





Posted by Jen at 6:41 PM   |  38 comments  |   Labels: ,

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