Swingline Thermal Laminator on sale for $15


My daughter Jane has been asking for a laminator so she can make bookmarks, club ID cards, and other projects. I just learned that Amazon is selling a Swingline thermal laminator for $15 (regularly $60) so I ordered it. It comes with 5 letter-sized lamination pouches. (A pack of 100 lamination pouches costs $10.) Read the rest

Hand-cut silhouettes from Tolkien, Rowling, GRRM

Jack Tuckwell is a UK sculptor who sells on Etsy as Alarm Eighteen, in a store that features silhouettes cut out of pages from fantasy novels like The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones: Bag End, Barad-dûr, Harry Potter vols 1-7. Read the rest

Behold: the kraken D20!

It's a 3D printed D20 studded with questing tentacles, made to order in a wide spectrum of metals and plastics. (via Geeks Are Sexy) Read the rest

William Blake's final drawings given a spectacular send off


The story goes that William Blake worked until the very day he died. His final drawing was said to be a portrait of his wife sitting by his deathbed. Earlier in the day, he had spent his last shilling on a pencil. He'd been commissioned two years earlier by friend and patron (and fellow painter) John Linnell to do a series of illustrations for Dante's The Divine Comedy. Friends would frequently give Blake work to keep him and his wife fed and to keep him creating art. It was these images that he was working on when, on August 12, 1827, he finally laid down his pencil and left his “mundane shell,” allegedly drifting away “signing songs of his own design.”

There have been other published editions of Blake's 102 sketches and watercolors in his Dante series, but nothing has ever come close to this stunning edition from Taschen. We've come to expect impressive art books from Taschen, but the “out of box experience” on this gem was off the charts. First, it's impressively big and heavy, at an outsized 18” x 12” and 324 pages. When I opened the shipping box and found a cardboard briefcase inside, I thought whatever was inside better be something special. Hefting this giant buckram-covered tome from the case and cracking it open soon had me gasping, squealing, and feeling as dizzy as a teenage girl at a Beatles' concert.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a serious William Blake obsession. Read the rest

Kickstarting a middle-grades SF anthology

Corie writes, "We have a project Happy Mutants may be interested in -- an anthology of science fiction stories for middle grade readers, with a focus on diversity and representation. We have 22 great stories from a wide range of authors, from Hugo and Nebula winner Nancy Kress, to relative newcomers in the field." Read the rest

Good deal on Titanium quasi-spork


The Light My Fire spork isn't technically a spork, but rather a handle with a fork on one end and a spoon on the other. It's regularly priced at $15, but Amazon is selling it for $6.33 + $0.99 shipping. Read the rest

Gallery of deserted Chinese amusement parks

China's exuberant, weird, terrible and brilliant amusement parks sprang up like mushrooms after the Deng reforms, and now many of them have fallen on hard times -- even as Disney makes ready to open Disneyland Shanghai. Read the rest

Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, 100 artists' tribute to Jazz Age comic legend

Locust Moon Press's Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream is a kickstarted tribute to Winsor McKay's seminal Jazz Age comic strip, with contributions from Peter Bagge, Paul Pope, Charles Vess, Carla Speed McNeil, Bill Sienkiewicz and many others. Read the rest

Chuck Wendig's Zeroes: a hacker technothriller in the War Games lineage

Chuck Wendig's new technothriller Zeroes is a hacker misfit tale in the lineage of War Games and Sneakers, true to the spirit (and often, the minutae) of security work, and exciting as hell to boot.

Build a top quality kinetic Rhinoceros Mini-Beest from a kit


Dutch engineer and artist Theo Jansen has created the most amazing kinematic sculptures, which he refers to as life forms. The incredibly ingenious mechanical linkages are powered by compressed air, harvested from the wind. They are made of PVC pipe, recycled bottles, and scrounged wood from shipping pallets. From a pile of junk, Jansen creates articulated multi-legged beasts which run free on the beaches of Holland. (Okay, amazing is a word that is thrown around a lot, but here is your proof.)

The astounding and huge creature that you see at 5:00 into the video is the inspiration for this excellent book/kit sold by EDU-TOYS. This combination assembly kit and booklet includes the plastic parts engineered by the Japanese educational product producer Gakken and a new 24-page English language booklet. You’ll get fascinating photos of Jansen and his various creations in their natural environment as well as well-written and illustrated instructions. And you’ll need them! The kit has over 130 parts, which at first seems a little intimidating. However, simply follow the clear line drawings for each step of assembly and the sequence and logic to the parts become clear.

The engineering and molding is top quality with polished molds and flash-free parts. No glue or tools are needed. All the press fittings are snug, the snap junctions crisp, and the gears mesh perfectly with seemingly no friction. You’ll appreciate all the attention to detail when you finish the build: place the Mini Rhino on a flat surface and gently blow on the squirrel cage fan. Read the rest

Exotic polyhedra: RPG dice made from carbon fiber, marble, bourbon barrels

Beyond wolly mammoth ivory dice, a whole multiverse of polyhedra cast and carved from exotic woods, metals and stranger substances still, from Artisan Dice.

There's carbon fiber dice, white marble, gator jawbones (combined with resin for added resilience); bourbon barrel staves and more.

But they don't have my favorite high-ticket D20: the one made from sky-metal.

Just remember: if you don't shame your dice, they'll never learn.

Drool-worthy dice for discerning rollers [Michael Franco/Cnet] Read the rest

Fury Road badge-set

These 1.25" Fury Road badges are $11.36 for a set of 7 (also available as magnets!) (via Geeky Merch) Read the rest

Bionic Bird: a cat-foolin', smartphone-controlled ornithopter

Kyosho's $150 Bionic Bird is a smartphone-controlled ornithopter that is birdlike enough to fool a cat (or at least, the cat is pretending to be fooled). Read the rest

Blobtastic ferrofluid display

Ferrolic is a prototype ferrofluid display that draws blobby, weird, awesome imprecise bitmaps by manipulating magnetic particles suspended in liquid. Read the rest

Star Wars Storyboards – see what changed between conception and the screen


Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy gives you a peek behind the curtain into the making of three movies set long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. This beautifully printed book takes the reader from the very first shot of a Star Destroyer coming directly overhead to the very last shot of a celebration on the Forest Moon of Endor. In between, there are rescues, space battles, Jedi training, Jabba the Hutt, speeder bike chases, and lightsaber battles. This is, in other words, Star Wars shot by shot, frame by frame.

Fans will recognize the story beats, of course, but one of the joys of a book like this is seeing what changed between conception and the screen. Certain characters, like Chewbacca and C-3PO, underwent radical revisions even in the course of storyboarding a single movie, while others, like Darth Vader, went through fewer, yet still noticeable changes over the course of a few pages. Likewise, seeing deleted scenes and certain scenes laid out differently from the edited sequence of the finished films bring a sense of joy and re-discovery to fans who have seen these films countless times over the years.

One of the most striking aspects of the book is the sheer variety of pen and ink art styles contained in the storyboards. Color is used sparingly, but stunningly on a few pieces. The storyboards are presented unaltered with stains, notes, re-dos, and all. Commentary from the original artists provides insights and anecdotes of the creative processes that went into creating the movies. Read the rest

Scalzi's latest Old Man's War novel hits shelves today!

It's called The End of All Things, and it's book six in the series (here's my review of book one); he's touring it all over the USA. Read the rest

Cthulhu pint glasses

Jeffery Woods is a glassmaker who sells his custom-etched/painted glassware on Etsy, including these Cthulhu-inpsired tentacle pint glasses, $65 for four. Read the rest

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