Pawel "Sariel" Kmiec's Incredible LEGO Technic: Cars, Trucks, Robots & More! is an inspiring gallery of amazing LEGO creations. Using the Technic system, and years of experience, Kmiec's work is stunning.
In Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, “Ray” recounts his brave, quixotic, tragicomic adventures as an experimental AIDS drug smuggler who funded his operation by selling weed out of his New York apartment, during the early years of the “gay plague.” It’s a strangely fitting subject for a graphic novel, and Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli graphic novel make it work as a history book that’ll make you laugh and cry. Cory Doctorow reviews.Read the rest
“Health and Safety” is the all-purpose excuse for any stupid, bureaucratic, humiliating rubbish that officialdom wants to shove down our throats. In the Interests of Safety, from Tracey Brown and Michael Hanlon, is the antidote: an expert dismantling of bad risk-analysis and a call-to-arms to do something about it, fighting superstition and silliness with evidence.Read the rest
LJ Kummer's Fun as Hell is a great kindle single. A fast read about a journalist and his girlfriend who take a training course intended to show civilians what war is all about.
Kummer share the tale of journalist coming to understand why he writes. As he and his surgeon girlfriend experience a rigorous military training program, the protagonist each exercise helps him understand why he has chosen his career.
Kummer doesn't leave you with a firm ending, but he manages to use the short story telling format well and leaves you thinking about what comes next.
I watch for cheap prices on Lens Pens, as I keep them on hand for cleaning eye glasses and cameras on the run. Anything in the sub $5 range catches my eye.
The lens pen sports a retractable brush at one end and a cap-covered, lint-free soft wiping element at the other. It is compact and protected enough to live in a pocket or glove box without collecting ruinous amounts of dust. Number of useful cleanings per pen varies on the size of and what I'm cleaning, but I tend to get quite a lot of careful use out of them. Grease and oil that gets picked up by the wiper don't get cleaned off, so over time you'll need to replace the pen.
I clean big lenses at home with a blower, lens paper and cleaning solution if needed. It'd be a waste to use one of these. In the field, however, this little guy shines.
Nothing has fed my ridiculous, personal anxieties like moving to a house with a septic tank. Lloyd Kahn's fantastic The Septic System Owner's Manual helped educate me enough that I'm back to worrying about other things.
When I bought my home, back in 2008, the fiberglass septic tank was leaking. I got all sorts of advice from folks that seemed to involve a lot of voodoo and very little science. I found this book and have been able to confidently make good decisions ever since. I replaced the tank with a very basic concrete design.
Kahn is clear, his story telling is whimsical while at the same time pointing out construction or political tragedy. His solutions are always steering you towards the simplest solution and to avoid adding points that can break. Complications in this type of system are messy.
Now I'll go find something else to worry about...
While no one can match the razor-sharp intensity of Neuromancer, there is plenty of room for writers to slot their books in the midst of William Gibson's later works, those multi-faceted stories that intertwine like a mutant caduceus to bring three tales to a head. Kingmaker by Christian Cantrell is one of those books.
The book, published last year by Amazon's 47North imprint, is a straight-ahead tale of a "heartless" assassin (his real heart is replaced by a mechanical one) named Alexei Drovosek. Drovosek's goal is to watch the old world burn and a new world take its place. With the help of an AI named Emma and a team of children he is training to take down the world's major business entities, he aims to bring freedom back to the planet.
It is, in short, a tall order. Does Cantrell pull it off? I think he does.
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Read the rest
'Animal Architecture," by Ingo Arndt and Jürgen Tautz, with a foreword by Jim Brandenburg, is a beautiful new science/photography book exploring the mystery of nature through the "complex and elegant structures that animals create both for shelter and for capturing prey."
Arndt is a world-renowned nature photographer based in Germany, whose work you may have seen in National Geographic, GEO and BBC Wildlife.
Above, a grey bowerbird's bower in Australia's Northern Territory. "The grey bowerbird goes to extreme lengths to build a love nest from interwoven sticks and then covers the floor with decorative objects. The more artful the arbor, the greater the chance a male has of attracting a mate."
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Read the rest
For those keeping track, futomono is the course in a Japanese kaiseki meal that consists of a lidded dish. Keeping the lid on Miriam Lass until the last minute of an episode that was already a feast of sadistic twists, morbid whimsy, and incredible food porn was a real treat.
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Read the rest
I am always looking for dog toys that'll keep both a very large Great Pyrenees and a pretty small Cavalier King Charles happy. The Starmark Everlasting Groovy Ball is a winner!
The Groovy Ball is a big rubber chew with ridges to work your dogs gums. It has several holes that snugly fit the Everlasting treats. Dogs find the variety of treats delicious and work at the ball until its gone. Everlasting means 1-2 hours if your dog isn't a able to pop the treats out. Nemo, my Great Pyr, can remove the treat with ease while Pretzel the Cavalier enjoys a really long chew.
Most importantly the Groovy ball, as are all the similar Starmark toys, is quiet. This is a go to treat when I need to focus.
Bios and trivia on all your favorite Muppets! The Muppet Character Encyclopedia appears to be the perfect guide to introduce young children to the entire cast and crew of the Muppets.
This would have come in very handy when I introduced my daughter Hannah to the Muppet Show, last year.
Inside this plain covered, weathered old paperback is something that I think might approach late sixties period poetry perfection. I was shocked into a state of joyful awe when I first read The Mason Williams Reading Matter.
This is a stream-of-consciousness tour de force. Doodles, photographs, poems, anecdotes, short stories and odd items coat the pages of this mind-bendingly awesome work.