Thrifty "square" ice cream scoops already sold out

It was about four years ago that my friend Jessica brought me to an L.A. drugstore for some "square" ice cream. I was charmed by the oddly-shaped scoops (which I realize are not really square but cylindrical) we were served at that Rite-Aid that afternoon. Last winter, in Palm Springs, she brought me to another in-store ice cream counter for some more. Still charmed. Cut to this week when I found out that Rite-Aid* started selling the contraptions that turns ice cream into tiny top hats... and had already sold out!

Chris Nichols of Los Angeles Magazine:

A friend posted a picture on Instagram, then I noticed the scoopers started showing up on eBay, where one near Hemet drew 25 bids and sold for $121.50. There were sightings and rumors of them in the wild, but after a mid-week survey of more than a dozen stores left me empty-handed, I figured it might be a Bigfoot story. Maybe some prototypes had escaped into the wild. The store manager even speculated that they might not return. “They’re just testing them out,” she told me. Another store clerk had tipped me off that they might be expecting a new batch at the end of the week so I took a chance, and ended up walking away with one of the gadgets for $19.99.

So, after reading this, I looked at overpriced eBay listings, and thought I might find one around here (San Francisco Bay Area). "Maybe they're just sold out in L.A.," I naively thought. Read the rest

Cut your own vinyl records at home with this machine

For a little over $1500, you can own a machine that will cut vinyl records in the comfort of your own home. This machine, the Phonocut Home Vinyl Recorder, is being promoted as a way to make your own analog "mixtapes," for musicians to record on demand, and for "people in love" to woo their beloved. But, primarily, they think pro studios will want it to "produce unlimited amounts of super affordable test cuts of recording sessions." From the look of their already-funded Kickstarter campaign, they're probably right on all accounts.

Fast Company:

The Phonocut’s interface is as simple as possible by design. You plug into the device via an audio cable, connecting it to a music source like your computer or your phone’s headphone jack... Then you hit play, and the 18-pound vinyl lathe uses a diamond-tipped needle to cut 10-inch records in real time to the music. These records are small and are only able to hold about 15 minutes of music per side...

The idea of creating custom vinyl at home might sound too good to be true, but its founder, Flo Kaufmann, is a record specialist with over two decades in the business. He’s partnered with Florian “Doc” Kaps, who has already successfully brought back another analog technology thought lost to the ages—Polaroid film—with his Impossible Project. So if anyone can pull off the Phonocut, it’s probably this team.

Read the rest

Drinking straws that are made of pasta

Do we really hate paper straws so much that drinking through pasta seems reasonable? Apparently so! Because here are Italian-made Stroodles. Their selling points: They're edible, vegan, made for cold drinks, have a shelf life of three years, and don't get soggy. Just don't give them to someone with celiac disease -- these are wheat!

If pasta isn't your thing, try these straws made of rice, hay, sugar cane, bamboo, ice, or metal. I guess the message is, "leave plastic straws behind."

(Geekologie) Read the rest

Advent calendars for cats coming to Trader Joe's

Santa Paws is coming to town.

Trader Joe's is making the countdown to Christmas more fun this year by offering an advent calendar for fur babies.

An episode of the Inside Trader Joe's podcast made the reveal last month.

"Last year we came out with the dog advent calendar, which seemed pretty odd until we got out in the stores and there was quite a following for it, reports Colin Fields, vice president of merchandising for the grocery chain, "And we heard from our feline, loving customers that we should have something for their cats. So we found it, we developed it and it's pretty cool."

What's inside of the calendars? Fields shares that it's filled with "magical treats made of salmon and seaweed." Because, he says, "cats actually love seaweed."

No word on when exactly these kitty calendars will hit stores.

(Bustle)

photo by Lisa Zins via Flickr Read the rest

Pee-wee Herman laughing as the Joker

You can stop adding famous people's laughter to Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, 'cause we've got a winner: Pee-wee Herman. Sound up.

(Pee-wee Herman)

screenshot and video by Rub my clips Read the rest

Inventor figures out how to sync music to windshield wipers

And you can bid on the invention's intellectual property rights next week.

Inventor/Artist (Inventist?) Ian Charnas has devised a way for windshield wipers to be in sync with the beat of the music you're listening to. Now, you can't just go out and buy his Dancing Wipers at the store. No, no. But you can bid to gain their IP rights on eBay next Wednesday.

His thoroughly entertaining 15-minute-long pitch video explains it all. You get quite a bit of insight into the creation process which is valuable and fun!

Know someone who has to have this? Is that someone you?

Mark your calendars for that eBay auction: October 16, 2019 Noon EST Bidding starts at $1. The Buy it Now price is $25,000.

Thanks, Mark! Read the rest

'Feltist' Lucy Sparrow is back with an all-felt pop-up deli at New York City's Rockefeller Center

Lucy Sparrow is a felt artist, or as she likes to call herself, a "Feltist." You might remember that in 2017, she packed a NYC bodega full of her faux products in felt and that last year in Los Angeles, she opened the Sparrow Mart Supermarket at the Standard Hotel. Well, she's back! Her latest all-felt venture is a pop-up delicatessen in Rockefeller Center. The British artist created over 30,000 soft sculptures for this Delicatessen on 6th.

This sixth installation in her felt shop series is a New York City upscale deli, with every single one of the items, from cheese to fish, chocolate to fruit handmade out of felt. All items in the fine food shop is available for purchase. This installation is part of the ‘Art in Focus’ public art program at Rockefeller Center presented in partnership with the non-profit Art Production Fund. Open 11am - 8pm, 7 days a week, October 1 - 20, 2019.

photos by Heather Cromartie, via the Art Production Fund

(artnet News) Read the rest

Sculptures of wolves mauling tourist appear in New York City parks

This is weird. A series of identical monuments depicting a tourist being mauled by a pack of wolves have surreptitiously been installed in different New York City parks with plaques that read:

Dedicated to the many tourists that go missing every year in New York City.

And a reminder as to why the parks close at dusk.

Erected by the Ed Koch Wolf Foundation and the NYC Fellowship.

A brilliant prankster with mad sculpting skills is taking credit.

His "Ed Koch Wolf Foundation" reveals the fabricated backstory behind the statues:

In the late 1970s, New York Mayor Edward I. Koch launched an unprecedented campaign against subway graffiti. The city employed new guardians to patrol its vast train yards—wolves. Captured from upstate New York and set loose in various borough depots, the wolves successfully kept taggers at bay until anti-graffiti technology eliminated the need for the animals. At that point, the wolves migrated underground. Since then, wolf packs have survived and even thrived in New York’s labyrinthine tunnels, emerging in local parks only on occasion to hunt in the moonlight for live prey. In fact, the NYPD chalks up the majority of missing tourist reports each year to the city’s subterranean canine inhabitants. Today, The Ed Koch Wolf Foundation in partnership with the NYC Fellowship is erecting monuments in city parks to serve as cautionary reminders to out-of-town visitors. When in NYC, visit our many beautiful green districts. Just let these stunning statues remind you as to why we close our parks at night.

Read the rest

Disney made clever Haunted Mansion stretching room merch

Foolish mortals, Disney's latest Haunted Mansion merchandise is to die for.

In 1969, the Haunted Mansion opened at Disneyland and now, fifty years later, they've pulled out all the stops to make us pull out our wallet. From special light-up Grim Grinning Ghosts Mouse ears to two insane artist-made guitars (and everything in between), there are plenty of opportunities to drop some cash at the Resort right now. On my recent trip there, I tried to capture every single Haunted Mansion-related product and store display I could find (I won't share them all here but, if you're curious, I've posted some in Flickr.)

Today I want to share with you a couple of items that really caught my eye. The first being these long striped socks featuring the stretching room portraits. So good!

My one complaint with them is that they are printed using dye sublimation which means they are polyester, and polyester makes for stinky socks. Because of that, I didn't buy them even though I really wanted to. Luckily, I soon found a way to itch my "stretching room portrait merch" scratch. In a Main Street, U.S.A. store, I found this small double-sided pouch ($19.99) which unzippers to not only show the entirety of the portraits but to make the bag bigger too. How clever! And, as you can see, it has the same art as the socks.

I did buy one of those, and my sweetie had to have this door knocker.

Hey, while you're here, watch this fun video about the history of the Haunted Mansion. Read the rest

There's a car horn that roars like Godzilla

One of you out there needs your vehicle ("car, truck, van, boat, RV, motorcycle, ATV, golf cart or any 12 volt supplied power source") to roar like Godzilla, I just know it. So, you're welcome.

The Godzilla Roar Car Horn is available from Boom Blasters ($39.99-$59.99).

Thanks, Maggie!

Godzilla image via The Wrap Read the rest

So much great vintage Halloween stuff at my local flea market this month

I love a good flea market. Even though I don't really collect anymore (I make exceptions for extraordinary items), I love seeing what weird, old stuff is out there. Here where I live in Alameda, California, on the first Sunday of every month, there is a massive vintage and antiques sale with over 800 dealers. The most recent Alameda Point Antiques Faire was this past Sunday and many vendors brought out their vintage Halloween wares. Here's a look at some of the old-fashioned paper trick-or-treat bags, plastic kiddie costumes, ephemera, blow molds, and other fun seasonal items I spotted out there.

This E.T. Halloween costumes deserves a special shout-out -- it's 100% handmade with love!

Sexy Darth Vader!

If you go: The best time to arrive to the Alameda Point Antiques Faire, in my opinion, is at 7:30 a.m. when the price drops from $15 to $10. Yes, at 9 a.m., it drops to $5 but then it starts getting crowded and/or hot. Children under 15 are free with an adult. There is tons of parking and a free shuttle if you end up at the back of the enormous lot.

Pro-tips:Wear a sun hat, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes (my Fitbit tells me I clock in around 15,000 steps!). Also pack a water bottle and a snack, though you can also purchase food and beverages. Bring small bills and negotiate for what you want. The faire closes at 3:00 p.m., so that's when big deals start happening (the vendors have been there since around 4:00 a.m. Read the rest

Disneyland's Blue Bayou restaurant lights up their menus

Let there be light!

Known for its dark atmosphere, Disneyland's Blue Bayou restaurant (the one you see from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride) has finally added tiny lights to their menus. So, next time you dine there, you can keep your cell phone where it belongs and order food without its assistance. To turn on the lights, lift up the menu's main cover and on the right-hand side there will be a small, hard flap with a button. Press that button and voila!

Now, I don't know how long they've been part of the menu. My last visit was in early 2018 and I didn't see the lights then. A little internet research shows that the lights have been there at least since October 2018 and that in 2016 the park experimented with menus that lit up from behind.

Also, getting Blue Bayou reservations can be tough unless you plan way ahead of time. But I was able to get in at the last-minute with the Disneyland app. I was also able to snag a late-night reservation to Oga's Cantina in Galaxy's Edge through the app.

photo by Rusty Blazenhoff Read the rest

New Braille UNO allow visually impaired and sighted folks to play together

Mattel has brought inclusivity to one of its most popular card games, UNO. Read the rest

Paul Reubens on how Sly Stallone inadvertently got Tim Burton to direct 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure'

On a solo New York Comic Con panel this past Friday, Paul Reubens shared wonderful stories from his prolific career, prompted by questions from fans in the audience. One fan asked if Paul had any favorite moments working with Tim Burton, and that got him talking about how Pee-wee's Big Adventure became Burton's directorial debut (starts at 8:57). It's a long story, as he admits, but ultimately a real Hollywood fairytale. Shelley Duvall plays a part in the story, as does Maryedith Burrell. Sly Stallone plays a part too but may just now be finding out his influential role. As Paul tells it, back in the day, he offered Warner Bros. "150 to 200" names of working directors to choose from, they declined all but one. He was disappointed in their choice and stalled in the hopes of getting a better one.

"I had just worked like 10 years to get to the point where I'm sitting in Warner Bros. office with the presidents... and I have the opportunity to make a movie, and that's like the wrong director. That's not the right director. And I was completely inspired... and I don't think he knows to this day that he was such a strong inspiration... I was, at the time, completely inspired by Sylvester Stallone because, I'm not kidding, you probably... know this story, maybe some of you don't... Sylvester Stallone, when he made Rocky, very famously said 'no' to every single opportunity... that didn't include him starring in it.

Read the rest

Le Creuset launches cast-iron Star Wars cookware

Mini Cocottes of BB-8, C-3PO, and R2-D2 ($30 each)

Just when you thought they had made all the Star Wars items we'd ever need in a lifetime, comes the Star Wars x Le Creuset Collection. Yep, the high-end cast-iron brand will soon release a line of Star Wars cookware, from a Han Solo frozen-in-carbonite roaster ($450)...

To an extremely limited-edition, hand-painted Tatooine Round Dutch Oven ($900 and sold separately from the rest of the line)...

Then there are these Death Star and Millennium Falcon trivets for $20 each...

And this $395 Darth Vader dutch oven...

But, perhaps the most adorable of the collection is a pie bird fashioned after The Last Jedi's Porg ($25).

The pieces (except that Tatooine dutch oven) will be available November 1 online, at Le Creuset boutique and outlet stores, and at William-Sonoma stores.

images via Le Creuset

(Pee-wee Herman) Read the rest

Disneyland: A visit to Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar

Plus a look at some of its swell merch.

Hey hey, I'm fresh back from a short two-day excursion to Disneyland. I have a bunch of stuff to share with you but I'm going to start with my visit to Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, that little cocktail oasis behind the pool at the Disneyland Hotel. And, if you haven't been, it really is small. Read the rest

Burning Cat, a new IRL gaming event by the creators of Exploding Kittens

The creators of the Exploding Kittens game wanted to make an event to "fix the things that were wrong with traditional conventions," that was "actually fun," and had a "giant cat that explodes."

Enter Burning Cat. A two-day event at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland that will feature guest speakers, a giant "ring," an enormous cat statue that will eventually burn, and, of course, lots of games.

About it, in their words:

We’ve attended a lot of gaming conventions. A lot of them. There are things we like. We like the fans. We like the games. We like the creativity. But there are many things that we don’t like. We don’t like that most conventions are basically glorified shopping malls. We don’t like that despite being a gaming convention, very few people play actual games or have actual fun.

So, we decided to reboot the idea of a convention. We decided to build something new from the ground up. We decided to focus on a core philosophy: this is a con you attend if you want to have actual fun. This is a place to observe and/or participate in games, comedy, and creativity. This is a place for tabletop gamers, card game players, casual party game players, families who love games, game makers, or anyone who ever hosted a game night.

Burning Cat is an event for people who are tired of screens and want to have fun face-to-face.

If this sounds fun to you (and why wouldn't it?!), better get your tickets now — this thing is definitely going to sell out. Read the rest

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