Artist lovingly paints Texas fast food joints in Kinkade-esque scenery

San Antonio artist Michael Esparza's oil paintings put Texas-based fast food restaurants in the center of bucolic landscapes. It's hard not to compare his work to Thomas Kinkade's but that's the point. (The main difference, imo, is that Esparza's pieces are actually palatable.)

Texas Monthly:

The idea for the series, which Esparza describes as “a little bit Bob Ross and a little bit Thomas Kinkade,” came to him 2012, just after he came back to Texas from a year of studying art in Italy. In Italy, nothing was built taller than a church, so it was a shock when Esparza returned to San Antonio, the size of roadside signs were particularly jarring. “I was just seeing how iconic they are, but also from the Italian perspective, how ridiculous they are. From that point of view, it’s like, ‘What are you doing, Texas? What’s going on with these big signs that you have on the side of the road?'” he says. “But the first thing I did when I got back from Italy was I went to Whataburger, and then right after that, I went to Bill Miller’s. I just needed a burger, and I needed a po’ boy. I was already full after Whataburger, but I didn’t care.” Esparza says he wants the paintings to evoke the sense of homecoming you feel when you see those signs after spending time in a place where they don’t exist—be it Italy or elsewhere. “They become your own little beacons for where you live,” he explains.

Read the rest

Retro tattooed mermaids made just like the Chalkware you used to know

Ok, if you're old enough, you'll remember those cute vintage Chalkware ceramics they used to make to hang in the bathroom. There were a bunch of designs like anthropomorphic seashorses and fish, and mermaids. Well, California artist Erin Tinney Halverson of Hell in a Handbag is bringing them back. Her mermaids are especially cool because she custom paints tattoos on them. They're $79 each which may seem steep, but for the right person it would make an amazing gift.

Thanks, Erik! Read the rest

A cool retro map of USA song titles

This vintage-style map of the USA puts the titles of songs that mention place names onto their corresponding geographical spot. So, for example, the Beasties Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" is placed right on top of Brooklyn.

Some of our favourite song choices are the ones which require you to think a little harder about connections, such as Space Oddity (David Bowie) which signposts Cape Canaveral, After the Gold Rush (Neil Young) which references Sutter’s Mill, and Homecoming (Kanye West) which is placed near the rapper’s home town of Chicago.

You can get the map for £30 (~$39) at UK-based studio Dorothy. They also have a world song map (also £30/~$39) and a special edition world song map (£35/~$45). Head to Spotify to see the accompanying playlist.

(The Awesomer) Read the rest

The inflatable wacky waving tube man desk toy you didn't know you needed

This "Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Guy" makes me so happy! For $13 (plus an annoyingly steep $9 to ship to the states), you get this inspired desk toy along with a little zine that tells the origin story of the wacky tube man, aka the "Tall Boy."

Watch him flail about just like his granddaddy:

View this post on Instagram

🙌 WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM-FLAILING TUBE MAN! 🙌. . The ultimate desk toy has arrived. Link in bio. . . #wackywavinginflatablearmflailingtubeman #firebox #desktoy #desktoys #xmasgifts #giftguide #christmasgifts #giftinspo #giftideas #presentideas #giftsforhim #giftsforher #giftforhim #giftforher

A post shared by Firebox (@firebox) on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:41am PDT

In related news: Inflatable tube man humorously synced to music Read the rest

'Shut up and take my money,' the wallet

Mass consumer spending season is nearly upon us. The perfect time to load your hard-earned cash into this wallet by Etsy shop DangerRan.

No extra charge for the interior Dick Butt.

Shut up and take my money ($60 of it)!

(nopuedocreer) Read the rest

The wording on these t-shirts are slightly wrong, and that's the hilarious point

Is it me or is there something off about these t-shirts?

Haha, just kidding. That's the point of the slightlywrong tees, that they aren't quite right. For example, in their brilliant misquoted t-shirt world, Spock's motto "Live long and prosper" becomes "Live long and proper."

Their tagline? "T-shirts with slightly wrong quotes on them to annoy the pedants in your life."

And their pro-tip: "Insist the quote is 100% accurate."

Shut up and take my money.

(i09) Read the rest

Backpacks for vintage car lovers

These backpacks, handmade by Los Angeles' thingsbuilt, are just the thing if you love the style of vintage cars but don't want to be in the shop all the time. Owner Steve Roche used real vehicle emblems and upholstery on each and every one (in the past, he's had ones that incorporated the car's ashtray on the front pocket). Prices range from $60 to $85.

Thanks, Jenny! Read the rest

High tech lock is "invincible to people who do not have a screwdriver"

LockPickingLawyer, a recreational lock picker, was sent a fingerprint padlock for review. He emailed the manufacture to let them know that he'd discovered a security vulnerability: "Upon examining the lock, I found that if you remove the three screws, the lock falls apart. The shackle can be opened and relocked without the owner's fingerprint or knowledge."

The manufacturer replied: "the lock is invincible to the people who do not have a screwdriver."

Thank goodness a set of torx drivers costs $(removed), or this might be a concern for anyone using this lock.

Image: LockPickingLawyer/Twitter Read the rest

Disney is mooting an overnight Star Wars LARP resort

Disney is contemplating opening a luxury Star Wars themed resort next to the Hollywood Studios park at Disney World, which could feature multi-day live-action role-playing games that run overnight, with guests staying all night in the park to interact with costumed characters and automated elements (droids, etc) to game out scenarios. Read the rest

Fair trade ebooks: how authors could double their royalties without costing their publishers a cent

My latest Publishers Weekly column announces the launch-date for my long-planned "Shut Up and Take My Money" ebook platform, which allows traditionally published authors to serve as retailers for their publishers, selling their ebooks direct to their fans and pocketing the 30% that Amazon would usually take, as well as the 25% the publisher gives back to them later in royalties. Read the rest

Sugar skull and bones

From November 2011, a set of photos documenting the creation of a sugar skull-and-bones set that can be served with macabre beverages, designed by Snow Violent and made by DR.HC.

Skull Sugar — from sketch to prototype. Part 1

(via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest

Why the ebook you want isn't for sale in your country

Tor Books' senior editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden takes to the comments of John Scalzi's Whatever to explain why ebooks are often not available at all places in the world at the same time. It's a combination of the way that publishers feel about e-rights (publishers who acquire print rights almost always demand e-rights, too), the fact that writers and their agents sometimes feel that they can make more money by selling to different publishers in different regions, and the fact that ebook retailers have a hard time keeping things straight when it comes to who has the right to sell where, and generally default to the "safe" choice of not selling at all when there's any doubt.

John and his agent could have sold us the “World English” package of rights, which would entitle us to publish the book in English everywhere–we would certainly have been willing to offer for that–but instead they opted to take the slightly riskier path of selling us rights only in our core market, reserving the “UK-and-a-bunch-of-Commonwealth-and-former-Commonwealth-countries” package to themselves, in order to try to sell it separately to a British publisher. (This is a slightly riskier path for most genre writers who aren’t top-level New York Times bestsellers, because British publishers don’t really buy very much SF and fantasy from the US below that sales level. This wasn’t always the case but it certainly is now.) After a period during which I imagine John’s agent shopped the book around to various British publishers (I don’t know the details because it’s, literally, not my business), they accepted an offer from Gollancz.

Read the rest

Suit of armor hoodie

A person called Chadwick John Dillon produced this suit-of-armor hoodie. He's apparently selling it (or possibly producing them to order). The details require a Facebook account, which I don't have. Chadwick, if you're reading this, consider me interested (though not interested enough to give Mark Zuckerberg all the intimate details of my life!).

Update: From the comments, Melissa Gutierrez sez, "The maker has an Etsy shop that is in vacation mode at the moment because of overwhelming interest in said hoodie."

My friend Chad just made this shirt of armor and it’s for sale! Hit him up for the details! (via Super Punch) Read the rest