Proper Lightsaber Maintenance – May the Fourth Be With You

Even a skilled Jedis can find themselves in a World of trouble when their Lightsaber goes on the fritz.

Luckily, the folks over at IFIXIT have expanded beyond their usual guides to repairing personal electronics.

Today they have expanded their tutorials to assist customers in a galaxy far, far away…

lsFIXIT

Zen & the Art of Lightsaber Maintenance

The IFIXIT Lightsaber Teardown  will assist Jedis of all shapes, sizes, and species in the proper care needed for their weapon of choice.

Live Long and Prosper, y’all!

Happy Batday, Birthman!


Batman75_logoYes, the caped crusader who rules the night has been granted his own day.  In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight, DC Comics will be distributing a free comic at comic shops and book stores.  There will also be commemorative masks and capes available, so if you are thinking about breaking into the crime-fighting game,  July 23rd may be the perfect time for you to spring into action.

There have been some wonderful tributes created to honor the old grump.  Below are a few of my favorites.

The first is a nod to Batman’s early days called Batman: Strange Days.  This short was put together by Bruce Timm, co-creator of Batman: The Animated Series – one of the finest renditions ever of the character, IMHO.

The next clip has an eye to the future.  It is from the Batman Beyond realm, wherein an elderly Batman has entered a mentor role, handing off the mantle to a younger hero.  Love the style and the tone of this series.  Seek it out, if you haven’t seen it.  This tale was plotted by comic great Darwyn Cooke.

Here’s a fun little feature with no real narrative.  An animated history of the Batman Logo.

Month of May-hem!!! Comics Everywhere

The merry month of May is nearly here, and boy is it PACKED with exciting comic book news.

Free Comic Book Day logoThe first Saturday of May is Free Comic Book Day!

Literally dozens of comic titles are producing FCBD editions for you to enjoy.  They range across a wide area of interests.

There are kiddie titles like Archie, Spongebob, and Hello Kitty.

archie_TNAll-ages fun is provided by Atomic Robo, Kaboom Summer Blast, and Rocket Raccoon.

And for the more mature readers, well just look for anything with a zombie, a big gun, or an exposed midriff on the cover.

Remember – don’t be greedy.
Some shops may put limits on the number of comics you can have.  This is done to ensure that no one goes home empty handed.  Why not take some friends along to trade and share comics with?

Heads Up for you Savvy Shoppers – many comic shops run sales on FCBD.  Support a local business and get a great deal on some graphic novels or other groovy merch.

To find a participating store in your area, enter you zip code into this handy store locator.

But wait!  There’s more….

So much more nerdy fun this month.  For instance:

  • May the Fourth (Be With You)
    Star Wars fans have adopted this day to be their own holiday.  Search the Web for activities near you, or just gather with friends for an old fashioned light saber battle.  After all, you have a lot to celebrate these days.
  • logansRunSci-Fi Film Festival @ the Cinerama
    If you are anywhere near Soggy ol’ Seattle in May, get thee to the Cinerama for a truly epic collection of science fiction films.12 Monkeys, A Clockwork Orange, Akira, Barbarella, Brazil, Fahrenheit 451, Fifth Element, Forbidden Planet, E.T., Logan’s Run, and about 2 dozen more of the greatest genre flicks ever, presented on the enormous 30-foot-high screen.
  • NEW Genre Films
    maleficentThere are three films premiering this month which are sure to grab the attention of geeks and nerds alike.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em you’ll be giving them you money either way.

    - May 2, The Amazing Spider-Man 2
    - May 23, X-Men: Days of Future Past
    - May 30, Maleficent 

 

booooTunes – Tricks, Treats, and Scary Beats

Hello fiends,

I’m not usually one to go in for themey-themey posts.  But, as this is the eve, of the eve, of All Hallow’s Eve (or there abouts)  I thought you might enjoy a little music of the season… Of the Witch!

I’ve compiled for your amusement thirty tracks of audio treats for you to enjoy at your late October office party, coven convocation, or lodge meeting.

And before you ask, NO – Monster Mash is NOT included.  We here at Buzzlab Industries are a LITTLE tired of Monster Mash being the go-to song for Halloween.  Time for some fresh blood.

THUNDER/LIGHTING!
Mu-hu-hu-wa-ha-ha!

Obligatory seasonal clip art

Obligatory seasonal clip art

I put this playlist together using a wonderful online service called Grooveshark.

There are quite a few music services out there, but for me Grooveshark is the clear winner.

First of all, it is free to use.  Search for songs and artist, play them all you like.  Doesn’t cost you a dime.  And if you want to save playlist and share them with friends, all you have to do is create a user account, which is also free.  If you already have a Twitter or Google log-in, you can join using one of those.

And Grooveshark makes it extremely easy to share songs or playlists on a wide variety of social media platforms, and as an embeddable player on a Web page. Ta-Da!

So dive in, look around, and if you come up with any cool playlist of your own, let me know.

And for all you hardcore Halloweeners out there who can’t live without it, here – have yourself some Monster Mash.

I got your subscription box, right here!

So have you set yourself up with a subscription box yet?  All the kids are doin’ it!  Its the Jam of the Month Club but Internetified.

The process is pretty simple.

You find a service which appeals to you, and for a fee (usually in the $15 – $30 per month range) you will receive regular deliveries of goodies which are likely to be to your liking.

May 2013 Booty Bin

For ME!??!!!

It’s like having someone’s Pinterest board come to life in your mailbox.

Or like getting a CARE package from a nutty relative, who in return only demands money.

There are a lot of options available, ranging on topics from health and beauty to food and fitness to crafts and kids.

For example…

A subscription to Japan Candy will set you back less than $25 a month and you’ll get a random assortment of imported treats twice a month.  Their site does advise that the packaging is all in Japanese.  So if you have food allergies, either proceed with caution or take a crash course in kanji.

Lazy Busy parents might consider a subscription to Co-Ed Supply for their student away from home.  Each box contains healthy snacks, hygiene products and entertainment in the form of music and games (betting those are in the form of downloads.)  Nothing says “We miss you, honey” like a granola bar and some tampons mailed by a stranger!

One outfit will send you black socks – three pairs, three times a year, $90. Just. Socks.  I’m sure they are great socks, but $90!?!  That’s like, my sock budget for a decade.

For all the geeks in da’ house there are several options geared toward you.

Loot Crate is aimed at Geeks and Gamers.  Their basic plan is around $20 per month.  They show past crates on their site, and it looks like pretty fun stuff.  Each month one lucky member wins their Mega Crate filled with top-shelf bonus items.

Booty Bin is also aimed at us nerds.  Their starting price is closer to $30 a month, and they seem to include a few more items than the Loot Crate folks.  And I do like their piratical theme.

NerdBlock logoNerdblock rounds out the competition for your discretionary funds.  They start at $19 per month, and distinguish themselves from the competition by including a t-shirt in your size with every month’s shipment.  That’s a great perk!  Of course, Nerdblock is affiliated with ShirtPunch, so if you like the designs they put out, this may be the service for you.

I have also seen more rarefied subscription services which offer “curated” subscriptions.  This lets you know that Someone Important has hand selected these Very Fine items for you.  Ashton Kutcher curates one.  So does Justin Timberlake.  I’m guessing that a lot of celebs will follow suit.

The folks at Quarterly Co have turned curated subscriptions into a cottage industry.  They have DOZENS of options available, curated by authors, artists, designers, and musicians.  They feature such Web luminaries and culture-shapers as Jason Kottke, Bill Nye, Nina Garcia, Pharrell Williams, Mark Frauenfelder and Veronica Belmont.

If you would like to do some more exploring on this topic, you can find a lot of subscription boxes listed over at the similarly named SubscriptionBoxes.com and FindSubscriptionBoxes.com.

DISCLAIMER: This post is for informational purposes only.  I have not tried any of these services yet, and I’m not saying you should. If you do try any of them, come back and let me know what you think.  Not every surprise is a good one, your personal satisfaction may vary.  Having stuff is nice, but only YOU can make you happy. Namaste, y’all.

$100 3D Printer!?! Can you say “Game Changer?”

Peachy PrinterWhat can you get for $100 these days?

  • A down payment on a gaming system?
  • A chalupa as big as your torso?
  • A near mint copy of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew #1?
    (Happy to hook you up w/ that, btw)

Well hold on to your money – there’s something way better to spend it on, coming your way soon.

Some plucky folks from Saskatchewan are planning to offer the world a 3D printer for a mere $100!  The Peachy Printer!

The Kickstarter campaign to fund the project was extremely successful, garnering ten times the the amount of the original goal.

Inventor Rylan Grayston has done a re-think on 3D printing methodology and come up with some wonderful innovations to reduce the cost.

Motors and microcontrollers have been replaced with saltwater and the output from your computer’s sound card!  WAHT?!?

The video below does a better job explaining it than I ever could.  Marvel at this example of Canadian ingenuity!

Girls Gettin’ Their Geek On!

Geek Girl ConOctober is here again, and in soggy ol’ Seattle that means time for another Geek Girl Con!

For two days the Washington State Convention Center will swarm with writers, readers, artists, scientists, gamers, designers and cos-players. They are all coming together to “celebrate and honor the legacy of women…and create a community to foster continued growth of women in geek culture,” to paraphrase their mission statement.

Although the focus is on women, all geeks are welcome, and the scheduled events include programs which will appeal to the whole family.

Lots of wonderful entertainment will be going on around town in support of the Con.

The Geek Girl Concert at the sci-fi inspired Experience Music Project features an impressive line-up of music and comedy.

The Bechdel Test Burlesque promises to “celebrate female fandom through the art of striptease.” The evening will highlight artists from around the country, with a featured performance from international luminary and local favorite, Miss Indigo Blue.  The vivacious Rebecca Mmmmmm Davis hosts the evening.

And Portland, Oregon’s own The Doubleclicks are playing with Molly Lewis at the kickoff concert Friday evening.  If grinning and giggling are on your “to do” list, this is the event for you!

Classic Wonder Woman panel borrowed from SUPERDAMES!

Classic Wonder Woman panel borrowed from SUPERDAMES!

In honor of Geek Girl Con, I’d like to share some of my favorite Websites of, by, and for women.

  • The Mary Sue – “A Guide to Geek Girl Culture,” explores all facets of fandom, from gaming to films to art to cosplay.
  • SUPERDAMES! is a tumblr dedicated to showing “Women in comics throughout history.”
  • DC Women Kicking Ass – “Thoughts, pictures, reviews and other stuff about the women in comics.”

To close out this post, I’d like to share a video by The Doubleclicks.  Nothing to Prove is their musical response to the “fake geek girl” fallacy some sorry folks feel the need to perpetuate.  The visuals for the video are crowdsourced from women around the Web who are unafraid to let their geek flags fly.  Long may they wave!

I Can’t Let You Go, LEGO

Hey folks,

If you are anything like me -  and statistics indicate a great likelihood – you’ve been putting things together and tearing them apart from an early age.

Take blocks for example.  They are the very building blocks of block building.  And is there any better building block than LEGO?

Wikipedia is a playgound for the senses.  And an excellent source of fiber.  And photos, natch.

These things were easy to build with Legos.

As a wee little Buzzer, I enjoyed nothing more than snapping together the red, blue, white, and clear blocks to fashion a crude phaser.  No sooner would I dispatch a platoon of Romulans, then I would start prying the bits apart to create something new.  Probably one of those Space:1999 communicator/garage-door-opener doohickies.  ‘Member those things?  ===>

The LEGO virus has mutated and split in a lot of different directions since I was actively snapping and unsnapping.  The modular robotics components and film tie-in play sets they have produced are a pretty natural progression of the product.

The latest offering from LEGO, the Architect series seems aimed at adults who grew up with but never grew out of their LEGO phase.  The rather simply (some might say drably) colored sets allow you to recreate the Guggenheim Museum, the White House, and the Sydney Opera House to name just a few.  Or if you prefer to follow your own plan, the Architecture Studio set gives you 1200 pieces and the freedom to erect your own unique edifice.

Comes with a you see here.

Saul sold separately.

But as is so often the case in the World of Geekdom, the fans are finding unique and wonderful ways to hack the object of their obsession to truly make it their own.

The folks over at Citizen Brick are cranking out some very impressive accessories and minifigs which will fit nicely into any LEGO collection.  And they have outdone themselves creating a limited edition Superlab Playset to commemorate a very popular TV show.

Kudos to you, Citizen Brick!

The playset has sold out, but you can see some nice detail photos over here.

And speaking of Bricks – soggy ol’ Seattle  plays host to BrickCon in October 2013.  Billed as an event for “adult hobbyists,” the general public is invited to attend the exhibition and see what attendees have on display.

Seattle-area LEGO enthusiast* and national treasure Alice Finch blew the minds of myself and thousands of other Emerald City Comicon 2013 attendees with her model of Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potterverse.

The video below will give you some idea of the scale and the scope of the work, but only up close can the intricacies be appreciated.

* “Enthusiast” hardly seems like a strong enough word.  “Virtuoso,” perhaps?