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!

Hammer Time

ACME, natch.This is something that I made.

Several years ago, Mrs. Me starred in a deconstruction/ vaudeville called “What Have They Done to Baby Jane?”

Spoiler Alert!
At a pivotal point in the show, the maid is beat down on with a hammer.

A few weeks before the show opened, Mrs. Me handed over a yoga block and said, “can you make something that looks like a hammer, but is safe to knock against someone’s noggin?”

I said, “can I use the whole block?”

not brand echhSeveral hours and one bread knife later, this blunt but harmless object revealed itself.

I quite enjoyed making it, and the scene always got a big laugh.

Artist Spotlight – Yuko Shimizu

DJ Geisha by - Yuko Shimizu

DJ Geisha

Yuko Shimizu is a Japanese illustrator based in New York City who also teaches at the School of Visual Arts.

She has a remarkable style, often blending classic Japanese motifs with modern pop cultural references ranging from Sci Fi movies to super-heroes to Rock and Roll.

Lush lines, evocitave color choices, and seemingly incongruous themes are all hallmarks of her work.

Mexican Exhibition Poster

Mexican Exhibition Poster

Her Web site http://yukoart.com features work she has done for corporate clients, major magazines, and book covers, including the DC Comics series The Unwritten.

This Is Your LIfe, as Recalled by an App,
The New York Times

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?