Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Blacklight skateboard decks

Webshop. (Expensive, but there's also stickers.)

New Humble Bundle is "must-play Metroidvanias"

Just one price point, steam scores prominently displayed. That Image comic bundle is also still available--I just finished the first volume of Monstress. It's terrific, and starts at a sprint.

They re-released the Marvel Legends Series Gladiator Hulk build-a-figure as a standalone purchase

An Amazon exclusive. Maybe my pick for their most disappointing build-a-figure for a toy that should have been fun, and it looks like they didn't improve it--lackluster articulation; instead of a head with molded helmet, it includes a removable one that looks comically oversized; and I'm guessing the weapons are the same soft material so they just flop over.

Today's news and jokes

"The whale, nicknamed Hvaldimir, garnered international fame in 2019 after being spotted wearing a specially made harness with mounts for a camera"

The one day sale includes 38% off Gizmo with his little pink convertible from Gremlins

Today at the BBTS, one-day deals include 50% off a Diamond Select Tron figure, 32% off some Super 7 Ultimates, and 38% off this Gremlins set by NECA:

Alternate concepts for Andor's B2EMO

I've never noticed the T-1000 uses a third arm to fly the helicopter

@rememberthe80sn90s Never noticed the third arm before! 😳😂 #terminator #t2 #rememberthe80sand90s #jamescameron #avatar #wayofwater #t1000 #scifi ♬ original sound - Rememberthe80sn90s

*Previously: If Terminator featured realistic AI

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Thanks to LLMs, we can now read the rest of Hemingway's story about the baby shoes that were never worn

Thankfully, we can now see what was out of frame in other great works of art:

Sports photo of the year captures moment when boys 400 meters ended with a double nose-dive

One of the coaches said, "The rules really frown at diving at the finish line, but that would be disheartening for those two to be removed when they were clearly the best." (The photographer's Instagram.)

Sale on original art by Kristin Tercek

Here's the shop.

TMNT Foot Enforcer (Mirage Comics) by NECA up for preorder

at the BBTS.

Mood board for Bungie's Marathon

Today's news and jokes

The one day sale includes the G.I. Joe Classified Cobra BAT

Items in the one day sale include the GI Joe Classified Cobra BAT and this vampire Nendoroid with outstanding accessories:

The latest issue of 28Mag, the Games Workshop hobby fanzine is available for free download

All issues are available here, and here's the direct link to the latest 200-page issue.

*Previously: See more miniatures.

Beef Wellington Lay's

Monday, May 29, 2023

"Bonus Eventus was a divine personification in ancient Roman religion"

"Coins featuring Bonus Eventus were issued during the turmoil of the Year of Four Emperors (69 AD) and the reigns of Galba, Vespasian, Titus, Antoninus Pius, and Septimius Severus. On these coins and on gems, Bonus Eventus is a standing male nude, usually with one leg bent and his head turned away toward a libation bowl in his outstretched hand."

Investigation into the bitcoin side business of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power executive hints at revolving door corruption

LATimes (the story focuses on whether the executive is impermissibly running a side business mining bitcoin in Colorado, but):

[He] secured an economic development deal with Colorado Springs Utilities, a publicly owned electricity, natural gas, water and wastewater services utility, in 2018, to get a reduced rate for electricity.

[He] said he chose to invest in Colorado Springs because he was able to get “a one-of-a-kind building.” He secured a “very low” rate in Colorado Springs for electricity, he said.

In 2018, the general manager of energy supplies at Colorado Springs Utilities was [a man who worked with the DWP executive] at the DWP before [the man] was hired by Colorado Springs Utilities in 2015.

[That man then] rejoined the DWP last year as its chief operating officer, the No. 2 position at the utility.

The Star Trek DS9 novel "Revenant" is 99 cents right now

at Amazon. It's by Alex White, who wrote two great Aliens-universe novels.

Korok cosplay

A bunch of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom fan art and silly contraptions I've been saving:

Today's funny posts

"The Asian sheepshead wrasse, also known as kobudai in Japan, is a hermaphroditic species, meaning that it has both male and female organs which allows it to change its sex."

Horn sharks lay their eggs ins a disturbing spiral-shaped egg casing

@california.shelling Some sharks give birth to live young, and others are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. California horn sharks mothers lay these corkscrew egg cases. When it comes out, it is very pliable, but hardens over time. Hope this lil guy makes it! 🦈 #shark #sealife #oceanlife #fyp ♬ original sound - California.Shelling

"After laying, the female picks up the auger-shaped egg cases and wedges them into crevices to protect them from predators." (I found some videos of sharks transporting and eating the casings, but not burying them.)

Interactive digital "painting" of flowers with convincing depth

*Previously: Augmented reality crosswalk

Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Indy 500 narrowly avoided disaster as a tire went flying between grandstands

Just incredible luck that the tire didn't strike the crowd, so they'll need to completely reevalute safety precautions. The car-cam shows the driver sliding upside down:

I enjoyed Nalo Hopkinson's short story Broad Dutty Water: A Sunken Story

The setting is a post-weather-apocalypse Earth instead of space stations, but otherwise, it reminded me a lot of Cuarón's Gravity, as a young woman with new wetware upgrades is absolutely bombarded with one catastrophe after another. My complaint is the best kind--I wanted to see what happened next.

Not available online or even mentioned on the author's site to my knowledge, I read it in The Best American Science Fiction And Fantasy 2022. It also got the cover illustration on The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November-December 2021.

Today's news and jokes

Vivid article by Susan Orlean about young female surfers on Maui

The original article is from 1998:

Before women were encouraged to surf, the girls in Hana must have been unbelievably bored


One afternoon I went to Hana to meet Theresa McGregor, one of the best surfers in town. I missed our rendezvous and was despairing because Theresa lived with her mother, two brothers, and sister in a one-room shack with no phone and I couldn’t think of how I’d find her. There is one store in Hana, amazingly enough called the General Store, where you can buy milk and barbecue sauce and snack bags of dried cuttlefish; once I realized I’d missed Theresa I went into the store because there was no other place to go. The cashier looked kindly, so I asked whether by any wild chance she knew a surfer girl named Theresa McGregor. I had not yet come to appreciate what a small town Hana really was.


Last year, the surfer moms in town held a fund-raiser bake sale to send Theresa and two Hana boys to the national surfing competition in California.


I stayed up late reading about how Christian missionaries had banned surfing when they got to Hawaii in the late 1800s

And the follow-up from 2021:

Tell me how the story came to be. How did the assignment happen?

Well, it was kind of funny. I had been doing stuff for Outside, and Susan Casey, who was then running Women Outside, said to me, “How would you like to do a story about these girls who are big surfers in Hawaii?” Generally, I come up with my own story ideas. It’s rare that I respond well to someone’s suggestion. But I thought it sounded great. And as I recall, I basically got a flight and went, and when I arrived in Maui, I started calling the different girls whose names Susan had given me. And one after another, they said, “Oh, I don’t surf anymore” or “Yeah, I’m not that interested in surfing.” It was every reporter’s nightmare. It was like, “What? You don’t surf anymore? Here I am in Maui, and I spent all this time and the magazine’s money to come here, and none of you guys surf?” I was very discouraged.


Do you remember that first drive out to Hana?

Oh my God, yeah. Anybody who has done that drive doesn’t forget it, because it is a very challenging road. It’s not very far, and I’m a totally fearless driver—I have no fear of driving anywhere—but it’s the most harrowing drive


TRW mug

I didn't see this one, but ebay has a bunch of other TRW mugs.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

"A Desolation Called Peace" is $2.99 right now

at Amazon
Now a USA Today bestseller!
Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2021
Amazon's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2021
Bookpage's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2021
Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best Science Fiction Book of 2021

New Humble Bundle is science fiction audiobooks including Martha Wells's outstanding series about a killer cyborg that hates its job and its customers and just wants to watch soap operas

The only other book I'm familiar with in the bundle is "Outside" by Ada Hoffman. I put it aside for the time being because it got a little slow in the middle, but the first third is great, with an intriguing take on "angels."

Today's news and jokes

San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit has new anime mascots

They have backstories.

This week's best Warhammer 40k miniatures, custom action figures, and other hobby creations

Friday, May 26, 2023

"An infectious pathogen inside California’s pot farms is attacking cannabis plants"

SF Gate:

Hop-latent viroid, or HLVd, shrivels pot plants and reduce how much weight they produce by as much as 30%. It also destroys the amount of THC, pot’s most common active compound, that a plant produces, greatly reducing the value of affected plants. 


It’s now infected at least 90% of California’s cannabis grows, according to a 2021 estimate. It’s spreading globally

FWIW, a Reddit discussion

The biodesigner whose work inspired Bungie's reimagined Marathon

From a 2022 interview:
What are three questions every biodesigner must consider?

What is life? Artificial wombs and embryos made from skin cells are already revolutionizing reproductive biology. CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technology can be programmed to target specific stretches of genetic code and edit them at precise locations. Gene drives may soon provide an effective means of accelerating the inheritance of genetic modifications through specific wild populations or entire species. With these systems in place, we can permanently modify genes in living cells and organisms to treat genetic causes of disease, while also controlling genetic expression. From here, creating or permanently altering life is all too real.
Responding to unsustainable construction practices that contribute to waste, Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group developed fabrication methods that are attuned to natural conditions and lifecycles. Almost sixteen feet tall, the Aguahoja pavilions are 3D printed structures that use 5,740 fallen leaves, 6,500 apple skins, and 3,135 shrimp shells as building materials that decay naturally, thereby enriching its environment rather than poisoning it.
The Instagram gallery looks like an ARG for a Ridley Scott movie:

Today's funny posts

The weekend sale features 38% off S.H. Figuarts Squid Games figures

At the BBTS today, the sale also includes lots of Marvel Legends and a deluxe Richard Dreyfuss figure by NECA.

Roger Ebert's "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie" is $2.99 today

at Amazon:
a collection of more than 200 of Ebert’s most biting and entertaining reviews of films receiving a mere star or less from the only film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is on Paramount+ and is remarkably good

Consistently funny and surprising. It'll restore your faith in adventure movies.

Here's a discussion with the directors as to whether that other group of (very familiar) adventurers survives the maze.

And here's Jarnathan:

20 articles of impeachment were filed against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Tribune:

The Texas House will vote on accusations that include bribery, dereliction of duty, disregard of official duty and obstruction of justice.

Houston Chronicle:

The attorney general did not respond to a request for comment, but in a statement earlier Thursday, he criticized the investigation as unfair and accused members of the Legislature of being fake Republicans


His wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, may soon decide whether he deserves to be removed from office

*Previously: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has agreed to apologize and pay $3.3 million in taxpayer money to four former staffers who accused him of corruption in 2020

A whole bunch of new Super 7 preorders, including Sesame Street Yip Yip Martians, G.I. Joe Funhouse Robot Cobra Commander, and Treehouse of Horror

No photos yet, but a few that caught my eye are Super Cyborg S.N.A.K.E. Armor, Funhouse Robot Cobra Commander, Yip Yip Martians and the Count von Count.

New Humble Bundle is Breakfast cookbooks

Starting at three books for $1.

The Artstation account for the art director of Bungie's reimagined Marathon

Joseph Cross. (I loved every frame of the trailer, and the ARG sites are intriguing.)

Today's funny posts

The one dale sale includes the 3.75" scale Alien Queen by Hiya Toys

The one-say sale at the BBTS today includes 28% off the Alien Queen by Hiya Toys and 26% off the deluxe Ninja Batman figure by Star Ace. 

Also, the new Across the Spider-Verse figures by Hot Toys are up for preorder. I appreciate the Spider-Man 2099 design more every time I see it:

Finn, Jedi Master fan art

(Would have loved to see him train as a politician and get Lando as a mentor after Carrie Fisher's untimely death.)