Jun 23, 2015

June 2015 Loot Crate - Cyber

Domo Arigato! The theme for June's Loot Crate is Cyber.

Loot Crate sent a robot through time to deliver me this box. The only catch was I had to review it or all humanity would be destroyed! Don't say I never did anything for you.
You're welcome.

Read along, if you want to live!

Loot Crate June 2015

Hey, look at that. They printed the article contents on the cover so I don't have to tell you what's inside! Wasn't that nice? The character in the lower left looks very Tron-like but there was not a Tron item in sight. Oh well. The patch in the upper right is the logo of the Tyrell Corporation, makers of fine replicants that are more human than human.

Loot Crate June 2015 Pouch

Here's a neato circuit board print zip pouch. It immediately made me think of No. 2 pencils, pink erasers, and pencil sharpeners. Ah, remember the days when you looked forward to browsing the store shelves and you had the enormous decision of choosing what characters would be with you all school year? Considering it's almost July, I'm shocked I haven't seen any school supplies in stores yet.

Loot Crate June 2015 Shirt

Next is this awesome shirt combining two the best things to come out of the 80s: Trans-Formers and Tron! I'd love to get a poster made of this with neon tubing to light it up.

Loot Crate June 2015 Mat

Borderlands is one of my favorite game franchises. It's an FPS with a Diablo-inspired loot system and a wicked sense of humor. You may think this is a mouse pad, but dear reader, you would be wrong! This is a gaming mat! Which is really an over-sized mouse pad.

Loot Crate June 2015 BSG Target

We also got a pair of Cylon shooting range target posters. I never got into the new BSG but these are pretty cool. I really like the prop replica-ness of the envelope.

Loot Crate June 2015 Terminator

Last, and by no means least, are a couple of items from the upcoming Terminator Genesis. Oh wait, it's like Gynesis, Genysis, or something equally ridiculous, right? I didn't see the last two movies and I probably won't see this one until the day comes and I decide that I need to watch them all. Judgement Day was the perfect sequel and I don't see how they can build on it any better with any extra time traveling.

Anyway, my movie snobbery aside, these are some kick butt items! The endoskull is a Loot Crate exclusive. The box says it's 1/2 scale, which seems weird thinking it's half the size of my skull, but there you go. The paint work on it is fantastic, it really looks like metal. The other item is a brain chip keychain. Maybe in the future, when the cool kids take down their first Terminator, they grab a brain chip and turn it into a keychain to show how badass they are.

Overall, I'd put this one on the upper end of a scale between "meh" and "amaze-balls" mainly from the Terminator head and the shirt.

And that wraps up June's Cyber theme! If you'd like to get a sweet box of swag delivered to you every month, head over to Loot Crate and sign up!

Jun 18, 2015

#SummerSwap2015 Update

Hey folks! I know some of you are wondering what's going on with the Swap Box and I can assure you, it's out there and making its way to you!

While I'm waiting to give you full updates, here's where it's been.

The first leg of the Swap Box's national tour brought it to LA. Not the Cal-i-forn-i-a LA, but the state. It stayed for a bit with Awake Oh Sleeper before heading further West.

Currently the SwapBox is with ditreasures in the UT and being prepped for launch to its next destination, which is oddly close to where it just came from. 
Such is the way of randomly choosing a path!

More updates to come as I get them.
Stay tuned!

Jun 15, 2015

Boston Pride 2015

This past weekend was the 45th Annual Boston Pride Parade. I've only been attending for a small fraction of that number but it's usually a good time. This year I don't know what happened but it was late starting, there were huge gaps between groups, and a normally hour long parade turned into a three hour tour. One hour of which was waiting for it to start.

Anyway, I"m not here to grouse! There's a great atmosphere during these events because everyone knows it's a time when they don't have to hide who they are on the inside.

There are plenty of groups that participate every year from local schools and churches to global businesses. I wanted to share a couple of especially geeky groups.

Before we begin, I must share this pic of some guy that is totally not Nic Cage...

Boston Pride 2015 - Not Nic Cage

First is the local group called Intergalactic Alliance, Costumers for a Cause.

Boston Pride 2015

I love the variety of cosplay going on in this group. In this shot you've got the Sixth Doctor, Elsa, Vader and a Jedi, Deadpool, and on the far right, Chun Li.

Boston Pride 2015

And here we have Cap, Casey Jones, Punisher, a pair of Ghostbusters, Leia, Scout Trooper, and in the back are Storm and Two-Face. And bringing up the rear is...

Boston Pride 2015

Emmett from the LEGO movie!

I didn't catch the name of this second group but I really dig the Colonial take on classic comic characters.

Boston Pride 2015

I'm presuming the girl in the red corset is Scarlet Witch, and next to her is Rogue. Deadpool's sign asks "Where does George Washington keep his armies? In his sleevies. What don't like it? Hmm, tough crowd."

Boston Pride 2015

I thought this was a pretty genius way to do a historic Green Lantern.

I don't remember what marching band this was, but they have got to have the most badass uniforms in band history! If the Sith had a marching band, this would be them.

Boston Pride 2015

 A lot of the businesses in the parade toss/hand out promotional items. But Chipotle was far and away the leader with this piece of brilliant marketing...

And it's a coupon for buy one, get one free entree.
Can't beat that!

Jun 10, 2015

Foldio Foldable Studio

If you like taking photos, you've probably heard of Photojojo, and if not, you're welcome! They have all kinds of neat-o gadgets for your camera and cell phone to help with your image capturing. They also have a fun blog/newsletter with plenty of tips to help get your creativity going in new directions.

In a recent newsletter, they talked about the product of a successful Kickstarter from last year called Foldio. Foldio is basically a portable light box. It seemed like it would be worth the $50 to check it out, especially if it means not having to setup my "photo area" in the basement.

As an added bonus, Photojojo sent a free dinosaur!

Now that the prehistoric fun is out of the way, let's take a look at Foldio!
Foldio ships in a box almost the size of a record.

Foldio & bag

It comes with a snazzy mesh slip case (left) for traveling. And that's it on the right in its folded-down compact mode.

Foldio assembled

It's a pretty genius design. Each flap has a magnet in it. You unfold the flaps and connect the magnets to make the 10.2" cube, like so. The instructions that came with it warn against folding it back and forth, as this is an "incorrect and abusive use" which is not covered by the exchange policy. I can only presume they mean excessive folding because folding it
 back and forth is kinda how it works!

There's also an LED strip under the top flap. All the copy I read about Foldio called it "built-in" or "internally-embedded." I don't know if it normally comes attached but mine was not attached. Luckily, the back of it is sticky so I was able to attach it without having to use tape or anything. Also I'm presuming it's supposed to be attached because they don't mention where to attach it in the instructions.

I emailed Orange Monkie thorough their site and they sent me a couple of 15 second videos showing how to use a lighter to partially melt the sticky stuff to make it stick and where to place it. The latter one was not very helpful, but it ain't rocket science.

They were smart enough to ship it with the needed 9 volt battery (hurray!) but mine did not work (boo!). After plugging in the battery, you can slap it on to the magnet (below).

Foldio with insert

Here it is with one of the backdrop inserts. If you look at the top of the black, you can see the little tabs that will hold the backdrop in. You get three different colors: black, white, and gray. They're made of some type of soft foam board and smell very strongly like a new pair of shoes when you get them out of their plastic bag. They even tell you in the instructions, this is a normal smell and will fade over time. Because who wants to be feel like they're taking photos inside someone's shoe forever?

And that's it! It's very easy to setup, which means you can pretty much use it anywhere without having to worry about what's in the background of your shot. What's that? Sample pics, you say? I'm glad you asked!

Haunted Mansion Key

Here is where you can kind of see the down side of the foam backdrop, at least the darker ones. You have to run your hand over it to make sure the color is even of you get results like this. Maybe you won't notice it much, but I do. The good news is, dollar stores sell poster size sheets of construction paper in a multitude of colors. Those are actually what I've been using for most of the photos that show up on here. It will be no problem to cut them down to size.


One other weird thing is the lighting. Because it's a strip of LEDs, they can cast multiple shadows, like Finn's sword here. I will admit, this could just be me needing to learn how to use it. I've taken less than 10 photos with it. Even if it hadn't come with the LEDs, and were cheaper, it would still be a handy lightbox I could use with the lamps I have.

Beauty & the Beast

The early verdict on Foldio is thumbs up! If you're someone that shoots a lot of smaller things or just get annoyed with your lighting making your subject shiny, it may be worth your time. I'm looking forward to using it more and being able to pop it up without needing to clear a spot, get the lamps out and fuss with their angles.

If you follow this link to the Photojojo store, you can save $5 on anything you order!

Jun 1, 2015

Monthly Movie Recap - May 2015

Another month gone, another month closer to a new Star Wars movie! As usual, clicking on a film title will take you to Amazon where you can buy it and help support the site. And by "support the site" I mean give me a small credit at Amazon. 

I'm sad to say, I'm late to the Netflix party. The only reason I have it now is a free month and to watch Daredevil. If any flicks I watch were seen on Netflix, I'll note it after the title in case you're interested in seeing it.

Plenty of action but I'd love to see Whedon's first cut with the 40 or so missing minutes. They tried to pack too much into it story-wise which may lead you to online research to figure out what it all means. I would have loved to see it go to a more philosophical sci-fi place with Ultron pondering what it is to be alive. 

Cool: Hawkeye's farm; amazing action; Scarlet Witch (even though she's not the comic version)
Lame: Ultron's speaker cheeks; story is a little confusing in places because there's so much packed in
Rating: 8/10

(Couldn't find a trailer but the whole MST3k movie is on YouTube!)

Third movie, third actor playing Death Stalker. These are just getting cheesier as they go. I'm going to see the series through to the end although I'm not looking forward to the last one.

Cool: Definitely a guilty pleasure flick...for somebody out there
Lame: Horribly dubbed wizard.
Rating: 4/10

Wolfcop (2014)
The title should pretty much tell you if you're going to enjoy this or not! But unless you hate a good time, you'll probably like this grindhouse-y horror comedy.

Cool: He's not just a cop that's a werewolf, he's a werewolf that's a cop!
Lame: I don't know if this is the only cinematic werewolf on human sex scene, but it's the only one I've ever seen.
Rating: 7/10

Pitch Perfect (2012)
This wasn't my pick but I ended up liking it more than I thought. I've never watched Glee, but I imagine it's like that crossed with Bring It On.

Cool: as much as I like the songs
Lame: it seems like the whole thing was done to sell a soundtrack
Rating: 6/10

Chris D’Elia: Incorrigible (2015) Netflix
There's not much to talk about, it's a stand up special! I really enjoyed it, but I like him anyway. He's a very kinetic and expressive comic.

Rating: 8/10

Dead Before Dawn (2012) Netflix
It's not amazing but it's better than a lot of the "never heard of it before" stuff I manage to find. I didn't even realize it was originally done for 3D until researching it later. Turns out, it's also the first female directed stereoscopic 3D feature.

Cool: Christopher Lloyd & Kevin McDonald
Lame: The CGI looks like it's out of a video game but it's used very sparingly
Rating: 6.5/10

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)
A lot of the humor comes from the characters making observations/commentary on the time they're living in, which is a little odd at first. If you're not a fan of MacFarlane's TV work or juvenile humor, you should probably skip it.

Cool: Comedic deaths; Liam Neeson as the bad guy
Lame: Nothing to say here
Rating:  7/10

Full short on YouTube

Hellyfish (2014)
I'm not counting this as a "movie" because it's only 15 minutes long but I have to mention it because it's so much silly fun. Killer mutant jellyfish is all you need to know. If you've got 15 minutes to spare, check it out on YouTube.

Month Total
 New: 7  Rewatch:0

Year Total
 New: 31  Rewatch: 3