Dec 28, 2007

Christmastime Horrors

Am still on holiday vacay, hence the lack of posts. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope it was just lovely. Now prepare to claw out your eyes while simultaneously clutching your sides from laughter. Gah!

Dec 19, 2007

Green Gifts

I've always been a fan of saving the environment, and now the general populace seems to be catching on. (Thanks, Al Gore!) There are tons of green gift options being circulated this year; here are some of my faves.

For the kids, there's the nifty Power House: Sustainable Living in the 21st Century Science Kit or the equally awesome Fuel Cell Car and Experiment Kit. Both seem like they could be edutaining. And I mean that in a good way, not in the way that edutainment usually resembles neither education nor entertainment.

These solar chargers would make practical, useful, and relatively inexpensive gifts for, well, anyone with a mobile phone/iPod/DS/other gadget. If you feel particularly generous, of course, you could give one of these Voltaic Solar Backpacks/Bags. That'd be nice, too.

For environmentally friendly stocking stuffers, try Clif Bar Cool Tags: For every $2 Cool Tag you buy, Clif Bar invests $2 in a wind farm.

And perhaps the coolest green suggestion yet: Adopt a sheep in the Abruzzo region of Italy. There are three price options ranging from 80-190 euro, but I think the 140 euro option sounds pretty excellent. For the approximate equivalent of $201, you get not only the satisfaction of knowing that you're helping fund organic farming, cheese-making, and sheep-herding (and becoming the adoptive parent of a little Italian lamb—baaaa!), you also get:
1) adoption papers and photos of your sheep
2) 3 kilos of pecorino cheese
3) 1 kilo of juniper-smoked ricotta
4) 1 kilo of sheep salami (or caciocavallo cheese if you’re vegetarian)
5) 1 pair of 100% virgin wool hiking socks

You know you want the cheese. I know I want the cheese. I've always wanted to adopt....

Dec 12, 2007

Cycle in Style

Apparently many people know how to ride bikes. I'm not one of those people, but I greatly respect them and their balance. Anyway, I've stumbled across some cool bike accessories that I thought I should share with the cyclists out there.

If you think a delicate, ladylike bike is in order, deck it out with one of these lacy "Carrie" baskets. Very sweet. At the other extreme we've got this awesomely badass skull helmet. Now, in truth, it's meant to be worn by motorcyclists. However, if you can pull this off on a bike or scooter, you are way more hardcore than most. And probably have a highly developed sense of humor. And likely idolized Skeletor during your formative years. Between badass and girly lie the stupidly named Hokey Spokes, light-up gewgaws for your spokes. People will see you in the dark! You can spell messages! Fun for the whole family! Finally, these wing bike clips are a) a great idea and b) really cute. They keep your pants from getting caught in the pedals or chain or whatever it is that your pants can get caught on. Plus they're reflective, which can again help with the whole riding-at-night experience. And they look like wings! Come on—what more could you want?

Dec 10, 2007

O Tannenbaum

If you're in the market for a new tree this year, you've got a ton of options. Of course, you could get a real tree, but that always seems wasteful (of time, money, and natural resources) to me. You're cutting down a tree, probably getting gouged on the price, it'll shed needles like nobody's business and die soon, it's not pre-lit, and you're just going to have to buy a new one next year. Nah. Not for me, especially when there are so many fabulous artificials out there. (Oh, and a word to the wise: Always get pre-lit; it'll save so many headaches. And if you think it needs more lights, you can always add an extra strand or two.)

For example, you could get one in any number of funky colors. Or what about a tree that does a permanent headstand? It's unconventional nowadays, but is part of a long tradition of upside-down trees (and apparently displays your ornaments much better). And then there's the tree of the future, as envisioned in the 1950s. Perfect if you want to have a very Jetsons Christmas. If you're okay with the idea of dropping just over a grand on a tree, check out this beauty. I know, flocking and glitter sound tack-o-rama, but look gorgeous in person. (Unless they're applied shoddily, I'd imagine.) But be forewarned: Glitter sheds like a biotch.

Or perhaps you're a minimalist and find that none of these trees please you. If so, I've got one more suggestion up my sleeve: this acrylic model. Again, though, be prepared to part with a good chunk o'change.

Dec 7, 2007

Holiday Hooch

Just had to post a link to this adorable holiday cocktail, the Mistletoe and Holly. I'm not sure how it tastes—I'm somewhat skeptical about the flavor combination of cranberry juice, peppermint schnapps, and matcha powder—but it looks so horribly festive that I'd be tempted to give it a whirl anyway.

Dec 5, 2007

Holiday Geekery

Check out this geek tree. I've heard of themed trees before (a Disney tree, a Barbie tree, a shoe tree, etc.), but this is the first geek tree I've seen. Not a bad idea, though I think I'd be a bit more restrictive with what's considered geeky. (Harry Potter? Not so much. That's a different kind of geekery.)

Anyway, should you want your own geek tree, I've got some suggestions for you. Here you can buy a Flying Spaghetti Monster ornament and tree topper, or a Cthulu ornament. (I'm rather crafty, so I made my own FSM ornament.) Here's a different Cthulu ornament—Cthuluclaus. For some cuter, cuddlier (yet no less geeky) ornaments, how about Mario or Yoshi? Also handmade, though not quite cuddly, are these nifty robot ornaments. Or what about a Firefly ornament? If you're particularly hardcore, I suppose you could go for an alternate Firefly ornament, which features the ship in its bloody Reaver disguise. If you're a literary-type geek, you might consider an ornament like this one made of Scrabble tiles. Think of the possibilities: names, initials, WTF, STFU, ROFL, LOL, RTFM, XMAS, NERD, GEEK, whatever. Then there are this year's Hallmark ornaments: three Star Wars (here, here, and here) and two Star Trek ornaments (here and here). I know it's not specifically geeky, but I also like this bomb ornament, which is sorta suggestive of Looney Toons, sorta suggestive of the Mario games. Then there's this super-simple (but still pretty funny) iPod click wheel ornament. Cute chessboard and laptop ornaments, too.

For additional suggestions (there's a bunch of overlap, but she suggests some that I don't and I suggest some that she doesn't), take a peek at the relevant blog posts by Alice of Wonderland (Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4).

Dec 4, 2007

For Your Amusement

Know how I have an unnatural love for the song "Rock Lobster"? Yeah, well, so does this guy:

Now here's another funny video that fans of The Simpsons will definitely want to check out. It's Hank Azaria talking about some of the many (many) voices he does for the series.

Dec 3, 2007

A Roundup of Pop-Ups

Despite not actually owning any, I'm a big fan of the pop-up books of Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart (they don't always work in tandem, but many of the following suggestions are their joint publications). I know, you're probably thinking that pop-ups are just for kids, but no. I would only entrust very trustworthy, very careful kids with these books. The pop-ups are phenomenal—sometimes there are pop-ups within pop-ups within pop-ups. Here's a roundup of some of the best.

This one's for the Star Wars fans (and, frankly, anyone who appreciates extreme coolness): Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy. Dude, it contains working lightsabers. Tiny illuminated lightsabers.

If your bent runs more to classic children's stories, check out Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-up, and Cinderella: A Pop-Up Fairy Tale.

Less stereotypically girly—but no less intricate—are the Encyclopedia Prehistorica books, a set of three: Dinosaurs, Mega-Beasts, and Sharks and Other Sea Monsters. I've only seen the one about dinosaurs in person, but it was quite impressive. The trio would make a great present.

For the Narnia fan, there's The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-up: Based on the Books by C. S. Lewis.

And, on a darker note, there's always The Pop-up Book of Phobias. I don't recommend it, but