February 28, 2014

The LEGO Movie as told by kids and kittens

I can't get enough of The Pet Collective's remakes of movies with kids and kittens. It's the kitten part that gets me. In one of their recent videos, they dress up the kittens in blocks and tell the story of The LEGO Movie. If you didn't think everything was awesome, this video will change your feelings. Kitten LEGO Batman is the best.

Need more kitten movie happiness? Check out their take on Frozen.

h/t Laughing Squid

February 27, 2014

Make Your Own Epic Star Wars Sweater

Remember this fantastically tacky-but-so-awesome-it-overrides-the-tackiness?

A friend of Redditor imnojezus used needle felting on top of an existing sweater to create the memorable scene from The Empire Strikes Back in wearable form. The internet flipped out over the design because, well obviously. I put making a replica of the sweater on my one day eventually list, but I haven't got around to it yet. But, Instructables user thmbskr has already figured out some basics!

The part I was most concerned about was finding a sweater that's a close match. The design of the one used just screams Hoth and frames Luke and the wampa nicely. Guess what? It's available on eBay! Just search for icicle sweater or snowflake sweater and you'll get a few good matches!

This design is $17.99:

If you know how to needle felt, perfect! If not, you can make the characters from felt and they still look great. Check out this example from thmbskr:

Who else is feeling inspired?

February 25, 2014

February Loot Crate Time

I'm starting to measure the time of month by whether or not I've received my Loot Crate box. I don't know whether that's a good or bad thing. Let's say good!

The theme for February is Warriors. You'll find stuff from Bravest Warriors, Frederator, Kidrobot, and more. Here's what I received from Loot Crate this month:

All the things!

Bravest Warrior bow tie featuring Impossibear

Bravest Warriors sticker, Loot Crate button, and digital download for a Bravest Warriors comic

Kidrobot Blind Box figure - I got a Dunny Sideshow one

Alpha Battle t-shirt featuring iconic gaming characters
I estimate the retail value for February's Loot Crate box to be around $50.  That's definitely worth more than the $20 you pay for the service each month (that includes shipping and handling). Like I've mentioned before, Loot Crate is a gamble. I loved my box last month whereas this month, eh. I haven't got around to watching Bravest Warriors yet, and most of the items in this box will go to friends or to Goodwill.  It happens, and I've received more good boxes than meh ones so far.

Sign up for Loot Crate now so you can get a box next month! You can try the service for as long as you like - a month, two months, whatever. Use discount code gwcloot for $3 off. Happy unboxing!

Full disclosure: Loot Crate box was provided free of charge for review purposes. This did not affect my opinions.

February 24, 2014

Representation of Leia, Padmé, and Ahsoka in Star Wars Action Figures

Last week around this time, Toy Fair brought us news about the new figures for the upcoming animated series, Star Wars Rebels. That was exciting but not as cool as it could have been because Hasbro only offered action figures of the males in the cast. Even though Sabine and Hera were featured on packaging and Hera is one of the groups' leaders, Hasbro's first wave of toys doesn't include the heroines. Lame and unfair are a couple of words that come to mind.

Disney made it worse with this press release title: "Disney Consumer Products Ready to Capture Boys’ Imaginations and Dominate Toy Aisles in 2014." That title gave me rage face. Gender inequality in toy marketing is a rant for another time, but that headline is relevant to the rest of the post.

Hasbro did confirm to Newsarama that they are making 3.75 inch Hera and Sabine figures and that they'll be revealed at San Diego Comic-Con. I'm pleased to hear that, but I'm incredibly disappointed that they seem to be an afterthought. Dunc over at Club Jade expresses some important points on that subject. The feeling is familiar. I got incredibly frustrated trying to find different figures of Ahsoka in the toy aisles; they felt scarce and she was one of the main characters of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Yet, I had no trouble finding Anakin and Obi-Wan figures.

With those feelings, I sat down with Stephen Sansweet's Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection book and counted. I wanted to see how many action figures there were of Princess Leia as opposed to Luke and Han, same with Padmé and Ahsoka. The informative book logs all the Star Wars action figures produced prior to 2012. The figures are from all the films, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Genndy Gartakovsky's Clone Wars cartoons, and the Expanded Universe.

The results:

Data source: Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection by Stephen Sansweet

I have to say, where Princess Leia is concerned, I'm surprised. She had more variations than I would have thought, and I was happy to see only three of the 45 figures featured the metal bikini.

Padmé had an okay ration too, but given that she had even more looks than Leia and that merchandise - including toys - was amped up for the prequels, I'm surprised there aren't more. One of the most annoying features about the Padmé figures is that one was titled "Mother of Heroes." Eh. Mixed feelings about that name. Just two of Padmé's 26 figures had a bared midriff.

Finally, the number of Ahsoka figures is a bummer. She was arguably the most important character of The Clone Wars series and she only got half as many figures as Anakin and Obi-Wan (I only counted their Star Wars: The Clone Wars figures)? Refer back to the lame statement above.

While I hope the numbers of female character action figures increase with Star Wars Rebels and the sequels and spin-offs, this first showing doesn't leave me feeling optimistic. Instead, I feel unwelcome and excluded. Not that I don't like seeing Kanan, Chopper, and Ezra figures - I will gladly buy those too - but let's equal the playing field, eh? I hope Hasbro works with Disney and Lucasfilm to do so.

Adorable Frozen Disney Bounding

Remember when we recently talked about Disney Bound? It's basically using everyday clothing to dress like Disney characters. These ladies went to Dapper Day at the Disneyland Resort yesterday, and they've got Disney Bounding down perfectly. They're dressed as Anna, Olaf, and Elsa. I'm still on my obsessed-with-Frozen kick so this picture made me flail a little:

Picture from @SaganEvans.

You ladies rock.

February 21, 2014

Star Wars Rebels Fan Art

The main characters of Star Wars Rebels may have only been officially introduced in the last couple of weeks, but you can't stop the Star Wars fandom from being awesome. Fan art depicting characters from the new series has been popping up on Twitter, Tumblr, name-a-social-media site over the past few days. In some cases, the fan art was created just from seeing pictures of packaging at Toy Fair. Man, I love Star Wars fans.

Here's some great pieces I've seen posted:
drawn based on packaging images and a character card, by Jen

Kanan, by @DDeMeerLeer
Chopper, by David Alonso Lara
Kanan, Hera, and Chopper by David Alonso Lara
Sabine, by Skira Reed Art
Kanan and Ezra, by Kasey Quevedo
If you've created Star Wars Rebels fan art, share links to your work in the comments!

February 20, 2014

Support the Force for the Cure Team In the Fight Against Breast Cancer

The Los Angeles Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is happening in less than two weeks at Dodger Stadium. Participants in the 5k Walk/Run are raising funds that go towards breast cancer screenings, treatment, research, and more. Many of us have been affected by breast cancer, either directly or indirectly, and every little bit of money raised helps. One team participating in the Race for the Cure is showing their support with Star Wars.

The Force for the Cure group has at least a few members in the 501st and Rebel Legions and the Mandalorian Mercs. These costuming groups do a lot to raise funds for charities around the world. One member of the team, TK6682, has even created pink Stormtrooper armor for the occasion:

Yes, it is spectacular. If you'd like to donate to the cause - specifically through the Force for the Cure team -  you can do so over at the Race for the Cure site. If any of you are also participating, keep an eye out for the pink trooper.

New post at TeeFury: Store Your T-Shirts Every Which Way

Have a t-shirt addiction? You're far from alone. Design a day sites like TeeFury make it all too tempting to buy shirt after shirt. If you don't have space problems yet, you're lucky, but if you do, I have some suggestions over in a new post at TeeFury to whip your drawers into shape:

Making that change didn't take too much time. Learn all about it and other storage solutions in my post over at TeeFury: Store Your T-Shirts Every Which Way

February 19, 2014

This Photo Looks Like It's Right Out of Blade Runner

Blade Runner. The film is a classic. It's packed with complex themes, memorable characters, and the production design is nothing short of stunning. The future as portrayed in Blade Runner wasn't pristine and shiny; it was layered with grunge and character. To me, the visual aspects took the film head and shoulders above most science fiction. I have feelings about it - can you tell?

Dark Stars Photography must have feelings too, because look at this stunning photo he created:

The model is wearing a beautiful dress by Avant-Afi, and she looks just enough like Rachael that it makes me uncomfortable. Seeing this picture makes me want to work on the Rick Deckard cosplay I've been considering (I've already dressed like Han Solo and Indiana Jones, it would be fun to make another costume based on a Harrison Ford character).

h/t Super Punch

February 18, 2014

Bonus Songs from Frozen!

The success of Disney's Frozen cannot be contained. Parodies and covers of the movie's smash hit, "Let It Go," seem to hit YouTube every day. I'm still listening to the soundtrack on repeat over two months after seeing the film for the first time. So... how about some more tunes meant for Frozen?

The Deluxe version of the soundtrack includes songs that didn't make it into the final cut. Writers Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and their daughters perform these demos of songs that almost were. Though I'm pleased with the songs that made it in (except for the "Fixer Upper" one), I would love to hear these tracks recorded by the stars of the film. Some of these songs are just adorable. Here's a sampling, and each piece has an introduction from the songwriters:

"We Know Better"

"Life's Too Short" (LOVE THIS)

"You're You"

"Reindeers Remix"

To hear more, go buy the Deluxe Edition of the Frozen soundtrack.

h/t BuzzFeed

Dive Into the Psychology of Batman: TAS With The Arkham Sessions Podcast

All too often, heroes and villains have tragic backstories. Even if their origin tale isn't necessarily tragic, some mix of activities, circumstances, or actions led them to become someone else, and that change has serious effects. Dr. Andrea Letamendi has spoken about the psychology of characters such as Batman and Iron Man in the past, and now she's teamed up with Brian Ward for a weekly podcast "dedicated to the psychological analysis of Batman: The Animated Series." The Arkham Sessions isn't quite like any other podcast you've heard before.

art by Thom Zahler
They're going through the episodes of the fantastic animated series one by one (in disk order) and breaking it down. Letamendi and Ward look at both the heroes and villains, offer insightful thoughts about the story, and relate the fictional situations to the real world. It's not only entertaining and enjoyable, it's educational. Their discussions definitely make me think of the characters differently - usually more compassionately. If you'd like to get a deeper understanding of one of the best on-screen presentations of Batman and his sidekicks and villains, this is the podcast you're looking for.

Keep up with the latest episodes by becoming a fan of their Facebook page or subscribe on iTunes You can also listen to the podcast with Libsyn.

February 17, 2014

Stuff I wrote last week - Hawkeye, Star Wars and love, cosplay, and more

Posting stuff I've written daily was a little too time consuming, so I'm just going to go back to rounding up links every once in a while. Last week featured cosplay, some posts for the official StarWars.com blog, and more:

Star-Crossed: "Pilot" Review - I wanted to like it, I promise.

Five Ways to Use a Whisk in Cosplay - Have a whisk? I've got five suggestions for ways to use it in cosplay.

Hawkeye’s Movin’ On Up - My thoughts about Hawkeye's increasing popularity.

Becoming Frozen’s Elsa Takes a Lot of Work - This Elsa costume. You guys. Over 100,000 rhinestones.

Leonard Nimoy and Return of the Jedi

Nickelodeon had a cool show back in the '80s called Standby: Lights, Camera, Action! The educational series showed viewers what movie-making was like and focused on happenings behind the camera. The venerable Leonard Nimoy hosted the series, and in 1983, one of the episodes focused on Return of the Jedi. The below clip features a cool documentary on the film that shows off the building of Jabba's sail barge and the assembly of some of the aliens - especially the Gamorrean Guards.
Bonus: includes Phil Tippett.

h/t The Star Wars Trilogy

February 13, 2014

Send Your Valentine's Day Wishes With Veronica Mars Cards

As I was browsing through funny pop culture-inspired Valentine's Day cards yesterday, it hit me that there should be Veronica Mars-themed ones. I'm obsessed with the series since I've just been watching it for the first time (I know, I was apparently living under a rock when it aired). I recently reached the end of season two, and I can't wait to binge on the third season before the movie's release date. The characters, the relationships, the stories - I have FEELINGS.

Anyway! Valentine's Day and Veronica Mars! When you can't find what you're looking for on the internet, it's time to make it. Thusly, I created 12 silly cards that are perfect for emailing to your fellow Marshmallows. Just click the images to enlarge.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

All images owned by Warner Bros. Cards are for personal use only, not for profit, blah blah blah. Download as you wish, and if you repost them, please credit Amy Ratcliffe and link back here.

h/t HTG for the Photoshop tutorial

February 12, 2014

Dean Winchester and Pie

I have a lot of feelings about Supernatural. That happens when you've watched over nine seasons of a television show. There are more than a few running references through the years, and my favorite is Dean Winchester's love of/obsession with pie. You know what? I love pie, too. What a coincidence!

Dean brings up the dessert often, and he references the "apple pie life" throughout the series. Apple pie life translates to a normal life. You know, one without ghosts and demons and angels. Perhaps the association of pie with normalcy is why Dean loves it so, or because it makes him think of his mom, or maybe he just likes pie because it's delicious.

For fun and maybe because I'm desperately craving sugar, I've rounded up some of my favorite pie references over the years:

"I read 'pie.' The rest is just 'blah, blah, blah." season 9, "I'm No Angel"
"Love me some pie." season 2, "All Hell Breaks Loose: Part One", source

season 5, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"

season 5, "Hammer of the Gods," source

season 4, "Are You There God? It's Me, Dean Winchester," source

season 1, "Scarecrow," source

I think I need to make a Supernatural themed pie for Pi Day next month.

h/t Supernatural Wiki for episode titles

February 11, 2014

Ideas for Making Your Own Geeky Valentine's Day Cards (yes, you still have time)

Valentine's Day may be just a few days away, but you still have time to make something awesome! And it is so not necessary to spend tons of money. I'd rather have a thoughtful card over any gift, and handmade cards are the best. You can get as elaborate as you wish, or you can craft cards from just a few supplies. Making cards only takes a little bit of time, too! Win.

I have a suggestion, and I've rounded up ideas from others to inspire you!

Comic Book Hearts
To make these Valentine's Cards for friends I used: old comic books and a Marvel Previews catalog, a pack of $1 glitter cut-out hearts I picked up at the craft store, and Mod Podge. The hardest part of this craft was finding the right panels in the comics. 

The glitter heart pack came with different sizes, so I used a smaller heart to trace the pattern on to the comics. I pasted the comic hearts down with Mod Podge and after they dried, I wrote my message on the back. You could do this with construction paper, too! Personalized, easy, and done.

Follow the link to learn how to make cute, geeky, and practical Valentine's Day cards from justJENN. They're great for kids and adults.

Like 8-bit and pixels and have patience for paper crafts? Then head over to minieco to get templates and instructions to make these charming pop-up Valentine's cards.

Know some images from fandom that would make the perfect Valentine? You can use Photoshop (or a free program like Gimp) to make some magic, and How-To Geek gives you all the tips and tricks in their Valentine's Day card tutorial.

Have you made your own cards? Share links in the comments!

Rodarte Includes Star Wars on the Runway at Fashion Week

NY Fashion Week is happening right now and though that usually doesn't affect my world or even hit my radar, Star Wars designs popped up on the runway. Collections by Rodarte were showcased today, and the line features a lot of Star Wars inspired designs. Yes, you read that right. Star Wars on the runway during fashion week. I love it. Here are some of the designs I found on Twitter:


You can definitely see some Leia and Padmé inspiration in these looks.
Full on Star Wars designs - they look like dresses you'd find on Naboo or maybe Coruscant. I'm drooling over the Luke on Tatooine one.

The ensemble on the left screams a Bespin Leia and Revenge of the Sith Padmé  to me.

Twin Suns dress!

And this isn't the first time Rodarte has been inspired by the saga. NY Mag pointed out some similarities between their Spring 2009 collection and Episode III. Ladies and gents, I may have just become more interested in fashion.

See close-up pics at Style.

h/t The Designer Geek

Her Universe Is Having a Super Sale on All Syfy Merch, Including BSG!

Have you been drooling over Her Universe's collection of Battlestar Galactica and other Syfy apparel? Then it's time to get over to the site and buy one of everything because Syfy items are seriously marked down. Like, over 70% off. You can purchase t-shirts for just $5 and hoodies/sweatshirts for $14-$17. Quantities are limited so make sure to grab anything you want fast before it's gone.

A selecion of the items available:

The tank and tees? $5/each. The sweatshirt? $14. Guys, these prices are insanely low. Go and treat yourself to awesome BSG and Warehouse 13 apparel now while supplies last!
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