Friday, December 30, 2011

It’s the last Folderol post of 2011! Many thanks to everyone who read, sent in links and emails, and just generally added to the value of this goofy weblog of mine. Let’s hope 2012 is a good year (solar storms notwithstanding) for everyone.

From Bunny: a young woman expresses her dislike of gender-colored toys. You go, girl.

Also from Bunny, and totally unrelated to the first link, fortunately: abandoned brothels from around the world.

From Brendan: Steampunk USB! Get your welder goggles on!

From Cassandra: The most overused words on LinkedIn, the current issues in our government, and how we can use our minds to help our educational achievements.

From a co-worker: Creative uses for legal books, as an increasing number have been deemed unnecessary by the powers that be. (This is very topical at work right now.)

Have a spiffy weekend and New Year’s, everyone! See you in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I am woefully behind the times when it comes to mobile technology – no e-reader, no iPad, and my cell phone is so outdated people laugh when they see it – but that doesn’t stop me from pointing savvier readers toward some interesting sites!

For e-readers: Baen features some free sci-fi offerings, Lendle is a lending community for Kindle users, Booktrack provides soundtracks to the material you read, and Readmill allows people to share highlights and thoughts about what they’re reading.

If you’re more worried about winter weather than finding something to read, fear not! The Winter Wakeup app monitors for approaching bad weather, and wakes you up early if/when it occurs!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We’re going to be all over the place this week, as we wrap up 2011 (yikes, where did the time go?) and prepare for 2012.

I will always read an interview with Umberto Eco, because it’s always fascinating (and, despite what the interviewer thinks, his latest book is on my must-check-out list).

Medieval monks and nuns faced their “noonday demons” just like we do. (Mine is more of a 2:30 demon. Your mileage may vary.)

City birds, meanwhile, are facing noise pollution and adjusting their songs accordingly!

If you’ve got some extra time this week, consider listening to whale songs and helping identify similarities. Crowdsourcing at its finest (and most relaxing).

Here’s a fun idea for indie stores; follow this Singapore-based cue of having “disloyalty cards” which encourage you to visit all the small coffee shops in the area. Everyone wins! (Well, maybe not Starbucks.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Aieee! It's a disembodied Yoda! Santa Claus. This is even weirder than yesterday's Christmas tree.

We do like the stick, though! 2.5 out of 5 parsecs.

Overall, this has been a huge amount of fun, and given us some great figures and ships along the way. Overall rating: 4 out of 5 parsecs! Well done, LEGO!

Happy holidays to all, and to all a big thank you for following along with our adventures!

Friday, December 23, 2011


What's this?

No, seriously, what is this?

Oh. Hm. I thought it looked like a traffic signal sculpture. Bunny's take is a bit more expansive:

"A lame-azz xmas tree? This is decidedly not Star Wars! Could it be an allusion to the "Life Day" trimmed trees seen in the "Star Wars Holiday Special"?

Life Day was a Wookiee holiday celebrated by the inhabitants of Kashyyyk every three years. It was a celebration of the planet's diverse ecosystem and the many forms of life it encompassed. It also was a time to remember family members who had died, and the young ones who continued to bring new life to a family.

Activities for Life Day included trimming a tree, launching fireworks, consuming treats like Wookiee-ookiees and Hoth chocolate, and listening to festive music

"Hoth chocolate???"  "Wookiee-ookiees???"


I'm going to bed....

2 out of 5."

(We looked up Hoth Chocolate and Wookiee-Ookiees. You really don't want to know.) 
One of my college friends called December 23rd “Christmas Adam.” So happy Christmas Adam to all!

From Nicole: Star Wars snowflakes! These are the perfect match to our Star Wars advent calendar.

From Holly: The legend of Ninja Cow.

From Cassandra: an 18th century Irish giant meets up with 21st century ethics. Sort of.

From Bunny: A gorgeous Nautilus-shaped house! And, also, cats screaming.

Have a spiffy weekend/holiday, everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Wow, we're almost at the end. This went fast!

"Aha," said Bunny, the Star Wars tech savant, "an A-wing interceptor." And he was right.

From Bunny and Wookieepedia: "The RZ-1 A-wing interceptor was a starfighter designed by the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War. One of the fastest mass-produced interceptors in the known galaxy, the A-wing was even faster than the Imperial's TIE Interceptor. Simply put, the A-wing was a cockpit attached to twin engines. The A-wing required pilots of exceptional skill to take full advantage of the vessel's speed, agility, and special features—and the Alliance lacked the Galactic Republic's Jedi pilots.

These are some of my favorite rebel ships, but sadly I find the integrity of the lego model "lacking."

2 out of 5 parsecs."
Flavorwire has a gorgeous collection of college library photos. Enjoy them while they last!

Margaret Atwood says Twitter is good for literacy. So there.

I visited Oscar Wilde’s grave once, but it was before the lipstick graffiti began. Apparently there will now be a glass barrier keeping admirers from the grave itself.

The history of Christmas carols is…not so historic, apparently!

A huge Mayan site has been discovered…in Georgia. How cool is that?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


It's the solstice, and what better gift...

than the one and only Millennium Falcon?

Bunny's take:
"She's the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy!  The Millennium Falcon became famous as the personal smuggling starship of Han Solo and Chewbacca. It began life as a standard Corellian Engineering Corporation YT-1300 stock light freighter. Eventually it was won by Solo from Lando Calrissian in the Cloud City Sabacc Tournament.

It made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs!

We'll round down and say 5 out of 5 parsecs."
Happy Solstice! Also, the clock starts now for the Mayan doomsday. Whee!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


After yesterday's excitement, this was a little disappointing.

"It' electrical outlet,' I reported. "Oh, wait. It's a  TIE fighter...I think."

Bunny's take: "The TIE/ln starfighter or TIE/line, simply known as the TIE Fighter, was the standard Imperial starfighter seen in massive numbers throughout most of the Galactic Civil War and onward.

Not much to say about it's a tiny TIE Fighter.... a really CRAPPY looking TIE fighter to boot. Just look at the pic of the film TIE Fighter..."

"...then look at this sad rendering...LOOK AT IT!!!"

"Looks like Lego blew their wad on the day 19 eh?

 2 out of 5 parsecs."
Were you at the recent TeslaCon? The International Costumers Guild was there, and took many photos, and you might be in one! (Contact them if you’d like your identity known to the general public.)

Real life is making this week unexpectedly busy. But here are some links!

I share Warren Ellis’s fascination with nuclear bunkers; he points out one in Russia and one in Canada that look especially eerie.

Looking for some steampunk New Year’s Eve fun? The Difference Engine finishes out the year in Fort Worth, Texas, while Dorian’s Parlor holds court in Philadelphia. Both look incredible!

Monday, December 19, 2011



It's a TIE fighter pilot!

 We are big fans of TIE fighters and their daring pilots. See, look, this was me in 2002, when I was gadding about the 501st Legion as TI-2058 (with Bunny as TK-3074)!

Anyway, back to our LEGO figure. Take it away, Bunny and Wookieepedia!

"TIE pilots served in the Imperial Navy by piloting the various TIE series starfighters.

Since the BRICK Lego site states he's a Tie-Defender Pilot (whatever) below is a description for those uninitiated:

The TIE/D Defender was a high-performance TIE series starfighter developed for the Imperial Navy shortly before the Battle of Endor. Representing a shift in starfighter design from previous TIE models, the ship featured a hyperdrive as well as deflector shields to allow it to operate independent of Imperial capital ships. The ship's speed and agility, combined with its firepower, made it arguably the most advanced starfighter available at the time.

TIE Fighter Pilots are just plain bad-ass...and so is this little guy. 5 out of 5 parsecs."

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Today's project is one of the (many) times I'm glad there are some measure of instructions.

"Oh," Bunny said immediately, "it's a Y-wing fighter."

We then looked it up to be sure and found that the official name, according to LEGO, is "Anakin's Y-Wing Starfighter."

Bunny has some thoughts about that, with help from Wookieepedia...

"'s a smelly old republic y-wing fighter...This is essentially like claiming every 1940s sedan is "Hitler's Death Car" because Hitler once got a ride in one to pick up some blintzes...


The BTL-B Y-wing starfighter flew combat missions for the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars.  The BTL-B was designed as a bomber, using such weapons as proton bombs. The bubble-turret utilized two light ion cannons for defense against enemy starfighters. It also was equipped with two medium laser cannons mounted on the front of the starfighter.

They possessed a hyperdrive system allowing them to jump into hyperspace without the reliance on a carrier or hyperspace ring. To aid them in their operations, they also made use of an astromech droid.

Apparently Anakin flew in one of these...he also drove a GM car once but they haven't marketed Anakin's Red Geo Metro........... yet......

3 out of 5 parsecs."

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Remember the Tool Depot from ten days ago?

This is the sequel: The Weapons Depot!

There's, uh, really not much to say about this. We did have a debate on whether a lightsaber needs to be recharged (and why someone would leave a fully extended light saber at a depot).

RATING: Originally 2 out of 5 parsecs, but we bumped it up to 2.5 because there's a lightsaber! And other weapons, too.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Arrived, the Clone Trooper has!

Not much assembly required.

Bunny's take: "Clone trooper pilots were special clone troopers bred in the Kamino cloning centers for the purpose of piloting craft of the Grand Army of the Republic and the early Galactic Empire. Pilots also knew how to operate all military land vehicles."

"Yep...that's what he is! I do enjoy the fact that his lego head is simply a black void.

4 out of 5 parsecs."

Above, our pilot considers lodging a complaint about the size of his ship.
Happy Friday to all, and to all a good weekend!

From Bunny: More fan films than you can shake a director at. Hours of fun!

From Cassandra: A look at the ups and downs of the microfinance world.

From my mom: News literacy is an important skill these days, and the kids are learning.

From various corners of the net: The Action Figure Museum looks fantastic! And, if you’re still on the lookout for a gift for your favorite hipster, consider this canned air from Prague. No, seriously.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Look, festive holiday colors!

"Aha," Bunny said, "it's a Republic gunship."  I was impressed.

Apparently you see a lot of these in the Clone Wars cartoon.

Bunny's take (thanks, Wookieepedia!): "The Low Altitude Assault Transport (LAAT), also known as the LAAT-series gunship nicknamed "Larties" by some clones, was a gunship series used by the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars.

Classic "U-boats" of the republic...used to drop troops and armor onto planets. Not sure what the festive colors on this replica are all about...or why the slanty front piece pops up like a canopy (unlike the actual Larties). Recognizable for sure but can't say I'm too impressed.

3 out of 5 parsecs."

(Above, a much more complicated cross-section of a Lartie.)
Oy, it’s another busy day. To the links!

The mysterious and intricate paper sculptures in Edinburgh seem to have come to an end, with no one knowing who made them.

The New York Public Library faces constant change, and here’s the latest news.

Meanwhile, here’s a lovely look at the original Cincinnati Public Library building.

Tomorrow: links from others and maybe more, if there’s time!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


It's fun nostalgia day!

Also "dexterity needed with small objects" day.

The final product:

Yay! A skittermobile! Er...I am told the technical term is "mouse droid." Take it away, Bunny.

"The MSE-series was a popular line of MSE "Mouse" droids. These droids were usually programmed with a single function that varied per assignment. Once they were set on the task, they would do nothing else. These droids were often used to carry messages in vast Imperial ships and battle stations as well as leading troops through mazes of corridors to their assigned posts. They also have two small internal arms and they can do a variety of tasks such as sanitation and security.

3 out of 5 parsecs for being recognizable."

And now, a recreation of a scene from the 1977 film:

Wharrrgh!  Zip!!
Busy day (shouldn't everyone be on vacation by now?!?), but here are some fun links:

-- 1920s airmail pilots were tough customers. They had to be.

--  Want to read about the occult 1970s publication Man, Myth & Magic? Now you can!

-- Speaking of the 70s, we kids who watched Scooby-Doo back then were learning about secular humanism, not the supernatural. There are no monsters, only liars! Take that, society!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The 13th figure in the series is appropriately spooky! Hooray!

It's R2-D2's evil twin!

Actually, it's something a bit more specific. To Bunny's take and Wookieepedia!

"R2-Q5 was a well-equipped droid, with tools for repairing starships and hidden spy devices. He was also one of the few beings aware of IG-88A's infiltration of the Death Star.

R2-Q5 was assigned to the second Death Star above the Moon of Endor. When a Rebel attack destroyed corridors in the second Death Star, an R4 droid carrying a vital message was immobilized. R2-Q5 had to download the data from the downed droid and deliver it to the Emperor. He was destroyed in the explosion of the second Death Star."

"Essentially he's a kick-ass nega-verse version of our old pal R2-D2.

5 out of 5 parsecs."

Beep. Beep. Beep-bop-a-lu-la!
New York has done it again. Check out these gorgeous steampunk-themed holiday windows at Macy’s.

Reader Vicente has sent in a fantastic entry. I turn it over to him, with many thanks for sending it our way!


Here is a little something I've found that I think you might like.

Nick Carver's Race for the Globe

This seems to be a project that will take some time, but for the moment it looks gorgeous. A global race set in the early 20th century... let's call it late steampunk, shall we? There are more illustration and 3D models in Nick Carver's CGHUB site: pages 1 to 4 (though the rest of the samples are pretty impressive too).

I found the illustrations exciting and powerful. I'd certainly love to read the book / watch the movie / whatever the whatever!

To give credit where credit is due, I found this lurking in my tumblr account via Dr Monocle's tumblr (here, here and here), and then followed the crumbs.


(I agree, I'd be thrilled to whatever the whatever!)

Monday, December 12, 2011


We're halfway through our Star Wars LEGO calendar!

Today, we faced a challenge.

We knew what we were supposed to make -- a snow speeder! -- but the instructions were, well, cryptic.

With the help of some ingenuity and the interwebs, we succeeded.

Bunny's take via Wookieepedia: "The T-47 was an atmospheric vehicle designed for industrial cargo handling. Its cockpit featured positions for a forward-facing pilot and a rear-facing cargo manager. The cargo manager used the airspeeder's magnetic harpoon and tow cable to control repulsorlift cargo modules.

As made famous in ESB during the Battle of Hoth, the airspeeder (aka snowspeeder) was our earlier LEGO friend Dak Ralter's vehicle of choice.  Now that the model is finally put together (no thanks to the cheap instructions on the flap of the box), it's actually a relatively accurate snowspeeder:

4 out of 5 for the ship
2 out of 5 for the instructions."

Also, Dack Ralter has a complaint to make about the scale ratio of this particular snow speeder.

RATING: 3 of 5 parsecs!
As if the Euro didn’t have enough problems these days, now they’re harping on its aesthetic blandness!

I will always read Alan Moore interviews, and this one is especially good.

I will also usually read articles about being left-handed, but I agree it’s becoming less of an issue in these modern keyboarding days. I like the wacky new theory that all lefthanders are twins originally, though. (Just imagine, relatives: there could have been another! Count your blessings!)

There’s talk once again of exhuming Pablo Neruda, in hopes of proving Pinochet poisoned him.

And finally, a great entry on how staying playful helps adults in their work. It’s okay to be goofy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Day One-One. Roger Roger?

Roger Roger! Set phasers to stunning!

Battle droids ready, sir! Over to you!

Bunny's take:   "B1 battle droids were battle droids that made up the backbone of the Trade Federation Droid Army and the Separatist Droid Army.  This little "clanker" has 2 sets of arms for multiple poses and looks like a battle droid (which is a plus), but his legs are fused together...making him a pain to stand straight. As Grievous said: 'Useless things. More of a danger to us than the Jedi.'

4 out of 5 parsecs."

Over and out!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Wow, it's December 10th already. Time is flying!

And speaking of flying...

Bunny knew what this was right away. I was impressed.

An Imperial Shuttle!

Bunny looked up the details on Wookieepedia, and here is his report.

"The Lambda-class T-4a shuttle was a standard light utility craft in common use throughout the Imperial military as a transport for troops and high-ranking individuals.

Not a lot to say about this one....looks like a shuttle, wings fold like a shuttle...a solid toy. 4 out of 5 parsecs."

I agree!