Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Step away from the department store eau de toilet. Put down the celebrity branded smellum water. In their place, let the heady aroma of a Black Phoenix hand crafted elixir envelop your senses.

Inspired by a vast range of influences, from the passion and decadence of the Fin de Siecle movement to the ghastliest of Lovecraftian monstrosities, we specialize in eliciting emotional responses through perfume and creating unique, masterfully molded scent environments that capture legends and folklore, poetry, and the stuff of dreams and nightmares.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has recently introduced a line inspired by the world of the Old Ones - A Picnic in Arkham. Why smell like JLo or Paris when you can answer the call of Cthulhu? "A creeping, wet, slithering scent, dripping with seaweed, oceanic plants and dark, unfathomable waters."

Ah, the smell of it ...

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Cocktail

I've discussed manly drinks and their undeniable contribution to drinking culture. (Hey, a cabinet stocked with fine whiskey does much to elevate ones social lubrication IQ). But "The Cocktail," written by Jane Rocca, celebrates what is romantic and undeniably feminine about cocktails without the usual syrupy fruitiness and with all the glamour (and gorgeous evening gowns) of old world seduction. Think dark strangers and romantic glimpses. Think glittering champagne in vintage glasses. Think real babe bravado and risky infusions. And when you see the moody, mixed media illustrations by Australian Kat McLeod, you'll think of teasing and conquering and commanding attention as well.

Now you can keep Moet et Chandon in that pretty cabinet as well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Wondermark's "Genre-Fiction Generator 2000" insures I'll never have to outline a story again. I was always a pantser, anyway. Also, start reading Wondermark by David Malki. It's Steampunk, it used to appear in the Onion, and it's so biting you may walk away with tooth marks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

XKCD: Volume 0

XKCD has produced their first book featuring selections from the first 600 comics including artist and fan favorites. (Gee, I seem to have developed tremors in my fingers, directly related to overt anticipation). Assembled from high-resolution scans of the original (some of them confessed to be on the back of school assignments) with the often hilarious and insightful mouseover text is included, volume 0 has the extra bonus of additional doodles, notes, and puzzles by Randall Munroe included in the margins. You can read more about the production of Volume 0 at the xkcd Blag.

Published by BreadPig, a portion of the sales will go to the charity Room to Read, which will help build a school in Laos. And, hey, we're all into reading.

Run, don't walk, and buy xkcd: volume 0 direct from the source, available in the xkcd store.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pig Essence

Fluffy, curvy, wobbly, sqooshy. Rubenesque, gordita, ample-bossomed, pleasantly-plump. I have used so many words in service to the squashier side of humanity (see, I just used another one) but all of them tend to be empty euphemisms skirting around a present state. A state which has been bastardized to indicate sloth, laziness, greediness, unattractiveness with an underlying embarrassment which implies a lack of control or willpower. Very few words, and indeed conversations, discuss the often inevitable state of becoming (shall I say it?) fatter, the fear of becoming fatter and in general the process of adding meat to one's so called bones. Don't know what I'm talking about? Start watching Mad Men and sympathizing with Betty Draper.

Meanwhile, enter pinguescence, for which a mnemonic lies above. It is a rare and nearly out of use word for the process of growing fat. Adding it to conversation lends numerous ways of elucidating your fears of a state demonized throughout female culture, though rarely spoken of openly. For example,

  • Even though the scale has gone up since I've started working out, I know, my pinguescence is deteriorating.
  • French fries are a notorious catalyst of my pinguescent nature.
And my favorite
  • Curse my sudden but inevitable pinguescence!

Take back the language, my friends, take back the language.

Friday, September 11, 2009

No Strain for Andromeda: Galaxy is Cosmic Cannibal

Our nearest, biggest and baddest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy has a dirty secret. It's a big eater. Long considered a suspect as a space predator, early results of the
the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS) have found remnants of stars and smaller galaxies scattered around it like pizza bones after a college kegger. USA Today carries a layman's digest in their article, "No strain for Andromeda: Galaxy is cosmic cannibal," from the original Nature journal article.

Why should you care? Well, not only does cannibalism strip stars, over time re-arranging the night sky, but technically, Andromeda is moving toward us at a rate of 75 miles per second. That's an expected collision in about 2.5 billion years. While you may not need to start packing your bags, like the puppeteers of Larry Niven, plans for a galactic move take a millennia of planning.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Reading Rainbow" Reaches Its Final Chapter

This Is How the World Ends.

As a result of a Department of Education obsessed with policies that focus on learning fundamentals like phonics and spelling instead of comprehension, the joys of self-discovery and the value of making meaningful choices, neither PBS, nor the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will be renewing Reading Rainbow's broadcasting rights. NPR's report, "Reading Rainbow Reaches Its Final Chapter" details how the Emmy award winning 26-year-old program hosted by Levar Burton is coming to an end.

As a precocious child, I'd polished off the entire Chronicles of Narnia series by the age of eight. Twice. Reactions from my teachers varied from disbelief to outright irritation. With regards to educational programming, I was more interested in Yan Can Cook and Julia Child than the fantasyland of Mr. Rogers or the ridiculous antics of the Electric Company (no disrespect!), which I thought insulted my tender intelligence.

Reading Rainbow was one of the only children's shows I adored, especially because it was one of the precious few that treated children with dignity. Here were kids acting as tiny hosts: they liked books and they spoke on a face-to-face level about the ideas they had fostered within themselves. The cancellation of a show that openly addresses adolescent escapism seems oddly draconian.

By the time I was in the fifth grade (and making my first run at the Lord of the Rings) my elementary school had put me aside to help teach other children how to read. Even at age ten I realized you can not teach someone how to read if they don't love to read, and Reading Rainbow demonstrates that learning fundamentals (suck it NCLB!) is best accomplished by instilling a deep love of reading in children.

To this day, I can not make it through the unreasonably emotion-jerking theme song without bursting into tears. It calls to mind an age before the internet when I thought I could learn how to do anything, to be anything, or go anywhere by simply going to the library. And when the snarky teachers punished me because they couldn't believe I read the whole thing in just a couple of hours, I could just open up another book and hang out with people who were just like me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's August (September), They're Coming For You

Yes, it's September already. And yes, even though CandyBuffet is international, and I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea (I love you all!), it's funny, it's dangerously accurate and oh, so true. In light of the season and the recently published, "Host or Hostage, A Guide to Surving Houseguests," by Darlene Dennis, the New York Times article "It's August, They're Coming For You," is perfectly applicable all year round whenever house guests pop in. And if you're planning on doing some popping, make sure to read, "Confessions of a Horrible Houseguest," from the Nest for guilty revelations of unsportsmanlike behavior.

More of a visual learner are you? Well, just enjoy a hilarious viewing of, "The Man Who Came to Dinner."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This is an ex-parrot.

Wired's GeekDad has compiled a list of 100 essential skills for geeks.  I'm hopelessly lacking in the technical / technology department, but I know where my towel is and I do actually own a cricket bat.  So at least I'm prepared for the zombiepocalypse.  How many can you claim?