BB-Hate Pumpkin for Halloween

Grab black paint, duct tape in a few colors, permanent markers, and two plastic pumpkins to make your very own BB-hate pumpkin this Halloween.

Desert Chica Karen Heffren How-to-make-a-Star-Wars-BB-9E-Pumpkin

Tutorial by Karen Heffren at Desert Chica. She’s also made a cool BB-8 from an actual pumpkin!

Crossposted from the Playfully Grownup Tumblr.

Image by Karen Heffren at Desert Chica

In Making Stuff occasional feature, we share fun arts and crafts done by us and our fellow geeks and nerds.

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A Levitating Snitch Cake

Twitter user Michael Harris shared a cake made by his significant other, Kate Pritchett, with an actually levitating quidditch snitch (follow the link for a video):

Instagram Kate Pritchett Levitating Quidditch Snitch Cake

She shared a few details of the cake:

“I told you I was going to make a floating Snitch cake. (3 x 2 layer white chocolate mud cakes with vanilla meringue buttercream and blueberry and lemon or raspberry and black pepper filling. Special shout out to the wood-look board I made. [fist icon])”

 

Instagram Kate Pritchett Levitating Quidditch Snitch Cake Detail

Pritchett clearly is a foodie—just have a look at her amazing Twitter and Instagram feeds. Her dedication to getting the details just right is incredible. Everything is thoroughly thought-out and carefully prepared.

Instagram Kate Pritchett Levitating Quidditch Snitch Wings

I’m gawping here! (Yes, I just declared gawp to be a word.)

Kudos!

Images by Kate Pritchett via Instagram: Cake. Closeup of details. Snitch wing prototypes.

Geeks eat, too! Second Breakfast is an occasional feature in which we talk about food with geeky connections and maybe make some of our own. Yum!

The Mandalorian Trailer

The Star Wars family of spinoffs is about to have a new member: The Mandalorian. Here’s the trailer:

The Mandalorian | Official Trailer | Disney+ | Streaming Nov. 12 by Star Wars on YouTube

A much darker view of the SW galaxy like in Rogue One; the story is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order.

The writing credits are split between George Lucas and Jon Favreau, and episode directors include Taika Waititi and Bryce Dallas Howard. It won’t be Howard’s first directing gig, but the first I’m likely to see. (Basically I only know her as the twit of a corporate lady whose heels were practically glued on for the chase scenes in Jurassic World, although apparently I’ve seen her as Gwen Stacy in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3.) The series music is by Ludwig Göransson, whose work on Black Panther I really liked, so that’s also promising.

One point of personal delight is the glimpse of a small craft flying over a flat, wooded land dotted with small lakes and smaller fields (the sequence starts at about the 15-second mark). It’s one of the very few instances on the large, international screens of places that look like my home that I’ve seen. I hope that’s not all of it!

Other than that there’s not much definite info to be got, so we’ll have to see. I can’t even decide yet on the basis of this trailer whether The Mandalorian is worth the trouble of looking up what Disney+ streaming might take to access or whether we should just wait for the disc release.

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

Visual Inspiration: Organic Shapes in a Garden Cottage

This ensuite cottage in Pali Hill, Mumbai, sits within a garden and literally brings the nature to your side. There are doors and windows, but both are oval or roundish, and even the former are see-through.

The White Room Garden Room Bed

It was created by the India-based architectural studio The White Room, run by Nitin Barchha and Disney Davis. The organic shapes immediately have an otherworldly effect—at least I’ve never been in and rarely seen a house like this.

The White Room Garden Room Entry Hall

The White Room Garden Room TV

And here’s the ensuite bathroom:

The White Room Garden Room Ensuite

I do have a vague recollection of maybe seeing something like this in Star Trek somewhere. Other than that, the closest existing visuals that come to mind are sets Weta Workshop created for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. It would be nice to see—or read of—more interiors that deviate so starkly from our own.

Found via Colossal.

Images by The White Room

The Visual Inspiration occasional feature pulls the unusual from our world to inspire design, story-telling, and worldbuilding. If stuff like this already exists, what else could we imagine?

Quotes: Where Despotism Can Be Taken Pure

Abraham Lincoln, later the President of the U.S., is reported to have reacted to the white supremacist movement of 1840s thus:

“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, exept Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” [original emphasis]

– Abraham Lincoln

Whoa, that’s pretty pointed. Granted, it’s decades since my U.S. history classes—not that we were taught that much to begin with, the focus was always on our fellow Nordics, Europe, and Russia—so it’s no wonder I can’t remember coming across this view of Lincoln’s.

Ghaemi, Nassir. A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness. New York: Penguin, 2011, p. 71-72.

Serving exactly what it sounds like, the Quotes feature excerpts other people’s thoughts.

On the Finicky, Fussbudgety Facts of Faction Fighting in WoW

Writing on the patch 8.2.5 story for the World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth expansion, Robert “Bobby” Davis blogging at Kaylriene puts into words what I’ve long thought: while I understand the need for a company to put the best positive spin into talking about their own products, Blizzard really needs to stop deluding themselves about the quality of their storytelling. Here’s Kaylriene on the topic:

“Saurfang says what I’ve thought about the writing of this story the whole time – the faction conflict is stupid and outdated, because Blizzard tries to pretend there is a depth and nuance to it that doesn’t exist in their writing. The Horde are villains, outright – every time this cycle comes about, the Horde does something awful and atrocious that pushes the world into conflict, the Horde leaders who suddenly have conscience about it reject the action and rebel, we storm up to Orgrimmar to depose whomever the despot is today, and then we move on until the next time it happens. He makes clear in-lore precisely what I’ve felt about the faction conflict the whole time – it was set dressing that no longer serves a meaningful purpose.” [emphasis added]

I’m not inclined to be generous to a story that repeats the same gimmick ad nauseam. Granted, you don’t need to look farther than our own human history—and not very far at that—to find nigh-endless faction conflict. But this is supposed to be fantasy, a genre that can have anything happen.

It’s been years since I logged back to WoW for the story—these days I play for completely different reasons than following the plot du jour. Not being a PvPer the faction conflict never was a big draw to begin with, but it used to have at least somewhat interesting turns.

Now, I also understand the difficulty of a rotating team trying to keep up with past writing, storylines, character arcs, details, all of it. There is, however, a lot to be said for storytelling, continuity, and proactive quality control, especially in case of a billion(!)-dollar tech company, lest you end up looking rather like an incompetent fool.

Flickr Robert WoWScrnShot_091106_234735

Image: World of Warcraft screencap by Robert on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.

The Aeronauts Trailer

I’ve been aware of the movie The Aeronauts for a good long while (got it on a list that I blogged about here, in fact). Now it’s two months to release time!

Set in 1862, the story is about two people looking to break barriers by hot-air-ballooning higher than anyone before. Felicity Jones stars as Amelia Wren, a female balloonist who agrees to take meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) up to the sky to perform experiments.

Here’s the trailer:

The Aeronauts – Official Trailer by Amazon Prime Video on YouTube

Whoa—looks rather incredible! Although there seems to be a little too much of a pet peeve of mine: climbing on things only to fall down. It’s getting to be an overused feature in contemporary visual storytelling, if you ask me.

The trailer says it’s inspired by true events. Indeed: Glaisher broke the world record for altitude in September 1862, although Wren’s character is a complete fabrication. If you’ve come across more, please share.

The Aeronauts is directed by Tom Harper, written by Jack Thorne (with Harper’s input on the story), and set to come out on December 06, 2019, here in the U.S.

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

Enormous Deep Space Nine Lego Model Is Enormous

Benjamin Stenlund at The Brothers Brick shared this enormous, HUGE Deep Space Nine station made from Legos. The builder, Adrian Drake, is by no means a novice, and his skill and dedication really show.

Flickr Adrian Drake DS9_00

Drake describes the project:

“The entire model is 8 feet in diameter, and has approximately 75,000 pieces. There is a steel and aluminum framework holding it together, and about 50 linear feet of strip LEDs lighting it up. All told it took me about 2 years to build.”

Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow!

Image by Adrian Drake via Flickr. (Make sure to visit his account for more of his builds.)

In Making Stuff occasional feature, we share fun arts and crafts done by us and our fellow geeks and nerds.

Living Vicariously Through Social Media: Skeleton Flowers

There’s this amazing white flower, Diphylleia grayi, whose petals turn transparent in the rain!

Minkara Jiro Skeleton Flower Transparent Blossom

The perennial is sometimes called skeleton flower for good reason. According to My Modern Met, they grow on moist, wooded mountainsides in the colder regions of East Asia and Japan.

My goodness! I could’ve never seen this—wouldn’t have known to look for this—with my own eyes if it weren’t for the Internet.

Found via Good Stuff Happened Today on Tumblr. Visit My Modern Met for more photos!

Image by Jiro at Minkara

Out There is an occasional feature highlighting intriguing art, spaces, places, phenomena, flora, and fauna.

Downton Abbey the Movie Is Out on Friday!

Downton Abbey the movie comes out on Friday! Here’s an official trailer:

DOWNTON ABBEY – Official Trailer [HD] by Focus Features on YouTube

Situated in 1927, this story will have the king and queen—George V and Mary of Teck, of whom I know nothing—visit the Abbey. From the IMDB casting list it sounds like we have a few new characters.

Since there seems to be little hope of another Jane Austen production (beyond Sanditon, which has not been released yet, and another Emma, which is of very unknown quality) I guess Downton will have to do. Even though I’m not really a fan of the era, I am looking forward to seeing the fabulous, fabulous acting (especially Maggie Smith!), multi-faceted characters, and gorgeous costuming and sets again.

I do, however, confess that the rigid adherence to artificial rules of “good” society really rubs me the wrong way at times. Sadly, a royal visit makes it sound like there might be overly much of the artificial, but we’ll see.

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.