Meanwhile, in Japan…

giant package-dispensing cat

There’s a giant mechanical cat in Tokyo’s Shinjuku station that’s dispensing presents to people who press on its nose. It’s a promo for the Yamato Transport delivery service, whose logo is a kuroneko — a black cat.

Here’s the giant cat in action:

The “wacky news from Japan” site RocketNews24 has all the details.

giant black cat sign


I thought this happened only in sitcoms


Found via @gidget. Click the photo to see the source.

“Oh yeah, SF? You can AET ME!


Meanwhile, at VW’s emissions test center…

meanwhile at vw's emissions test center


Our visit to ThinkGeek’s first bricks-and-mortar store in Orlando (with 77 photos taken by Yours Truly)

01 thinkgeek store exterior with joey

The Missus and I had already scheduled a trip to to catch the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival (a.k.a. “Drinking Around the World”) and the three-hour Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom when we heard that the opening of the very first bricks-and-mortar ThinkGeek store would be opening in nearby Orlando that same weekend. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so we made a little detour on the way home to check it out.

magic kingdom to thinkgeek store

Click the image to get the Google Maps directions from the Magic Kingdom to the ThinkGeek Store.

The ThinkGeek Store is in Orlando’s Florida Mall, right next door to the JCPenny anchor store. After she got my picture in front of the Promised Land, I took this one of Anitra:

02 thinkgeek store exterior with anitra

The store had its grand opening on Thursday night, and we showed up Sunday evening, expecting the place to have been picked clean…

thinkgeek store - opening night

Opening night at the ThinkGeek Store (photo from Orlando’s MyNews 13).

…but there was geeky stuff aplenty when we showed up.

03 thinkgeek store exterior - anitra and rocket

We also had to get shots of ourselves with Rocket Raccoon (his official name in the comics; he’s just “Rocket” in the movies)…

04 thinkgeek store exterior - joey and rocket

Visitors to the store will be greeted by a lot of metal. First, by the Terminator:

05 thinkgeek store - terminator genisys head

06 thinkgeek store - terminator genisys body

…and then by the Iron Man Mark 43 armor from The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

07 thinkgeek store from front with iron man

This little decorative piece can be yours for the low, low price of $10,000!

08 thinkgeek store - anitra and iron man

09 thinkgeek store - joey and iron man

Here’s what the store looks like once you get past the displays at the front:

10 thinkgeek store - from front

…and here’s the view from the back, looking towards the entrance.

11 thinkgeek store - from back

The cashier is located in the center of the store:

12 thinkgeek store - from middle

Here’s Anitra checking out all the geeky goodness:

13 thinkgeek store - from middle

There’s a wall of stuff just for the Star Wars fans:

14 thinkgeek store - star wars wall

…with a fair bit of stuff in a closed display case:

15 thinkgeek store - star wars display case

…and a whole lotta cheaper stuff that you can get your nerdy little mitts on immediately:

15 thinkgeek store - star wars wall

I’m told that they’re not lunchboxes, they’re collectors’ cases:

16 thinkgeek store - star wars lunchboxes and mugs

I love the mugs featuring characters and themes from the upcoming movie. I’d have gotten the BB-8 one if I didn’t already have too many mugs:

17 thinkgeek store - bb8 and first order mugs

No bar is complete without one of these:

18 thinkgeek store - star wars bottle openers

I love this self-stirring mug. Why stir your mug with a spoon like a chump when you can use THE FORCE?

19 thinkgeek store - force mug

There’s all manner of decorative Star Wars goodies from the immediately recognizable:

20 thinkgeek store - stormtrooper helmet

…to those that might be obscure to the casual movie-watcher (that’s not just a Wampa head, but an entire rug):

21 thinkgeek store - wampa rug

And of course, there are plenty of posters:

22 thinkgeek store - boba fett poster

They have a pile of the new BB-8 droids by Sphero. It sells for $150:

23 thinkgeek store - sphero bb-8

Or, if you’d rather spend that $150 on something else, how about new bad guy Kylo Ren’s lightsaber?

24 thinkgeek store - kylo ren lightsaber

I used to work at Microsoft, so I know what it feels like to have the Dark Side flow through me:

25 thinkgeek store - joey and kylo ren lightsaber

The back right wall is dedicated to videogame trinkets and memorabilia:

26 thinkgeek store - video games wall

27 thinkgeek store - video games wall 2

I’ve played many of the Call of Duty games, but had no idea that there were toys — er, action figures — for the franchise:

28 thinkgeek store - call of duty

My nephews would be all over the Minecraft section of the store:

29 thinkgeek store - minecraft

The back wall is dedicated to t-shirts and hats:

30 thinkgeek store - t-shirts and hats wall

The hat’s cute, but I get the feeling that if I wore this while passing too close to a school zone, I’d find myself in the back of a police car in very short order:

31 thinkgeek store - joey in pikachu hat

Cosplay meets roleplay meets mental images you’ll never cleanse in the lingerie section:

32 thinkgeek store - lingerie wall

Who knew there was this much geek underwear?

33 thinkgeek store - underwear rack

For the man who likes both lounging and Mortal Kombat, I give you the Scorpion bathrobe:

34 thinkgeek store - scorpion bathrobe

Ironic Hallowee’n costume, or cry for help?It’s your call with these adult-size Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles footy pajamas:

35 thinkgeek store - tmnt footy pajamas

You can pamper your feet at home with these adorable unicorn slippers…

36 thinkgeek store - unicorn slippers

…or if you’re more of a Walking Dead fan, these zombie slippers:

37 thinkgeek store - zombie slippers

For all you sexy bronies (a contradiction in terms, I think), here are the DJ Pone-3 glow-in-the-dark boxers:

38 thinkgeek store - dj pon-e boxers

There’s lots of stuff for the TV show fans as well…

39 thinkgeek store - tv wall

…including a whole shelf devoted to Adventure Time:

40 thinkgeek store - adventure time

The middle left wall is devoted to posters and paintings:

41 thinkgeek store - poster wall

…and the back left wall is taken up by a lot — and I mean a lot — of Pop! Vinyl figures:

42 thinkgeek store - vinyl figure wall

The front right wall is for the comics fans:

43 thinkgeek store - comic wall

No fan shop is complete without figurines:

44 thinkgeek store - figurine wall

Lots and lots and lots of figurines:

45 thinkgeek store - figurines

46 thinkgeek store - figurines

47 thinkgeek store - figurines

48 thinkgeek store - figurines

And don’t worry, card games and traders, you haven’t been left out:

49 thinkgeek store - trading card wall

50 thinkgeek store - pokemon cards

There’s a shelf for belts, suspenders, lanyards, and even guitar straps. Where was the Captain America guitar strap when I was an active keytar player?

51 thinkgeek store - belts straps and lanyards

Geeks carry lots of stuff, and stuff calls for bags. Luckily, the ThinkGeek store has plenty of them!

52 thinkgeek store - bags

ThinkGeek’s own Bag of Holding looks like it’ll hold most laptops and tablets, or gaming accessories.The fuzzy front is designed to accommodate all sorts of velcro badges:

53 thinkgeek store - bag of holding

Marvel fans will appreciate the Captain America and Rocket Raccoon knapsacks:

54 thinkgeek store - rocket and captain america bags

Are you old school? How about this Nintendo Game Boy-themed pack?

55 thinkgeek store - game boy bag

Are you really old school? Then this Star Trek-themed one’s for you:

56 thinkgeek store - enterprise bag

Are you new school? Then you want a Minecraft creeper bag:

57 thinkgeek store - creeper bag

And for you styling ladies, this 8-bit purse might be just what you’re looking for:

58 thinkgeek store - 8-bit purse

There’s a shelf for your bronies:

59 thinkgeek store - brony shelf

The Missus informs me that becoming a brony is grounds for divorce:

60 thinkgeek store - brony monopoly

Sci-fi and Asian food practically go hand-in-hand, hence these Darth Vader lightsaber chopsticks:

61 thinkgeek store - star wars chopsticks

If Star Trek is more your thing, how about this U.S.S. enterprise sushi set, with the saucer section acting as the soy sauce dish?

62 thinkgeek store - uss enterprise sushi set

Of course there are replica props! Here’s a great phaser from Star Trek: The Original Series:

63 thinkgeek store - phaser replica

…and for the Whovians, a sonic screwdriver, with integrated sound generator and lights:

64 thinkgeek store - sonic screwdriver

I want this bad boy: a “Han Solo frozen in carbonite” fridge!

65 thinkgeek store - han solo fridge

Again, for the Trek fans, a Borg cube fridge:

66 thinkgeek store - borg cube fridge

For the Assassin’s Creed fans, the “stabby gauntlet” !

67 thinkgeek store - joey and assassins creed gauntlet

Here’s Anitra and store guy Kenneth demonstrating why the “stabby gauntlet” should be used only for killing and not for giving out high-fives:

68 thinkgeek store - anitra and assassins creed gauntlet

There’s lots of quick-gifty stuff on the shelves near the front:

69 thinkgeek store - shelf near front

This one’s one of my favorite impulse buy items:

70 thinkgeek store - shark laser pointer

Saturday was Batman day, and the ThinkGeek Store has Batman paraphernalia aplenty, from the batarang…

71 thinkgeek store - batarang

…to the Batman tie…

72 thinkgeek store - batman tie

…to the leather utility belt. Whether you’re a Batman fan or wanted to live in Rob Liefield’s World of Pouches, if you have three hundred bucks burning a hole in your pocket, this one’s for you!

73 thinkgeek store - batman utility belt

Here’s another one of my favorite impulse buy items:

74 thinkgeek store - unicorn meat

And of course, there are stickers:

75 thinkgeek store - stickers

Let’s hope the ThinkGeek Store does exactly this:

76 thinkgeek store - live long and prosper sticker

For me, the ThinkGeek store is perfectly situated: close enough that I can get there by driving, but not so close that I’d be there all the time:

carrollwood to thinkgeek store

Click the image to get the Google Maps directions from my neck of the woods to the ThinkGeek Store.

If the photos above aren’t enough, here’s a video that the people at Attractions Magazine shot of the store last week:


The Taiwanese animators’ take on the douchey price-gouging biotech CEO

taiwanese take on shkreli 1

My new rule about news stories is to ask the question: “What’s the wacky Taiwanese animator take on this? Then I go look, and I’m never disappointed.

taiwanese take on shkreli 2

The rule held for the story of douchey price-gouging biotech CEO Martin Shkreli. The subtitles are in pretty good colloquial North American English, which makes me wonder what Mandarin words are getting translated into “douchebag” and “weasel”.

taiwanese take on shkreli 3

The animators did a good job of riffing of the photos of Shkreli that have appeared online, whether he’s fancying himself a decent rapper, or tooling around on his toolbag scooter:

taiwanese take on shkreli 4

And, to satisfy many visceral urges, they’ve take care to include a lot of scenes in which Shkreli gets the crap kicked out of him.

taiwanese take on shkreli 5

Here’s the video:


Paging George Santayana (or: TV station wishes Jews a “Happy Yom Kippur” with the badge Nazis made them wear)

oh my gawd

This is what happens when you have Google image search but know very little history. (And here’s the relevant George Santayana quote, in case you didn’t get the reference in this post’s title.)

Note: “Happy Yom Kippur” is the wrong greeting — try saying “Have an easy fast” instead.


Not even Brooklyn punk rock is safe from the douchey price-gouging biotech CEO!

shkreli pitchfork

While taking a break from news related to the douchey price-gouging biotech CEO, I pointed my browser at the too-hip-for-its-own-good music site Pitchfork to see what was new there. That’s when I learned that there’s no escaping Martin Shkreli.

Back in 2014, the douchey CEO — whom I presume took some measures to mask his douchiness — bought a guitar off Geoff Rickly, frontman for the band Thursday. Somehow, during the transaction, Shkreli ended up financing Rickly’s indie label, Brooklyn-based Collect Records. This investment was supposedly a “thank you” by Shkreli to Thursday for their music, which had helped him when he was younger.

To a musician, this is a dream: to be approached by a rich benefactor who appreciates your work and be given money — which musicians are almost always short of — to keep doing what they’re doing. To this day, I hear musicians tell each other the story of how the prog-rock band Supertramp was bankrolled by a millionaire because he thought their keyboardist (Rick Davies) was incredibly talented (he is).

Unsurprisingly, the bands aren’t all too pleased that their label is being bankrolled by that guy:

rock band nothing wants off

Nicky Palermo, frontman for the band Nothing (who are on Collect Records), posted this to the band’s Facebook page last night:

Last night I read an article about this guy who was hiking up prices on some pharmaceutics that were leaving people on their death beds empty handed due to the cost. Not soon after that found out that this guy is backing the label I’m about to release a record on.

I scoured the internet all night and early morning to try and see both sides before I made an opinion on the matter as I know how one sided people can be when there is a public lynching. But by 6 am today I literally just felt disgusted by everything and this seems to be in fact, the work of a soulless man.

I was approached by Geoff Rickley about a year ago now, about how he was starting a label. He said he really believed in Nothing and the music we were creating. We were told of a backer who was an old Thursday fan that wanted to give back to the music and arts, but literally didn’t even know his name until last night. After Geoff told me his plans I really believed in him. He’s a great guy and he like me had, no idea what kind of monster was funding the label and soon to be album. And like he has helped me with my problems the past few months, I plan on helping him in anyway I can as well through this all.

I’m not sure what the next step is here for us as were contractually attached to this person, but I had to share my revulsion with you all as the future is not quite foreseeable.

shkreli maxim

Palermo told the Washington Post that he grew up in a poor single-parent family and often couldn’t afford health care:

“I’ve been a person who hasn’t had health insurance for pretty much my whole life since I was a kid. I’ve had broken bones. I’ve had to Super Glue my forehead shut when I hit myself with a guitar. I owe money to hospitals for things.”

And as you might expect, many of the other musicians on the label are in the same boat, and don’t like the idea of being funded by a douchey guy who price-gouges medicine.

And there you have it: not even indie/post-punk/hardcore rock is safe from the douchey price-gouging biotech CEO.