Collage.com lets you print virtually anything on anything

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If you want to give your family and friends a truly personalized gift for the holidays, we’re offering $100 of credit on Collage.com for $24.99 in the Boing Boing Store. And if you order before the 15th, you can make sure your custom-printed objects arrive in time for Christmas.

With Collage.com, you can bring your photographic memories into the real world in the form of blankets, mugs, printed canvas, and even iPhone cases. In addition to applying your own images to any of their 50 items, you can add text to anything you order to give your gifts an extra-unique touch. Although you have to take advantage of this deal within 180 days to use the full $100 credit, your original $25 purchase doesn’t have an expiration date — you can still use it next year if you get behind on your holiday plans.

Get $100 worth of credit from Collage.com for $24.99 when you order from the Boing Boing Store.

Biopic of Darth Vader actor David Prowse in the works

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Towering English bodybuilder David Prowse was the man actor behind Darth Vader’s menacing presence. With James Earl Jones’s voice and Sebastian Shaw’s face, he helped create one of cinema’s greatest villains. But he’s also famously eccentric and cantankerous, which will doubtless make the forthcomimg movie about his life more interesting.

Chronicling his journey from champion weightlifter to the biggest bad ass in the universe, Strongman will follow Prowse through his tenure as Green Cross Code man, a British road safety mascot, and his career as an actor, where he appeared in films such as 1967’s Casino Royale, A Clockwork Orange, The Horror of Frankenstein, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, and others.

One of the peculiar coincidences of Star Wars casting is that Hayden Christiansen, who played a younger Anakin/Vader in the Star Wars prequels, looks uncannily like a young David Prowse, the only Vader actor whose face is never actually seen in the series. When Jedi Return of the Jedi called for mask-off scenes, however, Prowse (and Jones) were replaced by Shaw. If Hayden got the role, that’d be extremely cool.

Building a scale model of our solar system in the desert is an eye-opening exercise

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You are no doubt aware that models of our solar system are not to scale. These guys went to Black Rock Desert to create a scale model of our solar system, starting with an Earth the size of a marble. This required seven miles of empty desert to add the other planets (not including Pluto). There’s an awful lot of space between these little spheres.

The Orville is better than Star Trek: Discovery

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Critics hate The Orville, Seth McFarlane’s uncanny love letter to Star Trek and The Next Generation, but they love the gloomy, ultra-2017 Star Trek: Discovery. Viewers love The Orville, though, while remaining divided on and indifferent to the new official series.

The critics are mistaken; the viewers are right. I was surprised at how intimately Seth McFarlane — Seth McFarlane! — is tuned into Gene Roddenberry’s sense of humanity’s future potential and why it’s OK to have a shipful of lovers. It’s TNG with dick jokes! And, let’s face it, the time is right for some happy technocommie utopian SF.

Bad Lip Reading dubs ‘Stranger Things’ as a perfectly odd retro sitcom

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Things have been turned upside down (see what I did there?) in the world of Stranger Things as the good folks at Bad Lip Reading have dubbed over original scenes from the show and created a funny sitcom version of it (Wonder Years, anyone?). It’s 18 minutes long and worth a watch, especially if you’re a fan of the popular Netflix series.

(Neatorama)

Previously: Watch this Bad Lip Reading of Trump’s inauguration day

The ‘best’ Chewbacca impressions these 100 people could muster up on demand

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Fans of Star Wars can undoubtedly hear what Chewbacca, the most notable of all the Wookiees, sounds like in their heads. But could they do a decent impression of him on demand?

Watch this video to hear 100 people attempt to speak a little Shyriiwook, Chewie’s dialect.

Spoiler alert: Most of these impressions are simply terrible. You have been warned.

And, in case you’ve been living under a rock, Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens this week in theaters.

These ugly Christmas sweaters have special booze-bottle-holding pockets

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At this point, I can’t tell if it’s a race to the bottom or the top of the “ugly Christmas sweater” genre. Either way, there’s a new contender.

An enterprising Etsy shop owner has created a line of one-of-a-kind holiday sweaters that allow you to get your drink on easily. By sewing a giant stocking on the front of some already-ugly sweaters, Berkleysbiz has made it possible for you to carry around an entire bottle of wine or liquor right on your chest. Happy holidays, indeed!

Pro tip: They suggest stuffing the bottom of the stocking with paper towels, so the bottle’s top will peek over the stocking’s edge.

Prices start at $42.99 and do not include the booze.

I rode Amtrak’s Coast Starlight the wrong direction. I still loved it.

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“Toot toot!” I yelled, as my friends and I were delayed and waiting around at the San Francisco Bay Area’s Emeryville Station, waiting for the Amtrak Coast Starlight train to arrive.

I was being paid $1 every time I yelled “toot toot!”

The train was probably my idea. I am not sure why I’m reluctant to take credit, but I’ve always wanted to ride Amtrak’s Coast Starlight. Trip Advisor says the Coast Starlight is the 1050th most fun thing to do in California. Also, I like slow travel. I drive a goddamn VW Vanagon when I go on vacation, and that should tell you enough.

Some friends and I were heading to see Puddles Pity Party in Los Angeles that weekend. We’d all traveled from the Bay Area south to the City of Fallen Angeles so many times in 2017, we needed a break from driving and airports. Amtrak seemed like a great adventure. I like adventure.

I did not consider, however, that the coast part of the Coast Starlight, at least on the SF to LA leg of the trip, would be transited at night. As in, when it is dark. And you can’t see. I did see some interesting California scenery, and experience what may be the very best Amtrak has to offer, but this isn’t a review of the LA to SF trip, which is actually lets you see the coast.

Our train was two hours late. Surprised? Luckily, I had packed a bunch of edibles and some pre-rolled joints. Just outside the San Francisco Bay Area’s Emeryville Station is a fantastic place to pause and not care so very much about your schedule. Honestly, if you are gonna take a train — this is the way to fly. There are also ‘smoke stops’ along the route, just ask your conductor.

When the Coast Starlight arrives, passengers have to find their train car fast. We were traveling in business class, which meant that our door would be the farthest down the line. The business class car is sandwiched between the dining and observation cars, both of which are AWESOME on a 12 hour journey to Los Angeles. We were seated, handed complimentary bottles of water, and we experienced PLENTY of space for the first time in recent travel memory. Each person in our party of four was able to take a full 2 business class seats and spread out. There were very few other passengers in this $30 a person more car. What you get for that $30 extra seems to be SPACE, a $6 voucher off food (which you will use) and a bit of priority in making dining car reservations. Once we were seated on what we assumed would be the view side of the train, it was time to explore.

The snack shop is in the bottom of the observation car. The observation car is a great, though slightly less comfortable, place to sit, read and watch the scenery go by. I spent several hours here, with headphones in and Kindle out. Occasionally you’ll look up and stare in marvel for a bit at how beautiful California is, even in its inland valleys. Most of the first 7 or 8 hours, the rails parallel the 101. You get a very different view, as the train tracks are typically sandwiched on either side by farms. I was struck by the cruelty of chicken farms, the beauty of rolling past rows of worked farmland, and the sheer number of homeless encampments.

The dining car is a fantastic experience. If you are traveling in a group smaller than four, you will be seated with others. You will meet an amazing blend of folks traveling on America’s trains. All sorts of folks are on Amtrak, and you have nothing but time to get to know them! I met some Mennonites and a really large dude who was too big to fly on an aeroplane. That big dude had a “Leeeeroy Jeeeeeeenkis” ID tag hanging off his duffle, so I immediately knew he was cool.

While the people are colorful, the food is bland. You will find hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, fish and steak on the menu. The food is better than anything I’ve had in First Class on an international airplane trip — but its still nothing to write home about. I’d put Amtrak dining at about Disney in park concession quality. The prices aren’t bad and the service is SUPER. Happily, Amtrak also carries an assortment of bottled beers and boxed wines. There were some “mixed” drinks available, but I’d seen them come from cans in the snack shop, so I passed.

The snack shop has some stuff, but I suggest packing your own, especially if you get the munchies. Amtrak’s got beer, wine, sodas, candies and chips in a very limited selection. Curling up comfortably in your big old double armchair, with some great snacks, music and a book for 3-4 hours is totally do-able, but may take some planning if you are picky.

There is a special bar and dining car for people in sleeper cars. As a business class passenger it seems you MAY be invited in for a wine and cheese tasting IF there is space, but on my journey the 1% bastards in sleeper cars sucked up all the fine wine. Even our conductor couldn’t pull off a quick photo tour for me. It is supposedly a real old timey train parlour car. I can not wait to see all the comments in this blog post telling me how I wasted a 12 hour trip by missing it.

The staff are all wonderful people. I think our conductor Joseph was living his dream. While I merely yelled “toot toot!” over and over again, Joseph displayed mastery at yelling “All Aboard!”

He also made sure our trip was wonderful. The service folks in the dining car and snack shop all seemed to be having the time of their lives, and were super happy to help you. I’ve never seen people so happy to be at work. Really. Amtrak!

The Coast Starlight pulled along the pitch black southern California coast, where we saw a few oil rigs, and then pulled into LA’s fabled Union Station. It is ghastly ugly from the arrivals view point. The showpiece building is lovely, but you walk through a lot of rusted corrugated metal to get there.

I loved Amtrak and am looking forward to taking another trip, however, I’ll look more carefully at the schedule and routes before future trips. South to North is the way for the Coast Starlight.

I think Jim owes me about $12 for all the “Toot toots!”

Also, this was stuck in my head the entire trip.

Forklift drivers block in a car driven by suspected tool thives

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In this video, we see some men park a red car, get out, and help themselves to some free tools in a white van parked next to them. But the tools weren’t actually free, and when someone runs runs over to tell the men that economic theories advocating collective ownership of goods are riddled with logical flaws, the men jump in their car and start to drive away. But the forklift drivers sense something is wrong and spring into action, deftly maneuvering their forklifts to block the egresses. I wonder what the folks in the red car where saying to each other as this was happening?

Cindy Wilson of the B-52s Drops Surprising Solo Album

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Cindy Wilson of the B-52s has dropped a solo record called Change, and as the name suggests, it’s nothing like what you’d expect from the founding member of a band best known for the one-of-a-kind, frenetic party sound of songs like “Rock Lobster” and “Loveshack.”

On Change, gone are Wilson’s lusty wails about fish and candy, limberger or tin roofs rusted. Nowhere does she shriek like a sea creature, bang on her bongos or belt out the soaring harmonies heard on B-52s’ songs “Roam” or “Juliet of the Spirits.”

Instead, Wilson’s new effort is an ethereal dream-pop album featuring a subtle vocal performance of quiet harmony whispering and dancing over layers of pulsing synths, rolling rhythms and indie-rock guitars. From the low tempo “Sunrise” to the upbeat “Mystic” the songs on Change are quite wonderful–all the more so because Wilson’s new direction is unexpected.

Wilson is touring small clubs with her band comprised of fellow Athens, GA musicians Ryan Monahan, Lemuel Hayes, Suny Lyons and Marie Davon–all decades her junior–in support of the music they’ve created together. (She’ll also be on the road in 2018 with the B-52s, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary and still going strong.)

This snippet of the song “Corporeal” from a recent show in Washington DC perfectly captures Wilson and her band’s celestial live performance:

Get the album Change, as well as Wilson’s Supernatural and Sunrise EPs, from bandcamp or iTunes.

Cheggers dead at 60

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A headline meaningful only to Britons of a certain age, and for all others a momentary visit to the strange alternative reality of UK childrens’ light entertainment in the 1970s and 1980s. Keith Chegwin is dead at 60.

Chegwin was known for hosting programmes including children’s game show Cheggers Plays Pop and Swap Shop. …

He went on to make infamous Channel 5 nudist gameshow Naked Jungle, appearing naked except for a hat, and also starred as himself in Ricky Gervais show Extras….

The larger-than-life character, described by his family as “a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend” leaves two children and his wife Maria. He had been cared for at a hospice in recent weeks.

Photo: BBC

Here is footage from the nude game show.

Your inbox is full of spyware-riddled emails that are both potentially very harmful to you and also very easy to disable

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It is routine for companies — and even individuals — to send emails with “beacons,” transparent, tiny images that have to be fetched from a server. Through these beacons, companies can tell whether you’ve opened an email, whom you’ve forwarded it to, and even your location from moment to moment.
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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Now with Extra Monsters): At Least One Monster Per Paragraph! This Is Our Guarantee!

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LETTER I

To Mrs. Saville, England

St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17–.

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday; and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking, and the absolute lack of any monsters that she need worry about.

I am already far north of London; and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid. I picture Dracula, mooning himself beneath a silvery orb; mummies and wolfmen ply me with Italian ices. I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and delight. There, Margaret, the sun is forever visible; its broad disk just skirting the horizon and diffusing a perpetual splendour. There–for with your leave, my sister, I will put some trust in preceding navigators–there snow and frost and hideous creatures out of nightmare are banished; and, sailing over a calm sea, we may be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in beauty every region hitherto discovered on the habitable globe. What may not be expected in a country of eternal light, other than a total lack of vampires? I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle, repels bloodsuckers, and may regulate a thousand celestial observations that require only this voyage to render their seeming eccentricities consistent forever. I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man or “vampyr.” These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death or undead and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat, with his holiday mates, on an expedition of discovery up his native river.


This expedition has been the favourite dream of my early years, to counteract my childish nightmares. I have read with ardour the accounts of the various voyages which have been made in the prospect of arriving at the North Pacific Ocean through the seas which surround the pole. You may remember that a history of all the voyages made for purposes of discovery composed the whole of our good Uncle Thomas’ library, except for those small dioramas featuring monsters in various threatening poses. My education was neglected, yet I was passionately fond of reading. These volumes were my study day and night, and my familiarity with them increased that regret which I had felt, as a child, on learning that my father’s dying injunction, a curse lifted from the Necronomicon, had forbidden my uncle to allow me to embark in a seafaring life.

Six years have passed since I resolved on my present undertaking (which makes me in a sense an UNDERTAKER). I can, even now, remember the hour from which I dedicated myself to this great enterprise. I commenced by inuring my body to hardship. I accompanied the whale-fishers on several expeditions to the North Sea; I feasted on the dead; I voluntarily endured cold, famine, thirst, want of sleep and sasquatch attack; I often worked harder than the common sailors during the day and devoted my nights to the study of mathematics, the theory of medicine, and those branches of physical science from which a naval adventurer might derive the greatest practical advantage, and monstrology. Twice I actually hired myself as an under-mate in a Greenland whaler, and acquitted myself to admiration.

And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to accomplish some great purpose? My life might have been passed in ease and luxury; but I preferred glory and monster-stalking to every enticement that wealth placed in my path. Oh, that some encouraging voice would answer in the affirmative! My courage and my resolution is firm; but my hopes fluctuate, and my spirits are often depressed. I am about to proceed on a long and difficult voyage, the emergencies of which, and the spectral haunts which will no doubt trouble the ship, will demand all my fortitude: I am required not only to raise the spirits of others, but sometimes to sustain my own, when theirs are failing. I am also sometimes required to raise the spirits of the dead, and the flesh of them as well.

This is the most favourable period for travelling in Russia. They (the people, not the byakhee or vampire bats) fly quickly over the snow in their sledges; the motion is pleasant, and, in my opinion, far more agreeable than that of an English stagecoach. The cold is not excessive, if you are wrapped in furs–a dress which I have already adopted, for there is a great difference between walking the deck and remaining seated motionless for hours, when no exercise prevents the blood from actually freezing in your veins, though that might foil the action of certain predatory creatures of the night. I have no ambition to lose my life on the post-road between St. Petersburgh and Archangel, or even Archdevil.

Farewell, my dear, excellent Monster I mean Margaret. Heaven shower down blessings on you, Hell fling them upward, and save me, that I may again and again testify my gratitude for all your love and kindness.

–Your affectionate brother, not a monster, I swear by God, and not the God of monsters but the regular God,

– R. WALTON.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Now with Extra Monsters): At Least One Monster Per Paragraph! This Is Our Guarantee! [Marc Laidlaw]

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