Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Find: LeftBrainRightBrain

I am an incorrigible book lover, and like many book lovers I have a fondness for vintage books in particular. The older the edition, the better—there's just something luxurious and timeless about them. That "old-timey" atmosphere plus the obvious love and appreciation for science is what appeals to me about the pieces in fellow Mad Scientist of Etsy Heidi's shop, LeftBrainRightBrain. They hearken back to an era when science textbooks were still trying to figure everything out.

Vintage Vitamin E Illustration Pendant from LeftBrainRightBrain

In particular, I love the etchings used in the illustrations. There is something charming about an artist's rendition that a photo will never have, no matter how stunning the photograph may be.

1920s Vintage Botany Lotus Pendant from LeftBrainRightBrain

1896 Vintange Flower Anatomy Pendant from LeftBrainRightBrain

But Heidi carries a wider array of pieces than just ("just") science. Here and there you'll also find some cute retro illustrations.

1953 Vintage Singing Schoolgirl Ring from LeftBrainRightBrain

1960 Vintage Juicy Strawberry Illustration Pendant from LeftBrainRightBrain

And some creepy ones. Halloween is coming, you guys!!

1953 Vintage Children's Skull Illustration Ring from LeftBrainRightBrain

Vintage Biology Textbook Skull Keychain from LeftBrainRightBrain

And for the believers among us, some more esoteric, alchemical ones.

Vintage Chemistry Alchemical Tin Symbol Pendant from LeftBrainRightBrain

Vintage Chemistry Alchemical Copper Symbol Pendant from LeftBrainRightBrain

As you can see, Heidi caters to a wide variety of interests and fields in her shop! On the off chance there's nothing there that tickles your fancy, send her a convo—Heidi also does custom orders!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trek Thursday: The Gamesters of Triskelion

#62: The Gamesters Of Triskelion

In case you forgot: Uhura, Kirk, and Chekov are abducted by brains-in-cages that collect specimens for their own gladiatorial amusement.

Putting gladiator-style combat into a credible sci-fi scenario is more credible of an idea than just a parallel Earth stuck in Roman times. Not that I'm naming any episode in particular...

I think, in a lot of ways, this episode is pure Star Trek stereotype. You've got dopey fight choreography, aliens who have ~evolved beyond the need for their brains~, Kirk romancing a green-skinned (or green-haired, in this case) space babe, and Chekov's accent. But beyond the stereotypical trappings there's not a whole lot interesting or unusual going on here. It's certainly not an episode that merits rewatching.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September Read Play Blog: Preferred Console

Read Play Blog is a meme about video games and books, posted every 16th of the month. Bloggers are encouraged to answer a discussion question, and recommend a video game that is similar to a book they liked. Hosted by Happy Indulgence Books and Read Me Away.

What is your preferred gaming platform?

Wow, ask me to pick a favorite child, why don't you? Right now I am playing stuff almost exclusively on the PS3, though I do a bit of Minecraft on my PC from time to time. But there is a soft spot in my heart for older consoles; if I had to pick a favorite I'd have to say the Dreamcast. It was a great little system and deserved to do better than it did. Unfortunately I don't know where mine is anymore, or where the games are.


Be it Dreamcast or Wii or PS3, I am a console girl through and through. There are certainly PC games I play and like (the aforementioned Minecraft; I played Diablo 2 on PC all throughout high school; Battle for Wesnoth took over my life during university), but I like keeping a minimum of things installed on my computer at any given time. I use my computer for so much, including work, that loading it up with games seems like unnecessary stress on the system. Do I have a poor understanding of how computers work? Probably.

Currently Playing

SO MUCH DIABLO 3. With Anlouise, my level 60 lady barbarian.

The gaming community seems wicked pressed about how D3 isn't like D2 and...I don't know. No, it isn't. But Blizzard managed to capture D2's button-smashing hack 'n' slash clickfest quite well in D3, and that's what's most important. Plus they axed a lot of bullshit that annoyed me back in the D2 days, like your limited inventory or not being able to unsocket an item. There were lots of great things about D2, but that was not one of them. There was at least that hack for PC that let you have an infinite inventory (infinitory?) and redistribute your skill points (I think it was called Golden something? I want to say Golden Sun but that's something totally different), but an annoying design is still an annoying design.

I do miss the skill tree, though, It was a fun bit of strategizing. And the Horadric Cube. What, you mean now I have to pay in-game gold to an almost-racist caricature* to upgrade my gems? Weaksauce.

*Recognize that voice? It's David Lo Pan!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Trek Thursday: The Galileo Seven

#63: The Galileo Seven

In case you forgot: A shuttle craft with Scott, McCoy, and Spock (and some other boring Enterprise crewmen) crashes on Taurus II. They try to figure how to survive and get off the planet while the Enterprise blindly gropes about for them in space. There's an obnoxious High Commissioner Ferris (Bueller? Bueller?) barking down Kirk's back the whole time.

This episode has a lot going for it, and I struggled a bit with where I should rank it. Part of the story—the stranded vessel unable to contact its blind mothership—is solid adventure/science-fiction fare. We also have some aliens for once that are neither more-or-less people nor ~beings of pure energy~: they're 10 foot tall, super primitive ape creatures. (I guess that makes them more-or-less people, but it's more of a stretch than you usually see in embodied TOS aliens.)

But it's not without its flaws, obviously. You might as well have titled this episode "Why Spock Isn't the Captain and Why Everyone on the Enterprise Deserves to Die." The former part of that title, at least, seems to be the purpose behind this episode. Unfortunately, while it's important (or at least interesting) to establish why someone as capable as Spock isn't the captain of his own ship, "The Galileo Seven" does that at the cost of making you hate everyone else and their stupidity. Since when did anyone on the Enterprise ever care about burying their dead? Why can't Spock just nerve pinch Mr. Broma to get him to shut up, already?

In the end, the bad outweighs the good, for me. There are a lot of "just okay" episodes of TOS that I don't remember well and don't mind rewatching (even if I don't enjoy rewatching them, either). But when I plowed through TOS again to write this, I definitely remembered this episode by title—and not fondly.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pruning "Friday Finds" and Handmade Kokoba

I love to support fellow Etsy artisans. Whenever I find a shop I really love, you can bet it'll end up as a Friday Find sooner or later.

 But it would be naive to think that every shop on Etsy is a small, indie-operated business with just one or a handful of people. Etsy is a huge marketplace with international name recognition and there are resellers and wholesalers out there looking to bank on that name recognition to appeal to a broader audience. Etsy, of course, makes bank off of this. A small business can't list thousands of unique items at a go or handle 13,100 sales over the course of a few years—not when it's selling handmade clothing or jewelry, at any rate. But since their presence on the site benefits Etsy ($0.20 for every listing and a percentage of every sale?), they're not going away. A few, here and there, so that Etsy's reputation as a "handmade" marketplace isn't entirely laughable, but not the bulk of them. Never.

This is to say that a couple of shops that I've found and featured on Friday Finds I have, after some more detailed research (which I should have done in the beginning), decided to recant on.

I've deleted those posts from the blog and have submitted search removal requests for the URLs and search results to Google. Additionally, I will be more vigilant in future Friday Finds.

I also want to reiterate that all of the jewelry at Kokoba is handmade by me. Alone. Myself. Lawyer Mom handles most of the packaging and mailing (except the custom orders; I take care of those from bead box to post office, as it were), but I make everything. I buy my beads in small batches and, out of probably hundreds of pieces, have yet to create any identical pieces. Kokoba is not on the track to becoming mass-manufactured (well, unless I decide I want to sell some place like ThinkGeek or the IFuckingLoveScience store on my idea for a cash lump sum, but then you loyal readers would be the first to know after the ink was dry on the contracts) and you can rest assured that there is literally nothing else like a piece of Kokoba jewelry anywhere in the world.

And you can rest assured that, from now on, the Friday Finds will be better. They will be unique, indie, and handmade.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Music Monday: We Are Here

There is nothing I love more than sad lyrics paired with a cheerful melody. Except maybe sad Korean lyrics paired with a cheerful melody. (I'm a sucker for language practice, what can I say?)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Trek Thursday: Turnabout Intruder

#64: Turnabout Intruder

In case you forgot: The Enterprise is on a rescue mission, and one of Kirk's old flames is in the mix. Turns out the rescue mission is a ruse that Kirk's angry ex cooked up so she could use old alien technology to bodysnatch Kirk and be the captain of a starship she always wanted to be (but can't because she's a woman, and it's hard to tell if she started out unstable or if being denied her dreams and goals made her that way), while Kirk himself is stuck being....a woman. Some court martial procedural stuff happens, Kirk gets back in his own body, and justice is served.

This is one of the weirder episodes of TOS when it comes to feminism: you can easily read it as condemning the damage that happens when you needlessly limit women's roles in society. You can also read it as a condemnation of women who ~want it all~ and can't be happy with the lot of "beautiful love interest" assigned to them. Considering the source, the intended message is probably the latter, but I'll still choose to interpret it as a sci-fi statement about the importance of women's lib.

All the same, it's another bodysnatchers episode, and again it's frustrating that after all this time it's not immediately apparent to everyone that Kirk is not himself. Also, watching Shatner act out being possessed by a woman is one of the most eyeroll-inducing performances he's given.

Memorable line: "Believe me, it's better to be dead than to live alone in the body of a woman." (I feel like Roddenberry meant this in a very different manner than I'm taking it, but still, it stayed with me.)