The 140-Character Novel: Famous Authors Try Their Hands at Twitter Fiction

Hemingway made famous the six-word story with his oft-quoted “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” But is ultra-brevity a form we can expect to see more often now that being on Twitter is more popular than not? The Guardian rounded up 21 famous authors and asked them to give the 140-character story a go.

Hari Kunru gives a good short-form thriller:

And Helen Fielding shows strong with her micro-tale of marital woe:

But as Simon Armitage notes, perhaps this project isn’t worth the effort:

There are 18 more where this came from, but for me the results are mixed. Read the rest and decide for yourself, but before you go, let’s play a game: Drop your own 140-character story into the comments. I have a feeling that you guys can convince me that there’s a better way to do this.

Editor’s Note: FREE SHIRT TO THE BEST STORY (As decided by me!)

[flavorwire]

LEGO Releases ‘TMNT’ Sets!

While April O’Neal, Casey Jones, and Bebop & Rocksteady are clearly lacking, the rest of the gang is all here!

NOTE: Only Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dogpound, Foot Soldier, and The Krang are currently available in the $60 “Shellraiser Street Chase” set. Raphael,Donatello (who was always my favorite), and the rest will be available in future sets.

[Via Gizmodo]

Bill Nye is Awesome and He Needs YOUR Help [Video]

You’ve heard Bill! Now do your part to help!

Bill Nye needs your help! We’re writing the President of the United States, asking him to restore the funding cuts to NASA’s planetary exploration program.

[Planetary.org/SOS]

Lords of Waterdeep: Dungeons & Dragons Meets Meeples, Makes Magic

Lords of Waterdeep. Image via Amazon.

Board games are serious business in this household, second only to our weekly D&D campaign when it comes to social interaction and flat-out fun. As such, we’re a little spoiled for games. I’ll have to admit, in spite of the fact that we’ve accumulated an entire closet full of games (just under a hundred and counting) I’m rarely really wowed by something enough to write about it. Especially when it comes to D&D-themed games. I was not thrilled by The Wrath of Ashardalon, and we really won’t talk about Castle Ravenloft.

Listen, I’m a very picky board gamer. I don’t have a ton of time on my hands. When I sit down and play a game I want to finish it and immediately want to play again. I want to feel challenged. I want to feel like the game is something special. Most games fall into the “play once” category and I never think of them again. But not Lords of Waterdeep. No, geek friends, this game rocks.

You know right away that’s the case, because as soon as you open the box you’re in a happy little magical world of cardboard and wood. Just a glance informs you that this is a special game, combining two things I love a great deal: Eurostyle gaming and Dungeons & Dragons. There are meeples. There are delightful little wooden cubes. There is slick art. There are cards. Board game geeks among our readers will understand what a thrilling feeling it can be to split the cellophane and lift the box (with just a little resistance as you break the seal) and see such a wealth of little, tiny pieces.

Like many Euro games, which Lords of Waterdeep clearly is paying homage to, the strategy is about building and plotting and planning your way toward victory points, much in the way you would with Puerto Rico or Settlers of Catan (some of the basic building mechanics remind me very much of Puerto Rico, which is still probably my favorite game of all time). But to sweeten the deal, there is a second tier of strategy: getting and completing quests. Each player gets certain bonuses for completing different kinds of quests (they’re color coded as Arcana, Warfare, etc.)–these various bonuses are assigned randomly at the beginning of the game, so your “identity” and bonuses aren’t revealed until the end. Which is particularly nice since it’s always hard to see a victor.

Image by rachel_pics via Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0

To complete quests you must gain and spend both people (which are color coded and include rogues, wizards, warriors, and clerics, as you do) and money as well as other requirements. Positioning on the board changes with every turn, so depending on where you place your large meeples (think of them like emissaries or something) changes how you’re able to finish, get, and start quests. It’s one of the best mechanics out there for leveling the playing field and reminds me a bit of the game Citadels in that respect. The order is always fluid, so you can’t depend too much on the board at first glance. I’ve found it’s best to try and have plans A-D going in, because inevitably your plans will be foiled (which is totally part of the fun).

As always, I’m a big fan of good art, and this game certainly has that. The illustrations are evocative of the Forgotten Realms mythos we’ve all come to know and love, and support the nuts and bolts of the game effortlessly. One of my recent gripes in board games would have to do with the way many games are clearly a mechanic with a theme painted over it. The art might be nice, but it feels totally separate from the gameplay. Lords of Waterdeep never feels that way.

Best of all, it’s quick. The pacing is exciting, and you jump headfirst with the first round. Although I often wish for an extra round I think that has more to do with my own skills than the way the game is played. Unlike some games with thousands of pieces that take an hour to set up (seriously, Descent, I love you, but we’ve got to talk about the wind-up) it’s a fun, full-fledged game that’s easy to play spur-of-the-moment. No whining from the crew. And it’s a game–like Small World and a few others that I’ve been introduced in the last year or so–that I’m happy to hop into even if I’m tired or under the weather. It’s just that good.

And at just around $50 ($38.31 @ Amazon,) for such a polished game with so much replay possibility, you’d be a silly kobold to miss it. My hope (and there is plenty of speculation) is that there will soon be an expansion!

[Lords of Waterdeep]

Amazon Deal of the Day: 51% Off Christopher Nolan: Director’s Collection (Memento / Insomnia / Batman Begins / The Dark Knight / Inception) [Blu-ray] – $24.49

For today’s edition of Deal of the Day, Amazon has the Christopher Nolan: Director’s Collection (Memento / Insomnia / Batman Begins / The Dark Knight / Inception) on blu-ray for just $24.49. That’s 51% off the collection’s usual retail price of $49.99.

-Original special features from all 5 movies
-Premium book showcasing photos, production stills and making-of notes

Christopher Nolan: Director’s Collection (Memento / Insomnia / Batman Begins / The Dark Knight / Inception) [Blu-ray]$49.99 $24.49 (51% Off)

New York Comic Con 2012 in Pictures – Part 2 [Gallery]

You’ve seen the first part of our gallery from New York Comic Con 2012 (and if you haven’t, it’s here!), so now, here’s part 2 for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough photos left from Michael, our photographer, to do a full gallery, but fortunately, our pals from Aggressive Comics have given us some pics to fill in the void, and we also have some Amazing ones from Anna fischer as well.

[Other pics from Aggressive Comics | Anna Fischer]

Say Bye Bye to Laundry

Ever thrown something in the washing machine, even though it didn’t really need a full wash? Later regretted that decision because the piece of clothing has come out just a little bit stretched out and a little more worn down?

Well Lisa Marie Bengtsson, a London designer, wanted to come up with a solution. The world is constantly trying to come up with innovative ways to reduce our impact on the environment – and this has the added bonus of saving our clothes from unnecessary damage too.

These clothes hangers are equipped with activated charcoal – that is carbon that has been treated with oxygen in such a way that it becomes a porous material that absorbs odors. You can then leave things like, say, a blazer you wore while someone was smoking, hanging up and have it smelling fresh, without having to subject it to a full on wash.

Of course, this will never remove stains nor replace actually washing dirty clothes – it’s more just to remove slight odors from not-so-dirty clothes you wish to wear again.

It’s a pretty cool concept, but I’m not sure how much I’d really use it. If I felt like I could use some clothes again, I’d probably just hang it up and let it air out – not sure the activated carbon is particularly necessary.

What do you guys think? Good environmentally-friendly innovation or making a simple thing more complicated than it needs to be?

[By Lisa Marie Bentsson | Via Geeky Gadgets]

Super Morrissey Bros. [Audio]

You haven’t lived until you’ve heard The Smiths’ “This Charming Man” done in the 8-bit style of Super Mario Bros!

[Via SoundCloud – Lazyitis]

A Female Cosplayer’s Message to Rude Guys: “Nope. Stop Talking.”

NYC-based freelance fashion and costume designer and illustrator Mandy Caruso (pictured above), who also happens to like cosplaying, went to New York Comic Con last weekend as Black Cat, and what happened to her shines a less than positive light on how many men act toward ladies at cons. I also see many such comments on galleries that I post on [GAS], and I make sure to nuke those comments out of existence as soon as I see them. Full text of her tumblr post below:

At Comic Con today, I went as Black Cat. This is a shitty picture and there will be better ones of my whole costume coming up but I just want to say something.

Black Cat’s costume has a fair amount of cleavage (conservative compared to many other female comic characters but a good amount as far as what I’ve ever shown). I guess I was not surprised to have a couple men ask to pose with me and then do some doofy “WHOA LOOK AT THOSE KNOCKERS” poses. I just make a really ugly face when I see they’re doing it. One guy with the social graces of a lemur said to me “I was this close to wearing that same outfit. My breasts are large and supple and I think it would have been nice.” Nope. Stop talking.

But aside from guys being doofy and awkward (but clearly not foul-intentioned), I did have my first truly skeezy experience at Comic Con today.

And my first truly empowering moment as well.

This group of men from some kind of Stan Lee fan club blah blah internet video channel blah blah asked to interview with them on camera about Comic Con. I said well okay, sure. Camera is rolling. The “host” is a middle aged, rotund dude. It’s an all-male crew and lots of people (mostly guys) were beginning to crowd around. The following is the interview as burned in my mind. Keep in mind that I expected this to be about Comic Con in general.

  • Him: I’m here with…
  • Me: Mandy, aka Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat
  • Him: ..And she is HOT. Do you think I’m hot enough to pull that off?
  • Me: Uh, I’m not sure, I’ve never seen you in drag.
  • Him: I’ve got a great ass. Go on, spank me.
  • Me: (look at his large ass, popped up mere inches away from me then look into the camera like are you kidding me . No thanks. I may hurt you, I’m a lot stronger than I look.
  • Him: Aw come on!
  • Me: No, seriously. Stop.
  • Him: Damn, alright! Well let me ask you an important question then…what is your cup size?
  • Me: (big talk show smile) That is actually none of your fucking business.
  • Him: Oh! I think that means to say she’s a C.
  • Me: I actually have no breasts at all, what you see is just all of the fat from my midsection pulled up to my chest and carefully held in place with this corset. It’s really uncomfortable, I don’t know why I do it.
  • Him: (to the male crowd) Aw, come on what do you guys think? C cup?
  • —a few males start to shout out cup sizes as I stand there looking at this guy like this has to be a fucking joke, then look at the crowd and see that no amount of witty banter or fiestiness will stop making this whole thing fucking dumb. It was clearly a ploy to single out cosplaying women to get them to talk sexual innuendos and flirt with this asshole and let him talk down to them simply because they were in costume and were attractive. Whether I’m in a skintight catsuit or not, I’m a fucking professional in everything I do and I don’t need to play nice for this idiot.
  • Me: This is not an interview, this is degrading. I’m done. (I walk away)
  • Him: (clearly dumbfounded and surprised) ..Come on, it’s all in good fun!
  • Me: Being degraded is fun? That was unprofessional and I hope that isn’t your day job because you can’t interview for shit, my man.

And the entire crew and the crowd were SILENT. NOTHING. SHOCK, HONEY. It felt like I was in a heated fog, full of rage and pride and I sashayed away feeling like the most badass motherfucker in the whole damn room, but kind of also on the verge of tears. A slow build of applause would have been appropriate, but from the looks on people’s faces, they were just completely not expecting me to do what I just did- which was really nothing more than speaking up for myself. It wasn’t something one should feel brave for doing but crazy for not doing when necessary.

It’s because many people at these cons expect women cosplaying as vixens (or even just wearing particularly flattering costumes) to be open/ welcoming to crude male commentary and lecherous ogling, like our presence comes with subtitles that say “I represent your fantasy thus you may treat me like a fantasy and not a human in a costume”. And maybe that will always be how the majority of people see us. But that does not mean we have to put up with shit that crosses the line, it does not mean we owe them a fantasy, it does not mean we dress up to have guys drooling over us and letting us know that we turn them on. It is not all about your dicks, gentlemen. So I encourage cosplaying women everywhere to be blunt and vocal with their rights, their personal boundaries, and their comfort level at conventions. I actually encourage girls to be brashly shameless about these things, to not be afraid to speak up if you feel uncomfortable and to let the person doing it know that they are crossing the line. Don’t keep quiet because you’re scared of what they might say or think- because if you say nothing they will continue to see what they’re doing as OK.

Since I’m not based in the U.S. and have a big family (3 kids is a lot these days), I cannot attend all of the cons I’d like to, but while taking pics for Geeks are Sexy at Montreal Comic Con, I noticed a few guys who were really rude to ladies. I’m glad to say that these ladies handled the situation really well. My personal opinion is that regardless if you’re a guy or a girl, and decide to attend a con wearing a more or less “revealing” costume because you feel “empowered” by it, just go ahead and do it. You know wearing the outfit will make you feel good about yourself. But once you’re there, don’t take bullshit from anyone and let your thoughts known to people who disrespect you, in a polite manner, of course. An intelligent, polite retort always hit harder than spewing obscenities! :)

So what do you guys think about Mandy’s bad experience? Have you ever been victim of comments like those? What is the best way to handle rude, degrading remarks? Let us know in the comments section below!

Han Solo Swimsuit: Perfect for Water Pistol Fights!

First, Black Milk Clothing created the TARDIS dress; then the R2-D2 dress.

Now??

THE (2-SIDED) HAN SOLO SWIMSUIT!

Buy yours here! Available in S-XL!

[Via Geekologie]

 

Holy LEGO Batcave, Batman! [Pictures]

This (light-up!) Batcave diorama, assembled by “Brothers Brick” (a.k.a. Carlyle Livingston II & Wayne Hussey), took 800 hours to assemble and over 20,000 LEGO! It also weighs over 100 pounds!

[Via io9]