Random Thursday: Random Remnants of Revelry

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

And you thought we were done with the holidays . . .



Hint for next Gift-Getting Season #1

Anya Stasenko and Slava Leontyev,
a graphic artist and a painting teacher from the Ukraine,
make the best porcelain creatures ever.

And you KNOW I know from amazing tchotchkes.


They make spectacular rabbits (those TOES!)
lovely owls, wise turtles, playful kitties
and other whimsical, beautifully painted critters,
some no more than two inches long—
including crickets and a variety of adorable flies.


Fly15I only wish I could read their website
and afford the shipping fees . . .


Want More Christmas Cookies?

But don’t have enough  holiday cheer left to get through the prepwork and clean up?

Have a two-minute meringuehack,
with bonus Why-Didn’t-I-Think-Of-That egg separation!

It works!  It’s yummy!
Let ’em cool first!  Ow, my tongue!


Schrödinger’s Flake

This Snowflake both does and does not exist in a single sheet of paper.


If you want to give it a little nudge,
the too-cool physics magazine Symmetry
(of course there are—hush)
is offering downloadable patterns for several flaky Nobel Prize-winning physicists.

Don’t know what the half-life is for those patterns (HEY-o!) so better grab ’em now!


Hint for next Gift-Getting Season #2

Benjamin Shine Studios makes a lot of cool stuff.

Like the Rekindle—
a candle holder that saves and reforms the wax from one candle
to make another!

Benjamin Shine Rekindle

Elegant, economic, and fun to watch.

These aren’t in production, yet,
but apparently the response to the prototype has been so good,
the studio is looking for a manufacturer.

Here’s hoping for next year!


And Now, For the Rest of the Story

I know this is two or three days late,
but that’s just par for the course, really.


Have a Very Merry
It’s All Finally Over But the Tree Dismantlement,

(what do you mean, that’s just us?)


Super Sunny and the Role Models

Super Sunny3

Those aren’t bunny slippers. They’re supersneakers!

Sunny loves superheroes.

She reads superhero comic books and graphic novels.

She watches Young Justice, Teen Titans, and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes  on YouTube and  Justice League Unlimited with her father.

She loves live action superhero shows and movies, too.

She hasn’t outgrown her Super Sunny bedtime stories, either.

And at recess, she plays superheroes with her friends. She’s Flash’s daughter.

I asked her why, and she said they had decided to be superkids, because there weren’t enough girl superheroes that anyone wanted to play.  Her friend Kira had called being Wonder Woman’s daughter.

“I didn’t care, though, because I want to run, and Kira says Wonder Girl wears these high-heeled boot things like her mother, which you can’t run in. That’s why she flies, I guess.  Flash Girl can’t fly, but she wears supersneakers. If I wanted to fly, I could be Hawk Girl, um, Girl . . . but that sounds weird. Plus, we aren’t allowed to hit stuff at school and that’s all Hawk Girl does.

This is a great attitude, but it also made me think about female superheroes as role models.

Traditionally, one would be forgiven—if not entirely correct—for thinking that the majority of female superheroes were originally created or significantly modified by artists who were into silicon-based porn and also extreme wish-fulfillment.

Some of them also maybe didn’t like or understand women that much, either, outside of some clichéd, stereotypical roles, which were the norm at the time, so perhaps they might be forgiven, too.

Times have changed, though, and are also changing for female supes, too, sort of. People are starting to question the the plausibility of a universe in which all female supes and mutants are equipped with incredibly strong Cooper’s ligaments and supporting back muscles—or localized anti-gravity powers over their upper torsos—paired with the inherent ability to keep their nipples (or whatever those things are on non-mammalian-based species) almost covered with whatever is passing for a costume, even while doing the MMA version of twister.

The Hawkeye Initiative  in particular has brought attention to the differences between the way men and women supes are depicted on covers (and other comic-based art), simply by putting the decidedly male superhero Hawkeye (or his bros) in the costume and position of the woman in the original.  It’s surprisingly effective and intentionally hilarious.*

But we’re still in a strange time when female supes are allowed to be smart, strong, and deadly but are still being drawn or dressed in tight leather catsuits or body paint and using sex to sell their stories—and their “action” figures.

And now that the holiday gift giving season is coming around, I’m looking for superhero stuff for our tiny superhero that will let her play without marginalizing her—or giving her a head start on the body issues that the fashion industry will start giving her any minute now.

Luckily, her Aunt Watson is on it.

A week ago, my SIL sent me sent me an article from Time Magazine about a new kind of female superhero, based on the actual proportions of a real human woman.


Not only can these figures do anything a male action figure can do—like sit with their knees together, because their hips work as nature intended instead of what plastic can force them into—but they aren’t locked into backstories or ready-made storylines, either.

They’re power based female superheroes who can be whomever the kids imagine them to be.

When I showed them to a friend who has almost given up finding super figures who match her children’s racially-mixed identities, she said, “Even their skin tones can be any shade you want!”

Bravery, Energy, Honesty, Industry, Enthusiasm, Persistence, Fear

These are the kinds of superhero role models** I want for my kid. Because she will essentially—elementally?—making her own.  The website even asks kids to send in elementalselfies to proclaim their own powers.

I bought the whole set the same day. I almost bought two, but my husband assured me that Sunny would let me play with hers.


I hope so—I could use a role model or two, myself!

An interesting two-part YouTube interview with the creators is here and here.


*The fantastic and utterly flexible Jim C. Hines did the same challenge—personally—for fantasy covers depicting women in anatomically suspect poses. The poses are hilarious, but it’s his description of the effort and pain involved that really drives the (pressure) point home.

** With the exception of Fear, maybe, though you can’t really have Bravery without her, right?


Why Mommy threw out the Barbie Guitar: An exculpatory repost

The first upset over the Great Cleaning finally happened last night, when Janie couldn’t find Sunny’s Barbie guitar for her impromptu concert of holiday songs she’d memorized from Clifford The Big Red Dog’s website.

She searched the donation bags, then stormed over to demand its safe return.

I told her I’d pitched it because it was broken (and to put the donations back in the bag, please) and after a short, futile argument (over both) she left.

But I’m afraid I lied.  That guitar wasn’t just broken . . . it was possessed.

Here’s the whole story.

I’ve tried to get rid of it before, but someone always rescued it.  If it comes back this time, I’m gonna try burning sage.

But at least the Tinkerbell watch is silent . . .

A Great Gift Idea, or A Funny Thing Happened Before Caffeine This Morning

I’m usually the first one up in the morning and I confess that I set my alarm early enough to make sure of this.  The house is quiet and peaceful—and usually no one will need me for about an hour.  Which is good, because I’m not at my temperamental best until six-thirty or so.

Except this morning, as I shuffled into the L-part of the living room I call the dining room and the rest of the family calls Mommy’s Mess, I heard a weird sound.  Sunny lost her Tinkerbell wristwatch in April, so we’re all used to a disembodied triple beep every 60 minutes,* but this was a steady alien buzz.

The first thing that crossed my mind—and this is why I don’t go into my subconscious unarmed—was that the wristwatch had finally gone into overload and we needed to evacuate.

In the manner of all brave Mommies—or TSTL horror movie victims, whatever—I ventured closer to pinpoint the sound and discovered Sunny’s pink Barbie guitar singing to itself in falsetto wasp.**    I picked the thing up and slid the pink bar to the center, but the hum started to rise in volume and pitch.

I found the off button and jabbed it.   A cheerful Barbie voice starting chirping, “Goodbye!  Goodbye!” over the ever increasing noise.

This didn’t help my bomb-threat delusion at all.  I fought the urge to throw open the front door and hurl  it into the front yard while screaming, “Incoming!”

Because it’s cold out there.

So I slapped it a good one, which reset the pitch and shut Barbie up, but didn’t do anything for the volume.   Pretty soon, the damn thing was going to wake the kids.

Flipping it onto its stomach, I found the battery hatch, which had been thoughtfully screwed down by people who were worried my offspring might decided to pry it open and put the shiny coppertopped things in their mouths.  The fact that they’re probably right didn’t make it any less frustrating, except—

I ran to the kitchen, pink demon instrument in hand, tore open the Everything Drawer and found the set of jewelers’ screwdrivers I’d been given for our wedding shower.  The third Philips was small enough, and the hatch sprang open to reveal a number of double-A batteries that weren’t budging.

I could have used the screwdriver to lever them out, but I opted for whacking the guitar over the chair back instead, sending batteries flying.

I felt like Jimi Hendrix.  Or maybe Garth Brooks.

I re-screwed the hatch and leaned the guitar next to Sunny’s bedroom door before going back to my mess and typing  up the whole story just so I could suggest this:

If you’re looking for a holiday gift to give the parents of small children,*** especially if you’ve given the small children anything with batteries, please consider a set of small screwdrivers that include both slotted and Phillips.

They will thank you.

Psst:  And if the thing you gave the small children makes noise?  Don’t bother with the extra batteries.  Please.


*Yes, we’ve looked for it.  On the floor, inside furniture, behind books in the bookcase, under everything—I drew the line at having the cat x-rayed.  We suspect it was pushed through a vent somewhere, but the adults in the family don’t care that much.  We are, however, extremely impressed with the battery life.

**Or WASP, I suppose.

***The smallest size is good for repairing eyeglasses, too, if one could only find the flippin’ screw once it falls out.