Monthly Archives: March 2010

Full Cover to Stephen King’s Blockade Billy

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The Altec Lansing Mix Digital Boombox For iPhone and iPod

I had a sizable group of people over the house for my daughter’s first birthday today.  I wanted to play music at the event that could be heard over the crowd but did not want a cumbersome sound system.

My goal was to have a portable remote controlled device that took up a small footprint with crisp sound and strong bass. It needed to be powerful and be able to handle my iPhone as a source of music. The Altec Lansing Mix ($300) was the perfect solution!

The stylish Mix delivered towering volume and perfect clarity. The XdB bass-enhanced 5.25” side-firing subwoofer offered formidable bass in concert with the crystal clear high end from the tweeters.

Altec Lansing was ingenious to include a digital FM radio with telescopic antenna and 4 station presets.  Many comparable systems do not offer a radio.

The boombox can be plugged in with the included AC adapter but also has a battery compartment that houses 8 D batteries (not included) for greater portability.  This unit is perfect for parties, the beach, a dorm room, etc.

The included Clip-on remote allowed me to change the music sources, control the volume, and navigate my iPhone playlist.

The Mix allows for 3 sound sources so your friends can add their MP3 players to the “mix” and play DJ.

See why CNET voted the Altec lansing Mix “One of the best iPod speaker options out there. Excellent!”

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The Real Names of 100 Musicians

What’s in a name? A lot, if you ask these musicians, each of whom ditched their birth names and adopted an alias before hitting the big time.

Check out the gallery HERE and find out the real names behind 100 pop-star pseudonyms. You’ll never look at Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, Faheem Rasheed Najm or Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson the same way.

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Illuminated Lightsaber Bookends

Check out these glowing Star Wars Lightsaber book-ends ($50) that appear to spear through your stack of books. The photos show a prototype, and the final version should look more like melting metal. The lighted end will glow via battery-powered lamps. Shipping on March 31st, 2010.


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Download The New Song From The National

The release of the National’s new album, High Violet, is still six weeks away, but the Brooklyn-via-Cincinnati quintet are offering up a free download “Bloodbuzz Ohio” as a preview to fans. You can download the song HERE.

The track features large, sweeping layers of piano, drums, and guitar laid beneath singer Matt Berninger’s smooth, melancholy baritone. “I still owe money to the money to the money I owe / I never thought about love / When I thought about home,” he sings, making this song something of a downer — but, as is usually the case with this band, it’s a gripping and gorgeous one. (Thanks for the tip Don)


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The Casio Privia PX-830 Digital Piano

Realistic Grand piano touch and sound can be found in the new Casio Privia PX-830 (List Price $1,399).

The Privia PX-830 features a new “Ivory Touch” Tri-Sensor, 88-note scaled hammer action keyboard. The matte-finished keys and scaled hammer action provides the weight, feel and resistance of an acoustic grand piano. Casio’s superior engineering has resulted in an authentic piano touch that captures every performance detail and nuance.

Musical expression is enhanced by the AIF Sound Source which provides 128-note polyphony.  Coupled with the new Liner Morphing Technology that allows greater dynamic range and superior speakers, the new PX830BK takes the compact digital piano to a whole new level.

The PX-830 is equipped with 16 different tones and is capable of layering and splitting sounds. Duet Mode allows for a student and teacher to work in equal ranges of the keyboard simultaneously while the two-track recorder enables musicians to produce their recordings or use it as a practice tool. The PX-830 has a USB MIDI interface which allows users to easily use it with computer applications. The PX-830 is also equipped with two 1/8” headphone outputs allowing two users to listen and practice privately.

The Privia PX-830 has a sleek and elegant design.  It comes complete with a fully integrated stand and three metal pedals in a stylish black matte (BK) or black polished (BP) cabinet design with an attractive sideboard flat lid.

The sleek and attractive Privia PX-830 offers a refined playing and listening experience. (Written by Meredith Fire-Hess)

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Add Touch To Your PC With The Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch

Wacom’s – Bamboo Pen & Touch ($99) combines the benefits of a pressure sensitive digital pen paired with an extra large touchpad to create a multi-touch experience.  The multi-touch tablet provides a comfortable hands-on alternative to the usual computer mouse. The Bamboo tablet allows you to quickly navigate your computer with a single finger or hand gesture.  You can scroll, zoom, and rotate your screen with ease. The versatile Bamboo Pen & Touch enables the user to glide around the desktop, navigate the web, annotate documents, edit photographs, write notes in your own handwriting, and much more.  The Bamboo Pen & Touch is simple to use.  The Bamboo tablet also comes with a full suite of visual editing software, including Adobe Photoshop Elements and Nik Color Efex Pro. Simply plug the USB adapter into your computer and install the provided drivers and soon you will be on your way to exploring a whole new way to interact with your computer.

I have thoroughly enjoyed using the tablet this week.  I had no idea how easily it integrated with my Windows 7 and Office 2007.  I also use Photoshop and the precision of the pen really impressed me as I was able to have much more control over intricate detail in my projects. (Written by Meredith Fire-Hess)

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11 Global McDonald’s Menu Items

The McDonald’s golden arches have come to symbolize American culture around the world. Operating in 118 countries and on six continents, the fast-food chain has no choice but to expand its options beyond the classic hamburger and french fries. Whether it’s the Rice Burger in Taiwan or the Paneer Salsa Wrap in India, check out these picks for the 11 most interesting McDonald’s menu items.

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Despicable Me Trailer

The upcoming 3-D CGI release features an all-star cast including Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove and Danny McBride.

In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes, sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden deep beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. Surrounded by an army of tireless, little yellow minions, we discover Gru (Steve Carell), planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon (Yes, the moon!) in Universal’s new 3-D CGI feature, Despicable Me.

Gru delights in all things wicked. Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way. Until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls who look at him and see something that no one else has ever seen: a potential Dad.

One of the worlds greatest super-villains has just met his greatest challenge: three little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes. Watch Despicable Me on July 9th, 2010.

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Two Great Boon Baby Products: Grass and Stash

Grass ($19.99) is a sleek and stylish drying rack that can be used with a wide variety of baby accessories. The two-piece design makes it easy to clean. Water drains into the lower tray while baby accessories rest on flexible grass blades to air dry. Great for everything from bottles to pacifiers. Grass and tray are both dishwasher-safe.

Dimensions: Tray measures 10″ x 10″, Overall height 2.5″

Stash ($24.99) keeps baby organized in any room. Stash hangs on the wall or sits on the countertop. Perfect for the bathroom, kitchen, nursery, or any room in the house. Mounting hardware included. The available colors are white and black.

Dimensions: 12.5″ x 8″ x 5″


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Fantastic Mr. Fox DVD

When I heard that Wes Anderson was going to bring the Roald Dahl story, Fantastic Mr. Fox to the big screen, I was thrilled.  Roald Dahl was my favorite childhood author and is best known for writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach.

Wes Anderson is one of my top 5 favorite directors and I have seen all his movies repeatedly.  His attention to detail, quirky characters and great musical scores make each film a treasure.

Unfortunately I was unable to view Fantastic Mr. Fox when it was released in theaters but I had a chance to watch the DVD this week and true to form, I really enjoyed it.  The film was adapted for the screen and expanded by Anderson and screenplay writer Noah Baumbach.

The stop-motion film features the voice talents of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Willem Dafoe. The voice work on this film is top-notch, perhaps the best of any children’s/animated film that I have heard.

The plot is only loosely based on the children’s book, and revolves around a chicken thief (Clooney) who tries to go straight after being caught in a trap while burglarizing a hen house. However, missing both the taste of chicken and the excitement of staging daring raids, Fantastic Mr. Fox decides to pull off one last big job before finally retiring for good.

So, with the help of Kylie (Wallace Wolodarsky), an opossum, he hatches an elaborate plan to steal poultry and cider from a trio of neighboring farmers owned by a trio of mean, gun-toting fox-haters: Franklin Bean (Michael Gambon), Walter Boggis (Robin Hurlstone) and Nathan Bunce (Hugo Guinness).

In the wake of the heist, during which Mr. Fox suffers the indignity of having his tail shot off, the irate farmers resort to desperate measures to catch him.

It is an escalating battle of wits to the very end.

Although the movie is stop motion animated there is no confusing that this is a Wes Anderson film.  There are elements from all of Anderson’s past films (Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, etc.) that seep into this film such as the elaborate furnishings, planning capers or detailed cross sections.

The bonus features on this DVD are unfortunately a little light and I would have liked to have seen a bit more such as voice commentaries.

The 3 extras are as follows:

From Script to Screen (7 minutes) discusses the adaptation of Dahl’s book, how Wes Anderson guided the animators, and more. We also see Bill Murray visiting the set where the animation was filmed.

Still Life (7 minutes) talks about the animation process. Anyone interested in the technical side of animation will be interested in this. It could have been a bit longer as the painstaking process of stop motion animation is fascinating and deserves additional detail.

A Beginner’s Guide to Whack-Bat (1 minute) is a brief faux documentary about the popular sport played among the woodland creatures.

Finally, Fox includes the film’s theatrical trailer as well as teasers, trailers and promos for other upcoming titles.

If you are looking for a smart, visually appealing and delightful film that the entire family will enjoy, pick up the DVD of Fantastic Mr. Fox today.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is available as a Blu-ray Disc/DVD Combo Pack (Blu-ray, DVD and a Digital Copy) for the suggested retail price of $39.99 U.S. / $49.99 Canada and available on standard DVD for $29.98 U.S. / $43.48 Canada.

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True Blood: Season 3 Collectible Posters

A new collectible poster will be revealed each week and I’ll post them as they become available! It’s all leading up to the premiere of True Blood Season 3 on Sunday, June 13th, 2010.

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Danger Bomb Alarm Clock

Pick up one of these unique Danger Bomb Alarm Clocks ($35) and wake up MacGyver style. A minute before your morning alarm is supposed to go off the Danger Bomb Clock starts beeping indicating that it is about to explode. Defuse it by unplugging the right color wire as indicated by the glowing LEDs on the front.

If you can’t seem to reach the wire in time, the clock begins a countdown (in Japanese) letting you know the bomb will explode in 10 seconds. If you are unable to defuse the clock, or you disconnect the wrong wire the clock will make a loud exploding noise over and over.

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Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Trailer

Meet charming and jobless Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera). A bass guitarist for garage band Sex Bob-omb, the 22-year-old has just met the girl of his dreams…literally. The only catch to winning Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is that her seven evil exes are coming to kill him. Genre-smashing filmmaker Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) tells the amazing story of one romantic slackers quest to power up with love in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

As Scott gets closer to Ramona, he must face an increasingly vicious rogues gallery from her past—from infamous skateboarders to vegan rock stars and fearsomely identical twins. And if he hopes to win his true love, he must vanquish them all before it really is game over.

The film based on the award-winning series of graphic novels by Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley will be in theaters on August 13th, 2010.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter To Open On June 18th, 2010.

Wizards and witches young and old are thrilled about Universal Studios Orlando official Grand Opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on June 18th, 2010.

Nearly three years in the making Universal’s Wizarding World, set in the Islands of Adventure, will feature not only shops from the Harry Potter books and movies, but also three rides.

In the Village of Hogsmeade, set against the backdrop of the iconic Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, visitors can stop by Dervish and Banges to shop for magical items like omnioculars, remembralls and pick up all the supplies they’ll need for their next Quidditch match.

Honeydukes will feature a wide array of magical sweets, including Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, while practical jokers will find just what they need at Zonko’s joke shop which will carry every thing from Extendable Ears and Boxing Telescopes to Sneakoscopes.

At Ollivander’s wand shop, guests will get a personal interactive experience with a “wandmaker” who will help the wand choose the wizard.

More than two dozen owls will roost in the rafters of the Owl Post where guests can send letters and postcards with an official Hogsmeade postmark and buy stamps from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

After a day of wandering the village, guests can dine at the Three Broom Sticks and the adjacent Hog’s Head pub which will serve traditional British fare and drinks including Butterbeer and pumpkin juice.

One of the most anticipated rides is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey set in Hogwarts Castle. According to Universal Orlando’s website:

“As visitors venture through classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts they’ll come upon the signature ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. For the first time ever visitors will be able to soar above the castle grounds, joining Harry Potter and his friends on a thrilling adventure. Riders will come face-to-face with creatures from memorable moments in the films such as the Hungarian Horntail (dragon), a giant Acromantula (spider), Dementors and the gigantic Whomping Willow as they speed and swerve through iconic locations from Harry Potter’s world.”

The re-themed Dueling Dragons roller coaster will become the Dragon Challenge with many iconic elements from the Triwizard Tournament. For the younger wizards and witches there is the Flight of the Hippogriff just past Hagrid’s hut.

Based on series of books by author J.K. Rowling, the adventures of boy wizard Harry Potter and his pals Hermione Granger and Rob Weasley follows the trio in their efforts to defeat an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry’s parents in his quest to conquer the wizarding world.

The series of seven books has hundreds of millions of copies and has been translated into 67 languages. Movies based on the first six books have been blockbuster successes for Warner Brothers. The seventh book is being made into two films; part one will be released in November 2010 and the movie series finale be released in July 2011.

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AT&T 3G MicroCell

If you are tired of AT&T’s spotty service at your home or office, the AT&T 3G MicroCell ($150) will solve that problem. The device acts like a mini-cell tower, routing your calls over your broadband Internet connection, and ensuring full coverage for up to four connected devices.

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Top Chef: The 2010 Tour

Bravo will launch its  “Top Chef: The Tour” on April 14th in St. Louis and it will land in California near the end of the three-month road trip.

In each city, two former chef contestants will host four live interactive shows.

During the tour, visitors will meet “Top Chef” talent, sample food and receive gourmet cooking tips from chef contestants. Fans will also have the opportunity to win prizes by playing Top Chef-inspired activities such as Quickfire Challenges. Admission is free.

Top Chef tour stops:

St. Louis, Mo. April 14

Kansas City, Mo. April 16

Atlanta, Ga. April 18 & 20

Charlotte, N.C. April 22

Pittsburgh, Pa. April 24 & 25

Louisville, Ky. April 30 & May 1 (Kentucky Derby)

Grand Rapids, Mich. May 4

Chicago, Ill. May 6 & 7

Westfield, N.J. May 15

Philadelphia, Pa. May 17

White Plains, N.Y. May 19 & 20

New York, N.Y. May 22 & 23

Boston, Mass. May 25

Denver, Colo. May 30

Salt Lake City, Utah June 3

Seattle, Wash. June 6

Portland, Ore. June 9

San Francisco, Calif. June 12

Los Angeles, Calif. June 14 – 16

Irvine, Calif. June 17

Phoenix, Ariz. June 19

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Download Your Free 20 Song iTunes Indie Spotlight Sampler

Click HERE to download a free 20 song iTunes Indie Spotlight sampler featuring Beach House, Laura Veirs, Four Tet, The Soft Pack and many more. Codes are available while supplies last. Be sure to redeem the code before it expires and check back often for more free music, TV shows and more. And spread the love around, share this with your friends so they can get their free music sampler too! Please note this free music offer is only available on the US iTunes Store.

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Brandi Carlile: Dying Day Video

Brandi Carlile and her band offer up some candid performance and travel footage on her newest video, Dying Day. Written by Tim Hanseroth, one of the twins in her band, the song comes from her latest album, Give Up the Ghost. Watch the video HERE.


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Download Phoenix Live From Sydney

After receiving much love from audiences over the past year, and winning a Grammy, French pop band Phoenix is giving something back: a free live album is now available for download by clicking the banner below.

Recorded earlier this month, Live in Sydney includes performances of eight tracks from 2009′s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

(Thanks for the link Don)

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International Poster for Iron Man 2

Here is the international poster for Iron Man 2, coming to conventional theaters and IMAX on May 7.

Directed by Jon Favreau, the highly-anticipated sequel stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Garry Shandling, John Slattery, Kate Mara, Clark Gregg and Olivia Munn.

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The Sony ICF-C71PJ Projector Clock Radio

The new ICF-C717PJ ($TBD) from Sony is packed with great features to help you wake up and drift off in even greater comfort.

Compact and sleekly styled with an elegant brushed aluminum finish, the ICF‑C717PJ looks great in any bedroom. It’s also the first clock radio from Sony with a built-in projector. Just twist the lens module to any angle and beam a super-sized time display onto any wall or ceiling for comfortable viewing.

There’s a generous choice of ways to wake up with the dual alarm clock. Listen to your favorite radio show with the FM/AM digital tuner, or plug your iPod or any personal music player into the audio jack and welcome the day with your favorite tunes.

Looking for a new way to relax? There’s a choice of five soothing sounds from the natural world that provide a harmonious accompaniment for waking up or drifting off to sleep. Choose from crisp, digital recreations of the undersea world, waves, mountain brook, rainfall or birdsong to suit your mood.

The big, bright, easy-to-read LCD offers a cool, soothing blue backlight: there’s a 4-way brightness control for comfortable viewing at any time of day or night.

There’s also a thermometer that displays ambient temperature in your bedroom. It’s a valuable way to check that you’ve got the heating set correctly and all set for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Even if it’s unplugged or there’s a temporary power failure, a battery back-up ensures that you’ll still wake up at the right time.

The new ICF-C717PJ clock radio from Sony will be available in Europe in April 2010.  No word on U.S. availability.

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Celebrate Marvel’s Avengers Day On May 19th, 2010

The Earth’s Mightiest Retailers assemble on May 19th, 2010 for the inaugural, first-annual, Avengers Day! This historic event marks an all new era for Marvel’s greatest heroes as the Avengers come together to usher in The Heroic Age. Mark your calendars and be the first person on your block to score great Avengers Day commemorative items like exclusive limited edition print featuring John Romita Jr.’s “I Am An Avenger” images, door hangers, mini-posters and more! Plus, fans can’t miss the chance to add their own heroes to the Avengers roster by sketching on the Avengers #1 I Am An Avenger Blank Variant and purchase the stunning Avengers Poster by John Romita Jr!

Plus, Marvel would like to thank participating retailers with a special advance screening edition of Avengers #1! This limited edition comic, featuring a letter from Brian Michael Bendis, won’t be made available to the general public or retailers not participating in May 19th’s historic events.

On May 19th, fans and retailers from across the globe will come together and unite for Avengers Day!

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Meet Mr. Pricklepants From Pixar’s Toy Story 3

Frolic your afternoons away on woodland adventures with Mr. Pricklepants! This charming lederhosen-wearing hedgehog is from the Waldfreunde collection of premium imported plush toys. He may look prickly, but the plump and fuzzy Mr. Pricklepants is made strictly for cuddling! Hand wash and air dry. Restore fluffiness with fingers. Made in Germany.

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Meet Dolly the Rag Doll From Pixar’s Toy Story 3

Dolly is a soft and sweet dress-up rag doll, and is the perfect gift for any young child! Her floppy body and sunny smile will make her an irresistible new member of your family. Dolly has purple hair, googly eyes and gently blushing cheeks. She comes with a pretty blue dress, but templates are included to create and sew your own outfits! Machine washable on gentle cycle.

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