Monthly Archives: November 2011

Daniel Clowes Looks At Bookstores On This Week’s New Yorker Cover

Daniel Clowes comments on the changing state of book stores on a new cover for The New Yorker. Due to the popularity of Amazon.com and tablet computers, bookstores now have entire areas set up for e-readers, snacks, games, music, t-shirts, etc. and diminishing space for books.

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The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story App For iPad & iPhone

With great power comes great responsibility…When high school student Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, he is given sensational abilities that allow him to crawl up walls and leap great distances, just like a spider! But when tragedy strikes Peter’s Uncle Ben, Peter vows to use his newfound abilities for the good of all mankind as Spider-Man!

Be here to experience Peter’s transformation from average teenager into the Amazing Spider-Man! Then help Peter learn to use his new powers, web-swing through the city, and stop crime as the spectacular Spider-Man with this new app designed expressly for the Apple iPad and iPhone.

Featured Highlights of The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story App ($6.99) are as follows:

- Narrated by comic book legend and Spider-Man co-creator Stan “The Man” Lee!
- Interactive story-themed spider-games throughout: Help Peter Parker learn to use his powers—test your strength, swing through the city, use your web-shooters to stop a burglar and much more!
- Secret Spider Hunt to win your very own “No-Prize!”
- Multiple Reading Modes: Read to Me, Read by Myself, Auto-Turn Pages, and Younger Reader Mode
- Action-packed artwork throughout!
- Includes Spidey sound effects and music!

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Ricky Gervais’ Mockumentary Life’s Too Short To Premiere On HBO On Sunday, Feb. 19

Ricky Gervais’ mockumentary Life’s Too Short will premiere on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 10:30/9:30c on HBO.

The new series stars Harry Potter’s Warwick Davis as a fictionalized version of himself as he tries to hustle his way back into the spotlight. Johnny Depp, Liam Neeson, Sting and Steve Carell are all set to make appearances.

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Rolling Stone Magazine Coming To The iPad

Wenner Media is preparing to bring Rolling Stone Magazine and US Weekly to the iPad in 2012. These two magazines will be tablet versions of the print magazine.

Before it kicks off Rolling Stone, Wenner will test the waters with a tablet app about the Beatles. The app will be an enhanced version of Rolling Stone’s The Beatles: The Ultimate Album-by-Album Guide. The print version of the album guide has little-know facts about every track on every Beatle’s album. The digital version will include this treasure trove of information and add both song samples and interviews with the band. It will be available starting December 1st.

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Pascal Garcin’s Spider-Man Collage

French artist Pascal Garcin has lovingly recreated the iconic shape of Spider-Man’s eye using hundreds of pictures of the webslinger to form this collage entitled, “Spider-Eye”.

Click on image to make larger

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Pizza Life Hack of the Day

Learn how to get crispy crust on leftover pizza. This tip guarantees a slice of pie that’s just as good, if not superior to the one you received the night before. No more soggy crust.

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The 2012 Stephen King Library Desk Calendar

Here is the official sales copy from the Book-of-the-Month Club:

If you’re a fan of Stephen King, chances are you avoid pet cemeteries, you have a healthy fear of clowns and when you think of the Man in Black, it isn’t Johnny Cash who comes to mind. But there’s so much more to the Master of Horror, and in our Club exclusive Stephen King Library Desk Calendar 2012, you get to spend a year inside his sinister universe.

Packed with essays, juicy details and fascinating trivia, this year’s calendar is also full of excerpts from all the Dark Tower books, articles from professionals he has influenced and more. Plus, it features quizzes—like Mid-World Word Trivia, which tests your knowledge of High Speech—and notes on the future of the series. This calendar is packed with so much, it’s scary!

The calendar is only available through the Book-of-the-Month Club. The club works as follows: choose 4 books for $1 (plus shipping and processing and applicable taxes) and commit to purchase 4 books at regular Club prices in the next year.

The 128 page spiral bound calendar measures 7.5 x 10.0 x 0.75 inches.

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Rolling Stone’s 2011 Rock & Roll Holiday Gift Guide

Check out Rolling Stone Magazine’s 2011 Rock & Roll Holiday Gift Guide featuring the best audio tech, gadgets, box sets and books for the ultimate music fan.

Here are some of my favorites:

The iVictrola’s steampunk mash-up of high- and low-tech uses the flared brass horns from vintage gramophones to create one-of-a-kind iPad and iPhone docks. They’re so popular that they sold out almost immediately from catalogs like Anthropologie and Design Within Reach. Made-craft is still accepting orders, however, and designer Matt Richmond says Anthropologie should have more by the end of the year. ($650-$1,000, made-craft.com)

3ryan Radios turns vintage tube radios into custom-made iPod docks. The tubes convert the digital signals from the iPod into true analog ones, resulting in warmer tones and an old-fashioned listening experience, no matter your genre of music. ($175-$675, 3ryan.com)

Austria’s Pro-Ject has established a reputation as the go-to maker of affordable audiophile-level turntables. The RM-1.3 adds cutting-edge design to the list of superlatives. ($499, sumikoaudio.net/project)

The Orb Music Player is a no-frills way to stream your music collection to your stereo or any stand-alone audio source with a headphone jack and control it on your smartphone. Works with iTunes, SiriusXM Radio and Pandora. ($70, orb.com)

The newest iPod Nano is the first to have multitouch screen technology and no click wheel. Larger icons make scrolling and tapping to your favorite music, workout, radio station or clock face even easier. (From $129, apple.com) Hex Vision’s metal band turns your Nano into a stylish wristwatch. ($70, shophex.com)

The portable SoundLink connects easily to the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, tablets and laptops. The wireless speaker has a rechargeable battery and handles exceptionally loud volumes considering its compact size. (From $300, bose.com)

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Drive DVD & Blu-ray Due On January 31, 2012

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced DVD and Blu-ray releases of Drive which stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Bryan Cranston. Each will be available to own from January 31st. The only extra material will be featurettes (“Drive Without A Driver: Entretien Avec Nicolas Winding Refn”, “I Drive”, “Under The Hood”, “Driver and Irene”, “Cut To The Chase”).

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A Charlie Brown Christmas Poster By Tom Whalen

It’s no secret that I love Tom Whalen’s prints and frequently post about his wonderful works of whimsical magical art. Tom really captures the essence of his subject matter (usually famous cartoons) with bold geometrical shapes. The final result is instantly recognizable – never under or over produced, simply perfect!

The Los Angeles based poster company, Dark Hall Mansion intrigued me a few months ago when they posted about and released Whalen’s homage to, “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”. Needless to say the print sold out immediately. Although I tried to get one, my fingers were not fast enough on my keyboard to order (insert deep regrettable sigh).

Now Dark Hall Mansion’s Facebook and Twitter sites have posted a festive holiday cryptic message:

“The Mansion aglow, strewn festively, if somewhat eerily with Christmas lights..from Santa’s bag comes..something special for under your trees..
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” Art by Tom Whalen.

Immediately questions rush through my head, when, how much, how many, when, when?

I will post more information about the print availability, pricing, etc. when it becomes available; until then feast your eyes on this beautifully rendered image that showcases the entire Peanut’s gang and lets us all know what Christmas is truly all about.

Two words…must have!!!

Update on purchasing:

There will be 3 Editions:

450 Standard Edition ($75)
100 Variant Edition ($125)
50 Silver Bells Edition (on metal with Variant image imprinted) ($250)

eMoviePoster.com will release all 3 editions Thursday, 12/1/11 at a random morning hour. Please visit them at www.eMoviePoster.com where on Thurs, 12/1 a specific section of their homepage will direct buyers to a dedicated page for everyone to easily checkout and complete purchases of their “A Charlie Brown Christmas” via Paypal or credit card.

The next day, Friday, 12/2, Dark Hall Mansion will also release all 3 Editions in their Store with Paypal Buy-Now buttons appearing at a random hour that morning for direct checkout.

Standard Edition

Variant Edition

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YouTube Movie Rentals Adds Disney, Pixar & Dreamworks Films To Its Library

This week, the first of hundreds of The Walt Disney Studios movies from Disney, Disney·Pixar and DreamWorks Studios are coming to YouTube. These titles join thousands of full-length feature films from major Hollywood studios that already are available to rent at YouTube.com/movies.

If you are a fan of animated movies, You Tube has the beloved animated classic, Alice in Wonderland and the newly envisioned Winnie the Pooh. Love Disney Pixar? You can find hits like Cars and Cars 2 all in one place. Up for a little bit of adventure? All four of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are available, including the most recent blockbuster in the franchise Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

So gather the family and friends to watch your favorite Disney movies at YouTube.com/movies. Check back in because even more of the great Disney classics and new releases will be added in weeks to come, including YouTube Movie Extras with behind-the-scenes clips, interviews, and more!

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2011 Small Business Saturday

First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. Now, there’s the 2nd annual Small Business Saturday, the day people support small businesses.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. On November 26, make a pledge to shop small on Small Business Saturday. If millions of people shop small, it will be huge.

American Express wants to help you make a difference. Get a one-time $25 statement credit when you register an eligible American Express Card and use that Card for a purchase of $25 or more at a small business on November 26th.

Card registration and participating businesses can be found HERE.

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BrickStix

BrickStix are cling decals that can be removed and reused to customize the look of building brick systems like LEGOs and MEGA Bloks. They were created by sixth grader and entrepreneur Greyson MacLean.

Greyson loves to build! When he was nine years old, he was frustrated with the stickers that came with brick sets. If he put them on, he couldn’t get them off. Plus, they were limited. He wanted to customize his brick creations into different stories, but he was at a loss. He needed stickers that could be detached and reused just like his bricks. Some days he wanted a brick to be a newspaper, another day a clock, a control panel, a window… He told his mom about the problem. He told her he wanted to be able to add details to his builds, and have the ability to change his mind and make something else. She thought it was a great idea. So Greyson’s Mom, Dad, Aunt and Uncle started working. They had meetings at their kitchen table. They talked to Greyson’s sisters and other kids when they designed the first set of Stix, and BrickStix were born. Now kids can customize their build into a masterpiece.

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Brian Dettme’s Stunning Cut-Out Book Art

Artist Brian Dettmer is a talented artist and his media of choice happens to be books. With a little bit of careful carving, he can make amazing creations from already printed pages. While there are a number of artists who work with books, it seems safe to say that Brian has definitely earned his nickname ” the book surgeon.”

Read more HERE from blurppy.com

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A Full-Length Video of Stephen King’s Appearance At The JFK Library To Promote His New Novel 11/22/63

A full-length video of Stephen’s appearance at the JFK Library is now available HERE. With a reading of 11/22/63 by Stephen and an interview with Tom Perrotta, the hour long video is a must see for fans of the prolific author.

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Very Cool Stephen King’s Bag of Bones Phonograph Press Kit

Since I started THE FIRE WIRE, I have received some pretty interesting promotional items but the one that arrived today was pretty elaborate, ingenious and just damn cool.

Usually press kits contain press releases, high resolution pictures, a project synopsis and perhaps a video teaser to promote a new movie or television program. The material usually arrives in a pocketed folder but today A&E Networks spared no expense and sent me an amazing package to promote their upcoming Stephen King miniseries, Bag of Bones in the form of a record player.

Kudos to the clever marketing people that thoughtfully designed the old fashioned record player that plays a Sara Tidwell recording when opened. A switch on the side actually makes the record spin. Hidden in a compartment underneath the player is a lavish book containing cast bios, 2 DVD’s of the actual miniseries and finally a separate disc with downloadable press materials. Golden metal corner pieces and the clasp add an antique look to the brown faux leather exterior of the case when closed. The top of the case has a logo stating, “Dark Score Lake Recording Co. – Music so beautiful, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven”.

Here is some information about Bag of Bones:

A&E Network presents “Stephen King’s Bag of Bones,” a four-hour epic miniseries based on The New York Times #1 bestselling novel, and

featuring Pierce Brosnan’s return to television. The two-night event from Sony Pictures Television premieres on Sunday, December 11 and concludes on Monday, December 12, airing at 9PM ET/PT on both nights.

“Bag of Bones” is a ghost story of grief and lost love’s enduring bonds, about an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire and a new love haunted by past secrets. Melissa George (“In Treatment”), Annabeth Gish (“Brotherhood”), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), William Schallert (“The Patty Duke Show”), Jason Priestley (“Beverly Hills 90210”) and Caitlin Carmichael (“True Blood”) also star.

In “Bag of Bones,” bestselling novelist Mike Noonan (Brosnan) is unable to stop grieving after the sudden death of his wife Jo (Gish). Suffering from writer’s block, a dream inspires him to return to the couple’s lakeside retreat in western Maine. While there, Mike befriends an attractive young widow, Mattie (George), and her daughter Kyra (Carmichael), and becomes involved in a custody battle with the child’s enormously wealthy grandfather, Max (Schallert). Though his ability to write suddenly returns, Mike is plagued by ever-escalating nightmares and mysterious ghostly visitations from Sara Tidwell (Rose), a blues singer whose spirit lingers in the house. As he is haunted by the many secrets at the lake, Mike comes to realize that his late wife still has something to tell him.

Mick Garris directed the Matt Venne penned script, based on The New York Times #1 bestseller by Stephen King.”

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The Dark Knight Rises First Magazine Covers

Empire Magazine posted the first official photos from “The Dark Knight Rises,” one of Batman and one of his enemy, Bane.

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Black Friday Shopping, There’s An iPhone App For That

One of the busiest shopping days of the season is only 5 days away and savvy consumers can now plan their holiday purchasing with a great tool for their iPhones.

The TGI Black Friday app provides a comprehensive listing of Black Friday deals and also includes helpful tools to make sure your shopping experience goes smoothly.

The app, along with its parent site tgiblackfriday.com, aggregates an enormous number of Black Friday advertisements, many of which are leaked up to a month ahead of time. The coupons from these ads are then listed in the app, and can be browsed by date added, store name, or category.

The application even lets you download and view PDF scans of the advertisements directly from within the app.

Other features include a shopping list creator and sharing tool, which lets you share any coupon with friends via Gmail or Facebook. It sends the product name, sale price, and even a link to the listing on tgiblackfriday.com.

The TGI Black Friday app is free and can be downloaded HERE for your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

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Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide For 2011

Are you looking for a magical gift for that special Muggle in your life? Do you need to send a wrapped present to a Time Lord in the near future? Or maybe you’re an enterprising soul who just can’t figure out the logical thing to bring to the holodeck holiday party?

Well, no worries, just mind-meld with us because we’re here to save the day. Look, up in the photo gallery, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…the Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide.

Check it out HERE.

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Mickey Mouse Brings Disney Magic to New York City

In collaboration with Disney Parks, Disney has created a state-of-the-art augmented reality experience in New York City where you can capture an image of yourself making Magical moments with one of your favorite Disney characters.

How does augmented reality work? First, you stand in the center of Times Square and look at Disney Store’s 2000 square foot digital sign high above.  Soon you will see Mickey or another favorite Disney character walk onto the screen and appear as though they are standing right beside you. Mickey will then be able to interact with you on screen, although you’ll still be standing alone on the sidewalk. Now smile, and see a photo of yourself with the character on the screen! Then the photo will be sent to you to share with family and friends.

If you enter into Disney Store Times Square, with a simple download of the Smartphone application you can create a personal, virtual Disney character photo opportunity in a select area of the store. See yourself posing with your favorite character as though they’re right next to you. This augmented reality experience will continue inside Disney Store throughout 2012.

 

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iPad Tops 2011 Holiday Wish List For Kids

As Black Friday and the holiday season approaches, Apple appears to be the consumer electronics brand to beat. A recent Nielsen survey shows kids’ holiday gaming and electronics appetites are hungry for a number of top-selling Apple devices – with the iPad leading the pack.

Consistent with U.S. kids’ 2010 wish lists, the Apple iPad is the most desired consumer electronic among kids ages 6-12 for holiday 2011. In fact, the iPad increases its stronghold, with nearly half (44%) of kids expressing interest in the product, up from 31 percent in 2010. Two other popular Apple devices – iPod Touch (30%) and iPhone (27%) – round out kids’ top three, with computers and other tablet brands each appealing to a quarter of younger consumers.

Many kids will also ask for gaming devices this year, with two products that offer unique gaming technologies – Nintendo 3DS (25%) and Kinect for Xbox 360 (23%) – leading the way. Given the 3DS’ spring 2011 release date and the surge in Kinect interest versus last year (up from 14%), parents can expect both devices to be frequently requested this holiday season. Beyond these, older Nintendo DS models continue to resonate with young gamers (22%), while the PlayStation 3 (17%) and Xbox 360 (16%) edge out the Nintendo Wii (11%) as the most desired gaming consoles. (Source: Nielson.com)

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Apple Releases Apple TV Software Update 4.4.3

Apple has released Apple TV Software Update 4.4.3, the latest update for its second-generation set-top box. Apple TV Software Update 4.4.3 is available now via the Update Software option in the device’s General Settings menu. According to Apple’s release notes, the update adds support for Netflix in Mexico, and addresses an issue in which audio may not play through the optical port when the TV is turned off.

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Mattel Exhibit Featuring Disney Pixar Cars Die-cast Vehicles Speeds Into Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A.

Celebrating the journey of its Disney Pixar Cars die-cast vehicle collection, Mattel, the #1 toy maker, will unveil a one-of-a-kind exhibit at Los Angeles’ iconic Petersen Automotive Museum beginning November 12, 2011 appropriately titled: From Silver Screen to Die-cast: Disney•Pixar Cars Imagined by Mattel.

Since the launch of the first Cars film in June 2006, Mattel has produced more than 200 million die-cast Cars vehicles featuring more than 500 unique designs that represent the many beloved characters from the films. This special exhibit, that will be part of the Petersen Automotive Museum’s “Hollywood Gallery,” includes a comprehensive collection of the Disney•Pixar Cars die-cast vehicles and gives Cars fans and collectors an entertaining and informative glimpse into the history of Mattel’s blockbuster toy line.

Exhibit highlights include:

- Diorama Movie Scene Recreations Featuring Cars Vehicles: Hundreds of die-cast vehicles representing the many beloved characters from Cars and Cars 2 – from the popular Lightning McQueen and Mater to the big-wheeled Haulers and their corresponding racers. Each display showcases the character’s distinct automobile model and design bringing their personalities and storylines to life.

- Rare and Never-Before-Seen Cars Vehicles: Highlights of some of the most exclusive and never released Cars die-cast vehicles such as the elusive “Apple Car” from the Speedway of the South set, to special collections never released to the general public including Trev Diesel and others. Each display also features the behind-the-scenes stories that make these collectibles so rare.

- Evolution of Cars Die-cast Packaging: Display features the evolution of the Mattel product packaging from the original Cars design introducing fans to Radiator Springs in 2006, to how the franchise’s unique merchandising revolutionized the die-cast packaging category.

- Cars Super Chase Die-cast Collection: For the die-hard collector, a first look at Mattel’s ultra-exclusive 2012 line of die-cast cars that will feature one-time only, limited-run vehicles of very special Cars 2 characters. Display will include first Super Chase vehicle to launch – Flash – inspired by the real-life race car driver exclusively featured in the Swedish version of Cars 2.

- Lightning McQueen Alive Showcase: A celebration of the innovative technology used to authentically bring the big personality of Lightning McQueen from the film screen into the playroom in miniature 1:55 scale. Product design highlights the cutting-edge micro-technology developed to create the life-like mouth, eye and shoulder movements of this little electronic vehicle that will be sure to top wish lists this coming holiday season!

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Secret Passageway Switch

Nearly as important as selecting the right room in which to put your secret passageway is selecting the method by which you’ll access it. This Secret Passageway Switch ($50) is a fine choice, using one of your own books as the activator. Of course, you can also use it for more mundane purposes — like turning on a lamp — but where’s the fun in that? (From Uncrate)

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A Charlie Brown Christmas Interactive Book Available For The iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch

“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”

Help Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the entire Peanuts gang as they struggle to find the true meaning of Christmas. Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown, narrates the rebirth of the 1965 animated classic as an interactive storybook complete with original scenes and dialog and digitally remastered illustrations, animation, and music optimized for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch ($6.99).

Play Schroeder’s piano, finger paint with the gang, go carolling with the Peanuts choir, and participate in the Spectacular Super-Colossal Neighborhood Christmas Lights and Display Contest to unlock decorations for your very own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree! With something to discover on every page, this is one interactive Peanuts adventure you won’t want to miss this holiday season!!

Features: 

- Original dialogue from the 1965 animated classic

- Captivating narration by Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown

- Charming soundtrack featuring music and sound effects from the original show

- Decorate your own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

- Participate in the Lights and Display Contest to unlock rewards

- Educational features such as word and note highlighting to help improve reading and musical skills

- Hear individual words spoken with the tap of a finger

- Touch and drag objects to make them “spring” to life or tilt to watch them slide and move

- Objects that literally pop out of the page to delight you and your family!

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