Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dismaland: Not the Happiest Place on Earth

Well, here's a theme park we won't be going to anytime soon.
It's called Dismaland, a Bemusement Park --the name of which pretty much speaks for itself.

The park is the brainchild of UK'e ever-elusive street artist, Banksy, who's known for his works that  aim to unnerve people in its realistic dark humour. What makes this park even more 'special'? More artists of the same dark inclination has joined in to create this 2.5 acre gloomy gallery.

A sneak peak.
Dismaland puts sad satire on Disneyland's familiar attractions.

Dismlaland pokes eerie fun on society's typical brand of amusement.

Dismaland feeds anarchic symbolism in almost every corner.

Other lovely yet disturbing installations riddle the area.

There is no doubt that Dismaland is intriguing, awe-inspiring, exhilarating, and even enlightening. One thing's for sure though, you don't leave Dismaland a happy camper. Dismaland makes you think, question things. It changes you. For the good or for the bad is entirely up to you.

If you're in the mood for doom and are anywhere near the seafront of Weston-super-Mare in England, then come over from August 22 to September 27 of this year. Dismaland is ready for you.

One piece of advice: Leave the kids behind. While I agree that kids need to have their eyes open to certain truths in the world, what's wrong with holding onto rainbows and unicorns for a while longer?

*Photos from the Dismaland website, The Guardian, and Time

Monday, August 3, 2015

Ant-Man Very Late Review

Well, this was a pleasant surprise. Like a baby firecracker that hits you in the face with a big, glorious boom kind of surprise. Yep.

To be honest, I had very little faith in Ant-Man, pardon the pun. But him being one of the not-too-popular characters of the Marvel universe (at least, in my universe), I didn't think much of him. In fact, I even tried to convince my kids that we didn't need to watch his debut movie. The only reason why we still did was because my train-crazy son saw Thomas the Tank Engine in the trailer and got all pumped to see that part --and that part alone. That and my other son was craving for movie popcorn. So before I knew it, we were running to catch Ant-Man on its last week.

And it was a whirlwind on fun!

The plot wasn't exactly new. You know… awesome technology. Bad guy plans to use it as a weapon for war. But its nanotechnology so it makes it more special.
The real backbone of the story was this though --FAMILY. How you sacrifice, do stupid things, create little mistakes that lead to huge cracks for the sake of the people you love. Now THAT'S special.

What really got us going for this film, however, was the brilliant use of comedy. Scott/Ant-Man was hilarious. And so was his best friend schemer, Luis, whom I have to say was my favourite character in the entire film.

We also like how The Avengers was seamlessly woven into the film. From Doctor Pym openly saying how he wouldn't want Tony Stark to get his hands on his nano-invention. From Ant-Man stealing a valuable equipment from The Avengers secret facility. And from the inch-high hero actually duking it out with Falcon.

In other news, my 14-year old science geek was more into learning about the different kinds of ants, which the movie introduced with the funniest of circumstances --(that and how to crack open a safe using plain household tape and/or liquid nitrogen). While my 11-year old train geek couldn't get over the fact that Thomas the Tank Engine had so much airtime. Educational and Entertaining! Ant-Man is quite a package.

All in all, Ant-Man is an exciting, laugh-a-minute ride!
If, like me, you've been having doubts on its cinematic greatness… bite your tongue. And run to the movie house nearest you. You still have a few days to catch this little bugger.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Papier Macheniacs: The Byted Beak

Whoa! Working with paper and metal is insane!
But... we did it anyway.

Presenting Team Fortress 2 Medic's Byted Beak Robot Mask ala Paper Mache!

We started out the project with pretty much our comfort zone materials: paper, cardboard, rolls and rolls of tape.

Mummifying it with tissue and glue was, as always, relaxing. So was marking it with paint guides.

Painting it was fun, as usual. From the get go, we decided that we'd customise our Byted Beak's colour palette and we get a kick out of mixing hues to come up with our own.

Fitting in the lens was another easy stage. Ho-hum.

Then... came the tricky part.
The Byted Beak, being a robot mask, cannot be made out of paper alone. We have to somehow throw in some hardware. Okay, we really didn't need to. But we do like killing ourselves. So… we went for it anyway.

We got bolt fasteners and little plastic lid protectors that we hoped would give the paper mask an illusion of 'robot-ness'.

Getting the materials was a walk in the park. Mixing the 2 media together was the challenge. It was our first time to work with a puncher, a cutter, and an ice pick. Yes! An ice pick!

After that little learning curve and several blisters later…

It was cosplay time --which happens to be another Papier Macheniac comfort zone. Yay!

Did this project inspire you to make your own Byted Beak Robot Mask? Hope it did. Can't wait to see how you made yours.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Happy NERFday by Midnight Snacks

Do your eyes deceive you?
This is indeed a Nerf Rapidstrike Assault Rifle. Powered with chocolate and vanilla buttercream filling. Amped with marshmallow fondant. The perfect secret weapon for a 14-year old Nerf nut's surprise birthday party.

So let us take a moment to bask in the magnificence that is another Midnight Snacks cake!
Midnight Snacks has always been my go-to for my most insane cake ideas. I'm not kidding in the least when I say that if you can think it, they can make it.

I mean, just look at the craftsmanship on this baby. The meticulous attention to detail. That tiny Elite emblem alone had me geeking out of my mind!

And the flavour goes beyond your sweet tooth's expectations. Underneath this magical coat is a fluffy, creamy cake. Oh, and the chewy Nerf darts were a big hit, too!

I bet this post alone has got you drooling.
If you got a party coming up, sugarcoat it with the best cake you can think of. Just about anything! And see it come to life, thanks to Midnight Snacks.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A World of Badassery: Jurassic World

*excessive fangirling*
*giddily screaming*
*jumping around like a little school girl on Christmas morn*

This, my friends, is my Jurassic World post. And, if you know this family, you'd know that we're suckers for dinosaurs and genetic mutation --not necessarily in that order. So, for us, Jurassic World was like a complete package tied with a lovely golden bow.

What had us going was…

How the Velociraptors' intelligence and teamwork were played up to the hilt here. They were military weapons! And Owen 'riding with the raptors' will always be the epitome of badassery to us.

How the concept of family and brotherhood were made the main foundation of the plot. Why kids whose parents are going through divorce always get invited to this dinosaur park is a mystery though. But hey, why not.

How the film gave respect to the original Jurassic Park. From the mosquito in amber to the kids' discovery of the old park's garage, from Lowery's Jurassic Park ebay merchandise to the running around crazy with a flare in one hand while being chased by a rabid T-Rex. Oh, and re-quoting Dr. Hammond's 'Spare no expense' was gold!

How Dr. Henry Wu, seemingly loyal Jurassic Park scientist, was being groomed in Jurassic World to be the next film's mad man.

How beyond awesome the super dino Indominus Rex's genetic mash up was. She's the dream dino! Smart, underhanded, maniacal, manipulative. And my boys loved her. She was just… misunderstood. Lol!

How the T-Rex was --and will always be-- the King of Lizards no matter how awesome a hybrid these scientists cook up. That ending where the badly-wounded T-Rex saunters triumphantly on top of the heli-pad to growl into the four winds --goosebumps, baby!

And last but never the least…
How a woman can battle all forms of stress and adversities even in high heels. You stomp on, Claire… you… stomp on.

Our two favourite dinos, the T-Rex and the Raptor, tag teaming to slay the Indominus was cartwheel-worthy, too.

Overall, Jurassic World was badass. To quote my boys: 'Best. Movie. Ever!' So if you're watching --and you should-- be prepared to get your Grrrr…!!! on.
Jurassic World is in cinemas all over.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Back to Robotics Summer 2015

With the hectic schedule we had all April, I was only able to get Miro into his favourite summer camp for a 5-day package in May. I was worried that this was too short. But, as always, First Robotics did not disappoint. Those 5 days were gold!

Always a stickler for instant gratification, First Robotics gave my boy the fulfilment of building a robot, programming it, and accomplishing a task in less than two hours each day. A new thing thrown into the program was the concept of teamwork. My boy had to work with a partner in designing and programming a robot --which, to be honest, was an entirely unnerving thing for him at first. He likes pouring his personal mojo on his creations. But, he did get the hang of the new work style and managed to pick up a few new friends along the way.

Here are some of his team's summer robots:
Miro with SteamWheel
The Grabber
Killer Windmill
And a couple of them in pure, badass action:

Of course, I just had to add First Robotics official summer workbook where my bots down all these science stuff! :P

The good news is that First Robotics isn't just a summer gig. It runs for the whole year. And their summer specials are up 'til August.
So if you want your kids to experience something different and something that's so up there with the times, take them to First Robotics. I'm sure it doesn't surprise you the slightest that we're coming back.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Empowered by the Powermac Animation Camp

My little ball of pure energy wanted to try something new this summer. Boldly coming out of his ultra physical swim camp and football camp comfort zones, Kenji has asked me to get him into Powermac's Animation Summer Workshop. Did a feel a bit daunted? Of course, I did. Animation would mean he'd be on his seat for 2 hours a day. And Kenji does not do on-his-seat-for-2-hours-a-day too well.

Well, leave it up to Powermac to prove me wrong!

Powermac's 3-day Workshops covered Programming, Digital Design, Music, and even Junior IT Training. Tools the new generation can definitely use and enjoy. The Animation Workshop gave kids complete hands-on creation with 3 of their top animation programs: Toon Boom, Pencil, and Flash. Each session meant your kid comes home with a freshly made animation which he made all by himself. Insta-Fulfilment For-The-Win!

The set-up was pretty serious, office-like, which made me worry at first.

But with their own top-of-the-line laptops…

User-friendly yet fantabulous programs…

And ├╝ber helpful teachers…

The whole three days were just as fun as they were enriching.

Check out a couple of first-time animator's stuff from my boy. :)


Graduation Day came with a snazzy certificate.

And this even snazzier wooden flash drive filled with the collection of your kids' works.

Make sure to keep up to speed with Powermac's remaining summer workshops and other future kiddie activities. I mean, we will.