my lego


Yet another thing to add to my list of things I can buy for my niece. And as usual, something I want to get for myself.

For £19.99, I can order my own lego keychain with a lego figure that looks like me. They need a picture of me as well as some personal details like hobbies, favourite colour, usual clothing and such like. They say they have millions of combinations of head and body parts. An example of personalisation:

Molly normally wears blue jeans and a pink t-shirt. She has red hair and thick rimmed glasses.

There’s also a framed figure for £29.99 but I think the keychain is more practical. UK company so UK delivery but they also deliver to a few other countries. Firebox sells all sorts of weird and wonderful gadgets, although I think I should be able to get them much, much cheaper on taobao.

make your own slime


I remember playing with slime when it oozed into the world. It came in one colour, green, and was icky and fun at the same time.

TIL not only has it endured the years, it’s now possible to buy kits to make your own, and somene reviewed the best slime-making kits. Just in time for Christmas. According to the testers at Wirecutter, slime can be made from everyday ingredients including glue, contact-lens solution or borax, baking soda, and optional mix-ins, such as food coloring or glitter. The kits come in convenient packages that saves parents the trouble of hunting down the ingredients. And look better as a present.

I would have loved to be one of the testers. It took only around 10mins to make each batch, so it was quick fun. The best kit according to the testers is Cra-Z-Art Nickelodeon Slime Super Slimy, the name alone is worth one extra mark. It came first because

it included all the required ingredients packaged as safely as possible, and it offered the biggest variety of mix-ins for making all different kinds of slime

including all the bowls, cups and spoons needed.

The runner-up Mr. E=mc² DIY Slime Kit gave the most and best quality slime but fell down in the areas of packaging and didn’t include bowls and such. It’s also more expensive. Looking further though, it’s from a husband and wife company in Minnesota who develops, tests and assembles the kits with the help of their kids. Compared with the brand name Nickelodeon product, it’s worth the additional price, I think.

Um, not that I’m going to buy a make your own slime kit. Well, may be not.

lego tape


I’m keeping an eye on this campaign for lego tapes, officially called nimuno or toy block tapes. It looks superduper fun, a tape that can stick on anything and then add lego bricks. I particularly like the tape around the bottom of sneakers, because why not. It’s one of those things that have absolutely no use whatsoever except for entertainment value.

They’ve reached almost $1.5mm funding. Right now for US$13 we get 2 rolls and for US$36 one roll each of different 6 colours: green, blue, purple, black, red, grey. The campaign has 20 days to go. I’ll wait till almost to the end because they seem to be constantly adding colours.

hidden not hidden

Car was telling me about hidden figures, an inspirational film about african-american women who worked on the space program in the 1960s. It’s so important, especially now, to show the achievements of women and minorities. As jason kottke said

You watch this movie and think, how much higher could the human race have flown if women and people of color had always had the same opportunities as white men?

Not only in the past, it’s a current problem too.


And right on time, lego announced that they will release a set of 5 female NASA scientists including: scientist Katherine Jenkins; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; astronaut, physicist and educator Sally Ride; astronomer Nancy Grace Roman; and astronaut and physician Mae Jemison. Lego solicits ideas all the time and some of the ideas are put into production. About the women of NASA idea:

As a science editor and writer, with a strong personal interest for space exploration as well as the history of women in science and engineering, Maia Weinstock’s Women of NASA project was a way for her to celebrate accomplished women in the STEM professions.

remote control wand


Drat, Christmas is over. But my birthday is in 4 months…

Here’s a gadget that will even break through the grumpiest, most curmudgeony anti-gadget luddite. Spotted via bb is the kymera wand, aka the coolest universal remote ever. It enables the user to program 13 gestures for remote control devices. So flick the wand up and down to change volume on the tv, or pull it back to open the dvd player, or swish to change the temperature on the dyson heater, anything that uses infra-red as control.

It’s currently selling for a ridiculous $256 on amazon and out of stock at Possibly due to the boingboing article. There is a similar product, the harry potter remote control wand, for $58.95. Looks like a similar product.

tesla model S for kids

We’ve been seeing a lot of Tesla cars on the road. When it first came out, it was a rarity and we made it a game to spot different colours. Now, they’re everywhere. I was waiting for mm to arrive in ryan and in the space of 5-10mins saw 4 different Teslas up and down our street.


Now ready for pre-order and available in May, the Tesla model S for kids made by Radio flyer. There’s a lot of realistic details:

working headlights, standard Model S paint schemes and a sound system that will accommodate a mobile device for some road trip tunes. What’s more, the children’s option has two speed settings that top out at 3 MPH and 6 MPH respectively.

We had an electric car when we were kids, it was state-of-the-art in those days. I wonder if I can fit inside this kids’ Tesla?

The only thing I don’t like about the whole thing is the ad where all the drivers are boys except for the one girl who is chugging along slowly. I actually tweeted @radioflyer:

lego awesome

Lots of cool lego stuff lately.

  • amazing lego machine that I can’t stop watching, and want to be there to personally follow that tiny blue ball around the room.

  • full sized lego car powered by compressed air

  • trailer for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug in lego

  • the upcoming lego movie

  • lego star wars on the iphone

  • the 50 US states represented by typical (stereotypical?) lego figures, available as individual prints, here’s New Mexico and Iowa

    lego50nm lego50iowa

  • lego scavenger hunt at CERN, where the smart scientists hid a bunch of lego figurines including aliens, a werewolf, a gorilla, a leprechaun, a pharaoh, a skater and a skier prior to google street view showing up

    legocern legocern

scooter tricks

One of my fb friends said she got a new scooter. It turned out she meant the motorcycle scooter, like a Vespa. But my first thought were the skateboard-with-handlebars that were the rage that year I was in NY. Like everyone else, I got one as well, and gave it to my niece a few years later. And I discovered that there are people who do scooter tricks, like skateboards. Wow.

lego life of george

I bought this fantastic lego game life of george for my niece. No idea why the name, but it doesn’t matter. This is the future.

The box comes with 144 standard lego bricks and a small board with grid markings. Before playing, I downloaded the app. The app gives pictures of what to build, the idea of the game is to build the same model using the physical bricks within the time allowed, then take a picture with the iphone. Scores are based on accuracy and time.

There are different levels, single- and two player modes and we can even create our own models. I wanted to get this a while ago, and had been waiting for my US trip, the price difference ($29.99 vs £29.99 — seriously) made it worthwhile to wait. We had a lot of fun, my niece and I. She’s much better at creating models and I’m better at making according to the pics.


sisuk275legocity sisuk288legocity

One of the places my niece really wanted to visit is legoland, so I got a zipcar over there. Only 1hr’s drive to Windsor, we got there mid-morning.

There are a lot of lego there, although we expected even more. The rides weren’t really lego, and neither were tables and chairs and everyday stuff. The park itself is geared towards kids, there are rides that are for the under-13s only, so my niece had a great time. She was a great driver in driving school and took us up on the balloon. The newest ride, Atlantis, is a yellow submarine that took a circuit around a giant aquarium that contained fish, sharks, stingrays and lego mermaids. The centrepiece legocity has replica miniature cities — London, English countryside with cricket team, Paris, Italy, and even the space shuttle in a NASA compound.

If only the weather held up. Dry, sunny spells were interrupted by heavy thunderstorms. During the storms we managed to hole up at the building stations and built a windmill and a racing car. All in all, a good day out especially with young children.

24-105mm coffee mug


I know I’m trying to cut down on junk but seriously, I have to have this!! Aptly found in the awesomeness section is this coffee mug that looks exactly like a EF 24-105mm lens, which is what I use as the standard on my EOS. Just read the photojojo people gush about it:

It’s equipped with a lens-cap lid (omg), rubber-grip focus and zoom rings (o…m…g), and an auto-focus switch that actually switches

There’s also this canon dial decal for the mbp, and other cool stuff on that site. I love how they explain that they have canon and nikon dial decals:

because we know there are two types of people in this world: those that brake for Nikons and those that don’t let friends buy one


electronic bubble wrap game


Japan is known for its gadgets and games. I had one item on my shopping list — if I saw it I’d buy it, if I didn’t I would have left it till next time. First reported on bb, it’s the puchi puchi electronic bubble wrap toy from Bandai. The premise of this tiny game is to replicate the feel and sound of popping bubble wrap. After 100 pops the device will emit a special sound — door chime, dog barking or supposedly a woman moaning in ecstasy.

I looked for it in Shinjuku but no luck. Today we were in Ginza and I looked at the toy store where it was prominently displayed next to the cashier. ¥819 is about $7.20.

Okay, I admit it. There’s no point to this game. But like most people I like playing with bubble wrap and this one has the potential to become addictive.

when I was young …

Top 100 Toys, as remembered by the people at TV Cream. Decidedly British focus, and I remember them soooo well.

Among the entries:

#93. Rubik’s cube — I have a cheat sheet which I followed, but I never got to solving it on my own. And I thought I was good at puzzles.

#90. Mastermind — no, not the Magnus Magnusson show, which was damned hard. A deceptively simple guessing game that can be played in silence. It’s great.

#69. Twister — amazing that it’s still played. Yay.

#66. Downfall — yes, I can see that box, still in my parent’s house.

mastermind   downfall

#47. Operation — teehee, who can forget “butterflies in stomach”, snerk.

#43. Slime — if ever there was a definition of my childhood, it’s this viscous mixture of latex, wallpaper paste and food colouring. Man it was fun, it crackled, there were bubbles. But who can forget when it got filthy and dried out eventually.

#40. Game & watch — before Gameboys, before PSPs, there were the donkey kongs on these credit sized tiny devices. Had loads of them, I wonder where they are now?

slime   gamewatch

#32. Tiny tears — hate it, my question is, what is her left hand doing? Hmm.


And finally, the top three, and how boring:

#3. Action Man
#2. A computer
#1. A bike


Now wait a minute, where is the Lego? Where is Monopoly?