Picked up a couple of toys the other day.


It’s a pretty big coffee maker. Still trying to find room for it on the counter.

Anne and I have been making due with a little 4 cup coffee maker for ages now mainly because I was the only one of the two of us to regularly drink coffee, but she’s since developed a taste for it. So we decided it was time to buy a full-size coffee maker and I figured if I was going to do that then I’d go all the way and buy one with a built-in bean grinder.

I ended up ordering a Black & Decker CM5000B 12-Cup Mill and Brew Coffeemaker from Amazon as it had a pretty good rating and was the cheapest of the models with built-in grinders. Not only is it pretty, but it has a bronze tone permanent filter that you just rinse in the sink eliminating the need to purchase new coffee filters all the time. It can still use pre-ground coffee as well and can be programmed to turn on at a set time. Naturally we went out and bought some whole store-roasted beans at Holiday Market, but we’ve not tried it out yet. Probably this weekend. We’re still using the smaller pot for morning coffee before work.

The other thing I bought was a replacement solar lantern for the shepherd’s hook we have in front of our apartment. Ever since we moved to Ann Arbor we’ve had some form of fake lanterns hanging outside our apartment and we’ve carried on that tradition (such as it is) at the new place. Alas, the battery finally wore out on the last solar lantern we had bought around Christmas time a couple of years ago. We had bought a new lantern that looked like a glass lighthouse, but someone recently ripped out the solar panel cap that had the LEDs on it.

So, I replaced it with this:

It’s much bigger than the old lantern and the battery on it is amazing. At its best it’s only supposed to last 8 hours, but so far it’s been running right until sunrise. Not bad for being about $35 on Amazon. It helps to make it easier for folks to find the apartment. Not just friends and family, but delivery guys too. The little yard flag in the background is new too. We’re just starting to amass a collection of those.

Someday I’d like to purchase some of the Luminara fake candles because the flame effect on those is amazing, but with those starting at $50 and quickly going up and given that we’ve already had one solar lantern destroyed by the neighbors, I figured this would do fine.

Young girl on the marketing of kid’s toys.

Consider this an antidote to the faith-in-humanity-destroying collection of tweets I posted the other day. Young Riley wants to know why marketing people think girls are only interested in pink princesses:

Damn good question indeed. Perhaps she’ll grow up to make some changes in how toys are marketed some day.

A “Doctor Who” toy that’s sure to get your ass kicked. I want one anyway.

This has got to be the dorkiest Doctor Who toy ever. It’s a Dalek Voice Changer Helmet:

The Dalek Voice Changer Helmet is a tiered, circumferential cranial housing, joined with a glowing blue eye stalk. By donning the Dalek Helmet, you gain the ability to speak in the Dalek’s bloodless tone, play back pre-record Dalek phrases, or activate the Exterminator sound. Should the Daleks ever stage a full scale invasion, battering past the pitiable defenses of mankind, the Dalek Voice Changer Helmet might make the difference between survival and hideous annihilation.

I mean, just look at that pic of the kid wearing this $74.99, plus shipping and handling, Dalek helmet. Somehow, without the rest of the Dalek armor wrapped around him, it comes across as less than threatening. That hasn’t stopped the online store I linked to from being sold out of these badges of DW Geekdom. Nor does it stop me from (not so) secretly wishing I had one of my own. I mean I’ve been searching for years for a Windows based sound editor that comes with a ring modulation function so I could record my own voice and then distort it to sound like a Dalek. I’ve yet to find one. So a helmet that has one built-in already? Priceless.

Found via Boing Boing.

Chinese Toy Makers Motives Suddenly Become Clear… Maybe

Nobody is too surprised to hear that there is another recall on Chinese products, toys or otherwise. However, there’s a new twist in the latest one reported by CNN, and it’s not lead:

Millions of toys recalled; contain ‘date rape’ drug
Two U.S. children went into comas after who swallowing Chinese-made Aqua Dots found to contain a chemical that converts into ‘date rape’ drug when ingested.
November 7 2007: 9:04 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP)—Millions of Chinese-made toys have been pulled from shelves in North America and Australia after scientists found they contain a chemical that converts into a powerful date rape drug when ingested. Two children in the U.S. and three in Australia were hospitalized after swallowing the beads.

Yikes.  I guess this is even more reason for me to be glad I don’t have children.

Full CNN Story here

ThinkGeek has a remote control K9!

I’m in Doctor Who geek heaven right now. The folks at ThinkGeek are selling a r/c model of K9:

Doctor Who is many things to many people, but one thing he is to everyone who knows him is a dog lover. He just loves his K9’s, and he knows that a happy workplace is one with a dog (cyber or otherwise). And we whole-heartedly agree. That’s why at ThinkGeek we try to have at least two real dogs in the office and now an R/C K9. But unlike the real dogs, our R/C K9 is always willing to do our bidding.

Each quarter-scale K9 is full of lush, accurate details. From the light up eye unit and back panel to the extendable nose blaster, this R/C K9 was made to be the next best thing to owning a real K9 unit. And just like the real thing, the R/C K9 is not a quiet robot; the only difference is that you are complete control of his 7 audible phrases. Heck, even K9’s satellite-dish ears wiggle when he moves. This is more than just a great toy, this is a life companion – ready to serve you. “Affirmative, Master.”

And it’s even reasonably priced to boot!