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Tag Archive: holiday gift ideas


Review by C.J. Bunce

The ginger tomcat named Jones, aka Jonesy.  He co-starred with human actor Sigourney Weaver in Ridley Scott’s science fiction classic Alien.  Now nearly 40 years later, Jonesy gets his own book.  Recounting from his perspective the events aboard the USCSS Nostromo on its fateful mission encountering xenomorphs, Jonesy: Nine Lives on the Nostromo is now available in bookstores.  It is much, much, better than you might think.  And it’s a contender for best gift idea for the holiday season, especially for anyone who likes cats.

Lots of books aim for humor and don’t quite get it right.  The balance between cutesy and adhering to the parameters of the source material is not an easy thing.  Writer-artist Rory Lucey has cats and he is a fan of Alien.  When he showed the movie Alien to his wife for the first time, her natural question was: Does Jonesy survive?  From there, Jonesy: Nine Lives on the Nostromo was born.  And like a really fabulous look at a day in the life of a dog, Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye Issue #11 (2013’s single best comic book issue), readers will not encounter any actual words in this book.  And that’s as it should be.

That’s the original Jonesy in Alien (left), and Rosie the cat (right), who is just a little afraid of what Jonesy might encounter in this new book.

Lucey takes his knowledge of cat behavior and fills in the blanks of the film–those times when we didn’t see Jonesy hissing at the xenomorph behind you, what was he up to?  Scratching, taking a bath, sleeping, licking things he shouldn’t be–yes, all that, and much more.  And all of it fits into the story from the original film perfectly.  It’s even better than A Die Hard Christmas.  Here are some images from the book:

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sw-clue-3d

Countless Hasbro, Parker Brothers, and Milton Bradley games have been re-released incorporating every genre favorite from The Lord of the Rings to the Harry Potter series, and from Firefly to The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones You can pull off your classic game shelf the original Monopoly, Risk, Clue, or Trivial Pursuit, or mix up the game night a bit with the tie-in version of your favorite movie or TV series.  Although a The Walking Dead seems like it would be a better mash-up with Sorry! than The Game of Life or The Walking Dead Jenga, some of the tie-ins seem well-matched (like Sherlock Clue, Downton Abbey Clue, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens BB-8 Operation!).

Ready for this holiday season, Hasbro is releasing a new Star Wars Clue game this month.  And the plot of the game is nicely timed to tie with the plot of December’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  The goal is to locate the plans to the Death Star, figure out who stashed them, and determine the best route to escape.

star-wars-clue

This beautiful new game is Star Wars gold for two reasons.  First, it’s a twist on Clue (Cluedo in the UK) and Clue is always fun if you get enough people to play.  “But I already have seven versions of Clue plus Star Wars Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly!” you say.  This one adds some three-dimensional color for good family night play.  And that new 3D take is the second reason this is sure to be a fun, new game: It evokes the great cardboard-backed action figure playsets from the 1970s, like the Creature Cantina, the Hoth AT-AT Playset, the Cloud City Playset, and even the wall inserts on the full-sized Death Star playset.  It also looks a bit like the classic Sub Search from Milton Bradley.

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Car legends display

A new poster style is available for your favorite fan of movies and cool cars.  Displate‘s artists have created a series of Car Legends for your walls and you can mix and match them as you like.

Displates mount with magnets and are each about 18 inches by 12.5 inches in size.  They sell for $44 each and you can get free shipping if you purchase three.

How’s this for a set of posters to show off over your sofa?  McFly, Bond and Mad Max anyone?

Car legends metal posters

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Cardboard Safari skull

The department stores have switched into the Thanksgiving and Christmas season seemingly overnight now that Halloween has passed.  If you’re thinking ahead to the latest and greatest new gift idea for model builders and other crafters for the coming holiday season, you should take a look at some creative new building kits from Cardboard Safari.  We at borg.com have tried out three of the company’s precision laser-cut project kits and found them to be easy to build and loads of fun for a variety of audiences.

Cardboard Safari designers use various types of cardboard to create everything from real office furniture to desktop art, and wall wreaths and retro toys to a human skull.  We tried out Cardboard Safari’s Human Skull, Astro Rocket, and steampunk or retro Ray Gun with display stand.  The instructions were straightforward and materials sturdy enough that when we were distracted during the World Series we could redo our work without any errors or blemishes in the final product.  They require no glue, but are carefully designed so cardboard components solidly secure the model–something like a snap-tite plastic model kit.  The photo above and first photo below show the final projects we created.

Ray Gun and Rocket Cardboard Safari

When I was a kid my first exposure to model kits was the Gayla Industries Styrofoam board gliders like the F-14 and the Space Shuttle, the West Wings simple balsa gliders, and Guillows rubber band-powered planes.  These were simple three or four step models.  Later I moved into larger styrene gliders, and more advanced balsa and plastic kits.  On a parallel track I grew up with Legos, starting with a basic house set and moving up to the remote-controlled functional car.  You can learn the same building skills with the projects at Cardboard Safari.

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Bullitt Mustang from poster

In a recent survey of a sci-fi collecting community, I was surprised at how many people had classic cars as a hobby prior to expanding into the sci-fi universe of collecting.  Who hasn’t dropped hints to their significant other to try to get their classic Ford or Chevy on Chip Foose’s Overhaulin’ show on the Discovery Channel?  Foose has designed vehicles for major motion pictures such as Blade Runner, Gone in 60 Seconds, and RoboCop, and he’s rebuilding cars for nominees on his show.  What’s cooler than that?  And who doesn’t wish they had Jay Leno’s garage full of classic cars, and his resources to rebuild them?

Decades ago I dreamed of taking an old classic ’57 Chevy Bel Air and rebuilding it into a street rod.  So I did it–via a 1:25 scale plastic model kit, first building the model on the box, then sanding it into a rusted mess, then building it back up into a competition orange rod.  Lots cheaper than doing it with the real thing.  Finding myself wandering a local hobby shop this weekend I noticed several new retro entries in the model car kit category that I hadn’t seen before.  I wish I had time to make them all.  So check these out, and if you have a car enthusiast, young or old, on this year’s gift giving list, keep these in mind.

Ghostbusters hearse

Who you gonna call?  How about the Ghostbusters and their Ecto-IA hearse?  It’s the car Dan Aykroyd bought and thought was just perfect for the team’s new business.  It’s from AMT and available for less than $25.

Back to the Future Time Machine

Who doesn’t think Doc Brown’s DeLorean isn’t one of the coolest cars in all of sci-fi?  You can pre-order a Back to the Future time machine car fully tricked out for less than $30.  It even comes with a flux capacitor.

Scooby Mystery Machine

Do you miss Shag and Scoob and the rest of the Scooby Gang?  How about getting your own Mystery Machine?  It’s available for less than $20.

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the-dark-knight-trilogy-blu-ray

No matter who you are buying gifts for this Christmas season, when all else fails you can always please friends and family with their favorite films on Blu-Ray or DVD.  Like every year you can pick up the big releases of the year, like The Avengers, Brave, and Men in Black 3.  This season four very different boxed set releases are available for the first time, and may appeal to your favorite diehard movie fans.

For smaller budgets, fans of the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batman films will be eager to receive the trilogy of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises all in one place, with The Dark Knight Trilogy Giftset.  Continue reading