Junior Mad Scientist – Lab Notes

Night of the Living Trekkies

September 3rd, 2010 by Weber


Yep, it’s here and that’s the cover. I’ve already finished the book but can’t say anything about it until September 7th.

What I can tell you is that I have two FREE copies of the book and two FREE posters of the cover for lucky JuniorMadScientist.com readers. One of the books is brand-new-never-been-read and the other has my eye prints all over it. I have to figure out some kind of contest because I can’t just give these things away. That’s too much like crazy. Winners will each get a book and a poster.

(Don’t get me wrong — anyone reading this site is already a winner. Good for you! It’s just that some people will be more winning-er than others.)

Meanwhile, slip on over to the official Night of the Living Trekkies Facebook page. Rumor has it that you can chat with the authors and get updates, etc. Everyone who joins the Night of the Living Trekkies Facebook page will automatically be entered in a contest to win a Quirk Books prize package:

Grand prize:
Human-loving Tribbles, unofficial Trekkies T-Shirt, and a signed copy of the book

Two runners-up:
Unofficial Trekkies T-Shirt

(I’d sure like one of those t-shirts . . . .)

Stay tuned for the review!

Posted in Book Reviews, Zombies | 6 Comments »

Happy Holidays (part 1)

July 9th, 2010 by Weber

click here for full size image

Tinwerks is a Chicago-based company that does ground-up design and manufacture of metal boxes. Chances are that if your special edition DVD boxed set, candy, gum, food, toys, or cigars came in an uber-cool tin, these guys did it.

Now that I think about it, this is actually the fourth card design I sent them in 2009. The first one was this . . .

click for full image
(click image for detail)

. . . but they weren’t feeling it, for some reason. So I sent them this . . .

(click image for detail)

. . . which they said was still a bit too corporate. They were looking for something that jumped off the page, something that would show they were a breed apart. Discussion still revolved around robots and snowmen and this and that . . . and then I came up with a giant snowman attacking Tokyo.

Instant love. Do it.

But before getting too far into this version, I sent the Big Bosses the following:

(click image for detail)

The idea being that the runners would be redrawn as a fleeing mob, include some 1950s jets flying around and a pair of insets with shocked citizens and scientist in the bottom corners. Go for a total movie poster look.

And they loved it! They said it was the best Iron Maiden Christmas card they’d ever seen, which I took as a high compliment. But the image was not quite, er, corporate enough — didn’t send the right message or something. So, back to the drawing tablet.

Some more ideas, more back-and-forth and I sent them this one:


It’s got the same basic elements as the final product but the chest design on this guy was a bit much. The final robot design has a nice Power Rangers feel to it that the big-wigs really dug. Actually, they went nuts over it. So much so that there was talk of having “Tinny” (as this guy’s now known throughout the company) at trade shows and printed on t-shirts, but it either never happened or I never got a shirt — which is a drag, because I would be wearing it with pride.

click here for full size image

More fine examples of my holiday handiwork coming soon.

Posted in Art, Work For Hire | 1 Comment »

Father’s Day Activity Sheet

June 18th, 2010 by Weber


click to download (638kb)

In just under the wire! Print, color and have a Happy Father’s Day. I know I will. Peace.

(special thanks to Bruce Lee , a.k.a., Loston Wallace, over at the PencilJack forum for the Kirby Krackle tutorial. YOU GO NOW. DO IT.)

Posted in Art, Coloring Books, Kid's Menus, Kid's Stuff | Comments Off on Father’s Day Activity Sheet

National Gelato Month?

May 19th, 2010 by Weber

image courtesy http://www.biteclubeats.com/gelato.jpg

Why didn’t anybody tell me it’s National Artisan Gelato Month?

Guess I’d have to be on one of the privacy-abusing social networking sites to get that kind of up-to-date info. Well, it’s a small price to pay for keeping my business mine and not fodder for trolls, sell-outs, busybodies, and data miners pimping my status to the advertising industry.

I may be behind the curve on this one, but I’ve still got twelve solid days left to enjoy the sweet, yummy goodness of artisan gelato. I like gelato. Not better than ice cream. Equally, I’d have to say.

If you had a scoop of gelato in one hand and a scoop if ice cream in another and asked me which one I wanted, I’d tell you, “Neither — because they’re all melty and gross and running down your arm. It’s a dessert, not a fetish. So get me a fresh one in a cone; I don’t care what.”

I bet jalapeno gelato is good. I’d like some of that.

Anyway, Here’s a list of artisan gelato joints in Chicago area — including Palazzolo’s and Caffe Gelato (make sure your speakers are off when you hit this site) — and a link to recent Chicago Tribune articles on artisan gelato and places to get it.

All of this artisan gelato action begs the question: how, exactly, did May become National Artisan Gelato Month? Seems like any chucklehead with half an agenda can get his own National Something Month. Take a look at the ones for May:

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month
Mental Health Month
Allergy/Asthma Awareness Month
National Good Car Keeping Month
National Strawberry Month
National Chocolate Custard Month
Foot Health Month
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
National High Blood Pressure Month
National Hamburger Month
Arthritis Month
Better Sleep Month
Correct Posture Month
National Salad Month
Older Americans Month
National Barbecue Month
National Bike Month
National Mine Month
National Egg Month
National Artisan Gelato Month
National Asparagus Month
National Macaroon Day
National Salad Month
National Salsa Month
National Share A Story month

National Chocolate Custard Month? Seriously? Why not a National High Fructose Corn Syrup Month? And how about whipping National Egg Month into a nice Bearnaise to drizzle over National Asparagus Month? Where’s National Steak & Crab Legs Month?

Not that I have the time for it, but now I’m pissed-off enough to start investigating how we got all these ridiculous National Months — I’m looking right at you, “Hug a Texas Chef Month.”

More on this as I find it. Meanwhile, here, for your viewing pleasure and possible outrage, is an expanded list of National Months by month. If you’re lucky, maybe your birthday falls during a really good one. My birthday’s in January, host to a bunch of sucky National Months such as:

Prune Breakfast Month
Fat Free Living Month
Dried Plum Breakfast Month (I’m flummoxed as to how this differs from Prune Breakfast Month. Any help here?)
National Fiber Focus Month
National Mail Order Gardening Month
National Eye Health Care

January is also National Egg Month. How did eggs get two National Months? Either the egg lobby is more powerful than we thought, or our elected public servants aren’t paying attention to the bills they vote on.

Nah. Couldn’t be that.

Posted in Food, Weridness | Comments Off on National Gelato Month?

Mother’s Day activity sheet

May 13th, 2010 by Weber

(click here to download .PDF, 868kb)

Here’s the Mother’s Day activity sheet for the Hilton Chicago/Indian Lakes in beautiful Bloomingdale, IL. It was a big hit with the kids, and the grown-ups, too — so much so that they ran out of copies to hand out. Note to self: bigger print run for next year.

The hotel’s nicer restaurant, Shiraz On The Water, will be doing a big menu change in a couple of weeks, for which they will be getting all new kids’ menus, too. More on that when it happens.

The hotel also has a Father’s Day brunch coming up on whatever Sunday Father’s day is. And guess who’s doing the activity sheet for that?

I’ll try to have it up before the holiday this time, so the kids at home can print it and color it for their own dads.

Posted in Art, Kid's Menus, Kid's Stuff, Work For Hire | Comments Off on Mother’s Day activity sheet

deg3d.biz 3D modeling — GET THIS GUY A JOB

May 13th, 2010 by Weber


(click here for full image)

Somebody help me out here. This guy, deg, AKA, “Douglas Graves”, has been doing 3D modeling for, I don’t know, a couple of weeks, maybe. He somehow got my email address and keeps sending me these updates of his work. It’s pretty and all, but it’s not like I can help him out. “Damn it, Jim, I’m a writer not a production designer!” Right?

So, check out his site then pass the goods around to decision makers and other industry hot shots who can pay Douglas. The idea is to keep him so busy he has no time to flood my mailbox with this stuff.


Posted in Art, Comics, Movies, Work For Hire | 1 Comment »

Password for “Kick-Ass and the Hopeless Stupidity of American Moviegoers”

May 10th, 2010 by Weber

think big copyright bradley weber

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a blog entry that is password protected but the writer gives away the password.


The reason is that the other post has some language and ideas that don’t exactly pass the “all ages” litmus test. It’s nothing too bad, just kind of shocking and a little more in-your-face than kids need to be reading. Adults, sure. Actually, it’s just the stuff adults should read and think about.

So, to make you responsible for your decision to read the article, it is accessible only by typing or pasting the following into the box:


This way, whoever reads it has done so actively. This way nobody can claim, “It was on my screen and I couldn’t look away in time to not have my feelings hurt.”



(p.s. — Since the next post down is password protected, there doesn’t seem to be a way for readers to add comments. If you’ve got something to say about the article, add the comments to this post. Yeah, it’s confusing, but if you’re reading this blog, you’re smart enough to figure it out. Right! bjw)

Posted in Editorials, Movies, Weridness | 1 Comment »

Protected: KICK-ASS and the Hopless Stupidity of American Moviegoers

May 10th, 2010 by Weber

[I’m warning you right now that this one has some language in it — language that, if you’re over the age of seven, you’ve probably said at least once today. And if you haven’t said it, then you’ve thought it or heard your parents say it, probably more than once today. But when they’re in print, words are suddenly different. Don’t ask me why. I’m a writer and I still don’t understand the physics of words (supposedly) having more meaning when they’re on the page. Anyway, if you’re under the age of 18 or easily offended, you’ll likely want to skip this one. Just sayin’. bjw]

Why so stupid?

There’s one in every crowd. The guy who hands you back the fast food garbage you dumped in the Home Depot parking lot. The guy who yells in the theater for you to put away your goddamned cell phone and watch the movie. The guy who whips a rock at your car because you just blew the stop sign while he was walking his kid across the street.

Like I said: There’s one in every crowd.

Usually, it’s me.


It’d been a long Sunday: the only worthwhile things being time spent with the wife and kid, pricing bookcases for the new office, and some barbeque and strange conversation at a friend’s house. After that, it was 8:30pm and I was at loose ends. The local Googolplex was showing KICK-ASS at 8:45. I snagged a twenty and headed out the door.

My cell phone and watch were left home on purpose, so I had no idea what time it was when the woman tried to sneak in with the little boy. This was right around the part where Kick-Ass first meets up with the Red Mist in the alley. The kid sits one over from me; she’s on his left. The kid is so small he’s practically swallowed by the seat.

I saw them come in, fresh from either DIARY OF A WIMPY KID or HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. The kid was oblivious. She was furtive, clearly new at trying to get away with something and failing hard. It makes no difference who you are; we’ve all done it, all failed to be invisible. Whether it’s your first crack at theater-hopping, shoplifting porn or buying that first box of condoms, we all act the same way and it’s easy to spot.

As God as my witness, I wanted to let it go.

Not that this woman needed to be Tased for sneaking into a movie. Hell, no. Except for under–paid theater managers and over–paid studio executives, nobody gives a shit about that kind of thing because whether anybody is in the theater or not, the movie still runs. So, as long as she stayed off her phone and the kid kept his yap shut, I would count myself among the careless nobodies.

But she brought this little, little kid to this particular movie. This stupid, stupid woman, whose knowledge of the film was likely gleaned from a fast glance at the movie poster, and this kid, no doubt tripping on Mountain Dew and Twizzler Bites, who is geeked to be up past his bedtime on a school night and sneaking into a superhero movie. And who could blame him?

The thing is, I know what’s coming. I’d never read the comics, but had seen enough reviews to know how bad it would be. That I paid ten bucks to see this piece of crap is my problem, my choice. But this kid, he doesn’t have a choice, doesn’t know he has a choice. Even if he did know, he’d still vote to stay. Because it’s a superhero movie.

And I think about the people I know –– personally know –– who let their five- and six- and seven-year-olds watch SPIDER–MAN 3, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, and THE DARK KNIGHT, over and over and over. Especially THE DARK KNIGHT. Because to most parents, the line between THE INCREDIBLES and THE DARK KNIGHT doesn’t exist. Because they are superhero movies.

One of these days, I’m going hit my brakes while the wrong guy tailgates me. One of these days, I’ll tell the wrong woman “you’re welcome” when she fails to smile, make friendly eye contact, say “thank you” while I hold the door open for her. One of these days, I’m going to tell the wrong guy that if he and his buddies want to talk they should go to Denny’s –– otherwise they need to shut up and watch the movie. One of these days, I’m going to get slapped around, have a cigarette put out in my face, get stabbed. Get shot.

One of these days, I’m going to mind my own business.

I lean over the empty seat. I tell the lady, “You know this rated R, right?”

“Oh. It is?” she asks, and means it.


I turn to the kid. “Hey, pal. How old are you?”

He holds up four fingers, says he’s three. His eyes never leave the screen.

“He’s four,” she smiles.

I say, “Listen, lady. They already showed a little girl get shot in the chest by her father and it’s only going to get worse. You need to get him the hell out of here. Like, now.”

She says, “Oh,” and starts tugging a jacket on her mesmerized kid. “OK. Thanks.”

“You know the best way to thank me? Read the reviews before you take your kid to the movies. Because shit like this will fuck him up fast. Now beat it before they start having sex and chopping off heads.”

She hustled that kid out with a lot less furtive than she came in with.

One of these days, I’m going to Hell.

–– Chicago, May 2010

Posted in Editorials, Movies, Weridness | Comments Off on Protected: KICK-ASS and the Hopless Stupidity of American Moviegoers

Cory Doctorow launches new book tour @ Anderson’s Naperville

May 5th, 2010 by Weber

For The Win covers, UK (left) and US (right)

For The Win covers, UK (left) and US (right)

If I’m reading the press info correctly, BoingBoing editor and author Cory Doctorow will be kicking-off his latest tour at our very own Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL. He’ll be there on Wednesday, May 12th starting at 7PM. (Address below).

My review copy of his new book, For The Win came in the mail yesterday. It’s a long one, something like 480 pages. Since, I’m the kind guy who has to move his lips when he reads, it’s going to take me more than a week to finish. Still, I’ll post a review when I’m done. Meanwhile, here is the synopsis from Cory’s own site, craphound.com: FOR THE WIN [is] a young adult novel about macroeconomics, video games and the labor movement.

How Doctorow will weave all this together is sure to be interesting. The Acknowledgments page is interesting in itself and gives some clues to what else is happening in the book.

Here’s a good scan of a bad print-out detailing Cory’s tour dates.

If you’re within driving distance to Anderson’s or any of these other fine establishments, make the trip and tell ’em Brad sent you!

Posted in Book Reviews | Comments Off on Cory Doctorow launches new book tour @ Anderson’s Naperville

Comments are GO! (really)

April 30th, 2010 by Weber

Thanks to Webmaster MIKE and whatever voodoo he worked the other day. Since then, WordPress has been catching spam like dolphins in a tuna net. The only exception so far is an advert for a “russian roulette online game” [sic].

Wasn’t there a version of that in one of the Grand Theft Autos?

Posted in General | Comments Off on Comments are GO! (really)

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