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November 16,2008 (WeekendEdition)

On Friday we did a quick mention of the Skeleflex "creatures" from Wild Planet.  Today we'll take a closer look the contents of the three Skeleflex construction kits.

The smaller kits come with their own carrying case.  The pieces are color-coded to the case.  As all of the pieces are inter-connectable, the color-coding helps make it easier to know what pieces came from which kit if mixed to create a "new" monster.

The largest kit is the T-Rex PowerFlex Lab.  It contains a motorized core, all the pieces to construct a T-Rex, and a "PowerBase" to bring the T-Rex to life. 

The other two kits also contain complete creatures, but are much smaller in both size and complexity.  These smaller dinos are totally fun to build on their own and are great source of parts for creating new imaginary skeletons!

The interns assembled the three dinosaurs without any modifications to get an idea of what they have to work with before getting creative.  The pieces snap together easily and stay in place securely, even during monster to monster "mock" combats.  The ball and socket mechanism enables the creature to be arranged in many different poses. 

The T-Rex is the only one with the motorized body.  3AA batteries are required to bring the T-Rex to life.  We hope Wild Planet will add some accessories to this Skeleflex line.  A few of our suggestions would be:

  • A timer module to activate the T-Rex so it can be used an an alarm clock.
  • Sound recording/playback capability so we can record and play back our own dino "roars" when the switch is thrown.
  • A mechanism to integrate the SpyGear sound and/or motion detectors so the dino will come to life if our perimeter has been "breached!"

Got your own ideas or pics of your own Skeleflex creations?  Send them along.  We'll post them if we find them to be sufficiently freaky! [Permalink] - Skeleflex creatures


November 15,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We apologize for the teaser from yesterday. Some of you, apparently, would have immediately ripped open the boxes and played with all the pieces.  Many of you were not shy about letting us know that that was what you would have done.  Hey, "grown ups" work here at RainyDayMagazine and we are MUCH more restrained!  We don't run with scissors and we always/most of the time eat our vegetables.

The truth is that packages have been arriving steadily for review and it has been keeping everyone going full throttle.  This time of the year, the overflow sometimes goes all the way out to the main reception area.  We'll be playing catch-up from here on out.  Our goal is to complete the FirstLook/FirstUse writeups of all new items which arrive before Thanksgiving.  Getting those done will allow us to focus on the 2008 RainyDayMagazine Holiday Gift Guide.  Just like last year, there will be plenty of hidden contests and give-aways.  So if you see something you want in the Gift Guide, you may actually have an opportunity to win it.  Just click around! [Permalink] - Hints


November 14,2008 (FierceFriday)

Yesterday, Carolyn and Bill reported on the MOS unveiling of Triceratops Cliff.  Today something a lot smaller, but equally cool was "unboxed" at RainyDayMagazine.

Our friends at Wild Planet always have new toys for the Holiday Season.  Last year, it was a collection of SpyGear.  This year, they have a line of toys for all who crave to "create" in addition to "play."

Judging from the packaging, Skeleflex is an "erector set" of inter-connecting bones for building a traditional dinosaur or a monster of our own design.

The joints are flexible so the creature can be made to "move."  We are not sure how all this works yet, but we soon will!  There are many different kinds of creatures (Dinos, Aliens) in the collection. 

You can bet the interns will come up with some unique Jurrasic creations from the sampling we got to review.  They promised to create and bring to life a few Skeleflex creations soon.  [Permalink] - Skeleflex


November 13,2008(TriceratopsThursday)

Who cost a million dollars, came in ten crates without assembly instructions, and is 65-and-a-half million years old? Cliff, the new, actual, triceratops at Boston's Museum of Science, that's who.

The cool thing about Cliff is that those bones (and all those teeth) really are his; this ain't no model, and all those bones came from the one guy (assuming at this point we can tell the difference between the Tri-sexes).  Cliff might be surprised to realize that he is one of only four near-complete examples of his kind in the world, and the only one in the northeastern United States.  All the skeletons that you see in museums are made up of bones from various finds.

Cliff was discovered in 2004 in North Dakota in the Hell Creek Formation by a rancher.  It was put up for auction in April of this year by Christie's Paris ("Pardon, monsieur, but there ees a dinosaur een your auction house"), and subsequently offered to MOS on long-term loan.

The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, enjoyed coming to MOS when he was a child, and thought the museum would make a good home for the 22-foot long, 2,000-pound fella.  "We got a phone call in the Spring, asking if we'd like a dinosaur," Ioannis Miaoulis, MOS Director and President, told the crowd before the literal unveiling of Cliff. 

Cliff is named for the anonymous donor's grandfather (who must be really old himself). Additional remarks were made by Dr. John Hoganson, State Paleontologist of North Dakota.

Cliff now, uh, lives, in the Dinosaurs section, and in the exhibit is numerous other dino-stuff (but don't step in the footprint of the T-Rex, he might get annoyed).  There are other interactive pieces being offered by the museum to enhance the paleontological experience, including the IMAX movie Dinosaurs Alive! [Permalink] - Triceratops Cliff


November 12,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

Cats can see really well in the dark.  Everyone knows this.  Seeing a cat in the dark would be a lot easier if they were all like Mr. Green Genes.

Mr. Green Genes is a cloned cat whose DNA was manipulated during his creation.  We are guessing that the fluorescence gene, probably from a jellyfish, was introduced during the cloning process.  Notice the green on Mr. Green Genes' nose and around the edges of the ears.  If shaved, his entire body would be glowing green.

This "glow" technology, while fun, does serve a very useful purpose.  It lets scientists track the activities inside a living cell.  Imagine if only cancer cells were to "glow" or if the developmental path of a stem cell could be tracked via different colors over time.  We can learn how and when a generic stem cell differentiates into something more specific.  The potentials are quite exciting.  Still, not a cool as a glow-in-the-dark cat :-) [Permalink] - Mr. Green Genes


November 11,2008 (BatteryTesterTuesday)

This past weekend we switched out the Summer tires for our Winter Blizzaks.  In the collection was a new piece of gear still in its plastic packaging.  Readers who were curious and clicked on the image of the item (Clore Automotive's Solar Battery Tester - BA7) found the hidden link to this month's RainyDayContest.  We have reviewed some Clore Automotive gears (JNC Air, Pro-Logix Battery Charger) in the past and are always eager to check out their new offerings.

The new item is the Solar Battery and Systerm Tester.  This handy little device is designed for testing a wide variety of batteries (marine, Gel Cell, regular car, etc...).

We took the unit out of its packaging for a quick FirstLook.  The device has a solid feel.  The LED display is large.  All of the buttons are sealed against dirt and moisture.  The directions are integrated into the back of the unit.  We'll give it a FirstUse once over soon.

BTW, congratulations goes out to Steve M.  Steve's name was picked out of the hat amongst all of the email entries recieved since Sunday.  We'll send Steve the Solar Battery Tester once we are done with our review of the Solar BA7.  For readers who want one under their tree this Holiday Season, drop the appropriate hints by leaving this page up around your significant other.  We'll make sure they get the hint :-)  [Permalink] - Solar Battery Tester


November 10,2008 (LeafModelMonday)

The large maple in the RainyDayGarden dropped all its yellow leaves this weekend.  It made for some interesting Fall photos.  However, it was a bit bland so we asked one of our interns to come out and be a model.

Buffy kindly agreed to pose in exchange for some tasty treats.  The best thing about working with a cat is they take directions really really well.  Unlike dogs, a cat will sit motionless, turn when asked, and lay down on command.

The only down side with cats is they have low endurance.  Buffy was exhausted after four poses and took a nap for the rest of the morning on location. 

When we went back out a bit later, she was still asleep under a pile of leaves.  We left her out there and went back inside to do some napping of our own.  After all, taking photos is pretty hard work as well!  [Permalink] - Buffy in Leaves


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