Cool toys I saw this week

ToysKristina PinoComment

I'm not sure whether this will be a regular thing, but there were some cool toy things that went up this week that I wanted to kind of gush about.

First it's gonna be Kotobukiya's ArtFX+ Alfred Pennyworth. More than anything, I'm just really happy this exists. It's a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive, but there are orders up at Koto's online shop for non-attendees, too. I have some personal theories about Alfred and how he's a total badass, but I'll take the standard butler look for the statue, and I love the skeptical look on his face. Alfred ships out next month (or you can pick one up at SDCC).

Next is Mondo's First Hellboy statue, which comes in two versions. There's the black and white ink version, and the red colorway, based on the first sketch of the character. I really love the way the illustration translated into 3D, and it looks like these folks did some great work here. I've only just recently started reading Hellboy and learning about the character, so it's pretty nice timing to see such a rad statue in the works.

And last, but not least, it's a July release for Funko, who are actually dishing out loads of cool-looking figures these days. But I'm specifically looking at their World of Pop! Olaf. He's just too adorable. Seriously, the best thing that came out of Frozen was Olaf.

Yeah, I just wanted to talk about those figures. For 2/3 of those, it's the second time since I posted about them on Tomopop. Enjoy!


BooksKristina PinoComment

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (narrated by the author):

After listening to Julie Powell's Julie & Julia, I wanted to sink my teeth into another food-related memoir, and remembered I'd been interested in Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential for a long time. His narrating is solid, though the cutting/editing in the audiobook file wasn't optimal, frequently cutting abruptly or transitioning in quality from one sentence to the next.

This book is a great collection of stories that spans decades, and there's no better person to get the humor, sarcasm, disdain, adoring, and other tones the tales evoke than the author himself, who spoke them all regardless of what he imagined would be no small amount of flak. His experiences aren't universal, but they're still a super interesting peek into the world of cooking as a career for a significant chunk of people. I wouldn't trade my life for how he described his in this book, but I got a lot out of listening.

I'm also hungry for more culinary books or other chef memoirs. I'll be checking some more out in the near future.

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (narrated by Julia Whelan):

Of course, since watching Frozen I've been interested in seeing how different the original story is to the adaptation. I got this title for free from Audible, as Julie Whelan was Audible's 2014 narrator of the year.

As suspected, the book and the film don't resemble each other at all, except that there's a reindeer in both, and somehow the people affected by snow magic are total jerks. There are so many great characters in The Snow Queen I would have loved to see brought to life in the film! In this story, a little girl is separated from her best friend, who is taken away from her. She spends the book going after him, and gets help along the way from various animals and people. This cute little adventure is a quick read, and brilliantly narrated by Whelan. It's a nice story about growing up and being true to ourselves, though we sometimes go astray. And of course, the people who believe in us when we need them to the most.

Friday Things: 08/01 - A Sumo diet and the daily sketches of Skottie Young

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Oh man, it's August already! Also, yay, I'm back! Although, this month might be light because it's also when I'll be having my summer break. While I'm enjoying my vacation, I may or may not post regular link dumps. We shall see!]

On Books and Comics: 

Skottie Young is one of my favorite comics artists at the moment, and you can buy his latest sketchbook (called Daily Grind) right now.

Did you take advantage of that sick deal by Marvel during SDCC and sign up for Marvel Unlimited last weekend? Here's a great place to look for some direction if you are overwhelmed by the options.

Have an excerpt of Haruki Murakami's upcoming book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage



On YouTube:

(via Cheezburger) Very cool documentary-type video about the diet of a Sumo wrestler.

Catch this Wicked medley by Peter Hollens and Nick Pitera.



On Cool People:

You might be surprised by what you'll hear if you ask a homeless person to tell you their story.

George R R Martin continues to be a totally rad and awesome person.

One of the things that will, guaranteed, get me to notice an author and look up their work is a fantastic interview like this. Hello, Amy Bloom!



On Disney:

Cute post: 11 steps to a better you with Winnie the Pooh.

How-to: Draw Anna from Frozen.

[Wow, I think this is the first time I've done a link dump without an 'other' category! Cheers, have a nice weekend~]



Elementary School Lunch: 05/20 - dango soup and FROZEN sing-alongs

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

The highlight of today's meal was the addition of dango, or sticky balls of mochiko made from rice to our soup. Beyond that, lunch was pretty plain. Plain salad with some sardine on the side, and rice.

The sardine was garnished with pickled plum, while the salad was just seasoned in the kitchen and topped with sesame seeds. It had cabbage, carrot, and cucumber. The soup, besides dango, had radish, onion, konjac, carrot, burdock root, tofu, and bits of chicken.

Overall tasty, but I was more preoccupied with the kids I had lunch with today than anything else. They're kind of obsessed with Let It Go from Frozen, and their teacher even bought the soundtrack so they can listen while they eat. Except when that one song came on, they would all stop eating and scream out the lyrics in a frenzy.

Calorie count: 657

8 rad covers of FROZEN's Let It Go

MusicKristina PinoComment

I like good covers, and so should you. Check out some of my picks for great covers of Let It Go from Disney's latest animated film Frozen.

Let It Go performed on ukulele by Sungha Jung.

The Piano Guys, as usual, deliver some of the best music I hear on the net these days. They fused their cover of Let It Go with Vivaldi's Winter. (audio: cello, piano, vocals)

This one is kind of cheating, since it's a Frozen medley rather than strictly a cover of Let It Go, but I couldn't not share it. I absolutely love what these two (Albert and Tiffany Chang) did - their communication and depth and everything in this video.

This cover of Let It Go is re-imagined with an "Africanized" sound by Alex Boyé and features the One Voice Children's Choir and a very talented Lexi Walker as the voice of Elsa.

This one's purely a matter of taste, but anyway, I tend to enjoy punk covers. In this case, it takes away the drama, but adds loads of fun. It's a fun video to watch, too, and I hope at least some of you like it.

Just to round out the sped-up rock covers, here's a metal one that I think contained the drama of the original a bit better while still doing something new to the song. I like covers that build a bit on the original rather than just straight up copying it, and there's a nice balance of that here. Plus, he's got a Batman tee on.

Finally, I'll finish out this list with a lovely a capella cover by Ai Ninomiya (in English despite the artist being Japanese), which also features a "kitchen orchestra."  Never underestimate the musical usefulness of the everyday objects around your home!

Do you have any song requests for future iterations of this column? Let me know, and I'll try and make it happen.

Link Bits: 04/14 - Olaf is rocking the princess outfits

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Happy Monday!]

(via BoingBoing) Olaf is dressed up like Disney Princesses and I can't stop laughing at how charming this artwork is.

Okay, Amy, you've sold me on Lumberjanes.

(h/t to Shannon for this one) This is kind of an old one, I remember seeing it a few months ago, but the beautiful gown made out of Little Golden Books cropped up again recently and I had to share. Check out pictures here, and an interview with the designer here.

[Enjoy the week!]


Friday Things: 04/04 - Elsa sings Let it Go in 25 languages

LinksKristina Pino2 Comments

[Oh hey, it's Friday! Work starts in just a few days... back to the grind. That is, if I don't drown in this afternoon storm.]

On Books:

Read an excerpt from Dorothy Must Die! over at Epic Reads.

First Second have released a graphic novel this week that has been translated from French called Hidden. It's about the Holocaust in the perspective of a little girl.



On Star Wars:

Art Nouveau style Princess Leia designed by Adam Hughes as a beach towel. I'd lounge on this.

This. This is the toaster I need in my life. Darth Vader toast.

On Disney:

Oh My Disney asks important questions that we don't have answers to, such as what Scar's name might have been before he got the scar.

Cute video featuring Frozen's Let it Go being recorded in 25 different languages it's been translated to.

For the nail artists out there: tutorial for painting Cinderella's castle.


Cool notes about realistic teen stories (like The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park) gaining popularity and movie deals. It's a trend I'm all for if it's really catching on.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask makes for a great leggings design. Very tempting.

Cute diversion: how to draw a kitty cat.

Mario Kart 8 for WiiU looks like so much fun!

[*rows away*]

Link Bits: Flea gets a memoir?

Kristina PinoComment

[Woo, back home now! I don't start work for a few more days, but I'm done traveling for now. Which means... back to business ::cracks knuckles::]

Flash mob stuff is always fun. But it's pretty amazing when it's the cast of The Lion King in an airplane.

Michael Balzary (Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) is going to be writing a memoir. No title or release date are known at this time, but here's the press release from Hachette. Admittedly, I have a hard time trusting anything dated April 1, but hey. If it's real, I'll be interested in reading this.

This is a rather good, well thought out article about Disney movies in general, but mostly it's about the problems with Frozen. It's a long read, but very much worth your while whether you're a Disney lover or hater.


Listen to a bestseller for $7.49 at!

Link Bits: 03/10 - Elsa's coronation updo

LinksKristina PinoComment

[It's Monday again!]

So, how about, these are all cakes. They're all edible.

Anne Rice's next novel will be titled Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles. Maybe now's a good time to start reading her books...

Kadokawa, a big-time publisher in Japan, is launching a free manga app later this month. The best part: it isn't just in Japanese - they're also publishing English and Chinese translations of selected works. Good move!

VIZ Media have announced many new Shoujo Beat titles and releases:

  • Black Bird (complete box set, Oct. 2014)
  • Vampire Knight LE vol. 19 (series finale, Oct. 2014)
  • Vampire Knight: Fleeting Dreams (spin-off short stories, Dec. 2014)
  • Yukarism (Dec. 2014)
  • Phantom Thief Jeanne (first vol. available now, subsequent releases every other month)

Yukarism blurb:

"Yukari Kobayakawa, an accomplished author at the age of 17, writes with amazingly accurate details about historical Japan. It turns out he has the ability to travel back in time – to his past life as a renowned courtesan in the Edo period! As he goes back and forth between the past and present, he also unravels the karmic relationship he has with his beautiful classmate Mahoro Tachibana… Catch the gorgeously illustrated historical romance from Chika Shiomi, the creator of YURARA and RASETSU (also available from VIZ Media)."

Phantom Thief Jeanne blurb:

"High school student Maron Kusakabe has a secret - she’s Phantom Thief Jeanne. She sneaks into private art collections to steal paintings in which demons reside. Jeanne’s task is to seal the demons before they can devour human hearts. So far she’s been able to evade the police on her midnight outings, but now another thief has come onto the scene – Phantom Thief Sinbad – and he’s trying to take the paintings before she does!"
Listen to a bestseller for $7.49 at!