Friday, July 6, 2012

San Diego Comic-Con 2012 : The Essentials

We've been loading you up with Exclusives news and promises of limited edition free stuffs and an endless parade of programming for San Diego Comic-Con. We've even provided some tips to make this year's show a better experience. Now we'll take a look at some items that caught our attention and could make your trip better than it ever was before!

When I have the urge to treat myself with a new gadget I never knew existed and now, upon its reveal, I can not live without, I'm usually browsing the pages of ThinkGeek. Here you will find everything from Electric Guitar T Shirts to covert, highly annoying Christmas ornaments and the legendary Tauntaun Sleeping Bag. After a little digging, you'll also find quite a few items that will make you feel like a moderate budget Tony Stark as you run across the floor of your favorite conventions. Here are our favorites...

Kato Tactical Mini-Messenger For iPad : If you'll be taking your iPad into extreme conditions like outdoor adventures, war, or the zombie apocalypse, Kato is your bag. Made of durable DuPont Cordura, padded, and quilted, it'll protect your device from hazards in the field. With modular MOLLE web field, a large side pouch with MOLLE & accessory loop, and additional MOLLE areas on front and sides, it'll hold your holster, mag pouches, and more. Who says you can't have brawn and brains?

And now it's time to play HOW MUCH JUNK CAN THIS LITTLE GUY HOLD!! For some time now I've been looking for a gig bag to replace my clunky, frayed camera bag. I once tried a bag that looks like a Ghostbusters Proton Pack (at the risk of looking more dorky than I usually do) and that sad pup ripped in one day. Ridiculous. The Kato bag seems to be sturdy enough, but let's see how much of my regular con gear I can pack in there...

Half the size of my pack and this sucker holds EVERYTHING I need. I do sacrifice a bit of room I had at the top of the bag for small items I pick up here and there but that's why God invented tote bags...or in the case of SDCC..those gargantuan bags the WB gives away. The KATO holds my camera, telephoto lens, mini dv with mic, audio recorder, extra batteries and chargers, charging pod, extra memory chips, eyeglass case, 2 sharpies, a pen and pad, 2 flash drives, a power bar, a fat stack of business cards, 5 rubber bands (for posters), a tiny stick of deodorant, breathe mints (with caffeine!), a compact towel, mini sewing kit, aspirin, decongestant, soap, lip balm, and with an extra strap included I could secure my monopod to the side and still have two flat pouches for cards, info sheets and a couple of comics! Of course the little guy is now a weapon of mass destruction weighing as much as an old school lap top, but the shoulder strap they included is so padded I should never feel it. I may lament the loss of that extra bit of room at first, but after squeezing through the thick con crowds with a flat pack like this and knowing all my gear is secured in endless pockets and compartments..I think I'll get over it. The list above should double as a packing list for those of you that like to be prepared for every contingency.

iGeek Large Capacity Portable Charger : Imagine yourself at your favorite convention. You’ve been up and about since 8 am (WHY DID THEY PUT THAT SESSION SO EARLY?) and you’ve consumed enough caffeine to make up for your lack of sleep. You’re tweeting up a storm, snapping pictures of cosplayers, checking prices on the internet before you buy stuff in the exhibit hall. Your battery is slowly withering away and you left your charger in your hotel room. You’ll survive, you think. There’s enough left to get through the night... or is there?

Honestly, this is me at the start of every show. Though we are not the most dogged news hunters here at Idle Hands, we do like to get a jump on things at life shows and that means plenty of TwitPics. In a short time, I am cursing my R2 Droid 2, wondering why the hell they can't invent phones with longer battery life since we now use them for EVERYTHING!! Not sure I see the benefit in the way things are now! Welp..this little gadget takes care of all your problems. Measuring under 4 inches all around in a substantial, rubberized casing...if this little guy works as well as the box says, I'll be in heaven. 50 hours of movie time for iPhone, iPod touch or 17 hours movie time for iPad 2??!! My Android should be no problem. I bet it will also charge my camera batteries and negate the need to break in the middle of Toy Fair to juice up. Dream come true!

USB Squid : The USB Squid's arms can bend in any direction (so all your USB cords don't have to be coming from the same place!) And this USB connector is compliant with USB 2.0 standards.

Put this in the category of "You didn't know you needed this..until you needed it" like flash drives and breathe mints with caffeine in them! If all the plugs are occupied in your hotel, you'll now have USB plugs free to charge the rest of your gear and plug in everything else. ThinkGeek also has a USB Octopus for a mere 2 dollars more. It's slim, flat and indispensable.

Collapsible Chopsticks : Food and gadgets go hand in hand (don't believe us, just stay up 24 and watch infomercials!) And yet, one of the simplest eating gadgets is also one of the oldest:the chopstick! Chopsticks were invented 3,000 - 5,000 years ago (of course, scientists differ in deciding on an exact date) and are used all over the world. And now we've found a way to make chopsticks even geekier: make them collapsible!

It happens to me all the time. I break down and grab food at a convention, go to grab utensils and come up empty handed. Sometimes, all that is left is a spoon and you get to juggle your food as you eat. That's tons of fun for those around you...but not so much for you! Now you'll say to me "Any self respecting geek would come equipped with Light Saber chopsticks!" I'd normally agree, but I find the plastic taste of those unpleasant, would worry about them breaking in my bag and then there's the slippery aspect of plastic on food. The Collapsible Chopsticks solve all of those problems and come with a handy carrying pouch to boot.

Penguin Mints : Three penguin mints are equivalent to about 1 coke in terms of caffeine. There are about 75 mints per tin. Drop one in a bawls if you want to get serious (actually, we've named this concoction the 'fizzling blue bawls') (Penguin mints are sugarfree and contain sorbitol and aspartame)

I've spent years trying to find the perfect gum that gets rid of mid-day ass breathe, lasts longer than two minutes, doesn't go stale and isn't unpleasant. Penguin Mints just may be the answer and have the added caffeine boost I would normally have to get from a Diet Coke! God Send? Maybe. mayyyyyybe.

I also have a solution for those of you that want to join in on the costuming fun of comic conventions but don't have the cash for such projects, or the know how to build the ultimate costume ....or can be bothered to suit up for a whole day. COSTUME HOODIES!! This concept is slowly catching on and every year, I see more styles available from the simple hoodie with a design allowing a quick transformation to a full on zip over the face arrangement. I've been known to sport a custom Venture Bros. "Henchman Hoodie" a friend made me for my birthday and have since acquired a Captain America hoodie that comes complete with the mask part! If the show is too hot for a hoodie, enterprising costume companies like Disguise make T Shirt and Mask combo sets that allow you more comfort and the merest amount of work to join in on the cosplaying fun.

San Diego Comic-Con 2012 is only 5 days away, so go get your gear, prepare your best homage to Firefly and I'll see you on the convention floor!

THIS LINK will show you all this year's exclusives so you can make your shopping list! We'll be updating it daily.

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