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Etsy: GeekkiBoutikki

15 Fantastic Custom Made Lunch Boxes

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Etsy: GeekkiBoutikki

Summer has officially ended, which means all the youngsters are headed back to school, new lunch boxes in hand. If you’re looking for a cool new lunchbox for your kiddo or for yourself, here are some of the coolest custom lunch boxes and bags around.

1. Kicking It Old School

Anyone who loves retro gaming will dig this cool NES lunch box made by DeviantArt user sealsouch. That's not the only NES lunch box: Redditor Masennus designed his to use the controller and the controller cord as the handle on the lunchbox.

2. It’s All Fun and Games At Lunch

Prefer your gaming to be a little more modern? Then perhaps you’d feel more at home with an X Box lunchbox like this one designed by Craftster user ClemiesGirl.

3. Is It Lunch Yeti?

Like cryptozoology and silly puns? Then you’ll love this lunchbox by Craftster user SpookyPooky that features an adorable cartoon yeti and a bad joke.

4. Cute Crochet Carrier

Amigurumi characters are all too adorable—and popular with the kiddies. If you’re looking for a perfect lunch bag for your little one, you could always try making your own with this turtle bag pattern from Ravelry user Ana Paula Rimoli.

5. As Cool As It Gets

For those handy geeks who care way more about function than style, this lunchbox hack is a brilliant way to ensure your food stays nice and cool. Instructables user kcbford1 uses a small computer fan, two frozen bottles of water, and a metal plate to cool off his bag from the top down. He just plugs in the fan to the USB port on his computer and the cool air from around the iced water bottles spreads out to the rest of the food. You can follow in his footsteps with this tutorial, assuming you have the technical knowhow.

6. Hot and Cold

Having your lunch cooled by a USB device is great and all, but what if you work outside or if you want your meal to stay warm? In that case, you’ll need to rely on this Instructable by simonvp that shows how to use a solar plate, a Peltier element and a few other supplies to make a solar-powered lunchbox that can keep things hot or cold.

7. A Steampunk Rocker

This steampunk box by Etsy seller oldjunkyardboutique may not technically be labeled as a lunch box, but one look at it will tell you that it was just made to carry a steampunker’s lunch at a convention. Of course, if you try to make your own steampunk lunch box, you may want to incorporate the heating and cooling elements from the previous lunch boxes and install a working temperature gauge on the front—making it both fanciful and functional, the epitome of great steampunk design.

8. No Soggy Sandwiches In The Floppy Disk Box

Similarly, this recycled floppy disk bag isn’t labeled as being exclusively for lunch-carrying, but it does have lunch box as a tag, so Etsy seller GeekkiBoutikki certainly thought it would function well as one. It’s the perfect blend of geek chic and eco-friendly.

9. A Pouch Made of Pouches

Wish there was a way you could get more use out of those Capri Sun pouches your youngster chugs down at lunch? Make a new lunch bag out of everyone’s favorite beverage-in-a-pouch. Thrifty Fun can guide you through the simple sewing process. Alternatively, you can also try this tutorial by Instructables user mommyknows1 on turning the similar Kool Aid Jammers into a lunch bag.

10. The Manliest Lunch Bag Around

Like the classic look of a brown paper sack but wish it was a bit more classy and reusable? Then head over to Etsy shop LifelessLeatherCo to get your hands on this great insulated leather lunch bag with a sweet mustache detailing.

11. It Only Looks Vintage

If you glanced at this lunchbox for only a second, you’d probably just assume it is one of the classic vintage Thermos lunch boxes for kids. But when you give it a second look, you’ll quickly see that it’s actually a hand-painted design based on the very adult HBO program, The Wire. Artist Bart Gold did a fantastic job making the modern TV show have a classic lunchbox layout, inspired, in part, by the layout of the Welcome Back Kotter boxes of the 70s.

12. Breaking Bad Looks So Good

Here’s another of Bart Gold’s delightful adult lunchbox creations, this one featuring Jesse and Walt from Breaking Bad looking happily fascinated by the science of meth-making. These aren’t Gold’s only designs: He also has one featuring characters from Sons of Anarchy and one based on Six Feet Under.

13. This Box Isn’t Child’s Play

Speaking of adult lunchboxes, this Child’s Play lunch box by DeviantArt user Kreepy Kustoms is perfect for anyone with a soft spot for horror flicks.

14. Dawn of the Lunch

If you prefer zombies over evil dolls, you’ll dig Kreepy Kustoms’ Dawn of the Dead lunchbox instead. While he won’t sell you any of the designs already on his DeviantArt page, Kreepy Kustoms is open to commissions and will make a custom lunchbox loaded with images from any of your favorite horror flicks.

15. My Little Gory Pony

For those that like a little cuteness with their horror, DeviantArt user Laquera based this My Little Disemboweled Pony lunchbox on a joke from Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse. Despite the intestines coming out of the black pony, it’s still surprisingly adorable.

Do any of you have cool custom lunchboxes of your own, or do you go with the commercial ones?

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Mill Creek Entertainment
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Hey, Vern: It's the Ernest P. Worrell Story
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Mill Creek Entertainment

In her review of the 1991 children’s comedy Ernest Scared Stupid, The Washington Post film critic Rita Kempley described the titular character, the dim-witted but well-meaning Ernest P. Worrell, as “the global village idiot.” As portrayed by Kentucky native Jim Varney, Ernest was in the middle of a 10-film franchise that would see him mistakenly incarcerated (Ernest Goes to Jail), enlisting in the military (Ernest in the Army), substituting for an injured Santa (Ernest Saves Christmas), and returning to formal education in order to receive his high school diploma (Ernest Goes to School).

Unlike slapstick contemporaries Yahoo Serious and Pauly Shore, Varney took a far more unusual route to film stardom. With advertising executive John Cherry III, Varney originated the Ernest character in a series of regional television commercials. By one estimate, Ernest appeared in over 6000 spots, hawking everything from ice cream to used cars. They grew so popular that the pitchman had a 20,000-member fan club before his first movie, 1987’s Ernest Goes to Camp, was even released.

Varney and Ernest became synonymous, so much so that the actor would dread going on dates for fear Ernest fans would approach him; he sometimes wore disguises to discourage recognition. Though he could recite Shakespeare on a whim, Varney was rarely afforded the opportunity to expand his resume beyond the denim-jacketed character. It was for this reason that Varney, though grateful for Ernest’s popularity, would sometimes describe his notoriety as a “mixed blessing,” one that would come to a poignant end foreshadowed by one of his earliest commercials.

Born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1949, Varney spent his youth being reprimanded by teachers who thought his interest in theater shouldn’t replace attention paid to math or science. Varney disagreed, leaving high school just two weeks shy of graduation (he returned in the fall for his diploma) to head for New York with $65 in cash and a plan to perform.

The off-Broadway plays Varney appeared in were not lucrative, and he began to bounce back and forth between Kentucky and California, driving a truck when times were lean and appearing in TV shows like Petticoat Junction when his luck improved. During one of his sabbaticals from Hollywood, he met Cherry, who cast him as an aggressive military instructor named Sergeant Glory in an ad for a car dealer in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1981, Varney was asked back to film a new spot for Cherry, this one for a dilapidated amusement park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, that Cherry considered so unimpressive he didn’t want to show it on camera. Instead, he created the character of Ernest P. Worrell, a fast-talking, often imbecilic local who is constantly harassing his neighbor Vern. (“Know what I mean, Vern?” became Ernest’s catchphrase.)

The spot was a hit, and soon Varney and Cherry were being asked to film spots for Purity Dairies, pizza parlors, convenience stores, and other local businesses. In the spots, Ernest would usually look into the camera—the audience shared Vern’s point of view—and endorse whatever business had enlisted his services, usually stopping only when Vern devised a way to get him out of sight.

Although the Purity commercials initially drew complaints—the wide-angle lens created a looming Ernest that scared some children—his fame grew, and Varney became a rarity in the ad business: a mascot without a permanent corporate home. He and Cherry would film up to 26 spots in a day, all targeted for a specific region of the country. In some areas, people would call television stations asking when the next Ernest spot was due to air. A Fairfax, Virginia Toyota dealership saw a 50 percent spike in sales after Varney began appearing in ads.

Logging thousands of spots in hundreds of markets, Varney once said that if they had all been national, he and Cherry would have been wealthy beyond belief. But local spots had local budgets, and the occasions where Ernest was recruited for a major campaign were sometimes prohibited by exclusivity contracts: He and Cherry had to turn down Chevrolet due to agreements with local, competing car dealers.

Still, Varney made enough to buy a 10-acre home in Kentucky, expressing satisfaction with the reception of the Ernest character and happily agreeing to a four-picture deal with Disney’s Touchstone Pictures for a series of Ernest features. Released on a near-constant basis between 1987 and 1998, the films were modest hits (Ernest Goes to Camp made $28 million) before Cherry—who directed several of them—and Varney decided to strike out on their own, settling into a direct-to-video distribution model.

“It's like Oz, and the Wizard ain't home," Varney told the Sun Sentinel in 1985, anticipating his desire for autonomy. “Hollywood is a place where everything begins but nothing originates. It's this big bunch of egos slamming into each other.”

Varney was sometimes reticent to admit he had ambitions beyond Ernest, believing his love of Shakespeare and desire to perform Hamlet would be perceived as the cliched story of a clown longing to be serious. He appeared in 1994’s The Beverly Hillbillies and as the voice of Slinky Dog in 1995’s Toy Story. But Ernest would continue to be his trademark.

The movies continued through 1998, at which point Varney noticed a nagging cough. It turned out to be lung cancer. As Ernest, Varney had filmed an anti-smoking public service announcement in the 1980s. In his private life, he was a chain smoker. He succumbed to cancer in 2000 at the age of 50, halting a series of planned Ernest projects that included Ernest Goes to Space and Ernest and the Voodoo Curse.

Varney may never have gotten an opportunity to perform in a wider variety of roles, but he did receive some acknowledgment for the one he had mastered. In 1989, Varney took home an Emmy for Outstanding Performer in a children’s series, a CBS Saturday morning show titled Hey, Vern: It’s Ernest!

“It’s a blessing and a curse,” he told the Orlando Sentinel in 1991, “because it's as hard to escape from it as it is to get into it.''

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Ape Meets Girl
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Pop Culture
Epic Gremlins Poster Contains More Than 80 References to Classic Movies
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Ape Meets Girl

It’s easy to see why Gremlins (1984) appeals to movie nerds. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, the film has horror, humor, and awesome 1980s special effects that strike a balance between campy and creepy. Perhaps it’s the movie’s status as a pop culture treasure that inspired artist Kevin Wilson to make it the center of his epic hidden-image puzzle of movie references.

According to io9, Wilson, who works under the pseudonym Ape Meets Girl, has hidden 84 nods to different movies in this Gremlins poster. The scene is taken from the movie’s opening, when Randall enters a shop in Chinatown looking for a gift for his son and leaves with a mysterious creature. Like in the film, Mr. Wing’s shop in the poster is filled with mysterious artifacts, but look closely and you’ll find some objects that look familiar. Tucked onto the bottom shelf is a Chucky doll from Child’s Play (1988); above Randall’s head is a plank of wood from the Orca ship made famous by Jaws (1975); behind Mr. Wing’s counter, which is draped with a rug from The Shining’s (1980) Overlook Hotel, is the painting of Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II (1989). The poster was released by the Hero Complex Gallery at New York Comic Con earlier this month.

“Early on, myself and HCG had talked about having a few '80s Easter Eggs, but as we started making a list it got longer and longer,” Wilson told Mental Floss. “It soon expanded from '80s to any prop or McGuffin that would fit the curio shop setting. I had to stop somewhere so I stopped at 84, the year Gremlins was released. Since then I’ve thought of dozens more I wish I’d included.”

The ambitious artwork has already sold out, but fortunately cinema buffs can take as much time as they like scouring the poster from their computers. Once you think you’ve found all the references you can possibly find, you can check out Wilson’s key below to see what you missed (and yes, he already knows No. 1 should be Clash of the Titans [1981], not Jason and the Argonauts [1963]). For more pop culture-inspired art, follow Ape Meets Girl on Facebook and Instagram.

Key for hidden image puzzle.
Ape Meets Girl

[h/t io9]

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