May 22, 2017

Happy 40th Star Wars!

It's the biggest birthday party in the galaxy!
Star Wars turns 40 this Thursday and to celebrate, I'll be posting stuff every day focusing on the 1977-1980 time frame when all we had was the original Star Wars.

Today, we're jumping in the way back machine to see what it was like to grow up as a Star Wars kid. If you want more old school Star Wars goodness, check out the amazing site I Grew Up Star Wars which features fan submitted photos.

Here's me holding The Story of Star Wars album. Back then, this was the closest thing we had to actually going to the theater to see the movie again. This was better than the read-along record and book sets because it used dialog from the movie. This was probably more responsible for me learning the lines than anything else.

You can hear the whole album below.

Here's a drawing my mom recently discovered from 1978.

In case you can't tell, it's a landspeeder! The lightsabers, R2, and Jawa are pretty spot on, I think. You can sort of see in the bottom right where I tried to do C-3PO but didn't like the way he came out and erased him. The funny thing is, I can still remember exactly what the markers looked like that I used to make this.

I don't remember what year this was but I want to say 79 or 80. I got to meet Darth in Providence RI of all places at a World of Wheels car show. I remember going to quite a few of these with my dad and seeing famous TV cars but this was definitely the best one!

Stay tuned all week for more Star Wars!

May 17, 2017

Krampus in the Corner

Towards the end of last year, I backed a Kickstarter called Krampus in the Corner, a parody of everyone's least favorite holiday toy Elf on the Shelf. Although he didn't arrive in time for the 2016 holiday season, I couldn't wait to share him with you so you can be sure to get yours for this year if you want one. And honestly, why would you not?

If they can do Christmas in July, why not Krampus in May?

The Krampus plush is 12" tall and oh so ready to judge your actions year round. The book is 32 pages, features 16 full color illustrations, and is most definitely not for young children!

Here's a full view of ol Krampus. He's got chains on his wrists to tie up the naughty as well as a swatch of sticks for punishment. What's the red harness for, you ask?

It's to hold the basket where he puts the naughty kids! This is such a great detail.
And the cutest bit disturbing for a plush toy.

Here's a sample of what you'll find in the book. There are a few illustrations that are not exactly kid friendly. I mean, they're not gory but definitely not for bedtime! I really like the art style and would love to see an animated short with this Krampus, he's got a lot of character.

If you want to put a Krampus in your Corner, head over to Silent Orchid Studio. You can get Krampus, the book, or postcards and buttons featuring the artwork. I highly recommend Krampus and the book, well worth it!

May 8, 2017

Mail Order Monday - CB Times (1976)

Breaker, breaker good buddy. You got your ears on?

Anyone that grew up around the late 70s/early 80s will no doubt remember when CB radio was a big thing. I'm sure other kids out there that had walkie talkies spent way too much time trying to raise a passing trucker. Or, more likely, annoying them.

This mail order ad from 1976 lets you join the CB Times Good Buddy Association! 
CB Times was a magazine dedicated to the CB lifestyle.

Your $10 will get you: 

A periodic newsletter to keep you up to date on CB trends and an exclusive classified section
The official CB Times bumper sticker
"Official" CB Times Press Card to aid you in gathering news at conversations and shows.
"Official" CB Times t-shirt (worn by the couple in the ad)
Directory of over 200 CB expressions
"Official" CB Times embroidered emblem
Wallet sized membership card entitling you to special discounts
SUPER BONUS: $2 discount on a yearly subscription

It's a little odd they put official in quotes in a couple places considering the stuff is coming direct from the company.

Here's a close up for you of the information you need to supply to sign up.

I get why they ask for most of the stuff, but why would they need your radio's serial number?

If you've still got a hankerin to do some jaw flappin, head over to CB Slang, which claims to be the most complete CB slang dictionary online. 

Leave your CB handle below and we'll catch you on the flip-flop.

May 5, 2017

A Galaxy of Guardians Books

If you need more Guardians in your life after leaving the theater this weekend (and who doesn't?) there are plenty more adventures to check out on the printed page. And I'm not even talking comic books! Clicking on an image will take you to Amazon where you can place an order that would make the Collector envious.

Let's start off with numero uno on my "to get" list. DK always does an amazing job with these books. Whether you're a long time fan or a newbie, there's a lot to love. They pack plenty of info in about the characters and major story lines. I flipped through this in the store and about 98% is covering the modern Guardians. They have a small section up front about the original Guardians team and then it goes up to recent comic history including Quill's romance with the X-Men's Kitty Pryde and The Thing's short membership with the group.

Next are a pair of prose novels. The one on the left came out around the time of the first movie and the other was just released about a week ago. I've read the Rocket and Groot one and it's a fun adventure starring the two of them doing their own thing. It also has a full production audio book which I picked up awhile back and should probably listen to sometime.

I passed by this in the store the other day and thought it was neat. A junior novelization with pages of photos kind of takes me back to books I'd get as a kid. And then I noticed the Bonus at the bottom: an exclusive Guardians story that's not part of the movie! It's not very long and takes place between the movies. It might be enough to get me to pick this up at some point.

But Dex, you say, I have younger kids that like the movies, is there anything for them? Well, of course there is! These two middle grade novels are by Tom Angelberger, the man behind the Origami Yoda series (something else I should probably check out). I checked out the first one from the library (yes those are still a thing!) and it was...okay. I'm sure the target age range, 8-12, will get more kicks out of it. I don't have anything against kids books, this just isn't what I want from a Rocket and Groot story.

You've got even younger readers, or ones that like lots of pictures? These Golden Books should be just right. Marvel has been putting out Golden Books for awhile now for Avengers characters and even Doctor Strange! I think it's a great way for kids to enjoy their favorite characters without having to dive into comics.

There are also Passport to Reading books featuring the Guardians.

If you're looking for a little more interactivity with your Guardians, check out Doodles! Personally, I don't know if I could bring myself to deface a book that I paid for. Photocopy maybe, but not write on the pages. I suck at drawing but I do like the art style in the book.

And the one I'm really looking forward to is the art book. Ever since I was a kid and got into Star Wars, I have loved looking at concept art for sci-fi movies. It amazes me that there are so many ideas that have to happen to arrive at the final concept. If you want this one, I would suggest getting it as soon as you can. The art book from the first movie is now going for $120 from third party sellers on Amazon!

May 3, 2017

Marvel Collector Corps - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Funko's Marvel Collector Corps is back like a fox on the run with everyone's favorite gang of intergalactic a-holes! I don't have a regular subscription to the Marvel Collector Corps but when I saw the Guardians were back, of course I had to order it.

They're not messing around this time, full-on Groot mode is in effect.
They know where the money is.

The inside of the box is loaded with images that I'm sure will be in the GotGv2 coloring book when it comes out. If they made a couple for the first movie, I have no doubt there will be some for this one. But enough about that, let's dive into the awesome mix of stuff inside!

I have to give some serious props to the artist on the pin. They nailed Zoe Saldana's likeness.

This exclusive cover is so adorable I don't even care that it's not a Guardians comic. I get they want to push the current Big Event but I would have been just as happy (more?) with a comic cover sized print of this sans title.

This shirt features the new crew ready to take on the galaxy, including Mantis and Yondu.
Yondu is whistling for his arrow and Baby Groot looks like he's ready to tear someone up!

This Dorbz Ride is a first for the Marvel Collector Corps and features Star-Lord in the Milano. If you're not familiar with Dorbz (honestly, do you not get out?) they're about 3" tall. It didn't occur to me while shooting it to take a photo from above to better show off the ship but you get the idea. Star-Lord is removable...

Funko is spot on with the details as always. Not only does Quill have the alien logo shirt that we've seen but he's also sporting a couple of chains around his neck. At the red carpet premiere, Chris Pratt said it's a logo for an alien brand of candy. Whether he was joking or not, we'll have to wait and see.

On to the final item!

Prepare yourself...

I usually skip taking a photo of the Pop in box but the artwork is just too cute! This 2-in-1 is another first for the Collector Corps. I'm no Funko expert but I don't think I've seen another Pop that has two characters together like this. There are some that come with two separate characters but I haven't seen any where they are part of a single figure like this.

I love Rocket's squinty half-closed eyes like he's ready to kick ass and chew bubblegum. Both Rocket and Baby Groot are bobbleheads. My only problem with this figure is that it doesn't come with a base. This makes it a little challenging to get it to stand up with the extra weight on the head. Not a huge deal though.

The real shame is that when you have Rocket on display, you're going to be missing out on seeing Baby Groot's whole body. I mean...look at him hanging on back there!

And that shot of Groot butt will wrap up the Guardians Vol. 2 Collector Corps box. I don't think they could do much better than this, it's a very solid box all around. The next box's theme is Spider-Man Homecoming, so if you want to order it, head over to the Collector Corps site and sign up. Once you're signed up, you also have the ability to purchase any past boxes, if they're still available. And you get to see everything in it before you decide!

May 1, 2017

Monthly Movie Recap - April 2017

I can't believe it's May already! I remember it being January and thinking "When will May get here so I can see Guardians?!?"

Not a lot of flicks this month. Although I did start getting into Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix. I never watched him when he was on in the 90s. I loved Mr. Wizard on Nick when I was younger and I was into Beakman's World which came out a year before the Science Guy. The new show is not aimed at kids and you should check it out.

On with the movies!

I had no idea this movie even existed until a couple years ago when I saw it mentioned on Strange Kids Club. It's definitely a step or to above the average 80s slasher and most of that is due to the cast. In most slashers the kids are there for the body count but I really liked most of them and wanted them to make it.

Cool: Jason Alexander!? Requisite nudity and gore.
Lame: The worst thing about this one for me are the kill scenes, not the makeup effects but the actual composition of the kills. Because the weapon of choice is gardening shears, it makes for some awkward angles.

Rating: 7/10

Train to Busan (2016, Netflix)
Stumbled into this on Netflix and loved it. Yes, it's a zombie movie. Yes, it has most of the tropes you'd expect in a zombie movie. But since it's not a US movie, it's done a little differently than what you'd expect.

Cool: The characters! Much like The Burning, I was invested in some of the characters and was bummed when some of them died.
Lame: Seems like no matter where the zombie outbreak happens there's always that a-hole that endangers the survivors to save them self.

Rating: 8/10

*Rogue One (2016)
Still love it!

Space Pirate Captain Harlock (2013, Netflix)
This is by the same animation company that did Gantz:O from last month. And like that movie, this is an existing franchise I knew nothing about. They do lay the story out so you can come into it blind and still have a good time. It's almost two hours but there's a good amount of sci-fi action to keep it going. His name is the title of the movie but he's not the main character. They go less is more with Harlock, which I guess they have to because he is such a bad ass.

Cool: Great character designs. Harlock's ship, Arcadia, is like the galactic Jolly Roger.
Lame: I wasn't as interested in the main character's relationships/story as I was pretty much everyone else.

Rating: 7/10

Month Total
 New: 3  Rewatch: 1

Year Total
 New: 18  Rewatch: 2

Apr 18, 2017

6 Things You Totally Didn't Miss in The Last Jedi Trailer!

Unless you've been in carbon freeze, there's a good chance you know the first trailer for the new Star Wars movie dropped this weekend. Even if you're just getting thawed out now, there's a good chance someone told you about it.

There were just so many videos "breaking down" the trailer and telling us "what fans missed". I made a deal with myself awhile back to never ever click on a clickbait link that has an image like the one above with red arrows and/or circles. I mean, most of the time it's pointing out something in the picture that has nothing to do with anything. I also get really offended when I see something like "not even true fans noticed this." To me, if you're a fan, you are a true fan. End of story.

Without further ado, here are a few things that no one who watched the trailer would have missed along with some commentary.

Finn doing a whole of of nothing.

Given the way The Force Awakens ended, we have to presume The Last Jedi picks up right where we left off so it only makes sense that Finn is still recovering. John Boyega told fans at Celebration over the weekend to not worry, Finn will be in action!

Poe and BB-8 making a mad dash.

Are they under attack, does it tie in to the next clip? Seems a safe bet. The most important thing in this shot is the original trilogy inspired set design that looks gorgeous.

Poe's X-Wing goes boom.

Aw, come on! Poe must love Halloween because he's got the only black and orange X-Wing and it's getting blown up. Boo! A-Wings show up here and in the space battle clip.

Kylo Ren.

Yup, there he is with his lightsaber, sporting a new facial scar.

Leia's back!
It's her back and she is back, get it?

Rewatching The Force Awakens recently was hard enough knowing that Carrie has left us. As a long time fan, the scene where Leia and Han reunite was emotional seeing it the first time in the theater. Now, Han is gone and so is our Princess. I hope she gets more screen time for her final appearance.

This is probably the thing that got me most excited in the trailer. It looks like we'll get some flashback explaining what happened to Luke's Jedi academy. Rey got a brief glimpse of this scene from a different angle when she has her Force vision in The Force Awakens. I'm hoping for a decent sized Jedi vs First Order battle. Or maybe it'll be the Knights of Ren instead of (or in addition to) the First Order. We'll have to wait and see!

So there you have it, six things you totally didn't miss if you watched The Last Jedi trailer!

Apr 13, 2017

Win with the Guardians of the Galaxy

With the success of the first movie, it was pretty much a given they'd market the next one out the wazoo. But are they doing it right? Maybe it's Disney sticking with what's come before but the tie-ins just don't feel out of this world.

First up, we've got Doritos. They've partnered with the Avengers before. Every Gaurdian is featured on a different flavor. Inside each bag is a code you can redeem on the Doritos site for a chance at prizes when you Choose Your Guardian.

Each character has a three tiered group of prizes associated with them. One code puts you in for a shot at an instant win Level 1 goodie. After four codes, you unlock level 2 prizes and another four gets you in to the "most epic" Level 3 prizes. Not bad if you eat a lot of Doritos, at least you get something out of it. You know, aside from the nacho cheese dust under your fingernails.

Next, Mars Brand Candy!

I'm not usually one to collect movie tie-ins unless it's something interesting. Give me kids' meal toys or collectible cups and I'm all in! Food packaging? Not so much these days.

You'll find the Guardians on packages of Starburst, Skittles, M&Ms, and Juicy Fruit gum. That's right, I said Juicy Fruit. I remember seeing Civil War on Juicy Fruit. With the candy promotion, you can enter to win a free movie ticket. Snap a pic of your purchase receipt and upload it to the site. In the next day or so, you'll get an email telling you you didn't win.

I don't usually buy much candy but I guess the movie hype has me jonesing to buy something other than action figures. That and the fact that wehn I went to look for M&Ms and Skittle, "I'm Not In Love" by 10cc was playing in the store, so I took that as a sign.

The packages will be going in the trash when I'm done. I thought there would be a code inside to enter online for the contest but there isn't which is really the only reason I bought them. Uploading a receipt just isn't as exciting as entering a code.

And finally...

In the most unusual product tie-in I can think of: Guardians and Hanes. Buy a pack of underwear or t-shirts and you get a pack of four promotional trading cards. If that's not enticing enough, you get a free Marvel movie rental on Vudu!

I get partnering with food items. It might be something you were buying anyway or you might impulse buy when you see it, but underwear? And it's just regular underwear, they don't even have the characters on them. Those, I would buy! As far as I can tell, the trading cards are the same ones that are being released alongside the movie but with a promo number stamped on them.

I guess what I really want is a fast food tie-in. With Avengers and Star Wars Rebels, you could get a drawstring bag at Subway. Sure, it's more practical for a kid but you can't really put it on your desk. I want toys!

..and maybe a Lucky Charms-like cereal with marshmallows shaped like character heads, Baby Groot, and the Milano.

Apr 5, 2017

Meet Wreck-It Ralph!

I thought with the recent announcement of Wreck-It Ralph 2, this would be a good time to share these photos from three years ago. Timely, right?

Starting around November 2012 you could meet Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz in person at DisneyWorld's Hollywood Studios park. I was lucky enough to visit during this time frame. They were in the Art of Animation building, which has since been converted to the Star Wars Launch Bay. In 2014, they left (presumably to start working on the sequel?) to make way for Baymax and Hiro. Will they return to the parks with the new movie? We'll have to wait and see.

The sign above greets you as you enter the queue area, which is indeed themed to make it feel like you're in Game Central Station. Along the queue are a few video screens made to look like you're inside different games looking out.

The queue isn't a very big area compared to the ones you'd be in for big time characters like the Princesses or Mice but it is a fun area to hang out in. My favorite thing there was a status board that showed if games were on time or delayed.

What really surprised me is the people that put this together did their homework. Well, I guess it shouldn't be that surprising because it is Disney after all. Aside from some of the big names in video games there were also some in there that I'm guessing most people haven't heard of like Zookeeper.

Of course, there are a few mentions of Tron. Disney, all I'm asking for in the next movie is some kind of Tron cameo: lightcycle, recognizer, heck I'll take an identity disc in the background somewhere!

Eventually, the wait is over!

I enjoy meeting the characters and I don't usually geek out too much about it but I was pretty excited to meet Ralph and Vanellope. I thought it was a nice touch after going through the game themed waiting area that the meeting area looks like you stepped into Vanellope's game, Sugar Rush.

Here's a brief video I found to show you what the area is like.


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