Mar 8, 2019

Captain Marvel Challenge Coin & Mission Patch

Happy Captain Marvel/International Women's Day!

I don't usually pick up MCU related things from the trading card area but this grabbed my interest. I'm not a "coin collector" but I do pick up the odd coin here and there.

This is put out by a company called Bullsitoy. They make all sorts of assorted things you'd find in a big box store trading card section. Given that Captain Marvel was in the Air Force, I thought this was a cool way to go for a product instead of dog tags with character images.

Here's the back of the package showing the eight different coins and patches. The coin detail is kind of hard to see in the photo but they are all different. The front calls this a set so I'm not sure if the coins and patches are paired the same in each box but that would make getting them all a bit easier.

I have to give them major points for exceeding my expectations with the coin. I wasn't expecting it to have its own packaging. It sits inside a plastic bubble on the card. And the best thing? They made it resealable so you can take out the coin out and put it back in to your heart's content making for a nice way to display it.

They also didn't cheap out and go with a plastic coin. It's metal and has a good weight to it. On the back it's stamped with the Captain Marvel logo and tells me this is coin 3 in the series. For those in the cheap seats, the front says Higher, Further, Faster.

Some of you out there may be wondering what a Challenge Coin is. I don't know how big a role, if any, they play in the movie but I'd suggest skimming the Wiki article because they're pretty cool. The Bullsitoy site says "The Skrull invasion is here! With shapeshifting aliens in our midst, the only way to tell friend from for are Captain Marvel patches or challenge coins!"

Quarter for scale

The patch is pretty cool. It's fabric but surprise! While it looks and feels like a patch, it's a sticker. I wasn't sure what to make of the $6 price tag before I knew what was inside but I think it's worth it, especially with the display card for the coin.

I'm off to see the movie tomorrow and I'm really pulling for it to be great.

Mar 1, 2019

Monthly Movie Recap - February 2019

Hey it's the first of March and you know what that means! Yup, 6"-12" of snow forecast for tomorrow. Sounds like a good time to get in some movies.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Finished it, loved it, can' wait for more!

Bloodsucking Bastards (2015, Amazon Prime)
The trailer pretty much tells you everything you need to know. It's your typical office workplace but with vampires. If you like the trailer's sense of humor, you should enjoy the movie. It's a good time, not overly violent and there's buckets of blood.

Rating: 7/10

Murder Party (2007, Netflix)
On Halloween, a lonely schlub finds an invitation to a Murder Party but it's not he kind of party he thinks. This is one of those dark comedies where things start going horribly wrong and don't stop. I don't think it's going to be for everyone but if you're reading this blog, check it out.

Rating: 6/10

Abducted in Plain Sight (2017, Netflix)
The crime doc that's all the talk around the internet water cooler. If you were to craft a fictional story I don't know that you could come up with something as weird as this true story. I could try to explain it but you'd think I was lying. I only give documentaries a pass or fail and while I give this a pass, I can't prepare you for the story. Even Jem would be jealous at how truly outrageous it is!

Sometimes you spend way too long looking for something to watch on Netflix and out of frustration just pick anything so you can start watching something. Considering I had no clue what I was in for, this was a real treat! This is a great little horror flick. From the way the story is told to the almost claustrophobic haunted house vibe, I can't recommend this enough.

Rating: 8/10

Halloween (2018)
Full disclosure: of the Big Three cinema slashers, the Halloween series has always been my least favorite. Nightmare has Freddy, Jason has epic kills. Nothing comes to mind for me with Halloween that makes it stand out. Don't get me wrong, I liked the first two but couldn't tell you anything about any installment after 3.
My history with this series makes me the perfect audience for the most recent sequel. I don't need to remember anything beyond the original and that's why I really had a good time here. Not only do I think it's a worthy successor but it's still very much in that 80s slasher vein which makes it so much fun. There's talk of a sequel but honestly they have to do an even better job to make it worthwhile and not rob Laurie of her victory.

Rating: 8/10

New: Rewatch: 0

Year to Date
New: 14  Rewatch: 1

Feb 27, 2019

Treasure X - Quest for Dragons Gold

Are you prepared to embark on a quest for treasure? 
A treasure possibly dipped in real gold?
That's right, I said dipped in gold.

I've seen these on the shelves for awhile but really had no clue what they were. I had the opportunity from the Amazon Vine program to check one out so I figured why not. I've seen quite a few buried treasure type toys lately but Treasure X is the first one I've seen that has some sort of figure in it instead of just a gem, treasure, or animal bones.

The presentation of the "quest" is fun. After unwrapping the block, you have a red tinted dragon's eye lens that allows you to see which treasure on the map has the X on it.

On the left is the map. On the right is your view through the Dragon's Eye lens. According to the X, we're on the journey for the Chalice of Dragons. The treasures shown on the map are Ultra Rare and dipped in real gold. Probably not going to be unearthing one of those today!

Then it's time to start digging with included tool. It's got four different ends on it. You can use the claw end to slowly scrape away or do what I did and use the flat edge to break pieces off quicker. If you've never done one of these, I strongly suggest either putting down newspaper or placing the block in some kind of small container or box to contain the debris.

The treasure chest is on the left with assorted figure pieces on the right. Once you've freed everything, you can assemble your treasure hunter figure. I suppose you could just pop the chest open before building the figure but why not prolong the Schrodinger-ness of there being a gold dipped treasure in there? These figures are pretty cool and have quite a bit of character to them. The only downside is that the limbs may fall off and get lost. The upside to them having removable limbs is that you can swap parts between figures!

Now that you have your treasure hunter, crack that chest open and drain the slime into the included tray. Protip: hot water will "melt" the slime off your treasure.

Here is the Bling Viking known as Gold Thunder with his treasure: a tiny Viking ship. It's hard to see but his hammer has a $ imprinted on it. The whole treasure hunt idea is cool but this thing is so tiny it's pretty much inconsequential compared to the figure for me. At least he can go out on a rainy day and play It if he wants. LEGO Vampire for scale on the right.

The back of the map shows all 24 available figures as well as all the treasures. The groups of figures have different themes like snakes, barbarians, and even robots and toxic mutants!

Dragons Gold retails for $10 and is the second Treasure X series. The first series is very similar and available for $5 on Amazon. I have seen the Dragons Gold on clearance at my Target for $5 as well. They've also released a Deluxe series which has a larger Dragon figure in it.

Overall, I think this a neat idea. Could be a fun activity for the kids getting them to actually do something and then they get a cool little figure. I may end up grabbing a few more at the $5 price, the figures are definitely worth it.

Feb 20, 2019

LEGO Movie 2 Minifigures & Trading

I haven't seen the new LEGO movie yet but I decided to pick up a few figures for the heck of it. There's a fun assortment of characters but what I really want are the Wizard of Oz crew.

If you want to see the full line-up or need a handy guide for how to feel for a specific figure, head over to Brickfinder. When I say "how to feel" I'm not talking about getting all emotionally deep, I mean physically feeling the bag for the figures you want!

I'm not 100% sure but they may have done away with the bump codes on this series. Another change is that the figures have white baseplates instead of black. I think the black ones look much better.

Here's a quick look at what I scored.

President Business has gone golfin' and is sporting the most golfingest golf outfit you've ever seen. Hey look, it's the Cowardly Lion! One down. All four of the figures have an alternate face on them. The Lion is probably the least different, he has this sort of sad face and then a neutral face. He needs a roaring face, right? He is the Kiiiiiing of the Forrrrrrest after all.

Get ready to rock with Kitty Pop and Candy Rapper! Like I said, I haven't seen the movie so I don't know how big a role these two play but they're pretty cute. The colors and accessories are fantastic. Kitty Pop is obviously inspired by Josie & The Pussycats. Cat ears? Check. Whiskers? Check. Long tail? See below. I love Candy's tiny cassette tape. I'm sure some parents will have to explain that one to their kids.

Here they are jammin together with their alt faces.

As you can see, Kitty Pop has a tail to complete her look.
Further proof of my Pussycat theory.

So who's up for some trading?

I still need Dorothy, Tin Man, and Scarecrow from this set. In addition to the ones pictured above, I also have the ones below up for trade. If I've got something that catches your eye I'm still open to trading for other blind bag minifigs.

Feb 13, 2019

Salem's So Sweet 2019

This past weekend was the annual Salem's So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Sculpture Festival. Despite temps in the low 30s and the occasional 15-20 mph wind, I went to check it out.

Over the weekend downtown Salem businesses and restaurants are offering deals and some even have chocolate samples for tasting. But what I'm in it for is the ice sculptures. Here's the downtown map showing all 22 ice sculptures that are around town.

As I mentioned, it was a bit brisk so I didn't see every single one. If you want to see some professional shots, including when they light the sculptures at night, head over to this Facebook album.

I spotted this on the side of a parking garage while walking from our parking spot. I think there's been a rare occasion where I've seen Salem PD on a Segway so I"m presuming that's what this is for.

A pair of well known literary characters made an appearance this year: Mary Poppins and the Tin Man. At one point, the Tin Man was holding a heart watch prop and there was a ruby slipper on next to him.

This one, sponsored by the local comic shop, was called Hellboy. I kind of see it, but I always think of Hellboy with the shaved down horns. It looks like he's holding a box with a heart on it that has a knife stuck into it. Happy Valentine's Day? Mrs Dex said maybe he's just a Hell boy and not the Hellboy.

The cat is in front of the Witch House, the only standing structure in Salem with direct ties to the Witch Trials. It's also just a few doors down from the Ropes Mansion which was used for exterior shots of Julia's house in Hocus Pocus. I know it's made of ice, but I'm saying it's a black cat based on its location.

Maria's Sweet Somethings is the one place we always be sure to visit no matter how cold it is. They sell all sorts of gifts, candy, chocolate, and ice cream. But the real draw is the chocolate fountain they setup for the event. You can dip a marshmallow, pretzel, pineapple, strawberry, Oreo, and probably a couple other things I'm forgetting. De-li-cous!

The kissing couple is right outside Maria's. The sailboat is located at the Salem Waterfront Hotel. Seeing a sailboat and the word regatta together always makes me think of One Crazy Summer. Something we're definitely not very close to in February.

Not surprisingly, the bottle was outside a liquor store. But not just any liquor store! It's Salem's famous (or infamous) Bunghole. That's right, it's Bunghole Liquors! There's actually an interesting story about the history of the location and an explanation of what a bunghole really is. Here's a better shot of the store front which is probably one of the most photographed places in Salem.

And on that note, I'll conclude my photo journey around Salem's So Sweet.

Feb 6, 2019

Quarter Bin - Planet Comics (1940)

Welcome back to the Quarter Bin where I talk about old, random comics. Today we're looking at Planet Comics from Fiction House, published from 1940 to 1953.

Planet Comics was a spinoff from the pulp magazine Planet Stories. It was the first all sci-fi comic. How cool is that? The featured stories were of the space opera genre which is the kind of sci-fi I really dig: spaceships, aliens, rayguns, and plenty of action. Plus, I'm really into the whole retro-future thing so this book is right in my wheelhouse.

Planet Comics #1 (1940)
I'm curious what the thought process was on the designs of these "helmets." Usually you have the fish bowl style helmets but here it covers the whole torso leaving the arms and legs exposed. My guess would be they thought it made sense to protect the lungs. I"m also guessing if these were a real thing, they'd make moving around really awkward.

Planet Comics #24 (1943)
While each issue was an anthology featuring different characters across multiple stories, the characters often made return appearances. I'm not going to get into different characters and storylines because as you might imagine, there were more than a few over the 73 issues, but you can read more about them on Wikipedia. As you can see here, they weren't afraid to switch up the damsel in distress trope for the cover because they also had capable heroines like Futura and Mysta of the Moon.

Depending on the page count of an issue, they would feature between 4-6 comic stories and sometimes a few pages of written fiction.

Planet Comics #52 (1948)
I picked this particular cover because the perspective is so weird. The guy in the bottom left looks like he's tiny but if he's as far away from the foreground as the monster, that thing must be ginormous! Even though there were strong space heroines, there was no shortage of good girl art in these books.

Planet Comics #64 (1950)
Here we've got your more traditional bowl helmets and jetpacks.
When all else fails, shoot the giant robot in the crotch!

I've read a few issues from the series 13 year run and they're a lot of fun if you enjoy the Flash Gordon/Star Wars type adventure in outer space. If you want to read them or even just check them out for the crazy covers and art, head over to the Digital Comic Museum and sign up for a totally free account. Once you have an account, you'll have access to way more Golden Age comics than you could probably ever read. You may get lost there for awhile, don't say I didn't warn you.

You can view them online or download to read at your leisure. You'll need a cbr/cbz file reader to view on PC. I use the free app CDisplay.

If you have an iDevice, you can grab the free app Chunky. Then just sync your device to your PC, go into file sharing, select Chunky then drag and drop the comics into the right pane.

Feb 1, 2019

Monthly Movie Recap - January 2019

For those caught in the Polar Apocalypse, I hope you're all staying warm and watching some good stuff. It's as good an excuse as any for binge watching!

Voltron: Finally finished season 7. What a finale!

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Only a little more than halfway through but am loving every minute of it. Glad they decided to mix in a small amount of humor here and there because the comic is just straight horror.

Bird Box (2018, Netflix)
Ok, I gave in to the hype! My general thing with movies like this is they start out strong and have trouble sticking the landing. Just like anything of M Night's after Sixth Sense not involving super people, I find myself rolling my eyes at the ending because...of course that's how it goes. Overall, I enjoyed the premise and might have liked the ending more if it got there quicker.

Rating: 6.5/10

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018, Netflix)
I don't know if the whole "interactive" thing worked as well as it could but it was a fun experiment. It gets a bit weird in places, especially if you find yourself able to communicate with the main character.

Rating: 7/10

Coco (2017, Netflix)
Another home run for Pixar! It's a great story and the Day of the Dead thing just puts it way over the top for me. I just love the colors, the look of everything, and the mythology of it.

Rating: 9/10

After the hard eye rolling at the end of Signs, I felt I was done with M Night. But now that Now Playing Podcast is reviewing all his movies, I'm going to watch them all, for better or worse. This one...definitely worse. I thought Signs had a bunch of random stuff come together to make a plot but this blows it away! M Night, you are not as smart as you think, an actor, or anywhere near Guillermo Del Toro. Add another strike because the dialog is so quiet I have to turn on close captioning.

Rating: 2/10, the only reason this gets 2 instead of 1 is for the grass wolf

Went to a local screening followed by Q&A with the actors who played Napoleon, Pedro, and Uncle Rico. It still has it's offbeat charm fifteen years later. The Q&A was incredibly fun, If you like this movie and they come around, it is absolutely worth it!

Rating: 8/10

A lot of horror is pretty much throwaway so when I do see something that gets an emotional response or reaction out of me, it's an instant favorite. At one point, I was staring at the screen jaw agape in shock at what just happened. In another part, I got a genuine chill which I don't think has ever happened. This is so much more than a horror movie which is part of what makes it so outstanding in my book.

Rating: 9/10, if you even remotely enjoy horror you need to see this

Who isn't a fan of The Price is Right? This delightful documentary tells the story of an average guy that studied the prices of prizes on the show basically turning himself into the Rain Main of bidding. It's also got some behind the scenes shots that any long time viewer of TPIR will find fascinating.
It's not that this wasn't a fun one, I just don't have a lot to say about it.

Rating: 6/10

On the other hand, I. LOVE. THIS. MOVIE! They have a lot of fun playing with the meta of the characters knowing they're in a horror movie. There are some absolutely gorgeous scenes and quite possibly the best slo-mo chase ever. Yup, slow motion chase! On top of all this, the cast is pretty much perfect and there's an actual story. The only thing I might ding it for is being PG-13 you don't get the full 80s slasher experience but honestly everything else is so good you won't miss it.

Rating: 9/10

As a horror movie, this is just okay. There's just a handful of kills and only two of them are noteworthy. It's more about the environment and stalking than being a straight slasher. And that's what really makes this one worth seeing: the setting. They do such an amazing job with the horror park that I want to go there, just, you know, not the murder-y one.

Rating: 6/10, movie 4/10 but +1 for setting and +1 for Bex Taylor-Klaus

Month/Year Total
New: Rewatch: 1

Jan 30, 2019

Retro Pop Culture Valentines

Back in November at Rhode Island ComicCon (read about here) one of my favorite artists I met was Matthew Lineham. He's a really cool dude with an obvious love for the 80s and that's what initially drew me over to his booth.

In addition to pins, prints, and even ornaments, he has packs of pop culture Valentines.

This is one of the New Wave inspired packs including Billy Idol, Simon LeBon (Duran Duran), Talking Heads, and Adam Ant. The other two packs have Blondie, Boy George, A Flock of Seagulls, Siouxsie Sioux, and more.

He also has two sets that are all Bowie, all the time.

How can you go wrong with Ziggy Stardust and Jareth from Labyrinth?

Not surprisingly, my favorite sets are the 80s horror ones.

These are just so awesome! Freddy and Killer Clowns on the left, Monster Squad and They Live on the right! There's a third set that has Hellraiser, Lost Boys, Basketcase, and Rawhead Rex. How's that for a deep pull?

And that's not all. He also has Twin Peaks, Rocky Horror, and Stranger Things. I'm going to make you visit his site to see those though.

You should also hit up The Spooky Vegan for a sweet list of horror Valentines.

Jan 16, 2019

Gremlins Theme Park Rides

Did you know that at one time there were two different Gremlins theme park rides operating? Did you also know that depending on which one you visited that you would also encounter Beetlejuice or Alf?

This isn't exactly breaking news but it's something I recently discovered thanks to the Expedition Theme Park YouTube Channel. I highly recommend it if you're interested in theme park history. Oddly enough, while researching this post, it seems a lot of big sites have picked up on the "news" from this video being recently released.

Check it out.

I found full ride-thru videos from each attraction. Both rides closed in the early 2000's so the video quality may not be great but these are the best ones I could find.

Here is the Australian version with Beetlejuice.

And here is the German ride with ALF. I'll be honest with you, this ALF creeps me out. Not only is he speaking German but he really needs a haircut!

If you had to choose, which one would you ride? As odd as it is to see "Old Man" ALF speaking German, I'd probably go with that version. I mean, it's ALF and Gremlins!

Jan 9, 2019

Gremlin & Yuletide Jacklings

During the holiday period between Creepmas and Christmas, I got tow new additions to my Jackling family and wanted to show them off.

For those that disrespect the laws and customs of Halloween, retribution is swift. Lantern Jack has a specific breed of Jackling that he dispatches to mete out punishment on these occasions.

The Gremlin Jackling like its namesake, will disrupt the machinery and electronics of its intended target. With its root-like appendages the Gremlin Jackling can stop and destroy even the most complex of machinery. The degree of how much destruction the Gremlin Jackling causes is relative to the severity of the transgression. Not handing out candy on Halloween might earn the offender a broken phone or a minor fender bender while a more serious transgression such as a smashed Jack O'Lantern could result in an airline crash.

Respect the traditions of All Hallows to avoid the wrath of Lantern Jack and his minions!

I really love these figures and the lore just makes them that much more special.

It's hard to see in the photo, but he is wearing a tie with the vest. The Gremlin was originally released in three varieties: Traditional (orange pumpkin/white vest), Ghost White (this guy), and Blow Mold Orange (all orange & black, just like a classic blow mold). I was going to pass on this one originally because he's bigger than the usual Jackling figure which means he costs more. But thanks to a holiday promo code I was able to get him at a discount and am so happy I did!

Up next is the Yuletide Jackling.

Just like the Gremlin, Yuletide is a bit taller and was released in three variants: Christmas Eve, Halloween (black & orange replacing red & white), and Candy Cane. See them all here. Unlike the Gremlin, there was no question of passing on this one! The hard part was picking between this one or the Halloween version. Ultimately, the juxtaposition of the two holidays won out. Plus, how often do you get to use juxtaposition?

Because of his squatting/sitting position, just about every time I look at him, I imagine him standing up and stretching his legs, ready for mischief.

I knew these figures were taller but for some reason, my brain didn't anticipate how much bigger they would be!

The one in the middle is about the same size as a LEGO minifig.

If you feel the need to add some Jacklings in your life (and really, you should!) visit The Cryptocurium on Etsy. You can also follow the_cryptocurium on Instagram to stay up to date on new stuff throughout the year.


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