Jul 30, 2018

Egyptian Glyph Playing Cards

I got this deck recently from a Kickstarter campaign so I thought I'd show it off.

 There were two decks available, Egyptian and Aztec. Nothing against the Aztecs, I've just always been drawn to Egyptian hieroglyphs. Sure, Aztecs have some cool temples and human sacrifice but you think Egypt and it's all pyramids, tombs, treasure, and mummies. Maybe I just watched too many monster movies on Saturday afternoons as a kid.

I like the deck but I would have preferred something more dynamic. Sometimes I feel like I'm looking at the equivalent of Egyptian clip art. Then again, maybe I'm missing the point of what this is supposed to be.

The one thing that I am not a fan of in this deck are the Jacks. The horizontal artwork being mirrored on the cards just doesn't feel right.

And the Queen of Diamonds...I can't tell what all is going on there. I think she and her King are a little too busy in their art and my eye doesn't know where it should be going.

I feel like I've done a lot of complaining about this deck but I really do like it! The Aces are fantastic, I like the font used, and the cards all have a sandy background to them adding to the desert feel.

My favorite thing about the Kickstarter was being able to add this pair of dice to my reward. They look even better in person!

Jul 25, 2018

2018 Sand Sculpting Festival

This past weekend we went to check out the annual Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival. Whew! Quite a mouthful. As you might guess from the name, this event is held every year and people from around the world come to show off their sculpting skills. It's not just about the contest, there's also plenty of food trucks and carnival-like food stands, there's even a Ferris wheel!

Fun fact: Revere Beach is the country's first public beach.

I've gone to this a handful of times and it never stops amazing me. The artists put in untold hours to create something that will only last a few days. Crazy!

The sand part takes place on the beach (duh) and they close off part of the street that runs along side for all the street fair type stuff. We went later in the day thinking the crowds would be smaller. We were wrong!

What is normally a 15-20 minute drive took close to an hour! 

I've been to comic conventions that have easier crowds to get through.
Pardon the security fences in my shots. It used to be setup so that you could go right up to the fence and be able to shoot over/through it.

The artists are usually given a topic or theme for the contest but this year they were given total freedom to do anything they wanted so there were some interesting entries. Each one has a sign next to it with the artist and title of the work. I didn't take photos of them so most of these I don't have the actual names for.

This one is called The Raven & The Frog. Obviously that's Poe on the left but I have no idea who The Frog is supposed to be.

This one of Shiva was my favorite of the day. It just looks like something you'd find in an ancient temple carved from stone.

This was my second favorite. A broken time piece being held by a skeleton. You can see part of the skull on the left and the fingers curling around the back of the watch. I suppose maybe it's sinking into the sand and its time is up?

Here's a close-up of the watch so you can see what crazy detail was put into the gears.

And the award for creepiest work goes to this giant sleeping baby.

This one was Mrs. Dex's favorite. It's called "A Nouveau Love". It took 5th place overall and also won the fan's choice vote. There's a lot of fine detail there!

"Vanishing Muse" took 1st place and was created by a guy from Moscow.

Every year there is an enormous center piece that spotlights all the sponsors of the event. This one is themed around kids books. Way over on the right is Humpty Dumpty. A bit to his left is The Cat in the Hat and just behind the Cat is the Fish. On the left of the castle is Jack climbing a bean stalk and opposite him is a caterpillar, maybe a very hungry one?

They're hard to see but atop the left part of the wall you'll need to Make Way for Ducklings. The story takes place in Boston and there's a statue in the Boston Public Gardens that's pretty well known.

Also hard to see is a water jet! If you look on the left where the gates connect you can kind of see it. There was one on each side of the castle and they would occasionally spritz the gathered crowd taking photos. It was pretty funny!

There's a handful more pics on Flickr where you'll be able to view them in a larger format.
Or you can flip through the slideshow below.

2018.07 - Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival

Jul 18, 2018

Ready 2 Robot

Leeeeeet's get reeeeaaady to rooooobot!

Ready 2 Robot is the latest blind toy series from MGA featuring over 25 different robots all with interchangeable parts. MGA also makes the Awesome Little Green Men I looked at back in January.

 Let me tell you, I haven't had so much fun just getting and opening a toy! I wish I had the patience to make a video because words and pics just don't do the experience justice. There are a few YouTube videos if you'd rather watch instead of read. I happened across these at Target recently and had to Google them to find out what they were. The store display is fantastic and caught my attention.

It's sort of like a gashapon, or capsule toy, dispenser. The whole thing is gravity fed. You pull one of the yellow tabs and it pops out a capsule like in the first photo. Since these are all blind packed, you don't know what you're going to get. And of course, being blind packed, there is an ultra-rare chase robot that lights up.

Each capsule contains robot parts (torso, 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 weapons) and a pilot. Once you remove the outer wrapper, this is what you get. LEGO spaceman for scale.

If you look at the front right of the capsule, you'll see each segment is numbered 01-04. That's the order you open them in. Each section has a few bagged pieces that you assemble into your robot. After you've taken everything out, you can flip the 01 section to use it as a display stand. There are little tabs built in so you can interlock multiple bases.

The robot is very easy to put together. The torso has multiple socket holes where you can connect any piece with it's little ball joint. Want to swap the arms and legs? I'm not going to stop you, it's your robot.

Here is the pilot that comes in its own little slime pod.

The slime is great! It's all gooey like slime should be but it's not very wet. I was able to extract the pilot pretty easily and peel the slime off. It didn't leave any kind of residue on the figure. The slime will also basically disintegrate if dropped in really hot water.

Here's the robot, Kill Switch, all assembled. For the record, the pilot's name is Clubb. The black band over his head is actually headphones, not a helmet.

You can see the pilot is not very big in relation to the LEGO minifig but has a pretty good amount of detail for being so tiny. There are little pegs in the cockpit that go into holes in the pilot's feet to keep them "seated." It's hard to tell in the photo but the bot body is black metalflake meaning it's got shiny bits in it sort of like car paint.

In addition to the holes for the arms, legs, and weapons, the back has four more holes for attaching things. All the robot parts are interchangeable so you can get crazy with it if you get multiple robots, or accessory packs!

Here's the other one I picked up. (You can't just pick up one of a new toy line, they need buddies!) This is Lowlife with pilot Bootlick. At first I thought he was a crazy baby. The nose ring looks like a pacifier from far away! The bot should have another missile launcher but I don't know if I accidentally threw it out or if it wasn't there to begin with.

The Bot Brawler capsules retail for around $10. It's a little pricey for a blind packed toy but I think there are enough in the series that you shouldn't get a duplicate too soon. I haven't found anything other than these capsules but there is more to the line.

Survivor Battle Packs come with 2 bots (one you can see, one hidden) and a weapon accessory that actually shoots something. Bot Blaster Packs have a hidden bot and a visible minibot that shoots something. And there's also a Pilots Pack which has 4 slime capsules, each with a pilot.

You can hit the Ready 2 Robot site and see some animated webisodes, get more info on the bots and pilots, and view the checklist that comes in each package.

I really like these toys! There's quite a variety to the types of robots and the pilots all have their own personality to them. Hopefully they'll be around for awhile.

Jul 13, 2018

7th Blog-iversary!

Seven years and 938 posts later, the blog is still here!

I want to take a quick second to thank you if you're reading this. Whether you read every post or just stop by once in awhile, it's good to know I'm not talking to the void out here.

Let's take a peek at some all time stats.

Here are the posts with the most views.

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers lives on! Who would have thought anything would eclipse the mighty Andy Gibb? If you've been following along, that post used to be the most popular on the blog for reasons I do not pretend to understand.

Although he is still the search term that brings the most people here. 
My Andy Gibb brings readers to the blog. 
And they're like, it's better than yours.

I have to wonder about the people that are using the site URL to search for it. Although I deal with people every day that use computers that can't seem to tell the difference between a search box and an address bar so I guess it's not too shocking.

Anyway, that's all I have today. 
No crazy contest this year just a quick self-congratulating post.

Jul 11, 2018

Mailbox Invaders - My First FLEGO

They go by different nicknames like FLEGO (fake LEGO) or BootLEGO, but no matter what you call them, they're a good way to get favorite characters in the LEGO minifig scale that you might not otherwise be able to get.

I've seen blogging buddies post about them over the years and have even spotted some at local conventions. Something about them always looked off to me, a lot of them seemed extra shiny. So I held off on getting any for myself until now. A couple weeks ago Bubbashelby posted a Freakazoid minifig on Instagram and I had to have him.

That white line above his waist on the front and back is not a trick of the light. These figures come polybagged and mostly disassembled. I somehow ended up trying to put the waist piece into the torso the wrong way and it warped the plastic causing that little line. I'll probably get a replacement since the figs I got were only $2 each! I also need to get a pair of white hands to make him more accurate since these are more Caucasian skin color.

Since the figures were so cheap, I decided to find a few more. I found these all from eBay seller Susan-Chan89 and spent a good 10 minutes looking through all their auctions because they have so many minifigs available! You can try to get a bargain by bidding on auctions but with a $2 buy it now price, I don't think you can go wrong.

I have no idea who this dude is or why he's toting a tommy gun. He kinda reminds me of Dormammu from Doctor Strange comics. The main reason I picked him up is for the fiery translucent pumpkin head. I shot him at an up angle so you can't really see just how big the flame effect is. I'm thinking I'll use the head at some point for a custom Headless Horseman.

As much as I enjoyed Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, I was super happy to find this comic version of the character. For some reason, she has what look like tattoos on her arms. Not sure why the person making these went with that choice but like Freakazoid's gloves, they're easily replaced and I have to find a blue cape for her.
Another thing that shocked me with some of these is that the torsos are printed on front and back which is something LEGO itself only started doing in recent years. I wouldn't expect a knockoff product to put more than minimal effort into things. And just look at those cute little skull knee guards she has! Her hair looks odd from the front but she does have twin braids in the back.

And I just could not pass up this last one...

Granted, he looks a bit strange in LEGO form with the nub on top but he's pretty great. He also came with an alternate pumpkin head that I don't think looks quite right on this body. But now I've got a mini Jack Skellington to party with all my other spooky LEGO minifigs.

These figures are definitely worth the $2 (free shipping!). You can tell the plastic isn't the same quality as real LEGO but they'll look great with your other minifigs.

Jul 2, 2018

Monthly Movie Recap - June 2018

Here we are in the thick of summer movie season! What have you seen that's good, in theaters or elsewhere? Let's chat in the comments!

In addition to these flicks, I also checked out the new Netflix animated series The Hollow. I don't want to get too into it and ruin anything but the best way I can describe it is like a scifi/fantasy animated young adult adventure. If you can tolerate cartoons for a younger audience, check it out.

This was mostly a good time. I like these two together and had fun watching them do wild stuff as the stunts escalate in craziness. Then it goes from "I can almost see this being a thing" to "There's no way teen hackers could take this game down." The ending wraps up a bit quick and too neatly for me.

Rating: 6/10

It's like Night of the Living Dead and a "last stand" Western had a baby. It definitely won't wow a modern audience but if you can appreciate shoestring budget movie making and the 70s grindhouse aesthetic it's worth seeing, glad I finally got around to it. The lead cop and criminal are what really make it stand out.

I Wanted Vanilla Twist: I had a huge crush on Kim Richards when I was a kid so the ice cream scene was extra shocking.

Rating: 7/10

Bigger budget and bigger names make a pretty average action movie. There are just too many coincidental things that line up in order to make the plot happen. They might have done better if they changed it up a little and did something original instead of a remake.

Rating: 5/10

Look, you know what you're getting into with a horror movie called The Sand. The CGI isn't great and neither is the acting but for some reason it's still fun. Maybe it's the bikini clad girls, maybe it's just because it's so bad it's good.

Just Stay Home: A double feature with any shark flick will pretty much keep you away from the water and beach all summer. Enjoy!

Rating: 6/10

With a poster like this, I was expecting something Russ Meyer or Roger Corman would have been proud of but it's nowhere near what's promised. Maybe 10 minutes of the whole movie is spent on the game show aspect, most of it is about some dude trying to make a living at a Hollywood PR firm and learning it's not all it's cracked up to be. It's more arty than sleazy. But you do get some Dick...Miller in a small role.

Rating: 3/10 but you can watch on YouTube if you want

Tau (2018, Netflix Original)
The trailer had me expecting a cross between Saw and Black Mirror but it never gets too into the physical torture I was predicting. It could be an episode of Black Mirror if you took out the bits that usually crush the human soul. It's almost a two person play as for the most part there are only two humans and the AI of the house. The whole thing lives or dies on them and they were both good enough to carry it out.

Rating: 6/10

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018, IMAX 3D)
This is a great summer popcorn flick! It's got plenty of fun, edge of your seat action. However, there are a couple of moments where they did something visually cool that doesn't make sense narratively (how and why does that dino get there?). But it's definitely worth the ride and I can't wait to see where the next one goes.

Rating: 8/10

Month Total
New:Rewatch: 0

Year Total
New: 34   Rewatch: 3