Sunday, December 30, 2012

Still Not Dead... More to come soon.

I've got so much to share, and not enough time to do it now. After the New Year, Goodwill Hunting for Geeks is coming back full force, and I'll be sharing ALL KINDS OF STUFF that's shown up here in the last few weeks. From stuff I've bought from Brian over at Cool and Collected and more awesome Goodwill finds, to Christmas gifts from family here under the tree, as well as from friends across the internet... and a few I got for myself this year.

Anyway, here's a little taste of what's to come:

Cool as a cucumber opening one of my favorite gifts this year. 

I hope everyone in the blogosphere, from the members of both the League of Extraordinary Bloggers and the Dork Horde, as well as all those awesome free-agent bloggers who just drop in to say hi once in a while had a wonderful Christmas, and plan on having an awesome New Year! 

I'll be back with more Goodwill Goodies (and lots of non-Goodwill Goodies, to be honest) soon. So until then, Happy Hunting! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Wouldn't Be Christmas Without Kid's Books

Pretty much just abandoning the Countdown format completely... but there are some things I want to share before Christmas officially gets here. As with Halloween, children's books play a huge part of our holiday spirit here at the Goodwill Geek's family household. I could literally list off the 100+ books that we go through each year... (as we start reading them right after Thanksgiving, and finish up Christmas night... and our collection grows each year) but no one wants that, especially me. So here are the highlights.  

First up are the two books Mom loves to read each year, and Dad loves to read each year. For Mom (my wife... I don't call her that... the kids do... otherwise she gets creeped out), it's The Very Best Christmas Present, and The Bear Santa Claus Forgot. One tells the story of a cat very determined to stay with one very persnickety old man, and the other tells of a bear determined to be a Christmas toy for the little girl he was intended for, even though he fell out of Santa's bag of toys before being delivered.  

For Dad (Me. I don't call myself Dad... for what I hope are obvious reasons...) it's Bialosky's Christmas, and Santa's Secret Helper. Bialosky is a cute little, homey story of a bear preparing for Christmas with all his friends. I just like how quiet and intimate it is, as we watch Bialosky select a tree, make dinner, make decorations and gifts, and sing to himself a little along the way. Santa's secret helper sets out on a very similar  journey as Santa does... and no one knows it isn't actually Santa Claus. It's another cozy little story about the things Santa usually goes through on Christmas night and how it can be awfully hard to fill those shiny black boots. The end has a heartwarming surprise twist that surprised me the first time through. 

Henry and Mudge and a Very Merry Christmas, Morris's Disappearing Bag, and Aunt Eater's Mystery Christmas are all favorites at our house as well. Henry and Mudge is a series for kids that feels warm and cozy like a favorite blanket anyway, and adding Christmas into the mix just makes it better. Morris's Disappearing Bag is a favorite from back when I was a kid. Aunt Eater's Mystery Christmas is a fun one in four parts, each part being a different Christmas-related mystery. 

The Polar Express, and The Night Before Christmas are pretty much classics for any family I think. Probably two of the most commonly owned Christmas books besides maybe The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (which we also own, and I should have had in this photo...) so it's a no-brainer that these would be on our shelf. This particular copy of Clement C. Moore's famous poem belonged to my grandmother, whom I called Nanee (Naw-Knee). She would read it to her dog every Christmas Eve, I kid you not. Sometimes she'd even let the rest of us listen in. After she passed away it was very important to me to own this book. In the inside cover, where it says "This book belongs too:" She has written "Hunter" in her flowing script... which was her pekingese's name.  

Here are two more family favorites of ours, Cookie Count, which is not strictly a Christmas book, but it is a book featuring some breath-taking pop-up mice and cookies in various configurations. (See below) The Night Before The Night Before Christmas is just a goofy family tradition that my daughter simply insists on every year. We do not read the Night Before Christmas until that night, and the same goes for this book as well. So the night of December 23rd, we drag this out and read it. It's a cute book about a near-disastrous Christmas saved at the last moment by realizing the holidays are not something that need to be stressed out about. 

The gingerbread house is the grand finale, and doesn't look like it could possibly erupt from the final pages of this book. The fortune cookies on the right all have individual fortunes, and the mice drag them out as the page opens.  

One of our favorites is the pinwheels page, with the pinwheel cookie on the end of a fork that really twirls as the page opens, due to a string held by the mice in the book. 

Finally, there's a book that I made myself back when I worked at a grammar school about 11 years ago. It's based on the Halloween book Witch, Witch Come to My Party that I mentioned back in this post during my Halloween countdown. 

It stars the usual Christmas suspects, like a gingerbread man, Rudolph, a Christmas Tree, Jack Frost, Santa Claus himself, as well as the three folks pictured here.  

The text is just straight-up ripped off from the Witch book, but the illustrations are all mine. I laminated all the pages before I bound them together, so this sucker should last until my grand-kids are running around at least. My kids get a kick out of the fact that I made this myself, and because they like the Witch book at Halloween so much, they really get into this one because it's so similar. 

Finally, here's my collection of Christmas Golden Books. The oldest one here is the Donald Duck one, which  was physically produced (as in, this is not a reprint, it is the real deal) back in 1952. Examining it up close, it looks completely different from most Little Golden Books, as the foil on the spine is much more detailed and the edges of the pages are dyed red. The interior cover-liners are full color illustrations as well. They made a great product back then. I am now realizing that I've been gushing about this for a full paragraph... but I don't care. I love kid's books, and vintage Little Golden Books are a particular weakness of mine. I actually owned copies (these are not my original old books but ones I've picked up at Goodwill) of at least three of these books when I was a wee-bit myself. I have really fond memories of having them read to me Christmas morning after all the presents and stockings had been opened. 

Anyway... I hope to get on here and post at least once or twice more before Christmas is done... but if I don't, have a Merry Christmas all! I'll be back soon enough with more Goodwill Goodies! So until then... give up the Happy Hunting for a bit and spend Christmas with someone you love. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18: The 23 Items (HA!) of Christmas: It's League Time Again!

So my item for today is actually a wish list. Because the League of Extraordinary Bloggers is all about Wishlists this week!

My wishlist is pretty earthbound... pretty simple. I'm going mostly realistic here.

1. A Jack Skellington Action Figure. I NEED this. I'd even settle for a statue. But something that is in scale with my Headless Horseman and Sam from Trick R' Treat figures. I want to complete the triumvirate. I'm kicking myself for not having bought one back when every Hot Topic, Spencers, and Toys R Us was choking to death on them.

2. Toodee Mega Bloks figure. I have all the others. I love the design of the characters, and the style and culture behind the show. Trippy and fun, without being Teletubbies-level annoying. I CANNOT find this character. I don't even want the whole building set. I just want Toodee. 

3. Pop Culture Hotwheels. Specifically, Ecto 1, Knight Rider, and The A-Team Van. I want them in the package. I already have the Delorean from Back the Future, and the Mystery Machine. I have the two Angry Birds cars (not in love with those two, actually) and  the Mars Rover. I WANT Ecto 1, KITT, and the A-Team. 

Ghostbusters Hot Wheels

4. Kraven the Hunter SHS.  This is a Holy Grail. It's much less realistic than some other items on my list. Kraven was supposed to be produced... but never was in mass quantities. There are some floating around the eBayosphere... but for ridiculous prices. Some other Great White Whales of the series that I'd love to own are Hepzibah, Warpath, Gargoyle, and Nighthawk. 

5. Castle Greyskull. This is another or my Holy Grail items, but it is much more attainable than Kraven above. I just really loved this playset as a kid... and I want it BACK. 

6. Ewok Village. See above. 

7. The Planescape Boxed Set. Loved Planescape and Raveloft as a teen. I'm rebuilding my Ravenloft collection slowly but surely... but Planescape stuff is just back-breakingly expensive. I'd love to get this, and "In the Cage: A Guide to Sigil", "The Planewalker's Handbook", And the third Planescape Monstrous Compendium appendix. I still have a ton of my old stuff from way back when, and just want to complete my collection.

8. The Madball Rollercycle + Madballs action figures... and actually, all my old Madballs as well. I am crazy angry that these all got thrown in the trash when I was a kid. I. Had. Them. ALL. 

9. Thundercats Mini-Mates. I used to HATE mini-mates. Just never got into them. Never got the appeal. And then... The Real Ghostbusters series came out, and I had to have them all. Now they come out with these??? What the hell Mini-mates!!! I'm not touching those awful Battle Beast mini-mates with a 40' pole though. Yuck. 
SDCC 2012 ThunderCats Minimates 5-pk Panthro, Jaga, Mumm-Ra, Lion-O, Snarf Comic Con Exclusive

10. Astro City, The Goon, iZombie... and a ton of other awesome Graphic novels. I just... I need to get caught up on my stories. 

All right... that's my wishlist. 

What to the other Leaguers wish for? Let's see:

- Hobgoblin at the Monster Cafe has big plans for the Cafe... and his wishlist revolves around those. 

- Rich at Fortune and Glory (Days)  is all about the mint-on-card goodness!

- Newton at Infinite Hollywood is all about the hard-to-find vintage awesomeness! 

That's it for today... but I'll be back soon with more Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting! 

Vote for My Nativity Scene Because of Course You Will.

So the Nativity Scene that I posted here is now officially a part of the contest over here at the Lair of the Dork Horde.

Here's a refresher of what it looked like in case you don't want to click on the link above:

Yep... that's it right there.

There are many other entries that are real contenders... but I feel we all know who the clear winner is.

So go vote for me.

That is all.

(Actually, I'm just kidding. The other entries are all really hilarious. Go check them out, please! And feel free to vote for whomever you choose... I guess. And thanks to Reis O'Brien for being the Lordliest of Dork Lords!)

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17 - The (Much Less Than) 23 Items of Christmas


Well, it's certainly not a winner, as my scene-setting and photography skills are total crap...

But here's my entry into the 2012 Dork Horde Action Figure Nativity contest!

The baby Jesus is represented here by a Garbage Pail Kid: "Up Chuck" who has taken over Big Bird's nest as his manger.

Joseph is portrayed by the much-suffering Lion-O who doesn't look pleased at what his wife has delivered.

Buffy takes the role of Mary, and is ready to defend the little guy, should the sword of Omens get too close.

My three wise men are:
- Egon Spengler (with the gift of a trapped ghost).
- The Mad Scientist from Robot Chicken (with the gift of Jambi from Pee-wee's Playhouse)
- And Wall-E (with the gift of the Ark of the Covenant)

We have a Californian Raisin drummer boy, ready to jam out.

Bo Peep is herding a large flock, including her own three-headed sheep, Big Bird, the Puppet Land Band, Pokey the horse, a wampa, a T-Rex, and Splinter (though I think it's up to you, the viewer to decide if Splinter is part of the flock, or if he's also a shepherd).

My Angel is Birdie from McDonald-Land, who's delicious, breakfast-y smell may be drawing her some unwanted attention.

And the trees all around are the REAL spirits of Christmas, just making sure things don't get too religious in our celebration.

Well, wish me good luck! The composition is terrible, and it occurs to me now that I should totally have put something down under the manger (like... a tan blanket or something) to make it look less crap.

Anyway... Christmas Eve is a week away! I'll be back soon with more (hopefully less profane) Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13: The 23 (give or take) Items of Christmas

This is my daughter's Strega Nona doll from when she was little. Strega Nona is the star of a series of books by Tomie DePaola (DePow-La), and her name literally translates to "Grandmother Witch". 

We bought it for about 3 dollars on clearance at a store called the Grasshopper Shop. My daughter promptly fell in love with it, even though my grandmother called it "ugly as homemade soap" (My grandmother also thought my daughter had named the doll after her, who we all called "Nanee"... which we just let her believe). 

This led us to needing to track down a bunch of the Strega Nona books, which my daughter also loved. Which of course led to us tracking down the book, Merry Christmas Strega Nona, which it turned out, the doll was based on, hence the red cloak, as seen on the cover of the book behind her. 

Strega Nona was dragged around and loved a lot when my daughter was younger, and even got to meet her creator, Mr. DePaola at a bookstore signing in Bar Harbor, ME (you can see his signature on the cloak there, the black squiggle near the bottom). That was when my daughter was 7 years old, and she still dragged her dolls around with her. 

Now... Strega Nona only comes out around Christmas time, with the rest of our Christmas decorations. She is a treasured memory keeper for our family, filled with stories, nights spent comforting my little girl, and childhood playtime adventures. 

I also want to highly recommend the entire Strega Nona series for anyone with kids, boys or girls. They have a rustic, old-world feel that feels like a series of fairy tales or folktales, but without being impersonal. They're warm, friendly and familiar, like Frog and Toad or Henry and Mudge. My daughter loved them growing up, and now my boys like hearing the stories as well. 

I know I'm a bit lax on my countdown... but I'm choosing to not care. We're in full-on holiday prep mode here, with not only Christmas, but a couple of birthdays to get ready for. I don't feel guilty for ungluing myself from the computer for a few days. 

I'll be back soon with more Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting!

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10: The 23 items of Christmas

Today's item is a set of two books by Raymond Briggs. I found both of these at Goodwill for .99 cents apiece. 

Raymond Briggs is probably most famous for doing beautiful mostly-wordless seasonal books, including Father Christmas (pictured above), The Snowman, and The Bear, although that is in no way even the beginning of his bibliography. This first book is Father Christmas. I'm going to let the images speak for themselves. Scroll down for The Snowman.

I keep finding these Asian language books at my local Goodwill. I haven't been buying them because... well, I can't read them. But this copy of The Snowman doesn't need to be in English, because it has no words. I bought it for the pure cool factor, I'll admit. One of my all time favorite books at Christmas time. 

That's it for tonight kiddos! I'll be back soon with more Goodwill Goodies (I give up on the Holiday stuff) Until then, Happy Hunting!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 9: The 23 Items of Christmas

So... tonight's item is not my favorite... but it looks weird... and if you didn't know what it was it would look pretty terrifying.

Actually, keeping that in mind... I'm not going to tell you what it is. 


Guess in the comments. 

If you already know what it is for sure, then go ahead and say it... And honestly, this is probably not even that hard of a guessing game... but you'll score more points for more creative answers

What am I counting points for? 

No idea. 

But the most outlandish answer is the winner. Will it be you? 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 8: The 23 Items of Christmas

Here is the Funko Christmas Darth Vader bobble-head that my wife bought me last year. 

It is awesome and Christmas-y. I am dying... DYING to know what is in that package... and just who it is for. 

Is it for the Emperor? What do you get for the evil Emperor who literally has EVERYTHING? 

Is it for Luke, but he just can't get up the nerve to go find that kid and give it to him? Sad. 

Is it for one of the Storm Troopers? His favorite one? Which one's his favorite? 

Is it for the widow of Grand Moff Tarkin? Awwww...

We'll never know. That is all. 

Back soon with Goodwill Geese a-laying Goodies! Until then, Happy Ho Ho Ho Hunting!

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7: The 27 Items of Christmas... Movie Reviews?

So I FINALLY made myself go out and see some movies with my kids in the past few weeks. Since Thanksgiving I've gone to see "Wreck-It Ralph" with my daughter, and "Rise of the Guardians" with my middle son. And boy... was I impressed with both movies. So instead of a Christmas item I own, I'm reviewing some Christmas items I... saw? Oh just roll with it. It's already the 8th and I'm just now posting for the 7th.

Both "Wreck-It Ralph" and "Rise of the Guardians" were emotional films with surprising depth that managed to mix great 3D and action with great plot and great characterization.

"Wreck-It Ralph" has that Toon-Town-but-with-video-games thing going for it, (which piqued my interest immediately, even though I am not even remotely a gamer... I just love seeing icons from any medium mix and co-pollinate) where you get to see different video game genres and characters interacting, but beyond the gimmick, it had a real story to tell, which is unusual for the computer animated non-Pixar Disney fare (To be fair, I haven't watched them all. Chicken Little and Dinosaur were enough to make me leery, and those both came out a while ago). This felt like a Pixar outing, even in a world where Cars 2 happened to a trusting, and unsuspecting populace. But seriously, SO man people who just don't know any better are going to assume this was a Pixar movie. You know who I'm talking about.

Ralph is a simplistic creature who gets to build himself up as a person as the story moves along, without ever really losing what is important about him at his core. All the supporting cast serve to help support the same themes of the movie which are something like: Don't try to change the system, or buck the system, try to change how you view yourself IN the system. Be true to yourself, but be sure you know what that actually means. You need to know what your true self IS before you try to be true to it. Your day job may be villainy, but that doesn't mean you aren't a hero. It's a pretty heady concept for a kids movie, to be sure. And seeing so many different characters learn that same lesson in so many different ways was gratifying. Plus there's a BLATANTLY Iron Giant-esque scene that still managed to make me squeeze out a little tear. Shut up, I'm only human.

The voice acting is superb, and the cast is right out of my dreams, so there are no complaints there... if I had to force myself to report a complaint it would only be that the world of "Wreck-It Ralph" felt a little too small. I'd love to see a sequel that (1. has a good reason to exist, and an equally important message to impart and (2. explores even more gaming worlds.

I took my son to see RotG not really knowing what to expect. The movie is based on a series of books by William Joyce (who's works I have mentioned on this blog before, and I LOVE) about the Guardians of Childhood. I have not read this particular series yet, but plan to soon. The Guardians from the book series all have their gifts and talents, and include characters such as the Man in the Moon, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Sandman, and Mother Goose. There is (as far as I can tell, having not yet read the novels) no mention of Jack Frost, who is the main protagonist of the film. 

This movie leaves out Mother Goose, and the Man in the Moon really only appears as a guiding "Charlie" style force to the other characters' "Angels" than as a character in his own right... But the cast they do include is great, and the story moves along swiftly without too much drag. Each of the characters really gets their moment to shine, and the connections between the characters, the children of the world, and belief in general are explored to great dramatic effect. Some really clever connections are made based on why the characters exist in the first place and the adventure they share during the plot. The villain is perfect too, as the Bogey-Man is the only real villain I could possibly conceive of that would counter-balance the Guardians.There were plenty of great, breath-taking action scenes, and I must also say I may have squeezed out an incredibly manly tear or two at certain moments for various different reasons. 

All in all I was not disappointed, and I genuinely hope that this film spawns a sequel or two, as long as the story, writing, and voice talents are equal to or superior to this first outing. I think it would be a hard story to top however, as the threat in this first film is pretty ultimate, and I can't think of where they might go to top it. I wouldn't mind seeing Mother Goose added to the cast either, simply because I'm a nut for the concept of childhood having it's own special pantheon of protectors and want to see it rounded out even more. I'd also love to see more villains... but I'm having a hard time thinking of what character might be as culturally ingrained as the Bogey-Man to menace childhood with. 

Anyway, I highly recommend both of these films, and they are both currently still out in theaters, so if you get a chance to see them (especially in 3D) GO!

I'll be back soon with more Goodwill (re)Gifted Goodies, so until then, Happy Hay-filled-manger Hunting!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6: The 23 Items of Christmas

Today's item is an excellent collection of something I think we ALL can enjoy. 

50 years of Peanuts Christmas comic strips! This book collects together the "best" Holiday strips from the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's. 

Also included are bio's on all of the major characters, giving us insight on their personalities and motivations. 

The sections are all divided neatly up by decade, with headers for each section. 

All the humor and warmth of the Peanuts is in evidence here, and a huge number of these comics, I had never read before. It's not a HUGE collection by any means, but it's very cute and a nice book for a casual Peanuts fan like myself. 

I'll be back soon with more Garland-draped Goodwill Goodies... so until then Happy Hark the Herald Hunting! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...