Saturday, June 22, 2013

Blog Collective: Minor Character

So there's a semi-new blogging group that's just sprung up out of the internet dust and invited me to participate in their weekly topics: The Blog Collective over at Nemesis Complex. Similar to the League of Extraordinary Bloggers, The Blog Collective has a weekly topic as a writing prompt.


What's their topic this week you may ask?

I'm actually just free-thinking my way through this one as I type. I'm trying really hard to come up with even one minor character that has really had an impact on me AND who isn't actually part of an ensemble cast. 

The idea of doing a whole piece on Skeeter from the Muppet Babies rattled around in my head for a while, since outside of Muppet Babies, she's not a canon character (she's made appearances in other media, and if you look at her Muppet Wiki page, there's a few other interesting tidbits about her life as an "adult" muppet) but IN Muppet Babies, she's a pretty big character, and Piggy's opposite number. 

Sorry, Doll.

Then I considered doing a piece on my favorite Godzilla spoof-character... Reptar!!! But after giving it much thought and consideration, I realized that Reptar was not really a character in Rugrats at all so much as he was an ubiquitous fictional mascot/presence/property like Ronald McDonald or Bugs Bunny is to us in the real world. I suppose some sort of spin-off series could have been concocted, but ultimately I felt he was too "Meta" to write anything meaningful about. 

Reptar from Rugrats
Sorry, maul.

I considered doing a piece on Alice the Goon, but since I don't really care for Popeye almost at all... I just don't want to. 

Sorry, too-tall.

What possible character can I showcase? Who is interesting enough... but also tangential enough to be considered a favorite "minor" character? 

And then... (meaning right now... as I write this...) inspiration struck!

Clem! I love Clem. He's a character who only shows up in the final few seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for a total of about 9 episodes... and he steals every scene he shows up in. He doesn't do anything terribly significant in the course of his existence, and only really stands out as a sort of living breathing punch-line to a running gag where he shows up as a hideous demon but then turns out to be a pretty decent, stand-up, and trustworthy average-if-demonic-joe. He's the kind of demon that makes the difficult decision to stop eating kittens based on the strength of his own moral fiber, and then sits down with you over hot-wings to talk about relationship issues. 

I know he's made a few appearances in the new Buffy comics mostly as a side-kick to Harmony, the bubble-headed blonde vampire. But dammit! Clem deserves his own destiny! His own series! In fact... I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that maybe they gave the WRONG demon his own spin-off series... 

Yeah. I said it.
Clem has got charm AND personality, to the point where I felt he was criminally under-used in Buffy. I'm not seriously suggesting they should have done a Clem spin-off on his own, but I would have loved to have seen the kind of show they could have come up with if they had made him an important part of another ensemble.

I wanted my first outing with the Blog Collective to be a bit more... substantial... but I think I'm good here. A minor post about a minor character.

Be sure to keep checking in at the Nemesis Complex Blog Collective Blog to see what the other bloggers in the Collective come up with this week! 

That's it for me today guys! I'll be back with some Geeky Goodwill Goodies soon! Until then, Happy Hunting!

I couldn't NOT share this picture of ADULT Skeeter
from the Muppets comic book before I wrapped up.
Trippy right? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Ultimate Arcade

It's League of Extraordinary Bloggers time once again kids!!! What's the burning topic this week? 

league arcade game
I'm not much of a gamer to be honest. I am a big original Nintendo fan, but only a handful of those games really turned into obsessions when I was younger (Super Mario Brothers, Contra, Legend of Zelda, and Metroid... my GODS the Metroid!!! I won Metroid enough times in a row to unlock the suit-less Samus myself without needing to get the cheat code from anyone else. My ONE geek achievement I was really proud of back then).

I get to play the exact same game again but with Green Hair!?!?!
Hells YES!
I played the Atari 2600 endlessly at my aunts house as a wee-bit but mainly only played the original Mario Bros. game, a defective JOUST game that would freeze up after finishing the first level, and HOURS upon HOURS of pinball simulator, Midnight Magic. 

This seriously almost ate my soul.
It looks hungry, right?
I suppose if I were filling a rec room I would start with those. I mean, I know they aren't strictly "arcade" picks, but I'd have a classic NES and an old Atari 2600 and the cartridges I loved. As for actual arcade games... I would only have one serious pick. There was only one game I played enough as a kid to want to own. Let me paint you a picture. 

It was a dark and smoky night in the bar/restaurant of my youth literally called "The Pizza Place" (That was indeed the creative, and inspired name of the establishment) and both my mother and my aunt were there with their friends, so naturally there was no one at home to watch me. I was about... I want to say 7 or 8 years old but the serpentine mists of time, much like the roiling clouds of cigarette smoke that polluted "The Pizza Place", make it hard for me to remember. I mean both of those things actually make it hard for me to remember. Probably more from the smoke honestly. I imagine I must have suffered some serious smoke-inhalation-induced memory loss from my time spent there. 

It was like this... only smokier... and bar...ier.
When you are someone's mother, and you're out on the town with your sister and your 7 year old kid, and you are desperately vying for "Mother of the Year" where do you go? A smoky bar that manages in a speakeasy fashion to hide its own nature by selling cheap pizza as a cover. And how does the aforementioned 7 year old stay occupied while he is trapped in what is surely a booze-soaked ring occupying a level of Dante's Inferno? Simple. You have him bring along some toy cars, let him try a sip of Auntie's "special chocolate milk" (Kaluha and milk), and ply him with quarters. Quarters to be spent not just the Chiclets-dispensing gum machine... but for this:

Pure. Yellow. Sex.
Ms. Pac-Man. That is correct sir. She was the one glowing bastion in the smoky beyond-the-Thunderdome  pizza wasteland that I was trapped in Friday night after Friday night (oh yeah, there were several trips to "The Pizza Place" when I was young). I knew even as a child there was something... sexy? about this version of Ms. Pac-Man. Dat ass. Dose legs. Her brightly rouged cheeks and pouty lips. Even the ghost in the picture was excited. 

I was given a stack of quarters and politely told to f--k off and go play Ms. Pac-Man or go hop in a van with a kindly stranger until my family members were done drinking and ready to go home. Oh the memories. 

Actually what I remember most was feeding that saucy little tart quarter after quarter and moving her around the maze gobbling up about a quarter of the board before watching her devoured by angry spirits EVERY TIME. That clutzy dame was always twisting her ankle and falling down in the woods just as, like THREE of those ghostly bastards were creeping up behind her. I was 7 okay? I wasn't a serious gamer. I knew no strategy. I was just hypnotized by her...

...something. Qualities. I don't know what. 

But GODS didn't it make the time in that blasted, craterous, smoldering hell-hole of a pizzeria a bit more bearable. My glassy, red-rimmed eyes would dully watch as she was tackled and eaten time after time after time, and once my quarter stack diminished to nothing? Well then I would curl myself up in a ball on the booze-soaked carpet under one of the tables and fitfully dream:

So yes. I would bring Ms. Pac-Man into my home. I would sweep her off her disturbingly shapley legs in that smoky barren world of special chocolate milk and terrible pizza and bring her into my home. My little pixellated angel in yellow and hot-pink. I never played the original Pac-Man game when I was a kid, but I did watch the cartoon show: 

Wait... what? Where's Ms. Pac-Man?
Is that Donna Reed?
And I remember desperately wanting to know what chocolate-covered Pac-pellets tasted like. We also owned this Christmas gem: 

Which featured an only slightly less sexualized Ms, Pac-Man...
If you're into knobby knees.
Which I am.
I LOVED this Christmas album. It is almost ear-bleedingly bad to listen to as an adult, but I got excited as a monkey on straight up crack when my mom would drag out this album around Christmas time. I have the entire album in MP3 form now thanks to the INTERNET. My family HATES it. Not very Christmas of them, if you ask me. 

So I would pretty much just feature a table-version of Ms. Pac-Man in our rec-room if I could find one for a decent price. I mean I got way further with Samus than I ever dreamed of with Ms. Pac-Man, but Ms. Pac-Man just always had more of a certain...

...charm I think. Yeah. 

Anyway... let's see what some of the rest of the League is feeding their quarters and tokens into this week:

- Shawn over at Branded in the 80's makes some great picks (including a sassy little sweet-tart I may have talked about here...) and he's rigged the machines so we don't need tokens! 

- Rich over at The Nerd Nook makes some awesome co-op-pop-culture gaming choices including some mighty mutants (of at least two different kinds... three if you count the 3-eyed fish...)!

- Kal of Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool lists some truly excellent and truly classic oldies-but-goodies.

- Jason over at Rediscover the 80's wants variety! He wants it all! He had me at "neon-blacklight air hockey".

- The Lee and Linz over at Pop Rewind also feature a familiarly fetching yet flumoxing floozy! And some other pinball-y stuff too. But I'm mostly talking about Ms. Pac-Man here. 

- Our fearless League Leader over at Cool and Collected goes all Pop-Culture Pin-Ball on us!

- The Trash Man over at Pop Pop! It's Trash Culture lists his favorite cabinets. They get pretty rage-y.

That's it for me tonight kids! I'll be back soon with honest-to-gravy Geeky Goodwill Goodies soon enough! until then, Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Payday Friday: Oh Thank the Gods for Toys

Last Friday was payday for me at work. As regular readers of the blog may already know, I try to make it to Goodwill every Payday Friday. It usually turns into a pretty intensive visit, lasting sometimes well over an hour or two. This is because instead of quickly scanning the toy section and book section, I search more in-depth, and I comb every section of the store for Geek-tastic items. The last couple of visits were a bit of a let-down, and I still have yet to make another epic find like the bag of vintage Masters of the Universe figures... but this payday Friday wasn't a total dry-hump either. 

First I'll get the Little Golden Books out of the way. Almost every single one of these books is older than me or from the early 80's. I was able to get all of the old price tags you see in the picture off without any damage. These were all .99 cents apiece. 

To wrap up the books I also picked up the fourth book in Garth Nix's Seventh Tower series: Above the Veil. Plus The Chocolate Touch which is the cover I remember from when I was a kid. Loved it back then, might try reading it to my sons to see what they think of it when they're a little older. 

BONUS! Found this bookmark inside The Chocolate Touch. I've mentioned before how much I like finding little personal touches in the books and things I buy at Goodwill. This was a nice surprise. 

Moving on from the books to toys... I picked up a grab-bag containing these 4 items for just .99 cents. I did NOT buy it for the Owl figurine or the plastic peach. They will be returning to Goodwill. Nope, I actually bought it for the action figure. There was however an unexpected surprise: 

This green plastic boat is a TOMY toy from 1978. It is as old as I am. Once upon a time it had a wind-up outboard motor on the back, but I don't mind that it's missing. Check out that kick-ass swordfish decal on the side!

Meet Bane. Not Bane from the Dark Knight Rises of last year... but the Bane from the 1996 Batman & Robin movie. For such a crappy movie version of the character, the figure kind of rocks. And if Google is any indicator, it's pretty hard to find this toy anywhere. He's not the standard version of the figure, but instead came in a Brains vs. Brawn 2-pack with a Batman figure. This version of the character looks like he's had extensive work done on him by both Poison Ivy AND Mr. Freeze, if the translucent limbs on both sides of his body are any indicator. He's all icy translucent blue and silver on his right side, and vine-y translucent green on his left. There's a part of me that LOVES this guy... and I couldn't begin to tell you why. 

Next... ANOTHER GRAB-BAG!?!?!?!? Whoah. And this one is truly cool. Just look at these for a moment. Soak 'em in. Again, this grab bag also only cost me .99 cents. 

First up we have Red the Fraggle in a Radish car. McDonalds did this series of Fraggle cars back in '88. 

She goes great with the Wembley and Boober car that I talked about back in September. I've never been as much of a Fraggle Rock fan as I was the Muppets or Sesame Street, but I still love them as a Henson creation. 

A Spike the Dragon from the vintage My Little Pony line. This is going in my wife's craft room with the other vintage MLP's I've managed to dig up for her in my travels. Having a hard time pinning down exactly when this particular version was produced, as the eyes are wrong for him to be the original version. 

This is Francis the Bulldog from 1988's Oliver and Company. It is also a McDonalds Happy Meal finger-puppet for children with fingers as thin as knitting needles. He's cute, but not anything I really care about. He's probably going to get turned into another Christmas ornament for my wife because she loves the movie, but does not love having a ton of old toys (other than MLPs) cluttering up her craft room. 

This is probably the most intensely exciting toy in the grab-bag, even considering how excited I was about the Fraggle car. This is an All Dogs Go to Heaven toy!!! This is King Gator, the Alligator that sings a duet with Charlie in the New Orleans sewers. He originally came from a Wendy's kid's meal back in 1980. I LOVED ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN. I was fully drinking the Don Bluth Kool-Aid back then, and I loved A.D.G.T.H. along with the Secret of NIMH, The Land Before Time, and An American Tail. What was weird was that I understood even as a child that these were NOT Disney films. These were Don Bluth films, and that seemed like a serious competitor for Disney to me back then. King Gator was one of the best and weirdest sequences in a DEEPLY WEIRD movie, and I am so crazy glad I have a figurine of him to add to the cave. 

Last up, I found this Mr. Peanut Christmas tin from last Christmas as I knew I ultimately would when I debated buying it at Wal-Mart last Christmas when it was something like 15 dollars full of exotic nuts that I did not care about. 

As I mentioned in my recent California Raisins post, I love the new Mr. Peanut (and dedicated a whole post to him last Christmas when I talked about both of the tins pictured above). So I don't really feel the need to gush over it... but the fact that I got it for .99 cents, saving myself something like 14 dollars or so (I can't remember how much it cost honestly) makes me pretty glad that I frequent Goodwill so much. The new Mr. Peanut hasn't done any more TV ads lately that I know of, but he's been keeping busy:

Photo: Happy Cinco de Mayo. Or for any of my non-Spanish-speaking friends - Happy Fifth of May, idiotas.

That's it for me tonight kids! I'll be back with more Geeky Goodwill Goodies soon enough though! until then, Happy Hunting!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Quick Stop: Childhood Ephemera

I made a quick stop in at Goodwill last week and found a handful of cool stuff to bring home: 

A couple of Choose Your Own Adventure books: The Abominable Snowman #13, from 1982, and The First Olmpics, #77 from 1988. I've gone on in great detail about my love for these books before here on the blog, so I won't go nuts now... but these were a great find for .99 cents apiece. 

I'm really trying hard to figure out when this copy of Color Kittens was published. It's definitely not the first printing or anything... But I think it's no more recent than the mid-to-early 70's. I plan on doing a post somewhere in the future to just feature the LGB's in my collection. Love these things. .99 cents. 

Picked up this old cigar box for .99 cents as well. There are few things that excite me more than finding old cigar boxes. I can't tell if this is just a repro of an older box or what... but I will be hiding SO many treasures in this thing. 

The real stars of this Quick-Stop were the contents of the grab-bag I found for .99 cents. This was an uncommonly cheap grab-bag, as one with this many items would normally have been at least 1.99. I felt truly blessed.

First up there were these guys. One of them is a 1990 Little People sea-plane pilot. Typically I do not collect the less-chocking-hazardous "chunky" Little People... but this guy was just such a charmer... I mean, look at that pilot's cap and goggles! I have no idea what toy line the little Robin Hood guy came from, but it seems SUPER familiar, like I've seen or owned similar toys from the same line when I was a kid or something. Either way he feels like an attempt to cash in on the Little People popularity, and I like knock-off toys if they're done right. 

From the DC universe, there was this Green Lantern Little People figure. I am not even a little bit of a fan of the new-style little people... but GL??? Gotta have it. I've also seen Wonder Woman's invisible jet out and about a couple of times and want to own it just for the weirdness factor. There's also a Young Justice finger board from McDonalds featuring Batman... who is not a member of Young Justice..? Right? 

Here's a Doug Funny figure/pen that is actually from the 1999 movie, not the much superior 1991 TV series, but I'll take what I can get.  I miss the days of Rugrats, Rocko's Modern Life, Ren & Stimpy, and Doug. There's also a Dracula from last year's Hotel Transylvania for my Monsters display, and a horribly beat up Bart Simpson keychain from 1990. 

Finally, the main reason I actually picked up this grab-bag was for this. Head-Banger's weapon from the Toxic Crusaders toy line. I spent the next fifteen minutes after discovering this looking high and low for any other traces of Toxic Crusaders toys... to no avail. But I now own this. 

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Quick Stop: Books!

So I've been having a little bit of a Goodwill dry spell. It's been a while since I've found anything exciting besides books. Don't get me wrong, I love books... I mean LOVE them... but even more I LOVE finding old 80's cast-offs, super-hero action figures, vintage Happy Meal toys, etc. 

Sigh. It's a good thing I do love books. There was also a DVD picked up in this quick-stop. 

I really think the Penguin editions of these Ian Fleming James Bond novels are incredibly cool. I mentioned the copy of Dr. No I picked up at Goodwill last September which is from the same Penguin series as this copy of Moonraker. I still haven't read any James Bond novels because I'd really like to try reading them in order... but look at that gorgeous pulp-tastic cover! This set me back .99 cents. 

For some reason I have a hard time NOT picking up YA books with "samurai" in the title. Samurai Girl is the first book in a series that I think I will give a try... .99 cents. 

The first book in the Elyon books, The Dark Hills Divide is a book I've been eyeing for weeks. It was 2.99 originally, which is exactly why I did not buy it. But during this quick stop at Goodwill I noticed it had a red tag, which was the half-off color that day. So I picked it up for about 1.50. I'll give it a shot. 

I don't know why this DVD was only 1.99 when all the other DVDs are usually sold for 2.99... but I didn't question it. I am an incredible fan of this movie (and most Jason Reitman films in general) so I snapped it up.

I've got a few more fun posts coming up for the end of the week... but this is it for tonight! I'll be back soon with some more Geeky Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting!

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