Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Goodwill Geek Mailbag: Strange Kids Club!!!

So I took it upon myself recently to order myself some geek-tastic wares from some of the internet's geekiest vendors. These include The Strange Kid's Club and October Toys.

Today I'm just going to focus on what I got from the Strange Kids Club. What did I order? Well let's take a look-see shall we?

The first thing I ordered from the Strange Kids Club was their "Strange Kids Official Sticker Pack: Series Two." Series one was completely sold out, or else I would totally have picked that up too. I tore this poly-bag open post-haste and spread my booty-loot out to examine it better. 

First up are the featured stickers in the set. These are three MadBalls-like caricatures of Strange Kid and a couple of 80's pop-culture icons. 

Representing Gizmo from the movie Gremlins is the Kevin Luong designed "Mogwad". He is literally BURSTING with fetal mogwais as if his head has just been exposed to water, and it is splitting open his skull in a frantic bid to let his offspring out. Plus, he's picking his nose with his tongue. Classic. 

The Strange Kid sticker, designed by James Groman, exhibits all of the classic MadBalls features, including exposed brains, skin blemishes, blood-shot eyes, random stitches, dangling tongue, and copious amounts of splattering bodily fluids. 

Representing the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters is "Stay Puss" also designed by Kevin Luong. With a face only Gozer the Gozerian could love, Stay Puss looks like a marshmallow that's gotten a little bit toasty/melty... and a little bit contaminated with biohazardous ecto-plasm. Would you have him any other way?

Also included in my sticker pack were these collector's cards and a sticker from the Series 1 sticker pack! The Punch Out and TMNT cards were appreciated... but the Catwoman card from the Batman Returns series is by far my favorite. She's going to be displayed somewhere prominently. Let's take a closer look at the series 1 sticker:

This sticker is called "Melmac Attack" designed by James Callahan. It's from the Strange Kids Club Official Sticker Pack: Series One. They threw it in as my "random" sticker. I just wish I could get my hands on the other three stickers from series one somehow!

Finally, I ordered two issues of the Strange Kids Comix Magazine. They are sold out of issue #1, but issues #2 and #3 were in stock, so I snapped them up! #2, pictured above, is Halloween themed! The comics are short but fun, and in several different styles. There was also an interview with cover-artist David Hartman, who is also a powerhouse in animation apparently. This completely reminded me of old magazines like MAD and Cracked, and it was well worth the purchase price. 

Issue #3 is dedicated to classic 80's television (mostly kid's shows) as you can probably tell from the cover. There's a mild TV Guide-parody feel to the cover and first page or so, but again, this brings back memories of MAD and Cracked. The interview with Jason Edmiston is great, but I think my favorite piece is a Ghostbusters vs. Beetlejuice crossover comic that ends up spilling into Pee-Wee's Playhouse. If that's not enough to get you to buy right there, this is not the magazine for you. 

Tucked into one of the magazines was this postcard drawn by Nigel Ward, depicting Beast Man, and Mer-Man standing in front of Catle Greyskull with Strange Kid as he brandishes... the Sword of Omens? This was an awesome little surprise to find, and it topped off the whole package perfectly! 

Well, I think that about wraps it up. I'll be going over the stuff I got from October Toys very soon, so keep your eyes peeled. I'll also be back soon with more Geeky Goodwill Goodies! So until then, Happy Hunting!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Happiest McCollection? Happy Meal Toys.

I couldn't think of a SINGLE clever title for this post. But I've been meaning to post about my McDonald's Happy Meal toy collection for some time now, so this is the title you get. 

What's in the box? My soul. That's what.
I need to warn you up front that as a child of the 80's I LOVE the McDonald-Land crew. I don't care if they were a blatant rip-off of H.R. Puffinstuff or anything else for that matter. I was just as invested in the adventures of these characters as I was He-Man or the GI Joes. 

Shhh! I'm watching my stories...

As an adult I am always on the lookout for toys from these lines to add to my shelf. Unfortunately, very few of the toys I'll be featuring here in this post actually came to me from Goodwill or even just thriftily "in the wild".  
Mmmm. Look at the plume on that beautiful Birdie the Early Bird...
This post will also mainly be focusing on toys themed around McDonald's itself or the McDonald-Land crew, and disregarding other licensed properties. Many of them are online purchases of one sort or another. I will say that I bought the lion's share of these from Brian over at Cool and Collected when he was doing some cleaning out of his own toy collection. So I feel like I got a pretty awesome deal from him on these. 

Just gonna dive right in here with a bunch of group shots. Across the top in this one are figurines of Birdie the Early Bird, Grimace, Ronald McDonald himself, and Hamburglar from 1995 (around the beginning of my senior year of Highschool... which is irrelevant to my toy-collecting habits). These are the versions of the characters I am most familiar with. These four figurines were from part of a Halloween set where each character had a snap-on costume (hence the weird crucifixion positions). I don't ever care about owning the costumes because I actually just love having figurines of these guys as themselves. 

This is what they look like in costume.
Image from eBay
All of the quartet came from eBay, though I got a few extras from Brian that I turned into Christmas ornaments for my tree, and for some other online friends last Christmas. In the bottom row are a mish-mash of toys such as Fry-Guys and Chicken McNuggets with interchangeable costume pieces. I don't have a single complete set for any of them. All of these came from my purchase from Brian as well. I realized AFTER taking this photograph that the purple cowboy hat on that Fry-Guy is probably a Sesame Street toy, not a McDonalds one. So I took it off. In the bottom right hand corner is one of the McDonald's Tinosaurs: Spell the Nasty Grumpy, which I've featured before on here since he was from a Grab-Bag.

The two pictures above are of my third-series McDonald's Changeables. I found this entire set of these at Goodwill, and featured them in a post where I talked about that particular grab-bag. Of course, I already had most of them already because of my purchase from Brian, and because my brother-in-law had two of them he let me have from when he was a kid. These guys were released in 1990 and were a follow up to the robot Changeables from years prior (more on these later). 

Here we have an assortment of vehicles. The pull-back vehicles across the top are all from Goodwill, as is the long Hotwheels dragster (circa 1993) on the bottom. I posted about them here. The pull-backs are from 1984. I remember having some of these as a kid, but I can't clearly remember which ones. I know Birdie for a fact. I think I lost her under the stove at my Grandmother's house. I assume she's still under there... in the lonely dark... The others? It's all a haze. The yellow rocketship/jet-looking thing is apparently an exclusive toy you can only get at the McDonalds inside the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. It's one of those awesome rev-up toys where you don't pull it back but you push it ahead several times and just let it go crazy. You can see sparks through a window in the back as well. I got it and the smaller red race car next to it from my purchase from Brian as well. The race-car is from 1988 and is part of a series of pull-backs similar to the ones above, but slightly larger and with a different assortment of characters. 

Here are my robot McDonald's Changeables!!! I got three of these in the post I mentioned earlier with my Dinosaur Changeables. The other four are from Brian. The robot Changeables came out in two waves, one in 1988 and the other in 1989. I like ALL the Changeables in my collection, but I do prefer the robots to the dinosaurs. I find it ridiculously cool that there is a line of transforming robots that turns into fast-food menu items. Like the true struggle of good vs. evil was going to take place secretly in fast-food restaurants between tiny robots that had to blend in to keep the war secret. I wish these were done to scale with the actual foods though. THAT would be even cooler. 

For a short while I was obsessed with tracking down these child-like Ronald toys. I got almost this entire group of toys together in two lots on eBay. These were the toys being given out to the 3 and under kids for a while in the later 2000's (The ones I have are all marked either 2007 or '08). I don't know what it was that drew my attention to them really, just the oddness of a child version of Ronald McDonald? I think the one on the tricycle front and center is my favorite, with the cartwheeling and hula-hooping ones coming in close seconds. It's really hard for me to explain what it is I like about them though. Is it the colorfulness? The cuteness of the sculpts? The feeling of beatific innocence contrasted ironically with the of the corporate persona they represent (what)? My wife finds these unbearably creepy to look upon. Says they have the dead-eyed look of John Wayne Gacy as a preschooler. Maybe that's why I like them! 

Now for a different lot of character vehicles: Top row we have some Mac Tonight vehicles (If anyone has a Mac Tonight figurine, the one with the Harmonica under his arm for sale or trade... contact me!) That yellow jet-Ski was a favorite toy of mine as a child. I actually tore Mac completely off it so my other mini-figures could ride around on it. Then there's Hamburglar in a three-piece train that came from a set of inter-changeable vehicle sets in 1990. Grimace riding a bike (sans wheels) is also from 1990. Then we have a Happy-Meal-mobile with the whole gang crowded in there like a clown car... except Ronald can't take how crowded it is in there, so he's leaning out and waving from 1994. The two circus characters (a fry guy on an elephant, and Birdie on a horse) are from 1989. Birdie on a scooter is from 1992. ALL of these came to me in my purchase from Brian. 

Halloween! The three characters across the top are Iam Hungry, the Hamburglar, and a Chicken McNugget, all released in 1998. They are wearing Halloween disguises, and can be filled up with candy which would then pop out the holes in the front when the masks are lifted. I found these at Goodwill and blogged about them here. The three characters along the bottom are a combination of ones I found at Goodwill and also got from Brian. I blogged about the ones I found at Goodwill here. Their names are Milly Milk, Slugger Steak, and Otis Sandwich (?) from the Food Fundamentals line.

Now we're getting into the older stuff. There's the mono-chrome Grimace crop-duster from the 1986 airport Happy Meal series. I never had Grimace as a kid, but I distinctly remember owning (and breaking) the green hamburger helicopter one. I'm going to need to track that one down now. The popscicle maker in the middle is from 1980. I had at least one of them as a child, and my clearest memory is when we made milk popscicles with them. They were bland. The blue robot is actually a transforming Mighty Mac Robot Shuttle toy from 1986. If you look very closely you can see Grimace is piloting it. I think there are other transforming toys in the series, but darned if I can find pictures of any of them. The trains on the bottom left are from 1986 or 1987 and I can find almost no other information about them except there's another, orange train in the set. The comb on the far right is from 1990 and you can pull the pieces apart to reorganize the characters. I keep them as ROYGBIV as I possibly can because I'm obsessive that way. Every piece in this picture is from Brian. 

Lastly, we have some odds and ends... I wanted to get a picture of the Mac Attack Robot Shuttle in it's oddly bulky shuttle form. There's a set of four McDonalds LEGO bricks I found in a load of other LEGOs at Goodwill. The pictures on them are from the series of Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald cartoons they did back between 1998 to 2003. The Treasure Hunt Happy Pail is from 1986. The lid doubles as a sand-sifter. The Ronald on the right is a 2001 toddler toy put out by Fisher-Price, and comes apart as a stackable toy (see below). He reminds me of Mick Jagger, struttin' like he does, and he's the one piece in my entire collection that actually belonged to one of my kids, belonging to my daughter when she was young. The pictures below feature the other sides of the bucket, Ronald in pieces, some adhesive bandages from 2010 (Don't know WHERE they came from) and a McDonalds key-chain from I-don't-know-when-but-it-looks-old. The bucket and keychain are from the Brian lot. 

PHEW! That's all of it for now. As I mentioned I'm looking for a Mac Tonight figurine, and I would love to get my hands on a bunch more of the McNugget Buddies toys... but for the most part I'm pretty happy with what I currently have. 

Here's the whole collection on display as it currently stands. I'm not in love with how cluttered everything looks, but I make do. 

All right, well that is IT for me tonight guys. I'll be back with more Geeky Goodwill Goodies soon enough... so until then, Happy Hunting!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Random Handful of Goodwill Goodness

Just a quick one today, kids.

I found a group of these books where there's a handheld device you push against record-like discs on the pages to play sounds. They're called "Comes to Life Books". There was an Alvin and the Chipmunks book that I almost picked up as well... but I've never been a huge Alvin and the Chipmunks fan to be honest. This one cost me .99 cents, and if you can't tell by the picture already is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle book: Monsters Among Us. (Here is a link to a youtube video of someone using the device that works with these books on a different TMNT book. For some reason I couldn't embed)
I don't have the device required to activate the sounds inside the book. And... the story ain't that great... but it's TMNT and I like the weirdness of the gimmick even if I can't make it work. 

Here are a couple more licensed property books. These ones are just regular books. I pretty much pick up any old Sesame Street books I find, and the Bugs Bunny book is one I had a kid about a castle adventure. Love old books like these where the aesthetic is just so... yesteryear. I know that sounds weird considering both of these books came out in the 80's... but YOU CAN TELL they came out in the 80's you know? They have that feel. That look. That... taste. I DID NOT TASTE THEM.

Last of all, I found this rubber Pillsbury Doughboy toy for .99 cents in a random bin full of bean-bag characters. NEVER underestimate the stuffed animal bins you guys!!! Dig deeper! That's how I found my Galaxy Force Starscream AND my Crackhead MadBall. Both of them were buried under discarded plush animals as well. This Pillsbury Doughboy is pretty interesting. The date on the back of his head reads 1971. Everything I've seen on Google encourages the idea that this is in fact his legit production date. He does not stand freely on his own, and apparently he originally came with a stand that his legs fit down into to keep him upright. He ALSO had a little lady friend... and a kid... and a puppy!?!?!?!

This Pillsbury picture was pilfered.
It is a purloined poppin'-fresh portrait.
Color me stunned and amazed. 

Well, that's it for me tonight guys! I'll be back soon with more Geeky Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I've been blogging for a year... Yesterday?

So I saw that Dex over at AEIOU and Sometimes Why? was celebrating his second blog-i-versary (his term... not mine) back on July 13th.

THEN I saw that Erick over at the Wonderful Wonderblog was celebrating 7 YEARS!!!

THEN... I saw that Michael Lewindowski over at Memories of Toymorrow was celebrating his 1 year Anniversary, and mentioned it on July 22nd!

And that got me thinking... I couldn't remember exactly when I started blogging about all the second-hand crap that I buy at Goodwill (and other places) so I had to investigate.

But first, I want to congratulate ALL of those guys, as I have been following, reading, and enjoying their blogs for quite some time now.

Happy Blog-Birthday, you studs.

But then I want to point out that MY first blog post was back on July 24th of last year!

The picture above is the very first picture I posted to my blog. At the time I only knew they were from a baggy I'd bought at the Brewer, ME Goodwill. They were obviously E.T. I just wanted to give a hint of the sort of thing I would be posting about on my new blog. I put out a call to help identify them and I found out they were game pieces from an old E.T. board game. Ever since I found that out, the idea that the rest of the game might have been kicking around the very same Goodwill store that day has haunted my dreams... But on that fateful day the Goodwill Geek was born! 

Bitten by a radioactive Thrift Store, the Goodwill Geek stood for second-hand geekiness everywhere he went afterwards! With the powers of endless patience to dig through piles of old, broken remote control cars and Hotwheels car-tracks with missing pieces to retrieve the awesome vintage Happy Meal toys hiding beneath! With the eyes of a biblio-phile on the prowl, picking out secondhand graphic novels, Little Golden Books, and Choose Your Own Adventure books in a sea of Babysitters Club novels! This Geek was ready to tell his tale! 

Since I've been blogging for a year, a lot of stuff has happened to me!

- I joined the League of Extraordinary Bloggers! In fact, I created this blog just so I could join!!! My first post for the League was an imaginary road trip!

- There was the time I brought home the AWESOME Toxic Crusader's Poster book! That was during my very first month of blogging!

- I featured some excellent Comic book finds including Iron Man's Demon in a Bottle and a classic volume of TMNT comics!

- Then I joined Reis O'Brien's Dork Horde!!! It was a proud day when I took the hood!

- Still one of my favorite posts was the one detailing the weird collection of art-books I've acquired. 

- I professed my love for Fisher Price's Little People! Not just once but twice!!!

- I won a pack of goodies from none other than Michael Lewandowski from the aforementioned Memories of Toymorrow! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles helped me open it when it arrived!

- I helped in my own small way to kick off the Great Candy Corn Wars of 2012

- I finally revealed the Goodwill Geek Cave for all the world to see!!! (I think I'm going to have to do some update pictures here sometime soon, as the Cave is looking very different in many ways these days...

- I also won an awesome Firefly tribute book from Brian over at Cool and Collected! 

- I showed off my Green Lantern Action League collection AND the awesome Dex-Starr custom that I traded Reis O'Brien a bunch of California Raisins for!!!

- Thanks to Eric from Toyriffic I started listening to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's Thrift Shop before it was COOL to listen to it!

- I tried to identify a handful of mystery toys! (You guys were NO help by the way... just sayin'...)

These are not all mystery toys... but some of them are...

- By far one of the most exciting things to happen to me as a blogger was getting to see the movie, Motivational Growth while it was still travelling the festival circuit. My interest in the trailer drew the attention of director, Don Thacker, who gave me a two-part interview (Here's pt. 1... and Here's pt. 2), and permission to see the film. It was pretty great. I loved the film and can't wait to see where it pops up next. 

- What turned out to be one of my absolute favorite posts of ALL TIME was one of the three I did for the League's Pirate's Week. I wrote about my favorite, cheap-ass set of pirate figurines, and gave them each a name, personality, and back-story. It was one of those posts where I just let loose and write cRaZy!!!

- I started a new feature when I got my new iPod with a built-in camera called Goodwill Gone Bad. I featured pictures of items I could not picture ANYONE buying from Goodwill (I then spent time standing in line behind a woman buying one of those VERY items... so that just showed me). I then plopped my iPod into a bucket full of bleach-water and let it soak over night. So... that ended that feature. But it was fun while it lasted! I got to do 2 of them


- I also told the convoluted tale of my childhood love for mini-figures for the League... and the handful of specific characters that I carried around obsessively. 

- One of my highest-hitting posts was one where I just took some random shots of stuff in the cave! I wasn't sure how to feel about that. I've put a LOT more effort into posts that haven't been nearly as popular... 

- Not really due totally to the fact that I have this blog... but still related to it... I did a Charnel Chat over at the Grim Reader. I think I had the confidence to contact him and do one because I'd been writing on here for a while. 

The Grim Reader

- Another couple of favorites I did for the League, I reminisced about my first impressions of the Thundercats, and talked about how much I wished the California Raisins would make a come-back!


I've even won a couple of contests recently! I just posted about my winnings from Hake's Americana and Collectibles... and I'll be posting soon about my winnings from the Pop Pop! It's Trash Culture "One Man's Trash..." giveaway

Hake's Americana & Collectibles  pop pop..! it's trash culture.

So as you can see, it's been a very busy year! And I am looking ahead to the future! I'm still participating in the League posts week after week, and I'm discovering new blogs and interesting bloggers every day, and I feel like these are my people. What I write... I write for them. I love the blogging community I've become a part of in the last year... and I am greedy for more! 

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