Monday, September 30, 2013

It's October Eve Once Again!!!

Yeah... it's not centered. But I wanted it BIG.

So it's that wonderful time of the year once again! The night before we tip head-long into the creepiest and BEST of the autumn months, October!

What does this mean? Well, let me tell you dear reader. Shortly after I post this, I will be redressing m site in it's October colors. I will be changing from the amiable Goodwill Geek into the Goodwill Ghoul. The site will change from "Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks" to "Goodwill HAUNTING for Geeks" See what I did there? (There will be no URL change, JUST the site title will change for the month...)

I will be focusing the next month's worth of posts on Halloween, and I will be posting daily rather than the 3-4 times a week I have been managing up until now.

This will be done as part of a couple of different Halloween Countdowns I am participating in, and it is always EXHAUSTING. In the picture up there you can see that the shelf that I keep dedicated to Halloween year-round. This is my tin altar to the spirits of Halloween. They're almost here!

To celebrate, I want to share an original Goodwill Gee- er... GHOUL poem that I use to celebrate the season:

Halloween Is Coming

Fall has fallen, can't you tell?
The shorter days, the sharper smells.
The shadows stretching all around. 
The leaves all drifting slowly down,
And each one glows with gold-red flames,
The pumpkins patchworked just the same. 
Their faces carved to leer like loons...
For Halloween is coming soon. 

Those leaves? They'll soon turn dead and brown.
To scritch and scratch across the ground.
With shifting whispers, here and there,
Their secrets fill the frosty air.
The wind grows chill, and sharp as knives.
The trees' bare branches rattle-writhe.
Their blackened fingers claw the moon...
And Halloween is coming soon.

Now Autumn's ghosts are flying free.
Through night; Through sky; Through you and me.
October spirits in the night,
Their cloaks are deep, their faces white.
They sing-song tease, and whisper near,
"The night of Masks will soon be here..."
They ride the winds, and trill their tunes...
"Oh! Halloween is coming soon!"

Fall has fallen. Yes, it's true.
The trees all feel it, why can't you?
The Jack O' Lanterns, ripe and round,
The listless leaves that paw the ground,
The ghosts in lace and drifting cloaks,
The cemeteries, gray as smoke,
The signs all bright as a harvest moon...
That Halloween is coming soon.

It should go without saying that this poem (as with most of the photos and all of the other writing on this blog) is copyrighted by me, Derek Ash, the Goodwill Geek, and it is my property. Please don't steal it. Feel free to share it and give credit to me and/or to this site.

So Happy October everyone! I hope it's the best one yet, and that it's a magical and spooky one for everyone out there! I'll be back soon with some Grave Goodwill Goodies! Until then... Happy Haunting!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Random Handful of Goodwill Goodies: Science Fiction Books

So today I'm tossing a bunch of different books under the Random Handful banner. This time around it's Science Fiction as the theme.

I actually found book three of the Star Wars trilogy for .99 cents at Goodwill BEFORE I posted about the Empire Strikes back novelization here! At the time I was still on the hunt for book #2... but if you haven't read that earlier post, spoiler alert: I got it. 

Honestly, I've never been a huge fan of Hellboy. I like the movies, and I've found all of the trade paperbacks of the Hellboy comics series second-hand, or on the cheap at Mardens... so I HAVE almost all of them... but I just haven't gotten into them yet. Hell, I even have an action figure from the animated series that I also have never seen. That doesn't stop me from continuing to pick up Hellboy books whenever I see them in hopes of someday loving them. So I got this Hellboy Novel, "The Lost Army" at Goodwill for .99 cents. 

Ehhh... I don't know if you can EXACTLY classify this one as "sci-fi" but it comes pretty close... Right? It tells the tale of a middle-school megalomaniac super-genius who puts his goals of world domination on hold for a bit while he tries to win an election at his school, just to prove a point to his father. It turns out to be harder than he thought. Hilarity ensues. I really like the concept behind this book, and I hope it turns out to be a good read. 

You can see Mardens price tags on the front of this book, but I did indeed pick it up at Goodwill. I probably overpaid however, because at Goodwill I suspect these were on clearance for .50 cents and I paid .99. C'est la vie. I am actually interested in reading a novelization of Nu-Trek. 

Garth Nix is hands down one of the authors I am most excited to track down and read more of. I love his Abhorsen series, and the Keys to the Kingdom series, and recommend them highly. I've tracked down almost all the books in the Seventh Tower series, as well as his book Ragwitch, though I haven't read any of those yet. Add another to the pile! .99 cents. 

I've just been meaning to read this ever since I read Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I picked it up for no other reason than that. .99 cents. 

I actually thought that I had bought this book, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, at one point, but when I went looking for it, discovered I didn't actually own it at all... Jaime Hood over at Shezcrafti threatened to revoke my Geek Membership once if I didn't read this book at some point. I tend to take her threats more seriously than some... So the very next time I saw it at Goodwill I picked it up. Haven't read it yet... but it's only a matter of time now. .99 cents.

I had already seen a ton of super-positive reviews for Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Windup Girl" online before I discovered it at Goodwill. I picked it up for 1.99 and added it to my read pile. I guess it's a novel about the seedy side of bio-engineered slaves. Like that could have a seedy side. Described as "bio-punk" this book is extremely high-concept with a complete reinvention of how the world works bio-technologically in the 23rd century. It's another one my fingers are itching to turn the pages in. Steady fingers. Your time will come. 

Picked this one up the same day as The Windup Girl (and a couple of other books I'll talk about during my upcoming Halloween Countdown... it was a good day for good Sci-Fi). Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter team up to bring us "The Long Earth" I was pretty much sold as soon as I saw Pratchett's name on the cover, and considering this is a collaboration, and a non-Disc-World book, I was intrigued. The book deals with alternate Earths, and travel between them. It deals with a pair of exploratory protagonists and the other Earths they explore. It deals with the way the world would react to the fact that there are suddenly millions of other Earths to expand out onto... and the sorts of dangers that might dwell out among those millions of potential worlds that would in turn discover us. I got this one for 1.99 as well. 

Well that's it boys and girls! A Random Handful of Sci-Fi books I've picked up at Goodwill. I hope you enjoyed reading about my hopes to read them as much as I enjoyed writing about hoping to read them! I'll be back soon with more Geeky Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The FIND Part 2: Digging Deeper in the Bin.

So last week, the League of Extraordinary Bloggers talked about epic yardsale and/or flea market finds. I recounted the tale of the bin of action figures I brought home, and showed off a few of the specimens I found inside. You can read about all that HERE

Just as a reminder, here is a shot of that bin in all its glory. It doesn't look like this anymore, because I've taken all the stuff I plan on keeping in my collection and put it out on display. Everything else I plan on selling or giving away here on m'blog. I'd love to at some point make my 40 bucks back on this bin (or it's equivalent) but we'll see. 

And speaking of seeing, I'm dipping into the bin and hauling out another handful of stuff to show you guys! 

So, this post will be themed. And what's the theme? X-MEN!!! (And for some reason Daredevil). Here are a trio of crucified mutants... er... I mean Bend-Ems X-Men figures from 1989. I never actually owned any of these as a kid, because I was never a big fan of bendy characters that aren't really that bendy. 

These are sort of the action figure equivalent of those ballistics dummies they use to test shrapnel spray on Myth-Busters. They feel like tiny rubber corpses. They are not very bendy at all, and I suspect they never really were. I mean, you can bend them if you want, but they're not going to stay in that pose for long. 

Due to the rubber nature of these toys, they also look pretty grungy. Old rubber tends to get filthy. Heh. Colossus's legs and Magneto's moobs are streaked with grime. When I was a kid I always pronounced it Mag-NET-Oh, not Mag-NEET-Oh. It drove everyone who actually knew anything about comics (like the guy at the comic store...) INSANE. I just though Mag-NEET-Oh sounded dorky and not scary at all. Like, "Oh look! Here comes that neat-o villain!"

And even more unfortunate is the fact that Nightcrawler's tail broke off, leaving him looking like he's got a blue turtle-head poking out and no bathroom in sight. That's why those BAMFS!!! alwas smell like sulfur.

Daredevil, covered in Karen Page's heroin s**ts.
The box also contained this FILTHY Daredevil figure, which I can't tell is someone used a marker on or what. But I don't really care because he's gross. I'm going to try to clean him up, but I'm not holding my breath. 

So to continue the weird, X-Men + Daredevil theme, here we have a trio of old Toy Biz action figures. I owned all three of these as a kid/preteen/too-old-to-be-playing-with-them-whatever... 

And for some weird reason I either always wanted Daredevil to find out he was a mutant all along, OR I wanted to team him up with my Kenner Batman figure so the two were a pair of crime-fighting vigilante MANIACS!!! I had a lot of random crossover stories in my imaginative play as a child.

Doesn't Colossus have a weird Fabio vibe to his face here? Colossus was and still is one of my absolute favorite X-men. I cried when Joss Whedon brought him back from the dead in Astonishing. Hah! Kidding!* AAAaaanyway... This figure has a "lifting one very specific heavy item" action feature, which still works. As none of the figures in the box came with any accessories, he is missing his giant bar-bell which he would lift menacingly to intimidate villains. 

And here is one of my personal Holy Grails. Not because he's hard to find (you can find dozens of these on eBay) but because I wanted him to fine me. I wanted to find one of these classic Wolverine action figures in the wild, and cheap. This action figure was sacred to me when I got it as a kid. Wolverine was just hitting that period in the late 80's to very early nineties where he wasn't over-exposed yet, but he was very clearly the COOLEST X-Man of the times. The only other X-Man to rival Wolvie in cool points for me at the time was Storm. This was coming past the end of Inferno, and into all of the weird stuff leading up to the Muir Island saga. This was still Wolverine's costume. The orange and burgundy/brown. This Wolverine was like the Snake-Eyes of the X-Men back then. 

And who are these bad boys? Why some of the X-Men's most strikingly recognizable villains! Also from Toy-Biz, I was very excited to find these!

Here is one of the X-Men's most... er... confusing villains. Sauron. At first glance, he's a pterodactyl man, right? That sort of seems like enough. But no. He's also able to hypnotize his foes AND he's a vampire! Well, an energy vampire. There has also been so much ret-conning done to the character that it's sort of up for debate as to whether he's actually a mutant or not. But what's REALLY weird about this action figure is that he is completely frozen in this pose. None of his joints move except his jaw. So... I guess I found my display pose!

The Juggernaut
I was INTENSELY excited to see this Juggernaut figure in the mix, because I had the exact same one when I was a kid, and he was an INTEGRAL part of Hordak's army when I tossed all my toy-lines together. When I got the bin home and looked closer, I was disappointed to discover this was not, in fact, the exact same one. Mine had wheels in the feet so you could roll him into enemies, and a lever on his back to make his fist punch up and down. This one has neither, and instead has little circular spots on his feet where the wheels should be, and a weird grey depression in his back where the lever should poke out. I was a little bummed, but other-wise fine. He looks almost identical in every other respect. The really weird thing is that I can't find reference of this version of the figure anywhere. 

And finally we have the classic version of Sabretooth, which is to say my favorite version of Sabretooth. If you compare this shot to the group shot above, you'll notice his chest has a "battle-damage" feature (with strangely enough THREE claw wounds) that "heals" when you change it back. I loved the early Wolverine vs. Sabretooth encounters, that came after all the wussy "Hey, everybody kills Sabretooth!" Marauders fights, but before Wolvie and Sabey became such a cliched bickering old married couple that they had to dump one of them completely. 

Overall these action figures are probably some of my very favorites to come out of the bin altogether. There was some more great stuff in there, but almost nothing that hit me in the nostalgia gut like these guys did. Almost.

But that's it for tonight! But we've still only barely scratched the surface of this bin! Next time I think I'm going to show off some of the not-so-great stuff I found in the bin (the stuff that made me think if I'd been more picky about what I was buying, I could have gotten a MUCH better deal...) so you can see how the other half lives... so I'll be back with that at some point.

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

* I'm totally not even kidding. And I was a grown-ass MAN when I read that comic.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Goodwill Geek Mail-Bag: John Gaither is Awesome. No really.

So... I've made a few friends around the internet lately. I send them things. They send me things. And sometimes... when other people send those people things... they send those things on to me. 

I've blogged before about the Trash Man doing giveaways over at Pop Pop! It's Trash Culture! These giveaways are epic. There are toys in them, and old collectibles... and comic books... and movies... and tchotchkes  galore. They are just crammed with stuff. Amazing stuff. 

I won the first of such giveaways, and a kind gentleman named John Gaither, of the Clawful Punch blog won the second one. And I lost the second one... and then I received a consolation pack for losing the second one... and then I secretly won the second one anyway, because a bunch of the stuff Jon won in his prize lack didn't fit his collection. AND HE GAVE IT TO ME:

Originally, John offered me a handful of Monster in My Pocket figures. I gladly accepted. But when the package actually arrived... well there was quite a bit more stuff in that box than just MiMPs. Everything you see above was hiding in that beautiful box. I will now talk about all of it in depth, and in graphic detail that lets you know EXACTLY how much I love these toys. 

First up, let's look at the LEGO-style mini-figures. We have some Mega-Bloks mini-figs from back when they still had the Marvel license. The Sandman, Mr. Fantastic, Captain America, and Spider-Man are all in attendance. The red guy on the end is a HALO guy... but since I don't play video games for the most part, I have no idea if it's Master Chef or a Master Shepard or whatever (ha! I don't know video game character names! I'm like an old person!) Then the soldier on the far left is a soldier that appears to be from the Character Builder line. He's pretty bad-ass and adorable at the same time. My absolute favorites of the bunch are the LEGO Yoda key-chain and the Kre-O Sunstorm. 

Mini-figures!!! Left to right we have 5 Monster in My Pocket figures. The yellow guy in the very back and the two leg-wrestling fellows are from (I BELIEVE) the "Kinnikuman Ultimate Muscle Kinkeshi" line. There's a hot-pink King Castor from the O.M.F.G. line, and a soft-rubber kinkeshi figure in light pink next to him. NO IDEA who the translucent blue guy is, but I absolutely adore him. 

To finish up the toy-portion of the package, we have a Super Mario Brothers red mushroom tin. On the right of him is some sort of squishy rubber battling virus figure (he came with the card you see him satnding on... but it's in another language...) The kung-fu guy up from is another Fisftul of Power figure, and the guy in the weird hazmat suit to the left of him? I don't recognize him. You can see an old Dick Tracy PVC figurine towering above all of them (I had this one when I was younger) and the most amazing piece of them all? The Dino Riders Termite figure on the far, far left there. This is one of the exact figures I owned and ADORED as a kid. I liked this particular figure so much that I didn't want him to be a villain. So he defected over to the good-guys team. He and my purple Construx Alien and my Adventure People X-Ray Man would go on space adventures together ALL the TIME. John featured him in a HILARIOUS post over on his blog before he sent him on to me. Please do yourself a favor and click on that link. I think my favorite shot is of Termite looking longingly out the window at the end.

And finally, a bunch of cool odds and ends. That Frankenstein Magazine is a treasure trove of old monster-movie GOLD that I will be poring over for quite a while. I don't want to open the Voltron Tattoos or the Pee-Wee's Playhouse Funpak... so those will remain sealed (for now). You can see a whole slew of wax-packs along the bottom there including Alf (!) Alien, Gremlins 2, Ghostbusters 2, Harry and the Hendersons, and 21 Jumpstreet! All cool. There's a trio of awesome pins featuring Thanos, Gumbi, and what I believe is a Reverse Flash symbol? Then a Dick Tracy novelization, and a Godzilla vs. Biollante DVD round out the awesomeness. 

So John went over-board... which just made it that much easier for me to send off a pack of junk his way as well (which I had already been planning to do before he beat me to the punch!). It was incredibly kind and generous of him to share his Pop Pop! Trash Culture "One Man's Trash" prize pack with me. I also want to indirectly thank the Trash Man for putting on his monthly give-aways. He is giving out NOSTALGIA GOLD over there people!!! 

BUT I also feel it bears repeating: John Gaither is Awesome!

No, really! 

That's it for me you guys! I'll be back soon to show off some Geeky Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I'm Just So Totally Proud of my Wife that I HAD to post this...

So my wife has been making a ton of cakes for folks lately. Mostly birthday cakes, but also a wedding cake and a few other occasions now. She's pretty damn talented IMO. This is a Star Wars LEGO cake she did for a friend's son named Zachary over this weekend. I'll post a few more pictures of other cakes she's done down at the bottom. 

Hunger Games and iPhone cakes.

80's Themed and Cars cakes 

A Sesame Street cake

 A Racecar cake and an old-style Mickey mouse cake from a vintage pan 
(she hand piped ALL that frosting) 

And a Splatter Cake.

This is a Construction Site Cake

Wedding cake.

Anyway, just a quick post to beam proudly at my ever-lovin's wife. She's pretty awesome. Between her cakes and my daughter's make-up work, I'm shaping up to have a pretty talented family. 

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

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Some recent TMNT scores...

So... considering the so-called focus of this blog... this may seem kind of random... but I thought I'd show off some of my most recent TMNT scores. 

I've never actually gotten around to reviewing the original 4 turtles that kicked off this line last year... and they're kind of mad at me about that... and I don't blame them one bit. ESPECIALLY considering the fact that they are some of my ALL-TIME favorite action figures-- nay TOYS in GENERAL.

But that ship has passed. I truly feel like so many people have GUSHED over them online that I can't say much more about them. I started off this post with a giant paragraph-long rant about my issues with the line as a whole, and the poor quality of some of the other characters released thus far... but I felt it was all just too... rant-y and pointless. 

So without further ado, here are some of my most recent acquisitions from the new TMNT toy-line. 

Here's the Rat King, a character I used to hate in the original cartoon series/toyline as a kid... but in the new show they play him up as a Phantom-of-the-Opera-Meets-Willard kind of psycho, and I'm all about that. And since he's voiced by Jeffrey Combs he's actually one of my favorite new villains on the show. I love the idea that he's only just marginally a mutant because he was dosing himself with tiny portions of the ooze to give himself psychic powers... but he's a mutant nonetheless. I'm pretty happy with the figure as well, although I would have liked the white rat to sit in his hand a bit better. His stance isn't impossible to work with, and his paint apps are simple but effective. He's creepy and probably one of my favorite figures in the line so far. 

Next up we have Terminator Cockroach. I liked this guy's episode, but felt like he was a bit of a one-note character. The figure is IMMENSE and is much more the scale I would have liked to have seen Leather-Head in. It's not a bad figure, very nice details, but a little too brown to be very interesting. 

Snake-Weed here is pretty great. He's waaaay too small and I would have liked for there to be some "mega-sized" figures in this line, and Snake-Weed could have fallen into that category.

I mean... look at the picture on the left here. Then look at the picture on the right. Which one looks more like the Snake-Weed we know and love from the show? I can't complain about anything but the scale though. He is super-detailed with an awesome sculpt, and I really like the little punches of color and how P**SED-OFF he looks!

By FAR I think two of my new favorite toys from this line are these "Ninjas in Training" figures. Little Leo here looks so serious and determined, like he's ready to conquer the world. 

Little Donnie looks much less sure of himself... especially when he's facing off against Leo:

The figures are basic, but really fun, and if the facial expressions weren't so emotive I don't think I would have cared for these as much as I do. Back around 2004 or so I did pick up the "Toddler Turtle" 4-pack with all the turtles lumped together in it. It was the ONLY off-the-peg purchase I made from that entire line of TMNT stuff. I didn't like those as much as these... hence me no longer owning them. They were all too similar to really care about, and I didn't like that their masks went all the way over the tops of their heads. This version of the same concept is way better executed. 

I think maybe young Leo here is about to bite off more than he can chew though... 

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