Monday, November 25, 2013

League Post: Let's Talk Turkey

Sigh, it feels like just yesterday that I posted a League of Extraordinary Bloggers post... and here it is time to do so again. What's the topic this week? One you're sure to GOBBLE UP!!! HAH!

This week’s assignment from the League: Let’s talk turkey

It took me no time whatsoever to come up with an idea for this post... and to be honest, it was a post I was going to do anyway... but now I'm going to sort of cheat a little bit and also shoe-horn my original post idea into my League post! So how am I going to "talk turkey" here today? I'm going to feature:

The Top Ten Favorite Children's Thanksgiving Books at Our House
(In order of Turkey-ocity)

Let me explain: I'm going to feature some of the books we regularly read in the lead up to Thanksgiving every year. I am going to rank them not in order of how favorite they are, but in how Turkey-centric they are. But make no mistake: these are literally our top ten Thanksgiving books. Many other books that had much more to do with Turkeys were left off this list simply because they are not as favorite as some of these books that have NOTHING to do with turkeys whatsoever. Let's get started, counting down from 10.

10. Giving Thanks by Jonathan London and Gregory Manchess

I am not a religious person. This post is not here to push this point, but I feel like I need to explain why this book speaks to me so clearly. I do not frown upon religion, but when I am picking out books about Thanksgiving, I really like to find books that back away from the subject of specifically thanking God. I'm not an atheist exactly, as it seems impossible to me that life is all just accidents and "science!" But when I am expressing thanks for the things in my life, I am not exactly specifying a deity that I am thankful to. To me, "giving thanks" is a way of showing ourselves and those around us how much we appreciate and value... well, everything. This book really feels like an extension of that worldview in that the boy and his father who star in the book take a walk through the forest and express thanks for all the things around them, but not once does it specify who they are thanking. It's a nice story that really focuses on appreciating the world around us, and being thankful for the fact that it exists. There are a hawk, a jackrabbit, some quail, a deer, and a fox that all appear in this book, but NOT ONE SINGLE TURKEY. Which pushes this one back into the 10-spot. 

9. Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

This book is part of a series of books that are pretty heart-felt and great. In this story Bear wants to have an autumn feast for all his little woodland friends, to show them how much he appreciates them. But unfortunately, he can't seem to rustle up much grub. THANKFULLY each of his little buddies show up with a collection of some delicious woodland delicacy to give to him because they feel exactly the same way about HIM! So in the end, a feast is indeed had, woodland-creature-potluck style, and it's pretty much as adorable as you'd expect. None of these animals is a turkey, nor do they eat turkey... so pfft. 9-spot. 

8. Circle of Thanks by Susi Gregg Fowler and Peter Catalanotto

This book strongly endorses the "pay-it forward" mentality. The story involves a boy and his mother who live in the cold north (I assumed Alaska? The book only specifically mentions "the tundra" so I have no idea) and the animals who live around them. The mother and son live a pretty secluded life in with only the animals to remind them they are not alone. One spring, the mother rescues a newborn otter pup from drowning, expecting (and getting) no thanks from the animal. But the chain reaction of "thanks" that effects birds, and caribou, and fox until it eventually comes full circle back to the boy and his mother on one particularly cold and dangerous night is pretty amazing to read about. This is the kind of book that doesn't really talk about what we give thanks for, but instead talks about all the reasons we should do things that others can feel thankful for, and maybe inspire them to do the same for someone else. Oh, also no turkeys. 

7. Happy Thanksgiving Curious George by Cynthia Platt, Julie M. Bartynski, and Mary O'Keefe Young

It wouldn't be one of my holiday children's book lists without having a poetry collection or two, right? Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of original, classic storybook characters (like George here) being continued into books after the original creator is dead. It smacks a little of Fred Astaire dancing with and selling vacuum cleaners years after he's dead. Can you imagine them creating a series of books based on Max from Where the Wild Things Are for instance? But the Curious George machine has been grinding on for a ver long time now... and Mary O'Keefe Young's illustrations are incredibly dead on for H.A. Rey's style, which is nice... and the poems are just so perfect for the holiday that I can't help but like them anyway. There are seven poems in all, each one marked with a tab on the right. Every topic from watching the parade, to setting the table, preparing the food, and being thankful are covered. This book also has the honor of being the first one on this list to actually include a turkey! We watch the Man in the Yellow Hat prep the turkey and put it in the oven, and then we see it as a part of the Thanksgiving feast. 

6. Let's Eat by Constance Allen and David Prebenna

It also wouldn't be a Goodwill Geek Thanksgiving without some Sesame Street (or at least Muppet) involvement!!! Now, nowhere in this book does it state that the story has anything to do with Thanksgiving. BUT Cookie Monster prepares an entire feast for his Sesame Street friends that includes turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Then they all sit down and watch football afterwards. I CHALLENGE you to tell me this is not a Thanksgiving dinner being prepared and enjoyed. What I especially like about this book is that it goes through the entire process of preparing a big dinner for friends, from cleaning the house, shopping for supplies, actually preparing the food and all the inherent dangers therein (onions and pepper give Cookie a run for his money), setting the table (I have referred to the picture in this book more than once to help me remember a proper place-setting), making polite conversation before dinner, eating together, and cleaning up together. And then in true Cookie Monster fashion (and in the great tradition of Sesame Street characters breaking the fourth wall in books) he devours the very book you are reading. There is significant Turkey presence in this one, and I always wonder if Big Bird eats any of it. They only show him eating peas and what appear to be yams or sweet potatoes... but you can't see his plate either. Either way, he's just sitting there cheerily watching all his friends devour some relative of his... 

5. One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessy and Lynne Cravath

Books 4 and 5 on this list both caution readers that there might not even have been turkey at the first Thanksgiving... but both have a turkey on the cover, front and literally center. They also both deal with the preparations for the first Thanksgiving feast on both the Pilgrim and Wampanoag sides of the story. The book featured above does it in a much more sing-song style, telling of the work to be done in a "10 Little Indians" style rhyme. The artwork is more cartoony than the next book, but in a really nice, modern-looking style that is fun and bright and engaging. I still like including stories of the Pilgrims and Native Americans in our Thanksgiving traditions, even though it tends to smooth over all the dark days to follow. This book (and again, the book that follows) really just focuses on the celebration of the first Thanksgiving that inspired the holiday we enjoy today, without getting into the harsh, gritty realities. And Turkeys get their own One little, two little... verse of the song, so that's nice. 

4. This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed and Mark Buehner

While One Little, Two Little... above is a lighter and quicker read, this book is a little more involved. The artwork is more detailed and the story itself is a bit longer. Overall it is very similar to the previous book, but the differences are in the details. For instance, we love looking together for the hidden animals in every illustration in this book, and the human moments between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag are better expressed, as we see scenes like two Native American girls giggling into their hands shyly as they walk past a Pilgrim boy. These two books both give us well illustrated scenes of every day life back in the time of the first Thanksgiving. Overall, a couple of our favorite Thanksgiving books. (And yes, there are turkeys!)

3. It's Thanksgiving by Jack Prelutsky and Marylin Hafner

Prelutsky and Hafner have a great series of Holiday themed poetry books, and this book is a nice addition to that series. It focuses on many Thanksgiving traditions and even finishes off with a poem about left-over turkey! We hear about the parade again, watch as Dad demolishes the turkey as he tries to carve it, watch Dad again as he yells at the TV during a football game, and wonder why Turkeys don't smarten up and leave town before Thanksgiving gets here. Prelutsky is one of my absolute favorite children's poets, falling behind only Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. He has a magical way with words that beautifully showcases things about Thanksgiving that we might normally think of as mundane, in a whole new and heart-warming way. 

2. A Turkey For Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting and Diane de Groat

Eve Bunting has gotten a lot of love for her Halloween books here on the Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks blog... but she doesn't just do skeletons and haunted houses. This Thanksgiving tale actually focuses on a group of animal friends who are desperate to find a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. The motivation behind wanting the turkey is actually where the story takes a twist, because Mrs. Moose sends her husband out to find a turkey to SHARE their Thanksgiving dinner with them, NOT to serve as the main course. Which, when you look at the cast of herbivores that go out looking for the turkey... it really only makes sense. But my boys were genuinely and delightfully surprised by the ending of this book, as it turns the whole idea of what a Thanksgiving dinner is really all about completely on its head... or perhaps it focuses on what a Thanksgiving dinner should be about once we get the idea of it just being about consuming turkey out of the way. 

1. A Plump and Perk Turkey by Teresa Bateman and Jeff Shelly

The final book is actually one of my very favorite Thanksgiving books in general, and THANKFULLY it just happens to star a Turkey, making it the perfect star of the number 1 spot! The town of Squawk Valley is experiencing a turkey shortage this Thanksgiving, and they will be forced to make shredded wheat their main course if they can't find a turkey to eat at the Thanksgiving feast. So they cook up a plot: Stage a fake craft fair and contest featuring turkeys as their muse! They attract the attention of a turkey named Pete, who agrees to pose as a model for the aspiring artists, and then judge the winner of the contest. (There are SO many ridiculous plot-holes I have to turn my brain off just a little when we read this one, but believe me, it's worth it!) Well Pete pretty effectively turns the tables on the folks of Squawk Valley, and the ending is pretty great. The poetry used to tell the entire story is cleverly rhymed and energetically paced so the story never drags or gets boring. 

Here they all are, folks: 

And because I'm feeling generous, here's 10 other awesome books we do around Thanksgiving every year, but I didn't feel like writing about: (be honest, would you have sat and read my top 20 Thanksgiving Kid's books? No, I didn't think so.)

So that's it for me talking turkey tonight you guys! 

We'll take a look at what he rest of the League wants to put out there (if they do, it being Thanksgiving week and all) as soon as there are some posts to share! I'll be back soon with some Geeky Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting (and Happy Thanksgiving!) 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Gee, Thanks.

So I'm finally back doing League of Extraordinary Bloggers posts! Boy, It's been a while. A month I think? Not sure. It's been too long, and I'm glad to be getting back to it. Anyway, this week's topic? Let's take a look:

This week’s assignment from the League: Gee, thanks.

I always have a hard time with this. I know what I'm thankful for as a family man:

1. My wife who is amazing, and creative, and loving, and amazing (yes she's THAT amazing). 
2. My 3 healthy, wonderful kids, each one different and incredible in their own way.
3. The roof over my head. A house that is ours and that feels like HOME.
4. My job. Money coming in makes life easier and healthier. Money isn't everything, but it helps.
5. The rest of our family and friends who support us, and love us, and make us realize we're not alone.

But I've been saying those things for so long that it almost feels rote. Like it's a gut reaction, and expected. Of course I'm thankful for all those things. It's sort of cheating to roll out "the big guns" and not to mention something else. Make no mistake... I would not have a life without my family. I would be destroyed. It goes so much further beyond just being "thankful". My wife and my children are very much like air and water and food to me. Without them I would just cease. So I'm thankful for them, yes, but this shouldn't be news. It should be obvious in everything I say and do and in every aspect of how I live. These are the things to be treasured above all others.  

So as shallow as it may at first glance seem, I'm going to turn slightly away from the obvious, heart-felt stuff that I am thankful for. I am going to focus on the 5 Geek things that I am thankful for. 

5. I am thankful for New, Awesome Cartoons! Whether it's the new TMNT series, Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Adventure Time, Regular Show, or Steven Universe, I am thankful for what feels like a new age in animation. The shows listed above all are "for kids" but I enjoy them as an adult in a way that I know my kids are not able to yet. There is so much incredible, intelligent plot, dialogue,  and subtext going on there. Plus, show's like Bob's Burgers and American Dad continue to surprise me with their depth and cleverness as well. And with (semi) recent films like Wreck it Ralph and The Rise of the Guardians, I've been entertained at the theater as well! Seeing these cartoons isn't just a fascination with what's new or shiny... it's in the revelation that there are artists out there right NOW with my same sensibilities, creating cartoons not just for the next generation... but for ME (or at least, there's a subtext directed at me and my generation). 

4. I am thankful for Disney. Let me explain. Because I love Star Wars, and the Muppets, and Pixar films, and Marvel comics... I now have one company out there that owns all of those brands under one umbrella. And because of that, all of those brands can continue to tell amazing stories. And so far... so good (the man falling past each window of the skyscraper was heard to say as he plummeted towards the sidewalk...)! The next series of Star Wars films actually kind of fill me with a new hope (swidt?) and the Marvel movie-verse is one that a decade ago I would never have even dreamed possible. But now, with Disney backing them up, we have one of the most lush, detailed, and involved series of movies I think the world has ever seen. Every film is capable of standing on its own... but they all share energy and inspiration and they seem to just keep getting it... right. The Muppets are reinvigorated with their own film series, and it's GOOD (well, we'll see if the new one coming out is... there's just so much potential for it to be truly AWESOME... I'll be crushed if it isn't) and while Pixar has had a few duds recently, they are still a force to be reckoned with. 

3. I am thankful for TOYS!!! Almost any kind of toys. Old or new. Vintage from 30 years ago or produced just last week. Doesn't matter. I live and breath cool toys. I like to get them on the cheap whenever possible, and I like them to perfectly reflect a property I like, or a nostalgic feeling I want to reproduce. I may not have owned Real Ghostbuster Mini-Mates as a child, but those toys perfectly embody the cartoon I loved as a kid almost BETTER than the actual dedicated toy-line ever did. I've mentioned before on here that I mainly obsess over mini-figures and action figures... but there's so much more than that. Toys keep me feeling alive. Not young exactly... because there's nothing more sobering than suddenly finding a Madball at Goodwill and holding it in your hands and realizing how LONG ago it was that you held anything like this in your hands the LAST time... But alive. They bring back memories of youth, and keep your interest in childish things alive. And for me, that's vital.

2. I am thankful for Good Comic Books. Well, these days, TPB collections and OGNs, but who's splitting hairs? I don't do a lot of collecting single issue floppies these days. I don't have the money or space for them. So I pick and choose carefully what stories I read and spend my almighty dollars on. Luckily, the "good" comic book story is still out there, buried in the morass of company-wide crossover events. And no, they aren't all hipster indie comics with no spandex in sight. Some stories take a tried-but-true trope and turn it on its head, or find a new way of telling an old story, or find new ways of breathing new life into old characters. A lot of the books I feature in the pictures above aren't even that recent... but they're worth tracking down and checking out. I am thankful for the existence of stories that still do the format proud... and for the re-readability of those stories. If nuclear winter hits tomorrow I can crawl into my bunker with my TPB collection and read until the radiation finally seeps in and transforms me.


League of Extraordinary Bloggers[Face+copy.jpg]

1. I am Thankful for The Blogging Community. I have literally been writing this post ALL week long. I started it on Monday. And I will be posting it a few hours before Monday. I want to write something elegant and touching about how much I am Thankful about the blogging community I have come to be a part of. But words are failing me and I'm tired. I know so many people that I would just never have known before this. I have connected with a handful in a way that I would almost consider friendship. I've come to find a lot of peace and quiet as I trawl the internet for posts on pop-culture and collectibles. I was quiet and reserved in high-school until I got on stage in drama-club and it forced me to be open in a new way that I didn't know was possible. Writing this blog and meeting all the other bloggers out there has opened me up and given me confidence in other ways I didn't know possible. I am, quite frankly, a mess some days. A human only barely capable of acting semi-sane and competent. Why I am allowed to have a family is just... beyond me some days. What I take from the blog-o-sphere is that I am not the only one who feels this way. There's something about writing online in these little electronic journals that we sometimes pretend are about toy-collecting, or movie reviewing, or memories of the olden days... something that makes us open up and look for validation. And seeing others out there trying to do the same as me, and interacting with each other... that is something I'm truly Thankful for. The pictures you see above are only a very tiny sliver of the community I have come to know and love. But they are shining examples. I personally thank Brian over at Cool and Collected for starting up the League of Extraordinary Bloggers for my involvement in the community, because without the League, I would not have started this blog. He also gives us meaningful stuff to write about week after week, which is a nice change from the crap I bring home from Goodwill. And of course, I am thankful to every single person out there that takes the time to check this blog out, read it every once in a while, or even follow it. It makes me feel like I'm not just shouting into a void. So... thanks. 

Anyway... this has gone on long enough. I'm curious to see what the rest of the League is Thankful for this week:

- Dex over at the consistently excellent AEIOU and Sometimes Why blog is thankful for many of the same things I hold dear. 

- G.I. Jigsaw sings his thankful praises to the powers behind a certain galaxy far, far away.

- Mason's list over at D.I. Treasures is also pretty great, and full of a lot of the same things I'm thankful for as well. 

- Primordial Badger is ALSO thankful for a bunch of stuff that I agree with!

- Retro Robot Review also has a lengthy list of worthy values! And it's the first League submission over there! Welcome to the League!

- There are some really great things to be grateful for coming out of the Nerd Nook as well!

- And finally, our Fearless Leader Brian, of Cool and Collected, is thankful for the support he's gotten from the online community as well, especially where it concerns his recent passion project. 

Well... that's it for me folks. I am EXHAUSTED. I have a weird work week ahead of me, and then a BLISSFUL vacation. Hopefully I won't be sick for it. SO expect a little bit of blogging to happen starting right after Thanksgiving is done. I'll be back with some Geeky Goodwill Goodies soon enough! Until then, Happy Hunting! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Goodwill Mailbag: From a Toyriffic Guy!

So, back at the beginning of October, the League of Extraordinary Bloggers was tasked to list a bunch of stuff they wanted, or were actively trying to track down. I listed a bunch of stuff, and at the end, tacked on a few pictures of old action figures from my youth that I was looking for.


That did end in a couple of folks contacting me and offering up a few trades, and one was the one, the only Eric Stettmeier of Toyriffic fame. He offered me a Gorneesh figure in trade. I agreed and then before I knew what was happening, Eric had promptly mailed me the action figure, without even worrying about what I might offer him in return. He's pretty awesome that way. And I feel terrible, because I STILL have yet to find something to equal this:

I didn't follow the Ewoks cartoon very closely when I was a kid. I didn't really connect it with Star Wars, and I didn't own any of the toys from the series EXCEPT for this guy. Gorneesh is one of the big bads of the show, being the king of something called Duloks. I just know that when I saw this green guy with a SPINAL CORD MOHAWK and a bitchin' eye-patch, I had to have him in my evil legion serving and fighting for Hordak. It's a very good chance that I picked Gorny here up on clearance, years after the Ewok line had gone defunct... these were produced in 1985 back when I would have been around 7 years old or so. Anyway... this one came to me for Eric, and I still owe him a trade. Something cool. Something worthy of a Toyrrific guy BECAUSE... Gorneesh wasn't ALONE in that package when it arrived. Oh no. 

There was a 1982 pull-string E.T. figure in there as well! This thing is pretty cool. The pull-string still works too! As far as I can tell he only says "Ouch", "Home!", "Elliot", and something that sounds like "E.T. E.T. E.T!!!" but I'm not sure if it's that or something about Reese's Pieces or something. There was also a note:

Mr. Marbles?
Bastard sent me a killer E.T. toy? "Sufferin' Sucotash" indeed. Well, I really will have to find a trade that is WORTHY of Mr. Stettmeier's caliber, won't I?

That was one EVIL package Mr. Toyriffic. Well played. But now the ball is in my court. So we shall see... we shall just SEE...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Goodwill Grab-Bag: Monsters and Mayhem!

It has been a while since I have focused an entire post on just one grab-bag found at Goodwill. And I'm kind of excited. This one was a nice one. First off, for everything I'm about to show you, I paid a grand total of .99 cents! And it's a healthy little pile of toys! Take a look:

Eagle eyed observers will already recognize a few familiar forms in there, struggling to free themselves. So let's not make them wait. Let's dive right in and see what this grab-bag had in store for me shall we?

First up, we have this little set of Angry Birds Star Wars toys. I don't think this is a Happy Meal toy... but I'm not 100%, and I haven't Googled the sets to see where these came from. I will note that I had pretty much sworn not to get tangled up in the whole Star Wars Angry Birds fad, and now I'm finding that decision REALLY hard to stand by. I think I can make this statement and not be considered a liar: I will not buy any brand new Star Wars Angry Birds sets. I will ONLY buy them second hand. Obviously we have R2-D2, Leia, Luke, and Chewbacca all lined up there in the front. Also included was a light-saber-catapult and a couple of blocks to knock over. There were no signs of any other parts or pieces to this set. 

Next up are these two BEAUTIFUL freaks... who I think we can all agree are not just your average, typical members of a cheap, bagged assortment of dinosaurs. These are SPECIAL, in all the ways that may be interpreted. Look at the bulging eyes! Look at the interpretive-dance, jazz hands! Look at the slack-jawed Goober expressions on those faces! Look at the eye-blisteringly bright colors! These are amazing! 

No idea where these could have originated from, but I think we can all agree that it is/was a magical, wonderful place full of magical wonders and wonderful magics. And finally... 

A couple of toys from the Aaahh! Real Monsters line. I was never a fan... or really even a casual viewer of this show, but I supported it in spirit as a show about monsters. I saw that the complete series has just recently been released on DVD, and this, like the claymation series "Bump in the Night", is the kind of show I would like to discover that I would have loved all along if I had watched it way back when. So I may pick that DVD set up sometime soon. I do know enough about the show to tell you that Ickiss and Krumm, the two seemingly "main" characters of the series are not the two I found. These are The Gromble and Oblina. And that... as the say... is that. These toys were originally put out in 1995 by Mattel, and they each have an action feature. Oblina's head raises so her mouth opens and a purple tongue pops out. The Gromble has a "chewing feature" which you use on the student figures apparently. 

So that's my Goodwill Grab-Bag post! I'll be back with more Geeky Goodwill Goodies soon enough! Until then, Happy Hunting!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Shakespeare. It's about Shakespeare (really).

So... it's been a while since I've just straight up featured a buy of mine from Goodwill. There's been a lot of Halloween stuff and stuff about excellent people generously sending me awesome... stuff. A lot of non-Goodwill related stuff. So I thought I'd kick off this post by talking about Joss Whedon's recent adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" 

It'll make sense in a bit, I promise. But be WARNED: This post is much ado about Shakespeare. 

The last week of October I was sick with the flu. Not the oopsy-poopsy barfy-warfy flu, but the kind where it hurts to move, you're Gravitron-level dizzy, you lose your voice, and you feel alternatively freezing cold and hinges-of-Hell hot in turns.  That flu. I would have traded it all in for a few oopsy-poopsies, believe me. This meant I was a wreck leading up to Halloween. It meant I missed a week of work. It meant that I was emotionally drained and depressed and vulnerable. I was ready for all the murder mayhem and mischief to very quickly go back in their boxes and back to the attic. I was ready for something lighthearted and fun. I was ready for Time Warner Cable's one-demand menu to drive me right off the deep end. 

Sort of like this but with more of me
screaming for it to just shut the f**k up already.
We have Time Warner Cable, and the on-demand menu is sort of like a DVR you can go into and watch recent shows (if you are not familiar with the concept) and movies, and the like. Some of it, like the prime-time programming, is free. Some of it, like recently released movies, you have to pay anywhere from 2 to 4 bucks to watch, and it's a 48 hour rental where you can watch it as often as you like during that period. Well they were selling the HECK out of this movie, "Much Ado About Nothing" by Joss Whedon. I had heard that he'd recently done a "secret movie" where he and all his friends got together and adapted a Shakespeare play to chill and relax between making all the money in the world from Avengers films. 

Pffft. Movie schmovie.
Joss Whedon did this thing AT HIS HOUSE. It has Firefly captain Mal Reynolds, SHIELD agent Phil Coulson, and stoner dude Marty from that Cabin in the Woods in it. Also Chrissy Seaver from Growing Pains. So we rented it. Shakespeare kind-of sort-of invented the romantic comedy after all, and I needed to clean the depressed/sick right out of every fiber of my being. Here's the trailer:

Well, I watched it once with my wife. The Shakespearean dialogue was a little hard to translate at first... but I didn't do too bad, since I'm semi-familiar with Shakespeare from highschool (more on this in a bit), and some casual reading I'd done on my own, along with the Baz Luhrmann Romeo + Juliet viewings. Then I watched it again the next day by myself and found that I understood it perfectly. THAT was the magical viewing. One of the awesome things about the film is how casual Whedon's cast manages to make the dialogue sound. It hits the ear... for the most part... conversationally and natural. And I ended up LOVING it. 

So I picked it up at Wal-Mart for 13.00 bucks and watched both commentary tracks one after the other. As of this writing I have watched the movie 4.5 times and the only reason I'm not watching it while I'm writing this RIGHT NOW is because I MADE myself lend it to a friend at work. I need to go call her right quick. BRB. 

I have never seen the Kenneth Branagh version of the film... and I probably never will. I think Joss Whedon's treatment has ruined me for most other adaptations of Much Ado... and possibly for any other adaptations of Shakespeare tales in general. It also has a heartening 84% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which I'm happy to see. 

So who is THIS handsome devil? He's ME! I played Caliban in a high-school one-act competition production of the Tempest... and it is one of the most trans-formative experiences I have had in my entire life. Getting up on stage and snarling my way through my performance made me feel confidence I did not possess in those days. 

And when Neil Gaiman included Will Shakespeare (and some of his works) in the Sandman mythos:

My lifelong love was cemented. A few years after my wife (then girlfriend) and I were in the Tempest together, (she played male villain "Antonio" as "Antonia" in our version) she bought me this because she loves me: 

Which I still display with pride. And FINALLY... to actually tie all this in with an actual POST ABOUT GOODWILL... My recent viewing of "Much Ado About Nothing" has inspired me to start tracking down Shakespeare's plays. I want to find and read as many of them as I can and I want to do it on the cheap:

As you can see, I found all four of these plays for .99 cents. I've been seeing Shakespearean plays for sale second-hand FOREVER. Seems all people don't suddenly develop obsessions with the Bard the way I have. 

So here we have "Richard the III", "Julius Caesar", "Hamlet", and "Othello" to start off my collection. I want to avoid big collections of plays, unless they're smaller paperback collections, simply because I plan to read these on the bus while I'm commuting to work, and they need to be transportable. I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert at Shakespeare. I struggle with the language, but I also enjoy it as a puzzle to be interpreted. What I am mostly interested in is discovering where our modern-day stories take their root from. Shakespeare has influenced in some way or another almost all facets of pop-culture we currently enjoy whether we realize it or not (or want to admit it or not). 

A couple of other recent finds involve ol' Willy as well. In Shakespeare: The World As Stage author Bill Bryson explores the truth behind Shakespeare's identity. There are many who question whether or not Shakespeare actually wrote his entire (or any of) catalogue of plays... or if the face we associate with him is truly his. This books looks intriguing to me, and I honestly can't wait to dip into it. This book cost me 1.99. 

Finally, Shakespeare invades the YA market as well. This story tells the tale of a modern-day girl named for the "Much Ado About Nothing" character, Hero. She finds herself embroiled in a mystery spanning centuries, and involving jewels, and the famed Bard himself. I hope it does not suck. I paid .99 cents for this one though, so if it does I won't feel too bad. 

So there! I finally wrote about something I've grown passionate about (or GEEKING out about!)... that I've bought at Goodwill (with the exception of the DVD). So there! I'll be back soon with even MORE Geeky Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Goodwill Mailbag: CRPechonick Strikes!!!

So last time I got on here, it was to thank Miss M for the incredible gift package she sent me... and this blog post is going to be along a similar vein. I recently received a package from CRPechonick (Charles Raymond Pechonick) of Geek Show Ink fame, and boy... was it a doozy! Back when I received a package from the Trash Man over at Pop Pop! It's Trash Culture, I commented on the fact that I needed to track down the last 3 rings in the set of 9 DCU chromatic Lanterns' rings so I could have a complete set. This prompted Mr. Pechonick to volunteer to help track them down for me.

Well that snowballed a bit from this:

Into this:

I forgot to get the rings in this picture with everything else.

Charles Pechonick obviously pays attention because he knows almost all my weaknesses. Let's take a look at all the great stuff he sent me, shall we? 

First up, there was a slew of random mini-figure goodness included. From left to right here we have representation from almost everything I like: A Shock figurine from the Nightmare Before Christmas, a Daredevil micro figure, a Brain Christmas figurine from Pinky and the Brain of Animaniancs fame, good ol' Donald Duck himself, Kim Possible (looking kick-ass), a Clone Trooper micro figure, and a Farmer Grover. Could not possibly be happier with this lot if I TRIED.

This stand-off between Funko Mini Merle Dixon and Funko Mini Tank Walker and Funko Mini Bicycle Girl was brought to me by CRPechonick!!! I don't think anything has ever made me happier than that cute little half-bodied zombie dragging it's cute little desiccated entrails across the top of my desk. Adorable!

Also included were these Peanuts books. I am looking forward to checking these out... as I do not traditionally read a whole lot of Peanuts stuff. These look old and awesome. 

Also included in the package were these two Vampire novels by David Wellington. Of the Monster Island fame (which I featured here on the blog as a part of my Halloween countdown) which I still haven't read yet. I can't wait to take a bite out of these!!! 


It got a little bit harder to categorize stuff as I went along, so I sort of lumped some of this stuff together to photograph it. Please pretend that the Dr. Who novel has something to do with the Batman merchandise. Here's a novel starring the Tom Baker Dr. Who, a set of The Batman "shoe charms" and a set of four Batman button/pins. These will be opened and applied to the ceiling of my car. I'm sorry if that devaluates them or something... but it's what I do with buttons. The charms will go in my nipples. 

I'm just kidding! I don't have nipples. 

Who does have nipples? The Hulk. As in the Incredible Hulk. Included in the package was this five-part mini-series "Ghosts of the Future" which I have never read before. This was just before the whole Onslaught debacle took place, so you can sort of see that Thor is wearing possibly one of the worst costumes they EVER gave him. But I'm curious to see what this mini is all about, even despite that. 

A couple of neon Darth heads (I believe these may be some sort of Easter egg variant-things? Maybe? Doesn't matter. I love them. Day-glo Vader? Yes please) and a wind-up TOMY robot for m'collection of robots. I love this little guy. Easily one of my favorite items in the whole box. 

And let's not forget what got this whole ball rolling, okay? Here is my complete DCU Lanterns collection, with my set of rings included. They go in order by ROYGBIV as they should. AS ALL THINGS SHOULD. I have no idea why this collection obsesses me so... I don't even really follow the Green Lantern comics. I do love the idea of color-based powers, and an emotional spectrum that reflects that... I know the system they developed for the comics is sort of flawed... but it's a pretty great idea. And it made the whole idea of a "Green" themed superhero seem a little less arbitrary... ANYWAY. 

THANK YOU CRPechonick!!! I cannot thank you enough for this incredible pile of loot. You can definitely expect to see a package of thanks wending its way back atcha sometime in the future. You were incredibly generous with this bounty, and it humbles me to think that someone could just decide to give away a box full of goodies on a whim "just because". You're pretty awesome in my book. All you reading this be sure to head over to Geek Show Ink and check out the blog, and look at some of CRPechonick's impressive artwork over at his deviantart gallery as well! 

That's it for me today folks! I'll be back with some Geeky Goodwill Goodies before you know it! Until then, Happy Hunting!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...