04th Apr2014

West Week Ever – 4/4/14

by Will

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So, I finally got around to watching American Hustle, or as I like to call it, The movie where fat Batman’s married to Mystique, and he, Lois Lane, and Rocket Raccoon screw over Hawkeye. The real star of the film is Amy Adams’s deep cleav, as those puppies are showcased in every scene she’s in. In all, it was an entertaining movie, but I’m not sure I get what all the hype was about.

lettermanThe biggest news of the week is that David Letterman announced last night that he would be retiring next year after 22 years. I’ve, shamefully, always been Team Leno so I don’t really have a horse in this race. Part of me kinda wishes CBS would pull out of late night entirely, as the field has gotten too crowded with late night talk shows. That said, with Chelsea Handler ending Chelsea Lately, this would be the perfect time to get her on a network late night show. I’ve also read that CBS is interested in Colbert, whose Comedy Central deal ends soon. I, however, like the idea of Tina Fey, but I’m not sure she’d want to potentially jeopardize her development deal with NBC. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

himymThis week saw the long-awaited series finale of How I Met Your Mother. As a fan from the very beginning of the show, I have to say that I was disappointed. I’m going to be dropping spoilers, so you might wanna skip ahead if you don’t want to see them. When the show began, it was under the premise that Ted Mosby was telling his kids about how he met their mother. It always seemed a bit odd that he would linger on all of the other women he banged, especially Robin Scherbatsky (yup, I spelled that correctly without even looking it up!). Well, at the end of the series, we find out that Robin and Barney got a divorce three years into their marriage, and that Ted is actually telling his story 6 years after The Mother has died (which I called years ago). So, in essence, telling the story was Ted’s way of getting the kids’ blessing to ask “Aunt Robin” out on a date. So, despite the quest for The Mother, and the will they/won’t they between Ted and Robin, the story ends with Ted and Robin, seemingly, together.

I have several problems with this ending. First of all, I feel betrayed by the final season. Season 9 took place over the span of Robin & Barney’s wedding weekend, all leading up to the big day the week before the finale. Then, merely 20 minutes into said finale, we find out that their marriage only lasted 3 years. Why make us invest that much into the marriage when it was always doomed to fail? Why make us buy into the notion that Robin & Barney were meant to be, when it was all just a stalling tactic? That leads into my second problem with the ending: the timing.

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Ted and Robin had been given too many chances, and Ted had finally gotten to the point of letting go. Had this ending occurred, say, 4 seasons ago, I probably would’ve been fine with it. That said, 9 years was too long for them to simply say “Ted ends up with Robin after all.” Plus, it’s almost like a cop-out. In an exit interview, Josh Radnor points out “…and he wins in the end; he gets both girls.” NO! Ted Mosby has always been about finding The One. His eternal optimism of finding that one special person is the driving force of the show. While people like to say that this story was about the journey and not the destination, that’s not entirely true. It’s about Ted telling his kids about how he eventually found the woman who changed his life and, in turn, gave him said children. For Ted to end up with Robin, he’s essentially telling them that she was The One the whole time, and that The Mother was really just another in a long line of women that he had to meet in order to reach that realization. What a slap in the face to the kids! I’m not OK with that.

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In many ways, the ending was always telegraphed. After all, the show was called How I Met Your Mother and NOT How I Met My Wife, so it was clear that The Mother was out of the picture in some capacity, be it death or divorce. And there was always an added emphasis on Robin – enough so that even the kids picked up on it. Another telling aspect, though, is that the creators once said in an interview that had the show ended a lot earlier, they were going to say that pastry chef Victoria (played by Ashley Williams) was The Mother. If the role of The Mother was so interchangeable, and the ending had been known since the beginning, then she’s clearly not integral to the actual ending of the show. We all should have seen the Robin thing coming, and I feel a little foolish that I wasn’t honest enough with myself to acknowledge that earlier. It’s just that it was NINE SEASONS, and they tried so hard to sell us on Robin & Barney that the lengthy misdirection is almost unforgivable. So, I could accept Ted & Robin, happily ever after, in a 5 season show, but I just can’t accept that as the ending for a 9-year journey.

Speaking of the 9-year stint, the ending came at the cost of character growth. We had watched Barney Stinson mature and finally realize he could settle down with one woman, who happened to be Robin. He burned The Playbook and put a ring on it. Sure, even though the wedding didn’t last, it didn’t make sense for him to just automatically revert back to old womanizing Barney. What about the lessons he’d learned, or the personal growth he’d experienced? The Barney that we saw in the finale was the Barney we saw for the first 6 seasons of the show – another indicator that the show could’ve ended years ago.

When Seinfeld ended, the finale bothered me so much that I didn’t watch the reruns for 10 years. I’m not sure that’s the case here. If anything, I’ll probably rewatch with a more careful eye, but I’m still not happy about how it went out. Maybe in time, I can find some more appreciation in it. After all, some folks out there liked it, but I never really liked the Ted & Robin pairing, so that ending just didn’t do it for me.

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This is Xfinity’s Watchathon Week, where they let you watch full seasons of a ton of shows on demand. Last year, I was introduced to Girls and House of Lies. For some reason, Showtime shows aren’t included this year, so I’m still a year behind on House of Lies and will be for the foreseeable future. So far, I’ve bingewatched season 3 of Girls and I still find them all deplorable. It felt like one of those shows that splits its seasons into 2 parts, as there’s almost no growth amongst any of the characters. It was just 12 episodes where stuff happened, but there was no real forward movement. I’m also trying to get into Veep, but it’s just not doing it for me. I should enjoy it, as I like the cast, but the show isn’t hitting the right notes. I think part of the problem is the dialogue is somewhat rapid-fire, and I really wanted something I could casually have on in the background. I’m tempted to try to get into Game of Thrones, but Watchathon Week ends Monday, and I’m not sure I can get through the first 3 seasons in that span of time.

FamilyFeud2007LogoI recently wondered if there’d ever been a Family Feud episode where one person had won the Fast Money segment on their own. It turns out it’s been done, but it was during the Ray Combs (RIP) era.

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It’s been announced that Pharrell will officially replace Cee Lo on The Voice. I was really hoping for someone as flamboyant as Cee Lo. To be honest, I was really hoping it would go to Gaga. The show needs another female on the panel, and she brings just the right amount of weird to counter Xtina. Plus, Gaga’s in a bit of a transitional period, and it would be interesting to see her cultivate the Little Monsters into future stars. Alas, it’s not to be, as Pharrell and his fountain of youth will be occupying that fourth chair.

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Has anyone seen this thing? It’s a NERF Nuke! It fires EIGHTY darts and there’s even a Nuke launcher that lets it explode from the air. I’d never pay $100 for it, but I MUST see one in action!

Links I Loved

Why We Deserved More From The “How I Met Your Mother” Series Finale – BuzzFeed

The How I Met Your Mother Finale Bailed on the Entire Show – Vulture

Watching Movies in the 80′s. Good Times. – Cool and Collected

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I know I made my case against the finale, but How I Met Your Mother, as a franchise, had the West Week Ever. As much as I disliked the ending, you can’t shake a stick at a successful 9-season run. For its endurance, I’m not quite sure it got the thanks it deserved from CBS. In the past, when long-running shows ended, there was usually some kind of fanfare from the network. When Married…With Children ended, Fox ran a screen card thanking them for all the laughs. USA Network aired the Psych After Pshow after Psych‘s finale last week. NBC has always dedicated the whole night to finales, be it Cheers or Seinfeld. Those shows got one-hour retrospectives, followed by the series finale. Hell, the city of Boston even declared it Cheers Day on the day of its finale, and the cast all appeared on The Tonight Show. I’m not saying that HIMYM was on a Cheers or Seinfeld level, but it had been a staple of CBS Monday nights for almost a decade. Instead of honoring that, CBS rushed it off the air (seriously, what Fall-launching show has a March finale?), and used it to prop up the premiere of Friends with Better Lives. Sure, Cobie Smulders did Letterman that night, but in terms of “look back” specials, the closest thing we got was the cast’s appearance on Inside The Actor’s Studio last week. That was not, however, a gesture by CBS. Maybe that’s just not in CBS’s DNA. After all, I don’t remember similar gestures for Murphy Brown (10 seasons), Everybody Loves Raymond (9 seasons) or Walker, Texas Ranger (8 seasons) – three other longrunning CBS staples. I guess “The Tiffany Network” is too good for a simple “Thanks for all you’ve done for us.” So, if HIMYM can’t get the respect it deserves from its own network, the least I can do is respect it here. It may not have ended to my liking, but it still gave me 9 years of laughter. For that reason, How I Met Your Mother had the West Week Ever.

26th Feb2014

A Day in the Life of “Keith”: My Trip To Toy Fair 2014

by Will

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So, I went to Toy Fair last weekend. Not sure what Toy Fair is? Well, that means you’ve clearly never read this post in my archives. Yes, though it’s an industry-only event, this was actually my second trip to the trade show. The New York Toy Fair happens every February at the Javits Center, and it gives buyers a chance to see the hot toys slated to come out for the holiday season.

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How did I get there? Funny you should ask. You see, my good friend, Keith, works for a well known comic publisher. Said publisher recently announced they were launching a toy line, so it was only natural that they go to Toy Fair. Well, the announcement was a bit premature, as they really didn’t have anything to show for themselves. Still, a pass to the show had already been procured. Keith really couldn’t care less about Toy Fair, but he knew that I felt the exact opposite. I LOVE Toy Fair, almost as much as I love getting into stuff not open to the general public. So, it was then decided that I would become Keith. Yes, I would skin him and wear his pelt around the convention floor. No, it wasn’t that deep, but I would be assuming his identity for the day. There was one catch, however – they would be checking photo IDs when giving out badges. Keith is tall, slim and white. I am none of those things. So, how would I get in? That’s when we devised an Oceans 11 type plan. I don’t wanna help expose the holes in Toy Fair security, so I’m not going to go into detail. Let’s just fast forward and say that I arrived at the show Sunday afternoon.

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After getting “my” badge, I texted my Twitter pal Matt Guzy (@mattguzy) who was already on the show floor. He came out, and I finally got to meet him after all these years! We walked around the floor, as he explained the ins and outs of Toy Fair from the press perspective. He’s formed relationships with industry public relations folks, so he knows how to get into all the cool parties. I could learn a lot from him!

We saw Grumpy Cat, who's really more like Lethargic Cat

We saw Grumpy Cat, who’s really more like Lethargic Cat

After walking around for about an hour, we ran into my Twitter pal Nik (@T16skyhopp) who, along with Sprocket (@Tekcorps), happened to be doing press for Online Action Figure Entertainment (@OAFE). I also got a chance to meet my Twitter pal Jon (@preternia_). Matt had to run off to an appointment, so I hung out with these guys on the convention floor. Sprocket showed us a bunch of pics from that morning’s LEGO showcase, as well as some pics of the Hasbro Preview from the night before. We walked around to booths for 3A, NECA, Diamond Select and more. They were all heading to the Mattel presentation, but I didn’t want to risk it seeing as how I wasn’t exactly who my nametag said I was. In fact, I was being introduced as “Keith” to most folks, but Nik somehow recognized me just by walking by. And Sprocket told me he reads West Week Ever, so that made me feel awesome. At that point, I pretty much abandoned the Keith facade.

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After the other guys left for the Mattel presentation, I walked around on my own. You ever want to experience true discrimination? Walk the floor not wearing a Buyer badge. Exhibitors will bend over backwards for buyers, as those are potential customers, but they’ll pull down the blinds on ya if your badge is not of the buyer ilk. You’ll see a smiling spokesmodel handing out something, and as you get closer, you’ll notice her glance at your badge. Once she sees “exhibitor”, she assumes you’re just like her, so her smile changes into a dismissive look, and she scans the crowd for the nearest Buyer badge to engage. I’m not sure if it’s the same thing for those with press badges. I’d assume the exhibitors would be more friendly to them, as they need them to get the word out about their product, but I could be wrong.

I could post a bunch of pics of Guardians of the Galaxy or Ninja Turtles toys, but there are already sites dedicated to that. I like to show the side of Toy Fair that folks don’t generally know about. It’s a huge venue, and there’s everything from action figures to airport gift shop toys. Tons of websites are devoted to the former, but they rarely think about the latter. So, you’re not going to see any top secret reveals here, but you just may see a 12 foot Batman!

I told ya you'd see this guy!

I told ya you’d see this guy!

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Stuffed Peyton looks like he’s been seeing MJ’s plastic surgeon. I still kinda want one, though

Vroom! Vroom! Bdee! Bdee! Vroom!

Vroom! Vroom! Bdee! Bdee! Vroom!

 

This thing didn't work all that well, but it looked cool. The marbles went EVERYWHERE!

This thing didn’t work all that well, but it looked cool. The marbles went EVERYWHERE!

 

Ceiling Pikachu watches you while you masturbate!

Ceiling Pikachu watches you while you sleep!

Skylanders had their own corner. I kinda thought they'd be over by now...

Skylanders had their own corner. I kinda thought they’d be over by now…

 

LEGO basically had its own little city, but you really couldn't see anything unless you had an appointment.

LEGO basically had its own little city, but you really couldn’t see anything unless you had an appointment.

 

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30th anniversary merchandise or marshamallow gun promo? How about both!

30th anniversary merchandise or marshamallow gun promo? How about both!

 

Speaking of Ghostbusters, this one's kinda sad now.

Speaking of Ghostbusters, this one’s kinda sad now.

 

Beanie Babies may be over, but that's not stopping the TY empire!

Beanie Babies may be over, but that’s not stopping the TY empire!

This is why Grumpy Cat was in attendance.

This is why Grumpy Cat was in attendance. I wish there was a real life Boo ’cause I’d rather meet him.

Needless to say, there was no Beastie Boys blaring from their booth.

Needless to say, there was no Beastie Boys blaring from their booth.

So, after all of these pics, I’ll bet you think Toy Fair’s pretty exciting, right? Well, it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong – it was cool to meet some web pals, and it was cool to be in an event that was kinda seekrit, but there’s no real excitement to be had. I was just talking to Matt, telling him that I was having trouble wrapping up this post because it doesn’t really seem very exciting. He pointed out that it’s probably because Toy Fair isn’t very exciting. Sure, it’s probably nice for buyers and exhibitors, but there’s a reason it’s industry-only. Beside the chance to see some stuff before the general public, there’s not much more to it. You can’t buy anything. There aren’t any crazy kinds of sweepstakes. Most of the big reveals are spoiled online before the show. And besides walking by Jordan Hembrough, and passing Grumpy Cat, there aren’t really any celebrities. At the end of the day, it’s just a trade show like any other, only it happens to pertain to the toy industry. So, did I have fun? Sure, it was a nice way to spend a Sunday. Will I go back? If given the chance, I sure would. Maybe that seems contradictory to my stance, but I’m a sucker for bragging rights. Anyway, for actual Toy Fair coverage, be sure to check out Awesome Toy Blog, OAFE, and Preternia.

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24th Jan2014

West Week Ever – 1/24/14

by Will

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So, this week I spent a lot of my time watching standup specials. When all was said and done, I had watched three, but laughed very little. First up was Neal Brennan: Women and Black Dudes. Brennan may not be a household name, but he should be as he co-created Chappelle’s Show. Since the show ended, he’s been making a name for himself as a standup comedian, and he’s got some pretty funny stuff based around race relations and perceptions. His funniest bit is that he’s friends with a lot of black guys who call him “the N-word”. He says that it happens so much that he finds himself calling himself that word when no one’s around. You need to watch the special to get the whole gist of it, but it was pretty funny.

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Next up was Chris D’elia: White Man, Black Comic. D’elia’s most recent role was as Whitney Cummings’s boyfriend in Whitney, but he’s been doing standup for years. Most of his his act revolves around accents and how women are crazy. To be honest, I thought his Comedy Central half hour special was funnier, but I won’t hold it against him too much. This isn’t the special to watch if you want his best stuff, but if you’re already a fan, you should check it out.

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Finally, I caught Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain on Netflix. Kinda like with D’elia, this wasn’t his best work, but it shows that his act has matured, as he opens up about his infidelity and how it helped him grow as a man. There are a lot of funny bits in the special, but I expected to bust a gut. That didn’t happen.

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While I was on the comedy kick, I wanted to watch more, but didn’t feel like sitting through an entire special. So, I decided to finally give Portlandia a chance. I don’t say this much, but I think it just might be too white for me. I mean, I got a few laughs out of it, but it’s SO niche. I guess you could say that I came for Fred Armisen, but stayed for Carrie Brownstein – who has an aloof cuteness about her. I’m only 2 episodes in, but I think I’ll power through and see what the rest of the series has to offer.

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It’s been sitting on my DVR since about October, but I finally sat down and watched CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. Before the jokes start, no, it was not a movie about The Learning Channel! I never really processed that TLC basically had the same career trajectory as a boyband. They released 3 albums in about 10 years and then disappeared. The movie suffered from too much creative license. Like The Temptations, events coincided too often in order to make the story more compelling. Left Eye’s dad dies the same day the girls are signed. Chili finds out she’s pregnant the very day she’s asked to rejoin the group. It also skipped a few important parts, such as Left Eye signing the girl group BLAQUE to her label, as well as R U The Girl? – the UPN reality show designed to replace the deceased Left Eye in the group. I still say the second verse of “Waterfalls”, with its oversimplification of HIV, makes no sense whatever.

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I started the week off by going to a toy show in Timonium, MD. In my mind, the show sucked. Pretty hard. The silver lining, however, was that I got to meet @smurfwreck and @shezcrafti in the flesh! Above is my meager haul from the show. Mr. Sinister only cost me $5, and he’s an addition to my X-Men Marvel Legends collection. Doom was carded and cost me $10 – he’s an addition to my Marvel movie figure collection. Finally, K.A.R.R. cost me $7, which was about half what folks were charging for it at Baltimore Comic-Con. I’d actually found K.A.R.R. a few months back, but @smurfwreck seemed to want it more than I did (I really wanted K.I.T.T. and hadn’t found him yet at that point), so I had sold it to him. Now that I have K.I.T.T., the “brothers” can now hang out on my wall together.

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Something hit a little too close to home this week. As you probably know, I tend to write a column called Thrift Justice, where I talk about stuff I’ve recently picked up at thrift stores. For quite some time, I was the only thing that came up in Google searches for “Thrift Justice”. Then, the other night, The Colbert Report decided to use the phrase in their The Word segment. It’s odd, because it seemed to have nothing to do with the topic at hand – the diminishing supply of execution drugs. After watching the segment, I’m hardpressed to understand where or how that phrase even entered into the discussion. Anyway, now my Google hits have been pushed down by political blogs linking to his segment. Too bad I couldn’t get any traffic out of the who ordeal. I had actually let the ThriftJustice.com url lapse, but the minute @OAFE tweeted that Colbert had used the phrase, I immediately renewed the domain – just to cover my ass.

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No one had a week like Richard Sherman. Even if you’re not a fan of sportsball, you no doubt know his name by now. Following the Seattle Seahawks’ NFC championship win, Sherman went OFF on Michael Crabtree of the San Francisco 49ers. We all joked that he “cut a promo”, like a WWE wrestler. He also decided to declare himself the best corner in the game. So, there were accusations that he was a “thug” and that his outburst showed a lack of class. Supporters have said that we have no idea the emotions he must have been feeling, and that we can’t judge him on that. My favorite thing floating around is the whole matter that Sherman graduated from Stanford, so “…not only is he not a fool, odds are he’s smarter than you and me.” Hold on there, sportswriter. I have an Ivy League degree, in just as useless of a major, so we’re probably on the same level when it comes to smarts. He’s just better at football. But I digress. All eyes will definitely be on Sherman during The Super Bowl, and he’s probably responsible for the creation of a few new Broncos fans. In any case, you couldn’t get through the news this week without hearing about Richard Sherman, and that’s why he had the West Week Ever.

09th Jan2014

West YEAR Ever – 2013

by Will

Well, 2013 has come and gone, but we couldn’t let it go without looking back one last time. I couldn’t really wrap my head around how to write it all, so I figured we’d just go with bullet points and pics. Hell, if you’re a loyal reader, you’ve seen all this stuff before. This is just to whet your palate as you await tomorrow’s 2014 debut of West Week Ever!

Milestones of 2013

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- I explored a dead mall

- I got cornered by Conservatives from Craigslist

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- I binge-watched a Sentai series

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- I met Twitter pal @LamarRevenger

- I changed the way I consume comics

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- I beat a video game!

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-I finally met @chrispiers! & @robotspjs!

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- I celebrated 10 years of blogging

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- I went to Canada

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- I introduced a new blog column

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- I ran my first 5K and met Twitter pals @claymationhowl, @JohnDoctorKent, @FakeEyes22, @meistershake, @bmorin54, @doubledumbass, @P0LISHPHEN0M, @howardthedeck, @chapmanrunner, and @monsterfink.

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- I met Adam West and Burt Ward

My Favorite Posts of 2013

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- 1 Broke Plot: How 2 Broke Girls Shortened Its Lifespan

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- Black History Month is Back-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack!

- Because Nobody Asked: Will On Comedy

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- “I Wanna Xup, Baby” AKA Anyone Else Remember Xuxa?

- My (Alternate) Reality

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- Judging Bottles By Their Labels

- Must Flee TV – The Future of Comedy on NBC

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- Pitch Perfect and the True Story of Collegiate A Cappella

The Fall Guy Cast

- Reboot That Bitch: The Fall Guy

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- Best of the West #3: Knight Rider Knight 2000 Voice Car

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- A Tribute to Mystic Music’s Cool Rock

- Where’s Mama Cass?

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- Thrift Justice – The Expendables XI: Never Stop Spending!!!

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- Monday Musings – Skins Series 7 and the Close of a Franchise

New+Pure+Moods+disc+1+pure+moods- Pure Moods and The Loss of Innocence

West Week Ever Recipients of 2013

Seth MacFarlane
Mila Kunis
Hugh Grant
Charles Bronson
Cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Psy
Delta Gamma Sorority
Fall Out Boy
Robert Downey Jr.
Charles Ramsay
The Office
Cast of Saved by the Bell
Howie Decker
Superman
North West
Happy Endings
America
Regular Show
Breaking Bad
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Canada
Christina Bianco
Ben Affleck
Power Rangers
Jennette McCurdy and Andre Drummond
Baltimore Comic-Con
Retro Con
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Breaking Bad
Miley Cyrus
Star Wars Trilogy
Cool and Collected Magazine
Marvel
Ground Floor
Batkid
Gal Gadot
Beyonce
Paul Rudd

breaking bad reters

So, last year, I was asked “Who had the West Year Ever?” Well, for 2012, the answer was me. I’d gotten married and a whole slew of other stuff. That’s not the case for 2013, however. No, that distinction goes to Breaking Bad. It’s the only multiple West Week Ever recipient, and the series wrapped up in 2013 in top notch fashion. The only entity to come close to Breaking Bad‘s 2013 was Miley Cyrus, but she just flew a little too close to the sun to clinch it this year.

2013 was also the first full year of West Week Ever, and I couldn’t do it without you, the readers. Thanks for all your support and I hope you’ll stay with me into 2014!

25th Nov2013

Mail Call Monday – Facts & Figures

by Will

Welcome to the return of Mail Call Monday! I’ve been a bit of an eBay whore lately, so I’ve gotten quite a few packages. I wish I could say that these were holy grails or something, but they’re really just the result of boredom. Basically, I searched for auctions that were ending soon, and checked to see if any of them interested me. It’s a cheap tactic, but it yielded some pretty nice results. Let’s see what I got, shall we?

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I wish I could say that buying this figure was the result of some sort of racial obligation, but that’s just not true. I really just wanted him because he was rare, and he was the one Thor figure I never found at retail. Luckily, someone had him at retail price so I jumped on it. Sure, I know he probably turned up at Five Below of TJ Maxx (which I’m sure you’ll tell me in the comments), but I’m not disappointed. I also think there should be a metal band of all black guys called “Heimdall”.

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I really just got this to flip, as I already own it. I love this figure ’cause he’s really to scale with the rest of the Batman: The Animated Series/Justice League figures. This version of Tim Drake was much younger than Dick Grayson’s Robin, and the diminutive size of the figure shows that. Mattel has reused those BTAS molds time and again, but they haven’t done much with this one, so he’s still a bit harder to come by. As a strange coincidence, it turns out that this item came from Diamond – my former employer. Yup, they sold it through their Hakes Americana subsidiary. Small world…

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I got this from my dear friend @Ponderiss, as she accidentally ended up with two and knew that I’d love it. I think this may end up on my desk at work.

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“I’m The Juggernaut, bitch!” God, did that meme get old fast. And then Ratner made things even worse by putting that line in X-Men: The Last Stand. It wasn’t even in context with the scene and just came across as unnecessarily aggressive. Anyway, I collect 3 types of Marvel Legends: X-Men, Ultimate Marvel, and movie figures. This falls into 2 of those categories, and I only paid $5 for him so it wasn’t too much of a sacrifice.

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This X3 Colossus came from the same seller as Juggernaut up there. Again, he fulfilled 2 categories, and was another $5. The additional shipping to add him to Juggy was $1, so why not, right?

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This guy’s a longer story. $5 Figure Guy above had one of these for, you guessed it, $5. I bid on it but missed the email telling me that I’d been outbid. Turns out the winner beat me by $0.50. By this point, I’d already made up my mind that I wanted the figure, so I went looking for the next cheapest offering. I can’t say I got him doe $5, but I did OK – especially when I know that the seller lost money on shipping, based on the size of the box this came in.

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As I’ve written about in the past, I collect Toy Fair, industry-only catalogs from the major toy companies. I didn’t have any from Mattel, and this also happened to be a good year: 2003. In 2003, Mattel debuted the 6″ Batman line, which eventually led to the DC Universe Classics line. It was also in the middle of the Masters of the Universe toyline revival.Unlike most of the thin catalogs that I own, this one is pretty thick -basically the size of a modern IKEA catalog. Here are two of my favorite page spreads from the book:

 

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I also got a late 80s Kenner Toy Fair catalog – 1989, to be exact. While it was too late to have Super Powers, this was still a great year, as the book contains Police Academy, The Real Ghostbusters, Robocop, and Starting Lineup figures. Here are two of my favorite pics from that catalog:

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One day, I might get around to posting actual scans but that’s all you get for now.

So, that brings this edition of Mail Call Monday to a close. Expect another one soon, as I kinda went on a bender this weekend, including getting my first S.H. Figuarts Power Rangers figure. That was a can of worms I really tried not to open…

22nd Nov2013

West Week Ever – 11/22/13

by Will

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Who knew you guys would like a post about Pure Moods?! That was my most popular post in a LONG time. Hell, it even did better than West Week Ever. So, after today, every week will be Pure Moods Friday!

I’m kidding. Even I can’t eke that much material out of a compilation CD series. Still, I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading it!

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I found myself in the middle of a flame war this week, as I cosigned a friend’s opinion on a porn star’s bad tit job on Twitter. Turns out said porn star knows how to use Google, and got all offended. Hey, get mad at your doctor, not us! Anyway, this led to a rebuttal post, then her PR guy got involved, trying to make me and a bunch of folks look bad. At the end of the day, I’m not sorry for what I said, which was that she was either dumb or just got around to googling herself since the offending tweet was sent a month ago. I, personally, didn’t say anything about her atrocious tits. Whoops! Oh well.

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It took an SNL performance and several more listens, but Artpop has finally grown on me. The strongest songs are “Venus”, “G.U.Y.”, “Dope”, “Gypsy”, and the title track, “Artpop”. Still don’t think it’s as strong as Born This Way, but I was pretty hard on it last week. It also debuted at #1, so it’s got that going for it. Still, 5 strong songs out of 15 isn’t great, especially when it’s the other songs that’ll probably be released as singles.

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Something’s been bothering me about this season of How I Met Your Mother – have they retconned Robin’s sister? If you go all the way back to season 2, Robin’s younger sister, Katie, comes to town and plans to lose her virginity. The gang talks her out of it, and she decides to wait. And then she was never mentioned again. In the middle of all the Robin/Robin Sparkles flashbacks, it’s almost like she was an only child. Apparently, Robin lived with her mom during the Sparkles years, so maybe it’s a half sister? Either way, she hasn’t been mentioned since that episode, yet there’s a wedding on the horizon, and still no one’s mentioning her. Hell, they finally broached the topic of Robin’s mom (who won’t be making the trip to the ceremony), but still haven’t mentioned the sister. This seems kinda sloppy for a show that has always tried to do right by its continuity.

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In the past, I’ve written about Geeks for Tots - the holiday contest run by The Robot’s Pajamas. Sadly, due to work and school commitments, Geeks for Tots won’t be happening this year. All is not lost, however, as Infinite Hollywood has an alternative: Infinite Toys for Tots. Basically, the site will match any toy donation that you can prove with a picture of you dropping a toy into a Toys for Tots bin. GFT used to get a lot of backlash for the fact that donors could win prizes for donating. People would say, “Why can’t you just donate for the pleasure of doing something good?” Well, this does just that, as you get nothing but that squishy feeling! You can read more about it here, but let’s help some less fortunate kids to have a great holiday season!

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Speaking of the holiday season, now would be a great time for you to revisit Will’s World of Wonder. We’ve been quiet, but we’re still alive and kicking. In fact, I recently added a bunch of vintage Power Rangers zords, as well as some other trinkets. When you’re looking for something special for the fanboy in your life, choose Will’s World of Wonder!

Though I haven’t sung with them in 10 years, my collegiate a cappella group, Last Call, just released their new album. It sounds great, and if you’re a fan of music without accompaniment, you can get it from iTunes. Here’s a sampler:

Links I Loved

Dave Holmes on TRL, Jesse Camp and 1998’s Other Big MTV Moments – Vulture

Stretching Spandex Over Melanin Won’t Make Comics More Diverse – The Nerds of Color

Tanya Tate’s Boobs (Risky for Work) – The Robot’s Pajamas

The 50 Sexiest People Born in 1985 – UnderScoopFire!

Comics are for Children – The Nerds of Color

Best-Lock Continues Its Reign of Terrible Licensed Construction Toys with Stargate SG-1 – Double Dumbass On You

One had a city in the palm of his hands, while the other was just holding her boobs. One is helping the needy, while the other is kinda seedy. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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No one had a week like Batkid. Technically, he probably should’ve had the West Week Ever last week, but his takeover of San Francisco happened after the post was published. Still, nothing that happened this week even came close to the media juggernaut of a little, cancer-stricken kid fighting crime with 10,000 volunteers in his corner. They say that the whole day will end up with a price tag of $105,000, but who cares, really? It seemed like a pretty fun day for all involved. If anything, I feel sorry for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as this just raises the bar for them. It used to be kids only wanted a giant ice cream sundae or a few minutes to visit with John Cena. Now, they’re ALL gonna wanna take over cities. The charity world will never be the same after this, and that’s why Batkid had the West Week Ever.

13th Nov2013

Thrift Justice – Fleas and Thank You, Xuxa

by Will

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Man, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Basically, there just hasn’t been a lot of awesome stuff out in these streets. The thrift stores have dried up, while the yard sales have yielded little. So, I’ve been forced to resort to the final frontier of thrifting: the flea market. It’s not my first choice, but it sometimes gets the job done. Here’s some stuff that I’ve found on recent visits.

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I’ve written about the Civitan Flea Market in the past, and while it hasn’t been as packed with goodies as it used to be, it still has a few conversation pieces. One of my current goals is to become the go-to American site for all Xuxa Google searches. This just helps me get one step closer to that goal. I got this baby for $1, but not without some resistance from the seller. He felt the need to tell me that it was odd seeing a man “buy a Barbie doll” and he wanted to know if it was for me. I corrected him that it was a Xuxa doll, but I told him it wasn’t for me. So I lied. I wasn’t getting shanked by some flea market bigot. Best to let him think it’s for my biracial daughter or some shit.

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On another trip, I managed to get this LEGO Hawkeye for $5. That might seem a bit steep, but it’s a lot better than having to buy the entire building set for him. Now, my LEGO Avengers consist of him, Cap, Iron Man, and Thor – all without having to buy some huge $60+ building set.

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The same vendor with Hawkeye also had these Marvel Universe Series III holograms. I don’t go into it much on the blog, mainly because they’re not as prevalent anymore, but I’m a sucker for some holograms. So, I had to have these.

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I actually already own this, but it was only a couple of bucks and I figure I can flip it on Amazon or something.

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Even though their rubsigns aren’t present, these Battle Beasts were a good acquisition for a couple of bucks. They probably would’ve cost more had the dealer known what they were. He waited until after I paid, and then asked, “What are those things called anyway?”

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When it came to DC Universe Classics, I’d made a conscious effort to avoid the “Lantern Corps” figures. I thought it was a dumb idea, and I didn’t feel like paying retail for a bunch of repaints. That said, he was only $3 and he’s so BLUE. I HAD to have him!

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I got these Joes at a booth where a woman was charging $0.50 each for them. This was a no-brainer, as that 25th anniversary Chuckles figure was only available in what has become a VERY expensive figure pack.

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After Civitan dried up, Special Forces told me about a flea market in nearby West Virginia. So, one Saturday morning, we made the trek to Harpers Ferry to see what we could find. This wasn’t really a “collectibles” environment, unless you’re into NASCAR and Hot Wheels. I did, however, find this guy:

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This Robin figure is from the Mego Corp, and he is PERFECT. And since his head is starting to turn blue, he even came with a better replacement head. I tried haggling with the dealer, but he wasn’t having it. Still, this was a pretty nice buy for $25. I found it odd that he wouldn’t give me the mailer box because it had his home address on it. Why didn’t he plan for that by scratching it off? Did he think I was gonna come rob him? Anyway, I ended up walking around, holding him for the rest of the morning, looking like a goober.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. What have you guys found lately?

11th Oct2013

West Week Ever – 10/11/13

by Will

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Text I Received Yesterday: “I am eating shawarma for lunch…just like the Avengers did after they saved New York from the aliens. I am a reserve Avenger now.” Sure you are, Keith. Sure you are…

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This week saw the release of Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz, which is way better than it has any right to be. Sure, she’s been controversial lately with the tongue and the twerking, but it’s a REALLY good album. Not only is it her trying to change her Hannah Montana image, but it also joins the Great Breakup Album Club. Who knew that Liam Hemsworth would be right up there with Dave Coulier in inspiring a great, all-around revenge album?

 

This is my song of the week. It’s so stupid, yet so epic at the same time.

MV5BMTc1ODg5MzM5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzI3MjAwMDE@._V1_SX214_ Are you ready to bow down to my television industry knowledge yet? Last week, I predicted that Lucky 7 and We Are Men would be the first canceled shows of the season. Today, they are both gone. Do I know my shit or what?! it92s20always20sunny20in20philadelphia It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia celebrated its 100th episode the other night, and it did not disappoint. From a bad ass martial arts sequence, to an Up! parody, it was a great milestone, yet still faithful to the Sunny spirit.

cory-monteith-320 Speaking of TV, Glee did their tribute to Cory Monteith last night. I get that what happened to him was unfortunate, but it still bothers me that it didn’t open a dialogue. There was more debate over his Emmy tribute than there was about what he had done. At the end of the day, he was not killed in a car accident, nor did he succumb to cancer. He overdosed, and that should have been a teachable moment. Glee has quite the youthful fan base, and the event should have been used to teach them the dangers of drug use. I don’t just say this to be on my high horse – I actually had a half brother who overdosed before I was born. Growing up, he always stood as a cautionary tale, and it scared me away from ever wanting to try something that could kill me like that. It might not work for everyone, but if that kind of thing affects just one person, then it was worth it. I wanted to see more of that in the aftermath of Monteith’s death, but I have yet to see it.

Random thought: has anyone else noticed that, as you get older, there’s no great place to put stickers anymore? I LOVE stickers, and wish I had something to put them on. I’ve got all those Apple stickers that come with iPods, I’ve got a boss UnderScoopFire sticker, and I’ve got a ton of Batman stickers. Some folks put them on computers, but that doesn’t work for me because my laptop is textured in a way that doesn’t really allow anything to adhere to it. The same goes for my Nook. It’s not like I have a Trapper Keeper anymore. I need somewhere for all these stickers! I went to a Lutheran elementary school, and when you got to 3rd grade you got your own hymnal. It was tradition to customize them anyway you wanted, which isn’t the best freedom to grant an 8 yr old. So, these books filled with songs for the Savior where adorned with MLB holograms and Double Dragon stickers. I need something like that again!

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If you’re a Kickstarter fan, or just miss ToyFare magazine, here’s your chance to make a difference! Several of my pals are trying to get Cool & Collected Magazine off the ground, which will cover vintage toys, as well as more recent fare. From what I’ve seen, it looks gorgeous, but they can’t do it without your help! For more info, check out their Kickstarter page.

Links I Loved

My Night at Fenway Park, and Asian American Fatherhood – Reappropriate

Get Out of My Brain, Creator of LEGO ‘Golden Girls’ Kitchen – UnderScoopFire!

Who The Hell Elected Chris Hardwick As The Voice Of My Generation? – Pajiba

One came in like a sexual wrecking ball, while another had its manhood questioned. One is no longer with the gang, while the other’s gang is still trucking along. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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What can I say? The album’s that good. I’ve had it on a loop all week. Knowing my readership, most of y’all will probably hate it, but I think it’s the best album I’ve heard all year. The singles that have hit radio are good enough, but it’s the songs that you haven’t heard that really drive it home. She’s got Britney on the title track, “Bangerz”, and she’s got tracks with Nelly and Big Sean. It’s a grown up album, and she’s clearly no longer Hannah Montana. For really knocking one out of the park with Bangerz, Miley Cyrus had the West Week Ever.

20th Sep2013

West Week Ever – 9/20/13

by Will

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So, last Saturday, Lindsay and I did the Color in Motion 5K. It was the first 5K for both of us, and it went pretty well. Like other color runs, there are stations set up along the route where volunteers NAIL you with a corn starch colored powder. For a good chunk of the race, I was blind in my left eye from where the red volunteer just went crazy on the left side of my face. Seeing as how a 5K is roughly 3 miles, I can say that I ran the first mile without stopping. Then, I realized I’d lost Lindsay, so I looked for her and we walked the rest of the way. Once done, I gave myself a baby wipes bath in the parking lot, and then headed up to Retro Con.

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Retro Con, held outside of Philly, is a celebration of all things from the 80s and 90s. The vendors had everything from Transformers to Nintendo games. But I wasn’t there for the vendors. No, I was there for a mega Twitter meetup, as I’d finally get to meet a lot of my online friends for the first time. And it did not disappoint. Over the course of the day, I met @claymationhowl, @JohnDoctorKent, @FakeEyes22, @meistershake, @bmorin54, @doubledumbass, @P0LISHPHEN0M, @howardthedeck, @chapmanrunner, @monsterfink, and I reconnected with @lamarrevenger. Using the UnderScoopFire table as home base, we took turns taking tours of the place to see what we could find. Mostly we just found overpriced collectibles. I’d taken some Will’s World of Wonder stock to sell, but there weren’t many takers. In fact, it seemed like other dealers were doing most of the buying from each other. I had a rather tacky experience where I sold a Batman figure to a guy for $15. Later on, I found out he had a vendor table, and as I walked up, he tapped the figure, saying “Thanks for the hookup, man.” That’s when I noticed he had a $30 price tag on it. Needless to say, he ended up taking it home unsold. There were also retro cars like K.I.T.T., the General Lee, and the Back to the Future Delorean, but I ended up only seeing the DeLorean (I’d forgotten about the others until they had already left). Wanna see some pics?

I think I was this kid's first black experience. Even after I finished taking the pic, he continued to blast me until his mom made him stop.

I think I was this kid’s first black experience. Even after I finished taking the pic, he continued to blast me until his mom made him stop.

 

Flash Gordon and blerds!

Flash Gordon and blerds!

 

"I pity the fool who thinks I'm Chris Kirkpatrick!"

“I pity the fool who thinks I’m Chris Kirkpatrick from *NSYNC!”

Fighting evil by moonlight...

Fighting evil by moonlight…

 

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It’s my first Joe!

 

Yeah, I collect Toy Fair catalogs, but there was no way I was paying $75 for this.

Yeah, I collect Toy Fair catalogs, but there was no way I was paying $75 for this.

This has become my most popular Instagram pic.

This has become my most popular Instagram pic.

 

In other news…

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Since all the cool kids were talking about it, I decided to go out and seek some of those limited edition monster cereals that are hitting Target. Since Count Chockula and Boo Berry are kinda pedestrian, I went for the deeper cuts of Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute. I’d never had them growing up, as I wasn’t allowed to have much sugary cereal. So, what did I think? As an adult fan of sugary cereals, I was disappointed. Yummy Mummy is described as “orange cream flavored”, but it misses something. You see, I expected it to be infused with a citrusy twang, but it’s really just “orange” in scent and surface. At the end of the day, it’s just another sweetened corn cereal, but it doesn’t really do as much for its fruit side as Froot Loops or Crunchberries do. I killed the box yesterday morning and proceeded to open the Frute Brute – which is the same exact cereal, only orange-cream is traded for cherry. According to my taste buds, Yummy Mummy won the matchup.

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Arsenio Watch, Week 2: I quit. I’m not the biggest fan of myself, but I love myself enough to not endure that torture anymore.

I tend to wake up late in the mornings, so I watch a lot of daytime TV, like Jerry Springer and Judge Mathis. Since those shows are geared towards the unemployed, all the commercials are either for payday loans or unaccredited for-profit colleges being pimped by Lil Romeo. One, however, caught my eye recently. It’s for Kaplan University’s School of Nursing, and it stars a cute girl who’s updating her social media profile on her first day of nursing. All her friends and family are getting the message and congratulating her as she goes about her day. Then they show one of the “patients”:

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WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!! You probably can’t tell because this picture was taken with a tube TV, but this guy looks like one of those soulless CG characters from The Polar Express. Uncanny Valley!!!! Someone had to have complained because I haven’t seen this commercial in a week. I found it on YouTube, and that scene is mysteriously missing:

Who can help me solve this mystery?!

Links I Loved

Magneto Was Right – The Nerds of Color

Rubber-Suit Monsters Fade. Tiny Tokyos Relax. – The New York Times

The History of the Trapper Keeper – Mental Floss

That ep of the No Topic Required Podcast that I mentioned last week has been posted, and you can listen to it here.

I’m not even gonna play the usual games. Considering all the friends I got to meet, it’s no contest that Retro Con had the West Week Ever. Make sure you follow them all on Twitter!

Me and Howie Decker

Me and Howie

Me and Corey

Me and Corey

Me and Tank

Me and Tank

 

Howie, Tank, Brian, and Dean

Howie, Tank, Brian, and Dean

 

See you guys next year, if not sooner!

06th Sep2013

West Week Ever – 9/6/13

by Will

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Can I just say that I can’t stand “campers”? Let me explain: campers are the folks who just camp out in a store at the expense of other customers. You know the kids who read the manga on the floor of Barnes & Noble? They’re campers. This came to mind because series 11 of the LEGO Minifigures finally hit Target, but I couldn’t get to them. No, because some mom was too busy doing the squeeze method on the whole fucking box! For those not in the know, LEGO releases blind bags collectible versions of their LEGO minifigures. Since you don’t know what’s inside, the best way to figure it out is by squeezing. We all do it, but there’s got to be a limit. You can’t commandeer the whole cardboard display and squeeze EVERY pack while someone else is waiting. Be considerate!

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Apparently fans are upset because the creators on Batwoman walked off due to conflicts with editorial. These reports are nothing new for DC, but it seems the creators wanted Batwoman to marry her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer. At the end of the day, this is a company-owned character, and that plotline may not have aligned with DC’s future plans for the characters. This is a precarious situation because it makes DC look bad considering that Marvel had no problem with gay marriage when it came to Northstar. The question, however, is whether or not this is a “gay” thing. Typically, fans hate the idea of comic characters getting married, but this is the odd scenario where they’d upset about a wedding not happening. Folks online pointed out that fans tend to care more when it’s a high profile character, and she’s not big enough to fall into that category. Personally, I’ve never liked Batwoman. I didn’t stick with her series long, but it always bothered me that she never really earned her spot in the Bat Family. In the stories, especially her Detective arc, there’s no real reason given as to why she decides to be BATwoman. Why take on that baggage and responsibility? Why not just be the AssKicktress or something? Clearly, it was a corporate thing where they knew slapping a bat on her chest would legitimize her in some way. I think they tried to loop her into the Bat goings on during Batman Inc., but it was too little too late by that point. It was always a gorgeous book, but it was more style than substance. It moved at a glacial pace, and she wasn’t really a likeable character. So, do I want her to be happy? NO! But they can’t kill her, ’cause then that’ll be construed as gay bashing or something. This is what happens when you create a token without a plan.

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I’m really curious to see how Arsenio’s gonna do in late night. The landscape has changed since 1994, but there’s definitely a niche for him to fill. For one thing, he’s black. Sure, there’s W. Kamau Bell airing at the same time, but he caters to the uppity blipster crowd. Arsenio is just plain ol’ black. There’s also a hierarchy to late night: if you’re promoting a new movie you go on Letterman or Leno. Kimmel is starting to get in on that. Then, you’ve got Fallon and Ferguson for whoever’s left. Still, there’s something to the fact that Arsenio has mainly been cleared by stations that are also WB affiliates. That network’s “stars” need a showcase, as they’re not getting that Leno invitation. There’s a whole tier of Hollywood that can now benefit from a new, hip show. Look at Breaking Bad – Bryan Cranston has now hit the level to be in Leno or Letterman, but Betsy Brandt is still on that Talking Bad level. She’d be perfect for Arsenio, as she’s a strong player on a hit show. The thing is that Arsenio was *young* and hip, and 20 years have passed. Is he still trying to cater to a young audience, or is he trying to pick up where he left off with the audience that he had? Remember, he didn’t last too long once the late night wars started, and I really don’t see great things now. Anyone remember the Vibe show? Or Magic Johnson’s show? This is just that, in 2013. Since he’s syndicated, he’ll get his first year, but I’m not sure he’ll get more than that. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

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I love this story SO MUCH. If you don’t wanna click the link, here’s the long and short of it: Jennette McCurdy played Sam on iCarly, while Andre Drummond plays for the Detroit Pistons. I’ve always kinda had a thing for the Sam character, as I have an idea as to where her character arc leads her in life; you should ask me about it sometime.  Anyway, Andre tweeted that he had a crush on her and she ended up seeing it, which led to their introduction. Their online flirtation went back and forth, and now they’re a couple! Or so it seems. Anyway, just read the whole story ’cause it’s so much better than my summary.

Did you guys know that there are no Cracker Jack prizes anymore?! I learned this via someone I follow on Instagram. Apparently, when you open up the prize package, it tells you that you can now download your prize from the App Store. I looked into it, and found that you end up with this game:

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Lindsay pointed out that more people will probably play this app than would’ve played with the crappy version that would’ve been packed inside. Still, while she’s probably right, it feels like the end of an era.

Links I Loved

Toy Hunt: Ultra Mega Flea Market Hunt - The Robot’s Pajamas

Who Wore It Best? 80s Cartoon Character Edition -UnderScoopFire!

My Jehovah’s Witness story part 1 – Monster Cafe and Bar

My story as a Jehovah’s Witness part 2 - Monster Cafe and Bar

The Many Faces of Amanda Waller - The Nerds of Color

This Week’s Posts

Introducing…Track Star!

Thrift Justice – Walk On By

One’s returning to the dog pound, while the other’s being treated like a bitch. One’s waiting for a squeeze, while the other found one. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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I’m a sucker for an internet love story. Plus, it’s too soon to judge Arsenio, while the other two things made me mad. So, Jennette McCurdy and Andre Drummond had the West Week Ever!