11th Apr2014

West Week Ever – 4/11/14

by Will

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So, the week started out with me finally getting to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not only did I enjoy it immensely, but I have no fanboy quibbles with it whatsoever. I can’t, however, say the same for my comic shop guy. He pointed out that the Howling Commandos exhibit shouldn’t have been in the Air & Space Museum, seeing as how Cap had nothing to do with air and/or space. Touche. Anyway, we’ve all seen the movie, so I’m not gonna dedicate too much time to that here.

HBO's "True Detective" Season 1 / Director: Cary Fukunaga

I burned through as much premium cable as I could before Watchathon Week ended. I checked out True Detective solely because @OAFE made a Twitter reference about Alexandra Daddario’s breasts that I didn’t understand. Well, I’d also heard the show was good, yadda yadda yadda. As much as I enjoyed the characters and their struggles, I couldn’t follow the Yellow King case to save my life. Am I dumb? Did anyone else have this problem? I could watch another entire season of Marty and Rust, but I couldn’t give two shits about the case they’re working on.

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It turns out that House of Lies was, in fact, a part of Watchathon Week; they must’ve added it after I was already watching Girls. I finally finished the second season, and got about 4 episodes into season 3 before I passed out and Watchathon Week ended. I have a strange relationship with House of Lies. When the show premiered, I watched the pilot on Showtime’s website. At the time, I thought “Nobody’s as diabolical as Marty Kaan.” Then, I met someone who was. And he tried to take me down. I’m not even being dramatic. It was at my last job, and this guy just didn’t care who he hurt. He was out for himself. So, he threw me under the bus. My only solace is that I took him down with me. So, now when I watch House of Lies, I’ve gone from disbelieving Marty to loathing him. Still can’t fight the fact that he’s so damn entertaining, though.

Speaking of Don Cheadle, I’m not trying to constantly promote Arsenio, but I thought this was a funny clip:

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I caught HBO’s Silicon Valley on YouTube, mainly because it was a Mike Judge show. Now, I read Fast Company, and I like startup culture, but that show did absolutely nothing for me. Maybe I’m just not into the tech world enough to care. Guy creates music site with hidden potential, which sparks a bidding war amongst industry giants. I get that much, but it just wasn’t funny enough, especially considering it had TJ Miller and Kumail Nanjiani. I’d say I’ll give it another shot, but I don’t have HBO, so I guess it’ll have to wait until the next Watchathon Week.

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Wrestlemania 30 was this week, and the day that I’ve dreaded finally happened: The Undertaker’s streak ended. If you’re not a wrestling fan, The Undertaker is a relic of a bygone age – when wrestlers had gimmicks and stage names. He dresses like an undertaker/goth priest/redneck biker, doesn’t say much, and has been an institution for almost 25 years. He’s my favorite wrestler because he’s the only one who harkens back to the old days. If he debuted today, his name would simply be Mark Calaway, and he’d have nothing special about him. Anyway, he had never lost at Wrestlemania, and his streak was 21-0. Now, before I get the people on here with the whole “wrestling isn’t real” argument, I know that. I’m not a moron. Still, within the confines of a storyline, you have to admit that a 21-year gimmick is kinda impressive. In recent years, Taker really only came out for Wrestlemania, and then spent the rest of the year in physical therapy. I mean, he’s a 49 year old man who’s been taking abuse for 30 years. That’s got to take a toll on a body. Folks have been expecting his retirement for years now, but I don’t think anyone actually believed he’d lose Sunday night. All eyes are on what his next move might be, as Sunday may have been The Dead Man’s last match. If that’s the truth, I know I’ll be sad, as he was a big part of my childhood. This guy took it harder than most:

Shocked WWE

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Sadly, I have to make a correction from last week. It turns out that the NERF Nuke was, in fact, an April Fools joke. So, there will be no thermonuclear foam warfare in the near future. Sad face emoticon.

Links I Loved

Captain America is a Traitor, and Other Narrative Problems in the Winter Soldier – Reappropriate

Top 15 80′s and 90′s Board Games – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

11 Essential Ultimate Warrior Items Every Fan Should Have – UnderScoopFire!

That’s It, I’m Done with NECA – The Robot’s Pajamas

It’s the Mall Showdown: Old Malls vs. New Malls – Retroist

Colbert

In just a week since the announcement of David Letterman’s retirement, Stephen Colbert has been announced as the next host of The Late Show. As I said last week, I was always Team Leno, so I’m not quite sure how this announcement affects me. I’ve reached a point where I don’t really watch any late night talk shows anymore because the best stuff will be online the next morning anyway. So, it’s a bit of an antiquated model. Still, this is a big move for Colbert, whom I’ve always enjoyed when I caught his show (as opposed to Stewart, who I find smug and insufferable). I’ll definitely check out his first night and, who knows, this might be the show to make me tune into late night talk again. The Late Show doesn’t have the same legacy as The Tonight Show, but it’s still a big deal to be following in Letterman’s footsteps. There were very few people on my shortlist, and Colbert was right up there, so I’m not disappointed. I look forward to seeing what he brings to late night, and for that, Stephen Colbert had the West Week Ever.

07th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/7/14

by Will

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IFC's Maron

So, this week I’ve been watching Maron on Netflix. If you’re not familiar, it stars comedian Marc Maron and it’s basically the same formula as Louie. The difference, however, is I find I relate to Maron more than Louis CK. I’ve never listened to Maron’s podcast, but I’ve heard a bunch of his bits and I find him really witty. He also has this self-loathing streak that’s kind of brave for him to be putting out there in public. So, I guess Maron has a vulnerability that I don’t see in Louis. It’s interesting they both ended up with the same kind of show, seeing as how they’re contemporaries and also had a longstanding rivalry. I’m sure it’d be easy to just write off Maron as a rip-off of Louie, but I think there’s more heart to it.

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I never thought I’d have to do this, but I may have to strip a prior winner of West Week Ever status. If you remember, last year I bestowed the honor upon iCarly‘s Jennette McCurddy and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons. It seemed like a cute internet love story, as he had posted her as his “Woman Crush Wednesday” choice on Twitter, and they eventually ended up dating. Well, they didn’t live happily ever after, as McCurddy explained on Pete Holmes’s You Made It Weird podcast. She admitted that she only dated Drummond for the publicity and said that he was a bad kisser. Listening to the podcast, she doesn’t really come off as malicious, but she still aired their business in public. Drummond, seemingly, retaliated by “leaking” a racy photo that she’d sent him. He’s denying having anything to do with the leak, but she’s pretty certain that he’s the one who did it. Who knew that a celebrity relationship would end like this?!

arkham knight

This week, it was announced that Batman would be returning to next-gen consoles in Batman: Arkham Knight. I own Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but still haven’t gotten Arkham Origins. I won’t be following Bats into this latest game, however, as it’s not going to be released on the 360, and I’m not planning on ever getting a PS4 or an XBone. Sucks, ’cause I’d really like to drive the Batmobile, as you’ll be able to do in this installment. Oh well, I’m sure I’m sure I know someone who’ll end up buying it and I can just play theirs.

arsenio

I swear I never set out to talk about Arsenio every week, but he keeps giving me material. I’m not sure if this has happened in other markets, but I noticed that our CW affiliate kinda cut some of his support once the second season was announced. You see, they had created a sort of “black bubble” to boost his viewership. When the show launched, its lead-in was syndicated episodes of The Middle. Someone at Channel 50 realized it had nothing in common with Arsenio’s target demographic, so in January, they started airing Judge Mathis at 10 . It was weird to see court shows that late at night, but I eventually got used to it. To ease folks out of Arsenio, they aired Cosby Show reruns after his show. This created said black bubble, as the shows were aimed at black viewers. Well, the bubble burst this week, as they took off Judge Mathis and now air Seinfeld in the 10 PM slot. I’m not sure what they’re trying to accomplish, as the Seinfeld audience isn’t the Arsenio audience any more than The Middle‘s audience was. They had created a nice little nest for Arsenio and now they’ve gotten rid of it (though the Cosby episodes are still the lead out). I wonder what the grand plan is for that 10 PM slot.

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Speaking of odd programming choices, it was announced this week that Conan O’Brien will be hosting the MTV Movie Awards. This is most certainly a step down for someone who once hosted The Tonight Show. These aren’t even the fabled Video Music Awards that we’re talking about here – these are the MOVIE awards. Sure, Conan has always wanted to be hip, but the MTV crowd ain’t his audience. And it’s not like it was a contractual obligation from the network, as his show is produced by Turner while MTV is a Viacom network. Like the Arsenio scheduling, I wonder what the endgame is here.

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I stumbled across Upload with Shaquille O’Neal on Tru TV. Funny enough, everything on Tru TV is blatantly fake, but I gave it a chance because of Shaq’s cohosts – comedians Godfrey and Rachel Feinstein. I love both of them for different reasons, but it was painful to see them in this show. What is Upload? Basically, it’s Tosh.0 hosted by Shaq. And it’s even worse than it sounds. Since Shaq’s a lummox, Godfrey and Rachel are there to do the heavy comedic lifting, but they’re not given much to work with. Anyway, avoid this show at all costs!

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Speaking of bad television, last week Jim Parsons hosted what may be the worst episode of Saturday Night Live that I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just unfunny, but it was weird in an uncomfortable way. He kicked off the show with a song and dance number about how he’s “not that guy” that he plays on The Big Bang Theory. Then, he spent the next 90 minutes essentially being that guy. So, I think he failed on that goal. I can’t say that I’m expecting better with this week’s host, Lena Dunham.

Anyone who’s ever been to this site knows that I eat this kinda stuff up:

I probably would’ve liked it more had he spliced in some PR footage for the visuals. It’s kinda weird watching him as he belts all those songs (especially when he kinda Britta’d some of them). Still, it’s pretty impressive.

Links I Loved
Thundercats LIVE! Was The Stuff of Nightmares – Double Dumbass On You

15 Things You Might Not Know About Star Wars – UnderScoopFire!

Jackie Robinson and the Mythic Black Superhero – Snoopy Jenkins

One’s career seems to be on the decline, while another seems to be on the way up. One seems like a moron, while the other is more of a Maron. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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Who had a week like Lupita Nyong’o? Sure, Adele Dazeem jokes aside, everyone was talking about Lupita’s award-winning performance in her first role. Now everyone’s speculating on what she’ll do next. Well, history and Oscar haven’t been kind to my people. Cuba went from Jerry Maguire to Boat Trip. Halle ended up doing The Call – from WWE Films, mind you. Octavia did a guest stint on CBS’s Mom. While an Oscar usually means the sky is the limit, for a black actor it usually means the limit is the sky.  I haven’t seen 12 Years A Slave yet, but I hear it’s powerful. So, enjoy your week, Lupita, ’cause it’s only a matter of time before you’re cast in A Haunted House 3 with the Wayans Bros. For now, however, let’s enjoy Lupita’s win by crowning her as having had the West Week Ever.

07th Feb2014

West Week Ever – 2/7/14

by Will

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"I ain't no damn bean pie!"

“I ain’t no damn bean pie!”

Today in Black History, boxer Cassius Clay was bitten by a radioactive Muslim, transforming him into Muhammad Ali

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Last Sunday was the Super Bowl, and man did it suck. As many of you know, I’m a Denver fan by marriage, so it was pretty painful to watch. In the end, though, I can say that we had a good season, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It would’ve been nice if some of that team had made it onto the field on Sunday. Oh well, there’s always next year. The commercials were kinda boring, but folks have already covered the important ones (Radio Shack, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Amazing Spider-Man 2). I think my favorite was the Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer. I didn’t even see it during the game, so for all I know that version sucked, but the full length trailer was amazing. I’m really looking forward to that movie!

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So, I finally finished Portlandia, and I was actually sad to see it go. I’ve read reviews that said the third season was one to skip, but I actually really enjoyed it. At that point, it becomes something of a “skitcom”, where there are still skits, but they’re placed around an ongoing sitcom narrative. Chloe Sevigny comes on board as roommate, and eventual love interest for both Fred AND Carrie. I like how the show didn’t even make a big deal out of the Carrie pairing. You’re left thinking, “Oh, I guess Carrie likes dudes and chicks. OK.” It all came to a head in the season finale, where Portland experienced a blackout. The show’s not over, as the fourth season starts on IFC at the end of the month. Sadly, I don’t get IFC, so I expect to watch it on Netflix in a few months.

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Speaking of “skitcoms”, have any of you caught Broad City on Comedy Central? It stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, and it’s basically Girls only it’s funnier and you don’t want to kill all the characters. It started out as a series of web shorts, and then Amy Poehler decided to executive produce a TV version of it. On the first episode, the ladies found themselves willing to do almost anything to earn money for Lil Wayne tickets, and the drugs they’d need to go along with them. Last week, we found out that Ilana transports her weed in her vagina to throw off the cops. Yes, you read that correctly. I won’t say the show is “quirky”, but it’s definitely not like anything you’ve seen before.

DoctorDoom

It’s funny how we all have our prejudices and limits. It had been rumored that Michael B. Jordan was being sought after to play Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot. At that point, a lot of fanboys were in a tizzy, saying “Johnny Storm’s not black! 60 years of storytelling supports that!” I thought they were overreacting, and felt that they should give Jordan a chance. Well, this week, it was said that they’re considering making franchise Dr. Doom a WOMAN! My knee-jerk reaction was “Dr. Doom’s not a woman!” Then, I caught myself and realized I was no better than the other naysayers. At the end of the day, I couldn’t give much of a shit about the Fantastic Four. I’ve always found them to be a boring concept. If a black Johnny and female Dr. Doom makes it exciting, then I’m all for it. So, I welcome you, boobed Doom.

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While we’re on comics, the new, Muslim Ms. Marvel debuted this week. I discussed this when it was first announced, so I had to pick it up to see how it turned out. What did I think? I liked it. Kamala is an interesting character, and you can see how she struggles to reconcile her culture with her desire to be “normal”. My only “gripe” was that it doesn’t feel like it takes place in the Marvel Universe. Sure, the Avengers are mentioned, but only in fanfic and hallucination scenarios. In a lot of ways, it almost feels like this takes place in the “real world”, which would’ve been an interesting take on the character. I feel like she’s going to suffer once she’s dragged into Marvel’s next summer crossover. Still, the fact that she’s in New Jersey may create enough of a buffer to keep her from being “tainted” by all the heroes in NYC. Like the Runaways before her, perhaps Kamala can establish her own world away from the crazy action of NYC Marvel. I’m not sure I’m ready to make a monthly appointment with Ms. Marvel, but I’d definitely give the trade a shot.

CM Punk

If you follow professional wrestling, then you know that main eventer CM Punk has left the building. And I couldn’t be happier! I have always hated Punk and his whole straight edge gimmick. On top of that, he’s just never had the size that I felt was required of a WWE champion. I guess he stands out as a little guy amongst monsters, but that never made me like him. Plus, he reminded me of an old boss who I wanted to hit with a chair. So long, Punk!

Jay Leno Signs His New Book At 92nd Street Y

Last night was Jay Leno’s final, FINAL night on The Tonight Show, and that also means it’s the end of an era. I know that it’s not cool for the younger set to like Leno, but I’ve always admired his work ethic. On top of the show, he still takes his standup on the road during the weekends. He’s a man who really just loves to work. When the whole Conan thing went down, it was the cool kid thing to side with Conan. I did it, too. After reading both sides of the story ad nauseum, I find myself more on Jay’s side now. I mean, if you were about to lose something that you really loved, wouldn’t you do whatever it took to keep it? Even if you were kinda demoted, but they still wanted to keep you around? At the end of the day, Leno was loyal to NBC but never really got anything in return. He’s been seen as disposable TWICE in 5 years, even though his ratings are still strong. Conan’s a funny guy, but his humor was never gonna cut it with Middle America in that earlier timeslot. The things that made him funny, such as Triumph and The Masturbating Bear couldn’t come with him, and he never seemed comfortable in the role. Sure, they didn’t give him time to grow into the role, but he landed on his feet. Jay got his job back, and while folks hated him for how things went down, the ratings went back up. You can’t really argue with the numbers, even if you’re not a fan of the guy. I think Jimmy Fallon will be a great Tonight Show host, as he manages to charm everyone with his everyman demeanor. While Conan felt that he had earned The Tonight Show (and perhaps he had), Jimmy’s a guy who seems to always be grateful for what he has and for where he is. Even he can’t believe that he’s about to get the Big Chair, and that’s part of what makes it so exciting. Anyway, I’m looking forward to what’s next for all involved, but I know I’ll certainly miss what Jay brought to late night.

facebookfFacebook celebrated its 10th anniversary this week, and I didn’t even realize that much time had passed! Man, time flies. Anyway, to commemorate the occasion, users were given the ability to post Facebook Movies compiled of all the top pics and statuses they’ve uploaded since joining the site. I’ve been on since 2004, back when it was still called thefacebook, as Cornell was the 5th school to be allowed to join – ya know, before they let in all the riff raff *adjusts ascot*. I wish I could post my video here, but they didn’t add sharing functionality. Let’s just say that I expected a lot more stuff from my early days, and not as much recent stuff. To see my video, you’d think I’ve only been active with Facebook for the past year or so, with all my milestones having to do with my wedding. Yeah, it was a lovely day and all, but where are my zany pics? Where’s me running from the dragon? Where’s the pic of me dressed as every Marvel superhero at once? Where are all my skinny pictures?! Anyway, 10 years is nothing to shake a stick at, as it’s quite the accomplishment. If you’re reading this, you probably either got here from Twitter or Facebook, so that shows the power of social networking. So, to commemorate the impact that it has had on social media, Facebook had the West Week Ever.

 *Special thanks to Matt Guzy for the new site banner!

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.

delia

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.

portlandia

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.

Timonium

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.

thriftj

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.

23rd May2013

Thrift Justice – Hell Naw! Are You For Real?

by Will

thriftj

Do we really need an intro. Y’all know what this is all about. These are things I find in thrift stores. Usually, I write about the things that I buy. Every now and then, however, I focus on things that I simply HAD to leave behind. This is one of those posts. These are recent items that I just couldn’t believe I found, but felt would make great conversation pieces. So, away we go!

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Sure, Jakks eventually figured out how to make a decent wrestling figure, but those earliest offerings were hideous. This hails from the “Attitude Era” that I missed in its entirety, so I know next to nothing about Sable OR Shotgun Saturday Night. From what I can tell from this figure, Sable was just a wrestling groupie, right? She wasn’t a “Diva”, was she? Please tell me she wasn’t a Diva. She looks like someone’s slutty mom. She needs to take that chair packaged with her, and go sit down somewhere.

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Hehe. And notice that the seal is unbroken on this CD…

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I’m sorry, but no one has ever said “Man, I could really watch 26 hours of The Price Is Right today!” If they did, they’re probably a stoner, and can’t remember where they left this box set. I mean, really? I would watch a compilation of every episode where Barker did something sleazy to spokesmodels and women contestants, but just random-ass episodes? No, thank you!

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I’m amazed this thing actually exists. For those not in the know, this is Harry from Harry and the Hendersons. I’ve never seen the movie in its entirety,  but I was really into the Saturday afternoon syndicated show. The dad was the evil senator from the X-Men movies. That’s all I really remember about it. Well, that and that it aired along with What A Dummy! and Tiny Toon Adventures (before it was repurposed as a kids show).

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This saddens me, as I wonder how it ended up being donated. It’s such a personal thing, and not something that would really sell to anyone other than its original recipient. As you can see, it’s some sort of CD to commemorate Mothers Day 9 years ago. Did Mom die? Did the family get a divorce? Did she finally get to the age where she started throwing away all the homemade gifts the kids made her over the years? I’m always curious when I see such personalized items being resold.

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California Dreidels?! Can’t black people have anything to themselves?! First Elvis came along, then Eminem, and now this?!!

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OK, read this slowly, as it gets kinda good. When you get cards from a questionable source, always inspect ya deck! I saw this in a batch of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards I got, and noticed that it looked…janky. Look at the edges and borders. I don’t think this card is real. So, I grab a corner and start peeling…

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WTF?! It’s like finding Narnia! What’s under this nefarious cover?

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An entirely different card! There’s some kinda card shark on the Yu-Gi-Oh! scene! How does a tween turn to such a life of crime? Who taught him to do this? Has he already been shot in the face following a Chinatown game gone wrong? Why?! WHY?!!!

Welp, that wraps it up for this installment. I gotta Google “Chinatown Yu-Gi-Oh! shootout”. Come back tomorrow, ’cause it’s Friday, and you know what happens around here on Fridays…

02nd May2013

Thrift Justice – That Figures

by Will

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I’m an action figure guy. That really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but just in case you’re new here, I thought I’d let you in on that little tidbit. So, when thrifting, the main thing I’m looking for is some sort of cool action figure – usually to fill holes in my many odd collections. Here are a few I’ve found recently.

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Everyone remembers the various Playmates Star Trek lines, but the earlier Galoob TNG series gets no love.  Released in 1988, these 4-ish inch figures depicted all of the bridge crew (except Counselor Troi). There was even a role play Phaser and a shuttlecraft playset. When the line first came out, my mom bought my Riker and the Phaser from People’s Drug (it was the precursor to CVS in the DC area). I loved that Phaser, but it went through HELL. I still have it, but it doesn’t have a prayer of working, and I lost ever part that could be lost on it. Anyway, due to a time rift, Riker traveled back in time to fight alongside the G.I. Joes. Later on, I got Picard from a friend, and he joined Riker in his 20th century adventures. So, when I saw Worf (in his rare Lt. JG colors), I had to snatch him up. The odd thing about these figures was that their Phasers were molded into their hands. This is fine for Away Team missions, as they’re always at the ready. In bridge scenarios, however, it’s like everyone’s expecting a Shakespearean ending to things.

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This is probably the only Wonder Woman villain who matters. Get away from me, The Mary Sue! You know it’s true. Anyway, I bought the “classic” Cheetah, as she’s the one who resonated with me from the old Secret Society of Supervillains comic. I really had no desire to buy this one, but I found her for a dollar, so why not?

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I’ve mentioned it a ton of time, but The Undertaker is my favorite WWE character. A lot of people are over him, but that’s exactly why I love him: his gimmick has no idea still “working” in the current WWE climate. It’s like when kids are way too old to still believe in Santa, yet their parents still go along with it (I was that kid, btw). The current WWE Universe is comprised of stars who USE THEIR REAL NAMES! If I were a wrestler, I’d probably be Bruce Williams or some shit like that. Yet, in the midst of all of these steroid case prettyboys, there’s a dude who we’re still supposed to believe comes from Hell, has a mangled brother, gets his power from an urn, and continues to return from the dead more times that Jesus, Jean Grey, and Wolverine combined! Anyway, the larger figure hails from the late Jakks era, after Taker married Sara, hence the neck tattoo. I’ve said it a thousand times, but my favorite Undertaker quote comes from the WWE Unscripted coffee table book. They ask him, “Given the success rate of wrestling marriages, what happens if you break up?” Even though it’s in print, you can still hear his voice saying it: “I guess I’ll have to find another girl named Sara.” Well, they did break up, but his next girl was named Michelle, and he had the tattoo removed. Next to him is a mini Taker who came from one of those little playsets. I just like him ’cause his tiny tongue is hanging out like a puppy.

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I never really collected a ton of Batman: The Animated Series toys while they were out. There were too many overlapping toylines, so I was still busy with the Batman Returns line when B:TAS debuted, and then I moved on to Power Rangers. Still, today’s kids have got no love for the show, as there have been 2 other animated Batman incarnations since then. So, these are kinda plentiful in thrift stores today. Usually, it’s just a bunch of beat up Jokers, but every now and then you can find a Scarecrow, or a Man Bat, or even a Catwoman. So, I’m currently fortifying my villains. I already had Riddler, Joker, and Two-Face from the old days, but I’ve since picked up Man Bat, Catwoman, Penguin, and this guy right here.

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I like Iron Man armors. I wasn’t always that way. Like most comic fans, I didn’t give a shit about Tony Stark until those movies started coming out. Then, I went back and read the “iconic” Iron Man stories (which reminds me – I really need to start doing Adventures West Coast again!), and realized I had been wrong. So, I’ve found myself buying up all the various armor figures I find. I think I have all of the 4″ Iron Man 2 Comic Series figures, and I’ve snatched up an cheap Marvel Legends I can find. I kinda hate that Rhodey’s missing his mask, but it’s still a cool figure.

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MEGO! I got this thing for $2. I was so shocked when I saw him, and snatched him off the peg. I couldn’t believe I’d gotten an authentic Mego, in pretty good shape for such a low price. I couldn’t wait to get on Twitter and boast to all of my followers about him. Until I got him home. You see, his left knee is busted, but you could really tell outside of the suit. So, he casually sits around, hoping that trouble comes to him. Still, he’s a good looking figure!

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I recently said that I secretly collect Marvel Legends movie figures, but that wasn’t the whole story – I also collect ML X-Men. As long as they’re not retail, I’ll pretty much buy anyone who’s even tangentially related to the X-Men franchise. This Storm has some stray marker streaks on her, but she knew what to expect when she left home wearing white after Labor Day!

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Yay! Power Rangers! ‘Cause we don’t talk about them nearly enough on this site. Anyway, I hate the price point of the 4″ figures, so I only buy them used or in gift sets. That explains Super Samurai Green, Dekker, and Samurai Yellow. As for RPM Red, there’s another weird collection I have. Ya see, I used to buy each season’s team, but I got to an age where I didn’t care as much and fell behind. Still, the key ranger in ANY team is the red one. So, if I come across the Red Ranger for a series I don’t already have, I buy him. One day, I may continue to fill out that team, but Red’s really the only one who matters. And the big Lost Galaxy Red is a Super Legends figure, with the same articulation as the MMPR Red figure that’s currently hard to find in stores. He’s got some play wear, but if you’ve ever watched that season, the “battle damage” is on par with what Leo put that suit through.

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Finally, we’ve got the 6″ Flame On Human Torch from the FF movie line. Again, this is Marvel Legends compatible, and he was $1. So I had to get him, and now my FF team is complete!

So, there ya have it. What figures do y’all collect? Be sure to share that in the comments!

26th Apr2013

West Week Ever – 4/26/13

by Will

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I wanna start things off with a grammar lesson. Actually, it’s more of a grammar pet peeve, but I hate the phrase “pet peeve” – what the fuck is a “peeve”? Sounds like a lady problem. Anyway, I try to stay away from grammatical issues, as I think everyone has a blind spot. Lord knows I don’t always have the period within the quotation marks, nor do I say everything properly. Still, this is an epidemic that MUST be stopped: the improper use of and I.

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Back in the late 90s, and I wasn’t being used properly. In fact, it really wasn’t being used much at all. Everyone was using and me. Suddenly, a bumper crop of Grammar Nazis appeared. Whenever someone would say, “Kelly and me are going to the mall”, a Grammar Nazi would pop up and, in a condescending tone, say “Kelly and I are going to the mall.” The original speaker would usually roll her eyes, and respond with a curt “Whatever.” Pretty soon, it seemed like the Grammar Nazis had a recruitment drive, as the began to pop up everywhere. They were in coffee shops, PTA meetings, even at the bank! Eventually, the Grammar Nazis won, but that victory came at a price.

You see, once it was ingrained in people’s heads that and I was sometimes the suitable choice, these people began to use it ALL the time. It’s like and me no longer existed, as they were scared of the Grammar Nazis, even though they had already moved on to other things, like correcting there/their/they’re on the Internet. Soon, it became common to hear someone say something like, “Grandma gave $20 to Timmy and I.” Or “She was speaking to Christy and I.” NO! This is wrong. You see, here’s something to keep in mind: how would you say it if there was no other person involved in the situation? You wouldn’t say “Grandma gave $20 to I”, nor would you say “She was speaking to I.” In both cases, you would use ME. So, when someone else is added to the mix, YOU WOULD STILL USE ME! “Grandma gave $20 to me/Grandma gave $20 to Timmy and me”. It’s that simple. Just take a second to think about it before you say it, and eventually it’ll happen without you even needing to think about it. And by NO MEANS, should you ever say and I’s. I’ve actually heard things, like “My wife and I’s commute is usually 3 hours.” NO! This one is a bit more tricky. It should be “My wife’s and my commute…” Got it? Good.

So, who’s ready for some pop culture?

I rarely have to do this, but I need to issue a correction about something I wrote earlier this week. You see, I said that Psych-Out was my first G.I. Joe figure, but that’s not entirely true. There’s a caveat to that: he’s my first G.I. Joe to survive. Let me take you back a little.

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I’ve said it before, but I wasn’t exactly a G.I.Joe kid growing up – at least not as much as my friends on Twitter. I think it’s because most of them are about 4-5 years older than me, so it was more prominent in their formative years. I, actually, grew up on the much-derided DiC era of Joe (Got! To get! Tough! Yo! Joe!). Sometimes, I’d rent the older episodes from Erol’s Video (this was pre-Blockbuster, in the DC area), but I know more about Metal Head and Ski Weekend Snake Eyes than I do about the MASS Device and the USS Flagg. My formative Joe years were around the ages of 10 and 11, while they were more 5-8 for other folks. So, when the earlier toys were on shelves, I didn’t exactly have a frame of reference, and didn’t go near them.

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Around the late 80s, my cousin came from Mississippi to live with us, as she thought it would be easier to get a job in DC. When she’d go off on business trips, I’d always beg her to bring me something back. I meant a souvenir, but I think she just stopped at a KMart before getting on the bus. So, one time she came back, and she had brought me the L.C.V. Recon Sled. I didn’t know anything about G.I. Joe at the time (I was about 5 at this time, and didn’t watch a lot of cartoons), but it looked cool. The only problem was that I didn’t have any figures to drive it. Looking at the box, it appeared to be driven by a guy wearing a baseball jersey. In my mind, that meant that the Recon Sled must have been his personal vehicle. So, I told my mom I had to have that particular guy. Luckily, toy distribution was better at that time, as the next time we went to Toys “R” Us, there he was, and his name was “Bazooka”. Now, my mom had a really strict stance on toy guns at that time, which I’ll probably write about at some point. The main thing here was that he was shown shooting on the package, but I used my 5 year old mojo to convince her that “It’s not a gun. It’s a bazooka.” Seeing as how she’d never been to war, that seemed to work. I still think I agreed not to play with the bazooka, ya know, with the guy fucking named Bazooka.

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So, we get home, and I finally have the driver for my sled. All was right with the world. Since I’d never had a Joe before, I was fascinated by all of its joints – especially the fact that he could do a cycle spin if you twisted him enough at the waist. Do you see where this is going? Yeah, one turn too many, and POP! Bazooka go down de hole. I cried and cried, and showed him to my mom. She was going to take him back to the store (my mom would, and still will, take back anything), and I assumed get me a new one. Well, she took him back, but I never got another Bazooka. I don’t think he was on the pegs anymore when she went back. And, since I was still new to the world of action figures, I didn’t think any other figure would work. Only Bazooka could drive the Recon Sled! Over time, the sled got battered, as I ran it, driverless, into walls and shit. About a year later, I would get Psych-Out, and having learned my lesson, he wouldn’t be doing any cyclone punching. Eventually, I got another Bazooka, but my Recon Sled had left this world. Years later, it was finding a newer edition of Bazooka that ushered me into collection the G.I. Joe 25th anniversary line.

Recently at work, I’ve taken to streaming stand-up specials from YouTube to listen to in the background. Yesterday, I came across this bit from Steve Harvey’s final stand-up show. The funny thing about it is that Lindsay and I watched this exact episode of Family Feud last week, and she swore that they had to have been the dumbest family in the history of the show. It turns out she was right.

Links I Loved:

Agony, Ecstasy, Irony: The Fight For The Soul Of College A Cappella (NPR)

Administrators Gotta Administrate! The 20 Best Fictional Administrative Professionals (UnderScoopFire!)

King Kong World Tour — York, Pennsylvania (Cool and Collected)

22 Unbelievable Places that are Hard to Believe Really Exist (Bored Panda)

This Week’s Posts:
Mail Call Monday – Batman, Empowered, Joes and More!

Pitch Perfect and the True Story of Collegiate A Cappella

10 Superheroes Whose Current Costume Design Will Never Appear in a Movie

WWE Divas to Star in New E! Reality Series + 10 More WWE Superstars and the Reality Shows They’d Be Perfect For

Thrift Justice – The One With All The DVDs

And the 90s TV Sitcom podcast I told you about was posted over at Nerd Lunch

So, one of them drunkenly cussed out a cop, while the other saved rock and roll. One’s begging for fan money, while the other is “the world’s most beautiful woman”. Only one them, however, had the West Week Ever.

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I love the Hell out of Fall Out Boy. I discovered them when their third album, Infinity on High, was released – an album that was perfect from beginning to end. I went back and listened to their second album, From Under The Cork Tree, and hated it. I was starting to think they were a one hit wonder until I heard their Welcome to the New Administration mixtape , which I blogged about years ago. Needless to say, I loved that. Seeing as how it was a primer for their upcoming album, Folie A Deux, I expected good things from that album. Unfortunately, it was a “folly of DON’T”. They broke up shortly afterwards, and that wasn’t the note on which I wanted them to go out. Their hiatus was shortlived, though – especially after Patrick Stump’s solo album bombed, and they released Save Rock And Roll last week, which entered the Billboard charts as their second #1 album. Having listened to it, I’m not sure if they saved rock, but it’s certainly good to have them back. Just like Trek movies, it seems that every other FOB album is “the good one”, and luckily this fell in the right place in that sequence. For this, Fall Out Boy has the West Week Ever.

21st Mar2013

My (Alternate) Reality

by Will

I’m not always a happy person. Sure, I crack jokes and everything on Twitter, but I guess you could say I’m “faking it until I make it”. Let’s just say it really hits home when a nurse asks you, “Can you remember when you were last happy?” and your answer is “I was probably 12.” Man, this is a downer intro to a post! Anyway, at times, I’ve clung to the idea of alternate realities. Hell, anything’s possible and it’s not like you can disprove the possibility (Ha! Take THAT, condescending Web Atheists!). Maybe there’s a Will out there who’s bouncing off the walls, and people describe him in terms like “effervescent”. If there are other realities out there, just think of the craziness that could be going on. Or let me do the thinking for you!

As our music industry celebrated the release of Justin Timberlake’s single, “Suit & Tie”, this week, in other reality former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter just released “Blazer & Bolo”.

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And apparently he’s a motorboating enthusiast!

Meanwhile, things are getting dicey on the late night talk show scene. After 20 years on the air, UPN has announced that Nick Cannon will be replacing Arsenio Hall as the host of What Up, Moon? Industry experts aren’t sure how to react, as it was only two years ago that Hall reclaimed his show from Damon Wayans, Jr. After touring the country with Skee Lo and Bobcat Goldthwait, Wayans finally landed at NBC, but there are still hard feelings.

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Some third world country is about to get a shitload of Woof shirts airdropped into it

Speaking of Skee Lo, he and his wife, megastar Kelly Rowlands, are expecting their 3rd child. Fans were hoping Kelly would take time off to reunite with Destiny’s Child, but the group has been on hiatus since member Beyonce Knowles was arrested on drug charges back in 2003. She later appeared on the 5th season of Celebrity Rehab, where she proceeded to insult both Rowlands and the DC fans. Needless to say, Kelly won’t be saying Beyonce’s name anytime soon!

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Skee Lo’s “I Wish” is the highest selling record to date

Talks are heating up that Michael Jackson will be taking the judge’s chair vacated by Bobby Brown on The Voice. As everyone knows by now, Brown was recently named the Exec VP of Artist Development for Arista Records, and Jackson is coming off the recent cancellation of his children’s show, Jacko’s World.

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In the book world, bestselling author James Frey is four books into his Little Pieces Saga. He’s been doing the talk show circuit promoting the next installment, A Million Pieces More. Tonight, he’s going to be on Bob Barker’s CNN show and Soledad O’Brien’s show on Playboy Radio. Tomorrow morning, he’ll wake up bright and early to be a guest on Let’s Get It Started With Fergie.

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Even in an alternate reality, douchebags still look like this

In the world of professional sports, NFL commissioner Vincent McMahon has announced that Brock Lesnar’s contract has been renegotiated with the Washington Coloreds. McMahon refused to acknowledge questions concerning the team’s racist moniker. The last time he addressed it was during an interview with Tabitha Soren, where he remarked, “What? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to call them?”

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“The NFL is committed to diversity – unless you’re a minority, bald, and/or have a goatee. Then, you’re clearly a villain.”

In the world of politics, President Clinton just announced, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…in her butt. Lord knows I tried.” This is the 12th sex scandal for the long-seated president. It was just last year that he uttered the similar words, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…in her mouth.” Needless to say, there’s no end in sight for the War on Orifices. Pundits are saying that there should have been some sort of provision for removing Clinton from office, but it seems that no one knows the current whereabouts of the Constitution. At present, most US laws are tweeted from China, while forged copies of the fabled document occasionally show up in pawn shops, according to the Pawn Stars Channel.

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“My fellow Americans, tell me you don’t just wanna bite dat ass.

Continental War V rages on, as Germany just fell to invading forces from Poland. The US has been hesitant to enter the fray, however Germany is our leading source for electronics, so something will need to be decided before the Tivo production season kicks into high gear. This has caused China’s statehood talks to stall. If you’ll remember, the US traded the Puerto Rico Territory to Emperor Hirohito in 1952, thus acquiring the China Territory and gaining a US presence in the East.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to commemorate the anniversary of the tragic events of May 4th, 1999. It has been 14 years since the state of Hawaii was vaporized by a militant sect of Jedi disciples, in what is now referred to as Operation: Phantom Menace. This led to the widespread persecution of Jedi, with many leaving the fold due to risk of being charged for treason. The “religion” is currently prohibited on American soil.

Photo courtesy of bystander, who decided an Instagram filter should be applied

Photo courtesy of bystander, who decided an Instagram filter should be applied

In the business world, DisMart announced that they’re planning to open a kiosk on the International Space Station. A mere 10 years ago, this would’ve been something out of science fiction. However, after Sir Richard Branson mysteriously disappeared, DisMart submitted a bid for the Virgin Corporation. Pretty soon, Mickey Mouse and Wally the Wallflower will be heading to space!

Well, I think you’ve learned enough about this alternate reality. Perhaps you should count your blessings. I mean, I’ve heard great things about The Diagram 2, but do you really want 14 Skee Lo albums on your mPod? What? Oh, that’s what they’re called here. Ya know, ’cause Microsoft makes them. I’m always drifting off to this world, though, as I have quite the imagination. So, just let me know if you ever want an update on how things are going over there.

04th Mar2013

Thrift Justice – Injustice For All

by Will

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Every now and then, I get requests to point out some of my Thrift Fails. Contrary to how the posts come across, my success rate varies. For instance, a lot of my thrift stores recently did floorplan resets, which I HATE. This happens every 2 years or so, and it just kind of ruins the flow of things. Not only are product quantities at low levels, but it takes awhile for everyone to get used to the new location of certain aisles. As a result, I haven’t really bought anything in about a month from that particular chain. The last time, though, was the fault of management. This is going to come off as “Will’s being a whiny bitch”, but whatever – it’s MY site. Still, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s inconsistency in rules, and this is a prime example of that.

Last Wednesday, I stopped by a thrift store near home, and noticed  they’d gone through the dreaded aisle reset. They had a few “quirky” things, but nothing really awesome. That was, however, until I got to the VHS aisle. Only recently have I even started paying attention to tapes, as everything good is on DVD now, right? Right? Wrong. A lot of stuff has yet to be transferred to DVD, while certain things in the format have skyrocketed in value (like WWF tapes with the old logo). Well, on an endcap of children’s movies, I found this:

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Not actual pic. I stole this from some site.

An unopened, non-special edition boxed set of the Original Star Wars Trilogy from 1992. Just look at how beautiful that box is! The best part, however, was that it was still shrinkwrapped. Whenever I see tapes, I wondered how battered they are from being shoved in and out of old VCRs, but these tapes wouldn’t have that problem. They were virgins! This store sells VHS tapes for 3 for $1, so this was a great score. Or so I thought. When I got to the register, the cashier tried to pull the “there’s no price on this” routine. Let me back up a minute. I’m not sure if this is common for all stores, but this particular chain has a policy where they can’t sell anything that doesn’t have a price listed on it. This is a far cry from the “No Price? Finders keepers” policy of the local Goodwill! Anyway, this “rule” is some bullshit because it’s been broken MANY, MANY times. They look at it, they appraise it (usually at about $2-3 dollars), and we both go on our merry way. Not this time. She called over the Latina manager (this is important, because I’m going to play a race card soon). She turns it around in her hand, and goes “No…I cannot sell. No price.” I proceed to tell her that I got it over at the tapes. Tapes are usually 3/$1, as she knows, so why is this any different? It’s 3 tapes. Then, she looks at it some more, and tries a tactic that I know and hate: trying to side with me in how unfair the rules are. I know this game because I’ve played it. I worked retail, too, hon. She says, “I soory. Be can’t sale without the price. It’s reely a domb rool, but I canno sale.” I told her, Hell, I’d even pay $3 dollars if it was that big of a deal – that’s 9 tapes! Surely, she wouldn’t get in trouble over that. Then, remember that race card I mentioned? Well, I told her “The white manager usually assigns a price.”

There are many different managers at this store. One of them, seemingly the queen of them all, is this mean old white lady. She lords over her staff of Ecuadoreans. While it’s true that she had made some cash register verdicts on prices, she’s sometimes the real hardliner when it comes to the rule. Still, I was banking on exploiting this manager’s fear of her in order to get my way. It’s really kinda sad the person I’ve become since I started this whole racket. Anyway, IT WORKED! She sighed, and told the cashier to ring it up as the 3 tapes for $1. I was in the clear! Long Live The Man! Until this other dude came up out of nowhere. He was also an employee, and manager chick decided to show it to him. They started talking to each other in Spanish, while pointing at different things on the box. Since I was worldly enough to take French in school, I can only assume they said, “This is Star Wars. This shit’s worth something. Fuck this guy. Viva La Rasa!” What? Most of the Spanish I know was learned from WWE wrestlers after the Attitude Era! She comes back over to me and says, “No, I canno sale.” By this point, they had already rung up some of the stuff you’ll see below, and the cashier asked if it would be credit or debit. I stood there a few seconds, and said, “You know what? Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be taking any of this.” And I walked out. See? I told you I was a petulant little bitch.

I can’t win ‘em all. I get that. I just feel like they should be consistent – the same with everyone, all the time. I’ve had that rule broken, and I’ve watched them break it for others. It just seems odd to me that something like this is when they’d decide to go by the book. It makes it look a little fishy on their end, if you ask me. It really kinda pissed me off, mainly because I’m an only child and used to getting my way. It’s a shame I never grew out of that. Anyway, I’ve got high blood pressure now, and this isn’t a hill on which to die, so I went home, smoked a cigar, and recorded the first ep of Classick Team-Up.

To close things out, here are some things I’ve seen recently that, while quaint, just weren’t coming home with me.

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The only reason I didn’t buy this was because I already own it. I’m not a hip-hop head, but I LOVE this album. I also love that awesome Bill Sienkiewicz cover. Bobby, Bobby Bobby, Digi, Digi, Digi!

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Never saw this movie, but I love a good vintage, carded figure. Still, I hate dragons and shit.

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The store had a bunch of ALF puzzles. Ya see, 20 years ago, families used to gather around the “boob tube” every Monday. Before watching the riveting adventures of a middle aged newswoman, they tuned into NBC to watch a show about a cat-eating alien with a cornucopia for a nose. This is his story.

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In my mind, the only people who owned LaserDisc players were Patrick Bateman types. Still, I almost bought this just to frame it.

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I almost bought it, but the die was missing. Kinda regret leaving it behind, come to think of it. C’est la vie…

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I’m ashamed by how much I wanted this. I didn’t want to own it, per se. I just wanted to see it. Were they basically bum fights? Did the crackheads know they were being filmed? Were they authentic crackheads, or were schizophrenics unfairly being thrown into the mix? And it was the New York edition! Does this mean there’s a Real Housewives-esque Crackheadz series covering different cities? I had a lot of questions that needed answers. The second time I saw it, I was prepared to buy it. I needed answers! Sadly, the disc had been stolen from the case…probably by a crackhead…gone wild.

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Finally, this is what I left behind in my huff. You may not be able to tell, but this was a Dolly Parton doll from the 70s. Since the aisle reset, I found myself in the middle of the doll aisle, and noticed the selection looked a bit older. When I saw the face on this one, I thought, “That looks like Dolly!” Checked my phone, and I was right. The funny thing about it is her suit was glued on to her, so you couldn’t strip her nekkid like a Barbie. Not sure if that was in her likeness contract, or if that was a modification made by the previous owner. I was set to buy her, but I was thwarted by PriceGate. So, I can only assume Dolly is at home with Juan or Maria. Yup, that’s the note I’m choosing to end on.

21st Sep2012

Thrift Justice – Operation: Time Dig Part 2

by Will

So, has everyone changed their underwear? Are you sure you’re ready to proceed? OK, so we left off with me posting some of the pics from the website promoting the sale. Now let’s get to my experience digging through TIME!

The sale was to start at 10:30, and I planned to be there as the doors opened, but familial issues prevented that. In any case, I broke the landspeed record to Ellicott City, and got there about 15 minutes after everything started. The booth is located on the 3rd floor of Taylor’s Antique Mall, yet I could hear the sound of shuffling plastic as I walked through the door. I couldn’t tell how many people were there, but I knew I’d have competition. I bounded the stairs to find about 10 people already fast at work in the giant tubs filled with everything. From the pics, I had an idea of the items I’d be looking for, but this was clearly no time for a plan. I jumped right in and started digging in a tub that wasn’t being fanboy molested at the time.

Let’s just say that the “parts sale” description was more than accurate. While you could find some figures here and there, this was Heaven for anyone looking to replace lost figure accessories or restore old Joe vehicles. Two tubs were just G.I. Joe vehicle husks, while one tub was vintage Joe figures and weapons. Everything else was a mix of MOTU parts, Marvel Legends stands, orphaned zords, and anything else you can think of. I came prepared with my own plastic bag, as I really wasn’t sure how things were being priced. The ad mentioned that everything would be “priced to sell/no eBay pricing”, so that was certainly promising. Once I saw other folks with bags, I whipped mine out and started filling it. Since I didn’t really know what the pricing would be, I got greedy. I snatched up anything that seemed semi complete, semi collectible, and, most importantly, wasn’t already claimed by someone else.

Now, here’s the part that I’m ashamed to tell you. Ya see, the original title for this saga was “How I Almost Got Super AIDS”. I guess I was so high on the discovery at hand that I lost a bit of self awareness. As I was digging through a particular tub, I noticed that my hand was wet, but I just kept digging. At one point, I pulled my hand out and noticed my finger was covered in blood. It was my blood. Honestly, I was bleeding pretty badly. At some point, while digging through 30 years of detritus, I managed to cut my finger above the cuticle, and it did not want to stop bleeding. Beside the point that I probably just contaminated the batch, I was also losing out on valuable digging time! I didn’t have a tissue or anything, and while I tried the elementary school first aid of “suck it til it stops”, I just ended up with a mouthful of blood. At that point, I remembered an old receipt that I had in my wallet. I wrapped it around the finger, and kept it moving.

The white stuff is where the receipt fused to the nail. Fun!

I struck up conversations with a few fellow diggers, A) to find out how they’d heard about the sale and B) to somewhat distract them. Yeah, I’m a stinker like that. Once I found out we were looking for different things, I actually helped them out when I ran across something on their list. One guy was looking for vintage Joes, while another had seen some Voltron in the pics and had dragged his little boy down to help him look.

I made sure to hit each tub at least twice, simply because my OCD wouldn’t allow me to leave until I was sure I hadn’t missed anything. Over the course of this time, I struck up a conversation with the booth owner, Todd. It turns out  he’d acquired all of this stuff over the years via various yard sales and whatnot. Instead of throwing away incomplete pieces, he’d just throw them in a tub. Eventually, he had several tubs and his wife wanted him to clear the space before he brought in more. He’s a really cool guy. We discussed Toy Hunter/Collection Intervention (turns out he’d seen neither), I told him about ecrater (he’s tired of eBay being a buyer’s market now), and we discussed the current offerings from LEGO. He also revealed some bad news to me: it turns out, while he was unloading the day before, a guy came up to him and bought 4 of the totes before they even made it inside. Remember all the Transformers stuff you saw in the pics from the last post? Yup, that guy bought basically all of the Transformers stuff, and who knows whatever else was in those totes. Even without the Transformers, I still found some cool stuff, that can be broken down into about six categories:

1) Power Rangers Zord Parts

I actually have a post lined up next week that goes into a bit more detail about why I got this stuff, but the long and short of it is that I tend to buy “orphaned” zords. It’s a pet project of mine to reassemble Megazords by acquiring pieces at a time, on the cheap. When it comes to earlier zords, it doesn’t get much more obscure than this. What you’re looking at it is:

-Thunder Power Turbo Transporter (Ninja Storm): It’s basically just a launching semi.
-Most of the Deluxe Centaurus Megazord (Lost Galaxy): this is one of the zords released when they started not even caring to identify the separate component zords. It debuted near the rushed end of Lost Galaxy and existed merely to be blowed up.

-fist from unknown zord

-Yellow Galactabeast (Lost Galaxy)

-Time Force Megazord micro playset (Time Force): I actually hate micro playsets, and I just grabbed this out of greed

-Senturian Synergizer (Turbo): this was the role play weapon for Ranger ally, The Blue Senturian. Yes, it was spelled that way. Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure he’s dead now.

-Head of the Red Dragon Thunderzord (MMPR season 2): this is one of those parts that was easily lost. You laugh at me now, but watch…

-Astro Megazord Shield (In Space): this is definitely going to come into play in an upcoming post!

-Galaxy Megazord Sword (Lost Galaxy): again, future post

-Firebird Thunderzord leg stand (MMPR season 20: like the Red Dragon head, it’s another easily lost part – especially since it’s removed to form the Thunder Megazord

2) Hasbro

Yeah, I know some of you are disappointed, but this is pretty much all that was left intact! If you were into restorations and picking up accessories, you’d have had a field day. I, on the other hand, just sold off all the G.I. Joe and Transformers stuff that was in my e-store, and I’m in no hurry to start any restorations at the moment. Plus, as far as my own collection, I’m over vintage and focusing mainly on the anniversary stuff. So, here’s what we have:

-OK, I kinda lied about the “not doing restoration” thing. I actually have a box of TF parts, and I recognized this gun when I grabbed it, but for the life of me, I can’t remember who it’s for. Have I ever told you that transformers are not my strong point? The research is the reason it takes me forever to list them on my site. Help me out, Bot fans!

-It looks like a Dollar General Duke, but I’m not convinced that’s what it is. I know it’s the newer body style that I collect, but since I’ve yet to actually see a DG Joe, I’m reserving judgment. What say you, internet?

-Of course you recognize vintage Deep Six! I never had him, but always wanted his immobile ass, so I fixed that. Dreams do come true!

-I honestly don’t care enough about those Transformers to insult you with incorrect info. They’re incomplete anyway. To the parts box!

3) Marvel Bases & Accessories

This pic points out something I’ve always found interesting about thrifting: one day’s finds may not actually “pay off” until down the road. I picked up a 10″ Toy Biz Silver Surfer about 2 months ago, and he’s just been sitting on my site. Besides the fact that the articulation sucks, I feel like he has sat there because I didn’t have his board. I mean, who wants Silver Surfer without his surfboard?! Well, lo and behold, while digging through this completely unrelated tub, I found the board! Not quite sure what I’m going to do with those figure bases yet…

Don’t worry – like we tell today’s youth, it gets better!

4) Playmobil

You can’t tell from the pic, but there’s a veritable shitload of Playmobil here. I have to admit that this stuff I got mainly for my site. When I see Playmobil, I hear cash registers and see dollar signs. Why is that? Well, it’s probably because Playmobil is the official toy of white upper middle-class parents who don’t want their children playing with licensed toys. “No, put down that Spider-Man and play with this shaggy-haired airport worker!” If it didn’t bring back warm memories of Kindergarten, I’d despite Playmobil much like I do anything by Melissa & Doug. Anyways, this stuff don’t come cheap, and these happened to be vintage pieces. One day, I might take better pics of the stuff, but the copyright date on most of the accessories is 1978. Also, I had no clue that Mattel was once the licensed reseller of Playmobil.

The best part of this acquisition, however, is that it allows me to show you the most racist, yet most hilarious Playmobil set I’ve ever seen:

This guy learned the hard way that you do NOT insult the loincloth of the king’s prized monkey!

5) Minicomics & Manuals

I’m a BIG fan of pack-in premiums from old toylines. I’m still collecting Kenner Action Toy Guides, so this stuff was right up my alley. Todd seemed to think these were the best items I’d found, so let’s see if you agree with him.

Yup, vintage Masters of the Universe minicomics. And yes, there are doubles, so I await your tribute.

Precursors to the Action Toy Guides, these are all Star Wars, all the time! Some of them were even woven together instead of stapled. I’m not sure if that’s how they came back then, or if they had been restored. Again, lots of duplicates.

And I couldn’t forget Hasbro, baby! In fact, I even scored a few vintage G.I. Joe blueprints amongst others below!

6) Pop Culturesplosion!

If you follow me on Instagram (and you totally should; williambrucewest), you’ve already seen a version of this picture. I needed a caption for it, so I said something like “My childhood, kicking you in the face!” Of course, the nerd police jumped on me because I have a 200x He-Man and a Sailor Moon in the pic. Haven’t you ever heard of “creative license”?! Anyway, it was really just an excuse to take a pic of everything that was left, yet didn’t really fit into one of the other categories. Yes, you see:

-Rock Lord

-James Bond Jr (who we all knew was one of Bond’s bastard children, even though they claimed he was a “nephew”)

-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Krang’s walker

-M.A.S.K. Raven (that should get me some Underscoopfire traffic!)

-Mego Pocket Heroes Spider-Man (it’s funny to me that most figures in this line look like they’re masturbating. You can tell me it’s unintentional, but this was a company with a hot tub in the center of its headquarters. From the stories, Mego was like something out of Caligula!)

-Sailor Moon

-200x He-Man and Battle Cat

-Knight Rider Key Car (put key into spring loaded hole and launch K.I.T.T.)

-Justice League lenticular S-shield (I LOVE holograms and lenticular stuff!)

-Stompers-esque truck with A-Team logo

-A-Team Face figure

-Bravestarr Laser-Fire Backpack

-Mr T trading card

-Lazer Tag sensor (sadly, seeing this in the pic on the site was the sole reason I decided to check out the sale. Post to come on all that…)

-Rambo bazooka and tripod

-General Lee friction car

So, that pretty much wraps it up. I brought home a lot of crap, but I use “crap” endearingly. I was pleased as punch with what I got, as it certainly beat the junk I probably would’ve found at a yard sale. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday morning, and it’s not every day that you get a chance to go back in time and put your hands on stuff that you’ve either only seen online OR you remember your mom throwing away. Sure, I’ll be out in the streets at yard sales this weekend, but I’m sure I’ll just find the usual Rescue Heroes and broken JAKKS WWE figures. This will probably make me depressed, and make me realize I’m wasting a lot of gas. At those moments, though, I’ll think back to the time dig. There’s more stuff out there, just like this, and it’s waiting to be found. It’s not always on the surface, and sometimes you have to dig for it. I’ll be there, and next time, I’ll wear gloves!

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