Randomly Blogging About Blue Hot Cocoa and The Hub

I can tell a very busy work week is about to hit me between the eyes so before I get knocked stupid by F-stick 1 and F-stick 2 who can’t understand the difference between a print driver and a golf driver, I better get this writing bug out of the system. I have a couple of items that need to be shared and it’s a great way to break my horror movie constant that I have been on for the past couple of months. I am sorry about that. But before I go into the randomly ridiculous, I need to take a second out to thank my buddy Grover who is the marketing director at The Hub channel. We were school chums and he is proof that success did come from my educational institution. Such a great guy.

Whaaaat? I came home from work this evening to find an unexpected package at the door and when I saw the Hub logo on the box I knew it was from Michael. A whole box of The Hub channel swag and he sent it just because he’s a great person. I love that channel and every Thursday night I am having an ALF attack. Now I can say I know someone on the inside.

If you don’t have The Hub network I really feel for you. Take a good percentage of this blog’s history and make it into a channel and there is The Hub. There is something very special about airing Gremlins 2: A New Batch and following it up with G.I Joe on a Sunday afternoon. Especially when you are working on budget reports and drinking beer. It’s all such a weird mix.

On a recent trip to Bed Bath and Beyond, I spied this canister of UNC baby blue…hot chocolate??? I live in North Carolina and no matter where you turn there is some UNC this or NC State that or Wake Forest this or Duke that. If you are a transplant, like myself, and went to a different undergrad university in another state, it’s fairly annoying. It’s as if no one really graduated and moved on. Well, as far as me not caring about UNC, I can’t pass on blue hot cocoa. I am thinking about just removing the label and writing “Blue Hot Cocoa” just for great cupboard effect. I need to have guests exclaim, “YOU HAVE BLUE COCOA!?!?” I spent $5 on this so I think I am entitled to at least one of those.

Okay, this was not what I was hoping for when I opened the lid. I really wanted to see blue powder. But that magical Blue #1 requires science in order to turn from anthrax to a baby blue hue. It is a tad boring but acceptable.

Add water for magic! I must say I am impressed and it was exactly what I imagined it to be. It reminded me of the Judy Bloom book I was forced to read as a small kid and before I was aware that Judy Bloom books were for girls. The story is about a kid who pukes in class and how yarfing in class is something most kids will do. Thoughts of blue oatmeal plagued her until she finally spewed. From then on, any food item that was unnaturally blue reminded me of that. As a 35-year-old today, it’s still my first reaction. Damn it, Judy Bloom!

So, the color is wacky but how about the taste?

Not great. It’s like white chocolate and in my opinion, that’s not chocolate. Now that I said that, I am prepared for a fight.

The overall concept is great and that is what I need to remember. But I refuse to think that this is UNC hot chocolate. Oh no. In my mind this is Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen’s blue drink.

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A Tribute to Famous Monster Magazine

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This one goes back to 1984, when feathered hair was in and my only concern in life was not crashing my bike on the neighborhood hill dubbed “The Matterhorn” named not only for the insane steep grade but the number of wobbly-handlebar out of control bike wrecks almost every kid had experienced. I was a very impressionable kid and still traumatized by the opening scene of the movie Ghostbusters, I dreaded the thought of 8:30 at night and the ever-looming gloom of going to bed. In bed the thoughts of ghosts and goblins always seemed to overtake my imagination. It was the pinnacle of stress to a six-year-old. Other than “The Matterhorn” of course.

That same year, friends’ of my parents had two older sons (Brent and Nate. I remember you two!) who were well into high school. I remembered one of them to have a mustache so in my eyes they were like grownups but would give “wet willies” and put me on the phone to their girlfriends so they could tell me to say stupid things. I didn’t care for those two much. Their only redeeming factor, after cleaning their room, I received boxes of their books and magazine they no longer wanted. Seeing as I was in the beginning stages of reading, I guess having three hundred Boys Life magazines couldn’t hurt. And an occasional Zoo Book.

I believe that box of discarded magazines and books stayed in my room for the better part of that summer until one fateful evening when I was forced into confinement of my bedroom early. I am sure it was for some sort mischief. With nothing better to do I opened the box of hand-me-down publications and in sheer shock the first ten or twelve magazines were not the wimpy Boys Life magazines I had no intention of reading but a jolt of terrifying monsters magazines with horrid creatures staring right at me. My reaction was violent. I was an only child and like I said, the beginning of Ghostbusters damn near sent me to therapy. Can you imagine being that innocent and opening a box to be greeted by this:

Soon I had conjured up enough courage from curiosity and approached the box again. With one eye shut and the other barely open, I opened the box again and quickly moved the half-skulled girl. Digging right past that horrid face into pure six-year-old ecstasy was Star Wars. It was a Famous Monster issue of nothing but Star Wars pictures! The rest of the box could have been chockfull of Linda Blair terrors but when mixed with C3PO, I couldn’t care less. This was near and dear to the heart and that was when I officially became a fan of Famous Monster Magazine.

Fast forward nearly thirty years later or…yesterday when I was dropping by a local comic con to give love to my pals over at Lost Story Studios and picking up some amazing personalized art when I spied a familiar face. Holy macaroni it was the same skull faced girl on the cover of Famous Monster Magazine sitting lonely in a box. But wait…she wasn’t lonely at all.

She came with friends! And you know I had to take them all home.

It’s amazing the flood of memories that come along with certain childhood items. I swear, I have no clue what was in that box other than these Famous Monster magazines and to be perfectly honest, I don’t really care. For many years later, I would sit under the covers reading about Peter Cushing and staring at the numerous monsters that I would later meet in my dreams. (Talking to you, Dr. Phobes.)

I spent last night flipping through some of what I loved the most from these magazines. Let’s delve in, shall we?

The cover art for this particular magazine really can’t be contended with. Sure Creep and Tales from the Crypt have pretty neat covers but if you want to get a tattoo that is inspired by magazine art, why not Jaws getting punched in the dick by King Kong? And no one is ever going to believe that girl if she makes it out.

There are so many stories and photos crammed in these magazine that the cover keeps the mystery by just giving a few top articles. I like that. Less is always more.

Oh gosh, the mail-in toy advertisements. Many of these items were not sold on the open retail market (from what I am told) so if you were to somehow obtain these magazines years later by, let’s say, two jerk-o bullies, then you were just shit out of luck. I have sent my parents on an absolute failure missions for multiple Christmases because of these advertisements. The date on the issue was just a number in my feeble young mind.

Unfortunately for me, most of my inherited Famous Monster issues were around the late seventies and early eighties so they were  full of Star Wars merchandise that was impossible to find. I have no idea if kids back then really sent away for these items but I am sure if they did, they were the envy of the neighborhood.

I also love the shout-outs to the kids who read Famous Monster Magazine. I have to remind myself today, kids back then actually wrote letters to the editor and sent wallet size photos. I HAVE DONE THIS TOO! Looking at these kids, I imagine we would have all been great friends. Especially Dave. Poor Dave.

The contests! Oh cats, the contests! Every issue had some sort of creative contest that was either sponsored by a movie or created within the Warren Magazine Publication. I think these types of contests are lost today. Well, other that the cool stuff over at DinoDrac, but still, I would like to see more movies that inspire kids to breakout the ol’ pen and paper and send it to some P.O. Box, NY NY. We live in such an immediate gratification society.

This was for the more serious creepy kid of the neighborhood. It’s one thing to order a model kit or send away for a contest but dropping $40 on an ape head, you had to be committed. Or needed to be committed. Forty big ones back in 1971 wasn’t chump change.

It was a simpler time back when Famous Monster Magazine was a well syndicated.  Ten-year-olds could easily order a cannon that could be heard five miles away and why should they NOT be able to? It’s true that today, if a ten-year-old kid chewed his cheese sandwich into the shape of a pistol he or she could be expelled but back then kids were much smarter. This was the dumbest paragraph I have ever written. And now I want a mini canon . Without the problems of having the FBI showing up at my door.

Famous Monster Magazine was long running that came to an end in 1983 but ten years later, Ray Ferry, a fan, revived it and shared rights with Forrest Ackerman. They also changed the title to Famous Monsters of Filmland and ran pretty successfully until around ’97 when the relationship fell apart and law suits were flying. That’s too bad too.

It’s still around today and you can order it online for six issues at a time. But it’s just not the same. I know it’s all perspective but with the thousand horror blogs and sites and many magazine circulations, I thing Famous Monster Magazine died when it should have in 1983. I just feel lucky that I was of the age and shared the same joy those kids did in the shout-out sections years and years before.

Lando Calrissian Disguise Kit: Smoooooth

It isn’t very often that I have buyers remorse on eBaby and this time is no exception. While strolling the virtual aisle of eBay in the “nerd” section I stumbled across and item that I could not say no to. Actually, I am shocked anyone could say no to this. May I present to you…

…the Lando Calrissian Disguise Kit. Holy cow!

I know that this is just a novelty item but it’s nice to see LucasFilm Ltd has a bit of a sense of humor. Now if only they had official Star Wars Colt 45 12 packs for sale. Now that would be more of a VeggieMacabre-type item for review. Until they do that, you’ll have to just watch this.  Enjoy!

 

 

It’s Christmas Time Already?

What? When did this happen? I am not going to say that I don’t like it, but what happened to, well, the year? I suppose there is no use in being upset by a year that when from zero to “Ba-Zing” so…let’s start the holiday off with a bang!

If the above image is confusing to you, then I guess you don’t have X-Entertainment.com in your life, and I am sad for you. Like a broken record, every year at the same time, I shout from the mountain tops to check out Matt’s famous site of all things great. So this year is no different. Make a point to click the link and take a fun trip, whether it is the blog or the wacky antics in the advent calender, I promise you’ll feel colors. Red and Green colors.

For the first official day of the 2009 Christmas season, I believe I will discuss the greatest memories I have and that is the countless hours spent browsing the Sears catalog, making a “wish list” and checking twice. Or three hundred times. Ok, five hundred. Whatever. Combing my memory, here are some great toys that even today, I wouldn’t mind having.

The USS FLAGG was the greatest toy a boy could have. It was like a toy for your toys. That didn’t make any sense, I know, but go with me here. It was so massive it required a permanent portion of a room. I had fantasies about this thing. I dreamed of being the kid that truly had the best gift every kid wanted and the massive amounts superficial friends I would acquire because of it. I dreamed of eating cheeseburgers on the deck while watching Thundercats. I dreamed of reenacting the opening scene of  Top Gun while humming the theme song. A kid can dream, can’t he? But sadly enough, it was a dream. Never had the damn thing.

Holy shit did I have a few of these. I think this was the present that all my relatives bought for me when I was six. It was as if everyone got a memo for that Christmas stating my aspirations to build a fleet for the Rebel Alliance. What ever the case, if you needed a Kenner X-Wing; I was your guy. The one thing I hated about this toy was the laser sound. It made a noise that would turn a cat inside out and explode. What ever that noise was, it was not a laser sound. Watch this below and see what I am talking about. “REEEEE”

Speaking of lasers, remember this awesomeness of awesome? The Hasbro Lazer Tag set was one of my most treasured Christmas gifts and even though I never found a kid in the neighborhood who had a set to compete with, I did enjoy shooting myself with the help of the bathroom mirror. The only thing I didn’t like about this was the noisy heartbeat sounds on the monitor. Made sneaking around pretty much impossible.

When I was searching for the perfect Transformer picture to rant and rave for the “must have” toy of the mid to late 80’s, I came upon this. Megatron. In an instant I was whisked off the couch back to 1987, sitting in my PJ’s on the blue carpeted den in Marietta, Georgia on Christmas morning. On my lap was this glorious purple box. When I took it out of the static clinging styrofoam I immediately began to “transform” the Rugger pistol into the nemesis of Optimus Prime, ignoring the pleads of my father not to force it. But before I knew it, I forced it, and hyper-extended it. I broke off the leg of Megatron. Though the disappointment was apparent, I still managed to enjoy it for what it was. God, I can still smell the pine, scotch tape and new plastic. Some nostalgia can rival any of Einstein’s greatest theories.

Pow Pow Power Wheels! Much like the dream of owning the USS Flagg, another pipe dream of mine was owning a set of Power Wheels. I had plenty of first grade daydreams of driving my Power Wheel Jeep to the store for my Mom or picking up my pal Toby and cruising to Showbiz Pizza and catching a Rock-A-Fire Explosion animatronic show. But it was not in the stars. But the next year I did car jack the neighbors daughter and take her Barbie Jeep around the block. That is until Mom found out and a foot chase issued. Turns out Power Wheels were a lot faster in my dreams. I was escorted by the elbow to a cell without dinner.

The WWF Wrestling Buddies were a big item for my friends and me. What toy could be better than an Ultimate Warrior a 75 pound kid can body slam? In fact, this pillow character above is directly responsible for a dislocated shoulder. I will just say the couch is not a platform for a pile driver. It’s embarrassing to admit losing a match to a half pound pillow. Even if it was this dude:

Yeah, would you mess with this guy? I didn’t think so.

Perhaps it was for a lack of siblings but I really wanted a bear that could read me bedtime stories and have conversations about Star Wars. This was the one time it was sociably acceptable to have a teddy bear as a boy. We all knew Christopher Robin was a pansy. But going through my old photos from my time home for Thanksgiving I found a troubling picture.

Ah shit. No wonder. I will leave it at that. No wonder.

Nothing will fuck a vacuum up like a Lite Brite peg. I know this from experience. But really, I have received this a couple of different times during Christmas and even though I understood the concept, I never made anything more than an illuminated Jackson Pullock. Seriously, if Lite Brite was an intelligence test, I would have scored somewhere between “cat with paintbrush in mouth” and “chimp with paint on it’s ass”. Meh, this was a shit gift.

No, I have never owned a Strawberry Shortcake doll but I have tried to eat one. Like you haven’t at least thought about it. But I can attest, it just tastes like plastic.

I believe this is a good way to wrap up this old Christmas-want article. The one, the only Castle Greyskull. Even my Grandmother knows what Castle Greyskull is. This magnificent play set was a Masters of the Universe staple in every snotty kid’s room. I was shit, I admit. I even had Skeletor’s Castle. In fact, there are fond memories of saying “boner” over the Doom microphone. I suppose you have to be eight to see the humor. I still cackle when I hear “boner”.

I hope some of my memories have brought up a few of yours. I know I can’t be alone in my head toy chest. Tis the season to be happy and these memories make me smile no matter where or when. Let’s kick off the X-Mas fun starting….right…….NOW!

Cleaning Out The Cellphone Camera

I guess it is that time again. Time to clean out the pictures from the ol’ iPhone and share a little bit of those “no shit, there I was” stories with you. This is always good for a stretch when I am in a material slump.

This past Christmas I was flying to New York for a little vacation and very relieved to be leaving 7 feet of snow. Really, there was 7 feet.  Anyway, during a layover in Minneapolis I was witness to a random caroler attack. It was a little awkward to stand there while everyone in the terminal ignored their performance. It went like this…

IMG_0417“Tis the season to be jolly…”

IMG_0418 *cough cough*

IMG_0417“Falla la la la la la la laaa”

IMG_0419Last boarding call for Delta flight 663…

All of my Friends know that when it comes to moving, I am the one who will always lend a hand. The only thing I ask for is beer and Led Zeppelin 3 on the stereo. But I will admit, sometimes the beer can complicate things.

IMG_0578“This couch will totally fit down these stairs. Just let me finish this last sip of wonderful PBR.”

IMG_0576“You’re good, you’re good, you’re good…”

IMG_0577“Oh dude, I am so, so sorry. Let’s have another beer and drag the fridge down here.”

IMG_0664Well, they almost got me back for that little accident by packing all the knives in a box. Almost got me.

IMG_0623Cracker please!

Image023This is actually from my work phone. Didn’t notice it had a flash until I was trying to learn the features.

You know you are in a cool bar when it is decorated with old Hasbro Star Wars’ toys. I still want an AT-AT.

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This proves that I am still rocking the Wolf shirt. Actually, I don’t even notice it as a satirical jest towards the Idahoians. Maybe I am one now. uhhhhh….

So that was a pretty pathetic post but I am at work so it’s the best I can do. I will be reading you blogs today so sweep the floors, put stuff under the bed and fire up the tea kettle. You’re having company.

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