Dinosaur Dracula!

5 Grisly Things About Living in a Medieval Castle.

I’m obsessed with medieval castles, but they were scary. Aside from the lack of every conceivable convenience that we now take for granted, life was just so much more brutal during the Middle Ages. Yeah, duh, but I don’t just mean that in an “enemy invaders with big swords” sort of way. Daily life was brutal.

Maybe the people who lived during those times didn’t consider it that way, but they didn’t know any better. Let’s put it this way: I’m interested in many times-and-places in history, and I sometimes dream about using a time machine to spend just one single day experiencing them in person. Not so with medieval castles. I know I wouldn’t last an hour.

To illustrate why, I’ve assembled five grisly facts about living in a medieval castle, pulled from various books. Maybe none of these things would be dealbreakers for you, but they only hint at the fright-filled lives of castle dwellers.

As an added bonus, I saw fit to draw and color each of these atrocities, so while I cannot claim to be the finder of these facts, I can at least claim to be the guy who drew a giant louse with a crown on its ass. Read More…

Play-Doh Valentines Bag!

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and with it, tons of new candies and novelties in shades that fall somewhere between bubble gum pink and horse blood red. I normally don’t pay too close attention to these things, but the 2013 haul is pretty interesting. I’ll cover a few of my finds between now and whenever Valentine’s Day is. Let’s start with Play-Doh.

Play-Doh’s “Valentines Bag” puts a spin on the traditional goofy cards that kids trade in school. This Valentine’s Day, they can instead give each other tiny Play-Doh canisters with impossibly tight lids that I absolutely needed to use my teeth to pry off! I suffered more than a $5 CVS bill for this, believe me. Read More…

Vintage Vending #7: Gemstones!

Vintage Vending continues, with ROCKS. This is not going to be my most popular review.

I ain’t gonna front. I love this. I love, love, love this. Polished stones always thrill me, even when they’re presented as tacky jewelry. I would’ve been all over these prizes as a kid, and probably still now.

I’m immediately struck by how high-end they are, at least in comparison to most other vending machine prizes. I could see any of these things in a museum gift shop, and I’d expect to pay more than five bucks for some of them. That would be too much, but I don’t have a say in their prices.

With the known prizes being so good, there must’ve been a hundred unseen duds hiding in the machine. Of course, this does raise the question of what could be lower on the gemstone totem pole than a half-inch flawed quartz wrapped in a five-cent bead cap. I don’t have answers.

Viewed from just the right angle, the teaser card looks like a raceway, filled with speeding rocks that leave trails of metal and string in their collective wake. But good luck finding that angle. Read More…

Unboxing Rocky Road Cereal, from 1986.

I hadn’t intended for this to become an ’80s week on Dino Drac. It just worked out that way. And now I shall make it official by opening a box of cereal from 1986.

I don’t know exactly when Rocky Road Cereal went out of production, but it did, and people miss it. Not all people, but some people. I can’t honestly count myself among them, but that’s only because I grew up with too many other favorites to make room for this. From all accounts, it was a good little cereal. It deserves one more day in the sun.

So, here’s a video of me opening a vintage box, and trying to figure out how to make that interesting without actually eating it:

I don’t know if I succeeded, and I misspoke more than once, but I can guarantee that this will be your only shot at seeing a 1986 Rocky Road Cereal unboxing video. So there’s that.

Charms of the 1980s, Reexamined.

From kindergarten through the third grade, I don’t think a school day went by that I didn’t see at least six dozen of those plastic “charms.” You know, the ones with the little bells attached, typically clipped onto long neon chains?

This photo tells the story better than I can:

These things were everywhere. The girls wore them as bracelet, necklace and earring ornaments, but even if they were more popular with females, it’s not like the guys were totally cut out. We just had to choose charms that were a little more macho. Toilet bowl charms, and charms that looked like tiny cans of Pepsi. Macho stuff like that.

From what I recall, there was no standard “way” to get these charms. Vending machines were the safest bet, but for a while, they were pretty much everywhere. No one company had “majority control” of ‘em, but it’s also true that some charms were much better than others.

Like, if you had a charm that was based on a real life food item, that was gold. If your charm was a fully-functioning miniature version of some everyday appliance, that was silver. Then there was the sea of bronze, filled with everything from animals to tennis rackets to baby bottles. Read More…