Dinosaur Dracula!

Back to the Future Part II’s Antique Shop!

Back to the Future Part II might just be my favorite of the trilogy. If nothing else, it was the ballsiest of the three. A movie so bizarre and so unbridledly over-the-top that it could’ve very easily been laughed at for all the wrong reasons. I’ve seen the movie a million times, but was only recently struck by how strange it is. Between the holographic Jaws, the futuristic pizza and some pretty suspect ideas about how to make actors look different with makeup, the movie’s strength of spirit somehow made everything weird about it work.

Very high on my list of favorite moments is that quick shot of Marty McFly window shopping at 2015’s antique shop, Blast from the Past. It was a nice gag in 1989, but the passage of time has made it all the sweeter.

(Click here for a closer look!)

If you’ll recall, Blast from the Past is where Marty picked up the dreaded sports almanac. In effect, there wouldn’t have been much of a movie without this antique shop there to mess things up.

The joke was that the “antiques” of 2015 were mostly things that audiences knew as current. Over twenty years later, and now they’re antiques for real. Most of the crud behind that glass is being gobbled up on eBay at this precise moment.

Much to our chagrin, Marty only stands there for a few seconds. This is what I call an “always-pause moment.” You know the type. You do it during key shots of the “senate scene” from The Phantom Menace. You do it when Paul Reubens puts on the “headlight glasses” in Pee-wee ‘s Big Adventure. This is another of those movie moments that can never be fully appreciated in real-time. Thank God for pause buttons.

Below: A breakdown of Blast from the Past’s best junk! Read More…

I’m selling Mumm-Ras.

I’m selling Mumm-Ras. A whole bunch of Mumm-Ras. Twenty-five smackers each.

Maybe you’d like to buy a Mumm-Ra? If so, ordering info is at the bottom of this post. If not, well, this is still a normal toy review, so read and enjoy and just skip the part where I ask for your money.

This action figure was one of my childhood favorites, both for what it was and for how I got it.

It didn’t last long, but back in the mid ‘80s, Thundercats was just about the coolest thing out there. It was the great unifier between all little boys. Between its theme song, catchphrases and swordplay, it may have been the most mimicable of that era’s cartoons. I don’t think many of us had serious desires to become humanoids cat warriors, but it sure was fun to say what they said while pretending that that big stick over there was the Sword of Omens.

The corresponding action figures were top notch. Well-detailed and with wacky action features, Thundercats toys were large and colorful, and getting one always felt like such an event. We may have had ten times as many G.I. Joe figures, but only a comparative few of them were really worth much to us. With Thundercats, every figure you got – even it was based on a lame character – felt like an off-season Christmas present.

Being the lead villain, Mumm-Ra was one of the line’s most important figures. Thing was, the main Mumm-Ra figure was based on his “powered up” state, where he was tall and blue and ridiculously muscular. It was a great figure to have, but on the cartoon, Mumm-Ra spent just as much time in his “pre-sarcophagus” state, looking like a sad old grandpa.

LJN knew that we’d want both, so duh, they made both. But instead of selling the “true form” Mumm-Ra separately as they would a normal figure, they devised this clever promotion. Send them some proofs-of-purchase and shipping money, and they’d mail him directly to you. Read More…

Work-a de art-a.

Here’s the situation.

Earlier tonight, we were informed of a surprise visit that was going to take place no more than ten minutes after the sudden warning. I had no issue with the person visiting, but since I was grimy, groggy and without time to clean up, I decided to sit this one out. “Tell him I’m sleeping,” I said, leaving Ms. X to work on her small-talk prowess while I hid in the bedroom.

I sat on the bed, trying my hardest to stay mouse-quiet. Like it was willed by the gods of spite, as soon as the guy got here, I felt a tickle in my throat. And that’s how I came to spend one full hour desperately trying not to cough even as EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING demanded me to. I lost three years of my life tonight.

More to the point, I decided to make the most of this self-imposed exile. It was time to make some MS Paint art on the laptop I so cleverly remembered to take with me.

(Well, it was actually Mac’s version of MS Paint, which isn’t MS Paint at all, except for the fact that it totally is.)

I asked my friends on Twitter for suggestions. What should be in my masterpiece? Around twenty people replied, but I only had time/room/energy for seventeen elements. These are them, suggested by seventeen people that I will never meet but still quite like:


What, you think this is garbage? You try drawing that stuff on a laptop touchpad. I could convince Jupiter to become three smaller Jupiters with less effort.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what’s what, please see this handy screenshot of everyone’s tweets: Read More…

The Best Vending Machine Ever.

If you live in anything resembling suburbia, maybe you’ve seen an Allstar vending machine. They’re stuffed with trading cards of all types, and at least around here, there’s one near the exit of every grocery store.

I’m going to take the long way to get there, but here’s a quick summary of this article: DO NOT IGNORE THESE MACHINES.

If you’ve only afforded them a passing glance, you may have gotten the wrong impression. Sports card packs are the predominant choices, but there’s much more to Allstar machines than that. Movie, TV and toon cards are in there too, along with non-card items that are unbelievably endearingly in their screwiness.

Best of all, the assortments in these machines are anything but new. You’ll easily find packs of cards from twenty or even thirty years ago. The machines exist more as portable collectible shops, inspiring us to relive our pasts through the quarters in our pockets. Read More…

Old Internet Junk!

I first went online in 1995, back when you paid by the hour for an extremely slow connection. At the time, my concept of the internet only went as far as what America Online would show me. Actual websites existed, of course, but between the slow speed and my unfamiliarity, I mostly stuck with chat rooms, forging fast friendships with total strangers that were completely forgotten ten minutes later.

Even after just a few years, a lot had changed, but it was still no comparison to what we have today. Here’s an actual screenshot of my computer screen from September 16th, 2000:

Still on AOL. Still on dial-up. Thirty programs always running simultaneously. Goddamned RealPlayer.

Everything was plodding and everything was made of glass, but we didn’t take it that way. Hell, I must’ve been having fun, since I somehow spent more time on the internet back then than I do now. (Well, duh. It took ten times as long to do anything.)

Below are five things I enjoyed from my earliest days online, in no particular order. Read More…

I’m best friends with Pee-wee Herman.

As some of you know, I ordered WrestleMania last night. The PPV price was steep, but I just couldn’t let myself miss Undertaker vs. Punk. It was a good event overall, but the show definitely peaked with that match.

I seized the opportunity to do some live tweeting, to the grand annoyance of all but maybe ten of the people who follow me. Fifty tweets later, and I had less followers than the day prior. Oh well. I thought my line about Roman Reigns looking like the Daenerys’s dead husband was spot-on.

I wasn’t the only one saying too much about wrestling through social media. No less than Pee-wee Herman is a big WWE fan, and in fact, he was at WrestleMania last night. I don’t know if Pee-wee was there in an official capacity or just as a fan, but he was all over Facebook and Twitter, yakking about Brock Lesnar.

Somewhere in the middle of that, he posted this on Facebook:

Mason, an eagle-eyed reader, recognized the photo from one of my X-E articles. The one about the stuff in my freezer.

Yes, that’s MY picture of a WWE Ice Cream Bar and Choco Taco. Pee-wee assuredly found it on Google and never actually visited my old site, but this is still very awesome.

On the other hand, everyone on his Facebook page is making fun of my dirty tiled tabletop. That shit hurts.

It’s a pretty tenuous link, but I’m now connected to Pee-wee Herman. Just a tiny little bit. When I repeat this story in the future, I’ll exaggerate like hell. By next year, I’ll be claiming that we watched WrestleMania together at Hooters. Read More…