Dinosaur Dracula!

Yard Sailin’, Volume III.

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Another weekend spent shamelessly rummaging through strangers’ trash!

We only went to a few yard sales this weekend, owing to a late start and temperatures that could melt steel. Even so, my luck held. This is the third time in a row that I found dusty gold on foreign front lawns.

Side story: A yard sale that looked great in the classifieds turned out to be a dud, especially because it required a twenty minute drive. But the guy manning it was this old dude in a wheelchair, and his boundary-crossing verbal asides reminded me so much of my late father, I couldn’t bare to leave without buying something. And that is how we came home with a six-inch ceramic elephant with a chipped tusk.

I always feel so rude and awkward when I don’t buy anything from a yard sale. There’s just no easy way to say, “Sorry, madam, but your trash is not my treasure.” Half of the time, I force myself to buy some cheap thing that I have absolutely no interest in, just so I don’t have to do the walk of shame. (Of course, that leads to an entirely different walk of shame — the one where I have to cross a bunch of seventeen-year-olds playing touch football while carrying an incomplete Holly Hobbie board game.)

Overall, I think I did well. Here are my five favorite finds from this weekend: Read More…

OMFG, CHOCODILES HAVE RETURNED.

Oh. Oh my. This. Words. Fireworks.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’re sitting down.

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Hostess Chocodiles… HAVE RETURNED.

I’ve been staring at this mostly-blank screen for five minutes, unable to come up with sentences worthy of delivering such news. Maybe there aren’t any. Maybe I should’ve just posted the above photo alone, but with angelic harp music embedded into the page. Maybe I should stop writing, and start shouting from my rooftop.

“NEIGHBORS! I DON’T KNOW YOUR NAMES BECAUSE I’VE SPENT MANY YEARS GOING OUT OF MY WAY TO AVOID YOU! ANYWAY LISTEN! CHOCODILES ARE BACK! CHOCODILES ARE BACK!”

Eventually, someone would throw a shoe at me. That’s fine; I collect them.

If Chocodiles are a foreign concept, I suggest you read this ancient X-E article. The short version is that Hostess manufactured these delicious and intriguing chocolate-covered Twinkies for years, but they were only available in certain parts of the country. For most of us, Chocodiles (formerly “Choco-Diles”) were merely a rumor, or a thing from the past, or a snack we’d plain never heard of. Read More…

Vintage Vending #21: Wrecking Power!

On today’s edition of Vintage Vending, you will bow before the mighty power of a glow-in-the-dark sticky fist. Truth.

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The “Wrecking Power” collection arrived in the early ‘90s, and while it isn’t as showy as many of the sets previously featured on Dino Drac, I think I’m in love with it.

Remember those “sticky hand” toys, where a length of gooey “rope” was attached to an equally gooey hand? You’d whip the things against hard surfaces and they’d stick there, like magic? Well, these were like those, but on steroids. They were bigger and deadlier versions of sticky hands.

While large and on the “upscale” side as far as vending machine prizes went, I can’t say that they were worth a dollar, especially in 1990. There was no enormous difference between blowing a quarter and blowing a dollar, but the fact remained that kids had to want one of these more than four prizes from the cheaper machines.

I would’ve gotten more mileage from one giant sticky hand than four flat gumballs, but nobody thinks about the future when they’re standing by the vending machines. It’s all about immediate gratification, and I would not have robbed myself of the chance to turn that metal handle three more times.

It’s a shame, too. These are great toys! They’re sticky, they’re based on deadly weapons and they glow in the dark. The trifecta! Read More…

Rediscovering Life Savers Holes!

Today I pay tribute to Life Savers Holes. Tomorrow, I vacuum the upholstery in my car.

Life Savers Holes! They came, they saw, and while I was convinced that they’d conquered, the fact that they no longer exist suggests otherwise. The world at large was not ready to accept the supposed leftovers of normal Life Savers as something to be purchased separately, but some of us were, and we miss them dearly.

Ostensibly the “middles” of regular Life Savers, the candies were actually custom creations only meant to resemble that. I say this because my omniscience certainly extends to how Kraft Foods produced their candy back in 1990.

It was a great idea. Every kid loved regular Life Savers, but I don’t think many of us actively sought them out. I never turned them down, but at the same time, I always associated them with my mother’s filthy purse. If I was at the corner deli with my choice of candy, Life Savers would never, ever win.

Life Savers Holes, on the other hand, won and won often. The flavors were largely the same, but they just felt so much younger. Hipper and more vibrant. Maybe it was because I could eat 45 of them simultaneously, or maybe it was because they came in tubes that shook like makeshift maracas. I loved Life Savers Holes, and I was not alone. Read More…

Ten Things I Saw in Wildwood, NJ.

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After more than ten years, I finally made it back to Wildwood.

Well, for a few hours, at least! We spent the 4th in Atlantic City with Mr. and Mrs. Sexy Armpit, but on Thursday, the four of us did a quick hit-and-run at the negotiably-nearby Wildwood boardwalk. If you’ve been with me since the beginning, you know that Wildwood is basically my Disney World.

For the clueless: Wildwood is a vacation spot on the Jersey shore, famous (and infamous) for its insanely long and insanely spirited boardwalk, stuffed with roller coasters, bad t-shirts and six thousand types of french fries.

For me, it is home.

This was a very short trip, so I can’t give you a full blow-by-blow on everything Wildwood has to offer. (Actually, even if I spent two weeks there, I still wouldn’t be able to.) Even so, it seems I took just enough pictures and saw just enough interesting things to spend the next four hours writing loving tributes to dark rides and cereal-infused ice cream sundaes.

Here are ten things I saw in Wildwood. Enjoy them as I did.

gremlins

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I was pleasantly surprised to see officially licensed Gremlins dolls in one of Wildwood’s 150+ crane machines, but outright shocked to see MOHAWK included. In his adorably skunky mogwai form, no less!

Characters exclusive to Gremlins 2 are less often mined for things like this, and as cool as it was to see the original movie’s Stripe lurking in crane machines a few years ago, this is even better. Mohawk was the sequel’s Big Bad, and to date, the ONLY character in the Gremlins universe to be seen in three forms. (The last of which being a gremlin/spider hybrid!)

I somehow managed to win three Mohawk dolls, a miracle that only barely falls short of Moses parting the Red Sea. I freakin’ love them. They look totally bootleg in the best way possible. Read More…