Dinosaur Dracula!

In 1991, I turned our shed into a clubhouse.

Last weekend, we attempted to help my mother tidy up her shed. It turned into quite the ordeal.

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It seemed as though nobody had been in the shed since my father died, and that was close to ten years ago. Only, that’s not entirely true: A closer inspection revealed that the shed had been visited quite frequently — by birds and bugs, and probably raccoons.

If it looks a little big for a shed: It is. My father was an architect who knew how to build, and what made him successful at work made him an absolute terror at home. Every room in our house had been pummeled and rebuilt five times over, sometimes for the sake of improvements, but more often because my father just wasn’t happy unless he was remodeling something.

Eventually, our house hit a point where even he had to admit that any additional wall-smashing would’ve been excessive. So he took the show on the road. When it came time to replace our shed — one of those modest metal things that you’ve all seen a zillion times — he decided to just build one himself.

Well, sort of. What he built was less a shed and more a studio apartment. I mean, not really, because it didn’t have a bathroom or a sink. But this “shed” was certainly large enough to double as a bedroom. It even had electricity. In its day, it looked nice and was another in his long string of impressive constructional achievements, but I can say with all certainty that we didn’t NEED a shed like this.

And this recent visit was a reminder of how nicely that worked out for me. (more…)

Eight Great Trading Cards.

Today on Dino Drac: 1500 words about eight old trading cards. I’d like to say that I give people what they want, but nobody asked for this.

The eight cards are from eight entirely different sets, spanning from the late ‘70s to the mid ‘90s. If you can stand a site like Dino Drac, there’s a good chance that you collected at least one of these sets.

May this article help you remember a time when there was nothing sweeter than curling up next to a heating vent to read the backs of Batman trading cards. Fifty cents went so far!

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“Robocop… Triumphant!”
Robocop 2 (Topps, 1990)

I posted this card on Twitter yesterday, and y’all seem just as impressed as I was. I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, this card does depict the scene where Robocop tears out Cain’s brain stem. That’s a special kind of “holy shit.”

The Robocop 2 set pulled no punches — the cards were full of gore, and Topps made no effort to neutralize it for kids. With today’s checks and balances, a set like this would never get approved.

That was one of the thrills of collecting sets like this in the ‘80s and ‘90s. No matter how strict your parents were about R-rated movies and “mature” entertainment, they were unlikely to pay much attention to trading cards. We all amassed huge piles of suggested sex and outright gore, and the fact that we weren’t necessarily ready to absorb such things made the cards all the more… what’s the word… invigorating? (more…)

Dino Drac’s June Funpack is available now!

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($25 / MONTH SUBSCRIPTION. UNITED STATES ONLY!)

Wheee! It’s finally time to launch Dino Drac’s June Funpack!

You all know the deal by now, right? Probably, so I’ll keep it short: Every month, I mail out boxes of goodies. Selling these Funpacks is absolutely what enables me to keep Dino Drac going, so on top of getting a monthly box-o’-fun for your money, you’re also keeping the site afloat!

Subscriptions are $25 a month (United States only), and that price includes shipping. You can cancel at any time, too. I’ll give you more of the business specifics later, but for now, let’s take a look at what’s in store for June!

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It’s arguably my favorite box yet — and definitely one of the biggest. Around a dozen items in every box, and it’s a great mix of legit collectibles and dumb fun! (more…)

7 Giant, Ominous Statues from Movies & TV.

I’m a sucker for giant, ominous statues. If Easter Island had 7-Elevens, I’d live there.

Quickest way to make me a fan of your movie or TV show? Toss in a giant, ominous statue. I don’t care if the statue is pure scenery or critical to the plot. Just stick it in there!

Here are seven of my favorites:

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The Statue of Taweret!
Lost (2006)

Of all the things that kept us guessing about the island from Lost, the Statue of Taweret was by far my favorite. Introduced in Season 2 with only one four-toed foot intact, viewers had to wait until the Season 5 finale to see the whole thing, through one of the show’s most critical flashbacks.

Taweret is the (real life) Egyptian goddess of fertility, and while her inclusion may have been a nod to pregnancies being a “complicated” issue on the island, the statue was mainly there to tell us that people had been coming to this strange place for a very, very long time.

Hippo-headed and carrying an identical pair of huge ankhs, it’s among my favorite “monster” designs ever. (“Monster” in quotes because ancient Egyptians certainly didn’t view Taweret that way. She was a protector!) (more…)

Someone’s amazing old sticker album.

Last July, I introduced you to The Ultimate ‘80s Sticker Album, which originally belonged to a complete stranger. One who really, really liked stickers.

Well, I’ve found a similar album, which once belonged to another stranger. It’s not as jampacked as the album from last summer, but in its way, it’s just as awesome:

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The Official Sticker Collector’s Album was released in 1983 by Gordy International, which certainly had a vested interest in making kids obsess over stickers. Gordy International was one of its era’s leading sticker companies, offering adhesive versions of everything from legit cartoon characters to anthropomorphized foodstuffs.

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Fortunately, this album’s original owner didn’t stop at Gordy’s stickers. There’s a little bit of everything in here, hitting so many subjects and in such random order that it almost feels more like a parody of ‘80s stickers albums than a “real” one.

What’s more interesting is that the stickers aren’t only from the ‘80s. A few Power Ranger appearances suggest that this album was in use until the late ‘90s. Given that there are stickers here too old for even me to remember, this merits discussion!

My best guess is that someone a little older than me started the album, before passing it down to a much younger brother or sister many years later. I’m rather digging the idea of a messy sticker album becoming a family heirloom. This is the sticker book version of the Winslow quilt from Family Matters. (more…)