Dinosaur Dracula!

I bought a box of toys from eBay.

Back in March, I paid tribute to eBay’s action figure mixed lots — those being auctions for “bunches” of toys that sellers have neither the time nor interest to list individually. Even with the bazillion eyes perpetually scanning eBay, there are some great deals hiding in those listings.

Only rarely am I compelled to bid, but one recent auction really grabbed my attention:

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That one. With a $5 starting bid and no competition, I won it with ease. Now sure, the hefty shipping rate raised the total price to $20, but even that was a fair price for such an incredible assortment of absolute crap.

Almost every mixed lot is 80% junk, and this one was no different. The trick is to single out the few items that do have some value, and see if they’re enough to justify the total price. In this case, it was.

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The toys arrived today, rather fittingly shipped in a stained box that appears to have once held loads of mailable fruit.

Let’s see what’s inside! Read More…

Make your own Virtual Christmas Tree!

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This holiday season is going way too fast. Before you know it, it’ll be big boring depressing January. Don’t waste what little time we have left! Do things! Do stupid things that are only okay to do at this time of year!

I’m here to help. Tonight I’m gonna teach you how to make your own Virtual Christmas Tree. Above all else, it will be an excuse to mess with crayons and glue.

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Step 1: Gather the materials!

Most importantly, you’ll need this image. Print it. That’s your paper tree. You’re going to make magic out of that paper tree.

You’ll also need crayons, scissors, glue, and access to a color printer. It occurs to me that nearly 40% of the things I do require the exact same set of materials. Read More…

Vintage Masters of the Universe Figures!

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Since it’s Friday night and I live life to the fullest, I will now write 900 words about old Masters of the Universe figures.

In this post: A lobster man, a guy with three faces, another guy with a big hand, an alien rock dude, a pure robot, and finally a naked race car driver. Eternia was a hot mess.

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Clawful!

Given my well-documented crustacean obsession, it should come as no surprise that I love this action figure. One of Skeletor’s ineffective henchmen, Clawful had one little claw and one GIANT claw, capable of “snapping” with the aid of a hidden lever.

Interestingly, while this figure portrays Clawful as a sort of masked pro-wrestler, the cartoon version was 100% lobster. Or maybe 100% crab. Clawful was never clear about that.

Both versions were great, but I think I prefer the way he’s seen here. Mainly because it lets me dream up an origin story wherein an everyday musclebound villain simply decided to start dressing like a lobster. What was the impetus? Read More…

Holiday Food Ads from 1983.

I scanned several pages from the December 1983 issue of Woman’s Day, and now I’m gonna write about them. I bet you didn’t see that one coming. Eh, you probably did.

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When I was tiny, my mother had many magazines just like this, filled with holiday recipes and gift guides and craft ideas. She kept them in an otherwise unoccupied kitchen cabinet, and somehow, thumbing through them became one of my own Christmas traditions.

At the time, most of those magazines were already old, and some were older than I was. I took such secret glee in reading recipes for out-of-style foodstuffs. In fact, it was partly those magazines that fostered what’s become a lifelong passion of mine: Weird, ancient appetizers!

Even better were the advertisements, and that’s why I’m here tonight. In an issue that featured everything from a Pac-Man Christmas comic to a photo of the Dungeons & Dragons Fortress of Fangs playset, the food advertisements were somehow even more interesting.

I could gush about every one of the 50+ ads from this one issue of Woman’s Day, but to keep things on balance, I’ll stick with five. Get ready to see everything from fancy crackers to lobster dip shaped like a penis. Read More…

Five Cereals From Beyond The Grave.

Today, I’ve chosen five old cereal boxes from my worryingly large collection for a closer inspection.

Far funnier than anything you’ll read below was the sight of me dragging ancient cereal boxes out into the December chill, and desperately trying to keep them upright against the near-winter winds. Let’s hope my neighbors were otherwise occupied, as there’s no good explanation for cursing a box of Corn Pops while sitting crisscross applesauce style out in the freezing cold.

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#1: Fruity Marshmallow Krispies! (1987)

It may seem odd, but this is actually one of my all-time favorite cereal boxes. There’s a quietly tropical motif that’s only noticeable to those who remember Fruity Marshmallow Krispies’ balls-out amazing TV commercial, featuring a calypso-charged jingle that STILL has the power to make everything right with my world. Were I to ever learn the intricacies of pianos, it would specifically be so I could play that jingle.

The cereal mixed normal Rice Krispies with countless fruity marshmallows. The marshmallows came in an assortment of colors, and looked like bonus treasure jewels from a Nintendo game. I can barely remember the taste, but I definitely remember asking for it multiple times. The box’s leaf green background called to me in ways that colors rarely do. I look at this box, and suddenly it’s mid July. I’m on my own private island. I’m in a hammock, and there’s no one around to make fun of how I look when I try to climb out. Read More…

Five Random Action Figures, Part 11!

After a crazy holiday weekend filled with ups (lots of wine) and downs (too much wine), I come to you with only the barest sense of coherence!

Welcome to the eleventh edition of Five Random Action Figures, starring old plastic monsters from my personal collection. As a matter of full disclosure, this post is only being written so I can sneakily show off the gaudy Christmas decorations I found at Dollar Tree.

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Chip the Ripper
Food Fighters, 1988

I covered Food Fighters in the very first edition of Five Random Action Figures, but here’s something I didn’t realize at the time: This line has gotten popular!

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that whenever a Food Fighters photo works its way onto social media, everybody flips. I’ve also noticed correspondingly higher prices for these formerly dirt cheap figures. What gives?

Maybe none of us realized that so many others shared our affinity? Back in the day, nobody bragged about having lots of Food Fighters. It’s not like we called time-outs in strangers’ handball games to announce that we’d found figures based on hamburgers and pizza. Maybe the line’s popularity surge has something to do with our newfound camaraderie?

Or could it be that Food Fighters is simply gaining new fans now, in 2014? Surely one of you has never heard of them before this article. Does the idea of warring armies full of anthropomorphic edibles intrigue you? Am I inadvertently creating more eBay competition for myself with the mere mention of them? If so… fuck! Read More…