Dinosaur Dracula!

Yard Sailin’, Volume IV.

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So after a month’s worth of pleasant experiences, I was finally reminded of why I stopped going to yard sales to begin with.

I did find some nice things, but between the sellers and the buyers, every stop brought five new annoyances.

Sellers were the big problem. I lost interest in yard sales when people started charging eBay prices, and that was on full display. At the first of Saturday’s sales, we saw a homeowner basically tell someone to leave her property, insulted that the would-be customer wanted to pay $20 rather than $24 for a box of nearly-worthless Christmas ornaments. That same woman wanted $3 per VHS tape, even though 80% of them were of the Barney & Friends variety, and none of them had boxes.

We also went to a couple of estate sales, where the sellers were even worse. Around here, estate sales generally aren’t run by grieving families, but by outside people that they hire. I don’t know the specifics of their arrangements, but those people must work on a percentage rather than a flat rate, because holy fuck were they asking for ridiculous amounts of money.

Some of the buyers were no better. At one estate sale, an obvious dealer was running ahead of us all over the house, I guess to make sure he could pick out the good stuff first. Literally just darting in front of us, lest we get to that flimsy 1975 magazine rack before he could.

We went upstairs, and he immediately followed. We started joking about a really old chair in the bedroom, saying it would look great in our living room. We were obviously insincere, but that didn’t stop the dick from practically mowing us down to claim it. When you’re willing to be a rude jerk to total strangers so you can make a few dollars off of some dead woman’s busted chair, it’s time to Google around for deficiency quizzes.

At the final yard sale of the afternoon, someone had a bucket of Hot Wheels that looked like they’d spent ten years in dirt and almost as many with a really heavy guy stepping on them. “$40 for the whole pail. I can’t break the set.” Set? What set? The cars were only associable by the fact that they were all broken and dirty. I wanted one because a mangled Hot Wheels car is among the greatest symbols of yard sales, but I didn’t need a full “set.”

Oh well, I still scored some decent stuff! Read More…

Five Random Action Figures, Part 6!

Jeez, it’s been over a year since the last edition of Five Random Action Figures?

On it, chief. Here are five more toys plucked from my shelves and bins. Some of them hold deep, personal meaning for me. Others are just cool killer robots.

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Slimer
The Real Ghostbusters, 1986

While I’d argue that Stay Puft was the quintessential Real Ghostbusters figure, I think Slimer (alternatively, “Green Ghost”) was a close second.

I got him on Christmas Eve in 1986, along with several other RGB “ghost” figures. If I’m remembering things correctly, and that’s likely as I’m infallubel, those were the very first Ghostbusters toys I ever received. So began a love affair!

Kenner’s Real Ghostbusters stood apart from every other line of its era. The toys felt brighter and inexplicably higher-tech than competing action figure sets, and the play value was simply enormous. The good guys came with accessories that actually did stuff, and even if some of the ghosties didn’t, they were so big and neon that nobody noticed.

This is actually the same Slimer figure from that fateful Christmas Eve. I’d recognize that chipped tongue anywhere. Slimer originally came with three pieces of rubber food, marking this as the only action figure in history whose “weapons” were meat, pizza and watermelon.

More intensely detailed Slimer figures arrived in the years that followed, but I’ll always prefer this one to the rest. Mainly because you can hold him like an ice cream cone. Read More…

The return of sooo many Kool-Aid flavors!

And the hits just keep on comin’!

Last November, my ears perked up during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast. As a giant Kool-Aid Man rolled down 34th Street, one of the hosts casually announced some of upcoming flavors for 2014. Among them was SHARKLEBERRY FIN.

The host didn’t know this, but Sharkleberry Fin wasn’t a “new” flavor. It existed many years ago, delighting Kool-Aid lovers with its adorable mascot: A pink shark wearing sunglasses. It was just one of several “character-based” Kool-Aid flavors that I’ve been gushing about for my entire goddamned internet history.

Well, as most of you know, Sharkleberry Fin did come back. That shark is out there and ready to recapture the hearts of untold millions.

But brother, he didn’t come alone!

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I’ve been trying to cut down on my textual expletives, but HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Sharkleberry Fin! Purplesaurs Rex! The Great Bluedini! Rock-A-Dile Red! Pink Swimmingo! That’s EVERY character-based Kool-Aid flavor in HISTORY, brought back at the same time!

Having collectively run their course by the end of the ‘90s, it seemed that these flavors would only live on in our memories. (Unless you’re like me, and dedicated too many nights and far too much money to tracking down the original packets.) The combination of great flavors and wild mascots made them some of the most beloved Kool-Aid flavors ever. With my long history of Kool-Aid reviews, I can’t tell you how many times people have emailed begging for packets of Purplesaurus Rex or Rock-A-Dile Red. My answer was always “SORRY MINE.”

Many openly pined for them, but few expected Kool-Aid to actually bring them back, and nobody expected them to bring back ALL FIVE AT ONE TIME. Read More…

The Ninja Turtles invade Pizza Hut!

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Wackadoo promotions for the new Ninja Turtles movie are all over the place, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I know a lot of folks are feeling “cautious” about Michael Bay’s take, but whatever. A movie you don’t like is just a movie you don’t like, and it needn’t spoil the parts of Turtledom that you do like.

Even if it ends up being terrible, I’ll be glad it exists. Without that movie’s need for mass awareness, I wouldn’t be able to drink baby blue Crush soda with pictures of Leonardo on the bottle. Nor would I be able to order NINJA TURTLES PIZZA.

Yes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pizza! On a tip from a reader (thanks, Derick), I learned that Pizza Hut has released FOUR special “Cheesy Bites” pizzas, each intended to be the “favorite” of one of the Ninja Turtles! Read More…

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…