Dinosaur Dracula!

Nintendo Trophy Figures.

This is a Nintendo Trophy Figure, from 1988. I know it doesn’t look like much, but remember, there weren’t many Nintendo toys at all at that time. These things were gold-by-default.

It was a surprisingly large collection, with characters representing three of the era’s biggest games: Super Mario, Zelda and Punch-Out. (I’m going with the abbreviated titles, because the full versions are stuffed with periods and exclamation points and other things that make grammar checks nightmares.) Read More…

The Best Chest.

Today is my birthday. The last few minutes of it, anyway. I’m 34. It feels outrageously old.

As some of you know, I’m weird about birthdays. Actually, I’m much weirder about birthdays than I’ve ever let on. When it’s time to sing the birthday song to someone, I hide in the back and pretend to be distracted. When it’s time for other people to sing it to me, it’s sheer torment. Those twenty seconds feel like two hours. Of being on fire.

It’s been this way since my late teens. One year, I spent an entire night out with my closest friends, never once mentioning that it was my birthday. I’ve gone to tremendous lengths to keep it a secret. It isn’t just because I hate getting older, because even if I do, I’ve been an idiot about birthdays since I was practically still a child.

In more recent years, I’ve even gotten weird about birthday presents. The people who gotta give them to me “by law” will always struggle, because I will never even hint at what I might want. I don’t know where this comes from; it’s not like I have these issues at Christmastime.

Anyway, for the past few weeks, my might-as-well-be-wife was pushing me for gift ideas. My answers ranged from “I don’t know” to “I don’t need anything” to “I hate my birthday don’t you dare get me a present.” Even when she’d suggest totally practical things that I could totally use, I’d weasel my way out. “Nah, I’ll just use it once and forget about it.”

As a cake topper, I have a terrible poker face, and I’m the worst person to ever try to surprise. So if you think she should’ve just picked something on her own without any semblance of “permission,” trust me, she’s learned not to from experience.

A few nights back, she grilled me again. This time, she was serious. Maybe even teary. It finally hit the point where I could no longer be a cold jerk in good conscience. I hate it when things hit that point. I had to fess up.

“Well, there was this weird storage chest on Craigslist…”

Not the response she was expecting, I guarantee you that.

Behold, my birthday present. That weird chest from Craigslist. THE BEST CHEST.

We’d never bought or sold anything on Craigslist before. I’d heard too many horror stories about it. Even when I’ve seen listings for amazing things at unreal prices, I could never pull the trigger.

But this… this was different. That chest SPOKE to me. Each side has a different piece of art, and the whole thing is just so incredible and bizarre and perfectly up my alley. I had to have it.

Since this was my birthday present, she wanted to pick it up alone. That was a no-go for me. I’ve been brought up to believe that everyone on Craigslist is a psychopathic murderer with a secret torture chamber. So I went along for the ride. Turns out, the owner/artist was a perfectly nice and normal guy, with a cool car to boot. He even gave us a severe discount.

He’d worked on the chest bit by bit for more than a year. Bless his heart: It was even more incredible in person. This thing is just so insanely me.

Below is a closer look at the various scenes, and if you don’t come out of this believing that this really is the best chest, leave Dino Drac and never come back. Read More…

Vintage Vending #9: Las Vegas!

In today’s video, the Vintage Vending series continues with a trip to Las Vegas:

Though you might expect a “Las Vegas” prize assortment to have everything to do with casinos and vacations, this one doesn’t. No, this one comes with a plastic machine gun.

…but it’s not like such deviations were uncommon with vending machine sets, which so often established a theme and then did very little to support it. In this case, I’m fine with that. I’m not going to complain about guns and robots when the alternative was some lame temporary tattoo that said “JACKPOT.” I play the fool, but I ain’t one.

Mad Mascots: Trump!

Remember when I wrote about Bigg Mixx? I think we should turn that into a series. A series about mad mascots. There are many bewilderingly beautiful brand mascots deserving of short tributes and crudely assembled image collages, and it is my intention to give them what’s owed!

…let’s start with this guy. “Trump.”

Even if you don’t immediately recognize him, I can all but guarantee that you’ve seen Trump before. He’s Monster.com’s mascot, and if you can’t figure out the connection between an online job database and a bizarre, frog-like mutant, you’ve overlooked the obvious explanation: Trump is a monster. Read More…

A post filled with random things.

It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon. I’m sitting in front of the television, but it isn’t on. All I see is the vague, smeary reflection of me, looking strangely demonic. I’m drinking coffee from a mug that says “coffee” on it. Next to me is a cat that wants to eat people food.

I can write things like that, because this post is themeless, hopeless, and only exists because I don’t want new readers who stumbled here from that Cabin in the Woods article to think Dino Drac is all about gazpacho. It isn’t.

And so this will be a post filled with random things.

This amazing device (yes, device) was a late Christmas present from two readers. I feel I should protect the innocent, so let’s call them J & A.  It’s a dinosaur in a tie that spits Nerf-ish yellow balls when you squeeze it. It’s almost as fun to describe as it is to play with.

J & A even added a custom cape, effectively transforming this into the official Dinosaur Dracula Ball-Spitting Dino Guy. Since my blood is warm and I have a soul, I love it to death. Thank you, J & A! Read More…

Fake Gazpacho Recipe.

Gazpacho is a cold vegetable soup, something like tomato soup, but even more like chopped vegetables with tomato juice thrown on top. At least, the best kinds are.

Here’s how to make a super easy and quick gazpacho, though it comes with the admission that this technically isn’t gazpacho at all. But I am so not going to miss a chance to type “gazpacho” two dozen times. It is FUN.

First, buy prepared mirepoix from your local grocer. Mirepoix is chopped celery, onions and carrots, normally used as a base ingredient for stocks and stews. I see it at stores fairly regularly these days, so I do not feel out of bounds in my assumption that every grocery store in every city in every country has it for sale.

Course, if yours doesn’t, it’s not hard to buy the vegetables and chop them yourself. If you do, feel free to add others. Cucumber might be nice, because real gazpacho is never without it. In fact, the lack of cucumber here is my precise reason for qualifying this as “fake” gazpacho.

Gazpacho word count: 6. Read More…

Vlog: Popeye Shredded Bubble Gum!

A new feature is up, covering ten more old comic book ads. Good ones, too. Everything from Game Genies to Brach’s Rocks. Read it.

…or read it after you watch today’s video, in which I examine Popeye Shredded Bubble Gum.

Made in 1981 and likely inspired by Big League Chew, Popeye’s gum has not aged well. The video will prove this. :(