22nd Nov2013

West Week Ever – 11/22/13

by Will

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Who knew you guys would like a post about Pure Moods?! That was my most popular post in a LONG time. Hell, it even did better than West Week Ever. So, after today, every week will be Pure Moods Friday!

I’m kidding. Even I can’t eke that much material out of a compilation CD series. Still, I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading it!

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I found myself in the middle of a flame war this week, as I cosigned a friend’s opinion on a porn star’s bad tit job on Twitter. Turns out said porn star knows how to use Google, and got all offended. Hey, get mad at your doctor, not us! Anyway, this led to a rebuttal post, then her PR guy got involved, trying to make me and a bunch of folks look bad. At the end of the day, I’m not sorry for what I said, which was that she was either dumb or just got around to googling herself since the offending tweet was sent a month ago. I, personally, didn’t say anything about her atrocious tits. Whoops! Oh well.

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It took an SNL performance and several more listens, but Artpop has finally grown on me. The strongest songs are “Venus”, “G.U.Y.”, “Dope”, “Gypsy”, and the title track, “Artpop”. Still don’t think it’s as strong as Born This Way, but I was pretty hard on it last week. It also debuted at #1, so it’s got that going for it. Still, 5 strong songs out of 15 isn’t great, especially when it’s the other songs that’ll probably be released as singles.

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Something’s been bothering me about this season of How I Met Your Mother – have they retconned Robin’s sister? If you go all the way back to season 2, Robin’s younger sister, Katie, comes to town and plans to lose her virginity. The gang talks her out of it, and she decides to wait. And then she was never mentioned again. In the middle of all the Robin/Robin Sparkles flashbacks, it’s almost like she was an only child. Apparently, Robin lived with her mom during the Sparkles years, so maybe it’s a half sister? Either way, she hasn’t been mentioned since that episode, yet there’s a wedding on the horizon, and still no one’s mentioning her. Hell, they finally broached the topic of Robin’s mom (who won’t be making the trip to the ceremony), but still haven’t mentioned the sister. This seems kinda sloppy for a show that has always tried to do right by its continuity.

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In the past, I’ve written about Geeks for Tots – the holiday contest run by The Robot’s Pajamas. Sadly, due to work and school commitments, Geeks for Tots won’t be happening this year. All is not lost, however, as Infinite Hollywood has an alternative: Infinite Toys for Tots. Basically, the site will match any toy donation that you can prove with a picture of you dropping a toy into a Toys for Tots bin. GFT used to get a lot of backlash for the fact that donors could win prizes for donating. People would say, “Why can’t you just donate for the pleasure of doing something good?” Well, this does just that, as you get nothing but that squishy feeling! You can read more about it here, but let’s help some less fortunate kids to have a great holiday season!

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Speaking of the holiday season, now would be a great time for you to revisit Will’s World of Wonder. We’ve been quiet, but we’re still alive and kicking. In fact, I recently added a bunch of vintage Power Rangers zords, as well as some other trinkets. When you’re looking for something special for the fanboy in your life, choose Will’s World of Wonder!

Though I haven’t sung with them in 10 years, my collegiate a cappella group, Last Call, just released their new album. It sounds great, and if you’re a fan of music without accompaniment, you can get it from iTunes. Here’s a sampler:

Links I Loved

Dave Holmes on TRL, Jesse Camp and 1998’s Other Big MTV Moments – Vulture

Stretching Spandex Over Melanin Won’t Make Comics More Diverse – The Nerds of Color

Tanya Tate’s Boobs (Risky for Work) – The Robot’s Pajamas

The 50 Sexiest People Born in 1985 – UnderScoopFire!

Comics are for Children – The Nerds of Color

Best-Lock Continues Its Reign of Terrible Licensed Construction Toys with Stargate SG-1 – Double Dumbass On You

One had a city in the palm of his hands, while the other was just holding her boobs. One is helping the needy, while the other is kinda seedy. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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No one had a week like Batkid. Technically, he probably should’ve had the West Week Ever last week, but his takeover of San Francisco happened after the post was published. Still, nothing that happened this week even came close to the media juggernaut of a little, cancer-stricken kid fighting crime with 10,000 volunteers in his corner. They say that the whole day will end up with a price tag of $105,000, but who cares, really? It seemed like a pretty fun day for all involved. If anything, I feel sorry for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as this just raises the bar for them. It used to be kids only wanted a giant ice cream sundae or a few minutes to visit with John Cena. Now, they’re ALL gonna wanna take over cities. The charity world will never be the same after this, and that’s why Batkid had the West Week Ever.

01st Feb2013

West Week Ever – 2/1/13

by Will

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This one is hard for me. West Week Ever started out as the weekly spot for me to not only ramble about pop culture, but also really delve into the “science” of social media. That’s never been truer than today. You see, this week I found out that I lost a dear friend. The problem, however, is that I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. You see, I’d never actually met this person. This was an online friendship. However, it was deep enough that it taught me that you can have actual, meaningful connections with people you’ve never met. It was my first such friendship, and it paved the way for a lot of the connections I have online today.

I’ve mentioned this person in the past. Back when I did Follow Friday, I was known to refer to her as “my favorite woman on Twitter” (it was cool – my wife didn’t tweet much at the time). It’s funny – when she first followed me, I thought she was spam. Non-descript avatar, seemed to be following a shit ton of people. Unlike a lot of people, I’m not waging a war against spammers, so I just let her be. Then, we actually started to interact. She was in grad school, while also working as a nanny. She loved that job and was always referring to her “girls”, like they were her own kids. She was curious about life and LOVED to dance. She fell in love, and shared her joy with me. When she dealt with something I had experienced, she came to me for advice. She was one of the first people to know about my engagement. She actually downloaded my a cappella mp3s from my college days, and was probably my biggest (and last remaining) fan. As sweet as she was, you’d never know about the things she had going on in her life. Eventually, because of those things, she kinda left the online world behind her.

Around the end of the holiday season, I started thinking about her. I remembered she didn’t celebrate Christmas (non-Jewish white girl, not celebrating Christmas? You’re missing out!), and that was always quaint, yet weird, to me. I remembered her last email to me, right after my engagement. It ended in sort of an ominous way. You know how when a TV show has a finale that’s not really advertised as a finale? Well, it was like that. She was going through her stuff, and I had a wedding to make happen, so I let it simmer. This was around the same time that Catfish on MTV was gaining traction, and while everyone online had jokes like, “Haven’t these people ever heard of Google?”, I started to wonder myself: was this friendship real? Was this person real? I had done my due diligence, so I managed to tuck it in the back of my head, and go on with life. So, when the holidays rolled around, I thought it would be a good time to check in. And that’s when I knew something was wrong.

Minutes after I emailed her, I got an auto response telling me that all inquiries about her should be forwarded to her sister, and it listed her email address. Whatever was happening here, I knew it couldn’t be good. Had something returned from her past? Was I really being  “catfished” and this person was simply tired of the charade and was ready to come clean? I wasn’t sure. I simply forwarded it to her sister, prefacing it with an explanation of how I knew her. And then I didn’t hear back. Until yesterday. In the middle of a work meeting, I saw that I had an email, and I knew who it was from when I saw the subject line. Something told me not to deal with it then. It would be there when the meeting was done. And I managed to stick to that for most of the meeting. Then, my mind began to wander and I gave in. After the first line, I wished I had waited.

The reply was from my friend’s sister. She was telling me that my friend had actually passed away back in July, from an aneurysm. I don’t get into this with many people, but there’s actually one thing off limits to me when it comes to joking around: aneurysms. It might seem like an odd thing to have off limits, but there’s a reason for it. You see, when I was 3 years old, my dad died from an aneurysm. Not only did that cause pain at a young age, and lead me to grow up without a father, but aneurysms have served as a sort of biological boogeyman ever since. You don’t know how you get them. You can just be living your life and BAM. And that’s what happened here. She had returned home from school, was getting ready to face the world as a grown up, and it all ended in an instant. So, as for my life’s scorecard, Will: 0, Aneurysms: 2. That’s two people who were very important to me, yet I didn’t know all that well, taken by aneurysms.

Again, this is a weird place for me. I’m not new to death. I was raised by the Black Golden Girls. Some random Alabama cousin dies every month. I’ve probably been to more funerals than birthday parties. It’s just amazing that someone you’ve never met can have that kind of effect on you. Before her, I was mainly following comic blogs, and not really interacting on Twitter. I really considered her a friend, as I consider many of you. You may see me as the obnoxious guy, telling bad jokes all the time, but I do it for you. I’m just the insecure guy trying to impress his friends in the lunchroom. It’s just that our lunchroom is digital. Whenever I think back to how stupid it might seem to worry about losing followers and whatnot, I think about situations like this and realize that many of you are so much more to me than that. And while that may seem sad, it’s the future. I know because AT&T commercials have been selling that dream for 20 years. Anyway, there’s no real conclusion to that. I just had to get it out. Maybe some of you will feel it’s a bit much, but I hope that maybe some of you can relate.

Whew!

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OK, so I was also invited to participate in UnderScoopFire’s list of The 50 Funniest Women of All Time. This was harder than you’d think, and I even had to poll Lindsay for her opinions. Basically, each of us submitted our Top 25, and then Howie Decker used his trusted methodology to compile the list. At the outset, it was never meant to be a DEFINITIVE list. Anyone who’s been on the Internet for a week knows that these are great for generating discussion. Still, some folks on Twitter were all “Fuck yo’ methodology” and “Where’s Megan Mullally?” I don’t wanna sell out the system because I like how USF’s lists are done. All I can really explain is my thinking on the matter.

First off, Sarah Beattie is an actual comedy writer, so even if I disagree, I defer to the pro. That said, I feel the need to bring up something I discussed with Howie. This was a really hard list to make because you have to be honest with yourself and ask “Do I really think she’s funny OR do I just think she’s hot?” Yeah, this may seem crass and sexist, but it’s an important aspect of comedy to recognize. This list wasn’t limited to the world of standup, but let’s just look at that subset for a bit. Male comics aren’t hot. They’re typically shlubby, balding and/or insecure. Dane Cook was the first, modern-day standup heart throb, which I think is the source of a lot of the ire directed at him. Sure, he’s not the strongest comic, but I think guys in the audience never felt threatened by comics until him. With Dane,  here was a guy who could easily fuck their girlfriends. That’s threatening. Now there’s the flip side. There’s an up and coming crop of SMOKING female comics. This isn’t to say they’re all not funny, but it does mean they bring something extra to the plate to compensate for weaker humor, if needed. I think they use their looks as a crutch. Take Amy Schumer. She’s cute and witty, and she’s studied every rape joke that Sarah Silverman has ever written. Still, she’s too green to be on a list of the BEST OF ALL TIME.

To me, a few people on this list haven’t paid their dues enough to be here. Along with Schumer, that includes Plaza (she’s one of the Best of Right Now, but time will tell), Farris (she plays dumb girl roles, not funny girl), Fisher (she married a funny guy), Schaal/Lynch (future Hall of Famers, but not there yet), and McCarthy (still coasting off that ONE good Bridesmaids performance). And that’s not even taking into account the people I just never found funny; I can still recognize their contributions to the “art”. So, that’s the beauty of democracy: everyone gets a voice, but not everybody “wins”. Still, I was honored to have been chosen, and I just wanted to shed a little light on my thoughts of the final tally.

Before I go, HUGE shout-out to my man @RobotsPJs who hooked me up with some Hostess goodness. Be sure to check out his Snack Reports over at The Robots Pajamas!

This Week’s Post:

Thrift Justice: Bipartisan$#!+

And check out my current eBay auctions!

 

28th Dec2012

West Week Ever – 12/28/12

by Will

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I wasn’t really sure if I was gonna post this week, but here I am – one year older, but not much wiser.

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Santa was good to me, as you can see.  No, I’m not crazy – “Santa” was ME. I found all these in the days just before Christmas and my birthday, and Lindsay wrapped them for me.

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She got me these items, as well as some nice and well-needed clothes. And please don’t start with the “Why didn’t you get the Blu Ray?” I’m not ready to upgrade my entire collection just yet. I wanted to keep things consistent!

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I also bought my first Transformer at retail in I don’t know how long. He just looked cool, and since I got his “predecessor” recently, I felt like this was a proper bookend piece.

Speaking of Santa, I’ve been thinking a lot about Die Hard. At the time of the first movie, Lucy and John Jr are still the right age to be doing the Santa thing. Now, if that’s the case, the Christmas depicted in the first movie would mean the jig was up. I mean, I’m sure they were glad their parents weren’t dead, but I’ll bet they also really wanted one of those Nintendos everyone was talking about. I’ve wondered before: at what point do the McClanes just stop celebrating holidays?

Ever notice how so many aspects of Christmas sound like drugs? “Yo man – I got that Kris Kringle, I got that Rudolph. You got the cash, I got that Good King Wenceslas!”

Got this from a Google+ pal (see, it IS good for something!): If you’re in the PA area, you MUST check this place out! It looks so awesome.

I wanna talk about Will’s World of Wonder. Someone recently asked me if I’m “still doing that”. The short answer is “yes” (and they clearly haven’t been reading these posts, where I pimp the site on a weekly basis). This is gonna sound like sour grapes, but here it is: I’m still selling, just as actively as ever. I just got tired of the hustle, especially when it wasn’t getting me anywhere. I currently sell on the site, Craigslist, and eBay. I made the decision to stop posting links on Twitter because it was really just spam. Twitter makes up almost none of my customer base. Plus, I felt like no one on there wanted what I was selling. I speak better in analogies: I’m Pepsi, but everyone keeps raving about how great Coke is – to my face, even. So, why continue the Cola War when I could just be Dr. Pepper? So, the store is still going strong, but at this point I figure everyone knows where it is and to check it at their leisure. And if you read West Week Ever, then you can always take the link at the bottom as your cue to check in and see what’s new.

Speaking of Cola Wars, I was recently introduced to Sarsi, which is a Coke product that’s essentially Filipino root beer. I have a Filipino godson, and his family is constantly introducing me to stuff I never dreamt I’d consume. Sarsi smells like licorice, which I hate, but tastes so much better. It’s like the Scotch of soda – you don’t guzzle it, but sip it. Nurse it. Think back to days gone by.

Last night, I had the pleasure of joining TimDogg98 and ClassickMateria for a Comic Book Chronicles episode of the Kliqnation Podcast. I’ll post a link when it goes live, but I’ll give ya a teaser: we discussed comics. What, you want more? Fine, more specifically, we discussed Amazing Spider-Man #700 and the events within. It was a great time, so I hope you’ll check it out.

Anyway, that does it for this week. Oh yeah, since the world was supposed to end last week, could we refer to every event going forward as “Post Crisis” now? No? OK. See ya in 2013!

21st Dec2012

West Week Ever – 12/21/12

by Will

oie_922142seDasWF9 It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And I don’t know what I want. I’ve become a hard person to shop for, as I tend to just buy what I want, or I want something that’s really obscure. Right now, I’m working on a long-term project I’ll tell you about one of these days. If anything, I’d ask for stuff to help that out, but again, it’s really only the kind of thing I can do myself. Ooohh…vague!

I am so NOT in a Christmas mood. Between all the stuff in the world, and the fact that I feel like I just took down the last Christmas tree, the season just kinda snuck up on me. Anyway, I got awesome holiday cards from the folks at UnderScoopFire and from Claymation Werewolf, which helped to move me towards the Christmas mood.

Earlier this week, I professed my love for SiriusXM. On that note, two songs stood out to me as the Best of the Week: Courtesy of 70s 0n 7, here’s “The Best Disco In Town”, by The Ritchie Family. More than a medley, but not quite a mashup – this song perfectly captures every hit of the era.  

Here we have the SiriusXM exclusive of Colbie Caillat’s cover/mashup of The Script’s “Breakeven” and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”. I’ve always felt that Colbie doesn’t get enough credit. She’s cute and talented, but she’s always on the periphery, like some kind of surf bunny Jack Johnson.

I made the mistake of jumping from the middle of Burn Notice season 2 to tonight’s 6th season finale, and I didn’t have a clue what the Hell was going on. When did the halfy from Third Watch join the team? I guess I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Gotta say, this whole “Miami A-Team” routine has really aged the group, especially Michael. Even his voiceovers sound old and tired. He’s starting to look like someone’s fit dad. Anyway, WHAT THE HELL DID MICHAEL DO?!!! I have to wait until summer?! olivia It turns out Pawn Stars fired Olivia because she used to be a Suicide Girl. Apparently, she used to be called Belladonna Suicide. There also happens to be a hardcore porn star named Belladonna. I swear, I have never had so much trouble finding porn online in my life. Anyway, I’m not surprised. I mean, she kinda had a stripper vibe to her, and they are in Vegas. To be honest, Suicide Girls is a little higher an echelon than I expected for her. I mean, it’s not like SG has a mansion, but they all have that “I’m a 25 year old Women’s Studies major (when I’m not working at Color Me Mine) because I took time off to travel with my boyfriend’s band” vibe to them. She doesn’t really exude that energy to me.

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While I write this, I’m also catching up on my backlog of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episodes. I haven’t really mentioned it, but I LOVE that show. Am I the only one who wants to hug Mikey whenever he’s onscreen? To be honest, up top I said I didn’t want anything for Christmas, but I want those friggin’ action figures. Foolish me thought they’d be around forever, and now they’re harder to get than plutonium. I did, however, luck into 2 of the Classics the other day, but Lindsay’s making me wait til Christmas to open them. Plus, they’re my two least favorite Turtles (Raph & Leo). Anyway, if you’d told me 20 yrs ago that I’d be asking for Ninja Turtles for my 31st birthday, I’d probably want to high five my future self. Young Me was too foolish to know how sad this is.

Did you donate to Toys for Tots this year? If so, don’t forget to enter Geeks for Tots. Funny story: I donated but forgot to take a picture.  It didn’t really seem appropriate, being a sponsor and all. Plus, the setting wasn’t right. Ya see, instead of a dropbox, I had a different scenario: a good friend of mine threw a birthday party for his son. Since the kid wants for nothing, they asked that we bring something to donate to Toys for Tots. Little did we know that 2 Marines would actually show up to dine with us and pick up the toys. It was a pretty cool event, but it meant no pic of me dropping an Elmo into a giant giftwrapped box. Yes, we got an Elmo. It wasn’t his fault! He thought Kevin was just hugging those boys!

Anyway, I hope y’all have a Merry Christmas/scrumptious Chinese food dinner, and don’t forget to read this week’s posts:

XM Marks The Spot

Thrift Justice – Taking It To The Next Level

And feel free to spend your hard earned money at Will’s World of Wonder!

07th Dec2012

West Week Ever – 12/7/12

by Will

It truly was the West Week Ever! First off, y’all apparently had no thoughts on the Chris Brown post. Or you didn’t wanna share them. Either way, I felt what I said needed to be said. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming of pop culture and toy talk.

So, this was on the side of a site I was visiting:

I can’t hit her! She’s a girl! Yeah, Chris Brown sucks, but this doesn’t really send a great message, either. She’s not even wearing protective headgear!

I was on a podcast that went live this week, thanks to the guys at UnderScoopFire! That intro may be the best thing I’ve ever heard, and I plan to somehow make it my outgoing voicemail message. I had a great time discussing the aforementioned Breezy situation, spoilers, Twitter and more! I had no clue I’d trigger the shitstorm that arose in the comments section, but that was fun, too. His words ONLY MADE ME STRONGER!!! Anyway, be sure to give it a listen!

-Anyone remember when voice-tracking was the greatest kept secret in radio? Not sure what voice-tracking is? OK, basically, it’s when a DJ records a bunch of non regionally-specific banter between songs so that it can be used in another radio market. So, your favorite afternoon drive-time DJ actually does nights on a station in Arizona with the same format. It used to be kept quiet because it’s the boogeyman of the industry. I mean, why bring attention to the fact that a station owner could save money by hiring fewer DJs to man their stations? Anyway, this is how The Kane Show airs in DC, as well as 5 other stations. Or how Rob Kruz does night work halfway across the country. Nowadays, they talk about it like it’s nothing. That’s an important development, almost like when WWE finally pulled back the curtain to show how they did chair shots and table smashing. I mean, you do what you gotta do, lest you end up with a JACK format (no DJs, so no jobs), but I’m still surprised by how brazen it has become.

Speaking of radio, I just spent an afternoon studying how War of the Roses is made. It’s all fake! Why can’t ANYTHING in “reality programming” be REAL anymore?! I mean, there’s no way they’d get permissions from both parties, but still! It’d come off as more realistic if they didn’t have 2 different ones per week. Anyway, I stumbled upon this article that lays it all out.

 

So, I found this video this week. If you’re not familiar with the artist, it’s Shannon Bex – also known as “the white girl who wasn’t Aubrey O’Day in Danity Kane”. Don’t know who or what a Danity Kane is? You clearly didn’t watch Making the Band. Anyway, I’d heard that she wanted to go country, but I’m perplexed by this video. I haven’t watched CMT in a bit, but me thinks there be too many folks of color in this clip. I mean, it shows she’s “hip”, I guess, but the whole exercise just comes off as stilted. Also, she needs to go back to her old look, as the blonde think just makes her look like every other country starlet trying to fill the Taylor Swift gap.

Finally, something cool happened to me in the last week, as I got the attention of one of the writers of Power Rangers. Not just any writer, but the guy who wrote the anniversary episode “Forever Red” – Mr. Amit Bhaumik. His story’s pretty interesting, as it seems that he started out as just a superfan writing fanfic. Next thing you know, he’s working on the real deal. Anyway, last week he was talking about the change in Jason’s (original Red Ranger) personality from his last appearance in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to his return in Power Rangers ZEO. His character had been written out to go to an “international peace conference”, yet he came back like the conference was no longer an issue. So, I tweeted:

Shortly thereafter, I see this in my mentions:

He retweeted me! But that’s not all. Yesterday, I sent him the link to my Power Rangers theme post, and not only did he retweet that, but he also weighed in:

Look, I’m sorry I’m fanboying, but THIS IS A BIG DEAL TO ME! You’ve seen the Power Rangers posts! Anyway, that capped off my week on a good note.

I can’t go without mentioning Geeks for Tots. It’s a fun contest where you could win awesome prizes by donating to Toys for Tots. Some people resent the idea of “being rewarded” for doing a good deed, but you shouldn’t think of it that way. It’s a great cause, and you’ll be helping less fortunate kids to have a happy holiday season. Here’s an interview I did with the Geeks for Tots founder last year, and be sure to visit the site for more info. I’m not just a Geeks for Tots booster, but I’m also a sponsor. This is a VERY important weekend for the program, as the dropbox items will be collected soon. So, let’s get out there and put some smiles on some tiny faces!

Anyway, be sure to check out this week’s posts:

Comical Thoughts – When You’re A Spy…

Play It Again, Karone: A Look Back On 20 Years of Power Rangers Music

And feel free to buy something from me at Will’s World of Wonder!

07th Mar2012

Thrift Justice: The Hardest Thing I’ll Ever Have To Do…

by Will

Cue the 98 Degrees! So, in all my thrift trips, I come across things which I just can’t justify buying. Sure, they’d make great conversation pieces, but that’s also the road to life as a hoarder. It’s hard, though, leaving this stuff behind. How will I ever be the King of Kitsch if I don’t buy all this stuff?! Thanks to the miracle of camera phones, I can’t take a little bit of the item with me, without having to store it somewhere. This time around, I thought I’d share a few of those thought-provoking items with you!

This…this I actually bought. I didn’t mean to buy it. It just happened to be in an action figure grab bag that I bought. Yup, it’s The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, in scuba gear. In fact, if you take the mouthpiece out of his mouth, and remove his goggles, he has a horrified look on his face. No, this wasn’t made after his death as some sort of joke piece; this was made before his death. THIS FIGURE PREDICTED HIS DEATH! I just couldn’t have that in my chi, so back to the thrift store he went.

In case you can’t read it, the tagline is “Now the excitement of the Double Dare game show is in a book!” BULL and SHIT! If you’ve EVER seen Double Dare, you know that there’s no possible way to capture that in print form! Unless the pages are made from sheets of Gak, this book is full of lies. This sounds like the product of Marc Summers’s OCD: “Guys, isn’t there a…cleaner way we could do the show? How about a book? Yeah, where they’d only have to touch pages and there’d be no goo! I’ve gotta go count the fringe on my rug now.”

I’m not sure if it’s the result of new meds, but I had a dream yesterday where a panda bear fell in love with me. It knew English (no accent – very impressive) and had an unhealthy infatuation with me. It lived in a shopping mall, and my family thought it was the funniest situation. Because my family would find something fucked up like that to be funny. Anyway, I think this thing might have been messing with my brainwaves. Don’t look into its eyes!

Try not to pay attention to the dead baby legs in the bottom corner. No, you need to focus on the cover. Here’s a little backstory. This is actually on the cover to a “rainy day detective mystery book”. The selling point, however, is that the book provides “Hours and Hours of ‘By-Yourself Enjoyment'”. And get this – the “By-Yourself Enjoyment” has the little “rights reserved” R after it. So, not only does this sound like some kind of sketchy, masturbatory manual, but someone actually OWNS the phrase “By-Yourself Enjoyment”! Mind. Blown.

This would be the official timepiece of my Man Cave. I love everything about it! The 80s flair. The shoddy, “I made this in woodshop” nature of the clock; the brunette who looks like Kelly Kapowski after eating a well-needed sandwich. The wine glass stickers that had been affixed to give it a bit of a feminine touch.

I feel like I could’ve made this…ya know, if I hadn’t quit woodshop. Funny story, that. The one year I went to public school, I was all set to take woodshop, but my mom didn’t trust the kids in the class to not saw off my hand. So, I made the social faux pas of telling the teacher in the middle of class, “My mom’s not sure she wants me in this class”. From that day on, the supposedly sweet girl around the corner decided to call me “faggot” every day on the walk from the bus. Good times. Anyway, this clock reminds me of what might’ve been.

This couple has never seen a black person. Their eyes are just incapable of focusing on that spectrum. The same with poor people. The dude, however, looks like a character Will Arnett would play.

I love children’s programming, but I hated the FUCK out of Big Bad Beetleborgs (later Beetleborgs Metallix). It was your standard “pretty kids turn into Japanese heroes” show, but this seemed to cater to a younger age than Power Rangers. To drive this point home, the show’s “mascot” was Flabber, who’s pictured on the box. Flabber is what you’d get if Jay Leno were a Liberace impersonator and then you murdered him. He was this gaudy, ghostly fuck who was supposed to lend comic relief, but he was just annoying as all Hell. Plus, the show featured one of the TV tropes that I hate most: Grandma who doesn’t act her age. Get the fuck off those rollerblades, grandma! You want your fate to be at the hands of a death panel?!

Finally, we have this little gem. I’ve heard of “tough love”, but DAMN! Yes, I understand the purpose of the “For Dummies” brand, but didn’t anyone think about this one before they sent it to press? I can see the Amazon listing now “People who bought this also bought “Suicidal Thoughts for Asshats” and “A Very Fat-astic Paula Deen Christmas”

So, as you can see, I buy a lot of shit, but I don’t buy everything. Tune in next time, when I’ll show you some of the recent stuff I hid in my trunk until my fiancee fell asleep!

15th Nov2011

It’s Beginning To Geek A Lot Like Christmas – An Interview With Geeks For Tots

by Will

This should come as a surprise to no one, but many kids out there won’t receive gifts this holiday season. Times are hard for everyone, but luckily that’s where Toys For Tots comes in. People donate toys to the organization and kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a fun holiday can get some kick butt presents. And to help encourage people to donate to Toys for Tots, the Geeks for Tots contest gives you a chance to win lots of cool prizes just for donating to Toys for Tots!

I’ve had experience “adopting” a family for the holidays, and I really enjoyed knowing that I was helping to brighten someone’s holiday. Of course I’m behind this contest 100%, but I asked Vincent at Geeks for Tots a few questions so that you can become more familiar with the organization.

How did you get into this?

Well it’s for selfish reasons. When G.I. Joe was having a 25th anniversary the line wasn’t getting much shelf space. I thought it was a shame, since 25 years ago whole aisles would have been dedicated to G.I. Joe. I thought, “How could I get G.I. Joes into kid’s hands and possibly make more Joe fans?” What followed was the brilliant idea to try to get people to buy G.I. Joes to put into the Toys For Tots system in order to spark interest in the line with kids.

Well of course that quickly transformed into wanting to get any toys into the hands of kids. Now I do it because it’s fun and helps kids, but I still buy G.I. Joes to drop off with Toys for Tots.

Why Joes for Tots, leading to why the switch to Geeks for Tots?

Like I said, the original idea was G.I. Joe based, but after taking a year off from the contest I thought that it would be easier to market the thing to a broader spectrum of people with a more general geek name. Plus the focus of the contest was not on G.I. Joes, so it just makes a lot more sense to do it this way.

What’s the takeaway message of the whole thing?

Kids need help! Yes there’s charities to make sure they have food an clothing, but it’s such a depressing thought of getting nothing for Christmas. I had a friend once who wasn’t that well off that got shampoo for Christmas. Shampoo! Toys for Tots helps lifts the spirits a bit and gives some hope in what should be a fun time.

Any memorable stories since you’ve started the charity?

Uh nothing really except some of the donation pics I’ve gotten. People always look super happy in them. And some people have donated a whole bunch of stuff. One family had a whole mini-van worth of toys. Another guy started up a toy drive and entered and he ended up winning the grand prize. It was a totally random thing, so it was cool to see karma going in a positive direction for once.

So, are you convinced? Ready to enter the contest?! Well, there are two ways to enter:

  1. You can take a picture of yourself donating to a Toys for Tots drop off box and send it to us.
  2. Send proof of an online cash donation to the Toys For Tots website (they send an email receipt that can be forwarded).

Both entries should go to geeksfortots@gmail.com. Please include “Geeks for Tots Entry” in the subject line.

You can find drop off locations here or you can call your local Toys For Tots representative.

For a full list of prizes, as well as official contest rules, be sure to visit the Geeks For Tots website!

09th Nov2011

Back & Fourth: The One With The Beyblades

by Will

So, just when I was settling into a groove with the whole lunch duty thing, The Man threw a wrench into our plans. You see, the kids used to eat in their classroom, which sort of made them a captive audience. Now, the multipurpose room is being used as a cafeteria for EVERYONE, so now I’ve got to deal with 5th graders, a different class of 4th graders, and the 4th graders I actually like. Today, I was finally able to sit down and have a tete-a-tete with “my” kids.

First off, an observation: I’m noticing these kids REALLY hate their school lunch. Now, I know the whole general cultural belief is that kids are supposed to hate school lunches, but I’m not used to that experience. I went to private school and our shit was catered. Then, I went to a college that was the home of the #1 dining hall in the country. So, I guess you can say I’ve been spoiled. I’m not gloating, though; I’m fat, so I got what I had coming to me. Anyway, it just sucks to see all the food these kids throw away. I’m not even one of those “think of the starving kids in China” people. I mean, a lot of these kids are starving, yet, they STILL won’t eat it. That’s some bad food. When the fat kid throws it away? That’s some bad food. I know the stuff doesn’t look appetizing. I mean, half the time it looks like someone took a shit in a Kid Cuisine tray. I’ve eaten some of it, and some of it wasn’t that bad, but I can see why the look might turn folks away.

I’ve also wondered if the kids might hate it just because it’s more nutritious than they’re used to eating. I am FAR from a bastion of healthy eating, but one chick’s lunch was comprised of two glazed doughnuts and a popped bagged of microwave popcorn. Another kid’s lunch was about EIGHT Fruit Roll-Ups and some Goldfish. This is the shit that happens when kids have kids! Kinda hard to give your kid a nutritious lunch when you still do most of your shopping at Five Below. Where’s the First Lady now?! She fucks up the Happy Meal, but doesn’t get to the root of the problem, the food that kids pretty much have to eat – school lunches.

Anyway, I sat down with the kids and we shot the crap. The kids had brought their Beyblades, and I was at a loss. I sold the things for years, but never really knew how they worked. It’s like if Scarface had never tried the coke! So, when Mike asked, “Mr. West, do you wanna rip my Beyblade?”, I saw it as my chance to finally learn what the whole thing was all about. For you old folks out there, let me just break it down for ya: “Beyblades” is just a fancy marketing word that means “fancy tops”. Ya know the shit your great grandpa played with on the Titanic? Yeah, those things. I’m just kinda surprised their still this popular. Shouldn’t they have been unseated by Bakugan? Has the Era of the Bakus gone?

I wasn’t gonna settle for kids being excited about an almost 10 year old toyline! No, I decided to take it to the next level. You see, there’d been some Twitter discussion about what might be The Toy of the Holiday Season this year. There’s usually an Elmo, and some other thing soccer moms are willing to shank each other over. So, I decided to take it to the kids. They’re at the “one foot out of the door of toys, one foot into the world of console games” age, so they’re the perfect audience. I also told them that they couldn’t name video games, so no Arkham City, Modern Warfare, Uncharted, etc. So, what did they answer? Beyblades! All of them. Really?! I kept asking about Bakugan. Seriously, I’ve asked them about Bakugans so much that you’d think I worked for Bakugan marketing, but those kids simply don’t give a shit about balls that open up into weeblesque “beasts”. No, today’s kids love the shit out of fancy tops. Sharpen your shivs, moms!

06th Oct2011

Thrift Justice – The Case of the Three Jokers

by Will

 

So, last weekend the rain was too much of a nuisance for any of the local yard sales to take place, but I was still jonesing for a treasure hunt. That meant that I had to find someplace indoors, which led me to the Civitan Flea Market. Located in Arlington, VA, the Civitan Flea Market occurs on the first Saturday of each month, from the months of April to November. I checked it out for the first time a few months back, and I liked what I saw. Since it takes place in a multilevel parking garage, it’s open rain or shine. Basically, a vendor pays about $20 to set up in a parking space, and you’re left to just make the rounds. From what I could tell, vendors don’t seem to have “regular” spots, so I walked around to see if I noticed any of the good vendors from my first trip. But we know you’re not here for the words – you’re here for the haul!

Recently, I’ve been buying up all the cheap Calvin & Hobbes books I run across. Here’s a little confession: I really hated C&H up until about 2 months ago. I know most of my peers fondly look back on the series, but I just never “got” it. I think I had the misfortune of always tuning in when it was one of the, for lack of a better word, “preachier” strips, so I just always felt it was overrated. That said, as someone who had a myriad of imaginary friends, this series was pretty much right up my alley. So, I found a collection at a yard sale a few weeks back, which has led to the acquisition of 2 more collections.

As a fanboy, this is one of those things that I guess I’m expected to have read. I’d never really come across it, and it always seemed a little too much of a Sandman gateway book anyway. Since I’m neither a cutter, nor do I work at Hot Topic, I always shied away. Well, on this particular day, I guess I was kinda desperate to buy a comic, and this was the best I could do. The vendor wanted $3 for it, which I felt was kinda steep. Then, she told me that it was for her grandson’s college fund. I couldn’t let the guy suffer through student loans as I had. I forked over the three Georges. Then, I asked her where he was thinking of going for college. She replied, “Well, he’s only 16 months old right now.” Huh. All I could say was, “Well, I guess you’ve got a couple more sales ahead of you.”

I’d seen this book during one of the Borders liquidation sales, but couldn’t bring myself to pay what they were asking at 25% off. This, however, is not only an advance reader’s copy but it was also a quarter! I’m a sucker for preview and promo items, so this was just what the doctor ordered. The seller had placed a sticky note on it, saying it was “Perfect for fans of Family Guy and The Daily Show“. This might just be an oversell – kinda like how every comedy compared itself to The Hangover for a whole year.

If you dare claim there was a better game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, I will slap you in the face and kidnap your dog.

Stallone was supposed to be in Beverly Hills Cop. They decided they wanted to go in another, more comedic direction. He made this instead. And it was GLORIOUS. I love this movie for the odd product placement. Just imagine: Pepsi paid to have one of their soda fountains shot up in a standoff; a Christmas-themed Toys “R” Us commercial is playing in the background, as Stallone cleans his gun and eats cold pizza!

I wouldn’t buy season sets of this show, but I am sucker enough to fall for “The Mike Judge Collection”. Sure, it’s a best of collection, but it’s a multi-disc best of. Plus, I trust Mike Judge. The man went on to give us Office Space and King of the Hill. It’ll be worth it if “Teen Talk” is one of the episodes featured. “I’m Lolita, and this here’s Tanqueray. You boys wanna go back behind the bleachers and make out?”

And now we come to the reason for this post’s title. You may not be able to tell, but this is a deck of Batman Begins playing cards. It was purchased for three reasons:

1) I love Batman

2) I love shiny things/holograms

3) They were $0.25

Now, I knew what I was getting into. The seller told me that someone earlier in the day had counted the cards and that while the deck was missing an Ace, there were THREE Jokers. Now, I’m used to quirky merchandise, so I wondered if it was supposed to have 3 Jokers. I mean, “Joker” kinda means a little more in a Batman-themed card deck, so maybe that was the novelty. Still don’t know. I don’t even play cards!

This is Tri-Klops. He’s from He-Man. That is all.

 

This is Lothor – the “big bad” from Power Rangers Ninja Storm. While he was far from the most menacing villain, I always loved his aesthetic. It’s not everyday you see an evil alien ninja in a luchadore mask. The articulation sucks, like most Power Rangers villain figures, but he still looks cool standing around.

A Nightwing doll! How cool is that?! Yes, I’m calling it a “doll” because that’s basically what this is. Sure, his body is probably based on a G.I. Joe style body, but he’s got a cloth outfit and hard plastic head. He appears to have mustard or something on his chest, but I don’t care. Nightwing doll for $1!

I got this from my favorite vendor. Last time, she had some great Batman stuff, and this was just as cool. If you’re not a comic person, this is an unused cover from X-Men: Alpha, which kicked off The Age of Apocalypse. This event started just as I was getting into comics, and I haven’t experienced something that riveting since. A lot of comic crossovers are cyclical now, but this was actually a fresh idea. Anyway, this appeals to my love of comics, as well as my love of shiny thing/holograms. Oddly enough, I don’t remember this as having a holographic cover gimmick; it shipped with a foil cover gimmick, so I wonder if this was some sort of retailer exclusive.

These came from the same vendor as the X-Men cover. It may not be immediately apparent, but the “Vote DC” poster is actually a promotional item from the Marvel vs. DC event. You’ll notice Batman hiding Captain America’s shield in his cape, as Superman brandishes The Hulk’s pants. Below that is a poster for 1991’s X-Men #1. I collect comic promo items that are typically only available to retailers, so these 2 posters were great finds.

Well, that’s all she wrote for the flea market. Next month is the last one of the season, so I’m pretty sure I’ll go check it out one last time. In the meantime, I’ve got my hands full with the thrift stores. Tune in next time, where I’ll show ya some autographed stuff I came across!

20th Dec2010

RePlay: The Christmas Experiment

by Will

So, in the DC area, WASH (97.1) becomes the all-Christmas station at this time of year. In recent years, it’s been almost a race to see how soon they’ll make the format switch. It used to occur on Black Friday, but now it happens about a week before that. Many people hate this, and groan “Let’s take care of Thanksgiving first”, but I LOVE it. I love Christmas music. I love the season and everything about it.

Now, I’ve already discussed how there aren’t any modern Christmas classics being released, so I thought I would try a little experiment. I decided to just let WASH play, and then write up a little blurb about the feelings I got from the songs played during that stretch of music. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Any): Winter time Date Rape at its finest

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Jackson 5): Bitch better not let Joe catch her!

Last Christmas (Wham): A wonderful ’80s classic. I keep this in my rotation year round. I’m actually surprised Diddy never got around to sampling this beat.

Do They Know It’s Christmas? (Band Aid): Those poor savages. I’ll bet they don’t have calendars.

All I Want For Christmas Is You (Mariah Carey): As far as I’m concerned, Love Actually Girl beat Mariah for the championship on this song. No, not really, but I love the Hell out of that movie.

White Christmas (Bing Crosby): If you listen closely, you’ll realize this used to be a Klan propaganda song. As Uncle Ruckus would say, “Look how perfect and white these nice folks is, smellin’ like lemon furniture polish!”

The Christmas Shoes (NewSong): This song takes on a whole new meaning when you realize the kid is just trying to con the store out of a fresh pair of Jordans.

Christmas Through Your Eyes (Gloria Estefan): You realize this is sung from the point of view of a Miami Sound Machine member who was blinded in one of Gloria’s bus accidents, right?

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Any): Silly folks! You can’t make a yuletide gay…unless you send it to prison. Otherwise, it has to be born that way.

Feliz Navidad (Jose Feliciano): The definitive Latin stamp on Christmas. You know Spanish people were as siced about this as black people were when we created a new version of “Happy Birthday”. Still waiting on a remix with Pitbull and Daddy Yankee, though.

OK, enough rambling from me. Until next time, remember to keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.

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