09th Jan2014

West YEAR Ever – 2013

by Will

Well, 2013 has come and gone, but we couldn’t let it go without looking back one last time. I couldn’t really wrap my head around how to write it all, so I figured we’d just go with bullet points and pics. Hell, if you’re a loyal reader, you’ve seen all this stuff before. This is just to whet your palate as you await tomorrow’s 2014 debut of West Week Ever!

Milestones of 2013

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I explored a dead mall

I got cornered by Conservatives from Craigslist

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I binge-watched a Sentai series

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I met Twitter pal @LamarRevenger

I changed the way I consume comics

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I beat a video game!

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I finally met @chrispiers! & @robotspjs!

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I celebrated 10 years of blogging

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I went to Canada

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I introduced a new blog column

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I ran my first 5K and met Twitter pals @claymationhowl, @JohnDoctorKent, @FakeEyes22, @meistershake, @bmorin54, @doubledumbass, @P0LISHPHEN0M, @howardthedeck, @chapmanrunner, and @monsterfink.

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I met Adam West and Burt Ward

My Favorite Posts of 2013

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1 Broke Plot: How 2 Broke Girls Shortened Its Lifespan

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Black History Month is Back-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack!

Because Nobody Asked: Will On Comedy

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“I Wanna Xup, Baby” AKA Anyone Else Remember Xuxa?

My (Alternate) Reality

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Judging Bottles By Their Labels

Must Flee TV – The Future of Comedy on NBC

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Pitch Perfect and the True Story of Collegiate A Cappella

The Fall Guy Cast

Reboot That Bitch: The Fall Guy

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Best of the West #3: Knight Rider Knight 2000 Voice Car

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A Tribute to Mystic Music’s Cool Rock

Where’s Mama Cass?

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Thrift Justice – The Expendables XI: Never Stop Spending!!!

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Monday Musings – Skins Series 7 and the Close of a Franchise

New+Pure+Moods+disc+1+pure+moodsPure Moods and The Loss of Innocence

West Week Ever Recipients of 2013

Seth MacFarlane
Mila Kunis
Hugh Grant
Charles Bronson
Cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Psy
Delta Gamma Sorority
Fall Out Boy
Robert Downey Jr.
Charles Ramsay
The Office
Cast of Saved by the Bell
Howie Decker
Superman
North West
Happy Endings
America
Regular Show
Breaking Bad
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Canada
Christina Bianco
Ben Affleck
Power Rangers
Jennette McCurdy and Andre Drummond
Baltimore Comic-Con
Retro Con
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Breaking Bad
Miley Cyrus
Star Wars Trilogy
Cool and Collected Magazine
Marvel
Ground Floor
Batkid
Gal Gadot
Beyonce
Paul Rudd

breaking bad reters

So, last year, I was asked “Who had the West Year Ever?” Well, for 2012, the answer was me. I’d gotten married and a whole slew of other stuff. That’s not the case for 2013, however. No, that distinction goes to Breaking Bad. It’s the only multiple West Week Ever recipient, and the series wrapped up in 2013 in top notch fashion. The only entity to come close to Breaking Bad‘s 2013 was Miley Cyrus, but she just flew a little too close to the sun to clinch it this year.

2013 was also the first full year of West Week Ever, and I couldn’t do it without you, the readers. Thanks for all your support and I hope you’ll stay with me into 2014!

06th Dec2013

West Week Ever – 12/6/13

by Will

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We’re back! Did everyone have a nice Thanksgiving? I thought about writing last Friday, but how many of you would’ve actually read it? Not many, I presume. So, we took a week off. That just means there’s twice as much stuff to talk about this week!

One thing I miss about Thanksgivings of years past is the Fox Kids TV Takeover. Back before Fox Kids was sold to ABC/Disney, there was an annual tradition that took place on the Friday after ever Thanksgiving. As this was before the prevalence of internet, kids were invited to send postcards to vote for their favorite shows. Then, on Black Friday, the Fox Kids lineup would consist of only the shows that received the most votes. It was rarely a surprise, as you could pretty much guess what you were going to see: Batman: The Animated Series, Power Rangers, X-Men, etc. The main perk was it was one of the rare times you’d get to see some shows outside of Saturday morning. They weren’t even new episodes, but it was still something I used to look forward to watching. I wish ABC Family would find some way to replicate it with an Eek! The Cat marathon or something.

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While we’re talking about watching stuff, I guess it’s a good time for a Netflix update. I’ve backed off of the movie-a-night schedule I had going there for a while. Lately, I’ve been rewatching The League because I’ve forgotten a lot of the early episodes. On the movie front, I did watch The Wedding Weekend – a movie so nice they named it thrice. No, seriously, when it was filmed, it was called Shut Up and Sing. Then, they got sued because that was the name of that Dixie Chicks documentary. Then, they renamed it to Sing Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace. Then, at some point, it simply became The Wedding Weekend. It’s about a 7-man a cappella group that reunites 15 years after college to sing for the wedding of one of the members. Drama ensues, old wounds are reopened, and there’s sexual tension. If you’re looking for an accurate depiction of collegiate a cappella, and what happens afterward, this movie does a pretty good job of capturing it. There’s the whole notion that you’ll never get those days back, and your “stardom” is fleeting. The movie seems to suggest that those days may end, but you have to continue to make those moments happen in the “real world” as best you can. It’s kind of depressing at times, but I enjoyed it. If anyone has Netflix, though, I need you to do me a favor: try to watch this movie and let me know if the audio syncs up. For the first time since I got Netflix, this is the first movie where the audio just wouldn’t sync, so I felt like I was watching a foreign film that was dubbed. This doesn’t happen on anything else that I watch, but it happened every time I tried to watch The Wedding Weekend. Does Netflix have a bad encode? Was it just my computer? Help a brother out!

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Well, it’s certainly been a week of Twitter zaniness. I’ve been known to stir up trouble on Twitter, and this week was no exception. Before we get to that, though, something else weird happened: I got a reply from a tweet I sent 2 and a half years ago! In June 0f 2011, I tweeted:

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Some backstory: Ghostwriter was a PBS show about a ghost who promoted literacy, while Jeremy Miller was Ben Seaver on Growing Pains. In the second Ghostwriter adventure, he actually joins the team and then he’s never mentioned, or seen, again.

Anyway, the other day, I got a response to that tweet that merely said:

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Apparently, this chick is his fiancee? I checked out her feed and it seems like she’s basically doing PR for him, so I guess she Googled his name and my tweet came up. It’s still weird to receive a response so long after sending the tweet. I guess you never really know who’s going to see what you write…as we’re about to find out.

So, the other night, my pal @timdogg98 retweeted this from comic artist J. Scott Campbell:

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Here’s the full pic:

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If you don’t know a lot about Campbell’s work, a lot of his women tend to look the same. I’m actually a fan, but I feel like Campbell’s been phoning it in lately. So, that led to this exchange:

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I thought that would be the end of it until the man himself decided to make an appearance:

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Not really sure what to make of that emoji. Was he taking it all as good fun? Was that the shorthand way to say “Cool story, bro”? The long and the short of it is that he clearly has a filter for his name, as I deliberately didn’t tag him in that thread, nor did I respond to Tim’s tweets that mentioned him. Lesson: I need to stop talking shit on Twitter. OR I need to talk MORE shit on Twitter. I haven’t really settled on the takeaway lesson yet.

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Speaking of comics, I recently discovered a book from Oni Press called Letter 44 that I actually really enjoyed. Every outgoing president leaves a letter for the incoming president, and this is the letter meant for #44. Everyone assumed that the 43rd president was a real moron who started unnecessary wars and ran the country into the ground. What the letter reveals, however, is that NASA discovered an advanced race in space that may be preparing an invasion. So, the wars on foreign soil were really just tactics to make sure we had a battle-ready military should the need arise. Now, the 44th President has to carry on what was started by his predecessor, and also decide whether to tell the American people. It was a really strong first issue, and I’m curious to see where the story goes. Few of my local shops dabble in indie books, however, so I may have to wait for the trade. You can read the entire first issue here.

This Week’s Post

Virginia Comicon (& Rob Liefeld) In Pictures

Links I Love

The TwinkieMcRib Nerd Lunch/Storify

Please Take A Moment And Read This Hilarious Amazon Review Of A $40,000, 85-Inch Television – UPROXX

Amazon Reviews Written by James Thach – Amazon

12 of Zack Morris’ Ex-Girlfriends That Would Make a Better Wonder Woman than Gal Gadot – UnderScoopFire!

The Conversation We Should Not Have About Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman – The Nerds of Color

Three are no longer with us (as well as Nelson Mandela, RIP), while the other’s life will never be the same. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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Well, this one should’ve been obvious, as she was the only choice who wasn’t either canceled or deceased. This former Israeli soldier/model had her life turned upside down as the world discovered she’d been cast as Wonder Woman in the sequel to Man of Steel. Many are wondering if she’s got the physique to pull it off, but that’s what horse tranquilizers are for. She’ll be fine. It’s not like she’s gonna make the movie suck. Warner Bros has that taken care of by shoehorning every DC character into this movie that they can. Still, Gadot went from a virtual unknown to Hollywood’s new It Girl overnight. For that reason, Gal Gadot had the West Week Ever.

08th Nov2013

West Week Ever – 11/8/13

by Will

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Welcome to the one year anniversary of West Week Ever! That’s right – you’ve been with me for 51 of these things (we missed a week), and I hope you’ll stick with me for more. Well, enough with the pleasantries. Let’s get this show on the road!

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The other day, my pal James posted this article about the 33 Whitest Jobs in America. I’m gonna do this without even clicking the link: dogwalker, smoothie shop owner, veterinarian, yoga instructor, PETA recruiter, Peace Corps trainer, hedge fund dude, door to door Mormon, restaurant hostess, airline pilot, loan officer, private investigator, Republican lobbyist, college president, Hot Topic cashier, wedding photographer, television network executive, doomsday preparedness expert, Fox News anchor, pet groomer, beauty pageant coach, Ryan Seacrest, intervention specialist, professional surfer, Extreme Home Makeover-er, Superman, bartender, lifeguard, ski instructor, cupcake entrepreneur, softball coach, NBA benchwarmer, and pharmaceutical rep. Done. Who wants to click that and tell me how many I got right?

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Marvel was in the news a lot this week. First, they announced a new, Muslim Ms. Marvel. I gave my thoughts on the whole thing over here, but here’s the long and short of it: it’s tokenism that’s doomed to fail because no one gives a shit about Ms. Marvel. They could make Black Widow or any other notable female character the new Ms. Marvel and it wouldn’t matter. It’s a lame mantle to adopt. The character would be better off launched with an original concept instead of being saddled with the baggage that comes along with Ms. Marvel. Plus, the X Books have had several Muslim characters, from M to Thunderbird III to Dusk. It’s really not that big a deal in the Marvel U.

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Next up, Marvel announced a deal with Netflix to create live action series for Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones. Everyone’s losing their shit about how awesome it is, but I’m not sold yet. First of all, I hate the Marvel/Disney penchant for pushing programming through channels not available to everyone. All their cartoons are on Disney XD, and now you’ll need Netflix if you want to see these. Also, the concepts seem kinda redundant to me. They said it’s part of a multi-year plan to culminate in a Defenders miniseries, but I don’t see why these four concepts can’t all be in the same show. You can’t really have Power Man and Iron Fist are a team, Jessica Jones is married to Power Man, and they’re all allies of Daredevil. Why not just create a Marvel Knights series that involves all of them? I don’t really see why you need 4 different series other than the desire to “diversify your bonds”. Anyway, the announcement knocked the wind out of DC Entertainment’s sails, as they announced an Hourman series this week. I never even saw the official announcement on that one, so that shows you how much I care.

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I finally got around to watching The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and ya know what? I liked it. What were you all complaining about? Sure, it’s no Spider-Man, and it has nothing to do with Alan Moore’s original story, but it was still enjoyable. I’m not really sure why it drove Sean Connery into retirement.

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While we’re on movies, I got around to watching Andy Samberg’s Hot Rod, and it was HILARIOUS. It was the perfect homage to an 80s movie. In fact, with the exception of one cell phone, and a brief mention of the internet, the movie could’ve been set in pretty much any time. I know it bombed in theaters, but I thought it was great. If you’ve never seen it, Samberg’s an amateur stuntman who’s done a lot of failed stunts around town. His stepfather won’t respect Samberg until he can beat him in a fair fight. When the stepdad needs a heart transplant, Samberg vows to raise the money by jumping over 15 schoolbuses, just so he can finally kick his stepdad’s ass. Yeah, it’s just as crazy as it sounds, but it’s a lot of fun!

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Got around to The Social Network. As much of a social media whore as I am, I’m surprised I never watched it sooner. I mean, I like to brag that I got my account back when it was Ivy League only. Then they let in all the riffraff and all Hell broke loose. High schoolers?! Anyway, that movie should’ve been called “Poor Eduardo Saverin”. I’m not sure if I was swayed by the fact that he’s Spider-Man, but he really is the only likable person in that movie. Zuckerberg? Socially awkward asshole. Winklevoss Twins? Douchebags. Sean Parker? Poseur douche. Yup, Saverin’s the only one who comes out looking like a good guy, plus he made a few billion out of the whole ordeal.

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I also watched 21 & Over, which is a movie you’ve all seen before, even if this wasn’t its name. Guy’s friends surprise him to celebrate his 21st birthday the night before his med school interview. Drunken hilarity ensues. Seriously, this is the kinda movie you watch ’cause you’re guaranteed a pair of tits somewhere. You know exactly what’s gonna happen and when. Still, underneath the predictability of it, there’s a heavy-handed message about the stress of college and the hidden mental health issues of the Asian community. The message might’ve been stronger without all the drunken, dick humor, though.

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Finally, I watched Speed Racer. What a great movie! It’s like the Wachowskis said, “Ya know, Cars didn’t have enough Dick Tracy in it!” I’ll admit that I didn’t understand about 1/3 of the plot, especially all the shit with the Japanese guy. I’m left with so many questions about the Speed Racer mythos. Why does Trixie have a helicopter? In what time period is this supposed to take place? I mean, they mention a race that took place in “’49”, which was won by Richard Roundtree. I would assume the race was in 2049, but they were driving old timey, turn of the century cars. Finally, I think Matthew Fox would make a great Batman, solely by his portrayal of Racer X. I can’t wait to watch it again on a real TV (this was on a laptop)!

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In between movies, I used Netflix to catch up on one of my favorite comedies from the past two seasons: Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23. I loved this show when it was on ABC, but it was scheduled against New Girl, so it didn’t really have a chance. I completely forgot that ABC burned off the rest of the season online, so there were about 8 episodes that I hadn’t seen. If you’ve never seen it, Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad) plays Chloe AKA The Bitch, and she runs a scam where she tricks would-be roommates out of their security deposits. Enter: Dreama Walker as June, a spunky young go-getter who’s determined to stay in the apartment regardless of what Ritter throws at her. Pretty early on, the two become friends, as Ritter’s pretty much a bitch to everyone else in the world. Oh, and it stars James Van Der Beek as a hilariously exaggerated version of himself. When I first heard the premise of the show, I thought it’d make a decent movie, with Anna Faris in the June role, but I didn’t see how they’d get a whole series out of it. Somehow, however, they made it work – even if nobody tuned in.

Links I Loved

Saturday Morning Cartoon BUMPERS – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

School of Hard NOCs: Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers – The Nerds of Color

Podcast #76 – ‘Harrison Ford & Moist Makers’ – UnderScoopFire!

Marvel-Logo

 No clever rhyme this time, as it’s pretty clear that Marvel had the West Week Ever. I mean, it had TWO entries this week! They don’t call it the House of Ideas for nothing, and this week was full of ideas. While I think Ms. Marvel is DOA, I think this Netflix thing will probably pan out into something nice – as long as it’s more interesting than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Anyway, for constantly thinking outside the box, while simultaneously laying the smack down on the Distinguished Competition, Marvel had the West Week Ever.

20th Sep2013

West Week Ever – 9/20/13

by Will

oie_922142seDasWF9

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So, last Saturday, Lindsay and I did the Color in Motion 5K. It was the first 5K for both of us, and it went pretty well. Like other color runs, there are stations set up along the route where volunteers NAIL you with a corn starch colored powder. For a good chunk of the race, I was blind in my left eye from where the red volunteer just went crazy on the left side of my face. Seeing as how a 5K is roughly 3 miles, I can say that I ran the first mile without stopping. Then, I realized I’d lost Lindsay, so I looked for her and we walked the rest of the way. Once done, I gave myself a baby wipes bath in the parking lot, and then headed up to Retro Con.

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Retro Con, held outside of Philly, is a celebration of all things from the 80s and 90s. The vendors had everything from Transformers to Nintendo games. But I wasn’t there for the vendors. No, I was there for a mega Twitter meetup, as I’d finally get to meet a lot of my online friends for the first time. And it did not disappoint. Over the course of the day, I met @claymationhowl, @JohnDoctorKent, @FakeEyes22, @meistershake, @bmorin54, @doubledumbass, @P0LISHPHEN0M, @howardthedeck, @chapmanrunner, @monsterfink, and I reconnected with @lamarrevenger. Using the UnderScoopFire table as home base, we took turns taking tours of the place to see what we could find. Mostly we just found overpriced collectibles. I’d taken some Will’s World of Wonder stock to sell, but there weren’t many takers. In fact, it seemed like other dealers were doing most of the buying from each other. I had a rather tacky experience where I sold a Batman figure to a guy for $15. Later on, I found out he had a vendor table, and as I walked up, he tapped the figure, saying “Thanks for the hookup, man.” That’s when I noticed he had a $30 price tag on it. Needless to say, he ended up taking it home unsold. There were also retro cars like K.I.T.T., the General Lee, and the Back to the Future Delorean, but I ended up only seeing the DeLorean (I’d forgotten about the others until they had already left). Wanna see some pics?

I think I was this kid's first black experience. Even after I finished taking the pic, he continued to blast me until his mom made him stop.

I think I was this kid’s first black experience. Even after I finished taking the pic, he continued to blast me until his mom made him stop.

 

Flash Gordon and blerds!

Flash Gordon and blerds!

 

"I pity the fool who thinks I'm Chris Kirkpatrick!"

“I pity the fool who thinks I’m Chris Kirkpatrick from *NSYNC!”

Fighting evil by moonlight...

Fighting evil by moonlight…

 

It's my first Joe

It’s my first Joe!

 

Yeah, I collect Toy Fair catalogs, but there was no way I was paying $75 for this.

Yeah, I collect Toy Fair catalogs, but there was no way I was paying $75 for this.

This has become my most popular Instagram pic.

This has become my most popular Instagram pic.

 

In other news…

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Since all the cool kids were talking about it, I decided to go out and seek some of those limited edition monster cereals that are hitting Target. Since Count Chockula and Boo Berry are kinda pedestrian, I went for the deeper cuts of Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute. I’d never had them growing up, as I wasn’t allowed to have much sugary cereal. So, what did I think? As an adult fan of sugary cereals, I was disappointed. Yummy Mummy is described as “orange cream flavored”, but it misses something. You see, I expected it to be infused with a citrusy twang, but it’s really just “orange” in scent and surface. At the end of the day, it’s just another sweetened corn cereal, but it doesn’t really do as much for its fruit side as Froot Loops or Crunchberries do. I killed the box yesterday morning and proceeded to open the Frute Brute – which is the same exact cereal, only orange-cream is traded for cherry. According to my taste buds, Yummy Mummy won the matchup.

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Arsenio Watch, Week 2: I quit. I’m not the biggest fan of myself, but I love myself enough to not endure that torture anymore.

I tend to wake up late in the mornings, so I watch a lot of daytime TV, like Jerry Springer and Judge Mathis. Since those shows are geared towards the unemployed, all the commercials are either for payday loans or unaccredited for-profit colleges being pimped by Lil Romeo. One, however, caught my eye recently. It’s for Kaplan University’s School of Nursing, and it stars a cute girl who’s updating her social media profile on her first day of nursing. All her friends and family are getting the message and congratulating her as she goes about her day. Then they show one of the “patients”:

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WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!! You probably can’t tell because this picture was taken with a tube TV, but this guy looks like one of those soulless CG characters from The Polar Express. Uncanny Valley!!!! Someone had to have complained because I haven’t seen this commercial in a week. I found it on YouTube, and that scene is mysteriously missing:

Who can help me solve this mystery?!

Links I Loved

Magneto Was Right – The Nerds of Color

Rubber-Suit Monsters Fade. Tiny Tokyos Relax. – The New York Times

The History of the Trapper Keeper – Mental Floss

That ep of the No Topic Required Podcast that I mentioned last week has been posted, and you can listen to it here.

I’m not even gonna play the usual games. Considering all the friends I got to meet, it’s no contest that Retro Con had the West Week Ever. Make sure you follow them all on Twitter!

Me and Howie Decker

Me and Howie

Me and Corey

Me and Corey

Me and Tank

Me and Tank

 

Howie, Tank, Brian, and Dean

Howie, Tank, Brian, and Dean

 

See you guys next year, if not sooner!

13th Sep2013

West Week Ever – 9/13/13

by Will

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So, if you read last week’s post, you know that I was anticipating Arsenio’s return. Now that he’s got a week of shows under his belt, I think I can express my verdict: it’s a train wreck! Where to begin? First off, his audience is wrong. The Arsenio Hall Show used to have a young hip crowd, but his current audience looks like folks who weren’t able to get tickets to Ellen. On top of that, his jokes are HORRIBLE. I mean, they’re so bad that they make Leno look like Louis CK. His jokes are either groaners or the punchline is telegraphed from miles away. I don’t use this term lightly, but it’s almost a minstrel show. Most of the humor derives from the fact that he’s black and he’s surrounded by white people. He had one skit on his second night which was borderline offensive to both races. He takes a tour of his offices to make sure his white staffers are the “right” kind of white people. He goes around asking one what C.R.E.A.M. stands for, while he fires a guy because his credit score was good enough to qualify for a homeowners loan. He’s about to fire another guy until he finds out that he smokes menthols, making him OK. Here’s the skit in its entirety:

His audience isn’t black enough for this kind of humor to work. He’s going to have people laughing out of guilt more so than actually being entertained. If this is the kind of stuff he’s gonna stick to, he’ll be dead by Christmas. This show makes Lopez Tonight look like it was Letterman. And that’s not to mention the caliber of guests. I never expected A-list stars, but I expected more than Ice Cube and Lisa Kudrow – who looked SO uncomfortable as Arsenio ribbed her about the fact that there were no blacks on Friends. One of the biggest issues is that he came back with the SAME show. Sure, there are more skits, but it’s like he mothballed the old Arsenio show and just dusted it off. Dog Pound’s there, The Posse’s there, theme song’s the same, and the set looks like something from the 90s. I’m sure most of you aren’t surprised by any of this, but I really thought he had a chance to do something special. This, however, is not it.

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This week saw the debut of my new feature, Track Star. How did that go for folks? Do you all have Spotify? Were there any problems with the playlist? Thoughts? I just wanted to know for future reference.

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My Twitter Sister @itsthebrandi posted the following on facebook, which I thought was hilarious:

B ’13: “Hey, 2001 Brandi, which Nelly song do you think would be used in a cereal commercial first?”
B ’01: “Country Grammar. He mentions Cocoa Puffs.”
B ’13: “Nope. Ride Wit Me. In a Honey Nut Cheerios ad. In 2013.”
B ’01: “Is that all you came back to tell me?”
B’ 13: “The cute one from N’Sync marries the hot one from 7th Heaven and we have a black president. Bye!”
B’ 01: “WTF?!”
B ’13: “Girl, you won’t believe the other stuff.”

Miley’s back. I stayed out of the whole twerking matter, but I feel this new video for “Wrecking Ball” is what everyone should be talking about. It’s one giant OSHA violation!

She’s trying HARD to distance herself from Hannah Montana, which is sad because I think she successfully did away with that identity years ago. At this point, it’s more like beating a dead horse. Still, I haven’t seen an “accept me as an adult” campaign this heavyhanded since Jessica Biel wanted out of her 7th Heaven contract. For those not in the know, her parents let her do a partially nude photo shoot at the age of 17, hoping it would force the producers to fire her.

“Yay, X-Factor’s back!” – no one at all this week

This week, I was invited back as a guest on the No Topic Required podcast. The link’s not up yet, so I’ll post it next week.

Here’s where I’m heading tomorrow:

I know some of the UnderScoopFire guys will be there, but who else will I meet?

Links I Loved

The Rise and Fall of Rock Band – The Gameological Society

My Grandfather Was My Dealer – The Nerds of Color

A Series of Carefully Selected Moments Over the Course of 35 Years, a Nerd Origin – The Nerds of Color

See the Cast of ‘School of Rock’ Then and Now – Screen Crush

This Week’s Posts

Track Star: Willa Ford Vs. M2M

Con-flicted: My Trip to Baltimore Comic-Con 2013

One rode a wrecking ball, while the other’s balls got him in trouble. Things got kinda “Syri-ous” with one, while the other had a good weekend, hon. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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I didn’t have a great time. I wrote about that. Still, the show broke its own attendance records, Kevin Smith dropped by, and they filmed some footage for Comic Book Men. To top it off, some cosplayers I know ended up in the Baltimore City Paper.In case you couldn’t tell, it was a slow week for entertainment, so I’m just gonna say that the Baltimore Comic-Con had the West Week Ever. Let’s cross our fingers for a better week next week!

06th Sep2013

West Week Ever – 9/6/13

by Will

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Can I just say that I can’t stand “campers”? Let me explain: campers are the folks who just camp out in a store at the expense of other customers. You know the kids who read the manga on the floor of Barnes & Noble? They’re campers. This came to mind because series 11 of the LEGO Minifigures finally hit Target, but I couldn’t get to them. No, because some mom was too busy doing the squeeze method on the whole fucking box! For those not in the know, LEGO releases blind bags collectible versions of their LEGO minifigures. Since you don’t know what’s inside, the best way to figure it out is by squeezing. We all do it, but there’s got to be a limit. You can’t commandeer the whole cardboard display and squeeze EVERY pack while someone else is waiting. Be considerate!

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Apparently fans are upset because the creators on Batwoman walked off due to conflicts with editorial. These reports are nothing new for DC, but it seems the creators wanted Batwoman to marry her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer. At the end of the day, this is a company-owned character, and that plotline may not have aligned with DC’s future plans for the characters. This is a precarious situation because it makes DC look bad considering that Marvel had no problem with gay marriage when it came to Northstar. The question, however, is whether or not this is a “gay” thing. Typically, fans hate the idea of comic characters getting married, but this is the odd scenario where they’d upset about a wedding not happening. Folks online pointed out that fans tend to care more when it’s a high profile character, and she’s not big enough to fall into that category. Personally, I’ve never liked Batwoman. I didn’t stick with her series long, but it always bothered me that she never really earned her spot in the Bat Family. In the stories, especially her Detective arc, there’s no real reason given as to why she decides to be BATwoman. Why take on that baggage and responsibility? Why not just be the AssKicktress or something? Clearly, it was a corporate thing where they knew slapping a bat on her chest would legitimize her in some way. I think they tried to loop her into the Bat goings on during Batman Inc., but it was too little too late by that point. It was always a gorgeous book, but it was more style than substance. It moved at a glacial pace, and she wasn’t really a likeable character. So, do I want her to be happy? NO! But they can’t kill her, ’cause then that’ll be construed as gay bashing or something. This is what happens when you create a token without a plan.

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I’m really curious to see how Arsenio’s gonna do in late night. The landscape has changed since 1994, but there’s definitely a niche for him to fill. For one thing, he’s black. Sure, there’s W. Kamau Bell airing at the same time, but he caters to the uppity blipster crowd. Arsenio is just plain ol’ black. There’s also a hierarchy to late night: if you’re promoting a new movie you go on Letterman or Leno. Kimmel is starting to get in on that. Then, you’ve got Fallon and Ferguson for whoever’s left. Still, there’s something to the fact that Arsenio has mainly been cleared by stations that are also WB affiliates. That network’s “stars” need a showcase, as they’re not getting that Leno invitation. There’s a whole tier of Hollywood that can now benefit from a new, hip show. Look at Breaking Bad – Bryan Cranston has now hit the level to be in Leno or Letterman, but Betsy Brandt is still on that Talking Bad level. She’d be perfect for Arsenio, as she’s a strong player on a hit show. The thing is that Arsenio was *young* and hip, and 20 years have passed. Is he still trying to cater to a young audience, or is he trying to pick up where he left off with the audience that he had? Remember, he didn’t last too long once the late night wars started, and I really don’t see great things now. Anyone remember the Vibe show? Or Magic Johnson’s show? This is just that, in 2013. Since he’s syndicated, he’ll get his first year, but I’m not sure he’ll get more than that. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

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I love this story SO MUCH. If you don’t wanna click the link, here’s the long and short of it: Jennette McCurdy played Sam on iCarly, while Andre Drummond plays for the Detroit Pistons. I’ve always kinda had a thing for the Sam character, as I have an idea as to where her character arc leads her in life; you should ask me about it sometime.  Anyway, Andre tweeted that he had a crush on her and she ended up seeing it, which led to their introduction. Their online flirtation went back and forth, and now they’re a couple! Or so it seems. Anyway, just read the whole story ’cause it’s so much better than my summary.

Did you guys know that there are no Cracker Jack prizes anymore?! I learned this via someone I follow on Instagram. Apparently, when you open up the prize package, it tells you that you can now download your prize from the App Store. I looked into it, and found that you end up with this game:

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Lindsay pointed out that more people will probably play this app than would’ve played with the crappy version that would’ve been packed inside. Still, while she’s probably right, it feels like the end of an era.

Links I Loved

Toy Hunt: Ultra Mega Flea Market Hunt – The Robot’s Pajamas

Who Wore It Best? 80s Cartoon Character Edition -UnderScoopFire!

My Jehovah’s Witness story part 1 – Monster Cafe and Bar

My story as a Jehovah’s Witness part 2 – Monster Cafe and Bar

The Many Faces of Amanda Waller – The Nerds of Color

This Week’s Posts

Introducing…Track Star!

Thrift Justice – Walk On By

One’s returning to the dog pound, while the other’s being treated like a bitch. One’s waiting for a squeeze, while the other found one. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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I’m a sucker for an internet love story. Plus, it’s too soon to judge Arsenio, while the other two things made me mad. So, Jennette McCurdy and Andre Drummond had the West Week Ever!

12th Jul2013

West DECADE Ever – 2003-2013

by Will

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On July 10th, this site turned 10 years old. I never thought I’d see this. Mainly, it’s because I’m morbid and kinda thought I’d be dead by now. Ya know, wrong place at the wrong time. Also, I never really had any long-term goals for this site. It started out as something to do when I was bored at work. I’d just graduated from college about a month prior to my first post, and I had NO clue what to do with my life. Here we are, ten years later and I find that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Over that time, however, I’ve made some friends, written some stuff of which I’m really proud, and I’ve tried to make my mark on this enormous entity known as the Internet.

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Not Sergei

The site wasn’t always “WilliamBruceWest.com”. No, it started out as a Blogger site, with the title “The World According to a Russian Exchange Student”. There were two reasons for that. First of all, I was an exchange student to Russia when I was 13 years old. It was my first time away from home/out of the country/on a plane, and more. While there, my host was Sergei, who was just a cool dude, with a wide-eyed approach to the world. Since I lean toward the sardonic, I thought it might be an interesting project to try to write from his optimistic point of view. “How would Sergei approach this?” Well, that was the idea. It never really got off the ground, as I’m just too lazy for all that. Second, I liked that the acronym for the site was WARES, which was a big term in the file sharing black market of the early ’00s. I thought maybe someone would find me by accident while looking for the new Nelly album or a cracked version of Starcraft, and then stay to read more.

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A LOT has happened since I typed up that first post. Let’s see…3 relationships, 6 jobs, 60 lbs, and 1 wedding – it’s all right here. I didn’t start this blog for other people. No, that came later. Like a Livejournal, I started out by writing quarterlife crisis-y stuff that no one cares about other than the author. I’d say that for the first 5 years or so, I wrote like no one was reading. Mainly because no one was. Sure, there were college friends James and Jenn (and I think Austin was lurking at the time), but that was about it. If you didn’t know me in real life, you didn’t give a shit about what I was saying. And even that wasn’t a guaranteed reader! With the dawn of social media, however, I knew that someone out there might find my stuff kinda amusing. I’m no Jerry Seinfeld, but I think I’m a funny guy. Someone other than me had to find this stuff interesting, right? Right?

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Gradually, I started to pick up more readers here and there. I cultivated a bit of a Twitter circle, and they’re still with me to this day. Still, it’s a battle getting folks to read every post. I’ve yet to become a “destination site” like Dinosaur Dracula or Topless Robot. It hasn’t always been easy. I pimp the Hell out of each post on Twitter and Facebook, and I still feel like there’s a sect that has simply decided not to promote or publicly acknowledge me in any way. I have a lot of days where I ask myself why I still do this, but the answer’s simple: I don’t know how to stop.

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So, where did I expect to be now? I’m not entirely sure. I never saw blogging as a long-term thing, but once I got going I couldn’t stop. I did, however, think I’d be writing for other sites by now. This site would’ve served as a one-stop hub, but I thought I’d be farming out my services. There’s one big problem with that, though. You see, I made the mistake of reading way too many Motown biographies, and the takeaway message from all of them was “Always Own Your Masters”. Make sure you own the master recordings of all your songs, ’cause that’s where the money is. Not that print works exactly the same way, but I kept that mentality. I didn’t want to sign my stuff over to some site, where they’d own it and could do whatever they want with it. It’s not that I think my stuff is that valuable, but they’re all my babies. Some are more popular and not as ugly as others, but they’re all my kids. So, I’ve done more guest posts for free, and have actually turned down paid gigs because I’m so paranoid about relinquishing ownership. That’s definitely something I’d like to change in my next decade of blogging.

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What didn’t I expect? Well, I have to say that I’m a bit surprised by the “Will West franchise”. Not only is there a blog, but I was also able to spin off my own e-store, Will’s World of Wonder. Not everyone knows about this, but I went to college to work in the toy industry. I just never thought that “dream” would be realized by selling junk out of our guest bedroom (I’ll forgive the fact that only about 1.4% of the people reading this have ever ordered from me!). I’ve also enjoyed a nice run as a regular podcast guest. I’m especially appreciative to UnderScoopFire, Cold Slither Podcast, Nerd Lunch, and Zac Shipley for having me on multiple times. I never imagined people would want to read what I had to say, let alone listen to it! I’ve had a ton of fun doing it, and it’s great to just chat with cool people.

Anyway, I don’t do sentimental rambling all that well, so I’ll cut this off before it just runs on and on. Before I go, to commemorate this occasion, I thought I’d share 15 of my favorite posts from the past 10 years. Since most of you have been with me during the “Twitter era”, I figured I’d give ya some deep cuts that you probably haven’t read before. There’s something for everyone, so get to clickin’!

15) Black History Month is Back-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack!

14) Forgive Us Our Trespasses AKA Malled To Death

13) The Anniversary Post

12) Charlottes, and Boybands, and Attraction! Oh, My!

11) My Life with the Power Rangers – Reader Response

10) Comic Book Women In Space: The Beer Goggle Effect Of Science FictionWord Problems

09) At Long Last – My Comic Origin!

08) Leon On Me: A Brief History of Black Cinema’s Charo

07) San Diego Dreaming Part 2: SuperBad, Heroes’ Hiro & Rosario Dawson!!!

06) OutBlacked!

05) Women In Space: The Beer Goggle Effect Of Science Fiction

04) Affirmative Action Gets Supernatural: The Winston Zeddemore Story

03) The Racial Incident

02) Can’t We Just Shake Hands, Like White People?

01) Marion Barry and the Gay Bar

I just want to thank all the readers, friends, folks who share my posts, and those who have me in their blogrolls. And special thanks to Jenn Fang. No one would be reading this without any of you. Trust me.

25th Jun2013

FAIL Call Tuesday – Ironclad Defense

by Will

That’s right, folks! When dealing with the United States Postal Service, you can’t always guarantee smooth sailing. With my track record of success with them, it was bound to fall apart at some point. And that point happened over the course of the past few weeks. You see, I’d sold an Iron Man figure to my Twitter pal @Jordamus_Prime, and it was taking FOREVER to get there. For some reason, everything I send to him takes longer than I’d like, and tracking numbers really don’t do much for ya. The tracking number had the figure disappearing at the Capitol Heights, MD sorting center.

And then a month passed. I tried tracking it again, and nothing. I called the USPS Customer Service line, and they really couldn’t help. All they said was that the item was out in transit, and would “hopefully” be delivered soon. I considered it lost at that point, and refunded his money. Score one for the USPS.

And then he contacted me last night. Guess what arrived. Oh, don’t get too excited. This is what he got:

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From the looks of it, Tony got into the sauce and had a drunken escapade – one which left him decapitated. Jordan tells me that his back is also completely filed down, as if he got stuck in a conveyor belt or something. And to put things in perspective, the figure originally had TWO heads (regular and “vintage), yet arrived with NONE. Also, there was a black soot-like coating all over the figure. So, yeah. This was a mail FAIL. But it’s OK, because USPS assures me that the “Care”. Ugh…

Anyway, since Marvel will never give us the definitive FINAL Iron Man story, the USPS has done it for us. In the end, Tony will be dropped off by a mailman – decapitated, dirty, and flattened. Yeah, there’s no way Disney’s gonna let that fly.

21st Jun2013

West Week Ever – 6/21/13

by Will
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Who Had The West Week Ever? Read On And Find Out!

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 I watched The Dilemma this week, ’cause I love Kevin James and Vince Vaughn. Not sure why the onscreen guide gave it one star, as it was serviceable enough. It at least deserved two! Anyway, I feel like the movie could’ve worked better without the whole “we make electric cars” angle. That seemed forced in, not really servicing the plot. Anyway, if you’re bored on a Saturday, it’s worth checking out. If nothing else, it helped ease me back into Jennifer Connelley. I swear, I have never been able to look at her the same since the ass to ass scene in Requiem for a Dream. Then, she spent the entire Hulk movie giving “fuck me” eyes to Eric Bana. She’s so boring in this movie, as well as in He’s Just Not That Into You, that you’ll forget all about her seedy film past.

My pal @classickmateria forwarded me a link to an article with Jason David Frank, AKA The Green/White/Red/Black Ranger. It’s your standard stuff about how he loves the fans, etc, etc. One part of the article caught my eye, which sounds like a horrible, yet intriguing idea:

“The Green Ranger has definitely had an impact on people’s lives. That’s why I’m talking to [Haim] Saban about separating the franchise from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the Green Ranger, kind of like X-Men and Wolverine. I think the Green Ranger in its own self can stand on itself. We’re talking about movies and other stuff like that. So we will see what happens.”

A little over a year ago, I wrote a couple posts called “Back & Fourth”, where I chronicled my adventures handling lunch duty for a bunch of fourth graders. I lost that job, and those segments came to an abrupt end. Still, I really loved some of those kids, and I was sad to have to leave them. So, imagine my surprise when I left me office yesterday, and saw a familiar face in the hall. I used to refer to him as “K”, and he was one of my absolute favorites. Still, I’m a jerk who’s antisocial, so he had to make the first move. “Hey, didn’t you used to be at Doar?” I replied, “Yeah.” “Well, why ain’t you say nothing?” I told him I wasn’t sure it was him. I was on my way to a meeting, so I told him I’d see him later. I really hope he ends up here, as he’s a really good, albeit misunderstood, kid.

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Love it or hate it, all eyes are on Toy Hunter on Wednesday nights. I love to livetweet the show, so imagine my surprise when I got a reply, retweet, AND a favorite from Jordan’s assistant, Julia? Here’s the exchange:

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This is usually the part where I’d get scared of my wife getting mad at me, but she doesn’t read this shit. I have to beg her to read this blog, so viva la Julia!

Speaking of my wife, she was really embarrassed that I admitted on Twitter that I didn’t know where Portugal was. I’m still not ashamed of that. Who the fuck cares? I live in America. At the end of the day, I still have an Ivy League degree in a box somewhere, and I got it without knowing on which continent Portugal is located. It’s not like I’m one of those kids on Carmen Sandiego who got North America in the final round, yet didn’t know where Texas was! USA! USA! USA!

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Well, here’s something you don’t see every day. You see, last week saw the monumental meeting of blogging kings! That’s right, WilliamBruceWest.com and The Robot’s Pajamas shared the same air in Northern Virginia. Vincent was on vacation, hanging with his buddy Chris Piers, and I made the drive down to meet one of my good e-pals. We were going to see Man of Steel together, but I couldn’t make it down in time, so I ended up missing it AND the LEGO Outlet! All was not lost, however, as we met up to take a “Beer Tour of Wisconsin”.

I took pics of all the beers, but I forgot what most of them tasted like...

I took pics of all the beers, but I forgot what most of them tasted like…

Afterwards, we watched a DVD of the Found Footage Fest, where these guys have organized a roadshow to screen crazy footage they’ve found at thrift stores over the country. It’s such a simple, yet ingenious, idea that I wish I’d thought of it first! And did I mention that Vincent brought part of his heralded Twinkie stockpile with him? They were just as good as I remembered them! In all, it was a great time, and I really enjoyed finally meeting Vincent, Chris, and Chris’s fiancee Krissy.

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Krissy took the pic…

This Week’s Posts

Mail Call Monday – Claymation Werewolf Makes My Day

Adventures West Coast – The Wolverine Post

A Tribute to Mystic Music’s Cool Rock

So That Was Injustice…

Be sure to check out the newly-stocked Books & GNs section over at Will’s World of Wonder.

Pals of the blog have some cool contests going on. The Robot’s Pajama’s is giving away an exclusive edition of Nowhere Man #1, while Nerd Lunch is celebrating Superman Week by giving away an original Des Taylor print.

One brought a new little gold digger into the world, while the cable world lost an icon. One decided to change a controversial feature, while the other hates coons, y’all! Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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Look, I know this is controversial, but they brought a new West into the world. It’s in the name. No one could possibly have a West-ier week than that unless my wife’s not telling me something. So, maybe it’ll be something geeky and reader-friendly next week, but for now Baby North West has not only stolen my future kid’s name, but also had the West Week Ever.

11th Jun2013

Thrift Justice – Rocky and the Riders

by Will

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It hasn’t been all bad on the thrifting scene. Yesterday, I showed a bunch of stuff that I left behind, but I have been able to find a few gems lately. So, without further ado…

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I’m gonna lose the respect of a lot of y’all, but I’ve never seen this movie before. I’ve said before that I’m not a Movie Guy, and that’s the truth. Usually, however, I end up making up for it by watching them when they come on TV. Still, when does this come on? Is it a Halloween movie? A Christmas movie? Is this grounds for debate like whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie? Anyway, I couldn’t pass it up for under $2. I’ll just add it to the shelf of DVDs I Hope To Watch Before I Die.

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When this first came out, I thought it was pretty stupid. All these years later, I’m still not sure if my opinion has changed. What has changed, however, is the dawn of the Articulated Comic Book Art (#acba) genre. If you’re not big into Instagram, these are guys who pride themselves on taking really cool pictures of action figures, using unique lighting, dioramas, etc. While this is a bit of a lackluster playset, it would make a great ACBA backdrop. The only thing that sucks about it is the “Statue of Liberty” sign, as if no one knew without that.

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As you can see, it’s missing one of the head spires, but I’m not sure that’s really a big deal. That can be hidden well enough from the right angle. Still, I haven’t decided if I’m gonna keep it or sell it. Considering how much space it would take up in a Detolf, I’m leaning towards selling.

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This bad boy is complete., as I learned after 2 hours of parts inspection. Can you say “Cha-ching”?

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I own Arkham Asylum. Got it Black Friday. Haven’t even opened it. My 360 makes me feel guilty, as I have all these games to play, but spend all my time in thrift stores and working on these various sites. I mean, I haven’t even opened Injustice yet! Anyway, this came with the collector’s edition of Arkham Asylum, and you can see there’s a nice life-sized Batarang inside the case. I couldn’t pass this up for $4, so this is definitely in the Keep pile.

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I tried reading this 20 yrs ago when I was first getting into comics, and it bored the shit out of me. Over the years, however, all the industry muckety-mucks couldn’t stop praising it, so I didn’t hesitate to snatch it up when I saw it on the “Humor” shelf. Silly thrift store!

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Before we smelled what he was cooking, “Rocky Maivia” was more of a jester pinata. For those not in the know when it comes to the WWE, this is how The Rock looked when he debuted. This figure is from the pre-Mattel Jakks era, but I don’t care. My Undertaker collection has been discussed, but I also collect figures of other wrestlers I love, like The Rock, Brodus Clay, and AJ Lee. This guy’s going right up there on the shelf with them.

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This is a Kivat Belt from Kamen Rider Kiva – not that I knew that when I snatched it up. I happened to see it on the thrift store shelf, and I know Bandai products when I see them. So, immediately I knew it came from the sentai family, even if I didn’t know from where. Once I saw the Japanese on the battery compartment, I knew I’d hit paydirt (especially for $1.91!). It turns out these things have gone for around $60 online recently.

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Anyway, the Kivat is the transformation device in Kamen Rider Kiva. Since I’d never seen the show before, I decided  to watch the pilot on YouTube, and it made no sense whatsoever. We’re not here for a recap, but here’s what you need to know. The little bat guy is sentient and flies around. When it’s time for transformation, it bites the human on the finger, turning him into a Kamen Rider.

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The belt also included these power cell things. I’m sure some sentai fan will correct me in the comments as to their actual name. Originally, there were 6, but this one only had 2. When they’re placed in the Kivat’s mouth, he speaks Japanese and his eyes turn the corresponding color.

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The belt’s worn upside down, and when transformed, Kamen Rider Kiva looks something like this:

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Well, that’s it for this edition. Thanks for playing along, and we have a lovely parting gift in the form of the home edition of our game. Until next time!

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