Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Not-Transformers Feature: Spray from iGear

My experience with third-party "not-quite Transformers" (that is, toys not made by either Hasbro nor Takara — nor by anyone licensed by them — which nonetheless clearly attempt to represent actual characters from the Transformers franchise*) is admittedly fairly limited. I have some toys created by Justitoys (including the "WST Dinorobots" and a miniature version of Shockwave), and I've taken advantage of the occasional product to add to an official product (such as the Renderform "Gold Scout" kit for the Classics Bumblebee mold), but that's nearly the extent of it. Indeed, this "Spray" figure from iGear may be currently unique in my collection as being a fully-transforming toy that uses an all-new design (as opposed to merely tweaked and/or scaled down, as with the Dinorobots) to evoke a classic Transformers character (in case you can't tell, here's the link to when I featured the original Seaspray).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Transformers Feature: Drift

In the past decade or so, the original era of Transformers (retroactively called "Generation One") has seen something of a renaissance. While no era has ever gone by without some kind of homage to characters such as Optimus Prime or Megatron, more recent years have been noteworthy for new comic stories written for, and new toys devoted to, more obscure characters from that era. If you were to ask a fan in the late 1990s, for example, if Hasbro would ever actually produce a new figure of the 1985 Tracks character, I doubt you'd have found many who would answer "yes," and those few who would, would probably suggest that it might be an homage along the lines of, say, Animated Shockwave (possessing clear references to the original, but not really the same character). Yet, such a new Generation One Tracks figure was made, as have many other such Generation One figures in recent years. It is into this "Generation One renaissance" that Drift came to exist in 2008, and almost from his conception, Drift has been the subject of controversy.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Count's Not Laughing Today

I've just heard the news that Muppet legend Jerry Nelson passed away last night. Besides performing as "the Count" on Sesame Street since 1972, Nelson was commonly heard as an announcer for many Muppet productions (including an uncredited bit in last year's movie, The Muppets) and a number of minor and not-so-minor Muppet characters (perhaps most notably Gobo Fraggle on Fraggle Rock) over a career than spanned six different decades.

While Nelson had already retired for health reasons several years ago, giving the Sesame Street folks time to transition to a new performer for Nelson's characters, I have not been able to verify if a permanent voice for the Count had yet been selected at the time of Nelson's death, and know that Nelson continued to provide the Count's voice at least for a time after giving up the actual puppeteering work. I imagine that at least some recordings of Nelson's announcer-work (perhaps the introduction to "Super Grover" sketches? I admit this is just a shameless way to justify using a picture of my Super Grover toy. Nelson was not Grover's voice) will be used for some time to come. Even so, he will be missed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Perils of Idealism

Starr 031007-0039 Danger - Unexploded Ordnance - Restricted Area - signIt's probably safe to say that I'm something of an idealist. Not only that, but I'm surrounded by people who probably could (and should!) be considered idealists, as well. To some degree, at least, I imagine that this is part and parcel of what it is the be a Christian. Certainly, if the primary definition in my office dictionary ("a person whose behavior or thought is based on ideals") is at all accurate, how could a person who desires to live as Christ would have us to live be anything other than an idealist?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Is Our God Too Big?

We evangelicals like to sing about how big and powerful God is. For example, here's the chorus of a recent song (just a couple of years old) that's been popular at our church:
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome and power
Our God, Our God...

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Youth Car Wash

Twin Peaks Car Wash - Flickr - MarkScottAustinTX (14)This entry is patterned off the popular blog, Stuff Christians Like, and was in fact submitted as a possible "Guest Post" for that blog. As it has not appeared there, I feel safe in going ahead with it here.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a family in possession of a car must be in want of getting it washed.

It is similarly true that a Christian family in possession of teenage children must be in want of funds for their youth group.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Are We So Ready to Attack?

About a week ago, I posted the following paragraph from C.S. Lewis' famous work, Mere Christianity:
The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, “Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,” or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Chapter 7: Forgiveness)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy Left-Handers Day!

Linkshaender 01I am reliably informed that today is "Left-Handers Day." Despite being a lifelong southpaw, I was not aware of this fact this year. It seems that I've somewhere, somehow, heard of the existence of such a day, and I even mentioned it a couple of years ago, but suffice it to say that it has not penetrated to my consciousness, or I would have more to say about it.

When I wrote about this day two years ago, I called it "The Forgotten Holiday." I have obviously inadvertently proven myself right.

Why is it today? Why not some other day? I haven't a clue. I'm just taking their word for it.

That said, for those of you who, like me, are actually in your right minds (yes, it's an old joke), enjoy the day!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Video Game 30th Anniversary of the Month - Pac-Man Plus

There is little question that the early 80s was my era when it comes to video games. I really haven't kept track of updates to the genre in the past couple of decades. But I do remember the games of my childhood fondly. Pac-Man Plus, the fourth game in the Pac-Man franchise, holds a special honor, being the only game for which I have a framed marquee hanging on my wall!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Reflections on My 38th Birthday

Birthday cakeI turn 38 today.

Obviously, this is not the first birthday I've celebrated since I've started this blog. It's not even the first time I've made a point of mentioning the day, although I don't always. Usually, I try to make a point of some other special event that happened on a given day, and August 8th has particular significance to Transformers fans.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Game Show Board Games: Password

Dating back to 1961, Password is probably the game show with the deepest roots to have a version aired within the past decade. The first board game version came out in 1962, followed by many, many editions over the years to come. I won't swear that my version is a "first" edition, although it does have the 1962 copyright and does not indicate a later edition as many later editions did.

Friday, August 03, 2012

On Believing the Worst of One's Opponents

Perhaps you've seen this picture floating around Facebook lately. As one might expect, I myself found it when it was posted by a friend who leans conservative when it comes to issues of politics and religion. I was immediately suspicious, not only because I am disinclined to think of Obama as this stupid, but because I've seen this happen before.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Transformers Feature: Club G2 Ramjet

When I first learned that the official Transformers Collectors' Club would be offering Generation 2 Ramjet as one of their 2011 exclusive figures, I wasn't especially happy about it.

For those who don't remember, a bit of context is in order. The BotCon 2010 exclusives were all based around the Generation 2: Redux concept, and it was revealed during a Q&A session at the convention that the original intention was to include both G2-colored Ramjet and Action Master-colored Thundercracker (and, in fact, AMTC was the original idea around which everything else that year came to exist), but Hasbro told them that the molds were not available at the time needed to use them as convention exclusives. However, G2-colored Ramjet would be a 2011 club exclusive. At the time, it seemed as though AMTC was being passed over in favor of the Ramjet character, never to actually be produced. We now know that AMTC was made as a BotCon 2011 exclusive (as "Shattered Glass" Thundercracker), but that knowledge was still nearly a year away, and I was upset that AMTC wasn't the one chosen for the club.

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