Friday, September 28, 2012

Star Trek: The Next Generation Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

If you follow the Star Trek franchise, you may already be aware that today marks the 25th anniversary of the premiere of the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Encounter at Farpoint." The odds are, Paramount will be making an even bigger fuss about the 50th anniversary of the entire Star Trek franchise in just four more years, but in the meantime, there are plenty of interviews and retrospectives to be found. Just head on over to StarTrek.com for a sampling.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

White Flour: The Video

Five years ago, the city of Knoxville, Tennessee was the site of a most unusual demonstration. A group of white supremacists marched through the city, but (sadly) that wasn't what was unusual. The unusual part was the form of counter-protest staged in response.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Transformers Custom - Astrostar

Quite a few years ago, I tried my hand at a number of Transformers-related customs. I've shared a few of these before, but I somehow never seem to have gotten around to sharing "Astrostar," my silvery custom made from an extra Cosmos.

Since Cosmos was a spaceship, I thought about what color a spaceship should be. If I may be so bold, I think that the silver color-scheme I decided upon is far more realistic than the green of the original toy, if "realistic" is even an appropriate word to use for a science-fiction creation such as a flying saucer!

In an attempt to keep the toy fully transformable without scraping the paint applications away, I left Cosmos' yellow parts unchanged, although close examination of the pictures does reveal that the green where the arms meet the torso still shows through. The gold (mostly) replacing the red of Astrostar's head seemed an appropriate counter-point to the silver on the rest of her body.

Yes, "her." Although I am on record as saying that, as robots, Transformers shouldn't have "male" nor "female" sexes, the fact that they do in most of the fiction is an accomplished fact of life. Having established that female Transformers exist, however, the powers-that-be have managed to incorporate a disappointingly small number of them into the actual roster of established characters. When I wrote up Tech Specs for this fan creation, I decided to do my small part toward equality (you'll have to click the thumbnail to actually read the bio, of course).

I didn't stop at the Tech Specs, either. This was one of the customs for which I created an actual box, designed to resemble the Generation One boxes (not precisely, but most average folks wouldn't know the difference).

Sadly, I no longer have this toy in my collection, having sold it on eBay to a fan some years ago. However, I remain quite proud of this particular effort. You can see some more pictures (including the box from other angles) at this link.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Video Game 30th Anniversary of the Month - Pitfall!

While the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man was the highest selling game in that system's history, Pitfall!, the holder of the #2 position, has a perhaps more interesting and unique story. To tell it properly, however, it isn't enough to go back 30 years to the game's introduction in 1982. I need to go back a few years more....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Boxed Sticker Capsule Toys

My current living situation is such that I need to go out of my way to get quarters from time to time. As I've discussed in the past, this is not something one can do as quickly and easily these days as perhaps one once could, but there are still a couple of reliable outlets near where I live. One such outlet is a pizza place that still has a change machine near a selection of video games they have on hand. Because getting quarters is a service that I am glad they provide, I generally use at least one of the quarters I get on one of the video games, but this past weekend, I was informed that the video games were out of order. I therefore spent some quarters on something I think I've only done twice in the past decade: a capsule toy machine. In this case, I spent a dollar on one of the sticker boxes from the new "New Super Mario Bros. Wii" game.

Monday, September 17, 2012

28th Anniversary of the Transformers Cartoon

OK. I admit it. When I was detailing all sorts of important Transformers anniversaries back in 2009, the 25th anniversary of the franchise, I gave the cartoon short-shrift, mentioning the 25th anniversary of the first appearance of the Dinobots, but ignoring the first airing of the cartoon altogether in favor of the release date of the first issue of the comic book. I even honored the 25th anniversary of the 1986 release of The Transformers: The Movie to movie theaters when the appropriate time came up in 2011. While it's well-known that I'm biased in favor of the comic book interpretation of what we now call "Generation One" as specifically opposed to the cartoon, this is simply unfair. So, although the "28th anniversary" is nowhere near as cool-sounding as "25th," I'm going to try to do something about it now, on the anniversary of the first episode of "More than Meets the Eye", the three-part story that kicked off the cartoon version of The Transformers.*

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beast Wars II Galvatron (Korean Version)

By default, most Transformers toys can safely be considered as falling into one of two groups: 1) those that are available in America through Hasbro, 2) those that (not also being available in America) are available in Japan through Takara (now TakaraTomy). There are, of course, Transformers that fall outside of these two groups. Some, such as the South American Mini Vehicles (here are some examples, alongside similar oddities) are the stuff of legend, and I'm not likely to ever have one in my collection. Others, such as the original Action Master Thundercracker, were available only in Europe and Australia. But such exceptions notwithstanding, most Transformers could be purchased through one of the two main countries.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Owning Our Labels

20080825 Michelle Obama Speaks at 2008 Democratic National ConventionOK. So we're knee-deep in Political Convention season, which itself is naturally knee-deep in presidential election season. This (naturally) leads to a higher proportion of politically-relevant blog posts than usual. Some of these are unapologetically partisan, but it seems to me that most of the posts I read fall more in the category of attempting to eschew labels altogether to define a position that is neither left nor right. While I've certainly written a few of this type of post, myself, I'm going to attempt something a bit more original this time around.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Transformers Kreon Micro-Changers - Public Service Announcement

I was able to grab all six of the "Preview Series" of Kreon Micro-changers at Toys R Us today. Since Kreons are the most interesting part (in my opinion) of the whole KRE-O line (which, for those who don't know, is Hasbro's answer to LEGO), it was an easy decision, and one made easier by finding out online that the "blind-packed" pouches really aren't all that blind-packed at all. However, this fact isn't readily obvious from the packaging, so consider this post a Public Service Announcement to help you avoid getting duplicate Kreons you may not want.

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