Friday, December 30, 2016

The Horror Movie BBQ 2016 Christmas Fallout!

Well...Christmas is over with.

Crap.

I love Christmas so much. I've stated that before. Don't get me wrong, I love Halloween but by the end of October, I'm over it all together. But starting around October, I want nothing but red and green. I want cold air and snow, I want peppermint everything, I want Christmas specials and I want houses with more Christmas decorations than should allowed by a court of law.
Just one side of the biggest display in the area. My camera died after taking this photo. Lame. But you get the jist of it.

Christmas, as always, went perfect. A trip to the fiance's sister house for a fun evening of laughs, food and presents. It was a pretty good time, especially considering the relaxing nap with cats I take after dinner. Here's one of them, Sprocket:


Cute, isn't he? And he loves attention. Even better!

So the real reason you're here is most likely to read about what I received for presents. Ya know, the materialistic part! Yay, presents! So let's knock this one out.

Ok, if I sound a little less than enthusiastic, it's only because working retail this season really took a lot out of me. As great as Christmas was, I'm still catching up on rest. But I'm trying. I really am. Besides, I didn't wanna let down my bro John of The Sewer Den or Matt of Dinosaur Dracula by skipping out.


Let's start off with the basics:

So check these out. My job did a sweet giveaway and I won a free pair of RayBan round shades! Had to have them adjusted bu they definitely fit...better. Still will need some getting used to. Plus they make me look like a Vertigo character. A very lame one with zero self confidence.



May not be the best photo of me.

Got some tasty sweets, a mini Bret Hart figure and a sweet Target beauty box containing all sorts of cool stuff so I don't smell like a filthy sewer anymore. Also a favorite? That mini-Nutella. It's big enough to look like a Capcom fight screen with mini Bret. Tell me I'm wrong, bruh:



MOVIES!




I've always said that I'm the easiest guy to buy for. I just am. Not saying I need movies to be happy but they are a great gift that get a lot of mileage. I've been hoping for all of these movies to hit my shelf. Especially that Scott Hall collection. Great documentary and great matches. Also, Broad City and Key And Peele will come in handy on sick days or lazy days in bed(YAS KWEEN!). And on top of that, Warriors, Peanuts, Last Dragon and the Silent Night set are all must haves. Very happy with this!


Books:





A history of the 1985 Bears(Da Bears!), the amazing biography of Rowdy Roddy Piper and the Death of WCW. All essential books for lunch break reading. I love nothing more than just sitting in the break room, eating my lunch and reading a book. I had the original Death of WCW but it fell apart after reading it so much, so I'm glad to have this. Roddy's biography, lovingly written by his children, is a GREAT book too. I had Roddy's earlier biography but it was a little skimpy on good stories. This however, tells a LOT more stories and a much better read.

And after this season, I can use all the reminder that Bears actually used to mean something.



MOTU Books:



Hooooooooly craaaaaaaaaaap. These books are amazing and may be my favorite things in the world! Books containing never before seen art from the entire run of Masters of The Universe's fantastic run and a the entire mini-comic collection.

And that mini-comic collection is HUGE. How huge? Over 1225 pages huge, that's how. It also contains one of the funniest frames in comic history:


Skeletor is pimp af. Just filled to the brim with confidence. No one's gonna be able to knock him down anytime soon.


Design for Snake Mountain. 

These books are amazing and show so much cool stuff including sketches for unused figures, vehicles, designs, and even stuff from the movie and cartoons. Highly suggested you pick these up!


A nice Christmas overall, and I certainly hope yours was as well. Or Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa. Or whatever you may celebrate.

Also, this blog is dedicated to the happy gingerbread man who gave his life so I could enjoy one more day of Christmas. He looks like the T-800 at the end of T2, doesn't he? Don't worry, he'll be back.


-Chad

For past fun, check out my previous Fallouts from 2014 and 2015.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Stan Lee Experience From Toronto Fan Expo

Happy 94th birthday to The Man, the myth, the legend, Stan Lee! The man who is responsible for so many memorable heroes, stories and some of the greatest modern mythology. Stan has given practically his whole life to bringing joy to peoples lives and has certainly left an impact on so many of us that not many others can compare to. I just can't imagine what life would be like without X-Men, SpiderMan or any of the dozens of great creations he's given to the world. It would be like a world without sunshine. Just wouldn't be the same.



For most if not all comic fans, meeting Stan is the holy grail of convention experiences. And I thankfully got to meet Stan this past September at Fan Expo in Toronto. My friends Tony, Kerry and Matt made the hike up to the Great White North to meet the legend himself. He seemed like he enjoyed meeting the multitude of fans coming out to meet him. He had a handshake for everyone that came by to say hello.

We actually arrived 15 minutes after his photo line had formed and since we were group "B", we thought we wouldn't be able to get our photo, since Stan only had limited times for photos. Thankfully, a staff member escorted us to the a sweet spot in line. So, finally, after about only 5 minutes, we waltzed into the photo booth, took our photo and were done. But not before we got a nice handshake from the man himself and I received a "Happy Birthday, kid!" from Stan, after telling him it was my birthday. That's something to remember!



And yes, I know I'm wearing a Batman shirt. DC 4 life, son.


So, Stan's photo and autograph sessions were in separate parts of the building at different times. In fact, technically, they were in different buildings that were connected to each other through a lot of escalators and sky-walks. On top of that, the distance to walk back and forth was pretty grueling if you have back issues like me. Be that as it may, I got my autograph ticket for Stan and waited in a nasty line. But what item did I want Stan to sign? It's easy. Gotta get him on my Marvel Universe coffee table boo, already signed by a bunch of artists and writers. I've been collecting signatures in it for close to 15 years and the one name I needed the most, was Stan. Finally, I had my chance! The moment I've been waiting for since I started this project!

It'll look great with Stan, won't it?

Well...almost.

The line wrapped around the signing booth multiple times and the waiting time was about 3 hours. But thankfully, I met some of the nicest fans in the building. Which came in handy because as I progressed in line, I apparently dropped my signing ticket. I immediately panicked and searched through my backpack many times. Thankfully, fans were vouching for me with one of the signing officials. One random woman even came over to help me dig through my backpack. Someone I had never met before just willing to help me. Believe everything they say about Canadians being uber polite and amazingly awesome.

So I went back to the ticket table. The guy who was selling tickets remembered me and gave me a spare ticket. Something he didn't have to do. But, since he recalls a conversation we had previously, he knew I wasn't fooling around. I thanked him and when I got back in line, thanked everyone for their help, and waited another hour.

It was worth it. Stan signed as quick as he could. At his age, he can't afford to just chat with everyone and have long, drawn out conversations. But, he seemed pretty pleased with my book and liked what he saw as he saw all the names in it. He gave me another handshake, a big smile and I was out. And it was worth all the back pain I had later.




Of course it had to be in gold. You don't get Stan Lee in just black sharpie. This is the...ahem...gold standard we're talking about here...


So that's my experience meeting Stan. It was worth the 3 hour drive from Rochester to Toronto to meet the man himself. Brief, yes? Memorable? Absolutely. There's something great about meeting Stan.


Happy birthday, Stan! Thanks for everything you've done for us fans!

-Chad

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas 1991: The Year of the Tournament Table

While 1990 was certainly the year of my favorite Christmas present ever, The Ninja Turtles Sewer playset, the year after wasn't too shabby either. 1991 was probably one of the finest years of my childhood due to so much fun stuff going on. I had a great year all around and whenever I think about events of that year, I get that big ol' grin on my face. Whether I was watching wrestling on a Saturday morning, chowing down on Cheetos Paws on Friday night while watching TGIF, or just another weekday watching GI Joe and Wake Rattle and Roll before school. Huh. I kinda sound like a bum. But uh...when you're a kid, you're kind of allowed to. Besides, between playing with action figures, NES, riding bikes and playing street hockey with my friends, watching cartoons and ABC sitcoms and wrestling, I didn't have time for much else. But that all changed Christmas morning 1991...

The big item I wanted more than anything was the Fisher Price 3-In-1 Tournament Table. Check this bad mama jamma out. You get one gigantic table and it turns into a virtual rec center by providing you the tools of the trade for the following games:


  • Pool
  • Ping Pong
  • Hockey
Besides, that commercial sold you on it. Look at these two ragamuffins go at it:



"One more game!"

That catchphrase was all it took for me to want this. The commercial was a stroke of genius. Me and my buddies were all getting older and at times, action figures weren't cutting it alone. So what are we to do to pass the time? Smoke weed? Nah. Underground fight club? Well, maybe, especially the way my friends played NES. Perform open heart surgery? Tempting.

This all inclusive set made me the king of the block. Well, until Anthony next door got a freakin' above ground pool. But for that 6 month period, my basement was the destination for a fun afternoon. If you had the patience to go through 40 rounds of pool, you were more than welcome to test your luck. 


Hey, that's me! In very short shorts and a very irregular shirt! But check out that sweet game room of mine. An ET and Home Alone poster, some toys, a Carrom board(which resulted in a lot of arguments) made it the perfect place to have friends over and entertain. Heck, it even has cupholders! CUPHOLDERS! A major convenience on a hot summer day. Besides, leaving a can of Pepsi anywhere else would be a big no-no. Also, it was around this time, my friends and I started using curse words after losing. As you can imagine, expecting a bunch of 8-10 year olds to play nice after winning, wasn't the wisest ideas.

My friends and I had seen enough tv shows and movies featuring smokey bars and billiard rooms to really wanna get the mood down. I remember my friend Danny Thrift(longtime readers certainly recall his rather memorable exploits) even designed a weird lampshade/overhanging light fixture we could put over it. Thankfully, considering we had building skills, it never got passed the drawing phase.My family had a pool table before this but it got old broken so before I was gifted this, I already had the game down and was able to rack up quite a few victories in my column. Many a time, kids left crying with their tail in between their legs and their pride heavily damaged. I'd often give out numbers to my victims and only refer to them as those numbers. Ask Victim #4529 how he's doing...

Sigh...ok,, ok. I sucked at everything. But being the social butterfly I was, I just enjoyed the company and the time I spent with my friends.

As I got older, the table became a non factor in my life. I used it more to draw, customize figures and write. Around age 14, it was just collecting dust in storage. Sadly, the glory days of the Tournament Table were just a memory. We donated it to the local Goodwill, so I'm sure it found a good home and found kids to love it just as much(and hopefully even more) than me. But for those few years, it was my go-to fun center.


That brings us to the year 2016. 25 years later and it's memories of joy still stick around. I haven't seen this beauty in some time and I'm sure if I do see it again, I'll turn into that 8 year old and just flip out with excitement.


Did I say "If I see it again"?



The other day I went to the local thrift store and this was the first sight I saw as I opened the door. I rushed over and my eyes got big and suddenly, I was in my basement, beating all my friends in hockey.

Yup. There it is. Just as I remember it on Christmas morning. Seems to be absolutely 100% complete too! Everything is here, including the pool cue chalk!








Now since I was doing nothing but taking photos of this, flipping over all the game boards and almost at the verge of happy tears, I pretty much had to hurry it up and skedaddle. So, I bid it farewell but for that one moment, it was bliss. Absolute childlike bliss. 




Oh and before you ask...YES...I was ready to go buy a Pepsi and start playing pool just to "test it out". ;)

-Chad

Sunday, December 18, 2016

UnCovered: The DC Towers Go To White Castle!

(I wrote this back in April and for some reason, I never finished it. So, here in all it's glory, is the scrapped White Castle adventure!)



I recently went down to Maryland to visit friends and family for a few days. I only get to see my family once or twice a year so I always try my hardest to fit some sort of memorable event into my somewhat-vacation. That said, my best friend of almost 30 years and I both had a grand idea on how to spend our Saturday together. And hoooooo boy was it a doozy. See, Andrew and I have been craving something so delicious and so rare for the longest time that we just had to make the visit.



WHITE. CASTLE.




YES YES YES YES YES.




Ok. Now follow me here just for a second. Please, before you decide to go read MorbidMuch instead because I've lost my mind, just listen. The last time I had freshly crafted Sliders was in 2010 when I stopped in NYC on the way up to Rochester to see my then girlfriend, now fiancée, Laurie. And before that, it would be an even rarer trip, as it was only when I'd be in a town for a convention that had a White Castle that I could bite into edible greatness.

So Andrew and I did a little research. The two closest were 3 hours away but thankfully they were in areas we were familiar with: Allentown, PA or Woodbridge, NJ. Well, I had a few people we could see in Woodbridge that I wanted to see, but family plans were scheduled for that day, and that's understandable. So, Allentown it was! Andrew and I have attended a convention or two in this area, so we weren't exactly strangers. We knew what a nice area it was and what to expect.

So with our eyes on the delicious prizes, we loaded up the car with some bottles of water, some Wawa juice and we were off to Allentown!


A little history note: Andrew and I used to attend the wrestling convention "Signamania" in the Philly area and were lovingly referred to as the DC Towers by Signamania promoter George, due to us being at least 10 feet tall each. On our way to each trip we'd get excited to pass BlueBall Ave (ya know, because we've got the minds of ten year olds). So while it's been a long time since we traveled to PA together, we got even more excited and hoping this was a positive omen for the rest of this trip.

And it twas...






We have arrived. It was a great 3 hour trip filled with fart jokes, movie and tv chat, politics, sports and many other topics covered. But we had built up an appetite that could only be solved by sliders. So I ordered my go-to meal of 8 cheese sliders, an order of chicken rings, chicken fries, french fries  to split with Andrew and a large coke.


Now, with our plates, it was game time. And we were more than up for the challenge...





And it didn't take long to go through either...



This was just round one. We went back about two more times. We didn't come all this way for just one order! Heck no! More cheese sliders and fries were downed before we called it a night and bid our favorite mini burger palace farewell. And it was indeed a sad farewell. Who knows the next time either of us would come back and get these fantastic treats. Besides, I had a flight early the next day. I gotta get back in time for Wrestlemania, duh! So, what's the natural thing for me to do? Well...




Yup...order an entire sack, chicken fries and freeze them so I can bring some of the greatness back to Rochester. 


Surprise to no-one, these lasted about a week. Yes, I know I can get the microwavable sliders at the local Wegmans, but nothing tops a freshly made cheese slider. And they even tasted better than the frozen ones from the grocery store. They're perfect. 



Does this all seem crazy? Two 33 year olds driving 3 hours for White Castle burgers? Sure does. But when you've had a best friend for close to 30 years, you can do crazy stuff like this. It's definitely one of my stranger adventures but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Because: Friendship+White Castles+Howard Stern on XM=Happiness.


And you can't teach that!


-Chad

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Cornucopia of My Pet Monster!

I think as adults, it's common for us to buy ourselves a present every Christmas season. To some degree, I kinda think it's a little excessive when it's a holiday where a big tradition is to...ya know...give gifts. However, if I'm allowed to just buy myself one present for myself shouldn't be just one item that I've wanted all year? Or maybe...30 years?

Yup. I did it. I got my wish. 

I found...A MY PET MONSTER!!!!


For those unaware, My Pet Monster is one of the greatest slices of 80s nostalgia. It was a big deal if you owned one. It was like having an invisible friend. You know those My Buddy or Kid Sister dolls from that time? Those big, goofy dolls with soulless eyes and serial killer smiles? Yeah, I mean I guess they were ok in a mini-Charles Manson kinda way, but if you really wanted the coolest of the cool, you had THIS. I was 3 or 4 when it came out so my mom put the constant kibosh on owning it but as I got older, I saw the other kids who had one have the times of their lives. It just had that undeniable effect on a child. Why have a big goofy doll that looked like a little brother on an ABC sitcom when you can have an honest to goodness monster?!?!?!


I've always loved the aspect of this toy but I only admired him from afar. Much like Madballs and The Power Glove, I was meant to just live vicariously through others. Oh, if only you knew how many years and hours I spent just merely thinking about owning this. But never did I honestly believe it would be possible. Have you ever seen the completed eBay listings? The doll itself goes for at least 60-75 without the handcuffs. Those handcuffs alone go for at least 70-100. I just can't see dropping that much on a lot, let alone a toy. But, I always figured if I was to find one, it would be at the thrift store or at the McDonald House Sale (my friend Jes found one complete, in flawless shape, for 4 bucks!). But eBay? Nope. Then, it hit me. There's other avenues. Craigslist, LetItGo, Mercari. So about two weeks ago, I hit up all of them to look. Couldn't hurt, right? Welp, Craigslist was a big fat NOPE. Mercari? Forget it. But LetGo? Oooooh...


I found a listing in Californ-eye-aye. It was risky. The listing showed a photo of the Monster WITH Cuffs! It also said "Price: Negotiable". Hmmm...Ok. Let's play with this, shall we? I was willing to set a $50 limit. But I didn't think that would be possible. So I sent the seller a message and what I received shocked the heck outta me.

"I could let him go for $10".


WHAT?!?!?! TEN FREAKING DOLLARS?!?!?!

It was an easy "HELL YES". I didn't wanna get too excited. I didn't want the seller to start looking at listings and raise the price. 10 bucks for this is not something I can let slip out of my fingers. So, we agreed. I don't need to tell you that after getting the tracking number, I couldn't think of anything other than my new friend. Everything was blue and purple in my mind. Ya know that feeling of waiting for a mail-away GI Joe? Yeah. That feeling. The one-track-mind feeling of "it's almost here, it's almost here". The agonizing wait dragged on and on. I was ready to go insane.

Then he arrived...

He's here. Holy crap. He's actually in my possession. I can't believe this. After 30 years, he's mine! 


Live and in living color. Well...somewhat. He's faded to hell but ya know what? I couldn't be happier. The effect of opening the box and seeing him stare at me with those blood shot eyes and innocent snarl is enough for me to forget about all of my problems. He needs a little tender loving care and some appreciation and for that he came to the right place. I know a lot of people who have big bright colored dolls but this guy? I feel like if I had one as a kid, this is what he'd look like. I most likely would've hung out in my treehouse in the back yard with him, probably sharing a glass of lemonade and then after playing outside for hours, we'd go inside and watch WWF Superstars and eat grilled cheese. I always hear people who have had this guy that they literally took him everywhere. I can see why! I kinda just wanna lay in bed with him on a sick day and watch movies. He's essentially your best friend if your best friend was a giant pillow.



 Or he's someone you can do everyday activities with. Such as...

Wrapping presents:


Reading awesome comic books:


Eating Christmas Cookies



Watching TV:



Playing with awesome rabbits:



I love people and all. You could definitely call me a social butterfly and a people person. but I'm pretty sure after this purchase, I no longer need friends. He wants to be loved. I'll gladly take him in.

Oh yeah, and check it out. The handcuffs even fit my arms! I know what I'm wearing in my next work id photo!




Due to my obsession with this guy over the years, I've picked up a few items for my collection. A pin from London 1888 that I wear every day. A lot of great MPM pins have been released but this is hands down (or claws down?) my favorite, and in my opinion, the best!



I also own the amazing live action movie gifted to me by the fantastic Brian of It's Trash Culture. If you've never seen it, it's certainly the sight to see. It serves as the wild origin of Monster and even stars one of my favorite voice actresses, Alyson Court, in a very early role. It's never been released on DVD or blu-ray which stinks because it really is a great-terrible movie that is so over the top insane. If you've never seen the movie, fix that now:




On top of these, my fiancee actually made me a Monster birthday cake this year:



Monster has become a huge part of 1980's culture. Artists continually pay homage to the purple and blue beast in t-shirts, hoodies, pins, and more. But the one thing that always boggles my mind is the fact that he hasn't been re-released. Sure, he had a re-release in 2001 and 2008, but they looked more cartoony and kid friendly. But a re-release of the original mod in the same size and colors. Maybe even a a dvd release of the live action movie? That would be awesome. I'm sure a whole new generation would embrace My Pet Monster all over again.

Until that moment comes, I'll be hanging out, watching tv with My Pet Monster...


-Chad

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Sewer Playset and Other Cool Artifacts From Christmas 1990!

The world was a different place in 1990. No internet, no cell phones, and most importantly, no Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. No sir, none of that nonsense flew back then. It was all basic stuff. We kept it as simple as humanly possible. We liked it that way. And while a lot of things did stay the same, a lot has changed.

Now, when you're a kid, Christmas takes on different meaning than it does as an adult. Its just presents, presents, presents. Thankfully, you grow out of that phase. Now it's more family, food and then presents. But remember when you were a kid, wanting that one thing and then waking up on Christmas morning to finding you had received it? It was usually the last present you were to open. Parents know what's up. They wanted us to be as excited as humanly possible seeing our holy grail after opening books and socks and crap.

And 1990, I had a huge holy grail. It was the undisputed chanmpion of playsets...THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES SEWER PLAYSET.



Thar she blows. A giant plastic heaven only suited for the Turtles. The box alone is enough to drive a kid into the famous temper tantrum mode. If there was ever a reason to make your family look bad in public, this was it. And it had a legendary commercial that most kids will no doubt remember:





Between the spiked ball coming down the sewer pipes, the mutagen ooze through the manhole, the elevator and the periscope, how could any young child NOT want this? For me, it was either go big or go home. This was it for me. It's all I wanted. No silver or bronze, this was end all be all.


And I got it. It was heavenly. The photo shows my annoyance because my mom insisted on taking a bunch of photos of me staring at the box multiple times. I love you mom, but come on! LET ME PLAY WITH THIS!

Playsets were always the game changer. They separated the men from the boys. Anyone could get a vehicle or a deluxe action figure with a jet pack or whatever, but these major playsets? You were the king. No one could touch you. I was the only kid in my social circles with this and quite frankly, I knew the power I held. Yes, kids would come over to play with THE PLAYSET but that's the only ego rush I needed as a kid. I was needy.


The playset itself was amazingly playable. It not also worked the Turtles but other toy lines as well. X-Men, Batman, GI Joe, whatever. If I needed a city as a backdrop for a battle, this was the go-to. The Real Ghostbusters firehouse was great and all but this had a lot more activities.

I was in heaven. I was so excited, that I immediately put it together after breakfast. I even grabbed all my Turtles and some others to join in the fun. It was so amazing. I couldn't believe it. I had it. It was right in front of me. No one could take this moment from me. And to this day, it's still my favorite childhood Christmas present.

But uh...just for fun...let's take a gander at all the other artifacts from that time in these pictures, shall we?






1,) The Nintendo Power Pad: This really only served one purpose. Running and jumping while Track Meet. More of the predecessor to Dance Dance Revolution. It got old after a while and quite frankly, I used it more of a cover when I'd make a fort out of pillows and my couch.


2.) The Old TV: Ahhhh the hours I spent playing NES on that TV. It was our only tv downstairs, and got no cable channels. If you got the local NBC affiliate in black and white, you'd be very lucky. It was severely outdated by 1990 but it was your best friend on rainy days.


3.) Kenner Joker figure: As I said, I used this almost immediately for all toy lines. And when Batman needed to chase the Joker, this was the place to do it. It looks like I left Batman out of the fun this day, unless he's hiding in the sewer itself, waiting for his clowny goofball arch nemesis.






4.) NKOTB Jordan Knight Doll: YES! I was a HUGE NKOTB fan and apparently in my moms mind, that meant I had to have a Jordan doll to display on my shelf or something. I may have even asked for it, knowing how weird I was back in those days. I could sit here and deny it all I want, but why bother? It was a huge part of my life. New Kids made some awesome music and I had no shame in loving them now or now. That packaging was AMAZING by the way...




5.) The Sewer Box: Check out that sweet cardboard goodness. I just can't take my eyes off it. I wish I would've kept it. My mom almost always immediately threw out the boxes as she thought they took up space. Fair enough. But if I was smart, I should've turned it into a poster. I had done that with other stuff later, so why I didn't do it then and there, is beyond me. But it's a real beauty. Those Turtle boxes always provided some sweet-ass artwork.Even if you weren't a fan of the toys, you could still admire the artwork. It was that great.



So, that's the most interesting aspects of those photos. Sadly, no other photos from this Christmas. I'd love to see what else I received. But when you get a FREAKING SEWER PLAYSET and a New Kids on the Block doll...what else do you really need?


-Chad