Saturday, June 25, 2016

Happy SharkOWeen!

Shark Week is always a huge deal on the internet. In fact, as long as I can remember, Shark Week was a pretty big deal. For the past 15 or so years, I've actually known people who actually hold shark-themed parties and hold it to the same degree I hold Wrestlemania. Which, you gotta love. I mean, that's some serious shark love, son.


So, ready to celebrate Shark Week? Well, you gotta get all the right components for your celebration. Food is essential, obviously. And drinks. Can't have a party without them. Sure, a party without games is more than excusable but food and drink? That's a one way ticket to failure. But aside from Shark Bites gummy snacks and maybe even actual shark sandwiches, there's not a lot of options. Thankfully, our pals at 7-11 got you covered!

Slurpees! Treats! Cups! Straws! Donuts! We're gonna need a bigger fpantry...






Remember how I said if you didn't have a lot of food and drinks present at your party, you'd be the laughing stock of your circles? If all you do is decorate your party with these items, your friends will forgive you while they starve to death.




First off, the Shark Bite cup. A very popular item in this offering, for obvious reasons. Sure, you could get a tacky mug at your local junk or souvenir store with a giant shark bite or whatever, but why waste that when you can get something like this? The big bite alone gets your attention but knowing it's not only a Slurpee cup but an official Shark Week cup? Come on, bro. You gotta get this! 



You're gonna need a straw to drink out of your fancy new cup of yours. And if you're a big fan of 7-11 promotions, you know that in addition to cups, they also offer straws. Now, the 7-11 I visited when these photos were taken(earlier this month) only had ONE straw left and it was the one that looked like a Street Shark. But hey, I'm not complaining! 



Also, being offered is a Blue Raspberry Slurpee! Normally I never deviate from my regular Coke Slurpee, so I didn't even try this, I'm sad to say. But man, after what I tried next, I may have to go back and pick one up.





The main offering and no doubt the favorite of the Shark Week promotion is the blue raspberry donuts with a gummy shark on top! These look delicious! Now, I'm not a fan of any of 7-11's donuts to begin with, but I needed to try these just because of their limited availability. Also, I'm not a fan of blue raspberry. So that was also a strike against it. But I gotta admit, I was proven wrong. This is actually pretty tasty! 

Yeah, the shark was engulfed in one bite. Now the shark was a nice topping but it didn't really add a lot to it. Still. You gotta give them bonus points. I don't know a lot of people who are already buying a donut have the willpower to turn one down that looks like a shark swimming in an ocean of frosting. It won't happen. I'm telling you this. 


7-11 has some sweet offerings for Shark Week this year and I certainly hope this continues next year and years beyond. It's definitely a creative and fun way for Shark Week enthusiasts to celebrate their favorite yearly event. And the donut is downright tasty!


Now, as I previously stated, these photos were taken earlier this month. I had been planning to do an entry closer to the beginning of Shark Week. So today, I went back to my closest 7-11 to find a few items for this blog entry including the Shark Bite cup itself. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be as they didn't have any left. In fact, with the exception of one donut, no other Shark Week offerings were available. So, when a clerk saw me looking he asked if he could help me. So after running to the stockroom to check if there were any available, I was given the option of buying something even BETTER.

What's better than a Shark Week cup, you ask? Well...BEHOLD.




WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!


GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME!!!!!!


Oh my gosh, I can't tell you enough how quick I almost shot through the ceiling. In the clerk's hand was a giant Halloween cup from last year. Just laying around!!!! Oh man. This blew me away and I was walking on air. I didn't even know this was made available last year but apparently it was. I may have also screamed "GIVE THAT THE F TO ME RIGHT NOW!" as well. Do you blame me? The cup itself resembles one of those sports bottles I'd use at little league practice when I was 8. So not only is it Halloween, but it's a throwback design too!

Shark Week is great, but the Halloween spirit has been really popping up lately with me and my buddies. I'm looking at you, Bill of Casserole of Disaster. You know what I mean!

Now while this is awesome on it's on as a cup, I was further blown away to find out that something that made this cup even better...



IT TURNS INTO A TRICK OR TREAT PAIL. I can't handle this. I really can't. My head is going to explode.



This was a one in a million shot and I don't think it'll happen again. But man, am I grateful for that more than inspired trip to 7-11. I wonder if they had those old WWF/E cups from 2002...I could use another RVD cup!


So, while Shark Week is going on now, head to 7-11 to grab some fun stuff to celebrate. Who knows, maybe they'll have a Halloween pail as well! Happy SharkoWeen?


-Chad

Sunday, June 19, 2016

2016 Flea Market Adventure Volume 2

I went back into the wild for the first time in about two months. I had been away from the flea market game for about 2 months. After the famous McDonald House 4 day victory(which yes, I know I alluded to a third entry, but stuff happened and I didn't. Sorry, I gotta admit, nothing that amazing was found anyway, so it's for the best) I decided I was going to take a small hiatus. But today, I decided I had waited long enough. I sat on the sidelines while my fellow flea market fanatics struck gold. So I decided today was the day I'd grab my water bottle, iPod, and head back out into the ocean of bargains.

While I went in with ZERO expectations(as you should always do when it comes to flea markets! I can't stress this enough!), I didn't expect for the first table that I saw as I entered the market to be one of my favorite tables ever and a huge victory. My eyes directly went toward table after table filled with toys, toys, TOYS!!! Check it out, you wouldn't believed it even if I described it:






Now keep in mind that was only two tables. The seller had plenty more where this came from. But this is the kinda stuff I'd push over your grandmother for. No offense, but if you're looking at this table and tell me that you wouldn't do the same, you're lying. Lunchboxes, board games, action figures, pins. It's like I wouldn't have to do anymore searching. I could've remained here, made my purchase and leave. Especially when I saw THIS:




LOOK. AT. THESE.

All those VHS. OH MY GOSH. I CAN'T HANDLE THIS.

Tubs and tubs of VHS. Exactly why I'd come to flea markets. Yes I know. I'm constantly looking at thrift stores, but unlike thrift stores, when I do find tapes, it's by a collector and I can usually have a conversation and enthusiastic chat with the seller about the movies themselves. And usually, while it's not my intention, the seller gives me a deal after seeing what a fan I am. Not a bad perk, but not the goal. I always enjoy meeting my fellow movie fans/collectors and this guy was DEFINITELY a fan. We had a great discussion and even a few laughs and in turn, he gave me a good deal. But, since this was my first table, I had to walk away and check out other tables. Thankfully, he put a few tapes aside for me. Really cool of him!


So I walked around and checked out other tables. The only thing that truly caught my eye was this awesome Snoopy lunchbox! The seller wanted 20 bucks, which isn't terrible but I didn't have the cash. Which if I had the money, I would've come home with it and would be taking it to work tomorrow. Don't doubt me, I actually took my Transformers lunchbox to high school one day. Truth. Being 6'6 in high school pretty much allowed me to do that without much hassle.



So, it was time to come back to my buddy at the Table of Glory. He held my tapes and as I mentioned, gave me a great deal. But check out the rest of the haul, first. You'll understand why when you see the tapes...

First off...


MCNUGGET BUDDIES: $1 FOR BOTH!



I LOVE the McNugget Buddies. I can't exclaim that enough. A great collectible from a time when McDonalds had no issue selling cartoon characters to sell their terrible food to kids. At that time, the Happy Meal toys were the must own item for all kids. These were a huge favorite amongst a lot of kids. How could they not be? Kids loved the McNuggets already so making them Halloween toys was even more of a no brainer. Even now, as a grown adult(some would argue that, though) I can't help but get excited when I see these. These particular choices seemed to be from a later series from the mid 90s where the costumes were a little bit goofier and more extravagant than the "basic monsters" of the earlier series that usually centered around a vampire, witch and ghosts and stuff. But the later series, revolved around aliens, a lizard, and what appears to be a DJ for a rave. No I'm not joking:




While I'm not the biggest Ronald fanatic, a McNugget Buddy dressed as the face of McDonalds mascot is something I couldn't pass up. So of course, seeing these in a box of just random crap, I offered the seller a buck for both and he gladly accepted. Excellent! I can add more to my McNugget army! YES! Step one to a perfect trip has started. But wait...


MICHAELANGELO BADGE AND GOOSEBUMPS BUTTON: $1 FOR BOTH!




These. Wow. The Goosebumps button is from the initial release of Goosebumps on VHS from...1995? Maybe 1996? I'm not the most respected Goosebumps historian, but that's my guess. But as a Goosebumps fan and button collector, had I left without this, I would've regretted it for a while. Plus, the image on that button is just awesome. I couldn't say no. This was perfect. And now it'll find a very comfortable spot on my pin littered hoodie.


The Michaelangelo badge came from a late 80s Burger King promotion that featured all four Turtles and ol' Shred-head as well,  from what I believe is the first of what would be a couple TMNT fast food promotions. It's a neat little badge that you would attach a small fixture to the back and wear it around as cool as 1989 would allow you to be. The coolest part? If you push down Mikey's radical thumbs up, you'd reveal a most bodacious party message from Mikey to you!


Cowabunga? What else were you expecting? "Jolly Good Show"? You clearly don't know the man very well. But worry not, Mikey loves everyone, so you're forgiven.



VHS: $4 FOR ALL



The main event. Look at this haul. The kind of find that all VHS collectors dream of. Some big box horror, some obscure cartoons, a Media copy of Halloween and a Warner Brother ClamShell release. Want a better view? I don't mind obliging that request!


How beautiful is that? Words can't explain it. The entire lot is a great set, but the Tales From the Darkside tape is my personal favorite. How could it not? Look at that cover!!! It's like a comic book cover! I LOVE IT! On top of an awesome cover, it also reminds me of those tapes I'd see on the top of the horror shelf at the video store, so instead of putting on eBay like I previously considered, I'll put it on top of my VHS shelf for old times sake.



A great day at the flea market, I think I'll space my next trip out by a week or two. Who knows, maybe I'll head back and chat with my new VHS buddy and pick up that Snoopy lunchbox.



-Chad

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Review: Quantum Leap Seasons 1 and 2




Oh boy...

Mill Creek is putting out one of the most beloved sci-fi shows of all time and I can't be happier. I missed out on the original DVD releases from 2004, so it's pretty nice that I have the ability to get a (considerably cheaper) second chance at owning these seasons. First off, what can be said about Quantum Leap? The story of Dr Sam Beckett, who thanks to a scientific experiment gone wrong, hops through the bodies of complete strangers to fix catastrophic moments in time with only his sharp-tongued holographic sidekick, Al. A lot of historical, and fictional, situations seen in this show. You can see Sam rub shoulders with famous faces before they were famous from Stephen King to Sylvester Stallone to Donald Trump, usually in silly, quick gags.



And it works. For a show that's sometimes super emotional and serious, it's nice to have a good measure of humor every once in a while. Not only do the famous youngsters provide fun moments, but Sam and Al's chemistry is quite the perfect blend. Al's sarcasm and womanizing combined with Sam's gee-golly, good natured, down to Earth attitude are for a lot of people, what kept audiences tuning in.

Also, added bonus, for those Leapers who were worried about the music being swapped in the previous DVD releases can rest assured that the music has now been reinserted. Yes, you can tear up on that famous scene with Al and Beth dancing to "Georgia On My Mind". And trust me, you WILL cry like a baby. I guarantee it.

Sorry to say, no features are on these discs. My assumption is that it came down to music or features and...well...anyone who complained about music being cut and replaced with generic muzak got their wish. I'd say having the episodes as pure and complete as possible is a little bit more of a priority. Well, in my opinion, at least.


It's good entertainment and makes you think at the same time. What would you do if you were given the chance to risk your own life to alter someone else's life events? What would you learn from that experience? Would you go through with it if you knew you'd win or lose? A lot of questions in this show constantly make you guess until the end. And while shows like Touched By An Angel and Early Edition borrowed this concept with different variations, Quantum Leap stands out as the best.

Sidenote: if you're like me, then you also treasure your Quantum Leap soundtrack. My friend Ryan and I would spend multiple road trips and trips to conventions playing this. If you've never heard Dean Stockwell preform the "Alphabet Rap" on your way to New York Comic Con in the snowy February weather, you've never truly lived.

So, all in all, it's a must own for QL fans. It's definitely the release fans have been wanting. Great picture, sound and music added in? You have a great set worth your money!


-Chad



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Ecto Cooler Adventure

According to my log, this is my 200th post. My gosh, have I been really rambling for 200 posts? Wow. Well, thank you kindly for continuing to read my humble blog! It's always very much appreciated!


 It's also Ghostbusters Day! Time to celebrate!



Well...maybe not them. Admittedly, I am a fan of the Filmation series. Primevil was a really cool villain and the car was cool! And well, Futura was hot. For a cartoon, that is.

Don't you judge me.

Allright, so, you see the title. You know what today's blog entry is all about. There's no introductions needed at this point in time. But with all due respect to you guys, I still have to type it out just so I know it's real.

ECTO. COOLER.


I'll skip the entire spiel on Ecto Cooler. You know the deal. You know the history. Chances are, much like me, you're one of the many who have requested this drink over and over again. You're part of the many who laid awake at night, crying and longing for that deliciously sexy drink. So let's just skip that and let's begin my journey, shall we?


Ecto Cooler was officially announced earlier this year and fans rejoiced. The street date was May 30th. Yep. Memorial Day. This could lead to issues.

Feeling adventurous, my fiancee and I decided to press our luck and give a few stores a look on Sunday May 29th, the day before the juice was officially to hit stores. Who knows, maybe a lazy employee sees the words "HI-C" and decides it needs to head out to the shelves. It's the thrill of the hunt and the unquenchable thirst of slime that refused to allow us to think otherwise. Sadly, it was not meant to be as no one knew what we were talking about. It just wasn't happening tonight.

So, after a fruitless effort, I headed back to bed and come midnight immediately start tracking the adventures of my friends on Twitter and Facebook.  I finally headed to bed at 1:30 and had 4 hours of sleep, My alarm went off at 5:40 am. On a day off. I need serious help. But hey, early bird gets the slime...





This effort Well...nothing. Nothing at all. No stores had it. I had hit 5 spots and there was not one trace of Ecto Cooler. I mean, I got a couple of tasty donuts, but that was all. So I headed back to my apartment and headed back to bed. After I woke up, I called each and every store in the area, no one had it. In fact, much like the stores, no one had a clue of what I was even trying to ask. All hope was essentially lost! I was ready to give up...

BUT WAIT!

 I got my hands on it Tuesday, the day after it went on sale thanks to my buddy and local filmmaker, Chris Seaver of Midnight Kids Productions (formerly of Low Budget Pictures). He was kind enough to hook me up with two cans that were made available at the local Cinemark theater. And like that, my mission came to a brief close.







Still on an Ecto high, I sat at my computer that afternoon, and lo and behold I just randomly stumbled onto Amazon at the right time and was able to order two cases. So, In between gulping down the two cans gifted to me, I went to the same Cinemark and bought myself three more cans.

So now, I sit with two cases of Ecto Cooler(minus a few that I've drank or given to friends). I'm still in shock. I'm looking at Ecto Cooler. Is this really happening?


Let's dive into this little spud, shall we?



Ok, first off, the color. Look at it. It's greener than Slimer! If that's possible. The color alone makes me feel confident that it's gonna be a-ok. Even though Slimer may not be on the packaging, the drink itself wouldn't have been truly welcomed back had it not been green. The green is what everyone remembers. Sure it would've been great to have Slimer, but if you're that desperate, print up a picture of him and slap it on the can. In fact, here's some you can use!




The can itself is a thing of beauty! Not to be outdone by Pepsi, who puts out throwback cans for their products, Coke pulled out the stops.

They really went there, didn't they? They really did. The classic HI-C style was brought back just for this momentous occasion. If you look at this can, you instantly think of your childhood. The lettering style, those oranges just hanging around, the drippy slime. It's 1989 all over again, son. In fact, despite Slimer's absence, I think I'm digging this design more than the original.



.
Bonus: THE CAN TURNS GREEN WHEN COLD. STOP. WHAT?!?!?1


That's amazing. I can't think of a better gimmick. Well, maybe a vanishing ghost or something, but hey, I'm not gonna sit here and tell Coke how to do their job. They clearly know what they're doing. I mean, I'm drinking Ecto Cooler. I'M DRINKING ECTO COOLER. How amazing is this?!?!?! It's the late 80s/early 90s all over again...in fact...



Yeah buddy! Who wants to come over and play NES and watch WWF Superstars?



Finally, the taste. The main event. The showtsopper. The most important aspect. Oh boy...


 Everyone who took their first sip proclaimed that it tasted exactly the same as they had remembered it. It's easy for everyone to question whether or not that's the case or if it's just the excitement of owning it again. But I'm glad to report that it is indeed the same taste as before.

Now, my reunion may be a bit tarnished only because Juicy Juice put out a copycat juice which I picked up last year. The second I drank my first sip of that, it was an instant timewarp to lunchtime in kindergarten or I'm attending a neighborhood cookout in the summer. There was no if's and's or but's about it. That was Ecto Cooler, just colored yellow, but it was Ecto Cooler Which, I think the yellow probably turns a lot of people off from even trying it. But if you cant find this, try the Juicy Juice. So

 This is Ecto Cooler hands down. The taste is exactly the same as you remember it. Probably even more than you remember it. The orange/tangerine taste is certainly memorable enough to send you back to your childhood. It's undeniable. THIS. IS. ECTO COOLER. If you drink this and don't think it's the real deal, then you've clearly never had it before.





While I'm still hearing the cries of my fellow geeks who haven't found it in stores or just lack of Amazon keeping it in stock, I must repeat it: Please don't give up! Don't stop looking!!! You'll find it and when you do it'll be worth it. I swear it will. And then you'll be on top of the world, drinking Ecto Cooler and joining in a virtual Ecto Cooler picnic!

Happy Ghostbusters Day, everyone!!!



-Chad

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

5 MORE VHS TO CELEBRATE VCR DAY!

Happy National VCR DAY! A day to celebrate that is every analog. I mean, sure, YouTube and WWE Network are good options for watching these too, but I want some over the top, nonsensical trailers before and some of that lovely VCR noise while I slowly pass out. You know the noise. It's like a beautiful white noise machine. It's relaxing. Don't look at me like I'm crazy.

So, I've got my comfy bed, my Gizmo head pillow, my feet up, a big glass of water, a bowl of Market Pantry Cheese Squares. I'm comfy. What's the first tape I play?



X-MEN, NIGHT OF THE SENTINELS:




X-Men series debuted in 1992 and took over every young boys lives immediately. I read X-Men comics before so I was already familiar with these characters. Also, I had been a fan of the Pryde of the X-Men short as well, which happens to be my all time favorite animated X-Men adaption ever by the way, so this was an easy sell for me. Fox had so much faith in this that they actually premiered it in primetime. Which at that time, was a HUGE vote of confidence.

It didn't take long for X-Men to catch on become a must see Saturday Morning show. Kids and adults, everywhere were glued and this became Marvel's flagship team. I know it's hard to imagine anyone but Avengers being the representatives for Marvel, but in the early 90s, X-Men were. You couldn't go anywhere without seeing X-Men shirts, hats, toys, puzzles, games, my gosh, everything under the sun. Even Pizza Hut offered X-Men promotions a year or so later including comics, pizza boxes and two VHS tapes featuring the first two episodes and a "creator discussion" featuring Stan Lee, and the, at the time,  X-Men creative time. It also including a trading card and a mini comic. These tapes are pretty easy to come by, so if you wanna see Stan joke around and talk shop with his buddies, pick those up.

This tape however, contains the first two X-Men episodes, which if you've never seen, are quite fantastic. The story tells about the teenage mutant known as Jubilee, who has alienated her family due to her uncontrollable powers, joins the X-Men and come to terms with her powers as the other X-Men try to deal with each other.

 The animation and voice acting are fantastic. It's still talked about to this day as a lot of fan's go to when it comes to X-Men.

HAMMERHEAD JONES:

Hoooooooooly crap. Hammerhead Jones. Ok, first off, that's obviously not my VHS or even my scan. I found it linked to a torrent site via Google. But there's a very logical reason. That reason? Well, this movie was never even released in America despite being filmed in America. Confused? Well, apparently  because through some weird loophole, when selling the rights to distribution, the producers only signed off on overseas. Hence why a lot of NTSC copies won't be popping up at your local thrift store anytime soon. Which is shame, because this movie is a real hoot. Second, I'm kinda cheating because I own a DVD-R copy. But, it's my blog. I can bend the rules.

Imagine a generic pro wrestling movie that was produced well under the budget it was given. Furthermore, it also appears only to be filmed in a dingy basement or warehouse outside of Tampa. Ted Vernon plays local wrestling hero, Hammerhead Jones, who not only is a big and bad pro wrestler, but a hero to plenty of kids in the area. He's a good guy who in no way shape or form willing to sell out for the allmighty dollar, despite multiple parties willing to pay up.

So. Um. That's essentially the story. The only other thing to note is an appearance by Fred "Typhoon" Ottman. Sadly, he did not fall out of the ring like he did as the Shockmaster. This is a real fun movie that predates No Holds Barred, and even shares a similar plot.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, COMING OUT OF THEIR SHELLS:

Chances are, if you're reading this blog, you're a TMNT fan. It's hard to meet anyone these days who's not a fan. What's not to love? A bunch of goofy reptiles eating pizza and beating up ninjas. Come on. It's perfect for all ages!

In 1990, Turtle Fever hit a fever pitch. The first live action movie was released, toys were still hot, the cartoon was in constant rotation, you couldn't go anywhere without seeing the heroes in green. So what's the next logical step?


Yup.



Put out an album through Pizza Hut. A pretty cheesy album. But at age 7, you couldn't convince me that it wasn't the coolest album in the world. My New Kids on The Block and Hammer albums took second place to this many times. My poor mother suffered on road trips if I ever sat up front because I downright took over the radio and insisted on playing it.

I'm a terrible son. I know. I'm sorry, mom.

Next step? Send those Turtles to Radio City Music Hall. Duh. A huge rock show featuring the Turtles trying to save April from the clutches of the human can opener, Shredder. But how do they come up with strategies? Duh. Singing. Or rapping. Or...well...26 years later and I still don't know what's going on. But it's pretty wild. I am super envious of anyone who got to see this live because this had to be a real awesome show to see in person.



Bonus: While this is an awesome tape, there was also a "making of" tape, which was a phony documentary following the Turtles as they prep for the nerve-wracking performance in NYC. I had that tape as well and it was pretty wildly stupid. Still, it's a good way of getting warmed up for the big show. Much like our lip syncing heroes in this documentary. I highly suggest owning and watching both.


FART THE MOVIE:


Really, this is nothing more than 10 minutes of very short animated clips of people farting at parties or in the woods. And it's amazing. The animation is crude and it probably should've been played on Liquid Televsion. I'm surprised I had never heard of it. And now I have. Life will never be the same again.







MY PET MONSTER:

Ok. This movie. Wow. Everything about this movie reeks mid 80's to the point that it even offends me. Well, offend isn't a phrase I'd use. "Pleases me in ways that only episodes of Growing Pains and Mama's Family" would be the right phrase. This movie is something that is cherished by any and all My Pet Monster fans and while I never owned a MPM itself, I admired it with love from afar. I always wanted one, but knowing my mother, it was probably gonna scare me. Oh well. This tape is also something I never saw until...well...last year.

So, I never get sick, but the one time I get the flu, I'm out like a light and refuse to leave my bed. So, while laid up, consuming only soup and Gatorade, I decide to finally check this gem out on YouTube. Well, I'm glad I did because alongside other than revisiting the entire Masters of the Universe 2002 series, this got me through an entire week of being sick. It's all about Max, a geeky kid who actually becomes the beloved Monster. Along with his sister and older brother, he keeps it a secret from his dopey parents and tries to outrun the creepy museum curator who is deadset on exploiting Max for money.

This tape rules and quite frankly should be owned by every VHS collector. It's a giant time capsule. Even though I didn't see it as a kid, it still invokes some sort of nostalgia for me just because I had seen so many other movies like this. If that makes sense.

I really owe Brian of Trash Culture a huge thanks for sending me this. This was a huge want of mine and now thanks to him, I own it. And you'll now have to pry it from my cold dead hands. Thats how much I love this tape. So much that I'm leaving Brian my entire Real Ghostbusters collection in my will. Yes, even Fearsome Flush. Word.



A very happy VCR Day to you. I hope you're having a good VHS Marathon!


-Chad