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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Toysday: Triple Threat

     Back in the 80's I had all three Decepticon triple changers. As I think I have mentioned before, Blitzwing was in the wrong box at the wrong time and did not make the trip to this part of my life. I still have my G1 Astrotrain and my G1 Octane. But Blitzwing was a special character to me, for this reason- At the end of "Five Faces of Darkness" Blitzwing stepped up, stood up to Galvatron, and stopped the fighting when there was no longer a point to it- He also sided with the autobots to stop a greater foe, and that makes him kind of noble in my eyes.

     Anyway- enough of my reminiscence- thanks to the Titans Return line, I finally got my neo G1 triple-changers


Astrotrain



This is Toyworld's Evila Star, which is pronounced 
Plasticmigraine in English- he looks really G1, unlike his 
Titans Return counterpart. I couldn't make myself see that one as Astrotrain. 
This one is just such a mess though. He spends most of his time in robot mode

Octane



Octane managed to stay nice and close to his G1 modes 
and I was really happy to see him. As is often the case with a triple changer, 
one mode looks like Ass, and in Octanes case it is the jet that has random truck parts hanging off the sides. I don't care, I am happy for what he is. 

Blitzwing



I love this one- Broad shouldered, blocky and looks good in all three modes- 
This mold was initially used to make a voyager Megatron, but I think it works even better here. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Media Musings: The Strange West

     My thoughts are not primarily on a movie today, but on the book signing I went to Friday night, and the book I bought there. It's called "Straight Outta Tombstone", an anthology put together by David Boop. I am ten stories in and it's a hell of a good read. a goodly number of the authors were there and I actually did them a disservice by singlemindedly seeking it for Jim Butcher's part in the proceedings.


     David Boop was there, Sam Knight, Kevin J. Anderson, David Lee Summers, Sarah Hoyt Naomi Brett Rourke, Peter J Wacks, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, and of course, Jim Butcher.

     I got my picture taken with him:

And my copy of the Aeronaut's Windlass signed

     Now when I think of weird western stories and movies, three come to mind from the fairly substantial collection I have. These are (By order of release date) as follows.

     High Plains Drifter: I always took this one as a kind of a western ghost story- The nameless stranger come back as a revenant to avenge his own death and rest easy- and when it comes to vengeance, his kind is not particular...



     I've always held that he vanishes once he rides out of town.

     Pale Rider: For me, this is the other side of High Plains Drifters tale of vengeance and betrayal- if the stranger in HPD came back from hell, the Preacher in pale Rider seems to have come from heaven. he seems almost supernaturally aware of what is happening, and shows evidence of being either incredibly badly wounded, or perhaps murdered in a ring of bullet scars on his back

You can even picture both as the same character, at different times in his unquiet afterlife and with different prerogatives

     But you can't talk weird west without talking about Cowboys and Aliens...or at least I can't. Daniel Craig  as an outlaw with a past and no memory of it, with a mysterious weapon locked onto his arm. A posse hunting monsters who took the townsfolk, and spacefaring prospectors here to rid the earth of it's pesky gold, as well as torture us, kill us and eventually devour us. This one calls up all the tropes for a western, as well as a sci-fi movie.



I watch this one at least once a year.

     Now as I consider it, I want to throw one more in here- the most recent Lone Ranger movie. Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp as a very mismatched Lone Ranger and Tonto, fighting against the earth out of balance and WENDIGO. This is one of those movies in the category of "Mr Smith loved this one but the critics hated it." There are a lot of those...

 

Tonto is the narrator of this tale, and he may be an unreliable and slightly demented one as he tells the story, from a very aged Tonto to a young boy who shows up in a mask to the carnival where he is.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Toysday: Nonnef Productions

     Nonnef Productions: if you know the name, chances are your transformers already have some neat accessories. If you don't...well, you want to. They seem to be garage kits, limited runs of parts and accessories intended to enhance your collection. They are out of South Carolina and seem to be pretty nice folks.

     I first encountered them while bemoaning the floppy, saggy rubber antennae that my Superion came with. I was looking at 3-d printed parts when a forum post sent me racing to EBay for these:
Perfect fit, good match for color


     Since then I picked up parts for Menasor, others for Superion, a fix for Blitzwing's shoulder issue, and guns and fixes for the Titans Return figures.
This adapts blackjack to point up and down instead of side to side
there is also a piece that lets the axe hang up and down

This simple block pushes the base of the shoulder out a little,
 causing it to make a more solid connection


A replacement Gun for Blurr, more like his G1 rifle

Guns, and brainstorms infamous time case

Replacement guns for Chromedome, closer to his G1 gun

replacement wrists and hands that add a swivel to his wrists


     Yesterday I got a set for Broadside with his Gun, Axe and some gap fillers.
     I appreciate all his work, and I'm sure you would too. Maybe it's time your transformers made Nonnef's acquaintance...

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Movie Musings: Fantastic Muggle

     Not every movie that you see will make you feel good, not every movie you see will make you comfortable. Sam and I saw Detroit yesterday. It's a movie based on an event from american history, The Algiers Motel incident during the 1967 Detroit riots. How true the film is is still open to debate, but I will say this...



     You know that feeling you get watching a horror film, when all the normal rules of life are suspended and the most innocuous of actions is enough to get the character killed in the most horrific fashion possible? Watching Detroit felt like that. Like at any moment, the hockey-masked machete wielding killer was going to reveal himself...but there were no hockey masks, no machetes...just fear, and guns, and makeshift weapons, and itchy trigger fingers.

     This seems like a pretty decent starting point as to the truth vs supposition or opinion in the incident- I am speaking of it only from the standpoint of viewing the film, and the film left me disquieted. There is a reason why I value all films but tend to choose lighter fare.


     In cheerier news, I re-viewed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them



     When I first saw this in theater, and on DVD, I knew it meant more to me than any of the eight Harry Potter movies, but I really couldn't put my finger on why. I settled on..."It's it's own work, not based on a book, so this is the complete story. no scenes missing"

     I think that's important, but not the whole of things. In Harry Potter, we are given a character who is somewhat relatable (Harry) but not so much, and not for long. Harry goes from horrific abuse to fame and glory in the space of his eleventh birthday. He is the chosen one, the boy who lived, the child of prophecy. He is given his place in the wizard world and it's wonders quickly become routine.

     Fantastic Beasts gives us a window into a segregated world, wizard folk divided from no-maj. We are given a window in the form of Jacob Kowalski. Jacob is a totally relatable character-exposed by an accident involving a chance encounter and a switched suitcase to a hidden world denied him, full of danger, but full of wonder. He never for a moment loses that wonder. He proves brave, resourceful, and adaptable. His final moment of sacrifice, when he steps into the rain to lose his memory and protect the wizarding world from exposure is heart-breaking, and I weep with the loss each viewing.

     I never really wanted to be Harry Potter, but I'd be Jacob Kowalski, just like that.

Jacob Kowalski: [about to lose his memory] Hey. This is for the best. Yeah. I-I was... I was never even supposed to be here. I was never supposed to know... a-any of this. Everybody knows Newt only kept me around because... Hey, Newt, why did you keep me around?
Newt Scamander: Because I like you. Because you're my friend. And I'll never forget how you helped me, Jacob.