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Monday, January 30, 2017

Round Robin Challenge : Kids @ Play!

A Nostalgic reflection from

     I remember having one friend that I played Hot Wheels with. We created a set of roads over on the shady side of the house under the gas meter by pulling up my Fathers green, green grass. He was unamused. There was a prototype of a story in those dirt roads, long before the greater stories to come in my life. I think that friend moved away. In truth, I don't remember.
     I had an older boy directly across the street, who would grow to become cruel and angry, who would come to play Major Matt Mason- He always picked the blond astronaut in the red suit. I remember it as being a short association. He moved, we met again later, he pranked me in High school over a prior slight.

     I had a friend in elementary school- we would get together at his house after school and Mego Superheroes was the game. We would play out stories of Batman, Superman, all the ones I had. I don't recall what he had except there was a game where you shot ball bearings to sink ships... some submarine board game. He moved, the world turned on. I remember the Megos had the thin plastic boots and vinyl gloves that would split, and nothing on earth would repair them, nothing I had access to at least. Somehow a plastic trash can and two hangers became Aquamans Sub.

     I remember after Star Wars was released my stories were more solitary. My Star Wars rebels were surveying the galaxy, looking for a new base, in the Millennium Falcon and in a space 1999 eagle I somehow contrived to fit 3,75 figures into. Luke had a girlfriend who was a fisher Price adventure person. Later, she started dating Space Glider from the Micronauts. 
I Patched and fixed this beat up old thing to the best of my ability. It also acquired guns form an army set by Marx.
this is not a pic of mine, by the way. 
     With the Transformers, and with later Star Wars, my nephews were there and we created battles the like of which ...we created some battles. I had Superion, one of them had Devastator. We went and saw the 1986 movie together, and mourned Optimus until his return in season 3. 

     These days... My toys are like old, comforting friends. I take them down, transform them, pose them, make sure what goes with them stays with them. Sometimes I talk to them, I admit it. I always took pretty good care of them, and today the thought of anyone but me messing with them creeps me to no end. A guest, a friend, a toy expert at least to my own level and perhaps beyond was over recently and picked up some things off my shelf, and I felt like a mother hen watching her chicks...

     I have some OCD regarding my toys, it was present in childhood and has only become a sharper vintage with age. I watch over them, I keep them as complete as possible. Many people have come and gone from my life, but the toys have mostly stayed with me. I may have grown older, and in most ways grown up, but when it comes to my toys, still just a big kid at heart. 

Here are some other takes


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Round Robin Challenge : Surprise inheritance

Surprise inheritance:  A long lost and previously unknown to you relative has left you the healthy sum of $5000.00 with the stipulation that you have 24 hours to use it on you're choice hobby or it will be sent to a charity dedicated to gold plating the light switches of millionaires. You cant let those one percenters take your inheritance! Lets spend some money!

     In my family I am more likely to be the eccentric relative telling someone to blow $5000 on toys than the inheritor. that being said... How fast could I go through that money? How fast COULDN'T I?

     I would begin, I think, with Masterpiece Transformers I don't yet have, Including 3rd party ones

then I would spend about $200 buffing up my Avengers and Star Wars Black/Vintage with missing pieces-plus another $600 or so on that 2.5 Ft Millennium Falcon

But Where to display all this? Four new shelves from IKEA ($240) plus lighting($600) and a table($49)

I would sink $300 into Gift certificates for future purchases at my online merchants and About $500 into Vet Checkups and toys for my birds. The last of it would go into a computer rebuild and upgrade, at Microcenter on the way back from IKEA

That being said...who has $5000 for me? I'm ready to get started!

My Cohorts had their own shopping agendas:
Green Plastic Squirt Gun Came up with this, and has his stuff picked out
Toy Break went through his $5000 without breaking a sweat
For Alexis' Universe, Knowing what she would buy is half the battle

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


A Meditation by Alexis' Universe for

     I feel like I hit my Teen and Adult years when toys were hitting their golden age. I was 10 when Star Wars came out and when the first toys hit a store called  (I think) guys and dolls I left with Luke, R2, Threepio, Leia and Vader. Han and Chewie came on a trip to California, visiting my sister and brother in law. So lets say 1978 was when the Industry standard 3.75 scale began. Seven Years later my love affair with Transformers started while I was watching my nephews after school.

     So how does this brief and barely interest-sparking biography relate to my obsession? Allow me to Illuminate.

     My Chief obsession is my personal icons. My Superheroes...My Jedi... My Autobots. Always the best representations of those icons, what matches more in my personal head-canon. My Obsession is the path of the upgrade.

     As nostalgic as I am for my G1 Optimus Prime or my G1 Skids, as attached as I am to my case of Kenner Star Wars figures from the first movie, when I display, it's not necessarily the newest, but it's the best. MP-10 is going to stay up there, but MP-09 came down when I head that MP-28 was incoming. The 5 Point articulation POTF figures gave way to the Vintage collection, and the Black Collection for Star Wars. The Mego Captain America and Iron Man gave way to Marvel Universe. I was like this with my gaming miniatures too, finding a new perfect lead figure for that character, and out come the paints. Later I discovered poser and DAZstudio, for character images and endless tweaks and updates to those characters.

     When I saw my first Transformers on the shelves, even though I was well into my teens and looking at girls, I knew that when it came to toys, the best was yet to come. I haven't been proven wrong yet. I also felt just a little bit cheated, because the years ahead of me were not for toys, they were to put away childish things and be a man. Societal pressures said it was weird to collect toys or play with them as an adult. So Sometimes the toys come in with a load of guilt attached to them that they don't deserve. It's taken me a minute or so to proudly tell anyone who will hear it that Optimus Prime is my co-pilot and watches over my office.

     And then there are the thwarted obsessions. The icons I lack a representation of. I went a little crazy trying to find a General Lee when I heard Warner Bros was disavowing the stars and bars on the roof. I have my Wonder Woman and my Green Arrow, but not that perfect Superman. I want the perfect Stitch, and  a V.I.N.Cent that looks awesome. I'm looking for that perfect Fantastic Four

     The terrible truth, or perhaps the wonderful truth, is that there will always be a next great obsession, as long as Mr Smith is Mr Smith. I love my collectibles toys

For more on my Collecting Mind:

And from my fellow enthusiasts

Friday, January 13, 2017

Round Robin Challenge:My Heroic Origin

     When I crafted this challenge for
     My intention was to go all in. I have crafted many an heroic tale over the years in various RPGs, with one sad Caveat; they were all intensely derivative of what I was reading at the time, or had seen, or what have you. Maybe I bought a lead figure I really liked, and the origin came together "as inspired by..."

     So my intent here was to craft the ultimate origin- Spin a tale of the last son of a dying world, adopted by parents on earth who were subsequently murdered in an alley, leaving the young hero to be in the care of his aunt and his uncle, who teach the boy responsibility and bestow upon him a power ring and a super-soldier serum to enhance his natural powers. From there he learns the mystic arts until he is bitten by a genetically engineered spider on the way to his uncle's funeral. The spider venom opens him up to the cosmic rays normally filtered out by our atmosphere. This causes him to somehow spend five years trapped on a hellish island where the only way to survive was to teach himself archery. Yep, Martin Stuart McKenzie was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Even before he was blinded and all his other senses were heightened to an godlike level.

     But that intent has changed. because I have had an epiphany, or apotheosis, or something. I accepted that I do have powers, and I use them.

Inborn mutation: my greatest strength is my greatest weakness, I have an inhumanly low threshold of entertainment. I can literally find entertaining things that no other human will enjoy. Case in point, Gods of Egypt. While this makes me happy and easily amused, it also causes me to be fatally distractable, as my archenemies have discovered. To combat this, I have spent years in mental training and preparation. learning to cloud the minds of others.

Mental training: I have trained since the time I was very young, studying the teachings of the great masters like George Carlin and Robin Williams, Mitch Hedberg and Stephen Wright. My skill allows me to say just the right thing to make a random passerby think "...what the hell did I just hear?" while at the same time making them think..."Is he joking? he seemed serious"

My Mission on this Planet: to draw peoples attention to the inconsistencies around them, and to make them more aware. I cloud minds to make the sun brighter when it re-emerges. The stealth Facebook snark can have a strong effect on the unaware.

     Do you think you know my story? Who am I? I am...


And for more from my cohorts:
  • Green Plastic Squirt Gun Provided this prompt, and the mysterious Froggacuda!
  • Alexis' Universe Elected to take both challenges, and her Dino-Riders are her Creme de la Creme
  • Toy Break loves his 3 3/4 Marvel collection. It is in 3-d, while he is now in 2
  • Green Plastic Squirt Gun rose to the second challenge and it struck a chord- he brings us the tale of "Nowhere Man"

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Measuring Units

     With the Topics of Gale-Force winds in Colorado Springs in the news and possibly delaying a package of mine, I thought I would address this. Everyone talks about Gale-Force winds, but no one really uses the term correctly, or addresses it's origin.

     One Gale (named after the weather researches of Dorothy Gale), is the unit of measure equivalent to lift one KF or Kansas Farmhouse and deposit it with Occulticidal force.

or: 1G =MKF / C x DW

     This has been fiction. Thank you. Out of my head and into yours.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Round Robin Challenge:Piece de la resistance

     It seems we have two challenges this week, and I am doing both of them,

Thanks to Brother Midnight over at Green Plastic Squirt Gun for this compelling prompt for
I have thought on this before, and to me, the Piece de la Resistance has got to be an item that puts much of your other stuff in context. Somehow the one thing that seems to characterize my collection over and over is if I just let go and not go crazy, the item I want will fall into my hands. I experience lot of weird serendipity.

     To that end, I submit two pieces of my collections, one from books, one from toys.

      Way back in the day, my first Transformer was Windcharger. He was a cool little G1 minibot, and I have always had a soft spot for that relatively unpopular character from the cartoon. Fast forward to the waning waves of the 2011 Reveal the Shield figures, and Windcharger is (if memory serves) the only new figure in a case of repacks. Meanwhile, the pegs at Walmart, Target, K Mart and Toys'R' us are approaching Boiling temperature from the unwanted waves camped out on them, so these stores are not ordering cases. Lets call it the great Windcharger Famine of 2011 for the sake of drama. So at a time where these figures were going for 5X their MSRP or higher on Ebay, I walk into Ross one day and find him for $5. His rubsign was skewed and falling off, but I added a toyhax autobot emblem instead.

For the book, We set the wayback machine to 1990; Location: Tattered Cover Bookstore, Cherry Creek. One of my favorite authors is there, but not publicizing what I know him for. Douglas Adams is there not for Ford or Arthur, or even the weird and unsettling Dirk Gently. He is there for a Book about endangered species, called Last Chance to See. His read is compelling, but I didn't come there prepared to buy that book. Slightly embarrassed, I ask him to sign my Omnibus leather-bound More than complete Hitchhikers trilogy, and I move along. Time passes, in 2001, Douglas Adams does too. I don't remember what year it was that I found the hardback copy of Last Chance to See at the used book store, but the sticker on the dust jacket proclaiming it an autographed copy is from Tattered Cover, making it likely an extra copy he signed that night for the store to sell.It's mine now, just as if I had purchased it back in 1990. Not personalized, of course, but a little memento of my history anyway.  I'm also not sure where the "Autographed Copy" sticker went to,  Anyway, I go to signings prepared to buy the new book these days. 

  • Green Plastic Squirt Gun Provided this prompt, and the mysterious Froggacuda!
  • Alexis' Universe Elected to take both challenges, and her Dino-Riders are her Creme de la Creme
  • Toy Break loves his 3 3/4 Marvel collection. It is in 3-d, while he is now in 2
  • Green Plastic Squirt Gun rose to the second challenge and it struck a chord- he brings us the tale of "Nowhere Man"

Round Robin Round the Third

Round Robin Challenge:My Heroic Origin

If you were a hero, super or otherwise, what would be your origin and your powers? More than a good rogues gallery, every hero needs a compelling backstory

Let the posting commence

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Size Matters/Matters not

     I have joined the Transformers fans who have in their possession, Fortress Maximus. And I have to tell you, if you are looking for him... MAKE SOME SPACE. He's big. Really Big.

     To that end, I have put together this handy-dandy field guide to current transformers scale. for size reference, I have a quarter- for size matters not reference...

Titan Masters:
I thought we would get a "head" start with these. they each come with a mini-vehicle 
and become a robot head. 

Legends Class:
These are small, self-contained Mini robots. 

Deluxe Class:
These may either be partnered with a titan-master or a target-master, or completely self-contained. 

Voyager Class:
These may either be partnered with a titan-master or a target-master, or completely self-contained. Some may also be triple changers

Leader Class:
These may either be partnered with a titan-master or a target-master, or completely self-contained. Oftentimes they will have an electronic gimmick, or chrome

These will usually be a combination of deluxes and voyagers to form a larger combined 'bot

These are just freaking HUUUGGGE

Monday, January 2, 2017

Round Robin Challenge: Fire All Over,Fire All Over!

     A fear-inducing meditation from
     Fear inducing- yes, I said it, and meant it. Toy Break hit upon one of my big fears.

     Now, we do have an evacuation plan for the birds. we have travel cages, and a bug-out bag with food and emergency toys. So in this scenario, Sam is outside watching over the cages adn I am running back in for ...What?

     I'm giving myself an Ikea bag's worth. Cheating? Probably. But it will keep my anxiety level low enough to finish the post.

     So once more into the breach I go, through the smoke and haze, trying to control my breathing and not start coughing. Into the bag I throw MP10 with trailer, MP Ironhide, MP Starscream, and MP Bluestreak.

I throw my favorite Luck-Toads, my Jetwing Optimus, a handful of Terry Pratchett books.


      From my room, I throw my medicine box, and across the bag between the straps I throw my favorite longbow and quiver of arrows. I throw my longsword from a Renaissance festival long ago. Lastly, I throw my Musashi Katana on the pile and run like hell. Go love on my scared birds and alternate between thankful that I saved what I did and heartbroken at what was left behind.

     These kinds of thought problems are supposed to show you what you really value, and it does show you what you would grab in the moment. But for me, they are always an exercise in second-guessing. What about my other masterpiece transformers? Sideswipe, Rodimus? I can't save some without betraying others. The book Mom put together of her memories, down on the bottom shelf, next to my books of philosophy and my D&D books? Every choice I make rejects multiple other things, and I even have a hard time choosing what gets taken out of display rotation for a little while.

     One of the Terry Pratchett books I would certainly grab contains a quote about this very thing, and I am going to end with it.

“Walter Plinge said: "You know she asked me a very silly question Mrs Ogg! It was a silly question any fool knows the answer!"
"Oh, yes," said Nanny. "About houses on fire, I expect..."
"Yes! What would I take out of our house if it was on fire!"
"I expect you were a good boy and said you'd take your mum," said Nanny.
"No! My mum would take herself!"
"What would you take out then, Walter?" Nanny said.
"The fire!” 
Terry Pratchett, Maskerade

And from my fellow Social media mavens

  • Toy Break started this by taking out his Marvel Secret Wars figures( he didn't start the fire/ It was always burning / Since the world's been turning...or possibly Billy Joel started it)
  • Green Plastic Squirt Gun saved his Aquatic best
  • Alexis' Universe Saved the vintage first
  • The Toy Box grabbed the star wars videos- Good choice!