Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A couple of pocket monsters

Okay, so only one of them is a monster, but they're both definitely pocket sized. I found these two while I was digging through a junk drawer this weekend.

This one is definitely supposed to be a knockoff of a mech from Battletech or Mechwarrior, but I couldn't tell you which model it is. The detail isn't too bad for such a small figurine. If I remember correctly, Chelsea got this for me out of a gumball machine in our first year together. I'm amazed I've managed to hold on to it this long.

This guy looks like he should be a Godzilla villain, but it's definitely one I've never seen before. I can't tell if those things on his head are supposed to be his eyes, or  his ears. If they're eyes, the why in the world are they shaped like a satellite dish? If those are his ear, then where the hell are his eyes? There's just a lot of unanswered questions with this one.

As simple as these two are, 7 year old me could have had hours of fun playing with them. They're the perfect size to carry in my pocket for all those boring trips to the grocery store, or those long car rides to Virginia Beach. Back then, all it took were a couple of pieces of cheap plastic, and a wild imagination, and I was entertained for hours.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fun in the snow.

Stand still for one more second...

I really can't leave these two alone. They're always getting into trouble. I cleaned the two of them off and fixed them a cup of hot chocolate so they could warm back up.

Uh-oh..this looks like trouble..

Bob, I don't think I would trust him after what you did.

I'm not going to say I told you so, but...Okay Stormtrooper, pull him out. The fun's over.

"I'm so sticky."   "Yes, but you smell delicious."
It looks like I'm going to have to clean these two up yet again. Stay warm out there folks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Where are we?

My girlfriend Chelsea set up a trip to California for the two of us for my 30th birthday back in 2011. We did some sight seeing, a lot of wine tasting, and ate way too much good food. I had a great time, and it felt like a proper goodbye to my 20's. Thanks to some family connections, Chelsea was able to get me a tour of a place I've wanted to visit ever since I was a little kid. As much as I'd love to go back there again, it's probably one of those once in a lifetime sort of deals. No matter, as the memories I have will be more than enough to bring a smile to my face years from now. Here's a shot her uncle took of us while we were there.

I'm sure it's pretty easy to figure out, but maybe not. I'll give the person that gets it right an enthusiastic thumbs up. Good luck !

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Big Daddy Darth Vader

It appears I've been neglecting my blogging duties the past few days. Don't worry though, because this fellow caught on to the fact that I had been slacking off, and forced me to do an entry about him.

The Emperor will be most pleased with your progress.
I'm sure some folks would disagree, but I'm going to go ahead and name Darth Vader the most recognizable character in science fiction. I'm willing to bet most people could pick him out just by the sound of his respirator alone. I guess that's why there have been so many action figures made of him. This particular figure is from the 12th wave of the Vintage Collection. I had a previous version with a removable helmet, but it seems that Hasbro has trouble making helmets that actually stay on the figures' heads. This Darth Vader's head is all one piece, so there's no worries about it falling off. 

This version also has ball jointed hips, so he's able to get into some pretty cool battle stances, unlike the last one I had. I kinda wish they had included an extra right hand, so I'd have one that could hold his lightsaber, but the Force choke pose is rather fitting for the character.

Next to the original vintage figure, this one is probably my favorite interpretation of the character. It gets all the details right, without going too far, giving us a toy fit for collectors and children alike. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Star Wars sticker books and a Tie Fighter

This little set was another one of my Christmas gifts. It includes two sticker books, a Lego Star Wars Character Encyclopedia, and a Tie Fighter kit. 

Sticker books have always puzzled me. Once you put all the stickers where they're supposed to go, what then? At least these have reusable stickers, but it's not like you can use them somewhere else. Still, these will be a good activity for Chelsea and I on one of those rainy day weekends. The Character Encyclopedia is full of fun little facts about the characters, as well as their evolution as Lego minifigures. It's a cool little book for a lover of facts and trivia, like me. It's probably not as comprehensive as some of the larger volumes out there, but there's enough info that I feel like I learn something new each time I look through it. 

The real star of the set is the Tie Fighter kit. 

I was a little disappointed at first, since the model obviously doesn't have the proper Tie Fighter colors. Then I started thinking of it as a top secret model that the Empire was just rolling out. Or maybe this one is part of a Special Forces Tie Fighter group, and the odd coloration is what sets them apart from the normal pilots. Whatever scenario you come up with, I think you'll find it's a rather well built model, that isn't too far off scale. 

It's also rather sturdy, as I've dropped mine a couple times now and nothing has broken off. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for the elusive Stealth Tie Fighter to shoot down some Rebel scum. May the Force be with you all.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

His and hers

I picked up these two lovely pieces of pocket jewelry for Chelsea and I not long after we moved in together.

The top one is mine, a Case Amber Bone Small Texas Jack. The blades are carbon, which means they'll stain and darken with use, as you can probably tell. The bottom one belongs to Chelsea, and it's a Case Purple Bone Peanut, because she loves things that are purple. They're small, useful, and if I say so myself, rather beautiful. They've seen quite a bit of use over the past 5 years, and I don't doubt they'll last a dozen more.These two go a long way in proving that just because it's a knife, doesn't mean it has to be scary.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Airtight alibi

JBoy's post over at Revenge From the Cosmic Ark reminded me that I had the newest incarnation of the Joe no one wants to shake hands with..Airtight. This version came out in the G.I. Joe: Renegades line, and while other characters from the show looked like their cartoon counterparts, Airtight was done in the more realistic style.

As you can see, he's quite an improvement over the original version, and he comes with a ton of accessories.

Yeah, that smell is most definitely coming from you.
Airtight comes with his Hazardous Environment Containment Rifle and purification backpack, as well as the little gas chromatograph he's holding here. Hasbro actually gave us a choice of backpacks this time around. You can go with his purification backpack:

or you can us the oxygen tank pack.

Airtight also comes with a pretty wicked shotgun, for taking out any Compound Z Zombies he may come across.

Dude, not in the face!
One of the best things about the new style figures, is the updated articulation. I'd never be able to get the older figures to hold a shotgun like that. In the end, Hasbro took a character that I didn't have the slightest interest in, and made him exciting. Yo Joe!

I'm here to kick ass and chew bubble gum,and I'm all outta gum.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sort of a review: Victorinox Minichamp

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was a little Victorinox Minichamp, given to me by my girlfriend. The Minichamp was a replacement for the Classic that had been riding on my keychain for nearly 10 years.

The Minichamp is the same length as the Classic model, but it's over twice as thick due to the number of tools packed into it. The Classic only came with a knife blade, scissors, and a nailfile/screwdriver. The Minichamp includes those, and much, much more.

Clockwise from left, the included tools are:
Orange peeler
Wharncliffe blade
Nail file with nail cleaning tip
Ruler with screwdriver tip
Cuticle pusher
Cap lifter combo tool with wire stripper/bender and phillips screwdriver
Pen blade

It also includes a small ball point pen

and a set of tweezers on the other side.

Really, the only thing I miss is the toothpick, though with two different knife blades, I'm sure I could whittle one if I needed it badly enough. As for the review part of this, the edges on the knife blades could have been a little sharper. Seriously, that's the only complaint that I have. Somehow, Victorinox manages to have the most consistent fit and finish of any manufacturer, while also producing more knives than anyone else in the world. I'm not sure how they do it, but it must be magic. Even if you're not the type of person who likes sharp and pointy objects, you're doing yourself a disservice by not owning at least one Swiss Army knife. Just make sure you buy a Victorinox or a Wegner, everything else is just a lie*.

*Disclaimer: I do not get paid by either Victorinox or Wegner. I'm just passionate about my Swiss Army knives.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lazy Sunday

We're often busy on the weekends, so it's nice when we finally get one where we can spend the day relaxing.  Here are a couple of photos that pretty much summed up my Sunday.

This is only the second Bloody Mary I've ever had, and I must say, it was rather tasty. I'm used to my adult beverages having sugar in them, so it took me a few sips before I decided I liked this one. I definitely need to add more spice next time though.

My girlfriend took this photo just a few minutes ago. That's Kirby and Grey hamming it up for the camera while using me for a pillow.

And that's pretty much how I've spent my Sunday. Relaxing on the couch, enjoying a cocktail here and there, while in the company of a fine woman, and loyal animals. You really can't ask for much more than that.

Lego Lord of the Rings- Gandalf Arrives

It seems that it became something of a tradition  for my girlfriend, Chelsea, to give me a Lego set for Christmas. That tradition continues, and this year I received Gandalf Arrives, from the Lord of the Rings line.

I love the little vignettes on the back of the box. Lego used to show alternate models that could be built with the same pieces, but that seems to have been abandoned with the sets based on licensed properties. 

As I've gotten older, it seems a pile of random, unorganized parts means many hours of sweating and frustration. With Legos though, sorting through the pieces is part of the fun. Some of you might like to organize things in neat little piles, but I like having to search for the pieces that I need.

I just had to show the first page of the instructions. I love how that first picture makes it look like Legos just won't work if you try to put them together outside. They just lay around, not connecting to each other. Pay no mind to step 2, that's merely a suggestion. Now, let's get this thing assembled.

Well, that actually went rather quickly. I'm surprised at how much detail they were able to pack into this little set. There's Gandalf leading his cart along while he holds on to his staff.

In the back of Gandalf's cart we have a barrel full of fireworks, a backpack that contains a letter, a large carrot, and an open book. I love that they included the Dragon fireworks that got Merri and Pippen in trouble in the first movie.

The set also includes a Frodo minifig, which is fitting since he's the one that greets Gandalf on the road to the Shire. It's actually a pretty good likeness for the scale, and I love the printed details on his shirt. Lego really did a great job on this set, and it's tempting me to check out some of the other kits in this series.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fun Food Friday-Rice Krispies with a twist

Okay, here it is. The Fun Food Friday I've been trying to do for the past..6 weeks or so. The problem with things that need to be cooked is that they take time, and time wasn't something I've had a lot of this holiday season. So I apologize if this is a little late, but think of it as that gift your mom ordered the day before Christmas, and it just arrived today.

I'm a huge fan of Rice Krispie Treats. If my body would allow it, I'm sure I could eat a whole pan of the things in one sitting. Thankfully, I think either my stomach or my heart would rebel before I could complete such a feat. They are one of the few treats that are nearly impossible to mess up. All it takes is butter, marshmallows, and Rice Krispies. I'm not even sure if the actual proportions matter that much. Add all those things together, plop them down on a pan, and done! At least, I think that's how it's done. Growing up, my mom would mention something about using up the stale box of Rice Krispies, I'd mumble a reply, and an hour later there was a plate full of Rice Krispie Treats sitting on the kitchen counter. It was magical. As much as I'm embarrassed to admit it, I've never actually made them myself. I've never even watched someone make them. With my girlfriend Chelsea's help, that's about to change right now.

The directions are pretty straightforward. Melt butter, then melt marshmallows, mix with Rice Krispies cereal, then wait a few minutes.  Man, this sounds easy. I'm not sure why people make such a big deal out of making these things. The box even gives the kids ideas for what to do while the adults are doing all the work. Pssh..like I need a box to tell me to go watch tv while someone else gets their hands dirty.

And here is what you'll need to build your Rice Krispies Treats Holiday Houses. The kit contains red and green icing, tiny hard candies, and gum drops for decorating your creation. I think the hard candies would work better as ammo for a slingshot, but I guess it depends on the kid. I love how the box exclaims, "Includes everything! Just add butter!". Well, I guess you didn't include everything then, now did you?

This is Chelsea's hand, trying to get the marshmallows to melt. The directions recommend "Low" heat, but we found that to be an exercise in futility. I think the pan would have rusted through before those marshmallows melted. We ended up cranking the heat up to "Medium", and blasted those fools.

And here's Chelsea's hand again, mixing up the marshmallow and Rice Krispies. I would have done it, but someone needed to work the camera. After you get all the Rice Krispies wrapped up with that marshmallow, you're supposed to let the whole thing rest for 5-10 minutes. The box suggested we design our houses while we waited for the mixture to set up, so that's exactly what we did.

That's mine on the left, while Chelsea's on the right. I went for the more abstract design, with a Christmas tree planted on the roof, large powerful arms on either side, and tank treads. You know, for moving. Chelsea's is a pretty good rendition of our actual house, though I can't say I remember the sun being that red. Also, why would it need to wear shades? No matter, 10 minutes are up, and it's time to build the houses.

I would have liked to have taken some photos of the process, but it's a little hard to do when your hands are covered in cooking grease. Chelsea keeps saying she won. I say I won, because I felt like my house more resembled my initial plan. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Either way, we're both winners, because Rice Krispies Treats are freakin' delicious!

So there you have it, my first experience making Rice Krispie Treats. It was certainly fun, but I think I still prefer it when they magically appear on the kitchen counter.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Specialist Trakker of...G.I. Joe?

Today I have yet another toy that I won from Eric over at Toyriffic.

 Specialist Trakker is actually Matt Trakker from the M.A.S.K. toyline, reworked for the G.I. Joe universe. If you don't know what M.A.S.K. is, then go to The M.A.S.K. Page, and lose yourself for a couple of days.  Basically, M.A.S.K. was a toy line that featured vehicles that were filled to the brim with weapons, and would transform with the push of a button. They all came with figures that wore hi-tech masks that had special abilities. The biggest selling point for me were that all the vehicles looked normal until you activated their action features.The vehicles were also in scale with each other, as well as the figures they came with. It was an amazing toy line, and I wish I'd owned more of them.

This has to be one of the most serious action figures I've ever seen. Most figures have a neutral expression on their face, but Trakker here looks like someone just insulted his mother for the last time. That's the sort of face that could be the last thing you see if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've actually read complaints on some message boards, that the sculpt and likeness on this figure are off. In my mind, that's coming from people that just like to nitpick. The fact that this figure was even made should be enough to make any critic shut their pie hole.

Specialist (Matt) Trakker also comes with a helicopter backpack that originally belonged to Annihilator from the original G.I. Joe toy line. The only difference is that Hasbro customized it with the same color scheme from Condor, a M.A.S.K. vehicle that changed from a motorcycle...to a helicopter. See what they did there?

Altogether, this is one of the coolest figures I own. It's just a shame that Hasbro never saw the need to produce more figures from M.A.S.K .

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What about Bob?

In all the excitement, I completely forgot to ask my favorite zombie, Bob, got for Christmas. So, what did you ask Santa Maul for this year?

Come on now, there's no need to be shy. We just want to see what you got..

Hmm..something definitely looks different. Did you get a haircut?

Just kidding of course. It's definitely an improvement, but I have to wonder where Santa Maul found an extra head just laying around. All I can say is, enjoy it while you can..

He's Santa Maul, he has his ways. Besides, it's not like he stole it or anything.

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