Friday, August 30, 2013

Fun Food Friday: Froot Loops Treasures!

You don't need to adjust your monitor, or reset your computer. I know it's been a long time, but I felt like I needed another Fun Food Friday. Admittedly, this taste test was done a couple of weeks...err..months ago, but it somehow managed to keep getting pushed to the back of the line. But, for this week at least, it's back. Let's have a taste, shall we?

Froot Loops has managed to remain one of my favorite cereals over the years. Most cereals have not fared well in the days where everything that passes through our mouth has to have some sort of health benefits. I don't know if they've actually changed the Froot Loops formula at all, but if they have, I can't tell. It's one of the few cereals where the last spoonful is just as good as the first, and if you were to ask me to pick just one cereal from now until the end of my days, I wouldn't hesitate to pick Froot Loops.

All the years I've been eating Froot Loops, and I almost forgot that it's fruit with an "OO". I have to admire the genius of their intentional misspelling. With just two "O's", the name would just look bare, and unappealing. Those less intellectual souls may think there were only two flavors, and would likely pass up Froot Loops for Trix or Fruity Pebbles. But, misspelling "fruit" gives Kellogg's two more chances to show off their cereal, and now we see that there are at least four different flavors in each box. I guess they could have called them "Frewt Loops", but I think that would have given people the impression they were amphibian flavored cereal rings, and I don't see that selling very well at all.

After further review, I see now that there are five rings of flavor. They've left off the orange rings. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like "FROOT" could have used a little orange. The sharper eyed readers may have noticed that there are no red loops floating around in the bit beautiful bowl on the front. Well, that's because they've been transformed into the "treasures" part of  Froot Loops Treasures. It works out great, because red is my favorite flavor.

I was curious about the "treasure" to loops ratio, so I poured out my typical bowl of cereal, and counted how many "treasures" were in there. As you can see by the photo, there were ten "treasures" hiding in this bowl, which is a pretty respectable number. That means I'm likely to get at least one treasure per spoonful. Not too shabby. It also means I get to type "treasures" five times in one paragraph, which is annoying.

Honestly, I can't tell much different between the red treasures and the red loops. They obviously have some sort of juice in the middle, but it looks like it's soaked in to the pieces by the time they reach the consumer. It's nothing like the gaping cavity filled to the brim with artificial strawberry blood we see on the front of the box. If I were going to take points off for something, it would be that. Only half a point though, since everybody knows the front of the box lies just a little bit. Altogether, the treasures don't really add anything to the cereal, but they don't take away from it either. For me, they're just another way to get some red in my diet.

But wait, there's more! Cereal companies have all buy stopped hiding toys in their sugary bags of goodness, which means they have to find some other ways of keeping kids attention. It seems most of them have some sort of mail-in offer, while others have gone the online route, and provide games or contests on their websites. Froot Loops went the old school route, and put their fun right on the box. Sure, it's not a cheap plastic toy, or an offer to send away for a tiny cereal bowl and spoon, but I can have fun right in the kitchen. First up is a Treasure Trail Maze. You have to go by the color pattern below, and follow the trail of cereal pieces to the next game. As you see, I made it with no trouble at all.

Next up is the Box the Berries game. I didn't have anyone to play against me, so I decided to create some artwork for you instead. It's beautiful, isn't it?

Here we have to search for various breakfast type items. According to the rules, there are three different kinds of dishes hiding in the pool of water.

I still say there were four bowls in there. Why would you have four spoons, and only three bowls? Did they expect someone to share their cereal? that would ever happen. The real question is, why do they keep all of their bowls and silverware in a river? And are those tires, or just huge Froot Loops floating around in there?

The last game required you to locate all the strawberries hidden on the back of the box, and decode the color code next to each one. Pretty easy stuff, though I expected something a bit more poignant from Toucan Sam. We know there are treasures, but how about a hint as to where they're hidden? I know what they were thinking, a child's attention span only lasts for so long, and it's a miracle if it lasted this long.

So, what's the verdict on Froot Loops Treasures? Even though the "treasures" don't really add anything to the cereal, it's Froot Loops, so they're automatically good. I give them a hearty, happy Chris thumbs up.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More comics from the Blue Crow.

I had some leftover pictures from my trip to Blue Crow. These are mainly just some shots of books that weren't too out of the ordinary, but I still thought they were cool enough to deserve a photo.

NOW always did put out the most random comics. I just love how the Terminator on the cover looks like a Japanese knockoff, what with the anime villain face, and blue hair.

Look at all the creatures in the background. It's like Batman ended up in an H.P. Lovecraft story.

When the new Spiderman series started in 1990, they released about two thousand different versions of the first issue. I actually owned the green version, which was as worthless then as it is now. The story in this issue was pretty ho-hum, something I find to be the norm with McFarlane's writing. I'm also not a huge fan of his art, and tend to put him down there with Rob Liefeld. He just draws people so strangely, and there's a lack of consistency from panel to panel.  Regardless, so many different variants meant this ended up being one of the best selling single issues of all time.

Marvel's put out quite a few parody comics in their time, but I can honestly say this is the first time I've ever laid eyes on this one. This is a one shot comic that reimagines a few Marvel characters as irradiated elephants. Yep, you read that sentence right. This guy does a nice job of summing up the issue. It still doesn't make a bit of sense though.

I kinda wish I had picked this one up, because it's actually rather valuable, even in this condition. This issue introduced us to one of the most convoluted characters in Marvel's universe, Cable. It was also the beginning of characters being covered in pouches, and carrying guns bigger than a compact car. After reading this issue, I think I can say with certainty that Liefeld's art has definitely gotten worse over time. I didn't think that was possible.

I had to capture the last two, just because they show a small slice of the insanity that was the Silver Age of comcis. The Sy-fy channel gets a bad rap these days because most of the movies they put out now are horrible, and they know it. Yet folks will pay a lot of money for an issue of Batman with a plot that is no less ridiculous. Maybe there was a different audience back then. I do seem to remember reading that comic book readers today tend to be a bit older than they were 40 or 50 years ago. If your audience is a bunch of 5-7 year olds, then I guess I could see them being entertained by Batman fighting a couple of aliens and their giant fart gas hand.

This will probably be the last post for this month, unless I managed to whip something up for next week's League Assignment. September is less than a week away, which means a lot of folks will be starting their Halloween countdowns in just a few days. I plan on having one of my own, but I won't be starting until the 1st of October. I don't want to half ass it like I did last year, so I've decided I'm going to do a full month of Halloween posts. That's right, 31 days of Halloween brought to you by the Bob the  Zombie and myself. I bet you forgot about all about Bob, didn't you? Well, he didn't forget about you guys, and he's just chomping at the bit to share his thoughts on this season's Halloween goodies.

Oh, and I don't like to make promises I can keep, but you may see some videos from yours truly in the near future. Stay tuned..

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Night Fun!

Chelsea's having her monthly books, booze, and bitchin' gathering, so I'm supposed to make myself scarce for the night. Since their conversations usually deal with topics that are not appropriate for male ears, I have no problem finding something to do to occupy myself for the night.


Yeah, I know the photo's horrible, but I'm not going for quality tonight. Honestly, when have I ever gone for quality material? Here's a shot of my desk as of 8 PM. Dinner was McDonald's tonight, even though I honestly can't stand most fast food. It's a rare occasion that I'll choose it over actually making something to eat, but this just felt like a McDonald's sort of night. That's the bacon habanero quarter pounder, and it honestly wasn't that good. The habanero sauce was rather spicy, but didn't really have much in the way of flavor. Still, it filled a few holes in my stomach, and gave me the fuel to get me through the evening.

It's hard to see, but scattered about my desk are some past and future post topics. Hey, want a closer look at some of them?

Ooh..action figures. I haven't written about most of these yet, though I'm sure you all remember ol' Mumm-Ra and Darth Vader over there. The great news about Big Daddy Darth? I finally found an original lightsaber for him. The tip is broken off, but no matter. You'll be seeing more about those Glyos guys in the near future, maybe as soon as tomorrow if I can get my motivators working early enough.

I always have a stack of books that I'm reading. The Aliens novel I picked up for free at a new shop that opened up in town. Speaking of which, I should probably do a post on that shop sometime in the near future as well. That Spawn/Batman comic will be coming up soon too. I don't want to talk about it too much here, but it taught me a lot about hype and disappointment.

Over here we have the multimedia section. That Fright Flicks cd on top is for our (hopefully) Halloween party this year. Right under there is the score from the first Batman movie, and then the soundtrack from Mortal Kombat. Next to those is a Transformers DVD set containing the third and fourth seasons. Chelsea got this for me a couple of Christmases ago, and I'm ashamed to admit I still haven't watched a single episode. Maybe if I keep it on my desk, I'll eventually watche'em all.

They'll have to wait until another night though. Tonight I'm watching..

Night of the Creeps is one of my most favorite "zombie" movies of all time. I like to think of it as the spiritual predecessor to "Slither", another great horror comedy (Horromedy?).  I usually save the horror movies for Halloween, but it's been so long since I've seen it unedited, I couldn't resist. It's cheesy as hell, but how can you not like space slugs that turn everyone into zombies? Plus, it has Tom "Halloween 3" Atkins. He's easily the best part of the movie, with his brash, no nonsense attitude, and surgical precision with a shotgun. He also has one of the best catch phrases ever for answering the phone, "Thrill me". I think I'm going to start using that one. Thrill me indeed...

You can't watch a movie without some sort of snacks. Chelsea and her friends always make a variety of snacks for their book club meetings, and tonight was no exception. This month's book was Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, so everyone brought a cereal-y snack. Cereal-y, that's a word right? No matter, I'm going with it. We're not worried about quality tonight, remember? I'm not a huge fan of  popcorn. I'll eat it, but I'm not going out of my way to buy it or make it. Anyway, I knew the girls were going to have a variety of snacks, so I snuck in to their stronghold dining room, and made off with a variety of snacks. And such tasty snacks they were. The multicolored cube at the top left was a Fruity Pebbles variation on the Rice Krispie treat. I think I actually prefer it to the original. Next to that, we have what was labeled as a "Hash" Brownie. I'm actually not sure what was in this one, but it was a brownie, and unless they're wrapped in plastic, brownies are always good. The last two are snacks that Chelsea made. The one of the left is a marshmallow skewered on a pretzel stick, dipped in chocolate, then rolled in crush Cocoa Puffs. The one next to it, is a Cocoa Puff ball made with corn syrup and peanut butter, and placed on top of a pretzel stick. They're like super indulgent lollipops. I washed them all down with a tall glass of ice cold milk, the perfect companion to sugary baked goods.

Once the movie was over, I was in the mood for some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for the NES. On my first play through, it didn't take long for me to lose all my Turtles. I didn't even make it to the Dam level this time. In all my years, I've only managed to get through the Dam level once, and I'm pretty sure I was using the Game Genie that time around. Still, it was the only Turtles game around at the time, so we continued to play it, no matter how much it pissed us off.

Eventually, I got tired of getting my butt kicked by electrified sea grass, so I decided to surf around the web a bit. One of my favorite sites to visit is Dinosaur Dracula. I was a rabid reader of Matt's previous site, X-Entertainment, while I was in college. I was still a shy kid my first couple years of college, and X-E gave me something to all those times I was hanging out in my dorm room by myself. I'm also enjoying browsing through all your blogs tonight. Toyriffic, The Clawful Punch, Action Figure Adventures, Fully Jointed Play Things...Honestly, just look at my bloglist. You all entertain me, as well as inspire me. Okay, enough with this sappiness. It's almost 12, the book club is winding down, and I think my sugar rush is finally starting to peter out. Before I go, here's a shot of yours truly, in all my exhausted glory.

Hey, I told you I wasn't worried about quality tonight.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Stopping by the Blue Crow

There's an antique mall a few miles from my house called the Blue Crow. I haven't bought much from there lately, but I still enjoy walking around and seeing what the vendors are selling. I almost always find something interesting, but this is the first time I thought to bring my camera and actually document things. You'll either love me or hate me for that.

One vendor had a couple boxes full of comics, and I was surprised by just how many 80's toy lines had comics based on them. I just wish he wasn't so delusional, otherwise I would have bought every single one of these. There just aren't enough comics based on toys out there these days. I actually had a couple issues of Silverhawks and Visionaries, and they weren't that bad. Sure, they were just 24 page ads for the toys, but the art was great, and the stories weren't too cheesy.  I think they were secretly hoping to enjoy the same success as the Micronauts and ROM comics, both of which outlasted their toy lines by several years.

Again with the crazy prices. Buckaroo Banzai is one of my favorite B-movies, and I would have loved to own these comics. Not for $5 each though. I love how the second issue exclaims that it's the "Official Comics Adaptation of the Spectacular New Film!". guys thought it was going to be a blockbuster..that's so cute. I really wish it had done better at the box office, because I would have loved to see what kind of craziness the sequel would bring.

I'm kind of regretting not buying the Batman movie adaptation, even at $8. The 1980's Batman movie is one of my favorites, and I'm curious how they translated it into comic form. Did they go with the same artwork as the regular comic series, or did they make the characters look like their movie counterparts? Were some deleted scenes included within? Was Vicki Vale still hot? All questions that could have been answered if I wasn't such a tightwad.

The Masters of the Universe comic vexes me. Is it a comic adaptation of the live action movie, or of an animated movie? Check out that large Skeletor head in the background. I don't know what's going on with his jaw, but it looks like he's about to make a meal out of Teela and Man-At-Arms. Actually, this must be the live action movie, because there's Gwildor standing there and screwing around with his Cosmic Key.  It looks like they used a few of the villains from the film as well, since I see Blade there in his blue and yellow (?) uniform, along with what looks like General Karg behind him, and Beastman leading the charge. I don't see Saurod though, which is a shame. I don't think it was a coincidence that he had a slight resemblance to the Predator.

That's the definition of random right there. I always enjoyed The Adventures of Bayou Billy on the Nintendo, but I never expected to see him gracing the cover of a comic book. It's interesting that they pretty much copied the label from the NES cart, though it's in that Archie comics style. That's one thing I used to love about Archie. They gave me hope that I too could be a comic book artist. In fact, I actually put together a little mini comic, and most of the characters were traced right out of some Archie comics I had. I'd give my left toe to be able to find it, but I'm sure it's long, long gone.

Okay, enough with the comics, let's see what else I stumbled on during trip to the Blue Crow.

I've owned a few pencil toppers in my day, but I've never understood the point of them. Just look at how big these things are compared to a regular pencil. There's no way you'd get away with using that through a whole day of school without someone stealing it or making fun of you. Put one of these on your pencil these days, and you'd probably find yourself expelled. Each of them came with a backpack, but why you would want to add any more weight to these things, I do not know. I have to assume that these guys are based on the Rambo cartoon, since there wasn't a General Warhawk or a Black Dragon to be found in any of the movies. Ah, I miss the days of cartoons based on R-rated properties..

I actually had this California Raisin as a child. I don't mean this exact one, just the same one. Anyway..This one bugs me just a little, seeing as how it looks like one of the other California Raisins decided to put on high heels one day. Couldn't they add some more lipstick, or a hat or something? I thought these were fast food premiums, but it seems they were actually sold in stores at some point.

Was there a property that didn't get it's own lunchbox? I can kind of understand the Partridge Family, since they were rather family friendly and even had their own cartoon at one point. But "How The West Was Won" seems like an odd thing to put on a children's lunchbox. The kid that would ask for a lunchbox with John Wayne's visage on it seems like the type to get excited over a Lawrence Welk action figure. With real accordion action!

Keys. There were freaking bags upon bags of them in one vendor's booth. Who would buy a bag of random keys? Why would someone buy a bag of random keys. I don't know the answer to either question. I'm not sure the answer would make any sense.

Random Ghostbusters figures. I had the guy on the bottom, and he was actually one of my favorite Haunted Humans. When I look back on those toys, I like to pretend they've all been infected by John Carpenter's The Thing, rather than being possessed humans. It just makes their transformations so much more terrifying. My neighbor had the guy on top there, and I can't remember his name either. I just remember when you pulled the speed strip though him, he flew across the garage floor.

Ah, the Cowboys of Moo Mesa. I think Playmates were under the impression they had another hot property on their hands, but this one fizzled out pretty quickly. I remember seeing these figures hanging on the pegs years after they came out. Our local Rose's had them up until 2000 at least. I'm sure they were trashed or donated after that. They do seem rather plain compared to TMNT toys, and you can see that this one has very little in the way of paint applications. It's also a helluva lot smaller than I remember.

Initially, it took me a second to realize who this guy was. It's Earthworm Jim's arch nemesis, Psy-Crow. I remember there was a lot of excitement surrounding the release of  the Earthworm Jim game. I can't remember seeing anything else like it on the SNES or the Genesis. Once I finally got my hands on the game, was okay I guess. The graphics were amazing for the time, but I was never a fan of the controls or the gameplay. I remember getting to the last boss, and I accidentally jumped into the boss, causing it to explode. I still don't know what happened, but hey, a win's a win. I think the figures were based on the cartoon that was released a couple years later. Much like Batman in the 90's, most of the line was made up of Earthworm Jim figures, with a couple other characters mixed in. Unlike the Cowboys of Moo Mesa up there, this one would fit right in with Playmate's TMNT figures.

This is one of three horrifying things I stumbled across while I was browsing around. This doll came out in 1997, when Rosie O'Donnell had her own day time talk show. I can't believe I typed that sentence out. It really sounds like something I would say in the midst of an awful flu, after I've been running a fever all day. It's hard to imagine a time when Rosie O'Donnell was actually marketable as a talk show host and a stuffed doll. I'm still trying to figure out who the doll was marketed towards. Were kids really begging their parents for this monstrosity? Between the cold dead eyes, humongous head, and sound of her voice, this is the sort of doll that would make Stephen King sleep with the lights on. I decided to see if it still worked after all this time, and not surprisingly, it didn't. Instead the speaker issued forth a gurgling, creaking sound reminiscent of The Grudge. I was starting to get a little freaked out, so I decided it was best to distance myself as far away from the doll as possible.  When I walked by it again a little later, it was still croaking at me, no doubt angry that I had awakened it.

When I saw this robot, I thought I had stumbled across merchandise from an unreleased sequel to "Magic Mike". Then I realized I had the exact robot as a child, only mine was gold in color. These robots were produced in 1984  by New Bright, a company famous for having toys that smoked. Seriously. You could add a small drop of oil to a hole in his head, and he blow smoke from the hole in his mouth. New Bright also made a line of remote controlled construction equipment that would blow smoke from their stacks while you were using them. I actually have a kind of terrifying story to go along with the Magic Mike that I had. I was playing with my toys in the hallway of our old house, and for whatever reason, my Magic Mike would randomly start and stop moving. I turned the switch off, but it still kept moving. I was starting to freak out a little bit, so I took the batteries out and set him down. I started playing with my other toys, when I thought I saw Magic Mike move again out of the corner of my eye. I looked over at him, the hairs on the back of my neck standing straight up. I picked up Mike, and flipped him over. Sure enough, the switch on his back was still off. For some reason, I flipped it to the "On" position, and the robot started moving around and making noise again. I dropped him to the floor, and ran out of the hallway, screaming the whole way. It took me a while, but I calmed down a little bit, and went back into the hallway. I kept thinking, "Maybe I didn't really take the batteries out after all." I picked Magic Mike off the floor, turned him around, and popped the door off the battery compartment. Empty. Completely empty. I didn't play with Magic Mike II after that.

These are Christmas decorations. CHRISTMAS! Look at them. I mean really look at them. These are the other two horrifying things I discovered during my time in the Blue Crow. They resemble the damned spawn of Chucky and a Cabbage Patch Doll. It makes me uncomfortable just looking at the pictures. I can't tell what the one on the bottom is holding, but it looks like it really wants to shove it through whoever is standing to the right. The top one is obviously trying to lull his victim into a false sense of security by pretending to read a book of carols. It's clearly a ruse, since I can feel his gaze burning its way through my soul. That's the look someone gives you when they've already figured out what they'll be making out of your skin. My new ultimate fear is going into someone's home at Christmas time, and discovering they bought these things for decorations. Knowing my luck, they'll be set up in the guest room that I have to sleep in.

After those two, even these things don't creep me out anymore.

I got a little excited when I came across this Super Heroes case. I had visions of a case full of Mego, or even better, Super Powers action figures. Alas, it was just a simple record player. Just a side not, I didn't notice the Burger King or Ronald McDonald up there in the top picture until just now.

Well, that about wraps up this trip to the Blue Crow. With as much stuff as they have there, I could probably make this a semi-regular feature. Of course, I've already proven my regular features are anything but regular. I'm also not sure how the folks feel about me running around taking photos of everything. Either way, keep your fingers crossed, because I'm sure I'll make another trip up there again in the near future.

Until then, try not to think about this thing, inching  toward your bed. You close your eyes, hoping it goes away, but each time you open them, it's even closer than it was before.

Then you feel its weight on the bed, and you open your eyes one last time..

You'll make a delicious wallet.

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