Tuesday, September 30, 2014

At The End of The World

It's been a heck of a summer, folks. I lost two different relatives over the span of two weeks in July and it's taken me a while to get over that.

Since then I've finally done what I've been meaning to do and go into therapy. It's been going pretty good so far and one of the things I got off my chest was my desire to travel.

Well...travel, run away from my life, just not being here. And back in August I did just that.

As you might remember, I live on Long Island and I decided that the perfect one day getaway was Montauk Point, the easternmost point on the Island.

But to get to what is known as The End, I had to drive through 2 1/2 hours of an unfamiliar part of the island. You see, I had not been that Far East since I was a young child so as I drove through southern fork of Long Island I would've sworn I went to other parts of the country, let alone part of an island.

Seriously, the journey from here to there looked like this: Suburbs > Forest > Farmland > More Forest > Suburbs > More farms > Wineries > New England > Even More Forest > Beaches > End of the world.

"New England" describes that weird creature known as The Hamptons. Tiny cars and expensive stores as far as the eye can see. Frankly there was too much khaki and collared shirts for my taste. 

And that's not even getting into neighboring town called Wainscott, which is a Native American term meaning "This is where white people come from." I saw actual garden parties going on! Some inside upscale stores that had more windows than shelves. I thought those only existed in movies, but I learned something that day.

I took a quick detour in South Hampton to look around and I kept having anxiety attacks over a cop for being too poor for this part of Lobg Island.

Remember, I look like this: 


So you can imagine my disappointment when nobody really have a crap that I was wearing a Legend of Zelda tshirt and denim shorts. 

I also ate lunch at a place called Townline Barbecue, which gets on lots of those "Best of Long Island" lists.



I'll be the judge of that.



While it looks good, I must confess that none of what you see there had any flavor. It was moist and a nice, tender texture, but that's it. I couldn't taste anything. The ribs you see there were covered with a spice rub that was admittedly pretty good, but I'd expect that they'd have no flavor either of it wasn't rubbed.

It sure explains all the bottles of sauce that's at every table. You're going to need them.

But enough about that, time to see Montauk Point and its famous lighthouse.



I've gotten lots of compliments for this photo. You really couldn't ask for a more perfect day to look at this thing. Let's get closer, shall we?



Inside that house is a museum about the lighthouse and the history of the surrounding area. It's a pretty neat walk around. 



There used to be much more land, but erosion made the point much smaller. But let's look at the pretty surroundings. 





Those bluffs look so much bigger in person, pictures don't really do it justice. That big tower that you see in the middle of the second picture belongs to the infamous Montauk Laboratory, home to several weird projects that I'm not going to go further into in case anyone from the NSA is reading this. Hey, Carl. Nothing to see here.

Click to embiggen
Here's what the view from the top of the lighthouse looks like. Again, an amazing day. 


Here's the guestbook I signed. I thought I climbed it when I was younger but it turns out I just looked at it. It's a scary ass climb up there, lemme tell you. I actually hugged the ground the second I got out of the lighthouse. I just don't trust a steep flight of stairs held up only by a thin rope.


And here you have it, The End. Beyond that sign is a long long drop into the Atlantic Ocean. You can't get more east than that, guys. I hope you enjoyed this little travelogue, and I hope to bring you more in the future.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Not Feeling It Today.

Its the end of August and, well, I'm just not in a blogging mood. The "Every Simpsons Ever" marathon's been going on and I just look like this now:


See ya...Hopefully next month.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Placeholder Entry for now

Hey folks, it's the end if the month but the obligatory post won't be up in time, so here are some pictures for a preview of what's to come!





Monday, June 30, 2014

Some Stuff I Got

When last I spoke to you, I showed you some crazy crap I found at a flea market. Well, in the month or so since then I've spent some time getting some more crazy crap through the internet's flea market aka eBay.


Vintage Disneyland Tickets! 

Oh, baby. I've always wanted a set of old ride tickets from Disneyland despite never actually going to the park, nor being born before they were discontinued during the early 80s. 

You see, back in the days before paying $100 a day to get into Disneyland to wait on as many lines as possible, rides required tickets that had to be bought separately. A tickets were cheap and were mostly the tame rides like those horse drawn cars in Main Street or the Carousel while the more expensive E tickets gave you access to the thrill rides like Space Mountain and such. The really lame stuff didn't need tickets at all. (I don't care if being sponsored by Monsanto meant it was free, you're not getting me interested in the Bathroom of The Future)

Most often you bought ticket books to get some kind of value. In 1967, these books cost $4.50 (from a value of $8.05 if all 15 tickets in the book were bought separately). Of course, these were child tickets, so they were slightly cheaper. That $8.05 price would be worth $56.34 in today's dollars. Quite a steal, especially since a one-day ticket to Disneyland for a child today comes to $90. Not even kidding about that.

Since tickets were sold from the park's opening to 1955 to 1983ish, scores of unused tickets can be found on eBay for little more than the price you see on the ticket. But like anything stupidly collectible, the older and more complete a ticket book, the more valuable it is. These specific books come from 1967, and the one on the bottom only has the main entrance ticket and a single D ticket missing. That's almost unheard of among the 30 people that take this seriously. These set me back around forty bucks, also unheard of.


Here's a comparison of the E tickets from both books. The above one is from May 1967 and the bottom one from October. There's an interesting omission from the October book: The Rainbow Ridge Pack Mules. Odd considering that the pack mules wouldn't be removed until 1973.

Yes folks, once upon a time Frontierland was the big draw of Disneyland and before Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain were built and took most of its land, there were several rides to guide you through the town known as Rainbow Ridge. You could go through by stagecoach, by Conestoga wagon, and through a train ride that was not unlike the Jungle Cruise with its own brand of cheesiness. But for a time you could ride actual mules in the park. Hey, keeping mules was pricey and there were still laws on the books barring guests from riding cast members around. It's due to this and the increasing weight of Disneyland guests are my guesses to why the ride is long gone.



Finally, here's an interesting comparison of the C tickets, again the top being from May and the bottom from October. No clue as to why half of Fantasyland and the mine train disappeared between those five months. At least the war canoes could be chalked up to being seasonal.


New Old Kool-Aid Flavors!

You all remembered my entry about Sharkleberry Finn from a few months past, yes? Well, the Kool-Aid gods have answered my prayers and re-released a few more of the character-based flavors! Purplesaurus Rex, Rock-A-Dile Red, Pink Swimmingo and my all time favorite Great Bluedini have returned to store shelves! I was able to snag 10 packs each of the three flavors you see above for about eighteen bucks total. Might seem like a lot, but since these flavors have yet to reach my part of the country it's well worth it.

Once I'm able to have access to the house's only clear pitcher, I'll write up a taste test like I did for Sharkleberry and report back here.


WiiU!

Well, this one was an in-store purchase, but a thing I got all the same! After years of debating myself and a few interesting demos, I finally decided to take the plunge into next gen gaming! So what if this was a $350 Mario Kart machine, the future is now and Mario Kart looks as awesome as it ever did.


Seriously, pictures and videos don't do this game justice, but in my mind Mario Kart 8 is the best one I've played since the 64 version. Sure, I liked the original and Double Dash and Wii enough (never really got into the handheld games in the series), but this one is purty. 

The graphics are incredible, the handling of the karts are great (although being out of the MK loop for a while, the gliding and anti-gravity stuff took some getting used to), and hey, the AI looks like it's only KIND OF cheating! Plus there's 30 different characters, including all 7 Koopalings! You see Iggy above but my heart will always belong to Lemmy.

You could also play as your Mii, too. Nintendo expected to play with weird copies of ourselves but then people got creative like with Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force: 



And even President Obama can get into the race.


And your standard Hitler and Jesus Miis, but I don't have pics of those. Yet.

This is also a good time to remind you that while Mario Kart 64 was a great game, the graphics have not aged well.

See, here's MK 64's version of Royal Raceway:



And here's MK8's: 



What a difference nearly 20 years makes. Yes, Mario Kart 64 came out in 1996 and don't you feel old now?



OFFICIAL CERTIFICATION!

Google Maps was clever this year. Their April Fool's prank was a Pokemon hunt. Through Google Maps you had to search the entire world for 150 different Pokemon in a few days and then they would offer you a job to be their official Pokemon Master. Thanks through searching through Reddit I was able to snag all 150 within a few hours.



But after doing that (twice!), it turns out that Google had another trick up its sleeve: Mew. Unlike all the other Pokemon which had a set location, Mew was different for every user, and changed location whenever somebody found it. All we knew was that it was somewhere in the Amazon...and that's it. Alas, I never found it and nearly tossed my phone in rage over this.

But Google is not a malevolent corporation, no sir. It turns out that as long as you found all 159, you won. About a month later I was sent a survey for a special prize. And a month after that I got said prize in the mail: 



BUSINESS CARDS, BITCHES! Yep, I'm official. I guess all those years of playing and training finally paid off

I know that look on your face, you're jealous.



FREE BOOK!

If you're not listening to Marc Maron's WTF Podcast or his show on IFC "Maron," you're truly missing out. The podcast is especially fascinating if you're into all things comedy and anything pertaining to the world of stand-up.

Marc's show, kinda based on the podcast and his own life, is equally as good. It started out as Louie starring a more bitter comedian but the second season finally has him branch out into its own, bitterly hilarious awkward thing. 

But the main reason why I ended up with a free copy of his latest book was through good ol Twitter. During an episode about Marc having an awkward day with Ray Romano, the show's twitter feed started its weekly contest. Tell them what a day with yourself with Marc would be like and you'd win a free copy of the book.

Seeing the picture above it's easy to deduce that I was the winner that week. I couldn't believe it, stuff like this never happened to me before. An actual contest? Me? Really? Winning?

Yes. Don't give up hope, kids someday this good fortune might happen to you.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

More Flea Market Finds

A few years back (nearly two years ago to the day, in fact), I posted an entry about all the neat stuff I found at the local flea market.

Well, a few weeks back I went to it again, it was finally warm and sunny so that meant all the good vendors were out in full force to sell all kinds of crazy crap.


Like a model cruise ship.


Want adding machines or old CB radios? They got you covered.


Lots of Coke memorabilia was here, too.


Pretty neat Coke sign. The other signs there are great for that bar that you have in your basement. If only you had people to invite over...


Mad balls! Haven't seen those in years!


The toy vendors had all types of obscure stuff, like classic Pee-Wee's Playhouse figures mint in the package. I would've gotten that King of Cartoons but I would've felt bad about taking it out of the package. I've never been one of THOSE toy collectors, but when I come across old toys that have spent years if not decades still in the package, it seems like a waste to end all that hard work, even if the toy itself was never that valuable.


Mr. Magoo dolls seemed like a great idea back in the 50s. I had no idea that these were even made, but considering how popular he was I'm not all that surprised.


This Bart Simpson doll totally takes me back. I know I had gotten one of the talking dolls as a birthday gift back in the day, but I'm sure it wasn't the St. Patrick's Day edition. Early Simpsons merchandise was weird and crude, not unlike the show's look in the first few seasons. While the prospect of buying a childhood toy was promising, the price tag plus my aforementioned feelings on things that are MIB had me turn it down.

Also, note one of the Visionaries grouped with the classic GI Joe and Star Wars figures. And I believe that TMNT van in the lower left corner comes from the 2006 animated movie.


Ooh yeah, now these wind-up Pokemon figures were definitely something I had back in the day. This one guy had all of them: Pikachu, Lapras, and my personal favorite Porygon.

You see, back during Pokemon's initial heyday actual toys of the mons were few and far between and these crude toys were paydirt for us dumb kids. Seriously, "Walking of Fairy" wouldn't show up on any Nintendo product but hey, we got to be able to hold an awkward Porygon in our hands and that was good enough for us.


If this Kool-Aid framed thing wasn't beaten up to all hell I would've went home with it. So cheesy but lots of that paint had chipped away and I'm not in the mood to pay anyone to restore it.


Then came the goods, the weapons booth! This booth mostly had knives and air soft guns, but this mace is what caught my eye. Eighty bucks for it was mighty tempting at the time, but I came across something more...special.


Yes you're not going blind, that's an authentic Jarts game from who knows when. Banned back in the late 80s for causing the death of an innocent child, I'd been searching for a set of these for years. Seriously, you can't sell them on eBay, it's on the same level of legality of human body parts or someone's virginity.

Several years back I saw someone sell this at a flea market in upstate New York for $100 and I thought it was a bargain. But you wouldn't believe how much this seller let me have this for.

Five bucks. Yes, you heard me right. One of the darts was broken plus he gave me "The 1:30 Special" (everyone starts packing up around then). That's always a good combo for me, so it came home for me to spend the rest of its days collecting dust in my basement.

We all won today, Jarts. We all won.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

RIP Bob Hoskins

Man, I'm sad that Bob Hoskins died.


You might remember him as Mario from the Super Mario Bros movie, Smee from Hook or dozens of other movies. But to me, he'll always be Eddie Valiant from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Pictured here with many kids' first sexual awakening
Today people might have learned who he was, or might even learn that he was actually British! I seriously didn't know that up until a few years ago. It's just a testament to how great of an actor he was.

I'll miss you, buddy. You're helping toons in the Toontown in the sky now. Say hi to the shoe for me.

Monday, March 31, 2014

March Entry Coming Soon

Hey folks, the entry for March is still being written! So watch this space for actual content within the next day or so!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sharkleberry Fin Lives!

Friends, I'll admit that I haven't drank Kool-Aid in over 15 years. That was around the time they stopped making Great Bluedini, the greatest flavor of all.


Great Bluedini was another member of the Kool-Aid Man's calvcade of mascot drinks back in the the 90s. You know them: Purplesaurus Rex, Incrediberry, Pink Swimmingo, Rock-A-Dile Red, and today's subject:


Sharkleberry Fin. Aside from the blue octopus, a pink shark was definitely the coolest thing around. I can talk all day about my memories of drinking this and how much I miss it, but sadly the blue stuff is all I know. I've had to drink vicariously through the memories of other internet denizens. 

Oh sure, I'd watch that awesome commercial all the time, but I was a finicky child and I was more of a Sunny D kid back in the day and Kool-Aid was but a treat for me. But I'd always have dreams of drinking that pink goo, getting to hang out with Sharkleberry.



Seriously, he's a shark that's bright pink and he wears shades. If that isn't the quintessential 90's mascot, then I don't know what is. So I've mostly put my thoughts of Mr. Fin in the back of my mind, to be tossed with the rest of my mental clutter. That is, of course until I saw last year's Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

Kool-Aid Man's float came flying by, and Matt Lauer or whoever it was gave off his spiel of fun facts about the guy just like every other balloon in the parade, until he mentioned Sharkleberry Fin with all of the other assorted Kool-Aid flavors.

"Wait...what ?!" Was all I could say. Did Thanksgiving just tell me that Sharkleberry was coming back?!

Indeed. Odd place to announce such a thing, but the Kool-Aid Man can't just go door to door and bust through your wall to tell you that a beloved flavor was coming back. That class-action lawsuit a few years back put the kibosh on it. 

But last week, Matt from Dinosaur Dracula (formerly X-Entertainment) tweeted out that he found Sharkleberry in his local Wauldbaum's.

A quest, that's what I had to do. And folks, I came back a winner.


It lives! Reboots, especially food reboots, don't happen very often so I pretty much witnessed a miracle at only nineteen cents a pop.

The packing isn't as charming as it used to be, but I'll take it. Why can't kids today grasp the idea of a pink shark wearing shades? Are those swimming goggles?! He's gone from being a shark to that dolphin from Super Mario World.


Now let's skip ahead to when I decided to crack it open for myself.


Holy crap, they weren't skimping on the PINK. I gotta caps lock the PINK, that's how pink it is. The lighting doesn't do the color justice at all, but trust me on this. Remember: caps lock.

Back when Matt wrote about Sharkleberry Fin in the X-E days, he described the color as such:

"Now this shit is pink. Not like Minute Maid's pink lemonade is pink - way pinker. The color is too intense for any gray area - you're either drawn to it immediately or so put off that you have to go to another room, one where there isn't something that pinking sitting on the table. Admittedly, it's not as inviting as the traditional Kool-Aid red, but like I said...red don't got no shark."

The dude has a much better way with words than I do, but I wholeheartedly agree after seeing the stuff in person. He also told me that it reminded him of the ecto slime from Ghostbusters 2, and he's not wrong about that, folks. I could easily see this stuff powering the Statue of Liberty.

Now for the moment of truth. A lifetime of expectations have led up to this one moment.


Hmm. Again, it might look orange here, but don't get me wrong, it's still PINK. And well, that sums up the flavor. Orange and pink. There's banana and peach in there too, and all of those flavors are fighting for your tongue's affection creating a real unique blend of tastes. As far as powdered drink mixes go, it's pretty good, and you could do far worse.

Again, Matt had a similar opinion, but he worded his thoughts far better than I did:

"It's good, but I'm having a hard time separating what my taste buds tell me from how much my heart wants to love the stuff. I guess saying this would be fair: I'd drink it to get through a bag of Doritos without dying, but I'd probably pass if, say, popcorn was in the bowl. There's a minute difference in the faiths involved there, but as far as radioactive kid soda goes, Sharkleberry Fin is well above average. It actually tastes a lot like peach Snapple, and that's totally a good thing. The fact that I look like I'm taking medication for diarrhea while I drink it just ices the kool cake. Without the ambiance, I give it a 7 out of 10. We can bring that up to a 9 by counting the sharks, the neat names and the idea that we may ultimately piss pink in the equation."

So if you can find this in your local store, pick it up! Nostalgia tastes just as good as you remembered it.

Now get on with resurrecting Great Bluedini, Kool-Aid. I'll be waiting.


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