Thursday, December 31, 2015

The End...of 2015

It's almost 2016, time to list what I got for Christmas this year!

$50 in eshop points! That's a lot of plays in Badge Arcade. For those not in the know, Badge Arcade is a crane game where you grab for special badges you can decorate your 3DS home screen with. It's useless, every play costs money, but it's so addicting. 

I also got gift cards for Panera and Subway. Hey, free lunches, I can't complain about that.

Funko Pops! Like I said before, I got addicted to these things back during NYCC, and these two are by far my favorite characters. Anger is from Inside Out, one of the best movies Disney and/or Pixar put out in years and he's by far the best character. Of course he's voiced by Lewis Black, one of the greatest casting choices ever. He's tiny, red, and will not hesitate to use that one swear word he knows. There's a version of Anger with a flaming head, but since he was an exclusive from SDCC, he goes for around $60 and I'm not shelling out that much for him. For now.

Captain Cold is from CW's Flash show, and he's such a great villain. I love his design, and he translates well to the weird Pop vinyl sculpts.

Speaking of Anger, I also got his Tsum Tsum. Tsum Tsums are Japan's weird, stackable answer to beanie babies and of course Disney is all over that. And like beanie babies in their prime (and Funko Pops now), the fanbase for these things is insane, with rarer exclusive ones going for upwards of $70. Since the Inside Out line has been out for months and are harder to find, Anger's not cheap...unless you find it in Target on sale like I did.

Games and stuff! This stack is a little smaller than it has been in previous years because most of the other shows I got DVDs for either ended (Community) or stopped making DVDs (Simpsons). This is also the last year for Parks and Rec and unless I finally get off my ass and watch the rest of my gigantic In pile of DVDs, there might not be any DVDs at all next year. Batman: TAS was from my friend Steve. 

As for the games, I'll admit I got Chibi Robo and Amiibo Festival for their amiibo. Chibi Robo I heard good things about, while Amiibo Festival is "play through Animal Crossing like Mario Party, but not as fun!" 

Yo-Kai Watch was a game I was very interested in, as it's kind of like Nintendo's new Pokemon franchise, but with enough differences to make a unique experience. After playing it for the past few days, I have to say that I'm really enjoying it. There's lots of exploration, and a new Yo-Kai under literally every nook and cranny. The battle system takes some getting used to if you're accustomed to Pokemon's like me, but it's definitely neat. 

Like Pokemon, the world is filled with weird creatures that you can befriend, and you use them to battle other Yokai committing mischief around the city. Like Pokemon, the various Yokai are based on various animals or spirits from Japanese folklore. And then there's Yokai with very specific tasks that they inspirit people with.

For instance, this is Cheeksqueek. He makes you fart. Yes, his head is shaped like a butt. And yes, his hair is supposed to be poop. He's not even close to the weirdest one in this game.

It's weird, it's fascinating, and I haven't been able to put the game down very often. If you like anything in the mon genre, you'll enjoy Yo-Kai Watch.

Secret Santa! This year I participated in Reddit's Secret Santa exchange and boy did I hit the jackpot. I had told my secret Santa that I collected Funko Pops and that I loved Adventure Time, Bob's Burgers, Doctor Who, among others. The Japanese gummy candy was a nice bonus, since I mentioned I liked to travel but I never expected Japanese candy, especially strawberry gummies! Sadly, the candy expired back in August and the one piece I tried didn't taste right. I thought gummy candy never expired, but it turned out I was wrong. So I learned something this Christmas.

I hope your Christmas was great, and I hope you have a happy New Year! See you folks in January.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thankful 2015

It's November and that means Thanksgiving and that means talking about what we're thankful for.

For me, there's all the usual stuff: friends, family, a roof over my head, just being alive. But this year I'm thankful for having a job that pays me enough to have a disposable income.

You see folks, between the last time I wrote here and now I've become slightly addicted to those Funko Pop vinyl figures.

Alright, "slightly" seems like an understatement. For years I passed by these things, thinking they were dumb and ugly. "Who the hell would buy these?" I thought.

Lots. The answer is lots. I was at NYCC this year and found these things everywhere. Again, I thought nothing of these things. I only had about five of them, four of them being mini versions of Stan Lee.

And then as I walked around, I found that some of them were going for obscene prices.

Seriously, this variant of Vegeta goes for $400. I still think that people would be stupid to blow that much money on a little figure that doesn't even do anything, especially ones with those weird beady eyes. Hell, Funko had a booth there and the line for it was always a mile long. Those lines were only open twice a day, I decided to forgo that nonsense.

But then I saw "common" Pops (ie, ones that weren't exclusive to anywhere) go for $20, $30, or more. Sure, some of the booths selling those were asshole scalpers, but that's when the seed was planted into my brain: "I can find these at Hot Topic for ten bucks! I should get these before people start asking thirty dollars for them."

And that's where it began. I'm strictly a "only get the ones I want" collector. I don't want to be a completionist, I already did that with Amiibo. Seriously, it'd be easier to list the ones I DON'T have. Here goes:

-Famicom R.O.B.
-Mega Yarn Yoshi
-the SMB line that isn't Toad, Gold Mario, and Silver Mario.

Plus all the ones that haven't been released yet. Where was I? Oh yes.

I don't want to be a "get em because they'll be worth some day" type of collector, either. I did that with beanie babies and to this day I have storage bins filled with them collecting dust in my

See? I don't want that to happen with Pops, too. Between Amiibo, those beanie babies, plus a lifetime of collecting Transformers toys, I'm running out of space to put things. I've had trouble remembering this for the last couple of years. I always get more stuff, without any thought of where it's going to go. Lately I've been buying less toys and focusing more on artwork and celebrity autographs. They're thinner and they go on walls. Easy for storage.

And I've been giving a few of my pops away due to this. See this awesome Godzilla?

He was a NYCC exclusive I bought for the very purpose of being able to trade it with some random stranger on the internet. And boy, did that stranger deliver.

Snow Miser from The Year Without A Santa Claus was the result of that trade. His brother Heat Miser was bought off of eBay. Plus that Krusty was purchased from another stranger that wanted to unload THEIR stock. Did I mention that they're all worth around $50 but I was able to get good bargains for them? You guys know what regret is, right? Because I thought nothing of these things, some of the pops I brushed off such as these (plus Muppet ones) now go for high prices for whatever reason. I've devoted the last month and a half to getting them, one pop at a time either through outright buying them or giving one of mine away.

It's been hard to not get bitten by the snake that is a collector's addiction. When there's one day I congratulate myself on not giving in to temptation to buy something for the sake of buying it, there's another where I stumble upon a Buy 1 Get 1 50% off deal and just go to town.

It was tough to walk away from this amazing selection, but I was happy with myself. It was the day before Thanksgiving, and I was short on money. I just needed to tell myself "I just want a few of these. Just GIR. And Marceline. And Darth Vader. And the entire Bob's Burgers family."

That's my other problem. When I started the "I only want the ones I want" mindset, there were only a few Pops I truly want. And then they made Bob's Burgers pops. And more Adventure Time characters. And Clark Griswold. And now with Steven Universe Pops and the Hitchhiking Ghosts from the Haunted Mansion confirmed, I can only say this:

Sigh...can I just mail my money to Funko directly? Don't answer that, I definitely know that's possible. I said that I started with five of these, do you want to know how many I have now? Thirty, and that number grows by the day. And that's been over the last month and a half.

So that's what I'm thankful for, enough money to pay my bills and get a little something for myself each week. Some folks spend their money on cars. Or drugs. Or beer. I spend it on four inch figurines that look like Batman. We're not too different.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Let's Get Spoopy!

Hey it's Halloween, it's time to get Spoopy!

What does it mean to be Spoopy, you ask? Well, that's a good question, reader.

It's different from normal Halloween revelry, that's for sure. For one, you have to tell as many dumb Halloween puns as you can.

And dress up in the most obscure costume you can think of. Can't be Spoopy without everyone at the Halloween party trying desperately to guess what you're dressed as.

Taken at NYCC. If you do recognize this one, you're awesome.

Then gather as much "loser candy" as you can. You know, Mary Janes, Bit O Honey, candy corn and those black and orange things.

That's it. Now put them all in a pile, and then throw them all out so you can get some good candy.

And of course listen to great Halloween music.

So of course you gotta do the Spoopy Dance.

That's it! Now you're getting Spoopy! There's just one more thing you have to do.

Grab all the Barbasol you can.

Yeah, they still make it. You know what you do with that, right? Of course you do.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Even More Flea Market Finds!

Summer's been winding down, so a few Sundays ago I made yet another trek down to the local Flea Market before it got too cold to look at other people's crap.

Usually I try to make it to these things earlier in the day, but this particular time I showed up around 1pm, the time when most of the vendors start packing it in for the day. I came to think that all of the good stuff would've been gone by then.

But I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong. The Flea Market Gods (whom I've always imagined to be a group of middle aged women in ugly sweaters. Think the mom from The Goldbergs) decided to smile down upon me this week and I actually struck a little pay dirt. Let's look at all the cool stuff I saw.

My first find of the day was a stack of old novelty records from the 60s. The 1960s just seemed like the best decade for music, both the good, the bad, and, well, this. Hell if I know how a story about Snoopy fighting the Red Baron became associated with Christmas, but The Royal Guardsman somehow found a way to tie it all in together through song. And just look at that great artwork, the Red Baron looks downright embarrassed that he's getting his ass handed to him by a dog pretending to fly its own doghouse.

If I actually had something to play it on, you know damn well I would've bought it.

This too. Man do I love 60s Alvin & The Chipmunks the best. And this album isn't the famous one with the Christmas songs, this is a soundtrack to The Alvin Show, the original cartoon.

And you know what? This find actually parallels the Simpsons, when Bart found a Melvin & The Squirrels record at a swap meet.

Thank you, internet, for proving once again that there is a Simpsons reference for everything.

Most of the albums in that pile were old Disney records, mostly movie soundtracks. Like the others, there was lots of rad artwork, but this Winnie The Pooh record was the standout. Tigger looks so...wrong. Maybe that's why he's looking at himself in the mirror? Wondering who was responsible for his incredibly off-model look? I mean, I'm only assuming that's Tigger. That's how unlike Tigger he looks.

An old-style McDonalds model made for train sets (this was at a table that sold model train stuff). As a lover of obscure McDonald's merch, I had to get it...until I turned it over and saw it covered in gunk and sadness. Maybe next time.

On that topic, I found some sweet McDonald's glasses straight from the 80s! These glasses take me back to my childhood with my Grandma, she only drank her water out of these. I would've bought these, but as I've said before, I don't really drink out of glasses enough to justify buying them. Also, I still don't trust myself around fragile drinking glasses older than I am.

Two of them are from a Great Muppet Caper promotion, two more have Grimace and the Apple Pie Tree, and then there's the one that caught my eye: 

A glass commemorating the McDLT! And apparently there was a vote in 1986 for Burger of The Year? Seriously, if anyone can fill me in on this promotion, that'd be great, since Google is turning up nothing but endless copies of the famous commercial.

I miss when fast food commercials actually TRIED.

Seriously, I found more results for that Melvin and the Squirrels picture than on information on this promotion. And you guys have to check out the other side of that glass:

Well, it might be 30 years too late but it has my vote. Mine and, of course, Jason Alexander's.

Old times slot machines! Too rusty for my tastes, but can you agree that they're awesome?

And here's another! I apologize if these pictures didn't come out too well, but you get the gist of it, right?

And I found to this old diner jukebox.

Want a bowl of pilot wings from Eastern Airlines? Even if the entire bowl was a dollar I'd feel it was too much.

Or an accordion?

Anyone who's anyone would buy the novelization of The Addams Family Values.

How about a tub? Someone was selling tubs. And literally a kitchen sink but I didn't get a picture of it.

There were a lot of buttons for sale, but this Jerry Lewis Telethon button wins my award for Most Esoteric, and I'm counting all the buttons rooting for Hubert H. Humphrey's presidency.

Hey, a sword! A real live sword! I was assured it was the real thing, and it was heavy as hell to prove it. This would've set me back $100, but I didn't have that much money to spend, even if that was a great deal for a sword like that.

My favorite find of the day has to be this unopened box of Star Wars Dixie cups priced at $95. Yes, this topped the sword.

And you might be asking "did you actually buy something this time?" And my answer is yes. Yes I did.

Yes, Happy Meal toys! But not any toys, an actual Mac Tonight toy I didn't have! He's riding in a jeep and he looks like he's not giving a fuck while doing so.

Next to him is a tiny Scrooge McDuck in his own car. Scrooge is one of my favorite Disney character, so he was an automatic buy from me, but I found him sitting on his own. This was a win on its own because hey, who wouldn't want a tiny Scrooge McDuck to sit on things? If you answered "not me," then why are you reading this?

As I was about to walk home with my Scrooge, I spotted a tiny car on the other side of the table that seemed perfect for a duck in a weird sitting position. And of course he fit! I felt like I made out like a bandit, and the guy I bought it from seemed to agree, since he had no idea that Scrooge had his own tiny car. 

His loss I suppose. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to pit these two racers in the greatest toy drag race this blog's ever seen.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Look At My Hot Wheels!

Over the past year or so I finally succumbed to my childhood love of toy cars and began collecting Hot Wheels cars again. Well, not EVERY Hot Wheels car, that would be too expensive and time consuming, even if they are roughly a buck apiece.

Instead I've been collecting the cars Hot Wheels made from pop culture.

It all started when I found the Jetsons car in one of the King Kullens I worked at (it's the local supermarket chain around here). So of course I bought it and wondered what else was out there.

Well it turns out that I wasn't the only one looking for these neat cars, so finding them in stores was near impossible. I should know from my years of working in a toy store that the Hot Wheels collectors go nuts for new stuff, so I had to turn my search to flea markets, conventions and of course eBay when my patience started to run out. 

But my quest to find tiny versions of the Flintstones car

And the Mystery Machine

Would prove to be successful. Oh, and it turns out that Hot Wheels had a crap load of licenses on them, like James Bond and Star Trek. Since James Bond's cars were all real and that I'm not that into collecting six versions of the Enterprise, I managed to find other goodies nonetheless.

Like the A-Team van!

The Back To The Future DeLorean!

And of course Adam West's Batmobile. Hot Wheels made every version of the Batmobile in tiny form, even the Batplane from Dark Knight Rises and one from some theme park live show. But the second I laid eyes on this one, I HAD to have it.

And this, the Ecto-1, is apparently the coup de grace of the collection. This one's from 2010 and goes for no less than twenty bucks. I told the guy I bought this from that I'd leave it in the package since I just spent twenty bucks on a damn Hot Wheels.

Before I leave you guys for now, I bet you're asking "wait, didn't Hot Wheel make toys out of Simpsons cars?"

You bet your ass they did.

New for 2015, there's finally a tiny version of the pink Simpsons car! Lack of antenna aside, it's a damn good faithful recreation.

And yes, The Homer is finally real and spectacular. Forget what I said above, THIS car is incredibly faithful to Homer's original vision, right down to the three horns that I'd bet would play La Cucaracha if they worked. There's a special version made for SDCC, but the only thing special about it was the package, so buy this version if you can.

With these two cars, can other Simpsons vehicles be far behind? The Canyonero? Chester Lampwick's Rocket Car? Or dare I say it, the Monorail?!

Hell, they made a car out of a bobsled

And a roller coaster car

A monorail cab doesn't seem so far fetched in comparison. Get on it, Hot Wheels.

(NOTE: I didn't buy those last two, although now I wish I did. I have that "reverse buyer's remorse" feeling again.)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Stuff I got in the mail

Buying things in stores these days is overrated, let's check out what I got in the mail recently.


Of course I can't not talk about my ever expanding Amiibo collection.

"I'll only get the ones I like," I said. "I'll only buy my mains." You get the idea. But it's not not my fault Nintendo made all my favorite characters impossible to find! And I have a lot of favorites. I can understand not making a lot of the less popular characters, especially in the first few waves. Nintendo didn't see the popularity of these things coming, but they really, really should have. 

It's the first time many Nintendo characters outside of the Mario Bros or Pokemon groups have merch of any kind, especially little high-detail figures that unlock content in games. Especially the Fire Emblem characters. Sure, they're from a franchise that isn't as well known over here as it is in its native Japan, but within the Smash Bros community they're quite popular. 

So of course Nintendo considers them "low stock" characters. Back in the first wave, this meant stores only received four of these. And since there are four characters represented (Marth, Ike, Lucina, Robin, and soon Roy), they're quite sought after. It doesn't help that they're the only kind of Amiibo compatible with Codename S.T.E.A.M. Which, you know, makes those special features inaccessible to anyone who doesn't have them.

What you see above is Robin, one of the aforementioned Fire Emblem characters and he's one of the rarest Amiibo of them all. As in, stores only stocked two or three of them only once, if stores received him at all. Sure, Nintendo World in NYC finally restocked him, but that's only one store in one part of a very large country.

He was also the last Amiibo I needed before any new ones come out in a few months. So I got desperate to complete my collection and decided to go to r/AmiiboSwap and trade one of my Ike's (I had two because I imported one while waiting on a Gamestop preorder that took months to get filled. Yeah). After paying a crazy shipping charge and a week of waiting he was finally in my hands.

Of course, with other hard to find Amiibo, I decided to import from Japan. Sure, they cost slightly more than if I tried buying them in stores, but it saved me a big headache while trying to find these things.

Like Purin, er, Jigglypuff. If you're asking "why didn't you just buy these online," I will give you a sarcastic laugh in return. Trying to buy them from American sites like Amazon or GameStop ranges from "good luck" to "we're not even bothering to carry these anymore since the site crashed every time new ones are released." That's in addition to the low stock numbers I mentioned above. Five waves later and Nintendo has yet to learn.

In order to beat the crowds, I imported Palutena (Amazon exclusive) and Dark/Black Pit (Best Buy exclusive). Turns out Amazon Palutena was pretty plentiful and I STILL bought one. I'm thinking of offering it on AmiiboSwap when other Amiibo come out. 

As for Dark Pit, I'm not going to wait at a Best Buy in the ass end of the morning before work to find out they sold out five minutes after the place opened.

And here's Japanese Lucina:

All in all, I feel accomplished, yet sad. I feel like this cat: 


Back during Free Comic Book Day, I found the entire run of Bob's Burgers comics. You don't really need me to recommend them if you love the show, but you should totally pick them up. Alas, there were only five issues, of which my Local Comic Shop only had four (2-5). So began my quest: Where's number one?!

Turns out like any comic, Issue One is the sought after one. And after looking through eBay, I found that there's as many as a dozen different covers for it. I had soooo many chances at NYCC to get at least one, but no I had to forget about them! So against my better judgement to buy all of them, I only bought two:

Yes, that's Tina hugging a zombie horse because Tina is awesome.

Fun Packs!

I've been an avid reader of Dinosaur Dracula for years, and recently its creator Matt started selling monthly Fun Packs, boxes of fun nostalgic crap to keep his site going. (Find info here

This month's fun pack included a Changeable, one of the best Happy Meal toys McDonalds ever put out. These guys, especially the dinosaur series, were a definite favorite of my childhood. You can read more over here.

In my pack, I received the Chicken McNuggets Dinosaur. I was happy since I still eat dinosaur chicken nuggets because I'm an adult, dammit. But this was one of the few Changeables I actually had as a kid and I know for a fact that my old one is sitting in a box in the basement somewhere. But still, the legend of the Changeables continues for generations to come and I couldn't be happier.


This not just a sweet plush of Opus the Penguin from Bloom County, it's a plush Opus that was once owned by Paul Dini! You might recognize that name from shows such as Batman: The Animated Series and, well, most of DC's animated output since the nineties.

So how did this get into my hands? A simple eBay garage sale and ten dollars later he was mine. Paul Dini, if you're reading this, he's in good hands.

Simpsons Gift Exchange!

A few months ago I participated in Reddit's secret Santa gift exchange. Outside of Christmas, there's a wide variety of gift exchange themes dive throughout the year, and when I saw that there was gonna be a Simpsons exchange I couldn't pass this up. What you see above is what I got.

A lunchbox

A few patches, like the blue ribbon in Knifey-Spoony, my personal favorite piece in the whole set.

And a few key chains.

As the rules go, I had to send a gift to someone else. Here's what I put: 

Two vintage Simpsons cars from the early nineties. I picked these up at NYCC last year and I finally found an excuse as to what to do with them: give them to someone else!

I love how old Simpsons merch was designed as well as how no shits were given to show accuracy, these two Hot Wheels toys are cheesy as hell. These were cars that never appeared in the show that had a little window you could peek through to see a special slide. This was interesting for all of five seconds, I hope they're happy in their new home.

Five packs of Simpsons minifigs! Series 2 had just come out and I decided what the hell and just send a bunch? From what I heard, my giftee got some good pulls like Comic Book Guy and Groundskeeper Willie.

I also threw in this handwritten letter. If you can't read it, it says: 

Dear meowymcmeowington,

Hi diddly ho, Match-arino! (great, he actually wrote “diddly.”) 

I’ll admit that it was quite difficult to find decals or vinyl figures or grizzly bear underwear, but I hope you’ll be satisfied by what I enclosed. I picked up the toy cars at New York Comic Con, where they got these really huge pretzels and gtjagfbgf FIVE DOLLARS?! Get outta here…

It might not be the Dallas Cowboys, but it’s a start. Please forgive the lateness of my reply.

And so let us part with a love that will echo through the ages,

-Steve aka Galileo908 aka Miguel Sanchez

PS: In answer to your question, yes we do have hamburgers and fries in England. But we call French fries “chips.”

And oh yes, I really hate yo-yo’s.

Plus this little note for good measure. From all reports, my giftee really enjoy what she got. I certainly loved mine.