Sunday, December 31, 2017

Good Riddance 2017

Overall, I rank my own 2017 as "okay." Overall, it was a bust, but I don't have much to complain about. Most of the big things that happened this year I already wrote about, but before the year finally ends, I'm gonna show you what I got for Christmas.

This here is most of my spread. I didn't ask for much this year. Trying to cut down on "stuff" was one thing I actually tried my best to keep to this year. The Norman Bates pop was a surprise, especially since I already have the Black & White one that I got at NYCC. If I knew how many gift cards I was gonna get, I would've asked for a Nintendo eShop card like I always do. Splatoon 2 is a ton of fun, but also kind of frustrating since most of the players had a months-long head start.

The toothpaste was a stocking stuffer, and some kind of omen, I guess. I was running low, but it's not the kind I like but it's Christmas and whatever, I'm using it.

These two were stocking stuffers I bought for myself. I knew that Transformers ornaments have been a thing, I already own a Megatron one, but the Soundwave one is brand new for this year. By the time I discovered this Snow Miser ornament:

It was already gone from most of the stores. Looks like it's off to eBay with me.

BUT I did get this Airplane! ornament when it was half-price. The last one the store had, too. This one was a really inspired choice to make into an ornament. I don't know if it's possible, but I fully expect an ornament of Leslie Nielsen from The Naked Gun poster on shelves next Christmas.

And since I'm 30 and thus old, one of my biggest wishes was for new work clothes, especially shoes. I really needed those new shoes, and I actually surprised myself at how finding a pair didn't want to make me pull my teeth out.

My Reddit Secret Santa this year pulled through big time with this amazing Disney Poster Art book. I absolutely love the old-school attraction posters, and this book has pretty much all of them in here. It was printed a few years ago, so there's nothing for Shanghai Disneyland but all the other Disney parks are well represented here.

My all-time favorite is probably the one for the Enchanted Tiki Room.

You probably don't know the name Paul Hartley, but he was a hell of an artist, and this was one of his best. He's also known for these posters:

My other favorite artist is definitely Bjorn Aronson, who created such iconic posters like these:

Can't beat a style like this, so much so that when you most likely see "old school" attraction posters, they're most likely paying tribute/ripping off Bjorn Aronson. They don't make em like the used to, folks.

Whereas the person I sent gifts to this year never posted what I sent her to the Reddit gifts gallery, so she'll be locked out of future exchanges. She did tell me she got them and loved them, but you don't tease someone like that who hates waiting, especially when they send gifts. Her loss, I suppose.

I went to Wintercon this past month, too. It was kind of a bust since the hall it was hosted in decided to be cut in half so the casino it was in could fit in more slot machines. There were quite a few guests this year, but the only person that interested me was Kathy Najimy. She's been in tons of things like Sister Act and Hocus Pocus, but to me she'll always be Peggy Hill. She was super nice and gracious and as luck would have it, she had a few prints signed by most of the cast of King of The Hill and I couldn't pass that up. The only major names missing are Pamela Adlon (Bobby), Mike Judge (Hank, Boomhauer), and Brittany Murphy (LuAnn. Obviously).

Managed to find Fonzie's autograph too. It was from the same guy who I bought a signed Al Lewis picture from EternalCon back in July.

It was only 30 bucks, I couldn't pass that up. I would LOVE to meet Henry Winkler, and I hear he's the nicest man ever, but for some reason he doesn't come to the New York area that often, so this is close enough for now.

This button was great.

As was this name tag.

A few weeks ago, I found out that I get MeTV, one of the latest channels started to show old TV shows since Nick @ Nite and TVLand started showing stuff from after the 1990s. And among MeTV's Saturday night programming is the old Adam West Batman show, and wouldn't you know it, last night had on a couple of episodes starring Egghead, my favorite villain from the show. Sure, everyone (including me) loves the heavy hitters like The Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, and Penguin, but give me Vincent Price chewing the scenery any day.

The egg puns don't stop and you don't want them too. While Mr. Price rarely ventured away from emphasizing "eggs," some of the puns that factored into the plot were utterly genius with how convoluted they were. This was one of the cheesiest and goofiest shows ever made, but there was a kind of cleverness with went into every page of the script. The Caped Crusaders knew something was off when Egghead hid in a caviar factory instead of a chicken egg one. Again, they don't make them like they used to.

This little beauty came from earlier tonight. It's kind of a tradition for my parents and I to go out for Chinese food on New Years Eve, and this year my mother decided to get pineapple chicken. It came served in this hollowed-out pineapple and none of us could believe it. I don't really take pictures of my food, but stuff like this you have to make an exception for. I'm not that big of a fan of pineapple, but it wasn't that bad.

Around June I downloaded an app to play my favorite travel game: The license plate game, where I check off license plates from different states that I've seen. Since I downloaded that app, I've seen 44 states and 4 Canadian provinces (including Alberta!). The only six states I'm missing? Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oregon, Idaho, and New Mexico. Yeah, I somehow managed to see Alaska twice, plus Hawaii, all without leaving Long Island. And I hadn't seen either of those plates in years, to boot. Hopefully 2018 lets me see the other six states, but I know Wyoming is gonna be the tough one.

What can I say about The Last Jedi that everyone hadn't already said about it? I personally loved it, precisely because it subverted expectations at every corner. It's what a good story should do, keep you guessing, and it started zagging right at the opening crawl and didn't stop until the credits rolled. Of course, this made lots of Star Wars fans VERY butthurt to levels I hadn't seen since Phantom Menace, and this was actually a good movie! People have their own opinions, and I can see how people wouldn't like it and there are legitimate gripes about it, but I enjoyed it and I honestly I have no idea what's going to happen in Episode IX. I consider that a good thing. Surprise is an element that's not very common in Star Wars movies, and this one was full of surprises.

Pictured above is one of the MVPs of the movie, this walrus cow thing Luke gets milk from. He missed his blue milk from Tatooine, and I was honestly excited to see that come back here. Hell, I loved all the new characters, especially Rose, who was great. The only complaint I have is that there were several places they could've put Lando Calrissian, and they didn't do it. I would've been fine with a poster of Lando shilling for Space Colt .45, anything. I just hope they're saving him for the next one.

Much like the Twelfth Doctor finally regenerating (which utterly wrecked me, by the way), I see 2018 as a sign of renewal. I accomplished a lot this year, like being more open with myself, getting myself out more, and even driving out to Six Flags by myself. But I want to improve myself even more! Some goals I have for 2018:

-Be more used to being social and being part of a group. I tend to isolate myself, and I think that's part of my nature, but I still think it's totally weird. I want to improve that.
-Be more outgoing.
-Be more open, especially with telling people about stuff I want to do.
-Write more. I mean, REALLY write more.
-Travel more. Maybe drive somewhere farther than central New Jersey. Maybe Pennsylvania? Upstate New York? Atlantic City? Foxwoods in Connecticut?
-Learn to cook. And I mean not just microwaving stuff, I mean cook so I can fend for myself when I finally live on my own. Start with the basics first, then move up. Yeah, I kinda suck.
-Cut down on Stuff. I did some major cleaning out of my closets and my bookshelves this year, but now I still need to clean out my basement, and maybe get rid of a bunch of Funko Pops I don't want any more.

I hope you all have a safe and happy new year, and I'll see you in 2018!

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Jim Nabors is Way Cool

This is the time of year where I list what I'm thankful for. Right now, I'm thankful that I'm alive, have a job, and a roof over my head. And buffalo wings, they're always good.

The news of the world lately can make someone feel pretty powerless. Every day, President Stupid says something stupid, and it pushes the thing he said the previous day out of the public consciousness. I feel like all I do is scream into an ether (which, technically, I am thanks to stuff like this and Twitter), and the people who should be listening either aren't, or don't care.

Just this morning I was thinking "You know what we haven't had in a while? A big celebrity death that takes everyone's minds off of the madness in the news."

Well surprise, surprise, surprise when I read that Jim Nabors passed away earlier today. 2017 is relentless.

Yep, TV's Gomer Pyle left us to join the Mayberry in the sky, leaving Ron Howard as the last heir to the Andy Griffith Show fortune. I'll be honest, like Monty Hall, I thought he died years ago, but thankfully I seemed to check IMDB every now and then and get reminded that he was still alive. I don't think he did all that much in the past few years, but really, he didn't need to.

When I first heard the news, like most things in my life, my mind immediately went to the Simpsons.

And then I remembered that the Simpsons went to this well quite a bit. Most notably when Homer read an entry in an old TV Guide about Gomer Pyle USMC.

Not to mention whenever they referenced his singing voice.

Plus this oddly specific apron that Marge wore in "I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can."

I'm a sucker for grammar jokes, especially when pointing out that weird "i before e" rule English has.

Gomer Pyle influenced a lot of pop culture, didn't he? Obviously, Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket goes without saying.

He also inspired the Shaggy clone Tinker in Speed Buggy.

Plus Futurama used him as Fry's grandfather Enos.

To paraphrase someone else, 2016 was the year where all your favorite celebrities died, while 2017 was the year your favorite celebrities became dead to you. Fortunately it seems that he was one of those people that was a genuine class act, where nobody that met or worked with him ever had a bad thing to say about him. I wish I was one of those people, but that seems to be a running theme this year (Adam West aside. Who was awesome).

If the US Marine Corps had any kind of sense of humor, they would've put out a statement on the passing on beloved Private Gomer Pyle, but I guess that's not happening right now.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Best Cosplay I Ever Saw

It's Halloween everyone!

This year was kind of a bust. Barely any trick or treaters came to my house, not even some rowdy teens without costumes! What gives? I blame Tuesdays.

Anyway, in years past this was the time when I'd post all the great cosplayers I found at New York Comic Con that year. This year will be no different, but with one exception.

I found what is probably the greatest cosplay I have ever seen in person. I say "in person" because I've seen tons of great cosplayers...but not by me. It's always someone else that caught them, like Hulkbuster from NYCC a few years ago.

See? Amazing, and the picture is not by me. It was from this guy. I kept hearing about this one, but I never saw him. You'd think that a seven foot Hulkbuster would be hard to miss, but yeah.

I spent most of Saturday at the con this year searching for really good cosplayers, which is when all the good ones show up. And boy, did they. But before I bury the lede and just show you guys the main attraction, I'll just show off my favorites from the rest of the convention first. All of the following pictures are by me.

Like this guy with a carousel on his head full of Disney characters. I expected him to just wear that on Thursday and let his neck rest for the rest of the time but no, he had that on every single day I saw him.

And I had to get a closeup of the Three Caballeros. They're on the flying burrito, too! Such a great detail.

Here's a badass Alexendrite cosplayer I saw at the Steven Universe panel. I wish the lighting was better, though.

Jon Snow White. Mashups were in this year, and this was my favorite.

Another great mashup was this Sailor Mandalorian.

Any questions?? Yes. Several. He wasn't the only David S. Pumpkins I saw, but the only one with the skeleton buddies in tow.

This guy was VERY into not breaking whatever character he was supposed to be.

There weren't as many Deadpools this year, oddly. I think they all became Ricks from Rick & Morty.

Anyone can dress up as Jason Voorhees, but only this guy could dress up as Friday The 13th Part 2 Jason Voorhees.

I loved this Lex Luthor. I really love the effort some of these people put into their costumes.

Clippy was pretty popular, he was super fun.

And here's the other side of the sign. Love the originality.

Well, I certainly wasn't expecting them.

The Flash. I get it. Oh, and the front side left VERY little to the imagination. I'll spare you all the horror of looking at it.

I love seeing older cosplayers, and this couple was dressed as Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole!

This year there were lots of people cosplaying as Yondu. No surprise since Michael Rooker was doing signings here. (I got to meet him, he was awesome)

There were also a few people dressed as Mary Poppins, and thanks to a certain movie that came out this summer, mashup cosplays of the two were inevitable. This was not the only Yondu Poppins I saw, either.


I have no idea where this guy was from, but I think he was friends with this guy:

They're either from some video game or were about to duel in a life size Rock'em Sock'em Robots fight.

Lots of Link & Zelda cosplayers walking around this year, but this one was fighting a Lynel from Breath of The Wild.

Speaking of deep cut video game cosplays, here's Mario Paint. I loved that game so much and I'm so angry that they never remade that for any of the newer consoles. Mario Maker is the closest we got.

And here's a creepy Mr. Game & Watch.

I thought this was an old-timey version of Goofy, but I found out that this is actually a character from something called Bendy and the Ink Machine.

I don't know, either.

Always good to see McThor. And he had Sif in tow!

This guy is actually supposed to be Spyro the Dragon. I saw him later with a similarly dapper Crash Bandicoot and Crash's...sister? I'm sorry, I haven't played those games.

Cousin Itt!

This was a line buddy of mine named Dominic. He was VERY Adamant about getting SWAT Kats back on the air. He was giving little statues of SWAT Kats characters to the actors who voiced them there (Jim Cummings, Tress MacNeille, Rob Paulsen, and Mark Hamill).

This gorgeous costume was Undine, or as I called it "Goddamn It You're Taking Up A Lot of The Floor on A Saturday People Need To Get Through Here."

Another angle:

She just...sat there for ages while people took pictures. It was pretty haunting. You're gonna have to enlarge the first pic to see it, but she was wearing contacts to make her eyes look pitch black.

And now the moment you've all been waiting for: The best cosplay I ever saw. These pictures were taken not too long after seeing the Undine cosplayer up above, I literally ran into the guy.

What's this, you say? Just a silver box? Look closer.


What is this, a convention center for ants?!

Another angle. This was far and away the most unique cosplay I've seen on my thirty years on this planet. There's dressing up as an inanimate object, even a building...but the actual convention center we're in? That takes a hell of a great imagination. And lots of tape.

I heard that this guy not only does this every year and that this is the first time I saw it, let alone knew about this guy, but he got turned away at the cosplay contest. The actual reason was that you needed to sign up for the contest like a month in advance and wouldn't take any walk-ins. But in my head, the Javits Center legally couldn't participate in any contests held inside itself.

That's what I'm going with. Keep being you, Javits Center Cosplayer. I think we can pack it up, cosplay is done. We have a winner. Seriously, after that I stopped actively looking for any more cosplayers the rest of the day after seeing this guy, because I knew nothing would top it.

One day I'll actually do some kind of cosplay. There's always next year.

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