Category: league of extraordinary bloggers

Sometimes A Halloween Double Dare Just Isn’t Worth It

It’s been five months since I last participated in an assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers, and there was no way I could let this one pass me by.  We were challenged to complete a Halloween themed photo assignment and I got a little creative by building a spooky LEGO scene which in the Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL) community is called a MOC (or My Own Creation):

HW_MOCbw2

A Zombie, Ghost, and Vampire … sometimes a Halloween double dare just isn’t worth it.

From Around The League:

I Need To Go To Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party AEIOU and Sometimes Why

Burlap Sacks, Skeletons, and Creepy Swamps at Cox FarmsCool & Collected

Everyone has at least one embarrassing Halloween costume to their credit – The Nerd Nook 

Star Trek Week — My (Model Kit) Ships of the Line

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Editor’s Note: Brian from Cool & Collected was gracious enough to include the entire League of Extraordinary Bloggers in Star Trek Week.  So thanks again Brian!

There was a stretch of my childhood that I spent every moment where I wasn’t in school building scaled models. Every birthday, holiday, and all of my allowance went to buying model kits and paint. I built mostly aircraft like B-52 Stratofortresses, Saturn V rockets, F117 Stealth Fighters, even P-51 Mustangs. While they may have been entirely awesome dangling from fishing line from my ceiling, my true love were the AMT/Ertl Star Trek model kits.

For Christmas 1990 I found the USS Enterprise 1701-A model kit from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier underneath the tree. I went into painstaking detail to ensure all of my paint applications were accurate to the filming model; and my only reference material was pausing our VHS copy Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. The time spent assembling that model kit, the time I spent with my Dad on that project is part of the reason that the Enterprise A remains my favorite incarnation.

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AMT/ERTL USS Enterprise NCC 1701-A Model kit. Image via Memory-Alpha.org

Over the years I went on to assemble nearly every available AMT/Ertl model kit available. The Enterprise-D, Klingon Battle Cruisers, Klingon Birds of Prey, and even Deep Space 9 were all assembled with care and displayed with pride …. until I discovered girls and over a period of years these cherished model kits found themselves in closets and then eventually the trash. Looking backing now as an adult I can say that remains one of my biggest regrets.

From Around The League

Someone has been drinking and playing with their Star Trek Megos over at Infinite HollywoodThe League Logo

Fortune & Glory (Days) shows off some recently acquired Star Trek Kreons.

It’s all vintage Star Trek Power Records and Borg Bears at AEIOU & Sometimes Why.

Star Trek Week — Collection Spotlight > “Star Trek III Taco Bell Glass”

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In a promotion that coincided with the release of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Taco Bell released a set of four collectible glasses in 1984. Upon learning of their existence I immediately went about purchasing the one I coveted the most … “Enterprise Destroyed”.

Over the years I have actually purchased “Enterprise Destroyed” on eBay on three separate occasions. I do find a bit of “redshirt” humor being that the glass that kept on breaking just so happened to feature the destruction of everyone’s favorite Constitution-class ship.

The third time around I snapped up the “Spock Lives” glass for next to nothing (I think the eBay seller was feeling bad for me at that point). For collectible glasses that are 29 years oldIMG_2210 they hold up remarkably well in terms of paint (definitely lead based). Even with regular use and washing they remain some of my favorite Star Trek collectibles.

Unlike other collectible glasses these are actually based on glassware actually seen on screen during Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. There is even one in the Captain’s quarters off the U.S.S. Excelsior.

One side of “Enterprise Destroyed” features the explosion and break up of the NCC-1701. The reverse is a depiction of the scene in which Kirk asks Bones “My God … what have I done”. To which Bones replies, “What you had to do. What you always do: turn death into a fighting chance to live”

Look There's A Taco Bell Glass!

This reverse side does a tremendous job of conveying the likenesses of the actors along with the text:

“Scotty, Kirk, and McCoy of the U.S.S. Enterprise watch in safety as the great starship, their home for the last 20 years, self-destructs in the skies above them”.

And for comparison here is a picture of the actual glass versus that emotional scene from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

My God What Have I Done?

My God What Have I Done?

 

Unicron Really Knew How To Make A First Impression

This week’s task for the League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to talk about  first impressions in pop culture. My first thought came to the cold open to Transformers: The Movie (1986).  It was nothing that anyone really expected from a feature length film based on the best selling toyline. Imagine the trauma and horror of young children everywhere as they watch an entire civilization destroyed by some monster planet thing … and SPOILER ALERT … Optimus Prime hadn’t even died yet!

I could go on for quite some time as to why Transformers: The Movie (1986) remains my all time favorite movie.  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched it across every possible home video format, it’s easily pushing 150+ viewings.

Transformers: The Movie (1986) played a critical part in many significant life events for me. I was late to pick up my Junior Prom date because the Canadian bootleg VHS I ordered came in earlier that afternoon, and I HAD to watch the entire thing before I got ready.

During my freshman year of college, my frat brothers and I would watch the first 22 minutes of it, EVERY Friday night to get ready for our weekend. Because nothing says w

ell adjusted colleged aged men than watching a cartoon before they started downing 40’s of Miller High Life and committing summary offenses.

Around The League:

Geek Chunks lined up some unforgettable cartoon intros

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The Goodwill Geek drops a truth bomb about the Thundercats

Cool & Collected really enjoys hair metal.

Stunt Zombies felt that Doomsday made a hell of an entrance.

Zanzibar, The Gas Siphoning Dreadnok Pirate

I’ve long felt that Larry Hama’s 155 issue run on the Marvel GI JOE comic book often goes unheralded. It was a lot more gritty than its cartoon counterpart, where Snake Eyes went from a scarred Special Ops Vietnam Veteran to a wacky background character.

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For what it’s worth, Hama did a decent job having to shoehorn new characters and vehicles into his stories. One such character is Zanzibar, who made his first appearance in GI JOE #60. His gimmick is that he’s a modern day pirate, terrorizing the New Jersey shore points on his Air Skiff. According to the character’s Wiki:

Zanzibar was raised on a garbage scow, spending most of his formative years picking pockets on crowded piers. He tried river piracy, stock fraud and smuggling, but felt that these were too much like real work and not nasty enough for his tastes

So how did Zanzibar come into play as an adversary of the Joe Team? Zanzibar was accepted into the Dreadnoks by their leader Zartan after he was discovered stealing bootleg gas from them which he previously sold them. Apparently that initiative was all it took for Zartan to recognize the innate qualities which made Zanzibar a welcome addition to the terrorist group known as Cobra.

While Zanzibar may have the worst back story and his most pirate behavior is essentially siphoning gasoline from a band of British miscreants, he did have a pretty cool vehicle.

Meanwhile, around The League

Rediscover The 80s ran down the 8 Best Pirates from 80s & 90s Cartoons.

Branded in the 80s highlighted some standout pirates in pop culture, including The Pirates of Dark Water

Plaid Stallions highlighted some really cool Fighting Furies Pirates by Matchbox

A Tribute To SilverHawk Colonel Bluegrass, The Original Space Cowboy

This week’s assignment for the League was pretty straightforward, the topic was “cowboys” and I’m pretty sure that I’ve taken a pretty circuitous route this time around.

As a child of the 1980s, I spent an inordinate amount of time watching these long from toy commercials that were often referred to as “cartoons”.  One such program was SilverHawks a Rankin/Bass production that shared a lot of creative forces behind Thundercats and the criminally short-lived TigerSharks (I’m thinking there’s a pattern there).

  • There was a lot about the SilverHawks that didn’t make much sense at all:
  • Were they half human/half bird creatures or were they just cyborgs with wings?
  • How is it they were able to exposed to the vacuum of space without any significant impairment?
  • And why is there a bluegrass singing cowboy flying a spaceship?

Col. Bluegrass?!?Yes, Col. Bluegrass (voiced by Larry Kenney of Lion-O fame) didn’t have the abilities of his fellow SilverHawks, but he utilized his epic guitar skills to do … stuff.  I’m not really sure what exactly this cowboy is doing in space, but it didn’t stop me from watching every single weekend.

Here’s a fun and embarrassing bit of trivia.  When I was about 3 1/2 years old my dad took me to see Thundercats LIVE! at the Philadelphia Civic Center.  It was some kind of ridiculous variety show that somehow had the Thundercats interacting with Gumby & Pokey, the SilverHawks, and a smattering of forgettable characters.  It took some digging, but I actually found an archived article from the Philadelphia Inquirer dated September 25, 1987 in which a professional reporter was tasked to REVIEW a kid’s traveling variety show.

And From Elsewhere Around the League ….

A Very Starfleet Christmas

The assignment this week for The League of Extraordinary Bloggers is pretty simple, to show off some of our geeky Christmas cheer. I’m lucky enough that my wife is supportive of my geeky additions to our Christmas tree. Every year I get to put my Star Trek ornaments, provided they stay in one quadrant. My hands down favorite is the Enterprise Refit, NCC-1701A which is a 2005 Keepsake Ornament release from Hallmark.

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From around The League:

It’s a very Gamera Christmas over at Infinite Hollywood

The Force is strong with The Lair of The Dark Horde’s Christmas tree.

The Man Who Stares at Toys runs down some of his favorite Christmas presents, including the Autobot Jetfire (which I also have fond memories of as well).

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Prized Possessions

This week’s assignment from The League is to show off our prized possession, the one thing that you would sacrifice life and limb for.  Other than my wife and kids, the one thing I love the most in my life is my Jack Burton action figure.  Back in 2009 I waxed poetic over at my buddy Poe Ghostal’s blog in a Show & Tell.

My affinity for Big Trouble In Little China has been well documented here over the years.  In the Fall of 2002, I walked into Suncoast Video (remember those) in the Oxford Valley Mall to find my hero, Jack Burton, in collectible plastic form. Without thinking, I rushed to the cash register before anyone was able to muscle good ‘ol Jack out of my sweaty grip.

A little history about this figure, it was produced by a company called N2 Toys, which came and went in the early 2000s.  The Big Trouble In Little China line was set to include most of the main characters: Jack Burton, Lo Pan, Wang Chi, Egg Shen, the Chinese Wildman, & Lightning (Three Storms).  There were even rumors of a 12″ Jack Burton, prototypes of which were shown at SDCC in the summer of 2002.

The sculpt is a great representation of Drew Struzan’s truly wonderful one sheet for the film. The paint applications are pretty great by 2002 standards, and does Jack Burton’s iconic tank top justice.  Over the years, I’ve had friends and aquaintances offer me varying sums of money to take Jack Burton home with them.  I’ve ignored every offer, I can assure you that in the event of a natural disaster, fire, or a zombie apocalypse that after ensuring that my wife and kids are safe … I will be sure to take Jack Burton with me.

From Across The League:

Life With Fandom would run into a fire for his original He-Man

The fact that Haxbee has a Small Soldier diorama that sat in the office of Stan Winston has me insanely jealous.

Branded In The 80s showed off their original Return of The Jedi Yub Yub Wicket.  I never even knew this existed.

The League Of Extraordinary Bloggers: Play Ball!

Taking a break from our usual oeuvre, The League is talking baseball!

Contrary to popular belief I do have hobbies beyond Legos, Star Trek, or The Walking Dead. Baseball has been a big part of my life, being born in Pittsburgh I many of my early memories were spent cheering on the “Outfield of Dreams” consisting of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, and Andy Van Slyke (who remains my favorite Pirate of all time).

I vividly remember the 1992 NLCS where 40 year old Sid Bream scored from second, simultaneously sending the Braves to the World Series and ushering in a new era of shitty Pirates baseball.  I remember my father screaming a cavalcade of expletives at the television and kicking the coffee table as my mother ushered me out of the house.  She figured it would be best if we left the house for a while after that.

Through my pre-teen years and into early adulthood, I continued to root for the Pirates despite living in Philadelphia.  My father and I would pick up cheap tickets for Pirates/Phillies games at Veterans Stadium full well knowing that we would be berated mercilessly for 3+ hours straight.

When I started at Temple University, I became more of a Phillies guy, despite my father’s protests.  In 2002 when I started dating my wife, I found out she was a huge Phillies fan.  A good bit of the first summer was listening, watching or attending Phillies games. On one of our first Phillies game together, she asked for a scorecard.  I figured she would wanted a souvenir from our date, and when we made it to our seats (they were somewhere in the 500 level) she sat down and kept score.  I was not expecting that in the least, and Phillies games became a big part of our relationship.

Over the years we traveled across the country, visiting stadiums and collecting baseballs.  At our wedding reception in 2008 we split our 26 tables into National and American Leagues, each with their respective pennant and coordinating floral arrangement.  Our wedding favors were peanuts and cracker jacks.

I endured some truly mediocre Phillies teams in that time, back during the doldrums of 2004-05 when Citizens Bank Park wouldn’t be sold out every game like they have been the last two seasons.  During the 2008 World Series run, I was sitting 11 rows behind home plate when Shane Victorino hit a grand slam off of CC Sabathia in Game 2 of the NLDS.

I was one of the half million fans that called out sick to line Broad Street for the Phillies World Series Parade.  It was such an electric experience that I’ll never forget, and I was there to share it with my wife.  In 2010 we bought a partial season ticket plan for the Phillies, and have kept it ever since.   And yes, on the occasion that I make it to a Phils/Pirates game … I do wear my Pirates jersey.

Check out other members of the League, and their take on this weeks topic:

The Lair of The Dork Horde talks about baseball ice cream helmets!

Cavalcade of Awesome assembled a pop culture fantasy baseball team.  I appreciate the inclusion of Jimmy Dugan.

Team Hellions broke out some Avengers Annuals from 1987 featuring America’s pastime.

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Iron Man Made Me A Believer

 

This week Brian from Cool & Collected posed the following question:

What media announcement had you throwing fist pumps and doing roundhouse kicks in the air? Did the final result live up to your dreams?

 

I still find it hard to believe that It’s 2012 and we are on the cusp of a full fledged Avengers movie.  Five years ago during Comic Con foundation was starting to take shape when Marvel Studios rolled out a teaser trailer for Iron Man.  The attendees at Hall H lost their minds and took to the internet spouting their unrequited love for director Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark.  Up until that point, there wasn’t much buzz on the project and Iron Man walked away the fan favorite of San Diego Comic Con 2007.

Leading up to Iron Man’s release in May 2008, there were rumors of a super secret cameo that would be dropped in after the credits. As press screenings were rolling out, it was very difficult to remain spoiler free … but I prevailed.  Those who had seen it said it was absolutely mind blowing.

I took in a Friday night showing of Iron Man battling the crowds.  When the credits finished about 75% of the theater remained seated, waiting for this cameo.  And then it happened …  NICK FURY!!!  I howled with fan boy delight as my wife just looked at me sideways.  “Avengers” I exclaimed, “they’re talking about the goddamn Avengers they’re going to do this”.

It wasn’t until that point that I sat back and was floored that Marvel was committed to making a series of movies that would lead up to a movie about their flagship super team.  In the time since Iron Man was released, we’ve almost taken for granted that an Avengers movie was coming.  Five years ago, none of us had an inkling as to what Marvel was planning.

 

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