Toy Shelves

I had a party (you weren’t invited) last week and it gave me a good reason to clean up my toy displays and make some adjustments.
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Thanks to the decline in Disney Infinity, I went whole hog and bought about as many of these figures as I possibly could find. I’m still missing a few I’d like to get, but the two shelves I have now sport a complete Marvel and complete Star Wars collection. My toy vice has never been either of those properties, so this was a fun itch to scratch and while it is disappointing we won’t get any more of these figures (especially considering the leaks of near complete but unproduced figures) It is calming and comforting to know this collection is done and I’ll never have to buy another one. Plus if I ever decide to sell it a few years from now I’ll actually be able to get a few bucks for it. Maybe. Probably not. One of the reasons this line died is over production.

The risers were an inspired choice. This dark wood bookshelf I’ve had for a decade and was a cheapo pickup at Walmart. Since I’ve got so many figures under 6 inches it doesn’t make sense any more. I’ll replace it sooner or later, but these little shelves are supposed to be for kitchen cabinets for spices. I bought 2 sets of 2 and still have one of them in (which I’ll probably put in the spice cabinet). They’re cheap, about $17 for a set but allow the toys to sit a little higher. This is more pronounced in the Transformers shelf where I’ve got some figures that are 3-5 inches tall and others that 9-12.

IMG_5003Trying to find a theme for Transformers has been hard. About a year ago I decided I wanted to just try for (modern) figures of character from the 1986 animated movie. Additions like Devastator and the recent Galvatron help fill that out along with Bumblebee and Prime I’ve had for a decade.
So the lower shelf is a lot of characters from that movie. I tossed the 2000 DVD release on the back shelf between Prime and Galvatron to emphasize. Top shelf is a lot of bigger figures and some lineups from the comics. Clearly the combiners won’t fit on the lower shelf and Devastator, Menasor, and Superion were a big part of the Combiner Wars comic so they’re all up there. Bruticus isn’t a movie character OR a comics character but he’s the best of the combiner toys so he gets to stay. That white “Battle Core” Optimus Prime I’ll eventually get stickers to convert to a Nova Prime. Starscream is positioned center with Rattrap and Scoop, honoring what is perhaps the most bizarre re-writes of characters I’ve ever read.

Playlist

I tossed together a play list and hit shuffle for this party. We made it one song before someone turned it off and put cartoons on for the kids. Oh well. I get excited for stupid shit like this and it kind of crushed me to not listen to music. I’ve got no where else to put this so, enjoy. I just did a quickie itunes -> spotify conversion so theres probably 30 tracks that won’t work, skip around.

Weekly Recap Wednesday 8/24/16

I just started this and already missed a week. And then I wrote this and forgot to post it for 3 days. WHOOPS.

Angry Birds
I took my kids to the cheap theater and we saw Angry Birds and enjoyed air conditioning for a low low rate of $1 an hour. Worth it. Angry Birds is not a movie I’d recommend to an adult. Sure, the game is still fun, there is a reason it broke out as big as it did. In the age of Pokémon Go it may seem out of step, but Angry Birds was proof you could have a good game on a touch screen that wasn’t a sloppy flash game or pad port. But I digress. The cast is incredible Jason Sudekis, Danny McBride, Josh Gad, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Keegan Michael Key, Billy Eichner, Maya Rudolph, Hannibal Buress, and Peter Dinklage as the Eagle. This is a stupid talented cast. If this were a live action movie, it would be impossible to get bad performances from this many actors. But, its animated and the majority of the voices are stale and the writing is bland. The most remarkable event in the movie (spoiled for the trailer) is when the birds are swimming in a lake only to find the eagle uses it as a toilet. It is disgusting and stupid. My kids think pee is funny, so it was fine for them but depending on your tolerance for bathroom humor I wouldn’t bother.

Pixels
Pixels also has Gad and Dinklage and also manages to underserve good comedic performers. Look, Adam Sandler isn’t who he used to be. I had higher hopes for Pixels. The thing is: It isn’t bad. It also isn’t good. It just is. The plot is silly, but no worse than Ghostbusters or Men In Black, which Pixels is clearly trying to emulate. Aliens invade Earth after intercepting a video of 80s arcade games and the 1980s champions have to save the world by beating Centipede, Galaga, Pac Man, etc. The special effects are great, the direction is solid, it just needed a couple re-writes from a funnier writer. The movie needed more jokes. There were long stretches of the movie where it wasn’t even TRYING to be funny. It is kinda weird. You either need to play the whole thing seriously or embrace how dumb it is, the movie opts to ignore both paths and simply have the cast play it mostly straight with a few smart remarks. A lot of wasted potential. Peter Dinklage is memorable as some kind of creepo version of Billy Mitchell, if only the other stars could have channeled that kind of eccentric energy.

Stranger Things
Trying hard not to be behind the curve here.
If you haven’t seen it, or heard of it, Stranger Things is a Netflix series about the disappearance of a young boy and the sudden appearance of a young girl all relating to… well I don’t want to spoil it. If you managed to avoid it so far, I encourage you to stop reading and enjoy. Especially if you like Stephen King, Spielberg, or play any kind of table top role playing game.

I appreciate that this show is 8 episodes and takes place over the course (mostly) over 8 days. It keep the show tight and focused and also doesn’t have to breach logic too often when you have events happening quickly to one character and they aren’t yet affecting others.
The child cast is electric, I could watch them all day. I would not be opposed to a second season to see them more.
But really the best part is the show doesn’t have it’s head up its ass about its own mythos. Granted, it is the first season, but there is literally no explanation for much of the events. Its great! We can speculate! We also were not bored by exposition. They did a lot of showing instead of telling.
Unresolved: Was Eleven created to get these powers? Are there a One through Ten? How did Dr. Brenner know she’d be able to reach another world? How did Will turn on the lights? Why did the monster kill Barb but spare Will? Where did the shotgun go? What did Will eat for 7 days in a parallel dimension? What caused Eleven and the monster (if they’re not the same thing) to escape in the first place? How did Jonathan know about The Smiths before they even released a single?
I hope we never get some of those answers. More fun to speculate. I do want another adventure and hope we get more Eleven as part of the deal.

“Crossed Wires” – Red Belt

Here is another tune for you to be ahead of the curve on. This literally has 15 views as I’m linking it. Straight forward rock song. Pretty cool.

Weekly Recap Wednesday – 8/10/16

I’m a guy who used to talk a ton of shit about video games and only after writing this week’s recap do I realize I have nothing to say about games this week. I don’t want to write about my Halo matches every week, so maybe next week.

Suicide Squad
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It was a bold creative choice to introduce a Joker that wasn’t funny. I mean the basis for the character is he’s a psychopath who finds humor in murder and mayhem, but ever incarnation of the character has always been at least a little funny. I don’t think Jared Leto did a bad Joker at all. It was just a very different one. This one is some kind of modern gang leader, with the tattoos and the teeth and all the crap we’ve been looking at for a year. But he never gives us a line read anywhere close to Hammil (“You killed Captain Clown!”) Nicholson (“Where does he get those wonderful toys?”) or Ledger (“Do I look like a guy with a plan?”).

But that’s OK, because he’s not the star. Margot Robbie as Harley is pitch perfect. She’s the character off the page and out of the animation cell. Robbie is a bit young maybe to have been a former psychiatrist as the Harley character is supposed to be (she must have graduated and got her doctorate and then been turned to be Joker’s minion the following week). I’d maybe prefer a version of Harley more like the modern independent one, but this is her first live action appearance so we have to start somewhere. In the sequel or the solo movie she can kick Joker to the curb and go nuts in Coney Island.

Will Smith as Deadshot is another one people had doubts about, but I thought he was great as well. “White people that shit” is a line only a black actor could deliver and it gave Deadshot some depth of character we wouldn’t get with a white actor. I’m a Will Smith fan for life. He doesn’t always make the best movies, but he’s always the best thing in his movies.

The rest of the supporting cast was fun too. A few laughs from Captain Boomerang, Kroc, and others. I wish the final movie has been rated R and they had not wimped out on some of the action and suggestive humor. It isn’t like I’d take a kid to see this as it is right now with all the decapitations and Harley’s ass hanging out all the time. If DC decided to do an R Rated Blu Ray after the fact with all their movies, I’m fine with that, but let us not pretend this movie is OK for a 10 year old to see just because they didn’t say “fuck.”


Vice Principals Speaking of bad guys, HBO’s Vice Principals is not the show I thought it would be. The advertising before release made it look like two high school vice principals played by Walton Goggins and Danny McBride would be competing for the same job and constantly sabotaging each other. By the end of the first episode, they form an alliance to take down the principal who was hired from outside and focus all efforts on sabotaging her.

Since the two of them are white men who feel entitled and the new principal is a black woman who through various scenes is shown to be confident and capable and earned the job, this show suddenly took a very dark turn about white privilege in the middle of the screwball comedy. Much of principal Brown’s backstory is revealed in a scene where Gamby (McBride) and Russel (Goggins) respectively break in and then BURN HER HOUSE DOWN. This was the second episode. This show went off the rails QUICK.

Based on being familiar with Danny McBride’s past roles I was sure he was going to be the big a-hole in this show. I was kinda right, he’s gruff and abrasive and speaks out of turn all the time, but ultimately he wants to lead the school and wants to be good at his job; that is admirable. Goggins as Russell is the loose cannon. He doesn’t think twice about stealing personal information or valuables, destroying school property, or (as I mentioned before) burning a house down. His sweet southern delivery hiding his diabolical intentions are the reason to keep coming back.

Since both of them are so disreputable, it is hard to call either of them protagonists, but their bad behavior is what makes the show worth tuning in for. McBride makes you cringe as he tries to befriend an attractive teacher or deliver bad news to a staff member, Goggins inspires outright rage as he quickly becomes the villain of the show actively trying to destroy everything.

I hear this is going to be a two season show, with season one being the fall of the school year, and season two going through the spring. With a limited time frame and focus, I hope they are free to do as much crazy crap as possible without worrying about long term consequences for characters.

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Scourge

I don’t think of myself as nuts about the characters Scourge. Introduced in Transformers The Movie he’s one of the Unicron created henchmen for Galvatron. He turns into a boat or a ship or just some slab that has a gun on top. On the left we have the Generations version of the character, who had a more Earth friendly stealth bomber mode. Right side is the 2006 Titanium figure, which has some diecast metal parts and otherwise has an accurate but stylized depiction of the character.

The center is the new Titans Return figure, who I think splits the difference. The robot mode isn’t quite as dynamic and cool looking at the 2010 Generations figure, but he looks much more like the movie character in both robot and vehicle mode. He’s missing the movie character’s red claws, but he holds a gun so whatever. Like all Titans Return figures, he’s a headmaster so that head pops off and becomes a smaller robot. But the original wasn’t a headmaster so I don’t care and won’t bother addressing it. The head does not have to come off to transform, but it isn’t hidden in robot mode, so you can just pop it off and throw it in the cockpit of the slab ship.

I guess with the three of them I have Scourge and some Sweeps (his clone-like minions) for my eventual TFTM display. If there is anything I’m working toward its having a display of all the characters from Transformers The Movie, with emphasis on modern versions where possible. TFTM is 30 this week, so its nice to have another character to check off my list, even if its one I already had. Of course I now think about Vincent’s article “Why I’m Not A Toy Collector” when he talks about the trap of a new improved definitive version of the character coming every year.


“So Strange” East Hundred
I flipped through my shazams to find a new tune to post this week. I don’t remember where I heard this. Maybe the Shape Of Rock on WMSE? In any case, judging by the view count on youtube, only a few people have every heard this song so give it a spin. Its some propulsive indie rock not unlike Sonic Youth. Looking them up on facebook looks like they broke up a long time ago, but the music is still good.

Weekly Recap Wednesday – August 3

This site has been quiet for almost a year. It should be clear by now I’m not going to really run for President so I hid those posts and I’m gonna revamp my Facebook campaign page in a minute too.

So I’m gonna do a weekly recap blog like the West Week Ever or Robots PJ’s Friday Round Up.

Star Trek Beyond
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Like a lot of people, Into Darkness didn’t inspire a lot of faith in the franchise for me. Unlike a lot of people I did have faith in Justin Lin as a director and Simon Pegg as a screen writer to get this one right. Luckily my faith was rewarded with a great feature length episode of the series. I won’t bore you with a review or introduction because this is Star Trek! You know what it is!
But I’ll say if you avoided the movie because of the last one or worry that the new director would just turn it into Fast & Furious, you were wrong and oh-so-right, respectively. Justin Lin brings that kinetic energy from F&F’s heists to every action sequence. Yes the Enterprise goes down, and it is a heart breaking affair that is at the climax of the first act. The crew has to deal with the consequences of their lost home immediately, even while under threat from the menace on they barely escaped from. Dom Torretto’s crew in F&F is his “family” and no less can be said about Kirk’s crew. The brash and careless captain from the first movie has evolved into the capable and clever captain we know he’s supposed to be. Great turns from Karl Urban as McCoy, the late Anton Yelchin as Chekov, and Pegg as Scotty.
I did have issue with the way Carol Marcus was completely forgotten. I mean, we all have problems with the way she was presented in the last movie, but as a member of the Enterprise crew in a sequel they could have redeemed her a little bit. Jayla was a solid addition and I hope she comes back in sequels.
Go see it. You won’t be disappointed.

Transformers Hardhead
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I’ve been looking forward to Titans Return for a while. Combiner Wars was an exercise in how far Transformers have come in overall toy technology. That sound weird but it is true: Transformers are the most well engineered toys on the market and to make figures that can be a robot and a plane and a leg and an arm was really a feat.
Anyway, Titan gimmicks are the old Headmasters that originated back in 1987. Hardhead was one of them and as an update this is a pretty cool figure. Head has to come off to transform but then the head becomes a tiny, tiny little robot that can sit insides.
The effect of unlicensed or “third party” Transformers can be felt on this guy because this is the most greebly fuckin’ toy I’ve ever touched. Paint details are few, a couple Autobot logo stickers, but textured ridges covering every millimeter. I would prefer some more clean lines and maybe more paint to make surfaces pop.
He’s a cool figure, tank mode is nice, and the transformation is interesting. I don’t have any strong feelings about Hardhead as a character from the old toon or the current comics so his place in my collection will remain for only as long as I think he looks neat.
I’ll take a look at Scourge next week.

Phantogram – “Run Run Blood”

I’ve been aware of Phantogram for a while, hearing some tunes on Radio Milwaukee here and there and even really enjoy the couple singles they did with Big Boi under the name “Big Grams”
But this new single is pretty aggressive and now I’m really digging it. I did a deep dive into their catalog last few days and now I’m an overnight huge fan. I checked for tour dates and they’re playing Chicago… yesterday so I guess I’ll have to wait until next time. Anyway if you like Garbage or Portishead or just the sound of a white girl singing over rap beats this is for you.

Twitch
Watch live video from Zacshipleycom on www.twitch.tv
I started a twitch channel a while ago but never broadcast until the other night. Mostly an experiment, I didn’t see too many people watching as I went along. Maybe the next time I start a party with some friends it might be more enjoyable to watch.
Also, my connection kept crapping out as I played so thats a problem so this is only a chunk of what I actually did. When I get in a party I can get talkative, but its hard to chat while I’m playing with no one around and when I know literally no one watching.

Tweet Of The Week


Maybe some time I’ll put someone else’s tweet here. For now I’ll just put the best tweet I wrote each week.

I was going to take a ton of photos this weekend of my trip back to Maryland, but after a botched suicide and arson at air traffic control in Chicago, all flights were grounded. So this is the only photo I took, . (at General Mitchell International Airport)

5th

Our 5th anniversary outing to six flags was amazing. A dozen roller coasters and a violent bumper car ride later, im ready for 5 more exciting years. I love you, Dawn and every day with you is as fun as this. (at Six Flags Great America)

Game Diary

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Donkey Kong County Tropical Freeze, Super Metroid
thelegendofhilda

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
I haven’t played a Zelda game seriously in a long time. I abandoned Wind Waker just before the Triforce hunt, abandoned Twilight Princess before I finished the tutorial. I even made some public overtures about the Zelda series being stale and over.
Continue reading Game Diary

Game Diary

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Donkey Kong County Tropical Freeze, Super Metroid
thelegendofhilda

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
I haven’t played a Zelda game seriously in a long time. I abandoned Wind Waker just before the Triforce hunt, abandoned Twilight Princess before I finished the tutorial. I even made some public overtures about the Zelda series being stale and over.
Continue reading Game Diary

Transformers and Me: A Fan’s Story

Transformers and Me: A Fan’s Story

Transformers and Me: A Fan’s Story

Transformers and Me: A Fan’s Story

Robot’s Pajamas did a “Transfomers Week” and instead of recommending Age of Extinction toys (I won’t) or suggesting your start reading comics mired by 7 years of continuity (start the the beginning) I decided to tell my own tale.  Upon re-reading it, I think I should’ve made this more personal and detailed, but didn’t know if that site was the place to do it, so maybe I’ll re-write and expand on it more here later.