Monthly Archives: August 2010
What is Vinylmation? I was thinking the same thing when I first saw these little critters. This past March, I was spending a lovely sunny day browsing through a shop on Disney’s Boardwalk, a deluxe resort next to EPCOT. I was actually looking for a swim suit, which they don’t seem to sell anymore for women. Same with underwear. No swim suits or underwear for us! I guess Disney doesn’t want to think about “lady parts” and wants to completely ignore the fact that when Disneyland first opened the “Wizard of Bras” lingerie shop was operating on Main Street.
Anyway, these … things caught my eye. I had no idea what they were. Was it a doll, an action figure, a paperweight? The Cast Member I asked had no idea. I figured they were just the “new thing”. A clever marketing gimic designed to separate us from more of our cash. Little did I know how insidious and genius this marketing gimic was!
There was one figure that caught my eye:
I admit, it was the pseudo writing theme. I know it’s suppose to depict sketch animation but it was close enough and I thought it would look good on my desk. I went to find it and…..I was perplexed. You see, each series has its own tray that holds about twelve or twenty four smaller boxes. Each box is marked with the series it comes from and nothing else. That’s right, you have no way of knowing which figure is inside the box.
Well, that’s easy, I’ll just open the box and see! Nope, now the evil becomes clear. The boxes are all glued shut. There is no way at all to determine which figure is inside which box. Basically, it’s a grab bag. They guarantee that each figure is in the tray, somewhere, along with a “mystery figure” but you have no idea of knowing where it is.
Each figure is $10 retail. NOW the plan of Marketing genius raises its head. I must say that even though I hate this with a passion, Disney really needs to give a raise to the person who thought of this idea because from a business stand point, it’s a money spinner. Picture this: Kid walks in to store with parents, sees cool figure and wants it. Wants it bad. Wants it now. Parents buy one but…. yup, it’s the wrong one! Now the melt-down ensures. So they go back to buy another one and another one. Those $10 boxes can sure add up! If you want, they will sell you the whole damn tray so you can have a complete set but that is $120!
Don’t think you can deftly pry the lid off, take a quick peek and then move on to the other one. Why? Because the figures are sealed inside mylar packets! Foiled again! You just need to buy the box and hope for the best. Did I try it? Hell no! My momma didn’t raise no fool! Besides with my luck, I would get the lamest figure in the whole set. In my case, I would get the “stoned bear” from Park #3
I know, I know, it’s the bear from the now defunct Country Bear Jamboree and before you start writing me e-mails, I realize that tired show is still going at other parks but it’s dead at Disneyland and that’s what counts. They replaced it with Pooh. Not so sure it was a good trade but at least the tubby little cubby of a bear didn’t sit on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, smooshing it into extinction like at Walt Disney World and for that I’m thankful.
Update: I just returned from Disneyland a few weeks ago. I went with my sister and her family and guess what they kids wanted? Yup, Vinylmation figures! Did they get the ones they initially wanted? No. Did my sister buy them more? No. The ones they did get they were happy with BUT it seems Disney has instituted a new system. I am assuming it grew out of many a “I got the stoned bear!” tantrum. It is a limited trade rule. Basically there are three figures in a clear case. If you don’t like the figure you picked you can either (a) trade for another grab bag pick but if you don’t like this one you are SOL and no you don’t get to keep both unless you pay for both or (b) you can trade for one of the three figures on display. These figures change each day but if the one you like is in the case, you are sure of getting it. It’s kind of like the lottery that way. Also like the lottery, life rarely works that well. Honestly, it seemed to me the Vinylmations chosen were rarely the “popular” figures. Nine times out of ten, stoned bear is going to be one of the three choices. The moral of this story? Choose at your own risk.
To me, Vinylmation figures are the perfect example of shallow American consumerism. Honestly, look at them. Do they do anything? Do they serve any purpose other than instilling in you a need to buy more so you can “collect them all”! People, there are times when collecting something just because the masses are collecting it, doesn’t translate into “collector dollars” down the road unless you operate on a fast turn around schedule. Don’t believe me? Hey, I have a box full of Beanie Babies I can sell you!
My advice? Say no to pointless marketing ploys designed to keep you coming back like a crack addict to buy more and more and more. If you want a souvenir go by a plush Mickey or better yet, a shot glass! That has many uses and I highly recommend it. It’s a brilliant idea Disney but I’m not falling for it. I’m going to stuff wax in my ears so I can’t hear your siren’s song as I go about my day. You can keep your tons of pins and trading cards and Vinylmation figures. I’ll just spend my money on something else unless of course you know for SURE which box has the sketch animation figure in it.
Today for Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday, in the vein of the fictional “Kick-Ass”, I give you Viper!
While the news report does not say if this modern-day Superdouche was inspired by the movie, the costume does have the same basic color scheme so I am a little suspicious.
This begs the question, why would anyone dress like a masked, tights-wearing, superhero? If your desire to fight crime is so great, wouldn’t it be better to become a cop? If you remember the movie, Kick Ass got his proverbial ass kicked when he tried to stop a few thugs garden variety thugs. Kick Ass didn’t have any super powers and neither does this kid unless bad fashion sense is a super power.
I mean honestly Viper, if you are going to protect the citizens of Columbia, there are a few things you need to do.
First: get a better outfit. Even Peter Parker upgraded his suit early on. He realized the fate that awaits those who dress like dorks being one himself. Why not go for a snake motif? Something that’s awe-inspiring and manly at the same time. Something that says, “I may be wearing tights but I can kick your ass evil-doer! Mock me at your own risk!”
Second: you need a cool hide-out. Someplace where you can plan your strategy of crime fighting and where you can store your huge crime fighting computers. I know you are probably doing good if you have a white board and only one marker that doesn’t write well but we all have to start somewhere.
Third: you need a cool ride. Nothings says Superhero like a cool way to get around. Since you don’t have super powers and can’t fly, swing on webs or own an invisible plane, I would go with an awesome car. However since you are a twenty year old college student, I’m sure this is outside of your means at the moment. We can’t all be billionaire playboys.
Fourth: which brings me to your biggest screw up – your Secret Identity! DUDE!!! You TOLD them your name?! OK, this is where you lost me. If you are going to go to all the trouble of dressing in a mask, calling yourself “The Viper”, patrolling the streets and phoning in crime, you need to protect your secret identity. There is no faster way to lose respect in the geek community. News Flash – you are NOT Tony Stark.
In an follow-up story it also seems that Viper was in trouble with local law enforcement…
I notice that while they mentioned the “ninja stars” they neglected to mention the other “objects of interest” he was found with. Two plastic tubes of pipe. Hmmm, add a little foam to those and he just sounds like an SCA guy out for a LARP or bout or whatever it’s called when guys beat on each other with plastic tubes.
Viper, it is my opinion and as an avid comic reader I feel it is a good one, that you need to hang this up. I’m sure your heart was in the right place or you were all pissed off at the jocks who wouldn’t let you into their frat but you went about this all wrong. You need to step back and re-think things a bit. I think you need a Super Make-Over! Let Viper mysteriously disappear while you go home and plan your next move.
1) Come up with a new identity. Make it something cool and memorable.
2) Make a better fitting suit that reflects the Superhero name you have chosen.
3) Outfit your lair better. Make sure there are blinking lights and gizmos and a few gadgets.
4) Get some cool wheels. It helps if the car can talk or go underwater or at least dump oil for the bad guys to slip on.
5) Decide whether or not to recruit a side-kick. Make sure he is not cooler than you.
6) Cultivate an Arch-Enemy. Ultimately Superheroes are nothing without Supervillians.
7) DON’T TELL ANYONE YOUR SECRET IDENTITY!!!
If you follow those small bits of advice, I think you may have a chance in the fledgling Superhero biz. Also get a taser. It couldn’t hurt and would but more effective in apprehending thugs than trying to beat them with a PVC pipe. Get rid of the throwing stars while you’re at it. They’re just a whole pile of trouble and besides I don’t think you’re allowed to use them unless you get permission from the NSC (Ninja Superhero Coalition).
Have you heard of the Sonic Drive-In? It is yet another fast food chain, this time based out of Oklahoma, that slings your average fat laden fare with a drive-in, nostalgia twist. I admit I was sucked in to get a 170 calorie cherry-limeade on my way home this weekend when I was subject to a treat. What might this be? I call it “the downfall of the rural American family”.
As I am in line, waiting to purchase my drink, here comes the family from Hell, in their dirt-encrusted SUV-style van. They park in one of the drive-in slots where you can place your order and have it delivered to you by an energetic carhop on roller skates. So out of the van streams the crazy mother, who looks like a cross between Kim Kardashian and a rodeo clown and her two spawn. It seems there was a feud in the car on the way to the Sonic and they have decided to take it “to the streets” as it were.
The oldest son is about fourteen, tall, thin, with an unfortunate mullet-type hairstyle that is more “business in the front, rat-tail in the back”. I have an over-whelming urge just to cut this thin, scraggly long tail of hair and make him look like a “real boy” instead of a demented chewing tobacco salesman. The daughter is about twelve, has eaten way too many double cheeseburgers and is now trying to walk in a pair of Daisy Dukes that are fighting back in a major way. She is screaming at the top of her lungs “I WANT AN OREO BLAST!” I figured her Mom has already blasted her with too many Oreos but then I discover that is the name of a frozen ice cream concoction with cookies or candy stirred in.
She doesn’t stop there, “AND I WANT A CHEESEBURGER AND SOME FRIES AND HE DOESN’T GET A BLAST BECAUSE HE WAS MEAN TO ME!!” I am assuming she means the rat tailed brother and not the mysterious father, who appears to have collapsed over the steering wheel. The brother, who now demonstrates why he belongs in this family, aside from his lack of fashion sense. He is annoying. He starts to whine while whipping his rat-tail hair around like a pole dancing stripper on crack, and whacking his sister with it.
“She started it. She ate my beef jerky!”
At this point Rodeo Kim, grabs both of her spawn and attempts to shove them back into the van. “You get your asses back in the car before your father whoops you both. Now shut up or no one gets a blast.” I’m not sure if daddy is going to whoop anyone considering he is still prone over the steering wheel. I would like to give all three of them an up close and personal blast of an air horn but remind myself I am not the “King of the World” and besides it’s time to order my drink. As I drive off I see Rodeo Kim trying to stuff her son’s head back through the window like a demented game of “whack-a-mole” and despair for our future. I just keep reminding myself that for every one of these idiots there are ten shining examples of decent people. Please help restore my faith in humanity and be one of the decent people.
I am taking a leap of faith here and hoping that the world is still sane and today gays and lesbians throughout the beautiful State of California can find the legal happiness they all have been dreaming of. You see, I am on the road right now and I’m bringing this to you from the past, Friday the 13th to be exact so I am flying on faith that this is still happening today. Because today for Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday I have a question. Why? Not why should gay people get married but….
I think that says it all. I hope people realize this is no different than laws barring people with different skin colors from marrying. I mean honestly, just because one person has more melanin in their skin than another, they can’t get married? It was stupid then but people were still willing to protest that. The majority of us now realize how idiotic that was and this is no different.
I decided to go onto the Pro-Prop 8 site and read their arguments so you don’t need to burn your eyes out. Here is a main point, brought to you by the Withersppoon Institute. Who are they? According to their website “The Witherspoon Institute is an independent research center that works to enhance public understanding of the moral foundations of free and democratic societies. Located in Princeton, it promotes the application of fundamental principles of republican government and ordered liberty to contemporary problems through a variety of centers, research programs, seminars, consultations, and publications.” So here are their ten principles that summarize the value of marriage.
TEN PRINCIPLES ON MARRIAGE AND THE PUBLIC GOOD
1. Marriage is a personal union, intended for the whole of life, of husband and wife. (So what do you do with the over 50% of marriages that end in divorce?)
2. Marriage is a profound human good, elevating and perfecting our social and sexual nature. (I’m not sure how marriage perfects anything, speaking as a single female. I think I’m pretty damn perfect the way I am. I can also guarantee you there was nothing elevating or perfect with Brittany Spears drug induced nuptials.)
3. Ordinarily, both men and women who marry are better off as a result. (Better off? Really? Does that include abusive marriages? Cheating spouses? I’m thinking that being single makes me better off but that is my choice. Wait a minute! They said “both men and women who marry are better off..”, they didn’t say married to each other! Ha HA!)
4. Marriage protects and promotes the well-being of children. (Says who? I have seen TONS of screwed up kids from divorced families. I also see tons of screwed up kids who are raised by absent nanny-using, work addicted, parents. I say adults who are dedicated to the ongoing and present parenting of children promotes their well-being. One of each sex is not a required element. Loving that kid is the required element.)
5. Marriage sustains civil society and promotes the common good. (Really? Give me some examples of how people who are married are better at improving society than people who aren’t.)
6. Marriage is a wealth-creating institution, increasing human and social capital. (OK, I’ll give you that one. BUT couldn’t we raise more revenue if everyone who wanted to get married was allowed to?)
7. When marriage weakens, the equality gap widens, as children suffer from the disadvantages of growing up in homes without committed mothers and fathers. (True. However the sex of the adult has nothing to do with this. It happens because adults abandon their kids, ignore them, abuse them, not because a child has two daddies or two mommies.)
8. A functioning marriage culture serves to protect political liberty and foster limited government. (I have no idea how that works. Does that mean you have to be married to hold public office?)
9. The laws that govern marriage matter significantly. (Again… how?)
10. “Civil marriage” and “religious marriage” cannot be rigidly or completely divorced from one another. (Why not? I know for a fact there are a great many non-religious people who are married so they are separate.)
So before I go, I will leave you with one thought…
A black bear walked into a New Hampshire house through an open door, ate two pears and a bunch of grapes, took a drink from the family fishbowl and grabbed a stuffed bear on its way out the door. Mary Beth Parkinson said the bear apparently took advantage of the open outside door to get into her kitchen Tuesday in Laconia, about 20 miles north of Concord. She thinks the garage door going up scared the bear enough that it fled the house.
She said she arrived in time to save the fish.
(I think it’s cute that he drank from the fishbowl and grabbed himself a teddy for night night time on his way out. It’s so surreal, like Goldilocks in reverse. I love this! I hope the bear is off in the woods somewhere, with his teddy and a bowl of porridge.)
Now this one is a bit of a mystery…
Fish Found In Boys Penis
A 2cm long fish apparently found it’s way into the penis of a 14-year-old boy from India in a bizarre medical case.
The patient was admitted to hospital with complaints of pain, dribbling urine and acute urinary retention spanning a 24-hour period. According to the boy, the fish slipped into his penis while he was cleaning his aquarium at home.
Professor Vezhaventhan and Professor Jeyaraman, who treated the boy and later wrote a paper on the case, explained: “While he was cleaning the fish tank in his house, he was holding a fish in his hand and went to the toilet for passing urine. When he was passing urine, the fish slipped from his hand and entered his urethra and then he developed all these symptoms.”
After detecting the fish in the boy’s bladder, Vezhaventhan and Jeyaraman used a technique known as cystourethroscopy to insert a special set of forceps down the patient’s penis. Unfortunately, the fish was just too slippery to grip, so they resorted to using a rigid ureteroscope with a tool attached that is normally used for removing bladder stones.
The fish the urologists removed, which Practical Fishkeeping believes to be a small member of the Betta genus, measured 2cm long and 1.5cm wide.
He was later admitted into counseling to help him overcome any trauma.
(OK, let’s break this down. The fish was 3/4″ long and a little over 1/2″ inch wide. That’s a pretty good size for a small fish. Go get a ruler, I’ll wait. That fish is near as wide as it is long. I think I would NOTICE if a fish was swimming up my penis, if I had one.
Now the “official story” wants us to believe the boy was cleaning the fish bowl, had the fish in his hands, then had to pee so I guess he had to hold his wanker and the fish – whoosh – the fish swam right in. Ummmm, yeah.. This kid in India must think everyone’s really stupid. Has anyone out there ever cleaned a fish tank before? I know I have. You scoop the fish out and put it in a seperate bowl of water while you dump the old water, clean all the bits, put new water in and re-introduce the fish. You don’t carry the fish around in your hands. It’s slimy, flops around and tries to get into some water so it can breathe. You certainly don’t take it to the loo so you can have a pee first.
We all know what happened. It falls into the category of “How did that happen?” or “Weird sexual things I tried that didn’t work out so I had to make up an idiot story.”. The patient in question, lets call him “Timin” which is means Large Fish in Hindi, decided since he didn’t have a hamster, he’d stick a small fish up the ganges instead. Then the fish got stuck. He figured it would wiggle back out, it didn’t, he panicked and had to go to the hospital. Now everyone knows, you need some kind of strange story to explain why you have a Betta (which is a pretty mean fish) up your cock-a-doodle-do.
Timin, who are you kidding?! Just tell them what you did! Honestly, it’s better that way. I know you’re only 14 but you’ll learn. Better yet, make sure the next time you get a wild hair like this, you get to an adult store to find yourself a safer toy.)
Now I had a friend who as terrified of balloons because they pop. The loud, startling noise which evidently gets some people off, just terrified her. I have to agree with her. I don’t like balloons much. They startle me. Just like giant guinea pigs or contortionists or Cirque clowns.
It seems there are two types of looners: “Poppers” and “Non-Poppers.” Poppers, like the sound/release of bursting the balloon either by jumping on it, bursting it with a pin, a cigarette or a Ginsu knife while Non-Poppers like to maintain balloon inflation.
As one website put it: “There is much conflict and debate between the two types of looners with non-poppers arguing that the balloon is an entity unto itself and should be spared and the poppers maintaining that the balloon is a representation of the sexual build-up and release. In fact, the debate between the poppers and non-poppers has been known to get so heated that it makes the conflict in the Middle East look like a minor squabble over who ate the last Twinkie.”
Wow. Really? I think if the most pressing things on people’s minds were popping or not popping balloons, we would be in a better situation as a country. Wars? Schools in the toilet? People worshipping Sarah Palin? Non-issues. Now the popping issue, much akin to Team Edward and Team Jacob, is where we should be putting our energy. Wow.
Look, I don’t judge. You like balloons, I get that. I mean you REALLY like balloons. No problem. Just don’t bring them around me because I don’t like the popping and getting startled and that squeaky sound they make when you rub them. I don’t even like balloon animals now that I think about it. I know, I know, I’m a big commie but honestly, balloon animals are sad and creepy. Think about it for a minute. They are all spherical poodle fun until the air starts to leak out of them and then they get all saggy and strange. You touch their nose and the latex puckers in around your finger and that totally squicks me out. So Looners, I will leave you to it!
Now if you thought you were going to get away without a Twilight mention… yeah, it wasn’t going to happen. It seems at a release party there were some injuries when the organizer put slips of paper listing prizes inside inflated balloons that dropped from the ceiling. Two girls were jumping on giant balloons labeled “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob”, trying to pop the balloons in order to get the prize. I guess they never heard of a pin. They bounced into each other and blood ensued. I would dearly love to report that some crazed “I think I’m a real vampire” fan jumped on the bleeding girl but that wasn’t the case. The paramedics were called and we never found out if they got their t-shirt or bookmark or whatever prize it was that made them act like morons in the first place.
And speaking of morons, the Award for YouTube Whack-A-Doodle goes to this High Schooler from the UK and her obsessive defense of that citadel to dreck – Breaking Dawn. It’s 5 minutes long but worth it! Have fun – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-turfrcQY-w&feature=fvw
The other day I received a message from Barnes & Noble in my e-mail box. They wanted to make sure I knew “Based upon your previous purchases, we thought you’d be interested in reading the new, authorized photo memoir by pop star Justin Bieber.”
What? How does ordering historical Elizabethan fiction or a cover for my Kindle translate into “I want a photo comic book written by some pre-teen heart-throb of the month that I’ve never heard of?” The book in question is called “Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story” and I’m amazed it’s larger than a pamphlet. Honestly, how much living can you fit into ten years? John Steinbeck, move over! A new literary star has entered the heavens! Justin BEAVER! I know, Bieber – whatever.
I went to the Barnes & Noble website to look at this important tome that obviously fits with my reading habits. Allow me to quote on of the two reviews I found:
Anonymous – Posted August 5, 2010, 11:58 AM EST: I REALLY tried to like Justin, and I’m not a hater. But Justin has NO business on a bookshelf! When you market a book to 6-12 year olds you aren’t supposed to be writing autobiographies! Justin does not belong on bookshelves and even though the book was written for him. Even his fans know it was a ghostwriter. God, I hate how they market him. This is not the way things should be going in his career or in bookstores.
Well, I have to agree with the sentiments and cringe at the sentence structure. I can say that even my loose style obeys some structure. See? I could have started that sentence with “even” and I didn’t. With all the serious issues facing us as a society, do we really need this? Though on the other hand, as a model of teen behaviour, at least he isn’t flashing his.. beaver.
This Sunday is the 7th Annual San Francisco Theatre Festival in Yerba Buena Gardens, on 3rd and Mission, next to the Metreon in San Francisco. There are 130 shows, 17 stages, over 200 actors and best of all – it’s FREE!! Yes, you can come, sit, enjoy the shows, no charge, no pass-the-hat, just come on out and enjoy the theatre. There are even 30 shows for kids and families. This great event runs from 11am – 5pm.
I am going to be there promoting the Northern California Renaissance Faire – http://www.norcalrenfaire.org/ Along with Sir Walter Ralegh and other performers.
In addition to all the fun, “Manly Men in Tights”, one of the Faires shows, will be performing on the waterfall stage at 4:35pm. Come support the boys in their show of laughter, steel & sex appeal.
The Metreon next door has coffee options as well as many little food places for lunch such the Buckhorn, a great Mexican place, sushi, and Chinese food among other things. In the afternoon we usually head over to the vintage carousel and ride in our outfits because we are just geeks that way. Hey, it’s fun, it’s free, what more can you ask for a Sunday afternoon? http://sftheaterfestival.org/