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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Evaluating Vacation Options - Packing

Disney Luggage from American Tourister
We're getting down to the wire, so it's time to talk about the final part of any vacation planning, packing! I actually started this step this past weekend, with stuff that we know we'll need but won't be using until the trip, like bathing suits and beach towels.

I know what you're thinking, and you're right. Most people do know what to take on vacation. However, there are some tips that I can give you for traveling to Orlando. These are things that most people wouldn't think to pack, but really help in my experience.

1. Water Bottles - As long as they aren't glass, you're allowed to bring refillable water bottles into the parks. This is great, both for the Florida heat and for saving money. There are plenty of water fountains around to refill your bottles, so you'll always have a drink when you need it.

1a. Water Additive - I like the Mio brand of water flavoring, but anything will do. Sometimes drinking plain water can get a little boring, so having these small bottles around to add flavor really helps.

2. Ponchos - Florida is wet, especially in the warmer months, and afternoon storms are the norm. While you can buy ponchos at the parks, they aren't cheap. I'd recommend buying about two per member of the traveling party at your local dollar store and bringing them with you.

3. Zip-Closing Bags - Along with the rain, there are water rides. If you don't want your phone/watch/wallet/etc to get wet, have several Ziplok or Glad bags ready to seal these items away from getting soaked.

4. Snacks - You are able to bring small snacks in with you, much like the water bottles. This isn't a picnic lunch, but something to take the edge off before your lunch/dinner reservations is a good idea. I prefer packs of cracker sandwiches and cookies.

5. Hand Sanitizer - A little bottle of this can go a long way. Disney and Universal keep what they can clean, but they can't control everything. Having this with you can help out if you just need a quick clean.

6. A Backpack - Part of my job at the parks is playing "pack mule". I carry all the stuff above plus anything else we might need. A backpack is pretty much a must, but make sure it's not too big. The one I took last time sometimes had trouble fitting in the ride vehicles with us.

7. Cell Phone Charging Case - Something I noticed last time was that my cell phone ran out of juice about half way through the day. Since we were using the My Disney Experience App, this was a bit of a problem. This time, though, both Michelle and I have cases for our phones that act as secondary batteries, which means that we should be good to go.

EDIT: Mike Zummo (of the Man of Screen Podcast) suggested making sure that your cell phone is on Energy Saver mode, to ensure that you get every second possible out of the battery.

I'm always looking for other tips, so if you have any, please let me know.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Starting a New Collection


A few months ago, I decided that if I want to collect something other that Quasar appearances, then I could do worse than get every issue that was cover dated for the month that I was born. That would be December 1975, for those keeping score. I haven't started on this yet, but if I come across any in my travels I might just start out.

What kind of odd comic collections to you have? I know Scott Gardner has his Disney Parks collections (parks appearing in comic issues and issues featured in WDW itself), but does anyone else have something like that?

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Anime Freaks - "Season 2"

You guessed it, I got really busy at work again, so I didn't have a chance to put up a well thought out post.  So, here's the kickoff episode for our second batch of Anime Freaks coverage. This time we're doing Record of Lodoss War, one of my favorite series from college, and Attack on Titan, the series that's all the rage in anime circles.

We're still open as to what to cover after we get through the 13 episode of RoLW, so let us know what you want us to cover. And if you have a movie suggestion, we might just take a break part way through and cover that. You can get in touch with us on Facebook or via e-mail.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Organizing Comics

One of my "hodgepodge" boxes
Not so recently, Alan and Emily Middleton went through how they organize their comic book collection on an episode of Shortbox Showcase. That seems to have touched off quite a bit of responses from their listeners on how each individual does it. Well, this is yet another bandwagon that I'm going to jump on, though I may have still a different take.

You see, I don't have a lot of comics any more. In fact, I only have three long boxes and three short boxes. That's it. Most "new" comics that I read now are digital, which means that I don't need to store or organize them. I don't have a lot of boxes, but I figured that I would go through a couple and show you how they're put together.

I tend to go by character, which makes it easier to find things, and then by chronology. Let's take one of my short boxes for example. This one is for Quasar. It contains his series as well as other appearances that I have for him, going from oldest to newest. That means that issues of Avengers that happen between issues of his series are placed in between those issues in the order.

Next we have a Superman long box. This is all Post-Crisis stuff, starting from Man of Steel #1 and moving forward. Many of the issues that I had were damaged in a flood caused by a little storm called Sandy, and had to be trashed. What I have left is placed in order of story, so you have Adventures, Action, & Superman all mixed in. The Triangle Numbering made it easier, but I went and did that to the rest of the titles as well. I also have any "Year One" or similar type issues placed in chronological order as to when they take place. There's even an issue of Wonder Woman in there, which sets up her Action Comics appearance. As this long box isn't full of Superman, I also have related titles, like Superman/Batman in the back.

I do have some boxes that are a mix of things (see the Batman Beyond/Batman/Nightwing/Titans/Outsiders/Aquaman box above). One long box has PvP, Liberty Meadows, Strangers in Paradise (Michelle's), and Concrete, among other things, in it. They needed to go somewhere, so that's where they ended up.

I think that about covers it, and I would like to apologize to the librarians in the audience for making their heads explode.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Legend of the Lone Ranger

Today's post was supposed to be about a mash-up of The Dukes of Hazzard and Superman, but I just didn't have time to put that together. As a filler this week, enjoy one of my favorite movies growing up, "The Legend of the Lone Ranger"!

I know there are non-English subtitles, but I'm sure you can look past those.



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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Fandom of Others

Recently I listed to a podcast* that I had to turn off halfway through. This was due to the conversation on how people who didn't agree with the hosts were somehow stupid or coming into the subject with preconceptions. They weren't being mean about it, but that was, essentially, what they were saying.

I have no problem with people not liking something involved with geek fandom. There are things I like and things I don't like, just like everyone else. What I CAN'T STAND, though, is how people have to make themselves feel better about their opinions by putting others down. It is perfectly possible for someone to disagree with you about Marvel/DC, Star Wars/Star Trek, etc and have them be an intelligent human being with their own particular tastes.

It's one thing to say something like "I prefer Star Wars over Star Trek because it's more action packed," but another to say "I like Star Wars and anyone who doesn't just isn't smart enough to appreciate the storytelling." People are capable of disagreeing in a civilized way, but in this era of "group think", it seems like this is getting lost.

So, please, keep in mind that those who disagree with you have their reasons and maybe, just maybe, they are valid and well thought out. So, before you go accusing people of lower intelligence or being closed-minded, maybe have a conversation with them. It might turn out that you were the one being closed minded.

Besides, if you have to tear down others just to make your point, then your point must not be that good to begin with. (See my other blog for more.)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled geekiness.


* I will not be naming the podcast or the people involved, since this is a more general topic, and I don't want to bring that show, which I otherwise enjoy, under a negative scrutiny.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Star Wars: Micro Collection

One of the toy sets that I always wanted as a kid was the Star Wars: Micro Collection. Don't get me wrong, I loved playing with my 3-3/4" figures and their vehicles, but the Micro Collection seemed more up my alley. For one thing, they were more to scale with the playsets and vehicles. For example, take a look at the following two images, both of X-Wings and pilot figures.

"Standard" X-Wing and figures
Micro X-Wing and figure

As you can see, the "standard" figures can look over the X-Wing while standing next to it, where as the Micro figure would need to climb a ladder to get into his X-Wing. This just made more sense to me as a kid (is it any wonder I became an engineer?) and I always wanted them. Apparenty I was in the minority, though, since they went away fairly quickly.

I did get to play with the Bespin set, though. Our next door neighbor at the time, who now runs the wonderful Weather NJ website, had that set and the X-Wing. He was younger than both my sister and myself, but we would occasionally go over to his house and I'd get to play with my white whale of Star Wars toys. I mean, look at this commercial! How would you not want to play with those toys?



Considering how much these go for on eBay, I don't think I'm ever going to get to own them. It is nice to know that they're still out there, though, just in case the Prize Patrol shows up at my house.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes