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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Yavin Bound and Down

Someone posted the above image to a friend's Facebook page and my imagination just couldn't let go of it. So here's the obvious Star Wars/Smokey and the Bandit Mash-Up that you might expect.

Burt Reynolds as Luke "Bandit" Skywalker

Jerry Reed as Han "Snowman" Solo

Sally Field as Leia "Frog" Organa

Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Darth "Smokey" Vader

Mike Henry as Tarkin aka "Junior"

Pat McCormick as Jabba the Hutt

Paul Williams as Greedo


Chewbacca as Fred

Yavin bound and down, loaded up and spacin',
We're gonna do what they say can't be done.
We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I'm Yavin bound, just watch ol' "Bandit" run.

Keep your hand hard on the throttle. Son, never mind them brakes.
Let it all hang out 'cause we got a run to make.
The Rebs are fightin' on Yavin and there's plan on Tatooine.
And we'll bring it back no matter what it takes.

Yavin bound and down, loaded up and spacin',
We're gonna do what they say can't be done.
We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I'm Yavin bound, just watch ol' "Bandit" run.

Yavin bound and down, loaded up and spacin',
We're gonna do what they say can't be done.
We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I'm Yavin bound, just watch ol' "Bandit" run.

Ol' Vader's got them ears on and he's hot on your trail.
He aint gonna rest 'til you're in jail.
So you got to dodge 'im and you got to duck 'im,
You got to keep that Falcon truckin'.
Just put that hammer down and give it hell.

Yavin bound and down, loaded up and spacin',
We're gonna do what they say can't be done.
We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I'm Yavin bound, just watch ol' "Bandit" run.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ranking the Batmen

This past weekend Adam West passed away. Most people that know that name associate him, rightly, with the 1966 Batman TV series, where he played the title character. So, as a way to remember Mr. West, I thought that I'd list who I think portrayed the best Batman of every era.

The Best Golden Age Batman = Michael Keaton

This Batman has machine guns on his auto-gyro and Keaton's Batman has machine guns on his Batmobile and Batplane, so it's pretty easy to make the connection. This is a Batman who is being chased by the police as much as he's chasing criminals.

The Best Silver Age Batman = Adam West

Do I really need to explain this? OK, I will. As much as people don't like to admit it, the 1966 TV show was straight out of the comics. In fact, several of the first season stories were adapted from those issues, so it's kind of hard to argue against Adam West being the embodiment of that era.

The Best Bronze Age Batman = Val Kilmer

In the Bronze Age Batman became more serious, but he also wasn't afraid to joke around. He used his detective skills to track down criminals, but also was capable of smiling. These things help to put Val Kilmer in this spot.

The Best Bob Haney Batman = George Clooney

I keep the Bob Haney "The Brave and the Bold" stories off on their own, much like DC did. That's because they are often very wacky (or "zaney" as Rob & Shag refer to them) and don't match up at all with the rest of the DC Universe. Kind of like how "Batman and Robin" doesn't match up with anything else. Thus, we give this one to George Clooney.

The Best Post-Frank Miller Batman = Ben Affleck

After "The Dark Knight" and "Year One", pretty much everything Batman was influenced by Frank Miller, which I'm not entirely a fan of. However, you can't deny that Ben Affleck was Miller's Batman, so he gets this nod.

And now for the big one.

The Best All Around Batman = Kevin Conroy

As usual, Batman: The Animated Series gives us the best version of a character, and in this case it's Batman. Whenever I'm reading a Post-Crisis Batman comic, it's Kevin Conroy's voice that I hear. (Pre-Crisis it's Olan Soule, who I couldn't fit into this list, unfortunately.)

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fill In The Blank

It's still interesting that my name comes up when listening to podcasts. I have become associated with some interesting topics in certain circles, to the point that I'm "That _____ guy." That's not entirely unwarranted or un-welcomed. Here are the ones that I hear most often:

That Heathen Guy - While I don't shove my religion in people's faces, I don't beat around the bush when it comes to it. So, in podcasting circles anyway, when something of the Norse variety comes up my name is often invoked. The most recent occurrence of this was on an episode of "Back to the Bins" where they were discussing the casting of Valkyrie in Thor:Ragnarok. (I don't have a problem with that, BTW)

That Quasar Guy - Not a shock here, as I co-host a podcast about Quasar, but it seems that I'm called out more on this than my buddy Adam Worth is. I'm not sure why this is, but I'm fine with telling you why Quasar is a great character.

That Star Trek: The Motion Picture Guy - Or, as Michael Bailey has dubbed me, Gene “I WILL CUT YOU OVER STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE” Hendricks. This movie tends to get dumped on a lot, but I still love it. Heck I've done two episodes of my own show discussing it. I'm proud to be a standard bearer, along with Scott Gardner, for this much maligned movie.

How about you, dear reader? What is your "fill in the blank" among your friends?

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Why The Quantum Bands Are Better

Image courtesy of Hero Machine
Those of you that know me are aware that one of my favorite comic book characters is Quasar, Marvel's Protector of the Universe. Quasar has often been compared to Green Lantern in that he has jewelry that makes whatever he can think of. That's part of it, but not the whole story. I'm here to tell you why, in the grand scheme of things, the Quantum Bands are superior to Green Lantern's Power Ring.*

Let's look at them side by side. **

Allows User to fly?                                                                         Yes                                                               Yes

Allows User to Survive in Space?                                                   Yes                                                               Yes

Allows User to Warp Jump?                                                            Yes                                                               Yes

Gives User Superhuman Strength?                                                  Yes                                                               Yes

Protection of User (via Force Field, etc)?                                        Yes                                                              Yes

Allows User to Phase through Walls?                                             No                                                                Yes

Can it Render the User Invisible?                                                    No                                                               Yes

Can Create "Solid Light" Objects?                                                  Yes                                                               Yes

Do Constructs Require Concentration?                                            Yes                                                              Yes

What happens when Concentration Stops?                 It remains until the user dissolves it                         It goes away

Needs to be recharged?                                            No (Connected to The Quantum Zone)                    Yes (every 24 hours)

Can Absorb/Control Energy?                                      Yes (after analysis of the energy)                      Absorb but not Control

Allows User to Travel through Time?                                               No                                                               Yes

Can Scan the Electro-Magnetic Spectrum?                                       Yes                                                               Yes

Acts as a Galactic Encyclopedia?                                        Yes (via Eon or Epoch)                                             Yes

Can Act as a Universal Translator?                                                   Yes                                                               Yes

Can be Programmed for Various Situations?                                     Yes                                                               Yes

Weaknesses?                                                                                    Magic                                                   The Color Yellow
                                                                                             Extradimensional Energy                                 Red Power Rings
                                                                                                    Kinetic Energy                                  Mental Instability of User
                                                                                                    Psionic Energy                                    Vibrational Interference

I think that it's pretty clear that in everything that matters, the Quantum Bands are the better weapon. No, you can't time travel with them (but, as Barry Allen has proven, you shouldn't anyway) or phase through walls, but they're good against all the colors of the rainbow. Plus in a straight-up fight, the Quantum Energy is Yellow, which means the GL ring can't do anything against it.

* Part of this topic was discussed on the most recent episode of The Quantum Cast.

** Information provided by The Quantum Zone and the DC Wikia
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blank Backgrounds

The Incredible Hulk #289
I might be showing my age, but I remember a time when there were several panels in comics that had "blank" backgrounds (see above). I have no problem with something like this, where the characters are in a battle. I think it adds more focus to the action and keeps the page from getting over-detailed.

That's not to say that doing away with backgrounds, or just drawing the most basic of backgrounds, is an okay thing to do in most cases. I like to see Kirby Tech as much as the next guy, but I think I prefer this kind of simplified approach when it comes to fight scenes. Unless, of course, the background plays a part. Such as the Hulk picking up a big piece of the aforementioned tech to smash down on the Abomination. That kind of thing always trumps on style.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pryde of the X-Men

Inspired by a recent episode of The Coffee & Comics Podcast, and because I have had a really busy week, here's the 80's version of the X-Men.

Why this line-up, you ask? Well, because that's who the X-Men were in the comics in the mid to late 80's. This wasn't just something they threw together, it was the line-up from the comics.

And, yes, that's Michael Bell (aka Duke from GI Joe) as Cyclops.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sub vs Dub

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid - You need to watch this series
It may be what I have access to (thank you Crunchyroll and Hulu) but I find myself watching more Subtitled Anime than Dubbed in recent years. Even when I have the choice, I tend to go towards the Subtitled. I've found that I get more out of the experience, partly because I get the original intonation of the lines being delivered. That's not to say I have anything against the English dubbing, but some things just don't translate very well.

Also, I can make mental corrections on what might be a mis-translation easier if I'm reading it than hearing it. That goes back to my middle/high school days and Spanish class, I think. I could always read it and understand others speaking it very well, but every time I had to write or speak it myself I couldn't do it. I think I'm just more visually attuned to things, so hearing the intonation and seeing what is written I can get what's going on. I know I had to correct some stuff when Kira was watching Sailor Moon, since they obviously got it wrong.

How about you guys? Do you prefer your anime Sub or Dub?

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Second Season Shake-Up

What happens when your TV show has enough ratings to get a second season, but not enough to be a convincing hit? You go through what I call the "Second Season Shake-Up", where things are changed to, hopefully, get more people watching. This has been going on for pretty much as long as TV has been around, and can be small changes (Checkov coming onto the Enterprise) or large (like with Space 1999).

One of the biggest changes was seen with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. In the first season, the stories were kind of a balance between fighter dog-fights, police work, and diplomacy. Everything started and ended on Earth, and Wilma Deering was a high ranking officer (a Colonel) in the Earth Defense Force.

Then we come to the second season, where the base of operations is the spaceship Searcher, whose mission is to find the "lost colonies of man" (a little too Battlestar Galactica there, Mr. Larson). Buck, who was working with the EDF in an unofficial capacity, is now on the Searcher with even less of a role. He's more of a passenger that sometimes does missions, if the Admiral begs him enough. The less said about changing Wilma into a "space car hop", the better.

Personally, I tend to like the more minor changes (a la Star Trek), but I'm also not a network executive.

If you want to hear more of my thoughts on the Buck Rogers TV show, check out this episode of the podcast.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Vacation Recovery

Nothing too geeky to post this week. We're still recovering from the vacation (or, more to the point, readjusting to reality), so I haven't had time to think of a topic. In the mean time, enjoy the picture of our family with everyone's favorite wookiee.

What I have had time to do is drop down the "top tier" pledge on the Patreon site, so now you can get bonus podcast episodes for only a $5 a month pledge!

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?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What If ... Attack of the Clones

One of the biggest disappointments of Attack of the Clones, for me anyway, was the ending. For most of the movie we're under the impression that Count Dooku and the Separatists are convinced that the Republic has become corrupt and they legitimately want to split off. Dooku even lays all of that out for Kenobi, asking the latter to join them.

Then it turns out that Dooku is really Darth Tyranus and working for Palpatine. Ugh.

Here's my idea for what could have been. Dooku was really leading what he thought was the right side in the war. Yes, he might have been manipulated behind the scenes, but he knew that he was on the side of the just. The offer he makes to Obi-Wan is genuine, and not the last on he will make to a Jedi. The fact that he's giving Palpatine exactly what he wants then become a tragedy.

Even more of a tragedy is the fact that the Jedi, those lovers of peace and protectors of the rights of all beings, are on the wrong side and DON'T KNOW IT! The Jedi bring about, unknowingly, the destruction of the one group that could have overthrown the soon-to-be Emperor, or at least give a safe haven for all of those that eventually became oppressed under his rule.

Making both sides of the war under the control of one man just ended up with a much more boring story in the long run. Entirely in my opinion, of course.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Space Battleship Yamato 2199

I recently got my hands on the entire Space Battleship Yamato 2199 series for fairly cheap and, having been injured recently and not really wanting do do housework, I have watched the whole thing. Here are my thoughts on it.

I'm not one for remakes or re-imaginings, especially of properties that I love. Star Blazers is one of those that I never wanted anyone to touch but the people that did this version obviously love the original as much as I do. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about it. That's right, nothing.

The story line is, essentially, the exact same one from The Quest for Iscandar, which Dr. Bill and I covered on Anime Freaks. However, there are change, and every single one of them is for the better. First of all, there are more female characters on the ship. Yuki Mori (aka Nova) is still there, but now she's just the Operations Officer. The role of Nurse is taken by Makoto Harada, a capable if slightly ditzy assistant to Dr. Sado (aka Dr. Sane). Then we have Assistant Warrant Officer Yuria Misaki, who acts as the moral officer, even starting a ship's radio station for entertainment.

Probably the biggest female lead after Mori is Ensign Akira Yamamoto (the white haired woman above) who is a fighter pilot and seems to have taken much of Kodai's (Wildstar's) hatred of Garmillas (aka Gamelons). She also seems to be developing a connection with Kodai, making for a love triangle that we didn't see in the original.

The next addition that I like is that there are a lot, and I mean A LOT, of subplots going on. Both on the Yamato and within the Garmillas Empire. None of these slow down the show, but instead give us some really good moments and plot points. At least one of these was scrapped in the original, but it worked in very well here.

If I give you anything else, I'm pretty sure that I'll be spoiling something, and I really don't think you'll want that. I would highly recommend that any fan of Star Blazers pick this up.

I now leave you with the opening (which doesn't show up until Episode 3) in all of it's awesomeness.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017


As you all know, I'm a Thor guy. I came onto the character with Walt Simonson, but I stayed for quite awhile. One of the periods that I was there for was the Tom DeFalco/Ron Frenz run, which introduced the character of Eric Masterson.

Masterson was to become the new "Donald Blake" in that he was an alter ego for Thor, but his time it was due to Thor and Masterson being merged in order to save Masterson's life. This led to some really great stories, and eventually Masterson took over the role of Thor when the original was banished.

Once Thor came back, and the two were separated again, Odin gave Masterson a cane of his own. This transformed into the enchanted mace named Thunderstrike, and gave Masterson some measure of Thor's power. That was something I was all about. This wasn't someone else usurping Thor's place, but an ally that could be called upon to help out the Thunder God, or the occasional Protector of the Universe.

It was also, quite frankly, wish fulfillment. No one could be Don Blake, since that was a creation of Odin. Someone could, however, prove themselves worthy of an enchanted weapon of their own. Much like Billy Batson saying "Shazam!" and being changed into Captain Marvel, Thunderstrike showed that anyone could obtain fabulous power, if they showed that they could wield it.

In addition to the solid writing, by Mr. DeFalco, was the great art by Mr. Frenz. Again, as you all know, I like comic art that is clean and doesn't go all wonky with the anatomy. Ron Frenz has that in spades. He, like John Romita, Sr., John & Sal Buscema, John Byrne, George Pérez, and José Luis García-López (pbhn), has a great sense of figure and storytelling. Plus, his characters all look like they're in the middle of doing something rather than standing around posing. Not to mention his wonderful facial expressions, which give you a glimpse of what the character is thinking. It's just great stuff.

At one point I had the entire run of Thunderstrike but, sadly, that went as part of the Great College Comics Purge. Unfortunately it looks like the series hasn't been collected, so I might just have to hunt down some issues.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

The ELs of Hazzard

Inspired by a recent Facebook post I made, here is my mash up of Superman & The Dukes of Hazzard. All of the characters would be played by the same actors as in the original TV show, but they would act as a cross between the Dukes & Superman personalities.

Lucas K. "Luke" Duke (Tom Wopat) = Kal-El
The more level-headed of the two, I can see Luke developing the Superman "Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do" attitude.

Beauregard "Bo" Duke (John Schneider) = Mon-El
A little more on the impetuous side, and a car control freak, I can see Bo providing a nice counter balance to Luke. He still wants to do the right thing, but in a more direct, and not necessarily legal, way.

Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach) = Kara Zor-El
There's really no choice here, really. If Daisy is going to be Kryptonian, she has to be Pre-Crisis Kara. She's more of a middle ground between Bo and Luke, and perfectly capable of taking care of herself. She also acts as the "inside source", being a waitress at The Boar's Nest.

Jesse Duke (Denver Pyle) = Jonathan Kent
Jesse is he voice of reason and overall moral compass of the Duke family (which is amusing when you realize that they're a family of bootleggers). Obviously he's Jonathan, but I see him more of the Glenn Ford version from Superman The Movie. A down to earth man who is capable of dealing with three super-powered youngsters.

Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best) = Chief Douglas Parker
Yeah, we're taking someone who was a good guy (Parker) and making him into a villain, but omelettes and eggs. It would make for an interesting situation, with the Superman Family having to work outside the law to do the right thing. That might make for some interesting storylines.

Boss Jefferson Davis "J.D." Hogg (Sorrell Booke) = Lex Luthor
Yeah, this is kind of a no-brainer, but while this is businessman Lex, he's not super-good with technology. That would explain why he's content to rule Hazard County rather than a big city. Still, it can be argued that the amount of control that Hogg exhibits over Hazzard is actually greater than what Lex has over Metropolis, since LexCorp has competition and J.D. Hogg basically owns all of Hazard.

Cooter Davenport (Ben Jones) = Pete Ross
The non-Duke/Kent that is a friend and in on the secret. And Cooter is also able to act as an inside man, in that he's located inside the town of Hazard and able to communicate goings on to the Dukes. I see this version, much like Pete Ross, as able to cover for the Dukes/Els in order to protect their secret.

Deputy Cletus Hogg (Rick Hurst)  = Otis

Cletus always struck me as an oaf. A lovable one, but still an oaf. He's caught between what he sees as his job of enforcing the law and doing what's right. He's just not bright enough to figure a way out of the situation. This would solve the problem of "why does Lex keep Otis around?" Here, he would be realted to him, so he can't really get rid of him.

Flash (Sandy and others) = Krypto

Yeah, this is kind of obvious, but having Krypto on the side of the bad guys would actually make Boss Hogg & Roscoe a threat to the Super-powered Dukes. It would also clue them in that something is going on in Hazzard and make them want to figure it out. There's an added benefit in that Roscoe wouldn't want Kryptonite around, because it would hurt his dog.

One of the benefits here is that now the General Lee's seemingly impossible jumps are explained by the Dukes flying the car themselves. And just imagine the cast of The Dukes of Hazzard dealing with some of the plots from the Silver Age Superboy. Now that's comedy gold!

And now for the one I couldn't do:

Deputy Enos Strate (Sonny Shroyer) = ???
OK, I admit it. I couldn't come up with anyone for Enos. I was originally going to go with Otis, but that works better for Cletus. I'm not really all that familiar with the Pre-Crisis Superboy's cast, so I might be missing someone really obvious, If any of you can think of someone, please let me know.

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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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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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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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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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Thursday, February 2, 2017


When I play video games I tend towards Role-Playing Games. That's because I grew up playing various games with my friends (see Episode 7 of The Hammer Podcasts! for more information). Add to that the fact that one of my favorite NES games was Simon's Quest, one of the first true RPG games, and it's pretty obvious.

What isn't so obvious is that I primarily am draw to Japanese role-playing games, or JRPG's. Part of this is due to my first exposure to the Playstation system. I was at the University of Sheffield for a year and one of my friends had a PS1 and a copy of Final Fantasy 7. I fell in love with that game, with it's ability to customize your characters (to the point of renaming them) and switch out your party members. This was what I wanted.

Since then I've played several JRPG's, many from Square-Enix, and have, generally, enjoyed them all. They have a nice mix of story, hack & slash, and puzzle solving, which means they're usually something new to deal with. Add to that the fact that there's a lot of replay-ability, and my love of Anime, and you have a type of game that's right up my alley.

How about you? Is there a type of game, or a specific game of that type, that you just feel drawn towards?

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Engineer vs Anime

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that my engineering brain will latch on to something not let it go. Case in point, Attack on Titan, Episode 2. This is one of the shows we're watching for Anime Freaks, so I have to look at it in detail. In the first part of the second episode (see below), we are told that the Titans pushed humanity " the brink of extinction, almost over night." That's fine, but then we're told how they saved themselves.

They built three concentric walls, so large that a small outcropping on the side of the outer wall is a decent sized city. One person calculated that the outer wall (Wall Maria) would encompass 180,956 Square Kilometers, or 69,867.5 Square Miles. To put it in perspective, that's bigger than the state of Georgia, but not quite as big as the state of Wisconsin. An absolutely HUGE area to build a wall around.

So I came up with the question, if humanity was killed off so quickly that they were almost extinct seemingly overnight, just how did they find the time to quarry, haul, lift, and set the material for all of these walls? That would have taken an enormous amount of time and labor.

I'm hoping that question will be answered in the coming episodes, but it's going to bother me until they explain it. It just had better not be "magic" or "aliens" as the explanation.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Evaluating Vacation Options - Where to Eat

I've already gone over the cost/benefit analysis for the Disney Dining Plan, but once that choice is made, you still have to decide where you're going to eat. There are two things that I do when on vacation. The first is make meals myself. I'm the cook in the family and we have a timeshare, which means we have a full kitchen available to us. So, I usually plan that we'll have breakfast before we go out for the day, and we'll have dinner there at least a few times.

Not everyone has that option, however, so we come to the second thing. I insist that we eat at some place that has, at most, two locations. The whole point of traveling is to experience new things, and the food is part of that. This is pretty easy to do when visiting Theme Parks, but even there I tend towards sit-down restaurants as the quick service tends to be the lowest common denominator in food.

Here are two recommendations that I have for anyone visiting Walt Disney World. Both of these are on the "must visit" list, and that's not so much for the food, which is good, but for the ambiance. The Liberty Tree is just slopping over with history. I'd be happy just to wander around and look at everything without ordering anything. Plus, it's front and center in Liberty Square, so it's convenient to a number of attractions.

The Sci-Fi Dine-In is almost the opposite. Again, I don't recommend it for the food, which is also good, but this is one where sitting down and taking it all in is better. There are cartoons and old movie trailers on a loop and your table is a car! This is a little hidden in Hollywood Studios, though, so you have to seek it out.

The Liberty Tree Tavern

The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

If anyone has any other suggestions, either at WDW or any of the other Orlando Attractions, I'd love to hear them.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Top Ten Podcast Epsiodes

Taking a look back at the podcast last year, I had a definite plan of attack. I wanted to do "generational stories", and there were quite a few varieties that I covered. As a "greatest hits", here are the top ten downloaded episodes of my show.

10. We start off with Episode 15, where I did my best Casey Kasem and recounted 9 of my favorite Cartoon TV Themes. This must have hit a cord with people, because it got 429 downloads, even though it was an episode from 2015. It was also one that I really enjoyed putting together, since I love all of those tunes. These shows were a HUGE part of my childhood (well, not Gargoyles, but you get the idea).

9. Episode 16 was my wife's first podcast appearance, and we talked about The Muppets. This is a topic that both Michelle and I love. It's just not a road trip until we do the "Bear left. Right Frog." bit. Also an episode from the year before, it came into 2016 with 448 downloads. Not bad.

8. Luke Jaconetti (one of them thar Jaconetti Boys) was nice enough to come on for Episode 18, all about the movie Excalibur. As I said in the episode, this movie is what got me into all things Arthurian, which is a big part of my life and how I view the world. It's an ambitious movie, and does short cut a lot of stuff, but it is easily the best King Arthur movie ever made. We got a magical 489 downloads for that one.

7. My wife joined me on the next installment, which was Episode 23 and her second podcast appearance, covering the relationship of Henry Jones Sr. & Jr. Michelle is actually a bigger Indiana Jones fan than I am, so it was a fun discussion. If you want to hear our commentary for The Last Crusade, head over to the Patreon page and become a supporter at the $8 level. This got a decent 508 downloads.

6. It wasn't a generational story, really, but Andy Leyland and I FINALLY got together to talk about The Fall Guy on Episode 17, the first episode of the year. This is the show where I discovered Lee Majors, and I still think it's his best work. Like the conversation I had with Andy, it just seemed like Majors was have fun doing the show, which makes a big difference. This one came in with a respectable 638 downloads.

5. Dave Weter joined me for the episode in 5th position, and that was the Legends of the Superheroes episode for Daredevil. Both of us like this movie more than most, even though we know that it's flawed. I would recommend that people give it another look, if they haven't seen it in awhile. This garnered 741 downloads, making it #23 on the TTF hit parade.

4. My epic conversation with Scott Ryfun about the Skywalker Family (aka Episode 21) came in at the 4th position. We were all over the place on this one, even revealing some of our Star Wars Stories. With 747 downloads, that puts it at #22 on Two True Freaks for the year.

3. Episode 20, which was Part 2 of my conversation with Michael Bailey about Superman/Batman Generations, came in at #3 with 831 downloads. That puts it at the #12 spot for the Network in 2016. This was an unintentional two-part episode. Mike and I just talked so much about this series that I had to make it multiple parts or it would have gone on too long for my tastes.

2. The Buck Rogers Episode of Legends of the Superheroes, guest starring Darrin & Ruth Sutherland, came in at the #2 spot, with 833 downloads. It was also #11 overall at TTF for the year. This was the Sutherlands first guest spot, and I'm honored that they came on my show first. We had a really great time talking about the show and the cast, and coming up with better possibilities for Season 2.

Drum roll, please.

1. Coming in with 919 downloads, and in the #8 position for the entire Two True Freaks Network, is Episode 19! This was Part 1 of my coverage of Superman/Batman Generations with Michael Bailey. I love John Byrne. I love Superman. I'm also rather fond of Batman. So this series was right in my wheelhouse. I picked this up off the stands as it came out, so I was right there on the ground floor. And who better to talk about Byrne, Superman, and Batman than the Godfather of Comics Podcasting? We had so much fun that I really want to do Generations 2 with him at some point.

The main thing I noticed is that all but one had guests on them. Maybe I should keep up this trend. Heck, even Michelle, who doesn't have a podcast, got two episode on this list.

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