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Journal Archives from March 2006
Uncle Cybertron Toys

I just spent $37 on Transformers. All things considered, there have been much worse expenditures for my wallet. One of these days I am going to say "screw this" and purchase every damn Cybertron toy that I don't own because they are so much fun.
Back to the topic, the items are sold in two-packs (Longhaul+Hightower and Bonecrusher+Scavenger), who combine to form Constructicon Devastator. These four bots are repaints of 4 toys from the Robots in Disguise line. This line came stateside in the year 2000, and was based of the Japanese line Car Robots. The four RID Gestalts were released as autobots complete with horriffic paint jobs. I had no desire to own a green dump truck and an orange crane so I initially passed. But seeing these 2 sets in Target in the classic decepticon green and purple cried out to the inner chid in me and I knew I had to have them. The original G-1 Devastator was such a sweet toy. I never had one as a kid, but I distinctly remember a friend of mine got the G-2 version which was re-released in the early 90's. If someone so much as breathed on him he fell to pieces. It was such a Sysephisian endeavour just to keep him on display.
I could just tell this set was going to kick all sorts of ass, despite the fact that Mixmaster and the other robot were missing from the lineup. Robots in Disguise had another Gestalt that I bought when it first came out consisting of three trains. Something about train transformers really appeals to me. I highly sugggest taking a look at the Astrotrain prototype- he retains his status as a triple changer and changes from a futuristic shuttle to a bullet train and is simply breathtaking. Anyway, I got the 3 train Gestalts, Rapid Run, Midnight Express, and Railspike and together they formed one of the best Gestalts ever, Rail Racer.
After freeing each decepticon from their wire twist prisons, I broke out the instructions. This is where my day went south. You see, Takara decided it would be a great idea to resurrect its "scramble city" mechanic. This means that Longhaul, Hightower, and Bonecrusher can be used for either the left leg, the right leg and the lower back of the Gestalt. Three of the 4 robots have FOUR different transformations, with Scavenger having two. That is FOURTEEN different transformations that these guys have. Simply put, the instructions look like something out of a mechanical engineering text book. Throw in tiny pictures with only vague allusions of what a person actually does to change these things, and you get 45 minutes of uncertainty. I still haven't figured out how to get them all together.
In conclusion, this is proof positive that Takara and Hasbro does not make these things for kids. There is no way in hell I would have spent 15 minutes as a kid trying to decipher the instructions, especially when Inspector Gadget was on.
Posted by charlie on March 30th 2006
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Burt Gummer Website

I found an awesome website today. How topical, I certainly hope a lot of awesome new content starts showing up there soon...
Posted by charlie on March 28th 2006
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Tremors-A-Thon 1

This may sound strange, even coming from me, but last weekend we held the First Ever Tremors Movie Marathon, in which a group of us watched Tremors 1, 2, 3 and 4 non-stop, with no breaks, and with lots of Petes Wicked Ale. Now, it could be that the beer was nice and smooth, or that it was nice to have a Saturday evening to relax, or that Michael Gross (the dad on Family Ties) is so much the most awesome part of all four movies, or that the company was excellent; I have no explanation, except that it was hardcore and transcendent.

I went into the event, I admit, highly skeptical of having a good time, as I fully expected to find movies 2-4 to be a tremendous waste, even on a bad-movie scale. What I found instead was a wonderful gestalt of common themes and self-referential material, most notably in Tremors 4, which when watched back-to-back-to-back-to-back made for a memorable and awesome experience. Perhaps you just have to be in the right mood, or be eating a lot of kettle chips and Dinosaur BBQ dip and beer, or have like-minded company to hoot and holler and laugh along with you. Regardless, to all within the sound of my voice - gather a few friends together, clear 6 hours or so (it actually went surprisingly quickly), settle down with enough snacks and beverage so that there are no interruptions, and do the marathon. There are some rough spots, to be sure, but seriously when the last film plays out its genius, as only appreciated having just immediately prior seen the first three films, it will all be worth it.
Posted by charlie on March 27th 2006
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Uncle Superman

The Uncle has this to say:

Update from Long Island... So, I'm waiting to watch an episode of Superman on DVD (The one from the 50's starring George Reeves) with my father and mother. American Idol is on, and it is Barry Manilow tribute night. This sixteen year old kid who happens to be from Long Island is singing this song that goes something along the lines of "When I fall in love with you." I look over to my dad and go "This is what I would listen to if I had to go on a rampage." He replies, "You know who you remind me of? Tony Soprano. There was this episode where he was telling his psychiatrist how he wanted to punch this guy in his fucking face when she was playing this happy music. What kind of stuff relaxes you? Some shithead like Axl Rose screaming 'Fuck You' at the top of his lungs? Or Ozzy Osbourne biting the heads off of bats? You are really sick. Do you get angry when you see a happy old man walking through the park on a warm summer day and smelling the flowers?" I have to admit, maybe he was on to something. I guess most normal people don't want to go on a killing spree after hearing stuff like that. Why do I feel extreme rage whenever I hear a really sappy love song? Perhaps I don't want to appear vulnerable. Maybe I want to cover up a broken heart. Then again, this is Barry fucking Manilow we are talking about here.
Posted by charlie on March 21st 2006
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This Week In Shatner

The regular Preserve feature, This Week In Shatner, today brings us news that the Man himself is hosting a special on the history channel, fortunately re-running *TONIGHT* at midnight, called...I kid you not.... How William Shatner Changed the World! It's like mana from heaven.
Posted by charlie on March 16th 2006
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Sarge's Toy Auction

Live the excitement! See the adventure! Miss out on the Bratwursts's Sarge's Auction!
Posted by charlie on March 14th 2006
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Uncle toy visit

This weekend the Uncle visited. It was a whirlwind of misadventures, few needing to be retold here but the most pertainent of the events was a trip to a local, backwoods auction. I saw this thing advertised in the local paper last week, bragging that it was an 'all toy auction' to be held by "Sarge" at his auction house apparently not far from where we live. The auction claimed that it would feature both the old Tin toys that I know little about and don't collect, as well as some "star wars, and GI Joe" figures. The fact that the Uncle was going to happen to be in town on that day just seemed like a strong omen that we had to go.

We got up far too early on saturday morning, and set out for the event. The place was about as out-there as we expected, with the attendees we could only have hoped for. We had little time before the start of the auction to look over the items, but we did quickly learn that "Grandma" and her kitchen which were right in the same room as Sarge, the whole auction, and all the merchandise, sold amazingly tasty bratwursts for $1.50 each, complete with toasted roll. We went through the whole auction, and only managed to score a handful of GI Joes, a bag of Micronauts and KISS dolls from 1977, but honestly that wasn't a bad haul all things considering.

What truly pissed us off is that Sarge ended the auction early, when he arbitrarilly felt that too many people had left and prices were too low. That's the whole point of sitting through the first 2 hours of an auction! There were a few lots coming up that we were actually going to bid on and were majorly upset that we didn't get the chance. Sarge assured me that those lots would be sold during his next auction, on March 30th, which I now plan to attend, and I'm sure I'll have to sit through a few hours of cattle and tractors, but I aim to get those last few Joes!
Posted by charlie on March 11th 2006
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Mr. T: Toughest Man in the World

The cinema classic The Toughest Man in the World review has been completed. Go see the sights, and be encouraged to get a copy today!

Oh, and Yanni got arrested for beating up his girlfriend. I'm wondering if the 911 call had some soothing world music in the background.

I didn't find a good spot for this in the article, but it just has to be shared, again courtesy of the amazing movie that Mr. T has given to us.
Posted by charlie on March 7th 2006
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Mr. T movies

Ok, this is very important. As much as I hate to admit it, eBay has come through again. I was searching for a copy of Be somebody, or be somebody's fool! and I discovered two other amazing Mr. T movies. I of course purchased them both for pennies on the 1984 dollar, and they arrived today.

One of the titles is Straight Line, which has a poor write up online, but I felt it was worth purchasing solely on the basis of the tagline...wait for it...What's the most dangerous distance between two points?

The second title looked like a real jem, and having just watched it I can confirm that it was amazing! It is The Toughest Man in the World. A fantastic vehicle for Mr. T's inspirational get-kids-out-of-the-ghetto message of the day, and full of ass-kicking as well! I've tried to capture at least a little of the spirit of the film in a quick review, go see it!
Posted by charlie on March 6th 2006
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MASK collection

I've started taking pictures of the MASK collection here at the Preserve, and have been reminded what spectacular vehicles these were. They were well made, had good weight, and the designs really were spot on to the cars which were their inspiration! They even have Goodyear tires (and a little credit to the manufacturer on the back). Actually, one of my early pieces (Gator) has a sticker on the back for the Goodyear credit, so they must have added that after it went to production. The quality of the manufacturer is notable as I've not taken them out of the boxes for years, and the springs were still strong enough that I almost put my eye out with Hurricane's rear tire - successful test!
Posted by charlie on March 5th 2006
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Giant Collection

Several days ago I discovered pictures of a collection of which I am in awe. The display and organization of it is certainly something for all collectors, including the Preserve, to strive for. As is too often the case, it sounds like people have been giving him shit about his collection - always amazing. If you dig it you should send him a positive email - the world is a better place for collectors like this!

The Battle Beasts toy section has started to be built out. So many little dudes, so few weapons that I can find...

But in terms of content, all vehicles that I have yet found of the old X-Panders line have been posted, check them out.
Posted by charlie on March 4th 2006
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Took pictures of the obscure X-Panders toy line today, but most have yet to be posted.
Posted by charlie on March 2nd 2006
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Spike Witwicky

Check this out: me dressed as Spike Witwicky meeting Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime. Such an amazing thing. Also check out this pic of me and the Uncle, as the family Witwicky.

The structure of the links on the new Preserve has now been overhauled (already...geez) so that direct linking into the site is possible. Was a foolish design decision to not allow that - all better now. Of course, you'll notice that most of the pages in the navigation don't have any content yet - they're there as an outline of what is to come, and are slowly being filled out.

Years ago, I discussed the strange and terrifying accessory to the Vectrex, that of the 3D imager. The very first of it's kind (well, lets say for consumer home use), and they are amazingly scarce. In fact, I'd never seen one, until I stumbled upon one recently on ebay with the original packaging. It was interesting to see where the market would value this item, and the answer has now been given to us.
Posted by charlie on March 1st 2006
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