Thursday, 14 June 2018

World of Dinosaurs at Paradise Wildlife Park: A Speedy Review

So here’s a thing
I love dinosaur parks.
Bear with me. Once upon a time there was Broxbourne Zoo, and Broxbourne Zoo was shit, in fact it was at one time voted the worst zoo in Britain. It was a small, dirty, disorganised place with animals stuffed into tiny cages and a bunch of pathetic amenities, but that time was a long time ago: today Broxbourne Zoo is Paradise Wildlife Park and while it’s still on the small side it’s the exact opposite of what it once was, without losing that cheap and cheerful charm, it also features a network of connected, raised wooden walkways allowing you to look down into the big cats and penguin enclosures which is both unusual and bloody good.
It also has a dinosaur park!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: MCM & Heroes & Villains Edition!

Ok, so: this IS (technically) an Examples of Crap I Waste My Money on post (because I’m too mentally lazy to write anything else at the moment) but be warned from the start that I am just using it as a vehicle for me to complain about a convention. You have been warned.

At one point, while waiting for the Docklands Light Railway to appear through the heat haze, I was so hot I thought I was going to suffocate, I can’t remember the last time England had heat that felt oppressive, it was thick heat, like Florida or, I dunno, the inside of my oven when I’m doing a roast.
Anyway this weekend was the first two conventions of the season for us Londoners, yes, two: Heroes & Villains Fan Fest in Olympia in Kensington and MCM Comic Con London at the ExCel Centre. The latter is a long-running convention held roughly twice a year and they’re the biggest cons of the calendar, the former is…not. I ended up spending a day in each.
Fuck doing that again.
Not because its knackering – though it is, MCM is exhausting by itself without tacking on another convention in front of it – but because Heroes and Villains is…pathetic, but we’ll get to that. Sticking to format, here’s my haul photo:

It may seem like I didn’t have a lot to show for 2 days of convention but that’s because my family had me do that thing they do where they give me money, tell me buy presents for my birthday, then take them and wrap them to give to me on my birthday.  So all the nice, shiny new carded toys and posh DC and Marvel trades aren’t technically ‘mine’ yet to photograph and talk about online. Plus I’d decided to make myself spend a little more per item and get some things I really wanted – of course the only thing in that photo that cost over a score was the Sentinel and he’s three X-Men figures high - Even when I splash out I’m a tight bastard, ok?

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money on: Bootsale Report 20!

Play was stopped due to injury today. I squatted down to look at some old rubber monsters (and bought some, the three between the zebra and the witch below were from this stall, I like them so much I’m almost ok with them crippling me) and then couldn’t get up.  I don’t mean it hurt to get up, I mean I physically couldn’t get up, the bloke on the stall had to come and help me get upright (shush). After that my back has been in constant pain, from squatting, an action that uses the legs, only I could hurt my back with my knees (I actually think I hurt it yesterday carrying some fertilizer). I’ve been laying in bed for most of the day watching the WWE Network but I grew tired of sweaty men grabbing each other and once again realised that no matter how hard I wish it, Becky Lynch will not show up and offer to be my girlfriend so I got up and cleaned my ‘haul’ (I really need a less pathetic name), this was somewhat foolish as y’know, constant pain an’ all that.

I did pretty damn good, especially as I only got ‘round just over half the bootsale before ending up having to be helped back to the car. I mean that picture includes a monster who is clearly raising the roof, what’s to complain about? Actually what pleases me is that after a few weeks of moaning about not finding a lot of vintage or at least interesting action figures and toys I found almost entirely those – of course this means that this bootsale haul won’t be too full of variety, but on the other hand I’m not subjecting you to a fifteen paragraph sermon on why Strangers in Paradise is one of the greatest comic books ever, believe me when I say I could.  So with that in mind, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being:

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A Look At: IDW's Sonic the Hedgehog Volume 3 Issues 1-4

Ok, since 1992 Archie Comics held the licence to produce comic books based on Sonic the Hedgehog in the US (Fleetway had it over here), until they lost it last year in a confusing mess that we still don’t know all about but know that a lawsuit from Scott Fulop (aka Kent Taylor)1 - a former Archie editor and Sonic the Hedgehog writer - filed in the wake of Archie’s old settlement with Ken Penders3 seems to have been a contributing factor. The licence was picked up by IDW because of course it was because IDW are on a quest to have all the licences ever. They did a good thing though by keeping writer Ian Flynn on the book. Flynn has been writing Sonic for years now and is a fan favourite, critical success (though I still slightly prefer Nigel Kitching3) and is seen as the man who turned the old Archie comics around.   
As a special event/promotion the first four issues of Sonic the Hedgehog Volume 3, IDW’s first Sonic Book, shipped weekly. All four issues are now out, this is a big thing for the Sonic franchise – the first American Sonic comics not produced by Archie, and I’m a Sonic the Hedgehog obsessive so I’m having a Look At them.  So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 19!

A bit late due to life but…

It’s bloody hot, I can barely keep my eyes open I’m so tired, I’m listening to a playlist that jumps between that goes from Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ to Junior Brown’s ‘And My Wife Thinks Your Dead’ via ‘My Boy Lollipop’: what better time could there be to talk about other people’s old crap?
Just getting to the botosale this week was a pain, there’d been an accident on the roundabout the bootsale lies off of and this combined with perfect weather and a bank holiday the next day meant we queued for nearly half an hour just to get near enough to field for me to get out and walk across to the bootsale itself. The end result was me being later than usual to start looking and being beaten to the punch by at least four bastard dealers who were hoovering up anything remotely collectable and action figure-y and had a serious effect on my self-worth, when you always feel third place you don’t need something as insignificant and bootsales confirming things for you. Here’s their leavings, delightfully posed on my worktop by the Coke bottles and my medication:

Now I know what you’re thinking (if you were real anyway) so you might as well say it: “dwitefry, you have two of the same dinosaur monster” – YOU THINK I DON’T KNOW?? YOU THINK I’M STUPID ENOUGH TO BUY THE SAME THING TWICE AT THE SAME PLACE WITHIN HALF AN HOUR OF EACH OTHER? If you answered 'yes' to that then you’re correct. No joke, I seriously bought the same dinothing twice by complete accident, I was very tired. They are actually different versions in different rubber from what seems like different time periods but yeah, I still bought the same thing twice.
Anyway are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 18!

I haven’t been blogging a lot lately, why? I just didn’t think I had anything interesting to say. I still don’t but now I’m not depressed enough for it to bother me.
But Bootsale season has begun and I need to justify me spending over £20 a weekend on other people’s old crap and blog posts are a great way to do that, and it of course pushes me back into posting, so it’s win-win. A culmination of various factors – including weather, lack of other options and a need to avoid the London Marathon on TV – turned today’s bootsale into one long, slow, hot scrum. Traffic was already backed up when we got there at around ten to 7 (am) and by the time I’d woken up enough to chat with other bootsailors™ (say, 9ish) there was traffic jams at on both routes to the field, by the time we left (10-ish) it was backed-up a LONG way. The bootsale itself was pleasing big, having been forced to go ‘on the other side’ with the amount of sellers necessitating a line of stalls on what should be car parking space but even at that size it was still jam packed and there was still little cover from the sun (no clouds today, clouds can go fuck themselves) and whoever was directing the stall holders needed as isles varied from so wide you had to walk down one side then the other to see the stuff to so thin they were one long bottleneck, one long, sweaty, smelly, sun-baked, swearing in various languages bootlneck. I came home feeling like I’d been beaten up by a sunbed in the middle of a dust storm, this is probably why my haul photo kind of sucks today:

I obscured two heads and a giant gorilla, I should go work for National Geographic or some shit.
So was it worth it? From the point of view of someone who collects action figures? No, not really – though I did manage to find an X-Men Evolution Nightcrawler after binge watching X-Men Evolution all week which was a nice coincidence. From the point of view of someone who has a blog post to write about the shit he found at a bootsale? Hell yeah.
So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Saturday, 31 March 2018

The Long and Winding Five Nights At Freddy's 3.0

Welp, this was unavoidable. After Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria Simulator, the finale of the core Five Nights At Freddy’s franchise, came out a third and (probably) final version of the Long and Winding Five Nights at Freddy’s needed to happen. I’d like to personally thank Scott Cawthon, Freddy’s creator, for clearing up so much and then cure Scott Cawthon, for leaving so much unresolved. Anyway unmarked spoilers ahead, you have been warned.

Five Nights At Freddy’s is a franchise based around a chain of family restaurants – Pizzerias to be precise – that use animatronic anthropomorphic animals heavily reminiscent of Nolan Bushnell’s Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre and it’s old rival (and current owner) ShowBiz Pizza Place. The first, second and sixth games take place at three separate Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza locations, the third a theme park attraction based on those restaurants, the fifth the storage and showrooms for Circus Baby’s Entertainment and Rental and the fourth in a seemingly ordinary house. Each game is a point-and-click indie survival horror game and although the exact methods differ between the four games they all share the same simple gameplay and goal – use what you have to keep yourself from being killed by the animatronics, though from Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 (FNAF2) small bonus mini-games in the style of the Atari 2600 home video game console were added to give more of the backstory of the franchise (and further scare players). All six games (and its spin-off Five Nihgts at Freddy’s World) were created and developed by Scott Cawthon and are available for PC (via things like Steam) and iOS.