Monday, 24 June 2019

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 26!

This week was the first ‘BIG Bootsale’ of the year for me, stalls going right to the back of the field (we’re talking something like 200 more stalls minimum) thanks to a lovely cloudless summer Saturday, of course Sunday was weird weather but who cares, by that point everyone was there and set up. it’s genuinely nice to see that the bootsale can still get this big, and yet I didn’t have much luck early on, I had to really dig to find anything worth buying. Maybe others just beat me to it, having come out early thanks to the good weather and the amount of extra stalls that guarantees or maybe it was just full of shit this week?

Still, hardly a haul to grumble about, but again proof that size isn’t everything. At least the weather was acceptable, weird (it was kind of like Dunton had shifted into another reality, that’s the best I got) but comfortable to walk around in. The cow and the elephant in the tie were ice cream containers.
Anyway are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin

Something Someone Nicked From a Building Society!
50p (64¢)
At least I think so, I’m pretty sure this was one of those donation boxes that used to hang on the walls or sit on the counters. It’s possible it was a give-a-way, banks and building societies used to love giving away money boxes (it promotes saving, you see?) and she did have a couple of others of those on her stall as well (including the Halifax house, which I still use for loose change after all these years after opening, and closing, my account, I used it to save up for my first trip to Florida, I was 9) but I guess the main thing is that it makes me THINK of those donation boxes, because as a kid I wanted them so badly, all of them from little ones like this to the life-size guide dogs. I couldn’t understand why people would make big plastic toys and not make them available to the public and by public I mean kids and by kids I mean me. I could get way more out of a three-foot plastic Sooty than some supermarket could, if they wanted money for starving orphans, just get one of those cool boxes where the coin spins down into the hole and let me have the big plastic bear.
I wasn’t the most giving child it seems.
Also Anglia Building Society hasn’t existed as a separate entity since 1987 (I was 1)! Jesus. I remember it due to the merged Anglia/Nationwide incarnation it had but that building society went back to just calling itself Nationwide in 1992! Why am I so old? Why does time keep moving along? Why can’t it all just stop and let me be happy with my plastic bears?

Thursday, 20 June 2019

30 Day Song Challenge - All At Once!

A friend of mine is doing this over on Facebook, you’re supposed to post a song a day but fuck doing that for a month, I’m gonna do it all in one go – right now.

1. Red Cortina
The Saw Doctors If This is Rock ‘n’ Roll, I Want My Old Job Back ∙ 1991
What a way to start, eh? A song that just about nobody has ever heard of. That doesn’t mean that the song isn’t fucking brilliant though it just means that it wasn’t a hit – or hasn’t been used on an advert – and you really shouldn’t start a gig with it, unless you’re the Saw Doctors, then it might be a good idea as it’s a fan favourite.  The song really has nothing to do with the car in question, it’s not like Little Deuce Coupe or Tom Robinson’s Grey Cortina, the Red Cortina is just one of the little bits of down-to-earth reality that keep the song – a wistful memory of the narrator’s first love, as in pre-pubescent, that’s absolutely dripping with emotion - from getting too schmalz even for my nostalgia soaked soul, alongside details like ‘pretty name I can’t remember’ and ‘disco at the start of summer’ it keeps things real (yo) and puts the song firmly into a relatable setting.  Everyone had that crush when they were a kid, and Red Cortina is that story.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 25

Its my 25th Bootsale Report! I need help.
This weekend’s bootsale was… an uncharacteristically disorganised mess, it was like the whole thing had been organised by someone who had their eyes closed who had never heard of a bootsale before and everyone (and I do mean everyone) was late setting up, I was a third of the way ‘round and people were still just putting up tables, so either there was some trouble with getting everyone in at the right time or everyone in Essex just couldn’t be arsed Sunday morning except me – usually it’s the over way ‘round.
And then I had a panic attack. Don’t have a panic attack with a three-foot Darth Vader under your arm, people will stare.
So it wasn’t the most successful bootsale, but it was hardly a waste of time:

I didn’t really realise I’d done as well as I had (which should show you how unproductive a trip I thought it had been) until I got home, and that photo doesn’t show the books or the W.I.T.C.H. DVD I totally didn’t buy because I’m far to manly to watch girls’ fantasy cartoons (because I forgot them, they were in the kitchen).
But I got enough to squeeze and Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On post out it, so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

The Sort of Books Everyone Sells!
£1 ($1.27) for both
While you will get the occasional stall where the seller clearly had an ‘interest’ (read: worrying obsession) that everyone fed into with birthday and Christmases so they’re selling off two dozen books about Elvis or Marilyn Monroe or World War II or some other boringly unoriginal interest (there’s a LOT of people ‘interested’ the Nazi party in my area) a lot of books for sale fall into the ‘books someone clearly bought when on holiday’ category.
A spread of titles that just scream ‘something to read on the plane’ or ‘something to read on the beach’ or ‘something to read in the caravan because we’re in Wales and it hasn’t stopped pissing down for three days straight nor will it stop the whole time we’re here’, books that people with no real hobbies or interests have bought just before, at the airport for, or while on vacation. This will occasionally benefit me, as I do have real hobbies and interests and sometimes the book Aunt Kelly bought at the last minute in WH Smiths so she wouldn’t have to watch whatever film was on the plane while she flew with you to Disney World when EPCOT Centre was the new attraction fits perfectly with those hobbies and interests. In this case post-war 20th century history and Arthurian and British myths legends. Neither are things I particularly shout about (why would I? they make me sound intelligent, I’d much rather shout about my love of Care Bears and The Beano so everyone can feel superior, it’s a service I provide ok?) but both being things I enjoy immersing myself in while snuggled up in bed with Monster Munch and a creeping sense that I should be out meeting girls and having babies instead of reading about how dodgy JKF’s family were.

50p (64¢)
I can hear you, I can hear you, your imaginary voices all going “you’ve got a Sectaur RIGHT THERE and THIS is the action figure you highlight?”
Damn right. See this teddy bear is something I’ve wanted for a while without actually knowing if it existed or not, ‘cos I’m like that. For a while I’ve been thinking ‘it sure would be cool if there was an action figure of a teddy bear, the way there were poseables of other primarily soft-toy toylines like Care Bears, Wuzzles and Rainbow Brite” it’s the same thing that make me want a fully poseable set of Green Army Men action figures in 6-inch scale, that compels me to buy the same character in multiple scales or to squee over tiny bottles of toiletries in Boots, god knows what it is but I know it’s connected. Anyway this is here in case you, too, have thought this to tell you that, yes, it does exist, you can buy an action figure that looks just like a plush teddy bear but is all plastic.
See, isn’t that a much nicer thing than contributing another few hundreds words to the mountain of paragraphs nerds have typed into the internet about how awesome Sectaurs are? Even if those paragraphs are all correct.

The 2nd Coolest Souvenir Ever!
£2 ($2.55)
Look at this gorgeous piece of tat! Random King Kong merch is one the best things in the world to find anywhere, it makes me happy in ways usually only things I can’t write about on here in case my mum stumbles on it do, I asked how much this was with a voice that was overtly saying ‘I will pay anything for this, just give me a number so we can all get on with the inevitable’.
What I find especially endearing about it is how Kong looks like he’s been caught unawares by a photographer mid-scratch. What I find especially fascinating about it is how someone managed to get it, unbroken, from New York to England and then to a bootsale in Essex, I can’t get the big Toblerones from Gatwick to my house without them ending up in three bits and yet some clever sod managed to get that spire all the way across the Atlantic without it snapping off. But what I like the best about it is that Kong is in the public domain, so for the perhaps the only time ever, the souvenir bastards in New York weren’t breaking copyright laws!
(The 1st Coolest Souvenir by the way, is the snow globe my friend brought be back from Romania with Dracula’s castle in it where the snow is in fact bats)

Big Figs Darth Vader!
£8 ($10.19)
Sorry, I had to take a picture of this on my phone because, well, Big Figs are just phone camera shape aren’t they?
This was a ‘treat’ to myself, buying a huge Darth Vader isn’t something I’d normally do but, you know what? Why the fuck not. However, this toy clearly came from a dog home and the only way I know how to get dog hair off of anything, be it capes or jeans, is to wrap a piece of brown tape around my hand and get to it. So for about 15 minutes I stood in my kitchen de-hairing the cape of one of the most beloved (and child scarring) villains in film history the same way you de-hair your granny’s cardigan. I just thought I’d share that with you all.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers!
50p (64¢) each.
Now you have the theme tune stuck in your head!
And it won’t leave for days!
So, for a while (because the show was airing) the Rescue Rangers outfits for Chip and Dale was just the look that Disney used while making merchandise of them, these two are (I think) from the Disney Store but Disney Parks did it too, Rescue Rangers character sheets were just what Disney and their licensees used for a while in the 1990s. This was probably quite annoying for older Disney fans but for me the only irritating thing about it was that there was no way I could talk any of my family into paying out for two soft toys at the prices the Disney Store charged/still charge at the same time – but that’s what adulthood is for, right? Using what little disposable income you have to buying the things your parents denied you in childhood.
I’m bringing this up just because I’m sure many people (like me) forgot all about this old Rescue Rangers Uber Alles policy Disney had, especially given how minimal Rescue Rangers merchandise feels and felt, I mean it took until this year for the whole world to get a figure of Gadget and we’re still waiting for one for Monty, y’know, two of the main characters of the show? I only remembered Sunday morning when I saw these right at the end of my bootsailing and jumped on them like a hungry man on a stake.

This Thing!
50p (64¢)
Sorry, I had to take a picture of this on my phone because my camera just would not focus on the GIANT FUCKING EYEBALL RIGHT IN FRONT OF IT.
You should have seen the seller’s face when I walked up to his table and this random piece of madness caught my eye, you could just hear ‘Yonder Comes a Sucker’ playing in his head. “At last” his face said “someone who will buy my giant skin-covered eyeball and stop it from putting off other people from looking at my beautiful wares” (actually he’s a stall that generally specialises in junk shop and antique shop style stock so he did have many actually beautiful wares, please don’t judge him by the two things I bought from him – a giant eyeball and an old plastic wind-up spider - that reflects badly on my taste in everything, not his stock).
He was right. It looks like a stitched-up Frankenstein maggot with a giant eyeball in its mouth, of course he was going to be right. I have no idea what it is or where it’s from (something like Gross Magic?) but I do know what it does and you bet I’ve made a gif of it:

What am I doing to do with it? Nothing, I’m going to put it on my side amidst all the other disturbing shit that lives on that top and occasionally walk past and it squeeze, that is what I knew was going to happen with it and knew that this was why I HAD to buy it, because I knew there was no way my life would not be ever so slightly improved by squeezing the frankenmaggot to make the eyeball pop out.

A Whole Ark of Playmobil!
£5 ($6.37)
My Playmobil interests are very narrow, other than the licenced stuff that I’m going to buy regardless because it’s Ghostbusters or TMNT or whatever, my focus is on the animals and dinosaurs. This is mostly because of the days’ worth of fun I had as a child with my Playmobil Zoo set (the colour-in one, Set 3145 for the Playmonerds). It just left me with an uncontrollable love for plastic animals from Germany.
But you know what? Playmobil isn’t that easy to come by in bootsales, you’d think it would be and technically is it at times plentiful but most of it gets gobbled up by actual parents looking for actual children, the bastards and the fact that you’re picking up other people’s leavings is disheartening no matter who it was buying them, but it’s doubly disheartening to know that you lost out to the people you really should be losing out to. And you know what If there’s a good reason for being racially prejudiced against Indian and Pakistani immigrants in the UK then their 40-sometings hoovering up all the second-hand Playmobil is just as crap a reason as any other but this is what I’m up against, these men and women buy and buy in bulk – and their prey is all the ‘major’ toys – Disney, Lego, Playmobil, Barbie, Sylvanian Families and toy cars are shovelled into bags and dragged back in multiple trips to rapidly filling 4X4s and vans. I honestly think the only reason I got lucky here is that the woman selling them didn’t allow herself to give in and sell this lot at the ridiculously cheap prices these toy hoovers expect as a right in exchange for taking your four boxes of ratty, naked Disney Princess dolls. These were supposed to 50p each but I just bought the entire tray plus two old Pokémon toys, and as that’s over 20 items then I got me a deal I think. And with it a nice selection of ‘my era’ animals like the giraffes, lioness and chimps and a bunch of animals I could only have dreamt of back then (a warthog? A fucking ostrich!?! Are you shitting me?!). Obviously the real winner is the Buffalo because it’s a fucking Playmobil Buffalo but I’m happiest with the baby elephant; old style Playmobil elephants are a bitch to get second-hand because some clever chap decided to attach the ears as separate pieces, seemingly by using pegs as thin as Doritos and just as sturdy. You find a lot of earless and semi-earless elephants out there and that just makes me sad, not because I can’t buy them and add them to my zoo but because they have no ears. It’s normal to be saddened by the pain toys cannot actually feel right?
Actually while we’re on Playmobil…

BONUS! Playmosanta!
This wasn’t from the bootsale, but it was given to me the day before so shut up. A friend of mine gave me this, I won’t tell you what she did to get it (along with some awesome pirates) but all you need to know is that she went above and beyond to save Playmosanta from a terrible fate and give him a happy future standing in my Christmas tree for all foreseeable Decembers and I thank her for it. I have some wonderfully accepting and enabling friends.

I don’t have a final paragraph do-do-de-do
Um… oh I tell you what, did you know that Secaturs were invented by a former member of Jim Henson’s Creatures Workshop? That he licenced them out because Jim couldn’t be convinced to go into the toy world? That it was the same man who created Boglins, and in fact Boglins were going to be part of the Sectaurs line? That Remco licenced them up for inclusion but Sectaurs pricing themselves out of the market meant they never got ‘round to incorporating them and so they ended up getting picked up by Mattel years later? Well there you go, now you do. Thanks for reading, Sectaurs are unendingly cool, see ya.  

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 4 Part 9 - Round-Up

When it was good it was very, very good but when it was bad it was fucking terrible.
That sums up Generation 4 in one bastardized nursery rhyme with unnecessary swearing. Generation 4 included a set of amazing remakes and some of my favourite Pokémon of all time but Diamond and Pearl were plagued with issues and included the likes of Purrugly and the Lake Guardians. Very little, be it games or Pokémon fall into ‘just alright’ category and for me (and it seems for many others) the bad overpowers the good in our memories, because Platinum was a far better game and looking at the scores there’s a lot of 4 to 6 ballers leading me to the conclusion that it isn’t the Pokémon per-say that’s the issue but the types of Pokémon (not Elemental Types) and their distribution in the original game that soured me (and seemingly many others, certainly those who edit TV Tropes). I hate accusing Game Freak of being lazy because I know they’re by and large not but it really did feel that if they weren’t being a bit lazy they were certainly playing it safe – and got the response they deserved for doing so: building the new Pokémon around cross-generation evolutions (which had typically been well received in Gen II and could get ‘the rub’ from earlier ‘mons with established fanbases and/or nostalgia)  and the always-popular Legendary and Mythical Pokémon with little else but the standard types of Pokémon every region needs (common bird, rodent, fish, bugs, Starters, Fossils). And of course it completely failed, the Cross-Gen Evos were mostly divisive or rejected and fans become oversaturated with Legendaries, sapping them of their specialness and their role as guaranteed hits – in an attempt to rely on something they took away the ability to rely on it.  The derivative designs of the Starter Pokémon only made the feeling that this was the ‘playing it safe Generation’ even stronger, I don’t for a minute believe no-one noticed and it as a complete accident, these things are opinion-polled to tedium within Game Freak, someone would have pointed out ‘these are just Bulbasaur and Charmander’
And then there was the aforementioned distribution of these new ‘mons in Diamond & Pearl, the first games in the generation, our first impressions of it. Some of it was a simple result of the types of Pokémon that dominated the new ‘Dex, most Legendaries typically being available only in the post-game and most Mythical ‘mons being Event-only and so not available to most players at all (especially when the Arceus-centric event was never held), Fossil Pokémon are typically one per game and Baby Pokémon mostly are only available through breeding (Gen 4 actually changed this up, Munchlax and Budew are catchable) so I shan’t hold that against the team (though it doesn’t help) but the decision to keep most of the cross-generation evolutions to the post-game I totally will, as will I hold the decision to, out of the few remaining lines they had, make two (Scorupi and Croagunk) exclusive to an optional area (The Great Marsh), two (Rotom and Spiritomb) one-per-game, one only available in a location that you had to travel back only on one day (Driftloon) and two, including a hyped Baby Pokémon (Munchlax) only available through the Honey mechanic. Meaning that players could miss even more of the new Pokémon and thus the regular routes felt even more dominated by old species older player were growing sick of or the same old region-specific com mons. It was a string of dumb decisions that added up to one of the least satisfying Pokédex in the series BEFORE the lack of Fire Types. The game added 107 new Pokémon but it sure as shit didn’t feel like it.
Away from those games though? The Pokémon are at least mostly ones I have strong opinions on and frankly I’d rather that than a load of meh ‘Mons like I’m expecting in Gen V. 

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 4 Part 8 - Regigigas to Arceus

The Pokémon that pulled the continents into place and built the Legendary Golems in its image, Regigigas a) has the best English name of the four and yet b) has the hardest English name to spell of the four, it’s not like I’m thick or anything, I can spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious without looking (and you’ll never know if I’m lying or not) but that’s just too many g’s and i’s in one place for me to get right with any kind of regularity.
So Regigigas reminds me of a play mat, you know the big vinyl mats that have towns or whatever drawn on them for kids to play with their trucks and stuff on? That might be why I like it now I think about I, cos I do like Regigigas even though I think that objectively it’s a bit crap? It’s Ability is Slow Start which means that it always hits last and design wise it’s a weird set of things all put onto this big faceless white Pilsbury Dough body. We have green shrubbery, yellow-gold and raised black patterns and traffic lights and it really feels like a bunch of stuff were all stuck on it -  like that time in Power Rangers when Squatt and Babboo tried to make a monster for Rita Repulsa and ended up just throwing all kinds of things they found around Finster’s lab onto a turtle? Funnily enough that monster was called Shellshock and he’s a favourite of mine, in fact I think only The Pudgy Pig beats it for me. What was I talking about? Oh yeh this weird golem that ultimately ends up being better than the sum of its parts design wise because it should work but damn if it doesn’t look pleasing (and minty).
Fridge logic: Regigigas is the weakest design not because Gen 4 was like that but because it made the other three golems and so of course improved on its own design, you wouldn’t replicate previous design flaws if you were any kind of good designer, would you?

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 24!

So this would have been written and posted earlier but I went on holiday within a few hours of getting home from the bootsale and had to sleep, eat, pack and crap in that timeframe and there just wasn’t any room to squeeze in writing and posting a crappy blog post about old toys. Sorry everyone.

This bootsale was a resounding success, far better than last week’s dalliance and proof that a small bootsale doesn’t necessarily equal an unsuccessful one. check it out ^, vintage Real Ghostbusters, vintage Pokémon, vintage VR Troopers and how old does it make you feel to know that there are such things as vintage Pokémon and VR Troopers? Because it makes me feel roughly kill myself years young!


Friday, 17 May 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 4 Part 7 - Rotom to Heatran

Not to leave you in suspense: I like Rotom. I think it was (eventually) a great way to do a poltergeist and I like the fact that it looks like Pulseman, so is in fact a ‘ghost’ of an old Game Freak property and an electric hero, this is a nice touch whether it was intentional or not (and given that Rotom’s regular form was designed by Ken Sugimori, who also designed Pulseman, I’d say it was). Forms me no likey as much, they seem like an unnecessary method to further complicate an already surprisingly complex game though right now I don’t like Forms because I have to cover them all in these reviews and Rotom has six!
The forms that are purely cosmetic (like Vivillon, Flabebe or Basculin) are the ones that irritate me the most, and Rotom - a lil’ ghost found in an excellent haunted house area called The Old Chateau (which did indeed have an Old Gateau in it!) – was initially the worst kind of  that kind of form-having Pokémon. It could have a whole bunch of different forms, all of which required you to go back to one certain room in Pokémon Platinum to change and they did nothing, it was all completely for its own sake. But then in Gen 5 each form got its own typing and suddenly the little bugger became awesome, unique and supremely useful.
Rotom itself is actually Digimon levels simple, elevated primarily through it’s call back to the old Pulseman game and by its aura/forcefield/energy/whatthefuckever that makes it seem like there’s way more to it than there is – given that it’s the Pokémon Poltergeist I suppose I should be pleased it has a physical form at all I suppose. It does show up the differences between how Pokémon and Digimon do ridiculously simple though – through little things like it’s unique eyes and it’s unusual shape, Rotom is memorable and forgivable, through generic faces and shapes, most In-Training Digimon feel forgettable and uncreative, not unlike any old generic UFO prize - IMO and all that.
Heat Rotom is a possessed oven that’s Electric/Fire and has oven mits made out of pure ghostly energy! The fact that it looks like more like an Easy Bake Oven than anything else just makes it even more delightful – my only complaint is that it keeps Rotom’s regular mouth (visible between ti’s eyes), why not just make the actual oven bit it’s gob like they’d do with Mow Rotom? Fan Rotom (Electric/Flying) is probably my least favourite because it’s the least mental, looking like a pretty sensible transformation for the regular Rotom to make, what’s the point in that? It’s easily Rotom at it’s cutest though, the new headshape just make sit so adorable! Wash Rotom (Electric/Water) and Frost Rotom (Electric/Ice) are muuuuch better, in fact can we get away with calling them epic? I’m gonna do it. they’re epic. A ghostly washing machine (with a cool tail) and a FUCKING FRIDGE, I have greatly enjoyed sending out a FUCKING FRIDGE to battle for me, every time I do I hear the operatic scream of the living wardrobe from Beauty & The Beast before it drops onto those unsuspecting villagers. Rotom’s so much fun. Then there’s Mow Rotom (Electric/Grass), where Rotom gets metal and really fucking sharp and really… unnerving. A ghostly unmanned lawnmower with a grin like a cartoon shark, Mow Rotom is the Rotom where you remember it’s a ghost and a monster. It should be my favourite, but nothing beats THE FUCKING FRIDGE for me (which is actually surprisingly viable in competitive play too).
Why do people complain about Game Freak ‘just sticking eyes on things’ again? Because when they do you get haunted appliances to drop on bugs and birdies, that’s fantastic and a great, creative and fitting way of incorporating poltergeists and possession - two big things with ghosts - into Pokémon via a standard Pokémon mechanic and yields some fun and funny Pokémon as well. People need to chill out and learn to love THE FUCKING FRIDGE ‘mon,
Oh yeah! Then, in Generation 7, someone decided (during the general slashing of difficulty in those games) that Rotom would be fuse with your Pokédex to make Pokedex Rotom! This gives the player a hint box wherever they go and annoyed some fans because it would never shut up, I think it was a very sensible way of doing what Game Freak wanted to do – Rotom possessing a Pokedex even explain how it could suddenly talk (Pokedexes having a speech function). What ISN’T sensible is that you cannot use this Rotom in battle. You are carrying around a Pokémon that you cannot use at any time, if all your other Pokémon faint you will black out even though you have another Pokémon on hard. I found this all very immersion breaking and it seemed counter-intuitive, they were doing so much to make the games easier and make them different for the sake of it, having a bonus 7th ‘mon on hand at all times would have only helped these goals. It’s not the best Rotom design ever either, looking a bit more like Game Boy Advance Rotom than Pokedex Rotom, but this might be because I always think of Pokedexes as looking like the original version from the anime. I do like that in this form it has ‘solid hands’ rather than energy ones, it’s a nice twist on the design, fits with the ‘fold-out’ design of ‘dexes AND makes sense because it would be rather dangerous to give kids a Pokedex cracking with ghostly energy wouldn’t it?