Saturday, December 09, 2006

Toy Commercials...

Courtesy of The Mego Museum, here's a TV commercial for Mego's Stretch Superheroes...



...which I don't ever remember seeing. The commercials OR the toys, that is. Except in some comics ads.

By comparison... here's a Stretch Armstrong commercial, which I DO remember seeing:



Check this one out... truly, any kids who got this were THE coolest little kids on their block, eh?



Remember Creepy Crawlers and the Mattel Thingmaker?



Yeah, these were very cool, but unfortunately, since these toys had some major heat generation happening with them, some stupid kids got themselves burned on 'em, and so the toys were pulled from the market.

I used to have one of the Thingmaker toys, that I bought at a garage sale when I was a kid... although it was the kind where the figures came as these little squares (about the size of a Starburst candy) and when you heated them up, they kind of folded themselves out to the various toys... and then you could heat them up again and compress 'em back to the square!

Back to Mego stuff again... Action Jackson was the precursor to the 8" action figures Mego produced, and there were very cool commercials for them!



Sorry the sound quality is so crappy on these. I've got a video tape with what's probably all the Action Jackson commercials, as well as many other Mego commercials, and it's amazing how many Action Jackson accessories got recycled for other toy lines, from Dinah-Mite (for the girls) to Planet of the Apes!

And finally... here's a true Toy For The Ages -- it keeps coming back in one form or another... Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots!



Jon

Car Woes...

So... Friday, I'm heading home from work, and make a quick stop at the grocery store, and then onward to home... when I notice there's a lot of smoke or steam coming from my car. Since I was close to home, I hoped I could make it the rest of the way... and I did...

... at least, up to the turn lane to turn off the main road and get to the house (about four or five blocks away). Suddenly, the smoke/steam (I figured it was steam, because it disappated fairly quickly) got even more intense, and then the engine stopped and wouldn't start back up again.

I immediately hit the emergency flashers, call Jessi so she can meet me (and transfer the groceries into her car), and start pushing the car off the road. Fortunately, by the time I got the green arrow to turn left again, some good people helped me push the car so it's not causing a hazard (I'm guessing they grew up reading comic books).

This morning, Jessi found a car repair place that is open on Saturdays, and arranges for the tow as I'm getting a shower. What I didn't clearly understand at the time was that the tow fee was supposed to be added to the bill from the car repair shop, and I ended up paying for that directly to the tow truck driver (and it turned out to be higher than originally quoted -- but I have the receipt, and will try to get an adjustment made). Got the car to the repair place, and they took a look at it.

The diagnosis? Twofold problems... first, a hose gave way, allowing all the water to drain from the radiator (in hindsight, it must've been failing for some time, as every month or so, I've had to add more water to the cooling system), plus I need a new battery in the car. It'll run about $200 altogether -- money we really didn't want to be spending at this time, but what can you do?

This, naturally, is why I relisted those eBay items I'd mentioned before.

The car's fixed now, but since it wasn't done until after Jessi and I had to leave for Puyallup for my niece's birthday, I won't be able to get the car until Monday morning (hopefully, they will be able to shuttle me over there).

Jon

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Note About My eBay Listings...

The remaining fanzines (mostly Twomorrows stuff) are ending as I write this blog entry... they're all fixed-price listings, and there's still about 14 or so of them left unsold.

I'll be relisting them, probably next week. I still haven't decided about relisting the unsold Batmobiles, though.

Jon

It's Thursday Night!

I think last night's blog entry might've been at least partly inspired by some exhaustion... I didn't mention that I put in a 9 1/2 hour work day, during which I had to create six full-page ads (two double-sided Kraft Wraps -- a Kraft Wrap is an insert printed on Kraft paper, like paper grocery store bags, and it's about the size of a regular newspaper page, a full-page automotive ad, and a "spec" ad for a local jeweler). Plus a lot of other, much smaller ads.

The spec ad in particular was a major pain to work on, just due to the volume of stuff in the ad (I had to do the most work on that one, actually). It was done because this local jeweler had an insert in the paper that was supposed to only go in papers going to certain zones, but somewhere things got screwed up, so we were doing this to appease their frustration and anger. The spec ad I did was for Seiko watches, and I had to get photos of all the watches (which I pulled from the Seiko website), do the layout, and put in all the part numbers, prices and descriptions.

Well, today, I had to create an entirely new spec ad for that customer, because they decided that since they'd put most of their money into this diamond jewelry, they wanted to promote that stuff in their free full-page, full-color ad. Fortunately, it didn't feature nearly as many pieces... and I think it turned out pretty darn good (I had to create the banner and background entirely from scratch, because it wasn't available electronically... most of the jewelry featured had to be scanned from hard copy, too). It actually went "live" by the end of the day, and will be in Sunday's paper. I think I'll have to grab a PDF of the final file to add to my archive of ads I think came out very well.

Jon

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mid-Week Blogging...

...and I don't know how long this post is going to be. Let's find out, shall we?

Last night's auction winners paid remarkably fast... by the time I got up this morning, I'd already received their payments, so I only had to finish packing things up before running to the post office! Always nice when I don't have to send reminder notices.

It is kind of surprising what didn't sell last night... all the actions that closed were for various Batmobile toys... The Polar Lights two-pack of the 1960s Batmobile and Batplane sold, as did three of the four 1:43rd scale Corgi Batmobiles (well, the fourth wasn't a Batmobile, it was the Batplane that converts to Batmarine and back again). The larger 1960s Batmobile didn't sell, either, which surprised me even more, because it's the coolest of the Batmobiles I was offering. The Johnny Lightning 1950s Batmobile didn't sell, either.

I haven't decided if I'll go ahead and relist them at all, or relist them later, or what.

There are still plenty of "buy it now" listings of Twomorrows mags, though!

Work Stuff

As I've mentioned here before, I work for a newspaper in this area. I don't mention the name of it, because... well, I've heard of people getting in trouble for talking about their jobs on their blogs (not that I think anyone at work is reading my blog). You may also recall my mentioning that the newspaper was purchased (along with its parent company) by a new company a while back. This new company also owns the newspaper in Tacoma, which prompted fears and rumors that we might end up being absorbed into the other (larger) newspaper. We've been told more than a few times that there are no plans to do that.

Of course, there's been no word that it absolutely won't happen.

Shortly after I started working here, we added a new weekly publication that serves the specific part of Thurston County I live in now... and the main reason for that was because the Tacoma paper had been aggressively marketing itself around here.

Now... you'd think that nowadays, since both papers are owned by the same company, that neither paper would try to market itself in areas served by the other, right?

Well, Saturday night, that whole idea was challenged when a newspaper boy from the Tacoma paper rang the bell here, offering a free newspaper and discounted subscription rates.

Honestly... as much as I love working at the local newspaper... sometimes I wonder if I need to start looking for a different job somewhere.

Sometimes, that is.

Jon

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Random Toy Commercial Videos

Here's some random toy commercial videos for you to enjoy! First up is the Kenner SSP Smash-Up Derby commercial:



I vividly remember this commercial... and the Christmas after this commercial hit the airwaves, my brothers and I got this set! We used to have several SSP's.

For the uninitiated, SSP stood for "Super Sonic Power," and basically, these cars had this big wheel in the middle (the only moving wheel, actually), and you'd insert the T-strip next to it (it had teeth on the strip with a handle, and you fed it into the gear on the wheel), pull it out, and the big wheel was like a gyro that powered the car forward!

Next up: The Remco Energized Spider-Man!



This was a toy I never had... but I wanted it! I found out later it was probably just as well I didn't get it, because it was disappointing when I saw one in real life as an adult.

Here's a Mego commercial to wrap up this post!



Jon

It's Tuesday Night!

And since as I write this I have a little over an hour before tonight's eBay auctions end, I figured I'd go ahead and do a quick post!

Krypto had a follow-up visit at the vet today... his incision is healing much better now, and he's no longer wearing that soft cast on his leg (but he'll still wear the restraining collar). Hopefully, a week from Friday they'll be able to remove the stitches, and the collar will go away!

Jessi and I watched Heroes and Studio 60 today... and I enjoyed both episodes. I do really need to stop reading the TV Squad reviews before watching the episodes, though.

I don't think any of the regulars on Heroes got skipped out on this time... and it was nice that all of them got some play. You think the creators of the show knew this would be the last one before the break, and planned that everyone got some screen time?

SPOILER ALERT!!!!

I was kind of surprised to see Eden sacrifice herself to make sure Sylar couldn't take her power... I am hoping that before too long (maybe the next episode), we can find out what powers Sylar's stolen to date so we can have an idea of what he's capable of.

I'm not sure that Peter's dream means that he's the one who will explode. I've noticed that when he has precognitive dreams, he always puts himself in the "lead" position... his first dream had him flying on his own, but when he did fly, it was with his brother. So I suspect that his dream from this episode was actually about the nuclear-powered guy going nuclear, and not Peter himself.

I'm not even sure that I can even think of Peter having two different powers (the precog dreams and copying others powers)... either the two powers are linked together directly (as in, since he can copy the powers of others, he's kind of linked to their destiny, and thus gets dreams concerning them)...

...or maybe there's someone who we haven't seen who has precognitive dreams, and they stay close to Peter, and so he's copying their power.

Jon

Monday, December 04, 2006

My Head is A-Whirl...

...thanks to three days in a row of classes (from 9 am to 4 pm or later) in preparation for becoming Foster Parents! There was so much information given out that I'm not sure my brain has had time to properly process it all (kind of like some comics I recall reading in my younger days... except that there it was more like wanting to re-read them within a week or two of first reading them to make sure I gleaned everything I could from them).

What's bizarre about the process (and I may have mentioned this before) is that this was sessions 2-4 of the class we took... and we still have to do session 1. This we will do next month, in a town a little south from us here. I also have to attend and pass a CPR/First Aid/HIV training course, which I'll be doing next month, too (I could've possibly done that this coming weekend, but dammit, I need a weekend!).

We have other things we need to do as well before we're properly licensed... and once we are, and especially after we get a foster child in here, postings may occasionally become a bit on the sparse side. And I won't be able to say much about the foster child on here, either, due to certain restrictions regarding confidentiality.

So anyway...

Today, I was reminded why I hate to go to a) shopping centers and b) the post office around the holidays. After we finished our class for the day, Jessi needed to make a stop at Target to shop for some clothes for a job interview she has for tomorrow. Since I had two packages to ship from eBay sales (which I would've done before class, but unlike our local post office, the Tumwater post office opens at 9, not 8 am, and wasn't open when we got there), we decided I would drop her off at Target, and then I would run to the post office, and ship the two packages, and then meet her back there.

I couldn't believe how long it took me just to get OUT of the parking lot at Target! There was a back-up of about 20 cars to get out of there! What would normally take a matter of, say, 30 seconds to a minute must've at least been five minutes (I shudder to think how long it would've taken me to, oh, actually PARK and go into the store to buy something).

But I finally made it out of there, and headed to the post office. Now, I don't know how common they are, but the local Lacey, WA post office has an APC, which is an Automated Postage Center.

I love using the APC when I'm selling stuff on eBay (at least, when everything's being shipped Priority Mail or Parcel Post -- it's not set up for Media Mail, sadly). It's usually a lot faster than going into the full service area, and I don't have to fill out Delivery Confirmation forms, because they can be printed right on the postage label! Since both my packages today were going Priority Mail, I figured I'd be in and out in maybe two minutes.

Except that there was a young couple there shipping out stuff in small padded envelopes. Like 30 of them, all different weights... but the individual postage on each of them was anywhere from 69 cents to a buck and a half.

Now... maybe it's just me, but if I had that many little packages, and they were ALL going First Class mail, and I knew what they weighed, I think I'd just figure out in advance what the postage for each one would be, and then when I got to the APC, I'd just buy stamps in whatever quantities and denominations I needed for these, which could've been done in a minute or two.

These two schmucks? They took close to half an hour to do this... partly because when they were about halfway done, the guy screwed up and pressed the button indicating they were finished, and had to start all over again and find a package to start the new set of purchases off which required postage of more than a buck (which is the mininum amount).

They were finally done when the next person in the line went to the machine... and he had two bills to mail. The first one required 69 cents postage (he had to also purchase a 31 cent stamp with it to meet the minimum requirement).

Now, okay, I can understand needing to mail bills off. But you know, right next to the APC is a vending machine where one can buy stamps from (and next to that is the slot to put stamped mail into).

When it was my turn, I think I got both my Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation packages done in less than a minute each.

Then, as I started heading back to Target to pick up Jessi (and hitting every possible red light I could... oh, and did I mention my bladder was in dire need of emptying?), I call her on the cell phone, and after I've already turned towards Target (and will be nearly all the way there before I can turn towards the house) I reach her and find out she needs more time... so I ended up heading for home, using the bathroom, letting the dogs out so they could also go potty... get the mail (which had some cool stuff in it I'll write about in a minute)...

..and then I settled down on the couch, figuring I had at least another half hour before Jessi would call to let me know she was ready for me to head back and pick her up. So I started up the DVR to watch Pulp Fiction (which I started watching last week... I'm up to the bit where Quentin Taratino makes his on-screen appearance)... and a minute later, Jessi calls to let me know she's in line to check out.

Sheesh... OK, it's not her fault, she didn't know she'd find what she was looking for very quickly (she usually needs more time before she can decide what she wants to buy when it comes to clothes), and she didn't know I was going to start watching TV.

Anyway...

In the mail were two padded envelopes from BCI/Eclipse -- which have mail forwarding labels on them, so I know I need to let them know about my current address AGAIN -- and there, finally, is not only the Groovie Goolies DVD, but also Defenders of the Earth Vol. 1, plus Journey Back to Oz, which I'd completely forgotten I'd done any transcribing for!

Would've been nice if the Space Academy set (as well as a few others that I know are out) were in there, too... but...

Anyway, that's all I have for you tonight!

Jon