Saturday, April 14, 2007

Let Me Get This Straight... it's 10:09 pm, and Jon's Tired???

Yes, even though I'm accustomed to being up until 2 a.m. most nights, I got up really early this morning (well, for me, anyway), and so I'm feeling a bit beat, and will make an early night of it tonight.

However, that doesn't mean I'm going to let the blog slide... below you'll find tonight's Classic Toy and Comic Book Cover posts... and here you'll find a report of my day!

The day for me began at about 7:15 or so, when I was awakened... I'm not sure if it was by Jessi or by Krypto, but I suspect the latter... because before 8:00, Krypto was trying to get me up again (on the weekends, I think he knows that he'll get a walk, so he doesn't want me to sleep in). After I made breakfast, we called some friends of ours who also have a boxer, and arranged to meet at 10 a.m. for an off-leash walk.

Before then, Jessi and I hit a few yard sales... finding a Dr. Seuss book we didn't have at the first one (which was just down the street from us) for a quarter (an amazing deal)... but the rest we stopped at prior to the walk were a waste of time, as we didn't find anything we were interested in.

After the walk, we hit a few more yard sales and estate sales... and we did strike "gold" of sorts at one estate sale! Usually, I avoid estate sales, as they tend to be overpriced, especially if they're being conducted by one of those people whose business it is to run estate sales.

This one, as I said, was a good one... Jessi found a few more children's books for our collection there, and I found a Mega Bloks Castle Playset! This playset wasn't some tiny little thing like, say, the Playmobil castle (or even the Lego castles)... this was a set that, when assembled, made a castle large enough for a child to play in!

Well, most of a castle, anyway... it made the front (with a cloth flap in place of the door), and two half-sides for either side. We're already trying to see if we can find at least one additional set, so as to make a complete castle with it... although if we find more than one set, so much the better!

I suppose, given that we're hoping to get an infant, finding this item and being so enthused about it (and it's for ages 3 and up) is kind of silly... but you know, in the meantime, my youngest nieces can play in it when they come over... as well as the younger children of some of our friends!

By the way... this playset? We paid $20 for it. Jessi did some checking on eBay, and found that was the cheapest starting price for this (with at least $25 for shipping)... and that was for used sets... a new one was at least $100 or more! So yes, it was a bargain (although it seems two pieces are missing).

After the garage sales, we stopped at a Subway for a quick lunch (NOT the one that annoyed me so much a while back, but this one annoyed me a bit more... we got two six-inch Subway clubs, both on the same kind of bread, but with different toppings on them... and they charged us for two six-inch subs, not one 12-inch sub. If I'd known they were going to do that, I might not have ordered the same kind that Jessi did.).

Next on the agenda was getting ready for a party this evening... Jessi's "adopted sister" was celebrating a birthday tonight, and we were invited for a dinner that included barbequed steak and shrimp, a pasta salad we brought, potato chips, and green salad, plus the inevitable birthday cake. After eating, everyone sat around a table and played a modified version of "Uno," in which there was no clear winner... if you ran out of cards, you were only out until someone played a "draw two" or "wild card draw four" against you, then you were right back in again (otherwise, your turn was skipped). Also, to make it interesting, I suggested we add the house rule that "draw two" cards could be cumulative... if someone played a "draw two" against you, and you had a "draw two" in your hand, you could play that instead of drawing two cards, and make it a "draw four" instead... unless the next person also had a "draw two," and they could make it a "draw six", and so on! That added an interesting variation to the game! I think I was the clear winner, as I went out three times before Jessi and I decided to call it a night and head for home.

While all this was going on, we heard that my mother was in the hospital... she had been shopping at Target, and started feeling dizzy on the way home, with chest pains, so she pulled her van into the fire station nearby, and they called an ambulance to take her to Tacoma General Hospital so they could check her out. They've got her in a room now, and put her on oxygen while they run some tests. While the concern is that she may have suffered a mini-stroke, right now we just don't know what happened. We should know more sometime Sunday afternoon, as they're keeping her overnight for observation. By the time we learned that was what was going on, it was really too late for us to run up there and visit her... but if she's going to be in the hospital for another night, we'll definitely make a visit Sunday afternoon! Your good thoughts would be appreciated. (And where's Dr. House when you need him in real life?)

On Sunday, Jessi's going up to Tacoma for a beading show, and probably won't be home until 1 p.m. or later (she's meeting friends and they're going up in a group), so I should get a chance to sleep in a little bit!


Comic Book Cover of the Day!

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Here we have the cover of Flash 185, featuring yet another exploitation cover of sorts... as well as an ironic one, given that the hippie protestors had signs proclaiming themselves to be against violence, yet are attacking our hero, The Flash!

This cover was by Ross Andru, inked by Mike Esposito. Andru was one of DC's mainstays in the last Silver Age, and covered a number of different titles while he was there... I used to have a number of Superman issues with his artwork in them! Of course, in the 1970s, he mostly did work at Marvel, particularly a run on Amazing Spider-Man.

The interior of this book may well have been by another DC mainstay, who had a long run on Flash after Carmine Infantino left the art chores... that mainstay being Irv Novick, who in his comics career worked at Archie (back when they were doing super-heroes), among other companies. So far as I know, he didn't do anything at Marvel.

Novick did quite a few issues of Flash in the 70s, and did more than a fair share of Batman stories, too. From what I've read of the man (and heard from him when I've transcribed interviews in which he was a participant), the guy was humble to the core... and always seemed mystified why anyone would have any interest in hearing what he had to say about the comics work he did. "It was just a job" was pretty much the most he would say, much to the frustration of gents like Mark Evanier and others!


Classic Toy of the Day!


This knight and steed were offered, among other Marx action figures, in the 1969 Sears Wish Book! As with all the Marx action figures (like the better-known Best of the West, featuring Johnny West) were molded with some clothing already on them (like most action figures these days), but they were a full 12 inches tall, and came with other accessories and clothing that could be put on the figure... such as this knight's armor.

The line must've been very successful, as it lasted from the late 60s or so through the 70s, and maybe even into the early 80s before it came to an end!


Friday, April 13, 2007

Oh, Forgot to Mention!

Alan Hinton, a regular reader of this blog, has started his own blog, Alan's Alley. Like I said, he's just started out, and so far, it's an interesting read, if a bit unfocused (like I should talk, eh?). Hey Alan, how about doing a post soon to let your readers know what to expect?


Jon's Basic (Very Basic) Rules of Graphic Design!

It's been a while since I posted anything like this, and recent events at work have made me feel that these points need to be made again (too bad the odds don't favor anyone reading these who really needs to know them!). Most of you know I am a graphic designer, and one of the frustrating things about my job is that we constantly receive electronic files of ads for the newspaper that just scream that an amateur created them (and in some cases, they're so utterly wrong that we -- and I mean I -- end up having to rebuild them from scratch anyway). Photos are low resolution, the sizes are wrong, the colors are wrong... the list can go on and on.

These rules are in two sets... one for people supplying images to a designer, and one for people who are doing the designing.

If You are Supplying Images to a Designer...

Actually, let me get one thing out of the way here first... If you are hiring a designer, make sure they are really a designer! Ask them what software they use (if they don't mention Adobe Illustrator, PhotoShop, InDesign, Quark, Pagemaker, FreeHand or Acrobat, be wary!). Ask them what experience they have doing design work, and ask for samples. Ask them what kind of training they've had.

If your "designer" is someone who has software that came on their computer for free, and when they're not "designing" they work at a completely different job, again, be wary... especially if they say something like, "I've never done this before, but I think I could be really good at it." Also be wary if what they show you is stuff they duplicated from something else ("Oh, I know I can be a designer... see? I copied this advertisement exactly the way it was printed!").

1. If you're supplying printed photographs to a designer to scan, make sure they're actual photos -- and not just printed on your inkjet printer.

2. Don't provide these photos on a paper stock that is textured in any way, because this makes scanning a major pain.

3. Don't provide Polaroid photos... the quality just isn't good enough.

4. Provide your photos at least in a 4 x 6 inch format... preferably 8 x 10. If you only want a smaller portion of the photo used, try to get an enlargement made of that portion.

5. If you're providing drawn artwork, make sure it's on decent quality paper, and it's free of smudges and dirt. Again, this should be as large as possible. And also again, avoid textured paper.

6. If you have prepared copy for the designer on your computer, don't just print it out and give it to them to retype... email them the text in the body of an email, or just attach the document (in either MS Word format or plain text format) to an email, or burn it onto a CD. Most designers really hate having to type a lot of copy, and most designers don't type nearly as fast as I do (which is 120 wpm, by the way).

7. Make sure that you've gotten the printing specifictions before you start working with your designer. If this is a project that you're taking to a printer, make sure you know the page size, the colors you'll be using, the resolution for photos, and so forth... and communicate ALL of these to the designer! Pretty much the same thing goes if you're having an ad created for a publication - size is very important here!

8. Set a timetable with your designer for when you expect to see a first proof, turnaround time for additional proofs, and the final deadline for the completion of the project -- this final deadline should be at least 24 hours before you need to get it to the printer or the publication, so that you've got a cushion (no need to just meet a deadline, you know).

9. Have some idea beforehand of what kind of look and feel you want from your designer. The more specific you can be, the better. Provide samples of stuff that has the same look and feel you're looking for, if possible.

10. If you're providing artwork on disc or via email, again, the size can be very important! Your designer should be able to tell you, given the specs of the project, what size and resolution your photographs and artwork should be. Don't just tell them to take your pictures and logo from your website, unless these pictures and logos are VERY large (most company websites, honestly, have pathetic photos and graphics, at least so far as printing is concerned... just because it looks okay on screen doesn't mean it will print well). Any artwork that you have that's been created as a vector graphic, like from Illustrator or FreeHand, should be provided in EPS or native format (again, ask the designer which they would prefer).

11. If you have a specific design in mind, take a few minutes and sketch it out for the designer to use as a guide. If you don't, let the artist know you're open to ideas... and ask for a couple of variations at least (although know that some designers will charge for each "spec" they produce).

12. Make sure that the designer provides you with a copy of the document they've created... at least an Adobe Acrobat PDF file that's high-resolution, and if at all possible, a CD-ROM with the native files (i.e., the file it was all created in, as well as all the artwork used).

13. Before you send the files to the printer or publication, make 100% certain that you are happy with them. Chances are, if you want changes, they won't be able to be made at the printer or the publication.

Rules for Designers

1. If you're working with photos or scanned images of any kind, you should be using PhotoShop... it's the industry standard. No, I don't care what came free with your computer or scanner. If you're calling yourself a designer, use the designer's tools.

2. If you're creating line art, such as logos and the like, you should be using either Illustrator or FreeHand. Illustrator is, again, the industry standard, but FreeHand is a very good alternative choice (I use FreeHand at home, and Illustrator at work).

3. You should be using a professional program to combine your graphics together with text to create your documents, whether they be a single advertisement, a flyer, or a book. The top two standard programs are InDesign (which I use at work) and Quark Xpress (which we used to use at work). PageMaker is a good program, but it's been more or less replaced with InDesign (I have PageMaker at home, but when I get a new Mac, I'll be getting InDesign... sue me, I never upgraded!).

4. You should have the capability of creating PDF files of your documents. If you have InDesign, you should be able to export your files as PDFs. You may need to get Adobe Acrobat in order to use this function (I'm not 100 percent certain, as we have both at work). If nothing else, you can write a PostScript file from your desktop publishing program, and then use Distiller to create the PDF from the PostScript file.

5. Chances are, you don't know better than the printer or the publication your document will be printed by what is the appropriate resolution and colors you can use. ASK THEM! If you don't have direct contact with the printer or publication, ask your client to ask them.

6. If you're working with photographs that will be published in a newspaper, they should be at least 200 dpi, preferably 300 dpi... and at the size they're going to be used or larger (I'm talking dimensions here). If you have a 2 inch by 2 inch photo that's 200 dpi and you place it in your layout program and blow it up to 4 inches by 4 inches, it's no longer going to be 200 dpi!

7. If you're working with photos for a magazine publication, you should have them no less than 400 dpi, and could be required to be upwards of 600 dpi. Again, ask in advance!

8. Make sure that your photos are in the appropriate color format. There are two: grayscale and CMYK. RGB is not an appropriate color format for printing (it's fine for the internet, however).

9. When using PhotoShop, if you're creating something that's supposed to be black, make sure it's really black! What do I mean by that? The color combination should be 0% Cyan, 0% Magenta, 0% Yellow, and 100% Black. This actually applies with all software, by the way... don't use Registration as your Black color (that's only for registration marks, by the way).

10. If you are, god forbid, creating an advertisement in PhotoShop entirely... then you'll have to up your resolution. For newspapers, 600 dpi is acceptable for text, and for magazines, it could easily be double that. Make ABSOLUTELY SURE that your text is colored appropriately!

11. Don't flatten anything you create in PhotoShop... keep it in layers. This way, if the printer or publication need to fix anything, they can. And believe me, things need to be fixed way more often than you'd like to think they do!

12. When doing your layouts and placing photos, avoid placing a big photo and then cropping it down in the layout to the size you want. Figure out what's right, and then crop the actual photo first... it'll make your files smaller.

13. Pay close attention to the specifications provided for spot colors, if you're working with spot colors. If you're told a spot color Red (for example) is 100% magenta and 100% yellow, that's what the red is. Don't think you can vary how much magenta or yellow is in there, or add some cyan. The spot colors are absolute -- if you mess with them too much, you may incur additional costs to your client (or to yourself). You can use percentages of the spot color (for example, that Red could have a percentage of 50% magenta and 50% yellow) if need be, just use them correctly. It's also best if you're working with spot colors to create your publication in a program that deals with spot colors well (which means don't just create it in PhotoShop).

14. Avoid the temptation to use small reversed (white) text on a colored background. In general, anything smaller than 12 point shouldn't be reversed on a colored background unless your project is being printed with a spot color (and even then, if it's for a newspaper, it may actually be printed on a page with a full color ad, and so they won't use a spot color ink).

15. Remember that contrast is important when it comes to mixing text and background colors. Use combinations of bright and dark colors against each other to help things stand out. And just because it looks fine on screen, it may not look that good in print -- print a proof out to see how it really looks!

16. Avoid using too many fonts in one document. The more fonts you use, the busier it will look, and busy can be distracting. Pick two or three families of fonts for a single ad (you don't have to worry about including the font or fonts in your logos, although it does often look good to use those fonts in your advertisements).

17. Be consistent. If you're creating a book, for example, use styles to ensure that all headlines are the same font and size, all subheadlines are the same font and size, etc. Varying this in a document can draw attention to itself, and it looks like an amateur did it.

18. Again, I'll say it: Make sure you're providing the completed files in the format, resolution, and colors that's been specified. If you're supposed to provide a black and white PDF file with photos that are 300 DPI, then don't provide a JPG that's 100 DPI and uses RGB colors.

Well, that's not nearly all my "rules"... but I think that's enough for now. I may post more of these in the coming days... or maybe I'll post something completely different, like some tips and tricks!

If you're a graphic designer yourself, and have some "rules" of your own you'd like to share, please add them in the comments -- and if you know someone who's a graphic designer, why don't you point them in the direction of this post so they can see if they're following them?


Classic Toy of the Day!


This, sadly, is the last of the GI Joe stuff from the 1960s Sears Wish Books. I think I've posted an image of this item before, as I recall talking briefly about the dogs that came with this set.

But all you GI Joe fans who found this blog thanks to This Is Pop Culture (and thanks, John, for the latest link - so when do the Random Thoughts get added to your links list?), fear not, there is more Joe coming!

Tomorrow, I look at the first of the 1969 Sears Wish Book images of Marx action figures!


Comic Book Cover of the Day!

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As I said with the first post in this new series, these covers were all pretty much chosen at random from my archive of covers. What I didn't mention is that there were themes to these covers, of which I chose a few, so there'll be some common themes.

OK, I'll admit it. I forgot there were some themes behind the choices. Today's and yesterday's covers come from the "exploitation" theme. And by exploitation, I mean any cover that is designed to either latch on to a current trend or hot topic... or else is exploitive in the sense that Russ Meyer movies are exploitive.

The latter applies here, from Lois Lane 70, an issue that I've sadly never owned. Featuring guest-appearances by Batman villains Catwoman and the Penguin, this cat-fight on the cover, drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger (who I've always felt drew very sexy women) was definitely designed to get the male reader interested in the story's contents!

And then there's the black cat in the Superman cape, which is supposed to be a transformed Superman. I say "supposed" because, having never read this story, I don't know if it is or isn't.

It is kind of disappointing that Selina Kyle's not dressed in her classic purple outfit with the skirt that had the big slit up the side, and the green cape. I guess this was her 1960s costume, being all-covering (but why not a miniskirt?).

One wonders just how a real fight between Lois Lane and Catwoman would've gone... I mean, yes, Catwoman's supposed to be a fair fighter... but Lois has been trained in Klukorr, a Kryptonian martial art!


Some This 'n That Before I Get Back to Work...

... on the latest transcription for BCI/Eclipse.

ITEM! I completely forgot to mention anything about Wednesday's meeting with the adoption licensor. It went fairly well, and did end on time... with three more to come, every two weeks! The most annoying things about this were: A) We've already answered these questions before with the foster licensor (who subsequently told us they can share forms, but not interview responses); B) We had to answer a few things twice because she was paying more attention to our dogs than she was to our responses; C) Since one of the main questions we were answering today concerned employment history, it would've been nice to get a heads-up on it (we had no advance list of questions)... Jessi and I could've printed out our resumes and had all the dates and jobs right there!

ITEM! Anyone else out there find themselves reading two or more books at the same time? I'm currently dividing my reading time between Walter Koenig's autobiography WARPED FACTORS and Bill Scott's excellent THE MOOSE THAT ROARED, which is all about Jay Scott, Rocky, Bullwinkle, and their friends. I picked up the Koenig book at the library this morning, and started reading it before going into work.

ITEM! Haven't started restuffing that vintage Bugs Bunny toy yet!

ITEM! For every comp set of DVDs I get from BCI/Eclipse that I worked on, there must be at least five DVD sets of cartoons (plus ten DVD sets of TV shows) that keep coming out that I'll have to buy if I want to watch them! Yes, I have been checking stuff out from the library, but an annoying large number of them have been scratched, causing irregular pauses, and some skipped episodes! This has happened with volumes 1 and 2 of Bullwinkle, volume 1 of Red Dwarf, and most recently, volume 1 of Looney Tunes (the Monk volume 1 set didn't seem to suffer from this, but then, we only watched episodes we weren't sure we'd seen, plus the extras).

ITEM! That's it for tonight! Tomorrow, I may talk about some work stuff!


Classic Toy of the Day!


Yes, friends, it's still more GI Joe... and a few years before Jaws, Joe was already fighting rubber sharks! Wow, ahead of his time, wasn't he? This was 1969, remember... I don't even know if Peter Benchley had even started writing the novel Jaws yet!

You know, someone should've really licensed from Hasbro the rights to make an aquarium toy based on this particular outfit/adventure set... with bubbles making Joe move, the treasure chest opening and closing... you get the idea!

Tomorrow, it's the last GI Joe post from the 1969 Sears Wish Book... but there's still more SWB features to follow!


Comic Book Cover of the Day!

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And I'm inaugurating the replacement for "TV Comic Cover of the Day" with this issue of Lois Lane, featuring one of the most bizarre stories to come out of the relevance period (although honestly, I don't know if this came out before or after the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series started).

I'm sure you've all read the story... I think it's even been in one of those "Superman in the..." volumes. Basically, Lois is trying to interview black people in the Metropolis slums, but because she's white, nobody will talk to her. So she gets Superman to temporarily change her into a black woman with some Kryptonian device, and suddenly, cabs won't stop to pick her up, and black people treat her like she's human. She even meets up with a black activist who wouldn't give her the time of day before, but will now. By the end of the story, Lois gives this guy a blood transfusion, and midway through, the Kryptonian machine wears off, but the activist just smiles at her anyway, showing that both she and the black guy have learned something.

While I can applaud the idea behind the tale... surely, it's unusual that Lois couldn't get a single black person to talk to her before her transformation? While a point is trying to be made about racism, the point's also being made about reverse racism... but the fact of the matter is, naturally, that not all white people are (or even have been) racist towards blacks, and vice-versa. Everyone is different, after all.

Probably the most unusual thing about this tale, however, is its title... a play on a porno movie out around this time, called "I am Curious (Yellow)" or something like that (and no, I've never seen it, so I have no idea what the "plot" might be).


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

One More Thing...

I forgot to mention that the TV Comic Cover of the Day posted below will be the last TV Comic Cover of the day for a while, as I switch gears to feature a different comic book cover each day, all chosen pretty much at random!

The classic toy posts will be continuing for some time, although I'd imagine I'll be running out of the Sears Wish Book posts pretty soon... which means there'll be other toy stuff coming!

I'm also going to begin yet another daily post series... comic book advertisements! Look for those to start Sunday night. That will be joined by Genre Movie Still of the Day, which will be mostly horror/monster movie pics!


Classic Toy of the Day!


Yes, it's more Joe from the 1969 Sears Wish Book, and it's simply serendipitous that both this post and the TV Comic Cover of the Day post below are both winter activity-themed!

Out here in Washington, despite it being April, I keep hearing reports on the radio about fresh snow in the mountains, which I guess means that skiing is still happening. I've never skied myself... blame it on too many childhood years watching the guy crash on the opening of "ABC's Wide World of Sports"!


TV Comic Cover of the Day!


Here's Dell Giant #1, featuring a whole slew of Hanna-Barbera characters in winter fun... and if you're reading this as the first blog entry at the top of the page, refresh it for a bit of serendipity!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

TV Comic Cover of the Day!


You know, I don't think I ever saw even a single episode of Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch... it just didn't appeal to me (and chances are, there was a Filmation show opposite it that I wanted to watch instead).

It's long been held that this title featured John Byrne's first professional comics work, or at least the first published work... but as was pointed out to me at the fan/pro trivia contest at Emerald City a week and a half ago, he did have some comics work published in The Monster Times!

I loved the Monster Times, by the way... it started out in a similar format to the Comics Buyers Guide (before it went all magazine on us), like a newspaper, and featured all the cool news about monster movies one could want, plus comics in almost every issue (sometimes retelling in digest form various monster movies). It was through the Monster Times that I learned about The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor, which became my favorite of Gold Key's original creations!


Classic Toy of the Day!


Yes, it's more GI Joe from the 1969 Sears Wish Book! This would've been a handy set for me to have for my Joes when I was a kid, but alas, it was not to be. So when I got a yearning to have my GI Joes go skydiving, I had to make my own homemade parachute (something I'd imagine lots of kids had to do).

I don't recall if I did this before or after I had the parachuting Batman toy that my mom bought me at Kmart, but it would make sense if it was after. And yes, I'm digressing a bit here.

Back in the 1970s, you could find an amazing amount of superhero toys at your local Kmart, Kresge, or Woolworth's stores, from the Megos (naturally) to the cheaper toys, which were completely non-poseable, solid plastic (or rubber) toys that basically did one thing. I had a Batman motorcycle toy with a rubber Bats on a friction-powered motorcycle, and the aforementioned skydiving Batman. The skydiving Batman was a solid plastic figure, with hooks or something molded onto the top of his shoulders, to which was tied the strings for the plastic parachute, which was similar to the kind of plastic you'd find in a plastic garbage bag.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that, inspired by this Batman toy, I got a large plastic garbage bag from my mom's kitchen, cut a big circle out of it, tied an appropriate amount of strings to it (probably kite string), and made my own, homemade parachute for GI Joe! I recall trying a handkerchief before, but it didn't work (not for Joe, and not for the Megos, either).

I don't recall how well it worked. Like with the Batman figure, I more or less carefully folded up the parachute, then wrapped the strings around the Joe it was attached to, then threw it up in the air as hard as I could, whereupon gravity and centrifugal force would cause the figure to be unwrapped, and the parachute to open.

Of course, if the parachute didn't manage to unroll and open, the Joe would've plummeted back to Earth (which I'd imagine was the final fate of more than a couple of Joes).


Monday, April 09, 2007

TV Comic Cover of the Day!


Yes, it's another Underdog cover... and compare this to the Charlton cover from yesterday! It's amazing to me how sometimes the Gold Key version of a book would be on-model, but the Charlton one wouldn't... or vice-versa... or sometimes neither of them would do a decent job of staying on-model!

I still haven't been able to find any Underdog comic to compare to the cartoons... maybe the next convention in June!


Classic Toys of the Day!


Yes, it's still Joe time as I look at the cool stuff from the 1969 Sears Wish Book!

Man, I wish I'd had that space suit and capsule when I was a kid... and what a bargain it seems now, too! Although, if you consider that comics were, what, 15 cents back then, and you adjust both items for inflation at the same rate, I can see how this would've been considered fairly expensive back then!

Still cool as hell, though.

On the talking GI Joe... I remember having an Adventure Team-era talking Joe, you pulled his "AT" dogtag to make him speak various phrases, the most common one (at least on mine) being, "Mission accomplished! Good work, men!" This Joe, of course, had the "real hair," but I don't remember whether or not he had Kung-Fu Grip.

More Joe tomorrow!


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Post-Easter Wrap-Up!

So, I hope that you've all had a pleasant Sunday, whether you celebrated Easter in some form or not!

Our big event of the day was going to my sister Sandy's house in Puyallup as most of my family (sans brother Jeff and his wife, Kristi -- Jeff was at Norwescon, and Kristi had already made plans with her friends) plus Sandy's husband's family all gathered together for a traditional Easter barbeque.

Yeah, that's right, I said barbeque. No, I don't understand it, either.

Anyway, Jessi and I brought spinach dip and tortilla chips, my mom brought potato salad, and I'm not sure who else brought what. The barbeque was brats, hamburgers, chicken or hot dogs, and there were also potato chips available, a fruit bread of some kind, corn on the cob, and strawberries on angel food cake for dessert!

Jessi and I also brought along a Rice Krispies Treats kit, so the nieces could make some decorated RKTs... although only my youngest nieces really participated in this. Plus, the set (which was "complete") didn't really firm up very well, so things tended to be a bit mushy. I think next Easter, we'll go back to the sugar cookie thing that worked so well for Christmas... or maybe we'll do something else entirely.

Jessi's been very much in favor of us bringing some kind of activity to family holiday gatherings, and I suspect that's mostly to help prepare us for our foster child. As such, I'm all for it... and it is fun, too!

We also played a few quick games of Left-Right-Center, a fun little dice game which my family's been enjoying more each time we play it!

Backtracking a bit, on Saturday night, I decided to pull out this vintage Bugs Bunny stuffed toy that I'd bought for five bucks way back when I was selling at swap meets, and try to get it washed. This thing was, honestly, very filthy, and I figured our super-deluxe washer could clean it well.

The first time around, it was markedly cleaner... but not all the stains came out. Nor did it really spin out too well... the stuffing was sopping wet! I tried to squeeze the water out, which came out very dirty, and so I figured I needed to rethink the whole thing.

Well, earlier tonight, while Jessi watched a marathon of "America's Next Top Model" episodes, I went up to the office and very carefully undid some of the seams on Bugs, and started pulling out the original stuffing. If I thought Bugs' fur was dirty, the stuffing was something else entirely! No wonder the fur didn't look so great... the dirty water from the stuffing kept coming out onto the fur! So, after disposing of all the stuffing (which I figured would never get clean), I brought Bugs' skin back downstairs, and put it through a laundry road with a few towels, adding some oxygen cleaner stuff to the soap. After that runthrough, I let it run through the dryer for about 10-15 minutes.

Wow, what a difference that made! Now I wish I'd taken a "before" photo to compare it with how it works now. The only problem now is that I need to come up with new stuffing for it before I sew the seams back up again... but I do have an old pillow in the closet that I think might have enough stuffing to refill it. On the other hand, I may wait until payday to buy some new stuffing for it (may as well do it up right!).

When I pulled the stuffing out, I also pulled out some wires that could be used to pose the ears and the arms, and threw those out, too... but I still will need to figure out how to replace that, at least for the ears, which will never stand up on their own. I may see if we have any old wire hangers around here, or perhaps I'll go with something else to straighten and stiffen the ears.


Classic Toys of the Day!


Yes, it's Joe time again, as I continue to look at the 1969 Sears Wish Book cool stuff! Unfortunately, I have no source for Sears Wish Books of the 1970s, which is the era I most remember looking through them...

Anyway, I am surprised that they're saying "Introducing" in this ad... as if Joe was brand-new, instead of having been out for some time!

You should also note that the Joes here are dressed in t-shirts, hats, camo pants and boots, plus the usual dogtags. I'm not sure if this was done as a cost-cutting measure or not... nor do I ever recall buying (or receiving) new Joes dressed like this!

Then again, we're still a few years away from the Joes that I received brand-new... although I'm sure I bought a few at garage sales for a quarter or less that were from this era or earlier!


TV Comics Cover of the Day!


When criminals in this world appear
and break the laws that they should fear
and frighten all who see or hear
the cry goes up both far and near
for Underdog! Underdog! Underdog! Underdog!

Speed of lightning, roar of thunder
fighting all who rob or plunder
Underdog. Underdog!

When in this world the headlines read
of those whose hearts are filled with greed
who rob and steal from those who need
to right this wrong with blinding speed
goes Underdog! Underdog! Underdog! Underdog!

Speed of lightning, roar of thunder
fighting all who rob or plunder
Underdog. Underdog!

Yes, those are the lyrics for the Underdog theme song, and I've mentioned before how big a fan I am of this cartoon (which some have dismissed as "animated radio," but you know, I still dig it).

And I've also mentioned before how I am absolutely NOT going to see this live-action Underdog movie that's coming out.


This 'N That, Briefly...

ITEM! As you've noticed, I've changed the header graphic again... added a few influences, dropped a few from the first one, but I can't say I'm 100% satisfied with it yet, so no doubt I'll tweak it again in another month or three.

ITEM! The washer and dryer are working great for us! Right now, a vintage Bugs Bunny stuffed toy I've had for a while is finishing being washed, and is getting ready for some dryer time.

ITEM! Watching the first volume of Bullwinkle, I'm struck by how different the styles are for the various characters!

ITEM! I have yet to find any mention on any blog or news site (other than this blog) of the trivia contest from Emerald City... if you know of a site that's mentioned it, let me know, okay?

ITEM! Speaking of ECCC, I've already started getting new props accumulated for next year! Big Lots had a Superman digital watch for $2 that will work for Jimmy Olsen's signal watch!

ITEM! Speaking of Big Lots, if you're a fan of Popeye or Betty Boop, check your local store for some nice framed prints of them (separately, not together) by Toby Bluth. They're pretty nicely framed and matted, and are well worth the measly $10 they're selling them for! I've already picked up one with Popeye and Bluto, and there's a second Popeye print I'm hoping to get on payday. I'll post a photo in the next day or two.

ITEM! No special Easter-related posting here... no rabbits, bunnies, eggs, candy, or whatever... but however you plan on enjoying this day, whether religious, secular, or some other form, I hope it's a good one for ya!