Friday, December 28, 2012

My 2012 Christmas Haul!

I know that Christmas means a whole lot more than just getting presents (thanks for that lesson, Grinch!), but let's be honest, no one wants to read a post on my blog about that quiet moment I had while walking my dog the other night, looking at the lights on everyone's houses in the brisk air and stopping outside a local church to listen to their choir sing a beautiful rendition of O Holy Night, all of which added up to single serene moment where I found myself believing just a little bit more in the inherent goodness of mankind.

No, we want to hear about LOOT!

So here's a few of the geekier highlights from my personal Christmas haul this year...

1. The Lego Batman Visual Dictionary - I love books like this because it sort of helps keep me from collecting all of the actual toys. Sometimes, just having a comprehensive guide, with oodles of pics, is enough for me.

2. How to Speak Wookiee -  Besides teaching me how to speak the native language of the planet Kashyyyk, it had the added bonus of making sounds that thoroughly confused my dog.

3. Star Wars Fighter Pods - Well, crap. There's goes my effort to not collect these. Looks like I'll be hitting the toy store later for even more of these adorable little guys.

4. Hot Wheels Batmobile - I came soooooooo close to buying this one for myself a while back, but passed. I must have known that in the future my Mom would send it to me. :)

5. Hot Wheels 1970 Monte Carlo - My wife and I share a love for muscle cars. She tapped into this by dropping this beauty in my stocking.

6. This. Epic. Hat.

7. This. Also. Epic. Hat.

8. Mini Star Wars Plushies - I ain't gonna lie, that Yoda is freaking me out. But DAT CHEWIE! And DAT VADER!

9. Series 8 Lego Minifigures - I've managed to avoid buying any of these too, but Ron R. sending me the Santa from this series got my case of Legocollectivitis flaring up again, so my wife grabbed a few more for my stocking.  Seriously, people. That robot is one of the greatest toys I have ever seen in my life.

That's it for now! There were several other gifts, but these were the most geeky. Now that I think about it, I never did show off all the epic geeky stuff I got for my birthday. Looks like I've got another haul post to write.

Anyway, it was a Merry Christmas indeed! Hope yours was, too!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Newest Ink...

As some of you may know, I hit 40 years old  a little while back and I've heard a lot of people talking about 40-year-olds having a "mid-life crisis" or whatever, where guys find themselves suddenly middle-aged and they sort of freak out and try to re-capture something from their youth, but a lot of my friends have pointed out that since my everyday life is pretty much obsessed with re-capturing my youth, how different could I really seem if I were to go through a mid-life crisis? I have to admit, they have a point.

But I did want to do something to mark the occasion. And mark it in a big way. Permanently.

So, I got some ink.

I've been wanting to get more work done for a while, and for my 40th, I wanted to get something big in a spot no one can ignore. So I tattooed my hands. And when you get your hands done, which is a pretty huge commitment in itself, the theme better be about something that you love so much that you'll spend everyday for the rest of your life showing people that.

And I went with something that has literally made me a different person and guided me and entertained me for 36 of the 40 years I've been on this planet; Star Wars.

Let's say goodbye to these babies...

I decided that I wanted it all done in American Traditional style, and I had seen several examples of R2-D2 and Darth Vader done in that style that I loved, and so my tattoo artist got to work sketching up the templates for these. I wanted roses (a common American Traditional theme) around R2 and dead roses around Vader. 

I wanted R2 on my right hand, which is my drawing hand, the one I create with, so I thought the positive energy should be represented there.

First he put the stencil on...

Then we went to outline...

Make no mistake; This. Tattoo. Friggin. HURT.

There's zero meat on the back of your hand so all of my hand bones and tendons were taking a beating.

We went ahead and did the color on R2 before moving on to Vader, but I want to save that for the end.

Vader, obviously, went on my left hand and he and the dead roses represented decay or destruction to me, and since I'm a southpaw (which came in handy in my boxing training) I thought it only fitting to make my punching hand represent the darker side.

After it was all said and done, we were almost hitting the 6 hour mark and my hands were dying. The swelling over the following couple of days was practically comical. I could barely do anything for myself and even drawing or working a mouse at work was tricky, but I grunted through.

In all seriousness, I couldn't love these tattoos more. Josh down at Underworld Ink in Puyallup, WA did a fantastic job. I'm not gonna lie, part of me was pretty nervous about making such a huge leap by getting my hands done, but every day I look at these babies and love them even more.

The punchline to all of this, though, is that they're not even done! I fully intend on taking them further with a Rebel Alliance symbol going up the tops of my wrist over R2 (with yellow rays coming off of it) and an Empire symbol over Vader (with red rays), and then we're gonna top off the whole thing with the letters S-T-A-R on my right knuckles and W-A-R-S on my left knuckle. Go big or go home, I say.

Then the Force will truly flow through me.

I'll be sure to post the next phase once it's done in a couple of weeks! In the meantime, I've still got some healing to do.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

And the Winners of the 2012 Action Figure Nativity Contest Are...

1st Place: Michael L.

And in 2nd & 3rd Place with 7 votes each, Derek A. & Dan P.!

Well done to all three of you! And my sincerest thanks to everyone who joined in!

I'll be getting some prizes mailed out to all three of you very soon (well, "very soon" in my terms, which can sometimes take forever, but I'll try to be quick about it).

I hope each and every one of you had a Marry Christmas!

Stay tuned for my annual Christmas Haul Report and a new State of the Horde Address coming up on the first with a sort of important announcement.

Congrats again, winners! Be sure to visit their blogs...

Dan P. at The Toy Museum
Derek A. at Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks
Michael L. at Memories of Toymorrow

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from The Dork Horde!

It's Christmas morning, kids! I've gotten a couple of cups of java in me, we've opened up all of our presents, watched almost and entire showing of A Christmas Story and are now getting ready to head out to Denny's for our annual Christmas breakfast (we're not real big on cooking here in my household).

But I just wanted to take a minute to wish each and every one of my blog's readers and especially all of the members of The Dork Horde a very Merry Christmas, and I sincerely hope that Santa brought you everything that you wished for.

Happy Holidays, gang!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The 2012 Action Figure Nativity Contest is HERE!

Welcome, kids, to the 2nd Annual Action Figure Nativity Contest hosted right here in the Lair of the Dork Horde!

First, I want to give my sincerest thanks and a hearty "good luck" to all of this year's contestants! We've got some really great Nativity Scenes this year (although considerably fewer, but I totally understand how busy this time of year can get), so be sure to vote for your favorite in the poll on the right hand side of the blog.

But first, I wanna show of mine...

Ahhhh... 'tis the season to celebrate the birth of our savior, E.T.! This year, the parts of Mary and Joseph are played by none other than Batman and Wonder Woman. In an effort to cause Eric Stettmeier to suffer an aneurism, I decided to go almost 100% "dolly" this year. Happy Holidays, Eric!

Rounding out the cast we have the shepherds played by Luke Duke, The Phantom and Conan the Barbarian. Standing in for the three wise men are Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein's monster, each bringing gifts of a tiny toy Pac Man ghost, a totally rad Santa Cruz longboard and the Sword of Omens. The various animals were represented by astromech droids and all was overseen by the glorious angel Mickey. A wild Wampa kept trying to get in the shot, but I think I finally got a pic without him in it.

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Now, on to the contestants!

Please note the name of each contestant above their respective pieces and vote for them accordingly in the poll to the right. Let the voting begin!

Bryant G.

Dan P.

Derek A.

Jaime H.

Jeremy M.


Kevin H.

Matt F.

Michael L.

Nathan N.

Ron R.

Howard D.

The winners will be announced on Dec. 26th and first, second and thrid place winners will get some sort of cool prize, which I haven't actually gone out and bought yet. But I will. I swear.

Good luck to you all and Merry Christmas!

(EDIT: Sadly, Howard D. can't be added to the poll, being a late entry and all, because the poll widget won't let you add to it once people have voted, which is kind of stupid. But it wouldn't be fair to those who already received votes for me to start the widget all over again and put everyone back to zero. So if you want to vote for Howard D., just post his name in the comments and we'll count 'em up and the end of the week. Sorry for this small glitch.)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 Action Figure Nativity Reminder!

Hey kids! Just a reminder that the deadline to get your Action Figure Nativity Scene pic in to me is tomorrow night, Sunday, December 16th by 11:59 PM!

So get going if you want to win cool prizes and/or the admiration of your peers!

I've only gotten 2 submissions so far. :(

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Top 5 Friday! My Top 5 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials!

Right up there with fat guys in red suits and piles of toys around a twinkling tree, animated Christmas specials are an integral part of the holiday season for me.

Of course, they were special when I was a kid because they came on exactly once a year and you had to be on top of that TV Guide to make sure you didn't miss any of them.

These days you can randomly turn to ABC Family channel or the Hub or Boomarang and pretty much guarantee that one is on at any given moment of any day in the month of December.

Still, there are a few that I make jolly well sure I see at least once a year, even if it is a DVD marathon all in one sitting.

Here they are...

With Honorable mention going to...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Pac Man Video Game Cabinet Candy Tin!

A couple of weeks back, while my wife and I were shopping around Universal Citywalk, fresh from the Universal Studios theme park, with a stomach full of Pink's hot dogs and still a little shaky from the House of Horrors, I stumbled onto a little tin slice of awesomeness in the form of this beauty of a candy tin in the shape of a vintage Pac Man video game cabinet.

I had heard about these coming last summer and I tried to find one at Comic Con in San Diego with no luck. But now it looks like they're everywhere and I managed to find one at the giant candy shop in Universal Citywalk.

I just love the design of the tin itself. Just look at the graphics on the "screen"...

Even the side of the cabinet takes me back to the good ol' days when I would stand there longingly hoping that one of the legion of teenagers would run out of quarters so I could get a chance to play our local bowling alley's Pac Man machine, only to lose patience and end up plunking my quarters into Tempest or Centipede instead.

As I mentioned, this is a candy container, and even the candies inside are in little Pac Man shapes! Although, they should be little white power pellets, now that I think about it.

But I don't really care about the candy. I just wanted the cabinet for my action figures to have something to play Pac Man on. Sadly, it's just a little too small for the usual 3 3/4" figure, much less poor Chewbacca...

But, as it turns out, it's the perfect size for an Ewok...

Yub nub!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Dream Job!

This week's topic: If money was not a concern and you could choose any career path, what would be your ultimate dream job? 

I don't mean to be all like "Oooh! Look at me! I'm a big, fat, awesome toy designer!" but in all seriousness, I drive to work every morning thinking, "I'm literally on my way to my dream job."

Not many people can say that, so I'm always careful to never forget how fortunate I am.

So, the short answer to this week's question is; I'm already working at my dream job.

Don't get me wrong. If there was a job called "Professional Tourist Attraction/Amusement Park/Campground Reviewer" that came with a company RV for me to drive around the country in, then I guess that would be my answer.

But in the meantime, I'll just keep on designing toys and thanking my lucky stars.

Also from the League:

Shezcrafti doesn't wan to do a damn thing.
The Man Whop Stares at Toys likes to dig into history.
And Flashlights Are Something To Eat wants to spin records. And maybe sell them, too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Here Comes Lego Santa Claus, Here Comes Lego Santa Claus, Right Down Lego Santa Claus Lane...

Yay! I finally have a Lego Santa Claus in my collection! And it's all thanks to the amazing Ron R. from Ron's Random Stuff. He hosted a little give-away last week, to help get himself and everyone else in the holiday spirit, and so he sent me this little jolly old elf. I've been slowly building a collection of toy Santa's for a few years now, adding a new St. Nick to the display every Christmas, and I had been dying to get a Lego one. Now he's here and he's even cuter than I imagined.

Ron sent along a couple of other cool items including these brilliant little vending machine monster finger puppets. He did a little right up about these rubbery creepazoids a while back and I'm completely in love with them and their gruesome little faces...

But the real surprises came in the form of these two smashed pennies from the Buffalo Zoo!

I'm an avid smashed penny collector and love getting ones from friends around the country to places I hope to one day visit. These two would make excellent showcase pieces on an episode of Penny Hunter.

Anyway, I can't thank you enough, Ron! I, for one, am now fully into the Christmas spirit.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Chicago Bears Oyo Minifigures!

It's NFL Sunday, kids! So I thought it would be a good time to show off yet another Chicago Bear collectible that I've managed to add to the shelf.

I present you all with the latest in minifigure fare from a practically unknown company called Oyo...

I've never even heard of these minifigures before, but they popped up in an eBay search a while back and after I sold my Funko custom zombie Batman, I had a little extra moola in the ol' Paypal account and just had to pull the trigger on these. I grabbed all the Bears figures they had, Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Brian Urlacher.

Now, the first this I have to point out about these is how INSANELY EXPENSIVE they are! Seriously, they were $12.99 each! But, like I said, I was flush in the collectibles fund for the moment so I thought I'd splurge. But I gotta be honest, on any other day, i would have scoffed at that price and kept on walking.

But since I did plunk down the moola, let's take a look at them.

The first thing one notices about these is how they are riding a razor-thin line of trademark infringement with Lego minifigures. The heads, the hands, the upper torsos. It's stunning.

Still, they made some changes to the arms, making them sort of bent at the elbows, and gave them a clumsy execution of some sort of knee articulation, and maybe that's enough to stop them from getting sued.

This may sound like I hate them, which I swear I don't. They're totally adorable and their little accessories, like the helmet, football and water bottle (gotta stay hydrated!) really add to their fun factor.

And I gotta admit, the Matt Forte actually looks like Matt Forte.

Cute and fun, though they are, I can't actually say they are worth the $12.99 price tag. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I have them, but like I said, this splurge was a special occasion for me.

It'll be interesting to see if Oyo (whoever they are) are still around in a year or two. But in the meantime...