#ToyTuesday – SDCC 2010

I am not going to San Diego Comic-Con this year. No benevolent benefactor came forward to donate the hundreds of dollars it would cost to fly out to California and stay at a hotel for the weekend. So sad. BUT I did live the geek dream 4 years ago and managed to attend in 2010. And, of course, I came home with a bag of goodies! Some more random than others, but I love them all.

SDCC 2010 Polly Pocket as DC Superheroes

SDCC 2010 Polly Pocket as DC Superheroes

Totally an impulse purchase because LOOK HOW CUTE! It was hard to resist the Polly Pocket girls dressed up as Batgirl, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman. Plus, I have a soft spot for Supergirl since when I was a little kid I liked to dress up in my Superman pajamas and run around the backyard being Super Sam! I think this was my favorite purchase of the whole trip.

SDCC 2010 Batman Arkham Asylum Figure

BATMAN! Another random purchase as I wandered the hall on the last day. Arkham Asylum is one of the best superhero video games and I think I had just completed it before I went to SDCC so battle-damaged Batman seemed like a good purchase. It is pretty cool having Batman watch over me from my bookshelf…

SDCC 2010 Doctor Who Exclusive Figure

This one was a goal, I knew there would be Doctor Who exclusives and this was the height of my Doctor Who fandom. I also bought a regular Doctor Who figure which I carried around with me in my purse for a few days after.

SDCC 2010 Bioshock 2 Figure

I had no played Bioshock 2 to completion yet and this figure was a little spoilerific. Honestly, not my favorite of the Bioshock games but still solid.

#MusicMonday **NEW** the bird and the bee – Undone

I found this band when I picked up the Forgetting Sarah Marshall soundtrack so many years ago. Now they have a new song, featured in another Jason Segel comedy!

I love Inara George’s voice, it’s instantly recognizable, which is something I tend to look for in a vocalist. Her and Greg Kurstin have created another fun, bouncy song, great for summer parties.

If you haven’t heard of the bird and the bee before, definitely give them a listen. Smart, fun pop music.

#ToyTuesday – my first collectible

New thing I’m trying to start – I have quite a collection of stuff around my apartment and I figured I should feature it on my blog to justify it’s existence (because every time someone posts about how cool or impressive something is, it will justify my next purchase hehe).

Starting off with my first fandom and one of my first true rare collectibles (well, it felt rare to little pre-teen me!)

Star Wars Fan Club Micro Machines

I joined the Official Lucasfilm Fan Club around the time Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was just starting out (I think I found the sign-up form in the back of The Mata Hari Affair novelization that I picked up at a book fair). I was a proud card carrying member, as you can see:

Lucasfilm Fan Club cards

But when I got these beauties in the mail, I felt so special. It was the mid-90s and I think the club was just beginning to switch over from the Lucasfilm Fan Club to the Star Wars Fan Club, prepping us for the big prequel announcement on the horizon. I had a lot of Star Wars toys that I was now taking better care of after years of play. I was also collecting the Micro Machine series. In fact, I had both of these ships and figures already.

BUT THESE WERE NUMBERED!

Star Wars Fan Club Micro Machines

I knew that was important. I knew having that number on the box meant there were only a limited amount of us that received these toys. Even if I already had them sitting on a shelf in my room, THESE were better because they had a number. Oh the RUSH of knowing I had something so special in my hands. That I had earned it because of my loyalty. Yes, this was the gateway drug of collecting.

Star Wars Fan Club Micro Machines

Look, the box even had special printing, TELLING me how these will be a VALUABLE addition to my collection.

I was hooked. And here I am twenty years later a proud member of the DC Star Wars Collecting Club.

Do you collect anything? What was the first collectible you remember being really excited about? Share in the comments or post your own story and link back!

Countdown to Mandatory Fun: Thank you @alyankovic

Well, I totally failed at doing a post a day before Mandatory Fun! So now I’m just going to put it ALL into one big EPIC post which pretty much boils down to Al Yankovic played a huge rule in my childhood and continues to play a part in my “adult” life with the release of his new album MANDATORY FUN tomorrow.

Anyone who played Rock Band with me when it initially came out will probably have heard this phrase come out of my mouth several times: “Why do I recognize this song? Oh wait, I know it as a POLKA!” Al’s Polka mixes opened me up to many songs that I had never heard before, either because of the decade they were released or the style of music wasn’t one I normally listened to. I never would have bothered with “The Humpty Dance” or “Blame It (on the alcohol)”. I don’t really listen to radio that much anymore, so I suspect there will be several songs on the new album that I will first hear as polkas or parodies.

And now there are songs that have been eclipsed, for me, by the parodies. I knew most of American Pie‘s lyrics when I was a teen. But in 1999, The Saga Begins quickly became the first thing that popped into my head when I heard the opening chords of that song.

I think one of the things that makes me stay with Al is that he is never mean to those he is parodying. He will poke some fun at the culture or subculture around them (like “Smells like Nirvana“) it never feels cruel or in poor taste. He manages to make everyone laugh, even the artists he is having fun with. And I think that is the secret to his popularity and staying power — even if you don’t know the song that is being mocked, you get most of the jokes.

And, of course, we can’t forget the original songs that parody entire musical genres such as this classic:

By the way, if you have not seen Al live, you are missing out. It’s not just a concert – it’s a performance of epic proportions. Costumes changes, classic AL TV clips, and sing-alongs. I have seen him 5 times now and I’ve loved every single show. Him and his band are just fantastic, so much energy!

So, THANK YOU AL YANKOVIC! Thank you for so many hilarious songs and wonderful memories. Whether you release another full-length album or decide to just release single tracks online, I will be here to support your music and sense of humor.

#WatchingWednesday – movies from June

June was mostly spent watching TV shows so my list of movies is very short. 4 films – 3 new, 1 rewatch. 1 awful, 3 awesome.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
I had been excited about this movie since it was announced. I love the first two X-Men movies and was impressed with First Class (and totally deny the existence of Last Stand and Wolverine: Origins because, egh). And when the positive reviews started to roll in, I knew I HAD to see it on the big screen.

It was SO much fun. I remember watching the cartoon version of this story arc on Saturday mornings back in the 90s and having my mind blown. It wasn’t often that a Saturday Morning Cartoon presented me with shades of gray when it came to battling injustice (I won’t say more since I don’t want to give away any spoilers). The big screen version was just as good. So great to see the cast of ALL the X-Men movies on the big screen in one epic feature. Just enough twists and turns to keep it interesting and, surprisingly, lots of good talking moments as characters try to understand the paths they have chosen..

As with all plots that involve time-travel of some kind, I’m sure you could sit here and poke holes in the plot because time travel ALWAYS has it’s issues. BUT who cares? The story was solid, the characters were all there and the actors were giving it their all. The star power of this movie is off the charts and I think it really raised it up to the next level of superhero film. I just hope any future sequels (which they clearly have in the works) are done just as well.

The_Lego_Movie_poster

The LEGO Movie (2014)
This was such a big surprise for me. When the movie was initially announced, I rolled my eyes, assuming it would be some kid flick thrown together to sell more toys. Then the reviews started to come out and I heard about the connection to the hilarious and unique Clone High series. So I put myself on the wait list for the DVD at the library. It arrived JUST when I need a lift and the movie did not disappoint.

Fill with a huge cast and tons of cameos along with jokes for every age group, The LEGO movie is an instant classic that will have everyone in the room laughing out loud. I loved it and I will definitely be adding it to my personal collection for the next time I need a little pick-me-up. Brilliant. While Toy Story made me want to snuggle all my figures, LEGO made me want to dump all the blocks into the center of the room and BUILD!

The other movies I watched were Elysium which was so bad I had to rant in a separate post and then I rewatched Frozen, which was still a beautiful movie the fourth time around. Not my favorite Disney movie, but I think it’s heart is in the right place and I feel like the music quality just keeps getting better.

What did you watch in June?

Countdown to Mandatory Fun – UHF Edition #WeirdAl

I can’t quite pin point the first time I ever heard Weird Al’s music. It was quickly assimilated into my childhood to a point that, like Star Wars, I barely remember a time without Weird Al.

I do remember when UHF was in the theaters.

UHFposter

It was the summer of 1989. I was in Florida, staying with my grandparents and my aunt because my little brother was about to appear and my parents figured it would be easier if I was out of down when that madness went down. I saw a lot of movies that summer – Tim Burton’s Batman, Disney’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids (this was also the start of the GIANT SODA cups you could get at fast food restaurants which for some reason sticks in my mind).

ANYWAY I was the most excited about UHF. I loved Weird Al, I had a few of his albums on cassette and I listened to them on my boom box all summer. My clearest memory comes from this summer, using my boom box to record songs off of MTV to listen to later. I didn’t have any kind of sophisticated set up – I just held the device up to the speaker and hit record. I waited all day for the UHF video to finally play, my blank cassette primed and ready. When it finally started, it was so excited, I jumped up and shoved the boombox towars the TV…

…and managed to hit the power knob on the front, pushing it back in and turning off the TV.

On that old cassette, you can hear my voice still singing along go “oh…no!” and the shuffle as I try to get my hand between the speaker and me and the “THUNK….Fzzzzzzzz” as the TV turned back on and brought the station up.

It’s funny because I know I saw the movie in the theater, but this is the strongest memory I have of that summer.

And, of course, the movie has lived on in quotes for the rest of my life. I just did the Wheel of Fish sketch with my co-worker the other day, and I’m sure you could guess that Conan the Librarian holds a special place in my heart.

What’s your favorite UHF bit??

#MusicMonday The Piano Guys

This was a recent discovery (as of Saturday). My friend Stephanie posted a link to my wall of the Star Wars Parody, “Cello Wars” and then I just kept clicking and loving everything I heard! Four very talented guys who just want to play music and have some fun (you can tell by the silly grins on their faces the entire time they are playing).

 

I think if kids saw more videos like this, they would be encouraged to stick with their musical instruments a bit longer (and if music teachers let their students play movie themes and pop songs, it would also keep them practicing a bit more).