Friday, February 21, 2014

Toy Flashback: Lowly Worm hates Nazis

In case you hadn't noticed, the 'Toy Flashback' tag is used for any photo I happened to take while I was making a blog entry, that I simply couldn't find room for in its original post. It's a nice way to recycle material.

Today, however, I was taking a leisurely stroll through the statistics this queer little blog has acquired. Predominantly, I was looking at viewcounts. As I would have guessed, entries about the Ninja Turtles occupy several of the top spots: the Turtlecycle, Invasion of the Robobugs, and Krang's Android Body rank first, fourth and ninth respectively.

Other things are a little more surprising. Scar (the once acclaimed 'king of gay') has gamely held a top ten spot for quite some time, as has Resident Evil 3 on GameCube. I can't really fathom much of a reason for either; Lion King and Resident Evil are fine franchises to be sure, but neither a simple toy nor a repackaged sequel are exactly at the forefront of your brain when you're thinking of what's going to bring in the goods.

The most absurd concept, however, is that Lowly Worm... Lowly fucking Worm... is the second most-viewed blog entry I've had. And this was an early one, from the first month, before I had really amassed many readers. So people across the Internet, far and wide, have been actively searching for Lowly Worm, and have landed smack dab on this blog. Were they disappointed, I wonder? Did they find what they were looking for? And, above all else, did they enjoy my Photoshopped picture of Lowly Worm beating the shit out of Nazis?

I may never know the answer. But because it is simultaneously a coveted entry as well as the single best 'shop I have ever produced in nearly three decades of lifetime (because I'm pretty sure I was Photoshopping in the late 80s), I salute the absolute living fuck out of this picture. I'd best just make sure it's not a Nazi salute, lest I cop a fist to the face from a Scarry worm.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

#0078: Pegasus

I suppose if Chipmunks albums and socks made to look like festive pigs didn't wow you (what kind of sick monster are you??), then today could be seen as an attempt to redeem myself. For someone purporting to be doing this for the good of charity, my donation process has made me out to really be kind of a dick. Most of the things I've shared on this blog here have been, quite frankly, shithouse. They say that beggars can't be choosers, but I think we all know that's untrue. Beggars are choosy as fuck, just try to buy one a sandwich.

So now, I will try to mend the beggar's bridges, by doling out a Pegasus plush toy that is truly sexy. I mean, honestly. Look at that thing. Just try to tell me you wouldn't have sex with it. Remember, you're not just lying to me, you're lying to yourself.

This toy was purchased late in 1997 en route from Canada to Australia, a bittersweet memory of a child leaving his life and memories behind, offset by the fact that I went to the Disney Store and scored this sweet fucking Pegasus thing.

Not only is this stuffed toy very nicely crafted, but it's also pretty freaking big. It's not often you end up with a plush of such sheer majesty, and in a way, that was also its greatest curse. Because it's such an elite and expensive toy, it didn't bang around with the uglies very much. A veritable Tom Brady, its major function was to look pretty and be worth a lot of money.

As you probably realise, it's modelled after the sassy steed from Disney's Hercules film; a movie that took many necessary liberties with Greek mythology. The purists out there may cry foul, but no, Hercules is not an abusive prick who gets possessed and brutally kills his wife and children. Hera does not attempt to stuff up Hercules' birth by literally forcing the goddess of childbirth to cross her legs. Zeus does not have sex with any living thing with a vagina. Maybe in the sequel.

So obviously this Pegasus is not the hellspawn of the god of the seas and motherfucking Medusa - oh, to be a fly on the wall during that conception!

Medusa: Baby, look into my eyes...
Poseidon: Bitch, please! I'm not falling for that.
Medusa: If you loved me you would.
Poseidon: I'm having sex with a snake-haired monster in order to father a flying horsey. There is no love here.

- but instead, just a friend of Herc's from Mt. Olympus. I'm sorry about the sentence structure just then, that jump was way too huge to try and tie together with a pair of hyphens, but once I started down the path, I found it hard to stop.

So that's really all there is to discuss about Hercules' faithful mount. I could go on, but it would be less about this toy, who I frankly stopped thinking about four lengthy paragraphs ago, and more about Greek mythology. You know, Hercules killed his music teacher with his own instrument, simply because he was a shitty student. I myself had a Japanese class today, and at no point did I consider killing sensei with his own instrument (in this case, the Japanese language). Oh Hercules, you old dick, you.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

#0077: Chipmunks albums

I will admit, albeit not proudly, that as a young boy I was putty in the hands of marketers. Somehow in the 80s and 90s, they knew exactly what I wanted – whether it was toys that featured a bevy of accessories and vast collectability, or programming that was ‘hip’ and ‘totally in your face’. So it should come as no surprise that I was really into the Chipmunks once upon a time. The 80s cartoon series in particular was the shit, and I avidly remember scenes from various episodes as though they were yesterday. Like one time Theodore cracked the shits and climbed on top of a bookcase. His brothers cried out for him, “Theodore! Get down from there!” to which he snapped, “Why? Worried I might fall and smush you?” Fucking awesome.

And the animated feature film? Oh man, that was so friggin’ cool. The Chipmunks and the Chipettes in a race around the world, smuggling diamonds in plush toys and distracting murderous tribal enemies by singing ‘Wooly Bully’. If only Terminator 3 had just been about that, it wouldn’t have sucked so much. The only aspect of that film I look towards cock-eyed these days are the villainous Vorsteins, Claudia and Klaus. I would not leave my children alone with these people, they are seriously inappropriate.

Anyhow. Riding on the coattails of their 80s renaissance, the Chipmunks were churning out music in the 90s like nobody’s business. As a result, I listened to a lot more country music than most other kids, just under the guise of a squeaky-voiced woodland creature. These are my Chipmunks albums.

The covers of these albums are so absolutely fantastic; Chipmunks In Low Places and Club Chipmunk in particular make me piss myself laughing. There’s something so inexplicably wonderful about Alvin dressed up like a flamboyant cowboy, or with his head pasted atop those guys who did the Macarena. Seriously, if Chris Brown released an album with these covers, I’d buy every single copy. And I fucking hate Chris Brown. The only thing he’s got are some pretty good beats. Zing!

Let’s begin in those Low Places, shall we? When I think of low places, I think of Sunshine and Broadmeadows. But for the Chipmunks, it’s duets with Waylon Jennings and Billy Ray Cyrus. That being said though, Miley would go on to some pretty low places, so I suppose the world does have a way of working these things out.

I’m sitting here and listening to Alvin and the fucking Chipmunks singing Achy Breaky Heart right now, and trying to formulate some way of continuing this post. Words are failing me, and I just assume that this would be much easier to take if I were smoking weed right now. On the plus side though, the album does come with a pretty freaking awesome offer inside…

I don’t care that I’m over twenty years too late. I really want that fucking t-shirt.

We move onto Urban Chipmunk, which judging by the cover and the bold black booklet, is a more edgy collection of country music. In all honesty, there isn’t much not to like about this album: it starts off with the Devil Went Down to Georgia (though tragically they opt not to have Alvin call the devil a ‘son of a bitch’; now that would have been edgy) and goes on to have hits like the Gambler, I Love a Rainy Night, and the Coward of the County. Again, there’s a cop out in that last song, but perhaps it’s for the best: those dipshit Gatlin boys simply opt to beat up Tommy’s best friend, as opposed to violating his woman. Me personally, I don’t think I want to hear Theodore the Chipmunk introduce me to the horrors of sexual assault. I got enough of those undertones from the fucking Vorsteins.

We transition, scarred and disturbed, over to When You Wish Upon a Chipmunk. In case you needed a clue, it’s the Chipmunks singing Disney songs. Which is all well and good, except that on the back it clearly states that ‘this album is neither sponsored by nor endorsed by The Walt Disney Company.’

Isn’t there a law against that? Isn’t this exactly the kind of album that should be sponsored by/endorsed by The Walt Disney Company? I feel like I’m in ownership of some seriously underground shit here, the kind that could get me arrested by Walt Disney’s hired goons. Perhaps I shouldn’t be advertising this all over the Internet, but oh well. I like to think that Disney thugs would actually be Pete and his son, PJ. That way I could be arrested by Jim Cummings and Rob Paulsen. Silver lining to every cloud. I think that weed is kicking in, by the way.

The only other noteworthy thing about this album is that the Chipmunks’ version of Pumbaa sounds a whole lot like Mr. Bojangles, which brings up some serious racial undertones that I don’t think kids were quite ready for, unless of course they had already listened to Urban Chipmunk and were therefore hardened and jaded.

No the fuck you don’t, iTunes.

Last, but certainly not least, is the aforementioned collection of dance mixes, Club Chipmunk. It actually has a pretty awesome track list, including Stayin’ Alive and Turn the Beat Around. If it was socially acceptable for me to blast these tunes out of my car, I truly would. Maybe if I drove around in a particularly bizarre car, it would help distract from the concept that I was playing the Chipmunks, especially if I just banged on the CD player every now and then as though it was just some sort of audio issue. But that’s neither here nor there. We all know that I will never do this, particularly because I really can’t drive. I’d really hate getting into a fatal accident moments after I pass by a group of people in a bright pink car playing Chipmunks dance music. That would be kind of lame. Particularly when at some points, the album crosses boundaries that would make even Klaus Vorstein blush.

I wonder when we as a society failed? I think it coincides quite nicely with this right here.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

#0076: Christmas sock pig

And so, INAKA reached it's glorious third birthday. Like all forgotten children, it's special day passed by without fanfare or adoration. It sat alone at a table, a single streamer strewn across the table in a pitiful display of futility, as it cried itself to sleep and lamented it's life. Luckily for it, however, it is not a vivified thing; indeed, it is hardly a thing at all, hence, it has no life to lament!

Excellent. So let's look at this horrid Christmas sock pig.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, keen readers; this is not an elaborately crafted plush toy from the finest sweat shops of Thailand. This is in fact the labour of love from one small Canadian boy, circa 1994. I know because I was that small boy. I am now a small man.

The task set before us that (presumedly) winter session in elementary school was to fill a sock with stuffing, and fashion it into a pig. Whereas my classmates all clamoured for the pink-coloured socks appropriate to pig-related endeavours, I opted for this nifty grey and white deal. From whence the sock came, I'm unsure. I like to think some kid stole it when this project was announced, and their bewildered uncle is sitting in a chair, looking at his bare foot and shouting 'where the fuck is my other sock?!'. To this day.

After we'd shoved the fluff up his piggy rectum and sealed it with a rubber band, we then decorated him with paraphernalia and appropriate features. The ears and the button nose are self-explanatory. The Santa hat was a bold seasonal inclusion. As you can probably tell, I wasn't exactly a glue gun dynamo. I also accidentally drew his eyes on incorrectly, and added a third one in a hasty attempt to fix my godless creation. Fortunately, I later (like, five or six years later) reestablished his proper eye positions with a Sharpie. I'm sure you are all relieved by this.

Anyway, for no particular reason other than I'm sick of having a fucking sock in my closet, I have chosen to disassemble the Christmas sock pig. It may seem sad, but I remind you, at approximately 19 years of age, he lasted a whole lot longer than most other socks. I filmed his execution (my very first snuff film), but decided it was either too gruesome/fucking boring to include here. I am considering keeping him in action though as a regular sock.

Look at him! He's chill as fuck.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Ninja Turtles observation...

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a team, I realise: all four of them. Leonardo, Michelangelo (Michaelangelo once upon a time...), Donatello and Raphael. For many of us, there are rules about them. For one thing, the order in which I listed them is not coincidental; it corresponds with their cabinet number on the old arcade games. Is it true in today's console games? I dare not check. I only pray it is the same. If not, then I also assume that cats chase dogs through the streets, and the number one single is not the newest track from M People. P-shaw!

In pecking order, we realise that Leonardo is of course the leader. Should he be missing (or should Raph go batshit crazy), Raphael is second in command. Due to his intelligence, Donatello would next be thrust into the role of commander, and Michelangelo is perfectly content to always follow his brothers' command. The subordinance of the latter two was fantastically illustrated in the first movie; as the dutiful Leonardo and brash Raphael butt heads, Donny and Mikey focus on more important things.

And as an aside (to an entry that's admittedly an aside), why did the Turtles wear face masks in the first place? Some may say that their colours help differentiate the turtles, who were otherwise identical in most mediums. To this I cry foul: in the original iterations all four turtles wore red, for one thing, and furthermore, if we're operating on the basis of reality, all of the Turtles know who is who, so the face masks are more of a matter of vanity than anything else. I mean, honestly; the masks aren't particularly concealing their identity: once you see an enormous bipedal Turtle brandishing Japanese weapons and 80s wit, you've pretty much narrowed it down.

Anyhow, my observation (as diluted as it has become) is based originally on my belief that the natural pairing of the Ninja Turtles becomes Leonardo and Raphael, and Michelangelo and Donatello. Your prime example is in the previous video; because of Raphael's volatile personality and Leonardo's perceived sense of responsibility, the interaction between the two is frequent and often volatile.

Because of their passive nature, Mike and Don seem a natural duo, and neither particularly challenges for any leadership role (aside from one episode in the 2003 series titled 'Same As It Never Was' where Donatello travels to an alternate dimension where his absence causes the dissension of the Turtles, who have drifted apart, etc. etc. [fantastic episode, watch it when you can]).

There is little diversion from this teaming, other than one episode in the 80s series where a training session pitted an invention-wielding Donatello and Leonardo against Raphael and a disinterested Michelangelo. Should you be trying to team them up, this would seem the second-most natural choice, with the outgoing nature of the latter two (charismatic in the sense of the sarcastic 80s Raph, outspoken in any other iteration) compared to the quiet, virtuous nature of the Leo/Don pairing.

The other, most curious combination sees Leo and Mike, and Don and Raph. To me, this is chalk and cheese; these brothers seem to have very little one-on-one correspondence, having neither similar personality traits or significant airtime. Pairing Don with Raph in particular seems bizarre as fuck to me - it's like combining Z-era Krillin with Yamcha. Sure, they're on the same team, but there's a noticeable disconnect between the two that renders them fairly at odds with one another.

I welcome any opinion on this matter, but I also understand that this conversational piece is obscure at best, dated and fucking irrelevant at worst. I would try to assure you that there are other, toy-related entries fast upcoming, but I'm drunk right now and I dare not make any promises I may not remember by tomorrow morning...

Monday, September 9, 2013

#0075: Pogs/Tazos/Dizks

I don't claim to be an educator of any sort, but I don't think I'm out of line when I make the assumption that teachers worldwide hate collectible toys with a passion. Because it's so fucking important for kids to gather as many as possible, and if anyone fucks with your collection, there will be hell to pay.

I remember when I was in year 7, and a bunch of year 10s looked through my Pokemon cards. When I came home that day, I realised that several were missing. My mom had sent over some of the new Jungle series cards that hadn't yet reached Australia; Jigglypuff, Meowth and the like, and those motherfuckers stole them. What a bunch of heinous ball sacks! They had no interest in the cards, they probably just wanted to sell them for a couple of bucks. I hope they've since died of botulism. Seriously, fuck those assholes.

It's no wonder the various collectible series are soon banned from the schoolyard. We feel slighted as kids, because we weren't doing any harm, and true enough, we weren't; it was those soulless little shitballs that ruined it for everyone. Fortunately, I didn't go through that kind of distress back in my early collecting days. Because back then, I didn't go to school in the shitty western suburbs of Melbourne. I had a most delightful time gathering Pogs. Then Tazos. Then Dizks. Then spores, moulds and fungus.

Oh, Pogs, you crazy little pieces of cardboard. They were veritable schoolyard currency twenty-some years ago, and I remember that no Pog was to be left behind. At a school event with various games and activities, one of the stands gave out Pogs as a prize. So long were the lines, they eventually had to implement a three-game limit. We were being told we'd had enough Pogs, man.

Here's the family. As you can see, I had a whole bunch of Lion King Pogs. The lion's share, if you will. One of my less proud moments was when someone threw away their Power Rangers Pog, and I frantically chased it down. Who in the flying fuck is Aisha? Who cares, she was a Pog - she was a GOD. And I know you're all super jealous of my slammers and my limited edition 'secret weapon' Pog. Although I'm fairly sure they just put the limited edition line on there for shits and giggles, and it held no actual bearing on the rarity of the Pog.

In case you're wondering, no, I never played the actual game of Pogs. Especially not for keepsies - are you crazy? They were far too important for such frivolity!! From my Nickelodeon Gak Pog to my magic 8-ball hatching from an egg Pog, from my Ren & Stimpy Pog to my piece of styrofoam Pog depicting some kind of robotic foot.

Nowadays, Pogs are a relic of a time long gone. Most kids would have no idea what you were talking about, and anyone brave enough to explore are led to the disappointment that is the Perth Obstetrics Gynaecology Specialists. That's no fun. I want to study Pogs, not vaginas.

Much bigger in Australia was the Pog equivalent, Tazos. As you can see, I entered the game far too late, and didn't really garner much of a collection. I like to think I got the most important ones, though, representing Space Jam and the significance of Duff beer.

Eventually however, they grew wise to the morning viewing habits of kids around the country. What happened next would boost the sales of chip packets by some astronomical percent. Possibly over 9,000...!

Meet the Dragon Ball Z Dizks. These sons of bitches were (figuratively) huge, and kids bought snacks in bulk not for their daily intake of potato, but for the chance to increase their collection of Dizks. As you can see, they were separated into three categories: the red good guys, the black villains, and the yellow 'super characters'. Unveiling a mighty Super Saiyan Goku or Super Namek Piccolo was cause for celebration, as you triumphantly thrust that silly little yellow circle into the air. You were cooler than cool! You were the hip happenin' thing, baby. Do a boogaloo shuffle!

In case you were wondering, yes, I collected all 40 of them. It has led to a better life for me and my children. But sadly, even the most complete collection is waiting to be dwarfed. While we thought the yellow Dizks were top of the pops, we later discovered glorious Dizks with bright orange backgrounds. We knew these were irregular, and hence, more important. As you can see, I only had three. And beyond that, there were even rarer gold ones that I only once ever saw in person - walking through a forest in the rocky mountains one day. I tried to snap a photo, but alas, it was gone.

Later on, they introduced newer characters in fascinating new shapes, as well as branching on to other shitty animes like Beyblades, but the magic was gone. We had already invested enough time, energy and cholesterol into the fine art of Dizk collecting. In my youth, they told me that I had had enough Pogs. All those years later, I was able to tell the distant Pog relative... 'nah, bro - I've had enough of you.'

Friday, August 2, 2013

#0074: GeoSafari

Keeping with the theme of old electronics, now we find ourselves face to face with the GeoSafari. This son of a whatnot was a Christmas gift, and it is an educational toy like most no other. It features a slew of cards depicting numbered illustrations, and a list of the names of these things on each side. What you'd do, see, is punch the unique card number into the GeoSafari, and one of the fourteen lights next to the words would illuminate. As you can see, the card I've got in the machine at the moment is of our solar system, and it appropriately features the planets of aforementioned system. This was back when Pluto was a planet, mind you, possibly rendering it as incorrect information in the folds of time. Kind of like a medical card depicting removal of toes with a hammer and chisel, or every single illness being solved with leeches.

Anyhow, say that the top left light (the one labelled Mercury) were to light up: you would then have to punch in the number for Mercury as quickly as possible in order to attain the highest score. If memory serves, that number would be 8. I actually haven't looked at the solar system for many years, because as you can appreciate, it doesn't fall into my daily list of required activities (a list that includes playing my 3DS and watching MasterChef).

At the end, the GeoSafari would tally your score. Hurrah! You were proven smart by a machine! Or perchance, boo! You achieved a miserable score of 3. If this toy were created today, it would contain online leader boards, a forum to discuss your favourite cards, and would exist in the form of freeware on your iPhone. Let's be honest here.

This device was so celebrated at the time, though, that even Mike Rowe wanted to tell you all about it. Mike fucking Rowe.

I'd love to give it a try and test my knowledge of Canadian landforms and waterways, but tragically, like most electronic toys of its time, it was powered by D batteries. Oh, D batteries, how I hate you so. Not as compact and versatile as AAs, and not nearly as much fun to draw as 9-volts. Obscene batteries have become the bane of my existence over the last few entries, and as such, I will not educate myself this sad winter evening. How D-sappointed you must be by this D-sgusting D-velopment.

That being said however, there is another distinct reason that it will not be in use tonight, and it comes down to the fact that my GeoSafari is not exactly in perfect operating condition. In case you were wondering, no, it does not typically come equipped with dusty buttons and built in grime, and I fear that opening the battery compartment would unleash an army of mice into my room, like a modern day Trojan horse.

Oh sure, it seems okay now, but look at how it was when I found it...

Back in the early 90s, it was worth endorsement from Mike Rowe. Now, playing it would be more akin to a Dirty Job. Also take note of the nearby Dinosaur FouFou. It may become relevant at some point in life.

If you fancy a demonstration of your own, it's readily available on Youtube, in one particular instance being operated by a sassy Spanish man, who describes it as being '¿Te gust√≥?'. Frankly, watching it in action is exactly how you'd expect from reading it in words, though I have to say, I dig that funky light cycling music. It's certainly aged better than the recently departed Speak & Read, which sounded eerily similar to the computer from Electric Dreams.

So sadly, the GeoSafari will find a new home in the garbage bin. Don't lament its fate too much however, because the cards will go on to good use, implemented in my fiancé's classroom. I mean, I haven't pitched the idea to her yet, but I will effectively force it upon her, even if it means appearing during recess and teaching the children myself.

...This is probably why I'm not allowed within thirty feet of playgrounds anymore. Which sucks, because I love monkey bars.