Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yoshi Toy

I have to start off with admitting that I hate Yoshi in video games.  Well, as far as the games that I have played with him go; Yoshi’s Story (N64), Yoshi’s Island (DS), Super Mario 64 (DS), and yes even in Super Mario World (SNES).  I just find controlling him to be very frustrating and complicated.  I understand that Miyamoto wanted every character to be unique in abilities, but Yoshi’s abilities suck.  I mean I hate how he is slow, and how he doesn’t quite jump high enough (so fluttering in games is pointless if you can’t reach a level).  Nevertheless I still like Yoshi because he is so cute (awww).
I had already bought the Mario figure from the Banpresto toy line for Super Mario figures, so of course I also had to get a Yoshi figure.  From all the figures that released, Yoshi has to be my favorite.  He has the most articulation, his legs, arms, and head move.  I also love the sculpt that was used, he just seems so unique from the rest.  My only complaint about this figure, which is really more about the company that made him (Banpresto), is that the paint job is terrible.  But despite that I am glad that I have this figure in my collection.  If only this figure came with a green-spotted egg.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Polo Teddy Bear Painting

I have been a fan of Polo Ralph Lauren since the early 90’s when I first started caring about how I dressed.  Before that it was grade school, when all I wore was sweat pants and sweaters.  But then one day I saw a magazine ad that featured Polo, and when I saw the pony logo I knew I had to get a shirt.  Needless to say many years later, I am still a fan and will continue to be one for many years to come.
So what is it about the brand that I like so much?  Well I think it’s because it’s marketed in a way that creates a great fantasy lifestyle.  For this lifestyle Polo provides everything from underwear, shirts, jeans, dress suits, wall paint, cologne, sports gear, doggie gear, high end gear (purple label), etc.  Other reasons I like the brand are because it’s good quality at decent prices, and because it’s a classic style that will still look good in the future.
Recently I purchased some new wool sweaters I had been wanting for years, especially the grey heather with maroon pony.  A few years ago I saw a girl wearing the exact same one (probably her boyfriend’s), and it looked so luxurious that I have wanted one ever since.  This purchase actually inspired me to do a Polo themed painting.  I decided to choose their famous Polo Teddy Bear.  Like most of my paintings I work on a limited budget with dollar store items.
Unfortunately I don’t own any shirts with the bear, so I had to print out pictures online.  Most of the images have this almost watercolor effect, so I tried to give my painting the same effect with acrylics.  I wanted to add stripes as well, but my early attempts at adding them didn’t look so good so I didn’t include them.  Overall this was a fun project to do, and I’m very satisfied with the end results.  I have now framed this painting, and it looks really classy on my wall.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Super Mario

Back in the early 90’s McDonalds had this amazing Super Mario commercial.  It started off inside of a McDonalds restaurant, and little kids were eating when suddenly the characters from Super Mario appeared.  Then the little kids chased after then and tried to catch them.  The commercial ended with a voice saying something like, ‘Super Mario toys now available inside of Happy Meals.’  This commercial blew my mind because it was the first time I had seen Mario as a computer generated image.  Back in those days, it was so advanced and the characters looked so real.
Unfortunately I was unable to get a toy back then.  I think it was because it only released in the US, and not Canada.  Anyway, since that time I have always dreamt of owning a Super Mario toy that looked like that computer generated image.  Luckily we now live in a time when the toy industry is booming and you can find a toy from almost any subject.  So you can now imagine how excited I was when I first noticed that Super Mario toys were being made by Banpresto.  I did wait a few years to buy some because retail was $12 to $14, and I bought my Mario at $8 on sale.
Overall I am 100% impressed with the toy sculpt; it looks exactly like the Mario I have always loved.  And while the only articulation you will get from this toy is the arms, I am still satisfied because I plan on just showcasing him on a desk or table.  Unfortunately there are a few drawbacks about this toy.  The first is the paint job, it’s very hard to find a figure with even a decent paint job.  Most of them have paint going all over the place; didn’t the painters ever learn to paint within the lines?  The second drawback is that Mario’s hat isn’t painted, so over time the redness of the hat does tend to fade.  I noticed this because the first release versions of this toy, are now faded.  While these are usually reasons for me not to want to buy a toy, this being a Mario figure I still believe people should add them to their collection.  (And plan on buying some touch-up paint as well)

Monday, March 19, 2012

'Super' Fleece Pants

I picked up some more fleece pants on clearance this week ($7 each).  This time however I won the jack-pot because I found a Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern version of each.  I guess you can say, I am very addicted to the comfort these pants provide.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shamrock Shake

St. Patrick’s Day comes but once a year, and for a limited time McDonalds releases its Shamrock shake. I like to describe it as a Frankenstein mixture between vanilla shake, mint syrup, and deliciousness. Most people think it tastes nasty, but I friggin’ love this shake. I’m glad it’s back, and that I’m not sick (finally) so I am able to enjoy it. For those connoisseurs of mint I must also recommend you try the Mint Cookies and Cream Blizzard from Dairy Queen, it simply is delightful.

Shamrock Shake Wiki:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rocket Popsicle Painting

With the great weather we’ve been having lately all I can think of is summer activities. This inspired me to want to paint something. I wanted to pick a summer food to paint so I decide on a popsicle, and picked a rocket popsicle. Before I started I did a quick sketch on Microsoft paint, and just started painting. Overall I’m happy with the final results, though I could have been a little bit neater. But I’m just happy I finished it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fast Food Nation

Title: Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
Author: Eric Schlosser
Publisher: Mariner Books
During high school I suffered from insomnia.  This was before the age of the internet, cell phones and even the luxury of a TV in my room.  So what you may ask did I do late at night to keep me entertained?  Well I listened to the radio.  At that time radio was fascinating and very entertaining.  There were shows about almost every subject imaginable, especially call-in shows.  But my favourite or the one’s I was dedicated to, were about relationships, wrestling (it used to be interesting), and conspiracy theories.  Conspiracy theories shows would blow my mind every time, because it made me feel like; ‘wow now I know the truth and everyone is just a sheep’.  Later on I grew bored of these shows because they didn’t let me enjoy life because I assumed I had to be secluded from the media in order not become a corporation drone.

As the years passed I took on the philosophy of living my life in the middle.  This meant that I would avoid anything in excess, and also anything that was very minimal.  This has made me a much happier person because I get to enjoy a little bit of everything in life.  So while I avoid the conspiracy theories, I still like to learn about the facts and history of our society.  One book that I recently read that revealed many hidden facts about the food industry is Fast Food Nation.  To me it reminded me of the first time I read the Wall Street Journal, and how it showed me how the financial world can effect so many other industries that I assumed were never connected.  The author of the book, Eric Schlosser is able to connect the fast food industry to corruption of politicians, the monopoly of American agriculture, lax safety regulations, obesity, and the proliferation of poverty in America (by creating a system of transient workers, that are underpaid and never taught skills in order to attain upward mobility).

I found the book to be an enjoyable read because Schlosser was able to produce a clear picture of the industry.  He described everything from the history of the industry, to how they are today, and even how it can be improved.  I also appreciated how he even travelled to places he made connections to (potato farms, slaughter houses, fast food restaurants, and New Jersey’s flavour corridors that are responsible for creating artificial flavours).  I wouldn’t say Schlosser gave an unbiased investigation of the industry, although he did try to meet with everyone involved in it (from company presidents to general labourers); but it just seems impossible to look at the facts and not see that there’s something wrong with the industry.  What I come away with after reading this book is that people are suffering because we as a society keep wanting the cheapest, fastest and most isolated form of human contact in order to buy our goods and services.  While I could drag on about what has to change, I would rather just say what I am doing to change things.  Change for me comes from just becoming a more concerned human being. From supporting political parties that protect employee rights, to recycling my garbage, and even being friendlier to people around me (kind and courteous).  It’s these small little details that make the world a better place.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Peter Griffin

I initially started hating Family Guy when it first aired on TV.  My reason was because it was another animation series that was trying to copy the Simpsons.  Take for instance it was based on a family, the father was crazy and dumb, they had a baby, and many of the episodes had the same storyline as the Simpsons.  My sentiments were shared by many people and so no one watched the show and it eventually got cancelled.  But then something strange happened; The Simpsons started to decline in humour and people started watching Family Guy reruns.  I was part of this growing movement, and eventually the show started to become everyone’s favourite cartoon series.  The show was just what the Simpsons were lacking: edgy humour that had fresh and original stories.
A few years later, Mezco Toyz came out with the Family Guy toy line.  I wasn’t really collecting toys back in 2004, and most people I knew never did it as well.  One day I walked into a novelty store and was checking out the clearance section when I noticed that they had a Peter Griffin toy.  I loved the show by then, and at half off for the toy I couldn’t pass on buying it.  It’s funny how most of my toy collection has grown with purchases that I simply bought and never opened.
Like most Mezco toys, the sculpt is incredibly accurate to the cartoon, it just looks like Peter Griffin.  The accessories included are a TV remote, lampshade head, beer can, and a Mr. Zucchini Head.  I am impressed with Mezco because they seem to really care about adding these small details in their toy lines, almost as if they were fans themselves.  The paint job is also really nice, and the packaging allows me to show it off mint on card (a feature I appreciate).  Please note that the version I have is from the first release, and that Mezco has since reissued this toy as part of their Family Guy classic series.  There was also a variant version of this toy released (I think his eyes were looking in a different direction).  This is a great toy and I highly recommend getting it for your collection.
Mezco Toyz:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Despicable Me 2

Great News, they’re planning on releasing a second movie of Despicable Me. This news got me excited, but can we finally get some Minion toys? 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Polar Fleece Pants

Ever since I turned 20 or so, I stopped caring about how I looked.  I simply valued comfort more than fashion.  Of course I still dress nicely every once in a while, but I am more comfortable in a pair of jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt.  What brought comfort to a whole new level for me recently, was when I bought a pair of polar fleece pants.  I was a little hesitant on buying these for years because I felt like only couch potatoes would wear these.  But then I bought a pair on clearance and since then I haven’t looked back.  The pants are nice and soft, warm yet don’t make you sweat, and best of all they now come in a variety of prints to match your style or mood.  I now own a few, and my latest addition is this Oscar the Grouch version.  Hopefully one day they’ll make a pair of Cookie Monsters.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


So ‘Roll up the Rim to Win’ is back at Tim Hortons and this year I have decided to invest in Tim Hortons stock, THI on the TSE.  I have been wanting to do this for a couple of years now, but have been hesitant because I always wanted to buy it cheap when it went down.  Of course that hasn’t happened, and it’s been the same situation with other stocks I have wanted.  Sometimes waiting too long can be a bad thing, such was the case with Apple, and Buffalo Wild Wings. Both stocks I wanted to buy last year, but have since sky rocketed, so I am no longer able to buy at their current price.

THI is still affordable though, and there isn’t a Tim Horton’s location in Toronto that you can find that doesn’t have a line up (it’s very successful).  In fact today I waited in line for 10 minutes just to buy coffee.  Not that it’s super delicious or anything (just my opinion), but it’s just comfort food and coffee that makes me happy.  With plans for further expansions into the United States, I’m confident THI will be a great investment for years to come.