Monday, April 30, 2012

PEZ: Darth Vader

I went to the Dollar Store this weekend and was surprised to find out they had a Star Wars PEZ display.  I was fortunate enough to be the first person to go through it because I picked out a Darth Vader version (I’m sure he’s the first one to go).  Star Wars is part of PEZ’s 2012 releases, and also includes Darth Maul.  (Note to self: e-mail PEZ on creating a lightsaber PEZ dispenser).  As a bonus I also picked a version of the dispenser with their new candy flavour; raspberry-lemon.

Friday, April 27, 2012


When I’m eating junk food I like to watch TV cooking shows on Food Network.  It’s like adding taste-o-vision because you’re not only watching great food, but eating as well.  One night when I was bored and watching youtube videos I suddenly clicked on some dude making an omelette.  I swear he made the best omelette I have ever wanted to try.  It looked so good I even got up and made one myself (doesn’t breakfast food taste better late at night?).  Since that time I have watched many more videos of people making food.  So after doing this for a while, I decided to make my own video of me making nachos.  The ingredients I used are nacho chips (that I lightly toasted), nacho cheese, chili, sour cream, salsa, cheddar cheese, guacamole, and diced tomatoes and onions.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ready Player One

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Crown
Ready Player One is the first science fiction novel I have ever read.  I love sci-fi movies like super hero films, and anything from the future or in space, but I have always stayed away from reading books on the same subject.  I guess I thought they were super geeky, boring and a waste of time.  Then one day I was on Amazon and noticed that Ready Player One was a recommended read.  I started to read the book description and felt that it was a super geeky book, but to my amazement it drew my attention because it was about the things that I love.  It had stuff about video games, the future, 80s nostalgia, and pop culture.

Unlike most reviews that I do, I wanted to start off with the bad parts of the book first.  In a way, it’s not meant to bash the book so that no else reads it, but rather it’s almost putting it up on a pedestal in admiration and nit-picking because I am a fan.  It’s because we love a movie or book, that we fan-boys can have multiple arguments about everything we love or hate.  If we didn’t care, we wouldn’t even mention it; like those long forgotten films of Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, and Street Fighter.

So my first complaint about RP1 is that it’s described as an 80’s pop culture genre film, yet I felt like it was centered mostly on late 70’s to early 80’s culture.  Most of the video games systems the main character plays (Wade Watts) are from that time, and weren’t games that I was familiar with.  While I did own an Atari when I was a kid, I don’t have fond memories of it because I was too young.  I would have preferred Wade to have played games on the NES, like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Mega Man.  The book also emphasises music from the 70’s such as Rush’s “2112” album.

I’m not saying that this is a drawback for the book, or that it’s not 80’s pop culture but that it’s not the 80’s pop culture I am more familiar with.  I would rather say that someone born in the early 70’s would enjoy it more than someone born in the early 80’s.  For me 80’s pop culture was about the NES, Who`s the Boss, Miami Vice, Transformers, GI Joe, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Rambo and many more.  Ernest Cline does make a lot of references that were 80`s related and the one`s I liked were about Star Wars, John Hughes, Back to the Future, and Pizza Parlor places that had video games.

My second complaint about the book is that it all center`s around a virtual world called the OASIS, that is still influenced by monetary differences.  While Wade in real life is an orphan pauper, in the OASIS he still is disadvantaged by his poor social status.  This means that he is unable to transport to different worlds, own a space vehicle, or upgrade on outfits.  In my opinion if an OASIS were to ever exist, it should include a few luxuries from the start like the ability to change your clothing, be able to fly or drive a sports car.  I know I like to use game cheats in games like GTA because it’s a lot more fun being rich and having infinite health, than trying to earn money for missions that take forever to complete (but I digress).  My point of the OASIS being influenced by monetary status is that Wade is trying to battle the IOI (the evil empire who wants to control power for the elites only), when the power is already in the hands of the wealthy elites.

Despite these two complaints I thought this book was one of the best books I have ever read.  Ernest Cline has the ability to create detailed environments from the words that he writes.  I especially loved reading through the description of the stacks, the place where Wade lives in real life.  I was amazed at how Cline was able to write about Wade entering the OASIS then entering a video game, then entering a chatroom, and then playing another video game and still not losing me with his descriptions.  Not only was Cline able to create worlds, but I also loved how he created unique characters that were interesting and diverse.  Each character was distinct and I felt an attachment to them.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that also loves sci-fi genre movies.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say anyone can read this book and enjoy it.  I think you need to know a few things about the genre for you to even understand it.  For example it would help if you have played Secondlife before, used youtube and chatrooms, played video games, and have lived in the 80’s.  Other helpful hints while reading this book would be to watch movies like War Games, Blade Runner, and also have a computer or ipad near-by to do a quick search in case you’re unfamiliar with a reference.  Once you start this book it will take you on a journey that will be highly addictive, enjoyable and influential.


Nike Kobe Deadly AW77 Hoodie

Since when has April been colder than February?  I usually like to do a little spring cleaning around this time, by putting away my winter clothing and bringing out my summer clothing.  But this year has been so bizarre that I’m still wearing my winter clothing. Luckily it gives me an opportunity to wear my hoodies.  I’m a Kobe Bryant fan, and so I’ve been wearing my Kobe AW77 hoodie.  It features a black mamba screen-print graphic on the left chest, and kangaroo pocket.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tokyo Days, Bangkok Nights

Title: Tokyo Days, Bangkok Nights
Writer: Jonathan Vankin
Artwork: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Seth Fisher and Shawn Martinbrough
Publisher: Vertigo
Tokyo Days, Bangkok Nights features two stories in one graphic novel.  They are both excellent stories, yet are both different in subject matter.  What ties them together is that the main characters are Americans who travel to Asia and get into trouble.  I’ll start with Tokyo Days first.  It’s about a guy named Steve who is obsessed with technology and decides to travel to Japan to buy the coolest gadgets he can find.  Along the way, trouble finds him; gangsters, the police, flamboyant rock star, and a jailbait school girl.  The artwork is very bright and colourful and it makes the story line seem like everything is fun and exciting.  It is a story that is meant to entertain rather then instil a serious message about the world.  Despite all the dangers Steve gets into, it made me want to travel to Tokyo and have the same adventure.
Bangkok Nights does a 180 degree turn on the first story by having a more serious and problematic storyline.  This time the main characters are two Americans (Tuesday and Marz) who travel to Bangkok and they’re the ones who initiate trouble.  Tuesday optimistically believes she can help change a world that is filled with vice and crime.  Unfortunately in the end, she find out that outside of the West, changing the world is greater than what one person is capable of.  The message from this story for me applies to many other places in the world; in order to help change problematic places, more than just rights and values are needed, but a viable alternative to live a decent life must exist first.  Without it, people will do whatever it takes to survive.  I highly recommend reading this graphic novel.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nike SB Skunks

An argument that I have heard for many years now is that Nike SB has fallen from grace.  Supposedly the sneakers lack creativity and are over exposed.  While I somewhat agree that the line is now over exposed, I strongly disagree that they lack creativity.  I believe the line is just as creative now as it was when it first started.  In fact I find the most creative have come from recent releases in blue and gold boxes.  The best example of this is the Nike SB Skunks.
The first time I saw pictures of these online my mind was blown.  First off, because of the subject matter, i.e. marijuana.  I’m not going to delve into a discussion of whether or not Nike should be marketing products that condone drug use, but I will say that I’m glad they weren’t afraid to release such a controversial shoe.  It gives Nike some street cred in my opinion, something that it failed previously by not releasing the Freddy’s or Heaven’s Gate (inspired by the Windrunner’s).  This is what I like about the SB line, that it allows Nike to release sneakers in limited numbers without having to take a hit in case they don’t sell well.  Not fearing poor sales numbers, they can be as creative and daring as they want with their releases.
The Skunks were created by Todd Bratrud, an artist who has worked with Nike SB before on such releases as the Send Help’s, Brain Wreck’s, Cigar’s, and Cheech and Chong’s (among others).  I am a huge fan of his work, and I especially love the illustration he did on the insole (a skunk that is wasted).  The sneaker uses suede, and has been treated so that the suede seems beat-up to create an effect of a dried cannabis flower (trichome, i.e. hairs).  All this detail into this sneaker really takes it to a whole new level for sneaker design.
Other features worth mentioning about the Skunks are the hidden pockets in the inside of the tongue (which I assume are for holding your change? lol), and the colour combinations.  The placement of colours really exemplifies Todd’s artistic eye for colour placements.  It’s one of the reasons why I can look at this sneaker for hours and still be blown away with how awesome it looks.  I’m definitely happy that I own this sneaker, and I hope to see more releases from Todd in the future.
Nike SB:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Disappearance Diary

Title: Disappearance Diary
Writer: Hideo Azuma
Art Work: Hideo Azuma
Publisher: Ponent Mon
I wasn’t too excited about reading this manga when I first picked it up.  The drawings were very basic, and almost childish.  But then I started reading it and I soon developed a different opinion of the book.  It wasn’t a book for children, but a book about dealing with depression.  As the back cover says’ it is a book that takes a positive outlook on life.  This is why the artist, Hideo Azuma decided to draw in this cartoonish style.  He wanted to tell his story (the years he spent dealing with depression), in a way that wouldn’t scare away potential readers.
I find that when we focus on the bad things in life, we can potentially ruin our future.  Thinking about those bad experiences can prevent us from going out into the world and trying to grow as persons.  For Azuma, Disappearance Diary must have been a liberating experience.  To let go of the past, and also tell it in a way that isn’t as harmful.  Once you are fully entrenched in the book, you will soon love his artwork as well.  It just seems to express his emotions and experiences clearly.  The book is divided into three parts, each representing different years in his life, from living on the streets to being locked up in an alcoholic ward.  My favourite part though, would have to be the first part called ‘walking at night’.  Just based on this first part, I highly recommend this book.

Friday, April 13, 2012


If there is one toy series from the 80’s that I think really lacks the nostalgia fan base appreciation today, it is the Kenner toy line of Super Powers Collection.  This to me was one of those ultimate toys that every kid had to have.  They came in these really bright colors that made them very eye catching.  I guess you can say that’s where my infatuation with something as simple as colors on toys or sneakers first developed.  Another benefit to the toy line was that they were very affordable.  I don’t remember the prices, but I do remember my parents buying me a ton of these figures.
The figure that I loved the most from the series was the Superman version. Unfortunately just like this Kenner toy line, Superman has had a very underappreciated following.  I guess it’s because DC has been investing more in their Batman series, with toys and movies.  Speaking of movies, the last great Superman film was back in 1987 with Superman IV.  I am hopeful that the new Superman movie (Man of Steel) will bring back the popularity of Superman.  Plus it will feature Amy Adams, as Lois Lane.
For now though, I am delighted that at a recent toy convention I was able to pick-up a Superman figure.  This toy really brings me back to when I was a little kid and I would play with him for hours (now I just stare at him for hours, lol).  Other figures I owned were the Green Lantern, Aquaman (yuck), Martian Manhunter, and the Flash.  I have been very hesitant to buy this toy again because I knew that as soon as I bought one, I would want to buy more and more.  But honestly, I’m glad that I picked him up (for $2.50) and now plan on collecting more figures.
Super Powers Wiki:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rant: Blogger Headache

I've been having issues with uploading posts on Blogger for many months now.  There's either a problem with how the pictures are showing up, where they're located, the size can be wrong, or even the font I use is off.  These issues have caused me to hate blogger, because it's not simple to use.  Writing a post, or uploading pictures is hard enough, but I hate dealing with upload glitches.  While I enjoy being able to express my opinion online, I have since neglected using blogger because of the glitches, and have instead focused on youtube videos.  So this is just a little update for anyone that likes my blog, and is wondering why I don't put much attention to it anymore.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

He-Con and the 80s Toy Expo

I finally made it out to another toy expo after a few years absent.  This year’s expo was called He-Con and was part of the Canadian 80’s Toy Expo.  I usually am unable to go to one because they are either too far away or I am busy doing other things.  This year though, the Expo was held close to where I live and while I was also busy, I still made time to go.  This Expo happened on Sunday, April 1st, 2012 and was held at the Sheraton Parkway hotel.
Unfortunately I arrived a few hours late, and I had to go through the whole place in a hurry.  I brought my camera as well because I wanted to film my excursion.  The link to the video is below in case you would like to see it.  I wanted to make it seem (the video) like anyone that hasn’t been to a show, would get a pretty good impression on what it’s like to go to one.  I didn’t do a lot of editing because my battery was dying as well, so what I showed was basically what I filmed.  If not for the battery I would have shown more toys, and cool things.
Some of the highlights of this Expo were that I was able to buy a Superman toy from the mid 80’s that I used to own.  I saw some really great art work from Matt Moylan, who does lil’ formers.  I was also able to meet a lot of friendly toy dealers and convention followers and have great conversations with them.  So F.Y.I., in case you can’t find any friends to go with for the next convention, going by yourself is still guaranteed a good time.
He-Con and the 80s Toy Expo: