Friday, December 29, 2006


There's a line in an old Helloween song that goes "You better believe all the troubles you have will pay you someday." That sums up the last eighteen years of my life as a persecuted Iron Maiden fan. Man I have taken so much shit growing up from all directions for staying true to the Iron Maiden lifestyle. Even the childhood friend who first got me into Iron Maiden back in '87 called me a poser for liking it. Then after he broke me in to the world of Powerslaves and hookers from the East End, the mainstream Maiden fire kind of cooled down and even once friendly record store employees gave me crap for not adapting to the new cool trends in metal and hard rock, most of which involved the incorporation of flannel shirts and/or rap music. I even stayed with Maiden after I heard the Pope declared them satanic and banned them from the Catholic "must listen" music list.

From day one of my fandom when clear cassette tapes were all the rage through the late eighties when CDs were sold in longboxes and through the nineties as I was using record magazines to order Maiden through the mail, I kept the Maiden fire alive. I faithfully collected every Maiden album and single on some format, mostly CD. I wore the shirts as a teenager and I bought Maiden guitar tab books in Korea and I was downloading tabs I didn't have from the OLGA and all the guitar related adventures that being a fan of this band entails. I stayed with them through the multiple lineup changes and I even supported them when they released that god awful video for Holy Smoke that MTV refused to play on the grounds that it was too amateurish. Still I stayed pointlessly and moronically true to the band and to this day I still buy their crap and follow their side projects, all mostly in secret now because I can't really justify telling anyone about what I'm into. It's just not that interesting to others. As a good cover in awkward social situations I do have knowledge of what the kids are into nowadays, namely Rob Thomas Band and James Blut.

So guess what has happened down here in the last place on earth I would ever expect to find another Maiden fan? Two of my coworkers have got bitten HARD by the Maiden bug. These guys are admittedly new to the scene but they are totally batshit crazy about this band. What a bizarre turn of events. How is it possible that they've lived their whole lives and only now at this precise moment they pick this band to devote their souls to? It's mind blowing. I hope that their Maiden fire burns strong and I've tried to supply them with as much material as I could, as have other people down here who are only casually aware of the band. The birth of a new Maiden fan is always a beautiful thing, and in this instance I'm witness to twins. It's possible of course that being in Antarctica for six months takes a toll on one's sanity and this is just a passing fad in the lives of people living here right now. I also believe this situation is proof of my theory that all existence is a physical manifestation of a dream I am having and I'm actually ten years old right now and in a coma. There can be no other explanation for the Maiden mania that is currently consuming the space station.

Finding three people into the same band in one place is usually not that big of a deal. But when those people are in Antarctica and that band is Iron Maiden, you MUST believe that Steve Harris is a prophet and his songs are prophecies of future happenings in the affairs of mankind. Repeat with me now and know that it is true-"Oh well, wherever, wherever you are, Iron Maiden's gonna get you, no matter how far." You want to know how intense it is down here? My two friends went to Christmas dinner dressed in Iron Maiden shirts they bought using internet. Usually the single guys use Christmas dinner at McMurdo to impress the ladies with their finest clothes in the hopes of getting laid. But so strong is Eddie's grip on my friends that they overcame the natural urge to find mating partners in favor of impressing everyone with their scary shirts, effectively ensuring that no females would find them attractive and eliminating their genes from the pool.

Seeing two freshly minted rivetheads has had an affect on me, too. I've found their enthusiasm contagious and it has rekindled the wanting to outwardly express my fandom as well. But instead of wearing shirts or sleeping with Iron Maiden bedsheets as they do, I did what I've done since 1988 and drew a picture of Eddie. But this Eddie is a morphing of the Maiden mascot and the world famous Ivan the Terrabus. Ivan is a six wheel drive, 33 ton, 48 foot long offroad bus with 66 inch tires that takes me and other people to work out on the airfields here at McMurdo. Ivan embodies the Antarctic experience for many of the people who live down here as is evidenced by all the pictures people take of him when they come down. I put my drawing on the shared drive so that all of McMurdo has access to it from thier compruters. Now wherever I go, people are giving me secret nods and winks and calling me sir and telling me they can neither confirm nor deny the existence of said picture.

I am Jack's smirking revenge on the Pope and MTV.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Penguins Postscarred

GETTING OFF the nightshift and not going immediately to sleep results in me trying to figure out if my sunglasses or my headphones are the ones that connect to the iPod. So I figured it would be a good time to do computering and postcard writing. Holy crap I just spent 30 seconds wondering why spelling it "postcrad" looked wrong but "postrcad" looked right.

I guarentee if you dig deep enough into the blog of someone currently living on the ice, you'll find a post where they offer to send you a postcard. Why is it that bloggers from Antractica think normal people want their stationary? If maybe this was 10,000 years in the future and mankind has advanced space travel enough to make crappy hotels on the moon and I had a friend who went there and stayed at moon hotel and there are moon postcards-MAYBE THEN would I think a postcard from somewhere is worth having. But what is up with Antarcticans that think people want postcards from them? I postulate that the only people who want postcards from Antarctica are the people who are there writing them. NEWSFLASH ANTRACTICANS-Antarctica stationary is NOT that rare and sought after back in the states. Antacrcica correspondence does not equal the awesomeness that is MOON POSTCARDS.

Even worse than the Antarctican postcard fetishists are people from Antarctica who post their address on their blog so that you can send them stuff. This is dumb because at Atarctica airport you have to meet very stringent weight standards if you want to get out of here. If your bags are over the weight allowance you are (a) not going home or (b) going home without the fifty extra pounds of volcano rocks or penguin skulls or whatever it was you tried to sneak home in your garbage bags. Last year I was eleven pounds over because I was buying up all the postcards, trying to create an Antarctic postcard shortage. When I tried to leave here I felt terrible about it but that kind of shame apparently doesn't bother these blogger Antarcitans. If you see an address on the blog of anyone currently living in Antarcica, may I suggest that's what bowling balls and cinder blocks are for.

I've been meaning to point out examples of people who have done a good job lately of relating the Atarctican experience in the elegant medium that is web internet. Since I blow all my time on the harsh continent reading webcomics, playing with robots and drawing Iron Maiden fanart, I thought it might be cool to check out what normal people are doing here. But I forgot all teh links so you're screwed. Plus I updated Flickr Macrocrania with like 15 more pictures of me in a Christmastime situation or two around McMurdo space station. Also, pictures of penguns. It all starts at the bottom of page four and continues on through page five of the Antartica Summer '06-'07 set.

Speaking of talking rain gauges in Air Force, is up and running, which is cool I guess if you like webcomics about the topic of my true life weather observing experiences portrayed in a hard hitting, reality television documentary style using little plastic army men and Microsoft Paint. It's almost worth going just to read all the crap there that alienated my coworkers and caused awkward social situations in my workplace over the years. If you go there you are the 3rd unique visitor that is not my wife or the suicidal fan of Tranzor Z that stalks me from MySpace. But hey, fans are fans. Who am I to judge.

So in short, if you are in Antarctica nobody wants your postcards and nobody probably reads your blog anyways. Back home people have better things to do like going to Wal-Mart and buying offensive shirts to wear while they throw their Wiis at their televisions. But if you are me in Antarctica then everybody wants to see pictures of you standing next to Christmas trees and they want to read your webcomicbook. Here is my address:

Esteban aka Evil King Macrocranios, SOPP
McMurdo Space Station
PSC 469 Box 700
APO AP 96599-1035

Sunday, December 24, 2006

tHAT SPEcial Holiday Feeling

Friday, December 22, 2006


2002 was a weird time for me as an Iron Maiden fan. I had followed the band and Bruce's solo career throughout the 90's and the news that he was returning to the band was somewhat dissapointing. I liked Blaze and I liked Bruce's solo stuff and him rejoining Maiden seemed rather pointless to me. What new ground could they cover? Hadn't it all been done before? The live records like Live at Donnington and A Real Live/Dead one weren't all that great to me. I wasn't all that excited about Bruce returning and it seemed like a way to please the nostalgia fans to me.

So in 2002 Iron Maiden released Eddie's Archive, which was a box set with three double CDs. The first two were live material from the early years with Di'Anno through about the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son era. At the I wasn't interested in another nostalgia themed release and I passed on it. I still kept collecting their singles and new studio recordings but I swore off live albums and compilations. After getting the Run to the Hills live CD released in conjunction with Eddie's Archive, I figured Eddie's Archive was just more of the same live stuff I had 10,000 times over. I felt that none of their live material could ever be as good as the Live After Death and Maiden England CDs were to me. All the subsequent live recordings I felt were a waste of time. I decided I didn't need a 10,000th version of the song Iron Maiden live. But last week I figured I'd give this box a try and I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, it blew me away.

One of the double CD sets included in Eddie's Archive is Beast Over Hammersmith. I will wait for you to read about it at Wikipedia and then come back here for my thoughts on the awesomeness of this recording. What I intended to do here was a review of the whole box but what happened was I was so overwhelmed by the awesomeness of just the first disc of Beast Over Hammersmith that I decided to write about the tracks from that instead.

Beast Over Hammersmith was recorded live in March 1982 shortly after Bruce Dickinson joined the band but before Clive Burr left. So it's a snapshot of one of my favorite Maiden lineups at a time when the band had yet to make it huge and much of their now classic material was fresh and new. In other words, imagine if Jesus appeared tomorrow and told everybody he had a voice recording of the Gettysburg Address he wanted everyone to listen to. How incredible would that be? Well, listening to Beast Over Hammersmith is INCREDIBLER.

BOH is a great recording and because it's from the awkward period before most of the classic Bruce songs were written, the majority of the tracks are not usually associated with him. But this isn't just Bruce sings Di'Anno. Mixed in with material from the first two albums are songs from The Number of the Beast, which had yet to be released at the time. What a fantastic concert to have attended. What a great time in human history. Here's what I think about the tracks from disc one of Beast Over Hammersmith:

Murders in the Rue Morgue-What a treat to kick off with a live rendition of a song rarely ever on any official release. The only other Bruce version I remember of it live was as a B-side on 1985's Running Free Live single. I still remember the first time I heard that B-side. I was like, "Holy crap a live version of Murders in the Rue Morgue with Bruce!" Now I'm all, "Holy crap a live Clive Burr version of Murders in the Rue Mourge with Bruce!"

Wrathchild- In my heart this will always be a song best sung by Paul Di'Anno. Regardless, what I love about this version is that Bruce sings the lyrics so clearly. In fact for the last 20 years I had always thought the opening line was "Born unto a scene of avarice and greed...", but here Bruce clearly sings "Born unto a scene of angriness and greed..." So for the past twenty some odd years I have been singing it wrong!

Run to the Hills-Man Dickinson sings the chorus in a really odd way just about every time here but it's still awesome! To give you an idea of how magical a place in time this concert was, it takes place after Run to the Hills was released as a single but before The Number of the Beast came out. I love how they left in the monologues between the songs that Bruce delivers. What's ungodly cool is how at the end of this song he says "We've got a new album coming out on March the 22nd in a couple of days time." It's like if Jesus was lead singer in a band and at their first concert he grabs the mike and says, "From now on the world will be awesome," and then the world becomes awesome. Wow. It's crazy imagining a time in human history before Iron Maiden released Number of the Beast. What were we listening to back then? Did we just beat our ears with rocks? I don't remember.

Children of the Damned-At this point in the concert the audience is already familiar with most of the songs played with the exception of Children of the Damned, which is the first new unheard Maiden song whipped out live in this set so far. If I was in the audience I'd think, "Hold on-did he just say 'Peeling the skin from his eyes?'" Thematically, CotD still fit the Maiden mold of the time, being a song based on a story from movies, history or literature. Between Run to the Hills and this song, if I was a member of the audience I'd say the new album looked promising. So the audience is all like, "Okay, cool, we're getting pretty decent new Maiden songs with this new singer guy". But they hadn't heard anything yet.

The Number of the Beast-Then NotB is played and the world is changed forever. How friggin awesome and yet odd it must have been to be there when the Revelations 13:18 intro to NotB is read and not have anyone in the audience screaming along with it (as they do in every subsequent live recording). This would qualify as the earliest live recording of this song I have ever heard. This is truly history in the making. If I was in the audience after they played this song I would have passed out from the blood rushing to my weiner and my brain exploding at the awesomeness. Truly a key moment in the human experience.

Another Life-Has this song has ever appeared live on any official release, sung by either Di'Anno or Dickinson? Whoa! Another rare treat for me to enjoy, although I think it's one of those that sounds best when Paul sings it. I guess that's part of the fun of hearing live recordings from this era-in retrospect I wonder why Dickinson was singing these songs but I understand that from the perspective of a fan at the time there were certain expectations of the setlist.

Killers-The throat ripping way Bruce screams "Scream for mercy" has got to be heard to be believed. This is one of the rare occasions where I think he does a better job on a song originally sung by Di'Anno. Speaking of Killers, if you got "The Early Years" DVD and you saw that crazy awesome alternative lyrics version of Killers sung by Paul, the "BBC Archives" 2 CD set that's also included in Eddie's Archive has it!

22 Acacia Avenue-Fantastic version of this song where Bruce actually sings instead of screaming it as he does often on other versions.

Total Eclipse-Holy crap has there ever been a version of this song live released anywhere else officially? I know this same track also appeared on the Run to the Hills Live single in conjunction with Eddie's Archive, but that's it. I think since '98 Total Eclipse has appeared as part of every subsequent pressing of the NotB CD, but when I was a kid it was only available as a b-side on the NotB single. Disc one of Beast Over Hammersmith ends strong with this track, which is one of my favorites. Thank you Iron Maiden, thank you Eddie, and thank you, the boys.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Of Beings Moist and Famous

The one childhood celebrity I most admired as a kid was Kool-Aid Man. Wherever he went parties erupted. There was women and dancing and all sorts of hilarity bursting forth just because he showed up. I wanted to be like him. I wanted people to be happy to see me like all the kids were when he shouted "Oh Yeah!" Most of all I wanted the power to walk through walls. Maybe I was projecting a bit but I always sensed a hint of anger in Kool Aid Man, I guess you could say I saw right through him. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote that the mother of excess is not joy but joylessness. So I wondered, Kool Aid man, what joylessness are you hiding behind your excessive partying and wild fruity flavors?

When I was a young teenager I really had nothing in common with my 7th grade classmates but for some reason I still thought they were all reading comic books like I was. I just thought comics was what everybody did, even girls. I also thought everybody at school was obsessed with me but they just had funny ways of showing it, and those funny ways were by ignoring me completely or throwing rocks. I just figured that everyone who knew me was a big fan and they all wanted to be my friend although I had done nothing of note or interest and I was remarkably nerdy. This was all totally understandable from my point of view because at the age of 14 I was totally batshit crazy.

Then came the day in 1988 when I could not hide my celebrity any longer. I did something so great and so newsworthy that I expected the kids at school to no longer be able to hide their starstruckedness when I walked the halls. I became a published author in a periodical with a nationwide circulation of over 100,000 readers. In other words, I got my letter printed in the Transformers comic book issue #42. That was the geeky robot nerd equivalent of winning the lottery, the Nobel Peace Prize and starring in porn.

I was shocked upon reading that letters page for the first time. Not only was my letter printed, it was the first one in the column, and it got responded to by the editor. Many letters got printed without editorial response, but so well written and thought provoking was mine that the editor of the comic responded to it. Or maybe they just read it and thought I was smoking the most rare and exotic crack on the planet and my bizarre thoughts had to be shared with children everywhere. I did notice they rewrote a lot of it to make it sound more interesting and as a coping mechanism I tell myself that the nerdiest portions were embellished by the editors. Almost twenty years later reading the content of my letter makes me cringe with horror. What a total robot nerd I was! Because I like to share the most shameful and embarrassing moments from my life, here it is transcribed for you, gentle readers, in all its cringe inducing glory:

"Dear Misguided Autobot Lovers,
I just gotta write this: In issue #37 you made the Predacons look like a bunch of miswired clods. It just ain't fair. Stop making the awesome Decepticons look like a meeting of Wimps Anonymous. Sure, they're not the friendliest guys in the world, and Ratbat may be a jerk, but have some sympathy.

Another thing-are the Throttlebots gone forever? Their bodies don't look so good. I spent most of my allowance collecting them and then you go ahead and do this. Now I've got to find a car crusher that will smash such tiny cars!

Overall you people are doing a wonderful job. I wanna see Octane meet up with Ratbat. That should show the Ratster how to conserve fuel! Keep up the great work. Oh yeah, I loved the Headmasters!"

Oh god that was painful. I swear if you ask me today I will deny all knowledge of what a Ratbat, Octane, Throttlebot, or Headmaster is. So maybe it's for the best that none of the other kids at school read comics and maybe it's good that nobody I ever knew read that horrible horrible letter. But at the time I really wanted them to. I was so sure that the next day at school I would be swamped with people wanting me to sign their robot comics. I was sure I would be a seventh grade Kool Aid Man. Instead what happened was everyone was getting ready for spring break and one boy named Mickey brought a water gun to school. I was excited about my letter being printed and when I told Mickey outside at recess he sprayed me in the crotch with his water gun so it looked like I pissed myself. And as I lay alone and embarrassed, gazing up at the sky while laying flat on the ground during recess, I realized why Kool Aid Man was so pissed off all the time. Because being famous sucks.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Color My World FLATTENED

When people down here at McMurdo Space Station showed me thier pictures of little paper dolls in various locations around Antractica, I thought it was all part of some strange real life internet meme. I pretended I knew what was going on but inside I was screaming, "Why is everybody carrying little paper dolls around and taking pictures of them? GIVE ME THE URLs." Plus they were giving the dolls weird names like "Flat Stanley" and "Flat Chloe" and I couldn't figure out how this insane idea started or how it was spreading, but I figured, okay, I'll do something like this, too. All I had to do was make my own paper doll and then I'll take some pictures and I'll be cool like everybody else. So I printed up a drawing of Artoo Detoo and I cut it out and decided that I would call my paper doll "Flat Artie".

What I didn't know was that Flat Stanley is a legitimate project to promote literacy and writing among schoolchildren. It involves little paper dolls being mailed to various parts of the world. Ideally if I was doing it correctly, the doll would be hand drawn and mailed to me by some little kid and then somehow reading would happen. Who knows how it works. All I know was that I'm a total moron who made a little paper R2-D2 and I was taking pictures of it being held by a toy robot in various locations around McMurdo Space Station.

I think that by (a) making the doll myself and (b) making it a robot, I effectively (c) committed slanderous blasphemy to Flat Stanley and all the kids who pray to him for literacy skillz. I feel kind of dumb because instead of participating in the Flat Stanley project I ended up making a mockery of it and myself. I wish I never would have googled "Flat Stanley" because knowing what I know now totally deflates the feeling I had. The feeling that playing with paper robots meant I was all hip and cool and internet compatible. In reality it just meant I'm retarded.

Thank goodness I didn't share these pics with anyone here at space station. They don't understand me like you do, internets. You're not like the rest of the Antracticans. You know me and you think I'm cool.

What did you just whisper to me through my screen?

Oh, I love you too, internets.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Meta Macrocrania

The Antarctica Summer 06-07 set over at Flickr Macrocrania gets updated today with pictures I took when I climbed Observation Hill, which is right next to McMurdo Space Station. There are also nice shots of me goofing off at work and playing with toy robots in Antractica.

For everybody who has been wondering what's up with Wreckerd Special, I'm changing hosts because I've finally outgrown Geocities. (Yeah, I know-welcome to 1999.) There's growing pains, though. Until the DNS propogates I have to use the crappy IP address for the link and that takes forever. That's why it doesn't load fast but it's still the same lame comic about my observering days in Air Force. There are like four new strips, though. If you're waiting for that crap to load let me tell you now-suspense breeds dissapointment.

Speaking of dissapointment, this week's topics on PSMR will include my review of an old Iron Maiden CD boxset, the adventures of Flat Artie, and my rumblings on the time I got a letter printed in the Transformers comic book in 1988. All that plus the usual Toy Robot Ad from 20 Years Ago of the Week. So make sure to erase me from your bookmarks now.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Spring loaded for her pleasure

I think a lot about the first five years of my life from 1974-1979, mostly because I'm trying to piece together just what the heck was going on. For some reason I have a lot of memory gaps but I know I wasn't on crack or anything. Maybe that was just what being a kid is like. Regardless, '78-'80 was a mysterious and terrifying time before I was truly self aware and I remember very little of it otherwise I would have been paying a lot more attention to the toy robot scene. Oh, I remember why I can't recall events from that time period-that's when Star Wars came out. I was a total Star Wars zombie as a kid. That movie totally eclipsed any aspect of my life that was not eating or sleeping. Consequently I remember nothing of my normal earth life but I do have vivid memories of growing up on a Tatoinee moisture farm.

Amazingly not all kids were mind numbed Star Wars nerds like I was. I do remember that in kindergarten there was this one kid named Adrian who was not only self aware and sentient at five years old, but he had a taste for toys that were not just Star Wars. So blinded by tractor beams was I that I didn't know such toys existed. He always brought the new hotness in alternative toys to school with him. And by alternative I mean anything that wasn't in a movie with Darth Vader. I clearly remember him bringing the entire line of Battlestar Galactica spaceships to school one day. So fiercely brand loyal was I that I remember considering Battlestar Galactica stuff just cheap knockoff crap. To me they looked like an odd combination of design concepts from shows I considered crappy-namely Buck Rogers and Star Trek. Ironically, I recently read on internets that the designer of the Battlestar Galactica spaceships was the same guy who designed the Star Wars stuff.

Adrian had the Viper and Cylon Raider which were easily recognizeable from the show but he also had those two other weird ones. From internets I have found out that one was called the Scarab and the other oddly phallic one was suggestively named the Colonial Stellar Probe. Ouch! Why is it that the good guy ships from this line all look like Princess Leia dildos?

My mom was a big fan of the Cylons and her enthusiasm is my most vivd memory of watching the show when I was a little kid. Seeing her get excited about the Cylcons made me excited about them. Hell I was only five. So when the space battles started and the Cyclons were shown piloting their ships and killing scores of humans in their genocidal space rages, I erupted with glee all happy to see the big shiny chrome robot dudes with their odd horizontally pulsating red laser eyeballs. Later on when the Transformer cartoon came out, my mom would get excited about seeing Soundwave because when he talked he reminded her of the Cylons. She'd always say he had a "Cylon voice". I don't remember the Cylons talking, mostly because I don't remember any aliens pre-1980 that didn't hang out in a wretched hive of scum and villany.

Not surprisingly, the only ship I ever had from Battlestar Galactica was the Cylon Raider. My mom really loved those Cylons. I didn't have a TIE Fighter so I had to use the Cylon Raider as a sort of stand in during my space battles. I think Mattel took the Cylon vs humans idea a bit too far because kids were choking on the little spring loaded red bullets that the ships would shoot. My Raider had the partially firing bullets because I got it later on after they modified the mold the first time, but I do remember Adrian's had the early release child killing choke missiles. He was an early adopter of toy technologies so he had the cool, pre-recall deadly stuff that kids died playing with. Oddly enough I don't remember Adrian being in my classes the next year in first grade or any year thereafter.

I also can't remember ever having the pilot figure that appears in all of the pictures of the Raider I've seen online. Again, I don't remember much at all from 1979 because I only had a partially developed brain at the time and what little RAM I did have was dedicated to proton torpedoes and Death Star exhaust ports and crap like that. Heck, I don't think my brain is fully developed now.

The first two ads for the large Battlestar Galactica figures are from Mill's Drugs and they ran November 23 and 28 of 79. The manufacturer closeout ad is from a store called Kresge's and it ran December 21st of '79.

So here's to Adrian and my mom. Thanks you two for the little I do remember about Battlestar Galactica and the non George Lucas inspired events of 1978-1980. I don't regret being such a total tool for Star Wars as a kid. Looking back I guess it was probably the best way to lose my fan virginity. It could have been a lot worse.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I Like the Way You Bow

My dear Princess Allura,
You will no doubt have a hard time wrenching your royal panties from your mouth when you find out where I am now. Here in the deepest jungles of Antractica I am establishing a harem of ice wives who are more than willing to stroke my considerably large blue penis for hours on end. My succubi have christened my dong the South Pole because although many women have been there, you still feel special when you see it. You have repeatedly rejected me for that pencil dicked geek who leads Voltron force, but I want you to know that there is still time for you to allow me to ride your pink lion.


Prince Lotor

1 a.m. Antarctica time=$10 your time

Okay so everbody knows I love where they post links to the MySpace pages of people who have recently died. A lot of the causes of death are mind numbingly bizarre like suicide over losing their ipod or fantastic car accidents that would kill Superman or falling off a cliff reaching for the cell phone they just dropped.

But suicides-man those are the ones that really get me, especially if the notes are good. I would like to take a moment to reflect on the most brilliant suicide note I have ever read on MySpace. It was written by a guy who hung himself about a month later. Although his grasp of capitalization was weak, his usage of varying font sizes and quotes was fantastic. There is some really good stuff here-he's not your usual emo guy trying to sound deep on MySpace. My favorite part is "if you love some one, or have deep feelings for someone at this very moment. go to your kitchen. grab the sharpest knife you can find and stab yourself repeatedly." Fuckin' awesome! This guy could have been the next Trent Reznor. I would totally have read his webcomic if he had one. I'd buy shirts with "remember-no one can care about you exept for tony and no one else wants to".

And for my final bit of webcest I would like to wank a bit to the hottest woman I have ever seen on internets. She's also a dead MySpacer so I will never get the opportunity to hit that. But her being hard to get on account of she's dead just makes her all the more hot to me!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jimmy Sparks-Antarctic Badass

Just before I hit the ice I was in New Zealand for a few days looking for old robot cartoons to watch while I'm down here. There aren't any Suncoasts or Blockbusters down here (duh) but I wonder why. When you think about it, what reason is there to keep someone from opening any sort of major retail chain in Antractica? I know I could use a place to shop for old cartoon robot DVDs. The station store in McMurdo does have free DVD rentals but the selection's pretty slim when the station runs at full capacity. I know last season they had that first He-Man cartoon box set that wasn't a complete season but more of a greatest hits. They also had the Cowboy Bebop movie DVD. So they did pretty decent for me because I hadn't seen any of that stuff. Oh, and they have like 4 copies of every Star Wars movie on DVD, plus the all of The Prisoner tv show. That alone makes being down here survivable.

These wavy lines mean somebody pissed off Jimmy Sparks and now lots of cartoon people are going to die robot death.

So in New Zealand I picked up the region 4 DVD release of Gigantor, a black and white cartoon from a long time ago before I was born. I think it was originally a Japanese release from the late 50's and made its American debut in the early 60's. That was as much as I knew about it when I got it.

So I was watching it last week in my room and I was totally blown away. I couldn't believe how chock full of death and violence it was while still being a little kid's cartoon. It's awesome. It's centered around a twelve year old kid named Jimmy Sparks who packs heat, flies fighter jets and knows kung fu. That right there would hold my attention for hours but he's also got this remote control box that controls a 100 foot tall giant robot named Gigantor. Jimmy Sparks is just a total badass. There's one episode where he's in a car chase with the bad guys in close pursuit and he's not afraid to whip out his firearm and shoot at bad guys while he's DRIVING THE CAR, and I swear he shoots to kill. You are totally screwed if you're a fighter pilot and Jimmy Sparks hops in his jet to come get you because if his fighter jet skills don't kill you, he'll whip out the Gigantor remote control box and kill you with his giant flying robot WHILE HE FLIES HIS PLANE. Hot damn if I saw this cartoon when I was a kid I would have killed myself trying to do half the insanely cool crap Jimmy Sparks does.

This is the face of awesome in the year 2000.But as if all this isn't enough to connect with me on a primal level, the first two episodes take place in Antarctica! Holy crap who knew this was gonna happen? I randomly pick a giant robot cartoon from the 50's and the first two episodes happen in Antarctica where I'm watching it! Is it synchronicity or coincidental events that seem related? Whatever it is, I have concluded that I want to live my life like Jimmy Sparks. For the first step I'm going to take a picture of him to the hairstylist here and tell her, "Here, this is what I want to look like."

So the first episode is named "Struggle at the South Pole". It starts off in the future-the year 2000-with a bad guy named Dr. Katzmeow claiming he's the rightful owner of the South Pole and he's destroying Antarctic base camps of all the other countries by deploying troops from his secret base. The UN and interpol are asked to intervene but they might as well forget about it because someone just told Jimmy Sparks.

Now Jimmy Sparks might be a total badass but he's still twelve so he needs some things explained to him. Like who gives a crap about Antarctica anyways. For that we have scientist Doctor Bob Brilliant and super spy Dick Strong. Dick Strong is the greatest name ever. Bob explains that Antarctica is rich with valuable minerals like uranium, platinum and gold but screw that, the real strategic value of Antarctica is that earth is a giant magnet and it repels radiation at the poles, making Antarctica the ideal place to launch manned rockets to Jupiter! WTF? Who's writing this? I wish I was! Did I mention the killer robot penguins with rifles? It's fantastic!

The episode continues from there and the crew all go down to the ice. The bad guys show up and Jimmy uses Gigantor a couple times and kills lots of enemy troops. I won't spoil the details, but they don't totally blow their load right out the gate in episode 1. The Antarctic adventure continues in Episode 2-"Battle at the Bottom of the World". It's the greatest cartoon ever.

Jimmy Sparks kicking ass on the ice with his giant robot.

Riding the Winged Snow Horsey

I decided to keep throwing pictures of this season in Antarctica into the one folder at Flickr Macrocrania. Whenever there are updates to the Antarctica Summer '06-'07 set I'll post about it here. By the way, I added six new pictures of me at Pegasus blue ice runway to the set today.

Pegasus blue ice runway has a terribly incomplete entry in Wikipedia. Reading that makes it seem like Pegasus is a third rate generic loser airstrip we only use when there's no other choice. Like when people take their cousins to the dance, not realizing that genetic facial similarities will betray the deception. Pegasus is no incestuous prom date! Ice Runway and Williams Field wish they got all the hot C-17 tail Pegasus does. But they can't because Williams Field only accomodates aircraft with skis and Ice Rumway melts like a little bitch by mid December. Take that, Wikipedia!

I Love Your Twin Particle Beam Cannons

Powermaster Optimus Prime was the best birth control I could have ever asked for in 1988. I was 14 that year and in eighth grade and just about to get on with being an adult when PMOP hit the shelves. That toy is most responsible for me staying a toy robot nerd into my late teens. That toy was the best argument against growing up I had ever known.

My tenth grade english teacher said all men remember the first pair of boobs they've ever seen. I don't but I can still remember the day I saw Powermaster Optimus Prime for the first time on the shelves at the Toys R Us back home in El Paso. It was totally shocking. I didn't have internets as a kid so new waves of Transformers would totally blindside me, and this was the biggest shock of all. I couldn't believe they brought back Optimus Prime. Plus that airbrushed battle scene on the back of the box was stunning and it made him look awesome. But probably the craziest thing about this toy was the way the cab transformed, which was 180 degress different from the original Prime. It was amazing! The robot had a more cartoony look to it but the cab still remained rather realistic! Outstanding! Even at 14 I could always appreciate a good transform.

I treated my original '84 Prime like total crap and by early 1985 it was destroyed. I broke off one of the legs at the hip and I dissassembled the head on purpose to follow along with the comic where Shockwave beheaded him. The head went back on easy enough but the leg could not be reattached even with my advanced repair techniques which involved copious amounts of super glue and clay. It didn't matter because all his other joints were so loose and floppy that it could hardly stay in any mode. Oh, and I broke both smokestacks off. When the movie came along in '86 and he 'died' I found his death scene appropriate and complimentary to all the crap I had put my figure through.

So two years later he's back. What a great opportunity for a second chance. This time I would not molest my Optimus Prime. This time I would take care of him, I swore. I thanked the gods at Hasbro for giving me a shot at redemption. Unfortunately he retailed at the unattainable (to me) $30 price point. I so badly wanted that toy that I almost got a job, but when my birthday came I got the money and didn't have to. Kick ass!

So I got the new Prime and this time I kept the box and all the little accessories and treated it like gold. I had a cousin who was a couple years older than me and he was very gentle with toys unlike myself and I lent him PMOP. I was so dead set on taking care of it that I didn't even want to put the stickers on. He begged me to let him do it. Since he was better at applying stickers than I was I let him. I remember the phone call when he told me he had applied the stickers and it was a definite improvement. He even gave me a percentage number like 90% or some made up figure like that. We were both ecstatic toy robot nerds. The highlight of my infatuation with this toy was when I wrote a letter to the Transformers comic and they printed it in the same issue that they debuted the Powermaster Optimus Prime character. He was all over the cover in a furious all guns blazing fighting stance. Kick ass! I have like 8 copies of that issue.

Unfortunately the cartoon was pretty dead by then and Powermaster Optimus Prime never got animated beyond small spots in commercials for various TF toys that year and a commercial for issue 42 of the comic book, which used the same animations from the toy spots. However, in the mid nineties, UHF channel 44 XHIJ out of Juarez, Mexico played spanish dubs of the Japanese Transformer cartoons series Headmasters, Masterforce, and Victory. Masterforce was the Japanese cartoon that featured the PMOP toy but as it was released in Japan as a character that was not Prime. I didn't care, I just had a hard on for the toy and it was absolutely awesome that this cartoon featured it. Then in a mindblowing turn of events anotherr character came out in the cartoon that could combine with the PMOP toy. So thanks to spanish television I didn't get laid in the 90's, either.

In 1998 I got stationed in South Korea for a year and I took my PMOP with me. I lived on a small Army installation and met a drunk Army guy who loved PMOP just as much as I did. I also ordered a Godbomber from Tony Preto's Tempting Toys that year and I paid like $250 for it. Once the rereleased God Ginrai/PMOP in the early 2000's I was buying Godbombers off of YahooJapan for $50. Crazy! South Korea was also the mecca for PMOP bootlegs. They made versions of the cab that came with flat bed trailers and one even had a dump truck bed! I was in heaven. It's a miracle I ever met my wife.

I've got like a billion stories about this toy but let's get down to the ads. The "20% off entire stock of Transformers" ad is from Target and it was run November 27th of 1988. The "converts from trailer cab to robot in seconds" ad is from my favorite South Dakota hardware store, Motive Parts and Supply. It ran November 23rd of '88. The last ad, which speaks oh so true when it says "kids will play for hours with their Transformer friend" is a ShopKo ad from December 17th of 1988.

I have never loved any toy more than this one. I have almost never loved anything else in the world more than this toy. It marked for me the beginning of adulthood, which is when I started taking care of my crap instead of breaking it all. That more than anything defines maturity to me.

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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.