Sunday, May 31, 2009

(NOT)LIVE FROM VINTAGE SPACE TOAST TOUR PASADENA: Uncut, uncensored and ungood videos from the cradle of roboplastic animation civilization-CONCLUSION

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HELLO FANS OF OLD HISTORICAL TOY ROBOTS BUILDINGS FANS! We last left our hero outside of the automotive mechanic garage that 25 years ago was Wally Burr's southernmost recording studio on North Hollywood Way in Burbank, California. That building was where animation voice acting greats like Peter Cullen, Frank Welker and others recorded their lines for the original Transformers cartoon back in the mid 80s. In this video I walked a little down the street to stand in front of and talk about the other studio where those same voice actors worked under the direction of Wally Burr. The building that used to be Wally Burr North is the least changed of the two and still looks very much as it did when it was being used to record cartoon robot history. As a toy robots archeologist it was absolutely thrilling to stand in front of these places live and in person and get some pictures. Again I want to thank Rik Bakke and his Cybertron Chronicle for making all this information available in the first place and allowing me to have a really fun time during my stay in Pasadena during my Botcon vacation. Truly these still standing edifices are as close to Transformers cartoon Bethlehem as I'm ever going to have the honor of pilgrimaging to.

NOW I EAT THESE HALLOWED HAMBURGERS...A CONQUEROR!

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While I couldn't exactly barge into the buildings where the Transformers voice actors used to work, I could follow in Rik Bakke's footsteps and eat where the G1 voice actor guys used to eat when they went to lunch. Here I am calling the Queen of Macrocrania and telling her how excited I am about getting ready to eat at the Sizzler across the street from Wally Burr North. I did this Saturday night while most of the other Botcon pre-registered attendees were having a party at Universal Studios. (I registered at the "Protoform" level which meant I couldn't get tickets to that party.) I did meet up with a couple of other Protoformers Thursday night who were looking for something to do Saturday night but I was so sure that nobody else in the world would find going to see these old buildings interesting that I never brought up what I planned to do. And then instead of searching out those other people when Botcon closed Saturday I just left by myself to go see the Wally Burr buildings and eat at that Sizzler. Now I wonder-was that a assholeish thing to do? While it was one of the highlights of my trip I think even die hard Botcon people may have just found standing in front of Sparky's Auto repair boring or stupid. I'm sure the others found something more interesting to do Saturday night and me not being there with them was no big roboplastic apocalypse. I'm still kind of wondering if maybe they would have liked to come with me, though. THE LOBSTER WAS REALLY THAT GOOD!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Robboplastic Flikrpocalypse updated

I just put up a quick and dirty set of pictures featuring me standing in front of stuff here at Botcon 2009. No time to write captions for them all but maybe one or two are pretty cool. Gotta go now-the hotel is closing the computer room!

LIVE FROM VINTAGE SPACE TOAST TOUR PASADENA: Uncut, uncensored (and ungood) videos from the cradle of roboplastic animation civilization-part 2

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Here we have me rambling incoherently in front of what used to be one of Wally Burr's two studios on Hollywood Way in Burbank, the one referred to by Rik as Wally Burr South. It is very weird to think that the voice tracks from one of the most significant cartoons in pop culture history were recorded in this humble little place (and not some high-tech, top-secret GI Joe mansion fortress complex located deep inside Area 51 where all the employees are highly trained millionaires even the janitor like I imagined when I was a kid).

LIVE FROM VINTAGE SPACE TOAST TOUR PASADENA: Uncut, uncensored (and ungood) videos from the cradle of roboplastic animation civilization-part 1

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Thanks to the trailblazing (or should I say trailbreaking?) example set by Rik Bakke I was able to make the most of my Botcon vacation and hit up some places here in Pasadena rich in roboplastic history. Over the last few days I've been using his website as a guide so I could see for myself a couple of the buildings Rik visited during his 2002 visit to Southern California. I've taken some video of each place and to start off here's me blabbing in front of the old Marvel animation pre/post production warehouse where the old 80s Transformer cartoon was made.* When you watch these videos two things will become apparent: a) the exterior of this building has changed much even in the few years since Rik was here with Paul Davids and b) I should not be doing videos.

*In the last few days former G1 Transformers cartoon story editor Bryce Malek has YouTubed a video of the Marvel Productions offices where he worked and it is a very different building. The building in his video is differs greatly in appearance from the one I visited so the cartoon may have been worked on in several different locations. Since Bryce will be at Botcon tomorrow I may have the opportunity to ask him about this in person. STAY TUNED FANS OF OLD TOY ROBOTS BUILDINGS FANS!

Friday, May 29, 2009

LIVE FROM VINTAGE SPACE TOAST TOUR PASADENA: Get Stanned!

Whenever I pay the extra money to pre-register for Botcon I'm always a little apprehensive, wondering if the pre-reg exclusive events on Friday will be worth it. I could always save $100 bucks by only going during the general admission days, but this year I got to see and do stuff that made it all worth every last penny. Pre-registering was definitely a good choice because today there were really great guest panels with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (who co-wrote the Michael Bay Transformers movies), much of the men and women behind the Transformers: Animated cartoon and of course, Stan Bush. The panels were great, the dealer room was great and hanging out with friends was great, but the highlight of the day for me was when Stan signed my robot-shaped vinyl record single of his legendary song "The Touch". And having this memory is priceless. Yeah I could've saved that hundred bucks but I've learned that at Botcon, sometimes hundred bucks saves you!

LIVE FROM VINTAGE SPACE TOAST TOUR PASADENA: Wednesday was 1983, yesterday was 1985, today is Botcon 2009



Holy crap I am three days into Vintage Space Toast Tour Pasadena and since Tuesday I spent 23 1/2 hours at the Pasadena main library looking for old toy robots newspaper ads. Pasadena was the perfect storm of microfilm, with both the local Pasadena paper and the Los Angeles Times going well back to the Toy Robots Wars of the 1980s. And I thought I was in heaven not only because the library was open 12 hours a day so I could stay till I passed out, but the Los Angeles Times microfilms were the complete uncut "Record Editions", unlike the LA Times microfilms I've found in other libraries (like El Paso and Tucson) which are the LA Times "Library Editions". Unfortunately I found that in 1987 LA stopped archiving their newspapers' ads and store circulars on microfilm so I sort of hit a wall. But it was enough.
I found some good stuff like more Zoids giant Zrk ads and even another Diakron Car Robots ad from 1983. And of course, lots and lots of Transfromers. Right now I don't know when I'll get that stuff up at the Vintage Space Toaster Palace but I found enough here to keep me busy for months and months. Speaking of Transfromers, now it's time to put the microfilm away and get on with Botcon 2009. Because after six months of being a stay at home dad and watching Barney all day, there's nothing like getting away to do adult stuff like going to a toy robots convention.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Goodbye, land of ads and snow



After three years of living here I'll be leaving Rapid City, South Dakota soon. It may not have been toy robot convention central but Rapid City had it where it counted-the library was awesome for old toy robots ad looking. Every city has its own unique strengths when it comes to their library's microfilm archive of old newspapers, and Rapid City had the most beautiful quality microfilm transfers of anywhere I've ever seen. The only downside was that it had the clunkiest, most broken down microfilm readers I've ever used. During the time I was here the zoom lenses on both machines completely broke and they were both stuck on mega zoom and one machine's display slowly degraded to the point that half of the screen was permanently blurry (I called that one R5-D4). I understand how Luke Skywalker felt in that scene where R2-D2 wouldn't play back the Princess Leia message. It's hard being the internet jedi super hero of old toy robots newspaper ads when you have to work with shitty droids.

MICROMASTER MICRO BASE ADS FROM THE MOST INCREDIBLE PLACES

(a better) K-Mart 11/26/89
I've noticed that there are people who never truly take advantage of living where they live. I know natives of Rapid that have never been to Mount Rushmore. Even worse, I know people living here who have never searched through the library microfilm archives for toy robots newspaper ads from 1987 through 1990. I didn't want to be one of those so recently I went back to the library for one last Rapid City gig on the Vintage Space Toast Tour. Another great thing about this place is Rapid City has Target, K-Mart and ShopKo ads going further back than anywhere else I've ever been. I was able to reshoot better pictures of Target and K-Mart ads I'd already found in other cities in nicer Rapid City quality. While Target and K-Mart were strong with Transformers ads from '84 to '87, from '88 to '90 their circulars usually just ran a single combo ad for a line-wide Transformers clearance. On the other hand, ShopKo didn't jump on the Transformers bandwagon until late in the 80s and they kept advertising individual assortments all the way until the end of the road in '90. So while Transformer ads did get increasingly rarer towards the end of the line, at least ShopKo was hanging in there and thanks to them I was able to add one new ad to the Transformers 1990 section of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace. I was so glad I got that one because there's never any guarantee that 1990 will have anything and I spend so much precious time looking that coming away empty handed would have been nothing short of a roboplastic apocalypse. I would have beaten R5-D4's ass.

ShopKo 12/18/88
ShopKo 11/04/89
ShopKo 12/05/90
REALLY RAPID RAPID REELING

I only spent six hours at the Rapid City library but I ended up finding a total of about two dozen new* ads for the Transformers 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990 sections of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace. A couple of those were for assortments that I've never found before like the Monster Pretenders from '89. I'm happy with what I came away with because I usually do not have time to search through the later years of the 80s during my short vacations to other cities. Speaking of which, I feel like it was good practice for the upcoming Vintage Space Toast Tour Pasadena where I'll probably spend six hours each in 1984 and 1985 and not get to visit the eras after 1986. I know I will leave Pasadena wishing I had a little more time because like South Dakotans who have never seen Mount Rushmore, Pasadenans disappoint me by not internetting their library microfilm archives of old toy robots newspaper ads. What could there possibly be to do in California that's funner than microfilm looking?!

IT WAS WOOLWORTH IT

Woolworth 11/26/89
It was kind of sad sitting down for the last time at the library here but it also reminded me of how much fun I had here. Although I started doing this ad collecting seriously in Tucson, Arizona almost ten years ago, it was here in Rapid City, South Dakota that the VSTP was born and really grew. When we first moved here I thought I wouldn't find much by way of old ads because there was no Toys R Us, Children's Palace or Lionel Playworld here in the 80s, but Rapid City ended up being one of the best sources of material because of what it did have. It had small retail chain stores and independent mom and pop retailers that ran some of the most memorable toy robots ads I've ever seen. In a short three years Rapid City and I robotted enough to last a lifetime. Now like Luke Skywalker leaving Tattoinee I leave Rapid for Miami where there will be warmer weather and hopefully more agreeable microfilm droids. DEATH STAR DO NOT BLOW UP MY LIBRARIES BEFORE I GET THERE!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

PRELUDE TO VINTAGE SPACE TOAST TOUR PASADENA (part 2): Unidentified Flying Robot Tyrannosaurus

As Botcon draws closer I'm wondering if my reasons for going are good ones. I usually skip every other year but this would be the first time I go two years in a row, which is strange because I'm not really as big a Transformer fan as all those other guys who have been to all the conventions and know all the robot names and have all the toys. So I feel a little out of place, but not as much as the other 51 weekends in the year where I'm surrounded by people who don't know what a Computron is. Still, to be going two years in a row makes me wonder why exactly I'm doing it. Is it for myself? Is it for my friends? Is it for my country? While other people just go on vacations for the sake of going on vacations, my robotardation turns even simple thoughts of taking a break into a Rambo poster.

EVEN SITH LORDS NEED TO GET AWAY SOMETIMES

I sometimes forget what makes toy robots conventions fun for me as I live my Darth Vader-like existence spending all my time in my meditation chamber and thinking about roboplasticos. As I was at the hobby store yesterday looking for parts to fix my crappy Star Wars kite that keeps breaking I was surrounded by hobby stuff and it stirred up some old feelings. It got me remembering how Botcon is more than just a toy show, it's my favorite break from my normal life of overseeing the construction of various Death Stars. Between being a single dad for 6 months while my wife was deployed and her return a week ago and my in-laws visiting and packing for the move and getting the house ready for inspections it has been pretty crazy lately. Sometimes I just wanna go where everybody knows what a Computron is and Botcon is one of mankind's great traditional gatherings of like-minded individuals united by some common ground, like an Iron Maiden concert or the Academy Awards or New Year's Rockin' Eve with Dick Clark. Botcon is what you do because of what you are when what you are is a fan of toy robots, like how Special Olympics is that thing you do if what you are is retarded.

IT IS HARDER TO NOT DO WHAT YOU LOVE THAN TO DO ANYTHING ELSE (OR NOTHING)

And now here in the eleventh hour as I get ready to attend the Botcon that I would usually not be going to, I am reminded of another roboplastic tradition-that of making little plastic trinkets to take with me to the show. Resin casting projects are monumental consumptions of time and I saw no way it would be possible given all the stuff going on around here, but I was in that hobby store and I just couldn't see going to Botcon without doing something-making some little trinket at least for myself to commemorate the occasion. To not do so would be an unthinkable breaking of my personal Botcon tradition! It would be a disaster! A roboplastic apocalypse! So I came up with an easy to execute idea for a refrigerator magnet based on two of the voice actor guys that will be there-the Grimlock voice guy and the Cosmos voice guy. Since all I did was smush some existing toy parts together I went from initial concept to first casting in 24 hours. That's a record for me. Once it's painted I will have something for Grimlock voice guy and Cosmos voice guy to sign and my tradition will have continued. Unfortunately so survives another tradition-the one where I'm painting stuff in my hotel room at the show because I do all this crap at the last minute.

GREGG BERGER-HE IS MORE THAN JUST A SANDWICH

Armed with my unidentified flying robot Tyrannosaurus trinket I am ready to board my Shuttle Tydirium and get on with Vintage Space Toast Tour Pasadena. Like a time capsule, these little plastic projects I make have a way of capturing memories of the era during which they were created. So for years hence whenever I go to the refrigerator to make a sandwich I will remember clearly this crazy point in time filled with house inspections and visiting in-laws when I went to Botcon 2009 anyways to get Gregg Berger and Michael McConnohie to sign my refrigerator magnet. Because sometimes a guy just wants to get away to someplace cool where there's robots. I UNDERSTAND NOW WHY DARTH VADER WENT TO HOTH.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

PRELUDE TO VINTAGE SPACE TOAST TOUR PASADENA (part 1): The infectious enthusiasm of those who have eaten lunch with Ultra Magnus

Roboplastic ApocalyptiCon starts in a little over a week and boy am I excited about Vintage Space Toast Tour Pasadena. It is said that man cannot live on Botcon alone, so I'll be getting there a little early and vacationing for a bit in southern California. Of course there will be tons of library visiting and microfilms looking in the days leading up to the big show, but there is also more, much more to do! This area is the birthplace of Transformers animation because it's where the building that used to be the Marvel animation production warehouse (where the Transformers cartoon was produced) still stands. There's also the Wally Burr recording studios where the voice actors portraying robot Volkswagens uttered immortal lines like "Come in me, Spike!" oh so long ago. It's the cradle of Transformer cartoon civilization! And how do I know all this? It's because of a man I call a true roboplastic hero-Rik Bakke. (Also, Google Maps).

REACH FOR THE STARS, THEN GET THEM TO MAKE YOU A SANDWICH

Me & Rik @ Botcon '04
If I could award honorary Doctorates from the Kingdom of Macrocrania Roboplasticology Institute of Toy Robots Studies, Rik Bakke would be the first guy to get one. You see, there are those in the roboplastic community who use the power of the internet to enrich the lives of countless other toy robots archaeologists by relating fantastic tales of roboplasticity (and then there's me who uses eBay as a virtual wormhole to visit ancient K-Marts and shop for toy robots tents from 1985). Rik Bakke is one such helpful guy and his site the Cybertron Chronicle is a majestic fountain through which flows torrents of arcane Transformer knowledge while my site is more like a garden hose with an intermittent trickle of blurry Transformers underwear ads from 1986. Rik has done interviews with the creators of the G1 cartoon that have yet to be topped in any medium. You can go to Botcon where there are panels with these guys or buy Transformers DVDs to watch interviews with these guys and listen to their commentary tracks but you still won't get anywhere near the level of information and entertainment that Rik has managed from his questions and expertise. What's mind blowing is that he wasn't just interviewing old Transformers voice actors and writers before interviewing Transformers voice actors and writers was cool, he was going to their houses. When I see Michael McConnohie at Botcon 2009, I may get to ask one fleeting question as he signs my Tracks and Cosmos underwear, but I will never know what it is like to use his toilet.

CONSISTENCY IS VICTORY (AND ALSO KEY TO A GOOD BARBECUE SAUCE)

In late 2002 Rik took a vacation to southern California and toured these places rich in Transformers history. Not only that, but he did it with many people who worked on the old Transformers cartoon as tour guides! He even had lunch with the guy who did the voice of Ultra Magnus. Now I'm not really into the cartoon much but the enthusiasm with which Rik wrote about his adventures makes me want to visit those places. I want to see the buildings where roboplastic history was made and eat at the restaurants where the creators of the cartoon had lunch 25 years ago as they ironed out the finer points of their stories about alien robot Volkswagens from space and their transforming robot Tyrannosaurus cohorts. It would be absolutely fantastic to sit down with some of those robot-related people as Rik did but I don't think Ultra Magnus would want to have lunch with me anyways.



I WANT TO MORE THAN EATS THE PIE

I am really grateful to Rik for all the time he took to chronicle his adventures. So thorough is he that I could print out a couple pages from his site and use them as a map of the toy robots stars homes. Better yet, I could charge random roving Transformer enthusiasts on the street corner for a tour of roboplastically historical sites like the Marvel Productions office building and Ultra Magnus' house. Next week at this time I hope to be having dinner and looking through pictures of toy robots newspaper ads on my camera in the same restaurant where Paul Davids and the rest of the Transformers cartoon production staff did their brainstorming decades ago. Of course there is the possibility that I am wrong and Rik's site is just a Transformer themed viral marketing campaign for Sizzlers restaurants. There is also the possibility me crapping my pants in my signed Michael McConnohie underwear will cause some roboplastic apocalypse and California will nosedive into the ocean. I'LL TAKE MY CHANCES.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The department of lost ads found OR: ...and knowing is half the palace

a pretty butterfly
Today is a great day in the Kingdom of Macrocrania, but to understand why I have to take you all the way to the year 2000. I was living in Tucson, Arizona and it was that year I began raiding the microfilm archives of the Tucson main library for old toy robots ads. I didn't have a digital camera so if I wanted copies of ads I had to print them at 15 cents a pop on the library printer. It worked good at first and I would write on each printout the date, store and city the ad originally came from. This got expensive over time so I had to limit myself to only collecting toy robots ads instead of ads for every 80s era toyline as I would like to have done. I wouldn't have minded the cost but oftentimes the printouts were horrid and unreadable. Heck, some of those prints looked more like Rorschach tests than Robotech jets. There exist clearer pictures of the Loch Ness Monster.

SOME CALL IT INERTIA, I CALL IT LIVING LIFE 1024x768 AT A TIME

(also, bad cropping)
Eventually I got frustrated with paying so much for prints that were nowhere near the quality of the images on the monitor, so in 2001 I began renting a digital camera to take pictures of the ads straight off the microfilm reader screen. I remember thinking my rented digital camera that could save 1024x768 resolution pictures straight to a floppy disk was the greatest invention ever-the pinnacle of digital camera technology. Even today, almost ten years and 8 megapixels later I still take my library robot ads pictures at that resolution. In light of current cameralogical advances some might call that retarded. It doesn't matter to me though, because I like to think of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace as the toy robots internet equivalent of upskirt pictures. YOU AIN'T THERE FOR THE QUALITY.

THE TURKISH DEPRESSION IS LIKE THE SWINE FLU BUT WITH TERRIBLE DREAM EATING CAMELS

Then in 2003 we had to move to Turkey where there were no American libraries. It looked like the end of my hobby. As I packed I figured I'd have to give up my dream of building the Vintage Space Toaster Palace. Faced with this roboplastic apocalypse, in a fit of nerd rage I tossed my old stack of printouts in some packing box and forgot about it. I should have kept that stuff in a safe place. Three years later when we got back to the states I wanted to resurrect my website idea but then an awful realization hit. I found that while I had digital versions of many of those early printout ads, the paper printouts with the information I'd written in the margins about what store they came from were lost. I feared without that information the internet would never take seriously my archive of old toy robots newspaper ads. That was until I realized no sane person in the history of the universe would ever put "internet", "seriously" and "old toy robots newspaper ads" in the same thought together.


THE SEEDS OF THE PAST LIE BURIED IN MY GARAGE

It always bothered me that there existed a handful of ads at the Vintage Space Toaster Palace for which the source information was unknown. But it didn't bother me enough to dig through my garage to find that one deeply buried box with those printouts that hadn't seen the light of day since 2003. Tonight while digging through all my stuff in preparation for our upcoming move to Miami, I found it. I found the original stack of paper printouts that were the foundation of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace. These meant so much to me and not just because the internet would finally know it was Osco Drug store selling Optimus Prime for $19.99 in December 1985. These papers are memories of good times I had in the Tucson main library, bought 15 cents at a time. That's worth more to me than the clearest picture of the Loch Ness monster taking a Rorschach test while piloting a Robotech jet!

Friday, May 08, 2009

25 Years ago in Transfromers PART 6: HASBEENS-A toy robots convention panel transcript about second chances, marketing, and good ties with Bandai

This is the month that Hasbro broke the seventh seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse 25 years ago by unleashing their onslaught of transforming toy robot Volkswagen action figures and associated tie-in merchandise. Today in particular marks an extra special occasion as it is the date most agreed upon by toy robots archaeologists as the day the very first Transformer comic was released 25 years ago. So to celebrate the arrival of the GoBots' worst nightmare, a bunch of bloggers united, taking some time to write posts specifically about Hasbro's transforming toy robot Datsuns and police cars and Datsun police cars from 25 years ago.

HOLD ON IS THIS THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OR THE 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY?

Running the topic of toy robot dinosaurs and their transforming Volkswagen counterparts into the ground is somewhat of a specialty of mine, so I knew exactly what I wanted to do for this robobloggery memories collaboration.
Some of my fondest memories of this hobby have been born of the Transformers conventions I've attended. One convention in particular, Botcon 2004, was especially super retrorobo fantastic because of a panel that featured Bob Prupis and Alison Segebarth, two ex-Hasbro marketing executives who worked on the Transformers brand during the early days of the line. They had so many interesting things to say about the behind the scenes birth of the Transformers and the thinking that went into many major decisions when they created the line. Going in I knew it would be a fantastic panel so I took my microcassette recorder to the show and recorded it. But a panel recording not shared is about as useless as a microcassette recorder that can't record (unless it can turn into a robot).

MY EARS TRANSFORMED THE PHRASE "GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS" INTO "GOOD TIES WITH BANDAI" AND BACK!

So I tried transcribing the recording and I uploaded that transcription to Usenet to share with the internet, but honestly my transcription was awful! I did the best I could but the recording was really bad and I got a lot of key statements incorrect. I spelled people's names wrong and even left out a whole paragraph because I couldn't make out what was said. In retrospect, if I could go back I would never have uploaded that transcription. But the past is done and like a broken GoBot, it cannot be changed. All is not lost, though, and on this momentous day I want to make right a great wrong-I want to figuratively buy myself a shiny new GoBot the same as the broken, unchangeable one (although still just as sucky). Thanks to 2009 technology I can be a microcassette George Lucas and fix my transcription errors or at least make new errors I can live with. And so my fellow Macrocranians, on this momentous day of uniting robobloggers I replace the existing crappy, incorrect version of the Botcon 2004 marketers panel transcript I did and I present to you my new definitive, crappy, incorrect version of the Botcon 2004 marketers panel. As a bonus I sprinkled in topically relevant ads from the Vintage Space Toaster Palace and I've included an MP3 version of the recording that will melt your brain and fry your ears as you read along because I'm dumb about internet audio engineering. Hey I never said the Roboplastic Apocalypse was going to be painless.



Bob Prupis:
[Bob started off with something like "We're all here today to..."]

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Deep down we are more like than unlike Stephen Hassenfeld OR: I am not proud of the things I did with that robot Triceratops, but I am not alone

Just as there are Steves and Stephens in english, there are Estevans and Estebans in Spanish. I like to think that my given name Esteban translates into English as Stephen so I have something in common with Stephen Hassenfeld, Hasbro's CEO in 1984. (Either that or I have to find a guy named Steben.) Hassenfeld was a true roboplastic hero and someone to look up to because he wasn't a crazy idiot like that ShamWow guy. My favorite Stephen Hassenfeld story was how he did an interview for People magazine in 1984 and the photographer had him get down on the floor and pose like he was playing with a bunch of Transformers1. Afterward he said he felt like he was "transformed from CEO to clown"2. Thus Stephen Hassenfeld goes down in roboplastic history as the first self-diagnosed case of Roboplasti-tardation, which is the horrible feeling of shame and regret a grown man has because of toy robots.



IT IS PARTIALLY MY FAULT THEY CALL IT GEOSHITTIES (OKAY MOSTLY MY FAULT)

I was recently confronted with my own history of embarrassing things I've done because of toy robot triceratopses. This week I learned Yahoo announced it is going to be killing off geocities, which is where I first started doing excruciatingly horrible, terribly embarrassing toy robots webpages. Back in 2000 I didn't know that GeoCities was supposed to be for meeting future girlfriends. While some were using it as the even-more-horrible-than-MySpace MySpace of the 90s, others were using it to create awesome tributes to transforming toy cars of the 80s. I can see why Yahoo decided it needed to be destroyed.

I WOULD LIKE TO FORGET MUCH OF WHAT I DID IN MY TWENTIES BUT UNFORTUNATELY YAHOO CAN'T ERASE MY BRAIN

I applaud Yahoo's efforts in trying to cure roboplasti-tardation by aborting Geocities, the SkyNet of the Roboplastic Apocalypse. But it's too late because I've spent all my free time over the last few nights moving everything I had at GeoCities over to pleasesavemerobots.com/scrambledcity. I got a good hard look at all those files and it brought back a lot of memories. When I look back on that time now it makes me cringe because of how nerdy I was, making giant spaceships out of cardboard and sculpting a statue of Megatron. God what an idiot! But some of that stuff I did like the mini guide to the Mystery of Convoy Famicom game is actually pretty cool. I ended up taking the good with the bad and just rolling with it even if I feel like toy robots transformed me from a man to a clown (with basic HTML skills). Stephen Hassenfeld I feel your pain.

1Deck the Halls with Squads of Robots: Hasbro Takes on Tonka in the Toy Wars of 1984. (1984, December 3). People Weekly

2Tough Game: Hasbro Bradley Scores With Its 'Terror' Toys, Adroit Licensing Plans. (1984, December 13). Wall Street Journal
 

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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.