Thursday, January 31, 2008


A while back I was noticing how Transformer names sort of sounded like slang for street drugs. Well I was doing some research for an upcoming post I'm writing about Zoids and hot damn a lot of those Zoids sound like something you get from a stripper at a Beast Wars convention. So here's America's favorite game show-Zoid or Venereal Disease?!

ZoidVenereal Disease 
Pubic Crabs
Rainbow Jerk

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I've had the (lunch)time of my life OR: Words grown men use to talk about toy robots can be pretty scary sounding, also delicious

Very rarely in life am I in a situation to give expert advice. The only thing I was ever trained in professionally was weather observing, which means that using my finely honed skills I can tell with 99% accuracy if it is raining or not. Unfortunately this is an ability that comes standard in pretty much everybody born with a brain so my professional opinion is rarely ever needed. But the other day while reading the Toy Bender blog, I found myself in a position to offer other internetters some enlightenment on a topic I actually knew something about (that didn't involve water falling from the sky).

The Toy Bender was writing about a clear Optimus Prime bootleg he saw on eBay. When he tried to get some solid information on what exactly this version of Optimus was supposed to be a bootleg of, all he could find were references to a legendary figure called the "Lunchtime Special". But what did "Lunchtime Special" even mean? As the Toy Bender found out, googling the term doesn't help. So he put a call out to his readers in the hopes that someone would be able to explain it. I sat in my living room stunned, looking at my internet while eating my dinner. My wife asked what was wrong and I said, "Holy crap somebody wants to know something I know about!" And she looked at me and asked, "Rainbows?"

Maz, our friend Paul, and myself at Botcon 2006
Flashback with me to the Saturday night during Botcon 2006, when my friend Maz and I were hanging out at the dinner party . Maz is one of the most knowledgeable Transformers collectors in the world and a truly great human being, so I don't know why he was hanging out with me. We were having a good time and during our conversation he says something like, "Weren't you the guy who came up with 'Lunchtime Special'?" And I said, "No, Maz, I could have sworn that was you and Byron." (Byron was another friend of ours and also a tremendous wealth of TF knowledge.) All three of us hung out on a Yahoogroup called Autocon and although we weren't sure who exactly came up with "Lunchtime Special", we knew it came from the group. I kind of laughed it off and forgot about it until a couple nights ago when the Toy Bender brought it up. I only recently started reading Toy Bender so it was like overhearing a total stranger in a bar talking to himself about this "rain" stuff he'd heard of that he wished someone could explain. And in my head Lynn Minmay is singing, "Stage fright, go away, this is my big day! This is my time to be a Star!"

One of the original "Lunchtime Specials"
In order to explain where "Lunchtime Special" came from I have to take you six years into the past, all the way to the year 2002. Around October 5th of '02 an ebay auction popped up for an Optimus Prime cab with all of the non chrome parts cast in clear plastic. It looked like the ghost of Optimus Prime. It was only the cab and it was missing the trailer and a couple other accessories but it had Roller who was also clear. Unfortunately I can't find the pictures of that one on my hard drive, but other clear Primes popped up shortly thereafter. These ghost Primes had Maz, Byron, myself and the other guys on our Yahoogroup (and much of the online Transformer community) buzzing.

So we're on our group and wondering what the hell is this thing? About a year earlier some clear Starscreams showed up on eBay that were eventually explained as test shots for E-Hobby's Ghost Starscream toy. But we didn't know that then. All we knew was clear versions of Transformers were popping up and commanding ungodly sums on ebay without even being certified official releases.

Do it at lunch or don't bother doing it
One of our Yahoogroup members named Jeremy wrote that he thought clear Optimus was probably a “factory bootleg made by an employee on lunch break”. We were always kidding on the group and that was a funny idea so then I joked that this factory employee should be promoted to head of Takara’s special promotions department and his line of clear Transformers should be given a name. I suggested "Fortune Cookie Transformers" because you never knew what would show up in clear plastic next (lame, I know). Then Maz chimed in and suggested “lunchtime Transformers” because of Jeremy’s theory. Later on after clear black Starscreams and even Prowls and Jazzes popped up in clear plastic, Byron began calling them "Lunchtime Specials". Although it was a total joke and there was no proof whatsoever that factory employees were making these, the idea started spreading.

Now all these years later bootleggers are selling clear versions of Optimus Prime and getting people talking about "Lunchtime Specials" again. I'm not going to go into what I found out those original clear toys really were here on this blog, but I did post my thoughts over in my response to Toy Bender. I was somewhat cryptic there and I didn't reveal exact names or details because a lot of what I wrote in my comment regarding the true nature of the toys is conjecture and speculation. I didn't want to associate Maz or Byron or anyone else's good name with unproven theories. But here at PSMR I'm just stating the facts on where the name came from so nobody out there on the internet reads "Lunchtime Special" and feels like they've been left out in the rain.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Deal of the Week OR: You smoking pool?

Okay, there hasn't been a deal of the week in a while because I'm selfish and I was keeping them all to myself. But check this out-Lost and Found Toys has Binaltech Grimlock on clearance for $47.99. I know that it's difficult to believe $50 for a toy car is a good deal if you're not someone who's up on Japanese 1:24 scale transforming robot Mustang Tyrannosauruses, but sometimes I just ask that you trust me.

For you seekers of G1 Canadian lenticular stickers from 1985 ceral boxes, there's an ebay auction from that same guy I bought a set from going on right now. Starting bid on this auction is $29.99 and I got my set for $40 so maybe you'll be able to pull it off $10 cheaper than I if there's no competition. He's set the Buy-It-Now at $80. Again, you kind of have to take my word that somewhere between $30 and $80 is a deal on eight little square stickers from 20 year old cereal boxes, but this blog isn't called Please Save Me Common Sense.

Before I get flooded with no emails about what deals I've kept for myself, let me share with you my fellow citizens of Macrocrania these two comics I bought recently, along with a little background on why they're personal holy grails:

In late '86 just after the animated movie, Marvel decided to do a bi-monthly series of Transformers comics reprints in a digest size called "Transformers Comics Magazine". Transformers used to be so popular that this rehashing of old material in a smaller, difficult to read size continued for a year and a half. My sister was the one who caught on to this series and kept up with it through the seventh issue, probably because I was a total a-hole and didn't let her read my copies of the original comics from '84-'85. There were only ten in the TF:CM set and the last two issues are insanely difficult to find. Even at Botcon I was able to find all but the last two issues for no more than $3 a pop. But those last two eluded me for years.

When I did find them recently at Mile High Comics, they wanted $10.40 for #9 and $18.00 for #10. There was no way in hell I was paying that much. $30 for two itty bitty comics that originally retailed together for a total of $3 was a bit much, even for me. I've written earlier about how Mile High's president does crazy sales based on how near to death he is so I waited for one, although I was wondering what disease he'd have to get before he'd bring the price on those two down. I didn't want them to be AIDS cheap because I really like the guy, but I was hoping maybe his West Nile virus would flare up again briefly so I could see maybe a 30% discount. Well in December last year he not only had a 50% off sale, but he decided to give everybody on his mailing list a $10 off coupon. I was floored. At that price I guessed he must have contracted herpes, but no, it turned out he was just in the Christmas spirit. That meant after shipping & handling, my two Moby Dicks of toy robots comics would only cost me $11. I thought it was a dream or a mistake, but they came through on their word and the books arrived. I was stunned, but not as much as I am now that they've raised the prices on those two to $18 and $30 respectively. I love you Mile High Comics, but $48 is a Japanese Mustang Tyrannosaurus!

better to be transformered

It's not mine until I've broke it
until I've lost at least one missile
I can't say I've really owned it till
I put the stickers on crooked a little

Until my fingers smudge the chrome
and the plastic's lost its shine
and I lost the box and styrofoam
and I transformed it fifty times

Until the yellowed robot plastic
because of stress marks comes undone
Only then can I say I loved it
And, yeah I had that one

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Botcon or not, here I come

Last year I was watching Reading Rainbow on the couch with my son, who was only around 2 months old and really didn't give a crap. Regardless, I decided that much like his baby vaccinations where they inject small amounts of antibody generating molecules into his baby body, LeVar Burton should also be administered to my son at an early age. It is my hope that little doses of Reading Rainbow early on will generate a love of reading at some point, like a vaccination against being stupid. Of course it may all backfire and he'll end up building an immunity to LeVar Burton. This may prove useful in the future if ever he comes under fire from terrorists with guns that shoot LeVar Burton.

This information may be a little out of date
LeVar was talking about the migration patterns of monarch butterflies in that episode of Reading Rainbow. Monarchs from the Rocky Mountains fly thousands of miles south to Mexico for the winter but their lives are so short that the ones starting the trip aren't the ones that finish it. Scientists don't understand the mysterious mechanisms whereby the monarchs complete the journey over several generations. Also unknowable to conventional science is the incomprehensible instinct that initiates my journey to Botcon. What is the robomantric force compelling thousands to attend the annual gathering of roboplastical historians? Future studiers of the migration patterns of toy robots fans will be baffled by the seemingly random locations that get traveled to with needlenose precision in the name of plastic robot doll collecting. What primal urge inspires tens of hundreds of toy robots fans to travel hundreds of miles for non-mating purposes? It is what I have deemed the Botcon-stinct (not to be confused with Botcon-stink, which is equally powerful but more well understood).

I don't always go to Botcon but the feelings of depression, anxiety and craving when I don't are a bitch, proving that ignoring the Botcon-stinct ranks just slightly below meth withdrawal. I'm really just a casual fan of this stuff-a normal guy. I have noticed that I keep attending every other year though. Why? Beats me I don't know. It's probably some chemical imbalance in my brain. More likely it's a flaw in my DNA triggered by hidden codes that only I can see on the packages of toy robots I buy from Japan. Maybe the alien implant is malfunctioning and that's why I go to Botcon on even years. I have learned not to question Botcon-stinct.

This year Botcon's in Cincinnati and since I'm no longer a member of the toy robots intelligentsia club, I'd have to pay a minimum of $170 if I want to be allowed into all the events and panels and secret behind-the-scenes robot masturbation contests being held in the closets. Or I could just not register, go as a walk-in and pay $10 each day. Unfortunately walk-ins do not get to masturbate in the secret closets with the other Transfan illuminati. There is a third option whereby I exploit a loophole in the registration process and claim to be a family member of an already registered attendee so I can get all-areas access. However this would require that I'd have to lie at the registration desk and claim I am somebody's stepbrother from a wild fling his dad had in Mexico or something.

Not having the tiny details like how I'm getting in all worked out isn't a big deal. I have Botcon-proofed this vacation by engineering it so that I can have a good time even if I get kicked out of the robots show for impersonating Michael Bay or when whatever other scheme I invent to get in fails. I've figured out so far that I'll be staying at Wright-Patterson AFB, hopefully near to (if not inside) the legendary Hangar 18. Sometimes the lodging on base fills up and when you're not actually in Air Force they put you low on the waiting list so you have to be creative. I tell you, when you're active duty the Air Force treats you like royalty but as soon as you become a civilian dependent, it's sleeping with the aliens for you.

I should be there for a week, which gives me time to accomplish the real mission-VINTAGE SPACE TOAST TOUR CINCINNATI! If all goes well, every morning I'll be climbing out from under the pile of alien bodies that keep me warm to hit up the Cincinnati main library and spend countless hours in front of their nausea inducing microfilm machines. So instead of planning a vacation around Botcon, I am in essence making Botcon fit in with my Space Toast Tour '08 vacation. This then is not me surrendering mindlessly like a robot zombie to the Botcon-stinct, it is my triumphant mastery of it. I am the monarch butterfly who goes to Mexico not because it will be warm, but because I'm the friggin' monarch butterfly Indiana Jones and I'm going to fly all up in those Mayan temples looking for dead aliens and 20 year old robot newspaper ads.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I wonder if new people get to paint Mickey Mouse heads immediately or if they break you in with body parts of his bootleg cousin, Malokey Mouse did a gallery of Chinese toy factory workers. I find the above picture especially haunting because the parts being assembled look vaguely like the stuff I buy. I have a gut feeling that somewhere in the roboplastico assembly process there's a young Chinese factory worker scraping by on crappy wages so I can spend thousands of dollars making my shelves look ugly with toy robots. To be fair, it was never specifically stated that this picture was taken at a certain world famous toy robot manufacturer's plant and the items being assembled in most of the pictures aren't even recognizable as any famous character or mascot. However, those products in the 16th and 17th photos are definitely Mickey Mouse and Spongebob Squarepants.

Thankfully, I won't have Chinese factory workers on my conscience much longer. Takara is moving much of its production out of China and into Taiwan and Vietnam.

Also recommended reading for the citizens of Macrocrania is Hemmy's tour of a Japanese sex doll factory. Don't go if you don't want to see fake boobs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Please Talk to Me Robots

I was looking through some old blogs and personal websites and I kind of wish I had been around back then when these people were active. I wish I would have been able to interact with them because they were cool or funny or we had something in common. People like Alex Mobley whose "Adventures in Retail" had me laughing for hours. Now their old internet stomping grounds are long abandoned ghost towns and I'm left reading the electronically archived legacy of interesting internet phantoms. I wish I could find out what happened to these guys or if they kept on blogging or writing in a different place. It's weird because I feel like these people I never met decided to break up with me by not writing anymore.

Then there's a different kind of dissapointment where people who I wish would blog don't have a blog. Like this guy who wrote:

"Botcon is like everything that is wrong with Hasbro's "Repaint it and Rehash it" department, squeezed and distilled to its fundamental essence, then befouled with the self-congratulatory ejaculate of TF ebay scal...sellers and the tears of Seeker completionists. Botcon Exclusives are like a tincture of everything that's wrong with this hobby."

You don't have to know what a "Botcon" or a "seeker completionist" is to realize that this is friggin' poetry. I am so inspired I want to integrate "self-congratulatory ejaculate" into my daily conversation from now on. Does this guy have a blog? Nope. If he did, even if it wasn't about toy robots and no matter what it was about, I would read it. I wish the Kingdom of Macrocrania extended beyond my skull so I could impose mandatory blogging on people I find interesting.

It's probably best to be grateful for the "internet active" people right now who I like. If I did a quote-of-the-month type thing, this month's would be the 20 minutes of The Paunch Stevenson Show episode 93 beginning at the 93 minute mark. If you fast forward 93 minutes in, hosts Greg and Rob talk about Transformers LARPing, The Incredible Change-Bots, and the many different possible interpretations of the phrase "Please Save Me Robots". It's funny stuff and I'm not just saying that because they're talking about me. Later in the show, Greg and Rob also name Michael Bay their "Lame Idiot of 2007 Award" winner. It is as if we are kindred spirits, soulmates, Transformers with the same transform. Except that they don't like Iron Maiden so I guess it's more like our spirits are only more or less kindred, we're soulmates with only a few things in common and even if we transformed the same, I'm like the Transformer that got released a little later on in funny colors.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The loneliness of the thirtysomething gewunner

I met an awesome guy in an Iron Maiden shirt
A Wal-Mart electronics clerk dressed for a concert
In my hands a roboplastico for which I required price
The scanners were all down and I needed his advice
In the eighties stuff had price tags at the very least
I hated asking for help but I wanted the number of this beast

From the Maiden maniac's age I was sure he'd recognize
I had a twentieth anniversary old school Optimus Prime
Excuse me could you scan this? I hope it's not a chore
HOLY SHIT OPTIMUS PRIME! They don't make those anymore!
Away from this rivethead to the hills I wanted to run
But he was the only motherfucker with a scanner gun

As he scanned we got to talking and he turned out to be hardcore
Optimus rang up on clearance priced at $19.84
His knowledge of toy 'bots and metal was truly widespread
He knew Megatron and Megadeth, Motormaster and Motorhead
He talked of hard rock rarities and robots that turn to cars
He even played the Transformer song on a Gutiar Hero gutiar

"Do you remember eighty-five?" I said, "It's the year that I miss best."
and he pointed to his shirt and said, "Hey man, I never left!"
Talking about how it used to be had us lost somewhere in time
I guess the memories depressed me and I put back Optimus Prime
"Dude don't put it back!" He said, "It'll be a collector's item!"
I said, "No it's cool, after talking to you I'll let a collector buy him."

Our talking got me thinking 'bout when I was a child
It was a heavy metal carnival and the toy robot rides were wild
Livin' la vida robo in the heavy metal eighties
back then it was heaven but the 2000's are fuckin' Hades
Relentless reissues and reunions merely end up with me offended
Nostalgia is just a ticket to a concert long since ended

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I GOT ME some blu-ray pancakes / I'm gonna win the format war / With technology Michael Bay can bake / I'm a toilet paper rock star

I was thinking today about what would happen if the bloggers I read met each other and had babies and then their babies wrote blogs that were amalagms of the names of their parents' blogs. Okay well I wasn't really, but mashing up names of existing blogs I read gave me some incredible ideas for blog names. Incredibly stupid ideas. Here's the top five in order from worst to not as worst:

5) Rhymes with Idiot + Geektarded = Tarded Idiot Geek Rhymes
Okay this is extremely politically incorrect and I'm a total a-hole for thinking it. Actually most of my poems I write here at PSMR could qualify as Tarded Idiot Geek Rhymes, but believe it or not I don't blog every single dumb poem idea that comes into my head at breakfast.

4) Hot Box + Plastic Crack = Hot Plastic Box of Crack
There aren't enough toy blogs written by crack whores nowadays. Although I suspect a few of the blogs and webcomics I read are written by people under the influence of something, toy collecting blogs by legitimate narcotics abusers are extremely rare. I want to read somebody who knows what Kremzeek tastes like.

3) The Death Ray + Ramblings of an Asshole = Rambling Asshole Death Ray
Forget blog names, RADR is probably the best rock band name I've ever come up with. Actually, "Ramblings of an Asshole" is such a great blog name it would sound good mixed with just about anything, as I will now demonstrate.

2) Scary-Crayon + Ramblings of an Asshole = Scary Ramblings of an Asshole Crayon
I don't know what would make a crayon a) scary or b) angry enough to become a rambling asshole, but I do know I would read this blog. "Scary Asshole" would also be a good blog name but most blogs are already scary ramblings of an asshole so it would be somewhat redundant.

1) Ideas from my Dreams + Ramblings of an Asshole = Rambling Ideas from my Asshole

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Introducing the "F'n-A" toy grading service / obsessive compulsive hoarding disorder treatment program

When I'm not waging unending war with my energy analyzer against my accursed enemies the Dire Wraiths, I'm trying to figure out how to get rich quick. And what better way is there to do that than to take advantage of the fear and loathing in the hearts of grown men who buy toys. I was thinking about how toy robots collectors love showing their collections to their peers, but at the same time they hate buying stuff from each other. This is mostly because the buyer really has to trust that the seller is truthfully describing the condition of the item. If only there was a way to capitalize on both the distrust and the sense of fellowship that toy collectors feel amongst their colleagues. If only I could proclaim myself the final word-the authority-on varying degrees of decomposition exhibited by plastic Darth Vader heads. If only people would pay me to tell them that their totally bald Mr. T doll is in horribly shitty condition. I'd be rich!

But somebody beat me to it! Lately the new hotness in toy collecting is sending off little plastic people to get graded by the Action Figure Authorities. These guys will rate the condition of your super rare figures you got at Wal-Mart on a scale of 1-100 and then seal them in a plastic box and send them back to you. They charge anywhere from $18 to $350 for the service which might seem like a bit much, but holy hell an AFA graded figure pulls shitloads more money than the same figure not graded. It may seem weird, but some people won't spend $700 on a 1985 Snake-Eyes when they could spend $3,000 for an AFA graded one.

There is a feeling of prestige and pride in knowing your super rare Taco Bell exclusive transforming lawn gnome is AFA certified gem mint. But what about the rest of us with shitty toys in shitty shape? I already know my toys are crappy. I don't need to spend $20 for some guy to tell me my collection sucks. I just need some sort of justification for the bizarre collection of broken robots and their equally trashed boxes I keep that doesn't involve diagnosing me with obsessive compulsive hoarding disorder. If only there was a way!

There's a huge market out there that the AFA guys are totally overlooking-it's people who can't throw broken shit away. That's why I created "F'n-A" shitty toys grading service! Of course there are collectors with pristine robot Volkswagens in flawless boxes but I ain't running no toy robot museum here. Why doesn't anybody recognize the love it takes to store and preserve enormous collections of totally wretched, abused, crappy condition robots? THAT'S WHAT I SAY! And therein lies my authority. I've kept the same beat up Insecticon Bombshell with broken antenna, faded stickers, missing leg bits and thrashed ass box for the last 22 years! I've got a Jetfire that's so yellowed it looks like it's made out of fuckin' gold. That's obsessive compulsive insanity dedication and pride on a scale that anyone with an AFA 90 Megatron bottle of anal lube will never know!

It's an F'n-A 25!
Here's how it works. People email me a picture of their broken ass stuff or hell, just call me on the phone and describe it. This ain't rocket science here. I'll use a scale with ratings from "Almost shitty" and "Barely shitty" to "Fuckin' Shitty" condition. You might ask, what's the difference between "Barely shitty" and "Almost shitty"? WELL DON'T! THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE PAYING ME FOR! Everybody starts off with 100 points, then I take points away based on certain alogarmythical criterias depending on how much you paid me and how I'm feeling that day. At the end of this incredibly scientific process the amount of points you have left determines your toy's F'n-A grade:

76-100 Almost shitty
50-75 Barely shitty
21-50 Certainly shitty
12-20 Definitely shitty

Ideally people would only submit photos and descriptions of the brokenest roboplasticos on the planet. But I guess I could grade sealed boxes if they're sufficiently thrashed and the boxes look like hell. So far I have come up with two grades for sealed stuff:

MiB - Maybe it's Broken
MiSB - Mint in Shitty Box

Instead of sealing your stuff in an impenetrable plastic box like a time capsule testament to your psychopathic priorities, I'll send you a book of matches and some lighter fluid so you can set your stuff ablaze in a big bonfire by the beach like you should have done a long time ago. Then you can bask in the warm glow of burning cardboard and breathe in big lungfulls of melting plastic fumes-it is the feel and smell of freedom you can only know once you've killed your robots collection. Congratulations! Take pride in knowing you have banished the last vestiges of your consumption disorder like I banish those Dire Wraith bastards to limbo. F'n-A!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The childhood play patterns of future porn stars OR: I never got the chance to find out if playing with She-Ra figures would have made me gay

Nala at Plastic Crack argues that toy robots fans need to admit that they've been playing with Barbies all along-just because their Barbies turn into cars and planes and whatever doesn't change anything. He's right but I think that Barbies on some level teach about interacting with other people, or at least interacting with hot plastic girls who dress up like slutty princesses. What behaviors did the Transformers exhibit between each other that I could adopt in my own relationships? Mostly that conflict is best resolved with a Walther P-38, plus using disguises helps.

I don't remember any scene in any toy robot cartoon, comic book, video game or movie where one robot told the other one "I love you" or "I could really use a blow job right now". Did Bumblebee ever go back to the Ark all beat up and have even one other Autobot ask him how he was feeling? Nope. It was always, "Man you really got your ass kicked, Bumblebee! Now tell us where the Decepticons are so we can go kill those fuckers!" Transformers was mostly about beating up people littler than you and ganging up with your friends to make ass kicking convoys. Holy crap I guess I feel better now that I realize all of my emotional dysfunction is because of watching and reading too much homicidal robots. I should be happy I'm not a serial killer.

I was reading an interview with some porn star lady and she said that many women in the porn industry grew up playing with Barbies in a way unique to future porn stars. Where normal girls would stage pretend Barbie weddings, future porn star girls would stage pretend Barbie orgies. Barbie orgies! Hell by this criteria every little girl I knew in fourth grade went on to be a future porn star. If I'd have known this vital information I would have put up will all those bullshit tea parties with stuffed animals and imaginary friends. Shouldn't they have outgrown Barbies by the time they got to thinking about orgies anyway? I guess they have to figure out some way of practicing for the big day. Every time I was in an orgy I always felt unprepared and now I know why. While everybody else was getting it on, I was in the corner playing with my Rodimus. No wonder I never got invited back!

I am reminded of a lady from Tucson I met once at a toy show in 2003. She wasn't a Barbie orgy organizing porn star, she was a seller of old toy robots. She told me that her two sons had a mutual love of Transformers, but while one also displayed a liking for G.I. Joe, the other was more interested in his sister's She-Ra toys. Between the She-Ras and other behaviors, she suspected he was gay since early childhood and eventually that's how he grew up. Yeah you could jump to the conclusion that playing with She-Ra is a good indicator of future homosexuality in young males, but seeing a little boy pretend that Beast Man was humping Prince Adam's butt would probably do the trick, too.

I wonder if there is indeed a link between early childhood play patterns and sexuality. Now that I have a son, what conclusions can I make about him based on his favorite toys? I have on occasion joked about how a kid with a toy robots obsession is probably gay, but I've found that all it really means is he'll most likely be a virgin for a very long time. I don't think it's necessarily an indication of heterosexuality or even any sexuality if a little boy likes Optimus Prime. From my own experience, toy robot infatuation means the kid will probably have difficulty relating on a human level with anything that doesn't have a hard drive. It stands to reason that even if a little boy plays Barbie orgies, at least he's mimicking intrapersonal relationships between human beings. If a boy identifies strongest with asexual toy robots, then even if he's straight, my advice to his parents is don't expect grandkids anytime within the next thirty years. That's about how long it'll take for him to finally hook up with some burnt out, used up porn star he can play Barbie/robot orgy with.

Friday, January 11, 2008


The latest sentimental holocaust in the Kingdom of Macrocrania was brought about by my decision to cut my hair, which I haven't even trimmed in over a year. This was not a hastily made decision and the emotional cataclysm that followed after I decided I didn't like my new look has threatened to undermine my sanity. Yeah I have a lot of regrets. Most of all I miss being the mexican Fabio of toy robots but even if now I look like Marcie from Charlie Brown at least I won't have to use half a bottle of shampoo every time I take a shower. Hair maintenance was getting so bad that I just stopped taking showers and I had to wear a diving mask to sleep so I could breathe through all the hair.

What really gets me is that cutting my hair means parting with a piece of me that was around a year ago, the last time I was in Antarctica. The last time I got it cut was down there and I guess that's part of the sentimentality that kept me from cutting it a year later. Cutting my hair is like cutting ties with that experience once and for all. It is breaking the connection with the last time I felt I was interesting. Moving on is tough and as I saw the five inch long strands of hair on the floor I felt like I was getting on with my life in a way. I also cry a little every time I take a dump because I miss my poos.

Excessive sentimentality is par for the course here in the Kingdom. I still haven't actually used my Soundwave the MP3 player because I can't decide which song I want to play first. The first song played on any new music equipment is a milestone, a celebration of sorts. I want it to be special. In fact I want it to be so special that I can't make up my mind and it's been over three weeks already. It should be something that represents me where I am in my life. As Fabio said in his CD, "When I play a special song, it's very important because it can express what I feel so perfectly." Right now what I'm feeling so perfectly is the sound an airplane makes when it crashes into a barber shop.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Marvel Comics G1 TF circulation summaries

Every so often in the old Marvel Transformer comics they'd print a little box in the letters page titled "U.S. Postal Service statement of ownership, management and circulation". Recently I was checking out a site where a fan compiled some of these figures for the Doctor Strange book and it got me thinking about those little boxes with the circulation reports in Transformers. When I was a kid I hated the circulation reports because they ate up a lot of space that could have gone towards printing the brilliant comic analysis I'd write in letters to Marvel every month-stuff like, "Dear Transformers, Why is Optimus Prime red and Megatron is grey and in GoBots, Leader-1 is gray and CyKill is red?". I've grown up since then but as this post will prove, I still spend enormous amounts of time doing investigative research on the most inane crapola.

So I went back through all my comics and tried to find the reports and what information they had. They're essentially a breakdown by year of how many comics were printed, how many sold and how many were returned but in very exact detail. I found that each report covered one year's worth of sales but they weren't always printed on a regular schedule. The original Transformers comic ran 80 issues and I only found circulation reports in issues 27, 39, 60, 66 and 76. That's one report approximately every 12 issues starting with #27, reported roughly around the April cover dates with a bit of a lag between issues 39 and 60. Every year of publication is covered from 1986 through 1990. I thought there should have been a circulation report printed in the early issues around issue 15 but I didn't find one. While the information in the boxes wasn't a comprehensive listing of sales numbers for each specific issue, the summaries did give a good idea of how the book was doing in general.

Here then is a brief presentation of the numbers outlined in the circulation reports I found. There were some numbers given that I didn't record here because they were difficult for me to analyze, but if you go into each issue you'll see that figures were also given in each category for the issue nearest to the filing date. I couldn't figure out which issue that would be relative to each report, so I left those numbers out in this recap, but if you could decipher the relationship between circulation report filing date and the current issue at the time of filing, you'd have circulation numbers for at least five specific Transformers comics.

Filing dates:
issue 27 (Apr '87 cover): October 6, 1986
issue 39 (Apr '88 cover): A typographical error resulted in no date
issue 60 (Dec '89 cover): October 1, 1988
issue 66 (May '90 cover): November 1, 1989
issue 76 (Mar '91 cover): October 1, 1990

A) Total number of copies printed
Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months
reported in issue 27: 505,943
reported in issue 39: 446,312
reported in issue 60: 351,607
reported in issue 66: 212,495
reported in issue 76: 147,159

B) Paid circulation
1) Sales through dealers and carriers, street vendors and counter sales
Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months
reported in issue 27: 287,440
reported in issue 39: 200,425
reported in issue 60: 138,075
reported in issue 66: 89,730
reported in issue 76: 65,450
2) Mail subscriptions
Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months
reported in issue 27: 13,542
reported in issue 39: 16,850
reported in issue 60: 11,900
reported in issue 66: 6,650
reported in issue 76: 4,383

C) Total paid circulation (sum of B1 and B2)
Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months
reported in issue 27: 300,982
reported in issue 39: 217,275
reported in issue 60: 149,975
reported in issue 66: 96,380
reported in issue 76: 69,833

D) Free distribution by mail, carrier or other means, samples, complimentary and other free copies
Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months
reported in issue 27: 525
reported in issue 39: 132* (396?)
reported in issue 60: 132
reported in issue 66: 150
reported in issue 76: 100

E) Total distribution (sum of C and D)
Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months
reported in issue 27: 301,507
reported in issue 39: 217,407
reported in issue 60: 150,107
reported in issue 66: 96,530
reported in issue 76: 69,933

Copies not distributed
1) Office use, left over, unaccounted, spoiled after printing
Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months
reported in issue 27: 2,689
reported in issue 39: 3,960
reported in issue 60: 975
reported in issue 66: 600
reported in issue 76: 600
2) Returns from news agents
Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months
reported in issue 27: 201,747
reported in issue 39: 224,945
reported in issue 60: 200,525
reported in issue 66: 115,365
reported in issue 76: 76,626

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Honestly I think speeder bikes on Hoth are the most retarded idea ever but probably not as bad as snow Dewbacks

I'm trekkin across the frosty Hoth on my snow white speeder bike
My arms are rigid, feelin' frigid, on this frozen crotch rocket ride
Pistol in hand, my frigid laser blasts, cappin' occasional Wampa ass
Showin' little Leia's renegades that the Empire always strikes last
I'm haulin ass, totally chillin', white lightning rebel killin'
I bike so fast the wind chill is past negative ten million
Them slow AT-AT drivers take forever with their blasters
I deliver death 30 seconds or less-biker scout blast you faster
You'll never hit me, lazy bum, your reflexes are too slow
R.I.P. rebel scum, I punked you like an ewok in the snow

Monday, January 07, 2008

Los Transformers DVDs en español-Mucho, más mucho que yo quiero pagar!

Back in August of '07 a company named SelectaVisión began releasing spanish dubs of the G1 cartoon on DVD. I was pretty excited but they're based in Spain so the discs are region 2 PAL and they wanted like 9 euros for each DVD. I wouldn't have minded paying that except each DVD only has 4 episodes. They also sell 2 DVD bundles but at no additional cost savings. That breaks down to around 36 bucks just for the novelty of having eight episodes in spanish. Although the spanish dubs are dear to me because that's the first way I experienced the G1 cartoon, those SelectaVisión bastardos ain't getting my money.

It's going to take them up through August of this year to release the entire G1 series and so far they're up to their eighth 2 disc set. The cover art they're using is pretty unique and I've never seen this Transformers art anywhere before. You can check out the covers to all of the 2 disc sets released so far at It's sort of a mix between the style used by Rhino for the inner packaging of their US Transformers DVD boxsets with elements of the Dreamwave era Transformers comics.

What's most interesting to me is the Transformers website that SelectaVisión has made to promote the DVDs. Aside from giving basic info on the DVD releases, there's a section called "CONTENIDOS DVD" (DVD contents) that's devoted to explaining the history of the franchise. I was stunned by how in depth it went. Among the different aspects discussed is one paragraph devoted to "LOS CREADORES" (the creators). It names the people most directly involved with developing the brand, including Jay Bacal of Sunbow who came up with the name "Transformers" and Jim Shooter, Dennis O'Neil and Bob Budiansky at Marvel who created the characters' personalities and backstories. They even name the japanese designer of most of the initial Transformers toy cartoon robots, Shohei Shohara. I didn't even know that name before. I really like all the research done here. It's some of the most comprehensive information I've ever seen released by an official licensee in any language. As the cool spanish kids say, M NKANTA TU WEBSITE, DUDES.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing paragraphs in the DVD contents section is the section titled EL CASO SKYFIRE (The case of Skyfire). It's an account of the situation where the Jetfire toy was renamed Skyfire and not released in Japan. There's nothing here I didn't already know or suspect, but I've never seen this story related by any official source before and that makes it a first. Here's the original spanish and my translation:

Aunque en un principo Hasbro sólo aquirió los derechos de los diseños de Diaclon y Microchange, más tarde acabó haciéndose con otros como el de la Valkiria VF-1S de la mítica serie Macross -también conocida como Robotech-para dar vida a uno de las Transformers mejor diseñados y más recordados: Jetfire. Posteriormente, problemas de derechos con Bandai, hicieron que el jugete de Jetfire no viera la luz en Japón, que tuviera que ser rediseñado para la serie de animación y que incluso se cambiara su nombre por el de Skyfire para convertirio en un personaje completamente diferente.

Although initially Hasbro only acquired the rights to the Diaclone and Microchange designs, later on they ended up with others like the VF-1S from the legendary series Macross -also known as Robotech- to give life to one of the best designed and well remembered Transformers: Jetfire. Afterwards, rights problems with Bandai kept the Jetfire toy from seeing the light of day in Japan and it even had to be redesigned for the cartoon with its name changed to Skyfire for conversion to a completely different character.

There's some other stuff on the site like numbers to call if you're in Spain and you want ringtones or cellphone wallpaper. You can also download a poster of Optimus Prime crouching in space like he's taking a dump on the earth. But that DVD contents page is where I'll be spending my time. Unfortunately the whole thing is in flash so I have to write it all down the hard way if I want a transcript of their info. I wonder what the liner notes are like. I am this close to caving in and buying at least one 2 disc set, but at $36 for 8 episodes all I can think is-seriously, SelectaVisión, ¡Ay, caramba!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Peace (and better consumer appliances) through tyranny

Within the last five years or so, one particularly preposterous situation has been used repeatedly in Transformers stories. From the comics to the movies to the current cartoon, Megatron, the most fearsome robot satan ever is constantly finding himself captured, dissected and reverse engineered by humans. I understand there's some sort of human/robot S&M dominance fantasy being played out here so when they use Megatron it doesn't bother me, but the concept that man needs outside intervention to advance technologically is insulting because it infers that we are stupid and can't get anywhere without cheating. To which I respond, did we not invent swivel-arm battle grip on our own?
In a story, super advanced space toaster technology falling from the sky is the first hint that mankind will be portrayed as super intelligent idiots. Transformers isn't the only guilty party here. It would be excusable if it were an idea confined to toy robot cartoons but it pops up in more highbrow fare like the movie Independence Day. I find it inconsistent how in these stories human science can't figure crap out for itself, yet once this alien technology shows up human scientists are smart enough to begin reverse engineering it and develop new technologies in a short time span. It's insulting, not to my intelligence because I really am pretty dumb, but to the intelligence of the smart people that I assume exist in the world as evidenced by impressive real world technologies like laser tag.

It's strange how advancements in human understanding by way of captured alien technology are always in the realm of mechanical or electric engineering. Do we learn nothing else from exposure to these beings except how to make calculators? On second thought, in the case of traditional grey aliens I don't think I'd want to know anything about their private lives. Sure they have intergalactic travel but would you really want to learn anything from space butt pirates who use their UFO technology to find victims on which to do anal probes? It's a character issue to me. I'd rather hang out with a human scientist anyday over some alien butt fetishist. The UFOs are great and all, but the only other thing pervert aliens could teach us are advances in anal intrusion technology and perhaps penis enlargement creams.

The truth is that if an advanced alien technology were to fall into human hands, scientists probably wouldn't be able to do much with it because they don't have the necessary materials and techniques to maintain and operate that technology. This is the problem Marty McFly ran into once he took the DeLorean back in time and had no compatible power sources to operate it. There was no supporting infrastructure for the time machine. Even if we had our own deactivated Megatron to exploit, anything we built based on him would run on energon! And where are we going to find energon to power our brand new super advanced ipods? It's like if I went back in time and gave teenage Jesus a Gameboy as a birthday present so that we could link up and play Tetris head to head. Once the batteries ran out we'd be screwed and he'd start crying and it would all be a big mess. But man, would I love to have the opportunity to play Tetris against teenage Jesus because if I win, that makes me better at something than...well, you know.

The whole Deus ex Megatron plot device totally turns me off not just because it's demeaning to humans but it's predictable. I guess there's supposed to be dramatic tension built up by having such a powerful evil force contained-WHAT WILL EH DO IF HE ESCAPES? I'll tell you what he'll do, he'll kick your ass. Stop spending the whole story waiting around for Megatron to escape and just give it to me within the first 2 minutes or 2 pages. Sheesh. I don't expect Transformers to be Shakespeare with ten dollar toy robots, but I would like at least like it to be on the level of T.J. Hooker with ten dollar toy robots.

How to make robots and influence people

Any other man building with Legos and drawing on tracing paper isn't as inspiring as Shoji Kawamori.


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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.