Archive for August, 2011

My son takes his first step into a larger world…

Posted in movies, Star Wars with tags , , on August 16, 2011 by Paxton

PJ and Stormtrooper

One of our friends here in Jacksonville is a member of the 501st Star Wars costuming group. They were having a fund raiser at a Chik-fil-A here in town this past weekend so Steph and I took PJ down to see all the costumes.  Here is PJ just after meeting his first Stormtrooper (or, technically, a Sandtrooper).

PJ was not too sure about the man in the scary costume at first.  You can see he’s a little concerned in this picture.  However, after about 10 minutes he became somewhat fascinated by all the costumes.  Even going so far as to grab the Stormtrooper’s gloved finger and shake it.  It was a lot of fun.

Tusken Raider in Jump Castle

What made it even more fun was the fact that I got to see a Tusken Raider think it was a good idea to climb into a Jump Castle with like 15 kids. He came to regret that decision.

A look at the Star Wars Q&A Book about computers (1983)

Posted in 80s, books, computers, movies, pop culture, reviews, Star Wars, technology with tags , , , , , , , on August 15, 2011 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

I love vintage kids books.  I love vintage pop culture books.  I also love vintage books looking at early computing technology.  This week, I get all three wrapped into one.  I’ll be looking at three early 80s activity books featuring awesomely retro computing technology.  Being a tech guy and a pop culture guy sure pays off some days. The first book I’ll be looking at is the Star Wars Question and Answer Book about Computers from 1983. SW Q&A book cover Yes, I know, mixing Star Wars and computer technology? Yes, please.  And the book is filled with some of the most awesome artwork mixing R2-D2 and C3PO and computer machinery. SW Q&A title The artwork in this book is by Ken Barr. Ken Barr is a comic artist. He’s done a lot of work for Marvel, especially back in the 70s and 80s with titles like Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Doc Savage, Savage Sword of Conan and Rampaging Hulk.  Most of that work being for Marvel magazines that showcase the really nice painted look of Barr’s creations.  You can see a lot of that here, too. This book is mainly an information dump about computers, how they began and what they can be used for.  Much of the information is surrounded by Barr’s gorgeous paintings. However there are also pages without artwork but instead use photographs of actual computer machinery.

SW Q&A intro SW Q&A AppleIIe

Here’s the intro to the book explaining about computers. Next to the intro is another information page featuring a picture of an Apple II.  Click the images to make them BIGGER.

SW Q&A chess SW Q&A arcade

Here are some pages talking about computers and video games. You can see an adorable picture of R2-D2 playing chess against a computer and both Artoo and Threepio playing an upright arcade machine. I’m seriously in love with that arcade machine painting. See it much bigger here. Continue reading

A Cavalcade of Collector Cups

Posted in advertising, fast food, McDonald's, movies, pop culture, Star Wars, Tron with tags , , , , , on August 12, 2011 by Paxton

I’ve talked about fast food collector glasses before. But that article covered collector glasses made of actual GLASS.  There are also a plethora of plastic collector cups.  A few weeks ago Nerd Lunch talked about super hero cups.   So, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and talk about a few of my favorite collector cups that have been given away at movie theaters and fast food chains.

I have each of these cups in my collection right now.

Capt America Tri-Cup
This is the Capt America The First Avenger Tri-Color Coolatta Cup.  My boy CT from Nerd Lunch discussed this back in July.  There are three sides/sections.  Each section holds the red (cherry), white (vanilla) and blue (raspberry) flavors of Dunkin Donuts Coolattas.  You can see the second side here and the third side is here.  The cup is sitting next to the stars and stripes donut that also promoted the Capt America movie.  They were both good, but I won’t lie, after consuming both for breakfast it felt like Cap and the Howling Commandos were fighting World War II in my colon.

X-Men 2000 cup
This was the collector cup given out at movie theaters in 2000 to promote the first Singer X-Men movie. I like the tapered base of this cup so it fits in your cup holder. Many cups now don’t do that.  And check out the web address of the movie with all of those dashes.  Hello late ’90s.

SW original cup toppers Stormtrooper topper
Everyone remembers the Star Wars cup toppers from 1999 during the whole Episode I merchandising frenzy. There were 12 cups and figure toppers you could collect from KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Well, those toppers were based on an earlier promotion for the Star Wars Special Edition in 1996-97.  It was a set of 4 and featured C3PO, R2D2, Vader and a Stormtrooper.  There were two versions of this set.  Above left you can see the set that came from the Las Vegas FAO Schwartz store.  They had setup their own version of the Mos Eisley Cantina including themed ICEE drinks (like Jabba Juice).  I had visited Vegas in 1998 and was able to buy these at the store.  Click the image to see it bigger and to see the commemortive FAO Cantina cup.  The other version of this set on the right came from Pizza Hut and Taco Bell stores overseas (I don’t believe they were offered in the US).  The toppers were exactly the same but instead of the FAO cup it had a blue cup with a picture of the character on it (see the Stormtrooper above). You can see how these influenced the Episode I cup toppers. For obvious reasons, only the R2D2 was reused in the 1999 Episode I promotion.

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My visit to 2nd & Charles used bookstore

Posted in books, bookstores, comic books with tags , , on August 3, 2011 by Paxton

I went back home this past weekend to Hoover, AL to visit my parents.  I was driving around and noticed a new store had opened up in what was once a Goody’s.  It was orange and white and had a strange name; 2nd & Charles.

2nd & Charles storefront

For some reason, all weekend, I kept wanting to call it 42nd and Charles.  I have no idea why.

Anyway, I asked my parents what it was.  They said it was some type of used bookstore.  That was all they knew.  Well, I love used bookstores, and I can spend hours inside them just looking around, so I decided I have to go to there.  The next morning I ventured off with my father to visit this new store and behold the wonders it contained within.

And wonders it did behold.  The store is HUGE.  It would probably take me a few days to get through the whole thing.  The store didn’t have just books, it had video games, video game consoles, DVDs, Blu-Rays, CDs, shirts and assorted other odds and ends.  The majority of which is all “gently” used.

2nd and Charles mural
When you first walk in you notice a huge mural in the back featuring the name of the store. As you get closer, you notice the mural is made up of the spines of books all stacked into a recess in the wall. There is a sitting area in front of the mural with chairs so you can sit down and enjoy a leisurely read.  Very nice.

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Two unlikely movies celebrating 25 year anniversaries today

Posted in 80s, movies, pop culture with tags , , on August 1, 2011 by Paxton

Two diametrically opposite movies began playing in theaters on August 1, 1986, 25 years ago today.

The first movie was the infamous Howard the Duck.  Featuring a woman falling in love with a duck and an early appearance of Tim Robbins.  This movie nearly ruined Lucasfilm.

Howard the Duck

The second movie was Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives.  This installment is arguably one of the best movies in the Jason franchise.  Jason had died in the last movie, so a lightning strike would revive him and begin the reign of “zombie Jason”.  Plus it features the third actor to play the character of Tommy Jarvis.

Jason Lives

Check out the trailer for both of these movies at Held Over.