Archive for November, 2012

Some of my geeky shelf displays

Posted in books, pop culture, Star Wars with tags , , , , on November 30, 2012 by Paxton


New League assignment from Brian this week. We are to present a shelf display of things in our collection that showcases our love of pop culture.

My displays are not what they used to be. I used to have an entire downstairs filled with Star Wars memorabilia. However, since I moved to Florida, that all went into storage and now I only have a few out of the way spots where I can display some of my favorite items.

One of those spots is a bookshelf in my closet.

My book corner

This bookshelf houses the books on my “To Be Read” pile.  And the shelves are double stacked.  Some are books I’ve never read before and some are re-reads.  Within this shelf you’ll find movie novelizations, comic book novels, Star Trek and Star Wars novels, Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman books, etc, etc.  But, as you can see, there are more than just books here.

Hanging on the wall in back you can see the Muppet Christmas Carol poster I have up for the holiday season.  That poster changes a few times a year.  For Halloween I had up From Dusk till Dawn.  On top of the shelf on the left side I have a stack of comic trade paperbacks including some of the Marvel Ultimate books and several Fantastic Four collections.  On top of the trades is a shadow box display of my running medals.  It includes the bib and medals I received for finishing my first two marathons and several other half-marathons.

Next to those on the right side I have two DVD sets.  The black box is the complete Six Million Dollar Man set from Time-Life.  It’s awesome.  I’ve currently watched through Season 1.  On the far right is the Buffy Chosen Collection DVD set featuring all 7 seasons.  I really love the first 3.5 seasons of this show.  But I’m currently selling it on eBay right now, so if you want it, you can try to buy it.

One other display that I have is a small divided section curio containing some of my Star Wars figures.

Star Wars curio

It features a mix of new and vintage figures.  I tried to theme each section a bit.  In the upper left is the stormtrooper section.  Lower right is the vintage bounty hunter section.  Various Lukes are in the lower left.  I should probably switch these figs out a bit more to change up the displays but I haven’t.

Essentially, those are the only shelf displays I really have left.  Someday, I’ll post a pictorial essay of my previous “Star Wars Room” pictures.

UPDATE – I forgot to include a pic of my “soda shelf” that I keep at work. It features soda cans from the 80s, 90s and today.

soda shelf

Other posts from around the League:

– Tim displays a very geeky shelf of books.
– Fellow TAG Network podcaster Chris Lockhart showcases a drool-worthy Masters of the Universe collection.
– Reis over at The Dork Horde showcases some sweet bobblehead dolls.
– The Goodwill Geek literally has not one more iota of space left on his shelf.


Nerd Lunch Episode 63: 80s sitcoms

Posted in 80s, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , on November 28, 2012 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

We are moving closer and closer to episode 75. For this episode we are joined by Claymation Werewolf who writes for his own humor blog as well as The Retroist.  This week we tackle the very daunting subject of 80s sitcoms.

80s sitcoms
(Via The Domestic Fringe)

We talk about some of our favorites, we talk about some of our not-so-favorites. We talk about sitcom crushes and theme songs. We cover all our bases in this very broad and general discussion about sitcoms from the 1980s. It’s a lot of fun, so download it and reminisce with us.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or stream it online right HERE.

Tour of the vintage Pinball City arcade in the 1980 movie Midnight Madness

Posted in 80s, Atari, movies, pop culture, video games with tags , , , on November 27, 2012 by Paxton

Cavalcade Arcade

I love video arcades.  I always have.  I also loved it when arcades popped up in movies.  It was fun trying to pick out what games I could see and identify.  So, I thought it would be a fun exercise to pick some of my favorite movies that have an arcade scene and do a “walk through” to see what games we could see.  This should be interesting because video arcades during the the late 70s to mid 80s are ancient history.  There’s nothing really like them anymore.  These walk throughs should be nice snapshots of a moment in time at a video arcade during their hey day.  So let’s begin.

One of my favorite movies from childhood is the 1980 screwball road race comedy Midnight Madness.

Midnight Madness poster

The movie stars David Naughton, Stephen Furst, Eddie Deezen, Debra Clinger and a very young Michael J Fox as a group of college students split up into colored teams (yellow, blue, green, red and white) who go out on an all night long clue hunt.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is the arcade scene at a place called Pinball City.  It’s here the characters play a game that I thought was fake, called Star Fire. I’ve talked about this scene before.  You can watch that full scene here. Well, there’s a wealth of other awesomely vintage video games in that scene, so let’s start off this first walking tour with Pinball City from the movie Midnight Madness.

This movie was released in early 1980, which means it was probably filmed in mid-to-late 1979.

MM 008
This is the clue the players receive for the arcade. It essentially is a word game that tells them to go to PIN + BALL + SIT + E, or Pinball City.

MM 009
Here’s the entrance to Pinball City.

MM 010 Atari Football
Here’s the adorable Debra Clinger checking out an Atari Football game which was produced in 1979.  Behind her is a carnival shooter game called Shark Bait.  However, I could find no information on that game anywhere.  I can’t believe that this was created specifically for the movie to be used in a background shot when they didn’t even bother to do that for the Star Fire game.

MM 011 Indy 800
In the background of this scene is a giant game called Indy 800. It was manufactured by Kee Games in 1975. The game cabinet was huge and took up 16 feet of space.

MM 012 Death Race
Here’s a very young Michael J Fox leaning up against a Death Race game. It was manufactured by Exidy in 1976.  This game is based on and inspired by the movie Death Race 2000. There were only 500 or so made. When it came out it was banned in many cities due to its violent content.

Continue reading

Review of Oz Book 9: The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)

Posted in books, Classic literature, Wizard of Oz with tags , , , , , on November 21, 2012 by Paxton

Following the Yellow Brick Road

In 1915, one year after Tik-Tok of Oz Baum released the ninth Oz book, The Scarecrow of Oz.

Scarecrow of Oz

This book features two new characters to Oz, Cap’n Bill and Trot. Both of these characters previously appeared in the Baum non-Oz works The Sea Fairies (1911) and Sky Island (1912).  Bill and Trot set sail from California for a short ride in their row boat.  A storm suddenly appears and the duo find themselves in a fairy land (but not Oz, just yet).  Bill and Trot find their way to the land of Mo, which previously appeared in the non-Oz book; The Magical Monarch of Mo.  As you can see, Baum started to fold his previous non-Oz characters and lands into his Oz books when it was clear no one wanted to read anything but the Oz books.  It makes these later books interesting in that almost every character and land had appeared in a previous non-Oz book.

Anyway, Bill and Trot run into Button-Bright in the land of Mo.  Button previously appeared in not only the Oz books but in Bill and Trot’s last book, Sky Island.  So the group makes their way to Jinxland.  Jinxland is sort of a “sister” land to Oz.  It’s found on the same continent but divided by a nearly impassable mountain range.  Anyway, our heroes get tangled up in the drama of the King of Jinxland, his daughter, the gardener she loves and a royal suitor she doesn’t.  The scarecrow shows up to help and all is set right with the world.

I honestly am not sure why this book is named after the Scarecrow.  He only shows up at the very end, but he does help save the day.  Truthfully, I was a little disappointed in the story.   The characters were good.  I liked Bill and Trot, I even enjoyed Button-Bright more than I did in previous books.  I just was a bit let down by the entire story.  I’m hoping I’m not getting “Oz fatigue”.  Since Bill and Trot appear here and in the two previous books, I may wind up reading, at the very least, Sky Island.  Sky Island also features Button-Bright, like I said, and Polychrome, the Rainbow’s Daughter.  However, I may also read The Sea Fairies as I’ve read that Baum considers that his best work.

As you can see, it’s getting harder to define what I’m going to read because as of this point, Baum is incorporating so many of his non-Oz characters into the Oz books, that it’s hard not to just say f**k it and read them all.  Or f**k it and stop reading.  I’m going to continue reading these main Oz books as I only have a few left and I want to finish them by the end of the year.  Next year, I may catch up and read some of the other non-Oz books like The Sea Fairies, Sky Island, The Magical Monarch of Mo, The Master Key, etc.  But right now, I’m focusing on the core five Oz books I have left.

My final verdict on this Oz book is that, compared to the books before it, this one is disappointing overall.  It’s still a good book, but in relation to the other Oz books, it’s only okay.  I’m hoping this is a temporary dip in quality and that the next book is better.

Below is my checklist of Oz books.  I’ve crossed off the ones I’ve currently read.  Next up in the Oz series is Rinkitink in Oz.
Oz books checklist

Nerd Lunch Episode 62: More Fan Fic Reviews

Posted in movies, pop culture with tags , , , , on November 20, 2012 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Welcome to episode 62 of the Nerd Lunch Podcast. This week we are joined again by Kristin Reily from the Geek Girls Network.  This week, we are returning to one of my favorite topics; Fan Fiction.

Lost Boys Young Guns

We all pick a story from the Movies category over at and we all discuss how awesome our stories are.  If you plan on following along, prepare yourself to be overwhelmed.  There are an unbelievable amount of properties to choose from.  For instance there are greater than 17,000 stories based on High School Musical alone.  I know.  Star Wars has nearly 30,000 stories.  It’s insane.  Also, you need to look out for what they call “slash” fiction.  Trust me on that one.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner. Not that I actually care anymore, but I think we are still on the Zune Marketplace. If it still exists.

Or, click here and listen to it online.