Light Maintenance Project

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Not every clutter maintenance project is some big thing. With things I had to do for my other site this weekend I did some light cleaning, like finally cleaning out and packing away my humidifier for the season and going through some papers. I hope to have something more exciting to talk about next week.

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Book Report: Tom Clancy’s Op-Center

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When I used to work at a grocery store they had a spinner rack of books. Every now and then I would buy one because I love to read. This one it took me years to finally get to. I bought on the strength of the co-creator, Tom Clancy. I’ve heard all kinds of good things about his writing. He’s created books that were turned into movies and ideas that were turned into video games. He’s a pretty big name in storytelling. One of the books I picked up was Tom Clancy’s Op-Center, the first in the series, and later picked up a couple more as well as the first volume from a spin-off series, Net Force. I thought these would be interesting reads, even though I’m not usually into stories of political intrigue. I wish I had actually read this book before I bought the others.

It should be noted that various sources on the internet credited the author as Jeff Rovin, despite him only getting an assistance acknowledgement in the book itself. While the creators are credited as Clancy and Steve Pieczenik (his constant and rather controversial collaborator) there is no actual author listed on the book. If you want to see my chapter by chapter review of the book that I did for my other site, here you go. It will better explain why I didn’t enjoy reading this book but I will summarize my thoughts here.

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Transformers Report: Dinobot Striker

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I’ve been wanting to get the Dinobots spark crystal in one of these.

It’s time for the last Dinobot from this series in my collection. I think. I have this box of Transformers I went through a long time ago and pulled out that I need to get around to going over again for a final purge. I probably should have done it years ago.

Striker is a redeco of the Beast Wars Neo figure Saberback. Frankly it’s here that the problem I have with the Takara-produced formerly Japanese exclusive molds of the period make their first appearance. It’s one think for the Alternators to be a bit complex. That was a toyline for adult collectors and some of them like to treat the Transformers like a Rubik’s Cube. I am not one of those people and it can be more frustrating when the toy was supposedly designed with kids in mind. For one thing, while transforming it for the first time in years for this review part of it broke off, and it’s not in a spot the engineer planned for. So here’s a review of a broken toy. Joy.

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Book Review: He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe: The Newspaper Comic Strips

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In the 1980s one of the biggest toylines was Masters Of The Universe, a sword-and-sorcery fantasy series with a hint of science fiction with advanced fighting machines and Skeletor’s original origin being a space alien who wanted to open a doorway so his people could conquer Eternia, with himself as ruler. The lore changed over the years with the addition of DC Comics and later the animation studio Filmation, who added a secret identity for the hero, He-Man, and created a lot of what we know about He-Man, his allies, and his enemies. Additionally there were books, some of which came with adapting audio dramas, and of course the minicomics that came with the figures. Most people know about all of these, but did you know there was also a comic strip? I didn’t until a friend of mine bought me this collection for my birthday one year.

The Masters Of The Universe newspaper strips (He-Man added to the name later) was Mattel trying to find a new avenue to promote their toyline. While a pitch strip was created (which included the famed Stan Sakai among them) it was deemed too expensive but a new team would still arrive to bring the comic into existence. Jim Shull wrote the first story, with Chris Weber (edited by his wife, Karen Willson) taking over for the rest of comic’s run. Gerald Forton was the artist and Connie Schurr as colorist were there for the entire run. Despite having an international release the comic has gone largely unknown even within the fandom.

Enter Danielle Gelehrter, who talked Val Staples, head of the fan website He-Man.Org and a fellow collaborator on a Masters Of The Universe art book for Dark Horse Comics, into working on bringing the strips to a full collection. This required the effort of many fans who did know about the comics to find the original strips, translate the ones they could only find in Spanish or Greek (among other languages), create a font based on Forton’s handwriting for consistency, and convert it all to digital. Weber and Willson also helped out with the years they were able to keep on hand, and finally the strips were restored and put into the collection above. I’ve already reviewed the individual stories on my other site but this is a look at the book itself.

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Transformers Dinobots Airraptor (Beast Machines period)

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Now it’s time to get into the few Dinobots I have (from the Beast Machines period) that were originally part of the Beast Wars Neo line. Some of them were altered modes of previous Beast Wars dinosaur modes but there were a few originals and I only picked up a small number of those. Airraptor was based on the Neo figure Archadis. The alternate mode of choice is an archaeopteryx, which is not one of the more well-known dinosaurs but one that was always considered more bird like even when the consensus was still that dinosaurs were reptiles. How do you turn one of these into a robot?

This is also when a few other details were added. As a later Beast Wars toy Archadis and thus Airraptor has a “spark crystal”, which I can’t really show you in these pictures but I’ll show with the next figure. The Dinobot spark crystals replaced the Predacon symbol with an original Dinobots faction symbol, although the Dinobots were referred to as Maximals in the bios and instructions. They never showed up in the television shows but did appear in the convention comics and more recently in the IDW comics where their origins are completely different from the original concept, but that’s another conversation. Let’s take a look at the toy.

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No Report This Week

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I was hoping to continue my Dinobot Transformers this week but other projects and family requirements didn’t allow for that. A new report hopefully next week.

Transformers Report: Dinobots T-Wrecks

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While the Dinobots were a popular team from the original years of the Transformers toyline (referred to by fans as “G1”, short for “Generation One”, as opposed to the later “Generation Two”) they are not the only ones to bear the name. In Beast Wars you had Dinobot, one character, and during the time of Beast Machines another toyline came out called Dinobots. These were also original characters, but using molds from the Beast Wars and Japan-exclusive Beast Wars Neo figures. While not appearing on any of the shows they did appear in convention-exclusive comics, which told of their being formatted into dinosaurs because reasons. Or maybe I’m just forgetting the reason.

The leader of this band of Dinobots was T-Wrecks, a redeco of Beast Wars Megatron’s first dinosaur mode, a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Having never had Megatron’s toy in this mold (although I do have the original alligator and his other dinosaur and dragon forms, I was really looking forward to this version. Was it worth the wait?

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The Software Organizing Project part 7

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I know there was no article last week but the short version is medicine I was given to aid in my Crohn’s management backfired and I got really sick that Saturday. I only got off sick leave a few days ago on my daily media review site. I therefore had nothing to report and wasn’t in any condition to report it anyway. Luckily it was additional medicine and it didn’t affect my usual medicine, nor was it a major requirement. I’ll live.

I’ve hit another barrier with this project as well, and it’s one that’s going to delay the completion until I solve it. This week I did take a few moments to test some more software, but given I’m way behind on a video project for my other site I’ve tried to push for that after I was feeling better. However, that wasn’t the problem and I’m kind of padding for the homepage at this point. I did test some software on the laptop finally though so I do have something positive to report.

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Book Report: Kingdom Of The Dwarfs (original edition)

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cover for the illustrated book

I’m not typically a fantasy fan, which is odd given my all-time favorite movie is The NeverEnding Story. I do like the occasional dip into the genre but as a whole it’s not really my cup of tea. And yet I ended up with this book.

In the 1990s Comico was offering an audition kit, filled with the kinds of things you would need to audition to work at the comic book company. Out of curiosity and wanting to get into comics I ordered one since it was being offered through the usual comic catalog my local comic store at the time was using. It included samples of Comico’s offerings at the time, a way to show potential creators what they were looking for. None of the offerings really matched the kinds of stories I like to tell, and thus I never even attempted to send anything in for review. It wasn’t the same comic it was in the 1980s, when I would read issues of Robotech or other licensed properties. Not that they were bad stories mind you, just not the kind that interested me as a creator or even a reader.

Part of these samples was an illustrated book called Kingdom Of The Dwarfs, released in a comic book format but it’s not a comic book. There are no word balloons or comic panels. It’s a book with some rather amazing illustrations by artist David Wenzel, and written by Robb Walsh. I’ve been trying to get this review done for the past few weeks, not because it’s that large. It really isn’t. It is more a question of personal interest than anything else.

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The Software Organizing Project part 6

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I didn’t get to do anything in the project itself but yet I do have an update. During the time off I did find some of my old CD wallets. One someone got me from a bank here in Connecticut, one is a hard case my dad gave me, and the third I bought myself. It’s a zipper case that can hold a lot of CDs or DVDs or CD-Roms. This one I actually had some disks in, which means more to go through. I thought all that was in there were some media storage, but I took a look inside to see exactly what I have and…

…I found my copy of Sonic Heroes! Turns out they were in there the whole time. I knew I still had them! And that’s not all I found in there.

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