Organizing My Cassettes

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I had a bunch of my music cassettes out since I listened to them but putting back was difficult until I reorganized a few things during a couple of other projects. I figured this was a good time to reorganize the cassettes in my collection. While most of the audio dramas are in a book-like case a few others and the tapes with music were in the usual cassette boxes, which I still have. Yes, I still listen to cassettes. I always end up with a player in my car that can play them but not CDs. I do believe in physical media, as I went over with my records. Heck, we’d listen to the 8-tracks if they weren’t all dying on us. Lost some good music and comedy there.

Speaking of comedy there are also comedy albums there, and things I recorded off of TV. Some used the famous method of putting the microphone up to the TV speaker while most came from hooking a boom box to the audio out of the VCR, which is a better system. I also transferred a few CDs to cassette so I could listen to them in the car when we had a radio that could do that. Now we have to hook a cassette player to the computer via the headphone jack on the player and the microphone jack on the computer. My dad also has a record-to-computer convertor I bought for my parents because I thought you could also play regular records on it. You can but you need external speakers and I didn’t know that at the time. However, that had nothing to do with this project so let’s get on to what I’m here to talk about.

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Transformers Report: Universe Skywarp

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This year I had the Transformers Universe figures I’m keeping around the tree, but there are a few left I haven’t reviewed. We’ll be returning to the project/review formula next week but this toy’s been sitting here a few weeks waiting to be reviewed, and it’s time to do that. As a reminder, Transformers Universe was originally a series of recolored molds of the past, some being the same character and some being a new character. The plot was that a version of Unicron dragged Transformers from across the multiverse to fight each other because he fed off of the fighting…somehow. I don’t get it either, but it did allow some of us to get molds we didn’t have before since they were exclusive to other countries.

This isn’t the case for Skywarp, however. This Skywarp uses the mold of Jetstorm from the Beast Machines line, another reminder I should have gone through that box first. The mold would be used for other figures as well but these two are the only versions I picked up. This one is a Decepticon, the only other one I have in the Universe line besides the Micromaster Construction Combiners. I’ll review Jetstorm in the future, so let’s look at Skywarp.

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Book Report: The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood

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You may think you know the legend of Robin Hood, but what you know is not quite accurate. I had heard questions of whether or not the real Robin (or possibly whomever the character was based on as there’s a debate as to whether he was real or fictional) was indeed a hero. The legend of Robin Hood goes all the way back to the 13th Century but the version you know came from Hollywood, most likely inspired by Errol Flynn’s interpretation or some more recent version that adds characters for social commentary, has Robin fighting witches (I saw one series I think was from the UK that was very dark in tone but also quite good–I think it was from the 1990s), or otherwise tells the tale of a rich man who came home from the Crusades to find the wicked Prince kingdom-sitting for his uncle, King Richard, had stolen his lands and taxed the people to the point of poverty. Now Robin must gather a band of Merry Men to defeat Prince John, his wicked Sheriff or underling Guy Of Gisborne (who may actually be said Sheriff), and win the hand of the fair Maid Marian.

To quote “Weird Al” Yankovic: everything you know is wrong.

A little closer to our timeframe is Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood Of Great Renown In Nottinghamshire, an 1883 collection of the tales of Robin Hood and his Sherwood Forest friends. I happen to have a copy of this, a book now in public domain, and I’ll link to a Chapter By Chapter review of the book I did for my other website that includes links to find the book online free and legal at the end of this review. This is going to be an overview as well as a discussion of my copy because that’s pretty interesting itself.

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Transformer Christmas Tree 2019

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Not the best angles. All the Transformers Universe figures I’ve reviewed thus far that I’m keeping with you a Merry Christmas. I’ll be finishing this box after Christmas but a bunch of life issues and getting my Christmas comic done by Christmas means the clutter may end up on the back burner the next few weeks. As a bonus here’s a video I shot for my other site that also shows off my Christmas decorations in the studio.

Transformers Report: Universe (1.0) Inferno

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I think I’m done with team reviews for this line. Inferno came alone. He was intended to be a Universe incarnation of the G1 character Red Alert but someone screwed up the name with his old pal Inferno, who was a fire truck while Red Alert was a fire chief’s car. (I thought the chief went with the other firefighters but I only know firefighters, I wasn’t one myself.) The good was caught too late and so the Red Alert homage got Inferno’s name. The Universe 2.0 line would bring about a proper update for Inferno.

However, the 1.0 line was all reissues and recolors and redecos, and this Inferno is no different. The original mold was the Prowl of Robots In Disguise (the one based on Mach Alert from the Car Robots toyline and TV show). Prowl’s brother, X-Brawn, received a Ratchet recolor and both figures were give a subline name, Machine Robot Rescue, which was a jerk move on Hasbro’s part. For the initiated Tonka, the company that produced the 80s rival transforming robot line GoBots, got most of their figures from a line in Japan called Machine Robo. Hasbro later bought Tonka but by then the company that created Machine Robo, BanDai, had started releasing toys in the US, and had brought some of their Machine Robo characters into a new line called Machine Robo Rescue, so we’re all pretty sure this was just another attempt by Hasbro to keep their old rivals from ever returning to the US toy shelves, although there was no evidence BanDai planned to anyway. DinoZaurs didn’t do very well for them after all. But enough history, let’s get into Inferno.

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Comic Book Report: Star Trek–The Mirror Universe Saga

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Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Saga trade paperback

DC Comics (June 1991)

collects Star Trek issues #9-19 (December 1984-July, 1985)

WRITER: Mike W. Barr

PENCILER: Tom Sutton

INKER; Ricardo Villagran

COLORIST: Michele Wolfman

LETTERER: John Costanza

These issues of DC’s first series of Star Trek comics ran into a slight problem. They came out around the time of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, in which the ending would lead right into the beginning of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, a whole two years to wait to resolve the events of the previous movie. And yet somehow the writers of the comic, Mike Barr for this story (he was also one of the editors according to comics.org), had to keep the adventures of the crew going without interfering with the next movie. Admittedly they may not have been as successful in hindsight, but these are the only comics I have from this period so I could be wrong. Crafting a good story on the other hand was a success so take the victory you can on this one.

The “Mirror Universe” dates back to the classic Star Trek episode “Mirror Mirror”, in which a transporter accident switches Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura with their counterparts in a reverse dimension, where things are similar but not exact. In this universe the Federation is replaced with an Empire and are very cruel. This allowed the other actors (although Spock is still mostly Spock, just with a nasty streak) a chance to do something a bit different and the episode is a favorite among fans. There’s also a running gag in sci-fi fan circles that Mirror Spock’s goatee has become a symbol for evil universe counterparts.

I don’t have the individual issues but I did get this trade collection for the entire eight chapter story, originally subtitled “New Frontiers”. At the end of the article I’ll link to the individual reviews I did of each issue for my other site. This is an overview of the arc and a review of the trade collection.

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Transformers Report: Universe Stockade & Magna Stampede (with Mini-Cons)

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Sorry for the washed out images. Sadly I goofed in editing.

Our next set of Transformers Universe figures were sold together so that’s how I’ll be reviewing them, if only to move things along. They share an instruction sheet, which is how I know they came together. And yes, it’s another set including Mini-Cons with figures who can’t use Mini-Cons. As you’ll see it’s worse this time though.

I’m not sure why these four were sold together. There’s no connecting theme. At least Whirl’s Mini-Con pals were some kind of aircraft. Magna Stampede and Stockade are original characters based on molds from the Beast Machines line while Terradive and Prowl weren’t even on the same Mini-Con team, yet share a feature their friends are unable to use. I get the feeling the Mini-Cons of this group are pretending to be Micromasters to not be used as power boosters in the Universe arena, like it’s their chance to just be seen as any other Transformer. At least that’s the canon in my head since Universe is about dragging Transformers from across the multiverse. I’m going to limit photos to robot and alt mode and will give my thoughts individually. Of course we know the Mini-Cons are safe but what about the other two?

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Quick Report: Moving A Pile

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I had a lot of time-swiping events happen this week so I didn’t get to do a full project. I did however manage to do something with this pile left over from the manga and software projects as well as the most recent non-fiction book sorting project. I still need to go over that software but I’ve had this stuff in a rather inconvenient pile in the studio. A few things I actually managed to find a place for, like the video game books. Other stuff I still need to go over, mostly the manga and software. I still plan to but getting close to Christmas and having another project I want to get to after next week’s Transformers Universe review I at least made things a bit easier on myself.

There are times I wonder if once a week is enough but I tend to have a lot of different kinds of projects and a poor job managing it all.

Transformers Report: Universe Micromaster Constructicons

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There were only four teams in the Universe Micromaster Combiners, but I would have loved to have gotten other Japan-exclusive molds in a US line. The “Multiforce” (which actually had been released with Japan’s counterparts to the Universe Micromasters around this time and could themselves combine into a larger robot of all six members) had two robots that combined into one, similar to the Autobot gimmick of the Energon line. They could have also released the G1 US Micromasters where the vehicles could combine to form more vehicles. By the time Micromasters came out in the original like I was too old for my parents to buy me Transformer toys and I didn’t have a job because…let’s just say I had bullies and leave it at that for this site. These four teams are as of this writing the only Micromasters I own. I still think Mini-Cons are cooler but my love of Mini-Cons does at least allow me to enjoy these predecessors even if they can’t combine with the larger robots.

Although the ones who form arms and legs can fake it thanks to the connectors being the same size as the Powerlink ports on the “Unicron Trilogy” figures and the rifles of these last three teams can be used by the Mini-Cons by connecting them to the plugs on the Mini-Cons. (The Railbots have other ways of interacting with Mini-Cons since they’re a different design, but the Aerialbot and Protectobot Micromasters share this and they all can swap an arm of their combined forms out with a Mini-Con who would be rather unuseful). Today we’re looking at the last of the Combiner team in the Universe line, the Constructicons. Named after and inspired by the G1 characters they’re the only Decepticons of the Micromasters in this line. Their parent characters, Sixbuilder and the Build Team, were actually Autobots who had a Decepticon clone. Don’t ask me how. I don’t think their story made a lot of sense. Luckily we’re here to talk about the toys, and I can see why they went with the G1 homage, although they didn’t keep all the names. Considering how many I change anyway I can live with that.

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Fixing My Hat Rack

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Hanging near the Bumblebee Shelf are my hats. My mom had come up with the idea of using…I think it’s some kind of pan rack or something not designed for hats, but given all the hats I own (I went through some weird and long collecting phases) it seemed like the best option. Even after this project I don’t think they hang right but I’m not going to waste money on who knows how many racks and while I could build my own I have more important projects right now.

Yes, I collected hats until I had too many, although I might still get one in the future if I really like it. (For one thing I want a good Superman hat to go along with my Batman hat.) Many are based on my favorite shows, places I’ve been, or just have some personal tie to. I did have an outstretched headband I tossed out but otherwise nothing is going in this one. I just have to make it easier to find the hat I want. I have a bad habit of just putting the hat I wore last on a coat rack with the intention of putting it back on the rack later and then failing to do so. I think that’s how clutter starts for all of us. So when I want a particular hat I have to hunt to find it while knocking other hats behind the couch piece or I have a big stack of hats on top of my coat rack. I know I’m going to be doing this again in the future, so here’s how I did it this time.

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