Black Series

#477: “Holy sh*t, jackpot, holy sh*t, jackpot…”


GETTING MORE TALE #477:  “Holy shit, jackpot, holy shit, jackpot…”

Collectors know the feeling.  You walk into a store, and saunter over to a favourite section.  Upon spying a gold mine of things you had been looking for, the euphoric feeling hits you just a shot of adrenaline straight in the heart.

“Holy shit! Jackpot…”

Whether you collect music, movies, books, toys, hockey cards or Kiss stuff (they being a whole category of their own), we have all experienced the feelings.  Finding a mother lode of treasures can be such a ride of emotions!  The excitement when you see it all.  The dread when you feel your thin wallet.  The pain of picking out the things you can afford.  The second-guessing and flip-flopping over what to actually get.  The sorrow of having to choose something to leave behind.

This has been happening to me for decades.  Having broad tastes and interests plus a healthy case of OCD will do that to you.  Over 20 years ago, my love for my childhood favourites the Transformers was re-ignited by such a jackpot.  While browsing junk at a church garage sale with my buddy Peter, I ran into a large pile of Marvel Transformers comics.  Most of these were from near the end of the series (issues #50-80), and long after I stopped collecting Transformers.  I couldn’t just leave them there!  Who knows where they would wind up then?  I had to rescue them.

At 50 cents each, this hardly broke the bank, but all the same feelings arose:  The excitement upon spying these comics, the picking out of the ones I needed, the angst of leaving some behind (even though I didn’t really need them).  And it kick-started a stunted adulthood that quickly reverted back to youth, a place I’m still stuck today.

IMG_20160319_105213Today, whenever I spot a stack of Japanese imports at a store (as I did last month as Vertigo Records in Ottawa), the adrenaline hits.

If I spy a pile of 90’s Metallica singles, the same thing happens.

A collection of rare 80’s Canadian metal records?  Same thing again.

But I still collect toys and comics too, and this same experience just happened to me at a local Walmart store.

The Star Wars Black Series 6” action figures have been hard to find.  There are always “shelf warmer” characters that nobody wants, and in 2015 that was poor Finn.  Other figures have been impossible to spot at retail.  Whenever a shipment arrives, people snap them all up and often end up re-selling them on eBay for more than double what they’re worth.  It’s not cool but that’s what happens.  I’m sure the store staff know all the eBayers  by heart, because they the know when the shipments arrive and are there when the store opens.

Cases are also “short-packed”, meaning a box of eight figures might have three Finns, but only one Kylo Ren.

A couple weeks ago, I was at a small Walmart store at Stanley Park Mall in Kitchener.  Interestingly enough, this is the same mall at which the very first Record Store in the chain that I worked opened.  My dad worked at that mall (at a bank), and I worked there twice (at a grocery store and finally at the Record Store).  It’s a pretty shitty mall and the shittiest Walmart around, but sometimes you can find real treasures at the out-of-the-way ones.

Even though this is a sucky Walmart, I still found a Star Wars 6” New Order Flametrooper there a few weeks earlier, so I knew that figures could be had there.  What I did not expect this time were FOUR more figures I needed, and some of the hardest to get:  “Old” Han (the most popular), Captain Phasma (very hard to find), Jango Fett with removable helmet and jetpack, and Finn in Stormtrooper gear!  Most of these are going for stupid money online, so to find them in store was quite an exciting surprise.

I frantically sifted through the row of figures, animatedly pulling out all the ones I needed, and singing out loud “Holy shit, jackpot, holy shit, jackpot, holy shit, jackpot…

That’s when I noticed the stock guy staring at me.  I spied several boxes of figures that he was unloading and opening.  Did he figure me to be one of the eBayers?  Maybe, maybe not, but I then saw two more employees stocking the toy shelves, giving me glances.  I’m sure they all heard my “Holy shit, jackpot” song and dance.   I smiled and ran away.

That haul cost me $100, but it was worth it!  And I still love the rush of discovery.




VIDEOS: Force Friday unboxings! (Star Wars Black Series 6″ figures)


Force Friday came and went without a hitch (for me). It was only the unboxing videos that caused me problems!

I understand quite a few people came away disappointed.  I did not.  I was hunting for only one type of Star Wars toy: The Black Series 6″ figures, which readers here know I collect almost religiously. I’ve posted lots of pictures of the opened portion of my collection. They can be found here, here, here, and here. They are just awesome figures that we would have died to have back in the 70’s.

The first wave of 6″ figures from The Force Awakens consists of:

01 – Finn
02 – Rey & BB-8
03 – Kylo Ren
04 – First Order Stormtrooper
05 – Chewbacca

Going in with a game plan, I decided to skip Chewie.  (Iron Maiden’s newest was also released on Force Friday, cutting into the budget.)  A re-sculpt of an older figure I already have wasn’t a priority, and I don’t like his new face. I also aimed to get two each of Rey, Kylo and Stormie, because I wanted one of each of those to open and play with!  (The next wave looks to include Captain Phasma and General Hux.  We’re also expecting a Tattooine Luke, and a Kanan from Star Wars Rebels.  Count me in for those.  But where is Threepio?)

Unboxing #1: Kylo Ren

Unboxing #2: First Order Stormtrooper (technical difficulties!)

Unboxing #3: Rey & BB-8

VIDEO: “Star Wars – Capture on Kashyyyk” featuring music by STEALTH

What is summer without a few trips to the cottage? This past weekend was beautiful and loaned itself to some photography and loads of music.

Below, you will find a video using a new track by Stealth, the duo made up of bass clarinetist Kathryn Ladano, and percussionist Richard Burrows.  The music is “point i” from their debut album, called …listen.  Thanks to Youtube, you no longer have to just “listen”!

“Point i” suited the jungle planet in the photos.  I was just playing around with my Star Wars Black Series 6″ figures and I wanted to show off my new IG-88 and Chewbacca.  I got carried away and what you see below is the result.  It was a lot of fun, which I hope you can see in the adventure!

Thanks to Kathryn and Stealth for permission to use the music.  Pick up ...listen by contacting the artists at, coming soon to iTunes and Amazon.


EPIC GALLERY: 6″ Star Wars Black Series collection #3 of 3

A series of vignettes featuring my open collection of 6″ Star Wars Black Series! I wanted to show each figure’s features in detail. These are really fun to play with, and display incredibly well. Were you born in the 70’s? Then enjoy these and play along.

For gallery #1, click here.

For gallery #2, click here.


EPIC GALLERY: 6″ Star Wars Black Series collection #2 of 3

A series of vignettes featuring my open collection of 6″ Star Wars Black Series! I wanted to show each figure’s features in detail. These are really fun to play with, and display incredibly well. Were you born in the 70’s? Then enjoy these and play along.

For gallery #1, click here.

EPIC GALLERY: 6″ Star Wars Black Series collection #1 of 3

A series of vignettes featuring my open (and one sealed) collection of 6″ Star Wars Black Series!  I wanted to show each figure’s features in detail.  These are really fun to play with, and display incredibly well.  Were you born in the 70’s?  Then enjoy these and play along.

This series is dedicated to the memory of George Balasz 1969(?)-2014.




WE’RE BACK: Toronto Record Store Excursion 2014 success!


Aaron and I have returned safely from Toronto, with treasures in hand! He has posted to the KMA a non-spoiler update regarding the trip. We both did very well. As a “Taranna First” I was providing live photographic updates of the trip via social media.

As I did on the previous two trips, I took plenty of photos and video with the intent of creating another great trip video! With that in mind, we don’t want to spoil too much about our adventure, so this is just a brief preview. Of note, Aaron bore gifts, and one of them is a book that I am just as happy to get as I am some of my musical finds. Aaron also helped add to my 6″ Stormtrooper army!

The sad news: Even though I was quite confident that we would find at least one item from somebody’s KMA Holy Grail list, we did not. I was sure that we would at least be able to find one of Sarca’s, such as the Ray Lyell CD. I was surprised that we didn’t. I might have an easier time finding it locally.

Having said that: I encourage you to check out the KMA Grail list and add your own long-sought albums to it.  Though we did not have luck with it this time, we did look hard.  The more people who participate in the Holy Grail list, the better, so as my buddy Aaron would say GIVE’R!

Enjoy the photo gallery, and if you missed the videos from the 2012 and 2013 trips, you can check those out below.

LeBrain (who, I am glad to say, did not fart once in Aaron’s car this time.)

2013: PART 1

2013: PART 2