collectibles

VIDEO: FansToys Terminus Giganticus (Pack A)

Balancing a music collection with a toy collection is expensive, but they do have a lot in common.  For example, both feature “holy grail” items that you simply must have.  In 2017, the holy grail category was won by toys for the first time.  Behold!  Enjoy the video at bottom.

Key points:

* Terminus Giganticus is FansToys’ version of a Masterpiece class Omega Supreme action figure, to fit seamlessly with your official Transformers Masterpiece collection.
* Fucking huge.
* Comes in two packs: Pack A (September 2017) and Pack B (November 2017).
* Thanks to Madhaus Toys (facebook.com/madhaus.collectibles) for the pre-order!

References:

* For more information on third party toys:  Getting More Tale #570: Third Party
* Incredibly galleries  from TFCon:  Getting More Tale #578: TFCon 2017

Video:

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#391.5: Mail from Cataraqui

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RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#391.5: Mail from Cataraqui

I got mail!

The only thing sweeter than the arrival of an Amazon order, or that of imported Transformers toys from China, is surprise mail from a fellow music lover. This time that music lover is Geoff over at the 1001 Albums in 10 Years blog. Geoff sent me a cryptic email a few weeks ago about some things he found that I might be interested in having for my collection:

“Mike,
I picked up a couple practically-free musical treasures at our local Value Village this week.
I’m not sure if they’ll actually play, but when I saw them I thought they’d be neat assets in the LeBrain collection!”

What a guy! I love surprises!

There are a few major audio formats that have no representation in my music collection. If I can’t play it, as a collector I generally don’t seek it out. As a music geek however, I love odd formats and releases. There are certain bands that I would collect just about anything from, and the big one is Kiss. Geoff knew this. Now I can add 8-track to the formats I own of Kiss Alive! This is definitely getting a place of honour in LeBrain’s displays of treasure. Probably right next to that weird Def Leppard Pyromania cassette that Aaron found for me at Sonic Boom.

Also in the package, and presumed worthless by Geoff, are two 45’s. According to Geoff’s accompanying letter, the records “you would be able to play, but are too damaged to do so!”

Fooey. My USB turntable only cost $50. Let’s give it a shot.

Both singles are records I didn’t have before. Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” / “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll” has a different B-side from the 12″ single that I do have. The 7″ has the studio version of “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll” instead of the live. And it played fine! It was dusty but cleaned up fine.  Score!

The Kiss single, for “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” / “Hard Times”, was not as fortunate.  It is massively warped.  I measured the warp at 1/4 inch at its largest point.  But get this…it played!  It didn’t sound the greatest, but it played!

In his letter, Geoff says “Thought they still work as collectibles or conversation starting coasters.”  Well, Twisted Sister and Kiss Alive! are officially entering the LeBrain Library.  As for “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”?  Though it plays, I don’t think I will play it again.  I think this might make an excellent wall decoration, however!

Thanks Geoff!  I’ll find something funky and cool to send in return.

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Gallery: Other Stuff I Collect That Isn’t Music

I collect toys.  Lots of toys.

Part 263: METALLICA’s Fan Can #4 (Video blog)

RECORD STORE TALES Part 263:  Metallica’s FAN CAN #4

Less a story, more a show-and-tell.  I purchased this rare Metallica Fan Can via a staff member of mine.  Her name was Wraychel, and she had a Metallica Club membership.  When she told me that year’s Fan Can (#4) was available for pre-order, I asked her to get it for  me.  The Fan Cans were legendary!  I can’t remember what I paid.  It was a lot.

Don’t mind the dust, but enjoy the video.

Part 243: Return to Niagara Falls

Since I abandoned chronological order shortly after Part 10, everything’s been scattershot since.  This story takes place a month before the events in Part 102: Dumped in Barrie.  It features she who dumped me in Barrie, as well as friends from Part 64: Niagara Falls, and the title character from Part 155: Sarge.  Got all that?

RECORD STORE TALES Part 243:  Return to Niagara Falls

A cold Saturday morning, JJJulie and I headed down to St. Catharines, Ontario.  The purpose of our visit was to hang out with our Record Store friends in The Legendary Klopeks, and Sarge, who had flown in from Bournemouth, England!  Sarge was an imposing figure, with steampunk top hat and platform boots.  We’d been communicating online for a while and we were all looking forward to his visit.  He ended up helping the Klopeks book some gigs overseas later.

Lemon Kurri Klopek, you may remember, co-owned one of our stores.  JJJulie and I rendezvoused with him at his store, where I spent some money.  (Astute readers will realize that for me to buy a CD from Lemon Kurri, a franchisee, was against the rules!  We had some pretty stupid rules.)

The lot of us grabbed some fancy dinner together, a motley crew of tattoos, piercings, leather, and rock and roll.  Although we spent a lot of money and were nothing but polite, our appearances were apparently too much for the upscale restaurant folk.  We were given our bills and pointedly not asked if we wanted to order from the dessert menu.

We fit in much better later on at a bar in St. Catharines, where Sarge presided regaling us with stories about Lemmy from Motorhead and others.  I normally don’t like bars, but everybody seemed to know everybody there.  Sarge then presented me a Motorhead tour shirt, a gift I still have (although packed away in a box).  We had a pretty solid time, and the place was mostly empty so my crowd phobia didn’t really kick in.

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The Rockmobile

The following day, Sunday, we took a trip across the border to do some shopping. We all piled into Lemon Kurri Klopek’s Rockmobile.  There was some kind of outlet mall in Niagara Falls, USA that was supposed to be pretty cool.  JJJulie wanted to buy shoes (whoop-de-do!) but I was told there were a couple good toy stores there.

At K.B. Toys I found the Star Wars Game of Life for $9.99, which I still have.  That was a score.  I kept it sealed.  At that price I should have bought a second one and sold it or given it away as a gift.  But that wasn’t the only mistake I made on that trip.  A further stop at a US record store turned up a find that I didn’t know existed.

I’m admittedly not a fan of the Alice Cooper Brutal Planet period. I am however a completist, so I was still interested when I saw a Brutally Live CD/DVD combo pack.  We had the DVD in Canada, but not the CD, and CD is still my primary format.  It was $25, and I decided to pass on it simply because I knew I wasn’t going to play it that often.

Maintaining a balance between “I won’t play it that often” and “I still want it for the collection” is tricky sometimes, and erring on the side of budget, I decided to pass on the Brutally Live set for the moment.  As soon as I got back home and checked online, I regretted that decision.  I couldn’t get it from any Canadian sellers and buying from an American one was going to cost me at least $35.  (Happy ending:  About five years down the road, it was released in Canada at a budget price!  I have it now.)

My Star Wars Game of Life was a good score.  On eBay, there’s one (not sealed like mine) going for $25.99 (buy it now).  There are none on eBay that are unopened at the time of this writing.  I think I’ll hang onto mine and wait for the release of Episode VII to sell!

Gallery: Johnny Cash figure (Sota toys)

 

This was a gift from Mrs. LeBrain.  Johnny Cash, the Man in Black!  This figure, from 2005, captures a younger, tougher Johnny.  I love the little details like the nylon guitar strings, and the gold dots on his necktie.  Not much articulation here, so this one has some very limited poses.  He does come with a nice, detailed railroad track figure stand.

Gallery: Iron Maiden’s EDDIE (2012 Neca figure)

This one goes out to FanFigureZero and his jaw-dropping site.

In downtown Kitchener last night, I dropped in at the great store Lookin’ For Heroes, to pick up the lastest issue (#94) of Transformers Re-Generation One.  Unfortunately I was a week early, but they did have Eddie!  Several different Eddies.  I decided to start yet another Iron Maiden collection!

I already had the old McFarlane figures from a long time ago, but this new series has seven figures in it.  And I plan on getting them all!

GALLERY: Rush and The Tragically Hip 2013 postage stamps

Rush and The Tragically Hip 2013 postage stamps – Canadian Recording Artists series

Package of 10, $6.30.

I went down to the post office to pick up my latest CD treasure from Discogs, when I noticed these beauties:  the new 2013 Rush, and Tragically Hip postage stamps!  Had to have ’em.  The budget didn’t allow for the Guess Who set (apparently their best seller).  I’ve never heard of Beau Dommage, but apparently they are “considered the Beatles of Quebec and French music” (Canada Newswire).

I love the little details.  The “Stereo 1” on the Hip package.  The “Side A” and Anthem Records serial number on the Rush.  It’s the little things like these touches that make these stamps fun to keep in package, safe in my collection!

For your viewing pleasure, please enjoy these cool postage stamps.  I’ll try to pick up The Guess Who next week.

5/5 stars!

MOVIE REVIEW: The Ultimate Cut: Watchmen – The Complete Story (blu-ray)

Hot on the heels of my Man of Steel review, here’s…the Watchmen.

WATCHMEN : The Ultimate Cut – The Complete Story (2009 Warner 4 disc blu-ray set)

Directed by Zack Snyder, 216 minutes 

What’s the greatest comic book movie of all time?  I’ve seen a lot of them. There’s quite a few I haven’t seen as well, but it’s a great topic for discussion.  I always have to put Watchmen on the table when discussing great comic book adaptations.

Watchmen is a complex tale.  Its original comic was ambitious, containing page after page of dense backstory information in the form of documents and faux-magazine articles, all very relevant.  There’s even a parallel story taking place, a comic within a comic, which directly reflects one (or arguably more) of the characters in the main story.  Characters and their psychology are key.  In addition, neither the comic nor the movie are linear.  The story unfolds within different time periods, flashing back and forth, as we learn more about the characters, their motivations, and the world they inhabit.

It is the world they inhabit that was the hook for me.  I’m a sucker for alternate universe stories.  Here’s one that sets us on Earth, 1985, but things have unfolded very differently.  The influence of various superheroes/vigilantes has caused history to unfold very differently.  Specifically, it is the presence of Dr. Manhattan, who puts a swift and decisive end to the Vietnam war, who influences history the most.  In this 1985, Richard Nixon is still president, and masked vigilantes are now outlawed.

The Watchmen are a group of such vigilantes, originally known as the Minutemen.  Some, such as Dr. Manhattan truly are superhuman.  Others, such as Nite Owl and his successor Nite Owl II, are mere mortals with high-tech gadgetry and skill as their allies.  All have retired, some in fame and some in anonymity…all but one.  Rorschach.  He remains active, alone and wanted.

The movie begins as a murder mystery.  Someone has managed to identify and kill Edward Blake — The Comedian, once one of the most dangerous heroes alive.  To overpower and murder Blake would require an individual of tremendous resources.  Who?  And are other former vigilantes also at risk?  Rorschach seems to be the only one who wants to know.

Being a fan of the graphic novel, I was very happy with the way that Zack Snyder captured Watchmen. It was done with love and care. The things that are discarded, I didn’t miss so much. The things that he changed, I understand why it was done.  There’s one layer to the story/mystery that has been discarded, probably to keep this thing under 4 hours!  The things that are reverently exactly the same as the comic made my jaw drop in awe.  The acting performances are what they are, but I have to give special mention to Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach.

WATCHMEN_0006The soundtrack is one of the best in recent memory. Outside of Wes Anderson, I haven’t loved a soundtrack this much in a long time.  It’s awesome from the stunning Bob Dylan classic “The Times They Are A’Changing”, to Nat King Cole, to Simon and Garfunkel, Hendrix and Philip Glass, and probably the weirdest use of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in movie history.  The soundtrack is where it’s at.  The movie even contains a Village People sighting!  I’ll skip My Chemical Romance.

This Ultimate Cut weaves the comic-within-a-comic, Tales Of The Black Freighter, previously only available on its own, into the main body of Watchmen. These segments are narrated by Gerard Butler.  New live action linking sequences connect the movie to Black Freighter, much like it worked in the graphic novel. People who haven’t read the graphic novel might not understand what “Black Freighter” is doing there, but they should probably start with the less daunting theatrical cut to start with anyway.

WATCHMEN_0003The box set includes four discs, beautifully packaged. Hardly a complaint to be registered. The box is heavy and sturdy. Included is Watchmen: The Motion Comic, packed in its own case, 5 hours long on its own. One disc is the expired digital copy of the theatrical cut (whoop de do) and another disc is loaded with special features. Best of these is Under The Hood, which is based on the graphic novel segments covering Holis Mason.  Mason, the original Nite Owl I, wrote an autobiography called Under the Hood; this film is a faux-documentary on his story. It is presented as a television program from 1975 re-run in 1985, including commercials and scratchy footage. At 35 minutes, this is an absolute must. Other special features include brand new audio commentaries, for those who dare to keep going deeper. This set is just loaded.  Unfortunately I found the sound level inconsistent, I had to turn it up and down frequently.

Having said that, I’m not going to discard my Director’s Cut of Watchmen. Clocking in at almost four hours, watching this version is a commitment. I know that occasionally, I will want to watch the “shorter” version of the film. Since a digital copy of the theatrical (shortest) cut is included here, maybe you won’t feel the need to double-up on Watchmen editions.  For an enriched viewing experience, set aside the four hours one afternoon and enjoy.

4/5 stars

Malin Akerman … Laurie Jupiter / Silk Spectre II

Billy Crudup … Dr. Manhattan / Jon Osterman

Matthew Goode … Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias

Jackie Earle Haley … Rorschach

Jeffrey Dean Morgan … Edward Blake / Comedian

Patrick Wilson … Dan Dreiberg / Nite Owl

Carla Gugino … Sally Jupiter / Silk Spectre

Matt Frewer … Moloch