Hobby-Lesson Course for Wurlitzer Organs (1964)

This is surely on of the very definitions of random.  The purpose of this 7" record is to sell you, the Wurlitzer Organ Purchaser, on the idea that you need to buy the HOBBY-LESSON COURSE in order to be able to successfully play the instrument that you have purchased.  I have no idea why there is a need for a hyphen in HOBBY-LESSON.  It makes no grammatical sense whatsoever.

Perhaps this record came with the organ, or perhaps they were distributed through stores; who knows.  It begins with some humorous man-on-the-street (see, that needed hyphens) quotes about purchasing Wurlitzers, (the best one being "that's like my wife buying a sewing machine, and she can't even sew!") and then jumps right into the sales pitch.  What is extremely confusing, and absurd,  is that the "Lessons" excerpted on the record expect you to play along on a PAPER KEYBOARD...because of course, they don't want you to hurt yourself.  After all, touching the actual instrument should be left to the professionals. Sort of like how medical students start out out doing surgery on paper cutouts of people, and remove paper cutouts of organs before they are turned loose, and graduate to an OPERATION game.........not.


Kaijubilee #14, "Mothra T-Shirt Design"

By the way, for some reason my numbering is weird, but #15 has already been posted (adding a Baragon to a thrift-store painting).  Next time we will pick up with #16.  Not sure how that happened.

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Kaijubilee #14, "Mothra T-Shirt Design" by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Kaijubilee #13, "Three Heads, Two Minds"

New arrivals on Planet X!! Are they friend or foe?

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Kaijubilee #13, "Three Heads, Two Minds" by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Engrish With Ultraman Jack (part one)

First off, let's talk about this:
Recently, this DVD set (three discs) was released in Malaysia.  It includes a few different sets of subtitles, among them English! As soon as I was able, I rushed to Ebay and ordered my copy, waiting patiently for the discs to make their way to me, making the obligatory purgatory-like journey through Customs...
The wait was worth it.  We now have official releases of the first three shows, and now there is also a way to enjoy Jack in English.  Up to this point, the best you could do were Malaysian "English Dubs," but the entire series wasn't available, and the actors were so bad, you might as well be watching the original Japanese, where at least you can catch a word every so often.
This series is, sort of, the end of an era.  I enjoy all of the classic run of Ultraman (in other words, up to 80), but nothing so much as the earliest series.  It sort of brings the show full circle, as in the beginning the thought was to have the original Ultraman return, but they never fully committed to that, officially naming him Jack years later.  Ishiro Honda directs a few episodes (including the first one), and it's the first series made without the guidance of Tsuburaya, but his presence is evident.  
I guess what I'm saying is, if the series had ended there, I would still feel fulfilled...but luckily, it didn't, and we have decades more of awesomeness--just never so much as in these first series, uh, serieses.  They are, to use some jargon of the youth of today, hard core.
Okay, with that out of the way, we are going to have some fun with the subtitles.  Now, if you have ever seen any Ultraman DVD's with "Hong Kong subs," you know they are very basic, and sometimes nonsensical.  These aren't nearly as bad.  The fonts are large, easy to read, and it's almost always clear what's going on.  There are lots of problems with pronouns, tenses, and plurals, but that's what makes it so much fun.  Occasionally, you get a moment like this...
...and hilarity ensues.  I know it's evident from other posts, but I have a real love for contorting and abusing the English language.  It cracks me up.  Let's get on with it.  There are plenty of fun moments, and I'm sure there will be more.  These screenshots come from the first DVD, which contains episodes 1-17:
Don't kill the people with bomb! They're life!

Oh, yes.  Yes indeed. Combine two of my favorite things: Engrish and FAIL.

As a bit of context, the journal being read says that ideas were discarded...I have no idea how the translators arrived at their final word. Somebody had some Spanish mixed in there. Or something.

It wasn't until later that I realized the lady was saying that the anesthesia had worn off! Also, Malaysians don't know what a semicolon is.

One of my favorites.  Goh and the child are looking at a turtle.  I am going to officially adopt WONKLY as a word. After all, it appears to be a portmanteau of WRINKLY and WONKY...I have a new theory that we can save time if we start combining words in our everyday conversation. Sounds like a recipe for anarchy, doesn't it?

Poor little disabled child...there is no Political Correctness!

And now, the grand finale of grand finales:


Gamera '67 (Revoltech)

After enjoying all of the Toho characters that Revoltech has made, and as the fan-focus shifts back over to Bandai again (with their awesome SH Monsterarts series), I didn't want to leave Revoltech behind before I went for their classic Gamera.
I have a few various vinyls of Gamera, but nothing as detailed, articulated, and customizable as this.  As expected, Revoltech again knocks it out of the park with this figure.  The detail is amazing, and it looks like the Friend To All Children has walked right out of GAMERA vs. GAOS and onto my shelf.
Detail, detail, detail!

You forget how thin Gamera is...at least I do, in my mind.  The 90's films made him, well, thicker, or bulkier, but it took me a minute to understand how proportionally correct this figure is.  Also, I started to complain about the limited range-of-motion on his arms and legs, until I realized that is ALSO correct to the original suits! The amazing Revoltech (TM) joints are there, just not allowed to be used to their full potential, but still give more articulation than a vinyl figure.

I started to put a candy heart in here...or at least some green Jell-O, but decided against it.  Maybe a tiny pilot figure would be more interesting?
But wait, this is Revoltech, so there's more! Besides the cool nameplate they always include, and the cool flame jet you have already seen, this figure is TRANSFORMABLE.  Yep, his chest opens, into which you can fold his head...pop off his arms and legs, and swap them for the four included blue jets! They even give you a cover for his folded-in head, and a stand to put him on, so he can be in flying mode.  Heck, I will let the packaging do the talking here:
Now, that is Japanese ingenuity at its finest.  Once again, I can heartily recommend this figure, which at the time of this writing, is $50 on Amazon, but much cheaper, even, from their sellers. 


Kaijubilee #12, "Disguises"

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Kaijubilee #12, "Disguises" by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Pacific Rim figures (Series One, NECA)

I'm late to the party on this one, because it took me for-freaking-EVER to find these action figures.  Basically, the only retail store carrying them is TRU, because they have that section of overpriced "fancy" figures geared toward collectors...or whoever it is that needs to get down there and buy all of the PROMETHEUS and WRATH OF THE TITANS crap that is filling up the shelves.
For some reason, even though they kept telling me they were on order, not a one has ever made it onto a peg at my TRU.  I smell scalpers with connections, but we won't dwell on that.  

My advice is, if you are still searching for these, and have given up (as I had), just avoid Ebay and Amazon, at least this time.  It will just bring you down even more.  Instead, try to outsmart the scalpers.  Try your local comic shop, or, as I did, find a store like Hastings that carries stuff like this--in other words, find somewhere that is stocked by Diamond (the main supplier for comic shops).  When last I looked on Amazon, Gipsy Danger was $54-and-some-change, instead of the $20 that he cost me at Hastings.  I don't know why they allow people to scalp like that when their normal supply is gone.  It shouldn't be.

But on to the photos.  I intended to scan the artwork, and when that's done I'll edit this post and add it.  Oh, and not to make the situation worse, but Series Two is already announced and will be out shortly!

Gipsy Danger.  This figure is perfection, not so much in paint as in sculpt, but since I have seen ONE in person, I couldn't be choosy!

Just look at all the little details.  My only complaint is that the joints have gotten loose, and sometimes he's a bit hard to stand.  There are peg-holes in the feet, if anybody makes stands on this scale.

Crimson Typhoon.  I would have liked to see much more about this robot and team.  I think it would make a good prequel side-story for some time.

It was hard to tell in the film where the third arm connected, because it was so dark.  I really thought it was in the middle of the back, but not so.

The first kaiju released is Knifehead, and probably the most memorable from the film.  His sculpt actually limits his posability, but it's still an awesome sculpt.

I will say this though, and this is no exaggeration--this figure is dangerous! His claws are sharp, and the point on his head is even more so.  I would hate to think what would happen if he toppled off a shelf, and landed on my foot...or a child!
UPDATE: 9-15-13 - Here are the scans I promised earlier...the Jaeger fronts are identical, by the way.


Bandai USA Corrects A Long-Standing Mistake

Well, cheers to Bandai USA for giving us an American line of Godzilla vinyls, AND keeping them in stores, despite limited availability (in my area, K-Mart, TRU's, and comic shops).  Who ever thought we would have such a line!
In the most recent assortment: a brand new sculpt of King Caesar! The last one that was available was from 1998's "Godzilla Island," and, well, it was really lacking. Take a look:
Hard to believe it's even the same character. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the new one's tail, which is articulated, is even correct, going from a thin-to-thick portion that is much more "screen accurate."
Pick this one up if you get the chance, and you won't be disappointed--I would hope that Bandai USA continues with a lesser-used character per assortment...how about a swell Baragon or Gorosaurus?


Kaijubilee #11 "The '64 Monster Summit"

As in GHIDRAH, THE THREE HEADED MONSTER.  I think the idea for King "Ghidrah" talking in pictures came from SCRIBBLENAUTS, now that I think about it!

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Kaijubilee #11 "The '64 Monster Summit" by Sampoerna Quatrain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


So What's Inside of a "Magic 8-Ball" ???

The short answer is: it's not magic.

The long answer is, I've wondered for years what the little message die inside a Magic 8-Ball looked like.  I imagined it was solid and had eight or ten sides.  I was wrong on both counts.
Before we get to that, this toy is as secure as Fort Knox.  I mean, it has to be, because it's filled with blue goo, right? And who has ever heard of any pediatric misfortunes concerning the blue liquid? This is why:  you need something just short of one stick of dynamite to break into the thing.

I figured the easiest way to remove the die was to drill holes into the window, remove the window, and then just dump out the die...wrong again.  It turns out the die is nearly as big as the window itself, and the jagged holes I made as I worked my way around the circle only blocked my progress.  No worries, I just decided to dump out the liquid and continue my quest...

Here is where another of my many helpful warnings comes in: the liquid (which one website called "ink" and Wikipedia calls "alcohol with blue dye") finds a permanent home on skin...I didn't even realize it was running down both hands until I had dumped out most of the contents into the drain (don't tell the EPA please).  As a result, my hands were stained blue all weekend.  After soap, rubbing alcohol, mineral oil, acetone, Clearasil pads, and finally, soap again, on the second day, I got the majority of it off.

Don't let this happen to you!

 And it just kept coming.  Not only does it fill up the entire chamber in the middle of the 8-ball, but there seems to be an extra reservoir below the main chamber that contains even more.

Well, I don't mind telling you, at this point I'm hot, tired--and now stained blue--and that's when I got really mad.  I took it outside in a large plastic shopping bag, and beat it with a hammer on the garage floor until it popped open with a sound something like a "38 special" (not the awful band) going off near my ear.  More blue dye leaked out, like it was in the final throes of death.

Now I have a cylindrical chamber, that used to be contained in the center of the indestructible toy.  I can see my quarry, and there are three Phillips-head screws on the plastic disc at the bottom of the chamber.  I run back inside, eager to remove the three screws.  At this point I figure there is probably a gold coin or, at the very least, a little plutonium in that chamber!

Unfortunately, these screws are apparently just a red herring, meant to frustrate anyone trying to actually dismantle the 8-ball, which I now suspect was designed by NASA or maybe even aliens.  The screws fell to the floor, and apparently served no purpose at all.  

Somewhere, someone was laughing at me, and singing "Am I Blue" just to make it worse.

So, one more trip out into the garage, which is a lovely 145 degrees at this hour.  I retrieve the hammer with the blue fingerprints on it, and again beat the covered object, until the plastic shatters enough to remove my prize.  And, I hate to tell you after all of this, it's a little anticlimactic:

Suddenly I want to become proficient in "Dungeons & Dragons"...
Yes, the die (for lack of a better name) is neither solid nor 10-sided.  In fact, it is an icosahedron...everyone say it with me, I-COS-A-HEDRON...very good! A TWENTY-sided monstrosity that is actually solid white, hollow and extremely lightweight like a ping-pong ball.  It's also made up of two 10-sided pieces that are loosely glued together...so much so that there are holes where the points meet the other side.  Somehow, this bugger is hollow, so I'll be hanged if I can figure out how it floats to the top.  It does explain why additional blue dye kept flooding out at weird times, though.

So now, it can be told.  Here are the twenty possible answers you can receive if you ask your 8-ball a question:

1)  YES
2)  SIGNS POINT TO YES (not the awful band)
5)  REPLY HAZY TRY AGAIN (are there no commas in the spirit world?)
11) OUTLOOK NOT SO GOOD (neither is Juno Mail, buddy)
14) AS I SEE IT YES (that also needs a little punctuation, Magic 8-ball!)
15) CANNOT PREDICT NOW--DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES IS ON (okay I added that last part)
17) OUTLOOK GOOD (Fire bad!)

I was going to put "DEPOSIT 10 MORE CENTS, PLEASE" as a joke answer, until I realized there are no payphones anymore, and it would just make me look elderly.  The young folks will just have to look to Wikipedia to find out what a "payphone" is...was.  And speaking of Wikipedia, turns out all twenty of the messages are already in an article there, so, aside from my new keepsake, I completely wasted an entire Saturday afternoon.  Again.  

But before I quit, did you notice that the overwhelming majority of Magic 8-Ball answers are negative or neutral? This is probably the greatest tip I can give you--if you plan to use one to determine your future, ask it questions about things you really don't want to do, like "Shall I mow the lawn now?" or "Should I stop abusing myself while looking at Internet photos of manatees?" or "Does talking to a billiard ball make me less than sane?"...well, I probably exaggerated, it's more like 50-50, so pay your money and take your chances.  Just don't break it open if you plan on going anywhere for a couple of days.