Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Truly Awesome (And Valuable) Thrift Store Find

I do love thrift stores. If you hit them just right you can find some great deals. And it is really just luck that you are there at the right time to find the better deals.

In High School I found a complete Optimus Prime in the box for four dollars. The box was beat up and the Styrofoam was in backwards so all you could make out was his trailer. I took the chance and everything was there except roller, which was not hard to get a hold of. The stickers had not even been put on yet. He is still in my collection, although right now he is not on display.

Even now days I from time to time find actual vintage Star Wars items. Last year one store had a early figures case from the late 70s for only a coupe bucks. While it is not a highly sought after piece, it was still cool and the price was good.

I rarely pick up something that I plan to sell though. Most of the time I buy stuff to add to my collection. When I do pick up something that I plan to resale, it is never wroth that much. I let my wife do the selling and we make a few bucks off it, generally five to twenty I think has been our range so far.

Today however I found what will hopefully be a good investment of $3.

I have been into Magic the Gathering since shortly after it came out. Early on they released a special set called the Collector's Edition. I picked one up and have had it since then. A couple years ago when I was selling off some of my valuable Magic cards because we needed the money and Magic cards were one collectable I picked-up that kept its value, one buyer asked about the Collector's Edition. I didn't think it was worth much and I wanted to keep it, so I said it was not for sale.

So today I saw one at the thrift store for $3. It felt complete to me, so I figured it was worth a chance. Even if it was not complete I figured I could get more than $3 for it.

Got home and checked on eBay to learn that complete sets of the Collector's Edition are going for over $1000... Yeah, and some of the individual cards were going for over $50 each. So even if it was not complete, it seemed I could make some money on this.

Well, it was a complete set and it was in better shape than the set I've had for over twenty years now.

I did not waste any time in putting a Craigslist ad up for it. I am hoping someone is interested before the weekend, so we have some money to spend at Anomalycon. It is always nice to have a little extra money as it is.

For the time being I am keeping my personal set, although knowing how much it is worth does make it so I might sell it in the future if I need to. For now this nice thrift store find should help that not be needed.

Now to see just how much I can get for it.

My Son's Geeky Birthday

My youngest son just had his 11th birthday. I don't think he got a single gift that I would not mind having.

He got a Doctor Who TARDIS blanket, which he is now wrapped up in on the couch, from his grandparent (It goes perfectly with the TARDIS pillowcase they got him for Christmas).

We got him a really impressive looking book that goes behind the scenes of the making of the Hobbit movies. It has lots of great picture of the props and costume designs, as well as story broad and sets and so on. And a small light up TARDIS.

His friends got him mostly Magic cards.  After twenty years Magic the gathering is still going strong. I love that my boys and their friends play it. I showed off a bit to his friends by showing them my old school magic cards.

He also got a Nerf gun, which we have all played with.

And he got money, lots of money.  With his moeny his picked up a new 11th Doctor's sonic screwdriver, a Character Building set of the TARDIS and the LEGO Back to the Future set that was available for the first time at the LEGO store.

The Back to the Future LEGO set is really cool.  You build the DeLorean, and then you can customize it to whatever version you desire. You can make just about every version of the car with just the one set.

So my boy had a good birthday and we have new toys in the house to play with. Just none of them are mine.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Denver Comic Con Just Keeps Getting Better

As if I needed more to look forwards to at DCC this year, they just announced that they will have actual participants from Face Off (For those of you who do not keep up with this blog, that is the greatest reality program on the air right now) doing panels and demonstrations.

Since my oldest son is interesting in costuming as a career, this will be perfect for him.

I am looking forwards to seeing what other surprises DCC has in store for us. They have been good at building up the excitement for the convention this year.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

You Can't Take the Sky From Me

The Science channel is once more doing a Firefly marathon today. They seem to do one about once a month or so. It is always nice to have something like that playing in the background at times.

No matter how many times I see any episdoe of Firefly, it never gets old. Most programs have some episodes that are not too good and are not worth watching again, or even once in some cases. Most of the time you get one or two such episodes a season. Somehow every episode of Firefly is so well done that they are easy to watch over and over again and enjoy them fully.

With thirteen episodes and one movie, the Firefly saga is undeniably one of the greatest Sci-fi shows ever. I personally rank it as one of the top five. Watching the episodes it is obvious as to why they have such a following after all this time. There are just too many moments of brilliance found in ever episode.

You start with the opening song that is filled with emotion and perfectly fits the show's theme. I rank as the number one opening music for a show. It really is that good.

The amount of brilliant, easily repeatable quotes is incredible. We are not talking about catch phrases here either. None of the characters have catch phrases and that is a good thing. The dialogue is that well written.

There is nothing about I can find fault with in the show. Nothing. It is about as perfect as it gets. Outside of it getting canceled of course.

I do wonder if ti would have been able to keep that level of quality if it had kept going. In some ways the magic of Firefly is held strong by just how little was made. There was no chances given for it to drag on and jump the shark.

I know a few people who have not yet watched Firefly. They really have no idea just what it is they are missing.

Friday, March 7, 2014

How Do I Keep My I-Pad In Mint Condition?

 In what is a not at all surprising turn of events with the way the publishing market has been going for some time now, Marvel Comics is going to do some major changes and focus highly on their digital publishing


We know that e-books are taking off big time, making big bucks for publishing companies with little in the way of actual costs compared to traditional publishing. For good or ill this is the way that we are headed. E-books and digital comics are normally cheaper than their print counter parts (Not always, as I have seen some big name e-books cost as much as print), they take up a lot less room and are easier to carrying around. So there are is a lot on the plus side for going digital.

I myself love the feel of a physical book. There is just something about actually turning the page. That is something you do not get from a digital book.

I am also curious as to how this strategy will affect the prices and collectablity of print comics. While the print comics are not going away, there will most likely be noticeably smaller print runs and less markets to find them in. 

So will there be less going into the discount bins at comicbook stores? 

Will the aftermarket prices skyrocket?

Will this help or harm comicbook stores?

It will be some time before it is clear as the what impact this kind of change will have on the greater market. We still have not yet seen the full impact of the increase popularity in E-books on the after market of print books. It may take some time to see where this all goes.

A big change will come from not being able to hand down and pass on digital media. So we may not see the full impact for a generation or two when the e-books and digital comics basically vanish and need to be repurchased by each generation.

Of course you can't get an autograph on a digital comic or e-book.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Can One Say About Snow Crash?

I recently finished up the novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. I am still not fully sure what I actually read though. That is just the kind of read Snow Crash is.

Now to try and explain Snow Crash and see if I can make any sense of it.

Snow Crash takes place in California in the near future (Well, actually an alternate present that feels near future). According to Amazon.com it is a cyberpunk novel, which makes sense. Yet somehow while reading it there was nothing about it that registered as being Cyberpunk in my mind.

In this world there is a government, as the Feds are still there, yet they somehow are not really running things. The rule of law seems to be that franchises are the real power. In this world your pizza delivery (and other) franchises are openly controlled by the Mafia. You are a citizen of whatever franchise you pledge your loyalty to.  The police are a pay for service organization and the prisons are all businesses, some being run out of the basement of  another business.

Our main characters are the hacker/swordsman Hiro Protagonist (Yes, that really is the character's name) and the teenage courier Y.T. While they call themselves partners, they do not spend much time interacting with each other. They share the role of Point of View Characters, switching back and forth, although their timelines are not fully synced up, often making for awkward jumps back and forth in the story.

Not going to go into the plot, as it is better read than explained. I am not sure if I could make it make any sense. There is a lot about the concept of religion being a type of virus and some really complicated ideas of the workings of the human mind that I am not sure if I buy into.

There is a virtual world where a good deal of the book takes place. By using a program that uses binary code to 'reset' a hacker's mind, our bad guys are trying to do something. I was never actually sure what the ultimate use of that was though.  There was something about getting refuges to land in California, but I wasn't sure what this was going to accomplish.

I am going to leave it at that. I am glad I read Snow Crash and I recommend it to others. Please don't ask what I thought of it though, as I am still left with an odd sensation as to what it was I read.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Apparently My G.I.Joe Codename Would be Pulp-Mag

In the last Amateur Skeptics podcast we recorded (http://amateurskeptics.com/)we ended the podcast by talking about G.I.Joe's 50th anniversary. Don't ask what that has to do with being skeptical. it is our podcast and we will go off topic as we please

We had a good talk about the toy line's history and I got to show off my knowledge concerning the topic. And I was not even the one to put the story up for discussion.

Our art guy (Yes, we have an art guy. That's how fancy a podcast we are) put together G.I.Joe style filecards from the 80's line for everyone involved in the podcast. I really liked mine, so here it is for all to see. Thanks Mac.

The podcast, Episode 104: American Heroes, should be up some time this week.