Wednesday, November 24, 2010

50 Random Things I'm Thankful For #21 - #25

Continuing with the list of Random Things I'm Thankful For in 2010, or what I like to call LOFTY 2010, until someone else blows me away with something better. These aren't in any order as far as importance, I just wrote them as they came to me.

Now...on with the thanksgivingfulness...

#21 - Thanks for the Price Break, DirecTV

I live in what I like to call the Bermuda Triangle of the AFC North.

I am besieged on all sides by my hated enemies.

To the immediate south are the Cincinnati BangGirls. To the immediate North are the Cleveland BrownStains. To the East? The demon horde known as the Pittsburgh SteelWhores, led by Ben Rapelisberger.

My beloved Baltimore Ravens are ALL the way through the Appalachian Mountains, on the East Coast of the Atlantic Ocean, and I am stuck here in the Tatooine of the United States...OHIO.

But DirecTV has the NFL Sunday Ticket, which allows you to see EVERY game the NFL has to offer. But it is expensive. This year, because of my employment status, it was on our list of things marked to cut. Jennifer makes the phone call. I just couldn't. I felt like I was gonna vomit.

The person on the other end of the phone offered her a deal. HALF OFF. That is a HUGE discount. HUGE.

I guess everyone is feeling the pinch of this economy. She looked at me...shivering and sweating in the corner, swaying side to side and muttering 'There's no place like home...there's no place like home...' and accepted the deal.


#22 - Thank you High Definition Television

There simply is no better way to watch said beloved Baltimore Ravens than on a big screen, gigantor High Definition TV. It watching the miracle of creation itself. Sniff.

I have a decent sized 32-inch TV in my upstairs office. It's one of those kind that has the curved screen, the big fat backside...and sometimes I am up here working and have it on. I used to watch some games up here. But after we got the Big Kahuna? Can't do it.

Several analogies come to mind, none of which I will use here, and if our circumstances ever improve I'd love to upgrade the office TV, but hell...I'm thankful TO HAVE AN OFFICE TV ANYWAY!

See? I'm so full of thanks I feel like I'm gonna burst.

#23 - Thank You, Smart Bombs, for the TV and So Much More

When Jen and I made the decision to come to Ohio to be closer to family, it also meant leaving another family behind, the one I had come to know at Palisades. Difficult decision? You have no idea. After moving, I tried starting a little venture on my own, making some designer stuff, the first of which were some interpretive figurines of the two atomic bombs Fat Man and Little Boy.

The first two sets made their debut at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2006, and were marginally successful. They actually turned a profit. Enough of one that, when I returned, Jen actually convinced me to buy the aforementioned High Definition television and I was able to put some money into the tooling of another project, a block figure body.

Sadly, the Smart Bombs project never got past these first two figures, because of legal issues. Even though legally they both were protected under 'parody' and 'satire' laws, I got a cease and desist from Lucasfilm and Warner Bros. The Lucasfilm C&D we were able to make go away, but the Warner Bros. one we were not, because we suspected it was more personally motivated than professionally (LONG story).

Because of that, the company stalled, ceased generating any money for the Smart Bombs general release that had been planned, and the block figure line that was planned, so it all fell apart. But I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

A good friend of mine, Chris, who I worked with at ReSaurus years before, said this...'Not many people can say that they actually took their own idea and put their own money into it and made it into a product, saw it through production, shipped it and sold it. You did. You should always be proud of that.'

I was, I was just so disappointed for the people that had put so much work into everything. People like Brian, Matt, Chad, James, Sean, Brandon, Steve and so many others who never got to see their creations see reality. I'm so thankful for what they did...I just wish I'd had the chance to see it through.

#24 - Which Brings Me, of Course, to Luke Milton

The block figure like I mentioned in Number 23 was very, very ambitious, and it was the brainchild of one Luke Milton. I first encountered Luke under the screen name 'punchbunny' on the old Palisades Toys Message Board back in the day. After a while, he started writing content for us on the site in the form of the 'Punchbunny's Drunken Review' I think it was called. It was some funny, funny shit.

He writes his own blog these days, the aptly named Luke Milton Writes, which is, in my humble opinion, the funniest, most cleverly written blog on the entirety of the internet. Without question. There are a few people I have encountered in my life like him who just 'have' it. The 'gift', I call it. The ability to just be creative and interesting in pretty much anything they do.

I'm convinced when Luke takes a dump...there's probably something fascinating to look at in the bowl.

When I was looking for stuff to produce for Creatus Maximus, the company I'd started, I wanted to essentially have the company be a conduit to produce things FOR creative people, not really for me to product things for myself. That was its original intent.

You know I'm into block figures, and Luke's pitch on the block figure line was to do a hybrid block figure/designer figure line that paid homage to some of the classic action figure lines of the 80's, but then flipped it right on its ass and then some. It would have been a very successful specialty market item.

The line was called kockBLOCKerz, and it was awesome in scope. Each figure had its own unique file card, ala the JOE figures in the eighties, and they were hysterical. He really threw himself into the designs. A lot of people did a lot of other stuff in support of it. Just...because. Nobody did it to get paid. Nobody did it for any reason other than the fact that they just wanted to do something fun.

The dream died when the company did. But I'll always be thankful for what those guys did, especially Luke. I've always said, if I ever win the lottery, my number one priority is to go back and finish that line.

#25 - Thanks for the Mighty Beanz

In stark contrast to the coolness of a kockBLOCKerz line, the bizarre subtlely and pizazz of it which of course in this brief scenario I can't show you, is the product known as Mighty Beanz. At first glance you might think you are looking at something quite similar. Oh how wrong you'd be.

It is the absolute best example of mass market toy grotesqueness that I hate so much about this industry. It is SO simple, SO boring, SO overpriced, SO over-hyped, SO over-marketed, SO not worth the hassle. Yet it is popular and it is selling and seems to be doing quite well.

So why am I thanking it, if I detest it so much?

Because my son, Carter, LOVES them...and because of that, they have helped me improve his behavior at school and keep him OFF of medication for ADHD, which he has recently been diagnosed with by a doctor. I had feared it might be coming, we'd been getting reports of behavioral problems for a while now, and I had it as a kid and continue to have it as an adult (though when I was a kid there was no diagnosis for it, I just mis-behaved).

But the Mighty Beanz be Mighty...and they have, for the time being, been magical beans as well. Each day that Carter comes home with a positive behavior stamp...he gets to reach into the bag and pull out a Mighty Beanz.

He gets WAY more stamps than he does NOT, and that is all because of the Beanz.

So detest them or not, for that I am MIGHTY thankful.



  1. I am proud to own the Smart Bombs I have as well as the prototype Fat Man I bought. The proto sits right in front of my monitor between Kermit and the Swedish Chef :)

    Luke's block line would've been hilarious.

    And that's one freakin' huge tv.

  2. My god what size is your TV?

  3. Like Phil said, I couldn't be more proud of the Smart Bombs. Bummed the full series never came out but love the two sets that were released. I still have them sitting just above my monitors.

    Great list so far.


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