Tuesday, March 3, 2015

All this stuff

Between laziness, procrastination, and writer's block, the ol' blog has been stagnant for too long. I just haven't been "feeling it" these days. I've had some ideas, but just not much interest. 
I've finally got a few ideas for quite a few posts, so let's see if I can get rolling.

I never met Gary "Goggles" Head (aka Gyre-Viper), but I do know of his impact on GI Joe Collectors over the past few years. I can't really say much about who he is, besides the few times I've heard him on a few podcasts and his posts on the GI Joe Discussion Facebook page.

Gary passed away just a short time ago at the far too young age of around 35-36. He died of a damn heart attack. Like I said, I don't really know him, but his passing kinda' hurt. Here was a prominent voice in the world of GI Joe and now he's gone. What the hell... I can only offer prayers to his family and to all of the friends he made throughout the GI Joe community. 

This stark collision of collecting toys and the cold hard reality of death is just tough to grasp and wrestle with. All of us, with our collections of varying sizes, aren't getting out of this alive. One post in the Discussion post after Gary passed, was related to the disposition of collections. The writer was asking if anyone has made any plans for their collections after they are gone, or hell, even in the event of a damn heart attack or even a car accident. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. I've thought about this a lot lately, especially as I'm beginning my journey into my 6th decade. 

I'm 52 years old. Fifty-two. Over half a century old. And I still buy action figures. 

I don't have a gun collection or a bass boat or a sports car or a mistress. I have my plastic crack addiction. And I don't think that it's such a bad thing to have. 

Have I spent a lot of money on toys over my life? Yeah, I don't really want to think about how much money...

Do I enjoy them? Hell yeah... I like them; they make me happy and keep my childhood imagination alive. I've got a Will made, but what about my toys? What's the wife and kids to do with all my stuff if something happens to me? I don't want it all to go at yard sale prices. I'd like as nice of a return on my collection as possible. I think it's time to make a "disposition" manual for my collection, maybe just some explanations and thoughts as to how the stuff should be sold off.

I just sold two 40 year old worn out comic books for $127.00. I know there's more money in my ton o' crap.

But what if I'm around for a while? My dad is 81 years old and in pretty dang good shape. Maybe I've got another 30+ years ahead of me. Still, what about all this crap? GI Joe seems to be on a slow, steady decline into cultural decay. The heroism and honor inherent in the sacrifices and services of the soldier seem important to some, but I'm afraid that those ideals are nearly socially unacceptable. In a world of social parasites, personal honor and sacrifice are in decline.
Enough of that depressing shit.

My mother-in-law lives with us; she's almost 91 years old. Ninety-one! Almost 91 trips around the sun. That's frikkin' awesome! Her health is decent enough; her lungs are her biggest issue right now. She's still pretty sharp mentally. Sure, she forgets short-term stuff often, but she's 91! She's earned it!

She still sews a good bit as long as her strength holds out and then she's got to rest for a while. There are fewer days ahead for her, but she's still semi-active and loving life. Some days, she's weak and just sits and watches TV and naps and that's okay too.

She still impresses the hell out of me; she's still going strong at 91! 

So let me cast my imagination forward another 30-40 years from now. Hopefully, the madness of the world will have settled down and the impending World War III will be averted before we all perish at the hands of madmen and tyrants. 

Maybe one day, I'll be sitting in my hover-recliner, watching the latest holographic news broadcast, and I'll have a few of my old action figures there beside me, helping me to keep my child-like sense of wonder and fun alive.

I'm okay with that thought.
What are your plans? Where do you see yourself 30-40 years from now?


Monday, January 26, 2015

Aging Plastic Soldiers

Just how old is a Snake Eyes anyway? 

According to the original mythos, many of the original GI Joe figures from the 80's series were Viet Nam war veterans. The average age of a Vietnam vet is 64.

I don't mean to disrespect men in their 60's but I'm sure Snake Eyes and his fellow GI Joe team members are not quite as active as they used to be. Hell, I'm 52 and I ain't even close to being as physically fit as I once was. 

Sure, they're toys. I get it. It's still interesting to consider the characters and their "ages". Is the Snake Eyes from "Retaliation" the same Snake Eyes from "The Mass Device"? Of course not. No way.

The key to bringing GI Joe into the 21st century is to basically lift the mythos of the 80's and drop it into the modern era. But what does that do to the original story? Could there be different Dukes? Could Duke be more of a code name than a specific person? Maybe, but I would imagine that there would only be one Snake Eyes. 

The ultimate success of GI Joe is to know when to let go of the past. This applies to all of the various incarnations of GI Joe. Including the original 12" GI Joe. 

I'll say it again. 2014 was the 50th anniversary of the Brand, not just one aspect of its history. Of course, Hasbro screwed it up. GI Joe deserved more.

My intention here on this ridiculous blog is to do my own personal reboot of the GI Joe versus Cobra conflict into the 21st century to take advantage of the kick-ass modern era figures. So does that mean my favorite vehicle from the 80's, the Defiant Complex, is wiped from history? Uhh... maybe? We'll see.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

GI Joe: A Real American History - Part 5

GI Joe History - The Death and Rebirth of Cobra 

The Death of a Nation
This is the part where things get really ugly. When I last wrote about my weird twisted alt universe, Cobra was all but defeated. The upper echelon had been scattered or captured. Cobra bases across the world were attacked and destroyed, often with minimal resistance.

Cobra Commander was missing, presumed dead after the destruction of the orbiting Cobra space station. In victory, the GI Joe team became overconfident, assuming their superior forces was the primary reason for the collapse of Cobra. Unless it was planned by Cobra Commander and his most loyal officers. 
(blah, blah, blah)

I started writing this series last summer right before going back to work. It's taken quite a while for me to get back to it and I really don't feel the excitement that I did when I first started. So this idea has just stalled. My original idea was that Cobra basically went underground and started infiltrating American society, digging into areas of politics, law enforcement, the judicial system, and the entertainment. Cobra eventually became somewhat legitimate, disrupting American society from within while actively pursuing military conquests from a huge base established in Venezuela, which had become basically a puppet country run by Cobra forces.

Things have changed in my weird GI Joe world over the past several months, somewhat influenced by politics and world events. Plus there's the whole idea that the stories of the original ARAH GI Joe line are pretty much rooted in the 1980's. The original characters were also portrayed as Vietnam era veterans as well. That just doesn't work in terms of the modern versions of the characters.

So why not just pick up the whole concept of "GI Joe versus Cobra" and dump into the 21st century? My goal now stands to rewrite the past 15 to 20 years and work in the "rise" of Cobra in the 21st century. Much has been influenced by GI Joe Renegades and Retaliation, perhaps even a dash of Resolute as well.

Stay tuned, my loyal reader(s), hopefully this should be interesting. And hopefully not so drawn out like my past writing efforts.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What is this Thing?

It's Contest Time here at Reasonably Intelligent Rambling!

I have been in the possession of an old set of Robotix building toys. Apparently, these toys were the basis for an animated series back in 1985. I don't remember that series at all. I know that this kit is well over ten years old.
There is a very strong tech vibe to these pieces; lots of added tech tidbits on the structure of the parts. The colors are a bit loud though!
Just a nice industrial feel to these parts.
 Odd bits of connectors and other weird items.
These pieces came together pretty quickly I knew that the purple "cylinders" had to become some sort of processing tanks or something like that...
Destro was on-hand for the initial phase of construction, but due to the colors, I felt that someone else needed to step in to oversee construction.
Cesspool was the obvious choice to supervise the construction process since he just digs loud colors. 
At this point, I was pretty much done with construction and kinda' liked the colors, but they were really just too varied and loud.
Cesspool really liked the colors, but the Cobra Board of Directors over-ruled him. Time for some serious repainting!
The first step was to disassemble the thing and take plenty of pictures so I would know how to reassemble it. I took my time on the painting, primarily using flat gray and gloss black as my two colors.
Once the big chunks were painted to my satisfaction, it was time to put the thing back together.
I did add bits of detailing here and there, just to enhance some of the details in the structure. It has been a long time since I've done any painting on something like this, so it ain't all pretty. Good enough for me.
The tanks are completed with little bits of highlights here and there.
Cesspool and two nervous Techno-Vipers stand at the completed project. 
What does this thing do?
 Well, that's the problem. I built the damn thing without any idea of what it is. I know it's some sort of nefarious device that Cobra has built and the GI Joe team is going to have to break in and destroy the damn thing, but they need to know what they are after.
Hell, it could just be an industrial sized cappuccino machine! There's a huge Cobra army that needs their caffeine!
No, it's got to be some sort of dastardly something that needs to be destroyed or at least shut down.
That's where you, my loyal reader(s) and new guests come into play. I need some help in figuring this thing out.

So here's the deal. Develop some sort of back story as to what the hell this thing is and what its purpose is and I'll choose the best idea and you'll win...  

 Either Prize A (Two Cobra Blueshirts) or Prize B (One Blueshirt & Storm Shadow). Your choice!

It's just about January 3rd as I finish up this post and I'm going to start promoting it on Facebook & Twitter. How about I set a tentative ending date of January 16th? Email your entry to tbrooks1025 (at) gmail.com. Leave me a quick comment to let me know to keep an eye out for your entry. I'll review the entries and make my choice over the following weekend. I'll post the winner here and devote a new post to the official description of this thing, giving the winner full credit.

Plus, I'm planning on submitting it to JoeCustoms and I'll give you credit there! And if I take it to Joelanta this year, I'll give you a shout-out there as well!

Fame and fortune await!
Yo Joe!