Open Your Toys Cast – Episode 124: Expectations vs. Reality…

So this is a little bit of an experiment. I am writing this first part just before we head out to view the great total eclipse of 2017. There are so many expectations. We have been planning this for months. It’s our first full-on family trip with wife, daughter, father-in-law, and cousin in-tow, headed to stay with uncle and girlfriend/aunt. They are a couple hours from the totality line. Uncle is in charge of where we are going to view it. He says don’t worry about traffic, but all I’ve heard is to worry. We’ve had cool glasses for months, then we get a recall from Amazon a week ago. Guess what? Denver was completely sold out of eclipse glasses by then. People say this can be a life-changing event. As you guys know, I try to manage my expectations, so yeah, we’ll see.

Well, that was certainly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen even if it did only last 3 minutes. Not only from an astrological sense, but more so from a humankind perspective. We saw literally thousands of cars pulled over as we headed toward the line of totality. Almost any place you could pull over in that 20 miles there were 1-15 cars full of people. We didn’t even make it to the zero point, but we still were in an area with hundreds of people in the middle of nowhere. When totality hit there were cheers. It was truly visually astonishing. We hung out for the entire three-hour event. While we had next to no traffic heading up, now we are in the middle of nowhere in bumper-to-bumper traffic. After almost an hour we are still in stop and go gridlock. Would I do it again? Definitely. Would I spend thousands of dollars and travel around the world? Nah. I feel blessed that I got do it while spending time with family and financially spending next to nothing. I just don’t think I will become an avid eclipse chaser.

As it turns out, we spent about 5 hours to get there and about 8 hours to get back from our total eclipse experience. Spending about $200 total. Beyond worth it in my opinion. On this show we have something that is definitely worth it, Colorado Springs Comic Con. Just check out that guest list. Mattel continues to try to make what is quickly becoming their tired product worth it with their new subscription service. Something that is finally almost worth it is the AT-ACT. When it comes to Transformers, don’t ever pay secondary market prices, it’s not worth it and we talk about why.

Lowered expectations…Slick

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Open Your Toys Cast – Episode 123: I try so hard…

In this episode, we learn that I got laid off last month. Now while for a lot of reasons, this isn’t the worst thing that could happen. However, it still is a little hit to my ego and starts a whole concern about money thing. It’s slowed the toy buying thing, but not completely. I have picked up some super hard to find figures at retail. In doing so, I use every discount, sale and coupon I can. I do this with everything I buy, groceries, commodities, tech, etc. Sometimes literally saving only pennies over a different option. This last weekend was Mrs. McFavorite’s birthday and this weekend is Lil’ Miss McFavorite’s. To say we spend a little money on these activities is an understatement. Now we’re not jet setting off to the Keys or Cancun, but we are just less concerned about money. Usually, that is. Being unemployed makes it a little harder, but I was trying my best. So what happens on the last night of the Mrs.’ birthday weekend, I accidentally leave my 3.5 month old iPhone on the train. By the time we got home, whoever took it had powered it off. The telltale action of someone going to profit from your lost phone is powering it off so it can’t be tracked. Why would did I specifically put .5? We always keep insurance for three months on our new phones. Guess what I canceled a couple of weeks ago? Yup. It’s just a kick in the balls and not the kind where you’re like “come on, do it!” (I have a friend that does this, believe it or not), but it’s the kind where you’re in the fetal position pleading “please don’t”. It’s just killing me that I spend hours on a regular basis to save pennies on the dollar and in 15 seconds I lose $600.

Feel like joining me in throwing away hundreds of dollars? Check out the “Super Fan” experiences for Hascon coming up in less than a month. Other things that would have cost you hundreds of dollars are these amazing test shots of canceled Joe figures. They had to be snow-themed, tear. Something that adds a little value, but still brings a tear to my eye for what they could have been are the gorgeous faux mini-comic covers accompanying the new Ultimates. Lastly, probably the best way to use hundreds of dollars is going to be visiting Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. This looks like it is going to be amazing!

Don’t sweat the small stuff…Slick

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Open Your Toys Cast – Episode 122: Insane in the Membrane…

Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we should be back to a more regular schedule after this episode. The bad news is that’s because I was laid off last week. Yup, after ten years with my company we simply didn’t have enough work to sustain my entire team. It’s partly my fault. I introduced innovations to our product that literally reduced our requests by 75% in the last year. In the end, it becomes a numbers game, unfortunately. However, that has nothing to do with our title. The title refers to the fact that even in this circumstance, I still can’t seem to stop buying toys. I know I need to, but a great deal on Prime Day (Amazon, not Optimus) still made me order something I didn’t really need. What kind of insanity is that?

You know what is really crazy? This Shiva Force Box Set from Skybound. Is it infringement? Is it an homage? Either way, it will be mine even in my current state of employment. Another couple of exclusives that will test my level of sanity and the definition of infringement are the Four Horsemen’s Power-Con exclusives. Luckily, there’s one major release that everyone is crazy about that holds no interest for me and that’s Takara’s MP Sunstreaker. No matter your economic situation, theft should never be an option. Especially this kind of theft.

Don’t you know I’m loco…Slick

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Open Your Toys Cast – Episode 121: Andale, andale, arriba, arriba…

Here we go, hurry up, hurry up, let’s go, let’s go. It’s summer time and it’s time to hurry. There is lotsa stuff going on so not a lot of time to muse. I’ve brought it up before, but I think I need to harp on this. Empathy, please learn it, love it, live it! I think back in 50’s if Warner Bros. would have had any level of empathy Speedy Gonzalez would have never been born. While I loved him growing up, primarily because he was a reflection of the culture I was raised in, looking back I can see the lack of empathy from a culturally insensitive time. However, we have the opportunity to move forward. Please whatever you do don’t look back. Empathize! Hurry up, hurry up, let’s go, let’s go.

Something you needed to move fast on was Hasbro’s Fan Favorite Figure vote. However, it looks like comic fans won this year considering I have no idea who Doctor Aphra is. Another thing winning that I will not be participating in is this year’s Power-Con. Val Staples of He-Man.org fame continues to kill it with the premier MOTU convention. Something not killing it is the new Transformers movie. Even with a pretty impressive final trailer, it’s been pretty much universally panned by critics, again, with a whopping 15 percent on Rotten Tomatoes so far. The last thing is not quite killing it, but is about as good as we’re going to get, at least officially. The G.I. Joe Collectors Club announces FSS 6.0.

Figuras de accion por vida…Slick

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Open Your Toys Cast – Episode 120: Be Thankful…

Please remember to be thankful for the things that people do for you. From the small things like packing your lunch or serving you a burger, to much larger things like preserving your freedoms. It is Memorial Day after all. A day to remember those brave women and men who have fought and died so we can do pretty meaningless things like amass small armies of plastic figures. And while our hobby may not hold a lot of significance in the long run, the things people do to make our lives better should never be taken for granted. So the next time somebody does something for you, don’t just passably throw a thanks their way, take a second, engage them and give them a meaningful THANK YOU.

After having to edit this beast, I am truly thankful for all the work Vern does. Our apologies for taking almost two months to release it, but hopefully you’ll find the wait worthwhile. We have a very special guest. Not to mention we’re almost twice the length of a standard cast. So take frequent breaks and be thankful, you never know when the next one will be posted. Spoiler, it’s already been recorded. Another spoiler, Celebration was last month. Yeah, that happened again. There was a lot of news, but perhaps the most exciting was the return of the second most beloved line in Star Wars history in 2018. In another throwback, Takara kills it by revisiting Targetmasters. The vintage nostalgia continues with Super7’s new vintage-era MOTU sculpts. Unfortunately there is no reverence for Joe as Hasbro looks to reboot the movie franchise again. Remember to be thankful for what you’ve got.

You’re welcome…Slick

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