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Messages - Jesse James

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Back in the day I recall going to:

-Ben Franklin...  A small chain of odd retail stores who kinda had a specialty for craft things (thread, fabric, yarn, etc.) but who also had a general collection of other stuff too.  Got many a G.I. Joe there, and Ben Franklin stores were like fly ****.  There was one in almost every small town (yup, small towns in the boonies).  One was even right on the top of the hill in my dinky little town, and another 10 minutes away in Apollo up the river.  Weird stores, and they just all disappeared (the last of them) maybe 8 or 10 years ago.  Not all that long, considering.

-G.C. Murphy, 5&10...  These too were like fly ****, and common in small towns.  I remember the one in Vandergrift PA (the building still there), had hard-wood floors and was 2 floors actually.  An upper and lower that had different things on each level.  I got Airborne, Gung-Ho, and Snowjob at that 5&10.  There was one in Natrona Heights as well, and one in downtown New Kensington which is a ghost town now. 

The one in New Kensington had a privately owned chocolate company called Herman's too.  Herman's was the BEST chocolate ever, and I haven't had any that rivaled it.  their nonparels were unmatched to this day.

-Fisher Big Wheel...  Where every one of these were, a Big Lots now stands, but Big Lots sucks sack compared to them because Fisher Big Wheel had "new" toy lines, updated stock, and were simply great.  Pricier as I recall, and really not classier by any means, but they were pretty cool stores.

We had one of these at one of the other plazas at the top of the hill.  Big Lots, unfortunately, now occupies it.

-Hills...  Hills was THE place that I went with my mom to shop every other week when she cashed my dad's check from the mill.  We'd usually hit some other places because she had to do her two weeks of shopping on one day (back when we only had one car and Dad took it to work, but mom dropped him off at work on shopping day).

Hills was perfect.  Always had tons of toys, prices were the best, and it was always my favorite bi-weekly stop.  Hills was bought up by Ames, and Ames quickly went out of business.  Hills is another store that, not that long ago, was still in business.  :(

-Gold Circle...  Gold Circle was a store sort of like Penney's in the Pittsburgh area.  Had a good toy selection, and it's where I got my Rancor on clearance.  :)

I remember one of the VERY rare times my father set foot in a store (any store) was going to Gold Circle for something (I forget) and as he drug my mother and I throuh the store (mach speed, no looking around at anything, straight to what he wanted), we passed a bin BRIMMING with BRAND NEW G.I. Joes.  This is back before the net of course, and I was a little kid, so seeing BRAND NEW Joes just made me go ape ****.  I begged, but my father never let me get anything anywhere we went...  I was whispering my pleas to my mother.  She finally stepped in, and I'll never forget it.  She said that they were new figures, and that Cole (my brother who was sort of the favorite) would like one since they're new, and that got me a green light to get one too.  I got Flint that day, and Cole got Snake Eyes v.2 with Timber. 

Twas a grand day.  Shortly after, we went and got the rest of the Joes...  :P  Mom sure was/is good to us.

-Gee Bee...  There's a mall, which is run down and hardly used, but it's actually only about 20 minutes from my house in Natrona Heights.  The Heights, like New Kensington, are getting bad.  The mall's at the one far end though where it's still a wooded area, but the mall just never "took off".  It's strange really.

Gee Bee was like the anchor store, which is like having a piece of styrofoam for an anchor.

It was a weird store, like Hills, or any other department store, but they had WEIRD toys.  Stuff that is rare today, you'd have found at Gee Bee.  They carried Playmobil (remember that?  Target has it now, but when I was young PMB was a rarity in the toy aisle, and it still is today somewhat).  They also had a bubble gum machine that had the oddest junk you'd ever find.  Trinkets from decades ago, seriously.

I swear to god, I got a smoking monkey from it one day.  These things are meant to be lit on fire, and smoke/blow smoke rings.  Not a toy, at least even by the safety standards of my childhood, and yet I got one of these things.  Wish I still had it...  I have made a nice collection since though.  :)

-K-Mart...  K-Mart showed up in one of the other plazas on the top of the hill from me in 1982.  To be exact, it was the EXACT time G.I. Joe ARAH began because my very first Joe (Flash) came from there.  My mother came home from KM's grand opening and said she had something for me she knew I'd love. 

On that day, my love of Star Wars was pretty much over from a toy standpoint (till 89 or so), and basically I was hooked on Joes then.  They were the dominant toy of my childhood, and I can safely say I had everything except foreign things, the FLAGG, and exclusives...  Up till the late 80's early 90's anyway.

KM is still there, and now is the only decent retail store in quite some distance.  Nearest Wal-Mart is 25 minutes away at least.

-Then there's trips to the mall....

You guys who have seen the original Dawn of the Dead will know the mall that was my once, maybe twice a year jaunt...  As a child I remember feeling like the drive was unbearable, but you stuck it out (or passed out in the back seat) because this was the ONLY place with a Children's Palace!!!!!

Yes, old Children's Palace.  Got many a Joe there as well.  Now it's a car dealer, and I realize the trip there (when I'm driving) takes me all of like 40 - 45 minutes.

The mall's completely different from when I was young.  When I was young it was basically just like you see in Dawn of the Dead.  I ate the brown Derby, I shopped at Penney's, the Ice rink was there but now a food court is in its place, etc., etc...  It's bigger, they've got more stores. 

There was also a mall that's now gone near Greensburg PA, and it's been replaced by Westmoreland Mall which is just outside Greensburg, and is bigger.  There's a TOys R Us there too.  Where the old mall (GreenGate Mall, which had an ice rink too, and a HUGE fountain) was there's a SUper Wal-Mart going in, and a Target is across from it about.

Beyond that, I rarely went anywhere else...

I didn't go to Pittsburgh hardly ever till I was 12 or so when my grandmother was dying and I went with my mother to take her to the hospital a lot.  My own health was/is bad so I was at hospitals a lot around that age for myself.  That forces you into the Oakland area of the city (Where Pitt, CMU, and other universities are).

Dunno why I decided to remember all these things...  I've had this "Where'd you shop" talk with my friends several times though, and my buddy Dan always laughed at how our friend Tyson and myself can finish each other's thoughts/sentences about these stores.  He was just as into Joes and shopping at the same stores at the same times with the same habits/thoughts about them as me, and we laugh about that a lot.

I can remember every G.I. Joe I got, when I got it, where, and the specifics surrounding the moment.

I can't remember cost accounting equations and problem formats, but I remember all that other junk.  :)

30th Anniversary Collection / Re: Hoth Han Revisited
« on: December 1, 2004, 11:30 PM »
hah  :D

Anyway, I checked it out Scott, and after this photo...  To me if you're still arguing blue for any reason other than you think it simply looks better, there's really not much argument.  I lightened that shot, and it's REALLY brown.  Not a hint of blue. 

No doubt to me at this point.  I believed it was brown before, but now this just solidifies it.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Tragic news concerning our fearless leader.
« on: December 1, 2004, 09:12 PM »
Call me crazy, but to me there's more solidarity, maturity, and intelligence in this thread's 2 pages than 2 months worth of threads at Scum.  It's at least exemplary of a thread that people have fun in, don't post to simply hear themselves, and it builds a strong community through people having fun and joking with each other.

I don't see any arguments or fights (till now possibly), no post-padding because people think that's what makes a strong community, and in general it's made everyone who participated in it chuckle at least once (at least the vast majority who legitimately participated anyway).

Is that quality?  Well, it's better than what's doing at Wuher's Cantina, that's for damn sure.

I have some on the way from various outlets.  :)  My army will break 10 soon.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Snow!
« on: December 1, 2004, 06:35 PM »
None in Pittsburgh yet save for some flurries the other day.  I don't know about today since I didn't do anything but lay here with a headache.

We had massive wind gusts today though, and they actually closed school (why, I do not know) in my area.  The gusts were bad, but I recall going to school on icey roads just because the principal could get there so he felt every kid on every back road (he lived along the highway) could get there too.  I guess they have a new principal though and she's apparantly a bit of a puss when it comes to weather. 

One fart cross-wise and the world apparantly needs to shut down.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Mister Jeopardy
« on: December 1, 2004, 06:32 PM »
So what does that all work out to after taxes?

Old Cap'n Sweater is the Accountant, but judging by my accounting days...  A **** load of $.

He'll eat a lot from Uncle Sam unless he finds a way to finegal it like through charitable donation or gift-giving.  I'm not sure how winnings in a game, gameshow, etc. are handled by the government.  If they will just count it as income or what.  He may be able to make some of it back though depending on how he disperses it and then claims it at the end of the year.

At first though, it's gonna take a huge bite out of him.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Have You Seen Me?
« on: December 1, 2004, 06:29 PM »
What happened to this guy?

Judging by pictures I've seen of him from (I think) Sandiego Comic-Con, his head grew to such massive proportions that he can no longer fit out the door of his house.  He's like the morbidly obese on Jerry Springer who can't get out of bed or their house and need a crew to come cut a big hole to remove them from their home.

His head is gargantuan.  Like a Peanuts character.

It's sort of a game I've found...  I'm almost fascinated by it since I'd never have noticed unless it was brought to my attention by the fine folks here.

Revenge of the Sith / Re: ROTS: The year of Articulation
« on: December 1, 2004, 06:23 PM »
Wookie Customs becoming a reality this year have been a highlight.  Between VOTC Chewie being a great "base" and all the upcoming Wookies...  It's tough not to think of fan-fic, EU, and otherwise that one could make.

Wish I had an extra Rowowrororowowrororowororror to do a Roworororoworororororor figure properly scaled and with the right accessories.

Revenge of the Sith / Re: Episode III - Preview Figures (SPOILERS)
« on: December 1, 2004, 06:22 PM »
The making-of documentary's really good for people to learn the process they make figures by.  It's been posted on the net before how it's done, so most folks enjoying hte hobby know the general routine, but the Insider's showing a lot of stuff unseen to most before so I think the article will be informative for the majority.

I've seen every production process's step at one point or another for various toy lines (including Star Wars), but I still found this article pretty enjoyable.  It's neat seeing the concept drawings and how the designers envision the toy much the same way film-makers draw out a sequence of events on storyboard for a film. 

it's a neat read even if you just check it real quick at the newsstands.  And it's only part I of a multi-part mini-article, so check it out if you have time.

The shots of the preview wave that we've seen so far online don't do the figures justice, judging by the shots in Insider.  Really nice stuff shown there, and the Wookie and Greivous look ten times better than before IMO.

The Jedi Fighter (Anakin's) I'm not sure on.  R2 looks like he just plugs into this ship, but that it doesn't have a bottom to it and like R2's lower half is just gone...  This makes me think the ship is way underscale, but I don't know enough about it to say at this point.  If it is though, I'm disappointed because NO fighter should be underscaled given what is put out by other companies.  Plus this thing DOESN'T look big in any shot I've ever seen, so I don't know.

Just seems odd.

Oh, and Obi's Astromech has the hoses on his feet.  I didn't notice that till now, but he's a really nice looking figure.  Best astromech ever possibly.  :)

Gotta bust out the old hypersnot info I guess.  I read their article in Insider last night.  Pretty cool stuff. 

And being the bonehead I am, I liked the pictures a lot...  Yay!

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Have You Seen Me?
« on: December 1, 2004, 06:13 PM »

Where have all the bald, beer-swilling, criminal history rednecks gone?

I'm wagering that he's face-down in a gutter, laying in a pool of his own vomit, and growing some man-boobs since he can't afford roids anymore. 

Anyone else wanna take a stab?

Middle Earth / Re: LOTR Trilogy Figures
« on: December 1, 2004, 05:35 AM »
I got SP Aragorn the other night...

My stance on articulation stands that figures should be sporting super articulation, however I think the toe-tip and finger articulation is pushing it.  It's too fragile and unsturdy.

I'd say he'd be cool if he could hold his sword and stand...  Nix those 4 points, and I'm pretty happy.  I can deal with the torso since it holds...  it's loose, but it holds.

The headsculpt...  That and the fact my Aragorn's sword wasn't painted either.  Those things bummed me out more. :(

Revenge of the Sith / Re: ROTS: The year of Articulation
« on: November 30, 2004, 11:09 PM »
I think Dooku, Organa, and Palpatine are in the C2 line-up...  their protos have surfaced (actually before the preview figures even).

Gooooooood clear shots of preview wave in the Insider that's shipping BTW.  REALLY clear, show all the articulation.  Grevious, I hate to admit it, is pretty bitchin'.  Spooky looking guy, and his guards on the cardbacks look quite freaky too.

Saga '02-'04 / Re: Cancelled Rebel Tech Prototype?
« on: November 30, 2004, 11:05 PM »
***Smacks Matt about the head furiously***

You WANT this POS?

If you hated the Imperial Scanner tech, you can't like this thing.  I'm sorry.
It's absolutely ATTROCIOUS, and his accessories weren't anything special
to me either.  The traffic control batons were sort of interesting, but the ladders
were inky dinkky things...  The figure, well, simply blows. 

I was anxious about the CZ-3, the Gammorrean Guard, and the Gungan sets.  I
wanted the Gam Guard one because of the kick ass scale thermal detonators in it
and the Gungan was a nice army builder with some cool accessories (namely the
binoculars the Gungan scout used).

The CZ-3 we never saw, but at least it was a new (or at least kitbashed with a new head) figure.  I'd be ok with that no matter the accessories.

The Tech though...  To me that's just a kick in the collective ding ding considering
they do have a better figure body to work with, but which they generally REFUSE
to work with.   ::)

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