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Messages - DoctorPadawan

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1861
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: StarWarsShop.com
« on: November 4, 2004, 07:08 PM »
After reading the experiences a lot of you guys had with the ROTJ posters that SWS.com was selling a while back (and after seeing the teaser poster, which I was not impressed with at all; great concept with poor execution, IMHO), I decided that I did not really need the teaser poster after all.  I never bought the (again, in my opinion, poorly executed) AOTC teaser, but I did buy both theatrical prequel posters and the Episode I teaser from the SW Fan Club over the years, and I *never* had a problem with them arriving damaged.

All three posters (I know the first two for TPM came out when the FC was still under the aegis of Fantastic Media; I can't remember who had control of the FC during AOTC...probably my crackhead neighbors) were shipped in heavy tubes, with the posters sealed inside a plastic baggie tube inside, with bubble wrap around the poster and bag, and with bubble wrap at each end.  There was not a single dent, crease, tear, or anything approaching damage on any of the three posters.

And now, even though LFL is "running the show", *THEY* can't send a poster out without completely destroying it.  Pathetic.  Go down to the post office, spend a little bit of money on decent mailing and packing materials, and send out mint items so you can actually keep customers instead of cheaping out.  For what you're charging for shipping, you should be shipping things in heavy materials and not plastic bags with a twist tie around them that say "FRAJIL...PURTY PICTERS ENSIDE."  ::)

(I seriously hope they figure out what is going on by the time the Struzan poster is released in the spring)

1862
Original Trilogy Collection / Re: 2004 NEW NEWS ON SANDCRAWLER
« on: November 3, 2004, 11:59 AM »
I got my shipping notification from SWS.com last night as well, although the FedEx tracking number still isn't showing up in the system (I figure that might take a few days to happen).  Thankfully I had the $50.00 GC from the initial fiasco, so the Sandcrawler cost me a grand total of $17.94, which is about what it looks like it's worth.  ;D


1863
I'm kind of in between on the variant issue.  I couldn't care less about packaging variations, so that never enters into my collecting habits.  I'm also not all that fond of "error" versions of figures, as I prefer to have the version of the figure that is most accurate to the film and the one that works the best, quality-wise.

For example, I have the bloody stump Saga Luke Bespin.  I do not like the bloody stump version for the simple fact that the magnet in his hand sucks.  It stays on there, but only just so.  I would have much preferred to have the peg-hand version, but even though I have the "rare" version, I'd much rather have the sturdier one.  The fact that they went back to the magnet with the OTC version (which I did buy) disappointed me as well.  As soon as I knew the Hangar Duel Anakin with the arm peg was out there instead of the magnet version, I gave my magnet one away and bought the peg version. 

(On a semi-related note, did the Final Battle Jango figure ever come out with a peg for his head instead of a magnet?)

Color variants, I am okay with.  Back when they changed the Endor Han's pants to brown from blue, I picked one of the brown ones up.  If they were to do a version of Throne Room Vader from Saga without eyebrows (and a way to tell that he didn't have them), I'd pick it up.  Things that are done to make the figures more accurate to their film versions are worth it to me.  Ditto for the red ARC Trooper, which while not film-based, was still accurate for the cartoon series.  As for the Hoth Han thingamabob, I went with blue since it was "right" to me.  I won't get into that debate here, as I know many of you are in the brown coat camp, but I just always liked blue better, so call me a hypocrite. ;D

Minute changes in paint apps are not enough to get me to pick something up.  I have no desire to pick up OTC Jawas, Tuskens, and Greedo just because they're painted a bit more "dirty."  I've seen each of them in stores and the difference is negligible to me.  The Hoth Vader I will have to see in person (which will never happen given the rate of stocking at retail) to make a final decision (and then I'd consider it only because it is Vader), and I never had a Scanning Trooper (no way was I going to pay 20 bucks for a crappy case and a kitbash), so I will pick him up when I see him (in 2009 at KayBee).

So yeah, here's my final scorecard:

-Complete repaints for film accuracy: YES
-Complete repaints for "dirtying it up": NO
-Sculpting changes for film accuracy: YES
-Sculpting changes for no real reason: NO
-Packaging changes of any sort: NO


1864
The Original Trilogy / Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
« on: October 6, 2004, 03:19 PM »
Just thought I would (finally) chime in with the update on the CD rereleases of the ESB and ROTJ soundtracks I promised back when I made the post near the middle of this page.  Long story short, the sound on both is not noticeably improved from the RCA/Victor SE releases in 1997.  The sound on ROTJ, which has been maligned by a lot of people, doesn't sound all that different from the RCA releases in 1997, any differences on both sets are negligible.  So, if you have the SE soundtracks, save your money because all you get on the new releases are huge-ass FBI warnings and screensavers.  Whee.  Smell the sarcasm.

So while I stand by my earlier statement of ANH sounding better than the RCA versions, ESB and ROTJ fall short of any improvements that are being bandied about.  Then again, this is just my opinion.

1865
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: nip/tuck
« on: October 6, 2004, 03:11 PM »
Yep, Famine, I'm a big fan of the show.  I've just about given up on network television, as I hate reality shows, the dramas are just getting ridiculous, and there hasn't been a good sitcom in ages, but "Nip/Tuck" has given me hope that television might have a few breaths left in it.  Of course, it IS on cable, so the networks are left holding the bag again. 

I was actually hoping that the season finale would clear up the entire "Carver" storyline since the Escobar storyline from Season 1 was tied up nicely in that season's finale, but once again, they threw a major curveball with the final scene.  So even though we know the nature of particular characters which I won't spoil for those who haven't seen it, we still don't know who the Carver is.  Irritating in one way, but it keeps my anticipation for next season going, which I guess is the point.

I have my own theory on who the Carver is, and it's kind of out there. I won't go into it here, as I can't find a font color that is difficult for people to see without highlighting and there doesn't seem to be a spoiler tag for highlighting/obscuring.  I don't want to spoil anyone on my theory, so if you want to PM me and discuss it, feel free to do so. :)

Cool to know that another SW fan is watching!

1866
Original Trilogy Collection / Re: OTC...Selling that Well?
« on: October 6, 2004, 02:59 PM »
As far as the regular OTC figures go, it has been a total bust.  All I see on the pegs are Cantina Hans, Dagobah R2s, Bossks, Bespin Lukes, IG-88s, and ANH R2s, and they are there in multiples.  Believe it or not, the stores I have been to have gotten more cases of the Executor/Yavin/Jabba's Palace waves of Saga in the last month or two than they have OTC stuff.  I have not seen any OTC figures past the TIE Pilot assortment, and with the pegs clogged with the above OTC figures and the sea of final Saga waves (minus, of course, the Endor wave, which nobody could find very easily), I probably won't find the AT-ST Han or the Scanning Trooper this time around either.

VOTC is one large sea of ANH figures.  I've seen remnants of the ESB wave (a slightly damaged Yoda and a Lando) and I got the two "hard" figures from ROTJ (Fett and the Stormie) by chance, but that was on one single occasion.  Every store has peg upon peg of the ANH figures, with WM holding the record as to how many they can squeeze on a peg.  They have four pegs stuffed full at one WM, with about two cases worth just sitting on the shelves.  Good luck finding a Darth Vader kids! ::)

While WM won't restock because they have no room due to all the old stuff, Target just doesn't seem to care if they restock at all.  I was hoping that they would do *something* what with the sale this week and all, but they have four pegs set aside for VOTC with only three figures on them (Han and 2 Bens), the everpresent MF, X-Wing, and TIEs that have been there since they got the first case a few months back, eight of the Obi-Wan Cups, a crapload of Lightsabers, and at least two cases worth of the Executor and Jabba's Palace Saga waves, with a few Cantina Hans mixed in.  No sign of nor any shelf space set aside for the Slave I, and they haven't touched the Galactic Heroes pegs (four of them, currently occupied by a single Luke and R2 pack) in the last month. 

Given my dim view on life though, Target will restock out the wazoo once the sale is over and they can get full price for everything again. 

On a semi-related note, can anyone who has gotten them yet say whether or not the post-OTC/pre-ROTS waves (the ones with Celebration Amidala and the Coruscant folks) are under a new case assortment number or are they still listed under the same UPC as the OTC stuff?  If they're the same UPC/SKU, then it's going to be pure hell finding the Episode III Preview figures once they finally get released.

1867
The Original Trilogy / Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
« on: September 25, 2004, 10:05 AM »
Quote
Did anyone pick up the new release of the soundtrack? I forgot to pick it up. There's been some confusion as to whether they are true SACDs or not... they've been listed as DSD mastered, but no one can confirm them being actual SACD discs. Weird.

Well, I can confirm they are not SACDs, but they are labelled as being DSD mastered on the sticker affixed to the outer plastic wrapping.  I picked up all three sets at a WM the other day for just over 30 bucks total (a story in and of itself), but I have only had the chance to listen to ANH so far.  It sounded really good on my headphones, but since I tend to listen to the ESB:SE soundtrack much more than the others, it will be a few days before I can say with any authority that the remastering shows any real difference in sound quality.

I guess I should chime in with the "review" of the layout and packaging of the new CD sets, just in case some of you SE owners (of which I am proud to be one) wanted to know if the packaging had been reproduced.

Overall, the packaging is similar to the Episode I single disc that Sony put out in 1999.  Instead of a booklet, each liner has a six panel foldout with the front and back cover, a two panel section with track titles, and another two panel section with the recording information (producer, engineer, etc).  On the back of each is another photoshopped "poster" with characters from each film.  The "lenticular" cover is actually a piece to itself separate from the CD liner.  The case is another slimline double disc case although it tends to be more secure than other slimline doubles I've seen in recent years.

The really annoying thing is that the discs and the back liner of the CD case have these huge and gaudy FBI Warnings on them now that are the musical equivalent of the obnoxiousness of the VHS/DVD FBI warnings.  Seriously, this is the first time I've seen these on CDs, and it made me ill.  Before long, CDs won't even have covers; it'll just be one huge warning label.

Okay, the individual discs now have new artwork that is not uniform like the SEs had.  ANH has Luke on Disc 1 and Vader on disc 2; ESB has Boba Fett on Disc 1 and Vader on Disc 2; and ROTJ has Luke and Leia on Disc 1 and Palpatine on Disc 2.  The artwork is totally unique to these releases, and none of the SE content is repeated in terms of the packaging.  Which is my key argument with the packaging.

The excellent liner notes from the SE releases are not included at all.  That was one of my favorite things about those releases (other than the obvious music), and I am really sad to see that they weren't included so that Sony could include one of their crappy "posters" in the liner notes instead.  I'm in the process of typing all these notes into a .doc so I'll still have them around, so if anyone else decides to sell off their SE sets in favor of these and still wants the notes, drop me a PM and I'll email you a copy of my typing.

The important thing though is the music and I'm happy to say that ANH does sound really good.  Thankfully, the tracks from the SE are all intact (including takes 16-20, even though they aren't listed on the cover or notes at all; people who haven't heard the SE sets are going to be confused I think when those come on), and nothing was omitted (as in no creative decisions were made to obliterate sections of John Williams' score so Ben Burtt could show us how big his dick is).  The other discs seem to contain all the tracks from the SEs and the times are the same, but I will not comment on the content until I have had a chance to listen to them later this week.

Overall, I don't feel as if I was cheated by paying 10 bucks for ANH, but the loss of the excellent liner notes and those huge ass FBI warnings really irritated me.  But, the music is what is important, and ANH sounds great.  I'll post again once I've had a chance to listen to the other two, since ROTJ seems to be the one that most people are curious about, due to the dropoff in sound quality on disc two of the SE releases.

But since this is about the DVDs, I'll comment on those...

The changes don't bother me a bit anymore.  Jabba doesn't look ridiculous, the Han-Greedo shootout is tolerable (although I still prefer Han shooting first), they corrected Obi-Wan's lightsaber, so I'm generally happy.  The only things I'm a little confused by are Luke's white saber on the Falcon, the fact that apparently R2 can project holograms of Theed, Princess Leia, and Luke with no problem, but he can't manage anything past an Atari readout for the Death Star, and the fact that they still edit the Luke and Biggs conversation really badly with the "walk-by" instead of including the line about Red Leader flying with Anakin in years gone by.

What does bother me (as I alluded to earlier) is Ben Burtt showing his jealousy yet again and dialing back John Williams' music so his sound effects can take center stage.  Those of you who have heard about this know what I'm talking about, but those of you that don't: the trumpet fanfare when the X-Wings are diving toward the Death Star in ANH has been lowered considerably almost to the point of being inaudible.  LFL claims this was a "creative decision"; I, as I said earlier, claim it is Ben Burtt showing how big his dick is.  I hope that once Episode III is complete, we're going to be hearing a lot more from John Williams on this matter.  People want to complain about Rick McCallum being Lucas' biggest yes man, but I think Burtt has been far more harmful to the prequels.

But I digress, as I've rambled on far enough.  As I said, I'll update everyone once I've had a chance to listen to the ESB and ROTJ soundtracks.  Until then, enjoy the DVDs!




1868
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Amazon.com
« on: September 18, 2004, 09:40 AM »
I used to preorder pretty much all the new DVDs online, either from Amazon or Buy.com or (and showing my age here) Reel.com.  I quit using Buy.com because they became incredibly slow in shipping things even when they were in stock, and were even more difficult to contact for information on an order in the first place, not to mention the fact that you could not cancel a preorder for any reason at the time (it may have changed since then).  Reel.com was the etailer that I was partial to, since they had great prices, a great interface, and a great selection, but as is the way of the internet, they faded away and I think even became a part of Buy.com after a year or so away from the net.

Amazon has always been good about shipping things for me.  Even if I get something shipped at the slowest speed, it will still usually make it to me in three days since, relatively speaking, I live fairly close to one of their major distribution centers.  I've never had an Amazon.com package arrive later than they said it was going to, and in most cases, it arrives a day or so earlier than they said it would.  The only problem with ordering the Trilogy from them at this point would be that it would most likely not ship until Monday, and unless you got overnight shipping, it would probably not reach you until the day after it had been released at the absolute earliest.

Just to chime in here on two other etailers of choice, at least the ones that I use from time to time: Deep Discount DVD is a good place to use if you're not wanting something fast.  Their stock status is kind of ambiguous (many times have I ordered something from them or their sister site Deep Discount CD that is listed as "in stock" all the way through the order only to get the confirmation email where it states "backorder-ships in 7 to 10 days") at times, but it's free shipping and the lowest total online price guaranteed, so if you're in no hurry to get something, that would be the place to go if you're on a tight budget as I am.

My etailer of choice for everything (DVDs and CDs) is DVD Empire.  Great customer service, super fast shipping (same day in most cases on in-stock items), great prices, low shipping costs, plenty of shipping options, and preorders are shipped early enough, even with the standard media shipping rate that they will still reach you on the day of release.  I ordered THX-1138 through them on Monday two weeks ago, it was shipped that Friday morning, and was waiting on me in my mailbox on Tuesday when I arrived home from work.  I have never had a problem with them and recommend them very highly. 

Just to give an example of how cool DVD Empire is (even though I know this thread is about Amazon), I bought the two-disc Director's Edition of "Red Dragon" from them last summer.  I got the set in the mail only to find that disc one had a huge scratch on it that prevented it from being played.  I called them and they sent me a prepaid UPS label to send it back to them, no questions asked.  I got the replacement about a week later and the second disc didn't work (pixellation).  They again sent me a UPS sticker, no questions asked, and I got a perfect copy from them a week or so later.  And even though neither was their fault, they still apologized profusely, and that's why I continue to give them my business.

As for buying box sets through the internet, that's something I try to avoid when at all possible, especially with 20th Century Fox TV box sets that come in the digipaks.  There's too much of a chance of the hubs breaking and the discs sliding around and getting damaged these days, or finding out one disc of the four/six doesn't work to go through the hassle of sending the whole set back in order to find one working disc to replace one faulty disc.

1869
Revenge of the Sith / Re: Episode III line....April 2nd, 2005
« on: September 18, 2004, 09:22 AM »
Keep in mind that there were only 21 figures (counting all four Battle Droids) on the launch of Episode I stuff and 27 figures for the Episode II launch.  I was overwhelmed with the Episode II stuff, and this is going to be the same situation.  We'll probably have another glut as well, so I'm not even going to bother with Midnight Madness again this time.  And don't worry, as Hasbro will no doubt release at least ten more new figures in the two weeks following the initial release like they did with the Saga line.

I'm all for a variety of characters on the launch of the line, and maybe I'm a little old fashioned, but I'd prefer a little mystery in the line from time to time.  Just the other day on another forum I frequent elsewhere, someone was discussing the fact that it would have been incredibly cool if the fact that Maul's double-bladed lightsaber was kept a secret until the opening of the film.  No Maul figures would be released with a double-bladed saber until after the film, that one shot would have never been shown in the teaser trailer, and so on and so forth.  Same thing with releasing the Deluxe "Darth Tyranus" on the same day as the Count Dooku basic figure (which they even put "Dark Lord" on as a subtitle) and the Yoda with a lightsaber before the film was released.  This time around, they'll probably end up releasing a Palpatine "revelation" figure before the film. 

Yes, everyone knows most of this stuff before the film is released anyway, thanks to the wonders of the internet, but I still remember the old days when the Ewoks were blacked out on the backs of the ROTJ cards before that movie was released.  If ESB were released today, Hasbro would release a Darth Vader figure with the caption "Luke Skywalker's Father" on it.  ::)

In my world, they'd release 18 figures for the launch of the line, with no action features:

-Anakin Skywalker
-Obi-Wan Kenobi
-Padme Amidala
-Threepio
-R2-D2
-Mace Windu
-Yoda
-General Grevious
-Wookiee Warrior (generic)
-Clone Trooper
-Bail Organa
-Chancellor Palpatine
-and about six other background/Jedi/Separatist characters that had screen time but did nothing that could be construed as a spoiler.

About three weeks or so after the film opened, *then* they could release the Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Emperor Sidious, Count Dooku, Luke and Leia, Anakin Duel, Obi-Wan Duel, and whoever else.  Of course, I'm a complete nutjob, so what do I know? ;D




1870
Looking around the net this morning and making visits to the local brick-and-mortar stores has made me practically give up on finding a lot of the VOTC figures from here on out.  Why?  Glad you asked, I'll be happy to tell you.  ;)

Hasbro had a great opportunity to do something logical for once with the VOTC stuff, and something that every other toy maker has been doing from before POTF2 existed: a new case number for every assortment of figures.  That way, there would be no need or use for strange case ratios or repacks from earlier waves of figures, or what have you because if they ran out of one case, they just reordered another case of those figures.  If they had too many of one case, they didn't order any more of that case.  Here's how I would have handled this in a perfect world:

ASSORTMENT ONE: STAR WARS VOTC (8 figures)
-2 x Luke Skywalker
-2 x Han Solo
-2 x Obi-Wan Kenobi
-2 x Princess Leia

ASSORTMENT TWO: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK VOTC (8 figures)
-2 x Darth Vader
-2 x Threepio
-2 x Yoda
-2 x Lando Calrissian

ASSORTMENT THREE: RETURN OF THE JEDI VOTC (8 figures)
-2 x Stormtrooper
-2 x Boba Fett
-2 x Chewbacca
-2 x R2-D2

Each of these assortments would have their own case number (meaning they wouldn't all be part of one case number shipped in multiple ratios and could all be ordered separately).

But as we've all learned, logic has no place in Pawtucket, so they decide to pull the main character of the whole damned OT (regardless of what GL says about Anakin/Vader) out of the first assortment altogether, do multiple ratios of the ESB figures so two come out first and we have to wait on the other two, while the same cases continue to ship figures that are already in abundance from the overshipped first wave, and then they sit on the third wave (with the figure that most people would happily buy multiples of) and then ship even more of the first wave with those cases.

What makes it worse is the report on GH.com this morning that WMs will be getting another kiosk and it will be stocked to the brim with MORE of the first wave, plus Luke (finally).  Great move there, Hasbro.

I'm not Nostradamus (or even Negrodamus, even though I think Paul Mooney is hilarious), but I  can tell you exactly how things are going to go down with the VOTC this fall.

-The shelves will be clogged with Obi-Wans and Hans to such a degree that when the ESB figures do show up in slightly bigger numbers, they will come and go so quickly that most people won't even know they were there.  Even sites that sell individual figures for a decent price (TRU.com) won't be able to carry the ESB figures for long because of the quick sellouts and the fact that they will still have a backlog of Hans and Bens.

-the ROTJ wave, once it hits, will hit in VERY small numbers as the stores will be so full of the first wave of Hans and Bens that they have no space for them and hence do not order any more cases.  People will be scooping them up like crazy when they do see them and Ebay profiteers will be the best (read: most unscrupulous) and only outlet for people who want these figures.

-when told about the difficulty people are having finding them, Hasbro will resort to their time-tested "retailers overordered the initial waves and even though we made a full run of the later  figures, retail just didn't seem interested in them" in order to once more pass the buck for their continuing ******* stupidity in being able to gauge demand and accept responsibility for their own mistakes.

(oh, and is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that retail is always at fault?  They never order just enough: if there is too much of something, well, retail overordered...if too little, well, retail underordered.  It's never Hasbro's fault.  Never mind the fact that their case assortment strategy is straight out of 1985 and that they can't figure out case packouts to save their lives)

-once again, as in the past with the "final" waves of figure assortments, we, the collectors who regardless of what the geniuses at Hasbro claim actually keep this line afloat in the first place, movie year or not, will be the ones who get the short end of the stick.  And Hasbro will, predictably, still not give a **** about us.

The best analogy I can give as far as the VOTC scenario I have put forth above, overreacting as it may be, is this:

WAVE ONE (Han, Leia, Ben):  May 3rd Episode I Collection 1 assortment

WAVE TWO (Luke, ESB figures):  Battle Damaged Droideka/Qui-Gon soft goods/Swimming Jar Jar assortment

WAVE THREE (ROTJ figures): Sio Bibble, TC-14, R2-B1

Way to go Hasbro.  You've proven yet again why you're a bunch of morons. >:(

1871
Like Nataku, I hate to have to do this, but my rampant paranoia that this will be yet another case of SW.com completely ignoring the non-pay side of their web ventures forces me to throw myself on the mercy of you Hyperspace subscribers.   :'(

So could anyone out there help me out with one Holo Emperor as well?  I'd even go so far as to say that if SWS.com does manage to damage the figure's card in shipment, I'll take the one that is most damaged (as long as the figure's okay, I'll be fine). 

1872
Power of the Force 2 / Re: The Beginning of POTF2
« on: August 27, 2004, 09:22 AM »
I was not even aware that there was going to be a new SW action figure line until I happened to see a copy of a toy magazine (Lee's?) in a bookstore in July of 1995.  I was just looking around for a copy of a Giger art book and on my way out, I noticed the cover proclaiming "Star Wars is back!" or something along those lines.  I picked it up, flipped to the page with the photos and just about fainted.  I can't put into words how excited I was about new SW toys (especially since I had lost the vast majority of my vintage toys back in the day to the evils of a yard sale) and I counted the seconds until I could look for them at retail.

The first thing I saw from POTF2 was actually the X-Wing on a top shelf at a Wal-Mart in early August of 1995.  Strangely enough, it would be another three months before that Wal-Mart would get anything else from the line (and even then it was another vehicle, the AT-ST), and another month after that before they got any figures.  Believe it or not, I actually found Han, Luke, Chewie, and Ben at a Woolworth's a few days after the X-Wing, and the following day I went to another Woolworth's a few miles away and found Leia, Vader, R2, and the Stormie.  The fact that Threepio was missing was very confusing to me, as I still labored under the vintage-induced perception that everything came out all at once and I must have just missed him.

By the end of September, I had all nine figures (Threepio showed up at that Woolworth's about three weeks later), all five initial ships, and I was absolutely thrilled that there were new SW toys.  And everything went downhill from there.  ;D

As for INTERNET, I think the first time I ever visited a SW collecting site was in October of 1996.  I had just heard about the Special Editions coming out the following year and was looking for pictures of the new stuff when I stumbled across a small personal page of someone who also had photos of the upcoming toys (which at that point were the Sandtrooper, Greedo, and the DS Gunner).  I did some other websearches and ran across Yakface's Realm first, then stumbled into Wiseacres.com and the SW Collector's Archive.  A few weeks later I discovered Usenet and found RASSC, and the rest is history.  Nine years later, I have Jebus knows how many figures, vehicles, beasts, playsets, and dolls populating a room of my home and no matter how crappy some of the stuff may be in retrospect, I still think fondly of every single piece in my collection.

1873
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Toys R Us (Or: Die, Dinosaur, Die!)
« on: August 13, 2004, 05:34 PM »
TRU never appealed to me in the same way that two other toy chains did: Children's Palace and Lionel Toy World (the latter of which I only ever went to in North Carolina back in the mid to late 1980's).  Now, although I was a kid back then, the general atmosphere of CP or LTW was just a lot nicer than TRU.  TRU felt cramped and (dare I say it) didn't have all that great a selection.  CP was amazing and if I went in there looking for something, I found it, no problem.  GI Joe figures I could never find at a department store or TRU were at CP or LTW in abundance.  When the CP near the Ohio/Kentucky border closed down, it kind of broke my heart.

TRU closing down would not bother me a bit.  Every TRU I have been in over the last ten years has been populated by rude and dismissive employees who look at me with nothing but spite.  I am always polite and I always ask nicely, but they could care less.  Since I am no longer six years old and running around like a chicken with my head cut off (even though I never did that as a kid, personally), I don't matter to them.  Pay no attention to the sizeable amount of money he's going to potentially drop in our store; we'd rather have kids come in here and mess up our aisles, buying nothing but causing us to have to spend more on our upkeep.

(Not to mention the fact that every TRU I have been in over the last ten years has really old stuff on the shelves and doesn't get new stuff until it's been out everywhere else for six months.  I often joke with a friend of mine that I am expecting to find a vinyl cape Jawa hanging on the pegs on any given day since retail is so far behind). :)

Not that WM is any better (I absolutely loathe them and do as little business with them as I can; unfortunately, when they're the only game in town, you have to occassionally deal with the devil), but TRU is using an outdated business strategy (as Tydirium so eloquently stated) and it has finally caught up with them.  I won't be shedding any tears when they go away.  My only fear is that Hasbro will have to find someone else to take all their crappy exclusive items that nobody cares about. 

Speaking of, I don't think we'll see WM with any exclusive SW stuff any time soon.  Everything that they got from Hasbro as a retailer exclusive flopped bigger than a shark in the Sahara, and if you notice, they're the only retailer that hasn't gotten an actual exclusive (DVD sets don't count for this) since the summer of 2002.  Target's had a couple of ships, KB's had the Guard and the TIE, TRU's had crap after crap, and even K-Mart is getting exclusive stuff now.  The last thing that WM had as an exclusive was the Cantina Bar figures, and we all know how that worked out.

Fare thee well, TRU, fare thee well...may you choke on your inability to move out of the 1980's.


1874
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Operation Mindcrime 2 is Coming!
« on: August 6, 2004, 09:37 AM »
I'm going to be the dissenting voice here and say that the idea of a sequel to the original "Mindcrime" really disappoints me for various reasons.  Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely adore O:M; it's easily one of my top five albums of all time and is perfect from beginning to end.  And if you don't have the "Operation: LiveCrime" box set (which is now a DVD and CD sold separately, apparently), do yourself a favor and track it down, because it's simply amazing.  Back then, QR were one of the most amazing bands on the planet.  The problem is that they don't seem to have the passion for what they do anymore.

That's one of the main reasons I'm not thrilled about an O:M sequel being done.  "Who Killed Mary?" aside, there isn't anywhere left for the story to go.  Nikki is in a mental hospital, Dr. X has been arrested, Mary is dead, and the story has gone as far as it can go.  QR doesn't have the passion they did when they wrote and recorded the original "Mindcrime" (I have yet to see a review of the "Tribe" tour that does not refer to the listless and lackadaisical performance by Tate), and I have a feeling that given the decrease in album sales since EMI went out of business after HITNF and they lost their long-time label, this is being done less about artistic concerns and more about making an attempt to get the money while the gettin's good.

I've never been fond of "cashing in" when it comes to artistic work.  The whole "selling out" argument has been done to death, and I'm not fond of that side of things anyway, especially when it comes to the definition a lot of people have for bands that do so.  Like I said, the sales for QR's records since HITNF (which went platinum, but still didn't sell nearly as much as "Empire" or "Promised Land") have gotten consistently worse, and arguably, so has the quality of the music.  "Q2K" was simply horrid, and "Tribe" wasn't all that great either (but it did have its moments).  My fear is that a sequel to "Mindcrime" isn't being done because they want to do it, it's that they are doing it because they think it may be the only way to get back to a higher plateau of record sales and popularity.

My other reason for not being interested/thrilled about a sequel to "Mindcrime" is that Chris DeGarmo (yes, I'm one of the die-hard DeGarmo era fans) will more than likely not be involved at all.  If you look at the credits for the original Mindcrime, Chris is involved in the writing of about 70% of the material; if you watch the video of "Livecrime", he's one of the most energetic members of the group in performing the material.  Although many would say that a lot of HITNF suffered from poor quality (I am not one of those people), the stuff they've done since DeGarmo left has been of a significantly lower quality than the stuff before his departure.  Listen to "Promised Land" and then listen to "Q2K" and then tell me that they haven't suffered for his absence.  Sure, he was on "Tribe", and while the majority of the "good" songs (purely subjective opinion, mind you) involved him, Tate and Co. continue to downplay his involvement.  It started with "Chris is working with us on the entire album", went to "he came in for a few days and worked on a few songs", and then is now at "he had very little involvement."  It's only a matter of time before Tate starts denying Chris DeGarmo exists.

The best analogy I can give for my QR fandom of 16 years is this: they're like the "Alien" films in a lot of ways.  I loved the first two "Alien" films very much; "Alien 3" was okay (made much better on the recent DVD Working Print) and I wish I could forget "Alien: Resurrection" even existed; I dread the "Alien Vs. Predator" movie because I am afraid it's going to be mindless sci-fi violence.

QR has been the same way with me: I loved everything up to "Promised Land" (dare I say their best work), HITNF was okay and was unfairly maligned, but I loathed Q2K and I dread an O:M sequel because it seems like a cash-in with no artistic motivation.

Sorry for the rant, but I'm kind of decompressing from work and when I heard about a sequel to "Mindcrime" I couldn't believe my ears.  Maybe I'm just too cynical, who knows.  

But hey, if the sequel sucks, I can start posting on AICN about how "Queensryche Raped my Childhood" or something.  ;)

1875
Feedback / Re: Talon_Karrde's feedback
« on: August 3, 2004, 08:47 AM »
I just completed a wonderful transaction with Tony.  Payment arrived very quickly, and communication was great.  I would recommend trading with him to anyone, and I look forward to doing so again myself in the future.  Thanks Tony! :)

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