Monday, January 1, 2018

WasteLnd's Counterattack


It has officially been one year since the first post to Wastelnd.

Jeez, it's been a year?!

I still remember the night before I finally sat down and set up this website; sitting in a dark hotel room, watching the ball drop in complete and utter silence - the only light coming from that dingy, round-screened plastic box. That, and my phone - on which I was entering random web URLs, hoping to find a long forgotten, eerie relic of the Web's past. It would be the perfect kind of thing to communicate as an article, I thought. The perfect concept - a website meant to be forgotten.

Thus came the final concept for Wastelnd - initially called "The_Landfill". To create a place that's my own, to create a place that feels forgotten, and to infuse a sense of early-2000s nostalgia into the simplistic presentation of it all. 61 individual posts later, I feel I've very much succeeded with this endeavor.

The last song I heard in 2017 was Mac Demarco's dusty love croon "My Kind of Woman" - with only one headphone in, thus only relaying the layer of music most primarily featuring a decrepit keyboard. A melancholy, yet hopeful note to end on, as I fell into the hands of sleep.

My 2018 resolution is to meet more people, work on my impression to others, become more strong as an individually functioning person, focus more on writing, and kick ass every day. Well, maybe not every day... but, still, a solid nine out of ten. I also plan to continue work on the MidLife project, redirecting my attention from the art side to the meat of the production - the story. 2017 produced 60 unique MidLife pictures, not counting oodles of incidental artworks, sketches, vectors, and more. Come 2019, I imagine the same scale of success can be compared to the sheer amount of literary creations completed.

2017 was a year of introspection, right to the very end. A year with endless self-development, through experiences, lessons, and thoughts. Good, and bad. Where I am now, it's hard to say; yet, as the dust settles, I see a brighter future in this upcoming year. A future unlike anything I've experienced before, and perhaps, all I've wanted. Here's to another amazing year.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Review - X-Plius USA Godzilla 2001


Sokogekigoji, the design of Godzilla from 2001's Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Phew), has been a fan-favorite from day one - sparking a marketing response not rivaled within the franchise until monster mash Godzilla: Final Wars. However, bar a poor attempt by Bandai Creations, the design has yet to see a proper addition to the 6-inch Movie Monster Series toy line.

X-Plus USA's 6-inch figure seems to fit the role well - not only matching in scale, but in overall design. Though not quite near the high bar set by X-Plus' Japanese counterpart, it's a forgotten figure worth examining.

I've also reviewed versions of this Godzilla by NECA and S.H. MonsterArts!

Sculpt - 4/5


Godzilla 2001 seems to be a design one either hits, or misses - with a more expressive face and naturally flowing body than almost any other Godzilla suit, capturing the monster so as to please every fan can be a large challenge. For reference, here's a small gallery of images detailing the actual suit.

X-Plus' figure does more right than it does wrong. Though soft thanks to the use of rotocast vinyl, the details are very screen accurate, and pretty to look at - from the varying shapes of his scales, to the folds and bulges accentuating his muscles. The angle of his glare is accented well by his heavy, long neck - giving the static figure a sense of energy, without going too far.

The issues come from the structure of the sculpt. Sokogeki was a hefty guy, and though the figure retains his potbelly, his legs (and ankles, in particular) are a bit too thin, throwing off the look. The size of his eyes and accompanying brows is a touch exaggerated  - almost resembling some of the more frog-like classic designs. From the front view, he looks cartoonishly happy, rather than imposingly scary.

Paint - 4/5


Godzillas aren't especially hard to nail in the paint category - though washes and additional paintwork can bring out the hidden details in a figure, they aren't needed to match the character's onscreen counterpart. X-Plus was smart, and took the tried-and-true easy route - sprayed spines and claws, painted teeth and eyes, done. Compare this to NECA's technicolor oddity - sometimes less is all you need.

Everything looks fine, especially if you're expecting something comparable to the aforementioned MMS figures. It's no high-class X-Plus, but it's serviceable. The spines look very nice, and there's actually a bit of a spotty wash to the inside of the mouth - giving it a cool pink-and-red mix, adding some depth where one may not expect to find it. The painted gums are a bit thick, covering more of the teeth than I think they ought to - however, the fact the gums are painted at all is a neat aspect of the figure.

Fun Factor - 3/5


MMS figures aren't the pinnacle of play, usually only boasting about four points of articulation, but they're neat for display - and either way, what's there works fine for the characters concerned. Though this figure has no articulation, he's not very boring, either - he's far from fragile, and though that impediment will limit some use, it's to be expected with the type of figure X-Plus makes.

Overall - 4/5


I can't say this is the best representation of the character out there, but it fills a gap in my collection really nicely. I do wish the face in particular looked better, but as a fan of the design, the positive aspects stand out more to my eye.  He's far from the upper echelons one might expect from an X-Plus related name, but comfortable among his MMS cousins. Is it a figure any fan should actively seek out? Not really - he is imperfect, and if you want a figure of this design, there's far better options in roughly the same price range. Still, it's a perfectly standard figure that I can't find enough fault or value in to recommend too strongly either way.

My final verdict - If you need a nice, properly scaled G'01, this is a good choice. It fills a need. If you like the design and want a memento of it, look elsewhere.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Marvin's Pizza Time Players


Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum - a visually stunning collection of Arcade booths, Automatic machines, and Sideshow oddities - has been home to a cast of original Pizza Time Players for some time. Being a fan of animatronic history, I made my way out to the Museum to give them a look myself - as well as to pick up a cool hoodie.

Though once home to a complete set of characters - including a couple extra, who wouldn'tt have normally been included with this lineup - as well as some neat signage, Marvin's now only displays Helen Henny, Mr. Munch, Jasper T. Jowls, Madame Oink, an Applause Board, and two versions of The Warblettes - one colorful, the other crow-like. What happened to the missing few isn't immediately clear, though I've read they were sold off.

Unverified sources claim that these figures moved in the Museum, meaning they may still be in functioning condition. I very much doubt that being true, however - the logistics behind it don't seem very realistic. The characters are elevated high above a row of large, heavy pinball machines, leaving no easy way of access to the mechanics which ought to be below the half-bodied characters. Though it's not impossible, it also doesn't seem anywhere near practical.


Out of the main four, Oink inarguably looks the best. Helen, Jasper and Munch have seen better days, looking rather slack and broken (Helen in particular is missing a jaw) - yet, seeing them at all is a bit of a thrill. The colorful Warblettes are dirty, and though the eyes on the other pair are wonky (the lighting makes it look as though they are missing a few, but in person they're only missing the black pupils), their black fur saves them from appearing as aged. The Applause Board looks nice, as far as I can tell - I'd love to hang that up.

Though these characters show their age, Marvin's is a perfect resting place for the bunch - the grimy, colorful Arcade below their perch surely paralleling that of a classic Pizza Time Theater store. These characters are a part of history, in their own small way - seeing them in person was quite the experience!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Turn A Deaf Ear To The Cellular Phone

I turned my phone off for the first time in far too long tonight.

Not a lot has changed for me, mentally, in a long time. If I were to go into my feelings at this moment, it'd really be nothing more than a broken record. The dilemma of the introvert-minded doomed to have the personality of an extrovert.

I've decided that the most obvious recurring issue is my continual faith in people - thinking that they, somehow, can and will solve my problems. Hoping to depend on and confide in them - when, in blunt reality, most could likely care less.

MF DOOM's track "Deep Fried Frenz" - though a bit more sharp edged than any of my experiences - illustrates this lyrically. DOOM rants angrily as he reads a seemingly never ending flow of charges against his past acquaintances; most of whom decided to use his association for an ulterior, egocentric or somehow likewise self-centered reason. He warns the listener to toughen up before they, too, face the dilemma of a trusting hand held by a manipulative claw.

The concept of motivated friendship resonates with me personally - a sort of icon at my current school, people want to know me. There seems to be a certain unspoken credit in associating with me; having the ability to say I have given them the time of day, perhaps. Yet, beyond this badge, few look further.

In becoming someone who is fairly universally known, I've also lost - further - connection. An issue I've had for the longest of time. I search for a reason within myself pretty often; maybe I'm imposing. Maybe my personality doesn't exactly shine through as I'd like to hope. Maybe my impressions are as dislike what I perceive as possible - who's to say? Maybe there's not much else to see. Maybe whatever else there is has become to personally self-centered, on my own end, to amount to much else.

But, then, I realize; there's two doors. The door of conformity, and the door of singularity. One involves heavily treacherous surgery, ludicrous pandering, and a few botched brain operations. The other - well, it's a simple turn of the knob. Sometimes the challenge isn't the right choice.

DOOM suggests a state of strong, cold, yet intelligent and happy separateness. He doesn't want or need "frenz" - he's the villain on his own dime.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Magnetic Resonance Image


My personality isn't one to be tied specifically to one long-term association - I grow tired of the same old faster than I can truly appreciate it. At least, when we're talking about people.

Sometimes I wish I had a greater capacity for enjoying the present; when I do find the ability, I never forget it. Summer sunsets through half-open blinds; starry lights guiding the way through a midnight stroll; chilly air making the morning crisp. Snapshots of life I can phase into with nary an issue - recalling every thought and feeling as if I were there again.

Other times, though I see just how tough that can be; you don't appreciate what you have 'till it's gone. On the same coin, you only remember the great, and awful times - nothing in-between. All that important contextual infrastructure falls to dust, to the point of terrible oversimplification. You'll miss what you liked, not what you had.

My cynicism has saved me countless times, yet it's also limiting. Ignorance is bliss, so awareness must be - likewise - the complete opposite. At least you end up better - but, as the saying goes, at what cost?

A very reasonable one, if you ask me. But, hell, maybe you shouldn't ask me.

I prefer to live by the idea that "You don't know what you have until you acknowledge it". Until you recognize the inner peace you feel at a given moment, you are forever beneath the smog of monotony. You'll come to realize this inner peace asks for nothing but that very recognition - simply being remembered is all it needs to sputter back to life.

Peace is not perfect - not ideal - hardly a diamond in the rough. It's a state of mind; a choice to be happy, even when you aren't. A march forward, spirit in tow, and heart in the breeze.

Live in the now - even if the now is then, or when.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Find


Let's use layman's terms - after all, it's much more accessible. I tend to be the "flirty" type; whether that means I'm a conversationalist, or I simply can't shut up, isn't quite for me to say. Still, I seem to have a good effect on bringing out a life in others - connecting to people, somehow past even the most significant social barriers.

At the dead of night - that is, midnight, an unusually early time for me to feel drowsy enough to begin introspectively bantering to my creepy little blog - I realize just how easy carrying a positive social presence has become for me. It may be narcissistic to state this so plainly, but hell - it is what it is. There's no use in dancing around it, especially when reflecting upon it's benefits.

Too often, people are far more willing to boast of their sadness - it's humble, it's "real", it's more face-to-face. I've been sad before; I've separated myself from everything, in a search for something. There's nothing more real than knowing you've created happiness.

There's such a beauty in the enthralled light that fills someone's eyes as you encourage them through agreement, or support them in back-and-forth dialogue; their glimmering expression, their joy in carrying you alongside them in conversation. The feeling of recognition as you, yourself, become seen as more than a face - you are a friend. The definition of 'love' falls on deaf ears to most of the modern populace; no doubt thanks to endless exaggeration. Love is simply the small light illuminating the room, whether it be from fire, or a spark - the connection between anyone, anywhere, who find a desire to exist around another. Love demands - love hurts - and in that, love is something we can have for anyone.

As much as it feels hypocritical to say, knowing my own personal past, I'm a people person. I love people. At the end of the day, I'm most glad about the good times I've given others - though it may leave me feeling a bit personally drained, I can find warmth and solace in that, somehow, I've impacted a time in somebody's life. I've cemented a snapshot into another's photobook. I've became a memory - perhaps one they're recalling in just the same satisfaction.

Being the life of the crowd - even if I only find myself pertaining to one, two peoples - is my constant goal. I've known what it's like to be vehemently upset by the world around me; So why not savor even the smallest spotlight? Why not reflect upon those who need a bit of sunshine, as well?

Perhaps it's the writer in me, looking at life as an episodic world constantly influencing itself. Perhaps I'm reading too deeply into my own social skills - it's not too hard to be a colorful person. Either way, I don't care; and my reasoning is simple. I've yet to find a poison more addictive than the smiles you can bring to the world.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Held Against Your Will


It's interesting to consider how important fate is within our lives; how intertwined every minute aspect of our daily being will inevitably become.

Had you asked me a number of months ago, I'd have assured you I would have rather been anywhere than where I was - both on a literal level, as well as a mental and existential one. I felt tattered, and all-around baseless; to the point where social interaction grew painfully unappealing, filled with nothing but disdain.  I wanted a solid escape from the singular, droning hell that was my own mind.

Ask me now; I've found it. Perhaps it's the tinge of my presently delirious mind, but I've finally found a solid state of self that neither toes the line between awkwardly antisocial, callously airheaded, nor ethereally unintelligible. I've found a state that feels, above all, happy. Through baggy eyes, cloudy thoughts, and aching bones, I'm in a greyish world of peace. It's as imperfect as I've always wanted.