Wendy’s Buddy Crates

Wendy’s happy meals currently come with these buddy crates as the toy. What’s super cool about them is they are made up of the box they come in.

When you open the box you get the eyes, which are made of plastic, a sheet of six stickers, one crayon and instructions. Everything else you need is the box itself.

It’s a simple proccess to put together and the crayon and sticker make it so everyone can be different depending on how creative you want to get.

As so many Happy Meal toys end up in landfills and flea market bins it’s nice to have a creative outlet one like this that actually involves some creative output and construction.


Convenience versus the Economy

At first this above video made me think the future is here, but then I started thinking and it’s really scary.

Ever use a self check at the grocery store? What about an ATM? How about ordering something online instead of going out into the world for it? Yeah, we are all guilty of it. But what will be the tipping point where our drive for convenience will eventually dismantle the US workforce?

I’ve made a conscience effort to go the cashier at my local grocery lately as I see the 10$/ hr that will go home with them valued higher to my five minutes quicker out the door. And don’t think for a minute once the stores can get rid of cashiers you won’t be waiting in line. You’ll just be waiting on the computers to process your sale.

The national movement to raise the minimum wage, where its spirit is good and human, will only drive the technology to put a large amount of the US workforce out of work. Wendys already announced plans to reduce their workforce this May replacing cashiers with screens. Their competition will be implementing similar things as soon as they can develop their own way of incorporating the machines in their existing structures. Forcing these companies to pay higher wages will only advance this movement.

The problem is of course deeper. Up until the 1990’s careers at McDonalds were entry level usually filled by teenagers and college students. Somewhere along the way our workforce ran out of options and started making the McDonalds model a career, something it’s not viable as. If McDonalds pays living wages for employees, then their will be no more Fast food chains. At least not any with a Dollar Menu. Maybe that’s not a bad thing but the companies will do what they need to meet their bottom line. If that means replacing employees with machines then that is what they will do.

Where then do all these employees go to work next? They’ve already lost a career at what our country considers a job for the uneducated or unskilled. Rightly or wrongly they will find it hard to find further employment.
And it’s not just fast food employees who will be impacted. Uber, a refuge for people who lost careers, has already started rolling out Self driving cars to replace their drivers. Good bye Taxi Drivers careers. This will be followed by Bus drivers, garbage men, and eventually long haul 18 wheeler drivers. If you can pay a one time fee for the robot that will deliver your goods, why keep the man and his family’s health insurance behind the wheel? Wild stuff and as the technology advances all occupations could one day be replaced.

Scary times indeed. So if you believe in supporting people that work, stop going to self check, stop using the ATM, stop ordering your groceries by mail. It won’t stop the incoming wave of jobs being replaced, but it’s the ethical choice, and might, just might be a way to keep food on someone’s table. At least for a while longer.


Nintendo Switch Presentation

I really kind of numb to it right now. I decided to sleep on it before posting. But this guy above, dressed in Splatoon cosplay pretty much sums up last night. Instead of talking to the core gamer, the ones who stayed up late around the world, Nintendo showed us Wii style gimmicks and made really cheesy Switch Puns. We were 30 minutes in before we saw a real game in Mario Odyssey and that wont be out till fall.

Nintendo didn’t use the opportunity to tell us how the online system will work, rather they buried it in a press release and there are so many questions left unanswered. The launch lineup looks weak as all get out with Zelda being the lone standout and depending on pricing Bomberman R might do well.

I won’t be putting down for a preorder. I’ll probably still end up with one when I see it on the shelf because as you can see below Zelda below looks fantastic but my hype was wiped out by this disaster of a press conference.


Horizon Zero Dawn

The latest trailer for Horizon Zero Dawn continues to make this look like the most epic game Playstation has attempted in a while. It sometimes has some Uncanny Valley moments in the trailer, but overall looks gorgeous. I’m a little concerned the gameplay will be over complicated as some of the RPG elements frankly scare me, but this trailer shows the story is there and is massive. I like that you really can’t tell much about the people other than some Native American influence and some lost technology type of civilization. Can’t wait to give the game a try when it releases.

Tomorrow I will have the Switch press conference impressions if I can stay up to midnight tonight.


Toy Look: Regular Show Titans.

Picked up two of the Cartoon Network Titans. I only wanted the Regular Show ones and I got Mordecai on the first try, and then luckily found an open Rigby later.

The figures are pretty good at catching the look of the show and normally I prefer Funko Mystery Minis to the oversized heads of the Titans line but I really like these guys. They measure about 4 inches tall and have limited arm and head articulation something they also have over the Mystery Minis.

If you like the Cartoon Network lineup these are worth grabbing for around 8$ each, but with all mystery or blind buys, you might end up with duplicates or one you don’t prefer.

All together I enjoy the ability to not spend a lot and have something that doesn’t take up a lot of shelf space.
You can get them here or get a whole case below.


Asheville Zine Fest year 2

One of our many projects proud to say the Asheville Zine Fest is gearing up mighty well for year 2. We are hosting it Sunday May 7th, at the Refinery Creator Arts space in the South Slope district of Asheville. The new location gives us a lot more room for vendors and much better lighting than the Grey Eagle provided. We have already filled most of the tables. If your interested in joining us this year all the details are here. Asheville Zine Fest


Super Mario Run

Super Mario Run is Nintendo’s first traditional game for the Iphone. Where Pokemon Go and Miitomo are nice fun diversions this is the first game that feels like a traditional Nintendo classic. It takes the 2d sidescrolling that made Mario famous and incorporates it nicely for IOS devices. There are six worlds all together with four stages in each for a total of 24. You can beat the game in a few hours but to master it you can easily spend many more.

The game works like an endless runner except going sideways and with traditional flag jumping at the end of each stage. Some of the stages even incorporate some puzzle elements. Where the game really shines and gets difficult is in the collecting of special coins. Some of them really take a lot of trial and error to collect and some feel almost impossible.

Theres a strange build your kingdom thing where you can use points to buy houses and decorations. I could do without it but as an add on for value I can see where it helps justify the price.
Speaking of the price Mario Run is 9.99 an almost unheard of price on Ios devices. Nintendo knows the value of their properties though and i can see their justification. 4.99 seems like a more reasonable price though.

You can try the first three levels for yourself for free. One word of warning, these three levels don’t represent the true difficulty of the rest of the game. Sure it’s not hard like Dark Souls but there are challenges throughout the game. If you like the feel of the first three stages chances are you’ll like the purchased game. If you don’t your probably not going to enjoy spending ten bucks on Super Mario Run.


Toy Look: Black Knight and Enchantress Minimates.

What: Marvel Minimates Series 69 – Black Knight & Enchantress

The latest Marvel series of Minimates is series 69 and features an Avenger who has been waiting a long, long time for his Minimate debut. It’s kind of crazy to think it’s been 69 waves of the line and we have the entire cast of Alpha Flight but not one of the main Avengers of the 1980’s.

Of course that’s one of the reason the line has lasted so long. Marvel has an endless supply of heroes and villains to choose from. Well the Black Knight waited and he got a pretty nice figure for the wait. The gold on the paint really shines and makes his helmet really pop. His cape is a very well made to not limit poseabilty although it doesn’t hold the figure up as many previous capes in the line have. Thankfully Diamond has continued to supply stands for all current Minimates.

The second character in the two pack is the Enchantress another big Marvel persona to never have a release. She is a good sculpt, and resembles her very well. She comes with two green blast accessories and a flight stand.

After collecting this line since its inception, it’s rare for me to buy alot anymore as I can only have so many Iron Man and Spider Man figures so it’s always great when they do an odd two pack like this. I also picked up the rest of Series 69 which included Tigra and Classic Falcon, and Blizzard and Mandroid

As long as Diamond releases more figures that don’t already have representation I’ll keep buying, because you can’t beat having the entire Marvel universe at a 2.5 inch scale.

Get yours here! Black Knight & Enchantress


Luther Season 4.

Just finished Luther: Season 4 and it is a pretty good reset for the character made famous by the stunning acting of Idris Elba. The first three seasons of Luther really twist the character in so many different directions and takes what should be a basic cop show and gives it more dimensions. By the time Season 3 ends Luther is a devastated man, wrought by his own actions to the point where he can’t continue on the path he’s on. Season 4 picks up somewhere past this. And while the two episodes of this season have some generally good and scary moments the story mostly focuses on bringing Luther back into the fold and really sets him up for more gritty detective work in the future. Great show for all four seasons. Here’s hoping Elba’s and creator Neil Cross work calendar allow more from this very grey detective.


Carolinas Region Con pick for January 2017

If your going to host a con in January, and it’s not going to be in the comfort of a hotel, and it’s only going to be one day long, then you better be darn good. And luckily for those of us within a day drive of Charlotte, NC there is Heroes Minicon! Now in it’s 40th year the show packed into the Grady Cole center in Charlotte is older by five years than it’s much bigger summer brother Heroescon but packs a whole lot of awesome into a much tinier space. Where Heroescon is the go to destination for comic artists, Heroes mini feels more like a traditional show with equal space given for comic creators, comic dealers, toy and collectible hunters and one or two Anime sellers as well. The only drawback to this show is that it’s crowded. At times the floor is almost un passable but with lots of time to shop and not much ground to cover you still have time to see everything.
If your near Charlotte make a day trip of it. We usually hit a Dim-Sum place in the morning, go comic shopping at the con, and then have a nice dinner in the big city before coming home. Pretty much a perfect cold January day.

What: Heroes Minicon 40
Where Grady Cole Center, Charlotte, NC
When: Saturday January 28th, 2017.