Collecting nostalgia in a nostalgic way (and it’s as tough now as it was then).
Act 1 – The Challenge
If you were like me back in the golden age of going to the store with your Mom and Dad, I know you faced this challenge while standing in front of them with an armload of toys; “You have to pick one.” They delivered it in a way that made it sound so easy. Of course it wasn’t but you had to do what you had to do or be a brat about and loose the negotiation completely. Nobody wanted that.
It’s with that perspective and memory, I challenged myself as a parent now, to treat my collector habits like they did then. I could only pick one. Considering the choices it was just as tough now as it was then. Even though it was MY money! Still, it was a fun idea and would be a practice in self control. “What could warrant such a highly dramatic approach to buying a toy, Jim?” Four letters that followers of my online exploits know very well:
M E G O
Having went a little crazy on picking up the first series of 50th anniversary Worlds Greatest Superhero’s (Superman, Batman and Robin), the second series arrived at my local Walmart and I promised myself (and wife and daughter) that I would be a little more restrained in my impulses. But come on! There were now faithful reproductions of Aquaman and Shazam joined by new offerings (as if Mego made them back in the days of disco) of The Flash and Green Lantern to add to my block o’ nostalgia and collectors dream come true. It’s with that in mind that the challenge was born. And today was the day that I had to face the challenge.
Act 2 – What are the factors?
With the self imposed restrictions of my purchasing power agreed to, I walked into the Walmart here with a bunch of determining factors to consider:
So which one do I go with? What will the final decision be based on?
A. A faithful reproduction? Aquaman or Shazam
B. The new and exciting? The Flash or Green Lantern
C. The short packed? This was interesting too as it was a split between one of each classic vs new (2each Aquaman and The Flash’s and 4 each of Shazam and Green Lantern)
It was a serious dilemma I was facing but I was determined to make a logical (by my definition of logic that is) decision as to which one it was. One factor that was starting to come to the forefront of my selection process was to make it easier on myself by going chronologically. To go with which came first in the old days: Aquaman or Shazam. The newbies could wait. And as I was looking at them all and reverting back to my 6 year old self in 1979, something happened that was completely unprecedented in my neck of the woods:
John showed up.
Before I get to who John turned out to be, I must share the background and why his appearance had to be of some sort of dimensional enigma wrapped in a quagmire. You see dear reader, I am pretty much if not the only dyed in the wool, hardcore Mego fan in this neck of the world. I can prove this by point you back to earlier on this article of how I went a wee bit overboard with the series 1 assortment. I literally bought them all. Not at one time though. I spread the purchases out over several weeks as to not be one of “those guys” who hoards things. Sure it may look like it if you don’t know the story, but I don’t care. Those were fair shipping terms as far as I’m concerned. Plus, literally no one else was buying them here. Not one. To me that was a disrespectful shame and not an Afro t to the things I love to be allowed for too long. Hence my surprise when John walked up and politely asked me if I had grabbed the ones I wanted.
“What is happening here?” was the first question that popped into my head. “I’ve never seen this guy before. Is he a reseller? Is he looking to snatch away my precious plastic memories? What was this guys deal?!?” My rational journalistic mind snapped back into play and decided to just ask him. His answer was one for me that was of a serendipitous and maybe even divine intervention.
He was a fan.
Not only that but he was also a really good dude. I told him about my challenge and asked him if it was cool that I interview him for this most monumental encounter. He agreed and not at all awkward. You see, dear uninitiated to the collector world, we fanboys and fangirls share a kinship that knows no labels or limitations. It’s a wonderful thing.
Along with sharing his story of being from out of town but making it a point to pop into Walmarts along the way in search of these little prizes, he also shared so much about his connection to the toys and his hopes for kids to discover them as well. So many times his answers sounded like my own thoughts, words and deeds. I’m telling ya, gang, it was a fantastic exchange. That is until he posed the question back to me that I had started this journey off with; “So, which one are you going to pick?”
I had to pause due to this new x-factor which came in the form of John and the figures in his hands. I shared with him my points of consideration to which he completely understood. He also understood how the scale was now tipped with his selections. I’m not aging this was like a scene in a movie where the camera cuts into an extreme close up of the heroes eyes and we see the one bead of sweat appear and slide down his eyes… but it was close.
Scarcity. That would be my determining factor! But… it is MY money and this challenge is dumb and I might miss out on the one if I pick the other… damn it! So I grabbed them both. There was no shaming glance from John as it appeared my will power fell through and I put both Aquaman and The Flash into my handcart and we both headed toward the registers.
Before we made it all the way up though, I did need to touch base with my wife to see if there was anything else I did need to pick up before I left. Perhaps it was in this moment of responsibility, I made the internal judgement call to put one back. And I did.
*To note, John saw his three selections all the way to the end.
Act 3 The decision
So what did I do?
Who did I choose?
Why did I choose this one?
What is the moral of the story?
As I walked away from the collectibles section having returned The Flash to his spot amongst the remaining Shazam’s and Green Lantern’s, I looked down at the Aquaman in my hand basket and smiled. I had practiced self control and used (once again) my own form of collectors logic and justification in making this choice. I decided to proceed forward by staying chronological in my selection. Way back when, Aquaman was one of the original four including Superman, Batman and Robin so that made sense and also set the order of operations for my next pick ups in the coming days or weeks. I still want to give other fans a shot at them although, jumping ahead of the four Shazam’s to get to the now one lonely The Flash will be a chore I’m sure.
So the moral? Self control is still possible in an on demand, I want it now and not only that, it’s incredibly satisfying to know that in the most unexpected ways and at the most unexpected times, we all have opportunities to connect with like minded folks and share stories and moments so long as we’re willing to accept a challenge.
Now, Go Play!
If you liked this article, I’d truly appreciate it if you would take the couple seconds to time to like, comment, subscribe and share it far and wide. It would also be swell if you are in the market for Mego toys to stop by your local Walmart and pick one up there. I can’t speak from a position of authority in this but I do believe the more that sell at retail the longer the line will go on. But of course, supporting your favorite online retailer is a great thing to do too as they are truly committed to helping folks bring the magic literally home via the various shipping services available. Yet if all that fails or those avenues are out of stock, I would ask you to consider buying a Mego their official store on Amazon where I do get a piece of as an Amazon affiliate. And if you want to learn more about all things Mego consider joining the official Mego Ambassador group on Facebook for the latest news and informs straight from the source.
This journal page is the ultimate tool for toy collectors! Designed specifically to help organize and document collections, it features a collection tracker, display planning, wish list, toy history & trivia, and toy maintenance & care. Perfect for both beginner and seasoned collectors, it allows you to keep track of your toys, plan displays, and learn more about your collection. With ample space for images, sketches, and notes, this journal page is the perfect way to document and enhance your toy collecting journey.
By Jim Bumgardner 02/05/2023
Greetings fellow overflowing collectors! Today I want to share with you an idea that will help you better enjoy your collection and perhaps help you get even more enjoyment out of what you have. Not only that, in following this method it can help you thin out the things you may not want, rediscover hidden gems that have slipped from mind and perhaps even land yourself a small fortune letting go of the things that don’t mean as much do you anymore. Funny how those “grail” pieces can equally become a dust collector just as well as those well meant gifts you received because you love Star Wars and everyone in your circle kept giving you any and everything related to the denizens of a galaxy far, far away as gifts over the years and decades. It’s the thought that counts but when you need a Death Star sized house to store them all, it can be a challenge to not want to drop a photon torpedo down the ventilation shaft.
With that in mind, I came up with an idea that can prevent that most extreme and radical solution mentioned above: Journaling. It actually serves many purposes. Along with all the aforementioned benefits, it can also help you create an inventory that you can use to get your collection insured with either a special insurance policy or for use in adding the most valuable pieces to your existing home owners policy. Plus, in creating this journal, along with the memories you will be revisiting, you’re also creating a scrapbook and record for future generations of your family to enjoy. More than a journal, you can create a historical document that helps inform, educated and entertain those who may want to get the rest of the story.
“But isn’t that “blogging”? Yes. Yes, it is. But this is meant for creating something in the physical world, at your own pace but also in a manner that gets you into a routine that will do all the above but also help you develop and maintain a healthy relationship with your hobby. It will force you to come face to face with the questions: “What is this? Why do I have it? Do I still want it? And why do I still want it?” Why is this important? To help break the habit of hoarding that we collectors find ourselves in if we’re honest with ourselves.
Now that the lecture part is over let’s get back to the fun side of this project. Below you will find an outline for what I believe is a great way to do all of the above and at the end of the day have a collection of stories to share if only with yourself that will make every day you do it a little bit brighter and happier with your collection.
I. Cover Page:
A. Title of Series: “Toy Collection Organizer”
B. Subtitle: “Documenting Your Journey as a Collector”
C. Image: A colorful illustration of vintage and modern action figures
This journal page is designed specifically for toy collectors looking to organize and document their collection. With features such as a collection tracker, display planning, wish list, toy history & trivia, and toy maintenance & care, this journal page is the ultimate tool for collectors looking to take their passion to the next level. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned collector, this journal page will help you keep track of your collection, plan your displays, and learn more about your toys. With ample space for images, sketches, and notes, these journal pages are the perfect way to document and enhance your toy collecting journey.
A. Brief overview of the purpose of the journal
B. Explanation of how the journal can help collectors keep track of their collection
C. Explanation of how to use the tracker to keep track of your collection
D. Importance of documenting the journey of collecting toys
III. Collection Tracker:
A. Table with columns for:
Original Year of Release
B. Space for adding images of each toy
IV. Display Planning:
A. Space for sketching display ideas and planning the arrangement of toys
B. Explanation of the importance of displaying toys and how it can enhance the collecting experience
V. Wish List:
A. Space for listing toys that you would like to add to your collection
B. Explanation of how a wish list can help you focus your collection and plan your next purchase
VI. Toy History & Trivia:
A. Space for documenting the history and background of each toy in your collection
B. Trivia and interesting facts about the toys and the manufacturers
C. Explanation of how learning more about your toys can enhance the collecting experience
VII. Toy Maintenance & Care:
A. Space for documenting maintenance and care instructions for each toy
B. Explanation of how proper care and maintenance can protect the value of your collection
A. Recap of the purpose of the journal and how it can help collectors organize and document their collection
B. Encouragement to continue documenting and sharing your collecting journey
And there you have it, a journal / scrapbook outline that if you take the time to make the time, your collection and space will be a far happier place. And yes, I totally meant for that to rhyme. Over the next little while we’ll be talking more about the individual points so be sure to subscribe to Jim’s Toy Box to get deeper into this discussion and who knows, if you need a little help I can build a page or even a book for you to print and use. I’m all about helping you help yourself in making this a truly great and enjoyable hobby.
Do you have a collection of toys that’s growing faster than your living space? If you answered yes, then you’re not alone! Many parents and adult toy collectors struggle with finding enough storage space for their growing collections.
Do you have a collection of toys that’s growing faster than your living space? Are you tired of tripping over action figures, or stepping on legos every time you walk into the playroom? If you answered yes, then you’re not alone! Many parents and adult toy collectors struggle with finding enough storage space for their growing collections.
The Problem: Your toys are taking over your home and causing chaos! The Reaction: You’re starting to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and maybe even a little frustrated. The Solution: With the right storage solutions, you can keep your toys organized and out of the way.
Here are some product recommendations to help you get started:
Stackable storage bins: These bins are perfect for organizing smaller toys, like legos and action figures. Stack them up and tuck them away in a closet or under the bed.
Over-the-door organizers: If you’re short on closet space, consider using an over-the-door organizer to store your toys. This is a great solution for larger toys, like dolls and stuffed animals.
Bookshelf organizers: For even more storage, consider adding a bookshelf to your playroom. You can use it to store your toy collection, and even your books!
Remember, the key to keeping your toy collection organized is to find a storage solution that works for you and your space. With the right tools and a little creativity, you can keep your toys under control and out of the way. And the best part? You’ll be able to enjoy your collection without feeling overwhelmed and stressed. So go ahead and start organizing today!
Greetings dear readers, I wanna chat for a second. Things are changing around here and in a very quick way. Note, this isn’t a cryptic plea for attention or anything. It’s a life and vision change that I’m making that is quite profound and will be reflected in the coming days here at the Toy Box.
It’s been a wonderful run over this past decade of creating content that had a heavy focus on action figures and such. It was actually a lot of fun. That did however fade as things can tend to do. Especially when you see a wish come to fruition as mine has. In a nutshell, my main hope and goal in a large majority of my content was in the promotion of 8 inch action figures in the style of the vintage toys produced by the Mego Corporation.
I can say I did my fair share in creating internet spaces and outreaches for all of that, to my own detriment at times but totally worth it. But now, the phoenix has literally risen from the ashes as I and many others hoped that they would and not only did they come back in a massive way in regards to volume of toys produced, but they brought back the one thing I truly missed the most: The Mego World’s Greatest Super Heroes… but indeed better versions then the originals. TO that I say BRAVO! to all involved. I admire that effort and will continue to personally support the brand and it’s offerings personally but not here. “But why, Jim? WHY?!?!?!”
Because there comes a time when one must make some very important decisions in life if one is to reach a desired outcome. And that outcome can only come so long as the vision is clear. That vision has materialized this very evening in the most wonderful and profound ways. From this point forward, I am dedicating my time, effort, energy, talents and skills 100% to creating content with a mission that is rooted in the undertones shared here all these years but now better defined for its long term impact and potential. That vision? Content and creations that help children learn how important and powerful they truly are with programs that will reach out to them directly. Even more importantly, you will find content that can help parents, grandparents or anyone who plays a role in shaping the minds and lives of kids in the most positive and impactful ways.
The reason for this total commitment is that it is my belief through decades of observation, that what this world needs now more than ever are real super heroes. And who are they? The aforementioned parents, grandparents and caregivers whose priority should absolutely be to teach their children these lessons and skills every single day. I have also come to understand that most don’t even realize that they too have been severely short changed in the learning of these lessons and skills. You may fall into this category as well, dear reader… but don’t think for a second that I’m judging you. I’ve done it myself. As such, now that I am aware, to not move forward with this newly declared vision of a truth that I’ve always known and felt in my soul, would truly be a sin.
It is for that reason that I’m giving you a heads up about what you’re about to see in the coming days. The site as it is will be going offline for rebuilding and branding purposes. Once it returns you will see a new Jim’s Toy Box but one that is filled with tools and toys that are meant to do far more than stroll down memory lane but instead be a machine designed to construct brand new lanes and super highways for MAKING MEMORIES.
It’s been a pleasure all these years serving up the goodies I have and an even bigger one knowing that my “slice of the internet” has helped many connect with days gone by, learn about new products and things and of course the waxing forever poetic (even if at times cheesy) about the marvelous properties of 8 inch action figures. I hope that you continue to find join in those little doppelgangers, I know I sure will. However I know now that my energy and focus demands that I put away those playthings (at least in this space.They’ll still adorn my desk and various other places around the house that Alicia will tolerate 😉 ) and do something with all of that energy that has a value and meaning that transcends any of my previous offerings.
So in the end this basically a heartfelt sign off to those who are still listening but also an early invitation to those who were intended to read this message. With all that said, I say to you with all sincerity, one last time;
Greetings dear readers! I’ve been adding some new fear to the site and would appreciate your help in testing the functionality of it all. What I’ve done as you can see at the top of the page on your PC or from the drop down menu button on your phone, is a link to a new shop page. There you find the freebies teased in the title.
It’s a very rudimentary listing for a “Paranormal Party Pack” that I’m offering for free to thank you for your time. With your “purchase” you get a feee pdf copy of the “Uncovering the Secrets of the Supernatural “ guide book as well as a video download of one of the original “Case files of the Ozarks Ghost Research Society” programs from way back in 2008. From the testing I’ve done on my end it all goes pretty smooth with a note that the video file is kinda big so it may take you a few minutes to download it. The book however is super quick.
I’ll be discussing my reasons for doing this in todays episode of the podcast if you care to listen. That episode should be at the top of the playlist found here on Jim’s Toy Box.
I truly appreciate you participating in this test and forever grateful for your ongoing interests in the machinations of my mind that will hopefully help expand yours!
Greetings dear readers, old and new alike! Welcome to the newly revamped Jim’s Toy Box! I am so excited to share with you the new look and features of our website. Every week, we’ll be diving into a variety of content that I believe will make your life easier and more enjoyable because it has certainly done that for me.
On Monday’s, I’ll be sharing some personal self-help tips to kick off your week on the right foot. From Tuesday to Thursday each week, I’ll be introducing you to some amazing products that I personally use and love, that can make your daily routine a breeze and certainly more fun. Then on Friday’s, we’ll be diving into a topic that I have always found truly fascinating and have packaged it up under the umbrella of: “Uncovering the Secrets of the Supernatural”. Saturday’s, I’ll be continuing our self-help journey that will give you something to ponder over the weekend. Finally, on Sunday, the content will be focused on helping and encouraging you to take some time for yourself to relax, de-stress, and practice mindfulness.
It ain’t always easy to do but with practice you will and can just like I do, one hill and valley at a time. I can’t wait for you to explore our new content programming here on the website as well as the podcast, video streams and television channel. Life is for living and you have the power to do that every moment of every day through the powers of Imagination, Belief and Action!
Greetings dear readers or perhaps I should say, fellow students!
Over all these years at Jim’s Toy Box, one of the bigger permeating ideas that keeps me engaged with the hobby of action figure collecting and appreciation is their incredible potential in teaching. This morning has certainly lived up to that idea. Let me get you up to speed…
When I woke up this morning, an idea that’d been stewing around in my head for many years really came together in regards to producing content that emphasizes how toys can teach. Not going into all the particulars in this writing but I will share this, my desk is chock full of incredible educators! Here’s the class schedule, teachers and subjects they are exploring in this semester of “Jim’s Toy Box University ”:
Superman: Responsibility and Leadership
As a superhero, Superman is responsible for protecting the people of Earth and serving as a leader in the superhero community. He teaches us the importance of being a responsible and effective leader.
Batman: Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
Batman is often faced with complex problems and challenges that require him to use his critical thinking skills to find solutions. He is a great teacher for the importance of problem-solving and critical thinking in our own lives. WWBD?
Robin: Mentorship and Teamwork
As Batman’s sidekick, Robin serves as a mentor to other young heroes and works closely with his fellow heroes as part of a team. Talk about a great student teacher for the importance of mentorship and teamwork in their own lives.
Han Solo: Responsibility and Accountability
Han is a responsible and accountable character, particularly when it comes to his role as a member of the Rebel Alliance and his relationships with his friends and allies. While he is always saying; “It’s not my fault!” In the end he owns up to his failings and deals with the consequences of his actions. A lesson much needed in today’s society for sure.
Mr. Spock: Psychology
Mr. Spock: Going beyond the obvious science and logic reasing that Mr. Spock offers, a bigger trait we can learn from him is Emotional intelligence: Despite his logical nature, Spock is also known for his ability to understand and control his emotions. To let those run wild truly is illogical.
Willie Wonka: Business
Nutty as he may seem, Willie Wonka is a successful businessman and entrepreneur, running his own chocolate factory and creating a promotion that was so engaging that he sold untold numbers of Wonka Bars with the most basic of prizes that cost him nothing: a tour of the factory?!? Now that is a powerful lesson in business and entrepreneurship.
The Phantom of the Opera: Music Appreciation
The Phantom of the Opera is a fine lecturer on creativity and art. A skilled composer and musician, his talent for creating beautiful music demonstrates the importance of creativity and art in our world despite unkind commentary and misunderstood expression.
Medusa: Mythology and Folklore
Medusa’s story is an interesting and educational look at the mythological and folklore traditions of Ancient Greece which we can most certainly learn from today. This appreciation of ancient history gives us an unflinching glimpse into the traits that make us who we are regardless of time.
Frankenstein: Science Theory
Scientific curiosity and experimentation is examined with the most unique perspective. The “monster” Frankenstein’s creator, Victor Frankenstein, is driven by scientific curiosity and the desire to experiment and push the boundaries of knowledge. And while Frankenstein can be used to teach students about the importance of scientific curiosity and the value of experimentation it also helps discuss ethical and moral debates in exploring the limits and boundaries of what man can or should do.
Nada: Social Justice and Activism
Nada is a working-class hero who, once his eyes are opened, fights against the corrupt and oppressive forces that control society. While the outcome is never certain, Nada teaches that the struggle is worth the effort and dedication to a cause.
The Jim’s Toy Box Funko Pop A-Team: Law and Order
The Jim’s Toy Box “A-Team” of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Zorro and Mr. T: Each of these pervayors of justice bring something unique to the desktop classroom.
Wyatt Earp was a lawman known for his role in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which has become a symbol of the importance of justice and the rule of law in society.
Doc Holliday was known for his wit and charm, but also for his tendency towards violence and gambling. He teaches about the complexities of ethics and morality and the importance of making responsible choices in their own lives.
Zorro is a heroic figure who is responsible for protecting the people of his community and serving as a leader in his own right.
Mr. T has been involved in anti-bullying campaigns and has spoken out about the importance of standing up to bullies and promoting kindness and respect.
The Pinocchio Family: Family Values
This perfect representation of a “non-traditional” family unit is chock full of lessons to study ever deeper.
Honesty:Pinocchio is known for his struggle to be truthful and honest, as demonstrated by his nose growing when he tells a lie. His tale is one that is a great lesson in the importance of honesty in out own lives.
Geppetto is the creator and father figure of Pinocchio, and is responsible for teaching him important life lessons and guiding him on his journey. Lessons all parents and guardians need to be mindful of in raising their children.
The Cricket is a loyal and supportive friend to Pinocchio and is always there to help and guide him. He is a great embodiment of the importance of friendship and loyalty in all our lives.
I know you’re thinking;” How can I enroll in this awesome school?!?” The answer: You already are! This classroom is limitless in its educational possibilities and I’ll bet if you look at the others around you that you share space with (spouse, kids, co workers) you could learn even more! Heck, even a field trip to random spots around your home or office, will find even more of these accidental educators! Why, you’re practically housing a repository of the greatest and inspiring minds of all time! Learn from ‘em all!
Now, Go Play (and learn a little something along the way)!
Jim’s Toy Box isn’t getting any kickback on these links at all. I’m doing this shout out solely for the purpose of celebrating a small business that earned my business the old fashioned way: AMAZING CUSTOMER SERVICE!
Late night heads up thanks to my brother from another mother, Tom. Movie Posters Etc has the new Mego reproduction figures of Superman, Batman, Robin, Aquaman and Shazam and the wish list figures they missed of Green Lantern and The Flash in hand and shipping now! Needless to say, I got my order in! Anyway, when you click on any of the picture links below you’ll see that their price is incredibly good even with shipping figured in and is better than a certain mega retailer that doesn’t need the free advertising.
To note, the Toy Box isn’t getting any kickback on these links at all. I’m doing this shout out solely for the purpose of spreading the Mego heads up and giving a shout out to a small business that earned my business the old fashioned way: AMAZING CUSTOMER SERVICE! I’ll share more about that story soon but for now, go Collect ’em All!
All are officially-licensed, approximately 8″ Classic action figures released to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of MEGO’s release of the DC super hero characters. The figure is produced by MEGO and remains new and sealed in MEGO’s original NEAR MINT window box-style packaging.
Can we talk to the dead? Well of course! We’ve got A.I!
Shadowy figures in the corner of your eye. Bumps in the night. The feeling of a strange yet familiar presence watching you from behind. Those all were the elements of a good ghost story and a way to freak yourself out yet at the same time encourage you to go a little deeper into the darkness. But you know what? I’ve learned of something far more terrifying as far as I’m concerned: Digital Ghosts.
Let me define that: A “Digital Ghost” is a new A.I. Powered chat-bot of sorts that takes, compiles and processes real conversations (text, recordings etc) thus creating an algorithm that will allow a person to carry on a conversation with someone that has long since shook loose the mortal coil. I truly wish I was making this up but I’m not. You can read the root article that introduced me to this EXISTING technology. Not hypothetical, not “in theory” but honest to goodness working models available to the public NOW. While I’m bringing attention to it, I am in NO WAY endorsing this for a trial run. If anything, I’d encourage you to run like hell from it. Here’s why.
For as long as I have been on this planet, I have enjoyed a good ghost story. Not the fictional ones but the ones that come from eyewitness accounts of paranormal activity experienced and or captured by real people, some I knew personally in the flesh, and others I watched on television or heard on the radio, I’ll classify all of these as “urban legends”. Some of the tales were quite convincing while others were obviously the haunted musings of people who were mentally / emotionally disturbed or flat out lying for the sake of attention. I speak to this with some “authority” having conducted numerous paranormal investigations as well as personal experiences and experiments. This isn’t the place where I want to go deep and wide into recounting those tales but merely to establish to you dear reader that I am not coming at this from a place of casual observation and hyperbole. I’ve literally been there, done that and have an old television show to prove it.
In regards to those those aforementioned experiences, I’d like ot break down my general observations from those categories I listed and as we go you’ll see why this “Digital Ghost” is a real problem:
First hand accounts: These are my favorites and this category is reserved exclusively for those that I have been in the same room with, looking eyeball to eyeball or experienced myself. Pretty rare on the whole and as a rarity, as good as gold.
Urban Legends: These are the second and third hand accounts of stories that have been passed down from generation to generation, shared around campfires and regurgitated endlessly on television and radio since those technologies have existed. I’m not saying that those tales aren’t true or at least based in some forms of truth. I am however saying that unless I experience something first hand, it will always be more suspect than anything else. Especially in this technological age.
The mentally Ill: I’ll start this by emphasizing that this category is not one that is singling out those who have mental disorders on the whole. What I mean here are those that are however lacking certain cognitive and abilities of discernment that doesn’t allow them to add broader critical thinking to their observations. These are the folks who truly can’t go deeper and wider into their lines of thoughts and comprehensions. These are also the ones who refuse to do so, meaning; they believe what they believe and there is absolutely no changing their minds. That to me is perfectly fine too. It’s their imagination being used as they see fit. Whatever gets you through this human experience is nothing I care to lay judgement on. Plus, in most cases of these types, I have observed that in at the root motivation of their stories these tales are helping them come to terms with either the unfortunate passing of a loved one or same said scenario but they themselves were horrible to someone that they can never make amends with and this is a way for them to bring about some form of inner peace to that mental struggle. That point is where that line gets crossed and people can and do get hurt and that I have a MASSIVE problem with. That leads us to our next category…
The Liars: This category is full of a whole lot of people. Many of them you probably know their names in the popular culture space of the paranormal genre. I have no need nor desire to offer up a blanket list of those that I believe to be full of shit and intentionally misguiding people. Just remember this little point of discerning: Examine the motivations behind not the claims but instead the rewards for telling of the tales. Are they getting paid to do so? Are they charging you to tell you something? Are they screaming for attention in their efforts? What is the root motivation? If theirs a paycheck or a pat on the back, enjoy the show but know they are more than likely pulling your leg and at your wallet. Don’t invite ’em over for dinner.
Now before we get into why I see the Digital Ghosts software’s as a problem let me better define my perception on the purpose and point of ghost stories, experiences and the need to share them and why they either freak us out or encourage us with hope of more after this life fades away. Even more than religion, most of us NEED ghosts to help us deal with death.
No matter what your race, religion, sex, nationality etc is, the reality is that death is the absolute equalizer and one thing that everyone will experience. If you are or know of a living organism, you and it is eventually going to stop being one. And overall it is going to be a horrible experience to endure. Even if you have found your peace with death on the whole, there will still be those moments of sadness that stems from the loss of connecting with that unique spirit in the manners in which you had before. You can talk out loud at an empty chair over your lonely morning coffee and may even feel a connection as if the person you are addressing is there, but there is no denying that their physical presence isn’t. And that sucks. However, you do have the memories of those times and conversations. You may even have pictures and videos of those moments that take your mental reflections into 2 Dimensional space. You of course can share a problem with that memory and deduce a hypothetical answer and it help. Now it’s at this point where the Digital Ghosts become problematic.
Let’s say that someone you know used one of these A.I. powered services or someone they knew took all of that data and content and submitted it to the service providers and they did what they do in their 21st century Dr. Frankenstein meets Physic Gypsy caravan cart, laboratory and social platform. With the link you can start a conversation with “Good Ole Joe’s” chatbot. You know it’s a chat-bot so you’re cool. “It’s just a game, right?” Of course. Liek a Ouija board… but with an absolute vision and established personality that you not only know of but knew intimately for a good portion of your life. Here is where it starts to slide down the slope into the danger zone…
As you’re “playing” with the app, you’re simple statements of “I sure do miss you.” and “I could really use your thoughts on this matter.” shift from what your theater of the mind might cook up to actual words on the screen, presented in tone and stye exactly as “Good ole Joe” would have replied.
“I text dead people!”
Here’s the problem and I’ll prove it by how we live today thanks to social media. Going into the app you KNOW it’s an app. No doubt. Good Ole Joe is long gone. But the text replies seem so “right” to what he would say. That’s you’re mind accessing your brain to discern that, and as the conversation goes on (“One more question won’t hurt. Hell, this is therapeutic! I’m getting it out and letting go!”), the line begins to get thinner and thinner between reality and technologically powered perception thus a new reality. Your mind and brain are starting to process this as a real conversation because the more emotions that are drummed up the more real it truly becomes in the physical sensations. You also start receiving the satisfaction and treat that is the combination of dopamine and adrenaline. It’s really driving this experience out of the “Twilight Zone” and into the cache of messaging contacts on the phone in your pocket. “How awesome and convenient is this?!? Good Ole Joe will always be right here with me when I need his sage like advice that is actually getting wiser and more insightful all the time! Thank you A.I! You filled the void in my heart!”
No it didn’t. In fact, this outreach and interaction is doing what social media has established as a blurring of the lines of reality in human connections and interactions. Did you forget that the window into the lives of your “friends” are limited by what they themselves gate keep? There’s your reminder if you did. Those interactions have aspects of reality to them, but in the end ARE NOT REAL. NEVER forget that. They are 2 dimensional experiences that have a REAL impact on your emotional, mental and physical well being. Take a moment and reflect on any of the social media drama you found yourself in over the past decade+ that you’ve been on social media. The only thing that was truly impacted by that drama was how you lived your REAL LIFE in the REAL WORLD. That was a simulated distraction that created a real world burnt roast in the oven or missed meeting because time got away. I feel confident that you see my point so let’s examine how this reality of social medias impact on your everyday life will be further damaged by a more personal experience when you have the opportunity to have a fresh conversation with Good Ole but long dead Joe.
Social media feels real to you. Although its not. It does have real ramifications in some instances, but more often than not, it doesn’t… except of course to your mind. Your consciousness and sub conscious are being put through the paces of staying on top of discerning and judging what to do with all the info you are putting into it.
My mind is racing now with all the possibilities that could arise from this. With the right amount of data, you could feasibly have this A.I. crate a version of “grandma” that you could then introduce to your friends who are needing a little bit of grandmotherly guidance like she gave you. We can even go a little further and recreate historical figures, both real and fictional. Simply scan in writings or documents written by the likes of George Washington and Ben Franklin or Captain Ahab and Professor Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes infamy. Sweet lord we just transitioned into “Star Trek: The Next Generation” holo-deck territory. Well damn, didn’t see that coming but it does lead to my next points
So in first addressing only the text aspect of this technology when you add in the visual and audio options that are absolutely do-able now, and you have a real opportunity to create an “avatar” that is pretty damn life like in their appearance and sound. The list of psychosis that can develop from this point should be coming clearer to you now, dear reader. I’d be remiss not to mention the other sensory gadgets and gear that has been announced from folks like Zuckerburg and Google to where you will be able to physically FEEL things that aren’t there. I don’t think Rod Serling himself could have dreamed this reality up in his Twilight Zone Night Gallery. Then again, maybe he could have or could now. All we gotta do is load in some pics, video and data and find out.
Now tell me that ain’t spookier than a creak you heard on the stairs.
Back on point with my legitimate concerns in regards to the human mind and spirituality. Secularism is a real concern of mine these days. While I am all about “You do you, I’m not here to judge.” I am concerned with the ever growing acceptance of a one and done, we’re nothing more than a random accident in the universe that serves no purpose outside of living and dying and all along that journey adding our sweat equity of mental and physical labors for the sake of the rest and future society “just ‘cuz”. That’s ludicrous to me and as a matter of fact the older I get the more I realize not only how horrible that perspective is but also how incredibly EVIL it is as well. If we were only born to die than what is the purpose in putting up with so much bullshit and pain while living? I haven’t found a suitable answer to that and if you have, keep it to yourself.
A couple final links and thoughts about all of this for you yourself to check out to see where I’m coming from in all of this. The first is an A.I. created podcast between Joe Rogan and Steve Jobs. Admittedly it is weak to the educated ear HOWEVER it’s not so weak to an unsuspecting mind or one not aware of this technology which is in far greater numbers than you insightful one may realize. Click here for that. Next is the Pocket article I read this morning that inspired me to write this article. In it you ill find links and further notes and studies that are being done RIGHT NOW. Finally, at the bottom of the page is pretty interesting primer video that gives some good representations and examples of A.I, deep fakes and other such altered reality things that exist now and have been deployed on unsuspecting masses of people around the world. And for fun, I’ve also embedded a video from the ABBA experience show where the fabulous foursome have recreated and regenerated their younger selves to the thrills and chills of the modern audience. Entertaining and super scary when you take my words to heart. Then again, How cool could it be to see A.I. powered performances of Beethoven and Mozart?
Never mind. I ain’t giving in.
For the record, as of this writing (10/14/2022) I myself am still a living breathing human being cognitively jotting down these thoughts and considerations. You might want to double check that come 2073 if this is when you’ve come across this post. I may still be alive when you reach out but then again, I may not. Either way…
I became aware of the thought and reality of “problem/ reaction/ solution (PRS)” from David Icke. This simple three word equation is quite profound really. I gauge it’s profundity by the fact it is so simple and obvious once you think about it. It is even easier once you take the time once you’ve addressed the PRS to look at it’s prequel. That prequel is where we discover the root of the matter I term as “The Fuse”.
“The Fuse: Spotlighting the Prequel to a Problem, Reaction, Solution Scenario”
I became aware of the thought and reality of “problem/ reaction/ solution (PRS)” from David Icke. This simple three word equation is quite profound really. I gauge it’s profundity by the fact it is so simple and obvious once you think about it. It is even easier once you take the time once you’ve addressed the PRS to look at it’s prequel. That prequel is where we discover the root of the matter I term as “The Fuse”. Example:
Problem: “(Insert whichever ethnic, religious, sexual orientation of person), ruined/ attacked/ destroyed our way of life!”
Reaction: Become fearful, angry and hateful of (Insert whichever ethnic, religious, sexual orientation of person)
Solution: Shun (Insert whichever ethnic, religious, sexual orientation of person) and demonize them for “the greater good”.
The Prequel: Special interest lobbyists decided they needed to advance a particular thing to add to their wealth and power so they worked with easily manipulated and corrupted government officials to make changes to the existing system not for the greater good but instead for those personal ambitions. How is it done? Through writing, producing, directing and distributing a narrative that will get people emotionally charged over time that will in term lead both “sides” to be programmed to carry out and perform record-able actions that can then be used to “prove” how their solution is the ONLY one.
In thinking about all of this, I’ve dubbed this prequel step as “The Fuse” because without a fuse the “bomb” can’t go off. And to define and defuse that point where true progress, change and dare I say enlightenment can actually come to life. What I found even more profound in all of this line of thought is that when you examine pretty much any situation you will find at its start that the true solution is very simple, so long as you can address the reality that it stems from societal programming that is ingrained to the point that it seems to be a deep seeded belief based on a “right” when in fact it is a bastardization of a principle of natural law.
In this discussion I see natural law as a belief that is based in two factors: survival and love. Perhaps it would be best to swap those around as love and survival in its order of importance but the reality of perceived need places them in the aforementioned order.
As living, thinking, feeling organisms. we all have to survive. It’s a must if we are going to continue on our plights and journeys through this thing we call life. The problem there however is that the survival instinct can (and often does) reflect in a negative manner if LOVE is not placed first in the order. Without love in the drivers seat, we loose sight and connection with faith and hope. And without those two the experience of being human gets muddy and depressing and can be overcome by a negative energy. This is where my mind goes to a HUGE point that Jesus made in regards to his two commandments for the human race: Above all put God first and secondly, love your neighbor as yourself.
Side track thought: It just struck me how many of the modern “liberals” will take the second commandment and run with it as a tool to be used to instill guilt. That my friends is hypocrisy at its finest. But stepping back, once you realize that with the lack of the first commandment, and the programming of a narrative that says God’s dead or doesn’t exist, it’s easy to see how this happens in regards to the negative outcome of their actions.
With all that said I’d like to share my understanding and point of view on the first commandment aspect that is putting God above all.
Over the decades and years I have finally come to understand, believe and embrace the reality that in that commandment when truly accepted, embraced and applied, we learn the most important lesson of living a full life in this experience: There IS something far greater than ourselves. A “something” that has at its very core the ability to exist free from biased emotions. To see everything, and I mean EVERYTHING simply as “It is”. Completely free from good or bad but instead a perfect balance of what WE as humans perceive as “good or bad”. Perspective is everything and that perspective is the one thing that as humans we have a hard time getting past because by the very nature of this human experience, we can’t without lots of effort at the start, to comprehend and accept this completely neutral yet extremely powerful point of view.
With all of that said, I offer to you my perception to the PRS example and fuse that I started this article out with.
The Real Solution: Before you get enraged by this narrative of a particular (Insert whichever ethnic, religious, sexual orientation of person), seek out for yourself a PERSON that fits into that label. Have a cup of coffee with them or do anything for that matter that can allow for a conversation to come about. Ask them how they feel about that PRS. DO they believe it? Is it true? Why or Why not? Share your opinion and perception of said PRS. How do those two perspectives line up? While I wouldn’t be so arrogant to say that you will find an absolute answer, I will say that you will have invited a conversation and possible debate between two PEOPLE that can and will encourage free thought, debate and an EDUCATED ground for further growth, progress and potential resolution.
Applying this line of thought to my appreciation and dedication to PublicSq’s mission and platform.
With times as they are, and how we have arrived at this point, I would like to put myself to this test and standard. So here goes:
The Problem: Media and Government “suggestions”, protocols and narratives have led to businesses (both small and large) having to fall in line with methodologies that violate their core values
The Reaction: Many if not most fell in line dies to FEAR of being “cancelled” or shamed out of existence due to their “lack of compassion”.
The Solution: Accept said “Suggestions”, protocols and narratives as the “only way” they can survive this particular moment in time.
Now let’s take a look at “The Fuse” that led to that:
*Another note about the term “the fuse”. I chose the word fuse over trigger as a fuse works slower than a trigger. That’s not to discount that there are fast burning fuses, but at the same time, it still takes longer for a fuse to burn than a trigger and its reaction to action is far quicker. *
The Fuse of this scenario is one that was cultivated and nurtured over time. I’d say that at the start of this particular fuse would be the birth of “political correctness” which in itself gave birth to the “everybody’s a victim mentality that offered an excuse for a lack of personal responsibility. I’d pinpoint this start to the very early 90’s. It was from this point that the snowball started rolling faster and faster to where we are today. In it’s face, the arguments for complying with politically correct compliance was seen by most as little more than a general nuisance and not taken too seriously. There in lies the problem. Seeing the perceived gnat as just a little thing to wave away from your ear was actually a giant vulture in disguise and as time went on, the cloaking mechanism could no longer disguise its true nature.
Now, where does my affiliation to PublicSq come into play here?
It comes from the aforementioned understanding of things. With what the platform and its creators are offering is a platform that steps back to a time before the gnat got out of hand. I also fully understand that to take such a firm stand is far from easy to maintain. To succeed in their mission which I now embrace as my own, the vultures are waiting in these early days of the platforms growth, just waiting to strike. Before the strike however, there are constant giant swarms of gnats all around. Some of those giant swarms include the entities found in today’s existing social media landscape. To share the message on those platforms you can bet your bottom dollar that “shadow banning” is in place hard and the programmed trolls are out in full force to report, attack and attempt to discredit or “cancel” ones efforts in promoting this platform, it’s values and mission. In essence this a fight featuring an underdog and that has always been my favorite fight.
However, I firmly believe that this underdog has far more support than perceived because of what it offers the “silent majority”.
Silent only because the microphone is being controlled by the opposition. And they are Legion. However, the little engine that could, the tortoise that beat the hare and the handful of renegade colonists taking on an Empire prove that not only are the fights worth it, the outcomes can be better for all once the dust settles. And that’s where PublicSq comes in to play for me. They made the platform with the tech that is a functioning (and fashionable) answer to part of the problems for those who feel alone and thus afraid to speak up.
With all that said, and being mindful of the clock and my schedule, I have to conclude this writing. But rest assured, this thought on “The Fuse” will most certainly be continued in the days, weeks, months and years. But remember, regardless of the heaviness of your day and duties, take the time to enjoy living. After all, that’s what we’re here for.
Authors Note: This post is the accompaniment to this PODCAST
I want you to think about this. Let’s say you woke up and it was January 12th, 2019. The events of the past two+ years, haven’t occurred. What would be different for you?
That’s the question I’m posing to myself and challenging you with on this episode of the podcast.
Quick housekeeping notes: the name change and the theme song. Also, shop or drop a tip. It’s appreciated. If you’d like to hire me for consulting or production services reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For me I was burned out but still searching for hope. But, I did get sick with a sinus infection that impacted the right side of my head. My ear and jaw were in excruciating pain for days. So much so the best I could do for it was sleep. So I did. Little did I realize I was getting rested up for what was to come for a new adventure and change of scenery where I ended up selling big boy clothes. More on that later….
For a decade I was screaming from the rooftops about the NEED to support your local media. In fairness, they needed to be supporting you too with useful information and entertainment.
I went down many a wrong paths not out of direct and intentional malice but worse: indifference. By 2019 I had done enough and seen enough that I allowed my cynicism to overtake my positivity and in many cases common sense.
So now what? For two years I’ve been in an endless circle of self doubt and intentionally searching for a way out of that but doing it all wrong. I was aware of myself and actions but not as clear in my purpose. I was overthinking and complicating it all.
Moral of the story: When things seem impossible and at their worst NOW go back in your mind to a time you feel things were “better, good, great “ etc, and ask yourself “What was different then?” “What did I do or not do since?” “What’s the regrets?” “How can I right the ship NOW?”
The biggest take away? Do not wait for anything on your “bucket list”… get on it NOW!
Now, Go Play!
Jim – 01/12/2019 —- excuse me 07/26/2022
P.S. I’m working for in house merchandise creations, tips and affiliate sales… so clicks and a drop in the hat are always appreciated
“What a shocking header, Jim!?! Are you a Satanist? Pagan? Occultist? Harvester of Sorrows?” No. I have a sense of humor and made an animated show to prove it. Warner Brothers and YouTube however, didn’t. So sensitive.
“What a shocking header, Jim!?! Are you a Satanist? Pagan? Occultist? Harvester of Sorrows?” No. I have a sense of humor and made an animated show to prove it. Warner Brothers and YouTube however, didn’t. So sensitive.
But seriously, Warner Brothers had a copyright strike placed on the full presentation that featured the old Hammer films production of “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” within seconds of the upload completed. Only between the time stamps of just after the 16 minute mark to just after the 44 minute mark. I found this odd as this particular film has been in the public domain for quite a long time but it is not worth the fight because 1. I’d never win and 2. My bits are not an issue. Well, not that I’m aware of yet.
I always do my best to keep any and all of my content “PG” with the hardest stretch being a “PG-13”. That’s not to be righteous or pious, it’s more a matter of respect for the audience. While one can never, ever, ever guarantee that someone, somewhere won’t be offended, I do make it a point to make sure that what I put out is something I don’t have issues with my own daughter watching. It’s just that simple for me.
I bring attention to that point as after I was notified that the full feature video was banned and blocked, that YouTube dubbed it as “Age Restricted to persons over 18”. In that claim I have no dispute. By general societies standards… sort of. The film does have a couple of scenes were the sacrifice is bare chested on the alter. I’m sure that must be the issue because the Satanic rituals being portrayed are surely fictional, right? Right! (insert wink, wink, nod, nod).
Again that part doesn’t really bother me. If I were to have aired it on traditional broadcast television, the tah tah scenes would have had to be edited in some way, by either blurring or stretching the frame, etc. What got me though was that they made the decision AFTER the video was blocked and banned and unavailable for ANYONE, ANYWHERE to view it. Not a big deal but just an annoyance brought about by the lords of the algorithms that make those decisions.
No matter, the animated bits are what matter to me and so far, the telescoped sizzle reel that features the complete joke hasn’t been deemed evil and or banned. I’ll let you know if that changes. You’ll actually know if it happens if you can’t see the video below.
That rant aside, I do have much greater purposes and usage for the program as a whole as it will be a focal point for a new series I am launching now that will better allow for me to share and teach the steps to the content creation pipeline I’ve shared a couple posts back that has actually been very well received by new readers from around the world.
And to all of y’all I offer a sincere, “Thank you!” and look forward to adding to that method and strategy that could very well help you in your endeavors be they professional or personal. We’re all on this human journey together so I pledge to continue doing the best I can with my experiences to encourage, motivate and inspire you to do the same.
Now, Go Play!
P.S. I’m working for in house merchandise creations, tips and affiliate sales… so clicks and a drop in the hat are always appreciated
If you’ve ever wanted to know why I’m so incredibly hung ho about the Mego style action figure then this blog post is for you. Otherwise, you may want to search for Star Wars keywords in the Toy Box.
The obvious answer is: I love the feelings from childhood these 8 inch figures bring back to me. It may just be me but the connection between these toys and my emotional triggers is super strong and they’re all very, very good feelings and memories. Even when the bands would break when I was a kid, it was heartbreak at the time, but the memory of my dad stringing them back together with the handiest piece of elastic he could find quickly and in a pinch (from the band of a pair of his “tighty whiteys” worked pretty well). Dark cloud meet silver lining. But that memory isn’t the primary reason I gush as I do.
Followers of the Toy Box are sure to note that I’ve gushed over pretty much every Mego style figure that’s came about since the Toy Box started in 2011. I did everything I possibly could with words, pictures and the occasional video to encourage folks to give the format and whatever particular maker was producing, a shot at the time. It’s that motivation that gets closer to the big reveal of my “why”. Before we get to that though, I’d like to point out another noticeable habit of mine in regards to these figures: I get all kinds of pissed off when one breaks due to poor quality. Why? (Here’s where we’re getting to the deep root). Succinctly put: I could sell the damn things.
That’s what it was always about in my adulthood. I wanted nothing more than to sell Mego product for a living. At the time of that desire emerging (2008), the only one layer on the field was Classic TV Toys. But as covered here to a tired end, the quality of those toys was crap. Actually worse than crap. At least crap can be flushed. Those damn things would bust up the sewage system and poison an already toxic landfill.
See? There I go again.
More to the point though, o was pissed because while I wanted so bad to serve as a business to business salesman of the figures, I simply couldn’t do it because of the completely inexcusable lack of quality. I’ve covered those reasons as to why they were the way they were (nutshell: don’t do manufacturing in India) and every time I think about that squashed goal it bugs me more than a little. Things got better with CTVT as they evolved into Figures Toy Company but the opportunity I had concocted in my head simply couldn’t come into existence. So I moaned and groaned. And then Mego, THE Mego came back. So what’d I do? Get pissy and fueled with social media rage, acted a fool worse than a spoiled child.
All that’s behind me now and to those I may have offended, pissed off or otherwise have cause to see me in a horrible light that I was most certainly earning, I truly, deeply and sincerely apologize for that. I assure you it will never happen again. Life is far too short and way too good to ever give into such idiocy again.
The moral of the story?
Enjoy what you enjoy. Love what you love. Hate what you hate. But in all those emotions be civil and respectful in your critiques and do so with an intent of positive, constructive criticism (my least favorite oxymoron btw. I’d much rather order the jumbo shrimp.). So will I ever see that dream goal accomplished? No. Most likely not. However I can continue to do this and point you to links to click to make one of my personal favorites your own. But who am I to say that instead of buying only one, you pull the trigger, get a wholesalers license and become a mass retailer of all things Mego. Maybe I’ll do that myself one day. Maybe. Just maybe. Hmmmm. Flights of fancy can be fun. Who am I kidding? Of course they are! Dream big, gang anything is possible in this implausible world.
Now, Go Play! (And click on one of the links to treat yourself to a Mego made toy today!)
In case you missed it the most epic announcement of the actions of a pop culture icon just dropped: William Shatner is going to space! How amazing is that? Captain Kirk going to space for real?!?! I’m not that big of a Trekkie but I sure do love me some William Shatner!
And while this is awesome in and of itself, this isn’t the first time that the influence of the fictional “Star Trek” has manifested in our real world. For those who may not have known or forgot, once upon a time ago the bridge crew of the Enterprise were the guests of honor when the REAL Enterprise was rolled out for all to see… well, everybody but the Captain…
I guess this is the Shat’s way of making up for that really stupid blunder on his part. As of this writing, I haven’t been able to find an official reason as to why he wasn’t there but ego’s were ego’s back then. Oh well, let the past be the past right? Right!
Being as fanboy as I can be, this announcement gets me stoked about Kirk Merch (plus that sounds kind of cool)… and on that note, I’m thinking to commemorate the moment I just may go aheaad and get my hands on the new 14″ Mego Kirk via my longtime pals at Entertainment Earth. Hmmm……
Hell, I think I may need to give in to more impulse buying and round out the whole old school crew via the Mego way. Also could be a really good time to give the folks at ZLC Collectibles a shot…. I see tribble size trouble on my hands if I give into all this madness.
But what a way to go! I think I’ll start right here…. I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂
Heard Mr. Welling say this on a podcast a while back and it rank so very true to me. Life can be a genuine struggle, full of ups and downs, fears and anxiety… BUT those can be overcome with perseverance, dedication and faith in reaching the outcome you desire.
And not with wishful thinking but instead with actionable steps.
This truth is one of the things that the “3 keys to content creation” workshop was built on. By carving out and dedicating as little as 5 minutes of an hour, you can chop away at the perceived mountains in front of you. “But I don’t have even 5 minutes.”
That’s not a true statement because you just read this and probably another 10 to 15 posts on your feed.
So “Threads” didn’t pop. No surprise if we’re looking at the current state of online connecting and distribution. “Why’s that, Jim? Billionaires, entrepreneurs and online pundits want to know!” In my view it’s simple: it’s an over saturated industry that has peaked. As such it’s ran its course.
This is nothing new. It’s happened time and time again since man started writing things down and figuring out better ways to share the messages. It was a matter of technology evolving more so than just new and shiny spokes for the wheel. The papyrus scrolls were a magical advancement from the stone and chisel as was the printing press after the aforementioned papyrus pieces. And with each one came a bunch of equally relieved and terrified members of their respective industries. The stone cutters and carriers were much happier with the lighter load of the paper but the quarry owners were surely pondering; “Now what am I gonna do with all these slabs of rock?!? They took our jobs!!!” Thats not to mention all the blinded monks questioning what that loud noise was in the background that was periodically pounding down on a sheet of paper behind them. If you don’t get that reference, we can chat about that later.
In the end, the latest “greatest thing since sliced bread” has always come and gone so many times since those loaves were even split up and dished out. We of the 20th century saw tons of this. From vinyl to tape to cd’s and then MP3’s. And that’s just portable audio evolution through technology. The same timeline flows for video as well. Film to tape to DVD (all the other type discs offer little more than more storage capacity, so apologies to BluRay and 4KUltraHD snobs. They ain’t that special).
Now thinking about the forms of distribution (newspaper to radio to television to smartphones ) all of those instruments replaced the others taking along with them the best of their predecessors and making them more practical and accessible. With the final stop being the smartphone we find that social media platforms appear to be the final stop on this piece of techs journey. So what’s next?
In pondering this curiosity, the best I’ve got is going to be the device that allows for total immersion via control by thought both in and out. We’re practically there with the exception of the delivery device. I really creeped myself out a bit in thinking about this when I realized that the smartphones coupled with cellular wave riding, has actually made that very possible. Hear me out…
With social media and all that goes into its workings and machinations of collecting, tracking and processing what we all do in our usage of these platforms, the computers that process and store all of this data have indeed nearly perfect clones of our thoughts, actions, desires and intentions. Not that they can read our minds but instead have nearly all the variables to make a damn good guess at what we’re going to do or even think next. The scary part is that with that much information it is absolutely possible to manipulate and influence choices and opinions with ease. I won’t go any further down that rabbit hole but to say that the future is now and the brain wave pounding and sucking device that Edward Nigma created in the movie “Batman Forever” way back in 1995, could be the device… if only people actually sat in front of the television. Perhaps the Riddler could attempt it to an app.
That’s my curiosity for the day. What day you? What comes next in the world of mass information and entertainment distribution and communication?
With todays prompt from Jetpack via WordPress, I was pretty pumped to share my story… because it’s a SPOOKY one! Bwahahahahaahahahaha!!!
Okay, maybe not spooky enough to warrant all the maniacal laughter but it does had a nice chill and thrill to the day. I’m speaking of my favorite online radio site; Halloween Radio.
While there are a handful of Halloween themed online radio stations and playlists available, they all pale in comparison to what you will be treated to at Halloweenradio.net . Plus, being working as a traditional radio station, the playlist never stops and you never know exactly what your going to get. So suspenseful! However there are options available via the main page.
You can choose from oldies, the main feed, kid friendly or ambient sounds in regards to the channels they offer. Each and every one of them go far beyond “The Monster Mash” and Michael Jackson’s “”Thriller”. Way beyond!
There are so many tunes from the genre out there that if you’re a fan of the creepiest time of the year, Halloween Radio will most seriously make you scream with delight all year round!
I invite you all to join me on a journey full of creativity, organization and growing Jim’s Toy Box.
What’s in it for you?
My pledge to all you dear readers is a story and tale of encouragement. Regardless of what your online motivations are, I do believe that many of my insights can benefit you in business, organizations and hobbies if creating and distributing content is your wants, needs and goals.
My intent is to provide as much useful free content as possible in those pursuits but there will also be more in-depth online courses and in person training sessions and consultations available for a few. I assure you this, in all of those I will be giving you the best I’ve got from decades of experience in what to do and not to do.
What’s in it for me?
In doing this I get the opportunity to do focus in on the things o love to do best: inform, entertain and create not compete. When I say focus that in itself is a lesson that I will share along the way and with reason. With a lifetime spent learning and doing, it can get overwhelming and become scattered when attempting to launch a service and training business that is concise and uncomplicated.
For way too long and up to this point, describing what I do and can provide folks has really become a chore. The best way I could put was that I am a storyteller who has learned multiple ways of telling those stories for people. It is with that in mind that I am branding those efforts as “AMP Multi Media” (Advertising, Marketing and Promotion).
All I truly ask…
The number one thing that is. So very crucial to my goals and efforts is this one thing: Engagement. So please, when you learn or enjoy something I post here or on my social media streams, please be kind and like, comment, share and subscribe. It means the world and in that, another lesson is shared.
WordPress is a platform and provider that I have come to really appreciate for its dependability and functionality. As such, recommending it for anyone needing a new web host is a no brainer for me. It’s served me well since 2010. In the recent past, the upgrades with Jetpack have also been very helpful and useful. This leads to taking the bait with todays prompt about “10 things you know to be absolutely certain about.”
The short answer: that’s actually a pretty tough and deep thought.
That observation comes from an understanding that for me, absolutes can be a very limiting thing. So I guess that would be one thing that I am indeed very certain of. There’s always three sides to ever story. Perspectives from me, you and then the truth in the middle. To that thought I will add this; I don’t have to be right and you don’t have to be wrong. In that philosophy, I have found a sense of peace and balance in the way o observe the world. Perhaps that can help you as it’s helped me.
Another thing that I am most certainly sure of is that there is a higher power / creator that has in motion a guide for us all to follow. The sticky wicket there is the ins and outs of the “why’s and how’s”. In that I will point you back to the last paragraph.
A third thing that is certain in my perspective and experience is the importance of story, organization and sharing knowledge, information and entertainment. Those are the skills and results that in my opinion will allow us all to work better together collectively and for a genuine greater good.
Fourthly, I feel pretty certain that the imagination is a window from the soul that allows us to truly be all that we can be and more as we embrace it as the tool and gift that it is.
Number 5 would be (and these aren’t in a particular order per se, just rolling with free flow thought), the importance of a website in the modern information distribution age. To me a website is my online home that I can invite folks to come and visit, free from the noise and distractions of social media feeds. We can literally hang out here with an assumption of likemindedness.
Sixth would be how important it is to understand that reality is a matter of perception. While there are certain elements that are universal and impact is all the same way (gravity for example) but how we respond to even that can be a matter of debate based on perspective.
In this seventh spot, my hat would have to tip in the need to always be learning. Be it something that enhances what you know or instead, something totally new that enhances us in general and dare I say randomly, it’s imperative to truly experiencing all that life has to offer. With that said I will segue into…
Number 8 – Learn, train, work at learning how to stop. I mean full stop. Turn off the mind. Say no to unnecessary spit of the moment choices that you don’t really have an interest in when a nap would serve you better. Having been a “multi-tasker” for way too long, this necessity has come to me (be it slowly) over the past three years, and only now do I get it and embrace it.
Ninth, I would say is to be understanding to yourself when the to do list doesn’t get done. My experience has shown me that in most instances for me, I made the list to long, wide and deep to ever get it done in the time frame I ascribed to it. Perfect example is the one I made for myself last night. Meditation, prayer and sleep showed me this morning that in reality what I made was a list for the WEEK and it’s a good one. When this one is finished up by Sunday, I will have accomplished the most incredible amount of progress to my greater goals in YEARS.
And finally in the “10 spot”, I would say with certainty that I know I’m my heart and soul that anyone reading this has more potential than they themselves have realized until they take the time to ponder a random writing prompt.
Today I played with an idea using Augmented Reality. Amazing tech that allows your 2D materials to offer more interactive 3D experiences.
In this example of an example, use your phone to scan the QR code on the image below. Of course that only works if you’re reading this on a pc or print the pic off. Check it out though and let your imagination run wild with the possibilities of what this type of tech could do for you…
A couple of the hardest things to do for me is to 1. Put together a demo reel and 2. Narrow down and pidgin hole my interests. That’s what led me to throw my hair down and do what I encourage everyone be they content consumer or client: Go Play!
So what do I mean? What am I saying in a silly, 1:27 video that features talking toys with a spooky ambience? How does this serve me or you in a professional manner? I discovered that there are actually a few different ways.
Process – How I made it from idea to final cut.
Software and Assets- What I used to make it.
Distribute – Getting it in front of you.
Pitch – How I monetize it.
Scalability – What all can be done from here
Before we dive into all of those, I want to back up a give a shoutout to Dan Koe and his “Creator Economy” themed content. If you haven’t checked out his stuff you should. It’s very insightful for todays content service providers. I also find it very, very true. As a lifelong “content creator” in traditional and online broadcasting, his line of thought sums up the reality of purpose for a guy like me. The trick? How does one harness it all without coming off as a know it all jerk? Just be real, or as the modern lexicon describes it: be authentic. That video coupled with this post has helped me do that.
One of the biggest secrets I’ll share with you is that in almost all my years of doing these things, it’s never been about “me” and my interests as a motivation. My pleasure and satisfaction comes from helping others see their visions coke to life for the betterment of their work or play. Sure, there have been times with certain promotions and programs I was looking to prove a point and that was all “me” in being bullheaded, not to be right as much as it was an example of dragging a horse to water or like Nada getting Frank to put the glasses on in “They Live”. Or in other words, I saw what was either to come or working now and the folks I was working with had their blinders of habit on for so long (or their fear of change) that their lack of action and innovation was hurting them.
I can of course point that spotlight right back on myself in that, for my own blinders, I set up massive mental blocks that caused me to be nervous about exposing myself and methods to the masses. This of course didn’t make any sense considering I sincerely LOVE helping people learn and equally LOVE watching their dreams come to fruition. So why the reservations? The conflict.
That’s not to say that I’m not one to go to the mat for something I believe in. Far from it. In my younger days, I’d be a bit more hot headed about it but with years and experience, I’ve learned how to better discuss and debate a perspective. However, in working for other companies time and again I would find myself conflicted with “the customers always right” (so long as they’re signing the check) philosophy. I absolutely believe in top shelf customer service no matter what industry, service or genre one may be servicing, but sometimes that means telling them “No, that’s not a good idea at all” especially when I know the desired outcome is not going to deliver the desired results.
The main instance where this occurred was in the realm of radio and television advertising. I have no idea what rates are today but I do know that the impact of that ad buy is not going to have the results it did 20 years ago (even 5 years ago the same can be said) without a clear understanding of what the desired outcome of the campaign is. That was always the case but certainly now more than ever. I can go on and on with that and give you plenty of examples but for now and not to venture too far off point, if you are buying radio and TV the best suggestions I’ll make is to either sponsor very time specific elements such as news and weather or understand that your campaign should focus on branding over one off special event unless you are doing one helluva blanket push for a special event. It’s in that where I find myself conflicted in offering services that I know I can provide but not necessarily what you need. So how does the we remedy that? Offer it all up a’la carte. And that’s where it gets really shaky in building a sustainable business. “Enough complaining, Jim!” I say to myself. “So what’s the solution?” That’s where I point back to Dan and the Creator Economy.
It’s in that where I use the video at the top of this post as Exhibit A in what I do and how I can either do it for you or teach you. Now I’m going to fight my Achilles Heel of droning exposition and just get after it. Let’s dive in…
It’s Sunday, April 23, 2023. I’m in what seems to have been a perpetual rut when it comes to career. There’s plenty of services I can perform for businesses, organizations and individuals in the content creation and education space. But what? I’ve got a laundry list of skills I’ve developed, used and sold over the past 35 years of my professional life. So why can’t I get focused and get it off the ground? Get focused? Stay consistent? Utilize the skills of persistence that have kept me moving forward my whole life. So what gives?
One thing I do know that is universal for all of us and is the benchmark for all that I show and tell as a service provider and teacher, is that everything starts with an idea. The imagination is a powerful tool, always ready for you to access it and channel it into creative expression. But what about when we get stuck? Such was the case here for me. To fight through that, I looked around me and pondered the things that entertain and inspire me the most and dedicate todays creative energy solely to playing. That was harder to do then I care to admit because, embarrassingly enough, for so long now my efforts have been super pointed towards building a new business. But now it was time to stop and play. Damn it!
Process – How I made it from idea to final cut.
All things start with an idea. Brainstorming with a pen and paper is always my method of choice regardless of tech at hand. Something about the organic and physical nature of that old school stone and chisel works for me. But you do you. Just do.
As noted in the intro, I looked around my nest and pondered. The two hobbies of mine that jumped out because, well, they always do, are action figures made by the Mego Corporation and the paranormal (we’ve been binging a lot of Haunt TV and the WB Supernatural channels in the ROKU Channel). From there I thought; “Okay, how do I combine them into something that although asinine will make some sort of sense?” The answer I came up with is the Final Cut you see at the top of the page. Now here’s how I got there…
Software and assets – What I used to make it.
Now that I had a vague and admittedly goofy idea solely for my own amusement, I needed to figure out how to go from paper to pixels. Going with the concept of mashing up my interests in the paranormal and acation figures, I thought what would be funny to see would be my army of Mego 50th anniversary action figures serving as the testimony givers for a “paranormal survivor” type of show. I’ll be honest here, none of this was outside of my “wheel well” as far as interests and tools so the speed at which I worked had a decided advantage (tip to top took about 6 hours).
For the sake of this example, I’m going to go as linear as possible to hopefully avoid any confusion.
Step 1: The script – As I noted, my brainstorming starts with a pen and paper. From there I slid over to the PC, opened up Libre Office (Great and free alternative to Microsoft Open) and typed in my notes and flushed the idea out a bit better. From there I decided to play with another favorite shiny object of the now: Artificial Intelligence.
I copy and pasted my rough outline into ChatGPT to see what it would come up with. it was quite impressive really, for a soul trapping line of code. I’m kidding, I’m kidding (maybe. The jury is still out). I’m not an AI hater but I’m also not all in either. As I’ve noted in previous posts, a tool is no more nefarious than its user but this one has no real restrictions on it compared to other potentially dangerous tools. Moving on…
With the script now copy and pasted into my Libre Office document, I began imagining what the actors and scenes should look like. I also started to “hear” the soundtrack. *The best way I can describe my soundtrack process is this: I hear it on my head and then deconstruct it element by element and then actually build it out on the timeline of my video editor. We’ll discuss that more in a bit.
I figured I’d plug some image ideas into Bing Create to see what that AI influence would look like. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed. I did use a couple images in the final but in the end, stock video and animated graphics popped better for me. *For funnsies, I put together this gallery to show you what the machine considers campfire spooky…
Now that I had a basic idea of visual elements, I then needed practical footage of my actors. For this I used the iPhone 14 Plus that’s in my hand right now. I set up a crude backdrop and lined the figures out as if they were around a campfire with the intent to always photoshop the actual background in. I made a couple changes to that idea for the final mainly because of time and I got a little flustered due to the heat in my office room. I tell you more about why the room was so hot in a few but for now, I’ll keep it linear and share this gallery of pre edited pics that ended up in the final cut.
The next round of assets that I needed to gather were the voices. In my younger days, I might have been able to handle 3/4 of them myself. But honestly, my chops are out of shape for that heavy a load. So, why not let another AI take off some of that weight? Wouldn’t be nearly as good as an organic human voice but again, this is for me and for fun. On that note I could have done the narrator part myself but there was a big obstacle to creating a solid, professional audio recording (this will also explain why the room was so warm)…. A baby chick…
Anyway, I turned to an online, cloud based platform I actually purchased months ago before the AI boom exploded onto the mainstream. It’s called Vidvoicer and it was very interesting to play with back then. Of course the works of Eleven Labs has far surpassed this dinosaur of a software but such is technology.
It’s at this point I don’t want to go too far into the weeds of describing exactly the editing process. Not that I don’t wanna share, but it’s too intricate a process and would make this article ever the longer. I will share this much though, when it comes to editing both audio and video, for me, I watch the whole thing in my head. And then deconstruct it into its elements and then put them altogether in the software. From there it’s a dance. I can show you those steps for sure but it’s a private dance 😉 . I will also note that I used the PC and the Mobile apps that I have for this. The PC for the facial animation using Crazy Talk and then Sony for the actual timeline. The mobile app, Power Director Pro, came into play for its allowance of licensed stock footage since it is a paid app. Meaning, I was able to legally and lawfully use licensed footage. *This alone shows how content creation ideas are truly endless. Wow!
Below are links to all of the software and platforms mentioned above.
Libre Open Office – a powerful tool that certainly rivals the Microsoft suite. And it’s free.
Adobe Photoshop CS4 – this is a way “outdated” version but is still a physical copy that I’ve used since it was released a decade ago. I have no idea if you can even get a copy and make it work but the Adobe Cloud services are fine if you are good with the subscription based products. There are also a mountain of photo editing apps out there both free and paid that can do everything I’ve done here.
Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD – Bought this one off the shelf many many moons ago. Sony doesn’t even offer Vegas anymore to the best of my knowledge. But like I’ve mentioned, it still does everything I need it to do. Again, there are so many video editing apps and options there really is no one better other than your budget and your commitment to the learning curves that each has.
Power Director Pro for mobile – now this one is the most modern of softwares that I have. Currently, I am using the latest version on my iPhone 14 Pro but I first discovered it years back on my old Samsung phone and it’s served me well ever since. It’s a literal full service production room in your pocket.
Vidvoicer for AI voice overs – I wouldn’t recommend this one. At the time, about 5 months ago, it seemed fresh and new but it’s limitations are massive even with the paid version I have. It has lots of paid “upgrades” you can do but frankly, don’t. The AI space is flooded with free and much lower cost tools that give you more.
Open AI Chat – I’m using the free version and all thing considered, I have no reason to upgrade to a paid account. While it is a very handy tool and I’m sure will only get more and more so, at this moment in time the free version is all I need. I will not that downloading it to your local machine may not be a great idea as it eats up a lot of ram and I honestly have no idea what all its till doing when I shut it off.
Bing Create – To me this one is nothing more than a toy but a good visualizer. And notice I said good and not great. But it’s free so go play
Crazy Talk Animator – Realillusion is the granddaddy of desktop animation software. I have another of their products (Animator, that does more full body stuff) but I don’t use it. I will recommend them however on the whole of you are wanting to get into 3D animation and all that entails nowadays. Very powerful and easy to use software for sure.
Distribute – Getting it in front of you.
Social media is pretty much the necessary evil.
Pitch – How I monetize it.
This was a matter of using my affiliate account with Amazon.
Scalability – What all can be done from here
First and foremost is this article. While it is at its core meant for my amusement more than anything. It certainly gives me opportunity to talk about everything you’ve read here in individual detail.
Conclusion and final pitch
So what’s it all mean at the end of this rather lengthy article? For me it has been incredibly fulfilling. I got to share with you what I needed to share with myself: my purpose. And what’s that? To do my part in helping you learn how to use the many avenues and tools available in this amazingly interesting time to be alive. Be they for business, Play or just because, the ability to learn and communicate are the the things that I truly believe are the bedrocks of a good, healthy and hearty society. It’s in those two truths for me that give me a reason to push on every day.
I hope you learned as much as I did in this and I hope you’ll gain something from it. As such I do hope you’ll be kind enough to like, comment and share this article to help me grow the blog and feeds. And if you have interest in learning any of my methods or would like me to provide a service for you, email me now at email@example.com and we can set up a time to chat. I truly appreciate you exploring this leg of my journey that will hopefully help you add to yours.
Now, Go Play!
P.S. I was considering doing this same type of thing with a few other videos I’ve created recently as well as some others I’ve done in the past. There is still a mountain of educational/ content worth in them. You can find a ton of them on my YouTube channel.
PSS- what did you decide to be today? That’s a like of thought I’d like to explore in the near future.
As a child of the 70s, Star Wars was an integral part of my childhood. I remember the excitement of going to the store and seeing the latest action figures from the movies. One of my favorite figures was Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight, from Return of the Jedi. Fast forward to today, and the Star Wars Retro Collection has brought back that nostalgic feeling with figures inspired by the original 1970s Kenner line. As a collector, there are pros and cons to both vintage figures produced 40 years ago and retro figures produced now.
Pros of Vintage Figures:
1. Authenticity – The vintage figures are the real deal and were produced at the time of the movie’s release. They have a unique charm and character that cannot be replicated.
2. Rarity – Some vintage figures are incredibly rare and can be difficult to find, making them valuable to collectors.
3. Historical Significance – The vintage figures are a piece of Star Wars history and have played a significant role in shaping pop culture.
4. Quality – Many collectors appreciate the quality of vintage figures, as they were built to last and were made with sturdy materials.
5. Sentimental Value – For those who grew up with the original figures, they hold a sentimental value and bring back memories of childhood.
Cons of Vintage Figures:
1. Condition – Vintage figures can be hard to find in good condition, and even those that are well-preserved can show signs of wear and tear.
2. Cost – Because of their rarity and historical significance, vintage figures can be expensive to purchase.
3. Availability – Finding vintage figures can be a challenge, especially if you are looking for a specific character or variant.
4. Uniqueness – Each vintage figure is unique, which can be a pro or a con depending on your collecting preferences.
5. Limited Articulation – Vintage figures have limited articulation, which can be a drawback for collectors who prefer more posable figures.
Pros of Retro Figures:
1. Availability – The retro figures are widely available at retailers and online, making them easy to find and purchase.
2. Affordability – Compared to vintage figures, the retro figures are generally more affordable and accessible to collectors on a budget.
3. Detail – The retro figures have the same level of detail as the vintage figures, capturing the look and feel of the original Kenner line.
4. Articulation – Retro figures typically have more articulation than vintage figures, making them more poseable and versatile for play and display.
5. Familiarity – The retro figures bring back a sense of familiarity and nostalgia for those who grew up with the original Kenner line.
Cons of Retro Figures:
1. Replicas – While the retro figures capture the look and feel of the original line, they are replicas and lack the same historical significance as the vintage figures.
2. Material Quality – Retro figures are often made with cheaper materials than vintage figures, making them less sturdy and durable.
3. Modern Design Elements – Some collectors may not appreciate the addition of modern design elements, such as extra articulation or modern packaging.
4. Limited Selection – The retro line may not include all the characters or variants that were produced in the original Kenner line.
5. Lack of Rarity – Retro figures lack the rarity of vintage figures, which can be a drawback for collectors who value rarity and uniqueness.
In conclusion, both vintage and retro figures have their pros and cons. Vintage figures have a historical significance and authenticity that cannot be replicated, but they can be expensive and difficult to find in good condition. Retro figures capture the look and feel of the original Kenner line and are more accessible and affordable for collectors, but they lack the same historical significance and rarity of vintage figures. Ultimately, the choice between vintage and retro figures comes down to personal collecting preferences