Top 10 Things In My Monster Squad Treehouse

I have been a huge fan of John’s site, Freddy In Space, for quite sometime and if you want to know anything horror or related to that genre, this is where you go. He’s a great writer and a good blog-buddy. So after you read this, please pop over and take a gander at an awesome site.

So, John always has great ideas when it comes to joint blog-ventures and this one is a topic that I just can’t pass up. Back in the mid-eighties a great movie introduced me to Universal monsters in the film, Monster Squad. I could go into the plot of the film but for this project we only need to look at their treehouse.

I think every kid had a dream of starting a secret club and building an awesome fort for meetings and sleep overs. John asked the question, what mandatory ten items would you have in your Monster Squad Treehouse? So here are mine.

The horror House Target Set

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I am a huge sucker for vintage horror memorabilia. I don’t know if I would ever taken this out of the box if I owned it but as a kid I am sure this set would have slowly disappeared from poor marksmanship. But it is fun to have an initiation where you have to kill at least four monsters to join.

Lucio Fulci Movie Posters!

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These posters and VHS box art used to terrify me as a child when we would rent movies at the local rental store but after around the age of nine, my fear turned to fascination. Pretty soon I was that kid from Salem’s Lot who had an entire room full of  macabre items and for a bit my parents thought I was Satan’s minion. It would have been nice to have a club house where I could enjoy these pleasures only with fellow weirdos.

Duke Nukem: The Shining Edition

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Of course my Monster Squad Treehouse would have power and with that power would come the ability to play scary video games. My absolute favorite right now is The Shining version of Duke Nukem. I don’t think any haunted hotel and axe murdering psychopaths would be a big deal with a shotgun. Groovy. I like to image my buddies playing this for hours and talking in their best Duke Nukem voice.

See? How can you not get into this? Sure “Ghosts & Goblins” is fun to play but when it comes to my club, only gratuitous sex and violence. Thanks Duke!

Nudie Magazines

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It’s a boys club. Sorry, no girls allowed.

Every club house should have a proper amount of nudie magazines and my Monster Squad Treehouse will have a double secret hiding space where our stash will be hidden. This is as good as any currency between like club houses. I still have a really shitty Freddy Krueger glove from such a trade. It went like this:

Me- “What will you take for Freddy’s glove?”

Kid- “Whadda ya got?”

Me- “I have a rookie Mark McGuire card in a case?”

Kid- “How about a nudie mag?”

Me-“Banana Boobs for a Freddy Glove? Deal!”

Masks!

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Oh we would need masks! I love these rubber and latex art. It would be a trip to read Famous Monster Magazines in these masks and eat our weight in Twizzlers. And after that we would sneak down and scare my buddy’s sister.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about masks but if I had a Monster Squad style Treehouse without a Frankenstein’s monster mask, I might as well call it a Rainbow Brite Festivity Club. Cause only Sally would join.

The Exorcist

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This is a must for all club members. It’s a test of courage for any ten-year old who has an eye for monsters, ghosts and creepy things. I remember when I first watched the whole thing as a kid and really hated watching the sun go down for fear of heading to bed. It’s a much better film to watch with your gang during a sleepover. And it’s fun to watch new members squirm during the famous needle in the neck scene.

Candy Candy Candy Candy

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If I had a Monster Squad style treehouse Halloween candy would be available year round. Of course if this was back when I was ten, I probably would not have opted for candy corn since that’s more of a nostalgic treat for me today. I probably would have  had quite a bit of Bonkers candy, instead. Remember those? Why the fuck did those disappear but we still have Peeps? This world confuses me at times.

Just looked up Bonkers and they are coming back for Halloween 2013! And the day just became brighter!

Legos!

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I don’t think Legos had a specific model back in the mid-eighties but if they did, the haunted mansion would be a mandatory decoration in the club. What a cool item to have for kids to piece together. There is no doubt that this would be in a million pieces after it gets put together but I think on a fun friday night in the club house, this would be a cool project.

Toben’s Spirit Guide from Ghostbusters

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This is a real thing, right? Gosh I hope so because these would be definite for the treehouse. Imagine the hours of fun it would be to look up ancient spirits from the movie and cartoon like Samhain and the Sandman. Sheesh, even as an adult, the Sandman still is a bit creepy. Am I right?

And Finally…What Ever the Fuck This Thing Is

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I saw this on weirdotoys.com and this would have been in a prominent spot in the Treehouse. New members would have to leave offering gifts at its feet. All would respect it and nonmembers would never be allowed to see it.

I will be honest, it’s disturbing to look at. Kinda reminds me of Victor Crowley from the movie Hatchet. I mean really, he’s wielding a hatchet while eerie music plays to his distorting face. Absolute perfection to a club that worships the strange and unusual. Because I, myself, am strange and unusual.

WATCH THIS CLIP!

So that is what would be in my Monster Squad Treehouse. This is a great idea Freddy In Space!

Be sure to check him out and all those who have participated in this fun little post.

 

Tribute to the Best GI Joe Toy: The Tomahawk

There I was, minding my own business on a Wednesday night, watching my new-found love of TV shows, The Toy Hunter, when I was suddenly transported back to December of 1987. No, I wasn’t really get sucked through a wormhole and landed 26 years in the past, forced to watch my 9 year-old-self wear pants that were too high. It was more of an existential experience back to when I had one of the best toys a boy could have. But over the years it slowly lost its pieces and parts in a pretend war campaign waged against Cobra. And the Empire. And Skeletor.

I was such a shit on toys. (I hope I remember to come back and think of a better phrase than that)

That particular episode of The Toy Hunter, the focus was on finding the GI Joe line from the early to late 1980’s and one of my all time favorites as a kid who was destined to one day join the real Army. I remember collecting so many of the vehicles that at one time I needed to rely on Star Wars creatures to operate them. The GI Joe guys seemed to have an issue with their legs coming off.

There was one vehicle, however, that ruled the rest of them. Of course this is up for debate because there are a million of nerds who will argue differently but this was the one that ruled my collection. It was the UH-6N Tomahawk helicopter made by Hasbro and it brought serious clout to the battlefield in the backyard.

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image from yojoe.com

This was more than just a toy. This was a toy that your other toys could interact with. Hours of fun could be had with this massive vehicle and I do mean massive. Keep in mind, I was 9 years old and probably 60 pounds soaking wet so playing with this helicopter would be the equivalent of “adult” me pretending to fly my ironing board around the room. Most of the time I was loading on legless joes in a hot LZ while medics applied tourniquets and the aircrew laid down a barrage of suppressive fire. I had a realistic imagination and was probably a real drag to play with.

This toy also had another special memory attached to it because like all kids who just can’t wait for Christmas Day, I found the awesome box under their bed in early December and had to crawl the walls for almost the entire month before opening it on Christmas Day. I hope kids still are that way.

So, I guess you are asking why I am writing about a Christmas gift in June? I can answer that. Bringing this tale back full circle to The Toy Hunter, this particular toy, in the unopened box went for $8,000. And that’s when I made this face:

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$8000 for an almost 30-year-old toy??? It’s hard to fathom six pounds of plastic parts to be monetarily equivalent to a 2003 Acura. I was in disbelief that not only was my favorite toy in a sealed box so expensive but that there are people who actually would pay that much! Why? I was a bit shocked but I also felt a bit validated because I consider it my favorite childhood toy.

Although the Tomahawk is probably a shell at the bottom of a box somewhere in the recesses of the parents’ basement, I took a piece of it with me through my evolving adulthood. It’s a rare thing for me to hold on to very much (both figuratively and literally) from one stage to the next but this bag is something I have not departed with almost thirty years.

Behold, the reminisce of the GI Joe Tomahawk chopper. Sadly, it all fits in a zip-lock bag.

Here we have the 18 point description of the helicopter and weaponry. You have to admit, this was a hell of a machine. It makes you wonder with crazy weapons like the “Laser-enhanced NVS (night vision system) 50 Cal Machine Gun” how they still couldn’t hit a Cobra trooper. Had they had some basic riflery range training, that show would have been a different cartoon.

Take a gander at all the cool tax-paid-parts that made this a formidable opponent on the battlefield. It looks heavy.

When you open the four page fold out we see the directions to put this behemoth together. I am sure this was the part that made Dad groan. And even with plenty of other toys on Christmas morning to keep my attention there was no way I would let Dad drink his eggnog in peace until every missile was on the winglets and every Joe was seated in the constructed ‘copter.

I believe that is how I was busted for peaking at the presents by whining to my father, “Come on Dad! I waited a whole three weeks for this! I mean…er…forever?”.

These toys were especially cool because each GI Joe had a back story. The pilot that came with the chopper was “Lift-Ticket” but his civilian name was Victor Sikorski, SSN# 675-51-5671, from Lawton, Oklahoma. I can see this was a little nudge to the makers of helicopters like the Tomahawk, Sikorsky.

I find it kind of neat that his story is pretty realistic from the way real Army pilots follow their profession. Opting out of Officer Candidate School and going to a Warrant Officer program was and is exactly how you become a pilot in the US Army. As a veteran, I get a little tickled how realistic the plot of Lift-Ticket’s life was. But that’s just the Army nerd in me. I won’t bore you with all that.

Stickers! Okay, decals. I never put decals on my toys. I did, however, decorate everything from my windows to books with them. I can’t tell you why but I am guessing that once Dad put the vehicles together, I wasn’t taking the time to stick warning signs next to the jet intake areas. My Joes knew not to stand there.

This is off topic but I was actually sent to the principal’s office for putting similar decals on the back of the bus’ windows. I had to scrub all the windows on the entire bus line that Friday. Looking back, I think that punishment was a bit  harsh. There is no way a kid today would be required to pay that price without the news being involved. What little pansies we raise today.

I forgot about these. Back in the 80’s we didn’t have this precious internet so we had to rely on good ol’ postal service. In every vehicle’s box had a card for mail-in points for impossible to find toys. Mostly, it was a Sgt. Slaughter campaign from his commercials and I was definitely a SGT. Slaughter B.A.T.T.L.E. Brigade member. All the way!

Seems a little weird that recently I met the Sergeant in the flesh. I am still a little put off by the smiley dick he drew for me. And his frill on his drill sergeant hat. All a bit strange. I am rethinking what his acronyms really meant now.

Lastly in the ziplock bag, we come to an actual part that I could never keep connected on the Tomahawk; the ramp. The little bastard kept opening mid-flight and in a fit of rage I tore it off and tossed it in the bind with all the miscellaneous guns and rockets from years of toy collecting. I told my platoon that seat belts were S.O.P (Standard Operating Procedure) from then on and I could calm my imagination and OCD.

These nostalgic posts always go from a scream to a whisper so I will leave you with this.

Eight fucking thousand dollars???

EDIT!!!

The Tomahawk was not $8000 but $1500. That gaint coffee table made to look like an aircraft carrier, The USS Flagg, was $8000. Still a lot of money, considering.

So…sorry about that.

What’s the Haps?

Things are happening over here at the VeggieMacabre HQ! I have been working behind the scenes for the upcoming 2013 Halloween Countdown that will be an official thing starting the last week of August and running through October. I had no idea how big of a project something like this is until I committed with a few fellow web masters, an online show, a couple of product lines and friends for road trips just for the spooky articles. I have already been writing the random filler posts so the chance of a midseason burnout is greatly diminished.

Pretty exciting stuff and I have high expectations so now I need to make sure all the pieces fit just right. Oh logistics in a blog! Always elusive.

Until that kickoff, I have a few more adventures in store. Keep an eye out for a nostalgic tribute and a couple more reviews coming to a computer near you.

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Did you know this site has a Tumblr picture blog? It’s true! Mainly I keep it as my photo blog because I have a magical talent of taking inconspicuous cellphone pictures of odd things. I try to keep it classy but every so often I find a rather large lady at the pool with a bad cat tattoo and I just can’t help myself. You will find all of that nonsense there. And trust me, there is a lot of it.

Click the picture and magically transport yourself there!

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Also, I am on Twitter too! Say whaaaaaaat??? It’s true! I don’t think I need to make a deal out of this because most people know I am on Twitter even though I don’t say too much about my tiny little webmaster world. I do follow some pretty rad people and shockingly, I am followed by even more rad people. Like Andrew Zimmern! You know, the guy that eats bugs and fish heads as a delicacy on the Travel Channel? He followed me after I tweeted “It would be Hell to be reincarnated as Andrew Zimmern’s toilet”. Good to see he has a sense of humor. I still feel bad about that.

So, come find me and lets follow each other! Forever and ever and ever….

I think that’s enough with blog begging for a day. I just wanted to point out some areas where you can access hidden gems that will get bigger throughout the summer.

Enjoy your day and I will be back with a tribute to the best GI Joe vehicle ever and if you disagree, I will….do nothing. Maybe make noises like “pshhh”. Who knows?

 

 

Flea Market Madness and a Horror Bake Shop

It’s not everyday when you find a place that is made for your little tiny insignificant spot on the internet. For a long time, I didn’t think that place existed. Well, not in this state anyway. But that all changed on Saturday when I had enough of a break from the world of responsibilities to go on a little adventure. I would have no idea what an adventure it would turn out to be.

I took a chance and went to my first flea market and whoa-nelly, what an experience!

Right away I knew this was blog worthy. I wasn’t even past the front door yet and the camera on the phone was primed.

No guns? Okay, I agree with that. No smoking? Sure! NO SNAKES? What kind of place is this?

This place was massive. It was a covered bizarre full of hundreds of venders and millions of oddities. I love this stuff and it was well worth the risk of being beaten with a Vietnamese bamboo shaft for an unwelcome photo moment. I had to be sure the flash was off. This was no place for a mistake like that.

Before I get into the obvious weirdness of a flea market I need to tell you level of people watching was all the way to eleven. Like this guy, for an example. A tough biker dude with gloves and a Harley shirt but has a butt bigger than my Junior year’s English teacher. This guy is clearly living on the edge…by eating Big Macs while riding a motorcycle. That’s talent, my friends.

I’m going to stop being mean now.

So this place exists. Like chocolate and peanut butter, mustard and hotdogs, Jason Vorhees and campers, hiphop and Kung Fu just makes sense. It’s hard to believe that this guy took an idea like this and ran with it but he did and we are all better for it. I didn’t venture inside the cage because I couldn’t see myself actually buying anything and he seemed very intense on the phone. I opted for this photo and to me, that alone is a gift.

This sign speaks the truth! Behind it sits an angry, albeit much smaller, Chinese man who I did not want to cross. Even though his store is mainly old cellphones and video games, he also gives out mean glares. But it seems he does have a sense of humor. I tried to by an iPhone 5 charger and was met with some confusing questions like “You power on for car?” and “I give you two for three!”. At that point smiling, nodding and backing away was my only choice. Then running.

Oh the swords. There were so many swords. Any cutting and stabbing weapon you can imagine was there. The really funny thing was the vendors who sold them. It turns out grandmas know quite a bit about the ways of the samurai. If you ever wanted to be a ninja vigilante, this is your first stop. Talk to Bobby Sue. She’s the one with a cat tattoo on her huge left arm and wearing a number four Talladega race day shirt.

I am always a sucker for Garfield ripoffs, especially when he is trying to eat a jumbo sausage but not before taking a test lick. I appreciate that this wasn’t a total ripoff, though. The artist did leave off his stripes. If there is one thing cats love it’s spicy sausage. Owners do not share this love.

There were so many little spaces like this that had no real organization or way to keep account of what stuff they had. It’s a mystery to me how they sell anything at all. Is this where hoarders buy their junk? Because I can see how they would think their lifestyles are normal if they shop here all the time.

If most of this bizarre was set up this way I would have merely peeked around a bit and called it a day. I hate wasting a Saturday inhaling asbestos when I don’t have to. But lucky for me, around the next corner was a day maker.

What the shit? Is this real life? There is no way a Halloween bakery exists in June. It’s as if God Himself guided me to this place knowing full well I needed blog material and there I stood, looking at cupcakes and Freddy Krueger AT THE SAME TIME! If ever there was a place that embodies VeggieMacabre, this was it.

Everybody was at the party, too! Here we see Pinhead holding his “box of fun” and hinting that the orange limeade is really refreshing. You have to be careful when taking his advice, however. His version of a good limeade has fishhooks at the bottom.

The walls are covered in severed limbs and menacing tools along with occasional macabre news articles. I especially love the skull wreath. During the Halloween season you could actually keep it up through Christmas without the neighbors having a leg to stand on. It is a wreath!

We see here a most excellent Halloween mood table originally coined by Matt of Dinosaur Dracula. A Halloween Mood Table is a hodgepodge of anything that gets you in the Halloween mood. Here we see quite a bit of great stuff but looking closer I am kicking myself for not noticing the Wolfman teeth with a toothbrush conveniently next to it. I could be writing this article wearing Wolfman teeth had I paid closer attention.

As if this place could not be anymore charming, there was even daily horror trivia. AND GOOD TRIVIA TOO! What place can you honestly think of that has a daily question involving a Dario Argento movie? If you can, I will personally learn this dance and film it for a vlog.

So after gushing all over the poor girl who owns this little plot of awesomeness, I had to buy something. The cupcakes with little dinosaurs and aliens on top were cute but I didn’t have an appetite for sweets. It wasn’t the severed heads or dead vampire babies that killed it, I just don’t have much of a sweet tooth. So, I opted for the lemon orange limeade. Not too bad. It had a hint of orange, lemon and lime without fishhooks or ears! B minus.

I like to think that this Pooh receptical has a story to tell. I am most certain he does not belong on a normal trashcan but something to match his top. Perhaps he came from some amusement park years ago only to end up outside of a mexican frozen treat stand in a flea market. It’s kind of sad. I gave him my spooky limeade.

Oh man, it’s the “Make you’re own smell” guy! What a concept! The dude was a character too and no one was safe from harassment when passing by his cube. I don’t think I need to go into his poor choice of a business name because words like “scent” or “essence” didn’t rise to the top of his list.

I bet he is the type who insults people when he means to compliment them. You know, like saying “your face isn’t as fat as it used to be” or something like that. I don’t believe words are his strong point but hopefully making “smells” are.

Not all shops were so strange. This was a killer vintage toy store that was full of some of my favorite childhood memories. Since the show Toy Hunter has been my mandatory Wednesday night watch, I have been fascinated by how much these toys go for. And oddly curious to see how much money I could have made by simply taking care of my stuff. It’s a little sickening.

This place had a ton of stuff from Star Wars to GI Joe to Transformers. What caught my eye the most were the Masters of the Universe line and TMNTs. All of them were unboxed in a giant bin for $3 a piece and the old lady in a wheel chair was bargaining with me for the whole set. I just don’t know enough about toys to buy a huge box of a mishmash of characters. Plus her constant nagging over what I need was a little too reminiscent of this…

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I escaped with a future post worthy toy that I will write soon. I love it and soon you will too.

What I thought would be an hour trip turned into three and I still had a long list of real chores to do so I made my way to the exit feeling very fulfilled with my findings for that Saturday. But just before I was about to leave I spotted this..

Do you know what this is? It’s a fully automated embroidering machine. They just type in a word or phrase and the machine will stitch it on to most any article of clothing. And it costs next to nothing! You could write “ALLEN THICKE IS A DICK” on a piece of paper, slide it to the clerk and before you know it, you have a shirt advertising you disdain for the dad on Growing Pains. It’s not magic but it makes me feel magical.

You know I had to.

They forgot the dot.

Thanks for reading.

Magic Hat Summer Scene Variety Pack

Tis the season for fun and super sunburns! It’s a time every kid in America lives for and people like me look forward to sweating in a suit. But for adults Summer does have its perks like cooking out, beach trips and great light ales to quench the thirst after mowing the lawn…twice a week.

Today I am going to shed some light on a seasonal variety pack. I stick to variety packs mainly because it’s easier to shoot a video about four beers versus one. And it’s not quiet as boring because you have a…um…variety. Yeah.

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Magic Hat is a great brewing company from Vermont and is as creative and trippy as the hippies who live there. It seems every year they get weirder and weirder and if you know me, then you know that is close to godliness as it gets. They take time to put a little fun and humor into their beers and it is backed up by the taste. It’s hard to argue with a product base that wins almost all beer-fests throughout the world.

Today’s review-vlog is the Summer Scene sample which includes the #9 Pale Ale, Idle Betty, Blind Faith IPA and the new HICU beer made from hibiscus and cucumber. The HICU is the new beer they brought to the table. Sounds good, right? See what we think in the video. (I say we because I am loner who plays by his own rules)

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