New column on the way!

Stephanie Bri is here to stay. As a result I fully intend to write a column entirely from her perspective in the near future. Obviously I’ve been letting her voice take over more lately which has been very helpful in getting me aligned properly.

It won’t mean much but what I will do is create a column just for Stephanie. It will be a combination of gaming and nerdy topic gossip, rumors and such with a mix of editorial and some fashion/cosplay advice. Basically the bitch is out of the closet and she’s going to be taking over this site. Stay Cool.

Retropalooza is next weekend: Thoughts, hopes and expectations!

Alright friends I am excited to say that next weekend I will be heading to Arlington Event Center to attend my first ever convention. I am looking forward to attending Retropalooza. I am not sure what to expect because this is my first convention but I wanted to outline my hopes ahead of time to compare this to how the actual experience turns out. This way I can see if I had realistic expectations or not.

1. Food

I am expecting this to be like any other flea market or festival I have attended which means there should be food vendors selling home made stuff right out of the food truck. I am not sure if this is a realistic expectation as I have never been to one but I am hopeful this is the case. I would love to get some street tacos made fresh on the spot.

2. Toys and games

Specifically I am thinking the vendors or sellers. I am fairly certain there will be some video game sellers. I am hopeful there will also be retro toy sellers. Specifically I am looking to dig through a big bucket or tote of random Transformers, TMNT, and GI Joe action figures, all reasonably priced I would imagine.

I am not sure what to expect but I would think there would be a sufficient variety of sellers to choose from. As for video games I have my hope list narrow down to what I will buy from a convention. Since it is a retro gaming expo I am not going to buy anything new. The newest device I would consider is a PSP because I have an overwhelming desire to get one eventually and now is as good of a time as any.

I would contemplate a Dreamcast, 3DO. 32X or Virtual Boy as those are harder to find in the wild. I thought about a Sega Saturn but that’s a pipe dream so I will lower my expectations.

3. Autographs?

I am not sure I want to buy an autograph of anyone who is attending but I might try to grab a selfie with Boogie or Wood if I can. But the real reason I am going is to have fun, meet people and maybe do some networking. I am also planning on filming some footage for a video and naturally a podcast.

4. Cosplay!

I am not sure if this is the type of convention that people normally cosplay to but if so I already have a costume purchased and ready to go. It will be my first public outing in drag as Stephanie so I am really looking forward to that. If I arrive and nobody is cosplaying then I will either feel like a fool or suck it up and stand out. Either way I am looking forward to dressing up even if nobody gets to see the costume live on scene.

5. Road trip

No matter how the day turns out it will at the very least be a nice little road trip and those are always fun. I can always use a good excuse to eat some jerky. I am not looking forward to fighting the city traffic but it’s a small price to pay for a day of fun.

That’s about all I have for now. I am hoping this experience is memorable and I can’t wait to share how it turns out. Stay Cool.

OMG I made my first public debut!

It was scary and thrilling at the same time. I put on my make up, dress and cute witches hat, sat down and recorded an entire episode of my podcast not as him but as me. It was hard. It was exciting. It was fun!

I knew someday Stephanie was going to be out. I don’t know if she will ever get to take over our life but I want to ensure she gets to be herself more than ever before. It hasn’t been easy for me getting to this point. In fact it’s been extremely tumultuous. No agonizing. No, oh there probably isn’t a word for it. Is there a word for this feeling you have doing the absolutely most terrifying soul-crushing thing that is at the same time the most liberating and soul-freeing? I don’t know whatever that word is, that’s how I felt.

I made my first full public appearance in drag on The Dark Web Podcast. I told my audience Stephanie was coming a few weeks ago. I said she is real, she is me, but she is shy. I finally began making strides towards this about a year and a half ago when I came out officially to a female friend of mine. I decided I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Ever since that day I have been slowing giving in to being more and more Stephanie each day.

I finally got to wear I am comfortable enough painting my toe nails and wearing my flip flops sans socks in public. I’ve done that two weeks in a row now and pushed past the gut-wrenching fear. I’ve slowly begun getting used to clothes shopping, although when it comes to under things well I am still overly discrete. Dresses, blouses and even skirts I can grab without too much agony but panties and bras, well I still have a ways to go.

Things are improving. But last night I sat in front of the camera and was doing so, for the first time, comfortable in my skin, comfortable with who I am and who I’ve always wanted to be.

I will be defining more what the limits of Stephanie are in the coming days and weeks. I suspect I will set some boundaries but there is a very real chance, well now that she is out she isn’t going back in so there is a chance I let her live a little and take a back seat for a while.

If this sounds confusing trust me it is for me too. It’s not like she is a voice inside my head or a separate person or anything like that. She is me, I am her. But, well I’ve had to live a certain lie, build a life around a mask. Therefore Stephanie has a right to live, and she will! But The Rat also has to manage thing for her out of necessity for the time being.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffVemmSPh2Q

Anyways, hey check out my video where I am totally rocking that cute dress I spent all friggin day shopping for. Stay Cool.

Stephanie hosts!, got a record player, Ps4 100 million sales, and retropalooza cosplay!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-xdsub-c24ce9
In this episode Stephanie makes her debut as host while THERAT takes the night off. She talks PS4 selling 100 million units. Also record collecting has officially begun. More toy topics like Batman and Robin, Spider-Man, and a surprise topic. Stephanie also shows off her costume she plans on cosplaying at Retropalooza in 2 weeks!

Is Star Wars toy collecting really in trouble?

The other day I was watching a YouTube video depicting the scarcity of Star Wars action figures. But the video didn’t focus on how hard items are to find, but how many where sitting in clearance bins. I was at a loss for words at first thinking this must be wrong. Then I decided to check out a few of my local toy shops. needless to say I didn’t find much at all in the way of Star Wars product on shelves, clearance or otherwise.

I have always attributed Star Wars action figure scarcity to the massive number of collectors in the world seeking a limited supply of product. At first, my explanation was simple, most other people are like me not interested in the spin off or animated stuff so naturally those toys aren’t selling. But then it occurred to me, when I was shopping for Phantom Menace stuff it was everywhere and retro stuff was hard to find. The collectors were very vocal about how they just wanted OT toys nothing from the new movie. I have felt this way myself about the Clone Wars, Rebels and other animated programs. Frankly I refuse to buy any product branded with the name Star Wars that features those designs and characters. For me, it’s obvious that is not my Star Wars.

But the animated shows remained popular as do the new Disney movies. Since the individual making the toy video I saw made really negative comments about the Disney Star Wars as a whole, indicating to me there was some bias, I decided to dismiss it as such and move on. My instinct was kids today will see this as their Star Wars and buy the toys accordingly. But I did notice something unusual. If the trend is for collectors to snatch up retro stuff and young kids to snatch up the new stuff, it would stand to reason the retro stuff would also be scarce. If, on the other hand, nobody was buying Star Wars stuff, or if the retro collectors were as they say burned out, then it would stand to reason the new stuff would be hard to get and the retro stuff would be in the clearance bins.

That was it. I decided to investigate. I didn’t come to the same conclusion as the person making the obviously biased, entirely negative video, but I did notice a trend. The stores I went to had an equal number of PT, OT, and Disney Trilogy toys for sale. The characters from the animated shows were nowhere to be found with only a few side characters from the new films available. My initial conclusion, based on this being the first day the toyline was refreshed and there was new stock in store made me question a few things.

I was shopping early in the morning. I headed to Walmart around 7:30 a.m. If the new toys were put out around say Midnight then the collectors must have camped out and picked them bone dry. All that was left were a few of the side characters I am sure nobody cared about. The one thing that stood out was the Return of the Jedi Skiff vehicle retailing for just under $40. That seemed excessive for me considering what it was. Especially since I recently picked up a decked out Rise of the TMNT Turtle Tank for about that and even a Scooby Doo 50th Birthday Mystery Van with Fred for half that price. This told me that the OT stuff still fetches a premium price tag and that the collectors were on the ball.

If there was a shortage of toys the first day it came out that doesn’t indicate to me a lack of interest, on the contrary it tells me the collectors, or at the very least scalpers, are out in full force. I will be keeping an eye on this trend now that it’s been brought to my attention. Of course, keep in mind I am only now getting back into toy collecting so my knowledge of the current landscape is fairly limited. Stay Cool.

Retropalooza is now two weeks away

I am two weeks away from attending my first ever convention. This year I will be going to Retropalooza, a retro video game convention held in Alrington, Texas. I chose this one to be my first because it was the easiest one to get to considering I am about an hour away from Arlington.

I decided since this will be my first convention I would double it as an opportunity to do my first cosplay. Since that is the case I will be going both as THERAT and Stephanie to this thing. I am not sure what it will be like walking around in public for the first time dressed as a woman but I am excited for it. I am trying to build up anticipation so that I don’t chicken out.

Gearing up for the trip I have set up an interview with a YouTuber who is known as a Transgender gamer. She will be making an appearance on my podcast to talk about being trans and a geek, plus gamer stuff and other topics. I am so looking forward to this much needed vacation. Stay Cool.

Displaying painted nails in public, a personal breakthrough

I will keep this short and sweet. Saturday afternoon I drove to town on three different occasions wearing flip flops without socks. This isn’t a particularly out of the ordinary thing for me, except I had previously painted my toe nails purple and decided I wasn’t hiding it anymore.

It was a little awkward walking around town displaying my painted toes. I tried to hide them by curling my toes everywhere but by the time I got to the third store I had stopped doing this. I decided I wasn’t looking at other people’s feet, why would they be looking at mine? Well that was how I got through it. I even walked over to my sisters house that same day still displaying my painted nails. It was a small breakthrough for me. Consider it a minor victory for Stephanie Bri. Stay Cool.

My cat hates Barbie!

I brought a Barbie doll into my life recently among dozens of other toys, cars, action figures and collectibles. For the most part my cat has adjusted quite well to all the new clutter in our tiny house. But there is one toy she can’t keep her paws, or teeth, away from, my Barbie doll.

At first I thought maybe she just liked the plastic. She does chew on plastic. But I discovered I could distract her from all my other toys no matter where they were with toys of her own, usually her little stuffed mouse that she loves to chew on. Not so with Barbie. She refuses to accept it in her house.

I know she gets jealous of things that take my attention away from her. She makes her presence known if I spend too much time looking at the TV, phone or computer. I can sit and assemble a puzzle and she pretty much minds her own business. When I was opening the new toys as they arrived she immediately took to tearing up the plastic bubbles or cardboard containers they were packaged in. Still, there is something different about Barbie.

For starters, it’s the only toy I have demonstrated some level of affection towards. Sure I will admit I play with my action figures. I transform the Transformers. My Ninja Turtles fight bad guys. Even my Scooby Doo is known to run from a villain or two. The Barbie is different. It’s special for a lot of reasons. I brush her hair. I buy her new outfits and of course dress her up. I even take her to bed with me where she sleeps under my pillow next to my head. That is the problem. The cat doesn’t like to sleep that close to my head. She prefers tucked into my side or laying directly entangled into my feet. When I snuggle with the Barbie before bed she gets jealous and attacks it. If I am brushing its hair she bites the dolls face, then hands, then my hands. She goes out of her way to make sure I know she does not approve of me having a Barbie doll in her house.

This is becoming somewhat of an issue because, frankly, I don’t want her tearing up the doll that means so much to me. Obviously they are fairly inexpensive to replace so it would be easy to get another one. The truth is, I don’t want to do that. This doll is special because it was my first. It was the one I picked out and I made sure I selected the exact one I wanted in my collection for my own reason.

My current plan is to get her some chew toys to see if she might prefer those. If she doesn’t learn to keep her paws off Barbie I might resort to a more extreme measure such as coating the doll with some spray or another to repel the cat. The only reason I am hesitant to do that is I want my cat to know she can snuggle with me too if she is in that mood, but I don’t want to ruin the doll or hurt the cat at the same time. I guess me, Chloe and Barbie are all going to have to learn how to live together.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 1993 Mega Zord Dino Zord Deluxe Set, IN BOX!

Okay so I suppose it would be fair to say I splurged. It would be more accurate to say I mortgaged my future for a toy. Either way you look at it I bought the single most expensive toy or collectible I have ever purchased recently, a complete, in BOX, Deluxe Mega Zord set from 1993. That’s right the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Dinozords are now safely sitting in my collection protecting my other toys from the forces of evil.

I’ve owned combiner sets before. Namely Devestator and most of the original G1 Scramble City combiners, or gestalts as they are known in the Transformers community. The largest single figure I have ever owned previously was Unicron from Transformers Armada. Behind him was Trypicon and Metroplex from Generation One.

This toy though, is massive. A lot more massive than I pictured. I haven’t yet stood it up next to a Unicron to compare size but I imagine the Mega Zord could give that toy a run for his money. Toy mind you, I’m not sure if the Dino Zords could defeat the chaos bringer on their own, at least not without the help of Ultrazord. Even then I’m not sure.

In 1993 I instantly fell in love with MMPR. I love the toys, the TV series, video games and yes, even the live action movie from 1995. It sure gets hated on my modern audiences but it was actually a ton of fun for me back then.

Over the years I have gone through cycle where I would pick up items that meant a lot to me because I had them as a kid and wanted to connect with my childhood. Then there have been pieces I picked up because they were just cool looking. My favorite pieces are the ones I obtain as a n adult that I never had as a kid, but always really wanted.

I had never even seen a Mega Zord in the wild back in the 90s. I had a friend who had the Thunder Mega Zord which I still thought was pretty cool itself. But even he didn’t have the original five dinozords. This was a terrific purchase for me because it gave me a rush of emotions ranging from the memories of desperately wanting one all this time to getting to explore a toy I never had as a kid but was familiar enough with due to its depiction in the TV series.

My favorite thing about it so far is how big and detailed it is. The individual zords aren’t that spectacular on their own that much is clear. Even so the combined form is so awesome it more than makes up for it. The toy looks amazing at a team of five robots as well as tank mode, too. I love this action figure set quite a bit. I do wish I could have owned one as a kid. But, knowing how my toys from them didn’t survive into adulthood maybe it’s better this way.

I didn’t commit the unforgiveable sin toy collectors fear of buying an unopened box and then opening it up. Not that I wouldn’t consider doing just that, it’s just this was already priced well above what I should have paid for any individual toy anyways. I did end up getting a complete in box set even if the box had already been previously opened and the stickers applied. It didn’t come with any instructions but the weapons were all intact, including all the parts people claim to be missing in so many other sets. If I can make one toy collector out there jealous I will consider that a bonus. Even if that isn’t the case I can finally sleep easy at night knowing the Mighty Megazord is keeping the forces of evil away from my ever growing toy collection.