Antenna Man, Wii U developer interview, Royal Rumble recap Biggie Smalls and more

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-bry5w-d277c0

In this episode THE RAT interviews two special guests. First up is YouTuberer Tyler the Antenna Man. He helps people cut the cord. He also talked about his experience at CES and what the future of OTA television looks like with the upcoming ATSC 3.0.

 

Later in the episode THE RAT interviews the head of Diplodocus Games, developer of a recent indie title released to the Nintendo Wii U eshop. The game is called Regina and Mac.

Fighting off a old the host of the show goes through the topics quickly to get to the interviews.

Be sure to find out what is up with late rapper Biggie Smalls getting into the Hall of fame!

THE RAT remembers NBA Legend Kobe Bryant and my good friend Dominic Hall who idolized the superstar

I don’t normally talk about sports related stuff. However this is a topic I felt like I couldn’t avoid. I felt like with the passing of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant I needed to air my own feelings as they are certainly complicated.

Let’s start with the obvious. I was born in 1982. I started watching NBA basketball during the Michael Jordan era. I am only a few years younger than Bryant was so I was smack dab in the middle of my teenage angst when his career was kicking off. He was becoming a rising star right around the time I was getting beginning to use basketball as a bonding experience with my dad. Dad and I never talked much growing up. But when we sat and watched an NBA game we could find things to say.

I distinctly remember watching those funny puppet commercials when Kobe was competing with the new kid on the block, Lebron James. I never got to experience an NBA game live in person, but my dad and I never missed a game whenever we had the chance.

To be fair neither my dad nor myself were L.A. Laker fans. It’s not to say we were anti-Lakers entirely, well dad more so than I, but we certainly took pleasure in watching them lose to certain teams. I tended to root for them on rare occasions whereas dad was adamant in his disdain. Still, despite all that we still took time to appreciate the victories the man achieved as he smashed one record after another. Watching him surpass my beloved Jordan was one of those moments where I gave the man his dues yet under my breath wished he would tear an ACL or something to put an end to that streak.

In the summer of 2007 I ended up moving into an apartment with who was at the time my best friend. The type of guy that would not only give you the shirt off his back, he was the guy that didn’t have a drivers license but he still owned a car so he could lend it to anyone in need. Dominic was by far my best friend for the longest period of my life. Unfortunately I moved around a lot so it was always hard for me to make friends. Fortunately Dom, as we called him, was the only one I ever met who would never turn me away when I needed him. If I knocked on his door in the middle of the night, even if he had company he would invite me in and ask his lady friend to hang tight. He would always answer his the phone no matter what. If he couldn’t talk he would say so and offer a better time to call back. And he was the only friend I had who always called me back.

Dom was one of the biggest Kobe Bryant fans I ever met. He was African American himself and had a slight resemblance to his idol. I mean to say he went out of his way to dress and look like the man he worshiped. Dom wore nothing, and I mean nothing but Kone Bryant jersey’s and shorts. He had literally every single different jersey Kobe wore, including his different All Start and Olympic ones. He went all in.

Dom fell ill with a disease known as Huntington’s. Needless to say the man we all loved deteriorated rather quickly. Despite the hand life dealt him, he never lost his good sense of humor. Even when he was suffering he put on a smile and kept going. He had the distinction of getting to meet his idol at a basketball game mere months before Kobe retired.

As life would have it, however, Dom ultimately passed away days after the encounter. He also left behind a daughter that he never got to know due to the affects his disease had on his life. On the one hand I am somewhat relieved Dominic never got to see his idol die in a fiery helicopter crash the rest of us had to hear about. Instead he got to pass away peacefully knowing the man he looked up to retired on the top of his game. On the other hand, I miss Dom more and more as time goes on, even more so now knowing the man that was such a big part of his life is now gone.

Dom loved basketball. I distinctly remember playing street ball with Dom and friends at the memorial basketball court my school student council installed in memory of one of our own who passed away upon graduation. That’s another story for a different day but it’s worth mentioned as Dominic and I were both on that student council.

I didn’t really take the time to properly mourn Dom when he passed. I buried myself in my work. I reached out to his brother and a few friends from high school but I had put that town, that part of my life in the past. Despite the pain it caused, at the time, I moved on. Now, there remains lingering traces of a painful funeral I never attended, brought to the surface by the sting of seeing someone that was such a huge part of his life now gone.

I remember that summer I lived with Dom he didn’t even charge me rent. I needed a place to stay after getting into a fight with my parents. He offered me not a couch, but his spare bedroom he always had on hand for a friend in need. He was that guy too, the one who rented a 2 bedroom apartment even though he lived alone. I wasn’t the only stray he took in, hell I wasn’t even the only one who stayed during that summer. He was such a big hearted, giving person he stocked his cupboards with extra food and snacks for the neighborhood kids. Anyone needed a peanut butter sandwich or Oreo cookie , he mad damn sure they got it. He never locked his door. You could come and go freely and if you needed something, just ask and it was yours.

Dom wasn’t without his skeletons. Nor was Bryant to be sure. But those aren’t worth digging into here. What is worth knowing is he loved Jesus, and he made sure everyone knew it too. He lived the life. The Christian life as best he could. He stumbled, sure, so do we all. But he was the first to tell you he sinned and would always ask for forgiveness when he wronged someone. He was also the type of person that would throw an impromptu birthday part for the stranger passing by who lost all his money at the casino. Needless to say someone as giving as Dom was a target for people who didn’t share his respect for others. Fortunately when he did fall prey to scammers, the community was quick to rally around him, restoring any losses he incurred while swiftly seeking to shame anyone who took advantage.

I suppose I have passed beyond memorial  into rambling. It’s hard not to say good things about this guy. I know I’ve had different opportunities to remember Dom over the years. I guess hearing about the passing of Kobe Bryant hit me harder than I expected because it reminded me of how much I miss Dominic Hall. I don’t talk about my friends enough. I don’t have many and the ones I had are leaving me to face this life alone but I feel the need to remember the good ones and Dominic was one of the best friends I ever had.

Top ten gaming myths that need to die

There are a lot of false statements floating around the internet regarding video games and gaming myths are the stuff of legend. Some are sensational but true, such as the infamous Atari landfill. Others are flat out misleading, like the complicated history of the SNES to PS1 entanglement. Here are The Spiders Lairs top ten gaming myths that need to die.

1. The Super Nintendo was more powerful than Sega Genesis

This is flat false entirely. It’s not even debatable. They had nearly identical specs. SNES ran at a slower frame rate, clock rate and lower resolution but had slightly better sound chip and more colors. Graphically they were equal number of sprites and sprite complexity. Mode seven is a marketing tool used to trick gamers same as blast processing. Technically mode 7 is scaling and rotation trick. Genesis did this too. It didn’t brag about it like Nintendo and it’s not used as much but could be done. They both relied on chips in the carts to expand the stock capabilities. Sega also relied on add ons such as Sega CD and 32X to extend the life. When you get down to it, they are technically equals in terms of power. They each have advantages and disavantages over the other but they are, for all intents and purposes, equal.

2. Nintendo 64 is more powerful than the PS1

This is misleading. The N64 does use a 74 bit processor and it does have a graphics chip that can render higher polygon counts. However, the PS1 has a much better sound chip, better texture mapping capabilities and with the CD Rom can do pre-rendered graphics (backgrounds and CGI) allowing for impressive visuals not capable on the N64. Technically in a 1:1 comparison they are nearly identical in terms of real world metrics.

If you compare games that were released on both consoles they tend to either be comparable or superior in some ways on the PS1 despite it supposedly being the inferior system. Fanboys chalk this up to difficult development or whatever but that excuse is always thrown out whenever a system doesn’t meet the fan boys expectations. In reality the N64 has some advantages that appear to make it look better but in other ways it is vastly inferior to the PSX. The pros and cons tend to balance them selves out, like above, making these two essentially equals in terms of raw power and real world results.

3. NES saved the games industry from collapse

No. That is over exaggerated. The reality is in 1983 there was an over saturated home console market in North America that caused several retailers to stop selling video games due to the massive mounts of money lost in what has become known as the great crash. Except no contemporary news reports from the time talk about a video game crash. Instead they talk about the decline of home consoles while the PC games industry and arcades were booming. The reality is Atari did lose its parent company massive amounts of money and was sold off, into two separate companies, as a result of a weak market.

It was an isolated crash that narrowly affected just the North American home console market. Admittedly this was the market Nintendo entered however it is somewhat misleading to say they saved the entire games industry single handedly when that is not accurate. Not to belittle what they actually did accomplish but this myth is relatively recent and somewhat exaggerated by certain individuals who profited off its propagation. It happened, the crash, but it was not world wide and it was not all video games everywhere. Yes there were some side effects of the companies that made consoles and arcades going out of business but don’t over state the importance of the NES by exaggerating a fabricated doomsday it certainly did not over come. The console industry was still booming, not just thriving in their home land of Japan.

4. Nintendo was the reason the CD-i existed

It is true Nintendo released a handful of games for the Philips CD-i. It is also true that Nintendo backed out of a deal with Sony to release the Play Station as a CD-Rom add on to the SNES. It is NOT True that the CD-i was a by product of that deal. The CD-i was released BEFORE the SNES in some markets. The SNES was released in the US in 1991. The CD-i was released in the US also in 1991 and world wide in 1992. However, Sony had a hand in the development of the CD-i, a partnership with Philips and they even implemented technology from it in the Playstation and future DVD technology that they were also involved in.

The true story is in the middle. Nintendo did have a deal with Sony to produce a CD Rom upgrade known as Play Station, in 1993, after the CD-i was already on the market. Philips never intended CD-i, or Compact Disc Interactive, to be a game console. However what happened was Nintendo signed a deal to make some educational games and spin offs using their characters on the CD-i (and Apple computers but nobody every brings that up!) in an attempt to show the company wasn’t entertainment only as they were fighting the Federal Government over the soon to be created ESRB.

Nintendo was trying to show they were more than a toy company by making edutainment games and they wanted some games on CD-i to help that image and Philips wanted them to bolster the games sie of things. None of this was related at all to Sony and that deal. CD-i was developed jointly with Sony, and Sony made components for it and even helped design the Video CD format that was USED by Philips for CD-i. Now it is true that Sony executives were upset that Nintendo broke the deal with them but that still had nothing to do with Cd-i. It was a separate deal that just happened around the same time as CD-i so people conflated the two.

5. Atari Jaguar is a true 64 bit console

This needs to die. It has been disproved by countless articles. The Jaguar is a hot mess, that much is true. It does feature 64 bit components but, here is the deal, regardless of bus speed or GPU, it is NOT capable of processing 64 bit code.

Now related to this, the Xbox is a 32 Bit console and it is more powerful than the true 64 bit Nintendo Game Cube. Bits were a marketing tool that confused consumers and retailers. The Jaguar was on par with the Sega 32X in terms of raw power and real world performance. The bits aren’t important. Still, it is NOT a true 64 bit console but you can call it 64 bit if you like.

6. Sega CD was a flop

This is misleading. Technically Sega CD was not viewed by Sega as a console. It was not intended to replace the Genesis. It was an accessory. It was an expansion. It sold a fair number of units, made Sega a decent profit and was fully supported during the time span Sega intended. The console’s life was, in fact, cut short but like 32X, Genesis and even Game Gear this was NOT because they were failures in the market. On the contrary each were quite successful at the time of their demise.

Due to some complicated accounting mistakes the Sega Saturn was bleeding money and Sega needed to get that under control. As a technology company they could not save face and discontinue their newer, more powerful system to keep its more profitable consoles on the market. They made the, very well publicized mistake of discontinuing all products that weren’t Saturn in an attempt to prop up a sinking ship.

There are countless accounts of this being the reason they were desperate to get into Dreamcast so quickly. It was their debt that cost them their console market, not their machines being failures. If you look at the sales figures and profit margins Saturn was their only true failure in the console market. Of course failure is a relative term but here it doesn’t mean losing the made up console war only nerds care about, it refers to success by the companies metric and by the metrics Sega used, Sega CD was a resounding success at the time. It failed to save the company, so I suppose it could be deemed a failure in that regard.

7. DVD would have saved the Game Cube

This is a complicated variation of the PS2 was only successful because it played DVDs. The actual facts are very hard to get into. A lot of reasons went into the Game Cube being a failure. And this was a failure by Nintendo’s standard they’ve said as much at the time and since then. It failed to meet expectations, it failed to stop a challenger from coming into the market and over taking them, it even failed to turn a profit despite what fanboys will say. The company was hurting during the Game Cube years. They became desperate and turned into an ultra conservative company in terms of technology.

The Game Cube was not as powerful as some claim but it did have some advantages, some slightly exaggerated, over the PS2. However, even if it had been capable of playing DVD’s, it would have ended up costing more money and there was still no guarantee it would have sold better. The Game Cube had strong third party support up front and it had solid 1st party titles at first but a series of missteps by Nintendo turned their core audience away and they lost a lot of momentum early on. In hindsight it is remembered fondly but at the time owning a Game Cube subjected one to ridicule in the gaming community. DVD’s wouldn’t have saved it, in fact it might have introduced a whole bunch of additional issues too complicated for this article.

8. The Wii won the XX console generation!

This is so utterly stupid it’s not worth getting into. First the concept of console generations is ridiculous to say the least. However let’s unpack it. The Wii was released in 2006, days after the PS3. However, it was not competing on the same hardware level nor was it targeting the same customers. Saying the Wii beat the PS3 is like saying the VCR beat 8 track because? Technically they were both game consoles but they were competing for different customers in different markets and offered totally different experiences. The system sold a respectable 100 million consoles, but it did not win that generation. It competed against itself for a market it claimed all to itself. The PS3 and Xbox 360 competed for an entirely separate market and nobody “won” that generation it was basically a draw.

9. Wii U failed because of the name

This is a relatively new and utterly nonsense claim.

The Wii U was a fantastic system with a handful, very small mind you, selection of great games. The vast majority of games, however, were garbage. There were a ton of indie games, digital only, that were of varying degrees of quality, except none, or very, very few were true exclusives. The system was running out dated ports of older games lacking features their contemporary counterparts touted. It failed because of that, being over priced for what it was (a last-gen console dressed in next gen clothes) and featured and expensive, clunky and mostly useless tablet style controller that most gamers hated. Die hard Nintendo loyalists praised it but most rejected it and thus the console failed.

The name was a joke but it didn’t cost it the sales. It has been suggested the blue ocean grandmas that made the Wii such a house hold success were confused by the name and thus didn’t buy it. This is misleading. Those customers bought the Wii for 1 game, Wii Sports, and treated it like a DVD player or similar appliance, in other words they never had any intention of upgrading. Fewer Nintendo gamers and traditional gamers bought the Wii U than the failed Game Cube and that name was not confusing to most. Well, except my dad who confused it for an Xbox but that rarely yielded any real world troubles outside occasional corrections in public.

10. Sega stopped making hardware and only makes Sonic games

This is flat false. Sega still makes hardware, in fact more so than even Nintendo in a way. They have always been the undisputed king of arcades and they do still make slot machines and casino games. However, they are pretty much it besides a handful of other companies. They still make plenty of games for other home consoles, usually under different brands they acquired over the years. The truth is they have not stopped making games, in fact they are making more games now than in a long time, and very few are Sonic, no more than in the decades since his introduction anyways. The reality is the did stop making home consoles, technically, although this is not entirely accurate either as they do still license their Genesis and Master System technology to other firms to produce in countries outside the United States. The reality is they still make games, they still make arcade machines and they still make hardware, just not in the same way they did in the 90s. Does that mean a Dreamcast 2 is a possibility? No and it shouldn’t. But they could re-enter the home console space but they’d have to make it a budget console that relied on selling digital copies of their catalog and that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

There you have it ten gaming myths that need to die. While some of these are based on ones perspective, the undeniable facts are basically each of these perceived ideas differ wildly from the actual reality.

Super Gobot Baron Von Joy and what he means to me personally and my collection

This is not one of those tales of how I fell in love with a Gobot over a Transformers because of the superior quality of the toy compared to the other brand. Nor is it a story on how nostalgia clouded my judgement into thinking the Gobot was inferior to the Transformer brand.

This is a person story of how I left a particular toy from my childhood in the past as it remained tied to a painful memory I had every intention of avoiding. This is the story of the day my grandpa died and how my dad comforted my with what became my first Gobot toy.

I have been a toy collector, off and on, my entire life. It started when I was a kid. I have dabbled to varying degrees well into my adult life. I recently began the quest to get back fully into the collecting of toys and collectibles from my childhood. I have spent much of the time focused on Transformers that I had as a kid or those I picked up the first time I got back into adult collecting.

I had avoided buying Baron Von Joy for a number of reasons. The first and foremost is Gobots are not a top priority for me. As my financial resources are fairly limited I concentrated on the Transformers that were most important to me personally. The second reason I held off on seeking this toy out was the painful memory associated with the passing of my grandfather. Obviously as time has passed the pain has diminished as I have aged. Recently I lost another grandfather and decided it was time to honor the memory of the one I lost ages ago as a way to move on.

I wasn’t much older than somewhere between the ages of three and five. I have no more than a barely confirmed fuzzy memory of sitting with my grandpa before he passed. What I do have is a very vivid memory of my dad, the man I looked up to most as a kid, being away from his family for what felt like forever to a child when he went to California to attend his dad’s funeral. As a kid all I knew about California is it was where my grandpa went to die. It left me with a feeling of California is a bad place where people go to die. It wasn’t a rational fear but it stuck with me for a very long time.

Upon his return my dad filled the void in my fragile little heart by bringing me a present. It was, at the time, a fairly impressive Super Gobot toy. I knew it was special because all my Transformers were plastic but this was metal and had rubber tires. It was like those metal cars you see in the collectible aisle at the toy store. You know the ones old men were always looking at.

It was a sci-fi alien robot like my existing Transformers, except it also turned into a realistic car, in this case a Porsche. Little did I know that the Transformers toys that predated my late entry plastic possessions were also die cast metal with rubber tires. Hey, I was a kid and it was the late 80s the Gobots had already met their maker and Tranformers was taking over the world of young 80s kids.

Unfortunately the original one from my childhood failed to survive all those moves my family made over the years. I honestly cannot remember what exactly happened. What I do know is when I returned to the hobby as an adult collector I intentionally avoided buying this specific Gobot. In fact, I didn’t get nostalgic for the brand at all until I was in my late 20s.

It started slowly with my stumbling into a junk store in a small lakeside town in Nebraska. There on the shelf was a retro Gobot toy I had never seen but it had the branding plastered on its chest. I immediately bought it, took it home and looked it up on Google.

As I began researching the toyline that nostalgia began swelling up.

I took a few years off from collecting entirely before I came back around to collecting last year. As I decided to get back into collecting I made a choice to get the toys from my childhood. I had struggled with whether or not I was going to get this one or not. I decided it was time and so I made the plunge.

Once it arrived I was overwhelemed with emotions as the memory of my grandpa came back to me.

My experience exploring the WWE Network during the one month free trial

This is probably the first article where I will say up front there is a video in the works. Okay maybe not but there is a video in the works. That shouldn’t stop you from reading this anyways. I will keep this focused on a brief overview of my impression of the WWE Network app and the content library thus far as I explored the 1 month free trial.

I will offer a brief background on how I got here. As a kid I had cousins and uncles that were very into professional wrestling. My dad was not. He made fun of it and its fans. I was torn. During the 90s I witness the rise of the WCW NWO and the Raw is War Attitude Era during the Monday Night Wars. My friends were all caught up on the drama. I was a spectator on the sidelines scratching my head. A friend said, it’s like a soap opera for guys. Another friend said, it’s like a comic book show without the special effects. That resonated more with me so I gave it a try. I was lost and walked away for several years, dismissive of the entire phenomenon.

A couple of years ago I was working at a small town newspaper in Texas. A man walked in by the name of Michael Smith. His professional wrestling name was Sam Houston. He introduced himself and told me the highlights of his career, having been in the first ever Royal Rumble. At the time I heard the name Royal Rumble, knew nothing else of it. Needless to say upon hearing his story, both professional and personal, I was intrigued. His dad, Grizzly Smith, was a bona fide legend, his brother, Jake the Snake Roberts a true superstar. The more I learned the more I wanted to learn. We became friends. I did a video for him, he took me on a road trip to see the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in Wichita Falls, Texas. It was great. He’s gone back into his world and my career took me down a different path so we ultimately parted ways. Still, it was an experience I will never forget.

During the time I was listening to the Completely Unnecessary Podcast with Pat The NES Punk and co host Ian Ferguson. They talked about WWE stuff a lot so I became more curious. I decided to give it all a shot and started watching some Pay Per Views and things with friends. I was still lost and gave up after a few weeks.

Last year I bought a home. As a result I installed an antenna to get OTA reception on my TV set. I was flipping through the channels and stumbled upon Friday Night SmackDown. I became enamored with the action and the beef between some guy named Corbin and a clown getting dog food dumped all over himself. I decided okay I will give this an honest try. I read up. Did my homework and learned the ins and outs of the sport/show. I came at it from the perspective of a former TV producer. I decided to treat it like a TV show, with seasons, story lines, characters etc., Thus I decided I was going to follow SmackDown live each Friday night as time permitted. Then I would catch up on the WWE Network. I downloaded the app, signed up for the free trial and  began exploring the content.

Library.

Vast. That is the one word that described the amount of content available in their library. Even though it is a single topic it has Netflix and Hulu beat by shear amount of videos available to watch. I am not saying everything is worth viewing but it’s all there, for the most part. I was disappointed to learn SmackDown was a month behind the broadcast so keeping up was going to be a challenge.

Exploring.

I started with some random matches of people I remembered. Andre the Giant, Macho Man, Hulk Hogan, Bam Bam Bigalo, a few others who’s names stuck in my brain. Then I shifted. I went through the first few years of Nitro, all the way through the NWO take over. I watched the first season of Monday Night Raw. I watched the corresponding Pay Per Views as they arose during the season. So if they were promoting a specific pay per view that episode of Raw, upon completion I immediately dove into said PPV and kept going, not skipping a beat. After a few weeks of this, seeing some of the documentaries and continuing to explore some of the catalog stuff, I decided to settle into my groove.

The discovery.

I kind of like it. I mean kind of as in more than I thought I would. I finally, at least marginally understand it more than I did before. I kind of get kayfabe now, I kind of understand how the story lines work and what is going on. Before I never knew anything just it was a mess and never made sense. I also get the rules of the matches and the moves now. It makes for a far more entertaining experience. Plus my heart beats for Nikki Cross I will thoroughly enjoy watching her career unfold.

Going forward.

Right now my viewing habit is centered around going through last year of SmackDown and dabbling in Raw to get caught up. I will continue to revisit the old Raw episodes as go though the seasons as I find time watching documentaries that pique my interest along the way. Then I will keep my eye out on certain PPV events that I will consider watching as they happen. Right now I have made plans to make a day out of watching the Royal Rumble this year. I will also look forward to seeing Wrestlemania when it happens. I have recently watched TLC and Survivor Series as a starting point.

Each week I intend to watch SmackDown on Friday nights live, as life allows. Then I will go through the backlog on weekends and as I find the time. My goal is not to consume every piece of content in that library, I’d decay into a rotten corpse before time would allow. However I have mapped out the path I wish to follow.

Hulkamania.

First path I want to follow is the rise of Hulkamania through the turn to heel. I will watch every match, TV show and PPV that featured Hulk Hogan and watch his career unfold. I will take detours to follow Macho Man and Rick Flair along the way to see how things go there. I expect this to be a process that will take time. My intention is to do so sporadically, maybe get through a few matches and one PPV a week. Once I complete this story line or saga I will shift to the next super star I intend to follow.

Stone Cold Era

I want to start with his debut and follow his career in the same fashion as Hogan. There’s not half as much content to get through so it shouldn’t take nearly as long. All along the way I will be skipping the filler stuff I don’t care about, except with the PPV’s I have a separate plan for those. The only side quests I will follow here is the team up with The Rock and maybe see where that goes.

Mankind

After watching the Monday Night War episode on this guy I fully want to go back and watch the entire career of Mick Foley from Mankind to his other incarnations. This is the only one aside from Hogan I intend to watch the interviews as well as the matches.

Pay Per Views

During this exploration my hope is to get through the entire Wrestlemania and Royal Rumble saga. I watched the first seven Royal Rumbles in a row and did the first three Wrestlemania’s already. I will watch them in their place, or at least the respective matches that pertain to the sagas as I follow so these I will watch out of order first viewing as they arise and then a full run as I go back and watch them one after another. Due to the run times this will be a long term commitment.

In the meantime I am only watching these older sagas in small doses. I won’t binge a Hogan series but I will watch a few matches, a PPV and the aftermath maybe each week or so.

Overall I am enjoying exploring all the content available. Right now I am making Jan 1 2019 the starting point and working forward from there. I will view all the Smackdown episodes, in order, in conjunction with the corresponding Raw on the app with PPV’s as they arise. I don’t have cable so the only chance I have of viewing Raw timely is on YouTube apparently so I will try to take advantage of that, once I am caught up.

NTX is on my radar but right now I want to focus on the main stuff. Once I am caught up, hopefully before this year’s Wrestlemania, I will go back to the start of King Corbin and follow his career to today. I might do the same with Roman Reigns, Danial Bryan and The Fiend but I am not sure yet. Overall I am really enjoying the content as I am exploring this wide world of sports entertainment I missed out on over the years. Stay Cool.

 

My first Micromaster

I did it. I did something I never thought I would do as a Transformers collector, I bought my first micromaster toy.

It’s kind of a big deal for me because I grew up really despising the micromasters. I’ve encountered them at flea markets and yard sales over the years and I always dismissed them I never wanted micromasters in my collection.

What changed my mind has been a long path I won’t get into the whole story but it started with Armada and the mini cons. Now to be fair I’ve always liked the Target Masters, Headmasters and even the power Masters. But I never had any interest in micro Masters or action Masters they just kind of disgusted me really.

I have to start by saying part of it goes back to my disdain for the Micro Machines toy line. Over the years my parents made the mistake of buying me Micro Machines at various occasions birthdays, Christmas, Even Easter at times. And I could never complain or tell my parents I don’t like Micro Machines because you don’t want them to get mad at you because they bought you a toy. That’s enough reminiscing let’s get into the toy itself.

I picked up my first micro Master it was storm cloud one of the Decepticons from I believe the Air Patrol or air strike Patrol I’m not a hundred percent I haven’t done my research yet. First step I want to say that I’m still not a fan of micro machines so I don’t want to sway from that too far. However one of the things that I always hated about getting a micro machines was usually when I got a Power Ranger or Star Wars toy that felt like a slap in the face it was we know you like Star Wars but we’re not going to get you a real Star Wars toy we’re going to get you this Micro Machines. So this isn’t exactly that this isn’t real transformer made by Hasbro or sold by by Hasbro so it actually counts as an authentic Transformer.

I’ve seen micromasters in the wild and I usually dismiss them so I never really took the time to actually examine any of them. One of my cousins growing up had countdown which was probably the only micro master I told myself I would ever consider getting and it’s really just a base. Now as far as the Decepticon jet goes I have to say I am kind of slightly impressed because it has a more complex transformation then I assume micro Master would it’s not quite in terms of complexity at the level of a full size Transformer I guess we would say deluxe class or larger but it’s comprable aside from scale to a Decepticon cassette or an Autobot minibot for example his transformation is at least as many steps as Powerglide although he’s not at the same scale as Powerglide.

And this is where I’m torn he is the same complexity just about as one of the other Masters and that includes the modern micro Battle Masters or the mini cons whatever you call them.

He doesn’t stand as tall as a Decepticon cassette or an Autobot mini car so that’s kind of an issue for me because it means that these are definitely at a much smaller scale and that’s the problem they feel like a separate toy line and that’s why I’ve always dismissed them it doesn’t as I hold it in my hand it doesn’t feel like a Transformer it feels like yes it has the plastic in the wheels are the same material as other Transformers but it doesn’t feel like a Transformer it feels like not quite a knockoff but it does look like a Transformer though I don’t know I think I would have preferred the micromasters if they would have been in the same scale as the original microman / micro change mini cars because then you could have kept them in the same toy line and they would have felt like they belong. They feel like you have a micro Master collection separate from your Transformers collection almost like its own toy line. I feel very similarly to the heroes of Cybertron PVC figures or figurines if you will. But those are intended to be a separate toy line these were intended to be the continuation of the original generation 1 toys and that’s what kind of I think I never liked about them that’s what always bothered me.

As I hold storm cloud in my hands I will place him in the box with my other Transformers and see how he fits in it feels really out of place but fortunately the scale to be fair it’s not consistent throughout the toy line anyways.

He’s small enough even as a toy that turns into a jet he can ride on the back of laserbeak comfortably and not look out of place. Is almost small enough if the doors open he could fit inside Bumblebee and he could certainly fit inside gold-bug if his doors opened. But let’s just talk about the complexity of the transformation and the material he’s made out of I like the colors he’s not really slick purple that’s my favorite color purple and he’s got some black on him and his colors look really good together his transformation isn’t too complex but it’s not as simple as I thought it would be.

Starting with the robot you fold his hands down at his sides which is pretty simple you fold the nose cone down and push the legs up into the body of the Jet and then flip the wings down that’s basically it is very simple. I was kind of surprised that the legs folded down but I was somewhat at that point disappointed that they didn’t separate but that’s a common design flaw with the original G1 toys so I can’t complain too much. In terms of so-called articulation he really doesn’t have any his hands or arms I should say swing up and down but that’s about it nothing else really to say. Why does someone special to me it’s simple because I’ve never owned a micro Master before and while he has it ignited my interest in the toy sub line quite yet but he has impressed me enough that I’ve added purchasing micromasters to my list of things to do in other words I’m going to start a small micro Master collection on the side. I’m not quite yet sure if I’m going to group them in with my G1 toys or separate them out in their own toy line. I don’t pay much attention to Hasbro’s official marketing I have my own sub toy lines subgroups that I tend to follow and I disagree with a lot of the fans or I should say I don’t fall in line with a lot of the other fans. I see everything from Generation 1 1984 to the end of robots in Disguise around 2003-2004 has one continuous toy line. but I also see the individual sub toy lines as their own separate group of toys. So if you collected only Headmasters to me you would have a Headmaster collection that’s not the same as Dinobots are a category insecticons or a category they’re not their own separate toy line.

As I sit here and mull over this first micromaster I fully suspect as I add more to the collection this one will continue to hold a place in my heart as my first but I don’t know if it will end up being my favorite. At this point in time all I can say is I have him I’m slightly more impressed than I thought I would have been but I’m still not 100% sold on the subgroup as of yet. But on the positive side I don’t hate them nearly as much as I used to. Stay cool.

Contemplating the Catholic Ministry

It is no secret I felt God’s calling when I was young. I converted from pagan (witch) to Baptist when I was 12 and basically never looked back. I became very enthusiastic about getting into the ministry at the age of 16. I became a counselor at bible camp and taught vacation bible school two different years. Then I shifted into music trying to break into the “Christian rap” scene. I quickly dropped the Christian part and tried to become more “street.” When that failed I gave up the ministry and walked away.

A little over a year ago I began my journey to becoming a full Catholic. That journey itself was quite an amazing experience for me. It helped me get closer to God than I had been in years, helped me find a loving church family I enjoy worshiping with and it helped me realize my desire to serve the Lord is as alive as ever.

I recently felt the calling to do more. As a result I am looking to clean up my act a little and start over fresh But that is only a small part of the big changes coming in my life. I have already reached out to and been invited to meet with a priest to discuss going into the vocation. There are a number of things to consider when contemplating that path as a Catholic that a protestant (or Evangelical) doesn’t necessarily have to consider. Beyond that there is this feeling I can’t escape that has me wanting to do more to serve. I won’t know what options are available until after I have my meeting with the priest. I am really hoping he will find something I can do to help out.

I am also seriously considering writing a book covering my conversion experience and the journey I took. I believe it would be a fascinating tale for those who have curiosity how a Baptist can turn Catholic. It’s obviously an experience a lot of people have had but I think I can write mine in a way it would speak to people.

None of this means I will completely remove my website, channel or podcast from the internet. I do believe I might try some re-branding or even just putting certain things in the past while I move towards a fuller life.

I don’t have much else to report at this time other than I have spent a great deal of time the last month reading articles on the Faith and watching hours of YouTube videos on the teachings of the Church, church history and the like. I’ve really fallen in love with the Church Jesus left behind to protect his people all over again. The closer I get to the Lord the more my faith grows in him. Stay Cool.

Jumanji Next Level, Ghostbusters Afterlife trailer, killer bees?! and more

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9mea5-cc2dd6
and this action-packed episode of the dark web podcast your host the rat talks about upcoming content for the special bonus New Year’s spectacular featuring guests from: console Wars, retro pop gaming, the composer to the video game River City girls and a surprise horror movie film maker. Ghostbusters Afterlife trailer commentary and thoughts. Killer Bees in Minecraft what? Some more Nikki cross worship of course! and something to do with Jumanji and Dick jokes?

WWE Smackdown, Xbox series X, no hype for Star Wars!?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-seb7t-cb7500
and this episode of talking about PlayStation 5 and the Xbox series X. I contemplate what’s next for Nintendo switch or for Nintendo after switch rather. I rank the PlayStation consoles from worst to best. I give an update on my thoughts so far on getting back into WWE Smackdown. I talked about war for Cybertron Siege Thundercracker. I dig into a YouTube controversy?! And something fortnite related.