I've spoken before about my great love for BLACK SABBATH, how I discovered them, and why their sixth album, Sabotage, is my favorite album of all time. They are my bedrock, my musical foundation, and directly or indirectly continue to inform all the music I make.
Imagine, if you will, finding a band that you quickly realize is your favorite band of all time... and that they had made their last album 12 years earlier. Their body of work was finite. Yes, I could listen to these albums over and over my entire life... but they would never change. No more surprises. Like an ancient holy tome, you could try finding some previously unnoticed nuance or detail, but The End had already been written and there would be no sequel. As a 16-year-old Sabbath neophyte, I remember gradually acquiring the 8 albums of the original line-up and eagerly popping each one into the cassette player for that irreproducible first listen. Those sirens of "War Pigs" that begin Paranoid; the coughing that abruptly starts "Sweet Leaf" and Master of Reality; the rain, thunder and tolling bells of "Black Sabbath", their signature song that opens their first album... That was 20 years ago. I would never have that "first listen" feeling again.
It's time to post scans from another "Find Your Fate" book! This time it's Battle Drive, which involves some plot by the Decepticons to starve America by destroying all its farmland. Or maybe that's just a ruse to draw out and kill some Autobots. Or maybe they're trying to capture Sparkplug Witwicky, who has somehow "discovered what he thinks is a fatal flaw in the Decepticon circuitry." Which is it? Well, that's the beauty of a choose-your-own-adventure book: it changes each time.
This book is fairly odd for the medium. There's an ending where the whole story is a dream that you, the reader, wake up from. There's a page that encourages you to actually write in the book in the hopes that Optimus Prime will see your warning before they're caught in a Decepticon trap.
That's the poster I got recently. It's a near-complete print of the 1986 back-of-the-box battle scene, omitting only some of the landscape at the very bottom. It measures 20" x 17" and it is AWESOME. That photograph doesn't do it justice, mostly because photographing anything that's behind a reflective surface is a maddening struggle against glare and reflection.
After our aborted attempt to buy a house back in 2009, Dollface and I settled very comfortably back into enjoying our fabulous apartment. Spacious, stylish, comfortable and centrally located in one of the coolest sections of Portland, there was very little not to love about the place. However, after several years of rent increases, I was becoming increasingly aware that renting builds no equity and is essentially throwing money away. Additionally we were fed up with having a landlord and upstairs/downstairs neighbors to consider. It was time to start searching again.
Turns out that on our first and only day of touring various available houses, after about ten unsuitable locations we happened to find a house that felt about as close to perfect as we were going to get. To make a long story short, in a whirlwind 2 months we negotiated, inspected, repaired, bought the place, painted and moved in. It's now six weeks later and, having finally resolved all the top home-making priorities and settled in, I feel I can now break my blogging and social media silence to reflect on the whole experience.
Remember those "Find Your Fate" Transformers books from the '80s? You know, the "Choose Your Own Adventure" knock-offs that featured our favorite robots in disguise? Well, I have a complete set, and wouldn't you know that the penciled art heavily borrows from the Transformers box art, oftentimes reproducing the line art exactly. The Transformers art that isn't directly lifted from the box art is, like the box art itself, extremely faithful to the actual toys. I LOVE IT.
Check this out. From an eBay auction that I happened to see, it's unpublished Garbage Pail Kids art featuring a distressed GPK Optimus Prime:
Elections in Decepticon-held territories are done by a show of hands, usually at gunpoint, often with little warning other than the very recent murder of the previous leader. There was just such an election recently, so I can tell you who my choice was for Decepticon Leader and Supreme Commander: GALVATRON.
I voted for him for several reasons, both professional and personal:
Elections in Oregon are done through the mail, so I've already voted and can tell you who my choice was for President of United States: Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico, who is the Libertarian Party candidate.
I voted for him because I agree with him more closely on the political issues of the day than any other candidate:
Why am I collecting Transformer Kreons?
Do I really love cute and/or kitsch versions of Transformers that much?
Though I immediately saw the appeal when they first debuted, I resisted because the brick sets were too expensive to buy just to get hold of the little Lego-style TF figure that came in the package.
I haven't been blogging as much, I know. I've been busy. With stuff. All of which I will tell you about right now. (If you care about my personal life, there's a lot about that to follow. If you only care about Transformers, skip down to the pictures below.)
Notably, Dollface and I flew to the east coast for my brother's wedding. Which I officiated. (I've done it before.) Except this time I was mercilessly hungover. Don't worry, the attendees couldn't tell. Everything went off without a hitch, no one could see my suffering. This time, instead of memorizing the service -- which included writing their vows and lots "they've already been together eleven years" humor -- I read it off my Android phone. Welcome to the future.