Blog #6: Pick a topic, any topic.

It’s funny, I always think I don’t know what to write about in my blog, and then I sit down and make a list of what I want to talk about, and there are soooooo many things.  Here’s a list of topics so you can scroll down to the ones that interest you.

1. Red Sox Sign Carl Crawford and don’t sign Adrian Gonzalez.
2. Patriots ground Jets and will turn the Bears into cubs.
3. Salvation Army needs an attitude adjustment.
4. Vintage Transformers Mylar Balloons.
5. Transformers Generations Dirge Variant.
6. Power Core Combiners Constructicons and Dinobots.
7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon trailer.
8. Voyage of the Dawn Treader review.
9. Thor trailer online.
10. Tron Legacy preview.
11. Transformers 2010 Predaking Reissue Review.
12. 2011 Movie Preview coming 12/31/10.

See, I wasn’t lying when I said it was a lot!

1. Red Sox Sign Carl Crawford and don’t sign Adrian Gonzalez.

I really never thought they would get Carl Crawford.  I never thought they would spend that much on another player after the Gonzalez deal.  Now, you *might* wonder if the reports that they haven’t actually signed Gonzalez might be part of it, that they don’t think they’ll have him after the 2001 season.  Well, I don’t think that’s too likely.  According to what I’ve read, the Red Sox and Gonzalez have to say that he doesn’t have a contract yet, because he can’t sign it until after the season starts or the Red Sox will owe more on the luxury tax.  I’m sure they have a deal in place, it’s just not signed yet, and both sides are saying they don’t have anything in place.  My guess is it will be signed and announced before the end of April 2011.

All Theo Epstein has to do is find some guys to fill out the bullpen and we’re golden.  I don’t think they will move Daisuke Matsuzaka now that they don’t need to trade for an outfielder.  He’s an expensive 5th starter, but he’s also the best 5th starter in baseball.  This team has a legitimate shot at five 20 game winners.  I don’t know that it will happen, but it’s certainly possible.

The big question is what will the lineup be like.  Crawford is on record as saying he isn’t comfortable batting leadoff, and the numbers support that he is better batting in other spots, though not by that much.  I wonder if a lot of that is because he hasn’t had a good enough lineup batting behind him to drive him in and in front of him to get guys on base when he’s up.  Remember, batting leadoff is only really relevant once in the game.  I think he needs to bat leadoff, and this is the order I’d put out there.

1. Carl Crawford(L) – LF
2. Duston Pedroia(R) – 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez(L) – 1B
4. Kevin Younkilis(R) – 3B
5. David Ortiz(L) – DH
6. J.D. Drew(R) / Mike Cameron(R) – RF
7. Saltalamacchia / Varitek(S) – C
8. Marco Scutaro(R) – SS
9. Jacoby Ellsbury – CF – L

You’ll note the absence of Ryan Kalish from the above lineup.  Unless they can move Cameron and Drew or, though I’d rather they didn’t, move Ellsbury, I don’t see Kalish playing everyday.  I’m going to assume they don’t want him sitting on the bench, so he’ll probably start the season in Pawtucket and be brought up when needed.  There doesn’t seem to me to be room in the outfield for both Cameron and Drew, so something needs to happen there.  You’ll also note that I have Ellsbury in Centerfield.  I think he’s the best defensive centerfielder on this team, and needs to be out there.  I never agreed with moving him to left field last year.

Of course, ultimately, it’s all up to Terry Francona, and if the last seven seasons have taught me anything, it’s “In Terry We Trust.”

2. Patriots ground Jets and will turn the Bears into cubs.

The Patriots brought the Jets to an unscheduled crash landing last Monday night.  (There are SO many jokes about grounding the Jets.)  I guess I gave them too much credit when I predicted a 44-17 score.  That team is just NOT as good as they think they are.  They’re good, no question, and I can see them coming back to Foxboro for the AFC Championship game, but the results will be the same.  I will give Rex Ryan credit though.  He took it like a man and didn’t make excuses.  Of course, they didn’t really have any.  I think they needed to bury the playbook along with the game ball.

The Bears are also a good team, but not a great team.  They should have lost their opening game to the Lions, that call was crap, and everyone knows it.  They might very well win the NFC, but that’s only because the conference is so week.  I think the Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, and Jets, are all better than anyone in the NFC.

Now, with the game being played in blizzard conditions, I don’t expect Tom Brady to put up super huge numbers, but I do expect a win.  I predict a 27-10 Patriots win over the Bears.  You’ll recall that Tom Bray has played some great games in bad weather.

3. Salvation Army needs an attitude adjustment.

There was a report in the news recently that the Salvation Army in Calgary disposed of donations of Harry Potter and Twilight toys instead of distributing them to children.  A spokesman for the Salvation Army has clarified that, saying that these decisions “are made at the local level, often in consultation with parents of recipients and based on years of feedback.”  Now, if a parent doesn’t want a child to have a Harry Potter or Twilight (Twilight I understand) toy, that’s fine.  The initial report was that these toys are disposed of rather than given to other organizations as is now claimed.  I really don’t know what to believe their actual policy is, but my guess is that if they let these things be decided at the local level then these toys are being disposed of in some cases. 

That should not happen, and here’s why this pisses me off.  There are too many crackpots in this world who think the Harry Potter books are promoting black magic and trying to convince young people to practice witchcraft and worship the devil.  This is born of ignorance, insanity, and stupidity.  No reasonably intelligent person can read the books and not understand that at their core they are about love and friendship, even if they don’t like them.  These ignorant morons who denounce them without ever reading them disgust me, as they should disgust everybody.  If you read the books and don’t like them, then fine, but if you haven’t read the books, you are not entitled to have an opinion about them.  You just aren’t.  You lack the knowledge to form an opinion on them, and when you open your mouth and spew crap, you just show how truly unintelligent you are.

If the Salvation Army has people like this working on them, they undermine all the good they are trying to do.  I will not be donating to them.

Sorry, rant over.  This just really pisses me off.

4. Vintage Transformers Mylar Balloons.

I picked up a small lot of Transformers items this week, really cheap.  It included some books, a hat and an eraser, some of which I had already.  The jewel of the lot though was a pair of 1985 Mylar balloons of Optimus Prime and Megatron.  They are used, and could be in better shape, but they aren’t bad for twenty-five year old used balloons.  I love G1 artifacts life this

5. Transformers Generations Dirge Variant.

I heard recently that there is a variant of Transformers Generations Deluxe Dirge.  Early versions have an incorrect Decepticon symbol on both his wings and chest.  I didn’t notice it until someone told me there was an error and I looked at it, then I saw it right away.  The white triangle in the crown is missing.  All the ones I had seen were errors until yesterday when I found a corrected one at a Target.  I didn’t even notice until I heard there was an error and then caught it as soon as I looked at the symbol.

6. Power Core Combiners Constructicons and Dinobots.

I found the two newest Transformers Power Core Combiners yesterday, 5-Packs, Steamhammer with the Constructicons and Grimstone with the Dinobots.  I think these are my two favorite PCC 5-Packs yet.  I’m not sure how much life the PCC line has left in it, there is only one more 5-Pack announced (Spastic with the Stunticons) and four more 2-Packs, the first two of which are just starting to show up.  5-Packs have been pretty easy to find, but the 2-Packs, other than series one are really slow to show up.  I found one set of Series 2 and Series 3 2-Packs at different Wal-Mart stores a while ago, and until recently didn’t see any until a few Series 3 started showing up at Wal-Marts.  There are hardly any on ebay, so they really haven’t hit yet in quantity.  I’m starting to wonder if Hasbro is holding back on these because they don’t have a lot of product for the spring.  There aren’t many main line items left to come out before Dark of the Moon.  Keep in mind this list is based on what I haven’t found in stores yet.

2 Activators (Bumblebee, Optimus Prime repaints)
4 Deluxes (Bumblebee, Laser Optimus Prime, Perceptor, Wreck-Gar)
2 Generations Deluxes (Kup, Scourge)
6 Legends (Bumblebee, Megatorn, Optimus Prime, Starscream, Prowl, Trailcutter)
4 Power Core Combiner 2-Packs (Heavytread, Skyhammer, Salvage, Undertow)
1 Power Core Combiner 5-Pack (Spastic)
2 Scouts (Chopsaw, Windcahrger)
4 Voyagers (Grapple, Lugnut, Strafe, Deep Dive)

There are some ancillary items such as the Stealth Force line, but it doesn’t seem like enough to get through May.  I’m assuming that most everything we see at Toy Fair will be relating to Dark of the Moon, so it wouldn’t surprise me if some items, like the PCC 2-Packs Series 2 and 3 are being released slowly so they don’t run out of fresh product on the shelves during the spring.  Just speculation, but it would seem reasonable.

7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon trailer.

I spent most of Wednesday afternoon waiting for the new trailer, and I wasn’t disappointed.  If you haven’t seen it, go see it, it’s awesome.  For those who aren’t familiar with the older Transformers story lines, popular opinion seems to be that that old looking robot on the ship that’s crashed on the moon is Alpha Trion.  He was always drawn with an “old man” look about him.  In the original Generation One story, he rebuilt a young Autobot named Orion Pax into Optimus Prime, making Alpha Trion effectively, Optimus Prime’s father.  While this is all speculation, I really hope it is Alpha Trion.  I love the idea of the moon landing being a secret mission to investigate a ship crashed on the dark side of the moon.

I was lucky to also see the trailer in the theater in 3D on Saturday when I went to the third movie in the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  I haven’t been a big fan of 3D.  Too often, they seem to put in scenes for the express purpose of making them jump out in 3D.  Lately though, they seem to be doing a better job of using 3D without the gratuitous “look at the 3D coming out at you” shots they used to do.  It’s growing on me a lot.  Case in point, the trailer for Dark of the Moon ends with a close up of the old robots eye, and as we travel into it we see gears rotating and parts moving.  It looks pretty cool in 2D, but it looks incredible in 3D.  It doesn’t so much reach come out at you as give a sense of depth to what’s moving behind the foreground.  It looks amazing.  I’m really excited to see this movie in 3D.

8. Voyage of the Dawn Treader review.

As I said earlier, I saw Voyage of the Dawn Treader on Saturday.  It is my favorite of the three movies.  Eustace Clarence Scrubb is one of the most annoying characters ever, and Will Poulter does a great job playing the part.  Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes were great again as Lucy and Edmund.  This series has been very well cast.  The effects were amazing, but that’s to be expected.  In short, go see it.  This movie is fantastic.

I really hope they end up making all seven movies.  I loved the Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid.  One of these days I need to read them again, though after the fourth book, The Silver Chair, the books don’t really go chronologically.  The fifth book, The Horse and his Boy takes place during The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe while Peter, Lucy, Edmund, and Susan ruled Narnia, before they returned to the real world.  It focused on Edmund and his horse, Phillip.  Edmund isn’t even in The Silver Chair as I recall, so it means brining him back for a story that is out of order.  On the plus side, as I recall, Edmund was older during that story, so the actor who plays him might still be able to play him.  After that comes The Magician’s Nephew.  It is essentially a prequel.  It explains the origins of Narnia and how the Wardrobe came to be.  The final book, The Last Battle, is the conclusion of the series.  I honestly remember very little about the last three books.  I really need to go back and read them again.  It would be really unfortunate if they didn’t make them all.  I have the same worry about the Percy Jackson series, but since that’s only five, I think there is a better chance they get made.

9. Thor trailer online.

The Thor announcement trailer went online this week.  I really like the way they are setting this up, doing the story of Thor as the arrogant cruel boy, cast out of Asgard by Odin, who needs to earn back his birthright.  Looks so awesome.  What can I say?  Its hammer time!

10. Tron Legacy preview.

I have been waiting almost thirty years for this movie.  I must have seen Tron a hundred times when I was a kid.  I haven’t seen it in years, but I’m sure I can still recite much of the dialogue while watching it.  I can’t believe the original hasn’t been re-released on DVD.  The last DVD release was 2002 I believe, and I can’t find it anywhere for less that $50.  I need to go dig out my VHS copy and watch it before this weekend.

Now, as I haven’t seen the movie, the only spoilers, and I use the term loosely, come from the trailers and my assumptions based on the trailers.  If you consider any of the spoilers, please skip to section 11.

The CGI of young Kevin Flynn/Clu is incredible.  He’s not the first CGI character to look like an actual person, but it’s done so amazingly well that the first time saw the trailer, I thought, my god, that’s one hell of a makeup job.  It seemed to good to be CGI.  The effects are off the charts.  As of now, 5 movies have made between 292-415 million this year, and I think it will easily break into the top five.  Catching Toy Story 3’s 415 million might be a stretch, but coming in at number 2 ahead of Alice in Wonderland at 334 is a distinct possibility.  I’m sure I’m not the only one whose been waiting for this movie since 1982.

I do however have one issue.  From the trailers, we don’t even know if Tron is in the movie.  Now, I know, it needs to be called Tron Something, even if he isn’t in it or relevant, but I hope they at least explain what happened to Tron.  In the original, Tron was the program written by Alan Bradley (both played by Bruce Boxleitner).  While Flynn ultimately helps him achieve victory, Tron is the real hero of the movie.  I at least hope there is some reference to Tron and what happened him.   Now, it’s clear from the previews that Clu is Flynn’s creation that turned against him.  Maybe Clu killed Tron?  I will be really disappointed if there isn’t that link to the original.

I’m so psyched to see this movie.  Maybe after the Patriots finish off the Bears, I’ll dig out my VHS tape and watch the original.

11. Transformers 2010 Predaking Reissue Review.

If you haven’t seen it, Takara has reissued G1 Predaking again.  This one has some significant differences to the original and the first reissue.  Go to the below link for pics and details, but if you liked the toy before, you’re going to love it now.


12. 2011 Movie Preview coming 12/31/10.

Well, lastly, I’m planning on doing a blog on 12/31/10 to preview all the big movies for 2011.  There are a lot, it should be an amazing year for movies that will include, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II, Thor, Captain America, X-Men: First Class, and Green Lantern, just to name a few.

Well, the Bears just kicked off, I better go.

Thanks for reading!

About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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