SpartanNerd Review…KREO Transformers “Micro-changers” (Blind Bag)

Bored and nearly broke…buying dish detergent and looking for cheap content…I came across this gem for a mere three dollars at Dollar General Market in Pacolet, SC.

bag

A couple of things bears discussing here, first.

This isn’t my first experience with Kreo Transformers.  One of the Spartan-children had a Kreo BumbleBee once.  They were really too young.  So I had to do the assembling.  Which was quite tough.  I specifically remember putting pieces on, only to have others let go.

Ranking building blocks…LEGO is king.  The blocks go tog enter comfortably.  There are certain “design standards” that LEGO adheres to.  Then there are the iconic Mini-Figures.

Mega-Blocks…second place…at one time these felt like generic LEGO blocks.  Nowadays a kid might just as well be talking about LEGOs and Mega-Blocks interchangeably.  Mega-Blocks has its own figures, and cool licenses such as Halo.  They don’t market to as young of a crowd of kids as LEGO.  But they don’t have the same design standards as LEGO.  So they might just wing a big rectangle on a single stud, and call that a moving part.  Not the best our soundest solution.

Then KREO has to be last.  These blocks are meant to be interchangeable with the other two.  But there are some problems. They tend to be smaller.  And the studs don’t stick together so well even with blocks in the same set.  And forget about design standards…a part might be held together with tension, or whatever.  I remember that BumbleBee having layers and layers of underside.  This was neither fun to build, and seemed to be lacking in function.

When I saw this KREO Transformer, I remembered the BumbleBee experience.  I also know that that particular set was among the first KREO sets.  I wondered if things had moved along any and improved?  Keep on reading for more of the review!

The back of the bag looked like this…featuring many transformers…most of whom I have little knowledge of or care for.  Rodimus Prime was among them, making me think these must be Transformers from season three of the Generation One cartoon.  (Longtime readers will know that I never cared much for Rodimus Prime.)

back of bag

Opening the package revealed these two items…a poly-bag and the instructions.

contents instructions mistake

I believe the instructions have an error…The ad for Computron and Menasor are BACKWARDS.  Compton is the one at the top. I could be mistaken however, not being that much of an expert on Transformers.  But as a kid, I had Scattershot.  Furthermore, I saw a “Combiner Wars” version of Computron at Big Lots.

instructions

The Transformer I got was “Cyclonis.”  Here are the instructions…

pieces

Here are the assorted parts.

assembled bot laid flat

Here is my first build of Cyclonis.  As I look at him, I scour my memory to see if I can remember this character.  The wings on the arms really bother me.  So I re-arranged him to have a more “Starscream” build.

starscream type build

One thing that is immediately apparent is the helmet doesn’t want to stay on.  He has a head-barrel almost exactly like a LEGO mini figure.  But that helmet doesn’t snap on well.  And it keeps popping off.

After rebuilding him into “Thundercracker” or similar re-colored Starscream, I put him back the way he is supposed to be according to the instructions.  I am certain, however, if there was a Starscream KREO, he would probably have the same pieces with a different coloration.

Cyclonis…who was he?  The back of the bag tells me that he is probably from the episodes of Transformers I would only OCCASIONALLY watch.  I was very upset when they killed off Optimus Prime.  I also preferred the Autobot and Deception war to be on Earth, and finally the vehicle modes of the last season of Generation 1 Transformers tended to be science fiction things like ships, futuristic cannons, etc.  This made sense for a group of warriors on Cybertron.

Saying all this doesn’t change the fact that I owned more Transformers from this era than from the earlier era.  Transformers were expensive.  The ones I had were gifted to me.  And usually going to the store with money to purchase one meant that characters I knew would be out of stock…

Finally, It came to me.  A little blip in my memory where Galvatron is using Cyclonis name.  I broke down and looked at Wikipedia.  Indeed, Cyclonis was Galvatron’s “right hand man.”  And yes.  His wings are on his arms.

jet mode

Transforming Cyclonis wan’t difficult.  He becomes one of those “futuristic” vehicles I mentioned.  The transformation really isn’t anything more than the figure on its belly, with an extra nosecone piece instead of the helmet.  And the wings re-arranged.

I much prefer the robot mode!

standing without stand

Cyclonis stands just fine without his KREO block-stand.  He comes with this purple gun, which is one of the coolest parts of this set.  That translucent purple reminds me of another Transformer I DID own, Shockwave…

SpartanNerd Review of KREO Transformers “Micro-changers” (Blind Bag)

I haven’t reviewed alot of LEGOs.  But as it goes, this is worth every bit of three dollars.  I really like the color scheme.  He is menacing, with guns on his back and a purple gun accessory.  You immediately know he is a Decepticon!  (I have always been more of a Deception, even though I regarded the Autobots as awesome as well.  But my toys were usually Decepticon.

Sure, it has some problems.  The helmet doesn’t like to stick to the single stud on top of his head.  He stands better without the stand…both feet don’t want to plug into it.  (That’s why you saw me posing him standing on one foot.)  There is ugly branding on the underside of one of the wings.

The SpartanNerd rates  KREO Transformers “Micro-changers” (Blind Bag) a 4/5.  For three dollars,you have something way cooler than most LEGO mini figures that come in blind bags.  For instance, I remember SpartanKid opening a Cheerleader, a clown, and a caveman.  At least this was a Decepticon!

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SpartanNerd Review…Big Lots Transformers figures

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Let me clear the air and say I didn’t purchase these.  I snapped the picture, and was highly tempted.  At $5 apiece, it was certainly do-able.

When I talk about being interested in Transformers, this is what I am talking about.  They look exactly like they did on TV.  If only these weren’t so much like “baby toys” or “dog toys.”  Aesthetically…they scratch the nerd itch.  They look the part.  They have a wist swivel, moving arms, and a moving head.  But do not transform.

It is a real wonder I didn’t walk out with Megatron and Soundwave, though.  Sound wave is one of my personal favorites.  And Megatron rarely looks like his TV self, (though Soundwave does.)  Optimus Prime is inescapable nowadays.  The Starscream looks good here, but has a weird smile.

I don’t know the exact name of the line these are from.  I tried looking them up…not much there.  I wish I had thought to take a better picture of the tag.

There are some other cartoon look-alike transformers on the shelves…the “Hero Mash-ups.”  If I got those, I wouldn’t “mash them up.”  They would stay vanilla, so they looked like themselves.  Those don’t transform either, so I’ll pass.

What would I rate these?

Well they look the part.  So there is at least one point.  Megatron and Soundwave look really mean, and they have their weapons.  (non-remavable.)  So here is another point.

They do not actually transform.  Their legs don’t move.  They feel like “baby toys” or “dog toys.”  Starscream’s face is a happy face.

So I give them a 2/5…being generous because they ARE cool.  They might be cool in my office at the school.  I would feel fine leaving these guys there, and I think the kids would recognize them too.  But they just aren’t the kind of toy that I buy.  So I passed.

SpartanNerd Review…Dollar General Market Starscream

Today I would like to talk about one of my growing interests…Transformers!

Not just “any” Transformers will do for me.  I really am only sort of interested in G1.  I am a fan of Megatron as a “Gun”…Not as a tank.  I don’t even like Galvatron.  (And definitely not Rodimus Prime.  That sissy…)

I’m interested in toys that resemble the G1 friends from the past.  I largely never owned many Transformers as a child.  They were generally too expensive.  Masters of the Universe was the perfect price level, at around $5 a piece, my mom didn’t feel she was dropping a lot on the SpartanNerd as a kid.  But Transformers were reserved as Christmas and Birthday presents.

And it seemed every time I had the money to purchase a Transformer, the ones I wanted weren’t available.  For instance, I never saw the “Big Guys”… Optimus Prime, Megatron, Soundwave, Shockwave, Starscream, Wheel Jack, Bumblebee, or whoever.  It was always guys never seen on TV.

So I am on the lookout for Transformers that look like their G1 versions, or like they appeared on the G1 cartoon.  I already found a Grimlock that I like pretty good.

The desire for the type of Transformer I’m looking for brought me to purchase this at the Dollar General Market in Pacolet.

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Starscream came in this package, and cost $6.oo.  (I purchased toys from Dollar General Market before to review. ) 

Notice the top says “Level 1 Very Easy”

To be fair, as a kid I did have some Transformers on this scale and level.  Most of them were trucks and cars.  The kind you pull the trunk down to make the spoiler into feet, pull the doors out for arms, and flip the hood back to reveal the head.  Starscream here is a little bit more complicated that that, as we will see.

But have a look!  He looks exactly like his cartoon version!  And this is why I purchased!

Here is the back of the package.

IMG_6096

You can see that Starscream can be transformed in ten steps.

Also prominent are Starscreams stats…Oh how I miss the age of “rub decals” and that little piece of red film that you could overlay a graph and read the stats in a “high tech” way!

Taking him out of the box, he looks like this…

IMG_6099

He is armed and ready for battle!  The guns are removable…

IMG_6100

Tell me that these guns don’t look “G1”!

Starscreams hands are really just sort of “hooks” that you fit the pegs of the guns, which serve as the handle as well.

I transformed Starscream without incident.

IMG_6097

To me, the niftiest part of the transformation is that the fore-arms fold back over the top of the jet, forming the area behind the cockpit.

The jet really does look like the cartoon version.  I affixed the guns to the wings on the underside, which seems to look the most natural…kind of like they are missiles…or kind of like the ships in the game “Galaga.”  Speaking of the underside…Starscream only looks good if you view him from the top.  Viewing him underneath exposes his chest, hands and face.

The only thing I don’t like is that the head is still visible as a black stripe right at the nosecone.

So is it really a “Level 1 Very Easy”?  Well, I let the SpartanKid give it a try…he hasn’t been able to do it without assistance, and he is nine years old…

SpartanNerd’s rating of “Starscream” from Dollar General Market is 4/5.  I am taking the point off because a nine year old has made two attempts and been unable to change it.  And then their is the issue with the nosecone.  But this is a perfectly playable Transformer, and it touches a certain “nerve” in the SpartanNerd.

If I see a Thundercracker of the same model, I will definitely pick it up.

Note…I have seen some “clacicized” transformers.  Almost none of them have seemed to me to be worth their price tag.

I hope to do more Transformers in the future.  I just am a picky customer…

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review….Transformers Generations Grimlock- from The Fall of Cybertron

I have some history with Transformers.  I have certainly never been a hardcore collector.  CHEAPSKATE, REMEMBER!  But I had a couple as a kid, and even have the remnants of those few as an adult.

My children, on the other hand, have had quite a few Transformers.  And I have had the priceless privilege of helping transform them.  😦

Here is my strong opinion.  They just don’t make them like they used to.  It seems like nowadays they are all plastic, while in the 1980’s at least some of the main body parts were die-cast metal, or something similar to that.  Back then there were tight screws holding the joints together, but today, they make them so the joins can snap off and on easily.  In general they are ball joints, so this makes it even less less like the originals.  Then there is the Michael Bay influence.  Transformers nowadays take cues from the “Bayformers.”  And I ain’t necessarily a fan.

(For the record, I liked the first movie, and thought the second was tolerable.  But I hope I never see Transformers 3 again.  And do you think I am going to see the fourth movie?  NO WAY!)

Back to the subject at hand.  I went to the Wal-Mart this morning, and browsed the toys aisle.  It seems the girls are taking over.  There was only one aisle for the boys.  And three for the girls/babies.  So walking up the boys toys aisle, I thought I would maybe buy a new Chima lego set to review.  Or maybe finally get that lego Ninjago dragon I have been eyeing to review.  Instead, I saw Grimlock.  But I REALLY SAW GRIMLOCK.  He looked like the vintage toy I never had.  He looked like the G1 cartoon even.  He was marked $20, which I thought was reasonable.  (He was actually $23.95, but I wanted him more than I wanted to argue.)  There were a few others with him in similar boxes.  Most of them I thought were dumb or at least just not as cool as Grimlock.  Notably, there was a Sharkticon Megatron.  (Megatron is NOT A SHARKTACON.)

So I got him, and here’s my review.  In fact, it is my first ever Transformers review, so, let me know what you think.  How many Hub City Geeks out there are interested in honest reviews of Transformers?

Grimlock came in this box.  This is the image that caught my eye at the store.

Doesn’t he look just like Grimlock!  Unaware of what “Fall of Cybertron” meant, I thought it was just an updated version.  Instead, one of the SpartanSmurfs informed me that this is a video game version.  Who knew?  The word TransFormers has a little extra type…it says “Generations.”  Not sure what that means.  But I hope to see more toys like this.  You’ll see why!  But first, more packaging.

See that line graph.  OH YEAH!  Actually, they were better when I was a kid.  You had to look at the graph through a translucent red piece of plastic to decode the stats!

And more awesome packaging.  The sides and bottom of this box are also pretty neat.

So.  Now that I waited all day to open this up, throw away the box, and play with it some, here is a review of the ACTUAL TOY.

Grimlock is pretty durable.  I mean, he’s not G1 Transformer durable.  But still, he’s not falling apart like some of those Bayformers.  His knee joins were so tight I was afraid I was going to break him somehow.  Of course he’s articulated.  Maybe even “Super Articulated,” to use the retiring Poe Ghostal’s words.  He has feet that rock up and down (but not side to side.  Knees that bend.  Thigh-cut joints, swivel arms.  Hinged elbows.  And his head turns from side to side.  All this articulation doesn’t count the other stuff you can move.  You can move the backpack some, for instance, and the claws on his “cuff-links”

Also, notice those awesome weapons!  Grimlock came with a sword that might remind you of a cross between a lightsaber and a skill saw.  And that shield seems to be a copy of what one of the baddies on Quake 4 use.  Worth noting, there are additional holds in his arms and shoulders, where you can peg the accessories to and stylize him as you like…I’m willing to bet you could arm him up pretty heavily with similar modeled Transformers.

He has a light effect too.  One is generated from the button on the back of his T-Rex mode…(More on that later,)  But this transformer has the translucent plastic on the back of his head that allows light to shine through his eyes.  You know.  Similar to MetalHead from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line.

OK.  Here’s a back view.

Not much to see here.  He has a backpack, which is actually the inverted T-Rex torso and head.

Grimlock’s instructions say that he is a Level 2 “Intermediate” Transformer.  So, being an adult, I shouldn’t have had much trouble this time….

I really didn’t.  It took me about 5 minutes.  I only referenced the instructions for accuracy….

Speaking of instructions I remember saving these as a kid and just staring at them for weeks.  I would read all of the text.  I would be really sad when I had to throw them away also.  The instructions here don’t seem to have the same “soul” as the G1 Transformers.  But maybe it’s just me.

To transform him, basically, you have to flip his backpack over his head.  His chest becomes his back.  His arms become the T-Rex legs,H  And his legs and feet become the T-Rex tail

As a T-Rex, he isn’t THAT impressive.  I don’t dislike him.  But he seems a little….little.  If you know what I mean.  To me part of this reason is because he doesn’t have much of a chest/belly.  In fact, he has none at all!  Just hollow nothing that you can unfortunately see.

(The instructions show that you are supposed to put the weapons on it’s hips.  I din’t just make that up. See…Accuracy, people.)

I also find his tail to be most unsightly.  You can clearly see Grimlock’s mech feet on the tail  Which is dumb.  They should have been able to disguise them better.

Luckily, his charm isn’t all in the form.  Nosiree.  This guy has a surprise trick!

That’s right.  You saw it here first, Hub City Geeks.

This Grimlock can Actually Breathe Actual Fire!  (Not actual, actual, literal fire.)

Don’t Doubt me, underlings!  “Me Grimlock Angry!”

If you are a true nerd, and you must be if you enjoy reading this blog, then you probably remember that Grimlock and the other DinoBots could breathe fire, giving children everywhere the misconception that actual real ancient dinosaurs could breathe fire, and also blurring the line between the fictional dragon and the factual dinosaur.

How this works…There is a button, really more of a pressure switch, on the back of the dinosaurs neck.  You press this, and his whole head lights up, as well as he opens his mouth in a menacing way.

(You can activate this in robot mode, but it lights up his chest and body rather unsuccessfully.)

So now for a comparison time…What?  Oh yeah.  This is my first ever Grimlock….I’ll have to compare to something else.

Grimlock’s underwhelming T-Rex mode might actually only be in my mind.  After all, I own the most awesome robotic T-Rex ever made…Gojulas Zoid!  (Actually, not the same one from when I was a kid, which was actually titled Terrox, and was blue and gray.)  Any Transformer up to maybe PowerMaster Optimus Prime, Revenge of the Fallen Devastator, or maybe MetroPlex looks kind of wimpy when compared to the Zoid.

How about comparing him to a similar modern Transformer.

Grimlock is a little bulkier than this Bayformer SpartanSmurf #1 lent me.  I appreciate that difference..I like my Transformers to have a little weight.  You can see that the SideSwipe figure here has skinny feet, and other dubious features.  None of that for Grimlock!

What about those weapons? Well, at first I thought “This sword will look good in Megator’s hands.”  Nope.  It looks dumb.

Then I thought, why not try He-Man.  Master of all swords.

Now we’re talking!  This could easily be some variant He-Man.  Maybe some New Adventures space theme.  I’m sure that’s what Hasbro was thinking when they made this sword. ( Because Mattel makes the MOTUC! )

My overall rating of Grimlock.

Well, he IS the first Transformer I have reviewed.  I think I’ll go easy on him, and judge each mode separately.

As an Autobot, he is just awesome!  4/5.  Losing a point mostly because the backpack is obviously a T-Rex torso stuffed into his back.  And the battery doesn’t light his eyes.

As a T-Rex, He gets a 3/5.  Because he feels kind of scant.  More like a Raptor.  With a really fat tail.

His accessories are great! 5/5  I think I will start to cross accessories for these reviews.  An accessory should be able to be used in other hands, especially in a similar scale.  (I consider Grimlock to be in scale with MOTUC figures, though technically he probably has a much different ratio number because in “real life” the Transformers are bigger than a house!

So Overall, My rating of Grimlock is 4/5.  Do you agree?  Or disagree?  Let me know!

Technology Review…………Dell XPS 12 Ultrabook

CRASH!!!!!

Now that the prelude is over, let’s get down and dirty with the details.

HANG UP!!!!!

I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY…………………………………….CTRL….ALT…….DELETE

Can I get a word in here, seriously?

OK.  Joking aside.  Here is my real review.  Yes, it has crashed a few times.  Yes I lost a document or two already.  But that isn’t really a tech review, is it?

I am a man spoiled rotten by Apple and their near flawless products…So I WILL take it hard on this machine.

To begin with, look at that name.  Dell XPS 12 Ultrabook—-They should add a few more words, how about “Tablet Laptop Computer.”  That would do nicely.  And that would almost fully explain the machine.  It’s a Dell, so guess what?  Windows.  Not just any Windows, but shiny new Windows 8!  (Should I use the word Surface, or Pro, or Metro, or Windows Phone Mobile?  I lose track after awhile.)

I am going to start with the machine, then move to a review of the operating system.  You might say, “But SpartanNerd, that ain’t fair!”  Keep yer “buts” down.  This is how I would review a Mac, no?  LEVEL PLAYING FIELD, Hub City Geeks.

To review the machine, just look at these pictures.

Yep.  This machine is a transformer.  It transforms from a laptop into a tablet.

In laptop mode, you can tell that it is clearly inspired by Appl….I mean Intel!  It is an ultrabook, meaning that it is inspired by the MacBook Air, literally, but by saying that it is inspired by Intel, they are skirting the truth that must be mighty uggly to them.  And that has two “g”s.  It has a backlit keyboard, which is cool, but the letters themselves don’t light up.  This takes away from the “jewelry store” effect you get from first turning on a new mac, but it works essentially the same in every other way.  The keys are also “chiclet”style.  As you can see my standard issue model from work that I am reviewing here has a black and grey color scheme.  There is some shinier places on it around the edges, etc.

The trackpad is frustrating.  I am really spoiled with the Macbook Pro’s trackpad.  The one on the XPS 12 isn’t as responsive, seems to want me to actually click it, and doesn’t mimic touchscreen gestures.  In other words, it is a different language than the tablet part of the machine.  Someone might say, “Big deal.  You know it is in laptop mode.”  Well, as you get to using this thing, you start to see that this IS a big deal.  You have to teach yourself two different ways of communicating with the same machine.

One more, sort of minor thing.  Backspace and delete are DIFFERENT BUTTONS.  Has it been like this, and I just forgot?  And the little things count, so here’s another one.  I like to be able to open my screen and the keyboard stay put, because the heavier part doesn’t move.  Any MacBook Pro user knows what I am talking about.  But this don’t happen with almost any other computer, including the XPS 12.

Other things, you turn the machine on via a little switch on the left side.  It has a glowing light, also akin to a Mac.  The USB ports are on the right side of the machine, for when you get frustrated with that trackpad and decide to switch to a mouse.  The USB jacks on mine are very tight.  I have to pull really hard to remove my USB chord from the socket!  There are also battery lights on the right side that activate at the push of a button.  Sound familiar?

So, while you are in laptop mode, you also have the touchscreen that works.  I might sound like someone who writes for Macworld when I say this, but it IS awkward to reach up and touch the screen while you are laptop mode. It just seems wrong.  After awhile, your hand does get tired.  Also, me and every other technology geek out there have trained ourselves…”Don’t touch the screen!”   Now that we can, we feel like, “Why?  I have a mouse attached!”

So, is it a workhorse?  Hardly.  Read the first couple of sentences.  I don’t know how much RAM it has, or anything, but I guarantee it isn’t enough.  MICROSOFT WORD HANGS UP!  Keep in mind nothing else is running besides Outlook.  I hate to think I was playing an intense game on this machine ….shudder…..

I told the SpartanMrs. I would try and be nice, so here goes….It is light.  It is kind of cool looking in laptop mode.  I already like it better than my Desktop Windows machine.  How’s that?  I can sit in my comfy office chair and check my e-mail.  And not walk 10 feet to the uncomfy plastic chair.

Now, let’s transform it.  The transformation is spiffy!  But I have to wonder how long this mechanism will last.  My boss assured me that it was tested hundreds or thousands of times by a sweatshop worker robot.  We’ll see.  I have my doubts, mostly because the springs that make it click in place are made of plastic.  You flip the screen around, and collapse it over the keyboard.  Now you have a tablet computer.

This tablet is supposed to use the ol’ “metro” screen.  But it can switch to regular Windows.  See above for how well this works out.  The tablet stuff feels right here, but the desktop applications don’t so much.

This screen is NOT “oleo-phobic.”  It will pick up your fingerprints, streaks of oil and grime and dirt.  And because it is sort of big……much bigger than an iPad Mini (my preferred tablet,) you can’t easily wipe it on your pants legs.  So keep a hanky handy!  And did I mention elbow grease?

You press the “Windows” button at the bottom, to get a Home Screen effect like you would on an iPod or iPhone.  Other than that, I don’t know what to say, except that sometimes it gets stuck in an orientation that you don’t want, and it doesn’t readily switch the way you want it like an iPad would.  You have to exaggerate motions in the directions to get the re-orientation to trigger.

So what about this Windows 8 Operating System?  I would like to say a few nice things first.  I am glad it isn’t an IOS clone, like Android is apparently.  “Stolen product,” anyone?  The Windows Home Screen (formerly known as Metro, to techies out there) is kind of pretty.  I like how the “live tiles” update stuff.  This is arguably better than what an iPhone or iPad can do.  And the tiles don’t work like IOS icons.  BUT, they aren’t as easy to learn….not as intuitive.

I said a few nice things, but, it has the “I am going to make you work for it” philosophy that Windows has always had.  It isn’t an intuitive system.  I am afraid Apple took the easy ideas already, and patented them.  Not that I believe MicroSoft would have chosen the easiest stuff if they were first to the party.  Remember, they were the first people to market “tablet computers,” and were never able to bust the market open the way Apple did with their trained and groomed crowd of iPhone users.

Here is an example.  I was working in Microsoft Word.  I decided to switch and browse for some clip art with Internet Explorer.  I used the tablet version of the browser.  Then, I was like….”how do I get back to the desktop?  Well, the way this works, is you swipe from the top of the screen to the bottom to close a program.  I did that, which brought me to the Windows Home screen.  But I wanted to see the desktop….and I started to get frustrated, then I remembered.  Swipe from left to right to browse screens.

See what I mean?  If someone hadn’t told me how to do that, I wouldn’t have got it.

How about this, How do you make it sleep?  You flick the right side to make a menu appear, choose, “settings,” then hit the power button graphic, and choose sleep from the menu.  Isn’t that too much work FOR A BASIC FUNCTION?  I could transform it and close it clamshell style.  But that is too much work, too.

So what is my rating for this machine?

I give it a 5/10.  It is better than my old desktop (3/10.)  It isn’t a 9/10 like my MacBook Pro  (I mark down the MB Pro because the rubber pads on bottom come off too easily.)  What computer is a 10/10?  My desktop iMac.  (2006 model)  Maybe I’m going too easy on that one, the SpartanMrs. and I spent a long night replacing the hard drive in that one.

Maybe after awhile this tablet computer will become like “an old friend,”  But I have yet to really bond with it.

“Silly Rabbi,” said George, “Tricks are for Kids!”             (Nerdy quote from Captain Underpants #5)

I like putting these Nerdy quotes.  Comment people!

Spider-Man…The Birth of the SpartanNerd

What is my origin story?

Here goes!  My nerd life officially began with the purchase of a Value Pack of marvel comics at
Wal-Mart, in about….1990ish.  (Also….Wal-Mart was sort of new in Spartanburg at this time, on trivia buffs and historians!)

If you have been reading my blog, and some people have been apparently, (I am very grateful!), then in my post about “How I see comics…” I mention some of my history with the medium.  So here is a more detailed story, and how Spider-Man #6 and #7 were the official birth of the SpartanNerd!

1.  My first comics were without a doubt, the Mini-Comics that came with Masters of the Universe figures.  I was three or four years old at this point.

2.  I stumbled across the Sunday Funnies page at some point around six or seven years old.  It became a sort of ritual to read them every Sunday.  I remember reading “The Phantom,” as my first “serious” taste of comics, but to this day I can’t remember a single story.  All I remember was his swag.

3.  At about eight or nine years old, I got some collected editions of Masters of the Universe comics, and Transformers comics.  Oh if I still had these today!  But I remember them!  The He-Man stuff featured some nasty vine creatures.  To this day I have not seen this story archived or discussed on the internet.  The Transformers book had what was apparently the Marvel origins story of the Transformers…This was also my first Spider-Man book….It featured Spidey in the black costume, Pre-Venom!  So this was that brief stint of time between Secret Wars and Venom.  (I know this now….Back then I had no clue!)  Spidey mentions that the costume is a “cinch,” and that all he has to do is think about becoming Spider-Man in order to change.  I’m sure this was purposely reviewed so that non-comics regulars like me at the time might understand why he was in a black costume, and some of the powers it had.

4.  Knowing that I was trying to get into reading comics, my uncle got me some for Christmas at around the age of 8 or 9 as well.  I read them a few times, then my mom caught me.  They were “WWIII.”  Highly gory and lots of foul language.  She put those things in the garbage!  Sorry, Uncle!
This was my first awareness that not only kids were out there reading comics.

5.  So at around 12 years old I got this value pack of Spider-Man books.  This was a collection of five random books.  I’m pretty sure one of them was Wolverine, one of them was ghost rider, and then there were the real gems….Spider-Man #6 and #7.  There was also an re-print of a vintage crossover book that featured both Spider-Man and Ghost-Rider.  (You see, there was some rhyme and reason to this little packet!)

6.  I became a full blown comics addict, buying these value packs every time I could go to Wal-Mart, or off newstands when I could find them, eventually amassing a few hundred books. Eventually my interest waned a little and I sold them off to the Tangled Web for gas money, (which was a new store at the time.)

7.  Spurts of interest in comics would come and go.  I got all into “The Death of Superman,” and “Reign of the Supermen.”  I was allergic to the Spider-Man clone saga.  But I read it anyway, at least some of it.

8.  And now I am an old SpartanNerd who subscribes to lots of comics.  But I weigh every single comic I read against my two favorite comics, Spider-Man #6 and Spider-Man #7, either conciously or subconsciously.  To me, these are the pinnacle of the medium!

My next entry will be a review of why these two are so special to me!

“Gobbling like a Hobgoblin!”