Category Archives: doll collecting

Stupid Sunday

When you spend most of your time writing and thinking with the Sword of Damocles hanging over your head and the hourglass of your life looking more and more like the sands of time are running out, you are tempted to take the curves too fast and make extremely stupid mistakes that make your brain crash into a brick wall of stupidity.  You are stuck in a stupor of stupidity that must somehow un-stupid you with downtime and do-nothing brainless activity.  I won’t try to explain what I did wrong, because, after all, I am still stupid at the moment and don’t really know what I did wrong.

A Hermione Harry-Potter doll which is my birthday present. 

I bought myself a doll yesterday.  I spent some of my birthday money on it.  My octogenarian mother sends me birthday money every year to remind me how many years beyond sixty I have aged, especially now that, after more than twenty years spent not celebrating birthdays as a nominal Jehovah’s Witness, I am now no longer associated with prohibitions from God due to the arbitrary rules of religion.  It was a stupid act based on the fact that I have been avoiding wasting money on my doll-collecting hoarding disorder for a matter of months.  It could be like an alcoholic taking a drink after months of being sober.  But the doll is pretty in a magical sort of way and provides me with someone else to talk to when I am brooding about being stupid. 

It may seem like, since I am writing this while still stupid, that I am saying that being stupid is, by definition, a bad thing.  If I am saying that, it is only because I am currently stupid.

If you look at the smiles on the faces of the gentleman with the brown cap and Scraggles the mouser, you can easily see that being happy is a simple thing.  And it is the province of simple people, not complicated and extremely smart people.  I can testify from hard experience that being too smart is a barrier to being simply happy.  So, I benefit emotionally from being stupid this Sunday.

As to being stupid today and what caused it, well, it may have something to do with the fact that I am currently editing The Baby Werewolf, the most complex and potentially controversial novel I have ever written.  Horror stories often mine and expose the author’s own traumas and fundamental fears.  And I am trying to publish it as the fourth novel I have published in 2018.  Is that biting off more than I can chew with my old teeth?  I don’t know the answer.  I am currently pretty stupid.

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“Mickey, What’s Wrong With You?”

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Yes, I am trying to answer that old question that old girlfriends used to ask me back when they were young and I was young and too stupid to answer honestly. You know, the question always asked right before they tell you, “Why don’t we just be friends and leave it at that.”

After having spent my Christmas money from Mom on an 18-inch giant gorilla action figure of Kong on Skull Island to terrorize all the dolls on the Barbie Shelf after midnight when all the dolls secretly come to life, I feel more prepared than ever before to answer that particular question.

I am not in my second childhood. I am still in my first one. Yes, I reached the ripe old age of 12 and then Peter Pan Syndrome set in bigtime. On the inside, I will always be 12 years old. I still, at 61, play games and play with toys. I never really grew up.

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I am not a Brony, but I am still buying My Little Pony dolls, and can name all six of the main characters. From left to right, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight Sparkle. And yes, I have watched the cartoon show and like it, but am still not a Brony, okay? There are a lot of things wrong with me, but I am not that bad! My kids, however, are embarrassed to be seen with me when I am shopping for toys at Walmart, Toys-R-Us, or Goodwill.

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I still play with the HO scale model trains that I have owned and collected since the first year I was actually twelve. I would love to get them running again. The Snowflake Special and the Toonerville Trolley seen in the picture both still ran the last time I tested them four years ago. I still love to paint buildings and HO scale people to live in my little train town. I am still working on a set of townspeople that I bought back in 1994. German villagers circa 1880.

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I have always been fascinated by imaginary places and the people who live in them. Especially imaginary places in the fiction of the past. Places like the castle of Minas Tirith in the realm of Gondor in Middle Earth, and like Pellucidar that David Innes and Abner Perry discovered at the Earth’s Core in their boring machine called “the Prospector”as part of the Pellucidar series created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan novels. So, another thing wrong with me is that I live mostly in the past and entirely in the worlds of my imagination. I have very little to do with the so-called “real world”.

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So, to sum up, the things wrong with Mickey are; A. He’s a goofy old child. B. He still plays with toys. C. He likes girly stuff. D. He confuses fantasy with reality. No wonder the girls used to run away screaming. And I haven’t even added the part about Mickey thinking he is a nudist now and walking around the house naked when no one else is home and forced to see the full horror of it.

But maybe you should think on it for a moment more. What if the things that are wrong with Mickey are actually good things? What if he’s found the secret to long life and happiness in spite of a world full of troubles and illnesses and blechy stuff? It could be true…

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More Fairy Nonsense

Yes, in writing a story about fairies set in Fairyland, I am starting to see fairies everywhere. And I am sorta doing that to myself. Here is yesterday’s art project.

Pen and ink and paper, pasted on cardboard, with colored pencils.

Using Stacy and Ricky, dolls, scissors, glue, all things I already have plenty of.

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They meet and share some Pixie Dust.

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Novel Nudists

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I have known nudists for a long time, since the 1980’s in fact.  I have recently dabbled my toes in the cold waters of being a nudist myself.  I did work on pool cracks this past summer while naked.  I made one visit to a nudist park and actually got naked in front of strangers who were also naked.  It is a certain kind of crazy connection to nature, my self, and the bare selves of others to be a nudist, even if it is for only a few hours.  I used to think nudists were crazy people.  But I have begun to understand in ways that are hard to understand.  And being a novelist, that was bound to creep into the piles of supposedly wise understanding that goes into the creation of novels.  I say “supposedly wise” because wisdom is simply the lipstick on the pig of ridiculous human experiences.

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The Cobble family appeared first in my novel, Superchicken.  It is a semi-autobiographical novel that uses some of my real life experiences and the real life experiences of boys I either grew up with or taught, mixed in with bizarre fantasy adventures that came from my perceptions of life as an adult.  So the Cobble family really represent my encounters with nudism and the semi-sane people known as nudists.  Particularly important to the story are the Cobble Sisters, twins Sherry and Shelly, who fully embrace the idea of being nudists and try to get other characters to not only approve of the behavior, but share in it.  Sherry is the more forward of the two, more willing to be seen naked by the boys in her school and in her little Iowa farm town.  Shelly is the quieter of the two, a bit more shy and a lot more focused on the love of one particular boy.

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In fact, the Cobble Sisters are based on real life twin blond girls from my recollections of the past.  The Cobble farm is out along the Iowa River and just north of Highway Three in Iowa.  It is a real place where real twin girls lived when I was a boy.  They were blond and pretty and outgoing.  But they were not actually nudists.  There was another pair of twin blond girls from my first two years of teaching who actually provided the somewhat aggressively sensual personalities of the Cobble Sisters.  The real nudists I knew were mostly in Texas.

The sisters appear in more than one of the novels I have written or am in the process of writing.  They appear for the second time in the novel Recipes for Gingerbread Children which I finished writing in 2016.  They are also a part of the novel I am working on now, The Baby Werewolf.   That last is probably the main reason they are on my mind this morning.  Writing a humorous horror story about werewolves, nudists, pornographers, and real wolves is a lot more complex and difficult than it sounds.  But it is hopefully doable.  And my nudist characters are all basically representative of the idea that all honest and straight-forward people are metaphorically naked all the time.  That’s the thing about those nudist twins.  They don’t hide anything.  Not their most private bits, and certainly not what they are thinking at any given time.

So as I continue to struggle with revealing myself as a writer… and possibly as a nudist as well, I will count on the Cobble Sisters to make certain important points about life and love and laughter… and how you can have all three while walking around naked.

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Both novels discussed in this old post are now available from Amazon in self-published, finished form.

Here is the link for this book;

https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Werewolf-Michael-Beyer/dp/1791895379/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1545236655&sr=8-2&keywords=michael+beyer+books+the+baby+werewolf

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And its companion book and an intertwined story is easily found here;

https://www.amazon.com/Recipes-Gingerbread-Children-Michael-Beyer-ebook/dp/B07KQTMN7R/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1547520896&sr=8-1&keywords=michael+beyer+books+recipes+for+gingerbread+children

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Rise of the Bargain Bin Goon – Part 2

The vile Greek God of computer malfunctions, Sparkensputter Failtolodicuss, put his curse on this post yesterday as I almost had it completed.  He waved his dead skunk, the symbol of his unique power, and made WordPress delete my work and instantly save the changes.  I did some cussing and vowed to try and reassemble the post today.  It was intended to be a continuation of Action Figure Cartoons, starring Captain Action.  We shall see if Sparkensputter manages to thwart me again today.  He is hell at thwarting.

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So here is a brief and goofy explanation of what has happened so far.  Captain Carl Action and the Action Guy Action Team defeated the evil Dr. Evil as he tried to take over Mickey’s library.  You can find that whole mess in Mickey’s vault by clicking here.

Captain Carl Action not only defeated the evil Dr. Evil, he removed and stole Dr. Evil’s evil removable brain.  So Emperor Ming of Mongo, an evil incarnation of the evil Dr. Evil, came up with a plan to retrieve the brain by un-boxing one of Mickey’s mint-in-box bargain bin dolls… er, action figures.  You can review that whole mess here.

So, that brings us to today’s episode in the seemingly endless story of the sequel of a seemingly endless story.

Captain Carl Action has taken the evil brain of the evil Dr. Evil to the Action Guy Action Team Headquarters in the Fortress of Ineptitude, located on top of a useless computer in Mickey’s studio.

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As seen in this dramatic scene, you can probably tell that the Action Guy Action Team Headquarters is run by the Captain Action Council, made up of Captain Action in his Flash Gordon costume, the mint-in-box Captain Victor Action, and the vintage Captain Action in his Steve Canyon costume.  You can also probably tell by Steve Canyon’s goofy brain-eating bug comment that none of them are any brighter than Captain Carl Action.  They have all decided to rely on the dolls of Mickey’s big-headed dolls collection.  That decision also reeks of lack of brightness.

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Captain Carl Action has once again delegated primary responsibility for the situation to a group of dolls who are very good at guarding Crackerjacks.  It was fortunate that DC Comics recently released a new set of DC Super Hero Girls to attract Mickey’s collecting OCD.  It meant that big-headed Supergirl was available now to be an actual super-powered guardian.  Still, she had to find a strategy that would succeed.  So she turned to her crackerjack team for advice.

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Now, I hate to second-guess Supergirl, but why is she asking an evil bunny for advice?  And how did an evil bunny even get on to a gig like being part of the big-headed dolls’ crackerjack team?

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Shelf of Severed Heads?!!!?  That doesn’t sound right.

 

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Oh, my!  This is really not looking good for our heroes.  Stay tuned until next time… whenever the heck that is… same batty time, same batty channel.  And phooey on you,  Sparkensputter Failtolodicuss!

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Rise of the Bargain Bin Goon

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One of the biggest problems with being an action figure aficionado with raging hoarding disorder is the fact that every new dolly has it’s own personality… and sometimes its own evil agenda.  Once you own too many of these things, especially the evil ones, it is no longer possible to properly pay attention to what they are up to.

The last installment of Action Figure Comics had the hero, Captain Action (specifically Captain Carl Action) thwarting the evil Doctor Evil by taking away his evil removable brain.  (I know I use the word evil far too often in describing the evil Doctor Evil, but he is also repetitively redundant.)  I had thought this Achilles’ heel of Dr. Evil’s… er, rather, this Achilles’ brain of the evil Doctor Evil was just too convenient a solution to the problem presented by this irrepressible evil bad guy.  But as a rule I find ignorance is bliss.     I know now that I was wrong.  That was a terrible rule to follow.  As a former teacher you are supposed to know that ignorance is not bliss… it is evil.  After 31 years of fighting the War Against Ignorance in my classroom, you would think I would remember this.  I should’ve been watching Emperor Ming of Mongo more closely… or should that be closlier?  Battle scars from the War have left me unsure.

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One has to recall that Evil Emperor Ming is really just another incarnation of the evil Doctor Evil under his mask… although not one with a removable brain.  Notice that his minion, the evil Doctor Mindbender is no less evil when it comes to redundant use of the word “evil”… and he even commits the further sin of repetitively saying “no-good goody-goody”.  “Ach!  Ja!  Evil use of bad grammar makes my battle scars hurt more!” cries the former teacher driven to write this hopeless drivel.

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What’s this?  He means to destroy the new bargain bin wrestler doll… I mean, action figure that I just bought?  I had meant to keep that as a mint in box collector’s item until the lucha wrestling fans of Sin Cara are as old as I am now.  Then I will find one of them with hoarding disorder and sell it for possibly eight dollars.  I will have made a whole dollar by the time I’m 109!

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Yes, I should’ve been watching that dang evil Emperor Ming more closely!  Now he has ruined my mint-in-box action figure by taking it out of the box.  What bad thing will he do next?  Stay tuned to this goofy old blog.  You never know, I may actually continue this story if I can keep better track of what these goofy little dolls are doing.

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Return of the Star Wars Figures

On a previous Saturday I admitted to the crime of using 12-inch action figures to play the Star Wars role-playing game.  The Dungeons and Dragons RPG world was horrified.  You are supposed to use scale-appropriate metal miniatures.  How can you simulate combat without small figures on a grid?  I have to confess.  It was via x’s and dots on graph paper.  But we didn’t use the action figures to represent ranges and lines of site in combat.  And one of my players was my niece, an actual girl.  So, I guess, to be honest, we were actually playing with dolls.

But it helps to have a lot of dolls.

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Emperor Palpatine, Snow Trooper, Obi-Wan, Jar Jar, Quigon, Droid Soldier, and home-made Mace Windu

We started play after the first two movies in the Prequel Trilogy.

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Wicket, Imperial Walker, Astroboy (What’s he doing there?) Darth Vader, Little Anakin, and Boba Fett.

We got creative with stories.

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Jango Fett, General Grievous, and Admiral Akbar

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Anakin Skywalker

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Robot from Lost in Space, R2D2, Slave Girl Leia, and a Green Orion Slave Girl Dancer from Star Trek

So there is evidence available to my offspring to help them have me committed to an institution.  The truth is, these are not even all of my Star Wars Dolls.  So this morning’s confession session is now at an end, though all of the horrible truth is not yet revealed.

 

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MessMaster 2018

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Yes, my life is more or less a big ol’ mess.  I am bankrupt.  I am ill constantly.  I am an Uber driver who made $31 in the rain today.  I am a retired middle school teacher and ESL teacher.  So my messy mental conflagrations are certainly understandable.

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I had made a vow back in November I was going to clean the house and put everything in order, especially my room which I use as a studio for writing and drawing.  I even had the dolls, er, action figures all positioned in poses that were dynamic and artsy.  Then G.I. Joe decided he had to insert his nose between firefighter Barbie’s breasts, knocking her fire hat to who-knows-where.  Nothing stays where I put it.  Pictures keep falling off the wall because it is cold enough to harden the plaster-tack that I put them up with.

20180107_081716And, of course, I have hoarding disorder so bad that I can’t resist starting new collections of dolls when toy-makers are putting out the new stuff at Christmas, even though the Princess has thoroughly outgrown dolls.  And I am not alone in having hoarding disorder.  While we were cleaning bedrooms, my daughter found a fluffy rug that would be perfect for the bathroom.  But no.  My wife is saving it.  It has to stay folded and put away where it won’t get dirty.  We have closets stuffed full of clothing and other stuff that is rarely or never used.  And I do not dare throw any of it out or move it to anyplace else.  I can move my stuff, not hers.

But I did complete a collection.  I managed to get enough of the new Justice League figures to make a pretty decent Justice League collection.  20180107_183635

Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg have joined multiple older Batmen, Supermen, and Wonder Women to round out the League.  Of course, I have at least one Green Lantern too.  Though GL wasn’t in the recent movie.

20180107_081914‘There are dolls everywhere in my room, so any attempt to clean starts with picking them up off the floor and putting them somewhere safer.  These four are now living behind the TV.   I just wish they would stay put for a while and quit leaping off shelves when they come alive after midnight every night.

I fully intend to keep on cleaning and Uber driving and writing.  And I will probably continue in my spare time to play with dolls and rearrange stuff.  You have to understand, I am old.  And more than a little goofy.

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This is What Happens When You Leave a Crazy Old Retired Guy Alone With a Doll Collection and a Camera

Yes, I know this is supposed to be a Saturday Art Day Post, but you can make art in many different ways. That can include pictures made with a camera while I play with dolls… er… action figures and try horrifically to be funny. There is an art to that, right? Maybe?

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Thinking Differently

Buckminster Fuller is an intellectual hero of mine.  As he said in the video, if you bothered to watch it, “I was told I had to get a job and make money, but would you rather be making money, or making sense?”  Bucky was always a little bit to the left of center, and basically in the farthest corner of the outfield.  That’s why we depend so much on him in times like these when the ball is being hit to the warning track.  (I know the world doesn’t really work on baseball metaphors any more, but my life has always been about metaphors from 1964 with the St. Louis Cardinals playing and beating the New York Yankees.  Mantle was on their side, but Maris was playing for us.)  You have to live in the world that fits into your own mental map of reality.  And if you’ve been whacked on the side of the head one too many times… it changes the way you think.  You begin to think differently.  

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If you don’t know who Bucky is, as you probably don’t because he revolutionized the world in the 60’s and died in the 1980’s,  Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor.  He is credited with the invention of the Geodesic Dome.  But he was so much more than that.  He wanted to build things that made better sense, in a practical sort of way, than the way we actually do them.  He built geodesic homes because he felt a home should maximize space and use of materials and minimize costs and amounts of materials as well as environmental impacts.  He is the one who popularized the notion of “Spaceship Earth”.  He wrote and published more than thirty books, and gave us a variety of truly wise insights.  He promoted the concept of synergy.  He said, “Don’t fight forces, use them.”  He also pointed out, “Ninety per cent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.”  He was a man full of quotes useful for internet memes.

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So, lets consider an example from the mixed up mind of Mickey;

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Here are three dolls from the Planet of the Apes part of my doll collection. (Two different movies are represented here, the 1968 original, and the Tim Burton 2001 remake.)

The world we now live in is increasingly like the movie, The Planet of the Apes.  In that film the world the astronauts set down upon is ruled by talking apes.  The human beings in that film are relegated to the fields and forests where they are no more than speechless animals.  Much like the Republican Party and the wealthy ruling elite of this day and age, the apes control everything and, led by Dr. Zaius (seen on the far right) reject science and evidence as a way to explain things.  They rely on the rules set down by the Lawgiver in much the same way that modern day Republicans swear by the U.S. Constitution to determine the truth of all things.

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Here we see the apes capturing and enslaving Marky Mark… er… Mark Wahlberg rather than Chuck Heston from the original movie.

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In the original set of movies, Charleton Heston, playing the astronaut Taylor, discovers that through hatred and warring, the human beings of Earth have bombed themselves back into the stone age and enabled the evolved apes to take over.  How does Mr. Heston deal with that problem?  He discovers an old doomsday device and blows up the world.  Chuck Heston has always approved Second Amendment solutions to modern problems, so it is no wonder that he lays waste to everything, the good and the bad.  I think we can see that old orangutan-man, Donald Trump doing exactly the same things now as he runs for President, or Great Ape, or whatever…

In both the previous series, and the current remake, salvation from the rule of the monkey people comes in the form of a leader among the apes.  Caesar, whether he be played by Roddy MacDowell or by Andy Serkis, is able to solve the problems of apes and men by reaching out to those of the other species, assigning them value, and ultimately doing what helps everyone to survive and live together.  Diversity is power and provides a workable solution through cooperation.  The forces of hatred and fear are the things that must be overcome and threaten the existence of everyone.  Donald Trump needs to learn from the lesson of The Planet of the Apes, and be less like General Ursus.   We need Bernie Sanders to embrace the role of Caesar and show us how we can get along with our Muslim brothers… after all, they are more like us than the apes are, and Caesar builds bridges between apes and men.

So, there you have it, my attempt to build a new model based on an old movie… or on the remake… whichever you prefer.  And if that doesn’t work, well, there’s always…

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