The Purple Stuff Podcast Episode 3: Word Association

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When I say empanadas what do you think of? Probably NOT Halloween, right? What about 69? Get your mind out of the gutter! There’s 69 days ’til Halloween, so fire up your pumpkin candle, pour a delicious beverage, and activate your favorite podcast player because in the latest episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast, Matt and I play a little game of Halloween Word Association. Check it out on Stitcher, iTunes, and Podbean! Thanks for reading…and listening!

The Purple Stuff Podcast!

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It took forever, but it finally happened. I have officially made my return into the realm of podcasting with my friend, the pop culture prodigy, Matt from Dinosaur Dracula! In the week leading up to the actual recording of this show, we ran into a comical series of road blocks and it felt as if this show was never going to get off the ground. Trust me, you’ll never want to hear our previous failed recording attempts, in fact, you should thank us for not posting them. In the end, nothing could keep the Halloween hex from bubbling up and inspiring us to create this show.  In this first episode, we focus on the holiday that’s most near and dear to our hearts, Halloween, and other horror related topics as we usher in the best time of the year. Here’s a quick synopsis of what you’ll hear:

  • We dream up our own horror related food products and tie-ins
  • Shitty CVS Fall candles
  • Find out what crowdfunded Horror films we contributed to

Listen and let us know if you dig it and we’ll be back for more. Thanks for checking it out!

#toiletnerds

The Endless Slimer Saga

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It was quite a long drive for a Class 5, but it’s cool, road trips are my thing. Unfortunately, the passengers in my car on a recent lengthy adventure didn’t include that goofy bastard, DJ Qualls and Seann William Scott, it was even better. Once again I managed to coerce one Dinosaur Dracula into co-piloting a long drive down the stormy New Jersey highways with me. It was difficult to justify a hundred mile trip, but I made a convincing argument, or so I thought: “I want to get this Slimer toy I saw.” Pretty persuasive, right? I’m underselling for comedic purposes, there was actually a lot more intrigue involved. In fact, even Phillip Spade wouldn’t have been able to figure this one out.

After the flea market, we shot down the Turnpike. A quick stop at WaWa and we were off, discussing some of Matt’s latest flea market acquisitions during the ride. The rain scared away many of the vendors, but a few of them toughed it out specifically for us to pick up some old crap. From there, I was on a mission. I needed to catch a ghost. Continue reading The Endless Slimer Saga

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 120: My Little Jersey Devil

MLJD002JWRIGHTBRAIN’s My Little Jersey Devil T-shirt available at Teepublic

Allow me to drop the knowledge needle on you: The uncle of the creator of My Little Pony is the iconic horror host, John Zacherle! What a regal family to be a part of! I’m sure some of you just spontaneously combusted.

With all the toys I’ve owned throughout my life, I can tell you with the utmost honesty that I’ve never owned a My Little Pony doll. This has nothing to do with them being in the girls aisle of Toys R Us when I was a kid either, because nothing would stop me from crossing over to check out the She-Ra selection, the JEM dolls, and Barbie and the Rockers line. Often, the girls toys and dolls were cooler than the “boy stuff” as I called it back then, and deep down, they occasionally were the cause of built up jealousy inside of me. For instance, those mini plastic kitchens that were all the rage in the early ’80s. I wanted one of those deluxe setups so bad, I didn’t care who knew it. Some of my friends had them and I was always in awe.

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Logically, making a play to my parents for one didn’t make much sense because none of the components like the sink or the refrigerator actually worked, but I loved to pretend and use my imagination so they operated in full force in my mind. One of the deluxe Little Tikes kitchen sets probably cost as much as 30 action figures, so it wasn’t sensible for me, considering my agenda at the time. They seemed so grandiose. Ironic how I actually now own a condo that came complete WITH AN ACTUAL KITCHEN and I would still prefer the Little Tikes version from the ’80s. I rarely cook, but when I do, it should be on a decal of a stove.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, one toy that I was never really jealous of not getting was My Little Pony. I really can’t explain why these delightful multicolored mares never enticed my childhood mind or ever wound up on any wish list I ever made, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate their coolness. I used to enjoy the cartoon a lot when I was a kid, but it never gave me the impulse to drop other toys from the top of my wish list for them. Whenever I was at the girls houses in the neighborhood, if She-Ra or JEM stuff wasn’t around in their collection, I’d usually opt for the Strawberry Shortcake collection or Rainbow Brite. I assume that my young self didn’t assume that My Little Pony dolls saw a lot of action, but they sure did have some killer color schemes.

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The fact that MLP has become more popular and lucrative in the last few years than it ever was is insane to think about. With the huge male MLP fan base, the Bronies, teenage boys and adult men have created their own cult of MLP fanatics, which has helped skyrockted the property. The MLP craze lead fans to create about a zillion of their own custom My Little Ponies of all varieties too. Chances are, if there’s something you like, whether it’s a sports team, superhero, an obscure dessert, or a horror movie icon, there’s most likely a custom made My Little Pony doll out there based off of it.

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There’s New Jersey based MLP customs out there, but the one presented on this t-shirt is the most inspired I’ve seen. Coming from JWRIGHTBRAIN, the bright, colorful, and original art of My Little Jersey Devil literally leaps off the tee. For obvious reasons, this is now my favorite non-canon MLP character and the one that I would run right out to the store to buy if it were real. It definitely reminds me of Spike the Dragon, my favorite of all the Generation 1 characters. His look, which incorporates Halloween colors, has a little bit in common with the Generation 3 incarnation of Spike the Dragon. Plus, MLP’s always have a tattoo or small design branded on them which is often referred to as a cutie mark and appropriately, his is a devilish trident! Ok, now maybe that deluxe kitchen set will have to wait…

NJ-Set Velvet Rope Horror Anthology Gets Trailer Treatment

VelvetRope03Is it possible? A horror anthology comic set in a New Jersey movie theater? That requires a really obnoxious fugetaboutit! Words cannot express how close to my heart the mere thought of that comic is. Old movie theaters, The Garden State, and sexy fishnet stocking-clad movie usherettes comprise Velvet Rope and there’s no way I can go wrong with it.

Since it was a based in New Jersey, I’ve owned Mark Poulton’s (Savage Hawkman, Avengelyne) Horror Anthology from Arcana Comics, Velvet Rope since it was released,  but now is a perfect time to spotlight it because our fellow NJ’er, Poulton, and the Underbelly crew have created actual movie pitch trailers for the book to show the Arcana bigwigs the potential of making it into a feature film!

The anthology’s frame tale features a phantom movie theater, a possibly demonic (and hot) theater usherette, and an unsuspecting dude who’s just trying to get his horror movie marathon on. Oh, and adding to the pot, it’s freaking Halloween night, 2008!

Out of the roughly 10 stories contained within the book, there were a few that should definitely be included if a film ever gets made. First is Poulton’s own story, Baker’s Dozen, a deliciously sick yarn about beef jerky that takes place just outside Atlantic City and recalled classic late night Tales From the Crypt episodes. Continue reading NJ-Set Velvet Rope Horror Anthology Gets Trailer Treatment

Independence Day Getaway in Atlantic City Part 1

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We got on the road ridiculously early to beat the holiday traffic. It may have been the quickest drive down to A.C ever. Here’s the kicker: duh Jay, most hotels don’t let you check into your room at 8:45 AM!

Once we arrived at Harrah’s we had some time to burn, so our trip kicked off with me waiting about an hour for a couple of schmucks to finish playing the new 1966 Batman TV Series slot machines so I can jump on. I swear they bet the minimum on each spin and they just…kept…winning.

Batman 1966 Slot Machines at Harrah's in Atlantic City, NJ

Nearly an hour later, one of them finally decided to cash out, so I sat down at the open seat instantaneously. Playing the game was pretty meaningless to me since I don’t get any thrill from gambling, I just wanted to be in the machine’s presence and see all the neat little bonus games that it offered. The middle video screen displayed the colorful animated style graphics of the opening intro of the show and occasionally showed the Batsignal followed by the Dynamic Duo racing to the scene in the Batmobile. The slot screens offered footage from the actual show when you hit a bonus. Each seat had a spinning wheel with the classic Batman rogues gallery too. The game is a lot of fun and feels like a big deal, especially for hardcore fans of the 1966 Batman TV Series, like me.

After battling some traffic, Matt from Dinosaur Dracula and Miss X joined us a little later and the first order of business was to make this trip feel like a traditional Jersey Shore summer getaway. We headed over to the Steel Pier on the boardwalk. Once known for their diving horses, now they just fling screaming teenagers around in slingshot rides and blast generic cover versions of ’80s hair metal tunes. Can’t blame them for not wanting to be liable for paying royalties to the Crue.

Flying Dutchman Art, Steel Pier, Atlantic City, NJ

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Although it only takes up a small pier of the AC Boardwalk, the Steel Pier still has some cool stuff to look at. First, I was mesmerized by the artwork on the Flying Dutchman, a swinging pirate ship ride. Carnival and amusement park rides usually have a very unique flavor of art on them that I can admire forever. I found the art on this ride to be awesome looking, so I drooled for a little while until I stumbled onto something even more tremendous.

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As Matt mentions in his recap, I was astounded to see the Dinosaur Beach signage hidden behind a bench. I pulled him over to check it out because he brings up Dino Beach in conversation probably once a week. You know how some people left their heart in San Francisco? Matt left his heart at Dinosaur Beach in Wildwood, NJ. Collectively, we must’ve snapped about 36,459 photos of nearly 20 year old signage with a Denver looking Dinosaur mascot painted on them. Annie Liebovitz makes the big bucks as a photographer, but after all those photos we took, money can’t buy that feeling of going home knowing our lives are complete thanks to the opportunity to memorialize remnants of the ’90s mecca, Dinosaur Beach.

So, who’s down for some drinks and some chips, salsa, and queso dip at the Landshark Bar & Grill? ME. As a kid it was Fla-Vor-Ice and WWE Ice Cream bars, now it’s Tequila and Mexican food- what a transition! I wasn’t even drunk at that point and I can say that they have some of the best salsa and queso dip I’ve ever had. The salsa especially tasted so fresh and flavorful. I’m not saying to go out of your way to get there, more just like GO THERE NOW. They also have some crazy concoctions to imbibe. Miss Sexy Armpit went with “Tranquil Waters” which was Cruzan Mango Rum and Blue Curacao mixed with pineapple juice and mango. Good, but too sweet for me.

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It was about that time to see what treasures awaited us in the shitty stores up and down the boardwalk. This was a special occasion that took us away from the usual flea market trip so we made due with the schlockfest of stores that pop up literally every 2 feet on the boardwalk. Most of these stores sell the same junk, but once in a blue moon you’ll get lucky and find an assload of vintage toys, air fresheners, and night lights like we did when we struck gold on our New Year’s Day 2014 99 cent store invasion.

The junk wasn’t quite as bountiful as that time, but I still have a lot to show you. Just to give you an idea of the type of stuff we ran into, take a look at these pineapple water bottles and Garfield doorknob hangers. Plus, there’s no better time than now to stock up on large Star Wars Episode I prints just in time for Force Awakens, 16 years later! I spotted these pictures still in their original (torn up) cellophane sheets laying at the bottom of a shelf that was in total disarray. Selling at their original price of $10 bucks, passing on the them wasn’t difficult. I still love you Natalie Portman, just not enough to drop a Hamilton on your old cardboard picture.

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Perhaps there’s nothing more amusing than this bootleg Care Bear a.k.a Champ Skipper. Keep in mind that EVEN HE IS FALL…the damn thing can get back up and start skipping again, yes I realize that doesn’t make sense, but the manufacturers didn’t seem to care either. It’s “battery operator” too. There’s no way that Google translate existed in the early ’80s, right? Just making sure.

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This Lizzie McGuire jigsaw puzzle impacted me much more than it would’ve any other normal human being. I’ve never had any qualms about admitting that I was obsessed with this show when it first came on and ever since then I watched so many silly shows on Disney Channel. This one in particular started that trend for me. One of the main reasons for it’s appeal was the fact that it had the flavor of a few shows and movies I loved as a kid. Savage Steve Holland also directed 9 episodes and Lewis Skolnick plays Lizzie’s dad! Anyway, since I’m living somewhere in the past, it should’ve shocked me more to see this puzzle because this was originally on sale approximately 13 years ago.

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The sights were amusing, but nothing was screaming BUY ME until I heard Matt yell over to me from the back of store. “You’ve got to see these old AC stickers.” I jolted over to check out his discovery. Sure enough, there was a basket of old Atlantic City touristy stickers, and I mean really old. These bad boys were two for a dollar. I also picked up the larger ones show in the photo. Thanks to Matt for finding me stickers of my favorite venue ever and adding to my collection of Jersey junk.

Electric sex may have gleamed in the window in A Christmas Story, but its surge blinds you once you walk into the back of all the dingy dollar stores on the Atlantic City boardwalk.

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TITARONI. Who doesn’t love ronis and tits? Of course I’d find these in New Jersey, half of us are horny Italians. How come there’s no informercial for these demonstrating how they get the tits in the ronis? And no one in the world can dispute me in saying that this is clearly a bootleg illustration of Gloria Trillo on the box. BOOM. All I know is that this pasta needs to be made with some tender love and care. Chef Boyardee needs to buy the rights to Titaroni and market them to kids like Robin Arryn on Game of Thrones who are still breastfeeding well into their tweens. Come to think of it, maybe Robin Arryn needs The BIG Sipper? Perfect way for Lysa to wean him off the teat!

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Not buying the “Hanging out in Atlantic City” glass may be my biggest regret of the trip. I’m sure I’ll be back in A.C soon enough, so I’ll remember to pick one up.

Would someone just please go and buy up all this shit finally and put it out of its misery? Thanks for reading and come back soon for Part 2 to read about the rest of our star spangled getaway to Atlantic City!

Summer: Pencil It In!

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As a kid, summers were an endless series of cool events.

In the summer, I felt like I was some kind of upper crust businessman like Bruce Wayne, only elementary school aged, and I was like “What event do I have tonight Alfred?” Only I was actually talking to my mom and she was like “Get out of the pool and get ready, we’re going to Wildwood.” Throwing a tantrum about getting out of the pool to prepare for rides, games, and ice cream was just not good form.

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I’d wake up bright eyed each day mulling over the excitement that I’d get into during the morning and afternoon and then like some sort of pseudo jet-setter, pondered what kind of shenanigans I’d be caught up in during the long summer night where I longed for the excitement I saw in After Hours and Into the Night. Some nights wound up being fairly comparable actually. A typical agenda might start out with breakfast and some cartoons, a leisurely bike ride around town, then a swim to cool off. Maybe a little action figure time to follow. Lunch was accompanied by game shows and reruns of Three’s Company, Brady Bunch, and Gilligan’s Island to name a few. The night? Forget about it – too many possibilities to even list here. Subconsciously I crammed in as much as possible.

When I was young it felt like the summer encompassed half the year. I really savored each day. The key was not paying attention to what day it was, because anytime I kept an eye on that calendar, the quicker the days started to dwindle down. Next thing you know, the back to school phase would set in, a period of time for me that was always in conflict in my brain. The lock-up of opposing mental forces was invigorating; it was like a grudge match between being extremely uneasy about the unknown circumstances of a new school year and the outrageous feeling of positivity that came from thinking that this year could be my best yet.

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SPLATT! Squash that idea like a fly immediately. It was best not to think about school in the summer. Onto more important things like how else can I squeeze the most out of the remaining summer days? Some days would be filled with swimming, blasting music from my white boombox, hours of Sega Master System, and playing Batman with my friend and his brother while other days would be sprawled out on the couch in the air conditioning watching Friday the 13th movies and The Goonies and sipping iced tea while a crazy thunderstorm made my day absolutely perfect. Staying up late consisted of reading comics, snacking, and falling asleep while watching stuff like Tales from the Darkside and WWF tapes.

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The summer season usually kicked off with a family trip to the boardwalk in Point Pleasant. Then sprinkled throughout the rest of the season we’d spend a sweltering day in New York City, a day of insanity on our friend’s Slip and Slide, pool parties, Yankees games, Keansburg, Medieval Times, Fireworks displays, and a day on my Uncle’s boat. One thing is for sure, summer trips and excursions were spread over the course of the season as intricately as peanut butter on Wonder Bread.

Nowadays, it seems like we have to condense all of the traditional summer events into one long weekend.

With the daily work grind, vacation days have to be meticulously decided upon and what they will be used for is usually contemplated well in advance. It really sucks that the spontaneity that was the foundation of our summers of yore is virtually non-existent in our adult life. The entire game is less about all the cool stuff we’re actually doing in the moment, but more about worrying if we’ll be able to fit all of it in i.e “I don’t know if we’ll have time” like Frank “The Tank” Ricard said in Old School.

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At some point you just got to say F it and have some booze and unhealthy snacks (read more about them here) and watch It Follows on your iPhone in the hotel room…twice. It’s summer, so you’ve got to squeeze in as much as possible, just remember to enjoy it all. That’s precisely what we did on our most recent trip.

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The July 4th weekend started a couple of days early for us. The night before heading down to AC, we decided it was a perfect time for Six Flags Great Adventure. I have some of the best memories of summers (and Falls) at Six Flags Great Adventure. Even though we have season passes, the place gets so packed when kids are off from school that we’re lucky if we squeeze in two visits randomly throughout the summer. This time around we hit it right on the nose and there were virtually no lines. We rode in the first row of Green Lantern, then went on Superman, took a brief respite on the Skyway to take in the park from above, and then our favorite ride, Nitro – twice! It was pretty awesome, and unplanned, which was the best part.

The next day we drove down to Atlantic City for our Independence Day getaway. This is where I will say…

TO BE CONTINUED! Thank you for reading and be back soon to join us on our next adventure!