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An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pokémon Love Letter

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
As far as productivity is concerned, I made a giant mistake yesterday. On a plain Tuesday afternoon I was scrolling through GameStop's website looking for a game or two to play when I found myself in the 3DS section. Behold! Pokémon Yellow for download directly to your 3DS... Commence afternoon wasting! I've been sucked into this game more than I have by a game in awhile. Pokémon Yellow is straight up my childhood. I had the stellar special edition Pokémon Game Boy Color and played it relentlessly back then. Sadly, that bad boy has been missing in action for some time now and I bought a blue one on ebay years back. So it was a bit like coming home.
Over the last 24 hours I've done my fair share of playing. I played on the way to dinner last night, on the way home, in bed before sleep, and in bed before getting up this morning. In all fairness, I have been under the weather so I've had more time for this non-sense... But who are we kidding? I'd be playing a ton either way.

The game really hold ups. It is repetition at its best: walk walk walk and battle. Rinse and repeat. That doesn't stop it from being wicked fun, more fun than I remember. Probably because I utilize a little more strategy in battles now than I did at the ripe age of 8. What I know for sure is that Pikachu is still a total bad ass and owns my
 heart. That hasn't changed in sixteen years. A few weeks back we went through some of my old stuff from my parents attic and found my Pokedex and a pokeball. There was also a guide and some cards as well. While I knew that I was a big fan, it was pretty to amazing to find the amount of stuff that had made it through the decade and a half. I think back and remember more of Power Rangers, Star Wars, and Ninja Turtles, but Pokémon had some of my heart too.

Pokémon celebrated its 20th birthday back in February. I watched a few episodes and felt the nostalgia creep in some. What a lasting legacy it has enjoyed. They recently announced the new augmented reality phone app called Pokémon GO! This will also feature the Pokémon GO Plus which is a small wearable device that will vibrate and light up when a Pokémon is near. It will be free to play with in app purchases. The game will allow you to capture, battle, train and trade virtual Pokémon who appear throughout the real world. Man, kids have it made these days. They get the coolest stuff. The cards, games, movies, and shows were enough for me to get hooked though. It is amazing to watch the franchise evolve and I'm definitely in on the next round of evolution.

I guess this is just a small love letter to Pokémon. It isn't as long as it could be because I'm gonna go play more Pokémon yellow!

Comic Trip Saturday!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Latest obsession: the absolutely excellent YouTube channel Comic Trips. If you haven't watched any of their videos, please please do. Paul and Kat are hilarious and adorable together. They have such a rad passion for comics and collectibles, it is a blast to see what they stumble upon each episode. We've been watching an episode or two before bed every night and cracking up. So, inspired by their adventures, the wife and I decided to head out on a drizzly day to have our own comic book adventure! I had a little cold the last few days but was on the other side of it. No way I'd let a little sniffles keep me from such a wicked fun day. The drive was about forty minutes but Ocala and Belleview had four shops within ten to twenty minutes of one another. Unfortunately one of them was closed, but we made the most out of the other three!

Before jumping into long boxes, we grabbed some brunch. After crushing some banana bread, coffee, and eggs we were fueled and ready to search. The first comic shop we visited was called Joker Street Comics in Belleview. The guy was really nice and they had a stellar selection. We rummaged through the 50 cent boxes with decent success finding some Guardians of Galaxy, Spider-man, Fantastic Four, X-men, and Transformers. The hidden gem among them being X-men (1991) #4, Jim Lee and the first appearance of Omega Red. Pretty awesome for 50 cents! All the books were in good condition. They had a lot of great toys too that on another day I might've had to go after, but today was about comics. The owner gave us a nice little discount for a variant The Death of Optimus Prime. We'll definitely be going back!

Our next stop was The Geek Shop in Ocala. It was primarily a card and game shop but the forty or so long boxes they had made up for it in quality. Most of our time was spent digging through the $1-$2 boxes. We found some great Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Star Wars, and X-men issues to fill in our collections. I was really pumped to find nine McFarlane Amazing Spider-man and Spider-man issues. We got some great deals on those and a bunch of Astonishing X-men for $1-$2.
Because we were picking up quite a few issues, the owner gave us his shrink wrapped X-men (1991) issues #1-#20 for a deal. So that was awesome! Other great finds were Eastman & Laird's TMNT issue #8 and the Marvel 3 part issue run of the Last Starfighter. That movie is an underrated favorite of mine. The crown jewel of the stop was finding Spidey Meets the President for $1. It is a cool little shop with nice people.
We discussed some movie versions of Batman and Spider-man and I tried to not get into a brawl when a kid was hating on the Tobey Maguire Spider-man. (The third one wasn't the best but the first movie saved the comic book movie. That's a discussion for a different time.) We spent a decent amount here.

Our final stop was Vibranium Comics, also in Ocala. They were working through sorting a few piles of comics but had a great amount to search through. We found some good Spider-man and Batman here for a buck each. Also picked up a few Shogun Warriors. It was a nice light stop to finish a fun day, getting ten or so issues there. Needless to say, the day was an absolute success! We had a lot of fun and picked up a ton of comics. Our fingers were dirty from old back issues filling up long boxes but we had smiles plastered on our faces. After grabbing some drinks at the gas station, we headed home. While our pockets may be a little lighter, it was worth it. Days like today are the kind you remember during long weeks.

So thanks to Paul and Kat of Comic Trips for inspiring us to get out there! It was a great day!

A Theater Marathon for the Ages

Thursday, March 24, 2016
How a Long Time Ago I Went Back in Time to a Galaxy Far Far Away

I have had the pleasure of partaking in two in theater movie marathons in my life. Both were pretty opposite on the length spectrum.

The first I experienced was Back to the Future. In October I settled into a theater with thirty some strangers and my wife to watch the trilogy of Back to the Future films back to back. All together the three movies reach just under six hours, so with breaks and all we were in the theater for over six hours. The crowd was small but enthusiastic. These films were such a huge part of my childhood, it was great to see them on the big screen for the first time. This was a cake walk in comparison to what was ahead of us.

There had been rumors of a Star Wars marathon leading up to Episode VII. Fast forward to when it all started on October 19th This was a trying evening. The AMC website was not even remotely ready for the stampede of Star Wars fans. It took us two hours of obsessively reloading and using multiple browsers before we finally secured our two marathon event tickets. Needless to say, it was worth it. The hype at the time was unbelievable. Right when we finished our purchase the trailer debuted on TV. Let me tell you, that trailer got the juices flowing. If you didn't get super amped after seeing that, you were a lost cause. If you need to be reminded of its epicness, watch it again:

The Force Awakens was a major enigma up to this point. We had teasers to watch and an excellent Comic-Con Reel. This trailer gave us a glimpse into our favorite universe and where it stood at this new point in time. Couple this with the purchase of our marathon tickets, I was on cloud nine. I had seen the prequel films in theaters, but not the originals. The thought of seeing the original three on the big screen gave me butterflies. Waiting the two months was a task. Hardest being the three days leading up to it when I was on a self imposed internet embargo the Monday of that week in a (successful) attempt to avoid spoilers. 

After training our bodies with some weird sleep patterns (staying up as late as possible the two nights before and taking day time naps) we were ready to head out. The nearest AMC Star Wars Marathon Event to us was in Jacksonville, about an hour and a half drive from home. So we packed up our things (we booked a hotel for the night after, we knew we'd be in no condition to drive) and headed towards our big day. We ended up getting to Jax early and toiled around a Target for awhile before heading to the theater.
 Sadly, we were an hour and a half early for the 1am start time and just decided to go in. Glutton for punishment. What a bunch of lunatics, we were already agreeing to be in this theater for twenty hours so we clearly needed to add an additional hour or so. The excitement was unreal though. We were not the only ones early. The crowd was a mixture of young and old. Some were in pairs, some were families, and a few lone souls by themselves. It was cool to see how the Star Wars universe really brings together people of all walks of life together. We found our (assigned) seats and started to set up shop for the day ahead. Our two bags, blankets, and sweatshirts found their way in between the seats. In between movies everyone left their crap where it was, kind of like unwritten campground rules.

Full disclosure: I like the prequels. I know they are immensely flawed films but I find them to be really entertaining. They were my childhood and the nostalgia probably plays into that. Despite my acknowledgement of all of that, I still think some of the performances (most notably Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi) and the background story leading up to Episode IV is a great thing to witness. Despite me having seen them in theaters (I was 8, 11, and 14 at their release) I was very excited to see them with fresh eyes in theaters again. What stuck out to me most was Revenge of the Sith this time around.
I had never been a huge fan of the movie but it quickly vaulted up in my rankings! That movie is a really incredible experience, especially the Obi-Wan/Anakin fight at the end. My wife snoozed on and off throughout the first three. I stayed pretty strong through the prequels. After Episode III I was beginning to drag a little. This was the longest break of the day. We got some food and tried to snooze a little.

The original trilogy was somewhat hard to get through solely based on how sleepy I was. At that point I had been awake for roughly seventeen hours. I would be lying if I said I hadn't dozed off for five or ten minutes here and there but mostly I stayed strong. Seeing this trilogy of stories that I'd seen a hundred times on the big screen for the first time was a very cool experience. A few parts that stood out to me: the brightness of Tatooine and the depth of the trenches of the Death Star in A New Hope; Hoth and the Duel on Bespin in the Empire Strikes Back; and Endor in Return of the Jedi. It was like visiting these planets unlike I ever had before. In particular, I felt like I had waited my whole life to see the beautiful scene of Luke and Vader fighting in TESB. It is something I'll never forget, it made me feel like a kid
again. My mom worked at the church we attended when I was young. During the summer I'd go to work with her and waste away my days roaming the halls of the office building. The youth pastor had all three original trilogy films on VHS. Most of my time was spent laying on the tables in the worship hall (fancy words for place to eat and have meetings) watching these movies on a giant CRT TV cart I'd roll out.

After the originals finished up you could feel the buzz in the room. After years of waiting we would finally get to see Episode VII! The hour and a half in between Return of the Jedi and the Force Awakens crawled by. We crushed some Five Hour Energy, they probably don't work but whatever. Up to that point we had been taking caffeine pills and I was waiting for me to have a full blown Jessie Spano breakdown...

As anticipation grew the chatter from the others in the room began to build. When the lights finally dimmed and the familiar Main Title began to play, it was like coming home. All of the fatigue we were feeling vanished and we were immersed in the universe that had been kind to us for so long. The crowd was tremendous. We cheered, laughed, and cried together while hanging on each moment. I'll never forget the thunderous applause when they showed the Millennium Falcon for the first time. The reality of it all now, is that I absolutely adored the Force Awakens. While it is blasphemy to many, it is probably my favorite of the saga. (My ranking is for another time.)

We would go on to see TFA nine times! We actually got three viewings in within the first 24 hours. Laying in bed at the hotel that night, basking in the awesomeness of the movie, we got on fandango and bought tickets for 10:20 early bird showing the next morning even though we knew we had tickets for that evening at home with family. But that is what it was all about for those few days. It was a state of being.

I've found myself going back to those few days in my mind lately. It is strange to be so nostalgic for a time only four months ago but I am. It was like being in your own world for a few days full of excitement and hope. I truly recall that long weekend as a life event, one that I'm so happy to have shared with my wife. It was her time seeing any of the Star Wars films in theaters. It is unbelievable to have someone to share your passion with, someone who respects them. I close my eyes and I see us driving back from Jacksonville, drinking some DD iced coffee, taking back roads home to enjoy the Florida scenery and discussing what lies ahead. Who is Rey's parentage? Where will this saga take us next? We wont know for awhile, until Episode VIII and IX are released and the trilogy wraps up. What I do know is that I'm excited for this quest to continue and to be a part of it.

The Smithsonian of Loneliness

Monday, March 21, 2016

After a busy weekend I'm back in the Smithsonian of Loneliness and ready to write some more long winded posts about non-sense things that I adore. This weekend was full of mini adventures, which are my favorite kind.  On Saturday we cleaned out my dad's attic. It housed a ton of my old toys and such. This was a great trip down memory lane. I'll be writing a post about all the gems I found later in the week. On Sunday we went to the Gator baseball game. They won, which is pretty standard these days as they advanced to 21-1 on the season and are ranked #1 nationally. Then to end the weekend we went to see 10 Cloverfield Lane last night. I absolutely adored it. It was quite the ride, leaving you on the edge of your seat more times than not. The Mrs was squeezing the shit out of my hand most of the movie. My best friend Josh got a kick out of me kicking the (empty) seat in front of us once or twice.
 If you haven't seen, you must. You don't have to have seen Cloverfield to see this one, though you should watch that too. The original Cloverfield is one helluva monster flick. But 10 Cloverfield Lane well exceeded my expectations. The performances from the entire cast really stand out, it was a super well acted movie. Dan Trachtenberg, who directed it, knocked it out of the park. I've listened to a few of his different podcasts over the years, all the way back to GeekDrome, so it was cool to see him really nail this thing. Now it is Monday and back to work.

Before I jump into the week's worth of work, I thought I'd give a little love to my favorite comfort zone. My study has had many variations over the years but the latest incarnation, while the smallest, is probably my favorite. We moved into this house in August and I commandeered the office. Since then I've loaded it up about as much as I can (and probably quickly outgrowing it) with things I love. What started as a desk and bookshelves has certainly morphed over time. I added two shelves above my desk to house some collectibles from entertainment that I love. Once you start, it is hard to stop. Two bookshelves became four, one monitor became two, and the TV was then mounted.
My Star Wars collection has to be spread across bookshelves and the tops of anything I can find. The Force Awakens did a great job of multiply the collection quickly. While it seems a little cluttered, it feels like home to me. Any posting I do or major social media stuff comes from right here. It is also where I eat breakfast,
enjoy my morning coffee, watch baseball, play games, read, write, eat lunch most days, and anything in between. As George Carlin said "That's all I want, that's all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff." That's my study for me. It is my batcave, my fortress of solitude, my sewer lair, my Jedi temple, and everything in between.

Over the years I've enjoyed collecting pictures and information about the work space of artists. I've included many on this tag on my tumblr page. From Spielberg to Raymond Carver to Frank Lloyd Wright, it is always enticing to me to see the place people find their inner work from. The process of art is different for each person, same with routines. Some people need cleanliness but I find the people who inspire me most also enjoy a collection of sorts, a lot of the time books.
The JJ Abrams run Bad Robot is full of artifacts, same with the Lucasfilm offices and Amblin Entertertainment. These people have created some of my favorite entertainment in the world, so to see them enjoy things the way I do is a boost. Stephen King always says that it is best to find a quiet place, to avoid distractions. Some days I agree, some days I don't. What I do know is that when I settle into my chair, I feel like I'm in my comfort zone.

Today I was directed towards a great 'making of' video for one of my favorite YouTube channels, HelloGreedo. It isn't anything extraordinary but it is the process. That's what I enjoy. He takes these videos and brings them to life in his house and garage. People all over are making art just like this. That is what the internet offers:

What does your work space look like?

My dream work space is a mix between George Lucas' office and John Irving's, both of which you can find in the youtube videos below...


All Things Green!

Thursday, March 17, 2016
Happy St Patrick's day, dudes and dudettes!

In honor of the holiday, here are my Top 10 favorite green things!

10. Green Goblin
We start our list with one of Spider-man's archenemies, Green Goblin! Created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, his first appearance came in 1964 with issue #14 of the Amazing Spider-man. This crazy sonuvabitch is always wrecking havoc on poor Peter Parker's life. But other than that, he's pretty dope. With the Halloween themed persona, it isn't hard to appreciate what he has going on: jack'o'lantern bombs and a bat shaped glider! Though there has been a few Green Goblins, he most famously is Norman Osborn. Father to Peter Park's best friend Harry (who becomes Green Goblin later as well) and head of Oscorp. Green Goblin was at the center of one of the biggest moments in comic book history, as his abduction of Gwen Stacy leads to a truly tragic moment in Peter's life. Admittedly, the version that immediately comes to my mind is Willem Dafoe's portrayal in the 2002 film. That Spider-man film was a favorite of mine when I was younger. I was just short of eleven when it came out, my big sister and best friend checked me out of school so we could go see it and go to Toys'r'us after. I have seen the movie short at least a hundred times. Spider-man has always been my favorite comic book hero (along with a team that will show up later on the list) so Green Goblin is a natural fit to round out the list at number ten!

9. Yoshi
This little dinosaur sidekick debuted in 1990's Super Mario World the pack-in launch title for SNES. He wouldn't stay a sidekick for long as he quickly won the hearts of most gamers. By 1995 he was featured in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island before getting his own game in 1997, Yoshi's Island, on N64! Yoshi is about as cute as they come from the flutter jumps to throwing eggs at targets, he's both cute and helpful. I remember countless summer days of sitting in front of the TV playing Yoshi's Island with my sister and friends. While Yoshi's species can appear in multiple colors, famously giving a large variety in the aforementioned N64 game, our little guy is green! From humble beginnings, Yoshi has emerged as one of the most endearing characters in video game history. He's the perfect guy for the job!

8. Godzilla
Okay, I'll admit to fudging this one a bit. Godzilla is typically a charcoal gray or black. However, in 1956 with the release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, a poster featured him as green. Since then he has appear green in various forms of media. BUT I never pass up a chance to include my favorite Kaiju.
Godzilla first made his appearance in the 1954 Japanese film Gojira, a movie full of thematic references to nuclear holocaust. Godzilla himself is considered a strong metaphor for the atomic bomb. He has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon. Starring in roughly 31 films with more to come, he's also been the star of comic books, tv shows, video games, and more. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't done my best Godzilla roar once or twice while typing this. Give it a try!

7. Master Chief
This is one bad ass motherfucker. Master Chief, much like the aforementioned Yoshi, has cemented himself as one of the most popular characters in video game history! Master Chief, aka John-117, burst onto the scene in 2001 with the release of the video game Halo: Combat Evolved by Bungie. The launch title for the XBOX, the game spawned a best selling franchise that now has ten games and a plethora of books, online series, movies, and more. Halo was the first game as a teenager I truly fell in love with. Many many hours have been wasted away with an XBOX controller in hand with these games and this character. On the surface, it is a military FPS. But for many Halo fans, at the heart of it, it is much more than that. The many adventures of Master Chief and Cortana will always stay in my heart and I'll be a life long fan. There aren't many guys more dope than this one.

6. Boba Fett
By all accounts, Boba Fett's presence in the Star Wars films is pretty underwhelming. He stalks around in Empire Strikes Back and utters three (now famous) lines: "As you wish." "He's no good to me dead." "What if he doesn't survive? He's worth a lot to me." He initially appears great at his job, delivering Han Solo in carbonite to Jabba the Hutt. However, in Return of the Jedi he dies (unless Fett's Not Dead) like a total schmuck by being accidentally knocked into a sarlacc pit by a fairly blind Han Solo. Even so, his mysterious and bad ass vibe has turned him into a total cult figure.

All of that being said, this bounty hunter is one of the most beloved Star Wars characters. He actually first appeared in the much maligned 1978 Holiday Special (which you can watch in full here) as a cartoon.While he is used sparingly in the original trilogy, Boba's story is further expanded on in the prequels, specifically Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.
His father, Jango Fett the Bounty Hunter, is the genetic source for all the clones made on Kamino for the Clone Army that fights along side the Jedi and the Republic in the Clone Wars. Boba sees his father's death, decapitation by Jedi Master Mace Windu, and is set upon a life of taking care of himself. He appears in six episodes of the excellent TV series the Clone Wars. Boba Fett is a personal favorite of mine (and as mentioned before, many others.) I actually named my dog Boba! Though with his ears maybe he should be named after a character that will be featured later on the list!

5. The Grinch
Honestly, I feel like I could just leave this picture here without any commentary. He's that great. But it wouldn't be much of a blog if I did that. The Grinch is a tremendous character. Voted by TV Guide as the 5th best cartoon character of all time, he is a true classic. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who the Grinch wasn't a big part of their childhood. A Christmas season doesn't pass without reading the book, or watching the cartoon and movie. The Grinch got his start in the 1957 Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Grinch and his dog Max took their talents to television screens in 1966 and officially minted itself in the Christmas cannon. The TV special (owner of a 100% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes) is a must-see event each holiday season. It was followed by a live action film in 2000, which is also aired regularly during the season. I'm not going into a synopsis because I'm pretty sure everyone knows the tale of him stealing Christmas and then saving it. To little Kaitlyn, he was the perfect example of why Christmas was the best holiday. Even Christmas could turn a cold heart such as his.

4. Green Ranger
In regards to being a kid in the 90s, it didn't get much cooler than the Green Power Ranger. (Well, maybe the White Ranger but this is a list about green things.) Tommy Oliver joins the show in its first season in episode 17. He first appears as an evil Power Ranger created by Rita Repulsa to defeat the other five Power Rangers.
Over an iconic five episode story arc called "Green With Evil" he tries (and fails) to defeat the Rangers. He then goes on to become a part of the team and eventually the leader. Tommy Oliver, played by Jason David Frank, is widely considered the greatest Power Ranger of all time, having been five different Power Rangers on various series including the White Ranger. As a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be Tommy. I started Taekwondo (and eventually reached third degree black belt) in part to be like him. This was one of the easiest picks for my list. I'm even watching Green With Evil as I type this in my Green/White ranger shirt.

3. Yoda
Being third on this list is pretty excellent, as the top two are all time favorites. Yoda is (tied with Obi-Wan Kenobi) my favorite character in the Star Wars universe. The Grand Master of the Jedi Council, Yoda is as wise as he is strong. He trained some of the fiercest Jedi to ever exist, and had a hand in training nearly every Jedi. The first appearance of Yoda in Empire Strikes Back shows him old but high spirited. He begins to train Luke Skywalker, at the insistence of the Force guided spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke leaves after some training, though Yoda warns him against it, to help his friends. When Luke comes back to Dagobah in Return of the Jedi, Yoda has become frail. At the ripe age of 900, he dies to become one with the Force. When we see him appear in the prequels (and the Clone Wars TV series) he is younger but still old and wise. We get to see him as a cunning warrior, taking on Count Dooku and the Emperor. He famously (with Mace Windu) rules against training Anakin Skywalker, but concedes when Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to as his dying wish. Yoda is often at the center of pinnacle moments of the Star Wars trilogies.
Some of the best quotes from the series comes from our little green buddy. Some of my favorites... Probably his most famous: "Do or do not, there is no try." He often teaches lessons that many are wise to listen to. "Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is." And finally, and not just because I'm short in stature: "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship." This quote is the essence of the Force, similar to the iconic quote by Obi-Wan in A New Hope. Yoda, portrayed by Frank Oz, is one of the most recognizable characters in the world. What more can be said about Yoda that hasn't been said already?

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
While one famous green guy says it isn't easy being green, the Turtles sure make it look easy and stylish. These heroes in a half shell have been kicking butt for over three decades now! The four green teen fighting machines got their start in 1984 comic book created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. While a more serious take on the Turtles than the general famous persona seems to be, the comic was an instant hit, spawning multiple hit cartoon shows, mega selling toy lines, video games, (to date) five movies and counting, and much more. Including the stellarly bad Coming Out of Their Shells Tour that I was OBSESSED with as a child. (You can watch it in its entirety on Youtube here. I double dog dare ya.) The brand has been plastered on every item you could think of. TMNT is a phenomenon that any kid growing up in the 80s and 90s is familiar with. They've managed to continue this success into the most recent decade and a half. With new two TV series and two movies, the Turtles wont soon go away. Their ninja butt kicking skills, love for pizza, and shouts of Cowabunga endear them to many. Growing up and still to this day I adore the Turtles. I've seen the movies and shows a million times and it never gets old. Leo being my personal favorite, they all have a little piece of something that a person can relate to. While some days it just doesn't pay to come out of your shell, it always great to love the Turtles. COWABUNGA!

1. Fenway Park's Green Monster
This pick doesn't quite fit with the others on this list, all characters from significant geek famous franchises, but it probably holds the biggest spot in my heart. I am a GIANT Boston Red Sox fan. Baseball is probably my biggest passion in life. For some of my thoughts on baseball and my love for it, read them here. Fenway Park is a magical place. It opened its doors on April 20th, 1912. This 103 (coming up on 104) years old ballpark has undergone many renovations but it stays true to its old baseball charm. The most iconic feature to the park is the 37.167 feet tall wall in left field. The manual scoreboard was added in 1934. Being between 310 to 315 feet from home plate, it provides right handers with a chance to do some damage. As Red Sox fans know, the monster giveth and the monster taketh away.
High fly outs in other parks are homers or doubles, while line drive homers in other parks become singles. In the 2002-2003 off season the Green Monster seats were added. Widely acknowledged as the best seats in baseball, they were an instant hit. In 2013 I had the pleasure of taking in a game from atop the Monster and it is truly breathtaking. We went on to win the World Series that year, coincidence? The Green Monster at Fenway is truly one of a kind but the Red Sox made an excellent tribute to it at their spring training facility when they opened jetBlue Park at Fenway South in 2012. While the original Green Monster has a hold on my heart and has been a mainstay in my life while watching Red Sox games for the better part of two decades, the Fenway South Green Monster may have it beat for one particular reason. In 2013 I met the love of my life atop that imitation Monster. My family had extra tickets to a spring training game and my father suggested I invite my Red Sox twitter friend who lives in Fort Myers to the game. Nearly three years and a million memories later, we got married in a local ballpark on 2/19/2016 and I'm the luckiest duck there is.
We were on TV that game too!


This list was actually hard to write than I care to admit. If you stop to think about it, there are some great green things out there. Honorable mentions to a trio of awesome mascots: Wally the Green Monster, Albert the Alligator, and the Philly Phanatic. Also, some excellent food like broccoli, spinach, green apples, and pickles. Pickles were on the list but got shoved out. Other great characters like Slimer and the Squeeze Toy Aliens from Toy Story.

Thanks for reading!

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