30 July 2020

Rangings: 1

The pick goes ever on and on...

Not bad for rural MN, better than some picks I've had in Denver.


The Doctor Who Programme Guide Vol. 1&2
Target Books, 1984 (reprint)
Not a bad little reference set, may hang on to these for myself.
Picker's prerogative.


 The Invisible Man (Dell Map Back)
Dell Books

My first map back found in the wild, I was thrilled until... 
I turned it over and the saw the damage on the back cover.
Looks suspiciously like someone successfully removed a sticker at the expense of the book. Good job everybody.
I took it anyway.


ST:TNG / X-Men: Planet X
Pocket Books, 1998
I've always been curious about this one, though I doubt I'll invest the time in reading it. 
Also, why Riker? Wouldn't it make more sense for Picard to be juxtaposed with Xavier? 
Two bald guys...Just a moment, just a moment...

*internal dialog in my head
Me: 'Patrick Stewart played Xavier in the X-Men movies.'
Me: 'What year was this book printed?'
Me: '1998.'
Me: 'What year was the first X-Men movie?'
Me: '2000'
Me: 'Damn, 2 years before the movie. If the artist had used Picard/Stewart, that would have been prophetic.'
Me: 'Yeah. Interesting.'
Me: 'Yeah...Hey, are are you typing this out?'
Me: ...
Me: 'End of line.'

Mmm, Dianna Troy seems a better choice...now that I think about it.


Adventures of Mika, Shaman of the Wolf Nomads.
TSR, 1987 (Master Wolf, The Price of Power)
     1988 (The Demon Hand, The Name of the Game)

Four from Rose.


SwordQuest: Quest for the Unicorn's Horn
Ace Books, 1985

The Way of the Tiger:Warbringer
Berkley/Pacer, 1989

Two games books that are new to me.
SwordQuest has piqued my interest.

Sweet Ninja Dance Moves


Time Machine 3: Sword of the Samurai
Bantam Books, 1985

CYOA 40: The Throne of Zeus
Bantam Books, 1985

There was a third book that I left and I may go back for. 
A short lived series (2 books) from Weekly Reader
called 'Make It Happen'.

Demian's says this about Master of the Past:
'Although it has a lot of typographical errors in it, this is a pretty good gamebook. The reader gets to visit a number of different times and it can be read several times without becoming boring.'

If you don't know Demian's database, here ya go:


The Fellowship of the Ring
Houghton Mifflin, 1967
Second Edition

Only found the one, Gollum may have the other two. 
A nice reader nonetheless.

There may come a day when I stop re-reading LotR,
but it is not this day.


1990 Star Trek: The Final Frontier calendar 

Mostly /sorta sealed  :/


Giorgio Morodor is a god.

Midnight Express (LP)
Casablanca Record and Film Works, 1978

I love synth.
I will forever associate the song 'Chase' with Art Bell and
Coast to Coast.


Miami Vice (LP)
MCA Records, 1980

Funny enough Jan Hammer has a song called 'Chase' on the Miami Vice soundtrack.
There isn't enough Hammer on this album for my liking but it's still choice anyway.

The price tags on both albums said 'Mint'...I couldn't agree more.


Andreas Vollenweider: Book of Roses (Cassette)
Columbia, 1991

What more can I say, I like Vollenweider.

Viking!: The Original Musical Score (Cassette)
The Headwaters Society, 1986

Viking! An Epic Outdoor Drama
I am excited to give this a listen to, unfortunately I don't have a tape player with me.


The Lord of the Rings: Black Riders (Puzzle)

As you can probably imagine, buying a puzzle from a thrift store is a crap shoot but this one is complete.
Unbelievable luck for this uncommon find.


The Goonies (DVD)
Warner Home Video, 2001

I dig snap case DVD's.


Scotch VCR Head Cleaner
Sealed, 1999

Tool of the trade.



Sony ES-HG T-120 (VHS Blanks)



Godzilla vs. Mothra (VHS)
Scimitar, 1998
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (VHS)
Tri-Star, 1999

Tri-Star really knocked it out of the park with their slip case designs for the Godzilla collection on VHS. 
Vibrant and eye catching.

King Kong vs. Godzilla (VHS)
Goodtimes Home Video, 1987

Kingu Kongu tai Gojira!
Don't believe the myth, Kong for the win!


Patterns (VHS)
Goodtimes Home Video, 1985

I like Serling's work but had never heard of this one, another lucky find on VHS.
Very much looking forward to watching this one once I'm back in contact with my VCR.
My friend pointed out that it's on YouTube but I'll wait to watch it as it was intended, on grainy VHS :) 


Things to Come (VHS)
Crown Movie Classics, no printed date


R.L. Stine Goosebumps: A Night in Terror Tower (VHS)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 1996

Goosebumps was well after my time but
I do pick them up when I find them. 
A popular touchstone for a generation.


Favorite Picks

I'm very excited about these last 2 items.

Are they special?
Probably not.

Are they valuable?
Probably not.

They are mysterious and intriguing to me and in my eyes,
full of potential.

Sure, the one I could probably watch on YouTube
and easily look up a Wiki, but where's the fun in that?

The other is a complete mystery. 
There is a high probability that it's absolute shite. 
But there is an off hand chance, though slim, that it contains gold and THAT has me jazzed.


Runner Up:

The Fantastic Adventures of Unico Vol. 1 (VHS)
Columbia Pictures Home Video, 1985

'Unico, the Magical Unicorn, is born with incredible powers that make people happy. But that angers some very jealous gods. They order the West Wind to cast the tiny Unicorn into exile -- and thus begins Unico's amazing adventures.'

Found this one left for dead in a dusty back room where dead format media goes to die.

Old school Japanimation from the 70's, earliest copyright date on the back is 1977.

Classic 80's clam shell case, a little worse for the wear.
Maybe some fading to the covers.
Cassette has some tape on it and needs a quick cleaning.
Overall, for a tape of this age and one marketed towards children (kids media really gets worked over) it's not in horrible condition.
Need to watch it to confirm quality of playback, which will be a pleasure, but I think it's gonna be ok...fingers crossed.

Very excited to watch this one.


Number One:

TDK Super Avilyn T-120 (VHS)
Home Recording, 1985(?)

In a sad rack of mass produced vhs movies, this one shone like the sun.
When I saw the spine I knew exactly what it was.
What it contained was the real question.

I still have a TDK Super Avilyn from my teenage years, I think I recorded Twilight Zone episodes on it.

Made and printed in Japan.  
Solid, durable slip case constructed of heavier paperboard.
Simple and unassuming graphics, nothing flashy.
Unlike cheaper cassettes that would follow in later years,
these have a little heft to them.
Whether it's true or not I've always felt the quality of the tape was superior, that, of course, is based on nothing but a feeling.

So when I saw it in the rack, I got excited.
This is exactly what I look for when digging through tapes...
home recordings of television from the 80's.
Nostalgia my friend, pure nostalgia.

Sometimes the shows recorded are pretty great, although Doctor Zhivago and Miracle on 34th Street I can do without seeing.

But really, for me, it's all about the commercial breaks.
Those snippets of consumerism from a bi-gone era and the nostalgia trip they provide. 
I found them annoying back then but now
I gladly watch them.

  I think that a lot of people (most) when recording a show on a vcr simply hit record or set a timer and let it record everything, commercials and all.
That's what I'm hoping happened with this tape.

However, there were some people (myself included) that took the time to stop or pause the recording when a commercial break came on then restart it when it was over. Editing on the fly, since post work really wasn't an option at home back then.
With a little diligence and a quick finger on a remote or the machine itself, one could end up with a nice tape for future viewings sans commercials.
Unfortunately for me, that could be the case with this tape.
There are a number of visual clues about it that suggest that the previous owner was particular enough to do such a thing.
I may make another post of what I see here but for now I'll leave it at that.

Obviously I just need to watch it to know for certain but, when I picked it up I was thinking 'Mmm, maybe commercials???'.

Still, I'm pretty excited about this find and whether there's commercials or not, it's a damn fine tape in nice condition.

I may break down and buy a(nother) vcr at the thrift.

Low-Tech Ranger
Detroit Lakes, MN...or thereabouts.

20 July 2020

MN Ren

My first Ren Fest was Minnesota...1982!
I was, enthralled.

Second trip,1986.
I bought a royal blue or cobalt blue goblet that 
At some point in my life, in a mad fit of purging I got rid of it.
I regret that now.

Since 2008 and every year after, minus 2020 
(canceled due to Covid concerns) my friend 
and I have been attending the CO Ren Fest.
Nothing much really changes but we go 
regardless, just to take it all in.
We never tire of it.

Now, back in MN where my fascination with the fest  

began I managed to score from a local thrift/antique 
place this 1987 MN Ren Fest mug!

Best Ren Fest Emblem!

Though not an 86' and certainly not blue it's still a great artifact from a different era.


17 July 2020

Currently Reading: Bringers of the Dawn

Of course I consider myself a renegade member of The Family of Light, systems buster...on call.

IF you find this type of thing compelling, you might be 'not from here' as well...just say'n.

Family of Light...Wake Up!


14 July 2020

Fell Magic

As if by some strange magic, as if out of nowhere, a massive wave of depression crashes over me.

Fell magics are at work against me and dread once again grips me at night, past the witching hour and on through to the early morning pre-dawn.

Idle hands hasten the foul feelings that drift inside my mind.
I must stay busy lest I fall victim to sadness and sleep.

I find myself searching for something that is boxed up and a thousand miles away in mountain storage.
Sometimes it's a book I seek and other times an artifact from adventures past, but mostly it's a piece of home, comfort…familiarity.
Intangible items inside my head.

An afternoon storm crossed the lake yesterday, tumultuous and short lived, laden with rain and bursts of wind.
And though I was briefly distracted by the tempest, once again the dark thoughts returned, unease.

I am under a weird spell of separation from city and work.
A ranger returned to the wild, broken.
I'm finding it hard to relax and connect to this place and freedom once again.
I felt the same when I began my adventure in the city.
It took 2 years to adjust to that environment.
I observed even then the laughable reality of a ranger out of his environment and lost...until I figure it out.
And now, another change.

It is all for the good, of that I have no doubt, but this transition is difficult.
And of course, where do we go from here?

Uncertainty is the enemy.

11 July 2020

Currently Reading: Redwall

I've always had a thing for anthropomorphic mouse stories, so Redwall it is.

Once I started into it I immediately imagined it as a Rankin/Bass or Bluth animation. 
A little digging found that it was animated in 1999, so now I need to find those...on VHS.

Nothing too heavy really (plenty of that going on right now anyway), a good introduction for a child into the fantasy genre. A parent could have a good time with voices for the characters reading this at bedtime, kids would eat it up.

10 July 2020

Song of Inspiration: Manowar - Heart of Steel

I was very much late to the greatness that is Manowar and having only 'discovered' them around 2012 I quickly became a fan and now count myself as a brother within The Hall.

There are many of their songs I take inspiration from but currently this is at the top of the list.

Heart of Steel

Build a fire a thousand miles away
to light my long way home
I ride a comet
My trail is long to stay
Silence is a heavy stone
I fight the world and take all they can give
There are times my heart hangs low
Born to walk against the wind
Born to hear my name
No matter where I stand I'm alone

Burn the bridge behind you
Leave no retreat
There's only one way home
Those who laugh and crowd the path
and cut each other's throats
Will fall like melting snow
They'll watch us rise with fire in our eyes
They'll bow their heads
Their hearts will hang low
Then we'll laugh and they will kneel
and know this heart of steel was
Too hard to break
Too hard to hold

Stand and fight
Live by your heart
Always one more try
I'm not afraid to die
Stand and fight
Say what you feel
Born with a heart of steel!

08 July 2020

Through Plaguelands to Lake Country

Two hot and muggy days of ranging through the 
Plaguelands and we have returned to Lake Country, my 
ancestral home.

Roughing it?

The truck held together as did the weather with 
only a brief spot of rain towards the end.

We are here for an undetermined amount of time to 
catch our breaths, rest, regroup and begin the 
process of finding a new home.

Though it feels like we're on vacation the thought
that there really is nothing to return to after the
vacation ends creeps in...as does the anxiety and 
The first night here was significantly depressing.

We've brought a small amount of belongings with us; 
mostly clothes, some food stuffs like olive oils, 
spices and the like (a small reminder of home) and 
a meager selection of books, electronics and 
personal items all of which needed to fit in the 
truck cab or the bed.

The Ranger has become our 'home' and though I have 
maintained it well throughout its 15 years and 
170k miles I am at times, concerned.
I've owned Rangers since 1989 and they've always 
come through for me...I must trust in Ford the 

My Ford: Shiva

We are weary, stressed and have much to do...but it
could be worse.
We are thankful for what we have and humbled by 
what lays ahead of us.

05 July 2020

Laden Ponies

A final entry from The Hobbit before leaving Colorado. 
It sums up everything I've been feeling for months now in regards to our situation, the move and the future.


Gandalf Stormcrow acting as an agent of change shakes the cobwebs and dreaming from Bilbo and ushers him forward to the path of destiny.
And, as is currently happening with myself, poor Bilbo is caught flat footed on the eve of his greatest adventure.
Quite possibly if he had thought it all through or prepared for it, it may never have happened at all.

So, out the door goes Bilbo...

Chapter 2: Roast Mutton...only somewhat edited here.

To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside without a hat, walking stick, or any money or anything that he usually took when he went out.
Leaving his second breakfast half unfinished and quite un-washed up.

Very puffed he was when he got to Bywater just on the stroke of eleven and found he had come without a pocket handkerchief.

"Bravo!" said Balin who was standing at the inn door looking out for him.

"I'm awfully sorry." said Bilbo.
"But I've come without my hat and I've left my pocket handkerchief behind and I haven't got any money.

I didn't get your note until after 10:45 to be precise."

"Don't be precise." said Dwalin.
"And don't worry, you'll have to manage without pocket handkerchiefs and a good many other things before you get to the journey's end."

That's how they all came to start.
Jogging off from the inn one fine morning just before May on laden ponies. 

02 July 2020

Song of Inspiration: Turisas - Stand up and Fight!

We all have songs of inspiration and this one is deep at my core...hearthstone material.

Stand Up and Fight!

The pouring rain,
Sticks my hair to my face,
An empty gaze is all I have left,
The stars that once lit my way have dimmed,
The sky turned grey,
The path once so clear
Faded away,
Blessed are the days when life is intent and clear,
No falter or doubt,
I know the way,
They are the days, I hoped,
I have never stepped from this road,
The spark I once had,
Seems to have died.

What a relief it would be to end this all,
How easy to fly the white flag and give up,
But would I run today just to die another day,
Give up now and every fight has been in vain.

Get up
You've made it this far
No loser you are
One more time
One more try.

Stand up and fight,
Stand up and look into the light,
Pushing the clouds away
Stand up and fight,
Stand up and see the sky turn bright,
Fight for a better day!

'You can count on us!'