LEGO Brand Retail
Aug 152008

Steampunk Telescope Walking StickI ran across this pretty cool steampunk walking stick on Hammacher Schlemmer today. It is pretty cool looking even when closed. When this brass and wood staff is opened it is a working telescope. Sweet.

Here’s the description from their site: Recalling the canes favored among Victorian gentleman to compliment proper attire, the walking stick has a 1″ thick staff made from solid, one-piece African rosewood (a durable wood often used in the construction of archery bows) that is stained and varnished.

This would compliment any steampunk fans wardrobe. I think it is kind of cool when you can stumble on a steampunk goodie at a regular store. Jules Verne would be proud.

May 132008

I noticed the scale of action figures seems to be going back down in size. Instead of all the hulking, big seven inch pieces of plastic we are once again seeing smaller three inch scale figures in the toy stores.

Since plastic is basically a petroleum based product do you think the trend in smaller toys is being caused by the higher oil prices? I know the cost of action figures and toys is going up. So where does that leave me and my collecting days? Are they numbered? Will I have to stop collecting or simply cut back in the amount of toys I buy? Honestly, I don’t like either option. I don’t want to stop or even reduce collecting my Star Trek figures. Maybe I just need to stop with the other items. No more Indian Jones. No more monsters. No more Lego. NO!

May 062008

I have used quite a few online shopping cart systems over the past few years like Yahoo, Miva Merchant, osCommerce and even custom programmed shopping carts. Each one has its benefits and its drawbacks. If you are looking for an eCommerce solution I suggest you check them all out but be sure to include AmeriCommerce in your research.

AmeriCommerce’s shopping cart is feature rich and affordable. What I have seen from the example eCommerce sites the software can produce some very attractive and functional online stores. While I cannot yet fully endorse this online store software, I know I will be suggesting this as a possible replacement to my clients who are currently seeking a replacement to their existing Yahoo Merchant Solutions accounts.

Feb 132008

The other day I received several boxes in the mail all containing Star Trek goodies. At first I was extremely excited and happy to be having such a geeky good day. But that feeling faded quickly.

First up was a small envelope, which contained my Spock Elf mini mate. He was all perfect and minty fresh in his sealed baggy where he will stay. Sorry Elf Spock you’ll have to hang out with the other hard to get minimates variants who’ll remain encased in their plastic carded prisons.

UPS DamageNext up was a box from Rick at New force Comics (my favorite place to get Star Trek collectibles). The folks at New Force always pack your stuff to get to you minty mint condition even when you buy an opener. But even their fine packing skills cannot hold up to the Samsonite gorillas (remember that Commercial or am I showing my age?) that work for UPS. The box was crushed and so were the contents. Every thing in it was smashed to some degree, while I am normally an opener some of these items were to remain mint in box. Smashed PhaserI know it was not New Force Comics’s fault and these things happen so I let them know about the damage to the contents and they gave me UPS’ number which I promptly called the next morning [2/9/08].

Now all I have to do is wait for UPS to pony up the insurance money to Rick so I can get my replacement items. The phaser’s box was badly smashed, the EMCE mego-like figures had smooshed corners on the bubbles and the best was the space seed Kirk and Khan which some how got packing peanuts way up inside the package (this is actually really funny-take a look).

 Andorian Andorian Spock

 Smashed Phaser Space Seed Figures Space Seed Figures

Then there was my box from the online shop at The outside of this box was mostly fine but the contents were not. The items were damaged — all of them — although I did not notice some of it until after I had already spoken to customer service. It was pretty clear due to the type of damage on the Star Trek Store Quality Control IssuesFirst Contact Data that this figure was picked and packed if that condition. Come on people you are dealing with collectors, Star Trek collectors at that, we are a very picky bunch and this quality of product will never do! The figure was already opened completely along one side. As I stated earlier these were going to be staying in their packages not going to be opened sort of defeats the purpose when they come already opened.

The next item out of the box was to be a replacement for my cloaked Romulan Ship from Johnny Lightning series three, mine had a nacelle rolling around in the packaging (not sure how that happened since I had not moved or dropped it since it was added to the collection months ago), but there it was broken. Happy to find just the ship I needed I was glad to add it to my order, but extremely disappointed when the replacement I received had the exact same problem! Now this could have happened in transit so we won’t blame the folks at the Star Trek store for this one, just everything else in the box. Oops, check out the picture the bubble is smashed guess they are to blame afterall.

 Star Trek Store Quality Control Issues Star Trek Store Quality Control Issues Star Trek Store Quality Control Issues

Star Trek Store Quality Control IssuesI called customer service [2/9/08] to report the problems; they were nice enough, apologized and promised to send replacements. As I said earlier that was before I got home and looked at the remaining items the EMCE toys mego-like retro Kirk and Klingon, both of which were to remain mint in box as I had already opened my set I received from Rick at New force Comics months ago. Both of these figures had bubble damage and were certainly no longer MIP. Again this damage appeared to be a pre-packaging problem as the box had no outside damage and was packed with air pillows. Either that or the air pillows were not enough to protect it during shipping, which is also a possibility. 

Star Trek Store Quality Control IssuesSo upon final inspection I called customer service back [evening of 2/9/08] to explain that the entire order was damaged and not up to my standards. Again they apologized and promised to send out replacements for the other items [Kirk/Klingon figures] as well. Okay fine, sounded good to me. They get their damaged items back and I get (hopefully) better quality replacements. So I box everything back up and await the call tag with my new items now coming in two replacement orders. Oh and did I mention this was my first encounter with this particular online entity? Well, it bears repeating. First and last I might add.

UPDATE: I got my packages from the Star Trek store [2/12/08], they sent me too replacements of the Data figure and Romulan ship! No sign of my retro figures and no sign of their precious call tag either. So now I must call up their customer service, which has a really long wait (I hate being on hold) to clear up yet another one of their mistakes. I really don’t think I will be going back to them again anytime soon. If you buy from them make sure to point out special care in picking and packing, that you want mint items, etc. or you may wind up with poor quality and service like me.

UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: Called customer service [2/13/08] to get this mess cleared up once and for all so I never have to deal with them again. They had no record of my order being for the Kirk and Klingon even though I had read the customer service rep the item numbers some how they were confused and simply repeated my first replacement order. So I asked once again to have the one Kirk and one Klingon resent. And since this was now my third call and third package from them I asked to speak with a manager to see what if anything they could do for me. Well, I was never allowed to speak with said supervisor the customer service rep returned and said they would return my original shipping and handling. Oh joy, that makes up for my having to wait for the items for a third time and then have to trudge them all out to a UPS store to ship them back, I think not. To top it off she comes back to tell me that she will send out the Kirk figure as an order for the Klingon was already placed (Yeah because I needed another one and was mistakenly buying it from them. I was paying for that order it was not a replacement order! So I guess their idea of good customer service is to have the customer PAY for their own replacements when they send out damaged items.) I have little hope that I will be receiving two packages from these people next week, which contain the right items. I have absolutely no confidence in this company and recommend that collectors stay away from them.

Dec 092007

Since the accident I have pretty much been stuck in the house with nothing to do but watch television and play on my computer. There is no opportunity for me to get out and about to do my Christmas shopping this year. Thank goodness I still have time shop online. However, I am on a bit of a budget too as I have been out of work now for two weeks. So I need to watch what I am spending. That’s where sites like come in handy with their listings of coupons and discount codes.

They have codes to help me save on all the top brands like their HP coupon for free shipping or the Amazon discounts and coupon codes for things throughout the store. I know I’ll find great savings thanks to

Nov 232007

I noticed that Wal-mart was having several Black Friday sales. I have no intention of ever going into the Elverson, PA Walmart again, but I was curious about whether they had the same sales the company was advertising all over the place.  I really doubt it. They are continuing to sell their new release DVDs […]

May 012007

First, they discontinue my favorite ice tea, oolong leaving me and the rest of the world with that crappy blueberry oolong. If you are going to continue to make oolong to add the over powering blueberry flavor to it why not still make the good plain oolong? It is SO much better than that stuff […]