I Love Gumball Machines

Remember the trill of gumball machines? The magic of finding the machine that has what you want and putting in a quarter only to have it pop out a tiny prize?

I LOVED them as a child and I have to admit that I still do. I still eye the quarter machines in the mall in case there’s a Blythe-sized treasure waiting to be found, I still pour yen into gashapon machines when I’m in Japan hoping for the cutest of the cute, and I still love every minute of it. They’re almost like little gambling machines that you win at every time. What could be better?

According to Wikipedia, vending machines were widely used in Europe before they became popular in the United States. In the early 1880s, the first commercial coin operated vender was introduced in London and stocked with postcards.

So this post is in honor of the gumball machine, quarter machine, gashapon (or gacha) and the chicken machine. Each of them have made my days a little brighter and a little more whimsical with their plastic, surprise balls. And you know how much I love surprise balls.

In fact, in honor of my love for the gumball machine I decided to craft my own cameo gumball rings and supply them to you in a plastic gumball capsule to remind you of those wonder-filled childhood days. I’ve also moved the shop here to stay (an economical decision!) so you don’t have to go far to browse. I hope you enjoy them!

1980s Toy Box: The Dark Crystal

This article is dedicated to one of my all-time favorite movie masterpieces, “The Dark Crystal”. Here I hope to share as much as I can get about this movie. I’m learning as I go, so don’t go thinking I know everything there is to know about it yet. I’m going by what’s out there to look through.

I’ve recently purchased a slightly less than mint Marvel Comic of this wonderful movie and an elusive (not to mention very rare!) book entitled “The World of the Dark Crystal” by none other than Brian Froud. I’ll try to give as much credit as possible to those of whom I gathered these resources from, but almost all of the credit goes to Jim Henson and Brian Froud.

Brian Froud’s page includes excerpts and explainations from the movie, but it’s just not enough information for my neverending appetite for this movie. It does, however, include some beautiful, captivating lost gelfling created by Brian Froud’s wife, Wendy Midener Froud. Her eye for realism in a totally fanciful world is amazing! It makes you wonder if they do exist out there somewhere on their little planet of Thra with their three circling suns.

This movie is a masterpiece, one of the greatest movies ever created, in my opinion. It just happened to be one of those movies that required a little more insight for it to be appreciated, though personally, I would’ve prefered the Skesis to be speaking their own language leaving us puny humans (that don’t know Greek and Egyptian dialects) to read the subtitles. I also would’ve liked to see the Emperor’s funeral in the original and more podling structures, culture, and even an explanation as to *what* they were living in (giant seeds!!).

Featured Links

John’s Crystal Corner
The Unofficial Dark Crystal Page
The Language of the Skeksis
The World of Brian Froud
The Dark Crystal Wikipedia
The Dark Crystal Muppet Wikipedia
The Dark Crystal 1982 Movie Trailer

This article was originally featured at Starluck’s 80’s Nostalgia Page in 2002.

Defending Disney

I hate seeing pictures and hearing girls’ comments about how Disney deceived them for life by telling them that every girl will get their prince charming. Disney didn’t deceive anyone, at least… Not the way you would initially think.

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Upon seeing this, as a girl who was raised on these movies, who BEGGED for the VHS ( do you guys remember those? They were like black bricks and you put them in the thing. Nothing was more tragic then when your player ate the film inside?) of Sleeping Beauty, knew all the words to all the songs in The Little Mermaid.
When I saw this, my entire childhood shattered.
Until I realized how one-sided this picture is.

In the words of Walt Disney, about Cinderella to start with, “She believed in dreams all right, but she also believed in doing something about them. When Prince Charming didn’t come along, she went over to the palace and got him.”
Because more then one person needs to put in the effort for a happy ending.

Or Belle. Who doesn’t save the beast’s life with her sexual interest as the picture depicts. He is saved by her love.
Because you need to love and be loved for a happy ending.

While Ariel’s story in the picture is quite true, she had changed her appearance to win the affections of the prince, paying the price of her voice. The part about her having nothing valuable to say…Well I just don’t think that’s right.
Oh! But before we think that Ariel is totally helpless, lets remember she saved Prince Eric’s life not once, but twice. Once while he is drowning, and once more as he is about to marry Vanessa/Ursula.
Eric suspects that she’s (Ariel) is the one that saved him as he meets her on the shore, but quickly disregards said suspicion because she can’t talk.
You know, because you have to talk to be able to swim and save someone from drowning right? Right? Sorry this guy’s kinda a moron. But that’s neither here nor there.
She sacrifices her tail and voice to be with Prince Eric. And proves perfectly capable without them, so long as she has her friends, and saved him from Vanessa/Ursula’s grip.
Point being, every happy ending costs something. You can’t get there without sacrificing.
Also, you can do anything with your friends. We-as humans- were not MADE to journey alone.

Jasmine, from the get go, was angered that people were treating her like a trophy. Alladin had to win her heart, she didn’t just throw herself at him.
Sleeping Beauty and Snow White weren’t saved by their physical appearance. Snow White was saved by her compassion for others ( in her case, the Dwarves), and Sleeping Beauty had a spell casted over her where she would sleep. So what the hell was she going to do? SOMEONE had to go get her, might as well be the Prince. If he didn’t go through the thorns and slay the dragon…Well then he wouldn’t have deserved a girl like her.
Actually Sleeping Beauty and Snow White is kinda where this arguement falls short because I hadn’t cared for either of those movies when I was younger, but the point is:
You have to respect yourself to get to a happy ending.

Disney deceived no one. Stop blaming multi-billion dollar franchises for your lack of dates and focus on something other then boys. All of these girls knew that one day they would fall in love, and they didn’t toss themselves at everyone until they found Mr. Right. Cinderella cared for her friends, Belle read books, Ariel was fascinated by human life, Jasmine had a f*cking tiger so if that’s not some form entertainment I don’t know what is. Princess Tatiana even had a GOAL that didn’t involve getting married. In fact, she even cared about hygiene, she  definitely didn’t want to kiss that frog.

Oh, not to mention that nothing that comes out of Disney is original, all their movies are based off of books and folk tales. But it’s easier to just point one finger, I guess. That’s a whole different playing field.

I Love Paper Dolls

Many of us enjoyed the fascination of paper dolls when we were young, they’re a wonderful toy that provided us with a cute creative outlet. I loved them so much as a child that I’ve decided to devote a post to them, including some history curtesy of Wikipedia. Not only do they inspire fashion design and creativity but they’re easy as pie to make!

Apparently paper dolls have been around for a long time, too, as long as there’s been paper. Centuries ago, in Asia, faces were applied to paper and used in religious rituals and ceremonies. The dolls at that time, however, did not have clothes. The earliest account of the paper dolls we’re more familiar with is in France during the mid-eighteenth century. They created puppets, called pantins, with hand-drawn and hand-painted fashions.

In America the biggest producer of paper dolls was McLoughlin Brothers, founded in the early 1800s. They sold out to Milton Bradley in the 1920s which is around the time paper dolls became popular.

These days it seems there are more digital dolls released than paper dolls, but they have have a lot in common. Digital dolls can have thousands of fashion and accessories for you to decorate your doll — tons of possibilities. However with paper dolls you can decorate with paper, fabric and other supplies which makes each creation much more unique.

Now let’s enjoy some of the lovely paper dolls our world has been graced with through the years (like these super cute vintage Japanese paper dolls)…

Thanks expo 67 lounge, Teri’s Paper Dolls and peppermint kiss kiss for the vintage paper dolls and Rushita for the Sailor Moon paper dolls!

Download Kisekae Dolls (Digital Paper Dolls)

My favorite Kisekae doll artist was always Kimiki, you can find her dolls here.

Cats are a girl’s best friend

I have a small confession to make – When I arrive at my boyfriend’s house, my main priority is not a kiss and a cuddle with him. My main priority is his ginger cat, Greg. I will sit and question the household about Greg’s day. How is he coping with the heat? How much sleep has he had? And – most importantly – is he around for a cuddle? My boyfriend will sit in the wings, patiently waiting his turn.

I’ve not always been so generous with my feelings for cats. In fact, I used to hate them. They would stroll into our garden, stare at me, hiss and declare their hatred of me. Terrified, I would flee in hysterics. Convinced I was a dog in a former life, I accepted cats and I would never live happily together in this world. But this was before an old ginger cat called Sandy made an appearance in my home. Senile, narcissistic and solely focused around food, I realised that cats were actually incredibly comical. And that was the start of my love affair.

This love affair has slowly spiralled (some say into madness – I beg to differ.) I reckon I’ve come to the conclusion that cats and I understand each other very well: we both appreciate the wonders of comfort, the freedom of just doing what we fancy, when we fancy, and welcome cuddles. Cats truly are inspirational creatures. You could be having a bad day at work with someone shouting in your face and you could think “You know what? I have a cat at home that’s infinitely nicer than you, and softer to stroke.” They also offer a sympathetic ear to any of your problems (read: they don’t judge you as they don’t understand a word you say).

So I’m unashamedly a crazy cat lady in the making.  I’ve done a 180 degree turn. Cats make me incredibly happy, and I’m only slightly hesitant to admit they are often a lot less hassle than humans!

Let’s pass it on over to you – why do cats have a special place in your heart?

Mull it over whilst gazing into the eyes of Greg –