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Chiller Theatre April 2015: Black Ink and Colorful People

27 Apr

April 27, 2015

I went to the Chiller Theatre Convention this past weekend and as always, a good time was had by all. There were plenty of celebrities. I got my picture taken with Gilbert Gottfried, and he autographed a Dracula Gottfried picture for me.

Dracula Gottfried

You may remember Dracula Gottfried from this blog post.

The interesting thing was, for a guy known so much for his voice, I don’t think I heard him speak to anyone.

I also had my picture taken with Gavin “Captain Stubing from the Love Boat” MacLeod, and yes, he was wearing his captain’s hat. That man knows which side his bread is buttered on.

crop merrill

Along with movie and TV stars, and also a few people you aren’t quite sure how to categorize (AKA The Guy Who Played Chaka The Ape Boy On Land Of The Lost), there were a lot of wrestlers. This is normal for Chiller, and leads me into my biannual Greg “The Hammer” Valentine update. I’ve been doing this since 2012, when he looked like this:

It became a legend that his leathery, almost baseball glove-like face never, ever changed. In fact, he almost never seemed to move. Here he is last year:

Hulk Hogan Fan Appreciation Day at Toyota Park - July 10, 2009

And here he is all the shows in between:

Hulk Hogan Fan Appreciation Day at Toyota Park - July 10, 2009

So what did he look like this year?

Hulk Hogan Fan Appreciation Day at Toyota Park - July 10, 2009

I don’t know. He wasn’t there. This was quite a big blow to me, not because I actually wanted to see him, but because I wanted to see how many years I could keep this joke running. 2012 – 2015. Not bad.

But softening the blow was the fact that Jake “The Snake” Roberts was here this year, and trust me, he didn’t move much either. However, I hope he shows up next year, and you’ll see why in a second. He’s going to replace Greg Valentine as the new running Chiller joke, and it is all because of his mustache.

Here’s how he was advertised on the Chiller site:

grey jake

And here’s how he looked in person.

black jake

That mustache has been dyed to within an inch of its life. In fact, the only thing there to rival Jake’s mustache was Anson William’s hair. Yes, Potsie from Happy Days. His head looked like he had just dunked it in a vat of ink. Sorry there’s no picture, I couldn’t stop staring and lost my senses.

Also there were The Dudley Boys, Bubba Ray and Devon. Immediately after I shot this picture, Bubba Ray shot me a glare that would have scared Andre the Giant. I think he was upset that I took his picture without buying anything. Sorry Bubba.

crop dudleys

I bought a cool Chiller T-shirt and some old paperbacks, and generally had a great time. There was a guy walking around in the creepiest scarecrow costume I’ve seen, and I have no idea if he paid to get in or just walked in like he belonged there. I wouldn’t ask him for a ticket if I was at the desk.

crop scarecrow

I’m already looking forward to October.

Unpopular Science

15 Apr

April 15, 2015

A couple of issues back, Popular Science (their motto: we’re not really popular, we just have a big ego) published an article about how to build a DIY hovercraft. For those of you not in the know, DIY means “do it yourself,” which is what I plan to tell my kids someday.

So “Hey,” I thought. “I always wanted to ride around in a hovercraft.” So I read a little further and found that it was an article about how to build a DIY hovercraft out of a pair of paper plates.

Clearly I was not going to do much hovering on that.

But hey, I kept reading and for sure, I learned a few things.

1- I would need to go out and buy three small fans (with particular wiring requirements)
2- I would have to use a drill and attach the fans with certain screws that I would also have to buy somewhere to the paper plates.
3- I repeat- I would be using a power tool to put a tiny hole in a paper plate. Isn’t a safety pin good enough?

I already had the paper plates, but I did not have the fans with the particular wiring requirements, the right size screws, a bracket to hold the batteries, or the technical ability to follow the directions.

Making the “hovercraft,” and I use the term loosely as it is made of paper plates, required following a complex schematic and some precision drilling. And what did the article say I would end up with? I am paraphrasing, but it more or less said that I’d end up with an expensive paper plate that hovered an inch or two off the ground.

I’d get better results with a Frisbee and a dog in the park.

The month before, Popular Science had the directions to build some DIY electronic thing that had more warnings than your average Fukushima reactor. And what did it do? It was an umbrella stand that lit up when it was rainy out. Seriously.

Here is the actual hovercraft diagram from the magazine:

supplies-hovercraft

Helpful, isn’t it?

And here’s an actual step from the directions:

Saw two corners off each fan case, leaving the wired corner and the one opposite attached. Arrange the fans inside the top plate as in step 1, and pass nylon screws, from below, through the eight mounting holes in both the top plate and the fans.

Note that I have to use a saw to lop off part of the fans. For a paper plate toy!

I’m not sure this is worth losing a thumb over.

On their site you can also find an article on, and I swear I am not making this up, how to build a laser-sighted blowgun for only $3. What could possibly go wrong?

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