Hideaway Computer Station from 1984

I was browsing an old issue of Popular Mechanics when I found this piece on how to build a computer station that hides that pesky machine when not in use. Ergonomically it probably works better than just about any desk I ever had in the 1980s and I can see how once sealed your computer would be out of sight. My issue with this, and all hideaway models, is why would I ever want to put my computer away? I felt that way since my first computer and I feel that way now. Sure I like to minimize wires and unnecessary components, but I always wanted quick access to my machine. This rolltop just wouldn’t do, although I can respect that other people might want to do that, especially with the clunkier machines of the past.


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The Promise of Computerized Hairstyle Analysis

In the late 1970 a technology cropped up that promised to bring relief to millions of poorly shorn Americans. By using sophisticated tool and these things called computers, Hair 2000 promised to take the guesswork out of hairstyles with their “Symmetry 2000″. From the footage and family photos I have seen from the late 1970s and early 1980s, I would have to say that the technology might not have been perfect.


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Terminator 2 Teaser Endoskeleton Factory Teaser Trailer


In 1990 they started showing this preview for T2 in theaters. I don’t remember which film I saw it with, but it was definitely the topic of conversation for weeks afterwards between my movie-loving friends.

See the construction of a Terminator was a genius way to promote a film without giving away anything about the plot in the upcoming sequel and it fueled my imagination with wild concepts and “what ifs” that remained right up until I saw the actual film. I would put this in any top list of trailers ever made for effectiveness.

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Dress like a 1980s Decathloner

In 1976 Bruce Jenner set America on fire when he won the decathlon. Four years later, even with the 1980 Olympics a no go for many countries who were boycotting it because the Soviet Unions war in Afghanistan, the decathlon was still buzzworthy enough of a term to move sports clothing. In this ad you see how little it costs to look the part, just remember that to look like a true decathloner in addition to really short shorts, you must maintain eye contact with everyone at all times. It is a little known fact that steely gaze is an important criteria and, when overlooked, cost many a hardened athlete the gold.


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Magnum P.I’s John Hillerman for Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts


Before I started seeing these memorable ads starring John Hillerman, who played Higgins on Magnum P.I., I had never even heard of Macadamia Nuts. But since the first commercial, I have always associated them with Mauna Loa. Being a big Magnum fan, I of course wanted to try them, but these were not cheap nuts, so I resorted to the last resort of desperate kids and put them on my Christmas list. To my surprise, I got a jar from my Grandmother, who told me to not eat them all at once. It was sound advice and I completely ignored it and got so nut sick that I couldn’t eat Christmas dinner.

You would think I would learn my lesson, but I was so sold on these nuts by the commercials (plus they are tasty), that when I visited a nut plantation in Hawaii and was given unlimited access to Macadamia Nuts, I gorged myself on them. My belly, swelled with delicious nut meat, ached for the rest of the day and I missed out on a day of sun and surf.

I promised myself that I would learn control of my nut consumption from that day forward, but I know that is a lie, because try as I might, I just can’t resist them.

Here are some of the ads that helped put Macadamia Nuts on my map. Including one that has future star Tia Carrere in a featured role.

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Dark Hall Mansion Reveals Latest Limited Edition: The Twilight Zone

Friends, we’ve posted a bit of the talented Tom Whalen’s artwork on the site once or twice before but a few days ago we were contacted by Dark Hall Mansion who were understandably excited about his next limited edition project with them! DHM is producing 10 exclusive prints, with Tom picking one classic episode to showcase. The subscription service for this beautiful series started on Tuesday, so follow the links below to check out the pricing.

Image courtesy of Dark Hall Mansion.

Image courtesy of Dark Hall Mansion.

From the official Press Release:

“Dark Hall Mansion, www.DarkHallMansion.com, is thrilled and honored to reveal its latest officially licensed limited edition project and release: “The Twilight Zone.”

Dark Hall Mansion, under license by CBS Consumer Products, will release a 10-print “The Twilight Zone” series focused on key classic episodes of the legendary series that redefined television and set a creative bar by which decades of writers and filmmakers still measure themselves today. The importance of “The Twilight Zone” and its unparalleled creative output and unflinching mirror on the individual and society, particularly in an era when this was simply not done, cannot be underscored. Its impact on television, films, screenwriters, directors, authors, the comics industry, and creative artists within all fields still resonates and informs every genre to this day.

Dark Hall Mansion’s officially licensed 10-print limited edition subscription screenprint series goes on sale Tuesday, August 19th, and will feature 10 classic “The Twilight Zone” episodes rendered by leading contemporary artist, Tom Whalen. The 10-print “The Twilight Zone” editions will be offered as a subscription print series with an exclusive worldwide run of only 230 Standard edition subscriptions and 70 Variant edition subscriptions. Each of the 10 individual prints will focus on one classic “The Twilight Zone” episode, each rendered in artist Tom Whalen’s inimitable and dynamic style, each measuring 18″ x 24″ and each fully screen printed. Prints will include classic episodes like “Eye of the Beholder,” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” “Living Doll,” and “Nick of Time,” plus surprises along the way. The series will be fittingly lead off by an appropriately unsettling and slightly creepy “The Twilight Zone” episode that happens to be one of Tom’s (and his Dad’s) personal favorites, “Eye of the Beholder.”

A disturbing classic, the episode’s final imagery is arresting and unforgettable even to contemporary audiences. Tom Whalen has created a piece for “Eye of the Beholder” that is deliberate and meticulously crafted, from its “The Twilight Zone” ‘eye’ element, to its “Beholder” font, a font that Tom noted specifically echoes a studied association with the word “beautiful,” the print’s composition is at once grounded in the reality of the episode while still subtly dissolving into an ethereal upper plane that fans will instantly recognize as Tom’s nod to the starry sky from “The Twilight Zone’s” famous opening credit sequences. The episode’s climactic scene of a patient’s terrified attempt at escaping her monstrous doctors is made all the more jarring by Tom’s expressionistic hallway and visual suggestion that one false step and her feet will simply slide into that very land of shadow and substance.

For worldwide fans of the “Twilight Zone,” this is a very limited release as only 230 Standard edition subscription allocations will be available-worldwide-with an even more limited allocation of just 70 Variant subscriptions available worldwide. The Standard edition subscription-which will include all 10 prints-will price at $450 and the Variant edition subscription-also including all 10 prints-and printed with striking metallic ink highlights underscoring the print series’ vintage TV aesthetic will price at $650. “The Twilight Zone” prints will be issued throughout 2014-15 per artist Tom Whalen’s scheduling, and know Tom’s very next “The Twilight Zone” print will feature a gentle little girl and her very unique and disturbing doll, “Talky Tina.”

So what’s next?!!

Well, fans and collectors can also expect guest artist print reveals on additional classic “The Twilight Zone” episodes-outside of Tom Whalen’s subscription series releases-with each guest artist print being rendered in their respective artist’s own unique style and with each guest artist addressing “The Twilight Zone,” as either series, or, rendering a specific classic episode not already in Tom’s subscription series. The 10-print “The Twilight Zone” subscription series will come with notable perks too! The first of which is: An automatic lock/reserve option to purchase any “The Twilight Zone” print created by these guest artists! Standard edition subscription holders will be entitled to a reserve/lock corresponding to Standard edition guest artist prints, Variant subscription holders to a reserve/lock on Variant guest artist prints.

Shhh, little hint, did we mention Laurent Durieux will be doing a guest artist appearance for one of his own personal favorite “Twilight Zone” episodes?! Subscriptions holders will have first reserve/lock rights on his piece, just as they will for all other guest artist appearance “The Twilight Zone” prints!

In the event that a particular guest artist requests their particular edition’s run size be somewhat smaller, in keeping with their respective collector base, and thus fewer than 300 prints total to go round for all subscription holders, then that guest artist’s total available print output will be offered by lotto to subscription series holders first, and should any subscription holder not receive a guest artist print, they will instead receive a FREE DHM print of our choosing from our past release archives. Yes, FREE! *Incidentally, this should really apply to only one artist we can think of that’s coming onto our guest artist releases as he tends to do a little smaller than 300 editions overall for his usual print releases. So only his, plus a special situation with a group release, (see below), should come in under the usual 300 total. All other guest artist releases should be offered in the same run size as the subscription allocations: 230 Std + 70 Variant. Once again, with subscription holders having first reserve right/lock on those guest artist prints.

OK, how about another surprise: 4 very lucky Standard subscription buyers + 4 very lucky Variant subscription buyers (randomly chosen) will open their subscription tubes to find they instead now own a rare Tom Whalen foil “The Twilight Zone” subscription edition!! Thus a collector who finds a foil “Eye of the Beholder” in his tube can also expect their ENTIRE 10-print run to also be on foil! Note: There will also be 4 foil Standard subscriptions available for purchase (#’s 1-#4 available) for $1250 for the entire 10-print Standard foil run, or $1250 for the entire 10-print Variant foil run (also #1-#4 available). There are ONLY 4 Standard edition foil subscriptions available for purchase and ONLY 4 Variant edition foil subscriptions available for purchase, again, since Standard foil subscriptions (#’s 5-8) and Variant foil subscriptions (also #’s 5-8) will already be randomly inserted in tubes as a surprise to those lucky subscription buyers.

Another subscription perk, and it’s a big one: ALL Standard and Variant “The Twilight Zone” subscription series buyers will be entitled to an automatic lock/reserve on the first DHM Seminal Film Series release of 2014: Paramount’s 1953 SCI-FI classic “The War of the Worlds,” also by Tom Whalen, att, a full 24″ x 36,” fully licensed, screen printed piece just revealed yesterday! Pricing on Tom’s very first Seminal Film Series release ever will be $65 for the Standard edition and $100 for the Variant edition, plus shipping. So purchasing either a Standard or Variant “The Twilight Zone” subscription series will assure its buyer a reserve lock for being able to purchase Tom’s “The War of the Worlds” piece as well.

One more surprise for our collectors: We are welcoming the “Poster Posse” artists to join DHM to participate in Dark Hall Mansion’s “The Twilight Zone” project as well! “Poster Posse’s” loose confederation of gifted artists originates from the quite excellent, Blurppy.com blog, and will be creating prints for one of our “The Twilight Zone” guest artist spots down the line. So know 10 different “Poster Posse” artists will each interpret the same very special, quite classic, “The Twilight Zone” episode. Their episode’s work will be formally licensed, printed, and sold by DHM in extremely limited runs as each of these 10 artists will do only 23 Standard editions + 7 Variant editions each, and together this entire select DHM “Poster Posse” edition for that one key “The Twilight Zone” episode-totaling a combined 230 Std + 70 Variants-will be randomly offered to subscription series owners first, just as with all guest artist releases.

Again, this is IN ADDITION to expecting other notable guest artists popping up throughout the overall “The Twilight Zone” subscription series to share their own personal interpretations on other classic “The Twilight Zone” episodes.

Both the Standard and Variant edition Tom Whalen “Eye of the Beholder” pieces are attached, and may also be viewed directly on Dark Hall Mansion’s Facebook Page or on DHM’s Blog!

All “The Twilight Zone” limited edition subscription series go on sale Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 on Dark Hall Mansion’s dedicated store page here: http://www.darkhallmansionstore.com/ at a random time between 9:30 AM PST and 12 PM PST.

*In fairness to all collectors wishing to purchase the official 10-print Tom Whalen “The Twilight Zone” subscription to enjoy or gift, not merely ‘flip’ for resale: ALL SALES ARE FINAL. “The Twilight Zone” subscription is a purchase of 10 officially licensed Standard or Variant limited edition prints sold only as a 10-print series plus shipping. A purchase of either a $450 (for a 10-Print Standard subscription) or $650 (for a 10-Print Variant subscription) requires a flat fee shipping of $15, per print, shipped anywhere in the US, or $25, per print, shipped anywhere-worldwide. The combined shipping total for all 10 prints must accompany each “The Twilight Zone” subscription at the time of purchase. Thus $150 covers the complete shipping total for all 10 Tom Whalen Standard or Variant subscription prints shipped anywhere in the US, or $250 covers the complete shipping total for all 10 Tom Whalen Standard or Variant subscription prints shipped anywhere worldwide. The respective total will be added to your subscription at the time of purchase. Any buyer purchasing both a Standard and Variant subscription series will only be charged ONE domestic shipping total ($150) or ONE int’l shipping total ($250) as we can combine your prints each time we post out your parcel. California buyers will be charged 7.5% tax; sorry, nothing we can do about that as we too are in CA.

**NOTE: If you’d prefer to PAY SHIPPING AS YOU GO ($15/per shipped print within the US or $25/per shipped print internationally) on each of the 10 “The Twilight Zone” prints as they individually ship out after each release, then just send us an email on Tues at: info@darkhallmansion.com-after checking out via Paypal-with your last name in the subject line along with “PAY SHIPPING AS I GO” and we will refund you $135 US or $225 int’l (since the “Eye of the Beholder” prints are all ready to ship out!) and you may then just pay each single $15 or $25 shipping fee as we release each new Whalen print in “The Twilight Zone” series.

So once a subscription is purchased the buyer may opt to do nothing else other than simply receive each of their 10 Tom Whalen “The Twilight Zone” episode prints as they release periodically, receiving a tracking number via email each time their piece ships out to them. And YES(!!) we will ABSOLUTELY have overage on hand for every single print issued throughout the series in case any collector’s tube gets dinged in postal transit so we can IMMEDIATELY replace your print with NO delay and NO complication whatsoever!! Indeed, the “Eye of the Beholder” prints are already printed and only awaiting to ship out, and again, “Beholder’s” overage is also at the ready. Tom’s next “The Twilight Zone” piece will follow, but first, subscription buyers will have an option to purchase his fantastic 24″ x 36″ DHM Seminal Film Series release for “The War of the Worlds!”

**Subscription series prints will only be shipped to the original buyer of the Standard or Variant “The Twilight Zone” subscriptions using their registered Paypal address of record-only! There will be NO partial refunds or cancellations of any purchased subscription anywhere along the way and the prints will be issued and shipped regularly throughout the subscription’s run period of 2014-15 in accordance with artist Tom Whalen’s schedule.

***Note: “The Twilight Zone” guest artist prints will vary in price in accord, and with deference to, the respective guest artist’s input and collector base, however most will usually price at $65 for the Std or $100 for the Variant per our usual range, with subscription series holders having the reserve option/right, but NOT obligation, to purchase those additional guest artist prints FIRST. Subscription series holders will be notified by email each time a guest artist print will be released along with its issuance price and they will have the right to purchase that guest artist print anytime up to 3 days prior the print’s general release to the public. Again: Subscription series holders wishing to exercise their lock/reserve right MUST purchase their guest artist print NO LATER THAN 3 DAYS PRIOR the general release date if interested or it will be assumed they are passing on that particular guest artist’s release so that print can be offered publicly to other interested collectors. We will send out each new “The Twilight Zone” guest artist print notification to each subscription series owner one week prior each release, as well as post each guest artist print image on our DHM Facebook page, DHM site, and tweet it (so please follow us), all to allow ample time for subscription holders to review each new guest artist piece and make their decision accordingly. Once more: It is understood that any “The Twilight Zone” guest artist piece not purchased by a subscription series holder 3 days prior to its general release date will be interpreted as a pass and the guest artist print made available to the general public.

To state the obvious, these “The Twilight Zone” guest artist prints are special surprise releases-and outside the 10-print Standard and Variant Tom Whalen subscriptions-so if you’ve already purchased your “The Twilight Zone” subscription and just want your Tom Whalen “The Twilight Zone” prints sent to you-then you need do NOTHING! Just grab a remote, turn on a classic “The Twilight Zone” episode, enjoy brilliance, and know something extremely special’s headed your way, something that few people worldwide will even have access to!”

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Arena (1989), the B-movie That Brings the Retro for Both the 80s and the 90s

Here’s a classic sci-fi B-movie which will take you back to the 80s, but it’s also one which will take you back to the 90s. While the movie itself harkens back to the days of 80s sci-fi movies, three of its main characters would later go on to be well-known characters in sci-fi TV series in the early 90s.

The villain Rogor will be familiar to Deep Space 9 fans as Gul Dukat, while his minion Weezil will likewise be familiar to Deep Space 9 fans as Quark:



…Meanwhile Quinn, the lead character’s manager, will be very familiar to any Babylon 5 fans as Susan Ivanova:


What’s interesting is that each of these actors played a very similar role in their respective TV series as they did in this movie, and Quark and Dukat even have similar looking makeup effects. One has to wonder if the creators of Deep Space 9 and Babylon 5 saw this movie before making their casting choices. It’s also interesting that both of those series took place on a space station, and so did this movie.

There is another person in this film which most viewers will think they recognize. Most viewers will be wrong.


While the lead character does bear a striking resemblance to Christopher Reeves, but he is actually a completely unrelated actor, Paul Satterfield.

Now for the movie itself… The film can best be thought of as “Rocky in space”, for it tells the tale of a talented but unknown young fighter, training to become the champion. Steve Armstrong is trying to get a ticket back to earth, in order to do so he becomes an arena fighter to earn some money. In the arena, fighters from all planets and species fight each other in something which falls somewhere between boxing and sumo wrestling (a fighter wins by getting his opponent out of the ring). While different species have varying sizes & strengths, this is all balanced out by the handicapping system which uses some sort of energy beam to weaken the stronger fighter down to match the weaker fighter (though this is only of limited use when one of the fighters is gigantic), a key plot-point is about the villains trying to manipulate the handicapper to their advantage.

While it’s inevitable that any futuristic sci-fi movie set in space will garner comparisons to Star Wars, there’s really nothing at all in this movie that resembles Star Wars, the only thing that comes close at all is a scene where a holographic girl sings in a bar, somewhat reminiscent of the cantina scene.

The special effects used to create the aliens are impressive for a B-movie, they’re even pretty good for a standard movie of this era. It’s certainly nice to see a scenario filled with alien-looking aliens (unlike every incarnation of Star Trek).

I originally saw this movie on Cinemax back before DS9 or Babylon 5 aired & was quite fond of it. When I did see DS9 and B5, I didn’t remember any of the characters from the movie. I rewatched Arena a few years ago however, and kept thinking “Oooo! That’s that guy from DS9! Oooo! That’s that other guy from DS9! Ooo! That’s that chick from Babylon 5!”.

Any sci-fi fans out there seriously need to see this movie at least once.

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