Friday, April 29, 2011

Dying Steps

Some where in the dens of morning Aloysius came to me with tales we has forgot. It was of a time of his wanting where ruin took the the southern slopes. Of some deluge that sank low the homes that sailed as idle ships upon the land. In these days those with wits hid with the high pasture steading waiting out the rain. But here I speak of wisdom and well we know Aloysius was without. He would save his own for they were what little he cared he had.

Even in that there was worry, of Nicene, so he cast all away. Casting care aside and not considering chores he rightfully owned, and left. To her high lands bright and choked with light.

Climbing steps that wound around themselves Aloysius was confounded by Nicenes host. And their eyes were not filled by his disheveled shapes; glaring upon him in his need. What was he to take Nicene dry with competense and drowning his in lack.

Hicks Road

Ah the Satan worshiping albinos of San Jose, California's hicks road a subject near and dear to my heart. I first came upon the subject Not with regard to Hicks road but March road in Milpitas. Someone told me a story with a house of Satanic Albinos living on the road and stated by writing a name on the bridge just before the house would end in that persons death. Which is a decent urban legend if not for the fact that they are combining something from the House of Seven Gates and retconning it to the location of the Rivers Edge murder.

Years later going to Piedmont Hills, there was talk of enclaves of Albinos in the nearby Alum Rock park. I was pretty unaware of genetics and how a lack of pigment was spread as a kid but damn Albinos are fucking everywhere. Did they move south? I don't really know if they did much other than listen to Edgar Winter and drink milk.

Finally when hooking up with a group of friends from the south side I heard of the Hicks Satan worshiping clan of Albinism. All my friends knew about them and knew hicks. So much like finding someone who has never heard of Iron Maiden they forced me in the car direct bathed me in the community experience. This will focus on Hicks, the surrounding area and Some topics that have come up on message boards that I wanted to talk about

OK Hicks road is in San Jose, CA in the far southern portion of the city. The road can be reached from Camden near 85; running over the hills a connecting with Alamitos road. The road climbs over the slopes of Mount Umanhum and Bald Mountain and skirts the boarder of Almaden Quicksilver Park. Taking this road you will pass by Almaden Reservoir, Guadalupe Reservoir and the town of New Alameda. A top Mount Umanhum is the remains of the Almaden Air Force Station. A gated road called mount Umanhum will take you close and allow you to park but does not allow for access by car. Reynolds is the other road connected to Hicks but does take you anywhere of interest.

In getting into the weirdness supposed to happen at Hicks. So Albino's and Satan worship would naturally coming in now i guess. I have never seen one on hick. I dint know about the religious beliefs of the regularly pigmented people I have seen. There has been some weird occurrences in the area. Mount Umanhum road is a publicly maintained road, but at one point someone painted private road at its entrance. Most people think it was one of the residence who live past the gate, just not wanting kids like me driving around. There have also been stories of various altercations with residents. Some speaking of residents barring guns and such. If you do walk past the gate, which is perfectly legal, you are going to eventually be confronted with a sign that says patrolled by armed guard. This is very old and was true only when the Air Station was open. Now a ranger does patrol the sometimes, but not often. You can find plenty of videos on youtube where people have broken into the complex of the former air station. There is even a site for the former airmen who lived and worked there. They all seem to be normal god fearing people.

Locally the town of New Almaden has a couple of points of interest that may factor into the story. The town has a drive thru cemetery; really its split by the road. Freaking weird! A walking bridge dips under the road into town from the Alamitos side. Many local stories have spoken of Satanic graffiti under this, calling it bridge under bridge. Back in the 60's or 70's there was a gravity hill somewhere out in the area but I have no idea of its location now. Since that is an optical illusion, landscaping could have completely destroyed the effect. Finally there is the small Twin Creeks cabins on the site of a one time resort. Driving in the twin creeks area people will look at you wondering what you are doing. It's a dead end that mose people don't even know exists.

I have no idea how this wraps into a story about albinos and Satan. To be honest I have a theory that its all a huge mistake. I think this whole Satan worshiping albinos may be a huge mistake for the Albigensian crusade of the Cathars. Perhaps spread from Europe to the united states and finally morphed into the many hundred of local albino tall tales we have today. Perhaps it was handy to keep kids away from the far off lonely places of the nearby woods. But really that will just draw some like moths to a flame. If you can elaborate please comment and I will try to follow up.

I am also going to try to address some of the misconceptions people have thrown out on message boards and other sites. Such as Sveadal, UTC, the Holy City and what not.

Sveadal is a community for Sweds some miles south of New Almaden. They are pale and untrustworthy but not quite albinos. Just look at Ikea and you can see they are a bunch of crooks. The community is just before the entrance of the Uvas Canyon park. It is some sort of patriotic league owned property I have no about it. Being Danish myself I sort of say away.

United Technologies Cooperation is located on Metcalf road in San Jose. It is some sort of scientific research facility. I remember in the late 80's they test fired a shuttle booster rocket there. I have also driven by to see guards armed with M16's, again no idea. Driving in the area as a kid I have been chased by some sort of phantom truck. I have been flying down the road and this guy kept up with everything i did. And I knew this road well.

The Holy City was up in the santa cruz mountains by redwood estates and chimicita park. Apparently some religious charlatan set himself as a king ala Jim Jones. I think this was in the 40's there was even a zoo. My cousin claims there was some sort of Satanic worship there and said his friends found a sword there. but I really think he was pulling my chain.

Well I will have to look for more info on the boards, to see if i missed anything. Oh there was a movie about Hicks, I should see it!

Here are a couple of further posts Post 2 with lost of photos and  Post 3 dealing with UTC and Metcalf road. 

A new Post about Sveadal and Croy road can be found here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Atari 2600 collecting

I guess i started collecting Atari 2600 products when I first got the system as a kid. Form then on I just sort of kept it and acquired other peoples collections when they moved on to something else. After adding a few collections I had over a hundred cart a couple of systems and more controller than I knew what to do with. Currently I have a far too many systems, one even converted to composite video output, around a hundred an fifty separate cartridge titles and way to much space dedicated to my collection.

With a recent addition I acquired a couple of music mate cassette holders. This gave me inspiration to reconfigure my collection in with this system. The image shows the fruits of my labor. Its nice as it helps me understand what I have at a glance.

If you are going to start collecting I would advise you to look at Craig's list or eBay for a working system lot, making sure that it comes with some games and all the pieces you need. This would be controller. power supply and the RF adapter. There are some RF female to male Coax adapters out. I am absolutely not a fan, I like the big boxy RF to TV or coax with the TV / Game switch. They work better and work right ask for them by name. If you are serious about this you may jump directly into a modified composite system. You can sometimes find them on eBay or if you are electronically minded there are instructions to build your own.

The Atari 7800 is another thing to consider. The system plays 2600 games with out an adapter. I don't have one but I believe all of the controllers work on both, allowing for a one to one experience. Something like the 5200 had an adapter to play 2600 but the controllers use a different connection and can not be used. The colleco and Intellivision offered adapters as well so you can consider them, but you will have the same difference of controllers.

For collecting carts I really wouldn't be afraid about duplicates, it happens. If you don't have at least three copies of combat your a newb. If you are really new just work on games the you enjoyed in the past or genres that you like at first. I have focused on games from Activision myself. These were all very good games and none are particularly difficult got get. Also take interest in the rarity guide over . You are going to quickly find getting one rarity seven game is about as hard as it is to get all the ones and twos. This is sort of the odd part of collecting, while not everyone had the same games there was a base lexicon of games that were pretty consistent. Combat, Pacman, Pitfall, Asteroids and Centipede were everywhere. It's trivial easy to get these. And you can buy them for three dollars a title on most sites.

If you poke around you can probably find someone who sells carts or systems if you are by a large enough metro area. Independent game stores and some independent record stores are a good place to check out. You can check garage sales but it seems like their day has passed, Craigs list is better. The odds of seeing an Atari by randomly checking sales has gotten pretty low. You pretty much have to just for the shopping and get lucky. Thrift stores are similarly bad. You can get lucky but you are looking for a pretty specific item or set of items. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that has a classic gaming expo that's a great place to go, but be prepared because everyone there knows exactly what they have and its value.

Going to something like a classic gaming expo is a pretty heady experience in and of itself. You are going to have your eyes opened to a larger world of gaming and there is the potential to throw down several hundred dollars. My first experience opened me to the world of the PC duo, superguns and neo geo collecting. Let alone the fact that there were nearly every system I had ever heard of there and for sale. I would recommend you don't take much money, but pick up cards and write down every ones websites. Don't impulse bankrupt yourself. An example to that point. Someone was buying about a grand worth of equipment to play Neo Geo games at home, both MVS and AES. He would have grabbed several games and would have been pretty set up. That said i bought a working MVS stand up game for around 125 and spend another hundred on a 150 in 1 multi cart. I have a lot more fun for a lot less cash.

From that I would say look around, come to understand what your getting into before you buy. That said a working system and several games is not a rip off at fifty bucks. That's not a great price but you shouldn't be ashamed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Star Castle

Sorry its been some time, I have been busy wasting time with video games. I do it far to much but, rather than lamenting the time I will do a post on my collection soon. I am a bit upset of late. My daughter has a bit of a stammer, which is usual for her age.

The thing is my dad has this weird thought that you can insult someone until they stop doing what you don't like. Its not really something that worked for me much. Rather it pissed me off and spoiled our relationship. I don't think much of myself and didn't stand up for myself, but the kid is another story. I don't care who I have to destroy to protect her. I would rather behead snakes than defang them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Richard Scarry's Puzzletown

When i was a young kid I was very fond of Richard Scarry's Puzzletown toys. Having a daughter of my own now, I wanted to share them with her. The task proved more difficult than I originally thought. There are two big problems that I quickly ran into when collecting the toys for her. The first a lack of information on the Internet, people just don't remember these toys. The second people often combine sets or collect what they can find and sell them in partial lots. I will try to address the first problem with this post.

Richard Scarry was a prolific author and illustrator of children's books whom was active in the 50's, 60's and 70's. One of his larger projects was something called Busytown. This was a town that feature anthropomorphic animals. The setting was adapted by PlaySkool company in 1976 to become the Puzzletown line of toys. Basically they were a competing product to the Little People line of toys by Fischer Price, but included a construction element that was popular in 70's toys. The product line only seemed to last two years which may account for few who remember these toys, and the cost of sets on ebay.

While the toys were sold in many configurations most people seem to have been aware of the five larger sets. These were lettered a through E and featured large tiles cardboard wall pieces, some number of vehicles and three figures. Until recently I was only aware of the five sets. In my efforts to collect I have become aware of several other toys. Three smaller vehicle, figure and building were sold, most of these reference 1977 as their year of trademark. Also a few figure and vehicle products were sold. I will go into further detail later in this post. Just weeks ago I became aware of an ebay listing for a single carded figure. This was of "Nurse Nellie" I do not know if figures outside of the five large sets were sold in this individual format.

The first of large sets is labelled "Set A: Dr. Lion's Medical Center." This is probably the most common of the sets you are going to see. It includes the pieces to build the medical center, a bed, ambulance, Dr. Lion, Nurse Nellie and Abby the rabbit patient.

The second is "Set B: Hucklecat's Cottage" This includes the cottage set, huckle cat, momma cat and grocer cat. Some interesting points were the windows in the building walls and the full sized green plastic floor bit. There was also a car. This is usually considered a rare set.

Set C: is "Farmer Alfalfa's Farm". This is another common set you will see a lot of. it includes the barn and silo. As well as a truck, trailer, cow, the farmer and his wife.

Set D is "Mayor Fox's town Center" The third of the common sets. This is a nice set as it includes several buildings and gives you much to play with. This is the second of the sets with the full sized floor piece, All others use half floor pieces. You get a car and motorcycle in this set. Mayor Fox, Officer Dog and his wife are the figures that come with this set.

Finally Set E is "Lowly Worms rail and roadway" This is a more interesting set as its both rare and includes a rail road for the town. The rail pieces are reversible and convert to roadway. You get a two piece Tran and a car in this set. A water tower is an interesting addition as it uses wall pieces in an X configuration, sitting on top. Lowly worm, a bulldog engineer and fox conductor are included in this set.

For the smaller sets I have very little idea with regard to how they were sold. You are going to see reference to McDonald's Richard Scarry cars. These are a different line of happy meal toys sold in the 90's that are similar to but different than the Puzzletown toys. There was also a Brio set in the 90's that adds confusion. There are three puzzletown car and building sets. I do not know their official names and generally find them reference by description of the car. Therefor they are Egg Car, Apple Car, and Doughnut Car.

The Egg Car set includes the car, and farmer Alfalfa's wife. Also included is a single quarter sized floor piece and a few small roof tiles. The build pieces include eggs and a milk jugs shaped stand. A fun part of the quarter floor pieces is they are designed for upward building with special grooves to sit a top wall pieces.

The Apple car is the sole set I do not own, LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT TO SELL. It includes the apple car and lowly worm. As will all these sets there is a quarter floor and small roof pieces. I believe it creates a fruit and veggie stand.

The doughnut car includes the car and huckle cat. The build is a doughnut stand and i has a few large doughnut cardboard/"woodboard" pieces.

I have two of the car and figures that i was able to get new from England. I don't know how they have wrapped toys over there, they seems new or in new wrapping. There is a rabbit in normal close unlike Abby the bunny patient and carrot car. Also a pig and pickle car. There way be more but I have not seen further figures.

UPDATE: I recently found an ad from 1977 for PlaySkool toys. It appears the cars and figures were called "Puzzletown People and Cars Assortment" while the car, figure and building sets were called "Puzzletown People, Cars and Places Assortment" There was also a banana car that came with a gorilla figure.

A second post on puzzletown can be found HERE

I just wrote up a third post on puzzletown and you can find it HERE

There is also a brand new post here.

If you have any more information i would love to know. Please comment or email me at

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't Break the Oath

Gathering up the gloom I've set about myself and heading for something else With no fall or ringing rush toward summer its resounding through my blood with a tide of distant shores Giving and consuming til light is just memory of former days for a former self Little days doled out that pass whimpering Golden bells call forth binding all with rosy scents

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Crescent Star Progressive Rock score card 7

"I am Superman" is a song by R.E.M. of one of their sucky ass records. I really don't care. They suck and have sucked. Will suck, shall suck. I was righting about comic book shops and wanted a title or some with super heroes. I should have used Bowie or Sabbath. I am truly sorry.

"I've read all the books about being ill" is a line from Bruce Dickinson's "no way out" I think this is from Balls to Picasso. I was just looking for something related to illness.

"I talk to the wind" Is by King Krimson. I heard the song and these are some of the thoughts that it conjured up. here is a link

"Private Eyes" yeah hall and oats its dumb. I was just talking about my Role playing game so nothing inspired.

"When Lights go down" is a line from Europes Carrie which is off The Final Countdown. I was writing about my daughter Keri so used it.

"Winters Call" well that's by Badlands off first record called Badlands oddly enough. I think I caught that on the radio ,or something, before writing.

"Got me running" is by Def Leppard's high and dry. I had been listening to that song a bunch at the time and just worked it in.

"My Blue Heaven" i have no idea, my Granma sang it to me as a very young child. I was thinking of my little family on a drive which makes me very happy and is my idea of heaven on earth.

"Midnight Rider" is by the Allman brothers. Its odd i really like on version and dislike the other. I like the one that uses the single repeated riff over and over again. I think there is a musical term for that. I am writing about my thoughts on that line of the song i mention.

"The Ballad of Jane" is by La guns maybe. I know it was on the radio which is weird, they don't often play that stuff. I think it was something about the loss they guy is singing about that sparked me. But whatever something came out I'm happy about that.

"Sheer Heart Attack" is actually just a record from Queen. I was feeling like i was about to have one that day.

"Soothsayer" Is a song from Buckethead's 18Th , yeah eighteenth record, Crime Slunk Scene. I really love and respect his work and he is a freaking weirdo. Here is a link

"Here is her cup, filled with its poisons" this is part of the spoken bit of Bruce Dickinson's Jerusalem. This is from The Chemical Wedding. One of the best recorded works out there. It may be my favorite metal record of all. I would have to think about it.

Here is her cup, filled with its poisons

starry nights turn upon us, wheeling ever upon days we may have forgot if not for times we must regain their parting. Burning upon a pyre, Aloysius cast his days and watched her born from amongst smoke. Yielding up her poisons and pestilence, but he content not to drink.

Aloysius had seen her long before. Haddabaugh kept her for a time. Anglac travelled with him to Haddabaugh's manor, walking many miles and waiting hours more. When finally their hosts auto arrived they found themselves unwanted. As new lords held Haddabaugh's interest, one this regal and septic queen. Months Anglac and Aloysius awaited their friend, mourning the old haunts and unearthing new. Her poisons worked she withdrew to take other of our friends.

Aloysius waited and watched for the fire would birth Wrath as Pestilence dissolved with the smoke.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The nightmare corpse-city

Growing late in the year the seaside came upon his path. With the gale and grey Aloysius paused knowing he hadn't intended on this place. Palsy and Quaking he hated years misspent and loves forgotten. Again he longed for lands he had not known. He longed for Nicene's lips, He longed for youth and home.

Under the breath of sea a misplaced memory rang out perfecting his thoughts. Aloysius imbibed and drunk wrought nights sweeter than they were spent. Recast himself the hero in stories he once duly wrote. Aloysius a fool decide to believe these dream, and recapture them rote.