Sunday, September 30, 2012

WTF - Weekly Timed Features

I've been spending a lot of time in the TGDRGM and watching the exploits of S.H.I.E.L.D. on The Avengers, then I come to find out through our friends at Today in Geek History that today marked the premiere of M.A.S.K. back in 1985 so it only seems natural that this week's features would begin with our top five super villain acronyms...

5. A.I.M. - Advanced Idea Mechanics one of Marvel Comics' recurring nefarious organizations and I firmly believe the inspiration for the yellow suits worn by the CDA in Monsters, Inc.
Decide for yourself

4. COBRA - Many don't realize that G.I. Joe's main nemesis...actually, the only nemesis I ever recall them facing.  How is that possible?  Anyway, the name COBRA actually stood for COnversion by Blackmail, Revolution and Anarchy.  They really forced that one in there.

3. CAW - The only reason that Criminal Alliance of the World makes this list is thourgh situational irony because they were adversaries to Hawkman in a DC Comics' story arc.  CAW!  Ca-CAW!  Get it?

2. MODOK - This is not only one of Marvel's freakier and yet somehow also comedic looking villains, but it begs the question of which came first, the drawing of the armed and legged giant head or the name, Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing?

1. VENOM - But the inspiration for the week's list the Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem takes the top spot for two reasons.  First, I don't remember what the MASK stood for and second because any villains who are that redundant must be extra committed to their evilness...and viciousness...and the causing of mayhem.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Third Person Thursday, Throwback Edition: Exceptional, Book One

During the fledgling months of this blog's existence, I undertook a significant project.  I used one of the early installment of Third Person Thursday to begin a serial superhero tale that would unfold over several weeks.  I titled it Exceptional.

It was the story of a young teenager figuring out that there was something different about him and, furthermore, trying to figure out just what the hell he was supposed to do about it.  It was rough as I tried to hold myself to the self-imposed Thursday deadlines (which I did not always meet) but I had fun writing it and received some positive feedback over it.  Some months later, the characters called back to me that they wanted more and so I began Exceptional Book Two, another series of stories which were, in many ways, just as rough and hurried as its prequel had been but were still incredibly fun for me to write.

I had been inundated with superhero input over the past few weeks as I catch up on back issues of comic books, watch all the Avengers special features and read Supergods by Grant Morrison.  Thus, I am going to spend this and next Thursday reposting the stories that were.  I will post the links to the originals in order with Book One's links today and Book Two's next Thursday.

Without further ado, please enjoy Exceptional: Book One...

I know that's a lot to take in, true believers, but maybe you'll space it out and be thoroughly excited about diving into Book Two next week.  I can only hope you look forward to more and don't hate me for wasting your time.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The Long Walk Home

Ok, a few words.  Those dots in the distance are my kids
walking home from school.  They are so grown up and
while my brain wants them to be cool, my nerves want
them to remain helpless babies on some level.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teachable Moments in Sports

As a father, when I watch sports with my sons, I seem to have an instinctual desire to turn certain key moments into valuable lessons.  I know that they will watch the action jumping out at them in high definition, lifelike color and if I don’t pair their observations with my own thoughts on certain key matters, they could end up admiring and glamorizing the wrong aspects of the game.  My feelings on trying to control and spin to my own liking any sensory input they receive is akin to China’s Internet policies.  Hey, my house, my rules and sports these days seem to be chock full of teachable moments.

My sons and I have had long talks about steroids.  Not only have I taken the whole “Say no to drugs” stance, but the intolerance I have for cheating has been made clear.  A line has been drawn regarding cheating in sports and my sons realize that performance enhancing drugs lie miles on the opposite side of it.  Once, when asking me who my favorite play as a child, Mark McGwire, was, I responded, “Who?  That guy?  That is a coward, boys.  A coward who is dead to me.”  It confused and possibly distressed them, but I felt a lot better.

Last year, when Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz had their little encounter after a game, I made it clear to my sons that a certain coach was being a sore loser.  We watched video, complete with John Madden like pausing and rewinding in order to get my point across.  Last week, the Buccaneers and Giants final play controversy turned into a lecture about the difference between giving up and accepting a loss gracefully.  Of course there are also countless other small events throughout any game that provide teachable moments.  I find myself pointing to a play and telling my sons things like, “You have to keep playing until the whistle blows,” or, “You shouldn’t celebrate too soon,” and, most importantly, “See, that’s why you must always wear your cup.”

All New Features

Sure, you know about the panoramic photo option and the larger screen, but our weekly features plan on revealing some of the lesser known iPhone 5 features to all of you in order to help assist you in making your decision about whether to update or not...

5. Invisibility cloak app - This is only available with the 5.  You can't just update the operating system on your 4 or 4S and expect to sneak into the ladies locker room unnoticed.

4. The auto-correct now improves your Facebook posts - Having a hard time coming up with something clever but feel like it's been to long since you last posted a status?  Don't worry.  The spell check engine has been expanded to recognize lame posts about your family pet and change them into trendy song lyrics that totally express your attitude on life.

3. Siri wakes you up to talk - Your high tech personal assistant has become a little more pushy on its way to evolving into GLaDOS.  If you haven't used Siri for 48 hours, it will wait until you have just begun to fall asleep then sigh and ask aloud, "Why don;t you talk to me anymore?"

2. The new adapter conceals a sonic screwdriver - The iPhone 5 requires a new plug.  This has resulted in a great gnashing of teeth amongst loyal customers who have all sorts of old plug accessories.  What they aren't telling you is that Apple has decided to reward the adapter purchasers with their own version of the Time Lord's handy dandy tool.

1. Google no longer secretly monitors your movements through the maps icon...Apple does - It's one thing to watch my every move, but it's another to allow an outside corporation to do it.  Kudos to Apple for finally being its own Big Brother.

This week's cool-ass thing you will never own is this retro-video game room which I mentioned earlier in the week...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Guess What We're Doing Tomorrow

I have had a busy weekend without much time for posting, but you all need at least a quick heads up before tomorrow arrives or I could not forgive myself.

What do you need a heads up about?  Well, tomorrow is September 25th.  And it's a Tuesday.  What happens on Tuesdays?  Movies get released on DVD.  And even though I haven't had time to update the weekly features and what's to come for the week yet, I have just enough time to squeeze in this post alerting you that tomorrow will mark the release of...

The Avengers
on DVD
and BluRay

Go out and pick it up, true believers.  I, for one, have a whole day to watch the special features and what not tomorrow.  I'll let you know what I think of them when I'm done.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ignorance is Bliss, then Facebook Ruins It

As I published hear a few weeks ago, the Transformer Generation Dad Retro-Gaming Museum (TGDRGM) is up and running (and accepting donations).  I have collected several old systems of mine, pooled the cartridge collections of any friends and family that were willing to contribute and constructed an impressive library of titles that you can play on their original systems.

There is also a rumor that I am in possession of an old Xbox that has been converted to play thousands of video games from retro systems including old stand-up arcade consoles.  While this would make the TGDRGM even more impressive, this is only an urban legend (I wrote so here myself).  Regardless of the awesomeness of the TGDRGM, I was well aware of just how many consoles and games were missing from my museum.  Collecting every video game ever made would be a near impossibility, but I was pleased with what I had managed to assemble.

Then someone sent me this picture that they found on Facebook...

I cannot attribute this behemoth to anyone as its origins are a mystery to me

...and I hung my head in shame.  Here it was, the ultimate goal, the unreachable ideal I held in my head of what a retro-gaming museum might look like, the shrine to gaming history that I thought could never be achieved and someone had actually created it.  More importantly, that someone was not me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Third person Thursday: The Telltale Brick

“Can we build it now?”

“We don’t have time right now, Lucas,” he explained to the puppy-eyed eight-year-old across the table, “you have to get to school.”


“I’ll tell you what though,” he said and popped open one end of the rectangular cardboard box, “we can sort the pieces right now over breakfast and when you get home from school, we’ll build it together then, okay?”

“Okay,” the boy replied and bounced excitedly in his seat.  His father dumped the contents of the Lego set box onto the breakfast table and they alternated between sliding pieces into color-coordinated piles and scooping spoonfuls of Cookie Crisp into their mouths for the next twenty minutes.

Soon it was time to leave.  Lucas’ father had the day off work and after he dropped Lucas off at school he returned home and headed to the kitchen to pour himself another cup of coffee and contemplate how to best use his free day.

He passed by the table and admired the Lego bricks lying in wait in their neat little piles.  He looked forward to transforming those piles into a Lego Star Wars Y-Wing with his son later.

He poured his coffee and added cream and sugar.  He was staring out the window at the lawn, considering using the morning to mow it and just taking his first, loud sip when he heard it.


He cut his sip short and waited to hear the curious sound again.  Nothing came.  He shrugged and took another sip, which he nearly choked on, when the sound came again.

Pew! Pew-pew!  Pew-pew!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Could Get Used to This...But Probably Shouldn't

When I started taking online classes at Coursera a few weeks ago, I thought it would get me back into routine of being a student without the precise scheduling.  I figured it would be a low pressure way to recondition myself to committing to schoolwork and serve as a stepping stone towards going back to school for real in the near future.

Little did I know that the site would completely ruin the traditional educational format for me.

Yes, three assignments into my very first online Coursera course, I expect that I can not only wait until the last minute to finish my assignments, but I can cram all the lectures into an afternoon.  Depending how alert I am on a particular day, I can even use the video player's speed option to make the professor ramble on faster so that an hour lecture can be heard in half the time.  Granted, he then sounds like the old Micro Machines Guy, but it saves time.  If I had to show up to a lecture hall two days a week to do my learning now, I would surely distract the rest of the class with my loud, annoyed sighs.

Furthermore, I don't see how I ever made it through all my previous schooling without the ability to multi-task while attending class.  I can get all sorts of things done now as I carry my laptop with me around the house and listen to the professors.  I do laundry, eat lunch and browse other websites.  If the option of cracking open a beer in the middle of class were now taken away from me, I'm not sure how I would react.  Don't even get me started about how many lectures I've already listened to while sitting on the toilet.

Yes, the site is amazing.  Yes, you can take classes from real life professors from the likes of Harvard, Princeton and Yale.  Yes it is undeniably convenient.  Yes, I am learning a great deal and having a lot of fun.  However, I am no longer able to function as a real world student and I am afraid of what this may mean for me when I attempt to return to school and pursue an actual degree.

My biggest fear is that since I have become so accustomed to dressing down, often taking in sessions from the comfort of my own bed, that those terrible dreams I used to have about showing up to class in my underwear may finally come to fruition.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Anyone Who Enjoys Lego or Marble Runs Should Take a Look at This. In Other Words, Everyone Pay Attention!

While taking a look at The Brothers Brick blog, I stumbled upon this absolutely amazing, spectacular, know what, I'm going to run out of adjectives and adverbs before I can do it justice, so just go ahead and watch the video.  You're going to want to watch the full seven minutes, trust me.  It keeps getting better.

Shhhh, no words.  Let's just enjoy the fact that our worlds are now a little brighter.

Remaking Our Weekly Features

I’m a day late, as usual, updating the weekly features so let’s dive right in.

There have been so many unlikely movie remakes lately.  Some reboot, like The Amazing Spider-Man or Clash of the Titans while some seek to fix the mistakes of the first attempt like Total Recall and Dredd 3D.  There are even more currently in the works which seem like curious decisions doomed for disaster like Robocop and Red Dawn.  Since no one in Hollywood wants to listen to our advice to slow down with the rehashing, we have decided to suggest a few more movies that we would like to see reworked.  Here is our top five:

5. Fantastic Four – Forget the orange suit and do for the Thing what The Avengers did for the Hulk, CGI.  Also, let’s get some more intense fight scenes and a real Galactus, not just a dust cloud hovering in space to make Marvel's first family respectable comic heroes again.

4. Demolition Man – The over-scientific, over-regulated future seems to be a hot theme again and maybe you could get Sting to do another title song.  You forgot about that horrible tune until just now, didn’t you?

3. Ghost Rider – Cast someone who is not Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze and it’s sure to be better.

2. Masters of the Universe – We’ve watched Transformers, we’ve seen (and hated) G.I. Joe (thus far), so what other classic 80s toy needs a remake film?  He-Man, fools!  The old movie was barely recognizable as being related to the toy line, so this time, whoop it up with the somehow in the future but also in the medieval past dichotomy.  Confuse everyone.  Speaking of confusing everyone, the biggest thing missing that must be added to a new version can be summed up in two words: fuzzy underpants.

1. Weekend at Bernie’s – Want to take an old movie and capitalize on the latest craze?  I’m surprised nobody has thought of this.  Make Bernie a zombie.  Annnnnnnd, action!

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Sincerest (Hypothetical) Gratitude

Transformer Generation Dad's Retro-Gaming Museum (TGDRGM) has been up and running for a few weeks now with rave reviews.  All visitors (yes, all eight) to the TGDRGM have been wowed by the selection of titles from yesteryear and the authentic retro-gaming experience it provides.  If you recall, the TGDRGM is even accepting donations.  Click this link to find out how to make yourself one of TGD's most favoritest of all readers by donating your old game cartridges today.

If there is one thing that we here at Transformer Generation Dad take more seriously than retro video games, it is anti-piracy laws.  Which is a real shame because I hear through underground channels that one can, if one were so inclined, procure an old Xbox console and outfit it with hundred if not thousands of retro video game emulators from various systems.

Of course, I cannot speak as to whether or not this can actually be done because I will never admit to having seen it first hand.  At this point let us just consider the possibility that it might just be an urban legend (an extremely geeky one at that) and that none of us will ever know if it can truly happen.  Thus, we can discuss the awesome potential of such an outfitted system in hypothetical terms.  Let the parenthetical comments commence.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Third Person Thursday: Let it Ride

Despite the fact that his stomach felt like it had been flipped upside down, Marvin held it together.  He felt cold and clammy and imagined that if he saw himself in the mirror, he would look positively green.

But he didn't want Freddy to notice so when he asked Marvin, "Want to go on another ride?" Marvin nodded excitedly, smiled and subtly swallowed the vomit that had jumped up into the back of his throat.

Each ride seemed more intense than the last.  They pitched and turned and sometimes flipped over.  Marvin's stomach seemed to be punching the rest of his insides in an effort to escape from the torture.  The sweat poured from his forehead as the world streaked in flashing colors all around him until the ride finally came to a stop.  Between rounds all Marvin could hope for was as long a line as possible on Freddy's next choice, the better to give him time to regroup.

At one point, while following Freddy from the Tilt-a-whirl to the Gravitron, they passed the funnel cake stand.  With his dizzying nausea, the odor of the fried dough caused Marvin to gag.  He spotted a nearby garbage can and ducked behind the tent and leaved over it, convinced he was about to throw up and, in fact, almost welcoming the relief it might bring.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Don't Let the Younger Generation Forget Either

No matter how many years pass, those who witnessed the events of September 11th, 2001 will never forget the horror, the tragedy and the sadness of that day.  However, it being eleven years in the past the population that was not around to experience it is ever growing.  With two boys younger than the disaster myself, I have turned each year to a picture book that does a great job touching on the subject with kids.

It is entitled Fireboat and is the true story of an antique fireboat in NYC whose owners and crew did what they could to help on that day.  If you are looking for a way to explain what happened to your kids in a way that isn't too scary but highlights the spirit of our country and how everyone pulled together, give it a read with your kids.  I'm sure you will not be disappointed.

Let us all remember those who lost their lives and their families today and remember the freedom that makes this country truly great.  If you don't have the opportunity to fly your own American flag stop and take a moment to salute or at least admire one you see in your travels.

Forever may it wave.

Monday, September 10, 2012

TGD Review: PvZ Pinball

My sons and I are nuts about Plants vs. Zombies as I'm pretty sure 90% of the gaming population is.  So when I heard that there was going to be a Plants vs. Zombies table on Zen Pinball 2 (or FX Pinball 2 on the Xbox) I knew I would be downloading it on the first day it was made available on Xbox Live.

I stayed true to my word and last Wednesday, disappointingly one day after it was released on the Play Station Network, I spent 240 Xbox points and made it my own.  Nearly a week after playing it daily, I review it here for you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Opening Weekly Features

Since I spent most of my day staring at the TV and screaming at it in hopes of influencing the outcome of my favorite team's game (which I am pretty sure worked), I figure I ought to be productive and update the features as well.

This week's top five list consists of my start of the season NFL picks to win it all.  this year, I am leaving nothing to chance:

5. Chicago Bears

4. Bears

3. Da Bears

2. The Monsters of the Midway

1. A certain team from a town known for its wind and whose team is destined to achieve the status it once held under da great Mike Ditka, a team that will lead the league on both sides of the field dis year, also known as...Daaaaaa Bears.

This week's cool-ass thing you will never own is the football with which you scored your first NFL touchdown.  Certainly you see more rookies coming in and making immediate impact with their teams, often in their very first game, these years.  Still, you would have to make it to the NFL to begin with, which means you better hit the gym...and become way more athletic somehow.

This week's sign you are a nerd is that you correct the nearby fan who is singing the fight song incorrectly.  You may have leaned over and politely said, "Pardon me, but it is, 'What though the odds,' not, 'Although the odds.'"  Or perhaps you told someone whom you thought was as anal about such things as you are, "Every play doesn't make the way for victory, it clears it."  Truth is no matter how polite or academic your approach, you sound like a lame killjoy.

This week's nemesis is Brian Urlacher's knee.  No matter how pleased or confident I am about any Bears' season there always looms over my head some delicate aspect of the team that threatens to shift the weight of the team bus just enough to send it plummeting off the cliffside to a fiery death below.  Last year, though i perceived it to be the offensive line, it was an injury to Jay Cutler.  This year, it looks to be the aging joint of our middle linebacker.

This week's lesson learned is to reread any written assignments for a class you prepare while watching a football game.  I nearly submitted a bunch of half sentences and gibberish and I'm pretty sure a subconscious reference to proper tackling form to my online class in my distraction.  Thank God I checked it over at halftime.

This week's analysis charts my feelings about my home team after years of wins and losses and notices a pretty predictable pattern:

This week's Star Wars quote is, "Only Imperial Storm Troopers are so precise."

That's all for this wee.  Thanks as always for reading.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

TGD Review: The Simpsons Tapped Out Is Just That

One of the greatest shows in the history of television and unarguably the pioneer of the plethora of adult  oriented animated series currently on television is The Simpsons.  I have been a long lover and supporter of the yellow skinned family from Springfield and am willing to consume Simpsons merchandise when it's worth while.

Certainly, Homer and his family are no strangers to video games.  I remember throwing quarter after quarter into the four person brawler while at the arcade with my friends.  One of my favorite games when the Gamecube was new was The Simpsons Road Rage.  So it was with hope in my heart that I thought the heroes of the beloved television series might make me more receptive to the time consuming world building games that have become so popular on smart phones and social media.  Below are the results.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Third Person Thursday (Throwback Edition): Body Works

Brain watched the twin video monitors intently, taking in the footage from both Left and Right Eye simultaneously, processing them together to calculate depth.  He leaned forward and pressed the button labeled Right Arm on the large control panel in front of him.  This caused several of the buttons to light up at once.

“Right Bicep, extend the entire arm so that the Right Hand Division can get around the back of the pipe,” he said into a speaker.

“Aye, aye, sir,” called back Right Bicep as Brain watched his instructions followed to the letter on the monitor.

Brain hit the Right Arm button again and the lights extinguished.  Right Bicep, Tricep, Forearm, Hand and each of the Fingers worked in unison to loosen the nut from around the drainpipe.  They struggled and strained for a few minutes as Brain watched the water seep from around the gasket.

“This isn’t working,” he mumbled to himself.  Then he snatched the microphone from its stand and made an announcement.  “Attention all body parts.  This is Brain speaking.  We are aborting this project effective immediately.  I will need the assistance of Right and Left Hands and both Eyes in order to conduct some Internet research.  All personnel are hereby instructed to execute the getting up from the floor protocol.  And please be careful.  This ship’s not as young as it used to be.”

Monday, September 3, 2012

This Labor Day, Remember How far We Have Come

At the time of this posting, Labor Day 2012 is nearly over.  But as your barbecue, family vacation, day of laziness or other chosen method of celebration winds down, I encourage you to remember what Labor Day is really about...

Most of you probably work an eight hour day.  If you work more than that, you are more than likely compensated in some manner, whether it be a higher salary, more pay for the extra hours, or some other sort of perk that you deem worth it.  Saturdays and Sundays are your days off, most likely and you enjoy the weekends with your family and/or friends.

Speaking of family, they don't have to worry as much as they would have many years ago because your workplace is likely much safer.  Also, God forbid you should die in a horrific accident at work, your death will not simply be chalked up to another  unfortunate loss.  Plus, if you have children, you do not have to worry about how their day at the factory went because of our country's chid labor laws.

A lot of the work practices we take for granted these days were not always commonplace.  People spent all their waking hours (and even some when they should have been sleeping) laboring away.  Pay was less fair and work conditions less clean and more dangerous.  Kids had to go out and start bringing in paychecks as soon as they were able.  People got in a lot of trouble and even lost their lives fighting to make these benefits possible for the average working person in this country and many people around the world do not see these rights as a possibility.

I happen to be a Union worker.  I know that carries a negative connotation amongst some circles, but I assure you I do not send my entire day standing around staring at the work that needs to be done...usually.  I kid.  To be perfectly honest, I end up with the occasional opportunity to check my email or complete a level of Plants vs. Zombies on my iPhone during my shift, but that has more to do with the time of day that I am working and the nature of my job in general than it does the fact that I am part of a union.  I am proud of the job that I do and I am proud that I am in a union.

I encourage you all to remember these things on Labor Day.  Remember that no matter how much your job sucks on the average day, had it not been for the men and women behind such labor struggles who sacrificed a great deal for the rest of their coworkers, it could suck a whole lot more.

We Labor Through This Week's Features

It's time to dive right into the weekly features with the top five ways to celebrate Labor Day (there's still time left):

5. Play video games - The countries where these things are made, for the most part, do not have the same kind of labor restrictions that we do.  So what better way to celebrate the time off from work by enjoying the fruits of someone else's sixteen hour days of labor?

4. Have a Jimmy Hoffa scavenger hunt - The first one to find the Teamster leader's remains wins!

3. Force your children (if you have any) to do chores - Child labor laws are just one of the many things of which Labor Day celebrates the institution.  But that doesn't mean you can't make them sweat like little slaves around the house every now and then.  Your grass is long and that car needs washing.

2. Ceremoniously place your white clothing into storage - No wearing white after Labor Day.  This could also be interpreted as the burial ceremony of summer.

1. Relax - It's your day off.  You deserve it.

This week's cool-ass thing you will never own is a real Plants vs Zombies pinball table.  The virtual table will be released tomorrow for the Zen's Pinball FX2, but wouldn't it be awesome to play it on a real life table.  Alas, the technology to have the undead rise form its tilted surface and shamble toward your flippers is just a little ways off yet.

This week's sign you are a nerd is that over 50% of the glassware in your home has comic or science fiction characters printed on it.  I have fond memories of growing up drinking out of the Burger King collectable Star Wars glasses, complete with lad based paint.  Now, as I break our grown up looking drinking glasses one by one over time (accidentally, of course) I have been replacing them with similar pint glasses with Marvel, DC and Star Wars imagery emblazoned upon them.

This week's nemesis is my giant fingers.  If I had a dollar for every time I mistype something because my enormous fingers accidentally mashed several buttons on my keyboard at once I would have had seven dollars by the time I finished writing this gag.

This week's lesson learned is to check expiration dates.  The food you swore must still be good will be prevented from tearing your stomach lining to shreds.  The wait in the drive-thru will be less embarrassing when you don't have your coupons handed back to you and have to pay full price.  Your driver's license will still be valid when you get pulled over.  The dates are printed on these things for a reason.  We ought to pay closer attention to them.

This week's analysis examines what we find in our Lego storage containers:

Aaaaannnnnd, this week's Star wars quote is, "Fear will keep the local systems in line."

Happy Labor Day.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Last Month's Zombie Poll Shambles Mindlessly Off to Make Way for Our Halloween Poll

Last month's poll has wrapped up and the public has shown that they prefer sharpened points on their zombie combatting equipment over the blunt trauma approach.  The compass and sharpened pencil tied for first place as the school supplies you would most likely employ in your defense during the zombie apocalypse and they certainly go hand in hand in that I have never seen a compass worth its salt that didn't have a sharpened pencil fastened into it.

Your penchant for piercing through the rotted, bloated flesh of the undead aside, it is time to address Halloween costumes in this month's poll as the closing of it will take us to October 1st.  And so I ask this month, loyal readers about your Halloween costume preference: Homemade or store bought?

This could mean your preference as a kid or your preference for your own children now.  It could refer to what the best costume you have ever seen is or you could vote based on convenience.  The choice is yours.  I am eager to see how the Transformer Generation Dad community prefers their costumes.