Home Sweet Home: The Sewer Den Sequel


The Sewer Den has been pretty silent lately. 2017 has been proven to be a busy year so far. The biggest cause for the quiet? I bought a house (not avocado toast)! 


After moving to NYC for school well over a decade ago, I pretty much have never left. My Big Apple escapades have been an absolute blast. But after years of city living, the time has come to move on. I'm escaping concrete jungle and venturing to a town called Kinnelon, a quiet North Jersey region known for its sprawling lakes, rolling hills, and extensive hiking trails. There's also a Target! It'll be a drastic shift from my normal routine, but I'm still a stones-throw away from Manhattan. 

Life in NYC has always limited me to one bedroom living. I've never had more than that. But with my new house? 4 bedrooms! The house is by no means huge, but it's a daunting amount of space in comparison. One thing is for sure though, one of these rooms will be dedicated to fun. Call it my office if you must, but know that this room will be a sequel of sorts to The Sewer Den (my TMNT room that houses my collection, currently at my parents' house in Cape May, NJ). This new room may not be entirely dedicated to Turtles, but it's going to be a spot with Sewer Den-like spirit. From classic toys to awesome art, the space will be exciting. It'll be like The Sewer Den is getting its own sequel! 



The collection has already kicked off with a thoughtful housewarming gift from my Dad. Yes, I received a "pile of living garbage" as a housewarming gift. I don't have any furniture yet, but I'm happy to have a Muckman in my life. This trashy dude will help break in the new home. 

Expect more homeowner hijinks! I imagine Money Pit meets Home Alone...

PALM SPRINGS: PART 3 (of 3) - Tramways & Thrift Stores



Live like a celebrity in Palm Springs, California. It's an oasis tucked between mountains and known for its midcentury architecture, a throwback to the days of old Hollywood when Carey Grant and Elvis Presley reigned supreme. Join me for this 3-part travel series as we hike the Mojave Desert, explore a local toy show, comb countless thrift stores, and venture eight thousand feet into the sky onto a snowy mountain top.

PREVIOUS ENTRIES
PART 1: Mutants In The Majave
PART 2: The Temple of Toys



Palm Springs is thrift store mad. The secondhand shops are everywhere! No two are alike, they all have their distinct styles. From high end furniture to musty old clothes, there is no shortage of used goods in Palm Springs. Each place is a mini museum that presents different levels of American junk. The physical locations also reflected this, and were just as unique as their items inside. Many shops were in your run-of-the-mill strip malls. Others were hidden gems, sometimes classier, that took a little navigation to find. The search for these diverse stores was sometimes more fun than the stores themselves.



Whenever we had time to kill between activities, we'd find a new thrift store to explore. For a trip lasting five days, we made a decent dent in the Palm Springs thrift scene and ventured inside many places. I scanned the cluttered shelves and dug through dirty bins all for the sake of Turtle Power. Franks & Son was such a disappointment, I hoped the thrift stores would shift my fortune.

PALM SPRINGS: PART 2 (of 3) - The Temple of Toys


Live like a celebrity in Palm Springs, California. It's an oasis tucked between mountains and known for its midcentury architecture, a throwback to the days of old Hollywood when Carey Grant and Elvis Presley reigned supreme. Join me for this 3-part travel series as we hike the Mojave Desert, explore a local toy show, comb countless thrift stores, and venture eight thousand feet into the sky onto a snowy mountain top.

OTHER ENTRIES


Hiking the deserts of California is wonderful. The land is covered with unique plant life that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. But you know what it doesn't have? Toys. The desert doesn't have toys. I'm sure you already knew that. But, toy hunting is something I try to wedge into all my travel excursions. Outdoor hiking and desert curiosities had stunted my quest, but the time for toys had finally arrived. I wanted the best. Best options, best selection, best use of time. Going for the best meant going the distance. That distance was about 90 miles outside of Palm Springs to Frank & Son in Anaheim. Frank & Son is a collectible show with a focus on toys, with nauseating-long vendors' aisles sprawled throughout a Foot Clan-like warehouse. It's a collectors dream that occurs every Wednesday & Saturday. Even if hoarding old junk isn't your thing, the culture and lifeblood of Frank & Son is still a fascinating experience.



As an east coast kid, how did I find out about this haven? Back in 2012, I was traveling California and popped into an Anaheim comic shop. While I was perusing vintage TMNT toys, the store clerk and I got to talking. He was an Anaheim native and a super cool guy. We spent a good 30 minutes talking about everything from toy cleaning methods to the pitfalls of California pizza. Before we parted ways, he left me with one travel tip - Frank & Son. He described the toy mecca with such mystic grandeur, the place sounded like a collector's dream. I took his advice and went to the show that very day. It was amazing. Years later on a family vacation, I went again - pulling my parents along for the ride. They loved it too. Now in 2017, it was the third visit.

PALM SPRINGS: PART 1 (of 3) - Mutants In The Mojave


Join me for this 3-part travel series in Palm Springs, California.

Celebrating birthdays is like getting pizza delivery. You know it's coming. Anticipation is high. You hope it'll be great, but disappointment has struck before. This year for my fiancé Jessica's 30th birthday, we ordered a pizza with the works. Once it arrived, she didn't delicately nibble a single slice. She devoured the entire metaphoric pie - embracing the milestone birthday to the max. We cashed in airplane miles and escaped the cold winter of NYC for the sunny, mountain-filled skies of Palm Springs, California.



Why Palm Springs, California? It's an oasis tucked between mountains and known for its midcentury architecture, a throwback to the days of old Hollywood when Carey Grant and Elvis Presley reigned supreme. It was an escape from tinseltown. The glitz and glam of Los Angeles were replaced with poolside cocktails and hotel martinis. Over the years, Palm Springs has evolved but still maintains its old Hollywood charm. Vintage shops and thrift stores are the backbone of the town with the surrounding Coachella Valley offering hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails for outdoor adventures. Palm Springs offered us the chance to live like celebrities...although I'm not sure what celebrity hunts TMNT toys in grungy secondhand stores.

Christmas Fallout: 2016 Edition


The holiday gauntlet has ended. I survived another year of shuffling through New York and New Jersey to visit family and friends. I'd like to tell you that is all that mattered, that the joy of loved ones makes for the most happiness. But, I can't lie. Even as a dude in his 30s, getting Christmas gifts is still fun. Although I cherish the memories with others more, tearing gifts open is still a blast. I enjoy opening presents and am grateful when something thoughtful is given to me. Christmas 2016 had lots of gracious gifts. Let's take a peek at these presents.

Cowabunga Christmas: Bootleg Action Figures


OOZING WITH HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Have you ever received a Christmas gift that is so good it defines the entire holiday? Nintendo, a BMX bike, the Technodrome playset - all gifts that shaped my merry season, raising the caliber for Christmas throughout the rest of my life.

Can a gift be so bad it does the same? I think so. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to the coal of Cowabunga Christmas, bootleg TMNT figures aka. Super Ninjas.

Cowabunga Christmas: Activity Pad


OOZING WITH HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Stocking stuffers is a phrase that makes me feel uncomfortable. When is "stuffing" ever good? I know when I'm "stuffed" it's a terrible feeling. I look around my home and often wonder if I own too much "stuff." So when I think of "stocking stuffers," all these idiosyncrasies come to mind. But, I'm conflicted because junkie gifts are always fun. There are a few TMNT stocking stuffers that won't set the world on fire, but they are really festive.