Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin flew away

It’s the first year we’ve spent Christmas at home for a while and we put the Christmas decorations up this week. I love Christmas and we seem to collect more and more Christmas ‘stuff’ each year. In fact we have ten huge plastic boxes in the cellar which poor Scifi hubby had to drag upstairs so I could rummage through them (you don’t make a nine months pregnant Scifi wife rummage in boxes in the cellar – at least if you want to stay alive that is).

20131219-135035.jpgI’ve never been someone who wants a perfectly matching set of decorations. Most of the decs are red, green and gold or Santa shaped but it’s never been a hard and fast rule. Which is just as well as what I hadn’t completely realised was how much Scifi hubby has been influencing our decoration purchases over recent years…

I think it started with the nativity scene. Years ago I insisted we had to have one and although Scifi hubby really isn’t into religion he compromised when we found a nativity scene made from Playmobil (more on this last year). A couple of statues from Nightmare Before Christmas appeared a few years ago as did a singing Grinch and Shrek and Donkey with Christmas hats. Somewhere along the lines we collected a full set of four inch tall Muppet toys (from McDonalds I think) which now go on the Christmas tree.

This year I got part way through putting the decorations and decided to go for a nap (I’m blaming Scifi baby). When I came back Scifi hubby had finished putting all the decorations up and the scale of the Scifi/movie/kitsch invasion became clear. Our Christmas tree may be the only one to include: Batman; Catwoman; two batmobiles one of which plays the Batman theme tune; Superman; Spider-Man; Darth Vader (in a Santa hat); Jabba the Hutt (on his plinth); King Kong; Dumbo; Peter, Stewie and Brian from Family Guy; a full set of Muppets; Shrek and Donkey; the Grinch; Playmobil Santa, angel and various people; Spongebob Square Pants and Patrick; Jack, Sally and the little henchmen Lock, Stock and Barrel from Nightmare Before Christmas; various Smurfs; German glass Christmas ornaments of Santa on a motorbike, Santa in a UFO, a fat cat, a fat fairy, a glittery hedgehog etc; and of course a Coca-Cola truck and polar bear. Oh and going round the bottom of the tree there’s a musical Santa Express steam train.

I think the theme has become Scifi Christmas kitsch. I suppose I should be glad we still have a normal angel on the top – although that could just be because he’s never found a suitable Poison Ivy figure.

Can you spot them all…

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Where does Batman keep his wallet?

We decided months ago that the nursery would have a superhero theme. There really was no getting round it. Then Scifi hubby saw a set of furniture he loved. Now he doesn’t normally go crazy over furniture so this was a little unexpected but he fell in love with a car themed bedroom. A car shaped bed, a petrol pump for a wardrobe and a toolbox for a chest of drawers – all in bright red. The problem was how to fit this in with superheroes…

The solution is the Batcave. I never really noticed but apparently Batman has a full garage down there. How else does he keep the Batmobile running and full of fuel? He can’t exactly pull up to a garage and ask them to have a look at the brakes or to change the tyres now can he? Similarly he can’t really pull into a petrol station to fill up. For a start he’d look pretty silly and for a second where would he keep his wallet? As my mother pointed out he can’t exactly put it in his skin tight suit and it would spoil the lines of his cape if it had a pocket.

I particularly love that this saga involved my mother discussing the finer points of Batman’s costume. She normally just rolls her eyes at Scifi hubby, smiles and humours him (just as she is probably doing now whilst reading this – hi mum!). However my parents are really kindly buying the baby’s furniture for us so we had a very long conversation about filling the Batmobile with petrol and where Batman keeps his wallet. Scifi hubby later suggested it could go on the Bat-utility belt but no one thought of that at the time.

So the nursery is on the way to becoming the Batcave (1960s version all primary colours and not really black) with the Avengers crashing through the ceiling for a bit of DC/Marvel balance. Complete with a ‘Bat toolbox’ and a ‘Bat petrol pump’. We even have a dinosaur (or it could be a dragon) called Victor.

I have drawn the line at a racing car bed for now though. Mostly on the grounds that baby won’t need a proper bed for a few years yet so we need a cot not a bed – and no he’s not turning the cot into a Batmobile. He has, however, managed to talk me into making Batman and Superman cot bed sheets.

20131029-213320.jpgThe original Batcave

20131029-213153.jpgWhat a shame we don’t have more space…

Marvel and DC lessons at sea are just Top trumps

We recently came home from holiday on an overnight ferry. Once on board we, of course, wandered around, found the bar, the restaurant and the shop. What most adult couples probably don’t do is buy two packets of Top Trumps to play. Of course Scifi hubby couldn’t resist when he saw both Marvel and DC Top Trumps for sale. So we spent the evening sat in the bar arguing about who is stronger Batman or Superman, the Thing or Hulk and whether Batman/Bruce Wayne and Superman/Clerk Kent should have the same scores as their alter egos.

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The DC set uses some really nice art by an artist called Ariel Olivetti who we actually met at New York Comic Con last year and have a Batman/Joker commission from on our wall. So whilst we argued about whether Lois Lane really only scores 5/10 for intelligence I could at least admire Superman.

It’s amazing how detailed, and passionate some of the debates became with the DC set. According to the cards Harley Quinn is the same (low) intelligence level as Lois. Ok so Lois is sooooo stupid she can’t work out that Clark is Superman but she’s also an award winning journalist so surely not that stupid. Harley Quinn was a psychiatrist before she went loony, so again, not so stupid really. The Riddler scores 6/10 yet designs puzzles that confound Batman. Commissioner Gordon is smarter than the lot of them – a little unlikely.

I managed to prove that can’t tell the different Robins apart so got a long lecture on who they all are and how to tell at a glance – apparently the clue is in the cloak. They are: Dick Grayson (who becomes Knightwing), Jason Todd (murdered by the Joker but resurrected by Ra’s Al Ghul and becomes the Red Hood), Timothy Drake, Stephanie Brown (yes Stephanie – a blonde and female Robin), Damian Wayne (the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Ghul) and Carrie Kelly (also female and this time ginger). I include this level of detail as writing it down will hopefully (?) make me remember it. Apparently these are crucial facts that everyone should know.

The Marvel art wasn’t as nice but I did get a crash course into the Marvel Universe which I don’t know at all beyond Spider-Man and the Avengers. It seems to me that almost every character has a matching DC character but I still have no idea of which came first and who copied who. Scifi hubby has only recently started reading Marvel stuff in any great quantity so I finally found things he doesn’t know. For example I still don’t have a clue who Luke Cage is. I got the full back story on the movie that now isn’t being made but no backstory for the guy himself. Also discovered my hubby has a love of Antman. Yes you read that right, there’s a character who can go from the size of an ant to the size of a giant. Interesting superpower…

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By the end of the evening I held a hand with Batman, Superman, Joker, Bane and Commissioner Gordon so winning became a forgone conclusion. *Victory was mine mwhahaha…*

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When we got home and emptied the coolbox I discovered it had Han Solo and a Tauntaun hiding at the bottom. Just a guess but I think I might find them in the fridge soon joining Luke and the Wampa…

A man cave AND my office…

We’re finally unpacked! Most of the boxes are gone. We can (mostly) find everything and we are ready for visitors which is just as we’ll as the have some friends coming to stay on Friday.

In the end we have split the collection between a bedroom and the cellar. The landlord came to look at the water in the cellar and decided it was simply due to the change in temperature as the house is new and hasn’t been lived in before. We’ve had a dehumidifier running for three weeks and its thankfully dried out. It was enough to panic Scifiwife hubby though so all paper based collectibles and the statues are in my office and the ‘toys’ etc are in the cellar.

20130714-115815.jpgMy office

20130714-115733.jpgThe man-cave

Scifi hubby has spent the last three weeks unwrapping the collection which has been a traumatic experience to say the least. He has now found everything but we had a week when he raced around like a headless chicken as he remembered something else that he hadn’t seen yet. He would be happily unpacking a box of books when he would suddenly shout ‘BATARANGS’ and then fly around the house looking in every box until he found them. Now bear in mind that there we 381 boxes so this whole process could take some time and for some reason seemed to mostly start at 11pm. In fact it took three days to find the batarangs with lots of swearing, complaints about removal men and pathetic random cries of ‘batarangs’ like a small child looking for a lost toy.

Meanwhile I unpacked the whole of the rest of the house, sorted the food shopping, cooked meals oh and started my new job. I’d get pulled into the occasional batarang hunt but it seemed my lines of ‘it will turn up once you’ve unpacked everything’ were more like a red flag to a bull than helpful.

We were really lucky in terms of damage and loss. The only thing that is completely missing is the digital TV box which is easy to replace at least. From a house perspective there’s a broken clock, broken radio and damaged computer speakers. From the collection there was one painting with broken glass but no damage to the painting and four damaged books. That’s it! No broken statues, smushed comics, damaged paintings, lost autographs or batarangs. Well done removal men. Now we’ve just got to hope that the insurers understand the value of books as it is, predictably, four hard to get hold of books that are battered.

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Wampa update – we remembered to collect him from the old house and he has now taken up residence in our new fridge along with Luke and Han Solo. There’s almost more toys than food in the fridge now…

The traumas of moving house

Moving house is always difficult. Packing, labelling, loading, driving, unloading, unpacking, working out where to put everything, finding the missing screws for the bed, hunting for the power cables, trying to stop the cat escaping back to the old house the list goes on and on. Throw in 38 degree temperatures and a HUGE batman/comic collection and you’ve got a recipe for a very stressed Scifi hubby.

He barely lets me into his ‘office’ and the cat is banned completely so imagine his face as five removal men descended on Monday and “manhandled” all of his preciouses into boxes. To be fair to the removal men they were very careful, used several trees of tissue paper and enough bubble wrap to keep the whole of the city of London in ‘stress bubble paper’ for several years. All the boxes have ‘fragile’ and ‘this way up’ stickers and there was no nasty crashing noises. I guess the proof will be in the unwrapping…

20130619-101324.jpgWe have 381 packages of stuff. Yes really. At a rough estimate over half of this is his collection which partly says he has a lot of stuff and partly shows how the removal men have wrapped each Batman so well that you only get six into each box. The removal guys have two wagons; a small one which seemed to have all our household furniture and boxes in and a huge shipping container on wheels which seems to mostly contain Batmen.

20130619-101208.jpgWe had planned on putting most of his office into the basement of the new house but we opened the doors last night to discover it the cellar was damp. He’s now trying to work out how to get all of his stuff into one of the bedrooms. The floor space is actually slightly bigger than he had before but the ceiling slopes so he’s lost of lot of storage space up two walls. I think it will all fit but its a bit like a giant Tetris puzzle at the moment.

We still need to go back to the old house to do some final cleaning and give the keys back to the landlord. Just as well really as I’ve realised that we left the Wampa and Luke in the fridge!

“At least it is not a model railway”

I’m getting behind with my Scifi wife updates. I’m blaming Scifi hubby for doing too many crazy things too often – oh, maybe changing jobs and moving house is a factor too! There’s now so many potential posts that I’m not quite sure where to start but I guess the main story at the moment though has got to be moving house.

I’ve got a new job (woohoo congratulations me!) so we are moving a couple of hours away from where we are now. As you can imagine moving house with Scifi hubby is not the easiest of experiences and his stress levels are through the roof. Last time we moved it was an international move and all our stuff went into storage for three months. I had recurring visions of all his toys coming alive ‘Toy Story’ style whilst in the storage depot and running amok through all the packing cases. No wonder we weren’t allowed to pack any liquids and especially alcohol as we would have had some very drunk Batmen…

20130424-174151.jpgThis is a scene they cut from the movie apparently 🙂

We still need to find a house but this time it should be a simple drive down the road – I hope! However the collection has grown somewhat since we last moved. I spent most of Sunday sat on a Yoda cushion with the laptop helping him write a list of EVERYTHING in his room and how much it would cost to replace. We only got about half way through before I got a completely numb bum, lost the will to live and ran screaming from the room (after hitting ‘save’ a few times to make sure I didn’t have to repeat it). Happily for me the weather forecast this weekend is bad so I can sit in there again and finish the inventory, aren’t I lucky?

We have also had the first of the removal companies come round to quote for the move. They have been warned there is a Batman collection to deal with but they clearly have no idea what this entails. The very nice German chap this week looked around the living room, saw a few Batman paintings and one glass cabinet with four Batman statues and I think he thought that was it. He started to write them all down individually and ask about value. I suggested that maybe he should think about volume and wait for the inventory for the value. I’m not sure he understood until he walked into Scifi hubby’s room. I wish I had taken a photo of his face. He almost tripped over Kermit the Frog, jumped when he saw the full size Joker mannequin and you could see the panic in his eyes for a moment. What I loved the most was that he simply took a deep breath and calmly said “well it could be worse – at least it is not a model railway”! Apparently that’s very common in Germany. Maybe I should be grateful?

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We now have the prospect of the actual packing to look forward to. Not to mention people coming to look at the apartment to see if they want to rent it once we leave – strangers in Scifi hubby’s room EEEK. Then there’s the unpacking. At this point I’m sticking my fingers in my ears and singing “lalalala” like my friend’s 3 year old twins when they don’t want to do something. We also have some very unfortunate/lucky friends who had booked to come and visit us before we knew we were moving. They will now be here in the midst of unpacking. Luckily he is a scifi fan so I’m thinking that the girls can go shopping and the boys can unwrap Batman toys 🙂

Meanwhile I’m finishing up at my current job, sorting the paperwork for my new job, trying to find a new house, dealing with relocation agencies and removal companies, trying to sort our current rental property out (all of which is in German), inventorying the rest of the apartment, ensuring the cat is up to date with her jabs so we don’t have to find a (probably French speaking) vet the second we move, working out how to de-register from the local authority area, redirect the post etc etc. AND I seem to have mistakenly wandered into spreadsheet hell.

I’ll add more of the recent Scifi hubby tales soon – some are quite high up on the Scifi hubby scale of craziness; for example, why exactly do I currently have a Wampa in my fridge? And will he have eaten Luke when I next open the door

Twelve days of Scifi hubby

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2013! I’ll do a post looking forward to what’s coming up in 2013 soon but after silence for a few days I thought I’d fill you in on twelve days away with Scifi hubby in true Christmas style…

    On the first day of Christmas, Scifi hubby got
    An Iron Man power band (his main Christmas present although I think he actually prefered the children’s toy version of the power bands which he also got!),

    On the second day of Christmas, Scifi hubby got
    Two Hitchcock sketches (David Hitchcock is an amazing artist that we are friends with. He gave Scifi hubby two amazing pieces he’d done of Batman with the Penguin and Batman with the Joker. The Penguin piece in particular is beautiful, Batman is fighting Penguin in the Iceberg Lounge surrounded by evil looking penguins),
    And an Iron Man power band.

    On the third day of Christmas, Scifi hubby got
    Three Judge Dredd Case files books (to mention just a few!),
    Two Hitchcock sketches,
    And an Iron Man power band.

    On the fourth day of Christmas, Scifi hubby got
    Four Batman pillow cases (and a kingside Batman duvet cover – thanks Mum!),
    Three Judge Dredd Case files books
    Two Hitchcock sketches,
    And an Iron Man power band.

    On the fifth day of Christmas, Scifi hubby got
    Five bottles of booze (Dad took pity on Scifi hubby and bought enough alcohol for Christmas to be easy),
    Four Batman pillow cases,
    Three Judge Dredd Case files books
    Two Hitchcock sketches,
    And an Iron Man power band.

    On the sixth day of Christmas, Scifi hubby got
    Six jars of mayonnaise (I know this sounds crazy but we can’t get Scifi hubby’s favourite brand of mayonnaise where we live so we’ve come home with six HUGE jars of the stuff),
    Five bottles of booze,
    Four Batman pillow cases,
    Three Judge Dredd Case files books
    Two Hitchcock sketches,
    And an Iron Man power band.

    On the seventh day of Christmas, Scifi hubby got
    Seven hours at the comic shop (We have some wonderful, long suffering friends who run an online comic shop. We went to visit for a couple of hours, stayed until 1am, ate them out of house and home and then spent far too much money on yet more comic books),
    Six jars of mayonnaise ,
    Five bottles of booze,
    Four Batman pillow cases,
    Three Judge Dredd Case files books
    Two Hitchcock sketches,
    And an Iron Man power band.

    On the eighth day of Christmas, Scifi hubby got
    Eight balloon hats (my mother’s idea – a kit for making balloon hats. Some hilarious results and a very scared cat),
    Seven hours at the comic shop,
    Six jars of mayonnaise ,
    Five bottles of booze,
    Four Batman pillow cases,
    Three Judge Dredd Case files books
    Two Hitchcock sketches,
    And an Iron Man power band.

    On the ninth day of Christmas, Scifi hubby got
    Nine lead Batman figures (he’s been collecting one of these 120 part magazines which come with lead DC figures. Unfortunately they won’t post them to our house so they all end up at my mother’s. She stacks them in a great pile in the guest room and we collect them when we can. Thankfully this series has just finished, unfortunately there’s a new series starting on Batmobiles. Shhhh Mum doesn’t know yet…),
    Eight balloon hats,
    Seven hours at the comic shop,
    Six jars of mayonnaise ,
    Five bottles of booze,
    Four Batman pillow cases,
    Three Judge Dredd Case files books
    Two Hitchcock sketches,
    And an Iron Man power band.

    On the tenth day of Christmas,
    Scifi hubby got
    Ten Batman questions (we had a 13 hour drive home and Scifi hubby doesn’t drive so he decided his role was to keep me entertained. Sadly this seemed to mostly involve a Batman quiz app on the iPad which asks ten multiple choice questions about the Batman universe. There’s several problems with this, first, it’s timed so he couldn’t read out the answer options leaving me to guess every time. Second, the app seems to only have about forty questions so over the course of a few hours even I learnt the answers. Third, he felt the need to explain every answer I didn’t know in great detail so I now know the backstory for Joker (the Red Hood), Harley Quinn (a psychiatrist) and Jason Todd (stole the wheels from the Batmobile). Finally it’s Batman so risks making fall asleep anyway!),
    Nine lead Batman figures,
    Eight balloon hats,
    Seven hours at the comic shop,
    Six jars of mayonnaise ,
    Five bottles of booze,
    Four Batman pillow cases,
    Three Judge Dredd Case files books
    Two Hitchcock sketches,
    And an Iron Man power band.

    On the eleventh day of Christmas,
    Scifi hubby got
    (One hundred and ) Eleven Hot Wheels cars (Scifi hubby’s mother has a lot to answer for – she used to buy him a toy car every time they went food shopping. Somehow this has become a Hot Wheel car whenever we go into a supermarket, and this holiday got he got a little out of control!),
    Ten Batman questions,
    Nine lead Batman figures,
    Eight balloon hats,
    Seven hours at the comic shop,
    Six jars of mayonnaise ,
    Five bottles of booze,
    Four Batman pillow cases,
    Three Judge Dredd Case files books
    Two Hitchcock sketches,
    And an Iron Man power band.

    On the twelfth day of Christmas,
    Scifi hubby got
    Driven Twelve hundred miles (hmmm maybe an massive underestimate but it fits the lyrics and I’m fed up with this song now I don’t know about you!),
    (One hundred and ) Eleven Hot Wheels cars,
    Ten Batman questions,
    Nine lead Batman figures,
    Eight balloon hats,
    Seven hours at the comic shop,
    Six jars of mayonnaise ,
    Five bottles of booze,
    Four Batman pillow cases,
    Three Judge Dredd Case files books
    Two Hitchcock sketches,
    And an Iron Man power band!

Now he’s just got to work out where to put everything…

Happy New Year!

20130104-211053.jpgDay two, part one

20130104-211132.jpgDay two, part two

20130104-211206.jpgDays one and ten

20130104-211244.jpg111 Hot Wheels cars

Sometimes life IS black and white

Scifi hubby is a huge Simon Bisley fan. Bisley, also known as Biz, is a really famous comic artist and has worked on Batman, Lobo, Judge Dredd, Hellblazer etc etc. The first time we met Biz was at a comic shop in Beford. They were running a signing and we turned up really early. Biz, fairly predictably was really late (and drunk but that’s a story for some other time). Whilst killing time Scifi hubby decided to buy a statue of Batman based on a Biz drawing so he could get Biz to sign it.

Skip forward a couple of years and we were at a scifi/comic show in Milton Keynes called Collectormania. The convention had run for several years in the local shopping centre but that year it had moved to the football ground. As a result the con was actually pretty rubbish. They had fewer guests than normal and those they had were hidden away in tents. There were less stalls and less stuff to buy. However Scifi hubby still had the same amount of money burning a whole in his pocket…

At the end of the show he spotted a couple of statues from a set called ‘black and white’. Now I know that once Scifi hubby has three of something it becomes a collection so I know not to ever let him buy the third. Ironically collecting is quite black and white with him, he either has all of something or none. I had completely forgotten about the Biz statue and hadn’t really realised it was part of a series so didn’t think anything of it when he bought both. Until we got home…

Predictably the collection of black and white statues has now got a little out of control – in fact he owns all of the existing 44 black and white statues! Worse, they are still being produced and he’s still buying them. They are quite pretty so live in glass cabinets but he’s rapidly running out of room. Before you worry about the original boxes (like any true collector would), they are, of course, safely stored in several big boxes down the cellar.

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The Bisley Statue that started it all

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Just some of the collection…

The collection grows again

Scifi and hubby and I have been together for over 14 years. In that time we’ve gone from skint students to skint newly-weds to to skint first time homeowners to, finally, having a little money to have some fun. Interestingly the amount of money we’ve had at any given time has been clear in what scifi hubby has added to his collection.

Years 1 – 5
Comics
Normal 3 1/4″ Star wars figures
A local comic con with the odd bit part person from Star Wars (Greedo)

Years 6 -9
All of the above plus:
Graphic novels
12″ figures
More Batman stuff and less Star Wars
Travelling further for comic cons around the country

Years 10 – 11
All of the above plus:
Hardback omnibus special edition books
New York Comic Con
Batman Black and White Statues
Original pieces of art

Year 12
All of the above plus:
Sideshow collectibles statues…

I’m told that Sideshow Collectibeles are THE statues to have and worth their ridiculous cost. I remain to be convinced about that but Scifi hubby is super excited that his first one has arrived. It’s partly how good it looks (and that I can agree with) and partly that we can at last afford to buy at least some of the things he’s always wanted.

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So the box arrived

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And the actual box

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And the insides

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And the statue itself

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Now we’ve just got to wait for his two friends to arrive.

And then see how many more SC decide to release – I don’t think the budget will stretch to the whole Batman universe or Justice League. Of course, we would have to win the lottery several times over to actually buy everything Scifi hubby would want. He’s currently ‘watching’ a life size Batman statue on eBay – keep dreaming babe… 🙂

Note to self: keep geeky side quiet when having dinner with normal people

I’ve been out for dinner tonight with some people from work. We’ve had a lovely evening. We had cocktails on the roof terrace then great food in the garden restaurant. They are a group I don’t know very well yet but will be working with a lot in the coming months. Maybe I should have thought about this before my geekiness began to show…

As dinner table conversation flowed from work to holidays to restaurant recommendations to the Olympics to Delboy and Rodney being Batman and Robin to the latest Batman movie I found myself explaining the whole DC v Marvel universe. In WAY too much detail. No normal person should know this stuff.

Someone said they liked the new Spiderman movie but couldn’t understand why they were telling the back story all over again. What possessed me to actually answer I’m not sure but I did (I’m blaming the cocktails). How do I know the names of all the Avengers and all the Justice League? How do I know about Sony having the rights to Spiderman and Marvel wanting them back so they can include Spidy in the next Avengers movie? Why does no one seem to know that there is an extra clip after the end credits on all the Marvel movies which all link together? How do I know so much about the new Superman movie. And what ever made made me think that normal people would know or care who Adam West and Burt Ward are?

I’m hoping I didn’t sound as insane as Scifi hubby can at times. I didn’t rant about the Batman movie. I didn’t declare undying love for Superman. I didn’t tell them I’m half an inch too tall to be an Ewok. I didn’t mention the collection or conventions or that I was wearing Batgirl knickers (yes really). I think I pulled it off but I guess I’ll find out in the office tomorrow…

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Batman and Robin appearing at the Olympic Closing ceremony