Saturday, May 19, 2012

Summer Toys - Air Foam Bow Shot

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Cheap Summer Toys are generally comprised of three main categories. You have your water based items. Things like squirt guns, water balloons, sprinkler attachments, and generic slip-in-slides. The second is one I like to call "old school fun". The kinds of things that used to be popular back in the 1950's but not quite so much today. These are your jump ropes, marbles, jacks, sidewalk chalk, and paddle balls.

The Air Foam Bow Shot falls under the last category, the 'Nerf Knock-Off'. Toys that shoot some sort of foam dart or ball. Out of the three I've always found these types of toys to be the most interesting and the ones that provide kids with the most bang for your buck.

Nerf Toys, the actual licensed ones, are insanely fun to mess around with. Even if you fall out of the suggested age bracket, there is always fun to be had in shooting high powered foam balls at things. About the only real knock that I have on Nerf is that over the years the price of there toys has grown out of the range of what most kids can afford. The cheaper launchers retail for around $30... which by my count is like half a summers worth of lawn mowing money from back when I was a kid.

That is why I am so thankful that things like the Air Foam Bow Shot exist. It is not quite as cool looking and is no-place near as deadly as real Nerf products but it is a hell of a lot cheaper. You are also far less likely to get into trouble with one of these cheap Summer Toys than you would be with a powerful Nerf launcher, so lets give it a closer look!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 Summer Jukebox!

Hey guys, quick update time. As you can see we are well under way with the "2012 Summer Season" here at the Astro Lounge! I've been having lots of fun writing the "Summer Toys" articles and plan on posting more of those from now until September. Mixed in with those there will be other Summer related pieces as well as a special July Countdown that I think everyone will enjoy.

So with that in mind, today seems like as good of day as any to officially launch the 2012 version of the Summer Jukebox! I spend much more time with this version of the jukebox than I did last year when I first launched it and I think it shows. I was able to find many more songs that actually have "summer" in the title or more directly relate to the season. On top of that I posted a bunch of 'one hit wonder' songs from the 1990s, just kind of a personal belief of mine but I relate a lot of those songs to being a kid and listing to them on my old boombox stereo during summer vacation.

I know that I enjoy the playlist and hopefully you all do too. I've posted a quick link in this post but you can view the Summer Jukebox, along with the Christmas and Halloween versions, all year long on the page marked "Jukeboxes!" up above.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Summer Toys -- In The Air Flitter

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In The Air Flitter is a down and dirty Summer Toy. The ultra cheap kind that even if it breaks thirty seconds after you get it out of the box, has already sort of served its purpose.  The entire point of a (good) Summer Toy is to encourage kids to get outside and not spend all afternoon sitting inside playing Xbox Live. The Air Flitter does that in the cheapest possible way so for that.

What we are going to take a look at today is one of the many "rubber band" toys that get released around spring and summer time. These kinds of toys are usually among the cheapest that you can find. The Air Flitter is nothing more than a piece of plastic that you launch into the air with a rubber band. Supposedly up to 100 feet before it floats back down. Pretty much guaranteeing that the first time you try the Air Flitter out, it will end up in a tree or so far down the street that it is basically not worth the time or effort to go retrieve it.

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Everything about the Air Flitter looks incredibly cheap. From the package design, the color scheme, to the toy itself. This is sort of what makes the Air Flitter such a timeless item. I can picture this exact same package hanging on the shelf at the local drug store in 1992 ... and yet here we are in 2012 and it doesn't look any more outdated now than it would have back then. That doesn't mean that it necessarily looks good... just something that never really goes out of style.

Making it exactly the kind of Summer Toys that I had in mind when I decided to start this series of articles. The ones that have seemingly been around forever. The kind that doesn't seem to be anything special. The ones you run into at the strangest of locations. Gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores, temporary 'summer sections' at larger retail chains. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Halfoween!

Happy Halfoween everyone! What is that... you say you have never heard of 'Halfoween' before? Allow me to explain. May 1st is the date in which we reach the half way point between last years Halloween and this yeas coming Halloween. So as of today we have exactly 182 days left until the most unholy of holidays arrives.

For those of us who really get into the season, reaching the half way point is a pretty big deal. It means that it is time to get working on new decorations and start finalizing plans for yard haunts and other things of the sort. 182 days might seem like a long ways off but I assure you once you hit the half way mark time just seems to fly by.

Besides, with the way most retail chains like to start setting out merchandise for the coming holidays sooner and sooner every year, I half expect to find the first signs of the coming Halloween season by the end of July.

So how does one go about celebrating Halfoween? The easiest way is probably to watch a couple of your favorite horror movies tonight. And roasting pumpkin seeds to eat during your favorite scary movies is a fun, festive alternative to popcorn. I know some people who plan ahead and do costume parties on Halfoween, even going so far as to stick out a couple lawn decorations for the day. It is really all up to you.

For anyone interested in joining in on some year round Halloween discussion, I run a facebook group called "Halloween Fanatics" ... it has turned into a fun group were like minded individuals can get together and talk about their favorite aspects of the season. From scary movies to haunted houses, prop building, ghost stories, and anything else you can imagine. It is an open group and I encourage anyone reading this who is interested in Halloween to join up!

Here are a few of my favorite Halloween related articles for your reading pleasure: