Happy Thanksgiving from JBL!

Thanksgiving Christmas G.I. Joe

 

Happy Thanksgiving from JBL!

Sure, it’s not “Joe news” but this time of year it’s nice to take time out of a crazy schedule to appreciate the things that you have.  In the United States, today is the day that millions of Americans sit down with family and friends over a sumptuous meal and try to remember all of the things that they have to be grateful for.  As such, JBL would like to extend some “thanks of our own” on this blustery morning here in Central Illinois.

I’d like to thank each and every person reading this message right now.  It sounds corny but it’s true.  JBL isn’t a for-profit site– content here isn’t created to try and generate revenue.  Instead, new reviews, articles, and the occasional bit of news are all posted to help serve as a resource for the G.I. Joe fans around the world.  As such, I’d like to thank you for stopping by for you’re the reason this site exists!

I’d also toss a shout out to all of the various G.I. Joe creators I’ve met and interacted with over the years.  Without each of your unique talents and vision, the brand that we know today wouldn’t exist.  I know I’m going to miss a plenty of names but to folks like Larry Hama, Kirk Bozigian, Chuck Dixon, Buzz Dixon, Ron Wagner, Herb Trimpe, Brandon Jerwa, Josh Blaylock, Mike O’Sullivan, Ron Rudat, the late Don Levine, the crew from Boss Fight Studio, and others– thank you for your vision, creativity, and perseverance. Sure, Joe seems to have fallen on some hard time lately but the vibrant fandom is keeping the memory of “Man of Action” and “Real American Hero” alive today.

Also, to all of the friends that I’ve made through this hobby, just a quick note of thanks.  I won’t list all of you but I just wanted to say thanks for the support and the acknowledgement that “JBL is still there!”

Lastly, to the men and women of our Armed Forces, I’d like to say thank you.  Past and present, you are truly the REAL American Heroes!

May you all enjoy a blessed day!

Plus, check back next week as we round out the 50th Anniversary Reviews!

JBL Thanksgiving

JoeBattlelines Turns 11 Years Old!

JoeBattlelines birthday

 

Today is JoeBattlelines.com’s 11th anniversary of going online!

It was 11 years ago today that the domain “JoeBattlelines” was registered with Network Solutions and that Sgt.Savage.com officially changed hands.  Who knew that a simple offer of help with a website would result in over a decade of being a website admin?  In internet terms, eleven years makes both me and this site practically a fossil!

It was back in 2003 that I reached out to Brian “Savage” Peterson, owner of SgtSavage.com to ask if he could use any help with the website.  The reply I got back wasn’t at all what I expected– he apparently was familiar with my work at the now-defunct RingofCollectors.com and told me that I had 24 hours to come up with a domain name because he was turning the keys of the site over to me.  What followed was a hasty brainstorming session with my friend Thad and the result was “JoeBattlelines.com”.  To this day I don’t remember who came up with the name or why– I just remember that this was the best option we had.  (Back in the day you couldn’t use “G.I. Joe” or any Hasbro copyrighted term in your site name w/o express permission.)

It was a real learning curve experience for me.  I’d only helped create content for websites before but any experience that I had in managing the “behind the scenes” technical aspects of a site was entirely self-taught.  Heck, JBL’s oldest archived design was created by Brian Savage Peterson!

I won’t lie to you– the site isn’t nearly as prominent as it once was.  Part of this is due to the shifting patterns of the fandom, first toward newer website and then to Facebook groups.  There was also a period of burnout that hit this particular site admin starting around November of 2008 which lasted for a few years.  In that time, the site languished as only a ship without a rudder can.  It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I decided to blow the cobwebs off and re-stoke the boilers to build up some steam around here.

If you’re reading this, thanks for sticking with the site.  Thanks for following the topics in the forums, the event coverage, and the rambling reviews of a guy who discovered G.I. Joe back in 1982 and who never lost that love of those Real American Heroes.  Thanks for putting up with an update schedule that can only be described as “inconsistent” at best.  JBL has never been the biggest site, nor has it been the most talked about, or the most promoted, but it’s been here for far longer than I’d ever envisioned and it’ll be around as long as I’m able to keep the lights on.

Happy Independence Day!

Freedom is the Right of All Sentient Beings
JoeBattlelines.com would like to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day!

Today is more than just a day filled with cookouts, days off of work, and fireworks.  For those of us in the United States, it’s the birthday of our nation.  More importantly, it’s the birthday of a nation based upon the principles set out in these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Dated “July 4, 1776”, the document quoted above was signed by a group of brave men who sought to free their friends and neighbors from what was then an oppressive government and establish a bold new experiment in representative government. Their actions forever shaped the world and helped create a nation that has forever changed the way people view the notion of “Freedom.”

So, to all who read this– we here at JBL wish you a happy and safe 4th of July.  Whether the time be spent with family, friends, or even in some quiet reflect, take a few moments today to be thankful for the freedoms that you enjoy.

A full copy of the Declaration of Independence may be found here.

The JBL Forums are Back! (Also, Brand New!)

JBL Forums Banner 8

 

The best laid plans of mice and men…

Yesterday, during an attempt to reduce the JBL forums database to a reasonable size (according to our hosting company) I inadvertently wiped out everything.  That’s right– the last nearly 7 years of the current forums were obliterated with a keystroke.

There’s good news, however.  The forums are back!  However, there’s a change.

They’re brand NEW forums.  The old data is gone and that means the old registrations are also gone.  To resume activity on the forums, you’re going to need to re-register.  So, stop on by and join in the rebuilding of the community!

http://joebattlelines.com/phpBB3/index.php

Now I can get back to working on reviews that will post next week!

Well… the JBL Forums Just Got Wiped Out…

homer-simpson-doh

Well, it wasn’t Cobra, the Dreadnoks, Serpentor’s Coil, or even the Fatal Furries that killed the JBL forums.  It wasn’t even an outside hacker or malicious attack.

Nope, it was a well-intended admin who had received a “database size exceeded” notice from his hosting company.

This morning about 11:00am CST while doing some maintenance I accidentally wiped out the database containing the JBL forums.  That’s right– the entire forums.  Every post, every poll, and every member from the last 7 years was erased in one quick keystroke.  There is no backup, there is no turning back.

What does this mean going forward for the individuals who still used the forums?  Well, it looks like I’ll be doing some rebuilding over the next few hours.  I can put the structure back as closely as I can but the content will be gone.  However, this is where you come in.

Let’s face it– the forums have been wiped out before.  When we left EZboard and merged with the now-defunct RingofCollectors.com, the forums were rebuilt.  When our database crashed after that, they were rebuilt.  From the ashes of the old can arise the new– but only if people want it to.  Once the new forums are rebuilt, stop on by.  Register an account and post something.  Start a topic, post a custom, create a poll– whatever you feel like.  This is a chance to build something new from the ashes of something that had become a bit of a dinosaur.

Keep your eyes peeled both here and on our Facebook page– that’s where the announcement that the new forums are LIVE will go up.  Until then, all I can say is “Sorry gang… I’ll fix it.”

So What’s Up With the JBL Forums?

 

forums update

 

“So, what’s the deal with the JBL forums, Mainframe?!!”

That’s a question that some of you might be asking after an earlier post teased that the forums were getting an update.  There is some news on that forums update– some good and some bad so I’ll break it down as follows:

  • The forums are updated and functional for all registered users.
  • Registration, however, isn’t quite working for new members.

In a nutshell, the current iteration of JBL’s forums is approaching its seventh birthday.  That’s right– there are nearly seven years worth of posts, registrations, uploads, attachments, etc cluttering the database.  Our hosting company, GoDaddy, has informed me that the database is a larger than it should be by nearly a factor of 150%!  This meant that the forums needed some serious attention– something that they’ve not seen in an administrative sense for a long time.

After a few hours work, the database has been pared down somewhat but there is still more work to do on the back end.  However, for anyone who has previously registered on the site, the old forums are back in business.  This means that anyone who has posted to JBL in the past 6+ years should be able to log in use the old site just like they used to.

It’s a fact that the forums traffic has dwindled in the past two years.  Much of that came from the hiatus of the site admin (namely me) from the hobby failing to generate new content to the site.  Further attrition is probably due to the ups and downs of the brand over the past few years as well as the rise of social media sites like Facebook.  Let’s face it– the advent of Facebook groups means that just about anyone can set up a group, invite their friends, and start posting.  Plus, the average net users spends over 10% of their daily time on the net on Facebook.

The point is– the JBL forums are still open for business.  If you’re so inclined to log back in, poke around, and discuss the world’s greatest toy line we’ve left the lights on for you.  So, why not stop on in and check them out once more?  You might just enjoy yourself.  (In the meantime, I’ve got to get the user registration settings fixed!)

http://joebattlelines.com/phpBB3/index.php

Happy Holidays from JoeBattlelines!

Happy Holidays from JoeBattlelines.com

The xmas holidays have this high value: that they remind Forgetters of the Forgotten, & repair damaged relationships.
– Mark Twain in a letter to Carlotte Welles, 30 December 1907

Just a quick shout out to everyone who visits this site whether frequently or occasionally– a quick moment to wish any and all who celebrate it “Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays”!   Whether you enjoy the day with friends and family or quiet reflection, it’s a day to reflect on the blessings that each of us share and to remember those who are less fortunate than us.  For children it’s a day filled with the excitement of a new present; for adults, it’s a day to put aside the cares of every day living and just enjoy the spirit of the season.  It’s a day in which mankind shows the best that it has to offer its fellows.  It’s also the day in which TBS broadcasts the story of a young boy and his quest for a Red Rider BB gun for 24 hours straight!  (Something that my friends over at TheBreauxShow remember all too well!)

I’d also like to thank everyone who visits this site on a regular basis.  JBL isn’t the biggest Joe site on the web and it was inactive for far too long during the past couple of years.  It’s meant a lot to me that people still stop by, check out the news and the reviews, and even post on the forums.  (All seven of you!)  As the admin, I’d like to just humbly say “thanks for sticking with us.”

So have a safe and happy holiday, don’t shoot your eye out, and thank you for visiting JoeBattlelines.com.  We look forward to celebrating the 50th Anniversary of G.I. Joe in 2014!

JBL experiencing some site issues

G.I. Joe Mainframe

All,

It would seem our WordPress installation has, to use a “technical term”, gone a bit wonky.

As such, I’ve revert the site back to the default theme and have contacted our web host’s support staff.

Until this is resolved, updates might be a bit sporadic.  In the interim, please check back for updates or check our feeds on both Facebook and Twitter.

Sorry for any inconvenience…  we WILL be back!

Pardon our dust… we’re remodeling!

G.I. Joe Mainframe

Pardon our dust– JBL is undergoing some renovations!

The site has had its current look for several years now and it’s time for a facelift in terms of both form and function.  More and more folks out there are using mobile devices (phones and tablets) to search the web and it’s high time the site was optimized to work with that.  So, JoeBattlelines will be undergoing some “adjustments” as the site is further optimized for a true multi-platform experience.

Of course, new form updates also mean new content updates as well.  After a long and quasi-arduous process, the SDCC set for 2013 has arrived at JBL HQ and, thanks to the good folks at Kokomo Toys G.I. Joe Retaliation wave 3 should be enroute within the next week.  That means that some new reviews will actually be posted fairly soon.

Your patience is appreciated while Mainframe and his tech crew test some new functional layouts.

After the events in Boston, JBL is going dark for a few days.

This is an odd post to write. If you’d asked me 24 hours ago what JBL’s next update would be I’d have answered “JBL Review: G.I. Joe Con Night Force Lady Jaye.”

However all that changed at 2:50pm EST today when some SOB detonated two bombs in the 600 block of Boylston St in Boston. Reading the events online and listening to the streaming coverage from WBZ somehow made posting a review feel wrong.

I wasn’t born in Boston and I didn’t grow up there. However, after college I went to Boston University to get my Master’s Degree. I lived in Boston and the surrounding metro area for almost exactly seven years. For three of those years I worked between the Copley and Arlington T stations on the Green Line. I ate frequently ate lunch at Copley Square with friends and would walk up Boylston St to what was then Tower Records at the corner of Boylston and Mass Ave. Back Bay was, in many ways, the heart of the Boston that I knew.

When many people across the nation think of Boston and holidays July 4th immediately springs to mind. It’s our nation’s birthday after all and the seeds of the revolution were planted and nurtured in Boston. Yet, for many who live in the city Patriot’s Day (or “Marathon Monday” as it is more commonly known) really is the city’s holiday. It’s a day when Boston springs to life with an energy that is almost tangible as hundreds of thousands of people descend upon the city to share in the experience of the Boston Marathon. All of that energy, hope, and excitement is centered around the finish line– located at Copley Square. It’s day where the city celebrates the success not just of one or two individuals who place first or second but rather the accomplishment, dedication, and determination of ALL who participate in the course that begins out at Hopkinton, MA.

Today was reported to be an excellent Marathon Monday. The weather was ideal for the runners, and the Red Sox pulled off a win at an afternoon home game at Fenway. I can just imagine that excitement of the crowds and the smiling faces of children who were enjoying a day off of school in the city with family and friends. When the news broke of the incident on CNN this afternoon, I was seated in a desk in an office nearly 1,000 miles away and yet I felt for those in the city at that moment. This wasn’t some distant place on the news that I’d never been to. This was a place that I’d worked, lived, and made life-long friendships. This was a city that I still can regard as a second home.

At the risk of sounding terribly melodramatic, posting reviews of plastic figures from a toy convention just didn’t seem as important as it did 24 hours ago. So, I’m taking a few days off from posting the 2013 Collector’s Convention reviews. The site isn’t going away– but quite honestly this has hit me harder than I’d have thought possible. Even though I’ve been gone since the Fall of 2007, Boston still is a city that I’m very close to and to see it bloodied like this raises in me an ire as strong as if the attack had happened in my own home town.

Reviews will begin again next week. In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the injured and to the families of the three individuals whose lives were taken by an act of cowardice. To the individual(s) that set in motion this tragic series of events I can say only this– you’ve struck the Cradle of Liberty today and that city will not take this act laying down.

Copley Square Boston