Saturday 6 February 2016

Eight Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: January 2016 Edition!

It’s been just over a month since Christmas and I’ve managed to buy enough crap to facilitate another one of these, I shouldn’t be allowed money.

Honestly though most of this comes from me chipping away at what was left of the money I was gifted at Christmas, using the odd tenner on things as I came across them.So are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin:

Miss Hippo!
Stare into the cold dead eyes of a long forgotten mascot! Stare and lose your soul! For maximum effect re-read that in the voice of The Undertaker, now continue. I paid £10 for this three inch piece of nightmare fuel, well I paid £10 for a lot of figurines but this was the only thing I actually wanted from the items, though many of the rest were pleasantly from a holiday camp chain1 I visited each year as a nipper. This is Miss Hippo, one of the former mascots of British theme park Thorpe Park and a corner stone of my childhood summers, they debuted in 1990 but the two ladies – Miss Hippo and Miss Frog – didn’t arrive until about 1995 and I had no idea they were given figurines like their male peers. I was so surprised I’d clicked ‘buy now’ on eBay before my mind had processed the thought that I was paying a tenner for something around the size of a Monster in My Pocket. I regret nothing.

Shark Popper!
At last! I can’t remember what blog introduced me to the Poppers toys, I thought it was my one stop shop for plagiarising: Dinosaur Dracula but Google says it wasn’t and Google is never wrong so it must have been somewhere else BUT they had a Shark Popper and by god I wanted one, but it was only available in America then and I wasn’t playing £15 postage. Anyway ever since then I’ve seen just about every type of Popper around (and have, of course, bought all the Monster Poppers I can) but never a Shark Popper, them BAM! I’m shopping for last minute items for my holiday in The Range and there’s a Shark Popper for £5, a fiver, you can’t eat in KFC for a fiver these days! As for why I was looking for items for a holiday in a sports-focussed Centre Parcs resort in the toy section, nah I wasn’t, I was dawdling. Should I have saved the £5 for food and activities on my holiday? Yes, yes I should but I can now shoot foam balls at my friends and family from the mouth of a cartoon shark and while that’s not life changing, it is something I couldn’t do before.

So yeah, I went to Centre Parcs with five of my friends, I had a very nice time thank you for asking (you didn’t ask? well fuck you you rude prick) even though I’m terrible at sports (well I’m average at bowling, and apparently very dainty at badminton). If you’ve never been to/heard of Centre Parcs they’re summer camps for grown-ups open all year long and wildlife is a big part of why people go, even more so if you go with four people who work with animals. So I saw a lot of squirrels so I bought myself a cuddly squirrel, that’s how you buy yourself gifts on holiday right? But one cannot simply just grab one fluffy thing out of a basket and take it to the counter; one must carefully choose the soft toy they’re going to adopt – so now picture a 19 stone bald metalhead in all black and spiked shoes in toy shop sorting through squirrels. Some people choose the cutest but I always like to go with one who has the most readily apparent character to them, in Jack’s case ‘character’ equals ‘being lethally pissed off’ – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a soft toy so few seconds away from leaning across the table and glassing you. He was perfect, now he’s mine, my friend Sam called her fox (she bought a Centre Parcs fox, she likes foxes) a ‘memory toy’ to justify buying another soft toy after she’d sworn off them and that’s just what Jack is, all my memories of the holiday are stored in an fucked off squirrel.

This Ball!
And also in a light up meteorite, I bought this this from Centre Parc’s toy shop also. There was a huge…rotunda of cheap £1-£3 generic toys to shut kids up with at the back and this was amongst the rubber dinosaurs and clockwork owls, I was just being an annoying child and bouncing the bouncy balls while waiting for my friends to finish choosing their toys when I found this – a meteorite made out of silver faeces. I liked it already! Then I bounced it and the fucking thing lit up! Then strobed! It was a light up meteorite made of alien shit and it had to be mine. So I added it to my pile of ducks (don’t ask) and have been bouncing it around the house ever since, my family hate me.

All of these Thundercats Miniatures!
This was such a good deal I’m going to talk about it on my blog, I need a life. Ok these little fuckers are by Kidworks and aside from Bad Eggs Bunch they are some of the most overpriced Mini-Figures around. Even in this condition (loose, missing most of their weapons) eBay sellers want £5 upwards, the few I’ve owned up to this point all come from me immorally ripping off clueless bootsale sellers. I got this whole lot (which also included Ssslithe, I just forgot to put him in the group shot) for £23 plus postage so they came in at about £2 each. But I actually already have Ssslithe, Cheetara and Mumm-Ra the Everliving so after outing them for a fiver this lot’ll’ve been even cheaper. This leaves me with only four to find (Ma-Mutt, Mummy Mumm-Ra and the amazing Snowman & Snowmeow set) and other than some paint wear on Rataro they’re all in really good condition – Jackalman1 and Vutureman were in such good nick I thought they might be fakes at first (they’re not I hope, though Vultureman does look exceedingly like he’s made of rice pudding) AND Lion-O came with the Sword of Omens. I don’t get too many really good 80’s toy deals on eBay so I am metaphorically dining out on this shit for months.

Flying Heroes Leonardo!
While looking for pictures of the current Flying Heroes toys so I could mock them on a previous post I found an Amazon sale for this and even though it makes even less sense than Batman or Wolverine being this type of toy does it’s a motherfucking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dragon Flyz, that’s two of my favourite action figure lines mixed into one logic defying mess. I’ve only let him off once so far and true to form he hit everything he possibly could within his flight path so it’s nice to know that Flying Heroes are doing their predecessors proud and as this was in my mother’s bedroom (she took some parcels in for me while I was away and of course I had to open them there and then)… well I haven’t actually confessed to having done it yet (and she doesn’t know I have this blog) but when I do you’ll probably hear her disapproving reaction from where you are, for some reason she gets really funny about her adult son bouncing toy turtles off her stuff, weird.

Doctor Who: The Secret Lives of Monsters!
This book is fantastic, and more importantly it was on sale. It’s split up into information on a bunch of monsters who’ve appeared in the show since it’s return, I flicked through it and found that each monster had its own multi-page behind the scenes section with concept art and vintage behind-the-scenes photos and that was enough for me to buy it while in WH Smiths picking up a magazine and not bother to look at anything else it may contain. That was a mistake – each ‘profile’ isn’t merely just that, instead the whole thing is written in the style of investigative journalism research and completely from the point of view of an in-cannon citizen of Earth, made up of newspaper clippings, books, papers, textbooks, stolen UNIT files recalling events that go back to the very first Doctor and actually go a way to retconning and/or tying up conflicting events and information from throughout the show’s life. It must have either been very well researched or written by a massive Dr Who nerd, probably the latter – seriously just check out the notes section of its entry at the TARDIS Data Core to see how many things get referenced - and it is a fascinating thing to read. Of course this format works best when the monsters have a lot of history or appearances so the inclusion of 1-shot enemies like The Krillitanes are a little baffling – oh, you don’t know who the bloody hell they are? They were the bat things from that episode in the school with Anthony Steward Head in? The one where Sarah Jane and K-9 came back? Honestly I think they included them just so they could talk about Sarah-Jane Smith and the tin dog, both being very popular and Elizabeth Sladen being very dead which usually bumps up how highly regarded you are, and given that Sarah Jane was generally considered Best Companion EVAR she is now regarded as something akin to a saint. I’m not saying that’s wrong (though Ace was clearly a better companion) just that it is -  well that and the Master should totally have gotten an entry instead of the Giles-Bat-Things.  

Tuskor Raider!
Save the best for last! And you don’t get much better than finding a huge Chap Mei beast in your local charity shop3, well ok you do, lots of things are better including sex, chocolate and bowling but shut up. I actually went to my charity shop on the off-change they might have had Disney’s version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame on DVD (I want to watch it again but don’t want to pay HMV prices) but to my delight there was a Tuskor Raider, dusty and unloved shoved in a shelf between bags of naked Barbies and some Bayformers – for a fiver. It was hard to keep the squee inside, which further proves how pathetic I am, or maybe not, I mean it’s a giant mammoth in a spiked hat, surely the appeal of that extends beyond toy nerds right?        
Vikings: Legend of the Norse Warriors is one of the cult favourite company’s best offerings with one of the best range of beasts (Chap Mei’s crowning achievements in my mind) – a line-up that included the incredible Sea Wyvern, a new sea serpent, Arcturus & Nereus from Legend of the Knights and Mighty Moe from Deep Sea Adventure4 and gave the Ice Quest: Wild Artic beasts a new fantasy inspired paint job including their mammoth, who is now the helmeted war beast Tuskor Raider. I don’t know in what reality Vikings would ever be able to use a giant mammoth in their pillaging or even how they’d get it on the boat and feed it the whole time they were at sea but that’s what makes Chap Mei lines so charming – fun and awesome rule the day, not silly things like logic and physics and scales - and if it gets me a war mammoth they could have packaged it in Soldier Force for all I care. This one is missing the spear for his gun and his ladder but neither of those things affect me in the slightest and the main thing is that he still roars (when you push the trunk down, which made cleaning him a loud experience) and he’s a war mammoth.

And thankfully I’m done, I hope this killed some time and gave some enjoyment, because writing it certainly did both those things.   

1 a holiday camp, or holiday park as this company – Haven Holidays – likes to call them: imagine a trailer park and a summer camp had a baby by the seaside and they put a cruise liner’s entertainment and swimming pools in what came out.  
2 yes I am aware that Jackalman is holding Monkian’s mace, I fucked up this picture a lot, ok?
3 our version of Goodwill stores, only smaller and each charity runs their own, thus there’s a couple of dozen charity shop chains across the UK and Ireland, there’s three different ones in our parade of shops alone.
4 also used to make up the Animal Planet line; I think Ice Quest may have been folded into that line too actually. 

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