Thursday 29 December 2016

Ten Examples of Crap I Waste Other People's Money On: Christmas 2016 Edition*

I wrote this on Christmas Day, everyone went out to drop off relatives and I got half an hour to myself, so spent it writing about my prezzies, god I’m such an attention whore – look at me, look at the cool stuff I got, I make myself sick – and yet I’d still never do this in real life, I think I now understand how come people can write such horrible shit in YouTube comments but I’ll be dammed if I can put it in words. This may only be part 1 in fact, my gift giving and receiving is very spread out this year, beginning on the 23rd and ending whenever the NES Mini arrives (so probably February) but I made out so well so far – in fact in truth I already had enough for a post by Christmas Eve - I thought I may as well get bragging, I mean blogging, I think I may mean both. Now as always I’m not saying these are the best presents I received, they’re just the ones I can get a paragraph of semi-amusing waffle out of. So are you sitting comfortably? Of course you are, you’re still full of food, after four days, so I’ll begin:

Over 25 Years of TMNT!
So I worked out today that I’ve been receiving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles related gifts every Christmas for over half a century, I felt exceptionally old and ate Quality Street, lots of Quality Street, even the penny toffees no one but Sophie eats. This actually isn’t all of the TMNT stuff I received this year either, just the ones that were nearest the tree that accidentally ended up being the perfect items to photograph for this, with Raphael and the LP representing the earliest years of my life as a TMNT fan (I came in roughly in autumn 1990 with some stuff my dad bought back for me from Austria) and Karai and Armaggon representing the present day. Can we talk about that LP for a minute? That is the limited edition boxed version of the soundtrack to the first TMNT film, my favourite part of the Ninja Turtles franchise and my nan got it from a fucking charity shop. Some people might be unhappy they got a present from what is effectively a smaller goodwill store with a stronger stench of cat pee; I say that if it gets me a picture disc with T-U-R-T-L-E Powah! on it you can buy it from a fucking meth lab for all I care.

These were available at Walt Disney World, I saw ‘em at EPCOT and Hollywood Studios but I’m sure they were available all over, AH GOD THIS IS SO COOL. Reasons for being cool 1) It’s Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Mickey Mouse only cooler 2) my friend managed to buy this, keep it in her room and then pack it without me noticing in any way 3) it’s from my favourite theme park ever (Disney World, not EPCOT, EPCOT is no one’s favourite theme park) 4) It’s one of a kind, sort of 5) Shorts are comfy and easy to wear. I am really, really short on wall space in my room but I will make room for this, if I have to somehow affix it to the ceiling (hmm, it’s Artexed so maybe that won’t work…maybe if I use pins of different lengths?) or the fucking window I will have a sketch of Oswald up in my room.

Star Wars Bin!
I spent Christmas Eve with my dad and we decided the most festive thing we could think of to do was watch a sci-fi film that’s mostly set on a tropical paradise – we all keep Christmas in our own ways. Short review of Star Wars: Rogue One? Best Star Wars film since ‘Jedi. Anyway Vue Cinemas were selling these bins at the food counter, which is also the current ticket counter because of staff cutbacks (I think? Does anyone know why they closed down the ticket counter at the bottom of the escalator at Romford Vue?) for £3 empty or £8 full of popcorn, this implies that Vue Cinemas think their popcorn is worth £2 more than a embossed metal bucket with AT-ATs on and thus that they know NOTHING and that everything you’ve ever thought about cinema food and the companies that sell it are true. Dad bought me a bucket and we ate the sweets we bought elsewhere out of it, feeling like rebels while watching rebels. As you can see I’ve already filled it full of toys.

The Best of Skulls!
That is a skull made of skulls; it is the ultimate skull, if these sorts of ornaments have a deity this is it. I don’t really know what else to say about it, it’s the Skull of Skulls and the friend who gifted it to me has great taste, and just in case my loud enthusing at the time didn’t get it across – I think this is brilliant. Skull of Skulls’ sidekick comes from one of my little cousins and while it is upstaged by a skull made of skulls so are a lot of things and shouldn’t feel bad – it is exceptionally shiny and reflective and utterly lovely and reminds me of such a specific memory I need to share it. For a good while when I was a child my dad has a chromed skull gear knob, which he transferred from car to car along with a set of furry seat covers that looked like the sort of thing a cave man might wear; from the back this is a dead ringer for that gear knob (it had hollow eye sockets rather than the rotting fleshy ones this has) and looking at it I can feel those seat covers and see my dad changing gears with the force that an old A-40 required as he drives me home up Carter Drive, it’s a lovely little flashback I didn’t expect to get even at this the most nostalgic time of year.  

A Unicorn That Shoots Rainbows
So if you were real and hadn’t been driven away by the slew of shit I’ve posted on this thing in the meantime you might remember Izzy the Eater of Genitals , this is from the same friend. It’s part of Hog Wild’s Poppers Range which also includes the fantastic Monster Poppers but… as great as Monster Poppers are… they’re not a weaponized unicorn. These things are great; they shoot fast enough and far enough to feel satisfying but not hard enough that the person you hit in the head gets genuinely annoyed with you for doing so, you can also vary the distance and ferocity very easily to hit anyone in your living room, unlike, say, the classic Blurp Balls where all you can do it fire them at one speed and that speed is called ‘painful’ - technology really HAS advanced.

Remote Controlled ECTO-1!
Ok so I know I said that I wasn’t saying that these are the best presents but this is one of the best presents, possibly ever. This is a remote controlled ECTO-1 with lights and sounds and just in case my photo isn’t getting this across, mostly because you have no idea how big my tree and/or reindeer it, this is big – even out of the box when all toys (except The Hive from Sectaurs) shrink and become far less impressive this thing is big and impressive. This was taken Christmas Eve before I’d had it out and driven it over elderly people’s feet as they pottered around my kitchen – which by being long, thin and tongue-and-groove flooringed is the perfect toy-sized roadway and has been used as such for 30 years for everything from monster trucks to Garfield & Odie. But with such an awesome present comes an awesome amount of guilt, wanna know what I bought the friend who bought me this? A book – sure it was an awesome book but, but this is the car from Ghostbusters and I can control it, the book would have to be the actual Necronomicon to match it. I am buying so many drinks and snack foods for this man; he won’t be paying for a Mars Bar until July.   

So my other little cousin, not the one that bought me the shiny skull, bought me a light up cat, which I’ve named Bob because if you can think of a better name for a cat with that expression then you’re some kind of sixth-dimensional hypothetical theta-wizard. Bob looks good in that picture but he really comes into his own in person, because what you can’t see is that Bob is very squishy which just makes him even more loveable (and easier to physically love – not like that), what you also can’t see is that he’s a touch-activated light and when not strobing he’s a very effective lamp that I’m going to use to read by – and how great is it to be able to read by the light of a squishy cat? Bob became my lil’ buddy all Christmas Day and I interacted with him frequently, my family are VERY patient people.

Homemade Rice Crispie Christmas Tree!
I couldn’t leave this off, these were made by my neighbour’s daughter’s finance’s son (got that?) which means in reality it was made my by neighbour’s daughter and the lad stuck the balls on but I’m crediting him as the creator all the same. It is solid Rice Crispies died green with god knows what and held together with marshmallows on a shortbread base and it is like fucking amphetamine sulphate (or so I’d imagine - no, really I’ve never taken amphetamine sulphate and never intend to, I just know roughly what the high is like thanks to reading lots of autobiographies on The Clash and Punk Rock in general – speeding around underneath the yellow light indeed). I had about four bites of mine and my head was literally buzzing, the sugar levels in one of these things is roughly equal to one Tate & Lyle factory and I am so, so VERY ok with that.  

Moon Ball!
Much like how the Skulls of Skulls is the ultimate skull this is quite possibly the ultimate bouncy ball, the Bouncy Ball of Bouncy Balls and I’ve wanted one for years but somehow have never gotten around to buying one or being given one as a gift. THIS is still in its box, in fact I’m terrified to get it out until me nan’s good plates have been put away, in fact I may not even get it out until after the Christmas Trees have been put away; if my regular interaction with regular size bouncy balls is anything to go by I may be chancing it bouncing it anywhere but a large open space, like, say, a deserted runway.

A Bag of Knock-off Pokémon!
I have a stocking that’s also Donatello from the TMNT; here I took a picture of him in his usual position at my mum’s:

I’ve had him for as long as I can remember but he probably came into my life around 1991 and mum always puts something noteworthy in him, it’s one of those little things that people do that’s a little tragic to others but totally wonderful to the people doing it. Sometimes the noteworthy thing is just some really nice chocolate but it’s always something that feels a little special, my copy of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is the first thing I can remember being in Donnie specifically. I love Pokémon and I love knock-off toys so even though this bag probably cost mum around a pound it is a top-notch gift in my eyes and it’s just full of winners – lookit: Kyogre, Mewtwo, Litleo, Mega Charizard X, Blaziken, Charmeleon, Crobat, Pikablu Marril, Misdreavus, Trevenant, motherfuckin’ Oddish and the fact that Misdreavus looks like a ghostly asparagus and Nidoran is the colour of blue Slush Puppy (the best Slush Puppy) just improves them in my eyes. So much joy in such a small bag, and yes they are in the Star Wars bin.

Ha! Just in time, everyone’s just come back in. Thank you to everyone who gave me a gift and special thanks to my neighbours and great aunt who helped turn what could have been a really emotionally difficult Christmas into a really fun one and thank you my imaginary chums for reading for a whole year.        

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