Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ultimate Warrior's Crazy Comic Book!

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Vince McMahon and the (then) World Wrestling Federation have had a long history of trying to branch out the company into things other than wrestling. We have seen everything from bodybuilding leagues, restaurants, TV shows, movies, football leagues, and even one ill-fated attempt at crossing over into the comic book industry. Today we are going to focus on the WWF's attempt at creating a brand of comic book characters, in particular one based around The Ultimate Warrior.

On the surface a line of WWF Comic Books is actually not the craziest thing they could have attempted. It makes far more sense to take these already over the top characters and make them even more insane in a comic book, than say attempting to stick them into feature length films. So the guys at Chaos Comics were contacted and soon enough we had special edition comic books featuring the likes of Mankind, The Undertaker, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

I cannot really speak for the quality of the Chaos Comics as other than a free preview of them I got a long time ago, I never actually read any of them. While I am sure they were never anything spectacular, they at least had to be readable and enjoyable to a couple of kids as they lasted until about 2000 or 2001.

The complete opposite end of the spectrum is the Ultimate Warrior's self titled comic book "Warrior". This book is hands down the strangest thing I have ever read and I read Ted Kaczynski's "Unabomber Manifesto" once. Part of what makes this comic so strange is the fact that it was wrote by none other than the Ultimate Warrior himself.  I don't even know if a normal human brain is capable of understanding the things that Warrior outputs. Take a look at this old Warrior wrestling promo, this guy is certifiably nuts and someone let him write this book.

I have read this comic numerous times and while there are indeed many letters that string together to form words and words that form sentences none of them ever really seem to fit together or make any kind of sense. I don't know what Warriors self titled comic book is about. I don't know what happens or what was supposed to happen. Honestly I don't think anybody other than the Ultimate Warrior understands this comic book. That my friends is what makes it so great, its like watching a train wreck in slow motion.  Prepare yourself for the most fascinating and confusing journey you have ever been on. Get read for... Warrior!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Town Archives!

Well guys and ghouls I am officially on a week of vacation from work! Among other things this will give me a chance to get started on some of the none-holiday themed articles for 2012. I have already started working on two or three of them and I cannot wait to share what those are with everybody.

But first we have one last thing we need to take care of for the 2011 Christmas Countdown before we can officially close the curtains on that holiday season. Its time to open up the Christmas Town Archives section of the website! Just like Halloween Town, this area will be dedicated to everything that I have ever wrote (and ever will write) that pertains to the holiday season. I know right now we are all sort of sick and tired of hearing about Santa Clause's holly jolly fat ass but come July it will be kind of nice to revisit these older holiday articles.

That's all for today folks. Be sure to check back for lots of great none-holiday related content that will hit within the next couple of days!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to take a brief minute to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas! Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this blog, it really does mean a lot to me and I hope it brings enjoyment to you all as well. Please be sure to stop back as sometime within the next couple of days I have a couple last minute gifts that I would like to share with everyone as per the 2011 Christmas Countdown! You guys made 2011 a fantastic year and I cannot wait to get 2012 under way!

Quick Update 12/26: Sorry for anyone who was hoping the Christmas theme was going to stick around for a while longer. I've started working on my first batch of none-seasonal material and honestly did not realize just how tried I was of looking at that Christmas Tree background and pretty much everything else that relates to the holiday. I have one final post that I will put up here shortly and then we are going to call it a wrap on the 2011 Christmas Countdown. There will be no extension into January this year, lol. But don't worry the article I am working on... you guys are going to get a BIG TIME kick out of. Once again thanks for all the support!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Pop Rocks ... Rock!

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We finally got some snow on the ground here in Iowa yesterday. For only the second time so far this year. Its really kind of strange that all of November and most of December have been in the middle 40s and 50s with even a few rouge 60 degree days sprinkled in. I think part of my Christmas burnout comes from the fact that it just hasn't really felt like the holiday season this year. Being able to look out the window and see actual snow on the ground goes a long way in rejuvenating ones Christmas spirit. So let's cover some Holiday Pop Rocks before I never feel like writing about them ever again.

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Holiday Pop Rocks are a relatively cheap way to get some last minute enjoyment out of the Christmas season. A package of three comes bundled together for right around one dollar or if you are like me you'll somehow end up with a mysterious fourth package. Best not to question.

The flavor in question is candy cane and the rocks have been color coordinated to sort of resemble crushed candy canes. I would have preferred they went with a red and green theme for the rocks in order to look a little more festive but honestly the outside of the package more than makes up for it.

As for the taste, yea its sort of candy cane like. I have never been that big of fan of the way Pop Rocks taste to begin with so its not really surprising that I am not head over heals in love this flavor. Besides nobody eats Pop Rocks for the taste, you eat them for the experience of fizzing popping rock candy in your mouth. This time your allowed to do it with the guise of Christmas underneath.

I really do enjoy is the overall theme accomplished with these. They just look nice and festive and I feel like even if you don't really like the candy, that they would still make for great stocking stuffers. As a matter of fact if you look closely at the bag they came in you will see the ever illusive "to" and "from" sections on the top and bottom of the bag respectively. If you need some last minute cheap gifts to pad out that special someones Christmas stocking, you should give Holiday Pop Rocks a look.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Limited Edition Gingerbread Pop Tarts!

After yesterdays sort of failed attempt at writing about The Abominable Snow Monster, I decided to take a good long look at the pile of Christmas items that I have left to cover. I wanted to see if there was really anything left that struck me as something I absolutely had to write about. As it turns out there is still just a little gas left in my Christmas tank. Just enough to make it through these Limited Edition Gingerbread Pop Tarts and not completely sound bored out of my mind while writing about them.

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I guess I never never really realized until now just how many different types of Pop Tarts get released seasonally. I wrote about Spookylicious Pop Tarts during the 2011 Halloween Countdown and here we have some Gingerbread kind for the Christmas Countdown. I guess that is only two holiday variations of Pop Tarts but still it feels like more.

Back in early November I decided I wanted to write a full fledged article about gingerbread cookies. As you can see by the fact that we only have four days left until Christmas that is not going to happen. I assure you. The point of it though was that gingerbread is synonymous with the Christmas season and something that you are really only allowed to eat two months out of the year. I always look for as many different ways as possible to eat gingerbread during the holiday season and these Limited Edition Pop Tarts are yet another clever way to ingest the stuff.

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However just simply tasting like gingerbread is not enough for these awesome holiday Pop Tarts. Nope Kellogg's goes the extra mile by printing these awesome images of gingerbread men snowboarding and preforming other various outdoors winter tasks. According to the top of the package there are up to fifty different variations of said images. Well hell, now I sort of want to start a collection of opened Pop Tarts just to see if I can find all fifty or if they are blatantly lying to us in order to sell more Pop Tarts.

If you are wondering how they taste, then that would be considerably better than their Halloween counterpart did. For starters, gingerbread is the main ingredient. From there they do absolutely nothing other than a hint of cinnamon and some white frosting that kind of looks like toothpaste on the inside. I've yet to decide what exactly that frosting tastes like but I do know that it is actually pretty good.

This late in the holiday game I feel like it is tough to get excited about anything that is holiday themed. Somehow and against all odds these Gingerbread Pop Tarts manage to invigorate my slowly dying holiday spirit. Kellogg's you have managed to keep Christmas around for a couple more days and for that, I thank you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Deluxe Abominable Snow Monster!

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While the "Charlie Brown Christmas Special" may be my favorite holiday special it is not without some stiff competition from some other classic cartoons. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Year Without A Santa Clause" are true holiday classics in ever respect of the word, I think I like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" just a little bit more. Though quite frankly it is a little like picking a favorite child, sort of impossible to do.

Rudolph has many classic characters from Yukon Cornelius, Sam the Snowman, and the Charlie in the Box. None of these manage to be quite as awesome as Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster!

Hes kind of cute, kind of frightening and an all around great character. Easily my favorite character in the show. Today we are going to take a look at a Deluxe Abominable Snow Monster from a couple of years ago. Impossible to resist, even with a hefty $10.00 price tag. What can I say, he looks great hanging on my wall with all my other packaged figures!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies!

I am still in absolute shock that we have nine days left until Christmas. I don't know what happened to the month of December. Legitimately do not know what happened to that month. Maybe its because I have been busy with work, maybe its because there has been a decidedly lack of snow this season. Whatever the case may be something has happened to speed up this Holiday Season. Therefore, if we want to enjoy things like Gingerbread Cookies we had best do so right-the-fuck-now.

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I am not ready to give up any of this stuff. I hope you guys like Christmas because I have a feeling that the 2011 Christmas Countdown is going to extend though the first half of January. I mean just take a look at this festive looking box. We are technically nearing the two month mark on things like this being out on store shelves and by this point I should be ready to kick Santa in his holly jolly balls and move on with something else. Not the case at all. I am actually quite sad that in nine short days things like this are going to be on the way out.

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I love gingerbread cookies. I was planning on baking a whole batch of them and then writing an article about that process but from the looks of things I am simply not going to have the time to get around to it. I've still got five or six big articles that I need to finish up and only nine days to get them done in. Time is no longer on my side for the remainder of this holiday season. I feel like I keep saying this but I cannot put enough emphasis on it. The time is now to enjoy the little things that make up the Christmas Season. If you have not had the time to drink some hot chocolate, eat a gingerbread cookie, or drive around and check out some Christmas lights you really should make time. Nine days folks! That's all we have left!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The 1995 Holiday Gift Guide!

Last year I wrote one of my favorite pieces for the website, the 1994 Holiday Gift Guide. Some genuine pages taken from an old stack of Nickelodeon Magazines that I had laying around. It was a fun piece to write as I absolutely love old toys from the 1990s. Out of a stack of probably around 50 of these old Nick Magazines, only two years had Holiday Gift Guides in them. 1994 and 1995. Last year we ranked everything on a scale of one to five based on how “1990's Awesome” each item is. One meaning the item is Christmas Crap and five being something you absolutely could not live without. This year we I am going to follow suit and continue on with the rankings. Today we are going to once again take a trip down memory lane and take a look at The 1995 Holiday Gift Guide!

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It's that time of year again. This holiday gift guide will tell you about the latest games, toys and software, just in time for you to update your gift wish list. So turn the pages and see what's new!” – This is the opening words as seen on the fantastic opening page of the 1995 Holiday Gift Guide. I am really a big fan of whoever designed this title page, it's simple and minimalistic style really manages to capture the spirit of the holiday season. At least as well as a mid-90s advertisement in a kids magazine possibly could.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 Coca Cola Holiday Can!

Out of the many things that I collect soda cans are probably my favorite. I have everything from Star Wars to old WCW Surge cans. Old cans. New cans. Ones that tie into various promotions and others of ill conceived flavors that were destined to fail. However the ones that I enjoy collecting the most are the Coca Cola Holiday cans.

Every holiday season the fine folks at Coke release a new limited edition Coca Cola can. It is never anything major, but they are fun to collect. Some years it features Santa Clause other times its Polar Bears. This year Coke decided to do the Polar Bear thing and even went so far as to team up with the World Wildlife Fund to help spread the word about protecting these animals.

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Taking a quick look at this years cans I can say that I both love and hate them at the same time. I absolutely adore just how out there this design is. The entire color scheme has been flipped around. The pieces that should be red on a standard coke can are now white while the formally white "Coca Cola" text is now red. The actual bears are a sort of reflective silver. It is a very eye popping can and one that stands out from anything else that Coke has done in the past.

Unfortunately, I wasn't even aware that these were the true holiday cans. I thought they were some sort of side promotion that Coke was doing on top of the normal holiday stuff. My main concern is the complete lack of text that says "Holiday 2011" on them. From a collection standpoint that is kind of a big deal. When you have an entire shelf full of holiday cans, having one that lacks the date makes it stand out and not in a good way. It would have been very easy to fit this text under the main logo and it wouldn't have ruined the overall design. Its sort of confusing as to why Coke decided to omit it this season.

And then there is the weird "controversy" that is surrounding this years can. For as well designed and awesome looking as it is, Coke made a mistake. They forgot just how stupid the general public can be. Everyone is used to regular Coca Cola being sold in red cans and Diet Coke being sold in silver cans. Apparently enough people picked up these white cans and thought they were getting Diet Coke. To the point that people complained to the company and managed to get these pulled from the shelves.

Seriously. For like point five seconds I thought these could have been Diet Coke cans. That is until I picked one up and, you know, read the label. But since reading things is not one of my countries strong points, Coke caved in and cut the shelf life on these short and is releasing a re-designed can with flipped colors. You can still find the white cans in stores and don't go buying them thinking you'll make a fortune selling them on e-bay. You will not. They are still selling the millions upon millions that have already been shipped. Its just the red ones are going to slowly take their place.

Overall, I like the can. Its well designed, if not a slightly lacking. It has a strange story attached to it and will probably be the last time we ever see Coke make this drastic of a departure from the classic red and white Coke color scheme. Its not quite the holiday can I had in mind for 2011, but I am thankful for the one we got anyway!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nobody Likes Holiday Fruit Cake!

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When it comes to Christmas I am a bit of a traditionalist. Not so much in the classic since, I don't refuse to put certain or ornaments on the tree because they are not a billion years old. I don't have any issues with selecting a fake Christmas tree over a real one, as a matter of fact I prefer the fake ones. Point is here I don't feel the need to celebrate the holiday any other way than my own.

You see when I say Christmas traditionalist I am instead talking about my own personal set of things that I do every season. I have to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, I have to have at least one cup of Hot Chocolate, I have to see A Christmas Story on TNT and for some reason I have to purchase at least one Holiday Fruit Cake.

Now I operate under the theory that there is not a single person alive who likes these fruit cakes. There cannot be. I've never seen one. Yet, everyone always ends up with one of these stupid things every year. Some of us even purchase them on our own free will. Why? No reason other than tradition. Christmas just does not feel like Christmas until you've tried to eat one a piece of these.

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And try will be about the only thing you will accomplish. I for one can never manage more than a couple bites of this stuff. Especially the god awful cheap kind like the one I am covering today. For starters, look at it. Can you identify anything in that cake as being fruit. I cannot. In a strange way, fruit cake has always reminded me of pickle loaf bologna. That is not a good thing. I've never been able to figure out why they are so heavy and greasy either. It is a mystery. One gigantic Christmas mystery that nobody understands. Yet here we are. Another holiday season and yet another Holiday Fruit Cake that is going to get thrown into the garbage. Now I'm gonna go listen to the Twisted Sister holiday album.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hot Chocolate & Holiday Mallows!

18 days. I cannot believe that there is only 18 days left until Christmas. It feels like there should still be another four or five weeks left until we even begin to start thinking about running out of time. I realized this while I was standing in the store today, looking around at all the seasonal holiday goods. Listing to the Christmas music playing throughout the store. Realizing that we only have 18 days left to enjoy all of this before it vanishes from sight.

I sort of regret the slow start that I took with the 2011 Christmas Countdown. I wanted to ease into the winter months, for fear of an early Holiday overload. Realizing now that I only have 18 days left to do this, I probably should have just jumped into the river with both feet forward so to speak. So no more saving articles and topics for later. The time is now to get the ball rolling. And we are rolling it with... generic hot chocolate and holiday marshmallows.

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Well that was probably to much buildup for this simple little post. Kraft Jet-Puffed Holiday Mallows have been around for ages. Seriously, I think this concept is as old as I am. Of course I am not complaining, as I have mentioned in the past I like Christmas items that you can count on seeing ever year. Holiday Mallows are a shoe in for being there this Christmas season and every Christmas season from now until the end of time.

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They don't taste any different than normal marshmallows but that is not the point. The idea here is that they are themed like Christmas. Red stars and green Christmas trees are the included shapes. I think. Truth be told they don't really look like anything but they are at least colored to be nice and festive. That has to count for something. The hot chocolate that I picked up is some generic Peppermint Candycane Cocoa. All types of hot chocolate more or less end up tasting the same to me and I have zero brand loyalty when it comes to them. I bought this one because A.) it was cheap and B.) it seemed like the one that would photograph the best.

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Finished product should look a little something like this. Bonus points if you can make one of your red stars appear to have eyes like I did. Kind of looks like a starfish. A Christmas Starfish. I'm stalling because this piece is really starting to lack substance. I love hot chocolate as much as I love holiday marshmallows but writing about them doesn't exactly make for the most thrilling of subjects. So let's talk about the cup I'm using instead.

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This is my Christmas time snowman mug, but I would be lying if I didn't say that I used it all year round. While I cannot quite convince myself to drink Kool-Aid out of, an activity that is decisively reserved for the summer months, it is on par with the norm to see this thing laying around in mid July. Everything seems to taste better when you are drinking it from the innards of a snowman.

The point of this post, for anyone still reading it, was to encourage everyone to go out there and make yourself a nice big cup of hot chocolate. Most importantly to slow down and enjoy the little things that make Christmas such a fun time of year. It is easy to get caught up in the holiday rush and miss out on things such as hot chocolate and holiday marshmallows. Enjoy it while you can because Christmas is gone sooner than you think!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

25th Anniversary TMNT Figures!

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Back in 2009 the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles celebrated their 25th Anniversary and they did so in the most spectacular way possible. Playmattes, the long time makers of all things Turtle related, re-released the entire lineup of original Ninja Turtle figures. Complete with original packaging, artwork, and figure designs. This set looks straight out of 1984 because they basically are. Thus making these 25th Anniversary figures one of the coolest re-issues I have seen in a long time. Today we are going to cover Leonardo as part of the 2011 Christmas Countdown! I have mentioned prior I was a huge Ninja Turtles fan growing up. I have lots of fond memories of opening up these exact figures during many Christmas's of past. Technically you could argue that this isn't really a holiday article but I know an entire generation of people my age will be able to make the same connection with these and Christmas mornings that I currently am. So sit back and enjoy this nostalgic trip down memory lane!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree!

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In case you guys cannot tell, I really do adore the Charlie Brown holiday specials. "Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" is probably my favorite of the bunch but that is only because I enjoy Halloween slightly more than Christmas. The Charlie Brown Christmas Special is every bit as good and maybe even a little bit better than his Halloween outing. It all depends on which holiday you have a preference towards.

One of Charlie Brown's most iconic holiday images is his "twig tree". For those of you who have never seen this cartoon (and for shame on you if you haven't!) the setup involves Charlie Brown growing tired of how commercial the season has became and sets out to find the true meaning of Christmas. When shopping for a Christmas Tree he runs across a whole assortment of mass produced, multicolored, artificial trees as seen in the image below. These trees represent everything he is trying to avoid, but in the middle of this neon madness he finds one poor little overlooked twig tree and decided that this is the one that will best represent Christmas.

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Initially all the other kids scuff at Charlie Browns tree and rightfully so. I get the whole "true meaning of Christmas" yada yada yada message they were going for but holy crap have you seen these other trees? I am particularly fond of the green and blue striped tree to Charlie Browns immediate left as well as the blue and white spotted tree directly behind it. Somehow though, Charlie Brown is able to resist the neon temptation which surrounds him and instead picks the delightfully scrawny twig tree. Thus a Christmas legend is born.

When I was growing up there was no real sure fire way to re-create the twig tree. About the best you could do was to cut a branch down from a neighbors tree and bend it into shape and decorate it the best you could. I guess technically this would be more so to the point that Charlie Brown was trying to make and it works fairly well when your eight or nine years old. Once you reach a certain age, its kind of tough to get away with something like that. Thankfully though, a couple years back an officially licensed Charlie Brown Twig Tree hit the market and is made readily available every holiday season!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mills Fleet Farm 2011 Toy Catalog!

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Believe it or not the 2011 Christmas Countdown is not as random as it may seem. A lot of the times there is some sort of meaning as to why I write about the things I... write... about.

Let me start over again. It is a universal holiday tradition amongst all the children of the world to make a Christmas List to give to there parents. And umm... blahh this isn't coming out right either.

Basically what I am getting at here is every kid gives there parents a list of shit that they want for Christmas. Working under the theory that if mom or dad go out and shop blindly you'll end up with a bunch of retarded junk that ends up on next summers garage sale. Nobody wants that. So you make a list of everything you want in hopes that at least one or two of the items end up under your tree. At the very least it should give them a general understanding that no you do not want the train set and yes you would rather have the replica Castle Grayskull fortress for your He-Man figures.

I don't really know how kids do these here in 2011, I would imagine the little bastards just create an Amazon wishlist. Back in my day, everything was hand written. I would keep a notebook beside me while watching TV and anytime a cool toy commercial would come on it would get added to The List. This was a great way to get things wrote down but also a fairly difficult task. You didn't always have your notebook. And if you did, TV commercials are short and you could easily miss the name of a product. This is why I and every other kid from my generation would wait for those seasonal toy catalogs to come in the mail. That is were the good stuff was at!

Mail, in and upon itself this an awesome yet completely foreign concept. We didn't really know why it came or where it came from. Some days it arrived and our parents hated it yet others they would sit around wanting it to come. Why? It defies all logic to an eight year old. All that we really understood is that we never got any. If we were lucky sometimes your parents would give us a piece they defined as "junk". Junk my ass! This stuff was fantastic. And even better than the occasional piece of hand-me-down junk mail was the catalogs. Especially the toy catalogs.

In the pre-internet days of my youth, other than television commercials this was the only way you seen what cool items were on the market. Catalogs provided visual aids that you could look at for extended amounts of time, text that you could ponder at over and over again. You could really make up your mind with a catalog. My Christmas Liststststststs had plenty of written items and carefully selected catalog selections that I cut out and taped onto the page. Even as a kid, I understood the power of photographs. Today we are going to take a look at ten of the best items from the 2011 Mills Fleet Farm Catalog! Keeping in mind that these are not ten items that I personally would want, but what I think are the ten best toys of the bunch. These are the ones that are undoubtedly making some kids List someplace in the world! That is if kids still make hand written lists. I've already over-used that word and we are just making it past the introduction.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rose Art Color Blank Figures!

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Craft projects. If there is one re-occuring theme around this place it is that craft projects seem to never quite work out the way they should. When I seen these Rose Art Color Blanks Figures on display at Target for only $9.99, I knew I had to have the set. My mind ran wild with the prospect of an interactive entry for the 2011 Christmas Countdown. Indeed, this was a very spur of the moment decision. It was not until much later when I got the set home and started photographing and unpacking everything in the box that I realized I may have bitten off a little more than I could chew....

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This is the full set. Now can you see why I was so excited when I found these in the store. They just scream to be wrote about and are exactly the kind of material that I like to use to break up the sometimes monotony of the "easier" / "shorter" articles. It was at some point about seventeen photos in when I had all the material spread out in front of me and I was staring at the blank canvas of a miniaturized reindeer that I realized I had to decorate these things. Remembering how this worked out the last time I tackled something like this. I sort of had a mini panic attack. There was no conceivable way that I could use the included twenty two stickers and six magic markers to transform these Color Blanks into anything that resembled presentable.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter Oreo's !

Christmas miracles come in many different shapes and sizes. Today I have found a whole bag of little round ones with red frosting lurking on the inside. Winter Oreo's have returned and that Snowman on the front of the package is all the persuasion I need to purchase a box. I am going to spare you guys the time of sitting through a multi-paragraph write up on these. Not because I do not think they are not worthy, they are, but because this is technically the fourth time I have wrote about Oreo's. We covered the Halloween ones here and here some baseball themed ones even snuck up in the middle of this entry. At this point I feel like you guys get it and not much more really needs to be said.

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After-all they are Oreo's. There is not a person alive who has not ate them and conversely there is not a person alive who does not enjoy them. These are the Christmas ones, despite the package trying to convince us that they are "holiday" or winter in nature. It is a lie. Do not listen to them, Mr. Snowman is on the front, the filling is red, and all of the imprinted shapes point towards Christmas. This is a trick that a lot of companies try to pull this time of year, not wanting to outright label something Christmas for fear that they will offend someone of a different religion. I get that. I really do. But it still drives me nuts all the same.

Regardless these Oreo's make for a very seamless transition into the Christmas season. Cookies are already a natural fit this time of year. If you cannot score some homemade ones, well then these are the next best thing on the market.  Unless of course you have managed to keep some Girl Scout Cookies in the freezer for this long, in which case you are my new best friend. I love Girl Scout Cookies, they are one of the few products that I really associate with those warm summer months. But enough with that, we are just beginning the 2011 Christmas Countdown and I will have no talk of 80 degree sunny days around here! This is Christmas time and Winter Christmas Oreo's are something that you would be a fool to pass up on!

Friday, November 11, 2011

McRib is McBack!

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Today, we are going to talk about the McDonalds McRib sandwich. Yes, this has to do with Christmas. Ehh... sort of, technically, but maybe not really? I am actually not really sure but since I took the time to photograph my lunch surrounded with Christmas lights we might as well talk about it. You have no idea how strange of a feeling that was.

McDonalds, despite the fact that I enjoy writing about some of the wacky things they have done over the years, I don't eat McDonalds. I am no health nut or anything I just really do not care all that much for the selection of items they have. If I am in a hurry I can go for one of there cheap cheeseburgers every now and then but beyond that, I will pass. There are really only two items that get me excited and they are both seasonal. Shamrock Shakes are amazing and if you do not know what those are... well just you wait until St. Patricks time, you can bet that those will be getting a full blown entry. The second seasonal McDonalds selection is obviously the one we are talking about today, the McRibb.

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The McRib dates all the way back to 1981 - 1985, where it was removed from the menu due to poor overall sales. Like all good canceled items it came back in 1994 as a promotional item for the live action Flintstones movie. How awesome is that? The sandwich had a second run from '94 until 2005. It was then that McDonalds decided to cancel the McRib sandwich, again, but not before giving it a "farewell tour" across the United States. Basically it was released in limited form at different parts of the country, sort of like how a band tours across country. As it turns out the whole farewell tour thing was just a giant publicity stunt and marketing ploy, because who has ever heard of giving a sandwich a farewell tour. This marketing stunt continued from 2005 all the way through 2011 ... only they stopped calling it a farewell tour a couple years ago and just started releasing it "for a limited time".

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While the McRib has never been packaged or sold as such, many of us define it as a seasonal Christmas item. Since 2005 its limited releases have all been in early November and lasted until the first couple of weeks of December. This is enough to make it feel like a Christmas related item, even though it was never meant to be. Christmas has the power to take over things that were never meant to be related to it and suddenly make them seem oh so Christmas-asy. A word I just made up that sounded better when I said it out loud than how it looks typed up on the screen. As for the McRib, you probably should go out and purchase one. McDonalds is actually surprisingly strict with how limited they release these suckers. If you don't snag one within the next couple of weeks you are libel to have to wait until next year to taste the McRib's saucy goodness.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Russell Stover 1,000,000,000 Chocolate Bar!

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The beauty of running this Christmas Countdown is that there are literally thousands of items that get released every year that somehow, someway tie into the season. Lots of them are small little "one off" items such as these. I like this junk, I don't have to spend fifty thousand words explaining why its awesome to you. I feel like everyone can look at it and just sort of get it. Here we have a chocolate bar whose package is made up to look like a one billion dollar bill, with none other than Santa himself in the middle of the frame.

This bar, made by Russell Stover for those keeping score at home, is one of those perfect stocking stuffer items that nobody asks for yet when you get it goes a long way in making the holiday all the more special. You ask for things like video games and toys but nobody complains when they end up with video games, toys, and billion dollar Santa Clause candy bars. Christmas simply would not be Christmas without items like these and that is why I think they are important enough to get a little mini-entry during the 2011 Christmas Countdown!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Ultimate Christmas Vacation Boxed Set!

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Christmas has a ton of classic holiday movies. My favorite holiday movie of all time is easily National Lampoons: Christmas Vacation. No matter how many times I see this film, I always laugh at all the appropriate times. Usually finding some new way to interpret a joke or delivery of a line. Besides, I can see Cousin Eddie say "shitters full" time and time again and it will still crack me up.

So when I seen a massive Christmas Vacation Blu-Ray boxed set, there was no way I could pass it up. And unlike most other boxed sets who promise lots of cool little trinkets and extras this one actually delivers on every front. For starters check out the metal tin that everything comes in. This is home to the sets four hundred included items and makes a great place to store everything when your not playing with it. On top of all of that, the tin manages to look really cool sitting out amongst the rest of your DVD collection. Usually these gigantic collectors editions are a double edged sword, they tend to look interesting but often times the allotted space needed for one far outweighs the contents of the box. As you will soon see, this is not the case here. The included items really are worthy of that much realastate and the metal tin is totally worthy of display in and upon itself. Now, just you guys wait and see what is lurking inside...

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Nightmare Before Christmas Hallmark Ornament!

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I wanted to get this entry out of the way early. Writing about The Nightmare Before Christmas always seems more appropriate fodder for late October and early November. During those strange couple of weeks were Halloween and Christmas collide and do a little strange dance on the floor of retail chains around the world.

And while this is indeed a Christmas decoration the time to give it its proper dues is now, with Halloween still fresh in all of our minds. For those of you who choose not to step foot in a Hallmark store, I understand. For most of us this place is not "our thing". Most of the year it is the kind of place your grandmother shops, purchasing little ceramic birds and picture frames. Cut little trinkets that serve no purpose. This is what Hallmark is most of the time.

During the winter months, the store does a little Optimus Prime transformation and turns into Christmas central. I love Hallmarks selection of Christmas ornaments, because unlike the cheap and often times generic ones sold at most other locations, Hallmark specializes in characters. Characters that you will recognize from popular TV shows, movies, games, even sports athletes. They all make some slightly overpriced appearance.

Hallmark has an ongoing trend of releasing a new Nightmare Before Christmas decoration every year. I am a late comer to this whole ornament game, but what I have seen so far I enjoy. Here we have Jack Skellington dressed as a snowman. You may remember this from the .5 seconds of screen time he spent looking like this in the film and may question why they decided to release this specific version of him. To this I say you are missing the point. Snowman Jack makes for a fine decoration and while this may not be the iconic pose of Mr. Skellington as soon as you see it, you recognize it from the film. In the end, isn't that all that matters?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Christmas Tree Cakes Return!

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Folks, we have arrived. Take a look around the website and you will notice that Halloween is gone and there will be nary a mention of it for the next couple of months. In place of ghosts and goblins we have snowflakes and gingerbread men. I am excited. Welcome to the 2011 Christmas Countdown! For the next two months we are going to take a look at some of the biggest and brightest things that relate to the season. Toys, Games, Food and Drink will all be covered and someplace in the middle of this holiday mayhem lies Thanksgiving. I want to do something for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade but I do not quite know what. But I figure since most tend to lump November and December into one gigantic holiday season, it will be alright to cover Thanksgiving during the Christmas Countdown.

Now, on with the show as they say. I could not think of a more fitting first entry into the 2011 Christmas Countdown than the smashing return of Christmas Tree Cakes! I write about a lot of seasonal food products but Christmas Tree Cakes are hands down my favorite of the bunch, with Halloween Oreo's coming in a close second place. They have that rare hard to define quality were there is just something about them that makes them feel special. Over the course of a year we see lots of attempts to create products that taste the same, look the same, and heck realistically aren't most of these Little Debbie snacks basically the same? Yet for some reason these Christmas Tree's stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas Jukebox's 2011 Debut!

I planned on waiting at least one week before I converted everything into its holiday theme. But... well, its rainy with a little bit of snow mixed in outside. I've purchased and wrapped my first Christmas present. And I have gotten a bunch of cool items to cover for the 2011 Christmas Countdown. Even though it is only the 2nd day in November, I cannot really deny it any longer... Christmas has arrived! And with that comes the holiday theme to the site!

One of my favorite aspects of this website that I am not even really sure if anyone actually uses are the jukeboxes that I have posted down at the bottom of the page. Thus far we have a Summer Jukebox and a Halloween Jukebox. The summer one exists only as some sort of strange concept that even to my own admission, needs a little work (but I have to save something for 2012 and those long, boring summer months). But it was the Halloween one that I became especially proud of. I spent quite a bit of time coming up with that track listing and I would put it up against just about any other Halloween playlist out there on the internet. I love that Halloween Jukebox and listen to it all the time.

So it is only fitting that a Christmas Jukebox comes up next. I really like this Christmas playlist as well. It was a much easier task to create this one. Halloween doesn't really have "music" created for it. Outside of the two or three obvious choices, you really have to put on your thinking cap and do some research to get a proper list of stuff. Christmas on the other hand, this was almost to easy. Doing a Google search for "Christmas Music" will give you thousands upon thousands of results. Really only becoming limited to how many different versions of Jingle Bells you want to have on there.

Hopefully at least a couple of you will take the time to float through this list. I have included all of my favorite holiday tracks and tried to sprinkle in a couple that you might not have heard. If you are still stuck in the swing of all things Halloween, one listen to this playlist is almost guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit!

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011 Halloween Recap!

Every year I always like to sit down and type up a little reflection piece the day after Halloween. For me it is a fun way to wrap everything up and a great way to bring a conclusion to the holiday. I have plenty to say about the 2011 Halloween Season and I will get to all of that here in just a minute but first I have one last surprise in store for everyone!

If you look up towards the front of the page you will see a new tab entitled "Halloween Town!" I put a lot of work into this countdown and the very nature of running a blog / website hybrid like this is that newer articles push older articles down the page and eventually end up buried in internet obscurity. Unless you where sort of here periodically checking the blog throughout September and October there is a good chance you will miss these older articles. I decided to change that. Halloween Town is an archive of sorts that will be active year round and will feature every article that I covered. That way new readers can easily locate everything Halloween related in one quick and convenient location. Next year I will update it with all the 2012 Halloween Season articles and so on and so fourth. So no matter what time of year it is, you will always have something spooky to read about! Now onto the rest of the 2011 Halloween Recap post.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! The big day is finally here! It is kind of a bum day for me, my town has already done its Trick or Treating so most of my fun is over. So I plan on spending a good bulk of the day just relaxing and watching some of my favorite horror movies. I look forward to hearing about what everyone else did today so feel free to leave your own personal thoughts down below in the comment section. This is our second to last entry for the 2011 Halloween Countdown and I must say that it has been a smashing success! But just because Halloween will soon be over doesn't mean that we have done everything we need to do. I still have one final surprise in store for the countdown. So be sure to stop back tomorrow to see what that one is and while your here check out the final entry in the 2011 Halloween Countdown. Stay Spooky everyone! ~Kyle

Friday, October 28, 2011

Spookylicious Pop Tarts Will Kill Us All!

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I love Pop Tarts. I love Halloween. Therefore shouldn't I just absolutely love these Limited Edition Spookylicious Pop Tarts? Well... I do but like most relationships this one is a little bit complex. With a little love and a little hate and no clear cut right or wrong answers Kellog's has clearly tried very hard to create the perfected Halloween themed item and in many ways they have succeeded. Yet for some reason they end up feeling kind of empty on the inside. Either that or I have covered so many different Halloween themed items that I am starting to go just a little crazy. Either way we have Pop Tarts to write about. Halloween ones.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jason Voorhees Doll!

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What can I say, Jason Voorhees is my little friend. My little animated friend who has three different sayings and requires four AA batteries to operate. I am a sucker for things like this, I really am. There is no specific reason why I need a six inch talking Voorheess Doll but here he is and here we are. Halloween is the perfect time of year to talk about him, but just don't bring up what he looks like under that mask. Jason does not approve of those kinds of discussions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tick Tock Tick Tick...

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Coming Soon: 2011 Christmas Countdown!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Horror Recommendation! - A Nightmare Before Christmas

'Halloween Horror Recommendation!' is an ongoing series where we take a quick look at some of my favorite horror movies of all time! Sometimes they are big sometimes they are small but every time they are guaranteed to make you shriek with fright! Updated every Friday from now until October 31st!

Day by day we inch closer and closer to Halloween. As these days turn into hours and hours fade into minutes we creep closer to the ever illusive deadline of October 31st. With Halloween now so close you can almost taste it that also means another holiday is looming off  in the distance. If you look close one can already see it. That red and green glow of its flashing lights. Accopanied by that cold winter wind. Jack Frost nipping at your toes. I am of course talking about the coming Christmas season! And every year right around late October we start to get this bizare blend of the two holidays. While Halloween is on its way out Christmas is on its way in. The next couple of weeks are a strange time where you can purchase rubber bats and a half gallon of fake blood and then turn right around and snag something else with snowflakes on the pacakge. It is a weird mix of gingerbread and candy corn. Making it the perfect time to cover one of my favorite films of all time A Nightmare Before Christmas!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dollar Tree Body Parts!

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Like any department store around this time of year the Dollar Tree is typically hit or miss in terms of what your going to find. We have already hit it big with these 3-D Window Stickers, which I have dubbed the greatest item of the 2011 Halloween Season. But we also struck out hardcore with these Gummy Candy Pieces, which where confusing to look at and tasted like plastic ass. The Dollar Tree clearly wanted to make up for that last entry by providing a whole bunch of awesome severed body parts and packaged organs. Did I mention how well these things photograph? For as cheap as they are, they look incredible under proper lighting. I think you guys are going to enjoy this entry in the 2011 Halloween Countdown!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kraft Macaroni & Chesse Halloween Shapes

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 In case anyone was worried that we had ran out of creative ways to eat Halloween here in the later part of season, I go and pull out Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Halloween Shapes from some long forgotten corner of the grocery store. All most all the other seasonal Halloween products I have covered have had some sort of display that draws your attention to them. Count Chocula had a gigantic setup, Ghoul-Aid had a really sweet cardboard standee, there was even a separate section dedicated to all these Little Debbie snacks. This macaroni and cheese? It was left in the box it was shipped in and just sort of stacked up on the end of an isle. Nearing so close to Halloween and realizing that I've already covered dozens of other food related products, I almost passed on this one. And I actually did leave without buying it but upon a return visit I noticed that only one or two boxes had been sold. I felt sorry for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Halloween Shapes. Had these been properly displayed with all the other seasonal material, many more probably would have been gone. I had to purchase a box of this stuff and write about it. It suddenly became my civic duty to cover these Halloween Shapes and as it turns out... that was a pretty wise decision!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Decorate-A-Mug Contest!

My readers have spoken and the results are in. Going back to an older post you will see that I asked for everyone to help decide the fate of the Decorate-A-Mug Kit. I had lots of people respond either via Twitter, Facebook, or on the comment section of this blog and an overwhelming number of people voted for a Halloween theme. I sort of figured that this would be the case but you should never underestimate the power of the Christmas Season. We very well could have had a holiday upset smack dab in the middle of the 2011 Halloween Countdown.

As promised I decorated this mug and turn it into the spookiest, creepiest, most Halloween-ified mug this side of the Mississippi River. Sticking to only whatever was provided on the inside of the box. Speaking of which, for those keeping score at home here are the contents of the kit. We have one white mug and six markers to use. Red, Green, Blue, Black, Pink, and Yellow. Not a bad choice of colors... I felt pretty good about those options. Only wishingthey had included an Orange marker. That sure would have made life easier. Oh well, on with the show they say! Here are the results of the mug.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Little Debbie Gets Down with the Devil!

Halloween has lots of positive things going for it. Horror Movies. Costumes. Parties. Pumpkin carving and candy. Yes indeed, Halloween can be many things to many different people but generally speaking it is the one time of year that allows each and every one of us to eat like a gigantic lard ass. Well... other than Thanksgiving. Eating like a lard ass is sort of the only thing Thanksgiving has going for it these days. So I guess that would make Halloween the second major Holiday that lets us eat to our hearts content. Though so does Christmas. Alright, Halloween is the third most important holiday that allows us eat like slobbish pigs and do not even try to put Easter in front of it. I simply will not allow it.

Proof that we all eat like jackasses around October is provided by the fact that I walked into the grocery store and left with six boxes of Halloween themed Little Debbie snacks. This seems like some sort of record, someone should call the Guinness folk. Many times I purchase the things I write about all at once, these late night trips sometimes end up being more interesting than the articles themselves. You should have seen the look on the face of the people working in the grocery store when I strolled in five minutes before closing time and left with nothing but an arm full of various seasonal snack cakes. I do these things because I love Halloween and this Halloween Countdown has just been way to much freaking fun. This combination makes it physically impossible for me to pass up anything that is vaguely pumpkin shaped and seasonal. Little Debbie must know this because she has a whole host of seasonal junk she is trying to peddle to our fat little country here in 2011. Little Debbie is Down with the Devil and once you see how good most of these snacks are you will be too.Reading this article is kind of like cheating on your diet... but its Halloween time and everyone is entitled to a couple tasty treats!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Masters of the Universe Classics - SCAREGLOW

From time to time there are certain entries within this Halloween Countdown that even I know only sort of technically count as seasonal material, Scare Glow is one of them. But after seeing this awesome action figure I think everyone will agree that he is far more suited to be covered now than during any other time of the year. Besides Scare Glow holds a very unique place within He-Man lore and I think you will all enjoy reading  the storied history of one of the most miss-understood action figures of all time. The Masters of the Universe: Scare Glow!

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As is the case with most entries that I write a little back-story is in place. I am sure anyone who reads this blog is familiar with the old He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon series and subsequent toy line. It was your typical good verses evil story which featuring the adventures of Adam, Price of Eternia, who could transform into the heroic He-Man by lifting his sword into the air and shouting "By the Power of Grayskull! I have the Power!". Together He-Man and his friends would defend their homeland of Eternia from the evil forces of Skeletor. Don't believe me? Just check out the cartoons introduction! It tells you everything you need to know.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe consisted of 65 episodes and lasted from 1983-1985. Like most popular cartoons a series of action figures accompanied the show. First launching in 1982 (a year before the cartoon first aired on television) the line of He-Man toys became immensely popular and lasted for many, many years before finally setting in amongst other great 80s toys as GI Joe and Transformers in the collectors market.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Creepy Classics Revisited!

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Creepy Classics are a strange little item that I found hidden in the back of a Dollar Tree in the discount section all the way back in July. When your digging things out of the clearance isle in a store where everything only costs a $1.00 to begin with you just know your going to find something strange. I first wrote about Creepy Classics here and while not quite sure what they were, was definitely glad to have picked them up. We are revisiting Creepy Classics as part of the Halloween Countdown, not because I have actually figured anything out about them but because they are just far to interesting to be tucked away in what is destined to be some long forgotten July article. Creepy Classics, whatever they may be, can really only truly be enjoyed during the Halloween Season. So lets take a much needed closer look these things and see what we can uncover.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ghoul-Aid Scary Blackberry Returns for 2011!

At the end of each Halloween season I always look back and do a reflective piece on the holiday. Some years everything seems to flow together perfectly while other years I look back and sort of feel meh about the whole thing.

There are a lot of different factors that go into what makes a great Halloween verses one that is not so memorable. Everything from the weather outside, to how fast Christmas was shoved in our faces, to how cool the new products where that season. Some years feel thrown together and full of missed opportunities. Thankfully though, 2011 has been a defiant upswing from the previous couple seasons.

For whatever reason every single company has decided to show there game faces this Halloween. We've seen old favorites like Count Chocula and Halloween Oreo's. We've seen Pitch Black terrorize store shelves. We've fallen in love with cheap Window Stickers and now Kool-Aid has resurrected the long defunct Ghoul-Aid brand and with it brought back the popular Scary Blackberry flavor!

I know it is still early in the month of October, but I am already willing to bet that this is going to be the best Halloween season ever!

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I first caught wind that Ghoul-Aid was going to be returning this season via the official Kool-Aid Facebook Page. Here they had a countdown of sorts with five or six canceled flavors, saying that one would return for a limited run in 2011.

Each day they would place a gigantic X over the flavor that would not be making a comeback. Right from the beginning I just knew that Scary Blackberry was going to be the winner of the "contest".

I believe I mentioned this in the Kool-Aid Fun Fizz article but I firmly believe that Kool-Aid sales suffer greatly in the fall and winter months. I love Koo-Aid as much as the next but it has a very distinctive summer flavor. So with this in mind it just sort of made since to me that Scary Blackberry would be coming back in 2011. Looks like I was correct!

Friday, October 7, 2011

15 Gummy Candy Body Parts!

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Not all entries found within the Halloween Countdown are created equal. Thus far we have had a pretty wide selection of things either new or old that have all been pretty cool in there own respective ways. However every once and a while I purchase an item that seems interesting but turns out to be anything but. 15 Gummy Candy Body Parts sold in a mini cardboard coffin for only $1.00 seemed like a sure fire hit. Turns out I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Stay as far away as possible from this Dollar Tree find, it will only ruin your day with false promises and lies!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

3-D Window Stickers!

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Every October I always make a point to stop into the Dollar Tree and have a look at crap they are selling for Halloween. And as much as I like that store lets not kid ourselves here, most of what they sell is crap. Useless. Cheap. Generic. Off-brand crap. And you know what... I love it. This is what makes the Dollar Tree such a fantastic invention. If you where to run into this stuff at any other store, you'd shun it to the side and scuff at the idea of purchasing. But here? In this environment? It becomes perfectly acceptable to fill an entire shopping cart full of  this generic bullshit.

Especially around Halloween time. If I may digress here for a minute, Halloween has really "grown up" over the past five to ten years. When I was a kid everything was much cheaper. I'm not just talking about price tags, but the overall quality of items sold was cheaper. With shittier build quality and not near as interesting to look at. Stores did not have huge sprawling sections dedicated to Halloween like they do today. You'd get one isle with candy and one isle with costumes and those cheap grease paint makeup kits and that's about it. I come from a time where you had to scourer every Mom & Pop drug store and supermarket within a sixteen mile radius just to find enough decorations to make your front porch look spooky.

These days Halloween has grown to near Christmas level proportions. You can now shop at only a few select stores and find far, far better items we ever could have hoped to find when I was a kid. With enough money you can purchase everything from life sized caskets to a pneumatic powered Exorcist bed. It is a fantastic time for anyone trying to decorate there house. As much as I love this, part of me still sort of misses the inherent cheap nature of decorations from years past.

Which brings us back full circle to the Dollar Tree. This store is like walking into a time machine from twenty years ago. The decorations are cheap and plentiful and they have a certain charm to them that their more expensive department store counterparts seem to lack. These 3-D Window Stickers remind me of something I would have had years ago and even though they are only $1.00 a piece, I think they are my favorite item of the 2011 Halloween Season!