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!