Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Show and Tell December 2015

Twas the month of December and all through the house, much was stirring most notably a twelve foot snowman ruling over the front yard. I've taken a rather proactive approach to Christmas. Largely it's to make up for being such a lazy ass last month. Of course there's been the traditional activities like putting up the tree and viewing fine Christmas classics like Silent Night, Deadly Night. Most of all there's been a push to step-up our decorative game. The front yard in particular provided a classic dilemma as we chose between classy or enormous statement pieces. You can probably guess which camp won the day which worked out for the best as I now know the thrill of seeing our lumbering snow man from a block away. If you can believe it, there was an even tackier option in the form of a 16 foot tall nutcracker. These are the choices one faces when it comes to adding items to their lives, which makes a somewhat thematic intro to show and tell.

Also on the decoration spree is my attempt at remedying some former omissions in our display. For whatever reason, my family has been nutcracker free for the last 3 decades. Now we have two high ranking officers known as Admiral Butthead and....hmm, the lil one's name escapes me at the moment.
The advent calendar was another missing element from past Christmases. Nearly everyone of a certain age dreams of owning something akin to the Christmas Vacation calendar house until reality and the simple offerings of a local thrift store lead us to a magnetic picture instead.
Thrift stores have really been the corner stone of this Christmas for me. Alongside the nutcrackers and calendar are stocking hangers which are allowing those poor things to see action for the first time in at least a decade. I even found my dads gift at the local goodwill, allowing me to get him much more than usual. I'll gladly accept the good luck as the rest of my gift shopping has been going at a somewhat glacial pace. I did come up with an absolutely inspired idea for my mom. Sadly the price turned out to be outrageously beyond my means. Back to the drawing board.

Haven't indulged in too many holiday treats so far but as it stands Hostess & Starbucks are leading the pack. Matt over on Dinosaur Dracula was quick to sing the praises of Hostess Holiday cupcakes. I'll admit some distrust on my part as we all fall victim to placebo effects from different seasonal offerings. Who knows, that may be the case here. I don't know if they added fine cut Colombian cocaine or the sweet blood of Jesus but something gives these cakes an extra punch their non-holiday brethren lack. This joyous flavor can be doubled down with the addition of some fine Christmas coffee. There's a positive overabundance of java choices this years as all the hallmarks return with some snazzy cousins. I was very interested in Donut Ship Holiday Buzz which proved to be a bit too dark & crude. Starbucks Holiday blend turned out to be solid, just not amazing. Their new Holiday Blonde however is just what I'm looking for these days. It's clean, tasty, and just light enough to have multiple cups a day without going overboard. Ideal for returning from a late night walk.

Oh yes, and lest I forget. Peeps has a new Christmas variety this year with Sugar Plum. Given the general gross results from their Halloween offerings I wasn't stoked to give these a try. The results weren't altogether terrible. They resemble those gummi-like jelly fruit candies in both taste and smell. If you hate peeps and those gummi thingies, consider this a personal nightmare. If not, you might find a refreshingly unique holiday treat. You've been cautioned.

And what better way to spend those nights of candy & coffee than lots of gaming? My brother and I indulged in Target's buy two get one free deal last month. It's a solid dose of entertainment, so much in fact that I'm only on my second title so far, having spent November knee deep in Assassin's Creed Syndicate. In case you're wondering it's riddled with many of the standard Ubisoft glitches but it's still a fine improvement over Unity which I couldn't summon the gumption to finish. Don't let that taint your expectations too much. Syndicate's actually a pretty fun installment. My biggest complaint is the sheer number of kidnapping missions....oh do those suck.
Currently I'm on the first Uncharted as a pallet cleanser. The HD upgrade is one of the better ones I've come across and makes a good entry point for newbies. Part one is entertaining enough to keep me playing but the outdated jumping puzzles can get downright shitty. Those portions make me all too eager to hop into the pure Japanese fun of Tales of Zestiria. Huge fan of the series despite having played very few. I blame the release strategy of spreading the series over as many consoles as possible. Hell, I haven't enjoyed a Tales title since Vesperia when I was still in college.

Speaking of Japan, the first information about next year's Super Sentai is starting to pour out. We're getting an animal theme with robots not dissimilar to something out of minecraft. As per tradition, fans are already complaining about everything they've seen. Time has taught me that Sentai fans protest the future to a ludicrous degree. January always marks a fun turn of events where they suddenly love the current series, having transferred all complaints toward the coming thing. Somehow this behavioral pattern is forgotten every year only to being anew. Madness personified. I'm rather looking forward to the new series as I've an idea for a different style of recaps, leaving behind the episode by episode basis.

Returning to Christmas. Found this little treasure at Goodwill. It's the sheet music for Albert Finney's Scrooge, possibly the best holiday musical of all time. This book is intended for use with a chord organ, and can you guess what I have in the closet?

Let's call that a wrap for today. Got some good Christmas items lined up for this month along with a big unboxing or two. Now I must return to educating my nephew in the realm of Star Wars. Actually convinced the poor bastard to watch the prequels as well. He'll never trust me again.

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