Whew. Well, I have a newfound respect for all of the people in my family who’ve hosted Christmas (and other) holiday dinners through the years, because we just could not believe how much work that was. Even considering the fact that the woman’s family is less than half the size of my own, that was one brutal, hellacious exercise in holidayosity.
Among other things, I’ve learned that ovens are not miracle devices, and no matter how much I tried to treat them as such, they just couldn’t seem to warm everything the way we needed them to. Everyone brought a dish that needed to be heated up, and it was an impossible balancing act to get Dish #455 served before Dishes #1 – #454 became ice cold again. I think I kept my cool for the most part, save for one regrettable incident where I yelled “who gives a fuck about these kids’ fucking chicken tenders we got a fucking thirty-dollar turkey here” loud enough for everyone in the dining room to hear — including the poor guy who brought said chicken tenders.
Overall, Christmas went well, but I think my stint as a domestic must be considered as a shoe that doesn’t fit. Next year, I’ll be happy to let someone else take the responsibility, and relish in the fact that I won’t have to spend the week before Christmas using masking tape to lift cat hair off of every piece of furniture in our apartment.
We had my family’s Christmas Eve party the night before, at my sister’s house. Early in the evening, I was charged with making eggnog for five or six people. As I was pouring the rum in, I had a sneaking suspicion that I had added at least eight times the appropriate amount to each cup. They confirmed this, but in an effort to prove them wrong, I forced myself to gulp my cup down despite the fact that its contents smelled more like witch hazel than milky vanilla. That was my downfall. I didn’t wake up until after midnight, when I realized that I’d been decorated in Christmas lights (which were lit) and had various phrases written on my face and arms in lipstick.
The season really just flew by this year, and we’ve been too exhausted for the past two days to do more than crawl by the tree every couple of hours and paw at our presents before passing out again. That’s one good thing about hosting a party. Usually, by now, I’m steeped in that post-holiday faux-depression, where Christmas decorations make me feel icky and holiday-themed commercials make me curse and kick things. This year, it’s all been such a whirlwind that I’m looking forward to reintroducing myself to the couch and relaxing under tree light until the dying branches go on fire.
I’ve still got one Advent Calendar entry left to do, which I’ll get to in a bit. I think I want to go a little longer on it than originally planned, since it’s the last time we’ll be hearing from some of those characters for a whole year. Meanwhile, it’s time to continue that very special X-E tradition: The Christmas Fallout thread.
If you’ve been reading the site for a while, you know how this works. It’s time to brag about your loot! In the comments, share lists and stories chronicling all of the presents you’ve received, and take solace in the fact that there’s a very good chance that your comments will still be here a decade from now. I love going back to the old Fallout threads to see how past Christmases stacked up, and to see how my own personal tastes have changed through the years. After all, this is our fifth Christmas Fallout thingy. I’m pretty much the same guy, but I don’t think I’d gun for the same stuff today that I did back in 2003. Since a lot of the people who drew up their lists in previous years are still around today, feel free to review your old comments in the archived Fallout threads:
In terms of gifts, 2007 was an awesome year for yours truly. Probably the best ever. If some kind of nuclear war forced society to remain indoors for the next seven months, I am well prepared with an endless bevy of books, movies, toys, games, and at least six different types of martini olives. Off we go!
Super Mario Galaxy: For the Wii and for me. I only put it on my list to fulfill my self-imposed quota of needing to receive at least one video game for Christmas, but holy crap…it’s great. I almost don’t mind the fact that I’m still dizzy from playing it hours ago.
“Hunted” Star Wars Novel: Surprisingly, there are very few Star Wars novels that feature Jabba as a primary character. This is one of them, and that’s why I wanted it. It’s really meant for younger readers, but as you’re going to see Pikachu dolls and G.I. Joe figures later in this list, I can’t say that I feel too ashamed.
Alien Quadrilogy DVD Box Set: Every Alien movie! Nine discs total! Owning this makes me pray that I’ll catch the flu, because I’d love nothing better than a clear excuse to spend two days watching every minute of these discs.
Alien Facehugger Plush Replica: I wish I wasn’t so tired right now, because an item of this magnitude really calls for a genius, catalog-level description. I think I’ll settle on caps lock to convey my joy: YES YES YES.
Aliens Vs. Predator Omnibus, Volume 1: I’ve heard great things about the AvP (or just A and P, respectively) comics, and thought it was time to see what all the fuss was about. The book looks great: It’s got like 50,000 pages, but they’re really small and comfortably manageable pages. If reading books during car trips didn’t make me sick, I’d totally save this for my next long one.
Friday the 13th, Volume 1: Jason gives the term “graphic novel” a more figurative spin in this re-imagining of his origin story, which actually reads more like an idea for a big screen prequel put in comic book form. I read the thing the second I got it. Part of me felt that the authors/artists really didn’t take advantage of the fact that they could’ve done anything with Jason in this medium, but on the other hand, it honestly does feel like something that could be easily translated as a perfectly fine F13 flick.
Dirty Martini Mega Basket: My girlfriend surprised me with this amazing basket full of everything a dirty martini lover could need, from the vodka (Tito’s FTW) to the briney fun juice, along with every possible kind of olive, from pimento-stuffed to jalepeno-stuffed to blue cheese-stuffed. I even got a jar of caper berries and cocktail olives in case I feel like mixing things up. Totally great gift; I wonder if I’ll have any of this stuff left by January.
Transformers Monopoly: I haven’t opened this baby yet, but I’m going to be really disappointed if there isn’t a “Starscream Wins Beauty Contest – Collect $10″ Community Chest card.
Christmas Story Monopoly: Even cooler! Toss aside the stupid car and make Ralphie in his bunny suit as your chosen pewter avatar! Skip the tired “Boardwalk” and invest in such historically significant locations as “Leg Lamp!” My one regret is that I received this on Christmas and can’t lump it in with the site’s holiday coverage. Guess I’ll save it for next year.
Cigar Humidor: Though I rarely smoke cigars, I still love the idea of smoking cigars. Problem is, it’s impossible to keep a good stock of cigars in the house unless I’m planning to smoke them constantly until they’re gone. Cigars are very temperamental and will not survive for long without the proper environment. So, the woman made me a humidor out of a fancy, magnetically sealed cigar box, and all of the other little parts that make humidors…uh, humidate…or…whatever they do.
Super Cigar Sampler Pack: …because you can’t have a humidor without something for that humidor to humidate. Among other fancy cigars, the box includes a good amount of Montecristos, which I absolutely love both for their taste and because their name sounds like a cross between a Vegas luxury resort and a brand of cooking oil.
The Golden Girls: The Complete Fifth Season DVD Set: Shhh.
The Simpsons: The Complete First Season DVD Set: Christmas seemed like a good time to start a Simpsons DVD collection. Wouldn’t call myself one of those maniacally diehard Simpsons nuts, but as far as shows that will suffice when you’re simultaneously in the mood to watch something and nothing, few are better. Plus, it’s the first season, meaning I’ll get to giggle whenever someone’s skin color looks weird.
Gizmo Santa Plush: Gizmo Santa is far too poignant a symbol of humankind’s evolution into a master species to toss in a storage box with a bunch of lights and Rudolph figures. He is staying out all year.
The Linus Blanket: A big sheet of baby blue softness that perfectly reflects Linus’s trademark security blanket, I now have a new cape to wear when I stumble out of the bedroom on Sunday mornings with visions of coffee demands dancing in my head.
Marvel Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: I was growing tired of having to educate myself on the “Ultimate” Marvel Universe by way of Wikipedia, so this will come in handy. I love Galactus. Even when it’s that weird version of Galactus with all the hyphens in his name.
McDonald’s: Behind The Arches: It’s a book that tells the tale of cheeseburgers and Chicken McNuggets, and judging by the its length, those two things must have a really amazing story. Few big businesses have a story as interesting as McDonald’s, and I’m looking forward to reading about how Ray Kroc avoided a career as a pay-per-appearance alligator wrestler to spearhead one of the biggest corporations ever.
The Best of Pokemon Adventures: Yellow: I’ve been hearing about how great these Pokemon comics are for years, and I’m so excited to finally have some of ‘em. Though meant for younger readers, I understand that they’re heavier on actual story than the cartoons were, and that’s what I’m looking for. I don’t want Pikachu to make me laugh. I want him to make me think.
The Best of Pokemon Adventures: Red: Yay! More!
Around The World In 450 Recipes: I’m confident that this is the largest, heaviest book ever published. If I dropped this book from a ten story window, the force and velocity that it would gain on the way down would clearly allow it to crash through the pavement, through our planet’s blazing core and out the other side, where some foreign entrepreneur will surely try to translate its many chicken satay recipes into the native language of his home people.
The Big Bug Book: Because I’m a big bug fan, see.
Panasonic Mini-DV Camcorder:
And a few more:
And a few more:
I mean holy shit. THAT is a gift. THAT is proof that Santa exists.
The Dick Tracy Show: The Complete Series DVD Box Set: When that Dick Tracy movie debuted in 1990, Fox took advantage of our renewed interest in the yellow-clad detective by running his ancient cartoon every weekday afternoon. I loved that show, and I will love this set.
Amazing Stories: The Complete First Season DVD Box Set: Ahhhhhhhh yesssssss. Granted, the best episodes of the series didn’t occur until the second season, but there’s still plenty to love here. Hell, I would’ve paid whatever they were charging just to be able to see those killer opening credits anytime I wanted.
Star Wars: The Complete Pop-Up Guide To The Galaxy: I’m probably going to review this separately later, so I won’t say too much…other than the fact that it’s the most insanely well-developed pop-up book that I’ve ever seen. If you’re into Star Wars, you have to get this. Three-dimensional Rancor spreads!
Electric Cocktail Mixer: Why shake and stir when you can just hit a button that does it all for you, whirlpool-style?
Electric Shaver: I needed a new one because mine didn’t allow for that special brand of “meticulous stubble” that I so often go for. This one does, and it’s got an internal vacuum to boot!
Clothes: I got clothes.
More Clothes: I got more clothes. Gloves, too!
Slippers: I believe this is the first pair of slippers I’ve ever owned. Now I have the proper equipment with which to go outside and tell the neighbor kids to get off my lawn.
Topple Game: I can’t believe that Pressman still makes Topple! The game is a bit like Jenga, only more colorful, and since the pieces are lighter, the ultimate game-ending crash is a louder, more widely spread sight to see.
Insanely Cool Diesel Watch: I love it. It’s the kind of watch that looks like it must have some kind of weirdo special feature. Everyone will think that I’m in contact with the government’s secret headquarters. I will have the wrist of a champion.
Sitcoms: The 101 Greatest TV Comedies Of All Time: I haven’t flipped through it yet, but Get A Life better be on their list.
101 Things You Should Know How To Do: I haven’t flipped through it yet, but how to tie one’s shoes better be on their list. Seriously, I don’t know how.
Reindeer Food Candy: R D R R
Madballs: Screamin’ Meemie: Will save the full review for a separate entry, but suffice to say, Madballs are back. Though they’re being sold at many of the major toy outlets, it’s pretty clear that the revamped line is meant for older folks who fondly remember the originals. They’ll probably die a quick death, but certainly not by my hand/wallet.
G.I. Joe: Serpentor Figure: I’m really glad to see that Hasbro added Serpentor to their short list of revitalized reissues. Despite being the most ridiculous character in G.I. Joe history, I’ve always held him in high regard. I guess there’s just something about a guy who can throw coma-inducing snakes at his opponents that just resonates with me.
Bonsai Tree: I’ve always wanted one. Now I just need the tiny Buddha statue.
Transformers: Soundwave Commemorative Edition: I’ve steered clear the “classic” Transformers revamps mainly because you can buy the originals at competitive prices, but Soundwave gets a pass. Tied with Cyclonus as my favorite Decepticon ever, Soundwave comes with Ravage and Lazerbeak, and I have absolutely no intention of leaving this trio of greatness to sit without purpose in a box. Soon, they will come out to play.
National Geographic Dinosaurs Book: Yes! A new dinosaur book! One that I haven’t explored from cover to cover ten thousand times!
Journey To The Ants: It’s the story of ants, see. How ants do what they do, and why they do it. I’m almost daunted by the amount of great books that I’ve received this Christmas. Where do I start reading? Pokemon? Dinosaurs? Ants? I need coins to flip!
THE OCTOPUS LAMP: Remember this thing? I wrote about it last summer, and have lived with unbelievable regret that I didn’t buy it ever since. My sister, who was there when I made that grave error, returned to the very same store and grabbed one for me before the place closed down for the winter season. This particular sister has now joined the short list of family members that I’d donate a kidney for. Illumination by octopus! There are no nine syllables finer!
UPDATE #1: Gonna try to knock out a few more before dinner with the fam…
Congo DVD: One of the best bad movies ever made, starring Tim Curry, Winston, Amy Monkey, Bruce Campbell and a horde of CG gray gorillas. Fuck yeah.
Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie DVD: If you’re a Street Fighter fan and have never seen this, DO YOURSELF A FAVOR, MAN.
Scrooged DVD: Somehow, I only had this on VHS, and we were getting pretty tired of the extra hassle involved with watching the scene where the bums implore Bill Murray to do Shakespeare over and over again.
Slusho T-Shirt: I don’t want to say much about this shirt’s significance since I plan to do a separate blog entry on it, but…YES. It’s the Cloverfield “Slusho” shirt, sent in an odd package with viral marketing paperwork and all sorts of goodness. I hate logos of any kind of my clothing, but for Slusho, exceptions will be made.
Giant Pikachu Doll: …which I specifically asked for, because its size and shape make for an absolutely perfect substitute for the standard pillow. Why sleep on a boring pillow when you can rest your head on an exciting Pikachu?
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Deluxe Edition: Two different volumes! I grew up obsessing over these handbooks, which serve as a sort of encyclopedia of every notable character in the Marvel Universe, along with certain weapons, locations and vehicles. These books are how I’ve maintained a pretty impressive wealth of comic book knowledge without actually reading many of them. These newer books are mainly reissues of the much older versions, sacrificing color artwork for the sake of getting many more entries in each particular volume.
Still more to come! I’ll be back later!