One thing I love about Christmas this year? Zero expectations.
Pulling the plug on both Advent Calendars and then deciding that I couldn’t do the site at all made for a massive departure from the Christmases I’ve grown accustomed to: The kind where I’m strangling clocks to finish weirdo X-E projects, and barely getting my hands off the keyboard in time for our Christmas Eve party.
It was hard to do that for a lot of reasons, but what surprised me was how utterly foreign Christmas felt when I wasn’t devoting every spare moment to living it through the site.
I’ve come to appreciate what this place really is for me: A chance to do the stupid things most people never bother with once they hit a certain age. I can’t imagine the everyday world building monster spumoni cakes, or trying out every recipe on every bag of limited edition holiday marshmallows.
Truth be told, once I removed X-E from the equation, I wasn’t gravitating to stuff like that, either.
I did see a little bit of what I’d been missing, though. That was the good part. All of the normal Christmassy things that I usually skip in favor of whatever I’m doing here. Someone in the last thread made a great point: You’re not going to have many new experiences if you spend every moment thinking about old ones. I don’t think they put it quite so eloquently, but that’s why I make the big bucks.
I will remember this going forward. It’ll mean less X-E, but it’ll also mean a better X-E.
Wasn’t bullshitting you, though. I really did need to get started on my “real life” work. I’d orchestrated my schedule to make the next marathon start in January, but even so, there was a ton of preparation involved with those projects. It got to the point where I looked at the calendar and thought, “…if I don’t really actually literally start this now, I am really actually literally being irresponsible.”
Doing this dumb site takes focus. I’m not good enough to babble mindlessly and get kudos. Even if you think I’m just babbling mindlessly now, rest assured, I’m babbling with such focus that even the faint sound of our neighbor’s wind chimes is driving me out of my fucking mind.
You can’t focus on stuff 24 hours a day, or however many hours you’re awake. I picked the thing that was more important to focus on. The sacrifice was ten more videos of me, babbling mindlessly, in Halloween makeup.
Funny story, at least to me: Even after announcing that I was canning them, I gave it another crack. Figured that if I could get through 5 or 6 videos in one sitting, Christmas could be saved for the ten people that actually enjoyed the things.
Shown above is a still frame from what would’ve been 12/16’s video. While doing a gag where I put on the makeup while filming, I got a good look at myself and realized that, indeed, it was probably time to go back to work.
See my dead red eyes? That’s what defeat looks like.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever do another video. I probably will, but there is certainly a part of me tempted to delete all of the previous editions and pretend they never existed. Still, in the funky mélange that is X-Entertainment, me coughing through a bunch of LEGO reviews seems to fit.
Every year, I try to incorporate a new cocktail into our Christmas Eve party. What I choose never seems to be imbibed by anyone but me, so I’ve stopped worrying about what might pry my family from their boring red wine. This is more about what I want.
For 2011, I wanted something with a real photographic quality to it. I wanted to look like I was celebrating Christmas in an upscale magazine spread. To accomplish this, I took a hope shot on a type of booze that I was completely unfamiliar with, all because it was so damn RED.
What’s it called? I don’t know, Asptero Apertivito, or something close to that. Wait no, Aperol. Aperol Aperitivo. Apparently, it’s a famous Italian pre-dinner drink. It tastes like oranges mixed with cough syrup. It has an alcohol content matching that of Progresso Beef Barley. But it is so damn RED.
If I don’t torch this bottle by Saturday, everyone’s going to think I’ve become so sophisticated. I’ll just need nicer socks.
Trying to spin a negative into a positive, I gathered all of the Christmas candies I didn’t get to write about and tossed ‘em in a basket. When I arrive on Christmas Eve, I will be a hero to the 400 children banging their heads against the walls.
It’s not about charity. I just want to see them battle it out. There’s only one tree-themed Push Pop in there. Nations have warred over less.
I can’t shake the feeling that this basket is going to ruin someone’s Christmas. Kids are already edgy at this time of year. I can just imagine the tearful episode after one of the bigger kids runs off with the only mini-carton of goldfish crackers. I should install a hidden camera in that wicker.
For dinner, we’re in charge of the stuffed mushrooms. We always are, for every holiday. Even birthdays.
I don’t get it. They’re not even that good. Maybe we’re not trusted to make anything but stuffed mushrooms? I wouldn’t eat crown roast, but I’d sure like to take credit for one someday.
While mushrooms are our sole edible responsibility, I’ve also decided to bring along a port wine cheese ball. I’m not happy about how they’ve fallen off the radar during recent Christmases. My parents taught me a lot, mainly about cigarettes and casinos, but also about port wine cheese balls. People at Christmas parties just seem to be in better spirits with one of those babies around.
Doesn’t matter if anyone eats it or not. It just needs to be there. The port wine cheese ball is the unspoken but super critical life of the party. Proof: It’s covered in sliced almonds, which is food’s version of a drunkard’s lampshade.
I’m writing this on Thursday night. Since it’s 5 AM, it’s technically Friday. Last day before Christmas Eve. I have so much to do, not the least of which being the completion of this post, which, at this point, is barely halfway done. I could end it here, but as this is supposed to be my merry mea culpa, I’m going to finish it tomorrow.
In the meantime, here’s a picture of the Incredible Hulk, eating lights.
It’s tomorrow, now. I can continue.
I love that photo. I’m so glad I didn’t throw Hulk away. I’ve been throwing everything else away, lately:
I mentioned a short while back that we’d begun clearing out my office, which, for several years now, has been a locked tomb containing all of the things idiots like me accumulate when nobody’s there to stop us.
That’s my office as of now. As terrible as it still looks, I cannot overstate how much of an improvement this is. No exaggeration: We’ve gone through at least 40 contractor bags so far, and that’s just for the stuff we deemed garbage.
I had oodles of still-packaged toys, too. Those, we donated. We filled every bin we could find. It felt great, despite knowing that even needy kids would probably balk at E.T. Walkie Talkies from 2003.
No, I’m not trashing everything I own, or the things I actually like. I’ve just hit a wall with this stuff. It’s not that I don’t want it around me; it’s that I don’t want it surrounding me. I’m not going to like Star Wars any less without those two plastic tubs filled with carded Revenge of the Sith figures.
As you can see, there’s still a long way to go. It was easy to toss things at first, because I owned so many things I plainly did not want. Now I’m inching closer to the nitty gritty, and fighting my impulses to hold on.
Like, that giant Robo-Force vehicle you see there, in the middle. I don’t need it. I’ve already written about it. Given its size and my miniscule chances of locating a box large enough to ship it in, I’m never going to eBay it. And I can’t say that my life is being improved much by owning a 500 foot Robo-Force vehicle.
Things like that gotta go. I can grow up a little. It’s not like I’m tossing the orange Halloween Boglin, mint in his cage-themed box. That would be crazy.
Shrunken Apple Head and his potato friend also celebrate Christmas. Since we never bothered to get a tree this year, they’re actually doing it better than us. On the other hand, who among you can honestly state that there’s a potato caroling in your living room? In their victory lies mine.
It’s now 3:30, Friday. I was supposed to have this up hours ago, but it’s been a whirlwind day of last minute gifts and post office trips. I also hear that one of my brothers is coming into town early, so the five “chore hours” I’d been banking on for tonight are now going to be spent peddling Aperol and eating olives stuffed with fantastic things.
Yet, I still feel compelled to finish this post, and it’s all because of the Pillsbury Doughboy. On the same day that I announced my “vacation,” I found that tube of Peppermint Sugar Cookies. What a slap in the face! Such a perfectly Christmassy thing to write about, and I couldn’t. I think it would haunt me all throughout 2012 if I let this one slip by.
They came out terrible. Delicious, but terrible. They’re not so much “cookies” as they are just one big “cookie,” and brother, that’s okay, because that mess of a photo is such a perfect metaphor for my Christmas season. I’ve already ordered 30×20” glossies. They cost too much.
There. Done. And not a moment too soon. So much left to do. So many mushrooms to stuff. So many gifts to wrap, once I remember which kids are getting which video games. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll even squeeze in one or two viewings of A Christmas Story.
I hope everyone has a chill and merry holiday. This thread is going to be up for a while. I look forward to reading about your own Christmas adventures. Haven’t decided if I’m doing a Fallout post yet, so have at it here if you can’t stand the wait.
It’s been a tricky season for sure, but serious strides were taken to make the next one great. As for the site, well, I’m diving into work immediately after Christmas, and that will go through most of January. Not planning to never post, but definitely not planning to promise much in the way of anything. Of course, since I say that, it’s guaranteed that I’ll post more often than I did last January!
The road to recovery is always rocky, but we’ll get there. And how.
Forget that, though. Now is the time for celebration. So go do that. Be a superstar.