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The Christmas haul '05
New year, same old shitty banner

Written : 12/30/05

As you can see, and are most likely disappointed by, I've reused a lot of stuff from previous articles to make up this page. You can call me on cutting my corners if you really want, but I've got more than enough junk ready to go to make up for it. I brought in nearly a whole megabyte's worth of pics (and even a video) for this year's Christmas-type article, and that's nearly twice the size of last year's offering. But enough wasting a paragraph talking about how big the pictures are.

Christmas is always pretty good to me. As you've seen in past years, I usually get quite a good haul of junk. The dollar value of my haul is usually painfully high, and I sometimes wonder if the majority of others get way less, then read this and think of my family as rich. Truth be told, my parents aren't rich, but they are well enough off to spoil the crap out of us come Xmas time. You've gotta keep in mind as well that a good half of this stuff comes from relatives and since I have so many, that bumps up the gift amount exponentially. I've just been feeling like kind of a jerk, what with showing off all this stuff I get and all. I just figured a small explanation would get that off my back.

So anyway, it's been Christmas again, and it's probably one of the greatest Christmases recorded for me. Why? I'll get back to it later. I think I just ruined my segue thing.

Okay, new paragraph. I'll just get to business this time. As I do every year, I'll start at the stocking. It's been that way since dickety-three, and I'm sure as hell not going to break such a long-standing tradition. But I am going to change it up a little. Instead of looking at all the crap at once and compiling a list, I'll be separating it into two categories and making two lists. What can I say? I love lists.

Oh, one other thing before I start. I made the pictures clickable, but clicking won't show you bigger pictures. I just wanted them to have the festively-coloured borders. :D

This first half of the stocking junk is all that is edible. Or at least, stuff that the makers intend for you to stuff in your facehole. List time!

  • A gigantic pack of gum. which turned out to be several normal-sized packs of gum.
  • A bag of chocolate Santas. This is a stocking staple.
  • An After Eight minty chocolate bar. It was more chocolatey than minty.
  • Many, many Tic Tacs. What's wrong with my breath?
  • A box of Mike & Ikes.
  • (not pictured) A large chocolate Santa. Needless to say, he was boiling in my digestive juices long before I snapped the photo.

It's not in my nature to complain (ED: LIES!!!), but... that's it? Where's the rest of my candy? Hell, a good chunk of what's there isn't even actual candy. Oh well. At least there's Mike & Ikes. Those are like the friggin' holy grail of candy. Personally, I like the Hot Tamales a little better, but plain ol' Mike & Ikes will do any day.

The second half of the stocking stuffer list continues with the non-edible bits. While some may argue that you can in fact eat toothpaste and shampoo, you know deep within your soul that you shouldn't. That shit just ain't right.

  • A set of small, colourful clamps. They pale in comparison to my gigantic clamp.
  • The token tube of toothpaste. I can never manage to keep it to myself, however.
  • A ...bottle? Can? Container? ...of Axe. Didn't see that coming.
  • The "A Nightmare on Elm Street" DVD? Sweetness.
  • A bottle of Dove shampoo. The unquestionable highlight of the stocking.

Axe body spray? You're serious? Axe? I don't know if I can even use that stuff. Hell, I feel a little odd just knowing I own a can of it. Don't you have to be like 11 to use Axe? Seriously. I hardly ever even use my cologne. When am I going to use this stuff? I don't think I could actually confront another person if I used that stuff. I'd just feel so silly. But the DVD rocks. I love "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

As you've seen during the last couple years, my grandparents (dad's side) like to send over a "care package" of sorts for Christmas, along with some sort of other gifty thing. Usually money. This year it was money. Usually I just give a brief summary of what comes in the package, but I think this year I'll tackle it in list form though. Yay lists! This is the last one, I promise. ...This year.

The thing about the package from my grandparents that I love the most is that it's always essentially the same stuff. Honestly. Take a look at the past years, and you'll notice a lot of similarities.

  • Ten bucks in movie passes for Famous Players.
  • "göt2b" hair... polish? WTF? Umlaut?
  • A pass for a free 9-hole round of golf
  • Stetson Black aftershave. Looks classy, no?
  • Stetson deodorant. It's got a cowboy on it!
  • Alberto hair gel. I haven't used hair gel in like a year. Oh well.

The only problem is that I get a lot of stuff like this every year, and it's long since taken over one of my drawers. I seriously have like 5 sticks of Mitchum deodorant alone. The real question is how it manages to pile up, as I do use the stuff. Well, the deodorant at least.

And while we're on it, I thought the deodorant with a cowboy on it was pretty cool, but then it hit me that these days everyone thinks cowboys are gay. What the hell happened? Not ten years ago, cowboys were like the pinnacle of manliness and awesomeness (next to lumberjacks of course). Yeah, maybe it wasn't their peak period of coolness, but the fact remains that every little boy played cowboys back in my day. And now cowboys are gay? Or is it just real cowboys that are gay, and kickass old movie cowboys are still cool? Someone help me out here.

Now, before we move on I have a little disclaimer. This next gift, as far as I can tell, is a gag gift from my mom. I did ask for it, but only in the "get what you deserve" way. I didn't literally say that it was something I wanted to own.

It's a long story, so get some popcorn or something if you don't already have (hey, the story couldn't possibly outweigh the article itself). Some time ago, I was watching TV with my parents at like 3 in the morning. A commercial came on for this Tricky Toby Turtle game, and when I saw the thing in action, I thought it was absolutely hilarious. Mind you, I was a little tired at the time, which does make me more susceptible to laughing at stuff. But it seems that I found it so funny that after the commercial I started pantomiming the thing, and after that it became kind of a running joke whenever we saw the commercial for me to do the pantomime. Little did I know that this fun little joke would lead to me actually receiving the game. I guess it's just like I suggested before, you get what you deserve.

There it is, the monster itself. Tricky Toby Turtle. A little purple for my liking, but it's got its shit together. I guess.

The thing to do, I suppose, is to tell you about the game. I mean, if you can't figure this one out, it's no wonder you're on the internet, but I digress. The object of the game is to collect all your "prize bears." Or so I assume. I didn't actually read the manual. Page. The way you go about this is simple. Each player has a colour. Under each shell is a colour. You place all the shells on the table, and Toby shuffles them around. Find your shell, win a bear. It's that simple. Simple, but it draws you in. If you feel you can withstand the hypnotizing power of Tricky Toby Turtle, there's a video below. It's only a few seconds anyway, so even the weakest-minded should be alright.

Click here to see Triple-T in action. (Opens in new window)

Woo! Lookit 'im go! The only real problem with the game is that despite how it looks in the video, Triple-T doesn't shuffle those shells very fast, and it's really quite easy to watch which one is yours. I suppose you could look away and let it become a game of chance. Whatever. I'll probably never touch this game again. And it's not because I don't like it. Hell, I got Monopoly a few years back and to this day I still haven't used it.

You know there was gonna be video games eventually, right? Well, here's the first, and quite possibly the one I wanted the most. When I first heard about Dragon Quest VIII, I was pretty excited, because I've been out of the Dragon Quest loop for a long time. In fact, the only DQ games I've played for more than 20 minutes are the original Dragon Warrior and Dragon Warrior Monsters. While I've more than lost my taste for RPGS during the last couple years, the Dragon Quest series will always have a place in my heart. DW was the first RPG I ever played and I downright love DWM, which is without a doubt the best Pokémon copycat ever.

Dragon Quest VIII is just what I expected. It's just barely different than any of the other games in the series, with a few tweaks to make it a new experience, and everything just reeks of the past games. The graphics are beautifully cel-shaded, and might even make the best use of the technique since the Wind Waker. Of course, since it's an RPG, the story is pretty drawn out and overdramatic, but there's a good dose of humour too, and most of the characters are genuine and likeable. There's even a sidequest of sorts based heavily on DWM, whihc scores it more than enough points to put DQVIII in the "awesome" category.

Sadly, there are people out there who probably bought this game, or will buy it, just for the Final Fantasy XII demo. I played this demo, and I have no idea what to think. The trailer got me hooked, and it will most likely be the first game I've ever wanted to play just for the story, as it's all about war and pirates and stuff. The gameplay though, is another story. I have no idea whether to love it or hate it. It's all in active time, no random battles or anything, but the method of attacking and doing stuff is so unorthodox that I just can't get totally behind it. In the end, my brother will undoubtedly buy it (he bought FFX-2 right away, for reference) and I'll just borrow it when he's done. But I will play it.

Hooray! It's Stubbs the Zombie! I looked for this game everywhere and couldn't find it, so I was surprised to all heck when my mom pulled through. I've wanted this game pretty bad, and I'm happy to finally own a game where you get to be the zombie. The thing is, there's just one big roadblock in my way: I can't play it.

The problem is that it's a PC game. This is a huge issue in my house, which is entirely devoid of a PC capable or running much more than SNES ROMs. Poor Stubbs. The family PC has no real video power, and could never hope to run the game and sadly, my video card, which you should note had the power to run Doom 3 at a very good pace, is not supported. Couple that with the fact that my computer doesn't even start up anymore, and you've got a pretty pissed off Ryan. How badly I want to munch on people's brains, but I'll have to drop at least $100 (my brother has agreed to pay half) on another video card, and even then I can't play it on my own PC. Judging by the current trend of PCs in my house, by the time I get to play it I'll likely be in my early thirties. Poor me.

Well, that's the end. Of page one of course. You didn't think I'd do a one-page Christmas special, did you? No friggin' way. This will be a two-pager for years to come still. And by years to come, I mean like two or three. By that time, I probably won't be getting much that's worth writing about. But I'm wondering what you're still doing here.

Get to page 2 already!

~Ryan
E-Mail: Tuominenator[at]gmail[dot]com