What’s In The Box?!

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I think we are going on seven months of nostalgia-rich Fun Packs from the amazing site, DinosaurDracula.com. If you are unaware of what Fun Packs are, let me explain. Imagine little trinkets from the obscure depths of the 80’s and 90’s which, if unprepared, can magically transport you back to the sixth grade. But that’s only if your old like me. That’s how math works!

This month we are in for a treat! Every Fun Pack has something special but this month really hit a home run. I’ll tease you with words like, “Turtle Pies” and “Boglins”to intrigue you. Did it work? If so, for only $25 a month you too can be a recipient of these Fun Packs and have smiling memories of your awkward youth.

So, if you have time (which if you’re in North Carolina you do thanks to three inches of ice) check out my nine minute video unboxing the great Dinosaur Dracula Fun Pack for this depressing month of February.

Holiday Dinosaur Dracula Fun Pack!

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Hoooowdy Hooo! Welcome back to the Holiday Hell Show and today I am unboxing Dinosaur Dracula’s Holiday Fun Pack. What is a Dinosaur Dracula Fun Pack, you ask? Well I will ask, where the hell have you been?

I kid because I love.

The Fun Packs are amazing boxes full of nostalgic delight that Matt puts together and mails to you every month. Lately they have had certain holiday themes because we are in the twilight of the four months which shines over at Dino Drac but it is an ongoing subscription for only $25 a month. Very impressive stuff, too. I don’t know how he does it but as I speak I am looking at an Alien Xenomorph watch and Gremlin flip books from the eighties and lord knows how he found these gems.

Each box also comes from a personalized note from Matt with detailed instructions on how to maximize the box to its fullest potential of the goodies. This was something I had to video. I know there have been much better ones made but for the Hell Show, it had to be included. Watch the madness and if you want to (which you should) pop over to his site and subscribe to get one of your very own!

October For A Sunday

Every so often I get a Sunday like this one and brother, these are so rare I just can’t waste them. It’s dark and rainy out with no sign of it stopping, so in my mind I am creating an “October Sunday”. What is an October Sunday, you ask? Well, it’s a day when you barricade yourself in a safe spot and pretend it’s October just so you can watch spooky flicks, drink cider and act on all the Fall fun, if just for a few hours. But be careful, long time lovers of the macabre season can get burned out if we do this too often so it’s best to take Bastian’s advice from The Never Ending Story when he was conserving his lunch, “No…not too much. We still have a long way to go.”

I think this October Sunday (not a U2 song) I will impart my tricks of the trade with you, incase you find yourself months away from Target selling skeletons and severed hands and want to dip your toe in some creepy activities. I am not saying I am doing everything that you would consider fun but this may be a loose guideline and perhaps an idea or two will help you muster your inner Satan. Or you can read this and say I am crazy. Either way.

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Summer is for grilling and Autumn is for crock potting. If you want to have an early October there is no better way than to slow cook pot roast. It quite honestly is my olfactory link to The Simpson Treehouse of Terror, Season 2. I can’t explain it and don’t even want to dissect why for fear it would somehow change my link of meat to a cartoon but if I really am all in for an October Sunday, there’s got to be a fiddle in the band. And by fiddle I mean pot roast. The band is a crock pot.

I bet there is a vegetarian way to do this too. I love you all and if meat isn’t on the menu, share with us what you would do! I am curious.

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Coffee is my fuel that drives creativity, mental prowess, jitters and my ability to say “Big Bertha bought Bill’s bakery before Bob’s birthday” two hundred times in a minute. Lucky for me on this dark and stormy Sunday, I reserved pumpkin spice from Archer’s Farm to add that need boost to trick my taste buds into believing I will be sipping this while watching AMC’s Fearfest. A little goes a long way and after today, I will not visit anything pumpkin for another three months. I just need a quick fix.

Oh, and if you are going to buy a Keurig coffee maker, don’t buy the VUE. No one sells the damn cups unless you are at Bed Bath and Beyond or ordering online. And if you know me, then you know I often don’t have coffee here. I just happened to be at Bed Bath and Beyond for a table-cloth. That’s my life now, ladies and gentlemen. I shop around for a table-cloth.

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While you wait EIGHT HOURS for the pot roast to cook you need a spooky snack. I decided the good people at Hormel had just the canvass for a little Jack-o-Pepperoni. Behind that is extra sharp cheddar. Anything duller is completely unacceptable unless you can find habanero cheddar. That is very much acceptable.

The vehicle for the meat and cheese can be anything. I recently ripped through a box of Triscuits, grossing out my dog, so I am forced to use pretzels. God, how I wish I had some Triscuits.

Also, you vegetarians, I am sorry there is another meat. Replace pepperoni with apple.

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Alright, so we have the crock pot rocking, sending crazy good smells throughout the house, the pumpkin coffee is brewed and horror snacks are made without severing a finger trying to carve faces in meat. Now we find that little hideaway that is safe from the rest of normal society. For me, it’s my office. The only place where a 36-year-old can safely bask in pictures of Skeletor and Michael Myers. Even though it’s still rainy and windy outside, there is too much light. I don’t have blackout shutters so I have to make do with the guest bed comforter. The October Sunday is much more effective if it’s dark. Very dark.

I recently washed this comforter myself and you can still see areas where the stuffing separated. I swear those are not stains. I swear. Also, if you hang this up using a swivel chair with wheels, godspeed.

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Of course, how can we have a creepy Sunday without a terribly good horror flick? It’s honestly impossible to achieve full spooky without a horror movie. Lucky for me, I have a few of these horror collections, Netfix, Hulu and Vudu. Out of all these, I am sure there is something that will suffice. I am thinking The Unholy. Bare boobs can add a few bonus points, if you are looking for extra credit.

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It’s coming together but we aren’t quite there. As you can see, my little space is ready for a great Sunday of escapism full of blogging, horror movie watching and internet surfing. The aroma candle is lit and my buddy, Cosmo the Great, is sawing logs on the bed behind me. We just have one little detail left to complete.

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Perfection! It’s 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon and I am safely removed from any hint that it is the beginning of June. For all I know, shut in my capsule of delusion, it’s October 17th, 2023. It’s a fine Sunday indeed. I think another “Beers with Movie Sauce” review is on the books for later this afternoon, but for now, I will bask in this great little lie I call October Sunday. Try it! You’ll like it. But remember, not too much. We still have a long way to go.

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Of course I can’t leave out Matt’s Dinosaur Dracula archives. You didn’t think I forgot that, did you? Come on, I’m a pro at this.

 

The Christmas of ’87: Part 3

It was a busy Christmas back in 1987. I battled CCD bullies and was humbled by a ceramic log fireplace but each of those unpleasantries were mere flesh wounds because it was approaching the end of December and Christmas Eve had finally  arrived. I have always loved this day although as I get older, the thrill has diminished quite a bit thanks to all the adult procrastination leading to mall trips, late night wrapping sessions and annoying family members who suck to shop for.

As a little kid, however, Christmas Eve was the day full of excitement. I actually enjoyed that day over Christmas because anticipation mixed with tradition is…well it’s just tits. I know when you blog about your ten-year old self, “tits” is inappropriate but I have never been able to use that phrase before.

Speaking of tradition, Dad and I started one that year. It’s our annual “run around the mall the day before Christmas and look for a joint present for Mom” tradition. You may think this is a lame one but actually it’s one of my favorites. We get up early and head to over to Hardee’s to get sausage biscuits and cinnamon raison biscuits which came in styrofoam boxes. God I loved those little tandem biscuits in boxes. I would absolutely drive a grass-covered hybrid Smart Car fueled by duck spit if it would balance out the carbon footprint of the Hardee’s cinnamon biscuit boxes and bring them back.

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Also, 1987 was the year Hardee’s and the California Raisins teamed up together and every kid had at least four Raisin claymation characters in their pockets at any given time. I didn’t really think about that until I committed to this post. AND A Claymation Christmas featuring the said Raisins also debuted that same year too. Food for thought!

After we ate and Dad finished reading part of the newspaper, we would head out to brave the mall. As a kid, crowded malls during Christmas Eve were as much fun as any amusement venue. Perhaps it was the anticipation of the next morning as we cruised by KB Toys but I think I just really loved this time with Dad. I would always ask him how people build houses and in his engineering way he would tell me the steps salting with laying a foundation. It was my own little weird way of having multiple lines of entertainment. Probably why I have the TV on while blogging and catching up on Twitter all at the same time. But in 1987 I had to rely on mall scenes and Dad’s very detailed step-by-step description on how to build a house and why planes fly.

After a successful mall trip where I am sure we bought Mom earrings and sweaters, we would head home and get ready to go to the Keller’s for Christmas Eve dinner. The Keller’s were family friends who had a dozen kids ranging from 19 to 28. They were all way too old to share anything in common with but I remember all of them treating me really nice. Or like a pet. Actually, now that I think about it, I was more like a puppy to them.

When you are the only child at a dinner party during Christmas Eve, a lot of the attention is on you. I never liked that. Especially when you are a shy kid who HATES when people watch you eat. I have always been weird about that and even today on business trips, I have a real hard time eating alone in a restaurant and usually opt to get food to-go and eat on a strange bed. It was doubly hard that most of the Keller’s kids were pretty college girls.

Mr. Keller was a 747 pilot for United Airlines and a very boisterous fellow, to say the least. He and my Dad (who is a little more reserve) would joke and laugh out loud in audible volumes which made the dog under the table retreat upstairs. I didn’t care for Mr. Keller too much because he was the total opposite of my Dad in every way. I am sure he meant well but his larger than life character didn’t translate to a kid who was the master of the “quiet game”. One time mom forgot to tell me the game was over on a Friday afternoon and I had to write “is it over?” on a piece of paper the next evening. Guess who got a toy for that guilt session?

Where was I? Oh yeah, so Mr. Keller didn’t exactly strike me as “father of the year” but then he asked me a question which changed every negative feeling I had towards him.

“Billy, are you ready for Santa to come? NORAD spotted him somewhere over the Pacific ocean earlier.”

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I was at the age when Santa was a possibility but not a probability. I had my sever doubts especially when his letter from last year had the undeniable likeness to my father’s handwriting. But when a 747 pilot says “NORAD”, that puts  a different spin on it. And then Mr. Keller really shined it on by telling me back before I was born he was in the Air Force and he had to reroute his squadron because Santa was in the same airspace.

This was like drinking out of a firehouse for an excited ten-year old. I had to know more so I asked him, “What’s NORAD?”

“That’s our line of defense incase the goddamn Russians pull some shit.”

Mrs. Keller didn’t miss a beat when she interjected with “WHO WANTS PIE?”.

Mr. Keller’s well-intentioned thought getting a kid excited about Santa kind of backfired because I most likely asked him 500 times for an updated NORAD report. It must have been a bit ironic for a retired Major to have to give situation status reports to a kid in the twilight of the Cold War but we are talking about Santa. The hope for me finally getting a helicopter was still yet alive!

The evening grew late and soon the thirty minute process of gathering coats, Mrs. Keller forcing us to take leftovers and drawn out tipsy hugs came to an end. And for me, who was ripped on orange soda and chocolate with renewed faith in Santa, I was ready. I was ready because we still had one more Christmas Eve tradition left; the first present!

Last year, you might recall, I got Top Gun on VHS which led to a root beer incident. That was a wound still fresh in the family of three so my parents wisely chose to delay the first gift until late at night.

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We came home, plugged in the tree, turned on the new stereo to the Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas album and I got to choose one of the ten gifts that tortured me for the past month under the tree. It took me approximately 0.0078 seconds to grab the one I absolutely knew what it was. Well, I knew what it was but not which one it was. You’ll see in a second.

Like my buddy, Matt, who runs Dinosaur Dracula states, “Even before I started tearing away the wrapping paper, I knew it was going to be a Nintendo game. Those boxes had a distinct weight, shape and feel.”.

It was absolutely a Nintendo game and when I ripped away the paper it revealed the talk of the playground and the game every kid wanted, Metroid. This Christmas of ’87 was truly one of the best. I begged to play this before promising to be in bed before Santa arrived and with a hesitant yes, I was able to kill that Mannheim Stream roller shit and crank up the Nintendo.

This is the sound that is forever linked to Christmas 1987. It is the sound of heavenly bliss and childhood nostalgia.

As quickly as it began it was over because the folks were getting tired and their work was just beginning. I was rushed up to bed, still on a sugar high and Metroid craze but I had to sleep. Santa was well in our airspace and if I wasn’t in bed, who knows the consequences? I wasn’t about to risk my ridiculous wish list which I wrote to him last summer on a night of insomnia.

I was going to make this a three-part series but in order to avoid a 3890 word post I have decided to add one more part. Stay tuned for the Christmas that put its shadow on the wall and no other Christmas could possibly live up to.

 

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