Flea Market Madness and a Horror Bake Shop

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It’s not everyday when you find a place that is made for your little tiny insignificant spot on the internet. For a long time, I didn’t think that place existed. Well, not in this state anyway. But that all changed on Saturday when I had enough of a break from the world of responsibilities to go on a little adventure. I would have no idea what an adventure it would turn out to be.

I took a chance and went to my first flea market and whoa-nelly, what an experience!

Right away I knew this was blog worthy. I wasn’t even past the front door yet and the camera on the phone was primed.

No guns? Okay, I agree with that. No smoking? Sure! NO SNAKES? What kind of place is this?

This place was massive. It was a covered bizarre full of hundreds of venders and millions of oddities. I love this stuff and it was well worth the risk of being beaten with a Vietnamese bamboo shaft for an unwelcome photo moment. I had to be sure the flash was off. This was no place for a mistake like that.

Before I get into the obvious weirdness of a flea market I need to tell you level of people watching was all the way to eleven. Like this guy, for an example. A tough biker dude with gloves and a Harley shirt but has a butt bigger than my Junior year’s English teacher. This guy is clearly living on the edge…by eating Big Macs while riding a motorcycle. That’s talent, my friends.

I’m going to stop being mean now.

So this place exists. Like chocolate and peanut butter, mustard and hotdogs, Jason Vorhees and campers, hiphop and Kung Fu just makes sense. It’s hard to believe that this guy took an idea like this and ran with it but he did and we are all better for it. I didn’t venture inside the cage because I couldn’t see myself actually buying anything and he seemed very intense on the phone. I opted for this photo and to me, that alone is a gift.

This sign speaks the truth! Behind it sits an angry, albeit much smaller, Chinese man who I did not want to cross. Even though his store is mainly old cellphones and video games, he also gives out mean glares. But it seems he does have a sense of humor. I tried to by an iPhone 5 charger and was met with some confusing questions like “You power on for car?” and “I give you two for three!”. At that point smiling, nodding and backing away was my only choice. Then running.

Oh the swords. There were so many swords. Any cutting and stabbing weapon you can imagine was there. The really funny thing was the vendors who sold them. It turns out grandmas know quite a bit about the ways of the samurai. If you ever wanted to be a ninja vigilante, this is your first stop. Talk to Bobby Sue. She’s the one with a cat tattoo on her huge left arm and wearing a number four Talladega race day shirt.

I am always a sucker for Garfield ripoffs, especially when he is trying to eat a jumbo sausage but not before taking a test lick. I appreciate that this wasn’t a total ripoff, though. The artist did leave off his stripes. If there is one thing cats love it’s spicy sausage. Owners do not share this love.

There were so many little spaces like this that had no real organization or way to keep account of what stuff they had. It’s a mystery to me how they sell anything at all. Is this where hoarders buy their junk? Because I can see how they would think their lifestyles are normal if they shop here all the time.

If most of this bizarre was set up this way I would have merely peeked around a bit and called it a day. I hate wasting a Saturday inhaling asbestos when I don’t have to. But lucky for me, around the next corner was a day maker.

What the shit? Is this real life? There is no way a Halloween bakery exists in June. It’s as if God Himself guided me to this place knowing full well I needed blog material and there I stood, looking at cupcakes and Freddy Krueger AT THE SAME TIME! If ever there was a place that embodies VeggieMacabre, this was it.

Everybody was at the party, too! Here we see Pinhead holding his “box of fun” and hinting that the orange limeade is really refreshing. You have to be careful when taking his advice, however. His version of a good limeade has fishhooks at the bottom.

The walls are covered in severed limbs and menacing tools along with occasional macabre news articles. I especially love the skull wreath. During the Halloween season you could actually keep it up through Christmas without the neighbors having a leg to stand on. It is a wreath!

We see here a most excellent Halloween mood table originally coined by Matt of Dinosaur Dracula. A Halloween Mood Table is a hodgepodge of anything that gets you in the Halloween mood. Here we see quite a bit of great stuff but looking closer I am kicking myself for not noticing the Wolfman teeth with a toothbrush conveniently next to it. I could be writing this article wearing Wolfman teeth had I paid closer attention.

As if this place could not be anymore charming, there was even daily horror trivia. AND GOOD TRIVIA TOO! What place can you honestly think of that has a daily question involving a Dario Argento movie? If you can, I will personally learn this dance and film it for a vlog.

So after gushing all over the poor girl who owns this little plot of awesomeness, I had to buy something. The cupcakes with little dinosaurs and aliens on top were cute but I didn’t have an appetite for sweets. It wasn’t the severed heads or dead vampire babies that killed it, I just don’t have much of a sweet tooth. So, I opted for the lemon orange limeade. Not too bad. It had a hint of orange, lemon and lime without fishhooks or ears! B minus.

I like to think that this Pooh receptical has a story to tell. I am most certain he does not belong on a normal trashcan but something to match his top. Perhaps he came from some amusement park years ago only to end up outside of a mexican frozen treat stand in a flea market. It’s kind of sad. I gave him my spooky limeade.

Oh man, it’s the “Make you’re own smell” guy! What a concept! The dude was a character too and no one was safe from harassment when passing by his cube. I don’t think I need to go into his poor choice of a business name because words like “scent” or “essence” didn’t rise to the top of his list.

I bet he is the type who insults people when he means to compliment them. You know, like saying “your face isn’t as fat as it used to be” or something like that. I don’t believe words are his strong point but hopefully making “smells” are.

Not all shops were so strange. This was a killer vintage toy store that was full of some of my favorite childhood memories. Since the show Toy Hunter has been my mandatory Wednesday night watch, I have been fascinated by how much these toys go for. And oddly curious to see how much money I could have made by simply taking care of my stuff. It’s a little sickening.

This place had a ton of stuff from Star Wars to GI Joe to Transformers. What caught my eye the most were the Masters of the Universe line and TMNTs. All of them were unboxed in a giant bin for $3 a piece and the old lady in a wheel chair was bargaining with me for the whole set. I just don’t know enough about toys to buy a huge box of a mishmash of characters. Plus her constant nagging over what I need was a little too reminiscent of this…

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 4.32.38 PM

I escaped with a future post worthy toy that I will write soon. I love it and soon you will too.

What I thought would be an hour trip turned into three and I still had a long list of real chores to do so I made my way to the exit feeling very fulfilled with my findings for that Saturday. But just before I was about to leave I spotted this..

Do you know what this is? It’s a fully automated embroidering machine. They just type in a word or phrase and the machine will stitch it on to most any article of clothing. And it costs next to nothing! You could write “ALLEN THICKE IS A DICK” on a piece of paper, slide it to the clerk and before you know it, you have a shirt advertising you disdain for the dad on Growing Pains. It’s not magic but it makes me feel magical.

You know I had to.

They forgot the dot.

Thanks for reading.

Party City vs Kmart is to Evander Holyfield vs Steven Hawking

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I have amazing memories as a kid, strolling the aisles of Kmart looking for the perfect costume or Halloween decor. It was the king of the super store back then and if you wanted to dress as Chewbacca or E.T. there was no better one-stop-shop than the well recognized large red K. But like any strong racehorse, eventually there is a faster more sleek horse that will do it better, more elaborate and in this case, far more Halloweenie and make the racehorse look like the smelly pony that gives all the kids at the party a rash. This is how I compare Kmart to Party City. But in all fairness, you can’t by a toaster at Party City. Let’s take a look at the faster horse first. This is Part City. GET DOWN!!!

Here we are and don’t they all look the same. I don’t know about you but I am never too excited about Party City. You can find them in most all large strip malls that include a Ross, Target and Babies-R-Us so if you are like me and may get stuck on a shopping excursion, this is the time of the year that Party City can save ass. In April…shoot me.

Great Nell Carter’s Ghost! This is how you do Halloween! The smell of rubber and latex permeates the air as the musical score of the moment is a cheesy 1990’s Nightmare On Elm Street rap. It wasn’t blaring loud like a Hot Topic but I could definitely tell it was about Nightmare On Elm Street by the Fresh Prince style lyrics, “…burned up like a weenie and his name was Fred.” This is something to be blogged about!

With so many different Halloween items all thrust together in a couple aisles, it’s easy to have it turn into a casserole of nonsense but it blends really nice. You have the gore with the gore, the zombies with the zombies and the cutesy with the cutesy without having to search through mounds of severed heads and viscera just to find a bunny in a pumpkin.

Zombies are still a huge hit I guess. The store is about 3/4 zombie while the rest is fog machines and plastic axes. It amazes me how desensitized zombies have made young kids. I saw a mother holding her, I guess, three-year-old and asking her if she wanted the zombie window cover or the ghosts. The zombie window cover was this:

Cute! Her arm is almost chewed off

Well, I guess that is the way kids are these days with there Iboxes and there Xphones. Had I seen that on someones window as a kid I would have skipped the house and gone right to therapy. Long over are the days when Tim Curry blended in with his green screen asking if anyone has seen his tambourine.

"Mr. Lucas, this is an ARF Troooper. It's also dog talk."

For the kids and adults who would rather just pick out an already manufactured costume, Party City is renown for having about three hundred different themes and characters. This one caught my attention because as a kid who grew up in the eighties and absolutely hate the direction George Lucas took Star Wars, I couldn’t help notice this kid’s costume of an Imperial..ARF Trooper? What the hell is that? Are they the K-9 unit of the universe? God, I just don’t know the world anymore. Luckily they still sell these:

Ah the oldie and goodie. It’s nice to see the old masks are still a seller here and above all else, the villains like Jason, Pinhead, the weird Motel Hell pig mask and Mike Myers are among the most popular. I especially love Chucky with his mullet.  To cost justify one of these, though, a kid at age twelve will have to be Freddy until he is twenty-seven.

Well, leaving Party City you have to dodge a swipe by the new Freddy. To be honest, he’s no Englund but I kind of like him. The movie made me a believer that a new generation of kids need to die in their sleep. Especially the ones who are responsible for Twilite and hipster apparel.

Now that we have seen a brief part of Party City’s Halloween presentation, lets take a look at the girl who still wears her high school letter jacket to the bar…Kmart.

Right away I knew Kmart was not the place to be by the mostly vacant parking lot on a Saturday afternoon. It is almost sad in a way because on my way in there were three employees smoking around the coin-operated rodeo duck and the sound of a rolling soda can blowing through empty lanes of the lot. This was the sign of a department store put out in the pasture.

As I went in there were no signs stating it’s the Halloween season like Target. No, I had to wander for a while before eventually finding it. I actually have a video of me doing so. Enjoy.

As you can see, there is less fanfare about the holiday Kmart used to own. Perhaps it’s just this particular Kmart but I really have a sense that this company is circling the drain and forty years from now I will be telling my grandkids that there was time when I used to ride my bike to the Kmart to buy slap-bracelets for five bees. Because that was the style at the time.

As you can see, the licensed Halloween ‘Totally Ghoul” is still putting out everything and anything for this asthmatic contender of a department store. I really like Totally Ghoul too because it is not cheap in design and it is cheap in price. Without breaking myself I can buy enough pumpkin lights to trick a 747 into landing on I-40.

This is proof that “Totally Ghoul” has nothing new in it’s product line for 2011. I remember Matt writing about these years ago and while I find this comforting to see a demon clown from years past, it is also a sign of the times. I don’t know why but I really love that guys tongue and his ability to floss with rope.

But this trip was not all for not! Oh no, it has inspired a new costume idea. Remember that disfigured white tiger in a zoo? Yeah, I thought it was pretty funny too. Imagine if he had a best friend who was a gorilla?

 

Whatever. I already know I’m going to hell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Weird Christmas Toy Tribute

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I admit it. When I was a kid I had bears. Not many but I had a few and even though I pride myself on being a “Tom Sawyer” type of kid who built tree houses, played “guns” in the woods and pledge allegiance to GI Joe and the defenders of freedom, I could not brave the night without a bear in the bed. Their non-blinking black eyes stood watch against C.H.U.D., Freddy and Jason who I knew lived across the hall in the guest bedroom. A skinny boy can rest easy knowing that furry warriors will stay up all night. You know they sleep when I was at school.

There was particular bear, however, that made question the comforts of the snuggly softness and cute demeanor. That was Axlon’s AG Bear; the bear who talked to you in robotic bear talk. If you know what I am talking about, consider yourself the minority because I have met no one who has a clue what I am talking about.

AG (Almost Grown) Bear is the brain child from the makers of Atari and the animatronics geniuses that made Chuck E. Cheese shows come to life. You would think that no matter what, this would be a hit with any kid. But no, kids were smarter than that. They new “WTF” when they saw it. Check it out below!

The only way I can describe AG Bear is by taking Anthony Daniels, putting him back into C3PO’s suit, bashing him in the head to the point of brain damage, cupping his robot mouth and making him repeat the ABC’s. Then we might be able to recreate AG’s voice.

The technology behind AG is a three-second delayed recording and playback so when you say something, AG merely repeats what you say but in a bear voice. It sounds cute in theory but in reality, it sounds as if Aunt Beatrix’s tracheotomy mic is low on batteries. Also, when you sleep and role over, expect to get a “WRAA RAA RA WAAA” so a kid has to sleep in the position of attention.

Here is an actual conversation from my first week back to school after the Winter break. AG bear was a new toy and I relied on him as an interactive friend. That’s what it said on the box!

ME– Hey AG!

AG– MRAA RA RA

ME– How are you today?

AG– WRA RA ROO RORAY?

ME– Ha! Ha! Glad to hear it.

AG- RA! RA! WROA OO RWAA AR

ME– I had a rough day, AG.

AG- WA RA WROUW RA

ME– Well, it all started when this kid who is in the fifth grade said I had a funny fa-

AG– WRA, A RAA RARAOW WROO ARROOO RA WRAAA ROO WROOAAAR WROA RAA

ME– Excuse me AG, I was in the middle of te-

AG– RAROOO RA RARA WO WRA ROOOROA RWRAOW

ME- WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM YOU STUPI-

AG– WRAAA RAA RWWOOO RA WROOAR WRO RWAOAR ROO

ME– Not only are you rude but are you mocking me?

AG -RA RAAO ROOOROO RA ROAWR WRA ROO RARA?

ME– I AM GOING TO SHOOT YOU IN THE TEETH WITH MY FRICK-

AG– WRA A ROAWRA AO ROOOROOO RWAOR WO WRA RAORW RAOA

ME– YOU’RE GOING TO DIE BEAR!

AG– MWROA RAHA!#$%**%!  rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrweeeeeeeeeee

ME– (out of breath and rocking) hmmmmm hmmmmm hmmmmm hmmmm

AT least I didn’t have a My Buddy.