Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Crate Expectations - Building a Dream Crate

Crates are great.

This statement is not just me trying a new gimmick where I rhyme the first words of a post (although expect "sun is fun" at some point this summer and "orange is...dammit!" sometime after that).

Instead, the original statement is meant to be a comment on those wonderful monthly parcels that come for you with a bunch of secret goodies inside. I'm currently subscribed to a pro-wrestling themed crate, which my sister got me for Christmas because... she gets me.

But imagine being able to create your very own "Dream Crate". Cool swag that makes you, you, delivered to your doorstep.

Or as all crates should be, dropped at your doorstep via parachute.



Like anyone born in the 80s, I love the 90s. That decade resonates with me because those were some formative years. Ages 5-15. You can imagine the gamut of interests I had during that time. I'm into the...dare I say... "nerdier" things in life. Always have been.

Comic books, video games, TV and movies were a big part of my upbringing, so my dream crate would mostly revolve around those things. The folks over at Loot Crate provide a pretty solid template for those things (and they have specific themes to narrow down you nerdiness).

But if I were to build myself a Dream Crate, it would definitely be nostalgia themed, and firmly set in the era of neon colours, badass anti-heroes and horribly unhealthy school lunches. I would imagine before ordering my crate, I'd fill out a big survey asking me what from the decade I was into, and what I wasn't. That way I'm not bombarded with Tamagotchi or Sailor Moon stuff that I don't want. I want to love EVERYTHING in my crate, so an intuitive survey to set my profile would be great.

Based on that, here's what I'd love to get... 


WEARABLES

n.W.o T-Shirt  - As I mentioned up there, I'm a pro wrestling fan. Have been all my life but the boom period of the late 90s was a super special time that will never be matched. Wrestling will never be that hot again, but I'd love to see a reminder of that time when it was. Nothing would say that more than an old school shirt of the New World Order.



Movie themed sports jersey - I loved inspirational sports movies in the 90s, and being able to rep my favourite fictional teams and players would be amazing. A classic Mighty Ducks Adam Banks jersey? Done! (nevermind the fact that he was a cake-eater). A Daffy Duck Toon Squad jersey from "Space Jam"? Yes! How about a Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez Dodgers jersey from "The Sandlot"? Guarantee you will regularly get comments about how awesome your choice of attire is when out in public.



Satin Starter Jacket -  These things were EVERYWHERE in the 90s, and for good reason. They are beautiful. There is almost nothing you can wear that is more indicative of the era than a red satin Chicago Bulls jacket.



Tearaways - I can't really explain why it would be awesome to own another pair of these pants again. I'm not gonna get called off the bench at a basketball game anytime soon, nor will it be necessary for me to convert to shorts as fast as humanly possible (got no time for pulling down pants!). I just remember them being awesome and would love the option to dramatically pull these off in one fluid motion again, although it NEVER happened perfectly. There was always those few snaps that stayed attached making you look like an idiot as you go for the second (or third!) pull.





EDIBLES

I've seen some 90s nostalgia boxes before, and was unimpressed by their food selections. If I want a Ring Pop or Fun Dip or Popeye "Candy Sticks" (we all know what they were), I can go down to the store right now and get some.

What I'd want is those delicious tastes of the 90s that I can't get anymore. Things like:

Soda Licious - I'm well aware of how this may sound, but Soda Licious may go down in my personal history as being the first thing I ever loved besides my parents. My siblings and I had antagonistic  relationships (not uncommon for kids), the Pink Power Ranger was as unattainable as she was fictional and sports hadn't really stolen my heart yet. It belonged to this amazing snacks I would love to see in my dream crate. They were so delici- OH MAN! I JUST GOT THAT!



McDonalds Pizza - Granted, this would need to be wrapped in some sort of foil to lock the heat in during it's journey to my doorstep, but damn I could go for some McDonald's Pizza right about now. I honestly can't even remember if it was any good or not, but the ability to render that verdict as my grown up self would be well worth it. And yes, I'm aware the picture does not look terribly appealing. I don't care. I still want it.



French Toast Crunch - I can still get my Cinnamon Toast Crush on whenever I please, but it's that forbidden fruit I'd love to see in my dream crate. A box of French Toast Crunch would always hit the spot. It doesn't matter if it's for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, second breakfast, elevensies or a midnight snack. 


Squeeze-it Drinks - The tops were an arduous task to get off, but damn if the sugary drink inside wasn't worth the effort. If I'm going to wash down my Soda Licious with anything, I want it to be this. Wow, all of a sudden my childhood sugar addiction is becoming clearer than Crystal Pepsi (which should ALSO be in the crate)



COLLECTABLES

You can keep your Trolls, and your POGS and your Beanie Babies. Not interested. What I deem to be a must-have collectable from the decade are a little more rare. Stuff like:
  
Green Ranger Dagger - It was a knife, that was also a flute, and it summoned/controlled an awkward giant robot dragon. It was wielded by the biggest badass of the mid-90s and it would be amazing to find in a Dream Crate.



Zack Morris cell phone - Forget about "Wall Street". Nobody refers to this monstrosity as a "Gordon Gekko phone". It's a "Zack Morris phone", and I'd love to have one. If it was functional, that would be amazing. I spend too much time on my smartphone anyway. The data bill on this thing would be nonexistent!



John Hammond's Cane - I love Jurassic Park, and short of having my very own baby Raptor to play with (I'm 99% positive that would end up with me being eaten), having a replica of John Hammond's "Mosquito in Amber" cane would be amazing. It would have to be a bigger crate, but this would be beyond cool.



Loki's Mask from "The Mask" - Super underrated film memento, but I loved this movie when I was a kid, and having that mask on my wall or in a sweet display case would be sick!


PLAYABLES


Pocket Nintendo 64 - Nintendo made a big splash with their pint sized version of the classic NES. The thing hit hard with the nostalgia community, and with news that they recently discontinued it, that got me thinking about what would be cool to take it's place. I thought it would be cool to have a retro, pre-loaded Super Nintendo, but this is a dream crate people. Sometimes you just gotta dream a little bigger. If I opened it up and saw a mini N64 with like, 10 of my faves pre-loaded on it I would lose... my... mind. (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Goldeneye, Mario Kart 64, Mario Tennis, WWF No Mercy, Perfect Dark, Super Smash Bros, NFL Blitz and Bomberman 64).



Classic Board Games - The 90s weren't all about video games, as I remember some of my favourite nights involved gathering around with friends and breaking out the board games. "13 Dead End Drive", "Gooey Louie", an updated DVD version of that amazing "Nightmare" game where the Gatekeeper degenerated as the game went on and yelled at you, and "Dream Phone" (yes, Dream Phone!). Full disclosure, I used to play this with my sister all the time. It was dope.


Travel Hot Shot Basketball - I didn't even need to travel to play the hell out of this game. Get in my crate!



Gak - Not exactly sure how you "play" with Gak aside from just stretching it and pouring it from one hand to the other, but I'd be delighted to find it in the crate all the same. I still remember that smell. I bet you do too.




There are countless other items that I'd love to find in my dream crate, but I think what I have up there would be unreal to find on my doorstep. It would take me back to a simpler time before bills, jobs, complicated relationships and.... just about every responsibility that comes with being an adult.

My dream crate is a big box of nostalgic comfort. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks for reading

- jB

Sunday, April 9, 2017

That Time I Learned A Lesson About Self Haircutting.

In the interest of brevity (I know we all got shit to do), I will open this up and put the lesson I learned about self haircutting right out front for you.

Don't do it. Just... don't do it.

(Duh Naa Na-Na. Duh Naa Na-Na Na Na)

In the interest of fleshing that out a bit if any of Monpeeps are up for a read, I will elaborate for you.

It was Christmas 2016, and I requested and received a Conair Lithium Ion Home Hair Trimmer. Why did I ask for it? Well aside from that fact that if you slap "Lithium Ion" on anything I will want to buy it...

Bought 'em. Don't even have a dog

The real reason I wanted this is because if you are a frugal dude with short, simple hair (and simpler tastes), going to get a haircut is bullshit. I go to Great Clips, and although they are plenty nice there, I don't feel like I'm the recipient of a great haircut.

Also, although the sign suggests it, I'm not really able to relax when someone is using sharp objects on my head

They do fine work there. I'm not slagging them off or anything. But shit takes 8 minutes, and costs me $20. If they threw in a sucker or a can of Dr. Pepper or something, I'd be a lot less agitated about that.

I know a lot of people have more complicated hair, care more about it than I do and pay WAAAAY more than $20, but this is my beef. I cooked it and I'm gonna eat it. I'm not trying to do anything fancy with my hair, you get me? I'm not a DJ.

Pictured: A box of fucking lies

So I got this thing for Christmas, but haven't really trusted it enough to use it. Hair cuts are slippery slopes. You can take more off, but you can't put more back on.

I always say that when getting my hair cut, and I'm pretty sure the people at Great Clips make mention of that in their computer database right next to how I usually have my hair cut.

"Length #2 on the sides and back, finger length on top. Says that fucking thing about not being able to put more back on every....single...time."


So I recently got back from 7 days in Las Vegas, which felt like 3 weeks, and I had to get a haircut on my one day off before going back to work. I was busy, tired and the nearby Great Clips was all the way over there....

(*points to an actually not that far away Great Clips*)

....so I decided to just say "Fuck it. I'll do it myself with that thing".

Just so you know, if you are ever in the same boat I was in, THIS is the moment where you stop, think about what could go wrong, and just go and let someone who moderately knows what they are doing cut your hair. Even if only for that fact that they can see all of your head without awkwardly holding and maneuvering a mirror, these people are who you need.

Plus, they went to school for this shit

My self haircut went south, immediately. It is nothing like on the commercial, where the dude is calmly using the cutter, moving it in a circular motion, and his hair looks great. He looks handsome too (just saying), and his lady is super into him, but mostly it's the impeccable EVEN CUT of his hair that is most impressive.



Pfft! I can do that. Not a problem.

Yes. PROBLEM.

The top portion of my head was cut simply enough. Looked fine (ish), but for the life of me I could not successfully cut the hair on the sides of my head or the back. Maybe this was a horrible time to find out I had a severely misshaped head? I dunno. But what I did know was that my hair looked like shit, and I was already in too deep.


I finally knew EXACTLY what Sum 41 was talking about.

I tried many different cutting techniques to get those pesky hairs, but to no avail. I was also very aware of the fact that my ear could get caught in this thing and then I'd have bigger problems (like trying to finish the haircut before going to the hospital because who wants to look stupid in two different ways?)

After a frustrating few minutes, I lowered the length setting and tried again. Not sure why I thought that would solve anything, and I literally had the EXACT same problem as before, just a little bit shorter now.

So I stood there, looking in the mirror, clumps of hair strewn about the sink and floor in my bathroom, and I considered making a concession.

I will go to Great Clips, hat in hand (or definitely "on head" in this case) and ask them to fix what I had done.

Yeah, I TRIED to save time. That's why I'm in this mess

But I'm petty, you see. And I did not want to give them the smug satisfaction of bailing me out and correcting my botched home haircut. They probably live for that. All it would take is one "Y'know, you really shouldn't try this at home" and I would feel as bad as I currently looked. And believe me, that's pretty bad.

Then my plan presented itself: I go in, say I got drunk with my buddies, passed out and my friends did this to me, and I need them to fix it. 

It was one of the better ideas I had come up with that evening (low bar notwithstanding), but all it really did was bum me out that I'm kinda past those days, y'know? I don't even know if they'd believe me.

"Sir, you definitely look to be in your 30s and your wildest night is finally watching through at least 4 things on your Netflix list. We don't believe you".

So I abandon that plan.

My next plan was to just quit while I was far, far behind and leave my hair as is.

That plan was under consideration for a time as short as the hair on the top of my head (but not the sides or back of my head).

Throw a little bit more on top there and you've basically got it

It was then I knew what I had to do. I had no other option than to execute a Scorched Earth protocol. A "page one rewrite" of my own head. The only way to ensure it would grow back at the same length, was to make it all the same length. My brother shaves his head with clippers, so I borrowed his (because FUUUCK that Conair thing) and I "finished the job".

I find the pink shirt distracts from the hair. I've been wearing it for 6 days

I... wear a lot of hats now. For the next little while at least. Response has been politely positive and I've come up with fun ways to say why my head looks this way, such as:

- I lost so much money in Vegas I needed to cut my shampoo budget by 98%
- I sat in the barber's chair and said "give me the Britney Spears meltdown look, please".
- I'm just, like, REALLY excited that Prison Break is coming back.

Just a show about tough dudes with shit haircuts. I'm in!

So let that be a lesson to you out there. If you are a frugal, moderately competent person, with a misshaped head who is prone to bouts of terrible judgement, do not cut your own hair.

Also, Conair, your thing is garbage and your commercial is bogus.

And, AND, you need to change your fucking name. I don't care about the roots of your company or how far it goes back. I don't give a shit if it was founded by Benjamin Conair III.

There is only ONE Con Air that I choose to recognize:

(Hey, Poster Guy, zero of those names are in the right place!)


Thanks for Reading

- jB