The Christmas Gift List 2004

It’s taken me over a month to finally get down to business, but finally, I can proudly present to you the second annual Cristmas article. Maybe in the future I’ll have some more Cristmas-themed things to write about, but that’s a little ambitious for me. So yes, it’s taken me quite a while, and I would like to take the time to explain myself. If you don’t want to read the article lengthening banter that is my explaination, just skip right past the next paragraph. If you do want to see what paper-thin excuses I’ve come up with, continue on, my friend.

I had originally wanted to do something different for christmas this year, but as you’ll see, it didn’t fly. I was planning to do complete reviews on each major item that I received, and then wrap up all the smaller ones into a separate article. But that idea never got off the ground, as it required me to do far too much writing in too little a time frame (I’m really bad for productivity. To date, I still haven’t finished the Disney World logs.). So now you get one big one. Then as if technology itself were trying to thrawrt me, I had uploaded about half the pictures you’ll see in this article onto the family PC, where I used to do most of my site work. it promoptly crashed a day or so afterward. The files were on a separate backup drive, and it wasn’t until just recently that I got around to putting it into my PC. So as you can plainly see, the lateness of this article is due to my extreme laziness. Oops.

But I digress, it’s about time I talked about the Christmasy stuff. Oh, did you notice I put images in the title banner? I think it’s a nice touch, though slightly overbearing. I’d also like to voice my opinions on the parts of Christmas which are not gifts, but if you really want to know about that, you can go read the intro to last year’s Christmas article. It’s got all the deets, yo.

As I did last year and will for many years to come, I shall start with the stocking. But why the stocking? Ah, that has got some lore behind it. So gather ’round while I tell ye the tale. Every year on christmas morn, us chill’ens get up anywheres between three to one hours before the folks do. Rules denote that no present is to be unwrapped while not under the watchful eye of the parents, so we must wait in agony for them to wake. But back in nineteen-odd-something, we struck a deal allowing us to dig into the stocking stuffers so that we might have something to do whilst we waited. And to this day, the stocking is always the first priority when dealing with Christmas-related affairs. Other big words, blah blah. Let’s move on.

I can’t say I was overly pleased with this year’s run. while there are a few treasures, I have to express that there wasn’t nearly enough candy. I’m a man who likes his candy. And it was lacking. Less than half the good pictured are practical. i guess it’s just a part of getting older (Hell, I should be glad I’m even getting a stocking), but these useful things just aren’t what I look for in a stocking. I’ll have to make note of it for next year.

Anyway, if you can’t tell from the picture, here’s what’s there. And in fancy list form, no less.

  • Halleluja! A Mastercraft utility knife!
  • Two blue pens. I always liked black better.
  • Orange Tic-Tacs. I hate orange.
  • A small chocolate Santa. Uneventful.
  • Mmm… Chocolate snowballs. Great for snacking.
  • Strawberry Bubblicious Bursts. A burst of flavour, then nothing. Crap.
  • LifeSavers book. Only six rolls? It used to be eight, dammit!
  • A foreign chocolate R. Hooray R!
  • Listerene Pocket Paks. Apparently good for dental hygiene.
  • A box of razor cartidges. My dad had better not use them all this time.
  • Cheap batteries. But, batteries is batteries.
  • Mitchum brand deodorant. God dammit! I like Brut!
  • Gilette shave gel. Again with the hoping dad doesn’t use it all.

Ye Gods! Wrong colour pens. Wrong flavour Tic-Tacs. Wrong brand deodorant. Kinda make me wonder if my paren- err, Santa, knows me at all. But all in all, not a bad bunch of stuff, but like I said before, the candy. But the one thing that really impressed me…

The utility knife. I don’t know if you’ve ever owned one of these bad boys, but they’re one of the most amazing things in the world. Able to slice through any annoying and normally impenetrable plastic packaging with the greatest of ease, the utility knife is not a tool that any well-equipped person should be without. I’d always waned one of these babies, and now the power to best even the most durable of materials is mine. Mine! But honestly, it’s one of the best tools to have around, and one of the most likely to become useful to boot. Sure, a multitool is handy in a pinch, but this baby’s got a blade like a… something real sharp. But you probably have good knowledge of the utility knife, as most normal people would, so I’ll just be moseying on along now.

The most intriguing thing I found in this year’s stocking is this mysterious chocolate R. I can’t remember for sure, but I’m pretty certain that the box was entirely in not-English. It was labelled as “melkchocolade” or something to that effect. I’d check, but the box is long gone by now. Another reason why it would have been beneficial to have done this sooner. Now, I know that foreign chocolate is good stuff, but the only thing I was curious about is where exactly this was found. I guess I’ll have to look around the local confection stores, should I seek the solution to this conundrum. So yeah, shaped like an R.

Next on the chopping block is the bag of stuff from my grandparent (father’s side). As long as I can remember, they’ve given bags of stuff. Of course, my memory’s about five years at max, so that’s not saying much. Anyhow, this one, as it is an actual gift, contains more substantial stuffings than the stocking. The rectangular object on the top is, as you might have guessed by the silhoutette, is a gift certificate for a round of golf. If only I didn’t have to wait through this horrid winter. the next, and more immediately accessible item is a gift card for Famous Players. I need companions for that one, though. You can’t just go to a movie alone. Or so I hear. And in the top right- Old Spice! My second-preferred deodorant! Hooray for my grandparents!

Among the more obvious items is a tube of toothpaste, good old Crest style. Crest is awesome. Aquafresh wishes it were as good as Crest. And then there’s the Juicy Fruit. When in stick form, it’s good stuff. But the peices are just worthless. The sticks have a good run of flavour. Heck, I’ve been chewing one all night and it’s still got some left. The pieces, though, they go for like 20 seconds and then it’s over. Kinda like your mom. Oh! Burn! …Did that make sense? I think that kind of joke only works against men… Maybe next year. What you don’t see in the picture is a scarf and a cheque for 50 smackers. Booyah. I love money.

Like the utility knife, I’ve wanted one of these for years now, but never goteen around to actually getting one. Until now, that is! If you don’t know what it is, I can’t help you, because I have no idea what it’s called. I can, however, tell you what it does. If you’re stuck with a TV that has only one set of A/V plugs like my own, and have many A/V using things around, this is just what the doctor ordered. You can just plug all your doodads into this box here, and switch them with a press of a button. It helps eliminate that annoying need to switch out the A/V cables all the time, and is really a pain saver if the jacks are on the back of the TV. Before I got his, I was too lazy to switch the plugs all the time, so if I wanted to play a Playstation game after a round of GameCube, I’d probably just consider it too much trouble and find something to do that required less effort. But now I switch in a matter of seconds, with no effort at all! Now I just need a power bar so I don’t have to switch out the power plugs all the time.

Off to the right side, you’ll also note a roll of duct tape just barely in the picture. I got that for Christmas as well, but had forgotten up until I saw it in the picture. And that’s why it doesn’t have it’s own picture. Funny story. My mom was totally stupified when I said I wanted duct tape for Christmas. She thought it was weird to ask for, but got it for me anyway. OK, maybe it wasn’t that funny after all.

Oh, and while I’m on the topic of things that didn’t get their own pictures (mostly just so that I don’t forget to mention them later), I also got a couple other “strange” goods for the big X to the Mas. for one, I got a pie from my youngest brother. It was an apple pie. I was hoping for pumpkin or cherry, but he bought me a freaking pie, so I was totally impressed. Also, my grandma got me some cheesecake. Both of these items were actually on my list (I wasn’t gonna make one orignally, but my mom requested it), and my brother and grandma are cool, so they totally came through for me. It was truly the tastiest Christmas ever.

Hey, lookit that! Certainly something I never would have expected. My mom had been hounding me that I needed a new jacket, and I guess that suede deal I bought wasn’t exactly winter-worthy. I should have seen it coming. Mommy hates when I own a piece of outside clothing for more than three years. Of course, I’m one of those people who get really attached to their stuff, and don’t like to get new things. She did it with my poor boots too. My new ones are totally inferior, as they’re falling apart after about half a year, and the old ones lasted four years with minimal damage. But back to the jacket. As much as I love my old “black Michelin Man” jacket, this one is without a doubt superior in every way. Not only is it warmer, it’s also less of an eyesore, and it’s got like 600 pockets. I like it, and I think this one will be staying for quite a few years to come.

With the appearance of the jacket, it only makes sense to take a look at any other clothing items, right? Best not to strew this stuff too far apart. This Christmas was very good to me clothes-wise. I got very few, and what I did get was exactly what I wanted. Most notably, and visible, is the new pair of pajama pants. I’ve been wearing jeans exclusively for so many years that I’m usually uncomfortable in anything else, but I love pajama pants. It’s like they were forged with the spirit of laziness. You can’t help but be a little lazy while wearing them. Maybe it’s that particular feature that has driven many schools to ban them. That stuff about them being too “unprofessional”? Bull. Authority likes to destroy morale (as far as my experience goes), and boy do pajama pants boost that trait. Oh yes, I actually received two pairs of these holy pants. The other pair is black. On top of that were a couple pairs of boxers. I won’t take a picture of me in my skivvies this year though. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’d love to, but then I’d have to get out of my chair and remove my pants, which is way more effort than I’m willing to put forth.

As I’m working on a PC with no program that can indicate the number of words in a document, I have no idea how far along I am word-wise, but I do think that this would be an appropriate time to go onto the next page of stuff. Going by paragraphs, this is about how far I got last year when I went onto the second page, and this two-pager deal should be tradition. It’s good for making me look like I write a lot more than I actually do. Crap. I’ve run out of ways to extend this paragraph. Oh woe is me! I have no ideas for filler! Oh well, to the next page!

[Pretend there’s a link to a Page 2 here. There really used to be!]

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think this year was going to produce a two-pager. But as it turns out, I might have actually gotten more stuff this year than I did last. I won’t bother to count, but feel free to do so if it bothers you not to know. This is really strange, because I figured Christmas wouldn’t be as great an occasion since now I’m an adult. But it was pretty much the same. Everyone still treats me like a kid, so I’m happy. But as much as things stayed the same, there was a lot of difference from last year.

The first thing, and most prominent for me, was our dog situation. Last year we had good old Mojo. I was forced to watch him a lot, so I got rather attached to the dog. But this year, we’ve got our new dogs. The whole season reminded me of Mojo, and gave me this strange sensation inside. I think it’s what you people call “emotion”. And then there was the fact that this year I only had two video games on my list, as opposed to the lists of years past that had only two items that weren’t video games. It could have something to do with the fact that this year I have a job and money, and I can buy the things I want. Lastly, this was teh first year where I eer had to actually go out to find things and buy them for my family. Previous years saw my parents doing my shopping for me, and it was different for me to have to do it for myself. But that’s enough reflection for now, it’s time we get back to the important matter at hand: showing off my material posessions!

I had pretty much given up on my hopes of collecting the new line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys after the third series came out, and haven’t gotten any since last X-Mas. But then I saw these guys, and I knew that if I was going to have any TMNT toys at all, these would have to be the ones. The Toddler Turtles are possibly the best version of the Turtles I’ve ever seen. While they only show up in the random flashback in the show, that’s more than enough to produce toys for them. Just look how cute! And the little pretend weapons! As a bonus, all four come in the same pack at the price of a normal figure, so you don’t have to shell (Ha! Shell!) out four times the cash to obtain the complete foursome. If you’d like to read up on them a little more, Matt has an in-depth review of the little guys. And many more pictures.

It was inevitable. I tried to avoid it, I did, but people kept buying me DVDs of things, so it had to be done. I aksed for a DVD player. And then I got one. It’s not an expensive model, but it sure gets the job done. Plays the DVDs quite well, and also comes with MP3 support. I guess there’s not much else to say about it other than the black colour matches with my GameCube really well. And it fits on the shelf pretty good too. Ummm… I’m really reaching for stuff to say here, folks. Well, I’ve got nothing else, so it’s time to see what kind of stuff I got to use this with.

Well what do you know, it’s season four of Friends! Still a good three seasons or so before the series apparently jumped the shark, it’s a good season to have. Full of excellent Joey antics (particularly when they go to England) and some great episodes, like the one with the big “who knows who better” game. Ah, that was a classic. But I still can’t think of an episode that beats The One Where Nobody’s Ready from season three. If you need a refresher, go check last year’s article. That should shed a little light on the subject. And once again, I seem to be left without much to say, so it’s onto the next thing.

Hooray! Futurama! When the show first aired, I watched it every once in a while, but never really got into it, but ever since Teletoon’s been running the show, I’ve been watching every chance I get. And now, I have the season two DVD set! On top of that, I’ve bought seasons one and three between then and now, so I’ve got plenty of Futuama to watch whenever I want. It may just be a phase, but as it stands, Futurama is my favorite show on TV, new episodes or not. While I always enjoy the Simpsons (even the new ones, which for some reason, everyone else hates), I think Matt Groening really outdid himself with this series. Not to mention that it stars one of my favorite voice actors, Billy West, in at least three roles. And to top it all off, Dr. Zoidberg is probably my favorite cartoon character ever. He’s so awesome. I’ve actually been watching all the episodes with commentary, and it’s friggin’ hilarious. There are often a few too many people to keep track of, but it’s still really great, and offers a lot of insight into the show. Season four will be mine soon, and then I will have them ALL! Because having them ALL is a very popular theme with me.

Good news, everyone. I’ve got what might be the most original game ever. Well, if Wario Ware had never existed, it certainly would be. Feel the Magic: XY/XX is a pleasure just to own. It’s an incredible game that easily deserves its own review. that’s why I’m doing one, and I won’t write much about it here, other than a few base facts. Base facts like how it uses the Nintendo DS’ touch screen to the fullest extent yet, and even uses the microphone feature on more than two occasions. It’s a deceptively simple, and somewhat short game, but it’s a blast to play, and would have been even better thad they implemented some sort of multiplayer mode. But no game is perfect, right?

It’s funny how deceiving the cover is. It managed to trick my mom into thinking that it’s some kind of horrible sex game. I was even kinda surprised that she picked up on the chromosome thing in the title. I guess it’s common knolwedge to anyone who’s finished up to grade six or so, but I never really though that people knew hat kind of thing. Just seems like a little reference that only smart people would pick up on. So even though my mom was totally against it, I got it for Christmas. I even tried to get her playing it, but she just kind of gave up, saying it was too complicated. Pah. It’s funny how some people are so stubborn and won’t even try new things. Excellent game. This and Wario Ware: Touched! are easily worth buying a DS for.

The Sims 2. Never thought I could really enjoy the Sims again, but then along comes this. It’s just the upgrade that the aging game needed. There were far too many expansions that didn’t really offer anything new. But the sequel packs it on, with many new gameplay features like Wants and Fears, the aging of your sims, and even little side-missions. I also recently learned that you can earn special items when you complete certain tasks, in a nod towards a similar feature in the SimCity games. i really can’t explain how much better this game is that the first. Hell, you can even decorate the neighborhoods if you so choose. Want some trees over by the shopping mall? Just plop ’em down. Not enough rainbows in your sky? Too many rainbows in your sky? Add some more, or tear ’em all down. I did a pretty comprehensive review in my Ten Greatest Games of 2004 article, so you should scooch on over there if you want more detail. For the abriged version, this game rocks. If you didn’t like the original, you probably won’t like this one either, but I think it’s damn good.

Oh yes, and the big-boxed version comes with a “bonus hint book”. I’ll tell you now, that is a freaking exaggeration. Not only does it not need the big box, due to the book really being a booklet no larger than the instruction manual, but the hint book itself is pitifully worthless. All it really does is explain about the different aspirations, which the instruction manual and in-game help stuff do quite well. that’s really all there is to it. No more than a six-page aspiration explaination. Then it’s even got the nerve to advertise the real strategy guide on the back. That damn Prima is trying to sucker you into buying their guide for a game that doesn’t really need one by giving you a tiny taste of what they’re serving up. I should go buy a guide by any other publisher just out of spite.

I was surprised last year at how not-so-bad Big Shiny Tunes 8 turned out to be. But I saw commercials for 9, and said to myself “it’s time to stop getting them”. With bands like Billy Talent, Evanescence, Nickelback (whom I don’t mind, I just can’t stand the new stuff, which it was bound to be), and a bunch of bands I’ve ne’er heard of, I was ready for this one to be craptacular. But really, it’s not so bad. It actually turned out quite well. Billy Talent, the only band on the CD I cannot cope with, is number one, so I just have to skip the first song every time and I’m good! Other than that, it contains the only Evanescence song I don’t mind, and I can tolerate Franz Ferdinand and Nickelback long enough to get to the good stuff. And speaking of which, you’ve got The Killers’ “Somebody Told Me”, a kickass Blink 182 song by the title “Feeling This” and astonishingly enough, Hoobastank is on the CD, but not with “The Reason” (which I’ve grown to dislike due to massive overplaying), but “Same Direction” which just plain rocks. Also worth mentioning are Jet and Yellowcard. Overall, it’s a pretty good CD. Much more than I expected. Now we’ll just see if 10 is any good, though I’m kind of hoping that it’ll be the last. These Big Shiny CDs are starting to clutter up my collection.

Our last item for this year is this neat RC Mario Kart thingy. I’ve seen it online a couple of times, but have resisted buying it because of a rather hefty price tag. It’s a cool thing, and a great addition to my collection of Mario stuff, but I don’t think I’ll ever actually use it. For one, it needs like a bajillion batteries, including at least one 9-Volt. I just don’t have that kind of battery budget. Well, I suppose I could make the effort to buy a few, but still, it’s more of a display thing. A quick glance shows that it can only move straight forwards and back up to the right. Not exactly racing material if you ask me. My little micro-charger thing could probably win a race against this big boy, even though it would need a minute of charging every half-lap. You really can’t make an RC toy without the ability to turn. It just doesn’t work. But, you know, whatever. Better I get if at Christmas for free than give in to temptation and buy it from Lik-Sang for like 50 bucks. And if you think I wouldn’t eventually crack, you really don’t know me at all.

And that, my friends, concludes my 2004 Cristmas article. It may have come late, but I sure think it turned out better than I was assuming it would. You may feel a bit cheated that I gave you a single review instead of a handful, but.. well, yeah, you got screwed. Unless you hate my writing, in which case this is the best case scenario. Except for if I had followed my orignialest plan and just not done one at all. But nay is the case and now it is done. i wish I could think up some more stuff to say, for a conclusion of a single paragraph is barely a conclusion at all.

Ah, yes, that’s it. I’m quite surprised at how much stuff I got, considering that at 18 I’m pretty sure my gift allowance was to be cut in half at least. But it turns out that Santa is particularly nice to some adults. Heh heh. Yeah, my parents are great. I’m not sure what I’m gonna do that fateful year when they finally decide it’s time I grow out of getting a shitload of gifts. I guess by that time I won’t care quite as much as I do now. Or perhaps they’ll just wean me off slowly by giving me slightly less each year. It’s gonna be sad the first year this special isn’t a two-pager. I think that’s gonna be when I quit doing it. If the site lasts that long. But we’ve made it through two years of rambling filler, and I’ll bet I can make it to five, at least. I just hope somewhere along the way I can grow out of this Angelfire dirt. In any case, I hope you enjoyed. See you next article. Or blog post. Whatever.


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