The 24 Days of Gluttony : Day 2 – Santa’s Secret tea

On day number two, and in fact every Sunday while this feature is running, we’re going to look at a holiday-themed tea. Because -and I don’t know ho in-depth I’ve blogged about this before- I am a big fan of tea. Particularly in the winter; it’s so nice to come in from the cold after a long day at work and snuggle up on the couch with a big, piping-hot cup o’ tea.

This particular entry is a specialty mix from David’s Tea: Santa’s Secret. There’s some deep lore on the tin about how this tea is what gets Santa to ever good little child’s house throughout the night of Christmas Eve, but that’s hardly what I’m here for. That’s more of a MatPat thing. Unless, do you think I could get away with doing a HolidayTheory show on YouTube?

Anyway, this is a black tea, made special by the addition of peppermint, vanilla, and -get this- itty-bitty candy canes. Now that I write it out, I probably shouldn’t be lining up all the “candy cane flavoured” items right out of the gate. Excuse me for a moment while I go and re-shuffle my update schedule…

Okay, so, tiny candy canes. Yup. If you squint real hard at that picture above you can see exactly one of these little guys. What’s really impressive is that they are actually miniaturized candy canes, and not just shavings of red-and-white sugar. David’s Tea is out there making marshmallow cereals the world over look bad.

As for the flavour? It’s magnificent! I’m not typically a black tea guy- I prefer green or fruity teas, normally. But peppermint, like always, wins the day here. It’s so nice and smooth, and those candy canes give it just the right amount of sweetness. I’m a huge fan, but it actually isn’t my favourite tea that we’ll see throughout this feature. That won’t be showing up for a couple weeks.

My recommendation is obviously hearty, and I’d say you should definitely give it a go. I actually got the pictured tin as an Xmas gift last year, and while I didn’t actually see it on a trip to David’s Tea that I made a couple days ago (I wasn’t looking for it), it is available again in 2018 on their website. So you can definitely go get you some!

The 24 Days of Gluttony : Day 1 – Candy Cane Viva Puffs

A long time ago, when I had more ambition to create better blog content, I devised a feature called “The 24 Days of Materialism” as a sort of Advent calendar stand-in. It was simply a collection of 24 things -one write-up posted each day from Dec 1st to 24th- that I found interesting, and would recommend as possible gift ideas. It was not the dumbest thing I’ve ever come up with.

But that feature was shut down promptly when I moved out of my parents’ house and no longer had seemingly infinite disposable income. Also it was a heck of a lot of work and I really just haven’t been that interested in blogging over the last few holiday seasons.

I’m writing this post because I felt a longing for this silly, forgotten feature, and wanted to find a way to bring it back without breaking the bank. I don’t buy too much random stuff these days, clothes are boring, and I wanted to exclude video games completely, so what was left?


Of course! I’m always buying food! And there are so many options! It’s the perfect subject! Exclamation points! And even better if I pick from mostly holiday-themed food, I figure. So we’ll see what kind of things I can find on my weekly grocery trips.

That said, we’re going to start on a bit of a cop-out.

Candy Cane Viva Puffs!

Yeah, I’ve written about these at length already. You should go read that article. It’s pretty okay! Remember when I used to try to be funny and creative? Yeah, I miss those days. Although after a re-read, I’ve certainly picked out a few off-colour jokes that I’d never write today and should probably go back and remove.

Anyway, Candy Cane Viva Puffs are super. They’ve become a mainstay of the season for me, and no December is complete without a weekend where I down an entire box of these fluffy treats. It’s not a difficult task either, because there are only fifteen in a box and they have exactly zero substance to them. You could probably eat a whole box in a single sitting and not notice. At least until an hour later and you go into a sugar coma.

Review score: Buy them! (For me!)

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up : November 2018

~Game Over~

MGSV: The Phantom Pain (PC) – Done but unfinished. Which describes both the game itself and our playthrough. Will we go back? Only time will tell! (But probably not.)

WarioWare Gold (3DS) – An excellent game that I’d love to invest more time into, but it’s just a little tedious to try to hit a target score on 300+ micro-games, you know?

Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4) – I spent an entire week off work doing very little other than playing this to completion. Do I feel satisfied with how I spent that time? Yes. Absolutely.

Mega Man 6 (Switch) – Rush turns into a jetpack and boxing gloves. Robot pelicans attack by spitting out robot fish. Submarines masquerade as clouds. MM6 is the hottest mess.

Mega Man 9 (Switch) – Would it kill you to turn the health drop rate up a little? Anyway, I’ve now beaten every Classic Mega Man game in 2018. Good job, me! And Merry Megamas to all!

XC2: Torna – The Golden Country (Switch) – Maybe the best DLC expansion I’ve ever played? It’s a complete mini-prequel, as opposed to simply more quests tacked on to the base game.

MechaNika (Switch) – The sequel to Agatha Knife, which I very much enjoyed. This one’s about an alcoholic seven-year-old who wants to build a mech to destroy everything that isn’t cool. Fun!

Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS) – It was time for a replay, I thought, seeing as this month marked OoT’s 20th birthday. It’s a very short game if you ignore heart pieces and gold skulltulas!

~Now Playing~

Save Me Mr. Tako (Switch) – A rare retraux game that pays homage to the Game Boy. So yeah obviously I bought it. Only made it through a handful of levels before distractions tore me away.

Dark Souls (Switch) – Dark Souls is sure great! But man, I just don’t have the time for it.

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (Switch) – Still plugging away at this like once a week or so. G-Rank is a tough cookie, which leaves me at the mercy of online play to make progress.

Super Smash Bros for Wii U (Wii U) – Snuck in a few matches here and there throughout the month. As I post this, there are a mere SEVEN DAYS LEFT until Ultimate.

Star Ocean (SNES) – You have to wonder about a game that, two minutes into your playtime, pits you against a boss who can kill you in ten seconds flat. It’s actually not too bad, though!

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! (Switch) – I have so many thoughts about this game… But mostly it really makes me wish that I could have an actual pokémon. Pikachu is just so cute!

Minit (Switch) – A Zelda-like where you die and restart every 60 seconds. I don’t know if the experience would have changed appreciably without that particular feature.

Woes of the Impulse Buyer

As part of being a responsible adult, I set myself a 2018 budget for video games. I know they’re my largest non-essential expense (if you don’t consider internet essential), and that I am more than willing to say “I shouldn’t buy this, but f**k it” when a new game catches my eye.

Having already factored in the purchases of Pokémon Let’s Go and Super Smash Bros Ultimate in the coming months… I’ve hit my allowed spending limit. Dang! I mean, I actually have $9 left to spend, but close enough. There are several indie games on Switch that are calling out to me, and they’re all significantly more than nine bucks.

Anyway, the point is that I’m not going to buy them. Unless they go on sale for under $9. Or someone randomly gives me money as a gift (which I don’t count toward the budget). But aside from those very specific situations, I will stand strong! I must! And now that it’s down in writing for the world to see, I’m basically forced to hold myself to it.

“So,” you ask, “what was the total budget for the year anyway?”

I’m not telling. I’d rather leave it up to your imagination. But if you go over the monthend wrap-ups and count up all the games I played that were released in 2018, you could probably come up with a pretty close figure!

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – October 2018

TGISGM! Thank goodness it’s scary games Friday month! I’ve been dying all summer because the sun doesn’t go away until like 10PM and I’m too old to stay up much later than that but now it gets dark super early and I can get some SPOOPS GOIN’!

I’m sorry. That was a really weird sentence. Anyway, since it’s that time of year, I’m going to be sort of rating the games I’ve played on how spooky they are. Like I did back in 2016.

~Game Over~

Mega Man 11 (Switch) – Not Spooky – Torch Man’s stage theme is “wandering around the woods at night” which is a little bit spooky, but less so with all the cartoon robots who live there.

Picross S2 (Switch) – Not Spooky – It’s picross. There may be like, a puzzle of a pumpkin in there somewhere, but it wouldn’t even have a face carved into it. No spooks here.

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (Switch) – Not Spooky – Despite being all about monsters -some of which are mildly frightening- there’s nothing particularly spooky here.

Bayonetta (Switch) – Spooky-ish – Freaky lookin’ angels and demons all over, but there’s never really anything scary, you know? Except for the impossibly unbalanced difficulty.

Slayaway Camp (Switch) – Spoopy! – This game does a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of 80’s slasher movies, and then hamming it up to 11. Perfect blend of horror and humour.

Hollow (Switch) – Spooky! – You’re stranded on a derelict spaceship; presumably alone, until you realize there are hordes of mutilated boobie-zombies out to kill you dead! Eek!

Kemono Friends Picross (Switch) – Spooky-ish – It’s very subjective, but I find the whole animal-people theme to be a little creepy. Otherwise, this is way too cheerful to be spooky.

~Now Playing~

Onechanbara Z2: Chaos (PS4) – Spoopy at Best – It’s about zombies and cursed blood and copious gore, but really it’s just too dumb/goofy/cheesecakey to actually be spooky.

Dark Souls (Switch) – Spooky! – Yeah, this one’s a shoo-in for spooks. Have you ever seen the Gaping Dragon? Or any monster from the Painted World of Ariamis? Buuuh. Nightmares!

MGSV: The Phantom Pain (PC) – Not Spooky – There’s that one part with the parasite warehouse that is genuinely creepy and gross, but we passed that chapter months ago.

Spooktober Movies – The Thirdening

Shin Godzilla – You know, I was so sure that I had written about this last time I watched it, but I cannot find such a post in the archive. So I guess I didn’t!

Here’s the short review: Shin Godzilla is AWESOME.

Long version: This is a reboot of sorts, wherein Japan is only being attacked by Godzilla for the first time, and there are no other monsters, and it’s gone back to being more of a social commentary than a movie about guys wrestling in rubber monster suits. Only instead of being about the dangers of nuclear weapons, it’s about the ineptitude of the old Japanese government officials. Nobody is willing to act in a crisis, much less tell the truth about what is happening. It’s only when most… you know what, the rest is kind of a spoiler, and you should absolutely watch this movie to figure it out yourself.

Godzilla himself is pretty much as awesome as he’s ever been. I really liked the recent Amercian movie’s “tired old man” version of Godzilla, but this one is pretty dang baller, too. He’s got a number of new tricks up his… uh, scales? Well, different things happen. Radically different things. And then… no, no… I can’t spoil that, either.

I really love this movie, is the point I’m trying to get across. I can and have and will watch it again and again and again. What I really need to do is actually buy the damned blu-ray and mount it on my wall as a testament to this being my favourite Godzilla movie. The only issue I take with it is that the subtitles are white and not outlined, which makes them hard/impossible to read at times. Rookie mistake, guys. But still! Watch this dang movie!

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – This is the original, baby. I have the super-special metal case edition, with an entire extra DVD of special features I’ll never ever watch. I’d sure like that kind of edition for Shin Godzilla. I’d definitely watch those special features.

But anyway, I feel like you probably know this one. It’s fairly old. Kids on road trip find spooky old house, most are killed by mask-wearing psychopath, final girl learns about family of cannibals that kill and eat kids on road trips that pass by. Ta-dah! The last half-hour of the whole thing is basically just said final girl screaming her heart out while trapped by/escaping the crazies.

To be honest, I had a rough time getting through this one. I know it’s a classic, but I think it’s one of the classics best left remembered, and not re-lived. Maybe I’m just too desensitized to this kind of stuff to get anything out of ’em anymore, unless they’re one of my absolute favourites. Jason and Freddy still do it for me. Why not Leatherface? We may never know! I had something else to add… but it seems that I’ve forgotten due to overwhelming apathy. Oh well.

Spooktober Movies: The Second Edition

Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack – I was looking for something a little different than the usual horror movie fare, and then it hit me: I never watch any animated horror movies. After a cursory Googling, it seems to be because there are very few animated horror movies. And most of them are anime. So with that limitation in mind, I set off to see what I could dredge up.

The first result that I found interesting enough to pursue was Gyo. This is a movie about fish that are attached to strange walking machines, which randomly start attacking Tokyo and other Japanese cities. It’s incredibly weird. Like, I expect anime to be weird, but this one is so far out there. Somehow, if a person is stabbed by the walking machine’s spidery legs, they contract a virus that makes them bloat up into a green mess, and then start farting and belching out a noxious gas. Then, they’re captured by the walking machines, which use said gas as a sort of energy source. None of it makes any sense, and at the end some guy makes an offhand remark about how the walking machines are not from Earth. Whaaatever. I really don’t like when the “it must be an alien” excuse is used to handwave away anything the writer can’t be arsed to explain, but then isn’t followed up on at all. Tell me more about the aliens, dammit!

Anyhow, the plot is about some girl who is on vacation, but then goes back to Tokyo to find her fiancée when the fish start attacking. Fish- and zombie-related horror ensues, that’s about as much as I care to describe. There’s plenty of violence and unsettling imagery, but it never gets overly gory. The bulk of the second act is mechanized sharks attacking the city, but you never really see anyone get bitten or anything. It’s mostly just gross, what with the gassy zombies and all. At one point there’s a walker that has captured dozens of zombos, which may be the most disturbing part of the movie. Also our heroine gets all groped up by a mechanized octopus, because it’s anime and of course that had to happen. I wouldn’t really say it’s worth watching, even if you really like weird stuff like this. I never felt compelled, and while I liked the nice, clean animation, that’s not really enough reason to spend to 90 minutes on Gyo.

Lily C.A.T. – My second choice for animated horror is even more sci-fi than the last, and significantly more enjoyable. This one is from 1987, and is very clearly inspired by the likes of Alien, The Thing, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. There’s even some talk about the effects of time dilation, which feels like it’s pulled straight out of The Forever War.

The story starts out with a number of volunteers taking off on a deep-space mission, off to explore a new planet, probably for colonization? I don’t think they ever said the exact goal of the mission. While the crew is sealed away in their sleepy-pods, the ship autonomously catches a hunk of space debris and pulls it inside. Obviously, we don’t learn what it is until later on, but it’s not long after everyone wakes up that people start dying left and right. Also their bodies vanish when nobody’s looking. Not only that, but it seems that two of the volunteers have gotten on the ship with false identities, and could possibly be out to cause trouble!

If you hadn’t come to this conclusion after that paragraph, this film is basically Alien. The extra-terrestrial in question isn’t nearly as iconic as the Xenomorph, but it’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. Should you need another reason to be interested in it, I don’t know if it’s because of the vintage, but it Lily C.A.T. doesn’t have that anime feel to it that normally turns me off. Like, there’s no close-up shouting, there are no gratuitous panty shots, there are no super-serious cliched lines. It’s very natural and could be done shot-for-shot in live action without looking or sounding odd. The one itty bitty nitpick I have is that there are several scenes where information is displayed through dialogue on a computer monitor, and those flash by way too quickly. You absolutely need to pause to actually read them, but thankfully they’re not overly important. I didn’t bother to pause at all, and don’t feel like I missed anything. At the end of the day, I’d definitely recommend Lily C.A.T.

It Came From Beneath the Sea – Switching gears completely, last weekend I felt like the best way to make use of my Sunday morning would be a good old-fashioned creature feature. So I pulled out this DVD from my library – one that I had purchased many years ago, but for some reason never got around to actually watching. The results were mixed!

This film comes from way back in 1955, which by my metric is the best decade for monster movies. You’ve got The Blob, you’ve got Them!, you’ve got friggin’ Godzilla. Whole lotta stone-cold classics. Sadly, I don’t think that It Came From Beneath the Sea really qualifies as a “classic” per se. While I absolutely appreciate the style of the film, it suffers from way too much in the way of people. By my estimation, it was nearly halfway through before we saw so much as a single giant tentacle. The monster didn’t even really get to wreaking havoc until the last quarter. Maybe the last third, to be generous. However, once the monster did show up, I was pleased as punch. The stop-motion effects are so delightfully quaint, but probably cutting-edge for the time, and I really can’t get enough of stuff like that.

As I said though, there’s so much focus on the characters here, and way too much time invested in the love story. And since it’s a 50’s movie, it’s not even so much a love story as it is the male lead forcing himself on the female lead until she decides to give in. She’s visibly disinterested for most of the run time, and I don’t think she was that into the dude even by the end. But whatever, it’s an artifact of the time. You can’t change history. At least they also spend a decent amount of time trying to explain the science of what’s happening, about how the monster came to be and why it’s attacking people. In the end, I think it’s worth watching if you’re into the genre. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but I don’t imagine that anyone who isn’t into monster movies would give even half a flip about this one. It’s alright, but not nearly good enough for mass appeal.

Spooktober Movies – Week 1?

Puppet Master – Since Netflix is apparently too good now to carry any movies from before 1990 (except for four Friday the 13ths), I took it upon myself to dive into my DVD collection to see what kind of forgotten treasures might be found. I was actually feeling a bit like it was a Return of the Living Dead night, but then The Puppet Master Collection found its way into my hands. A series of nine films that I’d never heard of and never watched. Seemed to be a good way to satisfy my cheesy 80’s horror jones.

The first Puppet Master was released in 1989, so I was mere months away from being a hypocrite. It’s also not an especially good movie. I probably would have been obsessed with it in my early twenties. If you hadn’t guessed, this film is about puppets who come to life and kill people. Oh ho! Only… the murderous puppets are an afterthought at best. There’s a convoluted plot that was boring as heck and barely made any sense, and that’s what the people who made this movie decided to focus on. Not the killer puppets. For some reason.

I would really like to write more about Puppet Master, and I might! It’s perfect for a full article! The thing is, to do that, I’d have to watch it again. And I don’t really want to watch it again. So we’ll see! For now, I’ll leave you with this fun fact: Twice, I accidentally typed out the title of this movie as “Pupper Master” and quite frankly, I think that would be a much better film. Just an hour and a half of dogs doing dog things.

Murder Party – I went home on Thanksgiving night with a little time to spare, and a strong desire to watch a Halloween-styled movie. It was already pretty late, so when Netflix showed me this one, with a runtime of an hour-fifteen, I figured it was a sign from up above. Or, given the season and subject matter, down below?

Murder Party is about a dopey guy who randomly finds an invitation to a, well, murder party, and decides to attend, rather than spending his Halloween watching horror movies and eating candy corn with his asshole cat. He quickly fashions a (rather impressive) suit of knight’s armor from a cardboard box and heads downtown to the party. There, he finds a group of young artists who immediately capture him and reveal that the plan is to kill him as an art project to win some kind of nebulous grant.

It turns out (and was no surprise after the intro) that this is actually a horror-comedy, which certainly helped boost my opinion of it. Quite frankly though, it was a bit of a dud. While there were a number of genuinely funny gags, it spent way too much time making fun of artists. Like, that was the entire middle of the movie. We basically lost the hapless idiot from the beginning for most of the film, as he was gagged and bound while the rest of the cast went on and on about meaningless crap. Then the group begins to unravel (like they do), killing each other and allowing our “hero” to flee so that the film can end on a bloody chase sequence.

Like I said, there are some truly funny parts sprinkled about -I laughed out loud a few times- but for the most part I never really got into it. Probably because I was mostly just playing Picross with the movie on in the background. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad movie; I sure many folks consider this a really fun no-budget slasher parody. I just didn’t really dig the main theme of pretentious douchebags self-destructing, and they made it such an important part of the movie that I can’t just gloss over it in favour of the more appealing parts.

Talking Nuts

In my never-ending quest to be less of a gross tub of a man, I’ve mostly stopped buying snack foods. And when I do, it’s usually just like nuts or fruit or whatever. I was never super into nuts, but I’m coming around on some different kinds. So today, a series of short blurbs on how I feel about the more popular varieties of nuts, in no particular order.

Pistachios : Honestly never tried them until recently. I’d eaten pistachio ice cream and didn’t dig it, so stayed away from the nuts. But I gave them a shot and I actually quite like them! Now I eat some of these nearly every weekday, as I keep a bag on my desk at work for afternoon snacking.

Cashews : The candy of the nut world. Far and away my favourite nut, but also way too fatty and also expensive. I’m already buying those pistachios, a second bag of expensive nuts is just not in the budget. Who do you think I am, some sort of rich person?

Almonds : Hrrmmmm…. No, I don’t especially like almonds, but I’ll put up with them. Like, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten an almond all on its own, but they’re in and on so many other things. Like Toblerone. I eat the s**t out of Toblerones. Well, I always get a massive Toblerone for Christmas, and that’s really the only time I eat Toblerone, but MAN do I ever enjoy it.

Peanuts : Peanuts are not a nut, they’re a legume. I learned this and many other great science facts from Danny Sexbang’s romance novel, Claudia Goes to Schlongtown – Part 6: The Erectening. But if I am eating peanuts, I prefer they be mashed into a paste and spread on toast.

Walnuts : These are my go-to snack at home. There’s always a bag on my dining table. I really should put it away in the cupboard. I’m not a big fan of walnuts, though. They’re a little too bitter for my tastes, but I’m becoming accustomed to them, as I continue to force them down my gullet.

Hazelnuts : Hazelnuts are the worst. I cannot understand why functional human beings put these awful things in so many other, better, food things. Disgusting trash. Nutella should be a crime.

Macadamias : It’s entirely possible that I’ve never eaten a macadamia nut. Do they sell them? Are you supposed to eat them au natural? I always ignore the macadamia nut cookies at Subway because why wouldn’t you choose literally any other cookie there? M&M’s, man!

And that’s the end of that, because that’s all the different kinds of nuts I know!