The Supermassive Surprise Cone

Okay. I’m a little hesitant to do this one right now because frankly, I think the surprise bags are losing their luster. I mean, realistically you can only review so many surprise bags before the formula wears thin and the readers see through your guise, work themselves into a rage and hunt you down, behead you and plant your head on a stake out in your front yard as a warning for anyone else trying to pull a similar scam.

But alas! We here at Torrential Equilibrium are devoted to upholding our code of laziness and half-hearted reviews. We also hate that fact that we are such poor typers and have to fix like every second word. It literally doubles article production time to stamp out all those lieks and smoethigns.

But alas again! I’ve gotten off track. Story time, young ones.

A long, long time ago – June 30th of 2006, to be precise – I was in the town of Lac Du Bonnet to attend one “Canada Day Parade and Festival.” The parade was lackluster, to say the least. The average age of the participating people was “deceased” and the various “Miss Whatever” girls were all fat. It wasn’t cool. The festival part was much better, with rides, food, and those horribly addictive carnival games that promise great prizes, but rarely leave you with anything more than an armful of shitty little stuffed animals.

It was only on the way out that I realized that my beloved The Bargain Shop had closed down. It was there that I had acquired many great things, such as Nintendo Surprises and the Dick Turtle surprise bags. I was shocked and hurt. My soul was crushed. I tuned around slowly and dramatically, as if out of a movie. Then I looked up and saw it. It was The Bargain Shop! Only it had been freed of its strip-mall confines and moved into its very own at-least-10x-as-big building! The Gods God was smiling on me that day, and I happily entered the haven that was the huge new The Bargain Shop.

Long story short, I figured I was going to find a new surprise bag of some sort. I bet you figured that too. And if you did, you’d be wrong. Wrong like a guy who thinks metal sucks. ‘Cause metal is awesome.

Yeah. Cone. The Bargain Shop has gotten serious about baiting me with unknown goodies, I think. I mean, not only does it totally blow away the surprise bag in terms of basic visual appeal, but it’s got a lot of other little bells and whistles going for it. For one, it’s gihumongenormous. Comparing it to something everyone can identify with, like a DVD case, might help to show just how big this monster is. I suppose a regular surprise bag would have been the best comparison, but I didn’t have one at the time of taking the pictures.

The other thing that really compelled me to pick up a surprise cone was the price. Five bucks for the thing. Five bucks. It sounds like a total rip-off, and most of me assumed it would be, but a small part of me was completely reassured that the high price tag meant either good stuff inside or at least a shit-ton of crappy stuff. I was clearly more than ready to take my chances. After all, I’ve won several trophies for unnecessary/compulsive spending.

So that’s that, and here we are. I cracked this baby open the day I got home, and the pictures have been sitting on my hard drive collecting cyberdust up until now. It just seemed like such a monumental task, and like I said earlier, me lazy. But now I’ve sat down and begun to write, so I might as well get it all done. Then again, even if I stopped here and came back to it three months later, you’d never know, now would you?

I’m not going to lie. That clown is pretty much freaking me out right now. That indecent look in his eye, the enthusiastic smile, the grabby grabby hands. We all know that this guy is the clown that children have nightmares about. I intended to go down the “this guy’s a pedophile fo shizzle” path, but I really think that those kind of things would best be left to your own sick imaginations. But seriously, I’m pretty sure he wants to kill me and wear my skin like one of those animal scarves you see on rich cartoon women all the time. And then he’d comically set up and play my bones like a xylophone because he saw it on Itchy and Scratchy that one time.

I just noticed that the cone seems to be mostly in French. I mean, yeah, “surprise cone” is English, but it’s only got “bonbon et jouets” all over it. nowhere do we see a satisfying English “candy and toys” exclamation. What if an Anglophone has never seen a surprise bag before and wonders just what the surprise is supposed to be? He’ll probably think there’s a hooker in there or something and the surprise is which STDs she has.

I guess the top that signifies whether its for boys or girls ages three to ten would be kind of a tip-off. Hookers totally aren’t for kids between three and ten. Kids that young just can’t appreciate the wonders that are paying for sex and the trip to the free clinic the next day.

The picture is unacceptably blurry, but you can make out a small football, a styrofoam airplane toy, various stickers and junk. And wonders of wonders! What is that which I spy with my little eye? Could it be… a coozy? I didn’t even notice that one there until I went to open the thing. For various reasons, having a coozy intended for a small child would be like a dream come true. Well, perhaps less magical than that, but it would still be neat. I still have yet to acquire a coozy of any description, and I was certainly hoping the surprise cone could remedy that problem.

Wow. Oh wow. Just… holy freakin’ God. The surprise cone’s gone chocolate starfish. That’s just not appropriate. It’s all a normal cone until you open it and then BAM rusty sheriff’s badge. Seriously. Does anybody see anything other than a paper stink star? Because all I see is a big mudcutter. It’s kinda funny how you see things that unintentionally look like button spiders all over the place. I mean, do you think someone really designed this so that when you open it, it resembles a whale’s eye? Probably not, but it’s both gross and funny at the same time. I’m sure someone has a website devoted to this kind of thing.

…Oh man, I just got the awesomest idea. Heh heh heh. Awesome. Damn, this article just keeps getting more and more inappropriate.

Quite a haul, I might say. Certainly more impressive-looking than the bits of candy and Happy Meal rejects you get in surprise bags. At least, this stuff looks alright at a glance. I’m sure that you’ll agree with me once you’re done that it’s mostly crap. Hell, just look a little closer and you’ll see that it’s mostly crap.

Well then. Caillou, you say? That’s, uh… Well, it’s kind of a toddler thing. I don’t think any self-respecting kid over four years old would really appreciate Caillou. By that time they’ve moved onto whatever shitty battling anime is popular at the time and/or SpongeBob. Seriously. Have you ever watched Caillou? I struggle to imagine that even newborns could find any enjoyment in the show. And they pretty much can’t even think. I suppose that if you’re gonna break balls, it is just a colouring book, and anyone can enjoy a colouring book regardless of associated franchise/theme.

You know what’s the worst part of it all? Now I’ve got a colouring book, but I haven’t got a crayon to colour in it with! Whatever shall I do?

I’ll be damned! It’s Barney, and he’s come to save me from my horrible crayon-free existence! He’s even going to throw a party while he’s at it! Though based on Barney’s audience, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to keep a lookout for that clown from the cone. It’ll be heaven for that freak.

Seriously though, this is crap. Four crayons? What the snap am I going to be able to colour with four crayons? Unless they can change colour at a moment’s notice, I just don’t think they’re going to be cutting any kind of mustard. And of course it’s just the primary colours and green to boot. So if I were to colour Caillou, I’d have to make him either yellow or red, and that wouldn’t be ethnically correct. You can’t imagine the anger I felt when they made The Honeymooners black. Not that I’m racist, but you can’t arbitrarily change an established character’s race. Jackie Gleason was probably rolling over in his grave when they announced that. So the point I’m trying to make is that there’s no way in Hell that I’m going to be turning Caillou into a rice picker or a feather head.

I’ve always hated sour soothers. Not only do I disprove of anything more than noticeably sour, but the product name is a huge oxymoron. Maybe they were shooting for the irony angle, but nothing as sour as these bastards can possibly be soothing. It fills me with unbridled rage. So much so that I don’t even want to talk about them anymore.

On the upside, it’s a foam dart. On the downside, it doesn’t do its job too well. At least, I don’t think so.

The way I see this thing, you put the elastic band on your finger, pull the dart back, and then let ‘er fly. But it usually just crashes into my finger and then dangles there while onlookers laugh and point. But It could very well just be me. I have a bad track record of using hand-powered projectiles such as rubber bands, darts, and boomerangs. The foam dart is clearly no exception.

I’d like to take a little stop here to mention that we’re about halfway through the article. At least as far as pictures go. I don’t know what lies in store for us where a word count is concerned, but unless I think up another relevant story to tell, it’s probably going to wrap up quicker than it started. Of course, I could go all Something Awful and talk about things that are only vaguely related, but I don’t really have the imagination required for that kind of thing. I mean, I guess surprise bags are kind of like Final Fantasy games in that they’ve always got different stuff in them but in essence they’re all the same, and even though they all kinda suck I keep playing them. But I don’t think I could draw that out for three and a half paragraphs.

So now that I’ve buffed up my word count quite nicely, it’s back to reviewing this surprise cone. Which is not at all like Street Fighter, because Street Fighter is always awesome.

They weren’t old like most surprise bag candy (at least, not as old, the date says 2004), but the Juicy Drop chews were pretty bad. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that all candy starts to taste like dust after so long, because that’s what always seems to happen, at least in my experience. The juicy centers were tasty, but the chewy outside was about as delicious as licking a shelf you haven’t dusted in a decade. Not cool. Not quite as new as the package would have liked me to believe, I guess.

Oh look! It’s a semi-clear plastic cup! And it’s got the word “GLO” on the side, so logic would denote that it must glow in the dark. Not bothering to read the rest of the label for specifics, I let it sit under the light for a while and then turned said light off. The cup did not glow. I was angered and threw the cup at the wall to spite it. It bounced and hit me in the head. I probably should have kept that bit to myself.

While I was “charging” the GLO cup, I rummaged through what was left of the surprise cone’s innards. It was then that I found the number one coolest thing ever found in a surprise bag (bar anything from the Nintendo Surprises): the styrofoam airplane. I could regale you with stories of how many of these things I bought as a kid, but that would take up a lot more time than you want to spend listening to my jibba-jabba. Foo.

So anyhow, I had a farkload of these planes back in my day. Not all at once, of course. The things are made of styrofoam, after all. This is their weakpoint, and will often lead to massive damage incurred by little boys playing a bit too rough. sometimes they don’t even make it past the building stage, when said little boys get frustrated that the wings won’t go in as easily as they assumed and end up crushing the thing in a fit of rage. Sometimes I still cry at night, thinking about my poor styrofoam planes and how they never really had a chance at life, being thoroughly crushed by pudgy, cotton candy-stained fingers. I am slightly comforted by the fact that these planes haven’t changed at all since my childhood. Even the packaging is designed the exact same way. In a world that is so unstable and constantly changing, it’s nice to know that some things will always stay the same.

I’m not currently sure where this particular plane ended up. A quick scan of my surroundings confirms that maybe I should turn the lights on, but the light switch is like halfway across the room, and I’ll be damned if I’m getting up.

I was perplexed by the strange object. I turned to myself and asked

“What the Snuckey is this?”

“I couldn’t tell you, buddy” I replied nonchalantly.

“Do you think it has anything to do with that dumb cup?”

“Probably, but I really don’t care.”

So guess what. I was a little off about the whole glowing cup deal. Turns out the cup itself isn’t s’posed to glow, but you’ve gotta pop these dumb glowsticks into the rim on the bottom. Yeah, dumb. And they’re those lame snappy ones that all the losers bring to their lame rave parties. Ugh. Just having these things in my possession makes me feel so inferior.

Yep. It worked. Whoo. Fascinating, isn’t it. Can we move on yet?

Aww, it’s a cute widdle penguin weeble! But what an odd pose for a weeble. Facing upward… that makes no sense. But wait! What is this?

Ye gads! It’s not a weeble, it’s a marker! A marker concealed ingeniously within a weeble! Airport security would never see it coming! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Well I don’t know what else to say about the penguin marker/weeble. it’s yellow, which makes it undesirable and impractical. I guess you could use it as a highlighter, but if you’re going to be toting it around, the penguin shape doesn’t lend itself very well to the task. I like it as a decoration, but beyond that it’s pretty useless. The second best thing in the cone by far, but only because it’s too adorable to dispose of. Even that’s cut really close too, just look at the sloppy-ass paint job. It’s a little disheartening, to say the least.

Thankfully, that’s the end of that little endeavor. Not that I don’t appreciate the styrofoam plane and the penguin weeble/marker, but having to slog through the rest of that crap to get to them wasn’t easy. Or enjoyable. Particularly the candy. At least the candy in some surprise bags is so terrible that it warrants discussion on its own. The crap in this one was just plain boring. And shitty. I mean seriously, who the snap like sour stuff? It’s all about spicy, my friends. If it’s not pastry or it doesn’t cause a ring of fire, it’s not worth eating, I say.

I would also like to mention that my youngest brother also bought a surprise cone. The only actual surprise came from the fact that we both got the exact same junk. Okay, to be fair we got planes with different designs, but that just barely counts. So, you know, if you see a surprise cone that looks the same as this one out there somewhere, don’t even bother looking twice. I bet they’re all the same, and the only difference is that the girl cone has a toy pony or something instead of a plane. The dart is probably still in the girl cone too. While it may be intended to be a toy weapon, I’m sure girls could find some way to appreciate it. Please excuse me for that, it slipped my mind for a moment that these things are meant for three-to-ten year olds, and as such, that innuendo there is totally inappropriate. It’s totally awesome if you imagine Marisa Miller buying it though.

In conclusion, the surprise cone was totally not worth five bucks. I normally don’t mind spending a dollar on a surprise bag for a cheap thrill, but five for this load of junk? I don’t think so. The plane alone would have only run me like 50 cents, and I could have lived my life without the penguin markeeble. It’s a sham and a half, that’s what it is.

As a thrilling epilogue to my story, I should note that there was a lot of other great stuff in the new The Bargain Shop like boxes of salt water taffy for 50 cents and all-day suckers. There’s awful computer games and movies just itching to be reviewed too, but my The Bargain Shop budget was pretty much shot by the surprise cone. It’s a mistake I will be sure never to make again. Until they redesign the cone and I’m fooled into thinking it’s a new cone, allured by the possibility that this new one might contain a coozy, and then when I get home and open it and see that it’s all the same junk at which point my eyes fill with liquid rage and I snap and take down as many people with me as I can. That’ll be the day…

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