I Walked Into the Past….

A few of the local Zellers stores closed down in our city in 2012 and they had massive clearance sales before they closed their doors for good.  The Boyfriend and I decided to check it out and see if we could score anything for cheap.

We were in the electronics section when I came across something from a bygone era hanging on one of the shelves.  I was immediately swept back to middle and high school and I was shocked that these were still in production let alone available for purchase anywhere other than the internet:

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And there you have it, folks…a discman.  Something not been seen since the late 90’s to early 2000’s.  I definitely had one of my own and it went everywhere with me in a backpack full of CD’s; until of course I got my first mp3 player, that is.  So let’s all toast a piece of history that I’m sure was a part of all our teenage worlds back then.

But really? $40 for the damn thing?  I can’t see it being wanted for any reason let along someone paying that much for them.  Perhaps that is why the Zellers are turning into Targets up here…

What the Heck Happened to Halloween Costumes?

I remember Halloween when I was a kid.  I remember costumes that we threw together with thrift store items or bits and pieces left over from old costumes stored in a Rubbermaid box under the stairs.  I recall one year when my grandmother made me a costume of an angel and I believe my sister was a devil.

I was in the mall last year around Halloween and some company had rented out an empty space for the month of October and set up a Halloween store so The Boyfriend and I decided to peruse and see what was up.  They had some awesome makeup, props, and accessories but the thing I couldn’t believe was how much the costumes had become all about guys getting fun and creative costumes and girls getting costumes that showed the most amount of skin and really didn’t make any sense at all regarding the supposed “theme”.

For example, I give you the two wizard (read: Harry Potter rip-off) costumes I spotted.  As you can see, the male version is quite good.  It looks like the movies did.  The female version, however, is somewhat…off:

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Now I’m not a prude and I’m all for sexy costumes if someone desire to wear one, but I don’t understand why the guy gets to wear the actual GOOD looking costume and the woman is stuck either wearing the male version if she actually wants to look like the movie character, or she had to parade around with her ass cheeks hanging out in close to freezing weather.  It’s Canada up here, people…we used to have to wear costumes that would fit over snow suits.  It’s freaking cold on Halloween.

Another example we stumbled across was an M&M costume.  Yes…the candy that apparently will not melt in your hand (I still call shenanigans on this) somehow managed to be turned into a sexy costume.

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My problem with this?  IT’S NOT A FREAKING COSTUME!!  It’s a skin tight tank dress with a picture of an M&M on it.  It’s like when you were little and you’d get the cheap costume with a picture of superman on the smock and a cardboard picture of his face with a crappy elastic around your head and you’d have to pretend to be Superman looking like a weanie in a plastic blue smock and a mask that broke in five seconds.  And you don’t look like a weanie in this one…you look like a chick wearing a bar dress with a stupid picture of an M&M on it.  NOT a costume…dress with a picture of what your costume was supposed to be.  There is a difference.

Just to emphasize my point, I give you the following comparison.  Again, the guy’s costume actually LOOKS like what the character is supposed to be, and the chick is wearing a tiny, short dress with a picture of the desired character pasted on the front of it.

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I am of the opinion that if you want to wear something “slutty” for Halloween, dress like something that is supposed to look that way.  I don’t understand taking the name of whatever you want to dress like, putting the word “sexy” in front of it, and then destroying what the concept of the costume was supposed to be in the first place.  For example, in the Batman universe, Harley Quinn (on of my favourite characters) is always sexy.  I’ve seen her in the jester costume and I’ve seen her in the awesome outfits she wore in Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City (Google searches for pictures here and here.  A “sexy” costume of her would make sense.  A sexy costume of Robin, The Boy Wonder?  That just doesn’t make any sense to me:

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Heck, one of those even has a picture of Robin in the bottom corner and honestly, I don’t see his boobs popping out of the costume.

I don’t know…honestly I prefer to still make all of my costume with odds and ends from the thrift store.  I love picking through the racks and finding the perfect item to go with the concept and pulling it all together to take the wee tots trick or treating.  I still have a giant Rubbermaid bin of all the costumes I’ve had in the last ten years in the storage closet (much to The Boyfriend’s chagrin) just in case I need to use something from a past outfit and I love it.  I think it’s great to see people dressed up in original costumes or things they made themselves.  It seems like there’s so much more care and fun put into it.

I know it’s a month early and all but Trick or Treat everyone…hope you all have a great Halloween and get your hands on massive amounts of candy!!

They’re BAAAAAACK!!

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Can anyone tell me when this started happening? I remember these things from when I was a kid and people were scrapping over them in toy stores. I remember that my cousins had one and when the batteries started to die it sounded like a demon from hell.

Why are these things back? Are we really that much of a lost society that on top of just remaking movies from 20 years ago, now we’re going to just re-release the same damn toys? And the poster says you cab pre-order it…so that means they’re anticipating crazed parents and spoiled rotten children duking I out in the aisles again. Sigh…

Disney Blu Ray is a Rip Off!

I love Disney movies.  Who doesn’t, right?  We all grew up watching the classics like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, or Aladdin.  Two out of three of the previously mentioned films were recently re-released in theatres in 3D for the enjoyment of a whole new generation of people (and let’s face it, the enjoyment of the previous generation as well).

While I didn’t get the chance to go and see The Lion King when it was released again, I did have the pleasure of re-experiencing Beauty and the Beast in all it’s glory on the big screen.  Something I hadn’t been able to do since 1991 when it was first released and I was only 8 years old.  I was annoyed by the 3D because it was distracting and pointless, but experiencing that movie again on the big screen literally brought tears to my eyes.

So of course, I wanted to purchase a copy for myself before Disney threw the movie back into their horrid and hated vault.  I HATE the Disney vault but that’s a topic for another post at a later date.

I trotted on down to the nearest Walmart and went straight to the Disney section, excited to own a copy of Beauty of the Beast for the first time since owning it on VHS.  Yes, that’s right…VHS.  My excitement at spotting my bounty was short-lived, however, when I saw the price tag stuck onto it.

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Yes folks, that’s right.  The price was actually $36.93.  My jaw fell to the ground and I literally said out loud, “Are you FREAKING kidding me?!?”  I then stood there for a long time and studied the Disney Blu-Ray section of the movies in Walmart, slowly coming to a realization.  They were all insanely priced.  Now I know that Disney movies have always cost a little more than your typical film and, in my opinion, this was alright because they were always top-notch productions that lived on pretty much forever.  But to be requesting almost $40.00 of my hard earned money was asking a bit too much.

I studied the section a bit more and made another discovery.  All of the films in the Blu-Ray section for Disney were not just Blu-Ray discs.  They all included the Blu-Ray, the DVD, and a digital copy.  This, my friends, is bullshit.  They’re charging large sums of money to essentially buy three copies of the same damn movie all at once.  I don’t know who thought this up, but they’re either a marketing genius or the scum of the earth; quite possibly both.  We don’t need 3 copies of a movie.  NOBODY needs 3 copies of any movie at all…ever.

So I looked around for just the Blu-Ray copy, because that’s all I wanted.  I did not want three copies of one movie…I wanted the Blu-Ray because it’s a beautiful movie and one I deem worthy of paying the already too high price (as compared to DVD) of buying it on Blu-Ray.  But it doesn’t exist.  If you want a Disney movie, you HAVE to purchase three copies of it.  I even saw a version that also included the 3D version as well.  So you were getting FOUR copies in that one.  Eventually I broke down and bought three copies because I was terrified of missing my chance and finding out it went back into the vault before I got my hands on it.  Have I mentioned how much I LOATHE the Disney vault?

I spotted another film I’ve wanted to own since it’s release as well.  I saw the movie Up.  Then I saw the price.

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Yup…$39.93.  No freaking way.  I paid too much for Beauty and the Beast because I love that movie and it makes me feel like a kid again.  There’s no way I am going to pay that kind of money for new Disney movies.  It just won’t happen.  So I left Walmart without Up and went home, hating Disney just a little for their shenanigans and thievery.  Later, I ended up finding a treasure trove of Disney DVDs and Blu-Rays at a used video store and scored them all for under $15 dollars each, including Up which had the Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital copy.

So this is my message to Disney.  I love your movies.  I have ALWAYS loved your movies.  However, I will never purchase your movies for the prices you ask for them based solely on the fact that you threaten us with taking them away forever and hoarding them in your stupid vault like a bully.  Please pay attention to what I have to say next, Disney, because it’s very important.  You will get far more of my money if you come to your senses and charge reasonable prices for them and make them more widely available.  I may have forked over the cash for Beauty and the Beast, but that’s the exception.  It’s a childhood nostalgia thing and nothing more.  Your movies aren’t worth $40 dollars and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Multiplayer Gaming Is Not What it Used to Be

When I was in high school, I spend a HUGE amount of my time playing 4-player Goldeneye with my friends.  We would play after school, on weekends…whenever possible.  It was incredibly fun to sit around with my friends, chat with each other, trash talk when we got a good kill, and just generally share the experience with my friends. 

There were so many other games I used to play with other people as well.  I remember playing Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 with my sister all the time.  Mario Kart, Diddy Kong Racing…all of these games have very fond memories for me and all of these memories involve me hanging out with people and having a good time while gaming.

It seems lately, however, gaming has shifted into a multiplayer aspect that I don’t really like.  I had my first experience with online multiplayer when I bought myself a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops and played with some gaming friends from around the city I live in.  It was really fun because I knew the people I was gaming with and I even ventured so far as to play with people I didn’t know.  That wasn’t so bad either, but definitely not my favourite thing to do as I would end up with the Bluetooth yammering in my ear all the time, mostly the voices of what I assume were 13 year old spoiled brats who probably shouldn’t have been playing such a violent game in the first place.

So that was my last experience with online multiplayer as I found it to be lacking in the personal aspect that made multiplayer so much fun when I was younger.  I was just sitting alone in my living room playing with people I didn’t know and randomly being insulted for either killing someone (the point of the game), being killed, or just because I’m a girl and some people don’t understand that we play games too.  If they hear a girl over the chat, they’re either immediately cat-calling or telling you that you suck.  Not the best gaming experience.

Recently, I’ve played co-op games with The Boyfriend and it’s been awesome.  We’re on our second round through Resident Evil 5 and we’ve also enjoyed the Lego games as well.  I love being able to spend time with him playing these games and experiencing the story with someone else.  Being able to discuss it is awesome. 

And therein lies my biggest complaint with modern games.  There aren’t enough co-op games that I can actually play with someone in the same room as me.  There are a great deal of co-op games, don’t get me wrong.  But they all require the people playing to be on separate machines to play together.  I can’t pop a any old co-op game into my PS3, sit down on the couch with The Boyfriend, and play together.

For example, I got him Dead Island for Christmas and it says right on the box that it’s a co-op game.  But only online.  Which I find to be complete and utter crap.  Do the gaming companies just assume all gamers now have no actual friends anymore and must always just be grouped with online people?  Or are they just doing this to sell more copies by forcing us to play it on separate systems?

I’m going to go with “The gaming companies just want more money”.  There’s no other explanation for this turn of events and I’ve gotta say, they’re not going to get it out of me.  I refuse to buy multiple copies of one certain game just to play the multiplayer.   I’ll just lose out on those particular trophies and simply play the single player campaign.  The multiplayer games of today aren’t worth the money and the stress of wondering if I’m going to get grouped with a bunch of jerks that tear me down for being a chick or insult me for some other arbitrary reason.  I just won’t play.  That’s the bottom line.  It’s far more fun to play with my friends in the same room than it is to play with a bunch of strangers online.

Yes…I Bought This

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This, my friends, is a freaking Steve Irwin action figure.  I scored this in a Liquidation World and was absolutely stoked to see it on the shelf.  This man taught me so much about animals and conservation and was ultimately badass.  It even talks!!!  So yes, I had to buy it and he now sits proudly on the shelf of my desk at work.  RIP Steve…you were one of my heroes growing up.

I Miss Video Games…

For those of you who don’t know me all that well, I’m a gamer.  I love video games and have been playing them since I was small enough to hold the controller for my parents’ Atari.  My most formative childhood years were spent playing Frogger, Donkey Kong, Pacman and of course, Pong.

Then of course, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) arrived.  I still remember the very first time I held that controller.  My uncle rented a system to have at my grandmother’s house for Christmas and I watched in utter fascination as he and my other uncles all played Super Mario Bros., taking turns and getting really excited.  At some point in the evening, my Uncle Kevin looked at me, placed the controller in my hand and said, “Here, why don’t you give it a try?”  That was it.  I was hooked.

I got an NES shortly after, having begged my parents constantly.  They were great about it, since usually we only got stuff like that for Christmas.  That system lasted me for years.  I played it until it literally would not play another single game.  By the end, there was no sound.  I had to wrap the cord around the box tightly to get any colour and I had to stick a VHS tape into the slot to keep the game down.  But I still loved it and mourned its passing when it finally died on me.

After that, my mother got us a Nintendo 64, a joint gift for Christmas for my sister and I.  Again, I played the crap out of that thing.  My sister would watch me play games like Ocarina of Time and my friends would come over for marathon sessions of GoldenEye 007 multiplayer.  A custody battle broke out over the system when I moved out and was only solved when my mother determined we would each get the system a month at a time.  I ended up buying an original NES from a pawn store for the months that I didn’t have the N64.

Over the years I’ve also added an Xbox, a Wii and a PS3 to my collection and gained a whole lot more when I moved in with the boyfriend (including an Atari!!).  I played games so very much over the years and it was one of the things that bonded the boyfriend and I so well when we first started dating.  The very first gift he ever gave me (spontaneously) was a copy of Double Dragon for the NES…a game I had lost years ago when my first system died.

Sadly, however, my life as of late has not been allowing for very much gaming.  I find that I’m missing it terribly.  Work has been crazy for months and if I’m not doing overtime, I’m exhausted when I get home.  It always seems like I have social commitments, I have to go to the gym, or any other thing that pops up and there’s never any time or energy left for gaming.

The most gaming I’ve done in the last month of my life was to play about ten minutes of Mario Kart 64 at the Games Day Summer Pwnage event.  I loved it.  The atmosphere was charged, everyone was social and talking about the games and I had a great time trash talking and shooting blue shells.

So yes, I miss gaming.  I look at my shelf and realize that there are so many games I’ve purchased and started that I haven’t finished.  Some of them I haven’t even started at all.

All our games, siting lonely on the shelf...

The boyfriend is starting to complain that I never game with him anymore and I’m starting to get really annoyed by the lack of gaming presence in my life so I’m going to try and get some more play time in.  Right now we’re working on Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 because it’s a cooperative play game we can do together and also, it’s Harry Potter, so it’s awesome.  Wish my luck in getting back to my gaming roots this summer, it’s been way too long.