November 2015 Goals in Review


Phew! Is it seriously December already? Well that’s just insanity, that’s what I think. November really got away from me there, but it’s all good because I’m not going back to work now until the New Year. Go me! ^_^

And on that cheery note, let’s take a quick look at how November treated me, shall we?

Goal #1: Take care of myself more.

Ha ha ha ha ha…oh man…wait, that wasn’t a joke? Oh, gee, sorry.

November seemed to happen so fast that it’s not surprising that I didn’t really find the time to “take care of myself”, exactly. That’s not to say that I was overly hard on myself, but there were definitely a few too many fast food meals, too few relaxing moments, and more than a little “Oh crap, Christmas is coming fast” stress.

All in all though, I can’t really say a whole lot about this topic simply because November disappeared on me so quickly that I hardly even noticed that I wasn’t really taking care of myself. So I guess we’ll just call it a wash? Ha ha…hopefully I’ll find some time for a few hot baths and maybe a massage during December.

Goal #2. Continue to build my readership/viewership.

Okay, I was going to laugh again, but I’ll restrain myself this time.

The truth is that I did do a few things toward this goal this month, although most of it was a bit unintentional. I, for instance, filmed a couple of videos that people really seemed to like, and therefore I had a nice little spike in YouTube followers. My rants about Hot Topic and the GameStop Black Friday Funko box also brought a number of new people to the blog, so that was pretty nice. I was also contacted by a few different companies wanting me to try out their product in return for a fair review on YouTube, which was very nice, although one of those companies has yet to actually send me the product, so I’m not sure if that one is actually going to happen.

On the book sales side of things, there is literally nothing to report because there haven’t been any sales. Not one book or e-book since October. That’s a little bit of a kick in the gut, but it’s softened by the fact that I got two new really nice reviews on the book, and one of those reviews was posted on three different sites. So that’s pretty nice, and definitely brightened my day when I saw them.

Goal #3: Write. Write a lot.

And so we come to the writing and the real question of the month…how did NaNoWriMo go? Well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, just like last year. I did not, in fact, complete NaNo, which makes me more than a little bit sad, but I’m also okay with it because I gave up the chance in order to get important things done (like working on my daughter’s birthday plans and Christmas shopping and the like). I really, really hoped that I would be able to squeeze the words in this year, and I was actually doing good, but it all came to a grinding halt around the 23rd. I was flying home from my shift, and since I’m off for the entire month of December I ended up having a few drinks with my coworkers at the airport, since I won’t see them for two months. Then I flew all night and all day, trying my best to get some sleep in on the way, and almost immediately after getting home I dove into the big pre-decorating clean, Black Friday shopping, tree-trimming, and so on, and I just didn’t really find any time at all to sit down and write.

That said, I’m not too disappointed in myself because I wound up with over 40,000 words throughout the month. I don’t have the exact number on me right now because I kept forgetting to update my spreadsheet as well as the NaNo page, but I know for a fact that it’s over 40,000 and that’s double what I wrote on my most productive months previously in the year. Not too shabby at all, and I’ve got lots of interesting scenes laid out for when I get the chance to sit down and really think about what I want to do with this Fairy Tales idea. So, all in all, I can’t say that it wasn’t an excellent month.

How was your November? If you participated in NaNoWriMo did you manage to cross the finish line? Did you get anything else accomplished? Are you excited for the holidays? Please share! ^_^

Marvel Collector Corps Unboxing and Review for “Villains”

Okay, after a few days away to try and catch up on my writing (Go, NaNo!), it’s time to come back and finish off the slew of geeky/nerdy subscription boxes for this month. Today is the bi-monthly box created by Marvel and Funko: “Marvel Collector Corps”. If you guys have been watching my YouTube channel or reading these reviews you know that Collector Corps has been my absolute favorite subscription box for the past few months, which is unsurprising since it’s all Marvel stuff and always includes an exclusive Funko Pop! of some kind. Every box has a theme, and this particular box’s theme was “Villains”, so I was pretty darn excited to see which Marvel villains would be featured!

First, please have a look at the unboxing video:

So, my excellent experience with Collector Corps thus far continues this month with a pretty awesome box full of villainy awesomeness. Here’s a breakdown of the goodies. **Note: all “Funko” items are valued based on

Collector Corps pin and patch:
These little items, which are prominently displayed when you first open the box, don’t add a lot of value to the box, but they’re cute little collectibles that prove you’re a Collector Corps subscriber. This month’s pin features Green Goblin, with the patch emblazoned with Red Skull. Approximate value: $2 for the pin, $5 for the patch

Marvel Villains t-shirt:
My personal opinion of the Collector Corp t-shirts thus far has been really good (even the Ant Man one that most people didn’t seem to like…I thought it was adorable), and this one is no different. It’s a little bit busy for my tastes, but it’s still a pretty cool design, and they chose some of my favorite villains to grace it, so I’m pretty happy. My only real complaint is the size; I’d reduced my shirt size from medium to small because the shirts are unisex and thus run a little big to be able to fit the average guy, and when I originally took the shirt out of the box I was certain that they’d shipped me a medium. I did turn out to be wrong, but honestly, the shirt is hardly any smaller. So take my advice, if you’re a smaller-sized collector: go for the extra small! Still, this is a pretty excellent shirt. Approximate value: $15

“Invincible Iron Man” comic with variant cover:
Every Collector Corps also comes with a comic, which they’ve recently begun backing-and-bagging so that collectors who like their stuff mint can have that option. Personally I’ll be ripping it open and reading it, but that’s just me. The variant cover is pretty sweet and I’m very interested to read about why Iron Man seems to be fighting a bunch of villainous zombies. Approximate value: $6

“Venom” Pocket Pop! keychain:
And now we’re into the Funko-powered stuff, starting out with a Pocket Pop! keychain of my very favorite Marvel villain ever: Venom. I was actually a teeny bit disappointed that the Venom item they chose was the keychain because I don’t collect these and I currently have an Iron Man Pocket Pop! taking up all the room on my key ring, but I can’t say I’m not happy to have him. And since I don’t actually have a Venom Pop!, this little guy will have to do for now. Maybe I’ll stick him to Spider-Man’s shoulder so he can be the “bad angel”. Approximate value: $6

“Loki” Dorbz figure:
Love it! Okay, I don’t really actively collect Dorbz, but I do think they’re adorable (duh), and I’m perfectly happy to get them in my subscription boxes. Plus, of all the villains they could have chosen, they sent Loki, who I love to pieces. The helmet is just awesome, and for something so small and mostly-flat, the paint job is really quite excellent as well. Very happy with this! Approximate value: $10

Exclusive “Zombie Morbius” Funko Pop! figure:
And, of course, my favorite part of these boxes: the exclusive Pop! I’m really quite happy that I got the “Zombie” version of Morbius, but I do have to mention that I’ve confirmed there were two different Morbius’ figures that subscribers could have gotten, which really bothers me. Part of the reason for subscribing tot his box is to get the exclusive Funko Pop! figures, but if they’re going to pull stunts like this it means that people are still going to have to beg, borrow, or steal to get ALL of the exclusives (if that’s your thing), even if they are subscribers. I think that’s a bit of a dirt-bag move on behalf of Collector Corps, myself, so I’m just throwing that out there. That said, I’m happy that if I could only get one of the exclusives, this is the one I ended up with. Zombie Morbius is awesome. Approximate value: $24

Total approximate value of box: $61
Total approximate cost to me: $39

So, right off the bat, the value is definitely there with this one, assuming that PopPriceGuide is accurate. Mind you, I have to mention that the cost to me is a lot lower than it could be, because I paid for a full year subscription up front when the box first came out, and back then the Canadian dollar was a lot closer to parity with the American one. Thus – and I’m just pointing this out – the value would seem quite a bit lower if I’d ordered more recently (it would cost closer to $50).

That said, I love this box, I really do. Awesome Pop!, as usual (although I will admit I’m a bit annoyed that there’s a bit of a strange smudge on his teeth), awesome choices for the Dorbz figure and the Pocket Pop! keychain, and the shirt and comic are pretty sweet as well. Other than the shirt size (which, technically, I guess is kinda my own fault), I really have nothing to complain about. As usual I love everything in the box, which is really what makes it worth it even if the price was a bit higher.

And because of my love for this particular box, I’m happy to announce that I’ve jumped on another “Powered by Funko” box that just recently shipped out for the first time: the Star Wars “Smuggler’s Bounty” box, which will also include exclusive Funko items. The first one should be arriving at my house any day now, so look forward to my unboxing! I can’t wait!

What do you guys think? Is Marvel Collector Corps worth the dough? What was your favorite item in the Villains box? Least favorite? How do you feel about there being multiple exclusives but you only get one? Please share!


Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for October 2015

It’s a new week and we’re leaving the “Nerd Block Family” of subscription boxes behind to move on to all the other stuff I have left to share. Today we have the Loot Crate for October, for which they decided to skip any kind of Halloween theme and went with “Time”. I was fairly hopeful about this box because it was set to have a Doctor Who item as well as a vinyl figure, which are two of my very favorite things. So let’s just go ahead and check out the unboxing video, shall we?

“Time” can be a pretty fun theme, I think, and I feel like Loot Crate did a pretty decent job with it. Let’s have a breakdown:

“Be Excellent to Each Other” t-shirt:
Right off the bat we have a very different t-shirt from many of the ones I’ve gotten in the past. It’s blue, right off the bat, which is a strangely uncommon color for geeky t-shirts (unless they’re Doctor Who ones, obviously). I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Bill and Ted, but I do enjoy the movies and I think they definitely picked the best possible quote for a t-shirt featuring them. Of all the time-related fandoms they could have sent a t-shirt of, this is not the one I would have picked first, but I do think the shirt is pretty cool and I will happily wear it. Approximate value: $15

Loot Crate “Time” pin:
I don’t always include these little collectible pins in my breakdowns, but this particular crate has a low item count so I thought I’d throw it in. This one features a picture of a flux capacitor. Approximate value: $1

“Back to the Future Part II” 1:5 scale hoverboard:
This is a neat idea for a collectible; not something I would necessarily go looking for, but a neat idea. It’s actually a rather nicely-made replica of the hover board from the movies, and it comes mounted with plastic pegs on a glass base to give the illusion that it actually is hovering. Approximate value: this is a box exclusive and thus difficult to put a value on, but it seems to be going for an average of $15 by people and sites that are reselling.

“Doctor Who” Sonic Spork:
This item, I have to admit, is a little disappointing. I love Doctor Who, so I was excited that there was going to be an item from this awesome fandom in Loot Crate, but what we got is something that just isn’t that impressive to me. It’s kinda cute and funny, being as it looks like a sonic screwdriver and all, but I’m just not going to use a spork, and it’s not exactly the kind of item that you would display among the rest of your geekery. It’s a big “Meh” to me, basically, which is sad because Doctor Who is my jam. Approximate value: this is another exclusive item, so I have to go by the resellers, who seem to be ditching it for an average of $12

“Dr Emmett Brown” Exclusive Funko Pop:
Guys, I love this Pop, I really do. He is significantly different from the original series Dr Brown I’ve got, which I love because so many exclusives/variants/second series’/etc are practically exact copies of the originals. Plus he’s just so well done! I love the little clear blue plastic electricity running between the cables, and the detail in the goggles, and the little battery standing behind him… It’s all just super-nicely done and I love it. This little dude made the whole box for me, no argument. Approximate value: $19, according to

Total approximate value of box: $62
Total approximate cost to me: $40

So, okay, right off the value is fairly average; it’s neither the best nor worst-valued box I’ve gotten from Loot Crate, so there’s not much to say there. Even though the value is decent though, one thing that bothered me a bit about this box is that it didn’t feel like there was much in it. I suppose that’s mostly because the items that were there are fairly sizable (a Pop takes up half the box, after all), but still, if you don’t count the little Loot Crate pin, this box only had four items in it, which is pretty unusual for these subscription boxes. I might be wrong, because my memory isn’t exactly the most top-notch thing in the world, but I feel like I’ve never gotten a nerdy subscription box with less than five items, not including the little service-specific extras.

That said, those four items are pretty cool. The Pop is a big, big, BIG plus to this box, being not only just a Pop but also a pretty awesome Pop. The hover board replica isn’t my usual kind of collectible, but it’s pretty neat and will look great next to my other BttF stuff. And the shirt is different and quite excellent (ha ha). The only thing that’s a little disappointing is the “sonic spork”, which is just something I’m not going to use at all. Maybe I’ll give it to my daughter to help get her into Doctor Who. :P

When all is said and done, this was a pretty good box. I would have preferred a different (*cough*cooler*cough*) Doctor Who item, but everything else gets two thumbs up and even though the box felt a bit light on items, I can’t really argue with the value. So I guess it’s a thumbs up for this one!

What did you guys think? Favorite item? Least favorite? What do you think of the sonic spork? Isn’t that Dr Brown Pop just awesome? Were you surprised that Loot Crate didn’t do a Halloween theme for October? Please share!

Authors Answer 54 – Torturing Our Characters


Torturing our characters…oh dear. This should be an excellent conversation. >:)

Originally posted on I Read Encyclopedias for Fun:

Friday the 13th, a day that brings horror and terror into people’s lives. Or is that the movie series? Our authors write a variety of genres, from supernatural to horror to fantasy to military sci-fi to children’s books. Sounds like the perfect mix to talk about torture in fiction. I mean, children are torture, aren’t they? I know, I have one. But I’m just kidding. The question is, just how many of us could torture a character?

torturerackQuestion 54 – It’s Friday the 13th. Horror is a popular genre. Could you torture one of your characters?

Linda G. Hill

I could. In fact, depending on which character it is, I might enjoy it. But really, we torture our characters all the time, in one way or another. It’s what makes an interesting story.

Gregory S. Close

Yes.  I don’t feel good about it, but sometimes that’s where the story goes.

View original 860 more words

Arcade Block Unboxing and Review for October 2015

And to finish off the Nerd Block family of boxes for October, we have Arcade Block, which I have been thus far a little bit mystified with. There have been cool things, and there have been stupid things, and there have been “oh my god, what were they thinking?” things. So what kind of things did we get this month? Check out the unboxing video to find out:

Breakin’ it down…

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 3” t-shirt:
As far as t-shirts go, I can’t say that this isn’t a nice one as far as design. Unfortunately, right out of the gate, we have a game that I am not a fan of. In the video I said that I wasn’t a first-person-shooter person; my husband pointed out that this is not really true since I like games like Bioshock and Metroid Prime. What I’m not is a “man vs man, military-style” first-person-shooter person. And this is one of those. So, while I appreciate a nice design, this isn’t an item for me. Approximate value: $15

“Fallout” Funko Mystery Mini blind box:
Now this is an item I can get behind, although I haven’t played enough of the Fallout franchise to have known the name of the guy I got (Super Mutant) and have been thusly called out. Still, I love me some Mystery Minis; these little guys are actually rather well made and painted, so I’m happy enough with my little dude. Approximate value: $8

“Atari” baseball cap:
Okay, I don’t really wear baseball caps, like…ever, but this is kinda awesome. It’s nice to see a different kind of wearable besides the usual t-shirts and the wristbands that subscription boxes seem to be obsessed with, and since this is a throwback to my first ever gaming system, that’s pretty sweet. I love how it’s Breakout…totally cool. I am actually rather amused. Approximate value: I couldn’t find this online, but I’m thinking probably about $15?

“Retro City Rampage DX” PC disc and download code:
Okay, I was disappointed when I found out that this game was going to be a big item in this box, because I already have it downloaded on my Vita, and although it’s also a physical disc for PC gaming, I don’t really game on my PC, like…at all, so it’s a bit of a bust. That said, I do appreciate the awesome packaging job. Making the box look like a Super Nintendo game and the disc look like an old floppy is pretty neat, so kudos to that. It’s just to bad it wasn’t a game I didn’t already have! Approximate value: $10

“Titanfall” K’NEX playset:
Okay, my feelings are kind of all over the place on this one. On one hand, it’s a blatant toy, which I’m normally not a big fan of in this boxes, but on the other hand it’s a building toy, and those are wicked. Back on the other hand, it’s K’NEX, which isn’t compatible with Lego (which my daughter has a bunch of), so that kinda sucks, but I can get over it. It’s also Titanfall, which is a game that no one in my household has played, so it loses a little bit of its glamour there. But still, building toys are awesome, so my final thoughts are definitely on the positive side. Approximate value: $7 (which is actually quite surprising because this same set, if it had Lego stamped on the box, would probably be closer to $25)

Total approximate value of the box: $55
Total approximate cost to me: $40

Okay, so as usual I have to talk about price and value, and the thing is that, depending on whether or not I high-balled the value of the baseball cap, this may actually be one of the lowest-value boxes I’ve ever gotten. And when you combine that with the ever-present pains of the Canadian dollar, that means that I didn’t really get my money’s worth on this one. When you take into account that I already had the game I really didn’t get my value’s worth on this one.

Is everything about market value? No, obviously. I do like the mystery mini, and the hat is pretty awesome even if I never wear it, and I’m sure my daughter will find use for the Titanfall K’NEX when combined with all her Lego. It’s just that those three items aren’t worth the $40 I paid, and additionally aren’t things that I would have picked up on my own, had I seen them in a store. Throw in a shirt for a game I don’t like and a disc for a game I already own, and wow…this box is actually even more of a bust than I was originally thinking.

Honestly, it wasn’t that bad a box; it’s just that two of the bigger items aren’t for me, and the remaining ones, while cool, don’t make the money I spent worth it. So I guess in the end I have to give a this one a “Meh”.

What do you guys think? Did you like October’s Arcade Block? What was your favorite item? Least favorite? Don’t you just LOVE building toys? Please share!

Horror Block Unboxing and Review for October 2015

So, as I mentioned in my Nerd Block unboxing, in addition to my resubscribing to Nerd Block for a month for the vinyl figures, my husband thought it would be a good idea to resubscribe to Horror Block for a month because they were advertising a “Friday the 13th” item. My husband is an enormous horror nerd and “Friday the 13th” is one of his absolute favorite franchises, so I thought, “Why not?” and we gave it a try.

Check out the (not-so-)spooky unboxing video:

So was he happy with the “Friday the 13th” item, and was the rest of the box worth getting? Let’s go to the breakdown:

“Jason Voorhees/Camp Crystal Lake” t-shirt:
Unsurprisingly (call me jaded) the item that my husband was looking for turned out to be the t-shirt. I don’t think he was necessarily disappointed because it does happen to be a half-decent shirt, but I’m pretty sure he was hoping it would be a collectible of some kind. Still, the design is pretty cool, so it’s not like it’s a loss, and I’m pretty certain that he’ll wear it. Approximate value: $15

“Chucky” plush doll:
Though they’re not as cool as vinyls (call me biased), but plush character collectibles are pretty cool too. This “Chucky” one kinda freaks me out a little, but I guess that’s actually the point, right? I’m sure that my husband, being the horror nerd, won’t mind having this little guy sitting up on the shelves with his other horror figures. Or maybe I’ll steal him and sit him next to my Chucky Funko Pop. Bwa ha ha. Approximate value: $20

Argento’s “Dracula” on DVD:
As I mentioned in the video, I’m not against putting movies in these boxes, but I’m just a bit against DVDs. I’m sure lots of people who got this in their Horror Block will probably be quite happy with it, but I would have been much happy with a Blu-ray, simply because that’s what we watch, when we watch physical media at all. I suppose it can go on the shelf with all the other horror movies (we do have a rather large collection of both crap and not crap), but I just wasn’t particularly impressed with this item, sorry! Approximate value: it depends on where you look, but I found it as low as $10

“Ouija Board” mouse pad:
My feelings are mixed on this because on the one hand it’s a pretty cute idea, but on the other hand it’s a mouse pad. As I mentioned in the video my husband and I both have laptops and neither of us use anything other than the pad right on those laptops, so we have absolutely no use for a mouse pad, and this is not the first one we’ve gotten in a subscription box. Meh, maybe I’ll stick it to the wall above my horror Pops or something. Approximate value: the prices I’ve seen vary wildly, so I’m averaging it out at about $5.

“Zombies” mini-poster:
First, I’ll say that I appreciate that this is a poster-board poster rather than a loose paper one. Just throwing that out there; I prefer the board posters. Secondly, this is a fairly neat one, full of all kinds of pop-culture zombie figures from many different walks of…after-life. Was that too silly? Anyway, moving on. This isn’t a bad little poster. It doesn’t add much to the value of the box, of course, but it’s definitely an interesting idea. Approximate value: it’s hard to put a value on these prints, and I’ve seen people value them much higher, but I feel like the absolute best I can do is $5 since it’s just a printed sheet of 8×10 poster board.

Rue Morgue’s “Cryptic Collectibles” book:
Even though I’m not into the magazines, I actually rather enjoy these Rue Morgue books that we’ve gotten in a number of Horror Blocks. They’re always full of interesting facts, stories, and so on, and this one is really quite amusing because it’s full of horror collectibles. I’m sure my husband will probably take a good look through it and come up with a list of things he wants, although I don’t know if the collectibles in this book are really attainable. Either way, it should be an interesting read! Approximate value: $15

Approximate value of box: $70
Approximate cost to me: $40

So what’s interesting right off the bat is that even with me low-balling the mouse pad, taking the lowest value I saw for the DVD, and valuing the mini-poster much lower than most people I’ve seen, this box still had the highest overall value of any other Horror Block I’ve gotten. I’m not 100% positive, but I think it may have been the highest value for any Nerd Block family box I’ve ever gotten. That’s pretty interesting. Mind you, I do feel like some of the items aren’t worth what their market value is…the Chucky doll, for instance, is cool, but given the size of it I don’t feel that it’s worth $20. That said, it’s definitely nice to see that number be so high, because it makes me feel a heck of a lot better about what I’m spending on the box.

All in all, it’s a pretty decent box, and I’m not upset that my husband decided to get it. Between the shirt, the Chucky doll, and the Rue Morgue book I definitely think the box was worth the price, with the other items just being interesting little add-ins. I’ve no major complaints, although I do still wish the DVD had been a Blu-ray, but that’s a picky thing I think. I guess I have to admit that Horror Block did a good job on the October box. If I sound hesitant to say that, it’s because I am…because when they actually do a good job it makes me sad that I’ve decided not to subscribe full-time anymore. :P

And that’s that. What did you guys think? Did you pick up a Horror Block for October? What did you think of the Chucky doll…pretty creepy, right? Is there anything in the book that you’d love to have? Where are you going to hang your zombie poster? Please share!