Surprise Mail from Dave in the UK!

We got an AWESOME mail call today from one of our awesome Basement Geeks from the UK, Mr Dave, and OMG. So much stuff! Batman, and Buffy, and Mega Man, and Star Trek, and Terminator, and Doctor Who, and even MORE! You’ve just gotta check it out…there was too much awesome to type about. XD

Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for January 2016

Well, January was a slow month for things like subscription boxes, because once again the delivery of all my fun stuff seems to align perfectly with the days I’m stuck on the other side of the country. You just can’t win with these things. But oh well, no sense in whining; you’ve just got to press on and publish posts like these a little late! It’s definitely not the end of the world. 😛

So, the subscription box I have for you today is Loot Crate, which is a company that has been making changes lately, so we’ll talk about those as we go. First, check out the unboxing video, which also happens to be the first video from the YouTube channel reboot, now known as “Tracey’s Basement”!

The theme of January’s Loot Crate was “Invasion”…

“X-Files” Exclusive t-shirt:
The first item out of the box is a t-shirt, and also heralds one of those changes I was talking about. I can’t find anything definitive on the Loot Crate website, but I’ve been told by fellow Looters that the original Loot Crate box will be coming with a t-shirt every month from now on, as opposed to the once-every-three-or-four months schedule from before. So I guess we’ll see how that goes.
This particular shirt is definitely a win for me, with a very glow-ish “X-Files” design just in time for the new version of the show. I loved the show as a kid, so it’s pretty awesome to pick up this wearable that has a nostalgic feel to it. Two thumbs up!
Approximate value: $15

“Space Invaders” exclusive vinyl figure:
This awesome little throwback to the history of video games could have come in three different color schemes, but I’m perfectly happy with the pink-and-blue design that I got. There’s not a whole lot you can say about him because basically a handful of pixels, but this is definitely a super-cute idea for a vinyl figure that would go great on any gamer’s shelf. It’s difficult to put a value on this because it’s an exclusive item and I wasn’t able to find anything really similar on the internet, so I’ll have to go with an average value based on the size and vinyl figures in general.
Approximate value: $10

“Facehugger” plush toy:
Prior to receiving this box, if you had used the word “cute” To describe a facehugger from the “Alien” franchise, I probably would have assumed you’d just had a stroke. However, here we are. Loot Crate took the disgustingly creepy little creatures that look like a trilobite that grew long, thin fingers to cling to your face with, and turned it into a super-happy little monster in sunshine-yellow. This is so odd it breaks my mind.
Cute though.
The ultra-happy-to-see-you version is a Loot Crate exclusive, but you can get a devilish-looking one with mean eyebrows from Entertainment Earth.
Approximate value: holy hell, $17? Really? Um…okay then.

(P.S. I began to suspect this while I was editing the video, and a couple of my YouTube followers brought it up as well…we think the giant yellow rubber band might be in the box for the purpose of affixing the facehugger to your face. Nice one, Loot Crate.)

“Loot Pins” pin for January 2016:
This is another one of those little changes…the collectible pin that comes in every Loot Crate apparently now comes on a little backing with “#LootPins” written on it and a claim on the back that “this pin unlocks something epic”. Upon visiting the site I discovered that the “something epic” is extra loot that you unlock with a code on the back of the pin. This month’s extra is a digital download of a comic called “Letter 44 Volume 1: Escape Velocity”. So that’s actually pretty cool. I know nothing of the comic itself, but it’s neat that the little pins that were always just a little commemoration of the box are now actually loot in and of themselves.
Approximate value: we’ll say about $1 for the pin and about $4 for the digital download, for a total of $5

“Fifth Element” multi-pass replica:
I’m just going to go ahead and say it: “The Fifth Element”…not really my bag. I saw it exactly once and I honestly can’t remember much of anything about it other than the fact that Bruce Willis is in it. That said, for a fan this item is probably pretty interesting. It’s basically an ID-holder with a chain, but for the right kind of nerd it could definitely make your day. I hope there are lots of Looters out there who are wearing this to work as I type this.
This is supposed to be an exclusive item as well, but I’m not sure what exactly makes it exclusive since I’ve found what appear to be identical items on several different websites.
Approximate value: $5

“X-Files” mini flashlight:
This second “X-Files” item is just a wee bit lame. It’s useful, for sure, because everyone should have a flashlight, but it’s also one of a variety of flashlights that is worth little to nothing. At the core, it’s the exact same as one of the little mini-flashlights that you can get at Walmart or the Dollarama for $2, just with “The X-Files” printed on the side. So, yeah…useful but practically valueless.
Approximate value: $2

Mini-posters from “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “War of the Worlds”
To round off the “Invasion” theme, Loot Crate provided us with a couple of mini-posters from two of the biggest alien-invasion movies of the past. Pretty neat; not worth a hell of a lot, but pretty neat, and cute for any cinephile.
Approximate value: $5

Loot Crate mini-magazine:
And I just thought I’d throw this in here because, while it’s not really worth much of anything to the average collector, it’s a cute little extra that the Loot Crate crew probably puts a bit of effort into. Cheers, you guys!
Approximate value: $2

Total approximate value of box: $61
Total approximate cost to me: $41

So, what did I think of the box? Well, as I said in the video: it wasn’t the best but it definitely wasn’t the worst either. The value is there, although a large portion of that value is taken up in the facehugger plush, which I personally don’t think is worth nearly that much. I definitely like the shirt and the “Space Invaders” vinyl, and the mini-posters are pretty neat, while the flashlight feels like a bit of a cop-out item and the multi-pass really means nothing to me at all. I do, however, also think that the “bonus loot” from the pin is a pretty neat change that Loot Crate has made, and if I’m right about the rubber band…that’s just amusing.

So yeah, basically this was an okay box that I enjoyed opening. Nothing super-special, but it’s definitely not a bad one or anything like that. I give it…one thumb up. 🙂

What did you guys think of the “Invasion” box? What was your favorite item? Least favorite? What’s your opinion on the rumor that Loot Crate will always have a t-shirt for now on? Please share!

Nerd Block (+ Welcome Block) Unboxing and Review for October 2015

The problem with cancelling subscription box services like Nerd Block is that they’re constantly sending out hints about what’s going to be in next month’s box. Though I’d previously cancelled Nerd Block I decided to resubscribe for one month because the promotional emails were promising two vinyl figures for the October “Tricks and Treats” box. Additionally, the Nerd Block family of subscription boxes recently began this “Welcome Block” idea, where upon signing up they send you a smaller version of the boxes with random items from previous boxes. So my husband and I thought, okay, we’ll sign up for the Nerd Block for one month under his name, and get the free Welcome Block as well.

And so we come to the first unboxing of the month. This is the Nerd Block for October, along with one of the random Welcome Block boxes. To the video!

So first we have the Welcome Block. I wasn’t expecting much from this box because it hadn’t been very long since I’d actually been a full-time subscriber of Nerd Block, so I was very confident that everything in the Welcome Block would be something I’d already previously gotten. I was 100% correct, but actually even more disappointed in the box because of the particular items I received…

“Saul Goodman” Titan vinyl figure:
Normally I wouldn’t be too upset with any vinyl figure, even if it’s from a show that I never finished (don’t kill me!) but this one definitely made me twitch a little because it is not only the second one of these figures I’ve gotten…it’s the third. I received one in the Vinylpalooza box as well, which makes me seriously wonder, how damn many of these did Nerd Block buy?! They’re still trying to get rid of them a year later and in multiple boxes! What the hell?! Approximate value: $10

“Cliccors” desk toy:
We received two of this little bracelet-esque desk toys several months back, and though my daughter enjoys them I wasn’t terribly impressed to see another one because they’re probably one of the cheaper things Nerd Block could have chosen to put in the Welcome Block. Approximate value: $3

“Ghostbusters” wallet:
This one is, at least, a decent item; it’s just unfortunately that it’s both something I’ve gotten before and something that I would never have use for two of. In fact, I haven’t even used the first one because it’s just too small of a wallet for me. But there you have it. Approximate value: $10

“Coin Op Crush” CD:
And this one just made me vibrate. You guys know how I feel about CDs in my subscription boxes, so the fact that I now have two copies of this disk of video game music is just…flabbergasting. Approximate value: $5

Total approximate value of box: $28
Total cost to me: $0

So here’s the thing about the Welcome Block: I can’t really complain about it because it was free. So, considering that I paid exactly $0 for it, I have to admit that $28 worth of stuff is pretty good. It’s just unfortunate that one of the items is my THIRD copy, and another of the items is a copy of one of the worst items I’ve ever gotten (in my opinion).

So now on to the actual Nerd Block, which had a “Tricks and Treats” theme for the month of October. I subscribed specifically for the “two vinyl figures”, but I was keeping my fingers crossed for a good box overall.

“Gremlins” t-shirt:
I have found Nerd Block’s t-shirts to be hit or miss, but this is one that was a hit for me. This Gremlins shirt features a happy-looking Gizmo, who transforms into an angry-looking Spike in the dark via glow-in-the-dark paint. It’s pretty cute, if not very colorful, and definitely something I’ll be willing to wear because Gremlins is an awesome movie (which I totally have to watch again sometime soon…). Approximate value: $15

“Moe” coaster:
In my personal opinion, way too many of these boxes end up having coasters in them. I mean, how many coasters can a person use? That said, at least this one is actually a well-made coaster. Usually we get these cardboard-like things that seem like they would melt with a little moisture, but this is actually a tin-topped coaster with a cork bottom, like something you might actually find in a bar. It also commands you to “Put your mug on my mug”, which is pretty amusing. I’m not into collecting Simpsons stuff, but at least this is actually a usable item. Approximate value: this seems to be an exclusive to the box, but based on similar items I’d say it’s worth about $5

“Zombie Hunter” dog tags:
Unattached to any particular fandom, these dog tags are designed to look like they’re for a tactical zombie-fighting team. They’re pretty neat and actually seem to be quite well made. Although not really for me I can definitely appreciate them, and they won’t look too shabby hanging up with some of my other horror-and-zombie items. Approximate value: $10

“Bob’s Burgers” mad libs:
It’s been a while, so you guys might not know exactly how I feel about books of mad libs, but I’ll give you a hint: they suck. Okay, that was a bit more than a hint. Let me rephrase slightly: they don’t totally suck, but they are absolutely not the kind of thing that I want showing up in my subscription boxes. Even if they’re fandom-based, they’re still cheap little books of nonsense that seem like something you would find tons of at the Dollar Store. Approximate value: $4 (although I personally think they’re worth $1, tops)

“Jem and the Holograms” comic book:
Okay, I said this in the video, but I’ll say it again now: totally not the item I was expecting. I don’t know what I was expecting when I heard there was going to be a Jem item in this box, but it definitely wasn’t a comic. Honestly, it didn’t really matter what the item was because Jem is one of those things that was awesome in my childhood but holds little sway for me now, but regardless I will still totally wind up reading this some night. Approximate value: the regular comics are $4 each, but this seems to be one of those thicker volumes that includes a couple of issues, so we’ll say about $10.

“Alien and Ripley” vinyl figures two-pack:
Now, my feelings on this item are conflicted. One the one hand, this is an awesome little set. I LOVE the Alien, and Ripley isn’t too bad herself. They’re super-cute and the Alien in particular is really well done, plus I love that they come together as a set. However, I’m pretty annoyed with the fact that Nerd Block pumped up this box by telling us that there would be “two vinyl figures” in it. Yeah, technically these are two vinyl figures…but they’re one item, since they’re packaged together, and they’re also the miniature Titan figures rather than the full-sized ones. So, basically, it just feels like they tricked us. That said, I do still love these little guys so I’m kinda willing to overlook it, but I’m going to do so with a stern glare in Nerd Block’s general direction. Approximate value: these little guys normally go for about $10 each, so although I feel they’re not worth that for their size, I have to suck it up and say the two-pack is worth about $20

Total approximate value of box: $64
Total approximate cost to me: $40

So, as I’ve mentioned many times before, one of the big reasons that I stopped getting Nerd Block is that the value just hasn’t been worth it for what it’s been costing me since the Canadian dollar has been down. Luckily this particular box had a pretty decent value, so that wasn’t a huge issue, but I have to keep mentioning it because it does make a huge difference in whether or not it’s worthwhile to subscribe to these boxes.

For this box I was fairly happy overall. I LOVE the two little vinyl figures, even if I feel that we were tricked into expecting bigger items, and I’m quite happy with the Gremlins t-shirt as well. The other items are not big things, but they do flesh out the box a bit, and if I’m honest the only item that I genuinely do not like at all is the book of mad libs because I feel they’re silly and cheap. All around I felt that it wasn’t the greatest box, but it was decent, and good enough that I’m not disappointed that I subscribed to get it.

I will be holding on to the subscription for this coming month because literally everything that’s supposed to be in it is from a fandom that I love (yeah, yeah, they hooked me again), but after that I do plan to cancel again, based solely on the fact that it just costs way too much with the state of the dollar right now…plus I have way too many subscription boxes right now and I’ve recently subscribed to another. >.>

So there you go: that was the Nerd Block for October 2015. What did you guys think? Did you get a box for October? Did you enjoy what you got? How did you feel about the “two vinyl figures”? Will you wear those dog tags? Please share!

Horror Block Unboxing and Review for June 2015

What’s this? A super-late Horror Block unboxing? Don’t mind if I do!

So June’s Horror Block wasn’t the best, but I definitely liked it better than my husband, who pretty much thought it was complete junk. Let’s take a look at the breakdown for more info.

The Purge “Survive the Night” t-shirt: Okay, one thing I will definitely say right off the bat is that almost all of the t-shirts included in Horror Block have been horrible, and this one is no different. My husband and I both love horror stuff, but we’re not into wearing shirts with big, creepy, ugly faces on them, which is what about 90% of the Horror Block t-shirts are like. A silhouette of Freddy Krueger? Cool. Jason Voorhees peeking out from behind a tree? Cool. Ugly-ass face with black circles around his eyes and an upside-down cross on his forehead? Gross and not wearable, at least not in this house. Sorry, Horror Block, this shirt is another miss. I’ll still give it my usual value of $15, but I’m not happy about it.

Alien Egg silicone ice cube mold: I’m really winding up with a collection of these ice makers, though I’m not really complaining because they can be pretty funny during a night of drinks with friends. This newest one makes alien eggs, which is definitely amusing to me, at least, and would probably be cool for a drink with a nice green tinge to it. I was able to find this particular mold for as low as $12, so that’s what I’m going with today.

Stuffed Chtulhu toy: Okay, I’m going to admit that I don’t know a whole hell of a lot about Chtulhu, aside from the fact that he’s some big, powerful, creepy god, and that there has been an ass load of merchandise made of him, of which this item is one. It’s the only item of its kind that I own, and that’s definitely not a complaint because he’s adorable as sin. I couldn’t find this particular stuffy anywhere online, but based on the plethora of other stuffed Chtulhus and what things like this usually go for in the local comic shops, I’m estimating it at about $10.

Scream “Ghostface” Re-Action figure: As I mentioned in the video, I am not for these particular figures. I understand why they came up with them – for the nostalgic retro factor – but I think they’re cheap and chintzy, and as my husband said, you have to keep them in the packaging or they look like the junkiest thing ever. This particular one is Ghostface from the Scream franchise, and that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. The Re-Action figures go for about $10

Rue Morgue magazine: And, as always, there is a magazine that I have no intention to read. I can’t really complain about these items since they do add a decent value to the box and lots of people probably enjoy getting them, but they just aren’t for me. Regardless, this one values at the same as they usually do: approximately $10.

Total approximate value of box: $57
Total cost to me: $36

So the value isn’t too bad, that’s for sure, but you can see from the breakdown that the ratio of items I like to items I don’t is pretty off. The ice maker and the little stuffed Chtulhu are pretty cool, but the shirt is ugly, the Re-Action figure is extremely “meh”, and the magazine is the same as it always is: something I just won’t read. That means that there’s only about a $22 value to the stuff I like, which you’ll notice is a lot less than what I paid.

And with that note, I have in fact cancelled my Horror Block subscription. I’ll be getting one more, so look forward to that, but it will be the last  one because I just haven’t been enjoying Horror Block for ages now. I’ve gotten an item here, an item there, but overall the boxes have been pretty disappointing and it’s time to stop wasting my money on them.

What do you think? Did you receive a Horror Block for June? What was your favorite item? Least favorite? Do you think Horror Block is worth the cost? Please share!

Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for September 2014

I was super-excited for this month’s Loot Crate, which had the theme “Galactic”. I won’t say I was disappointed, exactly, but I was a little bit let down. Check out the unboxing video:

Can you see the “let down” look on my face? It’s not that the items weren’t cool, but most of them just weren’t for me, you know? *sigh* So let’s do a value breakdown:

Science Fiction Mystery Mini Loot Crate Exclusive: Mystery Minis of a wide variety tend to go for anywhere between $5 and $10 depending on where you’re buying them. Since this one was an exclusive made just for Loot Crate, I’m going to go ahead and assign it the higher value of $10.
Loot Crate Exclusive Tribble: It’s hard to put a value on this since it’s another exclusive, but I found similar items online for about $10.
Single-Pack Pop Rocks: These seem to go for about $1.50
Star Wars/Asteroids magnet: As usual, I assign these magnets a value of about $1 because, come on…it’s a magnet.
ReAction Kane figure (from Alien): The ReAction figures go for about $10 pretty much everywhere.
Halo comics redemption code: I couldn’t actually find a price for these digital downloads, and I suspect they may actually be free normally, which would make their value $0. If you know better, please correct me.
Firefly Universe Fake “Credits”: Believe it or not this stack of fake money goes for the real price of about $10. Come on, people…it’s kind of cool, but would you really be willing to spend $10 in real money to get a stack of fake money?
Han Solo in Carbonite mini-poster: This mini-poster goes for about $2.

Total approximate value of box: $45
Total cost to me: $30

So, all in all, this wasn’t a great box. The value was lower than previous boxes, and most of the stuff in it just doesn’t do anything for me. The tribble is cute, but I can’t get past the fact that it’s just a ball of fuzz, and the ReAction figure would have been cool if I’d gotten the Alien, but who really cares about Kane in a spacesuit? And I’m sorry, but the Firefly credits just seem stupid to me, especially now that I know that, value-wise, it was actually one of the biggest items in the box. All in all, the only item I really like is the Malcolm Reynolds Mystery Mini.

The Villains and the Heroes boxes were so awesome, Loot Crate…what happened? 😛

Horror Block Unboxing and Review for August 2014

By far the best member of the Nerd Block family, in my opinion, is the very young Horror Block. There have only been two shipments of this block so far, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them both. First, check out the unboxing video:

And now a breakdown of the items:

Cult Classics Jigsaw Killer figure: Figures like these tend to vary in price depending on where you’re buying them, but the average cost seems to be about $20
Bone Pen: This cute little novelty can be yours for about $2
Alien t-shirt: As usual, I’m assigning the shirt a value of about $15
“Vintage” Tales from the Crypt comic: I’m going to be honest, I really have no idea how to price this one because I can’t find it anywhere online and I’m not willing to spend any more time searching, so I’m going to assign it the value of an average comic today, $5
Zombie wall decal: I couldn’t find the exact decal (the one I keep finding online is the same head but also includes a hand), so I’m going to assign this approximately half the cost of what I’m finding, which is approximately $10
Rue Morgue Magazine: And, as always, if you enjoy Rue Morgue this item is valued at about $10

Total approximate value of box: $62
Total cost to me: $33

So the value for this box was definitely there, mainly because of the Cult Classics figure. There are a lot of characters that I or my husband would have preferred over the Saw killer, but it’s still a great addition to the box. One thing that I will say (that my husband pointed out) is that if we were “serious” collectors we would probably be very annoyed with this Horror Block because the packaging for the Saw killer figure was totally crushed in order to get it in the box. As it stands, we’re the kind of (apparently not “serious”) collectors who rip everything out of the packaging so that we can enjoy it in all it’s glory, but I just thought I’d point that out.

The shirt is also a plus, in my opinion, and the wall decal will make a cute Halloween decoration. All in all, it was a pretty good box. Not as good as last month, but as I mentioned in the video it’s really hard to beat a Sharknado Funko. 😀