My Geek Box Unboxing (April 2017)

No, I’m not one day late sharing this video; we did actually just get April’s box in the mail today. 😛
This My Geek Box featured items from Batman, Aquaman, Vikings, Manowar, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Flash Gordon! You should definitely check it out, and if you’re interested in trying out My Geek Box for yourself, don’t forget to use coupon code TBASE10 at checkout for £10 off your first box!

March 2017 Geek Fuel Unboxing

This is our third and final Geek Fuel – at least for the time being – as it is the end of the three-month gift subscription that my cousin-in-law sent to us. Thanks again, Justin and Kate! 😀

It was a pretty cool one to go off on, including a really nice shirt (that I’m totally jealous is in Jason’s size) and a wicked-cool gaming item that has me completely and utterly mesmerized. XD

BIG Funko Haul! <3

I have an unhealthy obsession with Funko Pop vinyl collectibles. There’s just no way to spin that in any way that makes me sound less crazy. The little critters are adorable and I love them, and though I’m not ambitious enough to try and collect them all (why would I even want the ones of characters I don’t even know?) I definitely love gathering up the lines that I most enjoy.

In January I shared a video of my ENORMOUS Funko haul, courtesy of one hell of a Christmas gift from my husband. Today I’m sharing a much smaller one, but it’s still pretty sizable considering that it’s only been a few months since that enormous one!

Check it out!

What did you think? Aren’t they just ADORABLE?! Do you have any Funko vinyls? Do you collect them? Which ones are your favorites? What about other kinds of collectibles? I’d love to hear about them! Please share!

Nerd Block Unboxing and Review for March 2015

How many months has it been now since I first suggested that I might cancel Nerd Block? Several, for sure. And this was to be the last! But theeeeennnnnn…. Yeah, they went and threw an “80’s” theme out there for next month so I had to resubscribe to keep my husband’s head from exploding.

But THAT will be the last one, I’m sure of it. >.>

Anyway, check out the unboxing video:

You may have noticed that I wasn’t terribly impressed, though there were a couple of cute items. Let’s take a look at the breakdown:

“A Slice of Fried Gold” t-shirt: My husband seemed to like this shirt of the titular character from ‘Shaun of the Dead’, so it’s too bad that I didn’t get it in his size, because it’s definitely not my favorite shirt. It could be worse, for sure, but I just don’t really see me wearing a shirt with Simon Pegg’s face plastered across it. Value of shirt: approximately $15.
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ nesting dolls: Okay, I can’t say that these aren’t cute, albeit a little silly. If anything, my daughter seemed to be amused by them, especially when the smallest one turned out to be baby potted Groot. These are a Nerd Block exclusive, and thus difficult to put a value on, but I found a similar Avengers set that goes for $15. I have a hard time accepting that value, since these are made of pretty cheap materials, but I guess I’ll go with it since I wouldn’t know what to assign to them otherwise.
‘Star Lord’ magnet: One of the nicer magnets I’ve gotten in these boxes, since it’s a shape other than rectangular, and seems to be pretty sturdy. We could have gotten Groot or Rocket as well, but we were kind of glad to get Star Lord since my daughter already has several Rocket toys and I have a couple of Groot collectibles already. I couldn’t find these exact magnets online, but similar ones go for about $5.
MunnyWorld mini munny: I was a bit annoyed to see this item, since we just got a Munny in last month’s box, and I prefer my collectibles to be created for you, thank you very much. That said, I might be able to create something cute. I’m guessing at a value for this one, since it’s only a little fellow and the smallest size on their website is 7″…I’m going with about $4
“April Fool’s” Batman-themed kit: This…this is just silly, I’m sorry. It’s kinda funny since it’s themed with Batman villains on the items, but really…plastic ice cubes with bugs in them and a whoopie cushion? Just…wow. I couldn’t find this little pack online anywhere, but either of these items would be a buck or two at a joke store, so I’m going with a max of $3 for the pack.
“Nerd Do Well” novel: Of course, given that Simon Pegg helped curate this month’s box, it’s not a surprise that he included his own book in with the contents. I’m definitely interested to read it since Simon is hysterical, but it’s longer than I would have guessed so I’m going to have to carve out a bit of time to dedicate before I start it. Though it kills me a bit, I have to admit that this book is currently being sold for $20, so it really does boost the value of the box.

Total approximate value of box: $62
Total cost to me: $36

So first off, I have to mention that the cost to me changed again, this time going back down a couple of bucks. I’m not sure what’s up with that, exactly; I’m just reporting what’s showing up on my credit card statement.

The cost to me aside, this is one of the highest-value boxes I’ve received from Nerd Block, but since the biggest part of that value comes from the book, I’m not really all that impressed. Similarly, the nesting dolls are a large chunk of that value, but I personally don’t feel that they’re anywhere worth that much, considering that they’re made of a super-cheap-feeling plastic. My husband, apparently, would have liked the shirt, but unfortunately I’m not that big a fan, so there’s the third strike. And then there’s the April Fool’s kit…just…I can’t even say how stupid I think this is.

The long and short of it? I’m interested in the book for sure, and the fact that there were two Guardians of the Galaxy items is pretty cool, but overall I don’t feel that this was a great box. I’m really keeping my fingers crossed for the “80’s” box next month, both because there’s supposed to be a Ghostbusters item, and because my husband and I are kids of the 80’s, so it should be a nostalgia trip if nothing else.

Did you receive March’s Nerd Block? What did you think? What was your favorite item? Least favorite? Please share!

Also, a reminder that I am running a contest throughout the month of March. For each comment you post on my blog throughout the month, you will receive one entry toward a draw for a hard-copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, “Nowhere to Hide”! Please note that in order to accept the prize, I will need you to give me a mailing address where I can have the book sent. If the winner drawn did not intend to enter the contest and/or does not want the book, I will draw another name. Please also note that obvious spam/duplicate comments/etc. will not be counted toward an entry…play fair! And good luck!

The Great Divide

I’ve come across another interesting prompt via The Daily Post today:

When reading for fun, do you usually choose fiction or non-fiction? Do you have an idea why you prefer one over the other?

Right off the bat, no question, I prefer fiction, and I know exactly why. You see, while there are parts of human history that I’m interested in (I’m fainted by cultures like the ancient Egyptians, for example), when I’m curling up with a good book I’m looking to escape reality. I don’t want to read about the real world – that’s all around me all day, every day. No, I want to read about worlds that don’t exist.

On that vein, I’d like to take my response a little deeper: when I read for fun I choose speculative fiction, for all the same reasons that I love to write it. I enjoy myths and legends, epic adventures and monsters. I don’t want to read about regular people doing ordinary things; I want to read about magic and supernatural creatures.

I was always the kind of kid who lived in her own head, imagining the world as so much more than it is, and I’ve become an adult who does the same. Every day I’m surrounded by industry, politics, people talking about their ordinary lives, and the media trying to shove celebrity lives and not-so-reality shows down my throat. When I get a chance to relax and enjoy a good book (or show, or movie, or game), I want ghosts and demons, mermaids and fairies, parallel worlds and space battles. I don’t want common events; I want a goddamn anthropomorphic raccoon wielding a laser gun that’s as big as he is.

This. This right here. How can you not want to know the story behind characters like this?
This. This right here. How can you not want to know the story behind characters like this?

What about you? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? What are your favorite genres or topics? Please share!

Also, a reminder that I am running a contest throughout the month of March. For each comment you post on my blog throughout the month, you will receive one entry toward a draw for a hard-copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, “Nowhere to Hide”! Please note that in order to accept the prize, I will need you to give me a mailing address where I can have the book sent. If the winner drawn did not intend to enter the contest and/or does not want the book, I will draw another name. Please also note that obvious spam/duplicate comments/etc. will not be counted toward an entry…play fair! And good luck!

Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for December 2014

In 2014 I signed up for several different subscription box services, and of all the “geek and gamer” boxes I tested out, Loot Crate is definitely my favorite. The December “Anniversary” box continued that trend, so why not take a look at the unboxing video:

As mentioned in the video I do feel that Loot Crate over-hyped the “biggest box ever” thing (honestly, the box could have been smaller because it was half empty), but if it hadn’t been for the expectations surrounding said hype, this still would have ranked up there with some of the best boxes. Check out the breakdown:

“Joker Batman” Funko Pop figure: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Funko Pop figs always make a box worth it for me. I just love them that much. This one is a bit weird and confusing (was there a storyline where Batman went nuts and started dressing up like Joker?) but it’s still pretty neat and an exclusive at that. It’s difficult to put a value on an exclusive, so I’ll just assign it the value of the average Funko, rounded up a bit to an even $15.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Groot socks: This is the second pair of socks I’ve received from Loot Crate and both pairs were pretty awesome, to be honest with you (as awesome as socks can be, anyway). I think these might be an exclusive as well, since I can’t find them anywhere online, so I’m going to assign them the same value as another pair of GotG socks I found, which is about $6.
“Captain America” shield air freshener: Surprisingly, I found this air freshener (or something almost identical) on the Walmart website. It goes for about $2, which sounds about right to me.
Mini Candy Cane: I’m not even going to put a value on this. Come on; you can get about fifty of these at the dollar store for a buck.
Collector Pin: As always, these pins are probably worth $1 max.
“The Simpsons” paper wallet: Well, it feels like paper, but apparently it is, in fact, plastic. And believe it or not, it goes for $15. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot to you, but if you held the thing you’d probably raise your eyebrows. It feels like one walk in the rain would completely destroy it.
Tetris Sticker Set: These are so cute, and I’m going nuts trying to figure out what I’m going to do with them, because I absolutely have to do something cool with them. These also go for $15, and while that seems like a lot for stickers you also get a ton of them, so that’s pretty cool.
Ghostbusters door hanger: While kinda cute, this is literally just a piece of bristol board with pictures on either side, so I’m not even going to look it up, I’m just assigning it $1.
“Batman: Endgame” comic: Again, it’s difficult to assign a value to something that’s exclusive. Normally this comic would be worth about $5, so I’ll bump it up to about $7 for the exclusive cover.
Crunchyroll 30 day trial: Similar to Netflix, but for Anime, this online service costs $7 per month, so $7 is what the trial is worth.

Total approximate value of box: $69
Total cost to me: $33

So here’s the thing…the value is definitely there, but as usual value is in the eye of the beholder. My biggest miff with this box is the Simpsons wallet because a. I definitely won’t use it and, b. I absolutely cannot see it being worth $15. That said, everything else in the box is actually pretty cool. A Funko is always welcome, and the Tetris sitckers are cute, and those two items cover the cost of the box right there, Plus the air freshener and the socks, while they seem like lame items, are actually pretty amusing to me, so I guess all in all it was a pretty decent Loot Crate. Hopefully they will continue to please me in 2015.

The Little Things in Life

No one who knows my husband and I personally would dare disagree with the statement that we go a little insane at Christmas. We’re not crazy people with endless disposable income – it’s just that we don’t spend a lot of money throughout the year. Our hobbies are cheap ones (he mostly just plays video games, and I’m happy to write on my slowly-dying laptop), and we make a point of trying not to buy our daughter things regularly because we don’t want her to be one of those kids who thinks she can have anything she likes every time we go to the mall.

But at Christmas? Oh, we totally lose our minds at Christmas. It was bad enough when it was just the two of us buying each other geeky collectibles by the truckload, but the past few years we’ve had a kid to deal with as well and the resulting Christmas-tree explosion is a completely ridiculous testament to our mental states.

And I won’t say that the daughter doesn’t enjoy it, because what kid wouldn’t enjoy a mound of presents to open all at once? However, as usual, our adorable little mini-me shows us that quantity is not necessarily the be all and end all.

Rocket

That little critter in her arms right there is a stuffed Rocket Raccoon. My daughter asked Santa (several times and through several different methods and mediums) for a Rocket Raccoon for Christmas this year, and so when she woke up on Christmas morning this little critter was sitting, unwrapped, at the front of the present pile with a little pink bow on his head. And you know what? She’s hardly let go of him since then.

I’m not saying that she ignored her other presents. Hell no. She loves the superhero action figures that she got, has been rocking out on the Barbie guitar that great-nana gave her, and I’m pretty sure she’d play Disney Infinity all day until bedtime if we allowed her… But this little Rocket Raccoon toy – this little stuffed dude who doesn’t do anything other than be hugged with a grumpy look on his face – has barely left her sight for the past week. She’s been sleeping with him cuddled into her arms every night, and he didn’t leave her hand the entire day when we went out shopping for Boxing Week sales. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that someone had super-glued him to her hand.

And you know what? There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Kids (and adults) these days are surrounded by technology, thousands of channels, hundreds of thousands of options, everything bigger and better and flashier and more expensive. And yet a kid’s favorite toy can still be a little plush that does absolutely nothing. It doesn’t play games, it doesn’t talk, it doesn’t move at all. And yet it’s exciting to her to be able to take him to the grocery store and buckle him in to the seat in the cart next to her. That’s pretty amazing, and something we should all probably think about emulating. Because toys (whether they be actual toys, appliances, electronics, or whatever else) don’t have to be the biggest, brightest, noisiest model with the most possible options to still be fun and enjoyable and make a person happy.

What were your favorite toys as a kid? Were they the simple ones or the complex ones? What about as an adult? Do you have to upgrade to the newest cellphone the second it comes out? Or are you the kind of person who is happy to snuggle up and enjoy an old movie favorite? Do you enjoy the simple things in life, or are you all about the complexity? Please share!

Gift Ideas for Christmas 2014: Toys Part 2

Looking for some more gift ideas for the little ones? Let’s see what Tracey’s got in her pack today:

Frozen Color-Changing-Dress Dolls

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You’d probably stamp a huge “DUH” on my face if I started talking about how Frozen toys are big this year, so I’ll spare you that blurb. But I will tell you that amongst the available merchandise (and my god, is there a lot of it), a couple of my favorites are the Anna and Elsa dolls with color-changing dresses. One of the reasons I like them is because, unlike most of the other thousand doll options, these dolls have Anna and Elsa in their “coronation day” party dresses instead of the trademark outfits that they end up in by mid-movie. In other words, they’re actually a little different from all the other options. The other reason I like them is because their appeal is a kind of classic, old school one: you put water in the little wand accessory and “paint” the dresses to magically change their color and design. It’s simple, it’s not messy, and your kid can enjoy it over and over again. Hey, if you’re going to spend upwards of $30 on some random Barbie doll anyway, why not spend it on one of these dolls and make your little Frozen fan’s day?

Fisher Price Doctor Kit


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Now here is a classic toy…literally, I’m pretty sure this toy has been around for at least 30 years, probably more. A couple of my cousins had this kit as children, and except for a few minor changes (that were probably related to safety standards), it’s the same now as it was then. It still includes the little hand-pump blood pressure cuff, the same band-aid “braclet”, the same ear-checker-thingy (seriously, what the hell is that thing called?), and it’s all made of the same sturdy plastic that is nearly impossible to break. And seriously, what kid doesn’t enjoy checking heartbeats, giving needles, and wrapping up boo-boos? Kids love pretending to make parents, siblings, and grandparents feel better, so why not give them the tools they need with this affordable $20 kit?

Disney Infinity

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Okay, let’s get into something a little more, shall we say, substantial? Fair warning: with tons of figures and play pieces to collect, this is the kind of gift that you can easily find yourself spending more and more money on as time goes by. That said, if you’ve got a video game player who also happens to be a fan of Disney shows and movies, this is a pretty damn neat gift. The “starter packs” for the game come with a base on which you place your collectible figures in order to download them into the world of the game. The world and options available to you expand as you purchase your favorite character figures and the available “play pieces” (which unlock new words), meaning that you could theoretically keep playing this game for ages. The 2.0 version of the game also recently came out, giving us lots of new characters to choose between, and the 1.0 characters still work as well, making for an even bigger world (although be warned, the 1.0 play pieces don’t work with 2.0). Just a few of the available character figures are all of the movie-version Avengers (Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Black Widow), the Ultimate Spiderman characters (Spiderman, Nova, White Tiger, Power Man, Iron Fist, and Nick Fury), a couple of Disney princesses (Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, and Merida), the Guardians of the Galaxy (Star Lord, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Drax), and a ton of random characters like Stitch, Vanellope and Wreck-it Ralph, Donald Duck, Jack Sparrow, and many others. If you’ve got someone on your gift-giving list who is a gamer, a collector, and a Disney fan, this gift could easily be a triple-whammy.

Still not done shopping for your little ones? Come back on Thursday for my last batch of suggestions!