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.

Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for July 2014

So this month, in addition to the multiple Nerd Block’s I’ve been trying out, I decided to also give a shot to Loot Crate. Similar to Nerd Block, Loot Crate is a subscription box service for geeks, but this one has a theme every month and may or may not include a shirt, depending on the theme. This month’s theme was “Villains”, which I just had to try, so first off, please check out my unboxing video:

So as you may be able to tell by the video, I was pretty impressed. Here’s an approximate cost analysis of everything I received:

“Joki” T-shirt: $15
Deadpool socks: I cannot find these anywhere, they may have been an exclusive item, so I’m going to assign them a common “specialty sock” price of $10
Joker and Harley Quinn mini-posters: couldn’t find these anywhere…betting they would go for about $3 each or so
Darth Vader keychain: $8
“Necessary Evil” documentary: this is a special dvd that I do not believe can be purchased by itself, so I’m going to go with about $10
Bowser “I Want You” magnet: another exclusive, I think, so shall we say $3?
Loot Crate collectible pin: let’s say about $1
Rocket Raccoon SE Comic: another exclusive, so let’s give it a usual comic price of about a $5

Total approximate value: $58
Cost to me: $30

So, right off the bat I got approximately twice the value of what I actually spent, but that’s not necessarily a good indicator. I had similar numbers from my first Nerd Block, but many of the items in that box were things that I would never consider spending that kind of money on. This Loot Crate, on the other hand was totally worth it. Both the “Joki” shirt and the Deadpool socks are things that I would absolutely have bought for myself had I found them on my own first. The mini-posters, the Vader keychain, and the Bowser magnet are not necessarily things that I would have picked up on my own, but they’re all cool little additions none-the-less. The “Necessary Evil” documentary is a bit of a wash because I’m pretty sure this is the same documentary that came with my husband’s special edition version of Arkham Origins, but it would definitely be an interesting thing to receive if we didn’t already have it. And come on, who doesn’t love Rocket Raccoon?

So all in all, I have to say that I was very impressed with my first ever Loot Crate. It is definitely blowing Nerd Block out of the water so far, and I can’t wait to get next month’s box, for which the theme is “Heroes”.

As a parting note, in case you didn’t actually watch the video: if you’re interested in trying out Loot Crate for yourself, please use my referral link:
You would be helping me out a ton by clicking here before ordering your first Loot Crate, so please do so and you’ll be my new best friend. 😀


Gender Insignificant

Gender stereotypes.

Paying attention? I’d be willing to bet that you are because these two words, when combined, create panic attacks and mass hysteria, especially when applied to children.

You said it, Joker.

Gender stereotypes are something that I’ve personally never played into. As a little girl I was a bit of a tomboy who preferred pants to skirts, blue to pink, and climbing trees to tea parties, but I also liked baby dolls and My Little Pony. I grew up to become a woman working in a male dominated field, but I do so wearing red lipstick and nail polish. I guess you could say that I’m a feminine tomboy. Does that make sense? Sure it does. Move on already, geeze.

I just happened to turn out the way I am through neither the fault nor the effort of my parents or the other people in my life. My mom tried to get me to wear more girlie clothes, but I mostly vetoed her; my slew of male cousins tried to get me into things like fishing and shooting pellet guns, but I never really caught on to those things. I was pretty adamant that I liked what I liked, and to hell with the rest.

When I was a kid the topic of gender stereotypes didn’t really exist as far as I was concerned, but now that I have a child of my own, I see the argument in a much different light. It makes me raise a critical eyebrow.

People are absolutely nuts when it comes to the gender stereotype issue. Absolutely nuts.

There are two major groups that I can discern. The first are the people who cling to the gender stereotypes. These people believe that girls belong in pink skirts, and boys in blue pants. They believe that girls should play with dolls and boys with trucks. Girls should be gentle and sensitive, boys should be rough and tough. Girls grow up to be mothers who take care of the household, boys grow up to be the providers. To the minds of these people, any deviation from the norm is some kind of horrible character flaw. They’re terrified that allowing children to experience anything outside their gender’s “rulebook” will create ultra-feminists and flamboyant gays, which is a concept that, aside from being just ridiculously prejudiced and bigoted, couldn’t be any less based in actual fact.

Second, you have the other side who take it to the exact opposite extreme. These people think that kids who stick to concepts that are traditionally labeled to their gender makes them somehow socially backward. A little girl who dreams of being a princess is an embarrassment to “enlightened” women. A little boy who likes superheroes is automatically a typical testosterone-laden chauvinist. By choosing to embrace things that fall into the stereotypes we’ve grown up with for decades, these kids are thought to be some kind of terrible example of the rampant sexism in the world and people’s unwillingness to advance.

Does anyone beside me think that both of these types of people are a little looney?

You want to know what I think? (Well it doesn’t matter because it’s my blog and I’m going to tell you anyway!) I think that, for a change, we should just stand back and let the kids make their own decisions as to what to surround themselves with. Give them the opportunity and let them figure it out on their own what they like, instead of what you think they should like. I promise you that what toys he plays with does not decide whether your little boy is going to be a vicious brute or be sexually confused, and that your little girl is not going to become a vapid slut or develop unhealthy female body expectations just because she happens to like Barbie dolls.

I’ve said this before, but kids aren’t born understanding things like stereotypes and prejudice; they learn it because we inflict it upon them. The choices they make on their own are innocent, free of our perceived consequences. If a little girl likes trucks it’s not because she’s too masculine, nor does it mean she’s a strong, enlightened woman; it’s because trucks are fun toys. That’s it. End of discussion. If a little boy likes to play with tea sets it does not mean that he’s destined to be gay, nor does it mean that he’s advanced and in touch with his feminine side; it means that tea sets are fun toys. Honestly, that’s really all that goes through a child’s mind:

“Is it fun? No? Get that crap away from me!”

“Is it fun? Yes? Gimmi gimmi gimmi!”

Kids learn from us, and it’s our habit of focusing on gender stereotypes that is the real problem. By making a big deal out of it, one way or the other, we reinforce that this is an issue and it therefore becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Seriously, if we would just pretend that the issue doesn’t even exist and let kids figure out what they enjoy on their own, it’ll be much, much easier on everyone. I promise.

(And yes, before any smart-asses point it out, I realize that I am, by way of this blog post, “focusing on the issue”. You know what I mean; stop being purposely contradictory.)

My daughter is now 2 and a half. We’ve imposed nothing on her (except for, obviously, we’re the ones who have been buying her clothes), and she is one of the most well-rounded toddlers I know. She loves reading books and she loves running and jumping. She has tea parties and she has water gun fights. She loves her My Little Pony t-shirts and she loves her Ninja Turtles pajamas. She likes purple and pink, and blue and green. Her mother is on the other side of the country two weeks out of every four, and her father is a stay-at-home-dad, and you know what? It hasn’t affected her one bit…because why would it?

It’s time to stop pushing our kids to be the way we believe they should be and let them figure out who they want to be. Wouldn’t you have wanted that as a child, had you been given the choice? Please share your thoughts and comments!