Mail Call: Awesome Box from “Unboxing Rocks”!

One of the high points of being on YouTube is that you’ll inevitably meet like-minded people who share your passions, and we’ve found quite a few of those in recent months…HI EVERYBODY! *waves*

One such duo that Jason and I have fallen in love with are “Unboxing Rocks”, and they’re so awesome that they decided to send us a box full of goodies that they thought would be great in our collection. It doesn’t get better than that, and honestly, this is probably one of our most animated videos ever. XD

Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for August 2015

You may find this hard to believe, but for once the lateness of this subscription box review is not at all my fault! Loot Crate has been showing up later and later in the month for the past several months, until finally this time it didn’t show up in the right month at all. What’s up with that? I have no idea, but I just thought I’d clear up that it is not, in fact, my fault.

August’s Loot Crate was the ‘Villains 2’ box, the sequel to last year’s rather popular ‘Villains’ box. So did it live up to the legacy? Let’s check out the video!

Did you notice a distinct lack of enthusiasm? I’ll explain why as we go through the breakdown.

Los Pollos Hermanos (“Breaking Bad”) apron:
Now I have to admit that it’s interesting to see something different like this apron in one of these boxes, but it just doesn’t appeal to me personally. The reason isn’t the fact that I haven’t actually seen a “Breaking Bad” episode with “Los Pollos Hermanos” in it (don’t flog me!) but rather just that I don’t wear aprons and probably never will. I can’t really see my husband using it either, even though he loved “Breaking Bad”, so that makes this product pretty much a bust for me. And that’s too bad since this apron takes up the vast majority of the box’s value. Believe it or not, a “Los Pollos Hermanos” apron retails for $30 on multiple different websites, including the official “Breaking Bad” online store. I can’t even fathom someone paying that for an apron, but that’s what the internet tells me so I guess I have to accept it.

DC Comics “The Joker” painted wooden figure (exclusive):
I may have been a little hard on this item when I was doing the video; it is pretty cute, it’s just that it feels less like a collectible to me and more like a craft. I don’t dislike it, exactly, I just feel that of the wide world of Joker items that Loot Crate could have chosen, this chunky wooden desk toy is on the lower side of the list of things I would have chosen. It’s well-painted though, and it is an exclusive to Loot Crate subscribers, so there’s that. The other available options are Batman and Superman, and I half feel like I should pick up Batman just so chunky wooden Joker has someone to hang out with on the shelf. The other options go for about $13, so I’m going to go ahead and call that the value of this item.

“Captain America: The First Avenger” Hydra lapel pin:
I usually sigh a little inwardly when I get pins in my subscription boxes because most of them come with collectible pins anyway, and they often enough come with those packs of 4-6 round pins with stock images on them. This lapel pin, however, is very different, and I actually rather like it. It’s a brooch-style pin of Hydra’s octopus-skull symbol, and it’s also an official prop replica from the movie, which is pretty cool. That said, while I’m happy to have it it’s definitely not something I would ever purchase for myself, given it’s $20 price tag. Yikes!

“Venom” (“Spider-Man”) 16 oz 3D mug:
I would probably like this mug a lot more if it weren’t for the fact that I cringe and sigh every time I open one of these boxes and find a mug inside. Our household is pretty full up on mugs (including a couple of geeky ones we bought for ourselves, like my Thor mug and the hubby’s Batman one), and it seems like another one comes via one of these boxes every two or three months. As I said in the video I’ll probably just end up putting this one on the shelf with the rest of my Marvel stuff because it is pretty cool-looking, and Venom is one of my favorite Marvel villains ever. We also apparently could have gotten Carnage, which would have been okay, but I prefer Venom. I found this on several different websites, and the average price seems to be about $15.

Loot Crate mini-magazine and pin:
I don’t usually include these two items in the list, but I thought I’d throw them a mention this time around simply because this particular Loot Crate only had four items, whereas they usually have five or six. They’re not really worth much, except collector value, but I’ll assign them $1 each just to say I did.

Total approximate value of box: $79
Total approximate cost to me: $40

So there are a few things to say for sure. Right off the bat I want to point out the fact that the cost to me has gone up even more recently. The overall cost of Loot Crate has always been less than the boxes in the Nerd Block family because their cost is a set value of $30 US while Nerd Block’s is $20 plus shipping and handling (and said shipping and handling is outrageous), but everything has gone up recently because the Canadian dollar has been pretty firmly in the toilet. Because of this even Loot Crate is getting to the point where it’s hardly worth it for me to waste my money.

That said, I can’t argue with the fact that the value was there for this box – in fact, I think it was the highest value box I’ve ever gotten from Loot Crate. However, as I mentioned earlier the overwhelming majority of that value is caught up in one item, and it just so happens to be the item I like the least, unfortunately. So we find ourselves balancing on that dangerous fence again: is the box worth the value or not?

Aside from cost and value arguments, I do have to say that I did not enjoy the “Villains 2” box nearly as much as I did the “Villains” box. My husband suggested that this might be partly due to the fact that I’m fondly remembering the “Villains” box as the first one I ever got from Loot Crate, so I did myself a favor and went back to look at what was in that original box. And you know what? I stand by my original feeling. Though the “Villains” box wasn’t as wonderfully amazing as I was remembering it to have been, it was still better than this month’s box. It had the “Joki” t-shirt, which I love, the Deadpool socks, which I also love, and a Darth Vader keychain (which broke on me, but I loved it while I had it), among other small things. None of the stuff was way up there in value, but it was all fun stuff, and there was quite a bit of it. This month’s box has items of much higher value, but there are only four items, one of them is a total bust, and another I’ll likely never use for its intended purpose.

So there you have it, I guess. It wasn’t the worst Loot Crate box I’ve gotten, but it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as I was expecting it to be, and the fact that the cost to me has gone up makes the sting hurt just a bit more.

What did you think? Was the “Villains 2” box a win or a loss? What was your favorite item? Least favorite? Do you feel like the box is (still) worth the cost if you’re outside the US? Please let me know!

A to Z Challenge: A Review

First, I want to give a bit shout-out to all those who are involved in the running of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It’s got to take a lot of time and dedication to keep track of so many participants, making sure that non-participants are removed from the list, and ensuring that participants get the attention they deserve. Kudos!

Second, a double-huge shout-out to all my fellow participants who made it (sometimes kicking and screaming) to the end of the challenge. Some of those letters were pretty difficult, but you did it! You rock! 😀

Third, a triple-huge shout-out to all those who stopped by my blog during April and commented on my posts. I had some great conversations this month, met some cool new friends, and gained a number of new followers. I hope you all stick close by, because it’s been a blast, and I’ve been truly happy to meet you all. 🙂

The challenge has been a great deal of fun, and I got a lot of great comments on my 26 posts, so as part of this review I present a list of links to each of my posts in case anyone missed anything or is just dropping by now and would like to check a couple of them out.

Day 1: Ariel (the Little Mermaid)Day 2: Buffy Summers (the Vampire Slayer)
Day 3: Castiel (the Monster-Fighting Angel)
Day 4: Deadpool (the Lunatic Assassin)
Day 5: Eric Northman (the Viking Vampire)
Day 6: Freddy Krueger (the Nightmare Demon)
Day 7: Gau (the Wild Orphan)
Day 8: Han Solo (the Cocky Starpilot)
Day 9: Iron Man (the Smarmiest Avenger)
Day 10: James T. Kirk (the Star Fleet Captain)
Day 11: Kefka Palazzo (the Magitek Monster)
Day 12: Lisse (the Child of the Dystopian Future)
Day 13: Magus (the Lost Wizard)
Day 14: Neville Longbottom (the Heart of Gryffindor)
Day 15: Other-Mother (the Other World Evil)
Day 16: Peter Parker (the Spider-Man)
Day 17: Qui-Gon Jinn (the Jedi Knight)
Day 18: Ryuk (the Shinigami)
Day 19: Sherlock Holmes (the High-Functioning Sociopath)
Day 20: Tyrion Lannister (the Exceptionally Clever Imp)
Day 21: Usagi Tsukino (the Sailor Senshi)
Day 22: Victoria MacKinnon (the Lost Princess)
Day 23: Winchester Brothers (the Monster Hunters)
Day 24: Xander Harris (the Lovable Sidekick)
Day 25: Yuki Miaka (the Girl from Other World)
Day 26: Zelda (the Hyrulian Princess)

In case you somehow missed it, my theme for the challenge was “Fictional Characters”. Each one of these characters, even the ones chosen out of duress of very difficult letters, holds a special place in my heart for one reason or another. The TV shows, movies, comics, cartoons, and video games mentioned were overwhelmingly a great part of my childhood, and in some cases an incredible part of my adulthood. If you’ve got the time, check some of them out. You totally won’t be disappointed.

And finally, before I sign off, I wanted to share with you a couple of the blogs that I’ve come across during this particular challenge. I came into contact with so many awesome fellow bloggers this past month that it’s impossible to mention them all, but these are a couple of the ones I fully plan to keep tabs on even now that the challenge is over.

A Scenic Route – Kirsten is a fellow writer who blogs about her “journey into noveldom”. This month she wrote a wonderful series of posts with the theme “Backstage at the Blog”, in which she gave some wonderful tips, hints, and ideas for fellow bloggers, in addition to sharing info about her own blogging journey.

Sophie’s Thoughts and Fumbles – Sophie is a writer of many genres who uses her blog as a place to talk about reading, writing, all the topics in between, and whatever else she so desires. She is also the brains behind the mini-challenge that a few of us participated in in addition to the A to Z challenge: the Supernatural A to Z Challenge. She wrote about ghosts and ghoulies this month, and while I didn’t often comment on her posts because my WordPress reader doesn’t make it easy for me to deal with other blogging websites, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading about all the creepy creatures that she posted.

Alex Hurst – Alex is one of my favorite new people because she is fun, bubbly, and friendly, and we apparently have a great deal in common. The fantasy writer spent the month talking about different aspects of writing and being a writer. Her post “J for Jargon” cracked me up because so many of the definitions she came up with were SO TRUE.

I would love to share some more blogs, and perhaps I will in the future, but this has been such a busy month that I simply do not have the time it would take to go through all the wonderful blogs I’ve found during this challenge. However, if you’re really, truly interested in finding some great new people to follow, check out the A to Z sign-up list and just start clicking. There are literally hundreds of wonderful blogs amongst that list.

And now, with all that aside, I must say adieu, and take a much-deserved nap. Cheers everyone! ❤

A to Z Challenge Day 16: Peter Parker (the Spider-Man)


I’ve mentioned before that in recent years I’ve gotten pretty into the comic book world, particularly with the Marvel superheroes. But Spider-Man – aka Peter Parker – is the Marvel superhero who was my first big link to the comic world, before I even really knew anything about comics.

I’m too young for the original Spider-Man cartoon (although I’ve seen it and have an appreciation for the terrible goodness of it), but there was another cartoon in the 90’s that aired when I was plenty old enough to be falling in love with superheroes. I’m certain that I saw every episode of this particular series, and went on to watch a couple of spin-off series’ as well. At one point – though I was always more into prose than comic-style stories – I began collecting a s series of comics called “Slingers”, which featured four teenagers who adopted the four alternate persona that Peter Parker had come up with during a particularly rough time to be Spider-Man. And my enjoyment of the character continued on from there, with the movies, and then the remake, plus the video games that were periodically released all through my childhood.

The biggest reason that I liked Spider-Man, specifically, as a kid is that he was a kid too. Okay, sure, he was a teenager, but still. He was a young person who had to deal with school, a social life, dating, and all that other good stuff, while also being a superhero, constantly in mortal danger and having his good name besmirched by none other than his boss. It’s always great, as a kid, to be reminded that kids can be heroes too, and Peter Parker showed that in spades. He acted like a kid, what with the goofy banter and constantly trying to balance superhero life with a social life, but he also regularly saved peoples’ lives, thwarted evil, and made hard decisions. As a kid who also loved to write and create her own characters, those qualities really spoke to me.

These days I still enjoy watching Spider-Man cartoons, especially with the company of my daughter, who even at only three years old already knows that Doctor Octopus is a “really bad guy”. Damn right, sweetie. Damn right.