Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Haul, 2010!

Oh, what a wonderful time to be alive! The air is crisp, holiday cheer is in abundance and my floor is covered in so many gifts and presents that I'm now primed for landmines or a game of Hot Lava. I'm totally psyched right now. There is so much to watch, read and tumble around in my hands to make me just wanna kick over the coffee table. Every time I look over my shoulder at that pile of Christmas fun I'm reminded of how much "giving is better than receiving" can suck it. I'm aware that my chi and harmony will be offcentered and unbalanced at such a statemement, but I'd rather please my PS3 with overpriced videogames than throw my wallet into the X-mas Black Hole of unwelcomed gag-gifts and ugly clothing. I'm also aware of how incredibly gay that last last previous sentence was. Check it out. It's really gay.

So this is the best of the best, the greatest gifts I conned and deceived my parents, siblings and friends into getting me:

Shotglass Showcase:

I don't think I've ever been a shotglass enthusiast, with the only exception being in Salt Lake City years ago, where I just knew I had to start the collection right then and there. I realized how boring a shotglass could be when I understood that I'd never drink anything from it, and that it was better for makesift antfarms for plastic bugs or a guitar pick holder thing. I need to patent that.

Davey got me this, under the guise of Papa Calabrese. I think he was our pops' "Christmas Elf," and supplied nearly most of the gifts our parents gave us on the big day. Normally, this is a travesty and a complete sin against all that is holy, but I can forgive him. The 'rents are just as out of touch as I am when it comes to buying presents for everyone, that the only logical conclusion is to get Davey to do all the purchasing. He's young, dumb and full of fun. He's got his finger on the pulse of his older, wiser siblings and will surprise even the most jaded, burnt out present receivers.

This really is great, Davey-my-boy. It's either a gracious gift or a statement in how messy my apartment is. Or how I drink a lot. I dunno. I hate you now, Davey.

I mean, sure, everything I own is in junk piles and junk drawers, so it's a welcome addition to my cramped apartment. Obviously, I've decided to ditch the shotglass route and stick strictly to action figures. Mainly, ones that'll fit. Those Star Wars dudes had to be bent up and shoved in a bit, but since that reduces the wobble-effect, I'm overjoyed and excited to not have to stand these fuckers up ever again.

It really looks good, like, damn good. Almost sexual. Intensely hard to photograph, so I'm hoping my words bring the excitement. It's as if each figure is given their own accurately sized apartment in Japan, or are involved in a high stakes game of Hollywood Squares.

Bundle of DVDs:

These days, everyone gets DVDs. It's the laziest gift to purchase someone, because who doesn't like to watch a movie? If you're like me, it's almost a human need at this point. You'd be just as well off buying them a jug of water, but a jug of water won't mesmerize and delight. Probably.

This year, I've gone all out and asked for, pined and gushed over the movies I've always wanted to see, but could never find or justify buying online. "Battle Royale," "Riki-Oh," the "Friday the 13th" the TV series, etc. I had no intention of owning season one of "Boy Meets World," but I'm okay with it. I'm sure it must have been on Christmas-discount, but too bad it's season one, 'cause halfway through their run, shit started getting really good on the show. Remember how everything was switched to some bizarre, 1950's sockhop kinda deal? Like, everyone was wearing retro shirts and fedoras. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it, and will often get bogged up and flustered when I bring it up in social conversations. My main theory and total blame goes directly to the 90's swing revival, something I still can't believe actually existed and thrived for more than 17 seconds. Anyway, see if you can spot the worst flick in that pile.

Here's a hint: "Boondock Saints 2."

To be fair, it's not that I totally hate the film, in fact, I've never seen it. It just looked terrible and the two main actors look like they've had their faces turn into melted cheese. It sucks to get old, I know, but I just can't have it. No, sir.

I will admit, though, the first film did put a heavy spotlight on peacoats and on how awesome peacoats are and how peacoats will never look good on you. It really is like a bulky, black dress. Very hard to pull off.

In the end, an excellent haul. I now have three seasons of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," so I'm never leaving the house again. And if I'm absolutely forced to leave the house, I hope St. Flu comes and pays me an extended visit.

Star Wars Audio Book:

Awesome! I love getting books, especially books that can talk to me.

"The Sounds of Star Wars," is, essentially, a giant soundboard for the best and worst noises in the "Star Wars" saga. You run through all six films, stopping at the best spots for the best noises -- anything from mechanical beeps to otherwordly growls. You punch in a number on the keypad to the right and are offered a soundclip right outta the movie. The entire book has some pretty cool stories about how they made the film, what it was really like on the set, etc., but the core selling point is how they detail the creation of each grunt, scream and blaster-blast. A quick runthrough determines that it's mostly old, Asian women used for any of the alien voices throughout, mechanical hisses and pops for ship sounds, and a combo of hippo/elephant growls for the bigger beasts and animals. I LOVE KNOWING THIS.

Also, it makes for a great coffee table book, since it's the size of a pizza and wildly interactive. Step off, artsy photo books and conspiracy theorist garble, make way for Sarlacc screams and Wompa shrieks.

Heavy Rain Video Game:

I've been out of the video game circuit for a while, but will jump back in every now and again. And this Christmas I jumped into the weirdest, most confusing game I could find!

I primarily use my PS3 as a Bluray system for the two Blurays I own, so I'm never quite up to par with the video gaming world. I love it and I hate it. It'll ruin my life but, alternately, soothe and caress me into a mind-mush slumber of love. I can clock in hours and hours of gameplay one month, then the next I'll be denying any involvement in these so called "video games." It's a ying and yang kinda thing, so it's healthy.

I first heard of Heavy Rain a few months before it came out. It looked pretty wild, and had an interesting concept -- most of the game is fueled by your detective skills and moral judgements, with multiple outcomes and situations. At least that's what I think the concept is. I'm more interested in the mindblowing graphics and occasional nudity. Yay!

Danzig LP:

I'm not big into vinyl (I'm only a fan when I'm confronted by hip dudes and cute girls) but I will gladly take a Danzig LP picture-disc thing!

I got this from a friend, who destroyed my life when he bought me and all our friends a gift for Christmas. I was empty handed and undeserving. I was made to look like a chump! A fool! I was hated throughout the rest of the night!

It wasn't that bad, but I'm well past buying anyone I know a gift for anything. I've somehow been backed into a corner where if I buy one friend a gift, I'm forced to buy hundreds more for everyone else. Unless I were to individually hand off presents in secret, I'm gonna be broke before New Year's. It's all well and fine, though, 'cause I've worked the whole thing into a shameless act of greed -- NO presents for you, ALL presents for me.

The collector in me almost passed out, reaching deep inside my being to control my excitment because this will be worth a million dollars, but yeah. I'm positive it doesn't cost a damn thing, because it looks to be printed in the last five years and, apparently, Davey has one, too. Well, shit.

Alright! That's it! An amazing Christmas season, indeed. How was yours? What did ya get?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Shopping RULES.

For the last several years, the Calabrese Clan have evolved their gift exchanging tactics into an easier, more efficient and less money-wasting way. With sisters, brothers, spouses, boyfriends and soon to be hated ex-girlfriends littering the general area under the Christmas tree, trying to buy everyone a suitable, unembarrasing gift would be similiar to lighting your wallet on fire then crying softly in the shower. Because you just lit your wallet on fire.

Way before, we had to individually buy for one another, including it kinda sucked. I don't think anyone walked away with anything they actually liked, because with so many people to buy for, everything given was usually from the Dollar Store or something you found tucked away in the darkest corner of your closet. Like a bundle of used paper, or a Garfield wristwatch from 1989.

So here we are now, new and improved, and we've been drawing eachother's names from a hat. Pretty much a Secret Santa kinda deal, minus anything secretive. Which, now that I think about it, is totally stupid. I like the secret part. I want the secret part. I need the secret part. I'm Facebooking my immediate family NOW.

Now, whoever gets me...their options for a present are endless and varying. I can find joy in pretty much anything, from a bag of walnuts to posters of tropical fish. If it ends with "tar wars" or "oney," your task is made that much more simpler.

Same goes with Jimmy or Davey, whom have the same tastes and desires to own anything monstrous or covered in ooze, and in the past, I've been lucky enough to grab their name out of the Christmas Santa Hat. This year, not so lucky.

I got my brother-in-law. The guy who's into political documentaries and obscure, European techno. Everyone has that person in their family, the guy who either has it all or is impossible to pin down what exactly they're into. European art-rock and a docu-dramas about how much everything sucks paints a broad, confusing picture as to what someone will be into. Is a Rolling Stones album too blase? Will a "Step Brothers" DVD be too juvenile? Should I set him up on a date with Michael Moore?

These were the questions running through my mind, these were the unanswered scenarios haunting my dreams, the pros and cons of every single gift ever, blaring through my heart and soul.

Actually, he's not that bad of a present receiver. I just have a terrible time figuring out what people like. Unless I've known you for twenty years, I still have to make educated guesses around the holidays. When getting presents for anyone in my family, you'd swear I was an orphan who's never met anyone outside a wild pack of dogs. In this situation, I'd be a cool street orphan, chimney sweep and all. This is my curse. My Curse of Being an Asshole.

I had to go out and just pick something, anything to wrap up and shove under the Christmas tree for the guy. Giftcards are always easy, but it just screams, "I really didn't try," and the ol' six-pack standby is both old and overused. I had to go to the mall, go to Target, go to the other stores surrounding the Target, just GO ANYWHERE AND PICK SOMETHING. Which I did.

But to keep my sanity while shopping, I did what anyone else would do in my situtaion -- completely ignore the task at hand and buy stuff for myself.

Yeah, I went out to a few stores, took a look around, did what I had to do. Along the way, I bought a lot of stuff for myself. I really feel like I've sinned against Lord Santa Claus. Sorry, man.

I recently went to a party that had a huge, immaculate setup of Italian fingerfoods - prosciutto, pasta, various cheeses, artichoke hearts and olives stuffed with jalapenos. Which I've fallen so in love with (is it even italian?) and have never forgotten since. Granted, the party was last weekend, but my memory has never been the greatest. While browsing around, I at least had enough brainpower to remember that I craved jalapeno olives and immediately needed to put them into my mouth. Yes, they were over five bucks and I completely regretted the purchase once I realized I coulda bought something better, like, I cream. Ice cream is so much better than olives.

So far, my only complaint is that they're wet. Like, totally covered in their pickled juice to warrant a happy face from me. I kinda like them dry, as if they've been sitting out for a while. Clearly, the only way to remedy this is to drink all the pickle liquid and throw the olives into some kitty litter.

This is awesome! When I first came across it, I tossed it aside like it was just another set of chattering teeth in baby-blue packaging, but before I could move on to bigger and better things, I realized that I just possessed a mini-box of chattering teeth. The most absurd, widely recognized gag gift that not one Goddamn person owns.

The general purpose of chattering teeth is above me, and is my belief that it's sole existance is to be the perfect movie prop for scenes involving pranksters, party animals and any wide, open shots of 1980's dorm rooms. It's as if just watching chattering teeth chatter in a film is good enough for us, prompting zero interest in ever owning a pair for yourself. Up until now, I would have sworn I owned some. Hell, with my shopping habits, a whole shoebox full. But no, I never have, but thanks to avoiding my X-mas I do!

I don't think anyone owns chattering teeth, and when they say they do, I dare them to produce some proof of their ownership. Finding 'em is above finding or owning a Slinky, and right under a pack of Silly String. It's somehow in that weird, gag-limbo of no where. Okay, you can definitely find it, and you can surely own it...but will you? NO. Because nobody gives a shit about creepy, chattering teeth. Case closed.

I didn't have to buy anything for Davey or Jimmy, but I ended up in a comic book shop. My bro-in-law is not really into comic books, but I felt that I should at least look around, rummage through the small confines of a room stacked with dusty toys and collectibles, and maybe something would pop up.

Naw, totally lying. I just really wanted to buy something rad.

The Resident Evil games have had a huge impact on my life, ranging from being the first "real" videogame I've played to the one video game that has granted me horrific nightmares and emotional stress. I remember even the most minute details, which still drive my imagination of terror and insanity, which, really, is just a fancy way of saying that it totally fucked me up.

I found this among the masses, and I love it. I have a few toys from the various series, and I love them as my own children. Best monster toys around.

They say the girl is named Ada Wong, and the Tree Thing is named Ivy. I have no idea who or what these characters are, 'cause I've only ever played the first game and just hobbled along through the second, only to realize I never wanted to play video games again. I was going through one of me phases, I think. The one where I wanted to avoid all females while building my room into a Hawaiian, tiki paradise. It was a personal life choice, I swear.

Her dress looks to be made of a red, felt material, so I'm dying to bust this out and have my way with it. I know that sounds gross, but I love this on toys. The only other example I can provide is the cape on the Emperor's Royal Guard, but that's good enough, because that thing is awesome. Have you seen his helmet? It really is awesome. And the thick pool cue resting nonchalantly on his shoulder? Even better.

All in all, a pretty great haul. I ended up getting my sister's husband the game of Scattergories, which doubles as a decent sized gift and something I'm gonna want to play as soon as he opens it. Christmas > everything.

Well, the big day is only a day away, so have fun! In the week to come, I'll either post my Christmas haul or thoughts on the current administration and general sociopolitics. Probably my Christmas haul.

Rock and roll!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

People Send Me Things. I Like That.

It's near Christmastime, so I think this is a fitting idea to explore -- people buy me things, and I like that.

As I've mentioned in previous entries, being in a band has it's perks. No, we're not being fed drugs and whores...more along the lines of monster masks and anything you'd find in a third graders backpack.

People buy us things, send stuff to us, etc. And really, it's the ultimate compliment and good hearted gesture. It's hard to not sound like a douche when talking about all the wonderful, expensive things people throw our way, but I'm trying. Lots of handmade stuff, artwork inspired by our music (an amazing feeling, by the way) so on and so forth. And honestly, we still have everything anyone's ever given us -- each and every trinket to massive paperweight, from small to large, is put in our band room on one, magnificent shelf. We draw power from this shelf. This shelf is magical.

Now, we're loaded down with so many goodies for so many reasons at so many seemingly random times, but we really hit paydirt when one of our birthdays comes up. See how douchey this all sounds? Fuck.

Getting off track a bit, I love birthdays. This statement should and will be etched into my tombstone. Well, let me be more clear -- I love my birthday. So much that I demand a week before the date, as well as a week after the date of b-day inspired partying. If I'm not drinking and eating at fancy restaraunts and spending money I don't have on things I don't need, I'm not satisfied. I kinda take it to an extreme, but hey, we're all dead in 2012, right?

So birthdays and Christmas. How perfect? This blog entry is about the items that people have recently given me, simply because both Santa-Jesus and I were born. I finally got off my ass, snapped a few pics and set up an online shrine for the fine, fine people supporting me and not Calabrese. This is PART ONE of our journey (the second half will be out next week) of all the personal gifts solely to me. I'd spend the rest of my life if it was everything we ever got, so I had to narrow the playing field down a bit.

This is my ode to you, people -- FUCKING THANK YOU.

I know, it's supposed to be the season of giving...but ah, suck it. Gimme them presents.

This is from a Melissa Gonzalez, who has been feeding me with enough gifts and suprises over the last few months to make me feel like the Queen of Sheba. This is just a handful, but truly the best. Plus, I was uncertain as to how to successfully photograph anything more than booze coffee and bobbling Wolverines. It would just make the photo cluttered, and I really can't have that on my conscience.

Wolverine Bobblehead: This is cool. I know Wolverine's usual garb is a tank top and jeans, but I can't help shake the feeling he looks more like a wife slapping guido than a superpowered mutant. Either way, his head moves like he's in a Will Smith music video and he sits on top of my fridge. You really do need to know that.

Bobbleheads, really, are inherently fun. It's easy entertainment! No work on your part, save for a good table pounding or a sharp gust of breath. So make a fist, lay off the Pall Malls and have some fun.


Dollar Store "Wild West Action Figure": This will go nicely in my Castle Greyskull, combining the past with oiled up muscle men with really big swords. Also, it will fit quite well in my "Probably Offensive to Someone" pile.

Jack Daniel's Gourmet Coffee: I think she knows me too well. Like, seriously? Booze flavored? I don't know whether to jump for joy or puke in my mouth a little bit. It's all too much to handle, yet I'm no doubt going to try this. Lord help me from just enjoying the bags they come in, too. They just look...good. If anyone asks, I'm gonna say it's BBQ sauce and ketchup flavored coffee.

This was given to me by a young lad in San Marcos, CA. It was a pretty quick exchange that went something like this:

Dude: "Hey, man! You like Japanese stuff, right?"

Me: "Totally!"


I'm a little reluctant to take anything that looks like I'll be brought down to the police station under charges of child porn, but hell, I'm a taker of presents. It's what I do.

This is cool, though, even if it's not under my usual umbrella of comfort. Truthfully, my mind was racing towards vintage robot toys from the 70's, not pink-haired, vixen statuettes usually reserved for innocent young girls into harmless manga and that other guy. You know that guy. He's the guy who's into Sailor Moon for all the wrong reasons. He's the guy who has a shelf full of pink-haired, half-naked female manga shit. I hate that guy and I hate all that shit!

In all fairness, I like it. See how fast I flip-flopped? Man, I'm good.

I'm not sure what this is or where it comes from, but it's Halloween flavored and the pentagrams and jack-o-lanterns fit my general world views. I also favor the box art of swirling colors and swishy designs. If you can't find peace in knowing that your action figures now have a wonderful backdrop for their prom night photo booth, you're better off dead.

This is an interesting one right here. People send me stuff for special occasions, yeah, but every now and then I'm offered a piece of material to be written and yammered about, specifically for this silly blog of mine. Well, it's only happened once. By a close family member. Case in point: my older sister.

I feel important, like I have a purpose now. I finally feel justified in owning this blog, in providing a closer look into everything and nothing. I feel all shimmery and bubbly now! The sun is out, my outlook is new and I'm now the prized owner of a postcard with three heads on it.

So she sent me a card from 1994, something she made sure to point out, and a quick blurb on how I should mention this gift of hers (a postcard featuring escaped prisoners from Alcatraz, most famously brought to light by the film, "Escape From Alcatraz") This is all fine and whatever, but little did she know that I fucking love that movie.

Maybe it's the absolute futility of prison and the "what would I do in that situation?" question that draws me in, or maybe it's how Clint Eastwood dumps the dirt from his pant leg to get rid of the excess escape-hole-rubble. There's just something watchable and curious about the film. Did I mention the dirt part? 'Cause I really like that part.

But this is pretty cool! Tilt it a little over on it's side and there ya go:

If you haven't seen the film or read up on the escape, you should. Because I'm not about to summarize it. And, really, I can't remember anything other than "they escaped from Alcatraz." Sorry.

Not the easist thing to photograph, but you get the picture. When turned this way and that, a horrifying, terrible lineup of three papier-mache heads is at your disposal. I had no idea arts and crafts could turn anything seemingly innocent into such frightening fare, but it does, and now I want to immediately take arts and crafts. First order of business: papier-mache kittens and pullover sweaters.

Also, for this recent birthday, she just sent me a Burger King giftcard with the demand to "enjoy some crappy food!" You're the best, Favorite Older Sister Who Is Making Me Eat Diabetes.

Next up:

Alexis and her boyfriend, from California, came to a show in Santa Cruz and suprised me with a little somethin'-somethin' for my b-day. To show how slow and dated I've become, this was from a full year ago, and Alexis and her boyfriend have long been broken up. I don't know why I know this.

At this point, I think it's one of those things where neither one will ever go to a Calabrese show in fear of seeing one another (haven't seen 'em since) and I don't blame them. I'm the exact same way. I'm experienced in avoiding ex-girlfriends, former high school friends I haven't talked to and don't ever want to talk to again and really big insects.

I also have a feeling that it may be weird that I'm writing so blatantly about them, too. I'm also excited to think that they might find this blog, see the shirt, read their names (and minimal dating history) and be completely fucking disturbed (hi, guys!)

So yeah, they got me a t-shirt with myself photo-engineered into a scene from "Twilight," with the bold proclamation of "I'm in Twilight" to boot. This is easily the most thought out, well executed and gravely insulting birthday present I've ever got. Naw, it's not bad, in fact, it's pretty amazing. I take no prisoners when it comes to being the best at looking like "that vampire guy!" I've had everyone call me everything from Edward Cullen to Bill Compton to Blacula. That was a bad summer at the beach.

I wish they didn't choose a photo of me making such a pervy face, but a quick scan of my facebook and myspace would prove that in all of my photos I'm making a pervy face.

Thanks, guys.:)

Friday, December 10, 2010


You know, everything I've been posting over the last year has, admittedly, been a poor excuse for a blog named "rock and roll mania blog!" I rarely talk about music, I never talk about anything outside of Pokemon and Christmas joy, and I'm always either complaining or flip-flopping by the end of the article. I'll hate something as soon as my fingers hit the keyboard, and fall magnificently in love with it when I'm done. There is no exception today. It's the perfect fodder for this blog, and yet...I hate it. I hate it so much that I love it.


Ya see, I am very so-so with monster models/kits, or anything you have to actually build with your hands, for that matter. I'm on the edge of abnormal gushing and absolute disdain with this kind of shit. I think it's a fear of commitment, or absolute failure of never coming close to what it needs to end up as. I want it to look exactly like what's on the box. In fact, I practically demand it. But my common sense and reasoning tells me NO FUCKING WAY. Thank you, sir, may I have another?

A friend of mine works at a used media store (books, games, DVDs) and every once in a while, some desperate dude might come in to sell his last, worldy possessions to probably pay for stupid things, like food or rent. I hate to stomp all over people's misfortune, but sometimes something comes in that would tickle my fancy. And, my friend, being the best friend he can be by fueling my horrible addiction, will usually pick this stuff up for me. Weird comics here, robot toys there, whatever. This time, he hooked me up. He did me a Goddamn SOLID. Two amazing monster model kits, a slobbering werewolf and that thing from "London After Midnight," which I had no idea was a vampire until right now. I thought it was, like...something else. I guess I should have known, what with the sharp teeth, cape and papery, pale skin. Ha.

Jimmy used to (or still does) build a lot of monster model kits. I've always liked the idea and, really, there's nothing cooler than building your very own mini-ghoul in a poorly lit garage. Complete with swinging lightbulb, those magnifying glasses that jewelers wear and a lit cigarette dangling from your mouth, of course. It all sounds great, right? But as any idea goes, just the idea is sometimes better than actually doing it. That makes sense, I swear.

So when getting a prize package of this sort, I'm uneasy, cautious and reserved. Do I even bother opening it up? I let my buddy know I was ecstatic, yet ready to point out that he just granted me a task. Thanks, man! Now I'm stuck in a happy/guilty limbo.

Should I just let it sit on my kitchen counter, only to be noticed when all the dirty dishes don't have any room to sit and not be washed for weeks? Because there's no way I'm going to attempt putting those two kits together. Zero patience = bad things happen.

Fuck it. You can always count on the box. Fucking kick-ass box art, baby.

Shivers. I'm actually trembling right now. I'm partial to the werewolf, given that the werewolf is way more menacing, while the vampire seems to be shocked, or grabbing the invisible tits of the world's tallest woman.

I'm looking at the intricate paint job done on the teeth, and the fucking sparkle in the damn thing's eyes, and I'm positive I'm never going to allow myself to abominate this with crayons and Sharpies. I'm certain they're using Sunglow or Laser Lemon for it's teeth. Good choice, box-art-painter-person.

I had to open it, I had to know what I was dealing with. Given that I've never actually seen a model before it was meticulously handcrafted into what it will become, I was kind of...shocked. Is that what model kits look like? The plastic is hard, which I assume ups the dollar amount and, at the same time, the sexual innuendos this blog needs to maintain a healthy level of sass. Hehe, he said "hard."

I like the heaviness, though, 'cause if I can imagine myself using anything I buy as a weapon to bludgeon other people with, I know I've done a good thing.

The limbs almost look like you just snap the shit together! Is it really that easy? Nope!

Directions, thank God.

Apparently, you use the sharpest X-Acto knife you have to shave and trim the extra plastic off, then snugly glue the pieces together. I'm uncertain as to why that's a step you even have to take, when they could have, oh, I don't know, not added the extra plastic. As if painting it wasn't hard enough, now you have to test your skills with a midget's spear. Nerves, I do not have them.

Overall, awesome. Although I won't make 'em pretty, they sure do look great on my shelf. If anyone asks why I haven't built them up, I'll tell them I gave up the dangerous Model Kit Making Game for safety and family, and haven't looked back since. Or to get the hell outta my house, jerk.