Dinosaur Dracula!

The Purple Stuff Podcast’s Christmas Show!

It’s a Christmas miracle! The Purple Stuff Podcast has returned!

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For those who don’t follow me on Twitter, yeah, we decided to take it easy with the schedule this month, because December is riotously busy and something had to give. We didn’t want to miss our chance to do at least one holiday-themed episode, though, so here we are!

This week, me and Jay from The Sexy Armpit tackle twelve awesome Christmas songs. For the record, I am a major Christmas music fanatic, and so is Jay. This ridiculous topic means the world to us. Lord knows if it’ll mean anything to you, but, whatever… listen to us anyway.

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You can hear the new episode by clicking on that obnoxiously large button, or download it directly by clicking here. The Purple Stuff Podcast is also on iTunes, Stitcher and Podbean!

Thanks so much for listening! We’ll figure out a regular schedule for the show once the holidays are through. Read More…

My thoughts on The Force Awakens. (SPOILERS.)

WARNING! This post will include THE FORCE AWAKENS spoilers. I’ll warn you again before the spoilers begin, but if you haven’t seen the movie and have plans to, PLEASE skip this post until you do. Do not read the comments on this post, either!

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In terms of entertainment, Star Wars has always been my one true love. To this day, I can only truly unwind with Star Wars stuff, whether we’re talking about the movies, the gobs of books, the fan-penned wikis or whatever the hell else. I’m into a lot of stuff, but Star Wars is the one thing that always creates my true escape.

The truth is, I didn’t even need The Force Awakens to be good. I wanted it to be, of course, but I didn’t need it to be. As I learned with the prequels, even a bad Star Wars movie will become the start-point for so many good Star Wars things. People love to shit on those old senate scenes; I’m guessing they never read the beautiful dissection of senate hall in the Star Wars Complete Locations book. People love to complain about Jar Jar; I do too, but without Jar Jar we wouldn’t have gotten the world’s weirdest Pez dispenser.

Really, I just needed The Force Awakens to exist. That was literally it. Anything beyond existing was a bonus. I knew I’d be covered, either way.

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Now that I’ve seen it, it looks like I needlessly aimed too low. Holy shit did I LOVE this movie. Me and Jay saw it last night, and it only took a few minutes for me to breathe that slight sigh of relief, knowing that even through an objective lens, what I was seeing was out-and-out good.

What others think of Star Wars shouldn’t be important to me, and by and large, it isn’t. But if you were a fan during those times when it was largely scorned — when “Star Wars” was bordering close to a dirty word — you know the side effects. Hell, Star Wars is my #1 geeky passion, and how often have I written about it on Dino Drac? Barely ever. Why? Well, I guess I didn’t want to risk feeling bad about something that’s made me so happy. I literally won’t risk feeling bad about Star Wars.

When the movie ended, I was exhausted. Emotionally spent. I fought back tears at least five times, and I’m not just saying that because it fits this article’s narrative: I had to make a serious effort not to lose it. It was like experiencing a dream while fully conscious, where the miraculousness couldn’t be taken for granted. It sounds heavy-handed, but it’s true.

It wasn’t just that it was a new Star Wars movie, or even that it was a new Star Wars movie that was actually good. The thing that got me was how The Force Awakens connected so closely to the movies I grew up with — how it sincerely felt like the movie that’d come after Return of the Jedi — and how many impossibly distant stars had to align to make that happen.

Was The Force Awakens perfect? No. Neither were the originals. Neither was any other movie. Is everyone going to like it? No again. Heck, I’ve talked to a few mega-fans who are not at all contrarians, and The Force Awakens failed to rock their worlds. So this is not me putting a movie on a pedestal because I’m ready to defend every aspect of it until my dying breath. I’m putting it there because of what it means to me: A safe space that will always be there to turn to when I need to get lost.

Down below are twenty scatterbrained thoughts, opinions and observations about The Force Awakens. If you’ve seen the movie, let’s compare notes in the comments!

WARNING: From this point on, I’m going DEEP into SPOILER TERRITORY. If you kept reading after my first warning, I avoided spoiling anything in the intro. Now, all bets are off. DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED. Read More…

Kay-Bee Toys’ 1991 Holiday Clearance Sale!

I love all of the toy store circulars that come with newspapers during the holiday season, even if the present definition limits that to Toys “R” Us and individual pity pages from Target and Walmart. You know what we’re missing? Kay-Bee Toys!

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I’ve written about Kay-Bee (later KB) many times before, but here’s the short version: It was like you took a Toys “R” Us store, replaced its manager with the weird guy who runs the local consignment shop, and told him to make do with an eighth of the space.

Kay-Bee was the bomb, but sadly in a way that most of us never fully appreciated until it was too late to do more than whine on nostalgia blogs. Sad trombone… available in Aisle 3, which is really just the back half of Aisle 1, and try not to step on the Godzilla toys because they had to put them on the floor.

The scans shown above were part of a Kay-Bee circular from November of 1991. They were having a big five day sale, which was less a “holiday sale” and more of a “GOOD GOD we need to make room for this year’s Christmas junk sale.” The complete circular was around eight pages long and completely full of win. I’ve collected ten of my favorite items featured in it, down below! Read More…

Five Cereal Boxes from Christmases Past!

Below: Five cereal boxes from Christmases past. They’re all from my personal collection. I’ll thank you in advance for reading this, as it helps to justify why I have a personal collection of Christmassy cereal boxes. As always, you’re my silent enablers. My tongueless Iagos. Go you.

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Christmas Crunch! (1999)

I love that Quaker still makes Christmas Crunch, but hate that they haven’t updated the box design in umpteen years. It doesn’t help that the current box looks like a Target circular, stylish as hell but completely bereft of the simplistic charm that originally brought Christmas Crunch to the dance.

Heck, even this box — which came out more than a decade after Christmas Crunch’s debut — still knew how to work it. This is all I want from my Christmas Crunch boxes. Flat colors, art that looks like it was torn from Dollar Tree coloring books, and advertisements for Pokemon watches.

“Dear Santa, and this is gonna sound weird, but…” Read More…

Classic Christmas Commercials, Volume 7!

It’s time for another batch of Classic Christmas Commercials, featuring pizza and laundry detergent and Ronald McDonald. Three of these are from my collection; the remaining are from our pal Larry. May they fill your hearts with joy, and your brains with really old ad jingles.

A Toys “R” Us Christmas! (1984)

So much to love about this one, from Geoffrey’s old school “baseball mascot” visage to that rare shot of Takara’s Kronoform watches, which transformed from timepieces into robot warriors!

While the commercial highlighted some specific products, it was more meant to reaffirm Toys “R” Us’s standing as the best place on the planet. For the seven-year-olds who hummed along to its theme song, that was 100% truth.

(And yes, you might notice that this “Christmas” commercial cannibalized footage from other, evergreen TRU commercials. Since the new footage consisted of Geoffrey and a little kid chilling in what was for all intents the house from A Christmas Story, that’s totally forgivable.) Read More…

2015’s Best Holiday Junk Food, Part 3!

I’m back with another batch of this year’s hottest holiday junk food. If you missed the previous reasons to look like Santa, click here and here.

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Cracker Jack Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn!

It took me over a month to find a bag, but it was worth the wait. I’m not a big Cracker Jack guy — it’s honestly one of the last junk foods I’d ever buy for myself — but I was still super intrigued by their obvious dedication to the theme.

It’s not just “Cracker Jack with a twist,” but really a whole new product. The popcorn is coated with snowy frosting and topped with holiday sprinkles, and as promised, it takes like legit sugar cookies. It’s not something I’d want to eat every day, but for the purposes of making a Plain Jane December evening feel like Christmas morning, I’m giving it the full 10 points.

Actually, I’m giving it 12 — one bonus point for the traditional Cracker Jack prize (mine was a reindeer sticker), and another for the fact that this shit will work great as tree garland. Read More…