Dinosaur Dracula!

Vlog: Christmas Morning, 2012.

Christmas Eve was the usual unbridled insanity, but for once, we didn’t need to be anywhere on Christmas Day. I’m going to spend the afternoon taped to the couch, subsisting on cold leftovers and endless airings of A Christmas Story. Just the way it ought to be.

I hope you’re having a good one, filled with whatever you wanted it to be filled with.

Here’s a video examining some of the more interesting presents I received this year, from Oreo cookies to skull-shaped liquor decanters:

If I sound groggy, it’s because I am. Merry Xmas!

The Christmas Flamingo Cometh.

I have to imagine that this will be my last big purchase of the Christmas season. I’m going out with a pink bang:

It’s a light-up flamingo in a Santa hat, and it pairs oh so nicely with that stupid dinosaur. This is its story, in around five minutes:

The people behind this flamingo apparently decided that it needed to be “frozen,” so they glued tiny silica boulders all over it. But they didn’t glue them on too well, and you can’t touch this thing without having it spit silica everywhere. I’ve decided to like this. A+ on the festive flamingo.

PS: Follow Dino Drac on Facebook. For no good reason, really.

Ancient Christmas Appetizers!

This morning, I dived deep into my collection of ancient recipe books, looking for the kind of snack ideas that no book published after 1975 would dare include.

After choosing my “subjects,” it was time to gather the ingredients. Good God, I spent a fortune. I’m not sure what happened, since I specifically chose recipes that seemed not only easy, but cheap.

Oh well. Christmas only comes once a year, and it’s not like I ever pay attention to these old recipe books when it’s not Christmastime. If I was gonna blow a hundred bucks on cream cheese and bootleg caviar, I picked the right day.

Below are four of my creations, based on recipes from Better Homes & Gardens’ 1963 classic, Snacks and Refreshments. May they bring you good tidings, and inspire you to do wacky things with black olives. (more…)

Christmas Cat Litter?

Meet Kitten. She often tries to kill me, but when she likes me, she really likes me. Kitten has made good days better and horrible days livable. She’s a great cat.

All cats are great. Even the terrible ones. They’re smart, they’re funny, and if you howl at just the right pitch, they’ll think it’s coming from some coyote outside.

Cats shit in boxes, too. For us, it’s a blessing and a curse. We’ll never have to stand in the freezing cold waiting for them to handle things, but we will have to share living space with a plastic box full of shit.

We own several cats, so we go through a lot of litter. I don’t know much about cat litter beyond what it’s used for, but I think that’s enough to know. If it works, cat litter will make the obvious downsides of having animals shit in your house more tolerable. If you own a cat, litter is as much a part of your life as, I don’t know, popcorn.

Nobody sticks with one brand of litter forever. Eventually, there will be an “incident,” and since blaming the cat creates a problem with no solution, you blame the litter. The pebbles are too small. The pebbles are too big. You are a mad scientist, and your work involves making cat shit less of an issue. The formula is constantly changing.

When you find a brand you can stand, you treasure it. It’s very hard to switch to a different litter when the current one works. It’s not like trying a new soda and disliking it. The repercussions are FAR more severe.

Right now, we think we have a good brand. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because I think that’s too personal for some reason. Just know that there have been no “incidents,” and we like our brand enough to travel twenty minutes out the way for it. Its purpose is just too critical.

Well tonight, and very uncharacteristically, we switched brands without some cat-related devastation to encourage us. Had to. Folks, you’re looking at CHRISTMAS CAT LITTER up there.

Officially, it’s Winter Pine, from Purina Tidy Cats. “A seasonal blend with super-absorbing crystals.” A Dino Drac reader tipped me off about this, and though I can’t find the name of this reader at the moment, I owe her a great deal of thanks.

In a world where bizarre “holiday edition” things compete with so many other bizarre “holiday edition” things, it gets to the point where nothing really seems bizarre anymore. But this? This does. For it is CHRISTMAS CAT LITTER. A way to mask the stink of cat shit with the stink of Christmas trees.

Holy Mary, Mother of God.

A blurb on the back reads, “Super-absorbing crystals plus the fresh scent of winter pine will help keep your home smelling cozy and clean, all season long.” This blurb is, no joke, less than two inches away from a big warning about how parasites found in cat shit can cause toxoplasmosis. I don’t know if things still jump sharks, but if they do, Christmas just did. (more…)

Martini Matt.

I had no reason to buy this. I own lots of martini glasses and several cocktail shakers, so $9 was a lot to pay for stale crackers.

Maybe I fell prey to the same thing I always fall prey to during the last week before Christmas: That sick feeling that the world will turn black if I don’t cram in as much holiday idiocy as humanly possible.

Hey, I’m going to miss this. At no other time of year are stores filled with so much goofy and wonderful crap. I guess I just wanted one last memento to carry me through the more wretched parts of 2013.

April, especially. Even from back here, it looks terrible.

I found this “Martini Man” gift set at Target. I know it seems too similar to that Bloody Mary gift set to be worth reviewing, but I didn’t really buy this for website-related purposes.

I think what sold me most was the ultra-tiny martini glass. (more…)

The Panettone Cake Monster.

Dudes. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of panettone, but in my family, no Christmas is complete without one on the table. Even if nobody touches it. Few ever do.

It’s basically bread masquerading as cake. It’s sweet, faintly fruity, very Italian, and eating it is like trying to chew through an oil-soaked sponge. I can’t tell you more than that, because this isn’t one of my go-to desserts. It’s just something that MUST BE ON THE TABLE come Christmas Eve.

For me, the attraction finds root in its shape and its size. It’s that perfect midpoint between a giant overcooked cupcake and a giant overcooked human head.

The obvious next step is to transform this into some kind of monster. (more…)