Dino Drac’s Daily Holiday Diary!

Sunday, December 18th:

Happy to report that after a hellacious month, both of my cats are back to their normal selves. First Storm got sick, and then she got so wildly misdiagnosed that I ran her to an emergency vet, convinced that I’d have to put her down. It turned out to be a fairly ordinary virus. After a few days on antibiotics, she was totally fine.

…and then, of course, Halloween the Cat caught whatever she had. I wasn’t worried at first, because despite his neurological condition, Halloween is young and strong. Sure enough, the virus-like symptoms subsided, but then he spent a few days acting so out-of-character that I freaked out and ran him to the emergency vet.

Naturally, even as I was waiting in the car for us to be called inside, I could tell that Halloween looked pretty normal and I was probably being paranoid. He got a clean bill of health (and gained a few new fans at the clinic), and finally, after two weeks and way too much money, I could finally stop worrying that my cats would explode.

It was an especially devastating thought because Storm and Halloween only recently became “friends.” Storm can be a moody loner and she never trusted any of my prior cats, but after spending two years spying on Halloween, she’s accurately assessed that he isn’t a threat.

They often share a couch, and sometimes even share a two-floor cat house, which is unbelievable progress for Storm. Halloween enjoys the company, so he’s trained himself to play by her rules – which basically means giving her a solid 18 inches’ worth of space at all times.

Anyway, I grant that this wasn’t exactly a “holiday” update, but since it’s eaten up quite a bit of my season, it felt appropriate enough. I’m not big on gifts these days, but I’m counting healthy cats as two of mine.

Saturday, December 17th:

You’re looking at a bowl of Christmas Cookie Crisp cereal, from 1991. I opened a box for a Facebook gag last week, but this specific photo deserved to be shown here, too. For thirty-year-old cereal, it’s stupidly pretty, isn’t it?

I can’t imagine that a cereal with that amount of dye was very good for us, but man, it sure looks like Christmas. I think I’m going to make it my iPhone background. If anyone asks what it is, I’ll lie. I don’t need to get into the whole “old cereal” thing when I’m on line at the bank, you know?

Friday, December 16th:

It’s been going on for so long that it’s hard to remember a time without it, but for the record, the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story began on TNT back in 1997.

One nice thing about having a lowkey Christmas Day is that I’ll actually get to see a full broadcast or two. By the time the marathon starts on Christmas Eve, I’m either getting ready for the big family party or already there, unable to check in on Ralphie for more than three minutes at a time. Really, there’s no point in watching A Christmas Story if you can’t be a total couch slug while you do.

It’s always bittersweet when the marathon ends, and in truth, I often avoid the last moments of the final broadcast because of it. I wish they’d play it until the morning of the 26th, much like I wish all-Christmas radio stations wouldn’t cut straight back to normal pop at the stroke of midnight. Give us some buffer time, people!

Thursday, December 15th:

Well, this was a nice surprise. General Mills blessed me with a gift box stuffed with this year’s holiday cereals, along with some other fun things. (Even cereal-themed gift tags!)

The Sugar Cookie and Apple Pie Toast Crunches are phenomenal. You could easily eat an entire box in one sitting. Us older cereal aficionados complain that today’s crop pales to yesteryear’s, but those two are as good as any cereal I’ve had.

I’m still shocked that we got a Rudolph cereal. What’s he been up to? Is it an anniversary year? Did he get a new Blu-ray or something? In any event, it’s solid. Between the hot cocoa flavor and that box design, it feels way more “early 2000s” than “early 2020s.”

Haven’t tried the Chocolate Chex yet, but I expect to destroy that box on some upcoming night when I’m stressed out and need crunchy chocolate to settle down.

Thanks to the mysterious elves at General Mills for including me on Santa’s list! This was a delicious joy to come home to.

Wednesday, December 14th:

I celebrated the end of a beastly project by ordering sushi, and since it’s the Christmas season, I splurged on a few pieces of holiday-colored tobiko.

If you’ve never heard of tobiko, it’s caviar, but extremely affordable caviar. The red ones are regular tobiko, while the green ones are wasabi tobiko and pack a bit of a punch. I know this is weird to say about a thousand tiny fish eggs, but together on a plate, they look like pure crystallized Christmas.

I suppose it was a touch incongruous to eat something so fancy while sitting at a folding table scrolling through the Double Dragon wiki, but in a hectic season, I’ll take my Christmassy moments wherever I can find them.

Tuesday, December 13th:

Okay, so that photo will need a little explaining.

It’s actually a cropped out corner from a larger photo of me in my bedroom on Christmas Eve, surrounded by presents, in 1996. I was a high school senior. (In retrospect, black hair with clown red bangs was pretty iffy.)

I was difficult to shop for at that age, so one particular relative asked me to be very specific about what I wanted. So, I wrote up a wishlist of items from the goddamned American Science & Surplus catalog.

Now, American Science & Surplus is still a thing, but I have no idea what the company is like nowadays. Back then, though, their catalog was stuffed with deadstock that the company bought for pennies and sold for quarters. I found so many old treasures on the cheap in those catalogs.

Cutting to the chase, this relative obliged and ordered me a grab bag of gifts from American Science & Surplus. Among them is what you see above – a bag of unopened Super Naturals Ghostlings figures, which the company had rescued from 1987 and then sold for just two dollars each, almost a decade later.

That bag of Ghostlings was easily among the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received. I never thought I’d find proof of it, but there it is, in my old bedroom, with the alt-rock CD covers stapled all over the blue walls.