Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Trip to the Philippines, Part 1: My first two weeks

So much has happened in my life since my last post. In November, on my birthday, a very dear friend of mine lost her life to cancer. It was a difficult time for all of us, and we all found ways to cope. I decided to leave my job so I could try new things. Since we had a trip to the Philippines planned already, I decided that be good enough of an excuse to just let my thoughts wander. I was originally hesitant about the trip, but after a while I decided to just go with the flow. 

In the Philippines I did thing I didn't think I could ever do. I survived so many things I feel would have killed a previous version of myself, so I really accomplished a lot. Although it was technically a vacation, every portion of it felt more like an adventure. At no point did I ever really get any rest; we did something new every day. 

Layover in Incheon Airport 



Korea is probably a super interesting place. I never really got into the culture, but my short layover in Incheon Airport gave me a quick glimpse into what goes on within popular culture. Like Japan, every company seems to have a mascot, and all the people there seem to be really, really trendy. It's cool. I'm still not super sure what the giant cat was about but there were at least 3 of him in the airport. 



Arriving in Manila and leaving for Boracay



From Korea to the Philippines is only a short 3 - 4 hour trip, but there's a huge difference in temperature. While in Incheon, the weather still felt properly seasonal. It was winter, so it was cold. Once I arrived in Manila it felt like a very hot summer day. Thankfully, I wore proper clothes. 


Although Manila was where our home base was during this trip, we only stayed the night before the day after my arrival we took the airbus from Manila to Boracay. Well, it was actually an airbus to a land bus, then a speedboat to another bus. It was a long trip!







Boracay is a huge travel destination for tourists, but it is really genuinely pretty there. The sand feels like clay and the water is fairly warm compared to other beaches I've been to.


While in Boracay I went sailing, snorkeling, and island hopping all over the place. I took as many pictures as I could but I was concerned about dropping my smart phone into the ocean. 








Traveling to La Union



A few hours after my return to Manila from Boracay, it was time to prepare for another trip. This time it was a 10 hour drive to another popular spot called La Union, where we stayed in a secluded beach house on the edge of a forest. It was a cute place and this was where we were going to spend Christmas. 







XMAS VICTORY



I wasn't sure what to expect from Christmas, but it turned out to be a lot of fun for me. I got an adorable Jollibee bobble-head figure, a bootleg Funko Pop of "BASS LIGHTYEAR" (you guys know I love KO toys), and a real Funko Pop of Chucky. My favorite gift though was an Imperial Two-Headed Dragon! I love Imperial vinyl figures so, so much. 




My last time in a Toys 'r' Us?


So in Festival Mall, in Manila, we spotted a Toys 'r' Us store and my jaw just hit the floor. I miss being able to walk into a giant toy shop, so I took advantage of this opportunity and did a bit of shopping. 


Out of all the items I could have chosen, I purchased this off-brand Jollibee plush (well, "Honey Beez" I guess). I mean, I know Jollibee is super popular, but he's still a mascot for a fast-food place; is there really such a demand for Jollibee merch that manufacturers are creating their own off-model products that just vaguely resemble the character enough just to make a few bucks?

I mean it worked; I bought it without any hesitation. 


Enchanted Kingdom



So the last time I was in the Philippines my plans to visit Enchanted Kingdom were a bust. The traffic was terrible, and it was just raining too hard. This time though everything fell into place. It was roughly two hours from my home base, and it took us 3 or 4 vehicles to get there, but it was totally worth it. I had a great time. 


The mascot for EK is Eldar the wizard. He's everywhere in the park; merch, statues, posters, rides, and stage shows. I love his simple design. I ended up getting a plush of Eldar and a replica of his wand!


The big new attraction at the park was Agila the EKsperience. It's a 4D movie experience and ride, and it's pretty good if I'm honest. The line was a bit much though, so it's a huge relief once you're inside with the air conditioning. 





My absolute favorite part of EK though was Boulderville, which looks like it took inspiration from The Flintsones. The buildings are all shaped like the ones you'd see in Bedrock, and there are dinosaur statues here and there. I wish I could have seen it all during the daytime. 










This Nativity scene was set up right next to the Boulderville entrance. Not sure if this is some sort of commentary on Creationism or if they just had no other place to put it. But off to the left of this setup is a Brontosaurus, and that makes me happy.



That's all for now. This first part of my trip was the easy stuff. Oh sure, there was a lot of driving around and traveling, but this was all mostly generic tourist stuff. With my next post things start to go pretty nuts. 

Lastly, my Jollibee collection is slowly growing in power. I may have an addiction. 


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Halloween 2019 Report: GREATEST HALLOWEEN OF MY LIFE!


I had the best Halloween of my life. After NYCC I dove head first into the season and completely immersed myself this spooky time of the year. I bought junk food, weird toys, collectibles, DVD's, and I even put together a costume. As you can see by the above picture, I was Pugsly Addams! I wanted to be Uncle Fester, but, I had trouble finding an overcoat big enough for my large frame. 

Let's go!


I didn't have space for a Halloween "mood table" like so many of my friends on Twitter made, but I did find the time and space to make this delightful Halloween Tree using various items in my possession. I feel like the Archie McPhee monsters really look great hanging there. The top of the tree is a glow-in-the-dark witches finger sent to me as a part of my Pixel Elixir pin order.



Some of the smaller items there are the Slime Slurpers/Slop Gloppers I've purchased over the year. You can see them on my YouTube channel if you'd like to enjoy some Slime ASMR. 



I hope you all had an amazing Halloween like I did. It was the best, and I'm looking forward to next October so I can do it all over again. 

Halloween Snacks!



I had my annual box of Boo Berry. It messes up my stomach, but I still love it. Same goes for the other General Mills Monster Cereals.


Chef Ghoulicious' Box of Boogers was a fun find! I haven't seen these in years, and they're just as delicious as I can remember them. I wish it was easier to find fun weird snacks like these out in the wild.


The Pumpkin Spice and Belvita and M&M's were as good as they could be. Pumpkin spice seems to have the same consistent taste across the board, so I wonder if they're all ordering the flavor from a particular source. 


The Black and Orange Junior Mints tasted the same as regular mints, but it was a nice addition to the season I guess. I kinda wish it was the outer shell (if you can call it that) was either orange and black instead of the center. Having to bite Junior Mints in half to see the Halloween colors was a bit messy.


I didn't get the Spooky Lip Pops lollipops, if only because my teeth already look like this, so why bother?


The Candy Break Spider had no real flavor to it. It just tasted like sugary aspic, but the mold was pretty fun.


I saw these cute bags of candy at Sunrise Mart, a local Japanese supermarket. From what I hear, Halloween isn't that big of a holiday in Japan so I wonder if these were made for the American market; or maybe Halloween is starting to pick up steam there and they're shifting towards celebrating it more on a national level. I have no idea.




The Carvel Slime Shake



The Carvel Slime Shake was my FAVORITE seasonal promotion. It was between this and Zombie Skittles, but this is tops man, let me tell ya. It's like a smooth marshmallow and cookies n' creme embrace from the gods. I would drink this everyday until it finally killed me. I'm probably lucky it's only available this time of year! Love it, loved it, loved it. 





Zombie Skittles



I can't tell you how many packets of these I've eaten, or, how many I have stashed away for the rest of the year, but Zombie Skittles are my absolute jam. An aquired taste of regular fruit flavored Skittles, with the addition of Zombie flavored ones. The zombie flavored ones tastes of sour rotting meat. I was repulsed the first time I tried it... but then after a while I grew to like it. Then love it. 

I must be mutating into some sort of zombie myself!

Kellogg's Spooky Marshmallow's Halloween Cereal


Kellogg's exists to keep me fat, I'm pretty convinced of this. They've been slowly adding marshmallows to their cereals recently, and I'm pretty ashamed at how much I love it.



Nothing says "I love diabetes" more than a bowl of Kellogg's Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Spooky Marshmallows. I'm going to die before 40 because of junk food like this. 


 Krispy Kreme Monster Batch Doughnuts


I'm actually not a big fan of Krispy Kreme. I don't like glazed donuts at all, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try these out. They look so slimy and weird, I just love it. 



The donut below, named "Slimon" was my favorite. It was a lime flavored donut with an oozing green center. Despite looking like a total sugary mess it had a surprisingly mellow flavor. Oh, and it's eye was a small sugary cookie. 


Dubble Bubble Ghoulish Gumballs


Here's something else I don't normally consume; gum. These were pretty amazingly made though. Dubble Bubble really outdid themselves with these Ghoulish Gumballs.


The eye had no filling, but it looked eerily real. 



 The Dracula gumball had a smiling fanged smile and an oozing red center.



The pumpkin gumball had a Jack-o-Lantern face and was filled with little candies on the inside to simulate pumpkin seeds.



The slime gumball was the absolute winner. It had a crunchy outer shell and was filled with a green goo! It reminds me of the meteor that carried The Blob to earth!



MunchMeister

 Now here's a weird item I found called a MunchMeister. This was being sold at Duane Reade's by a company that, if I'm not mistaken, usually makes toys for pets. MunchMeister's are trick-or-treat bags with mouths that can do a chewing action if you pinch their cheeks. That's pretty fun. The quality isn't very high though, they have the same feel as a cheap carnival prize, but they're cute enough. There were several green-skinned witches to choose from, but I feel like the pumpkin was the best choice.



I filled mine with Zombie Skittles the first chance I got.




Local Pop-Up Halloween Shop!


My underground bunker, located somewhere in Flushing, Queens, doesn't usually get a pop-up shop like this for the holidays, but here we are. The 1/2 Off Halloween shop appeared one day with their limited but wonderful selection of items.





I was a big fan of this Pennywise window statue they had one display. It didn't do anything, but it definitely frightened some children as they walked by it. 


Hank's Pumpkintown!

At long, long last I made my way back to Hank's Pumpkintown, which is located near South Hampton. I haven't been here for a few years, but it's still just as wonderful as I remember. A fun place to bring family and friends. I took too many pictures to post here, but some of my souvenirs were some Hank's own pumpkin spice coffee, apple cider donuts, and about two tons of apples!
















Raindew-True Value!


My local Raindew-True Value has become something of a safe haven for me. It's a drugstore, a hardware store, and a toy store. Whenever I get a chance I head out there for the basic necessities in my life. Although simple, I grew fond of their Halloween layout and decorum. I really do think they did a great job with their setup. Or, maybe I'm just a sucker for Halloween stuff. 







Comics & Cards



I was only able to make it once to Midtown Comics. I needed to pick up my monthly copy of The Creeps magazine, but sadly they were sold out. Luckily though, I did manage to get The Creeps Annual from them

At Forbidden Planet I bought copies of Marvel Monsters #1, which is a spinoff from a previous Monsters related storyline they had I think. They do their best to promote their strange array of monsters and kaiju in the comics and cartoons, but I hope they make a movie version someday. Maybe then I'll be excited to see MCU movies again.



I finally found an issue of Scary Monsters magazine, and, it is definitely deserving of the Rondo award it gets every year. What a great magazine for monster fans. Beautifully done. I'm totally hooked.


This years horror themed Garbage Pail Kids stickers were the best yet. They dug deep for obscure and cult references. I'm really happy I got the Ghoulies and Joe Bob Briggs ones. 








Halloween Decorations!


At a certain point I found myself questing for strange Halloween stuff. I mostly only found standard goodies, but every once in a while I would find something that felt off.

I purchased this cheap doll, called a Halloween Plush Character, and I keep staring at him because his look is so specific I feel like it's a reference to a real existing character but I can't place my finger on it. It reminds me of how Rite Aid sold a knock-off plush of Sans from Undertale a few years ago.


I bought these candy tins because they were on sale. They had a small candy sample within them, but They were too cute to pass up. Thankfully the packaging is totally gone when unwrapped so you get the tins themselves with no logos. 



My local CVS had this MASSIVE Skeleton Spider for sale and I am dying to get my hands on one. Maybe next year. It's absolutely gigantic. 


I couldn't find an Uncle Fester Doll, so I purchased this adorable Lurch doll. I figured it would be a fun accessory for my Pugsly costume. 


And it plays the theme song!


Below are other singing decorations I found at either Walgreens or Kmart. 





Mister Lobo's Cinema Insomnia Alpha Video DVD's 



The day I received my Alpha Video orders of Mister Lobo's Cinema Insomnia DVD's, I watched both back to back to keep my spooky Halloween spirit alive and strong! I plan on getting every DVD that comes out. I absolutely love the covers. And if you check out their website, you'll see that Mister Lobo's DVD's are top sellers!





Universal Monster's Creature from the Black Lagoon Bend-Em from Sara (@Macabre_Kitty)!


One set of items I was desperately on the hunt for were the Universal Monster Bend-Ems figures being sold at Walgreens. Sadly, no Walgreens I found in the NYC area had them at all. I managed to find a Voltron Bend-Ems (of all things) but I had no luck with the monsters. Luckily, my friend on the west coast, Sara found one for me almost immediately when I was complaining about it on Twitter! I think she DM'ed me like the next day saying she found the one I really wanted; The Creature from the Black Lagoon!

This was actually the one item I really wanted that would tip my Halloween over from great to amazing, so, my many many thanks to you Sara!



And now, as foretold in the ancient texts, Gill-Man must battle Voltron!



Kaiju Big Battel trading



So my friend Laura had purchased these for me like two years ago, but finally had a chance to give them to me. Kaiju Big Battel is an amazing monster themed pro-wrestling show that I'm a big fan of. I haven't gone to one of their shows in years, so I should really seek them out for. Their website doesn't look like they've updated it for decades so I wonder what the best way to keep track of them is. 








Care Package from cosmic horror sex author, Betty Rocksteady



I sure have been lucky this year when it comes to meeting and befriending amazing people. Between all the stuff sent to me before, and now this, I can't say I'm unloved that's for sure, because look at this amazing bounty sent to me by the amazing author Betty Rocksteady! A prolific author of cosmic sex horror and Garfield enthusiast, Betty has spoiled me in ways I cannot properly express. She sent me copies of her books, a classic MAD magazine, and other amazing things.





The Gremlins cup itself is a treasure I'm surprised she parted with! I mean, COME ON! What a treasure. I am only a year older than this cup! Too cool!




And the Canuck-Duck she sent me will now live together with Hobo Duck on my shelf. Friends for life!




Pixel Elixir Logo Pins!



Soooo... I'm addicted to the stuff being sold by Pixel Elixir. Like seriously, I fell in love with my Castle Freak pin from my last post, so, so show my allegiance I decided to get their logo pin and their Halloween themed logo pin! And since this is the Halloween season, they attached a small spooky goodies bag to my order.  

In time, I will own everything made by Pixel Elixir. I sure hope they have shirts in my size!



I love the candies, but, these three items in the goodies bag really made my day. The roach is a little too real, but that's part of the fun!



Transforming Bumblebee Costume



Lastly, I didn't shape or build this, but I helped with the construction of this beautiful transforming Bumblebee costume. I painted the whole thing myself, and I have to say I had a lot of fun doing it even if it was incredibly stressful. I've never actually made a costume, I just buy them. This project took about a month to put together and it was very labor intensive. I happy to say though that my 5-year-old nephew was very, very happy with in and was the talk of the town!

I made a lot of mistakes with the painting of it, but for a first try at this sort of thing I think I can be forgiven. 



















And there you have it! Halloween 2019 was a total success! There's so much more I could share, but I feel like it's overkill already. I hope you enjoy these pictures and videos. Time to plan for next year!