I don’t really want to shop this year

In years past, I enjoyed holiday time shopping.  I would scour the interwebs in advance and come up with plans of shit to purchase for myself, for famiry, for friends and whomever might actually warrant getting a gift for.  And by the time Thanksgiving rolled up, I would go start going gangbusters on purchasing things from all the retailers that might or might not have had early, Thanksgiving day, or Brack Friday deals.  By the time December rolled around, I was mostly done with my holiday shopping, save for those closest to me that I’d want to keep getting things for maybe.

Obviously, the big variable in those years past was the availability of time, and having the time to do research, think about other people, and to come up with plans, and seeing as how this year can mostly be summed up that as far as time goes, I just never fucking have any, and as a result, I look at holiday shopping and gift giving as something more a nuisance and an obligation, as much as it’s something that I’m feeling enthusiastic and eager to partake in.

Yes I understand how curmudgeon and shitty that sounds, but that’s where I’m at right now.  Overwhelmed, overworked, exhausted and perpetually pushed past my limits, that I’m finding it incapable to enjoy things I’ve enjoyed in the past, much less any and most of the little things that might’ve lifted my spirits in the past.

Additionally, I’m not working now, as I opted to, and it turned out to be extremely essential, in taking my extended leave of absence from work beyond my normal paid paternity time, but that also means it’s 1.5 months of not getting paid, as my job is secure, but the paychecks stop.  So I have financial concerns on top of everything else, and I’m wondering what wells in which I should be pulling the necessary funds to make sure my famiry and loved ones can actually have some gifts from me, because we’re all capitalists and all feel obligated to buy shit for one another.

As the Thanksgiving week rolled around, my email box was bombarded by e-blasts and messages from retailers that I ordinarily would want to browse through.  Brack Friday prices now, extended, Cyber Monday, etc., etc., for an entire week.  Of course I wanted to look through and peruse and hope to find some shit for myself or my loved ones, but with what fucking time?  I don’t have any.  By the time I have any time to do anything of the sort, that time is spent cleaning shit and resetting shit for another day of parenting, before I’m too gassed and tired to do anything else.

As the week progressed, and in what fleeting moments I might’ve had that I could have done something so frivolous, I was basically at the point where every commercial website I’d go to had countdowns at the tops of their page ticking down the amount of time left that such deals would be in place.  And I hate working against clocks, much less visible ones, and then I’d remind myself, with what fucking money? And then ultimately just start closing browser tabs, and sink back into my general hole of angst.

Believe me, I don’t like admitting all this stuff as much as I am putting it in writing for it to be immortalized, but that’s where I’m at.  It’s like, I only want to shop for my immediate household, and would like to be alleviated from the feeling of obligation to shop for anyone outside of it.  Because that’s all my world really is these days, the people within my own walls, and I have no idea what anyone outside of it might want, or needing to exert thoughtfulness, because it’s just adding unnecessary stress and anxiety to me, and I really don’t need it.

Ultimately, I’m going to just start kicking down doors and demanding ideas for what to get people, because we’re still in a pandemic, I don’t speak or interact with people enough to have ideas of thoughtful observational gifts, and I kind of just want to be done with needing to feel like I have to shop for others.

Maybe, hopefully, in the future years, this’ll go back to being typical slaves to capitalism, where we’ll all be happy to throw our money around at shit nobody really needs, but at least we’ll be in better spirits.

Happy holidays!

Blet world problems

With the NXT UK Tag Team replica blet now officially on the radar and awaiting an adequate discount price away from me pulling the trigger on the one blet that I have been wanting for nearly three years, you’d think I’d be running out of blets that conceivably even want for my collection.  Sure, there are tons of blets in the independent promotions that might warrant a second look, but those would be a little too edgelord even for a snob like me.  And AEW, much like New Japan are taking their replicas a little too serious for me to even consider wanting to buy one (yet).  

I’ve gotten pretty much all of the old ECW and WCW blets that I ever wanted (which is basically all of them), blets to represent my interests in New Japan, Ring of Honor, as well as NXT and NXT UK, and I’m currently holding onto two blets for my daughters until they hopefully come to their senses and realize that they want their blets on their own walls one day.

So, at some point, there’s got to be an end to the madness of all the blets that I could even want, right?  Especially with the one UK Tag blet that I’d been pining for basically all but already mine at this point, what could possibly come next?

Well for years, I’ve had friends and acquaintances think they were being clever internet comedians when they’d be telling me that I needed to get a John Cena US Spinner title blet for my collection.  They all thought they were being funny, because the Cena US Spinner was a blet that was polarizing in the sense that most everyone hated it, and I admit that I wasn’t a fan of it either, originally.  But as time passed, and I occasionally actually looked at it beyond fleeting moving video of it on television, I kind of dug it.  Way more than the eventual John Cena world title he unveiled, which for this juncture in time, I still say that I wasn’t a fan of the design and maintain that any blet that was once held by Jeff Hardy doesn’t have much credibility in my mind, even if CM Punk did the lord’s work with it before the got all high and mighty and martyred himself into oblivion.

In the years that I’d been waiting for the NXT UK Tag to release where it never happened, there were all sorts of blets that crossed my radar in that span in order to satiate my perpetual want for moar blets.  It was in this window of time that I figured that I really should try to get my hands on a Cena US spinner, but as was often the case when I decided to go for certain blets, they were already no longer manufactured.

Figures Toy Company lost the rights to make WWE blets, and those that existed on the second hand market were priced to the moon, and I know what my limits are on a blet, much less one that I want more for a joke and irony than actual want.  I’d watch eBay auctions for legitimate ones whenever they’d show up, but then they’d all always soar past what I’d be willing to pay for it, and there were tons of Pakistani knockoffs of them that I had to make sure to not get duped on.

Eventually, I realized that the Cena US Spinner was a blet that probably had a high chance of getting re-released by the WWE Shop, seeing as how I’d observed a parade of older blets getting re-released instead of the NXT UK Tag, drawing my ire endlessly.  I figured the Cena US Spinner would probably see the light of day before the NXT UK Tag in fact, but I figured it would eventually be re-released at some point, because it seemed like all old blets were headed in that path.

Which brings us to today, just days after finding out that the NXT UK Tag blet was finally being replicated, I see a banner show up, announcing the pre-orders for the replica re-release of, the John Cena US Spinner blet.  

And just like that, after boasting about how the NXT UK Tag wouldn’t even be coming out of my blet money from surveys, the WWE Shop has to up and drop yet another blet that I had been casually keeping my eye out for, creating a scenario where I will eventually have to dip into my hard-earned blet money after all.

Also, I’m currently sitting at needing to mount three new blets to my wall.  The NXT UK Tag would make it four, and if and when I eventually get my Cena US Spinner, that’ll make five.  Which is a pain in the ass because then I’ll need to buy more wall snaps, which are only sold in packs of 25, which means I’ll end up with extra snaps enough for eleven more blets afterward.

I’ve basically given up on saying that I’ll ever be finished, because let’s be real here, there will always be new blets to come out, or a change in opinion, or a killer sale, that will result in me buying just about every blet there is out there.  

Such is the life, of a blet collector.

lol China

Where all-you-can-eat doesn’t mean all-you-can-eat: man blacklisted from all-you-can-eat barbecue restaurant because he was eating too much

Frankly, there really is no place in the world that this could’ve occurred at then China.  China has no regard for rules, and they’re not above applying draconian outcomes onto their own people, especially when money is involved.  It’s just unfortunate for all parties involved, that The Internet caught wind of this story, because now it’s basically a meme, with all the observational humor armchair comedians that are coming out of the woodwork to chime in their two cents.

Naturally, the initial favor goes and should go, to the customer, whom was capitalizing on the general concept of all-you-can-eat, and it really is not his problem if the restaurant’s golden ratio of food consumed versus cost of meal begins sliding in his favor because he’s a monster capable of consuming large quantities of food.  As far as the restaurant goes, if they’re incapable of actually being all-you-can-eat, they probably shouldn’t be in business in the first place.

But then it’s revealed that the guy in question was a live-streamer, and then I feel like there’s a lot of context that kind of went missing in the bigger picture.  I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Kang here, was probably going to the restaurant, partially to eat a meal, but at the same time, ham shit up for his six viewers, by acting a little bit outlandish, and eating beyond normal, for the entertaining of others.  Now, from the restaurant’s standpoint, I can kind of lean towards them, because based on their description of how Mr. Kang would pick up the entire tray of prawns instead of using the tongs, that sounds like a dick move done deliberately, for the lulz, but is also fucking all other customers in the restaurant from getting any.

Sure, Mr. Kang wasn’t wasting any food, but at the same time I have a hard time believing that he was pounding away 3+ lbs. of pork trotters or downing 20-30 bottles of soy milk because he was just that hungry.  No, live-streamers are inherently attention whores, so he was probably stuffing his face for the camera, and most likely most definitely didn’t need to be eating that much food.

There are definitely ways to exploit buffets, most obviously being, don’t make a spectacle of yourself or draw attention to the fact that you’re trying to stay and eat the place out of business.  I used to see senior citizens at Old Country Buffets in the past, who undoubtedly were there for upwards of three hours plus, because they probably got in the door when it was senior-priced breakfast, but milked the clock to where the more expensive lunch options began emerging, and then had multiple meals while there.

But by making a spectacle of himself by grabbing entire trays, or running trains on soy milk, and undoubtedly bringing camera gear to his table, Mr. Kang ends up looking like a tool, the restaurant looks like assholes for denying someone all they can eat, and in the end, everyone loses, because lol China, of course.

Not going to lie though, all this thinking about Chinese buffets makes me miss the ever-living hell out of them.  Coronavirus be damned, I’m quite tempted to take the risk and go find some rando-China King Buffet and stuff my face stupid of lo mein, General Tso’s chicken, crab rangoons of doom and of course, chicken quesadillas.

Three years later… FINALLY

I’m actually still in disbelief that it’s finally coming: WWEShop announces the upcoming release of NXT UK Tag Team Championship replica blets.

I’m not even kidding, I have had this tab open on both my browser on my laptop as well as my phone, for over two years, refreshing daily, hoping to one day see the NXT UK Tag Team blet available one day.  In that span, I have witnessed numerous tribute blets, reproductions of older WCW and WWF-era blets, and several individual specific blets of particular legends that have had gaudy $700+ price tags associated to them.

But never the NXT UK Tag Team blets, despite the fact that they were literally, the only active blet in the entire company, to not have replicas made available.  It was maddening to a collector like me, and no amount of complaining, or utilizing a sock-puppet Twitter account to troll the WWEShop online to shame them for racism against Brits or other ludicrous bullshit to just spread awareness of their faux pas.

I could’ve gotten Pakistani reproductions, but I remained hopeful that these would eventually come to fruition.  And then NXT was ripped out from under Triple H, and I had concerns that the NXT UK brand would be in danger, and then these blets would never see the light of day.  But with no other real choice, I just continued to wait, impatiently.

The funny thing is, after plunking down $500 for my Unicorn blet, I had this thought in my mind that, wouldn’t it be funny if fate thought it would be funny and trolling to me, if suddenly the NXT UK Tag blets I’ve been wanting for over three years, were to suddenly become available, after I’ve been rendered cash poor?

Well fuck you fate, the joke’s on you; the last freelance project I did in 2018, I literally set aside an estimated amount of what I figured this blet would one day cost, based on the general cost of blets on WWEShop was.  And much like those browser tabs, I have been sitting on this cash for over two years, waiting for this day to come, and it has, and not even burning a ton of my blet money on my Unicorn blet can stand in the way of getting this UK blet that I’ve been wanting since I saw its reveal in 2018.

I was actually at the vet with my dog, getting his annual shots, when while my dog was whisked away to the back for some testing, that I pulled up my phone to do my daily check, did I realize with wide eyes that the day I had been waiting for, for the last three years, had finally come.  The NXT UK Tag replicas were fucking FINALLY listed, and I texted at least three different parties with crying face emojis, that my day had finally come.

The funny thing is, in spite of how long I’ve been waiting for these blets to finally become available, I’m in no rush to pull the trigger on them.  At $399, it’s a little bit higher than what I had set aside for it, not that that really matters, but it’s because anyone who ever pays full price for a replica blet is only fucking themselves.  The WWEShop runs sales on blets on almost a monthly basis, ranging from 20-40% depending on the promotion.  I don’t know if these will make it to the likely Brack Friday sale they typically do, but even if they don’t, I’m not going to be in too much rush to purchase these.

I’ve waited three years for this replica to come into existence, so what’s a little bit longer to make sure I don’t play the sucker that pays full price on mine?

#21: The Unicorn Blet

A problem I have (among countless others) is that I am not above getting a knockoff product, but if I know that a legitimate version of it exists, I’m going to want the official thing.

As my blet collection continued to grow, at one point, I picked up a Ring of Honor tag team blet, because I had an Amazon gift card that I had no idea what the fuck to use it on, and when one of my friends suggested putting it towards a blet, I countered with that all the blets available on Amazon were mostly all Pakistani knockoffs.  But then I went down the rabbit hole of double-checking, and lo-and-behold, there was some merchant selling official, Figures Toy Company replicas of Ring of Honor tag team blets, and with the gift card, it knocked it down to a far more reasonable price that I was willing to bite on.

But with a ROH tag blet in my collection, naturally I would want a ROH World championship blet.  However, little did I know that the version that I wanted, official versions of it were not only no longer produced, but the ones that existed were now considered somewhat of collectors items, because there was some sort of legal background involving designer and distributor fighting over rights and royalties, with it ultimately ending with the ceasing of production of the blets, and Ring of Honor being forced to redesign the World title in order to produce replicas.

Naturally, the things that I want are the ones that end up being rare and expensive.  Sure, I could’ve paid under $150 and gotten one of the countless reproductions made in Pakistan; all three of my New Japan IWGP blets are, but I justify those because official replicas are upwards of $2,000 and only like 1,000 are ever produced in typical Japanese short-selling.  But the thing is, I knew that official ROH World titles were out there and occasionally available on the secondary, and I had hoped to get my hands on one.

Worst part is, on two separate occasions, I went to ROH shows, once in Baltimore, and once in Dallas, and I saw the blet available at the merch stands.  But I’m rarely in the mood to plunk down $300 on the spot, so I passed in both instances, so it’s almost karmic that I would eventually be in this position later on down the road.

A little while back, I found an eBay listing for a ROH World championship.  The buy it now on it was $600, which was appalling, but not something I wasn’t willing to go to, seeing as how I had a nice little cache of blet money saved up from doing surveys for the last year.  But in true Danny fashion, I decided to test the waters of the Make Offer button, and in fairly quick succession, made two, probably insultingly low-ball offers, seeing if I could get the guy to ultimately bite when I went up to $500.  But before I could get to that point, someone actually swooped in and did the buy it now for $600, and I wasn’t sure whether to be relieved that I didn’t have to drop $600 on it, or feel sad that I missed out on an opportunity to get what I was now referring to as my Unicorn Blet.

Continue reading “#21: The Unicorn Blet”

Being a man of my word

A wise man; the Ultimate Warrior to be specific; once said: blah blah blah skeletons, blah blah blah, sacrifice.  Rooooarrrrrrrr snarrllllll

Chris Jericho said it best about the Ultimate Warrior: I don’t know what he said but it sounded cool yaaaayyyyy

Anyway, this isn’t a post about the Ultimate Warrior, Chris Jericho, or professional wrestling, for once.  Those were referenced just to zone in on a single concept, that’s kind of stuck with me, especially when it comes to trying to tempt fate and potentially get the things that I hope to get: sacrifice.

I have this belief that seldom do good things occur without some degree of sacrifice involved.  It’s basically like when kids behave and act good because they want something.  And when I’ve wanted things like, the Braves winning the World Series, I most definitely think that there should be some sacrifice made by all Braves fans, if they really wanted to see a World Series win.

A few weeks ago, I dogged on Dugout Mugs, and basically how I thought they were the most useless products on the planet.  And how in an era of pandemic, wealth inequity, teetering on the precipice of financial ruin everywhere, the absolute last fucking thing anyone needed was a cup made out of a baseball bat.

One of the last things I blathered about how was that I should probably make a sacrificial bet that if the Braves won the World Series that I should get a Dugout Mug, in spite of just how abhorrent I think they are, because if I really wanted to see the Braves win, I should make a sacrifice, after all.

I wasn’t at all writing all that, in an attempt to superstitiously manipulate fate, and put on a show.  Believe me, I have done it before, and naturally it doesn’t work, but my disdain for Dugout Mugs is very much legitimate.  They’re useless products, AND they have a ridiculously ludicrous $70 price point for a fucking hollowed out bat head.  The Braves winning the World Series would definitely cost me something, that I would never purchase in any other circumstance.

And despite the fact that I made this bet with myself, and probably zero people even read or knew about it, when the Braves finished the Astros, I went ahead and bit the bullet and purchased a fucking Dugout Mug.  Thankfully, there was some sort of promotional deal for early purchasers, and I was able to get my mug for not-$70, but it was still basically the cost of a brand new video game once taxes and shipping were applied.

I didn’t have to do it.  I could’ve denied everything and just said eating my words should be enough.  But when it comes to fates and superstition, I am that gullible, so I believe that it’s probably for the best that I remain a man of my word and fulfill the obligation I made for myself if the Braves were to win.  

Considering how long I’d been hoping to see this, $57 is a paltry price to pay, and even if I think this mug and all other Dugout Mugs are bullshit, at least everything will taste something like victory for a little while from it.  Even gross-ass IPAs.

No, it wasn’t

By the graciousness of my nanny, whom I excused from being on time to check at a QT for me, was she able to procure a reprint of the November 3rd commemorative Braves World Series victory edition.  This, was the highlight of my day.

So, I’m happy that I got the one thing that I had really wanted to commemorate the joyous occasion of the Braves reaching the top of the mountain and getting to be World Series champions, a sight and notion that is still hard to digest two days later, but I’m still peeved at just how hard it was to get a small piece of history to remember it by.

I’m pretty sure there’s something in the Constitution that says something along the lines of that news shouldn’t not be available to those who seek it, and it’s a stretch, but the AJC, whether it was deliberate or stupidity, suppressing production of the one and only obviously high-demand edition of their shitty paper, I would interpret as being fucking unconstitutional. 

As relieved as I am to have my own edition, predictably, the well-publicized high demand for these editions has created the dreaded and insufferable secondary market for them, and I’ve seen them on Facebook Marketplace going for at least $10 a pop, and mythical wife, after hearing me bitch and moan about it the night prior, spied some on eBay, going for around $27 a pop.

I’m not going to be a hypocrite about it, because I’ve definitely purchased extras of things before, with the intent of trying to flip them.  But whenever I’ve done that, that makes me an asshole, and what people are doing with these fucking AJCs, are making them assholes too.  I’m just glad that I didn’t have to pay a second-hand price for this, although I would have done so in order to get one.

The irony is that, it’s not even that good of a commemorative edition.  The AJC’s aesthetics and design has always been sixth-rate as far as major market newspapers go, and this commemorative edition doesn’t do the Braves justice.

The newspaper industry took a lot of flack over the last few decades over many publications taking cost-cutting measures and eliminating photographers, and instead tasking reporters to take pictures on iPhones.  I don’t know whether or not the AJC was one of those publications, but based on the shitty photo quality of my collector’s edition, I’m inclined to believe they are.

The photos are out of focus and have been enlarged way past the original resolution, and whatever staffers they have pretending to be graphic artists apply a bunch of high-pass filters to try and sharpen them, but instead make them look all posterized and pixelated.  I’d almost be embarrassed to actually display it after I frame it, but it will eventually become artwork for lack of a better term.

Anyway, I’m just glad I got my copy regardless of all the bullshit and hoops that had to be done in order for it to happen.  I just wish what seemed like a simple thing didn’t have to become such a joy-suppressing ordeal.

Fuck the AJC.