Tuesday, October 30, 2018


My son and I went to the pumpkin farm on Saturday, and we carved out the pumpkin we got there on Sunday.

We put it on the front porch with a little LED candle in it that cycled through colors as it lit up the inside of the jack-o-lantern.

It's been outside for one day now...a day and a half I guess. I was replacing the light bulb above our front door, and when I stepped down off the ladder, I totally stepped on it. I ruined that pumpkin, breaking it in several places, but that's not at all the thing that sticks in my mind from the experience. My son's going to be sad that it's broken, but much, much worse and more indelible in my mind is the cloud of flies that lifted off the thing when I bumped it. You can kind of see them in this picture, but rest assured that this picture only shows a small portion of them...

Out west, where I grew up, there wasn't enough moisture to foster so many frigging insects. You could leave a pumpkin outside for weeks before it ever started to rot and attract bugs. Not one day. Is this one day outside and it's a bug mess thing the common experience around the country and the world? I'd like to know. Please comment and tell me if it's me that's weird here or not.

And if it is the norm, then how did making jack-o-lanterns ever become a thing? They're gross!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Drug Dealers

I went to my diabetes doctor this past week for my quarterly appointment. Afterwards, I stopped in at the desk to make my next appointment, and was greeted by these:

Bowls full of Halloween candy for the friggin diabetics to further destroy themselves with. I guess that's one way to ensure that people are always coming back again and again. Keep that money rolling in, health system. Complicit all the way down to the bottom level it seems.

It Has Begun

I've been trying to change my eating habits since last December. I've had a lot of really bad habits that eventually led to me acquiring type II diabetes. Not all of it was my fault, I'm glad to admit. I've recently learned just how utterly wrong all the dietary guidelines our governments, and subsequently pretty much everyone else, have been advising us with, but not even the their wrongheaded guidelines ever said that sugar was good for us. They just distracted us from what we should be worrying about by telling us that the good guy was also a bad guy.

All these dozens of years of doing it the wrong way...

Have left me with a lot of hang-ups. There's a lot of things out there that are really bad for me that, nevertheless, I love...LOVE. I'm trying to avoid them, but sometimes it can be difficult. And now, another one of them has reared its ugly head to get me. Behold:

Yes, I love...LOVE egg nog. There have been years where I guzzled my way through gallons upon gallons of the stuff.

The most positive part of egg nog showing up in the stores...already...is that the rest of the year, it's not around. I'm glad that, at the very least, it's a seasonal item that I don't have to battle year round.

The negative part is that it is part of the hardest part of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are holidays that revolve around food, are almost solely about food, and my diabetes doctor once said that everyone gets their worst A1C score of the year on their appointment after December. Egg nog in the coolers means that all the other things are coming too, peppermint ice cream, caramel apples, strawberry rhubarb pie, and so on. There's going to be food at work to avoid over and over and over again.

It's going to be rough, but I'm determined. I started Keto in December of last year, and I swear that December will be my best time this year too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Iron Skull

I couldn't help myself. I had to take it further. I mentioned in my earlier post how I was able to spooky up my bookshelf a little more by adding little plastic skulls that we'd picked up at the dollar store to my 12 inch...or as the (not) cool kids say it 1/6 scale...Captain America.

Well, I had several more skulls...

And a fair number of large figures with removable heads. So...behold, Iron Skull:

Hmmm...that picture kind of sucks. Too much light from the computer screen in the background. Sorry. Here we go. Here he is on the shelf.

There is a real Iron Skull from Marvel, in a storyline where Red Skull got a hold of Iron Man's armor and arc reactor.

But that guy's got nothing on my awesome customization. Amiright?

I couldn't quit there, though. I had some more 12" guys.

I couldn't come up with a good name for this guy like I did with Captain Americorpse and Iron Skull though.

Any suggestions? At least I've got one figure that really displays well with all these annoying spider webs that I put up for Halloween.

Wasn't all done yet. I had a Hulkbuster that I could turn into a Skullbuster:

This guy isn't even a 12 inch figure. He's supposed to be in six inch scale, but the Hulkbuster is so big that he's almost twelve inches tall when in six inch scale. After all, Iron Man is supposed to be inside of that suit, so he obviously can't be the same size as him.

I guess since I'm at it I ought to include this guy that I picked up as well. I happened to be at a Walgreens, and saw that they had an old Pumpkin King figure. It's pretty good. Looks really nice. Also, they had these posable skeletons at Big Lots, and they were already on sale for something like 30% off.

It's gonna be pretty sad to take all this stuff down in a few weeks, but it will be all the sweeter next year when I pull it all back out.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Horning In

My wife brought home some cereal for the kids this week, and it kind of surprised me. Has this been a thing before this year?

We did an episode of That Gets My Goat way back when where we tried all of the famous Halloween cereals like Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Franken Berry. Those cereals are made by General Mills, and have been ruling the roost as far as Halloween themed cereals go for decades. But this limited edition of Froot Loops with Spooky Marshmallows is made by Kellogg's. Looks like they've been seeing all that sweet, sweet Halloween cash going to the shop across the street instead of to them, and they've decided to try to find a way to get their share.

They're going with the purple and orange color scheme, which a lot of places have decided are the official colors of Halloween or something, similar to how red and green seem to be that for Christmas. Don't know how purple pushed black out. I always thought it was black and orange until now. And the marshmallows are ghosts, bats, and Frankenstein's Monster heads.

Well, my kids are now chowing down on this crap for breakfast each day. I'll make sure that they don't get too much more of it, so that they don't end up diabetic like their dad.

Oh, and I did already get them a box of Count Chocula earlier this month. So, I haven't gone traitor on General Mills and the original stuff or anything.

I'm Coming

I was at the Halloween displays in Target with my six-year-old, and he found this phone thing and tried it out.

If you trade the phone for a baby monitor, and you trade the word "you" for "your son" then you have the premise of one of my very first stories I wrote back in 2003 or so. I couldn't not share it.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A Brand New Cap

We picked up some Halloween decorations at the dollar store back in the early days of the season. One of the decorations being a bag full of small plastic skulls. My wife had a plan to put them in a jar on the counter. I'm sure she saw it on Pinterest somewhere.

So, cute! Amiright!

There were some of those skulls that didn't fit in the jar, so I added them to my display. But after a while, I realized that they could be used even more effectively.

Lots of my big toys on my shelf are somewhat customizable. They come with extra hands in different positions, so that you can have them holding guns or casting magic spells. There are also seperate heads with different expressions, so you can have your character making a grimace as he swings his sword instead of a smile.

Those skulls from that little bag are just about the same size as the heads on a 12" figure, so I grabbed a knife, cut a hole in the bottom of one of them, and replaced one of my figures normal head with a nice Halloween skull. Behold, Captain Americorpse:

It's a little bit big, but not terrible. He's definitely going to brighten up...I mean darken up my shelf a little bit this Halloween.

I Like Legos

But they are very expensive. Sometimes it doesn't feel like you get enough value for the money you spend.

I remember there was this restaurant that served paninis, salads, and soup that was right near the Wendy's that Rish and I used to meet at. One time Rish went there, and was outraged at how small the meal was for the amount of money he spent. I don't know what he ordered, but I'd been to that same restaurant before, and didn't feel the same. I guess maybe it depends on your expectations.

It's funny because I like Legos and Rish doesn't. Just like the paninis. A pretty small Lego set costs a pretty large amount. They're a very small scale too. A Lego minifigure is what, two inches tall? Less? Sometimes things like that can be important to people. A guy might love an action figure at six inches but hate it if it's the exact same thing but twelve inches tall. For toy collectors, there tends to be a scale that you like, and you do most of your collecting in that, and things that aren't in that scale, you turn your nose up to.

I was originally going to include this in my last post about visiting the mall, but that thing ballooned out and took on a life of its own, so I quit while I was ahead, and left this for a different post. While at the mall, I also went to the Lego Store. It was also on the very top floor, hidden away from the Ralph Laurens and the Guccis.

I found that their prices for Legos were about even with what you'd get at Target, and about ten to fifteen percent higher than Walmart's prices. This actually surprised me. I'd assumed that there would be a pretty hefty markup.

What they had that Target and Walmart could never match, however, was this kind of stuff:

This thing was friggin' enormous. It was so neat to look at. If you look in the bottom corner, you can see the price for it. Here, let me help you by enlarging it:

Yeah, they want $800 for it. But the more I've gotten to know about toys, the more I understand stuff like this. This is a picture of the web page for the Sideshow Collectibles Hulkbuster Iron Man.

It's totally friggin' awesome, but they also want $800 for it. On top of that, it's sold out, so as many as they made at that price got bought.

It's not even that big, crazily enough. It's a 1/6 scale figure. Which means that it is at the scale where a person is one foot tall on average instead of six. Hulkbuster is bigger than a person, so it's possibly as big as 18 inches, but still...

What I've come to understand is that you pay for quantity, but especially quality. Something like that Hulkbuster or the Millennium Falcon up above are dripping with both. But especially the quality part. I want them both, but I will certainly never have them. You have to have a certain kind of disposable income for things like that to be within your reach.

There were some other things that I saw there I'd really like to get. Like this Hulkbuster instead:

It's only $120, a veritable steal by comparison. That probably means that it's nowhere near as big as it looks on the box. But it looks awesome, and I have a weird thing for the Hulkbuster.

Then there's this:

I also really love Voltron. That was one of my favorite shows back in my childhood days, and I really love the look of it. I could play Voltron all day long...I mean, look at Voltron all day long. I was happy to see on my way out that they had one of them assembled and on display at the front of the store.

So cool.

Of course putting that together would take a long time. Weeks probably. Is it worth worth the effort it requires to assemble it? I'm old now. I've got to budget my time, because there's only so much of it. It's one of the reasons that I watch less TV than ever, even though there's more great shows available in the genres that I love. I just don't feel good putting all that time into watching them. I feel guilty. Like I should have done something wiser with my time.

Legos, however, is a good way for me to spend time with my boys, so I like to do it. And my oldest son loves Legos, so even if I don't want to take the time assembling it, it doesn't matter, because I've got an oompa loompa to do it for me. Too bad he moved away on me. Won't be so easy to have it shipped back to me after he assembles it. It'd arrive all broken and I'd have to reassemble it anyway. Ah well. He'll be home at Christmas for a while I guess.

One of my favorite things about Legos is how they do their various licensing agreements. I like Legos, and I like Star Wars...or Voltron...or Marvel. I can buy a toy that's just a Marvel guy or a Star Wars guy. But what if I bought something that was both Star Wars and Lego? Two birds with one stone, eh? That's right folks, thanks for reading Big Anklevich, the thinking man's blogger. See you next time.

Friday, October 19, 2018


I left early yesterday for work so that I could go to the mall on the way there. I wanted to go to the Disney Store, and the mall close to my house doesn't have one. The one by work does, unfortunately for me, it's one of the largest malls in America. I wandered around for a while, and no where could I find one of those maps with the "you are here" mark on it directing me to where all the stores are.

Eventually, I found a kiosk that had little maps of the place in folded up pamphlets like the map at Disneyland or something. It didn't help much, truthfully. I found the Disney Store on the list in the D's, but the number they had next to it didn't seem to correspond to anything that I could find on the map.

Apparently, I looked like the world's biggest fucking rube ever, standing there with a map to a mall, scratching my head and saying, "This mall is sure big and perty. What's a Dolce and Gabbana?" Because a Paul Blart-style mall cop rolled up in his Segway--I kid you not, apparently that joke was based on reality--and asked if I needed any help.

I told him I just wanted to go to the Disney Store, and he directed me to where I could find it. Thanks, I said, and tried to fold the comically oversized mall map back up to put it back on the kiosk now that I didn't need it. It was so big that I felt like it might as well be a map of North America or at least the whole state of Texas. Just like a real map, it didn't want to fold up right.

"This thing is bigger than I expected," I said as I struggled with the dumb map.

"Yeah, it is big. The mall covers three entire city blocks," said Mr. Blart to me, misunderstanding what I was referring too. I'd been to the mall before, and I knew how big it was. I looked like even more of a rube than ever, but instead of saying, "I meant the map," I just shut up and moved along. I was glad to have his help, no matter how much of a rube it made me look like, and besides, it probably would have only made it worse somehow.

I did find the Disney Store way the hell up on the third floor. No wonder I didn't see it. I was surrounded instead by bullshit stores like Prada, and A'GACI, and BCBGMAXAZRIA, and Bottega Veneta everywhere to find anything I might actually have a small interest in. They put the shit the rubes would like up on the top floor so that the beautiful people don't have to rub elbows with them.

I looked around, but was very disappointed. It felt like they must have been in the middle of a reset. There were several shelves that were completely empty. Every other time I've been to a Disney Store, there's been tons of Marvel and Star Wars stuff, but this time there was relatively little.

I did really like their Toybox line of toys, which I believe have actually been around for a long time, but I just haven't been to a Disney Store in quite a while. Since I've got a bit of a Halloween obsession going on right now, I was particularly drawn to their Toybox figure of Jack Skellington with Zero. It was sitting on a table with a giant sign that said %40 off. Next to it was a bunch of other Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise--costumes and the like.

This seemed like quite a deal. The Toybox toys weren't too expensive, running around $13, but getting 40% off was much better. So, I went up to the register to pay for one. When they rang it up, it was full price.

"That was on a table with a big sign that said 40% off," I said.

"Oh," the woman behind the register said, "That is just for the costumes and stuff."

In my head I was screaming, "You fucking liars! If it was just for the costumes, then why did you pile up all the Jack Skellington toys right there next to the sign? The sign was on the same goddamn table! You're fucking crooks! Crooks, I tell you!"

But all I said was, "Oh." And then I paid full price for it.

I did manage to say, "That's very tricky of you guys. You fooled me." I did kind of feel like a fool as I walked out of the place. I wanted to go back and take a picture of the table where the figures and the sign was. Then I could...I don't know, tweet it at Disney or something and complain about their unfair practices. I'm sure they would make things right immediately, and it would be nothing like shouting in a hurricane.

Instead, I took this picture of the toy that I bought:

Was it worth full price? I don't know. I sure don't feel like it, because IT WAS ON THE 40% OFF TABLE! But I do really like the figure all the same. It looks good on my shelf with some of the other Halloween toys I've got:

Hulkbuster is very scary. Yeah, they're not all Halloween toys, but most of them are. For now. A few weeks and it'll be time to put up Christmas stuff. Then a few weeks later, I'll be old. Then a few weeks after that I'll be dead. Yay!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Read The Label

We ran out of Tylenol this week, and my wife had a really bad headache, so I ran out to Kroger and picked up a new bottle. Of course I bought the generic, which just goes by the drug name and not the brand name. So, mine just says Acetaminophen on the label.

Then, when I got home, I noticed the sticker on the lid. Looks like I got the right kind. Would have been a shame if I'd bought the acetaminophen that doesn't contain acetaminophen.

Can someone tell me why this is there? Are we so damn stupid that we can't tell that a bottle marked in big white letters with the word acetaminophen has acetaminophen in it? And jeez, always read the label! Because next time there may be no superfluous sticker on top of the bottle of acetaminophen to warn you that the product in that bottle contains acetaminophen. Who's gonna save you then?

Anatomically Correct

I talked about how I've been more into doing the Halloween decoration thing this year. I've been thinking I need to get some cool additions for my shelves. Of course adding Halloween themed toys is one thing I'd like to do. Maybe I should get this Mego-style Count Dracula?

Can't decide with that one. I'm not old enough to have the nostalgia for Mego, but there still is a certain charm to old-style toys like the ones from before my time. For example, I'd love to get my hands on some of those really cool wind-up robot toys that were really popular in the fifties.

I texted the picture to Rish and asked what he thought. Apparently he doesn't like Mego either.

Back to Halloween, there's also this skeleton statue that I've seen in several places:

I really like the look of it. Seems like it would be especially good on a bookshelf, because the skeleton looks like it's sitting on the floor listening to someone read a book out loud, doesn't it?

There's a lot of skeleton statues available these days, and they've gone way beyond human skeletons now. I find them to be pretty funny though. Like this dog:

I'm not sure if that skeleton is quite right. Does that skull have ears and a nose? I've felt a dog ears before, and they don't have bone inside them...

Or this rat:

A rat is scary enough as it is, but a skeleton of a rat should be much worse. Instead, it looks possibly cuter than a non-skeletal rat. Silly. Why the bony ears and nose? Is it because they assume no one will recognize a dog or rat skull for what it is without adding in a bunch of stuff that doesn't belong?

Then I saw the worst one of the whole bunch:

Do I even need to say anything? I'll just say exoskeleton...and maybe invertebrate. That is all.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Anklecast 42: There Goes My Life

Rish Outfield has been bugging me to do an episode in which I talk about the emotional toll that it takes on a parent to have their child go off to college and essentially leave the family for good to start their own life and possibly their own family one day. Well, I resisted the peer pressure as long as I could, but when he called me a poopoo head, it was more than I could bear, so I caved in and made the episode. Here is the result, what is probably a far too intimate glimpse into my life. Hope you like what you see...

Watch the video or listen to the audio above. Or to download the audio of the podcast, right click here, and save the file to your hard drive.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Dunesteef Episode 202: Creeping Danger by Carl H. Claudy

I forgot to post here about this back when I first published it. I swore that I was going to start doing that, but I keep forgetting. Anyhow, we did a new episode:

Head over to Dunesteef.com and check it out if you still haven't and you actually want to. Thanks, folks!

Tide Pods II

It's the sequel, which is always worse, and much less original.

I was at the dollar store today, and I saw these right by the checkout line.

Looks like candy, right? It'd be nice to get a nice bag of Airheads at the last minute. With all the worthless dollar store crap you put in your cart, you forgot to grab some kind of treat. But wait, look a little closer.

That's not candy, that's a bag of bath bombs.

It's bath bombs inspired by the scent of candy...that's a great idea, right? It would smell so good. And we probably ought to package it in a way that makes it look exactly like candy too, so that nobody could tell the difference.

Because we haven't had any problems with kids having trouble telling the difference between toxic soap products and candy.

Oh wait, little kids have needed to head to the emergency room because of confusing Tide Pods with candy...as well as stupid teenagers who have taken the Tide Pod challenge on YouTube too. After all that, Airheads thought it was a good idea to make candy bath bombs? I guess it takes a long time for stuff to trickle down and permeate society enough that we will all realize that this is not a good idea, and automatically steer clear of it.

It's like that Jack In The Box commercial making the rounds these days:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

More Halloween Decorations

A few weeks ago I posted about adding a few toys to my bookshelves, along with a ton of lights and spiderwebs, to decorate for the Halloween season.

Now, I'm totally all in the mood and stuff. So, when I was at Walgreens today, and I noticed that Imaginext has some figures that would make good Halloween decorations, I was immediately interested.

I used to collect Imaginext figures with my son a few years ago. A local grocery store had stocked them in as seasonal stocking stuffer type items for Christmastime. Then, when they didn't sell, they put them up for half off on clearance. Then when they still didn't sell, they went down to 75% off. We scooped a bunch of them up, and then started buying them more and more often, until we'd pretty much collected all of the ones that were even remotely good.

I even got a few of them for my own collection, so we had two of a few of the figures in our household. Anyway, after all of that experience, I kind of have a soft spot for these figures, even if I know they are very much for kids. They're cute and little and silly, but then again, all sorts of people collect those Funko Pop figures, and they're nothing other than adorable...except for the ones that have the creepy lifeless eyes...wait that's all of them isn't it? Maybe I should start collecting those for putting up at Halloween.

Anyway, I picked up some of the Imaginext guys to give to my son if he's ever inclined to be a good boy. But I also got some for myself. They have this cool Yeti guy:

Is he Halloween enough? Maybe not. Maybe I should save him for Christmas...but he is a monster. So, I'm standing by that decision.

I had to go to a second Walgreens, that was basically just down the street, to find the one that I really wanted. Behold, the grim reaper guy:

When I saw the reaper's face, I realized that I had another Imaginext guy that I needed to add to my display from before when my son and I were buying them up. I'd gotten myself the Dia de los Muertos mariachi guy. It took me forever to find the little thing in my box in the closet, but I was able to add him into the display as well:

I wonder what else I could add in for some more spooky Halloween fun. At the very least, when Halloween passes us by, I'll be heading out to get some stuff on the big All Saints Day blowout sales.