Month: December 2017

No Role Modelz

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a few brushes with fame in my life. Of these celebrity encounters, one has always stuck with me, though.

At a 1994 FIBA World Basketball Championship game, when I was a kid, NBA star Toni Kukoc happened to be in the stands. This totally got me starstruck.  People were coming up to him in his seat, between breaks, so figured I’d ask him for an autograph, too.  I remember being super nervous as I got closer and closer to him. When I did get near, I didn’t get a chance to speak, unfortunately. Mr Kukoc, without looking at me, said “Get out of my face.” I couldn’t believe it…..but he then said it again! The dude he was with also told me to go away, which I quickly did.  Once the shock wore off, I can’t say that I was really upset about the incident. It was more of a disappointed, angry feeling.  However, because of that one moment, in my opinion, Mr. Kukoc (who may be a swell guy, to others) was, and always will be, a jerk.

 

Let’s now talk about the other day, when like father, like son, B had a similar  “celebrity” encounter.

It happened at a Toronto Raptors 905 NBA G-League game. B was there with his basketball teammates and their parents, which included yours truly. Midway through the game, a bunch of them noticed Fred VanVleet, point guard for the Toronto Raptors, was also in attendance. Like any 8-10 year old hoops fans, they were excited about seeing a real life NBA player. So, at halftime, one of the other dads in our group took the boys down, to meet Mr. VanVleet, and get autographs.

Now, to be fair, I didn’t see what exactly happened next. I can only go by what B and the other parents told me.  I saw the group down near where Mr. VanVleet was, and then I looked away for a bit. When I looked back, I saw the group walking towards our section, with a bunch of disappointed faces. From what I was told, Mr. VanVleet saw the team approaching, and legit turned his back on them to talk to someone else instead. A 905 representative came over as well, to tell the boys that Fred VanVleet “wasn’t available”. I guess the optics of it were savage, as one of the dads got really worked up when he saw the incident occur.

Now look, there are always two sides to every story.  For all we know, Mr. VanVleet was having a bad day, and is normally very accommodating to his young fans. It could have been a case of bad timing and miscommunication. He could possibly have been sick, and didn’t want to infect the boys with his illness. Or, maybe, he just wanted to enjoy the game, without having to interact with the general public.  In any event, why he wouldn’t be more appreciative to the ones who put him on a pedestal so he can make a comfortable living playing a freaking game?

I understand that, in our culture, we tend to idolize, romanticize and build up celebrities. Shoot, I remember last year, when B and I went to a 905 game, Mr. VanVleet was on that team, as just another guy. I don’t think he had many people looking to take selfies or get an autograph then. To go from there, to now playing a regular role on one of the best teams in the NBA, well, I’m sure a lot of stuff comes with that. It’s just like if anybody in any job works their way up to become successful. You hope that they remain decently humble and stuff doesn’t go to their head, but that’s not always the case.

Yet, who are we to judge, if the celebrities we make role models turn out not to be who we thought they were? They’re  human beings, too. They don’t owe us anything. If they want to turn their back to ignore a group of kids, in spite of how bad it might reflect on them and their employer, it’s their choice, right? Like Charles Barkley said back in the day – just because someone can dunk a basketball shouldn’t make them a role model. Just because someone played a hero in a movie doesn’t mean that they aren’t a scummy deviant once the camera stops rolling. I guess that’s on us, for buying into the facade, when the truth emerges.  With all that said,  finding out Toni Kukoc was a jerk still kind of hit me the same way as when I found out Santa Claus wasn’t real. It sucked.

Ho-Ho-Hold up! I’m not real?

Ok, rambling over.

Unlike my Kukoc experience, B’s night ended on a happy note.  At the end of the game, B’s team went down to high five the 905s as they walked off the court. Bruno Caboclo, sometime Raptor/sometime 905er, on his way out, high fived everyone, AND signed every autograph, no questions asked. The kids were pumped and had the biggest smiles when they came back to us. This made their night, including B’s, who doesn’t want me to wash his autographed shirt now!

Actions speak louder than words.  And when you’re on a pedestal, role model or not, it can go a long way in affecting how you’re perceived.
Fred VanVleet, you lost some young fans that night, bro, sorry.  Bruno Caboclo, on the other hand, gained a bunch.

 

 

Rice Krispies Treats For Toys (Giveaway!)

 

 

One of my favorite part about this time of the year are all of the holiday traditions. You know, like the family dinners. Or hanging the lights outside of the house while my clumsy butt tries not to fall off of the ladder. Or walking into a store the day after Halloween, seeing Christmas merchandise already out on display, and muttering to myself that it’s way too soon for that stuff.  Yup, I do love this festive season. And in the spirit of traditions, my good friends at Kellogg’s are celebrating the fifth annual Rice Krispies #TreatsForToys program!

They have once again partnered with The Salvation Army to encourage Canadian families to create a toy-shaped Rice Krispies treat and submit a photo on TreatsforToys.ca or share it in social media using the hashtag #TreatsforToys. Then, for every photo uploaded or shared on social, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies will donate $20 to The Salvation Army for the purchase of a toy for a Canadian child in need during the holidays.  They’re also issuing a new challenge, if you’re down for it – include a moving part into your toy shaped treat (don’t worry, you’re still cool if you don’t)!

To help spread the word, Kellogg’s sent me the following package (not the tree, though! That’s ours, and was used for artistic decor. Feel free to go “ooh” and “ahh”. Or not. Probably not), so my family could make their own delicious toy creations:

I let B and J do the honours.

And after me constantly telling them to stop sucking on the icing and eating all of the ingredients much hard work, here are their Rice Krispies “Mastoypieces”. Yes, I made that word up. Anyway, we weren’t able to incorporate any moving parts, unless you consider heaping globs of gooey icing dripping down as moving parts:

A half eaten car by B.

A princess by J.

 

Make. Share. Give.

Simple, right?

And to make it even simpler, how about I give you the same package that I got from Kellogg’s? Enter the contest below for your chance to win a prize pack!

 

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies #TreatsforToys Giveaway

DATES –  Giveaway closes at 11:59PM on December 7, 2017

ELIGIBILITY – Open to all residents of Canada, except for Quebec.

TO ENTER –  Use the form below to complete the mandatory and optional entries, for your chance to win

 

 

 

Hot Holiday Gifts From Jakks Pacific!

Note: While I was compensated for this post, the thoughts expressed are 100% mine.

Wassup! By now, you’re probably basking in your Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals afterglow. I hope your shopping was a success! If you’re like me, though, you probably still have some work to do, presents-wise. Luckily, when it comes to kids, my good friends at Jakks Pacific have got it covered, for boys and girls of all ages. Here are some of their hottest toys for the holiday season!

Real Workin’ Buddies: Mr. Dusty

If your kids are like my kids (slobs), then this truck is right up your alley. Recently named as a Walmart Top Rated By Kids toy for 2017,  Mr. Dusty is a garbage truck/street sweeper/dump truck which makes cleaning up fun. Eat, sweep, dump, repeat. It has a motorized mouth, which can pick up small toys (ie. Legos), on both hardwood and carpeted floors. Even if your kids are tidy, they can still have fun with Mr. Dusty by putting random stuff on the floor and seeing if he can eat it up!

Pull My Finger

If you or your child is not a fan of potty humour or flatulence, then skip this one. If you are, then this game is the shiznit! The objective basically is to pull a monkey’s finger, and not make it fart. What’s not to like?

 

BIG-FIGS 20″ Figures – Justice League

And Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big, blockbuster movies deserve big, blockbuster toys. Typical action figures are, what? 4″ or 5″ tall? BIG-FIGS come in at around 18″-20″.  The detailing is really impressive, and some of the characters come with soft fabric capes and/or removable accessories.

 

Power Rippers

 

Power Rippers 2 in 1 Competition Set

Power Rippers are “a fusion of Vehicles, Battle Tops and Action Figures.” Basically, they’re collectable balls (each with their own names and skills) that open up, into vehicles. Using the rip cord, you can race, battle and do all kinds of cool stunts with them (no batteries required).  I personally am easily amused, so I was entertained just pulling the cord, and watching them spin round and round.

For those not so easily amused,  The Power Rippers 2 In 1 Competition Set will do the trick. It’s a track set and battle arena, and includes two loops, which can be configured in one long strip, or side by side, for racing. One neat thing is that it comes in a carrying case, which doubles as the arena and a base for the racing track, so cleaning up is easy. No Mr. Dusty required.

Happy shopping!

 

Dear Retail Stores

Dear Retail Stores,

You and I, we’ve spent a lot of time together over the years. Things feel different now, though, and I’ve felt this way for a while. Shoot, you look as nice as ever. That’s not the problem. It’s just…..

I’ve changed.

I got three small kids now, and I don’t have the time for you anymore. There’s also somebody else, too. Somebody who’s easier, sorry. Therefore, we need to take a break for a while.  Let me explain.

First off, relationships are based on honesty, and you’ve lied to me recently.  I went to Sears, where they heavily advertised everything being 20-50% off. Yet, as I walked around you, I saw a lot of 20% off signs, but no 50% ones. I had a better chance of finding Waldo there, than a half off discount.

Then, I went way out of my way to see you the other night. A Superstore, to be exact. I wanted to buy a basketball game that was in your flyer, but, alas, you were sold out. I guess that’s what I get for popping in, and not calling beforehand.  On the way home, I went to Walmart. I had to buy some toilet paper. I grabbed a pack that was on sale for $13.97…..but you did me wrong. You rang in at $19.98. I argued with the cashier a bit, who thought I was mistaken. I went back to the aisle where I got it, and I was right. The marked price was $13.97! I just wanted to buy some TP. Having to argue over your price was pretty crappy, no pun intended.

Pun totally intended.

That same night, I found out that K had spent hours trying to set up a printer that she got from a Staples a couple of months ago. I attempted to hook it up, too, but no luck. The next day, I called HP,  who made the printer. They told me that the issue wasn’t hardware related, but software related. They would happily fix my problem……for a one time set up fee of $49.99 and $14.99/month for a year after. When I pointed out that the set up fee cost more than the printer, and for all I knew, it was defective, so why should I have to pay $49.99 plus a monthly fee just for HP to tell me it was defective, I was met with indifference. When I asked if HP’s competitors had similar policies, I was basically told (not exact words) that Windows didn’t, but Windows stuff was more expensive, so you get what you get with HP, take it or leave it.  We decided to take it. Take it back to you, the next day!

Admittedly, the staff at Staples the following day was friendly and helpful, especially since we had lost the receipt. However, still feeling annoyed about my convo with HP the day before, I asked what was available in non-HP printers. Unfortunately, the selection was lacking. I settled with swapping out for the same HP model. It was disappointing, to say the least.

I was disappointed some more too, by you that day. I was in the market for a simple Nerf gun, and a booster seat. You’re called Toys R Us, but apparently Nerf guns and booster seats R Not Us, as you were out of what I wanted.   Next, I tried Canadian Tire, where you also didn’t have what I was looking for.  I headed to Walmart. Once again, I came up empty-handed. I did decide to buy some Christmas lights, to make my outing not so useless.  When I went to pay for my items,  however, you didn’t want my money.

No, for real.

Walmart’s debit/credit machines stopped working. Having no cash, I couldn’t buy my items, so I went home.

Home to someone else.

That someone else…..is Online. I bought my booster seat and Nerf gun Online, no problem there.  If Online doesn’t have something, I can quickly find it somewhere else. Online has a wide selection of stuff, so I don’t have to settle. Online always takes my money, no problem. It’s nice to not have spend hours driving around in vain looking for something, and spend that time with the family, instead. Online is so easy.  Online isn’t perfect, obviously, but right now? They’re kind of better than you sometimes.

I’m not a complicated man, but I have needs. Needs that you aren’t always able to meet. So for now, I’m going to pursue things more with Online. We can still chill, though, Retail Stores. There will always be a place for you in my life.  You can’t be my main squeeze. You can only be my side piece. But that’s OK, too, right? Consider us friends with benefits. If Online can’t satisfy me, you and I can hook up!

This isn’t a goodbye. It’s just a so long for now. Good luck over the holidays!

Sincerely,

Mike

 

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