So far I’ve been on track talking about some of my favorite least-good BattleBots and obscure BattleBots toys that I wished I owned a complete set of. This is another such article in this truly groundbreaking Internet series. In 2002, during the heyday of the BattleBots event and television show, they managed to secure a McDonald’s Happy Meal deal. No, I can’t believe that either; BattleBots was able to reach the same esteemed ranks of Disney toys, Beanie Babies, and Hot Wheels. That might sound ridiculous — and maybe I am putting that pedestal up a little too high — but at the very least it’s definitely a sign you’re doing something right when an international fast food chain is giving away plastic versions of your licenses with cheap food. Unfortunately, this would end up being the highest point in BattleBots’ existence as the event pretty much died the following year.

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Yes I bought a whole set.

This article isn’t about the decline of BattleBots however, it’s about McDonald’s toys. There were eight robots in the BattleBots set, seven of them based upon real-life robots with the last one being a stupid hamburger with saw blades called “Mac Attack”. The more I re-read that sentence the more I want to drop “stupid” from it because objectively a hamburger with saw blades sounds awesome. Mac Attack sucked, though. The word stays. Plenty of people have reviewed these toys over the course of the past decade including this one guy who, despite his overtly ambivalent camera presence, couldn’t be bothered to learn the names of any of the robots but still considered the final product “good enough” for a professional-looking YouTube review. I want to throw my hat in the review ring too, but you’ve had to have realized by now that I don’t exactly do things by the book here. Instead I want to take a closer look at the toys and while I intend to talk about each of the eight robots I also want to look at what makes them work.

In short, I’m going to disassemble each of the bots and include pictures of their guts in this article. When’s the last time you saw that done? Exactly. Before we get to the robots though, let’s first take a look at the Happy Meal bag from the BattleBots promotion. Because Hoarders.

 

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NO I CAN’T THROW THIS AWAY IT’S SENTIMENTAL

 

There was a period of time where Happy Meals temporarily ended their memorable cardboard box containers and shifted over to paper bags made of recycled material. Unfortunately, BattleBots’ promotion happened during this time so not only are the bags difficult to track down they’re also incredibly flimsy, feature shitty printing, and don’t have much in the way of pop-out pieces or puzzles or anything else for that matter. I guess the point I am trying to make here is that in most aspects the Happy Meal box was kind of like a “second toy” because it had stuff to keep kids busy a little longer but these bags are shit and there aren’t any such games on it to review.

mcdbbtoys_bagGINSU

Wait a minute.

No, I lied. There is one whole game on the bag and it’s a real stretch of the definition of “game”. It involves cutting out half of Ginsu, flattening the bag, and driving your robot into the Ginsu pop-up. There’s even a helpful diagram on the bottom of the bag if you’re too incomprehensibly stupid to figure this out and needed an “answer on bottom of bag” solution to basic instructions. I’m not going to shred this bag up so I can run over a poorly printed out Ginsu model, not because of “collector’s value” or anything like that but because I have an actual Ginsu toy from the promotion so I don’t need to run over the fake one printed on recycled toilet paper. Also, my prediction is that the pullback toy would just push the bag out of the way instead of drive over it anyways.

The reverse side of the bag doesn’t have a game on it, just two more robots with the dubious tagline “THE BIGGER THE BATTLE THE BETTER” which is a load of shit; BattleBots’ original slogan was “When sparks fly robots die” but I guess since this is a Happy Meal you can’t have the word “die” printed on it anywhere even when the toys are of robots that literally fight to the death. WHATEVER, HAMBURGERS. The sides of the bag, however, list out the eight robots in the promotionwithout their names — and the whole ordeal is somehow made more infuriating than the “run over Ginsu” game by means of the inclusion of a bunch of wacky faux arena introductions written for each of the bots… again, without naming them at all.

“Get a grip,” the bag says about Super Heavyweight champion Diesector, “this Bot grabs others in its jaws!” Bot. That’s what all of the toys are referred to, including the goddamned hamburger one. In fact, Mac Attack’s ad copy makes me want to kill someone: “Fast food! Spinning burger action knocks other Bots out!”

“Spinning burger action.” Nobody in the history of time itself has ever said those words in that order before and to prove my point here’s a screenshot of Google telling me to go fuck myself when I searched for it.

mcdbbtoys_google

You’re welcome.

Coming up as a close second for “worst ‘BattleBots Bio’ ever” is Ankle Biter’s which reads: “Watch out! Here comes the wedge!”

Said no one ever in BattleBots.

 

As mentioned earlier, for some inexplicable reason none of the robots are referred to by their actual names anywhere in the promotion. I’m assuming this is due to licensing issues or something pertaining to that because the BattleBots company was quite generous with royalties in regards to their competitors. All of the plastic toy bags read “Pullback Action Toy” in place of the robot’s name, though it’s pretty obvious who’s who. Despite the obvious correlations to actual competitors I can’t pass up on the official names assigned to the robots in the promotion; look at these beauties:

mcdbbtoys_toynames

(Click to enlarge.)

No, I am not shitting you here. Rather than have Ginsu named “Ginsu”, it was officially titled “Pullback Action Toy shaped like an X with four wheels on each side” and Mechadon somehow became “Windup Action Toy shaped similar to a crab”. What. There are an infinite number of things wrong with those descriptions. Firstly, Ginsu doesn’t have “four wheels on each side”; by my count it has four wheels on exactly two sides. Also, Mechadon looks nothing like a crab; I suppose now “crab” can join the ranks of things like “spider” on the “list of shit that people say looks like Mechadon but actually looks nothing like Mechadon at all whatsoever”. I can’t believe McDonald’s was willing to tiptoe around a potential lawsuit over toy likenesses from Little Tykes, whose ladybug sandbox was used to build Tentomushi, but apparently had some kind of licensing disagreement over naming the fucking toy “Tentomushi”.

My favorite description here is the one used for Biohazard sorry, HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: “Pullback Action Toy shaped like metallic box”. Congratulations, McDonald’s, you just named all eight of them in one fell swoop. Ba da da da DAAAAA.

What’s really fantastic about all of these toys is that they each came with a little slip of paper demonstrating what all of the robots do and how to get them to do those things. (Hint: You pull the toy back and let go.) Yes, you read that correctly, the pullback toys came with instructions. Look, I don’t want to be a piece of shit here but the instructions are kind of in the toy’s name. If you can’t figure that out maybe it’s because you’ve eaten the toy. You know what kinds of toys need instructions? The K’Nex Big Ball Factory. That’s a fucking ordeal to put together; these toys are literally “push it in the direction it isn’t supposed to go and then take your hand off of it”.

For what it’s worth the instructions are actually very carefully drawn. For something that was thrown away immediately there was a lot of attention put into these diagrams, a complete collection of them is below. Rivets, blade teeth, wheel treads, and even exposed internals were all drawn with geometrical accuracy. It’s really something else.

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Biohazard flies, apparently.

 

And now, since the bag and preceding commentary have effectively spoiled the list of robots, here’s my insight on our eight contenders for this article’s Grand Rumble arranged loosely in order from least favorite to mostest favoritest:

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mcdbbtoys_macattack

I hate this stupid fucking robot. There is nothing about Mac Attack that I like. I get that it’s supposed to be a joke robot and it’s not to be taken seriously because it is literally a hamburger with saw blades and I accept that, what I’m more upset about is McDonald’s sticking their dick into a franchise’s toy line when they have no business acting as such. Allow me to make an analogy here; if McDonald’s did a “Mac Attack” type thing with every toy line they’ve run then we’d have had a motorized Ronald McDonald shitting french fries into Grimace’s mouth as one of the links in that Disney toy train of classic movies or Mayor McFuckingCheese shooting you the finger from a Mario Kart go-kart. We don’t have either of those, so why BattleBots? I’m pretty sure more than seven people competed in BattleBots so it’s not like there was a shortage of robots to make a toy out of.

I’m not even going to review Mac Attack. Fuck Mac Attack. You know what, as of right now the McDonald’s BattleBots set only has seven toys in it.

Because I said so.

 

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Officially starting off this list at the bottom is Ankle Biter. Ankle Biter is not a robot I “dislike” by any means; I just don’t think it translated well into a Happy Meal toy. It’s a fairly simplistic robot so I can see why it was an attractive option for mass production, however all of the other toys in this line including Mac Attack have some sort of additional feature powered by their internal mechanics. Ankle Biter’s saw blade is instead unpowered and lazily spins while it acts as a third wheel. Overall the toy is a solid replica of the robot and stands to be the one that I’d say is closest to the real deal but its distinct lack of “oomph” when compared to the other toys just leaves something to be desired. At least it’s fast, though. Really fast, like the real Ankle Biter. Excuse me while I go get it wedged under a wall somewhere now.

 

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mcdbbtoys_overkill

The “saw blades” on Ankle Biter and Mac Attack might look a little odd and that’s because they were rounded down and turned into gear-like abominations for the sake of safety. When you’re serving lowest common denominator food, you have to anticipate that the people eating it are essentially human trash that can’t tell their asses from a hole in the ground nor are they capable of understanding that coffee being hot is a universal standard and isn’t a key point in court cases. That was a 1994 joke in case you were wondering. I forget what I was getting at; oh, Overkill’s giant blade is now somehow a contoured rectangle because dumb people can burn themselves with it. No, wait, that wasn’t right either.

Overkill’s “action” is fairly anemic overall; it’s chopping blade only gets in about two or three whacks before the windup motor gives way and the robot just drives off the table. It’s a decent-looking replica, borrowing Ankle Biter’s overall chassis and tire layout, but its squared weapon just looks terrible.

 

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mcdbbtoys_mechadon

Out of all of the BattleBots toys, this one isn’t a pullback one. Those of you know who who Mechadon is will understand why since you can’t exactly pull back a walking robot and then let it go. Mechadon features a little windup piece and two oblong wheels underneath it to completely negate everything I just said about it being a walking robot. The robot’s legs twitch and move but it doesn’t actually walk, it rolls around on some not-quite-circular wheels to give it the illusion that it’s hobbling around like it does in real life. It’s kind of a cop-out and I guess that’s why I’m fairly nonplussed about the toy. It’s not hard to make a shuffling/walking toy; McDonald’s had done it years prior with Sebastian from The Little Mermaid.

Mechadon is also made from two different kids of plastic, the top kind significantly shinier and more sparkly than the bottom. This difference in plastic also causes the toy to age strangely, post-out-of-bag versions of this toy have a nasty yellowed underside not unlike the top shell of an NES that belonged to someone who clearly had no business owning an NES in the first place. Yuck.

 

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mcdbbtoys_tentomushi

I rag on Tentomushi a lot because it’s a stupid design but at the same time I really have to give the Robot Action League credit for coming up with a robot that was never really duplicated by anyone else. Whether that speaks greatly or poorly about the design itself is something I’ll leave for you to consider but the fact of the matter is that Tentomushi is a robot whose appearance was quite memorable and seems like it would have lent itself really well to toys but this McDonald’s thing was Tentomushi’s only official merchandise. The reason for that is probably because Tentomushi’s capture dome was literally a kids’ sandbox manufactured by Little Tykes so there was probably some level of copyright over the stupid face those things had. Apparently the ramifications of putting said ladybug’s dopey face on a McDonald’s toy was too expensive so McTentomushi rides into action sporting a somehow even dumber one.

The ladybug shell itself is not motorized and is fastened to the chassis by a simple hinge at the back; this is the BattleBots toy that was most often broken by excessively rough handling. Tentomushi’s dome flaps up and down because there’s a little plastic tab under it that rests inside of a ridiculously large gearbox. When the parts inside turn and spin there’s a little plastic wing that brushes against the dome’s tab and pushes it up. It’s a novel workaround but at the same time it kind of makes the whole “capture dome” thing a bit moot since it takes up so much space.

 

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mcdbbtoys_diesector

Diesector this far up the list simply because of the number of moving parts the robot has. The proportions are all wrong, but I am impressed with the amount of action this toy has. Diesector’s jaws and hammers are a mystery to me because as I sit here playing with the damn thing trying to figure out just which sets of wheels turn what the jaws seem to take turns working and not working. The hammers twitch and spasm when the toy drives around so I guess it’s the closest replica in terms of function in the whole set. When you pull the robot back and let it go everything clacks and kisses like a box of snakes and chattering joke teeth; everything about the robot is fucking scary.

Diesector is also the fastest toy in the set by a huge gap. It’s actually about as fast as Mac Attack but since we don’t talk about Mac Attack that means there isn’t a tie and Diesector wins.

 

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mcdbbtoys_biohazard

Biohazard is one of the most ubiquitous robots in the sport. With something like eleventy thousand wins under its belt I believe the robot ended up having the most televised fights and the most wins out of any other competitor in any weight class in BattleBots history. Yes, this robot was going to get merchandising, a lot of it.

Biohazard is also unique in that it is the only BattleBot to literally be anonymous in toy versions. For some reason after the first line of toys came out Biohazard’s name was redacted into “Heavyweight Champion” (in case you didn’t get that reference when it was made earlier in this article). Supposedly this was done due to alleged copyright infringement but I don’t know from who or what, the “biohazard” symbol as I understand is a common graphic and as far as I know it’s not owned or regulated by anyone; it’s just an impossible to draw symbol that you put on things that you shouldn’t ingest to play with, all McDonald’s toys falling into both of those categories.

The toy features a little flipping arm that fires off way too fast for the robot it’s modeled after, but the real doozy is the little plastic bit on the bottom that causes Biohazard to flail wildly after you set it off. The robot will drive forward and then pull a 90 degree (or a 1080 in all the times I tried it out) turn, drive some more, turn again, and repeat until it runs out of juice. It’s neat but considering these toys were meant to be battled it kind of renders the whole “battle” thing useless since it drives like someone playing Marble Madness during an earthquake.

 

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mcdbbtoys_ginsu

Ginsu is my favorite robot so if you have a problem with it being number one on this list then you can just fuck right off. Since the robot was more or less an exhibition robot built by the BattleBots organizers and didn’t officially compete after the show’s first season Ginsu missed out on a lot of merchandising. Much like I said in the MiniBots article I wrote, Ginsu’s appearance is more threatening than the actual robot itself; great on paper, horrible in action. Saw blade wheels look menacing but in the grand scheme of things they aren’t doing much damage. The robot’s wheels are the same (or similar) saws as the ones used in the arena hazards and while they were great for show I really don’t think anyone specifically lost because of damage done to them by the Killsaws.

The McDonald’s Ginsu is great if you can get over the weird cog treatment they gave to the saw wheels. What I’m most impressed about is that despite rounding off the saw blades they still got the coloration and style correct; Ginsu’s top front saws are red and the teeth on them are larger and further apart than the silver ones. There are some additional decorative saws and the extended axles missing but overall it’s a nice replica. One set of saws have some rubber banding around them for traction but what really wowed me was that the red saws are actually powered too. Like its real-life counterpart this toy can drive on any side. Sure, the traction sucks when Ginsu’s red blades are being used to drive it around but I could argue that just adds to its replica integrity because the real Ginsu had zero control or traction period because using saw blades for tires is a bad idea.

 

Since we are an embarrassingly long 3,800 words into this article I think it’s finally time that we take a look under the hoods of all of these robots and see just what makes them tick. For the purposes of this article I actually had to track down and purchase an entirely new set of toys (because there’s not a chance I’d be disassembling mine) and ironically it was cheaper for me to buy a complete set of “mint in package” toys for this project… with the intent to take them apart. Somewhere out there a McDonald’s toy enthusiast weeps and I’m laughing because his hobby is “McDonald’s toy enthusiast”.

Starting in the order that I initially ran through them, here’s the disassembly and postmortem of all eight robots:

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mcdbbtoys_dmac2

Disregarding the fact that I hate this robot and initially wanted to disassemble it with a hammer I instead opted to open traditionally because I’ll admit I was interested how the SPINNING BURGER ACTION advertised on the bag worked. The truth? Mac Attack actually has the most moving parts out of any of the BattleBots toys. The chassis comes apart in three pieces with each of the two saw blades acting as a spacer with the bottom and center pieces containing a set of gears that stretches up and around the inside of the bottom uh, patty. I knew going into this article that Mac Attack’s internals would probably be the most interesting out of the eight, perhaps rivaled maybe by Diesector, but I just didn’t want to admit that. The orange gear on the pullback motor turns the bottom of the green gear on the center piece which in turn rotates the bottom patty; on the other side of the center chassis piece is a brown gear that rotates a smaller white gear that finally spins the top patty in the direction opposite of the bottom. After writing this paragraph I now have autism so if you’ll excuse me I am going to go watch Sonic X, stop this article, and when we come back this feature will change gears into The Top 10 Most Yiffable Characters in Sonic X.

To discredit Mac Attack I’d just like to point out that out of the eight toys this was the only one with the screw holes so far up the robot’s ass that the $8 screwdriver I bought to take these things apart couldn’t fucking reach anything. It’s a miracle I didn’t just smash this damn thing in the first place.

 

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mcdbbtoys_dankle2

If Ankle Biter looks a bit worse for wear in this picture that’s because it doesn’t come apart very well and I unintentionally broke this toy while taking it apart. See, one of Ankle Biter’s wheels is covering up a screw hole so I assumed that you’d have to remove the wheel to get to the screw, because logic. Apparently that wasn’t the case because as I tried to pop the wheel off with a screwdriver there was a loud cracking sound and the robot’s wheel flew across my room leaving a jagged plastic stump on the axle it was once connected to. Oops. To make matters worse once I removed the hidden screw the two halves would not come apart at all. This too was pried apart with the sounds of plastic shattering and I noticed this was because the pegs and slots that the halves fit together with were so tightly interconnected that they sheared off at the slot.

Since I accidentally went all Moebius on Ankle Biter I couldn’t actually pull the motor out or completely disassemble the robot for a proper photo, however since the toy’s weapon was literally just an unpowered cog I guess there wasn’t much in the way of juicy internals to look at anyway.

 

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mcdbbtoys_dover2

Oh, the same thing also happened to Overkill.

Overkill’s weapon sits on an unpowered hinge and has a little wing that brushes against one of two little knobs on a gear powered by the pullback motor. Other than that the internals are identical to Ankle Biter and taking the toy apart required me to break it. Whoops.

 

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Of all the toys featured in this set this is probably the one I was most curious about opening up (again, Mac Attack doesn’t exist). I was a little bit pissy over the fact that Mechadon’s mighty stomping claws were underwritten by a motor with wheels on it, but the claws still moved and I wanted to know how they got that working. Upon popping the lid off of the SIMILAR TO A CRAB robot I saw that the legs were essentially two separate pieces of a tripod gait hinged at the center. Under that was the heart of Mechadon, a wind-up motor shooting the double bird. The wings on these extensions fit into slots on the bottoms of the claws and made them flex and articulate as the robot puttered about. The pieces that Mechadon’s legs were made from are probably my favorite molds in the entire set simply because of their intricacy and how they fit together in only one specific way. The claws themselves, when assembled, are actually neat enough on their own to make a desk decoration.

I’m not implying that I have them at my desk right now though.

 

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mcdbbtoys_dtento2

For all the plastic that Tentomushi eats up its internals are incredibly simple. As mentioned earlier the ladybug dome is actually not powered by anything directly and is attached by a hinge at the back of the chassis. Under that is a pointy silver chassis with what looks like the top of a lawnmower covering up the smallest pullback motor of any of the toys. Removing the top exposes the motor and two tiny plastic gears; that’s all that runs Tentomushi. The ladybug lid flaps up and down because there’s a long plastic tab under it that connects with the little knob on the white gear. For some reason, and I can’t figure out why, the simplicity behind Tentomushi’s inner workings is something I find peaceful. Maybe it’s because all of these toys have weird mismatched and miscolored gears and I subconsciously think the translucent blue one is pretty. Who knows.

 

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mcdbbtoys_ddie2

Okay, full disclosure first. Diesector is a goddamned mess. Once I took the top of the robot’s chassis off I could not keep this thing from falling apart immediately. I knew where the pieces went but they wouldn’t stay in place so the pictures here are probably going to look awful. You might be wondering “if the pieces don’t stay together maybe you’re assembling them wrong” and to that, first just let the record show that you’re an asshole, but also you don’t know exactly how many Diesector toys I’ve taken apart, do you? Shut up.

See that little gray fork off to the left side of the picture above? That thing is the brain of this robot. From what I could put together, everything that moves on this robot is powered by that single piece. Here’s a shot of Diesector’s internals still assembled but with the fork removed. Diesector’s front wheels are unpowered but feature the robot’s trademark yellow jaws; the side jaws hook into the two fang-like protrusions on the fork while the center jaw hooks into a little plastic loop between the prongs. It is insanely complicated and it only goes deeper from here. The fork jerks back and forth to open and close the jaws however as it does this yet another tab on the fork pushes against a wing on the brown piece that the hammers are connected to causing them to swing back and forth in time with the jaws. No, I do not know how McDonald’s was able to get this thing put on an assembly line; I am just as confused as you are.

 

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mcdbbtoys_dbio2

Biohazard was a lot of fun to take apart, the process of which led to me obtaining what is my favorite piece in the whole set: Biohazard’s arm. The arm articulates because of the brown extender seen in the picture above; the extender connects to a center point on the arm and also rests against a gear with tabs on it similar to Overkill’s blade and Tentomushi’s dome. When the gear spins, the wings push up against the extender which in turn raises Biohazard’s arm in quick flapping successions. You can get a better idea of what I mean by checking out this picture that shows the toy assembled but without its shell.

But that’s not all, remember Biohazard is the only robot that also does that weird little spin maneuver when you let it go. It achieves this by means of a small plastic tab that gently lifts one of the toy’s wheels up so it twists around. This is achieved ingeniously by the same gear that powers the arm serving a second purpose. The little plastic bump that pokes out from the bottom of the robot is actually just a tab mounted on an axle inside of the toy, however the same winged gear that raises the arm actually pushes down on this tab simultaneously. This in turn causes the small bump to push out from under Biohazard, lift it up, and spin it around since only one wheel makes contact with the ground. It makes for a toy that sucks to battle with but one with some internal features that are pretty cool.

Also, Biohazard’s arm is awesome.

 

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mcdbbtoys_dginsu2

Looking at Ginsu’s chassis I knew that taking it apart was going to be a strange process because there are only two halves but four total axles. I assumed that the unpowered saw blades would just be free-spinning axles with their wheels pressed on, and I was correct on that front, but there was still a bit of wonder regarding how both the banded silver saws and the red ones could spin at the same time. I had concocted in my head some crazy idea where there was a pulley inside that had a rubber band around it; as it turns out the actual solution was far more simpler: a driveshaft. The red saws have a little gear on their axle and connecting this axle to the one on the pullback motor is a long third axle with a forward facing gear on each end. This arrangement is perhaps better shown than explained, so there’s an image of it HERE.

 

Suffice to say, my curiosity is quelled. I now know how all of the BattleBots toys work and while I can’t say it’s helped me from an engineering standpoint on my ongoing quest to pursue the hobby of robot combat, it’s at least given me the privilege of sharing this useless information with you for the past 5,000 words. There are still some additional pictures from this project of mine that I could not find a place for in this article but I still feel they are neat enough to warrant their inclusion at the bottom. Sans Overkill and Ankle Biter, since they broke, here’s a shot of all of the robot shells and a separate image showing the variety between the motors that powered their internals (their placements are not respective). My favorite picture from this article, though, is this one which shows an assembly of all of the weapons from the robots in the line-up.

Also, just because I wanted to know if it were possible, I took some of the random parts from robots that I could fit together and made a brand new competitor. Behold, Ginmechasector:

mcdbbtoys_newrobot

I don’t know what I am doing anymore.

Finally, I’ve gone through the trouble of putting together this painfully long demonstration of each of the toys prior to me disassembling them. Apparently, as I’ve found out from showing this article draft to people before publication, the sound of wind up toys is relaxing to some. I find it to be my own personal hell, but if you’re into this kind of nonsense there is an “ASMR” cut of the toy demonstration HERE. In the meantime, here’s the main cut:

 

– Dracophile

(For extra pictures from this article and others check us out on Tumblr!)

Since I have the freedom to do whatever here I’d like to continue my track record of paying too much attention to BattleBots by writing an article about some unsung heroes of their merchandising and toy lines: MiniBots. The BattleBots “MiniBots” toys, according to our old friends at the BattleBots Wiki, were a series of miniature 1-inch replica figurines created by Interactive Toy and were based off of the Season 2.0 designs of the competitors featured in the set. There were 50 to collect (plus eight “chrome” editions of season finalists) and each pack came with three robots each. Essentially these were BattleBots blind bags before the stupid blind bag craze we’re currently in the middle of was even a thing. The series lasted only one “edition” unfortunately, and here is what they looked like:

bbminibots_package

The stretched out “?” really sells it.
(Source: BattleBots Wiki)

The MiniBots line seemed to show up and vanish relatively quickly as I distinctly remember buying several dozen packages of them at a Target when they were clearanced out to a dollar or so each. I feel that they’ve never been given proper attention since there were admittedly bigger and better toys out there by Hasbro and Jakks Pacific that actually did things and featured moving parts and all that so this line was overshadowed and forgotten. Hopefully I can do the MiniBots justice by showcasing some of my favorites from my own personal collection.

By no means is my collection complete. Even though I bought a stupidly high number of these things I don’t have a whole set. In fact, the combined resources of the BattleBots Wiki doesn’t even have a complete catalog of images either; out of the eight finalists from BattleBots’ second season they have a staggering zero pictures of their corresponding MiniBots figurines. Each of the finalists also had an aforementioned “chrome” edition and the Wiki is also missing those. To this day I’ve never seen what one looks like. The MiniBots line as a whole are also fairly rare collectibles as they do not show up on eBay very often so the task of trying to complete my collection is pretty much impossible by this point. Anyways, here’s what a pile of these little things looks like:

bbminibots_pile4

IT’S A GRAND RUMBLE HUEHUEHUEHUE

Of the 50 total robots in the collection I have 28 of them which I would say is pretty damned good considering that’s more than half of them and neither myself nor anyone I know owns any of the eight finalist robots which you could argue pretty much knocks the total down to 42. I’ll admit, it would be nice to at least see what they looked like but I’ll always keep an eye out for them when I troll open air and flea markets in the future.

I’d like to start this article on a higher note than my others where I pretty much just make fun of bad robots or one-sided fights so here’s a quick smattering of MiniBots figurines whose aesthetics I actually enjoy for once.

 

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bbminibots_ginsu

I’ve written a lot about Ginsu in the past and that’s largely because even though it’s an admittedly terrible design I like it and I’ll find any excuse to write about it. I think the concept of Ginsu, while blatantly obvious, is a fun gimmick and a robot with actual fucking saw blade tires encapsulates the sport in literal terms. Also I’ve spoken to Trey Roski (owner of BattleBots and builder of Ginsu) before and he’s a good sport about the fact that Ginsu and its lineage have never won a single battle not just in BattleBots but in the history of every single event and demonstration it’s been brought to. But I digress, look at this little figurine. For being only about one cubic inch the creators managed to include all eight of Ginsu’s wheels and they even got the coloring, shape, and axles correct. Ginsu’s figurine is easily my favorite one from the MiniBots series and from what I’ve collected it is the rarest one I own. (Owned, because I’ve somehow lost mine so the image above is from the BattleBots Wiki.)

 

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bbminibots_superchiabot

Objectively, I don’t like Super Chiabot. In the past I’ve written about its poor design and glaring shortcomings but truth be told in the back of my mind I was always curious about how someone would pull off a Super Chiabot toy since as far as I know it was the only BattleBots competitor covered in fake plants. The resulting figurine isn’t grand by any stretch of the term but it has a certain kind of endearing quality to it showing that more creativity was put into making an honest replica of the robot than there was thought put into designing the actual robot the figurine is based from in the first place. Super Chiabot’s MiniBot looks like a gummy mess of leaves with a saw blade sticking out of its front and honestly that’s pretty much correct. Bravo.

 

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bbminibots_nightmare

Fair warning, from here on out most of my “favorites” from this series are going to be robots whose intricate or unusual designs were replicated surprisingly well by the folks at Interactive Toy. Also, since this is the third or fourth time I’ve said that company’s name I feel compelled to point out the irony in a company with “Interactive” in its name selling toys that are literally chunks of painted rubber that don’t do anything, but whatever. Look at Nightmare instead and admire how cool it is. Nightmare’s disc is made from a sparkly metallic type of material and while I’ve never seen one of the mythical “chrome” MiniBots I’m willing to be whatever this silvery stuff is would probably be the same material that the chromebots were made from.

 

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bbminibots_frenzy

If I had an Overkill toy to go along with this one there would be a double entry here. Instead we have only Frenzy, known for being one of the oldest competitors in the sport and for belonging to the team whose website shows up when you see what TMZ.com looked like using the Wayback Machine. I mentioned Overkill because the two robots feature long exaggerated weapons that swung around, weapons whose rubber pieces almost always got bent or messed up in their packaging resulting in a squishy mess that looked more like the aftermath of a bad run-in with a spinbot than a proper robot replica. Credit is given for trying, however, and I’m personally impressed with the level of detail that went into Frenzy’s intricate yellow frame.

 

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bbminibots_dooall

DooAll is here for the same reason as Nightmare: the frame. While the proportions of the robot are pretty much wrong the overall design of DooAll was essentially spot-on even down to the chassis articulation. It would have been much cheaper and easier to just slap together a version of DooAll with its chassis laying flat and the fact that this wasn’t the case is why it’s a favorite of mine. DooAll is also one of only three MiniBots with tank tracks and since the other two, Atomic Wedgie and El Diablo, were Season 2.0 finalists you’ve surely put it together by now that no one has seen any of the others so DooAll gets to sit pretty as the only tracked robot in the set that anyone owns.

 

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bbminibots_scrapdaddy

Yeah, I get sentimental about Scrap Daddy’s robots, so what? I am legitimately impressed that there is a licensed toy of a Scrap Daddy robot especially one based off of a robot that never won (HW 210). Scrap Daddy HW 210 was stupidly common in MiniBots blind bags and just to prove this point I’ve lined up all of the ones I own. (You can also add one more mentally because long ago I gave one to a friend.) In the way of painting and detailing there isn’t much to see here like there was with the other robots in this list, I’m more intrigued and impressed with the overall mold of the robot since HW 210 was such a weirdly shaped robot and sported what looked to be a fan blade for a weapon. The older Scrap Daddy robots were absolutely covered with little bits and pieces for fueling their gasoline engines and opening up parts of the chassis and much like with DooAll above the easier route would have been to nix all of this but the mold-makers didn’t and that’s what’s cool about this one. Every nuance of Scrap Daddy HW 210 is represented here (I even bumped it against the Frenzy toy to see if its saw blade would fall off).

 

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bbminibots_warmachine

The mold for this robot is actually pretty bad but it’s here because I can see what the creators were going for and I applaud them for their efforts. War Machine was not a particularly good robot, it was literally just a 10-wheeled box with a slanted piece of metal slapped on the front of it; I’ve written about War Machine in the past, favorably too if you can believe that, and my guess as to why it was never made into a proper toy is because it had 10 wheels and having that many moving parts would probably cost too much to make. Since the MiniBots line featured no moving parts this worked out nicely for War Machine however only so much because while I own duplicates of this robot all of their plows are on incorrectly and at different angles so the figurine ends up looking more like a lunar rover with a solar panel than a giant bulldozer.

 

And now since this is supposedly a snarky site here’s a list of MiniBots designs I really did not like for one reason or another along with a disproportionately long dissertation on why my opinions are more important and valid than yours are.

 

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bbminibots_rammstein

I think I can guess why that little stick thing is where it is on the robot. It’s probably there to differentiate between up and down since Rammstein looks the same either way up but in that case shouldn’t the more decorative front wedge be a better indicator of top and bottom? Instead the addition of the spike serves no other purpose than to intentionally screw up the invertible design of the robot and it just gets in the way. Also, what’s with the lack of “Team Loki” branding? I know Interactive Toy was capable of doing that since Turbo — another Team Loki robot — has it on its mold. Rammstein’s MiniBot just reeks of overall laziness and its little dongle that I had once originally chocked up to a bad rubber injection further ruins the figurine.

 

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bbminibots_deadblow

It’s taken me a long while to figure this out, but I think the reason why I don’t like Deadblow’s MiniBot representation is because of the clashing colors it was made from. First and foremost, Deadblow has never been dark gray so from the start the figurine is already questionable. This is made worse by the fact that the accents and details are done in pretty much the stark opposite color as the chassis resulting in the horrible mess seen here. The kicker is that this isn’t a bad mold at all and the little chassis accents are raised up much like the texture implied by the actual robot, it’s entirely the color that ruins it. Deadblow ended up having a shitload more (and better) merchandise made of it so I guess Grant Imahara can’t complain. He also hosts a TV show so I guess there’s that too.

 

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bbminibots_berserker2000

I was hoping I could go this whole article without insulting a robot directly, but Berzerker 2000 is just an ugly robot. It’s a mess, and even though it too suffers from the same weird miscoloration as Deadblow in this case that’s just one of a number of things wrong with this figurine. I’ll ignore the fact that Berzerker 2000 forfeited its only fight (and because of this is the only robot in BattleBots history to have lost every match by forfeit and still have a toy made out of it) and instead point out how gaudy the black tire part of the robot looks compared to the weird blue shit used on the bottom. They could have gotten away with using the same silver shown on the robot’s upper half but I’m guessing that would have clashed with the base? Does it really matter?

 

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bbminibots_crushershish1

Now that you’ve seen a whole bunch of neat custom molds, here’s something pretty goddamned offensive: two robots using nearly the same mold. Both The Crusher and Shish-ka-bot use an almost identical mold and if that’s not bad enough the mold just so happens to have a giant glaring flaw: the tops of the robots show only two wheels yet, when you flip them over, there’s clearly four. By far this is the laziest mold in the MiniBots line and I remember how let down and pissed off I felt when I started comparing my figurines and noticed that not only was this the same robot with a different paint job but that the mold itself was also completely incorrect. In defense of Interactive Toy both The Crusher and Shish-ka-bot were pretty much identical robots but why recycle a mold when by this point you’ve already gone through the trouble of making 48 different ones?

 

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bbminibots_grays

If laziness in creating molds was the thing that pissed me off in the last entry, laziness in paint is going to be the bane of my existence here. All of the figurines in the header image above featured no paint and were pretty much just hunks of gray rubber including Red Scorpion whose name literally declares what color it was. Look, I get that M.U.S.C.L.E. was a thing in the 80’s and a grand total of zero of their figurines were painted but this isn’t that franchise and Interactive Toy has already proven that they are more than capable of churning out some solid detail work on their figurines; it’s almost like toward the end of this they adopted a “fuck it we’re almost there just get some plain ones” mentality and called it a day. The worst offender by far is the treatment given to Mauler 51-50, a robot with a hellacious fire pit paintjob that was abbreviated to nothing more than a shitty gray road dot. You cannot release a Mauler figurine and not paint the fucking thing, not when you painted a shitty yellow ring on Blendo and considered that one done.

Also just as a sidenote you may have noticed that Shish-ka-bot has made the list twice because it’s also one of the handful of MiniBots that this umbrella entry applies to. I hate the Shish-ka-bot figurine.

 

Every pack of MiniBots also came with a small 1″ x 1″ sticker featuring the official BattleBots photo of the robots you received. The stickers themselves seem to be even more rare than the figurines and the only one I’ve been able to find online is a scan of Mauler’s sticker that demonstrates an incorrect photo of the robot (the one on the sticker was from Season 1.0, and was allegedly taken by Team Nightmare’s Jim Smentowski). Since the MiniBots stickers are so rare, below is a mosaic of every sticker I have in my collection for the purposes of showing off just how cool these figurine blind bags were:

bbminibots_stickers

(Click to enlarge!)

 

Also since I don’t know how to end this article I guess I’ll just toss up this image of Shish-ka-bot’s real-life counterpart being destroyed by the arena Pulverizers because even though it’s not the team’s fault their robot’s toy sucked I feel justified in proclaiming someone had to take the heat for this and justice was eventually served.

bbminibots_shishhabothamer

Satisfying.

– Dracophile

Earlier this week I checked my mail to see if the disc for the newest season of [Hip Show for Hip People] had arrived from Netflix. Spoiler alert, it did not, but I still had mail nonetheless in the form of a suspiciously thick padded envelope. At first I thought some dang dirty trolls decided to send me Pampers samples again but when I looked at the mailer and saw it was branded with American Indian imagery my thoughts immediately shifted from “regular diapers” to “tee-pees for your pee-pees”. As it turns out someone managed to get a hold of my personal information and sold it to someone else and I was now receiving IRL spam because of it… so I had to find the nearest calendar to make sure I didn’t get sent back in time to the nineties and be forced to find a way back.

The last time that happened I… well, let’s just say there’s a reason why MC Hammer suspiciously spent all of his money.

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It says “Robert Maestro” under the red shit, okay?

Wait a second does that say “3 FREE GIFTS” with a “4” written next to it as if the “3” were a completely unintentional mistake at the St. Joseph’s Indian Free Gifts Factory? Holy shit. It does.

WELL SHIT THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING.

I tore this bad boy open and they must have really screwed the pooch at the Wannamakeanike tribe homeland because I got not 3, not 4, but 8 goddamn prizes (of varying quality) and I love prizes.

 

indianschool_header_notepads

In the lore of Lakota Indians the notepad is a very sacred symbol. It is said that when the tribal chief would perform his rituals and sacrifices that he would frequently need to recollect his thoughts and required the assistance of a tablet to keep track of the steps of the rites. “Notepad” comes to us from the Indian words natto (meaning “to write down”) and pa (meaning “what the fuck was I just talking about”). That’s why when the Wannamakeanike tribe sent me two goddamn notepads I knew they were being serious. There’s enough pages represented between the two of these things for me to perform at least 120 sacrifices.

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Think of all the reminders I could forget to write!!

The notepads themselves are rather mundane as seen in the picture. One is bigger than the other and they both feature clashing fall-themed imagery. Seriously, nothing on either one compliments the other; they don’t even use the same fucking shades of orange. Both of them say “a note for you” which is a retarded sentiment because who else would it be for? One of them has it in a generic serif font and the other looks like what would happen if Curlz MT went into rehab. Our favorite picture of the little Indian boy shows up on the larger notepad but the picture is so blurry and the contrast too low that I seriously thought it was some kind of fox with a birth defect until I realized “oh it’s just little Mountain Dew Drinker giving us a bewildered expression while holding his feathers”.

That’s what I’m naming that kid, by the way. Mountain Dew Drinker.

Also, the cardboard backs of the notepads feature painfully generic Indian trivia such as some bullshit about eagle feathers and the fact that “pemmican” is a brand of beef jerky or something. Between the time I took that picture to when I started writing this article I managed to lose the back of the larger one. Surely it will become the lost tome of Lakota wisdom someday and will be discovered by archaeologists in the year 8000 so they may finally understand what mail fraud is.

 

indianschool_header_calendar

Whenever an Indian mysteriously leaves you a calendar that’s bad news. Remember what happened when the Mayans left us their calendar? We’re still shitting our pants over it thinking the world is going to get sucked into a vortex to Hell or whatever it is that’s supposed to happen when their calendar rolls over. It’ll be like Y2K except instead of computers reaching “00” it’s just the opposite: a rock hitting “00”. I have learned that as a species mankind only operates in extremes. There is no middle ground.

This calendar actually includes December 22 – 31 so it looks like we’re in the clear (until 2013). I’m more willing to take advice from a shady charity sending me random shit in the mail than I am a formerly established and presently lost civilization that had a firm grasp on astrology. The Mayans never sent me any fucking notepads in the mail. Assholes.

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Oh hey look who it is! It’s little Mountain Dew Drinker!

This calendar is also the first of many instances you’ll see of St. Joseph’s Indian School & Casino putting my name on fucking everything. I assume it’s in case anybody steals this calendar and I later see it in their house so I can go “hey, you’re not ‘Roastmaster’, give me my fucking calendar back!” Also the calendar is approximately half the size of a sheet of printer paper. It’s not big enough to write anything on and it’s too big to fit anywhere convenient as a reference. It also now has a water ring on it from me inadvertently using it as a coaster.

The reverse of this thing is solid blue and has the phrase “WAKAN TANKA KICI UN” emblazoned on its center. I’m not sure what that means, but judging by the surrounding photographs my best guess is that it roughly translates to “seven pictures of kids wearing racist depictions of Indian garb that we stole from the Facebook pages of a high school drama club”.

 

indianschool_header_stickers

Whether you’re 7 or 77 a sheet of stickers means only one thing: badass. Two sheets of stickers, though? Stop the fucking ride for a second, I think I’m going to have a stroke here.

These stickers are where it gets weird, though, assuming some mismatched notepads and a calendar loaded with pictures of children who may or may not be getting raped by St. Joseph’s staff this very moment (I bet you thought I was kidding) weren’t weird enough. Firstly I have no idea what I am going to do with a double-sided sheet of return address labels bearing my legal name and retarded iconography of Mountain Dew Drinker. Secondly I will apply that exact same logic to a sheet of generic inspirational stickers with sentiments ranging from “a gift for you” and “love you” to “missing you” and “take time to dream”. Seriously what the hell; there’s a sticker for every single possible scenario and all of them have tacky Indian imagery that I swear they just Photoshopped the iStockphoto.com watermark off of.

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Enough stickers for five burial ground Trapper Keepers.

Now is as good of a time as any to bring up a sample of Lakota jargon these people really fucking love: pilamaya. It supposedly means “thank you”, as in “thank you in advance because we know you’re totally going to pay us back for all of this cool shit we’ve sent you”. Both sheets of stickers are adorned with the “pilamaya” phrase as well as the explanation “thank you for your help”. As if. Despite their ill-advised and preemptive gratitude the most confounding thing on these sticker sheets is the phrase appearing underneath both warm (fake) sentiments of thanks: “The enclosed stickers are a gift to you, and I’m sorry I am unable to fulfill additional requests.”

The fuck?

Who’s sorry? You better be apologizing for the fact that your custom stickers suck shit through a straw instead of not giving me enough of said stickers. For fuck’s sake, half a sheet of these tacky things is more than enough. I don’t think I have enough handwritten letters to people I hate to use up all of these address labels, and as far as getting extensions on late bill payments by posing as a senile old woman I think I still have two dozen too many sunflowers and buffalo. What the fuck am I going to do with all of these goddamn stickers? Write everyone from my high school graduating class a fucking letter?

Fuck those people.

 

indianschool_header_vouchers

Here’s a thought, what’s the best gift you can give someone when you know nothing about them? Gift certificates in the most random fucking denominations possible, but ones that nonetheless add up to $35. That’s right, three gift vouchers. One valued at $8 for meals, another $12 for beds and linens, and $15 for clothing. I don’t know about you but to me that sounds like a lower class Wal-Mart poverty shopping spree with my name written all over it.

Sure, the “gift vouchers” are made out to “A Lakota Child” and the “From” section has my name in a pseudo-handwritten font but who’s to say I’m not “A Lakota Child”? Maybe that’s a pseudonym. Like Roastmaster. I don’t really care what you have to say about the ethics of taking money from needy kids but to me this is lunch at Subway, a new pillow, and a new T-shirt with some tacky Wal-Mart humor on it all on someone else’s dime. Wal-Mart honors competitors coupons, so that means they have to honor $35 in Lakota Fun Bucks.

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PILAMAYA my ass. More like BLING BLING MOTHERFUCKERS.

Turns out they don’t because I asked and then was promptly asked to leave the store.

The side of the coupons say “wopila tanka” which I’m told means “many thanks”. That makes some sense considering “pilamaya” means “thank you”, so we can infer that “pila” means “thank” and the prefix “wo-” denotes something plural and “tanka” therefore means “many”. I’m hitting you with this grammar quasi lesson because the back of that fucking calendar says “wakan tanka kici un” which actually does have a translation: “may God bless”. Right. “Tanka” shows up in both of these, and they apparently mean different shit. I am almost certain these dickheads are just plugging random fucking things into an online Dungeons & Dragons language translator because this spam’s intended audience doesn’t know any better.

The best part about these vouchers, save for the fact that they’re printed in Reader’s Digest-sized font, is that the entire backside literally just says “PILAMAYA – THANK YOU!!” on every single voucher. They’re also separately detachable because you’re supposed to put each one back in the return envelope (of which these assholes didn’t prepay the postage even though they sent me fifty bucks worth of fucking return address labels) so they can throw them away at the Indian school or something. Only idiots would assume these things have actual cash value.

And then they’d take them to Wal-Mart.

 

indianschool_header_kidsletter

You know what’s great about charities involving kids? When those kids send you those letters talking about how great their 11 cents a day rice tastes. Wanna know how to make those letters even better? Download some off-beat kids’ handwriting font, type up a painfully generic bippity-boppity bullshit letter, stick a stock headshot of a kid on there that looks like it was Xeroxed from a Xerox of another Xerox made from a missing child report that was faxed somewhere, throw on some “hand drawn” hearts for good measure, and finally top if off by making the “printed date” September 11th. No, I’m not shitting you; this letter was “printed” on “Sept11”.

It’s a fake letter from a fake kid. To you this probably isn’t a gift or a prize, but fuck you for trying to tell me otherwise. This is just as much of a prize as the notepads on sheer comedy value alone.

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Sorry I can’t understand you. I don’t speak bullshit. Pilamaya!

The kid’s name is Aurora and in her letter she talks about how people cannot believe what she’s been through in her “life” at the reservation. She says that people “drink too much and don’t treat each other with respect”.

Whoa whoa whoa wait, where’s my hypothetical money going again? You’re just drinking it up? Are you shitting me? Why don’t we just cut out the middle man, Aurora? How about instead of sending back your stupid goddamn gift vouchers I just bribe the guy driving the Budweiser truck with a $50 bill and tell him to deliver the beer straight to the reservation instead? I’ll just put you on notice right now, I’m also going to tell him it’s a labor camp where children are sold as sex slaves so you better make with your half of the bargain if you want unlimited firewater, capish?

 

indianschool_header_friarletter

This next prize is kind of a bummer. It’s a serious letter from Friar Stephen Huffstetter (hereafter “Friar Steve”, because that’s how he signs his fucking name). I can tell it’s a serious letter because it’s not written in some crazy typeface from ZillionsOfFreeFonts4U.net.

Friar Steve proceeds to vomit pathetically about the various Lakota kids happily dreaming away in their beds apparently failing to see the glaring flaw in his childcare practices if the kids are happier when they are asleep than awake. For what it’s worth he executes the appeal for cash with the eloquent bullshitting skills of a high school sophomore half-assing a paper on the American Revolution. I give him a 4/10.

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What is this? A summons to the Court of Pilamaya?

He kinda fucks with his credibility a bit, however, by starting the letter with “You could be a dreamcatcher” and ending it with “Will you please become a dreamcatcher”. Yeah, hold that thought Friar Steve; I’m just getting up to go glue a bunch of beads and feathers onto myself and get tangled up in a spider web. Fucking moron.

Friar Steve talks a lot about dreamcatchers, though I’m fairly certain he’s only getting his facts from what’s said on Wikipedia because the wording of the Wiki article and the vocabulary of the letter seem to corroborate one another pretty well. Either Friar Steve is the go-to guy for dreamcatchers and the Council of Aspergian Wikipedia Editors consulted him for the article’s contents or someone’s just a big fan of CTRL+C and CTRL+V with minor alterations. I’m not sure who to believe. Friar Steve really tried hard making his “signature” look like he actually hand-signed it with a ballpoint pen. Or he got a six-year-old still learning cursive writing to do it for him. One or the other.

 

indianschool_header_certificate

I love this hollow award. It’s an award for my alleged “generosity to the Lakota children whose lives will be happier and futures will be brighter”. Keyword: alleged. The award is a goofy certificate that I can hang anywhere and brag to houseguests about how I helped save some kid named Aurora’s life by sending her beer and child predators; the certificate doesn’t define “what” the generosity was in regards to. Hell, maybe I sent them smallpox blankets. That seems to be the truly sincere American way to help out Indians in their time of need.

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Maybe I’ll go visit the school in South Dakota and take ’em all for a long hike!

This “award” is 7″ x 8.5″, the same size as that retarded calendar. Most people who get a certificate of accomplishment for something generally have it framed; go to any doctor, teacher, dentist, or politician’s office and they’ll have their degrees, awards, and honors neatly framed and presented for the world to see. One thing you’ll never see on their trophy wall, however, is an awkwardly sized award proclaiming how fucking loose they are with their cash. If this certificate graces any wall of your house or office for any reason that isn’t the least bit ironic even by the longest stretch of the term then you deserve to have your identity stolen and your dog (because I’m assuming you have one if you’re this stupid) raped by furries.

Also nobody fucking sells frames that are 7″ x 8.5″, not even matted ones. If you wanted to hang this up with more grace than what a staple gun has to offer you’d have to have a frame made specifically in these dimensions. If you have the money for frivolous custom framing jobs for an award from a fake charity then you should be giving your money to causes that don’t do shit like selling your personal information to other advertisers (again, I bet you thought I was kidding). The only thing this award symbolizes is the fact that you’ll give money to anything because you suffer from white collar guilt.

 

indianschool_header_dreamcatcher

For all this talk of dreamcatchers and whatnot imagine my surprise when I reached into the envelope and pulled out an entire fucking dreamcatcher.

Actually I guess I was more stunned by the actual item than the fact that they were continuing forward with this stupid ass “dreamcatcher” motif.

M3367S-4504

No, I’m fucking serious. AN ACTUAL DREAMCATCHER.

And we’ve come full circle; a circle that’s wrapped with cheap string and adorned with gaudy feathers, cheap plastic beads, and windchimes tied on with what appears to be fishing line because as we all know  putting windchimes on something that hangs flat against the wall is a genius idea. That’s like castling in chess on your fourth move. Oh I’m sorry, you assume that because all of my pictures are taken on a Crossfire board that I know nothing about chess. Fuck you.

I don’t know what in the hell to say about this thing. This is easily both the tackiest and greatest thing a charity has ever thrown into the trash by proxy. Think about how much it would realistically cost to have thousands of these things made and compare that to how many people actually send money to St. Joseph’s Indian School. Think about it, the cost may not be that much on an individual basis but even the cheapest of dreamcatchers will add up quickly when you multiply that by a few thousand mailers. Hey, Friar Steve, why don’t you fucking buy some butter to put on the kids’ rice instead of sending out a million reasons why Native American heritage has been devalued in this country? Do your goddamn job.

Even better, how about you only send dreamcatchers to people who actually donate? This is a rhetorical question but I’m about to answer it in a second anyways.

 

indianschool_header_predatory

I’m really handing it over to St. Joseph’s Indian School pretty heavily but that’s  because these people are deserving of nothing but unrefined contempt for their shady “business practices” and questionable ethics. It takes some huge balls to send out guilt mail, balls that I’m sure were probably paid for with the money people sent in with honest intentions, even if said donators were tricked, manipulated, or flat out guilted into doing so by receiving a shitload of gifts. (Fun fact: “Guilt mail” is illegal in the United Kingdom.)

This charity’s target demographic, as you might have guessed, are elderly people. Wealthy, retired, and admittedly stupid/oblivious elderly people. People who want to do something with their nest egg to feel like they’re giving back to the world after having worked so hard through their entire lives. Take a look at what was included in this mailer:

  • Notepads: Old folks forget shit all the time. My grandmother had an entire spiral notebook of reminders.
  • Calendar: Okay, you got me on this one. Count the days until you die? I don’t know.
  • Return labels: Who still sends traditional letters in the mail? Your grandmother.
  • Vouchers: They give a sense of duty when they’re put in the donation envelope, a feeling retirees lack.
  • Kid’s letter: It’s an emotional appeal that’ll work on the older generation because…
  • Friar’s letter: …the Friar’s letter supports and validates the pleas of the kid’s letter.
  • Certificate: It’s a symbol of your duty and ties back into retirees feeling left out and worthless.
  • Dreamcatcher: 100% guilt appeal. Through and through, see the below picture:
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Click this picture to enlarge it. No, really. Do it.

The donation ticket is the last thing you see when you’re making the decision to give away your money, and look at that title. “Dreams of Hope for the Children.” Wow. Dreams and hope for children? Fuck, I’m in my 20’s but sign me up for that! That title is so trite and meaningless it could be anything; it is only there for guilt appeal. Of course you want kids to have hope and dreams. They’re fucking kids. You’re not supposed to be crushingly depressed and hating life until you’re at least however old Dracophile is this year.

So off to the left under that you have the generic empty response bubbles for the  gift vouchers attached underneath the ticket. When you list them that way of course people are going to go for the $35 option. Who the fuck would look at that and say “well kid I’ll give you a taco and and a beanbag chair but as far as clothes go psssshhht… you’re going naked buddy, tribal style”.

But even if you don’t have $35 to spare look off to the right. There’s a box acknowledging the fact that you’re unable to properly contribute at this time but you want to reimburse Friar Steve for his stupid dreamcatcher at the cost of $5. I guess now is as good of a time as any to point out that the dreamcatchers were made in fucking China. Five bucks? No way, Stevey. Here’s fifty cents. Now shut the fuck up and get out of my face.

indianschool_china_sweatshop

Dreams do not exist where that dreamcatcher was made.

It gets worse when you flip the donation ticket over. Not only is there a little checkbox to show Friar Steve exactly what not to pray for in your name but there’s a box where you can willingly hand over your credit card information to a shady “charity” that just sent you a bunch of worthless tat completely unannounced. On top of that you can give these jerkoffs permission to charge your card on a monthly basis and if that’s not alarming enough might I point your attention to the highlighted line annotated with “HOLY SHIT”?

“I am considering St. Joseph’s in my will.” Do not, and may I repeat do-fucking-not say that line aloud or John Redcorn will materialize in your house and kick you square in the dick.

Here’s my final words on this charity. The Better Business Bureau has a list of 20 “standards” that they judge charities on. Friar Steve has managed to fuck up six of them. That’s teetering pretty damn close to half. In their defense a lot of them come down to simple things like missing paperwork and poor syntax but the one I’d like to draw your attention to is Standard 8, the BBB standard that details a certain percentage of a charity’s received donations must be spent on the actual causes outlined in their literature. Friar Steve sang his sorrow song to the tune of fifty-two million fucking dollars in 2010. That number alone makes me want to vomit Exorcist style while liquefied crap simultaneously fires out of my ass like a Super Soaker, but here’s the kicker: half of it was spent on business expenses.

They spent $26,000,000.00 on fucking return address labels in 2010. 

– Roastmaster

PS: I would like to thank the blog Something Better To Do for their help with the preliminary research for the charity in this article.

I graduated with a degree in Communications from a university I’ve opted to redact the name from (you’ll see why later) with cum laude honors in May 2011. It’s a degree I hate, a degree I never plan on using, and a degree that was a mistake and now every time I look at the damn thing all I see is the phrase “I should have done this differently”. I was very apathetic toward my college education so much that I’d frequently skip on buying textbooks and never once did I ever study or “cram” for a test. There were no late 3AM nights studying for the big biology exam or rushing to turn in an assignment because it was due in 15 minutes. I just did not give a shit. I drank Red Bull ironically, not because I had places to go and things to do and through all of this I managed to graduate with a GPA of 3.5. Either I’m some kind of self-defeating genius, or this campus is just where people went when they couldn’t get into the colleges they dream about.

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Pictured above: How I “studied” for tests.

Either way, whatever the case is I went to college and completed it. I didn’t pay attention to a damn thing I didn’t find interesting which means that for most of the classes I took I was there physically but not mentally. I took over 50 classes while enrolled, almost half of which were taken in conjunction with some form of weekly psychiatric counseling. While my Office Space approach to not giving a damn somehow worked in my favor there were still classes I took that were insurmountably worthless. Here’s six [required!!] classes I took that were utter wastes of my time and money.

 

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Student retention is serious business in the college scene. Universities operate because they charge exorbitant tuition rates and own bookstores that operate on GameStop’s “charge the customer $140 for something and give them $10 for it when they trade it in” business model. Of course, it’s not the colleges’ fault that by the time the semester ends your biology textbook has had 17 new editions released and is completely worthless. That’s tangential, but the point I’m getting to is that colleges and universities devote entire budgets and committees to coming up with ways to keep students at their schools, that’s how they can stay in business. More students == more money.

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Unfortunately, photoshopped black students are still worth $0.

My alma matter had this wonderful little program of “triad” and “tetrad” classes with which sounds more like an Asian gang and Tetris marathon than any sort of serious academic system. You took your core curriculum classes in “packs” of 3 or 4 like you were bundling insurance from Progressive or something and the last class in these prefab groups was always a 1 credit hour class titled “First Year Seminar”. FYS was a required class for all non-transfer freshman students and it existed to give new students a chance to “acclimate” to college life. In reality all it did was piss people off and probably didn’t help in the whole “retention” category of things.

First, the class was mandatory for virtually everybody regardless of whether or not you wanted shit spoon-fed to you, and secondly you had to pay for this course. Yep, this uncategorized, worthless, non-transferable 1 hour class was required. Twice. You had to take two semesters of this bullshit hence the title “first year” and all they did was sit you in a room and talk about what you were doing in your other triad/tetrad classes. It was nothing more than a “hey how’s it going” course where you were placed in a room with 20 other new students in an effort to try and get you to make some new friends at the university… because we need a fucking class for this after having been through twelve years of public school doing the exact same thing.

Here’s an actual assignment we were given in this “course”: draw a picture of where you’d like your college education to take you (a.k.a. “what do you want to be when you grow up”). Here’s another: “make a list of songs that you think summarize your life and feelings”. I’m dead serious. What is this? Second fucking grade?

It goes without saying attendance in this class was less than perfect across the board.

 

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I took Macroeconomics Principles because I read the first five letters and defaulted to Godzilla porn and let my dick do the class registration. No, that’s not the reason at all. It was a required course and that’s that. One thing that rings true for virtually every core class is that it’s guaranteed to suck because the instructors are notoriously apathetic about their course and students. They aren’t there to make personal connections with you because they just don’t give a shit; their class is simply full of students who may or may not have any interest in the material whatsoever and are only there because it’s a required class. The professors have better things to worry about and the students have better things to do, like playing guitar in the university cafeteria (and by that I mean repeating the same three goddamn chords while singing shitty Sublime covers to ditsy and easily impressed high school cheerleader has-beens).

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This guy goes to every university.

This particular professor went above and beyond the “not giving a shit” theory and dared to not give two shits. Not only was he an impersonal twat he never physically handed out a single assignment and required everything be done online. He had a special website for submitting essays and a special website for taking weekly quizzes. Yes, two different websites.  Everything we did, including our final exam, was done online. Using online sites is fine and dandy… if you’re taking a goddamn online class from a television commercial. If I’m paying you — more mind you — to sit in a physical lecture room instead of at my laptop in my shitty apartment I kind of expect you to at least Xerox us something. Anything. Give us a paper with words printed on it so we can put it in a notebook and say “oh this is for economics”. Learn how to use Powerpoint and put something on the projector, and if you’re too lazy for even that then at least type something up in fucking Word and throw it up on the screen. Sitting at your desk like a jackass and reminding us to sign up and use a website we will never use again just so your lazy ass can play FreeCell all day is the worst possible way to teach someone. You could teach a preschooler all of his colors wrong on purpose and still be seen as a better educator than this asshole.

The best part about these “handy” online sites is that they graded everything for him automatically. Yes, this cheap son of a bitch didn’t even grade his own assignments. All of the quizzes were either multiple choice or short answer which were graded against a database of phrases and common answers to gauge whether or not they were correct. Even more hilarious was the essay website which basically did the same thing with an entire essay. The instructor didn’t read a single essay unless there was a glitch in the matrix and it spat back a bunch of garbage or an incorrect grade. The website read the essays for him and scanned for basic phrases and their proximity to one another, term/synonym frequencies and ratios, and usage of “vocabulary words” from the textbook chapters. If you knew how to cheat the system you could have submitted a block of “Lorem ipsum” text with key phrases thrown in there and receive a passing grade.

I’m not saying I did that myself, but I’m also not saying I didn’t.

 

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The first two entries in this list came off of the core curriculum roster, and honestly if I wanted to I could fill the remaining four slots of this article with bullshit throwaway classes like US History to Civil War and State & Local Government, but like I mentioned in the economics entry, all core classes suck. Video Production was one of the first degree-specific classes I took meaning that from here on out my courses would have less students in them and more direct interactions with my instructors. I was looking forward to finally getting some quality education now that I had completed the worthless First Year Seminar gauntlet of double tetrads (honestly “gauntlet of double tetrads” sounds like the name of the obstacle course from American Gladiators).

G

Basically the same thing.

Then I met the instructor.

Public Speaking was another required core class that I had to take, and there is some relevance to this statement. Its instructor was honestly one of the most idiotic people I’ve ever had the displeasure of being in the same room as. She was so clueless and ditsy that the closer you stood to her had an inverse effect on your ability to assemble coherent thoughts, not because she was attractive or anything but because she was so incomprehensibly retarded and her field effect was akin to a radio tower of stupid. Wherever she went she was followed by personal subtitles because the only sound that ever came out of her mouth was “DURRRRRR”. She was in charge of teaching the video production course. Joy.

The objective of the course was for us to learn “professional” editing techniques with Final Cut Pro. With this bozo teaching us I’d have been grateful if she taught the class how to turn on the fucking computer. Our first assignment was to create a short 90 second video about anything we wanted so she could gauge what we already knew about editing videos. Just to spite her, I turned in an homage to Zoolander that consisted of my dancing around a Blockbuster Video after hours and breaking things. It was edited beautifully.

Basically the endgame here is that I didn’t learn a damn thing in this class that I didn’t already know; it was an easy “A”. My most memorable experience with this course, however, has to go to the only time I approached the instructor with a problem. After class had dismissed I approached the teacher and wanted to ask her a question, I started with “I have just a quick question, I live off campus and have to commute to get here so I can’t edit all of my videos in the lab directly, many I edit the ‘basic’ stuff at home and bring those pieces to assemble here in the editing lab?”

She looked right at me and replied, “Oh, well, yeah if you have a question you can email me and I’ll get back to you.”

I nodded and said “that’s great but we’re presently standing five feet away from each other and it’s a simple question that I’d like to have an answer to since I just asked it.”

She cocked her head like a dog watching someone jerk off with a raw chicken and after a brief moment wherein I can only assume all three of her brain cells tried to come up with a response she just repeated her previous answer and walked out of the lab.

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“What the fuck do you think this is, a SCHOOL?”

Seriously, for someone who’s supposed to be teaching a public speaking class (let alone video production) could the university have possibly found anymore more socially retarded than this winner? Why the hell would you want to hide behind the veil of computer-mediated communication with your students when one of them is literally in same room as you asking you a simple question in real time? You’re an instructor at a university, it’s time to put your big girl pants on and grow a pair. Metaphorically.

Because if she actually had a pair… then I guess I can understand why she wants to minimize the amount of face-to-face interaction in her life.

 

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I write. I hope this article makes that obvious; if not, we have ourselves a problem. If I had to put together a document that listed all of my qualifications, like a resume… or something, under Skills I’d have two things: “writing” and “dinosaurs”. Not paleontology or anything, just “dinosaurs”. “Technical writing” is a form of writing that can best be described as boilerplate, generic, and tiresome professional writing. I took three technical writing classes: Foundations of Professional Writing, Writing in the Professions, and Writing in Computer-Networked Environments. Yes, those first two sound like the exact same class (spoiler alert: they were). Truth be told all three of them were essentially the same class and I realize I’m cheating by bundling three classes into one entry but I did this with good reason: The curriculum for every technical writing class was written by the same instructor.

If there was ever an example of an instructor being so disconnected with their students this was it. This professor didn’t just idly sit in their office or anything, she was actively engaged with her students but her exuberance was completely nullified by the simple fact that nobody knew what the hell was going on. She’d talk to us about our projects and then the very next week when she asked us how they were coming along she’d have something completely different to say and tell us we were doing it wrong. I’m dead serious.

I had three technical writing classes but she was the instructor for only one of them. We had this bullshit group assignment that was cast upon myself and two random students to continue this “quality assurance survey” that was being done each year. All we had to do was get other technical writing students to fill it out and our job was to interpret the answers.

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Wrong kind of survey.

The problem with this assignment, despite its brainless difficulty, is that when it came to the open-ended opinion questions regarding the tech writing program all of the students ended up using these fields to take pot shots at the instructor. No joke. I’m going to cease explaining the shittiness of the curriculum and let these survey responses, which I’ve held onto all this time, speak for themselves. These are all real and unedited responses collected from this survey:

Q: How do you feel your class(es) in Technical Writing could be improved?
“[The instructor] is really scatter-brained. She doesn’t update her schedule when she changes dates and the class gets confused.”

“For a allegedly professional course, the class I am enrolled in is largely disorganized. There is a lack of structure in the classroom and an overall feeling of hostility.”

“Let all instructors create their own curriculum instead of having one person write it all. It confuses other professors and hinders the educational benefit derived from the classes.”

“Our instructor didn’t even get to teach her own curriculum, it was some premade nonsense from another instructor, and it was also a DECADE old. Everything was outdated, links to examples were broken, and most hilariously of all an example document we were given about POTATO FARMING was seven years newer than the damn course plans.” 

Q: What is the purpose of your community-based project?
“I don’t know. I’ve asked for clarification many times and I get a different answer each time. Your guess is as good as mine.” 

“I really don’t see a purpose because it has nothing to do with school work, so why are we wasting our school time to work on something that doesn’t even relate to school.”

“I don’t know. We don’t understand the assignment and it’s the middle of November. We have no idea what we are supposed to do, and some of us are in fear of failing the class because of this stupid fucking thing.”

Q: Have you been emotionally effected by your “service learning experience”? (SLE = Group Assignment)
“Yes, but not by the project rather by our professor.  This class has been a yo-yo like experience from the beginning.  We are asked to collaborate yet when we speak to our partners we are punished and scolded like little school children.”

“Yeah it’s stressful and very confusing and I don’t like it at all. It’s made me feel okay about skipping tech writing class on a number of occasions because we hardly do anything.”

“No, all though i been pissed off throughout the class because the teachers doesn’t even know what needs to be done on the portfolio so how are students going to know.” 

Q: What personal values do you feel this class has strengthened in you?
“I’d like to say “patience” but I can’t quite bring myself to really say so.” 

This is some serious fangs-out shit right here. We asked a bunch of students their thoughts on the class and almost all of them responded with “this class fucking blows p.s. the instructor is retarded”. Putting our survey results together proved to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done because it’s not like we can turn in a document to the person who wrote the curriculum that destroys everything she’s put together while making potato farming jokes. (Seriously though? Fucking potato farming?) In the end we weaseled out of it because I went into the survey site at the last minute and purposefully broke all of the open response questions to only record “ ” as an answer regardless of input to demonstrate that none of them ever recorded a valid response.

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We have no idea how it happened. We swear.

The above diatribe kind of encompasses all of the tech writing classes in general but it doesn’t let me fit in my favorite tidbit about the instructor. The university I attended was comprised of several buildings where classes were grouped by theme or subject. The building designated for the English and Composition had this problem with feral cats; the outside of the building smelled like a cat with a bladder of novelty (or fetish) proportions just pissed all over everything. This was a problem because someone kept feeding the cats and because of this the cats associated this building with free food and ended up camping out in the trees and bushes surrounding it while pissing unendingly. I’ll give you three guesses as to who kept feeding the fucking cats and the last two guesses don’t count.

 

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Contrary to popular belief there’s more to taking a Spanish class than watching Telemundo and grainy VHS copies of Muzzy and ordering food in Spanish from the local Mexican restaurant, an act that’s made only mildly offensive because it’s for “educational purposes”. College-level Spanish is nothing like high school Spanish. Okay, that was a lie; it’s basically the same thing except the rooms don’t have any goofy Spanish posters, there’s no Muzzy, and there’s no field trips to Taco Town. The only field trips you get are “get your own damn tacos and be to class on time”.

Foreign language teachers are, in my experience, some of the best instructors you’ll ever have. They have such colorful personalities and they’re always energetic like they perpetually just snorted a line of coke, and I think it might be because every time you say something to them they mentally hear it twice, in two different languages, at the exact same time. They’re not exuberant, they’re just batshit insane and they’re always one “me gusta” away from painting the walls with their feces.

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This.

I don’t hate my foreign language teachers, though. Between high school and university I took four years of Spanish and because of how fun and involved my instructors were I ended up learning and retaining quite a bit of knowledge of the language, so how come Spanish I & II ended up in this list? Because my university forced some retarded standards on the class that brought down how enjoyable it was. Learning about accents via the instructor’s mascot “Dieresis the Rattlesnake” was fun but practicing our Spanish in the campus language lab was total bullshit.

The language lab was a room that could best be described as looking exactly like the call center for an international technical support company serving Mexico. There were computers and headsets everywhere and people were busily sitting at their machines typing every once in a while and taking breaks to say a few lines in Spanish and repeat them several times like the person on the other end was either deaf or stupid. The assignments from the language lab were required, worth 10% of our final grades, and were present in both Spanish I & II.

I have a bit of an impediment with speaking aloud. It tends to get worse the closer I am to a telephone or a device that serves the same purpose as one. It’s a bizarre and strange phobia, but welcome to my life. In the language lab I was wholly capable of answering the simple test questions on the computer screen, but when it came time to recite things verbally that’s when it fell apart; the software was simply programmed like hell. When it orders you to recite a phrase it will beep without warning and give you barely enough time to speak until it beeps again when you inevitably screw up and the timer starts over. There’s no pause, it just keeps beeping until you say it and say it the right way.

This didn’t sit well with me, as wearing what amounts to a phone headset and being instructed to speak puts me in a weird position. The microscopic window of speech time didn’t make it any better, either. For an assignment that was only supposed to take 20 minutes I ended up sitting in the language lab like a moron for almost an hour. It was easily the most embarrassing thing that I’ve ever done. I abandoned the assignment mid-way through and never returned to do another lab project for either semester.

 

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This is it, and I don’t mean that phrase in the context of being the final tour of a deceased pop star, this was the worst and most worthless class I ever enrolled in. Everything about this course from enrollment to completion was a play-by-play journey through Dante’s Divine Comedy except this was a caricature of Hell comprised entirely of outdated copies of Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.

It all began with a simple roster conflict; to start us off I believe this course had the handbook number “ARTS1301” or something to that extent. The actual number doesn’t matter but the assignment pattern here does; a class ending with “01” was naturally the first in its category. When I was accepted into the university I was accepted under the stipends of the 2006 class handbook where “01” signified “Graphic Design I”. As per my degree plan I was required to take “ARTS1301” as one of my degree-specific courses. Graphic Design II was one of the last classes I ever enrolled in and during the five years it took me to get around to completing it the college restructured their class codes. “ARTS1301” was no longer the first graphic design class; “ARTS1301” was now Graphic Design II. (“00” was now used for the first class.)

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No, really. Y U NO HAS?

I immediately brought this to the attention of my degree counselor and in summary what happened was that they could have overridden the mistakes… if it weren’t for the fact that all the level 1 classes were full. Since this was a computer lab class it’s not like there was an extra chair I could take, I was stuck with the advanced class. However I had graphic design experience so I figured there’d be some catching up but it wouldn’t be killer. Big mistake.

Our instructor was, without a doubt, the most unprofessional person I will ever meet. She was such a hypocritical bitch it’s not even funny. It all began with our first assignment: creating a logo and new advertising package for a local company. This was a real assignment, as in this company would eventually use the “best” logo on their stationery and all of that crap. The company she picked was some construction business whose existing logo, I shit you not, was designed in fucking Jokerman font. Before we ever met these people and were handed business cards with their existing logo I honestly thought I was being fucked with and that this was just a hypothetical exercise and there couldn’t possibly be someone retarded enough to think Jokerman was a suitable font for anything other than a kindergarten fiesta.

The owners of this company just did not give a fuck, they were late to every single class meeting they were supposed to attend which I guess is to be expected when you’re talking about someone stupid enough to use a super-serif typeface on their goddamn stationery. On the day of our final presentation to these dickheads we were sitting in a comfortable office meeting room at the university and I asked to go first because I had a photography appointment at the local aquarium; I was to be taking pictures of dolphins for my photography class and I was psyched. Were the owners of the construction company late? You bet your ass they were. I couldn’t stay for the whole class but I stayed in the office room for a goddamn hour and they were still no shows. I said “screw it” and walked out of the classroom. I had better shit to do, and by “better shit” I mean fucking dolphins.

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Miss THIS for some stupid second-rate construction company? No fuckin’ way. Blow it out your ass.

The people from the construction company could have at least acted like they wanted a free fucking logo. Unprofessional, and pathetically so.

Perhaps the construction mishap wasn’t directly the instructor’s fault, but then again she’s the one who found these jerk offs. This person was the worst teacher ever, she never demonstrated or explained what she was doing, she just assumed we knew everything and I realize this was an advanced class but more people than just me were lost in her “instructions”. After wading through the bullshit of Retarded Construction Incorporated our next assignment was to create a brochure for a local business of our choosing. This was just an exercise, they weren’t going to use it, so we were free to be creative (no Jokerman). She gave us almost seven weeks to make this brochure before giving us our second assignment. Care to know what that was? A complete 14-piece advertising package (billboards, flash ads, banner ads, business cards, etc) for a local business of her choosing.

By the time we “finished” the brochure we had two weeks left in the class… to make fourteen fucking pieces of advertising. If the brochure took seven weeks to make this project, by her timeline, would have theoretically taken almost two years to complete. Mercifully this was a group assignment and we were able to skate by with making two samples and drawing the rest by hand and explaining the design ideas because not learning how to use InDesign was totally the point of this class.

This “professional” graphic designer was adamant about us being to class on time yet she herself was upwards of thirty minutes late on numerous occasions (sometimes just not showing up altogether), and at one point even brought her loudmouth crotchdropping to class with her. What the fuck? Fine. I understand you might have things to take care of in your graphic design job, which I’m sure is just totally fucking busy and time-consuming because it takes hours to place white Helvetica text on a solid color bar, but if you can’t have your shit together to leave at the door when you go into “teacher mode” then get the fuck out of the classroom. You don’t belong here. 

I’m normally a nice guy, and despite how much I hated the first five classes of this article I was soft when it came time for the anonymous semester evaluations for each of our classes, but when this class showed up? I blasted the hell out of it. My “comments regarding the class” was basically everything you just read in this entry. I hope this “teacher” read it, and I hope it made her miserable. Good riddance.

 

I’m summary? College might seem like a waste of time, and for all I know it probably is, but the moral of the story is this: “pursue your dreams no matter what they are, and just because somoene’s name is suffixed with ‘PhD’ that isn’t always a synonym for intelligence”. Also, dolphins.

– Dracophile

The title of this article is pretty crappy and unintentionally vague. “Collectible coins” can reference a lot of things such as video game items, how you can seduce a dragon, or worthless little metallic circles usually bearing national tragedies (both domestic and presidential). Collecting coins is a respectable hobby if you know what you’re doing and if you play your cards right you can cash in your… cash… for more cash (shit was so cash). It’s common knowledge that money and things that resemble money can equal more money so it didn’t take long for companies to show up touting “commemoratives” and “legal tender” currency that only has value if you live in the Bumfuck Islands just off the coast of The People’s Sovereign Republic of Neverland. Coins can be collectible, however just like anything else that’s specifically created to be collectible these “highly collectible” coins whose producers claim will only increase in value will do anything but. Here’s seven “collectible” coins which if you purchased them means you are retarded.

 

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There are a lot of ways you can tastefully pay tribute to a national tragedy, making a pop-up coin isn’t one of them. I don’t understand what the fucking christ National Collectors’ Mint was smoking when they came up with this idea but it must have been something pretty damn potent. When was the last time you could remember seeing such a coin? Exactly. The concept of a piece of currency that has a pop-up feature is so incomprehensibly retarded that when the aliens invade our planet long after we nuke ourselves they’ll find one of these coins in the rubble and conclude there’s absolutely nothing of value or merit on this rock and leave. That’s right, this work of art is so offensive that it’ll devalue the entire planet when the alien terraforming real estate industry picks up in 2116.

Wow. Isn’t that just the most tasteful thing you’ve ever seen? I would have loved to have been in the meeting where someone decided a pop-up coin was an appropriate way to pay respect and tribute to a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of thousands. Who even thinks of this kind of object anyways? I mean, I understand this is meant to be a collectible and not actual currency but you don’t exactly see people turning antique cars into vibrating beds or soda dispensers.

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“Guys I just had a brilliant idea. Let’s make a coin out of THIS. A pop-up coin!!”

The commercial states National Collectors Mint donates five bucks from every sale to 9/11 memorials and efforts which doesn’t exactly make them seem like a bad guy until you find out that the very September 11th charities that NCM donated to rejected the fucking donations. That’s right, the people and organizations responsible for actually giving a shit about those who perished in the attacks had the balls to look National Collectors Mint straight in the eye and tell them to go fuck themselves and that they didn’t want their money, even if it was to the tune of two million dollars.

Yeah, they turned down two million dollars just because they don’t deal with money from con artists.

Not ones to be outdone (or to take the hint that their antics offended legitimate charities), National Collectors Mint produced yet another pop-up coin five years later that included the original Twin Towers gimmick plus a pop-up casting of the USS New York, a ship that was built using steel salvaged from the World Trade Center wreckage.

 

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Maybe you heard about it in the news or from a friend who never believes what “The Man” tells him but a few months ago we killed that Bin Laden guy. Yup, shot him right in the face. All those idle nights at the Army camp spent playing Call of Duty finally paid off. President Obama got to make an address on TV trolling George W. Bush and for a split second the USA shit their pants in patriotic glee. Or maybe we all just rolled our eyes and said “it’s about goddamn time”; I’m not sure on that one, US History was a subject I wasn’t too good at in school. Regardless, the guy responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks paid the ultimate price even if said “price” was only showcased to a group of six soldiers and wasn’t broadcast live to the entire world like the death of Saddam Hussein.

It didn’t take long for someone to make a stupid coin out of the accomplishment, though.

Holy shit did you see that commercial? It was like a goddamn movie! Whoever created that ad must have binged on patriotic movies for at least four straight days before they cut that commercial together. These people are freaking insane and they pulled out all the stops when they came up with this piece of schlock. Sure, National Collectors Mint might try to pull at your heartstrings with their ads but the creatures at Historic Coin Mint just do not give a shit. Complete with reenactments filmed in broad daylight with fucking night vision (IT’S GREEN IT MUST BE TOP SECRET) every second of this commercial hits you with 100% unrefined patriotism. They even got a buff Army-lookalike guy to unpack the bonus mission guide that comes with their coins:

collectiblecoins_justicecommercial

“I asked for a goddamn toothbrush and deodorant and they sent THIS SHIT?”

Not only do you get a gold coin plus three novels’ worth of military facts and a nerdy lapel pin for 20 bucks they’ll also throw in a silver coin exactly like the gold one absolutely free. I’m not an economist but for them to be able to sell both a gold and silver coin for under $20 the precious coating on the outside of that coin cannot possibly be more than .01 nanometers thick, it’s simply impossible. However regardless of the actual lack of value of this currency the “JUSTICE COIN” is legal tender in all former Confederate states.

 

collectiblecoins_header3

If I hadn’t just shown you a 9/11 coin that has a pop-up feature you might take one look at this next coin and doubtfully cross your arms and roll your eyes. Come on, a light up coin? Really? No, I’m not trolling you. This is a real coin, I swear. Would you believe it, though, that the same geniuses responsible for bringing us the September 11th pop-up coin are also responsible for inventing the world’s first light up coin? Yep, what we have here is another brilliant idea from National Collectors Mint who proudly touts their creation as “world’s first” without really understanding why nobody has ever been retarded enough to make a light up coin.

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See the twinkle? That’s value added.

[Editor’s Note: The commercial for this coin has been pulled from YouTube.]

If you’re paying attention to the advertisement and not simply watching it to laugh at how ridiculous of a product this coin is you may have picked up on the passing mention that the coin is actually legal tender in the Republic of Palau. You may also have watched the commercial and started wondering why the music implies that somebody is about to get murdered. This coin really is legal tender in Palau though it’s “non-circulated” meaning that the Palau government isn’t minting this currency themselves probably because they don’t have proper access to the assembly lines required to put fucking lights in their money. All this talk of Palau, however, is probably causing you to wonder just where in the world this place is because let’s face it you haven’t even heard of its existence until just now.

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Palau is right there. In the circle. In the water.

Yep, right there next to Indonesia… somewhere. Palau’s economy is more than likely based upon Nike sweatshops and Komodo dragon maulings. When it’s not busy existing as a natural connect-the-dots puzzle Palau enjoys things like financial bankruptcy and being the butt of jokes told by Internet comedians who really don’t understand or know anything about Palauian (??) culture and/or history. Seriously, sorry Palau but you can’t say letting NCM mint currency for you — currency that lights up — wasn’t a lapse of judgment on your part. Somewhere out there in Palau a convenience store owner probably has more of these things than he knows what to do with even though legally they’re worth exactly one dollar.

Their economy is now a joke thanks to National Collectors Mint.

 

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Quick! Name something Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy have in common!

You probably just said to yourself “they both got shot in the head”. Congratulations, you’re thinking alongside 99.9999% (that’s four nines) of the US population. The other 0.0001% is the CEO of National Collectors Mint who honestly thinks you can market a coin-based product called “The Truth is Stranger Than Fiction” featuring Lincoln and Kennedy and not have it focus on the obvious fact that both presidents were assassinated and have airs of conspiracy theories around them. Come on, for fuck’s sake their heads are the only thing featured on the coins and wouldn’t you know that’s exactly where both of them were shot. Seriously, the product page for this coin set starts its list of facts with “Lincoln was elected in 1846 and Kennedy in 1946” and it doesn’t take long for it to fall apart into assassination facts from there.

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This is what’s on the back of both coins.

What could have been a coin set that paid tribute to things that didn’t involve each president getting a bullet lodged in their skulls, such as Abraham Lincoln’s drive to abolish slavery or John F. Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban missile crisis, ends up being a tasteless rehashing of tired facts and celebrates their terms in the most inappropriate ways possible. Yeah, we know both of them were shot by crazy people so why don’t you save that kind of over-analytical nonsense for Final Destination and conspiracy theorists to wallow in? What’s next, are you going to make a coin out of the grassy knoll and the play Lincoln was seeing before he was killed? There wasn’t a commercial for this product but I’d have loved to see it because there’s nothing quite as tacky as National Collectors Mint more than likely taking footage of Kennedy’s assassination and looping an animation of a spinning coin on top of it.

I’m just surprised they didn’t make this coin play the national fucking anthem or something since they’ve already secured the market for both pop-up and light up coins.

 

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People have different ways of commemorating George W. Bush; some people make coins and others make toilet paper, but you’d be surprised how many of the former don’t understand Stephen Colbert’s “great president or greatest president” joke. Political affiliations aside it’s pretty commonplace for presidents to appear on currency and currency commemoratives, that’s simply tradition… however the only denomination President Bush should ever appear on is the $1 trillion dollar bill — the approximate cost of the war in Iraq/Afghanistan.

I’m not going to lie, the only real reason I selected this coin for this article wasn’t so that I could take pot shots at G.W. but instead so I could make fun of the “coin expert” who kind of resembles a fatter Super Mario. I mean, he’s not the first ever paid testimonial to grace our televisions but he’s one of the few who suffer from a blatantly obvious case of “I’m reading this from a script” syndrome. There’s absolutely nothing sincere or genuine about the way he deadpans his lines or acts like he’s really inspecting the Bush coin. The people behind American Mint’s commercial could have had better success getting a bunch of socially awkward You Can’t Do That On Television lifers to narrate and fake enthusiasm about their shitty product.

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American Mint should have made their currency INTERACTIVE.

Also what’s with the tagline of “we’re only making 50,000 of these and destroying the molds”? American Mint is either grossly over-estimating or under-estimating how collectible they perceive their product to be. Furthermore “worldwide limited availability”? Yeah, I’m sure people in Russia and Japan give two shits about getting their hands on a coin that’s worth exactly nothing. Additionally, speaking of value, the coin claims it’s worth $10; ten bucks where? It sure as hell isn’t American currency so unless there’s some unknown country approving the minting of this trash (I hear Palau is receptive to such offers) this token, valued at ten American Mint Fun Bucks,  is worth exactly $0 in the real world. It’s pretty hard for something worthless to increase in value, great job guys.

 

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When Barack Obama became President Obama two things happened simultaneously: African-Americans coast to coast rejoiced that the nation came together and elected a black president, and someone else made a fucking plate. Dare I say it, Barack Obama’s inauguration may very well have had more shady merchandise based off of it than all ten years’ worth of 9/11 commemorations. From shirts to plates to bumper stickers and posters everybody was getting in on this whole “we got a black dude in the White House” nonsense, completely devaluing and undermining the gravity of the accomplishment in the process, but nothing takes the cake quite like the coins offered by U.S. Coin Network. It was common knowledge that somebody was going to make a stupid ass coin to “remember” this historical time, but nobody thought it would be this crazy. Here’s Montel Williams with how you can own a piece of history.

I apologize for the crappy video quality because as much as I’d like to say the actual commercial looked like that it doesn’t. That is the way Montel Williams actually talks, however. Montel is incapable of coherent speech, whenever he opens his mouth he ends up compressing multi-syllable words into something resembling the rambling and incoherent drawl of a drunk man. Despite this he still finds ways to show up on TV hawking everything from Obama coins to blenders to loan sharks and even colon cleansing products. (Fact: Montel’s colon cleansing system is him putting his mouth onto your butthole and sucking everything out of it.)

I could tear into Montel Williams for an hour and a half but that wouldn’t make a lick of difference. Montel does nothing but promote products that are more worthless than the airing rights to his canceled talk show but these Obama coins are the alpha and the omega of everything he has or will ever promote. I could tell you what’s wrong with these coins myself, but I think showing you another video would be the best route:

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They’re fucking quarters with stickers on them.

U.S. Coin Network’s website could not have possibly been open longer than a weekend or however long it took customers to find out that they had bought $1.25 worth of quarters for twenty bucks. Judging by the quality of the printed stickers in the news broadcast you wouldn’t even have to be in the same building as the Obama coins to have them set off your bullshit detectors. Either nobody told Montel what he was selling or he’s simply stupid enough to believe putting a sticker on top of a Chuck E. Cheese token qualifies as minting currency which is pretty terrifying considering he’s doing ads for Money Mutual these days.

Lesson learned: Never take financial advice from Montel Williams. Montel Jordan on the other hand…

 

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If I were to tell you National Collectors Mint (yeah these guys again) was offering a $20 bill commemorating September 11th there’s a pretty good chance you’d assume they were selling real $20 bills pre-folded in such a way that makes it look like the burning Twin Towers, but you’d be wrong. Don’t worry I was shocked to hear otherwise too but the actual product is so much funnier: it’s a $20 silver certificate bill, in Liberian currency, valued at exactly $20 (Liberian). It’s a legal tender bank note that I suppose you could use to pay for something in Liberia, but I’m not sure what. Maybe a plane ticket for a flight out of Liberia?

Take it all in. All of it. This was a real commercial.

I don’t even know where to begin. The factoid calling out to me the loudest is the description the uploader on YouTube provided. He was watching an episode of madTV and thought this commercial was one of their gag ads which I guess places commercials by National Collectors Mint on the same level of entertainment as second-rate variety shows.

After watching that commercial my head is just a sea of mindfuck. National Collectors Mint states  their silver certificate is bigger than all denominations of US currency. Uh, great? How is that a selling point? Actually how is that a selling point so strong that it’s used as the first one of the commercial? Who cares if it’s bigger than US currency, that doesn’t mean it’s worth more; I’m fairly certain that’s what the numbers on the fucking bill stand for — and oh god does NCM have a grip on numbers. My favorite part of this commercial isn’t the fact that they discovered 9 + 11 equals 20, but that it apparently took them seven years to figure this out. Just think, they invented the pop-up coin in the interim even though this whole time the numbers “9” and “11” were sitting right in front of them just waiting for someone, anyone, at NCM to make the connection.

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This smarmy bastard may have failed the first grade but he’s an S-class con.

One of National Collectors Mint’s favorite hobbies was promoting coins that were made from “Ground Zero silver”, silver recovered from bank vaults underneath the World Trade Center. Boy oh boy did NCM love to rape the hearts of veterans and families with that tagline by claiming the silver was “priceless”. Actually it wasn’t “priceless”, it was worth about $4.20 an ounce on 9/11/2001. Just a factoid. Silver sitting inside of a vault without any kind of special markings that would connect it to a historical event like a shipwreck or a terrorist attack is worth exactly whatever the trading rate of silver is on any given day and I’m fairly certain the “recovery silver” wasn’t stamped with WTC seals or anything of the sort. It’s fucking silver. Silver is silver, that’s why it’s called silver.

After they’ve hit you with enough patriotism to make even Toby Keith vomit they remind us all that their note is being sold at “face value”, which is $20. What they fail to mention is that this is $20 in Liberian currency which is worth approximately 31 cents (USD). If they were really selling this at face value then you’d almost be able to buy this with one of those counterfeit Obama coins mentioned earlier in the article. Also it’s not solid silver because there’s no way you could stretch 31 cents’ worth of silver into something bigger than a bill of actual US currency; it’s apparently a piece of thick cardstock paper covered in silver leaf so not only is it needlessly expensive it’s also fragile and ultimately worthless in the end. The only place these bills will ever end up is, well…

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WTB: Worthless Liberian currency.

– Dracophile

 

I’ve been writing observational and product-based Internet comedy for far too long; it’s gotten to the point where I cannot go to a bargain store without feeling like I have to glance at the cheap toys or Mexican DVD’s because there’s a chance I’ll find something that would make a great base for an article. I only ever write articles for about 30% of the crap I buy, the rest just gets tossed out or Goodwill’d. That mentality has to change if I plan on keeping GatorAIDS relevant, current, and updated on a regular basis so here’s the theme of today’s article. It’s so hilariously atrocious that all I have to do is say it and then smack down WordPress’ “More” line because I know you’ll love it. Are you ready? Here it is:

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Dun, dun, DUNNNNNNN.

Counterfeit Lego. And now here’s the More line:


I’m going to assume everybody reading this knows what Lego is. If you don’t then please check to ensure you’re a part of the “Earth” demographic that visits this site (shout-out to all of my homies on Reptilicus-9!). Lego — you know — those ridiculously overpriced pieces of plastic that snap together to form models that you can play with for all of about three minutes before the wheels and stuff pop off? Yeah, a counterfeit of that. While gawking at all of the crap sold at a Dollar General store I visited while away on a trip I came upon the toy aisle wherein after discharging the contents of one damaged container of silly string directly into the face of GatorAIDS columnist FPS ref1ex I discovered a small cache of these glorious products.

Counterfeit Lego, to me at least, is like an elusive Pokemon in the comedy world. I’ve seen other people post about it but never once have I discovered any of it for my own. Mega Bloks and other widely distributed off-brands don’t count; I’m talking real legitimate knock offs here, the kind where the packaging just screams “the contents of this box were made in a sweatshop in China and in accordance with Chinese work standards contain at least half of a human finger”. One of the main places I go to get my dose of Not Lego comedy is a site called Reasonably Clever but honestly rather than genuinely laugh at the content there I end up questioning the mental stability of the webmaster. I mean, I just want to laugh at counterfeit Lego; I don’t want to know the exact part and model numbers being ripped off. That kind of Lego dedication is borderlining on being downright creepy.

No, I take that back. It is creepy. It’s fucking Lego, dude.

I understand the webmaster’s “duty” to provide clean content seeing as how when he isn’t making fun of things like Zephyr Knight Skeleton Town Treasure he maintains a G-rated comic strip made entirely out of Lego (obsession much?). Me? I don’t have to watch my content for family-friendly programming. Fuck your family. I’ll say whatever I want because GatorAIDS isn’t a kids’ site. It has “AIDS” in the title; if you’re letting your child on this place then you’re a worse parent than Casey Anthony. Just to spite your parenting skills I’m going to throw down a sex term that your kid is now going to ask you about. Dirty Sanchez.

We’re all adults (mostly) here at GatorAIDS and we’re going to be treating and playing with these toys as such, so without further adieu here’s the loot:

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Phat lewtz.

Here we have five sets of Bizarro Lego representing the fine craftsmanship of two companies: Best-Lock and Funmark, two establishments whose websites look exactly how you’d imagine a manufacturer of dangerous knock-off toys would. Seriously, it’s freaky. Both companies have their products brought to us by the fine folks at DOLGENCORP LLC. I don’t know if the capital letters are required or not but it appears as such on both types of boxes; whoever was responsible for typing up the DOLGENCORP name left caps lock on. (Fun Fact: If you haven’t figured out the mystery puzzle, “Dolgencorp” is a mashed up abbreviation of “Dollar General Corporation”.)

Moving right along, here’s the lowdown on the three sets from Best-Lock.


 

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Straight from either China, Germany, or Canada we have three members of the Best-Lock toy family. I say they’re from those three countries because I can’t tell for sure. The box says “Made in China” but it also says the designs and concepts were created in Canada and Germany (and let’s not forget our friends in the United States who brought these blocks to us). That’s right; it took a UN meeting to make these toys happen. Best-Lock earns bonus points for fostering international peace right off the bat. They then shatter this notion of peace by apparently being licensed by the US Army to make official Army play sets because I guess when it comes to doing things cheap the Army knows how to get it done in the most efficient manner. Cue Iraqi War jokes.

One thing Best-Lock really wants us to know is that their bricks “work with other brands”. This message is repeated on the box three times in English and nine other times in a variety of other languages including Italian, French, and Klingon plus the context-less phrase “100% COMPATIBLE” is emblazoned on the box as well; that’s 13 instances of compatibility which falls just a mere 2 phrases short of becoming an e-Harmony commercial. What these “other brands” are Best-Lock does not say… but clearly these are Mega Bloks rip-offs.

The rest of the box is simply a crapshoot of repeated phrases and graphics. The back of the box lists all the pieces contained inside the set while every other side of it has the Best-Lock logo and some mentioning of compatibility with other brands. The front of the box says that children aged 0-3 shouldn’t play with these toys (if I were Stuart Ashen I’d call the icon a “Sad Onion”) and yet the bottom of the box says that you should be at least five years old to ride the Best-Lock rollercoaster. I guess they can’t quite make up their minds. It’s also apparently recyclable if you want to throw it away I guess. Or maybe it’s not and this is just a collection of regurgitated iconography that shows up on every counterfeit product in the world (hint: it is).

 

clego_parts_policeThe first hate crime I opened from Best-Lock was their police car which I have somewhat  affectionately named “Donut”. Donut came with a bag of parts, a couple of “POLICE” stickers, and some instructions whose first two steps were “put the wheels on, then flip the thing over”, because I guess you need two steps for that.

The first step requires you to build upon an existing car frame which is suspiciously thin and brittle. I measured it and it’s exactly one millimeter thick. For our American readers who never bothered to learn the Metric system you can consider this “Really Goddamn Thin” and can achieve the same thickness by folding a piece of paper in half. That’s what I’m working on here; the damn thing bends in the middle.

Upon sticking this together I realized that this is essentially a solid brick with wheels and required all of about thirty seconds’ worth of effort to come up with. Half of the pieces stuck together so incredibly well that they may as well be superglued while the other half simply would not lock in the least bit. For a company called “Best-Lock” you’d think they’d have at least the meaning of their company name down but honestly what could you possibly expect from a second-rate imitator? I completed Donut, stuck his stickers on the side panels, and then promptly realized that the wheels don’t turn very well and they don’t come off; meanwhile, the windshield will simply not stay on.

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“To protect and DERP.”

 

clego_parts_firetruckUp next and also from the Best-Lock “TOWN” series is this fire truck that I never assigned a name to because I loathe its very existence. For this reason it shall forever be known as “Untitled Fire Truck”.

Untitled Fire Truck also came with a couple stickers of poorly printed generic fire truck graphics but it’s suspiciously lacking the same cheap brittle base that Donut came with. Instead, the very first step of this thing’s instructions are to set a bunch of pieces side by side and then place a longer flat piece on top of them. This is somehow easier than starting with the long piece as a baseplate; Best-Lock are clearly the experts here, not me.

For the most part this truck was a no brainer with the exception of its windshield. Untitled Fire Truck expressed the same exact flaws resulting from cheap molds and crappy plastic but it demonstrated it in such a way that it caused the windshield piece to simply refuse to stay on. I don’t mean that it was loose and just fell off easily (like the police car), I mean that the pieces were so warped and screwed up that placing the windshield on would inevitably cause it to fly right the fuck off.

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But nonetheless I got it to sit still.

 

clego_parts_kimmyFinally we come to the last Best-Lock car, a pink Jeep-looking thing that I have named “Kimmy” for no reason other than that’s what it was called on the box and I figured the name was stupid enough to stick. Kimmy didn’t come with any stickers but she came with the same black baseplate as Donut which ends up sticking out like a sore thumb amid the nauseating sea of pink blocks.

Even though Kimmy clearly looks like a convertible it’s the only vehicle out of the three that has proper doors which look like obvious rip-offs of the same part that Lego includes sporadically in their sets. One of Kimmy’s doors suffers from a case of super glue while the other won’t stay on worth a damn. Mmmm, quality.

It’s worth pointing out, now that we’re three cars into this article, that all of Best-Lock’s cars don’t have rubber tires. They have these nasty horrid plastic pieces of shit that kind of resemble wheels but don’t serve their purpose at all. A better idea would have been to just make all of these damned vehicles into sleds because that’s about all they amount to with the hardware provided by the factory.

But I digress. Here’s a completed Kimmy:

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Please MTV, pimp my ride!


 

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Now this is REAL counterfeiting at its best. Best-Lock made an effort to make their toy packaging stand out and look legitimate but Funmark just does not give a shit at all. Their line, titled “Fun Mini Bricks Set”, is just a sad looking mish-mash of ugly fonts and Web 2.0 clip art no doubt stolen from some Angry Birds rip-off. The photograph of the model on the box isn’t even in focus. Both boxes are described as being a “Harvester” yet neither one actually looks like a harvester; upon flipping the box over I’m greeted with the phrase “collect all harvester in different version” which leads me to believe that nobody at Funmark knows what a harvester actually is. It’s like they only received one page out of a “Learn English Fast” book that focused solely and entirely on farm equipment and this was the only word they learned.

Funmark takes Lego pretty damn seriously and suggests that their products are for kids 6 years old and up. Honestly by this point if your child is six and he’s still putting Legos and shit in his nose then he’s probably retarded. You can stop fooling yourself into believing he’s a “late bloomer” and just accept the fact that either your sperm is defective or your womb is a fail factory.

Unlike the Best-Lock toys, which were of different vehicles, these two Funmark cars are basically the same thing so to tell them apart I’m just going to name them by the color of the hat worn by its driver on the box: Green and Red.

 

clego_parts_greenI almost cried in glee when I opened the box and poured the contents out. I was expecting some kind of half-assed attempt from Best-Lock judging by the amount of work they put into their packaging but with Funmark I was just expecting bottom of the barrel absolute garbage, and oh my god. Oh. My. God. This is it.

First things first, we’re renaming this vehicle to “Gray” because unlike the picture on the box this person isn’t wearing a green hat. Due to the color of his headwear I’m assuming he’s a member of LulzSec; I honestly thought they would be driving nicer cars. Secondly I feel the need to point out the fact that our friend Gray here isn’t wearing any pants. He’s straight up driving his pseudo-farm equipment while freeballin’ it, and that my friends takes balls. Balls which I can clearly see.

It took me a moment but I realized that the Funmark sets are the only two that came with people. All of Best-Lock’s vehicles are apparently driven by ghosts or are kidnapped members of the Cars movie universe that have undergone heavy surgery to obscure their grotesquely horrifying faces. I guess you’re trading perceived quality for the inclusion of little people.

I don’t know what Gray is driving but it sure as hell isn’t a harvester. This thing looks like it has machine guns or something on the side. Also I don’t understand the need to have included transparent blue blocks for the front end of the car, is it for added coolness? If so how come the rest of the car is a bunch of ugly mismatched crap? Who cares, here’s Gray in all his implied glory:

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He can’t even reach the damn steering wheel.

 

clego_parts_redI’m not going to lie to you, Red is almost no different from Gray; the two even share some parts between them like whatever the hell those red handlebar things are. They also both like transparent blue for some reason I have yet to figure out. Red also came with a god awful assortment of colored parts. Much like his friend Gray they all match about as well as an average Jersey Shore cast member trying to dress themselves.

I guess if I were as well-educated about Lego as the guy from Reasonably Clever was I could be a lot more critical of these sets, but I realize all I do here is look at the box and laugh, open it and laugh, assemble the  set and laugh, and then go touch myself to Jurassic Park. I really don’t know how to make a joke that appeals to Lego fans. I don’t know if this is a rip-off of some popular set or what, but I know I can strike a humor chord with you geeky types by saying someone ripped Red’s brain out.

No, I mean it. I took his hat off to see what he was hiding. He doesn’t have a brain. He seems to be a good sport about it though.

Since these are the only two sets that came with little mini-figures I decided it would be for the best if I at least took a look at these jokers. Both of the guys that came with Funmark’s “harvesters” have malformed asses; neither of them can “sit” on their vehicles with their full ass because the little holes in their buttcheeks where the brick studs would go are too small. I thought long and hard about the various anal sex jokes the previous sentence implied and after working my crank mentally I simply decided to go with the obvious “they must be virgins” joke.

They also have a serial number of some sort printed directly on their backsides; Red, for example, is 4XX5F10. Actually they both are. Nevermind. Trying to unravel the mysteries of Funmark’s idiocy is too damn hard. They should stick to making unsafe trikes for babies or whatever it is they spend their time doing because I know it sure as hell isn’t Lego or Flash intros for their site.

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I guess it doesn’t take a brain to drive this.

 

With all five of these sets built (and about $6 poorer after buying them) I found myself without much more to do so I decided to end this exploration into the realm of shitty knock-off Lego the only way I know how: by fighting the cars against one another to see who’s the King of Cheap. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Cheapo-Demo-Lego-Derby:

Additionally, the Reasonably Clever blog I had mentioned previously in this article likes to take an arrogant and pretentious road and boast about not being able to wait to throw these sets in the trash. Why? Why throw them away? These things are fucking fun because they’re so cheap. Look at this aftermath of Cheapo-Demo-Lego-Derby, I haven’t had this much fun since- wait, wait what is that? OH GOD WHAT IS IT DOING?!

 

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– Dracophile and FPS ref1ex

About two years ago I was a guest editor on the now defunct website VitalViper where I maintained the weekly humor column 3 Years, 5 Months, & 2 Days in the Life Of Dracophile (don’t worry, if you’re interested in reading these articles they’ve all been reposted here on GatorAIDS and dated accordingly). One of the articles I claimed as a WIP but never had the chance to write was this very one. I resigned from the website rather unceremoniously due to personal reasons and took most of my article WIP’s with me; this particular one has sat at the bottom of my “ideas” list since then only because its subject matter isn’t something that I felt I could portray as “funny”. The article is more somber than anything, depressing if you’re in the right frame of mind mostly because it’s a kind of “tour” of sorts of a large mall that is basically dead, and I mean dead. Aside from a Sears there’s literally nothing inside of Sunrise Mall; it’s about as hollow as a cheerleader’s skull.

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THESE DOLPHINS ARE HOMELESS.

With that said I’ll still do my best to present this tour of a living-dead mall in a humorous light though it’s kind of hard to do so when you’re explaining how grand a place where you spent your childhood used to be.

First, a brief history lesson. Sunrise Mall was constructed in 1979 in Corpus Christi, Texas with a number of anchor stores. “Anchor” stores are the businesses occupying the giant (and usually dual-floor) spaces in a mall and they’re called “anchors” because if you lose them your mall will float directly into the Bermuda Triangle; the aforementioned Sears is the only anchor store remaining in Sunrise Mall. (Well, that and a Burlington Coat Factory. They must sell a fuckton of coats but considering the temperature in Texas never drops below 100 I’m going to assume Burlington is a drug front.)

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Maybe Mervyn’s should have sold drugs too.

According to Wikipedia (who also agrees that multiple stroke victims have higher vital signs than this property) the mall met its first decline when the Frost Bros anchor store closed in 1988 (it was later bought by Burlington Drug Factory). If there was a decline then I missed it because during the 1990’s Sunrise Mall was still booming. They had a Cinemark movie theater for $1 movies that had already enjoyed their runs in the regular cinema circuit, a brand new food court, more parking garages, a Stein Mart store, and Montgomery Wards. Sunrise Mall was still a better alternative than the mall right down the street: Padre Staples Mall.

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I guess Sunrise Mall really WARDED off Wards, oh ho ho!

Padre Staples Mall in the 1990’s was what Sunrise Mall is today: a decrepit and run-down building that smelled of urine and dead homeless people. Padre Staples Mall was a mess, it had stores but for the most part each business sat between two closed storefronts and the food court almost seemed like an afterthought. The mall had a giant carousel in its center foyer but given the atmosphere of the place there was a 100% chance that if you rode it you’d be groped by at least three child predators hiding underneath the spinning tea cups. To summarize, I remember going into Padre Staples Mall once before and finding what appeared to be baby shit all over the floor by the entrance doors. I have yet to find doo doo at Sunrise Mall but honestly it’s only a matter of time.

The Wards picture up above is kind of a spoiler but honestly you can mark the more rapid downfall of the mall with the closure of that particular store. Montgomery Wards (no relation to the flea market of the same name) fell apart financially around the end of the nineties. In an effort to save money they hacked “Montgomery” off of their name and became just “Wards” (I think to save on the amount of money it cost to have those giant light-up marquees made) but it wasn’t enough. The company went bankrupt and liquidated all of its assets and the Wards at Sunrise Mall closed. Mervyn’s followed suit a few years later after Sunrise Mall just had to build Mervyn’s space special for the outlet to open. There was a Stein Mart (a general clothing store) on the property that helped keep the mall alive but the problem was that Stein Mart was only accessible from the parking lot and it was connected to the mall by a long corridor. Stein Mart didn’t close but they said “fuck this” and moved their business to the shopping center across the street next to Target and a grocery store.

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Stein Mart had a special sign and everything.

Sears is still open because they are fucking Sears; they could open in the middle of Chernobyl and still stay in business because they’re a successful company. There are two parking garages at Sunrise Mall, none of them are near Sears, therefore none of them are ever occupied. The parking lot outside of Sears is about the only place you’ll ever see cars at the mall and that’s only because people are there to buy a new lawnmower, a tool set, glasses, and shirts. Burlington Coat Factory is still open because, like I said before: drugs.

In 2008 the property was foreclosed on by the bank and their energy provider had enough of Sunrise Mall’s non-paying bullshit and cut the power temporarily. If there were any businesses there by this point they were long gone, enough was enough. Presently, and I’m being serious here, there is one place in the food court, the movie theater, the aforementioned anchor stores, a glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course, a POW/MIA memorabilia store, an ironic unemployment office, and about three dozen empty stores and broken dreams. There are no “middle of the walkway” kiosk stores, all of them went bankrupt and closed. At best you’ll run into about seven people walking around inside the mall and eight of them are going to be old people walking around for exercise looking at the various storefronts and talking about what used to be there.

So, that’s it for Sunrise Mall. There’s nothing left and the property is only really open because there’s a Sears. Late at night the entire mall closes down except for the movie theater which has only stayed alive because people apparently don’t mind watching damaged films for $1 (50 cents on Wednesdays). What follows below is a breakdown of what the mall looks like today along with my insight or reflections on what used to be there.

 

Food Court

sunrisemall_cinemark

“Oh boy let’s go see FUCKING SMURFS!!”

When it had more than just the suspiciously named “Orange Creations” the food court at Sunrise Mall had about a dozen outlets you could eat at. Among them were a Wendy’s, two Asian food places, an ice cream bar, Orange Julius, a pizza place, and a handful of others all strung together side by side with a giant faux boat whose deck made up the majority of the dining area. One by one as traffic began to subside the eateries all closed until only Wendy’s and Orange Creations were left. There’s another Wendy’s in the mall’s goddamn parking lot (which is still open) so the chain saw no need to have two locations that were essentially next to each other; the food court Wendy’s closed.

sunrisemall_foordcourt2

Just one of the many unkempt neon food court signs in the mall.

As a kid, back when there were actually places to eat at in the mall, I can fondly remember seeing movies with my mother and getting a bite to eat afterward; there were a lot of options. My favorite place was a restaurant front called Famous Corn Dog. Famous Corn Dog, like the name implies, was a Mexican food place. No, I’m kidding. They sold corn dogs and that was about it. When you’re five years old a restaurant that serves nothing but corn dogs and chicken nuggets is like and early Christmas; these days I probably wouldn’t eat there unless I was doing so for nostalgic value but honestly walking alongside the empty storefront really made me want another one of their dogs. At least I can remember what it was like to sit on a giant fake boat and eat one, though.

Once the mall began to fall apart the food court fell into disrepair (like the dead neon above shows). Places started routinely failing health inspections and it got to the point where no restaurant, even the Wendy’s, could score above a “B” with most places reeling in C’s and D’s and dare I say F’s. It wasn’t because they didn’t take care of their stuff, it was solely because the mall owners just couldn’t afford to keep the place clean. Walking through the food court you can really see artifacts of age, like soda machines touting logo stickers from the 1980’s, things that really needed to be replaced 20 years later but never were.

sunrisemall_cookies1

Ohhh, you wanted a cookie? FUCK YOU.

Great American Cookie (or whatever the company used to be called in the 1990’s had a pretty prominent place in the mall while it was open. You could buy little cookies of various flavors and styles or a “cookie pizza by the slice” kind of thing where you could get a big slice of iced chocolate chip cookie. They also offered whole cookie pizzas for sale for any occasion, most of which turned green when the example pizzas were left in the display cases for too long. Great American Cookie sold cookies by the truckload during the height of Sunrise Mall’s life; they sold so many cookies that they had special permission to build a fucking oven into the outside wall with a window that let you see the baking cookies inside.

sunrisemall_cookies2

Of course, the oven is full of dead rats or something now.

For some reason the lights at Great American Cookie still operate which has let the advertisement pictures fade to hell and back.

 

Entertainment & Specialty Stores

Like any mall Sunrise featured a lot of clothing stores. When you’re a kid clothing stores are fucking lame and when you’re older guess what? Still lame. If you wanted me to I could sit here and reminisce about places like Melrose (which is still open) or Tuxedo Junction or Street Threads but honestly does it really matter? They sell clothes and that’s it. The more memorable places inside of a mall are the entertainment outlets, places where you could hang out and network with people over more than gaudy sweaters. Sunrise Mall was home to a lot of these kinds of places, the last of which finally closed as recently as a year ago (wherein it was the last of such places for almost a straight decade).

sunrisemall_trains

Yup. Trains. No joke.

Take the place known only as “Trains” for instance. I’m pretty sure they didn’t sell anything, it was just a space occupied by a bunch of train and model enthusiasts. It sounds ridiculously stupid until you stepped inside and saw that the whole “store” was taken up by a massive model train set. Fine, it still sounds stupid, but look at it this way: I think trains are retarded and even I thought this place was fucking awesome. The amount of attention to detail put into the hand-painted models and mountains and the towns the trains traveled through was just incredible. It was the same WIP set every time you went there but you kept going back because you wanted to see what the new additions would look like. When I took the picture of the storefront I could still see a lot of stuff inside of there so supposedly they may still be open but I was there at 3 o’clock and they weren’t so I have no idea of what their hours could be.

sunrisemall_arcade2

You can play Dead Dead Revolution here.

Here’s the obligatory arcade creatively called “The Arcade” (formerly Aladdin’s Castle). As you might imagine when the mall was really jumping this arcade was incredibly busy. They had a “birthday party zone” in the far corner that was always decorated with party hats like someone was expecting a party but the party never came. Never once did I ever see a birthday there except for the time when one of my cousins actually had a birthday party at the arcade. Other than that one though, nothing. The games presently in the arcade have been there a long time and the arcade has been in lock-down for quite a while. Much like the train place I have no idea when it’s open. The last few times I was there every arcade game had a price tag on it, they were all for sale. Most of my memories of this place are all pretty recent, like walking by this air hockey table where a friend and I would waste afternoons playing against each other.

Like most arcades you could win tickets, and somewhere around here I actually have about 50 tickets from this place, but I hold onto them rather than trading them in for Tootsie Rolls because I know this place is basically doomed.

sunrisemall_funpark

It’s like a miniature haunted house inside of a mall!

I believe the place above was once called “Fun Park” (or “Fun Land”, not sure on that one). It was one of the first stores to close doing so in the very early 90’s. Fun Park was a lot like The Arcade except it was aimed at very young guests, kind of like the kiddo section at a Chuck E. Cheese’s. Fun Park had Ski-Ball, (mini) mini golf, an obligatory ball pit, and a jungle gym among other stuff I cannot quite remember. The only memory I have of this place is one of the oldest ones still rattling around in my head; I could not have been older than three or four when I was last there. I was playing miniature golf and tripped over something (probably my own putter) and cut my knee open on a sharp metal corner of a coin-op machine next to me. Mind you, this was the 1990’s, toys were still pretty goddamn dangerous and weren’t made of 100% Nerf like they are today. This was back when you’d get hurt and suck it up, but of course seeing a patron get injured was bad for business so the arcade clerk helped patch my knee up, gave me a bunch of free tokens, and an Icee on the house.

Fun Park closed about a year later.

sunrisemall_candycastle

THE KINGDOM OF CANDY. (Postmortem.)

Every mall has one of those “buy by the pound” candy stores, here’s Sunrise Mall’s. It was called Candy Castle and was inhumanly resilient to closure even while everything else around it fell apart and burned to the ground. The Castle stood tall among the death offering jelly beans and gummy sharks for far more than they’d cost if you went to a gas station to buy them instead. There wasn’t a whole lot special about Candy Castle other than the fact that it was there almost forever and seemed to have a very exclusive contract with the mall’s owners. Candy Castle was free to build on the OUTSIDE of their storefront and even renovate the floor, artifacts of their creativity are still visible to this day even though the neons are long gone.

Fact: Candy Castle’s space is worth 25 cents more than those around it because there’s a quarter embedded in the floor where the gumball machine used to be.

sunrisemall_gamersguild

This place used to be “Never Get Laid, Inc.”

In the 1980’s and partially into the 1990’s it was still en vogue to play Dungeons & Dragons. It seems to be making a cult comeback today but in recent years if you still played that game people would look at you with judging gazes and shake their heads in slow dismissal at you and your LARPer friends. The place photographed above used to be Gamers’ Guild, a hangout spot designated for tabletop RPG’s and card games. They were able to bend the physical properties of the universe to fit an obscene amount of tables into their store plus a snack bar. They also had a miniature store where they’d sell collectibles and books at about 400% markup.

Gamers’ Guild was the hangout for the more pretentious lot, the kinds of mouthbreathers who would hold a five hour argument over whether or not George Lucas ruined Star Wars by making Episodes I through III. Every single stereotype about assholish comic store owners was echoed with the people you would encounter in that store and they hated younger customers, especially those who wanted to use their tables to play Pokemon. Those kinds of customers weren’t completely dismissed, however, there was a special place for them:

sunrisemall_collectibletreasures

No jokes here. Just looking at this picture ruins my day.

This place used to be Collectible Treasures. They were a “general purpose” collectors’ store and sold things like Beanie Babies and, uh, Beanie Babies but when Pokemon was in full swing they made the bulk of their money selling and trading cards and other paraphernalia. Collectible Treasures was always busy. Always. It was full of Pokemon fans buying starter decks, booster packs, single cards, posters, books, movies, everything. Fucking everything. They didn’t have the greatest deals in town but if you were looking for something in particular they had it. They always did. To this day I believe in their backroom they either had some kind of magical teleporter that led straight to Japan or they kidnapped a small portion of a Thailand assembly line and ordered them to make Pokemon products.

For a store that had so much they also had little to no breathing room. The entirety of the store was floor to ceiling Pokemon. If you wanted to hang out with other “trainers” you had to do that outside the store, which was fine because right in front of Collectible Treasures was a spacious foyer with benches and there used to be a table where you could chill out and play a round of Pokemon or trade or just do whatever.

And like the rest of the mall, it’s dead.

sunrisemall_pretzelworld

Holy shit is that place OPEN?!

That’s Pretzel World, and yes it’s open. Aside from the Orange Creations place in the food court it is the only other snack/food shop open in the entire mall and all they sell are pretzels that are like $3 each. It blows my fucking mind. You’d think at that price they’d have been one of the first shops to go, especially even today considering the amount of nothing that occupies Sunrise Mall, but for some reason Pretzel World hasn’t closed.

They must be working with Burlington Coat Factory.

sunrisemall_rocknroll

The cast of Jackass was here once upon a time.

Last but not least, here’s the only other place that has as much sentimental value to me as Collectible Treasures. I spent my entire middle school life hanging out playing Pokemon in the mall but when I was in high school I started kicking around the Rock & Roll Plus store, a slightly more adult atmosphere (okay they sold cock piercings so I guess it was a lot more adult). Rock & Roll Plus was a general pop culture kind of store that occupied three storefronts. They had combined two of them into one store and had another storefront dedicated to advertising their location in the mall. They meant business and when I mentioned at the beginning of this section there was only one specialty store that closed within the last year this one was it. I frequented the Rock & Roll Plus store all the way up through college.

The one thing I kept my eye on during all the years I spent there was a locked display case full of incredibly overpriced but totally awesome dragon figurines, the really bad ass kind. The first time I saw that case I was in 9th grade and every so often I’d check up to see if any of them had been clearanced out. I checked for what spanned almost a decade and the owners never marked their figurines down even when they were closing their doors the dragons were the special asterisk at the end of the “90% off everything must go” banners. I didn’t really need the figurines, they’d have been nice to have, but they were cool to look at. I don’t think I had room for them at my place anyways so I guess it’s for the best that I never bought them.

When Collectible Treasures closed down a lot of their inventory showed up at the Rock & Roll Plus store in their own version of a collectibles department. While they were closing I folded and bought a palm-sized PVC Charizard figurine just because I knew that the last decent place in Sunrise Mall was about to close for good and this would be my last opportunity to take something home from a place where I spent the better part of my childhood kicking around.

Charizard sits on my desk.

 

The Rest of Sunrise Mall

sunrisemall_hairsalon

Not even Dead Rising would be fun here.

Walking around the mall today has a strange eerie feeling. It’s literally empty, it’s like being able to explore an abandoned property — with all the dangers of doing so — except you can buy a fucking pretzel if you wanted to. The fucked up thing is that unlike Padre Staples Mall (which has been bought out by Trademark Properties and turned into the incredibly high-scale La Palmera) Sunrise Mall has some history behind it like the fact that portions of what was meant to be a blockbuster Generation X movie were filmed on location there. The house where that movie was filmed is in impeccable condition, but the mall? Well, you’re right in the middle of that tour.

Save for the lights, and that’s pushing it, nothing works at the mall anymore. Everything has been shut down to save on power or water. The escalators have been turned off for years and much like the obvious Mitch Hedberg joke, no, they don’t have signs that say “temporarily stairs sorry for the convenience”.

sunrisemall_pool_escalators

See? They’re just blocked off that’s all.

You can see part of the water display between the escalators. The pool is arguably the most iconic feature of the mall and for a point in time it had recently been renovated to actually function again but due to a lack of patrons and the expense to keep it running (Texas is presently in the middle of a drought) it was of course shut off once more. Presently people toss pennies in there out of irony, I believe. There’s also an elevator in the mall that looks like a time machine from the 1980’s but I don’t dare use it; elevators cost money, money that I know Sunrise Mall doesn’t have so I just take the stairs right next to it.

There’s also a huge beautiful mural painted on the wall inside the tunnel that connected Stein Mart to the rest of the mall. It’s full of aquatic life painted with gorgeous detail. I’m happy to see the art is still in good condition but sad that if the mall ever closes people won’t be able to enjoy it. The dolphins from the beginning of the article are a part of this mural, but here’s more pictures of the rest of it so at least someone can enjoy it when the doors likely close for good: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

The most depressing thing in the mall, if I had to pick one, is how obvious it is that the owners realize they basically have no money to properly keep the place looking nice. Floors are cracked, lights are burnt out or broken, outside marquees need to be repainted or replaced, and metal closure gates need to be repaired. Sunrise Mall is presently owned by International Bank of Commerce, the bank who is owed the most money by Sunrise Mall, because the property was purchased at a foreclosure auction. That’s right, one bank repo’d the mall, another one bought it.

sunrisemall_oldsign

They can’t even buy letter stickers in the right font.

Part of the reason why Sunrise Mall is a hollow shell of its former self (literally) is because people refuse to see it as anything more than that and honestly this article really isn’t helping matters. You can’t really blame us though because most of the people who say the mall is dead are comparing it to the way we remember it, before it looked like the set of I Am Legend. If you heard the Rapture was about to take place and you hid inside of Sunrise Mall when you stepped out of hiding you’d look around and shout “FUCK” and believe that the Rapture actually happened. You could kill someone and hide the body in this mall and nobody would find it for at least three months, guaranteed. Even if you threw the body right in the middle of the empty pool the odds are still stacked in your favor.

As much as I’d like to see the mall bounce back, and trust me I hope it does, it just seems futile. I’d still walk around that place and see where Candy Castle used to be and think of nothing else than buying blue candy sharks and refuse to enter the new store. Unless it was like, an adult dragon and dinosaur novelty store. Then I’d consider it.

Fuck it, I’d go in there.

– Dracophile

(You can read more about Sunrise Mall at Deadmalls.com.)

If there was a stock market for disgusting practical jokes (stock symbol: TURD) then the market was at its highest during the opening of the world’s first public restroom. A public restroom is the only place where you can pull your pants down and whip out your dong without fear of being labeled as a sex offender* and studies have shown that humans are at their most vulnerable when they are taking a dump (Zombieland, et al.). When someone storms into a bathroom seeking desperate relief this moment is the RPG-equivalent of a critical hit chance and is the perfect moment to pull a mind-blowing prank on them.

bathroompranks_zombieland_rule3

See? It’s rule #3 just behind “stay in shape” and “shoot twice”.

Here are six pranks you can pull in a bathroom to prey upon a random stranger when they’re at their most vulnerable. These aren’t your grandmother’s “fake wet floor” sign pranks either, these are pranks that if executed properly will cause people to avert their eyes in disgust or cock their heads in total mindfuck. Each prank is rated on the following criteria: Cost (for materials), Time (to execute), Punishment (if you’re caught), and overall Difficulty.

*Note: Despite the fact that you can legally pull down your pants in a public restroom there are still things you can do in said bathroom to obtain this label. Please use direction when handling your No-No.

 

bathroompranks_1_fakepoop

Anybody can buy a fake cat turd from the practical jokes aisle of Party City but we aren’t doing that here; if you’re buying your tools in the gag aisle of an anti-party superstore then you’re an utter failure at your craft. Real pranksters know how to make their own props and gags; what we’re making here is real (fake) poop.

What you need:
1 single-serving sleeve of Fig Newton cookies
1 sandwich-sized Ziploc bag
1/2 tablespoon of whole kernel corn (optional)

Preparations:
Easy as pie. Place the cookies into the Ziploc bag and smash the hell out of them with your hands. Break them up and continue to knead them in the bag for several minutes until they adopt a brown paste-like texture; if you’re an apt reader you’re probably able to tell exactly where this is going because at this point you can probably figure the rest out on your own. If you want to go the route of corn-crap then add the corn at this stage and knead it into the mass. Cut one of the bottom two corners of the bag to turn it into a makeshift icing bag.

bathroompranks_fatbastard

His chunks of corn will always be superior, however.

The Execution:
The bag of fake feces is pretty easy to hide so keep it on you and enter the bathroom. Approach the target urinal and take out the icing bag and hover it several inches over the urinal. Squeeze from the top of the bag so you get a nice long and solid snake out of the hole you cut. From here you can go crazy with it. Make a spiral, make it hang over the edge; hell, write your fucking name in cursive writing if you really want to screw with someone’s mind.

bathroompranks_1_slider

 

 

bathroompranks_2_abortion

Conception and birth are both miracles of the universe right up there with magnets, rainbows, and pelicans whose diets consist entirely of cell phones in the scope of what doctors Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope hypothesize is “pure motherfucking magic”. I don’t have a vagina so I don’t know what an abortion entails but I’m not an idiot so I’m pretty sure I can guess, I just know that baseball bats and coat hangers are both involved in back-alley procedures and since coat hangers are slightly more offensive that’s exactly what you need to completely destroy someone’s faith in God. Bonus points are in order if you execute this prank in a Republican state.

What you need:
metal-style coat hanger
8 oz. corn syrup
2 oz. tap water
red food dye
1 tablespoon bacon bits (fine to medium style)
“squirt” style ketchup bottle

Preparations:
This prank is as easy as mixing ingredients. The objective here is to come up with a concoction that has the consistency of coagulated, meaty blood and use it as an implication of ill-deeds. I suggest mixing things in a “squirt” bottle that has a wide mouth so the bacon bits can pass through it. Corn syrup and food dye is a classic slasher movie staple for fake blood and that’s what we’re doing here; the water is to thin the mixture just slightly so it doesn’t look like obvious corn syrup and food dye. Mix the syrup, water, dye, and bacon bits in the bottle and shake well; bend the coat hanger out straight but keep the hook intact. You’re basically ready to go after this, just remember that a little bit of food dye goes a long way; use sparingly.

bathroompranks_jasonvoorhees

Dr. Voorhees is a licensed abortionist.

The Execution:
This trick works best if you do it in a women’s restroom, so our male readers may find this prank a little more difficult since it requires being in the bathroom of the opposite sex, though it’s just as gross and perhaps more confusing if done in the men’s room anyway. The hardest thing to sneak in might be the coat hanger but you can bend it up to hide it and simply straighten it out when you get inside. When it comes to the fake blood what you’re looking for here is strategic coverage; you’re going to want to squirt some of it on the actual toilet and get some in the water to cause a cloudy/swirly effect as well as dribbling some on the floor and maybe even stepping in it to make smeared footprints. Don’t forget about the faux murder weapon either, make sure you coat the hook of it liberally (works best with white hangers) and place it somewhere where it will be noticed almost immediately.

I guarantee the first person who sees this will shit their pants but that’s okay since they’re already in the bathroom.

bathroompranks_2_slider

 

 

bathroompranks_3_aliens

Have you ever seen those gross-out “investigations” by local news affiliates where they show up in a hotel room with UV lights and the entire place lights up like a Grateful Dead poster store? The news anchor, usually either an Asian woman or a male anchor of dubious orientation, stands in the middle of the room and with the flick of a switch everything is covered in a suspicious green glow that resembles a Predator slaughterhouse. This is the feel we’re going for, something that when someone sees it they won’t know what it is they’re looking at but they’ll instinctively feel dirty nonetheless.

What you need:
glow sticks of assorted colors
box cutters or X-ACTO knife

Preparations:
Preparations for this prank are carried out almost simultaneously with the execution, but if you like you can break and activate all of your glow sticks beforehand. Just know that most glow sticks only last a few hours so any time you waste holding onto them is time they won’t be spending being used for the prank.

bathroompranks_xenomorph_censored

“Looking at aliens wearing Latex” isn’t something I thought I’d ever do to try and make a living.

The Execution:
Carry the glow sticks into the bathroom with you and enter one of the stalls. It is best to set this prank up with the lights on that way it’s less obvious you’re doing something. Snap a glow stick and shake it to activate it, then slice it open with the razor and splatter its contents on the stall walls and/or toilet. Repeat as necessary, and if you like you can contort your fingers into weird patterns and make various “love smears” on the walls as well. Dispose of the empty glow sticks in the bathroom trash can and wash your hands, you will have alien jizz on you and your clothes will too. Exiting the bathroom is the hardest part as it requires you to turn the lights off when you leave which will cause you to glow in low light like some perverse version of Alex Mack, so do so when nobody is around.

If done correctly the next time someone walks in before turning on the lights they should see what appears to be a stall dripping with fluids of unknown origin. “Broken glow sticks” will not be their first thought thanks to sensationalist media practices.

bathroompranks_3_slider

 

bathroompranks_4_bacon

“Push button, receive bacon” is a pretty tired and commonplace vandal message to scratch onto a hand dryer. It’s time to kick it up a notch and replace that box of hot air with a device that will dispense actual bacon* with the push of a button. This prank can be performed in a variety of ways, but this particular version focuses more on cosmetic changes and bewildering the people you fool; they will know something is “wrong” with the hand dryer, but they will feel compelled to push the button anyway to see what will happen.

*Not actual bacon, but the “bacon” does contain more meat than bacon-flavor dog treats.

What you need:
paper party streamers (red)
cardboard
permanent marker (black)
duct tape

Preparations:
This is going to take a while (in this version at least). This also might require an “informative” visit to the bathroom to take measurements of the hand dryer unless you already know the dimensions. This trick works with the type of hand dryer with the vent that you can turn to face different directions too so keep that in mind. This may not work with newer models. You will need to cut out some cardboard panels that will fit around the hand dryer to cover and obscure its instructions and existing name. Write “BACON DISPENSER” on the front panel and be sure to include the catchphrase “push button receive bacon” on it somewhere, preferably near the button with an arrow pointing to it.

After you make the cardboard pieces the next step is to take the red paper streamers and cut them into strips that resemble raw bacon. Hold onto these.

bathroompranks_pushbuttongetbacon

Step three is the most important part.

The Execution:
Quickly enter the restroom and take out your individual pieces of cardboard and duct tape. Put a loop of tape on the underside of each panel and stick it onto the hand dryer where they go to assemble the new shell. Turn the air vent upside down so it’s facing toward you and drop the “bacon” streamers into the duct. The next time someone presses this button it will shoot the bacon streamers out of it; the person you fool won’t be able to tell what it is right away, they will either inspect the “new” device or press the button without thinking.

Alternatively you can dump glitter into the air duct for a “GLAM STATION” or pour confetti into it and label it “INSTANT PARTY MACHINE”.

bathroompranks_4_slider

 

 

bathroompranks_5_ghostbaby

Not everything you do has to be inherently offensive or disgusting; sometimes it’s fun to just mess with somebody in a way that disturbs or confuses them rather than making them throw up in the back of their mouth with fake poop and abortions (use the alien one at your own discretion, some people get off on that kind of thing). This prank is one that would illicit more of a bewildered one due to its aural nature. Most people will begin to slowly climb the Rage-O-Meter at the sound of a crying baby, so here’s a trick to get someone pissed while pissing.

What you need:
voice recorder (cassette tape style)
duct tape
a baby, or access to one

Preparations:
Record the baby crying and fill up the entire mini-tape with baby sounds. I don’t care how you get the baby to cry. Take its toys away. Punch it square in the face. Whatever works. You don’t want 30 solid minutes (the length of miniature tapes) of crying, instead you want some crying followed by about a minute or so of silence. You can do this simply by shutting the recorder off and fast forwarding it for a few moments. Repeat until the tape is full.

bathroompranks_Santaclaus

Tell the kid this guy isn’t real.

The Execution:
This trick can really be done in any bathroom but it has an eerier effect if the target bathroom has a diaper changing table (for babies not fetish play you sick fucks). Most changing tables are pretty basic in design and operate as a simple door, most also have some amount of hollow space when closed so smaller objects can be hidden inside of them. What you’re going to want to do is hide the tape recorder inside of the changing table preferably toward the top of the device and with the speaker as close as possible to a screw hole or some sort of crack so sounds aren’t obscured (although if you can’t the sound of a baby crying inside of a changing table is still pretty funny, you can combo it with the fake abortion blood and splatter it on the walls).

Remember to rewind the tape, turn the volume all the way up, hit the play button and skate out of the bathroom. This is an easy prank for someone to uncover but the first few moments they inexplicably hear a baby will more than likely confuse the hell out of them, especially if the bathroom in question is meant for one person at a time.

bathroompranks_5_slider

 

bathroompranks_6_danceparty

This is the mother of all pranks. Pulling this one off would land you an achievement if life were an Xbox 360 game, and if you add all the extra flair then you’d be right up there in the annals of bathroom humor next to the guy who first rhymed “broken hearted” with “only farted”. Your mission here is to turn a place where you poop into one where you party (and also still poop too, I guess).

What you need:
a fake “closed” sign (temporary)
party lighting (strobe, rainbow, etc.)
wall tinsel
balloons (non-helium)
portable radio or CD player
fog machine (optional)
bubble machine (optional)

Preparations:
Have you ever thrown a party before? No? What’s it like living in your mother’s basement? You need decorations, you need props, and you need effects. All of these will cost money and due to the nature of the prank you probably shouldn’t anticipate getting everything back, not unless you want to confess to the prank afterward and catch the heat for doing so. You can get most everything you’ll need at any specialty party store (the same places I specifically said not to buy fake cat turds from in the beginning of the article). Preparations for this prank involve collecting supplies and forming a plan to sneak them in, because a radio is pretty damn big. How can you sneak things into the bathroom?

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Boom.

No, don’t stuff a dead baby with a radio. Just put the radio in the carriage and cover it with a blanket and if anybody asks you why you have a rectangular kid you’re free to insult them for gawking at your hideous offspring.

The Execution:
This prank is best done during peak hours but it requires you to block off the bathroom and not let anybody in. Most stores and restaurants keep a wet floor sign (“piso mojado” if you’re looking at it from the wrong side) handy in the bathroom in case there’s a plumbing issue, use this to your advantage. Slap your “bathroom’s closed” sign onto the wet floor standee and place it in the doorway. Nobody should enter, especially if there’s another set of bathrooms elsewhere.

From this point you should have the freedom to hang tinsel, set up your lights (hope you brought a 6-way surge protector), blow up balloons, fuel up your effect machines, and tune in the radio. Theoretically nobody should mess with you since most people are sheep and will mindlessly obey an arbitrary obstacle (a fun social experiment is to open all of the maximum occupancy sections at a theme park ride and watch everybody navigate the entire maze without moving any gates). The execution of this prank is largely dependent on what you’re able to get your hands on so arrange your props accordingly. If you brought colored lights or strobe lights turn them on and turn off the fluorescent ceiling lights on your way out. Finally, remember to remove your sign and place the original wet floor one back where you found it.

The next person who enters this bathroom will have their mind blown.

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– Dracophile and Steel Pinata

Portions of this article guest-written by Steel Pinata. Because I had to subject myself to Xenomorph porn for the sake of this article, here’s where I found it in case you’re somehow interested.

 

It may not seem like it but in your lifetime you’ll encounter many occasions that will be touted as “the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)”. They can vary wildly ranging from religious endings to mutually assured destruction of nuclear proportions but for what it’s worth you and I are still here today. While reflecting on ideas for articles to write for the newly relaunched GatorAIDS site one of the things that popped into my mind and hung there was the completely ridiculous Mayan “apocalypse” of 2012 and how I could possibly rag on it without beating a dead horse. At that moment I had the “brilliant” idea to poke fun at the Mayans by proxy by giving previous non-apocalypses a good ribbing instead. I looked back at the years I’ve been on this planet to see just how many times people have wrongly predicted the end of the world and in just a short frame of time I’ve survived four of these bastards and I’m quite confident with the scoreboard of “Apocalypse: 0, Earth: 4,128” I’ll be able to wake up on December 22nd, 2012 and ask Mayan followers “u mad?”

Here are four apocalypses (plus the Mayan one) I’ve survived in my lifetime and a “probability score” given to each one to determine the actual threat they posed to mankind as a whole. Each world-ending event’s score will be issued in the form of REM albums with their highest selling album being an earth crumbling 10/10 and their worst being nothing more than a thunder clap and a shart.

 

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Satan really gets around and he’s got a bad rap to boot. For the ill-informed, Satan is a fallen angel and he keeps it real in Hell (The Underworld, not the town in Michigan). If you do bad things then supposedly you’re doomed to an eternity of torture including, but not limited to, Satan personally inserting objects of varying size and sharpness into your rectum. Remember the “Lust” murder from Se7en? That’ll be the rest of your eternal life: every day. Satan’s calling card is “666”, a number long enough to be a telephone area code but sadly unassigned leaving me with the setup to a mediocre observational joke but no punchline. Anywhere you see “666” you can expect to see representations of Satan, teenagers with white makeup on their faces, or you’re in Missouri and you’re looking at a phone number upside down.

Yeah, that area code joke just got revived. Like Jesus.

So what’s with the random-looking date given to the “Day of the Beast”? It’s not that random if you break it down into the date’s numeric form: 6/6/06 (don’t mind the extra zero, I guess). Yep, that’s the sole shred of evidence given to the date when Satan himself was supposed to rise up from Hell and annex the surface world as his vacation home. Little does Satan know, however, is the actual waking world has already been annexed into Hell, he just wasn’t paying attention. In all seriousness, June 6, 2006 is the best that people could come up with? Did anybody realize just how many 6/6/06’s we’ve been through without any surprise visit from the devil? What happened on June 6, 1906? What about June 6, 1006? The only 6/6/6 date that people would have had any reason to shit their pants over would be just that: June 6, 6.

We’ve had hundreds of occurrences of 6/6/06, so what makes the 2006 edition of it so special? Absolutely nothing; it’s like saying July 7, 2007 is the prime date to hit up Vegas or that September 11th is a great day to have a terrori- holy shit.

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The Day of the Beast is an apocalypse nestled firmly in the “Jesus” side of the spectrum of doom; sitting at the other end of the gauge are apocalypses of a more technologically-oriented variety. Enter The Y2K Bug.

Strangely enough I’ve been told by my traffic reports that most of GatorAIDS’ readers weren’t of fully sentient mind at the turn of the millennium and if they were then they were very very young and likely don’t remember it. By and large the world was convinced that two things would happen on that fateful New Year’s: Dick Clark would play with balls in Times Square and every single computer in the world would revolt against their human oppressors and send us “back to the Stone Age” since apparently a potential calendar programming oversight would nullify every invention from the past zillion years and turn it into dust. Volcanoes would erupt in the middle of neighborhoods, satellites in orbit would fire space lasers and carve giant dongs into the surface of the Earth, dinosaurs would come back to life, and in the case of that last event I’d cease being single.

But seriously, there was quite a scare that at the turn of the clock the world would go to Hell all because of how computers read dates: in two digits. Nerds were worried that when the 99 (for 1999, obviously) rolled over to the double zeroes that computers everywhere would think it was suddenly the year 1900 again and that we’d be doomed to relive two world wars, the Great Depression, and the Reagan administration until the end of time.

And that’s way too much goddamn Reaganomics. (But the decade of 00’s DID suck, though.)

Grocery stores started creating “Y2K survival kits” that were essentially identical to what you’d have in a nuclear fallout shelter in the 1950’s and people who grew up in the 1950’s suddenly had Vietnam flashbacks of watching Duck & Cover in history class and reflexively  moved back in with their decrepit parents and took up shack in their unused fallout shelter. The phrase “Y2K Compliant” became a huge marketing buzzword and was plastered on everything from computers to refrigerators as assurance that the product wouldn’t come to life on New Years and download your brain or whatever. For what it’s worth the Y2K Bug was actually a possibility; perhaps banks wouldn’t self destruct and the world wouldn’t end per se, but the notion of computers messing up on keeping dates was a well thought out hypothesis that at worst would have resulted in the overhauling of thousands of lines of code.

 

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“Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming!”

Seriously, this guy’s followers are like miniature Paul Revere’s. Jesus is always “coming”, his return is always right around the corner, and you better damn well behave or else you won’t get into the VIP party taking place in Heaven right now. The Rapture is similar to that of the aforementioned Day of the Beast in that it’s been predicted countless times and was a failure each and every one of those instances. This particular Rapture, however, is the one specifically predicted by Harold Camping of Family Radio (a Christian waste of airspace). Say what you will about religious nutjobs like Camping but this time his prediction of the Rapture has some serious quasi-mathematical grounding behind it. Whereas most people would say that Jesus spoke to them through their tortillas and grilled cheese Camping looked to specific verses and wording from the Bible to pinpoint his prediction to a specific date.

But he was still wrong, haha.

Camping, who previously predicted the very same Rapture in the early 1990’s, stated that the missed deadline was a day of “spiritual judgment” and that the Good Lord would return on October 21 to come take his followers to Heaven, because when you make a foolish ass out of yourself clearly the only solution is to dig yourself a deeper grave. Camping gets more points than believers in the Day of the Beast apocalypse for the sole purpose of using math and actual Bible terminology to come up with a defined date… but still, we’re talking about using “facts” out of a book of fairy tales here. You could get a similar prediction if you looked for dating terminology in a Harry Potter book.

 

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A surefire way to piss off our international friends is to tell them the US “won” the Cold War. There was no “winner” of the Cold War; if anything both the US and Russia won the war because if either country “lost” the war then somebody would have fired nuclear missiles. We both avoided mutually assured destruction: we both won. Let’s just be thankful of that and be done with it. Of all things in this list that could spell the end of the world nothing comes closer to reality than the notion that if just one nuclear ICBM was fired, even accidentally, that our retaliation (which would probably be more than one missile) would warrant even more Russian missile launches, each one completely destroying everything for dozens of miles around its strike zone. The loss of life would be in the millions, the loss of property would be in the trillions, and international borders and government would have been altered forever not to mention the amount of fallout making entire portions of countries all over the world uninhabitable.

That’s “apocalypse”. And we were at the cusp of it for four decades. (Also, Threads was a shitty movie.)

Many rumored apocalypses are of religious background but the ones that were (and are) the most dangerous are the kinds that can come from mankind’s follies. Although the Y2K bug did not come to fruition the idea of a programming error causing massive problems in a world run largely by computers is a very scary thought but at best one that wouldn’t really spell the end of the world; but the thought of man harnessing the power of the atom via nuclear missiles and leveling the planet? God has nothing on that. You can grow a lot of plants on soil that was watered by a flood but you can’t do much of anything with irradiated soil. I’m no peacenik but seriously, a weapon with the ability to cause that much destruction? That’s fucking excessive. (And leave it to the United States of Assholes to be the first and only country to use it on someone else.)

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This “apocalypse” hasn’t happened yet but holy hell has it been talked about over and over again. There have been hundreds of books published about it (which pisses me off considering I know I can at least do better than the 2012 Apocalypse and yet I’m still unpublished), countless TV “specials” on the History Network for some reason, and even a movie starring a past-his-prime John Cusack. The best that the Rapture has on 2012 is Left Behind and even with about forty installments into that series it’s still no match for Hollywood’s mighty greenscreen of terror.

The Mayan apocalypse is a big deal mostly because the Mayan civilization was way too smart for the time period in which they existed so the legacy of what they left behind is a little more peculiar than sharpened sticks and rocks. When most tribes were busy stabbing their dicks for religious reasons and grunting and throwing crap at animals the Mayans were looking up at the night sky and asking “seriously what the fuck is out there?” They were so fixated on space that there are people out there who think that the Mayans were visited by aliens because seriously they pulled some insanely complex astrological stuff of their asses that we wouldn’t discover on our own until way later (and with computers).

This “apocalypse” that is predicated is less of an apocalypse and more of just an ending of their massive calendar. Usually when a calendar ends you throw it away but not when it comes to this giant stone slab. You see, the Mayans’ calendar did more than just tell you the date, it was a giant astrological prediction device that depicted lunar and planetary cycles along with an assload of other readings that only the most hardcore science nerds could appreciate.

And they did this without any computers. Not even an Atari 2600.

The end of their calendar predicts what amounts to a planetary alignment. It’s a major cosmic event but it’s not like we’re going to get sucked into the 5th dimension because of it. It’ll just be something really, really cool that won’t happen again for thousands of years. After that? Their calendar starts over again until the next time the planets align, and that’s it. Due to the incredible amount of real math, not Jesus-Math (TM pending) that went into the Rapture, the Mayans come out ahead of Harold Camping for their work, but still their calendar is just that: a calendar.

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– Dracophile

(Scoring Key: Day of the Beast 1/10, Y2K Bug 7/10, The Rapture 4/10, The Cold War 10/10, Mayan Apocalypse 5/10)

If you’re reading this and you live in the United States then there’s a solid chance you’ve been enrolled in the public schooling system mostly because it’s a law. Public school is one of those experiences that helps shape and cultivate who you are as a person both on the inside and on the outside as in you’re either the person giving or receiving the swirly. I went to public school and I survived by choosing my own path and refusing to take any bullshit from people who wanted to get in my face about something. I got into fights with would-be bullies who didn’t know any better and I’ve had arguments where I told a substitute teacher she was about as smart and useful as Peggy fucking Hill. All of these experiences change who you are as a person and arm you with the ability to either confront real life after graduation or give it your best shot and let it blow up in your face. Here are six awesome memories from public school that are now becoming more and more scarce as time speeds by.

 

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Remember back when you’d have all of those class periods in high school and hated the day when six-weeks tests would come around because you knew your day would turn into a gauntlet of questions that insulted your intelligence for the next eight hours? Despite the seemingly insurmountable task of answering “are you fucking retarded” 100 times in a row (with the occasional “are you sure” question) you knew that on the following day your classes would all be cut down to just under 25 minutes long and that you’d be getting out at noon on Friday to enjoy a two and a half day weekend. Remember how you’d sit there and dream up things like “oh man I am totally going to play fucking POKEMON for 12 hours straight and only stop to use the bathroom no wait no I won’t I’ll just buy diapers FUCK YEAH“? For the record, the people who dreamed of stuff like this eventually turned into diaperfurs later in life.

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Playing Pokemon while wearing diapers was mentioned in this song.

Cherish those memories if you have ’em because in many schools kids aren’t being given the opportunity to enjoy Early Release Friday. Due to attendance issues, meaning that many kids just cut the middleman and said “fuck it I want a THREE day weekend” and skipped the half-day, schools are starting to move Early Release Friday… to Early Release Wednesday. On fucking Wednesday. What’s the use of that? It’s the middle of the goddamn week, you can’t plan for anything because come Thursday your ass has to be back in Algebra class at 7 AM so any dreams you had of playing Final Fantasy until four in the morning better wait until Friday. The REAL Friday, not the convenient truncated version meant to give kids an extended break from taking a bunch of stupid fucking tests so they can relax and come back on Monday ready to take on the next six-week period.

 

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Part of the allure of high school is the selection of what you can have for and with your lunch. If you want a burger you can have it, if you want a slice of pizza you can have it, and if you want to grab a bag of Doritos or a can of Sprite to go with your lunch you’re more than allowed to do so as long as you brought your money because PepsiCo doesn’t give a shit if you’re on the free lunch program; your broke ass better pay for that 60 cent can of soda. Part of growing up and blossoming into adulthood is the responsibility to make proper choices for yourself not only in the sense of academics but also when it comes to food and if you’re a spry reader you know who I’m about to knock for getting drink and snack machines pulled from schools.

Fucking fat people.

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GURGLE GURGLE GRUNT GRUNT HEAVE

Yeah, I said it. Fucking fat people ruined the fun for everybody by BEING FUCKING FAT. Part of the responsibility of being an adult is making conscious decisions about your health and diet. If your idea of “healthy” is feeding money into a machine so you can stuff your face with ten bags of hot fries and make an edible Fleshlight out of chocolate donuts then that is your problem my friend, and I shouldn’t have to pay for your coronary nightmare. I’m not some physical trainer with a PhD in “how not to end up on A&E’s Heavy” but it doesn’t take a goddamn rocket scientist to understand that if your lunch consists entirely of Cheetos and Mountain Dew that you will end up weighing 500 pounds by graduation. What I hate the most about fat people is that they never have the energy to get off their asses and lose weight but they always seem to have just enough energy to bitch and moan about their “condition” non-stop until people break down and tell Pepsi to come take their machines back. If you’re sad because you’re fat guess what? That’s your problem. There’s a football field right outside the school, go fucking run some laps you moron.

 

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Fat people ruined only half of lunch in public schools; the administration ruined the other part. Today there’s a bigger emphasis placed on cramming as much material down the throats of students as possible so corners get cut on lots of activities for social acclimation. One of the victims of this downsizing is the lunch period. When I was in school we were given almost a full hour for lunch and in this time we were waiting in line, eating, socializing, and then deciding to leave all of our trash on the table so the janitor can earn his keep too. An hour was just enough time to get through the line, sit down, actually enjoy eating lunch, chat for a few minutes, and then go back to class. Do you know how long the average lunch is today? 25 fucking minutes.

Now, in less than half the time designated for lunch when I was in school, students are expected to wait in line, eat lunch, and leave. Assuming you get somewhere near the front of the line you’re still going to be waiting for about five to ten minutes and that’s assuming you’re able to teleport directly to the cafeteria. If you’re one of those unfortunate souls who has to haul ass all the way from the boondocks of the school to the cafeteria only to be last in line you may as well just bring your own damn lunch and sit outside your next class and eat it because the second you pay for that meal it’ll be time for lunch to end and unless you can unhinge your jaw like a snake and swallow your food whole (a requirement for anybody wishing to be homecoming queen) you’ll be told to throw it away and go to class. Lunch time was that shimmering diamond in the otherwise rough and tiresome gauntlet of algebra and social studies and now rather than being a respite from the studying and classwork it has been shortened to such a rat race that it’s now just another daily tiresome affair. Speaking of things getting cut, this leads us to…

 

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I say this with a heavy heart, but there are many kids in this generation who will never know what recess is. The closest they’ll ever come is probably “that stupid ass cartoon that Disney Channel puts on at 3 AM”. When I was in elementary school the recess period was fucking legendary; it was almost an entire hour devoted to letting kids be kids and run around on the playground, a fully furnished albeit solid metal and kind of dangerous minefield of a playground, where we could do whatever the hell we wanted. You had the sporty kids playing basketball, the prissy girls all sitting at picnic tables talking about who they’d like to blow whenever they were old enough to know what that meant, gamer kids sitting around with Game Boys and link cables, and the rest of the class pretending to play cops and robbers or whatever. Recess wasn’t a “throwaway” class period like it’s perceived today; recess in my opinion is probably one of the healthiest and most socially constructive periods that has ever or will ever exist in the public schooling system. Kids are kids, they don’t give two shits about Christopher Columbus or the Declaration of Independence because fuck that noise, but if you promise them with the idea of going to play outside and trade Pokemon and jump off of swing sets assembled in the 1950’s I guarantee those little fuckers will listen to whatever you have to say so they can barge out onto the playground and get a concussion on the jungle gym.

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Pictured above: Where you spent your childhood, Present Day.

In modern times recess became a chimera class, it has been tacked onto and merged with the lunch period so when you were finished you could go out and play and supposedly throw up all of the pizza you just ate because who the fuck thinks it’s a good idea to run around immediately after eating? Recess was later phased out and became physical education, an actual throwaway class where the only “education” that takes place is whenever the gym teacher breaks down and starts crying about how her husband left her because her body figure resembles a sack of hams. Recess was proof that sometimes the best form of P.E. is the kind where you let kids expend all of their pent up energy however they feel and for the kids who choose to just hang out and play Nintendo all recess long they’ll get their own dose of fitness when it actually comes time for P.E.. How do I know this? Because every single day at recess I would whip out my Game Boy Pocket and grind out progress on whatever games I brought with me and even though all I did was sit at a table and play my games I was never and still am not a fatass.

 

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The first few years of my schooling were without Internet access, not because our district was broke as all hell (they were) but because the Internet didn’t exist. Al Gore hadn’t invented it yet. Yeah, there was a point in time where the Internet didn’t exist and I lived through it. It was awful, people had to fight live tigers in their backyards so that they could provide dinner for their families and we had to walk 20 miles through snow to get to school. I was lucky enough to get in on this whole “Internet” thing when you could visit porn sites during class because NetNanny wasn’t around and nobody knew how to keep tabs on things and prevent kids from looking at tits. It was a truly wonderful and magical time to be alive and in school. The world was now at your fingertips and you could access anything you could ever dream of right there in the library and when you were bored you could play a game or two or navigate an endless sea of boobs to pass the time.

You can’t do that now. True, the Internet has formed a defined shape in the past decade, but the number of avenues where one can go to obtain information in a public school has been whittled down incredibly thin. Most schools use some form of filtering software that simply blacklists entire sectors of the Internet regardless of content or subject. Maybe visiting Facebook in class was a slight issue but it certainly can’t be bad enough to go all “China vs. Google” on the Internet in public schools because you literally cannot do anything anymore. If you perform a search for an author I can guarantee you the search results won’t be blocked but virtually every link you click on will be. A website I used to visit infrequently to read about classic video games was once blocked because the filter considered it a “gambling” website. What the fuck, gambling? Blocking the obvious sites like adult entertainment and shock sites is understandable but when entire sections of the web are blanked out for frivolous and incorrect reasons that’s just simply asking for students to find ways to circumvent the school’s bullshit firewalls, which leads us to our final extinct dinosaur of public schools:

 

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You cannot make mistakes in school.

What do I mean by this? You aren’t permitted to learn from your errors when you make them. The simplest of offenses are now met with ridiculously stupid punishments including detention and even expulsion for things that can even amount to simple self defense. Tardies are perhaps the biggest red flag here. Sometimes tardies are unavoidable. Sometimes you just gotta cut class late because you had tacos for lunch and now you’re locked in a bathroom stall shitting the lining of your large intestine out, sometimes your piece of shit first car breaks down and you don’t make it to first period on time. Shit happens and that’s just part of life and seriously this is fucking high school we’re talking about; it’s not like you’re missing anything life-altering. The threshold of “freebie tardies” that students are given per year has gotten smaller and smaller; you used to be allotted dozens of the fuckers without punishment, now many schools assign detention after only three, and God help you if you’re in one of the schools that start punishing for one.

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“I don’t care that you almost shit your pants, Todd. You HAVE to be in class.”

You’re also not allowed to ever stand up for yourself if you’re in a position where someone is going to cause harm to you. It may not seem like it, but learning how to defend yourself against assholes who want to steal your lunch money is more than just a mere scuffle, it’s an event that can help you learn how to manage situations of self defense. When I was in middle school some douchebag who thought he was hot shit decided to punch me right in the stomach for no reason. I sank like a sack of rocks because an unexpected cheap shot like that will do that to you. He just stood there laughing and scoffing at me, so what did I do? I stood up and punched him square in the face as hard as I could and the second his ragdoll’d body hit the ground I kicked him in the head and told him I was tired of his shit. He was sent to god knows how many days of detention and I was told to go back to class. Why? Because he fucking started it.

He put me into a situation where fleeing wasn’t likely possible. The only way out was through him so I took that route. If you pulled that stunt today you would both be suspended and reprimanded even though you’re the victim trying to get out of the situation even if it means having to throw a punch or two to get away. Nobody gets into a fight they don’t want to be in but sometimes you have to land a blow to get away. If you do that  you’re just as guilty as the instigator. What do they tell you to do? Cut your balls off and run like a bitch or sit there and take the blows until a worthless faculty member notices what’s going on. Yeah, you’re not allowed to “be a man” in school anymore.

Just another way to pussify kids along with giving everybody a “WINNER” ribbon even when they suck at sports. Fuck high school.

– Roastmaster