BLURT PRESENTS THE GOODS: Christmas Gift Card ‘n’ Exchange Guide, 2011 Edition

Forget the holiday gift and product guides – we’ve got
some ideas for exchange items and gift card pick-ups. You can thank us later…

 

BY RANDY HARWARD

 

‘Tis better to give than to
receive, yeah. But if we’re bein’ honest here? Loot kicks booty. Everybody
likes to re-up their worldly possessions, and there’s nothing like getting lost
in brand-new somethings to make you forget the stress of maxing out the credit
cards on behalf of everybody else.

 

You know what’s even better? When
you wind up with a cache of unwanted Christmas gifts, gift cards and
card-ensconced granny bucks that’s just blazin’ a hole in your pocket! That’s
what BLURT’s here to bend your ear about. Forget holiday gift guides: Here’s a
pile of ideas on how to parlay the unwanteds, plasti-cash and crisp two-dollar
bills into an onanistic orgy of materialism-and, again with the honesty:
flat-out ignorance of the current economic clime.

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

Shoot First

Call of Duty: Modern
Warfare 3
($59.99)

www.activision.com

Rage ($59.99)

www.zenimax.com

 

Although you might call most of us liberal commies who’d
rather die complaining than fighting – well, we like to shoot stuff as much as
the next gun nut. So long as it’s someone deserving, a harmless stack of
watermarked promotional CDs, or graphically rendered enemy soldiers and
mutants. And you get to shoot a bunch of the latter in these two games, which
are already big sellers.

       Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is
essentially more of what you’ve come to dig in a war shooter: solid, intuitive
controls, huge local and online multiplayer activity – amounting to crazy
replay value. New to this iteration, though, are strike packages that enhance
customization and the Call of Duty Elite Service. The latter is available in
free and subscription versions, with
both allowing stat tracking, and the sub providing analysis and improvement
tools. If you’re obsessed with being king of the hill, it’s worth the extra
fifty bucks.

       Rage is a wasteland shooter from id
Software, developers of Doom and Quake. It combines the best shooting
elements of Borderlands, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas – with some Blur/Dirt racing (combat and non-) thrown in. This makes for one giddy gamer, as the
adrenaline stays in the red on each mission and race – until the craptastic abrupt
and anti-climactic end, that is. It was a complete pisser, actually. But we’re
already on a second playthrough – and the racing, which is so prominent in the
actual campaign, is so fun we keep going back for more. And, like CoD: MW3, the
multiplayer racing means big replay value.  (Both
games reviewed on Xbox 360).

 

 

 

 

Winter of Our Bonus
Content

Jimi Hendrix Experience Winterland set ($40 on Amazon)

(Experience Hendrix/Legacy) www.jimihendrix.com

 

Sometimes it feels like they’re milking the Hendrix archives
– except that instead of warmed over crap tracks, most of the releases are
pretty sweet. This baby here is one of the best, ever. Recorded just before Electric Ladyland, it includes three CDs
and one DVD covering three days in
October 1968 and only about 19 songs. The shows – and the individual
performances vary so much, though, that it’s an immensely satisfying listen. If
you’re a big Hendrix fan, you’ll be more than pleased. If you’re a casual fan,
you’ll be chugging the Kool-Aid after you hear this. By the way, mind the bonus
interview – hearing Jimi speak is like hearing the voice of God. (Price refers
to the Amazon edition which features an extra disc. An 8-LP edition is
available for about 70 bucks.)

 

 

 

 

Et Tu, Fruit Brute?

Funko Blox General Mills Monster Cereal figures ($20)

www.funko.com

 

Saturday morning was an important part of Blurt‘s childhood – it shaped our
pop-culture obsession, and we’re forever grateful. And although we harbor a
deep and abiding distaste for marketing to children, the commercials were often
as fun as the cartoons. Case in point: the General Mills Monster Cereals ads.
If you didn’t love Boo Berry,
Franken Berry
and Count Chocula, you’re probably one of those kids whose parents banned TV
and sugar cereals. Sucks to be you. Anyway, for the geeky overgrown children
who did connect with those adorable abominations, you can pick up these vinyl
blox figures for your collection of unopened toys. These, thick, seven-inch
vinyl dolls will stand tall in your cubicle and remind you of the good ol’
days. And probably reactivate your ire about the criminally overlooked Fruit
Brute and Yummy Mummy brands.

 

 

 

 

Go the F**k to Sleep

Breathe Owl Breathe children’s book: The Listeners/These Train Tracks ($30)

www.breatheowlbreathe.com

 

Thirty bucks for a children’s book? It better be good, and
this one is. Breathe Owl Breathe frontguy Micah Middaugh wrote, illustrated,
carved and printed this super-cute kids’ book, which features back-to-back
stories and a 70-gram seven-inch single featuring a song for each of the two
stories. You’ll want to keep the platter out of your young’uns’ reach – they
just don’t know how to handle vinyl – but you’ll be hard pressed to find a more
rewarding bedtime experience than playing Middaugh’s gorgeous songs as a
supplement to his simple, charming tales.

 

 

 

 

Tusk Bräu

Mastodon Beer Stein ($65)

www.mastodonrocks.com/store

 

No chance you’ve ever seen a beer stein shaped like a tusk
unless maybe you’re a recently thawed caveman or maybe a Rwandan murder junkie
– it has to be the product of these loud-as-hell metal gods, Mastodon. You know
you want one, though. So does Blurt
we’re so sick of the metallic taste of PBR
cans. Sadly, it holds only 0.35 liters or hops nectar… so you better get two.

 

 

 

Are We Not Jocko Homo?

Devo Energy Dome ($32)

www.store.clubdevo.com

 

Next Halloween – or, fuck it, this New Year’s – you can
dress like Devo and drink like Mastodon! You may recognize the upside-down
flowerpots from Devo shows or videos (“Whip It”), and of course you covet this
go-anywhere headwear. Now you can get your own in either hot red or cool blue.

 

 

 

 

Stick It

Screen Candy ($4)

www.originalscreencandy.com

 

Sooner or later, no matter how many apps you download – or
how many times you rearrange the icons, your smartphone’s home screen is gonna
lose its pop. Soon, instead of pretty colors and cool little pictures, all
you’ll see is dandruff and facial oils. Screen Candy adds another level of
customization so you can add “affinity designs, brands, and licensed artwork”
that, since they’re printed on “special non-damaging, removable, reusable,
static cling material,” can be changed any time. Each package contains five
penny-sized stickers, usually tied together by a theme like “Hawaiian Sunset”
or “Surf Shacka.”

 

 

 

Follow Your Lead

Buckle-Down Dog Collars and Leads ($20-30)

www.buckle-down.com

 

Your dog doesn’t need a sweater, a little leather jacket, or
a saddle. And stop putting those heavy chains on his neck so he looks as much
like a douche as you. All he should be wearing is a big doggy smile and a
collar – that’s one of the perks of being an animal. If you’re still bent on
forcing your sense of style on the poor guy, get him a Buckle-Down collar and
lead. They come in a variety of cool designs including tattoo art (the pirate
model “Dead Men Tell No Tales”) and Vegas symbols (“Lucky Red”). You can also
pretend he cares as much about Ford Mustangs as you do, or make him look like a
sissy with flowers and stuff. If function is a concern, and it oughta be, know
that B-D collars and leads are well-made from the same material used in
automotive seatbelts – right down to the kickass little buckles.

 

 

 

Purse Your Lips

Bamboo Saxophone ($89-199)

Blues Flute ($30)

www.bambooinstrumentguys.com

 

At South By Southwest 2011’s instrument and gear trade show,
BLURT could hear someone playing a saxophone amid all the guitar-centric booths
– and it turned out to be one of these little guys. John Boyle was wailing away
on one of these deceptively small
units and it sounded damn nigh like the real thing. We had to try it out, maybe
on some choice Foreigner covers. Well, it took a while for sax neophytes like
us to get anything close to a real sound out of it, but the missus – an
experienced sax player, made it sing just like Boyle. But she wouldn’t jam some
Foreigner. (Available in alto and tenor.)

 

 

 

 

Goin’ Up The Country

Waylon Jennings: Live
at the US
Festival 1983
($17)

Willie Nelson: Live at
the US
Festival 1983
($17)

(Shout! Factory) www.shoutfactory.com

 

This one doesn’t really need much talkin’ up if you’re into
Waylon and Willie. And although you might’ve told your wife or your mom you
really wanted them, they probably just don’t understand your obsession with
these two hairy outlaws and their twangy music that doesn’t sound anything like
Johnny Mathis or the Black-Eyed Peas. That’s what gift cards are for, though.
Not to mention exchanges. If you pick them up together on Amazon, you’ll save
about eight bucks which oughta be enough to buy a cheap bottle of Jim Beam to
go with a lonely late-night doubleheader from two of country’s greats. There
are 45 songs between these career-spanning – up ‘til ’83, natch – concerts from
June 4 of that year. That’s when the Dukes
of Hazzard
was still pretty new, too, so when Waylon whips that one out,
it’s extra crowd-pleasin’.

 

 

***

 

Randy Harward is
Senior Editor of BLURT. Check out his blog at Blurt-online.com as well as his
regular installment of “The Goods” in the print magazine.

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