Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#0046: Mozzarella

Time for another plush! I opened up my closet today, and was hit with a barrage of stuffed animals, all out for blood. Down they tumbled in their dozens, from Yoshi to Jirachi to Zeddy from Zellers. To be honest, it was quite annoying, and as a result, don’t be surprised if I suddenly go on a mass plush exodus in the desperate hope of freeing some closet space. They all sit perched atop a shelf that could really be used for something relevant. No, I haven’t decided what that is yet. I haven’t ruled out the possibility that it’ll be newer, bigger, even tumblier toys.

Tonight, we revisit the theme of Avon plush toys. Her name is Mozzarella, but she is more commonly known as Avon Plush Purple Bean Bag Mouse Stuffed Lovey Toy. For the purposes of this article, I will refer to her only as the former, because that second one is my nickname, too, and it could get all too confusing.

So this is a plush toy from the folks at Avon from way back in 1998. She is purple, her whiskers are really, really long and possibly dangerous, and she reminds me quite distinctly of our old friend Legume, who in retrospect I wish I had named Douglas, in honour of Douglas Hodge.

I am really incredibly struggling to construct any sort of coherent thoughts on this here plush, and I feel kind of disappointed by my own inability to prattle. I’d like to go on an entirely irrelevant tangent about my day, but I don’t know how interested my readers would be in the Cody Hodgson trade or the Jewish woman I served today.

Will this entry gain the dubious honour of being the shortest, most pointless in the venerable history of INAKA? Is this a sign that I’m losing my touch? Have I simply over-expounded my resources in a very busy blogging February? Or could this plush be the most indecipherable, non-descript creation known to man? It’s like some sort of puzzle, I think, and I’m far too fearful to try and solve it. Pandora opened the box from Zeus, unleashing all of the evils unto this Earth. Elliot Spencer opened the Lament Configuration, and was doomed to roam the planes of hell, surfacing only to collect the souls of the wicked. I opened a Rihanna album, and listened to some really shitty music.

I shall not give into temptation! I shall rid myself of this innocuous-looking, but possibly treacherous child’s plaything. It’s a sin! It’s a ruse! IT’S A TRAP.

Ratted out

"Mozzarella, my darling, my precious, my magnum opus! Though the toy empire appears to be crumbling before us like Troy itself, know that our love is stronger than fate. I shall protect you from the dire hand of treachery, until the bitter end!"

"Oh damn, there's the hand."

"Tarry, you wicked tyrant! How can you play games with our lives, only to throw us aside when you deem us obsolete? Years of loyal servitude, and how do you repay us? To be stuffed in a closet, in the garage, in a funky-looking plastic tub for a decade, and then, finally, thrown to the jackals of the world? You bastard! Leave her be! You will never take her!!"


"Oh hell no, bitch is yours."

"Well, that was interesting. What was with all the big fancy words?"

"I watched Shakespeare in Love."

"...It was terrible."

Monday, February 27, 2012

#0045: Mario Kart Super Circuit

I'm sure a few people out there are getting sick of me pawning off all of these video games in what is purportedly a toy-focussed blog. To them, however, I reply with the consistency of a cannibal's breakfast. Tough!

Tonight, we pay tribute to an excellent little game that is only leaving my possession due to Nintendo giving me free stuff. To elaborate, Nintendo dropped the price of the 3DS not too long ago by about $100. To satiate the loyal fans who had paid full price for their 3DS, Nintendo gave away ten free NES and GBA games to early owners. And this worked out nicely for me, because my 3DS was a gift. So basically, it was a free handheld with free bonuses. I felt like a free man from Fremantle.

These games have definitely gotten a lot of mileage on my 3DS (almost typed that as molestation for some reason). In fact, at 51 hours playtime, Fire Emblem SS has become the most used title of all. As for Mario Kart Super Circuit, possessing it on the 3DS made my existing GBA cartridge expendable. So away it goes, to be enjoyed second-hand, where my once-legendary course records are quickly bested by a smug seven year old. I know this well, because I once was that smug seven year old.

Super Circuit is the third in the beloved Mario Kart series, and was the game I bought with my GBA. It is most similar to the SNES original, because it uses the same graphical manipulation of the map in order to make the appearance of movement in a three-dimensional plane apparent. For that reason, it's best not to play this game immediately after one of the later DS titles. Because your world will quite literally be spinning.

Revisiting this game after more than a decade is certainly proving difficult for me so far. To my dismay, Bowser is controlling exactly as a fat spiky turtle would; miserably and chaotically. And I'm too much of a manly man to shift to the more manageable vehicles of a pink-clad princess or sissy mushroom. No, I'll begrudgingly stick with my big fat man 'till the bitter end, and, by the looks of each failure and lost life, that isn't too far off.

Super Circuit features a few neat little quirks that, for some reason, haven't returned in the sequels. The classic homing red shells have a second feature where they can be planted on the ground, and will chase after the next driver to pass by, which is a spiffy way of protecting a lead, and confusing and frightening players when it happens to them for the first time. Sentient red shells? Madness!!

Also, Super Circuit has a 'quick run' option, which allows you to race any track against a full pack of opponents. Usually, you'd have to reach each track in grand prix mode for the full competitive experience. Unless I'm mistaken, this mode has not appeared in another Mario Kart, and I can't really think of a reason why.

...Well, I could think of a reason, but I doubt it would be correct. My current theory involves raccoons.

In my opinion, Super Circuit has some of the best track design of the series. It's a little hard for me to enjoy them with the passion and competitiveness that I used to because of my aforementioned control difficulties, but I can at least look back at Sky Garden and its ilk with bleary-eyed nostalgia. And if that isn't enough to whet your whistle (what does that mean, exactly? It's always sounded very rude to me), the entire selection of SNES tracks are unlockable to boot. So effectively, you're getting two games' worth of content for the price of one. You're just minus a Koopa Troopa, and you'll have to deal with that in your own way. Me personally, I just pummelled a stationary Wario in battle mode mercilessly. It certainly gave me peace of mind. It also certainly never got me invited to any parties.

Ever since the very original, I have never missed an entry in the series. I have had a long and colourful history with Mario Kart, and this shows no sign of changing as the years go by. I'm a big kid at heart, and video games have still held my fancy for twenty years.

Why, just today I finally evolved my very first Chaos Chao on Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. To those of you who aren't aware of the significance of this, it takes a whole lot of waiting and rebirthing and meticulous animal-related fusion in order for this accomplishment to take place. Yes, after a decade of rearing tubby digital blobs, Chappy has finally morphed into his ultimate form. He was once a cute, cuddly little guy with a cheeky grin, and he's now practically a god!

...I kind of regret that transformation, actually.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

#0044: Skateboard Boo-Boo

In only a few short days, the cocaine snake has already found his way into the classroom, warming children’s hearts and fending off lurking vermin. One student has named him Peter, and enjoys placing him on my fiancé’s desk. I don’t know why.

I’m ecstatic to know that, occasionally, I can see the happy result of my donations. Off they go, into that classroom, into that playroom, into that brothel, ready to please. It’s exactly half of what I’m doing this for.

Unfortunately, not all toys can be as lucky. Sometimes, we must pay homage to toys who will not be meeting a happy end. Whether it’s a leaking sand lizard, a chewed-up action figure or something simply horrifying, I know that the best they can hope for is to be disassembled for scrap parts. And today, we meet one of those tragic few. Strap on your skates Gordie, we’re going in for the Skateboard Boo-Boo.

As you can see, Boo-Boo’s been a hardcore skater since the 60s. Ranger Smith’s all like, ‘are those bears on a fucking skateboard?’ because that’s pretty weird, yo.

It was difficult to find all the details about this toy at first, because as you can anticipate, Googling ‘skateboard boo-boo’ inevitably yields thousands of photos and videos about unfortunate skating accidents. It sounds kind of cool saying that I suffered through broken bones and contusions in my search for an answer, and then, when I came upon that answer, I was frankly a little bit disappointed. This toy was from a set of four, made in 1991 to promote the new show Yo, Yogi! And it came from… yep, you guessed it. McDonald’s.

Every now and then, they show imagery of grotesquely overweight little kids, and your immediate reaction is either pity or disgust. How could anyone allow that to happen to their child? Just stop giving them McDonald’s, dammit!

I, however, have the toy-based evidence of many, many trips to McDonald’s, and I was a lanky kid who frankly could have stood to put on more weight. Clearly, I’m what’s wrong with America. I was a fat kid lounging about in a skinny kid’s body, and I’m sorry. If it’s any consolation, please remember that I’m Canadian, so in effect, I’m part of an entirely different demographic from fat kids in the United States.

Anyhow, Yo, Yogi! was incredibly short-lived (and, like most of my childhood, featured Rob Paulsen), but I have to say, it garnered some pretty awesome Happy Meal toys. Described as ‘rev-ups’, these toys are intended to be dragged across the ground multiple times in quick succession before being let go, and away they zoom! Near as I can recall, I only ever got three of them (because Cindy was a girl and girls were icky!) and for my money, Boo-Boo was the best. That little guy could muster up some serious torque on that skateboard.

I remember quite distinctly putting that theory to test in a way only a stupid child would. I revved him up as much as I could, and then put him on my head. My intentions, I can’t quite recollect. Did I assume he would zip majestically off my head, and then tear onto the floor? I dunno. He ended up getting stuck in my hair. So tangled was he, my mom had to use scissors to cut him out, leaving me with a very small bald spot for a brief period of time. I’m tempted to give it another shot, for old time’s sake, but I shall refrain.

Skateboarding was hitting something of a renaissance in the 90s, so it made sense for the extreme sporting collection to include a boarding Boo-Boo. What I can’t quite support, however, is his lack of protective gear. You can’t tell me that a cap, a dapper shirt and a pair of white shorts will protect you from grievous harm. You can tell me that a pink bow-tie would, but you’d only fool me temporarily. That smug look on his face would suggest that he’s unconcerned for his safety, and moreover, unconcerned for the safety of the 90s children who look up to him. You can also prop him up to look like a rocket ship about to launch, and this is also an unsafe practice when done without a helmet.

So as you can see, Boo-Boo is now a broken man, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Most of my toys are a little nicked here and there, but still in working order. Boo-Boo’s missing front axel, which appears to have been snapped off entirely, is an enigma. My guess would be that dwelling inside a plastic tub, occasionally harshly shifted about once every few millennia, has led to him running afoul of some very rough, very heavy customers. Finally, Boo-Boo would snap. And with that, his dreams of one day seeing the light of day and hitting that skate ramp one last time combusted like Lucas Lee.

He is, however, capable of doing some really awesome, frantic zig-zagging crap, like a fly after it’s been smothered with bug spray, and it’s actually better than the straight-line stuff he used to do, but it’s a hard sell. Seeing is believing.

Yeah! Boo-Boo’s on acid! Kids will dig that shit, right? Finally, a cartoon character we can relate to.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#0043: Willy DuWitt

I browsed through the viewing statistics or INAKA today, and was interested to see that the Turtlecycle has garnered the most views of any entry by a large margin. It and the other garage-based toy eulogies have been among my favourites. With that in mind, I made the venture back into the garage, and it was by far the most depressing visit I've had yet. So many spiderwebs, torn old school books and piles of dust and grime. Peppy gamely followed me in there, and ended up with little more than a dirty face and a sneezing fit.

At first, I contemplated going back into the tub of Thomas toys, but I'm lacking in creativity to think up descriptive terms for fifteen different trains. Because like I've said in the past, they're all an interchangeable group of pricks.

Instead, I chose to once again cock tease fan(s) of Bucky O'Hare. As the title and primary photo will indicate, it is not the titular heroic hare. I'd rather build up suspense, because any character revealed after Bucky himself would surely be anti-climactic.

And so, I brought a young blonde boy into my house, gave him a bath, and took photos of him. ...Don't worry guys, I got my Working With Children Check. I'm clean! Just not nearly as clean as Willy DuWitt.

In Bucky O'Hare lore (or as he shall be henceforth abbreviated to: Brohare), Willy DuWitt is a pre-teen engineer who teleported from San Francisco to Brohare's anthropoid-laden universe through use of an accelerator in his room. Seems legit.

He is clearly the lamest character in the show: a lousy human who looks like a nerd, and according to his toy, goes about dressed up in what can only be described as the very flesh of Bruiser. And unlike Frix, he cant even claim that his voice actor was once the voice of Krillin. Indeed, so maligned is young Willy, Peppy deemed it appropriate to gnaw on his foot.

Though initially equipped with glasses, a laser, and a monkey helmet, our copy of DuWitt no longer possesses any of these things. Just what looks like a turtleneck sweater under his armour. It makes the sad even sadder. He's nicely sculpted, but has a few odd inconsistencies in his colour scheme. For one thing, his hands aren't the same colour as his face. Though a logical explanation would be that they're constructed of different materials, I prefer to conclude that Willy has vitiligo.

Another of the many problems I have with this toy is that stupid grin planted upon his face. It just makes him so entirely inappropriate for combat. I know, his helmet would mask that fact, but why must he be smiling? He's smack dab in the middle of a warring universe of angry hares and ducks, with no way of getting home to San Francisco. He never got to see the best of Barry Bonds, dammit!

Maybe it's in an effort to fake out the opponent. I would certainly be wary of throwing down with my opponent if he was a happy child. His offensive equipment being practically nil, it remains for him to fascinate them with the power of his eye...

I lifted that line from a political comic illustrated in 1920. I pull odd ones out like that, sometimes.

You know, I'm really torn about what I should do with this DuWitt fella. He's dirty, he's ugly, and he's the partial victim of attempted vore. Will any charity even accept him? Will they take one look at him, frown, and shake their head? The fabricated man working at the theoretical charity is holding the pretend DuWitt before my very imagination. Willy DuWitt? Or won't he?

...I'm assuming that pun was intentionally written into the name. It's his only redeeming quality. Another quality (redeeming or otherwise) is that, in my opinion, Willy looks a lot like Jake Lloyd. Remember him? Galavanting about our theatres in the late 90s before people finally realised the kid was no good?

Yeah, that's totally a DuWitt doppelgänger there. And if that's any indication, DuWitt will not be meeting a good fate. Having effectively 'retired' in 2001, Jake Lloyd's career is more stagnant than a bog. To hold a parallel of any kind is to effectively condemn DuWitt to the scrap heap. From whence he will construct a pod racer, become a Jedi, and then betray his master, becoming the mighty Imperial overlord.

All the while, wearing a monkey helmet. Because that would have been funnier had it happened in the movies. Your move, George Lucas.

Let me show you my sticker book

This glorious book was initially supposed to be an activity book; one where each page contained puzzles or backgrounds for your stickers to correspond with. And though that was initially how I used it, in the end, it merely became a dumping ground for all my stickers. Now, you will feel my pain. I mean, see my memories. Or something.

This page is full of love and kittens. The Rugrats play nearby, while the holographic lord of all felines watches closely.

This page is a work in progress.

This page is clearly the best page, with Fatso and Curly. I wonder what the fox and the Scottie dog were doing behind that bush?

This page is a fascinating combination of Mario and 'advertisement'. Toad inquisitively ponders what's on the next page.

This page declares it is TIME FOR PUZZLES.

This page has stickers of a unique smell, as well as rabbits from a short-lived road safety campaign.

This page is the end. Brett Hull is clearly out of place.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#0042: Wild Republic Python Plush

Occasionally, I look through the progress I’ve made in this blog with a hint of dismay. Though surely I have unearthed some treasures; classics that deserved revisiting, as a whole, I can’t really say that I’ve entirely succeeded with the objective: clearing my life of clutter. You might ask, how can I really expect ridding myself of a tiny Snoopy toy to free up a lot of room, but in all fairness, you don’t know the set-up I’ve got. For all you know, I could have had an entire pedestal dedicated to that Snoopy, complete with flashing lights and soft-serve dispenser.

So every now and then, I crack my knuckles, flex my muscle, and throw around my proverbial weight. This is especially important now when you consider that I’ve been on an eBay binge, and for every McDonald’s toy that’s going out, I’ve got large Titans figures and Ghostbusters soundtracks coming in. In my mind, this is a good thing. With all that being said, I have had it with this motherfucking Wild Republic python plush in my motherfucking closet!!

…These harsh words are only intended to mirror a quote. In actuality, I was quite happy with the Wild Republic python plush in my motherfucking closet. It’s awful pretty.

I haven’t really got a great deal of history surrounding this piece here, because its origins are as spotty as its exterior: all that I have gathered of its details have come from a quick squiz through the world of Google. I state it to be a Wild Republic python, but that’s just because that’s the result that it most resembles. …I’m finding this paragraph hard to continue because Cops is on in the background, and all I can think about right now is crack and probation. These are not relevant things for a snake.

Other than its exaggerated size, I don’t know what else to talk about. It’s just a very nicely made plush toy, and in all honesty, it’s probably the best thing I’ve covered in this blog. Which should surely be a noteworthy topic of discussion, but personally, I prefer to observe the oddities of the items in my possession. For something to basically be excellent leaves me lacking for words. Other than crack and probation.

Is my plush snake on crack and probation? I don’t think so. He’s such a sleek character, if he’s on anything right now, it’d be the good stuff. Plus, he’d be able to buy off the cops, so he wouldn’t even know the definition of the word ‘probation’. He rolls in the finest of circles, rubbing elbows with the greats.

And that’s all I’ll really say. Because this was not going to get better after it got worse. Just worse, I swear to god. So long, classy cocaine snake.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The box of Titans

Oh, lookie here! It appears as though I have a package labelled 'action figures' waiting for me from the United States postal service. What thrills! What suspense! What a contradiction in a blog where my supposed objective is to clear away a house full of toys.

Upon unwrapping it, I was shocked to be met with my old friends, Steve McNair and Eddie George, formerly of Tennesee Titans fame. But of course, I wasn't really surprised. I ordered them a week ago.

Emmitt Smith ran with the best of them. Eddie George was a fierce blocker for his quarterback. And in the fourth quarter, Randy Moss was excellent at getting out of the way.

They're hardly action figures, because they're modelled after certain poses, and feel rather fragile, but they're marketed as action figures all the same. Eddie and Steve are from a collectible series of McFarlane toys, from 2001 and 2004 respectively, so they're only going to appreciate in value, but I'm not interested in keeping these fellas boxed up. They wouldn't like that, and it's far beyond me to evoke the ire of a pair of pro athletes.

Right after the snap, we have to burst up the seam.

Then, we have to break through the middle. Eddie George was king of this.

Finally, there's sticky tape. I hate it when the opponent uses sticky tape.

Stellar. Now let's get a look at those bad boys in their finery.

This is an exact replica of Steve McNair with his offensive line of 2004. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to get the tiny little bit of metal on his foot to fit in the hole and keep him upright, so I have to balance him like a drunkard. Champion move, Tony.

Eddie George, on the other hand, stays firmly in place. For this reason, he's stoic, but hardly efficient on the football field, garnering a 0.0 rushing average. At least McNair in his current state is able to fall over for a short gain.

Eddie: "I don't get it, why do we have two balls?"
Steve: "Because we're boys, Eddie."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The world works in mysterious ways

While I was at work last night, I was paid a visit by my sister, who had brought with her my early birthday present. And you might be surprised to see what it was...

Coincidence? Entirely. But an awesome coincidence? You bet!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Your First Pokémon

It's Valentine's Day today, and more importantly, the birthday of the late, great Steve McNair, and as such, today is too important to merely dismiss with little more than a eulogy for a typewriter.

So, today, we shall reminisce about one of our first true loves. ...Do you remember your first Pokémon?

Bulbasaur was my first Pokémon. It did not get past the first day, unfortunately. I was trying to formulate a clever nickname for it, and clumsily typed in Bulba(PKMN) by accident. Somehow, my thumb then landed upon the start button, and though by all accounts it sounds almost purposeful, I really did not intend to have a Bulbasaur named Bulba(PKMN).

...So I restarted my game. Bulba(PKMN) was no more.

The second Bulbasaur, who I wisely decided to leave unnamed, fared much better. It schooled Gary's Charmander with ease, not even needing assistance from the Potion that I apparently kept in my computer.

And so, me and my Bulbasaur travelled the land. All the while, we seeked other mighty Pokémon to join our six-man posse. And of course, this was back before we all knew about which Pokémon were good, and which were crappy. Toting a Rattata, Pidgey and Caterpie, I was most definitely not an impressive sight to see. I was one of the sad, pitiful fools who learnt the hard way that a wild Metapod knows only how to Harden. What a god-forsaken battle that was, I can scarcely remember who won (oh yeah, not me).

Later, I finally saw fit to name my newly-evolved Venusaur. As the harbinger of all things mighty and grassy, I dubbed that warty mofo Leaves.

Having somehow managed to defeat all eight Gym Leaders, Leaves and I had finally hit the plateau. Quite literally. For we were at the Indigo Plateau. Though not entirely literally, because then we would have actually physically hit the plateau, and that would surely have been pointless.

Armed with a tactfully woeful and simply foolish team, Leaves and I would tackle the Elite Four. Articuno and Zapdos were crucial that day. Leaves held its own in the fray. Vulpix did absolutely nothing, but it looked very pretty. Historic records are hard to find of those epic battles, because a fateful encounter with a MISSINGNO. led to a virus in the Pokémon League computer. Or maybe it was hacked. I can't be sure.

The point is, I would become champion. And, like any great champion, my reign would be surrounded with a great deal of controversy. I burst into the delicate ecosystem of the Cerulean Cave, and killed various rare fauna before snaring the mutated lab creation Mewtwo within the experimental Master Ball.

I had previously considered catching a Weedle in this ball, but cooler heads prevailed. To the victor go the spoils!

But I wanted more. I wanted to be the most powerful trainer in the land, but I didn't want to work for it. I would seek out that same MISSINGNO. and, through some sort of wicked magic I can't decipher, battling it multiplied the seventh item I had been carrying by the hundreds. It took two attempts to get this right, because the first time I had a bicycle there. It was a really awkward moment when hundreds of bicycles shot from out of my pants. Good thing Cinnabar Island only has a population of about eight, otherwise people might have started asking questions.

So now, I had a jackpot of Rare Candies. Their properties caused Pokémon growth to accelerate, and as their name implied, they were harder to find than the McDonald's Lowly Worm. However, I had outsmarted the system. In my possession, they were practically Common Candy. I force-fed Leaves the lollies by the shovel-load, and now, the Level 100 Venusaur was the pride of Canada, worthy of joining the greats.

The next few years would pass without incident, until I made a visit to Goldenrod City in Johto. I left Leaves at the daycare like a responsible parent while I played the slots at the Game Corner, and when I returned, I made a shocking discovery.

Leaves was a broad. And she had been knocked up by an Ampharos.

I of course sued the daycare for negligence, and after months that seemed like merely 5355 steps, Leaves had given birth to two sons; Leaves II and Shrubs. At least something good came out of such a dark encounter. To this day, however, I've never trusted a sheep, for fear that it'll sprout a ruby orb from its tail, shed its fur, and make love to my plants. Note, I said PLANTS. With an 'L'.

Leaves has since retired, and recently celebrated her thirteenth birthday. She watches as these fancy new creatures come and go, and as each bright-eyed trainer receives their very own first Pokémon from a professor named after a tree. These are the golden years, she thinks, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

Every now and then, she gathers with her old friends, and reminisces over the good old days, and their glorious reign as supplement-taking behemoths. The Ninetales, formerly the dainty Vulpix, still a looker at this ripe old age. The Dragonite, who destroyed all in his path, and has the history of arrests to prove it. All except the Alakazam, who was a know-it-all and a prick. Plus, Leaves could hardly ever understand a word he said.

...Do you remember your first Pokémon?

Goodbye, Mr. Typewriter!

Today, we gather to honour an old, dear friend, who has lived to a ripe old age, and is ready for the next stage of his existence: to be disassembled at a recycling factory of some description. A day that we all soon shall meet.

This is my old typewriter. Magnificent, he was. You may call him Aragog, if you'd like. He would tippy-tappy-type with such expedience, and he even came with a built-in dictionary, and when you dared test him with a word he didn't recognise, he'd beep angrily, and flash a fierce green light, either in an effort to warn you, or to blind the illiterate.

Then, one day (circa 1998), his stores of eraser fluid ran dry. And suddenly, I was confronted with the realisation of what a horrible typist I was. I had resisted the computer movement for long enough, it was time to continue my great American (Canadian) novel in a new medium. It was a novel about a family of cats who went on excellent adventures. It's still awaiting a revision.

So thank you, Mr. Smith Corona. I would drink a Corona in your honour, but I can't afford that shit, and I'm working later tonight. I don't think they'd accept alcohol in the breath in honour of a typewriter I threw out.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

#0041: The Great Tricycle Race

Golden Books are a staple of my childhood. My closet was lined with the suckers, and I vaguely remember the magical adventures they took me on. Yeah, I’d like to say I vividly remember them, but upon constructing that sentence, I realised the sad truth that I really don’t remember them that well. Certainly, this isn’t meant to be a slight on their quality; they’re damned good children’s books, it’s just… my mind is instead filled with memories of playing Donkey Kong Country while listening to the Beach Boys. Yup. Nobody at Golden Books bothered to write a story about that one, though.

You have different kinds of book for different age groups, as the child’s mind is a rapidly evolving thing. When you’re a toddler, all you care about is colours, shapes and Elmo. Then, you suddenly learn about morals like sharing and being polite. Next, you progress onto characters you can relate to, often rebelling against the system. Then, you’re plowing through novels about Japanese school kids killing each other. Finally, all you care about is colours, shapes and Elmo.

It’s a beautiful cycle. And here, we have a beautiful tricycle. That was certainly no scooter, but it was in fact, a segue way. But enough with the verbal gymnastics and terrible puns. We have serious business to attend to, in the form of P.J. Funnybunny in The Great Tricycle Race.

Unlike the beloved RoboBugs of yesteryear, I’m not going to take you on a page by page journey from start to finish, because I can’t particularly commit to doing that every time I want to jettison a book. Also, I’m pretty sure there are messy legal connotations in such. The people at Sight ‘n’ Sound are surely hunting me down as we speak. Undoubtedly, if I were to come upon Connie "Awesome" Kash in the street, I’d be as good as dead. I have strange enemies, it seems.

To condense (because 23 pages often need to be condensed), the sub-titular P.J. Funnybunny is feeling particularly emo one night. When confronted about this by his parents, who typically use finger screws to gain such information, P.J. confesses that he desperately wants to enter and win the Great Turtle Creek Tricycle Race. The prize is immortality. The punishment, severe. Like Mortal Kombat fatality severe.

P.J. fears that his sub-par tricycle skills will not be enough to claim victory, because his opponents are fierce; a beaver, a pig, a raccoon and a ducky. It’s like the daily battles of a hungry Canadian.

However, his family is not so fretful. They will train for a solid week, and P.J. will win! For the honour of the name Funnybunny!

I like the domestic situation going on in the background there. “If you lose, Potts Pig, I will fucking destroy you.

And that’s where we’ll leave it. Because that’s half the book, and I’ve shown my cards more than intended. I don’t need the Golden thugs to be on my ass. They’re more powerful than the mayor of Albuquerque, even.

So hey, it’s a good book. I think the kids of my fiancé’s grade two class might gain something from it. I don’t know when they’ll ever find themselves in such a scenario, racing tricycles against woodland creatures, but who knows what the next acid trip holds?

I’m sure there’s some moral to this that I missed. Love your family, train hard, don’t trust ducks, I don’t know. Because frankly, Buzz Beaver was practicing all summer, we should really be hoping and praying for his victory. P.J. trained for a week, and Ritchie Raccoon is one of those bastard rich kids whose parents bought him a new tricycle. If Buzz Beaver doesn’t win, it’ll really be one in the eye for ‘work hard, and you can do anything’ mantras. Because no matter how hard you try, sometimes in life, you’re just a shitty beaver who can’t pull ahead of a wealthy raccoon.

Tragic. To cheer you up, particularly those of you who are beavers, let me close with an image of my favourite character: the unnamed bear thing who is officiating the race. I like him because he’s hairy as fuck.

…their clothes. Titty-boom.