Purple Stuff Podcast: Christmas Traditions!

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Ready or not, the holidays are here. To say that I am ill-prepared is an understatement. In the plus column though, a new episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast is on deck and all set to be fired up. Whether you are baking cookies, cleaning the house, or getting some last minute shopping done, whatever you find yourself doing you can make this episode your accompaniment since it’s Christmas cheer for your ears.

In this episode,  me and Matt explore various Christmas customs that we’ve taken part in through the years. We talk about foods we look forward to each year, stuff we watch, and in my case, a special recurring piece of clothing. Nothing beats reminiscing during the holidays over a cup of egg nog (It’s good, it’s good.) At first, I didn’t realize that I had so many little traditions until I really sat and thought about it. It turns out that I have quite a few and at least 3 or 4 didn’t even make the cut! Do you have any Christmas traditions that you find yourself doing every Christmas season?

If you are here reading this, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading, listening, and watching my various endeavors. It means a lot to me that you take the time and show your interest here. My blog began to become a ghost town the past couple of years but as indicated in the pretty recent past, I am easing back into things. Who knows what 2019 will bring in terms of unexpected events, but either way I am still keeping this trash heap alive mark my words!

Chances are this may be the last post of the year (If I have time, I might post something quick) so I hope you enjoy the holidays and get to spend them with your loved ones. As much as I prefer my solo solitude, being with my friends and family during Christmas time is what it’s all about. There’s literally no other thing I’d rather do during this season than just hang out with the important VIP people in my life. I’m very grateful and appreciative of all of you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Now go listen to that new episode ya’ filthy animals!

If you would like to support The Purple Stuff Podcast on Patreon you can receive a special monthly bonus episode we record especially for the “Patróns.”

CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND VIDEO TOUR!

Christmas Wonderland at Maple Leaf Farms, Route 9 South, Manalapan, NJ

Finding quirky and offbeat stuff to do for Halloween seems to be super easy for me. Christmas on the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much going on. It’s ironic to think about because Christmas is such a mega holiday in terms of spending and venturing out to holiday themed events with the fam. As you may have guessed, I’m not really one for the typical nonsense. For example, I ice skated once in my life and although I didn’t bust my ass, I felt like any second I could plummet into the darkest regions of hell. It was not fun. Sliding around in circles on ice, while balancing on a thin, sharp blade is not my idea of fun, especially in the cold. Going to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is always an annual “must” for locals, but I’ve been there, done that a million times. Nowadays it’s even more of a hassle because the vicinity around the tree is so crowded with tourists, and as crotchety as that makes me sound, it’s even worse than you could imagine. I get claustrophobic in crowds and it isn’t just there, Manhattan in general during the holidays that gets overwhelmingly packed with people. So not my jam.

I had way more fun lounging on the couch sipping Diet Cranberry Ginger Ale and watching The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix than I could ever have battling holiday traffic and crowds. Ugh, such nonsense! If I sound like Scrooge, then I can’t argue. Recently, an esteemed colleague at work affirmed this very sentiment for me. She told me that during the holidays she goes away to Florida to her summer home (must be nice!) and for the entire stretch of the season she relaxes with her husband and they literally don’t do a damn thing except snack and watch movies on the couch. She went even deeper to declare that is what the holidays are all about for her. Not to beat a dead horse, but I recently learned that my co-host on The Purple Stuff Podcast, Matt from Dino Drac, feels the exact same way.

While I always consider myself a champion of vegetating on the couch whenever possible, conversely I may be a bigger proponent of devising elaborately stacked plans of themed things to do. What can I say? Points of interest pique my interest and Clark Griswold has always been one of my idols. Maximizing the fun is one of my main objectives in life.

I didn’t want to piss this holiday season away without some actual merry making. After a lot of useless Googling, it felt like finding a unique, Christmassy thing to do in Jersey was becoming hopeless. But, right around the moment when I was about to give up, we drove passed Maple Leaf Farms on the way home one night. I noticed a sign that said “Christmas Wonderland,” as I swung an abrupt General Lee style turn into the parking lot. The building’s exterior is similar to any other run of the mill country store, except for being adorned with an over-sized, inflatable Santa Claus. The best part about this is that I had no idea what to expect inside. Would it be a bunch of crafts, wooden soldier centerpieces, and cinnamon sticks OR would we be delighted by a decked out display of endearing decor? That sentence was Heavy on the D.

Watch the video to see what I discovered inside the Christmas Wonderland. If you don’t have 5 minutes to spare, it was a sight to behold and totally lived up to its namesake! This traditional walk through, accompanied by a laid back Christmas playlist running throughout the space, is comprised of animatronics that the proprietor has rescued from old store window displays, malls, and various other means. He restored them superficially as well as their electronic components inside that made them seem magically alive in their heyday. It’s like he is a human droid factory. After speaking with him about his undying attention to detail and his commitment to the Christmas spirit, his goal was creating a vintage Christmas vibe and he succeeded, and then some.

My nostalgia needle was off the charts in this place. In a world of Nintendo Switch and Occulus Rift, these old school animatronic characters may not bowl a lot of you over since our technology expectations are so far beyond them, but these are the kind of novelties that I absolutely love to gaze at. My affection for them can be likened to why I love the old Telco Motionettes. Those were like the home versions of these little dudes! Inside the Wonderland, the snowmen move in slow motion, Goofy’s arm goes up and down, and there’s even a little tribute to the time Santa conquered those Martians! Snow covered Christmas trees are set up in every corner and adorning the pipe and draped halls leading to each next display were actual Christmas themed product ad posters from the old days bestowing that extra spoonful of authenticity. Just when you think it’s over, the finale leads you to a BIG room with the BIG jolly man himself. That’s right, pictures with Santa are included with your minimal entrance fee.

Experiencing this throwback to simpler times was a much needed little break from the world. Take the family on a little drive to Manalapan, NJ down route 9 for a dose of Christmas cheer before the season is out and see for yourself. There’s a TON of heart and LOADS of Christmas spirit poured into this and making it a success will ensure that it continues every year!

 

Purple Stuff Podcast: Christmas Songs IV!

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In an effort to make your spirits bright, here’s a new episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast! The Christmas season is in full swing and that means me and Dino Drac are bringing you our 4th set of holiday song choices! We spent countless hours forming this merry mix of tunes and we hope you enjoy it. In this episode we’ve got some classics and some newer favorites, but all are quite “interesting” in their own ways. Twisted Sister, Britney Spears, and The Chipmunks are just a few of the artists featured in this episode. Refill your eggnog and enjoy! If you haven’t done so yet, please subscribe, or leave a rating if you can! Also, we are now on Patreon so if you would like to subscribe you can gain access to our exclusive monthly show that goes directly to our supporters! Thank you for reading and listening!

Purple Stuff Podcast: Christmas Songs III

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It’s that special time of the year again! The time of year where we reminisce about how hysterical it was when the shitter was full,  when people get together and wear intentionally lame sweaters, and get pretty tanked up and make poor decisions. Either way, it’s usually a blast. But what’s a holiday season without a badass soundtrack to play in the background? The new episode of the Purple Stuff Podcast continues our tradition of offering up an eclectic selection of Christmas tunes for you.

It’s our 3rd installment of holiday tunes and it’s pretty whacked out. Matt from Dinosaur Dracula and I present more favorites from our respective playlists. To me, there’s nothing better than chilling by the Christmas tree listening to the holiday classics that you only hear during this time of year. As usual, we don’t always agree on all of these tracks, but either way, they all have their place. You’ll hear everything from a Smurfs song to a snazzy. ’60s version of “Sleigh Ride.”

Hopefully we can provide you with some new ideas to add to your annual holiday celebration…or just a bunch of songs to avoid at all costs, whatever works for you! You can subscribe to The Purple Stuff Podcast on iTunes and basically anywhere else you can get podcasts. If you want to support the show and our websites, subscribe, spread the word, or leave a review on iTunes! Thanks for reading and listening!

Purple Stuff Podcast: Home Alone!

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On the NEW episode of the Purple Stuff Podcast, Matt and I talk about HOME ALONE! It’s one of our favorite holiday movies from our youth and we each bring a mixed bag of stuff to pore over. It’s a celebration of the film so if you love it as much as we do, this is for you!

Holiday In The Park, I Think It Was The Fourth of December

Does it get any geekier than parodying an early ’70s soft rock hit from the band Chicago to use as a title for a blog post? I think not. The 4th may not have been the specific date we visited Six Flags Great Adventure for their Holiday in the Park extravaganza, but I kept singing “Holiday in the Park” as if it were a real Chicago song that night. At first, the thought of going to an amusement park in December sounds preposterous, falling short of maybe only the Polar Bear Plunge, where clearly crazy people VOLUNTARILY choose to dive into the ocean, which happens to be filled with ridiculously freezing cold water. Fortunately, on the night that we headed to Jackson, NJ, it was unseasonably mild…but raining. On our drive down, the weather was indeed “frightful,” and I told Miss Sexy Armpit that we were nuts for even thinking of riding roller coasters in the rain. Wait, hold up, note to self, remember to write a mid-80s style, smooth R&B song called “Riding Roller Coasters in the Rain” because that title f*cking rocks. Anyway, we justified it as such: “But they have Christmas lights!!” so we wooden-soldiered on.

To my knowledge, Great Adventure has never done a Holiday celebration, and if they did, it was never anywhere close to this extreme scale. It all felt like Six Flags on Candy Cane flavored Crack. It was like Great Adventure submitted themselves to compete in The Great Christmas Light Flight. Once we arrived and heard the Christmas tunes echoing into the parking lot and saw the soft glow of the festive lights pouring into the misty night sky, it was obvious this was the Christmas version of Fright Fest and we were in for a real treat.

Upon entering the park we were immediately transported into the North Pole with snow machines blowing snow everywhere! Talk about eye candy, every inch of the entire park was decked out in Christmas decor. The attention to detail was incredible, it felt like every tree had lights and every window had animatronic elves preparing gifts. It was a sight to behold. Miss Sexy Armpit even said she liked it better than Fright Fest. For me, as a G.A regular since 1985, it felt much different than anything they’ve done before. The park transformed into its own little Christmas island.

As we made our way through the park, I kept thinking how my Christmas spirit this year wasn’t anywhere near the levels it had been in the past. I couldn’t pinpoint why that’s been the case, but experiencing Holiday in the Park was like a shot of Christmas spirit right in the heart. With the Christmas tunes playing and visitor’s of the park in a more laid back, jolly mood, it was just what I needed. It actually felt like more of an escape from reality than any other time I’ve been to Great Adventure.

The rain and drizzle was intermittent, but it was actually exactly what we needed to be able to hop on all the rides with almost no lines. Turns out that most people don’t like to go on rides in the rain. What a shocker. The longest we waited to get on a ride was about 10 or 15 minutes, which was great. Miss Sexy Armpit and I hit a couple of our favorites including, Nitro and Superman. We even took a ride on the indoor Skull Mountain, which is tame compared to the other insane thrill rides they have there, but it’s still old school, simple fun. The closest comparison to it would be Space Mountain in Disney, although it’s always been a few steps behind. Looking back since it opened, the ride had the potential to be amazing. Consider this: it could’ve been a Goonies ride! Even if they couldn’t secure rights to the Goonies, they could’ve easily picked a licensed property that would’ve worked, or even created their own original generic pirate or ghost theme. The story and the characters associated with the rides always enhance the ride experience for me. They should’ve also incorporated spooky music into the ride as well. But, here’s why I won’t complain this time around: For Holiday in the Park, Skull Mountain transformed into Poinsettia Peak and it was completely draped in red Christmas lights. The whole rocky facade of the ride was bathed in red, like Tootsie’s dress, so all was forgiven. Good old Skull Mountain has never looked this glamorous….or RED!

After the rides I had my imperative browsing session in the Justice League store. This place is a MUST every time I go to Great Adventure. With wall to wall DC Super Hero stuff, it’s the closest thing I’ll get to the old WB store in the mall. I want to buy everything. Hint: check out the video above to see the cool, customized white Christmas tree adorned with all kinds of DC characters! I didn’t buy anything this time around, but I was sure tempted. I’m just glad this store is still open and as awesome as it ever was.

Aside from the obvious Christmas theme, there was an element to the whole experience that made it stand out. The fact that we were riding coasters in December, the temp was in the mid ’50s, and the foggy night sky had an ominous, purple hue, made those high points on the coasters feel fifty times more awesome than usual. In addition to the coasters which are predominantly a warm weather pastime, we also partook in G.A’s Boardwalk games to briefly recapture that summer magic. For a minute I’d thought I hit the jackpot since that tricky milk can toss game with the softballs was chock full of Star Wars: Force Awakens stuff. Kylo Ren plush toys gave Miss Sexy Armpit a reason to blow copious amounts of money to try to win one for me. What a girl! She bought us both chances and we both failed miserably, but we had fun so that’s what matters, right? Come to think of it, maybe we would’ve nabbed Kylo Ren if we actually completed our Jedi training on Dagobah.

To ease the pain of our simultaneous double loss, there were holiday themed treats for sale everywhere. For example, Hot Chocolate with Snowman Peeps was served and sipped at several of the fire pit stations. Yes, you read that correctly, they had fire pits set up strategically by the food and snack kiosks which was a hit. People with mittens holding hot drinks were hanging out by fires as if they were at some super expensive ski lodge. Carollers sang holiday songs while flashy Christmas tree light shows burned green cones into my retinas. That was all good, but what’s a holiday celebration without the big man himself? That’s right, Santa Claus appears to hear all the kiddies tell him they want hover-boards, and so does Mrs. Claus with her special story time show. They covered all bases except Mrs. Claus’ late night lingerie striptease – that, for some reason, was not on the docket.

With trees wearing Candy Cane disguises, holiday photo-op stations erected (they affectionately nicknamed them Mistletoe Moments for all you lovers out there), and reindeer crooning Christmas songs, Six Flags did a bang up job creating a Winter Wonderland at Great Adventure. Trust me, experience Holiday in the Park if you can, but do it before it comes to an end on January 3rd! The key is to go at night once it gets dark to soak in the optimum amount of Christmas cheer. That, and the fact that “kids are scared of the dark” according to Marv from Home Alone.