Here is another essay I wrote and recorded as part of The GrantCast. The audio is below. If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast you can do so in iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher. Thanks for reading.
By Grant Baciocco
As a kid, I used to get way too excited for Christmas. Actually, if you know me, I still get way too excited for Christmas (hello, Advent Calendar). But this all started for me, as a little kid. As said in the movie A Christmas Story:
The Dudley Disaster
I was in a CVS last week and, of course, being a week out, there was Easter merchandise everywhere. Enough yellow, pink, green and blue to beat the band. I started getting nostalgic for Easter celebrations gone by.
Usually, our Easters were spent in Klamath Falls, Oregon with my Mom’s side of the family. We would dye Easter eggs with my cousins, the Palmers. It was a tradition that was passed down from my cousin Brent to my brother Brandon to my cousin Brittany, that the egg dying wasn’t complete until the youngest had taken a big swig or easter egg dye, coloring their entire mouth.
Remembering these warm times, I remembered that, as a kid, we would get Easter Egg decorating kits and my favorite was Dudley brand because of the wacky characters they’d have on the box and decorating supplies. To my supreme delight, this CVS had Dudley egg decorating kits! To my absolute horror, this is what Dudley looks like in 2015…
What?! Part of what I remember so fondly about Dudley is that he and his friends always had a hand drawn look about them that was reminiscent of Jay Ward designs from Rocky & Bullwinkle. I was so perturbed by this overly cute, seemingly computer generated, Dudley that I did what anyone who is seeing their childhood tarnished, I turned to the internet. Within an hour I had purchased a classic Dudley Shake-an-Egg kit from eBay.
Friends, this is Dudley…
And, because his appearance changed a little even within the package, this is also Dudley…
My friends, either one of the two examples above are, to me, way more charming than…
All the vintage packaging just has an air of being handmade. As if Dudley and his pals created each box by hand. Take a look…
To me, that is a thing of beauty. As a kid, I looked at, not only the box, but all the details of each of the contents. I fondly remember each little character on each of the bags of dye! Here’s what Dudley boxes look like today…
Another thing I loved about these Dudley kits as a kid was Dudley’s wacky group of friends. Clyde, Klara, Tedley and Elwood. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with this group…
I went by the Dudley website today at http://dudleyseaster.com and wanted to see if Dudley, at least, has the same group of crazy friends and what their designs looked like now.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Who are these creatures?!
Meet Emmi, Oggy, Gus, Petals (the butterfly), Dudley and Phoebe. The new Dudley gang. They all have backstory now and relationships. You can read them for yourself here http://dudleyseaster.com/about/?Dudley-Gang-2
Knowing nothing, this redesign seems to be an attempt at getting a TV show. This section of the website reads like a pitch bible that you’d make if you were pitching an animated series. I don’t know about you, but I’d rater watch this show…
2014 Holiday Gift Guide
Whether you like it or not, the holidays are here and, for the most part, no matter what winter holiday you celebrate, you probably have to buy a gift or two for friends or family. Instead of getting someone another iTunes gift card, I’d like to offer up some suggestions. Let me make two things clear about the following list. One, I get nothing from these links. This is not an affiliate deal or anything. Two, these are things created by my friends, yes, but I also really enjoy the heck of them and I think you would as well.
Welcome to Goon Holler by Parker & Christian Jacobs – www.goonhollergeneralstore.com – I met Parker Jacobs, the mastermind behind Goon Holler via the social media service Vine. His hilarious Tooba character and my Uncle Interloper character became fast friends. I have been absolutely inspired by the way Parker has turned his Goon Holler concept into a whole world, which now includes the brand new book: Welcome to Goon Holler. It’s a great book for kids and adults. It’s an easy read and the artwork is fantastic. Parker’s style reminds me a lot of Jay Ward, creator of Rocky & Bullwinkle, and that’s a very, very good thing. This is a great gift for the kids on your list or people who have kids. Plus, you can get an autographed copy by visiting Parker’s website www.GoonHollerGeneralStore.
Ghost Train To New Orleans by Mur Lafferty – www.murverse.com – This one is actually two gifts in one because the book, Ghost Train To New Orleans is a followup to the novel Shambling Guide to New York. Now, you don’t really need to have read the first one, Mur does a great job of catching readers up on what has come before, but you SHOULD read the first one. It’s great. If you like stories about vampires, zombies and other monsters living their day to day life with humans, this one is a great read. THere’s some language and situations in it, so it’s not for kids, but I’d say teenagers, 16 or 17 can read it. And if you’re unsure, why not give the book a listen? Mur is currently podcasting a chapter a week of the book HERE for free! No reason not to check it out and then go buy the book via Amazon or your other favorite book buying sight. Better yet, order from Chapel Hill Comics and you’ll get a signed copy! It’s also available in ebook and audio formats. And if you want to pick up The Shambling Guide to New York, you can do that as well. Mur is a great author and a good friend and I whole heartedly recommend any of her work. Check out all of Mur’s work at www.Murverse.com
Tappin’ & Yappin’ Cast Recording by John B. deHaas – www.cdbaby.com/cd/joyandersenandjohnbdehaa – If you’re the type that loves musicals and spoofs of musicals, you must check out the Tappin’ & Yappin’ soundtrack by my good friend John B. deHaas along with Joy Andersen. The musical debuted at the Orlando Fringe Festival and the 2014 Cast Recording is now available as a, super limited edition, CD and digital download. The songs are hilarious and you will find yourself singing and laughing along with them. The show is PG rated, so this one may not be for younger kids, though it’s not blue. Again, if you are a musical theatre fan, or have one you are shopping for, this is a great gift. It’s available via CDBaby.com but is also up on iTunes and other digital download sites. Pick up a copy for you or a friend!
Youth With A Mission Modesto – http://ywam-modesto.blogspot.com – If you are looking for a gift that’s a little more on the ‘do good’ side of things, I recently came across a charity that is doing some amazing work for people in need. Sure, Red Cross, Salavation Army and others get national attention, but we rarely hear about local acts of good. My friend Aaron is involved with Youth With A Mission Modesto and I recently talked with him about all the group was doing in Modesto and it really hit home. YWAMM take the charity directly to the streets to help people in need and they ae doing a darn fine job. I invite you to check out their website and if it jives with your charitable giving, consider a donation.
Herp Derp Ya Don’t Sterp – Devo Spice – https://devospice.bandcamp.com/album/herp-derp-ya-dont-sterp – Comedy/nerdcore rapper Devo Spice has a brand new album that will ‘drop’ on December 2nd. Devo Spice is a regular on The Dr. Demento Show and has had several songs chart on, not only the monthly Dr. Demento Top 10, but also the big end of the year Funny 25 countdowns. If you like funny rap parodies and originals, much in the same vein as “Weird Al”, you’ll love Devo Spice. If you order his album on December 2nd, you’ll even get a bonus album!
Squid Friends by Kristin Hogan – https://www.etsy.com/shop/SquidFriends – I’ve mentioned Kristin and her fantastic squid friends on the blog before but I wanted to bring them up again because how much more unique of a gift could you give than the gift of a plush squid?! You just can’t! But Kristin isn’t just selling squids, she is also selling nautilus’, art, baby blankets and more! If you want a one of a kind gift, Squid Friends is where you need to go! Now.
These are a just a few great gift ideas for those hard to shop for people on your list. The fun thing, to me, is that they are all my creative friends, working hard and creating and putting their creations out into the world. I have purchased (or given to) each of these projects and they all have my personal seal of approval. Again, I get nothing out of this, there’s no affiliate links or anything here. These are just people and projects I believe in and am lucky enough to call friends. I hope you’ll check one or two of them out.
If you’d like to consider purchasing some of my creative projects, you can check out the STORE PAGE at my website. Theres a few ideas there and anything you purchase will go towards producing more. You can also check out Saturday Morning Media’s PATREON PAGE if you want to consider giving a reoccurring donation.
Whatever you decide, I hope you have a very happy holiday season!
Advent Calendar 2014
The promo for the 2014 edition of Grant’s Advent Calendar went live this morning. Like a lot of Advent Calendar video ideas, it took me forever to come up with the idea for it, but then once I did, it came fully realized and was pretty easy to shoot.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, It’s at the bottom of this post and it’s just a hair over 30 seconds long. I tell you, editing the current project I’m doing for Stan Lee’s World of Heroes, has really drilled into me the importance of tight, quick editing. A lesson I applied to this promo which would have been much longer if I kept it in its original form. (Now if I could only apply the same thought on editing to my writing.)
I am excited to start the Advent Podcast, of course, but I’m also a little nervous this year, for a few reasons. One is that I have, practically, no ideas. Last year, I thought about it all year and came up with a huge list of ideas. This year, I have about three ideas. Not that good when you need, at least, 24.
Another reason I’m a little nervous this will be the first year without direct promotion on Facebook. I completely deleted myself from Facebook earlier this year and that included the fan page for the Advent Calendar. I feel like I may have shot myself in the foot, promotion wise, because it seems that if you want to promote something, you have to do it on Facebook. But I just can’t be on Facebook anymore. So, I’m going to put all my focus in promoting the show in other outlets and also hope that word of mouth kicks into high gear this year. So, if you’re reading this, and you’re a fan of Grant’s Advent Calendar, please tell a friend. Or five.
I started the podcast in 2005 and one frustration I have is that the podcast has never been featured in the iTunes Podcast Directory. I don’t know why, but it’s always been a dream/wish to make that accomplishment happen. I know there’s a million other podcasts out there, but you’d think the longest running Holiday Video Podcast on the web would get some sort of mention. I do understand that getting that mention wouldn’t mean THAT much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s something I’d love to see happen.
Anyway, here we stand on the edge of another Advent Calendar season. Despite my nervousness, I’m super excited to get going. Check out the promo below and, if you’d like to help produce the show, check out the Saturday Morning Media Patreon campaign I have running and consider making a pledge. And, as always, thank you for the support.