Christmas is coming, at least according to our local supermarket, which is selling Advent calendars. But we're not interested in such chocolate/door-related interfaces, oh no. Not when iwantoneofthose.com is still trading bagatelles and fripperies with which to while away the hours -- or seconds, depending on how easily amused you are by the likes of fighting granddads, cuddly polar bears and inflatable horses.
And so it was that the three wise men of Crave journeyed afar, following a star. But it was good old I Want One of Those bearing the gifts, as the IWOOT Christmas gift line-up was showcased in a bacchanalian orgy of Peter Pan impersonators, novelty gifts and tat. Click through the pictures to see our pick of the gifts on show. -Rich Trenholm
Tinkerbell turns nasty. You couldn't move for cuddly monkeys, flying about the place, looking all cuddly and innocent one moment and then transforming into flying monkeys of death the next. They feature concealed elastic slingshots for firing the monkey -- or rooster or pig -- a pretty considerable distance, if you've got fairy muscles anyway.
The monkey yodels, the pig oinks, and the rooster crows in flight and when it hits your chosen target.
We especially like the fact that the flying monkey has a cape and mask. Because it's a superhero monkey, obviously. And it needs to conceal its monkey identity, so its monkey friends and family aren't endangered. Obviously. And did we mention that it yodels?
The flying animals are £4.95 each. It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
Stylophonic! Unleash the Rolfaroo within you with the Stylophone, a tiny electrical musical instrument. It's like a miniature electrical organ that you play with a stylus, closing a circuit on a voltage-controlled oscillator via a different-value resistor.
And it makes plinky-plonky classic, synth and bass noises, that will no doubt transport anyone of a certain age back to the Stylophone's 1970s heyday, complete with Rolf Harris ad campaign. Crave demurely refuses to discuss age, but suffice to say we love the Stylophone and we're glad it's back. It'll cost £14.99 to make sweet music.
Giddy-up with the Horsey Hopper. The sport of kings meets the space hopper, another 70s craze. Quite why it's been given an equine twist for the 21st century we don't know, but racing is always fun. The fact that you also get a pair of jockey caps, a starter's whistle and winner's flag for your £24.99 makes all the difference, frankly.
The undead have risen from the grave to crawl around your floor saying things like, "I can't feel my legs." The Crawling Zombies weren't the only legless, red-eyed weirdos crawling around pawing at people's shoes, but that's what happens when you invite Crave to a free bar. They're motorised, they're annoying and they're coming to get you. Be afraid; be moderately afraid.
Speaking of fearsome monsters, the Monster Money Box keeps your change safe from, er, easily scared toddlers. Stick some coins in and steel yourself for the fright of moving eye and ears, plus blue, red and purple eye flashes. It also sings. Awesome.
War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothin'. But hang on, what if nobody gets hurt? That's where the Laser Challenge Pro comes in.
Each laser gun features a 'red dot' laser targeting system (with a range of up to 75m), for those bits of the movie where the hero sees a red dot creep up his body and realises HE'S BEEN SET UP and dives out of the way just before the SWAT team burst in and shoot up the place. Hopefully your aim will be better than SWAT Team Member no.1, and if not there's a beginner mode that widens the infrared beam. You also get removable multi-functional scopes, barrel extensions, a vibrating 'hit' alert and fold-down legs.
Kids these days! If they're not idling about with their 'computer games' they're wasting their lives with Sumo Smash, which involves remote-controlling two plastic sumo wrestlers around a miniature ring, or dohyo, to become supreme champion, or Yokozuna. You could also battle it out with the Fightin' Granddads.
Honestly, how fat do you have to be that you have to play a tabletop version of sumo?
Oh, to be in PR. Where else would you get the opportunity to don an inflatable horse suit and prance around a posh Covent Garden restaurant? For £39.95 you too can pull on the Inflatable Cowboy outfit, complete with stetson and little dangly legs (nice touch). It even -- get this -- inflates itself.
If it isn't flying monkeys, it's mini helicopters buzzing around our heads. Given our, we were pleasantly surprised by how easy the BladeRunner Mini is to control.
It's teeny-tiny and flies like a dream, especially in auto-forward mode which keeps it in a slow and steady constant forward motion. You have full left/right and up/down control and can get it up to 4-6m per minute. £44.95 gets you the chopper and a little toy soldier fella.
You going to bark all day, little duckie, or are you going to bite?
Here at Crave Towers, we have an unnatural obsession with. Reservoir Dogs becomes Reservoir Ducks as Mr Brown, Mr Blue, Mr White, Mr Pink, Mr Orange and Mr Blonde bob around the bath. They glow in the dark, change colours and swear a lot. Probably.
All right ramblers, let's get rambling...
The most diverting product on show had to be the strangely hypnotic 200x magnifier. Linked up to a big-screen TV, the magnifier shows a dizzying level of detail in whatever it's pointed at. We got up close to skin, hair, clothes and even plants. Fascinating stuff.
Thumbs up for I Want One Of Those, which earns the Official CNET Seal of Approval! Sorry. (Glazed look model's own.)