Category Archives: Sounds of the universe

It’s a question of… getting a Zhu Zhu hamster

I’m pretty sure that there have always been must-have-for-Christmas toys around. Right now, I can’t remember exactly what it was when I was a child. Most likely some TV-advertised device that looked fun on screen but turned out disappointing in real life. Like the Barbie-doll that didn’t really dance by itself or the game that only had a drawing of an explosion (unlike the real “bang” seen on television).

From what I can understand this season’s hottest toy is a robotic hamster from Zhu Zhu pets. I myself have always been a guinea-pig person, but I have no difficulties seeing the appeal of a Patches, Chunk, PipSqueak, Mr Squiggles or Num Nums. These hamsters are cute. They make sweet sounds, run around and play, but don’t need to be fed or have their cages cleaned (they don’t have one), and they don’t bite if you wake them up (probably because they don’t sleep). Also, you can (did you even doubt it?!) get a whole lot of cool accessories. Because every hamster needs a skateboard and garage…

The best thing about the Zhu Zhu hamster however is its price: under ten US dollars (or English pounds or euros – currency isn’t what it once was). So even though my son has not yet been hypnotized by a Zhu Zhu hamster on TV (apparently they’ll only go on sale in France in 2010), I’ve been surfing around the web to find one for him (and admittedly also for myself… Even fake hamsters need playmates).

Its turns out, not surprisingly, that all toy retailers in the US as in the UK are out of stock. And Amazon and eBay resellers have them at over six times the original price. So he/we won’t be getting a fake hamster for Christmas. And no, not a real one either. My mother won’t let us…

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It’s a question of… choosing your vampire

The major movie event this week “seems” to be New moon. I have to admit that I’m pretty jealous of Stephenie Meyer’s success. It has the same effect on me as Helen Fielding’s achievement with Bridget Jones’s Diary: Why didn’t I think of that?

I haven’t read Meyer’s books or seen New Moon (yet) but I did see the first film, Twilight. Just to find out what all the fuss was about. Being a very (very) big fan of Buffy the vampire slayer, I didn’t expect to become an immediate groupie of the Twilight team. No danger of that. I think the weird jumping-around-in-trees-at-incredible-speed scene was the last straw.

Of course, had I found Edward the vampire or Jacob the wolf mildly attractive – or Bella a little bit interesting – I would probably have become a Twilight addict too. But for me, the only fantasy-worthy vampire in the film was Carlisle Cullen (played by Peter Facinelli), and even he can’t compete with the all-male Buffy vampires : Spike (James Marsters) and Angel (David Boreanaz).

New Moon apparently has fans divided between Edward and Jacob. Just like Buffy the Vampire Slayer had an Angel team and a Spike team. I was massively into Spike (and unconditionally so after “Smashed”, season 6,  9th episode… ).

But I think that the reason I was (and still am) such a great Buffy fan is because of Buffy. She’s the “Chosen One”, she’s strong, sexy, and unafraid of “the darkness”. She’s a fighter. But she’s also funny and gets to fall in love and (well, yes…) have sex with hunky guys and vampires (real dangerous vampires – not the Twilight version that get all shiny in sunlight). Nothing to do with Twilight’s Bella, who kind of needs to be protected all the time.

All this to say that I am of course going to see New Moon (as soon as I can catch in on a streaming website). To satisfy my curiosity and the Judy Blume teenager that’s still in me. But I beg you: if you’re a Twilight fan and haven’t yet watched Buffy the vampire slayer, please do, starting with season 1, episode 1, and see for yourself. Only then will you really know which vampire to choose…

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