Sunday, December 4, 2016

4 Peeps Christmas Flavors (from 2015)

Did you realize there's only 3 more weeks until Christmas? I didn't until now, and I'm starting to freak out. There's still gifts to purchase, wrap, and mail. At least we finally got the tree up today, so we haven't slacked off completely. I feel like whoever is in control of the universe hit the 1.2x button, because time is going by way too fast. Case in point, I got these Peeps from my sister in-law for Christmas last year, and I'm just trying them out now. Hey, better late than never, right?

Hot Cocoa & Cream dipped in White Fudge

So, it would appear that Peeps definitely have a "best by" date, and it has long since passed on this batch. As you can see from this example, they've deflated a bit, and their heads have sunk down until they're staring up pitifully out of the package. The Peeps have gotten a bit drier too, and have lost that fluffiness they usually have when they're fresh. Still, I'm not one to waste food, so I forged ahead. First up was the Hot Cocoa & Cream, just because hot, liquid chocolate is one of my all-time favorite beverages.

Opening up the package, I was surprised by just how much of a cocoa smell these had. You know when you tear open a package of Swiss Miss and you get that cloud of cocoa dust that wafts out? That's what these smelled like. All of the pleasure without any of that choking on chocolate smoke. At first taste, it took a bit of chewing to coax out that cocoa flavor. The marshmallow had dried out a bit, and needed a little re-hydration. They were also dipped in white fudge, and I was surprised that it still tasted relatively fresh. I'm not sure if it fooled my mouth into thinking "Hot cocoa and marshmallows", but it was still a nice addition.

Sugar Cookie dipped in Milk Chocolate

I'm going to just come right out and say it. Unless they're covered in frosting, sugar cookies are the white toast of the cookie world. They're the only cookie that tastes worse after they're cooked. Until you cover them  in colored, liquid sugar, they're barely sweet enough to qualify as a cookie. Still, I was willing to give Sugar Cookie Peeps a fair shot.

Sadly, they didn't really smell or taste all that different from the regular Peeps. They are sprinkled with large pieces of sugar, but that's something I tend to attribute to Snickerdoodles rather than actual sugar cookies. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. The milk chocolate that they're dipped in completely overwhelms any flavoring they may have added. Peeps should have gone with a dip in some vanilla frosting. I mean, chocolate on sugar cookies? Who does that?

Sugar Plum Delight dipped in White Fudge

Damn! The Sugar Plum Peeps definitely fared the worst out of all the varieties. Now they look more like something out of John Carpenter's "The Thing" than they do marshmallow treats. The problem with sugar plum flavoring, is that I've never actually had a sugar plum. The closest I've come are the Sugar Plum Dum-Dums I tried 2 years ago. So, I'll go with that I guess.

And guess what, they taste just like the Sugar Plum Dum-Dums. Their aroma is reminiscent of the blueberry Peeps, and they definitely taste more like a berry than a plum. Their flavor isn't quite as strong as the Dum-Dums', but it's probably the difference between marshmallows and hard candy. I think this is another case where the fudge dipping works against the flavor. Including the fudge in a bite seemed to neutralize the plum. All I could taste was marshmallow and cheap chocolate. Again, these things are about 6 months past their prime, so it might not be the Peep's fault.

Candy Cane dipped in Chocolate

I saved the..well, I saved the last for last. I mean, it's candy cane! It's pretty hard to mess up that flavor, right? If I was going by looks along, these would be my favorite. I love the contrast between the white marshmallow and the chocolate. I also love that these look like they were rolled around in piles of glass made out of peppermint candy. Or they were caught in an explosion in a candy cane factory.

As far as the flavor goes, it's kind of like a lighter, fluffier York Peppermint Patty. So, no surprises there. Out of all 4 Peeps, this one managed to stay the freshest. It was still a little dry, but peppermint seems to withstand the ravages of time better than most other flavors. I know I can't be the only one that's eaten several year old candy canes. Sure, they might be a little chewy now, but at least they're still minty.

So now you have my thoughts on year old marshmallows. Stay tuned for next time, when I review caramels from 1997.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Boulder Canyon Turkey & Gravy and Pumpkin Pie potato chips.

Holy Mother of Turkey! Thanksgiving is almost here. I refuse to believe that it's been nearly three weeks since Halloween, the calendar be damned. I'm not that upset though, because I'll be celebrating one of my favorite holidays in just 4 short days. A day full of brie, and dips, and turkey and stuffing, and oh my god I'm getting hungry right now. I still have just under 96 hours before I can dive into T-day dinner, so I picked up some Boulder Canyon chips to try and take the edge off.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stunt Zombie's Anniversary Adventure!

It's hard to believe, but it's been just over a year since my wife and I tied the knot. Originally, we had planned on going to Universal Studios for our anniversary. Here's the thing about Universal though, it's damn expensive. Since we didn't really want to spend so much on a trip that was only going to last a few days, Chelsea suggested we look closer to home. And that's how we ended up going to Tangier Island to celebrate a year post-nuptials.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oh, it's October?

Let's talk about this jackass.

Last weekend, the wife and I had a couple of friends over for pizza and horror movies. We decided on The Babadook, which I sadly cannot recommend. It..well, it just wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be. The ending, I'm actually getting a little angry just thinking about it. At one point, I had to get up to go to the kitchen, and for some reason I took the long way around. Normally, the fastest route is to go straight through our dining room and "BAM!". The kitchen is right there. Well, that night I walked through the hallway, flipped on the den light, and promptly crapped my trousers. 

You see, we had just put out our Halloween decorations earlier that day, so there were numerous ghouls and ghosts strewn about the house.Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this asshole sitting there, grinning and holding his hands up as if to say, "Sorry bro, I was just standing here. In the dark. With my skull face". I flailed a bit, knocking his ass over, secure in the knowledge that an actual intruder would likely be as scared as I was at that moment. 

Thankfully my wife and friends didn't laugh at me too much. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios

It's September again, and you know that means...The spice must flow. The pumpkin spice that is. It's time for food and candy makers to start adding nutmeg and cinnamon to everything. There's pumpkin spice coffee, donuts, snack cakes, cough syrup..okay, maybe not cough syrup, but you get the point. Most of the stuff I'm seeing on social media has been around for a while. But, we're also seeing some that are just jumping on to the pumpkin spice hayride, and that's what brings me here today. Allow me to introduce you to Pumpkin Spice Cheerios

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Olympic Medal Winner

I'm a little late to the party, but this week's Pop Culture League Challenge was:

If _____ was an Olympic sport, I’d have a gold medal around my neck.

Well, I can think of one thing right off the top of my head. If being fickle was an Olympic sport, I'd be a gold medal winner every single time. I've been fickle since my childhood, never really focusing on one thing for very long, easily getting distracted and moving on to something else. It's carried on into adulthood, with me picking up and dropping hobbies within a matter of months. I've had entire libraries on brewing and knife making, both things I thought I would enjoy, only to lose interest completely. I've bought game systems and handfuls of games, only to stop playing them within a few days, eventually selling everything off a few months later. I think I've gone through at least 2 or 3 Sega Dreamcasts like that. 

In fact, the only hobby I've stuck with for a long period of time is this blog. I'm going on three years with this thing now, a definite record for me. I'll admit, I've been tempted to close it down and move on to something else, but I actually enjoy doing this too much. 

So, maybe that means I'll only get a silver medal for fickleness at the next Olympics. 

Go to Cool and Collected to see some other gold medal bloggers!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Awesome leftover toys

Chelsea and I made the long, long drive to Buffalo, NY this past weekend for a friend's wedding. It was actually a lot of fun, even if I did spend most of the time eating way too much food. One of the best things about visiting my wife's family, is we usually don't need to spring for a hotel room while we're there. Almost all of them have a room or two to spare, and they offer much better service than any hotel ever could. The last night of our trip was spent at Chelsea's aunt's house, in her cousin's room.

When my father in-law first opened the door to the cousin's bedroom, it looked like your normal spare bedroom setup. There was a desk with an iMac, a set of book shelves and a dresser, and a large futon mattress in the floor. Since I was pretty exhausted, it took me a few seconds to notice all the relics hiding in plain sight. The excitement I felt gave me the energy to stay up at least another hour, giving me a chance to document some of the cooler stuff before I finally passed out.
If you follow me on Twitter, you saw the treasures I discovered in that room. If not, then keep reading, and get a more detailed look at my findings.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pop Culture League Assignment: Shelfie

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers is dead. Long live the League! The Pop Culture League has risen from the pile of cast out toys, comics, and movies to take its place. So, what's this week's assignment?

Shelfie! Snap a picture or two of your favorite shelf.

I'm sure I've posted photos of my display case before, and I'm sure that things haven't changed much since then. Some pieces have gone on to other homes, while I've welcomed a few new additions. How about we get a closer look of dem shelves?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mattel Ghostbusters Jillian Holtzmann!

The movie's probably already out of theaters and on its way to home video by now, but look! It's a Ghostbuster action figure. And it's a lady?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Adventures in tree cutting

I'm not a lumberjack, though I may have thought myself one in my youth. My friends and I would go out into the woods (someone else's woods) and just go crazy clearing paths, chopping down trees, and building bridges and dams. Building dams was one of our favorites, due mainly to the instant gratification. If you trekked far enough through the woods, you would come across a marshland full of bottomless mud pits and networks of streams. This was all along the shore line of a creek, so it was easy for us to scrounge up piles of wood that had drifted in. Dams were easier for us to build, because they didn't require us to raid my dad's hodge podge of nails and screws. It's not like he kept track of them, but he might notice if half a box of 16 penny nails suddenly disappeared.

So we would gather up all of the washed up scrap wood, and we would engineer these dams to block off certain streams. Sometimes we would leave gaps in the wood to allow small fish and minnows to get through, then we'd block them off, effectively trapping the wildlife on one side. Other times we would completely dam up a creek, and watch as the water level quickly rose up and above the sides of the channel. I'm still not sure why we did this, other than to say we could. 

I only bring this up, because it's the sort of thing that was going through my head when I decided to tackle the wildly growing tree in front of our house. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Blueberry Pie Oreo Cookies!

I like Oreo. I like pie. 7 times out of 10, if there's a choice between cake or pie, I'll go with the pie. Cake is good and all, but if I'm being completely honest, most of it is pretty boring. Delicious, but boring. Pie on the other hand, is a study in contrasts. You've got the warm, gooey filling, surrounded by that nice, crisp crust. A sweet kiss, enveloped in a savory hug. Oooh yeah..Add a dollop of whip cream or some ice cream, and you'll have a meal. Or a threesome. I'm not sure where my imagery is going at the moment, but you should keep reading and learn more about Blueberry Pie Oreo Cookies.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Chill out, with Ecto Cooler.

Hey everybody! I'm not sure if you've heard, but it seems that Ecto Cooler is back. If you've never heard of Ecto Cooler, it was a drink released by Hi-C in the late 80's in conjunction with the Real Ghostbusters cartoon. It used Slimer as the mascot, and it turned out to be immensely popular. It was finally discontinued in 2001, much to the disappointment of the flavor's fans. And now it's back, as part of the promotion of the new Ghostbusters reboot. I'm not sure anyone expected Coca Cola to actually re-release it, but c'mon. Why wouldn't they? It's one of the most popular drinks of all time, tied in with one of the most popular movie and cartoon franchises of all time. Forget having a license to print money. That's like having a stream of $100 bills overflowing out of your pockets 24 hours a a day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Days with my grandmother

Growing up, I used to spend a lot of times with my grandparents. They always lived within a few miles of  us, so if my folks needed a place for me to stay overnight, it was off to my mom's parents. I have random memories of sleeping in their guest room, on a pull out bed that had to have been a couple decades older than me. I wouldn't call it worn out, but I could definitely feel the support bar under the mattress. Most nights my grandmother, or Mom-Mom as I called her, would cook dinner for my grandfather. The house would always have the same aroma when she was working in the kitchen, no matter what she was cooking. Some nights, my grandfather, or Pop-pop, would take us all out to the Fish House. I feel like that must have been their favorite restaurant, because I don't remember them eating anywhere else. It was pretty old even then, with worn floorboards and pictures of local personalities all over the walls. The food was always delicious and plentiful, with my order of fried shrimp heaped high on my plate. As much as fun as I had with the both of them, I think it's the days I spent with Mom-Mom that I enjoyed the most.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Toy Biz X-Men Series 1 Wolverine and Magneto!

It's the spring of 1992. I had just finished competing in an Odyssey of the Mind competition in Va Beach, and my parents and I are getting ready to head home. "Is there anywhere you'd like to go before we go home?", they ask. I could only think of one place, a place that had been occupying my mind since I first saw it earlier in the day. That place was Children's Palace.

Now, this post isn't really about Children's Palace, but it certainly could be. I had been to Toys R Us a few times, but it was mostly with my neighbor and his family, which meant most of the time we were there was spent in the video games section. I would only get a quick glimpse of the action figure aisles, as we made our way over to the NES and SNES games on display. This time, it was just me and my parents, and I was the one leading the way. I honestly don't think I was prepared for just how amazing Children's Palace was. Back at home, we had a couple of aisles that were full of my favorite action figures. Here, there were 5 or 6 aisles, and it seemed like they went on forever. I had never seen so many toys in one place before. It was a bit intimidating, and I could tell my parents were getting a little impatient, which only added to the pressure. I stood in the middle of an aisle, nearly overwhelmed by all the choices, when a familiar logo caught my eye. Shortly after that, I was back in the car, playing with my two new figures.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Flea-ing the Eastern Shore

A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those rare weekends where I was off from work, and the wife and I didn't have any plans. She was going to be working all day, and I really didn't want to spend the whole weekend in the house, so I decided to go on a little field trip. I decided to to go to the Shore Flea Market.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Nintendo Power's Ninja Gaiden II Strategy Guide

It was, I'm assuming the Christmas season of 1990. My parents and I had just driven to one of my friend's house. I'm not exactly sure why we were there, but as it turns out, they had a couple of gifts for me. One was one of those little Flipsiders games, the kind shaped like a cassette tape. The other one was this lovely bit of reading material right here..

The Nintendo Power Strategy Guide for Ninja Gaiden II. Now, this isn't the same one from that day, at least I don't think it is. This is a copy I found on Amazon, and I'll be damned if it doesn't look exactly like the one I had many years ago. You tend to remember random things like the folds on a magazine's cover. I initially thought it was an odd choice for a gift. I had a decent selection of games for my NES, but I didn't have Ninja Gaiden II, at least not yet. Had my friend's parents accidentally spoiled one of my Christmas gifts for me? Well, as it turns out, they didn't. Ninja Gaiden II wasn't under the tree that year, and as far as I can remember, I never actually owned the game. I rented it a few times, but the difficulty of the game always frustrated me to the point of controller throwing anger. Yet, that still didn't keep me from reading through the guide at least 170 times. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Zero Lives Remaining: A mini review and a giveaway

Late one night, I was browsing through Twitter, and I came across a tweet for a book called Zero Lives Remaining by Adam Cesare. Usually I would ignore what was basically an ad, but the book's description intrigued me. A horror story set in an arcade? Sounds like fun to me. And a lot of fun it was.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

We got a wedding gun.

I used to be a bit of a gun nut. I'd read every gun magazine I could get my hands on. I had a book that covered all of the military small arms of the 20th century. In fact, I think the title was Military Small Arms of the 20th Century. You couldn't watch an action movie without me blurting out the different guns that showed up on screen. Yeah, I was a little weird.

By the time I was 15 or 16, I had a decent little collection, with a few shotguns and a couple of rifles taking up space in my gun cabinet. The first few guns were gifts from my parents and family, while I actually bought the others on my own. With permission, of course. There was never much thought put into them as weapons. Sure, I knew that they could seriously hurt someone, but to me, they were just a means to go hunting, or to go shoot some targets at the farm. It was always exciting to try a new gun, even if it meant I was going to be dealing with a sore shoulder for the next few days. It was a hobby, if a bit of a dangerous one.

As with most things my parents got me into, firearms were promoted as collectibles, things I should hold on to so they'll go up in value. Then I can pass them on to my kids, and they could give them to my grandchildren, etc.. They said the same thing when they got me into comic books in the early 90's. I'm not sure which is worth more these days, the guns or the comics, but I'd probably get more enjoyment out of the comics. Over the years, my collection has grown and shrunk, and I was at a point where I didn't really care to add anything else to it. I already have a cabinet full of guns that don't get shot. I feel like I spend most of my time chasing away the rust.

In other words, I've handled guns a long time, so I feel pretty comfortable being around them in sane and responsible hands. I'm also used to getting them as gifts, since that's how I came to have most of my little arsenal. And that leads me into the second part of the post..

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Hi there. I'd like to introduce you to a short, slimy, green homicidal monster.

Folks, Zullbeast. Zullbeast, folks. Try not to devour everybody.

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