Monday, October 29, 2012

Candy Corn M&Ms--They Weird in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands!

“Hey, do you wanna go behind the bleachers at the high school and eat some crunchy candy corn?”

If a drug dealer were to say this you, you’d probably think Walter White had broke further bad and figured some way to make some sort of orange meth. But when a candy company exec proclaims it, it can only mean one thing—White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms.

While “crunchy candy corn” is one way to describe this candy frankenfood, there’s another descriptor that’s even better—“Weird. Weirdly good.”

This might seem like the fondest of praise, but for something that has so much working against its concept, it’s holding the candy in high regard.
Candy Corn M&Ms
You got Candy Corn in my M&M!
You got M&M in my Candy Corn!
The initial bite is weird. There’s no other way to describe it. I approached it wondering which flavor would overpower the other. It shocked me to find out that neither flavors did, they just existed in a neutrally chocolaty candy corny coexistence. When combined with the crunch of the candy corn shell, it made for a wholly unique (and weird) taste sensation.

That was my thought on the first bite. I have since gone through three more bags. In that time I realized “I’ve gone through three bags of these. They’re not weird, they’re just good!”

How did it come out so well? Sure, the constituent parts are all amazing—white chocolate AND candy corn—but combining them would just seem too decadent. But that’s what makes it work so well.

Candy corn on its own is amazing, one of the food of the gods, ambrosia be damned. White chocolate is an interesting and delicious take on chocolate, one that says “chocolate is so good, it will be even better without any chocolate in it.”

Generally with this knowledge, people have no idea what to do with it. People think “Hmmm, this tastes great on its own, so I should probably combine it with something that 90 percent of the population hates!” And this is why there are so many macadamia nut raisin white chocolate affronts to God.

Combining sweet with sweet works really well, because it amplifies the awesomeness of both candies.
Candy Corn M and M
Candy always tastes better when its mascot looks ridiculous.

I really think my girlfriend best summarized the white chocolate candy corn M&M experience when she had her first (and last) M. She immediately said “I can feel the cavities forming.” To her, this was an insult, but to me, this is the reason Halloween, and candy in general, exists. Nobody approaches candy with the theory that it won’t destroy your gums and will to live. People approach candy with the idea that it will taste amazingly awesome and make the 5 figure dental bills totally worth it.

That’s the reason why people who give out toothpaste and dental floss for Halloween get egged, while the people who give out full size candy bars see the same kid make slight modifications to his costume so he can go back and back and back through the line. Those people understand candy; those people understand the value of having crunchy candy corn. This is why the deliciousness that is White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms should be on everyone’s mind this holiday season.

So yes, yes I do believe I’ll have some crunchy candy corn. Behind the high school bleachers you say? Excellent.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Adults Can Go Trick-or-Treating, with the Right Amount of Lies and Weaponry

So you've finally reached that tender age where you're no longer socially allowed to go trick-or-treating. For many people this comes with the teenage years. For most smart people, this comes when they turn 23.

But all these people are absolutely fools who give into the artificial construct of being “too old to go trick-or-treating.” Don't worry though, with the following eHow, you won't have to worry about getting refused candy for merely being on the Earth too long. Instead you will be showered with all sorts of deliciousness that many of your peers are foolishly giving out to other people. That’s right, with this tutorial, you won’t have to give out candy, and you’ll get some instead, putting you doubly ahead.

eHow to go Trick-or-Treating at Any Age
1.      Step one in getting on the Trick-or-Treating bandwagon is to claim you were never allowed to celebrate as a child. You can always claim something like you came from a strict family of satanists who viewed the commercialization of the holy season as an affront to their religious beliefs. This will both endear you to the trick-or-treatee and also make them fear you and your unholy family, resulting in a candy haul doubling or maybe even triple the going rate. Extreme fear will also cause them to avoid giving crap candy like Smarties.
Smarties Candy
Don't be stupid, be a Smartie and stab anyone who
gives out Smarties.
2.      You can also always claim you’re out trick-or-treating for your child who has some debilitating disease like laziness. The bonus associated with this one is you don't even need to slap together some costume. A mere “Concerned Parent” look on your face is all that you need. Plus, when they try giving you bad candy like Smarties, you can lash out at them and say “Do you THINK my Jonathan would like Smarties!?!?” Sure, they might think you're a jerk, but they should be thinking that about Jonathan, who doesn't exist. To further sell this one, practice sayings like “Oh, Jonathan came down with dysentery. What an awful time for him to start playing Oregon Trail. Give me candy.”

3.      At this point you might be getting a little squeamish about all the lies. Just sit back and realize that this is a kid/satanic cult focused holiday and using these strategies just play into that audience. It’s not Halloween without lies.

Perfect adult Trick-or-Treating
costume. Note, please use real
weaponry. Second note, please put
candy (not money) in bag.

4.      To move away from the cloak and dagger-ness of the lies I laid out, you can always just go as a bank robber (the anti-cloak and dagger). Toss on your favorite striped shirt, eye mask and automatic weaponry. When you brandish that 9×19mm Parabellum with armor piercing bullets, you know they’re going to give you candy. You can even force them to sort out all the bad candy (like Smarties).

5.      There’s nothing wrong with brandishing eggs as part of your robber ensemble.

6.      The one thing I’ll warn against is, as an adult, you might feel some level of remorse for your evil doings all throughout the night. Don’t worry, this is completely understandable. As penance, you will have to consume all the Smarties in your loot sack. What, there aren’t any you say? Well then I guess you’ve learned your lesson.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gangnam Style Costume Shows No Style This Halloween

With all this talk of the Halloween season and what not to wear, there's one category I felt needed an entire entry of its own.

This Halloween, don't go Gangnam Style.

Gangnam Style is the insane “dance” “craze” “started” by “some person” “named” “Psy.” If you didn't notice an abundance of quotation marks in that sentence, you are probably a corpse and should go as that for Halloween. But if you are breathing and took note of my linguistic mastery, you'd realize I dislike Gangnam Style and I shudder to think of how many people will go as some pony Asian person this Halloween.

That last line isn’t meant to sound like some bizarre racial slur, that’s what the video is—a pudgy Asian person who dances like a pony. To many people that phrase makes absolutely no sense, but to the video’s 430 million YouTube viewers, it makes complete sense, and they will be certain to deck themselves out as Psy, the guy in the yellow suit or various hot women who want to look like a horse.

Just don't do it.

I’m against Gangnam Style inspired costumes because of its popularity. This might sound hipsterish of me, but my costumes garner a roughly three percent acceptance rate, whereas this would notch probably somewhere in the 60 percents, and that is NOT a good thing.

Gangnam Style is this year's “Dick in a Box,” “Joker” or “Dora the Explorer.” It's the costume style that just about everyone is going to be sporting, which means you don't want to rep it. Going Gangnam Style would be like going as Rebecca Black in 2011. It would just feel like unjustified trend hopping that no one could appreciate. Wait a year, because those who go as Rebecca Black this year will get mad props—it's old enough to be old, but not new enough to be fresh.

Man in the Yellow Hat Style
Oddly enough, I am okay with this hipsterish
Man in the Yellow Hat costume.
This might be an adequate costume for somebody who is already a pudgy person of Asian descent—you can only go as E. Honda so many times. But beyond that, what this costume will amount to is a lot of white people dressing and make-upping to look like Psy, and that’s going to result in everyone who’s not dressed as Psy (one person) to deem everyone else racist.

There is one Gangnam-inspired costume that I wholly support. Affix a whiteboard to your chest, deck it out to look like a YouTube frame and write “Number of Gangnam Style costumes I’ve seen tonight” on it. Every time you see another, bump up the list. But make sure to leave plenty of room, because Psy’s 15 minutes ensure a figure that’s at least seven digits.

Sure, that costume wouldn’t exist without the Gangnam Style video, and it should technically be considered a tally on the white board, but it’s really a way to make a hipster costume without making a hipster costume, and for many people that’s the goal of any Halloween costume.

Yes, Gangnam Style will be a really excellent costume choice in about seven years—at that point only three percent of people will look fondly in their closet and find their stark yellow blazer. And then it will be an amazing costume, but for 2012, Psy’s 15 minutes of fame remain and the costume is wholly idiotic.

Monday, October 8, 2012

In 1492, Colombus Ate Brains for Two

Today is the most joyous of days, for today people worldwide celebrate Christopher Columbus Day!

I realize many people are probably thinking I've fallen into some sort of time warp back to like the 1950s when people actually cared about Christopher Columbus and his “accomplishments,” but that just isn't so. I'm pumped to celebrate Christopher Columbus Day this year, because I found out the dickish explorer was actually a zombie!

Don’t think I’m trying to make some bizarre tie in between a fake holiday like Christopher Columbus Day with a real one like the entire month of October (minus the second Monday), but new journals have recently arisen showing the ghastly zombie connection of Mr. Columbus, or as he liked to be called by his close personal friends “Senor Bone Grinder.”

Recently, historians discovered Spanish King Ferdinand’s castle butler Francisco Calderon's journal, and the tidbits revealed in it fully support the zombification of Columbus. These documents reveal Columbus spent most of his adult life as a brain hungry zombie.

An excerpt.

Senor Columbus sauntered into the room with the type of swagger stereotypical to someone not of this earth. He went up to the leader of our solemn nation and growled out a greeting.

“Rounnnnnnnnnnnnd,” the future explorer uttered.
“Oh Christopher Columbus, why ever are thee talking such silly talk? You didn’t even wish me the fondest of evenings,” the Spanish king responded in a surprisingly British sounding dialect.
“Rounnnnnnnnnnnnd,” Columbus reiterated.
“Now now, Christopher Columbus, we’ve certainly had our fun for the day with all the laughing and talk of nonsense. But you, you scurry along now, you delightful scamp!”

Zombie Christopher Columbus
I didn't even need to apply a filter to make
Columbus look like a zombie in this picture
At that point, Columbus definitely scurried, but it most certainly was not along. The conquistador to be flung himself on the savior of our land. After several bitter bites, various gnashings and cheap shot or two to Queen Isabella, the two men continued their conversation.

“Brainnnnnnnnnns,” said Ferdinand.
“No! Brainnnnnnns!”

It went on like this for three days before they finally agreed Columbus should set sail and discover new lands.

In hindsight, this all makes a lot of sense. Just think about it, the smallpox that subjected 90 percent of the native population to death? Zombies. How he thought he was in Asia, despite the presence of no Asians? Zombies. The horrible slant rhyme scheme of his ship naming? Brain dead zombies. How he made everyone call him “Bub?” Day of the Dead zombies.

Finding out that he had these zombiely instincts actually makes me like Christopher Columbus just a bit more. By the time I was in elementary school, the public education system was villifying him for all the enslavement and death he caused, not to mention the time he stole  Henry Oscar Houghton’s milk money.

But with these documents, I actually feel better about whole-heartedly (and whole-braindedly) celebrating Christopher Columbus Day today. Christopher Columbus apparently wasn’t some guy who decided to subjugate an entire continent of people just because he was a dick He did it because he was a zombie… who was also a dick.

The best part about this revelation is zombies have the capability to live for eternity. With the right amount of TLC, and, well, brains, they can lead happy, healthy lives. And that means Mr. Columbus could still be gallivanting this earth. What better way to celebrate his namesake holiday than by eviscerating his head with a chainsaw—I actually believe that's how Arbor Day came about.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

This Halloween, I Have the Power--VIDEO POWER

Video Power.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, that's my Halloween costume for this year.

Because after Ug and Anal Bleed Poof, you can really only go with “Video Power.”

For those who still don't know what I'm talking about, I recommend you go back in time and check out a fine television game show with this name. In it, highly velcro-ed kids would wander through a maze, grabbing video games off of various walls and sticking them to the velcro, ermmmm, power suits. If the made it through the slide at the end of the “maze”, they would get to keep ALL the games stuck to them and even had the possibility of winning a Sega Genesis (with THREE buttons).

Now, this was a great show, but for some reason very few people remember it. Probably only me, and the guy who played “Johnny Arcade” even know of its existence. And I'm certain I remember the rules and regulations better than that putz. Like he probably doesn't remember the episode where after getting through the maze, the kid starts jumping up and down, ostensibly celebrating, but actually taking games from the wall and adding them to his vest. I remember that.

But therein lies a potential problem with my costume—few people are going to remember the show. As I said last week, I am for getting three percent of people to recognize my Halloween costumes. And if only me and a guy who probably OD'd on Pixie Stix are the only ones who remember, that leaves little for recognition.

Compounding matters, there were actually two vastly different seasons of Video Power. The game show season was actually the second season. The first version was basically a cheap knock off of “Captain N and the Game Masters,” without the big name licenses like Mega Man or Mother Brain. There's a very select crowd of people who, when I mention I'm a guy from Video Power, will say “You're not Tyrone, the foul-mouthed Arch Rivals character!”

That's very true. But I'm comforted by the fact that anyone THAT into the minuteae of crappy 90s cartoons probably isn't very cool. Definitely not as cool as me, proponent of early 90s game shows.

My end all statement to stop people questioning me will be to rip a game off my vest and say “This is what Alleyway looked like!” The complete non-sequitor will derail any sort of argumentative momentum they might have, and I'll be able to Video Power off into the sunset.

One of the key aspects of my costume construction is I must be able to make it myself for about $20. Luckily, the Video Power costume is relatively simple. Get a vest, stitch on patches of yellow velcro and then glue red and yellow velcro onto a bike helmet. Costume complete.

I might not achieve the three percent recognition target I strive to achieve, because this costume is even more esoteric than something like “Mr. Bananagrabber,” but I figure just about everyone will agree with a costume taken from a show that involves both velcro and video games. How could they not?

Finally, this costume will be so good, I'm certain Mr. Johnny Arcade himself will reward me with a Genesis. In fact, I know it... but then again, I suppose I'm putting “Johnny on the Spot.”

Monday, October 1, 2012

Scaring Up Some Awesome Halloween Costumes

It's October, and at, that means we become No, I didn't register that name, because who wants to pony up the scratch for just one month of content. But I am going to use this opportunity to focus entirely on Halloween related activities--everything from candy corn, to candy corn M&Ms to candy corn popcorn, and whatever the heck else people do in this enlightened month.

Key to making a horrorific Halloween is having a good costume, but this presents a great challenge to many people. They think the whole process is annoying and hard, so they compromise and showcase “creativity” by just being someone from Batman.

Those people are kind of lame, but to many, Halloween is about making that special costume that dips into a level of esoteric where roughly three percent of people understand it, but those people will love it 110 percent.

Ash from Evil Dead. Preparation H Raymond. Trotter from Upright Citizen's Brigade. Motherfucking Snakes on a Motherfucking Plane. Flying Spaghetti Monster. Ma-Ti from Captain Planet. Mr. Bananagrabber from “Arrested Development.” Ug from “Salute Your Shorts,” and most recently, the cotton poof with an anal bleed from Don Hertzfeldt's “Rejected.”

My Anus is Bleeding
One person hugged me... as the anal bleed.

That's the laundry list of costumes I've created over the past decade. Some caused people to whoop with joy, but the majority of people reacted with confused ambivalence. When I explained to one of my coworkers my history of costumes, his response was to roll his eyes and proclaim “Have you ever thought about just being a ghost?” The succinct answer to that question is “No,” but the more in-depth answer is “Oh dear lord no!”

Creative costumes made from random Goodwill items just have a wholesomeness that a Leg Avenue costume could never hope to achieve. But with these creative setups, make sure you have an elevator pitch lined up. A 12 second or so statement to describe what you are. You don't want people thinking you're just in a banana costume; you want them to see you have a cutout of a Segway.

Instead of being the guy who “dressed” as the Guitar Hero guitar by wearing a black jacket, blackface and drawing multi-colored bars on his face, you can be the guy who says “Have you been touched by my noodly appendage? People might not have understood what I was after my pitch, but at least I didn't have to explain it 17 times a minute.

One other thing, never resort to wearing a costume that involves a rubber mask. Those are just stupid and they reek. Reek of both unoriginality and the smell of latex. Neither are fun, unless you use them for fun.

Birdo from Super Mario Brothers 2
Birdo might get even more than
three percent love!
Instead, feel free to choose a costume from the following list, they're precision designed to make upwards of 12 people give you a hug. And hopefully one of those might be a hot girl who just happens to love your Ina Garten “Barefoot Contessa” Muu Muu ensemble.

Requiem for a Dream
Those kids, they just seemed to have the best time in the first half of the film. Always laughing, talking about the television and getting juiced by Tappy, juiced by Tappy. Sure, the latter part didn't work out so hot for them, but if you happen to have an amputee, a hardcore lipstick lesbian and a black guy in your group of friends, you can definitely pull off this amazing group costume. Oh, and you'll need to be on uppers.

What better way to creep others out than by being a Type 1 Diabetic? Test your blood and inject yourself with insulin whilst trick-or-treating, and everyone will have quite the fright.

Boulder from Indiana Jones
To most people, a boulder just looks like a hobo dressed in a garbage sack. And for all intents and purposes, that’s what it is. But if you coordinate with an Indy, you have a perfect combination.

Birdo from Super Mario Brothers 2
For anyone who wants to be a sweet transvestite but doesn't want to go through the leg-shaving trouble of creating a Dr. Frank-N-Furter (a scientist) costume, Birdo is your next best bet. Apparently the mistranslated Super Mario Brothers 2 manual referred to him as a he, and that identity has stuck through ever game he's since appeared. Just mold some Styrofoam into the proper shape, layer on a pink sweat suit and you're good to go.

Tune in Thursday to find out what I eventually decided to become. Trust me, it's a costume filled with video and power that when I came up with the concept caused me to remark “Well, that might just be the most esoteric costume I could ever imagine.” And that's coming from a guy who went as Mr. Bananagrabber, a one off character who appeared in 10 seconds of one episode of “Arrested Development.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Just to Courteous to Give Courteousy Wave

Vroooom, vrooom, vrooom, Shrump. Rush rush. Cut. Cut. Go.
Vroooom, vrooom, vrooom, Shrump. Rush rush. Cut. Cut. Go.

This is the best I could onomatopoeia-ically describe the sound of me getting cut off. Twice. Normally, cutting someone off is viewed as both a threat to life and adequate driving skills. However, in this case, I'm actually okay with the situation. Why? Because the cutters made certain to shoot me a courtesy wave and ameliorate the situation.

For those who have never touched an automobile before, here is the background on a courtesy wave. In the world of cars, when someone does you a solid, something that saves your life in some way, like letting you merge from a ramp—thus preventing you from smashing into those big yellow barrels that I can only assume contain some sort of fuel and accelerant that would explode like it's in a mid-90s era light gun game. When situations like that occur, the solid-receiver is expected to throw up a wave to courteously let the other driver know they’re giving respect. It also lets them say “I’m an idiot, thanks” without having to verbalize it.
Guy giving courtesy wave
Courtesy wave, driver lives.

Not only are courtesy waves courteous, they've also come to be expected. If you don't do one, bad things are likely to happen. The case of William S. Brooks is proof positive of the power of the courtesy wave. In 1996, he was driving to his home in Olympia, WA, when Brian Michaelson, a 30-year-old roofing contractor cut him off. In Brooks' words, it wasn't a “bad cutoff,” but a cutoff nonetheless. He waited the requisite 7.3 seconds to see if Michaelson did shoot up the courtesy wave.

When no wave came, Brooks proceeded to run Michaelson off and repeatedly shoot him with a crossbow he kept in the back of the cabin of his Ford F-150. After Michaelson expired, Brooks reportedly waved at him before getting back in his car and continuing his drive.

At trial, Brooks took the stand and mentioned the lack of courtesy wave and how this made him feel sad. It took the jury 20 minutes to find him not guilty on all accounts. And that justified jury of course got a strong courtesy wave from Brooks, the purveyor of kindness.

Penguin Courtesy Wave
Thanks, driving penguin!
As Mr. Brooks' case shows, the courtesy wave has much power on the road and in the minds of feeble-minded juries. But it seems to be relegated to only driving or biking sorts of situations. I'd like to see the wave crawl out of the car ghettos and apply it to other parts of life.

“Oops, sorry I Ponzi schemed you (wave),” - Bernie Madoff.
“I'll get you in your dreams (wave),” Freddy Krueger—made doubly scary because the claw hand is doing the wave.
“So long, Mr. William S. Brooks (wave),” - Miranda Michaelson.
“Sorry I needed to go back to the well and make another X-Files movie that really sucked. Cheers,” Chris Carter says very Britishly as he raises his right hand in a conciliatory fashion. Apology accepted Mr. X-Files, just don't do it again.

While the courtesy wave has courtesy in the title, it's really a common expectation. If you don't do it, nobody likes you and you're a horrible person. Please, always courtesy wave, it's the right thing to do.

So feel free to vroom and shrump on the road, just make sure to do it courteously.