Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Candy Oscars 2008 - Part 5

Dr. Scab offers his finest, scabbiest treats for your eating pleasure.

Today, the wait is over. Halloween is here, and I've rolled out the bloody red carpet because it is a special occasion. This is the first time I've chosen a best chocolate for Halloween.

Is it true that good things come to those who wait? If you've waited this long to buy your Halloween candy, perhaps not, as all the good stuff is likely gone. But if you've stuck around to see the final installment of the Halloween Candy Oscars 2008 you're in for a treat.

Crummy candy companies like to shrink their standard chocolates to the tiniest sizes they can get away with. They call these dwarf treats "fun size" when the reality is they are not fun at all.

Everyone knows that with the exception of hamsters, small things aren't fun. Bigger is always better, so why are these candy companies trying to trick us into thinking small is the new fun? History will prove that society will not fall for this bit of trickery. Especially if companies like Hershey have anything to say.

Reese is the Pumpking. Ew. Huh?Around here, it is always a challenge to find Halloween-themed chocolate. But when the rare few companies put the effort into making these once-a-year treats, I will always return the favour by buying them, eating them, then excreting them. One of the best finds on store shelves is the Reese Pumpkin. Roughly pumpkin-shaped, this peanut butter delight is bigger than a regular Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Other than the size and shape, it is identical to a regular 'nut cup, which is, fantastic. Its pumpkinish shape makes eating it an even happier experience, if that is possible. Only something gory or oozing could possibly make the Reese Pumpkin better.

Enter Palmer and their tasty Dr. Scab's Monster Lab body parts. The excellent artwork on the box features body parts bursting through a rotted coffin, and even a Jacob's ladder. When the outside of the packaging is good, what's inside usually follows suit.

Inside the box, each chocolate is individually wrapped in recyclable foil. Choices are double crisp fingers, ears & toes, peanut butter filled lips and fudge filled eyes. Oozing body parts and crunchy digits make eating fun!The foil around each chocolate is printed in colour, and specific to each body part! This attention to detail is exactly what I look for in my 'ween candy. At first I wasn't expecting these to be good. To be honest, I was expecting that cheap water chocolate that's so horrible you'd rather eat your own mother's disemboweled internal bits. But I was totally surprised to find that this chocolate is very, very good. It was extremely sweet and tasty to the max.

The chocolate (and the peanut butter for that matter) in each of the opponents is not really comparable because they are so different. So, it is a matter of your own personal preference. But, considering the environment, the Palmer chocolates are a no-brainer as the packaging is 100% recyclable vs. only 50% for the Reese Pumpkin. The Monster Lab's gruesome foil wraps for each body part are a real bonus and it's because of this prime Halloween detail that I have to conclude 2008's Halloween Candy Oscars by awarding the best Halloween chocolate to Palmer for Dr. Scab's Monster Lab body parts.

Two totally green, stitched-together-but-still-oozing-a-little-bit Frankenstein thumbs up for the sweet chocolate, and the wicked foil wrap on each one. This kind of treat really puts the big-name chocolate companies to shame as they put greater care into making kids' Halloween nights (and the belly-aching days that follow) super-duper special.

Check out Halloween Candy Oscars - Part 4.
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars - Part 3.
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars - Part 2.
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars - Part 1.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Candy Oscars 2008 - Part 4

Kids, don't eat candy you find laying around inside haunted houses.Watching all these Freddy & Jason movies at Halloween has really got me in the mood for cutting and slashing. As you can see, with Halloween just around the corner, I'm really cutting it close with my Halloween Candy Oscars!

Sticking with that theme, I'm moving on to best gummy candy for 2008, starting with the gory body parts found inside the Spooktacular Mansion. The mansion is essentially a shoebox. On the box is a cartoonish haunted house surrounded by goofy-looking ghosts with their tongues hanging out, a couple of bats and a few truly evil-looking jack-o-lants, perhaps to offset the silliness.

For less than nine dollars you get 70 gummy body parts. These body parts include severed ears & noses, a poppped-out eye, gruesome disfigured hillbilly teeth and, confusingly, a pair of lips. But really, the lips may be the most frightening gummy of all as you feebly attempt to imagine of how this precision act was accomplished. Yes, the mystery of how the lips were sliced off will gnaw at your brain while you gnaw on the surprisingly un-bloody lips.

The colours of the Spooktacular Mansion gummies are simple and muted. In fact, there really are only two colours on the gummies: pink and white. But the eyeball contains a black pupil of death that's worth mentioning.

Kids, don't eat grandpa's dentures.The overall detail on the Spooktacular Mansion gummies is not excellent. There are air bubbles and imperfections in them. In my twisted & scrunched opinion, however, this actually adds to the effect of the teeth, my favourite of the bunch. The overall flavour of the gummies is good. They're not the best I've ever had but there is nothing bad about them and if I caught you throwing one out I'd smack your face. You heard me.

Dead set (pardon the pun) on regaining the title after losing last year, Frankford has brought back their creepy coffin full of Gummy Body Parts for another go at it. For about eleven dollars (just below the average donation to GreenPeace) you get 100 gummies. Body parts have remained the same with a bloody nose, dismembered foot, severed ear, severed thumb, eyeball and set of Dracula fangs.

The Frankford gummies are very yummy. My mutated taste buds prefer their bloody flavour over the Spooktacular Mansion gummies. The colours are also very good. Blood is red, while skin tones are pink. Other details are white.

If you enjoy displaying your candy rather than eating it, Frankford wins, first with their superior detail on the actual body parts and again with their creepy, nifty and cardboardy reusable coffin display container. If you love all things Halloween and always wanted a coffin displayed in your bedroom but your mom wouldn't let you because uncle Christopher was starting to stink up the place, this is a good compromise.

These are the kinds of details that really send great companies over the top. For their superior Halloween packaging and overall better gummies, Frankford wins yet again as I award them the Halloween Candy Oscar for the best Gummy Body Parts. Two vampire fangs up for their good wholesome gummy flavour and the super special coffin they come in. Eating blood body parts hasn't been this fun since, well, last Hallowe'en.

Check out Halloween Candy Oscars - Part 3.
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars - Part 2.
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars - Part 1.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Candy Oscars 2008 - Part 3

Blood is good. Makes lollipops taste awesome. Plus, it keeps you alive.

Believe it or not, there are some people in the world who are not aware that Halloween is the greatest time of year. Surprising, I know. Yet, it remains a fact.

Speaking of facts, the Halloween Candy Oscars are the perfect place to discover facts about the best Halloween candy. Facts such as the best gumballs are ball-shaped. You see, the triangular ones are too sharp. Chewing those for a few seconds and your delicious gum suddenly begins to taste like a penny as the blood from your shredded mouth overwhelms your tastebuds. And while it may be Halloweeny to have blood pouring from your mouth, your gum simply doesn't taste very good.

Now, for Anyone who wanted to know what the best lollipop is for Halloween, you've come to the right place.

Back again is last year's best Halloween lollipop, the Creepy Pop by Jolly Rancher. These goulish pops haven't changed a bit since last year. Head options continue to be the lord of darkness (Dracula), an evil jack-o-lantern, a squiggling, wriggling ghost and a human head with no skin, muscle or flesh on it. IE, a skull. Do you dare to ram the scariness into your mouth?!Flavours are identical to the sweet tastiness of Jolly Rancher candies, but renamed to make them frightening: Eerie Apple, Spooky Blue Raspberry, Wacky Watermelon and Goulish Grape.

Seems the desire to one-up your neighbour is universally consistent - even confectionary companies compete to outdo each other with the most radicallest Halloween candy. This is evident with Frankford's entry into the lollipop category this year.

Frankford has introduced Harry Potter Blood Pops. They are Strawberry flavoured and each bag is supposed to contain 28 lollies. Again, I had to count how many I actually got and again I was surprised to find another company that can't count. My bag contained a whopping TWO extra Blood Pops.

Harry Potter Blood Pops, made in Chile, are surprisingly similar to the deceased Charm's Dead Heads.

Oh no! Have I been shot? Nope. Just a lolly.The packaging declares your mouth will turn blood red. The question is, will it? Can these suckers possibly live up to the exceptionally high standard set by Charm's wonderful creation? The answer is yes. In fact, upon eating one I suddenly found myself screaming "Oh dear God! I'm bleeding! I've sliced my mouth wide open with the razor sharp edges of this Harry Potter Blood... oh waitaminuite..." before realizing it was just the silly lollipop doing its job.

On top of that, they are surprisingly tasty. I am not a fan of artifical strawberry flavour and I was not expecting to like these at all. But I was very, very wrong.

There are good lollipops out there. Tootsie Pops are still great, and always will be, but they just don't fulfill the proper critera for Halloween. The Creepy Pops are totally excellent and I had a tough time deciding against them.

If a company can create a strawberry flavoured chunk of sugar to suck on that even I like, it's got to be good. It almost seems like Dead Heads have been resurrected for another year as Frankford has borrowed two of Dead Heads' key features: an awesome flavour oh-so-close to a Dead Head, and the way they turn your mouth red. For those reasons I have no choice but to declare Harry Potter Blood Pops the best Halloween lollipop for 2008. Two oozing zombie thumbs up for their taste and how they make your mouth totally bloody without eating an apple full of razor blades.

Check out Halloween Candy Oscars - Part 2.
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars - Part 1.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Candy Oscars 2008 - Part 2

Eyes are individually wrapped to preserve freshness, and guaranteed cataract-free.

Halloween is a time of year when children are encouraged to ask strangers for candy. Bizarre as it may seem, this is part of Halloween's charm. When else can one dress up as George Dubya and be admired? When else, besides the day you learn out to break off the tracking anklet, can you creep around in the dark without adult supervision? And when else, aside from robbing the local candy emporium, can you take home thirty-seven pounds of candy for FREE?

Yes, Halloween is like some surreal fantasy where the only thing sweeter than the treats are the girls dressed like Princess Leia in the gold bikini.

Upon unloading a haul of 'ween candy, however, it is disappointing to find regular corner-store gum mixed in with the other awesomeness. It's like walking into a Sci-Fi Convention only to find that every single person has, just like you, dressed as a Stormtrooper. There are no Princesses to be seen. That's why Oak Leaf's Spooky Eyes continue to be a welcome addition to Halloween-themed candy.

This year, as last, I was only able to find two kinds of Halloween Gum. The first is Bubble Brew, which is simply orange and black gumballs with simple pumpkin faces stamped, quite simply, onto them. Simple, really. Bubble Brew also contained regular boring gumballs mixed with the Pumpkin Faces gum.

The second is Spooky Eyes which, although made by the same company, are very different. The difference is the detail. Exquisite detail. Each bloodshot eyeball contains a pupil in the shape of a tiny skull and surrounded by little veins. This is really great stuff. What kid wouldn't like a veiny eyeball to chew?

The bag I bought was also massive at nearly 1 kilogram! In the top corner there was a deadly declaration that the bag contained 95 eerie eyeballs. The skeptic in me had to count them all to see how badly I got ripped off. As I approached a count of 90 I realized I was very wrong.

102 was the total. With 7 bonus gumballs, I was very impressed.

Sadly, Concord Confections still hasn't resurrected their Halloween Combo, despite 3 emails to them from yours truly. 2005's Halloween Candy winner, the absolute best Halloween gum anyone could possibly imagine, remains buried in the candy graveyard.

And so, for 2008, I crown Spooky Eyes the Best Halloween Gum for 2008. Two dusty mummy thumbs up for their exceptional skull pupil detail and tasty gum flavour that runs out in less than 90 seconds.

Check out 2008's Halloween Candy Oscars - Part 1.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Halloween Candy Oscars 2008 - Part 1

Chewing monster heads is the candy connoisseur's preferred way to dine on October 31.

As you know by now, here at DMC&ME, I am completely dead-icated to all things Halloween. Dead puppies, dead kittens and dead monkeys, but unfortunately not Charms Dead Heads, as I learned they were foolishly discontinued by irresponsible mortals who understand not the power of 'Ween. However, there is always something tasty around the corner waiting to replace the forgotten candy of yesteryear.

With that, I bring you the best Halloween candy of 2008 - it's time again for the totally unfamous Halloween Candy Oscars! Now with extra chuff and even more candy than ever before!

There are many important aspects of Halloween, and candy is right up there at the top. As I've said before, sugary 'Ween treats, the ultimate prize for a hard night of walking and begging, shouldn't simply be miniature versions of regular chocolate bars. They should be unique and special, available only at Halloween. Those are the companies, the ingenious, proud and few that deserve our kudos, and our cash.

So, three cheers for Frankford who have brought the 'ween-loving public Marshmallow Pals in my first category of Best Halloween Candy 2008: Best Marshmallow Candy.

Chomp their heads, before they chomp yours!The packaging declares these devilish characters to be "Hand Decorated Witches, Pumpkins & Monsters." The monsters are Frankenstein and Dracula and both are goulishly green. Upon biteage, the marshmallowy goodness is superb, while the candy details add a burst of flavour and an awesome crunch reminiscent of chewing on bones. (Not that I've ever chewed human remains.) The details, pre-digestion of course, are superb thanks to well trained slave-child labourers in China, where they're produced. The size is also very good. I've placed a quarter beneath for comparison. Unfortunately, the lameass name, Marshmallow Pals, just doesn't do it for me.

Moving on, I was very excited to see Hershey's Marshmallow Pumpkins this year. I spotted them first at the Hershey Store in Niagara Falls. At a price of $1.49 each, I knew they'd be good, covered in scrumptious dark chocolate. I decided to buy a few, in case I couldn't find them elsewhere.

Marshmallow turds are delightful.As I suspected, the chocolate was dark, like the inside of a mouldy jack-o-lantern on November 29th, and delicious like a hamburger with caramel, cookies and chocolate all over it. Inside, the gooey marshmallow oozed and compressed between my teeth. It took me nearly 47 minutes to finish the huge marshmallow. It was a quality Hershey product, no bones about it.

However, the 'pumpkin' aspect of it was lost. Instead, it appeared more like a smooth, round turd - something the sun had baked after the dog caringly placed it in your shoe at the back door one hot summer's day. Additionally, I found these at a local Dollar Store for a mere 50 cents each. It was a simple decision to buy more, as the ones I'd already bought would not last until Halloween.

With no detail on the Hershey Pumpkins, and a huge and insulting price discrepancy, I decided to award this year's Best Marshmallow Candy to Frankford's super cool Marshmallow Pals! Two crunchy skeleton thumbs up for their fantastic designs and yummy tastiness.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Birthday Whoa's

Warning: DeLorean in the sunset can cause blindness.

After a rotten run of luck, my finiky DeLorean (which requires ridiculous amounts of pampering) treated me to a nice birthday surprise when I took it for a birthday spin the other day.

I was feeling pretty down when my 10-year old baby bushy nose pleco flipped a kidney on my birthday, instantly cutting my pleco collection in half. To one. A few short hours later I was slicing my fingers to ribbons with an x-acto knife. And maybe I can attribute that to my unstable condition, or maybe just a severe sugar low as I starve myself of candy before the launch of the Halloween Candy Oscars, but either way it was a crummy weekend that left me feeling down.

With the sun setting I hopped in the DeLorean and crossed my bloody, shredded fingers. The D started instantly and I rolled out into the road for the first time in months. I giddily (and nerdily) pumped my bleeding fist, sending a mist of red into the air.

As with all my little joyrides, I ended up at the conservation area at the end of my street, the same place I took photos last year. Feeling woozy from the blood loss, I pulled around the back to a desolate roadway.

Camera in hand I launched the door skyward and hopped out. Sun glinted off the body, oftentimes blinding me as I snapped a couple of pictures. A few onlookers gawked for a few seconds and it crossed my mind that perhaps it wasn't the DeLorean they were looking at but the blood gushing from my left hand.

A small group of hikers stopped and stared for a minute, and a faint "whoa" drifted across the grass. Like the sun, it was a nice distraction while it lasted. As dusk set it I drove home, jabbing the accelerator between shifts. I've always defended the 130 hp Peugeot Renault Volvo engine and again I was surprised at the amount of power underfoot.

Back at home, with skulls, cauldrons and severed heads in every room, reality set in and I bid my poor baby bushy nose pleco farewell.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Ottawa

Didn't get my new house - I lowballed them... offered 9.7 mil.

What do I have in common with Prime Ministerial candidates Stephen Harper, Stephan Dion, Jack Layton and Elizabeth May? Absolutely nothing, as opposed to them, I spent thanksgiving weekend in Ottawa.

Suz and I were visiting her CBC reporter sister who lives about 2 blocks from Parliament hill with her super sweet kitty who enjoys scratching her own face and long walks on the beach.

I spent lots of time checking out the gothic Parliament buildings and beautifully manicured surroundings for the first time since somewhere around the time my armpits started needing their own manicuring.

I love to pour buckets of blood from this guy's mouth.While enjoying the amazing fall colours, I also took the opportunity to enjoy the Halloween aspects of the main building, namely the gargoyles. The gothic 'goyles jut out from the base of the clock on the Peace Tower. If they were functional (and I do not know if they are) they would likely spew water runoff collected from the steep roof. The copper roof is probably a huge bonus. I suspect even the most experienced steep-pitch roofers would probably balk at that particular roofing job, but not without taking a non-refundable 25% deposit first, of course.

But the architecture wasn't the only beautiful thing on Parliament hill this weekend. Flocks of photographers and tourists flooding the area also found the river views, the autumn trees, and the shithead statuary spectacular.

With such amazing scenery and architecture distracting Canada's leader, it is a wonder anything ever, uh, gets done on, um... Parliament hill. Right.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Weird Fall Harvest

Two different berries from one bush - it's a freak of nature!

With mutant fruit and nightmarish spiders building human-sized webs in my backyard, even my garden knows something creepy is in the air. Yes, Halloween is coming.

Even now our raspberry bush is producing mass quantities of the delicious fruit that is its namesake. The red berries are delicious. The red berries are juicy. But that's not all.

When I first saw these white raspberries growing on our raspberry bush in late July I thought they simply weren't ripe yet. Then I noticed something. The pee-coloured berries were falling off, landing in the snot-coloured grass, and turning to mushy ectoplasmic goo.

So, of course I decided to eat a few of the white raspberries. They were very sweet, but had a much different flavour than the red berries hanging on the branch beside them. I couldn't say for sure that I liked them yet, there was nothing really 'wrong' with them.

Curious, I checked Google & Yahoo to see if I could find any information on the mutant berries. To my surprise, I couldn't. All I could find was more people asking more questions about what they are, and what they're worth. Finally, I stumbled across this link, informing my uninformed brain that they're actually called Golden Raspberries and indeed, they are rare. Delving deeper into the mystery of the pee-coloured berries, I found this site: Supermarketguru.

It seems people like the uriney berries. And that means, to be fair to the poor berries, I'll have to give them one more chance to delight my tastebuds before the frost kills them all.

There's a moral to this story: It just goes to show you shouldn't judge anything by its colour. Except crayons. Yeah. You pretty much get what you ask for with crayons.

And yellow doesn't necessarily mean yucky. Except pee.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hallowe'en Countdown

Complete randomness, or clever costume?

Corpses, blood, severed heads, death, the stench of rotting flesh, and something creeping around in the dark. Yes, October 1st is here and the Halloween countdown has begun. If you're like me I know you're thinking, "I won't be able to sleep" and it has nothing to do with those eyes staring at you from outside your bedroom window.

But for me Halloween started a long time ago. It started in April, when I ordered goodies for half price. And then it continued into August and September when I began working on my costume for 2008.

This year I'm tackling the biggest, most ambitious costume project I've ever attempted. And if things continue the way they're going, it's also going to be the most expensive costume I've ever made.

Supplies have been rather difficult to come by, but I'm doing my best to find cheap items that will work.

A trip to Michaels Arts & Crafts store ran me a total of $13 for magnets, glue, wooden popsicle sticks, and a wooden doll head. Zellers did me proud by offering an $8-dollar garbage can. A $10.50-trip to Home depot netted me some Polyfilla, a roll of duct tape, and some incidentals.

Things were getting expensive so to remedy the problem the Dollar store saw some costume action. There I purchased two micro remote controlled race cars that say absurdly logical things like "Power", "Speed" and "Momentum". I also bought two salad bowls and some snacks.

Finally, I snagged a courduroy deal at Fabricland, taking home the last 2 metres of material for only $7. For secret's sake, I've left out 4 items which total $24.

My running total is up to about $66.50 with work done on my costume clocked in at about 8 hours. And there is still not one single part of it that is wearable. That's not bragging - this thing looks worse than Roseanne Barr sounds.

When the results are fantastic, putting this much effort into a costume makes me proud. But if this turns out as crappy as I think it might, it makes me think I should cut my losses, hop in my Time Machine, go back and start over with something a lot more simple. Like hiding under the bed all night and pretending I went as the Invisible Man.

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