Saturday, July 12, 2014

Some Scary Cool Purchases!

Well now that we've made it past the 4th of July, which I've long since touted as the last "big" obstacle standing in the way of the summer months and that strange invisible barrier that dictates when Halloween can officially begin.

Now that we are past that point I feel much more confident in my ability to write about how freaking excited I am for the fall season to finally arrive!

It's even unintentionally crept its way into my shopping cart. Without fully realizing it everything that I purchased the other day looks completely at home in the month of October. Let's take a closer look at this weeks spooky haul: 

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I have to start with my favorite item first, Time Life: Mysteries of the Unknown. A 93 page magazine dedicated to everything from Ouija Boards to the legend of Bigfoot. I don't think  I have ever loved a magazine more than this.

This is exactly the kind of reading material that I gravitated towards as a kid. Story time, I remember my grandparents having some really old blue book, the dusty old kind with torn up bindings and frail pages.

It was a science fiction book filled with a bunch of "what if" scenarios for what life on other planets might be like. As interesting as the text was the best part of it was the pictures.

They looked like hand drawn oil paintings that had been resized and, I dunno shrunk down to book size through the use of black magic. These pictures were flat out amazing, featuring bright colors with neon landscapes and all kinds of badass monsters.

Think Lovecraftian style artwork. This was that book. And I remember every day during summer vacation (which I spent at my grandparents) I would read through and thumb through that book. Completely amazed by the drawing and fantastical text.

None of that really has anything to do with Time Life's Mysteries of the Unknown but I can guarantee you that had I owned a magazine like this back then, I would have spent all summer long going through its pages. Taking each and every work as gospel.

If it said ghosts existed then damnit, they would be real. I love this magazine. I love the idea of this magazine. I have no idea how it got published but I am so very thankful that it did and I found it.

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Next up is some cheap novels. I am almost exclusively a Kindle user these days but every now and then I dig through those big dump bills full of stupid books nobody has ever heard of and pull out something interesting. For a combined total of five dollars I found two that I absolutely could not live without.

The Haunting of America: From the Salem Witch Trails to Harry Houdini. Pretty much has everything that I love covered. I don't know if this book is historical fiction, actual fiction, or pure bullshit. My guess is going to be a combination of all three. I am looking forward to diving headfirst into this one and plowing through its contents in a couple days.

I am not going to lie, I purchased The Monster's Corner for the cover. Even if I never read it (which is a very distinct possibility) it'll look great sitting on a shelf someplace and be worth at least looking at when the leaves finally start to change and the temperatures drop.

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Finally, this Blu-Ray full of horror films nobody has ever heard of. Four dumb horror films for only $1.00. Duh, count me in. If my math serves me correctly that is .25 cents per flick. Meaning I could have theoretically payed for this disc with leftover change from the ashtray in my car.

Films like these are basically filler material. Background noise, if you will. When I write I love to stick something on in the background and turn the volume down just low enough that it can be heard, but not high enough to be distracting.

This collection is perfect for that. Goofy, probably dumb horror films that even if I only half pay attention to... will probably end up enjoying more than if I attempted to watch properly.

I think I made out pretty well for the week. All of it seems like a decent unofficial start to the Halloween Season, and with the prospect of another polar vortex creeping its way into my part of the country early next week... I'm sure I'll be in the Halloween mood much sooner than normal this time of year.

Stay spooky my friends!

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Return of Sharkleberry Fin Kool-Aid!

They say more Kool-Aid is sold around the week of July 4th than any other time of year. Make no mistake about it, Kool-Aid understands that they are a summertime drink, though and through.

Kool-Aid also understands nostalgia. They get it. Thrive on it. And dare I say need a certain dosage of nostalgia in order to survive. We all know that Kool-Aid is the king of summer beverages and everyone makes a pitcher or two of the stuff at some point during the season.

But in order to really sustain itself all summer long even the king must dive into his proverbial bag of tricks and pull out a few aces, just to make sure everyone is paying attention.

No doubt pulling from the success of Scary Blackberry Ghoul-Aid's recent resurrection comes another brand of formally discontinued Kool-Aid.

Sharkleberry Fin
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SHARKLEBERRY FIN has made a glorious comeback to the world of retail!

Before we continue, a brief history lesson. I love Kool-Aid history lessons! The original incarnation of Sharkleberry debuted in 1989, proving once again that everything great came out in the late 80's and early 90's.

As the name implies, Sharkleberry was released during that brief period of time when the Kool-Aid Man was in the middle of a branding crisis and was expected to share real-estate space with other colorful mascots. In this case, motherfucker was riding a shark.

And it was as awesome as it sounds.

As is the case with most of the stranger Kool-Aid concoctions, the original Sharkleberry lasted just long enough to leave an impression but not long enough to really ingrain itself as a franchise staple.

When the eventual trend of sticking the Kool-Aid Man with other colorful characters died off so to went with it Sharkleberry Fin. Pinpointing an exact date that it went offline is like next to impossible, as nobody exactly seems to keep working records of stuff like this. But if I say "roughly 1995" then it has to be true. You can cite me on Wikipidia for that one.

Sharkleberry is back and better than ever. Featuring an updated and redesigned package with flashier artwork and a much more vibrant shade of pink and ocean blue...

... oh to hell with it. The only reason anybody ever gave a shit about Sharkleberry Fin is because of that cartoon shark. And the idea of the Kool-Aid Man riding around on him in his free time.

The new package hits all the right notes, while doing just enough of an update to make it appealing towards today's generation of snot nosed little shits.

Sharkleberry Fin
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Perhaps most importantly is how Sharkleberry Fin tastes. The package promises a hodgepodge of orange, strawberry, and banana flavors. In actuality it delivers on two of the three, with orange being the most up front of the bunch with just enough strawberry to tease your taste-buds.

The banana might be buried someplace towards the back of the flavor department but its not prominent enough to really write home about.

All in all I am more than a little meh on Sharkleberry Fin's taste. It's good enough for me to finish off the pitcher that I've already made but I'll be hard pressed to ever use the other eight packages that I currently own.

Don't get me wrong, I am glad it is here and super excited to see strange flavors of Kool-Aid currently for sale on store shelves. These long summer months need more items like this that are unmistakeably dedicated to this specific moment in time.

I am just not as in love with Sharkleberry Fin's taste as I am with the idea of Sharkleberry Fin existing in the first place!

And since today is July 4th here is a photo of Captain America punching Hitler. Enjoy fireworks and don't shoot your eye out.

'Merica 2014!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreo's!

2014 Halloween Candy
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I can think of no better word to sum up what we are looking at right now than diabetes.

I've no idea what mad scientist concocted the formula that finally brought together Oreo Cookies and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups but I am fully convinced that this is the final straw that pushes our society towards the breaking point and gives everyone in America full fledged diabetes.

And I mean all of this in the best possibly way.

Because holy crap guys, it is Oreo Cookies flavored like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! Two of the most delightfully devilish things on the face of the planet, combined like Voltron into a snake food capable of ending World Wars.

I've swore off writing about Oreo's prior to finding these bad boys. Having felt that Nabisco had went to the proverbial 'well of bizarre flavors' far to many times and in to subsequent of a fashion.

Fruit Punch Oreo's are pretty awesome but the impact is lessened when they are surrounded by ones that taste like watermelon and ice cream or anniversary editions combined with birthday cakes, and about eighteen other "limited" variates.

This, however, is exactly what Nabisco needed to get me interested in writing about cookies again. Two big time heavyweight juggernauts coming together to make magical snack-time sex all over your kitchen counter.

My only regret is that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreo's didn't come out in October and in a big old orange and black package. That would have been enough to stop my heart and call the season over in one big artificial peanutbutter flavored swoop.

This could have won the entire Halloween Season, had they just been given a chance. Instead we get them in the middle of summers warm grasp.

Not that the release date diminishes just how friggin' cool they are. But I still cannot help but to wonder 'what if' they had been released in October? 

2014 Halloween Candy
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On the positive side, writing so many times about Oreo Cookies I have developed my own personal degree in Oreo Cookie Photography. I'd like to think at this point I can capture the very essense of what these cookies represent.

Clearly. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreo's are best enjoyed with the lights off, a thunderstorm building off in the distance, and a muddy old VHS copy of "Friday the 13th" playing in the background.

The best part about these cookies is that they 100% deliver on the notion of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups fused with Oreo Cookies. Without question. That is what they are.

And they are good.

Scary good, in fact. Like most of the other limited edition Oreo's, Nabisco has nailed the scent down to a near perfect aroma. As soon as you break open the seal you'll get smacked in the face with the undeniable smell of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

And they taste exactly how you would expect them to. Like some crazy, wild eyed scientist scooped out the inside of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and jammed it between two Oreo Cookies.

So I guess to wrap this up I'd suggest that everyone goes out and buys these right now. Enjoy a package during the summer months but to truly get the most out of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreo Cookies, I'd say to stick some in the freezer and when the fall season finally arrives... enjoy a batch while you wait for The Great Pumpkin to rise up from the ground.

Is it October yet?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vanilla Pepsi-Cola: New for 2014!

Vanilla Pepsi
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A new combatant has entered the arena and is ready to challenge for the title of Best New Summer Beverage of 2014. Behold Vanilla Pepsi-Cola! Releasing for a "limited time only" this summer season!

... actually "new" is a bit of a stretch for this one. It is more like the return of a formally discontinued flavor of Pepsi. The original Vanilla Pepsi hit back in 2003, during that brief period of time when vanilla was being added to literally every soft drink imaginable.

My mind seems to point to this fad starting around the Christmas Season, which makes the return of Vanilla Pepsi in the midst of the summer months seem just a little strange at first. But once you dive past that little nugget of information, which probably really only bothers me and absolutely nobody else on the face of the planet, you are left with a drink that actually works increasingly well as a summertime beverage.

At some point the original version of Vanilla Pepsi was discontinued and everyone sort of moved on from vanilla themed drinks. Coke probably still sells its variation someplace but that is only because Coke never seems to discontinue anything. Just shove it into twelve pack containers and hide them off in a dark corner someplace. Nobody buys them except your grandmother and even then, it could just be leftover soda from eight years ago.

Vanilla Pepsi has made a comeback this year to not much fanfare or flair. I am here to correct this. I absolutely 100% love this junk. And I've drank an unhealthy amount of it while writing this article.

To the point that I am pretty sure my gravestone will dictate that I shorted my lifespan by five years: "due to drinking to much Vanilla Pepsi-Cola"

So the new version of this soda is made with real sugar. As opposed to whatever bullshit sugar substitute Pepsi is typically made with these days. You know times are rough when sugar is touted as a healthy alternative.

Overall whatever they have done to the flavor is clearly a winning combination. The vanilla seems to have been dialed back from 'punch you in the fucking face' levels of intensity and reeled more towards 'Bob Ross Happy Trees Vanilla.'

I've literally no idea what that last statement is supposed to mean.

I don't really know how to end this article either. Therefore, Vanilla Ice:

word to your mother

Monday, June 23, 2014

Reviving An Old Jason Hockey Mask: Part I

Today I finally hit my breaking point, caved in and turned on the air-conditioning. Perhaps the biggest sign that we are officially smack dab in the middle of the Summer Season.

I am winding down the end of a very long stretch of about three months of absolute work related hell, including not having a day off in about a month now. Thankfully that BS is just about over with and before I start whatever job comes next, I am taking all of July off to just relax and catch up with whatever comes my direction.

But mostly I plan on spending next month doing exactly what I am doing right now. Sitting inside under the AC and plugging away on the computer.

It has been far to long since I've written anything meaningful, both on and off this website. That is going to change. Just like the five million other projects that I've wanted to get done but simply haven't had the time to accomplish.

So in-between breaks of sitting inside and dinking around on the PC I've busted out a few of my Halloween props that need refurbished. Starting with this old Jason Mask:

This mask and I go way back. I am pretty confident that it was one of the first Halloween props that ever entered my household, pumpkins and cheap party decorations withstanding.

I don't know when it was purchased but it has been laying around my place for literally as long as I can remember.

Been through different stages of wear and tear as well. Once, many many moons ago it used to glow in the dark. And not like the cheap spray on glowing paint they put on today's junk. This one is made of actual old school glow in the dark plastic. The kind that only those of us old enough to remember the late 80's and early 90's can attest to.

Eventually time would start to slow this mask down and years of Halloween related abuse started to kick in. But it always remained my favorite prop. Always worked its way into every display I've ever done.

It even accompanied me through various Haunted Houses that I've helped out with over the years. Once, it went missing for two full years before turning back up after accidentally getting tossed into a box with a bunch of other, lesser quality, Jason masks.

If this mask was a person, it would probably be my oldest and best of friends. I cannot imagine an October passing without it.

Therefore once every few years I like to refurbish this mask. Part of me wishes that I'd kept it in its original glow in the dark form and purchased a second one to muck around with painting.

But that decision was made years ago and there is no real way to revert it back to its old state. Therefore, I just try to enjoy sprucing it up when the occasion calls for it.

The photo above is after a few layers of primer paint. It makes absolutely no since that a mask I will ultimately age down and make look dirty and worn must first be cleaned and primed to look as smooth as possible.

Being the Summer Season in Iowa is always a bit of a mixed bag. It gets hot. Humid. Full of bugs. And storms suddenly pop up out of absolutely nowhere.

Painting up this mask was totally a one day project but mother nature decided to throw a curve ball my direction and toss up rain shower or two.

That was alright. It gave me the perfect excuse to go back inside and catch up with my new favorite obsession, Friday the 13th: The Series!

While everyone else is busy watching "Game of Thrones" I am sitting over here catching up on a TV show about a pawn shop full of haunted artifacts and the dipshit owners who inherent, and must subsequently track them all down after being sold off by there lunatic uncle.

It's the greatest television show ever made.

We'll dive much deeper into Friday the 13th: The Series come Halloween time. At which point I fully plan on overloading you guys with Friday the 13th related content. Hope you are ready!

Now, I've got to go track down some paintbrushes and finish the rest of this mask. Stay spooky everyone.