Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

I know I've shown this card before but consider it my Halloween tradition.

I can't believe that Halloween is finally here. It's been a long and wild Halloween season and I've certainly enjoyed it. I hope everyone else enjoyed reading about ghoulish junk food and lots of other madness. I enjoyed sharing it with you. It was my first attempt at doing some sort of Halloween countdown and I think it turned out well. 

I'll admit though, my spirit for the season peaked really early and I sort of coasted through the rest of it. I still enjoyed it though. Tonight, the season caps off with trick-or-treat night around the neighborhood and my son is going as Ash from Pokemon. After trick-or-treat is over, we're coming back and watching Great Pumpkin for the second time this month. 

Tomorrow, the blog returns to what built this house, that being sports cards. Most of November will be spent catching up on trade packages I've received but there will also be some other things thrown in.

I hope everyone has a happy and fun Halloween night!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Palmer Pumpkin Spice Cups

I hadn't planned on reviewing these but I'll be damned if these weren't literally haunting me from my pantry.

A little backstory first ... if you watched some of the Halloween videos I posted at the beginning of the month, you'll see that my friends and I have a love/hate relationship with Palmer and their candy. We loved it when we were doing our videos as it was cheap candy but we hated it because it was exactly that, cheap, generic candy. This particular bag set me back only a dollar at the local Dollar Tree back at the beginning of September. I stuffed it in my pantry after getting home that day and promptly forgot about it, until now that is.

I was filling up the trick-or-treat bowl and found them. My first though was that I'll just dump them in the bowl and be done with them. Then I realized I couldn't do that without trying one and knowing what I could potentially be unleashing on unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

Here it is out of the wrapper. It looks pretty normal, just like any other knock off Reese's cup.

Before trying it, I dissected it to see what it looked like on the inside. Pretty generic if you ask me. Knowing how bad Palmer's candy has been in the past, I took a bite with much trepidation. It was exactly as I expected ... a super artificial flavor in the pumpkin spice filling, fake generic chocolate that was unnecessarily and overly sweet, and a horrible aftertaste that lingered an hour after taking one bite.

This is the stuff nightmares are made of.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Halloween Road Trip

Last weekend, the family and I, along with my mom, took a road trip up to Akron to visit my aunt and uncle. My aunt planned a full day for us with shopping, cookie baking, pumpkin carving, and a bunch of other fall/Halloween fun. Once we arrived and unloaded everything, we all split off and decided to meet back up for lunch in a few hours. My wife took my son off with my mom and my aunt as they headed out to the mall. As for my uncle and me, he offered to take me to the local card shops in Medina and Cuyahoga Falls. So after everyone left for the mall, we headed over to Medina.

I've mentioned the Medina card shop before way back in one of my early posts but the place isn't very organized. They've got old packs mixed in the same box as new packs and charge the same price for said old packs as they would for new packs. The owner claimed it was because he was "short on counter space" as he gazed about the shop with little to no eye contact being made as we chatted. I looked at some singles but there wasn't much in the way of digging to be had so I settled on the above packs, two packs of 2016 Update and two packs of 2015-16 SP Authentic, which I'll crack open in a future article.

Our second stop of two was over 30 minutes away in Cuyahoga Falls, which is a little town off the beaten path. There, after winding through some residential areas and along the edge of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, we found All-Pro Sports Cards in a tiny shopping center. The place was the complete 180 of the shop in Medina. Everything was laid out neatly and organized, had college football going on the TV, and was very clean. The one downside was that they didn't sell stuff by the pack. I asked why and was told that the majority of their sales are based on boxes, with only base products (like Series 1 and 2) being packed out. I looked around and my uncle and I talked about a 1909-11 T206 Frank Schulte card we saw in the case. Making a final lap around the shop, it was then I discovered a giant pile of junk wax stuff hiding behind a Harrison Ford standee. The prices were a little steep but then I saw the box of 1993-94 Donruss Hockey pictured above. I asked how much, and the owner thought and said "eh, ten bucks". Sold! I paid for the box, and my uncle and I headed off to meet up with everyone else for lunch at a local pizza place back towards the house.

After lunch, we all got back to the house and sugar cookie baking commenced in the kitchen. As you can see in the picture above, my aunt and my son had their aprons were ready to get their baking on. My mom and my wife helped as well. I'm not one for baking things so I let everyone else have at it while my uncle and I abstained and watched TV.

Here's the final product of the sugar cookies. I must say, they were just as good as I remember them being. After the cookies, we all took a quick rest before the pumpkin carving.

For the jack-o-lantern, we all picked out a design from online, just something simple, and my uncle went to work on it with a knife and power tools, all while narrating what he was doing. After the initial carving was done, it was spray painted gold so it wouldn't rot before Halloween. Here's the finished product.

An Indians jack-o-lantern! As much as I want to root for the Cubs in the World Series, I really can't since the Indians are involved and they're one of my favorite teams.

For dinner, we picked up burgers and fries from the local drive-in chain, Swensons. Let me tell you, if you've never had Swensons and you find yourself in the Akron area, get it! I got their trademark burger, the Galley Boy, and it was one of the best burgers I've ever had. The thing that makes it unique it that it's got two different special sauces on it, one with a barbecue sauce base and another with a tarter sauce base. You wouldn't think that would work but it does. The fries were so-so but with a little salt they livened up a bit.

After dinner, we all settled in an had planned on watching scary movies all night but we decided to flip back and forth between the Ohio State game and the Cubs/Dodgers game. Everyone except my uncle and I fell asleep but we stayed up long enough to say we saw the Cubs win the pennant. The next morning, there was a small, quick breakfast of eggs and toast and the family and I hit the road soon thereafter for the three hour drive back home.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Caramel Apple Pop Tarts

Whoever thought these would be easy to find was sadly mistaken. Every time I thought I had a lead on them, it proved to be false. One day, I found them by chance while I was out at the local Kroger store. It was there a whole giant shelf of them was available. Excitedly, I grabbed one box and put in in the cart with all my other groceries. Bringing them home, they sat in the pantry for about a week before I remembered I had them. I grabbed a few packs of them and took them to work for a quick breakfast.

Here they are out of their silvery foil prison and sitting on my desk at work. My box must have been thrashed around a bit during shipping and the pop tarts themselves weren't solid like they normally are, they were cracked. That's fine though as I usually break apart my pop tarts when I eat them. 

Since there was no toaster handy, I ate them as they were. I'm not normally a fan of apple flavored stuff but these were pretty good. I couldn't really taste any caramel but they were pretty heavy on the apple, to the point where I though these were some sort of apple pie flavor. The green squiggle didn't really bring anything to the party, neither did the frosting. 

These seem to be a Kroger exclusive flavor so if you have one near you, go see if you can find them as they are definitely worth a try. If not, I guess there's always eBay if you're desperate.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

1988 Topps Fright Flicks Cards

I first mentioned these back in the spring when I filed a report on the HorrorHound Convention. These cards were produced by Topps in 1988 and ran the gamut of horror films of the time, from the first three Nightmare on Elm Street movies to other movies like Fright Night, Predator, Day of the Dead, and yes even Ghostbusters. For the longest time, this was the only place you could find cards dedicated to the original Ghostbusters movie, that is until the Ghostbusters cards came out earlier this year from Cryptozoic. Anyway, I grabbed this pack at the aforementioned convention for five dollars, which is about the best price you can find on these. There are nine cards per pack and one sticker, let's see what I've got.

The first card is from the first Nightmare on Elm Street movie. I haven't seen that movie in quite a long time and I think it's time I need to revisit it. I don't really consider Ghostbusters a "horror film", it's more of a comedy but I can see why it was include as fans of the movie would buy the cards. This Slimer card is really cool though. Another movie I don't consider a horror film is Predator. I classify it as more sci-fi and I've only seen it a handful of times. It's a pretty good movie but the only thing I remember from it is Jesse Ventura stating "I ain't got time to bleed".

Left to right, these cards are from Vengeance: The Demon, Nightmare on Elm Street II, and Poltergeist. I've never seen, let alone heard of Vengeance but that scene they chose looks pretty creepy. I haven't seen Nightmare 2 but it's on my list to check out. I need to do that soon as Halloween is approaching fast. There was a remake of Poltergeist last year that did horrible business and I've never seen the original either, but that clown just looks creepy.

Closing out the pack are cards from three movies I've never seen, Fright Night, Poltergeist as I mentioned above, and Day of the Dead. Since I have no knowledge of these films, I'll speak to the card design a bit. It's very clean and simple, just a still from the film with a somewhat cheesy caption on it. 

The backs are equally as clean. There's a brief story on the back and I really like the design on the bottom with the film title in the marquee. 

There's also a sticker included in the pack, here's the one I pulled. I'm writing this during my break at work so I pulled this image from Trading Card Database. It's not my favorite sticker of the set but if you put all of them together, you form a nice collage of sorts.

Overall, this was a really fun pack to break into and if I can find more packs for a reasonable price, I'll definitely get more as I'm planning on building the set and collecting the four different wrappers. It's nearly Halloween and I've got a few more Halloween related posts before putting Project Halloween in the books for the year. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Halloween Lunchables

I don't normally buy Lunchables except to use as a quick lunch for my three year old son on occasion but when I saw these for a buck each as part of a promo deal at the local grocery story, I couldn't pass it up. The Lunchables I've had in the past aren't good, but they're not really bad either, so I don't have high hopes for these.

I have a great fondness for dirt cake. When I was a kid, one of my great aunts would always make a dirt cake when she would have family gatherings. That's the dirt cake I remember, Oreos and chocolate pudding mixed it with some Cool-Whip. This tastes nothing like that. The idea here to to take the gummy worms and dip them in the frosting and crushed cookies, therefore giving them the look like they had crawled through the dirt. The gummy worms are stiff and rigid, the "frosting" was basically nothing but an inedible glob, and the crushed cookies definitely had that generic Oreo taste. I can see why this was only a dollar. 

After having the dirt cake flavor, I had low expectations for this one. This one is a simple s'mores dip with graham cracker flavored sticks, chocolate chips, and a marshmallow creme the color of buffalo sauce. Talk about a complete 180! This was really, really good! The graham sticks tasted exactly like you would imagine, the marshmallow creme was a little thick but the orange hue gives it a nice Halloween-ish vibe, and the chocolate chips were good, albeit generic. I'd definitely grab this one again if I see it again before Halloween. My son wouldn't go near the other one but this one, he loved it as seen in the picture below.

Thanks for reading about these Halloween lunchables/snacks. Only two more weeks until Halloween and there's a bunch more stuff coming up soon. Get out there and enjoy what's left of the Halloween season!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Scary and Spooky Cereals

Behold, three seasonal and spooky cereals. These are possibly guaranteed to start your day right by making it spooky and creepy and all kinds of awesome.

Count Chocula

This might sound a little bit odd but to tell the truth, I don't recall ever having Count Chocula until I poured out a bowl for this review. I know that may sound sacrilegious to some of you but that's the truth. I'm not going to go into what it tastes like as if you've had it before, you know what it tastes like and if you haven't, imagine chocolate flavored rice cereal with marshmallows in it. Sorry to spoil it for you. However, the one thing I do want to talk about is that box! Just look at it! The crazy font, the cartoonish representation of the Count himself that looks like he could be a character in the next Hotel Transylvania movie, not to mention he'd doing the old Rob Van Dam thumbs pose (that's for all you wrestling fans out there), like he's simply saying "Buy me! Not those others!". 

Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows

I've had chocolate Frosted Flakes before, so I knew kind of what to expect with these. However, adding the marshmallow component took this to a whole new level! Frosted Flakes are what they are but the marshmallow bits added a nice component, being slightly resistant to the bite. They also double as parts of a skeleton which you can put together if you feel inclined to do so. The packaging is pretty cool too, with Tony the Tiger presenting a nice big bowl of these in what looks like some sort of dog bowl. That, or it's a hollowed out green jack-o-lantern. Aside from that, the package is pretty basic but I will definitely recommend these.

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios

I wasn't quite sure what to expect with these. If I'm going to have Cheerios, then it must be of the Honey Nut variety as I don't like regular Cheerios. Also, would these be an explosion of pumpkin flavor in every spoonful? Or would it just barely be there. The answer is that the pumpkin flavor is somewhere is the middle. It's not overly powerful but it's just enough to let you know it's there. As for the box design, it's pretty plain. Just a simple bowl of Cheerios with a spoon and a pumpkin on a wooden background. I can't say I'd recommend these but if you happen to find them for cheap, then it might be worth a try.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Operation Pumpkin Festival

Image from Operation Pumpkin website
A yearly tradition that my family and I have is to go to the Operation Pumpkin Festival in downtown Hamilton, Ohio. The unique thing about it compared to other local fairs and festivals is that it's held right smack in the middle of downtown Hamilton. My wife likes to go because her candle and cupcake vendors have a booth set up there. I like to go because it's a fall festival. It's a win win for everyone so we headed over last Saturday to check it out.

The festival opens at 9:00 usually but the unfortunate thing about weekend was that is was cold and extremely windy when we went in the morning. So much so that some of the vendors and the rides weren't even open yet due to the wind. In past years, the place has been crazy at 10:00 in the morning but not this year due to the cold and wind. However, the pictures above should give you a general idea of what the festival encompasses. If you look at the top picture, you'll see a monument in the background. That's how far the festival stretches.

Pumpkin carving is one of the draws to the festival. Every year they bring out expert pumpkin carvers to do creative and unusual pumpkins. Their display/workshop in set up right in the middle of one of the main intersections of downtown.

Another major draw is the giant pumpkin weigh-off from the Southern Ohio Giant Pumpkin Growers (SOGPG for short). Some of these pumpkins can weigh in excess of 2,000 pounds. As I'm writing this, the results aren't available yet but just by the pictures, you can see how enormous these pumpkins are. I was also able to snap a picture of my wife and my son next to one.

A few random pictures. The first is a monument in the middle of the street to Alexander Hamilton, who the city was named after. The other one is a giant box of pumpkins that I took while trying to embrace my artistic side.

All the small businesses such as craft boutiques, markets, and bakeries were open as well. We stopped into the Almond Sisters bakery, which is a place that was featured on the local morning news recently and someplace we wanted to try for a while. As you can see by the display cases, they had pastries and cookies of all kinds available. 

We picked up a pumpkin pastry, which was filled with cream cheese and a very nice pumpkin filling, a red velvet ganache brownie which a red velvet brownie topped with chocolate ganache and chocolate chips, and a geode, which is a chocolate chip cooke stuffed with a brownie. The pastry was amazing but the other two things were a bit of a let down. We'll definitely be back though to try some of their Christmas offerings.

On the way out of the bakery, I spotted this graffiti mural on the side of a building ...

Someone is obviously a fan of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and drew this fantastic piece of art. I tried to get a picture of it without the glare from the window but this was the best I could do. All in all, despite the cold, windy weather and the absence of some of the vendors due to such, we still had a great time and definitely will be continuing our tradition next year.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The 2014 Halloween Special

The 2014 (and final) Halloween Special!

Here it is, the final Halloween special that I filmed with my friend Brian and Tim. On this special, my wife actually joins in the fun with a bizarre baking segment. There is also some Halloween hot sauces, Tim making a homemade knight costume, Palmers chocolate, Halloween lunchables, and lots more. While I was editing this, I had a feeling it would be the last one so the intro is a nice highlight reel of fun stuff from years past set to creepy music.

I really hope everyone has enjoyed these videos I've put up this past week. It was a blast sharing them with you and a fun way for me to kick off October. There's still a ton more Halloween fun to come this month!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The 2013 Halloween Special

The 2013 Halloween Special!

This is the next to last Halloween special my friends and I filmed. In this episode, there's the return of Creepy Crawlers, Tim doing arts and crafts, more Kool-Aid Ghoul Aid, new Jones Soda flavors, and tons more stuff. Enjoy the video!

Friday, October 7, 2016

The 2012 Halloween Special

The 2012 Halloween Special!

What can I say about this special we did from 2012. The intro with Tim being held captive in a strange house is our best ever. The rest of the special involves going through Brian's childhood home and reviewing random trinkets such as cheap masks, Halloween beer, Tim drinking Ghoul Aid powder, and a giant mystery box full of awesomeness. Beware!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The 2011 Halloween Special

The 2011 Halloween Special!

This special is absolutely crazy and probably one of the best ones we ever did ... there's a lab experiment, Tim reviewing a DOS PC game called "Hugo's House of Horrors", all kinds of different candy, props, decorations, and readings of Halloween poetry and fan fiction. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The 2010 Halloween Special

The 2010 Halloween Special!

In this special, Brian and Tim review everything they can get their hands on in terms of Halloween goodies including, but not limited to, Pop Tarts, gobs of candy, more Halloween baking with Tim, reviews of old VBOX video games, and the first ever Halloween "Bag of Crap", a fun skit that date's back to the original form of Brian's website Review the World. Hope everyone enjoys the video!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The 2009 Halloween Special

The 2009 Halloween Special!

This particular special happens to be one of my favorites we ever did. Everything seemed to click perfectly and we had great stuff to review. In this special, Brian hangs out in downtown Indianapolis, Tim bakes Rice Krispie treats, and there's a cameo by Tim's friend Joseph. All in all, a great hour of Halloween fun! Enjoy everyone!

Monday, October 3, 2016

The 2008 Halloween Special

The 2008 Halloween Special!

Today let's head back to 2008 for the second Halloween special that my friends and I did. As with all the specials, they're hosted by my friends Tim and Brian (since I'm most decidedly camera shy). On this special we looked at a lot of decorations, candy, and a pretty awesome electronic face ripping statue. This special also contains of the best intros we ever shot. Enjoy the video!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The 2007 Halloween Special

I mentioned back in my introduction to Project Halloween that my friends and I used to make hour long videos to celebrate Halloween every year. Beginning today and running through Oct 9th, I'll have a new post up each day with a link to each special, all the way up to the last special we did in 2014.

First up is our original Halloween special from 2007. It stars my friends Tim and Brian (with me popping up occasionally throughout the video). I'll be honest, it's not my favorite as we popped in some sophomoric and shock humor on occasion, something I'm not very proud of now. However, for 2007 I think it's pretty good. 

A few of my favorite segments in this are the intro with the fog machine, the Creepy Crawlers segment, and the fake Rap Snacks commercial. Enjoy the video!

PS: If it doesn't work let me know.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Happy October

Image from the Old Farmers Almanac website

It's October 1st!

That means we are officially in the heart of the Halloween season, with haunted attractions going full force, leaves starting to change ever so slightly, baseball playoffs starting up, hockey returning for another season, and scary movies and Halloween specials on TV. Because of all of this, it's my favorite month of the year. 

I hope everyone has been enjoying the Project Halloween content so far. I had planned on doing more in September but I was busy with work and the month flew by faster than an evil witch on a broomstick. I still have a bunch of stuff planned for this month before going back to posting about cards on a regular basis ... there's local fall festivals, scary cereals, a Halloween road trip, and lots more wackiness before the Halloween season is officially done for another year.

Also, as a reminder, I've got a contest going on! Here are the incredibly simple rules:

1. Create a display that shows your Halloween spirit. It can involve whatever you want it to ... candles, figures, candy, etc. Heck, create a castle made out of old horror movie VHS boxes. I don't care. Whatever gets you in the Halloween spirit.

2. Write a blog post about it and leave a comment on my 2016 Mood Display post with the link to your blog post.

3. Entrants will be thrown into a randomizer that will be run an (un)lucky 13 times. Whoever is at the top of the list after 13 go-rounds is the winner and will get a nice bubble mailer full of cards.

So come on, get those creative juices flowing and get those entries in. The deadline for entry is October 21st and the winner will be announced on Halloween.

Now, get out there and make October your own.