Monday, December 22, 2014

Pre-Xmas Snackfood Blowout!

Hello darkness my old friend
I've come to eat bags of chips again
Because of flavors softly creeping
Onto my tongue and I am weeping
And a sickness that is lodged into my brain
Still compels
With the burn of Red Nuke Powder....

FUNYUNS!?!  Again?!?

I bet you know where this gets its 'color' from...
Chile Limon Funyuns. . . Let's be honest, these were better than expected.  There were, however, liberally powdered with RNP and that funky chemical acidic twang.  The Chile and the Limon if you will. Overall you end up with a nice zing on top of the rock-solid funyon flavor, and not too much RNP to make them inedible.

Overall, I'll be generous and say 2.75/5.0

Fritos Honey BBQ Flavor Twists
Mmmm, open my bag and dump me into your maw until my spices get lodged in the back
 of your throat and you start hacking like a cat with a hairball....

I for one welcome our old corn chip overlords...  As I ate these I realized that the coating on these fantastically crunchy spirals is in a way the progenitor of the Red Nuke Powder we've all come to love and fear.  Strange then, that I so fondly remember this snack food.  Obviously, the coating on these dense and super crunchy corn chips is not as overwhelming or obnoxious as RNP.  I would also like to add a side-bitch about BBQ chips of any kind never actually tasting like barbecue at all, but like BBQ sauce.  Were I to wrest control of some chip empire from the weak I would immediately make all Barbecue chips under my control taste as much like slow smoked pork-butt as chemically possible.  BBQ sauce is a sickly sweet miasma you spread over either over or under cooked meat in which you want to hide your failure as a pit man. (/rant)

These are still my go to snack food when my brain literally takes a dump on me and I can't pick (and there's nothing new to try).  Solid, crunchy, dense, satisfying and flavorful without being overpowering.

Yee-Haw 4.0/5.0

What madness lies within this festive bag?
Okay, this one I actually ate today and I didn't die, ...yet.  These just threw me for a loop from the moment I opened the bag.  The bag suggests these may contain RNP, but I was relieved to see that the color on the front was mostly from the Cheetos and their orange pseudo-cheese dusting.  There is a very faint bite from the "jalapeno" part of the cheddar, and the cheddar part comes mostly from the Cheetos and whatever scant flavor silt has fallen off them and the Doritos.  Speaking of Doritos:
These are the the most adorable chips ever seen by human eyes...
This is intended to look like a snack mix your friend's mom would make in a big popcorn bowl so you boys can chew on something while you play SNES and grabass.  Obviously you're not going to get much variety if you used full sized chips, so they've been miniaturized to give the illusion of either freakishly giant hands, or an overflowing cornucopia of snack food variety.  The result is that every grab in the bag is going to yield at least a piece of every type of chip in the bag.  I know there were tiny pretzels in here but they seemed to slide off my mind whenever I tried to think about how they tasted.  As a result, I'm sure there were little pretzels in there, but I don't remember eating any and they seemed to vaguely flavor the whole bag with a foundation of pretzelness.  This is not a bad thing, but an interesting choice on the part of Frito-Lay.

Very satisfying if benign:  3.25/5.00

Huzzah!  I got through a whole review without fucking swearing!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2014

In which I throw social media under the bus and make you sad...

We're dealing with a lot of shit lately.  Not just me, or my loved ones, but everybody everywhere; 2014 has been a hard year. This post is not intended to make anybody on any of my social media outlets feel guilty, and it is not a plea for help.  This is just me making an observation about how many of our lives work in the age of modern technology.  It is also, unfortunately, a post in which I will also reveal myself to be a hypocrite about the thing I'm going to bitch about.

Modern day social media, especially Facebook, is a prophylaxis for genuine social interaction and rendering aid to others in their time of need.

In days of yore, you'd hear news of a friend or family member who had become ill, or whose house had burned down, or some member of their family had passed away and you would feel sad or an urge to help.  To show this person that you cared for them you would put pen to real paper and write a letter of condolence, or bake up a box of cookies to send, or if you lived close enough you would just call upon their house and spend real physical time with that person.  We as a society don't really do this anymore, myself included.  We see the tragedy that has befallen our fellows and we experience it through the lens of status updates and twitter feeds.  Sick parent?  "thinking of you".  Survived car accident?  "Like".  Lost limb in farming accident?  "High five dude, I'll buy you a beer next time I'm in town."

We say we care, we even write reassuring thoughts as comments, but few do anything to actually help.  This is not to say that there is anything that can be done in many situations.  Obviously, if someone loses a family member you cannot run to their house and magically will them back to life; nor can you undo the trauma of accident or disease.  But just being there for someone is helpful in its own way.  Being available for a person can make all the difference in the world.  Is your friend sick?  Maybe instead of well wishes you could send a card in the mail, or try hand writing a letter to them?  If you're close by, offer to bring them some soup.  More importantly, if you go on someone's status update or in chat or whatnot and you offer them help, you had better be able willing to actually help.  Nothing will break a friendship or damage a family dynamic like offering help and then when asked for it saying that you're too busy right now.  This goes the other way as well.  For those who are honestly offering their assistance to you in your time of need, if you think you might at all need the help you should take them up on the offer.  Letting someone help you not only lessens your burden, but can make them feel like they were able to actually do something in an otherwise unfixable situation.

As some of you know, we have been going through a rough patch this year.  Someone close to us has been fighting for their life all year and it has been very taxing for all of us in all aspects of our lives.  Our time, finances, health and emotions have all been strained or are already in tatters.  We have been making a lot of posts online, not just to inform, but also in a way to lean on our groups and friends lists for support as we navigate these bitter waters.  But no matter how much we post online, and no matter how much response we get to those posts, sometimes we still feel alone.  There have been many lonely dark times in the small hours of the morning.  Don't get me wrong, I am just as culpable for my own loneliness precisely because I haven't reached out to friends and family as much as I should be.  Having an unexpected lunch with my mother and sister this week I could see the worry in their eyes.  I could also see the relief that came from seeing that things, while bad, were not so dire as had been imagined.

So, reach out to your friends and family!  A direct text is so much better than a status update, an actual phone call is so much more real than a text.  In the last 10 or so months that this has been going on we have had almost no help.  Yes, there was a fund-raiser which was very successful, but I'm talking about one-to-one interaction.  Aside from close family and some few exceptions, nobody has just "dropped by" to check on us.  No care packages, no cards, no letters, and no time given.  Nobody has just shown up to be with us, even for an hour.  Nobody not already intimately involved with this scenario has just offered time, even if we sat in silence, to show that we are not alone.

All we get is "Thinking of you", "Hang in there!"