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Pow Flowhauer

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Things Not to Put in Your Body: Skittles Fizzl’d Fruits [Apr. 6th, 2010|04:04 am]
Pow Flowhauer
[mood |okayadequate]
[music |Vampire Weekend - Giving Up the Gun]

As far as candy choices go, Skittles are a pretty safe bet on average, right? Fruity, chewy, colorful, with that advertising that, if not exactly funny, is at least weird enough to liven up a two minute commercial break. Not so for the latest edition to the Skittles product lineup: Fizzl’d Fruits.


First off, had another product already claimed the properly spelled name of this candy? Because if so, there are plenty of better options than substituting one letter with an apostrophe—and if not, PLEASE SPELL YOUR GROSS NEW CANDY CORRECTLY. I’m not even sure what demographic letter omission is meant to appeal to, but clearly I’m not part of it. Is that what’s cool these days? Is it “totes cool”? Am I being overly critical in letting this rankle me at all? Okay, fine. I guess it’s not so bad; these could be Skittles Li’l Fizzl’d Fruits. Or worse yet Skittl’s Xtreme Li’l Fizzl’d Froots.

But what’s in a name? After all, you can’t judge a candy by its wrapper. So what do Fizzl’d Fruits taste like? Well, I can tell you that what I expected was something similar to Skittles coated in Pop Rocks. That actually sounds pretty good—fruity Skittles popping around in your mouth. You would buy that candy, right? Well, don’t buy this candy, because what Fizzl’d Fruits ends up being is Wild Berry flavored Skittles coated with baking soda and citric acid. This coating results in a sour flavor and a mild Alka-Seltzer-like foaming when it reacts with the saliva in your mouth. The effect is sort of like of a thin, slimy coating that forms on the outside of the candy as it sits on your tongue. I hadn’t taken the “Fizzl’d” description literally, and so working up a foamy lather in my mouth while eating Skittles was, at best, unexpected and nauseating. Another added (and unwelcome) component of this candy: a faint mineral/metallic aftertaste from the baking soda that serves as a lingering reminder never to try new things.

Fizzl'd Fizz

See that? That’s not spit on the outside of this Skittle—it’s the intended result of it coming into contact with water. These are the Mogwai of hard-shelled candy. Sure, they seem appealing and harmless at first, but as soon as you get them wet things get ugly. Of course, the metaphor breaks down after that (would you have to eat them after midnight in order to get Gremlins?), but that’s not the point.

It’s as though Skittles somehow developed a defense mechanism to avoid being eaten—like Hagfish slime or Poison Ivy. Because as an enjoyable twist on a familiar confection goes, this falls well short of the mark; but as an engineered deterrence to consumption, it’s exceedingly effective. I would assume that, for animals and humans alike, the first impulse is to immediately spit out anything producing a fizzing, mucus-like substance in their mouths. I would advise anyone who feels similarly to steer clear of Skittles Fizzl’d Fruits.

Skittles Piss'd Fruits
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Things Not to Put in Your Body: McDonald’s Baked Apple Pie Shake [Feb. 27th, 2010|06:15 am]
Pow Flowhauer
[mood |pensiveprocrastinatory]
[music |RJD2 - You Never Had It So Good]

So, it’s the middle of the day and you find yourself sitting alone in your car outside McDonald’s, having just ordered and eaten everything with a picture on the drive-through menu in a misguided attempt to cope with the emptiness and unfulfillment that accompanies the end of the Holidays. What’s next after reaching this low point in your day? Why, dessert of course – and we all know the go-to item for wrapping up a disappointing meal is McDonald’s Hot Apple Pie. But what are you going to do between bites, when your mouth isn’t filled with fried turnover and empty calories? If only there were some sort of pie flavored beverage to help fill those few pie-less seconds of your life…

Well, fret no longer, because McDonald’s has just what you never knew you needed or wanted: the Baked Apple Pie Shake.

Food to set on your dash.
That’s right, the food combination no one was calling for is now was, until recently, available as a semi-frozen beige liquid extruded into a paper cup at a McDonald’s near you. Finally everyone who’s never had their jaw wired shut, but always wondered what it would be like to drink pureed apple pie à la mode through a straw because of it, can live out their dreams.

Okay, so I’m a little late to the party with this, as it’s already Shamrock Shake season, but I'd hate to let a regrettable fast food experience go to waste. I tried one of these last month, and at the time was reconsidering picking on McDonald’s anymore than I already had. Then, of course, I came to my senses and realized their products are more or less deserving of constant unfavorable reviews from amateur Internet junk-foodies.

Pre-melted for your convenience.

That being said, I should actually give this shake some credit; it does sort of taste like apple pie. And not just apple pie spice – which would be the easier flavor to replicate – it’s got an actual baked apple-y flavor component in there as well. So kudos to whichever flavor lab is responsible for designing that portion of this dessert. No, the real breakdown is in the shake itself. The problem (well, one of several problems) with McDonald’s milkshakes is that whether they’re strawberry, chocolate, “shamrock,” or baked apple pie, the predominant flavor is always the starter milkshake mix. So while the first few sips might have you reminiscing about the from-scratch apple pie it’s supposed all our mothers make; the remaining 15 oz are cloying milkshake base.

My favorite part of the Baked Apple Pie Shake, though, was discovering the slogan on McDonald’s small beverage cup.

We're all familiar with this type of aggressive, over-the-top sloganeering on 44+oz fountain cups buckets (think Double Gulps, Guzzlers, Big Chillers, Super Quenchers, and Teddy Roosevelt’s famous Thirst Buster), but its seemingly indiscriminate use on a 16oz paper cup is all the more comical and inappropriate.

Alternate versions proposed by whatever part-time Ren Faire participant McDonald’s relies on for marketing consultation:

Of course the biggest issue arising from any restaurant selling both apple pie and an apple pie shake is that it’s only a matter of time before this happens:

Good so far.

Getting grosser.

I don't like where this is going at all.

Don't you dare!

It cannot be undone.

And, believe me, this is the sort of thing that just ruins your day. Ruins it.
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Hourly Comic Day [Feb. 2nd, 2010|07:58 am]
Pow Flowhauer
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |Snow Patrol - Chocolate]

I participated in Hourly Comic Day for this first time yesterday.

If you don't know about Hourly Comic Day, it is a great thing started by John Campbell several years ago. You can find out more about it on this website. But if you don't like informative links, basically, on February 1st lots of people draw a comic every hour they're awake about something they did that hour. That is Hourly Comic Day, and it is the best for internet stalking the lives of webcomics artists and regular people who like to draw (if that's something you're interested in).
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Things Not to Put in Your Body: McDonald's Holiday Pie [Dec. 15th, 2009|03:48 am]
Pow Flowhauer
[mood |awakeshould be asleep]
[music |Barenaked Ladies - Some Fantastic]

Here’s an easy mistake to avoid: buying any type of pie from a fast food chain.

I never learn from mistakes, however. And when I see advertisements for something as vague and awful sounding as McDonald’s “Holiday Pie” I just can’t help myself.

Now, the first thing to know when purchasing pie from McDonald’s is that you’ll be getting two. Oh, you might think you only want one (and that certainly is still one too many), but it doesn’t matter. The price of one pie is
99¢ and the price of two is $1, so already they’ve set it up for you to feel as though you are practically throwing money away by not getting two of their horrible pies. Even if you manage to show enough willpower to avoid the double-pie-pitfall and order an unheard of single Holiday Pie (as I attempted to do) it is apparently McDonald’s policy to ignore that request and give you two pies anyway. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve always considered myself the type of person who avoids arguments with strangers on the other end of a drive through speaker over a one-cent pie. Like I said earlier, you’re getting two pies. Don't struggle, don’t try to fight it, just go limp and accept your pies.

Do you accept these two pies into your life as your Lord and Savior?

The second, and most important, thing to remember is that under no circumstances should you attempt to eat, handle, or even look at your pie without letting it cool down first. For some it takes second-degree burns and a trip to Urgent Care to learn this lesson – you shouldn’t have to be one of them. If you can imagine a small portion of the Earth’s molten outer core is extracted and encased in a cheap, saccharine piecrust, then given to young children as a hand-held dessert treat, you’ll begin to have some idea of the danger these pies pose. So unless you want all your meals for the next week tasting like the raw, blistered, throbbing roof of your mouth, it’s best to wait a solid fifteen minutes before even considering taking a bite of one of these pies.

Holiday shy pie

A final point worth noting is to keep your expectations low (like, really low). You’re not going to like this pie, let’s get that straight right here. If you were hoping for a satisfying end to a meal or a memorable seasonal treat, you’re going to be disappointed. But just how inedible McDonald’s Holiday Pies really are is, I suppose, debatable. Personally, when trying ultra-processed junk food like this, I find it helps to adjust my standards of what constitutes actual ”food.” I fully expect most of what I’m trying to end up in the garbage can, and honestly anything short of biting into a pie and having tiny spiders pour out, causing me to scream and run my car off the road, is considered a successful experience. I’ve tried something new, my curiosity is sated, and now I can cross it off the list and never revisit it.

Aww, HELL no.

So, with that in mind, let me relate how predictably terrible a McDonald’s Holiday Pie is. For starters it looks like a sugary pastry tube covered with sprinkles and filled with scrambled eggs (I could go into the confusing choice of rainbow sprinkles to represent the holidays, but that’s really the least of this pie’s shortcomings, so I’ll leave it be). I can only assume from the filling that it’s supposed to be some version of a custard pie, but what it ends up tasting like is a mushy sugar cookie wrapped around a liquefied, gelatinous sugar cookie, with a flavor like if someone made an entire pie out of white cake frosting. After the first bite it’s pretty clear why McDonald’s only values them at 50¢ apiece. The sad thing is, as far as terrible Hot Pocket-shaped snack foods go, this doesn’t come anywhere close to the worst thing I’ve tried.

Of course, there must be some people out there who do enjoy McDonald’s Holiday Pies they wouldn’t make them unless there was at least some demand. It’s to those few people I express my deepest sympathy. I’m sorry, fictional reader of this journal entry, for whatever has led you to this pitiable point in your life. I wish things could have gone differently for you. But, please, if you have children, do not feed them McDonald’s Holiday Pies. You have the power to break the chain of fast food pie enjoyment. Let this sad, diabetes-inducing tradition die with you.

Do it for the children.

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Poor Man’s Almonds [Jun. 24th, 2009|03:56 am]
Pow Flowhauer
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Auto-Tune the News #5 ("It’s the Smo-oh-oh-oh-oke!")]

Delighted to discover the bag of sweet apricot kernels I bought at Trader Joe’s the other day are not only fun to throw at my sister when she wont leave the kitchen but also could be poisonous if consumed in large quantities.

So that’s what that bitter almond flavor is.

Though, in actuality, the roasting and processing they’ve undergone probably removed most of the cyanide.  So it isn’t as though I have an 8 oz bag of poison sitting in the cabinet.  Shame too, as it takes much of the thrill out of popping a handful in my mouth.
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Kerplunk [May. 29th, 2009|01:25 am]
Pow Flowhauer
[mood |awaketoo awake]
[music |Oasis - She's Electric]

I just had an accident which, I believe, in this modern age will more than likely happen to at least half the population at some point or another:  I dropped my cell phone in the toilet.

Now before you assume the worst (no doubt you already have) it was an empty toilet.  Because, believe be, if it were anything else I certainly wouldn’t be posting about it.  No, that would be my own little shameful anecdote I never relate to anyone.  Ever.  That being said, it’s still a toilet, so it’s still all sorts of gross and unsanitary.  I mean, this is something I have to hold up to my face we’re talking about here.

Now I’ve gone through what I imagine to be the typical stages of dropping your phone in a toilet (the “Oh noes! My Phone!” stage; the hurriedly fishing it out while wincing and muttering “Eww!” stage; the bemusement at the fact that despite having been underwater for several seconds everything still seems to be in working order stage; and the removing the battery so it can hopefully dry completely without harming any circuitry stage) and am now in the midst of the “How can I sanitize this phone so I -- and others -- can ever use it with a clear conscience again?” stage.  Because it’s not like you can scrub it down -- it’s already been wet enough.  I’m thinking a diluted bleach solution or maybe some antibacterial kitchen cleaner with alcohol so it’ll dry fast and disinfect whatever trace amounts of things I don’t want to think about that may potentially be left on my phone.

Okay, so I have a long drive ahead of me in the morning.  I should be in bed.
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Go-Go Gadget Reminiscing! [May. 28th, 2009|06:27 am]
Pow Flowhauer
[mood |nostalgicnostalgic]
[music |Inspector Gadget - Penny's Theme]

Instant message goodnights reminded me that Inspector Gadget exists.  Not that I needed much reminding -- for the longest time growing up the only way my parents could help me understand the incremental passage of time was to use Inspector Gadget episodes as a reference.  Which led to countless conversations along these lines:
“Dad, are we there yet??”
No, still three more Inspector Gadgets to go.
“Oh. Okay.”

So, anyway, I watched an episode online and was further reminded how much I love Penny’s Theme.  A shame it never lasts longer than ten seconds in the show before being interrupted by dialogue.  Mild disappointment followed upon discovering the only tracks containing it you can find on the Internet don’t sound nearly as good as I’d have liked (very French and very ‘80s -- back when all cartoon music sounded like MIDI files).  But still so good.

And while researching I was surprised to learn that the lady who voiced Penny was Cree Summers.  That name not sound familiar?  Well, trust me, you know her.  She’s the woman who’s provided the voice of just about every young, black, female cartoon character for the past ten years or so (think Susie Carmichael and Foxxy Love).  It’s strange, because I can totally hear it now that I know, but I doubt I’d have come to that conclusion without my trusty “Computer Book” for reference.

TL;DR: Wowsers!  I’m lame and need to grow up!
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Civic Unrest [May. 15th, 2009|01:02 pm]
Pow Flowhauer
[mood |sorevandalized]
[music |Little Shop of Horrors - Suddenly, Seymour]

So Oswald had his window broken and stereo stolen (again).  This means I get to spend my Friday filing a police report, calling the insurance company, and finding a place that will replace my window sometime sooner than Monday afternoon.  Oh, and I guess I need a new radio, too, since this time I don't have a really nice friend with an extra in-dash car stereo laying around (thanks again, Dolan, but I guess this one was just on loan?)
This is how my morning started out.  Poor Oswald probably never saw it coming.

I totally wouldn't be sweeping up all that glass if this hadn't happened someplace I might have to park in the future.  At least it wasn't raining at the time, because it was pouring last night.

On the up-side: look how pretty the shattered glass "pebbles" are.  They never look that aquamarine color when they're in window shape.
Weirdly I'm not mad about this.  More surprised that it happened in my neighborhood and to my car (it's a pretty low end stereo to bother smashing a window for).  I do wish I had the money to replace the glass and radio myself, however.  I feel bad having to ask my parents for even more help than I already receive, especially with expensive things like this.

Oh, well.
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What Day was Today? [Apr. 28th, 2009|09:18 pm]
Pow Flowhauer
[mood |amusedamused]
[music |Stephen Malkmus - Malediction]

Today was the day we made fun of my Mother for looking like Han Solo.

So Mom, can your Acura Integra make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs?
Ha! Take that.
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Patience, Patience, Patience [Apr. 23rd, 2009|11:51 pm]
Pow Flowhauer
[mood |excitedexcited]
[music |School of Language - Rockist Part 4]

Friday never comes soon enough.
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