Finally, a book for my children

I finally found a picture book suitable for the impressionable young minds of my children: The Very Hungry Zombie.

It’s practically identical to the original Eric Carle version, both in illustration and style. “On Wednesday he gnawed on three football players. But he found them tough and gritty.” (Yeah, that’s an actual excerpt…no word on if the zombie gets a tummy ache at the end of his feeding frenzy.)

So now my children can learn how to count as well as learn about the unceasing menace of the undead. Two zombies with one headshot birds with one stone!

Baconfest 2013, Taste Test

Of course, the main feature of baconfest is the annual taste test. We had a nice collection of bacons this year. We didn’t get as many sort of rare or local varieties as I would have liked (especially compared to last year), but overall I thought everything was really good. It was a pretty wide range of flavors and appearances.

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Nathan:

Brand Rating (1-10) Comments
Boar’s Head (Smoked)  5  Good crisp – Light
Sobie Meats  6  A lot more tasty fat (by tasty I mean full body) thicker cut but still a crunch.
Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)  4  All the fat was at the end instead of throughout
ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon  2  super thing – nice for crunch but lacked flavor
Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)  5  very similar to #1. A good flavor, very light.

Amanda:

Brand Rating (1-10) Comments
Boar’s Head (Smoked)  7  Sweet. Thin. I liked the crispiness
Sobie Meats  2  Very meaty taste is strong. Like fish.
Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)  5  Smokey & salty
ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon  6  Not much flavor. A good breakfast bacon.
Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)  7  Taste is very different in a good way. I like how thin it is.

Sara:

Brand Rating (1-10) Comments
Boar’s Head (Smoked)  8  thin (which is nice), no overpowering flavors which is also nice
Sobie Meats  5  blah. has sort of a stale flavor, a little chewy
Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)  7.5  a little sweet, a little salty, tastes liek a delicious campfire
ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon  4  I confess to recognizing this one. Honestly, it tastes like nothing, which is better than I expected. The texture is fine
Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)  6  Has a subtly sweet flavor. Not bad, nothing fantastic either. Also, thin in a good way.

2013_04_06_9899Shane:

Brand Rating (1-10) Comments
Boar’s Head (Smoked)  5  average bacon, decent taste, bacon size was a little uneven
Sobie Meats  8  good appearance, just the right amount of fatty, good after taste, a little smokey
Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)  9  great flavor, salty, little fatty
ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon  2  blech
Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)  8  good taste, a little different, more tough than I usually like, but it all came together for me

Evie:

Brand Rating (1-10) Comments
Boar’s Head (Smoked)  6  smiley face
Sobie Meats  1  frowny face
Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)  2  unsure face
ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon  10  smiley face
Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)  8  smiley face

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Overall Results:

Brand Average Rating Average Rating (with Evie)
Boar’s Head (Smoked)  6.25  6.2
Sobie Meats  5.25  4.4
Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)  6.375  5.5
ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon  3.5  4.8
Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)  6.5  6.8

Very, very close this year. I can’t believe that Trader Joe’s bacon has won 2 out of 3 years! That’s crazy. It’s also interesting that the winner didn’t change with the inclusion of Evie’s rankings.

Ollie’s ballot was exactly what you would think Ollie’s ballet would be, each one signed with an “O” to be sure there was no hanky panky.

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I would like to talk for a minute about the Tactical Bacon from ThinkGeek.

Even though it lost pretty badly, everyone was very impressed with the TacBac. This can of bacon has been sitting in my pantry for more than THREE YEARS. Sara was so disgusted by the idea of it, that she couldn’t even look at the can. And given all that, i would put it up against any of the “precooked” bacons on the market. It was remarkable, and certainly worth eating in the case of a zombie apocalypse. In fact, you’ll notice Evie gave it a full 10! I think this is probably because she doesn’t like strong tastes and it has a pretty muted flavor, but nonetheless, if anybody can give old bacon from a can a 10, I think we’ve got a winner. (Full disclosure, I did drop the slices in the bacon grease from one of the other bacons to better disguise it.)

Bacon Level 11

Some people get tired of all the stupid April Fools jokes that run around on the Internet. It seems like every company has some “joke” up their sleeve, to the point where there’s just no chance of anybody tricking you on that day.

On the other hand, I like it. April Fools day has turned into something like an Internet holiday. Wearing a green, pseudo-Irish outfit and drinking beer doesn’t make sense either, but everybody goes along with it because it’s St. Patrick’s day, and why not? Putting out a silly fake ad or doing something dumb on your website is the April 1st equivalent of wearing green. It shows you’re participating.

So, in honor of the 3rd annual baconfest this weekend, I give you Scope’s contribution this year: bacon flavored mouthwash, “for breath that sizzles”

This is the perfect example of an April fools joke. It’s a ridiculous and terrible idea, and yet it’s *just* plausible enough that a bunch of talking head idiots at a company might try to capitalize on the bacon sensation. Plus, there’s some serious production value on that commercial. It’s more enjoyable than a lot of actual commercials.

ThinkGeek, on the other hand, continues to use April Fools “pranks” as a way of beta testing perfectly good ideas to see what people actually want to buy. Seriously guys, there is an art to a good April fools joke. You have to start by making something that’s ridiculous, and then convince me, despite my skepticism, that it is a real thing. That’s a well done joke. Just showing me some products that you could make and sell, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet, is not a joke.

Scope link via Sylvain (and it should be mentioned this video came out *before* April fools, lending it credibility).

I wish I had these when I was a kid

Remember those little army men you used to play with when you were little? I used to love those things, but what could you really do with them? Not much. And honestly, is it really appropriate to have kids waging little wars? Probably not.

UNLESS those army men were doing something a little more constructive than fighting wars, such as fighting zombies. Thanks to ThinkGeek you can now get scaled down zombie and zombie fighter army men.

Not just for kids either: now you can practice your zombie plans easily and accurately. You want to talk about constructive toys that can really teach your kids something worthwhile…

ThinkGeek, my love for you knows no bounds

Most catalogs or emails from companies are an annoyance. Maybe you bought one item one time, and now you are forever cursed to receive correspondence from this company. Page after page of crap you don’t want. But every once in awhile, you have a company that is just totally on your wavelength. Every single item is awesome, and receiving a catalog or email from them puts a smile on your face. For me, ThinkGeek is that company (Probably less useful than Sara’s company, which is Boden, and actually sells useful clothes and stuff). Just when I think they’ve exhausted the total list of possible cool items, here’s two totally new items that are totally awesome.

Item 1 – The Panic Button Light Switch

Basically, it’s just a kit to replace a standard light switch with a mad-scientist-laboratory-emergency-cutoff-style giant red button.

It seems so obvious when you see it, doesn’t it? How much more dramatic would turning lights on and off become if you could slap a big red emergency button to perform the task? And you can even turn the button like a dial for a dimmer switch. A little too expensive to actually replace all the switches in your house maybe, but still a great idea.

Item 2 – Scizza Pizza Cutter

Okay, you can’t improve on something as simple and straightforward as the pizza cutter, right? Wrong.

Okay, at first it seems crazy, but bear with me on this one. If you think about a regular pizza cutter, it’s not exactly perfect. First off, we often bake our pizza in a cookie sheet, so I can never cut through the very edge of the crust because the wheel hits the lip of the pan. Then, I have to run the cutter back and forth to get all the way through, but I never quite hit the same line, so I just end up making multiple shallow cuts. So there is some room for improvement, and this design would probably handle those issues. Also, once the pizza finally is cut, I usually turn the pizza cutter sideways and use that as a spatula. So it was particularly brilliant to include a built in spatula on the bottom. Besides, with a regular cutting wheel, cutting on the pan must wear out the blade, right? Another problem solved. Brilliant, top to bottom.

(Side note, literally as I was writing this post, ThinkGeek just emailed me to tell me they had deposited bonus Geek Points into my account. Coincidence? Maybe. Creepy? For sure. I told you they were in my head, they even know what I’m typing!)