Posted in Real Life, Shopping, stuff

Cup Wars

You know how you can go years without buying a new travel mug, and then then universe decides to introduce space age travel mug technology, so you find yourself buying not one but two new $25 mugs? Me too.

I didn’t set out to buy two. I could hardly justify one. We were at The Paper Store, the local Hallmark-affiliated chain of gift stores, in July because I wanted to look at their scarves. And there was a sign in the window saying it was launch day for the 2017 Hallmark ornaments but we’re going to focus on the scarves, okay?

The Christmas music playing in the store as I looked for a beach-y scarf almost drove me out, but damned if I don’t love the stuff in that store. Really, their buyer is basically my soulmate. So as I spent 15 minutes attempting to make it from the scarf section to the register, a display of travel mugs catches my eye. Keeps drinks cold for 9 hours! Keeps coffee hot for 3! What is this spaceman technology?? The Corkcicle is expensive for a travel mug and I don’t know if I need a new one. But my old one simply doesn’t give me the staying power these promise. Plus, I have a negative amount of self-control.

Later, a woman in an optometry office sold me on the lid of the Yeti travel mug, which is held by a magnet so easy to remove and clean. Done. Sign me up. I hate cleaning the slider part of travel mug lids.

So which one is better?

Interestingly, the Corkcicle kept coffee hotter longer, but the Yeti has a better lid (specifically the one with the magnetic close that you have to purchase separately.) The Yeti had better lid options – I’m not seeing replacement lids for sale for Corkcicle, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t available.

In the end, I kept the Corkcicle (and bought more) and gave the Yeti to my son. It’s still good, it just came in 2nd.

Posted in stuff

Restaurant Review

Okay, I’m not a restaurant reviewer , but I had a good experience last night, so I’m giving it a shot.

Last night Tom and I were looking for a restaurant that didn’t have an hour wait. (Good luck, at 6:30 the Saturday night before Mother’s Day.) While turning around in a gas station we spotted a little place called Prelude behind a Dunkin Donuts. “They have a spoon and fork on the sign! Let’s go!” (I am a sucker for giant flatware.)

The lobster fettuccini was the best meal I’ve had in ages. Huge chunks of lobster and fresh fettuccine. the portion looked small but I couldn’t finish all the pasta. We shared a sweet potato bread pudding for dessert. I asked that dessert to marry me, but ate it up before it could give me an answer..

Prelude, in Methuen, is owned by Tommy Grella, a finalist on Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star” ( He’s a charming guy, I can see how he made it to the finals.

When he asked how we’d heard of the place, he was probably expecting me to mention TV or a magazine article, not “we saw your sign from the gas station”. He laughed and complemented my honestly. More people should do that, damn it.

Make reservations if you’re going on a weekend, as the place is tiny. And consider bringing me with you. Please.

Posted in Uncategorized

My New Favorite Candy

I’m kind of a freak. I’m over forty and I love Nerds candy. Basically crunchy sugar nuggets, they make me happy. The other day we were in Rite Aid and found a bag of candy that I had to buy just on principle.

Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans

And I loved them. LOVED THEM. But because I fear they’re going to be limited to Easter season, I’m about to take out a small loan to buy all the bags they have on the shelf and store them in a secret location in my house. (That’s because both boys love them almost as much as I do. We’re all doomed.)

Has anyone else tried these? Do they make you as happy as they make me??

I had another thing I wanted to review, food-wise, but I can’t remember what it was. I don’t know if that means I did not think it was good enough to remember to tell you about it or not. Did I hate it? Who knows.

I’ve been busy learning how to play Halo 3. I stink at it. Okay, I don’t stink, I’m just not very good at all. Last night my approach was to hide in a corner and hope that someone walked by me. Now I hear this is a perfectly valid approach, but I’m trying to picture a game where all the players are just hiding in corners. I’m guessing not very much would happen. That’s okay with me, because as I may or may not have mentioned before, I hate having people jump out at me. I never liked playing hide and seek as a kid. People can say what they will about video games making kids do violent acts, but my playing Halo does not in any way impact whether or not I want to play hide and seek. Which I don’t. People who would blame this game on a violent act are way off base – anyone with a normal psyche is not going to run out and buy assault weapons and plastic armor, okay?

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On the Go

I have been downloading a ton and a half of video podcasts now that I have a new iPod nano that shows video. I highly recommend the following free, free, all free, podcasts, available for your viewing enjoyment even as we speak:

  • Discovery Channel Video Podcast
  • Nation Geographic’s Atmosphere
  • Onion News Network (Video)
  • VH1 Best Week Ever
  • Vintage ToonCast

Of these, the Onion News Network wins a prize for blowing me away at the amount of effort put into simulating a CNN-like news network. The “set” and graphics and music and live interviews…holy cow, my hat is off to the guys at the Onion.

VH1 Best Week Ever is cool because it’s almost sort of like “The Soup” Lite. I would love for The Soup to be available as a free podcast. I’m not going to pay for it because I download it to my Tivo, but I don’t always have time to watch it. It is one of my favorite shows, though.

The Discovery Channel Video Podcast gives you behind the scenes and background on bits from some of your favorite Discovery Channel shows. I’m in it for my Mythbusters addiction.

National Geographic’s Atmosphere is just gorgeous footage that basically works as an almost screen saver. If you love stunning footage of nature, this is the podcast to end all podcasts.

Vintage Tooncast – public domain cartoons, and lots of videos flagged as explicit because the content is inappropriate for today’s kidlings. You can imagine some of the images from back in the day all on your own, I’m sure. But if you are like me, the slice of American life seen in some of the old propaganda cartoons is endlessly fascinating. (Side note: A friend of mine just mentioned that a new DVD is coming out with old Sesame Street bits and it’s flagged as being inappropriate for today’s toddlers. I cannot WAIT to get my hands on that.)

I have some footage for a new DumpCast just waiting to be processed this weekend, so keep your eyes peeled for that as well. It’s not quite as good as the ones mentioned above, but they aren’t attempting to be mundane, now, are they? No, I don’t think so.

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Food Review: Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos

If “burning” was a flavor instead of a feeling, that would cover these.

Every time I try to figure out what the flavor is (I think closer to Cool Ranch except, of course, for the Cool part) the Blazin’ Buffalo kicks in. This isn’t really a flavor, though, is it?

I’ll say that if you like spicy, you’ll probably like these okay. Me, I prefer my Ranch cool and my buffalo heat with blue cheese. (What kind of neanderthal restaurant chefs decided to pair buffalo sauced products with ranch? HEATHANS! I shall not darken your doorstep again!)

So I give these a 5 out of 10, but only because I don’t like mouth blisters.