Thursday, April 05, 2018

Doritos Blaze Flavored Corn Chips Review


We are quickly approaching the date 4/20 (blaze it) so I thought it would be the perfect time to review Doritos Blaze. It's a flavor of corn chip created by the Frito Lay Corporation. You're perhaps familiar with the standard Doritos flavors: "Nacho Cheese" (the default/original flavor) and "Cool Ranch" (also known as "Cool American" in non-American countries). Blaze is relatively new and somewhat scarce in many chips aisles--two reasons why I had to try it.

The truth is, though, I've been working on the same bag of Doritos Blaze corn chips since the US American Football Super Bowl Tournament. At this point that's about two months of Blaze. And it hasn't taken me so long to eat these chips because I'm a bit of a health nut. Because I've totally crushed entire bags of other styles and flavors of chips and snacks in the interim. I've been savoring these DBlazes for so long because (review preview: I don't like them).

I don't want to finish the bag even though it's primarily crumbs at this point. And I don't want to waste food. Can I mail a mostly eaten bag of chips to starving children someplace? Will local ducks eat DBlaze?

The Bag


It's purple: I love it! Look, there's flames and smoke. U kno it's hottt fam. Is Doritos trying to capture the Hot Cheetos and Takis market? So based on packaging and the name I might assume these are hot chips. Have I done this before? This all feels very familiar like I have already reviewed DBlaze at some point in the past 2 months. Maybe it's just the same unpublished draft that I've been sculpting in my brain. I could check, but who has time for that. Besides: fresh content. FT makes the world go round and I am here to sling 'tent.

The Chip


I don't have a picture. I took the crumb bag to work hoping that I could trick a co-worker into eating my leftovers or that I might get snackish enough during a brain storm to finish the bag (so far no good). They basically appear similar to standard NachoCheeseD's but are more red because of the red blaze powder.

Fingers


These will ruin a shirt or pants or sofa arm if you wipe before licking or using a napkin or whatever. If you use a napkin to wipe your mouth after eating some you might think your lips are bleeding. These leave a very red stain.

Taste


Doritos Blaze aren't good. Part of what makes Doritos so good is their iconic flavor profile. When they get adventurous with flavors it may as well be a dollar store chip. Though, the light texture and crunch are still signature Dorito, the flavor is just nothing special (or ingrained into my psyche from a lifetime of advertising). Hey speaking of crunch, whatever happened to Doritos for girls?

So how hot are they? Not that hot, but also pretty hot. They are hot enough to provide a not-enjoyable eating experience. And it's not a good hot like I'm having a delicious spicy burrito or buffalo wings. They're hot in the way that doesn't provide dimension and just sneaks up on you after eating a bunch. The hotness doesn't add flavor. It's like they isolated the hot part of a pepper and turned it into a flavorless powder and then added fake pepper chemical powder flavor back into it and put it onto the chip. Eating hot foods should be fun. Eating Doritos Blaze corn chips is not fun. And, uh, you also, uh, regret it later, if uh, you know what I mean. Hint: digestive system.

Who are these for? Middle&High school boys? Stoners? Bloggers who automatically buy new flavors of things just to review them? That's actually probably a demographic that companies target now. Hmm, interesting. I think these are for No One. It was an idea that had enough legs to leave the ideas room and hit the shelves. I certainly won't be purchasing another bag of Blaze. And if I wouldn't do it, who would?

Conclusion

Do not recommend. Although, in retrospect, maybe if paired with an Ice Flavor Mountain Dew or whatever that Peter Dinklage / Morgan Freeman commercial was, these really come to life.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Questions About Teachers And Guns

It seems as though every time there is a school shooting (way too frequently!) one of the talking points bandied about is that of arming teachers. In theory (I think) this is intended as a preventative measure to discourage a student bringing a gun to school, as well as a solution to stopping whatever rampage that student might be planning. And while I think most people aren't fully serious about this as an actual way to solve the problem of gun violence, many people seem to enjoy at least entertaining the idea as a plausible course of action. (citation needed)

And as I think about it, I just have some questions for the advocates of arming educators.


  • Is it all teachers, or just ones that want to participate in the program?
  • Is it up to the district or the state to decide who carries a weapon? 
  • Will a teacher be forced to join the program against their will, or alternately transfer to another district or state if they don't want to be armed? Even the elderly teachers or those with poor vision?
  • What kind of vetting will the teachers get? Surely there are some employees in school systems who should not have a gun. Perhaps even those who want a gun the most ("teaches" study hall & coaches football)
  • Is the teacher expected to provide his/her own gun, or is it provided by the school?
  • Does that come out of the school's budget?
  • Will teachers be given a gun allowance to aid in the purchase of a firearm (teachers are under-paid!)?
  • What kind of gun? Are there restrictions?
  • What training will they receive? Who will pay for it? And renewal of permits?
  • Will they be expected to have the gun on their person at all times during the day, or will it be locked in their desk?
  • Does adding guns to a gun-free environment increase the risk of gun violence?
  • Students steal hall passes, what happens if they steal the teacher's gun?
  • Will the students know which teachers are armed and plan to avoid them or alternately target them?
  • Will this start an arms race where students upgrade to explosives or other means of causing harm?
  • Who will provide counseling to the teacher who has to decide whether or not to murder a child?
  • What kind of leave will be provided to a teacher who has to shoot a child? And will they be welcomed back to their normal position? Will they even want to return?
  • What if the teacher isn't Jason Bourne and accidentally shoots another student or faculty member?
  • What qualifies as a threat that demands a gun response? Can you shoot a kid with a knife? What about a kid spraying bleach in people's eyes with a squirt gun?
  • How can teachers be expected to respond appropriately when trained police officers often shoot innocent people or overreact to an intense situation?


I don't intend this to be a full examination of a very serious issue because I know it's not. But giving teachers guns is such a ridiculous idea that I cannot fathom that anyone would actually believe this would solve anything.

And it doesn't have to come down to taking your guns away, which is why I think many people are upset. Guns are a tool and they have a purpose. People rely on guns to procure food, or protect themselves from animals and humans alike. They can be fun to shoot. They can be a hobby. You can appreciate the craftsmanship and engineering of a gun. You can collect rare or interesting guns.

There just has to be a different way. There has got to be something that we all as a combined nation, and also as individual humans, can do to avoid these types of situations and to get out of this mindset that trying to solve a problem like this is somehow impeding on our individual liberty. You aren't free anyways. Do you have a credit card? Do you have a job that you hate? Are you locked into a mortgage that you'll never pay off? Heck, can you even afford to get a mortgage in the first place? Where is your liberty? Where is your freedom? Guns were guaranteed in the Bill of Rights so that a populace could defend itself against a tyrannical government. And as Dr. Phil would say "So how's that workin' out for ya?"

...I know...I took the bait and had an emotional response to a bait debate that was probably created by a Russian Troll Farm to further divide Americans. But come on people. We're all in this together. Stop shooting each other please.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Last Minute Preview and Predictions for Super Bowl LII


We are mere hours away from Super Bowl LII (52?) where the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will battle it out on the gridiron for the Championship Title: "NFL Champions." Who will win? What are you eating? Where will you watch it? What are you wearing?

I'm wearing jersey knit bottoms in charcoal by Fruit of the Loom with a soft all-cotton Hanes Beefy-T in Aquatic Blue featuring a screen print of Widespread Panic's 2008 Red Rocks tour design. And despite being red carpet ready, I'll be watching the match from home to avoid all of the cool dudes and dudettes who drive after drinking. Hey, buzzed driving is drunk driving, you guyz.

Speaking of catching a buzz, no American Football game would be complete without a bevy of frosty ones waiting to be cracked. Like all red blooded blue collar Americans I like to have a fridge full of Bud Light at all times. If I were a king I would command my court wizard to magically transform all of my possessions into cases of Bud Light. Dilly dilly. What a great advertising campaign! I can't wait to see their Super Bowl commercials!

And that's really the point of the Super Bowl, right? Viewing advertising! There are 32 teams in the NFL and only 2 of them are playing. Statistically, only 6.25% of football fans care about the outcome of this match. For everyone else it's about eating way too much food and drinking beer and hanging out with buddies. And displays of athleticism.

I guess it's also about politics now though. Who will stand and who will sit during the National Anthem? What opinions will sportscasters have? We must divide our country at all costs so that they are fragile and more receptive to advertising.

You know, I woke up this morning with the regret that I spend so much time asleep where I can't yet receive targeted and relevant advertising.

This Bud Light is really good. It's the perfect beer-style drink to wash down my Doritos flavored corn tortilla chips. I got the new flavor "BLAZE!" and am very eager to try eating them. I can tell by the package design that they will taste fun, and maybe a little bit hot because there are wafts of smoke illustrated above the enlarged to show texture chip on front of the bag. And the illustrated chip itself is surrounded in a fire-like glow. Potential Doritos Blaze review upcoming.

Will these be hottt? How bad is tomorrow going to be for me?


Let's talk some more about Bud Light. On the front of the can it proudly boasts that it is made with rice. Talk about trying to turn your liabilities into assets. It's still beer. It'll still get you turnt. It'll take "no" out of your vocabulary so that it is easier to commit sex crimes. And so but, like, you know, come on.


But wait, there's more food. 7 layer dip! Guacamole! A vegetable tray! Pizza! Cookies shaped like footballs! And the best sports food: wings! Watching football without chicken wings is like being a lumberjack that doesn't wear flannel.

Who Will Win?

The "Iggles" are the underdog who many people want to see win because they are tired of the Patriot's dynasty and Tom Brady's smug face. But the Patriots are so good for a reason. What are some factors going into today's matchup?

Half of the Eagles have the flu. (Bird flu?)
Gronkowski is out for the Pats (concussed)
Brady has stitches in his hand
I don't know. Do your own gambling research. Reading sports blogs is hard work and confusing.
What it really comes down to is mascots and the national mood.
What is more patriotic than a Patriot? But what is more American than an eagle? In hand to hand combat a human man would beat a bird eagle 99% of the time. In fact, humans are so good at killing animals that bald eagles are/were endangered. But how do Americans feeeel? Many are upset with the current state of affairs and aren't feeling very Patriotic at all, but still feel like America means something. America is all that is good and right in the world. Where else can you ride a go-cart to buy more Doritos because you are too large to support your own weight than in America? And the EAGLE is a symbol of that. We love symbolism.
We also know that the NFL is rigged, though. Do you know who won the Super Bowl at the end of the season that spanned 9/11/2001? The New England Patriots! Just when it was a time where America needed to feel unified and powerful and pride for the nation. The books could be cooked this year again. MAGA and such.

Regardless of what happens, we can count of Philadelphians to not behave like normal rational people. A win will see them flipping cars in celebration. A loss will see them burning cars in frustration. Minneapolis PD & Philly PD have their work cut out for them tonight.

I am predicting an upset. Eagles over Pats 27-26. It will come down to the wire. There will be questionable calls. Someone will have a career-threatening injury. Someone will be ejected from the game. Oh I forgot to talk about half-time.

Half-Time


Justin Timberlake returns to prove that he still makes music. Last Super Bowl Half-Time Show that JT did, he surprised us all on live TV by ripping away the dress of Janet Jackson and showing us her crusty boob with a star pasty. (You can't pull this kind of stunt anymore because the nation is on high alert with sexual misconduct stuff). Expect Left Shark to make a guest appearance? Fingers crossed for an Andy Samberg cameo appearance.
I watched a new Justin Timberlake video on youtube yesterday, something about a lumberjack. The song could've been written for Meaghan Trainor. Music is weird how sometimes none of it matters, just shut up and listen and buy the album you idiot. It was also weird because JT is aging out of his boyish good looks into regular-old handsome good looks. I am curious to see how his image/career changes as he ages.

This was supposed to be short. Have a fun and safe Super Bowl LII. Eat plenty and don't drink and drive! God Bless!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Taylor Swift's Reputation


At the time of this writing it has been a fortnight and four since the drop of Taylor Swift's hot new record Reputation. And since its midnight release I have been listening to the album on repeat non-stop except for breaks to listen to The Writer's Almanac. Even in my sleep my eardrums thrum to the thuds of the deep throbbing bass, wondering what I made her do. I'm ready for discourse. (Note to self: in that last sentence I see potential for some type of disc golf course related play on words. Circle back to this in the future)

Are You Ready For It?


So clever. So good. This is the title of the opening track of the album. It both engages the listener as an active participant as well as establishes expectations for the remainder of the album. AYRFI (as fans refer to it) is also one of the songs that came out as a single in advance of the full album.

What this song does well: it blends the sing-songy melodic characteristics of vintage Taylor with the over-produced electronicish pop-trash of new Taylor. It acts as a tertiary step to acclimate the tender sensitivities of longtime fans by referencing established motifs while preparing them for the aural garbage landslide that is about to assault their ears.

Getting Ahead Of Ourselves


As an established and well respected music critic, I'm afraid I'm wearing my review heart on my blog sleeve a bit here. But before we delve into the many pitfalls and shortcomings of this album (spoiler alert), let's look at the numbers.

Wait. So I'm Microsoft Bing Searching for statistics about record (album) sales because I know it broke all sorts of records (historical milestones) and made like a bajillion dollars in a day and I'm learning all sorts of things that I would have known if I had done more research beyond listening to the album for over 430 hours continuously. Like did you know that Reputation had an official partnership with the United Parcel Service? You could snap a selfie with a specially vinyl wrapped UPS truck and post it on social media for "improved chances" at scoring tickets to a concert. (I propose raising an undead army of skeletons to wage war upon marketing teams worldwide)

And also, I'm about to tell you all of the bad things I thought about this album and am learning that other music critics are saying good things about this album. Is this all just part of the machine? No one benefits from negative reviews, but everyone gets paid when there's praise. Maybe my lens is fogged.

Taylor Swift


She started as the country darling who could connect to the youth with her songs about heartbreak and romance. It was all real boy-crush, girl-crush music. And while it was always pop-country, she endeared herself as the singer-songwriter type who wrote all of her own music in earnest. As she and her sound matured she distanced herself from her humble gee-golly country girl beginnings, but never really lost the image of a musician who writes her own songs. It may be naive on my part to assume that some musicians still make their own music, but with this album she seems to have only a minor hand in songwriting, if any at all.

Part of this problem is in the music industry and media. These aren't just people who are musicians anymore. These are brands. Everything about their life and public perception is carefully curated and presented to the world. So it's important to talk about the person (TSwizzle) especially when the album and its contents strongly alludes to public perception and how the "artist's" reputation might be tarnished.

Taylor is a reputed serial dater who participates in tumultuous relationships for the purpose of creating music about being burned by relationships. This is win-win because she gets to write about both the struggles of falling in love, and also the pain of heartbreak from people who don't care enough or whatever.

Additionally, she apparently has beef with other pop-stars such as Katy Perry. I don't know what this beef is and if it is real or manufactured drama created by record executives, but it works its way (often not so subtly) into her music (deliberate for sales boost? create drama, elevate drama).

The Crux


These two things (relationships & petty feuds) are, for me, the crux of this album's pitfalls. It becomes laborious and exhausting trying to decode the lyrics and figure out who or what event Swift at which is hinting.

Taylor Swift Is Dead

"The old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, because she's dead!" First, the concept of "coming to the phone" is so dated and hilarious to think about. Like, remember when there were only landlines and you had to call a person's house and speak to their parents first before talking to your friend? And how even more harrowing that prospect was when you were calling someone you were, uh, interested in?

She's making a statement that she's not who she was and that she has reinvented herself. This point is strongly reinforced in the music video where she portrays all of her past character iterations in a battle for the neon cross (neon T (in Ford we trust)). But why?

The New Taylor Swift

If the old one is dead then we presumably have a new one. What is she like? Well, from what I can tell she is dark and oily and dances like Beyonce. There's a little bit of s&m 50 shades vibe, but also like "I am still a very precious object don't touch me" kind of deal. And she is all about auto-tune and bass drops. Taylor will have a long successful career, and hopefully this will be the period that eventually will embarrass her the most.

What Did She Do?


The first single to drop and probably the catchiest earworm on the album is "Look What You Made Me Do." But what did she do? Steve Irkel often wondered if he did that. Is this a Family Matters reference?

But really, what did she do? Because I remember something about a year or two ago. It was something she said or did that had bad optics. And I remember thinking that she would have to lay low for a while and then release something new and flashy. Because until that point she was a golden child who could do no wrong and I'm going to take a moment to see if I can figure this out. She has a very good agent/publicist, btw.

Was it all the groping stuff and lawsuit with that DJ? The suits and counter-suits or possibly something that resulted from the trial? It was mos def bad optics. But I need a Taylor Swift historian to weigh in here.

Or was it in reference to Kanye West? See, here I am again trying to decode lyrics to what is little more than a catchy pop song. Is she Santa Claus, because she has a list that she is checking twice?

Hype Machine


This is what Taylor does best. She (and all her people) drummed up so much hype and anticipation for this album. They did marketing very well, despite being attacked by a skeleton army the entire time. And I too was pumped for the whole album. Because the singles (LWYMMD, AYRFI, and Gorgeous) were interesting but didn't reveal too much and I wanted to hear them in context of the entire album.

Boy, let me tell you: if disappointment were red shoes I'd be Ronald McDonald. (Red, another Taylor Swift album and also a special edition U2 iPod in the Apple Store). Because, y'all, despite all the hype and anticipation...

Here's The Deal


In the end it's still just a pop record for teenage girls. All of the songs that aren't about mysterious celebrity beefs or having receipts are about wanting to be in certain relationships, being in relationships, and dealing with the fall-out of past relationships. Age old themes present themselves like "if it is bad, then why does it feel good?" to which many young people will explore their sexuality and have many awakenings (Kate Chopin? (which I guess might actually might be somewhat relevant)).

The record doesn't defy or challenge conventions by any stretch. So many of the songs I could see just as easily on an album by, like, Selena Gomez or Pink or Miley Cyrus or whatever else is on the radio.

Assorted quotes and quick takes:

"My drug is my baby I be using for the rest of my life"

"Delicate" starts off like an Imogen Heap sounding song.

Does the song "So It Goes..." reference Vonnegut?

She mentions being "chill" in several songs but never says Netflix

"You should think about the consequence of your magnetic field being a little too strong" is basically pro-rape and it's the victim's fault

She makes "ooOOhh" and other assorted moaning sounds in a lot of the songs. I would like an isolated vocals track of just these.

"You said there was nothing in the world that could stop it / I had a bad feeling / And darling, you had turned my bed into a sacred oasis" also rape-centric lyrics

"My baby's fly like a jetstream" pro-chemtrail mind control propaganda. Later in the song sings about chains around her neck (slavery)

"Only bought this dress so you could take it off" glorifies rape culture. Women can only do things like shopping for clothes and want to be dominated by men.

TL;DR


You know those 5 paragraph essays you wrote in high school? I think soon they will be 5.1 where that extra tenth is a TL;DR at the end of every essay.

So the new album by Taylor Swift, Reputation is okay. It's got some bangers. It feels a little uninspired and derivative. It's mainly about teenage girl problems. The old Taylor might be dead, but this can't be her final form. Admittedly, I am only a fan of the hits. I couldn't tell you about any TSwizzle deep cuts and I think that will continue to be true after this album. I'm a fair weather Swift Head.

Rating: I dunno, like 6/10? What is even good or bad these days?
She's still pretty, though, and for girls that is the only thing that matters.


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Wendy's Bacon Queso Burger: Not Exactly What You Think


Gather 'round children. It's time for the classic tale of the short-lived sandwich from Wendy's. They called it the Bacon Queso Burger and it was available on either beef (hamburger) or fried chicken patty (chicken sandwich). It was the year of our Lord, 2017, and it was a crazy times. Emperor Trump had just come to power, Taylor Swift couldn't come to the phone because she was dead, and OJ Simpson was released from prison.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

This Week In Banal Conversation Topics

Haha! Yes! I also watch television programs!

We're well into the new year (new you!)--so much so, as a matter of fact, that we can basically already consider this year [2017] OVER! More or less. Less is MORE! But for the time being we're just going to hit some bullet points from the week ahead so we can talk about the things that we're going to be talking about around the water cooler at work in order to seem personable despite all of our inner fears of making a real human connection.

Daylight Savings Time
It's so close, that by the time you read this it will probably have already passed. And you will have passed...one hour into the future. We're living on borrowed time, folks. Why do we still do this? Is it for the cows? Is it so we can pretend to be Time Lords and feel like we have some sort of tenuous grasp on the ethereal strands of our own withering destinies?

The 2nd Monday The 13th In A (Monthly) Row
Garfields of the world know about these kinds of days. They're almost as bad or possibly worse than being murdered by a guy with a big knife and a hockey mask on an unlucky Friday, because you have to go back to work and wallow in the sameness of your meaningless routine. This Monday the 13th is extra special because it happens after a full moon. I'll start heating up the lasagna now.

MARCH MADNESS!
If you ask an average American "why do you live?" a great majority of answers will be "to watch sporting events, of course!" And what other pinnacle of athletic competition garners more attention than the NCAA men's basketball tournament? And it's great for advertisers because it's an entire half a month, not just a 3-5 hour Super Bowl event. These highly unpaid "student" athletes make millions of dollars for many people all for a shot at The Big Game. Sure, many will go on to be talented professional athletes, but what about the scrappy point guards of the world who graduate with a degree in Health Teacher or Gym Teacher and have learned no other professional skills? I guess you do a couple John Deere commercials or something and then go play for an international team.

Get your office bracket filled out and prepare to lose to the guy/gal that picks teams based on mascots.

Beware The Ides Of March!
The fifteenth of the month is when "Orange" Julius Caesar was famously murdered by his best friend Brutus. At least that is what I remember based on reading Shakespeare in high school English class. "Shakespeare is cool because of fart jokes, ya dig?" said the cool high school teacher, deeply in touch with what the kids find cool. "What scene is this?" the cool teacher continued while showing the class a series of emoticons.

St. Patricks Day
Yup, everyone is a little bit Irish if it means you can get out-of-control-drunk. This is especially true since it's on a Friday and you don't have to show up at work the next day green-tongued and barely functional. It's also a little bit like Halloween for some reason, where people dress up in weird costumes and girls act extra, uh, promiscuous. Is this a racist/xenophobic/insensitive tradition here in USA?

That's all  I can think of as far as big days this coming week. I guess there's always the weather too. Weather is crazy, right? Haha.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Super Bowl LI Last Minute Preview



Chill out. "Last Minute" is a figure of speech. Did you really think I would wait until the literal last minute to publish a Super Bowl preview? That wouldn't give you enough time to read beforehand and you might miss an advertisement. I mean last minute like doing your summer homework assignment on the final day of summer break before schools starts. Speaking of last minutes, I will bet this sports contest of champions comes down to the last minutes. Get information about this and the full pre-game analysis in my annual "Non-sports-fanatic lambasting of American culture and consumption: A post-cynical view of society and its whims."