Friday, November 09, 2007

Irony or Just Bad Luck?

Last night I was sitting on the couch enjoying a bite-sized Heath bar, one of my favorite candies. I had just popped the last half of the bar into my mouth and bit down when I realized this one was harder than your average piece of toffee. One more chew made me think that something had made it into the toffee that wasn't toffee. I spit out the offending chunks and examined them. They looked oddly like pieces of a tooth. I was revolted. What if some factory worker had lost a tooth and it got ground into the toffee? Yeah, you've already figured out where this is going, but I wasn't that fast. A probe with my tongue found that besides the usual toffee-filled crevasses of my teeth, there was an odd crater in my back left bottom molar.

My heart sank.

I had chipped a tooth. Nay, I had destroyed a tooth. A full quarter of the benighted chopper had disintegrated into my mouth. I was picking toffee-embedded chunks of tooth out of my mouth for the next few minutes. A Heath bar? Really? My teeth can't handle a little toffee?

Now for the bets part of all. I had just been to the dentist the day before. Not only that, but after x-rays, poking, and prodding, he had pronounced me free of cavities!

Oh well, back to the dentist I go.

So what do you think, ironic or just plain unfortunate? I'd ask Alanis, but I have a feeling I'd know what her answer would be.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Halloween Treats, MerlinTWizard Style

Here are the pictures of some of the treats we served at our annual Halloween party. These are what kept me up until 2:00 AM that morning. They were worth it, though.

Here's a shot of me as a pirate, yarr and all that.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

MerlinTWizard Annual Halloween Party

We celebrated Halloween in full swing this year - in November. Meh, The Saturday after Halloween was the only one we could get that close to the actual day that wasn't already booked. Still, I think the Hawks Annual Halloween Party was the best this year than ever.

Our decorations were out in full force, including the big, inflatable, knife-wielding maniac and giant inflatable spider in our front yard as well as the cryptacular stone wall facades inside. Stacy and I would love to go scarier for Halloween, but we've found that our little girls are too sensitive to have much more than the walls and the inflatables. Maybe when they're older.

Stacy and I did the pirate thing this year (pics to come) while our girls rocked the princess costumes for the fourth time this month. We had plenty of guests: Creepy Hooded Axe Wielder, Knock Off Wolverine, Princess Ariel, Capt. Jack Sparrow (x2!), Tigger, Tow Mater, Peter Pan, and my personal favorite, Hank Venture.

Refreshments were suitably ghoulish, with skulls (white-chocolate-coated pears with candy eyes and frosting mouths), eyeballs (cherries embedded in lychees floating in red punch), owl eyes (sugar cookie center, chocolate cookie ring with candy eyes and cashew noses), a slimy caterpillar (cupcakes frosted orange lined in a curve with candy decorations and green licorice legs), and witch hats (croissant calzones folded into the shape and served with pizza sauce.) Of course, we had candy and treats galore as well. I don't think anyone went home hungry.

Since we had so many kids attend, we aimed the party more towards their level with some fun games. We did a Halloween version of Who Am I, the game where you have a picture taped to your back and must rely on other's hints to figure out who it is (witches, werewolves, cowboys, pirates, princesses, etc.) We had a candy hunt with miniature candy-filled Darth Vader heads and bags of Teddy Grahams. The adults joined in on a game of Pumpkin Relay where two teams lined up and passed a pumpkin over the head or under the legs, ending when the last person in line reached the front and the pumpkin reached the back. We finished off the games with one of my favorites, Plop the Wart on the Witch. We give the kids a little ball of white sticky tack, blindfold them, spin them around, and then send them towards the witch on the wall to do their worst. She had quite a few warts that somehow made it on the outside of her hat.

Stacy and I figure that we'll gear the party more towards the adults when our kids get older. For now, we're having a great time showing them a great time. Thank you to those of you that attended, and those that didn't, we'll be doing it again next year. What are you going to wear?

The Office: Local Ad and Branch Wars

I have missed blogging about couple of good episodes of The Office these past two weeks.

First, Local Ad. Thankfully, our friends in Scranton are only on for 1/2 hour starting with this episode. I think the extra time in the first four episodes was a bit too much of a strain. The Office's format just doesn't seem to lend itself well to the hour-long time frame. Let's just say "The Office: The Motion Picture" would not be a great idea. I was happy to see that the return to the 1/2 time slot seemed to compress the funny into a nice little package, long lasting and easy to digest!

The story in brief in case you missed it: Dunder Mifflin Corporate, represented by local intern gone douche, Ryan, sends a creative team to the Scranton branch to shoot a local ad for the branch. Dismayed when he finds that his people only get two or three seconds at the end of a truly cheezrific corporate ad, the ever-creative Michael Scott dismisses the creative team,

"Why don't you come back at never hundred hours."

The train-wreck of a commercial developing throughout the episode seems like it's going to be every bit as bad, or worse, than the corporate ad. Amazingly enough, it isn't that bad.

Even better than the entire plot about the ad is the revelation of Dwight's secret life, Dwight's Second Life. How does this life differ from Dwight's real life? Well, let's see, he looks exactly the same, he sells paper, and oh yeah, he can fly. That's pretty much it. How do we find all of this out? Why, good ole Jim Halpert creates his own Second Life avatar to spy on poor lovelorn Dwight. Jim's avatar somehow ends up being a more depressed statement of Jim's hopes and dreams than Dwights. That's traggicomedy there.

Great episode. Check it out at the full episode archive at NBC. I'm impressed that NBC has offered this. Old Media's reaction to video on the Web has historically been that of an old man protecting his grass, "Get off my lawn, you damn kids!" Here's the link:

The second episode, Branch Wars, also did not disappoint. Here we have the triumphant return of Karen! Jim's jilted ex is after a different Scrantonite, Stanley. Only not so much for the romance but the paper sales as she is now the Utica branch manager. Michael Scott's reaction? You cannot take the hilarious black guy from the office. Oh Stanley's funny, but not in the Mo' Money way Michael thinks.

Michael and Dwight kidnap Jim to go on the Utica Panty Raid of '07. Good Idea or Great Idea? That's right, great idea. Too bad Jim doesn't think so. I don't know, those warehouse outfits, the obviously fake mustaches, how can they lose? Well, what starts out as a panty raid ends in the copy machine toppling over Michael and Dwight and Jim in Karen's office facing the wrath of a woman scored. I'm going to have to go with Great Idea.

Meanwhile, back at the farm Scranton, the most exclusive club in the branch is beleaguered by the uncultured philistines roaming through the break room. That's right, The Finer Things club, attended by Pam, Oscar, Toby, and the most discriminating taste this side of New Jersey meets in the break room to discuss all things high minded. From Andy's frustrated attempts to get into the club just for the exclusive distinction to Kevin and Phyllis's everyday use of the break room makes for great camidy. Why can't Phyllis use the kitchen microwave to pop her popcorn? "Someone needs to clean it. It smells like popcorn." Genius!

I'm really glad to see The Office back on track. Too bad the hiatus is almost upon us. I'll enjoy them while they last.