Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Halloween Treats 2011

Just in time for Christmas, let's take a look at some of the Halloween treats currently filling up a trolley-based bargain bin next to your local supermarket checkouts. Sadly, I didn't get the chance to pick up a bunch of candy this year, but I did manage to grab a few new Halloween-themed treats, as well as some genuinely terrifying pop merchandise. It is indeed "time for scary cake", so let's get munching.

Smarties Jack-o'-lantern

The loneliest Halloween candy in the world, here we have a pumpkin-shaped chocolate shell filled with mini Smarties. I quite like the presentation of this, and the Smarties inside are as good as ever, but the fairly thin, bland shell doesn't really add much to them. Buy yourself a tube of Smarties instead. 2/5

Mr. Kipling Demon Slices

Texture-wise, I quite like these; The sponge is nice and springy and the frosting is soft and smooth - perfectly engineered for rapid cake ingestion. Taste-wise though, they're awful. The raspberry filling is fine, but the sponge is far too sweet and the chocolate and raspberry flavoured frosting is just nasty. 1/5

Cadbury Cinder Toffee Cake Bars

As much as I like Cadbury's chocolate, their cake offshoots rarely hit the spot for me. Like all of those, the chocolate coating here has the same watered-down Cadbury's taste. The sponge isn't nearly spongy enough either, with a slightly dry, slight powdery texture. What redeems these cake bars completely though is the filling, which is a deliciously rich, toffee-favoured affair. If you find these hanging around anywhere still, I heartily recommend them. 4/5

Cadbury Scary Orange Cake Bars

Basically the same bars as above, but with a similarly rich orange jelly filling. Decent enough, but the filling isn't nearly orangey enough for my liking though. Also, not that scary. 3/5

Jedward Popping Chocolate Bars

Not a Halloween treat, but horrifying nonetheless, pop dimwits Jedward now have a licensed chocolate bar. But, O-M-G, like, a plain chocolate bar would be like, soooooo boring, so they threw a couple of pop rocks in there too. At last, everyone can experience the taste sensation of Jedward exploding in their mouths. To be fair, this is actually a pretty decent quality chocolate bar. The popping action is kind of weak, but Jedward aside, you could definitely do worse. 3/5

Feel free to use my promo code. I won't be needing it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Archive Raiding: Protoshops

(sigh) I have a feeling I'm going to regret this. :D

Back in 1998 and 1999, in between bouts of playing Doom II, I took my first tenuous steps into the world of Photoshopping. Actually, that's not even quite right; I'd never even heard of Photoshop at the time, or of anyone screwing with photos for comedic effect. Hell, I didn't even have the internet at the time. Somehow I arrived at the idea independently, taking taking a bunch of lo-res images and trying to weave them into (mostly offensive) comedy gold with the crudest instrument imaginable: Microsoft Paint.

These shocking(ly bad) images have never been seen on-line, until now:

White House and Durty Nellys
Last Modified: ‎11 ‎August ‎1999, ‏‎19:54:16

This, my friends, is the very first 'shop I ever made. Not very funny, but I think the photo editing is actually fairly decent for a first attempt. Even my Dad was kind of amused by the results. I was pretty proud at the time too, printing this out and sticking it on my bedroom wall afterwards.

For those wondering, Durty Nellys is a semi-famous pub in Co. Clare, one that we visited a couple of years previously while in the area. Both the White House pic and the Durty Nellys one were taken from Mindscape's World Atlas 6.0, which we'd picked up for our then still-new PC in October of 1998.

Satellite on Collision Course
Last Modified: ‎11 ‎August ‎1999, ‏‎19:51:54

In the wake of what's happened since, a satellite crashing into the middle of a city doesn't seem quite that chortle-worthy any more. But I never thought this was really that funny; It was just something seemingly easy to throw together on an idle Sunday morning. I still managed to balls it up though. I couldn't even manage to spell "footage" right. :D

Sadam and Adolf Movie
Last Modified: ‎11 ‎August ‎1999, ‏‎19:49:00

Because nothing says "funny" like crazy-ass dictators. (You can definitely tell I was a big South Park fan at the time.) Having said that, I'd still probably go and see this, mostly just to see what the hell it actually was. I have to imagine the English/Russian/German hybrid language it's apparently in provides a lofty linguistic barrier to get over though.

Stalin Scandal
Last Modified: ‎15 ‎August ‎1999, ‏‎16:25:28

You know what's funnier than dictators in space? Implied bestiality.

I remember throwing this together one Saturday afternoon, showing off to a mate I had over. Man, erasing backgrounds, pixel-by-pixel in Paint - He must have been bored out of his fucking mind. Mind you, this was the same mate I made sit through the whole Ocarina of Time ending. He was probably used to it at that point.

Eiffel Tower
‎Last Modified: 01 ‎January ‎2000, ‏‎15:42:38

Sorry, France. I was just kind of pissed off at being forced to learn French at school at the time. Wrecking your national monument with some crude airbrushing certainly showed those teachers a thing or two though.

If you press your face right up against your monitor, you might be able to see that I copied and pasted several of the people in front of the tower multiple times. I'm not really sure why. I guess I was drunk on photo manipulating power at the time. And why wouldn't I be with a cover-mounted version of Ulead Photo Express now at my disposal?
And just like that, we're done. Not too long after I made this, my whole focus shifted over to birthing my atrocious web site on some newly acquired web space and churning out dodgy content for said site. My Protoshopping days were over.

I do remember two more of these that existed at one point though. One was a statement proclaiming the shitiness of the school I was going to back then, with all the teachers signatures 'shopped in from a sick note I had at the time. The other, which I'm not sure if I actually ever saved, was the Mona Lisa with a Hitler moustache and Nazi armband. Yep, real highbrow stuff. The world will never know what it missed out on.