The “Nutjob” Part

One of the stocking stuffers that my father gave my mother for the holidays this year was some Mint Chocolate M&M’s. During lunch, they came up in discussion, so I took out my iPhone and pulled up my review of Mint Crip M&M’s from May. Since my parents really don’t know how to use the iPhone, I had to zoom in on it so they could read it.

This zooming hid the fact that it was my review that I showed them.

During the discussion, the question of “who reviews M&M’s?” was asked, and was quickly answered by my father as, “some nutjob with too much time on his hands.” After pointing out that the “nutjob’ in question was me, my father quickly backtracked as best he could, but the damage was done.

My shrink loves my parents, by the way.

The Milk Chocolate M&M’s Review Part

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Mint Chocolate M&M’s are quite delicious. They are chocolaty and minty, and that’s what you want in a mint chocolate candy. As you can see by the photo, there is a large white chocolate center that is infused with mint flavor surrounded by a decent amount of dark chocolate, which gives the candy a more minty flavoring whereas I prefer a nice balance of the two. On the taste factor alone, I would be apt to give it a 7.5/10, but I’m reviewing an M&M here, not your standard run-of-the-mill after dinner mint.

Mint Chocolate M&M’s are part of their Premiums line. The outer coating of a Mint Chocolate M&M is a mottled, dark green coating and, unlike normal M&M’s, is made out of wax. There’s no hard candy shell that has made sure that M&M’s “melt in your mouth, not in your hand’ for decades. These will melt anywhere, especially your hand, and probably at the most inopportune time.

The hard candy shell is what sets M&M’s apart from other bite size chocolate candies. It’s the hard candy shell that has made M&M’s one of the most widely recognized candies in the world. Just because you create a bite sized chocolate candy and stamp an “M” on it (in some cases a “W”, a “3”, or an “E”) does not mean that you’ve made an M&M. These are nothing more than every other mint chocolate candies in a slightly fancy package.

Rating: 4/10

Puzz-3D NYC manual cover

Ever since posting about Wrebbit’s “Puzz-3D NYC”, I’ve been asked where people can find them since they’re no longer available at retail. I’ve found the best place to be eBay or Amazon.com, where used ones sometimes appear. Unfortunately, a lot of the used ones don’t include the manual.

While the manual is not absolutely necessary to complete the puzzle, it definitely helps, and when the puzzle has over 3,000 pieces, every little bit helps. I’ve scoured Hasbro’s web site (Wrebbit is now owned by Hasbro) and have been unable to find the Puzz-3D NYC manual, including their Toy & Game Instructions list where other Puzz-3D manuals appear.

For the betterment of mankind, I’ve scanned my manual and make it available in PDF format. It’s quite large, at 75MB, because it was scanned in at 200 dpi so it could be zoomed in to or printed out if necessary.

Picture of Outliers book cover

Outliers: The Story of Success

An outlier, according to the dictionary, is “a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample”, in other words, a statistical anomaly. In his newest book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell attempts to examine why a few people succeed beyond the norm, and what made them outliers.

Along the way, he examines youth hockey players in Canada and how when they were born is more important than any inherit skill they may have; Bill Gates and The Beatles and how practice allows you to be ready for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; Jewish lawyers and how cultural prejudices may prepare you for an opportunity later in life; and several others. The book attempts to debunk the myth that a successful person can be “self-made”, and shows that luck, cultural heritage, and the opportunities of your predecessors may have more to do with being present at the right moment in time, with the right set of skills, to take advantage of an opportunity.

I have always enjoyed Gladwell’s writings, in both The New Yorker and his other books. I enjoyed this one as well. However, compared to his first two books, this one doesn’t hit the same chord. It is interesting to look a little deeper at some outliers and how they may have gotten where they did, but it isn’t fascinating; and that’s the difference between The Tipping Point/Blink, and Outliers.

Rating: 7.5/10

Back in May came word that Kellogg’s was bringing back Hydrox cookies for a limited time. As soon as I heard, I knew an Oreo vs. Hydrox showdown would have to be waged. Today, it was.

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Similar to the Oreo vs. Chips Ahoy! showdown, at 2:30pm 16 cookies of each variety were placed on plates in a central location in our department, and an email was sent out announcing that cookies were available. Because Oreos and Hydrox look so similar, the e-mail stated that both were available.

My thought going into this showdown was that Hydrox would win based on the novelty factor, or at least there would be a tie as people took one of each to compare.

Continue reading ‘Oreo vs. Hydrox’ . . .