Six Fall Seasonal Coffee Reviews!

“Tradition is the illusion of permanence.” – Woody Allen, “Deconstructing Harry”


Even though it’s not even really here yet, I love this time of year. The cooler temperatures that aren’t here yet. The scary movies on tv that aren’t here yet. The blown-out, over-the-top Halloween sections of stores that aren’t here yet.

One thing that is here, and has been for over a month already, is pumpkin spice.

And I love that too.

Despite a lot of recent Pumpkin Spice backlash that I’ve seen lately on the internet (“derp. white girls, derp.”) , Pumpkin Spice and Pumpkin-flavored stuff has now wormed its way into my Fall tradition. I suspect it’s a part of a lot of people’s traditions, now.

I find this odd because Pumpkin Spice is a newish thing on the holiday scene, or at least it seems that way to me. I know I’d never heard of Pumpkin Spice Lattes (the most infamous butt of the slew of “Pumpkin Spice White Girl” jokes and memes) 10 years ago.

Regardless of where it came from, Pumpkin Spice appears to be sticking around for a while, as it seems to pop up in new products every year.

Pumpkin Spice is Tradition now.

And if tradition really is the illusion of permanence, then pumpkin spice may be the salve to smooth out our wounded lives.

Tradition gives us a sense of our own time and place. It’s our own marker on the long yardstick of our lives. Most importantly, to rephrase Woody Allen, it fools us into thinking that things will be like this forever.

We’ll have this job forever. We’ll have our house forever. Our family that is alive right now will be here next year to enjoy this tasty Pumpkin Spice coffee together again.

I know I’m putting a lot of weight on the shoulders of something so irrelevant as Pumpkin Spice coffee, but I do believe that it’s the things like tradition that keep us going.

My cousin once said to me, “I love it! You just go from one event to the next! Once this one’s over, boop! you’re on to the next one!”

And he’s totally right. I look forward to the traditions. One after the other.

The traditions take our mind off of going to work every day. Paying our bills. Possible World War 3.

Because even if WWIII breaks out, and Des Moines gets nuked, Target will roll out their Archer Farms Pumpkin Spice coffee next year, and all will be well.

We are willfully asleep, and tradition helps to put us there.

And I love it.


The other day I went to Target.

My wife goes to Target at least once a week. I do not ever go, unless it’s the holidays (September through December, basically).

My mission on this day was simple: Pumpkin Spice coffee, after twitter friends (Perky and Veggiemacabre) had alerted me that it was available.

I got there and was, admittedly, a little skeptical. The spot up front, the prime real estate, was still ocupado with “Back to School” bullshit. There wasn’t a corn made of candy anywhere in sight.

Determined, and trusting my internet friends not to lead me astray, I made my way to the coffee aisle.

I turned the corner and, jiminy crickets!, Pumpkin Spice had seemingly muscled out every other kind of coffee and was presenting its colors like a peacock in heat.

I’d never seen so much Pumpkin Spice coffee!

I couldn’t help myself, I started stuffing bags into my red basket. Tetrising them in, so they’d all fit, being careful to avoid the Starbucks and Dunkin “Yankee” Donuts brands.

I took them all home and, in a pumpkin spice feeding frenzy, opened every one of them.

“What have I done?” I asked myself, after my Pumpkin Spice-craving nasal passages had been filled and the beast inside was satiated.

“I never do this!”

And it’s true. One of my pet peeves is when my wife, or a guest, opens a new bag of coffee when the old one isn’t finished yet. I don’t really know why. Can coffee even get stale? Whatever. There’s something good in there that I don’t want let out until it’s time.

Only one thing to do.


Or, ya know, at least try them all.

And at least I can parlay this into a blogpost. So, here they are, IN ORDER from my least favorite, to my favorite, the coffees I blew my checking account on that day:


#6. Archer Farms Pecan Pie


I know I already tweeted this but, ya know that chemical taste that flavored coffee that is trying to be really sweet has? This has it in spades.
It’s really a shame, because I love Pecan Pie, but things that are irl really sweet just really shouldn’t be forced into being a coffee flavor. Pumpkin Spice works because it’s a spice.

I don’t know how flavored coffee is made, but I assume they just throw some syrup on the beans when they roast them. They probably also expect you to put some creamer in there with it, to smooth out the Toxic Avenger taste, but as I’ve said countless times before, I don’t think you should have to add anything to make it edible. It should be good on its own.

If you can’t drink Scotch straight, without ice or soda, it’s not good Scotch. Period. Sure, adding the ice or soda might be how you prefer to drink it, but it should also be able to stand on its own.

Same principle here. This stuff will probably get pushed to the back of the coffee shelf in our pantry, reserved for that coming day when I wake up, look in the pantry, and think, “Shit! We’re out of coffee! I knew I shoulda gone to the store yesterday! Wait. Here’s this stuff. Fuck it.”

#5. Archer Farms Autumn Roast



This is an unflavored coffee. I like it because it lets people who aren’t into flavored coffee (me, outside of the holidays) get in on the seasonal fun.

I really don’t know what else to say about it, and I guess that’s why it’s next to the bottom of the list. It’s good, but that’s it.

If you just want a good, solid coffee that has the word “Autumn” on the package, pick this up, but like my friend Doug told a customer at his coffee shop once, “It’s just coffee, man!!!”

#4. Stud Muffin Pumpkin Spice


This one is a good entry into the Pumpkin Spice pantheon.

I don’t know if it’s the power of suggestion or what, but this one definitely has a sort of “muffin-y” taste to it. It’s not very sweet, and has a sort of bran flavor to it. The pumpkin spice is definitely in there, but not overpowering at all.

I think I prefer my Pumpkin Spice to be strong and robust. This is the perfect solution for someone who likes pumpkin spice, but doesn’t want it causing a ruckus in their mouth.

And it might make you poop. Even more so than other non-bran coffees.

#3. Apple of My Eye


Before Pumpkin Spice wrestled away the reins, Apple was in firm control of the Fall flavor palette.

Bobbing for apples.
Caramel apples.
Other apple things.

This was the flavorface of Fall and, to be honest, it’s nice to see apple trying to make a comeback as the current underdog.

I know I said in my last post, “Fuck Apples”, and I still mean it, but Pumpkin Spice may be getting a little big for its britches and it’s always just nice to see someone challenge the current undisputed champ.

Apple of My Eye Apple Crisp coffee is perfect. I’m not lying. The only reason it isn’t number one is because, unfortunately, I like pumpkin more than apple (I think it’s the jack-o-lantern connection, honestly).

It’s a lighter, unassuming roast that has a just the right touch of apple flavoring. It tastes like Fall. It tastes warm and inviting, but not overbearing. It be all like, “Come on in here and have a sit and chat with your dad in front of the fireplace.” While a lot of flavored coffees be more like, “TASTE ME. DO IT NOW!!!! FUCK YOU, THIS IS WHAT I TASTE LIKE.”

Know what I mean?

#2. Archer Farms Pumpkin Spice


This is my go-to pumpkin spice coffee. It is exactly what you want in a pumpkin spice coffee, and isn’t $10/bag like the Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks brands.

And as a bonus, they sell it in big bags. Stock up now, so you can have an October Sunday sometime next May.

In general, I like the Archer Farms/Target brand. They offer high-end shit at beer prices, or something like that. I’ve had a ton of coffee this morning. My head is audibly buzzing. My synapses are firing too fast for their own good. I don’t think they can see where they’re going.

The Archer Farms Pumpkin Spice has a terrific aroma in the bag, but smells even better when brewing. It’s a strong pumpkin spice flavor/aroma without that chemical “beat you over the head” thing.

My main experience with “flavored” stuff is with pipe tobacco. In the pipe tobacco world, heavy toppings and flavors are usually used to mask the flavor of cheap tobacco. With this Archer Farms Pumpkin Spice, it seems like they used good coffee, despite it being a lighter roast. There’s not any of that cheap coffee funky bitterness hiding in there behind the spice, in other words.

#1. Sweetie Pie Pumpkin Pie



Holy shit. This stuff is flippin’ amazing. I really don’t know how they did it, but it does taste like pumpkin pie.

As I noted in my review of the Pumpkin Spice Shave Stick, there is a marked difference between “pumpkin spice” and “pumpkin pie” scents and flavors. Don’t believe me? Go get a shaker of pumpkin spice and shake it out on your tongue.

There are notes of graham cracker in here, for chrissakes! How did they do that bullmess?

It’s sweet, but not cloying. It’s piquant, but not too overpoweringly spicy.

Go get some. It rules. It smells amazing, tastes like pumpkin pie, and it’ll turn your brain into a misinformation superhighway.


So that’s it. The coffees I got that fateful day in my local SuperTarget, reviewed.

– Tradition makes us feel good.
– For better or worse, pumpkin spice has made its way into our lexicon of seasonal flavors
– Apple is ok too
– PUMPKIN PIE. CAFFEINE. helluva combo.




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Dragon*Con 2014 ReCap

It was one week ago today that I was headed up to Dragon*Con for what I had promised would be my last one.
And after Dragon*Con 2014, I plan to keep that promise.

Not that I’m saying I didn’t have fun. I did. How could I not have fun hanging out with a bunch of my fellow weirdos, seeing people I have immense respect for (Terry flippin’ Gilliam) talk about their passions? All in an environment that encourages 24/7 partying?

Dragon*Con is fun. There is no doubt about that.

The problem is this: Is it fun enough to outweigh the costs?

And I don’t mean a monetary amount, although that is part of it. Dragon*Con costs me and my buddy about $1,000/each to attend every year, between the hotel room, tickets, drinks, food, and various sundries. Is it worth $1,000? I clearly thought so five years ago, so what has changed?

Well, for one, I have changed.

But I also think Dragon*Con has changed, too.


Thursday, August 28th

If you followed my old blog, “Fit for Dragon*Con”, and remember my Dragon*Con 2013 recap, you know that I drive all the way over to Pensacola to pick up my official Dragon*Con Buddy. It’s out of the way, I know, but now it is tradition.

We went to our usual breakfast: Chik Fil’A, which is also tradition now. Last year I got something that was, basically, everything they had in the kitchen on a bagel. I never go to Chik Fil’A, but on Dragon*Con Thursday, it is a must for a late breakfast. This year I got a breakfast burrito, which actually wasn’t that bad. It came with a side of “fruit” which was almost entirely made up of chopped apples.
Apples fucking suck. Fuck apples.

Then it was on the road up to Auburn, where me and Dragon*Con Buddy (DCB, from now on) went to college. We had plans to meet up with some old cronies at a restaurant that almost all of our friends worked at, at one time or another, including me.

I ordered a salad. Because I am a gross fatass.

The food was good, and we had some beers. I was sorely disappointed that the only Abita they had was Purple Haze.

Speaking of beers, I remember when I was in college, this place was known for having a ton of obscure beer. In 2000, this meant they had about 12 taps that were loaded with imported beers. Obscure shit like “Guinness” and “Stella Artois”.

It’s weird now to think back to those times, what with the craft beer boom and whatnot.

I digress.

We made it to Atlanta (Falcon Country, which kinda grosses me out) without any problems, but when we went to our hotel…

See, we’ve stayed at the Marriott (a host hotel) for the past few years, but this year I was unable to snag a room within the 3 seconds they were available. I blame my geriatric computer I was using at the time which, instead of transferring my credit card information in a timely fashion, sat down on the internet ethereal couch and pooped all over itself.

You can imagine my reaction to that. I almost took its Metamucil ass outside and beat it into a million pieces with a hammer.

As soon as I realized I wasn’t getting a room at the Marriott, I began scrambling for a room elsewhere, preferably within walking distance of the Con.

I got one, but it was at the “Holiday Inn Centennial Park” and it was actually more expensive than the Marriott and several blocks from the action.


Once we got to the Holiday Inn, there was a problem with our reservation, which is always frustrating, especially after navigating hellish Dragon*Con/Football traffic. I won’t get into it though, because a blog about how terrible traffic is and hotel problems is about as much fun to read as a blog about fitness.

The next part of our trip was, personally, one of my favorite moments.
We rolled up to the Sheraton, where in previous years we’d waited in line for hours to get our Dragon*Con badges.
That was not the case this year. We were ushered in by some friendly nerdlingers and waited in line for a grand total of about 10 minutes before we stumbled out a little bewildered by what had just happened. “Did we really just get our badges in 10 minutes??? Really??? I bet any minute someone is gonna come out here and take them from us for some unknown reason.”

It was awesome. I don’t know what they changed, but somehow they had spun gold out of a hairball.

It was then time for another Dragon*Con tradition: meeting some Atlanta friends at Trader Vic’s in the basement of the Hilton.


Trader Vic’s is a famous tiki bar. Not sure if you knew that.

It’s always a moderately bad idea to meet here on Dragon*Con Thursday. However, it does get you acclimated, immediately, to what the rest of your weekend is going to be like.
It’s hot.
It’s crowded. So crowded you can’t really move, actually.
It’s expensive. A gin & tonic and a beer: $20.

Atlanta, you are Atlanta. Not New York.

They also have the same band every year, who thinks they’re real clever by playing ironic cover songs. Dumb.

I spent the rest of the evening, and coincidentally, the rest of the weekend, swigging from my flask of Scotch. I think that’s why I can always remember Thursday so clearly: it’s the only day that I spend completely sober for almost the whole day.

Oh, I almost forgot: we decided on Thursday to go home on Sunday. Mostly to save a little money, but also so we could have Labor Day to do whatever we wanted to do, besides spending our holiday driving home. In retrospect, this was one of the best decisions of my life.


Friday, August 29th thru Sunday, August 31st

I know, I know.
I’d like to do a day-by-day breakdown, but I honestly can’t really remember all the things we did. Dragon*Con is always such a blur of activity and drinking that I can never recollect what we did, or when we did it.

I know on Friday we saw Patrick Stewart, who I kept referring to as “Mon Capitan Jean-Luc Picard” in a dirty French accent. I’m sure this got annoying, but it was a case of, “I am drunk. You did not laugh as much as I think you should. Therefore, I will repeat myself until I get the reaction I deserve.”

Patrick Stewart was really only one of two “must-see” people this year at Dragon*Con for me. My buddy and I saw a Next Generation panel (almost everyone but Picard) a few years ago that was kind of a bust. One of the panelists got miffed and walked out. That was a bummer, but Levar Burton and Brent Spiner were great.

the bright dot on the right is Patrick Stewart.

the bright dot on the right is Patrick Stewart.

On Friday we also went to a panel for “Snydecast“, which is a podcast featuring one of the funniest motherfuckers to ever walk the Earth: Dana Snyder, who does the voice of Master Shake on ATHF and Granny on Squidbillies, two of my favorite shows.

A few years back, Dana was part of the greatest panel I have ever seen in my entire life. It was an ATHF panel where they had puppets and did a reading from the show, but the best part was when they turned Dana Snyder loose with a Granny puppet to interact with the crowd. It was hilarious, it was crass, it was creative… it was everything you could ever want from a panel.

I also learned during this Snydecast panel that they are part of “Drunk On Disney”, which as a guy who loves WDW and loves drinking, found relevant to interests. In fact, I drank my way through this panel. Discreetly, so as to avoid being called out by the panelists, which they made clear they were all about.

Try as I may, I could not avoid detection forever, and ended up being front and center in a video Dana Snyder shot for his wife.

After the Snydecast panel, we got in line for a Battlestar Galactica panel. I made a lame joke about, “It’s not Dragon*Con if we don’t go to at least one BSG panel!”

We’ve been to a BSG panel every year, but we’d never seen Tricia Helfer (aka #6),  or Kate Vernon, who was also going to be there.

All in all, it was a fairly mediocre panel, but like a lot of my Dragon*Con experiences this year, it was probably just sourpuss, glass half empty, me. But I can’t help but compare it with the first BSG panel we went to, where Edward James Olmos led the crowd in a “So say we all!” cheer.

I also never got the nerve to ask my question. A question that I’ve had planned for years now, but have never gotten up the nuts to ask at the panel…

“Mr. Richard Hatch, if Tom Zarek’s rebellion had succeeded, do you think he would have made a better president than Gaius Baltar?”

Mr. Hatch, if you’re out there, feel free to respond, that would make my month. Anyone else is also free to weigh in, of course.

That night we made a mistake and decided to go to a panel that was called “Celebrity Improv”, because it featured James Urbaniak and Dana Snyder, along with a couple guys from MST3K.

A sure shot, right? Wrong.
We thought it would be the funny famous people doing improv. Instead, we got one funny famous person at a time, paired with two guys who were not nearly as good, with the whole thing hosted by another unfunny guy that reminded me of all the dudes who were really into anime when I was in high school. At the end we were supposed to vote on which “celebrity” did the best job. I refrained from voting because I felt like all the genuinely funny people had been dealt a bad hand to deal with, and couldn’t really turn it loose like they maybe would have been capable of doing if they’d all been together at once.



On Saturday, after almost getting trampled while trying to make our way through the parade crowd, we saw Terry Gilliam, a hero of mine for several reasons. He’s hilarious, he has a unique vision (which sometimes can be boiled down to, “What is reality, really?”), and I feel like he’s a genuine diy success story. I love seeing uncompromising artists succeed because it makes my innate stubbornness seem sorta legit.

He talked, mostly, about his new film, “The Zero Theorem”, but he also spoke a bit about his white whale, “Don Quixote”, which was very interesting.


this time, the shiny dot on the right is Terry Gilliam


Saturday night, we went to the “GONZO Quiz Show”. We pondered exactly what was so “gonzo” about it. Was Gonzo the Great going to show up? Hunter S. Thompson’s ghost, maybe? Or maybe the questions were all going to be about Gonzo.

In the end, gonzo, of course, just meant it was gonna be “cuh-razy”.

You would think we would have learned our lesson from the night before. The lesson being that a bunch of funny people, thrown together with random unfunny people, does not a great panel make.

However! Doc Hammer was there, and he pretty much carried the whole show. I know this is a dumb, sophomoric question, but I really wonder what sorts of drugs are Doc Hammer’s favorite. My buddy said “prescription pills” while I leaned more towards the party end of things with “c-c-c-c-cocaine”.

The Quiz Show was better than the improv, mostly because of Doc Hammer and the host was better, also.


While all this was going on, I somehow found time to get souvenirs.
I got a couple of Warehouse 13 autographs for a tattoo artist friend of mine, who said he would tattoo me for free, in exchange for Warehouse 13 shwag.
I got Bob Camp, creator of “Ren & Stimpy” to autograph a print for my wife, who is a big fan.
I got a few Frazetta prints because they were 3 for $20 on quality paper.
I also got a screenprint poster from a guy in the Artist Alley for my wife, and got him to sign it.


Every year, before Dragon*Con, I say I am going to take a lot of pictures, and I never do. Partly because I’m just too busy to stop and snap photos, but mostly because I’m not the kind of guy who is going to take someone’s picture without asking, or receiving consent in the form of “I’m gonna stand here and pose while you all take pictures of me in my costume”. Since I don’t talk to strangers, this results in very few pictures.

But, what few I did take, I will now share with you….



This next one is my personal favorite costume photo, that I took. I like it because the guy is just some dude. I mean, he’s not a professional costume maker/designer, but he wanted to be Godzilla really bad, so he got together some foam rubber and made it happen. That’s the kind of costumes I like the most. The ones that are somewhere between “crappy store-bought whatever” and “movie-quality realism”. The ones with a heart and a soul, that some fan just spent a year putting together, and it’s still not perfect.
I caught this guy in the lobby of our hotel and he was super nice. Godspeed, Gojira.


Aaaaand here’s a few pics from the Dragon*Con parade, taken from the safety of a parking garage after spending one of the worst 20 minutes of my life trying to get through the crowd.

20140830_110638 20140830_110651 20140830_110709 20140830_110723 20140830_110727 20140830_111039

Um, as you can see, I like the ECTO-1. It was definitely the highlight of the parade, for me. The last pic is of one of the few actual “floats” from the parade, and it was sponsored by a local haunted attraction. It was awesome and had glowy jack-o-lanterns all over it.


Overall, we had fun. We left on Sunday and I was glad because I was fed up with the heat, the crowds, our crappy hotel (the tv didn’t work half the time), and the lack of things that I wanted to do.

I really think it’s mostly a case of Dragon*Con burnout. We never ran into anyone that was a jerk (like that one year) or anything. It just felt, this year, like the expense and hassle was just simply not worth it.

To recap:

– Hotel was too expensive and kinda shitty (after taxes and parking, about $350/night. I could stay in the Contemporary at Walt Disney World for that much.) Plus, having to walk 2 or 3 blocks to the action was extremely inconvenient when we’re used to having our room upstairs to visit whenever we need a flask refill or a little respite from everything.

– Too crowded. ‘Nuff said.

– Too hot. For some reason, I felt like I was covered in sweat for 3 days.


However, despite these things, we did have fun, but I think that has more to do with hanging out with good friends than with Dragon*Con.

Oh! And speaking of hanging with good friends, I finally got to meet my buddy Brandmed in person at Dragon*Con! Brandmed and I have been “internet friends” for a few years now, having met on X-Entertainment, which was Dinosaur Dracula before Dinosaur Dracula. Brandmed and I have been trying to meet up at Dragon*Con the last few years, but it never seemed to work out. This year, however, one of the main highlights of my experience was meeting him and his sweet wife in person!
Here we are!

The internet is a weird place, but I know I’m not telling you anything. It can be so awesome, when you meet people like Brandon or WillBill, but then you hear catfishy horror stories all the time. I think people my age and older are at a higher risk of this than others. We didn’t grow up with the internet. It became a thing when we were adults, so we don’t really know any better, which can be good sometimes, but could also land you in some shit if you’re not careful.


Anyway, friend, it’s time to wrap this up. Both this post and my brief love affair with Dragon*Con. I’m ready to move on, which is obviously why I changed domains.

You may say that I’m too hard on Dragon*Con, or that I’m old and bitter, and you’d be right. Dragon*Con is awesome, if it’s for you. If you’re young and semi-nerdy and like to party. But it’s just not for me anymore.

I’m also ready, in more immediate terms, to move on into the Halloween season with this blog. Dragon*Con has acted as my “summer closer” for years now, and it will this year also. Time for pumpkin spice, ghost stories, sweatshirts, and Saints football.

I also think that if I have to type “Dragon*Con” one more time, I may kill myself. That asterisk is just too cumbersome for my hen-pecking fingers to get to.


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A Very Fall Shave

Last night, before I left work, I drank a million cups of coffee. Consequently, I couldn’t sleep for shit last night and woke up at 5:20am this morning. Being as I had about 8 hours until I had to be at work, I figured I had time for a long, relaxing, luxurious shave.
And being as I am of the opinion that indulging in Fall seasonal items will eventually give this long oppressive Summer the hint that it has worn out its welcome, I decided to go full-out Fall with today’s shave, using two new items I haven’t even used yet!


This is my new “Pumpkin Spice Shave Stick” from Mystic Water Soap.
I know most of my 5 or so readers probably are not into “wet” or “traditional” shaving, so I will attempt to briefly explain how a shave stick works.
A shave stick is a stick of shave soap. The nice folks at Mystic even put it in a tube for you, unlike some other shave sticks, like Arko or Palmolive. You rub the shave stick on your wet face, leaving a film of shave soap behind, and then face-lather with your brush, which just means you rub your shave brush over the soap, creating a lather.

I ordered this shave stick based on reviews I read online at Badger & Blade and elsewhere. Namely, that this pumpkin spice scent was actually closer to a “Pumpkin Pie” scent, as it had more sweetness and less spice than some others. I also read that Mystic is an artisan soap maker, which basically just means it’s one person, in their house, making this stuff and selling it on the internet.

This shave stick is also tallow-based, meaning it contains animal fat, so stay away from it if you are vegan. Unfortunately, tallow makes for a superb shave soap, producing a thick lather with incomparable slickness.

This shave stick did not disappoint. Upon opening, my nose was met with a sumptuous scent of pumpkin pie. It was, true to the reviews, heavy on the sweet and vanilla, but with distinct pumpkin and spice notes also.

I loaded a new Feather blade into my Merkur 34c and put my brush in the hot water to soak. I used my Parker Black Badger brush, which has swiftly become my day-to-day workhorse brush.

I wet my face and rolled a little edge of soap out of the tube.
20140819_064757Ok, let’s be honest. This was the most unpleasant part of this morning’s Fall shave. It looks like a turd. If you showed me the picture above and said, “Look at this guy holding a turd!” I would believe it. Sure, it also looks like pumpkin pie, but maybe a little browner, and thus a little more on the turd side of life.
Two things about when I began to rub it onto my face:
1. I got a strong odor of oatmeal cookie that wasn’t there when I first opened it. This isn’t a bad thing, but the sweetness really blossomed once I started rubbing it on my 2-day scruff.
2. It didn’t stop looking like doodoo. Once again, if you showed me a photo of my face post-rub and pre-lather and said, “Look at this guy with shit on his face!” I would definitely believe it. Sort of an orange-ish brown film was now on my face, kinda grossing me out. Of course, I don’t know what else you could expect from an all-natural pumpkin-spice soap, so there’s no helping that.
Not that it matters anyway. This portion of the shave lasts less than a minute until it’s on to lathering it up and really seeing what kind of performance it is going to deliver.

I fished my soaked brush out of the basin, shook it a couple times to get rid of the excess water, and began lathering my face up…

Magically, my thin film of Doo Doo Brown was turned into a massively thick and chunky lather, that smelled like heaven to me, as a person who, like a lot of people, is completely enamored with pumpkin anything.

And this is after three passes!

And this is after three passes!

I got so much lather that I actually did a 3-pass shave, whereas I normally only do two (a 3-pass shave is basically where you shave 3 times in a row).
The lather was so thick, so rich, so sweet-smelling, and so slick that I kinda had a hankering to just keep shaving all day, over and over, culminating in the unheard-of 100-pass shave.
Seriously, I can’t recommend this shave stick enough. Even if you aren’t into the wet-shaving hobby, and make no mistake, it is a hobby, it may be worth it to get one of these sticks and a cheap brush, just to immerse yourself in damp leaves, plastic, cool air, distant cries of “trick or treat!” and hot pumpkin pie just for a few minutes. A nice escape from the oppressive heat and humidity of the Deepest South, in other words.

I think the only thing that kept me from shaving for forever and ever and ever, into perpetuity, was my excitement over using my new “Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Whiskey Aftershave”!
I’ve had this stuff for several weeks now, and have yet to use it because I was waiting on just the right moment. That moment came at roughly 0600 this morning, on an already-hot August day.

I got this stuff from Nevermore Body Company and, unfortunately, it was the last one they had listed on etsy.
20140819_054359Post-shave, I hit my few nicks with an alum block and shook out a small puddle of the Jack into my palm…

20140819_055013As you can see, it has a sort of milky appearance. I should note that, like many artisan aftershaves, you need to shake this stuff up before using it, to properly mix all the ingredients.
The milky appearance was a little off-putting, but the scent was heavenly. A stronger spice presence than the soap was definitely there, with cloves and cinnamon in the forefront, a little pumpkin in the middle, backed by a slight whiskey chaser.
I rubbed it between my hands and applied…

YEE-OWCH! This was certainly a strong burn, which I guess could be attributed to the presence of both whiskey and cinnamon. It didn’t last long and I honestly enjoy a nice burn with my aftershave. It lets me know it’s working and I find it refreshing, in a weird way.

The scent went on strong, but didn’t overstay its welcome, lasting only in my nose. It’s been two hours, and I am only getting occasional whiffs of pumpkin and spice, which is just how it should be, in my opinion. My face is still very smooth and tight, but not too tight like you would get with an alcohol-heavy aftershave. I don’t feel like I’m gonna tear my skin just by talking, in other words.

I highly recommend both of these products to anyone and everyone! Ladies, there’s no law that says you can’t use this on your legs. I’m really hoping that Nevermore will have more Jack-o-Lantern aftershave this year so I can stock up and enjoy what my buddy VeggieMacabre calls an “October Sunday” occasionally throughout the year.

If you want a smooth, slick shave with a scent that instantly transports you to Halloween night (and who doesn’t want that?), seek out these products immediately!

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Unboxing the August 2014 Dinosaur Dracula Funpack

Punk rock can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To some, it may mean stealing change to buy some malt liquor and passing out in a squat. To some others, it may mean going to Warp Tour and riding skateboards with your shirt off.

But to me and my friends growing up in the 90’s, punk rock meant a certain code of ethics. It meant diy records, fanzines, booking tours of people’s houses for your band, shunning any sort of monetary or standard definition of success, and, in general, just doing things your own way and in the most honest way possible.

A big part of that was supporting your friends and what they do.

Whether it was buying your friend’s record, or helping them put together their zine, supporting each other and keeping it all going and alive and vibrant was an essential part of being “punk”.

Hell, even if it was someone that you didn’t know personally (which is half of my blog/internet buddies), you still supported them in any way you could, if you liked what they were doing.

Like a lot of people in the 90’s, I did a fanzine. It was called “Gamma Green”. Don’t look for it. It mostly featured stuff about music, with some social commentary thrown in for good measure.

My other friends all did their own zines, also. We would put them together, trade them, mail them away, and just give them away to people who might be interested in that sort of thing.

When I first started doing a blog (, I saw blogs as the natural successor to the fanzine. It was easy, it was cheap, and it let anyone who felt like they had something to say, say it. You could share them with your friends. You could write guest columns for them.

Granted, I still don’t think that blogs will ever hold the same spot in my heart as zines did, and still do. Blogs just can’t quite capture that spirit of a cut-and-paste zine that someone poured 6 months of their life into.

Still, as an aging person who grew up in the activism-charged punk and hardcore scene of the 1990s, I feel like “Support” and a certain “punk” ethos is very much a part of who I am.

In that frame of mind, and against my better judgement, I am now presenting my first-ever vlog.

I want to be perfectly honest: I don’t really like 99% of vlogs. I really don’t care for unboxing videos.

My wife has a subscription to a makeup box. She watches videos of people unboxing their makeup boxes.

It’s boring, it’s awkward, and I can’t fucking stand it.

Therefore, I will keep this video up on youtube until I get the September funpack in the mail, or I just can’t live with myself anymore.


You can subscribe to Dinosaur Dracula’s monthly funpacks HERE. Apologies to Matt, for making such a shit video.


Don’t tell my wife about this video. This is just the sort of thing she’d never let me live down.

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Seinfeld Conspiracy Theories

What? Did you think this new blog was going to be nothing but recipes for stuff that no one in their right mind would eat?

Like most people my age, I loved Seinfeld. My dad claims it was the best show ever on television, rivaled only by MASH. His words, not mine. I think its only rival may be Looney Tunes.

Over the years, a lot has been said about the social impact and cultural significance of the show. Mostly about the type of humor on display.

It ushered in the current favorite brand of humor: awkwardness. Paving the way for the Office and culminating in the nigh unwatchable “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret”.

It also made it ok to use “mean” humor. In fact, the show’s final episode makes light of just that. I feel like you would be hard pressed to find a show that made a joke out of pushing down an old lady during a fire before Seinfeld. Without Seinfeld, there would be no “Louis” or “Legit” or other shows that are clearly heavily influenced by the Seinfeld formula.

But one of the more interesting theories about Seinfeld is its, perhaps, more subliminal influence.

Namely, that the film “Robocop” (1987) was made by the Illuminati (or a bunch of city planners and real estate moguls) to plant the idea in people’s minds that the city was a dangerous place to live, and that they should move out into the suburbs.

Similarly, the television show “Seinfeld”(1989) was made by these same people to bring people back into the city and make it seem hip to live in the city again.

Whether that is true or not, I found something in an episode of Seinfeld the other day that got me thinking (if you follow me on the twits, you already know what I’m about to say)…

Seinfeld 1Right there. Season 6, Episode 6, about 1:40 into it.

Jerry Seinfeld owns a copy of “Child’s Play 3” on VHS.

To quote Pee Wee Herman, “What’s the significance????”

For starters, I’ve always described Jerry’s character on the show as the normal, average guy that all these weird characters revolve around. The rock that Kramer, George, Elaine, and all the other peripheral characters break themselves upon. There’s even an episode that focuses on how he is “Even Steven” and everything balances out to average for him.

Granted, there’s no denying that Jerry is the focus of the show. It is named after him, after all. But, in a nutshell, here’s what I’m proposing:

#1. That Jerry is more of a weirdo than I’ve ever really given him credit for.

#2. That Jerry, like Robocop, was the first character to make it ok to be a “geek”.

#1. Jerry is more of a weirdo than I’ve given him credit for.

The horror genre has been in a renaissance for quite some time now. Although it’s debatable when it started (or if we experienced a brief lull in the action between what is actually two different high points), or which film began it, I am fairly certain that on November 3, 1994, horror was not a hot commodity. According to the internet, the biggest horror films of 1994 were “In the Mouth of Madness”, “Wolf” (debatable), and “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”. Big movies, to be sure, but nowhere near the level we see these days with stuff like “The Conjuring”.

Now, I know what you may be thinking. “Surely there’s a logical explanation for all this. Perhaps ‘Child’s Play 3’ and ‘Seinfeld’ are owned by the same people.”

Wrong. Seinfeld was produced by Castle Rock. Child’s Play 3 was produced by Universal.

The only explanation is that the character of Jerry Seinfeld actually likes Child’s Play 3. And I mean, he must really like it because if you examine the screenshot above, he only owns about 10 movies, one of which looks to be some sort of golf instructional video.

Sure, Jerry is allowed to watch whatever he wants, but I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld multiple times, and I hafta say that I just can’t picture Jerry cozying up to a bowl of popcorn and a film about a murderous “My Buddy“.

That said, Brandmed pointed out that Jerry tried to see “Plan 9 from Outer Space” several times (Season 2, Episode 6 “The Chinese Restaurant” and Season 7, Episode 2 “The Postponement”). “The Chinese Restaurant” aired on May 23, 1991. The Tim Burton film “Ed Wood”, which stirred up a lot of mainstream attention for Ed Wood’s little opus, was released on September 28, 1994.

Not only did Jerry know about “Plan 9” when most people probably thought it was a made-up title used as a plot device (and before the internet), but he was actively interested in going to the cinema to see it! This may have been before the internet, but I have to think that in New York Jerry could have found a copy at his local video rental shop.

While “Plan 9” may not be scary, it is definitely in the sci-fi horror genre, along with perennial favorites “Alien” and “the Thing”. Aliens resurrecting the dead to stop humankind from figuring out how to explode sun particles. Definitely horror.

In fact, while this may not seem like a big deal, “Plan 9” is one of the only “real” films that the gang ever goes to see in the theater. This puts it alongside “Schindler’s List” and, of course, the “fake” films like “Rochelle, Rochelle”.

#2. Seinfeld Paved the Way for Nouveau Geekery

It’s been said that there is a Superman reference, or sighting, in every episode of Seinfeld.

seinfeld 2There he is, the Man of Steel. Guarding Jerry’s precious copy of “Child’s Play 3”. If you can see or hear about Superman in every episode of Seinfeld, this little action figure must account for over half of them. I also know that he sometimes has a Superman magnet on his refrigerator.

While Superman is definitely Jerry’s favorite (he mentions him constantly), Jerry also makes references to Aquaman, Spiderman, Batman, and Plasticman.

Jerry likes baseball, which is the geekiest of the major sports.

He’s also neat and doesn’t drink alcohol much.

He seems to have very little practical knowledge.

He is moderately obsessed with breakfast cereal.

Besides “Plan 9”, the show references tons of films that were definitely not a part of the current pop culture, but that geeks would recognize immediately:
“The Wolf Man”
“Apocalypse Now”
“Friday the 13th”
“Star Trek 2 & 3”
Most of these references aren’t even named outright, they are merely alluded to, or imitated in some way. They’re more like Easter Eggs in the show, before “Easter Eggs” meant something besides colorful chicken fetuses.

In fact, if he wasn’t a successful comedian, I can definitely see him living in his parents’ basement. He is a classical geek! 18 years before “Big Bang Theory” (not that I’m comparing the two, which would be like comparing Beethoven to Katy Perry).

But Jerry is also seen as a role model in the show. He’s always got his shit together. He’s successful. He’s single. He lives in Manhattan.

Jerry is both a cool guy and a geek, thus making it ok to talk about Superman in public without having your masculinity questioned.

Let’s take a look at some of the other sitcoms of the early 1990’s, which was Seinfeld’s heyday:

Evening Shade
Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Herman’s Head

You get the idea. None of them are Seinfeld. None of them feature characters that, sans the baby mullet, could fit in on any television program made today.



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Junk Pot

Ok. First post in a long time. Don’t screw it up. Gotta be good.

Deep breath….

If you’re from the Gulf Coast, you’ve probably had a shrimp boil or a crawfish boil. If you’re from the East Coast, where people like to work more than they like to eat, you’ve probably had a crab boil.

Like a lot of good foods (barbecue, casseroles, soul food, etc.), the Junk Pot was born out of necessity. A need to cook cheap things in a way that makes them taste good. A Junk Pot is the same thing as Low Country (a seafood boil), except you just throw in a bunch of whatever and boil the shit out of it in a bunch of spices.

Junk Pot is what you make when you want a crawfish boil, but they’re out of season or too expensive.

Here’s what’s going in my Junk Pot today:

20140709_125816The main ingredient in a Junk Pot, besides water, is crab boil. I normally prefer the “bag” kind, which is just a bunch of spices that come in a little sachet that you just throw in the pot, but this stuff seems to work out better for big pots. There’s plenty of brands of this stuff too, so it shouldn’t be hard to find in your local market. I’m more familiar with using Zatarain’s, but Cajun Land is good, too.

20140709_125834Putting lemon juice in the boil is a trick I learned from my friend Roy, who makes, in my opinion, the best crawfish in town. I went with the generic brand, because lemon juice is lemon juice, right? “ALWAYS SAVE”. I’ll try to do that, lemon juice.

20140709_125801This is some cut up pineapple, which is a trick I learned from the crawfish boils that they have at the Sea Lab where my wife works. The lemon is sour and the pineapple adds some sweet. The spices are savory, so this all makes for a more complex flavor from your junk pot or crawfish boil. Skip James used to talk about how playing the blues was like doing tricks, and would stab a man if he stole any of his tricks. Well, hopefully I won’t get stabbed for using these tricks.

Those are the ingredients for making the real ingredients taste good.Bring all this stuff to a boil. And don’t worry about having too much crab boil, you can’t add too much. So pour it on in there!

Now. What do we put in our pot of junk?

The first thing I will be putting into my junk pot today is peanuts. Raw ones.

20140709_125853If you’ve never had boiled peanuts, you are missing out on a true Southern delicacy. I got these from a fruit stand near our house, but peanuts are really “in season” in the Fall. That’s when you can find the “Super Jumbo” ones that are the size of a stapler.

Boiled peanuts, being legumes, taste like peas. But field peas that are the most perfect peas you’ve ever had.

The only problem with boiled peanuts is that they take ALL GODDAMN DAY. So I put these on this morning when I got home from work and, by the time I need to put the rest of the stuff in, these will be good to go. And by that time, all that good peanut oil will have leeched out and, in the end, will make a better boil.

In fact, it is now 1:28pm and this is how the peanuts look:

The next ingredients I will be adding are these:



That’s right. Cauliflower and broccoli.
Normally, these two items would be red potatoes and corn, but I’ve been trying to eat a little bit healthier these days, being as I’m a fat piece of shit. “Excess and decadence in the Deepest South” may sound like a good idea for a twitter tagline, but in reality it leads to heartbreak and despair.

Anyway. I will be adding these things in a little while because they are tough, and need to be cooked a long time, which makes me think that shrimp are a weird thing to put in a shrimp boil, because they cook so fast. A proper boil should take all day, as you tend it and fuss over it while drinking your ass off, which is what I’ve been doing today.

This also adds meaning to the term “Junk Pot”, because you can just throw any ol’ thing in there.

After these veggies, I’ll be adding:

20140709_130210Turkey Necks.
Any junk pot worth its weight in cayenne pepper includes turkey necks at some point. This is also where the original purpose of junk pots (to cook whatever you had around your house) diverges from modern junk pots. Turkey necks are not expensive, but neither are they cheap. A turkey neck is just as pricey as it needs to be.
But seriously, junk pots were not designed for you to go to the grocery store and spend a hundred bucks on the ingredients.
And if you’ve never had a turkey neck, you are definitely not from the South. But that’s ok, because wherever you are, there’s probably some swanky butcher who underestimates the value of the tasty neck d’turkey and will sell you a sack full of them for next to nothing.


This is some local yokel sausage that I will be putting in later today. I know I said I was trying to eat healthier, but you can’t boil shit around here without throwing in some spicy sausage. Not only is it delicious, but it’ll kill you deader’n shit if you eat too much of it! Now that’s a sales pitch a guy can get behind!

Let’s review: spices. sweet & sour, veggies, meat, peanuts, water.


Or maybe I won’t, considering these guys have been my best friends forevers today:
20140710_05264520140710_052707See you then, maybe. Signing off, 1405 10.7.2014

UPDATE. 1511. 10.7.2014
I finally got around to adding the broccoli and cauliflower. I tasted the peanuts, and they’re getting closer to the softness I like. In about 2 hours, I’ll add the meat. Until then, it’s all rum, all the time.

UPDATE: 1644 10.7.2014

I have just added the turkey necks and sausage. 20140710_163841Should all be ready to eat in about an hour. I know it looks like a toilet, but it’s gonna taste like… whatever is the opposite of a toilet. A coat room for angel wings.

I’ll update this entry one last time when I pull everything and it’s time to eat!

FINAL UPDATE. 0115 11.7.2014
Apparently all the food I ate, and all the booze I drank put me in a mild coma, from which I have just now awakened.
Here is the final product:
20140710_183328Everything turned out ok, if a little too salty. Now the only problem is to find a place to store all the leftovers. And I’m super thirsty, but too full to drink anything, which is a bad spot to be in.

To be honest, the peanuts are the best part of the whole thing.

Until next time, which may be next year if I continue at this pace….

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Let’s Make: French Fry Po’Boys

I have seen po’boy spelled all sorts of ways. “Poor boy”. “Po’ Boy”. “Poboy”. And the obligatory “cajun” spelling of “Peaux Boy”. Regardless of how you choose to spell it, the end result is the same: a big ass sandwich.

Not too long ago I was chatting with an acquaintance who just moved to the area from somewhere in the North. We were discussing some of the good places to eat around here.

I said, “Oh! Ya know who has a good roast beef po’boy??? So-and-so place!” (Name changed to protect me from having to wait for my next roast beef po’boy)

To which he replied, “You mean, they put shrimp right there on top of the roast beef?”

Rather than smack this person, I understood that he was not from the area and was clearly misinformed about po’boys.

“No, man! You can put anything on a po’boy! It’s just a sandwich!”

While many times a po’boy may consist of some sort of seafood (shrimp being the most popular), it is certainly not a necessity. I blew this chap’s mind when I told him of a local joint that had a killer cheeseburger po’boy.

Like a gumbo, a po’boy is almost foolproof. Meaning you can put whatever you want in it and not fuck it up. Sure, there are people out there who believe every po’boy should have “this” or should never have “that”, but I would argue that some of the best ones I’ve ever had stretched beyond the boundaries of what a traditional poboy is considered to be.

With that said, some people may not like meat of any sort. This year during Lent I am abstaining from meat. And by meat, I mean the Catholic definition. I call it the “every day Friday” Lent. So, basically, I’m a pescetarian until Easter, which is weird, because I’m not really religious at all. I just feel like the act of denying oneself is good occasionally, and the period after the decadence of Mardi Gras is as good a time as any.

Yesterday I made one of my best friend’s favorite dishes: a french fry po’boy. In case you’re feeling extra dense, this is a po’boy with french fries instead of meat. The reason I did this, and am posting about it here, is because he was the first person to comment on the new Bayou Babylon facebook page, and also because I just enjoy making him happy.

I also should point out that I am lazy. I did everything in this po’boy as easily and quickly as possible, including buying all the ingredients at my local supermarket, rather than different places for fresher and better items.

You will need:

#1. A baguette or something similar. I like a french bread that is as chewy and hard as possible. This is different than stale.


#2. French Fries. as you can see in this photo, I went all out and got the fancy “crinkle cut” fries. I went with frozen over cutting up a bunch of potatoes myself. I’m sure that would be better, but like I said, I am lazy and I was hungry.


#3. Lettuce & Tomato. L&T are two of those things that some people don’t think should be on a po’boy, but I like it. Once again, I got lazy on it and bought the pre-prepared lettuce.

#4. Condiments. Another thing some may say is a no-no. In this case, I bought some tartar sauce and some cocktail sauce. Some areas of the world (like Willieland) may not stock these items. Cocktail sauce is just ketchup and horseradish, so make some yourself if you can’t find any. Tartar sauce is just mayonnaise, dill relish, and a little lemon juice. You would think the esoteric “Cream of Tartar” might be in there somewhere, but it isn’t. I guess you could throw some in there, if you want. Let me know how it turns out.

20140319_113733#5. Cheese (not pictured). Once again, this is yet another thing that some purists may not want on their po’boy. Obviously if you are vegan, you can skip this step. And the tartar sauce. Cheese makes almost anything better, and po’boys are no exception.

Take your ingredients and pile them up:

20140319_120133In this photo, I have lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce already on the bread.

20140319_120215Put your cheese on next. This will act as a barrier between the hot french fries and your lettuce, so the lettuce doesn’t get all soft and slimy and gross. I like the cold crisp lettuce, mixed with the scorching hot french fries, right out of the oven or fryer.

20140319_120511Pile your french fries high! Dust them with some Tony’s if you want. I like to do that, but it’s not necessary, of course.

20140319_120551I went extra crazy-go-nuts with this one and put cocktail sauce on top of all of it! Tartar sauce and Cocktail sauce?!?!?!?! I have lost my daggum mind!!!

How did it turn out?

Well, this is not my first rodeo. Nor is it my first french fry po’boy. But this one turned out ok. As a carnivore by nature, I would’ve rather had a roast beef po’boy with shrimp on top of it, but for vegetarians or others who don’t want to eat meat, this is something different that is good and, more or less, authentic (with my sack of frozen fries, ha!).

And really, if you put enough cocktail sauce on it, I might could be convinced that there was a shrimp in there somewhere.

So that’s it, the first post on Bayou Babylon and it’s about something as ridiculous as french fry poboys. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you’ll make your own at home and enjoy that too. If you followed me here from fitfordragoncon, I appreciate your continued support, and if you’re new here, welcome.

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