Friday, April 28, 2006

The Mork & Mindy Board Game

Before film and T.V. tie-ins used to play on consoles and cost forty quid, the humble board game was the only way to step into the world of your favourite show. I have here the Mork & Mindy board game from 1979. How cool is that?
The game is presented as a game of Splink, which is an Orkan game that Mork brought with him to win over Earthlings everywhere. You basically move around the board doing
such out-of-this-world things as "splinking" and "grebbling up" all the while trying to win some coins known as Grebbles. Everything clear then?
Inside the box you get a colourful board depicting Mork in a variety of costumes, plus one or two token Mindy's. There's also a Splink Blinker, a gleek card, 2 Orson cards, 4 Orkword cards, 50 Grebbles some markers and dice.

The game starts with 50 Grebbles stored in Orsons nest which you can try to win by landing on certain spaces that trigger events. The first is the "Na-No, Na-No! Everybody Splink!" space.
Apparently splinking is bluffing on the planet Ork, so you must engage in a game of bluff with your fellow gamers. You drop the dice into the Splink Blinker (which hides the roll) and then try to bluff the others about what numbers are showing. Everyone playing has a go. The winner gets 2 Grebbles. There is a variation of that theme with the "Splink with any other Earthling" space, which is the same thing but not everybody playing has a go.

The "Roll them wumpers in daylight" spaces require an open dice roll on the board which everybody can see. Add the numbers together and help yourself to that many Grebbles from an opponents pile thus ensuring petty rivalries build during gameplay.
"Mork Calling Orson" spaces are for making mental contact with Orson by guessing what he is thinking. Sounds tricky, right? I mean, I don't have E.S.P. or any other telepathic powers, so I initially thought this was a sign that the game designers had been enjoying the 70's a bit too much. However, it turns out that an opponent sticks a card bearing such wisdom as "You're a wurble!" onto your forehead and you have to guess what it says. 2 Grebbles if you get it right.
If you land on "You're a Nimnu" you have to put two of your Grebbles in Orsons nest and the "One,
two, three...wump!" space everybody rolls one die and and shouts out a number. If your number comes up you win 2 Grebbles.
The person with the most Grebbles by the time Orsons nest is empty, wins. My friends and I never made it that far. About five minutes in people started drifting off and I found them stealing beer from my fridge and smoking cigarettes in the garden. To be fair the game is pretty tedious and isn't much fun for a group of thirtysomethings looking for something to do. Actually, it's probably not much fun if you're thirteen either. Maybe if you're a big fan of Mork & Mindy.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Starbucks' Banana Caramel Frappucino

Summer's nearly here and Starbucks are seeking to lure customers in with a new frappucino for 2006. So like a moth to a flame I went in and got one. Things were not looking good for this drink to be fair. The weather was brisk rather than scorching, there was a peculiar smell in the Starbucks I visited and the barista put cream on the top despite me saying twice that I didn't want it. This drink was going to have to amaze me.
As it happens, it's pretty good. The banana flavour is quite subtle and blends very well with the coffee. I think the caramel is just draped over the cream rather than mixed in and I have no idea what that tasted like because as soon as I could taste cream, I threw it away.
I could definately see myself sinking a couple of these when the weather hots up a bit.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Almond Joy Limited Edition Flavours

Hersheys have released some limited variations of their classic Almond Joy range. Almond Joys are sticky coconut chocolate bars very similar to our Bounty bars except that they have an almond on top. Hence the name, I suppose.
The key lime bar is white chocolate, which immediately distinguishes it from a standard milk chocolate Almond Joy. I couldn't taste any lime and really didn't want it lingering in my mouth too long, so I really never picked up on any subtle nuance in the flavour. It tastes very sweet and artificial and I wouldn't eat one again.
So, onto the passion fruit. I must admit after the key lime, I wasn't
looking forward to this. I bit into it and was alarmed by the almost dayglow yellow colour of the coconut inside. But then that was soon forgotten as the taste settled on my tongue. Yuck. I'm no expert on what passion fruit should taste like, but I'm pretty sure this isn't it. This tastes like cleaning liquid.
Avoid. These are foul.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Lucky Charms

When I was a kid breakfast cereals were dull. The British are obsessed with their bowels and this was subsequently reflected on the supermarket shelves with morning fare such as All Bran or Fruit & Fibre. I always wanted to have something more like Calvin's Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.
Fortunately the Americans churn out loads of cereal that has no great nutritional value and gets the kids through the morning on a sugar high. So, this morning I have Lucky Charms for breakfast.

The box is bright and colourful with a maze on the back which ties in with some promotions on the Lucky Charms website and the extra hidden key marshmallows in the cereal (of which they're were
loads. Not very hidden).
Lucky Charms provides a bowl of sweetened oats and marshmallows. Loads of marshmallows too. I reckon there was one marshmallow to every ten bits of cereal in the bowl I poured out this morning.
I like this cereal. It's sweet, but not too sweet, packed out with marshmallows and has a maze to do whilst you're eating it. Combined with a coffee this'll keep me wired until lunchtime.

Friday, April 21, 2006

McCoys Nacho Cheese & Sour Cream Tortillas

I bought a pack of McCoys new specials to spice up my lunch today. You should get some too. They're nice.

Banana Milkshake Choco Koala

These are apparently a very limited flavour run from the popular Choco Koala range. Beyond that, Google tells me nothing about these biscuits. A perusal of the pack also tells me very little as I can't read Japanese. There is a logo declaring "Save the Koala - Australian Koala Foundation" which seems odd. I mean, I understand the Koala connection but these are only sold in Japan. Perhaps the Japanese have a particularly altruistic attitude towards the indigenous species of other countries?

The biscuits themselves are quite nice. There's banana cream filling inside a nice light crunchy shell. Each one is shaped like, and has a print of a Koala on it. The taste is quite artificial, but it is very similar to the last banana milkshake I had. I'm quite partial to banana flavoured stuff and these were a winner with me. Nice box, tasty biscuits and a socially conscious message.

Check out Save The Koala's website here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper

It's not just Coke that fiddles around with their flavours. Dr Pepper has rolled out a splash of cherry with a hint of vanilla. This new taste is being marketed under the banner of soda fountain classics in the hope of bringing back memories of the 1950's.
It's a nice looking can with a cherry sat in the Dr Pepper logo and plenty of yellow in the trim to emphasise the vanilla. The drink itself doesn't taste spectacularly cherryish, but I did catch the vanilla in there. I didn't feel particularly nostalgic for the '50's either but then I was sat in front of a PC typing this.
Interestingly, whilst I was Googling around for some extra info, I discovered that some people drink Dr Pepper hot. You just boil it up in saucepan and pour it over a slice of lemon. Of more interest to me though, was that fact that you can get Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper in 21 ounce "football" bottle which has a surface that resembles the texture of a football. I want one of those.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown

Nothing says holiday like a Charlie Brown special, and I managed to catch the Easter one over...uh...Easter.
Linus claims that nobody need bother purchasing or painting eggs as The Easter Beagle will do all that (a situation very reminiscent of It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown). Naturally everybody ignores him and goes about their Easter business. Lucy plants some eggs she has made and notes their location so she can win the egg hunt, Snoopy buys Woodstock a birdhouse (which he then decorates with some funky 70's funiture, before Snoopy trashes the place with his nose) and Peppermint Pattie and Marcie attempt to make some Easter eggs (they fail miserably as Marcie cannot boil an egg. Fry, grill, roast, waffle and even turn into a soup, but boil, no). Eventually Snoopy pinches Lucy's eggs and distributes them to all, thus making Linus' loony prophecy come true. All in all, a pleasantly whimsical way to while away half an hour over the Easter break.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Mince Pies

Usually the preserve of Christmas, mince pies have some how snuck their way onto our springtime shelves under the guise of an Easter edition. I approached these with some trepidation, I mean, I love mince pies, but they really are part of a traditional Christmas for me. The pies claim to have the flavour of hot cross spices. Well I just had to find out if this was true.
They look like classic Mr Kipling mince pies, which is frankly no bad thing, although they do have a cross on the top to distinguish them from their yuletide counterparts. The pies taste pretty standard but there is a definate hint of hot cross spices in there. Not loads, but enough to make them different I suppose. This is a curious one because I like mince pies and I like hot cross spices, but really mince pies are something I look forward to at Christmas. It just seems wrong to eat them at Easter.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Simpsons Easter Egg

Easter is here and that means chocolate eggs! I got a Simpsons egg with travel game.
So with Eastery eagerness, I tore open the pack to digest the goodies inside. I had high hopes as these are from the same people who brought us jelly fries. Opening up the actual egg, I was a little disappointed to see that there was nothing inside. No jellies, no mini chocolate balls, no nothing.

I took a bite and it's ok. It tastes a bit cheap, but nothing terribly unpalatable.
So, on to the real reason for getting this egg, the game. It describes itself as "a travel guessing game" and judging from the instructions on the back of the box, it's a variation of the game Guess Who with the Simpsons on it. You have to shuffle some quite fiddly small cards and then slide them into the board with one person taking centre stage at the front. Your opponent can see none of these and has to whittle down the field with questions like "Does he wear glasses?".
All entertaining enough, but I obviously can't gauge it's true fun factor without whipping it out on a long journey. I'm not going anywhere this Easter so it's possibly got some unfulfilled potential there.
It's an ok Easter egg. I feel cheated by the lack of jellies, which is strange because you get a travel game to compensate.
Possibly the bar was set so high when my parents bought me a Texan Easter egg many, many years ago. It came in a box that doubled as a saloon bar when empty. It had cardboard swing doors on it with which todays eggs don't seem to be able to compete.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Raspberry Coca Cola

Another flavour of Coke is being trialed. This time it's Raspberry and it's only available from New Zealand. Apparently the Kiwi's have always been partial to raspberry in their coke, chucking in some cordial or mixing it with raspberry soda.
The can looks pretty standard with some mildly funked up graphics and a couple of Raspberries on it. It's not as nice looking as Coca Cola Blak but they get kudos for spelling flavour correctly.
So how does this one taste? Suprisingly good actually. To be honest I'm really not the biggest fan of Coke (unless it's supporting Jack Daniels) but this actually tastes like raspberry. Not just raspberry alongside Coke either, it has a nice blended taste to it.
It suffers from the usual problem that all Cokes have in that it's too fizzy and had me burping two seconds after sipping it. Nonetheless it was a nice enough to have me slurping at the dregs stuck in the reservoir on the top of the can. It's a shame they've discontinued it really.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Complimentary Jelly Beans

My wife stays in hotels alot. For work apparently. However, I'm not going to dig too deep when she brings me home the jar of complimentary jelly beans from her room. These particular beans were from a Hilton in Watford which doesn't initially suggest class, but they do come in a jar. That's right, this is no plastic pot or bag, its a fancy jar with the Hilton logo on the lid. The beans are the big English variety rather than the small American type. They have a handful of different flavours:
Green=Lime, Pink=Strawberry
(I think), Black=Blackcurrant, Orange=Orange (duh), Red=Rasberry, Yellow=Lemon and some generic white flavour that I couldn't identify. Overall they're pretty bland apart from the rasberry flavour. Nice package, dull beans.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Banana Twinkies

Look what came in the post this morning. Twinkies with banana flavoured filling, endorsed by King Kong himself. Such sticky wonderousness is here to remind us that King Kong is out on DVD. I suppose it makes sense to make things banana flavoured if you're doing a Kong tie-in although I never really pictured Kong as a banana eater as I figured they'd be too small and fiddly to peel.
The cakes themselves look exactly the same as a normal twinkie and even the cream inside is the standard white but they do have a pleasant banana flavour. I'd been led to believe that they tasted exactly the same as a normal twinkie, but they don't. The cream has a definate banana tang to it.
I quite like these, but I must confess I haven't had the urge to rush out and buy the DVD yet. There's ten in the box though, so there's still time. These are only available in the States so don't bother looking in Sainsburys.
There's also a promotional website for banana twinkies here.

Star Wars Lightsabre Spoon

This is a lightsabre spoon that came free in a packet of Apple Jacks and it is quite possibly the best impliment made for eating breakfast. Yeah it looks funky with it's authentic looking handle, but what else does it do?

It glows Darth Vader red when you press the button! Alas it doesn't make any noise (unless you count me going whoooom whoooom when I wave it about). I'm off to have my breakfast. Die Skywalker!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Simpsons Jelly Fries

My wife bought this pack of jelly fries for me some time ago from a motorway service station and now I can capture the moment for posterity, I've decided to open them up.
You get a pack of jelly fries (obviously) a shaker of super sour powder and a bottle of super sour ketchup. Some considerable effort has gone into providing everything you may possibly need for the ultimate jelly sweet experience.

The fries come in...well...a fry box that has the Kwik-E-Mart brand on it to give it some Simpsons authenticity (although I don't recall Apu ever selling fries. Hotdogs maybe). The super sour powder shaker has a twist top dispenser lid and the sauce bottle has a nice squeezy feel to it.
The fries themselves are already covered in sugar and have a faint lemony taste. So I decided to spice them up with a liberal sprinkling of the super sour powder. Whoah...that right there is the Ronseal of super sour powders. It does exactly what it says on the tin. When I'd managed to unsuck my cheeks, I dabbled on some of the sauce, which claimed to be sour but certainly didn't seem it. Although I could have sucked a lemon after eating that powder and not noticed. Overall the fries were ok, but the experience wasn't quite as tantalising as the packet suggested. I certainly never felt as though I was eating real fries at any point. I'm also suprised at the sourness of it all. I'm sure these are aimed at kids, but what would they use that powder for? Dares?

King Kong in Virgin Megastore

Roarrggghhh! There's a huge statue of Kong in the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street. He looks pretty mad too. That's because I stole his bananas and ran for it.

Coca Cola Blak

According to Coke's press release "Coca-Cola Blāk is an invigorating and stimulating blend that has a perfect balance of the effervescent taste sensation of Coca-Cola and natural flavors, with real coffee. The lightly carbonated, mid-calorie beverage, which is designed to appeal to adult consumers, is yet another example how The Coca-Cola Company reaches out to new audiences and addresses new beverage occasions." Really? Well we'll see.
The can looks quite snazzy. It's a slim 25cl can with dark brown and gold blending up the outside. The Coca Cola logo obviously spoils it though.

So, having been seduced by the packaging, I cracked the ring pull of this new adult beverage expecting a waft of fresh coffee to tantalise my nostrils. It just smelt like Coke. The press release also claims that Blak has a "coffee like froth" when it's poured. It does indeed have a froth, but you wouldn't mistake it for a cappuccino.

So enough with the aesthetics, how does this stuff actually taste?
Frankly, bad. It tastes like Coke and coffee, which just is not a good thing whichever way you cut it. You can taste the Coke and there is a coffee flavour lurking round the edges of it. It's nothing subtle. In fact it's one of the worst things I've ever drunk, and believe me I've got a high tolerance for this kind of rubbish.
Thankfully, this drink is currently only available in France and America. I can't see the French taking to this stuff at all. I definately didn't want to dip my croissant into it. Yeuchh.
Coca Cola Blak has a funky website here