Ah, the loot. I love loot. Looty, loot, loot.
If you’re a Harry Potter fanatic heading to the Wizarding World for the first time, you should check your wallet with someone who’s less enthused to be there. You might get caught up in the atmosphere and try to buy everything you see. And this shit isn’t cheap.
All of the Harry Potter World merchandise is in-character. Most of the candy and toy packages feature a tiny, requisite Harry Potter logo on the back. Other than the covert logo, the packaging is true to the story. When you get home and sort through your haul, it looks like you apparated into the Harry Potter universe and scored some genuine Honeydukes treats and Zonko’s gags.
My Harry Potter fandom is about to reach epic proportions now that I am the proud new owner of annual passes to Harry Potter World, I mean, uh, Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure. I have been itching to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter since it opened last summer, but I heard horror stories about the crowds and decided to let the fervor die down before heading there myself.
The first time I actually researched the new Harry Potter attraction was a few weeks ago while trying to decide between annual passes for Disney or Universal. I prefer exploring theme parks without knowing too much about them beforehand. I‘m not even too fond of the maps—makes it more of an adventure. I pulled up a few articles and read about the sheer awesomeness of eating at The Three Broomsticks and browsing the dusty wand boxes at Ollivander’s Wand Shop. I was sold.
Moving right along with the investigation of my birthday gift from the Gawds, the
next thing that stood out was food. Junk Food!
That’s a fucking huge container of Cheese Balls. It filled up approximately 60%
of the space in The Ominous Black Birthday Gift Bag—maybe even more. I wasn’t very
scientific in calculating that 60% number, but it sounded more observant that 50%.
Plus, the word “approximately” is a multisyllabic Get Out Of Jail Free card for
being imprecise. I am certain that the Cheese Ball container fills up over half
the bag, though, so I’m sticking with 60%.
I’m not a birthday guy. When I was maybe 9 years old, birthdays were great! They
were like the warmup show for Christmas—where toys and cash rained from the heavens.
Now that I am a safe distance into my 30’s, birthdays merely mean that I somehow
survived another trip around our modest sized star. Those birthdays also seem to
come a lot faster now.
Time is indeed relative and, as a kid, it moved along at a snail’s pace. I wanted
to grow up so badly. My mom always used to say, “Enjoy being a kid. Adulthood sucks,
honey.” Well, maybe not in so many words, but that was the gist. And, wow, was she
right. Why are moms always so right? Responsibilities, careers, bills, mortgages,
deadlines, insurance, 401K’s, politics, taxes, doctors, gray hairs, nosehair plucking.
When I was a kid, I always wondered if having armpit hair would tickle. Well, it
doesn’t, but nosehairs do. The worst is when you can feel them wafting in the wind
with each breath. God, I want to make a sprint for the bathroom and pluck this thing.
Sorry for the lack of posts over the past couple of weeks. I was on vacation last
week at my home-away-from-home, Captiva Island. Since then I have been fighting
a nasty case of Post Vacation Laziness Disorder. Captiva Island is a quiet little
island off the coast of Ft. Myers, Florida. We were trapped under Tropical Depression
#5 for a majority of the time, so all there was to do was shop, eat like pigs, and
drink ourselves stupid. I was cool with that. On our last day there, the weather
finally cleared up and there were some awesome waves on the normally tranquil beach.
My drunk ass waddled out there, got tossed all over the place, and carried a few
hundred yards down the beach by the current. After about 15 minutes, I gave up my futile attempt to
swim. Even sober I had no shot against those waves without a board, but it was still
crazy fun to play in.
In my previous reviews of Doritos 1st and 2nd Degree Burn, I lamented the fact that
there was no 3rd Degree Burn to be found. 2nd Degree Burn, Buffalo Wing flavored
Doritos, had a heat that increased exponentially with each chip until you were clamoring
for something, anything, wet and diffuse the blaze. These 3rd Degree Burn Scorchin’
Habanero Doritos, if there were such thing, truly had to be something special.
The buzz was that they were discontinued and were no longer on store shelves. The
window of opportunity had passed and my review would forever be incomplete. Mr.
Dragon’s Fire Chips wasabi flavored Doritos were a suitable replacement given the
circumstances, but still, there was no way in hell could live with this result.
I searched gas stations, grocery stores, and convenience stores all over the city
to find the elusive 3rd Degree Burn Doritos. All I could ever find were the normal
Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch, and 1st and 2nd Degree Burn Doritos.
Here’s an addendum to the synergistic explosion of flavor experiment that I conducted
a few months ago between Doritos and Pepsi Max: Cease Fire. I was recently putting
together a purchase at an online Japanese retailer when I discovered wasabi flavored
Doritos on the site. Of course this snack would be added to my purchase, if for
no other reason than to continue my Doritos experiments. However, I didn’t realize
how outrageous shipping costs are when you order a bunch of shit from Japan. I needed
time to rethink my order. Did I really need an ear cleaning scoop with a mini origami
bird hanging from the tip? Well, yes I do actually. What about that microwave potato
chip maker? Yup, that stays. The badass Starscream figure? Mine! I’m such a nerd.
I could find most of the Japanese snacks at Epcot, though. Wasabi Doritos, along
with the other Japanese snacks, would have to wait.
On the way up to Atlanta, Georgia last week, we stopped at a 7-11 for some snacks
and gas. In the store, my eyes were immediately drawn to a lime green bag of Doritos
called Mr. Dragon’s Fire Chips. Out of reflex, my arm snatched two bags for the
8 hour trek. It wasn’t until I gave the bags a second glance at the checkout counter
that it dawned on me just what kind of treasure I had stumbled upon. These were
Wasabi Doritos! Here! In America! Without the ludicrous shipping charge!
Confession from a former soda fiend: at the height of my addiction, I’d slam roughly the equivalent of 6-8 cans per day—sometimes more. Sometimes a lot more. Last summer I finally managed to kick the habit and now I’ll have just one in the morning if I can’t snap out of my post-coming-into-work-at-6AM-induced coma. For those scoring at home, I don’t count Monster Energy Drinks as soda. Sweet Nectar of the Gods!
Although I have reduced my soda intake to sub-cancerous levels, I do enjoy delving into new soda flavors whenever they are released. I was grocery shopping last week and came across a display for a new flavor of Pepsi Max: Cease Fire. The label on the Cease Fire bottle encouraged me to combine this hallowed new elixir with a potent, spicy variety of Doritos for a hot-cold synergistic explosion of flavor. They also included a coupon that gave me the soda for free if I bought a bag of Doritos, which sealed the deal.