Friday, January 28, 2011

Marc's Top-10 Candies (Past & Present)

As many of you have learned, I'm a sucker for nostalgia. I find myself often times saying sentences like "Man, how much do you wish you still had the Ninja Turtle pizza-shooter van?" or "How fun was hide-and-go-seek?"

Today I find myself having lots of memories that involve candy. Now, admittedly my sweet-tooth is not what it once was (I rarely have candy anymore...I'm more of a cookies and ice-cream guy), but that doesn't sour my nostalgic thoughts about my sugar-coated past. I have so many vivid memories from childhood, from eating Big League Chew on the bench at Little League games, to those random days where we'd dare each other to see how many M&M's we could get in our mouths (you have no idea).

So with that in mind, I decided to unleash what is certain to be a controversial posting about my favorite and least favorite candies of our generation. This is based solely on my taste-buds and my memory....both of which have been proven to have failed me once or twice (a post for another day).

So here it is, let the debate begin!


1) Reese's Minis
Please note the specificity of this candy's name. I don't mean the big Reese's Cups that come two to a pack. I mean the little mini-ones that come about 30/pack that you can toss in your mouth (comfortably) in one bite. I can't stress enough how important the mini is. Chocolate and peanut butter are a proven 1-2 punch, and that combined with the excitement of unwrapping that little cup without the chocolate sticking to the inside wrapper, makes for a cathartic experience, every time.

2) Smarties

It almost feels an injustice to put this in the #2 slot. These little fellas are joy in a wrapper. From twisting both ends of that clear plastic wrapper at the same time to have them all drop out, to stacking them and putting them all in your mouth at once (that's twice now that I've referenced this...), to that sweet, tangy twinge on the sides of your tongue when you first chomp down, these delectable dandies are without peer or competition.

3) Peanut Butter M&M's
Again, note the name,. Not regular. Not peanut. PEANUT BUTTER. Although I am a fan of the peanut M&M's as well, they are a bit to crunchy and hard, especially in comparison to the soft inside of the peanut butter M&M. These are addicting, and I could way too many in one sitting. The perfect Super Bowl snack to set out on the coffee table...just make sure you have more than one bag!

4) Andes Mints

I'm sure this one caused a few eyebrow-raises and confused faces. A mint cracks the top-5? Well you're already wrong. This ain't just "a mint". These things are ridiculous. They are the perfect amount of chocolate and mint cream. And that mint cream is the perfect amount of sweet combined with the perfect amount of refreshing taste that makes you say "Aaaahhh".

5) Butterfinger

Ah yes, the staple. I couldn't think of a better candy to round out the top five. This is a robust candy bar, with layers and personality (yep, I just wrote that statement about a Butterfinger - deal with it). From a smooth outer-chocolate layer, to the crunch of that wonderful brittle inside, it is too good to pass up. It's so good in fact that it is now one of the most popular frozen yogurt toppings in the world. How could I possibly know that, you ask? I don't, it just made my dissertation on this candy way better. (*NOTE - one knock on the Butterfinger is the amount of stuff that gets caught in/on your teeth after consuming it - docked this candy at least one spot in my rankings).

6) Nerds
Who could ever forget that awesome candy box with the opening on the top that made it all-too-convenient just to hold the box to your mouth and pour the Nerds in? These "tiny, tangy, crunchy candies" were always the candy I asked for at the store, or prayed for when I opened up my Halloween stash at the end of trick-or-treating. These had the perfect tangy/sweet combo.

7) Snickers
The only other candy bar to crack the Top-10. Whereas Butterfinger makes the list higher for its layers and complexity, Snickers is like PB&J. It's dependable. I can't eat it all the time, but if I'm in a crunch, and am suffering from candy-sensory-overload in the candy aisle, I always know who I can turn to. Peanuts, chocolate and nougat (hate that word).

8) SweetTarts
The ultimate bait-and-switch candy. These bad-boys were the ones you could count on to be sour enough to make you slightly twitch your eye and pucker your lips, if only for a second. Then came the pleasant sigh of relief as the sour ebbed into sweet. But once it turned sweet, you immediately missed the sour and thus needed another candy. It just made you keep wanting more. Damn candy-crack.

9) Gummy Bears
I'm actually a little surprised that these fan-favorites made my list. But the more I kept thinking about them, I realized how irreplaceable they are. I think their most positive quality is also what holds them back - they are simple. They aren't overly sweet, sour or flavorful. They are tasty little morsels that, similar to the SweetTart, leaves you wanting more. Now some people like them soft, some people like them harder and chewier - I have no preference on this. I just like them, so they make the list.

10) York Peppermint Mini-Patties

A few random notes about this often-forgotten treasure. First off, I had no idea that the singular version of this candy was spelled "Pattie". Also, I remember refusing to eat these as a kid because I assumed they were from New York, and I didn't like the Mets (EDITOR'S NOTE - what messed-up little kid hates New York baseball because of the METS...sheltered much?). Despite my juvenile fear, I grew to love these minty delicacies. And, like the Reese's Mini, the size is crucial, because the larger ones had an overwhelming amount of peppermint, taking the level of refreshment from "breath of fresh air" to "burning lungs at the top of the Alps".


I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the few candies that just missed the coveted Top-10. To the candies below - you are all dear to my heart, and I hope we can still be friends.

Pixy Stix
Powdered-Nerds. Only reason they didn't get the nod was that I like Nerds better. But man, cutting off the end of those things, tilting your head back, and pouring that powder onto your tongue, then having to flick the top of the tube to make sure you got it all. And for all you perverts out there, I know what you're thinking, and shut up. I said POWDER.

Candy Corn
My favorite Halloween candy. First off, I just love the look of these tri-colored carrot candies. Second, they have the perfect texture - not too chewy, not too soft. And there is something about that thick, sweet taste you get biting into them. And for those of you who agree that these are awesome candies, I truly hope you eat them one color at a time (yep, that's right, methodically nibbling one colorful layer at a time).

Junior Mints
Like the Pixy Stix, these lost their place in the top-10 solely because other versions of the same genre of candy was better - the Andes Mint and York Peppermint Patties. However, don't forget the Junior Mint. The great sound when you shake its box, the nice, clean curve of the chocolate coating, and the cute little name make this no mint pushover. This one's for real (EDITOR'S NOTE - I have no idea what that last line that meant).


I also feel the need to say my piece about some candies that just don't cut it. I expect a few sparks will fly here, and I hope not to upset any of your delicate candy sensibilities. But man, these three SUCK.

Taste the rainbow? Who would want to taste the rainbow? If that's what the rainbow tastes like, I'd rather taste the butt of the leprechaun at the end of that rainbow. They have totally the wrong amount of chewiness. They have an awkward sweet and sour mix (confuses the tongue), and their knock-off "specialty" flavors are even worse ("Tropical" or "Smoothie Mix"? WTF?).

Sad excuse for licorice. Now I know licorice didn't break the top-10, but that doesn't mean that it's okay to try and duplicate it with fake tastes. This stuff is NASTY. It tastes like it's been in the wrapper so long that it has actually taken on the taste of the wrapper. They are too thick, too stuck together, and too viney. Nothing is right about this.

Charm's Blow Pops
The worst of them all! If I wanted a lollipop or sucker (which I don't), I would go for a Tootsie Roll Pop (you know, the ones where you try and look for the Indian and the star on the wrapper). What is this "bubble-gum in the middle" crap? What are these fruity, lame-ass flavors? What is that bubbly writing that makes me feel like I'm in a third-grade, girls-only doodle-class? (EDITOR'S NOTE - again, I'm not sure those exist, but if they did, they would definitely write like that).

So there you have it. I have said my piece. Now I encourage you all to post your comments, questions, concerns, and complaints. But more than anything, I encourage you all to go find a third-grade, girls-only doodle class.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Running Day #1 - Am I There Yet?

So today was Day #1 of my return to running. As I mentioned before, I'd like to start being more active again, and not be some lethargic couch potato (man, how old am I, 60?). So running, amongst other things, was added to the list. So I went for my first run at 6:30am this morning (an easy 3 miles with no iPod, no watch, no nothing)...and I figured the best way to sum up my experience was to show you the e-mail I sent to Julie when I got to work...

That run was miserable, brutal, difficult, and the opposite of fun.

But I'm glad I did it.

I knew today would be rough, but the one thing I failed to realize is that this is the first time in my life I've been COMPLETELY dormant when it comes to athletic activity. Usually I have some sort of base to call upon from being a generally active person, but due to my recent slump in the activity department, I had no base. Not only did I have dead legs and no strength, but breathing was extremely difficult (which I'm sure was worsened with the cold, dry morning air, which I've never run in before). The first two miles was absolutely brutal (especially the turn-around at the bridge where you gotta climb the hill back up to Brigantine), but the last mile I felt like I was somewhat in a "rhythm" (relatively speaking, of course).

This is going to be even harder to get into than I expected, but I'm not deterred. It's just gonna be a huge adjustment because of the my recent lack of activity, combined with the brisk morning air that I'm unaccustomed to.


So yeah, it was brutal. My legs were moving about as fast as Carrot Top's wit (READ: slow).

Support will be needed...cuz today was zero percent awesome.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I imagine that since I haven't posted in a month, my readership has most likely fallen off considerably. But since I have no way to "alert the masses" that I am now posting again (unless they have that awesome "Buzz" feature on GMail that only a few people recognize), this may take some time for people to pick this up again (including myself)....

So spread the word, Marc's back in the game. But in order for me to keep posting, I need your suggestions (read the last post) on what you like!

C'mon, jump back on the bandwagon!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back From the Dead!

Holy hell, it's a miracle! I'm back!

Normally you'd probably expect me to apologize for the lack of posts over the past month, but none of you should probably be surprised by my absence. As you all know, I have that AWESOME job where I'm relaxed with no stress for 10 months out of the year, and then get slammed for a manageable two months from about November 15-January 15. It's bowl season, it happens.

But have no fear, I have not forgot this blog or my loyal readership (which, including my roommate-girlfriend, is probably at two).

I'm torn about what I want my focus to be in this year's blog. I wonder if my recaps of my travels are boring and redundant. I have got some decent feedback about my random childhood reminiscing, or my "Top Ten" lists. Do you guys even care about if I went to Napa last weekend?

What I'd like to do is have some of you readers respond and comment on this blog with what kind of stuff is (and is not) interesting to read. Basically tell me what you're hoping for when you click on my blog to get an update (or probably in most cases, when you accidentally click "Livin the Dream" when you meant to click your "Liberal Ideologies" or in Julie's case, the "Live Long & Prosper" Star Trek blog). I know some of you like photos, others like lists. So leave me a note!

Will you do that? I don't know. But it's worth asking. I don't write for therapeutic reasons, so it's not for my own well-being. I just like writing random posts, and since you all (I use the term "all" loosely of course) take the time to read them, I might as well try and tailor them to the audience!

In the meantime, here's some random thoughts from the past two months (and currently):

1) The Seattle Seahawks (7-9) should never have made the playoffs. I don't care that they won their first-round game against the defending Champions. Any team with a losing record should be prohibited from making the playoffs.

2) That being said, Marshawn Lynch's run to clinch that victory was unreal (and for those of you that know, I HATE Marshawn Lynch. He is a thug. He has a horrible record. I hated him at Cal. I hated him in the NFL. But man, that run was RIDICULOUS).

3) For those of you UCLA basketball fans out there - I have a new favorite player. Meet Bruin center Josh Smith.
Dude is 6-10", 305lbs, has amazing footwork and even better hands. No 300+ pounder should have the touch, and dare I say "finesse" that this guy possesses. If he can learn to control his body and not get in foul trouble, we're talking limitless possibilities. And he's a Freshman!

4) Padres have had a bizarre off-season. After finally trading Adrian Gonzalez (the inevitable), they followed it up with acquisitions including Brad Hawpe, Orlando Hudson, Jason Bartlett, Kevin Frandsen, Chad Qualls, Gregg Zaun (hasn't he played since the 80's?) and settling arbitration with all five guys who filed (including trade-bait Heath Bell).

Our two bowl games ended up being phenomenal football games. In the Poinsettia Bowl, SDSU RB Ronnie Hillman lit up the bowl's record books as the Aztecs pulled away from Navy in the second half, winning by a final score of 35-14. We had the largest crowd in the game's six-year history (48,000+), which means a great year financially!

Going into the Holiday Bowl, we were a little scared, considering Washington and Nebraska had already played and the Cornhuskers throttled the Huskies by 35. But to the surprise of the nation, Washington came out swinging and provided arguably the biggest upset of bowl season by knocking off Nebraska 19-7 in a defensive slugfest.

We had quite the bowl season, especially with the flooding of the stadium 24 hours before Poinsettia Bowl kickoff! But it all got resolved. Here's a photo of the stadium from the night before the game (before the pumps arrived) that I took with my phone:

1) Got three weddings on the books already this year. Tis the season!

2) I'm going in a hot air balloon for a sunrise ride! Quite excited about this. Not scheduled yet.

3) I have committed to running a half-marathon this year. Yep, I just made it official. By putting it on this blog, I am subjecting myself to all of you reminding me about it and holding me (gasp) accountable. I'm buying new running shoes this weekend, starting the SLOW training, and we'll figure out when's a good time for me to unleash my skills.

3a) My level of activity has drastically declined in the past six months, and I don't like it. So be ready for beach days, surf days, park days, running, frisbee, games of catch and more! 2011 marks the year of the COMEBACK!

That's all for now...but please post and let me know what you wanna read about. And I know my life is sooooo interesting, but try to narrow it down!