Buy Good Halloween Candy – Do It For the Children

Grocery Store Halloween candyHalloween is so awesome when you are a kid but I have some concerns about Halloween these days for our youth. One of my larger concerns is about the Halloween candy we are handing out.

Back in my day (that would be the 80’s), one of the best parts about Halloween is those moments when you went home, dumped out your pillow case and admired your stash. Some years I remember being meticulous, sorting candy by types and other years it was just a mystery grab bag of goodness.

We all knew the odd folks in the neighborhood that handed out apples and raisins, home-baked good, pennies taped together, obvious candy left over from last Christmas and candy you had never even heard of.

The best and most exciting pieces were obviously eaten first. Your stash dwindled down until you were usually left with odds and ends like those fruity flavored Tootsie Rolls, Mary Janes, Necco Wafers and some Wax Lips. That was the beauty of Halloween – the surprises of what you would collect while panhandling around your neighborhood.

This is my concern

We love convenience. We build our lives around it. Our attraction to convenience is possible numbing our life experiences. I know that buying huge variety packs of Halloween candy at BJs, Sam’s Club or the grocery store is very agreeable to our busy schedules.

Please consider this scenario:

  • You buy a variety pack of candy at the store
  • Your neighbors buy variety packs of candy at the store
  • The adorable and happy children then trick-or-treat in your neighborhood
  • The children return to their homes and inspect their treasure
  • They dump out their trick-or-treat bags and find… they pretty much have a variety pack of candy from the grocery store

If we keep this up, it may be more convenient to skip the costumes and trick-or-treating and just take the kids out once a year to buy a variety pack of candy at the store. That sounds fun!

What is the solution?

In the last few years I have started supplementing my Halloween candy. Of course I still buy small bags of mixed candy at the store. I also usually consult with a few children in my life to make sure we have what the kids like these days (I have it on good authority kids still like Kit Kats). Then after I have my base, I visit my favorite local candy store and stock up on some fun special candy.

Old Port Candy CoMy favorite local spot is Old Port Candy Co. I try to get some Halloween specific candy like those chocolate pumpkins just wrapped in tinfoil and a few Pez dispensers. Then I grab some things that I think kids may not see so much anymore like Bottlecaps, Nerds, Pop Rocks and a few Ring Pops. Finally I wrap up with some old favorites – Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Airheads etc.

The beauty of a good candy shop is you can buy candy by piece. You don’t have to get a giant bag at a time. You can grab a few things here and there, add it to your variety pack and BAM! – you have a sweet selection for your trick-or-treaters to choose from!

So find it in your hearts this busy holiday season to take the time to put a little magic in your Halloween stash. Do it for the children and for the memory of the younger you and how much you enjoyed the mysteries of Halloween candy!

Photo credit: Rrrrred

Search for Any Image on the Web and a Story About a Home Wrecker

Yes, I know this blog is all over the place – but that was the warning I gave you with the very first post. Some things just aren’t a good fit for other places that I write, so I am going to put them here.

How cool is this?!

Henri Matisse Purple Robe and AnemonesHave you checked out Google’s Search by Image yet? Well if not, chalk this up to something cool and I will let you figure out how you can use this.

Now you can search for information on any photo on the web or that you have on your computer. All you have to do is go to Google’s Search by Image and you can either drag and drop your image into the search bar or click on the camera icon and upload the image you want to search.

The results may be all over the place as Google learns how to ‘read’ and identify photos but they can also be pretty cool.

Need a video to how you how this works better? Watch it here

How I finally got to use it

I have known this for a few months, but I had yet to try it until this weekend. As you may know, my office recently moved into the Casco Bay Technology Hub. With the move, we got a new neighbor who has shared in my pangs of having to decorate a new office.

Our new office neighbor brought in print that she liked but she was afraid to hang it because she heard a rumor that the woman who was the focus of the painting was a ‘woman of the night‘. She didn’t want clients or art snobs to point out the painting of a prostitute she had above her conference table.

So what I did was took a picture of the print, uploaded it to Google’s Image Search and voilà! With my quick search, I found a calendar of paintings by Henri Matisse. A little more searching and I found the name of the painting – Purple Robe and Anemones. With the name of the painting, I was able to search for the model – Lydia Delectorskaya!

So was she a whore?

LydiaNo, but Henri’s wife thought she was. Lydia was a model who became Henri’s artist assistant. After years of service she started modeling for him, she even lived with the artist and his family. After awhile, Mrs. Matisse, had about enough and was convinced something was going on with Henri and Lydia so she kicked the model/assistant out.

Even after Lydia was out of the house, Henri’s wife was not convinced of his fidelity and she left him. Eventually Lydia moved back in with old Henri and was his caretaker in his final days. So she may not have been a prostitute, but she was a home wrecker.

Thanks Google Image Search!

The Future of My Library of Crappy Books

wall of booksI read books. I alternate one business book and then one ‘for me’ book. I dream of having a library, one of those ones where you need a ladder to reach all of the books in my collection. I want the library to cover all of the walls in the room. It will look very sophisticated – from afar.

When you get closer to my collection of books, you will notice that they are all very crappy books. You see, I love buying books, I love reading them but then if I LIKE it – I love to pass it along to a friend, family member or the woman next to me one a plane because I think they will enjoy it. I usually don’t get a lot of those back but I don’t mind. I hope that they in turn maybe lent it to someone else that they think will enjoy the book.

So as I giveaway all of the books I liked, what I am left with in my slowly growing library are all my crappy books that were just ok, that too many other people have, that I for some reason had multiple copies of etc.

In walks the Kindle

Now we add a new player to my crappy library dream – my Kindle. I love it. I can have dozens of books on me at all times. I can switch between them or read them in order. I can buy new books on the go. The books are cheaper. My carry-on luggage is so much lighter!

I dream of JeannieI just read two books that I wished I could share with someone. Last night, I finished The Help. I really enjoyed it and wanted to pass it along to a friend but I can’t because it lives inside my Kindle – like Jeannie in her bottle from I Dream of Jeannie.

I guess I could lend someone my Kindle, but that is weird and my next 4 books I want to read are already queued up in there. Other than that my options are to just tell people about it and delete it from my device. I have been able to handle that for the last 8 or 9 books I have read. Just today I started to worry about the larger implications of this – my crappy library!

How am I going to fill my crappy library if all my books (crappy and good) are stuck inside my Kindle like I Dream of Jeannie? Do I build the four walls of shelves that I would put my books in and instead just place my single Kindle and tell people – there were thousands of books read on that thing?

I am a nerd for a living but in this instance, the technology is interfering with a dream I have always had. A whole physical room or space is being threatened by a convenient, pretty, practical, little invention that I love dearly. What is a dreamer and reader to do?

Photo credit: Mr. T in DC