Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cupcake Competition Update

Here's a quick update on the cupcake competition:

I'm losing. Badly. S'mores is beating my French Toast cupcakes 78 - 48. That's a cupcake beat down!

My opponent's charity is Yelp! BR. According to their website, Yelp! BR is a nonprofit animal welfare organization that is committed to ending euthanasia of healthy and treatable companion animals in the Greater Baton Rouge Area by:

1. Addressing pet overpopulation and animal suffering through education and appropriate action; and
2. To provide care to animals in need by enhancing adoption and foster rates.

They're so nice and doing such a good work that I should probably send them over a couple French Toast cupcakes.

The good people at Yelp! BR made an appearance at Sweet Wishes on Thursday. They brought their dogs and their wallets, and ate a ton of S'mores cupcakes. So now I'm really in the red.

If you've bought a cupcake, thank you! Your cupcake is a potential $1 donation to the St. Jude's Children Hospital. My cupcakes have to win in order for that to happen.

If you haven't bought a cupcake, or if you want to buy another one, I'll make you a deal.

If you send me a picture of yourself or a loved one eating a French Toast cupcake from Sweet Wishes (located here), email it to me and I'll write a blog about anything you want. ANYTHING YOU WANT. It can be about you, and about how amazing you are. Or it can be about that one time at band camp... I'm cool with that, too. You name it, I'll write it.

You can reach me on email if you have it (I won't post it online b/c the spammers will get it), or you can reach me on Facebook. I have a Twitter account that I never use, but maybe I'll check it over the new few days.

While you're there, be sure to grub up the window in front of the S'mores cupcakes.

Thanks everyone!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Napkins from Work

My cousin Ben is one of the piano players at Pat O'Brien's piano bar in New Orleans. He's an amazing and accomplished pianist.... and now he's also an amazing and accomplished blogger!

His blog, Napkins from Work, chronicles the hilarious, often drunk, and occasionally moving napkins that people write on when submitting their song requests at the piano bar.

Ben's got a unique perspective. It's not like just anybody could write something like this. Only a select few have this kind of vantage point. That he's willing to share that to us is what makes his blog so special.

Also what makes it special: someone misspelling Piano Man by Billy Joel as "Piona Mam Bill Jole".

[From the blog Napkins from Work]

Ben's only been at his blog for a few weeks (although he's been collecting napkins for a while, apparently), but he's already been mentioned in the Gambit's Best of New Orleans section.

I think his blog will catch on. The napkins are too funny, and Ben's commentary on them is too awesome, for this not to become a hot blog.

I can't wait to go to Pat O's and write him a really dirty song request... who knows, he might put it on his blog!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Eat Cupcakes, Help Cure Cancer

A few weeks ago one of our favorite places in Baton Rouge, the Sweet Wishes cupcake shop, posted a cupcake contest on their website (and Facebook and Twitter accounts) called the "Golden Cup." They asked for people to submit new cupcake flavors.

Betty submitted Cookie Dough. She makes cupcakes with cookie dough in the middle, and they're always a huge hit at parties. Unfortunately for Betty, her flavor didn't make the cut.

But, ahem... my flavor, French Toast, is in the final 6! I'm going head-to-head with S'mores, which I think actually sounds delicious. I think someone else also suggested French Toast, so maybe they teamed us up. Regardless, I'm in the contest and now you all have to go to Sweet Wishes and buy a French Toast cupcake (available July 23rd - 27th).

The way the contest works is like this: people submitted their flavors (and optionally included ingredients and even recipes), then Sweet Wishes baked cupcakes using the suggested flavors, tasted them, judged them, and is now doing a head-to-head elimination match of the top 6 cupcakes. Two cupcakes square off each week for the next three weeks, and then the top two go for a final round. Every cupcake sold during the first three weeks counts as a point for that cupcake.

The winners don't get a personal prize. But everyone who submitted a flavor gets to essentially sponsor a charity. Mine (and Betty's) is St. Jude's Children Hospital. For every cupcake sold during the final week of the contest, Sweet Wishes will donate $1 for every cupcake sold of that flavor to the submitter's charity.

Sweet Wishes holds a special place in my heart. When Betty was preggers with Annie, she had gestational diabetes and so was limiting her sugar intake. After Annie was born, all Betty wanted was a Sweet Wishes cupcake. They were supposed to be closed when I called them on Annie's birthday, but after I explained what was going on and how much my wife wanted their cupcakes, they stayed open an extra 30 minutes for me to drive out there.

Basically, Sweet Wishes is a life-saver - in more ways than one!

The top 6 flavors (in order of most points in the original judging) are as follows.

1. BiteandBooze
1. Munchie Macadamia
3. Salted Caramel
4. Mississippi Mud
5. French toast
6. S'Mores

I'm looking forward to covering the rest of those flavors in syrup, sprinkling a little brown sugar on them, and kicking them to the curb. Go French Toast!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How to Win at Mini Golf

Some things are cuter in their miniaturized versions: horses, pigs, humans, and of course wet t-shirts.

But above all, the miniaturized version of Golf, also known as Putt Putt, is by far the cutest.

Why "cute" instead of "entertaining" or "challenging," "badass" or "something we always do when we're on vacation?" I say it's "cute" because most people go into a Mini Golf game thinking that it's some kid's game. They think they're going to "have fun" and "not lose my ball in the creek this time, dammit." They think they're going to get that hole-in-one on the 18th.

But they're wrong.

To excel in Mini Golf you have to have a golfer's mentality. You can't be afraid to test the direction of the wind or the slope of the land. At at our recent trip to the Great Wolf Lodge, which has a fantastic Mini Golf course located onsite, the land sloped so much like an actual course that I had no choice but to treat it like I would any other professional endeavor.

[Bob gets the lay of the land]

And of course I did it all while wearing Great Wolf Lodge wolf ears.

Most people are afraid to lay themselves out on a Mini Golf course and test the slope of the land or the distance to the hole, but not me. I thrive on it! Doing so usually embarrasses your opponents (usually your family or close friends, just the type of people who would not think twice about adding an extra number to your score on a par 4), which then makes them stop thinking about Mini Golf and instead start thinking about how they'd much rather be bashing you upside the head with their Putt Putt clubs, which ultimately leads to them not doing as well in the game.

Strategy!

Here's me taking what amounts to the greatest shot in Mini Golf history (other than the hole-in-one that I got on Hole 3, in case anyone in my group was taking score). It doesn't look like much (yes I know, that's what she said), but this one caused all the rest of my group to stand in awe of my Mini Golf prowess. Or it would have, had they not been preoccupied with my children.

[He shoots, he scores!]

It may have been that I was doing so well at this particular Mini Golf course in comparison to my competitors because my wife was watching one of the kids while her parents were watching the other. I was basically on my own, so didn't have one of the kids at my feet, grabbing at my club as I swung, or picking up and subsequently chunking my ball into the creek on Hole 9. At least that's what I like to tell myself, as otherwise my score on this course was historic and deserving of more attention.

[Peter helps sabotage my opponents!]

So I guess what I'm saying is that the best way to win at Mini Golf is to bring your small children and then let your opponents babysit them while they're playing. Your kids will essentially sabotage their chances at success, so no matter how bad you play, you're still sure to win.

[Shooter McGavin!]

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Great Wolf Lodge

We recently got back from a trip to North Carolina by way of Atlanta. Along the way I hit a hole in one in putt putt, jumped into Atlanta's drinking water reservoir in just my underwear, met a real-life Spider-man, and Betty and I celebrated our anniversary in style at a chicken finger chain restaurant. But I'm getting ahead of myself!

Why go to North Carolina? For starters, they have a good basketball program. But more importantly, they have an indoor water park called the Great Wolf Lodge.

Technically Great Wolf Lodge is not only in North Carolina. They have lodges in Texas, Kansas, Wisconsin... pretty much every state but Louisiana. And also, it's not just an indoor water park. They have pools outdoors, too.

But we had already planned to go up to Atlanta for a family reunion on Betty's side, and have family that lives in Virginia, and the Great Wolf Lodge was only 4 hours away, so... why not? It was like a central meeting place for all our family in the area.

An indoor water park is such a great idea. You can go when it's blistering hot outside, you can go when there's a blizzard outside, or you can go just because you don't like putting sunscreen on. Most of their pools are zero entry, meaning it's like walking in at the beach. They have a wave pool, a kid pool with water guns, slides, tubes, basketball goals inside the pools, and all other kinds of fun things. The lifeguards walk around inside the pool so they're right there in case you need them, not flirting while perched atop a tall chair. And the lodge was stocked with food - ours had a Dunkin' Donuts, a Pizza Hut and a buffet.

[Great Wolf Lodge!]

When the kids weren't in the pools they were playing something called Magic Quest. The kids ran around with "magic wands" which were actually pretty cool. They were wireless devices essentially, and when you pointed the wands at an object that was set up to receive a signal from the device, that object would then interact with the kids. So there were treasure chests that opened when you zapped them with your wand, pictures that lit up, lamps that glowed for a few seconds, fairy statues that would talk, etc. Several hallways throughout the park were painted green to look like a forest, and were filled with these magic objects. The kids could check it at different kiosks (hidden in trees or treasure chests) to check their points and get new quests.

Basically, I wanted to play and would have rocked at this game. But I was busy doing adult stuff, like "not playing Magic Quest like a kid even though I would have dominated."

One other fun thing that the Great Wolf Lodge did for the kids that I really liked was story time. Every night the kids would gather in the lobby in their PJs, and some animatronic trees and animals would tell them a story. They also had big Wolf characters walking around saying hi to the kids.

[Great Wolf Lodge!]

But Great Wolf Lodge (or GWL as I'll call it, because I'm lazy) had some great stuff for the adults, too. Like, wristbands that the adults wore that acted as keys for your room so you didn't have to haul a room key around. Just swipe your wristband against your door, and voila! You're in! That was so convenient when you've got two kids holding your hands and are also carrying a bag filled with wet clothes, and couldn't release a hand to reach into your pocket for your keys. The wristbands could also be swiped if you wanted to pay for anything and have it charged to your room. I thought that was pretty innovative.

Well, OK, maybe not as innovative as these amazing water cannons!

[Great Wolf Lodge!]
[Great Wolf Lodge!]

I have so much more to write about our trip, but I think this is enough for one post. Be on the lookout for Spider-man in one of my next blog posts!