fun-sized candy bars

In a recent post about trying to be a responsible adult with a bowl of chocolate, I ended it with the idea of eating “a reasonably-sized piece of chocolate”. That made me think of “fun size” candy bars. That’s a weird bit of marketing. Does anyone think those bite-sized candy bars are actually more fun?

Plenty keeps me up at night. Global warming. The world my kids will inherit. The logic behind calling the smallest candy bars “fun size” when the real fun comes from eating a mass of chocolate the size of a brick. ~ Jon Wertheim

Can’t argue with that. πŸ™‚ If there were truth-in-advertising laws that applied here, those “fun size” candy bars might be called “small enough to make you mad” or “it’s tiny so we can say it’s not many calories” or “try to eat just one”. πŸ™‚ Some of those are so small that you have to make a concerted effort to make it more than one bite.

One time I saw a 5-pound Hershey’s chocolate bar. I think it was at the Hershey’s store in Times Square in New York City. Attempting to eat that would be a lot more fun than one bite of chocolate. It would be so unhealthy and unreasonable, too, but we’re talking about fun. Healthy and reasonable might be eating a salad instead, and where’s the fun in that? (I will admit that it is possible to make a great tasting salad, but healthiness decreases at an inverse rate as tastiness increases, which is a discussion for another day.)

Also, think about how great a gift it would be to give someone a 5-pound chocolate bar. Young kids would not be able to contain their excitement and astonishment. They might even start dancing spontaneously. Some adults may also not be able to hide their excitement, either. πŸ™‚ The recipient might be excited at having so much chocolate to themselves, or they could share it and be the life of the party. Giving away chocolate makes any party better!

bowl of chocolate vs responsible adult

What should be done with this?

We have a big bowl of chocolate candy bars in our dining room. This is not normal, because we try to eat reasonably healthy most of the time. But we just passed Halloween, and for various reasons we had less trick-or-treaters this year. (I’d guess because it was a Monday — a school night — and our closest neighbors decorated less than normal. More people went to the other side of our subdivision, which had more decorations.) Regardless of how and why, the end result is a lot of tempting chocolate in my house.

So what am I supposed to do with all this chocolate? The obvious answer is to EAT IT! But there’s a flaw in the slaw: I’m trying to be a responsible adult here. One of my goals is to lose some weight and be more fit, and chocolate bars don’t exactly fit in fitness. But the counter-argument is that I’m a grown-up, so I can eat whatever I want. And that’s true. Therein lies the dilemma.

Do you remember being a kid and being limited by your parents on things like eating sweets and watching TV and playing video games? You probably dreamed of how one day you’d be a grown-up who can set your own rules and how wonderful that will be. And it is good. But you also (hopefully) learn that there are good reasons to be responsible and it’s better to do those things in moderation. It reminds me of this funny quote:

I don’t think I can talk Jen into installing a deep fat fryer in our kitchen. That’d rock! A short order grill. I can sit home and make grilled cheese sandwiches, hash browns, French fries, and pancakes all day long. Mmm. The fat kid in my brain just got really excited. The adult in my brain has to calm him down. Which really is what “growing up” is all about — telling the kid in your brain to sit down and behave, while the grown-up in our brain says, “You know, it’d be more responsible of us if we did this instead…” Stupid brain. ~ Jeff Schell

That’s the mental battle that we all must endure. But let me caution and encourage you with the word “moderation” in another context. Being an adult — especially when you have children — means being serious and responsible a lot more often than you may want to be. If we go too far on the serious side, it can drain the joy and happiness out of life. We don’t want to become an adult that forgets how to have fun. (I suppose that applies to everyone. But if you don’t want to laugh and be happy, that’s your choice, but I don’t recommend it.) Life is much better when it’s enjoyed. You can still be responsible and serious while enjoying the journey. That’s where moderation applies here — it’s not just about limiting the fun, but it can remind us to be serious in moderation. Allow yourself to have fun, even when life is busy and overwhelming. Actually, being able to enjoy your life makes the serious parts less tedious! So it’s helpful to have fun!

So the next time you’re about to eat a piece of chocolate that you might feel somewhat guilty about, find the balance — set a limit of how much, but within that limit, enjoy it as much as possible. While eating it, don’t think about calories or saturated fat grams or sugar or how much exercise it would take to burn it off — just close your eyes and savor each delicious bite. (You tend to enjoy it more when you eliminate distractions, so closing your eyes actually helps.)

Now go enjoy a reasonably-sized piece of chocolate! πŸ™‚

funny back to school parody videos

School has started back for most children around here, so here’s some funny music parody videos about that experience from a parent’s point of view. This first one is my favorite of the three below. It’s called “Baby Got Class”, which is a parody of “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot. I would expect this one to be tough to pull off, but they do surprisingly well with it.

Next is “Bye Bye Bye”, a parody of *NSYNC.

Last is “School is Starting”, a parody of Black Eyed Peas.

FYI, these parodies are by The Holderness Family. They’ve created a lot of good parody videos, as well as original content. (I’m not affiliated with them, just a fan. I like parodies, and I realize how hard it is to make one that’s great.)

seeing the Aurora Borealis

Recently I talked about recreating the Aurora Borealis so I could see it in the South (of North America). Well, I learned that it has actually been seen here before. In 1859 there was the most intense geomagnetic storm in recorded history, called the Carrington Event. And it will happen again. So I may get to see an aurora sometime. However, that would be a bad thing. A geomagnetic storm that intense would destroy a lot of electronics, including parts of our power grid. So calamity would ensue. It’s something that we should prepare for (both individually and as a country), but that’s beyond the scope of this article.

In 1859 the aurora was seen as far south as south-central Mexico. And in the north, it was so bright that some people thought it was morning already. It was supposedly really beautiful, with the sky filled with every imaginable color.

There were few electrical systems in 1859, but there was a telegraph system. Some telegraph operators got shocked, and some telegraph systems were still able to send messages while disconnected from their power supplies, using the power supplied from the solar storm.

If you would like to learn more about how this works and what may happen, watch this video by Physics Girl:

One neat way to think about the aurora is that it’s showing how the Earth’s atmosphere is acting as a shield. So when it lights up, it’s working. It looks like magic…