Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do you know the mother effing Muffin-Man?

Duncan Hines used to make the best blueberry muffins I've ever had, literally. A while back they decided to scratch the old recipe for a new "100% whole grain" version. It was a terrible idea but they've stuck to it, leading me to believe that no one there tastes the food before it goes out. Whole grains are great and all, but come on...these taste like garbage.

I've written Duncan Hines before to let them know how I felt but I used a fake name. Today, for some reason, probably hunger, I was thinking about those muffins again and I decided to act, this time, as myself. Maybe this will get the job done.

So I went to their webpage and wrote in the contact box how terrible these muffins are and how no one likes them and how everyone loved the original kind and how if they are going to insist that these ghastly creations exist, they should at least make the other option available, as well.

They wrote back:
Dear Valued Consumer,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Consumer Relations regarding your recent purchase of Duncan Hines Blueberry Streusel Muffin Mix. You will receive a full value coupon in the mail in seven to ten business days. The coupon is for use on any Duncan Hines product of your choice.

At this time we do not have plans to reintroduce the prior version. Overall feedback on the new version has been very positive.

We take great pride in the quality of our products and ensuring consumer satisfaction is our greatest concern. We have taken the liberty of sharing your insight with our Quality Assurance management team so they can incorporate your experience into their ongoing improvement processes. We are always grateful when loyal consumers such as you take the time to communicate their experience so that we have the opportunity to investigate.


Candy Cole
Consumer Relations Representative

This is my response:
Well, Candy, I hate to tell you what you really should already know by tasting these terrible things, but in actuality, everyone hates these muffins.
My entire family loved the original recipe. No one has purchased them again after we realized what a terrible change you guys had made. Literally, everyone I've ever talked to about this is in agreement.
A quick trip to Amazon backs my claim;

23 reviews and not a single good review of your new recipe, in fact, everyone is vehemently calling for a restoration of the old one.
Now go look at the page for the new recipe:

10 reviews and only 1.5 stars. Everyone hates it and the only 2 positive reviews read like plants from your ad agency.
And it's not like these muffins are "OK, just not as good as the old ones," it's that they are actively disgusting. I threw out almost a whole batch after choking down almost 2 of them and wondering if you guys were now considering sawdust to be a "whole grain."

I think Duncan Hines makes consistently good products, and for a while, could boast the best muffins in the world. Who's idea was it to ruin them? Do they also hate puppies and America?


I expect to get a letter admitting their mistake and pledging to restore the original muffins to my local grocer's shelf any minute now. I'll post it when I do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The boy who lived

Leah told me yesterday that she got sad when she thought about how I never blog anymore, so here I am again.

My problem is two-fold: No time, no inspiration. But since it's been a while, I may as well post a catch up blog.

A lot of stuff has actually happened. Our record is ALMOST done. It's being mixed and I think there are something like 6 songs left to do. We took a long time to decide who was mixing it because that hugely determines how the record will sound. We originally met with the legendary Tim Palmer. We were really impressed with his past work and after meeting him at his house and talking about the record, we were sure that he understood it, both musically and lyrically. But alas, he was expensive, and we (I) couldn't justify spending the money.

Long story short, we searched though a myriad of mix engineers and it was stressful and far too time consuming. We landed on one of Matt's friends, Adrian, and began working.

We've partnered with and Rocket Science to promote this record and I'm really excited about all the things that this could potentially mean. Suffice to say that more people will hear this record than everything else I've ever done combined. Because of our partnership with Grooveshark, and the mixed feelings in the band about how the mixes were coming back, we decided that we could afford to have Tim Palmer mix the record and it would be worth the investment. And it was. Every mix we get from Tim is the best I've ever heard our band sound. I'm so excited for everyone to hear the record when it's done. We're very proud. We're still using 2 or 3 of Adrian's mixes, which are quite good, as well.

We released a video for the first single from the new record called "Fear & Fallacy, Sitting in a Tree."
We've got another one in the works for the next single, and it's animated, which is great because it means we didn't have to be awkward in front of a camera for it. I believe that it drops in August.

Anyway, lots of QC stuff happening, both exciting and scary.

Leah and I just got back from London on Sunday. We were there for a week and it was lovely. Just lovely.
-spent a lot of time with Leah's sister, Elana,
-took a double decker bus tour,
-ate lots of really great food (people told me that British food was gross and that the people were unfriendly, I found both of these statements to be incredibly untrue),
-saw some terrible theatre (Shrek:the musical, it was cheap and Leah read a good review, OK?!?),
-went to a cool Doctor Who exhibit,
-drank tasty ciders,
-napped in a beautiful park,
-saw my old friends Nathan and Ashley who are stationed close to London,
-took a quick trip on a train to Paris,
-saw the tower, the Louvre, and walked over what must've been half of fucking Paris,
-saw Ian and got to tour his laboratory,
-went punting,
-fed a duck,
-saw Harry Potter 6 hours before any of you suckers,
-saw wild foxes in the streets on the walk back from HP,
-walked around Oxford, saw more beautiful buildings (they've got them in spades over there.)
-did some shopping in Camden town
-ate Treacle Tart (and sponge w/ custard) because Harry Potter loves it, and it was delicious.
-did some other stuff, I'm sure.

All in all, a fantastic trip with a beautiful lady that I'm in love with. Lots of walking though, and my feet blisters are not healing as quick as I'd like. May be time for new shoes, after all.

Now let's talk about Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, pt 2.
It's great. Really great, and now that the entire series is finished I'm finally able to separate the books and the movies in a healthy way, view them as different things, and appreciate them both. I was surprised that the movie didn't capitalize on actually showing all the deaths of the main characters in the final battle, since it would have been the emotional equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. But I can honestly say that I loved it, and can't wait to see it again and again.

We timed our London trip with the release of this movie because I just LOVED the idea of seeing the final Harry Potter and actually being in London when I walked out of the theater. I thought it would prolong the magic, and it did. Also on the way back to Elana's flat, we saw 5 or 6 foxes prowling around the streets. I've loved foxes since I was a wee lad, watching David The Gnome. I've always wanted one, and of course, it's name would be "Swift." So that was pretty great, too.

We missed the hell out of Harper, though, and we're so glad to be back home with her. It seems that she got even smarter, cuter, and more talkative while we were gone.