Miss(ed) Manners

February 11, 2009

The Mines of Moria

Filed under: Candy,Humor,LOTR,Ping Pong — missedmanners @ 3:34 pm

Hello, Internet. A selection of you may have seen our candy sculptures (yes, I’m calling them sculptures now… makes it 5% less geeky and 15% more artsy fartsy) from the last two years. If you haven’t,  feel free to take a look, so you can get a bit of back story as to why on earth anyone would want to recreate scenes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary masterworks, The Lord of the Rings. A short version would be, “gingerbread houses are boring.”

The previous projects:

The Battle of Helm’s Deep

The Battle of Pelennor Fields

We were all very proud of how last year’s project came out. Minas Tirith was certainly imagined as an awe inspiring city and our candy representation was no different. The whole project was so monumentally geektastic that I’ve even started bringing it up in mixed sex company, it having lost its virgin-warning-label stigma in my mind. I wonder now if there’s a line where stupid shit stops being stupid and just starts being awesome. For example, lawn trash. One gutted out car on your lawn, that’s stupid. But seventy four? Awesome.

This year we decided to zoom things in a bit, having already covered the two major battles of the trilogy. No more big open spaces to fly over and generously slobber with frosting. No more armies of vicious gummy bears. We instead chose to move indoors and up close.

So, without further ado, I give you, The Mines of Moria.


Unfortunately, the zoomed out version doesn’t do it much justice. This is a story piece.

Oh what the hell, two more shots, but this time from angles!


If you look carefully off in the distance you can see my Dad’s nigh indestructible minivan. It’s got like eight hundred thousand miles on the odometer, none of the windows work, the entire back door has been gutted and must be opened by blindly reaching inside the frame and pulling a cord. Doesn’t it just scream pedophile? I love to drive it around mall parking lots, point at random kids and then pretend to scribble stuff down in an imaginary pedo-book.


This image is mostly pointless excepting for the fact that my mom’s rug is making its third appearance on the Internet. I believe that’s Paris Hilton territory.

On to the story!

For those of you who’ve never read the book, please ignore the following paragraph and skip to the first picture as it will only confuse you.

Are they gone?

I wasn’t really going to write anything confusing here, just wanted to see if anyone would actually ignore this paragraph. You didn’t though. So what’s up? How you been? Cool. Yeah? Me too… can you believe this weather? Ha ha ha, you said it, brother.

Anyway, back to the pictures.


And lo the Fellowship of the Ring had set forth from the Elven haven of Rivendell, a company of nine. The Ring bearer, Frodo, his manservant and possible halfling love machine, Samwise, two mostly pointless subcharacters, Merry and Pippen, the sexuality challenging forest Elf, Legolas, the Midget, Gimli… yes, midget, the whiny human Boromir, son of the Steward of Gondor, Aragorn and his meticulously trimmed stubble and finally the Wizard, Gandalf. I can’t say many bad things about Gandalf, he’s just a cool character, I got nothin’… funny hat? I dunno.

They travel through woods and mountains and stuff, but that’s not important. What’s important is that none of those other ways worked and they decide they to walk through this old abandoned subterranean mine/kingdom/BDSM dungeon named Moria. After spending a night in the woods killing a pack of dog monsters Michael Vick style, the party arrives at a sealed door in the side of the mountain which is locked with some sort of magic memnonic device. Gandalf gets all Sudoku on its ass, it lights up and the way forward is open.

Before he can gloat and talk about how smart he is and how he totally could have been a member of MENSA but just never got around to sending in the forms… this happens:


Holy mother of God, the Japanese are in Middle Earth and it’s tentacle raep time!


This squid-like gummy bastard shoots off a long slimy leg and grabs a hold of poor old Frodo (pictured center with the resplendant white gum drop torso) continuing what has been and will be a set of shitty life experiences for the Ring Bearer throughout the entirety of the books. He’s constantly getting stabbed, stung, grabbed, poked and prodded (possibly by Sam). Speaking of whom, chubster mcgee himself jumps to the rescue and stabs the slimy bejeezus out of the monster.


Which I guess only makes it more angry, I mean, look at those creepy white soulless eyes. Has jellied sugar ever scared you so much? I didn’t think so. Gandalf, realizing that a fight with the creature from the blue lagoon would only get his robes dirty, drags the group inside and down a few miles of stairs.


The above picture is a brief approximation of said stairs. About twelve inches. Please notice Aragorn in the lower left, hanging back from the crowd. He’s all, “I said wait up! I gotta keep the dwarf company? Oh fine, pretend you didn’t hear me. Now I’ve got to walk half step and listen to him to recite a poem about how awesome it is living underground. Fuck you, Gandalf.”


Meanwhile, Gimli’s right behind and he’s all sad because was totally about to recite a poem about how awesome it is to live underground. Those of you reading this from your parents’ basements are feeling real close to Gimli right about now, huh?


After the Fellowship reaches the lower levels of Moria they come upon a guard room with various sugary detritus scattered about and a giant hole smack dab in the center, because if there’s anything you need in an underground lair, it’s invisible pits wherein you can drop to your death. You just know someone got drunk, slipped and bit it hard and at the funeral his friends were moaning, “WHY? why is that hole there? Who would put a hole in the floor in a pitch black room? Who’s turn was it to change the torches?”

Also, this is the first scene where you get a close up of that banana flavored runt we used as a pony tail on Legolas. Cute, right?


While fumbling around in the dark, Pippin (top right, looking very sorry) accidentally knocks a bunch of stuff down the hole, making a cacophony of clanging noises. This of course scares the shit out of everyone and surely alerts the bajillions of orcs living in the mines to the group’s presence. Gandalf shouts, “Fool of a Took!” Which is Pippin’s last name, but always made me think of one of those Canadian hats, which do, in fact, make people look foolish.

Figuring they’re probably going to be overrun in a few minutes with green monster types, the party decides to make camp… wait, what? Seriously? After making enough noise to wake Kirstie Alley from her impending diabetic coma, you decide to just chill out and drink Elf wine or something? Bush league.


Actually, there was a little more to it. Just outside of the guard room there are three doors and Gandalf, who’s something like three thousand years old, cannot for the life of him remember which way to go. Following a power nap he gets up, goes over to the doors and says, “Hey, let’s go down this right hand passage way. You know, the only one that wasn’t photoshopped to cover up the fact that the people making this model completely forgot to cover a spot RIGHT in the middle with frosting… yeah, let’s go up the cardboard stairs held tenuously together with hot glue, glue so hot in fact that it burned a big old blister right onto the tip of the guy who built this place’s middle finger which is making it incredibly painful for him to type this all out.” (cue violin)


And what stairs they are! The group travels up level after level of Sweet Tart paved passageway until reaching a great hall near the top of the mountain.


So they make camp again. Really? You’re in the middle of a mountain infested with monsters and you’re going to sit around a fire and let the dwarf sing you a song? Really?


Come morning time the group wakes to see light bounding down from the ceiling windows like drool out of a slow kid’s mouth at a funnel cake factory. The walls of this great hall were supposed to be made of polished obsidian, but all we had was black licorice, which is the obsidian of the candy world, deal with it.

The gumdrop posse crosses to the other end of the great hall where they come upon the tomb of Balin, one of the dwarves from Tolkien’s earlier book, The Hobbit. He’d come to Moria to try and smoke out all the monsters and then pimp it out MTV cribs style. Since they find his tomb and not his eighteen car garage, it’s safe to assume that he failed. While they’re reading a diary recounting the last days of the people who died in the room, really loud drums are heard in the deep. We’re talking Chicago house, ghettotech drums.

Which brings us to our battle royale.


At first a big cave troll sticks his hand inside the room, but Frodo, looking to finally get on the scoreboard in the game of him vs. pointy objects, stabs said arm, sprays blood everywhere and sends the troll running. And yes, fanboy, I know orc blood is supposed to be black, but damnit if we didn’t get happy go jacky on the frosting with that red food coloring. Just check that shit out.


Here you can see the one of only two times that Boromir makes himself useful. He’s just hacking away at those poor, delicious orcs. The other time being when he stands in as a human shield/pin cushion and takes a couple dozen arrows straight to the internal organs in the next book.


Just a few feet away Gimli is finally done singing songs and he’s taking bitches out like lawn divots with his battle axe. Behind him Pippin and Merry are back to back being unnecessary.


There’s Legolas making some serious arrow facetime for the marauding orc forces. For someone belonging to a race continually referred to as fair and beautiful he’s sure got no problem with killing. I imagine him smoking a few fools and then dropping his bow to the chamber floor like a hot mic, looking into the camera and saying, “Justin who?”


As the defenders slowly push the beasts back out of the chamber, a massive man sized orc captain springs into the room (depicted here by the green gummy bear who is not at all man sized) and spears Frodo in the chest, score yet another one for pointy objects. Samwise, who seems incapable of useful action unless his beaux is mortal danger (which leads one to think everyone would be lying to him all the time and saying that Frodo’s got terminal lupus, thus granting him retard strength which they would then use to make him carry everyone’s bags), and he slices the spear with his sword. Way to go.

Aragorn on the other hand brings his big man sword, Anduril, down right on top of the orc’s head spraying brain everywhere, Braveheart style. Frodo is of course alright, because unbeknownst to the rest of the Ring-Crew, that isn’t just a white gum drop torso, it’s actually a mithril coat! Mithril is the Kevlar of Middle Earth. If we had that stuff in Iraq we’d have won the war on Terror in, like, two days.

Realizing that they’ll get seriously frikkin’ Balin-ed if they stick around, Gandalf compels the party to flee out the East door towards Moria’s exit, which is conveniently located just a few thousand meters away (did you know that Middle Earth used the metric system? It’s in the Silmarillion). He stays behind to buy them some time with a few magic spells of door shutting.


About five minutes later a breathless Gandalf comes running down the stairs looking crazy scared saying that something really REALLY evil is hot on their tails and that they should collectively run like yuppie chicks to a Jimmy Choo sample sale.

And so they do.


If they were to update The Lord of the Rings with modern day language, Gandalf would here be saying, “Run bitches! Run for yo LIVES!!” Fortunately they have to run through another great hall and this one’s decked out with beautifully decorated candy columns, so the party is both frightened and visually enriched at the same time.


Running: scared to death.


Running: Visually enriched.

Once past the columned hall, our heroes arrive at the Bridge of Khazad Dum, which sounds like a Turkish prison. This narrow strip of stone expands over a vast bottomless pit. No, there is no guard rail. Can you imagine the insurance overhead this place had?

It is here that they finally see their invisible stalker that was hot on their heels, the Bane of Durin, the great evil in the Deep, a Balrog, a demon of the elder days.


Author’s Note: I remember when Street Fighter II Turbo came out and one of the character’s names was Balrog. I tried for weeks to play effectively as that character, who was for all intents and purposes a 32 Bit graphics rendition of Mike Tyson. I must have dropped fifty or sixty bucks in quarters before I realized that video game Balrog sucks, but Tolkien book Balrog kicks some crazy ass.

Standing several meters tall, constructed of the gummiest, sweetest flame and ash that one can buy in bulk via an online website, the Balrog advances towards the Fellowship. In one hand, a flaming sword, in the other a whip of really sticky licorice.


Boromir grabs the Horn of Gondor from his side and blows. He also sounds the horn. This is, of course, competely useless.


Only Gandalf the Grey (yes, I know I used white gum drops to make him, but you try finding tasty looking grey candy) is up to the task of fighting this Jujube abomination. He strides to the middle of the bridge and draws his sword, Glamdring. As an aside, I always thought that Glamdring sounds like an award that would be given out at a Drag Queen competition. As in, “Ms. Understood, for your lifelong achievement in testicle obfuscation you are hereby awarded this Glamdring. You better werk, bitch.”


Gandalf then raises his magical lollipop staff and tells the Balrog that he ain’t gettin’ by, no way no how. He then proceeds to blow up the bridge underneath its feet, sending the mighty beast into the black licorice abyss. As the demon falls it flings that licorice whip skywards, ensnares the wizard ankle and drags Gandalf down into the pit.

The Fellowship is broken. There is much wailing,  gnashing of teeth and wearing of sack cloth. Don’t get too sad, a couple hundred pages later Tolkien employs the time honored, “Soap Opera Reincarnation Device” and brings him back even more bad ass then before and with better hair to boot.

Well boys and girls, that’s all the time we have for this year’s candy creation. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed making it. I’d like to thank my fellow builders, Chase, Lis, Barb and Brian for all their help with glueing, frosting, going on beer and cigarette runs, decorating and making sure the ice in my Maker’s wasn’t melting too quickly. And of course to my parents for letting me come home for a few days to completely destroy their kitchen.

Next year: The Sacking of Isengard (Tootsie Roll Ents, ftw).

January 3, 2008

The Battle of Pelennor Fields

Filed under: Awesome,Candy,Dorky,Humor,LOTR — missedmanners @ 6:26 pm

(Two year after the fact edit: Heya Wil Wheaton! Thanks for the tweet. For the project we did last year check this out: The Mines of Moria)

(For those of you who don’t remember, this is really a continuation of last year’s project: The Battle of Helm’s Deep )

Last year, when my brothers and I decided to make the Battle of Helm’s Deep out of candy, naturally none of us thought anyone would go as nuts over it as they did. We’ve always just done things like that simply because they’re fun. When the pictures of our little creation started getting passed around the Internet like a stewardess with daddy issues, we were both excited and nervous, what with our dork underpants showing and all. A year later, having looked back at all the comments, I’m still surprised at the overwhelming majority being so positive and light hearted. Considering the nature of the Internet, anything above four percent non-idiotic fourteen year old “OMG ur so gai” replies would have knocked my socks off.

And it did. Cheers to that.

Before we get to this year’s offering however, I figured I’d remark on the most common comment from last year: “You guys have way too much time on your hands.” Not really, but we certainly found the time. All told this year’s project took about seven days of off and on work. I guess we’re just better at turning off the TV than most. Oh, and also, if you’re not using your free time to do stuff like this, what the hell else are you doing with it?

And now, without further ado:

What I Did Over THIS Christmas Break:

My brothers, sister, myself and some of our friends built a scale model of Minas Tirith during the Battle of Pelennor Fields from the novel, The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

(All of these images are clickable if you can’t see the whole thing)


Behold, the White City of Minas Tirith is under siege by one of the largest, and certainly the tastiest army ever to walk Middle Earth. For two days the evil host, under the brutal licorice fist of the Witch King of Angmar has bombarded the ancient city with stone and fire.


Amazing how much those stones look like green marshmallows, eh? Here you can see some of the city’s garrison trying to clear the south east gate of the second ring of debris. If only they had arms. Coincidentally, you can also see the exquisite craftsmanship of the ancient men of the West (which would actually be myself and my little brother Danny). Apparently there was a HUGE licorice all-sorts boom at the beginning of the Second Age.

Now as we climb the walls into the interior rings the rocky central precipice juts out over the city like a tangy ship rudder.


The streets are almost completely deserted, of course. Because war is very scary. Even for Gummy Bears. Even the meticulously paved ramps and individually placed windows are empty. I use the words meticulously and individually so that you can get an idea of just how much a pain in the ass building this was. Meticulously. Individually.


Ah, here we have the sole gardens of the city outside of the Houses of Healing. The fact that I knew these were the sole gardens in the city and that I took the time to put them in made me the focus of a bout of fifteen minutes of pointed laughter. But isn’t it worth it? Don’t those gardens look fucking awesome? They’ve got marshmallow plants, which are about thirty times cooler than real plants.


This is the Tower of Ecthelion. If a candy tower could be measured in units of pimpness, this candy tower would be off the fucking charts. And if that wasn’t pimp enough, in front you can clearly see the White Tree of Gondor, which I made out of white chocolate pretzels. Give me my Nobel Prize now, thankyouverymuch.


Tolkien made a real point of mentioning how there was this “Kingly Head” statue right above the gate to the citadel. So we made a real point out of biting the head off of a Gummy Bear and sticking it there.

But enough about the city, there’s a battle going on! Let’s take a look:


At this point, the Riders of Rohan have already arrived and they’ve completely made the Orc forces their collective biotech. It’s hard to see here, but they’re riding on majestic Gummy Frog mounts and are doing heinous battle with the Mumakil Elephant warriors. There’s a suitable amount of blood and gore as well.


Now, on this side of the battle field you can see Aragorn’s forces streaming off the stolen Corsairs and doing battle with Sauron’s evil sweetness. Also, you can see that the main gate of Minas Tirith has been breached by Grond, the giant battering ram, and now the men of the city are sallying forth to join in on the wholesale ass-whooping. Let’s take a closer look at all of these.


First, here you can see the dead Lord of the Nazgul and his crazy bird like black licorice rope mount. He’s already killed Theoden and beaten the sweet out of Merry and Eowyn. I’d say this scene is kind of sad if it weren’t for the sheer awesomeness of that black dragon type thing. I mean, really.


Just like last year, the Riders of Rohan have come to the rescue. For the sake of simplicity we made all the good guys yellow and White Gummy Bears and the Bad Guys Red, Orange, Green and Black. This is in no way any kind of remark on culturally preconceived notions of morality and how it relates to skin color. Except for Green people. They are lazy thieves.


Now this kind of sucks. The Riders of Rohan, right after saving the day, AGAIN, have to fight gigantic Elephants. My older brother was in charge of this part of production, and I think we can all agree he spanked it like an underpaid dominatrix. Check those bitches out. Circus Peanut bodies on top of gum drop legs, licorice nib trunks, chocolate pretzels for the men of Harad to stand on and shoot from. How on earth could any sugar-based army stand up against such crazy power?

(PS: You can see my mom’s still got a bitching rug in this picture.)


This is Grond. Yes, Tolkien named EVERYTHING even battering rams. I know you can see that it’s pretty awesome just from this picture alone. However, what you can’t see is that our Grond actually swings back and forth. On LICORICE ROPES. Props to my friend Brian for putting that one together.


This is the final detail shot, because it’s the most bad ass. Aragorn’s army is just pouring off of those stolen Corsairs like really fast molasses (which is like light speed for candy). With their arrival the tide of the battle turns and the evil, though tasty army, is destroyed to a gum drop.

Soon after a miniature gummy hobbit named Frodo succeeds in casting the One Ring Pop of Power into the molten chocolate fondue of Mount Doom and then peace, prosperity and pizelles returned to Middle Earth. Or something like that.

Hope you guys enjoy this as much as we enjoyed making it.

I’d like to thank my brothers, Dan and Jon. My little sister, Katie. My other little sister, Lis. My buddies, Brian and Brendan, and my best friend, Sunshine. Without them this would have never been made, even with our very frequent, very drunken recesses.

Happy (Belated) Holidays!

PS: I also took a video.

PPS: Digg This

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