Sunday, August 31, 2008

Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos

For the second day in a row, I am writing about an allegedly spicy food item. This time, it's the new flavor of Doritos, Spicy Sweet Chili:

Any time a chip company releases a new flavor, I make it my personal mission to try it and judge it. So when a friend directed my attention to the allegedly tasty new Doritos flavor, I had to try it. I picked up a 99-cent bag at a 7-11, and saved it for the writing of this post. This will be the most comprehensive taste test this blog has ever seen.

The bag:
The bag is royal purple, with the name in three different fonts. "Spicy" looks like it is in a Gothic-y, olde English font; "sweet" looks handwritten and careless, and "chili" looks...plain. I would think that "chili" would be the most interesting, but no, they chose a tall, arial-looking font. Those people at Doritos need to get their marketing group straightened out.

The smell:
Sticking my entire face into the bag, I am greeted with a very strange, hard to place smell. It smells more sweet than spicy, I'll give it that. The spiciness smells like it was added in as a sort of afterthought, after the sweetness had sunk in. It isn't the best aroma in the world, but it fits the chip nicely.

The taste:
The first three or four chips taste absolutely terrible. But for the sake of the blog, I soldiered on and kept munching. After a few more, I noticed that the taste wasn't that bad. The first three or four sweet seconds after you put the chip in your mouth is really strange, but after that, it's just mildly spicy.

The aftertaste:
The very vauge spiciness stays with you for a little while, and you have the average Dorito-breath. Not bad, but it could use some working on.

Final thoughts:
To sum up what I thought of these, let me say this: I didn't finish the bag, nor would I buy them again, but I didn't throw the rest away. I'll probably eat them within the week, when I'm hungry for something strange.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Volcano Taco and Big Bell Box at Taco Bell

Last night, I went to Taco Bell with Jarrod for my bi-weekly fast food taco fix, and was completely shocked by what I saw on the menu:The 89-cent Volcano Taco. That motherfucking taco is so motherfucking hot that the shell turned red! But seriously, Red 40 food dye has never excited me so much. I bought one of these suckers (as did Jarrod), and was blown away by the spiciness that rocked my food hole.
First of all, it isn't the shell itself that is spicy. I know this may be a bit misleading, but bear with me here. See that little layer of what looks like melted cheese in between the meat and lettuce up there? That's some sort of weird, make-you-shit-out-your-organs spicy sauce. Maybe I'm exaggerating the spiciness a bit, but I guess I'm just sort of shocked a nationwide fast food place would have something like this. Spiciness like this is usually reserved for shady Mexican food restaurants on the side of the highway.
Second, my taco came as a part of TB's new Big Bell Box. It's basically a lap-sized box that contains a Volcano Taco, supreme burrito, Crunchwrap supreme, cinnamon twists, and a large soda, all for $5.99 (apparently they contain different items in other areas, for $4.99). This 1540-calorie behemoth filled me up so much, that I couldn't even finish the burrito. This is a true man's meal, assuming that man's rectum is made of steel. At the risk of losing a few readers, I just have to say that my ass felt like I had been raped by a jalapeno this morning.
Sadly, Taco Bell's website informs me that the Volcano Taco is only available for a limited time. I know for a fact that if they were to permanently add this to the menu, I'd go there at least once a week to enjoy a Baja Blast and three of these puppies. Oh well. I guess I had better enjoy it while it lasts.

EDIT: Here is Jarrod's opinion on the Volcano Taco:
Let me start off by saying that I eat "fast food" once or twice a month. It's not that I don't like the taste or anything; I just don't prefer overpriced, unhealthy nourishment. So, as you might presume, I wasn’t all too excited to venture to Taco Bell. That being said, I for one wanted to go to Denny's to sample the not-so-healthy Rock Star Menu. However, due to the fact that we were accompanied by two friends who happened to be under the influence of the ever so delightful cannabis, we chose to go to Taco Bell.
So we pull into America's favorite commodity, the drive-thru and as we’re preparing to order, something quite interesting instantly catches my eye: the gleaming red taco on the bottom of the menu. I announce my bewilderment by stating, “What the fuck is a Volcano Taco?!” Nevertheless, I decide to order one along with one of Taco Bell’s relatively new frozen drinks, a Mango-Strawberry Frutista Freeze. Although it isn’t made with real fruit juice, it did have real strawberries on top and inside of it, and, to my surprise, came with a purple spoon straw. It turned out to be fairly decent until about two-thirds of the way through when the fruit, ice, and slush start to separate from one another and it starts to taste like watered down mango-strawberry juice. As for the Volcano Taco, it’s essentially a regular hard-shell Taco Bell taco with a red shell and cheesy hot sauce added. When I first bit into it my mouth was ambushed by the fiery sauce, which is, as Taco Bell calls it, Cheesy Lava Sauce. I believe that it’s Taco Bell’s Fire Border Sauce mixed with nacho cheese. It happens to be considerably spicy (I didn’t think that it was as spicy as Ty did, but then again, I don’t have a vagina) yet exceptionally tasty as well, in fact, it was my favorite part of the taco. All in all, the Volcano Taco is a flavorful snack and I wouldn’t mind having seconds.

And my rebuttal:
Jarrod, I don't have a vagina.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Brutes with tattoos save animals, apparently

This is quite possibly one of the greatest news stories I've ever read. It's about this group of tough-looking bikers that have an animal rescuing business called Rescue Ink. Just read the article, and let the beauty of human compassion show its face for once.

Guitar Praise: Solid Rock

Everyone knows that musicians get loads of poon; especially if the instrument the person plays happens to be a guitar. Well, we've all heard of Guitar Hero, and while it may not get you the poon playing real guitar will, most people agree that it's pretty awesome.
And as with any awesome game, it has spawned imitators. From cheaply put together games to equally successful ones (*cough*ROCKBAND*cough*), GH has seen its share. But there is a new game on the horizon:
You can rock alongside Jesus himself (for the low price of $99.95) with the new game "Guitar Praise: Solid Rock." Featuring songs by such famous Christian bands as Relient K, Flyleaf, 12 Stones, Pillar, Skillet, and more. It comes with a guitar that looks identical to the Guitar Hero one, but is only for the PC and Mac.
Key features include (my favorite part is bolded):

-Features hit songs from popular Christian rock bands
-Includes wireless USB guitar controller.
-Two guitars can be connected at the same time, so two guitarists can play together -either on the same track or one on lead, the other on bass.
-Players press the fret buttons and strum on the strum bar in time to the color-coded notes as they scroll onscreen.
-Offers over 50 songs with 4 levels of play per song - from easy to expert. Beginners start slowly, but soon their fingers will be flying; - just like a real guitarist.
-Onscreen lyrics reflect Christian values. Vocalists can sing their hearts out as their friends play the guitar.
-Record keeping lets players store high scores per song and unlock new songs in sets of six as they progress through the game and post their scores online.
-Players can also earn new guitars with richer sounds and different effects.
-Works on Windows and Mac computers.
Why is it that when anything religious is released, it sounds ridiculously corny and un-hip? Christian values? Sing their hearts out? Wow, Guitar Praise, you've made the perfect game for me. Where have you been all my life?
But seriously, why release this? Are there not enough Christian items out there? Can't we worship Jesus without ruining the sanctity of Guitar Hero? I'm not even a fan of the game and I think this is terrible.
I highly reccomend you watch the video on the front page of this site. It's hilarious, and features a modern Christian family playing the game...on a TV! I think the power of Christ himself turned their computer into a television. Oh, that wacky Jesus, always turning one thing into another.
Click here for the purchase page for this terrible knockoff.

EDIT: It seems that the exact same site has a DDR clone named Dance Praise, where you can rythmically convulse to songs by established Christian techno artists like Seven Day Jesus and Out of Eden. Buy it here (thanks Maggie).

Via Geekologie

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DRAGON VS. TIGER

THE DRAGON WOULD WIN BECAUSE DRAGON HAS FLAME BREATH AND CLAWS AND TIGER ONLY HAS CLAWS AND CAT FOOD BREATH WHICH IS ONLY STINKY AND NOT FLAMING LIKE A DRAGONS BREATH. OH AND A DRAGON HAS SCALES MAKING IT SUPER DURABLE UNLIKE THE SOFT MUSHY FLESH AND FUR COMBINATION OF A TIGER. THE DRAGON HAS CLAWS REMEMBER AND THOSE CLAWS CAN PUNCTURE THE SOFT SKIN OF THE TIGER UNLIKE THE TIGERS CLAWS THAT CAN NOT PUNCTURE THE HARD SKIN OF THE DRAGON BECAUSE THEY ARE MADE OF SCALES.
THE DRAGON WOULD KILL THE TIGER EASILY WITH HIS FLAME BREATH OR CLAWS OR TEETH LIKE I SAID. DRAGON WINS. I WANT THAT PICTURE ABOVE ON A SHIRT PREFERABLY ONE THAT BUTTONS ALL THE WAY UP AND HAS THE SAME PICTURE ON THE FRONT AND BACK FOR SOME REASON.*

*Less rambly version originally in a message with Chonch.

"Alopecia" by WHY?: Experimental, awesome, and perpetually sold-out

So I'm back from the crypt, and just in time to review WHY?'s new album, Alopecia (Anticon Records). Forget everything you thought you knew about experimental, and shove your Moog up your ass, because this album is what new wave is all about. Granted, it's been out since mid-March, but it still has that new-disc smell, from when the glue on that pesky tape closed the cover...anyways.

Genre-wise, Alopecia can be murky. There are profound alternative and folk aspects, of course, but loose downbeats and hiphop elements pop up here and there. Don't think of another Kanye/Estelle collaboration, no, said hip hop brings lyrics like

Sucking dick for drink tickets,
At the free bar at my cousin's bat mitzvah.
Cutting the punch line and it ain't no joke,
Devoid of all hope circus mirrors and pot smoke.
Picking fights on dyke night,
With shirlies and lokes and snatching purses.
Doing out on karaoke and forgetting all the verses,
Blowing kisses to disinterested bitches
to the table. Hands down, these boys define a genre whose name being dropped is inevitable, but the way it was before all the corruption and non-mainstream mainstreaming, I'm talking good ol' fashioned indie, the way it should be. Don't worry, there's no Juno soundtrack application, no sub-par Kimya Dawsom spinoff, just the ballsy experimentation with noises and words to birth a sound that's never been heard. They're doing something right.

Up front, this is one of, if not the best album of the year (Rise or Die Trying and Tha Carter III didn't exactly disappoint). From the very first track, you're bombarded with layered recordings, the most deliciously apathetic jazz you've ever heard, and what sounds like a chain hitting cardboard. Yoni Wolf's vocals are saintlike, they contrast between soaring octaves and monotone, half four track half god knows what.

A few of the tracks have cleverly repetitive imagery, blunt force through chronically quotable lyrics, and all the metaphorical fuck you's you could dream of. Occasional free verse and haphazard instrumentals show up, but the best part is the expectant synthesizing swell leading up to the twice already repeated choral lull that would in any other band be a letdown. All in all, the album is flawlessly composed, and sets the bar high.

Best tracks: Simeon's Dilemma, These Few Presidents, Good Friday, Speech Bubbles, and the most legit Cure cover EVER, of Close to Me.

Overall rating: 10.0/10.0, no questions asked.
Oh, and while you're on their Myspace like I knew you would be, cringing at all the "SOLD OUT"'s on the limited edition EP's, be sure to watch the video series. It's painfully funny with a few psuedo-exclusive beats (really just Yoni fucking around), but I will leave that analysis for Nello ;)

And you may want to pull that Moog out of your ass now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Slacker.

Released in 1991, produced with minimal budget, Slacker is often credited as being an early catalyst for the independent film movement of the nineties. Now considered a cult film by many, it was released as the 247th addition to the Criterion Collection in 2003.

Now… my purpose for mentioning the film is far from actually related to the film itself. I first caught the flick on IFC a couple of years ago, and knew nothing about it. It was a rainy Sunday morning, I had nothing to do, and watching this seemingly plot-less movie was nothing more than something to do.

Since that first viewing, I came across a song by I Would Set Myself on Fire For You called “Seven.” The mostly instrumental song is punctuated with a short series of rhythmically spoken lines.
“Throw the tent into the river, and the typewriter too. The water is high, the time is nigh, text will tell the truth. Four nine five three one, five eight three, six seven one three.”
I have been analyzing and reanalyzing these lines since I first heard the song. I’ve tried our hardest to find patterns in the series of numbers or correlations back to the lines… I’ve tried decoding the numbers by assigning each a letter of the alphabet, I’ve tried dialing these numbers, texting these numbers, texting the last seven digits to the first five, texting the first five to the last seven… All to no avail. I've been looking for clues online, in rearranging these numbers, in the lines that precede the numbers… and with that, I am proud to say, I’ve finally found a clue.

About a third of the way into Slacker, three twenty-something men are standing on a bridge, one is visibly depressed, the other two trying to console him. One is carrying a book, another a typewriter, and the last, a tent (I’m assuming you can see where I’m going with this by now). One of the two consoling friends begins ranting to the depressed, demanding that he throw the tent, in which the depressed man and his now ex-girlfriend recently made love, and the typewriter, which somehow symbolizes “the bitch that just fucked him over,” into the river. The consoling friend then hands the depressed a book, saying “it’ll all make sense if you just read this passage.” The text will tell the truth.

A clue. Sweet. Two years… and fuck… I’m still no closer to knowing what those dammed numbers actually mean.

49531 583 6713.

Denny's "Rock Star Menu"

In an attempt to cater to the dying-out "rockin' young people" demographic, the popular late-night diner chain Denny's has started offering what they call a "Rock Star Menu" that contains four food and drink items designed by four awesome and terrible bands. Served from 10 PM to 5 AM, this menu contains items designed by All-American Rejects, Plain White T's, Taking Back Sunday, and Eagles of Death Metal.
I have decided to review all four items without even tasting them. Don't ask me how I did it, because I'll have to go into a long, winding rant about how I have magical tastebuds or something.

All-American S.O.S. (All-American Rejects) Sausage gravy, Texas toast, made into what looks like a burger.
Okay, so the first one looks...gross. Disgusting, even. It's like a southern homemade meal, with hashbrowns, Texas toast, gravy, and a sausage patty. It's basically an entire Grand Slam thrown on top of each other (minus the eggs). Meh, I'd probably try it and think it was alright. Hashbrowns aren't really my thing. I view them just like I do AAR: I know a lot of people like them, but I think they are pretty gross, and try experience them only once in a great while.

Plain White Shake (Plain White T's) Vanilla ice cream, cheesecake, white chocolate; topped with graham cracker shavings.
This looks like a plain shake, but it turns out that it is cheesecake/white chocolate flavored. I've experimented with oddly-flavored shakes before, and I'm not convinced they are a wise choice. I'm skeptical on this one. Sounds like it would be too much to handle. Just like "Hey There Delilah."

Taking Back Bacon Burger Fries (Taking Back Sunday) The inside of a bacon cheeseburger spilled all over French fries.
For some reason, I'm kinda shocked that TBS would have the least healthy item on the menu (though nothing at Denny's constitutes "healthy, even by the biggest strech of the imagination). I can imagine that everything that is located within your ribcage would ache after eating a plate full of these.

Heart On A Plate Pancakes (Eagles of Death Metal)Heart-shaped pancakes on top of chocolate sauce, covered in raspberry sauce and white chocolate chips.
This seems like it would be delicious, yet ridiculously filling. White chocolate isn't really my thing, but I'd probably make an exception for this. Out of all four things, this is the one that I'd try first, hands down. It figures that the best band on the menu would have the best item on the menu. Though, I'd be pissed if I ordered this and they weren't in heart shapes.
Apparently, they shortened Eagles of Death Metal to "EoDM" on the menu. Pussies at Denny's are too afraid of Jesse Hughes' creation, I understand. It's like calling "God" the "lord;" it's just a bitch way of saying what you really mean. Man up, Denny's. Use the Death Metal name in vain.

All-in-all, I think this idea is interesting, yet really tacky. Couldn't they have signed some better bands onto this idea? I think so. Oh well.
The menus will start appearing at Denny's nationwide within the week.

Found on Idolator and Metromix.

Monday, August 25, 2008

State of the blog: August 25, 2008

I wrote a post on IndieKit. Some of you may know of this blog as the one I write for in my spare time, when I want to. I've written two posts so far, and here is the second one. It's short, I promise. Go read it and make a difference.

My online college courses started today. I hesitate to say that this won't effect my writing on here at all, because it probably will. I'll probably start updating only once a day. We'll see.

As you all can see, Danny writes more frequently now. Nello is possibly going to a pre-screening of a certain movie, and is likely going to write a review for it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Wake Up Exhausted" by Alkaline Trio (featuring Tegan from Tegan and Sara)


I'm not really a huge fan of either band (though Crimson by AT is one of my favorite albums ever), but I think this is an absolutely awesome team-up. It's cool to see bands going outside of their comfort zone like this.
On a side note, Tegan makes me wish I was a hot girl, so she'd be interested in me.

Redefine, part 2: Time.

Chronology is interesting. Time passes infinitely, like clockwork.

Wait… Clockwork? How does a clock work, exactly? And why do we accept it so blindly? The clock on my wall reads 1:47, while my wristwatch argues, pushing me forward two minutes. The computer, however, has me lagging, calling it 1:40. Which do I choose to accept?
Why does society see no flaw in our system of chronology? Why do we choose to call this moment 1:50 in the morning? I haven’t slept yet, and this is not ‘morning.’ Who’s to say that today and tomorrow (and yesterday, for that matter) aren’t just extensions of one another?

What determines, chronologically, the end of yesterday and the beginning of today? (Midnight, I know, but what is midnight? We, as a population, arbitrarily decide that a ‘day’ will be 24 hours long (plus change), and if we happen to be awake when one day becomes another, we’re expected to simply accept it?) And considering the current time (1:53), where does ‘right now’ fall on that chronology? Is it Monday or Tuesday? I haven’t slept yet… It was Monday two hours ago… what makes it Tuesday all of the sudden? I hate societal definitions. Today is nothing more than yesterday’s tomorrow- tomorrow’s yesterday. One becomes the other. Endlessly. Yesterday will never happen ever again. But who determines its end in the first place? The beat goes on.

Time itself is compressed to fit our standards. We think of everything in terms of relativity.
Occurrences that have yet to occur are in our future, while occurrences that have already occurred are in our past. The last element of our over-simplified definition of time is a tricky one to pin down: the present.

An idea becomes an action, and as soon as that action is preformed, it moves from the future (precognition, premeditation, forethought) to the past (recollection, reminiscence). The transition between the two is instant. The two periods of time (everything to come and everything past) grow infinitely close to one another, never meeting. As soon as an occurrence slips out of the future, it slips into the past. Not once does it stop in the “present.”

The present is a mere euphemism for that transition between tomorrow and yesterday. We think of “Right Now” not as a point, but a segment on the cosmic timeline. Realistically, there are no points on this line. The instant we stop and define a moment as “Right Now,” it’s no longer right then.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Weekly Shuffle: Week 3

I've decided to skip the "update" on the content of my iTunes. It's boring.
Anyways, here are the last two weeks' shuffles:
Week 1
Week 2
And here is this week:

Song #11: "Christie Lee" by Billy Joel, off of his album An Innocent Man

Old Billy Joel. Wow. This music reminds me of my dad. He likes Billy Joel, I think.
This sort of music is definitely not my style, at all. I do like the piano, however. He sounds like he is ripping off Jerry Lee Lewis though. Especially with the "WOOO"-ing he does throughout the song. He just said something about a wino. Oh, Billy.
Rating: 4/10

Song #12: "My Sacrifice" by Creed, off of their album Weathered

Yet another band I despise. I've disliked them for a long time, though. Scott Stapp's voice makes me want to punt a newborn. This is the sort of music that I despise: "alternative" hard rock.
I heard a few months (years?) ago that Scott Stapp had a sex tape with two hookers and Kid Rock. Eeeeeeeeeeew.
Rating: 1/10

Song #13: "Bossman" by Beenie Man featuring Lady Saw and Sean Paul, off of his album Tropical Storm

I'm not really one for modern reggae. This guy sounds pretty cool, though. I just hate how you can never, ever understand what they are saying. It's dumb. It's the same thing with metal. If music has lyrics, I'd like to hear them, thanks. I don't like Sean Paul. He sounds like he's trying too hard to do what he does. This song goes on for about 40 seconds longer than it should.
Rating: 3/10

Song #14: "Only Want to be With You" by Hootie and the Blowfish, off of their album Cracked Rear View

I remember loving this band when I was 12. I think my mom still listens to them. They actually aren't all that great, once you listen to them. I love how the chorus to this song goes "Ionlywannabewityouuuuuu-hoooooo." It makes me think he's talking about Yoo-Hoo.

Imaginary tagline: "Hootie and the Blowfish drink Yoo-Hoo, so should You-Hooooooo!" I should be in advertising.
Rating: 3/10

Song #15: "You Remind Me" by Nickelback, off of their album Silver Side Up

Wait, are you fucking kidding me? This is my absolute least favorite song of all time. Let me put it this way: for the first time in the three-week history of The Weekly Shuffle, I've turned the music down to barely audible levels. This band sucks so fucking bad. Why does anyone listen to them? Motherfucking Chad Kroeger has the worst voice I've ever heard.
I do remember seeing the video 3 years ago, and thinking the girl in it was hot. This warrants further research...


Yep, she's definitely foxy. She would totally not date him, much less have sex with him.
Note to whomever edited the Wikipedia page about Chad Kroeger:
I love you. So much.
Rating: 1/10

This week's rating: 2.4/10

Redefine, part 1: Space.

Earth, at the equator, has a circumference of roughly 24,900 miles. Given that the earth completes one full rotation daily, one point on earth travels the same 24,900 miles in roughly twenty-four hours. This converts to one thousand, five hundred, twenty-one feet per second.

Additionally, the Earth (which is constantly rotating) is revolving around the sun at a rate of approximately eighteen and a half miles per second (thanks to Wikipedia and Google for doing the math). It completes this revolution once every 365 days.

Now realize that the earth revolves and rotates simultaneously. Which means that the first paragraph is happening as part of a bigger picture: the second paragraph. These two concepts put together account for quite a bit of movement. Realize that this system of movements is relatively insignificant compared to the perpetually spinning Milky Way, which is, in and of itself, a relatively miniscule part of the infinitely expanding universe. One static point on earth is far from static on a cosmic level. That point is, in fact, moving extremely fast in several directions, each at varying speeds.

Step back far enough, however, and it appears as though we’re not moving at all. Movement is relative. Looking at the universe as a whole, the Earth would appear to be static. It’d take millions of years to see any movement whatsoever. Likewise, from our perspective here on earth, any point not obviously moving is said to be static. In actuality, however, said point is hurdling through space at many miles per second.

Zoom in far enough, however, and it’s plain to see that everything is moving exponentially faster than we’re capable of comprehending. We’re made of molecules, which are made of atoms, which are, in turn, made of protons, electrons, and neutrons, all of which is made of unfathomably small particles called quarks. From the perspective of a single quark, electrons are whizzing by like bullets, soaring through empty space. This empty space is so miniscule, however, that a collection of atoms (lets say copper or iron, something tangable), bonded together, appears to be solid. The volume of each individual atom greatly outweighs its mass, due entirely to the void between the nucleus of each and their respective electron orbits. The chaotic movement of the electrons is invisible to the naked eye, which sees nothing more than a large collection of atoms, represented by either a solid, liquid, or gas. We’re incapable of imagining the constant movement, both sub-atomically and cosmically, that occurs around us.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Music you MUST listen to: Menomena

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you probably know of my passion for music. I have a list of about 5 bands that I follow adamantly on message boards around the internet, and Menomena is one of them. Formed in Portland, Oregon in 2000 by Brent Knopf, Justin Harris, and Danny Seim, Menomena has released two full-length albums, one instrumental-only album, and four EPs (two of them splits). All three members of the band sing on different tracks, and every member plays at least two instruments (sometimes at once). Their last album, Friend and Foe, was released in 2006, and received strongly positive reviews. The popular music blog Pitchfork had this to say about it:

Once you've listened through a couple of times, it's stunning how many clever and exciting moments stick with you-- music this full of ideas, sections and material can come across as overstuffed, but this feels just right almost everywhere.

It has quickly become one of my favorite albums of all time, solidifying Menomena as one of my absolute favorite bands.
After shitting my pants with fanboy glee, I interviewed drummer and percussionist Danny Seim about the band, touring, and their friend Craig Thompson.

Explain Menomena’s sound in ten words or less.
Three grown men arguing, fighting, disagreeing, and occasionally writing music.

What exactly does the band name Menomena mean?
Everything to everyone.

What are your biggest musical influences?
Talking Heads, Sly and the Family Stone, Roxy Music, Led Zeppelin, Weird Al.

What are your biggest non-musical influences?
June Jordan, Kurt Vonnegut.

Veteran graphic novel artist Craig Thompson did the Grammy nominated album artwork for "Friend and Foe" and the "Wet and Rusting EP." He also drew murals in the background of your live shows. Will he be coming back for the next album and/or tour?
Craig took a lot of time off from working on his new book in order to do those projects for us. His legions of much-deserved groupies would hunt us down and kill us in our sleep if we asked him to dedicate more of his time to our future projects. Art world, you can have your Mr. Thompson back.

What are your top three favorite Menomena songs to perform live, new or old?
I like to play any song where I'm not singing. I stress out too much.

What is the most dedicated thing you’ve ever seen a fan do for your band?
Justin's mom not only went through the excruciating pains of labor to give us our saxophonist/bassist, she also comes to every concert we play in Portland and Seattle.

Despite being American, you guys seem to tour Europe quite a bit. Are Europeans big fans?
They're not yet as big as Americans, but they're getting bigger with every new McDonald's we open up over there.

Will you be touring the U.S. anytime soon?
As soon as we finish this new record.

When can we expect your next full-length record?
Right before our next U.S. tour!

Menomena's Myspace is located here, and their website is here.
Formerly on en-tur-tain-munt:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Repost this!

This is what happens when I get my hands on one of those "REPOST THIS - OR ELSE!" bulletins over Myspace (the bolded portions are what I added):

ONCE YOU START YOU MUST FINISH.
If this doesn't touch you... you're heartless.
One night a guy & a girl were driving home from the movies.
The boy sensed there was something wrong because of the painful silence they shared between them that night.
The girl then asked the boy to pull over because she wanted to talk.
She told him that her feelings had changed & that it was time to move on.
A silent tear slid down his cheek as heslowly reached into his pocket & passed her a folded note.
At that moment, a drunk driver was speeding down that very same street.
He swerved right into the drivers seat, killing the boy.
Miraculously, the girl survived.
Remembering the note, she pulled it out & read it , it said "Without your love, I would die."
She sat there, crying silently as glass from the wreckage tinkled on the ground.
A body rose from the flaming heap in front of her.
It started limping over to her, dragging its left leg, moaning slightly.
She stared at this person, unable to move.
The now-zombified remains of her now-ex-boyfriend then proceeded to tear her flesh off and eat her brains.
The zombie and the girl took a quick break from their respective eating and screaming to look at the three F-14 fighter jets streaking overhead.
As they passed over, they dropped several small nukes over the neighborhood and surrounding area.
The outbreak had been contained.

If you don't repost this, a zombie version of your boyfriend or girlfriend will eat your face off. Seriously. I'm not joking.



Fine, your loss. Have fun getting your face eaten off. Idiot.

Seinfeld/It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia Campus Tours

Do I have any readers that are fans of Seinfeld? You know, the show about nothing?
Well, there is a giant Seinfeld-mobile touring colleges around the nation, and I want to go. The website is located here. They stop in Phoenix on September 26 and 27. The interior of the bus has TVs playing Seinfeld, props and costumes from the show, one of the Emmys the show won, a chance to play the Scene It? version of the game, and giant bins containing Seinfeldian food (including Kramer's nonfat frozen yogurt bars, Snapple, Twix, Snickers, and black and white cookies).

Would anyone be up for going? The only reason I ask over my blog is because I want to write about it after I go.

UPDATE: I'd also like to go to the campus tour for It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. The site is here. They'll be here on September 2nd. I'd rather go to this one than the other.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The best of en-tur-tain-munt (part 2)

I'm a very sentimental person, especially in this case. It's been less than two months since I started this blog (on June 30, 2008), yet it feels like I've had it forever. In that amount of time, I've "hired" three writers, written 100 posts alongside them, and had close to 5,000 legit pageviews. Looking back, I realized how much my writing has changed. I dislike what I've been writing about lately, and promise it'll be more like old times soon. You'll have more posts like the ever-popular Flintstones vitamins one. Thanks for reading, everyone.
Click here for part one.

Combined efforts:
Tropic Thunder: Nello and Ty's thoughts (by Nello and Ty)

The best of Ty Walters:
The saddest Pokemon card in existence
I don't understand this terminology
My problem
Monster found in Montauk (part 1) (part 2)
Superjail!
Interview with Paul Budnitz, president of Kidrobot
Wet and Rusting by Menomena
Chicken Little DVD cover conspiracy
The Weekly Shuffle (Week 1) (Week 2)
Soul Men: Cursed?
Crank: The best action movie of all time
Why I love Ben Folds
The Flat Earth Society: WTF?!
Stuff I found in my room: Team America caution tape
The Mallo Cup money controversy

The best of Anna Atanassova:
Music you MUST listen to (Lirix) (The Motel Life)
Cover song of the week: "Would You Eat It?" by Anthony Green and Craig Owens

The best of Nello De Angelis:
Pineapple Express: The Citizen Kane of stoner comedies?
Condemned Cinema (Introduction) (Pt. 1: The Boondock Saints)

The best of Danny Ford:
Pessimism
Letter to a teacher
Jesse Hughes, Hard-ass

Urinals and why I hate them

Warning: there is a substantial amount of toilet talk in the below paragraphs.
As a human male, I am presented with two choices when I walk into a public restroom (unless you want to get creative with the sink): the toilet and urinal. When faced with this wretched choice, I freely admit that I am strictly a toilet-user. I despise urinals. I don't think I've used a urinal in two years, since I happened to get pee spray all over myself after my stream ricocheted off of the porcelain you are forced to aim at, making me smell like urine all day (at least in my mind). I don't even pee standing up at the toilet either. I don't really want to aim when I pee. Sure, it can be fun every once in a while, but it just seems like I have to work to not get piss all over myself or the seat. And no one wants to do work while they are urinating.
And as a plus, sitting down when you pee gets rid of all of those nasty urine drops that are stuck in your shaft and find a way to drip down your pant leg at the most inconvenient of times. I can't really explain why, but it's true.
So yes, world. I am PROUDLY a "sittin' down pee-er." I don't care what anyone thinks.

Here are Tim and Eric (from Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job!) rapping about peeing and sitting down. It makes me feel less alone in this world.


As a side note, I love how this post turned into a sort of endorsement for sitting down when you pee, rather than a rant about how stupid urinals are. Oh well.

Condemned Cinema, Pt. I - The Boondock Saints

Troy Duffy's The Boondock Saints, a superb action film which challenges the justifications man can make about God. The film follows two-religiously-devoted-brothers whom after a deadly mishap become two-religiously-devoted-baddie-serial-killing-brothers. As their spree of killing continues, they gain a following of people calling them the 'saints' of Boston mainly because they are getting rid of the men in the large crime syndicates. If the two brothers were killing drug dealers, I don't think the people would be too happy considering everyone in Boston deals fucking drugs. Anyway, throughout the film the morality of the men is questioned many, many, many times. Are they good? Are they evil? Are they doing 'God's work'? Director Troy Duffy never gives us a straight answer except for the Saint's own. What they're doing was told to them by God, therefore justifying their murders of the mad men. Now with that said, many readers are probably thinking that the religious wall they hind behind that defends their so called 'divine interventions' with a glock is the major controversy of the film. My answer to that is NO. NO the religious themes are not the controversy. NO the controversy has absolutely nothing to do with any of the dark criminal undertones and homosexual subplots in the film, but about the violence. The violence? What? Since when is violence in America deemed inappropriate?! Since when have perversely violent films been considered 'controversial'? I have a simple answer for that, it lies on a certain date.

April 20th, 1999. Many of you know April 20th as 4/20, but what was the significance of it in 1999? The Columbine High School shooting started at 11:19 a.m. and ended at 12:08 p.m. An episode in American history that shook the very core of every citizen. Two teenage kids, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into their high school with the following weapons: Intratec TEC-DC9, Hi-Point 995 Carbine, Savage 67H pump-action shotgun and a Stevens 311D double barrelled sawed-off shotgun. The two teenagers led a violent rampage which resulted in 15 deaths (including their own suicides) and 24 others injured. What could be considered one of largest the turning points in how America runs their school systems FUCKED The Boondock Saints right in its holy ass. Columbine was a tragedy, that's not what we're discussing here though, what we are discussing is how the American public uses their censorship puppies (MPAA, ESRB, etc.) to slap an NC-17 or an M on anything they don't want widely watched or played. The Boondock Saints received the very worst of it.

After the Columbine massacre the MPAA became very hard pressed against over the top violent films. More films we're being rated R for less amounts of violence then the regular violent R-rated flick. However, none received the frightening NC-17 marker which basically takes a gun and shoots your film in the fucking face. It kills all chances of making a decent box office buck or even a widespread audience. Your only bet is that it plays at the small art house films that aren't prude to the well known extreme amounts of sex Hollywood parades under its belt. The main problem with a film like The Boondock Saints playing at one of those theatres is that mostly old people are the heaviest film goers at the art house cinemas. They like the artsy fartsy shit that I also fancy. With old people though, a film like The Boondock Saints probably wouldn't run over so well. It's extremely violent and perverse. From it's aforementioned homosexual subplots to it's overusage of the word FUCK Saints carries a "DO-NOT-TOUCH-ME" banner on it like a fucking leper.

Once it screened for the MPAA it was automatically slapped with the dreaded NC-17 because the violence was so extreme that the MPAA felt America couldn't handle something like that right after Columbine. It was later edited and re-rated to garner an R-rating and a January of 2000 release. One very faulty fuck up lies in the MPAA's decision though. Columbine occurred in 1999, and 1999 just happens to be my favorite year of film, so I know it pretty well; and if the MPAA didn't feel that the American public was ready for the The Boondock Saints then why the fuck would we be ready for Fight Club (10/19/1999) which centers around an underground terrorist society that eventually starts blowing up buildings and has an ending surrounding extreme amounts of unstable psychological characters. Why would we be ready for Magnolia (12/17/1999) which has large amounts of attempted and successful suicide and a large amount of dark undertones involving but not limited to, murder, deceit, adultery. How the fuck could we be ready for that?! How could we be ready for The Green Mile (12/10/1999) which centers around an enormous African-American man charged with the rape and murder of two little girls and spends the rest of the film on DEATH ROW. The film features scenes of execution and murder. How could we not be shaking in our boots for Girl, Interrupted (12/21/1999) which takes place at a mental institution for other fucked up teenagers who come off suicide and drug binges.

So it's you, MPAA! That I call out against for making the controversy of The Boondock Saints complete fucking bullshit. It's you that keeps the small film down, and the box office bash striving! It's you the kicks the dreams of filmmakers to the curb because their film is too 'edgy' when a month later you approve a more upscale version of it a-okay. So MPAA, fuck you. Instead of writing about The Boondock Saints I could've written about the next film in this series, Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, but you had to go out and create your own controversy for a film you re-rated R for "strong violence, language and sexual content" which is more tame than the film you fucks put out in October under the name of Boys Don't Cry which you stated was R for "violence including an intense brutal rape scene, sexuality, language and drug use." So the new controversy is, was The Boondock Saints as shocking as the MPAA said? Or was it just the fall guy for a slew of box office gold to get theirs?

This has been part one of ten.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

State of the blog: August 19, 2008

Hey everyone. Sorry for the lack of updates today. I was going to write a long bit earlier, but I just didn't feel up to it.

Nello's "Condemned Cinema" posts will start tomorrow. The first film he'll be writing about is The Boondock Saints, a 1999 film about two Bostonian brothers that "righteously" kill people. Great movie, and his analysis is amazing.

I'm not entirely sure why, but we've gotten somewhere around 15,000 pageviews in the last two days. Yesterday, I checked it to see that I had 6,000-something, and still climbing. It stopped at 9,055. Today I've had 6,200 so far. I definitely don't think these are real, seeing as 95% of the readers came from Google. I'm convinced I'm being Google bombed. I just wish whomever is doing it would have told me first.

Danny is going to start writing a lot more often. He has two things coming in the next week, so keep your eyes peeled for those. He mostly writes about theories, much like I did a few months ago.

I have a few more of those "Stuff I found in my room" posts lined up, too. These items are a tad more interesting, I promise.

Post 100 will be tomorrow, too. I'm excited. I am, of course, doing another "best of" segment.

As always, thanks for reading.

Bigfoot was a hoax!

Yep, the bigfoot "body" found last week was just a really elaborate costume (it was empty and frozen). I didn't really want to waste another post on this stupid story, but I promised I would keep you all updated.
Since I honestly don't feel like writing about it, read this article if you are interested.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Condemned Cinema, Introduction.

Condemned Cinema is a series of reviews I'll be posting about films that have stirred controversey, sickened viewers and shocked the public by their content. Ranging from Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs and Jean-Claude Brisseau's Les Anges Exterminateurs (The Exterminating Angels). Whether the film is rife with explicit sexual content or filled with gruesome and perverse violence, I'll discuss the pros and cons of the controversey, discuss how the controversey helped promote the film, or helped condemn it. I'll post the first review tomorrow and it'll be Troy Duffy's The Boondock Saints and how it was 'condemned' for sparking the Columbine High School shooting. I hope you'll all enjoy these sick and twisted films and hopefully you may even watch a couple of them if they interest you enough!

The Mallo Cup money controversy

I was at Cracker Barrel today, browsing through the candy section after eating a hearty French toast breakfast, when I came across a delicious "indie candy" called Mallo Cups.
Made by Boyer candy, these Reese's-looking chocolate cups are pretty great, and were introduced to me by an ex-friend not too long ago. They consist of coconut chocolate with a "whipped, creamy center." The center is basically what the middle of a marshmallow feels like. So I bought one, then ate it when I got home.
That's when I was reminded of the national travesty that is Mallo Cup money. The cardboard that these candies sit on look something like this:
The "money" comes in denominations of 5, 10, and 25 points. I was lucky enough to get a 25 point card. Seems like a lot, right? Wrong. Take a closer look at the fine print:
Yes, that's right. In order to get a $1.00 rebate, you have to have 500 Mallo points. This candy costs $1.19. Even if you lucked the fuck out and happened to get all 25 point cards in your quest for 500 point rebate supremacy, you'd still have to spend $23.80, and eat 40 (two in each package) Mallo Cups. Not to mention the .32 you'd lose on a stamp (or more, since 2o+ pieces of thin cardboard probably weigh a lot). Sure, you could always trade in your points for stuff in their catalogue, but no one wants to go through the hassle of ordering one, and their site is never updated. It breaks my heart.
A tiny, tiny part of me wants to save up 500 Mallo points, just so I can send them in and receive an official Boyer candies check. I'd probably frame it.

Stuff I found in my room - Team America caution tape

I am a pack rat, in every sense of the word. I have several drawers in my room devoted to storing random junk that I know I'll never use, but still feel obligated to keep around. I started doing a deep cleansing of my room last week, and found a bunch of crap that the rest of the world may find interesting. I give you part one of: Flash back to November of 2004. I was at a comic-con in Dallas, Texas (around where I used to live), with a few of my friends. Among these friends was a dude named Cody. I, being a freshman in high school at this time, looked up to Cody, a junior, quite a bit. He was my best friend throughout this entire school year.
Anyways, Cody and I were with two or three other friends at this comic-con. If you've never been to one, this is a place where companies promote movies, comics, TV shows, and anything else they think is worth promoting. Amongst the movies being promoted at this con was Team America: World Police. This movie is remembered as the puppet-centered comedy film from the creators of South Park. It wasn't exactly the best movie ever, but it had some laughs.
Anyways, like I was saying, this movie was being promoted at the con. It had been in theaters for about two weeks by this time, and it wasn't really doing as well as they had hoped it would at the box office. Cody and I visited the booth, took a few knicknacks they had sitting around, and con-ned on.
When we were about to leave, the con was closing. We had our backpacks filled with useless crap from our day's adventure, and were looking to eat somewhere afterwards. When we walked by the now taken-apart Team America booth, we saw two rolls of what looked like police-issue CAUTION tape on the table. These rolls were branded with the Team America logo, and the date that the movie came out (October 2004). We grabbed these rolls, mine being much larger than his, and probably completely unused.
Well, I still have my roll of Team America tape. I'm pretty sure Cody used up all of his shortly after we got them, but I kept mine exactly how I found it, never once unrolling it.
And here it is:
And if you want to know how much I have, here:

The diameter of this roll is about 7 inches. The plastic is super-thin. I'm thinking I have a few hundred feet of this stuff, maybe more. It has just been sitting in my closet, gathering dust, and I have no idea what to do with it. So, readers, I give you a task: think of something interesting for me to do with my Team America: World Police caution tape. I'll do anything, as long as it isn't completely illegal. I'll write about what I do with it here on the blog. Post what you want me to do in the comments below, or send me a message on Myspace.

Jesse Hughes, Hard-ass.

Half-full packs of cigarettes and bottles of water lay scattered before us. The moon hides behind clouds made wispy by a gentle breeze, while tiny raindrops fall on and around us. Josh stands and lights a cigarette, crosses his arms, and states plainly, “Jesse Hughes. Hard-ass.”

The night’s conversations up to that point had bounced from Star Wars to egg sandwiches to the musical genius of Beck, so irrelevance was already a well-established theme, but the nonchalance with which he said it caught us all a bit off guard.

The fact is… none of us disagreed with him. Jesse Hughes is, in fact, a hard-ass.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Letter to a teacher:

This is a letter written by Danny to his teacher. Be sure to read the footnotes. -T.W.

It's Danny Ford! I should be in your class right now, but instead, I'm in sweep*! My ride decided he wanted coffee, so we were a bit late. Sorry about that. I'll definitely be there tomorrow, I promise.

The funny part of all of this: the bureaucracy. The school district claims that its mission is to provide an environment in which students feel safe and academically stimulated. Its number one goal should be to educate young adults, providing them with the necessary tools for future success. Why, then, are these students punished for being late to class?

Disruption my ass. This place is a prison. The objective isn't to educate these students, its to control them. If this school was trying to educate, it would take note of these tardies, and then send them off to class. Instead, it chooses to 'punish' these students by detaining them and robbing them of the day's teachings, which, in turn, sets them further behind than they would be otherwise, adding unnecessary difficulty to an already sketchy system of gleaning information from underpaid, often unqualified teachers.

I'm sitting in a room occupied by roughly thirty kids who couldn't care less. They're trapped in a school system that hates them, trying not to succeed, but to merely get by. The collective goal of 95% of this student population isn't to learn, as it should be, but rather to fly just under the radar: unseen, unnoticed, untaught, undisturbed.

Why does the school we inhabit choose to treat us so inhumanely? Students are seen as products rather than living, breathing entities. We are merely the means to an end. The end being what? A pay check? We are this nations future , and we're being treated by the school administration as a hindrance to society, rather than the future of society.

Is my logic flawed? Am I blind to an underlying purpose? Is there a method to this madness? Society will always neglect its inhabitants, I understand that, but this is a lesson we learn on a daily basis. I'm a respectful, obedient, cheerful Eagle Scout, and I'm treated like a hooligan at most gas stations, restaraunts, groecery stores, street corners, and civic buildings. Must I be treated unjustly and unfairly at school as well? Shouldn't this be a safe haven from the society that surrounds it? Instead, it harbors the hatred, it unwittingly encourages the disobedience, disrespect, and distrust that that it blindly fears.

Bell rang.
Danny Ford.**

*It occurs to me that "sweep" may be an exclusively DVUSD policy. Students not in their respective classrooms by the last chime of the bell are sent to detention for the hour. If this letter didn't make sense to you, the reader, while reading it the first time around... hopefully it does now.

**This letter was sent to my first hour teacher, roughly two weeks into the second semester of my senior year. Additionally, carbon copies were sent to the school principal, the superintendent, every member of the DVUSD Governing Board, and my parents (for funsies). I received no replies.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Flat Earth Society: WTF?!

Around the world (HA!), thousands of people are members of a society that believes the world is flat. They think the world looks something like this:
That white border is Antarctica. Yes, people seriously believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the world is flat. From Fox News:

"The Earth is, more or less, a disc," states James McIntyre, a Briton who helps run the Flat Earth Society's Web site. "Obviously it isn't perfectly flat, thanks to geological phenomena like hills and valleys. It is around 24,900 miles in diameter."
The moon landings? Faked, say the flat-Earthers. Satellite images of the Earth? Fake, fake, fake.
So what does the flat Earth look like?
"The North Pole is central, and Antarctica comprises the entire circumference of the Earth," explains McIntyre. "Circumnavigation is a case of traveling in a very broad circle across the surface of the Earth."
McIntyre hopes the Flat Earth Society Web site's discussion forums will unite all discarians into a "global community."
They even have their own term, apparently. "Discarians" is the word used to describe them. These people are bigger nutjobs than Scientologists. At least we've proven these people wrong, thousands of times. Even better, they complain when people look down on them. I can imagine that happens often.

Here is there official forum. Read a few of the posts for laughs.
Via Geekologie and Fox News (ew).

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Weekly Shuffle: Week 2

Click here for week one of this epic undertaking. Here is an updated list of everything on my iTunes:
Songs: 13,026
Days: 35.8
Size: 59.98 GB

I was able to figure out how to embed songs, so you can all sit through the torture just like me! Now let's get started.

Song #6: "Welcome 2 the Party (Ode 2 the Old School)" by Kid Rock, off of his album Devil Without a Cause

Oh fuck. Why do I keep having rotten luck with this project? Sure, Kid has maybe three songs that are listenable, and unfortunately, this isn't one of them. He raps about bullshit throughout the entire song. Ugh.
I used to like Kid Rock. I thought I was edgy for listening to him when I was in middle school. Turns out I was dead wrong.
As a person, he's pretty funny though. I've seen a few videos in which he makes fun of himself, and it's funny.
He just said "party my dick off." I want to get that tattooed on my stomach. He's now talking about licking titties and pussy. Seems to me that he can't make up his mind between the two.
Rating: 3/10

Song #7: "Creeping Death" by Metallica, off of their album Ride the Lightning

Woo, fuck yeah! Metallica kicks so much ass, I don't care what anyone has to say. This was during that (two decade) phase that they went through where James Hetfield sounds like he's about 40 feet away from the microphone. This song isn't their best, but it's still awesome. The guitar solo is rocking my fucking balls off. Now I have a partied-off dick and a rocked-off set of balls. Awesome, no?
Thanks to their far-away microphone technology, I can't understand a damn word he's saying. Still makes me want to brand a pentagram into the chest of my enemies though, so I guess it isn't a total loss.
Rating: 7/10

Song #8: "Alive With the Glory of Love" by Say Anything, off of their album ...Is a Real Boy


Right when the drums at the opening of this song start, I instantly get a smile on my face. Those of you that know me know that this band is my absolute passion, and I practically worship them. Even better, this song is one of my favorites by them. Sure, that list is about 847 songs long, but still. The content of this song is amazing. It's about a couple falling in love while being in a Nazi concentration camp, and the boy telling the girl that everything they've suffered through was worth it, because they found each other. Isn't that adorable?
Rating: 9/10

Song #9: "Mickey" by Toni Basil off of the compilation album Sounds of the 80's

My smile just disappeared. This is by far one of the worst songs in existence. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. I want to gouge my eyes out, put them out in the sun to dry out and harden, sharpen them into shivs, and stab my eardrums with them. Why this song was written, I'll never know. Three minutes of PURE HELL.
Rating: 1/10

Song #10: "You Went Away" by Tegan and Sara, off of their album If It Was You

I never really got all that into Tegan and Sara. I have a lot of friends that were into them though, which explains why I have close to 40 songs by them on my computer.
They are both ridiculously attractive though. For those of you that don't know, they are Canadian twin sisters, and they are both lesbians. Hot lesbians.
My, that song was average-sounding. And short.
Rating: 4/10

Weekly average: 4.8/10

Tropic Thunder: Nello and Ty's thoughts

Two days ago, I ended up running into Nello and a few of our mutual friends at the movie theater. I was with my friend Jarrod (from the aforementioned "Choco Taco gift" post), and we were seeing a movie that had just come out that day. Turns out Nello and company were seeing the exact same movie at the exact same time. Brushing this strange happenstance off, we sat with each other in the not-so crowded theater.
The movie we were seeing, titled Tropic Thunder, stars Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., and Jack Black. I'm sure you've seen the trailer for it, but here is the official plot synopsis:

Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.
After the movie ended, Nello and I knew we needed to write something about it on here. I set up a quick Q & A session, where we talked about what we thought of the movie (note: DO NOT READ THIS if you want small parts of the movie to be spoiled):

There are a few fake previews leading the film, starring the actors within the movie. Did you like them?
Nello De Angelis: Stiller's 'Scorcher VI' was spot on with Hollywood's action sequels nowadays, i.e. Transporter 1, 2 & 3. What his preview did was show that every action sequel is the same exact thing, in a (sometimes) new situation. Black's "The Fatties" was hysterical, I tried not laughing too hard considering the wild Snorlax behind us. It was a good poke at Eddie Murphy's prolific way of playing multi-roles in his comedic films. Downey Jr.'s was by far my favorite, it spoofed Hollywood's 'edgy' controversial dramas that seem to reel in all the Oscars nowadays. It's entitled 'Satan's Alley' and is about two gay monks (Downey Jr. and Tobey Maguire in a cameo) that become "bad boys." With that said, Alpa Chino's "Booty Sweat" ad promo had me almost in tears laughing, the perfect way to start the film.
Ty Walters: Alpa Chino’s commercial had me saying “What the fuck?” out loud a few times, but only through controlled bursts of laughter. Stiller’s was spot-on. Downey Jr.’s had what was easily the best cameo in the movie (Maguire, like Nello said). Black’s was a bit iffy in my book, but it was still funny.

Which out of the three stars (Stiller, Downey Jr., and Black) did you like the most?
ND: It goes to Downey Jr. no contest. The three did a great job, but Downey Jr. takes every line he's given and makes it fucking hilarious. With the part he's given, whatever he says or does could be taken as something extremely racist, but he plays the gag off into a comedic role that will go down into history as one of the ballsiest and funniest roles ever.
TW: Yeah, Downey Jr. He had the most quotable lines (besides Cruise, maybe), had the most ridiculous role, and stuck with it throughout the entire film. Stiller was what I imagine Bruce Willis to be in a few years. He plays the perfect stuck-up actor. Black had a few amazing lines (my favorite of which is near the end when the gang is around a campfire), but I feel like they didn’t give him enough time to develop his character completely.

Do you think this movie saved Ben Stiller’s career?
ND: After 'The Heartbreak Kid'? Ohhhhh yeah. Stiller showed that he is still the funny man that he used to be. Especially with his Simple Jack character in the film he shows that he still has his comedic chops. In addition, his direction and script collaboration with Justin Theroux proves that he still has what's necessary not only in front of the camera, but in back as well.
TW: I agree with Nello. Stiller hasn’t had a good comedy movie in years, and this is exactly what he needed. If he directs films that he stars in from now on, he’ll be a comedic juggernaut.

What did you think of Tom Cruise's role?
ND: Fucking hilarious. He supposedly wrote most of his own lines which only adds to how much ass he kicked in this film. Every scene with him had me literally in tears laughing. The end credits with him getting down to "Get Back" is nothing short of comedic gold.
TW: I had no idea he actually wrote some of his lines. That makes his role so much funnier. He definitely stole every single scene he was in. This will get him some serious street cred. God knows he needs it.

What did you think of the movie itself?
ND: I thought it was a near perfect comedy that took a right jab in the face of Hollywood and landed the blow at full force. The script was well written, the acting was great all around (including Matthew McCoughnahey surprisingly) and it was just an all around enjoyable popcorn flick.
TW: Tropic Thunder is not your average war movie. Tropic Thunder is not your average comedy movie. Tropic Thunder is what it is, and it is one of the funniest movies of all time. I will be buying the $845, 17-disc super-duper deluxe edition with a lock of Robert Downey Jr.’s fake facial hair when it comes out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why I love Ben Folds

Ben Folds is a 42 year-old North Carolina native that has released 12 albums (3 solo), had a shitload of songs on the radio, is friends with William Shatner and "Weird Al" Yankovic, and has toured with the likes of John Mayer, Ben Kweller, and Rufus Wainwright.
But musical accomplishments aside, Ben seems like he is a legitimately cool dude. He has famously pranked his fans a few times. The most recent of these is when he "leaked" his new album, Way To Normal. The leaked version has nine songs on it, and three of them are real, going-to-be-on-the-album songs. The rest were recorded in one night in Ireland, and released by Folds masquerading as a fan. They aren't meant to be taken seriously, and to be honest, a few of them are REALLY shitty. The fans' reaction was mostly positive, surprisingly.
But besides that, Folds has done the following:

Set up a "fake Ben" prank:
He looks more like Ben Gibbard, but whatever.
If you've seen the videos of people freezing in places like Central Park and Grand Central Station, you've seen a video by the comedy troupe Improv Everywhere. Folds teamed up with them to do the following:

The plan was for the show to begin with three imposters entering the stage rather than the actual band. I would reprise my role as fake Ben Folds and Agents Barrison and King would pose as Ben’s bassist and drummer, respectively.

Since none of us could actually play our assigned instruments, the plan was to play a CD as we pretended to jam. Agent Folds had his engineer down in Nashville burn a CD with a special song just for the prank. The CD had a version of his cover of The Cure’s “In Between Days” that had some skips and restarts programmed into it. If our ruse worked, the audience would be fooled into thinking the band was lip-synching, only to discover we were imposters when the real band showed up.

After a certain amount of CD skipping, Agents Barrison and King would panic and run off stage, leaving me to be stopped by security. Once security had me, the real Ben would come out, reclaim his glasses, and punch me in the gut.
Annnnd here is the video of the event:


Pretty fucking great, isn't it? They did a great job, and apparently a lot of people were fooled.

Had "fans" shit their pants during a show:
Improv Everywhere teamed up with Folds again, the night after the above prank, and fooled audience members into thinking other audience members had crapped their pants.
I'm going to do a terrible job of explaining this one, so here is their explanation:

For the second show, we were going to try out Agent Folds’ aforementioned idea involving the 10Hz frequency, also know as the “Brown Note.” The band had been playing the frequency at every gig on the tour, informing the audience of the urban legend that it is so intense that it makes humans defecate in their pants. Someone from the band’s crew would throw diapers into the crowd as the sound played, but of course nothing ever happened. Tonight would be different.

We would scatter four agents in the audience have each of them freak out when the sound was played. Security would bring them to the stage to get medical attention, and I would arrive dressed as an EMT to clean them up with towels (pre-stained with chocolate syrup, of course.)

Here is a video of that exact thing happening. It's a bit shaky, and a bit dark, but you get the idea:


Not as great as the "fake Ben" one, I know, but funny and interesting nonetheless.

Had a fan "fall" at his live Myspace gig:
This will explain the entire situation better than I could:

Ben Folds performs 'Jesusland' as part of his myspace gig, webcast live from his studio in Nashville, Tennessee on October 24th 2006.

The drunk 'falling guy' was a dummy, and a prank played by Ben/MySpace. The audience had rehearsed 'being shocked' a few times before going on air.

Here is the video:


Go to 3:14 to see the "action." I love his expression, and how he just keeps playing.

So, as you can tell, Ben is a prankster. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us when he tours for the new album. I'll keep you all posted.
Click here to read Rolling Stones' article on Ben Folds' leaked album, including MP3s of the real and fake songs and Folds explaining them. I loved this article.

State of the blog: August 14, 2008

Hello everyone. Short update today, I promise.

Seeing as I'm approaching 100 posts pretty quickly, I've been putting together another "best of" segment. It'll essentially be the exact same thing as the last one.

Nello and I have a dual review of Tropic Thunder being posted tomorrow. It'll work like an interview, where a question about what we thought of the movie will be asked, and we'll reply. I also have a Weekly Shuffle to do tomorrow, so it's a busy day.

I have a great idea for the "cover of the week" Anna started a few days ago. The first example of my idea will probably be posted this Monday or Tuesday.

Since school started where I live, my pageviews have gone down about 40%. I am begging you all to advertise this blog as much as possible, to make up for lost readers. But interestingly, Sunday was a record-breaking day for me. Weird, I know.

Bigfoot found in Georgia?

Yes, for the third time this month, someone has found a "creature." Apparently, a bunch of Bigfoot hunters looking for the beast in Georgia stumbled across a corpse that looks like this:
I'm not really sure what to think of the above picture. I mean, you would think that if they had a legit Bigfoot, they'd at least prop it up, or get some lights shining on it or something. They had this to say about the body:

*The creature is seven feet seven inches tall.
*It weighs over five hundred pounds.
*The creature looks like it is part human and part ape-like.
*It is male.
*It has reddish hair and blackish-grey eyes.
*It has two arms
and two legs, and five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot.
*The feet are flat and similar to human feet.
*Its footprint is sixteen and three-quarters inches long and five and three-quarters inches wide at the heel.
*From the palm of the hand to the tip of the middle finger, its hands are eleven and three-quarters inches long and six and one-quarter inches wide.
*The creatures walk upright. (Several of them were sighted on the same day that the body was found.)
*The teeth are more human-like than ape-like.
*DNA tests are currently being done and the current DNA and photo evidence will be presented at the press conference on Friday, August 15th.
Yep, that's right. They have a press conference scheduled for tomorrow at a hotel in California. It won't be open to the public, but instead to "credentialed members of the press."
Here is a picture of the hunters themselves, looking shocked:
Their website is located here, and contains a BADASS FLAMING LOGO. I don't believe these dudes, not for a second. They are just hopping on that bandwagon. Montauk Monster, Chupacabra, Bigfoot. Next we'll see someone claiming to have a unicorn body, or a dragon corpse.

It just dawned on me that if someone was visiting my page for the first time, they might see me as some sort of monster hunter. Just what I need.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chupacabra found in Texas?


From Wikipedia:

Chupacabra is most commonly described as a strange breed of wild dog. This form is mostly hairless, has a pronounced spinal ridge, unusually pronounced eye sockets, fangs, and claws. It is claimed that this breed might be an example of a dog-like reptile. Unlike conventional predators, the chupacabra is said to drain all of the animal's blood (and sometimes organs) through a single hole or two holes.

Another description of Chupacabra, although just as common, is a reptile-like being, appearing to have leathery or scaly greenish-gray skin and sharp spines or quills running down its back. This form stands approximately 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.2 m) high, and stands and hops in a similar fashion to a kangaroo. In at least one sighting, the creature hopped 20 feet (6 m). This variety is said to have a dog or panther-like nose and face, a forked tongue, and large fangs. It is said to hiss and screech when alarmed, as well as leave a sulfuric stench behind. When it screeches, some reports note that the chupacabra's eyes glow an unusual red, that gives the witnesses nausea. Some witnesses have reported seeing bat-like wings.
Yes, that's right. These deputies from a tiny county in Texas believe they've found the legendary goat-killer. I'll admit, I said something along the lines of "Woah, what the hell is that thing?!" when I saw it, but that's about it. This is no Spanish/Mexican bloodsucker. It's probably just a goofy looking coyote with mange. It's just another story about a weird "creature" people happen to see. Whatever. I don't buy it. Another week, another small town claiming they have a monster.

Pineapple Express: The Citizen Kane of stoner comedies?

Marijuana: "The dried leaves and flowering tops of the pistillate hemp plant that yield THC and are smoked in cigarettes for their intoxicating effect." (Merriam Webster)

Pineapple Express: "Probably the best and funniest shit ever committed on film by humanity since the dawn of history." (Urban Dictionary)

Now, you're probably wondering, "Why the fuck did Nello just make me read two definitions about two very different things?" Well, as you can tell, the first definition is that of marijuana. Or as some other people (assholes) call it, Satan's plant. Now if any of you readers have ever inhaled or eaten marijuana then you know that it makes most things a helluva lot better. The three m's I call 'em. Movies, munchies and masturbation. Marijuana induces the awesome-ness levels of each. Movies are funnier, munchies taste better and masturbation feels better. Now then, to the second definition. Pineapple Express, the supposed Citizen Kane of stoner films. While Citizen Kane isn't exactly my number one film of all time, that still means a lot when someone says something like that. The Dark Knight was called The Godfather of comic book films, and it was. So, when a film gets a label now, my expectations are risen to how praiseful the label is.
To stray off topic for a moment, I had a very shitty job. A dishwasher at P.F. Chang's China Bistro. Making $8 an hour and getting treated like piss by most co-workers wasn't the most extravagent way to be making money. The only pro about the job is that it is about a two minute walk from the new movie theatre that opened in April. The Harkins Norterra, a beautiful theatre. Since I was working during summer, I'd usually head on down to the midnight screenings at Norterra right after work. So when I heard that Pineapple Express was having its own, I immediately asked the one co-worker I suspected of smoking marijuana. I asked, "Hey there man, so uh, you know that movie Pineapple Express?" He replied, "Of course man, I can't wait for that shit, I'm gonna see it sooooo blazed."
I was in. I asked him to hang out with my friends and I right after work so that we could all blaze together and see the film right after.
When the night was actually upon us, we blazed (some very nice weed), clam baked his Volkswagen in two rips and then went to the movie. Now when I first went in, they weren't asking for ID's but instead asking math questions about what year we were born. This was crude, considering every person there was high. When it was my turn to answer I immediately stated, "1987 man!" Then I thought, "Oh shit, that makes 31 years old!" However, I was high. I was only "21." The man let me in and the entire line behind me started using 1987 as their key to El Dorado (Pineapple Express).
When the lights went down, the chuckles started. People were laughing at everything, this what I call the 'high tide'. Even at Samuel L. Jackson's new intense racial drama, Lakeview Terrace, people were laughing their asses off. Everytime Samuel L. Jackson appeared on screen people would laugh hysterically, including myself. Then the big show started, Pineapple fucking Express. From the very get go it was giggles galore until about thirty minutes in. That's when the crowd started getting hungry and tired. Note we were all very high, so of course those two traits started becoming more and more apparent. I suddenly realized, "I don't want to watch a movie. I want to smoke and eat more. Fuck."
The giggles galore then went into the chuckle cycle into the occasional 'lol'. This was the 'low tide', or the 'sober session'. The movie then ended and most people were leaving tired, hungry and unsatisfied. I gave the film an above average 7.0/10.0. Nothing special really, since people were calling it the Citizen Kane of stoner films. The next day I decided to blame the rating on the high, which was actually correct. I saw the film Saturday night at 7:30 with no exhaustion, no munchies and no marijuana in me. Now, here is my sobered up review of David Gordon Green's Pineapple Express: When one brings up the topic of why marijuana should be legal, many people will immediately jump in as if it was the last safe boat on the Titanic. Everyone will give their reasons, it makes you paranoid, it's not bad for you, it makes your reaction time slower, it eases pain, etc. There are pros and cons to it, just like everything else. When a film exploits it though, it's fine. People don't mind, because it's all in good taste. What Pineapple Express secretly does though is show all the symptoms of marijuana be put to good use. While this flies under the radar to most, this loyal stoner caught it.
The story follows Dale Denton (Seth Rogen, who also co-wrote with Superbad scribe Evan Goldberg) a process servant with no real future in front of him. He smokes joints throughout the day as he works, flirts with his high school girlfriend (Amber Heard) and buys more pot from his dealer, Saul Silver (James Franco in his best role to date). The story is pretty basic until Saul whips out a bag of the greenest weed man has ever seen. Dale is amazed by the bold green aura shining off the weed. It's called pineapple express. It's supposedly, "the dopest dope you'll ever smoke." One hit of it, and you're on your ass. So Dale buys a quarter and smokes a joint in front of a big time drug dealer's house, Ted Jones (Gary Cole). There he witnesses Cole and a female cop (Rosie Perez) kill an Asian man. Dale freaks out, ditches the joint, hits their cars while trying to drive away and then finally ditches the scene. This is where events kick off. The two are mezmerized by their paranoia as what they believe is about to be a double homicide, the victims being themselves. With their paranoia grasping their mind in it's hand they leave. Right after, two hitmen show up with guns drawn, Budlofsky (Kevin Corrigan) and Matheson (Craig Robinson). As the film progresses, we are introduced to more characters, including Saul's dealer, Red (Danny McBride in the film's best role).
While Pineapple Express has a premise with the potential to be fantastic and the funniest actors you can get nowadays, it should be great, right? Wrong. The first thiry minutes of the film drag on like a thick roach off of a fat blunt. Nothing exciting or entertaining really happens. Nothing that funny either. It's when Red is introduced the real laughs start coming. McBride displays such raw comedic talent with his blatantly obvious improvised lines that you'll be in tears with every line he says. Once Red leaves, the film doesn't slow down, it just gets better and better.
It progressively makes up for the bland first thirty minutes with shoot-outs and hilarious one liners such as, "Your eyes are as red as the devil's dick." You'll be smiling as the grand finale is blazing across screen. You'll walk out of Pineapple Express with a good feeling, not from the weed, but from the film. The first thirty minutes were a disaster, but the rest of the film had the perfect comedic elements to make up for it. All together, Pineapple Express isn't the Citizen Kane of stoner movies, but instead an easily enjoyable comedy about pot and friendship, and all the fucked up shit that tries to come between the two.
I give Pineapple Express a sobered up, 8/10.