Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oishii

For years I've had people telling me that Oishii was a great spot for sushi in Houston. They claimed it was cheap and delicious. The punchline is that "oishii" means "delicious" in Japanese. Well, I finally made it over Friday to try the sushi out. It was definitely cheap, and awful. I left feeling like an idiot because good sushi obviously costs money. Don't expect a restaurant run by poorly trained "sushi chefs" to know how to properly cut fish. It's not something you just learn how to do. The direction you cut the fish, area and size all affect the taste of nigiri and sashimi, as well as the amount of rice and pressure placed when packing the rice and fish for nigiri. So, don't tell me it's easy because it's not, and I don't recommend you go to Oishii unless you want a really cheap buzz from plum wine at 1 in the afternoon.

RATING: 34%

Fancy Cheese

So I was at this wine and cheese party in Dallas a couple of weeks ago and I got talking to these two Texans who agreed that brie is delicious once you get rid of the nasty white rind on it. This reinforced my suspicion that Texans are animals who should probably be fed from a trough of some kind.

RATING: Vive le Quebec libre%

(Image from www.ou.edu.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

And I Feel Fine... by R.E.M.

Before the R.E.M. of Monster or Automatic for the People, R.E.M. was the band that passed on a record deal with RCA and signed with I.R.S Records, because they refused to record commercial music. Yeah, R.E.M. was an indie band. Can you believe it? I guess my point is that it took this compilation to give me a sense of how they shaped rock music. You get a double-disc collection here of some solid rock tracks like "Finest Worksong", a track that I imagine should be the campaign song for the next Presidential nominee from the Socialist Party of America (I hear it's Glenn's favourite), "So. Central Rain", and "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville". Anyway, there's your music education for the day.

RATING: 95%

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Entertainment! by Gang Of Four

Peanut butter and chocolate, lemon and lime, punk rock and badly misinformed Marxist arguments - history is just full of great combos like these, and while only two of them can (so far, science?) be eaten, at least the third makes for a pretty decent album to blast from the speakers of my Honda Accord LX with leather interior as I'm driving through the poor parts of town. Solidarity my friends! After slogging away with the other proles for 10 hours today at work I don't feel like creating an analogy to describe Gang Of Four's sound that at first would seem hilarious and witty but on second read would turn out to make no sense whatsoever for describing any type of music, but here's some links, so maybe you can crack open some PBR to listen for a second. I also just relistened to Franz Ferdinand's first album and that one is fun, but not fun enough that I feel like writing about it (and I barely wrote about this album if that tells you something).

RATING: 81%

FRANZ FERDINAND: 75%

Monday, May 25, 2009

Piano Concerto No. 3 by Prokofiev

Sleeping is a thing that most of us tend to do at night unless you are a vampire or witch in which case the gig's up, buddy. Sometimes you can accidentally sleep for a couple minutes during the day if something super boring is happening, like work or chess or Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major. A famous philosopher once said "I never sleep because sleep is the cousin of death," but that's bull puckey because if you never slept you'd probably be irritable and wouldn't be able to operate heavy machinery, and who can go through life like that, because I sure can't.

RATING: 57%

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tales of the Black Freighter

The animated title feature is gorily true to the comic but doesn't amount to much of a story on its own. Under the Hood was so boring that I spent most of its run time trying to decide whether or not I should turn it off. Both belong on a special edition Watchmen DVD, not a $20 stand alone release. Between this, David Hayter's whining letter to fans, and the reputed squidless ending, the Watchmen movie is getting on my nerves and I haven't even seen it yet. I fucking hate Hollywood.

RATING: 25%

(Image from slashfilm.com.)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Led Zeppelin IV

Speaking of the nerdiest rock album of all time, here it is. Sure, it has rock classics such as Black Dog, Rock And Roll, and Stairway To Heaven, but it also has a song about Lord Of The Rings. I'm not sure why Led Zeppelin continued to write rock songs after they created every necessary classic rock riff for Led Zeppelin II, but I guess it's worth it to hear the supposedly coolest people of the 70s sing about Mordor and Gollum.

RATING: 56%

Jesus Camp

This documentary is filled with so much Evangelical Christian irony I felt physically ill at least three times. I don't think this should have lost the Academy Award to An Inconvenient Truth, because Al Gore is like a billionaire now, and making his money off the same suckers who are appalled by Jesus Camp (except me). Capitalism! In the end, Christianity is war without science. Well, I mean, who actually believes in global warming or evolution anyway?

RATING: 90%

that Star Trek movie that's all over everywhere

Am I just drunk or have we not reviewed this yet? What's up with that, Glenn (who is way more qualified to review this than I am)? So I never really was a fan of the Kirk Star Trek (Next Gen fans represent!), but maybe I would have been if it was as fun and action packed as this movie (and if they'd had the budget of this sucker, rather than $20 and a six pack). I dunno, I'm just two steps above laywoman when it comes to Trekker knowledge, but I really enjoyed this biz. Also, that guy who plays Syler on Heroes is pretty hot even with Spock ears.

Rating: 86%

Wolverine/Deadpool: Weapon X

Wolverine is boring, Deadpool is hilarious. When you add them together you get, uh, mostly boring?

RATING: 24%

Batman: No Man's Land Vol. 3

This volume of No Man's Land starts to get a little weak, although it is cool because it introduces Cassandra Cain as Batgirl. Cassandra Cain was raised by an assassin who forgot to teach her how to talk while he was teaching her how to be deadly. Instead of using words to talk, she speaks in violence, so when she wants to say hello she just punches your throat I guess. I'd hate to see her try to order lunch for the office am I right. Anyway, it's a cool idea but it was abandoned soon after NML and she just started to talk like it was nothing but at least she stayed Batgirl for 10 years, or in comic world time 3.5 weeks.

RATING: 66%

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Helpful Teaching Hint

Tired of listening to ad hominems directed toward Arabs? Tired of watching students text while you try desperately to get them to like poetry? Here's your salvation: teach 'issues.' Issues are great because they let students sound off on the most asinine of subjects, topics that are not necessarily relevant and anecdotes that meander, end abruptly and have little to no merit. So next time you find yourself in a funk, ask one simple question: Where were you and how did you feel when you heard/saw/knew of _________ (9/11, Columbine, Social Networking Sites, a suicide at your high school, a friend with a drug and/or alcohol problem)? All you have to do next is sit back and nod and look sympathetic and point when students raise their hands. Reminder: When students eventually fall back into ad hominems directed toward Arabs, a good segue back to the Aristotlean Triangle will help you feel like you actually did your job.

Rating: 60%

The Screen at JerryWorld

Ever wonder how big the biggest HD TV in the world is? Me neither. But I'll tell you: over 2,000 square feet. That is, roughly the size of an average exurban home (for the sake of comparison, those white thingies on the field are semi-trucks). The screen hangs above the field at JerryWorld, and in typical Dallas Cowboys (Texas) fashion, the stadium, like the screen, is the biggest and baddest; with a price tag somewhere around $ 1.5 billion, it (the stadium; the screen cost a mere 40 mil) is one of the most expensive sports complexes ever built. Is this Idiocracy? No. It's the Cowboys, baby.

Rating: Championship%

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Barfing

Woah, crap, what happens if you eat too much or drink too much or get the flu too much? That's right, it's Puke City, otherwise known as Barfsville, population: gross. What happens is your stomach is like "What the fuck is this nonsense" and decides to make an eviction, but like back the way said nonsense came. Puking (barfing) can suck if you do it on somebody's face, boob, cat, etc, but on the other hand it still sucks no matter what. Sometimes girls can have self esteem issues and I heard they have barf parties where they all sit in a circle and take turns barfing into plastic bowls and compare the color and whoever's barf has the coolest color combination (id: magenta and aquamarine) gets to be prom queen or something, so I guess add that one to the many mysteries of women that I will never understand.

RATING: 41%

Grant Morrison

Grant Morrison is a comic book author and is responsible for Batman: RIP, The Filth, the metafiction-palooza of Animal Man, The Invisibles, Xorn/Magneto blowing up New York, and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. He's sort of like Alan Moore, only not.

Strengths: Wildly imaginative, densely intellectual, fetishy, and really really occult. He claims that the character King Mob in The Invisibles was a sigil, a magical symbol that manifests spells, and that the things that happened to the character would happen to him shortly afterward.

Major Weakness: He's crazy, and his stories are often disjointed, nonsensical, and rife with semi-important plot points happening off-panel that are explained in asides afterward.

Rating: Who put this treacle in my hat that's actually a microcosm of our own universe?% (73%)

Image courtesy of Galleycat on Media Bistro

Monday, May 18, 2009

Powers Vol. 3: Little Deaths

Have you ever wanted to read a comic where two wise cracking detectives investigate the death of a superhero who turns out to have died due to an orgasm induced embolism? Well, here you go, and just remember while you're reading this filth that 73 million people died during World War II, and while I'm not sure what the connection is exactly, there seems to be something we can all feel guilty about somewhere in it all.

RATING:73%

Retro Mini Handheld NES System


So normally I try not to review things with which I have no experience but I NEED SOMEONE TO BUY ME THIS RIGHTNOW. I am salivating at the prospect of being reunited with Adventure Island, Yo Noid!, and that game where you competed in Olympic events as Snoopy. There's a reason none of these gamed ever made it to Xbox!

RATING: IMPATIENTWAIT%

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Steve Earle

So I met Steve Earle yesterday after a performance in Houston, and he's telling a few of us some stories about Townes Van Zandt. The guy is just fucking around on his guitar and telling us a story about life on tour, and I think it involved Townes somehow. It was some good shit, but I was drinking so much beer I can't remember anything he said, but it might have been pretty good because people around me were either laughing or crying. And I think one guy was doing both after he sang "Pancho and Lefty". I mean, I didn't cry at all but it was badass to watch him play.

RATING: 92%

Hegemony


Hegemony is when, in a multicultural society, one culture (be it social, racial, economic, or idealogical) stays in power by an elaborate system of dominance that includes pop culture, ignorance, and armchair Marxism. It comes from a Greek term meaning, "Madness? This is SPARTA!"

Rating: Late night infomercials% (3%)

Image courtesy of Myspace awards center

Weeds



This is a popular show on Showtime about a suburban widow MILF, her weed dealing business (zero to grow house in one season, then back to zero the next), her enemies, her juvenile delinquent kids, her adult delinquent brother-in-law, her DEA agent "husband," her business partner and star-crossed-something Conrad, his no-nonsense aunt in the ghetto, Armenians, eleven year old lesbians, promiscuous hearing-impaired teens getting pregnant, hot Israeli pegging, blackmailing maids, the PTA, and Elizabeth Perkins and Kevin Nealon. Perkins is the best bitch ever. Nealon is far funnier than he ever was on SNL, which is an easy accomplishment. Be warned-- characters who seem important and get ample screen time for one episode disappear and never resurface. Snoop Dogg guest stars.

Rating: *Cough*Cough*Shiiiiiiiiiit% (91%)

Image courtesy of www.movieweb.com

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Jaws

#28 on Glenn's Top 100 Movie List

I don't care about/am not scared of sharks. Big fishy killing machines that could take me out with one bite? It seems pretty easy to go through life and avoid that ever happening. I guess that doesn't subtract from this being an awesome movie though, and it's pretty terrific even 34 years later. Oh right, the plot for those of you who haven't seen it - a big shark is eating people so they try to stop it and do stop it (spoilers). Smile you son of a BLAOW!

RATING: 91%

Thursday, May 14, 2009

KTCK 1310 AM The Ticket

The Ticket is a sports radio channel here in Dallas I follow religiously. Fifty-percent of their content deals with local sports teams; the other fifty-percent is devoted to hilarious schtick, commentary and general grab-ass. The channel has had so much success its modus operandi is often appropriated by other channels, almost always ending in failure. (If you don't believe me, have a look at The Ticket's website and this talk radio website). My sports-hating girlfriend even listens now, which means she understands terms like Vaginal-Slice-Born-Born and the question, "Why are you yelling, you're a foot from me?"

Rating: 98% (that is, not strug-u-ling)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Noodling

1. Drink four beers.
2. Find a log submerged in a shallow part of a lake or river.
3. Drink a beer.
4. Have your redneck friend block one side of the log, either with his foot or beer-gut.
5. Swim down to log.
6. Put hand in log.
7. Wait for something to bite hand.
7a) If that something is a water mocassin, call 911.
7b) If that something is a turtle, pray you still have a finger.
7c) If that something is an enormous flathead catfish, continue to step eight.
8. Struggle with enormous flathead catfish, making sure to keep head above water, so often calling upon redneck friend(s) for help (though not so often as to be viewed as a quote-unquote fuckin' pussy).
9. Say, "Sumbitch" and "Motherfucker" as often as possible.
10. Use free hand to chug a beer.
11. Pull enormous flathead catfish onto shore.
12. Chug a beer.
13. Beat enormous catfish with paddle (or rock, if paddle not available).
14. Have redneck friend(s) take picture of you holding enormous flathead catfish.
15. Drink beer.

Rating: Oklahoma%
Click here to see it happen!

Ultimate X-men Vol. 7: Blockbuster

At this point, Mark Millar left the book, Brian Michael Bendis took over, and the whole thing began a 60 issue spiral into being a complete directionless mess. Oh well, at least Bendis is capable of writing Ultimate Spider-man in a hilarious manner, and he guest stars here as some group is after Wolverine for some reason, who cares.

RATING: 65%

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

iTunes Genius

If you have a large and diverse music collection, you may have noticed that using the iTunes party shuffle can be less than fulfilling. It's just not fun to hear say, Lil Wayne followed by Sufjan Stevens followed by one of the random reggae songs your ex boyfriend who is Jamaican left on your computer. If this sounds like you (and feel free to sub in one of your own ex's crappy music selections), you might want to stop ignoring that swirly little button down there in the corner of your iTunes window and finally check out the iTunes Genius feature. After scanning your entire music collection (this can take a while if you have a lot of music...I just set mine in motion and left it while I went out to run errands), the Genius will build playlists for you based a song of your choice. For example, my first playlist was based on the song All That I Need by Blind Melon. I clicked the song and then hit the Genius button. Then iTunes made a playlist that included stuff like Pearl Jam, the Smashing Pumpkins, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Neutral Milk Hotel, The White Stripes, etc., etc. Then I tried one based on Beast of Burden and it generated a nice old skool Americana type playlist that had Neil Young, Bowie, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Tom Petty, etc. The interwebs tells me that there are some problem with it (for example, it doesn't work with Beatles songs or other bands that aren't in the iTunes store), but I'm still pretty damn pleased with it, and think you might be too.

Rating: 81%

Monday, May 11, 2009

Daredevil Vol. 1: Guardian Devil

For better or worse, the current state of mainstream superhero comics can all be traced back to the first story arc of the current Daredevil series, written by Kevin Smith and drawn by Joe Quesada. Sure, intricate storylines that focused more on character development and endless self analysis existed in comics, even superhero comics, before, but those stories were kept in the more "sophisticated" lines such as Vertigo, or maybe brief mini or maxi series. Smith brought all that to the mainstream books, and while it can often be frustrating to go three or four issues without anything happening (Bruce Jones' Hulk), I guess I'm mostly thankful he opened the realm of possibilities for funnybooks. As for this storyline, it's one of the greats; an unknown villain is preying upon Matt Murdock's religion, and thrusts upon him a baby who is claimed to be either the savior of mankind or the Antichrist. Terrific writing from somebody who clearly has love for the character, although can we all please agree that it's been 10 years of agony for Daredevil and it's about time to give the guy a break for once?

RATING: 90%

Wolverines


These cuddly little critters will eat your face off. According to Wikipedia (our R3 go-to authority on everything other than comic books), wolverines are the largest land-dwelling member of the weasel family, with the giant otter being the largest overall. Also, "[They have] been known to give off a very strong, extremely unpleasant odor, giving rise to the nicknames 'skunk bear' and 'nasty cat.' Wolverines, like other mustelids, possess a special upper molar in the back of the mouth that is rotated 90 degrees, towards the inside of the mouth. This special characteristic allows wolverines to tear off meat from prey or carrion that has been frozen solid."

I know, right? Plus they've got adamantium claws, a wicked healing factor, and borderline-inappropriate relationships with teenage Asian girls.

Rating: Bite through that frozen-solid carrion, dawg!%

Image courtesy of www.fhwa.dot.gov

Friday, May 8, 2009

X-men Origins: Wolverine


Claws claws claws claws claws claws claws claws claws Gambit claws.

Sigh. What a waste of Emma Frost.

(Geek continuity check: this movie takes place before she had the power to turn into diamond, you Philistines!)

Rating: Yeah, bro!%

(Image courtesy of www.weblo.com)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Black Sunday

People do a lot of stupid things in horror movies, sure, but here's how this movie gets started: two travelers' carriage breaks down, so while it is getting fixed they a) explore a decrepit tomb nearby, b) accidentally break open a witch's coffin in said tomb, c) accidentally destroy the crucifix affixed to the coffin, d) remove the satanic mask attached to the witch's corpse, e) accidentally bleed on the corpse's face, f) accidentally steal a creepy miniature triptych from the witch's coffin on their way out. The movie was too boring to finish, but I assume whatever vengeance was visited on these people was appropriate.

RATING: 24%

Batman: No Man's Land Vol. 2

Not quite as good as Volume 1, here we just have a collection of one-shots dealing with citizens trying to survive in Gotham after it has been decimated and cut off from the rest of the USA. Ok writing, I guess, but the best story here is a single issue written by Bob Gale in which Batman has to change the way he thinks about justice and law in a city in which survival has superseded both.

RATING: 71%

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hunkmania at Duvet


If you have a friend who is drunk enough to consider getting married, then the way I see it you should get her even drunker before she says I Do and have a bunch of shirtless, built, oiled guys pick her up, swing her around, and show her a nice time. Enter Hunkmania. The Bridesmaids thought this place would be cheesy-fun, just over the top enough to be a funny story to tell the next day. Cheesy? Check. Fun? Um... check. But if your girl doesn't like raunch, maybe you should plan a spa weekend instead. When the show's over, there's plenty of dancing on top of the beds that serve as tables (a friend asked, "Do you think, every night this club is open, someone is penetrated on each of these beds?" to which I responded, "Fuck yes."). For an extra fee, you can have your girl taken up on stage and a Hunk will put her in positions you never thought you'd see her in outside of that one spring break. For an extra extra fee, you can have your girl taken to a "private room." Once the show starts they act like they don't allow any flash photography, but that's bull because I have like 99 photos of a Russian stripper's ass.

RATING: 69%

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Toy Mouse

What, you want a mouse, a real mouse? Well, guess what, fucko, you can't handle a real mouse so check out this toy mouse. You better feed it toy cheese and toy grains or whatever mice eat, or you'll have a real toy death on your hands, yes, and your conscience. No, it doesn't look like a mouse, it looks like some kind of fuzzy silver turd with feathers on the back, but I don't see you inventing fusion batteries Einstein, it's a mouse, trust me. Next up toy dog, then toy person, then toy building. Food chain.

RATING: 84%, what'd you expect?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ultimate Spider-man Vol. 8: Cats & Kings

This is where I started buying Ultimate Spider-man in single issues, so I only have the second half of the story. Honestly, though I don't think it matters. It's still good, but it's the same formula: Spider-man meets new bad guys and fights them, Peter Parker has trouble at home. Here, he meets up with Black Cat and Elektra and thinks they're both hot (newsflash).

RATING: 75%

Supreme Power: Nighthawk

This miniseries is dedicated to Nightawk, the Supreme Power universe's analog of Batman, except he hates white people and also doesn't have the "no killing" clause. Also, I guess since Supreme Power was leaving Marvel's "Adult Label" to go PG-13, they decided to go out in... uh, style? In Batman comics, Joker might poison a bunch of people. and maybe we'll see some cleaned up corpses or whatever, but mainly it's gloves-on carnage. Here, an insane serial killer dressed up as a clown kills drug addicts, babies and kids with poison, who all vomit up blood, spasm, or shoot themselves in great detail. I don't really know if I can recommend it, but luckily I dodged the bullet since it was never collected in trade paperback and tracking down issues would probably be a real bitch unless you ask me to borrow them.

RATING:79% I guess.

Black Panther Vol. 1: The Client

When Christopher Priest wrote this book starting in the late 90s, it was probably the best mainstream superhero comic being written. This first volume sets up his 60 issue run, and establishes the sort of out of order storytelling and vignette style break downs that the series was famous for. The plot is the Black Panther, a superhero/king of high tech African nation, comes to America because a little girl has been murdered at one of his charities. Dorky state department liaison/narrator Everett K. Ross is assigned to escort the Panther around, but constantly and hilariously finds himself out of his elements. It's too bad that reading this book again just emphasizes how much I dislike Reginald Hudlin's take on the character, but oh well you gotta know when to fold 'em.

RATING: 90%

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Candy Apple Grey by Hüsker Dü

I never really listened to Hüsker Dü, which I always felt the same sort of guilt about as I did for never really listening to Dinosaur Jr. Both bands are major influences and contemporaries of Sonic Youth, although based on this album I guess I'd say Hüsker Dü has more traditional song structure and is way more boring. This album is ok, but when they break out the acoustic guitars I want to break out the cyanide because it is tres lame. Anyway, one good thing about this band is that they have umlauts.

RATING: 51%

PS - You can thank Warner Bros. for making it impossible to find videos for this band, just like The Flaming Lips the other day.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations

I'm not much of a "serious" music buff, but there's something wonderful about Gould's performance of Bach's piece(s). The piano is so named for its dynamic possibilities, and Gould demonstrates precisely why. Never noisy, never busy, just a marvelous musical texture from beginning to end. If unbridled praise is the mark of the dilettante, then I'm guilty as charged, but no one should go to their grave without listening to these at least once. I like to watch Gould's mouth move and try to imagine the electrochemical fireworks that must have been going off in his brain as he played.

RATING: Off the chart%

(Image from drewhewitt.co.uk.)

Real Ale Rio Blanco Pale Ale

I put off trying this stuff for a while because the name struck me as both dowdy and pretentious, but I was in Tom Thumb the other day and I noticed a little note on the bottle that says it's brewed with Czech Saaz hops. In terms of taste, I wouldn't know a Saaz hop from a hole in the head, but I know a few Czechs who used to bitch about being forced to work unpaid in the hop fields as a sort of post-communist community service/character building dealie when they were in high school, and I figured I'd give it a whirl. It's hoppy but nice and crisp. The profile's not too bold (heh heh) so I guess you could say it would make a good session beer [snorts beer out nose]. It doesn't have the rusty note that often accompanies hoppy beer, which is fine with me: I can give up some complexity for a nice clean flavour. Kind of one dimensional, but it's a good dimension.

RATING: 79%

(Image from www.kbinstitute.org.)

Observe And Report

Observation - done.

Report - retarded.

RATING: 12%