Monday, March 29, 2010

Attack Decay Sustain Release by Simian Mobile Disco

Alternating between aggressive 303 tweaking and almost polite backbeats and vocal sampling, this terrific electronic album (NSFW) is what you might get if you crossed the music from Megaman 2 with the sounds of a self destructing killer robot factory. I think the electronic scene of the late 2000s was what I was always looking for in the 1990s when I still wrote electronic music, because boy did I hate The Crystal Method and The Future Sound Of London.


Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub Time Machine is a time travel themed comedy starring John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke, with appearances by Crispin Glover and Chevy Chase. In the film, the main characters travel back in time (via hot tub) to 1986, a simpler time filled with neon clothing, cassette tapes and cocaine. Our heroes attempt to navigate the past and find their way back to the present, while trying to avoid creating any potentially harmful time paradoxes. Also, there's a scene where someone projectile vomits on a squirrel. If there's a better time travel themed comedy out there that uses a hot tub as a plot device, I haven't seen it.

Rating: 1986%

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Friday, March 26, 2010


I seriously went through a period after beating Mass Effect 2 where the thought of playing any other video game depressed me. Then I lucked my way into a PS3, and decided to pick up this game to help my way through that depression (rather than using spare time to write, read, etc.). It's pretty boring, though. You play as a whiny dick who stumbles into e;ecty powers, and then there's some bad guys but WHO CARES??? I guess I'm going to have to face facts that no game I ever play will be Mass Effect 2.


Heavy Seas Gold Ale

A Beer For Every State #2 - Maryland

As part of Glenn's excellent "A Beer For Every State" series, I will be helping out by providing reviews of beers from weird states, or perhaps beers that I happen to get in the mail or while traveling or from a store. Hence, Maryland's Heavy Seas Golden Ale, brewed in Baltimore, and the (not really) official beer of the only football team named after a poem.

Like the state in which it is brewed, this beer is boring as hell, and relatively nondescript. If you have a friend who likes Bud Light or somesuch, they will also like this. If you like extra-malty, extra-hoppy, or fascinating flavors in your beer, you will probably drink this if you don't have anything else, and not be upset. (Caveat: unless you are drinking BECAUSE you are upset - then you are completely out of luck.) At any rate, what it lacks in flavor, it makes up for in being mildly pirate themed and woefully difficult to acquire outside of the greater Baltimore area.

Verily, much like the postman, I come late and I deliver in disappointment.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Cantos

Modernist poetry tends to eschew ambiguity for particular obscurity. This can create an interesting aesthetic effect, like in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. It can also create 824 pages of unreadable diarrhea like the Cantos. Ezra Pound once said that bad art must have an efficient cause. It does: Ezra Pound.

RATING: 19%, or 80% if your name happens to be Mussolini ("Ma questo è divertente!")

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Month of Boring Things - Day Thirty-One: The Dakota [Building]

In my younger and more vulnerable years, I lived in a private dorm that looked like a very very very very very very poor-man's Dakota building, and since I already had a weird fascination with one of its former residents, I felt pretty cool. Then I was lonely, and I didn't have the gutz to start a heroin addiction or marry a chinaman, and nobody ever shot me. So I created new heroes, and I grew up and had kidney stones. Okay, New York. I'll come live in you (deep deep inside of you), but you gotta pay my rent.

Rating: 66.666666666%

Friday, March 19, 2010

Star Trek: Voyager - Season 1 Disc 4

"Cathexis" - Chakotay has an out of body experience but don't worry - generic American Indian witch doctoring pulls him out of it.


"Faces" - B'Elanna Torres gets split into two individuals, one aggressive and one passive, neither of whom can live without the other. Hm.


"Jetrel" - Neelix, Voyager's chef, comes face to face with a mass killing monster from his past. Hm.


"Learning Curve" - Killer cheese almost destroys Voyager. I'm not kidding.


Talking to Deaf People on the Telephone

If you're deaf, or practically deaf, you shouldn't use a regular telephone. They have special phones with special operators to suit your needs. You shouldn't just scream at the person on the other end of the line, there's no need of that. Also, what good is trying to communicate with someone over the phone when you can't hear their reply? I can scream at you until I go hoarse and my coffee gets cold, but you still won't have any idea what I'm saying.

Rating: What?%

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Key West Sunset Ale

A Beer For Every State #1 - Florida

I lived in Florida for 13 years and never had a beer that was brewed there, so while bounding from corner to corner of the Sunshine State this past weekend I decided I needed to seek one out. The only one I found in the grocery store was Key West Sunset Ale, which is exactly the kind of beer you would never realize or care that you've gone 13 years without trying. It's just OK. When you first take a sip you are struck by the distinct and beautiful array of flavors this beer offers, but as you get closer to the center of the bottle you realize that it is just as forgetful and disgusting as every other southern state. I mean, beer.


(I stole the image from this blog. I don't usually post where I steal images from, but this place seemed close to our hearts in spirits [ha ha get it.])

Green Zone

Green Zone is the new Iraq war action thriller from director Paul Greengrass, starring Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear and Amy Ryan. While I wouldn't call this movie anti-American, I was surprised by just how critical it was of the American government and military. It's not like there's much to praise about the current Iraq war, but I was more or less expecting the director of United 93 to deliver something that might have been a bit more blindly patriotic. The movie itself, politics aside, is entertaining. Well paced with few, if any, slow parts. The action sequences are mostly realistic, though some of the hand-held digital camera work might bother some viewers.

Rating: 82%

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Obscured by Clouds

Obscured by Clouds is a Pink Floyd album from 1972, it also doubles as a soundtrack to a movie I've never seen, La Vallée. I first heard this album after I bought it from a crazy French hippie in Québec City. According to him, in the movie La Vallée, some hippies go into the rain forest, they smoke pot, they get naked, and then the natives show up. He's right, as I far as I know, and I'm guessing that his overview of the film was probably more entertaining than the film itself would be. So yeah, "The Gold It's in The..." is a good song.

Rating: 72% (Coincidence?)

(Image from wikipedia)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Here's how I'll know if I got into Heaven or not after I die. When I get up to the pearly gates or whatever, I'll ask, "Hey, quick question before I get in there. Did George Carlin make the cut?" If they say something to the effect of, "Of course he did. He's doing a set right now. You're really going to love his new material." Then I'll know I'm in Heaven. If I find out that somehow I made the list and ol' GC didn't, well then I'll know that I'm in Hell.

Rating: Sacrilicious%

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Month of Boring Things - Day Thirty: Tenure Track

Being put on tenure track is pretty sweet. Sure, your pay isn't anything to brag about and you have to spend the next six years of your life saying yes to pretty much anything the chair or dean asks of you--cause you ain't there yet, brother. But hell. It's still pretty sweet.

Rating: 95%

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Stanwell Bulldog Majestic

Every pipe smoker should own at least one bulldog, and pipe smokers of stockier build should probably have several. The Stanwell Majestic is a good choice: it's fairly light, at 1.3 ounces, it has a nice finish, and its bowl has a slight forward cant that says "I at least know what century I'm in." I have two reservations about this otherwise great pipe, and both involve the acrylic bit: the stem of the pipe is thin and brittle enough that I worry about breakage, and I'd hesitate to carry it in my pocket or bag without taking it apart first. Since the pipe has to cool for at least an hour after smoking before I can remove the bit, this is a pain in the ass. Also, the hard acrylic is resistant to wear but hurts my teeth, especially since it takes a firmer bite to hold a straight shanked pipe perpendicular to my face. This makes it tough to smoke while reading, typing, or holding a beer in each hand.


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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic indeed. This was one cuss of a great cussing movie. This fun little stop motion flick is based on a Roald Dald story about a fox with existential problems (to paraphrase: who am I and can a fox every really be happy without a chicken in its teeth?). It is very much a Wes Anderson movie, and not just because many of his "regulars" do voice overs. Everything about the movie-diaologue, themes, shots-and directing all scream ANDERSON. So if you are into that sort of thing you might just love it as much as the kid sitting behind me who exclaimed "MR. FOX!" right when the movie started.

Rating: a fantastic 84%

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The New Gorillaz Video Featuring Bruce Willis

As I mentioned before, I'll watch just about anything that features Bruce Willis packing heat. So I was pretty stoked to find out that he's in the video for the new Gorillaz track "Stylo." I don't really understand what the clip is about, but it has Bruce Willis, guns, and muscle cars in it. The song's not bad either.

Rating: Brucetastic%

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More Information Than You Require

Written by famous minor television personality John Hodgman, More Information Than You Require is the author's second book of humorous fake trivia, following 2005's The Areas of My Expertise. More Information features a variety of lists and fictional facts from such diverse topics as gambling, the future, Mole-men, and American Presidents with hooks for hands. Hodgman's comedic style is essentially absurdist deadpan, which will come as no surprise to those already familiar with his various television appearances. More Information is certainly an entertaining read, though I found The Areas of My Expertise to be the funnier of the two. Hodgman intends to follow up his first two books with an additional volume of fake trivia to be called That Is All.

Rating: 82%

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

These new sweatpants I just bought from jcrew

The chances of me wearing anything other than sweatpants when I am sitting around my apt just went from aboout 15-20% to 0%. I want a full body suit made of whatever heavenly material these suckers are made of.

Rating: a very comfortable 89%

Lupe Fiasco's Food And Liquor by Lupe Fiasco

This is a pretty decent rap album, but I don't understand why Lupe Fiasco has to remind me at the beginning of every song that he's Lupe Fiasco. I own the album, damn!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cop Out

I'm a big Kevin Smith fan and I'll watch just about any movie with Bruce Willis in it where it looks like he might shoot somebody and/or make me laugh. And while Cop Out has a decent funny Bruce Willis to kick-ass Bruce Willis ratio, it doesn't really deliver as well as it should. Don't get me wrong, this movie isn't nearly as bad as some of the critics would have you believe, it just isn't super awesome either. It's probably the least Kevin Smith-like movie that Kevin Smith has ever made, filmed with fewer static dialogue shots from a script that he did not write himself. I say it's worth checking out, but your mileage may vary.

Rating: 72%

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