07th Nov2014

West Week Ever – 11/7/14

by Will

photovisi-download(1)

 

oie_922142seDasWF9

407-photo-portlandia-1024x682

Portlandia season 4 finally made it to Netflix, so I’ve been bingewatching it this week. It’s everything I’ve come to expect from the show, meaning it’s great. I’ve still got 2 more episodes to go, so I hope the season ends as epic as season 2′s “Brunch Village” production.

Marvel

Tuesday saw the premiere of Marvel: 75 Years, From Pulp to Pop! on ABC. While the special was meant to celebrate 75 years of Marvel, they really glossed over some particular parts of Marvel’s history. While the 90s were a dark period for the company, X-Men was still the bestselling comic in the industry, and that was pretty much ignored. They also ignored the influence of the Raimi Spider-Man franchise, basically since they weren’t released by Marvel Studios. Similar to Marvel: Assembling A Universe, this was another self-congratulatory infomercial for Marvel and its movies. I give them credit for not talking about the movies until the last 15 minutes, but it still felt like “Look how awesome we are!” The special also included some footage from the upcoming Agent Carter. While it was nice seeing Howard Stark again, I care almost nothing about this show. It’s hard enough caring about modern-day SHIELD, let alone the 1940s equivalent.

Call-of-Duty-Advanced-Warfare1

Tuesday also saw the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on all major video game consoles. I’ve never considered myself a “gamer”, but I’m still addicted to Call of Duty: Black Ops II. So, I actually considered buying the game this week. Then I thought about it, and realized that I still only play one level (“Hijacked”) on BOII, so I still have a lot more game to cover before taking on something new. Plus, I really didn’t feel like dropping $60 on a video game.

The following aired on Adult Swim the other morning at 4AM, and it’s PERFECT. It contains so many 80s tropes, and then it gets WEIRD. I love everything about this:

Things You May Have Missed This Week

-Toy Story 4 is coming. I still haven’t seen the third one, but I’m sure someone’s excited about this.

-It was announced that Star Wars Episode VII Will be called The Force Awakens. A lot of folks hate it. I don’t. In fact, it has me intrigued. Has The Force been asleep? Does it wear pajamas? So many questions!

-It was announced that Craig Ferguson’s final Late Late Show guest will be Jay Leno, on December 19th.

-Elections were Tuesday and everyone seems disappointed – even those whose parties won.

-Benedict Crumbsnatcher, or whatever his name is, got engaged this week.

-Amanda Bynes is still crazy.

-Downton Abbey was renewed for a 6th season.

-Fox canceled ratings-starved reality experiment Utopia.

-Wayne Brady admitted that he suffers from depression.

-Starbucks updated their dress code policy, banning engagement rings with stones. I thought everyone who worked at Starbucks was single anyway…

-New Girl got a new opening sequence, so you won’t be seeing this gem anymore:

Links I Loved

Next Round of Prototype Fetts Hitting Walgreens – Awesome Toy Blog

Rad Review: TMNT Comic Book Raphael – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

The Painful What-If That Haunts ‘Ghostbuster’ Ernie Hudson – Entertainment Weekly

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

Selling 1.3 million copies, Taylor Swift’s 1989 posted the best one-week sales since 2002. She’s also the first artist to go platinum this year. Album sales may be in the crapper, but there’s no stopping Ms. Swift. In the ultimate Screw You move, she removed her catalog from Spotify which, no doubt, helped her album sales. She released the following statement:

“If I had streamed the new album, it’s impossible to try to speculate what would have happened. But all I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment. And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”

Spotify pleaded with Taylor to come back, but they also created a “What To Play While Taylor’s Away” playlist. This is the future of music, folks. Anyway, for recordbreaking sales, and for bucking the system, Taylor Swift had the West Week Ever.

05th Sep2014

West Week Ever – 9/5/14

by Will

photovisi-download(5)

 

oie_922142seDasWF9

lavelle

On the Netflix front, I’ve watched a few things, but we’ll get to most of that next week. This week, however, I did watch Lavell Crawford: Can A Brother Get Some Love? Most people are familiar with Lavell due to his role as Huell in the later seasons of Breaking Bad, or as a contestant on season 5 of Last Comic Standing. I’d heard about 1/4 of the material before, but it was still funny, as Lavell’s a funny storyteller. He does the usual “White people do this, but Black people do this” thing, but it’s not as trite as it usually is. I definitely recommend it.

asm2_fanfix_blog_1000x1444

My pal, Keith, came to town and we had an Amazing Spider-Thon. I’d never seen The Amazing Spider-Man, so we started out with that, and the next night we watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Why, exactly, do people dislike those movies? I really enjoyed the first one. I’d even go as far as to say that Andrew Garfield was a better Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire. I really liked his performance, and even though I’m a Mary Jane guy, I dug Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. I mean, the reboot was completely too soon, but I liked what they did with it. I was telling Keith that I was dreading the familiar beats, like the death of Uncle Ben and the stupid wrestling part, but the movie threw a curveball at me and changed both of those aspects of the origin. I will say that the sequel wasn’t without its problems – mainly that I didn’t completely understand Electro’s motivation. I mean, he was invisible to people as a person, so he just wanted to matter. I get that, but why become evil? Considering he idolized Spider-Man, why not team up with his hero rather than try to fight him? It also suffers from Too-Many-Villains-Itis. I didn’t hate it, though; it just wasn’t as good as the first one.

the-rock-black-adam

Speaking of comic movies, The Rock finally confirmed what he’d been hinting at for months: he’ll be portraying the villain Black Adam in a Shazam movie. With everything being so PC these days, are they just gonna call him “Adam”? I don’t know anyone under the age of 60 who’d want a Shazam movie, but good for him.

Matt_Nable

In comic TV news, Matt Nable has been cast as Ra’ Al Ghul for Arrow‘s 3rd season. One of these days, I really need to get back to watching that show. Anyway, I’ve never heard of Nable, and folks are just gonna whine that it should’ve been Liam Neeson, in order to create some fantasy shared universe that doesn’t exist.

The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story aired on Labor Day, but I forgot about it. Luckily, I was able to DVR it later, but I still haven’t gotten around to watching it, so look for my thoughts next week. For now, though, what a terrible title! Couldn’t it have been something like “Behind The Bell: The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story”? It needs a name with some gumption to it!

Selfie

If you curious, Karen Gillan’s Selfie is available to stream on ABC.com. I took some time out of my day last Friday and checked it out. I’m not quite sure how this is going to work as a series. I mean, it would’ve made a decent rom com, but a full fledged TV series? I have my doubts. Basically, it’s an update of My Fair Lady. Eliza Dooley (instead of Doolittle here) is a bit of a social media addict, with tons of Instagram followers. After one really bad day ruins her social media presence, she seeks out the help of a coworker (John Cho) to help rebrand her image. At the beginning, both characters are pretty unlikeable, as Dooley is more vapid than your average teenage girl, while Cho’s character seems to have a hard time fitting into the world around him. By the end, however, there are traces of heart in both characters, but I don’t know if we’re supposed to stick around for Eliza’s transformation or for the inevitable Will They/Won’t They they’re building up between the characters. I don’t see this getting a second season, but we’ll just have to see.

The_View_logo

It was announced that Rosie Perez and former Bush communications chief, Nicolle Wallace, will be joining Rosie and Whoopi on The View this season. Rosie Perez? Really? So, half the hour is just gonna be folks trying to understand what she’s saying, right?

toy-hunter

Multiple outlets are reporting that Toy Hunter may be over. I’m not shedding any tears. While I initially liked seeing all of the rare, old toys, I just couldn’t get past Jordan. In the first season, he was really lowballing folks. He improved over time, but then the show became saturated with D-list celebrity guests who didn’t really fit the show (DMC?). I love toys, but I never really loved the show (I did love the brief period when Julia Collier was his “assistant”). Hopefully, this will end the Toy Hunter Effect of making people think all their worthless attic junk is actually some priceless artifact that ever collector must have. There was definitely an increase in sale prices at toy shows and comic cons because of this mentality, and I’ll be glad to see it go. I know some folks will miss the show, but I’m sure something will come along to fill that void soon.


While he was in town, Keith introduced me to Kung Fury.There was originally a Kickstarter in order to help them raise the funding to make the full short film. They ended up making around $630,000, so something should be coming soon. As a fan of all things ’80s, I can’t wait to see the finished product.

 

Ghosbusters-Week-Header

Do you love Ghostbusters? Who doesn’t?! Be sure to head over to The Robot’s Pajamas, as this week is Ghostbusters Week, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the franchise. They’ve got a lot of great features, and they even dusted off the Robot’s Pajama Party Podcast to take part in the festivities.

Links I Loved

4 Reasons Chris Pratt is Totally the Next Tom Hanks – UnderScoopFire!

Marvel Legends X-Men Infinite Series Storm Review – Preternia

TMNT Targetgate – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

In Case You Missed It This Week

Jimi Jamison : 1951-2014

boys computer

Ugh, I don’t really know how it came to this, yet here we are.  Over Labor Day weekend, someone hacked into iCloud and leaked nude pics of several female celebrities, including Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Lawrence, McKayla Maroney, Victoria Justice and more. These pics were posted on 4chan, and later on reddit, under the heading “The Fappening”. While several of the nudes have been reported as fakes, many more were the real deal, exposing moments that were meant to be private. This has sparked debate on whether this was a simple invasion of privacy in the digital age or if this could even be considered a sex crime. I’m not Judge Judy, so I’m not here to get into all that. I will say, however, that it was like having Christmas, your birthday, and your Bar Mitzvah all at the same time if you were a net savvy teenage boy. The threads have since been taken down, but the damage has been done, as PR reps had their work cut out for them this week. Looking past all of the laws broken to get here, this was the stuff that teenage dreams are made of. Which is pretty sad and pathetic. People’s lives were derailed through an invasion of privacy, but these kids just don’t care. To them, it’s just “Yay, titties!” So, that’s why 14 year old boys had the West Week Ever.

02nd Sep2014

Jimi Jamison : 1951-2014

by Will

jamison

I’m sure some folks say that I could’ve waited until West Week Ever for this, but there’s something about West Week Ever that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned: there’s a strict No Death policy. You see, I figure if I mention one death, I have to mention them all – even when they don’t really mean anything to me. So, I decided to just ignore all of the celebrity deaths. This time, however, I felt like I needed to say something.

Jimi Jamison, former lead singer of Survivor, was found dead yesterday from an apparent heart attack. When you think of ’80s music, you can’t help but think of Survivor, with hits like “Burning Heart” from Rocky IV and “The Search Is Over” (Jamison joined after “Eye of the Tiger” was recorded). I, however, remember Jamison from what I consider to be his greatest contribution to popular culture: “I’m Always Here”, AKA The Baywatch Theme. I spent MANY a Saturday afternoon during my formative years watching syndicated fare on TV, and nothing topped Baywatch. It was the #1 show in most of the world, and it probably brought Jamison’s music to more people than the Survivor stuff did. I LOVE the Hell out of that theme song, and it’s how I’ll always remember Jimi Jamison. So, my thoughts and prayers are with his family, and to remember him by, here’s “I’m Always Here”:

27th Jun2014

West Week Ever – 6/27/14

by Will

d75beead-6a46-4bdc-886b-85f920137566wallpaper

oie_922142seDasWF9

 

22_jump_street-wide

Last week, I finally got to see 22 Jump Street, and it was HILARIOUS. It’s the same exact movie as the first one, but it pokes fun at that fact. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know that the end credits show what the next sequels would look like in the franchise, like 23 Jump Street: Medical School and 41 Jump Street: Magic School. I want ALL of these sequels to happen!

Elden Henson

There’s been a lot of movement on the casting for the Netflix Daredevil series. While I was on my bye week, they announced that Rosario Dawson had been cast in an important role – believed by many to be Elektra. Yesterday, it was announced that Elden Henson had been cast as Matt Murdock’s friend and legal partner, Foggy Nelson. Apparently he was in The Mighty Ducks, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen those movies that I don’t remember him.

The Flash

The pilot for The Flash leaked this week, and I had to watch it. Usually, I’d do a whole post on the thing, but I figure I’ll wait until everyone’s had a chance to see it. Barry has a Spider-Man quality to him, which makes me like him. It’s better than Smallville, and more engaging to me than Arrow. Nice Easter eggs (Ferris Air, Iron Heights, etc). It’s gonna be like Smallville/Misfits, though, where every villain of the week is gonna be a result of the same phenomenon that created him. I won’t say any more, so as not to give away spoilers, but I’ll just say that the final scene gave me chills. Oh, and I love Tom Cavanagh in everything, so there’s that.

Goldbergs

Speaking of TV, when does The Goldbergs get great? I mean, ABC’s been airing it twice every Wednesday, giving me a chance to catch up on the show that all my friends love. That said, I like it, but don’t love it. Does it hit its stride at some point? Is this it? I really want to love it, but something’s missing for me. Maybe I just don’t wanna revisit the 80s. Maybe it’s the fact that it won’t commit to a year, instead going with “1980-something”.

I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but someone redid the credits as if the show were an 80s action series.

I’d totally watch this show.

I never watched Wacky Races, but I did enjoy the “Fender Bender 500″ shorts on Wake, Rattle, and Roll. This was a pretty cool commercial, giving us a live action Wacky Race.

I hate when a song paints a pretty clear story that’s completely ignored by the video. That’s the case with Lady Antebellum’s “Bartender”. In the song, a girl’s trying to get over her ex, so she needs a night out where all she does is drink and dance. It even goes as far to spell out what she’s wearing (favorite dress and sky high leather boots). The video does NONE of this. Instead, it has Kate Upton getting into a drinking contest with Arrested Development/Veep‘s Tony Hale. I guess it’s good for all you Kate Upton fans, but she’s dressed like a housewife.

I received my first check this week for work done for a comic company. That’s a pretty big milestone for me, and I kinda don’t wanna cash the check. Something like that should be framed! Anyway, I’ll talk more about it when I’m given the OK. It’s really nothing major, so don’t get too excited.

2014-06-25 20.38.16

Be sure to check out my review of Mattel’s DC Multiverse figures over at The Nerds of Color. I’m not really an action figure reviewer, and it shows, but I still had a few thoughts on the movie-inspired figures.

Links I Loved

Hey Squirrels, Electric Hatchback Cars, 80s Lovers and Cheap Piñatas – Can We Talk? – UnderScoopFire!

The Drive (and Despair) of The Rock: Dwayne Johnson on His Depression, Decision to Fire Agents and Paul Walker’s Death – The Hollywood Reporter

Mr. Serious Presents: A Love Letter to Batman ’89 – UnderScoopFire!

Looking Back at Batman: The Animated Series – The Nerds of Color

Batman-Logo

So, this week saw the 25th anniversary of 1989′s Batman, which ushered in a new era of comic book movies. It also seemed to have a profound effect on the lives of geeks everywhere. In the past week, I’ve been on 2 separate podcasts about the impact that the movie had on pop culture, plus my pals over at The Nerds of Color have christened this “Bat Week” in honor of the anniversary. Since I’ve been on those podcasts, I really don’t have much more to say about the movie than what I said there. If you’re interested, check out the final episode of The Cold Slither Podcast, as well as the latest episode of Hard N.O.C. Life. In any case, for making us believe a man could dress up like a bat and fight crime, Batman had the West Week Ever.

16th Jan2014

Track Star: Mr. Mister Vs. Boy Meets Girl

by Will

track

Welcome to Track Star! Don’t know the rules? Read this first

Today’s Challengers:

Mr. Mister – Welcome To The Real World vs. Boy Meets Girl – Reel Life

Today, we’re pitting two ’80s acts against each other. Mr. Mister had a hit song to which nobody seemed to know the words, while Boy Meets Girl were a songwriting act who weren’t used to being in the spotlight themselves. This time around, we’ve got a sampling of 6 songs from each group. Who’ll take the crown in this round of Track Star?

Welcome+To+The+Real+World+cover

Mr. Mister is a group known for two particular songs and, luckily, they both happen to be on Welcome To The Real World. This was actually the group’s second album, but served as a breakthrough since it included the #1 singles “Kyrie” and “Broken Wings”. This is a VERY ’80s album, as evidenced by the song “Don’t Slow Down”, which seems like it was written for a movie montage. “Run To Her” is a beautiful ballad, reminiscent of “Broken Wings” – known to every child of the ’80s. “Is It Love” is so ’80s that it’s wearing legwarmers and shoulder pads. Everyone knows “Kyrie”, even if they don’t know what’s being said (for the record, it’s “Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel.” It’s Latin for “Lord, have mercy.”). The album wraps up with the title track, “Welcome To The Real World”, which sounds like another montage anthem.

Boy+Meets+Girl+-+Reel+Life+-+CD+ALBUM-500730

Best known for their song “Waiting For A Star To Fall”, Boy Meets Girl spent most of the ’80s in the shadows of other people. The group was comprised of the songwriting duo of George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam. They wrote Whitney Houston’s hits “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, while they provided background vocals on Deniece Williams’s “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”. In 1988, they released Reel Life, which included their hit “Waiting…”, along with 9 other songs. I love this album because they sound like the prototype for the California Dreams – strong female vocals, great harmonies, and a sweet, poppy sound. The Dreams comparison begins with the opening track, “Bring Down The Moon”, which, then, leads us right into “Waiting For A Star To Fall”. Next up, “Stormy Love” and “If You Run” just further the comparison between Boy Meets Girl and the Dreams. “Restless Dreamer” is one of the strongest tracks on the album. Because this came later in the decade, I have to say that this feels and sounds more like a ’90s album than an ’80s album. Just listening to this and Mr. Mister back to back, it’s apparent that they weren’t contemporaries. The album closes out with “Someone’s Got To Send Out Love”, which is giving off a California Dreams ballad feel. Considering my love for that show and those songs, I’m really pulling for this album to win this round. Can it do it, though? Let’s find out.

You really could’ve seen where this one was headed, as I simply loved Reel Life. Sure, it suffers from “they all sound the same”-itis, but that’s not a problem if you’re a fan of that sound. At the end of the day, Reel Life just has more repeat “listenability” to me than Welcome To The Real World. Sure, there’s “Kyrie” and “Broken Wings”, but there’s not a whole lot other than those two. There are strong, serviceable tracks on the album, but they just aren’t as consistent as the songs on Reel Life. I feel like Boy Meets Girl have aged better, even though Mr. Mister are included on every 80s collection infomercial. It’s the “hidden gem” nature of Reel Life that really went a long way in this match-up.

The Winner:

Boy Meets Girl – Reel Life

Boy+Meets+Girl+-+Reel+Life+-+CD+ALBUM-500730

For those playing along at home, agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments!

20th Sep2013

West Week Ever – 9/20/13

by Will

oie_922142seDasWF9

1231704_10151595560456230_220472727_n_opt

So, last Saturday, Lindsay and I did the Color in Motion 5K. It was the first 5K for both of us, and it went pretty well. Like other color runs, there are stations set up along the route where volunteers NAIL you with a corn starch colored powder. For a good chunk of the race, I was blind in my left eye from where the red volunteer just went crazy on the left side of my face. Seeing as how a 5K is roughly 3 miles, I can say that I ran the first mile without stopping. Then, I realized I’d lost Lindsay, so I looked for her and we walked the rest of the way. Once done, I gave myself a baby wipes bath in the parking lot, and then headed up to Retro Con.

rc2013banner2

Retro Con, held outside of Philly, is a celebration of all things from the 80s and 90s. The vendors had everything from Transformers to Nintendo games. But I wasn’t there for the vendors. No, I was there for a mega Twitter meetup, as I’d finally get to meet a lot of my online friends for the first time. And it did not disappoint. Over the course of the day, I met @claymationhowl, @JohnDoctorKent, @FakeEyes22, @meistershake, @bmorin54, @doubledumbass, @P0LISHPHEN0M, @howardthedeck, @chapmanrunner, @monsterfink, and I reconnected with @lamarrevenger. Using the UnderScoopFire table as home base, we took turns taking tours of the place to see what we could find. Mostly we just found overpriced collectibles. I’d taken some Will’s World of Wonder stock to sell, but there weren’t many takers. In fact, it seemed like other dealers were doing most of the buying from each other. I had a rather tacky experience where I sold a Batman figure to a guy for $15. Later on, I found out he had a vendor table, and as I walked up, he tapped the figure, saying “Thanks for the hookup, man.” That’s when I noticed he had a $30 price tag on it. Needless to say, he ended up taking it home unsold. There were also retro cars like K.I.T.T., the General Lee, and the Back to the Future Delorean, but I ended up only seeing the DeLorean (I’d forgotten about the others until they had already left). Wanna see some pics?

I think I was this kid's first black experience. Even after I finished taking the pic, he continued to blast me until his mom made him stop.

I think I was this kid’s first black experience. Even after I finished taking the pic, he continued to blast me until his mom made him stop.

 

Flash Gordon and blerds!

Flash Gordon and blerds!

 

"I pity the fool who thinks I'm Chris Kirkpatrick!"

“I pity the fool who thinks I’m Chris Kirkpatrick from *NSYNC!”

Fighting evil by moonlight...

Fighting evil by moonlight…

 

It's my first Joe

It’s my first Joe!

 

Yeah, I collect Toy Fair catalogs, but there was no way I was paying $75 for this.

Yeah, I collect Toy Fair catalogs, but there was no way I was paying $75 for this.

This has become my most popular Instagram pic.

This has become my most popular Instagram pic.

 

In other news…

2013-09-19 07_opt

Since all the cool kids were talking about it, I decided to go out and seek some of those limited edition monster cereals that are hitting Target. Since Count Chockula and Boo Berry are kinda pedestrian, I went for the deeper cuts of Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute. I’d never had them growing up, as I wasn’t allowed to have much sugary cereal. So, what did I think? As an adult fan of sugary cereals, I was disappointed. Yummy Mummy is described as “orange cream flavored”, but it misses something. You see, I expected it to be infused with a citrusy twang, but it’s really just “orange” in scent and surface. At the end of the day, it’s just another sweetened corn cereal, but it doesn’t really do as much for its fruit side as Froot Loops or Crunchberries do. I killed the box yesterday morning and proceeded to open the Frute Brute – which is the same exact cereal, only orange-cream is traded for cherry. According to my taste buds, Yummy Mummy won the matchup.

arsenio

Arsenio Watch, Week 2: I quit. I’m not the biggest fan of myself, but I love myself enough to not endure that torture anymore.

I tend to wake up late in the mornings, so I watch a lot of daytime TV, like Jerry Springer and Judge Mathis. Since those shows are geared towards the unemployed, all the commercials are either for payday loans or unaccredited for-profit colleges being pimped by Lil Romeo. One, however, caught my eye recently. It’s for Kaplan University’s School of Nursing, and it stars a cute girl who’s updating her social media profile on her first day of nursing. All her friends and family are getting the message and congratulating her as she goes about her day. Then they show one of the “patients”:

2013-09-12 07.59.04

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!! You probably can’t tell because this picture was taken with a tube TV, but this guy looks like one of those soulless CG characters from The Polar Express. Uncanny Valley!!!! Someone had to have complained because I haven’t seen this commercial in a week. I found it on YouTube, and that scene is mysteriously missing:

Who can help me solve this mystery?!

Links I Loved

Magneto Was Right – The Nerds of Color

Rubber-Suit Monsters Fade. Tiny Tokyos Relax. – The New York Times

The History of the Trapper Keeper – Mental Floss

That ep of the No Topic Required Podcast that I mentioned last week has been posted, and you can listen to it here.

I’m not even gonna play the usual games. Considering all the friends I got to meet, it’s no contest that Retro Con had the West Week Ever. Make sure you follow them all on Twitter!

Me and Howie Decker

Me and Howie

Me and Corey

Me and Corey

Me and Tank

Me and Tank

 

Howie, Tank, Brian, and Dean

Howie, Tank, Brian, and Dean

 

See you guys next year, if not sooner!

03rd Sep2013

Introducing…Track Star!

by Will

I like “bad” music. Of course I don’t consider it bad, but in the court of public opinion, my favorite musical acts would be considered bad. At the very least, it would be considered “guilty pleasure”. We’re talking boybands, pop starlets, 80s synth groups, etc. Still, I LOVE music – of all kinds, actually, but I always come back to the “bad” stuff. Growing up, I had quite the CD addiction which spiraled out of control once I got a burner. At last count, it’s something around 900 CDs that I haven’t even touched in years since all my music is on this very computer. Oh, did I mention that this music is completely different than what’s on those CDs? Yeah, I’ve never ripped a disc in my life. Crazy, right? Even in this age of modern technology, I find myself still buying CDs. See, I find them in thrift stores, and they’re only $2, which is a far cry from the $16-20 that I used to have to pay. Sure, I joined Columbia House and BMG like every other fiscally irresponsible teenager, but I’ve sunk thousands into the purchase of music. That’s not even an exaggeration. Where was I? Oh yeah, CDs cost almost nothing now, so I find myself buying albums for one song that I think I liked back in ’97, only to find the rest of the CD is a trainwreck. As you can imagine, these discs are starting to stack up, and they don’t really deserve a slot in The Collection. That’s when I devised Track Star – a two CDs enter, one CD leaves battle royale.

track

Here’s how Track Star will work: I’m pitting two CDs against each other. They won’t necessarily be of the same genre, and may have nothing in common. Most of the time it will just depend on the luck of the draw. Two “vintage” CDs will be played through from beginning to end, as I search for any and every track that might earn the disc a spot in my permanent collection. In order for it to be somewhat of a fair fight, each disc must have AT LEAST 3 strong songs to bit against one another. Some albums have no single-worthy songs (see Justin Guarini’s debut album), and this would stop the competition before it even starts. If there aren’t 3 strong songs on a particular disc, it will be disqualified and donated to the thrift store; the remaining disc may be pitted against another CD in the future. Outside of disqualification situations, a CD will only enter competition once. The winner stays, while the loser goes back to the thrift store. Got it? If not, here it is in bullet-point format:

-Two CDs, of potentially disparate genres, are pitted against each other

-Each disc must have THREE (3) strong tracks in order to do battle, or else there will be a disqualification

-The loser will be donated to the thrift store from whence it came, while the winner will be crowned the Track Star, and it will join The Collection

What’s a “strong” track? Who knows? It could all come down to how I’m feeling that day. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!

To make things easier for you to play along at home, each post will be accompanied by a Spotify playlist of the albums in question. After listening along, you can tell me your thoughts in the comments. Got it?

The first challengers are coming up in a few days, so be there or be square!

28th Jun2013

West Week Ever – 6/28/13

by Will
8bad1ccc-a8fc-4402-88e4-47a2684963bawallpaper

Who had the West Week Ever? Read on to find out!

Song of the Day: Ke$ha – Grow A Pear

Not only do I like the play on words, but I totally used to be this guy. Hell, I probably still am!

Why isn’t Head of the Class on anywhere these days? Isn’t that what TV Land is for? I was listening to 60s on 6 this morning, and the song from Hair came on. It reminded me of the Head of the Class two-parter where they’re gonna do Hair for their school play, but Dr. Samuels doesn’t want them doing the nude scenes. Looking back, why the Hell did they think that would ever fly in a New York public school? Oh, you don’t even know what I’m talking about? OK, Head of the Class was a late 80s show on ABC that chronicled the exploits of the gifted kids in the Individualized Honors Program class at Fillmore High. They came from all walks of life, but all had secret potential just waiting to burst out (audience goes *awww*). Here are the opening credits:

Now, I gotta ask: Did Mr. Moore go through that shit every day just to get to work? Hitchhiking in 80s New York?! He’s lucky he didn’t get strangled. Just buy a friggin’ subway pass. And I love how the whole class is waiting to applaud him for coming to work – you know, doing his fucking job! Anyway, Howard Hesseman also played Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP In Cincinnati, and I like to pretend that Mr. Moore is just the same character, only he finally got himself cleaned up and off the drugs. Anyway, the legacy of the show is that the fat kid went on to create every tween show on Nick (All That, The Amanda Show, iCarly, etc), while the greaser went on to produce everything else (Smallville, One Tree Hill, What I Like About You).

Bandai America created something I really want, but have no shot at getting: with a production run of 1000, and being released at San Diego Comic-Con, I give you the Green Ranger/White Ranger Edition Legacy Morpher:

1005567_10151528548274021_1570911332_n

I know you’re saying, “Will, it’s for kids”, but this most certainly is NOT. How many kids items are 24 karat gold?! Anyway, since I’ll never own it, the consolation prize is watching adults losing their shit on Bandai in the comments over on Facebook. Schadenfreude’s the best!

The_Simpsons_Uncensored,_Unauthorized_History

Have you ever read a book that told you a lot and yet told you nothing all at the same time? That’s how I felt when I read The Simpsons: An Unauthorized, Uncensored History this week. To start, I’m not even the biggest Simpsons fan, but I do happen to be a Simpsons apologist. I don’t watch every episode, but I enjoy every one that I see. I feel like it’s just the “cool kid” thing to say that the show sucks now, but it’s held up amazingly well for its age. Anyway, I bought this book during a buying frenzy when Borders went into clearance mode, and I figured now was as good a time as any to read it. I tend to love a good “oral history” book, but this one was so poorly written. I was amazed by the typos that made it through – sometimes changing the meaning of sentences. It was also crippled by the fact that none of the current staff cooperated with the making of the book, so the anecdotes are taken from old magazine interviews and DVD commentaries. After reading 291 pages, the main point hammered home is that Matt Groening is a lucky dude who has no right to be as rich and famous as he is. The entire Simpsons franchise was a collaborative effort between folks who never got the credit they deserved, while Matt just cashed his merchandising checks. I like books on network television, as well as books on humor. This was both, but it wasn’t really good at being either. I do not recommend this book!

This Week’s Posts

Where’s Mama Cass?

FAIL Call Tuesday – Ironclad Defense

Thrift Justice – The Expendables XI: Never Stop Spending!!!

Ladies & Gentlemen…

One changed his mind, while the other changed her dialect. One returned after many years, while the other may not return at all. Only one, however, could have the West Week Ever.

Happy_Endings_Season_3_Poster

I know what you’re saying: “Why Happy Endings, Will?” Well, this was my favorite show of the past 3 years, and this may be my final chance to salute it. You see, today is the last day for another network to swoop in and save the show. After today, Sony’s contract hold on the actors expires and they’re free to take other roles. If you’ve never seen it, you really missed out. Think of a modern day, single camera Friends that’s actually funny. It was also a really clever show, and I’m sad to know it probably won’t be around any longer. So, for all the laughs, here’s to Happy Endings for having the West Week Ever.

26th Jun2013

Thrift Justice – The Expendables XI: Never Stop Spending!!!

by Will

2013-06-25 21.50.28

 

When I saw all of these guys in one bag at the thrift store yesterday, I HAD to buy them. Then the story hit me – this wasn’t just coincidence. No, these were the makings of the 11th installment of The Expendables, subtitled “Never Stop Spending!!!” Here’s how it goes:

2013-06-25 21.50.49

Main man Barney Ross is back, and he needs a team to help him overthrow a South American dictator. This job requires a special kind of finesse, though, so he can’t depend on the rough and tumble guys from the last 10 gigs. No, he’s got to be more delicate this go ’round.

2013-06-25 21.51.03

First up, Ross knows he’ll need muscle, but cooler heads prevail in the thick of the action. That’s why he calls up Booker from the 2nd job. He’s got brute force, yet he’s deadlier because he knows where, when, and how to use it.

2013-06-25 21.51.12

Next up, Ross needs a pilot. This time he goes with an unknown, who only answers to the name “Baloo”. He supposedly does cargo runs through a little burg called Cape Suzette, but none of that matters to Ross. All he knows is he needs a flyboy – one who’ll keep his mouth shut.

2013-06-25 21.51.27

Ross knows he can’t just take on a sovereign nation without a little international backup. That’s where grizzled, ex-cop “D.T.” comes in. Apparently, he has ties to Interpol, and knows just about everyone you need to know in this kind of business. He’s also got a mean swing with that billy club!

2013-06-25 21.51.45

Every team needs a master thief, and that’s where Hood comes in. He’s also pulling double duty on this one, serving as the marksman.

2013-06-25 21.52.20

What Ross doesn’t realize is that this job actually has TWO master thieves on the team. The mysterious man known only as “LeBeau” is on the team as the demolitions expert. Do I smell third act plot twist?

2013-06-25 21.52.32

Finally, there’s “The Kid”. Don’t let his looks fool you – rumor has it he fucked with some robotic dinosaurs or some shit back in the day. Anyway, The Kid’s parents were missionaries in the South American country when his dad was murdered by the dictator’s forces. His mom’s now a waitress in one of the local titty bars. Ross counts on The Kid for intel, as well as to get the lay of the land.

Here they are: Your new EXPENDABLES!!!!

2013-06-25 21.50.28-300x168 (9)

It adds to the effect if you make explosion sounds with your mouth while looking at it

19th Jun2013

A Tribute to Mystic Music’s Cool Rock

by Will

51oJJ5Pr3nL._SL500_SY300_

I have a confession to make: I like “crappy” music. You’re not new here, so none of this should come as a surprise. Anyway, growing up, one thing I wanted more than anything was a compilation from Mystic Music called Cool Rock. Now, let’s talk a little about what was on those discs. You see, they never had the rights to HUGE hits or artists, so no Madonna or Michael Jackson or anything like that. No, Cool Rock was mainly the home of One-Hit Wonders from the late 80s/early 90s. I used to stay up late, just hoping to see the commercial for the set. See, this was prior to the days of infomercials, so this was only seen in 30 second doses during episodes of Studs (why hasn’t that show been rebooted? I love shitty dating shows) or M*A*S*H*.

Over the years, I’ve realized my exposure to Cool Rock had an adverse effect on my musical knowledge. You see, while it taught me a lot of songs, I actually only learned the choruses. So, at times I find myself in a shopping mall, and a somewhat familiar song comes on that I can’t place. The chord progression’s familiar to me, as I KNOW I’ve heard this thing before, but I can’t remember what it is. Then, I hear “Don’t forget me when I’m gonnnne!” Hey, I remember that song! But that’s what the verses sound like? What a piece of shit!

Anyway, I used to try to con my mom into ordering the set for me, but she always tried to say something like “Well, that’ll be your Christmas present.” Fuck that noise! I’m not wasting prime gift real estate on a 2-CD set of a bunch of has beens! If that was the cost of owning the compilation, in the immortal words of Meatloaf, “I won’t do that”.

When I got to college, I was introduced to the world of high-speed internet. Now that the statute of limitations has probably passed, I can also admit that I had a lusty affair with a file-sharing wonder known as Napster. One late night, as my roommate tried to conceal that fact that he was masturbating under his desk, a light bulb went off as I pretended to be asleep: I could create my OWN Cool Rock. I now had the technology! So, I set out to find the entire tracklist (which took about 2 hours), and then moved on to Cool Rock‘s shy younger sister, Red Hot. Then, there was no stopping me. I decided to compile the greatest 80s collection EVER MADE! After all, Time Life had a collection that came close, but it was about $120, my mom was using that Christmas stall tactic again. Eventually, my “Absolute Will Ultimate 80s Collection” grew to around 12 discs.

Ive been thinking about my 80s collection lately for one important reason: due to how they’re made, CD-Rs only have a lifespan of about 10 yrs. And it has been about 10 years since I burned the last disc. Am I about to lose my music to the ravages of time? I already transferred as much as I could to iTunes, but some discs can’t be read anymore. I fear my project, much like Cool Rock itself, will soon be forgotten. So, join me one last time, to honor Glass Tiger, Club Nouveau, and all the other featured artists who can’t even get arrested today. We should never forget our past, including the shameful parts. Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other.