23rd Sep2016

West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 9/23/16

by Will

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WWE Edit

So I started a new job last week, and it has drastically changed my life. I used to roll into work whenever I wanted, blog, tweet, the works! Now everything is blocked and they are kicking my ass. I feel like I’m gradually losing my grasp on pop culture, but I’m doing my best to hang on. So, let’s see if I’ve still got it, huh?

I had no time to watch movies this week because in the world of television it was PREMIERE WEEK! New shows! Returning shows! Bad shows! Good shows!

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On Monday, I caught Kevin Can Wait on CBS. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not the cool kid thing to do, but I actually really liked The King of Queens, and I think I’m the only person, besides Adam Sandler, still championing James’s career. In the show, James is a retired cop who’s trying to get used to civilian life. It follows the fat schlub/hot wife sitcom formula, with Childrens Hospital‘s Erinn Hayes as his wife. In the pilot, James meets his daughter’s effeminate fiance and can’t deal. Oh, and there’s a role for his real life brother, Gary Valentine, who happens to be in most Kevin James productions. At the end of the day, it’s serviceable, but not great. It’s basically Kevin James starring in Last Man Standing. Swap out James for Tim Allen, and this easily could’ve been a spec script for that show. There’s not a lot on Monday nights, so I might stick with it, but I won’t enjoy it. It might end up like Rules of Engagement: not very good, but kinda manages to be decent background noise for 7 seasons.

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Tuesday night gave us the return of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which had been heavily promoted because they were introducing the latest incarnation of Marvel antihero Ghost Rider. This version, with the alter ego of Robbie Reyes, drives a supercharged Charger powered by the Spirit of Vengeance. So, he’s really more like Ghost Driver than Ghost Rider. Ah, semantics. A lot of folks thought it was a great episode. I, however, did not. I actually loved the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider in the comics, but seeing him onscreen did nothing to energize a show as weak as Agents. I just don’t think that he fits tonally. They spent all this time facing Inhumans and now they’re fighting demons? I guess they’ve got to diversify their portfolio, but it just seems like a leap to me. I also hate the whole “We’ve gotta eventually get the band back together” vibe of the season, since they’ve been scattered across the organization. Some folks online remarked that it felt like an entirely new show, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Based on the ratings, which were about 1.5 million viewers lower than last season’s premiere, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the final season. Still, the show has way outlasted my initial projections.

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Wednesday brought 2 delightful new treats: Lethal Weapon and Designated Survivor. Now, I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen Lethal Weapon. In fact, I think I’ve only seen the 4th one. That’s the one from that week Jet Li was famous, right? Yeah, DVDs were just hitting the scene, and my freshman year roommate bought it. So, I’ve seen that one. Never seen the original recipe, though. So, I can’t tell if they nailed the characters or not in the TV adaptation. What I will say is that I loved what they did with them. In my mind, this show was just Fastlane: 15 Years Later. If you’re not familiar, Fastlane was a one-hour action comedy on Fox back in 2002, created by McG of the Charlie’s Angels reboot fame. Starring Bill Bellamy and Peter Facinelli as undercover cops who took orders from Tiffani-Amber Theissen, it was hot women, fast cars, and a hot soundtrack. It was the Foxiest Fox show of the early ’00s. It only lasted one season, and I loved the HELL out of it. I have the whole show on both legal and illegal DVDs. I loved it that much. Anyway, if they had been allowed to age naturally, I feel like they would’ve evolved into Damon Wayans’s Murtaugh and Clayne Crawford’s Riggs. Anyway, Murtaugh’s coming back on the job following a heart attack and he’s paired with recently widowed Riggs, who clearly has a deathwish. Can they get along? Will hilarity ensue? Well, you’ll have to tune in to see, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I watched. I will be back next week.

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Next, ABC gave us Kiefer Sutherland in Designated Survivor. Basically, during the State of the Union, one cabinet member is designated to stay behind in case something drastic happens. Well, it does, as the Capitol blows up (Man, between BvS and this show, Hollywood REALLY hates the Capitol this year), killing EVERYONE. So Kiefer, who had just that morning been fired as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, finds himself thrust into the role of President of the United States. Nobody thinks he’s qualified for the job, Kiefer included. Meanwhile, there are a few subplots. Who is FBI agent Maggie Q looking for in the rubble? Why is Kiefer’s son selling drugs in da clurb? Was this whole thing orchestrated by some unseen force? It’s funny to watch because we spent 8 years getting to know Kiefer as Impossible White Man Jack Bauer. There was nothing he couldn’t do, so it’s kinda strange to watch him be such a pussy. Right now, I’m pretending that Jack has amnesia and that he’ll regain his memory and skills by season’s end. There are glimpses of Jack that sneak out, such as Kiefer’s confrontation with the Iranian (?) leader who seems to be trying to take advantage of the situation. He threatened the dude, and it was like Jack was back with us in the flesh. But it was not to be, as he returned to his meek self following the meeting. Still, it’s a suspenseful hour, and Kiefer has been the king of TV suspense for the past 15 years, so I’m all in for this.

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Finally, last night gave us the premiere of Pitch on Fox, focusing on Ginny Baker, who will be the first woman to play major league baseball. In the series, Baker gets called up from the minors to start for the Padres and she BOMBS. Meanwhile, we get flashbacks to how she came to be where she is. Her discovery of baseball, her refining her skills – all while her overbearing father was behind her. Apparently his major league dreams flamed out and, when he saw that his son wasn’t going to follow in his footsteps, he focused on his more talented daughter. It’s funny to me that after 30 years, there’s still something that could be considered a “Fox show”. Like, it’s an ingredient that can’t be shaken. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but there are some projects that would only work on Fox, and this is one of them. It was a good hour, and it ended with quite the twist (seriously, between this and NBC’s This Is Us, it appears that weird twists are en vogue this season), but I don’t know how long it could last. If they went into it as a Done In One, I could really embrace it. But if they’re trying to build a franchise out of this show, I just don’t think there’s much there. Still, I enjoyed Mark-Paul Gosselaar acting like the asshole we always knew Zack Morris would grow up to be. I’ve got nothing else going on Thursdays at 9, so I’ll stick with it for now.

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In movie news, we got our first glimpse of the Power Rangers movie Zords in these new character posters. I have no clue what I’m looking at. Seriously, are they even still dinosaurs? I can make out the Mastodon’s tusks and that’s about it. The rest is just so…”Bayformers”. It was also announced that Bill Hader would be voicing Zordon’s assistant Alpha 5. Wow, this movie is the surprise that keeps on surprising. The trailer will debut next month at New York Comic-Con.

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Speaking of Power Rangers, the Yellow Ranger was mysteriously recast for Power Rangers Ninja Steel. Though the entire cast was introduced last month at Power Morphicon, it appears that Chantz Simpson (that CAN’T be his real name!) has left the production. His role has been recast with Nico Greetham. I find this casting interesting because a lot of folks had pointed out that this would be the first season without a single White member of the team. It was basically the Diversity Rangers, which was unprecedented. But with the casting of Greetham, we’ve got a White guy again. I wonder if there was some pressure for them to do that. Anyway, this follows a long tradition of recast Yellow Rangers, as it happened in Mighty Morphin (Trini was originally Latina), it happened in Lost Galaxy, and it supposedly happened in RPM.

Recently I’ve been talking a lot about country music on here, but that’s really because it’s the only music I keep up with these days. I can’t tell you anything about the pop charts, but I can name Maren Morris’s latest song (“80s Mercedes”) and I listen to Bobby Bones every morning. I’ve always loved pop, but I’ve also always loved country. When I was a baby, I used to have WMZQ playing next to my crib and it stuck with me. In fact, my migration to pop was a slow one. It started with soft rock, “at work radio”, and then made its way to boybands and Britney. But it wasn’t always like that. When I started dating Lindsay, the country came roaring back, as that’s pretty much all she listened to. For a while, I could juggle the pop and the country, but lately it’s pretty much all country these days. Anyway, this is a long intro for me to say that I’ve got a LOT of thoughts on “Forever Country”, the mash-up song released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Association.

The video for “Forever Country” was released this week, and it’s a medley of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again”, and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”. The song is sung by 30 of country’s hottest stars, like Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, and more. I also appreciated that they included Darius Rucker and Charley Pride to add some diversity. There are, however, some glaring omissions: Where’s Kenny Rogers? Where’s GARTH?! That last one is even more odd, as Garth’s wife Trisha is present on the track. I thought maybe it was a scheduling conflict, but I’ve read that he’s against the platforms where the song will be released, such as YouTube, iTunes, and Spotify (his songs aren’t on any of those services). I’ve got a confession to make: I’ve never really liked Garth, so it’s not a huge loss to me. I missed the Garth Brooks era the same way I missed the WWE Attitude Era. By that point, I was knee deep in Ace of Base. The only reason I even know “Friends in Low Places” is because drunk White people love to sing it once “Don’t Stop Believin'” goes off. But if you’re tackling the biggest stars of the past 50 years, you’ve GOTTA have Garth. It’s just incomplete without him.

Now, the video itself is a frenetic mess. It moves too quickly. There’s not enough focus on each contributor. It honestly makes me dizzy. Plus, it’s obvious it was just some green screen thrown together for whenever the artists were free to come in and film their parts. I mean, there’s no way Blake and Miranda were in the same room together. So, I like the idea of the song, especially since it allows Dolly to reclaim her song; it always kinda bothered me that everyone thought of it as a Whitney Houston song, but Dolly cashed all those royalty checks, so I’m sure she’s cool with it. They do a good job mixing the three songs, and it’s not something treacly like “We Are The World” or “Let The Music Heal Your Soul”. The video could’ve been a lot better, though.

Things You Might’ve Missed This Week

  • Season THIRTY-THREE of Survivor premiered. You did this, America. You only have yourselves to blame.
  • Brangelina powered down into its divided forms of “Brad” and “Angelina”, as Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt.
  • 80s heart throb Corey Feldman had an emotional breakdown after the internet had a field day with his performance on The Today Show.
  • On Empire, they killed off the White girl. Poor Rhonda never really had a chance.
  • The Big Bang Theory kicked off what is likely its final season. And the “real nerds” rejoiced.
  • Buckle up, Puddin’ – Margot Robbie will host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live on October 1st
  • Two of my recent favorites – Better Late Than Never and Odd Mom Out – scored renewals this week. (Thanks for the tip, @jrwells82!)
  • CBS’s The Case of JonBenet Ramsey proposed that her older brother was her killer, and it was covered up by the parents

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So, I don’t talk about her on here, mainly because I basically have to beg her to read this thing, but today we’re gonna talk about my wife.

When we first met, I was much skinnier and used to run. The running started in college, when my friend Eric and I used to take midnight jogs to Wegmans (What? It was Ithaca and nothing else was open). I kept running even when I came home, but it decreased somewhat. I had an ex who did marathons (though you wouldn’t know it to look at her. Bada-bing!), and I would run with her to help her train. After awhile, though, the running tapered off. I met Lindsay and she was the type of person who would only run if being chased, and even then it was a crapshoot.

So, fast forward 8 years later. I have gained…some pounds, and now Lindsay runs. She started about a year ago, just starting out with a Couch to 5K program. She had done one in the past, as we ran the Color in Motion 5K Run some years ago. Still, she hadn’t really stuck with it after that, so she was giving it another shot. Well, Couch to 5K turned into actual 5Ks, and then 10Ks, and then 10 milers. She gets up every morning at a time when I’m usually going to bed (we’re on two completely different schedules), and goes for her runs. She’s only missed running due to illness. Other than that, she forces herself to get up and puts in the work. Well, last Sunday, after months of training, she ran (and completed) her first half marathon! This from a woman who would’ve probably let her attacker overtake her just a mere year ago. This my long drawn out way to say that I’m proud of her, and watching her complete that half was the most impressive thing I witnessed this week. So, with that in mind, Lindsay West had the West Week Ever.

13th Nov2015

West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 11/13/15

by Will

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crazy-ex-girlfriend

Since we’re a few weeks into the television season at this point, I think I can safely say that The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is my favorite new show. When I first I heard about it, I was oddly intrigued, but then I completely ignored it once it debuted. After reading @zacshipley’s tweets raving about it, I decided to bingewatch the first four episodes last Monday. Viral video star Rachel Bloom stars as Rebecca Bunch, a high-powered New York lawyer who has something of a quarterlife crisis. After a chance meeting with her high school summer crush, Josh, she decides to quit her job and follow him to West Covina, California. Once she gets there, she has to start her life over, and try to convince herself, and everyone around her, that she didn’t actually move there for Josh. Oh, and it has musical numbers, because she’s kinda crazy. Bloom is great in the role, and I think she may be my new celebrity crush. Seriously, every scene she’s in costars her cleavage to the point that the show ought to be called Crazy Tits or something. Anyway, the ratings ain’t so good for the show, but The CW is required to have a certain amount of programming from both Warner Bros and CBS. It currently has tons of WB shows, but not many CBS shows, of which Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is one, so that might save it. Anyway, if you want a wacky show, with shades of Felicity meets Glee, then I highly recommend checking it out.

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In other television news, it was announced that The Real Housewives of Potomac would be premiering in January on Bravo. I’m not sure what’s more surprising to me – the fact that they’re trying again in this region after the disaster that was The Real Housewives of DC OR the fact that they seem to have found the only 6 Black women in Potomac. If you’re not familiar with Maryland, Potomac is a really rich, predominantly White suburb of Washington, DC. I’m pretty familiar with it, as I live about 15 minutes away. Demographically, the makeup of the cast should be closer to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Instead, it’s closer to that of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Anyway, I don’t really plan on watching this, as the only Real Housewives cast I ever liked was New York City. I might watch the premiere, though, just to see if I recognize landmarks.

Into-the-Badlands

In terms of shows closer to their premiere date, Into The Badlands premieres on AMC this Sunday night. I’ve heard people excited about it since it because it’s a martial arts drama featuring the fight choreographer from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Most of the advance reviews I’ve read, however, haven’t been positive. I know it’s somewhat groundbreaking to have an action show with Asian leads, but this show just looks dreadful to me. Somehow they even got Russell Crowe onboard, but every time I see a commercial for it, it looks like it should be on the Action Pack of the mid 90s. Remember the Action Pack? Does this ring a bell?

Anyway, I’ll watch the premiere just to see what all the fanfare’s about. I might even be proven wrong. But for now, I don’t have high hopes for whatever’s waiting in those Badlands.

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Finally in TV news, it appears they’re going to make a TV series based on Snowpiercer. I really enjoyed the film, but would this be a prequel? I mean, there were about 15 years of train life that we never saw, so I guess we could see the beginning of things when the CW-7 was first released into the atmosphere. Then, we could see culture being recentered around the Great Engine. Actually, this sounds kinda interesting the more that I think about it. I just wonder if it matters that we know how it all ends. Maybe it’ll be “based” on the movie the same way that FX’s Fargo is “based” on that movie.

Becky G Yellow Ranger

About 2 weeks ago, it was announced that recording artist Becky G had been cast as the Yellow Ranger in the upcoming Saban’s Power Rangers (I still really hate that name). While they’ve cast a bunch of unknowns in the other roles, Becky probably has the most star power on the team after a recent stint on Empire, not to mention the social media following she’s got for her music. This casting news doesn’t really make me any more excited for the movie, though, as January 2017 feels so far away to me.

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In other movie news, the Jem and the Holograms movie has been taken out of theaters, only 2 weeks after its release. As one of the biggest bombs in box office history, the move isn’t very surprising. When it comes to 80s properties, Jem isn’t very high on my list. I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the franchise. I’ve seen a few episodes and I read the first story arc of the IDW comic. Still, I think I know the general gist of it. Jerrica Benton has some computer A.I. called “Synergy” that transforms her into Jem using futuristic hologram technology. And she’s in a band, whose rivals are The Misfits. And to my knowledge, the movie contained basically none of that. Great job, Universal. It’s a shame, too, for a couple of reasons. First off, Universal has had an amazing year, with the release of Minions, Furious 7, and Jurassic World. They made over $4 BILLION on those 3 movies alone! Second, it seems like director Jon Chu supposedly pitched a faithful adaptation to the studio, but was rejected. So, he ended up making whatever it was that ended up onscreen. Ya know, I had no real interest in the movie before, but now that it has this reputation, I have a morbid curiosity to check it out. I can’t wait for it to end up in the Walmart $5 bin.

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In a bit of sad news, on the UnderScoopFire podcast this week, host Corey announced that the show would be coming to an end at the end of the year. They are quickly approaching episode #150 (through some dubious math, mind you!), and figured it would be a great note on which to go out. Fear not, listeners, as God closes a door and opens a window. While the USF show will be coming to an end, Corey will be starting a new show early next year in much the same vein as what he’s doing now. The only bright side to this is that I will go down in history as the Champion for Life of their “What’s The Scoop?” gameshow. So, before they shut down the USF feed, you better check out my sidebar and check out the episodes where they had me on as a guest!

Christmas

In a bit of local radio news, we have a station in DC, WASH, that always switches to Christmas music at this time of year. They’ve been doing it for years, and it gets earlier and earlier each year. Well, their rival station, WRQX, is flipping formats and decided, “Ya know what? We’re gonna do the nonstop Christmas music thing, too.” They were scheduled to make the switch at noon today. Well, WASH got wind of their plan, and said “Oh no you effing don’t!” and they flipped the switch to their all-Christmas format yesterday. So, by the time you read this, we’ll have 2 stations playing nothing but Christmas music, yet nobody who’ll play Phil Collins. Look, I love Christmas music, as this is the season we celebrate the miracle birth of the Baby Will. That said, there are only so many times a day you can hear Wham’s “Last Christmas” before you want to go on a Michael Douglas, Falling Down rampage. God help us all!

Links I Loved

The Nod: A Subtle Lowering of the Head You Give to Another Black Person in an Overwhelmingly White Place – Medium

BREAKING: Friend Who Just Got Motorcycle Already Dead – The Onion

Mail Call From Pop! Pop! It’s Trash Culture (Halloween Edition!) – Horror Movie BBQ

aziz

OK, I owe Aziz Ansari an apology. Over the past year or so, I’ve written about how I don’t like his recent transformation. In the beginning, when we met him on Human Giant, he was the wacky Indian dude. He was hilarious as Tom Haverford on Parks & Rec. And his standup specials were hilarious, as he recounted tales of hanging out with Kanye, as well as joked about his little cousin Darwish. Then, about a year ago, something changed. He suddenly became the relationship guru for the digital age. His act started incorporating some heavy stuff, such as his uncertainty about marriage, and how texting has ruined the art of dating. To me, it would have been one thing if this was just a portion of his act, but this was his WHOLE ACT. It seemed like the old, fun Aziz was gone, and we were left with the older, more introspective Aziz. No me gusta! So, when I heard about his Netflix series, Master of None, I wasn’t too optimistic, as I figured it would be a showcase for Nu Aziz. And I was right. But I was also wrong.

Master of None is a 10-episode series streaming on Netflix, and it’s some of the best television I’ve seen in a long time. While it does explore modern relationships, it also goes into things such as the immigrant experience and the racism in Hollywood. When a friend wonders why a sitcom can’t have two Indian guys, Aziz reminds him that the public isn’t ready for that yet, seeing as how they just got used to the idea of 2 Black guys on a show without it being considered a “Black show”. When he realizes he’s kinda been a dick to his dad, he and another first-generation friend decide to take their parents out to dinner, to hear stories of the old days. And what follows is an examination of the immigrant experience that you don’t often see on television today. Sure, Nu Aziz was there, but old wacky Aziz was there, too. In the first episode, he and his friend Arnold go to a toy store, and Old Aziz comes out to play.

Meanwhile, the supporting cast is amazing. Aziz’s lesbian friend Denise steals every scene she’s in, while his friend Arnold is the giant man child that we all know and love. The biggest surprise to me, however, was Noël Wells. When she was on SNL, she was totally forgettable. I can’t remember a single thing that she did. Here, however, she’s a delight as love interest Rachel. When we first meet her, again, I wasn’t expecting much from her. But as their friendship and relationship progress, she really comes into her own. A TV critic that I follow on Twitter acknowledged that it wasn’t that she was untalented on SNL, but rather she was very talented and SNL simply didn’t know what to do with her. I’d have to agree with that assessment. The biggest star, however, had to be Aziz’s real dad, Shoukath Ansari, who plays the father to Aziz’s character, Dev. Everything he said cracked me up, but he also brought a lot of heart to the series.

So, was I wrong about Aziz? Yes. He’s still got it. I enjoyed Master of None so much that I’m actually going to pick up his book, Modern Romance. A lot of people are described this show as Aziz’s Louie, so if you like that show, you’ll definitely love this. Even if you don’t like it (which I don’t, really. I’ve always related more to Maron), you’ll still love this. So, Master of None had the West Week Ever.

29th Dec2014

West Week Ever – 12/29/14

by Will

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ride along

My birthday was pretty low-key last Tuesday, as most of my family members were under the weather. So, I spent the night clearing off the DVR. What did I watch? Well, I’m glad you asked! First up was Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. I’d love to travel back to the 90s and tell Ice Cube that his future is filled with cop roles. He’d probably shoot himself, unraveling time and space as we know it! Anyway, Kevin Hart gets accepted into the police academy, and to prove himself to his girlfriend’s cop brother (Ice Cube), he goes on a ride along. And hilarity ensues. Or does it? I enjoyed the movie because I love Kevin Hart, but it’s formulaic as Hell. Unless you’re a Hart fan, just skip it because you already know exactly how it’s gonna play out. There are no “Shyamalanian” twists or anything. It’s got some high speed chases, but felt like something directed by McG. Decent way to pass some time, but it’s not worth owning or anything.

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Next up, I watched Walk of Shame, starring Elizabeth Banks. This movie was released directly to Video On Demand at the same time as its theatrical release. That should tell you all you need to know. Actually, the dual release probably helped it, as it was only released in 51 theaters and made a paltry $38,000 on a $15 million budget. Banks stars as TV reporter Meghan Miles who’s dying to get a network anchor job. Her opportunity arises, but she may lose it due to one very bad day following a one night stand. If you’ve ever seen the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down, think of this as a comedic version of that same template. A whole bunch of shit happens to Banks, while she runs around in a tight yellow dress. If that sounds like something you’d like, then this movie’s for you. Like Ride Along, however, this movie was SO formulaic. You haven’t even seen it, but you probably know how it’s going to end. So, come for the humor, stay for the tiny yellow dress. It’ll be worth a watch once it comes to FX, but you definitely shouldn’t go to any trouble to watch it or anything.

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Finally, I watched R.I.P.D. This movie wants to be Men In Black so bad, but I don’t have a problem with that. I actually really enjoyed it and it’s a shame it bombed, as I’d be down for a R.I.P.D. franchise. Poor Ryan Reynolds can’t catch a break, as I’m sure he thought this would be a success when he heard that Jeff Bridges was in the cast. He certainly needed a win after the failure of Green Lantern. Sadly, the box office didn’t feel the same way. Reynolds plays a pseudo-dirty cop who’s killed by his partner. Once dead, he’s recruited into the Rest In Peace Department, and learns that there’s a whole supernatural world outside of the world that he knew. The R.I.P.D. is tasked with apprehending “deadoes” – evil souls that fell through the cracks of judgement. Teamed up with Western lawman Bridges, Reynolds vows to stop his former partner before he initiates a ritual that will return the dead to the Earth. One thing I found interesting about the movie was that it was the most secular take on the afterlife that I can remember. They deal with death, life after death, and the concept of evil souls, yet they never mention God. They do mention judgement, and that everyone has to take their chances with it, but the R.I.P.D. doesn’t work for the Man In The Clouds. They do seem to answer to a collective of elders from on high, but there doesn’t seem to be an ultimate, supreme being amongst them. The special effects are really good, as many of them are worth the price of admission alone. If you ever get the chance on a rainy Saturday, definitely give this one a chance.

Fast and Furious 6

It was announced this week that Justin Lin, director of much of the Fast & Furious franchise, will be directing the 3rd movie in the Star Trek reboot series. I don’t even know what to make of this news. First of all, it makes me think the Enterprise is gonna have a NOS button and have 13 warp nacelles, but maybe I’m being unfair. He’s proven he can do action, but can he do science fiction? Notes trickling out from the studio report that they want the movie to be more like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – whatever that means. Are they looking for more humor? More derring-do? What exactly would make Trek like GOTG, and would that even be a good thing? And is Lin the one to provide that? After a lot of shake-ups, it seems like Lin was simply the last man standing. After all, Roberto Orci dropped out of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers reboot in order to helm Trek 3, only to be sent packing months later. These developments don’t make me feel great about this next installment, especially when I wasn’t such a big fan of Star Trek Into Darkness.

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In a reversal of fortunes, it appears that The Interview will see the light of day. There were screenings of the movie on Christmas Day, but you can currently watch it online via Google Play, YouTube, and XBox Video. I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, but rest assured I’ll share my thoughts once I do.

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According to the infamous Sony hack, Idris Elba was being considered for the role of James Bond. Of course, this would make him the first Black Bond, and certain folks, like Rush Limbaugh, aren’t too happy about it. I think the Bond franchise has done a pretty good job of changing with the times, so maybe it’s time for a Black Bond. Elba is certainly dashing, and he’s got the acting chops. It’s just a question of whether the audience is ready. After all, the racebending Annie remake isn’t doing so well in theaters, but it remains to be seen if that’s because of Black Annie or if it’s simply not a good movie.

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This week, I discovered the Cartoon Network series Clarence, and my world was changed. I haven’t loved a cartoon this much since I discovered Regular Show. If you’ve never seen it, the show’s about a little fat boy, with an annoying voice, named Clarence. While that description might not sound positive, he’s actually an endearing character. Clarence is joined by his friends “Sumo” and Jeff. Here’s where things get interesting. Sumo is basically white trash, while Jeff’s parents are a lesbian couple. These two would never be friends naturally, but Clarence serves as the link between the two. I’ve never seen a kid’s cartoon have a depiction of lesbians before, and I’m also intrigued by its exploration of Sumo’s socioeconomic status. I making it sound heavier than it is as, on its surface, it’s just a goofy cartoon. Under the hood, however, there’s a smart, interesting show that you should check out.

Ben-Haenow

If you’ve seen Love Actually, then you know that the song that’s #1 at Christmas is a big deal in the UK. This year, that prestigious honor went to The X Factor winner Ben Haenow, with his cover of OneRepublic’s “Something I Need”.

I have a passing familiarity with the Kids React series, but I simply had to watch this. Folks forget that Power Rangers is over 20 years old, so of course the early days of the franchise might seem odd to today’s kids.

Jimmy Kimmel adds dialogue from Maury to Rudolph footage, and hilarity ensues:

Every wrestling fan has seen the video of Booker T calling Hulk Hogan the “N-word” but here he is, actually addressing the situation:

Here’s how Craig Ferguson signed off on his final episode of The Late Late Show. As a fan of finales, as well as The Drew Carey Show, I especially loved this:

 

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton have split up after 13 years. Yes, that sound you hear is everyone making the same “Who gets custody of Johnny Depp?” joke.

-The trailer for the Entourage movie was released this week. No, I’m not linking to it ’cause that show was full of douchebags. The only one I liked was Turtle ’cause he was fat and goofy. Then he lost all that weight, and now I’m a hater.

-Halle Berry-starring Extant will be back for a second season. I guess Halle’s gotta keep up with that child support. In any case, it seems that most of the supporting cast will be gone for the new season.

-Forbes named Adam Sandler the Most Overpaid Actor of 2014

Links I Loved

The Long, Powerful History Of Stephanie McMahon Slapping The Hell Out Of People – UPROXX

Miss Cleo on Her Allegedly Fake Patois and Getting Ripped Off By the Psychic Readers Network – Vice

20 Songs Turning 20 in 2015 – Mashable

Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape – Rolling Stone

The Invention of the Slurpee – Gizmodo

5 Disturbing Things I Learned in Scientology’s ‘Space Navy’ – Cracked

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I don’t have many decades-spanning friendships, so I cherish the ones that I do have. I wanna tell you about my friends James and Jenn. I first met James over 16 years ago, at the airport waiting to fly to Cornell. We were both attending Accepted Minority Student Weekend (yeah, that’s a thing), and we hit it off immediately. This was before the age of Facebook or really even cell phones, so I didn’t really think I’d see him again after that weekend. So, imagine my surprise when I ran into him during orientation, and he introduced me to his girlfriend, Jenn. This was funny to me because we had basically just gotten to campus, and he already had a girlfriend?! Surely, he wouldn’t be talking to her by Thanksgiving, right? Right?

Wrong. James and Jenn became some of my closest friends over the next four years, as we took trips to the comic shop, and they came to support me at my a cappella concerts. Still, this was just gonna be a college relationship, right? They’d move away to jobs and that would be it. Again, wrong. They moved to Tucson, Arizona and later moved to New Haven, Connecticut. They’ve been together FIFTEEN years now and I joke with them about how they could have a kid in high school by now.

Well, a few weeks ago, James contacted me because he needed my help. After fifteen long years, he’d decided that it was time to propose. He saw no reason to wait any longer. And he wanted me to sing. Now, I haven’t sung in about 10 years, but they still listen to my CD, so I had remained a part of their relationship in that capacity. So, last weekend, I hopped on the bus, and joined them during a New York City weekend where the surprise was going to go down. We went to a museum exhibit on the Chinese Exclusion Act (way more interesting than you might think), and then had dinner at a vegetarian restaurant (I love my meat, but it was actually pretty good. Except for the cornbread. That was a hate crime.). After dinner, James started talking about Cornell and how they used to come see me sing. This was my cue. I did a verse of Drops of Jupiter, which was their favorite song of mine. When I was done, he presented the ring and she was blown away. And she said yes!

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As I said, James and Jenn have been some of my closest friends for a long time, and I wouldn’t even be blogging without Jenn (she’s created every incarnation of this website). So, I’m ecstatic for them, I love them, and to me, they clearly had the West Week Ever.

09th Jan2014

West YEAR Ever – 2013

by Will

Well, 2013 has come and gone, but we couldn’t let it go without looking back one last time. I couldn’t really wrap my head around how to write it all, so I figured we’d just go with bullet points and pics. Hell, if you’re a loyal reader, you’ve seen all this stuff before. This is just to whet your palate as you await tomorrow’s 2014 debut of West Week Ever!

Milestones of 2013

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I explored a dead mall

I got cornered by Conservatives from Craigslist

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I binge-watched a Sentai series

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I met Twitter pal @LamarRevenger

I changed the way I consume comics

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I beat a video game!

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I finally met @chrispiers! & @robotspjs!

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I celebrated 10 years of blogging

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I went to Canada

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I introduced a new blog column

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I ran my first 5K and met Twitter pals @claymationhowl, @JohnDoctorKent, @FakeEyes22, @meistershake, @bmorin54, @doubledumbass, @P0LISHPHEN0M, @howardthedeck, @chapmanrunner, and @monsterfink.

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I met Adam West and Burt Ward

My Favorite Posts of 2013

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1 Broke Plot: How 2 Broke Girls Shortened Its Lifespan

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Black History Month is Back-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack!

Because Nobody Asked: Will On Comedy

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“I Wanna Xup, Baby” AKA Anyone Else Remember Xuxa?

My (Alternate) Reality

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Judging Bottles By Their Labels

Must Flee TV – The Future of Comedy on NBC

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Pitch Perfect and the True Story of Collegiate A Cappella

The Fall Guy Cast

Reboot That Bitch: The Fall Guy

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Best of the West #3: Knight Rider Knight 2000 Voice Car

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A Tribute to Mystic Music’s Cool Rock

Where’s Mama Cass?

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

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Monday Musings – Skins Series 7 and the Close of a Franchise

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West Week Ever Recipients of 2013

Seth MacFarlane
Mila Kunis
Hugh Grant
Charles Bronson
Cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Psy
Delta Gamma Sorority
Fall Out Boy
Robert Downey Jr.
Charles Ramsay
The Office
Cast of Saved by the Bell
Howie Decker
Superman
North West
Happy Endings
America
Regular Show
Breaking Bad
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Canada
Christina Bianco
Ben Affleck
Power Rangers
Jennette McCurdy and Andre Drummond
Baltimore Comic-Con
Retro Con
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Breaking Bad
Miley Cyrus
Star Wars Trilogy
Cool and Collected Magazine
Marvel
Ground Floor
Batkid
Gal Gadot
Beyonce
Paul Rudd

breaking bad reters

So, last year, I was asked “Who had the West Year Ever?” Well, for 2012, the answer was me. I’d gotten married and a whole slew of other stuff. That’s not the case for 2013, however. No, that distinction goes to Breaking Bad. It’s the only multiple West Week Ever recipient, and the series wrapped up in 2013 in top notch fashion. The only entity to come close to Breaking Bad‘s 2013 was Miley Cyrus, but she just flew a little too close to the sun to clinch it this year.

2013 was also the first full year of West Week Ever, and I couldn’t do it without you, the readers. Thanks for all your support and I hope you’ll stay with me into 2014!

21st Jun2013

West Week Ever – 6/21/13

by Will
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Who Had The West Week Ever? Read On And Find Out!

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 I watched The Dilemma this week, ’cause I love Kevin James and Vince Vaughn. Not sure why the onscreen guide gave it one star, as it was serviceable enough. It at least deserved two! Anyway, I feel like the movie could’ve worked better without the whole “we make electric cars” angle. That seemed forced in, not really servicing the plot. Anyway, if you’re bored on a Saturday, it’s worth checking out. If nothing else, it helped ease me back into Jennifer Connelley. I swear, I have never been able to look at her the same since the ass to ass scene in Requiem for a Dream. Then, she spent the entire Hulk movie giving “fuck me” eyes to Eric Bana. She’s so boring in this movie, as well as in He’s Just Not That Into You, that you’ll forget all about her seedy film past.

My pal @classickmateria forwarded me a link to an article with Jason David Frank, AKA The Green/White/Red/Black Ranger. It’s your standard stuff about how he loves the fans, etc, etc. One part of the article caught my eye, which sounds like a horrible, yet intriguing idea:

“The Green Ranger has definitely had an impact on people’s lives. That’s why I’m talking to [Haim] Saban about separating the franchise from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the Green Ranger, kind of like X-Men and Wolverine. I think the Green Ranger in its own self can stand on itself. We’re talking about movies and other stuff like that. So we will see what happens.”

A little over a year ago, I wrote a couple posts called “Back & Fourth”, where I chronicled my adventures handling lunch duty for a bunch of fourth graders. I lost that job, and those segments came to an abrupt end. Still, I really loved some of those kids, and I was sad to have to leave them. So, imagine my surprise when I left me office yesterday, and saw a familiar face in the hall. I used to refer to him as “K”, and he was one of my absolute favorites. Still, I’m a jerk who’s antisocial, so he had to make the first move. “Hey, didn’t you used to be at Doar?” I replied, “Yeah.” “Well, why ain’t you say nothing?” I told him I wasn’t sure it was him. I was on my way to a meeting, so I told him I’d see him later. I really hope he ends up here, as he’s a really good, albeit misunderstood, kid.

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Love it or hate it, all eyes are on Toy Hunter on Wednesday nights. I love to livetweet the show, so imagine my surprise when I got a reply, retweet, AND a favorite from Jordan’s assistant, Julia? Here’s the exchange:

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This is usually the part where I’d get scared of my wife getting mad at me, but she doesn’t read this shit. I have to beg her to read this blog, so viva la Julia!

Speaking of my wife, she was really embarrassed that I admitted on Twitter that I didn’t know where Portugal was. I’m still not ashamed of that. Who the fuck cares? I live in America. At the end of the day, I still have an Ivy League degree in a box somewhere, and I got it without knowing on which continent Portugal is located. It’s not like I’m one of those kids on Carmen Sandiego who got North America in the final round, yet didn’t know where Texas was! USA! USA! USA!

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Well, here’s something you don’t see every day. You see, last week saw the monumental meeting of blogging kings! That’s right, WilliamBruceWest.com and The Robot’s Pajamas shared the same air in Northern Virginia. Vincent was on vacation, hanging with his buddy Chris Piers, and I made the drive down to meet one of my good e-pals. We were going to see Man of Steel together, but I couldn’t make it down in time, so I ended up missing it AND the LEGO Outlet! All was not lost, however, as we met up to take a “Beer Tour of Wisconsin”.

I took pics of all the beers, but I forgot what most of them tasted like...

I took pics of all the beers, but I forgot what most of them tasted like…

Afterwards, we watched a DVD of the Found Footage Fest, where these guys have organized a roadshow to screen crazy footage they’ve found at thrift stores over the country. It’s such a simple, yet ingenious, idea that I wish I’d thought of it first! And did I mention that Vincent brought part of his heralded Twinkie stockpile with him? They were just as good as I remembered them! In all, it was a great time, and I really enjoyed finally meeting Vincent, Chris, and Chris’s fiancee Krissy.

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Krissy took the pic…

This Week’s Posts

Mail Call Monday – Claymation Werewolf Makes My Day

Adventures West Coast – The Wolverine Post

A Tribute to Mystic Music’s Cool Rock

So That Was Injustice…

Be sure to check out the newly-stocked Books & GNs section over at Will’s World of Wonder.

Pals of the blog have some cool contests going on. The Robot’s Pajama’s is giving away an exclusive edition of Nowhere Man #1, while Nerd Lunch is celebrating Superman Week by giving away an original Des Taylor print.

One brought a new little gold digger into the world, while the cable world lost an icon. One decided to change a controversial feature, while the other hates coons, y’all! Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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Look, I know this is controversial, but they brought a new West into the world. It’s in the name. No one could possibly have a West-ier week than that unless my wife’s not telling me something. So, maybe it’ll be something geeky and reader-friendly next week, but for now Baby North West has not only stolen my future kid’s name, but also had the West Week Ever.

21st May2013

Best of the West #3: Knight Rider Knight 2000 Voice Car

by Will

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I don’t do these posts much, so you know it’s a special occasion. If you’re new here, then let me explain Best of the West to you: these are pieces of my collection that hold more meaning than the others. These are the “I’d grab if there’s ever a fire” items. This ain’t your average Thrift Justice stuff – these are the top shelf items. OK, now that I’ve got that out of the way, why am I doing this today? Well, it’s really all but the timing of some real life events. Yesterday was the funeral for one of the kids at work. I didn’t know him, but I wanted to feel a part of the community, so I volunteered to sing in the choir for the service. It was really moving, and it was a feeling I hadn’t experienced since glee club days. It got me to thinking how I’d want to be remembered when my time comes. I hope people think I was hilarious. Not just “haha” funny, but “why wasn’t he a comedian?!” funny. I hope they think I was a good person and a good friend. Also, I hope I’m remembered as a caring and magnificent lover, despite my average endowment (at least according to my spam folder…). Anyway, this also got me to thinking about my first funeral experience: my dad’s.

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Courtesy of Orangeslime.com

My father passed away from an aneurysm when I was three. For this reason, I’m always scared of head trauma, and I never make fun of aneurysms. Because I was so young, I wasn’t really privy to the funeral proceedings. In fact, my cousin was tasked with taking me to Toys “R” Us to distract me. While there, I remember getting a radio controlled Knight Rider K.I.T.T. that had a working scanner light. You don’t give an RC car to a three year old! I just kept driving it into walls. It was really cool, but I was always rough with toys, so it didn’t last long. Sure, I kept it, but the electronics surely didn’t work, and the car looked like it did at the end of “Knight of the Juggernaut Part 1”.

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Still, I remember the car always angered me because I couldn’t put a figure inside. I think I eventually even broke the window, like an inner city youth, just so I could stick a G.I. Joe in it. I didn’t realize there was actually a version that did what I needed it to do. No, I had my “distraction” K.I.T.T. so I wouldn’t realize my dad was gone. In fact, it wasn’t until years later that I pieced together what had happened that day. Until then, I always remembered it as “the time all my relatives came to see me”.

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Fast forward to about a year ago. My former employer, Diamond Comic Distributors, was releasing a Previews exclusive Knight Rider K.I.T.T. with lights and sounds, and included a 3.75″ Michael Knight Figure. Of course I was gonna buy it! Even if it was $50, and the Michael Knight looked NOTHING like David Hasselhoff. That reminded me that I already had a nearly 6″ Michael Knight from the 80s, and I never really knew why he was released. Remember that post about my Cousin Oliver and the G.I. Joe mystery? Well, that was also the first and only time I saw Knight Rider toys at retail. With the exception of the Whip Shifter (which I also had), I had completely forgotten there was essentially a full line of toys. So I took to eBay, to learn more about the line, and find out if there were any figures other than Michael. It turns out he’s the only one, and that he came packed in with an electronic K.I.T.T. That had opening doors! What I always wanted had existed all the time! And the vintage K.I.T.T. had dropped in price since the announcement of the newer version, so you could get one for about $100. Why buy a newer copy when I could have the original? So, a few weeks before my wedding, I told Lindsay, “I’m about to drop about $100 on a Knight Rider car, and I just want you to know that.” Thankfully, she knew the importance and was cool with it. It actually arrived just before our honeymoon, but I didn’t really get a chance to look at it until weeks later. At the end of the day, it cost about $80 after shipping, and it had its original box! Oh, and IT WORKS! Let’s take a closer look at it, shall we?

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This thing was $26.96 in 1985! That’s, like, $80 in today’s money. NOTE: I am not an economist, nor an expert on inflation

 

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Nowhere on this box does it say “Child’s hand not included”. I demand my white child’s hand!

 

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I wonder if it even had pack-in directions, as the whole shebang is told on the back of the box.

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I love the detail of the stickers inside, but Michael needs to do some dusting!

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I just like pushing it along my carpet, pretending K.I.T.T.’s driving through the desert. Of course, it’d be more effective if the friggin’ white child hand had been in the box!

As you can see from the box, K.I.T.T. says 6 different phrases. I couldn’t really verify them all, ’cause we’re a household with no C batteries; lots of Ds for some reason, though… Anyway, with the voice of someone who’s just roofied you, the car said “Callll mee K.T.T. for shorrrtt.” Supposedly, he also says:

“Engaging Infrared Tracking Scope”

“Scanner Indicates Danger Ahead”

“I Shall Activate The Turbo Boost”

“Your Reflexes Are Slow”

“What Is Our Next Mission?”

Well, the circle is now complete. Like a phoenix, my fallen K.I.T.T. has arisen, with all the qualities I originally wanted. Screw Diamond and their imposter. I now have the real thing! I hope you’ve enjoyed this “shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist”. Anyway, tomorrow’s promised to no one, so try to enjoy today. Thanks for reading, and let me know some of your “holy grails” in the comments!

12th Apr2013

West Week Ever – 4/12/13

by Will
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Who had the West Week Ever? KEEP READING!

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We took a week off, but we’re back! Why am I saying “we”? I’m the only one here… Anyway, it’s been an interesting week online, to say the least.

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Anyone remember back when The Craft came out, and every white girl you knew decided she wanted to be a witch? This was right before her “Lesbian, For The Attention” phase. I’ve been thinking about college lately, as I’m avoiding committing to my 10 year reunion. One thing I laugh about every time I think about it is the time my friend Ted and I got two girls to kiss. Not just a peck, but full on making out. They were SUCH attention whores, and I was such a douche. Anyway, I said, and I quote, “No one will ever take this away from us!” How sad was it that I considered that to be a high point in life? Now I think about it and just laugh and laugh. At myself.

My pal Jon over at Double Dumbass On You sent me this clip last night:

I have so many issues! First off, this kid’s belly button makes me retch. I’m sorry for any of you guys with outies, but it looks like a tumor or something. I’m also really curious about the cultural distinctions in the video: only the “white bitches” (that’s not derogatory – that’s their music video rank) actually pop their booties near the kid. The black girls keep their distance, probably because he’s their cousin or something. And how hard up for meth do you have to be to perform in such a thing? Take a look at that one chick – sure, she’s poppin’ her cheeks, but it looks like no one told her she’d need waterproof mascara. And what’s with that other chick?! SHE AIN’T GOT NO BOOTY TO POP! Did she win a contest or something? Or was this community service? Was she being held hostage?

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He’s the biggest boss that was fired this week: Rick Ross lost his Reebok deal after rapping about rape. Not sure why you’d have a fat guy promoting your athletic shoe, but whatever. America. So, with this precedent, I bet we’re gonna take a whole bunch of other shit off the shelves and out of the iTunes store, right? RIGHT? Oh, this was just an isolated incident? Even though hip hop’s been saying fucked up shit forever? Oh, OK. I’d get some heat for this if I actually had a sizable black readership, but I’m constantly amazed by the shit Black America gets mad about. No, I’m not justifying rape or rape culture. I just don’t get how hip hop culture chooses its battles. I mean, how does Rick Ross even still have fans to be angry? Everybody makes fun of his weight, everyone makes fun of his titties, everyone makes fun of his dislike for wearing shirts. Hell, everyone mocked him when it came out that he was a fraud and former prison guard. There were MANY chances to get off that train, and folks stayed on. What he said was wrong, but he’s targeted because America’s on High Rape Alert in the media. Once the focus shifts over to gun control, the entire hip hop community better be scared. Oh, They don’t rap about guns and getting shot anymore? Fuck, what is hip hop about these days? Oh, right – they rap about going to Cuba.

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OK, I need some help with this one. I’m not exactly loved in the G.I. Joe circles of the internet, for whatever reason, but I need someone to clear something up for me. You see, my love of G.I. Joe came from my older cousin, Oliver. He lived in New York, and was about 6 years older than me. I eventually inherited his Joe collection once he discovered girls, but I have a very distinct memory that I can’t back up. One year, in the mid 80s (I know it was mid, as this was the ONLY time I’d ever seen Knight Rider toys at retail), his family came down to visit and we all went to Toys “R” Us. He got one of the most recent Joes, as I couldn’t wait for him to open it so that I could play with it. Here’s where it gets weird: I remember him taking something out of the pack, and pop it in his mouth. Originally, I thought it was a backpack, but it was an odd purple color at a time when G.I. Joe hadn’t journeyed too far from actual military colors. I remember going, “Ew, why did you put that in your mouth?!” and he told me that it was candy and began to chomp away. Now, since then, I have noticed many different G.I. Joe pack-ins, from body transfers to standard mail-in pamphlets, but I’ve found no reference of a candy promo. I always thought it was a Bonkers chew, but I can’t any proof of such a pack-in. So, was he just fucking with me OR was there actually a candy pack-in for G.I. Joes back in the 80s? Help me, Internet!

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While I’m help from the Internet, I’ve got another question: do any of you have music in your iTunes that you’ve never heard? Here’s my dilemma: I am a music HOARDER. I’ve forgotten all the stuff I have, but I feel like I have to give everything a “once through” before it gets synced to my iPod. That way, I can weed out tracks I don’t like and save some space. At least, that was the original intent, when I still had a 30 GB iPod. About a year and a half ago, my wife got me the 160 GB iPod where space isn’t an issue. But I’ve never taken it out of the box. Why? Well, I got a new computer during that time, and all my music is scattered across multiple external hard drives. Every time I have an extended break, my plan is to finally get everything on the new iPod, but it never happens. A bigger problem is that my music comes from the back alleys of the internet, so I have to clean up tags and album art; it’s the OCD in me. So, I’ve probably got as many gigs of music I’ve never heard as I have of music that’s already been vetted. So, do I suck it up, throw everything on the iPod and discover the songs that way, or do I continue on my “preview” path, which just prolongs my getting the iPod set up? Anyone else deal with this? Thoughts?

My posts this week have been all over the place, so we can’t go with the usual list format. First off, I threw together the rare Sunday post in order to submit my uber popular submission for the League of Extraordinary Bloggers’ weekly topic. Then, I felt guilty for missing last week’s West Week Ever, so I pseudo made up for it on Monday with The Week That Wasn’t. Then, I brought back Thrift Justice Road Trip to talk about the antique mall that I explored with @LamarRevenger. Finally, I was welcomed to pen a guest post over at The Cold Slither Podcast’s site to commemorate the start of the Masters Golf Tournament. So, be sure to check out all of those links!

Speaking of Lamar, I’d like to congratulate him for his winning prediction in the Cold Slither Podcast’s Slither Madness Tournament! It couldn’t have happened to a greater dude, and he’ll be receiving something from Will’s World of Wonder. Be sure to check out the site yourself, as I’m sure I’ve got something you’d love to add to your collection! Why catch waves or fill yourself with rage when I’ve done the legwork for you?

One set race relations back to House of Buggin’ levels, while one set off the boners of fanboys everywhere. One punked everyone with a tweet, while the other is the world’s most famous Kim Jong-Il impersonator. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever!

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Sorry, America, but it’s my site. I could’ve gone with LL and Brad, but they released a newer song by week’s end. I couldn’t give a shit about Carrie Kelley, and I REALLY don’t care about Morris Chestnut. So, that leaves us with Psy. This week, he released “Gentleman”, which everyone expects to replace Gangnam Style. It won’t, but people can still dream. Apparently, there’s a dance with it, but the video isn’t out yet. Anyway, it’s got a good beat, and the man shouts “Westside!” More appropriately, he correctly shouts it as “West SaYEED!” Get this man a Green Card! You can listen below, but for this, Psy had the West Week Ever

UPDATE: The video has arrived! If only I’d waited 24 hours…

29th Mar2013

West Week Ever – 3/29/13

by Will

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So, I had an experience last weekend to which other married men may be able to relate. You see, my sword brother @KeithDavidsen is moving home to New Jersey, and he had a going away party at one of the cougarest dives in Baltimore County. The place is basically a restaurant/bar that turns into a low-rent dance club after 10:30. I mean, LOW RENT. About 1/3 of the crowd was over 50, and the DJ only had one arm. THE DJ HAD ONE ARM!!!! Anyway, I used to dance. Not like Soul Train or Juilliard, but I can find the beat. I haven’t really needed to use those skills in recent years because, well, relationship. Even my wife said, “You don’t dance anymore ’cause you’re not trying to fuck these people. That’s why guys dance.” So, I do this goofy, old man 2-step, and everyone’s happy. Or so I thought.

This little thick white chick was dancing in my general vicinity. I didn’t look directly at her, ’cause I didn’t want to send the wrong message. I’m such a thick white chick magnet that my nickname should be Haagen Dazs. Anyway, I went about my business, doing my little goofy dance and turned my back to her. A song that I actually liked came on, and then I kinda really started dancing. And out of nowhere, this chick’s working her ass on my ass and she DROPPED it. DROPPED IT LOW. OH SHIT! WHAT DO I DO?!!!

Five years ago, I knew what to do. But I’m married now. I felt like a gunslinger who was no longer allowed to draw his sidearm. He’d made a promise, and so had I. Anyway, all I needed to care about was my reaction to the whole thing. I just kinda froze, while the chick kept going. I made a panicked face to my wife, who came over to me, grabbed me, and made out with me to mark her territory. And the girl backed off. Such an odd experience. Who am I now? I’m certainly not the suave dude up in the banner. No, that was 40 lbs ago. But I’ve still got it 😉

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Recently, I made the sad realization that I really miss bad Austin Powers impressions. For a good 5 years, every douchebag had his own bad version of “Yeah, baby! Do I make you horny?!” Then, it all disappeared. I blame Beyonce, as Goldmember ruined the whole franchise. Still, there are days where I wouldn’t mind someone coming and yelling, “Shagadelic, baby! Yeah!”

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Lately, I feel like my head is just a repository for obscure TV trivia. Like, have you noticed how no one ever mentions Private Benjamin anymore? People still love to throw around Bosom Buddies references (a show I’ve never seen), but nothing about Private Benjamin, even during discussions about women in the military. It was a movie starring Goldie Hawn, and a show that lasted 3 seasons! Then again, no one really talks about Goldie, especially since her daughter grew up to take all of her roles. Anyway, Judy Benjamin’s husband dies during sex on their wedding night, and it freaks her out so much that she joins the Army. And hilarity ensues! OK, it wasn’t really a great premise, but that’s all the more reason there should be memes and Tumblrs dedicated to it.

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It was a big week for me guesting on stuff. First up, my most recent appearance on the UnderScoopFire! podcast has gone live, where I defend my What’s The Scoop? pop culture trivia title. That pic is a spoiler. And they hated it so much that they released another episode simply to bury it! Kidding, I know that’s not the case, but seriously, go listen to it before they release another episode.

Also, I was a guest again last night on The Kliqnation’s Comic Book Chronicles Live. We talked about a whole bunch of comics I hadn’t read, and I’m my usual curmudgeonly self. It was a lot of fun, and you can *see* me, so check it out!

Sponsor Update

Lots of new items were added to Will’s World of Wonder this week, so come check ’em out!

Hellboy 2 HB II The Golden Army 7.5″ Hellboy

From Mezco, this figure showcases Big Red as he appeared in his second movie, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.
Figure is used but in EXCELLENT shape. This is a heavy hunk of plastic! Does not come with any accessories.
http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/p/17553427/hellboy-2-hb-ii-the-golden

Marvel Legends Annihilus Series Hercules

Sure, Thor gets all the attention, but everyone knows that Hercules is the coolest mythological god in the Marvel Universe!
This figure is used, but in excellent shape. No accessories included.
http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/p/17552830/marvel-legends-annihilus-series-hercules

Transformers Generations Fall of Cybertron Voyager Class Soundwave w/Laserbeak

Everyone’s favorite classic Transformer is reimagined in a modern way. Still a music player, Soundwave now plays discs instead of tapes – Laserbeak disc is included. Soundwave is MIB.

http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/p/17553446/transformers-generations-fall-of-cybertron-voyager

Transformers Generation 1 Predacon Razorclaw

Transformers G1 goodness at a great price! As you can see in the pics, Razorclaw has some play wear, but he’s still fully transformable. No accessories are included.
http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/p/17553460/transformers-generation-1-predacon-razorclaw

Transformers Generation 1 Predacon Headstrong

Transformers G1 goodness at a great price! As you can see in the pics, Headstrong has some play wear, but he’s still fully transformable. No accessories are included.
http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/p/17553454/transformers-generation-1-predacon-headstrong

This Week’s Posts

Judging Bottles By Their Labels

Must Flee TV – The Future of Comedy on NBC

One revived a thought-dead movie property, while another returns to the air tonight in what might be the end of its run. One just found out it’ll spend another 2 years on the air, while the other just debuted with new cast members. Only one of them, however, had the West Week Ever.

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

 

Yesterday, the FX network announced the creation of FXX – their cable comedy channel that’ll be anchored by It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Not only that, but Sunny was also renewed for two more seasons. The little comedy engine that could will spend a decade on the air, and that’s a pretty incredible feat. I’ve said it before, but Sunny did the Show About Nothing, Starring Assholes SO much better than Seinfeld, though it doesn’t get the credit. The Seinfeld characters were really just selfish, while the Sunny folks are bad people. And it’s hilarious. Here’s to two more seasons, which is why the cast of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia had the West Week Ever.

22nd Mar2013

West Week Ever – 3/22/13

by Will
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One of these people had the West Week Ever. Which one? Read on to find out!

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I have a hard time with people who blame video game violence on today’s social ills. This was made even clearer to me last weekend. Why? I watched Death Wish IV and Death Wish V. First off, can I say that I fucking LOVE Charles Bronson? Something about a 55 year old man wrecking shit is so much more refreshing than Action Star du Jour. Anyway, I witnessed a guy killed by a grenade launcher, a guy killed by exploding remote controlled soccer ball, a guy fall into a pulp grinder and more. People saw this stuff and didn’t go on killing sprees (well, except Bernie Goetz). Movies today aren’t half as violent as they were 25 years ago. I’m not sure if the MPAA has simply become a bunch of pussies, or if ticket takers have become more lax in letting in minors. All I know is that the same restrictions supposedly exist for video games and movies. It’s time to blame society’s ills on factors other than the entertainment sector.

Being the boyband fiend that I am, this was probably my favorite video of the week. I loved the Hell out of JC Chasez and, from a musical standpoint, he was the most talented member of *NSYNC. Justin’s more famous because he was more charismatic, but he wasn’t the best soloist. Anyway, this is JC singing “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers to USC’s Tri Delt chapter. Here’s what sticks out to me, though: a college freshman would have been born in 1995. *NSYNC’s debut album came out when they were TWO YEARS OLD. They were 6 when *NSYNC’s last album came out. Outside of America’s Best Dance Crew, JC hasn’t really been relevant to this generation. This is almost like if Daryl Hall had come to sing at Cornell while I was there. Do these girls even know who he is, other than “hot guy singing that weird hippie song”? Anyway, I feel so old…

Speaking of Justin vs. JC, this Billboard article is an EXCELLENT exploration of how and why Justin pulled ahead in their pop solo competition.

I had a great time last night, joining @timdogg98‘s Comic Book Chronicles Live. So far, it’s a weekly-ish Google Hangout sponsored by The Kliqnation, and it’s a great comic book discussion with a “barbershop” feel. I’ve been lurking in the rafters for most of the episodes, but I was tagged in last night. If you’re a comic fan, definitely check it out!

Sponsor Update –

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This may come as a surprise to some, but WilliamBruceWest.com is sponsored by Will’s World of Wonder. Recently, my corporate overlords have decided they should have more of a voice on the site, so here’s some new stuff that’s been listed in the store:

Preorders:

There are none. Really, why would I buy up a case of something you could buy cheaper at a big box store? That wastes both our time. Go buy that shit at Target!

New Arrivals:

Young Justice Invasion 6″ Batman

This is the RARE 6″ Young Justice Invasion Batman figure. These never hit wide retail release in North America, and they are pretty hard to find.

Figure is MIB, and includes diorama and accessories. (Limited Supply!)

http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/p/17521263/young-justice-invasion-6-batman

LEGO DC Universe Super Heroes Catwoman Catcycle City Chase

Everyone’s favorite heroes have joined forces with everyone’s favorite building toy!

http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/p/17482086/lego-dc-universe-super-heroes

Iron Man Marvel Legends Classic Iron Man

To coincide with the upcoming release of Iron Man 3, this Marvel Legends subset fits perfectly with the rest of your Marvel Legends collection. Includes alternate helmet, as well as BAF piece for Iron Monger.
http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/p/17481885/iron-man-marvel-legends-classic

Power Rangers Samurai Mega Mode Rangers Lot

Now that stores are filled with Megaforce product, it’s not as easy to find these guys anymore. If you want to celebrate the season that brought Power Rangers to Nick, here’s your chance!
http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/p/17481914/power-rangers-samurai-mega-mode

Batman: The Killing Joke Deluxe Edition HC

By Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, this monumental storyline depicts Barbara Gordon’s final confrontation with The Joker as Batgirl.
This anniversary edition hardcover features all new coloring, and the short story “An Innocent Guy”.
http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/p/17482104/batman-the-killing-joke-deluxe

Our Vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stock has been replenished! Show your whippersnappers where it all began by buying them something from this assortment!
http://willsworldofwonder.ecrater.com/c/1513721/tmnt

This Week’s Posts

Thrift Justice – Power Rankings

My (Alternate) Reality

Before we handle wrap things up, I need to address something. So, yesterday I prefaced a post with a description of my depression. Much of that was hyperbole, as a framing device. Mainly. I’ve had anxiety for a LOOONNNGG time, but I have experienced happiness since the age of 12. I just threw out an age there (although that IS what I told that nurse). Why did I say 12? Well, I feel like that’s when the anxiety train started. Changes start happening. Next thing you know, you’ve got to do well on the PSAT, ’cause it’s an indicator of SAT success. Then, you have to do well on the SAT, ’cause you need it to get into a good college. Then, you need to get into a good college so you’ll get a good job. Then, you have to successfully graduate from said good college. Then, you graduate and there are no jobs. Then you work retail, while waiting on people who can’t understand why you don’t have a better job. Then you feel like a failure because you wasted that degree and tuition. Then, you get dead-end jobs that still aren’t really backing up why you went to school. I finally have a job that I love, but it wasn’t an easy process. For me, at least. Lots of people have it WAY worse, but I don’t deal well with stress. So, that, conceptually, is how I came up with that age. Still, that hurt people who know “real life” Will.

I’ve never really delved into this, but it’s my site, so I can do what I want. Over on facebook, my pal Chad was wondering if anyone had written about their success with online dating. He met his girlfriend that way, and wondered if I or Vincent had ever written about our experience. Maybe it would take the “geek taboo” off things. If you don’t know, I met my wife on Match.com. It’s funny because I wasn’t looking for anything. I had gotten out of a 3-ish year relationship with a trust fund baby who had no real life aspirations. Yet she dumped me. Go figure. Anyway, a friend of mine signed up for Match, and a bunch of us signed up too so that we could vet his choices. If there’s one thing I love it’s judging people, and this gave me a front row seat. In the meantime, I just liked the attention. I was probably a good 40 lbs lighter, and I woke up to emails from random women telling me they liked my smile. I didn’t even have to do anything. It was AWESOME.

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I didn’t communicate with anyone I found on there ’cause I’d have to PAY. Ain’t nobody got time for that! One day, however, I got an email from a girl that said something I liked. I don’t remember what it was, and I don’t feel like going through my email to figure it out. Whatever it was, it caught my attention. And like that, I actually paid and we emailed back and forth. She was a reader, and to paraphrase Chris Rock, she “spoke so well.” Since I wasn’t yet the net whore that I’ve become, I didn’t really think you could have any meaningful association with someone digitally. Now, I’ll tell you that some of my good friends are folks I’ve never met, but things were different in the Wild West days of 2008. So, I was fine just keeping it online. It was like having a pen pal, and I really didn’t know how to make the transition from web to reality, anyway. I’d never asked anyone for their number, and I wasn’t some cool pimp daddy “gettin’ da digits”. All my attention from females came from singing, whether I was doing a musical or a cappella stuff. So we had a great time emailing, but that was enough for me. And then I just stopped. I don’t really know why. Maybe I thought it was weird, or I just didn’t know how to be cool over email anymore.

Life went on. She ended up dating some other dude from Match (man, it must be awesome to be a woman. Free dinners for simply possessing a vagina). I probably went back to bitching about the death of Captain America and blogging about how that Big Bang Theory show would never last. Other stuff happened, like I had a death in the family, and I was just all over the place. Three months passed, and she emailed me out of the blue. She wondered why our emails had just stopped, seeing as how we seemed to have a real connection. Since I’m a doof, she ended up having to ask me out. This was a Monday. The date was set for Wednesday. That Tuesday, we finally talked on the phone…for 3 hours. When I got home from Wednesday’s date, I called my friend Keith, and I said “I’m gonna marry that girl.” Our next date was that Saturday, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her everyday since then. Shit’s crazy, son! Most of the time, I would just be excited to get off work, so I could go play Rock Band with her. Apparently, while she wasn’t being wined and dined by Match dudes, she had worked her way to Expert on most of the songs. And I was happy. For the first time, in a very long time, I was happy. And I’m happy now. In 2 weeks, we’ll have been married 6 months, and October’s our 5 year anniversary. So, I lied. I’m very happy. Oh, and internet dating works! Try it! Take it from your buddy, Will!

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So, one person’s mugshot count is up to a half dozen, while another is going through some odd, drag transformation. One person twerked it like a unicorn, while the other reeeallly has bad luck with keeping the women in his life alive. But only one of them had the West Week Ever.

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He killed a dude by shooting a fucking grenade at him. ‘Nuff said.

22nd Feb2013

West Week Ever – 2/22/13

by Will

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Today in Black History, Aunt Jemima discovered Uncle Ben’s affair with Mrs. Butterworth, thus splitting Black America’s first power couple.Benmima

Last weekend I had the pleasure of finally meeting Twitter pal LamarRevenger! Lindsay and I were doing a belated Valentine’s Day of wineries and antique shops in Hershey, PA, which put us in Lamar’s back yard. We met up at Crossroads Antique Mall, and had a great time exploring the place. I love meeting you online folks, and Lamar put me at 3. Who’ll be #4?! Only time will tell!

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It was announced this week that game developer Harmonix will stop releasing new music for Rock Band by April (The Robot’s Pajamas has a nice writeup about it). I haven’t touched my Rock Band games in a good 2 years, but this announcement still saddens me. You see, Rock Band was very important when I first started dating my wife. Her roommate had the game, so she spent a lot of her free time getting up to expert in most of the songs. When we met, I’d never played the game, so the formative days of our relationship consisted of her schooling me in interactive classic rock. There was a band featured in the game called Bang Camaro; I claim to be a music aficionado, but I still can’t tell you one of their songs. Anyway, we thought it was the dumbest, yet funniest name, so we dubbed ourselves “Sex Corvette” in the game. Whenever I needed to practice on my own, I had my own side project that I called “Fornication Wagon”. It’s been years since Sex Corvette and Fornication Wagon went out on the road. With this announcement, I think it might be time to get the bands back together. Ya know, for old times sake.

Speaking of music, last week, Shezcrafti and I discovered our shared love of Ace of Base. No, I’m not talking about “All That She Wants” or “The Sign”. Get out of here with that Top 40 shit! I’m talking DEEP cuts Ace of Base, from the albums that most Americans ignored. Sure, everyone owned The Sign (Happy Nation, for you international folks) but their second album, The Bridge, was one of THE BEST POP ALBUMS of the 90s. I’m not even lying. I’m pretty sure I wrote a tumblog about it awhile back, but “Ravine” is one of the most beautiful ballads of the past 20 years. It’s even more impactful when you learn it was written in the wake of a knife attack from a stalker. It turns out we both own all the AoB albums, including the recent one with the new girls. All this time, I thought I was alone, but I was wrong. I’m so, so glad I was wrong!

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People seem to be losing their shit over news that Michael Bay cast Megan Fox in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I say “so what?” Think of today’s “starlets”: Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega? You’d hate all of them, and it ain’t like Emma Stone or Jennifer Lawrence is gonna ruin her career with this on her resume. I mean, it’s not like this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. People have hated Bay since he took on the Transformers franchise. The same people who are saying “I’m fucking done with this Turtles movie now!” are the same who were supposedly done when it was announced he was helming it. At what point do you just walk away and stop caring? To complain now, is akin to going “Oh man, Hitler’s killing blacks now?!” Yeah, I invoked the dreaded internet use of Hitler. Anyway, no one ever said this was a movie for old school fans. One thing I’ve never really gotten about TMNT fandom is that the 80s kids think it’s theirs. That’s somewhat true, but there’s also the 2003 run, as well as the new Nick run. Turtles belong to several generations now, and this could just be its introduction to a newer generation. As much as people hate Bay, a lot of folks were paying money to see those “Bayformers” movies, so I guess this movie is for them. It’s not for you. I’m amazed at people’s inability to just say “You know, I don’t think this is for me” and walk away. It took me a while to learn that, but it’s much less stressful!

I hate to be some hipster/old fogey, but I’m tired of the media’s ability to scare us about some shit, and then just move on to the next thing. We’re never told whether or not these things have been cured/stopped/defeated. It’s just on to the next crisis. Here’s a list of things I’ve been instructed to fear in my lifetime:

Radon

Acid Rain

Old Men With Candy

Carbon Monoxide

Mad Cow Disease

Bird Flu

SARS

Super Gonorrhea

To my knowledge, none of these problems have been “solved”, but ain’t nobody talking about them anymore! Did the Super Gonorrhea take out the candy-bearing child molesters? I NEED ANSWERS!

This has been a bittersweet week online. It started great, with me and Lamar meeting up. Then, once I got home, all the crazies came out. I found myself leaving a bunch of toy centric facebook groups because of one bad apple. I’m not sure if you’re all “in the know”, but there are shit tons of toy groups on facebook for trading and buying toys. The problem, however, is that the same people are in ALL of these groups. I talked about it a bit more in-depth in this post. Basically, some one gets accused of screwing over someone, gets kicked out, and then forms his own group. Well, I joined these things to drum up attention for Will’s World of Wonder, but those people are either trying to lowball you or get something for free. Over time, I came to realize it wasn’t worth the hustle over there, but I stayed on in case some good deal came up. The other day, I posted an item I was selling, and specifically said “PM offers”. Some guy decided to start asking questions on the actual post. “How much did you pay for it? Is it the same scale as Soundwave?” At first, I indulged him, but he finally signed off with “OK, just checking”. So, after wasting a bit of my time, I told him “That was a lot of questions for ‘just checking’.” He proceeds to tell me not to get “butthurt about a $20 toy” and that “there are more important things in life to worry about.” I replied that I wasn’t “butthurt”, but didn’t appreciate him using me as his Google research stand-in, ON MY THREAD. Then, he and some other guys start making a side deal, again, ON MY THREAD. Any group with a halfway decent admin would’ve stopped that (trust me, facebook toy group admins are like the goddamned Gestapo. It’s like they were all the last kids picked for sports or some shit), but no one stepped in. When I called him on it, again, he tells me to “stop getting butthurt”. I told him he was being an asshole, and his condescension wasn’t needed. Eventually, like I pointed out above, I realized “ya know, this isn’t for me.” I muttered a “fuck this noise”, and quit the group. I pride myself on not being a “quitter”, but sometimes you just need to realize when something isn’t worth your time and effort. Work smarter and not harder. The decent people I met in those groups are already facebook or twitter friends, so I didn’t lose them. I just cut off the folks who were, apparently, leaving me “butthurt”. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I’m such a jerk – last week, I forgot to include the link for my guest spot on the Cereal Killas episode of The Cold Slither Podcast. You’re all smart, savvy folks, so I’m sure you found it. If not, you can listen to it here.

Also, the Black Dynamite ep of the Traumatic Cinematic Show has gone live, and you can listen to me and the guys here.

This Week’s Post

Thrift Justice: The One With All The Books

Before I wrap things up this week, I wanted to point out UnderScoopFire’s State of the Site/Show Address podcast that went up this week. I love these kinds of posts, as I love to know what’s going on in the minds of the folks I admire. Plus, they serve as a good time to take stock of my own stuff. I’m really happy where I am in regards to podcasts. I always kinda wanted to be a “professional guest”, and I’ve had the honor of being invited on some great shows, having fun discussions with new folks. I never thought I’d get to this point so quickly, but I’m having a lot of fun. As for non-audio stuff, though, I’m still not where I want to be. There are folks out there who can get 10 comments on a post without even posting a link to social media. That is the definition of a “destination site”, and I think that’s where we’d all like to be. I’ve been doing this TEN YEARS. There are more blogrolls I could be in. There are more of your friends who could know about me. I’m harassing Twitter timelines with my links, and I still don’t know if it makes a difference. Hell, maybe folks have learned how to say “Yeah, that’s just not for me”. Who knows? Anyway, it just gives me something to think about. See ya next week!

 

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