21st Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/21/14

by Will

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I know I was supposed to write about my Walt Disney World thoughts at some point, but I just didn’t get around to it. Maybe next week? Hell, let’s just do it now.

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I went to Orlando for training on the student information system we use at work. On the second night of the event, we were given passes to go to the Disney park of our choice. Since I’d never been before, I decided to go with the Magic Kingdom. Let me just say that I didn’t know how magical it would be, right down to the entrance gate. The “tickets” are actually more like gift cards, and then they fingerprint you with some kind of bioscanner as you walk through. I thought I was going to an amusement park, not hacking into NORAD! You enter right onto Main Street, and the afternoon parade was in full swing.

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My friend, Mary, and I decided to hit Space Mountain first, since it was one of the four things I simply had to experience (the other three being Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World, and The Haunted Mansion).

-Space Mountain would’ve been more exciting had it not been for the 2-hour wait. 2 hours for a 3 minute ride?! No, thank you! I didn’t realize that this was my first rollercoaster ride since getting my latest pair of glasses, so I spent most of the ride trying to keep them from flying off my face. It was kinda cool, however, that they had games stationed throughout the line to give you something to do while you wait. Luckily, I did Space Mountain first, so it kinda tempered my expectations for the rest of the park.

-They really need to update Tomorrowland, as the music they played sounded like the St. Elsewhere theme.

After the arduous wait for Space Mountain, I was scared that all of the lines would be like that. We had arrived at the park at around 6, and we would only have until 12:30 before the bus went back to the hotel. Seeing as how I’d wasted 1/3 of my time waiting for ONE ride, it wasn’t looking good for the home team! Mary thought that It’s a Small World would be clear around dinner time, so that’s where we went next.

2014-03-11 20.29.05She was right, as the wait for It’s a Small World was only 10 minutes. Sure, it may not be the most exciting ride, but it’s still interesting. People say that the song gets into your head and doesn’t get out, but I didn’t seem to have that problem. Ha! I’m immune! Oh no…as I type this, it’s creeping into my brain! “It’s a small world after all…”

After traveling the world, so to speak, we decided to head toward The Haunted Mansion. Let’s just say I was disappointed, but it wasn’t really the fault of the ride. You see, when I thought about The Haunted Mansion, I was really thinking of The Tower of Terror. I didn’t realize they were two different things. So, I went in totally expecting the wrong thing. I kept expecting the drop, but instead I just toured around, looking at holographic ghosts. It’s not a bad attraction, but it just wasn’t what I expected.

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After The Haunted Mansion, we decided to check out Pirates of the Caribbean but we got blocked by the night parade. We kept trying to navigate around it, but kept running into it. Finally, we were able to cross at a point, and get across to Adventureland for Pirates of the Caribbean. If ya ask me, this ride is just the pirate version of The Haunted Mansion. I have no idea how they made movies based on this ride, as I didn’t know what the Hell was going on. It’s just lots of yelling and pirate songs. Keep in mind, I’ve never seen any of the movies, so maybe that’s what they’re like, as well.

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One thing that really bothered me was that there were no characters walking around. In any medium, when you see Disney World, you see folks getting their pictures taken with people in costumes. Maybe they were getting ready for the parades, but I never saw anyone in a character costume who wasn’t on a float. I wanted my picture taken with Goofy, but I guess it wasn’t to be :-(

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The entire time at the park, I REALLY wanted a hot dog. I don’t typically crave them, but there was something about cow lips and other assorted parts that sounded tantalizing to me. Do you know how hard it is to find a hot dog at Disney after a certain time of day? I mean, it wasn’t late night yet, but I couldn’t find one anywhere. There were turkey legs, popcorn carts, and cinnamon-covered almond stands, but no hot dogs. And the parade kept thwarting my efforts. Finally, we made our way to Casey’s on Main Street, which sold nothing but hot dogs. Salvation!

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Since I didn’t get to see Goofy, I had to settle for stopping into his candy store in downtown Disney.

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Couldn’t hit downtown Disney without going to the LEGO Store!

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Another weird thing about Disney is that there’s no gum to be had anywhere on the property. Mary tried to get gum at the airport, and was told that Orlando is essentially gum-free. I guess that helps them keep the place clean, but it’s so odd that gum is something they’d outlaw.

Anyway, what did I think of the Magic Kingdom overall? I had fun, but I think I’m too old for Disney World. I really needed to experience it at a younger age in order to feel the “magic” about the place. I think the perfect age to take kids would be when they’re under 7, so they can ride things like the teacups, but they aren’t old enough for the rides that are eligible for a FastPass. I know there are adults who go to Disney on their own, and I just don’t get that. The crowds, the activity, the noise – I’d only want to endure that for the sake of children. So, I had fun, but I think I’ll have more fun one day with my heirs. Yup, that’s what I’m calling them for now.

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candace cameron danica mckellar dancing with the stars abc

I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars, but I found something interesting about this season’s cast. You see, DJ Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure) and Winnie Cooper (Danica McKeller) are contestants on the show, but it also seems they have some history together. Apparently, Candace used to date Jeremy Miller from Growing Pains – who proceeded to dump her for Danica. Cold! Anyway, Danica didn’t know she had broken up the relationship until the two spoke at dance practice, all these years later. I wonder if Jeremy’s fiancee knows that story…

Jem

Apparently, there’s a Jem movie in the works. If there isn’t a role in it for Lady Gaga, it’s dead on arrival. Honestly, I’m not sure why anyone is taking this seriously. John Chu is attached to direct, but he was also gonna do the Masters of the Universe reboot, but dropped out of that project. I think he just likes being linked to 80s properties, but I’ll believe this when I see it.

Peanuts

Peanuts does as little for me as The Muppets, but I know some of you are fans. I’m curious to see how this whole 3-D style turns out for it. I actually really like the new look, so maybe this is just what I needed to finally be interested in this property.

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Cory’s parents and Shawn Hunter are gonna be on a holiday episode of Girl Meets World! Can this show just air already?

Walking Dead

Speaking of TV, if you like your zombie shows edited, you’re in luck. MyNetworkTV just picked up the rights to broadcast edited episodes of The Walking Dead next fall. Since they’re edited for “broadcast standards”, look for a lot of the gore to be taken out. I’m curious to see how “The Neutered Dead” does in syndication. I don’t watch the show, but I can’t wait for some mom in flyover country to lose her shit when she stumbles across it one Saturday evening.

NBC renewed Parks & Recreation this week, while the jury’s still out on Community. It’s kinda sad it wasn’t the other way around, as Parks & Rec has done a pretty good job of wrapping things up this season. To watch it, it felt like a show that knew it was on the way out. I don’t know what they’re gonna do with what’s essentially a “bonus” season for them. Law & Order: SVU also wasn’t on the renewal list, but it’s probably due to contract negotiations. I mean, NBC wouldn’t kill off SVU so soon after getting rid of the main show…would they? Hell, who knows what NBC execs are thinking anymore?

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ABC continued killing any momentum Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might have gained by essentially airing a 1-hr DVD featurette where Marvel patted itself on the back for creating a cohesive cinematic universe. It was an interesting special, and it was nice to look back and see how it all came together. Still, I think it would’ve been more fitting on the Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blu-Ray instead of using valuable airtime.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of joining my pal James (@SnoopyJenkins) and David Walker for a chat on race in comics and comic media. You can check out part one here:

Links I Loved
Meet Ryan Tedder, the Secret King of Pop Who Doesn’t Look at Royalty Checks – Billboard

LoeB Post: “Why Did I Buy That?!” – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

18 Reasons You Should Be Watching ‘The Goldbergs’ on ABC – UnderScoopFire!

Star Trek Problems: He Deserves It – The Robot’s Pajamas

The 10 Worst Movies Ever (According to Battle Armor Joe) – UnderScoopFire!

They can’t all be winners, and this week proves it. No one had the West Week Ever. Hell, there weren’t even finalists. Ultimately, The Muppets will probably end the week on a positive note, as Muppets Most Wanted is released today, and I know how y’all love your Muppets. Still, the movie’s not out yet, and it might (though chances are slim) bomb. So, nobody gets the WWE honor this week. Maybe things will be more exciting next week. Maybe they’ll even find that plane!

14th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/14/14

by Will

oie_922142seDasWF9

I was in Orlando for work all week, so I didn’t know if I’d get around to writing this. Forgive me if it seems scattered; I just had a few thoughts I wanted to “put to paper”, so to speak.

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Ya know, it’s kinda surreal to be on a flight, while watching news coverage of a flight that has disappeared. JetBlue has Direct TV, so I happened to catch Erin Burnett (Mmmm…) as she covered the flight on her show, OutFront. That was followed by Anderson Cooper (Mmmm – equal opportunity!) doing the same exact thing. I don’t know what happened to that plane, but there are some crazy theories going around. I just hope they eventually find something, ’cause I don’t want another Amelia Earhart situation.

Speaking of JetBlue, they have BLUE potato chips! BLUE! And they’re pretty good, too.

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Good news on the TV renewal front, as TBS renewed Ground Floor, while CBS renewed Two and a Half Men. I know it seems like they’ve run out of stuff to do on that show, but I still enjoy it. I also find it amazing that it gained such a powerful second wind after Charlie Sheen left.

Wrdq_2009One of my favorite things about traveling is checking out the off network TV offerings. In Orlando, they have this Channel 27 that’s unlike anything I’ve encountered. It’s not a CW and it’s not a My Network TV. It’s an independent channel kinda like we used to have before UPN and The WB came along. For instance, I had no clue The Cleveland Show was in syndication. We don’t have that in DC, and the American Dad reruns that we do have are at 4 in the morning. Also, I learned about a tabloid news show, called OK! TV, which is basically TMZ meets Extra. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I love shitty television! Steve Harvey’s talk show comes on at 9 PM. And I thought late night court shows were weird!

barrydtreasure

I had no clue that Barry Weiss from Storage Wars was getting his own show, Barry’d Treasure. First Hester left, then Balelo died, and now this. I don’t even know why they keep Storage Wars going, now that it’s basically just Jarrod, Brandi, and Darrell.

Turbo

This amazing poster almost makes up for what was an absolutely terrible movie. I stole this off Jason David Frank’s facebook page, and it’s for Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. It’s funny how many people don’t even realize there was a second Power Rangers movie. I think most of my generation had moved on by that point (it was season 5 by then). Plus, people tend to forget that the first movie, technically, isn’t in continuity, while the second one is. You could watch the first movie without really ever having seen Power Rangers before, but the second one was basically a TV movie that somehow got a theatrical release.

AFB-logo-newSpeaking of Power Rangers, I had the pleasure of joining @Engineernerd of the Action Figure Blues Podcast and @ExveeBrawn of Superhero Time to discuss the Power Rangers toy line. Could Power Rangers be the best toyline of all time? Listen along, as we make the case!

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The suit for The Flash was revealed this week. Like some other folks, I think it looks kinda Daredevily, but it could work. I’m probably not even gonna watch the show, so I don’t have a horse in that race. I still haven’t watched Arrow since my review of it last year. Ever since I binge watched Breaking Bad, something’s been broken in me. I just can’t handle one-hour dramas at the moment. Maybe one day, but not now. Arrow, and The Flash, will just have to wait.

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And no, I’m not excited about Gotham, either. I mean, who really wants a Batman prequel? I have no interest in the goings on of pre-Batman Gotham. Just like with the Birds of Prey show, the only draw will be the hope of seeing Batman. Since most of Bruce’s training occurs outside of Gotham, I just don’t see what the appeal of this show could be.

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I found this at Toys “R”Us this morning, but I just can’t justify a $79.99 price tag (it’s sitting in a different spot in the pic for better lighting). It’s a gorgeous piece, and it’s heavy, but $80?! I’ll just continue to be content with my original one.

My Twitter bestie, Brandi, does comedy, and here’s a set that she did when Jackie Kashian came to town.

Links I Loved
65 Songs You Will Never Be Able To Listen To The Same Way Again – Buzzfeed
Blockbuster Video Presents: The UnderScoopFire Tournament of Super Powers – UnderScoopFire!
Hands On With Marvel Unlimited – Double Dumbass On You

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Ya know what had the West Week Ever? Walt Disney World. I went there for the first time, and boy do I have some thoughts. But you’ll have to wait until sometime next week for those ;-)

07th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/7/14

by Will

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IFC's Maron

So, this week I’ve been watching Maron on Netflix. If you’re not familiar, it stars comedian Marc Maron and it’s basically the same formula as Louie. The difference, however, is I find I relate to Maron more than Louis CK. I’ve never listened to Maron’s podcast, but I’ve heard a bunch of his bits and I find him really witty. He also has this self-loathing streak that’s kind of brave for him to be putting out there in public. So, I guess Maron has a vulnerability that I don’t see in Louis. It’s interesting they both ended up with the same kind of show, seeing as how they’re contemporaries and also had a longstanding rivalry. I’m sure it’d be easy to just write off Maron as a rip-off of Louie, but I think there’s more heart to it.

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I never thought I’d have to do this, but I may have to strip a prior winner of West Week Ever status. If you remember, last year I bestowed the honor upon iCarly‘s Jennette McCurddy and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons. It seemed like a cute internet love story, as he had posted her as his “Woman Crush Wednesday” choice on Twitter, and they eventually ended up dating. Well, they didn’t live happily ever after, as McCurddy explained on Pete Holmes’s You Made It Weird podcast. She admitted that she only dated Drummond for the publicity and said that he was a bad kisser. Listening to the podcast, she doesn’t really come off as malicious, but she still aired their business in public. Drummond, seemingly, retaliated by “leaking” a racy photo that she’d sent him. He’s denying having anything to do with the leak, but she’s pretty certain that he’s the one who did it. Who knew that a celebrity relationship would end like this?!

arkham knight

This week, it was announced that Batman would be returning to next-gen consoles in Batman: Arkham Knight. I own Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but still haven’t gotten Arkham Origins. I won’t be following Bats into this latest game, however, as it’s not going to be released on the 360, and I’m not planning on ever getting a PS4 or an XBone. Sucks, ’cause I’d really like to drive the Batmobile, as you’ll be able to do in this installment. Oh well, I’m sure I’m sure I know someone who’ll end up buying it and I can just play theirs.

arsenio

I swear I never set out to talk about Arsenio every week, but he keeps giving me material. I’m not sure if this has happened in other markets, but I noticed that our CW affiliate kinda cut some of his support once the second season was announced. You see, they had created a sort of “black bubble” to boost his viewership. When the show launched, its lead-in was syndicated episodes of The Middle. Someone at Channel 50 realized it had nothing in common with Arsenio’s target demographic, so in January, they started airing Judge Mathis at 10 . It was weird to see court shows that late at night, but I eventually got used to it. To ease folks out of Arsenio, they aired Cosby Show reruns after his show. This created said black bubble, as the shows were aimed at black viewers. Well, the bubble burst this week, as they took off Judge Mathis and now air Seinfeld in the 10 PM slot. I’m not sure what they’re trying to accomplish, as the Seinfeld audience isn’t the Arsenio audience any more than The Middle‘s audience was. They had created a nice little nest for Arsenio and now they’ve gotten rid of it (though the Cosby episodes are still the lead out). I wonder what the grand plan is for that 10 PM slot.

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Speaking of odd programming choices, it was announced this week that Conan O’Brien will be hosting the MTV Movie Awards. This is most certainly a step down for someone who once hosted The Tonight Show. These aren’t even the fabled Video Music Awards that we’re talking about here – these are the MOVIE awards. Sure, Conan has always wanted to be hip, but the MTV crowd ain’t his audience. And it’s not like it was a contractual obligation from the network, as his show is produced by Turner while MTV is a Viacom network. Like the Arsenio scheduling, I wonder what the endgame is here.

upload

I stumbled across Upload with Shaquille O’Neal on Tru TV. Funny enough, everything on Tru TV is blatantly fake, but I gave it a chance because of Shaq’s cohosts – comedians Godfrey and Rachel Feinstein. I love both of them for different reasons, but it was painful to see them in this show. What is Upload? Basically, it’s Tosh.0 hosted by Shaq. And it’s even worse than it sounds. Since Shaq’s a lummox, Godfrey and Rachel are there to do the heavy comedic lifting, but they’re not given much to work with. Anyway, avoid this show at all costs!

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Speaking of bad television, last week Jim Parsons hosted what may be the worst episode of Saturday Night Live that I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just unfunny, but it was weird in an uncomfortable way. He kicked off the show with a song and dance number about how he’s “not that guy” that he plays on The Big Bang Theory. Then, he spent the next 90 minutes essentially being that guy. So, I think he failed on that goal. I can’t say that I’m expecting better with this week’s host, Lena Dunham.

Anyone who’s ever been to this site knows that I eat this kinda stuff up:

I probably would’ve liked it more had he spliced in some PR footage for the visuals. It’s kinda weird watching him as he belts all those songs (especially when he kinda Britta’d some of them). Still, it’s pretty impressive.

Links I Loved
Thundercats LIVE! Was The Stuff of Nightmares – Double Dumbass On You

15 Things You Might Not Know About Star Wars – UnderScoopFire!

Jackie Robinson and the Mythic Black Superhero – Snoopy Jenkins

One’s career seems to be on the decline, while another seems to be on the way up. One seems like a moron, while the other is more of a Maron. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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Who had a week like Lupita Nyong’o? Sure, Adele Dazeem jokes aside, everyone was talking about Lupita’s award-winning performance in her first role. Now everyone’s speculating on what she’ll do next. Well, history and Oscar haven’t been kind to my people. Cuba went from Jerry Maguire to Boat Trip. Halle ended up doing The Call – from WWE Films, mind you. Octavia did a guest stint on CBS’s Mom. While an Oscar usually means the sky is the limit, for a black actor it usually means the limit is the sky.  I haven’t seen 12 Years A Slave yet, but I hear it’s powerful. So, enjoy your week, Lupita, ’cause it’s only a matter of time before you’re cast in A Haunted House 3 with the Wayans Bros. For now, however, let’s enjoy Lupita’s win by crowning her as having had the West Week Ever.

10th Jan2014

West Week Ever – 1/10/14

by Will

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oie_922142seDasWF9ilizashlesingerWelcome to 2014! We’re back, ready to do this another year. While I had about a 2 week holiday break, I didn’t spend as much time with Netflix as I’d expected. In the middle of episodes of Undercover Boss, I watched 3 things over break. First up was Iliza Shlesinger’s comedy special War Paint. If you’re not familiar with Iliza, she won the 6th season of Last Comic Standing, and also hosted the syndicated dating show Excused. I expected funny, but that’s not really what I got. It wasn’t a bad special, but maybe a bit too long. I’m not sure she’s ready for a full hour yet, as most of her act is comprised of weird voices and cloying animal noises. I really wanted to like it, as she always came off as a cool chick, but it just didn’t do it for me.

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Next up, Lindsay took me to Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues for my birthday. I can’t give an honest assessment of the movie, as I was having a rough day and didn’t find it as funny as I wanted it to be. There were parts I loved, like Doby the shark and the blindness, but parts I loathed including any scene with Steve Carrell. Man, the Brick character sure wore thin quickly! I expected to laugh more, and I hated the news gang fight as much as I loved the original news gang fight. It felt like they were trying to catch lightning in a bottle a second time, and the cameos took me out of it more than they did the first time around. Kanye and Will Smith?? Really? So, I’m not gonna really have a clear opinion of the film until I see it again.

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Finally, I caught We’re The Millers. It’s set in Denver, so it was actually playing on my flight out to Denver the day after Christmas. I refused to give Frontier Airlines my $6, though, so I picked it up at Redbox when I got home. Like Anchorman 2, I expected to laugh more. I love Jason Sudeikis, and it’s great that he has become the new Vince Vaughn. The whole time I found myself looking at Aniston, wondering, “What kind of mistakes did she make in life to still be stripping at 40?” I think Aniston’s cute and all, but I found myself in the @LamarRevenger camp this time around, as she was not doing it for me. I feel like there’s someone else they could’ve cast in that role for the stripper stuff to have been more convincing. Anyway, the funniest scene in the whole movie is during the outtakes, so don’t stop the DVD right when the movie stops.

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Speaking of Denver, I wonder if the events of the movie (Sudeikis has to smuggle a ton of weed over the border for Andy Bernard, pretends he’s a family man in a Winnebago) would happen in 2014 Denver. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that Denver has legalized marijuana. When people hear I just got back, their first question was “Oh, did you…yeah?” No, I didn’t. The law didn’t go into effect until last Wednesday, and I left Tuesday. Great timing, huh? That brings up an interesting quandary, though, as I doubt I’d have done it had it been legal while I was there. I’ve never done a drug in my life, and I’m kinda too old to be starting now. Anyway, Denver was great as I got to hang out with my sister (we don’t do “in-law” in this family!), Jamie, and her boyfriend, Sam.

ChromeCastI find it funny that I got Chromecast, yet ended up watching less TV. My wonderful wife got it for me for Christmas, and I have to admit that I didn’t even fully know what it was. Basically, it lets you watch anything from your computer on your TV – all due to a little HDMI flash drive thingy. I’d love to actually use it, but she keeps commandeering the TV for football.

Pebble

As for awesome gifts, I got a Pebble for my birthday. If you’re not familiar, it’s a smartwatch that started as a Kickstarter, but is now sold in stores like Best Buy. It has an e-paper display, like a Kindle, and is highly customizable. As for the “smart” aspect of it, it features caller ID, as well as Facebook, text, and email notifications right on the watch face. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it, but it’s also making me realize how many notifications I average. The battery is meant to last 5-7 days on one charge (you charge it via USB cable), but I’m definitely more on the 5 day side. Anyway, the only thing it lacks (which the Samsung Gear has) is the ability to answer calls and talk into it. Maybe the next version will have that. They already announced a newer, stainless steel version at CES this week. Yup, 2 weeks after I got mine. Bastards…

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I found it funny that Lady Gaga issued an apology to her fans this week. Give it up, Stefani – you’re in time-out. Gaga had a rough 2013, as her album, Artpop, pseudo-flopped, her Muppets special bombed, and everyone’s kinda tired of her shit. Now she’s busy blaming everyone but herself. The problem with Gaga is that she “maxed out on weird”. There was nowhere else for her to go in terms of weirdness. It’s a lot like The Matrix trilogy. Remember how amazing the effects were in the first movie? Time passed, technology advanced, and there were even better effects in the second one. The third movie, however, was filmed at the same time as the second. So, there’s no real dazzle there. They had maxed out the bounds of effects technology of the time and had nothing else to give us. Gaga did the same thing, and now she needs to go somewhere and regroup.

NYT Language Map

Before Christmas, everyone on Facebook was taking a dialect quiz from The New York Times. Contrary to what I thought it would say, the quiz correctly identified my dialect as that of Washington, DC. Or Richmond, VA. Or Winston-Salem, NC. Hey, one out of three ain’t bad! If you didn’t jump on the bandwagon, you can still take the quiz here.

DC Karaoke

So, I found out that this is a thing that exists. An a cappella friend from college is actually in it. It’s team-based karaoke and actually sounds kinda cool. I’m on the antisocial side, so I’m not sure, but I might actually give it a shot. We’ll see…

Last night, I weaseled my way onto the latest episode of The Kliqnation’s Comic Book Chronicles, and the guys were nice enough to let me stay. You can watch the ep here:

If you’re looking for new blogs to read this year, I’ve got some recommendations for ya. First up, my good pal, Tarek, has started a blog documenting his progress with The Ultimate Yogi program. Even if you’ve never considered doing yoga, his observations are pretty funny. It’s worth reading just to witness him lusting over the chicks in the videos. You can follow his progress at Mediocre Yogi. Next up, my pal Dean, AKA @LamarRevenger, has restarted his family blog Fun With The Schaeffers. I love the tagline: “Witness a family trying to live the American Dream, by the seat of their pants.” He’s returning after a years-long hiatus, so I can’t wait to see what he has in store.

In Case You Missed It This Week
Adventures West Coast – Saga Vol 1

West YEAR Ever – 2013

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No one had a week like Sasheer Zamata – the newest Saturday Night Live cast member. SNL came under fire a few months back when Mr. Good Burger himself, Kenan Thompson, had to go and say that there weren’t any black women ready to join the cast. Of course, this started a shitstorm, and folks started demanding that SNL try harder to diversify. So, not only did they hire 2 black women writers, but they also hired Sasheer – the first black woman cast member since Maya Rudolph (yup, she counts). If you don’t count Maya, Sasheer’s the first black woman cast member since Ellen Cleghorne. Anyone remember her? Anyway, it’s kind of a shame how this whole thing went down. They could’ve waited until next fall, and introduced her along with the new cast members. Instead, the national spotlight is on her, and her debut will take place next Saturday, featuring host and musical guest Drake. There’s a lot of pressure on Ms. Zamata, and I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes. That said, she’s been given the chance of a lifetime, and she’s now on everyone’s radar, so Sasheer Zamata had the West Week Ever.

04th Oct2013

West Week Ever – 10/4/13

by Will

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This week saw the series finale of Breaking Bad. I have nothing to say other than it was PERFECT. I couldn’t imagine it ending any other way, and it may be the most satisfying series finale I’ve ever seen. That’s all I’ll say on it.

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I caught the series finale of The IT Crowd, as well. It was a great episode, but not really a “finale”. It was really just a double-length episode that provided a slight bit of closure, but also left the door open for more in the future. Since the show introduced me to Richard Ayoade, I wanted to see more from him. I found a show online that he hosts called Gadget Man. Originally hosted by Stephen Fry, Ayoade took over for the second season and it features him as he tests out various gadgets for different scenarios. You can find most of the season on YouTube, so I recommend you check it out.

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This week saw the second episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., also known as the first episode I decided to skip. That wasn’t the smartest idea as (SPOILER ALERT) Nick Fury showed up after the credits. So, I guess I was wrong about him never showing up. I can admit when I’m wrong. I still don’t know if I’m wrong about the entire show, however. As I was telling someone on Twitter, we watch the Marvel movies for the unexpected. At the end of the day, does the general public want a Marvel procedural drama? We want thrills, not NCIS: Marvel. Right now, the show is too dependent on movie plots and movie gimmicks, like the post credit cameos. How long can it get by on these tropes before it comes into its own? I mean, is this it? Last week, I said that I don’t think the Marvel cinematic experience should be boiled down to a weekly show, and I stand by that. Ratings dropped 35% from the pilot; we knew they would decrease, but did we know by that much? By the time ratings level out, it could be out of tricks. I guess time will tell.

Want some more TV thoughts? The Michael J. Fox Show is simply painful to watch. It’s natural they had to write in his Parkinson’s, but it’s hard to look at him. Plus, it was kinda of “pandery” the way NBC trotted out all their on air talent, like the Today Show crew, for the pilot. At the end of the day, it’s one giant commercial for WNBC4 – NBC’s NYC affiliate.

CBS’s We Are Men will probably be the first canceled show of the TV season. First off, it did nothing with its How I Met Your Mother lead-in, losing a chunk of the audience. Next, its numbers were worse than those of Partners, the CBS sitcom that was canceled early on last season in the same timeslot. It’s not very compelling, and none of the characters are very likeable. CBS Monday night has a decidedly female focus, so that show doesn’t fit the demographic. If the ratings stay on the same track, it’ll be done by Halloween. That’s if ABC’s Lucky 7 doesn’t beat it to Cancelville. I haven’t watched that show yet, but no one has, which is the big problem.


I’m a champion of the syndicated drama, but I don’t know if I can get behind SAF3. If you don’t know, SAF3 is from the Baywatch creators, and it shows. It’s essentially a Baywatch reboot, only the acting’s worse and the Hasselhoff role is now played by Dolph Lundgren. Instead of focusing only on lifeguards, the main cast is comprised of a group of firefighters and rescue workers. Dancing with the Stars champ JR Martinez is one of the costars, and his burns have been written into the show. I’ll keep watching it because I hate myself, but it’s SO BAD.

Narcissistic PSA Alert: I’ve been thinking a lot about this post that I wrote on Tumblr last year. As I said in that post, I wrote it over there because I was kinda too ashamed to write it over here. Still, a year later, the sentiment still stands: why am I not a bigger deal than I am? I know that’s a dick thing to say out loud, but it’s the last thought I have many nights before going to sleep. I need a champion: someone with a sizable fanbase who’s like “Hey, check this guy out.” I totally appreciate all of you who read and retweet. I just want MORE of you! This seems to be happening with bigger, more successful bloggers, as Dinosaur Dracula (one of my inspirations) has written similar posts. The same people who tell me they love Thrift Justice are some of the ones who never share it. Why? Are you ashamed of me? For some, I think that’s true. You’re family men, with responsibilities, and your association with my “blue” writing might not be in your best interest. It still kinda hurts, though.

I’ve tried to go out and “make friends”. I read and comment on other sites. I even joined up with “The League of Extraordinary Bloggers”. The latter did next to nothing for me, as it felt cliquish, and folks just didn’t seem to have the time for me. It was never worth it to me to have a big “I quit!” gesture, but I pretty much left them alone because I wasn’t in the reindeer games. A lot of this is me thinking out loud, and I realize how petty some of it sounds. I just felt like the point of The League was to expand readership and foster a sense of community. I didn’t get that out of it, and it clearly wasn’t getting anything out of me, so I just went on my way.

Here’s full disclosure: there’s not much difference in hits whether I post something new or just let the backlist sit there. I’m so tired of hustling. I’m tired of constantly retweeting of my own stuff, and I’m sure you’re all tired of seeing it. I just feel like it’s something I have to do, ’cause I never know if anyone else is gonna do it for me. I’m tired of poring over Alexa rankings trying to figure out the secret to traffic. They say you have to practice something for 10 years in order to be good at it. I hear standups talk about how they’ve been on the road for 10-15 years, and I wonder “How did they do it?” Then, I realize that I’ve been blogging for 10 years. All of that was practice, putting in time. It’s supposed to be fun, and I have a lot of fun writing. It just kills me when nobody cares to read it. Now I think I’m ready for something bigger. I’m not the best, but I think I’m good – good enough to be a destination site. I want you to turn on your computer in the morning and think “Let’s see what Will has to say today.” That’s the goal, at least. So, the question stands: what do you want from me? What do I need to do? If the answer is “nothing”, then please tell a friend. For those who already do, I appreciate you more than you know.

Anyway, back to the show…

Links I Loved

The Dark Side of Star Wars – The Nerds of Color

So Bryan Cranston And Dean Norris Were Both In The Pilot Of Pamela Anderson’s Bodyguard Show, ‘V.I.P.’ – Warming Glow

Podcast Alert

My Twitter sister @ItsTheBrandi has a hilarious new podcast called “Brandi and Bill Talk About Blaxploitation”. They’ve already covered Blackenstein and Foxy Brown. You can check out the episodes here.

Meanwhile, CT from the Nerd Lunch Podcast has a new James Bond-centric podcast called “Pod, James Pod”. If you’re a Bond fan, you should definitely check it out here.

Finally, the guys behind the No Topic Required Podcast have decided to start a new show, focusing on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. You can listen to the first episode of the Reveal the S.H.I.E.L.D. Podcast here.

This Week’s Post

The Con-Clusion: Monster-Mania 26

One turned it off and on again for the last time, while one reached the end of its Albuquerque road. One gave us a post credit surprise while the other isn’t worth watching past the credits. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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This is unprecedented, but Breaking Bad is the first repeat West Week Ever winner. That finale was simply that damn good. As I said on Twitter, the ball’s in your court, Don Draper.

06th Sep2013

West Week Ever – 9/6/13

by Will

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Can I just say that I can’t stand “campers”? Let me explain: campers are the folks who just camp out in a store at the expense of other customers. You know the kids who read the manga on the floor of Barnes & Noble? They’re campers. This came to mind because series 11 of the LEGO Minifigures finally hit Target, but I couldn’t get to them. No, because some mom was too busy doing the squeeze method on the whole fucking box! For those not in the know, LEGO releases blind bags collectible versions of their LEGO minifigures. Since you don’t know what’s inside, the best way to figure it out is by squeezing. We all do it, but there’s got to be a limit. You can’t commandeer the whole cardboard display and squeeze EVERY pack while someone else is waiting. Be considerate!

Batwoman

Apparently fans are upset because the creators on Batwoman walked off due to conflicts with editorial. These reports are nothing new for DC, but it seems the creators wanted Batwoman to marry her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer. At the end of the day, this is a company-owned character, and that plotline may not have aligned with DC’s future plans for the characters. This is a precarious situation because it makes DC look bad considering that Marvel had no problem with gay marriage when it came to Northstar. The question, however, is whether or not this is a “gay” thing. Typically, fans hate the idea of comic characters getting married, but this is the odd scenario where they’d upset about a wedding not happening. Folks online pointed out that fans tend to care more when it’s a high profile character, and she’s not big enough to fall into that category. Personally, I’ve never liked Batwoman. I didn’t stick with her series long, but it always bothered me that she never really earned her spot in the Bat Family. In the stories, especially her Detective arc, there’s no real reason given as to why she decides to be BATwoman. Why take on that baggage and responsibility? Why not just be the AssKicktress or something? Clearly, it was a corporate thing where they knew slapping a bat on her chest would legitimize her in some way. I think they tried to loop her into the Bat goings on during Batman Inc., but it was too little too late by that point. It was always a gorgeous book, but it was more style than substance. It moved at a glacial pace, and she wasn’t really a likeable character. So, do I want her to be happy? NO! But they can’t kill her, ’cause then that’ll be construed as gay bashing or something. This is what happens when you create a token without a plan.

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I’m really curious to see how Arsenio’s gonna do in late night. The landscape has changed since 1994, but there’s definitely a niche for him to fill. For one thing, he’s black. Sure, there’s W. Kamau Bell airing at the same time, but he caters to the uppity blipster crowd. Arsenio is just plain ol’ black. There’s also a hierarchy to late night: if you’re promoting a new movie you go on Letterman or Leno. Kimmel is starting to get in on that. Then, you’ve got Fallon and Ferguson for whoever’s left. Still, there’s something to the fact that Arsenio has mainly been cleared by stations that are also WB affiliates. That network’s “stars” need a showcase, as they’re not getting that Leno invitation. There’s a whole tier of Hollywood that can now benefit from a new, hip show. Look at Breaking Bad – Bryan Cranston has now hit the level to be in Leno or Letterman, but Betsy Brandt is still on that Talking Bad level. She’d be perfect for Arsenio, as she’s a strong player on a hit show. The thing is that Arsenio was *young* and hip, and 20 years have passed. Is he still trying to cater to a young audience, or is he trying to pick up where he left off with the audience that he had? Remember, he didn’t last too long once the late night wars started, and I really don’t see great things now. Anyone remember the Vibe show? Or Magic Johnson’s show? This is just that, in 2013. Since he’s syndicated, he’ll get his first year, but I’m not sure he’ll get more than that. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

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I love this story SO MUCH. If you don’t wanna click the link, here’s the long and short of it: Jennette McCurdy played Sam on iCarly, while Andre Drummond plays for the Detroit Pistons. I’ve always kinda had a thing for the Sam character, as I have an idea as to where her character arc leads her in life; you should ask me about it sometime.  Anyway, Andre tweeted that he had a crush on her and she ended up seeing it, which led to their introduction. Their online flirtation went back and forth, and now they’re a couple! Or so it seems. Anyway, just read the whole story ’cause it’s so much better than my summary.

Did you guys know that there are no Cracker Jack prizes anymore?! I learned this via someone I follow on Instagram. Apparently, when you open up the prize package, it tells you that you can now download your prize from the App Store. I looked into it, and found that you end up with this game:

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Lindsay pointed out that more people will probably play this app than would’ve played with the crappy version that would’ve been packed inside. Still, while she’s probably right, it feels like the end of an era.

Links I Loved

Toy Hunt: Ultra Mega Flea Market Hunt - The Robot’s Pajamas

Who Wore It Best? 80s Cartoon Character Edition -UnderScoopFire!

My Jehovah’s Witness story part 1 – Monster Cafe and Bar

My story as a Jehovah’s Witness part 2 - Monster Cafe and Bar

The Many Faces of Amanda Waller - The Nerds of Color

This Week’s Posts

Introducing…Track Star!

Thrift Justice – Walk On By

One’s returning to the dog pound, while the other’s being treated like a bitch. One’s waiting for a squeeze, while the other found one. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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I’m a sucker for an internet love story. Plus, it’s too soon to judge Arsenio, while the other two things made me mad. So, Jennette McCurdy and Andre Drummond had the West Week Ever!

23rd May2013

Thrift Justice – Hell Naw! Are You For Real?

by Will

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Do we really need an intro. Y’all know what this is all about. These are things I find in thrift stores. Usually, I write about the things that I buy. Every now and then, however, I focus on things that I simply HAD to leave behind. This is one of those posts. These are recent items that I just couldn’t believe I found, but felt would make great conversation pieces. So, away we go!

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Sure, Jakks eventually figured out how to make a decent wrestling figure, but those earliest offerings were hideous. This hails from the “Attitude Era” that I missed in its entirety, so I know next to nothing about Sable OR Shotgun Saturday Night. From what I can tell from this figure, Sable was just a wrestling groupie, right? She wasn’t a “Diva”, was she? Please tell me she wasn’t a Diva. She looks like someone’s slutty mom. She needs to take that chair packaged with her, and go sit down somewhere.

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Hehe. And notice that the seal is unbroken on this CD…

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I’m sorry, but no one has ever said “Man, I could really watch 26 hours of The Price Is Right today!” If they did, they’re probably a stoner, and can’t remember where they left this box set. I mean, really? I would watch a compilation of every episode where Barker did something sleazy to spokesmodels and women contestants, but just random-ass episodes? No, thank you!

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I’m amazed this thing actually exists. For those not in the know, this is Harry from Harry and the Hendersons. I’ve never seen the movie in its entirety,  but I was really into the Saturday afternoon syndicated show. The dad was the evil senator from the X-Men movies. That’s all I really remember about it. Well, that and that it aired along with What A Dummy! and Tiny Toon Adventures (before it was repurposed as a kids show).

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This saddens me, as I wonder how it ended up being donated. It’s such a personal thing, and not something that would really sell to anyone other than its original recipient. As you can see, it’s some sort of CD to commemorate Mothers Day 9 years ago. Did Mom die? Did the family get a divorce? Did she finally get to the age where she started throwing away all the homemade gifts the kids made her over the years? I’m always curious when I see such personalized items being resold.

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California Dreidels?! Can’t black people have anything to themselves?! First Elvis came along, then Eminem, and now this?!!

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OK, read this slowly, as it gets kinda good. When you get cards from a questionable source, always inspect ya deck! I saw this in a batch of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards I got, and noticed that it looked…janky. Look at the edges and borders. I don’t think this card is real. So, I grab a corner and start peeling…

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WTF?! It’s like finding Narnia! What’s under this nefarious cover?

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An entirely different card! There’s some kinda card shark on the Yu-Gi-Oh! scene! How does a tween turn to such a life of crime? Who taught him to do this? Has he already been shot in the face following a Chinatown game gone wrong? Why?! WHY?!!!

Welp, that wraps it up for this installment. I gotta Google “Chinatown Yu-Gi-Oh! shootout”. Come back tomorrow, ’cause it’s Friday, and you know what happens around here on Fridays…

07th May2013

Reboot That Bitch: The Fall Guy

by Will

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I’m not sure if this’ll become a regular feature, but I’ve had a few of these rolling around in my head lately, so let’s see what happens. The premise is pretty simple: rebooting an old franchise with newer cast members. The Nerd Lunch guys do it all the time with their Re-Do podcasts, so I’m not reinventing the wheel. I do, however, seem to love the one-hour weekend syndicated drama format more than most, so I’ll probably be focusing on more of those sorts of shows. Anyway, today we’re going to talk about The Fall Guy (yeah, I know it was an ABC show, but I grew up with it in syndication, and that’s exactly where it would land in today’s TV climate).

The Fall Guy Cast

One of my favorite shows of the 80s, The Fall Guy starred Lee Majors as stuntman Colt Seavers, a man who works as a bounty hunter when not taking scrapes for stars like Robert Redford on screen. He’s accompanied by his cousin Howie (Douglas Barr), and stuntwoman Jody (Heather Thomas). First off, let me just take a moment to give Douglas Barr a round of applause. While not a household name, he was THE utility player of 80s television. If not for him and Terry Kiser, we wouldn’t have had anything to watch. Anyway, The Fall Guy was pretty formulaic – Colt gives us a voiceover of what life’s like as a stunt man, then he’d get a job to go after someone who’s jumped bail. His awesome truck usually jumped something cool, and Colt and Howie usually got into a fist fight in a dive bar. Oh, and when people shot at each other, no one got hit – in true Glen A. Larson fashion.

Plot

When thinking about a reboot of this franchise, it’s actually a lot harder than you’d assume. You see, Hollywood hasn’t really cranked out too many prettyboy actors like Robert Redford in recent years. We’ve either got the metrosexual who does his own stunts (Will Smith, Tom Cruise), or CGI taking care of the hard stuff. So, that would be a leading theme in this new incarnation. This Colt Seavers would actually be more successful as a bounty hunter, as the stunt industry is getting smaller. He’s still trying to get jobs here and there, but he’s realizing that Hollywood has changed, and his stuntman days are numbered. Also factor in that he’s not the youngest kid on the block, so even the jobs opening up are going to younger guys, with fewer broken bones.

Setting

Considering all the work is in LA, the show would remain in LA. Not that Colt couldn’t go on location for shoots, but HQ is in LA. I want a particular LA, though. I fell in love with the decadent, otherworldly LA depicted in shows like V.I.P. and Fastlane. That’s the LA where everyone goes to make dreams come true, yet they’re too oblivious to realize very few people’s dreams are coming true. I want the LA where every waiter’s an actor, and the real stars don’t give a shit about them. There’s glitz and glamour everywhere you look, but no one seems to know how to get from where they are to that. Colt hates this world, but he knows where his bread is buttered. He resents the fact that the “stars” get the attention, while he does all the heavy work (what little there is to be done lately). I want the same tongue-in-cheek nature of V.I.P. (which I think owes a lot to the original Fall Guy), and I want D-list guest stars, like David Faustino and Kato Kaelin. It’s a weekend show, with no network backing, so that’s the guest budget we’re working with.

Casting

Colt Seavers – Michael Biehn

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If this show were to start in the fall, Biehn would be 57 – about 10 years older than Majors when he had the role. That said, I couldn’t think of anyone better. He’s still in great shape, and he’s got the bumps to sell the role. They don’t make ‘em like Majors/Biehn anymore, as you need a guy who’s ruggedly handsome, has a shit-eating grin, but also couldn’t care less about the “stars” around him. Again, working with a weekly syndicated budget, this is a major coup. I almost went with Greg Evigan, but Biehn is the right choice. The perfect choice. In the event Biehn turned it down, I’d go with David Chokachi.

Howie Munson – Kyle Bornheimer

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This is a tough role to cast, as Howie isn’t exactly “bumbling”, but he’s not the most coordinated guy. He’s got a good heart, though, and earnestly wants to learn the stuntman trade from Colt. He’s milquetoast with an edge. For this, I’m going with Kyle Bornheimer. You may not know his name, but you’ve seen his face. I first noticed him when he was on NBC’s short-lived Perfect Couples, with Olivia Munn and Waitress from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Currently, he’s the lead on ABC’s soon to be canceled Family Tools. His career is almost like Douglas Barr’s, but I could see him in the role so perfectly.

Jody Banks – Kaley Cuoco

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Here’s where things get a little tough. Everyone knows that Heather Thomas was on this show to add sex appeal. Well, her and Markie Post. She was a stuntwoman, but she usually just walked around in a bikini. If this were Maury, she’d be the Sexy Decoy. I need someone hot, but also with the physicality to pull this off. I also need someone who works within the budget. I want to keep the Happy Endings cast employed, so I gravitate to Elisha Cuthbert for hot/funny, but Eliza Coupe for hot/athletic. Still, I think both might be out of the price range of this little venture. Nope – got it. Kaley Cuoco. Her star is rising, but I don’t think she’d cost too much. Her recent commercial push shows she’ll take any job, and TBBT only has about 3 more seasons in it. She’s perfect for the humor and the physicality. I’ll say, however, that her addition to the cast bumps this up from syndication to a USA Original Series (yeah, they call ‘em that even when they’re not).

The Truck

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 Look at it! Look at it JUMP! Yeah, that truck’s a member of the cast just as much as Colt. It ain’t going anywhere.

Theme Song

The original stays. I’m not sure if Michael Biehn can sing, but if he can, he’s doing it. If not, we’ll just use the Lee Majors version. Majors will already have cameos as Colt’s inspiration and mentor. I once toyed with the fact that New Colt was really just the brother of original Colt (which mean New Colt’s name would have to be Something Else Severs), but I never really like that stuff. So, Majors will be around, but we’ll call him something like “Dutch”. Anyway, the song. This is it:

Summary

So, there ya have it. I think it’s got about 3 seasons in it, if scheduled properly. Who knows – might even make it to 5. I say 3 seasons because that’s when renegotiation would occur, and I’m sure this show would require a favored nations clause, like Three’s Company. Basically, when one gets a raise, they all get a raise – even if one makes more, which would be Cuoco. Negotiations tend to fall apart at that point, as Suzanne Somers can attest. Anyway, this isn’t the show that’s gonna win awards or get rave reviews. It’s guilty pleasure television. It’s TV for the tween and teen who’s wrapped up in video games. Even if it can’t ween them off the XBox teat, then it’s guilty pleasure TV for bored husbands and lonely spinsters. The bottom line is that they don’t make TV like this anymore. A lot of folks might say that’s a good thing, but I’m not one of them. So, this is just my attempt at bringing back a little, albeit important, piece of my childhood.

19th Apr2013

West Week Ever – 4/19/13

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

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This week’s post is gonna be bitter. Maybe you’ll find some humor in it, but there’s some stuff I wanna get out. So, “hold on to yo’ butts!”

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Something’s been bothering me in the reseller world, and it’s only been exacerbated by the influx of shows like Pawn Stars, Toy Hunter, etc. Where to begin? OK, I’ve got an Avengers Helicarrier on Craigslist for $35. If you follow me on Twitter, you know what I really paid for it, but this price is still WELL below retail. So, the other night, I get this email:

Hello there! I saw your add at CL. Can you do 17? thanks!

FUCK. THIS. GUY.

If you don’t even know much about the item, know this: IT’S THREE FEET LONG! That’s $5.66 per foot. Even in real estate terms, that’s a joke!

I replied with,

That’s half what I’m asking. The art of negotiation is truly dead.

Then, he replied with something that always sets me off:

Im a retailer, I need some room to make money on it. $17? Im sorry I dont mean to insult you with my price offer.

I don’t give a fuck if you’re a retailer. That’s what I always hated about Pawn Stars – the whole, “Well, I’m running a business here, and I’ve gotta make a profit.” It assumes that the buyer is doing the seller a favor, which is only true in an emergency or drug fiend scenario. If I really needed money, and you were my last outlet, maybe you can lead the negotiations. However, outside of those situations, the seller should have the power. Your business and your profit aren’t my concern. With Toy Hunter, he’s offering 50% of what he feels he can get, but I’m just of the mindset of “Why don’t I just sell it myself?” Sure, he has connections and whatnot, but I’d eventually find a buyer, and I’d just sit on it until then.

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The buyer has already shown his hand by being interested, so don’t just give your shit away if you don’t like what he’s offering. Unless you just need to clear out space or truly need the money, you’re doing him the favor. His business DEPENDS on stock. He has more to lose than I do. Now, we’re not talking about some rare prototype here, but it’s all the same thing. At the end of the day, a retailer needs stock to sell. I run into this with Will’s World of Wonder. I scour Craigslist and whatnot, but I never go after something if it’s priced at a point where I don’t instantly think it’ll make money. I don’t haggle unless I’m buying multiple items, and then I’m just going for a “bundling” deal. I would never, however, go in at 50%. Even if uneducated in the market, the seller has already settled on a price they’d like to receive (even if they don’t think they’ll actually get it). It’s up for the seller to decide just how low they’re willing to go. I just think an initial 50% offer cuts everyone off at the knees, and I don’t think it would be as prevalent if reality shows weren’t teaching every “retailer” that that’s how to do it.

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While I’m being a drag, there’s something that still keeps me up at night. You see, back in college, I think I was a pretty shitty friend. I was in an a cappella group and glee club, and was always begging friends to come to my shit. On the flipside, I never went to theirs. I had friends who competed in ballroom dancing competitions who were ALWAYS at my stuff, and I didn’t see any of them dance until long after we’d graduated. It’s not that I didn’t want to support them, but I was just so self-centered. So, let’s apply that to the internet. I’ve spent a lot of time promoting my wares, while not always reading your posts. I’ve rectified that over recent months, as I like to get some interaction with my social media. Still, even not reading or listening, I still supported you by sharing your posts/pods with others. You’re my social circle, so I’ve come to know what I can expect from you in terms of blogging and podcasting. I’ve noticed 2 things from this, though: 1) if I don’t promote my stuff, who will? and 2) it doesn’t always go both ways. It’s a lot like gift giving – you should NEVER give a gift based on the belief that you will get one in return. That said, IT WOULD BE NICE. I’m not talking about material things here. There are things I do here, where you tell me you enjoy them, but you don’t share them. Why is that? Are you ashamed you enjoyed it? Are you ashamed to be known for reading my site? I recently visited someone’s site who essentially had a “How You Can Help Me” tab, asking readers to Like his posts on Facebook, post them to Reddit, etc. On the one hand, it rubbed me the wrong way that he felt he even had to write something like that. On the other, it clearly helped, as his engagement rates are off the charts. So, here we are. This isn’t directed to at all of you. Hell, if you’re reading this, it’s probably not even directed at you. What I’m saying is that I’m taking this personally. Classick Material over on the Cold Slither Podcast once said “We’re not taking attendance”, but I am. If you’ve ever said something like, “Well, you don’t even listen to my podcast”, take a minute and think about what you’ve done for me. The average time it takes to read one of my posts is about 01:09, while you expect me to dedicate 2 hrs of my life, listening to you talk? Are we a “community”, or am I just another hit to help your arbitrary stats? I’ve already been the change I wanted to see in the digital world, but I’m starting to think that’s just a cute fortune cookie concept. In wrestling terms, “Why won’t you put me over?”

How about some pop culture stuff, huh? Good.

Can someone please blow the lid off how people get paid from YouTube? I’m not a video guy, but it’s a closely guarded secret as to how people monetize their videos. This was brought to my attention here:

Did you watch the video? Touching, ain’t it? I had a discussion with Vincent over at The Robot’s Pajamas about this after it went viral. Leave it to me to be the downer. There are two ways to look at this video: on the one hand, it’s a nice “It Gets Better” tale. On the other, I worry about this guy because so much of his self-worth comes from external sources. I relate to him because of it. See how I berated some folks in the paragraph up there? Yeah, that came from this. Anyway, it’s interesting to wonder which followers/readers would step up to stop you from committing suicide. Don’t worry – this isn’t a cry for help. It’s just such an odd thing to think about – one that past generations never would’ve imagined. Still, the takeaway, however, is that I wanna know how he makes money!

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The other night, I was honored to be welcomed back by the guys at the Nerd Lunch Podcast (I’ll post the link when it goes live). We discussed 90s sitcoms, and I’m ashamed to admit that I failed to do any research before the ep. I honestly forgot that I received the outline (in case you’ve never emailed me, I’m the worst emailer who ever emailed. I wish everything could be done by tweet). As a result, I forgot about a few 90s shows that kinda haunt me. I wonder if anyone else remembers these.

The New WKRP

I wonder if Tawny Kitaen punched anyone in the face after this was taken…

First up, there’s The New WKRP In Cincinnati. While everyone’s probably seen the original, with Dr. Johnny Fever and Andy Travis, but not as many people flocked to the newer incarnation. I’m a big sucker for “Next Generation” shows like this and What’s Happening Now!!, so of course I was a fan. Kinda like Police Academy: The Series, the cast was comprised of the bare minimum of original cast members, just to lend credibility to the venture, while all the bigger stars were missing. So, we still got Les Nessman, Herb Tarlek, and Arthur Carlson, but gone were Venus Flytrap, Johnny Fever, Jennifer, Bailey, Andy, etc (though most would guest star at least once). It was also the mainstream debut of Mykelti Williamson (who would later star as “Bubba” in Forrest Gump), as station manager Donovan Aderhold. Seeing as it was the early 90s, most of the “humor” came from the fact that all these white people at a rock station were surprised that their boss was a black guy. The show only lasted 2 seasons because it was in syndication, and just wasn’t performing on a consistent level. I’ll never forgive them for their cliffhanger series finale, though – Donovan finally finds love, but his plane goes down and there was no hope of survivors. I think they were going for a M*A*S*H* moment, but people cared about M*A*S*H*.

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Another show haunts me due to its concept, despite the fact I forgot everything about it, including its name. You see, I remembered hearing about a sitcom starring a black family, which wasn’t anything new for the early 90s. There was a catch, however – this family lived in Archie Bunker’s old house. The final spinoff of the All in the Family franchise, the show was called 704 Hauser and was also produced by Norman Lear. Basically, Lear felt that America needed to have real discussions again, like they’d had during All in the Family‘s run. John Amos (of Good Times fame) played the patriarch, and he was pretty much just as pigheaded as Archie had been. The son was a disappointment, due to his conservative views and white girlfriend. Oh yeah – that girlfriend was played by Maura Tierney. So, the only footage that seems to survive online are the scenes in which she appeared (stalker alert!). The show only lasted about 6 episodes, but I still think it was an interesting concept. I don’t even think I watched it when it was on, but I wish it could have another shot. It was a CBS show, which really didn’t have a great black track record during that era. On Fox, it would’ve gotten a whole season, right after True Colors.

Links I Loved
Are Thrift Stores Running out of “Good Things” to Buy? The End of an Era? (Thrift Core) – I’m slightly biased, as my question was the basis of the post. Still, there’s some good conversation in the comments

The X-Men Cartoon that Wasn’t: Pryde of the X-Men (The Robot’s Pajamas) – I’ve always loved this cartoon, and Vincent did some detective work that I’d always been too lazy to do myself.

Visiting my bedroom circa 1995… (Branded In the 80s) – I’ve yet to determine if I’m laughing with Shawn or at him on this one, but it took a brave soul to post it.

Will There Be A Mild Mannered Reporter in “Man of Steel”? I’m No So Sure (Double Dumbass On You) – Jon has a pretty interesting theory on the development of Clark Kent in the upcoming Man of Steel. Honestly, I had no desire to see this film until I read this and saw the newest trailer.

One of them accomplished the amazing feat of being embarrassing on MTV, while another made nerds wet themselves over an overrated Star Wars filibuster. One of them, from a “show about nothing”, is about to train some turtles, while the other is “cunt punting” her way across the University of Maryland campus. Only one of them, however, had the West Week Ever.

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What you need to know – this email was forwarded from the listserv of the University of Maryland chapter of Delta Gamma sorority. Basically, “Julia” didn’t feel that her sisters were bringing all the boys to the yard – particularly the Sigma Nu fraternity guys with whom the sorority is matched. This is the best thing I’ve read in a long time. I clipped it from Gawker ’cause who knows how long it’ll be up:

If you just opened this like I told you to, tie yourself down to whatever chair you’re sitting in, because this email is going to be a rough fucking ride.

For those of you that have your heads stuck under rocks, which apparently is the majority of this chapter, we have been FUCKING UP in terms of night time events and general social interactions with Sigma Nu. I’ve been getting texts on texts about people LITERALLY being so fucking AWKWARD and so fucking BORING. If you’re reading this right now and saying to yourself “But oh em gee Julia, I’ve been having so much fun with my sisters this week!”, then punch yourself in the face right now so that I don’t have to fucking find you on campus to do it myself.

I do not give a flying fuck, and Sigma Nu does not give a flying fuck, about how much you fucking love to talk to your sisters. You have 361 days out of the fucking year to talk to sisters, and this week is NOT, I fucking repeat NOT ONE OF THEM. This week is about fostering relationships in the greek community, and that’s not fucking possible if you’re going to stand around and talk to each other and not our matchup. Newsflash you stupid cocks: FRATS DON’T LIKE BORING SORORITIES. Oh wait, DOUBLE FUCKING NEWSFLASH: SIGMA NU IS NOT GOING TO WANT TO HANG OUT WITH US IF WE FUCKING SUCK, which by the way in case you’re an idiot and need it spelled out for you, WE FUCKING SUCK SO FAR. This also applies to you little shits that have talked openly about post gaming at a different frat IN FRONT OF SIGMA NU BROTHERS. Are you people fucking retarded? That’s not a rhetorical question, I LITERALLY want you to email me back telling me if you’re mentally slow so I can make sure you don’t go to anymore night time events. If Sigma Nu openly said “Yeah we’re gonna invite Zeta over”, would you be happy? WOULD YOU? No you wouldn’t, so WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO IT TO THEM?? IN FRONT OF THEM?!! First of all, you SHOULDN’T be post gaming at other frats, I don’t give a FUCK if your boyfriend is in it, if your brother is in it, or if your entire family is in that frat. YOU DON’T GO. YOU. DON’T. GO. And you ESPECIALLY do fucking NOT convince other girls to leave with you.

“But Julia!”, you say in a whiny little bitch voice to your computer screen as you read this email, “I’ve been cheering on our teams at all the sports, doesn’t that count for something?” NO YOU STUPID FUCKING ASS HATS, IT FUCKING DOESN’T. DO YOU WANNA KNOW FUCKING WHY?!! IT DOESN’T COUNT BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN FUCKING UP AT SOBER FUCKING EVENTS TOO. I’ve not only gotten texts about people being fucking WEIRD at sports (for example, being stupid shits and saying stuff like “durr what’s kickball?” is not fucking funny), but I’ve gotten texts about people actually cheering for the opposing team. The opposing. Fucking. Team. ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID?!! I don’t give a SHIT about sportsmanship, YOU CHEER FOR OUR GODDAMN TEAM AND NOT THE OTHER ONE, HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN TO A SPORTS GAME? ARE YOU FUCKING BLIND? Or are you just so fucking dense about what it means to make people like you that you think being a good little supporter of the greek community is going to make our matchup happy? Well it’s time someone told you, NO ONE FUCKING LIKES THAT, ESPECIALLY OUR FUCKING MATCHUP. I will fucking cunt punt the next person I hear about doing something like that, and I don’t give a fuck if you SOR me, I WILL FUCKING ASSAULT YOU.

“Ohhh Julia, I’m now crying because your email has made me oh so so sad”. Well good. If this email applies to you in any way, meaning if you are a little asswipe that stands in the corners at night or if you’re a weird shit that does weird shit during the day, this following message is for you:

DO NOT GO TO TONIGHT’S EVENT.

I’m not fucking kidding. Don’t go. Seriously, if you have done ANYTHING I’ve mentioned in this email and have some rare disease where you’re unable to NOT do these things, then you are HORRIBLE, I repeat, HORRIBLE PR FOR THIS CHAPTER. I would rather have 40 girls that are fun, talk to boys, and not fucking awkward than 80 that are fucking faggots. If you are one of the people that have told me “Oh nooo boo hoo I can’t talk to boys I’m too sober”, then I pity you because I don’t know how you got this far in life, and with that in mind don’t fucking show up unless you’re going to stop being a goddamn cock block for our chapter. Seriously. I swear to fucking God if I see anyone being a goddamn boner at tonight’s event, I will tell you to leave even if you’re sober. I’m not even kidding. Try me.

And for those of you who are offended at this email, I would apologize but I really don’t give a fuck. Go fuck yourself.

For this post, mystery University of Maryland DG soror Julia had the West Week Ever.

11th Mar2013

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

by Will

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This is a post I’ve wanted to write since I started this site. I never quite knew how to approach it, but if I don’t try, I’ll probably never get around to it. How’s that for overhyping it? There are a lot of nostalgia blogs out there, but luckily we aren’t all into the same things. That’s cool – I’m used to be weird and different. Still, I’m amazed that no one has really delved into what we’re going to look at today. I mean, it’s ripe for today’s era of internet ridicule! Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about childhood crushes in my Twitter circle, yet no one mentioned this person. Anyway, today we’re talking about Xuxa.

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Permission to come aboard?

Xuxa (pronounced SHOO-shuh) is a name that means a LOT in South America, but sounds like baby gibberish to anyone in North America. Xuxa, AKA Maria da Graca Meneghel, DOMINATED the Brazilian children’s television scene for almost twenty years. She also banged Pele. Even people who don’t know a thing about soccer still know the name “Pele”. Yup, he hit it. A LOT.

pele

Anyway, Xuxa started her career as a teen magazine model, and the brilliant South American marketing machine decided “This chick would probably be good with kids.” And there was no turning back. There are even rumors that Michael Jackson’s people had sought her out to marry Michael and bear his children. After all, they both loved children, and it would also strengthen their brands. She politely declined, saying that she could only do that for love. So, that’s the story of how Pele beat Michael Jackson. I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m talking about any of this. Well, what most of Generation Y seems to have forgotten is that Xuxa had a brief yet memorable run on American television. Back in 1993, as the world was winding down on Turtles, but revving up on Rangers, Xuxa had a syndicated daily show for kids. And it was FILLED with glorious mindfuckery (I’m gonna try to get through this with as few YouTube clips as possible, ’cause I want this to stand the test of time; nothing’s sadder than an old post full of dead links)!

The marketing tagline for Xuxa’s US show was “It’s FUNbelievable!” Ya know, ’cause it was fun AND unbelievable. God bless ‘em! Anyway, Xuxa was a cavalcade of bullshit. Honestly, it introduced kids to a lot of things they’d never experienced, and didn’t possess the vocabulary to define. Imagine if Lisa Frank was a flamboyant stripper, and was given her own TV show. It was like a rave sponsored by the United Colors of Benetton, with people in panda suits and beautiful women with a poor grasp on the English language. At the same time, you knew something was up with Xuxa. You didn’t know what, but you knew you were tingling in an area that hadn’t tingled before, and you didn’t know what to do about it. It wouldn’t be until a few years later, when fellow middle school classmates would say, “Oh, yeah. Xuxa’s totally a porn star.”

xuxa (1)

She clearly missed her calling as Dana Plato’s stunt double

And where was she from? She was the blondest of blondes, so it seemed like she hailed from Sweden. I mean, just listen to how cutely she butchered the English language in that video clip! Schoolyard chums even said, “Oh yeah, she totally did porn in Sweden.” Clearly, they had more intel than I did – after all, this was pre-Internet. So, imagine my surprise when I later found out she was Brazilian! They had blonde people in Brazil? I never saw that on Telefutura! Yeah, there are two things wrong with that sentence: 1) Telefutura is FULL of blonde people and 2) Brazilians speak Portuguese and not Spanish. I had a lot to learn back then. Anyway, what they were probably talking about was Love Love Estranho – an erotic movie Xuxa filmed in 1982, in which she’s naked as she kisses a 13 yr old boy. In fact, she had even sued to prevent widespread release of the film.

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So, why don’t you remember this show? Well, it was only on for a season. In MD, it came on in the morning on WDCA Channel 20. I remembered watching it before school, but even I was too old for it by that point. Still, the tingling. I mean, look at those toy soldier cheerleaders and the knee socks! Plus, Xuxa herself wasn’t without controversy. Some of her outfits put the Slave Leia getup to shame, and she ended each episode by kissing a young, prepubescent boy on the cheek (just couldn’t get that out of her system, I guess). It was as sensual as it could be without her being employed by a local school system. The most jarring aspect to me, however, was that whole Hitler Youth intro. They’re shouting her name. They don’t even really know who she is, yet they chant for their sexy, foreign leader to arrive with her panda minions.

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Is anything behind that flag? I see a collar, but it could be a dickie…

I’ve often wondered what Xuxa meant to accomplish. I mean, she had already conquered South America, but apparently you haven’t “made it” until you succeed in America. Still, it was such a confusing show. She was WAY too sexual, even in a coy, covert way, to be surrounded by children. Today’s kids shows commonly have two layers: the juvenile humor for kids and something somewhat sophisticated for parents. Was that happening here? The animals and zany shit were for kids, but were Xuxa and the dancers for dads? If so, that could be why the show died so quickly. Dad ain’t watching as many shows with the kids as mom, and Xuxa was PRIME hater bait. I’m sure there were very few moms who walked away from that show with nice things to say about its host. Belie’ dat.

In a lot of ways, Xuxa’s appeal was similar to Michael Jackson’s: she was just a big kid, who never wanted to grow up. The problem they shared, however, was that you just can’t continue to hang around kids like that after a certain point. There’s an age when dressing up like a toy soldier should only be done in the confines of your own home. It was only a matter of time before some uptight parent group came after her.

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Unlike Michael, Xuxa’s not dead AND the years have been very, very kind to her. I’d really love for her to take another shot at American stardom. Apparently, her popularity is waning back home, but she could reinvent herself here (Hey, it worked for Trisha Goddard!). A mom herself now, Xuxa has started targeting her brand to kids ages 0-10. They could give her a show on E!, which seems to be the current home of reality shows based on performers unfamiliar to Americans (seriously, how many Americans listen to The Saturdays?). Or they could add her to The View, as I here some chairs are opening up over there. I don’t really care what they do, but she should know that one of her American fans misses her. I’m sure she’d like to know that.

xuxa

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