Thursday, October 11, 2012

At The Commercials: Creepy and Insane Anastasia Global Spot

Please excuse my shaky-cam recording, but this commercial was just so insane that I had to record it the other night, after finding out it wasn’t on YouTube.

Please take 31 seconds out of your day to watch it. I’ll wait for you.

Okay, I’m hoping you’re all back with me, some of you after the rape shower. The spot is mind-numbing on a couple of levels, the most surprising one to me being that this currently plays in primetime on the cable networks.

Specifically, I recorded this 30-second spot from the otherwise-excellent 30 for 30: Broke. That aired from about 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and ESPN has commercials for vaguely-Russian brides and what not??? What gives? Aren’t you still owned by the Mouse? Bill Simmons can’t even swear on his podcast, and you’ve got attractive blonde girls whoring themselves out. ESPN isn’t the only one taking this ad – I’ve also seen it on my late night recordings of TNT, USA and FX.

I think the thing that makes this spot creepier than the generic phone sex commercials is the somber piano and the love angle. To contrast, here is a commercial for the poorly-named Nightline chat, which I’m sure Ted Koppel is very proud of, even though he’s been retired for seven years now.

Side note: This is only the second thing I’ve ever been motivated to upload to YouTube. The first? Why, a montage of the ridiculously silly coroner from MST3K classic Zombie Nightmare. You can see that below as well, because I am a kind and giving soul.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

At The Commercials: ****ing Hamsters

Hi there people. Let’s talk.

When did we as a society decide that when it comes to respectable automobiles, what we need are hamsters? Or, as the t-shirt so drolly states, Hamstars! Get it? Ha! I’m putting that one into my stand-up routine.

But anyway, I hate that god damn commercial, and all of the other hamster commercials. They saturate every network I watch, and I have no idea why they’re so omnipresent. No one I’ve spoken to in person has expressed a contrary opinion.

So imagine my surprise when I look up the video on YouTube for this post, so I can complain about it, and it has 58,000 likes vs. only 2,400 dislikes! What gives, humankind? The economy is bad enough, we shouldn’t be encouraging the taking of human jobs by CGI hamsters, even if they are hamstars.

Let’s focus on a better commercial featuring a superior animal – This Whiskas commercial with a gorgeous British silver tabby:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Let’s Talk About Glee: Or, Why Am I Still Watching This ****?

Oh look, Rachel's sad! What a unique and compelling plot point!
So, I’m still watching Glee, although I’m now only hanging in on the show by a thread. It has gotten pretty dire in recent weeks though.

For one, the creators seem to have the same problem that every high school-ish show seems to have – clinging desperately to characters that are horribly eff’ed out and that no longer fit with the rest of the show.

Yes, I understand that the singing of Lea Michele (Rachel) was a big draw for the first couple of seasons, as was her on-again, off-again and finally on-again romance with Finn. However, for the love of God, why do we need a fourth season of this?

It would be more tolerable if Rachel-Finn was the only relationship shown to be in constant danger, but it isn’t. Kurt-Blaine, Emma-Will, BritTana, NewRachel-NewPuck and pretty much everyone else on the show have Serious Drama going on in their relationships. A general rule of thumb for Glee is that nobody is ever legitimately happy.

If anything, that’s the direction I’d take in Glee’s fourth season – Just having the kids be effing happy for once. They won nationals to close season three, but in the very first episode of season four, it deals with the “piss in your Cheerios” storyline of the newest member of the club and her mom, the lunchlady who gets harassed by popular kids.

By the way, this storyline seems ripped from an era that no longer exists. I graduated from high school in 2002, and we weren’t doing shit like picking on lunch ladies, because we didn’t live in a 1970s sitcom. I can stretch belief that jocks might pick up the glee club kids, but not that they shit over every member of the student body, and the tone of the show has drifted from the first season, where it was more of a satire in my opinion.

So yes, Glee is another show I’m mostly hate-watching this year, and I didn’t even comment on the other things I found excruciating, like the new Puck, the ridiculousness of the actor ages and how they manage to make Heather Elizabeth Morris somehow look like crap. The only thing I’ll credit the show with – some of the songs and mash-ups are still really good to me. So, they do have that going for them.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Inexplicable Book Review: Everything Matt Christopher

From Amazon. Dot Com.
Piggybacking on my last post, which was about The Angel Park All-Stars, one of the few young adult series aimed at boys… There was one author who consistently wrote for boys, and if you are a guy, you probably know his name – Matt Christopher.

If you can think of a sport, Matt Christopher wrote a book about an earnest youngster overcoming his struggles in it and eventually succeeding. Off the top of my head, I can think of hoops, baseball and soccer books with these themes, but Wikipedia tells me that he also wrote books about golf, volleyball, snowboarding and dirt bike racing. (Really???)

I remember him most for his seminal work, The Kid Who Only Hit Homers. The book came out in 1972 – yikes – but I probably read it when I was in first or second grade, around 1990. The work is exactly what it says on the tin. A kid sucks at baseball, but after speaking with a Mysterious Stranger, he only hits home runs until the final game of the season.

Surprisingly, I don’t think any of his books were optioned into movies. Maybe he just had no interest in that, but pretty much all of them could have been done seamlessly in the Mighty Ducks / generic Disney sports movie mold. He died in 1997, so I’m presuming that he had interest from studios at some point.

Anyway, if you’re a parent of a young child and reading this, first, please stop. It’s probably bad for you to be reading anything I write. But secondly, go get your kid some Matt Christopher books. They’re easily digestible for the kid mind.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Inexplicable Book Review: The Angel Park All-Stars (the sequel!)

So, way back in July 2010, I wrote about a series of books aimed at adolescent young boys: The Angel Park All-Stars.

In case you don’t feel like clicking that handy link, the 14-book series is about a Little League team from California that (spoiler about a 20-year-old book series) wins a couple of regional titles. It stuck in my mind as one of the few series aimed at young boys that wasn’t fantasy-based, like the works of Lloyd Alexander.

However, at the time I lamented that I had only gotten to read about half the series, because there were 14 books to track down and read. Fast forward to about a year later.

Out of the blue, I got a nice e-mail from a lady in Oregon. She said she bought the entire series at a yard sale, and while her sons hadn’t liked it so much – to be expected, since it’s somewhat dated now – she was willing to ship them out to me for about $20.

I jumped at the chance, and finally got to read up on the rest of the series. I’m not going to lie – It felt very odd to be finishing them up as a 27-year-old man, just reading them in my apartment. Each book is about 75 pages, max, with big font, so a single book took about 30 minutes.

However, they didn’t disappoint, and I’ve kept all of them. Ideally, I’d like to keep them until I have kids of my own someday. (Side note: I put the ETA on that sometime in the 2020s. I’m pacing myself.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Inexplicable TV Review: The Great Food Truck Race

Confession - I've watched every episode of The Great Food Truck Race the past two years, even though the show is pretty damn awful. There is absolutely no reason to legitimately watch it.

All of the food looks generic and bad, except for a couple dishes made by The Asians. By that, I mean all of them - there were Asian-only teams in the first and second seasons, and they were the only trucks that made something beyond shitty-looking waffles or meatball subs. On top of that, the truck owners clearly just gouge the consumers, charging the rubes $10 at times for shit served on a paper plate.

The show also has no real sense of drama. In the latest season, one girl spoke about how she trying to earn a food truck in honor of her dead fiance, who died overseas because he was in the military. It was a sob story, and the only remotely interesting background of people running the trucks.

Of course, she was eliminated in week one. So basically, it seemed really cruel to me that her sob-story background was played up so much by the producers / whoever edited the show, since they knew she was getting shit-canned after one episode. But hey, on the plus side, maybe they got an extra half-point in the ratings for it.

Beyond that bit of ick, there is a bunch of manufactured drama, like trucks getting into traffic accidents - oh no, how will they ever pay the insurance deductible? There is a huge quality split in the various contestants as well, and the editing is so slipshod that it isn't covered up well for drama purposes, unlike a competent reality show like Top Chef.

Also, the show itself is pretty threadbare. Between the commercials, and intro recaps in and out of every break, the actual show is maybe 40 minutes.

So yes, I'm pretty much hate-watching the show - I like to see how low Food Network can set the bar. I'm eagerly anticipating season three as a result.

The image is from the big banner on Food Network's website for the show.

Monday, October 1, 2012

At The Commercials: Super Aggressive Chips and Poker

Guys, if you've seen this commercial, I bet you had the same thought I did - Wow, I'm glad a company has finally tapped into my desire to have a sweet girlfriend who is turned into an aggressive-looking bag by some potato chips!

Because if I know one thing, it is that guys always like the rougher, more ragged looking woman more than the clean-cut one. You know, like Lohan after cocaine, or Spears after the crew cut and kids.

Why would we want a sweet-looking girl in a simple blue top when we could have a ragged-looking skank in a black leather jacket and sunglasses? I'm glad they were able to get Randal Kleiser, the director of Grease, for this commercial.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Inexplicable Video Game Review: Devil Something 2

For whatever reason, I continually forget the name of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2. In my browsing history are searches for Devil Summoner 2, Demon Summoner 2 and Demon Survivor 2. This is despite the fact that I beat and enjoyed the first installment of the series, and I've played pretty much every other Persona / SMT game. Maybe that's what is causing the confusion - All those games just blurring together in my head, man.

Anyway. Devil Survivor 2 is basically the first game with a new story. The action is still tactical RPG, kind of like Final Fantasy Tactics minus jobs, to make an odd comparison. You get up to four leaders in fights, with each leader controlling two demons, making a primary controllable force of 12. Combat is turn-based, with positioning and movement on a map beforehand mattering quite a bit.

Like a lot of the Persona games, you primarily make your demons more powerful by combining them with other demons. The only slightly annoying thing about this - The power of demons just seem to be influenced by their level and their base level, and not just their strength or magic statistic. This can make it a bit tough to decide what demons to keep and what demons to use for merging.

Well, until the end of the game, that is. By the seventh day (think chapter; one day is one part of the game), pretty much everything can waste your party unless you have proper protection. By this, I mean the proper damage reduction skills - Some let you reflect or absorb enemy actions, even physical attacks. The last couple of boss fights are definitely white-knuckle though.

Like every other Persona game, a good portion of it is spent building relationships and trust up with the other characters. This aspect of the game is done pretty well, and unlike past games, thankfully you only have to earn four levels of trust with people, as opposed to 10. There also wasn't a horrible clunker of a plot in these, which was nice - Persona 3 and Persona 4 both had characters that I wish I could ditch and still get the good ending.

So anyway, final judgement - This is a pretty swell game, if you like your DS and you like your tactical RPGs. I scooped up for $25 on GameFly. (Random note on GameFly: If you have a membership, you can now play a bunch of PC games for free. I lost a weekend of my life to Civilization 4 as a result.)

The picture of Jack Frost comes from a random post on the Giant Bomb forums.

Friday, August 17, 2012

At The Commercials: AXE Actually Makes Something Good!

I normally associate AXE with really horrible commercials. You know, like the one I blogged about in the past that had Jamie Pressley talking about washing balls. (Get it? It sounds like she means a scrotum, ha! That's why it's funny, because it's about washing balls, and you think about like a scrotum instead of a body product.) And oh, they also had a delightful commercial with a guy spraying water out of his armpits.

However, AXE's new commercial with Kiefer is legitimately pretty clever. I didn't recognize his voice - I'm not a big 24 guy - so the reveal at the end was pretty good. Maybe AXE is taking a page from Old Spice's book and just focusing on actually producing good commercials.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

At The Commercials: Pizza Hut Mom

A YouTube commentator succinctly sums up this commercial: "The mom in this video is ****ing hot. I would love to pound that."

Pizza Hut, why are you bothering with this crappy boyfriend angle? We need to know more about that mom. Oh, la and LA, as the great Dave Dameshek would say. She is quite fetching, even on the 1,500th viewing. (As the main description for the video implies, networks have been playing the snot out of this commercial - Pizza Hut bought time on the Olympics and a bunch of other shows.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

At The Commercials: What's Goin' On, Dr. Scrubs?

It's weird to me when I recognize people from other roles, and it's not at all acknowledged. Some times, it's understandable - Plenty of actors pop up on Law and Order, and it wouldn't make sense to sequence break and go, "Hey, that's really Chevy Chase, and he's just pretending to be a drunken actor for this role."

However, the lack of acknowledgement makes less sense to me when you cast a semi-famous actor in a normal commercial. The above State Farm commercial makes absolutely no reference to Dr. Scrubs, even though everyone knows him from that. Heck, I barely ever watched Scrubs, and I still immediately recognized him.

(In case you're curious, his actual name is John C. McGinley. He was also in Platoon, which I shamefully haven't ever seen, and he played one of the Bobs in Office Space. For more, read his Wikipedia page.)

I don't know why he's on the State Farm commercial anyway, and it's especially weird that they don't acknowledge that he's a famous actor, because they've done this for some of their other commercials:

If it's good enough for Bill Lumbergh, why not Dr. Scrubs? Come on State Farm, don't be That Guy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Inexplicable TV Review: Tagteam, With Jesse Venture and Roddy Piper

[Left to right] Jesse and Roddy, and
the owner's evil wife and the owner.

So, back in the day, much like with Lookwell, there was an awesome idea for a television show that only had one episode and didn’t have anymore. This show was called Tagteam, and featured Jesse Ventura and “Hot Rod” Roddy Piper playing, what else, former professional wrestlers. A glorious YouTube clip of the pilot episode’s final fight scene is here.

The show is awesome for several reasons. First, wrestling is taken to be deadly serious. As in, these are real fights. When “Tricky” Rick MacDonald (Piper) and Billy “The Body” Youngblood (Ventura) refuse to purposely lose a match, the owner’s wife lies to him about the boys, saying they made a pass at her. The owner, who looks suspiciously like Vince McMahon, immediately fires them after the match.

This leads to a hilarrrrious montage of them trying to find work. They try furniture moving at first, but Billy’s back give out on him, and they drop a grand piano down a flight of stairs, through a window and on to their truck, destroying it. “I think we body slammed the truck…” Ha ha ha! What witty banter.

They find their true calling at the supermarket. Using just wrestling moves, they manage to subdue four would-be robbers, and this experience leads them to enroll in the police academy.

By the way, this pilot covers a lot of ground – probably because for some reason, there are only like three or four commercial breaks. Next, we see them at the police academy, which is also awesome. They have to complete an obstacle course, and of course, there is a nagging “funny” recruit, basically a homeless man’s Michael Winslow.

This whole police academy montage takes about 10 minutes, and then, the boys are on “plain clothes” detail, providing muscle for two fat older cops. They do an awesome job, the two fat old cops suck and let the witness get captures, and that leads to the fight montage in the linked YouTube clip above.

Just like Lookwell, this show is mostly awesome because it’s so incredibly dated, and because the concept is pure cheese. I’m not sure what they could have done for future episodes – I guess it would have been a straight police procedural, but geez, there isn’t much reason to watch one with two wrestlers over the other options available at the time.

The photos are from iMockery, which have their own awesome review of this show here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Inexplicable Video Game Review: Please Minus The Awkwardness Next Time

[Right] One of the two incredibly awkward characters, Ms. Estelle Bright. Note to pervs: She's 16.

So, my most recent video game conquest was a pretty decent traditional role-playing game for the PSP, The Legends of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. Because it’s for the PSP, and thus none of you reading this will ever play it because I’m one of the five people in the world with a PSP, let me spoil the game for you right now.

Basically, the gameplay is really solid – it’s sort of like a turn-based Grandia. Battlefield position and area of effect attacks are important, and you have both magic points (replenished by inns and items) and skill points (replenished by giving and receiving damage in battles). Except for one fight, the difficulty your first time through the game skews a bit easy, with extra difficulty options available on New Game+.

The plot is also strong. It’s your traditional sort of “intrigue in the palace” stuff, with a coup being launched by a military guy, but it has a nice amount of twists. Pretty much everyone you come into contact with has an appropriate role, and (for the most part) you don’t run into the Final Fantasy trick of a wildly out of nowhere end boss. (“Hey remember that guy you met briefly 45 hours ago, he’s the real end boss!”)

However, there are two really awkward parts to the game, both revolving around the lead character, Estelle and Joshua.

  • In the game, the two are both 16.
  • In the game, Joshua is both Estelle’s adopted brother, and, uh, her love interest.

Luckily, because they’re both 16, there isn’t anything like a sex scene, but they do kiss toward the end of the game, which is as horrifically awkward as it sounds. The back story to them – Josh was adopted into the family at 11 by Estelle’s dad. This isn't a hentai game or anything, so neither aspect is really brought up in the blurb about the game on GameFly.

Throughout the game, it is teased that they have an awkward like of each other because of this, which is fine. Hey, it worked for Arrested Development. However, in the last quarter to third of the game, it’s clear the awkwardness is going to turn into some sort of conversation between the two, and it submarines and taints an otherwise fine plot.

I’m guessing for the game, a straight translation was done from Japanese to English – maybe this sort of thing is a bit more, uh, permissible over there. But gosh, I probably would have been fine with them just axing the love angle and making some cosmetic changes to the script. This would have caused havoc with the later two games in the series though, which are (tentatively) also planned to be released in America, although via Steam as opposed to the PSP.

I’m not the only one to notice the pseudo-incest going on in the game. So, uh… I’m glad it wasn’t just me who thought that.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

“Why Katherine Heigl really left Grey’s Anatomy!”

The title of this entry is a bumper / commercial tease they had on the Anderson Cooper talk show Anderson. Unfortunately though, she lost points with me because she didn’t just share the real reason – Someone was going to give her a load of money to appear in bad romantic comedies.

If she had said that, I would have been immediately won over. I like celebrities that are willing to be frank, even if it’s only for a minute. The ultimate example is Bill Murray, who has made a career out of smirking sarcastically with the audience while acting, but 1/100th of that is normally enough to satisfy me.

It’s for that reason that I kind of respect Miley Cyrus. Back in the day, when asked about having Jay-Z in the lyrics of “Party in the USA,” she said, “I’ve never heard a Jay-Z song … I don’t listen to pop music … I don’t know [where the lyrics came from], I didn’t write the song, so I have no idea.”

Awareness always makes me more receptive to a person, so I’d much rather hang out with Miley than Katherine, I bet. Sorry Katherine, I don’t really believe that you wanted the artistic challenge of going from Grey’s Anatomy to fare like 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth. You’re just lucky you got cast in Knocked Up, since without that, your overall box office earnings probably look as anemic as any other marginal drama-to-chick flick “actress.”

… This is why I should probably be focusing on my 400+ e-mail backlog as opposed to Anderson.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Perils of “Free” Internet

There is the old adage of “you get what you pay for,” which seems to be doubly true for any sort of place offering “free” Internet access. For whatever reason, all of the coffee shops near me that advertise access, it’s really nothing but a cruel joke. Their sign should instead say, “We will tease you by seemingly offering an Internet connection but you will not actually be able to get anything done.” (That’s a lot of words for a sign, I know, but with The Economy the way it is right now, I’m sure you can get a deal.)

At first, I thought this was just because there was a bunch of people trying to get access to the Internet, like I am. But I’ve also been at these shops when no one else is there, because I’m a weird nomad that works at all hours of the day, and no dice. The popularity of the place seemed to have no effect on the Internet connection – Even when empty, Panera in Wakefield still has incredibly horrible access that works for, at most, about five minutes.

Making things worse is that many portions of South County also have shitty cell phone access. I have this nifty wireless aircard for work, which gives me web access via cell phone signals. As a result, I’m hoping acres and acres of farmland here is devoted to cell phone towers, because I’m getting annoyed that just checking my Facebook takes about five minutes at Brewed Awakenings.

On some completely random notes, I made some Shake and Bake chicken last night – it came out awesome. Just thought y’all would like to know. Also, poor Chris Jericho. Why couldn’t he have won the Royal Rumble? (Since this is a blog, I do feel the need to throw in these two completely random and intensely personal observations.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Excuse Me While I Talk About Wrestling

My one vice, even more so than listening to Lisa Loeb, remains professional wrestling. Yes, I still watch Raw every Monday night, and I’ll even tune in to TNA Impact if I feel like hurting my brain, and if something better (Archer, Always Sunny, most of NBC’s Thursday night lineup) isn’t on.

And my favorite pro wrestling event each year is always the Royal Rumble, and the rumble match itself. For those of you uninterested in pro wrestling, let me go on in GREAT detail about this!

The rumble match itself consists of 30 superstars fight in an over-the-top battle royal for a title shot at Wrestlemania. Two superstars start off, one-on-one, and every 90 to 120 seconds (it varies depending on the year), a new wrestler is thrown into the mix.

Basically, the match serves as a sort of poo-poo platter of wrestling. Most everyone in the match gets a chance to get some offense in, and because there are 29 eliminations, you get plenty of drama and storylines created and furthered by what happens in the rumble.

Today’s match, on paper, figures to be a bit ho-hum. My favorite wrestler, Chris Jericho, just returned to action this month, and the rumble will be his first actual match back. ([Right] Him in his over-the-top, fan pleasing persona right now.) He’s one of the favorites to win because he’s one of the few major WWE wrestlers lacking a regular feud right this second. Meaning, him winning would automatically propel him into a major angle / storyline.

For whatever reason, the best rumble of all-time, the 1992 edition, is available on YouTube in its entirety. Yes, it is totally 1990s wrestling, but if you like wrestling at all then you should be a big fan of the action. Plus, it has Bobby Heenan at his peak on the microphone! And Ric Flair! (If you want some awesomeness from both, skip ahead to about 9:15 in the match for his entrance, and 33:30 for the introduction of Roddy Piper.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Steve Can Cook: Burgers

In my continued culinary experimentation, I made a discovery the other week – Ground meat is almost always cheaper than the full or partial cuts.

As a result, I picked up two pounds of ground beef, a pound of ground pork and a pound of ground veal. I mixed up a pound of the beef, the pork and the veal with some salt, pepper and garlic, and I’ll be making burgers with that tonight, once I get home from Brewed Awakenings and some other stops.

However, I used the leftover pound of beef Saturday night for burgers. To prep them, I let them marinate in some lime and chipotle mix overnight, which was probably a mistake – the meat got a bit too soggy, and as a result, I think the patties had problems problem holding together.

Above is an overview of the finished product. I also took the time to toast the buns, but in reflection, this was probably unnecessary. They were Kaiser rolls, so they took a while to toast, and I think they mostly just absorbed the butter taste. Next time, I’ll probably just stick to regular hamburger buns if I’m going to toast something.

I did make one great decision with the meal. See that in the middle? Let’s zoom in a bit:

mmm, That’s Vermont cheddar cheese. I made a very simple stuffed burger, basically splitting the patty into two, inserting a slice of cheese, and then sealing it back up. This was a great success, and I think it would work better next time with some flavored cheese, like jalapeno, as opposed to flavoring the meat, which makes it too soggy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Study of Lesser Beings: Dance Moms

[Right] Averting my eyes from the Always Tragic human condition.

“There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery.”

Filthy Humans, I have recently stumbled upon Programming that I find most illuminating when it comes to explaining your Brutish Psyche. My Current Owner often leaves Me alone for the day – as he should – and I thus have ample opportunity to sample what passes as “Culture” from your Disgusting Brood.

Frankly, the Beasts on this Dance Moms programme intrigues.

At first, my Superior mind boggled at the behavior of the Lummoxes toward their Spawn. Were their vocal chords insufficient to scream and abuse their own children? Why did they feel the need to sublet the Duty to an even larger Lummox?

Then, it struck Me – it was another example of the Sloth of your Filthy Brood. With the Largest Lummox watching over five Spawns, it allowed the other five Smaller Lummoxes to feast. Judging from the size of the Spawns, it also seems like the Smaller Lummoxes were feasting upon their portions.

While these methods of the Lummoxes are Crude and Undignified, I am always in Favor of the Strong preying upon the Weak.

When I was but a Kitten, I was quickly weaned off my mother’s Teat, and these Human Spawns seem to be of at least five or six years. Why, that’s a perfectly appropriate age for them to be foraging amongst the Streets, using their charm to receive free Italian dinners from bistros and to befriend alley cats.

Likewise, the Lummoxes seem uninterested with their Spawn, except when the Spawn can bring baubles of distinction back. Being of Superior Feline stock, my Mother was satisfied with Rodentia and Squirrel pelts, but the Lummoxes instead seem to covet the folly Human materials of gold and silver.

As Crafty as the Lummoxes might think Themselves, I feel that their plan will eventually backfire. For Starters, I find them to be adding too much Fat Girth Mass, as opposed to the lean, supple Mass of a majestic Superior Being. For each pound I gain, an equivalent Human Muscle would be 20 pounds.

Secondly, their Spawns will not always be Spawns. I remember even a brief period of Rebellion against my Mother, and she was quite stern but Fair with a Dignified Being such as myself. With their increased Girth, the Lummoxes will not be able to defend themselves from their more nimble Spawn, much like how the Simians of Congo rose up against the Filthy Diamond-Stealing Humans.

Dante is the cat of Steve. You can follow him on Facebook; he refuses to get a Twitter account, since he does not want to be associated with “filthy avian creatures.”

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Steve Can Cook: Steak

So I've finally decided to start cooking at my house again. It's a bit of a chore, since I have a very tiny kitchen, and I don't really like using my oven – It's very close to the wall, so I don't have room to stand in front of it when the door is open. Plus, it is one of those ovens with a pilot light, and it's from roughly 1923.

Because of all of the preceding factors, I finally bought the bullet and got a Foreman grill. Well, to be more precise, I got a fancier, nicer version of a Foreman grill, a clone made by General Electric. You can see a picture of it to the right. Unlike the old Foremans, this has removable plates, which makes the clean-up about a million times easier. It would be about a billion times easier, actually, but I don't have a dishwasher at this place. (This also factors into my laziness when it comes to cooking.)

I got it on Friday night, so I tested it out Saturday after a thorough washing. It actually cooks pretty well! I had a thick cut of London broil, plus another smaller cut that I fileted. While it did really well with the fileted cut, it still did a passable job on the thicker cut. With the older Foreman, it would normally just char and burn the top and bottom layers, and leave the middle uncooked. Not so with this grill.

To the right is my dinner for Sunday night. In lieu of buying a bunch of BBQ and liquid marinades, I rely more on flavor packets, since they just require vegetable oil and vinegar. Saturday's delicious steak dinner was peppercorn, and Sunday is baja citrus. I think that implies a mix of tang and sweet, but the flavor is always somewhat ambiguous until it is cooked into the meat.

Normally, I wouldn't make steak two nights in a row. Unfortunately, I took advantage of a 2-for-1 sale on the steaks, and I didn't notice that the expiration date for them both was Sunday. Thus I find myself in my current dilemma, overdosing on steak.

… Well, I suppose there are worse fates. Bon appetite!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Peach Rings and Other Convenience Store Food

For whatever reason, there is a whole subset of food that only exists at gas stations and convenience stores. A good portion of it is really disgusting crap – you know, like those hot dogs on rollers.

But thanks to my trash compactor stomach, I must confess a guilty pleasure for all of it. The aforementioned hot dogs aren’t my actual favorite, but every couple of months, I just have a craving for hot dogs. I’ll usually buy a few at a gas station as opposed to buying a package of dogs and buns, since they normally go to waste.

(An overlooked negative aspect of living alone is that it’s tough to properly buy food in proper amounts. Hot dogs come in packages of six, with six to eight buns, which means I have to commit to two to three meals of hot dogs in a week. The same goes with salad, or in my case this week, London broil steak. I got two big, beautiful steaks because they were 2-for-1 this week, but I have to freeze one because they’re both a pound and a half each.)

My most recent obsession of the past two years? Peach rings. I don’t know why, but the only place they sell them around here are at Cumberland Farms and other gas stations / convenience stores. Along with things like gummy worms, Sour Patch kids and dried fruit, they exist in their own weird subset of food only sold at gas stations.

I wish the Sweettooth candy store, which the picture at the top comes from, was closer to me, because I’d buy those peach rings all the god damn time. As-is, mmm, maybe getting 100 pounds shipped to me isn’t such a bad idea...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let’s Talk About Glee: Catching Up

Since I haven’t blogged about Glee in a while, well, let’s.

Frankly, I’ve been left cold by much of this season. There has been a decent storyline or two, but for everything I like, I find myself annoyed by other things they’re doing on the show. Let’s start with the bad first, since it’s more on my mind. And a note: Major spoilers on the season-so-far of Glee to follow, obviously, but also a surprisingly amount of swearing.

[Right] To my female readers, this is your one "shirtless male photo" for the year, unless Nathan Fillon is cast in a sequel for Firefly, or something else equally awesome.

- The whole storyline between Puck, Rachel’s mom and Quinn just feels so ick and forced. First off, after showing the emotional maturity of Rachel’s mom at the end of previous seasons, it seems bizarre to have her falling for a high school kid. You basically wiped out all the work you did redeeming her character.

Secondly, they squelched a somewhat promising “Quinn is goth” storyline for a rehash of the same old shit, namely, “Quinn is evil and conniving.” Hey, for once, can’t Quinn just be a decent human being? Glee writers, you’ve already made her stop-and-start with Finn like five times, and give birth to a baby and become the school pariah. It would be nice to have a season where we don’t shit on Quinn.

It’s not like I really craved seeing Quinn as a goth for a half-season. However, it would have been preferable to the current storyline, where she had to be talked out of being a psychopath (framing the mother who adopted her baby) in the final episode.

- All of the political storylines feel forced. No, I don’t believe that Sue Sylvester could win a political campaign on the idea of eliminating arts funding. Yes, I do think people actually in the heartland should be pissed that the show is constantly portraying McKinely as the home of ignorant brutes just one step above fascists in terms of understanding.

Even worse, the whole thing lessened my liking of one of the show’s best characters, Kurt’s dad. He’s awesome as the seemingly-dull mechanic who’s way more clever and cunning than his son and stepson give him credit for. Now that he’s been elected to office, I’m cringing in anticipation of those storylines.

- Speaking of Sue Sylvester, Jane Lynch is awesome, but they need to find something for her to do. Like Quinn, I think it’s time they finally retired her over-the-top evil persona. You can stop having her be openly hostile of the Glee club, and find other things for her to rail about in the school. Find some new villains for the show, please.

- Anything involving Rachel and Finn makes me fast forward. Thanks to all the previous seasons of dicking around, I frankly don’t care that much about either one. The same goes for anything with Mr. Shue and Emma, who’s romance has morphed from “Will they or won’t they?” to “Start humping, or get the fuck off my television already!”

(And a warning to all you fans of Blaine and Kurt: They’re next. Brace yourself for plenty of episodes where Kurt suspects that Blaine is cheating on him with that new guy, and he’s not, but Kurt’s suspicions finally force Blaine into the arms of another man.)

So, what did I like? A rough list:

- Brittany continues to be a delight. And while I didn’t completely love how they handled Santana’s coming out, it went better than I expected it would when I first heard that’s what they were doing this half-season. She is the one straight-up “evil” character on the show that I haven’t gotten completely sick of yet.

- The plot involving Mike Chang and the acceptance of his father was nicely done. Sure, it ended predictably, but predictable is nice every once in a while. I also like that he and Tina are actually still together, a rarity for Glee.

- The songs and dance numbers are still very good to me. There is at least one song per episode that makes its way on to my iTunes list for repeated listening.

So, that’s that for now. I’ll be back to providing reviews of the show, once we’re back to live episodes. (Maybe I’ll let Dante review an episode or two, as well.)

The Glee photo at the top is from here. The photo of Puck is from here. And the photo of Britt and Santana is from here, where it tells you where to buy her shirt.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

At The Commercials: The Two-Timing Commercial Girl, The Sequel!

In the past, I've written about how I dislike when one actress (or actor) is in multiple commercials for different products. But yet, they persist! I guess I don't have as much pull in Hollywood as I thought.

The latest offender is Jama Williamson. First off: I wonder if she's friendly with Jayma Mays from Glee. Their names are somewhat similar, so they got that in common right there.

But on-point, she is in the above holiday commercial for Best Buy. Contrary to the blog I found this YouTube link on, I actually find her a bit charming in this commercial:

When I first saw it, I was like, “Wow! She is WAY too young to be portraying a mom. That girl is like 20.” Then I actually looked her up on IMDB, and yikes, she’s 37. (Hopefully she would be flattered by my reaction, even though she actually does have some babies, apparently.)

However, Jama isn’t just in that Best Buy commercial. Lately, I’ve also seen her in a commercial for Crystal Light! In that one, she’s gabbing with a friend on a plane about swimsuits.

Again, it’s actually a pretty decent commercial – I’d expect someone who did a good guest stint on Parks and Recreation to have good luck when slumming for commercial work.

But the entire time it runs, all I think is, “Hey you were just tricking Santa! Where are your kids now? Why and where are you flying on business? How can you abandon them for 60 hours a week? Why is your friend tarting it up so much, and how come we don’t actually get to see her in a bikini???”

The photo of Jama is from TV Rage.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Steps for Shedding Your Disgusting, Slovenly Pounds

[Right] Myself, at a Majestic 18 pounds. My Bust would make Katy Perry and Sofia Vergara envious.

“If the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought.”

Filthy Humans, I have been asked if I have any Resolutions for this coming year. From absorbing what I have about your Customs, I understand Resolutioning is quite popular with your miserable species.

However, Felines mature faster than Filthy Humans – Although I am 17 in “conventional” Human Years, my actual wisdom is 88 years. When you are a Feline, each new day represents an Opportunity for reflection and advancement, and the only Resolutions made are those against sloth and envy.

[Right] A much slimmer 8 pounds - Just call me H.A.M.

When I decided to shed my excess girth, I simply did so. You can use the Rodent on your computer to click the above two pictures of my Glorious Body. (Truth: A Filthy Human songwriter once penned that my body is a wonderland, a rare moment of Understanding and Perception on the part of your species.)

In a little more than one human year, I shed 11 pounds, moving from a rotund 18 pounds to a svelte seven. To be fair, I looked like a Sexy Beast at both weights, but I must admit that a slimmer countenance is easier to maintain in the arid summer months.

Because I realize that Filthy Humans are not as adept at shedding mass, I will offer these tips, simply because I am feeling peckish:

Stick to the major food groups: Tuna, Ocean Whitefish, Turkey, Chicken and Supper Supreme. My Current Owner has little in the way of common sense, decorum, quick-wit manners, intelligence, looks, moral integrity, class, style, courage, ingenuity, creativity, subtly, nerve, resources, fortitude or cunning, and an abundance of lethargy, incoherence, sloth, insecurities, envy, gloom, tyranny, jealousy, perversion and cowardice. However, he is sufficient at providing me food.

A liquid or semi-liquid diet is the best for a fluid mind, and digestive track. If my Current Owner does not provide me with food of a Liquid nature, I simply do not remove myself from my Fleece Lair. I have trained him to properly cut and wet my food so that it may whet my appetite.

Frequently purge your nethers. I find a good rule of Paw is to visit the Waste Box at least 15 to 20 times a day. Remember, your Current Owner exists to service you – a well-trained Owner will delight in cleaning your Waste Box, whether it is full of Litter, or one of the White Waste Monsters that Filthy Humans seem to favor.

Exercise as little as possible. Any time spent exercising could be better spent taking an afternoon Respite. Exercising is a Scheme by Filthy, Sweaty Humans to sell more Shake Weights and Jack Racks.

Dante is the cat of Steve. You can follow him on Facebook; he refuses to get a Twitter account, since he does not want to be associated with “filthy avian creatures.”

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This Picture Sums Up Why The Match Game Is Still Awesome


Because, you see, comedy runs in circles to an extent. However, some things are always funny, whether you watch them in 1972 or 2012.

I have my DVR setup to record every episode of The Match Game for instances like this. I'm not even sure who that celebrity is - I could have sworn they said it was Jack Palance, but I can't find any reference to him being on the show. It could also be Jack Klugman, the husband of regular panelist Brett Somers.

The show combined several elements key to comedy. Let me provide a theorem or equation (proofs were never my strong point): Lots of alcohol + corny host (Gene Rayburn) + over the top "flowery" man that isn't gay because this is 1970 (Charles Nelson Reilly) + actually funny female comedian (Betty White or Fannie Flagg) + bimbo interaction (Dick Dawson hitting on the Hottie of the Day to his left, like Adrienne Barbeau) = comedy perfection.

Every couple of years, they try to revive The Match Game, but the mix is always wrong. For one thing, they tend to favor names over people that are just kind of funny. A proper version of the show wouldn't really have that many big names; the names would become bigger because the people would establish themselves with outlandish behavior on the show.

My cast pitch: Dave Dameshek (bombastic and little-known radio guy), Betty White (old standby, seemingly does not turn down a paycheck), Kat Dennings or Kristen Bell (always funny on late night shows, probably wouldn't mind slumming it), and Patrick Warburton (great voice, doesn't seem to turn down a paycheck). That gives you four stable people, plus two spots to rotate, maybe three, since I imagine Dennings/Bell would be off quite a bit for other things. I would also love to have Norm MacDonald on as much as possible, but hey, that is true for any show on television.

That cast would never, ever happen, I know, because TV executives would probably want to cast it with retreads. ("This is going to be that big comeback vehicle for Fran Drescher, trust me baby!") However, including Kat Dennings in the previous paragraph gives me an excuse to run a photo of her, which is always good times.

(Kat Dennings photos is from here, by the way.)


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