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Friday, January 30, 2009

Oh, Internets -- #1

Hey folks -- welcome to installment #1 of our new feature, "Oh, Internets," where we post random, inexplicable crap that could only be found in the far reaches of the web. Happy Friday!

TOTAL DELICIOUSNESS: 1 Billion trillion

Yes. Yes, you see it correctly. It's the most amazing creation I have ever seen. It's a snack food stadium, and I have been vehemently wishing all day that it will come to my apartment this weekend to watch the Super Bowl.

From the website:

The Field:
1 Pound of Guacamole
15 Oz. Queso Dip For The Steelers End Zone
15 Oz. Salsa For The Cardinals End Zone
2 Oz. Sour Cream for the Field Lines
The Players:
15 Vienna Sausages
Helmets - 3 Oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
The Goal Posts:
1 Slim Jim for Each Goal Post
1 Oz. Monterey Jack Cheddar To Anchor (each)
The Stands:
58 Twinkies
1 Pound of Bacon
1 Bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos
1 Bag of Cheetos
1 Bag of Corn Tortilla Chips
1 Bag of Chex Mix
The Blimp:
20 Oz. Football-Shaped Summer Sausage (optional) (on second thought, no, this isn't optional. Go buy one.)
TOTAL COST: $86.47
TOTAL DELICIOUSNESS: 1 Billion trillion, dude. One billion trillion.

Click the photo or HERE for more photos. The blimp is amazing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More "The Wrestler" Coverage

I don't know when this became Unofficial "The Wrestler" Week on Robot Sweatshop, but whatever. Here's a clip of Mickey Rourke on Jimmy Kimmel Live, with a special guest (hint: he often wears kilts and kicked ass in They Live).

i'm sorry, i had to

This just made my day.

*Thanks, Mike!

I Want to Buy This So Bad But Know I Shouldn't Dept.: "Street Fighter IV" Joysticks

All things Street Fighter have been whetting my appetite something fierce since I was about 12 years old. (Man that was an awkward sentence...and dare I leave it in? I DARE!) With Street Fighter IV just around the corner, my psyched meter is rapidly rising. I've preordered the Collector's Edition and, yes, bought a Ryu action figure today -- but I really, really, really want one of these insanely awesome officially-licensed SFIV joysticks by Mad Catz. Let's browse, shall we?

This, the "Street Fighter IV FightStick Tournament Edition," is seriously hardcore. Priced at $169.99, the buttons and joystick are made out of the same high-quality materials as the actual arcade cabinet's, and it has some other bells and whistles. This is definitely out of my price range, but I can still stare and yearn and crave.

This beaut (no idea how to spell that, but I like to talk like a southern used car salesman sometimes), the "Street Fighter IV FightStick," will run you about $69.99. It's made of less expensive materials than its fancy cousin, and it's not as sturdy, but word is it'll do the job. And it looks rad.

Fortunately, there is a less expensive option for those of us lesser (and poorer) nerds: the "Street Fighter IV Fightpad," a $39.99 controller with a specially-designed digital pad, and the classic Street Fighter 6-button layout on the face of the controller. I'll probably end up getting one of these (either with Ryu or Akuma as the featured character), as I really hate playing Street Fighter with the PS3 I'm a fan of the arts!

In the end, remember: Whatever special controller you or I are suckered into buying because we're feeling momentarily excited about a stupid videogame, the real in all of us.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Wrestler II: Life Imitating Art Imititating Life???

So I gave The Wrestler 5 out of 5 staple-guns or 5 out of 5 Cinderella power ballads I can't exactly remember. Naturally, I had to post this article. Can we please discuss this? Is this a classic case of not leaving well enough alone or is this a fun retranslation/extension of a great performance? Do we need a sequel where Mickey Rourke gets fitted with a glorious cybersuit and is sent to fight crime on the moon?

From Yahoo News...

Rourke ready to rumble in Houston

Actor Mickey Rourke arrives at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on AP – Actor Mickey Rourke arrives at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009, in …

HOUSTON – Listen up wrestlin' fans: actor Mickey Rourke says he's ready to rumble with WWE superstar Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 25 in Reliant Stadium on April 5.

Rourke portrays professional wrestler Randy the Ram in the acclaimed movie "The Wrestler."

He's signed to wrestle Jericho, for real.

He made a surprise announcement Sunday night on the red carpet before the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.

He said he was pleased by the acceptance of the movie by all the WWE wrestlers — except Jericho.

Then Rourke said he was going to toss Jericho "around the ring like tossed salad."

Meanwhile, Jericho, appearing on WWE television, said, Rourke was out of line and that he was offended by Rourke's comments. He said Rourke made "a mistake."

"The jester he sleeps but the raven he peeps"

Donovan was in my dreams last night...  not in a creepy way but definitely an omnipresent way.  I've spent far too much time looking for a London Town video, but the first is one of my favorites by him, and the other... well... I've always hoped a roly poly man would sing songs of love.  

Monday, January 26, 2009

Attack of the Sketchbook #9 - Wolverine (X-Force Costume)

With the debut of the new cartoon, Wolverine and the X-Men (I missed it -- anyone know if it was any good?), I took a stab at an animated style Wolvie. This is modeled after the promo art for the new 'toon, except I drew Wolverine in his new X-Force gear, which I think is the best outfit he's ever worn.*

*Except for the brown and tan.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Howard Stern Interviews Paul McCartney Again!

Way back in 2001, Howard Stern conducted a great interview with Paul McCartney. Sir Paul dropped in again today promoting his kick-ass Fireman album. Listen to Howard and Paul talk about Paul's love life, the Beatles, the Fireman and more via the YouTube links below -- before the Internet Police make them disappear.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Favorite Junk of 2008

I know I may be a little bit late on the whole end-of-year "Best of" list bandwagon, but I come from the school of Do Something Whenever. So here it is: My Favorite Junk of 2008. Note that I'm not calling it a "Best of" list, because I just didn't get around to experiencing enough movies, videogames, music or comics to really proclaim something the absolute cat's meow. But I do have my favorites. And away we go:

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
It's nice to hear some melody, harmonies, and engaging singing again, isn't it? This album is the definition of timelessness, as it blends folk with Beach Boys harmonies and sounds like a lost gem. This is a startlingly good debut, and lead singer/songwriter Robin Pecknold is definitely a great talent. I don't know how many times I've listed to "White Winter Hymnal."

The Fireman - Electric Arguments
I'm a little biased here because I love Paul McCartney's entire body of work; I've always felt that his highs and lows are equally fascinating, because his curiosity for music theory and his virtuoso playing are always interesting. Anyway, forget the lows. Ever since 1997's excellent Flaming Pie, McCartney has been on a creative tear, with 2005's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard featuring some of the best songs of his career. And while his new Fireman album (made with producer Youth) isn't quite a masterpiece, it's a return to the McCartney who could make some weird, loud shit. (Remember, it was Paul who put the otherworldly tape loops on "Tomorrow Never Knows.") Whether on the incredible rocker "Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight" or the folksy, Ram-esque "Two Magpies," this record is more interesting and daring than most of today's bands are capable.

Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It

This was the biggest surprise of the year. Raphael Saadiq, formerly of Tony! Toni! Toné!, has turned out what I think is a real classic R&B album; not in the garbage 1990s R&B sense, but real R&B, meaning The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, and The Drifters. Sure, it's retro in the vein of Amy Winehouse, but lyrically, musically, and production-wise, it's a knockout. Each song on this album would be a Top 10 hit in a fairer world. Listen to it and remember why you love Motown.


From character design to story, this is, somehow, Pixar's best film to date, and gets my vote for best children's film of all-time. Absolutely magical from start to finish, mixing a heartwarming love story with a startlingly strong anti-corporate message, this is a movie that will last forever.

The Dark Knight

So much has been said about The Dark Knight that I almost feel guilty about showering even more praise on it, but that would be a disservice to it. Never mind lumping it in the "comic book movie" category; this is top-rate, artful film-making, dressed up with superheroes. Yeah, the whole bombs-on-the-boats thing at the end is a little weak compared to what came before, and Christopher Nolan's disjointed style can be confusing, but don't let that spoil everything this film accomplished. Heath Ledger turns in a performance that we'll talk about for the rest of our lives; the film asks some tough moral questions and doesn't give us easy answers; and it's tragic, something most blockbusters don't even try.

Tropic Thunder
I've always been a fan of Ben Stiller -- including The Cable Guy, which I'm convinced will someday be hailed as the work of brilliance it is! -- and Tropic Thunder is possibly the best work of his career. It simultaneously lampoons and salutes the more inane aspects of Hollywood and acting, and the whole cast is hilarious throughout. Of course, Robert Downey Jr. deserves an Oscar nod.

Batman: RIP

Grant Morrison's run on Batman was a little hit-or-miss for me, but I thought Batman: RIP redeemed the entire run. Spooky, weird, and endlessly captivating, Morrison reminds us why we love this guy so much, and why we'll miss him.

All-Star Superman
Yep, another Grant Morrison book, but this one was never, ever hit-or-miss. All-Star Superman, now finished after 12 amazing issues, is the best Superman story of all-time, and don't let anyone tell you different. Morrison takes everything about Superman, mixes it up a little, and gives it back to us in new, exciting ways. Everything about it -- especially the climax, featuring a super-powered Lex Luthor and a Superman who never gives up -- will make you feel like a kid again, as you find yourself in awe of the best superhero there is once again.

I don't remember this coming out in single issues, but I spotted the trade in a Borders one day, and it was just calling for me to use my gift card on it. And I'm glad I did. This collection of stories about con-artists, losers, and relationships will break your heart. It actually gets better once Brian Wood drops the superheroics from the mix, but overall, this is some of the best sequential storytelling I've come across in a long time.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

The reason I bought a PS3, and it was worth it. The graphics are stunning and the story is a fitting end to the saga of Solid Snake, who is still badass in his old age. There is some typically weird Japanese stuff, such as Snake gripping the privates of a statue while evading capture, but altogether, this is a great Metal Gear game. It makes some great advances -- a stellar first-person view, the ability fire weapons while lying on your back, etc. -- and is just the right length. Things get bigger and bigger, and the story more and more interesting, until it all ends with an awesome fistfight. Apparently there's a Metal Gear Solid 5 on the way, but how can it ever match this, without Solid Snake and/or creator Hideo Kojima?

Grand Theft Auto 4

I'll come right out and say it: I did not finish this game. But I played enough of it to realize that this was something special. From the fully realized recreation of New York (Brooklyn in the hizzie) to the smart, funny script, this lived up to the hype. Oh, and it's insanely fun.

Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart Wii received some negative reviews, and I really don't get it. Nintendo added motorcycles (!), online (!), Mii support (!) and more classic tracks (!) from past Mario Kart games. Really, what's not to like? It controls perfectly with the Wiimote and nunchuk (forget the pack-in steering wheel), and the courses are just as imaginative as ever. I love this game, and still play it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Cinematic Titanic "Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks" Trailer

Happy Friday, everyone. For those who don't know (we've discussed it on the podcast and probably somewhere on the site ad nauseum, so you probably do), but Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson, along with several alums of MST3K, have a new movie-riffing venture called Cinematic Titanic. Here's the trailer for their newest episode, the recently released (and tantalizingly titled) Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Get Into Emitt Rhodes

For those of you who appreciate some finely crafted pop, allow me to introduce you to Emitt Rhodes, a forgotten genius who made one amazing album in 1971, the self titled Emitt Rhodes, in which he sang, played all the instruments, arranged and produced the thing by himself. (As far as I know, the only other people really doing that at the time were Paul McCartney and Todd Rundgren.) Anyways, Rhodes' gift for songcraft (in an admittedly very McCartney-esque fashion) was incredible, as every song on his debut album is filled with hooks, but also some wonderful musicianship and thoughtful lyrics. It's a must-own.

The story for Rhodes after that album's release is actually kind of sad: contracted to deliver one album every 6 months, which he couldn't do since he made the records all by himself, Rhodes was sued by his label. After two more records that were rushed and not up to snuff, Rhodes quit the biz to become an engineer and producer. From the interviews I've read with him, he seems a little crazy, but he did give us one fantastic album.

Don't believe me? Some nice YouTuber compiled four songs from Emitt Rhodes in this one nifty video:

And here's a rare single of Emitt's, the killer "Birthday Lady":

Wacth the World Burn in a Punk Rock Cabaret

So one of the most original and severely underrecognized The World/Inferno Friendship Society is getting some buzz from some fanzine called The New York Times with the re-release of their musical/multimedia punk rock odyssey “Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre’s 20th Century.” Inspired by the life of actor, icon, and Looney Tunes fodder Peter Lorre, Inferno combines both original films and live music to create a sensory onslaught for angst-ridden youth and the comfortably old. Inferno has been bending musical genres for well over a decade without missing a single opportunity to incite slamdancing and slamromancing, mosh pits, jitterbugging, wine-induced stagedives and malt liquor charlestons across the globe.

Check out this decent writeup in The New York Times.

Inferno plays tomorrow Janurary 9 at Webster Hall. Don't forget your spats. Don't forget your flask.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

R.I.P. Electronic Gaming Monthly

Man, this is actually kind of sad for me. A magazine I've been reading since I was about 13, Electronic Gaming Monthly, a.k.a. EGM, is officially dead. If that's not bad enough, its website (the excellent has a murky future. Publisher Ziff Davis sold off EGM and 1UP to Hearst, who quickly canned the mag and gutted the 1UP staff.

EGM took great strides to change with the times and stay above grade-school fare like the awful GamePro. Their reviews were always -- always -- spot on, written in equal amounts tech-geek speak and normal-folk language. In addition, EGM added several great features the last few years, including profiles of different jobs in the game industry, interviews with soundtrack composers, game designers, and more. I will honestly miss getting this magazine in the mail each month.

All Hail Tom Scharpling and The Best Show

As previously discussed (I think) on this blog, I am a huge fan of The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling (that's the real, full name). Tom is a super-nice dude who kind of pretends to be a bully, and he will hang up on callers, but he's never mean spirited. He's always funny and has a real warmth about him...not to mention his scripted calls with Jon Wurster are hilarious, as are the in-studio appearances by comics like Paul F. Tomkins, Patton Oswalt, John Hodgman, and more.

Anyways! There was a contest a couple of years back where fans had to put a radio clip of their choice to video. This is my favorite:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Journey Through "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess", or How I Came to Appreciate Casual Games

As of right now, I'm up to what I think is the final boss in Nintendo Wii's The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Now, for those of you who are friends with me on Facebook and actually pay attention to my status updates, you'll know that I'm a little behind in my Christmas Guarantee of beating the game by New Year's. But what can you do? The game is over 50 fucking hours long.

And by playing through the game -- which I bought on launch day way back in November, 2006, and barely tried, afraid of how long it would take to finish -- I came to appreciate casual games in a whole new way. Now, don't get me wrong. Twilight Princess is an incredible gaming experience; the controls are excellent, the puzzles and bosses are inventive, and the game is altogether dazzling. But it just goes on and on and on. Think you're at the end? Not so! Turns out you need to put some old mirror back together. Now it's over, right? Nope! It's time to travel all over Hyrule looking for missing letters from some ancient book. Sure, this is nothing new -- N64's Ocarina of Time and GameCube's brilliant Wind Waker were both massive games as well -- and most modern titles such as God of War and Grand Theft Auto are equally epic and time consuming. But it's easy to see why Nintendo has chosen their current route of creating shorter games, such as Wii Sports and Wii Fit. The obvious and well-documented fact is that these games are cheaper to make and have been able to appeal to nongamers (like my mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, Aunt Joan, Aunt Maria, etc.), thus bringing in a whole new demographic to the industry. But they also appeal to older hardcore gamers like me, by offering a new experience that doesn't suck your life force away. I still play Wii Sports when friends are over, and I use Wii Fit to track my (sad) progress at the actual gym. And I can still get the fun of playing a solid game and have time to do other things.

So, in short: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is dope. You're insane if you own a Wii and haven't bought it. But, for me, I think I'm down to one supermegaepic videogame per year from now on. Maybe I am actually just getting too old for this shit.*

*Though Killzone 2 is looking pretty who knows.

"And when power ballads come back, we'll get big hair again."

Today I was somehow transported to a 17-year-old version of me while sitting at my desk at work. I think I was contemplating the definition of work, and the varieties of jobs I have held over the past 12 years (!!!). The story of how I came to respect Jerry Cantrell (stop rolling your eyes) unfolded before me. Think back to the summer of 1998 - I was 16, interning for a now defunct music marketing company. I somehow conned my way into interning at the Summerfest Marcus Amphitheater in Milwaukee. Their deal was... you organize the lines of people wanting to get cds/tshirts/boobs signed and you got into the show for free. It was a ridiculously awesome job. I was hauling a bunch of cds down to the signing booth when somehow my mom jeans caused me to slip and fall down the stairs. The box ripped and cds were everywhere...just as the man himself came out of nowhere. I was horrified, began to cry, and started apologizing. Good ol' Jer ambled over and helped me up, telling me that he didn't care about "no dang cds," and to prove the point he started jumping up and down on his own merchandise to cheer me up. I will never forget neither that day nor Jerry. So, in a much belated post, I thank thee, Jerry Cantrell (below, link to Wish You Were Here with SLASH)!