April, 2010:

Links to make you thinks.

The 90's are back! Let's do heroin and star in Empire Records.

- Boy 8-Bit – The Keep.  I always said that if I had a projector and a stationary bicycle, I would rear-project Wolfenstein 3D behind me and tour-de-france my way through level after level to an infectious chip-tune beat. Thankfully, Boy 8-Bit has the tools and the technology to make this happen. Happy 4/21.

- The 120 Minutes Archive.  Hey remember the 80’s and 90’s? There used to be this channel named Music Television (MTV) and they had blocks of airtime dedicated to music videos. The hip hop kids had Yo! MTV Raps, the Pantera-loving meth addicts had Headbanger’s Ball and the indoor flannel kids had 120 Minutes. The 120 Minutes Archive is a collection of playlists and their respective videos. You just have to provide your own Kurt Loder interludes and commercials for Aeon Flux and it’s like you’re magically transported to my bedroom 15 years ago. Jesus, this song was everywhere and still makes me want to hack the planet.

– Q: Hey Bill Cosby, just what do you eat for breakfast? The answer may surprise you. If you’ve never eaten breakfast before. Bonus answer - CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR BREAKFAST.

- ESP Training. A few week ago I talked about Dr. Peter Venkman’s ESP case study, and now there’s an iPhone app that lets you test yourself using strikingly similar methods. My ESP told me this app would exist one day, and now I’m kicking myself for not creating it. Zero follow through.

Pepsi Max: Cease Fire review

Slightly better than Pepsi Max: Shoot the Hostage

While getting lunch in the cafeteria today, I noticed a strange bottle of soda among the normal bottles of soda in the cooler.  It had a black label, so it appealed to my demographic (late 20’s dude who likes black labels on things) but also had some playful green text that hinted it could be an energy drink (because energy should be green).  I succumbed to my thurges (thirst urges) and purchased 20 fl oz’s of Pepsi Max: Cease Fire.

Here’s my review – it tastes like Diet Pepsi.  But until the drink met my lips, I had no idea what I was going to experience.  First off, I liked the idea of a soda named Cease Fire.  It’s peaceful.  Like all of the other sodas were battling for dominance and Pepsi Max was like, “Guys, let’s just relax for a second… we’re all sodas here, and enough blood has been shed.” However, the label urged me to “COOL THE BURN,” and I wasn’t sure what burn I was supposed to be cooling.  First I thought it was referring to my lifestyle – PepsiCo is assuming that my life is full of extreme sports and heat.  Perhaps it’s aloe flavored?  Maybe it’s like a Camel Crush cigarette, but instead of changing from non-menthol to menthol, it goes from spicy to cool through a complicated filtration system.  Just what the fuck am I drinking here PepsiCo? I’m so thirsty.

That’s when I turned the bottle around.  Turns out I’m not the only one baffled by this drink since there’s a giant disclaimer that describes both the burning and cooling sensations.

COOL THE BURN: New Doritos® Burn Flavors and Pepsi Max® Cease Fireâ„¢ are the perfect combination of tempting heat and calming cool.  With the fireproof formula of Pepsi Max® Cease Fireâ„¢, you’ll keep coming back for more.  So prepare your mouth for the pleasure of two highly reactive flavors.
(then there’s a picture of a Dorito chip on fire)

OK, so, Pepsi Max: Cease Fire is like a Doritos Burn Ward plug-in with one goal: to fully unlock the flavor potential of both products.  Chips are hot these days!  You need a drink that is chemically engineered by the chip’s parent company to extinguish the herbs and spices.  Kind of like when you go to a restaurant and the waiter recommends a wine that complements your meal of chicken strips and veggie spring rolls (it’s White Zinfandel, btw).  Like peanut butter and jelly, beer and wings,  Ween and inhalants… Pepsi Max: Cease Fire and hot as fuck Doritos are two things.

Because of this, I’m going to retract my review.  Forget everything I ever said about Pepsi Max: Cease Fire.  I didn’t have any Doritos Burn Ward chips with my lunch, so my review is worthless.  However, the good folks over at bevreview.com reviewed both the chips AND the soda, so you should read that instead. If you’re not into the whole “clicking links” thing, here’s a summary of their review – Pepsi Max: Cease Fire is gimmicky bullshit, and the bottlers should be killed.  They’re making some powerful enemies over there.

I can’t wait to follow @aplusk’s garbage disposal.

Remember that year when everything in the world took on the color of brightly colored iMacs?  You could buy a bright orange dustbuster, a translucent blue toaster, and a shockingly red George Foreman grill.  I’m pretty sure my N64 was purple (and this is totally unrelated, but when I think of N64 I think of the countless hours I spent playing Beetle Adventure Racing while listening to Eminem’s Slim Shady LP… both pinnacles in their respective fields).  I’m guessing this was done so that folks could color coordinate their home appliances with their desktop PC – my goofy computer is see-through yellow, and so is my vacuum!  I can see the collected dirt and dust AT ALL TIMES and I’m living in the future.  Also, I’ve named my two sons Ross and Chandler because it’s the 90’s and I have no regrets.

Fruitifying our appliances didn’t do much to their core functionality though.  I mean, you still chopped stuff in your food processor, it just looked like it was made of Lego bricks. But what if there was a way to add bleeding edge technology to something you use everyday, and not only change the way you use the appliance, but also increase its functionality by like a hundred billion percent?  Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Twettle.  The tea kettle with a Twitter account.

Two London designers decided to come up with a get-rich-quick scheme whilst waiting for a bartender to mix their drinks. The result? A kitchen appliance which could communicate through Twitter.  And what kitchen appliance would any self-respecting Englishman choose? An electric kettle, or the Twettle.

The Twettle works via WiFi, connecting directly to the internet and tweeting when it has boiled.

Hey does anyone have a free USB port? I need to install a new OS on the kettle. Guys? Hey guys?

You see, because boiling water is unpredictable, imprecise and depressingly analog.  Cave men did this shit pretty much the same way!  Just sitting around, waiting for their water to boil in a bird’s stomach or whatever while they picked wildebeest gristle from their teeth.  With Twettle technology, Ook could be doing something more productive like foraging or smashing a weaker neanderthal’s skull with a rock instead of staring at the magic sorcery that makes stuff boil.  Check your tweets Ook, your water is piping hot!

Even Wired realizes that it’s pretty easy to tell when the water in your tea kettle is boiling in your house since you’re usually in your house when you have a tea kettle on the stove in your house.  “But, in, say, an office, it might be helpful to know that the water is done so you can rush to the kitchenette with a sachet of powdered soup, or even to catch up on gossip as others make their tea.”  Or, the office cut-up could follow your Twettle account, get notified the instant the water is boiled and then rush to the kitchenette to pour the boiled water down the drain.  Meanwhile, you stand there with your stupid sachet of powdered soup and catch up on the office gossip, which is, “That guy is such a dick, and we need to detwettlefriend him immediately.”

In my humbled humbling opinion, the Twettle is kind of stupid.  Boiling water takes about 2 minutes, and you’re not really gaining anything by being notified the SECOND your water starts to boil.  Here’s a real world example – sometimes I become so absorbed in working or writing or contemplating life’s greatest mysteries that I won’t hear my tea kettle whistling (which is like the reel-to-reel version of boiling water notification as opposed to the laserdisc-like Twettle) in the kitchen.  But usually I break out of my trance-like state a minute or so later and I’m rewarded with boiling water that I forgot I even put on the stove.  Hooray!

Would my life be any better if my kettle sent me a DM and was all like, “@John_TMH – ur water is hot!  get on that it b4 it evaporates!  ur pal – twettlebot”  No.  I mean, maybe?  No, actually, I’m going to stick with no.  Here’s what I want instead of the Twettle: a Leffle.  It’s a waffle iron that sends me a letter in the mail when I want waffles.  Then when I get the letter, there’s a coupon for syrup alongside delicious recipes.  Get on it science.

Lollapalooza’s 1994 Lineup Reviewed by Jim DeRogatis

Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun Times  is the greatest music troll in the history of music trolling.  Lollapalooza’s 2010 lineup was officially unveiled today, and Jim is here to arbitrarily assign star ratings to bands he’s never heard of and tell you how much your music sucks.  Gogol Bordello is a jam band, ok guys?  Wolfmother puts the “head bang” in “head bang.”  But this isn’t the first time he’s done this!  Check out this article he wrote in 1994, skewering the Lolla lineup and cementing his place in history as the music critic for people who don’t listen to music.

Lollapalooza’s 1994 Lineup Reviewed

by Jim DeRogatis

Well, it’s April of 1994, and I just received the list of the piss-poor headliners for this year’s Lollapalooza. Oh how I yearn for the golden summer days of 1990, when Lollapalooza didn’t exist.  Here’s what Perry Farrell has in store for us this year (picture me saying pssssssshhhhhhhhhhhh in a really biting way right now):

The Smashing Pumpkins – The sonic dreamscape shoe-gaze metal bangers will float down from heaven on a golden chariot of nihilism and underground “cred.”  And by “cred” I mean “credentials.”  Or “credit?” Whatever, I wish 4 Non Blondes were headlining instead. 

Beastie Boys – The bratty Brooklyn pranksters are back! Hopefully they can recapture the magic of their famed License to Ill tour, complete with giant inflatable penises and drunken shenanijinks.  Instead, they’ll probably ask us to free Tibet (like I don’t have enough on my plate already). 

George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars – More like Bill Clinton and the A-Gore Funkmonsters.  Also, have you heard about Pulp Fiction?  John Travolta is playing a bad guy!  What is this, Welcome Back Kotter?  I mean seriously.  Seriously.

The Breeders – Pixies ripoff. 

A Tribe Called Quest – These are the Shaolin Monks that I’ve been hearing so much about right?  With the bright orange robes?  Classic stuff. 

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Are we really still paying attention to what Nick Cave has to say?  The Birthday Party (or as they were originally known [and I still call them] The Boys Next Door) was like 20 years ago.  Just play Red Right Hand in front of the toilets because

Nirvana (rumored) – Seattle yucksters will be serving up indecipherable lyrics with a side order of ear-melting feedback.  Then they’ll (thankfully) trash their instruments and sulk off the stage.

L7 – These handsome fellas sure know how to bring the noise.  Smell the Magic?  More like Smell the Chorizos, which is what I’ll be doing while I eat chorizos instead of watching L7 do whatever it is they do.  (strictly for the chorizos)

The Green Days – Punk rock innovators The Green Days will be taking the stage… if they decide to show up!  That would be so punk rock of them to not show up!  Expect songs about masturbation and piercings (if they show up).  Oi oi oi! 

Other bands that you should give a sideways glance towards on your way to the merch booth to pick up a Lollapalooza foam finger –

Yeah, that’s right.  None of them.  If you somehow wind up accidentally attending Lollapalooza in 1994, you’d be better off finding a shady spot, staying there until 1995 and praying for a better lineup.

Is it April Fool’s or April Fools’ or Apri’l Fools?

Well it’s April 2nd, and once again I’m left questioning what’s real and what isn’t on the internet. Why do webmasters and webmistresses find it so funny to like, write everything backwards or remove vowels from their site on April Fools’ Day? Oh ho ho, I was expecting one thing, but I got something completely different… I’ve been APRIL FOOL HORNSWAGGLED.

Here are some stories and links that tripped me up yesterday.

You guys win, I'm sufficiently fooled.

Cypress Hill Debut “Rise Up” Video Online.  This one nearly got me until I realized that Cypress Hill* hasn’t put out an album since 1993, and… oh wait, they did?  They’ve released six albums since then?  And a new one is coming out this year?  Well then this is an even more successful prank, because there’s no way this song is real.  To really drive the prankiness home, they even hired Tom Morello to “Tom Morello it up” all over this fake track instead of just releasing a new video for “Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That,” which is all Cypress Hill should be doing until the end of time.

Boil water advisory remains in effect for Jersey City until tests prove water is safe to drink.  Haha, the water is never safe to drink here.  Nice try Jersey City!

The A-Team Trailer #2.  Again, I admire the production values that went into this prank.  It’s got Qui Gon, shirtless Bradley Cooper and a bunch of other dudes blowing shit up, just like the real A-Team from the early 60’s television program.  This appears to be a follow-up to the cinematic G.I. Joe prank that was released in theaters last year… and really, hats off to the masterminds behind that one.  You guys are good.  But yeah, sorry to get your hopes up A-Team fans, but this simply isn’t happening in 2010.

(* Note for my younger readers: Cypress Hill was one of (if not the most) successful Latino rap groups in the early 90’s.  With such hits as Insane in the Brain, How I Could Just Kill a Man, and I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That, the group was very popular among dudes in backwards baseball hats, weed smokers, and weed smoking dudes in backwards baseball hats.  Tom Morello was the guitar player for Rage Against the Machine.  “The Machine” is the American government.)