Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Check it out: The Adam Carolla Podcast

A lot of you may know Adam Carolla from Loveline, The Man Show and various movies, but these days the guy is (or should I say "was") best known for his morning radio talk show aired out of L.A., syndicated all over the country and streamed online all over the world.

Despite fantastic ratings, the Ace-Man and his partners in crime Bald Bryan and Teresa Strasser were let go in favor of a new top-forty radio approach. That means, instead of intellectual conversation, interesting interviews and some of the best angry rants you can imagine, CBS decided it would be a better use of their time and dollars to give traffic updates and spin the latest hits from Jessica Simpson and the like...Yeah. Moving on.

Anyway, while Carolla stays busy with a million other projects, CBS will be paying the guy through the rest of his contract ending in December of this year. What that means is, in essence, his lifelong goal of being paid to do nothing is finally coming true.

Even though he's up to far from "nothing," Carolla still feels the need to have his voice heard on a regular basis and, honestly, I couldn't be happier. Thus, the Adam Carola Podcast was born. Without missing a beat, following the end of his much-loved show Friday morning, Carolla was recording in his home Sunday night to create about 40 minutes of good old-fashioned Carolla entertainment.

In the first show, Ace sounded scared, sad and even a bit intimidated. But by Tuesday's cast (thanks to the help of guest Dr. Drew), it was just like old times.

With a goal of recording every day and bringing in more guests and production, there's no place to go but up for the Carolla Podcast. And if the 200,000-plus listeners from the first show have anything to say about it, it looks like Carolla's audience is willing to follow him into this new and exciting territory.

Why am I posting this?

Because I genuinely like the guy. His show brightened my mornings and it was a serious blow when I found out it would be coming to an end. Though the casts are only 40 minutes compared to the usual five hours, somehow the transition feels fitting. It's enough to make me smile without demanding too much of my time. And with no commercials or restraint, the show has more potential than radio could have ever offered.

I encourage everyone to get on board with this as I honestly believe the Carolla podcast will help usher in a new era in Internet listening while more and more radio stations move to strictly music. This is the first podcast I've ever felt inclined to download regularly and, so far, it's been a great experience.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday mini-movie: Against the natural order edition

I feel I should give a little warning concerning the above video. Know that, once you see it, it cannot be unseen. The following 35 second go against all you've come to know and understand and, as it did for me, it has the ability to completely changed your worldview.

On a lighter note, my buddy Madikin summed up the pigeon's final thoughts pretty nicely, saying, "Whoa! Time out! Same side, buddy. We're on the same side!!!" This would have been immediately followed by an everlasting darkness.

I guess you could look at this kind of like a new inmate's first day in prison. If you walk in and shank a guy right off the bat, nobody is going to want to mess with you afterwards. Just watch the pelican after he makes a snack out of that pigeon. Absolutely no one, even the birds his own size, want to be anywhere near him.

I guess this is the closest thing to a psychotic break you can find in the animal kingdom. A bird's just walking along, doing nothing out of the ordinary, when suddenly BAM!, he changes the world forever.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The 81st Academy Awards: Echo calls the Oscars

I get out to see quite a few movies, but I missed out on some biggies this year. Milk. Frost/Nixon. Even Slumdog Millionaire went by without me finding the time to get to a theater.

Despite this fact, I'm going to predict the big five Oscar categories as though I've seen all these films and know what the hell I'm talking about.

Best actor: This one's a toughie. Seeing as how I've seen all the movies that came out this year (some twice), I think I know an underdog success story when I see one coming. As such, Mickey Rourke will be taking home the golden statue for The Wrestler. His competition this year are a bunch of politicians and people interviewing politicians. Nobody wants to see a politician win. Give the big prize to a wrestler, though, and you might get some serious flexing or a mighty "Oh yeah!" thrown out during the acceptance speech.

Best supporting actor: Heath Ledger for his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight. I hate that Ledger's untimely death will most likely be a factor in the academy's decision, but Ledger deserves an award for this performance. He did a phenomenal job and created a character that will be remembered for years to come.

Best actress: Kate Winslet for The Reader. If anyone can make a movie about reading interesting, they deserve an award. The End.

Best supporting actress: Taraji P Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I loved Henson's portrayal of an accidental mother with a heart of gold. I also may have missed all the other films with nominees for this category. But that's neither here nor there.

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire. No, I haven't seen it. But with the amount of buzz built up behind this thing, I'll literally eat my hat*** if Slumdog doesn't take home the big prize.

Well, there you have it. My completely baseless predictions. You had better hurry and get those bets in. These are a sure thing, kiddies.

(***Will not actually eat his hat. It was a figure of speech, just like "You can't go wrong with John Leguizamo*****)

(*****You literally can't go wrong with John Leguizamo. The guy is dynamite.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The problem with next-gen

Sometimes I miss the days of last-gen gaming. Quite frequently, actually. Why? Because while the last generation of gaming saw nothing but steps forward, the past three years of “next-gen” have provided many-a giant step backward. Or, if not backward, definately in the wrong direction. Here’s some of the biggest problems I see with modern gaming.

Shorter playtime: No, quantity does not equal quality. However, if I’m laying down sixty of my hard-earned dollars for a product, I’d appreciate as much of both qualities as possible. Eight hours seems to be the sweet spot for most titles these days and, sorry, but that’s about the point where everything starts to click and a good game really gets rolling. It feels like the majority of games I play these days end just as they’re getting started.

Multi-player required: At what point did it become a prerequisite to have multi-player or co-op included with every single game? If it’s missing, boards get flooded with people complaining about it, forcing offerings such as the half-assed Dark Sector multi-player (shudders) to be tacked on. If a game like Bioshock had co-op or multi-player, I dare say that would have ruined the experience. Some titles are meant to be a one-man journey and I’m scared of the day when such experiences will be a thing of the past. Online is great, but certain things can only be achieved via a one-on-one approach.

Patches and fixes: Call it lazy development. Call it pressure from the higher-ups to meet a deadline. Whatever the reason, this crap shouldn’t be allowed to fly. Last gen, if a game came out broken, that spelled doom for those attached to the project. This forced teams to do their damndest to insure the product hitting store shelves was as perfect and deserving of our dollars as possible. Nowadays, incomplete titles and broken products are coming out every week. The “don’t worry, we’ll fix it in a few weeks with a patch” mentality is completely wrong. Developers are betraying their consumers and I wish to hell the masses would answer back with their dollars.

Microtransactions: I bitched about this a while back but the problem has only gotten worse. If you want to offer extra content to a well-rounded, complete product to enhance or elongate my playtime, I’m fine with dropping a few more bones to support your effort. Having me pay for crap that should have been on the disc to begin with, especially shortly following the game’s release? No dice.

Fanboys: I guess these folks have always existed, but never have they been so idiotic and vocal. There is no $%^&ing console war other than the one waging in your pathetic little minds. If you dedicated half the time you spend trolling message boards to actually playing games, you might learn a thing or two about the hobby you claim to be a diehard fan of. Quality is quality no matter what system it appears on. Multiplatform means more people get to play a title and the developer might actually make enough cash to continue making games. Wii is not for children, 360 is not only for FPS fans and the PS3 isn’t dead in the water. If gamers as a whole want to be taken seriously, these tools posing as gamers have got to go.

Online idiocy: I could dedicate a full post to this one . Ignorance, plus a mic, plus anonymity apparently equals a racist, sexist, homophobic, profane mutant who needs to have the $#!^ slapped out of them. You don’t sound adult. You don’t sound cool. And I swear to Zuel, if you children try this crap in the real world, you’re likely to find your ass being handed to you on a platter. You’re pathetic and nobody want’s to hear the proof.

Dependency on reviews: I encourage everyone to actually read reviews. I know that sounds crazy, but you might take a lot more away from it that the grade or number following all those confusing words could ever tell you. I say we do away with grades and points and just start writing. Then, instead of “OMG, Gametime magazine gave Game A a 9.2 and Game B a 9.3, so Game B is clearly a better game,” people might start talking about what the review actually said.
***sorry about the picture. For some reason, it won't post any larger.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eagles of Death Metal rock/love live

I got to take in Eagles of Death Metal live recently and decided (was threatened at knife-point) to do a lil blog on my experience.

The show opened with The Living Things and I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing more of these guys in the near future. They've got the whole classic rock meets modern rock a la The Hives, The Raconteurs, etc. down with a lead singer who looks suspiciously like Jimmy Fallon with longer hair.

EoDM impressed the hell out of me, though. First off, lead singer Jesse "Boots Electric" Hughes decided to walk out in the drizzling rain and talk up the line of fans while we waited to be let into the venue. After an hour and a half of making sweet musical love to the audience (and possibly some physical love), the guy hung around to sign autographs, take pictures and just chill with the boys and girls who came out to see he and the band rock.

My buddy liveblogged the whole thing on his twitter page (twitter.com/jeffthejeff) but, since I'm still against all things tweeted (and Tyler Perry), I can't tell you how good a representation of the show it actually is. I heard it was pretty hilarious, though.

Aside from drunk folk slapping my friends, trying to start fights with each other or holding a buddy of mine's hand for a solid (and very uncomfortable) minute when he was going for a simple shake, I've decided everyone pretty much owes it to themselves to go see Eagles of Death Metal live.

In short, possibly some of the most fun you'll have in a crowded bar ever.

P.S. Bassist Brian "Big Hands" O'Connor has the most appropriate nickname ever. The dude's got catcher's mitts at the end of his arms.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday mini-movie: Untold pain edition

Once again, I'm apparently late to the party. This "Kicked in the nuts" skit has been going on quite some time, but I only just found out about it.

Despite the fact these are staged, some of the cup-checks look very, very realistic.

I chose to post this particular clip because it features a couple kids getting wracked in the junk and, well, kids getting wracked in the junk is funny.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Movie of the week: Coraline

There aren't a lot of movies coming out this month.

One of the best looking titles for February, though, just so happens to drop this week. Enter the animated epic Coraline.

About a girl who ventures into a magical alternate reality that appears too good to be true (yeah, it is) and from the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline looks and sounds like a spiritual predecessor to everyone's favorite stop-motion film (and Hot Topic money printer).

I got to see the trailer in 3D while watching My Bloody Valentine, so I'd say that's definately the way to go if you can find a theater showing it and don't mind spending nearly twice as much per ticket. Otherwise, get out there and enjoy it any way possible.

If you happen to see Coraline this weekend, be sure to let me know what you thought in the comments.

Arlovski hits the boxing ring

It has been brought to my attention, following the upset a couple weeks ago in his match with Fedor, one of my all-time favorite mixed martial artists, Andre "the Pitbull" Arlovski, will be moving into a career in professional boxing.

While I'm happy to see Nos Varlovski getting paid and taking part in a sport where he could very likely dominate, I'm saddened to see him leave the sport of MMA. The dude wrecks faces like some sort of, I don't know, crazed pitbull; so his absence in the octagon will not go unnoticed by this particular blogger.

The good news is, m'boy is already in line for his first fight. Look for Arlovski to debut during the April 11 card featuring Paul Williams vs. Winky Wright on HBO.

I honestly doubt the ring can contain the awesomeness that is Arlovski, so we should probably start praying now for the soul of whichever poor bastard has to go toe to toe with him come mid-April. It's going to be glorious.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Games to get in February

There are a few high profile titles coming out this month, but I’m only seeing red. As in the red glowing eyes of the Helghast in Killzone 2. Here are the titles to be on the lookout for this month. Big surprise kids, a Wii game actually made the list this month.

9th- Deadly Creatures (Wii)
10th- Fear 2 (PS3, 360)
10th- X Blades (PS3, 360)
10th- LocoRoco 2 (PSP)
16th- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (DS)
17th- Dragon Quest V (DS)
17th- Prinny: I can really be the hero? (PSP)
17th- Street Fighter IV (PS3, 360)
24th- Star Ocean: The Last Hope (360)
27th- Killzone 2 (PS3)

Portable gamers have a lot to look forward to in two RPGs and an RPG adventure game spinoff this month. Also, Deadly Creatures for the Wii might help tide you over until the next flood of Ponyz sequels. Since it’s a third party, original title, I doubt it will fare well, though. Wii is the place where good games not made by Nintendo go to die.

Street Fighter IV has been a long time coming, but I have a hard time forking over $60 for a fighting game. No matter how good it is. And, for those with an Xbox, the new Star Ocean title should be extremely high on your list of must-haves for 2009.

For me though, it’s all about Killzone 2 this month. Early reviews have the title pegged as providing a turbo-charged single player campaign with a deep, addictive online component that should bring you back for hours on end. There are a lot of FPS titles out there these days, but I think Killzone 2 will likely make a valid argument for king of the hill honors.

Movies to miss in February

The DVD selection looks decent this month, but there are still a few crapfests hitting theaters in February.

Confessions of a Shopaholic: I keep having that drug abuse support group scene from Half Baked run through my mind every time I hear this movie’s title. I doubt anyone with a real “aholic” problem would be amused by valley girls who can’t seem to stop shopping, but hey, who am I to judge?

I would also assume most folk would not want to watch a movie about a girl who is used to getting everything she wants learn a few “hard lessons” about life simply by putting away her credit card only to get everything she wants once again by the time the credits roll, but somehow I think this will nab the number one spot for at least a couple weeks. I weep for our future.

Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail: This dude is the Danielle Steel of crappy movies. He just keeps churning them out. At least he’s kind enough to put his name at the beginning of every damn thing he touches so we know to stay far, far away.

Street Fighter- Legend of Chun Li: When I heard there was going to be a SF sequel, I cringed. Given the original (delightfully terrible) film, I was baffled anyone would ever greenlight a followup. Then I did my homework and found out what the movie is really about. I now wish they were doing a direct sequel instead.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday mini-movies: Trainwreck edition

I recently got the chance to watch a bunch of videos posted by some friends and, gotta say, they were pretty damn hilarious.

Above is one of the shorter flicks wherein a couple guys react to clips from America’s Funniest Home Videos and, well, some other stuff.

If you enjoy, be sure to check out the rest of the videos from thetrainster on youtube, especially “The Whatevers” and “Mind Freak.” Maybe it’s a shared hatred of Chriss Angel, but that last one had me rolling.