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Out with the Old (Shit), In with the New (Awesome Shit)

I used to love Weezer … they were my favorite band from about 1995 up until 2002 … after that point, I was just deluding myself into thinking that they were still great, and would return to the brilliance of the Blue Album and Pinkerton … I thought that maybe Rivers just had to get some more generic shit out of his system before going back to honest, strong songwriting. He seemed genuinely hurt by the initial critical and commercial reception of Pinkerton, and from that point forward decided to go the “Eff you” route of songcrafting … generic lyrics, uninspired composition (using the song’s melody for every guitar solo??? in the eternal words of GOB Bluth, “C’mon!!!”), safe 4 chord power pop … it’s as if he was saying,

“I am way better than this, and I showed it on the first two records, but you bitches didn’t appreciate it … I poured myself into Pinkerton, and you hated it! and because that record had so much of me in it, by hating it and rejecting it, you have hated and rejected me. Don’t expect to see that Rivers again. I’m gonna write watered down lyrics that make no sense, I’m gonna make sure I flash some of my former brilliance, but that’s just to tease you mofos … sure the amps are still gonna go to 11, but don’t expect anything new and original to come forth.”

It is sad as shit … the last album I actually purchased was “Make Believe” … I can’t say that I’ve listened to the whole CD. I guess Weezer has released two albums since … The Red Album and Raditude … haven’t heard them … couldn’t bring myself to listen to see how far they’ve fallen … so what was it that compelled me to listen to a stream of their newest (and as of now, unreleased) record? Curiosity, I suppose. I don’t know … like a car accident you can’t seem to look away from, I found myself rubbernecking … looking back to see what has become of these four gentlemen from Weezer. Maybe I am just waiting for them to return to form … holding out hope that an album to rival Pinkerton’s rawness and beauty will be made again … After listening to all 10 tracks off the new album “Hurley” on their myspace, it is now safe to call off the search and rescue party, not because we’ve found survivors in the wreckage, but because there are no survivors. Weezer is officially dead to me. In case you want to hear for yourself: go here

But if you’re looking for something way more awesome [and this is the New (Awesome Shit)] …

Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, is the shit. If you’ve been around, you know that we here at Roused feel this way about him. Whether he’s doing stand-up, acting on “Community”, writing for “30 Rock”, or being a supremely talented MC, he is awesome. He self-released an album earlier this year, “Culdesac”, and he’s been playing a few shows, and filming the new season of “Community”, and he came to Bumbershoot to perform stand-up … but even with all of this, he’s still finding time to make amazing hip hop … See?


tv on the internet. [five things, 9.9.10.]

We are already well into September. For many, that’s terrible news, but for me it’s a wonderful time of year. My favorite season is almost here, playoff baseball is right around the corner, and the first NFL game of 2010 is underway as I write this.

And that’s not all, it’s also about that time for some of my favorite shows to return for the year. Here are the shows I am most excited to see return.

1. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

This is my favorite show on the air. End of story.


2. Community

The fact that Two and a Half Men leads the comedy ratings when a show as amazing as Community airs on network television every week is proof we live in dark times.

Every character is so wonderfully sweet and hilarious. What’s not to love about Community? I want this to be a real community college, and, in the words of Liz Lemon (I know, that show didn’t make it on the list), “I want to go to there.”


3. The League

It’s a show about a fantasy football league, and it probably doesn’t have the audience it should because people assume they wouldn’t like it if they aren’t into fantasy sports. That is false. The show is hilarious no matter how you feel about sports, football or the fantasy craze.

Filled to the brim with quotable lines, it often feels improvised in the best possible way.

Just watch the “Mr. McGibblets” episode and tell me you aren’t hooked.


4. Archer

Have you watched this show? If not, you should. This show, about a skilled yet inept, womanizing secret agent with no morals whatsoever, is the third part of the FX trifecta, making them hands down the funniest channel on television.

It’s available to stream instantly from Netflix, so it won’t even be hard to find the first season.

The show is fucking hilarious. H. Jon Benjamin is amazing, and several Arrested Development alumns are cast members as well.


5. Dexter

Emily and I finally made it to season four, which seems to be the consensus favorite among fans. Although most people hate season three and I actually enjoyed it.

We should be able to catch up by the time season five starts later this month.

The show continues to climb the ranks toward being my favorite drama currently on the air. I love it!


dead space.

In the lightning fast world of video games, this one is old (2008), but it was new to me.

I’ve never really played games from the horror genre, but if Dead Space is any indication, I’ll be adding more to my Gamefly queue post-haste. The game was full of tense, creepy fun.

The game’s story isn’t anything groundbreaking. You are Isaac Clarke, your wife Nicole is on a space station which seems to be having communication difficulties, as it’s been radio silent for some time. You arrive at the space station, which is running a mining expedition on the planet below, as part of a team that has been sent in to fix whatever is wrong. You crash land on your way in, rendering you unable to leave, and obviously, you arrive to discover that everything has gone to shit. Soon you are being attacked by dead humans who have been converted into horrible monsters by some alien life-form. You need to survive, find Nicole, and discover a way to get off the ship. Pretty straightforward sci-fi horror.

The gameplay itself is a dark, gruesome, atmospheric romp through the limbs of disfigured, reanimated corpses. Like most horror video games, you are constantly running low on ammo, and asshole bad guys are constantly jumping out of the vents they travel through (as a lovely homage to the Alien franchise). Thus, your poor Isaac is constantly on edge, desperately trying to make it to the next waypoint before running out of ammo and health and find yourself completely screwed. Talk about PTSD.

Along the way, you get kinesis and stasis (the ability to slow enemies down temporarily) powers. At times, using kinesis to send a well aimed gas tank at an enemy is the only way to survive when your ammo runs out.

Again, none of these features is anything new. Yet, there is something to be said for taking pre-existing parts and putting them together in an enjoyable way. I know I was probably one of the last gamers in the world to play this one, but if you haven’t tried it out yet, you definitely should.

I can’t wait for the sequel in January!


Bogle Phantom

Bogle Phantom is the shit.

I mean, this shit is good. Seriously good.

A blend of Petite Sirah and Old Vine Zinfandel, with a bit of Mourvèdre to round things out, it is inky and dark, intense and complex. On the Bogle website and on each cork extracted from Phantom, you will find some variation of this:

bogle \bõ’g?l\ n. [Scots, perhaps from Welsh] A goblin; a specter; a phantom; a bogy, boggart or bugbear.

This wine lives up to its name, as when it is released it disappears so quickly from the shelves … as if it were never there. An apparition. The same can be said of it when a bottle is opened in our house. We have a bottle on the wine rack now that we are trying to save until 2012 … every time I remember we have it, I am tempted …

Why do we love this wine so much? Well, let’s get right to it, Steinberg …

My experience with the Petite Sirah varietal is very limited … it makes up 53% of Phantom according to the label. Petite Sirah is typically marked by its dark color and intense acidity. It has a high skin-to-juice ratio which lends itself to highly tannic wines, but also lends itself to aging. It brings dark berries (blueberries, blackberries) and black pepper to the party … it has a full and round mouthfeel, but tends to lack a solid profile through the finish. So, basically it comes on strong, pushes through a bit, and then it’s gone. This is why it pairs so perfectly with our next varietal in this blend …

Zinfandel has been hit or miss with me. I’ve had some really terrible red zins that were like drinking liquified, candied fig newtons … just horribly jammy, overly sweet, and flat. But then I’ve had really amazing red zins where the sweetness was balanced by oak, pepper, and clove … where the fruitiness didn’t remind me of jamming 6 whole boxes of Sunmaid raisins in my mouth at once. The heat on the end lingered with the spice and oak. Bogle’s Old Vine Zin is one of the good ones … and here we find it in Phantom to the tune of 44% of the blend.

Where the Petite Sirah struggles, the old vine zin picks it up by offering depth and complexity. Oak and spice mingle with dark berries, adding some much needed punch in the finish.

I don’t know if Bogle decided to throw in the Mourvèdre only because they needed to fill the remaining 3% of Phantom, and I have no idea how much effect the Mourvèdre has on this blend, but let’s talk about what it can do for the blend … especially before we start saying 3% is too small to do much of anything. Mourvèdre is most commonly used in Rhone blends, which feature Grenache, another grape that yields wine with high alcohol content. So, theoretically, Mourvèdre would do the same for the high alcohol content of the Old Vine Zin, softening it a bit and adding body.

So, here we are … 53% Petite Sirah, 44% Old Vine Zinfandel, and 3% Mourvèdre … and what we get is a delicious red blend that is loaded with complexity … blackberries, raspberries, clove, toasted oak, leather, black pepper, a little anise … the longer it breathes, the better it gets. Once the bottle’s gone, you’ll be very sad … I feel like I’ve been going through withdraw symptoms … let’s hope I can hold out for the next bottle rather than opening the one waiting for 2012 … I can’t wait to see what a bit of in-bottle aging does for this already amazing wine.

Go. Buy some. Now. I’m pretty sure the new vintage will be released at the end of this month, so be on the look out for it. I will be.


the good, the bad, the weird.

Folks, you need to watch this movie right now. Tonight, or tomorrow at the latest.

I’m serious.

It’s a gem of popular Korean cinema. The film is insanely fun from start to finish. It’s entirely possible that I could watch this movie on repeat for an entire afternoon without getting bored.

As the name suggests, it’s a humorous homage to the western genre, in similar fashion to how Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg treated zombie movies with Shaun of the Dead and action movies with Hot Fuzz. Like those films, The Good, The Bad, The Weird is good enough in its own right to be enjoyed by someone who has never seen a western before (like my wife, who loved the hell out of it), but that enjoyment grows deeper the more familiar you are with the genre. So, for Brian and I, after watching 30 westerns in 30 days, the film was riddled with easter eggs just waiting to be spotted by attentive viewers, namely us.

Yet, while the influence of the western genre was plain for all to see, Ji-woon Kim was masterful in making sure that he tilted every scene he used from classic westerns so that he was always telling his own story. He never just copied a scene or moment, he always shifted it just to the left, making a movie that is an homage to some of his favorite movies, as opposed to making a movie which is merely a collage of other people’s work.

Kim’s directing was fantastic, as was the cinematography. As we were watching, we consistently exclaimed in wonder at the high degree of difficulty of so many of the shots. There were many long, audacious tracking shots filled with so many moving parts that they were literally jaw dropping, some of which were extended helicopter shots that must have been a bitch to reset when something went wrong. There are still some shots, especially those with large explosives next to living people, which I have no idea how they did. That’s impressive in this day and age.

The action scenes were the perfect cocktail of thrilling and hilarious. That’s a tough combo to get right without losing one or the other, but this should be used as a case study in how to get it right… or perfect.

Yet, with all that action and technical wizardry, they didn’t skimp on the characters. The writing was strong and the acting was pitch perfect by all involved. All three of the main characters are on the short list of the most enjoyable characters I’ve seen in my young movie-viewing life.

It was a tall order for the primary actors, each was filling a prototypical role that could have easily bogged them down in convention, or else their performance could have gone so far off the deep end that there is no longer a connection to the archetype. Yet, each character incarnated their role with the right amount of continuity to the past, tempered by a heaping portion of their own swagger and attitude to keep things fresh. The performances were so impeccable, it makes me wonder if the aforementioned swagger and attitude was perhaps Ji-woon Kim’s, bleeding through from the other side of the camera.

So seriously, go watch this movie now!

Pretty soon, I’m going to have to write a post all about the actor who played ‘The Weird,’ Kang-ho Song, whose dominance in the world of remarkable Korean cinema is nothing short of amazing. I believe he is this generation’s Toshirô Mifune, and sadly, like Mifune, most folks outside of their native country (Japan for Mifune and Korea for Song) will live and die without learning their name. Bullshit!


take off every 'zig.'

I’m sorry, friends. I am well aware that our posting frequency has been pretty lame lately. We’ve let you down, profoundly so. However, we are going to fix that in the upcoming days. I personally vow to be better about sharing awesome shit with all you folks out there in the internets.

And just to show you how serious I am, I have a message for the world wide web.

All your base are belong to us!