Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bottomshelf Beer Reviews: Miller Genuine Draft

About ten or fifteen years ago it seemed to me like Miller Genuine Draft was everywhere.  It might have just been that people stopped buying it for my family parties, but lately I haven’t seen MGD around nearly as much.  I don’t know it’s just that Miller is spending all of their advertising dollars trying to convince everyone that Miller Lite is masculine and something that straight guys should, nay must, drink, but I can’t remember the last time I saw an for MGD during a football game.  They certainly still sell the stuff, so I guess I’m going to have to drink it.
Hello sexy lady from the 90's, nice shorts.

The first thing I noticed was that MGD has a ton of flavor.  It tastes kind of like a more full bodied Miller High Life, which makes sense because MGD was originally called “Miller High Life Genuine Draft” when it was released in 1985 (Bears!)  It tastes pretty good at first, great even.  Honestly after the first sip I thought I was going to have to reevaluate my stance on MGD then the aftertaste hit: textbook poo aftertaste. There are plenty of bottomshelf beers with aftertastes that are far worse, but MGD’s really has that unique “poo-ness,”

When I complain about a poo aftertaste the most common question I get asked is, “how do you know what poo tastes like?”  Well, funny story.  When we moved into the house I lived in for the majority of my formative years we inherited an old clubhouse in the backyard.  It would have been cool but it was completely unusable.  Even new, the clubhouse would have been full of exposed nails, and not even the great Lionel Richie himself could have danced on that ceiling without a tetanus shot.  As it was when we acquired it, the clubhouse had turned rotten and it was full of goddamned hornets.
Unfortunately, in real life hornets have no casting cost

What are you smiling at?
Hornets are second only to possums as the most vile of God’s creations.  They don’t make honey.  They don’t pollinate flowers.  And they don’t turn into butterflies (not that bees do, but still.)  They just fucking sting you till you die.  As you’ve no doubt surmised, I can’t stand hornets (and WASPS for that matter, but that’s just because I distrust Protestants.)  At five years old I was no different, so my friends and I got to thinking of a way to rid ourselves of the hornet menace once and for all.  One of us struck on the notion that if we didn’t like the smell of dogshit, hornets probably didn’t like it either.  Next thing you know we’re picking up dog poo on a stick and throwing it through the clubhouse window.  Genius. 

Genuine class
The plan started out well enough, well as well as any plan can go that involves running around throwing dogshit on a stick.  Unfortunately I zigged when I should have zagged, and got a mouthful of dogpoop for my troubles.  It’s about as gross as it sounds and tasted just as good as you think it would.  I hightailed it into the house and washed my own mouth out with soap, because toothpaste just wasn’t going to cut it.  The only good thing about the whole ordeal was that I was really young and it happened outside of school, otherwise I’d be “that guy that got a mouthful of dogshit” till the day I died.  In conclusion I guess you could say I’m somewhat of an expert on whether or not something tastes like dogshit, and MGD’s aftertaste certainly does.    

Ginuine cupcakes
On the other hand it has a great looking website.  It may not seem like much of a compliment in light of my dog poo comments, but it was very refreshing to see an aesthetically pleasing bottomshelf beer website.  Most beer websites are all crudded up with annoying flash animation and stupid sound effects, like they were designed for someone that huffs roach spray out of a paper bag.  MGD’s website on the other hand, was great and it helpfully links to MGD Canada’s facebook page, which raised a lot more questions than it answered.  Is it run by Canadians or real Americans?  I bring this up because they talk surprisingly little about maple syrup, moose shit, or Canadian National Treasure Alanis Morissette.
Sarah Chalke, one of my favorite Canadians

Miller Genuine Draft may have kind of a fecal aftertaste, and it may not confer all of the totally-hetero-super-powers that Miller Lite does.  It’s still a hell of a lot better than Miller Lite, and you can do a lot worse as far as bottomshelf beers go, and that’s the Genuine truth! (I’ve been waiting the entire post to say that.  Now that I’ve done it I feel kind of empty.  This is an existential crisis.  Let’s end this.)
...and we'll bring it home with a little more Sarah Chalke

Monday, March 12, 2012

Favorite Video Games: Wolfenstein 3D (PC) 1992

 I salute you for dressing in that outfit

Three things I love about World War II

3. The The M4A3R3 “Zippo” Tank
The only thing cooler than a tank is a tank with a fucking flamethrower

2. Ball turret gunners
You have to have brass balls to lock yourself in a plastic ball without a parachute

1. We won.

My absolute favorite thing in the entirety of human history is winning World War II. For me, nothing cures a bad mood like watching the Nazis lose on the History Channel (please stop showing “Pickers” fleecing old men out of historical relics.) World War II and the victory thereof, was the ultimate triumph of good over evil, and the marked ascendency of the United States as a global Super Power. As to how that relates to video games…

Wolfenstein 3D (PC) 1992
I can't look at this picture without hearing the theme song.

Wolfenstein or Wolf 3D was released on May 5, 1992, but I got it for Christmas in either the 4th grade (late ’92) or the 5th grade (late ’93.) As I’ve mentioned before, I kind of sucked at platform jumpers, but it turned out I was pretty good at Wolfenstein. Resultantly, Wolfenstein was the first video game I really got into, and I would play it for hours on end.

Nazi scum!
It’s true that puzzles in first person shooters have gotten more complex than Wolfenstein’s standard “finding the key that opens the door in front of the elevator,” but all the basic mechanics of Modern Warfare and Half-Life 2 are pretty much present and accounted for. The game even had realistic gunshot sound effects and voice acting; something I didn’t have a chance to appreciate until I got a sound card a few years later. For 2 years I had to contend with a PC speaker, which had two settings: “off” and “SKULL SPLITTING!” and sound quality ranging from shrill beeps to dial-up-internet-esque computer gargles. Wolf3D was cinematic too; to this day it’s the only game I can think of that has missions that end on a true freeze frame, like a movie from the 80’s or an episode of Degrassi.
"Don't you forget about me..."

It was like nothing I’d played before. Most games, especially the ones that I was exposed to previously tended to involve killing things that were decidedly not human. To put it in perspective: in Bubble Bobble you imprisoned monsters in bubbles and when you popped them they turned into candy. Imagine the childish glee I felt as I brutally filled Nazis full of lead. The game’s about 20 years old, so I don’t think I’m giving too much away when I tell you that when you kill Hitler he melts into a pile of gore and then the game is kind enough to give you a fucking instant replay. Maybe Hitler didn’t really get machine gunned to death by a ten year old, but it would’ve been a cooler ending to the war than just committing suicide (like a bitch.)
"Let's see that again!"

I fell in love with the game instantly, but as much as I liked shooting Nazis the important thing was that they were Nazis. Prior to Wolfenstein I’d never heard of the Nazis before, so I asked my dad who they were. He explained that they tried to take over the world, like a bunch of comic book villains. I mean seriously, who tries to take over the world? Let’s see, there’s Doctor Doom, Darkseid, M. Bison, the Daleks, Cobra Commander, S.P.E.C.T.R.E, Brain (of Pinky and the Brain), and Adolf Hitler. When I inquired as to what stopped the Nazis he explained that men of his father’s generation fought and defeated them. I was shocked. My own grandfather served as an airplane mechanic during the war, and although he died before I was born, I couldn’t believe that someone I was related to helped defeat an group of people so evil they didn’t even seem real . My curiosity was piqued to say the least. I read every book I could on the subject, and eventually I graduated with a BA in history from Illinois State.
My Grandfather, Uncle Jerry, and my Grandmother

Wolfenstein 3D is the only game that I can honestly say changed my life for the better. (The time I’ve spent playing video games instead of doing homework is staggering.) It kicked off my interest in WWII and history, but it’s also a sweet game. There’s a reason it’s been ported to every system worth its salt, including the iPad, X-box 360, and PS3. As DLC on modern platforms it’s pretty cheap and convenient to check it out, but it can be expensive and inconvenient if you want to play the Atari Jaguar port for some reason.
A Jaguar cost like 300,000 tickets at Hollywood Park and I wanted one so bad.  Crappy system though.
...also, remember when Christina Aguilera was really hot?  Now I wouldn't touch her with yours.

Thursday, March 1, 2012