Monday, August 10, 2015

Third Doctor Part I

Three's cape is one of the less crazy things about this era of the show

The 3rd Doctor began his run confined to Earth. He took a job working with U.N.I.T. (a military organization) as its scientific advisor.  The Third Doctor was far more action oriented than any before or since, brandishing Venusian Karate at would be assailants.  He also dressed like Austin Powers and drove an antique hotrod instead of a time machine.  Crazy right?

Spearhead From Space *available on Netflix*

Spearhead from space introduces the Autons, which you may have seen in the new series. It also establishes the show’s new Earthbound format, and properly introduces the new expanded cast.  As much as the third Doctor era seems so antithetical to Doctor Who as we tend to think of it, it’s important to remember how well this format can work.  For one thing this version of the show was massively popular.  For another thing, large sections of the new series took place on contemporary Earth, with an expanded cast (e.g. Rose’s Mom.)  Spearhead also established that The Doctor has two hearts. 
Every time I her the song "Two of Hearts" I ask my wife if it's Stacey Q or Tiffany.  I always figure out that it's Stacey Q without checking the internet.  My wife, for her part, continues to be unimpressed
Doctor Who and the Silurians

This was later remade as Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, but I think it works better in the classic series. The titular Silurians serve as a dark mirror for mankind, and the humans are pretty much a lot worse. The production values aren’t as good, but The Silurians paints a much bleaker picture than its modern counterpart.  The ending was actually so dark it painted the series into the corner.  The writers worked around this problem by skillfully ignoring it.
Remember when it turned out Jon and Odie were dead?


I like this one okay, but it’s generally considered one of the 3rd Doctor classics by fans of the era.  The Doctor spends a good chunk of this one in a fascist parallel universe.  It’s pretty cool to see an evil version of The Doctor’s friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, not to mention seeing the Doc’s companion Liz Shaw in some sexy fascist fetish wear, but it’s all kind of inconsequential to the main story.  Still, it’s a lot more entertaining than the usual captured/uncaptured episode padding.  This is one of the many time the Classic Series would use an oil refinery as a default science-y location, which seems kind of cheap and campy; of course True Blood would do use a similar location for their vampire concentration camp about 40 years later so… 
Terror of the Autons

The 3rd Doctor’s second season begins with the return of the Autons.  Also back: the plot of the first Autons story, only this time proto-feminist companion Liz Shaw has been replaced with ditzy Jo Grant with scant narrative justification.  Also introduced is The Master, who makes a few appearances in the new series, but more significantly appears in almost all 3rd Doctor serials from here on out. Basically, he’s the Doctor’s equal but he’s evil.  His only weakness: ludicrously over-complicated plans.  Both The Master and Jo Grant are kind of one dimensional as written, but the actors playing them really kick things up to the next level.
This particular serial also has a deadly chair sequence that would make Ed Wood proud
The Claws of Axos

This one is about as 3rd Doctor as the 3rd Doctor ever got, which is to say it’s insane.  It’s not the best serial of the period, but it serves well as a caricature of the era.  If you want to watch a great 3rd Doctor Serial watch Carnival of Monsters.  If you just want to see a 3rd Doctor serial in all its insane glory watch Claws of Axos


The Daemons

Doctor Who meets the Wicker Man.  If a glamrock/karate version of the Doctor exploring the occult isn’t something you’re into, you should probably stop reading now because we have VERY different tastes.   

What is this that stands before me?
Sorry about the infrequent updates, work has been hella busy.  Back in a week or so with Part II

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Advice for Teens: Furious 5

For several years now I've been writing an open letter to the graduating class of High School Seniors.  This year is no different.  The advice is universal and carries over from year to year.  For previous installments look here, here, here and here.

Some Guys Have a Crooked Penis

This is perfectly natural… amongst circus freaks.  It is unknown whether their penises are crooked because they are cursed by God for being in league with the devil or if owners of said penises are in league with the devil because they were cursed by God with a crooked dong. Avoid at all costs.
"One of us! One of us!"
Take Nude Selfies

Most adults will tell you not to do this.  They’re just jealous.  There’s, a very good chance you’ve peaked physically, so you might as well document that for posterity.  The Freshmen 15 is very real.  Which leads directly to my next point… 
If you're scared, just keep your face out of the picture and it won't follow you around for the rest of your life.
Start Working Out

Maybe you have a high metabolism, or you’re really active.  Maybe you just haven’t started drinking beer yet, but that shit’s over.  Welcome to the age where you’re going to have to start taking care of yourself if you don’t want to look like a sad sack of shit.  Beyond basic vanity, you’ll also be in better health.
A little summthin' for the ladies

Don’t Shove Gummie Bears Up Your Ass

It seems obvious, but I just saw a clickbaity ad that seemed to imply you teens were doing the contrary.  I didn’t click the ad, so maybe there’s some other gross thing I “won’t believe what teenagers are doing with gummie bears.”  Whatever it is you should probably stop doing it for both our sakes.
This however is highly acceptable
Stop Taking Shitty Cellphone Videos of Bands

Act like you’ve been to a concert before.  It makes you look like a fucking dork.  It blocks the view of the people standing behind you, which is fucking rude.  Also consider this: why not watch the concert that is literally happening right in front of you instead of your damn cellphone screen you look at all day everyday.  Furthermore, no one’s ever clicked on a shitty cellphone video on youtube and thought, “Good.”  No, everyone’s immediate reaction is, “Oh, this sucks.  It looks like shit.  I’m going to watch something else.”

Stop Wearing Bookbags to Concerts

While we’re on the subject, lose the backpack, nerd.  You’re at a rock show, not school.  If you must wear a backpack (sigh,) stay near the back so you don’t get in anyone’s way.  There s literally nothing worse than having some idiot  at a very crowded show bumping into you with their stupid bookbag, except AIDS (AIDS unlike a bookbag bump is deadly, making it marginally worse.) 
Just look at this fucking asshole

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bottomshelf Beer Reviews: Light Beer

Elegant in its simplicity

If your life’s anything like mine you get inundated with text messages and social media notifications when Costco puts out their very own rock-bottomed Light Beer.  Even if that rings a bell, your life is probably still pretty different from mine because your dick is way tinier.  Regardless of where you stand, people tend to think of me as both well penised, and the kind of guy that would be excited to hear his favorite warehouse store is now selling nearly 50 beers for less than $25.  And boy was I excited, my pussy dripped with anticipation.
I was like a goddamned slip-n-slide down there
Mixed metaphors aside Costco is pretty groovy place: high quality products at reasonable prices.  The money I save on dogfood alone more than covers the cost of membership.  And their booze is outstanding. I may be a celebrationist of cheap beer, but I can’t abide crappy booze.  Hamm’s and Dogfish Head both have their place, but shitty vodka’s place is in the toilet (it makes me throw up.)  Costco’s vodka costs about the same as the Vodka brand vodka in the plastic bottle at the Pic ’n’ Save, but it’s very very good.  Almost flavorless good (the hallmark of any high quality vodka is its ability to not taste like anything.)
Never worth it.
Free Snake
The Costco brand beer selection on the other hand had always been a little lackluster.  They used to have kind of subquality premium beers at a reasonable, but not outstanding price.  If I’m paying a little extra I like to get something exceptional, like a free snake or whatever.  As I alluded to in the introduction Kirkland Light is on the opposite end of the spectrum, and it couldn’t come sooner.  Time was you could get a 30-pack of PBR or Stroh’s for $10, or even get a case of Schlitz (the best beer) for $7.50, but the times they are a-changin’.  40-something cents a beer is a solid price regardless of quality.

The can art and box design give the Repo-Man-esque impression that Light Beer is Light Beer brand Light Beer, but the technically the full name is Kirkland Signatre Light Beer.  Those in the know are no doubt aware that Kirkland Signature is Costco’s in-house brand of pretty much everything.  As to who actually brews the beer, the can credits Regal Brau Brewing.  I did a little research and discovered the beer is brewed under license by different brewers in different parts of the country. Regal Brau is the Midwest moniker for Minhas Brewery (the folks behind the utterly disgusting Boxer Lager.)   On the West Coast Light Beer is brewed be Gordon Biersch under the nom de plume “Hopfen und Malz,” whereas the East Coast gets the Matt Brewing company’s AKA “New Yorker Brewery Co.’s” pseudonominous version of the beer.  I can’t attest to whether the quality of this beer varies from region to region, but I can unequivocally say that the version I had was skulls (skulls being the newest synonym for “cool” in the modern parlance.)

Skulls are dark & mysterious, badass & spooky.  That's why all the kids are saying "skulls."
Fortunately Kirkland Light is totally skulls.  Its light flavored as the name would imply, but not watery.  The flavor has a bit of applesque sweetness and some of the graininess you can typically expect with American macrobrews.  If I had to pick I’d say it’s more St. Louis than Milwaukee, at least as far as the two majors go.  It’s good.  For a light beer Light Beer packs a lot of flavor, pleasant flavor.  It only has 105 calories, so it won’t make you very fat; unless you drink a bunch of them, which is the beer’s one drawback.   At a paltry 4.2% ABV you might have to drink a bunch of Light Beers to have a good time. 
Fortunately a lot of beers is kind of the point

Two cases of beer for the price of a case and a half of Miller Lite is a good deal in this life or any other.  Light Beer may not have the catchiest name in the world, but what it lacks in even the most mediocre attempts at creative marketing it makes up for in taste and utterly Spartan cheapness.  I think most people that can stomach a light beer will enjoy the aptly titled Light Beer, and i can say with a healthy degree of certainty that if you even kind of enjoy ramen noodles you will definitely not be disappointed.  Light Beer is just one more reason to shop at Costco.
Ramen Noodles and boobies; FUCKING FINALLY!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Second Doctor Part II

Continuing my ruminations on Classic Doctor Who.  Part I of my stuff on the Decond Doctor is here.

The Dominators

The robots in this one are a sad attempt to catch lightning in a bottle and recreate Dalekmania.  Only problem was, the robots they came up with suck.  On top of that, this serial famously ridicules the anti-war movement.  I’m not particularly sympathetic to hippies, but there’s a mean spirited glee in the script for this one that makes me feel a little sick.  In short: it blows.
Are you fucking serious?

The Mind Robber *available on Netflix*

The Doctor & Co. travel outside of time and space, and wind up in the land of fiction.  As you can probably imagine, they want to leave.  It’s a little ambiguous if they actually do, a fact further complicated by the fact that The Doctor is in actuality a fictional character IRL.  This serial is a little meta and very surreal, but not up it’s own ass like you’re probably picturing.
In this scene The Doctor has to reconstruct Jamie's face from memory.  He kind of fucks it up and Jamie is played by a different actor for a few weeks.  Like I said there's some pretty heady stuff going on here.

The Invasion

The new series episode Dark Water borrows heavily from this serial about Cybermen invading Earth.  In this one a tycoon/evil guy named Tobias Vaughn precedes the Master’s role in the modern serial, making an unholy alliance with the Cybermen.  The coolest thing about Tobias Vaughn as a villain is that he doesn’t blink at all.  It’s kind of subtly unsettling like a grown man self describing as a “chocoholic” or Papa John (of pizza fame, with his jet-black hair and leathery orangeness.)  The Doctor’s companion, Zoe is also wearing a skintight outfit in this one. Aside from the obvious benefits, you can plainly see actors trying their damndest to say their lines without just staring at her.

The War Games

Basically, some aliens kidnap and hypnotize a bunch of soldiers from different eras in human history with the goal of finding the best warriors to make a super army.  If you think about it, there’s probably an easier way, but whatever. It’s a cool enough concept to overlook the fact that it only almost seems reasonable.  This is a good thing.  This one is ten episodes long, and any extra time spent on bullshit explanations of every stupid thing would just bog it down.  Despite the serial’s length The War Games manages to move pretty quickly.
These glasses are nowhere near the silliest thing from the Classic Series.

The War Games ends with the first appearance of the proper Time Lords of Gallifrey, which gives the first real glimpse into the Doctor’s past.  The Time Lord’s show up all pissed off that the Doctor has been traveling through the whole of space and time, fucking around, and saving people.  Seems they’re awfully stodgy for an omnipotent race.  The Doctor’s must pay for his crime of: doing stuff. They forced him to regenerate and sentence him to Earth until he could learn to behave himself.
Doctor Who returns soon with a cape and classic hot rod?  Pretty much.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bottomshelf Beer Reviews: Shoenling's Little Kings

Remember that song Two Princes by the Spin Doctors?  I ask you this, what are Princes, if not Little Kings?  Does Shoenling’s Little Kings beer have anything to do with the goddamned Spin Doctors?  Probably not, it was just the first ham fisted introduction that came to mind.  But what is this Shoenlings Little Kings I speak of?  More importantly is it any good, or does it suck (like a certain lame-as early 90’s alterna-pop band?) 
Nice hat bro
I first discovered Little Kings a couple years ago.  At the time, most information I found online erroneously reported that the beer had been discontinued and the beer’s official website redirected to their facebook page.  Not a good sign.  They now have a bonafide website, and optimistically promise that Little Kings is growing to a nationwide distribution level.  I don’t know how close they are to national distribution, but it warms my heart to see a Cincinnati beer from 1958 trying to expand, at a time when all time greats like Schlitz and Hamm’s are on life support.

As to why it took me so long to review it: I couldn’t keep it in my fridge.  Although national distribution may be coming soon, I discovered Little Kings at a liquor store about 30 miles from my house.  The first time I bought I grabbed it on a whim with the intention of reviewing it, but drank it all before I got the chance. Next time I was over there I bought like 42 7oz bottles, which it turns out isn’t enough to stay in my fridge for very long.  So I bought even more last time I was in Aurora, and I’m finally getting around to it now.
Sadly, Aurora IL does not have a Stan Mikita's Donuts.  It just kinda blows.
I love the tiny bottles.  I tend to drink until I fall asleep (healthy I know.)  Sometimes I think I want another beer, but start to get sleepy about half way through.  With a 7oz bottle half the beer is pretty much the whole thing.  Plus you can do that cool trick from the Warriors.  The bottles also make me feel gigantic in my admittedly tiny hands.  They would be a handy prop if your sexting girls pics of your dong, in the same way a quarter is a handy prop if selling a novelty Chia Pet on ebay, except of course the quarter would (secretly) be half size, giving the Chia Pet a cyclopean pussy-destroying appearance.

If it wasn’t clear in the last paragraph I really like this stuff.  It’s sweet, like Mickey’s sweet, with caramel notes, and it’s highly highly carbonated.  It’s kind of like beer flavored pop, with a healthy 5.5% ABV to get the job done.  The little 7oz bottles add to the “pop” aesthetic, and seem to improve the flavor psychologically. For whatever reason smaller portions seem to taste better. This is true with both the tiny corners on a Chicago cut thin crust pizza and with Shoenling’s Little Kings.  The smaller portions also ensure you never get bored with it.  I try so cop a similar philosophy with this blog: even if it’s not great at least it’s quick.  Whether you enjoy Little Kings, or this beer review they’re both over in about 5 minutes.

I can’t recommend Schoenling’s Little Kings enough.  It tastes good, especially in the groovy tiny bottles. If nothing else it’s a nice novelty “change of pace” beer for the seasoned drinker.  We live in a country that bought over five million copies of Pocket Full of Kryptonite, do your part and buy something better than that.      
Looks like Super Girl got kyrptonited.  Kind of conveniet that there were gym mats on hand.