Last night around 9:30 I was just minding my own business, watching some harmless comedy shows on demand when a commercial came on that piqued my interest via a typically dumb interaction between a dude talking to a babe in a bikini. I was waiting for some type of cliché to end the interaction between the two — something like a beer-commercial crotch shot or the woman doing something weird like licking an ice cube — when the story took a most-surprising turn: the dude in the scene was gay.
The woman sits down on a beach chair next to the guy, who
is squinting into his iPad-looking device like a dork. She starts
reading her Kindle like the sun is no big deal and he says: "That's a
Woman: "Yeah, it's the new Kindle Paperwhite."
Man: "I love to read at the beach, but..."
Woman: "This is perfect at the beach. And, with the built in light, I can read anywhere anytime."
Woman: "With your book?"
Man: Nope. "I just bought a Kindle Paperwhite." *Leans toward her.* "We should celebrate."
Woman: "My husband's bringing me a drink right now."
Man: "So is mine."
Husbands waive from the bar.
I watched it again this morning (the email I sent myself on the subject after having several beers and talking about sports all evening only says: “Gay kindle commercial. What does that commercial mean?”), and it’s actually pretty genius. Gay-rights groups have pointed out that this type of media is following steps taken by shows like Ellen and Modern Family, which depict gay couples as pretty much ordinary anymore.
Check it out here:
Naturally, some people on the Internet think it’s way icky.
And organizations like One Million Moms (a weird, conservative Christian group that should be named something more like “One Million Mean Moms.” Ha.) took exception to it. OMMMs wrote this: “We have Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite commercial that promotes gay marriage. Instead of Amazon remaining neutral in the culture war while showcasing how their product has no glare even at the beach, they chose to promote sin.”
People flagged the ad as inappropriate enough times on YouTube that it was briefly taken down for review, but it was posted back on the site later.
I love video games. Always have, always will. I grew up watching Mario stomp koopas, Link slay moblins and Kirby inhale enemies to copy their powers. Games will always have a special place in my heart.
As much as I like the classics and the stuff being released by the big name companies, however, recently my attention's been diverted to a select few independent companies and developers. People say these past few recent years have been some of the best times for indie developers to get into the gaming market, and, frankly, I agree with them. As of late the indie game market's really been booming, and it's no wonder why. There are some really great indie games out there to find if one knows where to look. And unlike pricey console games, many of these independently developed games can be downloaded onto your computer for as low as $20, $10 or even $5.
Given, these games might not have the newest, most-cutting edge graphics, and might be relatively simple when compared to some of the things we see Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft releasing. However, that doesn't change the fact that they are good games nonetheless. And many gamers seem to agree with me.
One shining example of an indie game that's risen from obscurity is Dokutsu Monogatari, better known by is Americanized name, Cave Story. The game was originally made as a freeware 2D platform-adventure game by independent developer Daisuke Amaya (art-name "Pixel") in 2004. He developed the game in his spare time, intending it to be a tribute to classic popular titles he had played in his youth, such as Castlevania and Metroid.
After it's initial release on the Internet, Cave Story slowly gained popularity as a indie game, and was praised by many gamers for its compelling story and gameplay. Fans of the game eventually developed an English translation, spreading the game even further.
Later on, Nicalis, an independent video game company, worked with Amaya to bring an updated version of Cave Story with new modes of gameplay and improved graphics to Nintendo's WiiWare service in 2010.
Since then the popularity of Cave Story has skyrocketed, leading Nicalis to work with Nintendo to bring yet another updated version of the game to the Nintendo 3DS under the title of Cave Story 3D.
And Cave Story is just one of the many success stories told about independently developed games these days. Several other popular titles have risen from the depths of obscurity to become commonly known titles to gamers everywhere: Minecraft, Super Meat Boy and Angry Birds just to name a few.
Unfortunately, there are also risks involved for gamers who chose to invest their money in independent games. A method many indie developers seem to be taking recently is releasing a “beta-version” of their game over platforms such as Steam for a low price, with the promise of free updates as the game is further developed. A prime example of one such game is Re-Logic's Terraria, a 2D “sandbox” game featuring exploration, crafting, resource gathering, and combat with a variety of different creatures.
Upon its initial release in January 2011, Terraria's sales boomed. Over 1 million copies of the game were sold, gamers being drawn in both by the unique style of gameplay and the prospect of future updates to the game. Head developer of the game, Andrew Spinks, made regular posts about planned features to the game in his blog, keeping the community informed about what they could expect in future updates.
Upon Terraria's version 1.1.2 update, which included new enemies, biomes, resources and a slew of new items to be discovered and crafted, popularity of the game boomed even more, resulting in the game being named as the No. 1 of 2011's Indie of the Year Player's choice.
Unfortunately for fans, Spinks suddenly decided to halt production of Terrarria, announcing in his blog on Feb. 21 that there would be no further updates to the games despite the fact that the several planned features that had been announced in his blog. Many members of Terraria's online community protested, feeling that the game had been cut down in its prime, and had yet to reach its full potential.
Sadly, however, this seems to be a route that many independent game companies take. Several indie games seem to be halted before they are considered to be “finished.” Lacking the resources that larger game companies have, independent developers either run out of money for production, or simply become burned out, no longer having the time or interest to continue working on their projects. It's disappointing for the fans who pay to play these games in the early stages of development, however, it's also a risk people take when they decide to play independent games.
Is it enough to scare people away from the indie game market? Certainly not, as there are still many gems out there to be found if one is willing to spend the time and money. Indie gaming is on the rise. And things can only get better as time goes on.
Google unveiled its latest Easter egg of a search tool last week, inducing “bacon number” madness. Now when you’re playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, instead of cross-referencing IMDB, Googlers can simply type in the actor’s name and “bacon number” for an automatic calculation.
After hours of furious research, it was found nearly every human remotely involved in show business over the years (including ‘90s Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell and silent actor Charlie Chaplin) are within just 2 degrees of Mr. Bacon. The only stars I could find with a higher number are Paula Abdul and Humphrey Bogart (who both have a whopping BN of 3). Here’s to Google: the company responsible for incredible technological advances that continues to make us waste time on the Internet and screw off at work.
Netflix Picks of the Week: Looking for something new on Netflix now that you’re all caught up on Breaking Bad and Celebrity Rehab? Check out Bobcat Goldthwait’s over-the-top pop culture massacre God Bless America and Winnebago Man, the humorously touching documentary about the angry star of an early viral Internet video.
Saturday Night Live returned for its
38th season Saturday. Jay Pharoah debuted as Barack Obama, with
Fred Armisen handing over the presidential torch. We also saw Taran Killam will
serve as Paul Ryan and Jason Sudekis will continue to play Mitt Romney
(squashing the rumors that he’d leave SNL
along with Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg). The trio is expected to appear
on SNL Primetime Edition, the special
election season show to air this Thursday and Sept. 27 on NBC. Seth McFarlane hosted
Saturday’s premiere, and to sum up his performance in one word: VOICES. HuffPo
breaks down the episode.
And as one television show kicks off, another comes to a close. Sunday brought the one-hour series finale of Showtime’s pot dramedy, Weeds. Without spoiling too much, the finale gave us a peek seven years into the future. The good news about 2019: the Botwin crew (plus Doug and Andy) is alive and mostly well. If the show's predictions pan out, fan-made renderings of an even-thinner, transparent future iPhone were totally spot-on; the next diet craze will feature Regina George’s all-carb regime; and, most importantly, marijuana will not only become legalized, but sold like cigarettes in stores and in edible forms at coffee shops. The bad news: Shane grows a bad ‘80s cop mustache.
Everyone has an opinion on TLC’s hillbilly hullabaloo, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, especially regarding the series’ matriarch, mama June and her scary Jabba neck. But have you seen The Real Housewives of Miami? I give you Mama Elsa: the stuff of surgical nightmares.
In music news, Ben Folds Five is back and showing some love to Jim Henson in this new video.
Steven Spielberg's Lincoln is due in theaters this November, and the trailer has just been released. Apparently 90 percent of Hollywood is in the film, including what I’m guessing is an Tupac-inspired Abraham Lincoln hologram (seriously, though, Daniel Day Lewis is scary good). I was totally captivated, swept away to the 19th century, up until Adam from Girls arrived on the scene. From 1:37 on, it was all union suits and depraved sex acts to me.
Alison Pill apparently
didn’t learn one lesson explored in the show on which she stars, because
homegirl accidentally tweeted a topless pic last week. The photo tweeted was meant for
boyfriend, actor Jay Baruchel, which reveals that Alison Pill has no idea what Twitter
is or how it works. It was removed immediately and, in the best reaction possible, Pill
owned up to the flub and apologized for being just as technologically inept as The Newsroom's MacKenzie.
Park+Vine's Vegan Slowcooker Throwdown, scheduled for tonight, has been postponed. Check their calendar or follow P+V on Facebook for updates. You can still celebrate meatless Monday by grabbing lunch or items to make dinner at the green general store.
If you're still experiencing some residual St. Patrick's Day drinking enthusiasm, Northside's Mayday presents Monday Mayhem each week – stop by between 4 p.m.-midnight and grab a dog and a draft for under eight bucks. Mayday's gourmet hot dogs are served on homemade pretzel buns with delicious, unique toppings. And their beer selection is killer. Or stop by Milton's on Prospect Hill for Vinyl Club. Bring your records to share or have a DJ spin 'em for you while you enjoy a drink. The night starts at 10 p.m.
Later tonight, Cincinnati native Geoff Tate will appear on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. The comedian offers a storytelling style and has been compared to the late, great Mitch Hedberg. Tune into CBS at 12:35 a.m.
The Reds take on the Cubs at 7 p.m. tonight in
the first of three games against the Chicago crew. Bronson Arroyo looks to
continue his strong performance against the last-placed Cubs. Find
last-minute tickets here.
Antonelli College hosts a free seminar tonight featuring tips on getting the most out of social media. Learn secrets from the pros as a panel discusses simple ideas and insider tricks on benefiting from Facebook, Twitter and other social media services. The discussion runs 6-7:30 p.m. at the West Chester campus.
The Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra teams up with the College of Mount St. Joseph tonight for a special concert, Simple Gifts. Students will perform a variety of work, including "Porgi Amor," "O Mio Babbino Caro," "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Variations on a Shaker Melody." The free concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Mount St. Joe.
The infamous Second City comedy troupe returns to Cincinnati this week with more locally-inspired sketches. Catch a preview show of Less Pride...More Pork tonight at Playhouse in the Park and be sure to bring your sense of humor — remember, they're laughing with us. Also at the playhouse tonight, one of our Critic's Picks, Thunder Knocking on the Door.
And since it is May Day, stop by the Northside bar of the same name for trivia night. Round one begins at 9 p.m.; the second starts at 11 p.m.
Who is the most hilarious Tri-State resident? Each year, Go Bananas tries to answer that question with the club’s Funniest Person in Cincinnati Contest. Tonight the competition kicks off with semi-pros Dwight Simmons, Ranaan Hershberg, Jebb Lyons and Lindsay Boling and several amateurs. Five bucks gets you in the door to check out some of Cincy’s up-and-coming comics. The competition will continue weekly through August, when the favorite comedian will be crowned
Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson makes a stop at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Rookwood Pavilion tonight — kind of. The Internet superstar will discuss her “mostly true memoir,” Let’s Pretend This Never Happened via Skype at the book store. The Bloggess’ literary debut features mortifyingly hilarious anecdotes that helped shape an awkward girl into a wildly popular writer. The book talk begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
In the motion picture sector, 12
Years a Slave and American Hustle
lead the pack with seven nominations each. The America’s Sweethearts Showdown
will finally play out as Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) is pitted against Julie Roberts (August: Osage
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (along with Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine, Lupita Nyong'o – 12 Years a Slave and June Squibb – Nebraska). Yes, I'm really trying to make the J. Law/JuRo(?) rivalry happen.
Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey were rewarded for the physical deterioration they underwent to star in Dallas Buyers Club — they’re up for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture and Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama, respectively.
On to television selections, Netflix series House of Cards raked in four nominations, the most of any series. The HBO film Behind the Candelabra also garnered four nods, but in three categories — stars Matt Damon and Michael Douglas are up against one another for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie. Rob Lowe’s amazing work as Liberace’s plastic surgeon/pill pusher in Candelabra gets lauded with a nomination for the broad Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie category, but that statue will likely go to Aaron Paul for his performance in the final season of Breaking Bad.
New-to-2013 shows Masters of Sex, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Ray Donovan each received two nominations. I was totally in love with the inaugural season of Masters this year, so I’m happy to see it up against some solid series for Best TV Series, Drama, even if it probably won’t win. I can’t bring myself to watch Brooklyn (despite my love for Andy Samberg!) because it looks decidedly unfunny, but I keep hearing I need to check it out, so judgment reserved. Ray was a decent new drama. Jon Voight killed it as the fresh-out-of-prison father to the titular character, a Hollywood “fixer” played by Liev Schreiber (also nominated). Voight’s Mickey brought the laughs in an otherwise dark story, from his penchant for big-booty video girls to the advice he gives to his nauseated grandson: “Maybe you need to faht!”
Noticeably absent are Homeland, Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men, and I am OUTRAGED! OK, I’m starting to sound like everyone who’s ever listened to a local band after the CEA nominations are announced. #sitthehelldown
But seriously, Damien Lewis’ performance as Homeland’s Brody, while limited on screen this season, was incredible. He truly has played so many sides and shades of the character. That detox scene? Haunting. He nailed the deterioration of Brody completely.
I also thought this was one of the best seasons of Boardwalk. Completely biased opinion: John Huston’s Richard Harrow
has been my favorite
character of the series (besides Lucy, played by the incomparable queen of mot messes Paz de
la Huerta, OBVS).
With so many other amazing characters, it’s totally understandable that he
wouldn’t leave with an award, but…Richard! "Hold me."
As for Mad Men, neither the show nor its actors have won a Globe since 2009, when it was awarded for Best TV Series, Drama. The show is not suffering — in fact, watching Don (Jon Hamm) finally crack and start to act like a real human was incredible this season. Oh, well. There’s always next year’s Emmys, I guess?
Read all the nominations here.
It’s almost Christmas, so what better time for another Apple ad to make you unexpectedly shrivel up and bawl?
Beyoncé blew the top off the Internet late last week, surprise-releasing 14 new songs plus 17 music videos in a full, mega, meta “visual experience” of an album, leaving most of us with nothing left on our holiday wish lists. Titled simply Beyoncé, the package features collaborations with Jay Z, Frank Ocean, Drake and Blue MFing Ivy, sexy-ass songs with some straight up raunch, audio/video from Star Search and home movies and several shots of Bey’s thonged butt. It’s perfection. And because no one can ever get enough Yoncé (That’s right, it’s Yoncé, Mrs. Carter if you’re nasty), she’s also releasing a mini-documentary about the album in various parts, day by day. Buy the package, watch the videos and get swept up in the Carter life here.
John Mayer and Katy Perry are totes an item and, in case you needed any reminders of what a supreme douche J. May is, well, here’s their first couples interview (gag) — skip to 2:50 for John’s really touching words about Katy’s craft/to hear him drop an F bomb (edited out, thanks ABC!) while doing so.
Buzzfeed dubbed Newport Aquarium’s Scuba Santa one of eight “Most Badass Santas in the World,” not to be confused with “One of Most Extreme Santas in World,” as reported by basically every other local media outlet (buncha babies).
If there’s just one viral family Christmas video-card (ugh) making its rounds that particularly makes me want to gouge my eyes out, it’s the Holderness family’s. Set to the tune of the very current “Welcome to Miami,” this family of four teaches us what the holidays are truly about: bragging about the year’s accomplishments. Namely, running triathlons, appearing in blockbuster films and learning Chinese — in their "Christmas jammies." Fucking white people.
Shia LaBeouf was a child actor, so I guess he never went to school to learn that copying off your neighbor's work is pretty much universally looked down upon. That's the only explanation I can come up with to justify his plagiarizing of Daniel Clowes' comic Justin M. Damiano for his new short film, HowardCantour.com. Read all about the fiasco here, and see the similarities for yourself. LaBeouf said sorry via Twitter, which should be enough, but he apparently lifted his apology off Yahoo Answers. So help us all.
No, it wasn’t a somber night of the Obamas watching the GOP race progress. Blues Night brought B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger to Washington for a night of great performances! The trio, along with many other performers, played classics like “Let the Good Times Roll,” “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and “Let Me Love You Baby.” No word on whether “Moves Like Jagger” was on the bill (sorry for making that get stuck in your head). The highlight of the night? Obama singing a few lines of “Sweet Home Chicago.” The concert aired on PBS Feb. 27.
My Strange Addiction
It’s baaaack! This hot mess of a show seems like it would be an SNL spoof on ridiculous reality shows, but it really exists. And who really knows if these people are truly “addicted” to their behavior, or just do it for attention — either way, it’s some twisted entertainment. This season of the TLC "hit" features a man who is in love with (as in sexually attracted to) his 1998 Chevy Monte Carlo; a woman who can’t stop snorting baby powder; a woman with 38KKK-sized breasts addicted to (you guessed it) breast augmentations and plenty more sorry souls.
Alcohol on the Internet
You’ve probably heard of What The Fuck Should I Make For Dinner, a comically crass blog that randomly generates unique recipes (and if you “don’t fucking eat meat,” there are plenty of veg options, too). Thankfully, now you can find out where to get a cocktail after dinner, with Where The Fuck Should I Go For Drinks. Just enter your location, and the site gives plenty of good options to wet your whistle.
I also discovered an amazing blog this week (That’s So Michelle) and instead of gushing, I’ll just explain one thing: It has a category devoted to Jell-o shots. And I’m not talking nasty lime gelatin-and-Popov crap, this shit is gourmet! Michelle uses excellent ingredients and ingenious flavor combinations to create shots of pink lemonade, caramel apple and strawberry margarita, all served in hollowed-out fruits. Bask:
Frankly, I’m disappointed in myself for just now discovering “Chloe.” This web show stars Drew Droege as Queen Original Hipster, Chloe Sevigny. Each episode is set up the same: Chloe introduces herself and discusses her appreciation of something mildly timely (Valentine’s Day, Summer, Resolutions). She then goes on to discuss how she celebrates the topic, name-dropping all along the way. From the unusual accent to the discussion of obscure activities to the amazing wardrobe, it’s hi-lar-i-ous. Again, I realize this has been around the ‘nets for a while, but I have to share with anyone deprived of Chloe as I was. Enjoy!
Baby Kanye Meme
I’ve grown tired of this “everything’s a meme!!” trend happening, but sometimes
there are decent ones amidst the sea of “What my friends think I do…” And since
everything Kanye is generally entertaining, I present Baby Kanye: The Meme.
Design*Sponge’s "Living In" Page
can do no wrong, so I love everything about it. But I’ve always particularly
liked when blogs and magazines show me how to incorporate style from a movie
into my real life. D*S’ “Living In” page covers all the best scenes you want to copy, from Cleopatra to Clueless. Most recently, the site featured Twin Peaks, Almost Famous and Chocolat.
in grade school when there would be “Star of the Week,” and that kid would
bring in brownies and talk about his pet turtle and make a posterboard about his cool life? Beginners' Christopher Plummer is my Star of the Week. He’s proof that it's
never too late to do something awesome. So if you’re 28 and crying because you
hate your office job and you don't know what to do with your life, suck it up! CP waited 82 damn years to get an Oscar! Check out his charming speech here.