Tag Archives: Pop Culture

Five Thoughts on a Friday – The “Wait, Beer’s actually back?” Edition

Aloha folks!

Yep, I’m finally back. Now to see if I can remember how to write one of these posts. And why is it I finally get back from a holiday, only to find myself staring down a holiday weekend? How does that happen, anyways? Anyhow, before I get started, a big thanks to PB for filling in ably for me while I was away (Although we need to work on getting him to add tags to posts). And now… Let’s see If I remember how to do this…

  1. Holy casting news, Batman! Yes, I realize it’s actually kind of old news by now, but really…  I guess the part that most people are sort of overlooking is Ben Affleck isn’t going to be playing Batman in a Batman movie. It’s for the next Superman movie. And it’s been back in the news a bit since it’s been announced that it will be filming in Detroit. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they’ll be using Detroit as a Gotham City backdrop. Not Metropolis.
  2. Speaking of movies, one of my favorites remains “The Princess Bride” which brought us many great lines, including “You keep using that word…
    I mention this because of a headline I saw today on Yahoo!. It was for an E! Online article and the headline read… “Kate Middleton to Make Surprise First Official Public Appearance Since Giving Birth to Prince George“. See, here’s the thing… if it’s being announced in the press? It isn’t a “Surprise”. Which made me think… I do not think it means what you think it means.
  3. On a completely different note…  We’ve talked about Florida a bit in the past, and I’ve made no secret that I just don’t get why it seems to be such an odd place. And yet, here I am again talking about “The Sunshine State” in a weekly post. This time after reading an article about how they’re fighting a giant snail infestation by using… dogs. Labrador retrievers to be exact. Now, I think Labs are fantastic dogs. But I just don’t get it. I mean, the article has this quote, “They’re very good at detecting the Giant African Land Snail”. Yeah, I would think damned near anyone with a working set of eyes would pretty good at spotting a giant snail that can get to be the size of a rat! And they need a dog to help them? Florida, I just don’t get it.
  4. You know, there’s an awful lot going on in the world right now. Much of it being of the “very serious” nature. Of course, you wouldn’t really know it from the general news or social media, because even off on the big island of Hawaii and insulated by a six-hour time change, I couldn’t escape the news about Miley Cyrus. But it appears she may have really crossed the line this time. She’s now being taken to task for her act, and being called out for it being degrading…. To the foam finger she used by the originator of the foam finger! Yeah, I got nothing to add. Didn’t see it, don’t care.  I was busy drinking on the beach. Or something.
  5. Lastly, simply put… I think this gentleman may be my hero. A British man is making money every time a telemarketer calls him. He changed his phone to the U.S. equivalent of a 900 toll line. So the longer the telemarketers are on the line, the more they have to pay him! As the guys in the Guinness ad say…. “Brilliant!

Okay folks, that’s five and apparently I still know how to do this (allegedly).  And with that, I’m off to enjoy a holiday weekend. So, even thought I’ve used it before… I think this one is fitting. After all, I just back from and no I’m planning on observing… a “Holiday

Have a great weekend folks!

Five Thoughts on a Friday – The “Earth Day” Edition

Howdy folks, and welcome to Earth Day Friday. Yep, that’s right. We took the easy way out for naming today’s post. What can I say, we’re being lazy. Still, lazy or not, we have a post to get to. Before we see what it ends up looking like, I need to get one thing out of the way for our buddy PB.

So, let’s see what we have today, shall we?

  1. As I mentioned in the title and the intro, today is Earth Day. Which makes me wonder. What exactly are you supposed to get someone for earth day? Is a bag of top soil appropriate? Or should it be potting soil? Play sand? Clay? Mulch? Why do these types of decisions need to be so stressful, anyways?
  2. As the NHL postseason wears on, my playoff picks are looking as horrible as they always do. And frankly, I can’t say I’m surprised. As strange as it is to say, my interest in a sport I grew up in and around is waning. And watching the three ring circus that this year’s NHL playoffs have become and reading the running commentary on the joke that league discipline has become.. My attention is just being drawn to other things.
  3. Dick Clark passed away this week. And I have to agree with my co-blogger who said it was a big loss. It was, with the passing on Dick Clark another small chunk of Americana has passed on. After all, who grew up in the US and hasn’t watched Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve? (Not to mention the other shows he was on throughout the years). Like this one.
  4. Following up on a Starbucks issue we touched on a few weeks back, it appears Starbucks is going “Bug Free” in their products. Instead switching to a tomato based extract for red coloring. I have to wonder though. Is there a reason their Strawberries and Cream Frappucino can’t use something like STRAWBERRIES for color?
  5. So apparently, when no one was looking the European debt situation got resolved. How do I know this? Because apparently the biggest news out of Europe today is two countries fighting over the same sausage. I’m not kidding folks. This is the Wurst type of fight!
    Slovenia and Austria at odds over sausage.
    Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Be sure to tip your waitstaff.

Okay, that’s five folks and I’m ready to cash in the chips! (What’s that? Oh right, that was two weeks ago when the King was filling in. Yes, yes. We did cash them in. Did pretty well, to. What’s that? We’re still typing? Uh-oh…) Uh yeah, sorry folks, got a little distracted there. So as I was saying, that’s five and I’m off to focus on a few other activities. Including deciding on dinner plans to help celebrate yours truly reaching a not so significant milestone (Unless you’re one of the many who thought I’d never make it nearly this long), working out a few last details for an upcoming boondoggle, planning out a brew session or two. Mmmm… beer.As for a clue to the boondoggle? Here you go.

Have a great weekend folks!


Thoughts on Star Wars: The Old Republic

I’ve been a big fan of Star Wars since the original movie came out back when I was young. If I recall correctly my first Star Wars video game was even the Empire Strikes Back game for the Atari 2600. A few years back I bought a video game called Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. I had a blast playing it. So much so that I hunted down a copy of its predecessor, Knights of the Old Republic and played through that. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed it. When word came out that there was going to be a new Star Wars MMO however, I was… unsure. Then it came out that Bioware, the company responsible for the original KOTOR game was going to be making it. Then came word that it was going to be “set” slightly after the KOTOR games, effectively making it an online, multiplayer KOTOR 3 of sorts. I began to develop some interest. I signed up for the beta. I got into some of the testing weekends. I bought Star Wars: The Old Republic.

So why all this babbling? Well, I figured I’d try my hand at a very non-traditional review and post some observations now that I’m far enough in to have unlocked a good chunk of the game. So, here we go.

First thought? Let’s get the 800 pound gorilla out of the room…This game is NOT World of Warcraft. I don’t mean that as either an inherently good or bad statement. I like World of Warcraft. Star Wars: The Old Republic is its own game. Each game has its good and not so good points. There are similarities, sure but the games definitely “feel” different to me.

Much like the earlier Knights of the Old Republic games, the progressions in SWTOR isn’t completely linear. By that, I mean there are huge story choices, which can impact how certain other characters in the game interact with you. So you could basically play the same class twice, make different choices, and get two somewhat different stories. (Not completely different mind you, you do still stick to the same basic script).

In the spirit of “buddy” movies throughout the ages, you’ll spend most of the game traveling with a companion. And for the record, the Smuggler class flies a freighter and has a Wookie available as a companion, so I think Han Solo would approve. I also really like that as get more companions, you can send the ones that aren’t with you off to gather materials or make things for you. They aren’t just back at the ship playing cards or hanging out at the local cantina.

Playing the game, I’m finding it very immersive. The story writing is very enjoyable, if maybe a tad predictable. But hey, it’s a game based on a movie world. Good guys have to fight bad guys, or it would make for a very boring game. It is STAR WARS, Not STAR PEACE after all. And speaking of the stars, I’m a big fan of the space battles. It’s not that they’re horribly difficult once you get the hang of the controls and the objective of the different battles. It’s the little things. The sounds, straight out of the movies. The visuals, the scale it imparts. And the little comments from your crew members that make it so entertaining. During one space battle one of my companions suggested we’d be better off if I let the droid fly the ship. Ouch.

But that’s the fun of it though. The voice acting is very well done. There are cutscenes galore that really help it feel like you’re playing though a movie. The comments from and occasional conversations with your companions really sell the story.

Yes, there are some of the traditional MMO drawbacks in the game, but such is life. There are just certain things you have to have, no matter what the game is.

Overall, I like it. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? Isn’t that why even as we “grow up”, we still play video games? Because we like it? That’s enough for me. I’ll probably post more about it when I think of stuff, but there you go. A Beerbarrel review of Star Wars: The Old Republic. I guess, to borrow from Siskel and Ebert, I’d give it two beers up.

Have fun out there folks!

Found on the internet…

Hmm, this has me thinking of a new feature. We could call it “Total Cheese”!

In case you missed it, we love cheese here at the Beerbarrel. Good Cheese, that is.

Make sure you turn up the sound, the music helps make the commercial.

Later folks, see you back here tomorrow!

Five Thoughts on a Friday – The “Talking Hockey” edition

Howdy folks, and welcome to another Five Thoughts. Due to Beer stayng up to watch the Wings/Sharks last night, I’m running a bit behind today and I’m pressed for time. So today’s post is going to include a quick wrap up of our second round picks, and then we’ll try to get to some silly stuff. See, I really do write this stuff on a Friday!

  1. It’s on the the conference finals for the NHL playoffs now. In the West you have Vancouver and San Jose and in the East it’s Boston and Tampa Bay. We’ll get to the writeup for the picks later tonight or tomorrow morning.
  2. I have to say it wasn’t the ending I wanted last night with San Jose winning, but as someone who’s been fairly critical of the NHL I have to give credit. That was one of the best , closest playoff series I’ve seen in a long, long time. Take away Detroit’s empty netter in game six and every single game was a one goal game. That one went 7 games and there wasn’t a snoozer in the bunch. Good show, boys. Okay… on to the silly!
  3. Silly, sad, or dumb? Not sure I can decide. It appears that not Maytag has decided that the Maytag Repairman is going to be taking a back seat in their commercials. Now, I know the original guy is no longer with us. And the new guy doesn’t seem to have caught on as much, but still… so much for pop culture. I guess nobody gets ANY appliances fixed anymore, huh?
  4. Speaking of pop culture…I’m willing to give Johnny Depp a fair bit of leeway I guess, and let him have the benefit of the doubt for now but I have to admit, When I read the headline “Depp wants to ‘reinvent’ Lone Ranger-Tonto relationship” well, let’s just say the first thought to cross my mind was the line from Star Wars….  “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”. You’re messing with pop culture history there.
  5. If you’re traveling in the near future, you may want to skip this next one. It’s a video of a lightning strike on a plane landing in London. Personally, I think it’s freaking cool. Especially since it didn’t harm the plane and nobody got hurt.

Ok, that’s a quick five folks. Not quite as hockey heavy as I thought it was gonna be, but still worked some in there. And now, I’ve gotta jet. Weekend is here.

You know who else knew how to jet? Hugh Hefner, that’s who. This one is worth it just for the background music.

Have a great weekend folks!

The “Good” Cheese

Wow! It’s Wednesday and the Beerbarrel has a new post up! How in the world did that happen??!?!?!?  Anyways… It deals with a question we’ve been pondering here at The Beerbarrel for a while… so enjoy!

There’s a book out called “Who Moved My Cheese“, this post has absolutely nothing to do with that book, or that cheese. We’re talking about the Good Cheese today folks, we’re talking television and pop culture stuff. Specifically the “cheesy” stuff that you remember in a fond way. The GOOD CHEESE . The stuff that doesn’t seem to get made anymore.

So what constitutes good cheese? Well, first off, it has to be cheesy (Ok, I’d say that’s a given). Obviously not real. Of course, this instantly rules out *any* reality television show. Sorry, those just come across as far too “scripted” or “staged” to be *real*. Want real? Watch the news. Go outside. Stay at work.

Good cheese can really be just about anything. Music, Television, Movies, you get the picture.

Want examples? Ok, let’s start with TV. Lots of good cheese there. Sadly though, most of it qualifies as aged cheese. For example, the 1980’s were a golden age for cheese in general. Lots of good cheese to be found there.

The Archtype of 80’s TV Good Cheese?

A movie from a bit further back?

How about some all time cheese?

Ok, I think we’ve established “Good Cheese”. So…what the heck happened?

The stuff today doesn’t even come close. Now, I realize and understand that nostalgia often plays a role. Let’s not forget that although it’s viewed almost comically today, Jaws was viewed as almost “Hitchcock” like in terms of horror films when it came out. Of course, these days it’s more about the one-liners like “We’re gonna need a bigger boat”.

But a lot of the TV shows? You knew they weren’t real.

Knight Rider? A sentient, talking Trans Am? C’mon. That’s cheese.

The A-Team! Right. 100,000 rounds fired from assault weapons and not a single person wounded. Same with the Storm Troopers in Star Wars.

What about CHiPs? Yeah, because there are always random 45  airborne car pileups in the middle of the day. Fun to watch, yes. Real? No. I was in a 6 car accident on an interstate last year. Not one of us went airborne. Very disappointing.

So, how did we get from all of that to the reality tv we have today? The writer’s strike? A change in what viewers wanted? Possibly. What with all the channels available now,  you had to find a way to grab attention. Maybe we’re finding out what’s at the bottom of the slippery slope. “Who can be the most outrageous” seems to win the ratings these days be it television, movies, or music/radio. Economics? Probably. Cheaper to produce and slap onto the air if you don’t need scripts and actual actors? (Ironic that they don’t have actual scripts, considering how scripted they seem!) Or was it something different altogether? Who knows, we sure don’t.

Let us know what you think, and what are some of your favorite bits of “Good Cheese”.

Later folks!