It was excellent catching up with The Jester from Harlequinn Wood Works at ECC 2015. I’ve long been a fan of the beautiful pipe mods he made for his previous company. With Harlequinn Wood Works, he’s still making gorgeous vaping pipes, but he’s also making box mods and using exotic materials. At ECC 2015 The Jester showed me his latest wares, including a DNA 200 box mod and a prototype “peace pipe” that he made as a request from his Native American customers. He also told me how his new company differs from his old one (crafting materials in house, more creative freedom, etc.). Check out the interview below for all the details and to see several exquisite Harlequinn Wood Works pieces.
In case you’re wondering about the intro and outro music, it’s a track called “Fire Breather.” The heavy guitar doesn’t match up with the Harlequinn Wood Works theme, but it’s appropriate for The Jester. When he’s not making sweet vaping mods, you can catch The Jester perform fire breathing tricks at different festivals. Rumor has it that he had an impromptu fire-breathing session at an ECC party. In another aside, my joke paraphrasing Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” totally bombed. This is what happens when you refuse to use a script. Ha!
Anyway, if you’re looking for unique and beautiful vaping mods that are handcrafted in America then you should definitely check out Harlequinn Wood Works. The Jester makes some truly fantastic pieces of vaping art that offer a great combination of looks, performance, and functionality. To top it all off, the products are backed by a — to use The Jester’s own words — “as long as I’m alive” lifetime guarantee.
With the Straight Outta Compton movie just around the corner, the denizens of the Internet have been having fun making their own “Straight Outta” memes. In a sharp move, Beats by Dre has created a meme maker at StraightOuttaSomewhere.com. I’ve seen dozens of hilarious memes generated with this tool and I’d love to hear about some of the ones that have cracked you up. Even better, I’d love for you to create your own and post a link to your witty concoction.
As for some of my favorites, here are two. First up is one the makes fun of LeBron James’ receding hairline.
The best thing that I can say about the Fantastic Four 2015 reboot is…that it was better than Green Lantern. That movie was traumatically horrid. Fantastic Four isn’t quite that bad, but it felt incomplete — as if the studio released a rough cut of the movie or an entire act was missing. It’s certainly not a good movie (superhero or otherwise), but I was surprised by how unfinished it felt. It doesn’t have a grand climax or a profound sense of resolution. Instead you’re left with a feeling of, “That’s it?” Whether it’s in a bedroom or in a movie theater, you don’t want that feeling.
In the grand RPadTV tradition, here’s a binary breakdown of the 2015 Fantastic Four movie.
Flaccid Four (Bad): Someone involved in the making of this superhero movie doesn’t like superhero movies. Fantastic Four lacks the standard superhero movie devices of epic battles, a stentorian soundtrack, and cool special effects. The movie’s finale was such a letdown. When the Fantastic Four finally fought Dr. Doom, the buildup was slow…and then suddenly the fight was over. Whether it was the director, the editor, or the studio, the people involved with this movie took the Fantastic Four and made them a fantastic bore.
Dr. Doom (Bad): Why, why, why can’t a movie portray Dr. Doom properly?!? It’s confounding. He’s one of the best villains in the Marvel Universe! Comics Doom is an awesome combination of science and sorcery. While much of the world fears him, the people that he rules love him. Many of his actions are driven by mommy issues (i.e. love). He’s arrogant and capable, with just enough vulnerability to make him sympathetic. In the last two Fantastic Four movies, Doom was an evil businessman. In this one, he’s an angry tech geek. In all three films, he lacked the confidence, competence, and heart that make Doom such a brilliant character in the comics.
Kate Mara (Good): On the plus side, Kate Mara was the best part of the movie (visually). She wasn’t great as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, but she did an adequate job and will satisfy those that felt Jessica Alba was too dopey in the last two Fantastic Four movies. I am, of course, biased when it comes to Kate Mara. She’s alluring and she comes from a wealthy family. It’s fun watching her on a big screen while you dream about her making you a kept man.
Michael B. Jordan (Bad): When Jordan was announced as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, some fans were livid that an African-American actor was cast as a white-bread character. What they should really be mad about is that he completely sucked in the movie. Jordan was easily the worst lead in the Fantastic Four. While the rest of the cast did a reasonable job of movie-level acting, Jordan brought his WB-level game to the film. He was so bad that I have high hopes of him replacing Paul Walker as my favorite crappy actor. If Jordan adds a bit of charm to his inept acting then he has a good chance of getting there.
Franklin Storm Rocked (Good): The best actor in the movie wasn’t one of the four main protagonists or the sole villain. He was a supporting character — Reg E. Cathey’s Dr. Franklin Storm. His performance was easily the best in the movie — dude has a wicked voice that adds gravitas to his scenes.
Oyster Bay Why?!? (Bad): For reasons that seem random, the movie’s version of Reed Richards and Benjamin Grimm grew up in Oyster Bay. My personal problem with this is that there’s a cutaway scene in Oyster Bay where the Manhattan skyline is shown. I lived in Oyster Bay for a few years. Unless you have a really tall house and a very powerful telescope, you cannot see Manhattan from Oyster Bay. The scene reminded me of Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx, when a cutaway of the Statue of Liberty was shown. Similar to how you can’t see the Statue of Liberty from the Bronx, you simply can’t see Manhattan from Oyster Bay.
The bigger issue pertains to Ben Grimm’s character. In the comics, he grew up on the Lower East Side on Yancy Street. His older brother was killed in a gang fight. Grimm’s rough big-city upbringing is a huge part of his identity and The Thing’s rocky exterior is a metaphor for his tough shell that covers a soft heart. Going deeper, comics Thing has several personal elements from his creator, Jack Kirby. “The King” grew up on the Lower East Side on Delancey Street and had an older brother that died when he was young. The movie’s change in locales makes no sense geographically and is insulting to the character’s creator.
Not the Least Bit Fantastic: Honestly, Fantastic Four isn’t as bad as some people are making it out to be. It felt like it was a little more than halfway to being a decent superhero movie. Whether it was the directing, editing, or studio meddling, something went terribly wrong and the end product was poor. Again, it’s not nearly as wretched as Green Lantern (an admittedly low bar) and has a few moments that were superior to anything from the last two FF films. At the end of the day, Fox bungled Marvel’s first family of superheroes. The movie definitely isn’t worth seeing in theaters and certainly not worthy of a Blu-ray purchase. When it gets in cable rotation then perhaps you can justify watching it out of curiosity, but there are better superhero films to spend your time with.
I keep watching this clip of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart from the finale of The Daily Show. It has quickly become one of my favorite television moments from the last decade. The exchange between the two fantastic comedians was hilarious, touching, and skillful — lots of emotions packed into a five-minute bit. It starts off with an outstanding Lord of the Rings analogy by Colbert and turns into an off-book show of appreciation. The second half was especially excellent — one of the most earnest and genuine tributes I’ve ever seen on TV.
Aside from the great humor and heartwarming gratitude, I was impressed with Colbert’s steadiness during the second half of the clip. Stewart made halfhearted attempts to escape the adulation by scooting away in his chair several times. Colbert countered each move and, for the most part, didn’t miss a beat. I was just really impressed by how Colbert kept the tribute going while zipping around on a chair. Most comedians would have fallen out of the chair.
The tribute ended with a group hug among Stewart and the majority of The Daily Show’s correspondents (sadly, no Beth Littleford). You could tell that everyone was truly appreciative of what Stewart and The Daily Show did for their careers and lives…except for Olivia Munn. She was busy pretending that she gave a sh*t about anyone else on stage.
Anyway, check out the clip below when you have a chance. If you caught The Daily Show finale, please let me know what you favorite part was in the comments section.
Just when I thought Ronda Rousey couldn’t get any hotter…I discovered that she loves Pokemon! That’s right, the first lady of UFC and queen of MMA is totally into Nintendo’s pocket monsters. In the interview below, she discusses how she got into Pokemon, the numerous Pokemon games she has played, and some of her favorite creatures. Miss Rousey is clearly a most impressive physical specimen, but her encyclopedic knowledge of Pokemon takes her sexiness to a whole new level. It’s almost…too much.
Ronda claims to have put in more than 200 hours in her first Pokemon game. I wonder if she’ll be impressed with my nearly 700 hours on Pokemon Pearl. Yeah, that’ll be my in when I meet her. Ha!
Anyway, check out the video below and prepare to be dazzled by Ronda Rousey’s Pokemon mastery. It’s seriously impressive and completely hot.
While it doesn’t contain everything shown at Comic Con 2015, the Deadpool red band trailer is still pretty awesome. The silly humor and ridiculous violence that make the comics so much fun appear to be present in the movie. Of course the action and quips are fantastic, but I really enjoyed Deadpool’s interactions with Weasel. I’m a fan of the character and TJ Miller usually makes me laugh. My only disappointment with the Deadpool red band trailer is that the Negasonic Teenage Warhead joke was cut.
Anyway, check out the clip when you have a chance. While Ryan Reynold’s is partially responsible for the most traumatic superhero movie that I’ve ever seen, I’m cautiously excited for Deadpool. Reynolds seems to have the character’s tone down perfectly and the ludicrous violence is as it should be. What do you guys and dolls think? Does the Deadpool red band trailer give you high hopes for the movie? Or is the stench of Green Lantern still too fresh?
From the home office in Bonifacio Global City, Manila comes “The Top 10 List of Things I’m Happy I DIDN’T Do at My Father’s Wake and Funeral.”
10 — Sing “Dad in a Box” after seeing the box-shaped urn picked for my Dad. #JustinTimberlake
9 — Shout ,”The power of Christ compels you!!!” when it was my turn to splash the urn with holy water. #Exorcist
8 — Crash the wake next door so that I could snag some of the lumpia from their food spread.
7 — Call my eulogy speech a “eugoogly” as an homage to Derek #Zoolander.
6 — Crash the wake two doors down for a chance to hit on the really cute girl in attendance.
5 — During my eulogy speech say, “I consider everyone here family. And when I say family, I don’t mean blood relations. I mean it the way Vin Diesel says it in the Fast & Furious movies, which I think is more meaningful.” (Also, another Derek Zoolander homage)
4 — Drop the mic after my eulogy speech and say, “Crushed it.”
3 — Take the communion bread and tell the priest, “Thanks for the food, stupid!” #HoneyBadger
2 — Ask if you could follow my cousin’s beautiful performance of “Home” from The Wiz with a crappy but hilarious rendition of “Ease on Down the Road” from The Wiz.
1 — Forget to thank my Dad for the wonderful life he blessed me with.
The Hyon USA cease and desist controversy is the latest vaping “scandal.” For those of you not familiar with the situation, is involves the Hyon USA Pi2 atomizer by Haus of Zombi and the Ivogo Evil Monk atomizer. When I chatted with company president Fernando Solis at Vape Summit III, he positioned the Pi2 as the industry’s first postless atomizer. The Ivogo Evil Monk is positioned as a non-post RDA. The implication is that Ivogo “borrowed” some of Hyon USA’s designs and incorporated them into the Evil Monk. Ivogo is known primarily for its clone products. Earlier in July, several vape reviewers received Hyon USA cease and desist emails, or more precisely pre-cease-and-desist letters. Some of the reviewers interpreted the legal email as a threat and many of their readers/viewers attacked Hyon USA. Yesterday, I chatted with Fernando at Monster Vape Lounge to get his explanation on the Hyon USA cease and desist controversy.
In the interview below, Fernando explains his side of the Hyon USA cease and desist matter. He said that the letters were meant to start a dialogue with reviewers and were not meant to threaten them. In his mind, these actions are relatively banal and not the big deal that some are making them out to be. While I understand what he was trying to do from business and legal standpoints, I believe that company should have used a lighter touch. I mentioned my experiences reviewing products in the consumer electronics and videogame businesses to Fernando; in some cases legal inquiries were sent to my publisher and in other cases the situation was gently handled by PR reps. Of course those two businesses are much larger and more established than vaping; most popular vape reviewers don’t have publishers to answer to and proper vaping PR is mostly nonexistent.
Going after Internet reviewers is always a tricky thing. Many of them have thousands of fans that are influenced by their works. It’s easy for an established reviewer to get people to think highly of a company and it’s easier for reviewers to generate hate (it’s the Internet, after all). While I respect many vaping reviewers, for the most part they lack the professionalism of reviewers that I’ve worked with in gaming and electronics. Add it all up — relatively young business + unprofessional reviewers + a Hyon USA cease and desist letter — and you have a difficult PR situation. Again, I understand what Hyon USA was trying to do from a business standpoint, but I believe that the company could have handled the situation better.
My take is that there was no malice intended with the Hyon USA cease and desist action, but I definitely understand why people would disagree. I like Hyon USA’s products, I like how the company does business, and I like Fernando. Personally, I think he created more work for himself, but he also created an opportunity. The Hyon USA brand is getting lots of exposure and the company has a chance to turn some of the haters into new customers. See of yourself in the interview below. If you have a chance, please let me know what you think of the Hyon USA cease and desist situation after you’ve watched the video.
7 Days is Hell is a wonderfully absurd and surprisingly raunchy made-for-TV short film currently playing on HBO. Starring Andy Samberg and Kit Harington as a pair of polar opposite tennis players, the movie is a mockumentary that skewers so many things — tennis, sports documentaries, Sweden, sports moms, British talkshows, the Queen of England, and more. Although 7 Days in Hell parodies a wide variety of topics, director Jake Szymanski does an admirable job of keeping the movie focused. If you’re a fan of tennis or sports documentaries (think HBO Sports numerous documentaries and ESPN’s 30 for 30 series) and don’t mind smutty humor then you should definitely give 7 Days in Hell a shot.
Andy Samberg does most of the heavy lifting in 7 Days in Hell as Aaron Williams. The adopted brother of tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams, Aaron is a physical pastiche of Andre Agassi, but with the personality of John McEnroe…with the lewdness cranked up to 11. Samberg does a fantastic job of playing a character that’s brash and obnoxious, but charming and vulnerable enough that you don’t hate him.
On the other side of the net is Kit Harington’s Charles Poole. Trained to be a tennis superstar since he was a child, Poole has a terror of a sports mom and few redeeming qualities outside of his athleticism. While Samberg owns many of the scenes in 7 Days in Hell, Harington was pleasantly subtle as Poole. Best known as the heroic Jon Snow on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Harington plays a character that’s wonderfully dim and vacant — the perfect contrast to the over-the-top Williams.
In order to make 7 Days in Hell feel like an authentic sports documentary, there are several cameos from athletes, analysts, and newscasters. Serena Williams, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Soledad O’Brien, and Jim Lampley help make the movie seem like a real HBO sports production. Fred Armisen and Will Forte help make fun of the overly serious tone of many sports documentaries as a pair of fictitious tennis historians. Rounding out the cast are a bunch of characters playing themselves in a tongue-in-cheeks manner, including magician David Copperfield and movie star Dolph Lundgren. Without spoiling anything, their involvement in 7 Days in Hell is most excellent.
As a fan of the game of tennis and someone that has watched dozens of sports documentaries, I had a feeling that I’d enjoy 7 Days in Hell. The movie was different from what I was expecting. It’s far more crass and sexual than I thought it would be, but the real surprise was how deftly the director managed the short film’s tone. I was very, very impressed by how seamlessly 7 Days in Hell alternated between crass humor and witty satire. Juggling the two contrasting forms of comedy into a congruous experience is difficult and director Jake Szymanski handled things excellently.
While I love the pomp and circumstance of Wimbledon, 7 Days of Hell is a refreshing take on a sport that many view as stuffy and elitist. While the over-the-top humor will appeal to many viewers, the real joy of the film will be had by those that know tennis and sports documentaries. That said, the mockingly serious take on an absurd situation featuring two absurd characters is so good, that there’s a chance 7 Days in Hell will be enjoyed by people that don’t like sports at all. With a runtime of 43 minutes, I recommend giving the movie a shot. If you like it, I recommend watching it again because there’s a lot of subtle and background humor that you’ll probably miss the first time around.
If you’ve watched 7 Days in Hell, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Please share your musings in the comments section. Now excuse me, as I’m about to give the movie a third viewing.
I’ve discovered that the cure to fluctuating between depression and ennui is watching Shia LaBeouf “Do It!!!” videos. The original motivational speech was entertaining on its own, but when you add it to various scenes in movies and television, it becomes pure gold. The following are a bunch of my favorite Shia LaBeouf “Do It!!!” juxtapositions.
Next up is Goku building up a “spirit bomb” to take down Frieza in Dragon Ball Z. Forget a power level that’s over 9,000. With Shia LaBeouf in your corner, your power level will easily exceed 9,000,000.
Even the King of Pop needed help back in his day. Forget “Beat It.” It’s all about “Do It!!!”
While Harry Potter achieved ordinary wizarding levels (OWLs) on his own, Shia LaBeouf helped The Boy Who Lived take it to next level in this epic showdown. I don’t know that Potter could’ve taken down Lord Voldemort in The Goblet of Fire without the extra motivation.
Shia LaBeouf can also help when grisly acts are required, as seen in Rorschach’s grand finale in The Watchmen.
Last, but not least, Shia LaBeouf has chosen a side in the conflict between Batman and Superman.