Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bologna Bubble Gum

I was walking down the aisle of a pharmacy, passively feigning interest in the glossy covers of magazines featuring nubile women, when I’d rather be closely examining the desolate shopping cart at the end of the row overstuffed with recently discounted Halloween candies and assorted junk.  I live for convenience store oddities, like the cheapest knock-off brand soda and corn chips staler than your grandpa’s jokes about flappers.

On a recent excursion I found this brilliantly insulting gem and knew, just like that time at Billy’s “World Ender” party in ’99, she’d be coming home with me.  Never before had I really seen the colors pink and yellow so boldly and brazenly used in conjunction—I was flabbergasted, aghast, and strangely contented.  I’ve got to give them bonus points for the packaging.  Seriously, this looks like the real deal, a nasty package of sweaty, processed meat, complete with inspection stamp and a translucent window that lets passerby peer into the meaty abyss.

Well, back in the days of living at home, many a morning I awoke to the smell of fried bologna coming from mom cooking in our kitchen.  Thusly, I figured I’d recreate my most familiar arrangement with bologna in the past to welcome it in this newer, slightly more revolting form.

Wait, this can’t be right—no!  It actually tastes like a reasonable facsimile of bologna!  Never, even in my wildest dreams, did I anticipate anything more than simple, straightforward bubblegum.  But, while not agonizingly strong, there is a subtle hint of meaty flavor here that’s disturbing in the least.

Overall, I give them kudos; this is an outrageous and completely uncouth concept, so bravo you confection monsters!  As far as the rest of the gum, I’d considered tossing it, but think I’ll leave it around to play a couple pranks on unsuspecting guests in the days to come.

Overall Grade: C 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Halloween In Pictures

After trick-or-treating was over we ventured to my brother’s for a house party..


Saturday, October 25, 2008

RtW Weekly Round-Up 10/25

In this week's episode:

- Asian Bubble Tea
- Candy Blood Bag
- Surprise Trick-or-Treat Party Bag
- DG Jamaican Soda #4: - Cream Soda
- Ultraman candy from Japan

Have a Happy Halloween, everyone! 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

RtW Weekly Round-Up 10/18

In this week's episode:

- Hostess' Incredible Hulk Scary Cakes
- Amanda reviews Indian food at home
- DG Jamaican Soda #3: Pineapple

Thanks for watching. We'll see you next week!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

RtW Weekly Round-Up 10/11

In this week's episode:

- DG Jamaican Soda #2: Kola Champagne
- Bored on Friday Night w/ Brian
- Spooky Nerds Rope

Friday, October 10, 2008

RtW 2008 Halloween Special

The second week in October brings the second annual Halloween Special, featuring one of the best openings we've ever done, a Halloween contest with a face ripping puppet, tons of candy, decorations, and other Halloween related items. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

RtW Weekly Round-Up 10/4

In this week's episode:

- DG Jamaican soda #1: Grape
- Cadbury Turkish Delight chocolate bar
- Halloween Review #1: Marshmallow Vampire on a stick

As always, thanks for watching and supporting, we'll see you next Saturday night for a brand new video!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

RtW Weekly Round-Up 9/30

This weeks episode is a couple days late due to computer virus issues, but, were back and better than ever

Featured on this episode:

- Cheesecake Factory
- Taco Bell's new Big Box Meal
- Iron Man & Mark I Toy Candy Dispenser

See you next time! October's going to be amazing.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

RtW Weekly Round-Up 9/20

Severe windstorms hit my hometown, knocking over dozens of trees, creating large amounts of property damage, and killing three. We were without power for several days. The result is a slightly truncated Weekly Round Up. Theres still plenty of fun to be had, though; so, enjoy!

In this episode

- Juicee Gummee Crazy Penguins
- Guest Review!: Rally's Big Buford and Fully Loaded fries
- Kryptonite Armor Lex Luthor action figure

We'll see you again next week!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

RtW Weekly Round-Up 9/13

The second episode of Review the Worlds new, weekly YouTube series!

In this episode:

- Tomo the kitty discovers bubbles
- CVS Gold Emblem Shelled Pistachio Nuts
- Arizona Fruit Punch
- Tollhouse Cookie Ice Cream Cake
- Arizona Diet Green Tea w/ Ginseng
- Halloween Shopping w/ Adam
- Arizona Sweet tea

And more! We hope you enjoy the show.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

RtW Weekly Round-Up 9/6

The inaugural episode of Review the World's new weekly YouTube show!

Reviewed in this episode:

- TGI Fridays
- Mr. Potato Head Color & Activity Book
- Color Club Markers
- Jessie Robertson's bacon sandwich
- Flub's Glacier

I'm really happy with the first episode and look forward to working on the series.  We'll learn as we go; one issue with this episode is the ceiling fan noise during the Potato Head/markers review, but we'll know better next time!  We hope you enjoy the show.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Return of Pepsi Twist?: Pepsi NFL Kickoff Limited Edition Flavor

Back in 2000 I was 18 and perceivably invincible.  Well, so I thought, that era is defined in my head as a time I spent indulging in excesses.  My friends and I would stay up and sometimes out all night, practically every night, and the future seemed distant and irrelevant.  It was during one of these days of freedom and youthful exuberance I stopped at a gas station on my way to some hang out session, there, just to get some fuel or so I thought, I discovered for the first time Pepsi Twist.  From that moment on we were inextricably linked, or so I wish, as our paths would separate years later due to Pepsi’s cancellation of their wonderful creation.

During Pepsi Twist’s short life span, it became a favorite of mine, chugged regularly and always happily.  Those that know me are aware Cherry Coke is my all-time personal favorite.  While Pepsi Twist never beat it out for that top position, that isn’t to say that I didn’t really, really like it.  Sometime prior to the debut of Pepsi Twist I’d began putting lemon slices into my fountain colas whenever possible.  I did this most frequently at Penn Station, an awesome sandwich establishment, where they serve Pepsi.  Thus, when I first laid eyes on Pepsi Twist, I had a built-in excitement of now being able to buy bottled, or canned, Pepsi with lemon in it, no longer requiring me to manually mix the two together myself.  While that surely sounds like a small victory to some, I was overwhelmingly pleased with the concept.

And Pepsi Twist delivered in the taste department.  For me, I’ve never been a major Pepsi fanatic.  Out of cans, it’s far too sweet and syrupy to be a regular in my rotation.  I do, however, tend to enjoy it from fountains at restaurants.  But unlike cherry, or vanilla, or other flavors mixed in with cola previously, lemon didn’t add to the overtly sweet nature of cola, the fruit’s crispness counterbalanced it making for a real interesting, and delicious, merging of tastes.  Pepsi Twist disappeared suddenly and I was devastated.

Fast-forward to late in the summer of 2008, I’m no longer as young or as oblivious as I once was, now juggling college, work, marriage, a website, and more.  With my wife’s first official paycheck as an RN (registered nurse) we decided to splurge at the grocery store, something we’ve been unable to do ever, and stock up on some foodstuffs.  I don’t drink a lot of pop, surprisingly; on average I’ll drink one per day.  I usually supplement my drinking choices by slipping in things like iced tea and sports drinks.  While walking through the grocery’s beverage aisle I found what you see pictured above, then nearly shit myself in a mixture of excitement and confusion.  Pepsi NFL Kickoff Limited Edition Flavor?  But more specifically, “with a kick of Lemon”!

So I rushed home, waited impatiently while my cans of puzzling pop chilled, then poured myself a nice, cold glass of Pepsi NFL Kickoff.  What can I say?  It’s back.  Well, wait, not so fast.  Yes, that delectable mixture of Pepsi cola and lemon has merged again, and it’s available I’d imagine at a store near you, but let’s not start the celebration too hastily.  Reason being, it’s not permanent—nope, right on the cans it reminders you that this is strictly a “limited edition” flavor.  So, I suggest you enjoy it while you can.

I leave this discovery with mixed emotions.  As far as Pepsi NFL Kickoff, as a standalone beverage, I think they’ve done a poor job, especially in the marketing and design categories.  The can, and subsequent 12-pack it came from, both feature very bland, unoriginal designs, not highlighting the yummy lemon (outside of yellow bars across the top and bottom) nor doing up the football connection particularly well depicting one, lonesome football adorned with an NFL logo.   Ultimately, while a temporary harbinger of fleeting joy, Pepsi NFL Kickoff will soon disappear into the realm of forgotten sodas like Pepsi Blue.  I really wish if they were going to bring back a lemon-flavored Pepsi they’d have just brought the pre-established and popular Pepsi Twist back from retirement.  A boy can dream, right?

Overall Grade: B 

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Unreleased RtW TV Bumpers

The bulk of Review the World can be found in the site’s three-plus years worth of archived articles, but for me, some of the most fun and proud moments in our canon are Review the World TV episodes #1 and #2. The project was my baby, from pre-production to completion, and while relatively short-lived, it indelibly left a mark on myself as well as many RtW fans.  On the shows, to make transitions between skits more interesting, we inserted what we called “bumpers.”  Each bumper was approximately twenty seconds or so, sometimes more or less, depending on its creativity, and would feature someone saying, “You’re watching Review the World TV” or some variation of that tagline. Some bumpers were simple and straightforward, others, ridiculous and intentionally so. Recently I stumbled upon a directory full of unused bumpers, never seen by anyone besides the parties involved, and feeling sentimental over RtW TV I decided compiling them into one, five-minute video in homage to the efforts and energies of those involved making my “show” and website a reality. I hope you enjoy them even a percentage as much as we did shooting them back then.

Monday, August 11, 2008

On the Road w/ RtW - Monroe, OH

"On the Road w/ RTW" returns with a brand new episode. This time we're looking at the small city of Monroe, Ohio, home to Trader's World Flea Market and the famous "touchdown Jesus" among other things. We take a look at the historical downtown area and examine the Monroe Community Park.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Samurai Slash Batman & Dark Knight Reese's Pieces

Well, unless you’ve been living under or in a rock (and an aside, if so, how are the stalagmites this time of year?) you’ve no doubt heard about the overwhelming financial success The Dark Knight has been at theatres worldwide. Yes, Batman isn’t just for comic fans these days, there’s an insatiable demand for him and it has spilled into all facets of merchandizing. Today I’m going to look at a Batman action figure I got pre-Hollywood hoopla, as well as a new candy offering seeking to capitalize on some of that new mainstream fervor.

The biggest common complaint about Batman toys, and its been going on for some time now, is that they’re some of the most generic offerings in toy aisles.  The usual argument is they’ve basically done the same toy, just added some different features, colors, and extras and repeated this formula add nauseam.  I was on this bandwagon too, until I stopped to think about it, and came to the conclusion there’s really only so many toys you could concoct of the caped crusader before you’d start re-treading the same thing over and over again.  Thus, I opened up my mind when strolling the toy aisle, and for once wasn’t aghast when I saw Batman donning a parka for a tundra trek, or some camouflage for a journey to the jungle.

I finally narrowed it down to a few, ultimately getting the toy above, from the Shadow Tek line, which sounds innocuous enough, Samurai Slash Batman!  Yes, Batman Begins gave us a taste of Bruce Wayne’s martial arts training, but little did we know that he dons this elaborate royal blue gear, attaches saw-shaped blades to his back that shoot like projectiles, and carries a translucent blue sword that’s bigger than his entire upper torso.

Here’s an iconic view of Batman, although he’s usually glaring at the cityscape below from a tall building in Gotham, here he’s just admiring the view from the top of my refrigerator.  Imagine that really creepy, raspy voice Christian Bale used in The Dark Knight saying, “Can I get one of those frozen burritos, dude?”

Here’s our samurai-slashing hero in all his glory!  While I think it’s a little much, especially for someone so stealth and such, I can’t help but get a kick out of it in all its over-the-top awfulness.

See Batman firing his projectiles!  Watch your eyes!

Overall Grade: B

Lastly today, I’m going to talk about a piece of proper The Dark Night movie tie-in merchandise.  Usually when I put Reese’s Pieces and movies together I’m thinking E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and the adorable alien’s penchant for the tiny, peanut butter candy-coated gems.  But nope, we’ve got Batman, and judging by his expression on the front of the bag he’s rather pissed that you’re not buying stock in Wayne Enterprises instead.

Check these out!  Well, it’s not like they went overboard trying to be creative, but hell, beggars can’t be choosers (unless it’s which dumpster to pick up dinner at) so I’m going to hold my tongue and just nod approvingly.  I guess dark blue and black candies in homage to Batman are about a good as a junk food snack as one could possibly desire.

Overall Grade: B- 

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bad Frozen Food

It’s a great feeling to walk into my apartment, spent from a long day of work, and go into the kitchen and pick something out for a meal.  The sheer convenience and relatively cheap prices of frozen foods make them a good option, especially since I’m lacking in culinary skills.  But, more and more, I’m finding frozen foods to be foes and not friends.  Last month as I was knee-deep in momentum from the site’s re-launch, I literally took pictures of every food item I ate, hoping to eventually get around to reviewing them all.  While most of the pictures will likely sit idle on my hard drive, I’ve rounded up a few to demonstrate my increasing disappointment towards frozen foods.

From Michelina’s Signature series comes this edible entry into the world of frozen food.  My impression from the box was of a quick, yet savory meal that had both meat and potatoes, thus I rationalized it’d be a suitable and satisfying snack.  The verbiage used to describe the food within suggests a party for your palette, tossing around words like “seasoned potatoes”, “creamy gravy”, and my favorite, “white chicken fritter.”

Looking at our meal in its unthawed, frozen form makes the whole thing seem a little less appetizing.  But at this point I still held on to some hope, as everything advertised was there, albeit it hard and icy.

Oh, now come on, what the hell is this?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  I spent a couple bucks on this putrid pile of pestilence?  Looking like something The Toxic Avenger would leave behind in a bathroom, this was the final result of my frozen fantasy being turned into a dinner debacle.

All right, this one seems to be playing it a bit safer, also from Michelina’s I tried their take on Stuffed Cheese Rigatoni.  Seems pretty inconspicuous, right?

Is this some kind of a joke?  It’s a pretty surreal feeling effortlessly holding your Italian dinner in your hand.

Well, before starting the cooking process, things weren’t looking too bright on this outing either.  I tossed my frozen cube into a pan and sent it on its way.

Now this looks a little more like it!  The sauce is bright and appears hearty, the pasta presumably puffy and full of delicate and delicious cheese, what could possibly go wrong?

Good grief!  It all got stuck to the pan, the final result being a bowl of clumpy slop posed as haute cuisine.  I think I need to start learning how to really cook for myself.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Day at a Flea Market

Yesterday I went to Traders World flea market with Amanda, a place neither of us go to frequently, but we both recall with a hint of nostalgia from childhood.  As a kid, I'd root for comic books or NBA trading cards, and now as an adult not much has changed as I spent the majority of my time rooting through bins of loose G.I. Joe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures.

The latest trend is charms for your shoes, specifically Crocs, and while I'm not fashionable or hip, unless late-night Ice Hockey indulgences on the NES are in-style, I couldn't resist a couple of these.  There's thousands of varieties, mostly generic but harmless, and then there's some right down my alley, like the Swedish Chef charm above.  One of our favorite attractions at Walt Disney World is Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney Hollywood Studios, every trip down, we make an effort to check it out a couple times.  Also, we're currently in the midst of watching the first season of The Muppet Show on DVD.  Personally, outside of mainstays like Rowlf the Dog and Fozzie Bear, I tend to dig the more obscure characters, like the gigantic Sweetums, the crotchety critics Statler and Waldorf, and stern taskmaster Sam the Eagle.  Swedish Chef is always a riot, though, from his outrageous cooking seminars like making doughnuts using a shotgun, to his one-of-a-kind speech that's often emulated and never unfunny.

Sonic the Hedgehog was my second choice, especially since the vendor claimed they were completely out of Super Mario.  My affinity for the little blue guy has grown in recent years, stirred up by Saturday mornings watching Sonic X, fueled by Sonic's comic books' rich continuity and history, and my recent procurement of the entire Sonic Underground animated series on DVD.

For the unaware, this is what the charms look like on shoes, shown above in my Sage-colored Crocs.  Crocs, while goofy in general appearance and somewhat of a trend themselves, I've found to be ideal shoes for me, especially during these warm summer months.  I've worn mine at theme parks, on long outdoors walks, to work, etc.

Now we're talking!  Double Dragon is one of my all-time favorite video games.  The animated series, while certainly not as beloved, still holds a place in my heart.  I scored the above VHS for a measly $1.  While doing research I discovered one curious customer review on a major retailer website, the enthused review said, "This is a really great movie. No question,you gotta have this movie. Try to rent this cool vedio. I gave it 5 stars! If you hate this movie,you`ll pay!"  We'll pay?  What kind of threat is that!  Seriously?  Expect a full review on this gem in the future.

Last but certainly not least, my greatest (and most expensive find at $3) is this bendable King Mabel figure!  Mabel is from a dark period in WWE wrestling lore where all of the characters were monstrous stereotypes, i.e. garbage men, race car drivers, voodoo shaman, etc.  Mabel was one-half of a team called Men On a Mission (or M.O.M.) that were also billed as rappers living a hip-hop lifestyle.

King Mabel: Yes, tell them more, plebeian!

Alright, yes sir!  So, what else?  I'm sorry Mabel, but the real reason I got you was because you were the most ludicrous wrestling figure in all of the giant bins... and trust me, there were some pretty heinous ones in there!  Your purple suspenders speak to me in a way I can't quite articulate I must admit.  Your mohawk looks a bit chopped up in the front, perhaps a visit to the local barber shop is in order?  Even my kitten Tomo wanted to get acquainted with the newest member of our household.

King Mabel:  I'll jump on your face!  Don't disrespect me, son, you got it?  Take me back to the flea market, the girl hocking the denim jackets was about to slip me those digits, boy.  Word!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Izzy's Famous Corned Beef - Forest Park, OH

Opening its first location in downtown Cincinnati in 1901, Izzy’s remains a local delicatessen that’s still fresh and well loved today.  Most well known for their corned beef (their Reuben is legendary), other popular favorites are their homemade soups (including the delicious “Sweet-N-Sour Cabbage”) and potato pancakes.

My favorite location is the Forest Park store and I generally try to visit it no less than once per month.  While other, more familiar sandwich chains like Subway, Quiznos, etc. have certain positive qualities; Izzy’s is by far a better all around experience time and time again.  Seen above is the majority of the dining area, not shown is the two sections alongside windows where I always sit to enjoy the view, which can sometimes be bustling with regulars.  One neat thing about their set-up is you don’t get a bill, after you finish eating, simply walk up to the counter and tell an employee what you ate to get rung up on the register.  I also have to compliment the waitresses, as they’re very accommodating and well informed, there’s one that I frequently have that’s especially kind and remembers me from past visits which is a nice feeling.

Now onto the food, while I love all of their scrumptious deli sandwiches, after having their signature Izzy Burger once, I haven’t been able to order anything else.  Now wait… before you start questioning my eating a hamburger at such a nice delicatessen, allow me to explain.  This ain’t your everyday burger!  For starters it’s baked, not fried or grilled, the end product being the most tender, delectable, uniquely delicious burger I’ve ever had anywhere.  Plus, the ingredients are so fresh; I always opt for a Kaiser roll and Swiss cheese, as well as the usual fixings, red onions, tomato, and lettuce.  As much as I adore the sandwich, the meal’s not complete without a famous Izzy’s potato pancake.  Not only do they taste incredible (I use a little brown mustard for dipping purposes) but I also find them a lot of fun to eat.  Also, at every table are containers of the best pickles around, so you can help yourself to as many as your heart desires.

In closing, out of all the local restaurants I frequent, I’d have to say Izzy’s is among my absolute favorite lunch destinations.  I can’t quite articulate the simple joy of washing down an Izzy Burger with a Pepsi, reading a few pages from a book, and starring out the window as the world operates outside oblivious to my wonderment and I.

Overall Grade: A 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

On the Road w/ RtW - Sharonville & Evendale, OH

"On the Road w/ RtW" debuts season two with a new look, new music, and the first-ever double shot episode! 

In this episode, we take a peek at the fabulous cities of Sharonville and Evendale, Ohio. We take a look at the fabulous parks, the historic depot square section of Sharonville, Sports Plus in Evendale, and even squeeze in a bonus food and drink review!

A Day at Brookville Lake

It’s not very often that my wife Amanda and I get a day off together, so when it does happen, we’ll usually try to plan something relatively big or at least go out for a couple hours.  On a hot summer day this past June we were allotted that very opportunity to spend a day however we pleased.  Would we walk around a mall and eat ice cream?  Maybe go see a movie at the local theater?  Nope!  Amanda suggested we trek to Brookville, Indiana, a place close to her heart in regards to nostalgia as she’d spent time camping there as a kid with family.  So, that sets the scene, innocent enough, right?  Well, read on, as this wasn’t any ordinary day!

Is this an innocuous start to our journey, or, the entrance to our impending doom?  I wasn’t so sure.  My horror movie riddled brain began calling up images of The Blair Witch Project as we begin our hike.

Early on we were presented with our first option but choose to bypass the easier Wildlife Wander Trail for a more adventurous route.

You can start making Friday the 13th references at your leisure.  This portion of the path is comparatively clear; later on we’d be pushing our way through thick brush, spider webs, and feeling like true adventures.

We thought about turning back several times but preserved, finally stumbling upon a creek.  The trail had been pretty extreme so we considered crossing the creek as on the other side was one of the park’s paved roads which we assumed would be an easier route.

It was so cold!  But wow, what an exhilarating moment, as I opted to cross barefoot and carefully made my way across the rushing, freezing water and over the slippery smooth rocks.

We were pretty content and happy about ourselves after that perilous journey.  We stopped momentarily to reflect, relax, and snap a couple pictures in our premature celebration.

But we were totally wrong about discovering an easier route!  The road we imagined to be our salvation ended up being a gigantic hill.  The picture doesn’t do it justice, not because it’s still somewhat blurry even after digital correction, but because it was snapped not even halfway up the beast so it doesn’t even begin to display the grueling uphill walk we barely survived.  Once we got to the top we still had a ways to go before making it back to Amanda’s car.  She drove us to a little supplies shack she remembered getting candy at as a kid so we could score some drinks.  While she was purchasing our liquid relief I stumbled upon something that cemented this day as being truly epic…

Freddy’s A Nightmare on Elm Street Pinball?  Holy shit!

Released in 1991 by Gottlieb (sounds like the last name of a Wisconsin prostitute) this seriously deranged pinball game is the holy grail of Freddy fandom.  Just look at it!  While you’re trying to play Freddy’s head is staring at you menacingly and Krueger’s talking shit to you continuously while you try to keep your ball alive.  I’d easily trade a limb to have one of these machines in my own future house.

After our long journey and my run-in with Freddy we sat outside and cooled down with some drinks.  I opted to try the pomegranate and blackberry variety of the new Dasani Plus Cleanse + Restore Vitamin Enriched Flavored Water Beverage and decided to randomly shoot a bonus video review in true Review the World fashion.

In the end it was a great day.  We went to the lake the park’s named after and swam in the murky water.  After spending so much time at work, which is indoors at a mall, shut off from the world, and cooped up in our apartment watching DVDs and playing board games (I’m currently the resident Parcheesi champion) it’s really nice to get outside under the sun.  I recommend every one take at least a couple adventures themselves this summer.  Just keep your eyes out for Freddy!