Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Childhood Neighborhood Tour



Behold a very special, end of the year RtW finale video! It's been an idea I've had for a couple years now to bring a cameraman with me to my childhood neighborhood and do a walking tour. We did this in one take. No scripts, rehearsal, etc. completely spontaneous, on the fly, off the cuff, and in the moment. And I think it ended up pretty much perfect. Sure, I can nitpick in my head, think of recollections of yesteryear I forgot to mention, stories I could have shared, spent more time on this or that, but overall I'm very happy with it. Once the camera came on I was in my element or the zone so to speak and while I can easily wax nostalgic about growing up any time or place it was especially a treat to do it in the very alley and along the sidewalk of where I actually grew up.

So get comfortable, get zen, get yourself a drink or snack, and spend some time with me and my old neighborhood. I had so much fun bringing this video to life for you and I hope it'll find you well. Perhaps it'll make you think of the places that you grew up. Let's make 2015 one of the best years yet but never forget where you've been along the way that helped make you who you are today. That does it for me as I put another jam-packed year of Review the World to bed. Much love to you all. Best wishes. I'm Outie 5000!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dale Jr. Creole & Green Onion Chips



In one of the more odd reviews in recent memory a seemingly ordinary potato chip review goes rogue as we inadvertently investigate local legend Lawyers Building. A mysterious enigma where urban legend speaks of a mythical lawyer-producing building of infamy and power. A strange anomaly amid downtown this modern day Bigfoot is caught live on camera and we discuss its origin and ongoing stature as an area landmark. And we also review some cheap chips to boot!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Key Lime Coconut Patties & Honey Sriracha Chips



We've got a double dose of review in our dossier for you today, soldier! So gear up and crank up the volume in your headphones, set the quality controls to 1080p, and watch us totally get our review on in high-definition for your viewing pleasure! Brian has recruited Keith and Nick to enter battle with two eager enemies in a case of palate combat! First up with the local ice cream shop as a backdrop we taste some old Creamy Key Lime Coconut Patties we've had sitting around our closet a few months. Then we swing by gorgeous geographical goliath Harbin Park to tempt our tastebuds with Herr's Extra Crunchy Kettle Cooked Honey Sriracha Chips! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Warheads Sour Chewy Cubes



It's a rainy day but that doesn't keep RtW away! Brian and the gang sample a unique spin-off from the popular Warheads line their Sour Chewy Cubes. Amid the ballpark and picnic shelter enclave we sample and analyze each and every flavor as the rain falls. Bring a raincoat and your most sour face and join us for this wet and wonderful review!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Gumballs



We're celebrating RtW's premier holiday Thanksgiving with something incendiary! Thanksgiving gumballs! Yes, bubble gum flavored like such beloved holiday dishes as cranberries, pumpkin pie, and turkey! Make sure you bring these to grandma's big meal and sit them next to the gravy and yams. Watch as we take it to downtown Hamilton, OH to review these unique holiday treats in one of my favorite videos of the year!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Decades of Cinema Podcast

I wanted to plug a new project of mine that just launched and that I'll be working on regularly throughout 2015 and hopefully beyond. My first-ever podcast. Decades of Cinema sees pal Sean and myself tackling reviews of ten films per episode. One from every decade from the 1920s through the 2010s. Besides looking at films past and present, we'll also be doing a lot of other misc. film talk tackling a variety of cinema-related topics, all the while examining the context and joy of cinema. Please give us a listen long-time and new RtW fans alike especially if you're a movie lover like us!

RtW Cameo: RtW in Dallas!

RtW super fan turned super friend Toby has posted a blog post (CLICK HERE) all about our exploits when I brought RtW to his hometown in Dallas! I had an awesome weekend back in May and Toby not only tells his tales from our RtW adventures but also posts a couple exclusive videos and pictures from the trip! He's linked to the official RtW videos I'd posted from Texas as well as sharing some he shot including an impromptu freestyle walking session in the forest, a bongo experience, and a beer review in broad daylight! Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Soda Shaq Orange Cream Soda & Oreo Brownie



Brian is joined by Chris to sample an Oreo Brownie they'd discovered at Circle K. Separately they're sweets favorites but how are they combined? Apologies for the wind interference in the second-half of that bit. Then we jump to the Hamilton campus of Miami University amid the snow-covered promenade to sample Soda Shaq's Orange Cream Soda!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sprite 6Mix, Sriracha Kettle Chips, & Mr. Q



While visiting my good buddy Will of VeggieMacabre we stole away for 15 min. to review a random assortment of junk food acquired over our weekend hangout. First we tackle the short-lived Lebron James "6Mix" edition of Spirte. Will basketball's biggest star bring it in the soft drink arena like he does on the court? Note: We recorded this months before Lebron re-signed with his old team the Cleveand Cavs. Then from Kettle Chips we try their Sriracha flavor and see if they bring the heat! Then last in an abbreviated review we drink Mr. Q a cucumber soda!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Layalena Restaurant & Mediterranean Food



Brian and the gang were out in the field reviewing to their hearts content when lunchtime promptly arrived. We swung by Layalena a Mediterranean restaurant to see what was up! What items will the guys sample? And who will butcher the pronunciation of "Shawarma" worse? Tune in and find out!

Friday, October 24, 2014

RtW Cameo: 2014 Cheap Thrills Halloween Special



It's the 8th annual Cheap Thrills Halloween Special! I've joined pals Katie and Tim's Halloween special and it's jam-packed with over 60 min. of non-stop spooky reviews! This'll get you in the Halloween spirit! Frightening hot sauces, costumes, baking, and lots of candy! Join our terrifying trio of hosts and you know our Halloween game is on point!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dr. Pepper Candy Twists & AirHeads Squeezers



We're mixing things up as try a popular drink in candy form and a popular candy in drink form! Downtown we take a look at Dr. Pepper Candy Twists then shoot over to the park to partake in AirHeads Squeezers. Enjoy the video unless you want to be twisted and/or squeezed!

Friday, October 17, 2014

RtW Cameo: Horror Franchise Discussion



Got an hour to kill? Then join me as I crash the party over on the set of Cheap Thrills with its hosts Katie & Tim to discuss over 25 horror franchises! Get into the Halloween spirit with a heaping helping of horror talk!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fentimans Cherrytree Cola



I flew down to hang with Billy of VeggieMacabre, Ben of Juggernaut's Cave, and DJ D of Dark Entries: Goth Radio and in the ensuing chaos we did an impromptu review of Fentimans Cherrytree Cola! This cherry cola might cost more than the everyday variety but is it liquid nirvana or not worthy of the hype? Find out in this instant blogger cameo crossover classic!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Burger Gum & Ruffles Cheese Crispy Fries



In auspicious locales like a regional airport and an alley outside an electric facility we review an old, expired bag of Ruffle's Crispy Fries cheese-flavored chips. Then we try something much more unusual -- Hamburger bubble gum with Ketchup goo inside? Watch our team tackle these food follies in stunning HD. Apologies for the wind interference. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Slush Puppie Candy Set



Once again the delicious doggie of Slush Puppie rears his beautiful beatific beanie-covered head! In downtown Hamilton near the brand new amphitheater we look at this set of multiple Slush Puppie candies including two different flavors of gooey Squeeze Candy and the main event a Spray Candy! Take a shot in the mouth from Brian and Nick as we once again celebrate Slush Puppie. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cinema Gum



Today we boldly sample Cinema Gum! Yes, gumballs flavored after movie theatre favorites popcorn and cola! Will the taste of buttery popcorn and sugary soda translate remarkably to gum form or will it be an atrocity and affront to cinema similarly to when The Artist beat The Tree of Life for the Academy Award for Best Picture? Watch and find out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Meeting Chuck D!

Last week my day started off good. Took a positively transformative, meditative outdoor walk and had an awesome encounter with a fuzzy, white caterpillar. Later as I was waiting at my son's pre-school to pick him up I caught wind that literally hours later famed hip hop performer and rap living legend Chuck D from Public Enemy would be speaking at my old stomping grounds Miami University!


I got there an hour early and was the first inside the auditorium. I sat front and center and played a little WWE SuperCard on my phone to kill time. When the moment arrived Chuck D lit up the place just as capably as a public speaker as he does an onstage musical performer (and I should know I saw Public Enemy live before and they tore the roof off the joint!). I enjoyed every second of it and Chuck's oratory and I think my favorite portion was on our cell phone culture, or as Chuck calls them, "Weapons of Mass Distraction".


After the free show there was an even freer reception in another hall. I walked in and as I'm known to do started filling up my plate with large helpings of free food (vegetable spring rolls, meatballs, cinnamon pita chips, etc.). When Chuck D arrived at first I wasn't going to bother him and had no intention on doing so (I don't get star-struck too easily, growing up I had my neck wrangled by Mick Foley so it doesn't get much better than that!). But then when I saw a small line forming I figured "Why not?". I may never get another opportunity to shake the man's hand who delivered some of the tastiest rap (or any genre of music) records my ears had ever heard. I got an "usie" (a term Chuck used earlier) and a standard photo. Chuck was more interested in my t-shirt which he photographed himself on his phone. So somewhere as Chuck D tours the world a picture of my chest is secure on his phone.


Don't forget to follow RtW on Facebook and Twitter! Brand new video coming up after midnight tonight!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Popcorn Seasonings Challenge



Teaming up again with Billy from VeggieMacabre we hit the kitchen to take on a popcorn seasonings challenge! From Kernal Season's we sprinkle their flavor dust on our popcorn including Pizza, Kettle Corn, Buffalo Wing, and Bacon Cheddar flavors. Which will make us dance in exultant joy and which will make us frown in sorrow? Also, as a special added bonus, we do an on the spot review of Virgil's Black Cherry Cream Soda! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

3 Green Sodas



The last of my Dallas adventure videos sees us tackling 3 unique green sodas! We've got Plantation Style Mint Julep, JOIA Lime, Hibiscus, & Clove, and Cicero Beverage Co. Chicago Style Lime Soda. I'm joined by the indubitable duo of Toby of Tobyblog fame and his son the legendary VCubeSolver. Watch us guzzle and gestate our precise thoughts on three green Goliath's of the beverage aisle!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Four Small Candies



This week's new video features four different unique and fun small candies! We're creatively calling it 'Four Small Candies'! In four different locales we sample four tiny treats! Tune in as Brian and a special guest sample a fascinating foursome of sugary somethings!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sour Face Twisters Gum & Doritos Jacked - Test Flavor #2653



Today's pair of reviews first features us downtown grappling with Sour Face Twisters Bubble Gum a truly tart tryst and then we jaunt to a summertime park to unsuccessfully attempt figuring out Doritos Jacked - Test Flavor #2653. Join us for this twosome that'll make you trill.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Japan By Way of North Carolina



Konnichiwa! While visiting Billy of VeggieMacabre at home in North Carolina we decided to attempt an edible odyssey. We trek to Japan via odd and uniquely local snack food from the "Land of the Rising Sun". Bare witness to us tasting Tokyo via Maccha Green Tea Kit Kat, Lychee flavored Ramune soda, and Calbee Hot & Spicy Potato Chips!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Spicy Fruti Gomas



Two things that nature didn't want combined spicy and gummy. Found at a dilapidated corner store in a bad part of town Nick brings forth these flaming follies. Speckled with sugar and spices these fruity gummy snacks promise to raise the temperature a few degrees. Can we attempt this feat and stand the gooey heat?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Lay's Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Chips

I was at home the other day on my laptop losing track of time. Falling down the rabbit hole procuring films from Renoir, Murnau, Dreyer, Ozu, Fellini, Godard, Truffaut, Bergman, Tarkovsky, etc. from an inter-library loan system for a 1,000 Greatest Films list (don't forget I post near daily movie reviews here) I'm beginning to work through I was broken from my trance when my wife arrived fresh from grocery shopping. As I was helping unload the groceries seeing the familiar items I'm accustomed to I reacted like an old lady seeing a specter when I stumbled across a very green bag of Lay's chips.


Behold! Lay's Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger chips! What a sight for sore eyes. I'm beholden to companies when they release new and especially unique or unusual flavors of familiar products like chips and soft drinks. But more personally I'm a sushi fanatic so seeing a flavor that falls within my own personal wheelhouse I was as surprised as I was in 2011 when The Artist beat The Tree of Life for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Except I wasn't throwing a frozen burrito at a TV screen this time.


Here's a little backstory on this particular flavor a fan-designed taste treat from Jersey. Wasabi isn't entirely new to snack foods as Blue Diamond makes damn fine Wasabi & Soy Sauce Almonds that you can get in smaller packets or larger canisters. Those things are the bomb! Even people that are unfamiliar with wasabi or sushi find them oddly enticing. So the bar is set and quite high for a wasabi starring junk food.

As mentioned earlier I'm a big sushi fan. In fact just two days ago here on Review the World I posted a video review of a sushi restaurant. I probably didn't get fully enveloped into the world of this delicacy into around college when I discovered a couple "all you can eat" buffet-style sushi places (sadly both have since closed likely not the best business model). Sure, some grocery stores sell it packaged but it's likely cold and sticky and far from what a sushi experience deserves to be. Some higher-end grocers sell daily prepared stock that they whip out throughout the day which is a step-above but unless you're in a rush and craving it fiercely it's better to make a trip to an actual sushi bar to fully appreciate both the food and ambience. Some will dip their toes in by sampling sushi at the more popular and common Chinese buffets and that's alright but know from experience that the "sushi" found on most big buffets is generally a 2 on a scale of 10 and that may be generous. So my push is for long-standing fans or those curious or even perhaps fearful is to visit a real sushi bar be it an old school bamboo-floored quiet and calm traditional locale or a more modern and sleek (sushi is en vogue at the moment so they're popping up) establishment to get a real experience.

Away from the actual sushi itself (which this isn't flavored as -- although that'd certainly be interesting I can only dreamily imagine an "ikura" or salmon roe-flavored chip) this chip is flavored like wasabi and ginger. Meneko tells a tale of yesteryear where she'd mix wasabi into her soy sauce to make a heavenly dunking spot where she could give her sushi morsels a bath in liquid nirvana. I don't know why I've never thought of that. But damn it I'll try it next time! I tend to put a small dab of wasabi (pea-sized) on each piece of sushi as a little goes a long way (if you've never had wasabi it has that horseradish sort of heat that hits you in the nostrils and not so much on the tongue like spicy food). I use soy in abundance though dunking each piece in with glee. The pink ginger slivers you get with sushi (and pictured above) I've generally avoided. Some people eat it but I've often heard it used as a palate cleanser where you just nibble a tiny bit. It's flavor is strong but I fret I'm not familiar enough with it to rightly describe it in any detail.


The last time Lay's ran this promotion my favorite by a landslide was the Chicken & Waffles flavor a great blend of savory and sweet. This time the line-up is very interesting. I also like that instead of all flavors being standard Lay's they've mixed it up making one flavor the Wavy-style and the one I'm sampling today the Kettle variety. Cappuccino may be making the most waves online for being zany but I'm not that interested. The Bacon Mac & Cheese I'd certainly try but don't see it having long-lasting appeal. Mango Salsa I'm probably most curious about out of the others as real mango salsa is a delicious dish with bright flavors that could be quite good if captured successfully in chip-form.


I opened the bag and while there was a strong noticeable scent I didn't figure it into my grading curve as chips aren't generally known for being particularly special or noteworthy in aromatics. As you can tell the chip-to-dead space ratio in the bag isn't favorable from this consumer's perspective but not surprising given industry trends. The medical white instead of foil lining calls to mind spaceship food to me for whatever reason. I'm sure astronauts enjoy Spicy Salmon rolls too.


The first chip. I was cautiously optimistic but very eager to dive in. And yes, that's a copy of Brain Juice on my kitchen table. Keeps me young.


Not all chips are created equal. This one was saturated in powder and seasonings. Tomo was eyeing it intently. For those of you more familiar with my videos and less so my written work you'll find Tomo a lot in some old articles including A Surprise for a Boy and Crayola Silly Scents pencils.

Verdict! These are good! Really good. I hope they stick around although my faith in Americans choosing wasabi over bacon is ridiculously low. So buy them now! I also urge you to eat more than a few if you want to really give them a fair chance. I thought the first few were good but it wasn't until I'd snacked on them for awhile that I really felt I'd unlocked the flavors and could actually give real overall thoughts on them as a snack. These have a slightly salty finish with the zesty light bite of wasabi and although soy is referenced on the bag but not included in their namesake I feel like on the back-end there's a nice splash of that most delicious of salty sauces. These definitely work as Kettle chips and now having had them in this form I can't imagine them as standard Lay's (and don't want to). The crunchiness and texture of the Kettle chip really compliments the bright flavors creating a dangerously snackable chip that I found hard to stop eating. I'm a pretty tough judge on new snack foods (see my disappointment of Lay's BLT chips here) so liking these this much instantly puts them in the upper-echelon of newer offerings over the last few years. If you try them leave your thoughts in the comments below or over on the RtW Facebook!

Overall Grade: A

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Avocado California Roll & Sushi - Garland, TX



While visiting Texas for RtW content Brian met up with natives Toby and Augie to try some sushi at Avocado California Roll & Sushi in beautiful Garland, TX. Nestled in an open air mall amid storefronts was a raw fish revelation. Watch as we try multiple different large sushi rolls getting a gander at eel, shrimp, salmon, tuna, and so much more delectable rawness. Enjoy and bring the soy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Key Lime Creme Soda & Cracker Jack Chocolate & Caramel Popcorn



We venture outside and then into a creepy abandoned house to review some outrageously green Key Lime Creme Soda then to our beloved Crawford Woods to sample some Cracker Jack Chocolate & Caramel Popcorn Nick found in his neighborhood corner store. This video is more fun than a '91 snow day spent home playing Sega Genesis!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Christmas in July!



We love the summer -- cookouts, fireworks, ball games, picnics, and swimming! But we're Christmas fans at heart and to our core. So in an effort to bring some of that yuletide cheer and holiday warmth to the sweltering summer we picked up three unique X-Mas-inspired snacks to try in the heat of mid-July. Hopefully after watching you'll be thinking of blinking lights, snowy neighborhoods, and the buzz of excitement seeing presents under the tree. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

25 Years of Me

(Back in 2007 I released the original version of this article to celebrate my 25th birthday and being the nostalgic, sentimental guy I am, share of my journey thus far. I got a lot of positive feedback at the time and it remains one of my favorite, most personal RtW pieces. My own sort of bildungsroman. Last year I thought it'd be a great time to add an afterword to the original bringing it several years forward and all that's changed. So here it is my yearly tradition: 25 Years of Me!)

This blog was designed for me to be able to, not necessarily critique, but give my thoughts on a myriad of things.  Being that on this date I’m celebrating my 25th year here on our planet, I thought it fitting, to take a look inward.  No, not a review of myself, I’d need years on a psychiatrists’ couch afterwards to pull that off; but, more so a retrospective.  I’ve got to admit, one of the reasons I really like doing this site, is after I write an article on something, be it a food item or toy or whatever, I feel like its been immortalized once it goes online.

This idea sort of germinated in my head a few months prior.  I wasn’t sure, until about a week ago, if I’d take a crack at it.  Even as I write this, it’s all stream of consciousness prose, as I don’t have an actual game plan.  I dug through tons of old family photo albums for this piece.  That process itself was very rewarding; as I discovered a lot of pictures I hadn’t seen in over a decade.  It was hard to narrow down which pictures to use, so I just aimed to use them as a timeline of sorts, and pick ones that made me smile, laugh, or feel nostalgic.  I went into a supermarket after midnight last week, sat by myself at a kiosk, and scanned picture after picture in a truly surreal experience.  The night cleaning crew occasionally passed by, looking on curiously at the shaggy-haired guy, humming the Fraggle Rock theme song to himself as he worked contentedly.

Without further adieu, please join me on a very personal journey through pictures of my first 25 years of life.  At first, I had dates, and more detailed notes in mind, but I think I just want to talk briefly about each photo, their context, and what they mean to me.  I feel very fortunate to have a venue to share so much of myself with you.


I started off as a little tyke, fun loving, and full of wonder.


Then that wide-eyed awe turned into energy, and occasionally, mischievousness.  I suppose this was one of my first created games, where I simply moved pennies from one bowl to another.  Who needs toys when you’ve got coins?


This was one of my very first New Year’s Eves.  I was out of control, too, with my combination of potato chips, and tap water in a fancy wine glass.


From a very early age, I had a fascination with reading that developed into a full-fledged love as I continued to grow.  Here, I’m reading something from DC Comics, as Green Arrow, Batgirl, and Green Lantern are recognizable on the back cover.


This picture’s a heartbreaker.  It was until at least middle school that I was able to look at this one without crying.  I had been in an accident where the tip of one of my fingers was cut off.  Here I am later that night, back from the hospital, but still a little traumatized.  Besides this picture, I still have the scar as a reminder.


One of my all-time favorite pictures of myself, seen happily munching down on powdered donuts while wearing my beloved Incredible Hulk shirt.


Usually I was on the receiving end of being picked on by my older brother Dennis, but here, I’ve got the advantage.


Surprise!  I hid in my dad’s guitar case many times, much to the astonishment of my brother, and I’m glad this peculiar pastime was captured.


Another thing I liked a lot since a young age was music, and audio in general.  I just loved wearing my parents’ oversized headphones, and would be found many times sitting in the living room before anyone else had woken up, listening to one of my tapes or records.  I’ve got to point out the stellar Return of the Jedi shirt, too.


All right, I’ll admit it; I just added this one because of its absolutely undeniable cuteness.


This picture is so goofy that I can’t believe I had no recollection of it.  But, there I am, looking inebriated and wearing the majority of a He-Man costume, sans the mask, which strangely enough, my brother is wearing earnestly with accompanying sword and striped sweater.


This was on a day where my father took my brother and I to the natural science and history museum in Cincinnati.  We’re seen crawling through the caverns and caves, which was a blast.  To this day, I still adore museums, and am a sucker for exploring.


This was our Christmas, of I believe 1987, and another forgotten gem I rediscovered.  I love our clothes, especially my Robin outfit.  Our tree also looks larger and more extraordinary than ever.  Like most people my age, I’m still very nostalgic about my Christmas experiences from childhood, and likely always will be.  One of my favorite Christmas memories, from three or four years later, was when my brother and I received a Sega Genesis.  I remember that night, after my parents went to sleep, we turned off all the lights in the living room, so only the glow from the TV and the blinking Christmas lights illuminated us, and played our first batch of games (Altered Beast, Last Battle, and my favorite Target Earth) until our tired eyes couldn’t take any more.


Even though I celebrated my 20th birthday with Chuck E. Cheese, this is proof that we’re old pals and go way back.


This was one of my very first and least embarrassing school pictures.


One year I decided to go as Raphael of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to a costumed Halloween party.  I ended earning the title of best costume, too.  I was super proud of my shell, which my dad made using a pizza box, paint, and a lot of time and care.  I didn’t realize until just now, though, that it appears I’m wielding sharp kitchen knives.


Here I am, I’m guessing circa 1st grade, all adorned in TMNT apparel.  You can also get a glimpse of my decorative skills.


I’d had a bike before, but this was the first bike that was really mine, you know?  I’d used old bikes before, but this one, albeit neon orange was bought solely for me, and I cherished it.


One summer, my parents put up a really big swimming pool, which played quite a pivotal point in those young years.  We only had it for a couple years, but, while it was there and usable, it facilitated as not just a recreational tool, but a neighborhood meeting spot, wild whirlpool, wrestling arena, and so much more.  Also featured in this picture besides my brother and I, was a local girl named Jamie, who if for nothing else, will be remembered for being the first person I played “Truth or Dare” with.


As mentioned earlier, I’d always enjoyed music since a young age, and at this point, I was especially into rap.  I often made my own recordings, pretending that I was a renowned musician, in my imaginary rock band Says, rap posse The Rap Masters, or in my more experimental project, Brian and the Nubian Rain.


In 6th grade I won first place in my school’s science fair with my project Copper Nails.  This photo was of me competing in the citywide competition, which I didn’t fare so well in.  I can still recall sitting in my classroom, listening to the closing announcements while waiting for the day’s final bell to ring, as they went through the list of the students that did the best, and being shocked when they got to #1 and it was me.


This easily ranks as likely the most embarrassing picture I could have shared.  I’m sporting some heinous hair, complete with bleached “tail” and some sort of stripe on the side of my skull.  Maybe I should bring that look back.


Here I am celebrating Christmas, likely fresh to middle school.  My presents are invocative of my interests then, as I proudly hold up a Psycho Sid action figure and some Goosebumps merchandise.


This is a sort of random picture, of my brother and I, escaping the heat of summer in our room circa June ’98.  It’s one of the few pictures of us in our bunk beds, and that’s the main reason I included it, as we used those things loyally, and I in fact, still sleep on what was one of the bunks to this day.


Here I am around the spring of 2000, nearly graduated from high school.  That summer, after graduating, was one of the most exhilarating, exhausting, and rewarding times of my life.  This photo was taken in nearby college town Oxford, OH, by then close friend and partner in perversity Chris Davidson.


Here I am at LaRosa’s restaurant with friends Jessie Robertson and Steve Smith.  Steve was my traveling partner on my adventure to Scotland and Jessie I've known along with his cousins Chris and Daryl since childhood.


Here I am with local legend and punk rock purist Eddie Michaels, at one of our old late-night stomping grounds, Waffle House.


This large group assembled in my kitchen prior to a New Year’s Eve Party in Indiana.  I’ve lost contact and separated from almost all of these guys, but still feel fortunate for having shared time with them back then.


Here I am at one of my favorite spots back then, the local comic book shop, where I could wax philosophic about Terri Hatcher’s portrayal of Lois Lane and not seem too weird.


Here I am with then girlfriend Molly, about to leave to attend her prom, and my niece, Jade.  I dated Molly for over four years, and although we’ve moved on since, I can still look back fondly on the time we shared together.


Here I am in 2005 with my fiancé Amanda while attending a cousin of mine’s wedding.  Around the time we started dating, I also reenrolled in college, as well as moved into an apartment with her.  It was a busy and challenging period, but also extremely gratifying and fulfilling.


Here I am with Jade, and my mom, Bevy Sue.  They’re both so important to me.  I’ve been around Jade since her birth, and feel I’ve been a very positive influence and figure in her life.  My mom is incredibly inspirational.  She’s a yoga teacher, practices kindness, loves experiencing new things, and has always been there for me.


Lastly, I added this, the only non-scanned image, of Amanda and I, from our recent trek to Orlando, Florida.  I wanted to end it with an image that, at least to me, is related to who I am now, and who I’ll be in the future.  Amanda and I have made a lot of plans for the future, plans I’m incredibly excited and very hopeful about.

I look back at these past 25 years and I’ve got to say I’m really happy with how they’ve turned out.  Life’s not always been easy for my family, we’ve never had much money, but there’s never been a shortage of love and knowledge nearby.  I don’t have all the answers, I’m still searching, like most of us, and that’s totally all right.  I was recently told that to love other people, to love your work and schooling, and everything else, you’ve got to first truly love yourself.  I can honestly say that I do love myself, the person I was, now am, and will eventually become.  Thank you so much for sharing this with me.

2013 Update/Afterword Addition:


When we last left off Amanda and I were young and in love! Talking of future plans, etc. Now look at my beautiful wife and I! My life's completely changed since 25. Amanda and I moved into our second apartment in '08 while I finished college and she started her career as a nurse. We had a small, personal wedding ceremony at a relative's house surrounded by family and close friends. In 2010 I graduated from Miami University with a degree in Mass Communications (and a Minor in Film Studies), we moved into our first house, and my son Owen Leo was born! Wow what a year! Almost exactly two years later in April of 2012 my daughter Yukari Lila was born. I'd always dreamt of being a parent and knew it'd be something I would (hopefully) excel at with my patience and a heart full of love and happiness to share.


Here's my beautiful babies Owen and Yukari! I could honestly write pages and pages on them but I won't pen a novel at present. Owen is an amazing. Incredibly smart boy. He's never really been interested in traditional toys like trucks and action figures but has a love of things like books, flash cards, and musical instruments. He goes to bed with books and wakes up carrying them. Pretty much throughout the entire day he is talking about letters, numbers, shapes, colors, animals, etc. I've taken him to parks regularly since he was very young and just like me he loves the outdoors, being in the sun, running around, exploring, etc. He's had a few favorite shows but overall Blue's Clues is probably the one he likes most. He'll eat a lot of different stuff including healthier things but his favorite are probably pizza, chili spaghetti, and fresh fruit. Yukari is 14 months and such a bright, adventurous girl! She already has such personality! She's so beautiful. She loves running after her brother and is interested in everything. She started walking, eating real food, etc. quicker than Owen -- she wastes no time! We love taking them to the zoo, museum, market, etc. They're the cutest, sweetest, most amazing children I could have ever hoped for.


The pace of life has accelerated and isn't slowing down any time soon! I've changed and grown a lot and everyday is a new opportunity to be a better man. Never a dull day. Between my family, the day job, all of my many hobbies (running RtW, watching copious amounts of movies, cartoons, MMA, etc.). I still strive to look at the world anew each morning, seek out the beauty in everything, quiet moments of contemplation, etc. My goal is to encounter each moment wholeheartedly, with openness, never lose sight in the beauty in the simplicity of life, and radiate happiness, both for my own benefit and in effort to put smiles on the faces of others and help brighten their day if even just for a moment. I've got thirty full years lived although I often feel like that same tiny kid trapped inside a giant's body. I've never lost sight of the sweetness and awe of childhood and that's one of the traits that makes me who I am. Thanks for reading and allowing me to share of myself with you all.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

RtW Cameo: Beers With Movie Sauce

Part of my Carolina adventure visiting Billy of VeggieMacabre was getting to cameo on an episode of his show Beers With Movie Sauce!


PART ONE

Before watching the embedded video I recommend going here to its corresponding entry over on VeggieMacabre as Billy penned a swell introductory piece detailing his discovery of RtW one snowy night long ago. Enjoy!

PART TWO

Coming soon!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My North Carolina Trip Shorties



I flew down to North Carolina to hang out with my buddy and fellow blogger Billy of VeggieMacabre! This video is full of clips of my adventure inc. our stops at TEN Park Lanes, HeroesCon in Charlotte, the Reynolda House and Silo Deli Wine and and Cheese Bar, Ted's Famous Kickin' Chicken, Pintxos Pour House, Harris Teeter, and Little Richard's BBQ! I had such a blast and now you can relive this superheroic blogger team-up!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sweden Creme - Hamilton, OH



This time Brian and the RtW gang hit up a neighborhood frozen treats spot and grill! Right on Pleasant Ave. in Hamilton, OH near the Lindenwald area this small in stature but large in yummy place has all sorts of delicious stuff like malts, shakes, and lots of ice cream treats, as well as food options if you're looking for a bite like local famous Dixie Burgers, chili cheese dogs, chicken tenders, and lots more. We sample the food and take in the street-level ambience in this new RtW vid!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Swamp Pop



Hanging in beautiful Texas Brian is joined by father/son duo Toby & Augie to try some Louisiana-inspired sodas from Swamp Pop! Among the firewheel flowers and under a gorgeous blue sky we sample Praline Cream Soda, Noble Cane Cola, and Satsuma Fizz! Enjoy! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tennis Ball Gum & Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen



In this video we take it to the tennis courts to try Tennis Ball Gum, discover the next tennis prodigy, and collect dried worms. After that it's over to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, a place we reviewed on the inaugural RtW TV episode back in 2006, to check in on the RtW gang at lunch. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sloppy Joe Chips



Finally, every lunchlady's favorite entree the Sloppy Joe is immortalized in potato chip from courtesy of the fine freaks at Herr's. They dish up some unique flavors but this one wears its absurdness like a badge of honor. A staple of mom's in a pinch the Sloppy Joe reminds us of Wednesday evening meals when life got in the way and we ended up with our 'ol pal SJ and some potato chips on the side. Can they encapsulate that very specific taste into chip form? We're going to find out so you don't have to. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chocolate Corn Kernels & Sunflower Seeds



We try not just one but two candy coated chocolate covered oddities! Both corn kernels and sunflower seeds get a loving dunk in milk chocolate then coated in a bright candy shell. We try both unique snacks but only one of them ends up in an open grave. What will they think of next? Candy coated chocolate covered shrimp tails? Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dallas Roaming Lunch



Earlier this month I visited Dallas, Texas and while down there RtW fan turned friend Toby took me on what we dubbed a "roaming lunch". Since my time there was limited and there were a ton of food places Toby wanted to introduce me to we tried to cram three spots in during one wandering lunch through town! Watch in amazement and astonishment as we dine at LA Burger, Fuzzy's Tacos, and Taco Naan! Enjoy and bring a bib!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Slim Jim Dare



We're taking the dare! Why, the Slim Jim Dare, of course! Three levels of intensifying heat. Kinda Hot Chili Pepper, Feakin' Hot Jalapeño, and Really Freakin' Hot Habanero. Eaten in a dark, dank, disturbing basement. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

AirHeads Turbo Taffy with Sour Gel



Brian has covered AirHeads since the earliest incarnations of RtW over ten years ago and whenever they release limited edition flavors he's as excited as Christmas morning.  Inspired by the hit children's film Turbo we get Zoom Berry and Orange Overdrive! But even cooler than that is the debut of something uncanny a taffy accessory: Zoomin' Sour Gel! Watch as the gang samples these this sweet and sour taffy in a Circle K parking lot!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

5th Avenue & Smarties Taffy



The RtW gang is back reviewing some junk food in a good mood. First off, Brian had a craving for a 5th Avenue bar, something he hadn't eaten or really seen since the mid-'90's. Will it hold up to the heights of memory? Next up, we all know Smarties, but did you know they now come crushed up in brightly colored taffy? It's true. We try this odd edible, chat about childhood candy urban legends, and more!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

RtW Easter: Fun 'n Games Chocolate



To continue a tradition started last year we wanted to do another edible Easter review! We found a chocolate maze game where you can use your dexterity and cunning to navigate a perilous maze then when you grow bored eat the whole thing! Brian and Eddie try it out in an alley full of memories and hypodermics! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Salt 'N Vinegar Crickets



Your old pal Toby of the flummoxing koan of a site Tobyblog sent us a challenge via courier: put these insects in your mouth he declared! Not only are they crickets but they're salt and vinegar flavor -- which is RtW founder Brian's least favorite flavor of anything! Brian rounded up some ruffians to help him on this edible and edifying taste test. Bug out and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Campus Food Review! Harrier's Nest at Miami University



Brian returns to his forming stomping grounds Miami University. Summoned by current student and RtW staffer Chris to revisit The Harrier's Nest a food spot at Miami's Hamilton campus. Together the guys sample several things off of the menu including mini corndogs, a hamburger, chili cheese fries, a fish sandwich, and more! Enjoy the atmosphere and ambience of a bustling college campus as the boys chow down on school lunch.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The End of RtW


I'm super bummed to report Review the World is closing today .......







APRIL FOOLS' DAY!

I'm just kidding! We'll have a brand new video for your eyes to make love to on Wednesday, April 9th! See you then!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Zen Spot: Crawford Woods

Billy of VeggieMacabre suggested another duo video and this time the theme was firmly within my wheelhouse: showcase our favorite "zen spot"! What's a zen spot you say? A place where you go to relax, reflect, think, introspect, indulge in positive vibes, and enjoy the scenery. I choose Crawford Woods a park from my childhood neighborhood I still frequent and love. The video's a lot looser and off the cuff than normal RtW fare -- so join me for a lengthy exploration in this love letter to my favorite zen spot!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

TNT Assorted Color Snakes Fireworks



This time the boys take on the role of pyromaniacs as they light up some Assorted Color Snakes fireworks from TNT. Will they be amazed by flashing lights and unfurling python-like snake forms? Or will they be burnt? Literally and figuratively? Will they discover modern times' version of cave drawings i.e. crude chalk drawings on public property? All we can tell you is this week's video is on FIRE!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Old Towne Chocolate Fudge Soda



Brian and Chris are at Pearl's Diner suffering through a lousy country rock live band and scarfing down some grub when they bust out a unique and idiosyncratic offering by Old Towne with their sui generis guzzler Chocolate Fudge Soda. Bring a sweet tooth and monocle for this one!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Zapp's Mega Review - Part 3 of 3

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We're back for the third and final of our Zapp's chips mega reviews! This time the guys are in downtown Hamilton, OH and they saved the funkiest for last: Hotter 'N Hot Jalapeno and Salt & Vinegar. We film our thoughts in the golden hour and as cars and life rush by we snack.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cancun Mexican Bar & Grill (Forest Park, OH)

There's a few reasons why I decided upon this place to write about and little of it had to do with the food. As usual I was following my own nostalgic impulses. Years ago, maybe a decade or so back, in the same building Cancun now occupies there was this terrific Mexican buffet which I was just bonkers over. The building itself is sort of nestled into the back of a dead-end street practically underneath a freeway. Back then I'd felt like I had made a major discovery. Before the Mexican buffet I believe it had been a Chinese buffet, and likely several other things before that, it sort of has the feel of an old Perkins. But back to this Mexican buffet -- it was glorious! Have you ever even heard of such a thing? I certainly hadn't before or since. You'd trot over to the buffet islands and fill your plate with as many enchiladas, tacos, chile rellanos, and tamales as you could handle! Unfortunately nothing gold can stay and it disappeared quietly into the night not unlike Pancho Villa after a robbery.

Fast-forward to now where a Mexican restaurant, albeit not a buffet, is holding residence in the building, I found myself dying to get back inside for the first time in years to see what of the old magic held up and if it'd still be recognizable from my fond foggy memories. Also, last weekend while giving out of state visitor Molly of Swagger Mom Tales a tour of the area while inside the mall we passed a deadbolt clad, shuttered and boarded, Margaritas which I reviewed back in 2005. Seeing the darkened desolate version of the restaurant I once was serenaded in and made jokes about pissing on its floor birthed a desire to do a new restaurant review. Coupled with my curiosity these things led me to Cancun Mexican Bar & Grill.



Winter Storm Titan was underway but an unexpected break in the snow and freezing rain gave me an opportunity to make a run to Cancun. Here's a picture of some scenic farmland -- I wonder how the taquitos crop is coming in this year?


There she is! It's hard to see but the bushes in the lower-left corner had a complete layer of frost over them. I must admit I was feeling pretty good and excited at this point. A moment of jubilation hit me as I drove over a nearby bridge en route. Life can beat us down with its routines day-to-day so little moments like a trip out for a special meal can be meaningful. I hadn't opened that door in roughly a decade and had all sorts of warm memories of the past flooding in.



As I entered it took a moment for my eyes to adjust. The far side of the restaurant was lined with windows (an image of that near the end of this review) letting in bright light so I blinked beleaguered into shadow. After standing for a moment taking in my surroundings a very short man in a black zip-up hoodie got up from the circular bar area which holds center court in the restaurant (where I believe the bulk of the buffet islands previously were) and came over to me. I suspected it might be Pequeño Nitro sans mask. He led me to one of the first aisles of booths and to my spot for that day's meal. I know they lump people together during slower times so the waitstaff doesn't have to cover as much ground but I'd have preferred not being bunched with the other few groups there at the time since I was traveling solo and the other empty side of the restaurant held more visual appeal. I was greeted by this amazing tabletop however. Take a look! Using an unusual embossed technique the art really pops and the vibrant colors struck me like a ray of sunshine to a bed of marigolds.


Shortly after being seated I was brought out some chips and salsa. I'd forgotten about this crucial part of any self-respecting Mexican meal! But needless to say I was thrilled at its arrival.


And boy was this an excellent riff on chips and salsa. Every restaurant uses the same basic concept but will do something a little differently, maybe a little extra cilantro, perhaps spicier, or more thick, etc. Their salsa had an amazing consistency and I'm not sure what method they used to get to that endpoint but it was flavorful and tasty and not too thin or runny nor thick or chunky. Well done. The chips were warm and that's a big deal! It's funny what a difference that makes but a warm basket of chips is infinitely more inviting than a sad cold one. I felt like I ate more than my fill and yet shockingly when I left while the salsa container was nearing empty the chips look relatively untouched so you certainly get a lot and it's refillable should your party devour them all.


Here's the bar area taken slyly by holding my phone up above a barrier. One lone silent man sat nursing a drink and shot me a glance that I read as, "What you know about Xochiquetzal, esé?".


Some nice scenery inside I must add. In the background an adobe style roof adds charm but I want to talk about the backrest of the seat you see there. To quell my boredom I concocted a story behind it. See what's really happening is that field worker is feeding a giant blue underground monster that's sprouting up through the scorched earth. He's unloading his supply of watermelons directly into its fierce gullet.


So I wanted to order from the lunch specials to gauge the food quality. I'd given the menu a cursory glance online but wanted to wait until I arrived to make a final decision. I'd considered doing one of those combo multi-item deals were you get a to try a couple things and maybe a side dish but then my eyes scanned over chimichanga and my heart skipped a beat. I don't really have any past history with the dish. I'm familiar enough with it and undoubtedly I've eaten one before but that being the case it was so far back that I can't really recollect the experience. In that moment it beckoned out to me and I was not prepared to turn a blind eye to its plea.


Another vantage point where you see a clearer view of the accompanying sides.  So I get this rather large deep fried beef (chicken was also an option) chimichanga covered in cheese sauce, rice, beans, and sour cream on a bed of shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.


Wow. This was banging! Right away a euphoric feeling rose over me. Within the first bite or two. Before I break down the food itself I want to talk value. $5.75. That's it. My entire meal. My entree, chips and salsa, and a water. That's not bad at all. In fact it's downright impressive. A lot of fast food joints have been steadily upping their prices, so nowadays, a chicken sandwich combo meal at Wendy's is going to set you back nearly $8 and trust me it'll never be as satisfying as the meal I had before me and nobody needs that jumbo soda with the inflated price anyhow. I don't know that I'd call myself particularly thrifty because I like to treat myself to things like meals out routinely but I did grow up relatively poor and as such appreciate the value of a fine meal at an affordable price. I'm often racked with guilt after blowing cash at fast food spots but was beaming with a big smile throughout while eating knowing I'd paid a fair price for a really enjoyable meal.


Let's talk about the food! As soon as I placed my fork against the chimichanga cheese sauce oozed up over the sides akin to trying to submerge a toy boat in water. For me on most foods a little cheese can go a long way but this was very delicate and smooth and not at all strong or overwhelming. It added some moisture and texture that really added to the dish. The seasoned beef inside was incredible. How come whenever we try to make it home it's either way too seasoned and instant heartburn or to curb that it's not seasoned enough and just tastes like regular beef? They had a perfect blend with an almost peppery flavor that worked great paired with some of the more mellower side dishes. It's been said the true mark of a Mexican restaurant is their rice and beans and both were uniformly solid. The beans were very smooth with no signs of crust from being overcooked or sitting too long which can often be the case. I love mixing the sour cream and vegetables together to make a salad which goes splendidly with the more rich chimichanga creating a nice balance and keeping the dish from being one-note. The food was really great and now I know a return visit is due soon hopefully with my wife and kids so we can all feast. And you better believe I'll be getting a chimichanga again!


I recalled almost too late that in the early RtW days I always included a picture of myself when doing dining reviews. I'm not sure what I was doing/thinking here but perhaps I was lost in thought. Grappling with the subtle inquiries into the human condition from Critters 3. Have you ever hit that point toward the end of a meal where it feels like to take any more bites is some sort of cruel unusual prison punishment? I hit that wall. But over time I've learned to look past that initial discomfort in recognition, as if a meal's made me that full and I'm still trying to polish it off it must have been awfully damn good.


Before leaving I wanted to look around some but little remnants of the past remained. But before I called it a day I saw some brightly colored letters that appeared to be dabbed on with a bingo dauber. Wait. What did it crudely say? GAME ROOM. I wasted no time bustling past the Deuce Mob and into his glorious gallery of gaming.


Ugh. Dark, dimly lit, and desolate. I immediately thought of my friend Matt's old article from '04 titled The Worst Game Room Ever!. Similarly to Matt I oddly anthropomorphize inanimate objects regularly and thought briefly if these machines could talk of their pasts, their hopes for the future, their desire to be caressed and endlessly, ceaselessly played. Maybe it's like Toy Story and if they aren't being used by humans they slowly lose their life. There was a bowling game, Beach Head 2000, and a paltry racing game that made me long for Off Road.


The restroom felt like one of the puzzle chambers from Cube 2: Hypercube.


Here's the aforementioned far side of the restaurant with the better lighting/view. Next time I want to get over there. The easy way or the hard way. Overall I had an excellent time. I urge readers, and I'll take my own advice here, to break the routine sometime from eating at the same places all the time out of convenience or habit, and seek out new and different spots to try. It'll be a rewarding and enriching experience. I left very full and happy and at only the cost of $5.75 and the 8 seconds of my life I won't get back from taking a blurry picture of a urinal.

Overall Grade: B+