Friday, June 28, 2013


Wait...what?  Will Shrimpy cheat on his girlfriend?  Are we going to get our first Eat @ Shrimpy's "catfight"?  Will anyone stop caring about Kim Kardashian long enough to realize she's just a publicity stunt with tits?  Tune in next week to find out, true believer!  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Comic Review: The Wake #2

                Sean Murphy, you are my kryptonite apparently.  Even though I am against anything and everything big two related (with a few nostalgic exceptions) it apparently doesn’t matter as long as Sean Murphy is the artist.  I gleefully trotted out to the comic shop last month to pick up issue one of The Wake (but had something else in mind to review at the time), and with this week’s second issue release I now present you with a review.

                Sean Murphy can draw better than most if not all of the artists in comics today.  That being said, this cover is incredible as a standalone piece of art as well as part of the overall poster image that it will create once all of the covers are completed and placed together.  Movement and design have always been one of Murphy’s strong suits and that is not hindered by the fact that this is a piece of a bigger design.  In fact, Murphy has done a phenomenal job of making sure that each cover (at least for the first two issues) can stand on its own as an image and not be reliant on other subsequent covers to make sense of what is going on. 

                The cover itself doesn’t really have anything to do with this particular issue, but it does show more of the underwater creatures and scenes that Murphy has excelled at in the first two issues.  Everything is perfectly referenced and entirely believable in terms of the sea-creatures and even the dive suits on the humans.

8/10 – It’s a great looking cover.  Not as immediately iconic as the Punk Rock Jesus covers but well done nonetheless.

                Scott Snyder is following a pretty standard horror-story blueprint for the writing.  This is not bad, but it is fairly familiar, and he hasn’t done much to differentiate his story from its forebears yet.  Each individual in the underwater oil rig that is their home for the duration (which just replaces the space station, haunted house, asylum, etc.) has a different skill set.  If he follows the standard horror trope, they will get killed off one by one and their skills will not be able to be utilized.  Pay attention to the badass poaching lawbreaker as he will probably be either one of the first to go.  There always seems to be the “bad boy” that you think will be able to handle anything because that’s what he does for a living, then he gets killed just as easily as those less familiar with violence. 

                Where Snyder does differentiate from many of his influences is in his inclusion of both the distant past and the distant future in the story.  This isn’t something that a movie could really do with too much success anyway, but it’s nice to see Snyder utilize the comics medium instead of making a book solely for a movie deal (though with how well the comic is selling, don’t be surprised if Warner Brothers tries to adapt it in the near future). 

                The book moves along at a relatively slow pace, and while I generally do not like that kind of decompression, for this kind of story it is actually ideal.  The slow drag out of the plot points only helps to heighten the awareness of the gravity of the situation.  I will admit that the lack of dialogue on many of the pages can lead to a couple confusing instances, but it’s not anything that lingers.  While we are not becoming any more invested in these characters, and therefore won’t care too much if they die, with the decompression of the story, it does give that feeling of a long walk down a damp, dimly lit hallway that serves this story well.

                The fact that the “villain” is a monster and yet we aren’t really sure who the real villain is feeds into the horror-movie magic as well.  Is the creature really the villain or are we the villain because we invaded their turf?  This could turn out to be either very good (if not relatively predictable) or it can be another allegory for man overstepping his bounds in terms of exploration and cultivation of natural resources (the addition of oil as the main catalyst for their underwater drilling has not fallen on deaf ears either). 

6/10 – It’s a bit heavy handed and formulaic, but the hook is there and the use of different time periods to essentially tell three different stories that will all (conceivably) tie back together is a nice touch.

                Murphy is the man.  Everything that was incredible about Punk Rock Jesus works here too.  His artwork doesn’t appear as minutely detailed this time around, which could be due to the fact that he’s not really dealing in real-life environments like a house in Ireland, and instead in a fictitious underwater oil rig.  That being said, the art lacks a little of the comfort and hominess that Punk Rock Jesus did.  This may just be by design though as the scientists are all in an alien environment without their normal creature comforts. 

                I do have to mention the coloring by Matt Hollingsworth.  After seeing Murphy’s work in its uncolored form, the fact that he is being colored on this project feels like a step back.  As good as the coloring could be, hell he could have had Jose Villarubia using the same incredible techniques he uses on Jae Lee’s art, it would not compare to the look and the feel of those uncolored inks.  I realize it was a different book and a different feel in general, but the art feels under-represented here.  Many of the subtle nuances that were present in Punk Rock Jesus are nowhere to be found here (either by design on Murphy’s part, or unknowingly covered up by the color).  This is not a knock against Hollingsworth or the work he does, I just think it was a mistake to have it colored at all.

8/10 – The art in general is great and the characters are all varied and interesting in design (not just boring cookie-cutter humans).  I could have done without the coloring but it’s not a deal breaker by any means.

7/10 – It’s not the home-run for me that Punk Rock Jesus was, even with the enhanced pedigree of Scott Snyder as the writer.  It’s still good and it’s nice to have a story doing well that isn’t steeped in continuity, meaningless events, or as a setup for a movie script. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lung Cancer

This is also known as diagnosing yourself via the internet.  Regardless of what your symptoms are, it'll usually tell you the worst-case scenario.  Of course my mother used to diagnose us with her giant medical book (the paper version of WebMD) so I speak from experience.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hell’s Kitchen Episode Sixteen: An apparent change of heart.

                I’m not sure if Ramsay just really wanted loud guy gone or what, but for the moment at least he seems pretty content with keeping the five chefs that he has (even if one of them is blonde girl).  The whole mess about “only giving out four black jackets this year” was a bunch of baloney.  I started the episode late, about fifteen to twenty minutes in, and they had all been given their black jackets.  I’m not sure if Ramsay just changed his mind or what (I’m assuming there was some kind of challenge associated with it given the amount of time I missed, but if you know for sure, let me know in the comments below!) but when I started watching the episode it was right before the pressure-cooker challenge. 

                The pressure-cooker challenge had the chefs open up a pressure cooker placed in front of them to determine their mystery ingredient.  This was a “humble” ingredient, not one that you would normally find in a fine dining restaurant, and with the help of a pressure cooker the chefs were supposed to turn that ingredient into something that Ramsay and his two guest judges would deem restaurant quality.  Blonde girl had pork belly, but apparently she had no idea how a pressure cooker worked because she kept opening the damn thing and therefore her dish was undercooked.  Mixed up Cyndi had some kind of pork, a roast or butt I think or something of that nature, and her dish turns out to be stunningly bland.  Mr. Mohawk received lamb shanks and while in the process of cooking them in the pressure cooker, burns the meat.  He tries to clean out the pressure-cooker the best he can in order to finish cooking the meat without it tasting burnt, but he simply can’t.  Luckily the chef at the pass for the women’s team (the one that helps Ramsay expedite food while he is running around ready to tear someone a new asshole) gives Mr. Mohawk a second pressure-cooker so he can finish his dish.  This is after she also sets him up with a new station when his gets overrun by the output from the steamer.  Is she pulling for him or trying to help him advance, or would she do this for any chef in that situation?  I think it’s the latter, especially since we haven’t seen any other hint of favoritism, but who knows.  His lamb turns out ok, but a little undercooked because of the time spent out of the pressure cooker while cleaning it.  Skinny black girl gets goat ribs.  I’ve never had goat anything, but with the way the judges rave about this dish, and appropriately award it a 14/15, I may just have to try some.  Squeaky voice gets beef short ribs, which is what everyone probably wanted because of its versatility.  She decides to make a beef stew with it and makes her own homemade pasta to go in it.  Everything is perfect and she rightfully receives a perfect score of 15/15. 

                For her reward, squeaky voice is given a chance to spend time with her family (which is apparently what the time I missed was all about). She gets a private dining experience at a fancy restaurant, just her and her family.  I believe it’s her mother and husband/boyfriend, but I’m not sure, but either way, they live it up for their short time together.  The losers of this challenge have to do some landscaping as well as dumpster diving to separate the garbage into recyclable/non-recyclable piles.  These are dumpsters that have apparently not been emptied since the first dinner service so a lot of that stuff is pretty rank.  In fact, skinny black girl dumps out a bag of garbage to go picking through it and wonders where all the “rice” came from.  That’s not rice, that’s maggots you dummy.  This sends her into a kind of a tailspin as apparently maggots are the one thing she can’t deal with.  Despite skinny black girl’s inability to get over that fear, the chefs finish their task of picking through garbage and head in to the dorms to clean themselves up.  They get a call from Ramsay to come down the stairs right away, which they do even though blonde girl still has her hair in a towel (and apparently gives away just how cool Ramsay keeps Hell’s Kitchen, if you know what I mean).  Ramsay then states that the black team will be working together for the first time the following evening at dinner service, but they won’t be working in a vacuum.  The black team will be going against an all-star staff (according to Ramsay anyway).  Of course they don’t show us who these people are, but based on the reactions of the current chefs, it’s not people you would expect.  And to be continued.

                Last year when Ramsay did this he welcomed back chefs from the past seasons.  Some were very good, others were just okay.  I don’t remember the end result of the head to head, but unless the chefs didn’t watch last year’s season, they wouldn’t be this surprised and this blown away that Ramsay got the old chefs back.  I don’t think the other team is made up of strictly returning chefs, or if it is, it’s made up of past winners.  I don’t think Ramsay was able to wrangle cooking show heavyweights like Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, etc. either.  At this point, the identity of the opposing chefs is anyone’s guess, but if nothing else it should be interesting.  Not only that, but this week there seems to be a fracture amongst the black team already, which, duh.

See you next week!

Music Review – Megadeth: Super Collider

                Dave Mustaine and Megadeth are nothing if not consistent.  The band has consistently released music every two to three years for their entire career.  This is with multiple lineup changes as well as health problems for Mustaine (he suffered a nerve injury in his arm in 2002 leading the band to break up and many people to believe that Megadeth was done for good).  By 2004 The System has Failed was released and Megadeth just kept churning right along.  They have proven to be an unstoppable touring and recording machine, and with the return of David Ellefson on bass offer a consistency that is pretty foreign to this band.  This brings us to Super Collider, the newest offering from Dave and the boys.  One thing to understand about Megadeth is that despite the consistency in the timing of new albums, the quality of the total album is not always there.  For the most part, the last four discs 2004’s The System has Failed, 2007’s United Abominations, 2009’s Endgame and 2011’s Th1rt3en have been decent discs that have two or three really good songs on there and the rest are just okay (this can actually probably go back through 2001’s The World Needs a Hero and 1999’s Risk, though the formula is not as consistent with those two). 

                When Megadeth is on, they are really on, as the recent Grammy nominations can attest (though they don’t mean much if you have seen the Grammys in the last ten years or so).  The main problem with Megadeth over the latter half of their career is a stunning bout of inconsistency within the confines of each individual album.  A lot of the inconsistency, in my opinion anyway, is the political side of Megadeth that has always been present but was never quite so venomous or direct as in The System has Failed or United Abominations.  Most of the time you can tell when a song is coming up that won’t be too good, it usually starts with spoken word (by Mustaine or others) and generally has a decidedly political slant to it. 

                While Super Collider does not get too political in terms of the subject matter, at least not too overtly political, it still suffers from average songwriting in spots.   The music is great, don’t get me wrong, it’s the lyrics that weigh things down.  There’s something to be said about being able to guess which word Mustaine is going to say next based upon his rhyming scheme, and not in a good way.  This is fine, I suppose but when there are songs on the album that have an incredible beat and decent lyrics, to hear a song that is only adequate to good is a letdown.  Sure, if it was one song that would be acceptable as asking for a full ten to twelve top notch songs on an album is not always practical, especially when many of those songs will never see the light of day beyond that album anyway.  The problem is that usually makes for a disjointed listening experience for someone like me that actually still buys the albums and still enjoys listening to them straight through. 

                I read a few reviews before I picked up the album that stated that Super Collider was too mainstream and not really thrash metal.  While I completely agree with that statement, when was the last time Megadeth put out an album of thrash metal?  Maybe Countdown to Extinction in 1992, but probably more like 1990’s Rust in Peace.  What I’m trying to get at is that there are still people out there that are waiting for Megadeth to return to the roots that they all but abandoned nearly two decades ago.  While this does not live up to the lofty standards and expectations of people still wearing their “Killing is my Business…” T-Shirts from 1985, it does come across as a decent record.  The first two tracks, “King Maker” and “Super Collider” are by far the best, along with “The Blackest Crow” and the cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat”, and they provide a solid foundation, even when Mustaine goes back to his old habits of spoken word or predictable rhyming.

                This isn’t the best Megadeth album by far.  It is, however, one of the better ones of the last ten to fifteen years or so.  If you are a Megadeth completist, you probably already own it; if you want a solid rock album it is definitely worth the money.  Even the Best Buy exclusive with three bonus tracks is worth it.  The bonus tracks are good and if you get it soon it won’t be jacked up too high in terms of price. 

Monday, June 24, 2013


Don't ask me why Shrimpy opens up his home to anyone and everyone.  Maybe he's just nice.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

First Day

I had a girlfriend at the time I wrote this that was a nurse.  There's a good chance this was one of our conversations upon her return home from work after one of her long shifts.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Comic Review – Transformers Monstrosity #1

                Like a good little drone I will usually plunk my hard earned money down for at least one issue of any Transformers comic that IDW releases.  This is not purely a nostalgia-based purchase (for that you can look no further than DC’s Masters of the Universe line) as these are some of the best comics on the stand today.  The writing is generally spot-on in terms of not only adhering to the particular “voice” I remember these characters having in my youth, but the art is also some of the best in the business.  To be able to take such complex forms and make them not only readable but fluid within a comic book setting is not an easy thing.  Hell I can’t even do it in a pinup, I have no idea how some of these artists do it for an entire book.

                That being said, let’s look at the latest mini-series to drop in the Transformers line.  Monstrosity actually started out as a webcomic (much like its predecessor Autocracy – which I still have to pick up) and is being collected for print.  While the ethics of this are probably fairly dubious at best (you can’t tell me that the “talent” is being paid for the digital, print, and eventual trade paperback versions of the story – or, you can I just won’t believe you) it’s interesting to see how the transition is made from digital to print.

This says issue 3 but it's actually the third cover of issue one of the print comic.

                It wouldn’t be an IDW book without multiple covers.  This one has three standard covers all by interior artist Livio Ramondelli.  I picked the one that was on top of the pile when I went shopping for it, which was the cover showcasing the dinobots (or as they are called here: the dynobots).  I flipped through the stack just to see the other covers and was happy with my choice.  Covers A and B feature Megatron and Scorponok, respectively and while they are well done, I have a soft spot for the dinobots.  The cover itself shows a pretty standard dinobot pose that is rendered in the standard Ramondelli way. 

                While I enjoy the subject matter, the execution leaves a little to be desired.  The one major flaw in Ramondelli’s work as a whole is that because of the lack of outlines, everything tends to blend together.  This is the main flaw here, and the background having a yellowish tint to it is a poor choice given the yellow on the ‘bots themselves.  Beyond that, the actual figures look off in terms of the perspective on their individual pieces, especially Swoop in the back and Sludge on the left side.  I realize that with so many different pieces that make up your standard Transformer, it is hard to keep everything in order to the point of perfection when it comes to perspective, yet there are too many instances in this cover that just look…off. 

6/10 – It looks like a lot of time was spent on Grimlock because he is in the foreground with less and less being spent on each of the characters as they get further into the distance.  While that makes sense to a point, the foundation should still be there.

                The execution of the story and how it was transferred from just a set of episodes to one coherent comic book was of interest to me.  Obviously there is an overarching story going through it, but how the writing team of Chris Metzen and Flint Dille was going to synch up each installment and make it cohesive was of great interest to me.  Would this feel like a comic book or just a series of collected pages? 

                The good thing is that there is a lot going on here, and I mean a lot.  We are following at least four major storylines that will undoubtedly intersect sooner rather than later.  This obviously helps when it comes to the individual episodes and would create a natural transition point from the start of each page.  However in a collected format, that could lead to almost a schizophrenic feel, which is what I would hope to avoid if I was the writer.  At first, the transition is not that big of a deal, especially since we are being exposed to many different characters, settings and conflicts.  It’s almost expected to have many jump cuts in that section.  However, once the action slows down a bit in terms of introductions, one would expect to have a little more time with the characters where everything can be fleshed out a bit more.  While Metzen and Dille do a great job of living within the confines of their media while still moving the story along, it is jarring to be someplace new with pretty much every turn of the page. 

                One of the main requirements for producing a Transformers comic is being able to work with a huge cast.  Even if you were to focus on a small, recognizable group of Transformers, all of the bit players would have a distinct voice and would be recognizable to someone, so you would have to try and adhere to that voice.  This is one thing that Metzen and Dille do incredibly well.  They could use the excuse that this takes place right after the war and before the original cartoon that many people use as the basis for the characters as an excuse to alter the personalities of the characters, but they don’t (at least not yet).  The only characters that seem different are the dinobots, but I’m not sure if that’s not because they have some kind of ulterior motive (but I’m sure that will be revealed). 

7/10 – While the transfer from digital to print is not as seamless as I would like it to be, it’s a good story and this issue provides a great framework for the rest of the series.  With so many moving pieces it will be interesting to see how they all fit together. 

                Any complaints about Ramondelli’s cover art can also be transferred to his interiors.  That being said, Ramondelli does an exceptional job of switching up the color palette to reflect not only the specific group featured in each particular scene, but also the mood in each scene.  This is something that Ramondelli has always excelled at in his Transformers artwork.  The main problem is a decided lack of clarity in his work based upon the lack of outlines and the color palette that he chooses.  This may not be as big of an issue when the comics are digitally presented, but when printed they look like a collection of blobs broken up by word balloons in many instances.  Where the images are legible, they more often than not, look more like paper cut-outs than three dimensional objects.  It’s almost as if removing the outlines had the opposite effect on the artwork. 

                Ramondelli does a decent job of providing action and storytelling where legible.  The characters are almost instantly recognizable and their form stays consistent throughout the entirety of the issue.  Ramondelli does a great job of mixing up camera angles and not letting the storytelling become stagnant and boring.  He prominently features both close-ups and full body shots with great regularity. 

6/10 – There are some very good things here.  The pages are well constructed, and possibly in the original platform they were very legible.  Here, not as much.

Overall: 7/10 – The story is great and the art is good enough for me to continue with this limited series.  I would suggest checking it out if you are already a fan of the Transformers, or if you are intrigued about dinobots or the terrorcons.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


This is pretty much what happened during my orientation as well.  It didn't end with anyone falling out of their chairs, but there weren't a lot of people eating lunch after the wound-care "this is how diseases are transmitted" portion of the program.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Music Review – Black Sabbath: 13

                It’s actually fairly appropriate that Black Sabbath’s new album is titled 13, as 2013 is officially their year after this album’s release.  What could have been a colossal failure, one where expectations were placed way too high for a group of musicians in the twilight of their careers, turned into one of the best albums in Sabbath’s catalog and my current frontrunner for album of the year.   

                From the start, this album grabs you and doesn’t let you go.  It is one of the most complete albums of Sabbath’s career as well as one of the most complete albums I have heard in a long time from any artist.  The best part is that you can tell that the band mined their entire history to come up with the music for the album.  You can hear snippets of old Sabbath, Dio Sabbath and even Ozzy’s solo stuff within the music itself.  The band has done such a phenomenal job layering the music as well as the vocals that it’s hard to tell that Bill Ward isn’t present.  Yes, Sabbath didn’t need anything but a serviceable drummer because the rest of the band is the best at what they do, but Brad Wilk actually does a great job of filling the gargantuan shoes left by Bill Ward’s departure. 

                A quick word about Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler.  These two musicians are up at the top of the list of greatness in their respective instruments.  The fact that they are still doing it this well at their age (and Tony had cancer while they were recording the album no less) is a testament to their ability and their resilience.  Seriously, if you haven’t, go listen to the album.  Does this sound like a band that is anything but firing on all cylinders?  Now realize that all of these guys are in their mid to late sixties.  I have no idea how that’s even possible. 

                I kind of expected the music to be great.  I saw Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath with Dio at the helm) a few years ago and Tony and Geezer were incredible then.  What took me by complete surprise was Ozzy.  This sounds like, for the first time in years, Ozzy is having fun while making an album.  Could that be a substance-induced fun?  Maybe.  I like to think that it has something to do with reuniting with his former bandmates though.  I haven’t heard Ozzy sound this good, and this invested in the album since No More Tears waaaaay back in 1994.  It sounds like a second life in terms of creativity was given to the band as a whole, but especially to Ozzy.  Almost like he created this record more for himself and not because Sharon said “Ozzy, it’s time to do another solo record” (which I have a feeling was the driving force behind the last two). 

                I really want to give you some kind of criticism of this record, to even out the review, but whether I’m just being swept off my feet by a band that I never thought I would hear new music from, or I just refuse to think anything bad about a band that I grew up playing way too loud on my parents’ stereo, I just can’t find anything wrong.  The album balances the bluesiness of the first album, with the slow plodding doom of songs like “War Pigs” or “Hand of Doom”.  This is an incredible album all around.  If you can get to a Best Buy, I would also suggest dropping a couple extra bucks to get the album with the exclusive second disc that contains four more tracks that don’t appear on the album proper.  The songs are shorter than those that made it on to the main album, but they are no less incredible.  This is by far my favorite album of the year, and one that will stay within my car stereo rotation for a long time to come.  If this is Sabbath’s swan song, which is probably the case, they are going out at the top of their game.

Hell’s Kitchen Episode Fifteen: Fooled Again

                First, let’s address the title which is in direct reference to the wild goose chase of information that the producers of Hell’s Kitchen lead us on every single week.  Last week, we were led to believe that the blue team would be sabotaged by skinny black girl and that Ramsay would be losing an eyebrow or something along those lines in this episode.  Neither of these scenarios came true this week.  There wasn’t even a hint of sabotage by skinny black girl and Ramsay, while he did get splashed by a little hot oil when he was putting out a grease fire didn’t even come close to the injury that was anticipated coming out of last week’s promo.  In fact when we hear someone say “medic” in the promo it is not in relation to Ramsay at all (we’ll get to that).  I don’t like the deception, especially at this stage of the game.  If someone is going to watch episode fourteen of Hell’s Kitchen all the way through to the promo at the end, I have a feeling you don’t have to lie to them to get them to come back the following week.  They’ll probably be there anyway. 

Aside from the deception, this was a pretty standard Hell’s Kitchen episode.  We were treated to the return of the cooking relay challenge where the teams had to cook three dishes in 30 minutes.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Well only one chef from each team was allowed in the kitchen at any one time and they only had five minutes to work before they had to “pass the baton” to the next chef.  The chefs had to cook standard Hell’s Kitchen dishes including rack of lamb, roast chicken and halibut. This is not an easy challenge at all, and it’s not supposed to be, but these chefs make it worse because the two big driving forces behind this challenge, communication and teamwork, have not been the forte of these chefs all season long.  Because of that, we get disastrous results from both kitchens.  The red kitchen provides a good piece of lamb with raw and gross garnish, burnt halibut, and no chicken dish.  They don’t have enough time to plate it, so when Ramsay calls for the chicken dishes he receives an empty plate from the red kitchen.  The blue team is able to plate all of their dishes but the lamb is completely raw (however the garnish is good).  The halibut is nicely cooked, and surprisingly so is the chicken.  The blue team wins the challenge.

Let me say that again because you haven’t heard it but one other time this season…the blue team wins the challenge!

The blue team gets a ride in a helicopter over Los Angeles as well as sample some expensive cuisine, while the red team gets to move potatoes off the truck and then peel them, while also setting up both kitchens for that evening’s dinner service.  This is where the “medic” came in.  Mixed up Cyndi, who is not a little girl by any stretch of the imagination, can’t catch her breath after moving boxes upon boxes of potatoes.  She is administered oxygen and seems to be fine after a few minutes of the treatment.  Unfortunately this messes with her a little bit as she can’t get out of her own way once dinner service starts.  The usually sure-handed chef keeps making silly mistakes and service for the red kitchen begins to get bogged down.  Meanwhile, appetizers are flying out of the blue kitchen.  Of course, all that momentum comes to a screeching halt when loud guy fires up the meat station (didn’t they learn anything last week?) and he promptly stops communicating.  And by that, I don’t mean he just gets quieter, or misses a ticket every now and then in terms of acknowledgement.  He shuts down completely, not saying a word.  I can understand getting in a zone when you have a task to complete, but working in this environment requires a little more communication than what he is producing.  His level of failure in this episode is nowhere near what it was in the last episode, but it is still apparent that he is the weakest link left in the competition, regardless of what he thinks.

Despite the issues in the kitchens, both teams completed their dinner services and are declared winners.  Of course that doesn’t mean jack because they still have to put someone up for elimination.  From the blue team, the choice is simple, loud guy has distinguished himself as terrible and the only reason he has made it this far is that he was a little less terrible than everyone else.  The red team has a harder time.  They eventually pick mixed up Cyndi, but Ramsay asks them to clarify their choice.  At this point they each get an individual vote to see where loyalties lie.  Mixed up Cyndi picks squeaky voice, squeaky voice picks blonde girl and blonde girl picks mixed up Cyndi as elimination fodder.  Because no one can agree, Ramsay asks skinny black girl to weigh in, as she worked with all three members of the red team for the majority of the competition.  She picks blonde girl (good choice) and Ramsay calls both blonde girl and loud guy up.  He states that he will only be giving out four of the coveted black jackets this year before he sends loud guy off into the night.  Loud guy, upon his exit, states that if Ramsay ever needs him, all he has to do is call.  Yup, keep waiting by your phone.

Ramsay doesn’t send blonde girl home (though I expected it, it would be a shock to see a double elimination after a successful dinner service) but does hold on to the black jackets saying that there was something else the chefs needed to do before they earned them.  Of course, blonde girl takes the fact that she is not sent home as confirmation that not only does Ramsay want her in the competition, but probably (in her deluded mind at least) that he wants to impregnate her with his angry little Ramsay-spawn (which, coincidentally, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they claw their way out of the womb all Alien-esque).  She refuses to see the fact that Ramsay kept asking people for nominations instead of putting mixed up Cyndi on the chopping block, only stopping when blonde girl was standing in front of him.  Delusion is a funny thing.

Next week something happens, I won’t say because I don’t even pay attention to the previews anymore so I have no idea, but whatever the preview said was probably blown way out of proportion.

See you next week!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Origin of Saint Shanequa

This was actually something we had to learn at orientation, believe it or not (not Saint Shanequa).
I feel like I should probably pray to the patron saint of backgrounds though, as mine seem to be missing in this strip.  

Friday, June 14, 2013


Orientation for any job is usually full of a good amount of bullshit.  Work at a Catholic hospital as I did in NJ and you get a huge helping of stuff that doesn't pertain to your job at all.  One of those nuggets of trivia had to do with the saint which the hospital was named for.  We learned all about her, and like Calculus, I have yet to use that information either.  I was a chef at the hospital, yet I was lumped in with nurses, secretaries, janitors, you name it, we all went through the same orientation provided by a very enthusiastic little guy who apparently loved his job.  It was not one of the highlights of my life, we'll put it that way.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Comic Review: Masters of the Universe The Origin of Hordak #1

                It was a light week this week, so I’ve decided to review the newest spinoff from the Masters of the Universe franchise at DC.  This latest attempt to cash in on the successful relaunch of the licensed property brought to you by Keith Giffen on story (with Brian Keene) and pencils.  This is a one shot issue that explores the origin of Hordak, the leader of the evil horde and the current agitator over in the Masters of the Universe regular series.  Now is this a legitimate comic or just a cash grab?  That’s the $2.99 question.

                The cover by Keith Giffen actually has something to do with the story and is not just a stock image of Hordak, though it would have been well within the right of Giffen to do it on a number one issue.  For that I give him extra credit.  The artwork is akin to a very rough Jack Kirby, similar to Erik Larsen but not quite as good in my opinion.  The coloring by Hi-Fi is decent, but I would think that Hordak’s “powers” would cast a little more light onto everything around it.  The coloring does follow a bit more of an “old school” type pattern (very flat with little to no definition added) so it actually coincides with the line art nicely in that respect.

                The main problem with the coloring is that everything starts to blend together, especially since they decided to color the sky an orange-yellow color and that just happens to be right behind a bunch of warm colors.  Nothing really pops.  Even Hordak’s “powers” tend to blend a little because everything has a very washed-out feeling to it.

5/10 – A serviceable cover, but not great.  It does the job, and shows a bit of narrative but could be better.  It looks rushed.

                The story is touted as the origin of Hordak, but when we see him, he is already Hordak.  Has he always looked like this?  Part of me thinks not because the big reveal in the story is that Hordak and Zodac are brothers.  Zodac looks human, at least as far as Masters of the Universe standards are concerned and yet Hordak is some kind of bat/vampire creature.  Something must have happened at some point and yet what we get in terms of an origin is that Hordak is Zodac’s brother.  How did Hordak come to join the horde?  Is Horde Prime still around?  What caused the transformation and how does he consume souls?  That’s the kind of stuff you would assume that an origin story would answer, not prattle on for twenty pages about nothing.  The biggest kick in the crotch comes from  the end, where Hordak looks like he’s all powerful and ready to take over the universe and it says to check out the regular comic for more involving Hordak.  I just spent $2.99 on an ad for the regular comic book.  Awesome.  There isn’t much more to say, this was a blatant cash-grab.

0/10 – You can’t expect me to give you a high mark when there was no real origin story within the pages, just a build up to try and get me to buy the regular series.  I’d say “for shame DC Comics” but you obviously don’t care about comic fans, so I won’t waste my breath.

                Giffen’s art is not terrible.  I do kind of enjoy how Kirby-esque it is, especially for a story that is supposedly an origin (and even tells you it takes place one million years before the birth of He-Man).  Having the art feel old-school just makes it feel almost like the comic should have come out in the 70’s. 

                That being said, the art is very inconsistent.  The characters looked markedly different from one panel to the next and it can get jarring at times, pulling you completely out of what little story there is to be pulled into. 

2/10 – I wasn’t impressed.  The little Batman silhouette on the second to last page may have been an inside joke by Giffen, but it just illuminates the point that this is a corporate comic released for no other reason than to make more money.

Overall:  1/10 - This may be the shortest review I’ve ever written but I can’t think of a more appropriate comic to throw the towel in on.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mail Call

Nope, no midgets this time.  I know, you got your hopes up for nothing.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hell’s Kitchen Episode Fourteen: The Crying Game

                This episode picked up right where the last one left off, at the tail end of the “cook me anything” challenge.  Mr. Mohawk winds up winning by the narrowest of margins over mixed up Cyndi, which means that he has immunity during the next dinner service and cannot be sent home.  There was probably a 95% chance that he wasn’t going home anyway considering the fact that he is teamed up with loud guy and guy with no nickname.

 Hell’s Kitchen is open for dinner service that night, and the teams get right to prepping their stations.   Of course it wouldn’t be Hell’s Kitchen if the blue team didn’t have some kind of an issue.  This one revolves around loud guy, who can’t let go of the fact that Ramsay hated his surf and turf dish (one in which he cut a filet into little medallions, effectively wasting the majority of an expensive piece of meat).  When the shrimp is bigger than the beef in your surf and turf dish, you’re doing it wrong.  However, loud guy just can’t get over it.  This makes him visibly upset, as in crying (in the confessional area and, more importantly, in front of his teammates) and he has to excuse himself from dinner prep to cool down.  Obviously this is an extreme burden on the blue team as they only have two people doing the work that was once done by upwards of a dozen.  Mr. Mohawk knocks some garnish on the floor and they damn near set the place on fire as something got spilled on the stove and neither of the two remaining blue chefs notice smoke billowing from the cook-top as whatever is on it starts to burn.  At this point loud guy has the audacity to come back in and say something to the effect of “I left you guys alone for five minutes and you try to burn the place down”. 

Fuck you loud guy. 

This is no ordinary dinner service tonight as the chef’s tables will be occupied by Maria Menounos  and Jeremy Sisto in the blue and red kitchens, respectively.  So not only will the chefs have to complete their dinner service as usual, but they will also have the added pressure of doing so under the watchful eyes of “celebrities” (and I use that term in the loosest way possible).  The dinner service actually starts out fairly well, the appetizers in the blue kitchen don’t run too smooth but all of the issues are things that can be quickly corrected (under seasoned risotto for example) except for the fact that Mr. Mohawk, who is running apps explicitly calls out to guy with no nickname for two lobster tails to garnish his two risottos.  Guy with no nickname gives him one and then, when caught in the screw up, blames Mr. Mohawk for not telling him he needed two.  Other than that, appetizers in the blue kitchen go flying out (most likely because Mr. Mohawk is managing the station).  The appetizers for the red team run into a little trouble when mixed up Cyndi starts to lag (which is unconventional for her) but she turns it around by the end.  One of the most interesting exchanges happens between Ramsay and squeaky voice as she apparently can’t keep her tongue in her mouth while cooking.  It looks like Michael Jordan dunking a basketball, except it’s a sweaty white girl that has her tongue hanging out while she’s cooking other people’s food, so maybe not like Jordan.  Ramsay calls her a cat because of this and of course the producers insert a typical cat-noise here.  Man, this show isn’t subtle at all is it?

Entrees, oh entrees.  You are often the bane of the chef’s existence in Hell’s Kitchen, and this time was no different.  Not for the red team, mind you, they do a decent job of finishing their dinner service.  Of course when it comes time to make desserts for the diners, blonde girl can’t be bothered, instead sauntering over to Jeremy Sisto to flirt.  She even has the balls to announce to the camera during a confessional that she wanted Sisto to notice her and maybe give her a call.  Yeah, sure.  You just came off a dinner service so you are sweaty and smell like a mixture of different foods, plus you’re not that good looking to begin with (not to mention that trash heap you call your personality) and yet you want this guy that could probably walk out onto the street and have “10’s” throw their underwear at him to give you a call?  That’s cute.  Lady, you’re a Syracuse “5” at best, so in California that knocks you down to at most a “2”.  Get a grip.

While the blue team doesn’t have to deal with a member of their team that is delusional in terms of their chances with a celebrity, they do have two individuals that are delusional in terms of their ability to successfully cook.  Guy with no nickname kept sending up raw fish while loud guy royally screwed up the meat station.  Not only did he send up two beef Wellingtons (at the same time) one being raw and the other dry and overdone, he also didn’t prep enough extras to cover that.  Instead, he avoided telling Ramsay that he needed more time for the Wellingtons as he made brand new ones (a twenty minute wait as they had to be cooked from scratch).  This caused Ramsay to do something I have never seen him do; he actually went to the red kitchen and borrowed two Wellingtons from them so that he could send the table.  It got even worse (I know, you thought that was the worst it could get, don’t feel bad, so did I) as loud guy, on one of the final tables, was asked to prepare one order of lamb.  That’s all well and good, except the lamb that he cooked was burnt all to hell.  It literally looked like shit.  Instead of taking the criticism like a man and just dropping another lamb, he waffled around, trying to deflect the criticism, or soften the blow to his ego.  Ramsay eventually said “fuck it” and went to cook the lamb himself.  Ramsay just muscled his way onto loud guy’s station and finished the ticket.  Of course loud guy couldn’t let it just happen, he tried to help (he was quickly rebuffed by Ramsay) and even had the gall to ask how to cook the lamb, as if he shouldn’t have known that already considering the fact that we are down to the final seven people.  Ramsay turned this around on him (of course) by making fun of him.  “Should I tell you how to wipe your ass” and other such insults flew from his mouth as he finished the ticket, much to the delight of the chef’s table. 

Needless to say that the blue team lost.  Because Mr. Mohawk was safe, guy with no nickname and loud guy were both up for elimination, with Mr. Mohawk providing the recommendation to eliminate guy with no nickname.  Ramsay agrees with this recommendation (though I would have sent loud guy home, if not both of them).  The red team was tasked with coming up with one chef to send over to the blue kitchen (again) and they chose skinny black girl.  While I don’t quite get exiling one of the stronger chefs to the land of misfit toys, I kind of understand the logic in terms of a long-reaching strategy.

This week we witness intrigue, sabotage and Ramsay loses and eyebrow?  What. The. Hell?

                See you next week!  

Music Review: Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

How much you enjoy, or if you enjoy at all, the newest album from Alice in Chains will probably have to do with if you view this as an actual Alice in Chains record more than anything else.  Musically, the band is still as good as they were in their Untitled (the one with the three-legged dog) days.  The sound is slow and plodding, while also being catchy and just quick enough to get a toe or two tapping along. 

In preparing to write this review, I listened to not only the album prior to this one,  Black Gives Way to Blue, but also Cantrell’s two solo albums Boggy Depot and Degradation Trip.  I knew that this version of Alice in Chains couldn’t stack up with one of my favorite bands from the ‘90’s, so I decided to measure it against something a little closer in makeup and artistic direction. 

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is unfortunately an Alice in Chains album in name only.  What it really is, is a Jerry Cantrell solo album with some extra heaviness thrown in.  This is not a bad thing as I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end it’s just that label that gets in the way and makes you expect something…different.  It picks up where Black Gives Way to Blue left off in terms of its tone which definitely adds to the 90’s grunge resurgence that Soundgarden contributed heavily to with their release of King Animal months ago.  If you were to listen to Cantrell’s solo albums you can hear a huge similarity here, and one that set his solo work apart from that of Alice in Chains as a whole.  I like Cantrell’s solo work for the most part, I don’t like it as much as Alice in Chains, but I have accepted it as a separate entity.  This is hands down one of the best Jerry Cantrell solo albums I have ever heard. 

It is incredibly hard to judge this as an actual Alice in Chains record.  With no Layne Staley it just doesn’t have the same feel that those earlier records did.  This is not to say that it can’t, because new vocalist William DuVall is more than up to the task.  I saw the band live a few years ago, right around the release of Black Gives Way to Blue, their first album with DuVall, and he did an incredible job of filling the monolithic shoes left by Staley’s unfortunate demise.  There were times within the set, if you were to close your eyes you would swear that Staley’s slight, heroin-addled frame was up on stage with his old band-mates. 

The big question here then, is why is DuVall not being utilized as any more than a second guitar/vocalist?  I realize that lead guitarist Cantrell is basically driving the bus here, and that’s fine, he has earned that right as one of the most iconic musicians and songwriters of his generation.  The thing is, if you want to make an Alice in Chains record, and not just a Jerry Cantrell record, you should utilize the whole band, including the guy that sounds like your former lead singer.  This album is good, but it feels like it has the propensity for greatness if Cantrell just took off the training wheels.  Very rarely do you not hear Cantrell’s voice, and not just figuratively.  Nearly every time DuVall sings, Cantrell is there on the harmony, or vice versa.  This was fine in spurts when it was Cantrell and Staley, but Staley was obviously able to “take the stage” so to speak and really put a piece of himself into the music.  DuVall doesn’t get that opportunity at all. 

That’s what holds this record back from realizing its full potential, the fact that Cantrell is preventing DuVall from really being a part of Alice in Chains.  It almost feels as if DuVall is there to sing the hits at concerts because he has a similar voice to Staley, but when it comes to new music, Cantrell is still either unsure, or downright unwilling to give up some of the power.  Now this may not be for any selfish reasons, Cantrell may be trying to protect DuVall from the hostility that comes with replacing a lead singer, especially one that became the identity of the band like Staley did.  While his motivations are unknown, it is definitely what is holding this album back from being a return to greatness for the band.  They will never be the Dirt or Jar of Flies Alice in Chains, but at this point they are little more than a vehicle for Cantrell’s solo material.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Here we start a new adventure, and this one has a bit of truth to it as well.  My final profession before I moved from New Jersey was a chef at a hospital.  The story itself started out much shorter than it will wind up (pretty much just a vehicle to introduce a couple new characters) but then I got the job at the hospital and started mining that for little nuggets of funny that I could add here.  This story takes many instances of my time there, as well as some of the people I met along the way, and introduces them to the Eat @ Shrimpy's universe.  Much of what you will read during this arc is true with a twist, and I'll point out when the conversations or people are real.  I wrote most of this story while I was down in New Jersey so I was able to capture the conversations when they happened.  In fact, this is the last story that I wrote while I was down in New Jersey, and actually the last story I wrote for almost six years until I started to work on the strip again.  It's an oldie but a goodie.  

This concludes my "Jersey Years" group of stories (Minding the StoreSurvive-ItWaffle-Flavored RevengeRobbin' the CradleThey Call it Puppy Love - follow the link for the first strip in each story) where I took a small group of strips, many only six or twelve strips in length originally created for an assignment in college, and expanded them to fill out a full storyline.  After this story I pretty much started writing with a specific number of strips and a relatively coherent path in mind from the beginning.  While I think these last six stories stand up pretty well, they only get better from here and by the next story "One Flew" you'll be able to see that.  This last year has been great and it was definitely a feeling out process with the characters and finding their unique voices, but the best is yet to come.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hollywood Changes People

And with that, we come to the conclusion of this story arc.  Hope you enjoyed it.
Come back on Monday for the start of a new story!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Comic Review: Macabre #1

                I walked into the comic shop having no idea what I was going to pick up for today’s review.  Lo and behold, looking back at me on the shelf was the newest offering from Richard Moore.  If you don’t know about Moore’s work, it is something you should check out.  Most of the comics that he creates are for the “mature” audience, yet that usually has more to do with the cheesecake in the interior instead of any hardcore sex or language as many other comics with that moniker have nowadays.  The style itself is cartoony and he often uses anthropomorphized animals in his stories but that doesn't make them childish, as they often serve a purpose.  Black and white interiors are his main focus, so it has a very underground feel to it even though the art is much more polished than many of the comics associated with that era.  His work tends to look more like Bone than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

                Ever since I picked up the first trade of his hit Boneyard I have been a huge fan of Moore’s work, trying to accumulate any and all of his books, even some of the more risqué ones as the humor in the writing and art, along with the way the art itself is presented is second to none.  As soon as I saw Macabre #1 on the shelf, I knew what I was reviewing this week.

                The book itself is set up almost like a Tales from the Crypt story where a narrator interjects between each story.  Being that this is a Richard Moore book, the narrator is a scantily clad woman that goes by the name of Charli, who is predictably in full display on the cover.  The cover is well done and honestly it does the job of drawing in someone walking by (case in point-me!) with that distinctive Richard Moore style.  If someone else had drawn the cover I wouldn’t have even looked twice at it even though the title has Moore's name right above it.  I wouldn’t have gotten that far and would have wound up purchasing something that I was unimpressed with (again). 

                The coloring is a little dark but because of the fact that it’s a creepy, gloomy book (in theory) I think that works.  I would have liked to have seen a little more of an homage to the old Tales from the Crypt covers from EC Comics though.  I understand that a pretty drawing of a scantily clad girl will bring eyes in the door, but I have 100% confidence that Moore would be able to make that work within the context of the EC comics cover. 

8/10 – It was the first issue and it grabbed my attention on a shelf of comics trying to do that very thing.  Very well done indeed.

                As I mentioned before, the book reads like an old Tales from the Crypt from EC Comics.  It houses three different stories along with a host of pinups.  The stories are good, often with a clever and humorous “Moore”-ian twist at the end.  The only one that doesn’t involve the typical level of cheesecake we are used to with many of Moore’s books is the last one, which is the strongest in my opinion.  It involves zombie pirates with a poor sense of direction, and turned from formulaic to hilarious in a split second.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Moore’s other stories, usually involving the scantily clad female enticing the stupid male to their doom, and always ending in a humorous fashion, but the fact that he was able to craft a tale that didn’t need that and was still able to offer a humorous twist was great.  That story felt more like Boneyard than anything else I have seen from Moore since that series concluded.  Call it nostalgia or whatever, but that set the final story apart for me.  The stuff in the interim with our “host” was little, throwaway stuff that seemed more like an excuse for Moore to draw  pinups, or at least full-page spreads more than anything. 

                As good as the stories are, they are so short, and so decompressed that it literally took me five minutes to read, and that was with stopping to marvel at the artwork on the page.  With the infrequency of Moore’s work, I would expect more from each installment, and the inclusion of the pinups, while incredible from an artistic standpoint are only used to pad a relatively thin comic out to acceptable levels. 

5/10 – I’m not going to accuse Moore of mailing it in on this one because the stories are good, but if he is going to take an extended break, I would like to see more from him upon his return.

                As usual with a Richard Moore book, the art is exceptional.  The pinups are incredibly well done, but it is the narrative work that once again stands out.  Moore’s use of facial expression and just the general “acting” that his characters do on the page make it easy to enjoy the story.  He conveys both drama and humor equally well, even when those two emotions are separated by a panel border.  100% of the situations Moore draws could never happen in real life, but the way he draws them, the gravitas that he gives to every moment because of the way he draws expressions, drives it home. 

The texture in his artwork is exceptional as well.  My favorite work that Moore produces is the standard pen and ink stark black and white stuff.  While this is not that kind of art, Moore instead delves into shaded artwork a la pencil or inkwash.  This technique, while not as effective as his pen and ink work in my opinion, is still incredibly strong and dynamic, and the figures don’t lose any of their expressive nature with the different art style.  Moore is an absolute master of the black and white comic book medium. 

10/10 – The only bad thing about Moore’s art is the fact that there isn’t more of it in this issue.

Overall – 7/10: It’s a little sparse for the price tag, but what is there is very good.  This won’t stop me from picking up everything else Richard Moore puts out, and it shouldn’t stop you either.

Album Review: Black Sabbath – Past Lives (2002)

                The album was put out as a publicity stunt when Ozzy’s popularity exploded with the release of his show “The Osbournes” on MTV.  It included Live at Last as well as extra tracks from early Sabbath performances.  For a blatant cash-grab, it was quite good.

Tracks you may know: 
                All of them.  Much like Reunion, all of the hits are here.  This album feels a bit rawer though as it was recorded back when the original Black Sabbath was still the original Black Sabbath.  Because of that, you can really feel the performance coming through, and it doesn’t hurt that this was recorded when everyone was young, and Ozzy was a bit more mobile (though that may be the drugs talking).

Tracks you should know:
                If you don’t know the band by now, this is a good introduction.  I have always preferred live albums as my default “greatest hits” collections.  They take everything about a greatest hits album and infuses the energy and spontaneity of a live performance.  If you don’t know Sabbath, Past Lives and Reunion are two great places to start.

Album rating: 
                It’s electric, like being transported back in time and standing in a cloud of pot smoke (secondhand of course) while the band goes crazy on stage.  If you didn’t get to see Sabbath in their heyday, for whatever reason, this is your redemption.


That's it! The reviews are complete.  Next Tuesday (6.11) 13 will be released.  I will have a review of that album the following Tuesday (6.18), with a review of the new Alice in Chains album The Devil Put the Dinosaurs Here coming next Tuesday.

In case you missed a review in this series, here are some handy links so you can take a look at the entire Sabbath discography:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hell’s Kitchen Episode 13: A Whole Lot of Not Much.

                We got to cross off another event from the Hell’s Kitchen checklist with this episode’s “Blind Taste Test” in which the chefs are blindfolded and then have to guess the food that is put in their mouth while Ramsay ridicules them for thinking that Brussels Sprouts is Cauliflower (that actually happened, no joke).  Before we get to that though, Ramsay quizzes the chefs on their senses (kind of as a precursor to the whole taste-test thing) and he picks guy with no nickname and mixed up Cyndi to test their sense of touch.  This involves the chefs putting their hands through a box with holes cut into it and into a bowl of a mystery food.  The foods were eggs, polenta and oysters.  I’m impressed by their tactile ability as I don’t think I would have answered correctly to any except eggs (to be fair, I’ve never touched an oyster before, so there’s that).  The blue team won with a clean sweep, three out of three!  Their prize…


                Yup, Ramsay pulled the old switcheroo on them.  That was all there as a setup for the blind taste-test.  Even when the guys win they can’t win.  It is therefore hilarious to see their reaction when they think they are the victors only to realize that they’ve won nothing.  On to the taste-test, where Ramsay gives them pretty standard fare in terms of food to taste.  The real comedy comes from watching Ramsay have fun at the expense of the chefs.  He’ll say the name of a food and then give a look to the un-blindfolded chefs as if to say “I could get this right with my head underwater and a pit bull (the dog, not the douchey “singer”) clamped on each nipple, and I bet you these fuckers think it’s something stupid like peas”.  Then we also get to people that are force-fed spoonfuls of food and the process they go through to determine what that food is.  Some people eat it normally, some (like loud guy) basically immerse his entire mouth in the food, almost like he’s using it as mouthwash.  It’s equal parts funny and disgusting, like when a baby shits on someone.

                You know what the best part is about the guys winning the not-quite-real challenge?  The fact that they lost the actual challenge…again!  The girls got a nice little day of relaxation and horseback riding (which makes me wonder if Ramsay held off on this reward until fat black girl was gone, for the sake of the horses), while the guys have to prep for the dinner service the following day as well as unload the truck when it comes.  Of course, the guys unload the ice truck a little too much because guy with no nickname just signed the purchase order without actually reading it so Hell’s Kitchen was overrun with unnecessary bags of ice.  The guys then had to put back the bags that were not theirs, making double the work for the beleaguered blue crew.  The other two blue chefs were obviously no longer a fan of guy with no nickname after that.

                So we’ve had the challenge, we’ve had the punishment/reward, now it’s time for dinner service, right?  Not so fast!  Ramsay throws everyone a curveball by offering up a second challenge.  This one is an individual challenge that carries the ultimate prize, immunity from elimination.  The challenge itself is actually fairly simple; just cook a dish, any dish and present it to Ramsay (much like their initial “signature dish” challenge from the first week of competition).  This is to judge the chefs’ growth in the competition.  Some of the remaining chefs put up some truly horrendous meals in that first episode, and Ramsay wants to see who has learned from their time in Hell’s Kitchen.  Everyone that has ever been a chef, or even known a chef, realizes that the profession is a constant learning experience, whether it be new techniques, new dishes or new foods altogether, so this challenge will help Ramsay gauge who is open to and able to learn and grow as a chef.  Ramsay judges it “king of the mountain” style where each subsequent dish has to be good enough to knock the current champion off the throne.  Skinny black girl goes first and maintains her position on top of the throne for quite some time until Mr. Mohawk sneaks in with a well cooked fish dish.  Mr. Mohawk triumphantly sits on the throne until mixed up Cyndi comes up with her dish and…

To be continued.

                While I understand cutting it off at that point, this episode sure felt weird and incomplete without a dinner service in it, hence this week's name.  This week makes up for it though as more celebrity guests show up for dinner, the chefs prove that they are still having trouble cooking even at this stage of the game, and Ramsay loses his cool again.

Album Review: Black Sabbath – Reunion (1998)

                Finally, the original four were back together!  This album was recorded over the course of a two nights in the band’s hometown of Birmingham, England.  The best part about the album is the fact that all of those heavy Sabbath songs were finally able to be played using the technology that made them really hit you.  At the time of their genesis, Sabbath was the heaviest thing on vinyl, but as technology advanced, their sound began to dull.  By recording their hits on this live album, Sabbath was able to show that they were still heavier than everyone else.  The fans were also treated to two new studio tracks, “Psycho Man” and “Selling my Soul” which were incredible songs in their own right, but coupled with the what they meant (the return to form of the heaviest band ever) they were incredibly important to heavy metal culture as well. 

Tracks you may know: 
All of them, basically.  If you know Sabbath at all, the hits are all here.  Plus it has today’s technology coupled with the creativity of yesteryear.  One of the best Sabbath albums, period.

Tracks you should know:
“Psycho Man”:  Traditional Sabbath with a heavier, modern sound.  This is the kind of song that makes you sad that the band wasn’t able to do more together until recently.  A definite modern masterpiece that proved Sabbath was not dead yet.

Album rating: 
                It has the heft of an album from 1998 but all of the classics of the original Black Sabbath lineup.  Everyone is present and on top of their game.  What might have been had they actually got back together back then. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

The Decency Police

I would hate to be the "Decency Police", that would probably be one step above traffic cop with none of the perks of being in a car chase.