Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dragon*Con 2010 – The Best of Times

Dragon*Con is something I look forward to every year now. It has not always been an annual event for me, whether for financial or job reasons; I just haven’t always gone. But regardless of frequency it is always a great time (as long as you don’t end up with kidney stones).
Here are some of my favorite memories of Dragon*Cons past, in no particular order other than how they occurred to me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

DragonCon 2010: Ten Costumes I Would Totally Wear If Somebody Else Made Them (that aren’t just masks)

So I’ve already mentioned my shitty costume experience from last year – that doesn’t mean I would never wear a costume again, it just means I’ll never put in the time and effort needed to make one. This realization comes courtesy of a recent drunken group viewing of Flash Gordon in the Troublemaker Family Dungeon. I remarked that I would love to have a Prince Vultan (the giant, bearded bird-man played by the giant, bearded Brian Blessed) costume to wear at Dragon*Con. One of my wife’s friends claimed she was going to make that happen. I know she was full of it, but it got me thinking.
If I had my own personal costume maker, what costumes would I really want?”
These are all taking my appearance into account. I’m not going to be Harry Potter or Lando Calrissian. I firmly believe in costuming within your physical range (fatties, I don’t care how many checkerboards are on your helmet; you’re not Wedge, you’re Porkins).

Friday, August 27, 2010

DragonCon 2010: Top Ten Dragons

Dragon*Con is right around the corner, so I thought I would provide some appropriate material. Last year our pocket guides arrived 55 days out, but this year we still haven’t gotten them. I wanted to be writing up my preview today (well, a couple of weeks ago, actually), but instead you’re getting this.
Dragons are pretty cool. They may be relegated to symbols of dorkdom these days, but I think anybody speaking honestly would admit that they’re still pretty kickass.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

DragonCon 2010: Hit Girl Is Not A Hot Twenty-Year-Old

In all honesty, this article might be something of a crapshoot. While I am a pretty big nerd; I can’t claim to have my finger on the pulse of nerd culture – much less the sort of nerd culture that wears intricate costumes to Dragon*Con. But I'm still going to try and predict what we're going to see this year.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics: Trap-Jaw By Mattel

I love this figure so much I almost sat at home the other day to write this review. Then I came to my senses.
Trap-Jaw has always been my favorite Masters of the Universe character. Despite being portrayed as basically a notch above retarded in both of the cartoon series (common for the villain characters), I have always thought of him as a sinister cyborg who works for Skeletor out of sheer love of mayhem and murder.
While I don’t have the original Trap-Jaw any more (he was one of the few MOTU figures I had as a kid); I do still have the 2002 version, which ranks among my favorite figures of all time. I missed the newest iteration the first time around thanks to oversleeping after a night shift, but now I’ve got him.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker: DCW 2009

Here's an excerpt from part of last year's Dragon*Con articles. This is my favorite, but I might post more if I need extra Dragon*Con-related material. It looks like I'm in pretty good shape, but I like to have back-ups ready to go. I don't know what's up with the goofy formatting.



Job one was to get a beer. Miller Lite served me well for most of the weekend. After a quick stop at one of the Hyatt’s courtesy bars, I went into the Centennial Ballroom to watch some ass-whoopings. Job two was to find the guys. Gnoll texted me that they were behind the ring. Now, normally, I don’t accept texts; but this was a special occasion. I found Gnoll, Schweck, Jay and Hoffman and had myself a seat.

Monday, August 23, 2010

DragonCon 2010: Guest Preview

I’m writing this 14 days out from Dragon*Con and we still don’t have programs/schedules or whatever. Well, you know what? Screw you Dragon*Con! You’re not fucking up my irrelevant little blog’s schedule with your procrastination and laziness! And really, the Dragon*Con schedule doesn’t matter so much for this post. I just like to have the guest list printed out in front of me for this one. It’s when I put together my personal schedule that the lack of programming times is going to be a problem. How the hell am I supposed to know when DCW is taking place? Or when getting shitfaced Saturday night in the Marriot is supposed to happen? Okay, so those two may be kind of fixed. Anyway, here’s my pick of the best of the guests currently scheduled for Dragon*Con 2010, minus one Daniel Brereton – the only cancellation (so far) that I care about.

Friday, August 20, 2010

lego vader.jpg

I'm testing mobile blogging for Dragon*Con. If you see a kickass, giant LEGO Vader then I have succeeded.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Hero of the Week

I just wanted to take a moment to point out a Penny Arcade comic strip that has apparently generated some controversy. Before you click the link, I must warn you – it deals with the sensitive subject matter of desensitization to horror through video gaming. If you’ve no stomach for that, do not click here.
Some people were offended that the word “rape” was used in that cartoon. I think the potential for offense was well worth it, though; because it led to this even funnier Penny Arcade comic strip – this one here.
Some feminist blog got all mad about the first one, so the creators made the second in response (a well-written article details the events here). This made them my personal heroes for the week (maybe that could be the next regular feature that I abandon after a month!). I was peripherally aware of Penny Arcade before this, but didn’t follow it. Now I have it bookmarked in my BlackBerry.
The lesson from all of this? Apparently it’s that the sensitive subject matter of desensitization to horror through video gaming sells. Either that or rape, and clearly; rape is never, ever entertaining. 
Not ever.That’s why anime is so popular.

Until next time, stay creepy,
-Phantom

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Toy Review – Star Wars Vintage Collection: AT-AT Commander & (Twin Pod) Cloud Car Pilot By Hasbro

Alright, I’ve got to do some writing. Carlito has cursed me with the knowledge of a site called VigilantCitizen.com and I’m starting to get a little uncomfortable. Especially after seeing that new Kanye West video. So in order to prove that I’m just another of the pliable, ignorant masses; here’s a new toy review! See, I don’t need any Monarch Programming!
While Toys R Us may be charging $9.99 for the new Vintage Collection figures, everybody else seems to be sticking to the $7.99 price point. Which means I waited until I could find the rest of the Vintage figures I wanted at Target or Walmart. I picked these two up at the Target that it seems like I get most of my toys from nowadays.
Hasbro is very clever about releasing pilot figures at the same time as their respective vehicles now that pack-ins are such a rarity. They are also extremely clever in the fact that several of their vehicles require multiple figures to be properly manned: the Bespin Cloud Car needs two pilots, as does the Rebel Snowspeeder. The AT-AT needs two drivers (though it does include one), a Commander and at least seventy-three Snowtroopers to seem properly staffed. Oh, and you’re going to need somebody to drive that Speeder Bike, too. And a Hoth Luke to hang underneath it.
All of the above vehicles are pretty awesome. Has Hasbro made figures awesome enough to pilot them? Let’s find out…

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Phantom Troublemaker Goes to the Mayhem Festival


I’m honestly not sure I have an article’s worth of entertainment to relay about my experience at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Music Festival. I do, however, have forty-eight hours worth of shifts looking me in the face over the next four days, so I’m going to see what I can do.


Monday, August 16, 2010

A Little Update

Thanks for hanging in there the last couple of weeks through my Top Fifty Albums list. It gave me a much-needed break from silly, self-imposed deadlines to build up another stockpile of material. I hope you guys enjoyed my album round-up as much as I did. I haven’t read it since I posted it and still agree with pretty much the whole thing.
I realize Needless Things has been overly music-oriented lately. That’s just how things worked out. For those of you that don’t enjoy music… well, what’s wrong with you? But hang in there because I’ve got one more musical number: my experience at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Music Festival. That’ll be up tomorrow.
For now, a few things have happened since my last fresh update and I’d like to address them now.

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Fifty Albums - Number 1

The Super-Incredible Greatest and Best Album in the History of Music
#1


By Phantom Troublemaker


So this is it. What could possibly top Dookie or Raising Hell? What could be so much better than Pretty Hate Machine or Life is Peachy? What album can possibly be more appealing than Stankonia, Black Sabbath: The Dio Years and even the Holy Grail of awesome that is Faith No More’s Angel Dust? What album would I, being made to choose, put before all other albums? Irritated yet? Well, here you go:


1. The Gift of Game – Crazy Town
HA! I kid - Shifty Shellshock is the biggest douchebag name I have ever heard someone give himself. Somebody punch that motherfucker in the dick. There is no way this album should even exist, let alone be on any kind of list other than “Top 10 Albums By Dudes Who Obviously Touch Themselves While Looking At Pictures Of Unicorns” So, seriously:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Fifty Albums - Number 2

Top Fifty Albums


Number Two


Well this is kind of a dubious honor to award my favorite band. “Hey, guys, your album is better than every other album I own. Except one. It just isn’t good enough to beat that one. Sorry.” Oh, well. Faith No More doesn’t even exist now, so I doubt they’d care.


2. Angel Dust – Faith No More


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Fifty Albums - Number 3

Top Fifty Albums

Number Three


Three is the magic number. Wait, that’s the wrong album… Here’s the right one:


3. De La Soul is Dead – De La Soul


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Fifty Albums - Number 4

Top Fifty Albums
Number Four

By Phantom Troublemaker


I lied. I will tell you all about it now.


4. Blood Sugar Sex Magic – Red Hot Chili Peppers


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Fifty Albums - Number 5

Top Fifty Albums
Number Five

By Phantom Troublemaker

Well, it’s time to see if I really have as much to say about the top 5 as I thought I would. If not, just be glad you don’t have to read as much. Here’s #5.


5. Past, Present and Future – Rob Zombie


Monday, August 9, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Fifty Albums - 10-6

Top Fifty Albums
10-6

By Phantom Troublemaker


Welcome back! I feel that the top ten albums deserve more space than the rest. What remains to be seen is whether or not I’ll actually use that space. I’ve been surprised at times how my brain has reacted to some of these albums. I hope this has entertained you as much as it has me. If not, why the Hell did you read this far?


10. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) – Wu-Tang Clan


Friday, August 6, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Fifty Albums - 20-11

Top Fifty Albums
20-11

By Phantom Troublemaker

20. All Ages – Bad Religion
I like to think I have a fairly expansive vocabulary, but Greg Graffin uses words I haven’t even heard of. And he sings them, too. Really well. Bad Religion is a staple of any punker’s collection, and this is the best Bad Religion album you can own. It’s a greatest hits compilation (I always feel weird using that term when applying it to bands that really never got a whole lot of radio play. Not to disparage the band or anything, but a “hit” is generally a charting song. Most of the folks on my list have only one or two of those, if any, so how come almost all of them can boast “greatest hits” albums?) with all of your favorites on it. I once left this in my car CD player for three months. No lie.
-Favorite song – Do What You Want

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Fifty Albums - 30-21

Top Fifty Albums
30-21

By Phantom Troublemaker

Well, here’s the next 10. There are a few things in here that are really going to piss some people off. See if you can guess what I think they are!


30. Paranoid – Black Sabbath
You may wonder why this seminal album is so far down the list. It’s that whole thing I mentioned in the Dio entry about Ozzy being kind of a… well, a joke. It’s really hard to talk about one of the craziest, hardest rocking motherfuckers in the history of music being lame, but there it is. Ever since that damned reality show (I hate “reality” TV. At some point I might write something about that cancer of American society) came on, we’ve all had to think of the Prince of Darkness as this befuddled old retard with no control over his family or personal life, who is constantly being dominated by this pinched up, dyed little shrew of a woman.
What happened to mystery, man? I don’t want to know anything about actors’ personal lives, musicians’ political beliefs or the ending of the next movie I’m going to see! Spoiler/Rant alert: Don’t read any further if you are anything like the author.
I don’t want to know if Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face! I don’t want to know if Tony Stark shows up to talk to General Ross! I don’t want to know that Vader is Luke’s father just because I watched the stupid trailer for the movie on TV and the douchebag Hollywood producers thought that giving every fucking surprising or interesting tidbit away before opening night might have a 1/100th of a tenth of a percent chance of maybe, possibly selling one more ticket to some stupid American sheep who can’t go see something they don’t know every last fucking detail about because God forbid they be surprised or stimulated or even SHOCKED because something occurred in their stupid, mindless little life that they didn’t expect and the Imperial Government of the United States of America didn’t protect their poor, vapid little minds from! FUCK! (breathe) End of spoiler/insane-o rant.
Sorry. Anyway, despite the pussification of the Ozymandias or whatever stupid play on his name he’s using this year, this album kicks all kinds of ass and continues to be Sabbath’s best release. I’d really like a remaster of this one, or maybe a DVD-Audio.
-Favorite track – Paranoid

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Fifty Albums - 40-31

Top Fifty Albums
40-31

By Phantom Troublemaker

I don’t really see the need for another intro, but here one is anyway. Dammit.

40. Life is Peachy – Korn
Like many entries on the list, this is the album that got me into these guys. This is just a heavy, funky album that screams its pants off. If it had pants. Fieldy’s bass on this thing still blows me away - unlike his solo album, which will be high up on my Worst Albums list, whenever I do that one. I actually derided Korn quite a bit before the enforced playlist at Hot Topic made me really listen to them.
-Favorite track – their collaboration with Chino from the Deftones (shouldn’t they be a rap/ska band with that name?) on a cover of Cube’s Wicked

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Fifty Albums

I'm not only feeling lazy as shit right now; but I also don't have enough backup material. I'm still hurting from losing the stuff on that damn thumb drive. So, I'm going to be re-posting one of my favorite blogging accomplishments over the next ten (business) days: My top fifty albums list. This was the very first major project I assigned to myself on the MySpace blog and I'm still fairly proud of it. I put an awful lot of effort and thought into it, so I hope those of you that haven't been with me all along will enjoy it. I also hope those of you that read it the first time around will check it out again and leave some feedback. I would absolutely love to see other folks' lists. Maybe you'll get me into something new. I think I've fixed the problem that was making it so hard to leave comments before, so please let me know what you think. If leaving comments is still a bitch, leave a note on my Facebook page and I'll think about switching to a different server or something. I want interacting to be as easy as possible.
I'm working four days straight starting Wednesday, so I should have plenty of time to get some backup content written. I've got reviews of Doctor Who toys, Star Wars toys, a couple of movies and more. And of course, the last week of August will be all-Dragon*Con, all the time. I've got a lot of super-fucking-nerdy stuff planned for the week before the South's biggest dork-fest.
I really hope you guys enjoy this Vintage Troublemaker - likeI said, I'm still very proud of this series. Here we go:

Top Fifty Albums
50-41

By Phantom Troublemaker

Skip to 50 if you don’t care about the thought process that led to this list.

Welcome to the biggest blog undertaking thus far. Not that that’s saying very much. I have been wanting to do this for a while, but haven’t had a forum for my thoughts or, to be honest, motivation. Now that I have discovered this ability to write while on the job, I can turn dull twelve hour shifts into creative gold! Figuratively speaking.
I should really call this “Favorite Fifty Albums” because that is actually what I am writing about. “Top Fifty” could easily be confused with “Best Fifty”, and best is not what I’m going for. Radiohead may be the best band in the world, but they are not my favorite band. That would be Faith No More. I don’t even really like Radiohead, but I do think they are some very talented British people.