Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 12 - Vince Amlin

Each week on the show I interview a regular person about the music in their life.  My cousin Vince is a talented vocalist who spent a year studying music and decided it wasn't for him.  Now he works as a minister and uses music in some very interesting ways.

This will be the final episode of the first season. While this project does have a special place in my heart, it's become harder and harder to find a new person to interview for every episode. Once I can get a handful of subjects lined up, I'll try and record a second season.  In the meantime "Pull List," "War and Beast," and "That's What We Called Music?" are still going strong, so give them a try! Not to mention, if you haven't listened to all 12 episodes, they're still available!
Here's the episode!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

That's What We Called Music? - 5 - Say You'll Be There

Kendall, Molly, Sarah, and special guest Joe discuss the second single off of The Spice Girls' "Spice" album.

*Outro music is a cover of "Say You'll Be There" by 

Here's the episode!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Mister Pull List 11-29

We discuss November's comic books including Doomsday Clock, The Batman Who Laughs, Punisher, and a number of others.  In other media, we discuss The Punisher Netflix series and Thor Ragnarok.  Then Jared berates Kendall for not watching the Infinity War Trailer.

Here's the episode!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

That's What We Called Music? 4 Flagpole Sitta

On this week's episode, we discuss a song that Sarah loves and I didn't know existed:  Harvey Danger's Flagpole Sitta.  This is the last episode from our first recording session, but I felt like it turned out pretty good.

Here's the episode!

When did the Simpsons get bad? Part 4

Since I was trying for peak Simpsons last time, I decided to find a low point to start with this time.

Bart-Mangled Banner is the lowest rated non-clip show episode on imdb of the first fifteen seasons of the show. In the episode, Bart accidentally moons the American flag, and the town overreacts. In the aftermath, Marge and Lisa also criticize blind patriotism, which leads to the family going to jail under the show’s version of The Patriot Act.

The poorly written one star reviews on imdb called this a “Pro-American” episode. Even if I agreed with that assessment, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The episode, however, is clearly a commentary on the unquestioning patriotism of the time. Granted, it’s not all that nuanced in its commentary, but it’s got its moments. Bart gives his most sincere apology that I can think of in the series, and Marge’s statement about America not being perfect was actually fairly subversive for the time.

On the other hand, the fact that it was subversive “for the time” dates the episode. It’s definitely not a timeless classic.
Favorite Quote:  "Lord give us the courage to worship the American Flag."

“Fraudcast News” on the other hand is a classic. Lisa starts her own newspaper just as Mr. Burns buys all media outlets in town. This leads to a classic Lisa versus Mr. Burns battle complete with an awkward conversation about popular music. Eventually, after Lisa seemingly loses, Homer and basically everyone in Springfield start their own little independent papers.

The first time I saw this episode in high school, the ending made me cry. I cry at a lot of media, but I can’t think of any other Simpsons episodes did this(maybe the movie?). Unlike the previous episode, the David and Goliath struggle of this episode is timeless and inspiring. In addition, the support Lisa gets from Bart, Skinner, and Homer when she’s at her lowest shows that these people care about each other. A lesser show wouldn’t have these inspiring relationships. Honestly, I was shocked to find that a classic episode like this was at the end of season 15.
Favorite Quote: "Instead of one big shot controlling all the media, now there's a thousand freaks Xeroxing their worthless opinions."

Season 16 starts with a Treehouse of Horror episode. I skipped it since the Halloween episodes have pretty much always been solid. The next episode, “All’s Fair in Oven War,” misses the mark a bit. Homer and Marge spend 2 years and $100,000 remodeling their kitchen, which makes Marge a better cook for some reason. She enters a TV cooking competition, and after her competitors all cheat, adds baby ear medicine to all of their dishes. Lisa finds out and confronts Marge and you know the rest…

Favorite Quote: I don’t remember a single line from this episode. Normally, I would look up a quote to at least fill the spot, but this was just a bad episode... not worth it...

I remember being entertained by this episode, but I don’t remember any of the jokes. I’m also sure there was a b-plot that I’m forgetting. Maybe season 16 is when the show got bad? I’ll have more next time!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 11 - Ben Marshall

Each week on the show, I interview a regular person about the music in their life.  Ben Marshall played in a band called FATE in High School.  In recent years, he's been developing as a songwriter in his own right with his album The Final Giraffe.

Check out Ben's work at

Music This Episode:
For Everyman by Jackson Browne performed by Kendall Halman
Twilight, Repeat Mode, and In Our Own Key by Ben Marshall

Here's the episode!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

When did The Simpsons get bad? Part 3

When trying to find where the Simpsons started going downhill, I decided it would be important to set a standard with which to compare the episodes I’m watching.  That’s why this week I decided to watch a batch of episodes from an era that The Internet has decided is good.  I started by watching “Marge versus the Monorail,” a season 4 episode that many people consider to be the best Simpsons episode period.

If you’re a fan of The Simpsons, you know the episode.  After Springfield gets 3 million dollars from Mr. Burns, Phil Hartman plays Lyle Lanley, a con artist who parodies The Music Man and convinces the town to build a monorail.  Homer becomes the conductor and Marge investigates to find what happened in the previous towns where Lanley built monorails.  Hijinks ensue, and Homer saves the day by anchoring the malfunctioning monorail to a donut.

This is definitely a solid episode, but I wouldn’t put it in my personal top 10, much less number 1.  Honestly, the episode seems just a little too goofy and is much closer to “Worst Episode Ever” than “Homerpalooza”(my personal favorite.
Favorite Quote:  Donuts - is there anything they can't do?

To go along with my arbitrary rules of this project, I watched the next two episodes of season 4 as well.  “Selma’s Choice” is my favorite of the three I watched this week.  After “Great Aunt Gladys” dies and gives a final message of “don’t die alone” to Patty and Selma, Selma decides she wants a baby.  She jumps through a bunch of hoops and changes her mind after taking Bart and Lisa to Duff Gardens.

Not every Simpsons episode needs to have a dark message about mortality or even a moral at all.  That said, The Simpsons’ ability to approach serious subjects humorously without belittling the issues is one of the things that puts it ahead of shows like Family Guy and South Park.  This episode is a perfect example.  In between going on a date with Hans Moleman and dealing with Lisa drinking water from a Duff Beer themed “It’s a Small World” knockoff ride, Selma learns of the real challenges associated with becoming a parent and decides she’s not ready.  Instead, Patty and Selma take Aunt Gladys’s iguana back from their mother and we meet Jub Jub.

Favorite Quote:  “Lisa, drink the water!”

The last episode I watched was “Brother from the same planet.”  Homer forgets to pick Bart up from soccer practice, which leads Bart to join the “Bigger Brother” program under false pretenses.  Bart meets Tom, a super cool father figure, and Homer gets jealous.  Homer also joins the program and mentors Pepi.  They go to Sea World and run into each other… you get where this is going.

It’s a fun little episode, if somewhat forgettable.  We get to see Nelson’s dad before he left for the store, so that’s cool.  I also like that “Revenge” is a viable reason for joining the “Bigger Brother” program.

Favorite Quote:  “That's right.  You’re not the only one who can abuse a non-profit organization.”(I don’t think I got the quote right.  Please look this up before posting.)

Watching these episodes only further confirms my feeling that if The Simpsons ever got bad, it was much later than most people suggest, and maybe even when it was good, they weren’t all good.  Maybe next week I’ll go much later in the series and try to find a legitimately bad string of episodes.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

That's What We Called Music? - 3 - The Way

Kendall, Molly and Sarah discuss The Way by Fastball, a song about an old couple who ran off and died in a ravine.

Here's the episode!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

When did the Simpsons get bad? Part 2

So if Season 11 isn’t where The Simpsons got bad, when did it get bad?  Another random internet forum I stumbled on seemed convinced that the quality dropped drastically midway through Season 12. 

Today’s three episodes begin with season 12, episode 11, the appropriately titled “Worst Episode Ever.”  In the typical fashion of The Simpsons, the first few scenes have little to do with the rest of the episode.  Bart and Milhouse get banned from the comic book store when they keep Comic Book Guy from ripping off Martin’s mom on a box of rare Star Wars items.  A heart attack forces Comic Book Guy (for some reason) to let Bart and Milhouse run the store.  I wouldn’t call this episode a classic, but I do always enjoy Comic Book Guy spotlights, even if he’s a pretty negative nerd stereotype. 
Favorite Quote:  Comic Book Guy’s shirt “My other shirt is clean”
Season 12, episode 12 is “Tennis the Menace.”  This one’s a little harder to defend.  For some reason, Homer decides to put a tennis court in their backyard, which leads to everyone in town wanting to come play tennis.  They’re enjoying themselves, but Homer just isn’t that good at tennis and doesn’t care to improve.  The episode culminates in Venus and Serena Williams teaming up with Andre Agassi and the other famous Tennis player (who really cares?) in a doubles match.  The episode has some good moments, but especially paired with the previous episode, there’s a little too much nonsense and not enough heart to even call it a good Simpsons episode.
Favorite Quote:  "He thought that the trip to the guillotine factory was just for fun, but it gave them the perfect excuse to shoot him."

Episode 13 is “Day of the Jackanapes.”  This is an undisputed classic.  It may be the most memorable Side Show Bob episode I can think of.  Side show Bob gets out of jail, moves into a storage unit, does the morning announcement, and tries to use Bart to blow up Krusty.  You remember the episode
Favorite Quote:  “Ah, kettle chips, the perfect side dish... for revenge!”
So we had a few stinkers, but “Day of the Jackanapes” redeems the others.  I’ll definitely have to watch more episodes from this season to see whether the bad tennis episode or the good Side Show Bob episode is the exception.  Either way, these episodes do not even come close to “should have been canceled” status.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

When did The Simpsons get bad? Part 1

I’ve been hearing a lot about “When The Simpsons got bad” lately.  It’s a debate that seems to come up at least in passing on several of the podcasts I listen to from time to time.  This inspired me to start doing some of my own research and maybe write a series of blog posts about my takeaways.  Basically, I’m going to watch three or so episodes per blog post and review why they may or may not bring me closer to the mythical tipping point.  My hypothesis going in is that the show has always been great, but there was definitely a slump somewhere between the undisputed classics and the still excellent, if occasionally out of touch, show we have today.

I started at the beginning of Season 11.  It makes sense that this might be where quality might drop off.  The show had been on for over a decade, and it was the end of the millennium.  If we think of The Simpsons as primarily a relic of the 90s, this would be a prime season to arbitrarily decide the show got bad.

The Season Premiere, “Beyond Blunderdome” features guest star Mel Gibson asking Homer for help re-shooting a remake of “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.”  The Simpsons go to Hollywood, Homer suggests all kinds of crazy things to add to the movie, and hijinks ensue.  This episode isn’t one of my top ten of all time, and it definitely loses points for some of the stuff Mel Gibson did in the years to follow, but It’s got some iconic moments.  If the season went downhill from here, this could have been the beginning of the end, but the next few episodes were great!
Favorite quote:  “All in favor?  Say Die!”

Episode 2, “Brother’s Little Helper,” is a forgotten classic.  In fact, I remember it was one of the first episodes I watched live.  Bart goes too far with a prank and Homer and Marge put him on experimental meds that make him pay attention and become increasingly paranoid.  He’s convinced that Major League Baseball is surveilling everyone from a satellite, so he steals a tank to shoot it down.  When he proves that he was right, Marc McGuire shows up and distracts everyone by hitting some home runs.  This isn’t the most quotable episode, but the randomness is amazing. 
Favorite Quote: “When I can’t stop fiddlin’ I just takes me Ritalin.  I’m poppin’ and sailin’ man!”

Episode 3, “Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner?” is a classic Lisa and Homer episode.  When Homer becomes the local paper’s food critic, he recruits Lisa to actually write articles for him.  Seriously, this season’s awesome!

Favorite Quote:  “You love Shake ‘n Bake.  You used to put it in your coffee.”

Looking at the next batch of episodes “E-I-E-I (Annoyed Grunt)” (aka the Tomacco episode), “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder” (“Did somebody say a perfect game?”), and “Eight Misbehavin” (Apu has octuplets) are all classics.  I don’t know when the simpsons got bad, but it definitely wasn’t season 11.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

That's What We Called Music? - 2 - As Long As You Love Me

On the second part of our journey through "Now! That's What I Call Music," we discuss the classic Backstreet Boys tune "As Long As You Love Me."

Here's the episode.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

That's What We Called Music? - 1 - Together Again

I'm extremely excited that this podcast is finally happening.  My wife Molly, my sister in law Sarah, and I are reviewing each song of the "Now! That's What I Call Music" series of CD's, or at least going as far as we feel like.  The first episode is a review of "Together Again" by Janet Jackson.  We're shooting for about 15 minutes per episode, so it's great for commutes, shorter chores, or anything else that takes 15 minutes.

Give the first one a listen!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 10 - Jason Baumgartner

Each week on the show I interview a regular person about the music in their life.  This week I spoke with Jason Baumgartner about his experiences trying to get a steady music education job and balancing that with raising a family.

Music in this episode:
For Everyman by Jackson Browne performed by Kendall Halman
Code Monkey by Jonathon Coulton
Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) by Silento
Final Fantasy Main Theme by Nobuo Uematsu

Here's the episode!

War and Beast - 54 - Hashtag Where's Rhinox

We finally started Beast Machines!  After the first episode, I can confidently say that all fanboys are wrong and that Beast Machines is the best Transformers series.  Even if the other episodes are really bad... ask me again in 6 months after we finish the series.

Anyway, I know I don't always post War and Beast episodes here, because if you're not listening to the show already and you're on this page, you probably aren't planning on it, but just in case any of you guys do want to give it a try, this is a perfectly fine jumping on point!

Give it a try at

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 9 - Matthew Saunders

Each week on the show, I interview regular people about the music in their life.  Matt Saunders was my trombone teacher in high school.  He took me through the college audition process and prepared me as much as one person could for what was in store.  Now he teaches general music at a college level, directs a community orchestra, and composes original work in his spare time.

Check out a number of Matt's compositions on soundcloud:

This episode's Music:
For Everyman by Jackson Browne, performed by Kendall Halman
Homo sapiens trombonensis, Maximum Impact, and Martian Dances by Matthew Saunders

Here's the episode!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Unbeatable Pull List 10-18

Jared and Kendall discuss the month's comics and spend way too much time talking about Catwoman.  Another really fun episode.

Here's the episode!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

War and Beast: Bonus Episode 12: They were like "Bah Ram You"

One of my favorite things about War and Beast is when Greg uses a random joke that I thought may have fallen flat as the episode title.  I don't follow many rules with my joke telling, but I do try to avoid repeating myself if I think people didn't hear me.  There's nothing worse than someone repeating a joke that you didn't laugh at, because it wasn't funny.  This is even more true with podcasting, since the majority of people listening to the podcast weren't there to laugh at it in the first place.

Anyway, the G1 movie is a really interesting artifact.  It has a lot of elements that are expanded on in Beast Wars and I assume beyond.  Still, it feels a little bit dated watching it now.

My copy of Beast Machines came in the mail today, and I'm excited to dive into it!

Check out the episode on

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Introducing: That's what we called music?

Join my wife Molly, sister in law Sarah Andreas and I in a journey through the good the bad and the ugly of the pop music from the turn of the millennium. On “That’s what we called music?” we’re discussing the Now! That’s what I call Music series track by track. Check us out starting November 10th on KendallCast.Ninja or the KendallCast Podcast Feed on the Podcatcher of your choice!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 8 - Sam Vestey

On each episode of the show, I interview regular people about the music in their life.  When I asked Sam Vestey if he would like to be on the podcast, he said he was interested, but wasn't sure if he'd be a good fit since he does not consider himself a musician.  He is, however, an actor with a rich and diverse background in musical theater.  This led to a great interview with some terrific insights.

War and Beast - Bonus 11 - The Complete Works of William Slaykspeare

We were going to do a bonus episode on The Last Knight this week, but that didn't work out...  Our format doesn't work very well for movies in general, and it really doesn't work with an extra host, poor organization, and aggressively different opinions on the subject matter.  That's all I'll say about that.

Instead, we reviewed Season 2, episode 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer titled "Halloween."  Every time I revisit a classic Buffy episode, it makes me want to re-watch the full series. I usually make it about 3 or 4 episodes before I get distracted, but I definitely enjoy those episodes.  Anyway, I don't have much else to say about this, except that it's also making me want to do another rogue bonus episode in the next few weeks.  Maybe a Doctor Who episode for some reason?  Who's with me?

You can listen to the episode at

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 7 - Tony Casa

On each episode of the show, I interview a regular person about the music in their life. This week, the episode is a little different. I had two guests, Tony Casa, lead singer of a band called Zoo Trippin’, and his friend Alex Thomas. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not realize that Alex was not a part of Zoo Trippin’ when he asked if he could be on Tony’s episode. This breakdown in communication led to a weird episode. I’ve done my best to edit it down to something worth listening to, but there are some weird and abrupt edits. I hope you enjoy the episode. Check out Zoo Trippin' at All music (besides the theme). is off of Zoo Trippin's most recent album, Purple, available on itunes and spotify.

Here's the episode

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 6 - Ben Ebel

On this week's episode, I interview Ben Ebel about community choirs, working with the OSU Marching Band, and his general love of music.  Also, I give a little tribute to the late great Tom Petty.

Music on this week's episode all performed by Kendall Halman:

For Everyman by Jackson Brown
Mary Jane's Last Dance and Into the Great Wide Open by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Here's the episode!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 5 - Peter Stein

This week I interviewed Peter Stein, lead singer of a very unique band called Death Sludge.  I met Peter back in 2008 at the Scarlet and Grey café when he was performing with the earliest version of the band. Over the years, he’s managed to develop his sound while still hanging on to some of the things that make Death Sludge unique.

Check out Death Sludge on Facebook at

or on Soundcloud at

The music I included in the episode was all from their upcoming E.P., but if you want to get a feel for how they sounded back in the day, check out Power Chord Song on their soundcloud.  It's pretty awesome.

Music in this episode:

For Everyman - Jackson Browne performed by Kendall Halman

Modern Chupacabra:  Death Sludge

Digital Pin:  Death Sludge

False Flag:  Death Sludge

Here's the episode!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pull List Omega 9-20

Just in time for Batman Day, Jared and I discuss the month's books including Secret Empire, Metal, Mister Miracle, and some boring Image book that Jared likes.  Also, I have an incomprehensible rant that comes from my disliking All Star Superman.

By the way, if you discovered my podcast feed from Waiting Here for Everyman, welcome, this is something completely different.

Here's the episode!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 4 - Chuck Andreas

This week I interviewed my Father in law Chuck Andreas.  This was actually only the second interview I did for this project, so I was still getting the kinks out of it.  Luckily, Chuck’s decades of experience playing music brought some great insights, even if the interview ended up a little shorter than usual.

Music in this episode:

For Everyman by Jackson Browne performed by Kendall Halman

Song For Sarah by Chuck Andreas

Here's the episode!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

War and Beast - 51 - When Two Sparks Love Each Other Very Much

I know I've been pretty inconsistent when it comes to linking War and Beast on this site, but if you're not subscribed by now, I don't know what to do about you.  Anyway, this episode was not great.  Emily was really upset by the execution of Tigerhawk, and I hated the Vok. 

Anyway, there are only two episodes left of Beast Wars.  Hopefully it ends strong!

Check out the episode on Audio Entropy

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 3 - Joe Atticus Inch

This week, I interviewed Joe Atticus Inch.  In high school, Joe wanted to be a singer songwriter, but eventually decided to focus that energy into his poetry while remaining one of the biggest fans of music I’ve ever met.

Find Joe's creative works at:

Music(and poetry) in this episode:

For Everyman - Jackson Browne, performed by Kendall Halman
I Miss You - Blink 182
Don't Wait - Dashboard Confessional
Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus
Nazi Punks Fuck Off - Dead Kennedys

Terrarium - Joe Inch
Twenty Seven - Joe Inch

Here's the episode

Saturday, September 2, 2017

War and Beast 49 - Are Transmetal 2s Zombies?

I should probably write up these mini posts about episodes before they get posted.  I don't remember much of anything about this episode.

The biggest thing is, at the end, Jordan and I discuss the Death Note Netflix movie, which is really good.  It's like John Hughes made Death Note, just a fun popcorn movie.  No need to overthink it.

You can listen to the episode on audio entropy.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Waiting Here for Everyman - 2 - Chris Grandy

In this episode, I interview one of my oldest friends, Chris Grandy.  Born and raised in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, Chris was active for the better part of a decade in the local music scene.  Around a year ago, he moved to Seatle, where he’s still figuring things out.

You can find Chris Grandy's music at:

This Episode's Music includes:

For Everyman by Jackson Browne performed by Kendall Halman

Reload by Lyon's Ghost

Gaze by Chris Grandy

Here's the episode!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

War And Beast Bonus episode 9: The Wrong Kind of Hawk

I hosted this week's War and Beast, since Greg was out of town or something.  We reviewed the second part of the Animorphs pilot episode.  Honestly, relative to how excited I was about the first episode, this one was a little underwhelming.  It's great that they emphasized how grotesque the morphing sequences were, but it did take a lot of time.  I can understand why they expedited the process as the series went on.

Anyway, you can find the episode on as always.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Waiting Here For Everyman - 1 - Alex Burgoyne

For a while I've been wanting to start a podcast where I interview regular people about the music in their lives, ranging from hobbyists to professionals.  I finally decided to pull the trigger and had the opportunity to interview Alex Burgoyne, an accomplished saxophone player and smart guy.  Here are some links to some of his projects:

This is a few individual things with various groups:

This is Liver Quiver performing at the Dispatch lunch series:

This is Small Songs:

This is Insane Jazz Posse - 80s/90s/00s rock tunes ruined by jazz:

Music in this episode includes:

For Everyman by Jackson Browne, as performed by Kendall Halman

Happy First Birthday (Attack the Cake) by Josh Bryant as performed by Small Songs

Liver Giver by Alex Burgoyne as performed by Liver Quiver

Here's the episode!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Peter Parker Pull List 8-10

Every time I listen to the Pull List to edit it, I'm really happy with how deep Jared and I go discussing and reviewing the books we've been reading.  Basically, when I do War and Beast, a lot of times I'm either super negative or uninformed, but I actually know things about comics.

Anyway, here's this month's episode.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

War and Beast 48: The Big Chalk Theory

This was a fun episode, both of the podcast and the show.  We develop a crazy head canon about how Cheetor is Optimus's substitute teacher and Rattrap doesn't understand simple machines.  Also, Una is a weirdly compelling and resourceful character in the episode.  As the resident hater on the podcast, I really like this episode.  Greg doesn't, but that's okay.

Check out the episode on!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Technodrome Tales 10: The Mean Machines

Oh, and before I forget, here's the most recent episode of Technodrome Tales.  It was a middle of the road episode that had its moments.  Also, we'll formally be taking a break from Technodrome Tales while Brad does something Halloween related on his other podcast and I work on my Christmas album.  We'll be back just in time for my 30th birthday and for War and Beast to start Beast Machines, assuming scheduling goes as planned.

War and Beast Update

Hey guys, I know I haven't been posting the latest episodes of War and Beast... or much of anything lately... Let's just say I've had some recent changes in my routine that mean I need to figure out when I'm going to blog.  Hopefully I'll be better going forward.  Meanwhile, check out recent episodes about Cheetor going through pubertyGreg accidentally watching Star Trekan anatomically correct Black Arachnia, and something we recorded a long time ago that I have no memory of.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Amazing Pull List 7-12

I don't have too much to say about this episode, since as usual, we recorded it weeks ago and I'm just now posting it.  Sorry if Jared's audio gets weird toward the end.

Here's the episode

Monday, July 24, 2017

War and Beast 45: Directed by Michael Bay?

This week was the long awaited return of Dinobot!  When I watched the episode the first two times last Monday, I felt like it was overly serious with a handful of physical comedy gags that just didn't work.  It's definitely the most visually dark episode of the series so far, and has some cool themes and stuff.  We had to reschedule the recording for Wednesday, so I watched it one more time before that recording.  Maybe I was in a better mood, but I really enjoyed it that time.
Dinobot II's design is easily my favorite since Transmetal Cheetor, maybe since Inferno.  His characterization as a sort of feral soldier comes off as pretty cool, especially for having just been created. 
We also had Kasey as a returning guest, who did a great job.  I'm glad we haven't had as many guests this season as we did in early season 2, but this episode as well as our previous episode with a guest have both been great.  It also helps that, at this point, Kasey has been on a few times and sends her news post every week, so we've gotten a better feel for each other over time.

Another Dark Souls Update

40 hours into my play through, I'm still not sure if I like this game.  At first, it felt like every step of the way was a struggle.  That doesn't seem to be the case anymore.  While many of the enemies from the early game are still a threat, my character is over leveled for where I'm at in the main campaign, so random enemies aren't that scary. 

The world seems to have slowly opened up, to where if one section is overly difficult or frustrating me, I can usually go fight a boss in another direction.  This is definitely a plus.  Slowly but surely I'm continuously making progress.  The other night, I was struggling with a boss, and threatened to quit playing the game altogether.  Then I defeated it.

The difficulty actually isn't that bad, aside from the "let's intentionally make the game harder" mechanics like the inability to pause and the terrible souls mechanic, the game is pretty balanced.  Leveling up and upgrading gear takes forever, but it does a good job of making unbeatable bosses a little bit more beatable.  When I defeat an enemy, even after leveling up and looking up strategies online, it rarely feels hollow the way some games' boss fights feel once you figure out the trick.  It seems like they could easily maintain the same balance while offering experience points that can't be taken away though.

It's an Xbox Live free multiplayer weekend or something right now, so when I went to play last night, all of the online features became available.  This basically amounted to way too many notes on the ground that just said "Need Head."  I know there are other online functions, but I have no desire to play this game online.  The fact that I can't turn off the online functionality inside of the game is pretty frustrating as well.  I'm sure there's a way to do it, but it's not that big of a deal.

In spite of everything, I'm still playing the game.  There's something to the monotony and grindy nature of the game that appeals to me.  Leveling up and increasing stats in given areas is pretty nice too.  The customization isn't as good as something like Skyrim, but I'm still playing the character I want to play.  My character clearly is not the path of least resistance character.  I'm not strong enough to wield a shield, and the bow seems to be either useless or broken in practice.  I also don't really want to mess with magic.  I just want to be an agile character who can use a bow and moves quicker than my enemies.  Maybe this is why I'm a little bit more forgiving on the general difficulty of the game. 

I'll write at least one more entry when I either finish or rage quit the game.  In the meantime, I did just start Breath of the Wild to break things up, and I need to put some time into Battlefront ASAP for the next Katarn Collection.  Video games are fun.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Technodrome Tales 9: It Came from Beneath the Sewers

Brad was unavailable this week, so Jerry hosted and Emily(of War and Beast fame) guested to fill out the roster.  This episode was, objectively, the worst episode we've reviewed of the show.  It was still, however, a ton of fun in its nonsensical plot twists.  Why did the turtles need to dress as pizza delivery guys if they were just going to kick the door down?  It gave Shredder an excuse to say, "I didn't order any pizzas, especially not green ones!"

I don't really have a ton of behind the curtain insights into this episode, so I'll let the podcast speak for itself.

Here's the episode!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

War and Beast 44: Cyber puberty hits fast and it hits hard

Everybody else hated this episode.  I kind of liked it.  The Maximals come off as pretty misogynist and, depending on your interpretation, a little bit racist too.  Also, Cheetor, out of nowhere, develops a crush on Black Arachnia and suddenly starts suffering from teenage creepiness.  If you give the writers enough credit, I think they took this episode as an opportunity to show the heroes in a not so great light.  Rattrap says some terrible things (even worse than normal), Optimus puts the one woman in charge of the children, and Silverbolt is jealous and possessive.  Meanwhile, the Predacons, relatively speaking, do a decent job of cooperating and almost succeed.  Most importantly, this episode gave us a chance to make fun of men's rights activists.  My alternative title was "Cheetor gets friend-zoned."

You can listen to the episode at

Saturday, July 15, 2017

First Impressions: Rad Racer

The other day, I was out running some errands, and popped into my local used game shop.  After browsing for a bit, I found Rad Racer, a classic racing game, for $5.  This was a game I'd heard of, but had heard mixed reviews.  It sounded like this was one of those games that was every American of a certain age's first game in the genre.  Out of historical curiosity, I picked it up.

One of the biggest surprises of my recent foray into retro-gaming has been how much I've enjoyed racing games.  One of the first N64 games I bought was Cruisin' USA.  Surprisingly I've put significantly more N64 time into that game than games like Goldeneye and Super Smash Bros.  I've also discovered a number of other classic racers like San Fransisco Rush(also N64) F-Zero(Super NES).  Rad Racer is the first NES racer I've played and I'm genuinely impressed with what they did with the technology available.

Rad Racer's gameplay is basically exactly what I expected.  It's a very simple behind the car view going down the road, with other cars acting as obstacles, and street signs that cause the car to get thrown if you hit them.  One criticism of the game is that sometimes cars or turns will pop up without giving time to adjust, and the street signs that warn of the turns are sometimes difficult to read.

In spite of all that, it's a simple game that I can put on mute while I listen to a podcast.  The blue sky or the black night and some of the simple scenery do a great job of making the game feel like I'm on the open road.  Obviously the arcade racing genre has evolved since Rad Racer, and there are probably better games from this era as well, but I still can't shake the idea that without games like Rad Racer, we wouldn't have Cruisin' USA, one of my all time favorite games for N64.  Not to mention, it's a nice break from Dark Souls.

Monday, July 10, 2017

War and Beast 43: Rattrap Fits in a Little Submarine

I know this episode has been out for a few days now, but I had other things to blog about.  Last week, I was house-sitting for my parents, so we recorded with a slightly different set up, so if the episode sounds a bit different that's why.

I don't remember if it was after the break or after we finished recording, Emily suggested that I record a cover of Yellow Submarine to play during the break.  Of course, I'm never going to turn down a request to show off my music skills, so I decided to go for it.  In the back of my mind, I kind of wanted to record a parody about the episode rather than just recording the song and sketched out lyrics on Tuesday night while I was waiting to pick up my parents from the airport.  Then, Wednesday morning, back in my apartment with my normal recording set up, I started with guitar and vocals.  It took an embarrassingly long time to figure out the melody after "and the band begins to play" on melodica, but I'm pretty happy with how that lick turned out.  I haven't played trombone in a while, but I was able to muddle through a bass line before my lips blew out.  Harmony vocals and percussion round out the track. 

You can listen to the episode on

Update: Dark Souls

I'm about 15 hours into my play through of Dark Souls, and figured I'd give a little update.  In short, I'm hooked.  It has the character customization and leveling of a modern RPG like Skyrim, in a high Fantasy setting, which is what I really wanted.  Also, it's got a silent protagonist, which is always a plus for me, since I like to put myself in the roll of the protagonist, and often protagonists who speak will say things I'd never say and pull me out of the experience.  I do see the pattern recognition, memorization, and punishing difficulty of classic games as well, which is not necessarily a selling point for me, but it does seem to be working.

Since my last entry about the game, I figured out how the leveling and experience system works.  Essentially, both experience points and money are rolled into souls which you get for killing enemies.  You can spend these souls on weapons, upgrades, items, etc., or for leveling up your character.  The other quirk about this system is, whenever you die, you drop the souls on what the game calls your blood stain, the spot where you died.  This means you can recover the souls if you can get to the spot where you were killed, but if you don't make it that far, you lose those souls.  It also means, if you aren't familiar with the mechanics, you can end up grinding in the same spot expecting to gain experience and not gain any experience.  Neither the game nor the instruction manual makes this clear.  Fortunately, we live in a world where the internet exists, so I was able to read about it there.

I wanted my character to be a dexterity based archer, similar to the character I played in Skyrim.  From the beginning, I was able to be a thief with high dexterity and low strength, but the game feels much more melee based than Skyrim.  Arrows are expensive and difficult to use early in the game.  I did eventually defeat a mini-boss by taking pot shots out of its range, and I have learned to sneak up on people(another thing not explained in game or in the manual), so things are definitely moving in the right direction.  Also, in order to get a good dexterity based melee weapon, I had to kill a friendly NPC, which took me out of the experience a little bit.

Regarding some of my early observations, I'm basically used to the controls aside from the weirdness with the item screen.  Also, the world is not as open as I expected.  In fact, there seems to be some debate online as to whether the game should be considered "Open World" at all.  It's not an exploration based game where you have to walk miles and miles between towns, but there is still an exploration element and it's not like you're teleporting from level to level. 

As far as difficulty, I do die over and over, and even the weakest enemies get me from time to time.  That happens in a lot of games though.  Even in Skyrim, I remember having to grind to get past a particular dungeon.  I'll be interested to see if, as the game goes on, when I double back to previous areas if certain enemies become a joke.  At least this is a game where, if I grind souls to get my level up and improve my gear enough, enemies that used to take 3 hits to kill, start to take 2 hits, and enemies that used to kill me in one or two hits do far less damage, so it's worth it to grind.

So yeah, I'm still enjoying the game.  However, if it keeps taking me hours and hours to get to the next bonfire, I may get tired of it and move on to something else.  At least if that happens, I can say that I put enough time into the game to have an educated opinion about it.  Breath of the Wild is always an option.

**Update to the update:  I spent 2 hours last night being killed over and over by the same three bosses(one in each direction).  I'm going to put as much time as I can in this week, but if I don't start making progress, this may not be worth the effort.