“Things That Are Overrated” for $200, Alex

All right, everybody. It’s time to just calm down. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. Or is it, in through your mouth, and out through your nose? Does it matter? No.

In fact, a lot of things don’t matter that much. Some things are, quite frankly, overrated.

Want a list? Done. Ten things, coming right up.

(Be advised: blah blah blah, if I’m attacking something here that you really love, I’m not attacking you, blah blah blah. Further, I’m not even saying these things are shitty — simply that they are overvalued by some. Let’s not get all goofy and think that our personal worth is measured by the things we like and own. That’s silly. Our personal worth is measured by how many words we write in a day, which means my personal worth is in the billions and billions.)

Tim Burton

I grow weary of you, Tim Burton. I grow tired of your aesthetic — all that black, all those skulls, all that whimsical darkness. I grow fatigued with your undying adoration for Johnny Depp. I like Depp. I do. But I wouldn’t put him in every movie ever. Other actors do exist. Just make out with him and get it over with already. It’s okay. I understand. But to be clear, you no longer seem to be growing or changing as an artist. C’mon. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a sub par effort. (That’s a kind of way of saying, “It sucked a gallon of ballsweat from an ogre’s eczema-laden thighs.”) I’d categorize it neatly as “pap.” Nay, I’d even go so far as to call it a fat sack of pap, sir. Alice in Wonderland — a beloved property — looks to me like more of the same from you. Yes, yes, I’ll probably see it. It might be fine. It’s just — mmmm. I dunno. You’ve lost something. You’ve fallen too deeply in love with the damaged weirdos, but have forgotten what makes them so interesting. It’s all spectacle, now. But no substance.


Hey, I get it. Steampunk is pretty bad-ass, yes. Or, rather, it’s bad-ass in theory. These days, it’s becoming a buzz-word that means nothing beyond the aesthetic, and that aesthetic is growing tired when it doesn’t have the substantive chops to back it up. Oh, you’re going to go ahead and slap some clockwork parts on something? Oh. That’s… that’s very nice. Haven’t seen that before. Oh! It’s powered by steam! How wonderful for you! And all those goggles! In gaslit pseudo-Victorian England on an alternate timeline! Well-done, cog in the machine! Is there nothing new we can bring to the table? I have admittedly high hopes for Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, which I’ve purchased, and you can only reward yourself by enjoying Shawn Gaston’s Clockworks series, which is its own creature and quite good. In fact, the best thing you can do for steampunk is to stop loving it simply because it happens to be steampunk. Start prioritizing. Good Steampunk is good. Mediocre Steampunk is done. Over. Shh, go to sleep, little baby. If it’s not careful, it’ll play itself all the way out, just like cyberpunk or splatterpunk (and here before it even gets to hit the mainstream running). Frankly, I want to see some new “blahblahpunk.” Golempunk! Sewerpunk! Moonpunk! Cavepunk! Man, that’s addicting. Take a word, and add it to punk, and enjoy the visuals that play out across your head. Monkeypunk! Radiationpunk! Pumpkinpunk! Funkpunk! Punkpunk! OH MY GOD I’VE LOST ALL MEANING HISSING STEAM IN MY HEAD.

Reading When You’re Pooping

You people who sit down and read when you’re on the toilet — what the hell is wrong with you? Don’t you have a better time to pick up Moby Dick or the latest issue of Tiger Beat? You’re sitting over your own wretched stink. Why hover? Why are you hanging out with it? It’s the equivalent of taking out the garbage, and then sitting on top of the garbage can for a half-hour to get some knitting done. Are you on the toilet long enough to read substantial portions of a book or magazine? Really? You should up your fiber intake, then. You should not be there that long. That’s not healthy for you! Moving your bowels uses the word “moving” for a reason. Finish up! Hop off the throne. You wanna read, go sit in a chair, preferably one that isn’t filled with your poop.

Cop and Doctor Shows

I have entered the Hollywood Pitch Machine and come out unscathed. Maybe even had a little success whilst amongst the crushing wheels and pulleys, like Indiana Jones returning from the cave with the golden idol. So, now I will pitch to you my new TV show, and it is a sure-as-shit winner: Cop Doctor. He’s a cop! Who is also a doctor! He’s in love with a nurse, but he can’t pull himself away from the streets! He’s a surgeon with a badge! He’s a cop with a barium enema bag! He’s Doctor Detective Steve Hamstrong, MD: Cop Doctor! *gnarly guitar lick* Because every time I turn on the goddamn TV, there it is: a cop show, or a doctor show. Cop show, doctor show, cop show, doctor show. The cop shows are actually trying. They’re digging up all the weird minutiae of the cop genre and combing through the knots and putting it on screen: “Let’s do a show about… the evidence room! The janitorial staff? What about the guy who solves celebrity pet murders?” Doctor shows, fuck, they gave up. “I dunno. Put like, eight people in a hospital. They’re probably all fucking each other. They kill patients. Make four of them hot, four of them ugly. I’m asleep. Don’t wake me up or I’ll have your pet murdered.” So, they either need to quit with the cop and doctor shows, or they need to buy my TV idea, and finally give the season order to Doctor Detective Steve Hamstrong. Cop Doctor, bitches. Cop Doctor. Oh, and yes, I’ve gone ahead and put up a picture of Pauley Perrette (Abby from NCIS), not because she’s a cop doctor, but because she’s Pauley Perrette from NCIS.

Google Wave

Sweet motherless fuck OH MY GOD it’s the biggest bestest newest shiniest thing it’ll change the way you email it’ll change the way you eat and sleep and dream all our minds will tether together in a grandificent jizzsplosion of Big Bang proportions it’ll change the way you read when you poop — or, y’know, maybe it’ll just be a window where everybody types at each other. We used to call it a “chat window,” but now, it’s so much awesomer! Christ. Everybody’s ready to stab each other’s eyes out for Google Wave invites. “Do you have one? I will pay you fifty dollars. I will fellate a goat. On camera. You want my left foot? Done. Both kidneys? They’re out already. Just give baby a taste.” It isn’t that exciting yet, people. It isn’t a revolution in the way we communicate online. I’ll say that it has the potential to be, yes. Okay, okay, Google Wave is actually pretty cool. But we haven’t mined it for its maximum goodness, yet. And half the time, with an invite, you’re not necessarily connected to other “Wavers,” which means you’re shouting into a hole and waiting for the echo. You can sniff its potential, sure. Check out Will’s post at Gameplaywright and you’ll see that it has some potential for putting together interesting RPG experiences (I actually wonder if Google Wave will be useful for playing RPGs at the actual table with other live participants). So: am I knocking Google Wave? No, not really. I’m actually not knocking everything on this page (yes, I really like Steampunk, yes, I really Tim Burton, relax) — I’m just saying that ascribing it Messianic overtones is getting a little carried away. Google Wave has miles to go before it sleeps, and more importantly, before it becomes a revolution in communication.

The Wii

I won’t repeat myself too much, because I already said it (Wii Mais Non). But the Wii just ain’t that hot. Not a lot of killer apps. Too many costly peripherals. Crap graphics. Lots of text. Not great music. The list goes on. The point of its inclusion here is that people still treat it with squee-like reverence. When we sold our Wii recently on a local marketplace, we had tons of calls. People were geeked that we were selling a Wii. They acted like it wasn’t readily available in stores, like it was still a real rara avis out there in the wild. Calm down. They’re everywhere. In through the nose, out through the — well, whatever.

The Avatar Preview (Also: 3D Movies)

I get tired of hearing about the Biggest Newest Holy Shittest Thing out there. Right now, it’s James Cameron’s Avatar and 3D Movies. First up: Avatar looks cool, but I dunno that it’s the revolution everybody says it’s going to be. I’m going off a HD trailer, but this so far isn’t the leap that Jurassic Park was in terms of special effects. It’s Cameron, so I’m confident the film will be a rock-solid spectacle, and likely something even bigger and better than that. But for the most part, it looks like a big CGI-fest cartoon. Which is fine. But let’s not pretend this is photo-realistic. Did you see District 9? The aliens in that looked real. On a cheapo budget. They looked beyond anything I’ve seen for Avatar. Now, the thing everybody says is, “Well, you really need to see it in 3D, then you’ll understand.” I guess, maybe? So far, 3D hasn’t impressed me. It’s cool. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy it. But now, every movie coming out is starting to have 3D. “New movie from Meg Ryan! Her befattened lips will envelop you in amazing full 3D with Botoxovision.” It’s more a novelty than anything else right now. It washes out the colors. It blurs the edges (ironic given our current fetish for clarity in terms of high-definition digital imaging). Is this really a jaw-dropping, thousand-mile step forward? Or is it just a cool stunt that should be reserved for a few cool stunt movies?


Ahh. Facebook. I like you. You’re fun. And blue! And you’re like a magnet. Everybody’s hurrying toward you — you’re like a bug zapper, and we are the moths drawn to you crackling cerulean electricity. (Man, say that out loud, it feels lovely in your mouth. “Crackling cerulean electricity.” That shit ain’t overrated. Boom.) Now that everybody’s there, of course, Facebook is becoming a lot of noise (hard to hear over the din), and worse, a tangle of useless changes. It’s like Facebook hates you. Every time you turn around, it’s making a new, suckier change. “We’ve now organized your News Feed behind a smeary Vaseline veil! And your status update is easier than ever to enter: just click on the swiftly-moving off-white pixel to find the window. We’ve also made sure to drown you in application requests with no way to bail yourself out! Get excited for the next Facebook update, when we will release starving leopards into your office whenever you log on!”

Megan Fox / Hatred For Megan Fox

Goddamn, people get worked up about Megan Fox. Here’s the news: ain’t worth it. She’s hot in that trashy-scary-crazy way. But, unlike Angelina Jolie (the best example of trash-scary-crazy hot), we’ve little indication that Fox can actually act. Which means — who cares? Did Jennifer’s Body do big business? (Answer: nuh-uh.) Of course, on the other side of OMG SQUEE MEGAN FOX, we get OMG MEGAN FOX SAID SOMETHING MEAN ABOUT WONDER WOMAN. Or whatever it was. (Didn’t she call her “lame?” I’m really not interested enough in looking it up. I have things to do.) Who gives a crap? Her hatred (or falsely flown love) for various geek properties is meaningless. Not only is it an attention-getting ploy on her part (and you’re then giving her attention), but it doesn’t take away from the things you love, just as me rambling on at this blog doesn’t take away from your interests and true loves, either. So, Fox has an opinion. She has a stupid opinion. I ask again: why do you care either way? Why does anybody love or hate her? Best advice is written right there on her body. Straight out of King Lear: “We will all laugh at gilded butterflies.” She’s the gilded butterfly, people. Laugh away. (For the record, Shakespeare is never overrated.)

Catching Snowflakes on Tongue This Blog

Dude, this blog is way overrated. I’ve seen a major bump in views over the last two months, and I can only ask: why? What is wrong with you people? Get out of here! I’m not spouting wisdom. I’m just making shit up! Does it look like I’m wearing pants? I’m not wearing pants. Why are you giving attention to a pantsless mutant such as myself? I’m barely cogent over here. Hell, I’m not even a writer. I just made all that stuff up. I don’t even write this blog. I let the dogs do it. I just set them up in the keyboard in the morning, and smear gravy train all over the keyboard. This page you’re reading right now is the result of that very process. And you thought I was saying cool stuff? No. Nope. It’s the dogs. Thank them. Don’t thank me. And, frankly, I think their work here is very overrated. Your mileage may vary. It may vary so much, in fact, that you might disagree with all of what I said here. And that’s okay. Free country and all that. (Though, your names will go on The List. You don’t want to know about The List. I’m just saying.) Since your mileage varies, I ask: what do you think is overrated? (And if you say “bacon,” I will stab you in the neck with a broken Pepsi bottle.)


  • I had a visceral flinching reaction to your picture of kanagawa’s the wave because it’s featured heavily in an episode of little einsteins.

    kids are freaking. will be back later with my list.

  • Most overrated thing ever:

    Celebrity. Fucking. Political. Goddam. Opinions: I pay money to watch these people entertain me (and occasionally fuck, but don’t tell my wife. She thinks mr.skin is skin cream). Who Angelina Jolie likes for president and who Ben Affleck thinks would make the best junior class president at West Beverly High has about as much importance on my life as ringworm, but with ringworm at least I get to make a highly trained professional touch my body and not go to jail for it. I have only so much time in a day to watch media sources. Fill it with actually important shit, more explosions, more boobs, and less of assholes acting like they actually represent anyone.

    • And on the subject of celebrity political opinions — ehh? Yeah, I mean, I get it. I dunno that they’re overrated, as I’m not sure anybody but the celebrities care what they think anyhow.

      — c.

  • Little Einsteins: very overrated.

    Backyardigans? Awesome with a side of rock and roll. I watch that shit voluntarily.

    And I’m sorry, but in my opinion, bacon is overrated.

    Just put the neck stabber down and lemme explain.

    Is bacon good? Yes.
    Is it, in fact, delicious? Hell yes.

    Is it so good that it should — nay, must — be stuffed into, wrapped around, used as flavoring in, and otherwise made ubiquitous in all food and non-food products? No. Please, please, no.

    * Bacon on a sandwich? Yes.
    * Bacon wrapped around scallops? Sure, whatever. Not like scallops are fighting back with a lot of flavor of their own. (At least not the cheap crap we get around here.)
    * Bacon wrapped ’round pork chops? Redundant, but I’ll allow it if it’s meant in some kind of wink-and-nod fashion.
    * Bacon wrapped around fillet mignon? NO.

    I don’t care if it’s the best combination-thing every discovered since sex and whip cream (also overrated), that is fillet effing mignon right there, and it doesn’t need BACON to make it taste better!


    See also: things which bacon or bacon flavoring does not improve:
    * Mayonnaise
    * Vodka
    * APPLE PIE (http://elicooks.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/apple-bacon-pie.jpg)
    * Bras (http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i203/zenpirates/MotivatorBaconBra.jpg)
    * Other clothing (http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&safe=off&rlz=1C1GGLS_enUS320US320&um=1&sa=1&q=bacon+clothing&aq=f&oq=&aqi=&start=0)

    I loves me some bacon, but come on — this level of bacon-inclusion is a prime example of something being overrated.

    • Doyce — worry not, the neck stabber is down.

      Let’s negotiate this.

      Bacon: Not overrated.

      Bacon’s Needless Inclusion Into Other Foods: Overrated.

      That work?

      I’ll also offer that pancetta is a good bacon substitute, and foie gras is a great “rich people bacon” product. Fattylicious.

      — c.

  • Ever since seeing it on the Daily Show, I’ve wanted to buy a jar of Baconaise just I could highlight it in my kitchen somewhere. Regardless, seems during the last two years that any time a celeb endorses a candidate for anything, it’s headline news. I can understand why people made a big deal out of Colin Powell, that’s not the issue. But there was constant coverage over how Brangelina was holding back on saying anything. It just gets irritating.

    • I have deeply mixed emotions about that!

      Jay Leno, for example, is a good example of deeply overrated.

      And damn him for stealing my joke preemptively! Time traveling bastard!

      And yet, *and yet* —

      It has one of the guys from Whitest Kids U Know! Where’d he come from? What the hell?

      Conflicted. So conflicted.

      — c.

  • Nod, nod, nod. Yes. Uh huh. Nod. Yes. Oh yes.

    Oops. Dozed off briefly at the mention of Megan Fox, but then you mentioned Angelina Jolie which made everything okay again.

    Facebook mostly just gives me the creeps these days. I still log in to play Scrabble, but I try not to touch anything else for fear of triggering unwanted posts to the dreaded news feed (or whatever the flip it’s called these days).

    Anyway – great post!

  • Little Fucksteins suck Giant Rocky Mountain Beaver Dung. Are there beavers in the Rockies? Fuck it. There are now.


    Frankenwine. I love Shiraz, I love Cabernet. Mixing both together seems like a good idea, but actually? Meh. I don’t know about up there, but around here there are bottles of that crap all over the place.

    Fringe. There. I said it. I tried to watch it when it started. Oh boy did I try. I was soooooo excited. And every week my credulity was stretched and I couldn’t understand if they were actually serious or doing the ol’ nudge nudge wink wink. And then my husband walked through the room and said, “This show sucks ass.” and he was right. I’ve been tempted to return for Nimoy, but but but… gah.

    Uggs. There is absolutely nothing about an Ugg boot that can’t be reproduced far more cheaply and attractively. WTF is up with the Ugg lust?

    Designer handbags. First of all, I don’t carry a purse, and it pisses me off that I’m saddled with a diaper bag again. I had gotten to the point where a pull-up and a small pack of wipes were stuffed in the glove box, and all of my ID and cards are in my back pocket. The fact that a frigging sack to cart your junk around (and why does any chick need that much junk?) can cost like, $1000 is appalling. What the hell is Coach? Who the hell cares?

    Crap. Kids again. Back later.

  • Snow. Snow is overrated. It makes life miserable. The ice, the slush, the cold. Driving in it is not fun. Shoveling it is not fun.

    I do not miss the snow.

    • Holy shit, you people. Well done.

      Snow: Totally overrated. Deep, deep overrated. Snow is for assholes.

      Fringe: Word up. See also: FlashForward.

      Also: Rocky Mountain Beaver Dung, originally misread as “Beaver Bung.”

      You’re the best website visitors ever.

      — c.

  • Hey, thanks for the love in the middle of your steampunk rant.

    For my own list, you really could have just stopped at Tim Burton. The last good Tim Burton movie was Big Fish, and that was the first good Tim Burton movie in ages.

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