Half Inventing Stuff Part 3, or Other People Stealing Your Ideas Without Ever Having Met You or Knowing that They Stole Something Part 3

barbfume_thisone1
The Bar-B-Fume bottle design and logo from an infomercial I did as a class project in 2002. Graphics designed by Rob Edwards.

So back in 1998, I had an English oral presentation to do in which I’d be selling a made-up product. After racking my brain for hours, my thought process went as follows: “What do teenage girls want? Answer: Guys. Then what do teenage guys want? Answer: Meat. So the way for a girl to get a guy would be by smelling like meat.” The presentation went fantasticly. I had charts and prototypes (sort of… bottles of cologne and body-wash with crudely designed logos). For the women who didn’t want to have to smell the Bar-B-Fume, I invented the “Scent Remover 5000”, which was just a clothespin to put on your nose. I demonstrated how to use the body wash (which for my purposes was just barbecue sauce in a soap dispenser) by smearing it all over my face. And I finished with the tagline, “Ladies, truly the way to a man’s heart is now through his stomach.”

Two years later, the product was revived as an info-mercial for a TV studio production class I was taking, but this time with way better logo design and a killer intro. I can’t attest to the quality of the rest of it. I haven’t watched it in years. You see, I can’t find the tape with that semester’s projects on it. To make matters worse, I can’t even find the tape that has the original speech on it. I have most other semesters’ projects, and I have the other speech we had to give that year in high school, but as it stands, right now the only tangible evidence of Bar-B-Fume existing is the logo I saved.

What makes this important is that Burger King just started marketing a meat-scented fragrance called “Flame”. Here‘s the website. Granted, it smells like the Whopper and not like barbecue sauce, but it’s still enough to have me shouting “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”. I guess I just need to follow through more.


I’m pretty angry.

Empty Bookshelf’s First 100 Reviews


Oh, those kids. Always at it. You guys really shouldn’t’ve.

So here we are at the first of what may be a few reviews of our first milestone, 100 reviews. Not only is this the first review of this milestone, but of what could be very many milestones. We here at the Bookshelf like the word “milestone“, and don’t believe in Thesauruses. So here we go, our first hundred in a nutshell.

The first actual review happened way back in October of 2005… remember that time before the Steelers won the superbowl, before “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” movie, before Dick Cheny accidentally shot his friend while hunting, and before Bristol, United Kingdom celebrated the 200th birthday of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (actually April 9) by relighting the Clifton Suspension Bridge?

Dan’s first review was aimed at complaining about post-game hype surrounding an extremely long baseball game. Of course our readers probably care about boring Astros-Braves baseball games as much as they seemed to care about my terrible review of the dictionary. Even though that picture was good, it was nowhere near the five star quality of this image. I too tried my hand at reviewing food, but it was an utter failure. On the plus side, my review of the letter to the editor is one of my favorites, and my first review actually got eight comments, including this link. The few following that grilled chese review focused mostly on music, my opinion of “Good Night, and Good Luck”, a particular episode of Trading Spouses, and Dan’s opinion of My opinion of “Good Night, and Good Luck”. Dan also said that the Colbert report wouldn’t last, which seems to have been proven false.

October seemed to be us finding our footing.
***

November saw Dan’s Cleveland Trifecta, a diatribe against horses, a road that he liked, an episode of “Coach“, and his complaints about how much he aches, now that he’s an old man. I started the month strong with the Beth review, but struggled through the rest of it, with lame reviews like Thursday, a type of tooth”paste” that doesn’t work for me, and an insightful, yet completely unnecessary complaint about my nosebleeds. My FAO Schwarz review kinda made up for them, but the highlight of the month involved Dan and I sparring about how Christmas is coming earlier every year, and something about me being a time-traveling sheep.

November didn’t see much improvement over October, but the Christmas stuff was entertaining.
***½

December got a bit better, even with a few less reviews. I busted out the old NES games, for a few reviews that I swear are not trying to copy off of XE, another personal favorite, Christmas Cards, Adam’s first review, Dan throwing the hate down on Pitchfork media, and a suprising amount of people commenting on Roger Ebert’s take on video games. The biggest advance in December was the pop-ins, that added added some clarity to our parentheses-obsessed-writing.

December was a highly engaging and entertaining month, even with only nine reviews.
****½

2006 rolled around, and January saw Dan get political, review half of a book, not like warm winters a lot. I only contributed three of ten reviews that month, but all three of them were relatively alright, mostly because “Where In Time is Carmen Sandiego“, and “The Simpsons” after season 9 is so easy to complain about.

January’s topics fell off a little.
***½

February, while being the shortest month, was also a monster for us, as far as number goes. A whopping twenty-one reviews. To be fair, 17 of them came in our envelope-pushing live superbowl reviews, the biggest stunt pulled in the history of reviewing anything and everything on a five star scale. The only other reviews of any substance were my Gauntlet Review of the Beatles albums, and Dan’s digging up of our one-issue underground high-school newspaper.

Despite the big stunt, and two good reviews, February was kinda lacking.
**½

March just plain sucked. Four reviews total. One by me. Three megareviews by Dan.

½

April was slightly better, with another of my top five of my reviews, Legacy of the Wizard. The other four I would give an average of 3 stars to, but since there were only four during the month, that’s going to cancel out the Legacy of the Wizard bonus and take it down a half star.

**½

For my money, May was our best month yet. Dan’s contribution was the lengthy three-part TV landscape review. I threw out quality stuff with my Songs for Silverman, and Degree Navigator reviews. The shorter American Dreamz and Davinci Code video game reviews were serviceable, but my immense LOST season 2 review tops everything.

*****

June fell off a bit. Four reviews total. Split two and two. Mine were based on a ridiculous news story, and anger at other people for coincidentally coming up with the same ideas as me. Dan tried to put everything into perspective by seeing how well the entire history of human ingenuity and artistry stacked up in the interstellar community, and complained a little about how the national geography of roadways isn’t designed to suit his needs.

**

July was filled with the (I gotta admit my ignorance as to the relevance of this phrase… and wikipedia does nothing to help) Navel Gazing set. I was had for a few minutes by a Jimmy Kimmel hoax, and I thought the critics were a little too harsh on Shayamalan. Despite the mediocre numbers for the month, I’d give it a 3.5

***½

This gives us a per-month average of 3 stars, which isn’t too shabby.

In my first ever review, I reviewed the concept of this website. I claimed that we wouldn’t be able to keep it fresh, that we’d run out of ideas, and that we wouldn’t be able to stay somewhat funny at least. I believe my exact quote was “It has the potential to provide hours of entertainment for readers, and shape their lives for years to come. However, the downside is that it could get old real soon, and provide us with nothing but an excuse not to get real jobs.”

Well, I think we’ve significantly proven wrong every single point that I just brought up. We have 29 categories, 19 subcategories, and even two sub-sub categories. We’re still writing about reasonably different things, and while we may have slacked on the funny in recent months, we still bring the ‘A’ game on occasion. As far as my quote goes, I’d be willing to bet that we’ve provided maybe a few hours of entertainment for a handful of people, which probably did nothing to shape their lives for even the near fututre. On the upside, it hasn’t gotten old, and we have gotten real-ish jobs.

For all of these reasons, I’m willing to up our star rating by half a star, over the average rating of 3. I’ve also realized that my method of calculating the rating might not be the best, so I’m gonna throw in another half star for a final rating of 4 stars out of five.

****

And for those of you playing along at home, yes, this technically is the 100th review and so therefore should be included. This review receives 3 stars for not having much to offer in the way of witty musings, and for having a faulty overall rating method, but for packing so many subjects and links into one review.

***

Food (supplied by Primo)

Mmm…. mozzarella, prosciutto, and other Italian words I probably can’t spell very well. The Suprimo and Turkey Diablo.

primo.jpg

Best sandwiches ever. 1/2 star off for a necessary lack of variety.

****½

Quiznos Steakhouse Roast Beef Dip

Site note: We’ll be having our first night of live reviewing on Sunday, February 5 during the Superbowl. That’s right; we’ll be reviewing all aspects of the game while it’s still in progress: we’ll review plays, people, commercials, the foods we’re eating, you name it. Be part of our reviewing milestone starting at 6pm EST on Sunday Feb. 5.

MINI-REVIEW!


Quiznos? More like Quiz-MAYBES!!!

I had this sandwich the other day, and I suppose while I can’t really claim to have expected there to be any more to it, it was very underwhelming. Having not lived under a rock for the past however many years, I realize that ads for food usually exaggerate (or “overrexaggerate” as friend of The Bookshelf Josh Calloway would say) the overwhelming deliciousness that said foods provide, and that Quiznos is a big purveyor of such underhanded tactics.

First of all, and yet a side note, Quiznos likes to pretend that their prices are cheap when they’re anything but. When you hear them speak of just 2.99, you automatically jump to the mindset that Subway instilled in us about subs being 6-inch or footlong, however that’s not the case. It’s more along the lines of 4, 8, and 14 inches, or something like that, and so the 2.99 price is for the small. I’m willing to forgive the higher pricing as the sandwiches are mostly considerably more “gourmet” than subway, but the fact that they advertise them as cheap without saying the actual size, essentially preying on this mindset, really grills my flatbread.

Back on topic. So the sandwich looks all big and stacked full of slow cooked roast beef and melted swiss cheese, when in reality, all it is is a regular roast beef sandwich (the beef hasn’t been specially cooked or anything), with swiss cheese, served with a cup of roast beef juice, known better by some french term that i’m not going to stoop to saying. The sandwich was hot, but I’m not giving them the special credit for that because they toast all of their subs. Basically this was a plain roast beef sandwich, made to look all important, and the price that the people paid for it probably wasn’t worth the letdown.

Not saying that the sandwich wasn’t good (it was quite tasty), but I probably would’ve been better off with the Chicken Carbonara sandwich, the classic italian (minus the olives), or the more expensive black angus sandwich, but hey, I wasn’t paying for it, so nothing to lose.

***

This sandwich gets three stars, due to the fact that while it was good, it was small, and didn’t even have the filler (lettuce, tomato, etc.) to make it more substantial a meal. Add to it that the roast beef was actually cold in spots, due to the hasty toasting of the sandwich, and the fact that the commercial makes it look substantially more overwhelming than it turned out to be, the sandwich leaves a good amount to be desired.

Footnote: While I understand that I am again using the argument that a product did not live up to my prior expectations as a gauge by which to judge said product, this case is different from before in the sense that the company itself was inducing false presumptions, and not other noted reviewers.

grilled cheese

\"I\'ll Even the Virgin Mary Love grilled cheese!!!\"
Even the Virgin Mary Loves Grilled Cheese!”

It’s like someone knew exactly what I wanted. They took the two greatest food inventions in history: sandwiches, and frying things, and put them together. And added cheese. Wonderful. Here’s a simple delicious sandwich you can cook in five minutes, and it eats like a meal. Enjoy it with any kind of soup and you’re good to go. It’s got a golden-brown, crisp outside and a gooey inside that complement each other very nicely. And. it’s. fried. What more can you ask for? Maybe if you batter dipped it and deep fried it. Deee-lish.

****½

The grilled cheese sandwich gets 4.5 stars because most of the time it’s made with the disgustingly awful KRAFT cheese food product, and not something like meunster, cheddar, jack, mozzerella, or provalone. Oh, man. This makes me hungry.