Category Archives: Uncategorized

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We’ll be waiting for you with hot cocoa and cookies and brand new episodes of Rocket Punch Radio!*

 

 

 

*Just the new episodes, we don’t have cocoa and cookies. I’m sorry for being deceptive. But they would be good right now, wouldn’t they?

Episode 25: Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

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In this, our first episode of Season 2, Samantha and James chat about our relationship with Pokemon, games that made us go WTF, and then descend into a spiral of memories about Mass Effect. Also, we talk about crowd funding for some reason?

Thanks to Brent Black for our new theme tune, and thank you to you, listeners, for making this last year a great one! We hope you’ll stay with us for another one for more of that Rocket Punch Radio flavor.

The Giant Robot of Rocket Punch Radio can only be fueled by the ratings and subscriptions of faithful listeners like yourself. Hit us up on iTunes and Tunein and keep the fight going! You can join the official Rocket Punch community on Facebook on the Grown-Ass Geeks group.

Follow these crazy bastards:
Rocket Punch Radio: @RocketpunchRDO
James: @JpatrickAuthor
Samantha: @thekebabylon
Nate: @BladeofCreation
Allayne: @HeyAlliOops
Kurt: @kspaz13

If you want to ask us a question in private you can email us at rocketpunchradio@gmail.com

Let me tell you about Lore…

I don’t mean lore, like the weird stories from the “old country” your friend’s creepy old great grandma told you against your wishes when you were a kid – I mean Lore, the supernatural, super thrilling podcast written and produced by Aaron Mahnke. Now that I think about it though, maybe it’s more like those creepy old stories than I thought…maybe Aaron Mahnke is secretly someone’s creepy old ethnic great granny?? (I’m on to you Mahnke…)

ANYWAYS… Lore is a by-weekly podcast that brings you real scary stories – and that’s real as adjective and a noun! Really though, each episode is a unique tale of people, places, or things with supernatural elements or goings-on. You’ll get the story first – each little horrifying bit delivered exceedingly well with lots of details to help you get a firm grasp on the topic at hand. Then you’ll get the breakdown, meaning the little (or surprisingly large) pieces of truth that hide in the core.

Mahnke covers a wide variety of topics to, so you’re sure to find something that appeals. From the classics like werewolves and the rambling undead, to more obscure fables of “others” living among us, to news stories that can’t quite get their stories straight – trust me, there is something for everyone.

My personal favorites, with a mini synopsis, include:

The Bloody Pit (Episode 2): A super tragic and frightening true story about a series of intense mining accidents that still linger to this day.

Dinner at the Afterglow (Episode 4): Imagine that awkward family dinner…for all eternity.

The Castle (Episode 8): H. H. Holms puts the hostile in hospitable.

Black Stockings (Episode 11): “You’ve changed” use to be a legitimate reason to torture your relatives, friends and neighbors.

Covered Mirrors (Episode 16): Real life stories about how it was way easier to be a serial killer back in the day.

Hunger Pains (Episode 18): Tales about the taboo of cannibalism and it’s place in mythology.

Bite Marks (Episode 19): A collection of stories about spirits and the marks they can leave on the physical world.

6792384200_a6e467b5f3.jpgThe scariest one (if you’re into that) I can think of off the top of my head, is Unboxed (Episode 15); that one tells you about a boy who’s attached to a doll that is more than a little attached to him. (I was going to put a creep doll photo in the end here for you guys, but … I got scared, OK?)

Right now, there’s 26 episodes with more being added every other week – and even though I’ve mentioned my favorites, they are definitely all worth a listen. Next time you’ve got some time to kill, put yourself in good company and hunker down with one of these chilling and thrilling tales of men and monsters. But, maybe leave the lights on…

 

In Lieu of Flowers…

In 2007, the internet was in the process of changing. A few years before Youtube had exploded on to the scene, Wikipedia had reached far enough into popular culture that my college professors were warning not to use it as a source on papers; The user-created internet was finally arriving in a big way.

There were a few great videos to come out early, but nothing had such a lasting impact on me as Haloid.

(The youtube video loads in low quality, so watch in fullscreen on 720p for full effect.)

This video was made by one man, a then unknown Monty Oum. I know that videos like these are not uncommon now, but to give you an idea of how standout this was: Here’s a video put out by Coke for the Superbowl that year, and the trailer for Assassin’s Creed, which also came out late 2007. Both are fully CGI and perhaps it’s unfair to compare a commercial to a 10 minute video, but I want to show some context of one man’s work versus an entire company.

Both ads are good, but in my book Haloid felt monumental. It would have been amazing if Nintendo or Bungie had released it – but this was a single person. I had trouble wrapping my head around how it was even created.

Monty Oum would go on to work for Midway and Namco Bandai Games, as well putting in time on the video game Afro Samurai. In 2010 he joined Rooster Teeth to help them bring combat into their long running Red vs Blue series.

I can remember a friend sending me this video telling me I needed to start watching Red Vs. Blue again. Through his work on RVB, he was promised the chance to work on his own original show.

Enter RWBY in 2013; a colorful, quirky, animated show. The following video is from the Red Trailer. The subsequent White, Black, and Yellow trailers are also worth checking out. Also here’s a quick trailer that explains the plot if you’re interested.

A few months after Rooster Teeth wrapped up Season 2  of RWBY. Monty Oum was hospitalized “following a severe allergic reaction during a routine medical procedure.” He passed away on February 1st, 2015.

Often when a celebrity dies, it’s someone who was older. As with January’s celebrity deaths they were all older people who had an impressive body of work. Does Monty’s death seem worse to me because he was my age, reminding me of my own mortality? Not really. I think it has more to do with the loss of creativity and a unique voice. A friend of mine said after the death of David Bowie “The world is now a shittier place.” That might be true to an extent and I hate the loss of our creative types, but I think the notion that they leave a hole that cannot be filled is insulting to the creativity and ingenuity of the human race.
in lieu

We will remember them by their work and the love we carry for it, but by learning, experimenting, and creating we continue the legacy of the artists who have left us. Keep moving forward.

 

Games with Mileage

You might think by the title I’m talking about driving games today. Nope, (well okay there is one driving game…kind of.) I’m the kind of gamer who plays a small number of games. But once a game grabs my attention I play the game until found every secret, gotten all the endings/achievements, and mastered every maneuver. For this I love games with mileage. By games with mileage I mean games that you can get a lot of use/hours of fun out of.

My list features the added bonus of most of these are somewhat cheap (because I am also somewhat cheap). So you can entertain yourself without spending much (or maybe anything at all if your a steam card expert). So who makes the list? Here they are in order of hours I’ve put into them.

tf2

Whoops, sorry god.

Team Fortress 2
-Price: Free
-Playtime: 757 Hours
You probably know this one, if not the link will give you the highs and lows. It’s a first person shooter that decided realistic was a horrible idea and went instead with color and humor. The community and weapon swap outs kept this game fresh for years and while it’s numbers have flagged, it’s still a fun game to jump into and set your friends on fire. Pyro for Life!

monaco

K.spaz was asploded by K.spaz…whoops.

Monaco
-Price: $14.99
-Playtime: 214 Hours
A slick heist game with several twists in the storyline. I won’t spoil anything. Choose between 8 criminals and steal everything that isn’t nailed down in Monaco. A top down pixeled game. This is a great advertisement for how far 8 bit graphics can be used. May take a while to figure out what all the symbols are and how the mechanics work but a fun and challenging single player game which turns into a riot when multiplayer is involved. A great game for jumping into games online or playing on the couch with friends.

tbp

Excuse me while I brag, all these are taken from my Steam account by the way.

They Bleed Pixels
-Price: $9.99
-Playtime: 106 Hours
My hat is off to anyone who can finish this game. In fact I’m impressed if you have the determination to finish the 3rd stage. The platformer and beat-em-up combo that boasts a difficulty just shy of Dark Souls. Yet They Bleed Pixels is not a sadist like other challenging games TBP is a tough martial arts master. Making you do insane tasks that will hone your abilities to perfection. The beautiful art and music add to the game and if you like the music in the trailer, you may want to pick up the soundtrack if you have a few bucks to spare.

torchlight 2

Find epic loot, use it to kill strange races you meet along the way.

Torchlight II
-Price: $19.99
-Playtime: 99 Hours
A Diablo clone with awesome graphics and great multiplayer modes. This games biggest flaw is that the story is not long enough. The additional maps you can buy (in game gold not real money) help, but really new game plus just doesn’t go far enough. Great art and a ton of unique weapons and armor (some of which have humorous descriptions).

Rogue Legacy

rogue legacy

This is only about halfway through the first run.

-Price: $14.99
-Playtime: 89 Hours
Take a family of knights through a castle crawling with enemies. Every time you die an offspring takes over. Upgrade your castle to get better abilities but the negative traits your offspring have really adds to the fun here. Plus the random-ness of the castle will keep you coming back. Can be frustrating to start, but your persistence will be rewarded here. Also completionist instincts can cause you trouble in this game sometimes there are rooms you should skip, and don’t pay to keep the castle locked unless you find something really awesome.

Rocket League

rocketleague

I got it! I got it!

-Price: $19.99
-Playtime: 66 Hours
I’ve reviewed Rocket League on here before but I can say here was a game I didn’t know I wanted and has been one of many surprise hits of the 2015 gaming scene. It’s a demolition derby mixed with soccer. The game is made far quick set-up and quick games. I have yet to play this local with friends. But is too much fun to stay away for long.

Hammerwatch

haamerwatch

Hordes, hordes, and more hordes

-Price: $9.99
-Playtime: 56 Hours
I picked this game up cause I wanted a Gauntlet-esque game before the new Gauntlet came out. This game is simple to learn, nearly impossible to beat. You’ll have to find most of the secrets in the game to actually complete the quest. Hordes of monsters, lots of loot. And a simple but great upgrade system. The games Achilles’ heel is it’s horrible system for online multiplayer. Hard to set up a game with friends.

Keep in mind most of these games can be caught on a sale for way cheaper. I believe a spent under 5 dollars when buying Monaco and They Bleed Pixels. Well, hope this gives you a place to start. And just remember your mileage may vary.

The Ant-trasting Ant-Man

*** YES, I KNOW THAT’S A SH!T PUN AND THERE ARE SPOILERS…PROBABLY. ***

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photo credit: LEGO Ant-Man via photopin (license)

First things first, despite the title of the this piece, I actually really liked Ant-Man – which is saying a lot as I have a really serious bug issue. Probably not surprisingly, I don’t have an overabundance of Ant-Man knowledge, so I didn’t really know what to expect going in – but that lack was in no way a deterrent. The movie handles the backstory and plot in true Marvel need to know fashion; you know what’s up without being bogged down, and that leaves you with plenty of time to appreciate the sarcastically hilarious dialogue and unique visuals.

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photo credit: Paul Rudd via photopin (license)

The most surprisingly enjoyable thing about this movie for me though  was actually Paul Rudd. I’ll be honest and admit that though I really appreciated him in I Love You, Man I was not at all sure he could pull off a headliner superhero. But man, was I surprised. Just like Peter Quill was kind of made for Chris Pratt, I feel like Scott Lang was maybe tailor made for Paul Rudd. He’s every bit the lovable underdog and makes the good guy crook a believable and relate-able; The cat burglar you could take home to mom, if you will. Yellowjacket, played by Corey Stoll, however I felt was a little lackluster for a villain. I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly I wasn’t thrilled to pieces with him, but there just seem to be a lack of dimension in his character and he was crazy just for the sake of being crazy. Plus he looked exactly like Lex Luther if Lex Luther was a gym rat with pronounced emotional problems, which was somewhat distracting for me.

The supporting cast was pretty stellar though, so that made up for a lot of my misgivings with Yellowjacket. Team good guys, which consisted of Michael Douglas (Grumpy Original), Evangeline Lilly (ass-kicking instructor), Micheal Pena, David Dastmalchian, and I.T. (who make up the comedic technical support crew), and really well casted in my opinion, and though some of these were obviously only added for comedic effect, that effect is really appreciated in the second half of the movie.

As for the visuals – which I referred to as unusual, if you remember – were quite something. I can’t say that any other super hero movie has attempted to do what they managed to pull off – which is maybe the best argument for an Ant-Man movie? Anyhow, they somehow managed to blend serious action with simplistic silliness in a perfectly entertaining combo, which I really enjoy very, very much.

Final thoughts? I’d have to say not surprisingly, Marvel is probably the only studio that could have pulled off this title to begin with, but they did so much better than anticipated. I feel like any other studio would have taken a much campier route, which with a plot as absurd as this to begin with would have come out looking like someone’s extremely dorky third cousin who gets avoided at family reunions rather than the good natured, fun guy afternoon outing that it is.

 

Dinner for One

What happens when an English comedy skit doesn’t catch on in Britain but becomes a New Years tradition and cultural icon in the non-English speaking world? You get “Dinner for One”.

This 11 minute skit is one of the hidden gems of the internet. Between the James’ the Butler’s impressions of the missing guests, and a horribly placed tiger skin rug, and the large amount of alcohol, pure comedy is bred.

To be fair telling too much about this video would only ruin the charm. If you’d like to know more after watching the video, click here for a great run down from local.de on the details of how this video came to be and how it came to be a cultural icon.

So sit back, enjoy, and let this become your procedure for every year. Oh and Happy New Years.

Rocket Punch Radio Book Club: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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In this, our second installment of RPR Bookclub, James, Samantha, Allayne, and our guest Dan discuss Chamber of Secrets. Join us in uncovering the real villain at Hogwarts and remind yourself why you don’t still have the same AOL username as when you were in highschool.
We have a giveaway running through December 31st to win an Amazon gift card. All you have to do is leave a new review on our iTunes page and post a screenshot of your review to our twitter @rocketpunchrdo. One review will be randomly selected to win!
The Giant Robot of Rocket Punch Radio can only be fueled by the ratings and subscriptions of faithful listeners like yourself. Hit us up on iTunes and Tunein and keep the fight going! You can join the official Rocket Punch community on Facebook on the Grown-Ass Geeks group.

Follow these crazy bastards:
Rocket Punch Radio: @RocketpunchRDO
James: @JpatrickAuthor
Samantha: @thekebabylon
Nate: @BladeofCreation
Allayne: @HeyAlliOops
Kurt: @kspaz13

If you want to ask us a question in private you can email us at rocketpunchradio@gmail.com

A Wild Amazon Giftcard Contest Appears!

itunes-contest

Now is your chance to win a free Amazon gift card worth $20 from Rocket Punch Radio! The details are simple. Leave a review over on our iTunes page between December 1st and 31st and we will select a winner randomly on New Years Day.

FAQ:

Q: How do you know that it was me that left the review?
A: First, get out of our head. Creepy. Second, tweet us a screenshot of your review before you post it, using the hashtag #RocketPunchContest. Alternatively you can leave the screenshot as a comment in this post, or over on our Grown-Ass Geeks group on Facebook.

Q: How will you get a hold of me?
A: We will DM you in Twitter using the handle you used to post your screenshot.

Q: When will you draw your names?
A: I told you. January 1st. Try to keep up.

Q: How will I get the gift card?
A: We can arrange that over DM once you’ve been selected.

Q: You used to read iTunes reviews on the podcast. Will you do that again?
A: If they’re funny or especially complimentary, almost certainly!

Q: I hate iTunes and Apple. Why are you using them? Why can’t I review you on an Android app? What if I don’t want to download iTunes?
A: Fact is, iTunes is the biggest game in town. Even a lot of Android apps use iTunes’ aggregation for their list. The more reviews we have there, the bigger a potential audience we could have. And the bigger the potential audience, the more likely you’ll be able to geek out over RPR with your friends instead of being called a hipster weirdo for listening to that dorky podcast. Also, you’re only supposed to have one question per one of these, so I’m not answering that last one. Ok. I’ll answer it. If you don’t want to download iTunes that’s your prerogative, and we’ll probably hold a contest in the future for other podcast services. But right now its iTunes. If you want a chance at the card, it’s for iTunes reviews.

Let’s Talk Food, Saint Louis Style

As many of you may know, Rocket Punch Productions is based out of the Saint Louis area, and while I do love this town – we sure do have some weird food favorites. Well, maybe not weird, per say, but definitely acquired. Not being a native Missourian myself, I was a little surprised at how the locals liked their pizza and their super sweet deserts – but then didn’t have sweet tea! (Thankfully that tea issue has resolved itself over the past few years. Being from the south for a large part of my adolescence, it’s more a necessity than a desire, you see.) Truthfully there’s lots of awesome reasons to love Saint Louis, from a large variety of free attractions to a stellar wine country – it’s too much to cover in one post, but I promise to tell you more in the future! Today I wanted to share with you guys one of our culinary specialties and how this weirdo came to be. It should be fun! (Then we can all go get a snack, right??)

Today I’m taking about the big star of the dessert cart, the Saint Louis Gooey Butter Cake. Now, it sounds a little gross. I know that’s what I thought when I first heard it, so I don’t blame you. However, eaten warm fresh out of the oven it is a truly awesome experience. At least that’s what my husband says when he eats mine. 🙂 It’s hard to describe because it’s really in a league of it’s own. The bottom most layer is dense, almost like a coffee cake and a little less sweet than a traditional cake, while the upper layer is creamy and gooey (as the name suggests), and is very very sweet. As the cake bakes, the super sweet top layer will blend into the lower layer and you’ll end up with a short (most are only about 1″ tall or so), almost brownie like cake with a very thin caramelized sugar ‘crust’ on top. And while the layers do blend, the top layer of the cake will remain more ooey gooey than the rest of it. I’ll put a link here for a super easy one you can make with a boxed yellow cake mix if you want to give it a shot at home!

Now, what you don’t maybe know about the Gooey Butter Cake is this Saint Louis sweetheart was actually a mistake. There’s a couple theories about how exactly this came to be, but the predominate one is that a local bakery (possibly Saint Louis Pastries, owned by John Hoffman?) had hired a new baker in the early 1930’s that got a little mixed up in the kitchen. This bakery had two types of butter smears: a deep butter and a gooey butter. These smears are basically what they’d roll pastries and cakes in to get crumb toppings, nuts, coconut, and other tasting tidbits to stick to the outside and tops. The deep butter was used on the more dense goods, like coffee cakes, while the gooey butter was more for lighter treats like danishes and stollens. (Yum!) This poor baker was supposed to be making cakes, but happened to get the butter smears mixed up, and the problem wasn’t caught until the goods went to the proof box (basically like a old timely quality control before hitting the ovens). Hoffman, being a thrifty businessman in the midst of the Great Depression, decided to bake’em on up and see how they sold rather than toss them out. His gamble paid off too – they sold so well that the bakery eventually had lines around the block and other bakeries came up with their own variations to get in on the action.

Another prominent baker of the time, Fred Heimburger, liked it so much he tried his darn-est through to promote it by bringing the golden sweetness to other bakeries whenever he traveled out of Saint Louis. While the bakers liked the flavor fine, the final product looked to much like a mistake (i.e. a “flat gooey mess”) for them purchase it for their shops. As a result, it was a local favorite for many decades but the love for this decadent dessert didn’t spread to other areas until much later, after the recipe had evolved somewhat. Nowadays the Gooey Butter Cake has a much more appealing appearance, closer to that of a traditional coffee cake, though it is still has that familiar gooey aspect that we’ve come to adore. Along with the face lift came a boost in popularity; Local grocery stores now sell boxed and fresh versions, Panera Bread Company has a gooey butter danish, and even Walgreens sells individually packaged ones next to their prepackaged muffins, cookies and brownies. We also now have several businesses that specialize in different flavors and sell them in coffee shops or to walk in customers. Some businesses will even ship them, like our local Park Ave Coffee! It’s also been classed up a bit too on it’s journey to the mainstream; Fancy versions with berry sauce and ice cream toppings can be found in some restaurants in the Midwest and even as far as the West Coast! So if dinning out is more your speed and you’d like to grab some on your next outing, you could try places like the popular Kansas City chain Ya Ya’s, Murray’s in Columbia (Missouri) and even Seattle (Washington) where The Five Spot serves a pumpkin version of this classic!

That’s all for now, and I hope you enjoyed this tasting telling of one of Saint Louis’s most beloved confections. If you’re a local reader, let us know your favorite Gooey Butter place or flavor so we can check it out too! Maybe we can convert our non-local readers in the process! (One of us, one of us! Haha!) 🙂