Monday, October 31

More Halloween Costume Ideas

In case you're still concerned about having a costume for Halloween, or if you just want to laugh a little bit, check out this video that aired last week from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The Angry Birds feature (particularly the "hint" of what Adam is supposed to be) is particularly hilarious.

Sunday, October 30

Adam Sandler's Cheap Halloween Costumes

If I wasn't out celebrating our favorite October holiday over the weekend, I probably should have put up ideas for Halloween costumes. But since I didn't, and the actual holiday is tomorrow night, check out Adam Sandler's ideas on an episode of Saturday Night Live if you're still stumped on something to wear when you're out trick-or-treating.

Little Walk-On = Big Heart

Jayson Carter just joined the Rice Owls as a walk-on last week. Sure, plenty of athletes join their respective teams without receiving scholarships. But I don't believe any of them (at least football-wise) have been 4'9" and 135 pounds. But that's exactly what Carter is. As a running back and safety at Kipp High, Carter routinely went up against guys much bigger than he was, but still excelled, posting 1,233 yards and 18 touchdowns on offense and 92 tackles, three sacks and a pick on D.

Carter estimates that if you could measure heart, he'd be 6'9", and Rice coach David Bailiff said he'll try to get him on the field in some way this year. He'd better hurry, since Rice just got demolished by a score of 73-34 in an historical game last week against Houston.

Thursday, October 27

Ranking the Pokemon: #127- Mr. Mime

Any fan of the original RBY games knows that Psychic was far and away the best type of the game. Only weak to Bug (and nearly every Bug-type was also Poison, which Psychic absolutely destroyed) and solid against virtually everything else, every solid team in those days had a Psychic-type on it. Teams that didn't mind using overpowered, oftentimes banned critters used Mew or Mewtwo; those who wanted a good leadoff used Alakazam (and, if you want to split hairs, Starmie, who's part Psychic), and those who wanted some Defense and HP on their Pokemon went with Hypno. But no one really used Mr. Mime. I guess nowadays he has a quality Special Defense rating, but guess what? In Red, Blue and Yellow, Special Attack and Special Defense was just known as Special, and Mr. Mime's wasn't special enough to supplant any of those aforementioned Pokemon.

But let's look beyond his battling ability...Mr. Mime is the closest thing to a clown in the game, and clowns are scary. His Psychic type is the sole reason he's not about 15 spots lower. As an added bonus, he's also useful around this time of year, too. Kudos to my buddy Roqstar for suggesting a Halloween costume that would certainly terrify anyone.

Grade: D+

Previously: #128- Jigglypuff

Tebowing = The New Planking

Tim Tebow got his first start of the year last week and led a nice little comeback win against the worst team in the NFL, the Miami Dolphins. Part of his celebration includes dropping to a knee and praying, with a hand up against his face.

Not surprisingly, the idiots of the internet have taken this to new heights, starting a new trend known as Tebowing. Similar to planking and owling, crazy folks do the Tebow pose in the middle of otherwise normal settings. I guess this is slightly less dangerous than planking, but it's still just as stupid. The little kid doing it in that link is pretty adorable, though.

Wednesday, October 26

There's a Dog on the Field!

Some folks might argue that soccer is not the most entertaining sport out there. I'm inclined to agree, mainly because I like scoring in my sports. Granted, this Colombian match between Santa Fe and Botafogo was already at 4-0, which is like 192-178 in basketball terms, so perhaps this most amusing distraction could have been saved for a zero-zero draw.

In any case, this canine, who was allegedly in the stadium as a bomb-sniffer, jumped onto the field and managed to avoid being caught for about five minutes. His shifty, evasive moves are quite entertaining to watch, and he might be a good injury replacement for a number of NFL teams needing a running back. The announcers absolutely love it as well.

Tuesday, October 25

Blink 182- Online Songs Kinetic Typography

A Hot Cup is all about promoting and sharing something awesome, regardless of how old it is. This YouTube video, from user caracter2, is a really cool typography effort using After Effects. It's over three years old, and the tune, "Online Songs" by Blink-182, is eight years old, but that doesn't stop it from being very impressive. Plus the song is only 2:25; compared to the last video up here, that's a downright steal!

The Lonely Island Q&A

A few months back, the fellas from The Lonely Island visited the YouTube headquarters to field some questions from YouTube fans. It was supposedly an "ask us anything" type of deal, although nothing gets too incredibly raunchy. It's also nearly 43 minutes long, which I didn't know was possible on YouTube, so I guess we're all learning something today. YouTube's comedy editor (also didn't know YT had a comedy editor) Mark Day moderates. Love his accent. Check out the full nearly hour of Q&A below.

Sunday, October 23

Michigan State's Hail Mary

Michigan State has made a name for itself with crazy last-second plays. Most sports nuts remember last year when they ran a fake field goal against Notre Dame for a wild OT win, and coach Mark Dantonio recovered from a minor heart attack just hours after the finish of that one. This ending against #4 Wisconsin isn't doing the ol' blood pumper any favors, but man oh man was it a fantastic part of an incredible weekend of college football that's sure to shake up the BCS landscape. It's reminiscent of the NFL's Jaguars making a last-second heave ho with their "big, strong-armed QB" (clearly not the case now with Blaine Gabbert behind center), but due to the actual implications of the Wisconsin/MSU game, I'd argue this is even better.

Saturday, October 22

Hulu Plus Coming to Nintendo Systems as Nintendo 3DS Preps for 3D Video Recording

Fresh off of knocking 80 bucks off the price of the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo has announced that Hulu Plus is coming to the handheld, as well as the Wii. Nintendo is also announcing new features being added to the Nintendo 3DS system, including the ability to record 3D videos (which also means stop-motion potential!), new musical artists coming to Nintendo Video and a new animated 3D video from DreamWorks. As the picture above seems to suggest, I'm guessing it's a Shrek-themed version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

There are also four games coming to the 3DS, the official press release has descriptions on them which can be seen below. The last one seems like it could be fun (and who doesn't love armadillos?), but the others probably aren't worth their pricetag.
  • Freakyforms™: Your Creations, Alive! lets players create creatures and bring them to life. This game is all about creation, customization and exploration. Available in November for $6.99.
  • Developed with 3D game play in mind, Pushmo™ asks players to solve more than 250 puzzles by pulling and pushing blocks. Players can also create their own custom puzzles. Launches in December.
  • Swapnote™ gives Nintendo 3DS owners the chance to send 3D messages to their friends via the SpotPass™ and StreetPass features. Users can hand-write messages in 3D and also include picture and sound. Available for free download in December.
  • Dillon’s Rolling Western™ is a 3D tower defense game that blends action and strategy. It features an armadillo who defends an Old West town rendered in 3D by literally rolling over his enemies. Launches in Q1 2012.

The 3DS was pretty harshly criticized for a lack of quality games and supporting accessories when it launched, but this is a step in the right direction. Since I love stop-motion, I'm really interested to see how the ability to record in 3D can be utilized. Good job, Nintendo.

Thursday, October 20

Ranking the Pokemon: #128- Jigglypuff

As we near the top 6/7 of this list, Jigglypuff will get a nod, taking us back to the mediocrity of Normal types. Actually, now that I think about it, outside of Snorlax and maybe Slaking/Vigoroth, I don't think there's any Normal-type in ANY generation that I would ever want to use in a competitive setting. Doesn't bode well for some of Jiggly's other brethen, does it?

No, it does not. Because Normal types are neutral against virtually everyone, they're good Pokemon to have around when you're traveling through Kanto (I think that's what this first region was called). They do a fair amount of damage to most types, but they never do a great amount of damage to anyone, barely do any to Rock, and can't even touch Ghosts. Also, the Fighting type, which, while not a necessity for any team but still often appears on one (and by that I mean Machamp is on a lot of teams) absolutely destroys any Normal type. Except maybe Chansey, but more on that later.

In any case, Jigglypuff is probably only even this high up because I like its song of "Jig-GLE-puff" on Super Smash Bros. (N64 version). I also like clubbing it with a baseball bat; and no, that's not cruel, for two reasons. First, it's fictional, and second, we're not entirely sure what Jigglypuff is, but an animal it ain't. In-game--the Red, Blue and Yellow games--this puff is average to below average in everything, but has a decent amount of HP, which just makes it a little more-time consuming to take out. Movewise it's got a lot of annoying things too, like Sing, Minimize, and Doubleslap, which, despite doing minimal damage, is quite annoying because it'll hit you 2-5 turns (still not sure why it isn't always twice since it's called DOUBLEslap), and those animations can take a long time. Just like I took a long time to write about how lame Jigglypuff is. Whoops.

Grade: D+

Previously: #129- Seel

Wednesday, October 19

Dude, This is, Like, Perfect!

Big shout out to my boy D-Dust for pointing this out, but anytime you can combine two of the greatest things on earth (in this case, basketball and ultimate frisbee), the end result is going to be pretty fantastic. YouTube users Brodie and Dude Perfect do a trick shot competition game of H-O-R-S-E (except we only really see the makes) and it is beautiful. Look, A Hot Cup is good at basketball and pretty good at frisbee (more so chasing down rogue discs and making splendid catches), and this is mad impressive. Check it out below.

Rajon Rondo Throws Alley-Oops

I guess we're glad the NBA players are still finding ways to keep themselves busy while the season slowly erodes and we're left with only college hoops and NBA 2K12 to get our hardwood action. The State Farm Big Blue All-Star Tour allowed a few NBA players, such as Rajon Rondo and Kenneth Faried (who I think can really be a useful role player in the league and will ultimately end up being a steal of this pathetic draft we had a couple months ago), to practice their alley-oops. In this case, it may be against a local high school team, but hey, it's still kinda cool.

Monday, October 17

Blink-182: Neighborhoods Album Review

It's no secret that Blink-182 disappeared from the public eye soon after the release of their 2003 self-titled album. That disc saw the trio starting to drift into the more somber, anthemic music, with, for better or worse, more instruments outside of a guitar, bass and percussion, and more than just four or five power chords per song. After the '03 hiatus, guitarist Tom DeLonge formed Angels & Airwaves, an extension of 2002's Box Car Racer side project, which came out around the start of the tension between Blink's members members. Meanwhile, bassist Mark Hoppus and insanely talented drummer Travis Barker hopped on over to form +44, and released a CD in late 2006. While there were some additional side projects, those were the two biggies. And I'm mentioning them here because after a 2008 plane crash involving Barker, the members of Blink reunited in early 2009, and finally, after what's seemed like a lot longer than the 31 months from reunion announcement to actual album, the group released Neighborhoods on September 27. And the album certainly borrows heavily from the trio's side projects, which isn't always a bad thing, but sometimes it definitely is. In any case, let's take a track-by-track look at the group's sixth studio album. Be warned, though, there is virtually no humor on this record, so don't go in expecting Enema of the State part two. [Note: This review includes the four tracks from the Deluxe Edition album, because hey, more is better, right?]

Ghost on the Dance Floor: The biggest complaint I have of this album is that Tom sounds way too much like his Angels & Airwaves self on this CD. This song does as good a job as any at emphasizing that--just take a listen to this, then listen to "All the Small Things" (and enjoy the hilarious video), and the difference is incredibly noticeable, and not in a good way. That being said, this is still a pretty good song which DeLonge has said is about sharing a song with a deceased loved one, and makes for a fine opener. 4/5

Natives: This one makes a strong case for best song on the album. A Hot Cup always enjoys when Tom and Mark both handle vocals on a track, and they do so well on this one. From the intro--highly reminiscent of old-school Blink (particularly the song "M&M's") to the reference to Jekyll and Hyde to Travis's insane drumming, "Natives" is extremely catchy. 5/5

Up All Night: This is the lead single of the album, and again, it's a strong showing with Mark and Tom trading off vocals. The main riff definitely sounds like it would be right at home on Box Car Racer's album, and while I didn't particularly enjoy it at first, it does grow on you. Maybe not the best choice for a lead single, but at least the next one is starting to get some airplay, too. 4.5/5

After Midnight: If any song is going to be a mega-hit from this album, it's "After Midnight." It's simple, straightforward and even a little sweet with its lyrics, and also has probably the catchiest chorus on the album. This was one of four tracks the band wrote during a last-minute session before the album was released, and while some of those other tracks aren't quite as powerful, this end result--which also happens to be Barker's favorite track--is fantastic. 5/5

Snake Charmer: This is another part of that writing session, but this one makes less of a lasting impression. It's allegedly about the Book of Genesis, specifically the story of Adam and Eve, but the end of the song's odd transition to the next track doesn't really serve a purpose, and after the strength of the first four tracks, this one's a bit of a dud. 3.5/5

Heart's All Gone Interlude: Just like "Down" on the '03 album had its own interlude (though that one came after the song it was named for, whereas this one comes before), "Heart's All Gone" gets the breakdown treatment. The end result is about the same as it was in 2003--a funky keyboard-heavy track that doesn't add anything to the album. 1.5/5

Heart's All Gone: Fortunately, though, the CD gets back on track after the two-minute interlude with the throwback "Heart's All Gone." Hoppus has described this at a show as "a new song that sounds like an old song." He's absolutely right--I thought we were back in the 90s with Dude Ranch when I heard this one. And that is certainly not a bad thing. Barker's drumming is top-notch here once again. 5/5

Wishing Well: A cute little number with cool imagery in the chorus (and "da-da-das" too), "Wishing Well" might be one of the more simple songs on the album, but that's a compliment. Probably the best song only featuring Tom. 4.5/5

Kaleidoscope: This is where some of the lyrics start to sound a bit forced, as if Blink is trying to be too clever. "Stop banging away on my kaleidoscope/stop draining the color out of my scene...Stop blocking the driveway with your car/put the butterfly in the bill jar." Not entirely sure what that means (if anything at all), but it's alright as far as a toe-tapper goes. 4/5

This is Home: There's not a ton to say about this song; the lyrics are decent but the rhythm is pretty forgettable. Nothing great, but not the worst on the album. 4/5

MH 4.18.2011: DeLonge said this title reminds him of a virus, but unfortunately it's not the most infectious thing on the album. It's not a bad ditty, but again, the lyrics fall flat, specifically the line "Stop hiding in the shadow of a helicopter." As a current resident of Southern California, I can safely say helicopters covering the area in darkness is not a common occurrence, so I'm not sure what this line is supposed to imply. 4/5

Love is Dangerous: This one's another chance for DeLonge to show off his "arena rock" chops. Again, it's not bad, but it doesn't hold a candle to the early dominance this album showed. But when you compare it to the next track, it's one of the best things ever. 4/5

Fighting the Gravity: Ugh. This is just awful. It sounds almost like another interlude, except it goes on for nearly four minutes. Just a lot of noises and random sounds while Hoppus repeats "This makes no sense" ad nauseum. It makes no sense as to why this was included on the record, even if it was only the deluxe edition. I understand Blink wanted to take some risks with this album, but this was the wrong way to do it. 1/5

Even If She Falls: After the travesty that is "Fighting the Gravity," really anything else would be a good follow-up. Fortunately for the album closer, "Even If She Falls" is does a good job of closing things out. It's not a great closing track in the sense that it brings the album together, closes on an epic note, etc., but it's a catchy number and reminds us that Blink can still make good music, even if it doesn't involve farts, wieners, and poop. 4/5

Overall, waiting eight years for an album is tough, especially when the creators of that album were pioneers in the punk/pop-punk scene in the late 90s and early 00s. But that Blink is mostly dead and gone, and a more mature, anthemic sound dominates this record. If you're a fan of the side projects I talked about before, this album will absolutely please you, but there are very few moments on this CD that make you want to get up and start rocking out like some of their earlier stuff did. My best recommendation is to skip the deluxe version and pick up "MH 4.18.2011" separately if possible, because the other three are "Snake Charmer," "Heart's All Gone Interlude" and "Fighting the Gravity," which are arguably the three worst songs on the entire album. But the first four songs especially (with "Heart's All Gone" added in as well) show that Blink is far from incapable of making good, solid music that's enjoyable to listen to. They may never dominate the industry again, but they can certainly survive.

Overall Score: 4/5

Drake Does Some Interviews with Andy Samberg

While A Hot Cup is still extremely displeased that we have not yet seen a Lonely Island video after four episodes of Saturday Night Live, if the digital shorts continue to be as funny as this most recent one (which hasn't always been the case), we can forgive TLI for their lack of urgency in churning a new music video out. This latest short features Drake, as he's interviewed in a variety of ways by Andy Samberg. Drake hasn't really had to act since his stint on Degrassi, but it's nice to see he's still playing along, and does so pretty well. Check out all the interviews below.

Wednesday, October 12

Ranking the Pokemon: #129- Seel

Wow, it's been awhile since I've done one of these. Hopefully we can churn out a bunch...the goal is still to get to #1 before a full year since I've started happens. We'll get 'er done!

In any case, Seel is this low because of lack of creativity. Look, I love seals and sea lions. I've swam with them, taken pictures next to them, and watching the sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco is one of the most entertaining things I've ever done. But Seel suffers because, well, for starters, it's not very good as a battler, and it looks incredibly dumb. Seals and sea lions are not the brightest animals, but they're far more competent than Seel, who might not be able to avoid a slap even if you told it you were going to slap it in the face in the next two seconds. I also really dislike when Game Freak uses a normal word and just misspells it. It's fine when they combine two words, like Pony and bonita to get Ponyta, but when they're just like, "Hell, we're already making a real animal and calling it a Pokemon, let's give it a name and switch a letter so people are none the wiser." Well, we are the wiser, Game Freak. We are most definitely the wiser.

Grade: D+

Previously: #130- Poliwag

Samuel L. Jackson on Twitter?

Ya damn right he is! After a painstaking two-plus years having a Twitter account but not posting a single tweet, Samuel L. Jackson decided that here, on Jimmy Fallon, he would join the Twittersphere. He set a goal of a million followers--can you help him make it there? He's already jumped from zero to nearly 100,000 in less than 24 hours. Not too shabby. Check out the tweet here, and watch the video to see him in action as he sends it out to the world.

Monday, October 10

Another New Era Commercial

Apologies for the lateness in getting this up (as well as posting thing in general), but hey, it's kind of difficult when you're in the middle of a move. In any case, this commercial first aired near the end of the season, and it's very likely it's the last we'll see of John Krasinski and Alec Baldwin this year, since the Red Sox collapsed and the Yankees are now out of the playoffs (all central teams left babyyyyy!). But hey, good rivalries always last into the off-season. So let's enjoy 'em watching what was realistically probably Orioles/Red Sox and Rays/Yankees. Simultaneously.

Wednesday, October 5

RIP, Steve Jobs

Apple announced today that Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56 from pancreatic cancer. A huge blow to the technology world, as Jobs created some of the most innovative hardware and software out there as the CEO of Apple. A Hot Cup was a fairly loyal PC user, but after picking up a MacBook Pro two years ago (which is currently being used to type this post) and several years of iPod ownership, there is an appreciation for what Apple has brought to the table. Though Jobs will no longer get to see the creations that will undoubtedly still be churned from the company he brought to international prominence, the company in his good hands with Tim Cook, and Apple should still be a force for a long time.

As a nod to how far Apple has come, here's one of the first viral videos I can remember seeing, in which Hunter Cressel (or Cressall, both spellings have popped up) compares one of the original Macintosh computers to a PC. It's from at least last decade, and I believe even earlier than that (think mid-90s). And it's hilarious.

RIP, Steve, your creativity and innovation will be missed, but your legacy will carry on.