Less Than Jake – B is for B-Sides

B is for B-Sides

B is for Bug

I have the iTunes Music Store bug. So far I’ve bought 453 songs from iTunes. Although as you regular Impulsive Buy readers may know, 117 of those came from the Mozart: Symphonies collection I bought a few months back in my attempt to win the iTunes 1,000,000th download contest.

The great thing about the iTunes Music Store is the ability to purchase and download individual tracks. I want “Ice Ice Baby,” but I definitely don’t want the rest of To The Extreme. Okay, maybe I might want “Play That Funky Music,” but just for those I Love the 90s nostalgia moments and when I decide to get lines shaved on the side of my head.

On occasion, I do purchase whole albums from iTunes, like Less Than Jake’s B is for B-Sides

B is for Bargain

B is for B-Sides is a bargain because I bought the album for $7.92. At Amazon the CD can be purchased for $13.98. That’s a six-dollar difference. Sure you can rip the songs and distribute them across peer-to-peer networks with the CD, but I’m really scared of the RIAA and Metallica, although not as much since they cut their hair.

B is for Brief.

B is for B-Sides contains 12 tracks that total about 28 minutes in length, which is quite brief. Almost all of the songs run under two minutes and thirty seconds. Just to let you ladies know, my lovemaking sessions last much longer than this album. So what album would best describe the length of my lovemaking abilities? All 9 hours and 56 minutes of the Mozart: Symphonies collection, of course.

Okay, not really.

B is for Bitchin’

Despite its length, the album is bitchin’ (Wait. Do the young folks still use that word? How about B is for Bad Ass?). All the tracks for B is for B-Sides were recorded for the Anthem album, which was released last year. If you’re a hardcore fan of the group, this album will probably sound a little different than their earlier albums, because the horn section isn’t featured as much. But the songs are as fast-paced as ever. Some of my favorites include “Portrait of a Cigarette Smoker At 19” and “Bridge and Tunnel Authority.”

B is for Bill

Because the iTunes Music Store uses your credit card information for purchases, the $7.92 was added to my slowly growing credit card bill, but it was worth it.


Item: Less Than Jake – B is for B-Sides
Purchase Price: $7.92 (iTunes Music Store)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Bargain. Bitchin’ and Bad Ass.
Cons: Brief.

REVIEW: Hot Pockets Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pie Express

Hot Pockets Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pie Express

This review is a very emotional one for me, because it brings back a memory I’d like to have permanently erased. I have tried really hard to suppress this memory, but for you, my loyal five readers, I will relive it.

It was the summer of 1990. As I recall, it was an extremely hot summer season, with days filled with cloudless skies and parched pastures. Without school, the each day was one long recess spent with the other neighborhood kids. The beach is where we spent many days, bodysurfing in the two-foot waves and getting sunburnt because we forgot to reapply sunscreen. But it didn’t matter because we were young, innocent, and free.

Saved by the Bell was on the small screen; MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” was played across the radio waves; and Pepperoni Pizza Hot Pockets were the lunch of choice.

Oh those Pepperoni Pizza Hot Pockets, a delicious and hearty lunch I could eat outside, once I took it out of the microwave and let it cool down for a while. They were quite scrumptious, although I would soon find out how dangerous they could be to my wardrobe.

The one bad thing I discovered about those Hot Pockets was the possibility of the pepperoni pizza filling oozing out from the other end. The first time it happened to me was when I was wearing my green shiny, baggy MC Hammer pants. After taking a bite, a glob of cheese and pizza sauce fell onto my lap and onto my cherished dancing pants. I quickly reached for something to wipe the glob away, but there was nothing around and it was too late. The flimsy material was no match for the quick staining combo of cheese and pizza sauce.

I was devastated because I could no longer wave my hands in the air, bust a few moves and run my fingers through my hair, move slide my rump, or just for a minute do the bump. Nor could I break it down. From that moment on, I vowed never to eat another Hot Pocket again.

(Just give me a moment to collect myself)

So I had some trepidation when I purchased the Hot Pockets Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pie Express, but I couldn’t help myself because they looked so good and it had the word “New!” on the box in big, fancy letters.

Each box comes with two 5-inch pot pies, which were kind of small. It takes 2 minutes to warm up one in the microwave and 24 minutes in a conventional oven. I decided to try both ways.

To warm it up in the microwave, there’s a crisping sleeve that you stick the pot pie in. If I recall from the summer of 1990, they don’t do a good job of crisping anything. However, I guess crisping sleeve technology has improved over the past decade because it did a pretty good job on the chicken and broccoli pot pie. The crust was flaky and the filling was hot, although the parts that didn’t have direct contact with the crisping sleeve were a little soggy.

As for the conventional oven, which was a toaster oven, it did a great job of crisping every inch of the pot pie. The crust was noticeably flakier than the one from the microwave. Was it worth waiting twelve times longer than the microwave one? No.

Both of them tasted very good. The sauce mixed in with the chicken and broccoli was a nice cheese sauce, all of which stayed in the pot pie and stayed away from my favorite tight red leather pants.

Item: Hot Pockets Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pie Express
Purchase Price: $2.50 (on sale)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Damn good. Flaky crust. The filling stays where it should, so I won’t ever ruin another pair of shiny, baggy MC Hammer pants.
Cons: Kind of small. Microwave crisping sleeve doesn’t do a good job a crisping compared to a conventional oven or toaster-oven. A little expensive for just two pot pies.

REVIEW: A Grammar Book For You And I…Oops, Me!

Grammar Book

Despite my English degree, which I got from an accredited four-year university located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, my grammar sucks.

However, when people hear I have an English degree they automatically think I’m a grammar guru and spelling bee champion and they would journey from offices as far away as down the hall to get access to my supposedly vast knowledge of English grammar.

Unfortunately, I’m not a grammar guru or a spelling bee champion, but I feel it’s my obligation as a holder of an English degree to fake it. However, I don’t know if I can fake it much longer, because the questions they ask are getting harder.

So I decided to buy A Grammar Book For You And I…Oops, Me! by Edward Good from the number one online superstore, because it looked like a book that will help me gain vast amounts of English grammar in a portable package. Okay, a 430-page paperback book isn’t the most portable thing, but it sure beats the 921-page hardcover Chicago Manual of Style.

One of the things I like about A Grammar Book For You And I…Oops, Me! is that it’s a book that can be read from cover to cover or used as a reference book.

This is unlike the Chicago Manual of Style, which is definitely a reference book. Anyone who reads the Chicago Manual of Style from cover to cover has too much time on their hands, is a full blown grammar geek, needs to get a life, is not getting enough television, and will never get laid.

Grammar is not the most interesting subject to read about.

It’s definitely below Snaps books. (Yo mamma is so fat that when they gotta catch people out of a burning building the fire fighters grab her arms and legs and use her to catch them. Oh, snap!)

However, the author’s style of writing and his humor made it easier to go through each chapter filled with complex words, like transitive, predicate, conjugated, adverbial, interjections, participal, antecedents, and etc.

It took me six months to finish the book and I feel like I’ve learned a lot.

Actually, I read the first four chapters five months ago and then finished the book recently. I forgot what I learned in the first four chapters, which were kind of important to understand the rest of the book, but like knowing nouns, adjectives, and verbs are really important in grammar.

Like I said before, A Grammar Book For You An I…Oops, Me! is also a great reference book, so instead of rereading the whole book, I’ll just look through the table of contents to find what I’m looking for.

Just like in college, when I used Cliff Notes to study Shakespeare’s Hamlet, because I didn’t read an iota of it.

Item: A Grammar Book For You And I…Oops, Me!
Purchase Price: $17.95
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Author’s style and humor made it a fun read. Also makes a great reference book.
Cons: Would confuse a certain President of the United States because of the book’s use of three-syllable words.

Mozart: Symphonies

Mozart Symphonies

I bought this album for one reason: To win the iTunes Music Store one-millionth download contest. The person who downloaded the one-millionth song was going to win a whole mess of sweet Apple stuff and I thought it was going to be mine, because of my elaborate plan.

First, I created an Excel spreadsheet that calculates the number of songs sold per minute and how many seconds were left until the one-millionth song was downloaded. I used the download totals from the Apple website, which was updated every five minutes.

Then I had to find an album that contained a whole lot of songs. At first I thought I had to go with a greatest hits album. The Barenaked Ladies’ greatest hits had nineteen songs. Def Leppard’s greatest hits only had 15 songs. Okay, maybe this greatest hits route isn’t the best. I really needed something with more songs.

I decided to search the iTunes Music Store classical catalog and found what I was looking for, although it was going to be expensive. I ended up with the $49.95 Mozart: Symphonies set (now $79.92), which contained 117 songs. Perfect! I figured if I didn’t win, the $50 I spent wouldn’t be so bad because I actually like Mozart. But I wasn’t going to lose because I had my super-dooper elaborate plan.

So I had my Excel spreadsheet and my 117 songs Mozart collection, then all I had to do was sit in front of my computer and wait. The number of downloads slowly increased, getting closer and closer to the magic number. When it got about a few thousand downloads away, I purchased my album, but I think a few thousand people across the nation were trying to buy something as well because my purchase wasn’t going through. It stalled for a few minutes. While stalling, I checked to Apple website to see if they had a winner and they did.

Dammit!

Since they found a winner I wanted to cancel my still stalled purchase, but right when I was going to hit the cancel button, my album began downloading.

So here I am with an enormous amount of classical music, all 9 hours, 56 minutes, and 22 seconds of Mozart. Only recently I finished listening to the whole thing and I realize that I have all the classical music I need for the rest of my life.

It’s good, soothing stuff. I enjoy listening to it when I’m reading, writing, or falling sleep. No, I didn’t listen to it while writing this review, because I didn’t want to be reminded of my crappy super-dooper elaborate plan.

I can’t believe I got beaten by some lucky guy who bought only ONE song.

Dammit! I think next time I’m going to need a better Excel spreadsheet.


Item: Mozart: Symphonies
Purchase Price: $49.95 (now $79.92)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Soothing music. Great to listen to when reading, writing, or falling asleep. A whole lot of music at a wonderful price.
Cons: Didn’t even come close to winning the iTunes contest.

REVIEW: Jamie Cullum – Twentysomething

Jamie Cullum

I think I’ve got a wonderful plan that will get women to fall for me. It’s a simple formula: Have a decent singing voice, play the piano, and sing lyrics that go somewhat like this:

The red roses I sent aren’t as beautiful as you.
The scent doesn’t smell as sweet as you do.
The petals aren’t as colorful as your red lips.
The leaves aren’t as curvy as your hips.

Muahaha! I will have many women fall for me once I finish my song, learn how to play the piano, get a decent singing voice, overcome my control freak tendencies, be able to open up emotionally, conquer my shyness, and wax my back. It’s a foolproof plan.

This whole piano playing/singing thing worked well for Harry Connick, Jr. After all, he’s married to a Victoria Secrets model. It also seemed to have worked for the young British jazz musician, Jamie Cullum.

How do I know?

I know because all the teenage girls on MTV’s TRL were screaming for him. Not like horror-film-screaming. More like “I LUV U JAMIE!” or “U R SO HOT JAMIE!” -screaming.

Despite my jealousy about Cullum’s ability to write a good song, sing well, play the piano, and woo young women, his debut album, Twentysomething, is a very good listen. One track that stands out is the bonus track “Frontin’,” which is a great cover of The Neptunes track of the same name. (You know, Pharrell Williams and that Asian dude.) Many of the other tracks on the album are upbeat and will definitely have your toes tappin’.

If you like jazz, Harry Connick, Jr., or want to listen to something different, I would recommend you give Jamie Cullum a try.

What I wouldn’t recommend is trying to be like Jamie Cullum, because it’s been really hard learning how to play the piano and making my voice do things it was never meant to do, like sing.

Product: Jamie Cullum – Twentysomething
Purchase Price: $8.99 (on sale)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: A toe tappin’ treat. Something different than the usual rap, punk, rock, and electronic stuff I listen to. The CD can be found for a regular price of $9.99.
Cons: May make you think you can woo women by writing a song and playing the piano.