Sunday, January 04, 2009

Into the black

During the song "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)" Neil Young warbles the legendary line "It's better to burn out than to fade away." And he's right. Even Kurt Cobain infamously agreed. But I ask... what happens when you fade out and you burn away?

No, you're right. I guess the two things don't cancel each other out.

The fact is I burned out awhile ago on this here blog. And the past couple months have been spent fading away faster than a meth addicts' youth and good looks.

The bottom line is that it's time to pull the plug, kiddies. I'm sorry to say, but The International House of Blogcakes hereby closes the doors. For good.

It's been a helluva time, though - don't be mistaken about that. In my time I've discovered that the blogosphere is filled with good eggs, of all types of talents and personalities. I'll just be watching from the sidelines from now on. Still around, but probably not participating as much as I was back in the day.

As for the "whys" behind my exit, it's not so much Any One Thing that led to the ultimate demise of The IHoB. If you held a gun to my head, I would a.) give you my wallet, b.) cry like a girl and c.) list them individually, and it would probably end up as a list of 10 or so different reasons. But the biggie right now is the personal matter I previously mentioned.

It's been an interesting run, particularly this past year when I introduced new blogger Fernando von Bakonstein and I lived vicariously through him as he got to personally meet a lot of those bloggers I like some much. And it's because of those participants (and the people I had lined up for his future travels) that I feel like I'm not giving this whole thing the proper send-off.

There's just not an easy way to do this. I've had about 12 different drafts of this post so far, none of which did the trick.

So having said that, I thank you all for stopping by here over the past two and a half years, I take a bow and I exit stage left.

Good night, and good luck.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Move over Donkey and Elephant... there's a new party animal in town!

Hey, did you guys hear about that really cool Illinois liberal who got invited to come stay at the nation's capital this fall?

Word. Fernando von Bakonstein in the White Hee-zee!

Or at least an acceptable and non-threatening distance from the White Hee-zee!

IHoG Travel Journal
Trip 20: October 16th-December 18th(ish), 2008
Trip: Washington DC
Miles Traveled: 755 miles (one way)
Travel Companions: Evil Genius and Red (No, not that one. The other Red! Pay attention.)

Someone call Homeland Security! Read all about Mr. von Bakonstein going to Washington here. And here. And here! And you're not done until you read the exciting conclusion here! Lots of incriminating photos await your clicking!

U.S. States Visited: 18 (Maryland); Non U.S. Countries: 3; Districts: 1

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 Year In Review -Top 10 Google Searches for The IHoB

As a blogger, I have many obligations. Most pertinent is my duty to inform readers of the weird Google hits that lead inquiring souls to the doorstep of the International House of Blogcakes. And as an American citizen, it is my obligation to comprise everything about the rapidly-ending year into easily consumed Top Ten morsels. I did it last year, and I'm a sucker for tradition. So here's the 2008 version:

10. Beer Nuggets. (Last Year's Rank: #6) Those of us who went to NIU know that they are deep-fried pillows of dough from heaven.* The rest of the world tries to experience them via a search engine. It's just not the same people! Get to Dekalb, IL and taste the drunken delights the way they were meant to be enjoyed: Wasted and with zero regard for your cholesterol levels.

In this never-before-published exclusive, you can see that even Fernando got to experience the majesty - and the chest pains - for himself. Just look at that grease soak through the bag!

9. Cobie Smulders (Last Year's Rank: Let's Say "#10") Last year, How I Met Your Mother star Cobie Smulders ranked #10, but that was for an entry where I misspelled her name as "Colby Smulders." The Google list with the correct spelling is now getting more hits. Ooooo... it's like looking in a mirror thats reflected in another mirror!

8. Batman New Movie (Last Year's Rank:N/A) Yes, I think there was a new Batman movie this year, wasn't there? I'm surprised that we didn't hear more about it... and the eleventeen kajillion dollars it made. It's called The Dark Knight people! The. Dark. Knight. Write it down. Because when they make the next sequel, "Batman New Movie" won't be the unofficial title of The Dark Knight any more.

Anyway, that was written about here.

7. Any Celebrity Nude (Last Year's Rank: 1, 5, 8) What say we just roll naked Rena Sofer, Paul Rudd and Rose McGowan into one ranking this year, you perverts.

Actually, that sounds kind of hot.

6. Blogcakes (Last Year's Rank:3)
Over two years and I still have no idea what they are. I imagine they look like beer nuggets though.

5. Redheads (Last Year's Rank: N/A) People just love their redheads, don't they? God knows I do. And that post led horny bastards everywhere here while on their quest for their favorite ginger. Whether it be Julianne Moore, Connie Britton, Amy Adams or even Wendy.

4. "When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer" (Last Year's Rank: #2) People still love this classic quote that was cribbed and made famous by Hans Gruber in that holiday classic Die Hard. I even had some douchebag stop by back in August and anonymously tell me that he has no sense of humor or irony. Thanks, dumbass!

3. Harry Caray Glasses (Last Year's Rank: N/A) Sorry googlers, but that's actually me in the thick glasses, an eighth-grader looking like Harry Caray.

I'm not proud.

2. Axl Rose In a Kilt (Last Year's Rank: N/A) Sorry googlers, but that's actually me in a kilt, a drunken buffoon pretending to be Axl Rose. I'm disturbed by how many hits I get from Russia. And that a picture of me is now a popular Google Images result.

I'm also not proud.

1. Saffron (Last Year's Rank: N/A). By far, the most unique visits to The IHoB come from people looking for pictures of Republica lead singer Saffron. I wonder... how many of these people go away thinking I might be her former fiancé?

"Honorable Mention:"
Evangeline Lilly Chugs Piss

I don't know why but even as of tonight, this unfortunate phrase from early November still leads to an interview I did with Grant Miller. I'm still the #3 Google hit for this. Damn you, Miller.

*I'm stealing this phrase from last year's entry because I really nailed it.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 08, 2008

It's Time For a Change... Again

As the year winds down and the snow falls like a blanket across the land, one thing is apparent. And that is the fact that every goddamn print magazine that hasn't already been crushed by the inevitable hand of fate will be putting out their "Best of the Year!"* lists. And just as locusts predict the coming of The Rapture**, "Best of the Year!" lists preface the inevitable crush of award season.

I'm not a professional doomsayer, mind you, but I gotta say... the sky is falling.

I have been nominated in the "Blogger of the Year" category of the prestigious*** Drysdale Awards over at the Grant Miller Media site.

No, seriously! I thought it was a typo, too!

So what I need from you, dear readers is to vote. Chicago style - early and often. And more importantly... every now and then, vote for me. I don't even want to win necessarily. I just don't want to come in last.

Here's what you do:

1. Click on this link to vote before 12:01 AM (CST) Christmas Day.

2. In the sidebar, check "McGone" in the Blogger of the Year category.

3. Come back to this post and click on the picture at the top.

4. Print out the artwork.

5. Apply double-sided tape to the back and place on your shirt so people can see.

6. Walk into Starbucks and demand your free coffee.

7. Don't take "No" for an answer!

8. When the police arrive, go quietly. Do not resist arrest.

So, if you want to recapture some of that high you got last month when you voted for change, you got another chance right here. Unless you live outside of the U.S. - but now you guys can get in on this crazy election buzz too. Yes We Can, internets! Yes We Can!

Vote Now!

*The IHoB Best of the Year lists are starting soon. Bookmark this site!

**This may not be true. But what am I, your damned Professor of Knowing Stuff? Google it if you want to know so bad.

***This may not be true either. But what am I, your damned Professor of Knowing Stuff? Google it if you want to know so bad.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I'm sorry to say but I think I may have to take a break from blogging for the rest of this week.

"But McGone," I can hear you saying, "How is that any different from most other weeks?"

"Shut up, that's how!" would ordinarily be my reply, but in all honesty there have been a few side jobs to contend with and a family emergency that came up this week. By the time I clock in here at the IHoB Home Office the funny just isn't happening.

"But McGone," I can hear you saying, "How is that any different from most other weeks?"

You're a real funny guy/girl hypothetical audience. A real wise guy/girl. Keep it up, you.

Anyway, it occurred to me that I don't post 84 times a week like some dedicated bloggers, and I gotta believe that's mostly because I wouldn't even consider doing it at work.* So I gotta ask:

Where/When do you do the majority of your blogging?

*Please take note of this statement, any potential I.T. guys who have somehow sussed out my blog.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

If You Are In the Market For a Bad Movie, The IHoB Recommends: "Deception" (2008)

Let's start with a quiz:

Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is really good at:
A. American accents.

B. Farting rainbows.

C. Making awful movies.

The answer is of course "C." And I say this as a guy who has enjoyed a few Ewan McGregor movies in the past. Now I'm starting to question if I really did after all.

Deception is a relatively new release that sits in the "thriller" section and stars McGregor and the newly-crowned Sexiest Man Alive Hugh Jackman. If Deception were a human being, it would screw your girlfriend in front of you, shit on your towels and tell people you were an asshole. Deception thinks you might be retarded and it won't stop laughing at you.

Deception stars McGregor as a lonely accountant who meets impossibly cool lawyer Hugh Jackman - all swagger and swinging dickery - and they strike up a friendship so quickly that one of them should have called bullshit immediately seeing as how these two characters would never hang out in the real world. McGregor's voice alone is so full of whine that it gets its lunch money stolen, while Jackman's confidence causes women to spontaneously get pregnant just by passing them in the hall. I'm assuming this happens anyway. It may have been a deleted scene. Whatever.

Anyway, Jackman's character leaves for a flight to London but not before McGregor discovers they have swapped cell phones accidentally. Shortly thereafter, he answers a call meant for his New Best Pal and tumbles through the looking glass and into a new world of an anonymous sex club known blandly simply as The List.

Soon, things aren't what they appear to be and McGregor's character is ass-deep in the middle of a heist. And then the excitement really begins once the credits roll.

This is a case of actors wallowing in material that doesn't deserve them. I have to think that the hows and whys (read: incriminating evidence) that led to them taking the roles in the first place makes for a better story.

Aside from the plot being patched together from other movies, the direction is obvious and dialogue horrid. This is a movie where McGregor's character says to the girl he is rapidly falling in love with (despite not knowing her name and meeting her in a sex club) "I want all your complications" and we're not only expected to think "Yeah, people say stuff like that to other people all the time" but we're also supposed to be wooed. Just like the anonymous girl he nicknamed "Sunbeam." I wish I was making this up.

Jackman gets a pass just for the fact that he hasn't used up all of his goodwill from The Prestige. Yet. And the actress unfortunately saddled with the "Sunbeam" moniker is Michelle Williams who - much like her Dawson's Creek co-star Katie Holmes in Batman Begins - will have to deal with people wondering "Why did they cast her in this movie?" for most of her career.

But McGregor needs to stay away from this type of movie. It's getting toxic. Years ago when I was reviewing movies, I was one of four people suffering through Eye of the Beholder - a movie where he plays a man who follows Ashley Judd's serial killer for a decade wearing the brightest red jacket ever made - and I thought he made the worst movie of the year. Luckily for all involved Battlefield Earth was about to be released - plague-like - on humanity.

And then George Lucas came calling. Three awful times.

It's time for Ewan McGregor to find Danny Boyle's phone number again. He keeps talking about making a sequel to Trainspotting, and that's a ride McGregor needs to sign up for. I'm sure Boyle is sorry for A Life Less Ordinary. And based on the Slumdog Millionaire reviews, he may actually fart rainbows.

If You Simply Must Rent a Movie With "-tion" In The Title: I would recommend Rendition. It's smart where Deception is brain-damaged, and it doesn't hate you. Unless you signed the Patriot Act.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random True Confessions of a Pop Culture Blogger #40

Even though this pop culture blogger has given Axl Rose much crap over the years for his failure to release Chinese Democracy, guess who still bought the damn thing when it was finally released Sunday?

Follow up question: Guess who has Buyer's Remorse?*

*In a one-word review, I would go with "Overproduced." But this is so bloated it demands more than one word, so I'll throw "self-indulgent" and "irrelevant" and "meh" in there too. My curiosity got the best of me. Chuck Klosterman had a great opening paragraph to his guest-review on the Onion AV Club last week, but he still gave it an A- grade for some reason. Gahddamn you hipster douchebag rock critics... you're just encouraging Rose at this point. And in a few decades we'll have to go through this all again.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, November 20, 2008

McGone Sketches Randomly: AC/DC

This is just a random sketch that I did recently because I'm fascinated by the most recent issue of Rolling Stone. Why? I don't know for sure. I've never been a die-hard AC/DC fan. I like them just fine, mind you... my bass playing days way back in the day usually revolved around a "Whole Lotta Rosie" here and a "You Shook Me All Night Long"* there. And I'll admit that "Back In Black" is still a damn-near-perfect rock album. This band of hooligans from Australia have gotten a hell of a lot of milage from three cords and barely-disguised innuendoes.**

I think the part that amazes me most is that this issue of Rolling Stone - issue #1065 - is the first cover to feature the band that has been around for nearly four decades, selling 70 million albums in the US alone. And that's without the aid of iTunes.***

A small sampling of artists who have been featured on The Cover of the Rolling Stone before AC/DC include:

Of course, most of these people are prettier than AC/DC, even Messrs. Beavis and Butthead. Lead singer Brian Johnson has that appearance that screams "New Dockworker Who Will Be Fired by Thursday" and Angus Young looks like a preproduction design for Gollum in Lord of the Rings. Still, Rolling Stone... WTF?

But bitching about their dubious cover choices is a futile exercise and time-honored tradition. So I'll probably just shut up and finish this sketch someday, mostly because it makes me laugh. Young's other great calling in life was to be a caricature. I don't want to let him down like Rolling Stone has all these years.

*"Rosie" I still like. "Shook Me" makes me want to stab something. Repeatedly. I heard it at way too many high school functions. Didn't the Sock Hop chaperones realize they were undoing all the hard work of our health teachers who warned us about exactly those sort of sins of the flesh?

**And denim.

***Of course their logic is suspect, but whatever.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bond, Bourne Again

I could go on and on about Quantum of Solace, but let's just say I liked it. A lot. Not as good as Casino Royale, but a worthy sequel (the first Bond movie in 22 to actually be a direct sequel, in fact).

This time around Bond is still rough around the edges, as the movie starts where "Casino" ends, and now he's got an addition to that chip on his shoulder - he's looking for revenge for his murdered love/betrayer. Not that he would admit it, mind you. Along the way, he discovers a secret organization bent toward nefarious deeds and a plot to control the water supply of an entire country.

And while most critics are complaining that it's more action than usual - even for an action movie staple that's been around for 40 years - I think it helps further establish this reboot of the Bond character. The guy is a tundra-eyed locomotive filled with hate. He's barreling through everything in his way to get to what he wants. There's plenty of time for the character to figure out what wine goes with what entree. For now, let's let him break shit.

Having said that, I am a little disappointed that twice in the first half hour I actually thought "I feel like I'm watching a Jason Bourne movie." Not just any of the Bourne movies either, but The Bourne Ultimatum specifically. If Bond begat Bourne and now Bourne is influencing Bond, we may have a problem down the line. Like a snake eating its tail.

But for now, I'm still quite happy with Daniel Craig, who is solidly proving to be Connery's equal. And while the Bond Girls this time around are fun (Olga Kurylenko has some kick as Bond's hate-filled counterpart and Gemma Arterton makes a memorable Goldfinger homage) the dame to watch is Dame Judi Dench as boss lady M. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm developing a crush on that woman.

Of course, this review is just my opinion and I could be wrong. Maybe I should watch it again. And again. Who's with me?

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 14, 2008

No Post For You!*

No new post for you today. I'm too busy making friends, joining groups, decorating christmas trees, drinking and getting in bar fights, gardening, becoming one with the Tao, figuring out how old I am, fighting wars (of the mob and world varieties) and finding out what it all means thanks to a TV shrink who is not actually a doctor.

Seriously, these Facebook requests get a little out of control people. I have to make sure I'm not giving away a kidney.

As for what I'm really doing this weekend? Bond, baby. What about you?

*Yes, I've used the headline before, but never with an asterisk. So that's new.

Labels: ,