8:40 PM

Coffee vs. Me

Today I realized that I got my ass kicked by a cup of coffee. And not just any coffee. Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Frappe, small-sized (I still don't remember what they call their portions).

It started out innocently enough. I woke up late. I took too long in the shower. I got dressed slowly. I thought for sure I would be fifteen minutes later to work than normal.

But what do you know it, Mr. Friday was looking down on me and I found myself ahead of schedule while driving to work. So, being the typical, early twenties, late-night creature that seem to have broke into this world in the late 1980s, I went in search of the only substance that is acceptable at 7:15 am: coffee.

I eventually found a Starbucks and purchased my favorite (and really, only enjoyable drink) coffee/dessert/insulin beverage from the institution: a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino.

Needless to say, it was so good I scraped the front of my car parking at a nearby Dunkin' Donuts for a last minute gift for Boss' Day AND parked crooked I was in such a hurry to get back to frozen heaven. And the coffee continued to be good for the hour and a half I managed to make it last. I would have licked the insides of the cup if I didn't sit right in front of my boss' door.

I didn't know at the time, however, but the minute the last of the coffee disappeared down my esophagus, the trouble began. You see, coffee has this bad habit of sticking around in my blood system, joyriding your brain into thinking that I've either ingested speed or am a bastard child of the Flash. And I fall for it every time.

Naturally, this state never announces when it's done. At noon, I found myself falling asleep over the keyboard. I stretched, sat up, sat on my foot, pumped up the music, eat more food, and went outside, all in the span of a few minutes in an attempt to stay awake. But it was no use. It was either drink more coffee or tough it out.

There's no getting around it. You drink the coffee and remember how good it tastes, and crave it when you don't have it. But when you do have it, you always run into that midday wall and then either have to suffer in a seemingly never-ending battle with your eyelids or you get more coffee. Only to hit another wall later on.

It's a vicious cycle that gets me every time, yet I still drink coffee. And it's still delicious. And I know I'll be returning to embrace coffee once more on Monday morning. I didn't know whether to feel like a true hero for going forward or like an addict. And as I walked out of the office today, still feeling like I was going to drop dead and die on the asphalt before walking the fifty feet to my car, I realized something:

Coffee always makes you its bitch.

6:20 PM

Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't: The Venture Brothers

This post starts a new series entitled: Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't. It highlights people, places, things, and ideas you probably don't know about but should because they are super disturbing, super thrilling, or super awesome. Or just plain weird.

But you get the idea.

And what better way to start off the series than with my current television obsession, The Venture Brothers?

Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't: The Venture Brothers

What Is It: The Venture Brothers is an animated comedy show created by Jackson Publick (aka Christopher McCulloch). Produced by Astrobase Go! and World Leaders Entertainment, the show so chock full of pop culture references, comic book references, and adult humor that it practically needs it's own Internet to cover it all.

The show is currently in it's fourth season and centers (mostly) around the lives of Hank and Dean Venture. Well-meaning but idiots, Hank and Dean are living the life of boy adventurers just like their father, bitter and failed scientist Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture.

The boys are joined by Brock Samson, their body guard - voiced by the wonderful and instantly recognizable Patrick Warburton - and a cast of archvillains, archenemies, and random characters that we only wish actually existed in comics. I mean, any series that has a character called "Ghost Robot" has already elevated itself to the shining pedestal of nerdtastic awesome that the likes of Chuck and The Big Bang Theory can only dream of.

Why Should I Watch It: It's the funniest damn thing on television. And one of the best written. I personally started in season three, and while I had the advantage of my sister explaining who was who to me, that's where I come in for you. Do I recommend this approach? Not really. Especially when the DVDs are available here and here and here.

But seriously, if you're not watching it and you're a fan of comics and superheroes, get out from under the rock you're under and get on it. Seriously.

What Do I Need to Know: The show is animated, so if you're a hater, don't bother. But for the rest of us who are merely worried about adding another addictive TV show that could impede with Glee, worry no further. The show is only a half-hour and is on at 11:30 PM (PST) on Sundays. So you have an excuse to stay up. (Be sure to thank Adult Swim for that one.)

The show is for adults and teens, but quite frankly, it's about time we had an animated show for us. The storyline is linear, so unlike House, you will miss information in each missed episode that could come back to be the plot kicker four episodes down the line (or even next season).

Who Are the Main Players?: I'm so glad you asked!

Hank and Dean Venture: Hank (the Fred look-a-like) is the "brawn" (or so he thinks) or the two brothers. Stubborn, persistent, slightly ADD, but always sure of himself, Hank is the one who is more likely to get the two into trouble or to annoy whoever he is being held prisoner by at the moment. He regularly fights and bickers over pop culture and everyday occurrences with his booky and brainy titular twin, Dean (red hair). Dean has your required girly scream and romantic ideals that you would expect in Hank's opposite. Being pushed towards a career in science by his father, Dean is meek but is also kind and means well, even if his best defense in battle is blowing a rape whistle.

Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture: The father of the dynamic duo above, Rusty is a former child adventurer himself, though was so reluctantly. Pushed into science by his father, and still failing marvelously at it years later, Rusty is bitter, callous, and exactly the kind of father you can guess he is. Rusty usually manages to say or do the wrong thing, but hey, you have to forgive him. Who else manages to get eclipsed in their science career by a parasitic twin and continue living?

Brock Samson
: Bodyguard to Rusty and father figure to the boys, Brock is one of those people that punches first and asks questions after. If you got to know Brock off glance alone, you would think Rambo, Tarzan, Conan, and Crocodile Dundee got together, had a baby, then let it run wild with wolves. A government agent, Brock only has to appear and henchmen flee. Despite his taciturn personality and anger management issues, Brock has the patient of a saint when it comes to dealing with Hank and Dean, and you could say he's the most accomplished of the show's characters. And that's saying something for a character with a mullet.

The Monarch: Dr. Venture's sworn archenemy and member of the archenemy guild called The Guild of Calamitous Intent, The Monarch is ridiculous, hysterical, and, at times, successful. And yes, he dresses like a butterfly. Commanding an army of henchmen all dressed in butterfly wings as well and king of his home base called The Cocoon, The Monarch has hated Dr. Venture since college and still does well past their prime years. A regular in the series who has kidnapped every member of the Venture family at least once, The Monarch himself manages to get into almost as much trouble with the Guild or the regular law enforcement. The latter mostly for peeing in public.

Dr. Girlfriend: Sexy, smart, and a doctor of...something, Dr. Girlfriend is currently the arm candy of The Monarch and at times the only thing that makes his elaborate plans work. Dr. Girlfriend's charm is not only in her body, personality, and impeccable fashion sense, but also in the fact that she is voiced by a man. That's right. Doc Hammer is one of the series' most loved writers and voice actors (and editor, and graphics artist, and...) and he manages to make Dr. Girlfriend incredibly unforgettable and a rival to Jessica Rabbit herself.

Henchmen 21 and 24: And finally, last but never least, Henchmen 21 and 24, the comic relief and hysterical, head henchmen of The Monarch. The Laurel (24) and Hardy (21) duo of the show, Henchmen 21 and 24 are those henchmen who just never seem to die. In fact, they and The Monarch himself have recognized their uncanny ability to live through just about everything. These two are fan favorites and are best known for their numerous arguments about the finer things in life: such as whether Smurfs breed or lay eggs to produce offspring.

So What's the Show About, Overall?: The show, as said early, mostly focuses on the exploits of Hank and Dean, following them through their young, confusing lives and moronic mistakes. The series is good about dealing with character development and having a story in each episode, so you're not left with one sacrificed over the other. It's also good about not bringing in something randomly then abandoning it (*cough*GLEE*cough*).

I'm Philosophical and Won't Watch Unless There's More To It: You need more of a reason? If I had to say an overall theme for the show, pure and simple (and right out of an interview quoted on Wikipedia), failure. The beauty and ordinary nature of failure and how we still keep going, trying to do something good.

And that is partly why this television series is the first thing featured on my new blog posts. How many shows are that well-written, still funny, reference everything I love, and still manage to question the real universe? The show is entertaining with it's action, complex characters, and intricate story lines, and in the end, it's well-written and often brings a sentiment to the show's episode that makes you pause and think later on that night. Or keeps you up.

What are the Fans Called?: I believe the official unofficial term is Venturoos. Don't believe anything else you hear.

You've Convinced Me! When Can I Watch It?: The show airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim at 11:30 PM (PST).

Final Thoughts: Go Team Venture!

Additional Resources:
  • Jackson Publick has his own journal here, where you can hear news from the Sovereign himself.
  • The Mantis-Eye Experiment has been around for five years and has capsules for each episode with a recap and, my favorite feature, explanations of each reference/throw-back in the episode.
  • Venture Brothers Blog is a terrific fan site and offers episode recaps, reviews, and an awesome collection of Venture Brother awesomeness.
  • The People's Republic of Venture is a fan run wiki and forum site where the newly awoken Venturoo in you can run free.
  • And don't forget the Very Venture Vodcast, featuring episode reviews by two fabulous female Venturoos.
  • Adult Swim's official site for the show is here, check it out for episodes (new ones posted Monday night) and contests.
  • Wikipedia is always good. Most of the time.