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Category Archives: Impressions

Bang Energy Drink Review (Champagne Cola & Lemon Drop)

How many bad puns and play on words can you make with your favorite energy drink?  Unleash the Monster, Amped up, Party like a Rockstar, Alter My DNA.  Well guess what?  VPX has a new drink that’ll put all those to shame.  The designation: Bang.  Your choices: Lemon Drop and Champagne Cola.

Bang

Let’s keep track of just how many times I irrelevantly work a play on the word “bang”  throughout this review.

My co-workers touted this drink for some time, with one of them saying it made him feel like he could climb Mount Everest.  Bang me up, buddy, cause I’m game!  I suppose the upward bullet on the can is supposed to indicate how high you’ll feel.  What it doesn’t tell you is that the space between the bullet and the VPX logo is probably how close your body will get to a caffeine overdose.  Seriously.  Each can has 357 milligrams of caffeine, “more than three cups of coffee.”  To put that in even more perspective, an 8.46 ounce can of Red Bull has 80, while a full can of regular Monster has 160.  And somehow the drink has no calories, no fat, no sugar and, needless to say (and proudly stated on the bottle), “contains no fruit juice.”  Bada-boom, bada-BANG!

My first venture to the drink was with the Champagne Cola, which honestly sounds like something to cater to women.  Two sips into the can and I was already feel more kick than most energy drinks provide in their entirety.  Halfway through I could feel my body hitting the pinnacle of their now-overworked alarms.  Now I can tell people about how I got banged one day at work.

Champagne Cola

Somehow, even with all that caffeine, the drink is very clear.  What’s even crazier is that the taste definitely isn’t champagne or cola-like, but more like a light mix of Monster and the bubble gum flavor of Rockstar Sugar-free.  But like I said, this drink really banged me hard within the first 8 ounces, so I set the rest aside for later.  After I settled back down, I decided to rejoice myself, see if it would still provide a nice final kick.  Oddly enough, I was unaffected.  It was like all the caffeine came to me at once, which wouldn’t be too surprising.  I do like the way it tastes since it’s similar to that off energy drink flavor, but it’s less offensive.  On one hand, I can easily see myself choosing this flavor for a nice kick.  However, frequently seeking this much caffeine probably isn’t the wisest decision in the world.

Lemon Drop

Next we have Lemon Drop, which my co-workers have swarmed to.  One of them described it as tasting just like Sprite, and I can see why.  I’d say it’s closer to a Diet Sierra Mist flavor, since it has that off, sugarless flavor that’s characteristic of diet soda.  I’m not sure if it was my recent exposure to Champagne Cola first or the off-putting aftertaste, but Lemon Drop didn’t do much for me.  While I felt a bit more upbeat, I’d compare it to the mild effects of Mountain Dew Kickstart and Monster Ultra Zero.  Everyone I’ve spoken to said they preferred Lemon Drop, which is fine by me, since that’ll leave more for me to happily bang.  At least, until the cans run out (again).

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Freezerburns +1: My First Impressions

Two of my favorite online shows, Freezerburns and the Nostalgia Critic, have recently made their return to the internet.  While the latter, still charismatically portrayed by Doug Walker, remains in tried and true form, the former has undergone some noticeable adjustments.  As you’ve probably guessed, I feel compelled to acknowledge and address them.

For those who are unfamiliar, Freezerburns was a show dedicated to providing frozen food reviews.  These included “Fro-downs,” where similar dishes from various companies were compared, to testing certain meals when deep fried, to personal Top 5 lists, including the best frozen foods for when you’re snowed in.  However, when Greg, the show’s host and creator, took up the “Food Stamp Challenge,” things slowed down and change started to come in a way that fans are definitely reacting to.

The show is turning into a different iteration, called “Freezerburns +1.”  It appears that, for each episode, Greg will be taking a frozen meal and adding one “fresh” ingredient to make it better.  Our first taste (pun intended) has been through the addition of green peppers to a Newman’s Own skillet meal.

First, let’s run through what’s good about Freezerburns +1.  For starters, the production has definitely gone up.  Everything from the captured footage to the editing and instructions is clean and clear-cut.  The idea of adding something different to a meal so it can be improved is certainly interesting and creates a lot of potential.  However, this is also where the fundamental problem with the show’s new direction comes in.

Fans have already commented about how the look and feel of the show is different and (severely) lacking a key factor: Greg.  The man is someone who’s just enjoyable to watch.  He’s fun, oftentimes charismatic, descriptive and leaves an impression of someone who’s informed but also among the common crowd.  An everyday person could watch his videos and see exactly where he was coming from.  It was all the more reason Freezerburns worked and continued to bring in subscribers.

This new format, on the other hand, is incredibly formal and, dare I say, commercial.  Based on what we have so far, it’s less entertainment and more infomercial.  And I want to address the show’s new core issue in the concept of adding one ingredient to a frozen meal.  This isn’t an interesting, eye-catching premise.  Anyone can add a single ingredient.  It doesn’t make for interesting material.  The videos themselves seem like they’re going to be incredibly limited too.  The +1 in the show’s new title suggests that the inclusion of only one ingredient will be used and tested, which is hardly riveting.  I would suggest experimenting and relaying the results of multiple ingredients one at a time in a single video, but that would be time-consuming, not to mention hard on the wallet.

One more reason I can’t see this new format taking off is because really, if you’re going to add ingredients like green peppers (with olive oil, mind you), why don’t you just make the dish yourself?  You’re already taking the necessary steps by doing so with the green peppers in a separate skillet, so there’s little to deter anyone from going all-out.  Many times the reason people buy frozen meals is because they’re convenient and the closest we can get to affordable variants of the “real deal.”  Like many people, I work in retail and only get a half hour break per shift.  I don’t like buying fast food or ordering from nearby eateries since it’s often time-consuming, more expensive, and even worse for me.  Thus, I resort to frozen food meals that are relatively quick and convenient, by comparison.  Am I going to have the time or resources to do something similar to what was depicted in this latest episode?  Not in an everyday breakroom, I won’t.

My concerns for the future of Freezerburns (+1) are quite high.  People got excited to see the show come back because they thought they’d be getting a new and improved version of something they knew, something that worked.  The show functioned fine on its own and, thanks to an ever-changing and expanding supply of frozen food entrees, it meant there was never any concern for new material.  Freezerburns had personality and a unique flavor (again, pun intended), this does not.  This is more makeshift cooking from home than it is actual input on stuff people use and buy.  Sometimes changes can be interesting, but as both fans and Doug Walker himself learned with Demo Reel, “interesting” isn’t synonymous with “good.”

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Blog, Food, Impressions

 

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Man of Steel Trailer 2 Impressions

You know you’re on the internet when you yourself begin jumping on multiple bandwagons (yes, “you”).  Hardly a day after a new movie trailer hits the net and half my film oriented subscriptions have their impressions up.  But I have something worth talking about with the first full-blown (and widely available) trailer for Man of Steel.  Although I’m hesitant to call this a trailer, simply because it feels like an extended teaser trailer.  Outside of the fact we have a more–you guessed it–realistic, grounded origin story, we’re not exactly handed a whole lot of plot points.  Obsessed viewers might be able to piece stuff together from the end montage, but many of us less discerning viewers take at face value.  A lot of it almost boils down to action, action, conflict and action.

But hey, that last minute sure looks nice.  This is one potential advantage to a more realistic reboot: by the time everything has been set up, we as the viewers are all the more invested when things finally liven up.  I hope this is the case because, frankly, Superman has never been that interesting to me.  Might as well throw out that I’ve only seen Superman Returns from start to finish while I’m at it.  Heck, I’ve been so sheltered from the original movies that when someone brings up the popular score I either nod, shrug or think “which score was that?”

Point is, I’ve never felt motivated to watch Superman; yet Man of Steel is at least doing a better job grabbing my attention.  Early on we see Clark in a disagreement with Kevin Costner over what I assume is the fact he saved a bus full of children.  Clark feels he should do the right thing while Costner essentially tells him it might have been best to let them die (no joke).  At least now I know who not to trust my kids with when disaster strikes.  With that in mind, I’m wondering how they’re going to handle Clark’s identity as Superman.  I don’t recall any shots in which he’s wearing glasses, so will he be completely open and public about it?  Could make for an interesting dynamic, especially since Green Lantern took a similar approach but didn’t take it very far.

Yet the real question on my mind is how Henry Cavill can handle being the Man of Steel.  Cavill is still a bit of a no-name in Hollywood, and the only film I’ve seen him in is Immortals.  Let’s just say neither him nor the film itself left me craving more.  I haven’t heard anyone mention a great previous performance by him which, combined with the horrible response to this year’s Cold Light of Day, still leaves me skeptical.  Not to mention Cavill gets maybe two lines in the trailer, both of which are narrated.

As you can probably tell, Man of Steel continues to leave me with more questions than it does answers.  I’m not sure it even answered anything after the first trailer, since I got a similar feel from that one.  I am enticed to see how this movie will play out and will likely catch it opening weekend.  This is a tough trailer for me to judge since so much of it is visual with very little of our lead star showing or saying anything.  For now, I just hope I don’t end up feeling like the kids on that bus prior to being saved.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Blog, Impressions

 

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