Self High-Five: The 9th

bill bodkin might be dropping it like it’s hot …

What a week! Last weekend was my bachelor party, and boy was it an epic epic of epic epicness. Let’s just say a certain guest blogger pulled a Hangover and got lost, while the non-engaged “B” from B&B actually had a drink. It was an awesome party for sure!

Music: “Repo Man” by Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs
Ballads aren’t my thing, but there’s something about Ray LaMontagne that I really dig. His raspy, soulful voice is in stark contrast to the vocals dominating the popular music world. It’s unique, it’s bold, it has a definite
staying power. His most famous song, “Trouble” (which brought into the super-mainstream conscious by American Idol underdog Alex Lambert), is an awesomely a soul-crushing ballad. So far, from what I’ve heard from his new album God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, I’ve enjoyed. However, the one that sticks out the most is the rockin’ jam session “Repo Man.” Like I said, I’m not a ballad guy — I like songs that rock, songs that make you move and “Repo Man” does all this. Its Allman-esque groove is an absolute piece of of Southern-fried soul that’ll have your toe-a-tappin’ while it plays on your mobile music device.

Television: Top Chef: Just Desserts
Top Chef has been a real disappointment in 2010 — competition and personality has overtaken the importance of the actual food being put on the plate. The “drama” has effected the quality of food being put out — uninspired dishes and amateur cooking technique have taken ook away from my favorite part of these shows: the food. Luckily, Top Chef: Just Desserts is a welcomed piece of panacea — or panchetta, if you want to be clever and stuff. The show does have its share of drama, but what stands out is the food. There has been a glut of cake and cupcake shows out there, many of which have been overly saccharine to the point of nauseum in tone (I’m looking at you Cake Boss. How can one guy always be so damn excited?!), luckily Just Desserts tackles the entire dessert spectrum from ice cream to wedding cakes to cookies. The presentations are mouthwatering pieces of eye candy, exactly what the entrees on regular Top Chef used to be. I also enjoy the show’s hosts rockabilly pastry chef Johnny Iuzinni, master chef Hubert Keller and uber foodie hottie Gail Simmons. It’s a nice change-of-pace from the Tom and Padma combo. And this show is a nice change-of-pace show that’ll be a bridge to the very promising Top Chef All-Stars in December.

Video Games: Madden 2011
Recently, I was able to pick-up an XBOX 360 for very cheap — thanks to a very loving and thoughtful fiancee who used the Target gift cards she got from her bridal shower to get it. After jumping up and down like a child on his fifth birthday, I had one thought on my mind: I gotta get Madden ’11! A few years back I fell in love with the series when my roommate at the time had Playstation 2 and Playstation 3. I tried playing the game on the Wii, and frankly it’s not a fun experience. It might sound lazy but, it’s just too much effort to play Madden on Wii. Long story short, I picked up the latest copy of Madden, and I have to say I am blown away by the improvements on the game. The autosprint feature is the best part; it allows you to concentrate on making jukes and cuts instead of worrying about sprinting. The graphics, as expected, are amazing, the facial artwork of the players is scary good. The gameplay, for the most part, is tremendous. Sometimes it’s a little hard to see the action, but nothing too distracting. In the end, Madden 2011 is a fantastic game that is a great way to blow off steam after work for countless hours. Sorry love, you created a monster by getting that XBOX 360.

Food: The 24 Hour Irish Pub
Let’s think about this for a second — a 24-hour Irish pub? That is a gift from God himself. The Irish Pub in Atlantic City is a massive yet intimate bar and restaurant that myself along with B&B’ers Brent Johnson, Logan Fowler and a group of my closest friends went to on Saturday night for my bachelor party. The board of fare at The Irish Pub is dirt cheap yet utterly delicious. We “apped” it up with orders of meatball lollipops, disco fries (cheese fries drenched in gravy) and I believe some wings and nachos. I was a little drunk, so forgive the fuzziness. I obviously got a burger — really solid. The rest of the guys went for burgers and corned beef. The atmosphere at The Irish Pub is fantastic. It’s got a retro 20s-40s straight-outta-Dublin feel. Tin ceilings and vintage boxing posters made me feel as if this place would’ve housed the antics of the cast of Boardwalk Empire. My only complaint? No Harp on tap! If you’re an Irish pub, you have to have my favorite lager on tap. It’s like the law, right? If that’s my only complaint, you can tell that the Irish Pub is a dope spot to visit.

Nightlife: The Pool at Harrah’s
My job prevents me from speaking about nightlife establishments at the Jersey Shore. A lot of them advertise with the magazine I work for, so it’s hard for me to speak freely. Luckily, Harrah’s is outside my coverage area, so I can talk about their Pool After Dark nightclub. As you can tell from my review of the Irish Pub, you can tell I’m more of a beer and pub guy. Clubs just usually aren’t my thing. However, I’ve heard nothing but awesome things about The Pool. Nominated as the best “superclub” in the nation, The Pool is amazing. It’s an outdoor pool and cabana club enclosed into a massive danceclub — think Biodome without Pauley Shore. On the night we partied there, DJ Homicide of Sugar Ray was on the 1s and 2s and provided a mashed-up soundtrack that had the entire club jumping. After the sun comes up, The Pool returns to being a pool — a massive swimming pool surrounded by cabanas and jacuzzis. Seriously, it’s as awesome as it sounds. If you’re looking for a place to celebrate — a bachelor party, a new job or just to celebrate a night out with friends — The Pool is worth every penny.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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