In my capacity as a podcast host, there are a number of not-overly-fun things that I have to do regularly. It ain’t all mattress ads and groupies, you know? It’s hard work. Well, it’s work anyway. O.K., it’s not work, either. I don’t know what it is. Sorry. It’s something, though.
Staying up late is a must, unfortunately. I’m an old piece of crap now, and I am just plain not wired properly to persevere too terribly far past 11 p.m. But if I want decent audio — which is to say a track without the obvious and unmistakable sounds of a toddler jumping on top of a dog then falling off and crying — then waiting until the house can be reasonably quiet is just the cost of doing business.
Of course, if you want anybody to hear the finished product that resulted from all that dog-shooing and sleep deprivation, you’re going to have to market the thing, which sucks beyond measure. Word of mouth is great, but pretty soon you’ll end up having to be engaging on social media, networking with other podcasters, and all kinds of grinding, arbitrary tasks like that. It’s almost enough to make you feel bad for marketers! (But not quite. Actually, not at all.)
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
But what really gets my goat is the constant exposure to stupid, useless garbage. I think this is something unique to our show, but I will also admit to not being totally caught up on Sewage USA’s TrashCast, so I can’t be certain. So much of the prep –all of it, if I’m being truthful, since we don’t write anything down — is just sifting mournfully through the crap. And like a baby at a dirty beach, we clap and laugh when we find a turd.
It’s a boon for us, then, that there are so many turds on Kickstarter. There are thousands and thousands of turds! And there’s a turd for everybody, too. You’ve always got the ubiquitous classic: a poorly-conceived electronic device that was going to change the world but somehow didn’t! But there’s also the navel-gazing ego stroke masquerading as an art project, plus the “edgy”, oddly aggressive alt-humor game that’s like catnip to your friends who like zombie shows, and so, so much more.
There is also a lot of booze junk on there, because, well, I mean … it’s an easy sell. If you’re a craft beer guy, or a whiskey gal or whatever, you’re more than likely spending some decent scratch on your hobby. And as it turns out, the people who make Kickstarters want your money. So you can see the problem here. Here are some of the worst solutions people have devised to solve that problem … to separate you from the money you could be spending on podcasts instead. Sad!
You can’t swing a dead cat on Kickstarter without hitting at least three different ways to make, drink, or store draft beer in your home, and while I have been forthcoming about the difficulty I have trying to understand why that seems like a priority for so many people, this ridiculous countertop gadget doesn’t even claim to do that. It does make your bottled beer fizzier, though. And it made a million dollars. Great.
ePint – Internet-Connected Smart Beer Mug
“Why make a smart beer mug? Well, because we can! But there is more to it than that.” Nope! There’s not. It’s a cup that lights up. And it calls a cab for you? Well, the app can. But they only raked in $10,000 out of a $50,000 goal, meaning that beer mug you’re drinking out of right now is as dumb as the company that thought this dud up.
Envies Flavor Shots for Beer, Vodka & Tequila
Pitched as the solution for party planners who can’t figure out how to accommodate guests with different tastes, these neat little packets are strikingly similar to those “water enhancers” you see in the snack aisle. Actually, that’s probably exactly what they are. But it’s a great alternative to just telling your friends to bring whatever beer they want to the party. Now you can buy one beer and put “Kiwi Strawberry” sugar squirt in it, and now you have two types of beer no one wants. See? Simple.
BRO BONG – LED Beer Bong Holder That Goes Anywhere
I already said I’m an old piece of crap now, so that’s my cover for being able to criticize this really dumb idea, which was not intended in any way for old pieces of crap to approve of or enjoy. But come on, man. I’m not even saying don’t use a beer bong. Go crazy if that’s what you wanna do. But if you can’t hold it long, you don’t deserve to bong. New slogan I just came up with. It’s trademarked now, so you can’t try to sell bongs with it.
The Man-Can Clip
I hate this. I’m getting mad. They had a kid say the Pledge of Allegiance at the end of the video. I’m hulking out over here! Just put it on the ground! UGHHH!
Personal Beer Station
O.K., the video for this one is calming me down. This guy’s accent is very assuring, and there’s just enough white noise in it to make me feel like going to sleep. It looks like he took a server rack and covered it with foil, then plugged it in, and I have no idea how it’s supposed to do anything. But the man shot his shot. And asking for CA$100,000 to make a couple of backyard beer computers is so much more interesting to me than the super-slick, consumer-ready beer cubes. This thing looks like Johnny 5.
1st Restaurant W/O Waiters
This may not specifically be about beer, but I’m sharing it as a reminder that there are tons of people out there who are genuinely nuts, and not in a cutesy German engineer tinkering in his basement kind of way, either. More like a “don’t flip this guy off when he doesn’t use his blinker in traffic because he might come over and booby trap your house kind of way”… like a “Someone should call someone” kind of way.
Salteez – Salt and lime to go strips for your beer
This project comes in two parts. Part 1: Somebody figured out a way to turn lime flavor and salt into an edible strip that sticks to cold, wet, and irregular surfaces. That was probably a decent logistical challenge, and I respect the effort. Part 2: The design is such that, after placing the Salteez on the desired beverage, you will need to then lick the outside of the beverage. Maybe that’s what you want. Do you want that? I don’t.
The Kong, The World’s First Koozie Beer Bong
This is yet another iteration of a product designed for essentially everyone except me, but still I feel like I need to express a certain level of aggravation that we’re still making things that turn into other things. Just let stuff be one thing! That’s all we need, is the one thing. Learn from Michael Bay’s mistakes.
BrewArt Automated Smartphone-Controlled Beer Brewing System
Well, it wouldn’t be a list of bad Kickstarter beer campaigns without a big honkin’ homebrew robot, so here you go. For just $495 (40 percent off the prospective retail price, although you know how that goes), you can snag one of these babies and stick it on top of your (hopefully) empty counter in your (presumably) massive industrial-inspired open-air kitchen. Of course, that’s just the BeerDroid. Oh, and the discount was limited, so it’s $695 now.
Well regardless, you’re going to want to stock up on BrewPrints (look closely for the pun here), the proprietary recipe and ingredient pack that will tell the big squawking plastic computer how to make your favorite beer. A generic reproduction of it, anyway. Just imagine: sipping a classic Stars & Stripes Lager (compare to ???) in front of your big-screen Sorny TV. Doesn’t get any better than that, folks.
Now to just get that beer poured. Oops! Hang on. The BeerDroid brews the beer, but it’s up to you to bottle and dispense it! Come on, you can’t expect this little guy to do everything. If only you had another $695 lying around, you could nab the BrewFlo, BrewArt’s preferred gas-free tap system with — thank God! — disposable keg liners for easy cleanup.
I know what you’re thinking, though. “It would be great if I could somehow control this complex and expensive process with my phone, the thing I don’t even like writing work emails on in case I make too many typos or accidentally attach a picture of my ass!” It wouldn’t be a Kickstarter if it didn’t have an app, though, so you should be accidentally sending your glorified refrigerator pictures of your ass in no time. And isn’t that all you’ve ever really wanted?