Batter Blaster canned pancakes

Batter Blaster, we hardly knew ye. Like many of the items found in these Greatest Hits posts, Batter Blaster canned pancakes no longer exist.

It’s a shame, too, because they were basically the pancake equivalent of Egg Beaters. I eat liquid eggs regularly, not because I’m health conscious, but because I prefer omelets and I’m extremely lazy.

So just like I hate cracking eggs, beating them into a liquid, and then adding them to a pan, I equally hate dealing with pancake mix.

Were these the best tasting pancakes in the world? They were not. Were they good enough? They were.

I suppose the closest thing to Batter Blaster would be all these just-add-water pancake mixes but… hey… it’s just not the same.

As videos go, I’d give this one a 8 out of 10: okay production values offset by better-than-okay content. I remember it making my coworkers laugh, which was always a bonus, but my wife got mad at me for showing our dish-filled sink to the internet. You win some, you lose some.

Snuggie in a snowstorm

Here’s one of the rare outdoor videos from my vast (pronounced “vahst”) archive. Bloggers prefer being indoors.

Also rare – at least for these old Greatest Hits videos here: a product that still exists and is being sold in mass quantities. Ladies and gentlemen, the Snuggie.

I can’t find mine any more, and I had two of them. I do, however, still have the booklight somehow. And I’ll never part with my Jude Blume books, obviously.

Mana Health Energy Potion is a big kick in a tiny bottle

If you’ve ever downed a Five-Hour Energy or something similar in size, you’ve gotten the experience of drinking what you see me drinking here. Except for two things.

One: the taste, as I remember it (this was 11+ years ago), was great. It was like a non-alcoholic Fireball shot. Very cinnamon-y but not medicine-y like most energy drinks.

Two: it packed a wallop. I can’t remember how many shots were in the box they sent me (looks like a 12-pack) but I remember thinking that the next week or so was going to be very productive.

My plan for this review was to ham it up a bit for the camera regardless of how well this tiny energy drink actually worked – but luckily for me, it actually worked great. Unluckily for me, I think the drinks cost $3-$4 or so per shot at the time, which was too rich for my frugal blood.

And I’ll be damned, but you can still buy them now: $42 for a 12-pack right from the Mana website.

Review of the video itself: 8/10. I still laugh at the Motley Crue/Office bit.

The ahead-of-its-time Barbie Digital Nail Printer

In 2009, the Barbie Digital Nail Printer was ahead of its time. That was the first thing I learned.

The second thing I’ve learned, in retrospect, is that if you wanted your videos to get watched in 2009, you should have been reviewing Mattel stuff.

Case in point: at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, which I covered when I was with CrunchGear, the video above of me half-assedly demonstrating a product pulled in the second most video views – roughly 46,000 – of our entire time at the show.

The most views – at 126,000 – goes to the Mattel Mindflex video we did. It was some sort of game featuring a ball that you controlled with your mind. In 2009.

So that, plus a printer that printed designs directly on your fingernails. Both by Mattel. Both in 2009. Both way ahead of their respective times.

For a bit more context, we also interviewed Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine at the show. That video got 13,000 views. Mattel wins.

The Barbie Digital Nail printer, sadly, is no longer with us but you can take a closer look at an old one in all its glory on Amazon.

And just to underscore how ahead of its time this thing was, current digital nail printers on Amazon are asking in the high hundreds to low thousands of dollars.

This Barbie video itself is not great – poor sound, shaky camerawork – but it goes to show that you don’t need a perfect video to drive views.

Over-carbonating the Penguin soda machine

Every video maker, should he or she make videos long enough, goes through phases. This video was one of the first of many in my “drum loop” phase.

People hated the drum loop. I, on the other hand, loved the drum loop. It was upbeat and fun, and it meant I didn’t have to search for different music every time I made a video.

Eventually, the people won and I killed off the drums. So my review of this video is a thumbs up for the drums and a thumbs down (each) for the lighting and sound – a total of three thumbs.

As for the soda machine, I was supplied with two CO2 cartridges and a sampler pack of sodas. Once I burned through both cartridges and all the soda flavors, that giant penguin sat in a closet in one apartment, moved to another closet in a condo, and now lives in a closet in my house.

I’m just not built for re-ordering supplies, but if I were, the line of Penguin soda machines, which I believe eventually became cheaper, smaller, and better SodaStream machines aren’t too shabby.

Oh, and it’s pop. It should be called PopStream or the Penguin Home Pop Machine.


The camera that never showed up

To this day, this is still one of the favorite videos I’ve ever made. It’s a review of nothing shot like a documentary.

It was July, 2008 and The Office was white hot.

Remember those Flip video cameras? This was the smaller version, the Flip Mino.

Apparently, it was pronounced “minnow” and I pronounced it “meeno” the whole time, so strike one. Although in my defense, it should be pronounced “meeno” – there’s a restaurant in my town called Mino’s and it’s pronounced “meenos” since that’s how English works.

Strike two was that I made some poor PR person’s life hell for a week. Not that it’s an excuse, but I hadn’t been doing this that long and I didn’t really know any better.

Strike three is my hair: a recurring bewilderment of these early videos. I have no defense or excuse.

All strikes aside, I’m rating this Greatest Hits review a 10 out of 10.

The first video review I ever made

Behold yours truly in all my prepubescent glory! This was me about a thousand cheeseburgers ago and before I discovered good beer.

For a first video review it’s decent – albeit way too long. And the quality sucks, as most digital video did back in 2007. But for someone rocking a track jacket and hair like that, I come off as confident, which generally makes for a good video. Keep in mind that this was in the early days of my blogging career before my soul was bullied into a lifeless void by blog commenters and people on Twitter.

I knew nothing about lighting or sound – but in my defense I only know very little about lighting or sound now.

I made this video for CrunchGear, which no longer exists, which was part of TechCrunch, which still does exist. To this day, it was still the most and least fun I’ve ever had working.

The phone no longer exists, sadly, but you can buy a non-working prototype for $10 if you’d like to make your own throwback video.