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Doom Piano, following the Silk Road and more in this week’s Staff Picks

Staff Picks 10_05_2013

Ryan FlemingRyan Fleming: Doom Piano is the best piano

Say you have an old piano sitting around in need of some TLC. You have a few options. You could always repair it, which would take some time, effort, and probably a bit of scratch unless you happen to be proficient in piano repair (in which case, quit slacking and repair your piano). You could pay even more money and turn it into a self-playing pianola. Then when your friends come over you can smugly ask them what instrument they play as you mime the perfectly played song the piano is taking care of. Or, you could go for Plan C, and turn your piano into the awesomest piano ever.

Some pianos are attractive and add an air of class. Some can be sultry. And some can play the video game Doom.

Using a dilapidated piano, a group of indie developers mapped all the directional and action keys to keys on a piano. The result is the most bad ass, demon killing piano ever created. Lucifer has night mares about the disjointed song this piano plays. Check it out below.

Caleb DenisonCaleb Denison: The art of TV placement

While at CEDIA 2013 this year, I saw a few really cool products I just didn’t have enough time to report on. This is one of them.

Hidden Vision TV Mounts hide your TV so that it looks like framed art on the wall. When you’re ready to watch, you can either flip the frame around to expose the TV screen, or just extend it from the wall to watch from bed, depending on the style of mount you pick. The extender mount is perfect for those who like to watch TV in bed, but don’t want to sacrifice space elsewhere in their room. I can see this being particularly appealing for RV and Park Model owners who have smaller bedrooms. Check out the video below to see the mounts in action.

Les ShuLes Shu: GWAR covers Billy Ocean tune, and it doesn’t suck

I don’t listen to heavy metal, but I don’t listen to GWAR not because of the music, but simply because they have always scared the crap out of me. Their cover of one-hit wonder Billy Ocean and his terrible “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car,” however, paints the band in a new light for me. In fact, these guys (if you can call them that) are pretty awesome.

In its Undercover series, The Onion A.V. (the satirical newspaper’s A&E site) invited bands to perform one of 25 predetermined songs. GWAR got stuck with “GOMD, GIMC,” with front man (or thing) Oderus Urungus calling the song “pretty much demeaning to women” and saying “something seems altogether unwholesome about it.” While it was all in jest, GWAR manages to make this cheesy melody actually enjoyable. However, they don’t make the song lyrics sound any less creepy.

Andrew CoutsAndrew Couts: Following the Silk Road

This has been a crazy-ass week. Our federal government shut down. Obamacare’s online exchanges went live (and crapped out under the weight of traffic), bikers beat the hell out of some guy in New York City after he ran over some of them with his Range Rover, and a young mother went nuts and tried to ram her car through the front door of the White House. But nothing is as crazy as the FBI’s case against Ross Ulbricht, the 29-year-old suspected of operating the world’s largest online black market, Silk Road. The case against Ulbricht is so wild, even the court documents are fascinating reads. Forget Breaking Bad – if you’re interested in larger-than-life drug drama, I highly recommend taking the time to check them out.

Andrew Couts Following the Silk Road

Molly McHughMolly McHugh: The last place you expected Usher

When I was in middle school and even high school, the name Usher was said with reverence. He was like my generation’s Justin Bieber without the Joffrey comparisons (seriously, someone needs to put something other than a wife beater on that kid, take his phone away, and drop him off with the good people of Canada before it’s too late). That voice! Those moves!

I even had my own Usher run-in once – at this year’s past SXSW. The day I was leaving, I had lunch with a friend in downtown Austin, and just who do you think happened to be trying to go up the tiny staircase to the bathroom when I was coming down it?! That’s right! Usher! I said, “You’re Usher” without any emotion, half-heartedly went for a high-five, lost the courage, and dropped my arm to its side. I’m sure it was a really significant moment for him too.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that this man is a legend – a legend who was made to sing the alphabet on Sesame Street this week. I get it, dude’s got kids now, but there’s something incredibly horrifying about seeing my middle school celebrity crush with his arm around Elmo. It’s also hypnotizing because there’s something so wrong about seeing Chili’s former lover (oh yeah, you remember that, right?) sexy-singing the ABCs. 

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street indeed.

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