Mark: Welcome back Derek. It’s time for another Half-Baked Product Review.
Derek: Great! I’m ready to emerge from my mid-winter vitamin D cravings and tackle a new Chinfest. What are we reviewing today?
Mark: As you already know, I have long felt that there is a musical genius somewhere within me, just waiting to be released. I think that genius’s time has come, so I bought a Mendini by Cecilio five-piece drum set, and I need you to help me assemble it.
Derek: A drum set?! I love drums! When I turned 11, I asked my parents if I could have a drum set for my birthday. But they told me no, God hated the drums, and since I didn’t want my house destroyed or invaded by locusts, I never asked again—why risk the arbitrary wrath of an omnipotent being, I always say. So, you must be pretty brave or not mind locusts, I guess. Anyway, to this day, I often imagine that I’m playing the drums, though I’d never dare approach such a profane instrument in real life.
Mark: Your parents lied to you about God hating the drums. The song “Little Drummer Boy” proves it. That song is all about drums, and it’s a Christmas song. And Christmas is all about God and his sidekick Baby Jeebus, so God can’t hate drums. And anyway, I don’t think He uses locusts anymore, so it’s probably safe for you to help me assemble my drum set.
Let’s get started. The whole set: 2 toms, 1 floor tom, 1 snare, 1 bass drum with drum pedal, 1 cymbal, 1 hi-hat, and 1 Drum Throne (aka stool) fits in this one box. First, we should open it up and make sure we have all the components..
(several minutes later)
Wow, that’s a lot of parts. This might take longer than I thought. We should go get some more beer.
(many minutes later)
Okay, now we’re ready to get started. The assembly instructions recommend putting together one of the toms first. Derek, grab a drum shell and two drum heads, please.
Derek: Agree to disagree about the locusts. But I’m feeling my metaphysical oats, so I’m ready to start hitting things to make sweet, sweet music. Here’s a drum shell—or what I have determined is a drum shell through the process of elimination and a roll of my trusty 12-sided die—and a couple of other things you asked for.
By my count, this five-piece set comes with eight pieces—now that’s value. They do appear to be high-quality parts: nicely cylindrical, and that one I just dropped emitted a pleasingly resonant thud as it hit the corner of the coffee table. Sorry about the scratch.
Ok, are we ready to start punching these drums yet? I wanna rock!
Mark: You don’t punch drums, you punch kangaroos. Now, put those drumsticks down and hand me the drum heads. They’re the round things that look like stretched animal hides.
Derek: I’m pretty sure that “punching kangaroos” is slang for an unspeakable act of perversion, which is something I hope you don’t mean, and I resent the implication that I can’t recognize dead animals. Now let’s see…animal heads. Round. Gotcha.
So while I’m rummaging aimlessly through this pile of parts, maybe you can clear something up for me. I’ve always wondered why they call it a “drum machine”—it’s really more of a drum synthesizer, and the whole thing is something of a letdown. I figure with the state of manufacturing automation these days, any drummer could be replaced by a good six-axis, Delta-configured industrial robot. Then you’d have the satisfaction of a non-synthesized something whacking something else, plus it’d be a hit in a live show! Maybe a little something like this:
But why stop at three arms? Seems like settling. Sorry, Neil Peart! The future is here, and our robot overlords are taking your solo to new heights of efficiency.
Is this a drum head?
Mark: I heard somewhere that Meg White is a prototype drumming robot. I don’t think Neil Peart should panic just yet.
But, you do make a good point with the drum machine thing. It seems like a device called a drum machine should assemble drums, right? Now that you’ve located the drum head, it’s time for you to become a drum machine. Use this drum key and these lug bolts to attach the drum head to the drum shell. In theory, the end result should be a drum.
Derek: “Drum” is a weird word—just listen to it: drum. Drum shell. Drum head. Drum key. Drum drum. See? Drum. Drum. Drum. Feels like it should have a “b” at the end. Drum-buh. Wow, are we out of beer already?
Ok. I’ve got the head on the shell, and I’m ready to staple it.
Time to start chopping these skins, or whatever Megbot says, right?
Mark: No chopping skins yet, we’ve only assembled one drum, the small tom. Now, we’ll repeat the process on the large tom, then the floor tom, then the bass. On the bass, we need to find something soft to put inside before we put the drum heads on. This will muffle any potential ringing.
Derek: That’s a lot of Toms—you should’ve ordered the variety pack, I guess. Anyway, I’ve got a ton of shave foam left from that Harry’s Razors review; it’s soft, and it has an attractive, masculine scent. We’ll just squirt it in there, and voila, a sweet, crunchy drum shell with a muffled, creamy center.
This sure is a lot of work! I’m starting to understand why people play the spoons.
Mark: You have shave gel? Thank God. I ran out a week ago, and I still haven’t gotten my next shipment. It’s getting to the point where I’m having chafing problems in some of the more sensitive areas that I shave. The internet told me that I could use mayonnaise instead, but that was a disaster. Not only is mayonnaise a terrible lubricant, it’s apparently an aphrodisiac to cats. Every time I go outside, I am constantly followed by packs of feral, howling toms. It’s always more toms. I will pay you whatever you want for the shave gel, and we can put this pillow inside the bass drum instead.
Derek: You may-o want to try something else! Ba-dum-dum! Thank you, I’ll be here all night (seriously, this kit is way too complicated).
Can we just skip to the good stuff, Mark? Are we ready to maim these tubs or what?
Speaking of which, I probably could have done an actual rimshot since there’s an entire drum set right in front of me. Oh well, missed opportunities.
Mark: While you were polishing your stand-up act, over there, I assembled the cymbal and hi-hat. So, all that’s left is the Drum Throne.
Derek: Finally! I was starting to wonder if you’d ever get this thing finished. Now, if I understand thrones as well as I think I do, ours should be forged from the stools of our vanquished drum-foes. But this looks like a regular stool. What gives? How am I supposed to murder these thump-cans spinning on something so un-awesome?
Mark: I’ve got a crown here from Burger King that you can wear while you sit on the throne. In the meantime, get out of my way, because I’m ready to play.
Derek: So that’s what drums sound like? That was some impressive bludgeoning, and it sounds to my novice ear like you gave ‘em what for, though I did expect a little more grunting. Can I inflict some earthly retribution on these things?
Mark: Sure. I’ll go close the windows to keep out the locusts.
Derek: Perfect: those things cramp my style. And I think we’ve got sufficient elevation to stay out of the river of blood that is surely speeding our way as we speak.
Ok, you’re the expert—where’s the best spot to start kicking these things? I figure this hammer will take care of the cymbals, but that floor tom looks like it means business.
Mark: You’re always so angry, I worry for your health. Anyway, put down your hammer. Use these drum sticks instead.
Now, take a seat on the Drum Throne. And remember, these drums are your friends, not your enemies. Don’t try to bludgeon them to death. Even Megbot never actually killed her drums. It sounded like she was trying to, but she never killed them.
Instead, use them to make sweet, sweet music.
Derek: Great! I’ll just sharpen these sticks up and non-lethally stab the music right out of these noisome false gods!
Well, that was a pretty productive Chinfest, Mark. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed an infernal cacophony so much. Now that we’ve forsaken the divine, I suppose the only thing we need to do now is build ourselves a harpsichord, and we’ve got a power duo destined for stardom.
Mark: Even with Amazon Prime, that sounds like it would cost a bundle to ship. But, if you want order one, I’ll help you assemble it.
Now, I’m ready to give my rating of the Mendini by Cecilio five-piece drum set. Even though there was a lot of assembly required, I feel like a got a great drum set for the money. Once assembled, it has a solid, well built feel. And it sounds good, too.
I give the Mendini by Cecilio an enthusiastic 10 out of 10 drumsticks.
Derek: I’m going to gloss over the fact that I have no basis in knowledge, experience, or skill to offer my opinion of this product and give it a rating anyway.
I’ve broken a few dozen Commandments in my lifetime, and next to coveting and most of Leviticus, this has been my favorite impiety yet. 3 out of 5 damnable plagues!