Simon FitzKit...In The Field!

Faster Than A Locomotive, Cheaper Than A Gold Box Deal

July 27, 2008
1 Comment

Amazon.com has amazing sales on DVDs, but lately, they’ve just been outselling themselves, making their sales less meaningful.

Or maybe those DVDs are actually only 33% off under a red sun, but long ago, his parents saw that their race would be doomed to be remaindered, so they sent their only son (using Superman Saver Delivery) to Earth, where –in the heat of a yellow sun– his movies and television shows gained phenomenal comic powers [sic] for the good of all mankind.

MR SOCKO: My heeeeeero.

I’ve been shopping for years, spending too much money on DVDs.
Thank you, Amazon.com, for these wonderful Superman returns
on my investment.


The Red-Envelope Diaries: Parts 2 & 1

February 4, 2008
1 Comment

Before I start, I’d like to plug the newest parodies I’ve written over at Trouble In Parodies:
Parody of Bl├╝mchen’s “Heut’ Ist Mein Tag”
Parody of Gren Day’s “Minority”

And now…

The Red-Envelope Diaries – WEEK 20:

As with most diaries I’ve owned in my life, The Red-Envelope Diaries (my disc-by-disc coverage of my NetFlix subscription) has fallen by the wayside. I felt the latest movie in my queue deserved a moment’s reflection, and so I’ll quickly catch up the list:
Children of Men: Good lord, this movie was amazing. It had the tone you’d assume the “Y: The Last Man” movie will have to have, and Clive Owen, as always, equals awesome.

Ocean’s Eleven: Didn’t watch it. I got it in the mail, opened the envelope, shrugged it off, and returned it the next morning. It just wasn’t the right moment, I guess. It’s discs like this that make me kind of wish I had a two-or-more disc plan. Enh.

Cane Toads: An Unnatural History: Got this to show friends who hadn’t take high-school Biology locally. Had a rousing good time. Oh, Australians. Oh, pseudo-documentaries. Oh, psychedelic amphibian nodules. Also came with a short about a boring 70-year-old radio DJ who almost gets in a 60-year-old female listener’s pants, but she falls asleep before he can play her record…oh, and he manages to blow up the lower floors of the radio station and fall in the sewer, but those are just asides.

Film Crew: Giant of Marathon: MST3K’s cast mocks more movies. Not much to say on this, actually. I really don’t understand why Mike Nelson isn’t president or somesuch.

Blacula: A blaxploitation classic. For some reason, Blacula tried to save his love by putting her in the coffin where the attackers were sure to stake her instead of him. Way to be chivalrous, Dick-ula.

The Departed: Supposedly great. I wouldn’t know because the disc sat on my shelf for 2 weeks before the Special Edition went on sale at Best Buy, and I just bought it outright and returned the NetFlix one unseen.

The Fountain: The Fountain of Youth + Hugh Jackman + Rachel Weisz = Awesome, right? I managed to get five minutes into it before deciding the music had set the most depressing tone I’d ever heard…and I turned it off. Then the disc sat on the shelf for a good month before I finally said, “I’m never going to watch this,” and returned it.

Time Changer: Time travel + The Bible = a hilarious first-season MadTV sketch…or this movie: the most irritatingly hypocritical flip-flopping Christian tripe I’ve ever seen. And I watched “If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?” I did have fun mocking it at every turn though, especially when it talked about how all movies are the Devil’s handiwork. Good to know, movie. Good to…heeeeeey,waibamimmip!

And that brings us to this week’s acquisition: “Oldboy.” The NetFlix description, for your benefit:
“With no clue how he came to be imprisoned, drugged and tortured for 15 years — and no one to hold accountable for his suffering — a desperate businessman seeks revenge on his captors, relying on assistance from a friendly waitress. Korean director Chan Wook Park — a former philosophy student and Hitchcock devotee — uses his influences to create a mesmerizing psychological drama with a resolution that will leave you speechless.”

It sure did. It’s the kind of movie where you read the summary and say, “Hmph. Seems like everybody and his uncle is a ‘Hitchcock devotee’ these days. We’ll see if he actually uses any Hitchcock at all.” And then you watch the movie, and you sit there and say, “The director of this movie must have 1) been a Psychology student and 2) really, really liked Hitchcock.” So…uh… expectations met, I guess.

Or exceeded. Because the movie, as it turns out, is about
NOT-QUITE-A SPOILER ALERT
revenge-cest, which is –as you might or might not guess– getting revenge via incest. I was not expecting that going into a movie about a man being kidnapped for 15 years, but then it’s Korean, so how was I to even know if it would deliver on anything but the ‘leaving me speechless’ part?

********************

The following is a reposting of Part 1 of The Red-Envelope Diaries, from another journal, another time, another corner of the interblag. If you’ve already read it, it’s still the same as it was the first time.

********************

Having signed up for a 1-disc-at-a-time NETFLIX subscription (to get a free laptop, cross-fingers-cross-fingers), I believe it is time we knew exactly what horrors and wonders lurk in the depths of the world’s foremost rent-by-mail service (well, except for WeeklyRussianBridalPost, but they’re a niche market)

WEEK 1:
Having entered all of my preferences and created a relatively short 40-disc list last Monday, I received Zardoz in the mail last Tuesday.

ZARDOZ (1974): In this cult favorite from John Boorman (Beyond Rangoon), 23rd century society is split into two castes — the overly civilized Eternals and the barely civilized Brutals — one of which is constantly controlling the other. The Brutals worship a huge stone figure known as Zardoz. When Zed (Sean Connery) begins to question the authenticity of this god, the film is able to offer some pointed commentary on class structure and religion.

I have heard (from reliable sources) that Zardoz is one of the Worst sci-fi movies ever made. Thus, I must watch it. (Actually, it probably means I must buy it, but for some reason, I’ve gone all thrifty in this instance.)

Regardless, it’s a must-see, if only because Sean Connery apparently rushes at a Burt-Reynolds-lookalike frat some time during the movie.

Oh, hazing. Is there anything you can’t demean?

Back to NETFLIX however. The disc arrived on Tuesday alright, but it didn’t arrive “all right.” In fact, the DVD wasn’t just scratched or grimy, it was broken. There was an enormous crack that went all the way through the disc. I immediately filled out the online Damaged Disc form and mailed it back Wednesday afternoon. Thursday, they let me know they’d received it and that the Raleigh NETFLIX hub didn’t have a second copy to send me for Friday (I’d actually have been more disappointed in them if they did own two copies of Zardoz locally).

My new disc arrived from Cleveland today. It is in good condition and at least the Main Menu plays well. I await other souls than myself to join in the fun.

Doesn’t it sound like a sleep aid?


Console-ation Prizes

January 23, 2008
2 Comments

Video Games I’m Looking Forward To And Don’t Want To Forget:

1) Castle Crashers

Originally a game on Newgrounds.com, this Ninja-Turtles-like side-scroller may very well make me weep with joy every time I beat a boss battle and then have to fight my fellow knights for the right to save the one damsel-in-distress.

2) Patapon

Quirky, two-button music-centric game starring little monochromatic blobs? Didn’t I already love this game once before? Oh wait, no, that was…

3) God of War: Chains of Olympus

Yes, I did, in fact, “not” buy a PS2 specifically so I could own the first two games in the series. Yes, I did, in fact, buy a PSP so that I (and my friend Ted) could play this game. Yes, I do, in fact, consider the God of War series some of the, if not The, best video games of all time. Greek mythology, badass boss battles, enormous landscapes, brilliant plot twists, death scenes to die for…stop. You had me at “mythology.”

4) Jason and the Argonauts

Have I mentioned I like Greek mythology? What about how much I enjoy video games with mechanics like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (switch characters midlevel, up stats in character-specific skill trees)? Yeah, this game is supposedly the lovechild of God of War and M:UA, and that kind of offspring is the sort wars are started over. But, you know, fun wars where you probably get to sleep with a sorceress who’ll some day kill your kids and gift your wife with a poisonous wedding gown before being deus-ex-machina’ed out of your attack radius. Oh yeah, before I forget to mention it: I really like Greek mythology.

5) Brutal Legend

I am playing Psychonauts right now and am loving it to death. Yes, the difficulty curve fluctuates wildly. Yes, the collectibles are insanely difficult to finish collecting. Yes, the character models seem to be based on caricatures of childhood deformities.

But, god, I just killed a pyrokinetic cougar, then jumped into a madman’s brain where the landscape was a 1950s neighborhood where Dali had gotten to design the sidewalks. With all that in mind, it was made by Tim Schafer, the guy behind Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and now: Brutal Legend, in which Jack Black is a roadie with an ax for attacks (chopper) and an ax for magicks (guitar) who must quest across a world of heavy metal homages to rescue his girlfriend from My Chemical Romance fans.

…Now if only there were a hydra in it.


It’s Better To Receive Than To Get

January 9, 2008
3 Comments

My birthday is fast approaching (February 7), and I’ll be turning 26. To celebrate, I’d like a PS2. That’s right, I’d like to have a PlayStation 2.

Now, I’ve made this a little more difficult for you kind souls out there: I bought myself a PS2 the day before New Years Eve. It’s this one:

It was a stupid purchase; I realized that then, and I continue to realize it now. That’s beside the point. Actually, that’s not true; my point revolves around the fact that I was stupid to buy myself a PS2. I mean, I haven’t even opened it yet. It’s sitting in my room, still in the bag…lurking. Anyway.

So, while talking with my friend Ted earlier today, I said that I was just not going to open it until February 7, since then it would be like a birthday present to myself. I then jokingly said I could even ask my friends for a PS2 for my birthday, since –if twelve people send me 12 dollars each– not only would they have gotten me a great gift, and not only would the gesture spark that whole my-friends-are-awesome chest-warmth-spread feeling, but it would also mean I would not have randomly spent $150 on a game system. Ted said, “I’d go in on that. Post it on your blog.” So here we are.

Some people will see this as a greedy pig’s way of trying to mooch off his friends using their sympathy as a conduit. I was certainly of that opinion for most of the day; after all, the inferiority complex in me is quite good at pointing out those sorts of positions.

Now, however, I look at it from an egotist’s point of view: it’s a good idea. Late last year, I had the great idea to go in with others to get a friend DDR for CMas. “That was an excellent idea,” my inner egotist says. “Why am I the only one who has these ideas?”

Well, not to fear, because I’ve now had the idea for you. If you want to get me a birthday gift, but you think that 10-12 bucks won’t get enough of a thoughtful gift, try this on for size:

If you buy me the PS2 I’ve already bought myself, you’ll be saving a man from his demons, freeing him from financial burden while simultaneously gifting him with an enjoyable pastime that he’ll let you come over and play.

And isn’t that what every gift is really about?

Getting something back in return?


The Lights Are On, But Nobody’s Holmes

December 8, 2007
2 Comments

I was at Borders earlier this evening trying to buy my father’s CMas gift (Shh. Spoiler Alert) when I ran across something he might like even more:


The Crimes of Dr. Watson: An Interactive Sherlock Holmes Mystery.

Book Description From amazon.com:
Quirk Books is excited to announce the discovery of a never-before-published adventure from the pen of Dr. John Watson, steadfast companion of the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. As the tale opens, we discover that Holmes has vanished and Watson has been framed for a grisly murder! Writing from a damp cell in Coldbath Fields penitentiary, the falsely convicted prisoner recounts the events leading to his arrest …and provides twelve removable, facsimile clues that point to the true culprit. Among them are:

An article torn from a newspaper in California
A puzzling manuscript ripped into several pieces
A catalog of Victorian medicines and marital aids
Plus a telegram, an arrest report, an empty matchbook, a train schedule, and much more

It’s up to you to sift through the clues and solve the thrilling whodunit. When you think you’ve identified the culprit, slice open the final signature of the book (sealed at the printer) to read the remainder of the story. With beautiful Victorian-style illustrations and first-rate production values, The Crimes of Dr. Watson will appeal to mystery lovers of all ages.

Wow, I thought, it has the entire story “The Final Problem,” comes with envelopes of letters for clues, and a sealed Answers section at the back? Dad’ll love this!

So I flipped it open to the first envelope. It was empty.

Hmm, I thought, maybe this clue is just the envelope itself.

The next envelope was also empty. In fact, the sentence on the following page made it clear I was supposed to be holding a train ticket of some sort. I wasn’t, so I began to suspect shenanigans.

I flipped to the back cover, thinking that perhaps they’d been worried that the clues would fall out, so they’d decided to put all the enclosures in the back with the sealed Answers section.

The clues were, in fact, with the Answers, but unfortunately, the Answers weren’t with the book. There were overlapping flaps of cardstock inside the back cover, suggesting that Answers should have been contained within their protective embrace, but they were as empty as the rest of the book.

How odd, I thought. Someone’s flipped through this Display Copy and removed all the useful bits.

I grabbed the copy behind it on the shelf. It was empty.

Eight copies of the book –every copy in the store, as it turned out– were all empty. I took the entire collection to the Information Desk and informed them of the problem, then waited a good 5 minutes while they checked my story against the reality of the books.

So bizarre. Those clues were, according to the book’s own blurb, the only things that could free Dr. Watson. Who could have stolen them? The publisher? The manufacturer? Did the author have a change of heart after realizing some of the clues implicated him as one of Watson’s persecutors? Did someone murder everyone in the Korean mystery-envelope-stuffing sweatshop? Or was it a jealous wife? Or an adulterous doctor? No. It was her employer: Ms. Scarlet. …Um… Miss Study In Scarlet?

To make a long story short (Too late!), I bought the book I’d originally planned on buying. Sadly, Dad will have to wait for his Interactive Mystery. …UNLESS I KILL SOMEONE AND SEND HIM THE CLUES!!!

…enh. I’ll probably just buy it for him for Father’s Day.


The World Health Organization’s on first?

December 8, 2007
1 Comment

From My Inbox:
———————————–
SUBJ:
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
The company or e-mail address attached to this IP Address has been awarded the sum of Five Million United States dollars in WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION Award credited to file NO: M154S/WL04. You are to contact the claim processing department with the beneath requirement via email below.

1. FULL NAME: 2. AGE: 3. ADDRESS: CITY: STATE/ZIP CODE: COUNTRY: 4. PHONE NUMBERS: / FAX NUMBERS: 5. SEX: 6. OCCUPATION: 7. E-MAIL ADDRESS: ALTERNATIVE E-MAIL ADDRESS:

Hon. Marvin Valentino,
EMAIL; worldhealth_verificationdept02@yahoo.de

Co-ordinator,
Mrs. Jean Middleton.
———————————–

Oh, those rascally kids, Mrs. Jean Middleton and the Honorable Marvin Valentino(1), are at it again! I didn’t even realize the WHO had $5,000,000 to spare, what with their planning Conventions (while) on Psychotropic Substances and paying private eyes to continue AIDS surveillance, or whatever they do with their funding these days. Then again, they’re probably still getting residuals from the movie Tommy and everything from CSI:Here to CSI:Eternity, so perhaps I can’t fully comprehend just how large their petty cash drawer is.

Regardless, I’m curious as to what the requirements are to qualify for the World Health Organization Award (or WHOA for short). Since it’s being awarded to “the company or e-mail address attached to this IP Address” I can only assume it’s something I did online.

Maybe it was that googlechat I had with Tony about how awesome I think it is that none of us smoke; it wasn’t exactly a public service announcement or anything, but it could’ve been if I’d Fw:’ed it to a listserve. I could have made the Subject line something like “ty 4 /smkng” or “lol bc I still have a healthy larynx,” and that, my friends, would have been how you save lives.

Or perhaps it was my posting that picture denouncing malaria. You remember, this one?

I know, I know, people have been denouncing malaria for years (especially people who’ve seen The Streets at Southpoint), but maybe the world just needed my particular thousand words(2) to get the point(3).

Either way, I’m not going to let this go to my head. I have a responsibility to the World Health Organization to do the right thing with my newly acquired 5-mil. WHO cares how I spend their money, right? WHO gives a damn, you know? WHO indeed.

Also, their email (worldhealth_verificationdept02@yahoo.de) tells you in which country they’re currently based. And the World Health Organization’s base is most likely where some foul disease is, so I guess that means something is, in fact, rotten in the state of Denmark. …I’ll stop now.

(1) Sounds like the name Mel Brooks would use in a movie about Rudie Valentino’s less-than-charming younger brother.
(2) Or, technically, 1004 words, I suppose.
(3) The South point? Sorry, I’ll stop.