Sunday, January 30, 2005

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – Elliot with E.T. Keychain

I scored this at a Toys ‘R Us store on clearance for $0.98.  When the movie was re-released in theatres, a bundle of new E.T. merchandise came out, met unfortunately with distaste.  The general consensus is that the items were rushed… poor items at pricey costs.  Toys ‘R Us got a lot of exclusive stuff, including this, one of two different keychains.  First off, the packaging is pretty solid, featuring an E.T. theme.  However, the promotional text on the back is laughable at best.  They encourage you to befriend your keychain, and create your own unforgettable adventures, much alike the character Elliot did with E.T. in the movie.  Then there’s some junk about bringing magic and excitement into your world.  The item itself is very cool.  Elliot is crafted nicely, complete with the lovable red zip-up jacket, and even detailed tennis shoes.  The bike is also mostly well done, including tires that rotate.  E.T. looks fine, but the biggest complaint about the keychain is the basket our alien pal is in, which is poorly designed, and fundamentally a white square with some minor design.  Overall, and especially for the excellent price I paid, I really dig it.  It tersely captures a scene from an unforgettable film, and is a neat little piece of memorabilia.

Overall Grade: A- 

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Sonic Cyber Realm - Episode #1

This is the story of a man whom finds himself in an alternate universe.  After a long day including a rough morning at work, a fight with his girlfriend Helena, and a real bad headache, our aforementioned man decides to climb into bed and get some sleep.  Once in bed and under the covers, he falls fast asleep only to wake up...

In a world much unlike his own.  The distance seems very barren, and it’s awfully silent.  Kevin shakes his head tiredly, blinking his eyes several times in attempt at adjusting to his new surroundings.

Kevin:  Where am I?  This isn't a dream.  There must be some sort of rational explanation behind this.  That's it, this must be a practical joke played upon me by some of my bachelor friends, or, what the hell am I saying?  This isn't a joke.  Something is terribly wrong.

Kevin begins walking around the newfound environment.

Occasionally he'll stumble upon something, rather it is an object or a plant, and he'll casually observe it.  Kevin also looks over his shoulder every so often, unable to shake the ominous feeling that he's being watched.

Kevin stands still in his tracks.  Did he just hear something?

Kevin doesn't move.  Another man begins rapidly approaching Kevin.

Tracker Taylor:  Excuse me, kind sir?  You appear lost.

Kevin:  Lost?  Are you kidding me?  Are you out of your mind?

Tracker Taylor:  No, in fact, I'm rather mindful as a matter of principle.

Kevin:  Alright, listen up Mr. Outback, or whatever you call yourself...

Tracker Taylor:  The name is Tracker Taylor.  How do you do?

Kevin:  I'm Kevin and I'm scared as hell.  Listen, man, I was asleep in my bed in Chicago 5 minutes ago.  Now I'm walking around some deserted cesspool with no inkling of what my purpose here is or where I'm going.

Tracker Taylor:  You're here to serve a great purpose, Kevin.  You are here to bring an evil empire to its very knees, to destroy all that is bad about this electrical utopia and save its denizens.

Kevin:  No.  Alright, no freaking way!  This isn't a video game and it's certainly not a dream.

Tracker Taylor:  You don't know what this is.  But answers are hard to get around here...

Kevin:  What are you trying to say?

Tracker Taylor:  I'm a veteran of this place.  I've seen the highs and lows.  You'll be meeting a lot of people on your journey.  You'll meet friends and allies, like myself, and you'll also meet enemies.

Kevin:  Enemies?  I work in an office!  I have a hard enough time fighting dental hygiene, let alone taking on villains and such.  I can't fight.

Tracker Taylor:  Kevin, you will fight.  You will be a hero.

Kevin:  Is there any reason I'm in this unlikely position?

Tracker Taylor:  You have to think fast, Kevin.  And I also wanted to show off one of my cool tricks.  Pretty neat, eh?

Kevin:  Put me down.

Tracker Taylor:  Good luck Kevin.  I'll see you again and things will be a lot different.

Tracker Taylor leaves Kevin behind.  Kevin sits for a moment to reflect, and enjoy the large French fry that Taylor left behind for his amigo.  Kevin deeply ponders on the meaning of their conversation, and contemplates the levity of it all.

Kevin momentarily loses sight of his current situation, and laughs hysterically at the phallic shaped French fry.  Then he eats it.

Kevin begins walking again.  After about twenty minutes of briskly walking, he stumbles upon a place called The Orchard Inn where he has his next encounter.

Facial:  What's up?  My name is Facial.

Kevin laughs.

Facial:  What?

Kevin:  Facial?  Get out of here.  That's gross.  No, seriously, what's your name man?

Facial:  Facial!

Kevin: I'm sorry.

Facial:  Don't sweat it, homeboy.  I'm the expert on fighting in these parts.

Kevin:  Like my Mom used to say "I'll believe it when I smell it".

Facial:  Believe it... punk.

Kevin:  Yes, sir.  Mr. Facial.  I've seen the light.

Kevin:  But the question really is, do you have any real weapons?

Facial:  How's this for artillery, son?  I'm loaded.

Kevin:  I'd say.

Facial:  You'd say what?

Kevin:  Nevermind.  So, anway, I ran into this weird guy a little while ago and he said I was here to fight some horrible evil.

Facial:  That's right, but you've got to learn a few things first.  First off, this evil goes by the name Fatal Fuchsia.  He's one bad dude!

Kevin:  He sounds like a housewife.  Isn't fuchsia purple?

Facial whips out a couple photographs of the most sinister being known Fatal Fuchsia.

Kevin:  So, tell me more about this guy...

Facial:  Well, he's a sick and twisted killer.  But that's only when he wants to get his hands dirty.  He has a whole cast of monsters and maniacs at his disposal.  You'll see...

Kevin:  No, no I won't.  Wait a sec... you're flying...

Facial:  That's right, so long Kevin!  And remember, what you see isn't always what you'll get!  When in combat here you can do anything that your mind thinks of, that is, you can achieve these feats but only after much practice and effort.

Kevin:  What is this place?

Facial:  We fondly dubbed it Sonic Cyber Realm.  Later...

Kevin walks for about an hour growing more and more impatient with this entire fiasco.  Then he comes upon a pile of rubbage.

Kevin:  This looks dirty and full of germs.  I wonder if there's any food here...

Meta-Sludge:  Ah!  I'm Meta-Sludge, one of Fatal Fuchsia's many minions!  Prepare to meet your doom baldie!

Kevin falls down in fright, overwhelmed by the visage of this disgusting creature.

Before he knows what's going on, Meta-Sludge has lept atop Kevin and his choking him.

Kevin regains composure and distances himself from the beast.  After a running start, Kevin leaps upward and drills Meta-Sludge with a flying kick!

Kevin hops onto Meta-Sludge's back, the awful fumes nearly choking him.  Meta-Sludge tosses Kevin down onto the ground and than hovers over him...

Kevin looks up from the ground, starring up at what might be the last thing he ever sees.

Kevin hops up quick, gets some room and starts using his quickness to confuse the bigger opponent.  But when Meta-Sludge connects with a punch, it's devastating.

Meta-Sludge goes for the kill, planning on leaping onto Kevin with all of his size squashing him like a mere bug.

Kevin thinks back to what Facial told him, that anything is possible.  Kevin wishes hard that he had a weapon of some kind to combat this monstrous villian...

When, alas, a golden spear is in his hand.

Kevin:  It's party time you smelly piece of...

Kevin:  Aaahhhhh!  Die you monster!

Kevin stabs Meta-Sludge in the back with the spear, and blood flys everywhere!  Torrents of blood spill, shoot, and leak out of the beast.

Kevin feels the beast's heart take its last beat.

Kevin:  Forget fuchsia, crimson red is my color!  Eat that... wait a second...

Kevin:  What have I done?  Where am I?  Helena, I miss you, although I'm still somewhat upset about what you and that basketball player did at Danny's party on Friday.  Where is my apartment?  Where is my life?  Noooo!


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Air Heads - Watermelon

Air Heads are a pretty powerful candy creation, with fans everywhere arguing in effort of defending their own individual favorite flavor, and afterwards eating a lot of taffy.  Now, as a kid I kind of missed the boat on these things.  Most of the other kids in the neighborhood were pedaling their bikes haphazardly to the local convenience store to score some more Air Heads.  I just watched the craze from afar.  When I finally succumbed, I found out that I too had particular favorites.  The “White Mystery” was really cool; I liked the taste and thought the gimmick was neat.  Now as a young adult, I think the term of “white mystery” is funny for other reasons altogether.  My other favorite was the “Blue Raspberry”, because it reminded me of the Slush Puppie drink of the same flavor.

Let’s take a look at the packaging and some other minor details.  I like the shade of green on the package, and the odd Air Heads character continues to baffle me.  I mean, it’s a big red balloon with George Foremen’s nose, people, come on!  The phrase “Out of Control” is also prevalent on the package, which stumps me to no end.  If this is taffy out of control, than what’s taffy like under control?  I like the bubble letters used in Air Head’s main logo, and the drawing of the watermelon gets no complaints from me.

OK, my first impression when revealing the taffy was that this looked like a limp sea mammal sexual organ.  Then, when I removed my mind from the proverbial gutter, another thought struck me.  Why is this candy green?  No, really, think about it for a minute.  The actual edible part of a watermelon is the juicy pink interior, not the green exterior.  This threw me for a loop.  But, I must admit, once I gave it a try I found myself pleasantly surprised.  Now, I don’t particularly like watermelons.  Yes, they taste pretty good, but they’ve always irritated me by leaving my throat feeling scratchy.  And when it comes to watermelon candy, more often than not I find that flavor to be the one I’ll usually pick over when making my selection.  I didn’t find that the watermelon Air Head had too strong of a taste, in fact, it was really sweet and reminded me of another green fruit, the delectable honeydew.  Now there’s an idea for a taffy flavor!

Overall Grade: B- 

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Bubble Cane

I got this back in 2002 to write about and it’s been sitting in a damp basement until now… some three years later.  My spirit wasn’t damaged, however, and my taste palate was ready for war.  First off, the packaging… they say this particular item is “Fun to Chew” which has the direct opposite effect as it’s supposed to on me.  The generic snowman doesn’t bother me; in fact I’m rather fond of his argyle scarf… it’s totally retro post-modern chic, or something. Here’s the thing that really got me, though… “Fruit” flavor?  What’s with that?  I was expecting this thing to be peppermint, but no… we get nondescript fruit.  They didn’t even bother to tell us which fruit or fruits we’d taste, which makes me kind of… sad.

The taste?  Well, this thing broke in half immediately upon being opened.  This was the cause of great laughter at RTW headquarters… for no particular reason.  You can tell in the picture of me trying Bubble Cane that I feel somehow used, although my expression resembles the look on my face the first time I watched Van Helsing.  I took a snapshot of the address of the company responsible for this, so if anybody reading is near Yorkville, Illinois send my condolences.  Overall, this actually wasn’t that bad… the concept of a bubblegum candy cane isn’t that weird.  The taste, although completely unexpected wasn’t inedible and was blasé enough to be borderline average.  I’d say buy a bunch of these and pass them out during the next holiday party you attend… you’ll be either the life of the shindig or stuffed in a closet.

Overall Grade: C+