Zenestex
30Jul/13Off

LootCrate Unboxing: VGHS

Loot Crate Box July 2013

Hunting down grab bags in the dank, musky bowels of the dealer room is one of my time-honored convention rituals. The allure of a grab bag lies in the opening. For a mere $10-$20, you can damn near replicate your childhood Christmas mornings. Sure, some of the grab bag loot is like getting socks from an aunt you never met. But there’s always that one item in the haul—the "Castle Grayskull" of the set—that makes the entire journey a success.

You can’t just blast open a grab bag right there in the dealer room. It demands your undivided attention. You need to make an event out of the opening.  Typically, I’ll wander the con floor for hours clutching the grab bag and contemplating its innards, but never surrendering to the urge to sneak a peek.  Once I get back home or to the hotel room, I clear a space, open the bag and remove each item one at a time. Then, I carefully examine each item to determine its ultimate fate, like the Quintesson judge from Transformers the Movie: “Guil-ty or Inn-o-cent?” You win 1,000 bonus points if you get that reference. If the item is lame, then it’s forever banished to the ceremonial death mounds of the junk room. However, if it’s awesome, then it earns a place of distinction on my shelves.

19Jan/126

Netflix Randomness: Twelve and Holding

Twelve and Holding

I am a passionate fan of 80's kids’ movies. Goonies, Stand By Me, Explorers, Space Camp, Monster Squad, Cloak and Dagger, Labyrinth, and several others occupy coveted slots on my all-time list. While I enjoyed recent kids’ movies such as Harry Potter, Super 8, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, they never captured the magic of those older films.

Is it just me? There's a certain hollowness in the modern kid flick. Something missing. The movies follow all the formulas. However, like recreating your grandparents' heirloom recipes, an intangible quality is always missing. Is it the uber slickness that comes with an astronomical major motion picture budget? The high def, count-the-zits image quality? The computer generated effects? I really don’t know the cause. But the result is the notably absent charm that once oozed from the movies of my childhood.

"They just don't make movies like they used to.” Nooooooo! Am I becoming Granddad? If for nothing else, I search for the illusive, magical, modern kid flick to stave off my inevitable transformation into a jaded, grumpy old man. Netflix's insidious AI is well aware of my quest. And it is always happy to guide me through the harrowing wilderness of its immense catalog towards possible holy grails.

This morning I was distracted by a little, 2005 independent film called Twelve and Holding. Yep, fucking Netflix debo'd my free-time once again. Curses. Twelve and Holding, however, was just good enough—just awkward and quirky enough—to compel me to throw it out there: Is this the Great White Buffalo?

11Mar/1121

The Loot from Harry Potter World

Zonkos

Ah, the loot. I love loot. Looty, loot, loot.

If you’re a Harry Potter fanatic heading to the Wizarding World for the first time, you should check your wallet with someone who’s less enthused to be there. You might get caught up in the atmosphere and try to buy everything you see. And this shit isn’t cheap.    

All of the Harry Potter World merchandise is in-character. Most of the candy and toy packages feature a tiny, requisite Harry Potter logo on the back. Other than the covert logo, the packaging is true to the story. When you get home and sort through your haul, it looks like you apparated into the Harry Potter universe and scored some genuine Honeydukes treats and Zonko’s gags.

14Jan/116

Netflix Randomness: Night of the Demons

Recently, a strange game evolved from a combination of Netflix’s Instant Watch and my own comatose state of couch-potato boredom. I call it Netflix Randomness. Not that this game is at all random—the name just rolls off the tongue a little easier than Solitaire Movie-Geek Chicken.

Here are the rules to Netflix Randomness. You browse the Instant Watch listings until you find something that grabs your attention. It can be anything. The swerve is that this movie (or television show) must be one that you have never seen, never heard of, and would never watch under any other circumstance. Beyond that, every title is fair game. Once you have located a suitable target, the game is set and you’re in for the duration. And before you probe for loopholes, you have to pause the movie when you leave the room and you cannot play on your cell phone or laptop during the movie. Choose wisely.

This is all merely how I internally justify wasting hours of potential productivity by vegging in front of Netflix. The next evolution of this game will have to include stakes because there’s just not much incentive to sit through a real turd other than groaning about it on the internet.

29Jul/1017

The Quest For 3rd Degree Burn Doritos

In my previous reviews of Doritos 1st and 2nd Degree Burn, I lamented the fact that
there was no 3rd Degree Burn to be found. 2nd Degree Burn, Buffalo Wing flavored
Doritos, had a heat that increased exponentially with each chip until you were clamoring
for something, anything, wet and diffuse the blaze. These 3rd Degree Burn Scorchin’
Habanero Doritos, if there were such thing, truly had to be something special.

The buzz was that they were discontinued and were no longer on store shelves. The
window of opportunity had passed and my review would forever be incomplete. Mr.
Dragon’s Fire Chips wasabi flavored Doritos were a suitable replacement given the
circumstances, but still, there was no way in hell could live with this result.
I searched gas stations, grocery stores, and convenience stores all over the city
to find the elusive 3rd Degree Burn Doritos. All I could ever find were the normal
Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch, and 1st and 2nd Degree Burn Doritos.

14Jun/1010

The Karate Kid (2010): A Review

I count The Karate Kid (1984) as one of my favorite movies of all time and a bona
fide classic piece of American filmmaking. It had everything: fighting, karate,
romance, simple yet effective storyline, laughs, endearing characters, catch phrases,
and a great ending. I have watched it hundreds of times and still make time for
it every couple of months. When Columbia Pictures announced that they were creating
a remake, my first reaction was why bother? The original was movie perfection. My
second reaction was a full-blown midlife crisis. Am I really getting so old that
my favorite childhood movies need to be updated? Then I realized that 1984 was indeed
a long ass time ago, which made it all the worse. Still, I was dismayed by the announcement
and immediately put up my wall of hatred. There was no way in hell I would ever
see this travesty. Damn Columbia Pictures and everyone involved!

Then I saw the kick ass trailer a few months ago before seeing Alice in Wonderland
at the theaters. I was charmed by the new sensei, Mr. Han played by Jackie Chan.
Jaden Smith cracked a few funny lines that made me laugh and showed some great kung
fu technique. Within minutes, my usually impenetrable wall of hatred crumbled to
dust.