Friday, February 10, 2006

The Worst Movie I've Ever Seen In My Life...

As a one-time movie buff, I haven't gotten a chance to see all the movies I would have liked to. However, I do know what I like and what I don't like. I don't often agree with movie critics think about good movies (Brokeback Mountain was not nearly as good as the critics made it out to be) and bad movies (for all of its faults, Resident Evil is one of the better video game-to-film adaptations to date).

This led me to a writing position with the now-defunct Test Pattern, which eventually morphed into the screenwriting resource website, Screenwriter's Voice (the webmasters Dayna Van Buskirk and Reg Seeton have moved onto other things and they no longer update the site). During my time with those sites, I have gotten to review movies by the handful, which include some really good ones and some really awful ones.

Somehow, this little gem managed to slip by my radar.

The eBay seller purchased a VHS copy of Emperor of the Bronx from a dollar store and is now trying to get rid of it. Starting at a whopping $0.01 (the item already has one bid on it), the seller is seriously taking a loss on it (although the $5 shipping charge seems a little bit suspect). On the plus side, the seller is extremely honest as to his opinion of the film and even admits why he bought it.

A quick look at the film's Internet Movie Database page indicates the star power behind this film. That is to say, not much. None of the actors starred in anything memorable in the past few years, although the director Joseph Mehri did co-produce on a few mainstream hits, such as Alex and Emma and The Whole Ten Yards.

This is a film that went direct-to-video, which leaves me questioning as to how this market can sustain itself, when these films are of such poor caliber that no one is going to want to watch them. Either that, or someone is is actually watching these things and they're buying them all. Or, they're bought and paid for by government agencies and used in torture methods.

Related Links:

Troma Entertainment: This is the official website for Troma, best known for their B-movie releases such as The Toxic Avenger and Tromeo and Juliet. The studio is best known for giving up-and-coming talents their first shot, including James Gunn (writer of Scooby Too: Monsters Unleashed and the upcoming Slither) and Marisa Tomei (who had a cameo in The Toxic Avenger). They're also the studio that released Emperor of the Bronx. Their website is a bit of a headache, as it forces you to listen to Calimari Safari's "Poultrygeist" until you navigate to a different point in the page. Not exactly the prettiest page either, but then, it's what you'd expect from the studio that puts out films like this.

The Internet Movie Database: An absolute necessity for any movie buff, it has comprehensive information and links on just about every movie imaginable. Functional and well designed, it contains message boards for discussing your favourite movies (although beware of the spoilers!), movie reviews (both professional and user submitted), and trivia. If there are any problems with the site, it's that the bulk of the information is user-submitted, and therefore subject to inaccuracies.


I don't know what's worse: the fact that someone is auctioning off something regurgitated by their pet, or the fact that someone already put a bid on it. One thing is for certain, though: the seller was not kidding when he billed this "The Worst Auction of All eBay."

According to the site, the dog's owner discovered a regurgitated dog toy belonging to his other dog. He is selling the toy (cleaned up, thankfully), along with photos of his dogs. Proceeds will go to buy a larger toy for his dog, as well trips to the veteranarian.

While his devotion to his pet is admirable, I really can't say anything more about this auction, except, EWWWWWW.

Related links: A large retailer of pet supplies (food, acquariums, books, etc.), they offer many items online and in store. This is a comprehensive site which offers just about everything one would need for their pet, is fairly well designed, although may be a little bit intimidating for those who are new to the 'net. Their store locator is a bit of a pain and is hard to read, especially if you're trying to find a location in the Lower Mainland area (the little dots that represent store locations are really little).

SPCA: Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC branch): This site a bit of a headache to read and attempts to cram way too much information into a single page. The navigation bar certainly helps, although the webmaster could have stood to make the fonts a little bit bigger and more readable.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Discover How to Beat the Gas Pump Monster - Save Money

Due to tensions in the middle east, increased demand around the world, and the fact that we're on the verge of running out, conventional oil is being pushed towards the dreaded $100/barrel mark. Most people don't seem to realize how deeply ingrained crude oil is towards our lives (food production, plastics, healthcare) and are only worried by how much it ends up costing when filling up.

So, available for a low-low-LOW price of $4.95 USD is 62 Ways to Beat the Gas Pump Monster!, an e-Book available by .PDF, which promises useful hints on how to lower your gas costs.

These days, $4.95 doesn't buy that much gas, but considering that a lot of the tips the writer is offering are already common knowledge, I'd rather be spending that money on gas. By now, we pretty much all know that rough accelleration and braking, unnecessary weight, idling, cold weather, car maintenance, tire pressure, cold weather, and stop and go driving all have an effect on fuel efficiency. But you don't need $4.95 for that...just Google it.

However, that isn't what makes this particular eBay auction bizarre. The fact that the eBayer used a picture of a woman in a thong bending over to attract potential customers is.

Related links:

10 Ways to Lower the Cost of Driving: This has a little more legitimacy for me than some unknown eBayer, as it's written by the fine folks at Consumer Reports. Hosted by, the site is readable, professionally designed, and comprehensive.

Life After the Oil Crash: Matt Savinar runs this blog that deals with the long-term consequences of permanent oil depletion. This is really scary stuff, as it talks about everything from government control, environmental degredation, and the socio-economic impact, all of which Savinar predicts we'll be seeing really soon. A fairly readable site and easy to navigate, but expect to NOT sleep after reading it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Not quite Jordan's silicon breast implants

If this isn't illegal, it should be.

One enterprising eBayer is selling a set of used breast implants on eBay. Never mind the fact that this is completely disgusting and probably immoral, but what the is the average sane person person going to do with these things once they receive them in the mail? They're no longer sterile, so they're not suitable for re-implantation. However, it might make for an interesting paperweight. A real conversation piece. Or, a real conversation stopper.

The eBayer in question doesn't exactly have the best grammar and spelling (there is at least one run-on sentence and the writer uses the word "loose" instead of "lose"), which really makes me question the validity of this auction. In addition, the eBayer hasn't even posted photos of "herself" (the eBayer's user name is "mikeblues101", although admittedly, picking a male pseudonym may be used to avoid unwanted comments), instead using a photo of Katie "Jordan" Price, who is doing the same thing.

According to the auction page, the eBayer is modelling "her" auction off of a similar stunt by the said former Page 3 Girl who retired her status after extensive plastic surgery (models who appear in The Sun tabloid must be silicone and saline free). Price is best known for her outrageous antics, constantly chronicled in the UK tabloids, although she remains relatively unknown in North America (except for regular readers of Playboy magazine), but she is retiring her "Jordan" persona (she uses that pseudonym when modelling), having given birth to two children. As part of the reinvention of herself, she's having her breast implants removed and she's having the proceeds from the eBay sale donated to charity.

This goes to show...while some people will buy anything, there are a number of people who'd be willing to sell a lot more than just that. Or, at least put up an eBay page about it.

related links:

Jordan's official fanclub website (WARNING/PROMISE: contains adult content). The official website for Katie "Jordan" Price requires you to part with your credit card number and some personal information before granting access to all the material (although promises that will only cost 50p per week). The site is fairly easy to navigate and is professionally designed, although it is only useful for people who are into that sort of stuff. However, without membership, you are able to buy merchandise whether it be posters or signed magazines. The most amusing piece of merchandise from the site is a novelty breast-shaped stress ball.

Awful Plastic Surgery. This is a blog that chronicles the plights of the rich and famous and what they do to their bodies. Divided into helpful categories such as "Bad Boob Job," "Scary Celebrities," and "Oops, I Messed Up My Face," it serves as a cautionary tale as to the consequences of the attempt to find the perfect body and face. Some of it is really scary as it shows what happens when things go really wrong. As it doesn't advertise a specific product, to ensure continued bandwidth, the site owner allowed "Ads by Google" on the site. However, given that the ads are based on keywords featured in the text, all of these ads are for plastic surgery, which is odd, considering the overall anti-plastic surgery mandate that the site appears to take.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Take my empty heart! Be mine!

Just in time for Valentine's Day (I'm single, please shoot me), Elektrik Auctions is selling one of those chalky candy hearts, but without a message on it. Currently (as of this posting), it sits at $51.00 USD. $51.00 USD for a candy heart that sells for less than 50 cents per 100 grams at the bulk foods section of your local supermarket, where you could easily remove the message on the front of the heart by rubbing it against an abrasive surface (such as another candy heart).

We all know those little chalky candy hearts (also known as "Conversation Hearts"), which taste a lot worse than those than those sickly sweet red hot cinnamon hearts (if such a thing were possible). They have those saccharine-tinged messages on them, usually something cute sounding like "UR KIND" or "DREAM GIRL." Quite possibly one of the most disgusting candies ever made, if used for any other use except for a garnish or for a projectile, it could quite possibly mean the end of a relationship if given out on Valentines Day. Incidentally, features a thorough deconstruction of conversation hearts and shows an inventive use for them once they were finished with them.

Certainly, I could think of a zillion more appropriate gifts, probably something that would be more appreciated by one's prospective Valentines, rather than a chalky piece of tooth decaying ickyness. I'm not much of a romantic (I don't often get the opportunity), but even I know to utilize flowers, jewelry, or a nice dinner (with bonus points if it happens to be homemade).

There is a simple explanation for this, though. And given the reputation for the Internet to attract lonely guys all over, this should be no surprise whatsoever.

This is Mandy (pictured right).

Mandy is an amateur model (judging from the amount of red-eye in the photos) and the person who is selling the candy heart in question. Supposedly the spokesmodel and head of staff at Elektrik Auctions (that logo on the shirt looks photoshopped), she's promised to add additional photos of herself once the auction goes above a certain level, which she certainly has.

While you can get all sorts of useful (and not so useful) stuff on eBay, it has also become a bit of a springboard for people who want to get their Warholian 15 minutes. Sure, she can get $51 for a chalky candy heart, but she has been seen by (as of this posting) 1577 users.

eBay has also been used to showcase the personality of the auctioners, giving the chance to show off their design skills. Unfortunately, a disporportionally large percentage of auction pages are an absolute headache to read. This is one of them. Whoever designed the page inserted a completely unecessary Flash animation that forces the user to listen to the song "Broken" by Seether featuring Amy Lee (from the band Evanescence) and does not give the option of turning the song off. If you accidentally click on the wrong part of the page, the page reloads and the song starts again. When writing this posting, I must have been forced to listen to that song about five or six times.

With this level of cynicism, it's no wonder why I'm still single.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Signed Autograph photo of DeadBodyGuy w/ tie

With the speed of e-mail and information, internet celebrities are a dime a dozen. Everything from funny webpages to viral video clips boost the profiles of ordinary Joes who would be otherwise toiling in obscurity. A video clip of William Hung butchering of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs," a widely circulated sex video of Paris Hilton, and the hapless Star Wars Kid playing with a golfball retriever have captured the spare time of millions of internet users everywhere. While one could make the case against Paris Hilton (being a model and the heiress of a multimillion dollar fortune), William Hung and the Star Wars Kid would have otherwise been forgotten if not for the Internet.

Now, we have this guy.

Dubbing himself DeadBodyGuy, he is an aspiring actor whose dream is to be featured as a corpse in movies and television. To help him with that, his website has a collection of photos depicting the DBG in a series of hilariously morbid situations, whether it be the end result of running with scissors, being rampled to death by customers trying to get the last Xbox 360 (who steal his), and blowdrying his hair in the bathtub.
So far, his efforts have paid off, as he is on his way to becoming a minor celebrity, having been recently cast in the independent film Stiffs and having been featured in the television show What I Like About You.

And where would an actor be without his merchandise? DBG is selling autographed photos of himself on eBay, complete with the necktie used in the shot. While I question the value of his celebrity, merely judging from his website, he seems like a fairly down-to-earth guy who just wants to be in the pictures. Indeed, some of the photos are legitimately funny. It's the people like this who we want to see succeed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


In honour of Chinese new year:

Despite the fact that my Mandarin is piss-poor and my Cantonese isn't that much better, I know enough about Chinese to order in a restaurant and to know when family members are talking ill of me. Sadly, despite years upon years of Chinese language training, I haven't quite gotten past phrases in Mandarin such as shi hui jiu yi hao ("Socialism is Good") and wo bu zhi dao ("I don't know") and Cantonese phrases such as lei yiu muht yea ("what do you want") .

However, repeated viewings of John Woo's Lashou Shentan ("Hard-Boiled") have taught me all sorts of great phrases such as mo yook ("Don't move"), mo yup lei ah ("Don't come in"), and pok gai (what you say when you are an undercover cop named Allan and you and another cop named Tequila have been running through the corridors of a hospital armed with semi-automatic weapons, shooting everything that moves, and then you come to a realization that the last guy you shot three times at point-blank range was actually a cop).

The introduction of Asian culture into North America has had its ups, whether it be the proliferation of Chinese restaurants, the explosion in popularity of Japanese animation (or anime), and Quentin Tarantino's influences from Japanese and Hong Kong cinema (as seen in Kill Bill parts 1 and 2).

And then there are the downsides, whether it be the fetishization of Asian women (appropriately named "yellow fever"), phoney martial arts acadmies (widely discussed in the website,, and people developing an interest in Asian culture for the completely wrong reasons.

And then we have stuff like this.

One enterprising eBay seller from Australia is selling framed his-and-hers prints of people's names "translated" into Chinese. That is, they take the closest syllable sound in Mandarin or Cantonese, regardless of what it means. The end result is an ugly mish-mash of random characters that makes no sense to a native Chinese speaker.

Despite the fact that my understanding of Chinese is minimal, even I know that this does not translate into "Benjamin." Best I could come up with is ben-zhi-ming. Broken down per character: ben: measure word, used between a numerical value and a noun (eg: yi-ben shu: one book). ming: prefix, has no meaning without following word (eg: mingbai - understand; mingnian - next year). I'm not sure what the middle symbol means.

This isn't as bad as getting tattoos, though. There are many horror stories about people with a passing interest in Asian culture who get tattoos of Asian characters (whether it be Chinese hanzi characters or Japanese katana characters), but have no idea what they mean, or get a really mean spirited translator or tattoo artist. At least having a print with a mistranslated Chinese phrase doesn't require expensive and painful surgery to remove. deconstructs many of these tattoos to hilarious effect, whether it be a person who has glaring grammatical errors in Chinese, reversed characters, or just plain bad translations. Among the more embarassing ones: "Abusive Husband Pimps Me Out" and "Crazy Diarrhea."

The best take on the matter is courtesy of the boys at The prankster managed to convince a female coworker that the Chinese character tattoo on her arm was actaully taken from a Chinese take-out menu.

I decided to get in on the fun myself, with my webcomic, Major Studio Production. In my latest strip, I researched four Chinese tattoos that would look really ridiculous if a person decided to go ahead and get them permanently etched on their skin. I have consulted with the webmaster of and with his suggestions, the characters should be accurate.

And by the way, gung hei fat choy.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Since I've purchased items on eBay, I've come to terms with that old saying - caveat emptor - buyer beware. My faith in the security and safety of buying from eBay and trusting the so-called feedback ratings has taken a severe hit as a result. Two items have gone off without a hitch, like when I purchased the ultra rare Twin 1 and Twin 2 action figures from The Matrix Reloaded. However, everything else apart from that they say, caveat emptor.
  • Paid $50 CDN (including USD conversion and shipping) for a berimbau, a Brazilian rhythm instrument used in the art of Capoeira, a martial art that I've been studying. I indicated to the seller that I wished for it to be shipped in separate parts to avoid breakage. When it arrived, not only was it shipped pre-assembled, two vital parts were cracked and useless. Thinking that the order was insured, I contacted the seller to send additional parts. He would not ship unless I paid him more money. Jerk.
  • Paid $15 for a copy of a Japanese film, Battle Royale. Not only does it not arrive in standard factory shrinkwrap, upon closer inspection, I realize that the DVD case insert was reproduced on a laser printer. It's clear that this is a bootleg.
  • Paid $8 for a bunch of New X-Men comic books which are advertised as being in "Mint Condition." While I can understand that the Canadian postal service isn't the most gentle when it comes to handling stuff, close insepction of the comic books reveal that they have been read multiple times and carelessly handled.
  • Paid $5 for a CD, Wreckage by Overseer (the CD was not available in Canada at the time). Good news: it's not a bootleg. Bad news: there's a sticker covering the UPC box that says, "Property of Sony Music. Not for resale. Subject to recall."
Needless to say, I haven't been using my eBay account as of late.

Which brings me to my next story. is a humor website that features a lot of pranks and craziness. Among them is a blow-by-blow account on the effects of Olestra, a test to see which retailers check the signatures on credit cards, and prank phone calls to companies such as AT&T.

In one particular prank, an individual named Jeff put an Apple G4 Powerbook, a fairly pricy notebook computer, up for sale on eBay. There was one response from UK and they offered to pay the buy-it-now price of $2100 USD. However, the seller smelled something really fishy with the method of payment (escrow), so he checked it all out and realized that the escrow site was fake. After checking with eBay, it turned out that, yes indeed, the account was accessed by an unauthorized user.

So with that in mind, the seller had the ultimate revenge: send him a notebook computer. As in, an old three ring binder with a bunch of old computer keyboard caps glued on the inside, complete with a bunch of fake peripherals. To make things even sweeter, he also put a dollar value on the package, forcing the buyer to pay out a 27% duty. That worked out to about $550.

The story has a strange epilogue to it. In retalliation, the scammer attempted to send a virus to the seller, followed by a DoS (Denial of Service) attack on the seller's websites, causing them to shut down. The writers at also report that Jeff is nowhere to be found.

Sadly, dishonesty is one of the bigger parts of eBay, and even though many things are being done to minimize that, it's up to the user to maintain some level of vigilance and rely on a lot more than just feedback ratings.

My Ex-Girlfriends Boobs For Sale Sexy Gel Mouse Pad

I haven't decided whether or not to call B.S. on this one.

According to the auction page, this gentleman voluntarily paid for his ex-girlfriend's breast augmentation surgery, as she was (is?) a model that goes to a lot of car shows and the like. Predictably, the story ends in an effort to please his soon-to-be-ex girlfriend, he pays to have a mouse pad modelled after his girlfriend, only to have her leave him for some other guy. To cut his losses, he's selling the mouse pads on eBay.

eBay is filled with auctions that include pleas such as this one, such as the infamous case of Larry Star, the guy who sold his ex-wife's wedding dress while posing in the wedding dress. Through this, his auction got millions of hits, won him instant fame, almost sold for $3,850 (the bid was withdrawn) and got the dress owner a stand-up comedy gig and guest appearances on NBC's Today Show. However, it was later revealed the whole story was fabricated.

As it stands, there are a large number of novelty 3D mousepads being offered on eBay which allow you to rest your wrist on a woman's chest, most of them depicting women drawn in anime style. Given the ease at which one can make novelty mousepads, it's not hard to do something along this line. But, according to the auction, they were "perfectly scaled" to his girlfriend. Hmm...

The Make Your Own Miracle Kit!!!

Now THIS is funny.

Previously, I wrote about high-profile items being purchased by Many of the items featured include religious themed images embedding themselves into objects such as Jesus Christ on a perogi and the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwhich. So, in response to that, one enterprising individual out of Tallahassee, Florida is offering his very own do-it-yourself miracle kit, which comes complete with a nail and a few stencils that will allow you to scratch the image of Jesus Christ or Elvis Presley on the surface. Best of all, the seller is offering free re-sell rights to the purchaser of the kit.

Religious images being depicted in foodstuffs will always garner equal parts of skepticism and controversy. Skepticism, because there are many non-religious people out there, and just as many who believe that the same results can be attained with a soldering iron and a steady hand. Controversy, because $28,000 USD that was paid for a ten-year-old grilled cheese sandwhich could go to a lot better use.

But on the other hand, who has ever seen a commercial or an ad for Regardless of the methods,'s guerilla marketing strategy is both cost effective and memorable. However, it does indicate a few problems with society, such as the extent people are willing to go to earn money. It also shows how frivolously society in general tends to live.

Friday, January 13, 2006


In yet another attempt to cash in on the craze of selling pieces of toast with pictures of Jesus Christ in them or Cheetos that vaguely resemble Mother Theresa, this gentleman out of Bluevale, Ontario is selling a rock that resembles "The Scream" as painted by Edvard Munchin in 1883.

According to the specifications of this auction, the rock measures 3.75" x 2" by 2", weighing in at 10 oz (9.5 cm x 5.08cm x 5.08cm @ 0.285 kg, for people who don't live in the USA). His opening bid? $4,495.00 USD. My guess is that the seller is banking on to pick this one up. is an online auction site that has a unique form of advertising. Instead of buying ad space in traditional media outlets (print, web, and broadcast), they generate publicity by buying high-profile oddities on eBay, whether it be Pope Benedict XVI's car or Britney Spears' pregnancy test. They also have a lot of benevolent causes, possibly to deflect any criticism of the nature of their business.

The seller got greedy, though. A look at's previous auctions will indicate that they purchased a Weeping Jesus Rock for $2,550 USD and a rock that was used to escape an angry bear for only $100 USD. You have to squint when doing a cross comparison of the two items to see any sort of resemblance, and even still, it's a major stretch.

Monday, January 09, 2006

We found this potato in the spud bag!!

If only I knew what this was supposed to resemble, maybe I would put in a bid for it. To me, it somewhat resembles Grimace fom the McDonald's commercials (only not purple and without legs).

On the eBay page, the seller thinks "someone worked on it a little with their finger nail," which doesn't really bode well for his sales pitch. I gotta say that it completely blows the illusion when even the seller admits that the whole thing might be a sham.

What's there to stop the average Joe from buying a sack of potatoes, working them over with their finger nails, and claiming that it came in as such?

However, if you paint it white and add a little black magic marker, it might vaguely resemble a Storm Trooper from Star Wars.

Friend for life & thank you email for student loan help

Wow, sign me up!

Some sad sack out of London, Kentucky really needs to come up with $15,000 to pay off his student loan debts, so he's soliciting on the largest auction site. In exchange, he (based on the user name "shawnoandrew") is offering his lifetime friendship.

Unfortunately, there isn't anything in the way of certificates of authenticity, receipts, or the like, so I don't know if there's any way to quantify "friendship" per se. How much is friendship worth anyway?

To most people, friendship is priceless. To "Shawnoandrew," evidently, it's worth $15,000.

UPDATE, January 16, 10:05AM. This auction was actually cancelled two or three days ago, well before the auction's deadline. This seems to indicate that it may be in violation of eBay's terms of service, but then, it's no different from the naming rights for babies.

DKNY Men's Leather Pants I Unfortunately Own

In September 0f 2005, New York based writer Brian Sack put up a hilariously written eBay auction trying to sell a pair of DKNY (Donna Karin New York) leather pants. Brian is a former ad copy writer, which explains how he is able to come up with some hilariously written material.

This eBay auction continues to generate hits long after the pants have sold (for $102.50 + shipping and handling), now up to over 3.16 million hits.

While he may have only received a fraction of the original purchase price for the pants (I imagine that they retail for significantly more than $120.50), the page has received a large amount of notoriety, having received coverage from such publications as The Independent, The New York Post, and Women's Wear Daily.

Brian Sack regularly contributes to Under the archives section, he has other hilariously written auctions for other items such as a gaudy 75-piece set of Versace flatwear and a "Marchmond Jones Edition" Macintosh computer.